Friday update

The Daily Memphian reports that Ja Morant has been upgraded to questionable (subscriber-only link). That is fantastic news. The Grizzlies are still on the road at Minnesota and will play their second game against the Timberwolves tonight at 7. Catch the action on Fox Sports Southeast.

There will be two live streams (afternoon and evening) for those who want to participate virtually in the National Civil Rights Museum’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday.

The CA has 10 places to find Mardi Gras King Cake in Memphis. Your go-to spot in the Downtown area is Primas Bakery, 523 S. Main.

Happy 20th birthday to Wikipedia.

For $5700 a night you can stay in a house with 700 cats. I know people who’d pay an early withdrawal penalty from their IRA to make this happen.

A friend of mine told me she went to Atlanta for New Year’s. “I stayed out until 4 AM,” she said. “There’s hardly any COVID restrictions at all.” And here we are shutting restaurants down at 10 PM and limiting them to 25% capacity. It’s just ridiculous.

Twitter has created a @SecondGentleman account for Kamala Harris’ husband.

Five more days.

Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

No Memphis Tigers basketball tonight, as another game, this one at home vs. SMU, has been postponed due to COVID-19. The last time the Tigers took the court was a December 29 win over USF. Hopefully, they’ll be back in action Sunday at Tulsa.

I’d like to mention that the Flying Saucer charges $5 for a 16-ounce can of PBR before presenting this historical fact:

The Grizzlies improved their record to 5-6 with a win over Minnesota last night.

The Starry Road to Freedom, a one-man presentation about the life of Frederick Douglass, will be presented online tonight by Elmwood Cemetery. The show starts at 6 PM and tickets are $15.

A Downtown power outage has forced WREG Daybreak off the air. Power is on where I am, and looking out the window toward South Main I see plenty of traffic lights and street lights. Perhaps it’s only the area near Martyrs Park.

One of my very favorite authors, behavioral expert and former FBI agent Joe Navarro, offers a hint of what we can expect in the final 6 days of Trump’s presidency:

Pretty sure I made this prediction before, but I’ll say it again: I predict Trump will join James K. Polk (number 11, 1845-1849) on the list of presidents who die the same calendar year they leave office. Once a narcissist completely collapses, they don’t rally and come back, especially as one as old and feeble as The Donald. I think Trump will check out of this physical world the way Joe Paterno did when it became clear he had criminal liability in the Sandusky investigations.

That’s it for this post. I’ll try to give the COVID-19 task force press conference a listen at noon. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter started yesterday’s county task force press conference with some news that might not be great, but it offers hope.

  • The 7-day daily new case average is 623 and the 14-day is 638. That’s above the threshold of 450 where we want it to be, but there are signs we are past the Christmas surge, and the numbers have hit a plateau as we enter an expected New Year’s surge. Once the next several days are over and the New Year’s infections past, we’d hope to see that number decline.
  • R-nought, the virus’s replication rate, is 1.03. Growth is therefore still exponential; however, we don’t have far to go to get the rate down to 1 and then below.
  • The positivity rate is above 17%. This statistic doesn’t offer a lot of hope. Above 10% indicates that an insufficient number of people are getting tested, and therefore we are missing cases in the community.

Hospitals have seen some stabilization as well, Dr. H reported. They’re still in the red zone above 90% for ICU and acute care beds. However, they’re no longer up around 97-98%, where a victim of a car accident or heart attack might have to worry about being denied hospital care.

Testing is still abundant and Dr. H encouraged everyone to get tested frequently and know their status.

The health department will make contact tracing the new UK strain of the virus, called B117, the priority when it is discovered in Memphis. The department is also looking at innovations in tech to improve contact tracing.

Shelby County will receive 8900 doses of the vaccine per week through January. For a county with a population of 937,000, that’s really not very much.

County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph encouraged fellow citizens of Shelby County to “remain steadfast” as we enter the last 10 days of Safer at Home. What will happen after it expires at the end of the day Friday, January 22? He and Dr. H said several options are on the table. They could extend the order, they could make some minor tweaks in the restrictions, or they could do a major overhaul of the restrictions. It all depends on individual behavior and the resulting numbers.

From 94.1 The Wolf: While COVID restrictions will make the traditional Soup Sunday inside FedExForum’s concourse impossible, Youth Villages is offering a variety of packages. The first option will allow you to enjoy a Soup Sunday experience at home, while the second will allow you to dine in at one of your favorite restaurants. Participating restaurants for the dine-in experience include

  • Char
  • Silky O’ Sullivan’s
  • Riko’s Kickin’ Chicken
  • Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick
  • Louie’s Deli & Meat Market
  • Amerigo
  • Vanelli’s Deli

Soup Sunday will span the weekend of February 27-28.

Today is National Rubber Ducky Day. Pick one up in the Peabody’s gift shop.

The Grizzlies travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves tonight at 7. Catch the game live on Fox Sports Southeast.

Local business Mo’s Bows, founded by 19-year-old entrepreneur Moziah Bridges over a decade ago, is featured in a new GoDaddy commercial.

From Local 24: How will the Shelby County $1000 grants to restaurant employees work?

Ballistic Bingo comes to the Green Beetle tonight at 7. Every bingo winner gets an entry into the monthly drawing for a Yeti beer cooler. Prizes are awarded with every bingo as well.

Donald Trump enters the history books today, as he is set to become the first president to be impeached twice. The question will not be whether the House votes to impeach, but how many House Republicans will join the Deemocrats in voting to bring the articles of impeachment. The earliest the trial could happen in the Senate would be January 19.

Senate Majority Leader (soon to be Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell is pleased the Democrats are bringing articles of impeachment. He believes that a conviction and removal from office, even if technically after the presidential term has ended, will make it easier to purge the Trumpster from the Republican Party. Could that be the beginning of the splinter of the party into conservative and fascist-racist-QAnon-kook wings?

1974: Republican U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater visits Nixon and tells him that he’s doomed, that the Senate will vote to remove the president if he doesn’t resign. McConnell may have a similar conversation with Trump this week. It is possible Biden will be the 47th president, following a few days of Pence?

That’s a wrap. Back tomorrow.

Tuesday update

A historic building in the Pinch District was heavily damaged by fire Saturday. It appears a homeless person started a warming fire in the two-story structure at the southwest corner of N. Main and Overton. The damage was extensive and it’s unclear whether the building will be able to be saved.

The County Commission approved the $2.5 million relief fund that will award $1000 grants to restaurant and hospitality workers who have lost income due to the COVID restrictions. The vote was along party lines, 8 Democrats for, 5 Republicans against. The Republicans said they agreed with the principle of the proposal, but couldn’t see tapping the county’s general fund and favored eliminating COVID restrictions on that industry as a way to stimulate the economy.

From the website Downtown Memphis offers plenty of romantic date options

The Grizzlies defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. That improves their record to 4-5 and puts them 1.5 games out of playoff contention at this early point in the season.

Congratulations to national champions the Alabama Crimson Tide, who handled Ohio State 52-24 last night. Nick Saban now holds the sole distinction of most titles by a Division I college football coach.

Be careful not to lose your vaccination card after you get your first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Muck Sticky will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his first live performance with a free online concert tonight at 8.

The Trumpster and Vice-President Mike Pence kissed and made up yesterday.

That’s the news on this cold, slow Tuesday. Back tomorrow.

Monday update

The County Commission votes today on a $2.5 million fund to support restaurant workers while their hours and capacity are reduced by COVID-19 regulations. The fund will provide for $1000 grants to go to 2500 workers – the $1000 amount is described as “the equivalent of what most of the workers make in the local restaurant industry per two-week pay period.” But the Safer at Home order and the 25% capacity restrictions last for a four-week period.

To make it personal, read this letter to the editor by workers at a dozen Shelby County restaurants.

StyleBlueprint has a profile of JoBeth Graves of South Main’s Grecian Gourmet.

From Showbiz Cheat Sheet: Ann-Margret describes the affair she once had with Elvis

From the Morning Brew newsletter: Search engine with 2 million recipes

There’s a wine dinner tonight at Catherine & Mary’s. Deets pasted from Instagram:

Join us for the first Enjoy AM wine dinner of 2021!

📅 Monday, January 11 at Catherine & Mary’s
🍷 Welcoming glass served 6:00pm-6:30pm.
🍝 Dinner starts at 6:30pm. Enjoy four courses with wine pairings selected by Ryan Radish for $75/person + tax and tip.
🍷 Joe’s Wine & Liquor will be present to take wine orders at 15% off or purchase 6 or more bottles with a wine club membership.
🇮🇹: theme: Trentino-Alto Adige

Call (901)254-8600 or email to reserve your space.

That’s all for this Monday that’s rather slow on news. Watching the radar. It’s snowing in North Mississippi. I wish some of that snow would find its way up here. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

Jennifer Biggs of the DM reports that rumors of Molly’s La Casita’s demise are premature. Molly’s closed on January 6 as a money-saving measure, but the closure is not permanent. They’re just waiting out COVID, and they’re understandably tired.

From CNN: Pence has not ruled out 25th Amendment, source says. DO IT MIKE! DO IT DO IT! “Former Acting President” would look awfully strong on the resume should you decide to run in 2024. Also, how cool would it be to have “Mother” as First Lady for a week? Trump and Pence have not spoken since Wednesday’s breach of the Capitol and insiders say “Pence is finally getting a glimpse of Trump’s vindictiveness.”

Here’s a link to James Aycock COVID week-in-review summary. The main point is that there is not near enough testing and that those who are around other people frequently should get tested once a week. I would be happy to do that if it was free and I did not have to cross A.W. Willis, B.B. King, or G.E. Patterson to do so. Given the concentration of people who live (and work) down here, I think that is a totally reasonable request.

The Shelby County Health Department has announced that all vaccine appointments for January have been filled. You snooze, you lose.

There is a 20% chance of snow flurries Monday morning OMG OMG OMG MUST GET TO KROGER MILK AND BREAD BREAD AND MILK MILK AND BREAD

Momma’s at Crump and Kentucky hosts Ballistic Bingo this afternoon at 2. What’s Ballistic Bingo? Let’s check their Facebook description.

This isn’t the nursing home game you’re used to –

Well, damn, the people who sit at the corner table at Max’s Sports Bar were going to walk down, but you just lost them –

think fun twists like trash-can basketball, picture drawing, trivia questions, and more! Details at the official site below. Tag your friends to join!…/ballistic-bingo/

From WMC: Homeless fear shelters because of COVID-19

Saw this on Twitter yesterday:

(Insert Red Forman “DUMBASS” graphic here)

Since it’s a slow day news-wise, I thought I’d share with you how I’ve been doing writing professionally on Medium. This is a chart of my activity in the past 30 days:

The dots represent the days on which I posted. Last Saturday (January 2) I had ideas to do one post a day through Wednesday, January 6. Yesterday (January 9) I did another count and found I had ideas to do one post a day through Thursday, January 21. I am turning into an idea machine on there and am starting to get rewarded in terms of views, reads, and claps. I’m pretty excited!

Time to hit Publish on here and go work on some of those Medium posts. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update: Twitter bans the Trumpster permanently

You know how I usually wait until the end of a post to discuss politics? Yeah, we’re waiving that rule today. As a matter of fact, let’s go ahead and waive it for the rest of this month.

On Wednesday, Twitter suspended President Trump’s account for 12 hours, and made it clear that any further tweets inciting additional violence and/or violating Twitter’s rules would result in the account’s permanent suspension. Friday, Trump did just that in two tweets that in a broad context, could be interpreted as rallying his supporters to commit violence at an event where Trump himself would not be (Biden’s inauguration). Twitter pulled the plug on Trump not long after.

So Trump’s direct line to his base is now gone. White supremacists, gun nuts, QAnon conspiracy theorists, and “Christian” evangelicals who support a man who grabs ’em by the pussy will no longer have a direct line to their thought leader.

I doubt Parler is a publicly-traded company, but if it is, I bet its stock price will double.

We’ll come back to Trump at the end of this post. But for now, let’s get to the news.

Yep, Code Enforcement inspectors have been downright harassing restaurants for weeks now,  and the Health Department has been smothering them with restrictions that have run a few restaurants completely out of business and have driven many others to the brink. On the other hand, hardly any attention has been paid to warehouses, where workers have crowded around each other, without masks, for 8-10 hour shifts. Where symptomatic employees have come to work and created COVID-19 clusters.

Dr. Randolph, I applaud you for shifting more of your enforcement staff to warehouses. However, I would encourage you to do one other thing – drop the 25% capacity requirement on restaurants so these people can make a decent living. In other words, Dr. Randolph, I’m asking you to do right, so that we can do more.

In other COVID news, more vaccine has arrived in Shelby County, and it will be administered at the Pipkin Building starting Tuesday. They’re going to use the SignupGenius app to schedule appointments. That’s an app I’m well-familiar with – it’s what our BBQ team uses to get members to sign up for tasks. It works really well!

Just City is a Memphis organization pursuing a more humane criminal justice system. They walk people convicted of crimes through expungement, so they can start over with a clean slate. They also have a community bail fund so that low-risk individuals do not have to spend pointless nights in jail awaiting trial (at a cost of $100+ a day to taxpayers). They have a Court Watch program encouraging transparency and accountability.

… and now, they have additional funding. Like, $200,000 in additional funding. You might have heard of the organization that provided the funding too – just a lil’ ole governing body that calls itself the NFL. The grant came from the league’s Inspire Change program, and represents one-third of Just City’s annual budget. It’s a credit to executive director Josh Spickler to land a grant in a city that doesn’t even have an NFL team.

This would be a good weekend for the Cookie Monster to visit Beale Street.

From the Memphis Flyer: Former Memphian adds Ambassador Hotel/SOB mural to South Main art scene

There is a new Downtown volunteer cleanup group on Facebook. The group will focus mainly on social distanced opportunities to clean up the area along the Mississippi River as well as Downtown.

The Grizzlies got a 115-110 win over the Brooklyn Nets last night. Brooklyn didn;t have KD or Kyrie and Memphis didn’t have Ja or JJJ.

Trump won’t attend Joe Biden’s inauguration, and Biden said he’s just fine with that. “He’s exceeded even my worst notions about him,” said Biden of Trump. “He is one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of the United States of America.” Tell us how you really feel, Uncle Joe! Also, ONE OF? I mean, I know none of us were around during James Buchanan’s administration, but he surely wasn’t worse at his job than the orange shitgibbon.

That’s it for today’s post. Ideally I’ll be back this afternoon with “Saturday update #2: Trump resigns,” but if not I’ll be back tomorrow.

Friday update

A Memphis institution may have fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. A customer posted to Nextdoor that they called Molly’s La Casita in Midtown this week. They were told Molly’s was permanently closed unless their COVID-19 loan could be forgiven. They also told the customer if anyone was interested in buying the restaurant, let them know. Hopefully, someone can step up and preserve this legendary Mexican restaurant.

Yesterday David Sweat, Deputy Director of the Shelby County Health Department, announced that there is now an eligibility tool you can use to estimate when you will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccination. You can input your email address and phone number to receive notifications when we reach new phases of the vaccine process. I signed up!

In the task force press conference yesterday, Dr. Bruce Randolph, county health officer, reminded us that there are only 15 (now 14) days left in the Safer at Home order, and encouraged everyone to stay in as much as possible to make the Safer at Home period as effective as possible. He was asked if the Safer at Home order could be extended past January 22, and he said that was a possibility. However, his tone indicated Safer at Home was not likely to be extended. He said we’ve reached the point in the pandemic when individual responsibility will determine the number of cases and deaths.

The man seen with his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk is a former Memphian. Richard Barnett, a former EMT with multiple DUI charges, lived here until the late 1990s. He now resides in northwest Arkansas.

The DM has information for help for those in the restaurant and hospitality industry. The County Commission votes Monday on a fund that would provide $1000 grants to hosts, servers, bartenders, barbacks, cooks, dishwashers, and other restaurant staff.

The National Civil Rights Museum has issued a statement about the riots at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.

The Grizzlies host the Brooklyn Nets tonight at 7 PM, with game broadcast on Fox Sports Southeast.

Memo to webmasters of sports websites: If there is no other language to indicate who is the home team (e.g. “will host” in the paragraph above), you should use the format away team vs. home team. Some websites (including a local website) don’t do this and it has caused me to report the wrong team as the home team a couple of times this season.

Elon Musk surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world yesterday.

CNN had its most-watched day in the 40-year history of the network Wednesday.

Watch the last new episode of Jeopardy! featuring the late Alex Trebek this afternoon on WREG News Channel 3 at 3:30 PM.

Forecast: 39 today, 29 tonight, north wind, flurries possible tonight. Good day to stay at home and make Dr. Bruce Randolph happy. “Do right, so that we can do more.”

Volunteer signups are now being accepted for MLK Days of Service January 14-18. There are a variety of activities from which to choose.

Looks like Scoop Memphis is no longer updating their website. That is a shame because that site was about as real as it gets in Memphis.

It’s My Pie Friday at Makeda’s Cookies. You can get a pecan pie made with their butter cookie crust. 488 S. Second.

Rep. Steve Cohen believes it unlikely the 25th Amendment will be invoked to declare Donald Trump unfit for office and make Mike Pence acting president. Cohen supports the removal but admits the presence of “second-rate lackeys” in Trump’s cabinet, the majority of whom would have to support the decision, makes such a move improbable.

The Trumpster will not be allowed to post on Facebook or Instagram for the remainder of his presidency, due to the false statements he has made and the conspiracy theories he has promoted on those platforms. His Twitch account has also been disabled.

Let’s all stay in as much as possible, wear our masks, and keep our 6 feet of distance so The Golden Girls Puppet Show can happen next month as planned. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Yesterday we got a first-hand look at what can happen when you believe a narcissist and go along with what they want you to do because it’s expeditious to do so.

People stormed the building in which the business of our nation is conducted. A Confederate flag was flown inside the Capitol building. Not even during 1860-1865, when the Confederacy was actually a thing, did that happen. And it happened on a day when the first elected Black senator from the South was declared the victor in his race.

The United States looked like a banana republic, a third-world country, in the eyes of the world yesterday. Vladimir Putin’s sides must hurt this morning from laughing so hard.

And the leader of the free world could not even get on TV and command the chaos to stop without first calling the election stolen and fraudulent.

The Trump era is over. All but his base are abandoning him.

The 25th Amendment is being seriously discussed in the halls of the White House. If Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet agreed, Trump could be declared unfit for office and Pence would become acting president. This would strip Trump of his pardon power and the nuclear football for 13 remaining dangerous days.

There is also talk of impeaching Trump a second time. That wouldn’t happen quick enough to oust him from office in 2021, most likely. However, a conviction would preclude him from ever running for office again.

We are witnessing Trump’s narcissistic collapse. Narcissists who read my blog: Something like this will happen to you one day (although perhaps not on such a grand scale) if you don’t change your ways. Check yourself into therapy, and do it for yourself, not to show others “look, I’m in therapy.” Your entire life is a show you put on in exchange for validation from others. We see through you. Game over.

Today is I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore Day. What a timely holiday. Today is also National Pass Gas Day.

On to the news.

An extra $5000 grant is available for restaurants and groceries whose bottom line was impacted by COVID. $5000. That’s less than half of what popular Downtown Memphis nightspots would make in revenue in one night (New Year’s Eve). It’s better than no money at all, but in no way does it make up for the effect of cutting restaurants to 25% capacity and making them close up to 5 hours early.

The Ditty Crow Inn has posted the menu for this Sunday’s pop-up restaurant at the 40 et 8 on Legion Rd. in West Memphis: (Click image to enlarge)

There will be a few additions to the menu: Chan’s Lemon Pepper wings, soy ginger wings, and Pancho’s cheese dip fries with crumbled bacon on top.

Downtown Huey’s is hiring a host/hostess. $11 an hour, plus the option to train to be a server after 3 to 6 months.

Chef Michael Patrick of Rizzo’s shared cooking tips on Local 24’s The Shortcut this week.

The Shelby County Health Department has closed down 8 restaurants in violation of Health Directive 16. None of the restaurants are Downtown. Several are hookah and cigar lounges.

Popular Midtown bar Printer’s Alley has been closed, but not for COVID violations. It was found in violation of a 2019 consent agreement. There had been a pattern of drug dealing and unlicensed liquor sales, and the owner had to submit a plan to curb that activity. Part of the plan was no more super-late-night hours, which police observed the bar violate on New Year’s Eve.

$50,000 of artifacts were stolen from the Memphis River Museum on Mud Island while it was closed during the pandemic.

Here’s a link to James Aycock’s mid-week COVID report.

Three days of celebration for Elvis’ 86th birthday kick off today.

Congratulations to Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, new Senators-elect from the Peach State. This will give the Democrats a 50+VP to 50 majority in the Senate, giving them the presidency and both houses of Congress. I notice the 2016 “You lost. Get over it” people don’t have much to say right now.

Let’s all take a minute to thank Black women for the results of the 2020 election.

I’ll have my headphones in for the Shelby County COVID-19 task force press conference at noon, and will have highlights tomorrow morning. If anything really big gets announced (which I don’t think will happen) I’ll be back this afternoon.

Tuesday update

Yesterday I watched a video by activist Hunter Demster of an attempt to illegally evict a tenant from her home. The landlord did not have proper eviction papers, and the people attempting to do the eviction were not Shelby County’s sheriff’s deputies, but rather hired private security. They attempted to intimidate with assault weapons and even moved a car out of the driveway, but the tenant stood her ground. Eventually, Memphis Police made the scene and told the private security people to go away. If you want to help the tenant get current on her rent, here’s her Cashapp link.

The Health Department will provide daily updates on where the COVID vaccine is being administered. Follow @ShelbyTNHealth on Twitter and look for the updates about 10 every morning. The Daily Memphian has an updated vaccination plan you can check to determine when you’ll be eligible.

Classic works from 1925 have entered the public domain, including The Great Gatsby. You’re now free to adapt the work any way you wish without paying a fee or asking permission. Give the classic Roaring ’20s tale a read.

As your number-one source of news and information about The Edge District, I am sad to inform you that small business incubator Boxlot, which housed businesses in shipping containers, is closing up shop. No reason was given, but Boxlot was never intended to be a long-term venture. I wonder if this means someone is getting ready to renovate the old Kudzu’s building next door and needs the parking lot?

Cocozza Italian American Kitchen is back open today for takeout, curbside, and DoorDash delivery. Take a look at their menu. Their hours are 4-9 PM Tuesday-Saturday for the time being. They’ll also keep the grab & gos well stocked at Cordelia’s Market and High Point Grocery.

Memphis Police are investigating the videos of drag racing taken this past weekend on I-240 near Walnut Grove.

Jennifer Westwood and Dylan Dunbar will do a live online show tonight from South Main Sounds tonight at 8.

The Grizzlies host the L.A. Lakers tonight at 7. Broadcast will be on Fox Sports Southeast.

Meanwhile, the Memphis Tigers hit the road for an 8 PM game at UCF. Catch it on ESPNU.

CNN has a transcript of the Trumpster’s Saturday call to Georgia’s secretary of state. Only 15 more days until this raving kook is out of office.

That’s it for today. Back tomorrow with more news.