Random stuff thrown together for your reading pleasure

Not one specific topic this time, just whatever pops into my head.

– Best meal I’ve had in a while: The Chicken Pontabla at King’s Palace Cafe on Beale, a chicken breast in Cajun spices over roasted potatoes and covered in parmesan cheese. Just unbelievably good. Actually, I ordered it next door at the Tap Room, which shares the menu with King’s Palace. The Tap Room has become my new regular place to hang out. It’s a good mix of locals and tourists, just a friendly environment where you can have a conversation, watch TV, listen to a band.

– Back to the topic of food, check out Blue Coast Burrito on Walker Ave. just off Highland out by the U of M. They have build-it-yourself burritos and fish tacos. Back when I lived in San Diego, fish tacos were the unofficial food of the city much as BBQ is in Memphis. And Blue Coast has a salsa bar with your choice of sauces for your food.

– My apartment building rocks. They’ve rented a party suite for us for the opening Redbirds game on April 7, with a free buffet and beer.

– The membership phonathon for Mpact, which I helped put together, turned out to be a success. I went to a dollar store and bought about 50 bucks worth of prizes. Every time a caller got a renewal, they got to reach in a grab bag for a prize.

– Ordering pizza for the phonathon turned out to be a challenge though. Papa John’s put me on hold no less than 10 times, asked me to repeat my phone number about 4 times, asked me to repeat my credit card number about 8. Then, after “hold on,” the guy came back on the phone and said, “Give me that credit card number again.” I told him that this was getting ridiculous, that it shouldn’t take 15 minutes to order pizza and if he couldn’t get it right this time, I was hanging up and calling Pizza Hut. Then I gave him my card number for the 9th time. He said, “Hold on,” and then I heard a crash, and in the background I heard him say, “That motherfucking bitch just broke the credit card machine!” Then he got back on the line and asked for my card number again. Pizza Hut got a $35 order as a result. It’s the first time in years I’ve been mad enough to get on a company’s website and complain.

– More fast-food stupidity: I went to Wendy’s the other day and ordered a Caesar side salad. “What kind of dressing you want with that?” asked the cashier. Um, let’s see…it’s a CAESAR salad, you think maybe CAESAR dressing, moron?

– Am watching the Democratic Party with interest now that Howard Dean has been elected as its chair. I like Dean’s grass-roots style and ability to think outside the box. I’ve always thought of myself as being a nonpartisan liberal, but with Dean in charge I guess I’ll go ahead and label myself a Democrat.

– My latest stock pick: SanDisk (SNDK). SanDisk makes the flash memory cards and sticks used in computers, MP3 players, and digital cameras. I think they’re already more relevant to the photography industry than Kodak. They’re about a $4.5 billion company right now; I put them at a $90-billion market cap in 10 years. I also believe SNDK will be listed as one of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow.

– Places around town where you’re likely to see me: Cafe Francisco Thursday night, March 24, where Mpact is having After Hours with singer/guitarist Drew Holcomb; later that evening I’ll be at the Flying Saucer to see The Dempseys. Friday, March 25 I’ll be in the South Main District for the Trolley Art Tour. Sunday, March 27 (and most every Sunday) I’ll be at the Blue Monkey. Friday, April 1 I’ll be at the Mid-South Coliseum for Artrageous, which is always one of the most fun parties of the year. Later in April there are two crawfish festivals (one in Downtown and one in Midtown), and I’ll likely be at both. It’s Paul On Tour! If anyone is stalking me I’ve just made it easy for them.

– What the bums are drinking this week: Last time I walked by the liquor store I saw an incredible EIGHT empty cases of Wild Irish Rose waiting for the garbage man. Also: Dark Eyes vodka, and strangely enough, Jagermeister. Then again, a lot of the bums drink NyQuil to get drunk, and Jagermeister isn’t that different from NyQuil.

– And that’s it for this journal entry. I kind of like this format, may do it again.

Attn music lovers: coolest app I’ve seen in a while

Found this in a weekly list-of-links I subscribe to called the Scout Report:

MiniLyrics is a plug-in that works with RealOne, Windows Media Player, WinAmp, Music Match Jukebox, and most other well-known music players. When you play a song, MiniLyrics comes up and displays the lyrics, following the song line by line. Just downloaded it and tried it out to “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals, and it worked perfectly. Free and worth a download!

Mail bag

(I really do have several serious journal entries in the works, saved as drafts right now. But the spam coming in is just too funny to resist comment, so you get this instead. All of these are real e-mails I have received in the past week.

Subj: Add up to 4 inches

Last time I opened the mail bag, I mentioned that a man named D1ck Gr(o)wth had been e-mailing me with this subject, apparently expressing concern that I’m going to add up to 4 inches to my waistline if I keep drinking the way I have been lately. Well now, his brother C0;ck Gr(o)wth is e-mailing me too. What a wonderful family the Gr(o)wths are. Mrs. Gr(o)wth must be very proud to have raised two sons like D1ck and C0;ck that are so concerned with the welfare of others. And Mrs. Gr(o)wth must be quite independent-minded too; you don’t often meet people who use numbers as well as letters in their children’s names.

Subj: Make sure instead of 7 best she likes you first

Now, here’s something completely different, an ad for a penis enlargement system. And timely too. You see, last month there was this girl I really, really liked. Trouble was, someone so beautiful and popular was bound to attract a lot of guys, so I was bound to have competition. There were 10 of us, as a matter of fact, vying for her affection.

So one Saturday she invited us all over to her place. “Okay, boys, drop your pants,” she said, and then she got out the ruler. I came in as the 7th longest of the 10 guys. Needless to say, I was not the one selected to spend a romantic Valentine’s Day with her. I’m going to order the enlargement system mentioned in the e-mail to make sure that never happens again. Thank God for the Internet, huh?

Subj: don’t be an asshole Eileen

1980s rock band Dexy’s Midnight Runners has finally released the sequel to their smash hit “Come On Eileen.” And what great timing! I just opened a Mountain Dew and discovered under the cap that I had won a free song download from iTunes. I’ll log on in a few minutes and download “don’t be an asshole Eileen.” Hopefully it’ll be as good as the original.

And that’ll do it for the mail bag this time folks!

Cracker Jack

I recently read the story behind the name of Cracker Jack candy. 100 years ago, when it was invented, “cracker jack” was a slang term. If something was really good, people would say, “That’s cracker jack.”

Fast forward to the year 2105. A grandfather takes his grandson to the corner store and buys him a box of CRUNK candy, celebrating its 100th anniversary. “How did CRUNK get its name, Grandpa?” asked the little boy.

“Well,” the grandfather replied, “when MY grandfather was a young whippersnapper, people used to use the word all the time. It was used to describe a party that was loud and wild, with liquor freely flowing and the music turned way up. For example, my grandfather might have said, ‘I’m fixin to get crunk up in this bizzzzaaaatch,’ which would mean that a wild party was about to occur at his location. Of course, those days are long past, but every time we buy a box of CRUNK candy we can still think back to those simpler times.”

“Wow, Grandpa. People sure had some funny sayings in 2005, didn’t they?”

“They sure did.”

Prediction: the future of computers

Modern computers are based on the binary (base-2) system. Meaning, everything to a computer is a combination of 0’s and 1’s.

I predict that computers of the future will be radically different – they will be based on a ternary (base-3) system. However, this system will not consist of 0, 1, and 2 as you might suppose; instead it will consist of 0, 1, and that which is neither 0 nor 1.

I thought of this as I sat here typing on the computer, looking over there at the TV. The concepts of here and there are only possible because of the space in between: that which is neither here nor there.

One day I’ll probably be sorry I didn’t patent this or get it protected as intellectual property before I shared it with the world.

Social calendar for downtown Memphis bums

I subscribe to Memphis Magazine, and recently they inserted a small booklet, the 2005 Social Calendar, in with the latest issue. It lists charity events, street festivals, and athletic events for the first half of the year. I decided to create a similar social calendar, but with a more targeted audience: the bums who wander my neighborhood panhandling for change. Enjoy.

January 1: Hey mayne, look here. On Thanksgiving and Christmas they be all kind of peoples wanting to feed us, you know what I’m saying, but don’t nobody think of the homeless on New Year’s! Everybody be eatin’ they blackeyed peas fo good luck and we be out here freezing! How about seventy-two cent so I can have some good luck, too?

First week of January: Hey. Hey. Sir. Hey, sir! This is the Annual Manual. It’s put out by the Memphis Flyer, and it tells you everything there is to know about Memphis. Go ahead, take one. Now, the Annual Manual is free, but I do accept tips, you know, a dollar or two.

Third Monday in January: Hey mayne, you know today is Martin Luther King Day, don’t you? How about honoring the memory of Dr. King by helping a homeless person out with about fitty-four cent.

February 14: (Hurriedly picks flowers from planter on the Civic Center Plaza on Main Street Mall, then runs after couple) Scuse me! Scuse me! Scuuuuuume! Sir! Sir! That is one beautiful lady you got there. How about a flower for the lady? Fresh cut. I can give it to you for about three dollar.

First week of April: Hey! Hey, how y’all doin’. Aw yeah, you goin’ to the Redbirds game, aint’cha? The season opener! Aw, yeah, dog, I bet you’re gonna get you one of them Big Ass Beers they sell. Yeah… look here, how about a dollar so I can gets me a cold beer too.

April 20: What’s up big bro… look here, you know what day it is, right? Earth Day. 4/20. Fo tweeeentaaayyy…. and you know what 4/20 all about, don’t ya, dog? So look here, how about a few bucks so I can get my smoke on for 4/20?

First weekend in May: (Bum walks past parked car belonging to out-of-town Memphis in May tourist who has left CDs in plain view) (***SMASH!***) (Bum runs through a couple of alleys) (Bum approaches other tourists) Hey! Hey, look here. Get yo official Memphis in May music right here. You choice of CDs. Look here, I got it all, some Bruce Springsteen, some Rolling Stones, some Madonna. These’d cost a whole lot of money in the store, but I can give you your choice for about two dollar.

Week after the third weekend in May: Hey, mayne! Hey, dog! You missed out… they had the annual BBQ fest last weekend. Mmmm, that was some GOOD food. But look here. You still in Memphis, the BBQ capial of the world. I’m gonna show you how to get to the Rendezvous, I’m gonna show you Blues City, King’s Palace, all the places to get some real Memphis BBQ. Hey, look here, how about eighty-nine cent for your friendly neighborhood tour guide?

July 4: Scuse me! Sir! Sir! You don’t have to pay that parking meter today. It’s a federal holiday, so they don’t be checkin’ it. But look here, how about using that change to help me out with about seventy-three cent?

Week of August 16: Hey, how y’all doin’? I bet you’re in town fo the anniverserary of Elvis’ death, ain’t ya? Yeahhh… you goin’ to Graceland for the candlelight march? Aw yeah… Elvis was a great man… generous man too. You know, one time, he gave somebody a Cadillac, just because. Now look here, I ain’t expectin’ nobody to give me no Cadillac, but I sho could use about forty-nine cent.

October 31: What you supposed to be dressed up as, a ghost? (Note: it doesn’t matter what your actual costume is, they use the same line on everyone they meet) Look here, I’m dressed up as a thirsty man tryin’ to get him a bottle of whisky. You think you can help me out with about sixty-eight cent?

November: Sir, scuse me, sir. Hey, I know you probably got a nice comfortable home to go home to, but I ain’t got nothin’, sir. And it’s gettin’ mighty cold outside. I just need some money so I can go buy me some supplies to stay warm. (Person feels sorry for bum, gives him six dollars. Bum shakes his hand and waits until he gets out of sight, then runs to the liquor store and buys three bottles of Thunderbird.)

Fourth Thursday in November: Hey, sir. I’m taking up a collection for the homeless. Look here, a lot of places are closed for Thanksgiving, and the homeless can’t get the supplies they need, so I’m trying to help out. (Person feels sorry, gives bum a few dollars. The bum wasn’t lying. The liquor store is closed today. So the bum goes to Walgreens, buys a bottle of NyQuil, and chugs it)

December: (Wearing Santa hat and carrying bell) Hey, mayne, look here, I’m taking up donations. Would you care to give? ‘Tis the season. (Not every bum will run this angle, as it requires startup costs of about $5 for the Santa hat and the bell – that’s a sacrifice of enough money to buy a half gallon of Dark Eyes vodka! But for bums who plan ahead, this can pay off, bringing in enough money to buy liquor and crack for the rest of the winter.)

December 31: (Bum yells at passing car) Hey! Hey! Parking, right here! (waves car into spot) Yes sir, you can park right here. Yeah, I know it says “no parking” but this here a new space, the city just ain’t got around to takin’ the sign down yet. That’ll be five dolla. That’s a bargain, you know what I’m saying, most lots be chargin’ ten ’cause it’s New Year’s Eve. What you mean, I don’t look like no parking lot attendant? C’mon now, that’ll be five dolla… (sees flashing blue lights approaching) (looks at imaginary watch on arm) Oops, my shift’s over, I got’s ta go! (takes off running down alley)

Impacto

A week ago Friday, January 28 was Mpact’s annual fund-raiser, Impacto, at the venue formerly known as the Plaza Club. It was just excellent this year. The event was headlined by a Grammy-winning pop band from Venezuela who definitely lived up to the buzz, and Los Cantadores opened. Several restaurants around town catered the event with Latin-themed food. Most importantly, there was an open bar. My mission was to turn a profit on the event. During the course of the night I had 14 margaritas. Estimating that a restaurant would charge $3 per margarita (they were little glasses), let’s see here. 14 times $3 is $42, and I paid for $40 for my ticket, so I came out ahead by two bucks.

But wait, that’s not all. One of the caterers was my favorite restaurant, the Blue Monkey. The owners handed me a sombrero, telling me they’d pay for my brunch the following Sunday if I walked in wearing it. I gladly accepted their deal, not mentioning that I probably would’ve worn it anyway. It’s not like I need incentive to act stupid!

Not seeing a reason to wait until Sunday, I put the sombrero on immediately and strolled through the party. Within minutes I found myself face-to-face with a microphone. It was Lee Warren from the Definitely Downtown TV show and he wanted to interview me and get my thoughts on the party. I was on margarita number 12 at the time and have absolutely no idea what I said, but friends of mine have since seen the interview on TV and told me I was very articulate.

Then I strolled into the next room and RSVP magazine asked to photograph me. Now, I’ve never had much use for RSVP before (meaning, I don’t own a puppy or a bird) but I guess I’ll have to pick up next month’s issue. They had me strike an “Ole!” pose while wearing my sombrero. I doubt the pic will do much to add to Mpact’s “professional” image, but that’s just fine with me.

So my total for the evening was $42 in margaritas, a sombrero, free brunch at the Monkey, and infamy in print and on TV. Not a bad haul. Seriously though, great party, a bright spot in the cold days of January. Can’t wait until next year!

Best bumper sticker I’ve seen in a while

“Somewhere in Texas,

A village is missing its idiot.”

Which reminds me…if you live in Memphis, check out Air America Talk Radio on AM 680. A much-needed progressive viewpoint to balance out Rush Limbaugh and other talk-show hosts of his ilk who seem to dominate the other talk stations in town.

If you don’t live in Memphis, you can listen online at http://www.airamericaradio.com/listen.asp.

Mail bag

Time once again to catch up on the mail. Let’s see what we have here.

Subj: Add up to 4 inches! zxyqbv

Ah, some friendly advice, and absolutely correct. If I keep spending most of my free time at bars drinking, my 33-inch waist will expand to 37 inches. And that would mean I’d have to buy all new clothes, which could get expensive.

I can’t say I remember the person who sent me this friendly reminder, whose name is D1ck Gr(o)wth. I suspect I met Mr. Gr(o)wth at one of the bars where I hang out, and don’t remember him by name because I had been drinking. But he remembered me and sent this e-mail out of concern for my well-being. Nice fellow, that Mr. Gr(o)wth.

Subj: improve your PC paul

Highlighted this message, pressed Delete. There, it’s improved already.

Subj: Black cocks pound white bitches

Now this person is clever. In most states, it’s illegal to hold rooster fights, and it’s illegal to hold dog fights. But rooster vs. dog? Nothing on the books about that! Judging by the subject, the roosters appear to be winning. Perhaps that’s because they’re only allowing female dogs, or bitches, as opponents. Male dogs tend to be more aggressive and might be able to give the roosters a run for their money. I also have to compliment their use of color (white dogs, black roosters) to symbolize good vs. evil. Well done.

Subj: get yuor p1lls hree! no pre.scr1pt(i0ns) nee.ded!

be1ng abel to ord3r p1lls fr(o)m teh 1n,ternet 1s qu1t3 a conv.en!ence. im bsuy @nd d(on)t hvae t1me 2 bee both.ered w1th dcot0r v1s!ts. ph(e)nterem!ne, v1@gra, lev1tr@, th3y hvae 1t @ll. eevn th3 p0pul.ar c!alis, wh1ch i msut c0ncl.ude 1s teh w0nd3r dr(u)g th3s3 d@ys, b@sed 0n th3 15,437 e-ma1ls i h@ve r3cveid @b0ut c!alis s0ft t@bs 1n th pas.t w33k.

Subj: Suntrust account suspension in progress

Wow, I didn’t even know I had an account with Suntrust! I really have to stop drinking so much, it’s eroding my memory. The e-mail contained a link to a nice form explaining that there was a problem with my account. So I entered my birth date, social security number, and mother’s maiden name and that cleared it right up. Funny that they never asked for my Suntrust account number though, you think they’d need that to fix the problem. But anyway, it’s corrected now, and apparently I not only opened an account at Suntrust but did a balance transfer, because the balance of my First Tennessee checking account dropped to $1.62 the day after I filled out the form. So I guess I’ll be late paying the rent this month, hope the landlords will understand.

Subj: our spray makes you invisible to red light cameras

So you spray this stuff on your license plate, and then when you run red lights, the cameras can’t get a shot of your number. Would anyone really be STUPID enough to buy this? Hmmmm…(as I take a moment to think back about some of the students I had at the U of M)…oh god, bet this sells in the millions.

Subj: cheating housewife services

Is this like a competitor to Molly Maids or something? If so, I need to give them a call and see if I can get them to come clean my bathroom. The mildew’s getting out of control in there. Maybe these housewives could do some vacuuming too, and some laundry. But then again, if they cheat they might say they vacuumed when they really didn’t. Never mind.

That’ll do it for the mail this week, folks. I’ll be back shortly with more insightful and informative journal entries.

Out of the closet, but I was never in!

A few days ago I was doing my usual post-work walk around my neighborhood, and as I walked past Swig I saw someone wave at me, a friend of mine who owns a gallery in South Main. So, I walked in, sat down and had a drink with her.

We got to talking about Christmas, and how I didn’t make it home for the official day but will be going home this coming weekend. “It just means the nagging got delayed for a little while,” I explained. “But don’t worry, soon I’ll get to hear how I’m 35 and not married.”

My friend looked at me funny and replied, “Darling. You have told your mother that you’re gay, haven’t you?”

WHAT???????????

I mean, I can understand how someone who I’ve just met might think I’m gay. Or how someone who has seen me across the room several times but never talked to me might think that. After all, I do have a very flamboyant nature. But anyone who has talked to me for five minutes usually figures out real quick that I’m straight. And this is a friend I’ve known for over a year!

Here’s how a typical conversation with me goes: I’ll be talking about something, and a girl in tight black pants will walk by, and I’ll crane my head to look, and totally lose my train of thought. “Um…what was I saying?”

Or you’re talking about something, and suddenly I’ll interrupt: “Whoa! Look at her! She has a TUBE TOP on!” (I have a thing for tube tops)

Or, you’re talking about something, and a really young girl will walk by, and I’ll interrupt, “Hey, look at her, do you think she’s 18?” (and therefore not jailbait)

Maybe I felt the need to be sophisticated around my friend and not act like a total pig because she’s a gallery owner. I’ll be careful not to do that again. From now on I’ll act like a disgusting pig in front of everyone. No discrimination!