Very quick Thursday update

Congratulations to my friends Ira and Stephanie at I. Siegel Culinary Productions, who were featured in an article on page 34 of this week’s Memphis Flyer. It talks about their how they arrived in Memphis and decided to open a catering business. Menu for tomorrow (Friday, January 20) at their new lunch restaurant next to the Peanut Shoppe:

Pan Seared North Atlantic Salmon – Baby Shrimp and Lemon Butter
Rice Pilaf
Grilled Asparagus

Appetizer and Salad Bar, Homemade Soup, Dessert Bar
Lemonade, Ice Tea or Spring Water

I also noticed that there’s ANOTHER new Mexican restaurant downtown. It’s in the South of Forum district, right where Second Street veers left and St. Martin splits off. I drove past it about 6:00 tonight. It didn’t look open. Anyone know the details on this place?

All right – the Dempseys are playing the Saucer tonight so I’m getting outta here. I’ll try to return to a more regular posting schedule this weekend.

Storyteller

I don’t think I’ve posted this one before… this happened about five years ago, in 2001. I was at this club called the Dance Plex – it’s that fire station at Linden and Third, which had been converted into a club with ’70s, ’80s, and modern dance music rooms. I was upstairs, in the ’80s room (which had the best dance floor I’ve ever seen in a club – I miss that place), and I was sitting at a table talking to a girl, who for some reason thought I was fascinating.

So we were talking for a while, and she looked at me and smiled and said, “Tell me a story, Paul.”

Me: A story?

Her: Yeah. Tell me something funny, or amazing.

(The wheels in my mind started turning, and a mischievous grin flashed across my face)

Me: Well… did you ever watch The Andy Griffith Show when you were little?

Her: Yeah, all the time!

Me: Well, did you hear about the big scandal that was going on backstage?

Her: No… tell me!

Me: Okay. Remember Howard? He was the county clerk… he was on the show for the last couple of years, after they started doing them in color.

Her: Sure, I remember him. He wore a bow tie, didn’t he?

Me: Yeah, I think so. Well, he was involved in a major sex scandal, although they kept it a pretty good secret. He was doing it with one of the female cast members… I mean, they were going at it all the time in the dressing room between scenes!

Her: Who was it? There weren’t that many women on the show… there was Opie’s teacher… and Barney’s girlfriend… but Barney and Howard weren’t on the show at the same time…

(I must admit, I was impressed with her knowledge of Andy Griffith. I need to find her and invite her to come play on our trivia team!)

Me: Nope… it was none of those….

It was Aunt Bee!

Her: OH MY GOD! AUNT BEE???!!!

Me: Aunt Bee.

Her: Oh my God oh my God… Aunt Bee!

Me (imitating Aunt Bee’s voice): “Now, Opie, I want you to eat all your vegetables, and after dinner, I want you to wash your face and do your homework.”

Her: Aunt Bee… oh my God! She was like, somebody’s grandmother!

Me: Well, apparently the guy that played Howard preferred a more… experienced woman. And Aunt Bee… well, she just couldn’t get enough of it. They had a signal they’d give each other and… they’d disappear backstage.

Her: Howard was doing it with Aunt Bee? That’s sick! Ugh… that’s just wrong!

Me: Yeah, they managed to keep it a secret for a long time, even from the rest of the cast. But then one day… who was that guy who hung out with Howard and Andy and Goober all the time?

Her: Floyd, the barber?

Me: No, this was the guy who replaced Floyd. The Mr. Fix-It guy who was on the final season… Emmett!

Her: Oh yeah, I remember him!

Me: Well, one day the guy who played Emmett walked into Howard’s dressing room… and there were Howard and Aunt Bee on the couch, buck naked, going at it like bunnies!

Her: Oh my GOD!!!!!

Me: Yeah. The guy who played Emmett agreed not to tell anyone until after the woman who played Aunt Bee died, which was more than 20 years after the show went off the air. That’s why it has remained one of Hollywood’s best kept secrets.

Her: Oh my God oh my God!!! (She ran off to tell her friends, who were busy drinking and dancing and didn’t care.)

Of course, I totally made the whole thing up. I guess it’s a good thing she didn’t try to sell that to the National Enquirer or some other trashy gossip magazine. Just having a little fun at the expense of some dead actors and actresses!

Monday evening update: No pics yet, but restaurant info and followups to previous posts

– There’s another new Mexican restaurant downtown, Sgt. Jalapeno’s Tortilla Company. It’s in the space that used to be O Kypos, on Adams between Front and Main, in the Comfort Inn. I walked by tonight after work – didn’t eat there, but I checked out their menu and they have tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and all the usual stuff you expect to find at a Mexican place. Price was in the $6-10 range for entrees. The menus say they’re open until 9 Monday-Thursday and 10 Friday-Saturday, but the sign out front said 11 to 7. Good to have a real Mexican restaurant downtown. Hope it makes it – that location has not been lucky for past restaurants. I plan to go back and try the food sometime soon, maybe this week.

– Also, Quizno’s is open again on the Main Street Mall, across from Court Square. Good to have them back. They’re open until 8 on weekdays.

– There are also some restaurant closings. I was sad to find out that Cafe Samovar closed at the first of the year. I used to go there all the time on the weekends, back when a couple of my former students belly danced there. Their food was among the best in town. But there were simply too many other places to go downtown, and people forgot about Samovar. I hadn’t been there in over a year. I’m sad to see them go, and wish I had supported them more.

– And, Joey’s Pizza on Main near Jefferson is closed. They had some really good pizza. But the walk I took past Joey’s today made me understand why people didn’t want to go eat there. I walk past the place twice, and both times I was approached by bums asking for money. One got right in my way as I was trying to walk, and the other called me a “fucker” when I said no.

– I’ve received comments from blog readers about several past entries. First of all, Teresa who attended my plate party told me that I should look into potassium as a hangover remedy. She told me that alcohol depletes your body of potassium, which is partly responsible for that depressed, droopy feeling the next day.

– Carmel wrote to tell me that I was wrong in saying that the Romanians were copying American culture when they did their own version of Big Brother. The show began in Holland and is a hit around the globe. She spent part of 2001 in Ireland and just about everyone over there was addicted to the British version.

– Carmel and my mother also sent summaries of the back-story behind that stupid kid on Days of Our Lives. It sounded like the most confusing stuff ever and made me realize that one week of that garbage was enough. I’m removing it from my DVR’s programming list tonight.

– And regular reader Lacey responded to my question about whether it’s okay to take Advil after the expiration date on the bottle. She says it’s fine to take, won’t be harmful, just less effective. I guess since I walk to Walgreens almost every day on my lunch break, I could buy some NEW Advil.

– That reminds me… one day I was walking to Walgreens and I walked past an open field. Someone had thrown away a can of Milwaukee’s Best Light, and there was a straw sticking out of the can. You know you’re in Memphis when you see stuff like that.

– All right… I’m tired of typing so I’m going to hit the Publish button now. Plate party pics will be up soon.

Quick Sunday update

I have some sad news to report. The pigeon that worked the sidewalk in front of Empire Coffee, walking around and pecking for crumbs during the daylight hours, was found dead this morning. He will be missed. Anyone wishing to contribute to the Paul Ryburn Drinking Fund in the pigeon’s memory is encouraged to do so.

The Dempseys just re-did their website. Looks good! They’ll be playing downtown Huey’s tonight at 8:30.

Thanks everyone for a great time at my plate party last night. Sorry I pulled a disappearing act later on in the evening, but there was a good reason. I took about 30 pics (including some good ones of the waitresses) and I’ll have them up soon. In the meantime, here’s one of the pics, of regular blog reader Carmel in a tube top.

Good TV: soap operas, wrestling, and Romanians

– I received a tip from a friend that I should record the soap opera Days of Our Lives this week, that I’d really enjoy it. Now that struck me as odd, because Days of Our Lives is one of my most hated TV shows ever. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but sometimes I’ll go to Little Rock to visit my mother and she’ll have it on.

But curiosity got the best of me, so I set the DVR to record it this week. I came home, hit Play and was immediately reminded why I hate this show so much. Super-couple Bo and Hope were sitting around the Christmas tree with their stupid son Zack, who is about four years old. To tell the truth, Days of Our Lives wouldn’t be a half bad show if it wasn’t for Hope. I think she’s supposed to be the ideal woman that all the soccer moms who watch this show are supposed to dream of being – smart, classy, perfect marriage and family. I hate Hope. I want bad things to happen to her.

So they’re sitting around the damn Christmas tree, and Hope is hugging Zack, and Bo is hugging Zack and calling him “Tiny Man,” and Zack is saying “I love you mommy” and I’m sitting on the sofa thinking how cool it would be if Zack would die.

Sometimes TV can be pretty cool.

Just as I was contemplating taking the TV up to the roof and pitching it onto Main Street (and hopefully hitting a bum as a bonus), I realized something – the lovey-dovey Christmas moment wasn’t current – it was a flashback from a prior episode. In the current episode, Zack was having a sleep-over at a friend’s house, and had wandered outside to look for the cat.

Meanwhile, this chick was driving a truck down the road and it was New Year’s Eve and she wanted to party and she reached for her cell phone to call a friend and

* THUD! *

“AAAAAHHHHH! What was that?”

It was ZACK!!!!!!

Cool!

And it gets even better. Guess who ended up finding Zack lying there in the street?

His mother, HOPE!!!!

Man, TV hasn’t been this good since Kelly Bundy was parading around in a miniskirt in 1988. I fast-forwarded through the other crappy storylines (actually, I did watch part of the one involving Sami; when Sami’s on the show it’s actually worth watching) and cued up the next day’s episode to see what would happen.

The chick driving the truck didn’t realize what she had done. She thought she had just hit a pothole. Messed up the truck pretty good though. Oh, by the way, the chick in the truck, guess who she was?

She was Zack’s SISTER!!!!

So the stupid brat is whining and whimpering and I’m thinking, “Damn. He’s going to make it” and I nearly deleted the rest of the episodes and went out to a bar. But I didn’t. The next episode showed them wheeling Zack into the hospital and Hope is bawling, “I can’t lose him! I can’t lose my baby!”

And then I fast-forwarded through a day and a half worth of crap involving them talking about what a great kid Zack is, until I got to an operating room scene. They were trying to do everything they could to save him. I was jumping up and down on the sofa yelling, “DIE Zack! DIE!!!!!!!!!!”

And the doctors said they had done everything they could, and it was too late. One of the docs was a family friend and she kept trying to push on. “No!” she cried. “There are more things we can do…” The other doctors had to restrain her. “We’re too late. It’s over.”

Zack was DEAD!!!!!!!!

WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO! First I get an iPod and now this. 2006 is turning out to be a pretty good year.

And in the last scene of yesterday’s episode, Hope and Bo got the news. “NOOOOOOOOO! WAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

That was just some great TV. I guess I’ll tape next week too, since they’ll probably have the kid’s funeral. Next week? Who am I kidding? The way soap operas work, they probably won’t be done burying that kid by March.

– Then last night, I went out and went to a bar. Then I went to another bar. Then I went to another bar. The third bar was Big Foot Lodge and I sat down with my friend Angie, one of my ho’s from the pimp and ho party. The great thing about Big Foot is they have 6 TVs over the bar, so you have your choice of things to watch.

One of the TVs was tuned to the ESPN Classic channel, and a show called “Cheap Seats” was on. I’d never seen it before, but it appeared to be these two guys sitting on a couch making fun of bad sports TV. And for last night’s episode, they were watching an episode of Mid-South Wrestling from 1980. YES!!!

Man, that brought back memories. TV host Boyd Pierce’s suit looked like it could generate 220 volts of electricity. Gotta find out where Boyd Pierce shopped so I can get some new clothes to wear to Raiford’s.

The other announcer was “Cowboy” Bill Watts, a former wrestler who owned the Mid-South promotion. I heard Bill Watts was a real asshole to work for. There’s a story that one of the top guys, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, legitimately broke his arm in a match. According to the story, Watts told him to cut off the cast and get back in the ring the next week, or he’d lose his spot.

Then they had the first match. It was the Iron Sheik (which Mid-South Wrestling misspelled, “The Iron Shiek”) vs. Buddy Landell. Buddy Landell still had brown hair at this point. Later in his career he’d dye it blond and become “Nature Boy” Buddy Landell, a second-rate version of Ric Flair. The Iron Sheik would go on to win the WWF title a few years later, and then drop it to Hulk Hogan, marking the beginning of the Hulkamania era. The Sheik took the win. He had those pointed boots that he brought with him from his hometown of Teheran, Iran, and people claimed they were loaded. This was 1980, in the middle of the hostage crisis, so I’m sure the Sheik was quite the villain.

The next match featured The Great Kabuki (misspelled “The Great Kabuiki”), managed by “Playboy” Gary Hart. Kabuki was a Japanese wrestler who painted his face. He was known to spit green mist in the face of his opponents, blinding them. Sometimes he’d make some kind of adjustment to his throat and then spit red mist, which was even more lethal. Kabuki got an easy win over some jabroni.

Then they had an interview with Ted DiBiase, who at this point was a good guy or “babyface” in wrestling terms. A year later he would turn on the fans and become the most hated guy in Mid-South Wrestling, and a few years after that he became the “Million Dollar Man” in the WWF.

Great stuff… great memories from my childhood. I know they sell DVDs of 1980s Mid-South Wrestling somewhere on the Internet. I’m gonna have to look into ordering some.

– I haven’t watched much WWE wrestling in a while, but there’s a new guy who I think is going to be big… The Boogeyman. You know, the monster who hid under your bed or in your closet when you were a kid.

Here’s a link where you can see some video of the Boogeyman. He paints his face red and black and most of his teeth are missing. He’ll sing a few lines of some random song, then he’ll pick up a handful of worms (yes, real live worms) and eat them. Then, as a few stray worms fall out of his mouth, he goes, “HA HA HA! …The Boogeyman… is coming to getcha!”

Great stuff. I predict that this is going to be the WWE’s most successful gimmick since the Undertaker debuted 16 years ago.

– Really crappy reality TV has come to Romania. I was doing some web searches this morning, looking for some information a friend gave me on how to find Romanians in Memphis. Never found the site she told me about, but I did find this: Big Brother II, Romania. If Romania is going to copy American culture, couldn’t they find something better to copy than Big Brother? Looks like some of the girls on the show are pretty hot, though.

– Off to enjoy the rest of my weekend. I’ll have pictures from my plate party at the Saucer online sometime next week.

Read my blog. Get free stuff.

When I’m at work, I tend to drink 20 oz. Mountain Dews one right after the other. I need lots of caffeine coarsing through my veins to be able to deal with 8 hours a day in a cubicle.

Recently, Mountain Dew has had a promotion where you collect 20 bottle caps from specially-marked bottles, and you can send them in for a free Memphis Grizzlies cap. It took me less than 2 weeks to save up 20.

Well, the promotion is still far from its end date, and I have now saved up another 20 bottle caps. The promotion has a limit of one per address, and what would I do with a second Grizzlies cap anyway? (I don’t plan on growing another head.)

So, I’m offering the second Grizzlies cap as a reward to one of you, my loyal readers. First person to e-mail me their mailing address (needed so they’ll know where to send the cap) gets it. E-mail me at paul at paulryburn dot com.

The fine print: They only ship the caps to U.S. addresses, so my international readers are out of luck, and I assume no responsibility if they run out of Grizzlies caps and don’t send you one (which happens all the time with these kinds of promotions).

First to reply gets it.

Midweek update

– It arrived a week late, but I just got what I really wanted for Christmas. No, not a Romanian girl. I got the 30 GB iPod Video. It’s plugged into my USB port charging up now (it charges its battery through the USB – there’s an AC adapter but it’s optional), and once it’s done I’ll start loading music in.

– That reminds me… I have a question concerning batteries – cell phone batteries. My cell phone goes through cycles where its battery can’t hold a charge for even an entire day, and I keep having to plug it in. And then it will go through periods where it will go four, five days, sometimes even a week without needing a charge. My usage patterns are about the same during both periods. This has happened with every cell phone I have ever owned, by the way. Can anyone provide an explanation for this?

– And while we’re on the subject of questions… I have another one. Sunday night/Monday morning I woke up in the middle of the night and popped a couple of Advil (actually, the Walgreens equivalent of Advil) to try and prevent the expected hangover the next morning. On the side of the bottle it read, “Best before 03/05.” How can something like Advil have an expiration date? It seemed to work fine for me in 01/06 (prevented the hangover as hoped). Can Advil really go bad? Is there something like a half-life for Advil, where chemical decomposition makes it go bad? I mean, I realize I wouldn’t want to take any that’s WAY old (just as I would want to eat pear jelly from NINE…TEEN…SEVENTY), but a year past its expiration date, is there really anything wrong with it? I know there’s at least one pharmacy student who reads this blog. What’s the deal?

– I had to take the hangover medicine Sunday night because I was hanging out at Big Foot Lodge, drinking some of their 34 oz. beers. While there I met downtown attorney Stephanie Calvert, one of those people I’ve seen around for years but never officially met before. We hung out and talked for a couple of hours, and I promised I’d give her a link on my blog, so there you go. Here’s a memory trick to remember her name – Lord Calvert is what the bums drink, and Stephanie Calvert is the person to go to for aviation, corporate, and criminal law matters.

– Stephanie told me that she had actually seen my site years ago, back when I was a math teacher at the U of M. Said she used my Superstars of the Web page all the time. Superstars of the Web, for those of you who are relatively new to the site, was a list of the best links on the web. I discontinued it about 4 years ago because I simply didn’t have the time to maintain it. Probably the closest thing you’ll find is Marilyn Ryburn’s “Best of the Web,” my mother’s site, which is still updated on a regular basis.

– All right… time to go to the Saucer and watch the Rose Bowl… back later…

– Crap. Texas won. I hate Texas.

– But on a more positive note… I found out I could request a particular waitress for my upcoming plate party… let’s just say that the waitress I asked to work my party is a real “Princess”

– The past two nights, there have been girls in “winter tube tops” at the Saucer. I like this new fashion trend.

– ATTN CARMEL: My plate party would be a great time to model your winter tube top.

– By the way… we will be celebrating tube top month in June again, for the second year in a row here at paulryburn.com/blog. Less than 5 months away! Every post for the month of June will contain a reference to tube tops, no matter how irrelevant to the rest of the post.

– Back to my website… I was noticing that Rachel and the City has a “Make a Donation” button… maybe I need one of those. It’s getting expensive to go online and tell you people that I went out to a bar and got drunk… alcohol ain’t free ya know… you could contribute.

– Seriously though… where the “Make a Donation” button would really work on my site is the Grade Calculator. In April/May and November/December it out-draws this blog in terms of visits, and I get e-mails every semester going, “You saved my life… I had no idea what I needed to get on the final to make a B in this class”… I doubt I’d be able to retire off the proceeds… but it would occasionally buy an extra bottle of champagne at Sunday brunch, I’m sure.

– Attn Joy: Yes I remember the topic you proposed for a future journal article. I have several articles in mind in front of it, but it will eventually come up.

– All right… I had 5 beers at the Saucer… my most hated team in college football won the NCAA championship and my iPod still isn’t charged yet. I’m off to bed. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Second dart board post in a row: Rapscallions win again

The Rapscallions took home ANOTHER first-place victory tonight in Team Trivia at the Flying Saucer. But this time, we didn’t take the $25 gift certificate for our prize.

Among the prizes to choose from was a beautiful Sam Adams dart board cabinet. Since we all live at No. 10 Main, we decided to take it and talk to the building owners about letting us put it up someplace. Pictures below – team member Chad shows off our prize:

It didn’t come with a dart board and chalk, but those are cheap. If we put it up, though, we won’t have a reason to go to the Saucer anymore. Wait, yes we would, there are girls in miniskirts at the Saucer. Maybe we can get Carmel to play dress-up or something.

Special thanks to the team of 18 sitting at the table behind us for getting up and leaving mid-game (they would have beaten us if they had stayed) and for giving us their unfinished pitchers of beer.

I am absolutely exhausted but I will post a mid-week update soon… got lots to talk about.

The power of Internet activism


The picture above was taken yesterday afternoon at the Flying Saucer… you will note that this is a pic of a BRAND NEW DART BOARD! And there’s another one to go along with it.

Now, I can’t say for sure if this has anything to do with my public complaining, via this blog, about the Saucer’s worn out dart boards (see my “Turkey of the Year” post from sometime around Thanksgiving)… but whatever the reason… good job guys! By the way… when ya gonna hire some more Romanians?