Prettiest waitress in Memphis

Leslie Kelly, one of my fellow bloggers on the Commercial Appeal’s website (feels kinda good to say that), is asking people who they think is the prettiest waitress in Memphis. Send her a photo of your choice for prettiest waitress, and she’ll post it on her blog.

Being a Flying Saucer regular who owns a digital camera, I’m tempted to participate… but if I pick one of the waitresses as the prettiest, I risk alienating all the others. Hmmm… maybe I’ll sit on the sidelines for this one.

Leslie also has a copy of the lunch menu for Meditrina, the new restaurant on Union that used to be Cafe Samovar, on her blog (scroll down to her April 21 entry). It’s only open for lunch right now; it will open for dinner next week.

I’m watching Game 2 of the Grizzlies/Dallas playoffs as I type this, and believe it or not, I’m not at a bar. To give you an idea of the excitement going on around here tonight, I just poured a bottle of Liquid Plum’r Foaming Pipe Snake down the bathtub drain.

Things’ll pick up soon though. Tomorrow is Peabody rooftop night… and then Friday is South Main Trolley Tour… Saturday is Mugs & Bugs Fest at the Saucer, and playoff game 3 will be on TV at 4:30… Sunday is Beale Street Wine Race. (yes, I’ll be stopping by Sleep Out’s for a couple of drinks before Wine Race)

Sigh… I’m tempted to go out to somewhere to drink a beer and watch the second half, but I’m supposed to wash the Foaming Pipe Snake away with hot tap water in an hour. So I guess I’m stuck at home tonight…

Crawfish + miniskirts = Good Thing

If you missed the Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest downtown last weekend, you have another chance:

Flying Saucer 2006 Mugs & Bugs Fest – Featuring live music, Abita beer specials, and all the HEAD you want!” Saturday, April 29 at 2 pm.

I saw the notice above at the downtown Saucer. I neither know nor care if Mugs & Bugs Fest will be happening at the East Bumblefuck Saucer as well.

Speaking of which – my friend Chad and I left trivia night at the downtown Saucer about 9:00 (we didn’t win, so no clean sweep for April) and heard the tornado sirens. We got home without a drop of rain, to discover that tornadoes were moving through Frayser and East Bumblefuck at the time.

If anyone from the Saucer reads this blog: Hope you appreciate all the free publicity I give you. And WHEN YA GONNA HIRE SOME MORE ROMANIANS??? (for the downtown location)

37 days until we kick off Tube Top Month here in this blog. So, if you’re the kind of person who appreciates intelligent, thoughtful prose, you have until June 1 to find something else to read. Not that I expect this thing to win a Pulitzer between now and May 31, but I’m just saying…

I just voted. Have YOU voted yet?

Only 2 more days to early vote in the city and county primaries. You can vote at the Election Commission office at Second and Poplar, or at satellite locations elsewhere around town. Or you could wait until election day (May 2), but why would you want to stand in line when you don’t have to?

One last plug, if you’re voting in the Democratic Primary: Kevin Gallagher for Criminal Court Clerk. Even though I usually take liberal viewpoints, I voted for Kevin because I’m convinced he’ll tighten things up and save the taxpayers money, which sounds to me like I’m voting for him for conservative reasons.

I didn’t vote for a candidate in the Shelby County sheriff’s primary, because I was voting on the Democratic ballot, and I intend to support incumbent/Republican Mark Luttrell when the general election arrives. He’s done a great job cleaning up the jail during his current term. Some people have criticized him for focusing too much on the jail and not enough on crime, but this being Memphis we could elect Superman sheriff and not have both the jail and crime cleaned up in just one term. Give Luttrell some time, let him carry out his programs.

And, of course, I voted to give AC another term as county mayor.

As the Ophelia Ford mess proved, every vote counts. So please stop by the polls tonight, tomorrow, Thursday, or May 2.

Tuesday update: Venus Envy and Crawfish reviews, more new restaurants, Save Libertyland, Rhodes College on TV

– I went to the Venus Envy art show Saturday night, but only ended up staying for about 35 minutes, whereas I’ve stayed 2-3 hours or more at past VE shows. I just couldn’t get into Glasshouse 383 as the venue. In previous years, it seemed like the VE artists took a more or less empty, open space and transformed it into something unique… this year, it seemed like they had to make it fit inside the existing vibe of Glasshouse. I don’t think the long, rectangular shape of Glasshouse worked too well, especially with the objects d’art in the middle of the front room and the coffeehouse tables in the back room… I felt like no matter where I stood, I was constantly in other people’s way. Another thing was, in previous years there could be several different things going on at once… there might be a performance artist doing something in one part of the room, and a band in another, and a poet in another, all at the same time, and you could walk around and pick what you wanted to see/hear. But because of the way Glasshouse 383 is set up, there’s “the stage” and everyone’s attention was focused in that one place. I wanted more variety.

Nothing against Glasshouse 383, which is an awesome art gallery and coffee shop/bistro, and a place I always enjoy visiting on Friday trolley art tours. I just don’t think it worked for this particular exhibit.

Nothing against the VE artists and performers either – as usual, their work was excellent. When I arrived a belly dancer from Desert Rose Dance was on stage, and as she performed she had a HUGE smile on her face. You could tell she loved dancing, and she spread positive energy throughout the room. As for the artists, I especially liked the work of Autumn Parkey. She is a teacher, and used found materials from her classroom (pencil shavings, broken rulers) to create some very unique pieces.

– After the VE show I showed up at (and I’m sure this surprises no one) the Saucer. I was standing at the bar drinking a beer, and a guy comes up and says to the bartender, “Hey, toots, let me close my tab.” Who the HELL calls a woman “toots” in 2006? I don’t think I’ve heard that term in 10 years, unless maybe I was watching an old black-and-white movie.

– As expected, Crawfish Fest on Sunday was a great time. I enjoyed hanging out with everyone – the Hungarians (who are going on a trip to Transylvania this summer – how about bringing me back a Romanian girl as a souvenir?), Carolyn and the Nuh-Uh Girl (the Nuh-Uh Girl fussed at me for not psychically knowing she was at the festival when I had half a bucket of crawfish to give away), regular blog reader Susie who used to manage my building (enjoyed talking with you – keep in touch, shoot me an e-mail sometime), and the usual collection of neighbors and Sunday drunks. I took about 20 pictures, but I’m running into the usual problem of being too busy/tired to create a photo album. If anyone’s really dying to see it, e-mail me and nag me about it. Otherwise, it’ll be when I get around to it, which could mean next week or later.

– The old Elvis Presley’s Memphis building at Second and Beale, which has sat vacant for nearly three years, has a new owner. Local chef Jimmy Ishii will open it as “EP – Delta Kitchen and Bar.” Elvis Presley Enterprises won’t be involved in managing the restaurant, but there will be some cross-promotion to tie the restaurant’s theme in with the different genres of Memphis music. The menu, according to press releases, will consist of new interpretations of Southern cooking.

– Coyote Ugly Saloon is opening a location on Beale Street and will be holding auditions for bartenders this weekend. Bartenders will be trained to get up on the bar and sing and dance. More info at Not sure if the auditions are open to the public or not.

– Save Libertyland has a blog at The latest news is that the Mid-South Fair Board plans to auction off park equipment, including the Zippin’ Pippin roller coaster, in June. There are two offers on the table to preserve Libertyland and keep it open, but the Mid-South Fair Board seems to have closed its eyes, ears and mind to the whole thing. I’m wondering if there’s more to this than meets the eye – someone standing to gain personally from the demise of Libertyland who is on the board or who has influence with the board. I’d say that I’ll never go to the fair again in protest, but I’ve never once been to the fair in the 19 years I’ve lived in Memphis, so that’s not much of a threat.

– If you have Turner South on your cable channels, they will be featuring Rhodes College on their “Blue Ribbon College Campuses” show, Saturday, April 29 at 1 pm.

And that’s the news, time to go sit in a cubicle, blah blah blah. I’ll be at the Saucer tonight to administer an ass-kicking to the other trivia teams.

Sharp Dressed Bum

Just wondering if any other downtowners have had experiences with a panhandler who I refer to as Sharp Dressed Bum.

Here’s his description: Black male, about 35 years old, 5’9″, 150 lbs, goatee. Unlike most bums, he dresses very well, in neatly pressed casual shirts and slacks, and sometimes a stylish hat. If you see him on the street, you’ll probably be inclined to think he’s on his way out to a club for a night on the town – until you talk to him and realize he’s a bum! He usually covers a circuit on the Main Street Mall and Second Street betweeen Madison and Peabody Place, from about 4 pm to midnight. Very recently, he has started riding a bike, and he had one for a while last summer too. I think he may live in the Exchange Building but I’m not sure of that.

His modus operandi is to come up and ask you for money, often so he can buy a pack of cigarettes. If you refuse, he’ll make some comment like, “You better walk away, I’ll kick your ass, motherfucker” and he may even make a motion like he’s going to come at you. I honestly don’t think he actually would – he just gets a kick out of intimidating people a little. Most of the bums won’t mess with the downtown locals once they figure out who they are, but Sharp Dressed Bum continues to harass people who have said no to him 25, 50, 100 times.

He’s been doing his thing downtown for at least two years, and he seems to be gearing up for the 2006 summer season this month. I have absolutely HAD IT with him. It irritates me to walk out the front door in the evening and know that there is almost a 100% chance I will have to deal with him as I head to the Saucer, the Tap Room and my other downtown hangouts. He’s a nuisance and it’s time for him to go away.

Just wondering if anyone else has had dealings with this guy. Due to Memphis’ weak panhandling laws, the cops really can’t do much unless they catch him in the act. Is there anything else we can do to make his life downtown a little more unpleasant, so that perhaps he’ll find something else to do? E-mail me if you have comments or suggestions.

Couple more pics, and a digital camera alert

Here are a couple more pics I’ve snapped recently. Click on the pics for their full-size image. I didn’t downsize these at all, so the full-size pics are about a megabyte each.

Last weekend, the Budweiser Clydesdales were in town for the Redbirds’ opening weekend. This is a pic of them going down Second Street, taken from the window of the Flying Saucer.

This is a sunset pic, snapped last night from the rooftop of No. 10 Main.

Camera alert: My new web host has photo album software (Coppermine, for those of you who do web development) that I’m itching to try out, and I’ve been looking for an event where I can go out and snap a lot of pics. Looks like we’ve got three such events coming our way the next three weeks – Crawfish Fest, Wine Race, and Music Fest (although, as I’ve said previously, I won’t be going in the festival itself). So if you go to any of those, you’ll probably see me out taking pictures.

Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day outside. I may have to walk down to Beale Street at some point this afternoon for a slurpee, and then tonight I’ll be at the Venus Envy art show at Glasshouse 383.

The Majestic: Initial impressions

I just got back from eating at the Majestic, the new restaurant in the former Gordon Biersch location on Main Street. I had high expectations for the place, and it met and even exceeded them.

The place is very tastefully decorated, and they have a very long bar (20+ seats) so it’s very accomodating to people like me who prefer to sit at the bar. It will be open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.

The bartender introduced himself (his name’s Jeff – tell him you read about him on my blog if you go up there) and was very friendly and helpful. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, just told him I was in the mood for a good after-work drink and he mixed up a couple of winners.

The food is very reasonably priced. Appetizers are $6-9, flatbread pizzas are $5-6, salads are $5-8, specialty dishes are $11-16, sandwiches and burgers are $5-9 and steaks are $17-28. I had a flatbread pizza with smoked sausage, roasted peppers and onions, and mozzarella ($6). A vegetarian friend of mine joined me, and he had a flatbread pizza with plum tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella for $5. One of those pizzas should be enough to fill you up unless you’re extremely hungry. A guy sitting down from us at the bar had an ENORMOUS salad with asparagus, cauliflower, and other vegetables, topped with salmon for $8.

Then Jeff the bartender asked me, “Are you ready for dessert?” he said, and I said sure, and asked to see a dessert menu. “I’ll do better than that,” he said, “I’ll bring dessert to you.” Here’s what came out:

Click on the pic for a larger image – you really need to see this one at full size. He brought out these five desserts, in glasses a little bit larger than votive candle holders, and told me that each was $1.95, and I was welcome to have as many as I want. Pictured from left to right above are wild berry crunch, chocolate mousse (which I chose as my dessert), creme sofia (similar to creme brulee), carrot cake, and strawberry shortcake. Dessert selections change daily, he told me.

That dessert rack is the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen. They’re little glasses so you’re not going to bust your diet by having one dessert. They’re inexpensive, so you’re not going to run up your bill by having one. On the other hand, if you’re someone who likes to sample a lot of different options, you could try three desserts at the Majestic for what you’d pay for one dessert at most restaurants.

When my bill came, it was $19.08 for a flatbread pizza, a dessert, and two very stiff mixed drinks. My friend had a tab of $24 for a vegetarian pizza and 4 glasses of wine. Not bad at all.

The Majestic is owned by a husband and wife who have been part of the downtown restaurant scene for a long time. That’s another reason it’s worth supporting – it’s owned by real people, and isn’t part of a chain or run by a management group.

I want to go back and try some other selections from their menu, but based on what I saw tonight, thumbs WAY up. Definitely a place you need to check out if you live, work or play downtown.

Couple more events to put on your calendar: candidate forum, CD release party

Couple more things I have learned about:

– On Tuesday, April 25 from 7-9 pm, MULYP and Mpact Memphis will be hosting a Candidates’ Forum at the Central Library, 3030 Poplar. This is your chance to meet the candidates who will be running in the May 2 city and county primaries. Don’t forget, early voting is going on now, and I personally recommend Kevin Gallagher for Criminal Court Clerk.

– On Sunday, April 30, blues singer Barbara Blue will have a CD Release Party at the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale. This is the same day as the Beale Street Wine Race, so it will be easy to attend both events. If you haven’t heard her before, you gotta… most incredible blues voice I’ve heard in this city.

And that’s the news… I’m off to the Majestic to see what’s for dinner.

Friday update: restaurants, vibrators, school food, and more

– I’m finding out that I need to give my posts more descriptive names than “Friday update.” The reason why is that the server that serves the ads at the top of this blog looks at my post titles to determine what ads to display. When I use generic titles like “Friday update,” I get lousy ads, meaning ones that don’t pay very well when people click on them. So, look for my titles to be more colorful (and incorporate some juicy keywords) from now on.

– The Majestic, the new restaurant in the former Gordon Biersch space, opens today. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. I plan to be sitting at the bar there tonight no later than 6 pm.

– The building at Union and Cooper that used to be an antique mall will be demolished tomorrow morning at 9 am to make way for a new, larger Playhouse on the Square. There’s also a demolition party tonight from 5:30 to 7:30.

– I finally heard some news on the new downtown Blue Monkey… construction will begin next month, and it will indeed be 3 floors with a rooftop deck, seating twice as many people as the old Monkey. And it will have pool tables! Attn Terry aka Black Man… you can look forward to getting your ass whooped on those pool tables many, many times in the years to come. Back in the days of the old Monkey we had to tab out and go to the Saucer when Terry decided that it was time for him to lose some pool games.

– This one is for the ladies: The local chapter of Drinking Liberally is hosting a combination pleasure party/protest Sunday night at Neil’s at 7 pm. Last month, the Tennessee legislature dropped a bill that would have made the sale, advertisement, or exhibition of any 3-D object used to stimulate human genitals (e.g. vibrators, etc.) illegal. The Mississippi courts recently upheld a nearly identical law. So Drinking Liberally is inviting you to come out, purchase some new sex toys if you like, and protest these unbelievably stupid laws. State legislatures have no business in people’s private bedrooms. Bring the most friends to win a Silver Bullet; buy a raffle ticket to win a Rabbit.

– Couple things I left off my schedule in the last post: On Sunday I will stop by Sleep Out’s for a quick drink before heading to Crawfish Fest (I figured people would assume that, but I’m getting “you’re not going to Sleep Out’s?” mail). Also, I’ve got to fit the upcoming Project: Motion performance in my schedule somewhere. Their only performance date that isn’t a conflict for me is Saturday, April 29, so I’ll likely go to their show that evening.

– As you can tell by the timestamp, I’m typing this during my lunch break at my job at the school board. The employee cafeteria is down the hall and the place smells of school food. I still have too many lingering memories of my junior high school cafeteria to eat there. There was the school food “pizza,” rectangular squares of dough covered with imitation cheese and imitation pepperoni. Then there was the school food “burrito,” which had the texture and aroma of an old sweat sock. The school food “sloppy joe” and the school food “barbecue sandwich” were the same thing, but by giving it two different names they could serve it two days a week instead of just one. I’ll never forget the time a friend of mine found an unidentified black metal object in his school food “fish.”

And then there was the all time worst… they only did this one time… the school food “taco dog,” which was a weiner stuck inside a taco shell. No toppings, no mustard to go with it, nothing. They must have been completely out of ideas that day.

I mentioned recently that I won a prize in a poker tournament, in which a chef will come over to my place and cook dinner for me and a few friends. I can assure you that taco dogs will NOT be on the menu.

– And that’s it for now. Time to get back to an exciting afternoon of sitting in a cubicle and writing SQL Server stored procedures. Four more hours…