This is just too funny

This is a link to an Eyewitness News (ABC 24/UPN 30) story about a dumpster dispute between Wendell Price, the owner of Wendell’s World Beat Grill on South Main, and his neighbors. Click on the link and read the story, and be sure to WATCH THE VIDEO (there’ll be a link on the page that says “Video.”) Trust me, it’s worth the time and effort it takes to download the video, even if you’re on dialup. This is just TOO damn funny.

BBQ Fest, cell phones, and some bad international news

I’m sitting here trying to figure out how anyone managed to do BBQ Fest without cell phones. I’ll be meeting up with several of my neighbors and other downtown friends over the course of the evening tonight. Between the lot of us we have about 11 booth invitations, and a few of the people are actually on teams themselves. The only way we’ll be able to stay in touch with each other (and mooch off each others’ invitations) is by cell phone. I’m just sitting here thinking, if it weren’t for cell phones we’d have to plan to meet up with each other in advance, and we’d have to be careful not to get separated once there… but with the phones it doesn’t matter. We can get there when we get there, and drift from group to group. Ah, technology.

When we were at the Rendezvous last night, we were speculating whether BBQ Fest would hurt their business, and why they don’t have a team. Here are the conclusions we came to:

1) If they have a team, they would lose. That would be bad for their reputation, and they’d lose business in the weeks and months after BBQ Fest.

2) I bet BBQ Fest is going to be one of their busiest weekends of the year. There are going to be tons of people who go down there and discover that BBQ Fest really isn’t much fun if you don’t know people on teams… and they’re going to see the invited guests in the booths munching on shoulder and ribs and they’ll get mighty hungry. So they’ll walk over to the Rendezvous to eat.

Even though I have plenty of booth invites this year, I still have a problem with the clique-ishness of BBQ Fest. I was on the outside looking in for many years, and it’s a letdown to not be part of the in-crowd. No matter how many people I get to know downtown, an event based on exclusion (“if you don’t know anyone on the team, you can’t come in our booth”) will always bother me a little. I’d like to see Memphis in May balance it with an event that focuses on the inclusion of all Memphians, something where you get to know your neighbors in the city who you hadn’t met before. Not quite sure what that would be, just throwing my 2 cents worth out there.

On to a different matter… I have some potentially horrible news to report. Nine O’Clock, the English-language Romanian newspaper, reports that avian flu has been found in 20 cities in Brasov County, Transylvania, and the entire county may have to be quarantined. They’re advising Romanian drivers to avoid Brasov County, as they may get stuck in a quarantine and not be able to leave.

If the quarantine persists through the summer, this could be really, really bad news for us here in Memphis, as it could affect the ability of hot Romanian college girls to leave Romania and come here for the summer to live and work. What will we do without Romanians… I guess will could import some Croatians or Bulgarians or something, but it just won’t be the same. Hopefully they’ll get this avian flu mess sorted out in a couple of weeks.

And that’ll do it for now… I’ll be posting BBQ Fest reports this weekend. Once again, it’s not to late to send me your BBQ booth invitations.

Semi-drunk post: Lamb riblets, cheap wine, and more

– Today I was reading a recap of WWE Monday Night Raw on one of the pro wrestling sites, and I came across one of the best euphemisms for defecation that I’ve ever heard. The guy said he missed the wrestling legends/classic footage portion of the show because he had to go “drop a deuce.” Heh… dropping a deuce… I like that.

– Anyone remember Sylvester “Deuce” Ford who played basketball for the U of M about 10 years ago?

– After work I went to get my hair cut in the South Main district, and afterward I stopped by that new American Apparel store at Main and GE Patterson. It confirmed my suspicion… that place sells the most boring clothes I have ever seen. Anyone who goes there thinking it’s something like Urban Outfitters is going to be sorely disappointed. Yawn.

– So two of my neighbors and I went to the Rendezvous tonight, and one of my neighbors recommended that I try the lamb riblets. Now, naturally I was leaning toward the pork ribs, but then I thought… wait, I’ll be at BBQ Fest the next 3 days, stuffing myself with pork ribs. Why not try something different? So I ordered the riblets. They were pretty good – a little bit chewier than the pork, but quite tasty nevertheless, especially with the Rendezvous’ hot BBQ sauce.

– ATTN PAM: Is that a pic of you in a tube top on your MySpace profile? Can’t tell because the pic is so small.

– So after we ate, my neighbors and I walked home, and as we went down Monroe we passed two hot babes heading into LoLo’s Table. So I rode the elevator upstairs with my neighbors, said goodbye, then promptly rode back down and went to LoLo’s. They were having Wine Wednesday there – every Wednesday, they feature two wines, one red and one white, for $12 a bottle or $4 a glass. That’s a really good deal. Think I’m going to have to hit LoLo’s next Wednesday, although it would probably help to have another person to go with since an entire bottle of wine might be a bit much by myself.

– All right, time to go get rested up for BBQ Fest tomorrow. I have a feeling I may spend part of the evening trying to avoid The Most Annoying Woman On The Planet, who is trying to insinuate herself into my circle of friends. Maybe she’ll bring her damn dog and be refused admission. Maybe there’ll be a Korean BBQ team who will barbecue the damn dog. Anyway… time for bed. See you tomorrow, and I’m still accepting tent invitations, by the way.

Talk radio host to speak, and quick restaurant review

Progressive radio talk show host Leon Gray will be speaking at this month’s Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting, tomorrow night (Thursday, May 18) at the Blue Plate Cafe on Court Square. The meeting will have a social hour beginning at 7:00 and Leon will speak at 7:45. Leon’s radio show is on Progressive Talk 680 from 4 to 7 pm and provides a much-needed alternative to Mike Fleming’s reactionary/conservative views.

Unfortunately, I will have to miss Leon’s speech because I’ll be at BBQ Fest, although I have been lucky enough to meet him in person a few times (he’s a fellow Big Foot Lodge regular). Despite the fame talk radio has brought him, Leon is quite genuine and down to earth, and I know you will enjoy meeting him if you go.

One last reminder: I’m still accepting invitations to booths for BBQ Fest. You can send me your invitations via e-mail.

In trivia news, the Rapscallions suffered a devastating fourth loss in a row last night. The loss was partly my fault, as I was distracted making fun of team member Pam’s phone (her phone’s case looks like a condom, making me wonder what Pam does with that phone when no one is around). After trivia, some of the team had dinner at Meditrina, the new restaurant on Union in the old Cafe Samovar location. Having eaten a big meal earlier in the day, I just ordered the thyme ice cream, which was delicious. I did sample the gazpacho and the striped bass that the Nuh-Uh Girl ordered – got a pic of the striped bass but I’m away from my camera right now, so I’ll have to post it later. The server was really friendly and knew a lot about the dishes. Entrees were in the $14-24 range, although they also had a “smaller portions” menu for $7-12 which changes nightly.

During dinner, we were trying to get the Nuh-Uh Girl (who has discovered this blog, and thus her nickname) to go “Nuh UHHHHHH!!!!!!” but she wouldn’t do it.

I’m gonna have to resolve this mattress issue soon… my current mattress is just KILLING my back. However, buying a new mattress means having to be home all day Saturday waiting for the delivery people to show up, or finding someone with a truck who can help me pick it up. Stuff like that is almost impossible to schedule in a month like May, when there’s so much going on. Anyway… time to go to work. Nothing helps a sore back like sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours.

Time for a new phone

I just logged into my account on Verizon, and discovered that I’m close enough to the end of my 2-year contract that they’re willing to bribe me with $100 off to buy a new phone and start a new contract. So I’ve been looking at the cell phone/PDAs and checking out reviews on websites, and it looks like the Verizon Wireless XV6700 is the best one out there – slightly better than the Sony Treo 700, which is supposedly the hottest thing in cell phone/PDAs these days. The main reasons I like the XV6700 are

1) Web surfing with a graphical browser. That would allow me to get around the city schools’ stupid content filter when I’m at work. It would also present Web pages that look approximately like they do on a PC’s browser, as opposed to my current phone which can only display text.

2) Ability to post to my blogs from the phone. I ran a test post Sunday from a friend’s Treo, and if a Treo can do it, I’m sure the XV6700 can. The cover slides open to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, which looks a lot easier to use than the Treo’s.

For one thing, that would allow me to take my newspaper to Sleep Out’s on Sunday morning and post Deal of the Week from there, without having to lug my laptop around. That would save me some time and allow me to multitask.

It would also allow me to increase my posting frequency on this blog. Heh… as much time as I spend in bars, I have a feeling that would mean more drunk posts. Hmm… just over two weeks from now will be the beginning of Tube Top Month in this blog, and Tube Top Month is a theme that works well with drunk posts.

3) Ability to check e-mail from the phone. This one isn’t as huge a deal as the other two since I’m usually not far from a computer, but there are occasionally days when I’m out all day, and I don’t want to miss anything.

The XV6700 also has a 1.3 megapixel camera, and comes with 64MB of RAM, expandable with a mini-SD card. With a 416 mHz processor, it’s more powerful than the home computer I owned just six years ago. Pretty amazing. It can also surf the web at broadband speeds. It’s $100 cheaper than the Treo and seems like a better phone.

Anyone have experience with this phone? If you do, I’d like to hear your comments.

Happens every year…

Right around this time of year, I always decide I can’t wait until BBQ Fest and head to Leonard’s BBQ Buffet at Main and Adams (inside the Claridge House) for my own personal BBQ fest. It is SO nice to be working in Midtown and have an hour for lunch… ample time to drive to Leonard’s and eat (and stop at home to post about it). When I worked in Earle, Arkansas I had to take a sick day in order to get lunch at Leonard’s. (Note to self: this’ll be one of the posts to remove next time I’m job hunting)

I had four ribs, some smoked sausage, baked beans, spaghetti, and corn. Man was that good. In addition to the food, Leonard’s provides some of the most uninteresting people-watching in the world, as all the businessmen and women in the area file in. God… corporate people are such turds. First you have the suit-and-tie crowd, all looking waaaayyyy too serious, looking like they’ve been constipated for about a week. Perhaps Ex-Lax should put vending machines in downtown office buildings.

Then you have the business casual crowd, looking just as serious, with their neatly pressed shirt tucked into their neatly pressed black casual pants, their cell phone and company ID badge clipped to their belt. You know, I’m probably among the least qualified people around to be the fashion police, but it seems to me that wearing an office ID badge anywhere outside the office is just the height of dorkitude. Unclip the damn thing, stuff it in your pocket, clip it back on when you go back to work.

Actually, now that I think about it, given the proximity to the federal buildings, a lot of Leonard’s customers are not corporate people, but lawyers. And, oh, don’t get me started talking about lawyers, because…

…Um… wait. One of my BBQ Fest tent invitations came from a lawyer. Um… so… lawyers are GREAT! We LOVE lawyers! Yeah!!!

All right, rant over, back to work. In the news at work, one of the mainframe programmers in my department came in second out of over 1000 people in an online poker tournament, winning an all-expenses-paid trip to Vegas and entry into the World Series of Poker. Pretty cool.

I’ll be at the Saucer tonight, in an attempt to turn around the Rapscallions’ recent dismal record at team trivia. Happy afternoon everybody…

Interesting scenario: the second Civil War

I read a good novel this weekend which is available for free in PDF format: Red! Blue! by D.Quinn Mills. The story happens two years from now, during the Presidential election season of 2008 (although the author mistakenly has the election happening in ’07 and the inauguration in ’08). Sheila Brinton, a Democratic senator whose husband is an ex-president, runs against John Cox, a Republican governor whose brother is the current president and whose father is a former president. The election ends in a dispute over who won Nevada’s electoral votes, and both candidates refuse to back down and lay claim to the White House. As inauguration day nears, the country is on the brink of a second Civil War – not between the North and the South, but between the red states and the blue states.

Perhaps a little bit farfetched, but a good read nonetheless. The author’s blog is the official Red! Blue! site, but since I know many of you have Blogspot sites blocked at your work, I’ll also provide direct links to the PDF files that make up the book:

Red! Blue! Part I
Red! Blue! Part II
Red! Blue! Part III

The newest place to hear live music downtown

This afternoon I was at the Saucer drinking a beer, and the waitress was telling me about her other job working at PF Chang’s. She made me hungry for Chinese food. I wasn’t about to drive out to East Memphis for Chang’s, but I did decide to walk the next block over to Wang’s at the corner of Main and Gayoso.

It’s the first time I’ve been in Wang’s in a couple of months, and I noticed something new: the area behind the bar has been converted into a stage. A BIG stage with what looked to be a kick-ass sound system and musical equipment (although it was dark back there, so I couldn’t see everything clearly). I asked the bartender about it, and she said they are going to start having live music from 9 to 2 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. They’re not up and running yet because they have a few electrical issues to sort out, but those should be taken care of in a week or two and then they’ll begin.

I’m not sure what type of bands they plan on having, and I’ve never associated Chinese restaurants with live music, but I’ll definitely go check them out when they get it going. It looks like they dropped some serious money into this project and plan on doing it right. Thumbs up to Wang’s for thinking outside the box.

Elvis, bum geography, and more

– Last night I was walking down Monroe and I saw Sharp Dressed Bum riding toward me on his bike. So I decided to duck in LoLo’s Table for a drink, and I found some friends of mine sitting at the bar. They had been hit up by Sharp Dressed Bum already. One of them said, “He’ll tell you, ‘Oh yeah, Elvis gave me this bike.'”

Now, Sharp Dressed Bum is about the same age as I am, I would estimate. And I was a little kid when Elvis died. So my friend asked him, “What year did Elvis die?”

Sharp Dressed Bum: “I dunno. But he gave me this bike!”

The bike has whitewall tires (no I’m not kidding; he’ll brag about those tires too) and handles that stick up in the air, if that will help you know who to avoid.

– My friends at LoLo’s also told me about another bum who hangs out in front of Huey’s. Now, most bums will eventually recognize downtowners and leave them alone, but this one had bad short-term memory.

So the bum approached my friend one day and commented, “You look like you’re from Australia.” The bum thought he was an out-of-town tourist and wanted to do the “tour guide” thing. In reality, my friend was from a few blocks down the road.

A few days later, he approached my friend again, having totally forgotten that they had already spoken. “You look like you’re from Italy.”

A few days later, he approached my friend again. “You look like you’re from Ireland.”

A few days after that, he again saw my friend. This time, “Hey man, you look like you’re from Germania, or one of them countries.”

Germania?

– Speaking of bums: My least favorite bum of all time, Crazy Insane Bitch, is back on the street. Long curly blond hair, 4’11”-5’0″, plump, about 40, looks like she hasn’t bathed or showered in a month. If you see this woman coming I suggest you cross the street immediately to get away from her. Trouble is, she’ll see you and cross the street too.

– Inside Joke Dept:

From Philip’s blog: “Oh yeah, I saw my friend Alisha there. She was with a bday party for ‘the most annoying man on the earth.'” Hey PC, if you’re reading this: What do you think about fixing him up with The Most Annoying Woman On The Planet from my blog? They sound PERFECT for each other.

Philip writes that “the most annoying man on the earth” is the king of cockblocks, and can even cockblock himself. So can she… if the two of them go out, she’ll probably call him and tell him she’ll be late, because she has to stop by a (male) friend’s house. Then she’ll bring the friend along on the date, explaining that he’s a “DW” (drink watcher), “to make sure I don’t drink too much, because I don’t trust my own decisions.”

Let me know if he’s interested… I can send you a link to her MySpace account, where she has pics of herself.

– That’s all for now… didn’t do much last night, just hung out at Nate’s upstairs bar at Earnestine & Hazel’s for a while. Didn’t see the E&H ghost that was reported on the news a day or two before.

Back later with more posts, and don’t forget to check the Commercial Appeal’s site for my Deal of the Week blog tomorrow.