Hurricane housing

Hurricane Housing is a site that lets people in the Southeast offer hurricane victims a free place to stay, and lets people displaced by the hurricane search for housing. You can post how many people you can house, whether you have pets, whether or not you smoke, whether you know of temporary work in the area, etc. Good way to help out on a more personal level than just donating money.

Stuff going on around town

Last night I was out with some of my neighbors, and one of them commented, “Paul, you should keep a list of stuff going on around town on your website.” He went on to flatter me by suggesting that the city should rename Second Street “Professor Paul Parkway.” Since I am susceptible to flattery, here you go, here’s your list.

The Center for Southern Folklore’s annual festival is this weekend, on the Main Street Mall between Gayoso and Peabody Place. Check their website for complete list of acts and times. Here are my picks:
Cooking demo by Zanzibar, Saturday at 11:15, Viking
FreeWorld, Saturday at 12:30, Verizon Wireless stage
Breeding Ground, dance, Saturday at 2:00, Trolley Stop stage
Super Chikan, Saturday at 8:15, Folklore Store
Barbara Blue, Sunday at 2:15, Folklore Store
Sonny Burgess and the Pacers, Sunday at 6:30, Verizon Wireless stage

I’ve never heard Super Chikan, but anyone named “Chikan” has got to be good, I would think.

Wonder if Ms. It’s-Almost-A-Tube-Top-It-Has-Straps will be performing in the Breeding Ground piece? And I wonder if Mr. Date Guy will be there?

Alice’s Urban Market is hosting a free wine tasting 2-4 pm Saturday. Wines are provided by the Corkscrew. Always a good chance I’ll show up when there’s free alcohol being served downtown.

There was an article about a new group in town called Drinking Liberally. It brings people together over beer/drinks to discuss local and national issues from a progressive point of view. The Memphis chapter meets every Thursday night at 6:30 at the Celtic Crossing (the former Glass Onion) in Midtown. Don’t think I’ll make it tonight but I plan on going sometime in the next few weeks. I got on their website and signed up for the local chapter’s e-mail list.

There’s a Drinking Liberally chapter in Waxahachie, Texas… wow, I didn’t think there would be any liberals there. If you’re a pro wrestling fan, here’s a bit of trivia for you – Waxahachie was the home of the late great “Captain Redneck” Dick Murdoch.

Speaking of wrestling – WWE superstar and best-selling author will be at Davis-Kidd on Thursday, September 8 to sign copies of his new book. Not sure what time – there’s an ad about it in the Memphis Flyer, so look there for details.

A contemporary art collector’s club is forming downtown in conjunction with Jay Etkin Gallery. Kickoff party is October 7 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Great opportunity to learn about art collecting from one of the experts. Membership in the club is free if you attend the kickoff party. Here’s a link to details – they ask that you RSVP by October 1 if you plan to attend.

The best festival of the year (although Mike from my building would disagree – more on that in a moment) is coming up – the Cooper-Young Festival, from 9 to 7 on Saturday, September 17. I’ll be there all day.

Mike would probably vote for Art on Tap at the Dixon as the year’s best festival. It’s Friday, September 9, 6-9 pm, $25 admission. I probably won’t go to that one – a beer-centric festival plus a car to drive home is not a good combination. Here’s a business idea – a car service that transports downtowners to other parts of the city so they can drink without driving.

And now you’re informed on upcoming events. I’m going to get a good night’s sleep and prepare for the long weekend.

Attn Rapscallions: Tuesday night at the Saucer

For those not in the know: the Rapscallions were a No. 10 Main team who showed up at Trivia Night at TJ Mulligan’s back in January, never having played trivia before, and we placed 4th out of 16 teams

– So I went to the Saucer tonight (big surprise) for their trivia night. In my trivia career I have played on three teams, and I outperformed two of them (by far) as a team of one tonight at the Saucer. The only team that has been able to add to my individual prowess is the RAPSCALLIONS.

– So, Rapscallions: when you meeting me up at the Saucer for Trivia night? Tuesday, 7 pm.

– One note: CARMEL: if there are any questions about tube tops, you don’t get a vote on the answer

– Bring Mr. Date Guy though, we can always use another professor. My team name tonight, since I was by myself, was “Professor Paul”

– I hit my goal of 150 beers tonight. After this I will slow down dramatically since almost all of the remaining beers are $8+. It will probably be over a year before I get my plate on the wall. I’ll have a free hat waiting on me on my next visit though

– I’m 1 for 1 on questions regarding Romania. The question: In 2001, Great Britain beat Romania 134-0 in what sport? The answer: rugby. I’m hardly an expert on Romania, though. In fact, I’d like to get to know Romania more intimately.

– Other questions: Which country’s citizens get the most vacation days, on average? It sure as FUCK isn’t the US, where many companies give employees a week’s vacation after a year, which is nothing less than torture in my opinion. I guessed Germany, but the correct answer was Italy, with 42 days. I think anything less than 4 weeks a year, even for first-year employees, is less than acceptable. Someone give me startup capital!

– Another one: 4th most populous nation in the world, now that the Soviet Union has broken up. I put down Russia and KNEW I was wrong. And I was. It’s Indonesia.

– I can’t think of anything else to say

– Which reminds me of the Sex Pistols remake of “Johnny B. Goode”: “Ahhhhhhhh ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya… oh fuck… I can’t remember the words………….. Johnny B. Goode” … one of the few remakes that was better than the original

– Another one was Sid Vicious’ (the rock star, not the wrestler)’s remake of “My Way” – on the same CD… his remake of “Something Else”, originally by Eddie Cochran, was good too

– All right, time to fold laundry, pay bills, then head back out for another beer.

– I’m estimating my blood alcohol content at .11. Good thing I don’t drive when I do this, huh?

– Bye

Post-weekend catch-up

Wow, almost a week without a blog entry. I could say I’m building reader anticipation, but really I’m just lazy. Let’s see what has been going on.

– Went to the Court Square concert series Wednesday night. The Minivan Blues Band played and were quite good, one of the best shows of the year. Danced with two of my neighbors and a bum. The bum was the best dancer out of all of us. Another neighbor who usually attends the Court Square concerts missed this one because she had a date.

– Hmmm… there was something that I was asked not to mention in my blog, but I can’t remember what.

– Thursday night I re-joined Bravo. It’s cheaper to join as a couple, so I got on my cell phone and started calling people, looking for someone else who needed another half of a couple. Called my neighbor who had the date Wednesday night; she already had someone to join with, although it wasn’t the guy with whom she had the date. Eventually I called another neighbor, the one who I sometimes see on the rooftop in a bikini. (Actually, she’s an ex-neighbor now, she just moved) She needed someone to join with too, so we were a couple for 5 minutes while we filled out the paperwork.

– The kickoff party was in a very cool space, a converted warehouse called Memphis Ambiance on Webster, two blocks south of GE Patterson Ave. between Main and Second. It’s available for rental for private parties and seats up to 750. Definitely worth checking out if you’re planning a function.

– A lot of people noticed that Bravo raised its membership fees by a significant amount, while offering one less event than last year. This is the second fee raise in two years. I’d recommend that they don’t go for three in 2006-07 or they’re going to lose a lot of members.

– As I walked home, I discovered that Zanzibar is open again! Zanzibar is a hip little restaurant on South Main near Huling, next door to Wendell’s World Beat Grill. Incredible food, good wine selection, well decorated, run by good people. It was open in 2002-03 but up until two weeks ago has only been open for special events and salsa nights. But it’s back now, same great menu. I tried the black bean quesadilla appetizer Thursday night, and Saturday I went back and had the Z-Burger, which is among the best burgers in town. Can’t wait to go back again and have my first Cuban Media Noche sandwich in two years. They’re open for brunch Saturday and Sunday with a special menu and bloody marys and mimosas. If you go on a Saturday there’s a good chance you’ll see me there with my downtown drinking buddy Terry.

– Friday night I did the South Main Trolley Art Tour. The Recording Academy had its grand opening party and I talked with one of the board members for a while about the services they offer the Memphis music community. And I ate their free salmon and drank their beer and wine. They served Borgia Grenache (my red wine of choice), so these are obviously people of taste.

– Then I wandered down the street and ran into my neighbor who had the date Wednesday night. She was promoting some week-long movie thing that’s coming up in October. Maybe I’ll mention it in a future blog entry; too lazy to go find the flyer she gave me right now though. She told me that her date Wednesday night went very well, and that she hoped to be asked out on another date soon.

– The aggressive panhandler is back on the street. He has a new shirt, a striped T-shirt. I successfully avoided his wrath. I continue to meet people who have had really bad experiences with this guy. Can’t the cops do something?

– Saturday day I went to Zanzibar, and left my umbrella there. Then I went to the Flying Saucer to knock a few beers off the UFO club. As of today I’m at 145. 55 to go and I get my plate on the wall.

– That evening there was a goodbye party on the rooftop for two of our favorite neighbors: Paula, the karaoke queen and former building manager, who made me feel so at home when I moved in; and Linda, a beautiful person with a great and unique sense of style. I will miss both of them.

– My neighbor who had the date Wednesday night showed up, on another date with the same guy. She was absolutely giddy with excitement. It was good to see her happy.

– Then my ex-neighbor/Bravo partner showed up. My neighbor who was on the date pointed her out. “Look Paul, she has a tube top on.” NO! NO!!!!!! IT HAD STRAPS! IT’S NOT A TUBE TOP IF IT HAS STRAPS!!!!! “Well, it’s almost a tube top.” NO!!!! There’s no such thing as “almost” a tube top. It is or it isn’t! How many times are we gonna have to go through this until she gets it right?

– I know from my years of teaching that you have to reach people using a medium they can relate to… perhaps I should choreograph a modern dance performance entitled “If It Has Straps, It’s Not a Tube Top.”

– Yesterday I went to Sleep Out’s and got drunk. It was raining in the afternoon. The bartender gave me an umbrella. You lose an umbrella, you gain an umbrella. Umbrella karma.

– Then I went to the Saucer and played pool and darts. You know, the Flying Saucer is one of the few businesses on this earth where I understand having an employee dress code.

– Then I went back to Sleep Out’s and got drunk some more and watched Hurricane Katrina coverage on TV.

– Meteorologists predicted Katrina would turn New Orleans into a giant cesspool. As opposed to what it was before?

– Another neighbor of mine told me about this guy in New Orleans who can wrap his penis all the way around a lamppost. That’s what they consider a tourist attraction down there?

– Why does all the good stuff have to happen the same day? In addition to the Mpact meeting and the Dempseys concert on Wednesday, now I’ve found out that there’s a Charlie Wood CD release party at King’s Palace Cafe that night.

– I’m still planning to go to the Dempseys concert though, since I can easily walk to Court Square with the beverage of my choice.

– All right, time to end this and head over to the Saucer for Pint Night. What a wonderful concept – customers can drink almost any draft beer on the menu for $2.50. And then they get up and leave and the waitresses bend over and clean off the table.

– Maybe I’ll do a drunk post when I get home, you never know.

Drunk post #69443

“You know, I used to have money and brain cells and potential. Now I have a mug at the Tap Room.” –me

So tonight I went to the Saucer to play trivia, then to the Tap Room where I got second place on their stupid video crack game (giving me 8 of the top 10 scores), then back to the Saucer where one of the Romanian waitresses waited on me, then home. They just put Freon in my air conditioner and it’s 67 degrees in here. I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight.

Can’t remember if I mentioned if before, but Romania is a WONDERFUL country.

So tonight I was playing trivia at the Saucer with my friends Micheal and Teresa, and they asked: “How many bras did (the world record-holder) unhook through one layer of clothing with one hand in one minute?” Now this is my kind of question. Unfortunately I got it wrong. I guessed 34 (and my team went along with it, figuring I was the expert). Correct answer was 42. This is the one world record I care about breaking.

However, my expertise did shine through later on. The question: What is the highest-selling film soundtrack of all time? Saturday Night Fever, of course! My teammates realized they were in the presence of the Disco God and went along, producing one of only two correct answers for us tonight.

I’m leaning more and more heavily toward doing the Beer Goddess outfit for Halloween. Not ready to promise it yet, but close. Then again, I could always promise it and back out. The way one of my neighbors did when she promised she’d model a tube top for me by the end of the summer, then backed out with a lame “my sister looks better in a tube top than I do” excuse. Won’t mention her by name, but as Alice once asked her boss on the hit TV show Alice, “Have you seen my car, Mel?”

Another random fact I learned at trivia night: The world record for vertical golf-ball stacking is 9. My team guessed 14.

The temperature in my apartment has now dropped to 66. I’m going to go enjoy the best night of sleep in my life. I have no idea what I typed here, hope it made sense. See you tomorrrow


A look at the polls

You ever wonder if it works when companies name themselves “AAAA Co.” or something similar to get to the top of the phone book listings? Well, maybe it does. There’s a great website I used to visit all the time last fall, called RealClear Politics. But I never go there anymore. Why? Because my Bookmarks menu is so long that it runs past the bottom of my screen, and the R’s are too far down on the list. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

RealClear Politics was a site I visited several times a day during election season. They had an electoral college map that was updated daily based on each state’s polls, and it was incredibly accurate. It called something like 48-49 states correctly. They also had links to polls for state races, and great commentary.

So, today, I thought of RCP and decided to surf over and take a look at their “Polls” section. And was it ever interesting. Here’s what I found:

  • Dubya’s disapproval rating is 10% higher than his approval rating.
  • But that’s nothing compared to Congress, whose disapproval percentage is averaging 26 points higher than its approval percentage. In a couple of recent polls, the disapproval percentage was more than double that of approval!
  • Our country is going in the… right direction, 37.5%; wrong direction, 57.0%.
  • All this bad feeling gives Democrats an advantage in the midterm elections, but surprisingly, it’s only a 5.7% advantage.

Here’s the link. I’m going to promote this site to a higher place in my bookmarks. One to watch as the elections draw closer.

Beer Goddess

I’ve decided what I want to be for Halloween: A Beer Goddess. Meaning, dressed up as a Flying Saucer waitress. I’ll buy the largest Beer Goddess tank top they have for sale there (which will still be way too small for me, but that’s kind of the point). There’s a store at Wolfchase called Torrid which is like the Hot Topic for plus-sized girls; I should be able to find a miniskirt that fits me there, and I can get thigh-high stockings from Target. I don’t plan on wearing makeup, shaving my legs, or anything else to look feminine other than the outfit. In fact, I’m considering growing a goatee again for contrast.

I’ll definitely take pictures if I do it, and will post them somewhere on my site. Halloween weekend is a Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday (October 28-31) this year, so I’ll probably have time to fit my two costumes from last year (the vampire and Big Paul the pimp) in there as well. Hmmm… tentatively, Beer Goddess on Friday, vampire on Saturday, pimp on Sunday, and my choice (but probably Beer Goddess since it’s Pint Nite) on Monday.

Got a couple of months to think about this… but it could be fun.

Aggressive panhandler update

More info on the extremely aggressive panhandler I wrote about in the last blog entry…

I got e-mail from a downtowner/blog reader that he and his wife were approached by the same guy, about 6 hours after I ran into him on Saturday. He explained that he couldn’t read or write, and he asked them to write a note saying that he needed money to get to Jackson because his sister just died. (not sure if it was Jackson, TN or Jackson, MS)

Hmmm… if that’s the truth, then I do feel for the guy, and understand why he’s so angry at the world for being unwilling to help him. However, from what I’ve heard he was going around the previous weekend doing the same thing. So he’s been doing this for over a week, and even the worst panhandler can collect enough for a $30 bus ticket in that amount of time. Hell, in that amount of time he could’ve walked to Jackson.

Several of my downtown friends have reported very unpleasant encounters with this guy similar to mine, where they were cussed and threatened. I don’t know about him; he’s a hard one to read. On one hand, he doesn’t strike me as the typical downtown bum/crackhead who begs for money to buy alcohol and drugs. On the other, I’m not sure I totally believe his story, and I definitely see a potential for violence in him.

If I run into him again, it might be worth it to take him to the bus station and buy him a ticket to Jackson, though, just to get him out of town. Or just to be nice, on the off-chance that his story is legit.

(Update 10:40 pm Monday night: He’s still walking around downtown, not bothering people though.)

Attn downtowners: aggressive panhandler, be careful

Fourth post of the day, but I didn’t intend to have to write this one.

There is a very aggressive, possibly dangerous panhandler in the area. As I was walking home from the Saucer about 4:00 this afternoon, I was approached by a white male, short blond hair, starting to bald, about 30-35, 5’7″-5’8″, stocky build like he works out, carrying a note that he tried to show me. I just said, “No, man” and kept walking, as I do for other bums who use “the note” to get people’s attention. (Usually “the note” means they were either just released from jail or a mental institution.)

Usually they’ll just realize they’ve hit a dead end and continue on to the next person. But not this one. He started cussing. “Faggot-ass bitch,” he said. I continued to walk on, and as I did I looked back to make sure he wasn’t coming after me. Well, when he saw me look back it provoked him, and he did come after me. “You better run, motherfucker, I’ll fuck your ass up.” He chased me about 50 feet down Main Street between Union and Monroe; luckily, I was able to get a trolley in between him and me. After that he continued cussing and threatening to come after me until I got about a block down the road, then he lost interest and moved on to other people. I got the Downtown Precinct on the phone (I have them on speed dial) and followed him from a safe distance, but I lost him in the area of Main and Peabody Place before the cops could pick him up.

In 3 1/2 years downtown, this is the first time I’ve ever felt seriously threatened in broad daylight. This guy was not your typical bum/crackhead. He looked like he eats well (another sign that he had possibly been locked up recently) and works out. And I could tell by his demeanor that he was legitimately crazy. Also, I had my laptop computer in my backpack, and I definitely didn’t want to risk it getting broken or stolen.

If you see anyone fitting this guy’s description, I recommend crossing the street, doubling back, changing course, whatever you have to do to avoid talking to him. If you can’t avoid him, and you’re not among a LOT of people, I’d recommend giving a dollar or two to appease him. I’m really afraid that he’s going to hurt someone if the cops don’t get him off the streets soon.

Sorry to alarm everyone, but if you live or work downtown, you need to watch out.