Condo fever: some things to consider

I know a lot of Downtowners read this blog, and some of you are consider buying a condo in the next few years. Check out this article on MSN Money – it will give you some things to consider when deciding if a condo is a good investment.

My take on it: The downtown Memphis condo boom will continue as long as interest rates stay low. But, Greenspan has warned that the deficit situation, combined with baby boomers starting to retire, is bound to push interest rates up. When that happens, the downtown condo market will begin to look overbuilt, and core downtown – where parking isn’t included in the purchase of a condo – will be hardest hit.

I also think core downtown condo property values will take a hit if we continue to have earthquakes of any size (magnitude 4 or greater) in the region. CERI has said over and over again that the older buildings downtown will not be able to withstand a major earthquake, and if it keeps coming up in the news people will get skittish and be afraid to buy.

I think there will be a right time to buy downtown – but it’s somewhere between 3 and 10 years from now, after the condo bubble bursts. Until then I’ll keep renting.

Wednesday update: A Rapscallion victory, COGIC, and more

– The Rapscallions, despite the absence of a couple of team members, turned in a first-place finish at trivia night last night at the Flying Saucer. The final question was a classic example of Rapscallion teamwork – in what year was Joan of Arc canonized, closest team to the correct answer gets the points. Another team member and I believed that the Catholic Church wouldn’t have canonized a woman until relatively recently, perhaps during John XXIII’s reign (1958-63) when the church modernized somewhat. Team member Carmel said she thought it wasn’t that recent, and would prefer an answer around 1900. In the end, we decided to split the difference and answered 1930. 1920 was correct, and we were closest and got the victory.

– The grand prize was a $25 gift certificate to the Saucer – we have two of those now. We’re starting a collection. They don’t expire for a year so we can wait until all the team members are present to spend our winnings.

– Also last night, I drank my 185th beer. That means I have 15 left before I get my plate on the wall. Unless the rules have changed since I joined, when you hit 200 beers you get a plate-unveiling party and a $100 bar tab. I’m probably going to slow down drinking the last 15 so that my plate-unveiling won’t happen until January. If I have it in December people will have conflicting holiday plans.

– Been making the list of people to invite to the plate unveiling… some of these people are capable of running $100 bar tabs by themselves. I may have to put some limits in place.

– On to a different topic… COGIC has contacted me and asked to use one of my Memphis Wallpaper images for the cover of their quarterly magazine. They’re in town this week for their annual convocation, and want to use an image of the Memphis skyline.

– To any COGIC attendees who find this page – welcome to Memphis, hope you have a productive week here. Please be sure to treat your servers and waitstaff with courtesy and respect, and tip them well.

– All right… I have much more to say and not enough time to say it. So that’s it for now. Maybe I will post again tonight.

Tuesday update – ballroom dancing, new restaurant, Romanians, and more

– Just got an e-mail from a friend of mine, saying that the ballroom above Jack Robinson Gallery on Huling will begin offering dance lessons January 5. Classes will meet once a week and will cover the waltz, rhumba, swing, foxtrot, slow lounge, cha cha, salsa, and mambo. My friend was trying to get a group of 6 or more together to book a private class, but I think I’d rather just go to the regularly scheduled Thursday night classes. It says “dance partner not required.” Might be an opportunity to meet new people, and if nothing else it’s an alternative to what I usually do on Thursday nights (going to a bar and drinking).

– Rumor has it that the space on Main formerly occupied by Gordon Biersch is going to be transformed into a 1920s-themed restaurant with music and dancing. That could be VERY cool if done right, and the dance lessons mentioned above would come in handy. Maybe I should have paid more attention when my grandmother watched Lawrence Welk on TV; I could have picked up some dance moves.

– Me and my big mouth: This past weekend I e-mailed the Romanians and told them about Libertyland’s closing. One of them responded yesterday that she was “devastated” and couldn’t stop crying. She said she really wanted to come back to Memphis next summer, but if Libertyland’s not there, she’s not going to come back. NOOOOOOO!!!!!! Why did I have to tell her that? Now I’m going to have to hack Libertyland’s website and put up a “We changed our mind, we’re re-opening” message to show to her.

– I wonder which park will take over the title of “World’s Most Ghetto Theme Park” now that Libertyland is out of business?

– The predicted high for today is 86F. One last opportunity for the cute girls in this town to put on a tube top. Guess I’ll have to go out tonight. Well, tonight is trivia night, and I’m just dying to see my trivia teammate Carmel again (inisde joke) but I guess I’ll have to stay out late afterward. But for now, I’m going to wrap up this blog entry and attempt to have something resembling a productive day. Catch you later…

You asked for it, you got it, Alito

Here’s a link to a good Newsweek article about Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito.

Personally, I think Alito should be confirmed. He seems to have an excellent track record as a judge. The only objections Democrats/liberals have are over ideological differences, and I think it sets a very, very bad precedent to deny someone a Supreme Court seat on that alone.

It’s true, he could overturn Roe v. Wade, he could vote in the majority of other rulings that deny Americans their civil liberties. But, America asked for it. One of the duties of the president is to make appointments to the Supreme Court, and it seems to me he’s well within his rights to pick someone who shares his ideological views. If we didn’t want a man like Alito on the Court, we should have voted differently in 2004.

I hate to see Roe overturned, but I think it will take a major loss of constitutional rights before America wakes up and starts making intelligent choices at the ballot box.

In the News

This is a new feature for my blog, In the News, in which I will add my own personal spin to current news items.

News item: Libertyland likely to close

This is bad news for all of Memphis. Not because we’d miss the theme park (Libertyland, to be quite honest, sucks) but because they offer summer employment to hot girls from all over eastern Europe – and in particular, Romania. These girls, once here, are able to get out of their Libertyland contracts and get actual decent jobs – waitressing in bars downtown, for example. Up until this year I never realized what an essential role Libertyland played in the local economy. We MUST find a way to keep it open.

News item: Bush Administration announces plans to combat avian flu

More bad news. Part of the plan is travel restrictions to and from countries affected by the new strain of bird flu. And one of the affected countries is Romania. That means that people like these might not be able to travel to America next summer on student visas. Come on, George. So the flu hits America and some people die. It’d just be some old people and some kids, for the most part, and who cares about them, anyway. Do the right thing, George. Keep our borders open.

News item: Eastern European governments deny secret CIA prison camps

And one of the first countries to deny that the CIA was operating prison camps within their borders was… Romania. Now, let’s take a moment to examine their history. During the 1930s-1945 they were a Nazi satellite. From the end of World War II to 1990 they were a Communist satellite. So doesn’t it make sense that they’d buddy up to the Evil Empire of the 21st Century – the Bush regime? I bet there are CIA prison camps all over Romania.

News item: Paul discovers one of his former Blue Monkey bartenders working at Cafe 61 tonight, drinks three stiff drinks

And as a result, we have this stupid blog entry.

You know, about 6 months ago, I had a dream that I was talking to a girl at the downtown Blue Monkey – at the upstairs bar. After I woke up, I thought, that was a weird dream, the Monkey only has one floor. And now the Monkey has burned and they’re rebuilding. Wouldn’t it be odd if they built a multi-story bar, and six months ago I dreamed of sitting at the future Monkey, instead of what was at the time the current one?

All right. First drunk post in a while. That felt kinda good. Maybe I’ll do another drunk post this weekend. Which means, as a prerequisite, I’ll have to be drunk at some point this weekend. I’ll see what I can do about that.

I wonder if, in the 24th century, kids will be required to study this blog as an example of classic American literature.

Probably not.

Schnucks sucks

Tonight, after leaving First Wednesday at the Brooks, I stopped at the Schnucks on Union. I hardly ever eat any veggies, so I decided to pick up celery, carrots and a tub of Marzetti’s Southwestern Ranch dip.

I drove home, unloaded the groceries and prepared for a relaxing night in front of the TV. I opened the ranch dip. It looked old. I looked at the date on the side of the container. “Sell by 9/11/05.” And today is November 2!

I got on the Contact Us section of Schnucks’ site and blasted them for ruining the evening I had planned. It will be a long time before I visit that store again. Looks like Miss Cordelia’s on Harbor Town is going to be seeing more of me.

November 1: Back to being a normal person

I made some seriously good tips working the Beer Goddess costume at the Saucer and at Bluefin last night – so much that I even gave a bum a dollar on the way home. But the best thing, I discovered, about the Goddess costume is that women would come up and feel my boobs – which gave me an excuse to feel theirs.

But now it’s November, and things are getting back to normal. Hopefully the alcohol I consumed this weekend didn’t kill all my brain cells – I’m going to need extra brainpower tonight, because the Rapscallions trivia team is going to be minus TWO members. One is in Hong Kong on business, and another seems to think that attending a Leadership Memphis meeting is more important than hanging out at a bar. Clearly a case of wrong priorities.

Tomorrow night I’ll be attending First Wednesday at the Brooks. It’s both an Mpact and a Bravo event, and the theme is Day of the Dead. I definitely will NOT be participating in the tequila tasting.

Thursday night I’m going to hit Sleep Out Louie’s for all-you-can-eat crab leg night, or “Glutton Fest” as it has been called. Apparently the people who show up are such pigs that they’ve driven all the regulars away. Sounds like some good people-watching.

Friday I plan to return to Sleep Out’s for Fish Races. They take the goldfish out of their tank and race them down these rain gutters. This is the type of intellectually stimulating event that I enjoy.

And that’s how the week looks. Halloween pics might be up late tonight, but I’m not making any promises.