New language invented – right here in Downtown Memphis!

If you had been fortunate enough to walk down the Main Street Mall about 10 this morning, you would have heard the following:

“Ruh. Yeah. Alco… Huh. Pow. Eat. Yeah. Rah. Some… You. Roh. Roh. What. Me. Talk. Hey. Rohroh. It. See. Yeah. Sir. Ineeda… Me. Me. Huh. Huh! It’s… Ruh. Ruh… Here. The. Look. Hah. Roh…”

These were the words of linguistic master and downtown resident Toothless Crackhead, who has invented a brand new language. Looking incredibly sharp in his ripped, stained white T-shirt, TC was inventing new words as he walked down the street slobbering. Currently, TC is the only one who speaks this new language, but that’s fine since he was having a conversation with himself.

It remains to be seen if his new language will catch on and replace English as the mother tongue here in the United States, but at any rate, we should feel fortunate to have such an impressive linguist in our city.

The bum-and-pigeon show

One of the “benefits” (and I use that term very lightly) of living downtown is that every time you walk out the door, you’re treated to a show: The bum-and-pigeon show. And boy, are they out today.

A few minutes ago, I decided I needed some caffeine and walked up the Main Street Mall to Jack’s for a Mountain Dew. While on my way, I got hit up by a bum with one of the most unique lines I had ever heard: “Hey man, want to get a Mother’s Day card?” He wasn’t a vendor with a big stack of them that he was selling. He was a bum, and he had ONE. He probably found it in a dumpster, or maybe he slipped it under his shirt while in Walgreens and walked out with it. I’m sure my mother would be thrilled to receive a Mother’s Day card that I bought from a bum.

In line behind me at Jack’s was another bum, trying to buy a 24-ounce can of Busch beer. The total was something like $1.40, and he had $1.24. “Ain’t you got nothin’ for a dollar?” he asked. And then as I was walking out the door: “Brother-man! Hey, bro! Lemme get sixteen cent from ya!” After he got kicked out of the store, he commented to another bum, waiting for him at the Jefferson Avenue trolley stop: “I’m sixteen cent short, mayne.”

As for the pigeons, they’re just being pigeons, walking around Court Square and the surrounding area, looking stupid and hoping someone will feed them.

I’m wondering if my number of encounters with bums today will hit double digits. They seem to all flow into town around this time of year because they know that May is a profitable month to hit people up here in Memphis. A friend and I have thought about starting a business selling bum repellent – packaged in cans like Off bug spray, but to keep bums away rather than mosquitoes. Seems like that would be a hot-selling item downtown…

A good local blog, and Blogger templates

This morning I was surfing around and came across a really good Memphis blog – Dining with Monkeys, written by a Memphis mom who dines at local restaurants with her husband and two kids, and writes reviews. Well-written and worth checking out for some tips on where to eat.

I liked her unique blog template, which I could tell wasn’t one of the standard templates you can choose when creating a Blogger blog. As I scrolled through her site, I found that the template was created by Baby Jane Blogs, who will design a custom template for you. Check out Baby Jane’s portfolio – she’s done some really nice work. And her prices are EXTREMELY reasonable – $85 for full design, $90 for new blog setup with full design.

Her work is so good that I’m considering having her design a custom template for me. Although, since I’m a web developer myself it feels a little bit odd to pay someone else to design a template. But if she can do it better, faster, and more creatively, why not… I’m going to give this one some thought.

On a related note… if anyone in the Memphis area is an expert on creating Blogger templates and would be willing to give me a lesson or two, I’d happily pay whatever hourly consulting rate you ask. This is something I’ve been trying to learn for a while, but because I’m being pulled in a million different directions I’ve never been able to concentrate on it. I need a jump-start and sometimes personal tutoring is the best way to make that happen. E-mail me if you’re interested.

Saturday update: Bazaar pazaarty update, Majestic, and more

So last night I hit the South Main Trolley Tour with the Most Annoying Woman On The Planet, and get this… she wasn’t annoying. She showed up on time, she didn’t bring her damn dog or some random doofus she met at a bar, and we actually had a really good time talking about what’s going on in our lives. I guess I’m going to have to give her a new nickname.

Trolley Tour tip: The places that put out the best free food and wine are not the art galleries. They’re the real estate offices that are trying to sell you a condo downtown. So go to those places first and fill up. And I have absolutely NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER pretending to be interested in a condo for 15 minutes while I pig out and down several glasses of wine. And if there’s a tip jar, I don’t leave a tip. Those condo people are making more than enough money off downtowners already.

After Trolley Tour, we walked to the Majestic to eat. I had the asian-spiced, tempura-fried onion rings with horseradish dip. They were ENORMOUS and I finished maybe a quarter of them. This would be a good appetizer for two or three people to share. My friend had the cornmeal-crusted, crispy calamari with red pepper basil aioli, and she liked it as well. Both appetizers were a value at $6 each.

More info about tonight’s party at the Butler Street Bazaar (scroll down to the previous blog entry if you haven’t read about it already)…

…for a $10 fee on top of the $10 party cover you can “scavenge.” This is the Bazaar’s swan song (Brett has sold the building) and he’s trying to get rid of everything inside – chairs, lamps, mattresses, carpet, cabinet, lockers, cabinets, desks, etc. For the $10 fee you’re welcome to take as much as you want home. Now that’s a deal! So if you’re looking for some inexpensive stuff for your home, I suggest your arrive right at 9 (before everything gets picked over) and bring a truck or van.

This is going to make for some interesting people-watching tonight as well. When you give Memphians the opportunity to get stuff for free or nearly-free, a very interesting cast of characters tend to show up. I can see people yelling, arguing with each other, playing tug-of-war with items they both want. The good news is, this will all be over by 9:30 when everything in the Bazaar is picked over, and then the party can really begin.

In addition to the Dempseys, the Gamble Brothers, juggling, and comedy, I found out they’ll also be showing the film Automusik Can Do No Wrong, starring the local avant-garde band Automusik. If you haven’t seen this film, you gotta… it is completely hilarious.

Now, I know that some people will have a schedule conflict tonight because a well-known semi-annual party is happening in Midtown. Here’s my take on it… if you want to be seen on the Memphis social circuit and maybe get your pic in RSVP magazine, go to Midtown. If you want to laugh and have fun and have a good time with a diverse group of wonderful people, go to the Bazaar tonight.

Don’t forget… crawfish and beer (and waitresses!) at the Saucer today at 2, and Grizzlies vs. Dallas at 4:30.

Put this one on the calendar for Saturday night – should be a GREAT event

There’s going to be a Scavengers’ Ball at the Butler Street Bazaar, Saturday night April 29 from 9:00 until 2:00. This is the first time I’ve heard about any event at the Bazaar in almost two years. If you’ve never been to a party at the Bazaar, you ought to check this out – they always draw a diverse, eclectic crowd and have a wide array of entertainment. $10 cover, and for $10 more you get all you can drink, so they’re speaking the language of downtowners. Furthermore, for another $10 you can scavenge. Not exactly sure what that means, but according to the announcement in the Center City Commission’s weekly bulletin they have a warehouse filled with furniture, books, clothing, building supplies, and kitchenware, and I’m guessing the scavenging might have something to do with that.

The great thing about parties at the Bazaar is the diversity in entertainment, and this one appears to be no exception. They’ll have comedy, juggling, film screenings, a silent auction, and bands. The bands are listed as the Gamble Brothers and the Dempseys, according to the CCC’s bulletin – but I checked the Dempseys’ website and this event is not listed, and they are listed as playing an event in Oxford at 5 pm that day. If anyone can confirm or deny that they’ll be there, let me know. This event, however, is worth going to, Dempseys or no Dempseys. It benefits Hope House, so it’s for a good cause as well. (Edited at 1:50 pm to add: Brad from the Dempseys just e-mailed me back. They WILL be at the show.)

The only thing that makes me sad about this event is that I won’t be able to walk down the street to the Monkey and pop in for a drink, like I was able to do for previous Bazaar events in 2003-2004. Earnestine & Hazel’s is still there though. Looks like I may be doing some sitting at Nate’s upstairs bar Saturday night. Whew… with the crawfish party at the Saucer in the early afternoon and the Grizzlies game in the late afternoon, Saturday is beginning to look like a very full day.

The Bazaar is at 11 W. Butler in the South Main district. To get to it, go south on Front Street. Turn right on the street just before the light at GE Patterson (where the Corkscrew is). Drive up that street like you’re heading toward the Lofts and the Tennessee Brewery, and you’ll see a warehouse on the right – that’s the Bazaar.

HIGHLY recommended event. I hope to see you there.

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.