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.