The Who @ Alltel Arena, North Little Rock, Thursday, March 22

Hello from Little Rock everyone. I’m over here taking care of my mother, who is sick… I’ll probably return to Memphis tomorrow night, as I have some business I need to tend to Saturday.

On the way over here, I heard something interesting on the radio. The Who will play a show at North Little Rock’s Alltel Arena two weeks from today. Wow… never thought they’d tour again. Of course, it’s only Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey – the other two founding members have passed away. They have a supporting band including John “Rabbit” Bundrick, who played keyboards with the band for the last several years before they split up in the early ’80s; and drummer Zak Starkey, who is Ringo Starr’s son.

Hard to believe it’s been 42 years since they released “My Generation,” one of the all-time rock classics. And, it’s been 38 years since they released Tommy, probably the most successful rock opera ever.

Tour info and tickets available here.

Majestic brunch pics, and a few other notes

Here are a few pics from last Sunday’s brunch at the Majestic Grille:

This was what I had – the Andouille sausage and cheddar cheese frittata. As you can see above, it’s smothered in white gravy.

This is the frittata the guy sitting next to me got – the vegetable and goat cheese frittata. I wish I could embed smells in blog posts as well as images, so you could know how unbelievably good this thing smelled. This will be my selection this coming Sunday.

Here’s bartender Tiffany displaying the Majestic’s famous dessert rack. From left to right: Creme sofia, death by chocolate, carrot cake, tiramisu (which Tiffany is holding), key lime pie, strawberry shortcake. What a great rack.

And here’s the “after” picture of the desserts.

Even the citrus peelings look pretty at the Majestic.

And, of course, there’s the famous $3 mimosas and the $12 Majestic Mimosa (a bottle of bubbly + a pitcher of orange juice). We’ll be up there again this Sunday. Come early if you want a seat at the bar – the crowd continues to grow and we just about had all the bar seats filled up by noon.

Another place which we’re making a home is the Russwood Park Grill, the bar/restaurant on the ground floor of the Holiday Inn Select across from the Peabody. I never, ever thought I’d see the day when Downtowners would be hanging out at a hotel bar, but management is doing everything right. When Sleep Out’s closed they hired Frenchie, knowing he’d bring in all the regulars, and they’re making other improvements to the place to make us feel at home. They even counted the number of steps from Sleep Out’s front door to theirs (300).

Gotta get out of here… my mother isn’t feeling well so I’m going to run over to Little Rock to take care of her. Should be back tomorrow night. There’s Internet access there, so it’s possible that I’ll be blogging from the road. See you this weekend.

Here’s the 411 on what’s going into the old Holiday Ham/Market on Main location

Thanks to Andy Ashby at the Memphis Business Journal for forwarding me this info.

A new restaurant called Circa will open at 119 S. Main, on the ground floor of Gayoso House/Pembroke Square, in the space that used to be Holiday Ham and before that, the Market on Main grocery store. I had seen a beer permit application sign in the window for several weeks and had wondered what was going in there.

The restaurant will focus on wine, with a sommelier serving your choice of 200 bottles. Bottles will be stored in wine walls throughout the restaurant. There will be wine tastings, wine flights, and other ways to get people excited about wine. Cool! Just the other day my friends and I were saying we need a true wine bar downtown. Looks like we’re about to have one.

Chef John Bragg (formerly of La Tourelle, Erling Jensen, and River Oaks as well as other restaurants) will open Circa in late April. Menu will include French and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, as well as steaks, chops and fish.

Of course, the Majestic Grille and Bluefin are already on that block of Main, and the addition of Circa will really cement its reputation as a dining destination. Looking forward to its opening.

In other news… I’d just like to point out that four days from now, the sun will set at 7:04 PM Memphis time. I love Daylight Saving Time. Moving it back three weeks was perhaps the one thing the 2005-2006 Congress did right.

The Rapscallions lost last night, missing third place by six points, so our gift certificate stash remains $0.

God I wish I could post some of what I was told Monday night. Can’t though. I may see if I can get permission to post one particular tidbit of info which is relatively innocuous, but nonetheless will come as a surprise to a lot of people.

All right, back to work. These lunch hours sure fly by.

Here’s an idea: an opt-out program for panhandling

“Where you from, man? Where you from?” It seems like I hear that every time I walk down Main or Union or Second, from bums trying to do the “tour guide” thing. Of course, they’ve seen me every day for five years, but that doesn’t stop them.

I think I’m going to start telling them I’m a sheep farmer from Belgium. Not that I’ll attempt a fake Belgian accent or anything – wouldn’t even know how to. I’ll just speak to them in my normal voice but say I’m from Belgium. And raise sheep.

Anyway, I had an idea this morning that might help address the panhandling situation downtown. The deal is, the city can’t declare panhandling illegal (that’s unconstitutional – violation of free speech), but it can restrict when and where panhandling occurs. That’s why it’s illegal to panhandle at night, or in groups of 2 or more, or at a bus or trolley stop.

So here’s an idea – you know how spam e-mails are supposed to offer an opt-out address, an address you can e-mail and request not to receive any more spam from that person/company? Well, how about an opt-out program for panhandling downtown. The city government, or Center City Commission, or MPD or whoever, could sell bright, large, easily visible buttons for, say, $20 apiece. Then a law could be passed saying that anyone wearing such a button (with it clearly visible) is off-limits to panhandlers at all times.

The $20 (which is obviously about 40 times the actual cost of producing each button) could then be used to fund legitimate homeless-help programs, to purchase more motor scooters for MPD to use for panhandling patrol, etc.

Just a thought. I bet a lot of people would buy those buttons.

Sorry for the lack of posting lately… it’s partly due to Comcast and partly due to a lack of material to post. (Actually, I’ve heard LOTS of juicy stuff the past couple of days, but it’s all off-the-record… when someone asks me to keep info off the blog, I always respect that.) Got some stuff in the works though… one last Sleep Out’s photo album, a couple of Majestic brunch pics, another idea to address panhandling, and a hot tip for local artists. So check back soon. Off to trivia… the Rapscallions now have a stash of $0 after Saturday night’s party, so it’s time to win some gift certificates.

An excellent weekend, except for Comcast problems

I’ve heard the horror stories about the Time-Warner conversion to Comcast, but up until this past weekend I hadn’t experienced it firsthand. Well, that all changed Friday when I found that I had been cut off… apparently I thought I had paid my bill and Comcast thought I hadn’t. So I got to spend my lunch hour at Comcast’s payment center in a line of 25 people. I got the problem straightened out, paid my bill and got a receipt, and when I got home Friday evening my cable/Internet was back on… sort of. It would be running, although at the speed of a 14.4 dialup connection, for 10-15 minutes, and then it would go out completely for 10-15 minutes. This cycle repeated throughout the weekend.

Luckily, it didn’t matter, because I wasn’t home much. Saturday afternoon the gang met at Texas de Brazil for TdB’s new Saturday brunch. In addition to the usual assortment of meats and the best salad bar downtown, we also enjoyed breakfast items such as waffles with maple syrup, bacon and sausage, and an omelet bar (you have to look for the omelet bar though; it’s kind of hidden out of the way). Here are a few pics:

This is Pete the Trivia Guy (center), who does the Tuesday night Trivia Bowl at the Saucer. Pete: “The other trivia teams are gonna read about this in your blog, and think, this is why the Rapscallions win all the time, by bribing the trivia master with free brunch.”

This is a pic of Texas de Brazil’s excellent salad bar. That’s fresh mozzarella right there on the corner.

A few more pics of the gang:

Thanks to Elliott and the entire crew at Texas de Brazil for an excellent brunch. By the way, did you know that you can go to their website and sign up for their eClub? You get an instant 25% discount for joining, and they’ll sometimes send you coupons for 50% off, and for complimentary birthday and anniversary dinners.

After brunch we took a two-hour nap break, then moved on to the Flying Saucer for Rapscallion Party III, where we proceeded to cash in our $395 worth of gift certificates won at Tuesday trivia since the beginning of December. It took us three and a half hours to drain the tab, but we did it. In fact, we stayed and drank for quite a while after the tab was gone. Most of the team threw darts, taking an hour-plus to finish games thanks to all the beer; I chose to move to the band room, where I stayed for all three sets of The Dempseys’ performance.

Sunday was the second installment of brunch at The Majestic Grille, and it’s clear that we have really made the place our home. We filled the entire bar area with former Sleep Out’s regulars, and bartender Tiffany is already becoming one of the gang. This week I had the Andouille sausage and cheese frittata, and it was delicious. My friend Clay sitting to my left had the vegetable and goat cheese frittata, and it smelled unbelievably good – that’s going to be my choice for next week. I took pics of both frittatas but I haven’t downloaded those from the camera yet. I’ll post ’em later in the week.

After about 5 huge mimosas, I decided I had heard enough of the show tunes Terry (aka Terrence aka Black Man), who was sitting to my right, was singing, and I moved on to the Flying Saucer with Clay & friends. Hung out there for the rest of the afternoon shooting pool. I did surprisingly well considering the amount I had to drink, going on a 4-game winning streak before Saucer regular Ken (who I’ve never, ever seen play pool before) took me down. I had no idea Ken was such a good pool player. Around 7 I decided to call it a night – for me, a relatively early night.

What a fun weekend… I can tell that Sundays are going to be play days from now on. I’ve been bringing the laptop and getting some work done while I eat and drink, but I think my Sunday productivity will be coming to an end for a while.

Plans for tonight… well, let’s see, it’s Pint Nite. Attn Flying Saucer: Please start hiring ugly waitresses so I’ll stop coming in and spending so much money there.

Outta here for now… I’ve got more pics and a bunch of other stuff to post, but if Comcast continues to misbehave my posting will be restricted to time spent at Wi-Fi coffee shops and bars.

Is the MLGW scandal the beginning of the end for King Willie?

I just read this WMC-TV story about MLGW head Joseph Lee’s resignation and Mayor Herenton’s refusal to accept it. What’s really interesting, though, is not the story itself, but the dozens and dozens of reader comments that have been left in response – they’re almost universally sick of King Willie and his antics as mayor. There are a few comments in the “if you don’t like Memphis, leave” vein, and there are a couple of comments in support of the mayor – but those are few and far between. I’d estimate the comments are running at least 90% opposed to Herenton.

It’s beginning to make me wonder if King Willie is as unbeatable in the October 4 election as people would like to believe.

Two more Saturday events

Two more events you may want to put on your calendar for tomorrow – Saturday, March 3:

– The Memphis Humane Society is having a grand opening for their new facility at 935 Farm Road, from 10 AM to 2 PM. They will be offering microchip implants for your dog or cat for $15 each. These implants normally cost upward of $50 from what I’ve been told. They don’t hurt your pet and they allow you to be quickly located if your dog or cat runs away and is found.

The Sierra Club of Memphis will have a Downtown Sunset/Full Moon Hike tomorrow, starting at 4:30 PM. This will be a three mile hike through Downtown Memphis, concluding at a Downtown restaurant. If you’re interested, you can meet them at the Union/Riverside trolley stop at 4:30.

That’s all for now… time to get out of here, have a good weekend.

Memphis Roller Derby kicks off its 2007 season Saturday

Memphis Roller Derby will kick off its 2007 season this Saturday, March 3, as the Angels of Death take on the PrissKilla Prezleys at FunQuest Entertainment, 440 Hwy. 72 in Collierville.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it out there, as I have plans Downtown from 2 PM through the rest of the day… should be a good show though. This all-female roller derby league combines beauty, violence and fun. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it to a future event and write a blog post about it.

The MLGW scandal is a mess, but because of it I learned of a very cool program

This morning, as I read about the latest developments in the MLGW scandal, I came across a program that is ***NOT*** connected to the scandal in any way, that seems to be a really good way to help the less fortunate. It’s called PLUS-1, and it allows MLGW customers to add $1 per month to their utility bill, with the extra money going toward lower-income families who are having trouble paying their bills. The program is administered by the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA). Sounds like a worthwhile thing to do. I think I’ll sign up.

Man, the MLGW thing is turning into a big mess… while individuals and small businesses with past due bills in the $300 range get their power cut, Edmund Ford is allowed to keep his power with a bill that’s in the five figures. And that’s not all… blogger Thaddeus Matthews uncovered an entire list of businesses that are more than 30 days past due and who have HUGE bills. The one I find most interesting is Memphis Publishing Company (i.e. The Commercial Appeal) – more than $79,000 past due. How can we expect complete, unbiased reporting on this matter from the CA when they’re almost 80 grand behind on their utility bills? Look to Thad and also to the Memphis Flyer for the best coverage of the MLGW case.

Just in… MLGW boss Lee just handed in his resignation and King Willie refused to accept it. This is getting interesting.

Frenchie @ Holiday Inn Select Fri night

This is a drunk post.

So tonight I was out and I heard that legendary Sleep Out’s bartender FRENCHIE will be at the Holiday Inn Select Friday night. In case you don’t know where that is, here’s how to find the HI Select: Drive downtown. Find The Peabody. Look across the street (Union Avenue). You’ll see the Select.

Although I haven’t in the past been a fan of Holiday Inn bars, I have to praise them for having the common sense to realize that a popular former Sleep Out’s bartender is going to bring a built-in regular crowd and generate a lot of business. That’s more common sense that a 20-year veteran of the Downtown Memphis restaurant scene has displayed recently. A lot more. Steak, anyone?

Frenchie doesn’t know I’m posting this, by the way, so don’t hold him responsible. No one other than myself and Coors Light (yes I know it’s shitty beer, but it was on tap at Blues City) are responsible. If there are any inaccuracies in this post let me know.

What else… I went to see The Dempseys @ Blues City tonight and Bradley D. wanted me to blog the fact that he had on a shirt with flowers on it. It matched his guitar, actually. On the way home I stopped by Big Foot for drunken food, and forgot to ask Shawn about a rumor I heard that he’s honoring Sleep Out’s happy hour specials for former regulars, whatever that means.

The Dempseys, by the way, will be playing the Saucer Saturday, March 3 at 9:30. There’s a slight chance I might be there.

Congrats to the Rapscallions on a first-place victory at trivia Tuesday night, adding $50 to our stash for a total of $395. We’re gonna have to cash in those gift certificates one of these days.

Go read the CA article on EP Delta Kitchen executive chef Michael Patrick if you haven’t already.

That’s all. I got home with my food and it started raining cats and dogs 1 minute later. Guess I’ll pass out now.