No more Wacky Quackers for Downtown Memphis

You won’t be able to book yourself on a Ride the Ducks tour and get a Wacky Quacker whistle anymore. Ride the Ducks has closed up shop. More info in this CA article.

CCC president Jeff Sanford and MCVB president Kevin Kane were both surprised by the move, and do not think it’s a reflection upon tourism Downtown. I agree with them. From what I saw, those duck boats were full almost every day, and every day I encounter plenty more tourists out on the sidewalks looking for things to see Downtown. If Ride the Ducks failed, I get a sense that it’s due to their business model more than tourist interest in the area.

Sad to hear the concept didn’t work out though. I rode a Duck over in Hot Springs when I was kid and enjoyed it, and I had been told that even locals would learn things they didn’t know. The Ducks contributed something very unique to Downtown Memphis.

New site: Conquer College

For the past several days, I’ve been talking about a new site that I planned to roll out for college students. It’s finally ready:

The centerpiece of the site is the grade calculator that has been on my personal site for the past 9 years. However, I’ve added a bunch of new stuff to turn it into a complete site. In addition to the grade calculator, you’ll find

  • A list of job hunting resources: Websites that allow you to post a resume, search jobs, and take advantage of their career-development resources. I’ve uncovered some great resources for locating jobs in niche markets such as sports, acting, modeling, theatre, dance and freelance design work. In most cases, access to the sites are free. There’s also a set of job hunting tutorials provided by the site’s content partner
    These resources should be very useful to job hunters, whether or not you are a college student.
  • A bookstore where you can buy not only books and exam study guides, but computers, cameras, calculators and more. All credit card processing and shipping is handled through
  • A college application essay tutorial that will teach you how to write a winning essay on your application to college, graduate school, MBA school, law school, or medical school. Tutorial is provided by the site’s content partner
  • A new blog where I’ll share my experience as a former college faculty member. I hope to teach students how to improve their grades by improving their relationships with their professors (no, I’m not suggesting they sleep with their profs, get your mind out of the gutter).

This is another of my affiliate-marketing sites… when people make purchases through Conquer College, I get commission. I hope to build some more of these during the times I’m not busy working on my paid web-programming projects, in order to create some recurring streams of passive income. You’ve seen a few of these from me already – the tube top store, the Romania store, the discount dining site – and I have a couple more in the works.

So, if you’re in college or are planning to go to college, check out the site. I think you’ll find it useful. Thanks!

Two-day party for Playhouse on the Square Friday and Saturday

Playhouse on the Square is hosting a two-day party at its future location, corner of Union and Cooper in Midtown, as part of its final phase to raise capital for its new facility, Friday and Saturday, September 7-8.

Friday there will be a block party from 4 PM to midnight, with live bands, beverages and the opportunity to purchase seats in the new building as well as Star dedications on the sidewalk outside.

Saturday from 9 to 11 AM there will be a kids’ festival with games, a live performance of Robin Hood, music by the Senior Conservatory, and food and beverages including 300 Krispy Kreme donuts.

Then from 1 to 7 Saturday afternoon there will be an artists’ market.

Admission is free, and parking is available for free across Cooper at the lot that runs from Monroe to Union.

That block party sounds like fun… dammit, it’s the same day as Art on Tap though. I may try to make it out to the Artists’ Market on Saturday.

In other news… my trivia team The Rapscallions had possibly their worst showing ever last night. According to Pete the Trivia Guy, we finished in LAST place out of all the teams that were there for all 15 questions. We started off strong – on the first 9 questions we scored 37 points out of a possible 37, plus an extra 5 points for beer. On the last 9 questions, though, we scored a miserable 21 points out of a possible 98. It’s worth noting that Yoko showed up about halfway through the game, so maybe there is a “Yoko factor” after all.

Up early this morning… got a meeting in East Bumblefuck at 9 AM. Later today I’ll be rolling out my latest website, which is geared toward college students but will also be useful to people looking for a job (or looking for a better job).

Heh… I invented a drinking game based on another local blogger. It’s kinda mean though. Gotta think about whether I want to post it. Whether or not that post makes it live, I’ve got plenty more to say this week, so check back.

Halloween’s right around the corner

Went to Walgreens this morning for my morning caffeine (they were out of Mountain Dew… dammit) and I saw that the Halloween decorations are now up. Halloween is right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about costumes. Here are some online shops that have a big selection:

10% off orders of $75 or more! It's More Fun in Costume!

Child Costumes

Great Halloween Costumes Since 1954 Costume Wigs for Halloween

Gothic Costumes at

This one really isn’t a costume shop per se, but it does offer a wide variety of stage and theater makeup which you may be able to use to add to your Halloween costume of choice:

And finally, once Halloween is done, Christmas will be right around the corner. I’ve heard about a “Stumbling Santa” party that happens downtown every year, and people planning to attend that one may find this link useful:

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been contemplating what to do for Halloween this year. As many of you know, I like to not only dress up in costume, but be “in character.” Still thinking about it, but a conversation I had with my friend Uncle Ray on Sunday has got me pretty well convinced what I want to do this year. More details to come. Hope you find the links above useful. (They’re affiliate marketing links, by the way – when you click through these links and then buy, I get a commission. Help support your local blogger!)

Special show: Giant Bear at the Hi-Tone this Saturday

One of the bands I enjoyed listening to at the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival last weekend was Giant Bear, who describe themselves as “the world’s only five-piece orchestral funkabilly band.” They had a very unique sound, with a cello, a lap steel guitar, and a banjo among the instruments they played. Definitely worth checking out… and this weekend, you have a chance to do so.

After the show, a friend of Giant Bear e-mailed me to tell me about a gig they have at the Hi-Tone this Saturday, September 8. It will be one of their last gigs in the area for several months, and it will be recorded for an online music service called where their music will reach hundreds of thousands of listeners. They need the place to be packed for the night to be a success, so come on out and support one of Memphis’ most unique local bands. $5 cover, show starts at 10 PM.

More info on Giant Bear:
New album:

Got a few more items to post about last weekend’s festival… also got stuff to post about a benefit concert this Sunday, a new websites I’m rolling out (college students and job hunters will particularly find this one useful), and lots of other stuff. This won’t be like last week when I went two-three days between posts, so check back often.

Sauces Thursday night: Caipirinhas

This Thursday Sauces will be unveiling their newest signature drink, the drink of Brazil – see the title of this post, or the poster below, for the name. I’m too lazy to try and spell it correctly more than once in a post (and I dare not attempt to pronounce it).

Rooftop parties are over at the Peabody for the year, so you’re looking for something to do – why not come to Sauces and try a new drink? Of course, they also have mojitos and a full food menu, which you can find on their website.

Here’s a link to a Wikipedia page about this drink.

Pics of the 2009 Chevrolet Camaro

The interesting stuff you find online… I ran across this article which had pics and some info on the reborn Chevrolet Camaro, which will appear in showrooms in early 2009. From what I’ve heard in the past, it will replace the Monte Carlo, and will be based on the same platform as the Pontiac G8, Pontiac’s new full-sized car. The Chevrolet Impala will likely move to this platform too.

But not only did I find the article above about the new 2009 Camaro… I found links to articles on every model year of the Camaro thus far, from 1967 through 2002. That should keep every redneck in the state busy with plenty to read on this Labor Day.

Panhandling pics from yesterday

Some panhandling pics I took yesterday at and around the Center for Southern Folklore’s Memphis Music & Heritage Festival. For non-panhandling festival pics, scroll down to the previous post, or find September 1 in the archives.

As always, you can click the pics to see full-sized images. If you’re sick of panhandling Downtown, you can join the Handling-Panhandling online forum and discuss the problem.

Why do you see some panhandlers carrying towels around? Well, the next two images will explain.

This was taken on the Premier Systems parking lot at Main and Beale. This guy saw a car about to pull into a space, and ran over and waved the car in with the white towel he was carrying. By the way, this is not the Premier lot attendant. There was a uniformed attendant at the Beale Street entrance to the lot, who was busy talking to people in another car. This guy doesn’t work for Premier; he just stalks the lot and runs onto it when he sees cars about to park.

So this guy went running up to the car he had waved in, as the occupants were getting out – a man and his wife. He admitted he wasn’t the parking lot attendant – “you pay that guy over there,” he said, gesturing at the attendant who was about 50 feet away and walking in that direction, “but can I get a couple of bucks?” It paid off – the man getting out of the car handed him $2 and he scurried off as the attendant approached.

Does anyone know the owners of the Premier Systems Parking lot? I would love to meet with them. I see this kind of thing happening EVERY DAY, MANY TIMES A DAY. And it’s even worse when the lot is unattended – then the panhandlers just take it over, charging whatever they want for people to park. We have pictures of most of the panhandlers who work the lot. All the Premier owners would have to do is find out their names and file Authorizations of Agency against them. Then any cop who saw one of these idiots on Premier’s lot could arrest them on criminal trespass charges.

This is Mr. “Can you help me get a hamburger” Man. You’ll notice that he is panhandling at the corner of Main and Gayoso. The closest restaurant to that intersection is Wang’s China Bistro. Last I checked, Wang’s does not serve hamburgers. If he really wanted a hamburger, you’d think he’d be panhandling in front of Sam’s Hamburgers a few blocks up the street at Main and Madison, or in front of the Wendy’s on Danny Thomas, or in front of the Wendy’s at Third and Crump.

This guy was a man on a mission. He’d walk through the festival very fast and very erratically. He seemed to be taking inventory of what all the crafts vendors had in their booths, although he didn’t seem to want to be seen taking inventory, and he certainly didn’t want to talk to the crafts vendors about buying anything. Occasionally he’d make a beeline up to people – generally groups of two – and ask them for money. I got sick of this guy real fast. I found the volunteer coordinator and had her notify security and they kicked him out of the festival. Note that he has a mint green bracelet on. I wonder if this is a sign that he was recently released from some type of facility. I’ve seen those bracelets on a couple of other panhandlers over the years.

Heading back up there in a little while. The Sunday brunch crew is at the Majestic today, but I don’t know if I’ll make it – the puppet guy performs again today at noon, and I won’t get to see the puppet guy again for another 364 days.