Hoop’s Bar’s last night?

I just got an e-mail letting me know that Hoop’s Bar is closing tonight, after one last night.  I have not confirmed this with anyone in management yet, but the rumor comes from a very credible source.  If you want to say goodbye to Hoop’s you better head down there tonight.

Hump Day Trivia with drink specials coming to Jillian’s

Next Wednesday, Jillian’s will kick off a new  feature called Hump Day Trivia with Pete the Trivia Guy and Mikey.  Trivia competition for prizes will begin at 7 PM.  Although the trivia people from the Saucer will be calling it, Mikey tells me the format will be a little different.  “It’ll be kind of like Trivial Pursuit,” he said last night.

Currently the only place Downtown doing trivia on a Wednesday is the Corner Bar at the Peabody, where people are getting mighty sick of paying $4 + tax for a bottle of Bud Light.  Well, I’ve got good news for you… Jillian’s will run drink specials during trivia.  $2 drafts, as well as $3 Jager bombs, cherry bombs, and grape bombs.  I bet that will fill the place up.

Looking forward to it… I doubt it’ll become a regular weekly thing for me (one trivia night a week is enough) but I’ll certainly pop in from time to time for those $2 drafts.

Debate analysis

Check out this NY Times’ blogger’s analysis of the VP debate last night.  He pretty much summarizes exactly what I was thinking as I watched the debate.

I can’t believe there are political commentators out there who think that Sarah Palin did a good job, or that she beat Joe Biden.  She did nothing of the sort.  The expectations were so low for her that anything better than “bad” was considered a win.

Fri update: Seafood, debate, Halloween costumes, FedEx Office (Kinko’s) Downtown, Downtown Olympics, and more

I got to try food from On the River Seafood & More at 51 S. Main for the first time last night.  Stopped by there after work and ordered the frog leg dinner.  The frog legs were meaty and full of flavor, and I got my choice of two sides.  I wanted spaghetti as a side, but they had run out – for new businesses this is a good thing, because it means demand is higher than expected and they’re doing well.  So I got pasta salad and slaw as my sides and both were excellent.  I’ll definitely go back.  Next time I think I’ll try the red snapper.

Watched the VP debate at home, turning it off just before the closing statements to head to the Flying Saucer.  There I discovered that they had the debate on the big screen, with sound!  Why didn’t they let anyone know about this in advance?  I would’ve much rather watched it there, but I figured the typical Saucer customer would go, “D-UH, WHY IS THE DEBATE ON?  ME WANT TO WATCH SPORTSCENTER” and that would be the end of it.  If they plan on showing the two remaining presidential debates on the big screen with sound, the Saucer is where I’ll likely be.

4 weeks ’til Halloween… ladies, don’t forget that my web store Skank-o-ween has over 200 different slutty costumes to choose from.  Also, Mid-South Alcoholic Supply has options for both men and women to dress up as booze, and The Doo-Doo Store has Halloween costumes as well.

From the MBJ…  FedEx plans to open a FedEx Office (formerly Kinko’s) location in the Peabody Hotel.  That’ll be a great convenience to Downtowners.  We’ve needed a Kinko’s (sorry, I still prefer to call it the old name) in our neighborhood for quite some time.

There’s a Downtown Olympics going on tomorrow afternoon, and I’m sure it comes as no surprise that drinking is part of it.  I’m not involved with this one, but the Memphis Limelight blogger is, and you can find out details of the event here.

I ended up at Bardog Tavern again last night.  I am thoroughly impressed with that place.  For the first time since summer 2006 – when I got bored with Sleep Out Louie’s and stopped going there on an every-day basis – I may have found a bar that can co-exist with the Flying Saucer in a tie for #1 on my list of places to hang out.  I still need a little longer to be sure, but so far Bardog has exceeded my expectations.

Plans for this weekend:  Oddly enough, absolutely nothing!  No idea what I’m going to do.  I’ve been reading through a copywriting course I bought to get ready for my next website, which will not be a store, but rather a site that recommends products based on reviews.  I could start working on it, but it’s really too nice to be cooped up inside with a laptop.  I need to drive out east to Target and buy a garbage can – maybe I’ll do that tomorrow, and throw the laptop in the trunk and find a coffee shop with wi-fi and a patio.

Whatever you decide to do with your weekend, have a great one!

What I saw in Sarah’s eyes at the debate…

… fear.

She didn’t say or do anything completely stupid, but her body language said, “I’m scared to death, let me do exactly what I’ve been trained to do the past three days and maybe I’ll survive this.”

Remember how I said the thought of John McCain as president doesn’t scare me?

It doesn’t.  But the thought of him dying, and Sarah Palin succeeding him for any considerable length of time, does.  After 8 years of Bush, a Palin presidency of significant length could finish the U.S. as a world power.  I hope it never happens.

Thursday update: Jackie update, Bardog lunches, food and wine matcher, more

This morning I wrote about protester Jackie Smith’s performance at last night’s concert at the National Civil Rights Museum, noting that I wouldn’t go so far as to call her a “racist poser” as another Downtown blogger has in the past, but her actions were clearly unproductive, and even counterproductive, to recruiting people to support her cause.

Well, the blogger that called her a “racist poser” in the past responded – and had no problem calling her a racist poser again, backed it up with facts, and also offered speculation where her funding comes from. Check out the response on Memphis Limelight.

After the concert, I ended up at Bardog Tavern last night. They had planned to start opening for lunch this week, but due to an illness, they have postponed doing lunch until next Monday, October 6. That’s fine, I’d rather they take their time and do it right. Attn co-workers who read this blog: GO THERE for lunch when the place opens! You’ll love it… get those sirloin sliders!!!!

I haven’t heard officially, but I seriously doubt the Saturday brunch at Calhoun’s, which has been such a success the past two weeks, will happen this week. Its organizers are busy working on another event which will take place this Saturday. The brunch will likely be back the week after.

Author Natalie McLean sent my fellow blogger Dr. Booze a link to her online food and wine matching tool… you choose the type of food you have, or the type of wine you have, and it returns wine suggestions for food, or food suggestions for wine.  Check out Dr. Booze’s post about it.

I don’t know of any places publicly showing the vice-presidential debate tonight, so I’ll probably stay home this evening, work on my new website, and watch the debate on my own TV. Afterward I’ll go out for a little while. Deep Shag is playing the Saucer, and Bardog is another possible stop.

Heading back to work for a 1:30 meeting…

Insulting, ranting, and making a pest of yourself: The way to win people over to your cause?

Last night was the Downtown Alive!/Folk Alliance Mini-Folk Festival on the National Civil Rights Museum plaza.  I expected protester Jackie Smith to show up, and she did.

Jackie has had a booth across the street from the Civil Rights Museum for over 15 years, protesting its existence.  She believes that the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King lost his life, is sacred ground, and the Civil Rights Museum is wrong to use the building for commercial purposes.  She also opposes the “gentrification” of the surrounding South Main neighborhood, with recent development of condos, art galleries, and boutique businesses, feeling that would not have been part of Dr. King’s vision for the area.

For a long time I thought it was a good thing she was there.  I didn’t agree with her, but I didn’t totally disagree either.  She had some points worth at least hearing.  “It’s good to have alternative voices down here,” I thought.

However, my opinion of Jackie changed last October, at the RiverArtsFest, as FreeWorld played onstage at the NCRM plaza.  Jackie was there, booing FreeWorld, and using a very loud, annoying feedback device to disturb other concertgoers’ enjoyment of the music.  Booing FreeWorld.  For those of you not familiar with the band, let me point out that one of the members is 78-year-old Dr. Herman Green, an African-American musician who was playing Beale Street before Jackie was even born.  I can’t speak for FreeWorld, but I feel reasonably sure that if they had thought they were doing anything other than honoring Dr. King by playing the NCRM stage, they would’ve turned down the date.  It’s one thing to disagree with the festival’s existence, but booing the performers themselves was simply out of line.

Last night Jackie was back, as I expected she would be.  She had a sign protesting the concert, and a microphone rigged up to a boom box to act as a feedback device generating a high-pitched squeal.  She wandered through the crowd, screaming at people.  “Go away!” she said.  “This is sacred ground!  You’re all drunk!  You only come down here when you want to eat and drink!  Go to Beale Street!”  She even tried to get onstage a couple of times.  The musicians were amazingly tolerant of her, considering what a nuisance she was.

A couple of the CCC people, who don’t get down to South Main as much as I do and therefore weren’t familiar with Jackie, asked me, “Does she think she’s doing any good down here?”  Of course she’s not doing any good.  That’s the thing.  Festivals like the one last night could be tremendous opportunities for her.  If she’d lose the feedback device and the sign, and just walk around and talk to people, she could probably win quite a few of them over to her cause.  If she’d just go up to people and say, “I see you’re having a good time here, but would you mind if I take a few minutes to explain why this is sacred ground and events like this shouldn’t be held here…”, I bet quite a few people would be willing to give her a listen.  Over time she could build up a base of support, and be seen as a notable voice of dissent in the area.

But Jackie doesn’t do that.  She’s more interested in making a spectacle of herself, drawing attention to herself.  I won’t go so far as to call her a “racist poser” as another Downtown blogger has, but her actions last night do suggest that it’s all about Jackie, rather than all about the cause she claims to stand for.

Eventually things started to turn hostile.  As Jackie stood on the sidewalk and ranted and yelled, she held the feedback device uncomfortably close to the ear of a woman sitting nearby… at some point that thing stops being free speech and starts being assault.  The woman, out of frustration, grabbed Jackie’s sign, crumpled it, and threw it into the open field as the crowd applauded.  Realizing things could get ugly, the police were called, and Jackie was escorted out of the festival area.

It’s too bad she chose such an ineffective way to express herself, and it’s too bad she sees everyone who attends NCRM events as the enemy rather than people to sit down and exchange ideas with.  She could’ve been an important community voice, but the loony, offensive, insulting way in which she chooses to express herself makes it hard for anyone to take her seriously.

Paul’s Drunkass Food just stepped it up a notch

Tonight I went to the Downtown Alive!/Memphis Folk Alliance concert on the National Civil Rights Museum plaza (more to come on that).  After that I went to the Saucer, then Bardog Tavern.  Hung out with Glo and Flo and also talked to former BFF Suzy while drinking a few PBRs.  Then I decided it was time to go, and so I asked waitress Jean for a menu so I could order Paul’s Drunkass Food.  After some examinaton, I settled on the Sirloin Sliders, 3 mini-cheeseburgers with fries.

Now at home eating them.  This is probably the best drunkass food ever.  And the fries come with this tangy mayonnaise dipping sauce that is fantastic (they come with ketchup too, for people like the Nuh-Uh Girl who put ketchup on everything).  I think I’ve found a new drunk to-go food spot in Bardog.

Reading the Flyer so you don’t have to

Here’s this week’s review of stuff in the Memphis Flyer of interest to Downtowners:

p.6:  Orleans on Front, formerly Cayenne Moon, by chef/owner Clint Boutwell, has an ad this week with details of their new operation.  They serve lunch Tue-Fri and dinner Tue-Sat.  Specials include 2 for 1 shrimp & grits Tuesday nights (bet that’ll make Ken skip trivia one of these weeks) and $2 cup o’ gumbo Wednesdays.  Happy hour starting at 4 PM (I wish they had stated what specials are on happy hour so I could add them to the search engine though).  They have a website, although it looks like a web designer from 1997 looked into a crystal ball, saw Orleans on Front 11 years in the future, and created them a site with 1997-era tools.  If I were teaching a class on web design and a student turned that in as their final project, I’d give them a D minus.  I’m sure the food’s good, though, and will give it a try soon.

p.8:  The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is back in Memphis December 23 at the FedExForum.  Tickets go on sale this Saturday.

p.9:  Info on the rebuilding of the First United Methodist Church, and the new CA2 building which will replace the old Court Annex Building that burned down.  Wow… the CA2 building looks awfully modern compared to the buildings that will surround it.  I hope it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Also on p.9:  The MSPJC is starting a letter-writing campaign to ask Downtown businesses not to fund the Downtown Safety Patrol that protects those businesses’ customers from aggressive panhandling.  (Dammit, I can’t get the “rolleyes” smiley icon to work in WordPress)  The MSPJC agrees that action should be taken against aggressive panhandlers who threaten people or otherwise break the law, but thinks it should not take the form of jail time, but rather getting them needed mental help and addiction treatment.  What they don’t offer is specifics.  If they’d put together a plan on how this could be accomplished, that would be guaranteed to be as effective or more effective removing aggressive panhandlers from the streets as the current safety patrol is (and I mean removing them NOW, as the violations occur, not years from now after we’ve “studied the root causes of panhandling and poverty”), I’d be open to supporting it.  Let’s see some output from them other than complaining.

p.26:  Oh, cool, the Broad Avenue Art Walk is Friday night!  This is similar to the South Main Trolley Art Tour, but for the hip, new neighborhood-in-revival along Broad Avenue, a thoroughfare rarely used anymore now that traffic has been re-routed to Sam Cooper.  There are all kinds of neat art galleries and living spaces throughout the area.  There’s also an excellent pizza joint (Broadway) and one of the coolest bars in the city (The Cove).  Hmmm… if I could find people to hang with, I’d cab it out there, do the art walk, and then hang out at The Cove after it’s over.  Trouble is, this is a bad weekend to round up people… half my group is out of town for a bachelor party, and most of the other half is planning an event for Saturday that I’m not involved in.  We’ll see… still got two days to figure it out.

p.27:  This isn’t a Downtown event, but I’ll mention it anyway… the Pink Palace Crafts Fair is this weekend, Thursday-Sunday.  Good place to pick up cool stuff for your Downtown loft, condo, apartment or home.  Note for those who’ve never been before:  Despite the name, the crafts fair is at Audubon Park, not the Pink Palace.

p.30:  It’s that time of year again… the annual John Lennon Pint Glass night at the Flying Saucer, next Wednesday, October 8, at 7 PM.  Blast!  That’s right in the middle of the Downtown Alive! concert.  I’ll have a decision to make next Wednesday.

By the way, you can still buy Presidential glasses for $5 too.  Last I checked, Obama was leading the glass tally, 498 to 474.  Not a good sign for John McCain at all.  I can’t ever remember a Democrat holding a substantial lead in any glass count from any prior year.  The Saucer, full of suits from Morgan Keegan on weeknights and conservative frat-boy types on weekends, tends to skew Republican.  Geez, it almost makes me wonder why I bother with the place… oh yeah, the girls in the skirts.  And the beer.

p.42:  Saba Fest, celebrating the life of Bill Saba, will be Friday, October 17 at the Cadre Building at Second and Monroe.  Music by Walrus and Punching Nicholas, food by Notorious PIG, silent auction, full bar.  $15 cover at the door with proceeds benefitting St. Jude, which by the way is where my new BFFs work.  This is a good event for a good cause, and not a far commute for me (I can see the entrance to the Cadre from my living room window).  I’ll likely be there.

Also p.42:  Bardog’s ad mentions that it is “home of the slider.”  Those sliders are really good, by the way.  I tried one of their regular hamburger sliders when they were handing out free food during opening weekend, and it was fantastic.  I hear there’s a shrimp slider that’s pretty amazing too.

p.43:  There’s an article on Safari, the new tapas restaurant on Main near the Huling Street trolley stop.  It talks about the different types of cuisine they serve, and interviews the owner and a regular named “Carlos” who is a big fan of the place.  The article points out that a portion of Safari’s profits go to Urban Family Ministries.

p.46:  There’s a photo of the S’Mores you cook at your table at Big Foot Lodge.  They’re made with Hershey’s chocolate bars, double-wide graham crackers, and marshmallows.

… and that’ll wrap up this week’s Flyer review.  Headed to South Main for the Downtown Alive!/mini-Folk Alliance concert.  After that I may hit Bardog Tavern to see what an 8:30ish mid-week crowd looks like.