Tribes and elections, discount dining, APA party, still undecided where to watch

Here’s a link to a good blog post by marketer Seth Godin on Obama’s and McCain’s campaigns, marketing, and the concept of “tribes.” He has a good explanation why Obama’s campaign has been a success and McCain’s has not.

I’m re-launching Discount Dining, a site I ran for a while last year and then forgot about.  It’s a site that links to and provides information about their dining discount program.  On Discount Dining, I’m starting mailing lists by city where you can be notified of specials they occasionally run where they sell their certificates for 50% off, or sometimes even more.

Which reminds me… there’s a special going on through November 6.  Use coupon code VOTE at checkout to get 50% off.  That means $25 face-value gift certificates, normally sold for $10, are now $5 with the coupon code. You can also take 50% off Dinner of the Month Club purchase with the code VOTE.  Here are links to the individual cities on Discount Dining:

The Animal Protection Association is having its 2nd annual Santa Paws Party and Art Auction at Stop 345 on Sunday, November 23.  Details below (click the flyer for a larger image):

More info about the APA and the party here.

Still undecided where I’ll watch the election results.  The Saucer would’ve been my pick if they had put something tasty on Fire Sale.  But Shiner Bock… bleh.  It’s not horrible but it’s not one of my favorites, either.  Now it’s a 3-way tossup between Bardog, the Saucer, and Calhoun’s.  I may have to flip a coin to decide.  Or flip 3 coins and odd one out wins, I guess.

Election Day update and links. Also: Window Game results, ChaCha, Vaco

Since yesterday I’ve learned of several places Downtown that will show the election results, with sound on:  Jillian’s, The Flying Saucer, and Calhoun’s.  The owner of Bardog told me he’d have the results on, but I forgot to ask if that included sound.  Didn’t hear of any election day drink specials, but Calhoun’s always has $1.50 PBR and the Saucer has the $2.75 Fire Sale.  I asked the manager what it would be and he said Shiner Bock.  “Is that the best you can do?” I replied.  I’ll walk by after the Saucer opens at 11 and confirm that SB is indeed today’s Fire Sale.

Here’s an hour-by-hour breakdown of what to watch for on election night.  As you can see, things could get very interesting as early as 6 PM CST (7 PM EST).

Here are links to my three favorite sites for electoral map analysis:

  • RealClearPolitics – in my opinion the best site, links to plenty of political articles from the left, center, and right, as well as state-by-state polls.
  • FiveThirtyEight – electoral analysis that uses simulations to predict the winner.  If you love statistics and math you’ll enjoy this site.
  • – only updated once per day.  Some people think this is the most accurate of the three.

Wow.  Each day FiveThirtyEight updates their probability of each candidate winning the election (electoral vote, not popular vote).  Today their probabilities of winning are 98.1% for Obama and 1.9% for McCain.  They’re calling all the Kerry states plus Iowa and New Mexico safe for Obama… that’s 264 electoral votes.  All he has to do is pick off one more Bush state and he’ll hit 270.  He’s leading the polls in Colorado, Virginia, Nevada, Ohio, and Florida.  Any one of those would do it (Nevada would get him to 269 which would be a tie, but if the election were thrown to the House of Representatives, the Democrat would likely win).

If you haven’t voted yet, what are you waiting for?  GO VOTE!!!!!

A few non-election items:

Here’s the tally from The Window Game yesterday, which I played from 4:25 to 8:25:  20 bums, 27 police cars, 6 FUMOTs (f’d up modes of transportation), 1 RUP (really ugly person), 1 hoopty, 0 appearances by Downtown homeless person Scratchy, 6 left turns out of a lane other than the left lane, 1 wrong way up Second, 18 buses, 21 COGIC courtesy cars, and 0 COGIC hats.  It’s early in the week, so the COGIC people aren’t out in force.  If I play later in the week, I’ll probably count over 100 courtesy cars and at least 20 hats.

Otto told me about a very cool service called ChaCha yesterday.  If you have a question you want answered, you can text it to 242242 (CHACHA) and they’ll reply with an answer within a few minutes.  Answers are researched by humans using the best search engines and most trusted sources of information.

Great article on Vaco in the Commercial Appeal yesterday.  Vaco is a placement service that matches job hunters to companies in the IT, accounting, finance, and administrative fields.  When I was hunting for a job a year ago, they contacted me (one of the recruiters found me through my MySpace account), took me to lunch, and sent me on an interview.  Their preparation for the interview was so thorough and professional – they drove me out there, told me all about the company and what they thought the hiring manager was looking for, and gave me a very professional-looking black portfolio to use to take notes.  I ended up taking a different job, but I was thoroughly impressed with Vaco and would absolutely recommend them.  You can contact them through their website.  I’m currently trying to make a go of it freelancing, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll definitely be talking to my friends at Vaco to help me find my next IT gig.

Still not sure where I’ll watch the election results tonight.  Back later with more posts.

Live blogging: Window Game, COGIC edition

(Post being updated every few minutes – hit Refresh and scroll down to see the latest.)

4:27 PM:  Just got to the Saucer, with my Window Game COGIC edition scorecard.  I brought my laptop with me so I can work while I drink, at least until people get here to talk to.  Figured I’d try something different and do some live blogging.  In the time it took me to boot my laptop I’ve already counted one bum and one FUMOT (F’d up mode of transportation – in this case, a car with its hood smashed up).  I’ve seen cars that obviously contained COGIC people, but there were no visible signs so I couldn’t count them as courtesy cars.

4:30:  There’s a bum.  That makes two.  And a courtesy car.  The bum is the one with the ear tumor who always wears scraggly dollar-store ties.  He’s asking for money so he can get a coke.  The only thing I don’t believe about his request is the word “a.”

4:33:  Up to three bums now.  If I don’t recognize them I have to see visible evidence of panhandling to count them.  Doesn’t have to be the act of panhandling necessarily.  Behaviors commonly associated with panhandling, such as carrying a stack of Downtown Merchant Guides, count too.

4:36:  In the time it took the last update to publish, a fourth bum walked by.

4:37:  Our first wrong way on one-way Second Street!  They backed up back onto Peabody Place, but they turned far enough to be facing north, so they count.

4:38:  Bum number 5, this one being “CAN I AKS YOU A QUESTION.  U GOT 50 CENT” guy.  I also started a custom “hippies” category and marked 3 down.

4:42:  Here comes Pete on his scooter.  Looks like he’s not stopping in.  He knows he’d get his ass kicked at pool if he did.

Sipping a Dos Equis Lager with extra lime.  Brittney is serving me.  This would be waitress Brittney who works really hard, not lazy bartender Brittney who sits on her ass all day.

4:46:  Got our first entry in the RUP (Really Ugly People) column.  Currently at 5 bums, 3 hippies, 3 buses, 3 COGIC cars, 1 police car, 1 FUMOT, 1 RUP.

4:49:  Geo Metro hatchback with green body and red hood, dents all over.  It’s borderline FUMOT but I’m going to say yes.

4:53:  Flower guy on a bike, but I’ve heard he’s affiliated with Blues City and has a permit, so I’ll have to go “not a bum” in his case.  The ones that pick flowers out of public planters and sell them to tourists definitely count as bums.

We may have slim pickings on the bums today, because June Bug and several other regulars are in jail.  You wouldn’t know it from the first 30 minutes though.

4:56:  Melissa’s here.  Melissa rocks.  I loaned her my “I love Romanian girls” shirt and she dressed as me for Halloween.  A third FUMOT just rolled by.

5:00:  6 buses, 5 bums, 4 courtesy cars, 3 hippies, 3 police cars, 3 FUMOTs, 1 RUP, 1 wrong way.  Make that 5 courtesy cars.

5:04:  4 kids about age 10-11 selling candy.  I don’t have a category for that but maybe I should.

There’s a guy in a plaid shirt walking around an awful lot.  He has the look and the body language of a bum, but he hasn’t hit anyone up yet.  So far I can’t count him.

5:09:  The owner of Calhoun’s just e-mailed.  He’ll have the sound on for election night results.  I need to talk to whoever’s managing the Saucer today and find out if they will.  No specials at Calhoun’s for election night, just $1.50 PBR as usual.

5:11:  Crackhead walking down Second yelling at nobody in particular.  Wait, maybe he’s singing.  Yep, singing.  And dancing.  Now he’s stopping in the middle of Peabody Place to finish his song.

A car decorated with “FRO: Highway to Heaven” sign just drove by.  I don’t want to know.  I’m calling FUMOT on it though.  See what you’re missing if you live in Cordova?

Believe it or not, I’ve actually managed to get some work done while I’ve been here, typing copy for one of my sites.

5:16:  All right!  We have our first Sharp Dressed Bum sighting of the afternoon!  I wonder if he still has warrants?  I’m still undecided on whether dancing crackhead counts as a bum… what the hell, I’m going to say he does.  That makes seven.

5:19:  Cool, my College Logo Watches site just made a sale!  Someone from South Carolina.

5:22:  That’s the third pass for SDB past here.  I may have to call the bum patrol on him.

5:23:  Meghan has the 5:00 bartending shift at Big Foot, so I imagine she’s arriving to work about now.  My sympathies to the people at the bar who got used to the good customer service they got from the day shift.

5:26:  Okay, plaid shirt guy counts now.  He’s doing the tour guide gimmick.  That’s bum #8.  He’s talking to everyone now.  Maybe he needs to get his confidence up before he starts approaching.

Bicycle Bobby just pulled up on his scooter.  And here are two more scooters.  It must be scooter club meeting night.

5:34:  Bum number 9.  Another singer.  This one I recognize, so no need to wait for panhandling behavior to mark him.

Dammit, I’m spending so much time looking out the window, that I’m missing waitresses bend over.

5:37:  Otto’s here.

5:38:  Yay!  Mid-South Alcoholic Supply just sold some champagne flutes.

5:44:  Starting on my third Dos Equis Lager.  11 buses, 9 bums, 8 police cars, 8 courtesy cars.

5:46:  Ear tumor bum has a box of KFC now.

5:52:  FedEx delivery for the Saucer.  Hopefully the Romanian waitress I ordered is here.

Looks like it’s manager meeting night.

5:54:  Sold another watch.  University of Texas this time.  See, I’m making money while I drink beer.  I’ll end up getting about 7% commission on all of these sales, maybe 7.5%.

5:55:  El bummo numero diez!  Never seen this one before, but he panhandled Otto at the Saucer window.

6:02:  Left turn out of not the center lane, but the right lane!  That counts as 2.

6:09:  All right.  Tired of having the laptop out.  Gonna shut down.  Will provide a final score in the next post.

House for rent in Uptown, large pets welcome, environmentally friendly

There’s a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath cottage for rent on Greenlaw Place in Uptown.  This is a new house (less than 5 years old, part of the recent Uptown redevelopment project) with stained concrete floors, and all appliances are included.  Parking pad is large enough for two cars, and there are cute front and back porches and a partially fenced yard.  Large pets are welcome.  $1100 rent includes professional landscaping and alarm.  Utilities are cheap because all the houses were built to EcoBuild standards.  The cottage overlooks a nearby park and the neighbors are very nice (it was one of the neighbors who asked me to post this).

If interested, you can either contact me ( or get on the blog The Musings of Another Working Mom (that’s the neighbor) and contact her from there.

Additional lunch options Downtown this week, and the return of The Window Game

I just took a walk around Downtown, and realized that today is the first day of the annual COGIC convention.  That means that Downtowners have additional dining options for lunch:  Every year several food vendors set up shop at the corner of Main and Exchange to serve the COGIC crowd.  Most of these vendors sell soul food.  I’ve walked up there the past couple of years for lunch, and it’s GOOD.  The vendors don’t care whether you’re a COGIC member or not, at least not from what I’ve experienced; if you have money, they’re happy to sell you food.  With sunny weather and temps in the 70s at least through Wednesday, why not walk or trolley up there and give them a try?  It’s something different than the usual Downtown lunch spots, and you can find park benches nearby on the Civic Center Plaza where you can sit and eat.

The COGIC convention has also made me realize, it’s time to bring back The Window Game.  This is something we created last year, where we count what we see from the Flying Saucer’s windows in various categories:  bums, cars going the wrong way down Second, cars turning left from other than the left lane, appearances by Downtown homeless person Scratchy, police cars, etc.  You can also invent your own custom categories (in the spring and summer I add a “tube top” category).  It’s a lot of fun to sit there and drink and play the game.

The Window Game: COGIC version is even more fun, because we add COGIC courtesy cars and vans as a new category, and also sequined hats.  Last year we ran out of room on the scorecard counting those.  This year I think I’ll print up some full-page scorecards so there’s plenty of room.

Since I can make my own schedule these days, I’m going to back up my arrival time at Pint Nite to 4:30, so I have a better chance of getting a window seat.

More to come this afternoon:  I just learned that one of those really cool new enivronmentally-friendly houses in Uptown is for rent.  Details to be posted in a couple of hours, after I get some work done.

Pint Nite

“Ahhh.  It’s good to be home.”

That’s likely what I’ll be saying tonight around 5, as I squeeze a lime into my first Dos Equis Lager of the evening, one of nearly 70 beers that will be on sale for $2.75 tonight at the Flying Saucer.

It’s been a fun weekend at RiverArtsFest, and I’m glad I had Calhoun’s as an alternate base of operations while partying in the South Main area.  But it’s good to be back in the core, and it will be good to be back home at the Saucer.

If you want some other Monday night options for fun, it’s trivia night at Huey’s and the Blue Monkey.  Huey’s starts at 9.  Not sure of the Monkey’s start time.

Plenty of cheap PBR around town tonight… it’s dollar PBR night at the Tap Room.  Bardog has it for the happy hour price of $1.50 from 5 to 7, then it goes up to a still-very-reasonable $2.50.  Calhoun’s has it for $1.50 all day long, every day.

Then there’s “if we turn on Monday Night Football, sell $2 34 oz. Super Cold Coors Light drafts, and $3 blue kamikazes, and $4 100 proof tequila shots, and 24 wings for $9.99, then maybe we can convince someone to come sit at the bar when Meghan is working” night at Big Foot Lodge.  You can get these specials at the tables as well, if you don’t feel like listening to Meghan run her mouth while you eat and drink.  They should get a continuous-loop tape player behind the bar, that plays, “Shut up, Meghan.  Shut up, Meghan.  Shut up Meghan,” whenever she is working.  Or get a parrot or myna bird and teach it only that one phrase.  Or program Buck the talking/singing deer next to the bar to say it over and over.

Then there’s basketball… the Grizzlies take on the Golden State Warriors tonight at 7 PM at the FedExForum.

So, as you can see, there’s plenty to entertain you on this Monday night.  I’ll be at Pint Nite ’til I feel like I’m ready for a change of venue, then probably walk over to Bardog to finish the evening with a PBR or two.

RiverArtsFest recap, day 2

It was a second beautiful day for RiverArtsFest yesterday, and I spent the day wandering around, looking at art, talking to people, and popping in Calhoun’s for a PBR now and then.  Several people commented that, due to the weather and the fact that it wasn’t as crowded, RiverArtsFest was better than Cooper-Young Fest this year.  I picked up several flyers promoting stuff going on Downtown, and I’ll recap the best of them below.

I’ve been asked to mention the Rumba Room, Downtown’s first Latin and salsa dance club, which is now open on South Main in the space next to Pearl’s Oyster House.  They have salsa nights Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, and the Red Hot Lindy Hop group does swing dance lessons and parties there on Wednesday nights.  Their menu includes flautas, quezadillas, tamales and pupusas.  You can go to their website and sign up for their newsletter.  Note that they have a “business casual” dress code, which includes no shorts and no tennis shoes.

A group called Memphis Art Park is proposing a plan for the Downtown Promenade, the blocks along Front Street from Union to Adams.  They want to put an arts center, performance venue, parking garage and rooftop park in that space.  You can read more about their vision for the promenade here.

Need a haircut?  Downtown will have a new hair stylist soon.  Wilfredo Rodriguez will move into the space next door to the Butcher Shop at 109 S. Front.  He does hair styling, color, makeup, and art, and has over 20 years’ experience.  He’s done styling for Cubana television, the Tropicana Nightclub, and the National Ballet of Cuba.  His salon will be called “Revolution” and will be open mid-December.

These weren’t the only flyers being handed out at RiverArtsFest.  There were some kids who were very aggressively handing out flyers to get flu shots at the Memphis Music Foundation.  Note: When you see someone eating BBQ nachos, it probably isn’t the best time to hand them a flyer.

Then there was Mikey, who was a walking, talking commercial for Calhoun’s the entire weekend.  I mean, I like the place a lot and they did have the best beer deals, and I sent many people there myself over the course of the two days.  But if you talked to Mikey, you’d get the idea that Calhoun’s holds a religious significance for Downtowners similar to that of Mecca for Muslims; that Calhoun’s is where Jonas Salk discovered the cure for polio in 1954; and that the beers served at Calhoun’s have rejuvenating qualities that cause skin to look younger, teeth to look whiter, and hair to re-grow.  Calhoun’s stayed packed throughout the duration of the festival.

(Sigh) And now it’s Monday, and a great party weekend has come to an end.  Guess I’d better get some work done.  I have a new website to launch (actually it’s a re-launch of a long forgotten site), and I need to get back to someone with a quote on a freelance web design project.

More posts to come later today… I’m about ready to do the post on how to recognize Memphis douchebags who are worthy of being on the Hot Chicks with Douchebags site.  If not later today, I’ll get to it sometime this week.

Still completely undecided where to watch the election tomorrow night.  I need to look around and see if there are any election-night drinking games.  I have a feeling Dr. Booze may do a post about that within the next 24 hours.

RiverArtsFest day 1 recap

Yesterday at RiverArtsFest couldn’t have been nicer… not a cloud in the sky, high was 74 degrees but it felt more like 80 on the street.  Tasty food, good music, and lots of art you can buy to decorate your home.  If you missed it yesterday, it’s going on from 10 to 5 today.

My picks for food at the festival:  Crepe Maker, which is toward the northern end of the festival (around Main and Nettleton I think).  Also, Central BBQ, at the far south end of the festival past all the artists’ booths.  Central BBQ was where I ate yesterday, getting a heaping pile of BBQ nachos for only $5 – that’s a bargain.  There’s also a vendor down there selling Italian roast beef sandwiches and Philly cheese steak sandwiches for $6, and that’ll probably be my lunch today.

My pick for art:  Shane Paris Art.  Shane got lucky and got one of the best booth locations at the festival.  It’s right in front of Gestures, and it’s also unusual in that it’s a brown tent rather than white like most of them.  In addition to the digital artwork he sells, you can talk to him about custom photo collages, pet photos, logo design, and ad layout.  Also, if you need a website with custom logos and artwork for your business, Shane and I can team up to do it for you.

My pick for beer:  Calhoun’s!  Everyone was talking about the $5 32 oz. Bud and Bud Lights they were selling at the window, how that’s a better deal at the festival beer (and you don’t have to deal with stupid drink tickets).  However, that’s not even the best deal.  Go inside, to the bar, and order a PBR in a to-go cup for $1.50.  Don’t forget to tell them it’s to go.  They have several other beers on tap (I saw a lot of people buying Yuengling) that can be put in a cup.

There are 183 artists and I could easily spend several thousand dollars decorating my apartment with the great stuff they have there.  Probably your best chance of the year to see so many different artists’ work in one location in Memphis.  Great weather again today.  The Weather Channel is predicting a sunny day, 10% chance of rain, high 80.

I’ll be back down there around noon, and will be there until it ends at 5.