On Beale, MPD is watching to keep you safe

Last week, I profiled “Dallas,” one of our local bums/scam artists who is one of the main people targeted by the new aggressive panhandling and single beer ordinances.  Earlier this week I reported that he got arrested for robbery.  Last night I got more details.

“Dallas” was panhandling in one of his favorite spots, Beale Street.  The panhandlers like the Beale Historic District because it’s outside the patrol area of the Downtown safety patrol, and because there’s heavy foot traffic and a lot of tourists.  Apparently Dallas wasn’t having a profitable day panhandling, and decided to resort to other tactics.  He begged a couple for money, then followed them down the street and attempted to rob them.

What “Dallas” didn’t know is that he was being watched.  MPD has cameras set up all over Beale, which they monitor from a command center.  They already knew that Dallas had a long criminal history, and were keeping their eye on him long before he approached that couple.  When he attempted to rob them, the cops rolled right up on him and caught him in the act.  Fantastic job, MPD!  The police have really been proactive taking measures to prevent crimes Downtown, and this is one of the many instances in which it paid off.

Of course, the reason Dallas was on Beale in the first place was to panhandle.  If the ordinance passes on April 13, Beale will be part of the panhandling-free zone.  So, not only will the ordinance prevent panhandling, but other, more serious crimes as well.

Click here to read more about this proposed ordinance, to sign a petition in support, and to learn how you can contact City Council members and ask them to pass it.


Yeah I know it’s a couple of days late, but it’s time for another “Brick” Quote of the Week.

There’s this theory that has been circulating lately, that Brick is actually a graduate student from Columbia University in New York, who is here doing research for the year.  Theory has it that’s she’s a Master’s student doing a double major in Psychology and Women’s Studies, and she’s in Memphis gathering evidence for her thesis, which if published will surely have my blog as a frequently-cited reference.

I shared this theory with my friend Nick tonight, and he liked it.  So much so that when Brick walked by, he told her, “I like your work.  Keep on doing what you’re doing.”

Brick replied, “What, sex?”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this evening’s post in Paul Ryburn’s Journal, aka footnotes number 15, 19, 26, 62, 133, and 147 in Brick’s thesis.

Panhandling and single beer ordinances approved by the City Council safety committee; to go before entire council April 13

I have good news to report this afternoon!  The proposed ordinances limiting panhandling and the sale of single beers in parts of Downtown have made it past their first hurdle.  The City Council’s public safety and homeland security committee met this morning at 8:30 to consider the ordinances.  I was not able to be there, but was told that a large number of supporters showed up, including Downtown residents and business owners, as well as representatives from the area’s neighborhood associations.  Some people even had signs reading, “Want to Meet Them?” with mug shots and copies of outstanding warrants for some of Downtown’s most well-known panhandlers.

The next big date is April 13, when the full Council will vote on the ordinances at their 3:30 PM meeting.  Once again, please put that date on your calendar and attend if at all possible.  The Council needs to see widespread support from Downtown residents and business owners, as well as from people from other parts of Memphis who enjoy all that Downtown has to offer.

After years and years, the community is finally saying “enough is enough” to aggressive, abusive, inebriated panhandlers.  I love it!

Mon update: Panhandling, Grizzlies Academy fundraiser, art show at Majestic tonight, trivia

If you support the panhandling and single beer ordinances, two important dates/times to remember within the next 24 hours. First of all, there will be a sign-making party at Kooky Canuck at 7 PM. We will make signs for people to hold at the Safety and Security Committee meeting tomorrow, to show our support for the ordinances. Even if you can’t attend tomorrow’s meeting, please come to Kooky tonight and make a sign for someone who can!

The Safety and Security Committee of the City Council meets tomorrow, Tuesday, February 23, at 8:30 AM at City Hall (125 N. Main, Conference Room, 5th floor). Everyone who wants to come out and show support for the ordinance is asked to gather by 8:15. Yes I know that’s early for those of you who don’t have 8-to-5 jobs, but this is very important. Please attend if you can! Activist groups and the beer companies will have people there. Downtowners need to been seen in support, so that outsiders don’t dictate what happens to our neighborhood.

In the news… The Commercial Appeal has endorsed the proposed ordinances, calling them “reasonable starts to get a handle on the situation” of aggressive, abusive, inebriated panhandlers.

Also in panhandling-related news, “Dallas,” one of the aggressive panhandlers I profiled last week, was arrested Friday on felony robbery charges. If convicted, he’ll be gone for a year. It just makes the point that the people these ordinances target are NOT the innocent homeless, as activist groups would lead you to believe. The last time I saw “Dallas” was Wednesday night, when he was panhandling at the Jefferson Avenue trolley stop, directly across the street from one of the conveniece stores that sells single-serve beers.

I actually do have some non-panhandling stuff to report as well. The Grizzlies are having a Grizzlies Academy Scholarship Fund Fundraiser at Boscos Squared in Midtown tonight from 5-9 PM. Grizzlies players, the Grizz Girls, Grizz the mascot and others will serve pizzas and meet fans. There will be a silent auction and drawings throughout the evening. If you can’t make it tonight, you can stop by Boscos anytime during the month of February to help the Academy. $1 from every “Hoopin’ Hawaiian” pizza sold (recipe from an Academy student) will go to the Academy, as weill 25 cents from the sale of each Academy Ale. You can also buy a Grizzlies Academy card from Boscos for $1.

The Majestic Grille’s rescheduled show ‘Student & Teacher: The Art of Blas Blanco Cuenca & Paul C. Clements’ is tonight from 5:30 to 7:30. Cash bar, drink specials, complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

There’s trivia tonight with Will at Local Gastropub (formerly Sauces), 8 PM.  Local is still working on getting their liquor license and currently have beer only, so if you want to bring your own liquor you’re welcome to do so.

Back to work, where I have a fun-filled afternoon typing up documentation to look forward to.  After work, I’ll make a brief stop at Pint Nite, then at 7 I’ll be at the sign-making party at Kooky.

Lunch vs. brunch

Last Sunday, I was hanging out at the Saucer as usual, and I got into a discussion with my friend Kacy.  I thought the discussion would make a good Sunday morning topic.  The topic is, what’s the difference between lunch and brunch?

It’s not the hours.  Brunch on Sunday usually runs from 11 to 3, or maybe 10:30 to 3 – hours that are normally considered lunch hours.

Is the food the difference?  I know that “brunch” is “breakfast + lunch,” but when I go to the Majestic for brunch, I usually order off the lunch menu.  Meanwhile, there are places that will serve breakfast food at lunchtime – Blue Plate, Denny’s, IHOP.  People usually don’t think of those places as “brunch.”

A couple of weeks ago, Kacy and her friends were out on a weekend day, looking for a place to eat lunch, meaning “let’s get a quick bite to eat.”  They couldn’t find anyplace they liked, so Kacy suggested, “Let’s do brunch instead.”  So they went to a restaurant – I forget where, think she may have said Boscos – and they sat down.  Kacy ordered lunch.

And a mimosa.

That’s the difference.  Brunch is not really lunch + breakfast.

It’s lunch + ALCOHOL.

Now, we need to refine this idea further.  Is lunch + beer brunch?  This to me seems to be a gray area.  Sometimes on a Saturday afternoon I’ll get hungry and stop by the Flying Fish to eat.  I’ll pull a can of PBR out of the refrigerator to purchase as my beverage.  That to me seems more like lunch than brunch.

On the other hand, if you’re having a mimosa or Bloody Mary, it’s almost certainly brunch.  It seems like other mixed drinks would fall into this category too.  My friend John D enjoys a screwdriver with brunch every once in a while.

Actually, that makes me think even more.  Most of the time, John D doesn’t order food, but just the screwdriver.  Even without the food, is it still brunch?

Just something to think about this fine Sunday morning.  Better get out there and enjoy it before the rain moves in!

Drunkass post: USA vs. Canada, Sonny Salt, Stella glasses, garlic fries @ Primetime

Tonight I was asked, “Where should I watch the Canada vs. USA Olympic hockey game?”  Here’s my answer:  Kooky Canuck.  Shawn is from Canada.  It will be a wild day up there, especially with $3.99 34 oz. super cold Bud Light.  Thing is, though, it’s not like me rooting against Tennessee because of Bruce Pearl – I like Shawn and would want his team to win, if they weren’t playing us.  But they are, so, go USA.  Anyway, go to Kooky and make it a win-win for everyone.  Game time is 6:40 PM CST/4:40 PM PST.

I just got home with Paul’s Drunkass Fries from Huey’s.  Earlier today I went to A.Schwab and got some Sonny Salt.  I’m going to put it on everything now.  Never had Sonny Salt?  Okay, here’s my best attempt to describe it.  Thursday night I heard some good old rock’n’roll through vintage amps.  The salt tastes like those amps sounded.  It’s awesome.  Get some.  I think Lit sells it too.

The Stella Artois glass is the “Buy the Beer, Keep the Glass” glass Wednesday at the Saucer.  The Stella glass is one of the nicest glasses ever, and one of the few glasses featured at the Saucer that I bought an entire set of, just in case I ever entertain company.  When I was a regular at Sleep Out’s they served me PBR in Stella glasses, while telling me how mad the distributor for Stella would get if he found out.

Some of my friends went bowling in the basement of Primetime Sports Bar Friday night, and they said the garlic fries were awesome.  They had $5 pitchers of several beers.  Here’s what’s wrong with my friends.  PBR was an option, and they instead ordered Milwaukee’s Best Light.  Yeah I wasn’t there.  I would have pretended not to know these people, having made a decision like that.  The Beast?  Light?  Really?

They told me they split the fries five ways.  The Nuh-Uh Girl was involved in the split so I’m guessing the other four got about 13% of the fries combined.

Drunk, going to bed.  I’ll try to do late- nights on the weekends when it warms up.

Sat update: Car inspections, be a Handy Park vendor, Phoenix Club Mardi Gras, Tuesday music at Silly Goose

Up early this morning.  Sure is nice not to hear an alarm clock go off.

First of all, in case you missed the evening news, some GREAT NEWS for Memphis residents. Mayor Wharton has announced extended hours for the vehicle inspection stations. The Washington station will have two lanes open until 7 PM Monday-Friday, and the Lamar and White Station locations will have all lanes open until 7. From February 22 until June 30, all locations will have all lanes open until 7 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

What a relief… my car is up for inspection in June and I was dreading the hours-long lines… was worried how I could possibly get it done on a lunch break. Now I don’t have to worry about it. Thank you Mr. Mayor! After all these years, I’m still adjusting to having a mayor who actually cares about his constituents.

Are you a vendor or artist? Beale Street is taking applications to be a vendor in Handy Park this summer. No food or drink vendors are allowed. More details here.

The Phoenix Club has their annual Mardi Gras party next Saturday, February 27, at the Cadre Building. Al Kapone and Lord T and Eloise will perform. $40 includes beer, wine, and specialty cocktails, and there will be a faux casino with blackjack, craps, and roulette. Winners will be entered into a raffle for prizes. Last year’s party drew 1,400 people, and this year the Fire Marshal is imposing a cap of 1,000, so if you want to go and you don’t have tickets yet, you better get ’em ASAP. Proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis.

There’s a new musical addition to the Silly Goose lineup. On Tuesdays Cameron Lazek and Tyler Burns will play from 10 to about 11:30 PM. Some of you may know Tyler – he’s a bartender at the Majestic. “It’s just us and 2 guitars right now,” Cameron told me. They plan on playing some mellow background music that should go well on a Tuesday night – DMB, Jason Mraz, Tom Petty, Barenaked Ladies. I’ll try to stop by there after trivia next week and check them out.

In the news… Tyreke Evans had dinner with President Obama this week, at the President’s request.

The International Folk Alliance Conference is in town this weekend, and there are some free events today.  At the Cook Convention Center, there will be an “instrument petting zoo” at 10 as well as “my first music lesson.”  At 11 there will be a Children’s Music Showcase and a presentation on the basics of the music business.  At 1 there will be a songwriters’ workshop, and a presentation on the wide world of sponsorships.  3 PM should be especially good – “Meet Your Memphis Local Music Scene.”  At 3:30 there will be a community sing of all ages.

In the evening, the action moves to the Center for Southern Folklore, for two “Songwriters in the Round” performances.  At 7:30 PM we have David Olney, Will Kinbrough, Tommy Wommack, and Phil Lee.  Coming up at 9:30 are Sild Selvidge, Chuck Mead, Anais Mitchell, and Amy Speace.

Since I’m typing the Folk Alliance Conference stuff from their ad in the Flyer, I’ll go ahead and mention the ad next to it – “A Year with Frog and Toad” is coming to the Orpheum March 3 at 6 PM.  I’m sure that will be good too.

I stayed home last night for the third night this week, watching poker tutorials on Daniel Negreanu’s site that I subscribed to.  I’m entered in a 1000-person tourney on PokerStars at 9:40 today, so it will be my first opportunity to try out his “small ball poker” tactics in a tournament setting.

All right, got to jump in the shower so I’m ready to roll at 9:40.  Outta here for now.

Former homeless man supports the CCC’s proposed panhandling and single beer ordinances

Activist groups are starting to make noise that the CCC’s proposed panhandling and single beer ordinances are attempts to “criminalize poverty” and run the homeless out of Downtown.  This is absolutely untrue.  The CCC has said time and time again that the condition of being homeless is a separate issue from the behaviors of panhandling aggressively and being drunk and disorderly.

The CCC posted a great story today.  Gaston Davis was at one point homeless.  He went through the program at the Union Mission and became an assistant at the Mission.  He went on to receive a degree at SWTCCC, and 11 years ago he founded the Center City Commission’s Blue Suede Brigade program.  Blue Suede Brigadiers walk the streets of Downtown Memphis, welcoming tourists, giving directions, and handing out maps and other helpful info.  That wonderful 16-person program was founded by a formerly homeless man.  I did not know that prior to today.

Gaston knows what it’s like on the street, and trains his Brigadiers to provide help to those in need.  And you know what?  Gaston supports the panhandling and single beer ordinances.  If the hidden agenda behind the ordinances were to run homeless people out of Downtown, I seriously doubt a formerly homeless man would be such a strong proponent of them.

There was a great comment to this story left on Facebook:  “I fear that some other self-proclaimed ‘advocates for the homeless’ care more about advancing their political ideology than providing help to the truly needy.”  EXACTLY!!!!

This page provides details on the ordinances, and ways you can show your support.  Please sign the petition!