Who plans on being a 2012 inductee into the Tube Top Hall of Fame?

It’s Saturday and the high is predicted for 103. I can’t imagine a better day than today to state your case why you should be inducted into the Tube Top Hall of Fame this year. Let’s see those tube tops!

By the way, I created a “Places to buy tube tops in Memphis” list on Foursquare. If you’re Foursquare friends with me, you can add places of your own to the list. If not, email me at paul@paulryburn.com with suggestions and I’ll add them.

I made it to South Main Trolley Tour for the first time in several months, and I have to say, what a difference the food trucks make! June-August are usually slow months, especially when scorching hot like last night, but there were plenty of people out. I didn’t have time to eat because I was on a birthday pub crawl, but I want to try a fish taco from the tamale truck soon.

I also got to see Real 2 Reel Photography for the first time. What a neat little place. I knew they did custom photography work for weddings, pets, senior pics, etc., but I didn’t realize how much artistic print work they have for sale as well. Wednesday there was a trolley crash on South Main, and Friday night, there was an artistic print of the wreck, on canvas. I would have bought it had I not been on the pub crawl. They’re professionals who do high-quality work, but it’s obvious they have a lot of fun too. I would not mind getting in there and doing an entire blog post about the place at some point in the future. I linked to their website, but it doesn’t do it justice – you really need to see the place for yourself.

Wang’s China Bistro on the Main Street Mall is now Yao’s China Bistro. I believe everything but the name remains the same.

There will be a “Romance on the Rooftop” party at the Peabody rooftop and skyway today 3-7 PM. R&B star Robin Thicke will perform. It’s presented by NBA star Monta Ellis and proceeds will benefit the National Civil Rights Museum and Stand for Children. Tickets are $50. More info here.

I’ve had people ask if fireworks are happening on the 3rd or Fourth this year. There will be fireworks on Mud Island on the Fourth. Details here. This is assuming no fireworks ban is put in place for Memphis between now and then due to the exceptionally dry weather. Many other parts of the state are under a ban.

Plans for today are to celebrate the fact that I was lucky enough to have Jay Hollingsworth as a landlord and friend for nine years. Although we’re all sad he’s no longer here, his friends plan to “celebrate Jay style,” so I can’t see how today could not be fun.

Fri update: Help the Food Bank get a new vehicle, things going on tonight, remodeling plans at the Civil Rights Museum

Before I start with my list of things happening tonight, a favor to ask… please go here and vote for the Mid-South Food Bank in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good challenge. They have several trucks for pick-ups and deliveries, but for daily errands, meetings, and trips, the Food Bank currently has only one OLD pickup truck shared by 35 employees. Winning the new car will help improve their efficiency feeding the need in the 31 county area they serve.

Probably the biggest attraction Downtown tonight will be the Famous “San Diego” Chicken, who will perform at the Redbirds game at AutoZone Park tonight at 7:05. Wow, with the high predicted to reach 104, I would not want to have to run around in a chicken suit. Ladies, to keep cool at the game, I would recommend not a chicken suit, but rather a tube top. I used to watch the chicken when he visited the Arkansas Travelers back in the ’80s; does he still do magic tricks that involve removing women’s bras? Maybe I need to buy a ticket for tonight.

Another option for entertainment Downtown tonight would be Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Orpheum. Movie starts at 7:15. The Orpheum has A/C so this would be a much cooler option than the ball game.

There’s also South Main Trolley Tour, with many of the shops and galleries open 6 to 9 PM. Among the venues that will have art exhibits will be Leadership Memphis (365 S. Main), Douglas & Associates (465 S. Main), and D’Edge (550 S. Main). If you’re looking for live music after Trolley Tour ends, the Prime Cut Band plays Marmalade Lounge, and Stew and Stacy plays Double J Saloon. Both are on G.E. Patterson Avenue.

There’s also art on the north end of Downtown tonight, at 440 N. Front. Epiphany Salon and Gallery will have its grand opening, with art by Soriana, Richard Jacobs, Boo Gardo, Brian Crenshaw, Holly Chapman, Larry Kuzniewski, Blas Blanco, and Rachelle Baker. 7-9 PM, with light snacks and beverages and live music. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

In addition to the north and south ends, there’s art on display at the eastern end of Downtown tonight. Brinson’s at 341 Madison will host a fundraiser for Hospitality HUB, with a showcase of local artists and musicians. If you want to help the homeless, this would be a good show to attend. The Hospitality HUB helps the homeless get ID, copies of birth certificates, and other things they need to get employment and a permanent place to live.

This Flyer article talks about the changes to come to the Civil Rights Museum when it closes in November for remodeling. Many exhibits will be given a more modern look. In addition, visitors will be able to stand on the balcony where Dr. King was assassinated, and sit in a replica of the Brown vs. Board of Education courtroom and read court documents.

That’s it for now, time for lunch. Plans for tonight. It’s the last Friday of the month, which normally would mean my plans are “go to the Saucer, then Trolley Tour.” However, during the summer months, plans often change to “go to the Saucer, think about going to Trolley Tour, decide it’s too hot outside, order another beer at the Saucer.” We’ll see what happens…

Thursday update

Jay Hollingsworth

One of Downtown’s true icons has passed away. Jay Hollingsworth was a friend and mentor to many who live here. His participation in Bardog’s 2011 alley party helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for St. Jude. Rest in peace, my friend. I am truly grateful for all you have done for this community.

Very sad that the next time I walk out of Number 10 Main, Jay won’t be standing outside, asking me, “Where you headed off to?”

Visitation for Jay will be 1-3 Saturday at the Forest Hill Funeral Home at 1661 Elvis Presley Blvd.

And now it’s time for me to rant about a business I wish would try harder to be part of the community. About 9:30 last night, I was lying in bed, reading the iPad, with fever of about 102.1. It’s a bad cold, and past experience has taught me that bombing myself with NyQuil and getting a quality night’s sleep is usually enough to kill a cold dead. So, I walked to the bathroom, opened the cabinet, and…

Oops! Out of NyQuil!

No, problem, right, considering I live a quarter of a block from Walgreens? WRONG!!! Downtown Walgreens closes at 8 PM. If they kept decent hours like every other Walgreens in town, I could have run over there and got my medicine. But, no such luck. I just didn’t have the energy to walk to the parking garage, get in the car, and drive to Union and 240 to the next closest Walgreens. So I put the iPad back on the charger, got back in bed, and lay there broiling wishing I could get to sleep. Last time I looked over at the clock it was past 3 AM and I was still awake.

By the way, I left a comment on Walgreens’ website back around 2005 asking why they didn’t lengthen their hours. They replied that their profitability studies did not indicate that it was worth staying open past 8 PM. Wish we had a locally-owned drugstore Downtown that wants to be part of the community and which has motivation beyond profits.

In the news: The Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare this morning, upholding it 5-4. For commentary by Constitutional experts, see Facebook.

Rooftop party news: Almost Famous plays the Peabody tonight. $10 cover includes your first drink, 6-11 PM. Ladies free before 7.

The Memphis All-Stars play the Madison rooftop tonight. 7-11 PM, $7 cover, cash bar, small plates.

An odd request, coming from me: If you go to the rooftop parties or go out anywhere else Downtown tonight, don’t wear a tube top. Save them for the weekend, when I’ll be fully recovered and back out.

In other Peabody news, there’s a report that the Little Rock Peabody is up for sale.

What have I been doing with my iPad while lying in bed the past two days? Being a classic 1980s pro wrestling fan, I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube footage. One interesting thing I found concerned the Von Erichs, a very popular family of fan favorites who wrestled in the 1980s, mainly in Texas. In late 1981-82 their father Fritz sent David Von Erich to wrestle as a heel (bad guy) in Florida under the tutelage of the hated Dory Funk Jr., a former World champion. The idea was that David was being groomed to be world champ himself in a year or two, and he needed experience working both sides of the coin. Here are links to David Von Erich in Florida, part 1, part 2, and part 3. There’s over an hour of footage total. Interesting thing I didn’t know until watching: David brought his younger brother Kerry with him a couple of times. I was unaware Kerry, later the Texas Tornado in the WWF, ever worked heel in his life. The footage also contains a famous moment when “Hacksaw” Butch Reed dragged World champ Ric Flair in the ring and ripped his expensive suit to pieces.

I’ve also been spending a lot of my sick time theorizing about the upcoming Presidential election, because I love electoral math. My basic theory is that Obama will win all the states that Kerry won in 2004. That accounts for 246 electoral votes (not as many as in 2004 because of reapportionment based on the 2010 census).  So Obama would need 24 more to get to 270. Ways he could get there:

  • Ohio + Nevada
  • Ohio + New Mexico
  • Florida
  • Iowa + Colorado + Nevada + New Mexico
  • Virginia + Iowa + New Mexico
  • and a bunch of other combinations that all seem fairly realistic as of today

My takeaway from all this is, something drastic is going to have to happen for Romney to even have a chance – something that will swing one or more Kerry states into his column. We’ll see how people react to the Supreme Court ruling today, because that could be such an event.

As for me, I’m just waiting until November 2016 when I can vote for the most qualified eligible person to be President – Hillary Clinton.

Another thing about electoral math: California + Oregon + Washington + Hawaii = 78 electoral votes that are solidly Democratic. So if at any point Obama hits 192 electoral votes on Election Night, even before the polls have closed in the Western states, you might as well stick a fork in Romney, he’s done.

Looking for a job? MLGW has several openings. Odd that they need a Strategic Marketing Coordinator. Why would MLGW have to market itself? Unless you’re Amish, you need power (and I bet even the Amish are re-thinking it on a day like today).

It’s NBA draft day. First pick is at 6 PM, and each subsequent team has 5 minutes to pick after that. That means that Memphis, with the 25th pick, will pick no later than 8:30 PM. However, teams don’t have to use the full 5 minutes, so it may be earlier. Memphis Tiger sophomore Will Barton, projected at 25 +/- 10, will likely get his name called somewhere between 7:15 and 9:30.

As of 3:30 PM, my fever is below 100, my energy is back, and my coughing has mostly subsided. Chances of me returning to work tomorrow are pretty much 100%. If I continue to feel good, I may get out for a little while to watch the Grizzlies and Will Barton part of the draft. Will probably stick to drinking water though. I’d prefer to watch the draft at one of the places Jay hung out – Bardog or Blind Bear. If anyone plans on being at either of those places, hit me up with a text.

Wed update: Flaming Lips @ Handy Park, new burger festival coming, and more

I’ve come down with the summer cold that, from what I’ve read on Twitter, seems to be making its way around the past couple of weeks. Coughing, sneezing, sniffling, sore throat, fever, all the usual symptoms. Called in sick because of the fever.

Let’s see if I can get a quick news post out before I go back to bed. The big event today is the Flaming Lips, who are playing a concert at Handy Park. They will have taken the stage by the time I finish this post and publish it. $20 to get in. This is part of an attempt to break the world record for number of concerts in 24 hours. They’ll play five venues in Mississippi, then Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Looking for something to do after the show? It’s Wine Down Wednesday at three nearby spots: Itta Bena (in the top floor of BB King’s), Silly Goose, and Brass Door. Another option would be to hit the Redbirds game post-concert. It starts at 7:05, and it’s Wet Your Whistle Wednesday: For only $10, fans will receive a field box ticket, 16oz Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and a PBR koozie.

I mentioned Kooky Canuck’s Canada Day party yesterday. If you go, be sure to download stiQRd to your smartphone and scan their QR code. 10 visits, 10 scans = $10 gift card.

I’ve seen discussion on Twitter for a while now for a new festival coming to Memphis. It’s a Best Memphis Burger festival, organized by Seth of the Best Memphis Burger blog. It will be Sunday, September 30 in the parking lot at Minglewood Hall, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Restaurants will compete in the contest, but anyone with a grill can enter. Activities will include cooking competitions, eating challenges, live music, vendors, food trucks, pet adoption opportunities and more. Proceeds from the festival will benefit Mid-South Spay and Neuter Services. Keep an eye on the festival’s website for more news to come. I haven’t posted about it because I didn’t want to steal Seth’s thunder, but it’s on the Flyer website so I assume the cat is out of the bag.

The Rumba Room was broken into last night. If you were on South Main about midnight last night, check out this link and see if the two guys in the photo look familiar.

An administrative note: I’m getting a ton of requests this week – call me about this, email me about that, need help with this, text me about that. Between being sick and having a high-priority project at work, I am swamped this week. I’m not purposely being rude if I don’t get back to you immediately – I just don’t have a lot of time right now, and I need some stress-free time at home to recover from this cold.

Oh yeah, it’s Tube Top Month. Let’s see if I’ve got any pictures on the phone I can use:

We’re running into a situation where the same people are appearing in tube tops too often on this blog. There’s one week left in Tube Top Month and I need some new subject matter. Unfortunately, I don’t know where I’ll be anytime in the next seven days, other than maybe South Main Trolley Tour on Friday, and almost certainly Pint Nite on Monday. So, I don’t know where to tell people to meet up with the Tube Top Cam and me.

Time to take the iPad off the charger and go back to bed. I think I’ve read everything there is to read about the NBA draft. You know what? I don’t think it would be a horrible move for the Grizzlies to take Will Barton at 25. Practicing with Tony Allen every day would do wonders for his work ethic. I’m not saying Barton is the best pick, just that he wouldn’t be a bad pick.

The really bad thing about getting sick is I had to break my streak of consecutive days at the Flying Saucer last night, ending it at 111. I won’t be there tonight either. Hopefully a new streak will begin tomorrow.

Canada Day celebration at Kooky Canuck this Sunday

This Sunday, July 1, Kooky Canuck will host a Canada Day celebration. There will be food and drink specials, a poutine eating contest, and prizes for best Canadian attire.

Drink specials will include 34 ounces of Labatt Blue beer for only $3, and $5 34 oz. 40 Tea. There will also be specials on their 29 Canadian whiskys.

Food specials will include the following:

Soup: Split Pea Soup

App’eh’tizers: Perogies and Poutine

Entre’eh’s: Montreal Steamies, Donair, Maple Sirloin Steak

Desserts: Butter Tarts, Maple Bread Pudding and Nanaimo Bars

There will also be a poutine eating contest. Poutine is a Canadian dish of fries topped with cheese and gravy. The contest will start at 2 PM, and whoever can eat the most plates of poutine in the specified time will be declared the winner. Sign up here if you want to be in the contest.

There will also be a “Most Canadian” contest. Wear your Canadian colors or jersey and have your photo taken. Entries will be judged online after the event, and winner will get a $100 gift certificate. (I bet a Canadian flag tube top would do well in the contest.)

They’ll have Canada Day shirts and cups available for purchase. The event is sponsored in part by Honourary Canadian Consul to Memphis, B. Lee Mallory. Come on down to Kooky on Sunday and celebrate our neighbor to the north.

Weekend recap: Tube top vs. tubetop, pool tourney, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Brick, Bardog Poo Poo

Few things from this weekend that I forgot to blog. First of all, I had an “Ask Paul” question:

Sometimes I see it spelled as “tubetop.” How do you feel about this?

Merging two words used together into one is a trend I’ve noticed a lot lately. I see “eggroll” and “hotdog” often, as opposed to “egg roll” and “hot dog.”

Let’s see what the AP Stylebook says about this…

Just kidding. Like I give a rat’s ass about the AP Stylebook! My ruling is that either “tube top” or “tubetop” is completely acceptable. It’s not how you write it; the important thing is that you wear them.

By the way, I don’t have a problem with “eggroll” or “hotdog’ either. I especially don’t have a problem with “hotdog” if it’s topped with a few slices of “bacon.”

Pete and Josh, the brothers whose company printed the BBQ team shirts, are avid pool players. Pete in particular is known to over-estimate his abilities on the pool table. So, Sunday we were at the Saucer, and Pete proposed a double-elimination pool tournament. Here are the results:

Game 1: I defeated Josh.

Game 2: I defeated Pete.

Game 3: I defeated Josh, eliminating him.

(Really, I think Josh should have played Pete in Game 3. “Winner keeps the table” is standard at pool, but it puts the leader at a disadvantage in double-elim. But, whatevs, in the end it didn’t matter.)

Game 4: I defeated Pete, eliminating him and winning the tournament. After the tournament, this is what Pete was thinking:


(Typing this from my phone. Apologies if the image is not the right size)

As we were playing pool, I noticed this:


What’s awesome about this is, the Flying Saucer has cut the price of pool from $1.25 to $1.00. How often do you see prices go down in this day and age? A very good move! The table accepts both quarters and dollar bills.

Squeal Street BBQ team members Talley and Robert showed up at the Saucer a few minutes later, and we had a great conversation about BBQ and politics. Love hanging out with those guys. They hadn’t seen the future home of Aldo’s Pizza Pies, so we walked up there.

Robert walked right in, and Talley and I followed. A guy named Mose stopped us and told us the public wasn’t allowed in yet- but, realizing he was looking at three of the restaurant’s future regulars, Mose invited us to look around for a quick minute. We snapped a couple of pics.



That place is huge. It’s nearly the size of the Saucer. Found out yesterday that one of the bartenders will be a familiar face too. I am going to enjoy that restaurant!

Talley and Robert decided to join me for a beer or two at the Blind Bear. Along with a few people who hang out at the Goose on Sunday, we had the run of the bar. As we were drinking, we were treated to a guest appearance by the one and only…


BRICK!!!!!!!!! She didn’t get the memo about Tube Top Month, I guess. As my friend Ishtiaq would say, “She should wear her birthday suit!” Which by my definition would qualify as a tube top (no straps).

I finished the evening with to-go food from Bardog. I got the Bardog Poo Poo, which is their appetizer sampler. It’s named after the Puu Puu Platter sold in many Chinese restaurants. Buffalo chicken tenders, shrimp skewers, fried pickles, and fries. 4 dipping sauces. (Edit: I knew I forgot something. Egg rolls. Or eggrolls. Whatevs. At least I was in Downtown Memphis keeping it real, unlike some of my readers who hung out in Pigshit, MS.) Just an immense amount of food. Half of it is in the fridge waiting for me to get home.

A Sunday that turned out to be Fun Day indeed. Again, posting from my phone- if the pics are the wrong size I’ll fix them when I get home. Right now, time to hit Publish and get back to my beer.

Mon update: Harahan Bridge Project, Brass Door mayor special, Sports 56 on FM, Facebook changed your email address without permission, Redbirds celebrate Independence Day & end of Tube Top Month

I’ve posted a couple of times in the past week about the Harahan Bridge Project. This is a pedestrian/bike walkway that will connect Memphis to West Memphis via a $30 million pedestrian/bike path on one of the existing Mississippi River railroad bridges. More information about the project will be presented at tomorrow’s Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting. The meeting will be at Number 10 Main (hey, I know someone who lives there!), on the Main Street Mall just south of Madison. Meeting will be either be on the rooftop or in the lobby, depending on temperatures tomorrow.

On Foursquare? There’s a new Mayor Special at a Downtown pub. The Brass Door posted to Facebook, “Don’t forget to check in on Foursquare. Free Lunch and a Pint for the Mayor each week!”

If you’re into sports talk radio, Sports 56 is now on the FM dial in Memphis as well, at 87.7. You can also listen to them online at http://sports56whbq.com.

Over the weekend, Facebook changed your primary email address to yourusername@facebook.com without asking your permission. This Lifehacker article explains how to change it back. Zuckerburg continues to find new ways to piss people off. He really needs an assistant who gets the whole “basic social skills” thing (he obviously doesn’t have them) to tell him when he has a stupid idea.

Tomorrow has been declared another Code Orange Ozone Alert day, so trolley rides will once again be 25 cents.

Tickets are now on sale for the 6:05 Independence Day Redbirds game at AutoZone Park. There will be fireworks that night, and there are two special options if you want to enjoy some good old American food.

– For $40: Club Level ticket & 2 hour all-you-can-eat buffet of Rendezvous BBQ & ballpark fare
– For $28: Field Box ticket & 2 hour all-you-can-eat buffet of ballpark fare

Tickets are limited, so call (901) 721-6000 to get them while you can. Game time is 6:05. July 4 is the last day of Tube Top Month. Why not show your support for the Redbirds by wearing a tube top!

Time to hit Pint Nite at the Saucer – almost all drafts on the wall $3 a pint. Undecided whether I’ll play poker at the Goose at 7:30.

Tastes like bacon, without the bacon.

Last night I went all the way to 8 PM without eating. I left Mud Island before my friends took the Boston butts off the grill. After showering and changing, I stopped at Bardog to see Panda Manda (who promised a tube top this Tuesday) and then the Saucer. After a couple of beers there I was starving and in the mood for something spicy. I walked up the street to Rio Loco.

I ordered the Shrimp al Chipotle. It’s a generous serving of shrimp in a chipotle cream sauce, with rice and beans on the side. Knowing the dish would have a fair amount of spice to it, I ordered a small guacamole dip as well, to take the heat off.

I don’t know how they manage to do it, but that chipotle cream sauce makes the shrimp taste like they are wrapped in bacon. It’s brilliant. The guac did its job controlling the burn in my mouth, although the shrimp were not quite as spicy as I’d thought they’d be. I needed food in my stomach to have a base for the evening, and this meal nailed it. If I ever end up on death row I’d be totally content with the Shrimp al Chipotle as my last meal.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo, sorry.

Another thing about eating at Rio Loco is that you can control how the rest of the evening will turn out through your choice of beverage. Here’s the way I see it:

  • Want to be sober later in the evening? Order a Coke with dinner.
  • Want to be hammered? Order a jumbo margarita.
  • Prefer something in between? Order a 25 ounce Dos Equis Lager.

I should mention that Rio Loco has an excellent selection of tequilas, if that’s your thing. I’m not into tequila, other than as a margarita ingredient, so I don’t look at that as an option.

All in all, a fine meal that got the evening started right. If you’ve never looked beyond the burritos and enchiladas at Rio Loco, you’re missing out on some good stuff.

Photos: LuvMud Island 2012

This morning I took the trolley north to A. W. Willis Avenue (25 cents today because there’s an ozone advisory). Then I walked across the bridge to Mud Island Greenbelt Park, where LuvMud Island was taking place.

When I got there a little after 11:30, a crowd had already started to gather, especially where there was shade. The runners were lined up and started taking off in heats about 10 minutes apart. Food vendors included the Revival and Scratch food trucks, Cafe Eclectic, and Crepe Maker.

The final obstacle on the obstacle course was a 50-foot mud pit.

The first band of the day got the runners motivated.

The get Rhythm! tent invited everyone to come in and try their hand at drumming.

The pit up close. To protect the Tube Top Cam and iPhone, I decided to move farther away from the pit and rely on zoom to photograph the runners.

Here comes Rusty, and… they’re off!

The first-place finisher. Most of the people who finished within the first 5 minutes of this guy weren’t concerned with wallowing around in the pit. They were serious runners who were shooting for the best possible time.

However, there were good reasons to wallow around in the mud. LuvMud had hidden a couple of prizes in there, including an iPad and an iPod Nano, which could be exchanged for new, working models at the finish line. There was also a car key in a Ziploc bag that was found in the pit. That wasn’t a prize – it fell out of someone’s pocket.




Rambo and his girlfriend won the costume contest prior to the start of the race.

He hoped there were cookies in the mud pit.

That iPad’s gotta be in there somewhere…

Roscoe was excited about the 2 PM dog lover’s race.

Special appearance by Charlie Brown

Big splash in 3, 2, 1…

The Memphis Fire Department helped racers rinse off.

Bad day for the ice cream man. No one could get to his truck!

The Web of Doom, another obstacle the racers had to navigate. They also had to run through buses and over giant haystacks.

Full photo album (114 images) here. This isn’t an album where you’ll see a lot of the people I hang around with; however, if you ran the race, you may well find yourself in this album!

The participants didn’t really stay around for the festival (which goes until 7 tonight) as much as the organizers probably hoped they would. I can understand why though; it was extremely HOT! There was a group of 6 of us that were going to walk over to my friend Bob’s place on the Island for smoked Boston butts. However, by 2 I was completely dehydrated, even though I’d only had one beer. I realized I could walk home to my place as easily as I could walk to Bob’s; so I did, stopping at nearly every convenience store on the way for a cold drink.

If what you see here looks like fun, you don’t have wait long to jump in and get muddy. LuvMud will have a festival in Shelby Farms Park September 28 and 29.

Important PBR news

As I was walking home from Mud Island today, I saw this sign on Ferraro’s Pizzeria and Pub. Important news for Downtowners.

Home from LuvMud. Processing the photos in Picasa now. Not as many tube tops as I’d hoped. I’ll have a photo album up in a little while.