Christmas Eve Eve update: Madison Groupon, Blind Bear party, fast break, beer news, inspiring message sent by Pope Francis, and more

December 23 was one of my favorite days as a kid. Growing up in Little Rock, one of the local TV stations had a Christmas TV special that day on its noon news/Dialing for Dollars program. All the kids of TV station employees would sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Santa, by the way, was Little Rock’s version of Bozo the Clown on days other than December 23. At the end of the show the kids would get their presents and unwrap them. When I was a little kid it was a reminder that my presents were only two days away. As I got older I watched the show to see the atrocious outfits parents dressed their kids in for TV, some of which would have won the tacky sweater contest I judged at the Majestic last Wednesday night.

Okay, enough storytelling. Let’s get to the news. There’s a Groupon going on right now that would make a great Christmas gift for someone you want to have the Downtown Memphis experience in style. It’s a one-night stay at the Madison Hotel, with queen-bed rooms going for $129 and king-bed rooms for $159. That’s a very good deal. If you don’t live Downtown, why not give yourself this gift and experience what it’s like to be a Downtown Memphian for a day? Good way to take the neighborhood for a test-drive if you’re thinking about moving down here.

The big thing going on in the Downtown core tonight (other than the Grizzlies-Jazz game at FedExForum) is the Blind Bear’s 2nd anniversary party. It starts at 8 with the Micheal Brothers 8-11 and DJ Eric Hurston 11-2. There will be many $3 drink specials and giveaways. Since I have Christmas Eve and Christmas off and am not traveling out of town, this is an effective Friday night for me, and you better believe I will be there until late into the evening!

If you haven’t seen this, you need to take a minute to watch the dazzling Memphis Tigers fast break from the game vs. SEMO Saturday night. It features a no-look pass, a behind-the-back pass, an alley oop, and a thundering dunk to finish it off.

Got a couple of pieces of beer news today. First of all, tickets to the 2014 Memphis Brewfest are now on sale. This event happens every April in AutoZone Park. They usually have quite a selection of not-normally-available-in-Memphis beers to sample and it’s one of the best beer festivals of the spring season.

Also in the news, Memphis Made Brewery has made the decision to go seasonal.

Thanks to one of my college classmates and Facebook friends for posting this: Pope Francis condemns racism and declares that “all religions are true” at historic Third Vatican Council. “The time has come to abandon all intolerance,” said the Pope. I’m not Catholic but I really like the message this man is bringing to the world. “God is changing and evolving as we are,” said Pope Francis. Exactly! This is what I have been wanting to hear (and have not been hearing) from organized religion all my life.

That’s it for now. I’ll be at the Blind Bear’s party at 8, and will probably pre-game with a few Pint Nite beers at the Flying Saucer beforehand.