Tue update: State of Downtown speech, find unadvertised jobs, BBQ calendar, open letter to bad tippers, and more

One of the best ways to find out what’s going on in Downtown Memphis is to attend Paul Morris’ annual State of Downtown speech. Paul Morris, who runs DMC, will give the annual equivalent of the president’s State of the Union speech at the January South Main Association meeting. It will be next Tuesday, January 14, at Grawemeyer’s at 520 S. Main. 6:00 social, 6:30 meeting. Free for SMA members, $10 for non-members. There will be appetizers compliments of the restaurant and a cash bar.

From Lifehacker: Find unadvertised job openings with a clever Google search. When you’re hunting for employment, you need to give yourself every advantage you can.

Here’s a calendar of BBQ competitions around the world. It includes festivals in Puerto Rico and Belgium. Of course, Memphis in May BBQ Fest is on the calendar.

From the Huffington Post: An open letter to bad tippers. If you’re the type of person who rounds a $65 bill up to $70, you need to read this.

Shout-out to everyone attending the rally to save AutoZone Park going on right now. Wish I could be there with you… wait, it’s 21 outside, maybe I don’t. They were serving free Cokes, hot chocolate, cookies, and hot dogs. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl showed up.

If nothing comes up, I’ll check out Cafe Keough tonight after work, after my plans to visit a week ago went off track. I’ll probably play poker at Blind Bear tonight (after all I am the defending champion), but will probably arrive a bit late after the official 8 PM starting time. Happy Tuesday everyone and go Grizzlies in tonight’s home game.

Mon update: Rally for the Park, Central BBQ pint night, Mix-Odyssey, Bayless traded, Salty Dogs run/Bardog

There will be a Rally for AutoZone Park tomorrow at noon. Participants will meet at the park and march down Main Street Mall to show public support for the city purchasing the ballpark and keeping the Redbirds in Memphis. You’re invited to wear red and join the rally. There will be hot dogs, sodas, hot chocolate and more at the Park. Redbirds baseball caps, and other fan gear will be distributed to as many people as possible along with red sock caps to keep your head warm.

Can’t be there? Here are other ways to show your support:

*Share the message via social media using the hashtag

*Sign the petition: http://chn.ge/1lq76Zj

*Print the poster and bring it with you to the rally, or hang
it in your window.

*Email your city council members:

Central BBQ’s Downtown location and Memphis Made Brewing will host a special pint night Thursday. There will be $3 pints of Reverberation and Fireside Ninja for sale. There will also be free snacks and apps at the bar. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

Volunteer Odyssey is hosting its first fundraiser of the year on Sunday, February 9 from 2-5 PM at Jack Robinson Gallery. It will be called Mix-Odyssey and will feature the talents of several local mixologists, both hobbyists and pros. Highlights:
– Sample high-end cocktails from seven mixologists
– Music by award-winning Grizzlies DJ Justin Baker
– Hosted by Action News 5’s Lauren Squires
– Light appetizers provided
– Vote for crowd favorite
– Panel of “celebrity” guest judges

You can buy tickets here. Volunteer Odyssey, in case you haven’t heard of it, provides a way for Memphians to volunteer for a variety of nonprofit organizations and then blog about their experience.

In case you haven’t heard the news, the Grizzlies have reached an agreement to send Jerryd Bayless to the Boston Celtics. We’ll get Courtney Lee in return.

I mentioned the Salty Dogs run happening tonight. They’re meeting in the alley next to Bardog (Scratchy’s Alley) at 7 rather than in the bar itself, because Bardog is closed through Wednesday for renovations.

BCS National Championship is tonight at 7:30 on ESPN. I’ll be out at one of my favorite bars to watch the game. Right now, I am getting back to work. Having a very productive Monday. Everyone stay warm tonight!

Sun update: Hacked, baby names, peanut butter pie, street lights, AutoZone Park, condos for sale, and more

Well great. I’ve been notified that my debit card info is among the 40 million that got stolen in the Target hack last month. They’re issuing me a new card. So far there are not any fraudulent purchases. I’ve enabled text-me-on-purchase so I will know about fraudulent activity immediately.

The good news is, if they do try to use my debit card number to ring up charges, they’re not going to get all the money in my bank account. About a year ago, when a lot of my friends were getting their card info skimmed at local bars, I took steps to protect myself. I stopped using my bank debit card and got a PayPal debit card. I can transfer funds from the bank to PayPal, and then from PayPal to the card, so I control how much money is available. I keep enough on the card to cover me in case of an emergency, as well for cases where I have to pay with a card, like online purchases or reserving a hotel room. If hackers/skimmers get me, though, they only have access to what’s on the card, and not what’s in my bank account. I’m probably paying a few extra dollars in fees, but for the peace of mind it’s worth it.

One of my Facebook friends posted a great article called How to Name a Baby that was really good and I thought I’d share it here. It discusses name fads and graphs some of them. For example:

  • “Jennifer” peaked in popularity from 1965 to 1985 but hardly anyone gets named Jennifer now. Sounds right; I went to school with lots of Jennifers.
  • “Ashley” peaked in the 1980s and is on its way out as a name now. I went to school with plenty of Ashleys too, but they were almost always younger than me.
  • “Shirley” peaked in the 1930s. The card game I work with for my job appeals to an older generation (although we’re working to change that) and I get lots of calls and emails from Shirleys.
  • “Emma” was a fad in our great-grandmothers’ time, and is again now. I didn’t go to school with any Emmas because it was considered an antiquated name at the time.
  • Presidents cause name fads to happen. “Theodore” was especially popular in the first decade of the 20th century. “Calvin” has remained somewhat steadily popular, but peaked in 1923 to 1929 when Coolidge was president.
  • Adolph was a popular name for years, but declined in the 1940s. You can figure that one out, I hope.
  • If you want to avoid name fads and pick a timeless boy name, you can’t go wrong with “William.”

Next time you go to Central BBQ in the South Main district, be sure to save room for some peanut butter pie. There’s a pic on the Hungry Memphis blog.

Now this is cool: Montreal just got some new street lights that look like cartoon speech bubbles. Nice way to subtly communicate “we have fun here” to visitors.

Act now to save AutoZone Park. The link shares ways you can let the City Council know that you want the city to purchase the park and keep the Redbirds here.

If you’re looking to buy a Downtown condo, Memphis real estate broker Joe Spake has been tweeting/pinning some good leads today. Follow him on Twitter at @joespake.

The Grizzlies play an away game vs. the Detroit Pistons at noon. You can watch it locally on SportSouth. Thanks to @MemphisOnTV on Twitter for the info.

The usual idiot who shows up wherever I am showed up at Bardog yesterday about noon. He always tries to sit right in my line of sight, so I have no choice but to look at him. Geez. Later in the day he followed me to Silly Goose. I guess I should just publish my schedule to Google Calendar to make life easier for him. I hear that people have been unfriending him and blocking him on Facebook lately. Since Christmas week I’ve had three people tell me, “You know, Paul, I have to admit you’ve been right about him all along.” Just think if he’d taken all the time, energy, and money he spent in 2013 on passive-aggressive attempts to get even with me for not liking him, and instead diverted that to something positive, such as developing new career skills. I’ve seen several skills-certification courses on Groupon lately…

This morning I’m putting together a bag of clothes that I don’t wear anymore to donate to the homeless. I’ll take the clothes to the Blind Bear, where there will be a donation box through Wednesday. There are also boxes at Bardog, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Slider Inn, Local, and Newby’s. I found some nice polos that would help the homeless look good for potential jobs. I also found a Flying Saucer “GOOD BEER” shirt. Maybe I should leave that one out of the bag, to avoid encouraging bad habits.

I want to take a moment to apologize for the number of days I’ve gone without posting lately. I usually try not to skip days. The past three weeks, though, I’ve been dealing with a car that broke down, a car repair that has now been delayed twice, a parking garage pass that stopped working, fighting off a cold, dealing with my debit card being hacked, and the blasted holidays on top of everything else. I’ve been stressed out and just not at the top of my game. Hopefully I will be back in top form this week. Thanks everyone for sticking with me.

Time to put on 4 layers of clothes and go out. It will be 50 when I leave the apartment. When I walk home around 10 tonight after winning Blind Bear poker, Weatherbug predicts it will be 20. By the way, 20 is warmer than it will be at any point on Monday. Nothing to do but get ready for the big chill.

Sat update: Weather, Salty Dogs polar bear run, Blind Bear to repeat NYE, yoga @ Cotton Museum, and more

MemphisWeather.net is having a Google Hangout tonight at 8 PM to discuss the brutally cold weather that will be here Sunday-Tuesday. If you’re on Google+, circle MemphisWeather.net if you want to join in. If you’ll be busy at 8, you can read the MemphisWeather.net blog for information on what to expect. According to their Twitter account (@memphisweather1), Monday will be the first day in 18 years that Memphis has experienced highs in the teens. They also reported that yesterday’s low of 19 marked the first time in 1056 days that Memphis has dipped below the 20-degree mark. Finally, here’s an animation of the Arctic air to move in Sunday-Monday.

If you think our weather will be cold on Monday, check out the forecast for Minneapolis: High -15, low -21. Meanwhile, the forecast for Anchorage, Alaska for Monday is high 30, low 27, so on average Anchorage will be running about 15 degrees warmer than Memphis on Monday.

I see that the cold weather is not going to stop running group The Salty Dogs. They are having a polar bear run on Monday. The run starts and ends at Bardog Tavern and start time is 7 PM. Post-run, the runners enjoy specials in Bardog’s underdog room. If you’re into running, this is a good way to meet some friendly fellow Downtowners.

The Blind Bear is having New Year’s Eve Part 2 all day tomorrow, for those who had to work, for those who want to do it all over again, and for those who want to experience New Year’s Eve that isn’t Amateur Night. $2.50 domestic bottles, $3 drink specials (mimosas, champagne, poinsettias, Bloody Marys, moonshine shots, Fireball), $4 well drinks, $5 house wine, free Texas Hold Em’ poker at 6:30pm, $15 bottles of Yellow Tail bubbly, $30 bottles of Sophia Blanc de Blancs. Brunch will be served from noon until 6 PM. If they remember they’ll do a countdown at midnight.

The Cotton Museum will be offering pay-what-you-can yoga classes in partnership with Evergreen Yoga Studio. Leah Bray Nichols, primary instructor at the studio, will lead the exercise. First class of 2014 is Tuesday at 7 AM. More info here.

Perihelion occurs at 5:59 PM today, at which time the Earth will be the closest to the Sun of any point along its yearly orbit. Sure doesn’t feel like we’re close to the Sun today!

Yesterday I worked from home for the first 2 hours of the day as I waited on a car repair. Right before 8 I walked to Walgreens for my daily caffeine. Scene I witnessed as I walked to Walgreens: A man asking people for change to help the homeless. Scene I witnessed as I came out of Walgreens: The same man banging on the door of CeCe’s Liquors, yelling, “Clyde! You open yet?” DO NOT GIVE THESE PEOPLE MONEY! If you want to help the homeless, there are many fine organizations to which you can donate, including the Union Mission, Hospitality HUB, Door of Hope, and Manna House. If you give money directly to people on the street, it will almost certainly go toward alcohol and drugs rather than food and shelter.

Off to Bardog to start the morning at Brooke’s bar and watch the Tigers play Cincinnati (ESPN2). Go Tigers!

Fri update: A&R closed, Cafe Keough, Tennessee Brewery, local coffee stout, career advice, weather, Shen Yun

A&R Bar-b-Que’s Downtown location at Third and Court has closed. It had been open since 2008. Sad to see it go. It was a place I went often for lunch when I worked in the Falls Building. It’s hard for restaurants to make it on Third because it’s a couple of blocks removed from most of Downtown’s residential space.

Holly from the I Love Memphis Blog visited Cafe Keough recently and took some good pictures.

An article on the Commercial Appeal website says that owners of the Tennessee Brewery will decide within 60 days whether to proceed with demolition. The beautiful 1890s building on Tennessee Street has been vacant for years. Beer was brewed there from the end of the 19th century through the 1950s, except during Prohibition. It would be a shame to lose this building, especially now that there’s a growing interest in craft beer within the city. Memphis Heritage: If my blog can be of any use to you in an attempt to save the brewery, please let me know.

In better beer-related news, Memphis Made Brewing Co. has teamed up with Reverb, a local coffee roastery. The result is Reverberation, a Belgian-style coffee stout.

My friend Angela Copeland, CEO of Copeland Coaching, has a new article on the Daily News site: A New Year, A New You. Great advice on a career cleanup to get yourself looking great to prospective employers. You can follow her at @CopelandCoach on Twitter, where she has been posting some fantastic job leads at some of Memphis’ best companies.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the weather, you might want to this weekend. Sunday we’re looking at a high of about 40, dropping to a low in the low-to-mid teens. There will be precipitation on Sunday, and it’s unclear whether it will fall as rain, ice, or snow. The high temp on Monday will be a chilling 16 degrees, which is 33 degrees below normal. Icy roads could make the Monday morning commute tricky.

Chinese dance performance Shen Yun happens tomorrow and Sunday at the Cannon Center. The performance celebrates 5000 years of Chinese culture.

That’s all for now. Everyone stay warm this weekend and be safe.

Happy Professionals’ Day

Happy New Year’s Day, or as I call it, Professionals’ Day. This is the day when all the pros go out for some day drinking and discuss what happened last night on New Year’s Eve, or Amateur Night as we call it. Who puked? Who got in a fight? Who broke up? Who hooked up? Who peed themself, or worse? Who decided to experiment and find out what gay sex is like? Who got a DUI? Who fell off their bar stool? Who lost their phone? Who spent the night crying uncontrollably? Who got thrown out of the bar? Who had sex in the bar restroom? Who got so drunk that they forgot where they parked and reported their car stolen? Who got so drunk that they tried to pay their bar tab with a Home Depot gift card? Who got hungry and passed out in the booth at Denny’s? Who left their panties in the alley behind Local? Inquiring minds want to know!

(credit to Robo for his contribution to the paragraph above)

One of the first things I do on New Year’s Day is check the Shelby County “Who’s in Jail?” page, particularly the Recent Bookings tab, to see if I recognize any of the names. So far so good this year.

Work let us go at 3 yesterday afternoon, and I hurried Downtown, with enough time to get a couple of beers in at the Flying Saucer before they threw everyone out at 5 to decorate for their Amateur Night party. While there, I noticed this sign hanging over the urinals in the men’s room:

2013-12-31 16.54.01

Don’t forget to wash your hands! By the way, that’s some nice ca. 1985 Jermaine Jackson hair on the two dudes in the image above.

When the Saucer kicked us out at 5, I had a decision to make. Stay out and try to make the best of Amateur Night/New Year’s Eve, or just go home? I had two offers of things to do. Some of my friends had room at the table they reserved at a bar in the Downtown core. It’s one of my favorite places to go, but it’s also a place where the type of behavior I described in the first paragraph has a high probability of happening on NYE. So I decided to pass on that one, although I appreciated the offer very much.

Another option was South Main. “We’re going to meet up at Max’s Sports Bar at 6 to watch the Tiger game,” one of my friends told me. “Then we’re going to figure out New Year’s Eve from there. We’ll probably do ‘the triangle’ – Max’s, Double J, Earnestine & Hazel’s.” All of those places would be considerably more low-key on New Year’s Eve than the high-profile bars in the Downtown core. I decided to at least watch the Tigers at Max’s, and then consider my options for staying out.

It was the Tigers’ first in-conference game in the American Athletic Conference, and South Florida was the opponent. The Tigers got an 88-73 win and looked strong, with dunks and threes all over the place. Pastner’s strategy of getting deflections seems to be paying off. Joe looked strong. Geron Johnson was on fire. Shaq is going to be wearing a NBA jersey by the end of 2015 if he keeps improving at the rate of the past six months. They need to learn to stay out of foul trouble a little better before they play marquee conference games against Louisville and UConn, though. It’s acceptable for Nichols to get into foul trouble because he’s young. The others need to play smarter in that respect. I continue to think 300-pound Dominic Woodson has a lot of untapped potential, and if he works hard I hope Pastner gives him a chance. Next game is a home game against Cincinnati at 11 Saturday. ESPN2 will carry it.

After the game, I stayed for one more PBR, but then decided to call it a night. Max’s/Double J/E&H sounded like a plan and I would definitely have had a good time with the company I was in, but I didn’t want to deal with the walk home, the first 8 blocks of which would be on Main Street which would be crawling with traffic by that time. Remembering how people celebrate by shooting fireworks and sometimes guns out of their car window, I decided I didn’t want to deal with it. I walked up to the Butler Street trolley stop about 9.

The trolley driver recognized me. “Hey man, it’s good to see you on my trolley!” he said. “I see you walking up and down the street all the time, but I never see you ride. It’s good to have you on here.” I appreciate friendly trolley drivers. My last conversation of 2013 was a good one. I got off at City Market and got enough food for last night and today. Since I enjoyed Nikki’s Hot Ass Chips last week, I decided to pick up a bottle of Hot Ass Seasoning to take home. I ate and was in bed well before midnight, and slept through “WOOOOOOOO!!!!!” and fireworks outside.

You know the little Outlook notification box for new email that comes up in the bottom right corner of your screen? That showed up I had in dreams I had a couple of times last night. I could have done without that.

A friend of mine called a bartender at Bardog last night to ask what time they would be open today. She said 8 AM. I won’t be there that early, but I will be there around noon or 1 and invite the other Downtown professionals to join me. In the event that it’s not open, I’ll be at Aldo’s Pizza Pies bar which I know for sure is open. I think Kooky Canuck is open too. At 5 I will walk over to the Flying Saucer when it opens, and then at 6:30 I will play in the special New Year’s edition of the Blind Bear poker game. Happy New Year everyone!