Tuesday news update

MATA is presenting its plan to get the trolleys running again to the City Council this afternoon. According to this Flyer article, some of the Council members have questions about the Madison Avenue line. I for one am glad to see these questions being raised. Perhaps the trolley line should be replaced with a bus line that runs from Main to Cooper, connecting Downtown and Overton Square. The bus would get people where they are going faster and would not require any additional infrastructure. Ride the Roo has proved that bus lines that connect two entertainment-destination neighborhoods can be successful.

From FiveThirtyEight: See how your city’s public transportation stacks up. Memphis was 154th out of 290 cities, with 9.5 trips per capita. New York was first with 229.8 trips per capita, followed by San Francisco (131.5) and Washington (99.6).

City Market has rolled out a new breakfast special, where you get one meat, one side, and a biscuit or toast for $4.99. Choices include turkey/pork sausage, bacon, sausage & gravy, oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, scrambled eggs, grits, housemade potatoes, and apple cinnamon compote. Extra sides can be purchased at additional cost.

There was a large fire at PB&J Towing on Main near Virginia shortly before noon. Several cars caught on fire and then it spread to the building. MFD put it out and no one was hurt.

The Memphis Flyer releases its 20 Under 30 issue tomorrow. To celebrate, there will be a party at the High Cotton taproom, 598 Monroe, tomorrow starting at 6 PM.

The growler shop inside the Cash Saver on Madison is selling limited-edition Grizzlies logo growlers. Only 2000 were made and as of about noon today, more than 1100 have already been sold.

If I have any Collierville readers, you’re about to get a growler shop called On Tap Growlers, and local Memphis Made beer will be among the taps with Lucid, Fireside Ninja, and Reverberation.

Here’s the drinking game for President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight.

Former Memphis Tiger Joe Jackson is excelling in the NBA D-League. A Draft Express writer says Joe looks like a totally different person and may have the best defense in the league.

This is really cool: A 13-year-old built a machine out of Legos that prints Braille for use by the blind. The machine really works and costs 85% less than traditional Braille printers. The boy is believed to be one of the youngest entrepreneurs ever to receive venture capital funding.

That’s all for today. Time to hit Publish and go get a PBR.

Moody Ques seeks team sponsor(s) for 2015

My Memphis in May BBQ Fest competition team, the Moody Ques, is seeking sponsorship for 2015. Below is a document created by our team co-founder outlining what we offer for different levels of sponsorship. Keep in mind that we can customize any package listed below to create the exact experience that meets the sponsor’s needs.

If you have questions or are interested in sponsoring, shoot me an email at paul@paulryburn.com and I will put you in touch with the team leaders.

(I’ll be back this evening with a Tuesday news post)


Hello All,

That wonderful time of the year where Downtown Memphis smells of World Class BBQ from around the world is rapidly approaching! The Moody Ques have been involved with BBQ Fest for going on 8 years in some shape or fashion and we are looking to add some new sponsors/members to our team. We have had a great run in the last three years and would love to continue having the best party on the Bluff as well as providing our team with championship quality food and drinks!

We are changing things up a bit this year by offering different levels of sponsorship. We realize that in these difficult economic times many companies that want to be involved cannot, so we came up with a 4 tiered level program to allow more of you the opportunity to enjoy BBQ Fest just as much as large corporations. Please note, these levels of sponsorship and what we can offer are just suggestions and we are willing to discuss any issues or changes. We can also offer team t-shirts and Wednesday night tickets to sponsors depending on sponsorship level and availability.

Normal Team Dues

  • $350 per individual
  • $500 per couple ***NOTE: Must be a real couple; not two friends joining together.


  • two meals a day and access to the tent and bar

Platinum Hog Level ($10,000):

  • 25 Guests
  • Exterior and Interior Signage (according to Memphis in May rules)
  • Company logo on cups and t-shirts

Gold Hog Level ($7,500):

  • 15 Guests
  • Interior Signage
  • Company logo on cups and t-shirts

Silver Hog Level ($5,000):

  • 10 Guests
  • Interior Signage
  • Company logo on cups and t-shirts

Bronze Hog Level ($2,000):

  • 4 Guests
  • Interior Signage


  • 2008 3rd place Best Shoulder (as our predecessor team The Ques Brothers)
  • 2012 3rd place Best Booth
  • 2013 1st place Best Booth
  • 2014 1st place Best Booth

We do our best to provide a great atmosphere for our members and sponsors and to date have succeeded! We look forward to hearing from you and/or your company in the near future!

Clay Thompson
Co-Founder of The Moody Ques

Monday news

I woke this morning about 5 to the sound of a helicopter flying over Downtown. It’s very rare to hear a helicopter flying that early and I wondered if there was a manhunt. There was not. Protestors planned to shut down the I-40 bridge in a peaceful MLK Day demonstration and I assume the chopper was flying to ensure the safety of participants; however, the protest didn’t happen.

There’s a new pedal tavern cruising the streets of Downtown. I saw it this weekend on the Main Street Mall. Choose901 has full details. It seats up to 14 and is BYOB, with the tavern supplying the cups and coolers.

The Silly Goose is having its sixth anniversary party this Thursday, January 22, starting at 9 PM.

From the Flyer: Memphis Tigers basketball attendance: Is there reason to worry?
This appears to be the first season since 2006-07 that average attendance is likely to finish below 16,000.

Stats site FiveThirtyEight gives the Grizzlies a 98.5% chance of making the playoffs.

Congratulations to WMC reporter Michael Clark, who won the WSOP Media Poker Tournament yesterday at Horseshoe Tunica. $1000 was donated to Clark’s favorite charity, the Tunica Humane Society.

That’s it for now. If your company has any interest in sponsoring a Memphis in May BBQ Fest team, check back – I will be posting sponsorship packages for my team the Moody Ques within the next day. Back tonight or tomorrow with more news as well.

Music event worth putting on your calendar for Tuesday night, plus MLK events tomorrow

This week is the International Blues Challenge, when blues musicians and bands from all over the world travel to Memphis to perform in front of live audiences and be heard by judges, with the winner receiving a recording contract. The way it works is, there are two nights (Wednesday-Thursday) where all the bands perform in the clubs of Beale Street and nearby, and you can buy a wristband and get into all the clubs to see them for one price. The next night (Friday) is the semifinals, where bands selected by the judges perform again, and there is once again a wristband at a slightly higher price. The finals, along with presentation of the award for best self-produced CD, happen at the Orpheum on Saturday.

However, the folks who run the Blues Foundation have told me in past years about a “sleeper” event that precedes the start of the competition, a hidden gem that folks either overlook or can’t attend because they have not yet arrived in town. That makes it a good chance for the locals to slip in and hear some excellent music before things swing into full gear. It’s the International Blues Showcase, happening Tuesday night at the New Daisy Theater on Beale. The doors open at 5:30 and throughout the evening you will hear blues acts from all over the world. You might catch a band from Poland, or Germany, or Australia… you never know. (Me personally, I’m hoping for an all-female Romanian band.) Tickets are $10 at the door.

Tomorrow is MLK Day, and there will be several events happening Downtown. As I mentioned earlier, there will be a parade down N. Main and Second Streets starting at 10 AM.  The Grizzlies will play their annual MLK Day game at 4 PM, wth a pre-game ceremony honoring NBA legends Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Chauncey Billups, and Jason Collins. Earlier in the day there will be other events including a high school classic (admission to which is free with your Grizzlies ticket) and an MLK Sports Legacy Symposium (also free with your ticket but space is limited). More details here.

You think after he retires, Zach Randolph will be honored in one of these celebrations? I certainly think there’s a case for it. He has paid many thousands of dollars keeping people’s lights on and providing toys for inner-city children’s Christmas. When elementary school kids in Memphis are given a “Who’s your hero?” writing assignment, I bet a lot of them write about Z-bo.

Of course, the National Civil Rights Museum will have a special all-day-long King Holiday Celebration from 8 AM to 5 PM. There will be tours of the newly renovated museum highlighting Dr. King’s involvement in the civil rights movement. Outside on the Founder’s Park stage there will be entertainment all day, including jazz, drums, dance, spoken word, gospel, and the recordings of Dr. King. $5 admission, reduced to $3 with a canned food donation, and free for up to four people with the donation of a pint of blood.

Last night I got some to-go food from Yao’s and climbed in bed for a two-hour nap. However, it turned into a 14 hour nap so I never got out. Not that I much care… it was cold outside and I doubt much interesting was going on. If I did that in April I’d be mad at myself, but January, not so much. Being fully rested for Sunday Fun Day seems like a good move. I’ll lead off at Bloom’s bar at Bardog at 11, then bounce over to Blind Bear at 1 for D-RANKS with B-RAD. No librarian glasses today though. I’m on the fence about playing poker at the Bear tonight. Lately the Sunday game has gone down the crapper, with people going all-in in the early blind levels rather than playing proper poker, not because they don’t know how to play but just because they’re drunk and want to be annoying. I may stick to the Tuesday night game only for a while. Anyway, it’s almost time for the first PBR of the day, so let’s hit Publish and get this thing going.

TEP Gumbo Contest and Saturday news

Do you like gumbo? Three weeks from now, you’ll be able to taste some of Memphis’ finest gumbos and vote for the one you like best. The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) Gumbo Contest will happen at BRIDGES on A.W. Willis Ave. Sunday, February 8 from 4:30 to 7 PM. Tickets are $25 and include gumbo tasting, voting in the People’s Choice award, live jazz, craft beer, and soft drinks. For those under 21 there’s a $15 ticket that includes everything but the beer. If you want to go to this, better buy now, because the ticket prices go up by $5 on the 1st.

2015-01-16 20.12.25

Click image to view in a larger, more readable size. Thanks to Fireball Joe for holding the poster while I took a picture.

Nordstrom is scouting a location in Memphis. The department store chain is famous for its customer service and already has a Nashville location.

Good news for the entrepreneurial scene here in Memphis: Start Co. is partnering with Innova Memphis, an early-stage venture capital firm. The partnership will make funding more accessible to startups that go through one of Start Co.’s four accelerator programs. If you have a startup you’d like to take through a 2015 accelerator program, here’s how to apply and you have until March 1.

The Daily news has Q&A with the Grizzlies’ Vince Carter.

To no one’s surprise, Kuran Iverson is done with U of M basketball and is transferring after spring semester. After getting suspended, Iverson retweeted criticism of his coach. Not smart. Some other coach will take a chance on Iverson, though. My prediction is Bruce Pearl brings him to Auburn.

On this day in 1987: Hulk Hogan was the guest on Piper’s Pit. Andre the Giant, up until that point a beloved fan favorite, crashed the interview.

Last night I made a trip south to my “home away from home” in the South Main District, Max’s Sports Bar. I hadn’t made it down there in four or five months and it was like I had never left. I’ve said for years that Max’s is probably the friendliest bar Downtown and I have sent newcomers there because it’s easy to get to know the locals. I plan to get to Max’s, as well as other South Main spots, a lot more than I did in 2014.

Today, though, I’m leading off with one of my favorite places in the Downtown core. Can’t go wrong with Panda Time at Bardog to kick off a Saturday. It’s PBR hoodie and shorts weather and this is going to be a great Saturday.

Why there was no post yesterday, and Friday news

I didn’t do a post at lunchtime yesterday, but I had a very good reason: I used my lunch break to drive to the AT&T Store and upgrade to the iPhone 6. My 4S was over three years old and didn’t have enough space left to upgrade to iOS 8, so it was time. Let’s proceed with the news and then I will come back and talk about the phone.

Paula & Raiford’s Disco, recently featured in a New York Times article on what to do in 36 hours in Memphis, has added a disco photo booth so you can capture your moment at the best nightclub in the world. It’s on Second between Madison and Monroe and will open at 10 this evening.

The planning meeting for April’s MEMfix Pinch event is this afternoon at Ferraro’s at 3:30.

Memphis Magazine has a nice article about BBQ classes taught by pitmaster Troy Black.

Tomorrow is a doubleheader day at FedExForum: The Memphis Tigers host the UCF Knights at 1 PM, and then at 8 PM the Memphis Grizzlies host the Portland Trail Blazers. Former Grizzly Shane Battier will be back in FedExForum tomorrow to call the Grizzlies game on ESPN.

There will be a King National Holiday Parade Monday at 10 AM. The parade will start at Main and A.W. Willis, take Main south to Exchange then cut over to Second, then south on Second to the National Civil Rights Museum.

The Redbirds have five positions open including account executive, graphic designer, and manager of premium sales.

Lifehacker has tips on how to get around paywalls using either Incognito Mode or Private Browsing, depending on which web browser you use.

If you want to learn to play the ukulele, there’s a Groupon for that. $15 for $108 worth of lessons.

The Memphis Animal Shelter has killed six animals by mistake that had people ready to adopt them. Now that A.C. Wharton has competition in the mayoral election, maybe he’ll realize it’s time to remove his buddy as head of MAS and hire someone who knows how to run an animal shelter. If Strickland emphasizes animal shelter reform as part of his campaign platform, I will consider voting for him.

My new iPhone 6’s Health app told me that from the time I got the phone activated, about 1:30 yesterday, until the end of the day, I walked 2.32 miles. I had no idea I walked that much. That’s the advantage of the Downtown lifestyle. Downtowners walk to the place that most people drive to in their cars.

I want to thank the folks at the AT&T Store in Southaven on Goodman near Airways for the fine job they did yesterday taking care of me. I had told work that I was getting a new phone and might be gone longer than my 45-minute lunch break. However, AT&T had me in and out quickly and I got back to the office on time.

Rather than spending an extra $100 on the larger iPhone 6 Plus, I decided to stick with the iPhone 6 and get the 64 GB model rather than the base 16 GB. My iPhone 4S was 16GB and I had nearly filled it up. Seems like the 16 GB iPhone 6, with the large footprint of iOS8, would be practically useless. Thanks to my Facebook friends who confirmed that my decision to go 64GB was the right one.

I’m grandfathered into AT&T’s unlimited data plan. They make you go to the store to buy a phone if you want to keep it; you can’t keep it if you order online. Furthermore, I wonder if AT&T salespeople get a bonus for every unlimited data plan given up. The salesperson was very interested in finding out if unlimited was “too much” data for me and maybe I’d be better off with a different plan. No way, no how am I giving up my unlimited data!

Time to hit Publish and get back to playing with my new phone. I will be out at the usual spots after work. Possible second post later today.

Bathe in beer, plus Wednesday news

Do you like beer so much that you wish you could bathe in it? Well, you can.

2015-01-13 15.35.19

One of my Christmas presents was Beer Soap from AllThingsHerbal.com. The soaps smell really good, and you won’t come out of the shower smelling like beer (probably a good thing in case you get pulled over for speeding on your way to work). They do, however, have beer ingredients in them including hops. I got the Killian’s Red and Guinness Extra Stout soaps in a 2-pack.

One of my favorite websites, statistics site FiveThirtyEight, has started a new newsletter called Significant Digits that readers will soon be able to subscribe to via email. In today’s newsletter, I learned that the median American carries $22 cash, and that 62% of people who start reading a book complete it.

The University of Memphis suffered a great loss yesterday. Former provost Dr. Ralph Faudree passed away. When he was chairman of the Mathematics/Computer Science department, he hired me as a full-time instructor teaching undergrad math and computer literacy classes. I held the job for 5 years and it was the most fun job I ever had. My thoughts are with Dr. Faudree’s family and I cannot thank him enough for the opportunity he gave me.

MBQ has a great article on the redevelopment of South Front Street. It’s not just Gus’s anymore.

The Grizzlies play an away game against their former coach, Lionel Hollins, and the Brooklyn Nets tonight at 6:30. Couple of good articles from SBNation: a preview of tonight’s game and possibilities for Jeff Green, who plays his first game for the Grizzlies this evening.

From Mashable: Find out where your NBA team’s fans are, based on Twitter followers. Good news: The Grizzlies have a following in the northeast corner of British Columbia, Canada. Bad news: Almost no one lives there. I only found one small town called Fort Nelson, which according to Wikipedia has 3902 residents. According to Google Maps, the Alaska Highway runs through the town and they have a Domino’s Pizza and a Subway. To whomever it is in Fort Nelson supporting the Grizzlies, we thank you!

If you like playing trivia but don’t want to think too hard, try 50/50 trivia hosted by Kevin Cerrito tonight at Tamp & Tap at 7. Every question is true/false, yes/no, or similar, so at worst you have a 50% chance of being right.

High Cotton Brewery has an exclusive Raspberry Wheat available in their taproom at 598 Monroe. It’s open Thursday-Saturday 4 to 9. Growlers of the new beer will be available there, as well as pints. I haven’t been there since the opening… I need to find an excuse to get over to the taproom. It’s really no farther a walk from me than South Main is, and I walk to South Main all the time.

I’m going to lead off tonight at the Silly Goose like I usually do on Wednesday, but I may stop by Bardog later where I believe it is their poker league’s final table. I don’t play in that league much but I know people who do. That’s all for now, back this evening if there’s more news.

Naturally processed coffee beans (not as good as it sounds) and Tuesday news

A friend who has been working internationally as of late is back in Memphis for a visit, and he came bearing gifts. “Are you a coffee man?” he asked. He had brought back gourmet coffee from one of the countries in which he has been working lately. “It’s a unique kind of coffee,” he told me. “They feed the coffee beans to a civet cat, and then after the cat craps them out they pick the beans out of the crap and wash them and bag them up. It has a different kind of taste, that’s for sure.”

I decided to decline his offer and will continue to turn to Mountain Dew as my caffeine source.

There will be a job fair next month to hire 600 employees to work in the new Bass Pro Shops store in the Pyramid, whose opening date is now officially set for May 1. Date of the job fair is TBA.

There’s a GoFundMe account where you can help raise money for repairs to legendary BBQ restaurant Cozy Corner, badly damaged in a January 8 fire.

Updated plans for the Tennessee brewery have been released. Read all about it on Choose901.

If you’re a Memphis Tiger football fan, you ought to go to the men’s basketball home game Thursday night against Cincinnati at the FedExForum… and you ought to get there early. You’ll be able to get your photo with the AAC football championship trophy and the Miami Beach Bowl trophy. Platinum Jewelers will provide free prints while they last. Line for the photo-op begins at 5 and will pictures will be taken until halftime. Tip-off is at 6. More info here.

Of course, if you’re a Tiger football fan, you’ve probably already heard that the Tigers finished in the Top 25 in the AP poll and the coaches’ poll as well. They were voted 25th in both. What a remarkable turnaround. Big congratulations to Coach Fuente and the entire team. Without a doubt the best season in the program’s history.

If you bring a canned good donation to the National Civil Rights Museum for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day next Monday, you will get a discounted price toward your ticket to the museum. Donations will go to the Mid-South Food Bank.

Attendees of Sunday’s Grizzlies game at the FedExForum saw ads for WWE’s Fast Lane pay-per-view, to be held at the arena next month, and the planned main event was revealed: John Cena and Roman Reigns vs. Big Show and Seth Rollins. I can’t say I’m very inclined to buy a ticket if the lumbering, past-his-prime, 43-year-old Big Slow will be part of the biggest match on the card. The card is subject to change, and I hope it does.

From Mashable: How to sneakily steal pizza without your friends hating you. This one went straight on the Nuh-Uh Girl’s Facebook timeline as soon as I saw it.

That’s all for now. Late getting a post up today because I was feeling a little under the weather. Should be back on regular schedule tomorrow. Stay warm and I’ll see you then.

Monday news

It’s official: the Jeff Green trade has happened. The Flyer’s Kevin Lipe has an excellent piece on the trade for Jeff Green and what it could mean for the Grizzlies. Lipe believes it’s a sign that the Grizzlies are all-in for this season being The One where the team tries to go all the way to the NBA Finals. The trade comes with risks, though. By the end of the decade, the Grizzlies’ core will be old and not as productive, and right at the time when the team needs the help the most, they could have to ship Boston a lottery pick.

Meanwhile, SBNation has a farewell to Tayshaun Prince, looking back on his time with the Grizzlies.

Well this is unexpected: R.I.P. Urbanspoon. The restaurant review service has been acquired by Indian startup Zamato, and everything will be converted to Zamato’s branding.

If you missed the debut of the Memphis Beer Show Saturday on AM 600, you can listen here.

Several Memphis senior football players have been chosen for college all-star games.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of one of Downtown Memphis’ true comfort foods: The roasted half chicken from Majestic Grille. It’s a breast, wing, thigh and leg in pan juices along with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. It’s a great meal for a cold, blustery January day and it will satisfy even hearty appetites.

Nice to see my Hogs move up to 19 in the latest AP poll. Kentucky is not the only good team in the SEC.

It’s Monday, so I will be at Melissa Monday at Bardog for happy hour. Later in the evening I will decide where to watch the national championship game. Out for now, back tomorrow.

GRRRRR… this afternoon it’s the ‘gers vs. the ‘gars… then it will be time for the GRRRRRizzlies

Today the Memphis Tigers travel to Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston to take on the Houston Cougars. The game is at 3 PM and it will be carried on the CBS Sports Network.  Memphis has a chance to beat the Cougars twice in a dozen days, after a 73-54 victory over the Cougars on New Year’s Eve that didn’t really even feel that close.

Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies are back at home today, where they host the Phoenix Suns at 5. The Grizzlies are in the middle of trade speculation that would bring Boston Celtics swingman Jeff Green here. It would be a three-team trade in which Tayshaun Prince and a Grizzlies first-round pick would go to the Celtics, and Quincy Pondexter and a Grizzlies second-round pick would go to the New Orleans Pelicans. The deal likely won’t be done today so the Grizz won’t have Green available for tonight’s game.

Usually I start off my Saturdays at Panda’s bar at Bardog at 11, then wander over to the Blind Bear for D-RANKS with B-RAD around 1. However, when I got to the Bear yesterday, Brad wasn’t there, but I did get a welcome surprise. They finally filled the bartender/server position that had been open for a couple of weeks.

And they filled it with MY FAVORITE PAIR OF LIBRARIAN GLASSES!!!!!!!!!!

Having not worked Downtown since she parted ways with the Saucer a few months back, my favorite pair of librarian glasses was behind the bar training. I helped her out by ordering mixed drinks instead of PBR so she could learn to mix and muddle the Bear’s giggle water. She was having a blast, dancing behind the bar as she worked (as a customer she had been known to dance ON the bar). She will be in training for the next couple of weeks and finishing up shifts at her other job, then the plan is for her to take over the Saturday day bar shift and Brad will keep Sundays.

Good news for the Blind Bear poker players: My favorite pair of librarian glasses will be the Tuesday night server. Not sure if she will start this week, but definitely by the week after that. It will be nice for the poker players to have young, fun librarian glasses with a great personality. Needless to say I will not be taking any Tuesday nights off from poker anymore.

When she worked at the Flying Saucer, my favorite pair of librarian glasses was the day bartender on Fridays, and she built up a regular crowd who came in to see her for lunch. Recognizing that she has a following, the Blind Bear scheduled her to work day bar on Fridays.

She also has Thursday and Saturday evening server shifts. That means she will get to see her former co-workers since many of the Saucer girls go to the Bear for after-work drinks.

Icy weather is moving through western Arkansas as I type this on Sunday morning. The precip will soon get here, but as of 6:40 this morning the MemphisWeather.net folks were 90% confident that we stay all rain, although a little sleet is possible. Follow @MemphisWeather1 on Twitter for the best and most accurate local weather information, and check the “Winterize” checkbox at the top of StormView Radar to see where ice and snow are falling.

Having grown up with 1980s video games, this is really cool: Budweiser is building a life-size Pac-Man arena for the Super Bowl.

The PBR tap at Bardog has been fixed. It was broken much of the day yesterday.

Plan for today: D-ranks with B-rad may not have happened yesterday, but will today as he has the day bar shift at the Bear. I plan on getting there 12:30ish. Brad has some really cool regulars and I hope to see some of them today. Due to my status as “Mr. Load-in” I may have to step into the back for a few minutes to help with a planning session, but most of the afternoon I will be at the bar. I feel the need to verify that the Bardog PBR tap is indeed working (this kind of verification is one of the many services “Mr. Load-in” provides for the BBQ team) so I will stop by there at 11 for a couple of pulls from the tap. Stay safe if you’re traveling to Arkansas today, where the weather is going to get much icier than we will see here in Memphis.