Monday update

For the first time ever a presidential candidate has a Cards Against Humanity expansion pack created from his quotes. Described as a “game for horrible people” (and I know a few who have played it), one player draws a black card, containing a quote with a blank, and the other players fill in the blank with their white cards. The newest expansion pack is based solely on the words of Donald Trump.

“Make _____ great again.”

“It’s Friday. How many bald eagles did ____ kill today?”

“_____ suck and they are bad for the USA.”

You get the point.

Scaffolding is up for BBQ Fest!

2016-05-08 11.54.53Booth decoration starts today! Moody Ques, if you’re off work and want to help, email I plan on being down at the park, weather permitting, later today.

The first-ever Palestine Festival happens at the Overton Park Greensward Saturday, May 21. This event will celebrate Memphis’ growing Palestinian community and is a way for others to learn about Palestinian culture. There will be food, music, dancing, henna tattoos, a photo booth, and Arabic coffee.

Excellent fashion article: Tip-top in a tube top

Yesterday our friends Tony and Chicken Fried Steak Rodger returned from New Orleans. We sent a delegation to the airport to meet them.

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If you have time to kill in the Memphis airport, check out Chicken Fried Steak Rodger’s Irish pub Maggie O’Shea’s. It’s to the right of the main doors and you do not have to go through security to get there.

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When life gives you bunny ears, you put them on and dance.

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Stuff your fat cap face Uncle Faux’que! You’re a brisket biting broasting Uncle Faux’que! I have to compliment team president Clay on his best T-shirt design yet.

Our international team members have begun to arrive. In last night was Kao, short for Mardoqueo, from Monclova, Mexico. People from all over North America love the Moody Ques!

OK, time to get out of here, because it’s time for me to step into my Director of Public Relations role for the team. This morning I have to spend some time at Bardog promoting the Moody Ques. One of our sponsors donated 20 cases of something called “Pabst Blue Ribbon” and I have heard Bardog has this product. I need to check it out and confirm that it is suitable to be served in our booth. May squeeze a first visit to The Dirty Crow into the schedule later today. Time to do this damn vacation thang up right!

Saturday recap: E&H, crawfish, a look at what it’s like to be on a BBQ team. Plus Sunday news

A little after 10 yesterday I walked south Earnestine & Hazel’s, making a last-second decision to lead off there rather than the Farmers Market. I didn’t realize it, but E&H opens at 10 on Saturdays in case the Farmers Market crowd and the Arcade breakfast crowd wants to stop in for a beer. While they do have Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, the usual choices, they also appeal to beer drinkers with much more discriminating tastes. They carry the Cadillac of beers, PBR, for $2.50 a 12-ounce bottle. I ordered a Cadillac from Clarence, the bartender, and grabbed a bar stool.

Clarence asked if I had been in South Main Friday night. I told him I hadn’t. “Well, you missed a good time. They had Foghat jamming out back there in 5 Spot.” 5 Spot is a place that is going to have to be on my radar a little more. I have always thought of it as a place to get good food, but now that Bud is involved they really seem to be cranking up the music aspect of the place. In the future, when I make Friday trips to my “home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar, I will have to swing by 5 Spot and see what is going on there.

Tad who gives tours in the ’50s Cadillac came in with some tourists and Clarence gave them a history of the place. “Up to 1960 Earnestine and Hazel’s was a drug store, operated by Abe Plough. See those drawers over there?”

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“That’s where they kept the pills,” Clarence told the tourists. “Then, from 1960 to ’92 this place was a brothel. See these menus over here?”

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“The men would get off the riverboat and come here to get something to eat downstairs, then they would go upstairs and visit the whores,” Clarence said. “Go on up and take a look, they still have the rooms upstairs just like they were when the whores were in them.”

“The upstairs is open right now?” Tad said, a bit shocked. I was a bit shocked too. Previously the upstairs had only been open 9 PM to close on weekend nights, when Nate bartends up there.

“Yeah, go on up,” said Clarence. Smart move by management letting people go upstairs anytime. It is a piece of Memphis history, albeit a rather seedy piece.

11:00 arrived, and I thanked Clarence and tabbed out. Normally I would be at Bardog by this time, but yesterday was an unusual Saturday… Max was having a crawfish boil at his sports bar, and I know better than to miss Max’s crawfish boils. The thing is, I’ve seen crawfish be inconsistent at festivals like Overton Square and Rajun Cajun – one year they are really good and then the next year they suck. Max has never missed the mark on crawfish though. About 12:45 Mike the bartender came over and said, “Crawfish are ready. You want a box?” Of course I did, so Mike rang me up a ticket for me to take to Max’s Big Deck where the crawfish were being cooked.

“These are gonna burn a bit,” the caterer tending the pot told me.

“That’s what I like to hear,” I told him. “By the time I reach the end of the box, if my nose isn’t running and tears aren’t running down my cheeks, you didn’t do your job.”

“Trust me, we did our job,” he replied.

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They did their job indeed. For proof that these guys knew what they were doing, look in the upper right corner of this photo. They weighed out two pounds of crawfish and then threw in a piece of corn and a couple of taters, which are pretty common sides. But look what else they threw in – pieces of smoked sausage which had been cooking in the pot with the crawfish and soaking up that boil. THAT’S the good stuff, right there.

While I was eating my crawfish, I checked Facebook. Down at BBQ Fest load-in, members of Squeal Street BBQ came down to the Moody Ques tent. “Do you need any help?” they asked. “We don’t have a 2014 BBQ Fest trophy and a 2015 BBQ Fest trophy and a 2016 Southaven Springfest trophy to haul in like you guys do. All we have to bring in is a thank-you note from a catering gig we did for some condos. So we got finished early with load-in.” We gave them a shovel and they took a photo of themselves with it and posted it to their team Facebook group.

Interesting thing about that photo… it had 10 “Likes” at the time I saw it, but when I moused over the 10 “Likes” I only saw 9 names “… and 1 more.”

About 1:45 I got a text saying “At Bear.” It was from Moody, our former team president and legal counsel. She moved to McAllen, Texas in December to pursue a career with the federal government, and resigned her presidency of the team at that time. She’s back this week for BBQ Fest, and she is excited about experiencing the team as a member, not as an officer with all kinds of responsibilities.

When I arrived at the Bear, it was time to step into my Director of Public Relations role. Ian, our Canadian member, was at the bar. Moody called a quick board meeting and made a motion that Ian be appointed Canadian Ambassador for the team, since Canada is the honored country. I seconded the motion. Technically, with only two board members there, we didn’t have a quorum to approve team business, but we decided our buddy Chad, sitting on the other side of me, deserved to have a vote since he had been appointed Head Bartender Friday night. We also decided our favorite pair of librarian glasses behind the bar deserved a vote because she was doing such a good job pouring us Fireball. The four of us unanimously agreed that Ian is our Canadian Ambassador, and I updated the website to reflect the new title.

Chad and I then discussed the bar. I’m not going to post how much we received in the tip jar last year, but I know there is another team of similar size (booth size and number of members) that did at least three times in tips what we did. So this year, Chad and I are going to train people who volunteer to bartend on how to nicely suggest dropping a little somethin’ in the tip jar without being pushy about it. If we can get an extra grand in tips over the course of the weekend, our books will be close to balanced which will make our treasurer very happy.

Chad is also going to buy some devices that fit on bottles that measure a perfect one ounce pour. (These have a name but I can’t remember it.) A problem at the bar in previous years is that we had people back there with no bartending experience free-pouring. Without realizing it (or maybe they did) they poured doubles and triples all day long. That bled the team horribly on liquor costs. Now, there are certain people we don’t mind getting doubles and triples (team members, sponsors, guests who tip big, hot girls) but the average guest needs to be getting a 1-ounce pour. That could potentially save us a grand, which along with better tip jar management should put us into the black.

Chad, Moody and I also agreed on another point: Under no circumstances will a non-team member be allowed to bartend. That includes girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, brothers, sisters, cousins, BFFs, what have you. If you don’t have a 2016 red and white Moody Ques rubber wristband, you aren’t going behind the bar. I will work a bar shift myself if I have to before I will let a non-member work one.

Following taking care of business for the team, I got a huarache and some bean nachos from Maciel’s and went home to munch. After that I took a halftime nap, fully intending to go back out and stay out til 3 as I like to do when I am on vacation. About 10 I popped back up out of bed, put my clothes on, brushed my teeth, and walked over to the Blind Bear. I found that I knew absolutely NO ONE there. I hate Saturday night when East Memphis invades Downtown, but that’s when they make their money. There was a birthday party over at Silly Goose but I wasn’t dressed for it; during my BBQ Fest vacation, T-shirts and shorts are the only things I will wear. By 10:45 I was thinking, “there is absolutely no point in my being here” sitting there by myself sipping on beer. My service industry friends would come in eventually, but not until around 1:30 and I didn’t feel like waiting that long. So I called it a surprisingly early night.

For those of you on the Moody Ques wondering when we are going to send up an announcement about picking up team bags with T-shirts, Wednesday night tickets, and park hours or 24 hour wristbands… good question, I’m wondering that myself! I sure hope it will be today but I don’t have the official word yet. Note to fellow board members: The bar opens at 11 so I am not responsible for typos or other content of emails or posts I am asked to send out after that point.

D-RANKS with B-RAD will be my lead-off stop today at Blind Bear. I will say it once again – if you meet B-RAD at BBQ Fest, feel free to ask him ANYTHING AT ALL about me. I have no secrets, I have nothing to hide, and the only chickens I have coming home to roost will be covered in Moody Ques BBQ sauce.

Okay, after trudging through 15 or 20 paragraphs of this crap, let’s get to some actual news. The big news of course is that Dave Joerger has been let go as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. Mike Conley was said to be a factor in this, as in we were more likely to re-sign our starting point guard if Joerger wasn’t around. I don’t think the guys ever had the respect for him that they did for Lionel. Not that I’m saying bringing Lionel back is the correct move.

When couples you thought for sure were together forever split up… this time it’s Ozzy and Sharon. The Osbournes are parting ways after 33 years of marriage.

Canadian play When it Rains closes out its weekend run at the Orpheum today at 2.

If you’re off work all week for BBQ Fest like I am and are wondering what to do Monday and Tuesday, here’s something: Historian Jimmy Ogle will give a free South Main tour lunchtime on Tuesday. Meet at the Orpheum at 11:45.

I’m going to try to get down to Tom Lee Park this afternoon to take some pictures of how the build is going. I will be putting on my cheap $15 Payless sandals for the first time, which I bought so I wouldn’t have to ruin my good sandals at BBQ Fest. That’ll do it for now. If you’re a team member keep an eye on email and the Moody Ques website for news.


Number 10 Main’s rooftop reopens

“How come you’ve never bought a condo down here, Paul?” I have been asked many times.

“Well, the truth is, if I found something I liked as much as my current apartment, I would have no problem buying,” is my reply. “But so far I haven’t.”

In February 2003 I moved into Number 10 Main Apartments, on the Main Street Mall just south of Madison. Since then I have signed 13 leases. Big apartments, staff that takes good care of us, wonderful neighbors, many amenities.

One of those amenities is a rooftop 17 stories high. People ask why I rarely go to the Peabody rooftop parties, and I tell them I don’t need to – I don’t even have to leave my building to have a better rooftop to sit on. However, last November they closed the rooftop for some renovations. It reopened Friday night and there was a party to celebrate. I missed the party, but I went up there Saturday morning to see the changes.

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This is the view as you step off the elevator. Plenty of seating for residents and their guests, with the Madison and the I-40 bridge in the background.

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I was up on the roof about 7:30 in the morning when I took this, and due to the angle of the sun my iPhone didn’t do a great job with this photo. These are two brand-new restaurant quality-grills. It’s not uncommon for me to get on the elevator as I come home from work, and it stops to let someone on with a raw steak or chicken breast, on their way up to the roof.

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I have to admit, I’ve been a bit envious of my BBQ team’s booth engineer Brent and my friend Katie (not Mac), both of whom have outdoor fire pits at their houses. Well, I need be jealous no more, because I have joined the club. Number 10 removed that nasty hot tub and put in a fire pit in its place. Not sure how much use it will get immediately but that will be nice to have in October and November.

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The final addition to the rooftop is an outdoor TV. I bet there will be a crowd on the roof this fall when Monday Night Football is on.

Very well executed. Thanks to the owners and to leasing manager Leslie, as well as all who worked on the construction, for making this happen. The Number 10 rooftop is not open to the public, but if you are interested in looking at a unit to rent, call 901-543-8356. Be sure to mention that I told you about the building, because I get some $$$$ knocked off my rent if I refer a new resident.

Back later this morning with a news post and a recap of yesterday.

Winder shoppin’ at the Peabody

This morning I walked over to the Peabody. They have the nearest ATM for my bank and as I walked over there, I did a little winder shoppin’.

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You know your kids want one of these to take to school.

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Early Father’s Day suggestion

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Last-minute Mother’s Day suggestion

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“Buy Your Favorite Blogger a Shirt” day (Monday, May 9) suggestion

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City Market has these for sale. Given the forecast, I got two.

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Fruits of the crawfish pot at Max’s Sports Bar today

All right. I have much more but that’s enough for now. Sorry for no post this morning but GoDaddy was down and I almost made “NO FILTER” week on my blog come true more than you know when it came back up. Time for a “halftime” nap then out again. Possibly another post later.

Friday morning update

Most of you have already seen or heard about this tweet, but for those who haven’t, this is not a parody Twitter account. He really said this.

Can you just hear Lincoln, TR, Ike and Reagan rolling over in their graves right now, knowing that the party they loved and represented will soon be joining them in the cemetery?

As part of the Memphis in May international festivities for 2016, the play “When it Rains” comes to the Halloran Centre May 7-8. That is an appropriately-named play for Memphis in May and not just because Canada is the honored country this year.

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic play the New Daisy on Sunday, July 3 at 9 PM. Tickets are $35-40.

The Prince – Celebration of Life Tour comes to the Cadre Building at Second and Monroe Friday, July 8.

From Toast: The top 5 reasons you’re losing restaurant staff. Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes. I have witnessed this time and time again.

From Science.Mic: Science just confirmed that your expensive juice cleanse is officially bullshit. I remember hearing “America’s Doctor” Dr. Oz preaching the benefit of juice cleanses. I would give my opinion of Dr. Oz but any duck could say it as well as I could.

That’s it for now… bit of a short post but I wanted to get as much online as possible in the morning. I won’t be doing a lunchtime post because of an event we are having at work. I will be representing my department in cornhole (bean bag toss) for a chance for us all to win gift cards.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: As of this afternoon, my 9 days off for BBQ Fest begin. What this means for the blog:

  • Yes there will still be posts
  • No the posts will not go up on a schedule as they usually do on weekdays. It will be whenever I have news and time.
  • Expect lots of BBQ Fest photos toward the latter part of next week
  • I tend to have absolutely no filter at all during BBQ Fest week. So watch out.

All right. Off to work. I’ll let you know how cornhole goes.


Thur update: Crawfish boil on the south side, Farmers Market, new vet in Victorian Village and more

Contemporary Canadian circus show Traces is tonight at the Orpheum. It is one of Memphis in May’s International Series of Events AKA Things to Do Between Music Fest and BBQ Fest.

Don’t forget it’s all-you-can-eat taco night tonight at the Redbirds. A special $12 bluff ticket or $15 field box ticket includes the buffet. 6:35 first pitch.

Soon you will be able to walk across the Harahan Bridge to Arkansas as part of the Main-to-Main project. The MBJ reports (subscribers only so I can’t link it) that Arkansas is planning an ecopark and a trail for its end.

Saturday lunchtime has been set for that crawfish boil at Max’s Sports Bar that I talked about earlier. They will open at 11 with the first batch coming off about 12 or 12:30. I have not had a full serving of crawfish this season (although I’ve gone Nuh-Uh Style and eaten a few samples from other people’s buckets) and they sound mighty good.

I came across this sculpture at Burning Man yesterday. Art is at its most powerful when you have felt an emotion before but haven’t been able to put it into words… and then you look and say, “THAT. That is exactly what I was feeling.” Certainly more powerful than a big red ball wedged between buildings so people can take selfies.

Get Sweet on Mom is the theme of the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. Sunday is Mother’s Day, and the Market has all the ingredients to make her a fresh salad in a locally-made bowl. Kids can get in on the gift-giving action as well. From 9 to 11:30 they will be able to make a handprint flower pot to give to Mom, Grandmother, Aunt, Neighbor, Guy in the Van Offering Candy on the Way to School, or whoever they want. Dogs’ 2nd Chance will be on the site adopting. There will be live music from 8:30 to 10 by Sibella, and 11 to 12:30 by Jessie Dalton. The Market is at the corner of Front and G.E. Patterson from 7 AM to 1 PM every Saturday. My tentative plan for Saturday will be to hit the Farmers Market about 10:15 then over to Max’s at 11 for the crawfish boil, moving my Bardog visit back to later in the day. If for any reason I feel the need to leave the Farmers Market before 11 I will use E&H as a midpoint.

This week’s Farmers Market Vendor Chitchat is with the folks who run Falcon Ridge Farms in Toone, TN, about 75 miles east of Memphis. They grow 40 different types of vegetables, and offer an inside tip that you will be surprised by the taste of lettuce if you have never eaten it fresh from the farm.

Urban Barn Market’s Market in May is this weekend at the Woodruff-Fontaine House in Victorian Village.

Speaking of Victorian Village, a new veterinary clinic is opening soon at 652 Jefferson.

This is a valid concern: Once Donald Trump is the official Republican nominee, he will be qualified to receive classified intelligence briefings, including some of the same information President Obama receives. There is worry that Trump could spill U.S. intelligence secrets to better his position in the fall campaign. If ever there has been a presidential candidate to whom the description “loose cannon” applies, it’s Donald.

Leading off at Silly Goose after work, then will play it by ear after that, celebrating that I have only one more day in the office before “spring break for adults” begins! Friday news post will be either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, because I have a work event at lunchtime.

Wed update

The Mid-South Food Truck Fest will be this Saturday at Tiger Lane starting at 11 PM. Over 50 food trucks will be there selling their stuff. No matter what you prefer to eat, you will most likely find it there. Unfortunately I will be fully immersed in my Director of PBR duties for the BBQ team by Saturday, so I won’t be able to make it out there.

Oops, I mean Director of PR. Public Relations. Yeah.

The Henny Penny mobile clothing boutique is closing but there is still a lot of leftover inventory. On Sunday, May 15 from 2 to 6 PM, there will be a sale to get rid of remaining inventory at Salon Lulu, 5498 Poplar behind Hollywood Feed. Everything must go and will be marked down 50-75%. There’s clothing for all four seasons plus accessories, and they’ll pour you a mimosa to drink as you shop.

The Blind Bear will have a Cinco de Mayo event tomorrow, Thursday, May 5 at 9 PM. $5 Mexican pizzas, $5 for two beef or two fish tacos, $5 chips with cheese dip and salsa, $5 Cuervo Gold shots, $7 Cuervo Gold margaritas, $6 Milagro shots, $8 Milagro Silver maragaritas. Texas Hold’em at 7:30 (free to play), and then Kaleidoscope plays at 10.

The monthly South Main Association meeting for May will be an ice cream social. It will be at Scoops Parlor. The owners of Scoops, on G.E. Patterson across the street from Cheesecake Corner and Max’s Sports Bar, will tell the story of how they met on South Main, moved to South Main, and opened a business on South Main. There will be complimentary gelato and crepes tastings. The meeting will be Tuesday, May 10, 6:00 social, 6:30 program. Free for members, $10 for non-members.

The SMA reports that a four-way stop sign has been installed at increasingly-busy Florida and Georgia streets in South End. Since Georgia is a major cut-over to Riverside, especially during Memphis in May, I wouldn’t be too surprised if a traffic light is installed there by this time next year.

Good read from FiveThirtyEight: Why Republican voters decided on Trump.

From Skillet: Why you shout puree pickle spears right into your Bloody Mary mix. That’s not all: you can puree pickled radishes, pickled peppers, or whole lemon wedges into your drink. Something to think about when you shop the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday.

Good news: A blighted hotel on the south side of Crump will be demolished soon. It was an old Quality Inn.

Check out South of Beale’s bar pie special for this week with gator sausage.

Home from work, off to Silly Goose for drinks. Back tomorrow.

Tue update

Frankie Hollie and the Noise will headline this Thursday’s Peabody rooftop party with special guest We the Kings. In addition to the entertainment will be a casting call for the Memphis Flyer’s Fall Fashion issue from 6 to 8 PM. $15 cover, with the first 200 ladies free. There’s also a VIP pass for $150 that gets you into all this season’s rooftop parties and into a special VIP area. Admission includes a buffet of chicken taquitos and tortilla chips & dip. If you’re in VIP, there will be a taco bar, black beans and rice, chicken enchilada dip, and cinnamon churros. Traditional margaritas will be on special, and other drink specials will include Firefly Blackberry Lemonade and cinnamon apple margaritas. Doors open at 6, with live music starting at 7.

Yo Gotti plays Mud Island River Park Sunday, June 19 at 7:30 PM.

Bleu has extended its social hour to 11 AM through 6 PM weekdays. Drop in out of the Bleu for $5 house wines and well drinks, as well as rotating drink specials.

Did you miss retired Orpheum CEO Pat Halloran’s talk at the recent Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting? Read a recap here.

Million Dollar Quartet will be filming Friday on Nettleton between Front Street and Tennessee Street (including Wagner) from noon to 2 AM.

A special at Bardog today is the Kentucky open-faced Hot Brown sandwich. These are seriously good. I had them a few times when I taught week-long corporate training classes in Lexington.

From the Flyer: Aaron Winters turns Miss Cordelia’s meat counter into a craft butcher shop

For those of you who have been asking me when Tacos & Tunes would kick off on Felicia Suzanne’s patio for the season, I now have an answer: Thursday, May 12.

That’s all I got for now. Back later today possibly.

Monday update

I don’t get the Red Ball Project at all. For those of you who don’t know, last week and this week a giant red ball that is supposedly a work of art is visiting locations around Memphis. It was at 409 S. Main yesterday and as far as I could tell, all it did was block the sidewalk. Perhaps the point is to make a media blitz that some random object coming to town is an artwork of importance, and then see how many people come take selfies with it. That’s “art” in 2016. Selfies.

Apologies for those of you who went by Maciel’s yesterday after I blogged it was open, and found it to be closed. I got that info from a reliable source – they told the person who is probably their best customer (he ate there twice Saturday) that they would be open, but I guess they changed their minds. Understandable – you have to have some rest or you burn out.

Last week I mentioned that there is a new cigar store on South Main. Its name is The Tinder Box and is at 346 S. Main.

Massively successful BBQ team Victory Lane BBQ now has its rub in Kroger. They were the grand champions at Southaven Springfest a couple of weeks ago. I also see signs that another top team may soon start selling its rub via mail too. I will try to get more info about that at BBQ Fest.

If you’re curious what caused all the wind damage this past weekend, has a blog on the wake low that affected the metro.

Train Day Memphis comes to the Railroad and Trolley Museum in Central Station Saturday, June 4. An Iowa Pacific “City of Granada” train set will be on display. There will also be E-units and passenger cars painted in Iowa Central brown and orange.

Ghost of the Blues will be on stage at the Orpheum this Friday. Said to be a “love letter to the blues,” it is headlined by Mud Morganfield, eldest son of Muddy Waters, stepping into the persona of his father.

The rescheduled MyHQ alley party is tomorrow night in Barboro Alley next to Local, with craft beer, DJ Alex Turley, ping pong, art displays, and that red ball I don’t understand.

Four and a half more workdays then my BBQ Fest vacation begins. Load-in is this Saturday through Tuesday of next week. Wednesday of next week is Friends & Family Night. Thursday-Saturday of next week are the public days and the Sunday following is load-out. Of course, I’m not allowed to be involved in the heavy lifting of load-in and load-out anymore given my new role on the team, but my public relations duties should keep me busy throughout the week.

Already getting way more “hey, can I come to your booth at BBQ Fest?” requests than I have guest wristbands to give out. To those who have asked, I will try my best to get you in, but due to us hitting capacity as set by the fire marshal during peak hours I can’t promise it. Reminds me, I have a “tips for getting into booths at BBQ Fest” in Drafts somewhere that I need to find and finish.

I have a BBQ meeting tonight at 7 at Blind Bear, so I may as well just go ahead and lead off there after work. Probably will have some news to put on the team website in the morning.