Wed update #1 – updated info on Gatlinburg event

There’s updated information on tonight’s Paying it Forward for Gatlinburg event at the High Cotton taproom, 4-9 PM, 598 Monroe. For those who missed the previous announcement, donations of supplies are being sought to be put on a truck and delivered to relief organization in the area around Gatlinburg that was devastated last week by wildfires. The most urgent needs are

  • Toiletries – shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, hair brushes, toothbrushes
  • Baby items – diapers, pacifiers, baby food
  • Cell phone chargers – many escaped with their phones but left their chargers behind

People have asked if clothing can be donated. Yes, if it is gently used clothing that has only been worn a few times. They don’t want anything with stains or holes.

The folks at High Cotton have also been asked if cash donations will be accepted. Yes, they will have a donation bucket at the event for cash. However, if you plan to write a check, they ask that you donate to an already-established relief organization in East Tennessee. They recommend the Dollywood Foundation as a good one.

The event will have live music by Tony Maynard, Cecil Yancey, Tiffany Harmon, and Eric Crays. The RAWK’n Grub food truck will be onsite, and the brewery will have its tapping of its 2016 Christmas Stout.

Hey, I’ve got a favor to ask… if you decide to go to Paying it Forward for Gatlinburg tonight and/or donate items because you read about the event on my blog, could you mention that to the organizers? I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

The Downtown ice rink will open Saturday! There will be a grand opening celebration at Fourth Bluff from 10 to 10 that day.

Thrillist has a good list of where in Memphis to get a holiday drink that will give you some good ideas. The aforementioned High Cotton taproom made the list, as did the Majestic, Loflin Yard, and several other Downtown spots.

Aldo’s Pizza Pies is hosting Pizza with Santa Saturday from 12:30 to 3 in the afternoon. Get your photo made with Santa and there will be crafts, cookies, and of course, pizza. They ask that you bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots.

I have more news but it is time to hit the road and get to work. I will be back at lunchtime with more.

Monday update

It may be a bit early to ask this question, but I’m going to go ahead and do it: Will any of the bars Downtown be open during the day on New Year’s Day? In general, most bars stay closed until 5 on New Year’s, so that employees have time to recover and clean up following a busy New Year’s Eve the night before. However, New Year’s Day is a Sunday Fun Day this time around… you know people are going to want to get out, especially people like me who hate New Year’s Eve and will probably stay in that night. If you’re going to be open during the day 1/1/2017, email me at or hit me up on Facebook and I will start compiling a list.

A Venezuelan food truck is coming soon to Memphis. Arepas and other Venezuelan cuisine will be sold. Yum!

Congratulation to Downtown Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Elizabeth Emmerson on being named a Tennessee Lottery Educator of the Week.

Stevie Nicks will play FedExForum Wednesday, March 8. Tickets go on sale a week from today.

The final of four Volunteer Odyssey Pop-Up Parties will happen tomorrow evening, Tuesday, December 6, from 5 to 8 PM at 101 South Main. There are volunteer projects as short as 101 seconds that you can complete. You can make toys for dogs and cats for the Memphis Humane Society, design holiday cards for retirement communities, or prepare mailers for Memphis Libraries and LITE Memphis. There will be a selfie station, and I Love Memphis will be there taking photos and selling T-shirts. RSVP here.

The Grizzlies have acquired guard Toney Douglas via the NBA hardship rule. With Mike Conley out for six weeks, the team needed a veteran who can run the point. Coach Fiz has prior experience with Douglas, having worked with him in Miami when Fizdale was an assistant coach.

The Memphis RiverKings have a Merry Gritmas! deal going on through tomorrow, where $25 gets you a ticket to Friday night’s RiverKings game as well as a ticket to a Grizzlies game.

Lights On! is an event happening tomorrow night in the Medical Center District from 5 to 7 PM. Participants will meet at the Memphis Medical District Collaborative at 656 Madison, and then volunteers will assess the district, reporting street lights that are out, Afterward there will be hot cocoa and snacks at the Collaborative. Register to participate here.

Memphis Made has announced the next of its extremely popular beginner sushi classes. The class will be held on Sunday, January 15 from 2 to 4 in the afternoon. You’ll learn where to shop, what to buy, and how to make the perfect sushi rice. You’ll also learn about all the different sushi sauces, including Bang Bang and Eel Sauce. By the end of the class you will know how to safely and confidently serve raw fish at home.

Thanks to one of my readers for sending me a link to this… was not aware this existed. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer can canjo with antique reclaimed wood neck

College football bowl games have been announced! As I kind of suspected, Georgia will be the SEC representative in the Liberty Bowl, playing TCU on Friday, December 30 at 11 AM on ESPN.

As for the Memphis Tigers, they will represent the American Athletic Conference in the Boca Raton Bowl, playing at 6 PM on Tuesday, December 20 versus Western Kentucky. ESPN will broadcast that game as well.

Mississippi State gets a waiver to play in a bowl with a 5-7 record, and will travel to St. Petersburg, Florida to play Miami (Ohio) in the St. Petersburg Bowl at 10 AM on Monday, December 26, televised on ESPN.

On Thursday, December 29, the Arkansas Razorbacks will be in Charlotte, NC to battle Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl. 4:30 kickoff with the game televised on ESPN,

Tennessee, having recently been awarded the title Champions of Life by head coach Butch Jones, will play in the Music City Bowl in Nashville on Friday, December 30. The Life Champs will play Nebraska in a game with a 2:30 kickoff on ESPN. Wonder if the Music City Bowl is what Vol fans had in mind when they were all saying “this is gonna be our year” back in September.

Alabama-Washington and Clemson-Ohio State are the playoff semifinal games. As I expected, Ohio State moved down one in the rankings for being the only team of the four that did not win its conference championship.

View the full bowl schedule here.

That’s it for now. Possibly a second post tonight or in the morning.

I know a girl who thinks of ghosts… She’ll make ya breakfast… she’ll make ya toast… plus Sunday news

Yesterday started off with a change of plans. Normally I lead off at Bardog when it opens at 11 on Saturdays, but yesterday I knew the place would get packed with runners. Not that there’s anything wrong with runners – they are real-life heroes – but I knew I would be in a place where nearly everyone in the room shared a common experience and I did not. My “DAWG” John D had already told me he wasn’t coming, not wanting to fight traffic.

At the time I made yesterday’s post, I was thinking Silly Goose or Blind Bear would be my lead-off spot. But then I got a different idea. “When I go to the Farmers Market, I always have a fun time at Earnestine & Hazel’s afterward,” I thought. “Why don’t I go there?” E&H opens at 10, so I could get started an hour earlier than usual.

I walked in at 10:04, expecting the place to be empty, but instead I got a pleasant surprise. My friends Gary, Boo, Bones, and Carol were at the bar. Later in the day we were joined by Bad Shane and Leigh. All of those people are Squeal Street BBQ members, so we started talking about next year. Bones told me he had just written the check for Memphis in May’s entry fee. “I can’t believe it’s December 3 and you are talking about BBQ,” Carol commented. When you’re on a BBQ team, you talk about BBQ year ’round. It’s what you do.

We should be in a GEICO commercial.

With such good company, I had my longest stay in my entire 14 years I’ve been going there… 10:00 until almost 3:45. There was plenty of PBR, the smell of Soul Burgers was in the air, the jukebox was cranking out tunes. Life was good on South Main. A really nice couple that talked to us went over and played “Crazy” by Patsy Cline on the jukebox, which made me smile. A friend asked if that song reminded me of a particular person, and I laughed so hard that I nearly snorted PBR out of my nose.

The others made their way to the parade at 4, but due to the rain and cold I decided I didn’t want to be outside. Great hanging with you guys yesterday! Hey, next time you have a BBQ cookout, maybe you should invite me. I promise I wouldn’t be there to steal cooking secrets for my own team – I wouldn’t even know what to look for. I would just like to be there to socialize with you guys… and, you know, your other guests……


I called an Uber and caught a ride to the Blind Bear. As I was continuing my PBR-Fest, Colin handed me a gift.


I have never been a toast person in my life, although I would eat cinnamon toast from time to time when I was little. This, however, is the gift that will make me learn to love toast. “It burns a PBR logo into the bread as it toasts it,” Colin told me. I took a photo and posted it to Facebook. “Winner of the ugly toaster contest,” commented Chef Michael Patrick. Yes, but aren’t most toasters ugly? In any event, I’m happy to get a free toaster without having to open a bank account! (My younger readers won’t get that reference)

I stopped by City Market to get a snack to take home, then it was time for a nap. I was pounding those PBRs at Earnestine & Hazel’s and needed a few hours rest. I woke up about 11 PM and saw no reason to go back out. I think after stressing about the car situation the past two weeks, I needed to catch up on sleep.

Let’s all say a please-don’t-send-Tennessee-to-the-Liberty-Bowl prayer, because it’s College Football Bowl Selection Sunday. Arkansas is not likely to be invited back since the Hogs just played here last year. Georgia or Texas A&M would be good choices to invite to the Liberty, it would seem.

As for the playoff, I’m predicting 1 Alabama vs. 4 Washington in the Peach Bowl and 2 Clemson vs. 3 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. I think Ohio State will be penalized a slot for being the only non-conference champions… not that it will matter, they will beat Clemson either way. I can’t see Penn State getting in, given that they are a two-loss team and lost to an unranked opponent.

Ghost River will be giving away pairs of tickets to Tuesday’s Grizzlies vs. 76ers game at 2 and 6 PM today. You get a raffle ticket when you buy a beer. The way to do it is to befriend the people sitting near you. Many people won’t be interested in staying for the drawing, and if you make friends you might be able to get them to give you their raffle tickets as they leave.

Karen Waldrup makes her debut at the Dirty Crow Inn Friday night from 9 to 12.

The Redbirds are having a huge merchandise sale Saturday from 10 to 5 at AutoZone Park. $10 T-shirts, $5 hats, novelties $5 and under.

The Church Health Center is seeking applications to become Church Health Scholars for the 2017-18 class. Applicants should have a 4-year college degree, but they should not have a master’s degree nor be enrolled in a master’s program. Scholars interact with staff and patients to bring a new sense of compassion to the Center. Applicants should have a passion for making life better for the underserved. The program is 12 months long, from June to June.

From Eater: You can’t unsee Donald Trump in Spam form.

I do have to say this, though: Yesterday I talked with a friend of mine who served in the Gulf War, and he thinks Trump’s pick for Defense Secretary, retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis, is about as good a pick as it gets. He told me Mattis is very popular within the military and is a no-nonsense kind of guy who gets things done. He told me Mattis will temper Trump’s wild policy ideas and will convince Trump to not get cozy with Putin. If Trump takes a Henry Ford approach to his office – I don’t know everything I need to know, but I know how to hire the people who know those things – maybe we will survive his presidency.

While I was at E&H yesterday, my friend Boo reminded me to be sure and come visit her pottery booth at the Memphis Farmers Market Winter Market next Saturday, December 10. It will happen from 9 AM to 1 PM under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson. “There will be fewer produce vendors than the regular markets, but there will be more arts and crafts vendors,” Boo explained. If you want to support regional makers and find unique gifts that you won’t find on Amazon or at Sears, come to the winter market. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that I WILL BE THERE spreading a little sunshine and I will stop at Clarence’s bar at E&H afterward. Maybe I will stay in the area for a while and watch the Army-Navy game at my home away from home on the south side, Max’s Sports Bar.

Yikes… I just realized the only thing I had to eat yesterday was a veggie tray from City Market, which means I had zero grams of protein for the day. Maybe I better go somewhere for breakfast. At 11 I will be at D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear for their Hung Over Like a Bear brunch. We will have much to discuss, particularly the adventures of Hot Vegetarian Katie from D.C. and her friend over in Italy. Katie’s friend posted that it was a bad idea to wear heels to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You know, that’s what differentiates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom – we have the ability to learn from the mistakes of others. If I ever go to the Leaning Tower, I will not wear heels. All right, time to hit Publish. I hope B-RAD is icing down the PBR because I am thirsty.




Downtown resident named “A Hero Among Us” plus Saturday news

Every year, at the dinner the night before the marathon, St. Jude names “A Hero Among Us,” to recognize someone who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to raise funds to save children’s lives. This year’s recipient is a name many Downtowners will recognize.


Dennis James is A Hero Among Us for 2016. Dennis and his wife Mary Pat live in Madison, Alabama; however, they own a condo on Main Street and are here many weekends, so they are residents of Downtown too. Dennis is a school administrator and former principal in Madison. He and Mary Pat have run the St. Jude Marathon for years, and have spent years helping the needy through the St. Vincent de Paul society. I first met them at the Flying Saucer in 2008. At the time I was on my crusade against Downtown panhandlers – the career ones who scam people out of money every day, pretending they’re down on their luck, to score money to buy alcohol and drugs. Because of that, at first Dennis and Mary Pat didn’t know what to think of me, but as soon as it became clear I was not targeting those truly in need, we became fast friends. Dennis and Mary Pat joined the Ques Brothers, the predecessor BBQ team to the Moody Ques and Squeal Street, in 2009.

In the summer of 2016, Dennis and Mary Pat took on the extraordinary effort of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to fundraise for St. Jude. They took in over $15,000. For that achievement, and for their years of service raising money and awareness for the children’s hospital, Dennis was named A Hero Among Us. Congratulations to both of you and the honor is richly deserved.

On to the news… If you want something more intimate and low-key than the big events today (St. Jude Marathon, Stumbling Santa, Grizzlies vs. Lakers), check out this chili cook-off at the Memphis Made taproom from 1 to 5 this afternoon. $10 gets you a tasting of all the teams’ chili and access to a toppings bar. The cook-off benefits UCAN of Memphis, an organization that mentors boys and girls who have affected by bullying, low self-esteem and behavior factors that lead to low academic performance.

If you are going to the Grizzlies-Lakers game tonight and you’re one of the first 5000 there, you will get a free Grizz Girls poster.

Fantasy Shirley, the parody account of former University of Memphis president Shirley Raines, had this to say. Pretty funny tweet and most likely true:

The blog has a look at the rain chances for today that could affect the St. Jude Marathon (especially the 1:30 kids race) and the holiday parade on Beale. They also took weather crap-apps to task for predicting snow showers for middle to late next week. An Arctic front will move through, but there is little evidence that precipitation will still have stuck around by that time.

In honor of Stubby Clapp being named Redbirds manager, the team is rolling out the Clapp Pack. This is a 5-premium game, 2-tickets to each pack that includes the Battle of the Birds (St. Louis Cardinals vs. Memphis Redbirds) in April and the July 3 fireworks show. Buyers of this pack also get invited to a lunch with Stubby!

Information you need if you take I-55 to Arkansas and back regularly: there will be lane closures on the bridge this coming week. The closures are due to routine, planned inspection.

Terence Patterson who runs DMC has been named Innovator of the Week by Urban Innovation Exchange. If you’ve never read Terence’s past accomplishments and his vision for Downtown, this is an article well worth checking out.

Higginbotham Dental wants to give a Grizzlies fan a VIP experience to the Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors game on December 10. A lucky fan will get two courtside seats, an autographed Grizzlies jersey, a piece of Grizzlies swag and the chance to get it signed on Autograph Alley, access to the pre-game shootout, access to the high-five tunnel pre-game and at halftime, and an on-court photo after the game. The winner will also get $3000 worth of dental work from Higginbotham.

Trying to figure out where to lead off this morning… Bardog is the usual but it fills up with runners every year. Might try Blind Bear or Silly Goose instead. I doubt I will be stumbling with the Santas tonight, but for those who do, have fun and stay warm.

Murphy’s Law of buying a car plus Friday update #2 with lots of news

I drove the new car to work today, played around with all the dials on the dashboard. It is the first time I have ever owned a German car, so it’s taking a little while to figure out what everything means. “I’ll just get through the work week,” I thought. “Then on Saturday morning I’ll take it out on the road and get familiar.”

Oops wait a minute. No I won’t.

Saturday is the St. Jude Marathon. Downtowners know that you do not drive a car that morning unless you absolutely have to. So I suppose the Jetta will spend the day getting familiar with its new parking garage home, and I will be at Bardog showing people pictures of the car.


I’m a horrible person.


Just kidding. I am so proud of all the people running this race in support of St. Jude. If you are looking to donate in honor of a runner, but don’t know one, may I suggest my BBQ team treasurer Misty? #runmistyrun

Speaking of horrible people, Loflin Yard will host an evening for horrible people Wednesday night, December 7, from 8 to 10 PM. Cards Against Humanity Night will feature the card game for horrible people with Ryan “I can’t believe you just said that” Capebianco as the host. Bring a team or just bring your own horrible self. There’s no cover and no advance sign-up to play.

The following night at Loflin, there will be karaoke in the Coach House with DJ Lil’ Eggroll from 7:30 to 11. It’s not a contest and there is no cover; just come serenade your friends. It’s too bad Robo is not in town to share his rendition of “Cat Who Just Had Its Tail Stepped On Song.” $3 Fireball shots will help inspire you to sing.

Mutts for MIFA will happen tomorrow, Saturday, December 3, from 11 AM to 3 PM at 101 S. Main. Memphis Animal Services will have dog adoptions for only $40. There will be hot chocolate and you can donate to MIFA’s Pet Projects partners. Volunteers for MIFA’s Meals on Wheels program noticed that some of their elderly and disabled clients were saving half their meals for their pets, robbing themselves of needed nutrition. So bring a bag or two of pet food, or a cash donation, for Pet Projects.

Also on Saturday, River Dog Inn, the doggie daycare/boarding house at 248 Court, is having an open house from 2 to 6 PM. Reba Russell, RT Scott and Delta Joe Sanders will perform, and A Southern Delight food truck will be there. Pet photos with Santa, special open house pricing, dog treats, and free giveaways are among the reasons to come.

Congratulations to Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar at Main and Monroe on being named one of the top 100 restaurants in America in the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards. The award is derived from over 10 million reviews from diners on OpenTable’s website.

Here’s a list of the best and worst gift cards to give for the 2016 holiday season, based on several criteria. Target’s gift card was rated as the best, with Hallmark’s as the worst.

By the way – I take Peabody Place to work in the mornings, usually hitting the light at Main at 7:35. Wednesday was the morning of the Majestic Grille half-off gift card sale, and the line already stretched out the door all the way to the corner of Peabody Place, 25 minutes before the restaurant opened its doors. I was told that by 8, the line snaked far around the corner, and they sold out before some of the people in line prior to 8 got to buy. Those gift cards are popular! I know there are Downtown managers who buy them by the dozen to give as holiday rewards to employees. Not a bad gift. If you can’t find something you like at the Majestic, you’re just not into food!

There was a question about next Wednesday’s Paying it Forward for Gatlinburg event at High Cotton. Several news sources have reported that Gatlinburg is no longer accepting donations at the time. The taproom manager (who, by the way, like me is a fan of Clarence’s bar at Earnestine & Hazel’s on Saturdays) has been in contact with several groups from East Tennessee, and they have assured her they will accept the donations and spread them around as widely as possible. Baby items, toiletries, and cell phone chargers (many people escaped with their phones, but not their chargers) are among the most needed items.

Memphis has been added to Etsy’s Maker City network, citing a strong artisanal and entrepreneurial community here.

Tickets for the February 4 Garth Brooks/Trisha Yearwood concert at FedExForum are now on sale. Due to demand, a second show on February 3 has been added. And now a third show the afternoon of the 4th at 3 PM. And now I’m hearing there may be a fourth show.

The new Subway at Second and Union is now open, having had its grand opening Wednesday.

If it’s your first visit to the blog today, read on – my morning post is still news to you. Good luck to all the runners tomorrow.

Friday update

American Apparel will be closing its South Main location in late December. The company has been through two bankruptcies, so the closing is hardly a surprise. With Main and G.E. Patterson set to become a booming corner in 2017, do not expect the storefront to stay vacant for long.

Advice for St. Jude Marathon runners:

The Delta Cats play a free lunchtime show at the Center for Southern Folklore today 11:30 AM-1:30 PM. They have great food for sale as well as music and art.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker will be performed at the Cannon Center tonight at 7. Tickets start at $30.

Ghost River has announced its next Brunch at the Brewery this Sunday, December 4, from noon to 4 PM. They will have two signature brunch drinks. The Bloody Beer is a combination of Nikki’s Hot Ass Bloody Mary Mix and the beer of your choice. You can choose any of their 12 beers to blend, although they recommend the Grindhouse Cream Ale, 1887 IPA, or the Golden Ale. The second drink is the Vice-Mosa, combining Memphis Vice sour beer with orange juice, producing some tangy, interesting flavors. Flying Sobie’s will be on hand serving fried Cornish hens and waffles.

Members, guests, and guests who might be interested in becoming members are invited to the joint Downtown Neighborhood Association-South Main Association holiday party Tuesday, December 13 from 6 to 9 PM at Jack Robinson Gallery (corner of Front and Huling, entrance on Huling). Catering by Rizzo’s, cash bar, music by Eddie Harrison.

There’s a video producer/video production manager position open at inferno.

Applications are now available for the City of Memphis youth summer job program.

ServiceMaster has applied for an exception to the Downtown sign codes for signage for its new office building, the old Peabody Place Mall at Second and Peabody Place.

John Paul Keith plays Loflin Yard tonight at 10.

Time to drive to work… in my new car! Last week, I decided my Saturn could not be relied on to make it to Little Rock for Christmas this year. So I reached out to my friends David Graham and Michael Muruako at Gossett Volkswagen/Porsche, and they found me a late-model certified pre-owned Jetta. They made car shopping, a normally stressful experience, easy and painless. Thanks so much to both of you guys and if anyone out there needs a car, I would strongly recommend giving them a call.

Maybe another post around lunchtime, check back…