Monday update

I have entered my final week off work! Big thanks to my friend Diamond Dave for emailing me a list of good places to get lunch in the area of Poplar and Kirby where I will be working. One thing I am super excited about: I will be within driving distance of Indian restaurants! I love Indian food but there wasn’t a good option at the last job. Go see Dave Wednesday nights at Belle Tavern to play British Bingo. They have great food, one of the best whiskey selections in town, craft cocktails, and PBR.

Wiseacre is having a Stout Fest to celebrate St. Pat’s this Saturday. They will have four versions of their imperial stout doctored up with special ingredients. At 2 and 3 there will be Cupcake Pairings in conjunction with Bea Sweet Bakery. $10 gets you a cupcake and your choice of stout.

There is now a GoFundMe where you can support Christopher Reyes, Sarah Fleming, and their two children in their fight to remain in their home at 1 S. Main. They have lived there for 25 years and a luxury hotel group is attempting to force them out.

The Uptown Porch Series, featuring live entertainment on the porches of Uptown, will happen this summer. Follow the Uptown Community Association on Facebook for more details to come. The series is funded by a grant from the Memphis Medical District Collaborative.

The 2018 NCAA March Madness bracket is out. As I feared, my Arkansas Razorbacks dropped to a 7 seed as a result of their horrible game vs. Tennessee in the SEC semifinals. They play 10-seed Butler Friday. That is about as bad a matchup as a 7 seed could ask for. In other basketball news, the Memphis Tigers failed to make the NIT bracket.

From WREG: Drunk spending is now a $30 billion industry

Now this sounds really cool: South Main Market at 409 S. Main is hosting the 1st Annual Butcher Board Festival on July 22. Your ticket gets you a butcher board and the opportunity to walk around and load up on local meats, pickled goods, sweets, fruit and cheeses, pairing them with wine, beer and cider.

The grand opening of The Grecian Gourmet is tomorrow 4-8 PM at 412 S. Main.

The Grecian Gourmet will provide appetizers for the monthly South Main Association meeting tomorrow at 456 Tennessee Street. 6 PM social, 6:30 presentation. Terry Woodard will present her new gallery, Calliope. Fred Burton, retired Memphis College of Art professor, will speak about his upcoming exhibit, “Hungry Eyes.” Deborah Edge will talk about her new gallery at 509 S. Main, formerly Red Velvet. Wine will be provided by SMA. Free for members, $10 non-members.

And now it’s time for…

The Perjorie T. Roll Lunch Series

In my last week before I go to work in Germantown, my troll and I are hitting our favorite lunch spots one last time. Yesterday we went to Blues City Cafe. It’s easy to overlook Beale Street, but Blues City has really good food. While known for their ribs, I decided to get two appetizers.

You can’t go wrong with one of Blues City’s signature dishes, tamales with a cup of chili. Another great example of comfort food in Downtown Memphis.

I also got their Seafood Au Gratin. Although not as famous as their ribs and tamales, it is one of my favorite dishes at Blues City. Crab meat, shrimp and crawfish in a cream sauce topped with mozzarella – does it get more indulgent than that? You get buttery garlic croutons for dipping. So good.

Close-up of the troll

Technically, I wasn’t in Blues City, the restaurant itself. I was in George Paul’s Last Call, the bar behind the restaurant with an entrance on Second Street. They have a great beer selection including 16-ounce cans of PBR, one of which I had with my lunch.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

“For the first time in 4 months the clock in the car has the right time” Sunday update

Going to do another free-form post like the one yesterday, with some more Q&A from discussions I have had recently. I am going to let this one get a bit raunchy; not too much but let’s just say it’s rated PG-13.

For those who want to skip directly to the news section of this post, you can do so here. I have a pretty interesting news story today, so don’t miss it.

First off, I have a question for my female readers, arising from recent discussions I have had about Paula & Raiford’s and other nightclubs: I know many women prefer men to be several inches taller. Does this apply to dancing as well as in general? I’m not talking about dancing with a platonic guy friend just to have a plus-one on the dance floor. I’m talking about a case where there’s mutual attraction and things are starting to heat up.

I’m 5’8″. I prefer dancing with a woman who’s 5’7″ or 5’9″ to one who is 5’0″. The reason is simple – body parts line up and all sorts of interesting things can happen. So yeah, I prefer women around the same height as me. That’s just a preference though. It’s not like I would tell a petite woman she’s too short.

Just curious how women who go out to clubs perceive dancing and height differences.

The subject of dancing brings me to another discussion topic that came up recently.

Old Raiford’s or New Raiford’s?

A little history for those not familiar: The original location at Mulberry and Vance was opened by Hollywood Raiford in 1975. It remained open until 2007. Following that it was opened by other people as Hollywood Disco for a couple of years and is now vacant.

The new location was opened by Raiford and his daughter in 2009 at 14 S. Second. Raiford has passed on but Paula still operates the club, and based on lines to get in I have seen recently, it’s stronger than ever.

The new location has a much bigger dance floor. The capacity is greater. It has a full bar. There are multiple VIP areas. The ceiling is much higher so the smoke from the fog machine is less stifling. In many ways the new location far exceeds the old one.

And yet I will tell you a story that explains why I miss the original Raiford’s. In spring 2010, about six months after the new location opened, I was out there with a female friend. We were out on the dance floor, dancing all sexy especially to the slower stuff by Prince and Al Green and Clarence Carter.

Three days later, I was at Bardog for happy hour. Two women sitting a few seats down commented to me, “We saw you having some fun out on the dance floor Saturday night. You was getting it witcho girl out there. Did you get you some that night?”

(For the record, I didn’t.)

The thing is, that kind of commentary NEVER happened regarding matters at the original location. At the new location, the dance floor is in the center of the room and is visible to nearly the entire club. So, if you’re dancing, dozens of people if not hundreds are looking at you. Whereas, at the old location, the dance floor was small and in the very back, and was obscured by the fog machine as well. The only people who could see you dance were the other people on the floor (who were busy doing their own thing) and maybe the people on the couch to the side. Also, there was an unwritten rule that you just didn’t discuss what you saw there, outside of there.

It didn’t bother me that they asked, but what I worried about is that similar comments could have been made to the woman I was dancing with, making her hesitant to get back out on the dance floor on her next visit. Women tend to think about that stuff more than men do. What if my friends see me? My co-workers? What if people think I’m a slut just because I like to have a little fun when I’m dancing? What if someone takes a photo of me dancing and posts it on Facebook?

I commented to a friend of mine, “Women let men get away with more on the dance floor when they feel like people aren’t watching.”

She replied, “That’s definitely true.”

Any good stories about the old Raiford’s?

Well, let’s see… not going to go into detail here but I will touch on a few stories briefly.

There was the time I met a woman on the dance floor and we started making out. After about 20 minutes of kissing, I discovered she was wearing a wedding ring. I’d been kissing someone’s wife! I got the hell out of there as quick as I could. She invited me to come visit her at work (rather than give me an email address or phone number) but needless to say I never did.

There was a time I was dancing with a woman and she squatted down on her knees and BIT me. Yes, there. Yes, it hurt.

The first two years I went to Raiford’s, I was still teaching at the University of Memphis. I hooked up with a few former students as a result of running into each other at the club. That was fun.

That brings me to another question people ask.

Did you ever have awkward moments with current students at the old Raiford’s or elsewhere?

I first started going to Raiford’s in 1997. I taught at the University of Memphis until 1999. So the two eras did overlap. Yes, twice something like that happened. I was out on the dance floor and women who were currently in classes I was teaching came up and started dancing with me.

In one case I gently placed my hands on the student’s shoulders and pushed back. “We can’t do this. I’m your teacher. I give you a grade.”

She replied, “You’re right. I’m sorry, I’m a little drunk.” She stepped away and the matter was never brought up again.

The second woman was a little more persistent. When I backed away, she stepped forward and closed the gap. She whispered in my ear “no one has to know” and kissed me on the cheek.

True, no one has to know, and as far as I knew the university did not have an official policy about instructors fraternizing with students. Still, common sense dictated that this was a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea. The chances that someone in the club would recognize both of us and know that she was my student were low, but they were not zero. I told her, “I’m sorry, but it’s not going to happen.” I was tempted to say, “But come find me after the semester’s over” but decided even that was a bad idea.

The most awkward moment, though, happened on campus. One day in spring 1998 I was taking a walk around campus and one of my Computer Literacy students came bouncing up to me. She was a solid A student and very much a free spirit. She was also blessed by Mother Nature in particular areas… to put it another way, she had big boobs. “Paul, guess what I did this weekend,” she said.

“I don’t know… what?”

“I got my nipples pierced,” she replied. She proceeded to spend the next 5 minutes telling me about the tattoo shop where she had it done, the sensation of getting pierced, the types of piercings she had put in, what she had to do after the procedure to help them heal. It was a  bit awkward but I always encouraged my students to open up to me and let me get to know them on a personal level. It’s just that this particular student’s passion happened to be piercings.

I don’t think she was trying to angle for a higher grade. Like I said, she already had a solid A average, and Computer Literacy is a ridiculously easy class. Nor do I think she was hitting on me. I just got the sense she was a free spirit, open about her sexuality, and she saw me more as a peer than an authority figure, a fellow free spirit she could be herself around.

But then she smiled and said the thing that made it really awkward:

“I’ll show them to you sometime.”

Don’t get me wrong, I really, really, really wanted to see them. But I knew it was a really bad idea. It certainly couldn’t happen while she was still in my class. And even after that, it couldn’t happen on campus. For the remainder of the semester, I avoided situations where she and I were alone in a room. Now, if we ran into each other off-campus after the teacher-student relationship was over, that was a different matter. Unfortunately it never happened.

The luck of the troll runs out

I took my little troll in my pocket on both interviews I had two weeks ago. When I got the call from the recruiter saying I had been offered the job, the troll was standing on the bar in front of me at the Silly Goose. She definitely brought me good luck.

I decided to watch the Memphis-Cincinnati and Arkansas-Tennessee games at the Blind Bear yesterday. I got the troll out and stood her on the bar. For the first half she seemed to bring the same kind of luck she brought to my job hunt. The Tigers were leading 42-29 at halftime, over a top ten team in the country. They were looking like a team who could not only beat Cincy, but prevail in the finals to win a most-unlikely NCAA tournament berth.

Then it all fell apart. In the second half, they mostly looked like the same bumbling team that lost to USF by 24. They looked like a team who didn’t even deserve to be in the NIT. No amount of luck conveyed by the troll could help them.

(I will mention one positive though: Up until two games ago I did not know who any of the Tigers players were. However, I sure do know who Kyvon Davenport is now, though. I hope he doesn’t transfer over the summer. I would enjoy watching him next season.)

At least Memphis looked good for a while. Arkansas looked like an utter disaster at every stage of their game. They were a projected 6 seed as of yesterday but if they got knocked down to 7 I wouldn’t blame the committee.

I considered watching the game at Max’s Sports Bar but was afraid I would lash out at some people I care about deeply and consider part of my extended Downtown family. I have (regrettably) lashed out several times at them the past two years and they don’t understand why. I wish they would ask. That’s a big part of the problem. They have heard lies about me, or at least I have strong reason to believe they have. They need to hear the truth from me.

So today I’m in the unenviable position of having to root for a John Calipari team. Ugh, but under no circumstances will I root for the Vols at this point.

On to the news…

So, about that interesting news item I teased at the beginning of the post. Yesterday a friend told me there’s a new private club at the southeast corner of Second and Vance. I did a little research and found that it is called Century House and it is in the historic 20th Century Fox Pictures Building on Film Row. The building has a 1930s Art Deco theme but modern amenities. There are four opportunities for membership: Creatives, Internationals, House (combination of the former two), and Travelers. Benefits include a speaker series, office space, meeting space, a jazz brunch, a cocktail series, guest passes, a screening room, and more. The club launched on March 1.

I want to check this out and learn more… I was a member of a private club in the Toyota Center 2003-04 and it was a very cool experience. Reading the categories, I thought “I wonder if I would qualify as a Creative” and then I remembered, oh yeah, this blog that I’m typing right here, that I’ve been doing for 14 years and that won the Flyer poll 4 times, would very possibly qualify me. Maybe I will look into it. On the other hand private clubs usually have dress codes and following dress codes is not my strong suit. We shall see.

Selection Sunday, revealing the brackets for the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, will be on TBS at 5 today. However, the Selection Sunday Memphians might be more interested in is the one at 7:30 on ESPNU, revealing the 32-team bracket for the NIT. With a late-season run, a victory over USF to partly erase memories of the bad loss, an upset of Tulsa, and a solid first half against Cincinnati, the Tigers might be able to grab a 7 or 8 seed in the NIT.

Imagine reading that last sentence five or six years ago.

The Memphis Flyer has an article about Soi Number 9, the Thai street food truck which was the subject of the second installment of the Perjorie T. Roll Lunch Series last week. The article discusses the rice and noodle dishes and the origins of the school bus.

The same article has news on the new food truck New Wing Order will be rolling out later this year. New Wing Order won first at the Southern Hot Wing Fest in 2015 and 2017. Memphis Buffalo sandwich, BBQ nachos with a white Alabama sauce, hot wing nachos… this truck sounds destined for success.

Max’s Sports Bar will host Car Bomb Madness Saturday, March 17. Celebrate St. Pat’s with $3.50 car bombs and $1.50 Jello shots. Of course, the NCAA tournament will be on.

Today from noon to 6 is Soulful Food Truck Sunday at Clayborn Temple. 28 unique vendors on site including a cigar truck and a game truck. Local beer and wine will be for sale too. Live entertainment by Courtney Little 1:00-1:45, Stefanie Bolton 2:45-3:45, and Jerome Chism 4:45-5:30. They will provide the chairs so no need to bring your own. This is a rain or shine event.

Well, isn’t this interesting!

Now, now, let’s not read too much into this. Who hasn’t thought about getting an impeachment lawyer at some point in their life? I remember that time in 2005 when I considered getting an impeachment lawyer but ended up getting a NERF basketball and hoop instead.

It’s my last Sunday without a Monday workday behind it for quite some time. I stayed out until 3 last Sunday and had a great time – the crowd that comes up to the Blind Bear Sunday late night is so much fun. I plan on doing it again tonight.

I have TV to watch tonight as well (on my phone): The superstars of Smackdown compete in WWE Fastlane. I’ll make one prediction: AJ Styles will retain the WWE World Championship in a defense against 5 challengers. After the match, John Cena will be interviewed about not finding a way onto the WrestleMania card for the first time in over a decade. Then the lights will go out, the gong will go off, and Undertaker will make his way to the ring, look at Cena, and point to the WrestleMania sign.

All right, enough typing. Back tomorrow (probably) with a more traditional news post.

Saturday update: Q&A, Lunch Series, news

I don’t have a lot of news today so I’m going to do things a little differently. I’m going to hold a Q&A, answering a couple of questions I’ve been asked recently, then I will do the lunch series and share what news I have.

Did you file for unemployment after you were laid off?


No. Let me explain my philosophy on that.

I believe in letting the right job come to me. That takes some time. I read a lot of job descriptions and immediately can tell they’re not a good fit. I don’t want to waste time applying for those. But when you’re receiving unemployment benefits, you have to. What if one of those resulted in an offer? I could end up somewhere I didn’t like, and there’s nothing worse than being miserable 40 hours a week.

Also, while I was job hunting there tended to be 1-2 days a week when I just said, “screw this, I don’t feel like dealing with this today” and went to Bardog. I would have felt terrible about doing that if I had been receiving government money.

Not that there’s anything wrong with unemployment benefits. They are a necessary and valuable safety net. It’s just that not tapping into them gave me options.

What’s your take on the possibility of Penny Hardaway replacing Tubby Smith as head coach of Memphis Tigers men’s basketball?

I’ve done a total 180 on this. I used to think this was a really stupid idea. Now I am for it. Let me explain why.

I want to see my friends who bartend on Beale Street make bank before and after Tiger games. I want to see my friends who own Majestic Grille, Kooky Canuck, Silly Goose, Blind Bear, etc. prosper on Tiger game nights. That’s not going to happen if the Tigers are drawing 1500 fans to an 18,000 seat arena.

I want to see Max prosper because his sports bar is packed to the gills with people who wouldn’t dare miss a Tigers away game on TV. That’s not going to happen with Memphis fielding teams for whom “might get invited to the NIT” is considered a happy ending to the season.

Tubby is not going to turn around the attendance problem. Also, I don’t see anyone with head coaching experience at a major basketball program wanting to come here and inherit this attendance mess. Penny, on the other hand, will sell tickets. He will put butts in seats. My friends and their businesses will prosper with Penny in the coaching box. The U of M is not likely to miss out on a payday from the Grizzlies for failure to meet attendance milestones with Penny as HC.

I believe Penny would recruit as well as Josh Pastner did. He has connections to AAU programs all over the country, so he already knows the kids and they know him. They also know they have a better chance of getting to the NBA if they follow the guidance of someone who has been there and was a star there. So yeah, I can see Hardaway reeling in 3-, 4-, and maybe even 5-star recruits, players on the level of Joe Jackson and Shaq Goodwin and Chris Crawford. Based on raw talent alone, even if it turns out Penny can’t coach worth a lick, that should get Memphis in the 21-23 win range.

I also think Penny’s presence might allow Memphis to strengthen its nonconference schedule a bit. Perhaps we could replace Samford with one of the better A-10 schools on the December schedule.

I also think Penny is smart and self-aware enough to realize the aspects of coaching in which he is deficient, where many coaches are not, and he would take steps to cover those deficiencies with strong assistant coaches. If he can get someone like Larry Brown who has won NCAA and NBA titles to be lead assistant and be the X’s and O’s guy, that’s awesome. (I’d want the compliance office to keep Brown on an extremely short leash, though. By the way, that’s another advantage to Penny. You know he would run a clean program. And he knows AAU well so shady AAU figures would not be able to push him around.)

Do I think Penny could coach a team to 27-8, runner-up in the American Conference, and a Sweet 16 appearance in three years’ time? Not sure. But can you name me any other coach who could do it who would reasonably want to come here? And do you seriously think Tubby would do it if given three more years?

I have to say that I do hate this for Tubby. He is a genuinely good man. He just didn’t connect in a deep way with Memphians and Memphis players the way Dana Kirk, Larry Finch, and (I hate to say it) John Calipari did. I think he wanted to, but he just didn’t know how to do that while staying true to his systems and values. I think it’s time to pay him $9 million and let him move on. Tubby has a great legacy and more years at Memphis would just tarnish that legacy.

The Perjorie T. Roll Lunch Series

I didn’t know if I’d have time to fit in an installment of the lunch series yesterday, but then I remembered that Court House Deli, practically downstairs from me, opens at 11, plenty of time to get lunch before my 12:15 haircut appointment.

Court House is a place I never think to blog about, because I eat there so often that I take it for granted. However, this is a farewell tour of my favorite lunch spots, and Court House more than qualifies to be a stop. They have five Cajun soups – crawfish etoufee, gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and Cajun chili. They also have great burgers, the patties prepared in advance to get you in and out of there quickly. They have sandwiches and salads as well, and chips and brownies. I ordered the red beans and rice to take home. I always get it “fully loaded,” topped with cheese, onions, and jalapenos.

Note: The soup can in the background was not part of the purchase; it’s just the only suitable-height object I could find for the troll to stand on. Thankfully, the background blurred so you can’t tell how bad I need to vacuum.

The fully loaded red beans & rice is comfort food. Not as snazzy as dining across the street at Felicia’s but it isn’t supposed to be. Inexpensive, filling, good, and you can get in and out quickly if you’re on a lunch break.

My troll normally likes foods that are the same color as her hair, but jalapenos are an exception, and therefore she wouldn’t touch with the red beans and rice. However, the red beans and rice come with a side of troll-sized oyster crackers.

If you don’t want your oyster crackers, one thing you can do is to take them over to Court Square and set them free, to be enjoyed by squirrels and pigeons.

“Fully loaded” is good with the Cajun chili too.

It amazes me how many Downtowners have never been to Court House Deli. You’re missing out! It’s on the Main Street Mall between Madison and Monroe, and its hours are 11-3 Monday-Friday.

On to the news…

Let’s go Tigers! #5 Memphis upset #4 Tulsa yesterday to advance to the semifinals of the AAC tournament today. The Tigers play top-seeded Cincinnati. Not only is a trip to the final round on the line, but probably an NIT berth and Tubby’s job are as well. The game will be on CBS as noon.

Over in SEC action, my Arkansas Razorbacks upset higher-seeded Florida to advance to the semis today. They host Tennessee at 2 on ESPN. The Hogs hold a regular-season overtime win against the Vols, and nothing would be sweeter than to send the SEC’s douchiest team packing from the conference tournament while possibly also taking away their 3 seed in the NCAAs. I guess Max’s will have one less customer dressed as an orange Bozo the Clown than most years… oh well at least we can turn on Fox News if we want to see an orange Bozo the Clown.

The Grizzlies lost their 16th straight game last night.

Fleet Foxes play the Cannon Center tonight at 8.

Today is Mario Day and for the next week you can turn Google Maps into Mario Kart.

I got an email yesterday that made me smile. Wouldn’t be prudent to say more, though. :mrgreen:

That’s it for now. With my “DAWG” John D enjoying some time in Portland, I am going to skip Bardog today and lead off at D-RANKS with B-RAD at Blind Bear. Back tomorrow with more news.


Important Pabst news, a first visit to Civil Pour, Chandler Parsons hat and more Friday news

Longtime readers may have caught something in that title.

Many times I have titled previous posts “Important PBR news.” Note the different wording this time. That’s because my news is not about Blue Ribbon. Did you know Pabst makes other beers as well?

The Brass Door will have Pabst American Pale Ale for sale at the pocket park across the street for its St. Patrick’s Day shindig. There will be live music in the park all afternoon as well as stuff for kids. Also, it’s very cool that they’re doing a soccer and rugby skills contest benefiting Inner City Rugby. I’m very happy to see this and other efforts to make sports accessible to all kids of Memphis, regardless of family income.

With another week off and no need to job-hunt anymore, I wandered down to “my home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar, yesterday to watch the Memphis Tigers eke out a win over USF in the first round of the AAC tournament. The Tigers play Tulsa today in the quarterfinals at 1. An upset win would put the Tigers at 21-12 and knocking on the door of an NIT bid.

Because the game started late, it was just after 4 when I left Max’s. As I walked up Main heading back to the Downtown core, I realized Civil Pour was open. Civil Pour is the small bar opened by Daniel Masters (Silly Goose/Pontotoc Lounge) in The South Main Market food hall and event space at 409 S. Main. Despite having only been open a few minutes yesterday, three of the seven bar seats were already taken, a good sign. I pulled up a stool and introduced myself to Nick, the bartender. I knew who he was because his reputation preceded him. Everyone I know who has been to Civil Pour has raved about what a great bartender he is and what quality cocktails he pours.

The refrigerator was stocked full of PBR in 16 ounce cans. “Normally I’m a PBR guy,” I told Nick. “Heck, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say I’m THE PBR guy. But that’s not the reason I came here today. I want a cocktail. What do you recommend?”

Nick pointed to a chalkboard hanging in the window. “Well, we’re about to change out our cocktail menu. These are our winter drinks. We’re about to change them out for the spring menu. Do you want something for the current menu, or do you want to preview something I’m working on for the spring?”

Reasoning that I will be back to try the spring menu after it rolls out, I decided to stick with the winter menu, and requested whichever drink was the most popular. “That’s the Wintersprung,” said Nick. “It’s made with rye, pink peppercorn, and cynar.” I had never heard of cynar before.

The drink was delicious and I was delighted I gave the place a try. Nick was a good conversationalist and I also got to meet Justin, who is a partner in the food hall and is involved with Civil Pour as well. The food hall is a friendly, welcoming place. Also, Justin and Nick both liked my troll a lot.

In other news about the food hall at 409, Wok’n in Memphis will have a pop-up lunch buffet there tomorrow.

On the walk back, I saw a late-model Camry with a custom landau roof. Someone spent good money to make their Camry look like a 1978 Ford LTD.

On to other news… Chandler Parsons hat to the first 5000 fans in FedExForum tonight for the Grizz vs. the Jazz. 7 PM tip.

I wonder if “25” is on the hat because that’s the number he wears on the court, or because that’s approximately the number of millions the Grizzlies pay him per year?

Here’s a video of the history of the Cossitt Library. The library is one of the assets of The Fourth Bluff and is being re-done as a community hub.

The Beale Street St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been set for 3 PM on Saturday the 17th. This event is kid-friendly and there will be plenty of opportunities to catch beads and candy. Look alive, though, because you might get hit in the head with a cabbage (I’m really being serious here). As usual, I will be standing outside the King’s Palace Cafe Tap Room (or possibly inside the Tap Room drinking a PBR).

By the way, if you look at the archives, I announced several days in advance that I would be standing outside the King’s Palace Tap Room for the March 2017 parade… it was a decision made well ahead of time… not one made at the spur of the moment, although the flying monkeys tried to spin it that way. Glad there will be one less flying monkey at this year’s parade.

Club 152 will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a number of specials: $5 Jameson Caskmates IPA, $5 Jameson Irish Whiskey, $5 Guinness, $5 green beer, $8 car bombs. Live music all day by Sean “Bad” Apple, Bonfire Orchestra, Bluff City Bandits, DJ Ron, and DJ Dnyce.

News story to keep an eye on: British PM Theresa May is threatening retaliatory action against Russia if it is proved that Vlad Putin was behind a poisoned spy attack on British soil. This could include a NATO build-up in eastern Europe. Yikes, I hope this isn’t a precursor to World War III.

Start Co. is having a happy hour at the Silly Goose beer garden at 5:30 PM on March 22. Anyone interested in the Memphis entrepreneurial, tech, or creative scene is welcome to come out and attend.

Fair warning: Any Downtown business that posts “come celebrate the end of Daylight Saving Time with us Sunday” is gonna get publicly shamed on this blog. Daylight Saving Time BEGINS Sunday and it will be time to spring forward. The sun will be setting a few minutes after 7 after the changeover.

YOGA! Downtown Yoga will host a workshop called How to Change Your Destiny from 1:30 to 5 PM tomorrow. The workshop, led by Sarla Nichols, will explore the relationship between quantum physics, yoga and meditation. They will study the concept that where you place your attention is where you put your energy, and what happens when you focus on one specific part of the body.

You know who else was a big believer on focusing on one part of the body? Arn Anderson.

Question on Facebook this morning: Which four Memphis wrestlers would you take with you to invade the WWE? My answer: Flex Kavana, Eddie Gilbert, Tojo Yamamoto, and of course the King.

Nothing to do this morning until a 12:15 haircut appointment, so I guess I’ll work through an AngularJS tutorial to pass the time. By the way if anyone is looking for a stylist, my neighbor Beckii at Rachel’s Salon at 10 N. Main does excellent work.

After that, I have a decision to make. The Tigers play Tulsa at 1 on ESPN2. Normally I would head to Max’s Sports Bar to watch that game… but, if I get the haircut finished 12:45ish, that won’t leave me time to walk down there before the game starts. Given that the game is on a normal cable channel and doesn’t require some kind of sports package, I could watch it at Bardog which is easily walkable in time for tip-off. Maybe I’ll do that then come down to Max’s this evening to watch my Hogs take on Florida in the SEC tournament.

Can you tell by the tone of these last four posts that I’m in a much better place than in recent weeks? No more recruiters to talk to, no more interviews to go on, no more skills tests to prepare for. I’m free to enjoy the remainder of my time off as I see fit.

That’s it for now. Due to the haircut and the game I may have to take a day off from the lunch series. Back tomorrow with more news.


Basil Chicken @ Soi Number 9 @ Food Truck Thursday in Court Square

Welcome to the second installment of the Perjorie T. Roll Lunch Series. Having accepted a new job in Germantown that I start a week from Monday, my troll and I are embarking on a farewell tour of our favorite Downtown lunch spots.

Thursdays are special days for lunch Downtown, as 10 to 20 food trucks gather in and around Court Square, selling their food to the public from 11 to 2. I walked over there at 11, determined to try a food truck I had never tried before. Thai street food sounded good, so I walked up to the Soi Number 9 truck. I have followed the truck on Twitter for several months and their food always looks yummy when they post photos.

As you can see, the Soi Number 9 food truck is actually not a truck at all, but a bus converted for cooking purposes.

The truck offers a small menu of authentic Thai street food. I ordered the Basil Chicken, which I took home to share with my troll.

The troll prefers to be standing next to the food in photos, but due to the height and shape of the box it just wasn’t possible this time. By the way, I noticed something… in all the times I have dined out with the troll, she has never once offered to pay. It’s always me that pays. What’s up with that?

The ground chicken dish was very good with just a hint of spice. They gave me a packet of soy sauce but I decided not to use it because it didn’t seem like it would work with the flavor of the food. I’m not normally an egg person but the fried egg on top of this dish was great.

You can read more about Soi Number 9 on a review my friend Michael Butler did for the I Love Memphis Blog back in November. I would definitely recommend this truck if you’re hungry for some authentic Asian food.

This is my second post today, so if it’s your first visit today keep scrolling down for lots of Thursday news.

Thursday update

I won First Place and Best Team Name at Blind Bear trivia last night. Nice little $50 prize haul on a Wednesday evening.

One of the other teams was headed by Nate who tends to follow me to bars around the Downtown area. Following good Agile design practices, Nate and his team did Scrum after trivia, a post-mortem to discuss the reasons they lost. This is what they came up with:

  • I’m smarter than Nate’s team
  • I have better hair than Nate
  • I have hair

Friends and I were reminiscing about the good old days yesterday… specifically, the Fish Races at Sleep Out Louie’s. They had a tank filled with goldfish there. On Friday nights they would bring in rain gutters, and each participant in the races would scoop a fish out of the tank. We’d drop them in the rain gutters and squirt them with water guns. First fish to the end of its rain gutter wins. The races were bracketed, much like the NCAA tournament, but fish instead of basketball.

A quick message for any readers living in Senate District 33: My friend Drew Daniel has filed a petition to run for Republican State Committeeman in the August 2 election. I don’t often recommend Republicans on here but I have known Drew for over 20 years. He took my algebra and computer literacy classes at the U of M and we have stayed in touch since. I know him to be a man of integrity and public service. If you live in that district I hope you will give him consideration when you cast your ballot.

Court House Deli is hiring. Brad who owns the place is an awesome guy (although his taste in college football teams is questionable) and he seems like he would be great to work for. It’s a Monday-Friday lunch-only restaurant so there wouldn’t be evenings and weekends. Apply after 2 PM. It’s on the Main Street Mall north of Monroe next to The Peanut Shop.

Congratulations to Meddlesome Brewing Co., whose 201 Hoplar beer was crowned the king of Memphis beers in the recent Memphis Flyer beer bracket vote.

You’ve heard of pub crawls, but there will be a Pub Prance this Saturday at 3 PM. It will start at Civil Pour at 409 S. Main and will hit South of Beale, Green Beetle, Pontotoc Lounge and will end at the Silly Goose. There will be Tattersall giveaways including a grill and cornhole boards. I think the difference between a pub crawl and a pub prance is that you have to get your ankles up higher as you walk. Imagine you are a Clydesdale entered in a horse show.

In related news, there will be a bar crawl on the south end on St. Patrick’s Day. It will start at noon at Carolina Watershed (live music TBA). At 2 the party moves to the Ghost River taproom with live music by the Memph Orleans Street Symphony. Next up is the Dirty Crow Inn where Shufflegrit plays at 4. Last stop is Loflin Yard at 7-8ish with live music TBA. Food specials and drink specials at all four places.

Yesterday I signed my offer letter for my new job, had it scanned (love the FedEx Office at the Peabody, they are so nice there) and emailed it. That left me with 8 weekdays left to enjoy the life of the unemployed without worry. I decided to embark on a farewell tour of my Downtown lunch spots that I will not see again for some time. I named the tour the Perjorie T. Roll Lunch Series. First stop on the tour yesterday was The Little Tea Shop, where my troll and I had chicken and dressing.

One of the specials on Wednesday, this is a smothered chicken breast, dressing, gravy and the Tea Shop’s famous corn sticks, along with one side. I chose turnip greens as my side. Note that this is a real chicken breast, not slices of chicken breast meat as you often see with this dish. More Southern and authentic, but watch out for bones. One of the secrets to life is to dip the corn sticks in the potlikker from the turnip greens.

Artists: Two Beale Street design competitions have been announced. One is for the entrance to Handy Park and the other is for the two new archways at Main Street and Fourth Street.

I had a #YouAreSoMemphis moment yesterday. Announcers on ESPN were discussing Paul George. The graphic read, “What can OKC do to make PG-13 want to stay?” I immediately thought, “What are Wolfie D and JC Ice doing in Oklahoma?”

The View rooftop bar atop the Residence Inn at Main and Monroe opens a week from today, Thursday, March 15. Holly has the details.

Dine at Mollie Fontaine’s on March 29 and mention Memphis Pets Alive and they will receive 15% of your purchase price.

Wicked, the untold story of the Witches of OZ, kicked off its Memphis run at the Orpheum last night. The show will be here through March 25.

Talibah Safiya performs at Old Dominick tonight. $10 cover.

Brain Candy Live comes to the Cannon Center tonight.

Moody Ques: We are still looking at March 24 for a full team meeting and cookout. Details are being arranged.

Plan for today: I’m taking the Perjorie T. Roll Lunch Series to Court Square for the Thursday food truck rodeo. I’m making a rule that I have to try a food truck I have not tried before – apologies to Sushi Jimmi, RAWK’n Grub, Moe’s and Stickem if those trucks are there, but I only have two Thursdays left to do this. After that I have the rest of the day free and will be out at the usual spots. Back tomorrow with more news.


Very newsy Wednesday

Yesterday while I was out at breakfast I heard a BIG rumor which a couple of different sources said was going to happen… a legendary Downtown Memphis bar is said to be making its return this spring. It won’t be back in its original location, but it will be within walking distance away from the original location in the Downtown core. For now I will withhold the name since it has not been officially announced. This bar is where I got my start in the Downtown scene and I will be very happy, as will a lot of other people, if it does indeed come back.

On to the next piece of big news, and this one is personal. I’m going back to work! I received the offer letter yesterday. I don’t like mentioning names of places where I work on the blog but it is a great company near Poplar and Kirby Parkway. I will be programming in C# and using some cutting-edge client-side frameworks. I have also been told there may be future opportunity to utilize my communication skills as well as my programming skills. My start date is Monday, March 19, so I still have a little time to wrap up side consulting projects and see my friends who are out during the day.

I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been there for me in the 8 weeks since my old position got eliminated. The first few weeks it happened, I simply didn’t believe in myself. So I did the only thing I could do: I turned to my friends. All of you helped me find the strength within myself to fight back and recover fully from this unexpected setback. I couldn’t have done it without you.

One of the things I dreaded was having to go on 8, 10, 15 interviews before finding a company where there was mutual interest. As it turns out I only had to go on 3 interviews with 2 companies before I had a desirable offer. LinkedIn really is effective in getting yourself out there in front of recruiters and employers. There’s all kinds of things you can do to highlight your skill set and stand out in searches done by employers.

I have not touched Fireball since I gave it up on January 22. I feel so much better and have been told by many people I look better. I have done a handful of other shots (maybe five total) since then, but only quality liquor and only in celebration or special occasion (you just don’t turn down a Jameson with Aldo when offered), never to dull any pain.

Let’s get on to the news… Diana Krall plays the Orpheum on June 30. Tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster.

Max’s Sports Bar is doing another crawfish boil this Sunday. Doors open at 11:30 with the first batch of crawfish coming out around 12:30. As always, the crawfish come with sausage, taters, corn and mushrooms. They’ve lowered their prices a bit – $9 for 1 pound or $16 for 2 pounds.

By the way… this will be the first time since 2009 I will be off for the Thursday-Friday first round games of March Madness. May have to do a little watchin’ at Max’s. In particular, I will be down there if Arkansas has a day game… ESPN Bubble Watch has the Hogs as a lock for the NCAAs, so even if they stumble against the winner of South Carolina/Ole Miss they should be in.

Drink-n-Draw returns to Ghost River this Friday 7-9. This event is part game show and part art class. Whether you are an artist or not, you will enjoy Drink-n-Draw. Prizes for best and worst drawing and there may even be a singalong during the activity. Of course there will be plenty of great craft beer too.

The airport is hiring an Airfield Maintenance Seasonal Utility Operator.

There’s a doubleheader at Landers Center Saturday featuring two great Memphis teams. The day starts off with basketball as the Hustle take the floor at noon. That evening the arena switches over to hockey with the RiverKings. For $30 you can get tickets to both games, a RiverKings hat, Hustle sunglasses, and a coupon for cheese dip at Maria’s Cantina.

Tennessee lawmakers are looking to clear the way for liquor and wine sales on Sundays and holidays. Welcome to the 21st century, Tennessee!

The new arch is up at Beale and Main:

The arch is meant to serve as a gateway for the Beale Entertainment District. There’s one at Beale and Fourth as well.

There will be a Timeout for Fitness with the Grizzlies Saturday and Sunday, March 17-18. You’ll get a ticket to Grizzlies-Nuggets on March 17, a Grizzlies/Methodist Health Care yoga mat, and the opportunity to win prizes, as well as the opportunity to work out on the arena floor on the 18th with up to 3 classes: Yoga at 2, an Ab Lab with Mark Akin from Envision Fitness at 3, and a GrizzFit bootcamp at 4. Each session is 45 minutes long. $5 from each ticket will be donated to the Methodist Healthcare Foundation.

I can’t resist a couple of comments about the web design on the Timeout for Fitness page: I shouldn’t have to click “View More” to learn what I get with my ticket purchase – after all, that’s what brought me to the page in the first place. Secondly, the pop-up “Why did you not decide to buy tickets today?” when my mouse leaves the viewport is annoying.

On Thursday, March 15 there will be a community forum to discuss improvements to be made to Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue including bike lanes.

I finally got around to trying dinner at Pontotoc Lounge last night. Since the Mississippi Pot Roast has already been pictured on other Memphis blogs, I decided to go with something different and simple: the Fettuccine with bacon cream, mushrooms, and arugula. Bartender Jonathan suggested that I add shrimp to the dish, which sounded like an excellent idea. He asked if I wanted the shrimp to be Cajun, and I did.

Oh man this was SO good! The fettuccine came out covered in Parmesan cheese. The bacon cream sauce was fantastic, and it wasn’t just a sauce – there were big chunks of bacon in there too. The shrimp were excellent. I wondered why they brought out a side plate with my bowl, but not for long – the shrimp still had their tails on, so keep that in mind before you dive into this dish too quickly and accidentally swallow one. The arugula gave the dish a nice texture and there were plenty of mushrooms too. This was completely outstanding and the service from Jonathan was outstanding as well.

Watch the U.S. Women’s National Team play England in soccer tonight at 6 at the Brass Door.

I’ve actually got 5 more news items but this post is getting long, and none of the news items are time-sensitive so I’ll save them for the next post. Check back for lots more news.

Monday Oysters @ Brass Door and other news

Every Monday from 3 PM until they run out, Brass Door has $1 oysters. You can get them either raw or the chargrilled flavor of the week  The oysters are Chesapeake Bay “Sweet Jesus” oysters and are so named because they are hard to shuck. They are worth it though.

Oysters on the raw with crackers and all the trimmings.

My troll jumped right in (in ice cold waters) and prepared herself an oyster with cocktail sauce and horseradish.

We also got 6 chargrilled oysters marinated in honey chipotle BBQ sauce.

Guinness is $4 on Mondays from 3 until the oysters run out. Yes I deviated from my PBR diet to have one.

I was still hungry after the oysters, so I ordered a bar snack (available at the bar only 3-6 PM weekdays): Irish sausage in puff pastry with Dijon.

During happy hour they have homemade chips. These are handmade potato chips, not hand-cut fries which are also called chips. Irish lingo can be confusing.

New Memphis Tigers license plate coming soon!

Dr. Rudd the U of M president is such a cool guy.

There will be street closings in The Edge related to renovation of the Wonder Bread building: Old Madison (exit off Danny Thomas) and Lauderdale from Old Madison to Monroe will be closed for a couple of years.

The Hamilton Law Firm is offering discounted St. Patrick’s Day Uber rides so you won’t have to use their DUI services. Sign up and get a code for $5 off an Uber that night.

Country music songwriters will have a showcase at the Orpheum April 27. Performers include Trent Tomlinson, Marshall Altman, and Matt Warren. They will be performing acoustic sets and talking about the hit singles they wrote in an intimate dialogue with the audience.

During Sunday brunch I was sitting next to a vegan and he was asked what his favorite things to eat Downtown were. The first item he named was Bardog’s Monster Vegetarian Burrito. Although not a vegan or vegetarian myself, I have to agree. It’s a huge meal, delicious, and full of protein and nutrients. It is also inexpensive.

My new vegan friend told me he runs a site called Tasteful Exotic Toys (caution: NSFW) and does fun parties around town. Check out his site if you’re into that kind of stuff.

Loflin Yard has posted its St. Patrick’s Day plans. Green beer, Irish food specials including corned beef, cornhole, mini-golf.

That’ll do it for now. I have reason to believe my days among the unemployed are numbered, so I need to get out there and get things done. Back tomorrow (hopefully) with more news.

Saturday recap/Sunday update

So this happened yesterday:

It was a surprise party that wasn’t a surprise but turned out to be a surprise anyway for Jasmine, in the back pictured above wearing that pink unicorn thing on her head. It has taken me a while to get to know Jasmine but she is a genuinely good person and I am glad she got to soak up every moment of happiness that came her way yesterday. Also I would like to add that she has an awesome best friend who loves her very much.

There was a unicorn photo booth and unicorn horns, and Jasmine got plenty of unicorn-themed presents. Even I put on a unicorn horn briefly. As for my troll, she got to ride a unicorn.

Beautiful sunny afternoon with friends on the back deck at Max’s Sports Bar. Thanks so much to Jasmine for inviting me.

I’ll make one other comment before I move on: I miss my second BBQ family.

Earlier in the day I ran into my BBQ teammate Drew at the Blind Bear, and he had walked through the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show and got some swag.

Drew got a plastic lid you can use to reseal a canned carbonated beverage (not pictured). To the left of my troll is a chip clip, and behind my troll is what’s known as a Jesus stick. It’s made of medium-weight wood, has a loop at the end with several beads (rosary beads maybe?) and is about four feet long. A lady was handing them out and Drew asked what had to be done to get one. “These are for people who have accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as their savior,” she replied. “Have you already accepted him?” Drew knew the expedient answer was to say yes. “Then you automatically get one,” she said. This isn’t exactly living as Jesus would live, but I sure would like to get one of those Jesus sticks and chase the bums off the corner of Main and Madison.

There was a recent panel discussion about the future direction of Downtown. How do we make rents affordable enough for new college graduates to move down here? How do we convince people not to move away once they get married and have a family? How do we convince people who work Downtown to stay past 5 and spend some time enjoying Downtown’s amenities? How can we make Beale appeal to locals as well as tourists?

Seen on Twitter yesterday:

Ernie: Time to practice my bugle.
Bert: Ernie!!! I am trying to sleep!

Anyone else wonder if the “bugle” is not an actual musical instrument, and if sound is not the sensation keeping Bert awake?

Downtown’s Irish pub The Brass Door has announced its lineup for St. Patrick’s Day weekend festivities. Things kick off Friday night the 16th with The Blessing of the Kegs. Father Auggie of St. Peter’s will bless the kegs and all the revelers, getting them started on a safe St. Patrick’s weekend celebration. There will be live music 6-8 and food specials.

Saturday the 17th is the big day! There will be raffles for a Jameson Coleman grill and a PBR Adirondack chair with cooler. Here’s the full lineup:

The Pub
8AM Open for Kegs & Eggs – Breakfast Menu
8:45 Ireland v. England Six Nations Rugby Final Round – in the bar & on the BIG SCREEN in the Park
Halftime Rugby & Soccer Skills Contest in the Park benefiting Memphis Inner City Rugby
10AM Arsenal v. Leicester & Premiere League Matches

Madison Ave Park
Noon – 6PM Kid’s Art Station, Face Painting & Balloon Animals
12:30 Rice Drewry / 3 Degrees
2:45 Bluff City Backsliders
5PM Drew Erwin

The Pub
Bagpipers & Irish Dancers
Live Music & DJs
7PM Stereo Joe
9PM DJ Mylon

Tsunami will be hosting a beer dinner on March 27 consisting of passed hors d’oeuvres followed by three courses, each expertly paired with beer from their neighbor down the road Memphis Made. $55 per person plus tax and gratuity.

These are a great deal:

Given the price of a dinner at Texas de Brazil, you only have to use 3 of the 12 punches to turn a profit on this purchase. Many friends of mine buy these VIP cards and love them.

Looks like work is being done on the building at 64 S. Main immediately north of City Market. The ground floor has been long vacant despite being in a prime location. That building was going to be the home of Aldo’s Pizza Pies but the Barboro Flats location came along.

Silly Goose has added a turkey burger to its menu. Their beef burger, itself a recent addition, has proved popular. The turkey version will provide an option for people who like burgers but not ones that say moo.

Back tomorrow with more news… and I have a feeling it will be good news.

Friday update: 8-bit Mike Conley and more news

Tonight is a big night with the Grizzlies, and not because they’re going to, you know, win a game or anything. It’s a big night because it’s Video Game Night and the first 5000 fans in the arena get an 8-bit Mike Conley.

7 PM tip-off vs. the Denver Nuggets.

Half Pints for Half Pints, benefiting the PTA of Cooper-Young’s Peabody Elementary, happens tomorrow night at Memphis Made from 7 to 10. In addition to Memphis Made beer, you get food from Central BBQ, Sweetgrass, Aldo’s, Mulan and Celtic Crossing. DJ Zac Ives from Goner Records will be supplying the music, and there will be a silent auction.

Christian music tour Winter Jam plays FedExForum tomorrow night. Tour founders NewSong will perform, as will Skillet, Kari Jobe with Cody Carnes, Building 429, KB, and Jordan Feliz. There will be a Pre-Jam Party featuring Dan Bremnes, Mallery Hope, and Westover. There will be a gospel presentation by evangelist Nick Hall and a comedy session by comedian John Crist. $15, pay at the door, no ticketing. How are they paying all these artists for only $15 a head? I mean, I understand they do it for their love of Jesus, but paying the electric bill and buying food are nice too.

Guitarist Raul Midón will be on stage at the Halloran Centre tonight. This highly-acclaimed guitarist has influences in flamenco and jazz.

Phillip Beasley, Pls Pls Me, Kyle Bailey and Marcella René Simien play South Main Songwriter Night #79 at South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main, tonight at 7 PM.

Lifehacker is full of good stuff today. You can now watch UFC pay-per-view fights through Amazon. Very useful if you aren’t a cable subscriber and don’t want to go to a bar showing the PPV on the big screen.

Also linked from Lifehacker: Is it possible to homebrew beer in an Instant Pot?

Also from Lifehacker: How do I get out of an argument with an irrational person? This article may be useful if you know some of the same people I know.

President Trump tweeted this morning about “Alex” Baldwin and his “dieing” career. So nice to see him focused on the important things, and not worrying about minor details like Putin showing a video of what nuclear missiles hitting Florida would look like.

Sorry for no post yesterday but I was busy preparing for a second interview at a place I would really love to work for several reasons, one of which is that they have pie one day a week. Everyone keep your fingers crossed for me. Back tomorrow with more news.