Wednesday update

The CA has an article with 4 things to know about the new Bird scooters. Memphis is getting paid for having them here, helmets are encouraged but not required, Bird is committed to bringing transportation to low-income neighborhoods, and there are rules for parking the scooters. I downloaded the Bird app last night and signed up as far as I could without actually getting on a scooter. It gave me a “How to ride Bird” presentation which included local regulations. One of the regulations was “no riding within 5 feet of the trolley tracks.” In certain parts of South Main and the Pinch that is going to be near impossible to enforce because of the trolley stops.

Last night I talked with a friend who has ridden a Bird. He tried taking it up on a sidewalk and advised, “They don’t handle curbs well. Yeah, don’t do that. Stay on the street.” He also advised me, “If you get the scooter up to full speed (15-20 MPH) and then slam on the brakes, you will flip.” He also told me that the scooters have thick wheels and you don’t have the problem of them getting stuck on trolley tracks as sometimes happens with bikes.

He also advised me of something rather annoying. The first time you ride a Bird, you have to take a photo of the front and back of your driver’s license, as well as manually enter some information and agree to some terms. You can’t do this in advance. You have to do it while you’re standing right there next to the scooter. As my friend said, that is just a bad user experience and it was clearly not fully thought through by the developers. Don’t let this deter you from using the Bird; just make sure the first time you ride a Bird is sometime when you don’t absolutely, positively have to be at your destination in 5 minutes.

By the way – there’s another new form of transportation Downtown, a golf cart called “The Lifter.” You ride for free but tip the driver. The service is said to be on-point by those who have used it and the driver is a friend of mine. Next time I see him I will try to get a phone number to post. But in the meantime, if you see him and he doesn’t already have passengers, wave him down and he’ll take you where you need to go.

The all-you-can-eat specialty ticket returns to AutoZone Park tomorrow night featuring wings. The two-hour buffet also includes hot dogs and sides. The Redbirds tweeted today that only 100 tickets remain to tomorrow’s wings buffet.

Art Village Gallery will have a new summer solo exhibition by Portuguese artist Mario Henrique. Henrique is said to be fascinated by the unpredictability of human behavior and the impermanence of facial expressions. The exhibit will make its public debut on South Main Trolley Night, Friday, June 29. However, there will be a cocktail reception the night before, Thursday, June 28. Email to RSVP to attend the reception and meet the artist.

The next installment of the gallery’s Exhibition Dinner and Dialogue series will be Saturday, June 30. It’s a combination of visual and culinary art along with thought-provoking discussion. Henrique’s art will be showcased with fresh cuisine from the country of Portugal by Chef Ana Gonzalez. Seating is very limited. Register here.

Uh oh, this is really bad news: A PBR shortage may be looming due to a lawsuit with Miller-Coors.

The City Council has approved a 13-year agreement with Memphis River Parks Partnership to manage the riverfront. The partnership is in the beginning stages of a $65 million transformation of the riverfront.

My plans last night fell through. After walking down to Max’s Sports Bar and having PBjaRni put one of the TVs on ESPN for the Arkansas-Texas Tech game in the College World Series, a message scrolled across the screen that bad weather was threatening Omaha and the game had been postponed until this morning. That left me in South Main trying to figure out what to do, but a little later, I caught a lucky break. A different TV was tuned to USA, where WWE Smackdown came on at 7. Yes! YES! YES! YES! YES! I got to watch an outstanding gauntlet match to determine the #1 contender to the WWE World title featuring Daniel Bryan, Big E, Samoa Joe, The Miz, and Rusev. For those who DVR’d it I won’t spoil the outcome.

After Smackdown ended, I stopped by Earnestine & Hazel’s. Last Saturday I decided E&H needed a better mayor on Foursquare/Swarm based on the “you are who you associate with” principle, and last night it got one! Me! I really enjoy that place. Think I’ll stop by Nate’s bar upstairs at E&H Friday night after my usual visit to Max’s. I have reason to be at E&H Saturday as well!

Sad to hear of the passing of 1990s pro wrestler Big Van Vader. He died of the same thing my mom did – pneumonia that lingered for weeks until his heart finally couldn’t take it anymore and gave out. If you have an older relative who has a long bout with pneumonia, don’t make the mistake I made of assuming they will pull through.

No lunch photo for this post. I went to Five Guys yesterday but it was a totally average experience and I’m pretty sure most of you know what a cheeseburger looks like already.

Time for a fun afternoon refactoring C# code then out for happy hour. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

Toward the end of the day yesterday I got a pleasant surprise in my email. “Your ticket to Inaugural Butcher Board Festival” was the subject. What?!, I thought. Although I was considering going to that event, I hadn’t got around to purchasing a ticket. I opened the email and read the details. Quantity:1 , Ticket type: Media Pass. Sweet!

Held on July 22 at the South Main Market food hall at 409 S. Main, the Butcher Board Festival will be a celebration of charcuterie. As you enter the festival, you’re given a small butcher board and are free to walk around sampling meats, cheeses, pickled items, fruits, sweets and other accompaniments as vendors talk about their offerings. You also get a tasting glass so you can pair your food with wines, beers, and ciders. This is going to be a lot of fun! Memphis has gotten creative with its food festivals the past few years and I love it!

I will repay the kindness of the organizers with lots of photos and information from the event. Expect to see lots of photos of a troll on a butcher board Monday, July 23.

Kemp Conrad has en excellent opinion piece on the new Bird scooters and how shared mobility is a benefit for everyone. I’m beginning to warm up to the scooters although I haven’t ridden one yet. The cool thing about them is they are dockless – you can leave them most anywhere. The app shows you where nearby scooters are so you don’t have a problem locating one. I will probably give these a try soon. They will make places accessible that are slightly too far from where I live to be walkable.

The Memphis Flyer has a How to Ride the Bird video.

Demolition has begun on the Tri-State Bank building at Main and Beale.

117 Prime has started a new Oyster Happy Hour at their bar. Every day (Monday-Sunday) from 4 to 7 PM they will have Gulf oysters for only 50 cents each.

Starting today, the Main Street trolley line will run every 20 minutes.

The results of the Handy Park redesign challenge will be announced at a public meeting at the park, corner of Beale and B.B. King, tonight from 5 to 7. Challenge entrants will discuss ideas for making the park more engaging and active. Register for the event here and first 200 to register get a free drink ticket. This event is 21 and up.

Wednesday, June 20 is Walk 2 Lunch Day in the Memphis Medical District. Tag photos of your walking adventures with #W2LD2018 for the chance to win some awesome prizes.

Kilchoman Cask Strength is the Whiskey of the Week at Belle Tavern. Taste it for half off the regular price through Sunday.

Yesterday for lunch, I went back to Amerigo. Multiple people had told me, “Paul, you must go on Monday. Their Monday lunch special is my favorite thing on the menu.”

The Chicken Courtbouillon is a grilled chicken breast over angel hair pasta, with mozzarella, a spicy Creole tomato sauce, and vegetables. The server asked if I wanted some shaved Parmesan on top, and of course I did. This is a dish that lived up to its reputation. Very very good. The people at Amerigo recognize me at this point, and say “Welcome back” rather than just “Welcome.” I plan on coming back soon, my plan being the Chicken Marsala that is on the regular lunch menu. I want to try their lasagna too.

It’s time to CALL THOSE HOGS!!! Arkansas plays Texas Tech in the 1-0 game of their bracket tonight at 6 on ESPN. I can think of no better place to watch the game than Max’s Sports Bar. I will head down there after work.

Shrimp & grits @ Pontotoc Lounge Sunday brunch

Yesterday Perjorie T. Roll and I were at D-RANKS with B-RAD, also known as Pontotoc Lounge’s Sunday brunch. You may remember that I asked Brad “Shrimp & grits or pot roast?” a week ago Sunday, and he suggested I try the pot roast, although it was a very close call. So yesterday I decided to try the dish I didn’t get to try the Sunday before.

You get 6 shrimp, Andouille sausage, and tomatoes in a butter sauce over grits. They do this dish very  well at Pontotoc and the sausage is what makes it stand out. It’s only available on the Sunday brunch menu. Definitely something I would consider ordering again, although it is not as filling as the pot roast.

I decided who to root for in the World Cup since Team USA didn’t make it. I will root for Mexico and England, because I have friends from those countries. Perjorie T. Roll wanted to root for China since that’s where she was made, but China didn’t make the field of 32 either.

How bout dem Hogs! Arkansas laid waste to Texas in the opening round of the College World Series. Even better, the only higher seeded team in the Hogs’ bracket, Florida, lost and is now one loss away from elimination. Arkansas plays Texas Tech tomorrow at 6 PM and weather permitting, I will be at Max’s Sports Bar to watch.

Back tomorrow with more news.

Gyro and Greek side salad @ Grecian Gourmet

For lunch yesterday my troll and I ventured south to Grecian Gourmet, the Farmers Market vendor that became so successful that they opened a restaurant on South Main, in the old Onix location at Main and Huling. They had a $10 deal where you can pick an entree and a side. For my entree I got the gyro – a standard one which was a beef & lamb combination with red onion, lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki sauce. I paired it with a small Greek side salad with Romaine lettuce, feta, pepperoncini peppers, kalamata olives, red onions, and house vinaigrette. Great to have a new option in South Main. Check it out!

Let me back up to the beginning of Saturday. With a little time to kill, I started off the day listening to the Booking Memphis Wrestling with Jerry Jarrett podcast. I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts, but for my readers who are wrestling fans, this is a MUST listen. There are hardly any people who booked a wrestling promotion during the late ’70s/early ’80s territory days who are still around to talk about it. I mean, think about it. Eddie Graham is dead. Stu Hart is dead. Fritz von Erich is dead. Sam Muchnick is dead. Dusty Rhodes is dead. Verne Gagne is dead. Paul Boesch is dead. Bill Watts and Ole Anderson are still alive but they lack the self-reflection to discuss their booking decisions critically. Jarrett’s perspective is unique and fascinating and his latest episode, part 1 of his involvement with the McMahon family, gives a previously unheard insight into the business.

Skeeter season is here! After getting bitten multiple times Friday night I gave myself a good spray of OFF before going out. I will have the orange spray can out on my bathroom counter until October.

About 10 I headed south to the Farmers Market where I checked in on Swarm and… regained the mayorship of the Market! As far as I know this is the first time the mayor of the Market has been a member of a Top 10 team in shoulder at BBQ Fest. I look forward to representing the Market well as mayor!

By the way… quick programming note. I’ve been doing Farmers Market then Bardog lately on Saturdays. However, on Saturday, June 30 I have a BBQ meeting on South End. So I will do my south loop of bars that day, specifically

10:45 Farmers Market
11:00 Earnestine & Hazel’s
Next Max’s Sports Bar

Time permitting, I might throw in a visit to Carolina Watershed that day too. Just wanted to post my schedule for that day so it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

The crepe truck was back at the Farmers Market. They have a roast duck crepe. I was pressed for time so I couldn’t stay and get one but that sounds really good.

So anyway, post-Market I headed back north to Bardog where they had the Fredbird kids’ show on. I’m a Cardinals fan but that Fredbird show is some of the worst TV ever produced. John D commented that Rockey Redbird’s costume is better and that Fredbird looks like a low-budget Rockey. If the guy who wears the Fredbird costume quits his job, does Rockey get called up to the big leagues?

Northern Neck Regional Jail, in Warsaw, Virginia where Paul Manafort is currently incarcerated, has a Facebook page. Didn’t know you could “Like” a jail on Facebook.

Hey, just discovered that 201 Poplar has a page too!

D-RANKS with B-RAD at Pontotoc Lounge is first up, and I’ve learned to not even plan the day beyond that. Gonna get there early to request that one of the TVs remain on ESPN for the Arkansas-Texas College World Series game at 1. I may take a day off from the blog tomorrow but back no later than Tuesday with more news.

Saturday update

Martin Lawrence brings his comedy event, the LIT AF tour, to FedExForum this evening. Lawrence will be your host presenting a lineup of comedians including JB Smoove, Jay Pharoah, Bruce Bruce, and Adele Givens.

In other FedExForum news, it’s been announced that Floyd “Money” Mayweather will be in town for the Big Payback fight there on July 21.

Furthermore, Nicki Minaj and Future will co-headline FedExForum on October 23. Tickets are now on sale.

The 37th annual Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race happens at Greenbelt Park and Mississippi River Park today from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Michael Donahue has three Best Bets for grilled cheese that are all located Downtown. Two of them, Cafe Keough and Lisa’s Lunchbox, seem like naturals for the designation. However, like Donahue, I never would have thought of going to the Rendezvous for a grilled cheese sandwich. It was originally created for kids, but adults can order it too.

Former Cardinal Jason Motte, owner of a 2011 World Series ring with the team, has taken a job at the University of Memphis as director of player development. The University now has two employees walking around with world championship rings on their fingers, Mike Miller being the other. I am so excited to see what is happening at the university that awarded me my Master’s degree and employed me for five years as an instructor. There’s a culture of striving for excellence there now that didn’t exist, except in small pockets, when I was there.

Inside Memphis Business has a profile on the couple behind Jack Pirtle’s Chicken. Cordell and Tawanda Pirtle are two of the nicest people I have ever met and do a lot to give back to their community. If you want to shop local, go get you a 2-piece and dip that chicken in Pirtle’s famous gravy.

I’ve seen on social media that you’re not allowed to ride those Bird electric scooters on sidewalks. You have to ride on the streets. I can see that working Downtown, but those things are in Midtown too. Can’t imagine riding down Poplar or Union on one of those scooters. Downtown stakeholders who I highly respect are questioning whether this was fully thought through. We shall see.

The Memphis Medical District Collaborative has launched Hire Local 901, a place to connect people and jobs in and around the Medical District. Seeking a job? Let your neighbors know. Have a position to fill? Find someone who can walk or bike to work.

Lunch pic from yesterday:

This is the kimchi soba noodles from Urban Fusion & Asian Bistro out on Exeter Road in Germantown. The noodles are stir fried with zucchini, mushrooms, bok choy, onion, and of course kimchi and beef. I love the flavor and the spice of kimchi and it made this dish a superb one. You can get this dish with udon noodles instead of soba if you prefer. Although I got the beef, you can also get chicken, shrimp, scallop, or seafood kimchi noodles. The seafood noodles come with mussels, shrimp, scallops, and squid. One day when I have a really productive day at work I will reward myself with the seafood noodles.

They asked if I wanted spice level 1, 2, or 3. I got 2 and it was spicy but I’m sure I could have comfortably handled level 3. My advice: If you don’t like spicy, get level 1 (but then, why would you order kimchi anyway?) If you’re okay with spice, get level 2. If you love spicy food, go for 3.

After work I headed down to my “home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar, where I tried their new Banana Hammock slush.

A Banana Hammock is made of alcohol, ice, a little splash of banana flavor, and some yellow food coloring. Available for a limited time at Max’s, so get it while it’s cold!

I’ve come to a decision: I do happy hour in the Downtown core Monday-Thursday. I feel like I haven’t spent enough time in South Main this year, so from now on, I am making South Main my permanent Friday happy hour location. Max’s, Earnestine & Hazel’s, The Vault, Pontotoc Lounge, however my mood strikes me.

One of my favorite follows on Twitter, Kremlin Trolls Counterintelligence, had some words that made me happy last night:

Farmers Market is first on my list for today. Trying to decide if I’m going to walk over to the literary arts festival in The Edge later today. On one hand, I do have the bona fides as an award-winning writer to be there, and I am your number one source of news and information about The Edge. On the other hand, I don’t write fiction or poetry, which I have a feeling will be the major genres covered, and it’s unclear whether there will be anyone selling PBR at the festival. I guess I’ll make it a game-time decision. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Moe’s Food Truck Wars, benefiting Streets Ministries, happens in Court Square this afternoon from 3 to 7. Local food trucks will choose their best dish and have it judged by local personalities. This event is free to attend, there will be giveaways and live music, and beverages will be available. Participating food trucks include

El Mero
Say Cheese
Mojo Cafe
Smurfey Smokehouse
Melting Pots
Eat At Eric’s
Fresh Gulf Shrimp
Sin City Grillers
901 Dough
Le Culinaire
Fabulous Flavors
Voodoo Cafe
Rice Burner
Snow Haus

The Joe Biden Promise Tour comes to the Orpheum tonight at 8. Please run in 2020, Uncle Joe!

The annual Juneteenth celebration returns to Robert Church Park this weekend. It’s a celebration of freedom, respect for all cultures, and a three-day urban music festival.

Two young Memphians have fallen in love with their new home in the Pinch District at 358 N. Main and plan to open a coffee shop on the ground floor. They are going to call it Comeback Coffee and hope for it to be a place that brings people from Uptown, Mud Island, and St. Jude together.

Earlier this year Memphis got a bike-sharing service. Now we’re getting an an electric scooter sharing service called Bird. The scooters will be available starting today at stations in Downtown, Uptown, Midtown, South City, and Cooper-Young. Bird will host a free helmet giveaway today in Court Square at 3:30.

South Main Sounds at 550 S. Main hosts an evening with Joe Leathers and Friends tonight at 7. Leathers, author of multiple top-forty hits, will perform with Rice Drewry, Rollin Roasti, and Andrew Solomito.

Hay! Make Father’s Day Local! is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. At the Market, you can get Dad a nice piece of meat or seafood to throw on the grill. Can’t get him a tie at the Market though! Folks from the Downtown Cossitt Library will be there from 8 to noon for Father’s Day reading, and you can make Father’s Day cards for the men in your life. Live music all day long. The Market happens every Saturday from 8 am to 1 PM under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson. Weather permitting, my troll and I plan on being there tomorrow morning!

Some of the WWE stars appearing on Smackdown had a negative experience while in Memphis this week. According to the Wrestling Online Newsletter, WWE Superstars Rusev and Lana had items stolen from their room at the Sheraton Hotel Downtown, including cash from Rusev’s wallet and Lana’s camera (and it happened on Rusev Day, for heaven’s sake!) Smackdown general manager Paige also had items stolen from her room, and tweeted harsh words toward the hotel.

Brass Door will open at 5 AM tomorrow for World Cup matches. France vs. Australia is at 5 AM, followed by Argentina vs. Iceland at 8 AM, then Peru vs. Denmark at 11 AM, then Croatia vs. Nigeria wraps up the day at 2 PM. $4 White Russians and Heinekens, small breakfast items starting at 5 AM, match menu available at 8 AM. Wonder how many people will hang out on Beale until the bars close at 5 then walk over to Brass Door to continue drinking?

Love Never Dies, said to be the best musical Andrew Lloyd Webber has written in the quarter century since Phantom of the Opera, will come to the Orpheum September 4-9. Tickets go on sale July 13.

Meghan from the Memphis Flyer thinks you should go to Westy’s and talk to Mr. Jake.

There’s a rumor going around that the Grizzlies are shopping around a trade of the #4 pick and Chandler Parsons. If that happens, drafting Thabeet will no longer be the stupidest thing Chris Wallace ever did here.

For lunch yesterday, I finally made the journey to Las Delicias at Quince and 240. It was my first time ever to eat at a Las Delicias restaurant, although I have bought their fare at festivals around Memphis. Rather than order one big entree, I decided to sample around the menu a bit.

I got a chorizo taco for $2, served on two small corn tortillas and topped with onion and cilantro.

I also got a pork tamale for $2. They have chicken tamales as well.

Charro beans, in a soup form cooked with chorizo, ham and bacon, were $3.25. I’m glad I tried these. I almost got the tortilla soup instead, but then thought, I always get tortilla soup at Mexican restaurants, might as well be different. These were outstanding and the charro beans are going to be my go-to item when I return to Las Delicias.

Way more authentic than most Mexican restaurants and getting out of there for $9.72 before tip is not bad at all. Now, I know what many of you are thinking – Paul, you didn’t try the guacamole? City Market carries Las Delicias guacamole in their grab & go so I can get it anytime.

Wonderful news this morning! A U.S. district judge revoked Paul Manafort’s bail, sending him to jail pending the his July trial on bank fraud charges and his September trial for money laundering charges. The judge said there was nothing she could do that was less restrictive. “This is not middle school. I can’t take away his phone.” As one source I follow on Twitter pointed out, this is Special Counsel Mueller effectively telling ol’ Paulie Walnuts, “Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life, if you don’t cooperate and tell us everything you know about the Trump criminal enterprise.”

The week is almost over and my reward of a Banana Hammock slush at Max’s Sports Bar is within sight. Last week I was tired and stayed confined to my bar stool at Max’s almost the entire time. Not so this week. I plan on mingling all over the place! Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

RiverPlay, the recreational pop-up outdoor space with half-court basketball, football and soccer fields, skating, and athletic gear rental, is coming back starting tomorrow, Friday, June 15, at 2 PM. The good news is, this year they’re not closing Riverside Drive to make way for RiverPlay. Rather, it will be at Beale Street Landing in Tom Lee Park. There will be three special Sunset Skate Fridays at the park this summer. Visitors are encouraged to use Explore Bike Share to get to RiverPlay and can use the code RiverPlay18 for a free hour ride that can be used Friday, June 15 or Saturday, June 16.

By the way, how’s Explore Bike Share been doing, now that it’s 3 weeks old? MBJ has the answers. 455 members, nearly 2500 individual users, over 5000 rides, over 23,000 miles collectively ridden. With 455 members, Explore has already hit 40 percent of its annualized projection. Not surprised, because I see people on Explore bikes nearly every time I take a walk Downtown.

Salt/Soy, a new sushi restaurant and raw bar, will make its debut at a pop-up dinner at the South Main Market food hall, 409 S. Main, on June 29. The restaurant will open mid-July. Nick Scott will be chef/owner. He is also chef/owner at Interim and he does a monthly butcher dinner at Alchemy. In addition, in the past Nick was executive chef and later general manager of Asian fusion restaurant Bluefin, back in the days before Bluefin put chicken tenders, gyros and K-Pop Tacos on the menu.

Seeing Red, who played the Peabody’s New Year’s Eve party, returns to play this week’s rooftop party with covers from the ’80s through today. They will be joined by special guest Echosmith of Bright and Cool Kids fame. $15 cover, $30 VIP. Admission gets you not only the live music, but a buffet of catfish nuggets with tartar sauce and warm mini pretzels with honey mustard. VIP has a second buffet of Jack Daniel’s tenderloin with rolls, au jus, and mustard, along with tater tots, sweet corn nuggets, and watermelon wedges.

Today at Ghost River from 3 to 5, meet Lee Asher, founder of Asher House, currently on a cross-country mission to get dogs out of shelters. They travel from state to state, setting up events in conjunction with local humane societies and shelters. They bring adoptable dogs, preferably the ones that have been there the longest, to the events. If a dog is adopted at an event, Asher House pays the adoption fee and provides a month supply of MyOllie dog food.

Wiseacre will have an Ultimate Garden Party Saturday 2-8. It’s $5 to enter, but the entry ticket is redeemable for a pint at the bar. From 4 to 8 Bounty on Broad will be on site, selling a la carte garden party fare. Menu here.

Envision Memphis, the fitness center on the top floor of the Cadre Building (Second and Monroe), has added some new classes including Barre Fit, FUNC Fit, and Spartan Strong. They also do the Pilates in Memphis Park classes every Wednesday at 6 PM.

Dylan Scott and Jillian Jacqueline highlight the KIX on Beale free concert series in Handy Park tonight at 7:30.

Panic! at the Disco will make a stop at FedExForum on the second leg of their Pray for the Wicked tour. The concert date is February 6, 2019 and tickets will go on sale Friday, June 22.

If you didn’t get enough wrestling at WWE Smackdown Live on Tuesday, buy a ticket to Wrestling Night at the Redbirds on Friday, July 6. There will be pre- and post-game wrestling matches refereed by legend Jerry Calhoun. The post-game match will feature Jerry “The King” Lawler. The night will be hosted by the Five-Star Couple, Dustin and Maria Starr. There will be autograph sessions in the concourse featuring

  • Jerry “The King” Lawler
  • Legendary wrestling announcer Dave Brown
  • “Superstar” Bill Dundee
  • “The Birdman” Koko B. Ware
  • “Mr. Personalities” Derrick King

There will also be $2 beers in the Plaza before the game and it will be Free Stuff Friday with prizes every inning and one fan rolling the dice for big money. First match at 5:45, gates at 7, first pitch 7:05.

High Ground News has a good article on the redevelopment of the old Russell Hardware building at 316 South Main. Listed as a blighted property last year by the South Main Association, the renovation is one of a series of rehabs in a partnership between Bill McCrary and his company DDEHC and The Church of God In Christ.

Stats site FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup predictions are now online.

Pie Wednesday

Yesterday was my turn to provide a pie for Pie Wednesday at work. My pie partner was out on vacation, though, so I had to provide two pies. I had a good experience with a blueberry pie from Miss Muff’n bakery last time around, so I went back to their website and viewed their list of 15 pies. I chose a fudge pie and a banana cream pie.

Don’t judge the pies by the fact that the pie slices look a little jumbled. We have 12 people in the pie club, so we cut the pie into 12 slices rather than the standard 8. It’s hard not to discombobulate a pie when you’re cutting it into 12 slices.

I got a surprise when I went to pick the pies up. The owner saw my name and remembered that I had blogged about Miss Muff’n the last time it was my turn to bring pie. She gave me two strawberry cupcakes to try. They have strawberries and cream inside.

The lady at the counter was very nice, and offered to help me carry my goods to the car. A second positive experience and I will be back for future pie orders.

Throwback Thursday

The date was two years ago minus two days, Thursday, June 16, 2016. I was at happy hour at the Silly Goose where my friend Jessica bartends. Another of the Thursday happy hour regulars was sitting about six seats down the bar from me. He said to one of his buddies, “Let me show you this pic this girl sent me,” and he pulled it up on his phone. I was too far away to see who the girl was or what was in the pic, but based on the WHOA look on the friend’s face it was almost certainly a sexy pic, most likely intended for the recipient’s eyes only.

Man… whoever that woman was, I bet she’d be MORTIFIED if she knew the recipient was showing the photo to his buddies. What a total lack of respect for her privacy. Wonder how many other guys he showed it to.

Oh well, like Russell used to say on Fat Albert, some people are like a school on Saturday. No class.

A week that looks like it will end with a bang

One of my favorite writers, Dr. Dena Grayson, has an update on what is going on with Trump’s “fixer,” Michael Cohen. Tomorrow is the deadline to turn all seized evidence over to prosecutors that hasn’t been found to be protected by attorney-client privilege.

But that’s not all happening tomorrow… Paul Manafort is back in court to determine if his bail will be revoked given new evidence that he tampered with witnesses.

And just this morning, the New York attorney general filed suit against Trump, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric claiming the Trump Foundation has operated illegally as a charity for more than a decade. The lawsuit is a civil matter, but criminal charges could result. Happy 72nd birthday, Donald!

Considering Trump is president, is rooting for Russia in the World Cup the patriotic thing to do?

That’s all I got. Going to hit some different spots this evening. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tom Lee Park to get a makeover and Wednesday news

Big news from the Memphis River Parks Partnership yesterday: Tom Lee Park will be getting a makeover at a cost of $45 to $55 million. Lacking hills and trees, the current park is not much of a destination other than during the month of May. This is a long-standing complaint about the park, but it was previously believed that any makeover would spell the end of Memphis in May events at that location. However, Parks Partnership president Carol Coletta has said they are committed to finding a way to make Tom Lee Park the crown jewel of the riverfront while at the same time accommodating Music Fest and BBQ Fest.

They’re supposed to have the work done in under two years. I wonder if that means Music Fest and BBQ Fest will have to move for 2019? I will keep my ears open for more information. BBQ Fest at 2011 in Tiger Lane worked pretty well, although transportation was only convenient because there were a lot of unused hotel shuttles, which wouldn’t be the case this year.

Here’s a second article, this one from the Memphis Daily News, with more information. It’s unclear whether work in the park would stop for the month of May 2019. The work would be completed more quickly if the festivals moved for one year.

In other Memphis River Parks Partnership news, this Saturday they will have People’s Day on the River! From noon to 4 there will be free monorail access to Mud Island, canoe and kayak rentals, riverfront story time, and demonstrations.

The inaugural Memphis Chicken & Beer Festival will happen at the Liberty Bowl Saturday, August 11 from 4 to 8 PM. Tickets are $40 and include a souvenir glass and all beverage samples. Food will be available to purchase. Wait a minute, they’re calling it a chicken & beer festival and your ticket doesn’t even include the chicken??? Live entertainment and a portion of ticket sales will benefit the Dorothy Day House.

Weekly events that happen tonight that I forget to mention but probably should at least once in a while:

  • Trivia at Loflin Yard (7 PM), Ghost River (7 PM), Blind Bear (7:30 PM), and Huey’s (8:30 PM)
  • Pilates in Memphis Park (6 PM)
  • Poker at Bardog (7 PM)
  • British Bingo at Belle Tavern (7:30 PM)
  • Bikes on Beale (6 PM)
  • Live music by Charvey Mac at Blind Bear (10 PM)

There will be wrestling, free to the public to watch, outside Jerry Lawler’s on Beale Friday night, June 15 at 6 PM. “The Terror” Matt Serra, with Dana White in his corner, will take on Derrick King, and “Dinyero” Din Thomas will match up against “Five Starr” Dustin Starr with Maria Starr in his corner. Of course, “The King” will be on hand as well. This will be part of the filming for Dana White’s Lookin’ for a Fight series.

Bleacher Report has full results of WWE Smackdown Live broadcast from Memphis last night.

The devil on my shoulder is pushing me to do a “Throwback Thursday” tomorrow… it wouldn’t be a photo but it would be a story involving a photo. :devil:

Max’s Sports Bar now has its new slush, the Banana Hammock, in the machine. I look forward to trying one Friday night on Max’s patio, or inside or out front if that’s where folks choose to congregate.

Last night I stopped by Belle Tavern. I noticed that if you get a Bee’s Knees, $2 of the purchase price is donated to the Bee Conservancy.

For the first time since I’ve been lunching out in East Memphis/Germantown, bad reviews convinced me to cancel a trip to a restaurant. I found a place that served wings with extra-hot sauce, an intermediate level between hot and suicide which is my preferred sauce hotness. I learned to love extra-hot sauce back in the days when I would go to all-you-can-eat wing Mondays with friends at Buffalo’s out on Winchester. Hot is not hot enough and suicide just about kills you. So I planned to go the extra-hot wing place for lunch yesterday, until I noticed the place wasn’t even averaging 3 stars out of 5 on Google Reviews.

Alarmingly, a lot of the more recent reviews were one-star, saying the wings are admittedly good, but the service at the counter is terrible and the employees are rude. That alone wasn’t enough to dissuade me; I was still willing to go there once to see for myself. However, then I saw other reviews saying people didn’t get their wings until 30-40 minutes after ordering. On an hour for lunch, that’s a deal-breaker.

Now hungry for wings, I remembered that when I started the new job, my friend Buddha recommended I go across the street to One & Only BBQ on Kirby… not for the BBQ for which they are famous, but the smoked wings. I had been there once before, not trying the BBQ or the wings, but the smoked kielbasa. Yesterday I decided it was time to give Buddha’s recommendation a try.

I got the smoked drummies meal: 5 large drummies with choice of sauce, dip, 2 sides and Texas toast. I got the wings Buffalo hot, with blue cheese dip, twice-baked potato salad, and deviled eggs. Although the Buffalo hot sauce was not as hot as the extra-hot sauce I would have had at the other place, the smokiness of the chicken more than made up for it. The flavor of these wings is in the same ballpark as Central BBQ, and for those of you who don’t know, that’s high praise indeed. Sides were good too and the service was great. They asked if I wanted an extra blue cheese and came by several times to make sure I had everything I needed. A pleasure eating lunch there, and now that I’m getting a little bit removed time-wise from BBQ Fest, soon I will go back and taste what One & Only does best.

In the news… Trump’s “fixer” Michael Cohen’s attorneys are not expected to represent him going forward. Without lawyers, Cohen will most likely cooperate with federal prosecutors. This would be horrible for Donald Trump because Cohen knows where the bodies are buried. I mean that in a figurative sense, but I’m not so sure it isn’t literally true as well.

Back tomorrow with more news.

OmaHogs! Tuesday update

I headed south to Max’s Sports Bar yesterday to watch Arkansas vs. South Carolina in Game 3 of the Fayetteville Super Regional. I put my troll on the bar for good luck, and she provided it immediately, with Arkansas scoring 5 in the first inning. The rest of the game did not get better for South Carolina, and the fifth inning was so bad they had to go through 4 pitchers. The Hogs won 14-4 to become OmaHogs, meaning they punched their ticket to the College World Series, which is held in Omaha every year.
One of college athletics’ all-time classic rivalries will be revived in the opening round of the CWS, as Arkansas plays Texas on Sunday.

I was talking to a friend last night and he said, as much college baseball as he watches, he has never understood the NCAA playoff system in baseball. I myself didn’t understand it until I did a little research. Here’s the deal:

Regionals: A field of 64 enters the regionals. It’s like the first round of March Madness minus the stupid play-in games with respect to number of teams. There are 16 brackets, with 4 teams per bracket. Each of the brackets plays double-elimination until only one team is left standing per bracket. That team advances and the others go home.

Super Regionals: The winners of the 16 regional brackets go to the Super Regionals. Here, there are 8 brackets of two teams each, and the teams play best-of-three. Winner of best-of-three advances, loser goes home. The winner of the regional that contained the overall 1 seed plays the winner of the regional that contained the 16 seed, 2-15, 3-14, 4-13 and so on.

College World Series opening round: Now there are 8 teams left, and this round is like the regionals: brackets of 4 teams playing double elimination, except this time there are only 2 such brackets. Winner of each bracket advances to the final, and the 6 teams that got eliminated go home.

College World Series championship: Like the Super Regionals all over again, except this time there is only 1 bracket of two teams rather than 8 brackets. Those two teams play best-of-three, winner is NCAA champion.

Max’s Sports Bar news: They’re trying to get rid of the Tiger Blood slushies so they can make banana ones, so they fire-saled the Tiger Blood slushies to $5 (normally $9). They did not look anywhere close to running out last night, so the deal will probably be on for another day or two. And don’t worry, they still have Purple Drank and it’s not going anywhere. I look forward to trying one of the new banana slushies on the back patio Friday night.

I have a new favorite baseball fan to follow: @Hognoxious. He was all over the camera last night and he was awesome.

WWE Smackdown Live is tonight at FedExForum. WMC Action News 5 interviewed Smackdown star Samoa Joe about Memphis wrestling history and his favorite Memphis BBQ spot. Joe has been one of my favorites for a long time. I’m not going to Smackdown tonight, but if I were I’d be chanting, “Joe’s gonna kill you.”

One more match has been added to tonight’s card: Shelton Benjamin vs. Daniel Bryan.

There will be a ribbon cutting celebrating the opening of Curry ‘N Jerk Authentic Caribbean Cuisine this Thursday at 11 AM. The new restaurant is in the old Lolo’s Table space next door to McEwen’s on Monroe.

Free Doritos Locos tacos (one per customer) 2 to 6 PM tomorrow, June 13, because the Golden State Warriors beat Cleveland on the road, triggering the restaurant chain’s “Steal a Game, Steal a Taco” promotion.

An old warehouse at 455 S. Front is being demolished to make way for 30 new condos.

Fun quiz on FiveThirtyEight: Who should you root for in the World Cup, since the U.S. isn’t there. I got France.

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

The best pot roast I’ve ever had

Once again, this weekend I learned that it’s not always good to be a rebel and sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow. The first few times I ate at Pontotoc Lounge at 314 South Main, I didn’t order the Mississippi Pot Roast simply because it seems like everybody orders the Mississippi Pot Roast and posts about it and takes photos of it. I wanted to be different.

Well, yesterday I was up there for D-RANKS with B-RAD and after only three PBRs I felt like the day was going to go down the crapper quickly if I didn’t eat something. I got a brunch menu and looked it over. I couldn’t decide and asked Brad’s opinion. “Shrimp and grits, or pot roast?” I asked him.

He had to think about it for a while as well. “I’d probably do the pot roast,” he said, and so that’s what I ordered.

There is a good reason everybody talks about this dish. It is hands down the best pot roast I have ever had.

It comes with carrots and potatoes, which are pretty standard. What really sets it apart, though, are the pepperoncini peppers. It gives the juice a little kick and reminds me of the Italian roast beef a friend of mine makes for Super Bowl parties. Also, there is roast garlic to add even more flavor. The beef is tender and juicy. You often see cornbread as a side with pot roast, but at Pontotoc the jalapeno cornbread is part of the entree, right there in the bowl to soak up all those good juices. The pot roast appears on both the brunch and dinner menus, so you have plenty of opportunity to give it a try.

Random fact I learned from B-RAD yesterday: It’s not appropriate to say “cockpit” in the air industry anymore. You’re supposed to say “flight deck” instead because “cockpit” is considered sexist. Really, people? Aren’t we taking this political correctness thing a bit too far?

Another thing I learned yesterday: The Bloody Mary mix at Pontotoc Lounge has bacon in it. B-RAD had to warn a vegetarian friend of mine about it. She didn’t order it, but knowing there is bacon in the mix makes me about 1000% more likely to order a Bloody Mary there.

Hey B-RAD… you remember the girl who used to call Blind Bear (or have a friend call for her) on Sunday mornings, ask if I was up there, and upon hearing I was, she’d show up about 30 to 45 minutes later and sit right in my line of sight wearing a tank top with a passive-aggressive slogan on it? If she ever comes to your bar for brunch you must, must, MUST serve her a Bloody Mary.

One of Brad’s regulars had a portable fan that can be charged with a phone charger. She says it gets two hours of use per charge. Very handy thing to have in June when you’re in Memphis.

As your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, it’s my pleasure to link to this excellent CA article about the Memphis Literary Arts Festival to be held in The Edge this coming weekend. Free talks, readings and performances at various locations within the neighborhood from 9 AM to 5 PM Saturday, followed by an after-party.

Thrillist published a list of the best places in Memphis to watch 2018 World Cup action, and not surprisingly Downtown Irish pub The Brass Door made the list. They were noted for great drink specials during games, including $4 Heinekens and $4 White Russians. Soccer goals have been set up in the pocket park across the street. Fill in your bracket for a chance to win a Heineken Bluetooth Tower Speaker. They’ll kick off the festivities with the viewing of a friendly between the U.S. Women’s National Team and China tomorrow at 6 PM. Check out the Brass Door’s full calendar of events here.

Kim Jong Un is traveling to Singapore for the historic meeting between the dictators of the United States and North Korea. It’s being reported that Kim’s cargo plane brought his portable toilet so as to “deny determined sewer divers insights into the Supreme Leader’s stools.”

WordPress needs a “batshit” emoji.

My plan for tonight is to head to Max’s Sports Bar after work for Game 3 of the Fayetteville Super Regional at 6 PM. Arkansas totally took South Carolina for granted yesterday. They should have pulled their pitcher sooner. Giving up that grand slam was just unforgivable. Let’s hope the Hogs do better today. I will be drinking PBRs at PBjaRni’s bar while I watch the game and of course I will have Perjorie T. Roll out for good luck. Back tomorrow with more news.