Thursday update

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible will be performed on stage at the Halloran Centre for the Performing Arts on Saturday, February 16. This story of a witch hunt, set in 1692 Salem, was inspired by the era of Joseph McCarthy. It’s a story of the bad things that can happen when truth is bent for political means. Sounds relevant for the times we live in today, no?

Cirque de Soleil is in town for 4 days starting today for performances of their show Corteo at FedExForum.

The first crawfish boil of the season is set for Saturday at Max’s Sports Bar. I’ll repeat what I said last year: When Max’s does crawfish boils, the crawfish are better than at any crawfish festival in the city. They are spiced to perfection and corn on the cob and taters are cooked in the boil as well. And yes, Rahul and Tony, sausage is cooked in the boil too. I know how you guys are all about the sausage.

The hours on the Facebook listing are noon to 5 Saturday, but don’t expect to show up at 4:30 and get crawfish. The first boil of the season at Max’s is a huge event and they will sell out early. The cost is $12 for 1 pound or $20 for 2 pounds, and if you’re hungry I recommend going ahead and getting 2 pounds right off the bat because there might not be any left if you try to go back for seconds. Max’s opens at 11 AM and the Tigers basketball game vs. South Florida will be on TV, so the place will fill up quickly. They will have a satellite bar on the patio and extra seating on the patio to accommodate demand. My advice is to be there by noon and let your bartender/server know you want crawfish as soon as they are ready.

The Memphis Flyer’s Beer Bracket competition is coming back soon, and this year they are making it more interesting. This year local breweries will be able to pick which four of their beers they want to compete. Also, if there is a particular beer a brewery does not want to compete against (such as Meddlesome’s 201 Hoplar, last year’s winner), they will be allowed to swap – but they can only swap one time. Voting starts February 13.

The Blind Bear has announced its promotions for Super Bowl Sunday. Starting at 4 PM, they will have $3 aluminum bottles (16 oz.) of Bud, Bud Light, and Mich Ultra. They will have $3 cinnamon whiskey, $4 Diamond Bear 16 oz. draft, $5 Bear Balls (mozzarella balls), $5 beef nachos, $5 beef tacos, $5/7 (cup/bowl) chili or cheeseburger soup, $5 chili cheese fries, and $5 chili cheese dogs. Their Hung Over Like a Bear brunch menu and specials will be available until 6 PM. The Sunday night Texas Hold’em game will happen as usual at 6:30.

Tug’s over on Mud Island is also having specials for the game. $2 Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Mich Ultra. Happy hour prices on drinks. $5 food specials including bacon wrapped meatballs, chili cheese nachos, jalapeno poppers, chili cheese dogs, and buffalo chicken tenders.

Local Gastropub has announced its buffet menu for Sunday’s game: hot wings, chicken tenders, nachos, pizza, buffalo dip, spinach dip, hot dogs, and cold beer from Delta Sunshine Brewing Co.

Cordelia’s Market is hosting a wine dinner on Thursday, February 21. Five courses, each paired with wine.

Former Memphis Tigers running back Darrell Henderson has been invited to the NFL scouting combine.

A team captain has been named for Memphis new pro soccer team, Memphis 901 FC: Marc Burch, a 13-year veteran of Major League Soccer.

LAB Digital Creative, a firm of designers and digital marketers founded by South Main residents Michael Newsome and Alan Hudgins, is having a launch party at Pontotoc Lounge on Wednesday, February 6 from 6 to 8 PM. First 25 people to show up get a round on LAB.

The Blind Bear will hold an ’80s party on Saturday, April 6, with DJ Brad Eiskamp spinning the tunes, a costume contest, photographer, and drink specials.

A bill has been introduced in Congress that would stop members of Congress and the president from getting paid anytime there is a government shutdown.. Betcha Mitch McConnell doesn’t even allow a vote on it.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. is having a board game night featuring Photosythesis tonight at its taproom.

Lunch time!

Today’s visit to the Court Square food truck rodeo led me to a Philly cheese steak sandwich from the Say Cheese food truck.

Cordelia’s Market has announced that they will no longer be offering plastic bags as of February 5. Stop by Monday to pick up a free re-usable bag. Read why the folks at Cordelia’s made this decision.

Outlaw Tony Maynard will provide the live music at brunch at Sunrise Memphis this Sunday. He will begin at 10 AM.

The Commercial Appeal talks to chef B.J. Chester-Tamayo of Alcenia’s in this week’s In the Kitchen.

Downtown marketing firm RedRover has a job opening for a Senior Account Manager. The successful candidate will more or less be acting as an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer for client firms.

Long, newsy post today but I’m finally to the end of it. Back tomorrow with more news.


Wednesday update

Every day I walk south on the Main Street Mall past an office furnishings store on the ground floor of Barboro Flats. I don’t know if anyone who works there reads this blog, but if they do, I’ve got to ask: How do you work there without going insane?

I mean, the three-and-a-half foot cubicle walls are bad enough. Everybody can see everybody, all day long. Everybody can hear their cubicle neighbors’ conversations whether they want to or not. There is not a smidgen of privacy at any time. But to make it even worse, they have all of Downtown looking into their workspaces all day long. I would feel like an animal on display in a zoo if I worked there!

Call me old-school, but I sure do miss the days when corporate work environments had walls and doors.

I had a really good lunch yesterday. I walked over to Sam’s restaurant at 7 N. Main, next door to Well Worx. Now, Sam’s is mainly known for their burgers and hot dogs, but as I walked up to the door I noticed several pictures of Mediterranean items in the window. They had a  falafel plate! I am a big fan of falafel, so I got the plate to go and brought it back to eat at my computer desk at home.

This was as delicious as it looks! There was a side salad too, but I didn’t have room for it in the photo. They have a gyro plate as well and I want to get back in there and try that soon. They have a pretty large menu so you won’t get bored if you eat there regularly. Their pizzas are another item I want to explore.

Memphis is losing someone who has made our city a more interesting place for many years. The CA reports that historian Jimmy Ogle is moving to Knoxville to be closer to his family. Ogle is known for his tours of Downtown, including his famous manhole cover tour. Family comes first and that’s understandable, but he will be missed. Just don’t start rooting for the Vols when they play Memphis, Jimmy.

Memphis in May is only a few days more than 3 months away. Have you ever thought about volunteering for the month-long festival? Here’s your chance:

Friends of mine who have volunteered there have told me it’s a lot of fun, and they have come away from the experience with memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Indie rock band Bon Iver has announced an Orpheum date of Monday, April 1.

The Blind Bear’s Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre party returns Friday, February 15. In 1929 Al Capone’s gangsters gunned down rival Bugs Moran’s gang on the north side of Chicago. Come re-live the era of gangsters and flappers at this party. There will be food and drink specials, as well as costume contests. There will be a photographer there and they will be replacing many of the photos on the dining room wall. Starting at 10 PM there will be live music by A.M. Whiskey. The password to get in that night without paying a cover charge will be, “Capone sent me.”

Downtown’s Calvary Episcopal Church has announced its Lenten Preaching Series speakers for 2019. They always have some great names who speak as the church serves plate lunches during Lent. The speaker series begins March 7.

Statistics site FiveThirtyEight has updated its predictions for the Super Bowl. They have the Patriots as a 53%/1 point favorite over the Rams. I know it’s unpopular to root for the Patriots but I’m probably going to anyway. At least they won their conference championship game fair and square.

Lifehacker has information on how to name a cockroach after your ex for Valentine’s Day.

The Daily Memphian reports that good things are happening in Victorian Village on the eastern end of Downtown. Wright Cafe will open at 657 Adams. The cafe will have high-end coffees and teas and eventually desserts, and two bed-and-breakfast suites will be located above it. Also, Mollie Fontaine’s is expanding its patio to activate the space closer to the street.

The new Downtown Baron’s Man Cave will host a grand opening fundraiser on Thursday, February 7 from 6 to 9 PM. The fundraiser will benefit St. Jude and will feature a raffle with prizes from the man cave’s neighbors including The Orpheum, Catherine & Mary’s, and Pontotoc Lounge. You’ll get a chance to check out the new space and 10% of all sales that night will go to St. Jude. Complimentary beverages and bites will be provided.

For those of you whose interest has been piqued by my recent recommendation of the book The Gaslighting Effect by Reva Steenbergen, check out my Twitter account at @paulryburn. I follow the author on Twitter and I retweet memes and quotes from the book that she tweets which I feel are especially relevant. If you’re one of the people who has gone to my friends John D or Misty or Katie Mac or Clay and asked them, “What’s going on with Paul? Why has he seemed like a different person the past few years?”, this book is your answer. It’s an easy read at just over 100 pages, and is very thoroughly researched.

That’s it for now. Trivia night at the Blind Bear is my plan for this evening. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

For my readers who have iPhones, there is a very scary bug that has been discovered in iOS 12.1. If someone places a FaceTime call to you, they can eavesdrop on you before you answer the call. Worse, if you hit the phone’s power button or either volume button, they’ll pick up access to video from your phone’s camera as well. I strongly recommend you disable FaceTime until a patch is released fixing this bug. To do that, open the Settings app, and on the main settings page scroll down until you see FaceTime, and click it. That will bring up a menu of FaceTime settings. At the top will be a toggle switch to turn FaceTime on or off. Make sure it is turned to the “off” position.

The Daily Memphian had a really good profile of a startup business called Mac Daddy mac & cheese. They have six different varieties of mac & cheese, including a bacon version, a Memphis pulled pork version, and a spicy version. Yum! You order online and pick the order up from Kingsway Christian Church kitchen in Germantown, but the owner is hoping to soon expand his business into a food truck. Make it happen, Captain! When the food truck hits the road, I sure would like to see it at the Thursday food truck rodeos in Court Square.

The Little Tea Shop invites its customers to come dine there for lunch on Friday, February 1. An independent documentary film team will be there shooting scenes for an upcoming short film about The Little Tea Shop. By being there, you agree for your likeness to be used in the film.

If you missed Mayor Strickland’s State of the City speech last night, here’s the full text.

An I Love the ’90s Pub Crawl is coming to Downtown Memphis Saturday, April 13. Your ticket gets you a color changing stadium cup, a ’90s slap bracelet, admission into participating venues without paying cover, and ’90s music at participating venues. The party will kick off at Tin Roof with registration 3 to 5 PM that day. Other stops on the crawl will include Alfred’s, Coyote Ugly, Wet Willie’s, and Silly Goose, with possibly other bars to be added.

Wicked Weed Brewing from Asheville, North Carolina will have a tap takeover this Friday at the Flying Saucer at 7 PM.

Good news for Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers: There’s a new ranking system called NET that will be used by the NCAA tournament selection committee this year, seeing it as a more accurate measure of a basketball team’s ability than RPI. With the Tigers’ win over UCF on Sunday, they rose to 54 in the NET rankings. Hmmm…. there are 68 teams in the tournament, with 16 of the slots going to winners of minor conferences, most of whom’s NET rankings would be sub-68. 68 minus 16 is 52. If the Tigers could get that NET ranking just a little bit higher, seems like they’d be knocking on the door of the tournament bubble.

You’ll be able to learn more about the $70 million Memphis River Parks project at the February South Main Association meeting, to be held Tuesday, February 12 at Beale Street Landing. Two people from Memphis Parks Partnership, George Abbott, Director of External Affairs, and Eric Bourgeois, Ambassador, will speak about the parks project. Bites will be provided by Pontotoc Lounge. Free for members, $10 for non-members. There will be a social at 6 PM with the presentation starting at 6:30.

Edible Memphis is having a launch party at Trolley Stop Market Friday night. The magazine is celebrating the first issue (technically the 42nd issue, but the first done by this new group) from 6 to 9 PM. There will be complimentary pizza, beer specials, and of course, copies of the new issue.

Hmmm… I wonder if they’ll serve “edibles” at the launch party?

Crosstown Brewing Co. is having its first birthday party on Saturday, February 16 from noon to 10 PM. They will have three new beers on tap that day along with plenty of 1 year swag to give out. Evan Ferris will provide live music noon to 2, Alex Greene and the Rolling Heads 3 to 5, with a special musical guest there 6 to 9. The New Wing Order food truck will be onsite 2:30 to 9.

There’s a dog body language class at the main library on Poplar tonight.

That’s it for now. Think I’ll walk over to Sam’s Restaurant and see what I can find for lunch. I think I saw a sign that they have falafel, which I love. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

Yesterday I brunched at Pontotoc Lounge, and they have expanded their brunch menu. Of particular note is a pastrami hash, featuring house-made pastrami, in an iron skillet with two eggs. I did not try it but I was told it was out of this world. Also, given how many vegetarians come to Sunday brunch there, they have added a vegetable frittata. There is also a hangover Benedict and a granola parfait. In addition, they have added a quiche of the day and waffle French toast of the day, which will change weekly based on whatever idea the chef comes up with.

After that my plan was to go to Max’s Sports Bar and watch the Memphis Tigers game. Bartender PBjarRni posted that multiple people had messaged him and asked him what time Max’s would be opening (normal time is 4:30, except on Saturdays when it’s 11, and they open early for NFL, college football, and Grizzlies and Tigers games). He said opening time would be 2. Suggestion for Max’s and other bars that have variable opening times: When not opening at your normally scheduled time, have the opening time on the bar’s Facebook and Twitter accounts at least 1 day in advance. Don’t count on people messaging bartenders to figure it out.

It was a good day at Max’s, so warm outside that I had to shed my outer layers of clothing and watch the game in my Trolls movie T-shirt. I was especially pleased to learn that two people who sit at the corner table at Max’s have purchased the book I recommended, The Gaslighting Effect by Reva Steenbergen. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the effort to understand me. It really means a lot. If you read that book you will understand what I’ve been going through since 2014 and in particular why 2015 was such a rough year for me.

We have wintry precip in the forecast, and this is particularly important for those of you who hang out at Bardog late night. According to WeatherBug, rain will move in about 7 this evening, with the temperature rapidly falling. By midnight the rain will change over to snow. $2 Fireball at Bardog when it’s snowing! I don’t partake in Fireball anymore but it’s fun to be there listening to people chanting “SNOW SNOW SNOW SNOW SNOW” as the change-over is imminent.

By the way, and this is tentative and subject to change, I’m leaning toward Bardog as the best Super Bowl watch option next Sunday. If I stick with that plan I will probably lead off there at 11, as I often do on Saturday, and stick around the entire day.

The Broom Closet at 546 S. Main is having an Introduction to Remote Viewing class in August. No, this is not a class about setting up Remote Desktop Connection on your PC. Rather, it is about using extrasensory perception and the senses of the mind to pick up what is going on with a distant or unseen target. No experience in this field is necessary. It’s a limited-size class and the cost is $35.

Developer Billy Orgel plans to save two buildings on Front Street, at 99 and 105 S. Front. These are the buildings that housed two longtime and now-closed restaurants, The Pier and The Butcher Shop.

For those of you who are sad that the Saints got robbed of their 2019 Super Bowl opportunity, you can relive the glory days at Loflin Yard. Sunday they will show the 2010 Super Bowl, which the Saints won. They’ll have a New Orleans menu and $2 Bud Light, and if anyone cares about this year’s Super Bowl, they’ll have that game on too. They’ll also have NFL Ref Olympics, consisting of games of cornhole and darts played blindfolded.

The Arkansas gate of Big River Crossing is once again closed due to rising water on the Mississippi River.

A trolley car (number 455) is being tested on the Main Street Mall this week. It won’r be accepting customers during this test run.

Earth, Wind & Fire are coming to the Orpheum on Tuesday, May 14. Argh! Why do all these good shows have to come here during BBQ Fest week?

Cordelia’s Market has announced its Pick 3 promotion in its grab & go case. Pick 1 protein, pick 2 sides and it’s $9.99.

The Memphis Grizzlies host their fifth home game in 8 days tonight, taking on the Denver Nuggets at FedExForum at 7 PM. After tonight the Grizzlies go on the road for 3 games, and as we near the trade deadline it’s possible that not all the current Grizz players will return from the trip.

Well, I only got one of my three Royal Rumble predictions right. It was a great show, although I have to say it was overshadowed by NXT Takeover on the WWE Network the night before. For those of you who have yet to watch the Rumble, I won’t tell you which prediction I got right.


Sunday update

The Memphis Flyer reports that the plans for Tom Lee Park will be unveiled this week, and they sound ambitious. There will be trees and rolling hills, and there will be a new “engagement center” at the north end of the park. The engagement center will open this week and will be a place people can go to learn about the changes. Memphis River Parks Partnership staff will be there on Wednesdays and Saturdays to talk about the changes with anyone who has questions. Construction on the park is scheduled to begin in June and wrap up in 2020, so it sounds like Music Fest and BBQ Fest will not be affected this year.

The grand opening of the engagement center is Saturday, February 2., from noon to 3 PM at Beale Street Landing. They’ll have a scale model of the soon-to-be-improved park, and there will even be a virtual reality experience complete with goggles.

Oscar Meyer is hiring drivers to drive the famous Wienermobile. The drivers would not only drive but would serve as marketing and PR people for the brand’s hot dogs, visiting grocery stores, charity events, and veterans’ events. I have already informed my friends Rahul and Tony about this career opportunity. I know they’d love getting paid to handle a large wiener.

There will be an exploration of the plagues of early Memphis at Elmwood Cemetery on Saturday, February 23. This 50 minute, indoor, seated presentation will discuss the various causes of death of the people who settled Memphis. Beverages and light snacks will be served. $20 to attend and this is an 18 and up event.

Bianca from the Vegan Crunk blog has a review of the Beyond Burger, the new burger at Huey’s using a vegan patty. She notes that the black bean burger, which is so good that even I prefer it over a beef patty at times, is safe for vegetarians but not vegans because it contains eggs.

Lifehacker has an explanation of why 5% beer gets you so much more drunk than 4% beer.

Furloughed bison are pouring back into national parks now that the government shutdown has ended.

Broke Tall Folk and Grant Holt play the Tin Roof this afternoon at 2.

The Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team hosts UCF at 3 this afternoon at FedExForum.

I’m getting the phone’s battery and external charger charged all the way up this morning, because tonight, I’ve got some watchin’ to do! The 2019 Royal Rumble pay-per-view airs on the WWE Network this evening. It’s especially exciting because unlike most years, there is no clear favorite as to who will win the men’s or women’s Rumble. Here are my predictions:

Men’s Rumble winner: Bobby Lashley, who will go on to challenge Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania for the WWE Universal championship. Vince McMahon loves to match two powerhouses against one another, and remember, Lashley represented Donald Trump in the 2006 WrestleMania main event which culminated in Trump shaving McMahon’s head. Because of that, he’s got more star power than anyone on the babyface side of the male RAW roster – well, except for John Cena, but I can’t see him winning.

As for the women: I predict Becky Lynch will lose her Smackdown women’s championship match to Asuka. However, she will then declare herself an entrant in the women’s Rumble, which she will go on to win. Although a member of the Smackdown brand, Lynch will have the right to challenge for either women’s title, and she will choose to face off against RAW women’s champion Ronda Rousey in what will be the first women’s match to ever main-event WrestleMania.

Other: I think Shane McMahon will turn heel, setting up a match between him and The Miz at Mania.

That’ll do it for now. I’m leading off this morning at D-RANKS with B-RAD at Pontotoc Lounge, where the vibe should be a good deal more mature than usual because Rahul and Tony are out of town. Then a little before 3 I will wander down to Max’s Sports Bar to watch the Tigers game. If I’m reading the calendar correctly, this is a great weekend to be at Max’s because I don’t anticipate having to deal with crazy. Back tomorrow with more news.


Saturday update

I heard a rumor yesterday, and posted “can anyone confirm this?” on Facebook and started quite a stir, so I want to discuss it here. I heard through second-hand information that they may have removed the jukebox from Earnestine & Hazel’s. My Facebook post drew more than 20 comments, mostly speculation and feelings of anger and sadness. However, toward the end i got comments that lead me to believe the rumor is NOT TRUE. I will try to get down to South Main today or tomorrow and find out what is going on for myself.

This is a situation in which you really have to consider both sides of the story. Earnestine & Hazel’s, along with Paula & Raiford’s and A. Schwab on Beale, is one of those places that just oozes soul, that makes you feel the Memphis of our great-grandparents’ time. That jukebox with all the soul, Elvis, and country classics…. the soul burgers…. the upstairs which has hardly changed since it was a brothel in the 1980s… none of us want to lose that. I certainly don’t. In my early years as a Downtowner E&H was my go-to place around midnight, 1 AM on weekend nights. In more recent times I’ve enjoyed it during the day. There will never be another place like it.

However, we also have to consider this from an owner’s perspective. E&H sits on what is becoming one of the most desirable corners in Memphis. I would say within 3 years, South Main and G.E. Patterson is going to have the desirability of corners like Madison and Cooper, Poplar and Highland, or Poplar and Ridgeway. However, unlike those corners, E&H’s corner will retain its neighborhood feel. It makes sense to have a business on that corner that draws heavy foot traffic all the time, not just from midnight to 3 AM two days a week.

So, although I hope Earnestine & Hazel’s will retain the character that has made it special all these years, I do understand how an owner would want the business to keep pace with the changing neighborhood. Also, as my friend Tawanda Pirtle pointed out, the owner is still dealing with the recent death of her father, and we need to be considerate of that.

I do have one concern that came out of all the comments on Facebook. One commenter said he was in there recently and had a soul burger with ketchup, mustard, and mayo. Wait, WHAT??? Ketchup on a soul burger? Unless it was specifically ordered that way, that’s a foul. Grilled onions, pickles, mustard, mayo, bun warmed on the grill, side of Golden Flake potato chips… that’s a soul burger as late owner Russell George would have cooked it.

So many great memories there. I used to see Mike Fratello in there all the time when he was the Grizzlies’ head coach. A 2007 visit to Nate’s bar upstairs ended up being a seminal moment in the formation of a local BBQ team (not mine) a few years later. And I’ll make a confession… I can be a bit of a brat sometimes. You know how in the past couple of years, I’ve gone up there and pumped a $5 bill into the jukebox, and then played all disco? I did that so someone couldn’t come in and play her favorite Johnny Cash song.

Wow I’m running out of time if I’m going to make it to Bardog at 11. Let get through the time-sensitive news quickly. Tonight is Grizz’a birthday and he’s celebrating by giving away backpacks to the first 5000 fans in attendance. Tip-off is at 7 PM and the Indiana Pacers are the opponents.

Although the talk has been all about shopping Mike and Marc on the trade market, the sources I follow on Twitter indicate that the two players drawing the most interest from other teams are JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple. They would fit in nicely at the power forward and wing positions for a team with playoff aspirations, and if Memphis could get back young talent, draft picks, and/or expiring contracts to free up cap space this summer, that would be good.

One of the founding members of The Supremes, Mary Wilson, performs at the Halloran Centre tonight.

Evelyn & Olive out in The Edge District posted that they have a special jerk BBQ rib today.

Out of time! The non-time-sensitive news items in my queue will be pushed back until tomorrow, so check back.

Friday update: Rizzo’s pop-up menu at Fuel and a ton of news

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick, temporarily closed for repairs due to a tree growing into its north wall, is having a pop-up at Fuel Cafe at 1767 Madison today and tomorrow. Here is the menu. There are different menus for Friday and Saturday (click for a larger size):

One901 has a post about brunching at Rizzo’s. You won’t be able to do that in the restaurant itself for four weeks, but check out their pop-up opening in 409 S. Main starting January 29.

The Commercial Appeal has a review of the episode of Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back where famous Memphis restaurant Catfish Cabin gets a makeover. They upgraded the menu, cleaned the kitchen, and fired an employee who engaged in some questionable register practices.

However, WREG reports that Catfish Cabin’s appearance on the show begs the question, why weren’t the health violations uncovered by Ramsay cited in recent inspections? Catfish Cabin most recently earned a 92 on its inspection, but the kitchen shown on the show hardly looks like a 92.

When I blogged about the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Beale Street on March 16 yesterday, I forgot to mention one unusual thing about the parade: the start time. Normally parades start at 3 or 4, but this one is at noon. I would guess the start time is to avoid a conflict with the American Athletic Conference tournament down the street at FedExForum.

February 2 has been given an upgrade and is now not just about a stupid rodent that may or may not see its shadow. This year February 2 is ice cream for breakfast day.

You just can’t make this stuff up: Emotional support alligator

Stacey Greenberg of Edible Memphis asks, Are We Tipping Enough? I want to print this post and hand it out to some of the people who come to my favorite happy hour and brunch spots.

Yesterday I went to Bardog for lunch, and the special was out of this world!

A 10 ounce prime rib, mashed potatoes, and sauteed spinach for $16. That’s a pretty good deal! I requested a cup of horseradish and mixed some in with my mashed potatoes. My troll liked the spinach a lot because it was the same color as her hair.

Santana will be headlining Southaven Springfest this year, on April 27. We had a great time cooking BBQ at that festival last year.

That reminds me – a few people have inquired, what’s going on with the Moody Ques? We’ve been awfully quiet in the BBQ offseason as compared to previous years. Well, I’m happy to report that we’ve been quiet for all the right reasons. We got a 7th place trophy, there was no intra-team drama, and we have a sponsor who has already paid us. It is getting close to time to pay dues, though. We’re planning on having a conference call sometime in the next couple of weeks to figure out the details.

There’s a petition asking the owners of Earnestine & Hazel’s to keep it the way it is. Many people feel that this iconic Memphis establishment should not be renovated or modernized.

The Onesie Pub Crawl is tomorrow, departing from Tin Roof tomorrow.

It’s Mueller Time! Roger Stone, an adviser to Donald Trump for nearly 40 years, was arrested at his home this morning. He’s been charged with lying to Congress and obstructing justice by intimidating a witness. Stone has strong ties to Julian Assange of Wikileaks. Mueller is getting closer and closer to Trump’s inner circle. I bet Don Jr. is next.

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

Thursday update

There was a fire at FedExForum yesterday, and I don’t mean the dumpster fire that was the Grizzlies game. A fire broke out around 4 PM in a sauna near a locker room. The Grizzlies had to borrow the Memphis Tigers’ locker room for last night’s game.

You know how some buildings don’t have a 13th floor due to superstition? I’d like to recommend the Grizzlies adopt a new format for their home games – first quarter, second quarter, fourth quarter, fifth quarter.

Interested in joining the Bluff City Mafia, the rowdy but fun-loving group of rabid fans of Memphis’ new pro soccer team, Memphis 901 FC? They will be hosting a One Month Away party at the Brass Door on Saturday, February 9 at 3 PM. This will be a meet and greet where you can get information about how to be a part of the Bluff City Mafia.

Cordelia’s Market is offering 10% off to federal employees affected by the shutdown, for the duration of the shutdown.

Downtown Local will be hosting a Super Bowl party with game day buffet and drink specials.

If the Super Bowl goes to overtime, America gets free wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. An OT finish will result in one free order of snack-sized wings per person February 18 from 4 to 7 PM. As of yesterday the odds of the game going to overtime were +650 (bet 100 to win 650).

More free food news: Next Tuesday, McDonald’s will offer bacon as a free topping to ANY menu item during Bacon Hour from 4 to 5 PM.

Back in November, Gordon Ramsay and his TV trucks were in town. We now know why: He was doing a 24-hour makeover of legendary Memphis restaurant Catfish Cabin out by the airport. The episode aired last night.

The date for Beale Street Wine Race has been announced, and it’s earlier than usual this year. Normally the last Sunday in April, this year the day of debauchery will be held the first Sunday in April. Hmmm that early in April you can’t count on the weather being warm… might interfere with the Queen of the Vine contestants being slutty on the Handy Park stage.

Beale Street also announced the date of the St. Patrick’s Day parade for 2019. It will be March 16, the day before St. Pat’s. I will be watching the parade at the King’s Palace Tap Room, of course! I wonder if the South Main crew will be there? I still find it hilarious that they all relocated the day of the Liberty Bowl parade because of that b… never mind.

Great quote I saw on social media yesterday: “People will provoke you until they bring out your ugly side, then play the victim when you go there.”

ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude, has launched a new digital news platform as a way of reaching younger and diverse audiences.

Ghost River is hosting a Beer & Dessert Pairing with desserts by Primas Bakery and Boutique on Valentine’s Day. Four pastries will be expertly paired with Ghost River beers, and there will be sushi by new Downtown restaurant Fam. Cost is $22 per person.

Update on the status of the New Daisy Theater on Beale Street… the CA reports that it’s not closed for good, but rather taking an operational hiatus.

Necco’s Sweethearts candy hearts are not going to be available for Valentine’s Day for the first time in 153 years. The candy hearts with cute sayings printed on them won’t be around because Necco closed its doors and sold the rights to make the hearts to another company. The new company did not have the time to make the production demands. Uh oh, Rahul, now what are you going to get Tony for Valentine’s Day?

Downtown cigar shop Robusto by Havana Mix is having a game night tonight.

Best Team Name at trivia last night!

That’ll do it for today. Back tomorrow with more news.




Wednesday update

Yesterday I was watching ESPN, and they dropped one of their Woj bombs: For the first time, the Grizzlies are willing to listen to offers for Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. As Geoff Calkins writes, if you want to see one more Conley/Gasol pick and roll, if you want to see one more game from the 18 years when there was a Gasol brother on the roster, better get to FedExForum this week. You have an opportunity tonight, as the Grizzlies host the Charlotte Hornets at 7.

There’s a new pop-up jewelry shop, The Gift Wraps, Downtown. The address is 100 Peabody Place but it’s actually around the corner on Main Street next to the post office. Local journalist/activist Wendi C. Thomas gave it a recommendation on Instagram.

This Friday is South Main Trolley Night, with most of the shops in the South Main neighborhood staying open until 9 or later. Art Village Gallery (410 S. Main) will have an exhibit, Inhabitants of the Earth, by Nigerian artist Uchay Joel Chima, and Friday will be the opening reception. Primas Bakery and Boutique (523 S. Main) will have a pop-up by Vice and Virtue Coffee. South Main Sounds (550 S. Main) will have a show from 7 to 9 PM with Eric Hughes, Olga, Teodoro Alvarez, Chris Matula, Paul Nunes, and Tino Arthur. Stock & Belle (387 S. Main) is throwing a gallery party for GrrlPunch Online Magazine.

Downtown BBQ restaurant Cozy Corner is taking orders for Super Bowl parties at 901-527-9158. The restaurant will be open 2-5 PM on Super Bowl Sunday for pick-up.

Ever dreamed of a career in beer? Wiseacre Brewing Co. is growing and seeks sales professionals to set them up in key markets: Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga. Apply here.

As your #1 clearinghouse of news and information about The Edge District, it is my pleasure to link to this CA article about the birth of Century Tree Cider, the new cidery to open at 484 Union.

Stanley’s Sweet Street Treats and 9Dough1 will be the featured food trucks at Cordelia’s Market tonight 5 to 8.

Jennifer Biggs of the DM discusses how to tweak your Central BBQ nacho order to up their game a bit.

A new convenience store with fuel pumps has been proposed for the corner of Crump and Florida. However, it would require zoning exceptions.

South Main-based television network DittyTV has purchased the building next door and will turn it into a retail store.

Listening to Jerry Jarrett’s Booking Memphis Wrestling podcasts this morning. Episode 19, Eric Embry, is a must-listen if you ever watched World Class Championship Wrestling from Dallas on cable in the late 1980s. Embry and Jarrett brought back that promotion from the dead. They also discovered a student named Steve Williams training at wrestler Chris Adams’ school. Since there was already a Steve Williams in the business (“Dr. Death”), they changed the student’s last name to his hometown, and he became Steve Austin. A decade later, Austin would be stunning Mr. McMahon on national TV.

Episode 27, 1977-Winning the War, is also excellent. It discusses Jerry Jarrett opening his own territory and stealing almost all of the best wrestlers from his rival and former employer, Nick Gulas. In the process, Channel 5 stole the program director and weatherman from the number one station in the market at the time, Channel 13.

That’ll do it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tue update: IBC, Dr. King, that book I mentioned, and more

If you’re in Memphis and are a fan of the blues, you need to get Downtown this week and treat yourself to some of the best live music you will ever hear. The International Blues Challenge kicks off today and runs through Saturday. Blues artists come from not just all over the country, but all over the world, to compete and be heard by producers looking to award recording contracts.

Today is the International Showcase, featuring artists from outside the U.S. A few years ago the president of the Blues Foundation gave me an inside tip that this is the “sleeper” event of IBC. A lot of the artists haven’t even arrived yet. It’s a chance to hear some great blues in an intimate venue before the crowds show up. This year the International Showcase is at Club 152 starting at 6 this evening.

Wednesday and Thursday are the IBC quarterfinals, with artists playing short sets in clubs in and around Beale – in fact, there are so many artists that heated tents have to be set up in Handy Park for additional performance space. A wristband ticket gets you entry into all these venues for one price. It’s an all-you-can-hear buffet of the blues. Plus, if you’ve never been in some of the venues on Beale Street, here’s your excuse to go check them out.

I’ll give you an insider tip – in past years the Flying Saucer has been a quarterfinals venue, and they tend to be open to the public without cover charge or enforcing the wristband requirement. So if you love craft beer as much as you love the blues, that’s a spot to check out.

Got a lunch suggestion for Thursday of IBC week. Canadian-themed restaurant Kooky Canuck, on Second Street across from the Peabody Hotel, will host the Great Canadian Polar Bear Blues Showcase Thursday beginning at 11:30 AM. This event is open to the public with no pass or wristband required. Not only will you hear some great music but they have a menu full of Canadian food. My recommendations: the maple flank steak, the Donair Poutine, the Yonge Street Burger, and the S’mores.

Friday beginning at 6:20 PM, the IBC semifinals take place in clubs on Beale Street. Same deal as the quarterfinals, where you buy a wristband for one price to get entry to all the clubs.

The IBC Finals will be at the Orpheum on noon Saturday, with doors opening at 11:30. An IBC pass or single-day ticket will be required for entry. Insider tip: My friends on the New Wing Order food truck will be parked outside for those of you who are hungry.

Yesterday was MLK Day, and I took some time to read Dr. King’s April 16, 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail after several people I follow on Twitter recommended it. I have to say, as a white man who grew up in the South it is a severe deficiency in my education that I never read this letter until well into middle age. I know MLK’s day is over now but nevertheless, I recommend it to all my readers. It is not a short letter, and probably took me about 35 minutes to read. However, it is a valuable insight into what Dr. King was thinking at the height of the civil rights movement.

I can’t help but think, had I grown up a generation earlier in my hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas, coming of age around the time Dr. King wrote this letter, I might well have been one of those white moderates Dr. King talked about. White moderates of the time, King wrote, disappointed him far more than the Ku Klux Klan. With the KKK, he reasoned, at least you knew what you were getting. White moderates, on other hand, said they were for racial equality, but they were not committed to it to the point that they would fight for it alongside their black brethren. It saddens me to think I might have seen things that way in those times. Maintaining social order and not rocking the boat is less important than justice.

The past week I’ve been mentioning that I read a book that changed my life, a book that made sense out of a number of things that previously made no sense. I have discussed the book a bit on social media, but up until now I have not revealed the book’s title on here. Enough of my readers have asked me that I now will. It’s called The Gaslighting Effect by Reva Steenbergen. It is available on Amazon and Kindle. It is a nonfiction book that profiles a particular personality type. It is only 109 pages and well-written, a very easy read. It’s available on Amazon and Kindle, with the Kindle version being only $9.99. Please Note: There is a similarly-titled book called The Gaslight (without the “ing”) Effect. This is a different book from the one I am talking about. Sometimes it comes up before The Gaslighting Effect in search results, so make sure you find the right book if you look it up.

I don’t want to see too much on this blog about my personal connection to the book – as Dana Carvey playing George H.W. Bush on SNL would say, “wouldn’t be prudent.” However, I will say that I have made myself something of a public figure by writing this blog the past 15 years; I have put myself out there far more than most people. People who read this blog know my habits, my likes and dislikes, who my friends are, which places I hang out, what things make me truly happy in life. I don’t regret any of it, I wouldn’t change a thing, but it makes me especially vulnerable to the tactics of abuse described in this book.

I could write many paragraphs more about the book, but I better not. I encourage those of you who have had your curiosity piqued to buy and read the book, or ask me about it face-to-face, or both. has a new blog post up about precipitation expected in the Mid-South tomorrow. This is shaping up to be the kind of day I absolutely HATE. In the morning it’s going to be raining and around 40… yet temperatures are going to fall throughout the day, hitting freezing around noon. As of the time MWN posted yesterday afternoon, for Wednesday afternoon they were expecting an accumulation of 1/10 of an inch of ice and 1/2 to 1 inch of snow.

The reason I hate this kind of forecast is that anyone who has the capability to work from home tomorrow, ought to do so, but how do you justify it when you call in at 8 AM and your manager goes, “You can’t get here because it’s 40 degrees and drizzling?” Let me make it clear: Memphis drivers DO NOT know how to drive on even the tiniest ice accumulations. They go too fast. They follow too close. They don’t understand that you can’t slam on the brakes. It’s not that I’m afraid of driving on ice. It’s that I’m afraid of driving on ice alongside IDIOTS.

(Edit: MWN tweeted this morning that new models coming in indicate the temperatures tomorrow may trend a few degrees warmer. I hope so but I’m still going to let my rant about ice and idiots stand)

On a better note about the weather, it looks very promising that sometime between noon and 5 tomorrow, Bardog Tavern will have $2 Fireball on special. Remember, it has to be actual snow. Sleet won’t do it. I won’t be joining you in partaking, but for those of you who shoot Fireball, enjoy… and be extra careful getting home.

Let’s move on to sports… we’ll start off with some good news, as the University of Memphis Tigers cheer team brought home a national championship Saturday. Congratulations to them! Way to make our city proud!

247Sports has an article on getting to know top Memphis commit James Wiseman. Wiseman is not a flashy player, instead exuding a quiet confidence. I like that. What’s the last time the Tigers had a true starting center? Shaq Goodwin, Tarik Black and Pierre Henderson-Niles may have played the 5 but they were really power forwards. Really, the Tigers have had starting lineups of two to four guards and one to three forwards for years and years, stretching back into the Calipari years. Even the year of the (vacated, thanks Cal) championship game, neither Robert Dozier or Joey Dorsey could really be called a center.  Thinking about it, Lorenzen Wright may have been the last real 5.

The Grizzlies are having one of their beer tasting nights at Friday’s game. The special ticket gets you a tasting of featured beer Goose Island Elysian 6 and there are options for Pinnacle Level for $50 or Terrace Level at $40. The beer tasting starts at 5, followed by the Grizzlies getting blown out by the Sacramento Kings at 7.

I won’t be going to the beer tasting, because these days I need something at least 100 proof to be able to watch this team. They were absolutely terrible against the Pelicans yesterday on national TV, a game most commentators expected the Grizzlies to win since NOLA’s star Anthony Davis was sitting out. I don’t know why this team loses all interest in winning after 24 minutes of play. Of particular note was JaMychal Green, who logged 5 points and 6 fouls. I haven’t read Grizzly Bear Blues’ report card for last night’s game, but a grade even lower than F needs to be invented for what JaM did last night.

I’ve had it. It is time to blow it up. Nothing less than a major move is in order. In my opinion at least one of Wallace, Bickerstaff, JaM, Gasol, or Conley needs to be gone by the trade deadline. I don’t like the idea of it being Bickerstaff because it makes the Grizzlies’ revolving coaching door look even worse. I also don’t like the idea of losing The Conductor who is still in the prime of his career. However, I think it’s time to embrace the idea that this is Jaren’s team now and start building around him. Everyone except him, Kyle Anderson, and Dillon Brooks should be shopped on the trade market.

Let’s move on to football. I mentioned that my friend Rahul has been a real butthead to me a week ago Sunday at brunch, and therefore, since Rahul is a big Kansas City fan, I would be rooting for the Patriots in the AFC championship game. However, on Sunday I gave him an out: An apology and donuts might convince me to change my mind and root for the Chiefs. “None of that Krispy Kreme crap. I want good donuts, something like Gibson’s.” I told Rahul that I was watching the early game in the back room of the Blind Bear, and that he could have UberEats deliver the donuts if he didn’t want to lose his seat wherever he was watching the game.

About 3:45 Hanin, the bartender working brunch at the Blind Bear, came in the back room with a plastic bag. “Rahul had this dropped off for you,” she told me.

“Well!” I thought. “For once Rahul has decided to be a decent human being.” I was wrong. I opened the plastic bag and found this:

Rahul sent me Captain D’s fries covered in powdered sugar. That’s his idea of donuts. The Patriots beat the Chiefs and I am so glad they did.

It figured Rahul would frequent a place whose motto is “It’s Gotta Be D’s,” though.

As for the Saints-Rams game, what a horrible no-call. People are saying, “The rules will be changed so this won’t happen in future seasons.” Well, that’s nice. What about this season? What if NOLA players miss out on a Super Bowl ring because of a blown call? What if coaches miss out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses for reaching the Super Bowl?

For now, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Time to run a few errands then get out and about. Back tomorrow with more news.