Saturday update – If you’re into cigars, this is your weekend!

If you smoke cigars, there are events today and tomorrow that you will really enjoy!

The Beale St. Cigar Festival happens today in Handy Park (corner of Beale St. and B.B. King Blvd.), with the festival itself from noon to 6 and a 10-year anniversary party from 6 to 10 in the evening. General admission tickets are $10 and get you into both of those events. There are also upgrades:

  • Robusto Gold Ticket ($50) gets you admission to both events, plus 5 premium cigars
  • Robusto Platinum Ticket ($75) gets you admission to both events, 7 premium cigars, a custom cutter, a custom lighter, and preferred seating

I’m not a cigar smoker, but if I were, one of the VIP upgrades would sure sound like the way to go! There will be a cash bar, vendors, and food trucks. Park in the 250 Peabody Place parking garage across from Robusto by Havana Mix.

Then tomorrow, Sunday, September 1 from noon to 6, there is going to be a HUGE party at the Blind Bear. There will be someone there to hand-roll cigars, and DJ Big Sue and Karen Mus’sang Brown will perform.

(Click the images to view them in a larger size; sorry for so much whitespace but that was how they were sent to me)

This event is expected to draw between 300 and 500 people. The Blind Bear is more or less bringing in every server and bartender they have to guarantee good service for the event’s patrons. If you enjoy listening to Big Sue on K97, this is your chance to see her do her thing live. I have personally spoken to the organizers and believe this will be an afternoon of the highest quality.

It’s College Football Saturday! Memphis hosts Ole Miss at the Liberty Bowl at 11 this morning. If you’re not going to the game, it will be broadcast nationally on ABC. Other than that, the best game of the day looks to be Oregon at Auburn, at 6:30 also on ABC. As is typical for the first week, most other schools have cream puffs scheduled to work the kinks out in a real game and to get a W toward that 6 needed to qualify for a bowl invitation.

Great quote I saw on Facebook the other day: “GBO” stands for “Got Blown Out” (“GBO” is what Tennessee fans say; kind of the equivalent of “GTG” in Memphis)

3:30 on a Wednesday will be released on a Saturday, specifically this Saturday. That is the name of the latest beer Memphis Made Brewing Co. is releasing. You can try it in the taproom today. This is a specialty beer for Music Export Memphis, an organization that promotes the music and bands of Memphis in other cities. The name of the beer is a reference to the time and day on which the emergency sirens are tested each week. The beer is a honey wheat, and in additional to the original, they will have raspberry and peach. The release happens today at 3:30.

A new restaurant is coming to the Downtown core. Stix is coming to the ServiceMaster building on Second Street, in the space occupied by Dan McGuinness Pub back when the building was a shopping mall. Stix is a small chain that started in Alabama, and this will be the 6th location. They tested out the Downtown market with a food truck in Court Square on Thursdays, and it did well so they are eager to get into a permanent location. They have pan-Asian food, hibachi, and sushi, and will focus on quick counter service for those looking to grab lunch and then get back to work.

In my Thursday post I mentioned my friend Mary who is a yoga teacher. I saw her yesterday and she told me she will be teaching kitten yoga at the Memphis Humane Society on Saturday, September 21. I guess this is kind of like goat yoga, except that kittens walk around while you do yoga instead of goats. I will try to get more info on this if any of you are interested. A previous version of kitten yoga happened 10-11 AM and cost $25. Mary says the class will happen in “that big open room.” They don’t have the September 21 event listed on their website yet so I can’t link to it.

Two Downtown Memphis restaurants that are normally open on Saturday, Sabor Caribe out in The Edge and River Time Market & Deli on Court Square, will close today so that their staff can enjoy a three-day Labor Day weekend. Both will re-open on Tuesday. River Time, by the way, continues to get a lot of love on the Memphis Sandwich Clique group on Facebook. It’s not on a major thoroughfare so I have a feeling a lot of people don’t know about it or don’t think to go there for breakfast or lunch. Don’t miss out!

Tomorrow is a special 901 Day themed Cerrito Bingo at Loflin Yard, 4 to 6 PM.  Wear any Memphis-themed shirt or outfit and get an extra bingo card. There’s a special prize if you bingo on a number ending in 9, 0, or 1.

Got a couple of pieces of Silly Goose news. Their new wood-fired pizza oven is now operational and they have rolled out a pizza menu. I didn’t take a photo of the menu because it said “Practice Menu” at the top and I am told it will change, but there are 5 pizzas on there ranging in price from $12 to $16. I didn’t order one, but the one I saw come out of the oven looked like it would feed 2 people or 1 really hungry person.

The Goose will host Shop Silly, a girls’ night out, Thursday from 5 to 9. Kelly.Boutique and Dream Lilly Boutique will be there with the latest fall fashions. There will be a DJ spinning a special ladies’ night playlists, and special cocktails for this event will be available for purchase. There will be a raffle where you can win percentages off your clothing purchases.

Congratulations to my friends Brittini and Donny, who got to lay eyes on their new baby boy for the first time yesterday afternoon.

All right. I want to give an update on my thoughts about the upcoming mayoral race. For the past several months I have been undecided between County Commissioner and local activist Tami Sawyer, and currrent Mayor Jim Strickland. My heart has been with Sawyer. I agree with her that Memphis can’t be a truly great city until there is opportunity for all Memphians, not just the ones who live in the right neighborhoods. Women and people of color should have a bigger piece of the city’s economic pie, and I believe Sawyer has the best ideas on how to bring that to fruition.

However, I believe that Mayor Strickland has done a good job in his first term in office, especially compared to predecessors Wharton and Herenton, and especially considering the mess he inherited when he took office. Two accomplishments of his administration I greatly appreciate are the massive reduction of 911 call response times, down to 10-15% of the time before he took office; and the improvements at the Memphis Animal Shelter, where a professional rather than a mayoral crony has been put in charge, greatly reducing the kill rate. Given our city’s history of mayors since I have lived here, I’m not particularly inclined to vote someone out who I generally believe is doing a good job. So, I was leaning toward Strickland.

However, it bothers me a lot that Strickland is refusing to debate Sawyer. It strikes of white privilege, as though he’s using his power to deny her the right to appear as an equal to him on a debate stage. It also makes me wonder if Strickland is scared to debate, sensing that Sawyer might be a good enough orator to tilt the vote her way. Therefore, if Strickland does not agree to a debate before early voting starts, I am swinging my vote over to Tami Sawyer.

By the way, an image of the latest cover of Memphis magazine was being posted on Facebook yesterday, and I hope it is a sick joke and not the actual cover. All three mayor candidates were portrayed in unflattering caricatures. The problem with it was, when I saw the caricature of Tami Sawyer, it immediately reminded me of renderings I have seen of what Australopithecus afarensis might have looked like. A. afarensis is a human-like ape that lived about 3.9 to 2.9 million years ago, and which is very possibly an ancestor of the Homo (human) lineage. If that is the real cover and not just a joke that went viral, Contemporary Media needs to issue an apology. Surely it’s possible to caricature a black person without likening them to an ape.

Programming note: There almost certainly will not be a blog post on Monday. That will probably be my last Bardog Monday before I begin making changes I need to make to get my life back in order. On holidays I like to get there super early to get a good seat. There will probably be a post tomorrow.

Now it’s time for me to decide where to watch the Ole Miss-Memphis game. Do I want to be among people who talk ABOUT me, who make ASSUMPTIONS about me; or do I want to be among people who talk TO me, who LISTEN, who seek to UNDERSTAND me? I think you know which choice any logical person would make.

Bardog it is then.


Thanks for the responses

I had many responses via text, email, and private message to my post yesterday. Thanks to all who responded. No matter what the tone of the message, I know you took the time to touch base with me because you care about me.

First of all, thank you to two people who are going to try to help me find work, something which I can walk or trolley to and which will be something I enjoy. Thanks to them also for ensuring that I will be able to get out and see my friends this weekend. Thanks also to the person who made them aware of the situation.

Thanks to two other people who slipped me cash as they shook my hand. The very first thing I did when I got the cash was to go down to the Blind Bear to clear out that bar tab I left open on Tuesday. I found out it had already been paid.

I had a couple of responses saying I need to get in therapy (which is certainly true) and recommended options. Thank you for your help.

Two of you hit the nail on the head. I have gone out to drink socially with my friends for quite some time, but the period when I officially crossed the border into alcoholism was 2015. I had a very bizarre situation develop during that time, one I’ve alluded to numerous times on this blog – gaslighting and the whole “people being shitty” thing. One of my best friends, who means well, tells me “it’s not important.” He’s wrong. It’s very important. It has messed up my psyche for years, and the situation persists to this day unresolved. I can’t just “get over it” and “forget that it happened.” Two of my friends, in different ways, said that in therapy I need to first deal with the mental and emotional trauma of that situation, and then deal with the alcohol dependency issues that arose from it. That’s EXACTLY what I believe. If a therapist tells me differently, though, I will listen.

I had several people who also suffer from depression and anxiety issues told me they could relate to my post, and while they understood how painful it must have been to throw my issues onto a public blog for all to see, it helped them.

I had a longtime friend who moved from Memphis many years ago tell me she does not see someone who lies and uses people in my posts, both here and on Facebook. She sees someone with great kindness who uplifts people. I needed to hear that. That was the response out of all of them that brought tears to my eyes.

By the way, I want to pat myself on the back for something I did last night. A friend met me at Bardog and palmed me a 20 as she said goodbye. With that 20 I could have stayed at Bardog past midnight and had 4 or 5 more beers. I didn’t even seriously consider it. All that was on my mind was getting the 20 over to Blind Bear and squaring up that tab I did not pay Tuesday. I like to go out and drink, but friends are more important. By making that decision I saw in myself what my friend from the previous paragraph sees in me.

I had a couple of friends send me links to AA meetings in the Downtown area, and one even offered to go to a meeting with me. I’m going to have to think about that. I’m not sure I’m down with the twelve-step thing. Although a lot of recovering alcoholics believe “it’s the only way,” I’m not sure I do. Also the steps don’t address the underlying issues that led to my dependency.

I had someone who’s been where I am now, with regards to alcohol, reach out and offer to talk, having gone through the process of getting sober over a decade ago. I may very well take him up on that. He’s offered before but I wasn’t ready. I will probably wait a few days to get in touch because the weekends tend to be his busy time.

I had a few friends contact me to say, “I don’t have any advice but I just want you to know you are loved.” Thanks. I appreciate that.

I had a friend with depression issues herself suggest some medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, that might help. I will think about that. The thing is, I do not have physical depression, meaning the chemical wiring of my brain. So, I don’t know if such meds would be appropriate for me. Again, that’s a question for a therapist.

I had a friend – the same one who means well – fuss at me for going to the Blind Bear right after making yesterday’s post, saying I had no business being in a bar. Well, first of all, I went to the Bear and told Tre, the bartender on duty, that I couldn’t afford to drink at the moment but asked if it would be all right if I just hung out there to be among friends. A couple of beers ended up getting bought for me, but I didn’t go down there with drinking as my intention.

Related to that, another friend emailed to say she too has depression issues most of the time, but when she gets out to the Blind Bear and is around the circle of friends that goes there – including me – she’s actually quite happy. Yes! That’s how it is for me too. Quitting the bars entirely would mean losing my support system.

Perhaps over time I will learn to drink non-alcoholic beverages when I go out to the bars. Thing is, though, I would feel like a bum sitting there drinking a $2 Coke for four hours when the bar stool could be filled by a customer who spent more. Maybe if I tipped according to the time I spent there rather than the amount of my tab it would be all right. And no I’m not going to even consider O’Doul’s. That stuff is garbage.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who replied – even those who lectured me because that is just the way you show you care. I’m sorry I haven’t responded to most of you individually yet. That was by design actually – my friends come from a broad range of backgrounds and have a diverse range of experiences. I wanted to take in what everyone had to say and see what resonates with me.

As of this morning the VALIC money had still not transferred into my account. I called the rep (again) and OF COURSE it went to voice mail. You know how most people cut out of work at 2 or 3 in the afternoon the Friday before Labor Day? I have the feeling he cut out about 9 AM. As soon as the transaction completes I am going to call corporate and complain about him.

So I will have anxiety over the weekend about that situation not being resolved. The good news is, my short-term situation has improved since yesterday. I am no longer stuck with $4 to my name, which I spent yesterday thinking I wouldn’t be able to go out this weekend at all. I now have spending money and a Blind Bear gift card thanks to the generosity of a few people. I will be able to see my friends this weekend. I will be able to get out somewhere tomorrow to watch Memphis beat Ole Miss.

No promises but I’m going to try to hunt down some Downtown news for a post tomorrow. Again, thanks for reading, everyone.

Rock bottom

I’m an alcoholic.

I’m a liar. Over the past 2 or so months numerous people who care deeply about me have asked if I’m OK and I have said “yeah I’m good.” I’m actually not good.

I’m a broken person.

And yet, I am incredibly loved and respected by so many people here in the Downtown core of Memphis, Tennessee. People seek me out. They ask my advice on places to go, things to do. I bet less than 1% of the population has as many wonderful friends as I have.

Today I’m going to tell you what’s been going on with me the past couple of months. However, for those relatively new to the blog, I need to fill in the back-story.

On July 17, 2018 – more than a year ago – I lost my job. It was the second time I lost a job that calendar year. I’d only been at the new job 4 months. I was incredibly anxious and depressed. I felt like my skills had fallen behind the times, given the fact that I’d been at the previous job 9 years and missed out on a lot of new technologies. I didn’t know what to do.

There was also the fact that my chosen career path – IT/web development – felt like a path I had grown apart from. It didn’t use much of what I thought was the best I had to offer – teaching ability, writing ability, being a connector of people, inspiring others. I really dreaded the thought of going back to IT. Yet I didn’t know what other option there was.

I felt overwhelmed in other ways as well. I was still reeling from the death of my mom, and the guilt that I could have been a better son to her. (I was an only child, so she didn’t have anyone else.) I had health issues that left me barely able to walk in October-November 2018, and without insurance I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. I also listed “people being shitty” as one of the things overwhelming me. For the moment I will leave that vague but it has been something weighing on me for more than 4 years.

So, the second week of August, 2018, I made a decision. I decided I would live out my remaining days on the money I had left, and then kill myself. No I am not kidding. By deciding to end it all I freed myself, or so I thought, from my responsibilities, the parts of life we jokingly refer to as “adulting.” No technical job interviews, no fear of rejection from those hiring managers, no more upkeep on my car. I wouldn’t have to figure out how to file my mom’s 2016 and 2017 taxes, which I never bothered to do after she died. I’d be free to spend my remaining time enjoying my many friends and the places in my Downtown neighborhood that I love the best. Which I did for quite a while, longer than I thought the money would last.

On April 23, 2019, it was time. I had $13 left to my name and my April rent was way past due. About 11:40 that evening I rode the elevator to the rooftop of my 16-story apartment building and walked to the edge. I was two feet away. All I had to do was jump and my plan would be complete.

I couldn’t do it.

The security guard on duty saw me on camera and came up to the roof and talked me into coming back inside. The police were called and I was taken for a psych evaluation. I voluntarily committed myself to 5 days in a Crisis Safety Unit in the Medical Center District. There I got to see a psychiatrist, who thought I was doing such a good job in recovery that she released me on Saturday, April 27, the fourth of the planned five days. I walked back home to my apartment. While in the CSU I had contacted my apartment’s leasing agent and she said she would work with me on catching up on rent.

I checked my mailbox, which was pretty full since mail was one of the “adulting” responsibilities I had thrown to the wayside for the past several months. There I found statements from two retirement accounts. There was a John Hancock account from the almost 9 years I spent at the bridge league. There was also a VALIC account from my days teaching at the University of Memphis. I could take an early withdrawal on one of those and get caught up on the rent and get enough money to keep me afloat.

I wrote a blog post explaining where I had been. Once again my wonderful friends came through for me, taking me out for drinks, PayPalling me donations, even offering me a couple of small consulting gigs. Their generosity got me through until May 7 when the money hit my account and I caught up on rent. That left me with enough to last about 3 more months.

One of the things I did to hide my plan to kill myself was I spent $400 on BBQ team dues. I hated to lose that money but I knew that not paying dues would arouse suspicion. Now that I was still alive, I was a paid member of a team for a BBQ festival that was about to happen. So I decided to enjoy BBQ Fest, spend time with friends and remind myself how much I love my Downtown Memphis, and then get my life together after BBQ Fest week was over.

The problem was, I had done too good a job destroying my life before the suicide attempt. I had too much of a burden on me.

For one thing, there was the car. I last drove it on October 24, 2018. During the period when my legs were bad I was scared I’d fall getting in and out of it. When my legs got better I never went back to the car and it has sat in the garage ever since, one of those dusty, abandoned cars my friend Uncle Ray complains about. Thinking my time was short, I didn’t spend the 100 or so dollars to renew its tags when they came due in January. I stopped paying the monthly parking garage fee. So by May, catching up would have cost me hundreds of dollars to get the fees current. There was also the fact that the car’s fuel system had probably been damaged by being unused for so long, damage that could cost me thousands in repair bills. That could deeply eat into the remaining money I had left. And it broke my heart that I had ruined such a nice car.

Then there was the job search. By May I had gone 9 months without a job. However, since I only had the previous job 4 months and had basically failed at it, I never bothered to put it on a resume, leading to a gap of 16 months that would have to be explained. Employers and recruiters would have quite legitimate reason to question whether my skill set was up to date. Who in their right mind would hire me, I thought?

Then there was the fact that I still didn’t want to go back to IT. It had become a world of Agile design principles, of Scrum, of pushing your code via git, of dependency injection, of SOLID object design principles, of controllers and views and models. It had become a world of sitting in a cubicle all day with eyes constantly on you. I didn’t want to go back to that. As I said in a previous post, I would never have picked a computer science major at age 19 if I had been able to look into a crystal ball and see the future.

Then there were other things weighing on me. Besides not having done my mom’s taxes for the last two years she was alive, I never did my 2018 taxes. By April 15, I knew (thought) the end was near and I would soon be taking a 16-story leap. Why would I do them? But now, still alive, I had all that hanging over my head.

The “people being shitty” situation continued to exist. I’m so tempted to go off on a long tangent about this. I won’t though. I’ll just say that it contributed to my depression and led me to mostly stop going to South Main, a neighborhood which I had always enjoyed.

So I had a lot hanging over my head, which made it harder and harder to be productive. I made a deal with myself that on weekdays, I had to stay home and be productive until 2 PM, when the Silly Goose opens. They have two dollar happy hour PBR from 2 to 8, so it’s relatively cheap to drink there. I know, an argument could be made that I shouldn’t have been out spending money on alcohol at all, but some of my best friends hang out there and I wanted to see them. Daniel the owner is a longtime friend and Jessica the happy hour bartender was one of my most supportive friends when I got sick last fall.

By mid-June I really started to get nervous, knowing I only had about six weeks’ worth of money left. You’d think that would have made me work even harder to try and make something happen in my life financially. It didn’t. Every day I woke up so stressed out I could barely think. The anxiety was overwhelming. I couldn’t bear to be home alone with my own thoughts. I had to get out and be among people to relieve the anxiousness. Staying home until 2:00 became nearly impossible. It was all I could do in the morning to get a blog post done and do household chores like laundry.

So my new “goal” became to not go out until 11 AM, when Blind Bear opens. The staff that work lunch there are all my friends and are all awesome. It makes me so happy to be greeted with a smile and a wave and “Hiya, Paul!” when Feeny is working. Deedra is my movie-watching buddy. Tre is one of the most entertaining people ever. Mary is on her way to becoming a star yoga teacher. Then there are the regulars who come in for lunch. I enjoy their company so much. I am grateful to them for taking my mind off my problems. Of course, since I was going out 3 hours earlier I was adding to my bar tabs – and my problems.

By July I knew I would have to hit that University of Memphis VALIC retirement account to keep afloat. However, I engaged in one of my favorite habits, procrastination. I put off calling the VALIC office until after the Fourth holiday, then put it off for another week. Then I called and discovered my rep at VALIC is the type who always kicks his phone to voice mail and rarely calls back, and when he does, it’s a day or two later. That added to my anxiety even more. Also adding to it was the knowledge that making that VALIC withdrawal was not a solution; it was nothing more than kicking the can down the road, and I’d face a huge tax hit in 2020 because of those early withdrawals.

My anxiety got so bad that even staying at home until 11 was not a realistic goal for me anymore. I had to do my morning routine, get a blog post up (most days), and get out of my head and into the world as quickly as I could. (un?)Fortunately, I have a bar around the corner from me that opens at 8 AM – Bardog. I’d typically get there around 9, 9:30, some days a little later, some days a little earlier. I absolutely love that place. The jukebox soothes me. The people who work there are like family.

Trouble was, by July I don’t think getting out to see friends was even my main motivation for going to the bars so early. I couldn’t wait for that feeling that would kick in around the beginning of my third PBR, sooner if some kind soul bought me a shot of Jameson. That feeling that everything would be OK, at least temporarily. It turned down the volume on my anxiety to a reasonable level.

Of course, by going out even earlier I was running up even bigger bar tabs. Not good when you’re running out of money.

At the end of July, I tried calling my VALIC rep again. I got his voice mail but this time the message was different – he’d be out of the office all week. ARGH! I knew I would be late on my rent. I hate that. Up until April I prided myself on having never been late on a rent payment in my life.

I finally got the VALIC paperwork faxed in mid-August. But now they’re holding up the payment because a termination letter needs to be faxed from the University of Memphis saying that I no longer work there. Which I haven’t for 20 years.

I’ve turned into a liar and a user of people. Every Saturday I see my wonderful friend Randy at Bardog and he asks if I had a good week. I always say “yeah, pretty good” when in fact the last good week I had was probably BBQ Fest.

Most Sundays I see my friend Otto and he asks how the job search is coming, and I lie and say I’ve been actively looking when I really haven’t all that much. He’s not the only person who’s asked that question either. He’s not the only person I’ve lied to about that.

My friend Bob asks, “How’s your car? Have you driven it lately?” and I say yes even though I haven’t.

I cashed a $500 check my buddy Frank gave me as down-payment on website work. That kept me going this month but I have been so stressed out I have not been able to concentrate on his work and have not made substantial progress. I feel like I have used someone who has been a very good friend to me. I hate that. That is not who I aspire to be.

Many of you know that a few years ago, someone lied about me all over town, including falsifying police reports and court documents. It disgusts me to think that I am slowly sinking to her level.

Monday of this week I started off with $148. You’d think, knowing that’s all I had, I’d make an effort to conserve funds. But no, I spent an incredible NINETY TWO DOLLARS over the course of a SEVENTEEN HOUR day/night out drinking. I started at Bardog at 8:05, wanting to be there for new bartender Haleigh’s first Monday shift. I had a blast getting to know her, chatting with the other regulars, and listening to the jukebox. At 2 I went over to Silly Goose where my buddy Tyler was subbing behind the bar. Had a good time talking to him and the regulars who filed in after work. Then I went over to Blind Bear where my yoga teacher friend Mary was working Moonshine Monday. She had this new lemon moonshine and it was tasty.

I mean, there was no doubt I had a fabulous day but you’d think I might have spent some of that money catching up on my MLGW bill. I’m two months behind.

Tuesday, feeling guilty about blowing so much money the day before, I stayed home to 2 PM, which is as close to an accomplishment as it gets for me these days. I wanted to get out to Silly Goose and see my friend Brittini though, for her last shift before she welcomes a new baby boy into this world. I stayed there until about 8, then went over to Blind Bear. There I did something I’m really not proud of. I took advantage of my reputation.

You see, in the past I’ve had a pristine record of paying my bar tabs, of not walking out on them. So when I tabbed out, I handed them my debit card. As expected, it was declined, but the owner Jeannette told me it was no big deal, just pay it in the next few days. That stretched my dollars but at the expense of lying to/using a person who has been an incredible friend to me, a person whose bar has been my living room for the past 7 years.

I feel like such a piece of shit as I type this.

Wednesday I was not going to go out at all, but then…. guess what! I found a Bardog wooden nickel. That entitles the holder to a 5 cent PBR. Couldn’t let that go to waste, and I still had $19 so I could have a few more beers as well. That got me out of the house about 10. My friend David who sold me my car was there, and I had a great time talking with him about the antique, air-cooled Porsche he just bought. People bought a couple of rounds of Jameson and I once again got that relaxing “things are going to be OK, at least for a little while” feeling that took away some of my anxiety. Of course, that feeling was more fleeting than ever, and $15 of my remaining money said bye-bye.

At 2 I went over to the Silly Goose. I told Jessica the bartender about my money problems and asked, “Do you mind if I just sit at the bar? I need to be around my friends,” and she said that was no problem and even offered to buy me a couple of beers. Another regular bought me a few more beers, and in fact I still have a credit of one beer which I guess I will go collect this afternoon.

At 7 I went to Blind Bear. Normally I wouldn’t have gone in there until I could pay Jeannette back, but it was Charles the Trivia Guy’s last night and I wanted to be there for that. Charles has provided us with a lot of fun entertainment over the past 10 years, and is leaving trivia for the most noble of reasons – to have more time to be a dad to his son. Jeannette was bartending and I felt really bad about being there. I couldn’t even look her in the eye. My friend David from earlier in the day showed up and bought me a beer, which I appreciated and nursed for the next 4 hours. After that I left. The bar was getting packed and I felt bad about taking up a seat that could be generating revenue and tips.

So, yeah. Here it is Thursday morning and I have $4 in my pocket, a free beer at the Goose, and the knowledge that I’ve basically destroyed my life.

It’s a paradox. I love myself and hate myself at the same time.

Thanks for reading. My email is if anyone wants to talk. works too if that first address fails (I’ve been told occasionally it does).

Lobster tots @ Cousins Maine Lobster

Sunday I led off at Blind Bear, wanting to pre-game for the Bardog alley party a bit before walking over. About 12:30 I wandered that way, and the first thing I saw as I entered the alley party was the Cousins Maine Lobster food truck. More specifically, I saw the Cousins Maine Lobster food truck as I had never seen it before.

There was NO LINE!

I couldn’t believe it. Previous times I have seen this truck around Downtown, there has been a line of 15, 17, 18 people or more. Sunday, though, I hit it at exactly the right time. I knew I had to order something. I decided a sandwich would be too hard to walk around with, so I got the Lobster Tots, totchos with big pieces of lobster. Let me tell you, this food truck absolutely lives up to all the hype it receives. It’s a bit pricey for food truck fare, but worth the money. If you get a chance to hit up this truck, by all means do it.

I had another yummy treat later in the day: Blackeyed pea fritters from Felicia Suzanne’s. Unfortunately I didn’t get a pic, but they were so much yummy, cheesy goodness. If you eat at Felicia’s and find these on the menu, do not pass them up! Don’t forget, Felicia’s has 25 cent martinis when you order lunch on Fridays.

My compliments to Aldo, Eric, Melissa and all the organizers for what seemed to be the best alley party Bardog has thrown in its 11 years. Everything ran smooth as silk. It’s just too bad it was so blasted hot. I’m sure that kept some people away.

Loflin Yard is doing White Claw Wednesday tomorrow starting at 7. $3 Claws. Ugh… this is the worst fad to hit the bars Downtown since people were hunting Pokemon on their phones. What sucks for me personally is that most of my trivia team will probably abandon me tomorrow night so they can go to Loflin and post videos of them shotgunning the Claw to Facebook.

Memphis will honor late, great DJ and entrepreneur Robert Raiford with Robert “Hollywood” Raiford Day in Floyd Alley next to Paula & Raiford’s Disco, 14 S. Second, from 5 to 8 PM Friday.

That’s it for this post. Back soon with more news.

Sunday update

After yesterday I am making an executive decision regarding the content of this blog. I will no longer promote pub crawls that are corporate, for-profit, and organized by people who don’t live in Memphis. Multiple bartenders have said that the margarita pub crawl last night was the worst pub crawl they have ever experienced. It was said that the yahoos that participated in the crawl killed the vibe in the respective bars, ran the staff ragged, and didn’t tip. I guess they thought that their entry fee to the event, which ranged from $19.99 to $29.99 depending on when they paid, entitled them to not have to tip.

Let’s review my standards for deciding if an event is one I want to promote on here:

  1. Does the event make Memphis a more vibrant, interesting place?
  2. Are the organizers good people?
  3. Do the organizers associate with other good people?

In this case the answer to 2 and 3 is “No idea” and the answer to 1 is definitely “No.” I looked at the organizers’ Facebook page and they were promoting bar crawls in New York. No interest in helping them in the future.

NOTE: Locals who organize bar crawls and those who organize bar crawls for charity – YOU GOOD! You’re going to continue to get plenty of support from me. Everyone mark the first Saturday of December on the calendar. That is the date for Stumbling Santa, an awesome Downtown pub crawl that sees thousands of toys donated to kids who would otherwise not have a Christmas.

Bar owners, especially those who own bars that are not on Main Street: I understand these pub crawls are a lucrative source of revenue, and therefore it is in your best interest to book them. However, I would like to suggest that during the hours these crawls happen, you put your bartenders on salary at the rate of $20/hour to fairly compensate them for the amount of work they have to do. Clearly the pub crawlers themselves are not going to provide this compensation.

Come out to the Bardog alley party (officially named the Monroe Avenue Fest) today between 12 and 5!

  • Raffles for some sweet prizes
  • Food trucks, including New Wing Order and Cousins Maine Lobster
  • Live music by Drunk Uncle
  • Dunking booth
  • Face painting (Buddha volunteered; he will probably be painting Gene Simmons faces)
  • Grandma’s meatball eating contest at 4
  • Craft beer tent
  • VIP lounge with Jameson and air conditioning
  • Dabbles for donations – get your hair cut for a good cause
  • Grizzline drummers
  • Sliders and other grilled goodies for sale
  • Proceeds go to the kids of St. Jude

The festival is in front of 73 Monroe, the block of Monroe between Front and Main.

Nearly half of Americans don’t change their underwear daily. Well that’s nasty.

The Beach Within Reach party, rescheduled from a couple of weeks ago due to weather, happens this afternoon at Carolina Watershed. Slip & Slide, watermelon eating contest, Dad Bod contest, blended drinks.

There’s sunset yoga in the park at 51 N. Front tonight at 6. Bring a yoga mat because the yoga will be done on a grassy surface. Water and sunscreen would be good to bring too. YOGA!

That’s it for now. Going to pre-game at Blind Bear for a little while then head to the Bardog party about 12:30. Back soon with more news.

Saturday update

It looks like the rumors that Raymond James will be moving out of its building at 50 N. Front, first reported by the Daily Memphian back in February, are true. The DM reported this week that the company has signed a lease on an East Memphis building. The main reason for the move is that Raymond James alleges the landlord has failed to maintain the elevators. This is a loss for Downtown, as 600 people worked in the building at the time the lease was signed in 2015.

In the Daily Memphian’s Bar Talk this week, Jennifer Biggs learns how to make A Little R & R, one of the craft beverages on the restaurant’s new cocktail list.

As your number-one source of news and information about The Edge District, it’s my pleasure to link you to this CA article about Boulevard Souvenirs. The last independently-run Elvis souvenir shop on Elvis Presley Boulevard, its owners have resisted attempts by Graceland to take over the space and the souvenir business. They are now planning to open a second store at 676 Marshall, just a short walk away from Sun Studio.

The Peace and Love Tour comes to the Orpheum Wednesday, September 4. This is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, with a national touring company performing songs that were played there. Expect to hear the music of Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, the Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills and Nash and more.

A new record label and a combination recording studio and coffee shop will be coming to Downtown Memphis. An L.A. talent manager and two partners will open the business at 123 South Court Avenue, facing Court Square. The business will be structured so that up-and-coming artists can earn income in the coffee shop as baristas while they work on their music career.

Third Eye Blind will play the Orpheum Tuesday, November 19.

There’s a margarita bar crawl AGAIN today??? Wasn’t there just one last Saturday? I mean, I understand why bar owners agree to be venues for these things – gets a lot of traffic in your bar (and thus a lot of money spent) at a time of the day when it usually wouldn’t be that busy. Really craps things up for the regulars though. Geez… 910 people listed as going.

There’s a dog show today starting at 4 PM at Loflin Yard.

This morning I’m using Google StreetView to take a virtual walk through Seward, Alaska, a town of about 3000 an hour south of Anchorage. I’ve got a friend visiting there right now. Seems like a nice place! They’re expecting a high of 72 today. I wish we were expecting that here in Memphis.

One more reminder: I hope you can make it to the Bardog alley party tomorrow (Breakaway-Bardog 5K + Monroe Avenue Fest).

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

Tuesday update

Aloha from Memphis happens tonight at the Halloran Centre. In January 1973, Elvis hosted a special concert called Aloha from Hawaii, broadcast to nearly 40 countries around the world. Elvis tribute artist Diogo Light, from Brazil, will perform music and songs from this special.

Primas Bakery + Boutique on South Main has announced that Party Platters are now available, just in time for football season.

The New Wing Order food truck folks have announced that they will have the truck at Monroe Avenue Fest this Sunday.

Soccer supporters group Bluff City Mafia is having a brainstorming session tomorrow evening at Brass Door to come up with new songs to sing and chants to chant during Memphis 901 FC matches.

The Memphis Business Journal has a look inside the new Slider Inn to open in South Main soon.

Tin Roof on Beale has announced a Labor Day party Sunday, September 1 with bands and DJs all day.

Wendy’s is bringing back spicy chicken nuggets. Here are two ways to get them for free.

It’s official: The Moody Ques are entering Burgerfest Memphis. Come join is at Tiger Lane Saturday, September 21.

All right, gotta cut this one short. Sorry if the blog posts are a bit sparse this week but I’ve  got business to take care of.

Sunday update #2 (if you’re not a wrestling fan you can skip this one)

I did a news post earlier today; scroll down to find it. I wanted to get it up quickly because it had events that begin as early as 11 AM today. This is going to be all wrestling, so if you’re not a sports entertainment fan you can skip it.

Those of you who are a fan of the Classic Memphis Wrestling program, you were probably disappointed when you turned on CW30 yesterday at 11 AM and it wasn’t on. Bad news: The show has been taken off CW30 permanently. Jerry Lawler explained that it had become too expensive to keep the show on the air.

Good news, though: Lawler is uploading all the episodes to his YouTube channel. To be informed when a new episode drops, follow the Classic Memphis Wrestling Facebook page.

I watched part of NXT Takeover on the WWE Network last night, and it was outstanding as always. They always hold a NXT Takeover event the night before a major pay-per-view (SummerSlam is tonight) and the next generation of WWE talent gets to show off what they can do. They often outshine the quality of wrestling on the main card. Part of the reason why is that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon keeps his hands off NXT, leaving the organization’s operation to Triple H, who in real life is an executive vice president with the company. Trips has more of an old-school mentality and makes the product more about the wrestling than what you find on the main shows.

That may be about to change, though. NXT has gotten so good that major television networks are interested, and the show is rumored to be moving to FS1 this fall. If that happens, it believes that Vince McMahon will start getting involved with NXT. Uh-oh. That could be trouble. I don’t want to see elderly women giving birth to hands on that show.

Fantasy booking time!

WWE Monday Night RAW has a problem. Their Universal champion, Brock Lesnar, is so dominant that he should almost never lose. However, that has caused fans to become bored with RAW: Not only because Lesnar is so dominant, but because WWE lets him have a part-time schedule, the Universal title going undefended for months at a time. Ratings are dropping. Taking the title out of the picture decreases interest. WWE needs to take the title off Lesnar and put it on someone who’ll be on TV every week and who will defend the title on all the pay-per-views. But who?

My suggestion is that they look to history. In 1992-93, WCW had a dominant heel champion who steamrolled over everyone he faced: Big Van Vader. At 6’5″ and 452 pounds, Vader had a natural advantage over the men he faced. He beat Sting. He beat Ron Simmons. He beat Cactus Jack. He beat Davey Boy Smith.

Finally, by the fall of 1993, it looked like an opponent had risen up who might actually be able to beat Vader: Marion, Arkansas’ very own Sid Vicious. At 6’9″ and 317 pounds, Sid had the power to match Vader. Sid was booked to win the title from Vader at Starrcade, WCW’s biggest pay-per-view of the year, in November. However, fate intervened. In late October, Sid got into a scuffle with Arn Anderson in a hotel room, in which he tried to attack Anderson with a pair of scissors. Arn was very popular in the locker room, and WCW head Eric Bischoff had to acquiesce to a near-universal demand that Sid be fired.

That left Bischoff with a problem: Vader was now left without a Starrade opponent, ad had already beaten all the top babyfaces in the company. None of them would be a believable opponent for Vader one more time. People wouldn’t pay to buy a match they’d already seen several times.

However, there actually was one babyface Vader hadn’t beaten yet: Ric Flair. Flair had just started wrestling again for WCW, not being able to for quite some time because he had to let his WWF non-compete clause run out. In the meantime, he hosted a talk show called Flair for the Gold.

So Flair challenged Vader to a title match, and Vader just laughed. Vader pointed out that since he started wrestling again, Flair hadn’t racked up enough victories to qualify for a world title shot.

So, Flair put his career on the line vs. Vader’s title, and Vader, seeing a chance to retire one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, agreed.

Now that was a pairing that would draw big box office money. For one thing, fans loved Flair, even when he worked as a heel. The other thing was, fans sensed they might really see the last match of Flair’s career. At 6’1″ and 242 pounds, Flair wasn’t the physical match for Vader that Sid Vicious was. Also, Flair was 44 years old at the time, and had accomplished pretty much everything there was to do in the wrestling business. It was entirely believable that Flair would retire and ride off into the sunset.

Vader brutalized Flair in the Starrcade match, but Flair got a fluke roll-up for three and win the title.

I think WWE should employ a similar strategy to get the title off Vader. Get a  challenger who the fans love and will get behind, and make it someone who is of believable retirement age and who has accomplished most everything there is to do in the business.

The trouble is, though, most people of the right age on WWE’s main roster wouldn’t be suitable. AJ Styles (42) just turned heel and has more work to do with Anderson and Gallows. Randy Orton (39) is a heel and although the fans respect his work, they don’t love him the way WCW fans loved Flair. R-Truth (48) is someone the fans love but they wouldn’t buy him as a Universal title contender.

This past Monday, however, an interesting event occurred. Samoa Joe came out and took the mic. People had been pegging him as the mystery attacker who tried to drop a load of heavy equipment on Roman Reigns. Joe said that he’s a bad man, but there are limits to what he is willing to do to an opponent, and trying to kill an opponent is crossing the line in his eyes. While Joe was taking, Regins was shown getting out of a car and almost being run over by a mystery attacker. Joe ran to the parking lot and summoned help for Reigns, showing compassion for his longtime foe. This looked like the beginning of a face turn for Joe.

Brock Lesnar has beaten Joe on multiple occasions, so it is reasonable to believe that if Joe asked for a title match, Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman would simply laugh and say Joe doesn’t have the record to deserve a title match. Joe could then offer to put his career on the line.

This would draw big interest and spark ratings and PPV buys. Like Flair, the fans just love them some Joe, even when he’s a heel. They buy into his character, chanting things like “Joe’s gonna kill you” (ironic, I guess, given what he said last Monday) when he’s in the ring. Also, fans truly would believe that they might be about to see Joe’s last match. At 40, Joe has accomplished nearly everything to do in the business. He’e been TNA World Champion, he had a great run in Ring of Honor, he’s been NXT champion, and he’s been the United States champion. If he retired, he’d be able to look back on a long and successful career.

Having Joe beat Lesnar at Survivor Series would give the WWE a fighting, full-time beloved babyface champion as they enter the busy Royal Rumble/Wrestlemania season. Ratings would be strong, PPV buys would go up, and Joe merchandise would sell.

Of course, if Joe goes back to being a heel at SummerSlam tonight, this won’t work.

Thanks for reading. Apologies if there are typos, but I’ve run out of time and don’t have time to proofread.