Billion dollar idea, new spring events, Dave Chapelle and more Wednesday news

Last night I decided to call it an early night. This was partly because I wanted to get a good night’s rest so I’d be ready for a big weekend, and partly because I wanted to avoid the worst of the rain. So, shortly before Subway closed at 8, I stopped in there, took in a foot-long tuna salad sandwich with all the fixins, ate half of it and went to bed.

I got in a few hours of deep sleep, then after the patter of the rain beating my window woke me up around midnight, I fell back to sleep and started having intense dreams. In one of them I dreamed that I wrote a debugger. For cats.

A debugger is something computer programmers use when they write programs. It lets you step through each line or each block of your code as it runs, stopping whenever you wish to examine the state of the program as of that line of code – what values variables hold, that kind of thing. Without debuggers a lot of the software running on the computer/device you’re using to read this post never would have made it to market.

It makes sense that I would dream up a debugger for cats. Lately I’ve been working on a program that is sorta doing what I want and sorta not, and I’m trying to eliminate the sorta not part. Tomorrow I’m going to a Friendsgiving party where there will be five cats. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to take a snapshot of them at any given moment, and examine their current state – what is on their mind? (examples: feed me, I want to knock this off the shelf, feed me, ooh there’s a bug, feed me, I want to look out the window, feed me)

I woke up, and while a debugger for cats would certainly be entertaining, I thought, it wouldn’t be very useful. But then I had a million dollar idea: What if there were a debugger for HUMANS???

I was recently involved in a conversation that turned into an argument I couldn’t win, not because the facts weren’t on my side, but because the other party managed to artfully dodge the facts. What if there were a way to attach a debugger to a person and have it tell you when they are using manipulative tactics such as

  • Deflection (giving a BS cop-out answer to a question to which they know the real answer would cast them in a bad light)
  • Projection (assigning their own bad qualities to you)
  • Triangulation (pitting you against a third party, manipulating both of you for their benefit)
  • Saying things they hope will provoke an emotional response from you, so that they can use that response against you later
  • Building a web of lies so deep that others (and possibly you) don’t know what the truth is anymore
  • Exaggeration (taking a molehill of truth and blowing it up into a mountain of mostly lies)

So let’s use a hypothetical example: Let’s say that I know someone got caught stealing food from the Farmers Market and is no longer allowed there. Suppose I asked that person, “Why don’t you go to the Farmers Market anymore?”, and they responded, “It doesn’t matter because the food they sell is crappy,” and a window popped up on the computer screen with DEFLECTION in big red letters.

Or, let’s say someone has stopped speaking to you, and you use the fact that you’re friends with their boss to try to get their boss to force them to talk to you. A box pops up with TRIANGULATION in red letters.

It would be GAME OVER for manipulators if such a human debugger existed. All their tactics would be out in the open. Years ago I posted a video of a leopard who walked by a bush and saw a python lying underneath in the dark. She grabbed it by the neck and dragged it out into the sunlight for all the animals to see. That’s what the debugger would do to manipulative people.

Is such a program possible? Maybe. There’s a program called ELIZA that allows a computer to carry on a reasonably intelligent conversation with humans, and you know when it was first written? 46 years ago. With the advances in artificial intelligence over the past few decades, I believe a human debugger may indeed be a possibility. If I could craft a human debugger, I bet it would make me a billion dollars. Plus it would save so many people so much grief. Heck, for that reason alone I’d consider doing it pro bono.

And now, let’s get on with the news…

Dave Chapelle has been announced for the Orpheum the night of Thursday, December 5. Tickets go on sale today at 10 AM and are $69.50-$89.50.

An exciting new festival will be added to the spring calendar! Bluff City Brunch Festival will happen Saturday, May 30 from 11 AM to 3 PM at Fourth Bluff Park overlooking the Mississippi River. Food vendors will have individual takes on brunch available for sale in the $3-5 range, so you can pick and choose what you want to eat. You can also leave your vote for People’s Choice for best brunch dish. There will be DJs, the Grizzline drum line, giant yard games including Jenga, Connect Four, and beer pong, as well as a photo booth.

So, what does it cost and what do you get? A general admission ticket costs $35 and gets you 12 drink tickets. 1 ticket gets you 4 ounces of craft beer or cider, or a mimosa. 3 tickets gets you a Bloody Mary, screwdriver, or Irish coffee. 5 tickets will get you a journey down the 30-foot Old Dominick Bloody Mary bar. You get a souvenir cup that you can take home.

Or, you can go VIP for $50, getting everything included in the general admission ticket, as well as access to a VIP tent with exclusive bites from Phillip Dewayne of Park+Cherry restaurant.

A list of restaurant vendors will come soon. Sounds like a fantastic addition to our Downtown spring season! 12 mimosas for $35… even if they’re on the smallish side, that is not a bad value at all!

The brunch fest won’t be the only welcome foodie addition to the spring calendar, either. The week of April 6-11 will be Charc Week, a celebration of charcuterie plates, organized by City Tasting Events. Come enjoy hand-made and locally-sourced meats on charcuterie plates for only $15 all week long (dinner only) at participating restaurants, which include Alchemy, Bari, knifebird, Pontotoc Lounge, Silly Goose, and Strano by Chef Josh, with more to be added. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Church Health.

Comeback Coffee in The Pinch District is hosting an Art Night this Saturday, November 30 from 6 to 8. Let me jump right to the two words of the Facebook event description that are the most important: FREE BEER. Artists Reid Mitchell and Kyle Taylor will have their work on display. You can talk with them about their work while supporting Small Business Saturday. The El Mero Taco food truck will be parked out front.

The Grizzlies host Kawhi Leonard (if the Clips don’t “rest” him), Paul George and the L.A. Clippers tonight at FedExForum at 7. Don’t forget to get there early, to score a pair of those Jonas Valanciunas oven mitts (free to the first 5000) just in time for Thanksgiving.

The MBJ has a look at the sneak peek inside the Moxy Hotel to open in Court Square in December. (The article is subscriber only but the photo gallery is not.) They have foosball, pinball, and shuffleboard for guests, as well as a retro phone that allows their guests to hear bedtime stories. Out back they will have a bocce ball court.

The Halloran Centre will host A Visible Christmas next Tuesday 4:30-6 PM. Visible Music College students, faculty, and alumni will perform Christmas music. Tickets are free and can be picked up at the college at 200 Madison.

Loflin Yard hosts its annual Sippin’ with Santa Paws fundraiser benefiting Streetdog Foundation the afternoon of Sunday, December 6. The event will be in the Coach House which is heated, and for those who prefer to be outside there will be fire pits. $20 gets you and your dog (or your kids) a photo with Santa Paws, a limited-edition pint glass, and a drink ticket. Sangria, Memphis Made beer, Old Dominick cocktails, silent auction and raffle, and adoptable dogs as well as Streetdog Foundation alumni.

While we’re on the subject of dogs, check out this TODAY Show story on how therapy dogs give St. Jude patients a reason to smile.

The Daily Memphian has a good article on Soles4Souls, providing foot care, shoes, and socks for those in need in Memphis.

Tonight is one of the biggest party nights of the year, and I am planning to stay out late at the usual spots. Thanks to two very kind-hearted friends of mine who knew that I have no family left and invited me to their place for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow afternoon. They are amazing cooks so I know I will be full of delicious food. Tomorrow evening I am co-hosting a Friendsgiving with Mark, Nappin’ Ass Nate, and Mark’s five cats at Mark’s place, then out to the Blind Bear after that.

Not sure there will be a post tomorrow, but maybe. Check back and see.