Tuesday update

I will never again make a purchase at the King’s Palace Tap Room or recommend people go there during parades or other events. Yesterday I went down there, the place already jammed with Kansas State fans about 35 minutes prior to the parade. I knew I would be overpaying for a beer: Last year the King’s Palace Tap Room jacked their prices for a 32 oz. Big Ass PBR from the $5-6 range to $8.75 for the Liberty Bowl parade. I decided I needed a beer to deal with the crowd though. So I pulled out my ID and ordered one, and the bartender poured it and put it on the bar.

“How much?” I asked.

“Eleven,” she said.

ELEVEN DOLLARS for a fucking PBR! Yes, a big one, but still. It wasn’t the bartender who set the price, I figured, so I tipped her two. I was out thirteen dollars before the first float ever rolled down Beale.

Apparently they set the beer prices at special events to whatever they think the tourists will pay. What really shocked me, is that the beer stand outside The Pig on Beale, RUN BY THE SAME FUCKING COMPANY, had a sign that said “Big Ass PBR $6.”

So there’s the moral of the story: At Beale Street events, buy from beer stands who have prices clearly posted. I may still stand outside the Tap Room for future parades – it was good to see our BBQ team’s father figure and G-Rock and Dennis and Mary Pat there yesterday – but I will buy my beer elsewhere.

Good luck to both teams in the Liberty Bowl today. For those watching at home, the listed start time and channel is 2:45 on ESPN.

One of the Navy players is from West Tennessee and will get to play in front of about 50 of his family members.

The Daily Memphian has a photo gallery of the parade.

Sad news today: B.J. Tamayo, owner of North Main soul food cafe Alcenia’s, reports that her mother, Alcenia Clark-Chester, passed away at the age of 98.

The Blues Foundation has announced that it will broadcast the 41st annual Blues Awards on several outlets Thursday, January 7, at 8 AM. The broadcast outlet I would recommend is Downtown’s own Americana/roots TV station, Ditty TV.

In other Blues Foundation news, they will host the January South Main Association member meeting on Tuesday, January 14. If you’ve never toured the Blues Foundation headquarters and Hall of Fame at 421 S. Main, this is your chance. Social at 6:30, program at 6:30, with Barbara Newman, the Foundation’s president and CEO, speaking. Free for SMA members, $10 for non-members.

The Silly Goose is adding a new pizza, the Low & Slow, to their menu. As the name implies, it’s a BBQ pizza. In Memphis, you pretty much have to have a BBQ pizza if you have a pizza menu.

Sage will open New Year’s Day for a special brunch noon to 5 PM. Chef Eli has put together a brand new menu for this event, including croissant French toast. There will be mimosa and drink specials along with a “dessert action station,” whatever that is.

3rd and Court Diner has some New Year’s Eve events going on tonight. If you want to get a good meal in you – probably a good idea if you plan on celebrating the new year with alcohol – they will have a buffet in the diner from 6 to 10 PM. Downstairs in the lounge, John Williams & the A440 Band will supply the live tunes, starting at 9 PM.

Fun times at the Blind Bear last night. We had a woman act all batshit crazy and get asked to leave. Later a friend of ours came in and we told him what happened. He attempted a guess at the woman’s identity, and the guess was incorrect but it made me laugh. My guess certainly would have been the same.

My plan was to be at the Blind Bear to ring in the Roaring Twenties at the stroke of midnight tonight – and I still make it, but I’m not committed to it due to a piece of unexpected news I received yesterday: The office is closed today, so I don’t have to work. So my initial plan was to not go out until 1 PM, the time I would normally get off work, to rest up for tonight. But since I’ve been reading this new book, Stop Trying So F*king Hard, I thought to myself, being able to go out at 9 AM is a rare treat, and I am lucky enough to have a great neighborhood bar around the corner that is open at that hour. So, in accordance with what the book teaches, I asked myself, if I’m only able to do one of the following today, which would make me happier: being out at 9 AM, or being out at midnight on New Year’s, when society tells me I “should” be out? At 9 AM I get to see friendly faces and listen to tunes on Bardog’s jukebox (wonder if Rico has removed 74/01 yet). At midnight there’s people who can’t handle their alcohol screaming “WOOOOOOO!” and playing the “gunshots or fireworks” guessing game. Don’t worry, Blind Bear folks, you will see me tonight – but when I’ve decided I’m done for the night, I will leave, whether it’s 2019 or 2020 when I do.

Time to get dressed up for New Year’s Eve. For me, that means putting on a T-shirt that doesn’t have a bar logo or a beer company logo on it. I may take tomorrow off. Back sometime in the next 48 hours with more news.

Monday update

The Liberty Bowl parade happens on Beale Street today from 3:00 to 4:30 PM. Kansas State and Navy fans, as well as locals, will line the streets. I’m going to go down there just to check out the crowd. I know from a former national Fireball rep who traveled there that K-State is a big-time party school. Navy is not so much a party school, but I would not be surprised if a number of active Navy members and veterans turn out to support. Getting to see the Navy marching band do their thing live should be a real treat.

Some of the clubs on Beale have things going on to draw in the K-State and Navy crowds… Rodd Bland will play Club 152 at noon. For out-of-towners not familiar, he is the son of the legendary Bobby “Blue” Bland and he inherited his late father’s musical gifts. Jerry Lee Lewis’ nightclub will open up its balcony for those who want to watch the parade from up high.

For those who liked my “where do the locals go?” post on Saturday, here’s my take on where the locals go on Beale Street:

  • King’s Palace Cafe Tap Room: 20 beers on tap, dive bar feel, jukebox, TVs. This place draws a good mix of locals and tourists. This is where I will likely be for the parade.
  • Absinthe Room: Pool hall above King’s Palace Cafe; however, I am not sure it will open for the parade. Google says its next regularly scheduled opening is Tuesday 6 PM.
  • Wet Willie’s: Daiquiri bar. Get a Call-a-Cab, a punch-flavored daiquiri made with 190 PGA… unless you’re driving, then absolutely do not get one.
  • Silky O’ Sullivan’s: Big open courtyard with goats. No I am not kidding.
  • If you want to eat while on Beale: The wings or pasta dishes at King’s Palace Cafe; the ribs, steaks, tamales, and crab au gratin at Blues City Cafe; the Double-Double at Dyer’s Burgers; Insomnia Cookies
  • I repeat my recommendation Saturday that A. Schwab is a neat place to shop. Lots of interesting trinkets you won’t find anywhere else in Memphis.
  • I’ll throw in one off-Beale recommendation: Monday nights Rizzo’s, five blocks south on Main Street, has an excellent $9 burger and beer special.

The Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team has its first conference game of the season tonight, hosting Tulane at 8 PM at FedExForum. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the game.

@FrasierSein, a good local account to follow on Twitter, posted some new items on the menu at FedExForum:

I’m reading a new book. Yesterday Tawanda Pirtle (of Jack Pirtle’s Fried Chicken) recommended a book called Stop Trying So F*king Hard: Live Authentically, Design a Life You Love, and Be Happy (Finally) by Honoree Corder. It discusses how most people don’t project their true self out into the world; they project “the representative,” the person they fill will make the best impression on their peers, their co-workers, their parents, or whoever. They choose the career they think the should choose, they drive the car they think they should drive, they have the job they think they should have; and as a result they are unhappy. Corder has steps you can take to start living your true, authentic life and stop being a slave to the impressions you make. This book is 99 cents on Kindle and is well worth that small investment. It’s an easy read (I’m already on chapter four) and it’s fairly short at 176 pages.

That’s it for today. I return to work today and I notice how good I feel that my return does not involve driving or sitting in a cubicle. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

The Memphis Tigers football team may not have won the Cotton Bowl yesterday, but I could not be prouder of them. Let’s look at all they accomplished: First 11th win in a season, first 12th win in a season, first time to have home field advantage in the AAC championship game, first trip to a New Year’s Six bowl. Compare that to 11-12 years ago, when the basketball Tigers were competing for championships and the football program was an afterthought that might get lucky and go 5-7.

Next year the Fiesta and Peach Bowls will be the New Year’s Six bowls without conference tie-ins. Hopefully the Tigers will hoist a trophy in Glendale or Atlanta to further improve their reputation as a football powerhouse.

A lot of people want to do something New Year’s Eve, but want to avoid Amateur Night full of drunk people, high cover charges, and big crowds. Well, here’s something different: The Cossitt Library will host an NYE party in its pop-up location at the Puck Food Hall, 409 S. Main, from 8 PM to 12 AM. There will be a DJ, sparkling water and snacks, board games, and water pong (beer pong’s sober cousin). They’ll be signing people up for library cards and giving away library swag. If you come to the party from outside of Downtown, they recommend you use Peabody/Vance as your access route.

If it were any other year, I would consider going to the Cossitt party, and the lack of booze wouldn’t bother me at all. But when the clock strikes midnight, the Roaring Twenties resume for the first time in 90 years, and I can’t imagine being anywhere but the Blind Bear Speakeasy for their New Year’s Eve celebration. They’re family.

As for other New Year’s Eve events, I’m not going to build a comprehensive list, but I’ll post events as I hear about them. Loflin Yard will have their NYE party beginning at 9:30, with DJ Kaz and drink specials.

Pontotoc Lounge will celebrate NYE with a 3-course dinner and champagne toast at midnight. Menu:

The Majestic Grille will have its standard NYE celebration with the regular menu available along with some specials from Chef Patrick Reilly. I’ve been to this one before and it is a great time.

Random thing I learned yesterday: The Old Fashioned is actually two different drinks. There’s the pre-Prohibition version and the post-Prohibition one.

Soul band Maze featuring Frankie Beverly plays the Orpheum tonight at 7:30. Tickets start at $82.

Hardwood Classic Night Retro Fanny Pack to the first 5000 fans in attendance for the first 5000 fans in attendance for the Grizzlies game against Charlotte tonight at 7 PM. I wonder if Bloom is getting the night shift bartender at Bardog to come in early so she can go score a fanny pack?

I ended up watching the Cotton Bowl at Silly Goose yesterday, after seeing a post from B-RAD that he was working and had opened at 10. My friend Tripp came in and asked, “Where’s The Nose?”

“The Nose?” I replied.

“You know, The Nose,” said Tripp. After about 10 seconds I realized who he was talking about.

She’d been standing on the bar watching the Cotton Bowl with me, but I forget to get her back out of my pocket after using the restroom.

Sam Goff gets it. You don’t have to be pro-choice, anti-gun, pro-big government, pro-welfare, etc. to understand that Donald Trump has abused the office of the presidency.

Time to get out there and enjoy my last day of my 9 days off! Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update: Welcome Kansas State and Navy fans

Welcome to any Kansas State and Navy fans who stumble upon this blog as they’re in town for the Liberty Bowl. For those staying Downtown, I’ll offer a few pointers before I get on to my regular post.

  • Everyone’s going to tell you to go to Gus’s for fried chicken. They are not wrong. It will rock your world.
  • Everyone’s going to tell you to go to the Rendezvous for BBQ. Rendezvous is an experience, to be sure, but if you only have one BBQ meal Downtown, make it Central BBQ (on Butler behind the National Civil Rights Museum). Those of you who have wheels, The Bar-B-Q Shop on Madison in Midtown is an excellent option too.
  • Speaking of the Civil Rights Museum, that’s a must-see as well.
  • The best nightclub in the world is Paula & Raiford’s Disco on Second between Madison and Monroe. It’s open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 PM to 3 AM.
  • A must-visit hole-in-the-wall bar is Earnestine & Hazel’s at Main and G.E. Patterson. Order a Soul Burger and play classic tunes on the jukebox.
  • A. Schwab on Beale is a neat place to shop. It is a dry goods store that has been open since 1876.
  • People always ask where the locals go to hang out. My favorites: Bardog (friendly neighborhood bar that has been open 11 years but feels like it has been there forever); Blind Bear (speakeasy which is a great place to drink and watch sports); and Silly Goose (craft cocktails and wood-fired pizzas). All three of the bars I just mentioned have the greatest beverage in the world, Pabst Blue Ribbon, on tap or in cans.
  • People always ask where the locals go to eat that’s not BBQ. My favorites: Majestic Grille and Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick. Both offer upscale food in a great environment, and neither is pretentious in any way (I wore shorts when I ate at Rizzo’s Thursday).
  • Downtown is the safest part of Memphis, but be smart. Don’t take shortcuts down alleys. Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your cars. Also, single males: If 2 women approach you in a bar and say “Hey baby, let’s go have some fun,” don’t go with them; they’re setting you up to be robbed by a male accomplice. They always come out of the woodwork this time of year.
  • If you were a Penny Hardaway fan when he was in the NBA, you have two chances to check him out as the head coach of the Memphis Tigers: Today at 12:30 and Monday at 8. Both games are at FedExForum.
  • If you want to see future stars Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant, the Grizzlies play Sunday at FedExForum at 7.
  • Trolleys are fun to ride but don’t depend on them to get you from point A to point B within a certain time frame. Lyft and Uber are popular here; I’d recommend Lyft over Uber but either is good. Notice I didn’t recommend the local cab services.

Here’s a pic of the meal I had at Rizzo’s Thursday:

Rizzo’s is open for lunch Tuesdays-Saturdays 11-2, brunch on Sundays, and dinner Monday-Saturday. Pictured here is Thursday’s chef’s blue plate special of the day: Blackened catfish with tasso ham in a yummy cream gravy, along with spinach, cheese grits, and Cajun blackeyed peas. For those new to this blog, that’s my troll staring at the food. She’s been a fixture on this blog for over 3 years.

By the way, if you dine at Rizzo’s, be sure to tell Chef Michael Patrick CONGRATULATIONS! He got engaged this week.

Edible Memphis reports that Rizzo’s will have a four-course dinner for $65 on New Year’s Eve. 901-304-6935 to make reservations. Check out Edible Memphis’ new classic cocktail guide.

I got my new computer! It was scheduled to arrive January 3, but showed up a week early. I love Amazon! I am setting up the computer this morning and it seems to be as blazing fast as advertised.

The fire department was called to South Main Sushi on Christmas. It was just a heater blower motor that overheated. One of the oldsters who hangs out in South Main Instragrammed sushi pics Friday night, so the damage didn’t knock them out of business. Good to see.

There is now no hope of James Wiseman returning to Memphis. He signed with an agent yesterday and is preparing for the NBA draft, where he is a projected top-three pick.

Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins happens at the Flying Saucer tonight. There will be a spaghetti dinner and a beer and candy flight.

Random thing I learned yesterday: At McDonald’s in Europe, the Quarter Pounder is called Royale with Cheese. So that’s how one of the Flying Saucer’s burgers got its name, although it isn’t prepped the same way as Mickey D’s. For those in town for the game, by the way, the Saucer has great burgers, and their fries are some of the best Downtown.

My apologies to those of you who went to Westy’s during the day on Christmas after reading the “what’s open” guide. They were open, but they were serving dinner to the homeless. A few of my friends had a really awkward moment when they went in there.

As your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, it is my pleasure to inform you that Jamaican restaurant Evelyn and Olive will have a New Year’s Eve party Tuesday night.

Know what The Edge needs that it doesn’t have? A hair salon that does extensions.

WTF is up with The Rutledge Report? Arkansas’ attorney general buys TV time to talk about various topics. I’ve never known an AG to do that before, and it seems like the most self-serving thing ever. My guess is she has her eye on the governor’s chair and she wants to build name recognition. Arkansas has a precedent for attorney generals being elected governor… and then president.

Did you know that Insomnia Cookies on Beale delivers? Guy a few seats down from me gave them a call yesterday, and 10 minutes later we had a box of warm cookies that had just come out of the oven.

It’s time to play the phone service provider version of the “Fuck, Marry, Kill” game, where I give you the names of three people, and you have to choose one to have sex with, one to marry, and one to kill. Your choices are

  • Sprintern
  • Lily from the AT&T commercials several years ago
  • The redhead (the adult, not the baby) in the iPhone 11 Pro commercials.

Here’s how I would play it:

  • F: Lily. Well, duh. She’s hot.
  • M: Sprintern seems like she might be a lady on the streets and a freak between the sheets.
  • K: The iPhone 11 pro redhead. That bitch looks like she might be crazy.

Wondering where to get your blackeyed peas on New Year’s Day? Wonder no more. The Blind Bear will open at 11 AM with a Roaring Twenties brunch. Hanin behind the bar with $15 bottles of bubbly, $30 Sophia bottles, $4 moonshine, $3 mimosas, $3 Bloody Marys, and $3 flavored whiskeys. Brunch specials run until 6 PM. Food specials will include blackeyed peas,  greens, and cornbread.

A Memphis basketball legend has announced his retirement. Zach Randolph, one of the Grizzlies’ Core Four for years, is hanging up the sneakers.

Why do people at bars keep breaking the soap dispensers? It’s happening a lot during this holiday season. If you have anger management issues, take them out on a punching bag at the gym. Bar owners might want to invest in a multi-pack of liquid hand soap dispensers to use as backups when idiots attack the soap dispenser attached to the wall.

From Distractify: Nap at work with an under-the-bed hammock

Longshot will stay open until 1 AM to ring in the New Year. That night there will be no cover, chef snacks, and a champagne toast at midnight.

Sorry for taking two days off in a row but I needed to enjoy my week off… and I did. I saw a lot of my favorite people, went to Bardog early a couple of days, stayed out late a couple of days, ate some delicious food, and partied hard but didn’t take it to extremes. Now I’m heading out to Bardog to watch the Tigers in the Cotton Bowl. Back tomorrow with more news.

Christmas update including what’s open/closed

Yesterday after I made my blog post, I wanted to do something different from my normal routine. “I know what I’ll do,” I thought. “I’ll go to the new Slider Inn.” I’ve never been there during the lunch hour before.

I got there a few minutes after 11 and got a seat at the bar. The first time I was there, I wanted to try their Exhaust Pipe Chili, but it proved so popular that they had run out. By getting there a few minutes after Slider Inn opened, I made sure that would not be a problem yesterday.

It came with a spoon but the bag was so full that there was no point in trying to mix it up inside the bag. Realizing that was why they brought me a bowl, I dumped the contents out into the bowl.

I have three words to describe this: SO MUCH CHEESE. I think there was more cheese than there were Fritos. This is one of the best meals Downtown you will find at this price point ($3.99 for a bowl of Exhaust Pipe Chili / $6.99 to have it made as Frito chili pie).

I finished my chili and PBR and thought to myself, do I stay here until the Silly Goose opens at 2, or do I go visit the Blind Bear? I decided to stick around and take in the Slider Inn vibe a bit. I had only been there twice before, and both visits were unusual – one was opening day, and the other was to visit my former Bardog bartender Panda, who was picking up shifts there during her week-long visit to Memphis. As a result, I had not got a sense of what the regular crowd was like.

Was I ever glad I stayed! Longtime readers know there’s a woman who lies about me all over Downtown. This is the woman who stood me up on Valentine’s Day several years ago. As I started my third PBR, in she walked, with a friend of hers who is a longtime reader of my blog as well. I had no idea she was even in town; I thought she usually went to the beach during the Christmas holiday season. She took one look at me and ushered her friend to the chairs by the door. After a minute or two of frantic texting, they left. Buh-BYE! Smell ya later! She probably came there with her heart set on the panko-crusted, seasoned tofu and cauliflower “wings” and she didn’t get them!

I’m sure she’s reading this blog today, so here’s a short message to her… you do know that I know the REAL reason you stood me up on V-Day ’15, right? The thing that happened?

I polished off a fourth PBR at Slider Inn then headed north on Main around 2… noticed some people sitting at the bar at South of Beale staring at me as I walked past. Wonder why? Perhaps it was the Christmas socks I had on (love wearing shorts on Christmas Eve). On to the Silly Goose, where I had a chill afternoon with friends. Hung out with my buddy Clay for a while, then my friends Otto and Misty came in. About 6:30 my friends Randy and Theresa texted me that they were at Bardog, so I went over there.

They came bearing gifts!

Randy had been on a trip to Malaysia recently. He brought me an assortment of Malaysian chocolates, and Theresa baked cookies.

I will have no shortage of sugar for the remainder of my time off. Thank you Randy and Theresa for the gifts and for being such wonderful friends.

All right.. now that I’ve made you sit through a bunch of troll photos, let’s move on to the real reason most of you visited this blog today. Who is open Downtown on Christmas, and what are the hours? The following have been confirmed either through sign on the door, social media or by speaking to an owner or employee:

  • Westy’s: open regular hours (11 AM-3 AM)
  • Max’s Sports Bar: open regular hours (4:30 PM-midnight)
  • Starbucks (Main/Monroe): open 8 AM-2 PM
  • Bardog: open 5 PM
  • Flying Saucer: open 5 PM
  • Blue Monkey: open 5 PM
  • Blind Bear: open 6 PM
  • Silly Goose: (Edit: Just heard from Daniel that the Goose’s opening time has been changed to 5 PM)
  • Slider Inn: closed
  • Pontotoc Lounge: closed
  • Longshot: closed
  • Local: closed (Midtown open 5 PM)
  • Kooky Canuck: closed
  • Family Dollar: closed
  • City Market: closed
  • Automatic Slim’s: closed
  • Sage: closed
  • Majestic: closed

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

Christmas Eve update

GTG! The Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team has cracked the Top 10, coming in at number 9 in this week’s AP Top 25 poll.

In his weekly bulletin to the city, Mayor Strickland pointed out that nationwide, there is a shortage of drivers with commercial driver’s licenses, and an even bigger shortage of drivers with CDLs that have a passenger’s endorsement. What does this mean to Memphis? It means that MATA needs around 60 drivers. These positions pay well and offer benefits including retirement. Apply here. Re-entry candidates are encouraged to apply.

In other MATA news, free Wi-Fi is now available for riders.

The Cotton Bowl is Saturday at 11. Any bars opening early or doing specials for the Memphis-Penn State game? Hit me up at paul@paulryburn.com or on Facebook and let me know and I will build a list later this week.

This time of year, people don’t have much to do at work and some of them exercise their Photoshop skills to pass the time. Yesterday someone posted an image to Facebook of roughly 25 people bowing down to me, the one person in the entire photo who holds a trophy in the BBQ Fest pork shoulder competition. Thanks guys, I really appreciate it!

As your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, it’s my pleasure to inform you that Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe will open at 668 Union on January 2. The new restaurant will hold 140 additional seats beyond the capacity at Tam’s recently closed Cooper-Young location. I want to try those deep fried ribs! Cheesesteak spaghetti sounds interesting as well. In the back will be Chef Tam’s Soul Food Superstore with an entrance on Marshall.

The South Main Association has volunteer openings for 2020. Email them at southmainassociation@gmail.com and tell them what you would like to do. Some of the openings include event planning, graphic design, photography, and social media.

The Silly Goose raised $1000 for Youth Villages at its Christmas fundraiser Sunday night. Daniel said this is the birth of a new partnership, so you will have more opportunities to support the charity in 2020.

In The Daily Memphian today: ‘Twas a Bluff Downtown Christmas

Rizzo’s will be open regular hours (lunch and dinner) Thursday and Friday. I’m going Thursday with my friends Otto and Nappin’ Ass Nate. Michael Patrick always has an excellent meat and three for lunch and I am going to be hungry. Gotta get that cheeseburger soup too, of course!

Donald Trump toilet paper. Yep that exists. I wish I had discovered this a few days earlier than December 24.

But then again, these days you can get any image you want on toilet paper. I have an image in mind, and I’m sure many of you know where I’m going with this. It’s an image that appeared in a booth at BBQ Fest ’18 and was also seen at Max’s Sports Bar (including glued to a troll) and Loflin Yard. Hasn’t been seen at the Silly Goose or Blind Bear recently though… wonder why…

Back to Trump Christmas gifts: There’s also a Dump a Trump pen holder, a Donald Trump toilet brush, and a Donald Trump troll. And here’s a farting Donald Trump Pull My Finger doll. Have your own WrestleMania with Donald Trump vs. Kim Jong-un action figures.

That’s it for today folks! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.




Monday update

I decided to change things up and lead off at Bardog yesterday, upon receiving insider information that the place would turn into a shitshow in its first hour of operation. Normally I have to stay up until midnight or 1 AM to see a good shitshow, so I was excited to get to see the Early Bird Special. I left the apartment at 10:50, expecting there to be a crowd of people waiting outside Bardog to get in when it opened at 11. But no, there was no one outside, and I decided to walk around the block to kill a little time. I found this on Front Street:

Looks like Santa hit the eggnog a little too hard at the Christmas party Saturday night and mistook this for a chimney. Oh well, at least Downtown’s rat population got some good presents.

I made it to Bardog right at 11, and got a seat at the bar with the other regulars, just minutes before a 30-person Christmas pub crawl came in. This leads me to make a request for one of my regular readers. Mama Aldo: Please tell your son that Bloom did an A-plus-plus-plus job behind the bar yesterday. There were way more people than usual at the bar, all ordering drinks individually and paying separately; yet Bloom made sure that her regulars never had an empty glass the entire hour the pub crawl was there. Well done, and much appreciated.

The pub crawl cleared out at noon, and one of the other regulars asked, “Were those party pedal bike riders?” and I said no (although her assumption was easily justifiable) and explained who they were. Then she suggested we get a group picture with Perjorie T. Roll.

Well, okay, Perjorie made the pic, but I didn’t! So we tried again:

There, that’s better. They wanted a solo pic of the troll as well.

I’ve been keeping Perjorie in my pocket most of the time lately. I had forgotten how popular she is at Bardog. I need to get her out more.

Long day at Bardog. I stayed there until 7:30 PM, and there were a number of shots there toward the end. I ordered a deluxe grilled cheese (which comes with ham, bacon, and tomato) to go, and asked for my tab. Having been there for 8 and a half hours, I shuddered at the thought of what the total would be…

… But apparently I have a secret Santa, because only the sandwich and one beer appeared on the tab. Some generous soul paid for all the rest of my beers and shots. Whoever it was, thank you!

All right, let’s see if I can scrounge up some news, so those of you sitting at work not doing anything and wondering “Why in the world do I have to be here today?” have something to pass the time.

From Wide Open Eats: Fireball and pineapple are a match made in whiskey heaven on the grill. I think I’ll speak to my neighbor who is a member of the BBQ cook team and see if we can try this out come May. Then again, maybe I won’t; we’ve learned from other teams what can happen when you take your focus too far off the competition meat.

Looking for a place to watch the upcoming Conor McGregor fight? Loflin Yard will show UFC 46 on Saturday, January 18 from 9 to midnight. Two huge screens and specials on Jameson and Tito’s. They call themselves “your Downtown home for everything UFC,” so it sounds like they get all the pay-per-views.

The Daily Memphian has a list of restaurants open on Christmas Day.

If you’re going to the Grizzlies game tonight (vs. San Antonio Spurs, FedExForum 7:00) and you haven’t wrapped your Christmas presents yet, you’ll want to get there early. It’s the Holiday Game and the first 5000 fans in the door get free Grizzlies wrapping paper courtesy of Mercury Printing.

Hmmm this MacBook that I’m using just made a noise I had never heard before. I closed everything down and rebooted in case that’s a “remote connection initiated” noise and I have a hacker.

From USA Today: What is Hanukkah, and when is it? (And no, it’s not the Jewish Christmas)

That’s all the news I can round up today. Not sure what my posting schedule will be this week. If there’s no incoming news, and there’s often not this time of year, then I won’t post. Then again, I have 4 extra hours each day this week, and I gotta fill the time with something (I may do an early morning Bardog day either Thursday or Friday, but I don’t want it to be an every day thing). Back sometime this week with more news and Merry Christmas in case this is my last post until after the 25th.

Made some life decisions yesterday.

Yesterday morning I woke up and checked my email. One of the services I subscribe to is a content delivery service called Medium that customizes the stories to delivers to each individual’s taste. Yesterday’s email had a review of an IBM training and certification on data science and machine learning. It’s only $39 a month, and you go through the course at your own pace, paying for as many months as you need to complete it.

I’ve been interested in data science for a while. Recently, I learned how one particular application of data science has led to discoveries that otherwise would have gone unnoticed – can’t go into detail but if you’ve lived here the past 10 years you’ve heard of the project I’m talking about. It’s a sub-field of IT that doesn’t bore me, as building websites does. Plus, the final project for the course/certification requires dreaming up and designing your own data science application using the Foursquare API. Foursquare is a service that helps you discover places near you (the check-in side of which is known as Swarm). Given my love of Downtown, I’m sure I could come up with a really cool project, maybe even one I could transition into a smartphone app. The data science course uses Python, a language I recently started working with that is a lot of fun and is different from the C++/Java/PHP family of languages.

So, I went to Bardog yesterday, visions of data science dancing in my head. There were a couple of reasons I didn’t go ahead and pull the trigger and sign up for the course. For one, it’s Christmas break – I’m off all next week and want to get out and enjoy the free time. More importantly, though, I wasn’t sure the computer I’ve been using could run the software I need. It’s a MacBook I borrowed from a friend that is several years old. Great computer but it’s not a programmer’s computer. Taking a page out of my “DAWG” John D’s book, I started drunk-surfing Amazon (through no fault of my own, there were two shots of Jameson in the first 40 minutes which lubricated the process).

I found a great deal on a laptop with a 15.6″ screen, 16 GB of memory, and a 512 GB solid-state drive. Having a solid-state drive rather than a traditional hard drive means the computer will boot up in seconds rather than minutes. 16 gigs of memory will be more than enough to handle any programming project that comes to mind. The battery life is listed at up to 10 hours, allowing me to be a road warrior if I so choose on any particular day. After an hour of contemplation I hit the “Buy Now” button.

As for how I’m going to pay for this: I’ve been going out to bars 7 days a week. I know that’s not ideal, as I documented in my “Rock Bottom” post back in August; but it’s the life I know and I don’t know what else to do with myself. Having the new computer and the data science course will give me that something else. I predict the money I save from going out less will pay for the cost of the computer and the data science course within three months.

The computer is scheduled to arrive December 30-31, which is perfect because it will allow me to enjoy my Christmas break to the fullest. I’m aiming for some 3 AM nights this coming week. Made it til 1 last night. Could’ve even stayed out longer but today is going to be a big day so I wanted to get plenty of beauty rest.

Now the question is – do I leave Windows 10 on the computer when I get it, or do I wipe it and install Linux? I guess the hard drive is big enough that I could install Linux on a virtual machine on the new laptop.

I’m excited. I want this. After I got the job at the law firm, I wanted to plan my next step in life, but I didn’t know what that was until yesterday. It had to happen organically rather than me taking a step I felt I “should” take but to which I wasn’t really committed.

By the way, I want to express my gratitude to the people for whom I work for closing the office all this coming week. The time off is so very much appreciated – not that I don’t enjoy my job (I do very much) but the opportunity to stay out late is nice. I have a buddy who works in a business-to-business environment. His customers are all closed this week, so he has nothing to do – and yet, he has to be in the office every day except Wednesday, because some bullshit corporate handbook tells him he has to. Geez. Even Donald Trump gave federal employees Christmas Eve off.

I’ve had an email that I composed saved in Drafts since June 30. Today will be the day I decide to either delete it or send it.

Leading off at Bardog this morning. Back with more news soon, but can’t guarantee it will be tomorrow.

Saturday update

Live Music Alert! Six String Lovers play the Blind Bear tonight from 10 PM to 1 AM. I have heard Charvey Mac many times but only a couple of times have I heard him with his musical partner in crime Vanessa Sudbury. It should be a fantastic show and I am really excited! Going to be a long day!

Whenever I’m in front of a computer, I tend to keep a tab open to Google News so I can stay current on events in our nation and our world. Yesterday I learned something valuable and I want to pass it on to any readers I have who also use Google News. There’s a way to permanently boot a source off your news feed. Mouse over a story from that source, and a menu of icons will appear right below the link. Click the icon that looks like three vertical dots and when a menu pops up, click “Hide stories from (this source).” Thanks to this trick, I never have to have Fox News cluttering up my feed again. More tips for getting the most out of Google News

I try to keep my audience in mind when selecting content for my blog. For example, I know that the people who sit at the corner table at Max’s Sports Bar stalk my blog daily, if not hourly. So for them, I present the following: 27 senior discounts you didn’t know you could get. Don’t miss out on that free small drink on your next visit to KFC! How cool would it be to get a pic of that drink in a green koozie and post it on Facebook?

The James Wiseman-less Memphis Tigers host Jackson State today at FedExForum at noon. The Tigers distributed toys to children at the Davis Community Center yesterday.

It’s one of those doubleheader days that FedExForum employees love so much. A mere seven hours after the Tigers tip off, the Grizzlies host the Sacramento Kings.

All right folks. I have a knock-knock joke.


Who’s there?


Azure who?

Azure #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, it’s my pleasure to link you to this High Ground News article about a year of wonder with Wonder / Cowork / Create, the coworking space for creatives at Monroe and Danny Thomas.

The Memphis Grizzlies will have a dachshund dash at halftime of the January 14 game vs. the Houston Rockets. Deadline to enter your dachshund is January 3. At least 6 dogs will be chosen to compete in the Dash, and their owners will receive complimentary tickets to the game.

If you’re a fan of New Wing Order’s award winning Memphis Buffalo wings, now you can have that sauce not only on wings, but on anything you want, anytime you want. New Wing Order is now selling the Memphis Buffalo sauce on its online store. The sauce combines traditional Buffalo hot flavor and a nod to Memphis’ rich BBQ tradition.

Off to Bardog, a place that will see a lot of me over the next several days. Gotta pace myself today so I’m in good shape for Six String Lovers at the Bear tonight. Back tomorrow with more news.



Friday update: Flava House, James Wiseman, Skywalker and more

Yesterday after work I decided to walk over to Flava House Lounge, the new restaurant/hookah bar at 95 S. Main, and try their food for the first time. This is not the first Flava House in Memphis; there’s one on Kirby Parkway that opened about 7 months ago, from what I’ve read. Here’s a look at the Downtown location’s menu (click to view in a larger size):

A lot of the options looked good, but I decided the wings were the thing to try on my first visit. They have many different sauce and spice flavors with which to prepare the wings: seasoned, lemon pepper, sweet heat, garlic Parmesan, Grizzly gold, buffalo, jerk teriyaki, firecracker, and Blues City BBQ. Since I love spicy I leaned in the direction of “firecracker” originally, but was not sure about the heat level. If it’s the equivalent of an extra hot wing at places that use that designation, perfect. However, I was afraid “firecracker” might be on par with what other restaurants call suicide wings, so I decided not to pull the trigger on that sauce.

I have heard from others that Flava House is known for its Cajun seasonings, so I decided the seasoned wings would be my order. You get 10 of them for $12, with fries. With tax it was $13.20, and there was a line on the debit card receipt for a tip, so I tipped $2. $15.20 is a little more than I like to spend on lunch, but I figured I wouldn’t be able to eat all 10 wings so I’d have some left for a late night snack or for lunch tomorrow.

I give the customer service there high marks. The lady behind the counter couldn’t have been nicer. There were two in-house orders and a big phone order ahead of me, so she offered me a soft drink as a courtesy while I waited. When my food came out, she put two containers of blue cheese dip in the bag (they have ranch if that’s what you prefer). A lot of wing places skimp on the dressing, so I appreciated that they were generous.

I took it home and Perjorie T. Roll and I dug in.

The wings were cooked crispy. I like that because there is nothing worse than biting into a chicken wing and seeing red and realizing it hasn’t been cooked all the way through. Not a concern at Flava House, it seems. They were good, although I have trouble comparing them to other places’ wings since I usually get the hot sauce.

I hope they do well at their Main Street location. I worry, though, because their storefront is not all that noticeable from the street, being somewhat overshadowed by Local’s patio, which sticks out several feet farther onto the pedestrian mall. They need a sign that sticks out onto Main, similar to Bluefin’s Chester’s Fried Chicken sign to attract more attention that Flava House is there.

I took a photo of their hookah menu too:

Good first visit. I can envision coming back to Flava House again.

So, James Wiseman has left the University of Memphis and is going to hire an agent and prepare for the 2020 NCAA draft. Sucks for Memphis, which probably has to say goodbye to its Final Four hopes this year, but I don’t blame Wiseman one bit. The whole NCAA amateur athlete thing – and the NBA rule that draftees must be at least one year removed from high school – is such utter bullshit. Why be a cog in the machine when you can go get a shoe deal now? Good luck Big Ticket. Go get that money. You deserve it.

It’s possible that Wiseman, R.J. Hampton, and LaMelo Ball will be the top three in the 2020 draft, all having skipped out on college ball. That would be a stunning rebuke to the NCAA. “Well, that’s just how things are” wouldn’t cut it as a justification any longer.

For those of you who don’t go to movies, the plot of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now on Wikipedia. And here’s a recipe for Baby Yoda deviled eggs.

The lineup for Memphis in May’s Beale Street Music Fest, to happen May 1-3 of next year, has been announced.

Havana’s Pilon, the Cuban restaurant on Madison just east of Second, is Jennifer Biggs’ $10 Deal this week in the Daily Memphian.

Cakery Two Girls and a Whip closed their business November 30, but one of the partners in the business, MK, wants everyone to know she is back in the business of baking cakes under her former business name, Cake Madam. She has 13 years experience and is known for making custom cakes that look like any object you can imagine. Here’s a cake she baked several years ago:

You can contact MK at Cakemdm@gmail.com or 901-502-3072 to place your orders.

The Union Mission at 383 Poplar has a request:

As you may know at this time of year we try to give each man a present on Christmas Eve. This present is in the form of a “Christmas shoe box.” This shoe box size present may have candy, socks, gloves, a scarf, pens, puzzles, etc. The show box should be wrapped, but no bow, At this time we are very short on these presents. We need your help. We are in need of at least 150 presents. They need to be here at the Mission by this coming Tuesday by noon. I know it is short notice, but could you help us with a present or two for our men?

For families, that could be a fun project this weekend and a chance to show the kids how rewarding it is to help others.

For the rest of 2019, 3rd & Court Diner is giving away free coffee with every breakfast order.

Baby Shark Live has been announced for the Orpheum Friday, April 24. He’ll bring his friend Pinkfong as a special guest.

The Holiday Market at Fourth Bluff is tonight at the park at 51 N. Front, 4:30 to 7:30. About 15 vendors will be on hand, as will the Grub food truck and the TapBox mobile craft beer unit.

Last day at work until December 30. Posts next week will probably go up later than usual, as I will stay out late and sleep late. Back tomorrow with more news.