No post yesterday because I just didn’t have any news to share with you! I’m struggling to find news for today too. However, I have over 3 hours to kill until Bardog opens, so maybe I’ll just ramble.
Yesterday the University of Memphis announced that interim head coach/former associate head coach Ryan Silverfield had been named the permanent head coach of the Cotton Bowl-bound Memphis Tigers football team. I wasn’t sure hiring from within was the right idea, but after reading about the hire (especially this Geoff Calkins article) I am convinced the university hired the best person for the job. Two reasons:
- Memphis has a track record of success hiring up-and-coming coordinators or associate coaches who have never been head coaches themselves – see Justin Fuente and Mike Norvell. I believe that’s what Memphis did for the third time in a row. It’s just that this time, when they went out and found an associate coach at one of the best football programs in the country, that program happened to be Memphis.
- Calkins points out that what matters the most to Silverfield is the relationships he has built here. He had chances to leave, but he never considered it because he loves the people here. That resonates with me – the reason I’ve never had any desire to move away from Downtown, the reason I’ve written my blog for 15 years, is because I love the people I’ve surrounded myself with.
Congratulation Coach Silverfield and best of luck. Go get us a Cotton Bowl victory to start off your head coaching career with a bang!
Now I want to talk about two of the people who make Downtown so special to me. Thursday I went to The Peanut Shoppe and told Rida I needed a nut mix for the Dirty Santa party I am attending tonight. “Can you come back in an hour?” Rida asked. ” I am about to make up a new, fresh batch so you will have the freshest nuts for your party.”
“How about I come back tomorrow?” I asked. “I work right across the street. I can come here after work.”
“Perfect,” Rida said. “I will have a fresh batch waiting on you.” He told me he had been up until 11 the night before preparing everything because he wanted his customers to have the best possible product for their holiday events.
I came back yesterday, and his daughter, Nura, was working. “I’m by myself today,” she told me. “My dad was here until 9 last night.” She helped me pick out a decorative tin and measured out the nuts. Great customer service, great shopping experience, and now I have something I’m proud to bring to a pot luck. I’m not just the guy who brings Pancho’s cheese dip and chips – not that there’s anything wrong with that, and in fact I hope somebody does in fact bring them.
I may not talk about The Peanut Shoppe as much as I do places like Bardog and the Blind Bear and the Silly Goose, but I want to make it very clear that these are very much people that have made my neighborhood my home for so many years. In fact, on the Saturday morning that I gave permission for the doctors to take my mom off life support, they were the first people I told.
If you live or work Downtown, please support them for your holiday nut and candy needs. The construction at 18 S. Main has blocked visibility of their business and that is hurting them. If you can’t make it Downtown or live outside of Memphis, you can order online through their website.
This is the decorative tin from The Peanut Shoppe. I can’t open it and show you the nuts inside because Nura shrink-wrapped it for maximum freshness. I’ll try to get a pic tonight. As for my gift for the Dirty Santa swap, obviously I can’t tell you what it is, since some of the attendees read my blog. I will say that it wasn’t made in Memphis but it has a strong Memphis connection.
Oh yeah, there are probably some of you who have never heard of a Dirty Santa party so I guess I better explain. Each person brings a wrapped gift. Everyone draws a number. Number 1 opens a gift first. Then number 2 can either open a gift, or take number 1’s opened gift and number 1 gets to open another gift. Number 3 can either open a gift or take one of the two opened ones, and so on. Often there is a limit on how many times a particular gift can be stolen. If such a limit exists, it’s most advantageous to pick middle-late; if there is no limit, of course, the person who picks last has the advantage. Also there is usually a limit on how much can be spent on a gift; for us it was $25.
So I’m still conflicted as to what to do this afternoon. Two options:
Go to the Beale Street Christmas parade at 3: If I do this, I will watch it at the King’s Palace Cafe Tap Room. They never seem to staff the place properly for parades, one overworked bartender handling both the customers at the bar and at the window. It can take as much as 20 minutes to get a beer. Last time I went there they had raised their price from $5 to $8.75 for a Big Ass PBR. That’s a Value Drinking Index of only 18, good if you’re drinking a craft beer but pretty horrible for PBR. They’ll have the game on TV but not with sound and unless the game goes into overtime, the game will end while the parade is going on.
Watch the Memphis vs. UT game (2 PM) at the Silly Goose: Unlike the Tap Room, the Goose won’t be slammed, so one bartender will be able to handle it. Plus, the bartender will be Jessica, the regular happy hour bartender Wednesday-Friday, so you know the service will be outstanding. PBR there is $3 for a 16-ounce can, a Value Drinking Index of 27 which is in the range I like to see. Jessica has told me she will put the sound on. There won’t be any old coots there, not even old coots who like to send bartenders half their age creepy text messages as well as multiple Instagram follow requests just hours apart
(For those new to my blog: Value Drinking Index = number of ounces X percent alcohol by volume / price)
Re-reading the paragraphs above, it seems like the Goose will be the easy choice, but really I’m just about 50-50. It will be a game-time decision, literally (I can hear one of the old coots saying, “Literally. Drink.” in my head). Another option is to watch the first half at the Goose, then walk over to the Tap Room during the halftime break – so if you walk in the Tap Room at 2:30 and don’t find me in there, don’t be so sure you won’t see me.
Oh, while we’re on the subject of Saturday plans, let’s look ahead to next Saturday. I WILL BE AT BARDOG next Saturday at 11; in fact, I’ll be standing outside at 10:55, waiting for them to open the door. Furthermore, I am declaring next Saturday a NO FILTER DAY. If you were around during BBQ Fest ’16, you know what my no filter days are like. I almost never drink at home but next Saturday I may start pre-gaming around 10 AM just to make sure I am in that holiday spirit.
Hey, I found an actual news item to talk about! The 2020 Roots & Blues Showcase comes to Atomic Rose Club and Grill January 29-31. This will be the weekend of the International Blues Challenge and Atomic Rose is a short walk from Beale. Click the link to see a list of who will play.
The Grizzlies lost last night, but Jaren dropped 43 while being guarded by The Greek Freak. This year is more about player development than it is contending for a playoff berth, so I’m perfectly happy with the outcome.
The Democrats need to pay close attention to what happened in the UK election this week. The Conservatives nominated Boris Johnson for prime minister. Johnson is a brash buffoon with bad hair who anyone with a pulse should be able to beat in an election. Labour, however, managed to put up one of the few people who couldn’t beat Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn is considered farther to the left on many political issues than Bernie Sanders, he’s been wishy-washy on Brexit, and he couldn’t put down the anti-Semitic grumblings within his own party. Voters commented that Boris scared them, but Corbyn scared them more.
Of course, the Dems did the same thing in 2016. They faced a Republican opponent with no political experience, who lied on a daily basis and had all kinds of gaffes and scandals. Anyone should’ve been able to beat Donald Trump in a general election. But the Dems went and found someone who was so incredibly unlikable – Hillary – that the election tilted toward Trump (with an assist from Russia).
They need to learn from their mistakes. Yes, I want a president who will do something about climate change. Yes, I want a president who is tough on Russia. Yes, I want a president who will nominate Supreme Court justices that will protect Roe vs. Wade. Yes, I think it’s time for a woman or person of color to occupy the Oval Office. But, more so than any of that, we need a candidate who likable to the general public – not just Democrats – to ensure that Trump is booted out of the White House on January 20,2021 (and then, I bet, indictments will be unsealed).
If the Democrats nominate a candidate who gravitates hard to the far left, like Bernie or Elizabeth Warren, I fear it will cost them the election. Out of the field, I still like Kamala Harris the best, but I wonder if Joe Biden is the best chance to ensure America dumps Trump. I would especially like it if Biden promised the following:
- If he wins the presidency, he will only serve one term;
- If he is nominated, he will pick a vice-presidential nominee who is under 60. I was going to say Gen X or millennial, but that would disqualify Kamala Harris by a little over 2 months;
- If he is nominated, his running mate will be a woman, or a person of color, or both.
What the Dems don’t need are factions who say “we do it my way or I’ll stay home on election day.”
That’s enough rambling for now. Back tomorrow if I find any news to report.