Tuesday update

Nominations are now open for the Memphis Flyer’s Best of Memphis 2020 awards. There are several publications that run “best of” awards in this city, but the Flyer poll is the gold standard. Let your voice be heard!

Chris Herrington’s observations in Midtown this weekend match mine Downtown for the same time period. It’s not that a large number of people are anti-mask or anti-social distancing; it’s that they’re apathetic. Wearing a mask is important, but it’s less important to them than ordering another vodka cran or going to a pool party. I hate to say it but I think it will take a rollback to Phase 1 to get people to pay attention.

I’ve decided I’m going to start taking Sundays off from going out. My observation this past Sunday was that there is too much risk and too little reward. I have a number of books to read that I expected to get to during the house arrest, but didn’t because Memphis re-opened a couple of weeks earlier than I thought we would. That’ll be my plan for this Sunday and the next few, unless something unexpected and fun comes my way.

Memphis 901 FC has made a return to full-contact training. Players and staff were tested for COVID-19 last week and all the tests came back negative.

Now that the schedule has been released for the NBA’s seeding games, the Grizzlies are still favored to make the playoffs, but not by as much as they were previously. They were at -155 (bet $155 to win $100), but now I see them at either -115 or -120. The New Orleans Pelicans, with the easiest schedule of any team in Orlando, are probably the biggest threat. Zion Williamson’s a nice kid, I’m sure, but I’m going to be rooting for teams that play the Pels they way I root for whomever is playing the University of Tennessee.

Loflin Yard is bringing back Girls’ Night Out on Thursdays. From 5 to 10 PM ladies can get half-off bottles of wine and large cheeseboards for the price of a small.

The new version of Apple WatchOS will be able to detect hand washing motions and will remind you to wash for 20 seconds. I’m sure local health experts like Dr. Manoj Jain, Dr. Alisa Haushalter, and Karen from Facebook will applaud this new feature.

Very interesting article worth a read, especially those of you in the restaurant industry: Our ghost kitchen future

Protesters continue to camp outside Memphis City Hall in protest of the Memphis Police Department budget. They’ve been there a full two weeks now. Damn, one protester quit her job so she could protest full-time. That’s commitment. The protesters say that if some of the money used to fund the police is diverted to meet everyone’s basic needs, crime will decline in Memphis. The protesters have also created a community garden outside City Hall.

If you ate at Babalu at Overton Square last week, you might want to go get a COVID-19 test. The restaurant is closed indefinitely after an employee tested positive for the virus. The employee’s last shift was Friday.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow.

Monday update: “a critical point”

Mayor Strickland posted a COVID-19 update yesterday, in which he said, “I believe we are at a critical point in our fight against this virus.” With case numbers, positivity rates, and hospitalizations continuing to rise, I get the feeling that although he doesn’t want to, Strickland may now be considering a roll back to Phase 1, or imposing additional restrictions on some businesses in Phase 2.

A rollback may indeed be necessary to make people understand this is serious business. Both businesses I frequented yesterday require masks, and the mask ordinance is now in effect, yet I would estimate that 60% of the people who came in those businesses had to be told to put a mask on. I can’t figure out if people don’t read the news and therefore didn’t know about the ordinance, or if they knew and just didn’t care.

If you like pizza, here’s a good account to follow on Instagram: @rahrahspies

Alcenia’s has made the national news for the second time in a month. They were on CBS Sunday Morning.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine who just did his first gig as a tour guide for Segway Memphis. He recommended the scavenger hunts to people who know Downtown landmarks well, and said you have the chance to win $1000 in photography and artwork.

If you plan on traveling anytime soon, this free online AAA map shows where there are restrictions.

The Grizzlies will distribute 20,000 BELIEVE MEMPHIS face masks beginning today. If you live Downtown, Bass Pro at the Pyramid is the place to get yours.

That’s the news for now. Everyone remember to mask up when you’re in public so we can avoid going back to Phase 1. Back tomorrow.

Sunday update

I got to Bardog Tavern at 10:50 yesterday morning and waited outside until 11 when they opened. With half the bar seating removed, I didn’t want to take the chance of not getting a seat. I was the only one there early, though. At 11 Melissa opened the door, subbing for regular bartender Bloom who is out of town.

Here’s all the stuff you need to know about Bardog’s reopening:

  • There’s now a “Please wait to be seated” sign at the door. You can still sit where you like, but the reason they ask you to wait is so they can take your temperature.
  • You must have a mask to enter, and must wear it anytime you get up from your seat. You don’t have you have your mask on while seated and eating or drinking.
  • Seating is socially distanced. You can pull bar stools together to sit with the other people in your group, provided that your group is distanced from other groups.
  • Employees are doing a stellar job masking. I was there 5 hours and never saw an employee with a mask worn incorrectly or without a mask.
  • Employees are also wearing gloves when it is appropriate to do so.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at every table and within reaching location from every bar seat.
  • I observed one person tab out and leave his seat at the bar. Another customer, who had been sitting at the window, stepped over to claim the now-empty seat, but the manager stepped in and said, “hang on, let me sanitize it first.” Great job!
  • It’s still smoking upstairs, nonsmoking downstairs. I heard going nonsmoking was at least considered, but I guess they see a lot of value in being the last locals’ bar in the Downtown core to allow smoking.
  • They reopened at full hours, 8 AM-3 AM weekdays and 11 AM-3 AM weekends.

Perjorie T. Roll demonstrating how to social distance as she stands next to a can of hand sanitizer at Bardog

I called it a very early night and was in bed by about 8, which meant I woke up around 12:30. For the next two hours I heard tires squealing, engines revving, and several gunshots. Why aren’t the police doing more to get this under control? I heard more gunshots last night than I have in the last 17 years living Downtown.

Central Station will host Live from the Patio with Tim and TJ Plunk at 6 PM Friday, July 3. The event listing says “tune in or stop by” so this appears to be both a live and a virtual event.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I can’t make up my mind where I want to lead off today. Back to Bardog? Blind Bear? Silly Goose? I guess it will be wherever my feet lead me. Weather permitting, I may hit Max’s Sports Bar at 4:30 to spread a little sunshine. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update: Shuffleboard comes to the Blind Bear

The new shuffleboard table arrived at the Blind Bear yesterday. It occupies the space where bands previously played. It appears to be coin-operated but they had the pucks behind the bar, most likely so they can sanitize them between games. The table will be a fun addition and it’s good to have the game in the Downtown core.

By the way, I want to extend a “cheers” to the Bear for enforcing their rules. I had been putting on my mask for trips to the restroom, but when we made a trip to the back room to see Princess Mustard (long story) I forgot to put it on and the bartender reminded me. I appreciate that! I’m not going to stay home from bars but I’m willing to do what I can to protect the other people there. I see the mask as a sign of consideration for others, not a sign that I’m subservient to Nancy Pelosi or whoever Trump supporters hate today.

I visited the Silly Goose earlier in the day, where Jessica said, “If we go back to Phase 1 I’m gonna have to get nekkid for tips.” Hey Mayor Strickland, I changed my mind! We entered Phase 2 too soon! Let’s roll it back!

The Grizzlies’ schedule for the remainder of the season has been released. It is (all games in Orlando)

  • Friday, July 31: at Portland Trail Blazers, 3 PM
  • Sunday, August 2: vs. San Antonio Spurs, 3 PM
  • Monday, August 3: at New Orleans Pelicans, 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday, August 5: at Utah Jazz, 1:30 PM
  • Friday, August 7: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 3 PM
  • Sunday, August 9: at Toronto Raptors, 1 PM
  • Tuesday, August 11: vs. Boston Celtics, 5:30 PM
  • Thursday, August 13: vs. Milwaukee Bucks, TBD

That’s a pretty brutal schedule but not different from what every other team faces: The bad teams out of contention for the playoffs didn’t come to Orlando.

Sucks that so many of the games happen when people are at work, but that’s what the Grizzlies get for being a small- market team.

Set your DVRs – the movie that was made about The Little Tea Shop will premiere Friday, July 10 at 7:30 PM on WKNO.

The county clerk’s office and its satellites, which closed three weeks ago due to a case of COVID-19, will reopen next week, but expect much longer wait times as the number of staff in the offices will be reduced. Appointments will be able to be made.

The National Ornamental Metal Museum will host its first-ever community curated exhibition. Each day from July 13 to 17, the public will vote on pieces in five different categories. The top 30 vote-getters will be on display in an exhibition titled It Takes a Village from September 28, 2020 to March 14, 2021. Voting will take place on the Metal Museum website. The categories are

  • Monday, July 13 – Forged objects
  • Tuesday, July 14 – Cast sculpture
  • Wednesday, July 15 – Art jewelry
  • Thursday, July 16 – Vessels
  • Friday, July 17 – Functional work

Memphis 901 FC has drawn into Group G in the restart of the USL. Memphis will play the three other teams in its group, Birmingham Legion, Charlotte Independence, and North Carolina FC four times for a total of 12 matches. Memphis will play three matches against teams outside Group G, and its March 7 loss to Indy will count as the remaining match of the 16-game regular season. The schedule is set to be released soon, with play set to resume July 11.

Chris Hill and Friends play The Vault tonight 8 to 11.

Devil Train plays Loflin Yard tonight at 9.

Jay Jones Band plays Tin Roof tonight at 7.

Local clergy say they are disappointed in the police reforms that came out of the city’s meetings with activists, calling the adopted measures “low-hanging fruit.”

I’m the proud owner of a new iPhone 11 this morning! For the first time in 11 years, I ordered the phone online rather than go to an AT&T Store. That meant I had to set up the phone myself, but it couldn’t have been easier. I unpaired my Apple Watch from my iPhone 6s, then held the 6s near the new 11. The phones detected each other and walked me through the Quick Start. I restored last night’s backup of the 6s, and boom – the new 11 had all my contacts, apps, and even the photo of Perjorie T. Roll on the lock screen. Then I activated my phone on AT&T’s website and paired my watch to the new phone.

One piece of advice I will pass on, though – don’t throw away the box in which your iPhone ships. It contains two numbers you need during activation. I managed to find these numbers in the new phone’s settings, but for a minute there I had a scare.

The Ticket recently interviewed Carly Fiorina. She was the head of HP for years and she would have been the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2016 had Ted Cruz won the nomination. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, this interview is worth a read. She has some ideas that make sense.

Bardog is first on the agenda today. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

The mask ordinance is now official. Mayor Jim Strickland signed it yesterday. Read the full ordinance

To summarize

  • You must wear a mask while inside any business
  • You must wear a mask while inside public governmental buildings
  • You must wear a mask while inside any public or private elevator
  • You must wear a mask while obtaining health care
  • You must wear a mask while on public transit or ride share
  • Businesses must require employees to wear masks if there’s any interaction with the public
  • A mask is not required at work when you have your own office and the public does not regularly visit the room
  • A mask is not required inside a restaurant when you are seated
  • A mask is not required for children under 2
  • A mask is not required when exercising outside
  • Those who have medical proof of trouble breathing with a mask on are exempt
  • Class C misdemeanor
  • First offense is a warning
  • Second offense and thereafter will not carry a fine. Maximum $20 court fees, which can be waived by completing community service
  • For frequent violators of the ordinance, a fine of $100 per violation can be instituted and the mayor can seek restraining orders against entities believed to be a public nuisance in violation

This is just a summary and I strongly encourage you to read the entire document.

Businesses are making moves to get into compliance. Longshot posted this yesterday:

We as a staff have decided that we will require guests to wear masks when entering or exiting Longshot, playing shuffleboard, moving around the dining room to use the restroom… etc. We have been watching the recent case numbers in and around Shelby County. While we are excited to be back open and doing what we love, at the end of the day we just want everyone to safe and healthy, and we want to do our part to navigate these times as respectfully and responsibly as possible. Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding!

Silly Goose has also announced they will require masks upon entering, and will move to card-only transactions – no more cash.

Three University of Memphis athletes and one athletic staff member have tested positive for COVID-19. Are we really sure football season is going to happen?

Lightnin’ Malcolm plays Loflin Yard tonight. They posted

There is a raw and relentless style of blues that came drifting out of the hills of Northern Mississippi more than a century ago, and cutting edge Bluesman and guitarslinger Lightnin Malcolm, plans on bringing it on over to our sound stage this Friday night. See you there! ⚡️

There will be no July 4 fireworks celebration on the river this year, but Memphis River Parks Partnership will have a celebration that will stretch over the first 5 days of July. During the Quintessential Summer Celebration you will be able to

  • Paddle the harbor – rent a kayak for $20 an hour at 4th Cup at Riverside and Jefferson
  • Take a guided kayak tour of the Mississippi
  • Take an Explore Bike Share bike ride
  • Take a scavenger hunt – complete it and your kids earn a River Garden badge. Details will be posted on the celebration’s Facebook page
  • Buy a meal from a Downtown restaurant and have a picnic on the river
  • Watch a sunset at Tom Lee Park. Watch for signage showing you how to download curated playlists from Memphis Slim House. Social distancing circles will be set up in the park
  • Enjoy half-hour dynamic light shows on the bridges
  • Find some peace in “Fourth Liberation” meditations led by local artists at Fourth Bluff Friday-Sunday

St. Mary’s soup kitchen is in urgent need of volunteers. Sign up on their website. The church is located at 155 Market St. near the Second Street exit off I-40.

A bartender at the former TGI Ftiday’s at Third and Union told me yesterday that the restaurant will re-open as a craft cocktail bar in 3 to 4 weeks.

The city released a progress report yesterday on meetings with activists about police reform.

Beale Street Artcrawl will move to a virtual platform this Saturday.

Grace Askew will live stream from South Main Sounds this Saturday 5-6:30 PM.

The Memphis Songwriters Series: Virtual Voices continues Saturday, with Cyrena Wages live streaming from the Orpheum 7:30-8 PM.

Developer Kenny Lipschutz plans to turn the building at 400 S. Main into three retail spaces on the ground level and 18 AirBnb units upstairs. That would be the building at the northeast corner of Main and Huling.

Edible Memphis profiles Bluff City Fungi, an exotic mushroom company that sells at the Memphis Farmers Market.

Edible also posted news about Wok’n in Pickle Co. This is a provisions company that is the side hustle of Wok’n in Memphis in Puck Food Hall. They feature locally source products including vinegars, oils, and kimchi.

From Storyboard Memphis: Church of the Walking Pants, featuring Daryl and Ashley, owners of the Walking Pants Curiosities store on G.E. Patterson.

This week I’ve been following the list of women being vetted as Joe Biden’s running mate, and a new name has emerged: Rep. Karen Bass. She has represented the South Los Angeles district in Congress since 2013 and her qualifications include

  • Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations
  • Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • Former Speaker of the California State House
  • 2010 John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award recipient
  • In the 1980s, Bass founded the Community Coalition, a South L.A. organization addressing the political and economic causes of addiction, crime, poverty and violence; the organization was a success and continues to this day

She sounds like a perfect running mate to me. She’d have incredible influence shaping Biden’s policies, and she’s more than qualified to step into the presidency should the need arise. I hope Biden picks her!

That’s all I’ve got for today. Back tomorrow with more.

Thursday update

I still don’t know Bardog Tavern’s complete hours upon reopening, but regular morning bartender Bloom posted a few minutes after 8 AM yesterday that they were open for breakfast. Good call by Aldo. Third shifters need their PBR too. Assuming we have July 3 off at work since the Fourth is on a Saturday, I’ll see you not long after 8 that morning. And, of course, see you at 11 Saturday for brunch.

The USL board of directors voted for a provisional return to play starting July 11 and Memphis 901 FC is on board with the decision. The league’s return to play will be conducted in line with local guidelines. Given that Memphis is still in Phase 2, 901 FC will likely submit a social distancing plan to the Health Department if fans are to be allowed in. Since shouting and singing are components of superspreader events, the supporters’ section may be silenced this year.

However, 901 FC will have the field/pitch all to themselves this season, because the Redbirds have announced there will be no baseball at AutoZone Park this year. The Cardinals, if the MLB season does in fact resume, will use AA team Springfield’s park as a staging ground. This is due to proximity to St. Louis and the fact that Springfield does not have to be converted between baseball and soccer.

Elite Total Health is doing a giveaway of CBD products from South Main Hemp. To enter for a chance to win, “Like” their Facebook page and share their post about the giveaway. Winner will be announced July 4. The prize package is a $75 value.

From Wiseacre Brewing Co.:

We’re excited to announce that the soft opening of #WISEACRE2 at 398 S. BB King Blvd will take place on Friday, June 26th starting at 1PM. To maintain a safe capacity we will be selling tickets much like on Broad Ave, and those will go on sale THIS FRIDAY at noon. There will be plenty of space to socially distance (we are still keeping parties to a maximum of 6 people), and we are continuing contactless payment through the Arryved app. Per the city ordinance, we are asking folks to bring (and wear when appropriate) a face covering. See you then!

If you’ve heard more fireworks lately, you’re not along. The CA investigates.

From River Time Market & Deli:

Our newest Salad – Philly Beef with Peppers and Onions. Also comes in a Sandwich!

Mayor Strickland wrote a COVID-19 update explaining why the city and county are remaining in Phase 2 of the Back to Business framework rather than rolling back to Phase 1 as we see increasing numbers of new cases and hospitalizations. We are much more capable of responding to spikes in cases, responding to clusters of cases, and protecting vulnerable populations than we were a few months ago. While hospitalizations are up, hospitals have procedures in place to handle surges. Strickland said he will only push to move back to Phase 1 if there is widespread random community spread that cannot be controlled. Cheers, Mr. Mayor! I know you and the task force are taking a lot of heat – there was even a trivia team last night named “Phase 2 Soon” – but I think you and the COVID-19 task force are doing a great job.

WREG interviewed business owner Chef Michael Patrick of Rizzo’s yesterday. He has mixed feelings about whether we should remain in Phase 2.

As someone who goes out frequently, I am noticing that more people at restaurants and bars are warming up to the idea of masking up anytime you leave your seat than there were a week ago. Although, I admit it is easy to forget. I forgot a couple of times during trivia last night.

Lawyers marched for unity through Downtown Memphis yesterday.

Say goodbye to the Segway. Production has officially been shut down.

Play Cerrito virtual trivia sponsored by Riverset Rye tonight at 7. Assemble your team on Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime or in person while practicing social distancing.

As your number-one source of news and information about The Edge District, it is my pleasure to inform you that the New Wing Order food truck will be at the High Cotton taproom from 4 to 7 today. You can’t go wrong with any of their flavors of wings, but if you’re undecided I’d recommend the flavor that won them two Hot Wing Fest championships. Their tacos and nachos are excellent too, and for vegetarians they have an avocado taco.

I finally reached the point yesterday where I couldn’t stand my iPhone 6s’s battery life any longer and ordered an iPhone 11. Can’t wait for it to get here.

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


BARDOG IS OPEN! Wednesday update

Bardog Tavern, which has been closed since the Safer at Home house arrest began in March, posted to Facebook yesterday that it was opening at 3 PM. I planned to be standing outside the door at 2:57 but heavy storms moved through around that time. I posted a comment asking their hours going forward but haven’t heard yet. When I do I will let you know.

How irresponsible is it that Major League Baseball is still trying to have a season? Over 40 players and staff have tested positive for COVID-19. The earliest the season could start would be the last week of July, and it would end September 27. If the 60-game season played out, the eventual champion would have a huge asterisk next to its name. More likely, players would test positive in-season and that would be the end of it. MLB needs to do the right thing and shut the season down.

Dr. Haushalter of the Health Department said yesterday that Shelby County would remain in Phase 2 of re-opening for the foreseeable future. Whew! That’s a relief. There were some who thought we should roll back to Phase 1, and even people who supported a second lockdown (SMDH at that idea). Businesses are starting to get more serious about keeping their customers safe. For example, Blind Bear has a new rule that you must have a mask on when entering the bar, you must put it on when you get up to use the restroom or go smoke, and you must put it on when you leave. In other words, if your “but” is in a seat, you don’t need to have a mask on, otherwise you do (we need to get Jeannette a spelling book). As a regular patron of that business, I totally support these measures and hope others will too.

There’s a good reason for businesses to introduce these more stringent rules. Dr. Haushalter announced yesterday that among the 141 new hires for the Health Department will be a COVID-19 enforcement team that will be visiting local businesses.

The Flyer has more on the surge in new cases. Dr. Haushalter said there was extensive testing June 14th and 15th, and Saturday’s number of 385 new cases included lab reports going back as far as three weeks.

Dr. Bruce Randolph, county health officer, put in place Health Directive number 7 yesterday. This directive makes it possible for gatherings of 51 to 499 people to happen if the organizer of the directive submits a plan showing how social distancing and other guidelines will be observed. This is why some movie theaters have been allowed to open prior to entering Phase 3.

From Front Street Deli:

The time has come……..
The Sandwich master is back in action starting today! The world has been a little crazy and rightly so after being deprived of sandwiches like Days of Thunder and Mission Impossible. Nonetheless, the oldest Deli in Memphis will survive through this! Let’s show Brandon some Sandwich Mafia love today and sell him out. Front Street Deli, slangin sandwiches since ‘76!
New hours are Monday thru Friday 8am-2pm.

Chef Steph Cook announced yesterday that he and Chef Derk Meitzler are looking to expand their back-of-house staff. If you are looking for a career in food these guys are two of the very best to learn from. They are expanding their operations and there will be chances to move up. If interested apply at The Vault at 124 G.E. Patterson.

From The Peanut Shoppe:

Please understand that we are not only protecting ourselves, but also you as well. If you do not have a mask, you are welcome to call us and place your order outside our shoppe and we will be happy to serve you at our main entrance. Just please remember to be courteous. Times are tough, especially for small businesses like ours. Be safe and well. Thank you, Memphis. #downtownmemphis #shoplocal #ilovememphis #choose901 #backdowntown

The Cossitt Library storytimes planned for Thursday and Friday at River Garden have been postponed due to the uptick in coronavirus cases.

From the World Championship Hot Wing Festival:

*ANNOUNCEMENT* Due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 and in accordance with the advice of local authorities, we will not have a physical event this year. While this event has become a highly anticipated tradition over the past 17 years, the safety and well-being of everyone involved is of the utmost importance.
While we can’t meet in person this year, we still want to make a difference for the kids and families of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis. We are working on ways we can connect the teams and wing-loving attendees of this event virtually so that we can still make an impact for this amazing organization. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to find out more!
If you have already purchased a ticket or submitted a vendor registration, you will be refunded.
Thank you for your understanding and ongoing support. We’re looking forward to coming back bigger and better than ever in 2021!

From the CA: COVID-19 has left the Beale Street Flippers with nowhere to flip. Fortunately Railgarten stepped up and gave the Flippers jobs.

That’s it for today. Looks like the Internet problems are over for Downtown. Back tomorrow.


Tuesday update

Good morning Memphis! I really didn’t think I was going to do a blog post today, because I had not had a decent Internet connection in six days. Today, however, it seems much better. I am not sure if that is because Xfinity found the problem and fixed it, or because it’s 6:19 AM and whoever has been flooding the network with traffic hasn’t signed on yet.

There have been several big news stories, and they’re all related. COVID-19 cases in Shelby County continued to spike over the weekend, with 385 being reported Saturday. Dr. Haushalter said the huge number was partly due to “backlog,” but that’s a lot no matter the reason. The 7-day moving average of case count hopped above 150. Positivity rate from testing has moved from 4.5% (May 10-16) to 9% (June 7-13). 10% is the number which Health Department director Dr. Haushalter said would concern her, and we are moving in that direction. (View the data)

The spike in cases, the spike in hospitalization, and articles in the Daily Memphian about restaurants and grocery stores’ lax following of Phase 2 re-opening requirements prompted Commissioner Tami Sawyer to write a letter requesting a roll back to Phase 1, or a modification to Phase 2. (View the phases – some sources are claiming that a roll back to Phase 1 would reduce restaurants and retail to 25%, but that’s not what the city website indicates.)

County mayor Lee Harris said later in the day yesterday that we don’t have to move back to Phase 1 if we do better about wearing our masks and social distancing. Harris and city mayor Strickland unveiled a new Mask Up Memphis and LIVE campaign yesterday  This campaign will distribute masks and preventative literature to “underprivileged” areas of Memphis. The website has a list of locations where you can get masks. The Downtown location is the North Main bus terminal at Main and A.W. Willis.

I hope we stay in Phase 2, but that’s a preference, not an opinion – I don’t have the qualifications to state an opinion on what we “should” do. I would agree that people have tended to put social distancing and masking on the back burner a bit since around Memorial Day, around the time the protests displaced COVID-19 as the top news item.

I’m doing my part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, thanks to Paula Raiford. I saw her yesterday, and she said, “Hang on… let me run out to my car.” She came back with a gift for me:

A pocket-sized Paula & Raiford’s-branded bottle of hand sanitizer! Stay safe and sexy! I put it on my keychain. Thanks Paula! Hand sanitizer is a good backup to have for times when you don’t have access to soap and water to wash your hands for 20 seconds.

Follow the City of Memphis on Facebook to receive a notification when the COVID-19 task force’s press conference starts today around noon. I have a feeling today’s conference will be interesting.

Catherine & Mary’s re-opens for business today and will be open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday for dinner 5 to 10 PM. Visit their website for a list of precautions they are taking to keep diners safe.

The Downtown Memphis Commission is looking to hire a captain for its Blue Suede Brigade team, the folks in the blue polos who provide safety and hospitality Downtown.

Chinese Connection Dub Embassy performs outside City Hall at 7:30 tonight. Attendees are asked to wear masks and social distance.

The King Beez play B.B King’s tonight at 8:30. So good to have live music back on Beale!

Primas Bakery + Boutique will have Churros to Go Friday from 12:30 to 2:30 PM.

That’s the news for today. I have an early-morning meeting so I have to be at work an hour earlier than usual. Back tomorrow with more.

Sunday update

The Daily Memphian’s sports notebook reports that the University of Mississippi may have to come up with a new nickname in the wake of the George Floyd protests – and I don’t mean just “Rebels,” which is obviously linked to the confederacy. A Sports Illustrated reporter claims that while it cannot be verified, “Ole Miss” is believed to come from a slave dialect, where they would refer to the owner of the plantation as “Ole Massa” and his wife as “Ole Miss.” If that’s true, it it mind-boggling that the nickname has lasted into the 21st century.

If you’ve ever thought about donating to the Hospitality HUB, now would be the time. A generous HUB supporter has offered to match any donations or registry purchases through the end of the day Friday, June 26. This is your chance to help decorate the new HUB Hotel, providing a place for women experiencing homelessness with all the comforts of home. You can purchase items from one of the following registries:

I’ll pass on a trick I learned this weekend for those with older iPhones: My iPhone 6s’s battery started acting janky to the point that I thought I was going to have to get rid of the phone. However, after I let the battery go all the way to zero and then recharged it to 100%, it started acting fine again. I’m not saying it had the battery power of a new phone, but I could live with it. Previously it would go from 100% to 93% to 87% to 81% to 76% to 69% in the span of less than an hour. Yesterday, after I ran it down and charged it back up, it went from 100% to 92% in two hours.

I was told yesterday that cars were doing donuts on Riverside Drive about 11:30 Friday night, the drivers holding pistols out the window. Why does the city allow this kind of behavior to continue?

There were 385 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, a one-day record by more than 100. That is downright scary, although the health department has not issued a statement (that I’m aware of) about the cases.

Thieves stole all four tires and rims off a tourist’s rental car in the Central Station parking lot Friday night. She was paying $25 a night for parking. Geez, for that price you’d think they could afford a security guard for the lot.

I changed things up yesterday and led off at Slider Inn Downtown yesterday. They have mandatory temperature checks to keep everyone safe. The inside is now open, although the majority of people chose to sit outside where there was live music.

With no sports on, they had the TVs on all kinds of random stuff, and The Little Rascals were on. It reminded me that I own DVDs containing 57 of the episodes, including the seven episodes banned from TV because the content, while considered appropriate in the 1930s, is very inappropriate by modern standards – things like Spanky dressing up in blackface to hide from his friends, and Farina answering a newspaper ad for “colored boys” to work a pet show. I wonder if I could donate those CDs to be used for educational purposes. In the right context (as in, “these are things we don’t do anymore”) there might be some value in those episodes being shown.

The CDs might be valuable for a couple of other reasons as well. First of all, despite the racism, the black kids in the series are portrayed as the white kids’ equals, and were often leaders, unusual for the 1920s and 1930s. They were even shown attending school together, which must have horrified white Southerners back then. Also, some of the episodes are pre-1929 silents that were never shown on TV.

One of the other Slider TVs had a show from the ’80s on… can’t remember its name but it was Henry Rush and his wife living in San Francisco with their two grown daughters and the daughters’ goofy friend Monroe. I could get into binge-watching that.

After Slider Inn, I walked over to Longshot with my friends Randy, Theresa, and Big Papa, and we played a couple of games of shuffleboard. I had dinner there: a Southern patty melt with local ground beef, jalapeno jam, white cheddar, and smoked tomato aioli on a Hustle & Dough sourdough bun. It was excellent. I got a picture but the Internet at home is still crap so I can’t get it uploaded.

You know what’s weird about this Xfinity Internet problem? Other people at Number 10 Main are reporting it too, as are people in the Shrine Building… but I work in Brinkley Plaza, which is in between the two buildings, and the Internet works just fine there.

Normally I would go through Facebook and see what events are happening today to add to this post, but I can’t even get Facebook to load. So I’ll hit Publish and see what happens. Back tomorrow or whenever I next have a decent connection.

Saturday update

Bardog Tavern posted the following yesterday afternoon:

Pssst… we’ve missed you guys! The Bardog crew has been hard at work giving some well-deserved TLC and renovations to your favorite @downtownmemphis neighborhood bar. We’ll be re-opening (very) soon, so keep following along to be the first to know when! 🖤🐶 @ Bardog Tavern

I got addicted to a new TV show yesterday: BBQ Pitmasters. It’s like BBQ Fest as a TV show. Three teams compete in two categories, with 10 hours to cook, and both categories must be turned in at the same time. Teams don’t know in advance what the categories are. Sometimes it’s something fairly common, like pork shoulder or beef brisket. Other times it’ll be more exotic. On one show, teams found a salmon in their cooler; on another episode, it was venison brisket. On yet another, teams found two cuts of beef and a cut of pork along with a grinder to make BBQ meatloaf.

I have to admit, watching the show made me feel better about the years my team had bad results at BBQ Fest. The teams that competed had multiple BBQ festival championships and in many cases, ran restaurants, yet they screwed up frequently. Mistakes were made like not monitoring the cooker’s temperature, failure to get good color, and sloppy presentation in the blind box. The judges are BBQ celebrities Myron Mixon, Tuffy Stone, and a third guest judge. For some of the episodes, the guest judge was Melissa Cookston of Memphis Barbecue Co.

There are full episodes on Destination America’s website that you can watch for free. Check it out if you’re looking for something to pass the time this weekend. Perhaps the BBQ Fest shoulder trophy-winning Moody Ques will be invited to compete on the show in 2021 or 2022. It’ll give the folks at the corner table at Max’s Sports Bar something to watch on TV while they trade Bananas Foster recipes.

Live music returns to Slider Inn Downtown this weekend. This afternoon from 2 to 5, Chris Hill, Chris Johnson, and Adam Quinn will play. Tomorrow from 4:30 to 6:30, DJ Alpha Whiskey will supply the tunes.

The Daily Memphian has news on plans to restore the cobblestones on the river to their original glory, and make that part of the riverside more walkable, connecting Fourth Bluff and the other north Downtown parks to Tom Lee Park.  Plans include overlooks and a wheelchair-accessible walkway.

Favor to ask my readers: Please be understanding this weekend if you go out to your favorite restaurants/bars and they are enforcing additional rules that seem stupid. I’m talking about rules like, you can’t be served while standing at the bar, you must physically be in a seat. Employees are not trying to be the Rules Nazis and believe me, they hate it as much as you do. They’re just trying to comply with Phase 2 Back to Business rules. Word on the street is that Code Enforcement may have some surprise visits planned for this weekend.

Loflin Yard will resume its Bluegrass Brunch tomorrow noon to 3 with live music. I assume the brunch won’t be a buffet anymore.

Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum on North Second St. has a Juneteenth celebration today from 11 to 3. This will be a celebration of liberation with music and vendors.

“Never be afraid to cut someone off” -MLGW

Time to get those utility bills current, because MLGW will resume cutoffs August 3.

There are four blood types: A, B, AB, and O. A new study shows that blood types have an effect on your experience with the coronavirus. People with type A blood have a 45% increased chance of getting the virus and developing respiratory distress compared to people of the other blood types. People with type O blood are 35% less likely to develop a severe case of COVID-19.

Most people don’t like anchovies on pizza, but if you’re the exception, come on down to the Silly Goose sometime soon.

Dylan brought out a plate for those of us sitting at the bar to try yesterday. “These are white anchovies,” Dylan said. “Mostly you see brown ones.” The others at the bar wouldn’t touch the anchovies, nor would the bartender, but Socially Distant Perjorie and I gobbled them right up.

The Cossitt Library will present the first two River Garden Storytimes of 2020, Thursday, June 25 at 7 PM and Friday, June 26 at 10 AM. They will read children’s book Rainbow Fish, by local author Marcus Pfister. They are aware that Phase 2 is still in place, and therefore will have extra guidelines to keep everyone safe. These include

  • Seating will be minimum six feet apart and will be delineated by twine and stakes
  • Bring towels to sit on grass
  • The story will be read on the park’s PA system
  • Each participant will have his/her own bag filled with crafting materials
  • Masks and hand sanitizer will be available for participants, guardians/chaperones, and staff
  • Guardians/chaperones are asked to remain on site for the duration of the event

The city permit office has approved a Spontaneous Event Exception for a Comrades & Community Inc. Women of Stamina George Floyd Protest Parade, involving 50 cars, next Saturday, June 27 from 4 to 6 PM. The location is listed as “Vance Avenue” so keep that in mind if you have plans to drive on a street that intersects Vance during those times.

Today the incompetent, pussy-grabbing orange shitgibbon is holding a rally in Tulsa’s BOK Arena. It is expected to be packed to its 19,000 capacity, with shouting throughout the event, no social distancing, and many people coming from out of town. Masks will be provided but their wearing will not be required. Tulsa is a city that has seen coronavirus cases on the rise in recent weeks. In other words, this has all the makings of a COVID-19 superspreader event. Trump doesn’t care if people die as long as he is re-elected. Trump’s photo should be in the dictionary next to “narcissistic psychopath.”

Probably the final Saturday that I won’t be brunching at Bardog. If I can’t be there, I’ll do the next best thing. Internet has been crapping out again, so I’ll hit Publish and see if this goes through. Back tomorrow… maybe.