Thoughts on the DMC’s BuildDowntown proposal

Yesterday I read the Downtown Memphis Commission’s 74-page BuildDowntown proposal to plan out Downtown development for the next 20 years. I am going to list my reactions below. Note that this is not a complete summary of the proposal by any means – these are simply the reactions of someone who has lived Downtown for 18 years and in the Downtown core for 17 of those 18.

A major point made is that while significant growth has been made in some Downtown neighborhoods, the growth has been spaced out so that the public spaces in between have not been activated. Some examples are listed below.

Right now the Downtown core seems somewhat disconnected from perhaps Downtown’s most up-and-coming neighborhood, The Edge, because you have to get across Danny Thomas Blvd. The plan proposes getting rid of the bridges and having at-grade intersections at Madison, Monroe, and Union. Great idea… I am so looking forward to having beers at the taproom at Memphis Made 2 near Madison and Lauderdale, when it opens. What I’m not looking forward to is the steep climb up Madison on foot or bike to get there.

There is something of a disconnect between the Downtown core north of Beale and South Main. The proposal suggests relocating MLGW and activating the parcel of land on which it sits, the entire block bordering Main, Beale, Second, and MLK. The MLGW headquarters feels out of place in that location. If feels like a Summer Avenue business is sitting on a key parcel of land on one of Memphis’ most important streets.

A drawing in the proposal seems to indicate the pedestrian part of Beale Street be extended all the way to Front. Excellent idea although I bet that will get push-back from the Orpheum if that huge parking lot to its north is eliminated. More on parking later in this post.

The proposal suggests eliminating the disconnect between two shared public spaces, Court Square and the riverfront, by making Court Avenue a “shared street” (between pedestrians and traffic) west of Court Square.

There’s also a disconnect between the riverfront north of Court (Fourth Bluff and the other parks) and the riverfront south of Beale (Beale Street Landing and Tom Lee Park). The proposal would fill it in.

Civic Center Plaza is an uninteresting piece of land that disconnects the core from the Pinch, The proposal suggests re-imagining those blocks to make them more inviting.

Pedestrian/bike connections connecting Downtown to French Fort – absolutely! The Metal Museum and the parks south of Crump are not currently easily accessible except by car. Would be great for residents of the former Marine hospital that is being converted into apartments. Also I bet it would raise occupancy rates at the Super 8 motel in that area, especially if bike shares and scooters were made readily available.

Better connect South Main and South City by redeveloping Second between Beale and Talbot, which is currently parking lot city, and redeveloping Film Row to attract makers and those in the arts. The proposal suggests making Second and B.B. King two-way roads as far north as either MLK or Vance.

Extend the Chelsea Ave. Greenline to run from Washington Park on the far north part of Second to N. McLean Avenue. That would benefit North Memphis as well as Downtown.

Other thoughts:

Ensure that Downtown becomes more inclusive as it becomes more successful – yes yes. I have said for almost the entire time I have written this blog that Downtown will lose a lot of its character if rents exclude people like artists, musicians, and teachers from moving down here. We need more people of color living Downtown also.

Develop a public art program in South City that tells the story of the neighborhood. A-plus idea. Memphis is a great city because it has soul. Let’s emphasize that.

Implement the vision for The Ravine as a central public space in The Edge. What’s going on with that project? It seemed like it was in the news constantly through the first half of June 2019, but since then we’ve heard little about it.

In the upgrade of Second and B.B. King, emphasize transit on Second and pedestrian amenities on B.B. King. Hey, B.B. King already has a Hooters, what more could you ask for? Just kidding. Having two walkable parallel streets with lots to do (Main and B.B. King) would be excellent. Right now there isn’t a lot to do on B.B. King north of AutoZone Park, although the new Indigo Hotel, 3rd & Court Diner, and The Lounge provide a glimmer of hope.

The study suggests there will be a reduced need for parking Downtown over the next two decades as people shift to ride share, bike share, scooters, and other new and innovative forms of transportation. That will provide opportunities to eliminate parking lots that currently separate Downtown’s neighborhoods. As I said, that’s going to produce some resistance from businesses adjacent to those lots.

Those are my thoughts. I will again stress that this is not a thorough summary of the document. Overall it sounds like a plan for a promising future for our neighborhood.

Wednesday update: Protesters advised to get COVID-19 tests

In yesterday’s city/county COVID-19 task force press conference, Health Department director Dr. Haushalter said that COVID-19 testing capacity is at a good level, but tests are being under-utilized. She encouraged anyone showing symptoms, no matter how mild, to get tested, as well as anyone who has come in contact with a person who has the virus. However, Haushalter added a third group: protesters. She recommends that anyone who has participated in a protest come in for a test 5 to 7 days after the date of participation.

Haushalter also confirmed what county mayor Harris announced yesterday: Barring the unforeseen, we will move to Phase 3 of the Back-to-Business plan next Monday, June 15. However, she advised that if businesses can show the health department that they have a sound social distancing and masking plan, they will allow those businesses into Phase 3 early.

192 new cases were reported yesterday, but a lot of that is due to surge testing at correctional facilities and nursing homes. The positive rate was only 6.6%.

The City Council may hold a special meeting as early as Friday to vote on an ordinance requiring Memphians to wear masks when out in public. Council attorney Allan Wade says the city’s charter is worded in such a way that the city has a duty to prevent public nuisances, and that an infectious disease qualifies as such a nuisance (remember, the city’s charter was rewritten post-yellow fever). Wade is willing to take the fight to court if he has to.

A new company called 901 Smugglers is partnering with local liquor stores to bring home liquor delivery to Downtown Memphis. Their app is coming to iOS on July 1. They will be able to deliver liquor to your Downtown address (of course, you must be 21 or older) within a 2-hour window or you can order in advance.

City Tasting Tours announced in its recent newsletter that Patio Tasting Tours will begin July 1. Obviously the rules will be somewhat different since COVID-19 has stuck around.

If you’re laid off due to COVID-19, you can get affordable health care at Church Health Center. Normally the requirement is that you must be working at least 20 hours a week in a business that does not provide health insurance, but the Center recognizes that many people are not working right now through no fault of their own.

CNN has a look at a city that disbanded its police department, Camden, NJ, seven years ago, and what has happened since. This is especially cool: On an officer’s first day on the new, re-thought police force, he or she is required to knock on residents’ doors, introduce themselves, and ask what needs improving.

Another story from CNN: The data showing that American police shoot, kill, and imprison more people than other Western countries

The owner of McEwen’s has filed a permit to renovate the buildings immediately to the restaurant’s west at 118-124 Monroe, formerly known as 124 Newsroom the last time it was open to the public years ago. Another restaurant and apartments are planned for the space.

That’s it for now. Check back mid-afternoon for my thoughts on the BuildDowntown proposal that will shape Downtown over the next two decades.

Tuesday update

The Downtown Memphis Commission has released the latest version of the  BuildDowntown master plan. You can read the plan and then attend one of two webinars on Zoom and offer your feedback. I will give the plan a read today and share my thoughts on here tomorrow.

The Flying Saucer will have its Father’s Day glass with a Grateful Dad theme on sale tomorrow.

International Business Times says oddsmakers have the Grizzlies at -155 to make the playoffs. That means that the Grizzlies are favored to make it and you’d have to bet $155 on them making the playoffs to win $100.

Mayor Lee Harris told the County Commission yesterday that unless something really unexpected comes up, the city and county will move to Phase 3 of re-opening Monday, June 15. Let me caution my readers that “something unexpected” may well come up; people have been protesting for 12 days (except yesterday, when rain canceled the protest) and since the coronavirus has a 14-day incubation period, we are just starting to find out to what degree the lack of social distancing in the protests has contributed to the spread.

The reproduction rate of the virus in Shelby County is up to 1.2. That means on average, each person who has the virus (including asymptomatic carriers who never know they had it) will give it to 1.2 additional people. When the reproduction rate is below 1, the virus starts to die out as it can’t find enough hosts to sustain itself.

My new face mask!

Thanks to Bill and Pam from River Time Market & Deli for getting it for me! (Hair by Tropical Depression Cristobal)

Hearing through the grapevine that South of Beale may re-open Monday the 15th.

Big River Crossing will be closed this Wednesday, June 10, for “spider maintenance.” Perhaps the folks at Memphis Tourism should add well-maintained spiders to the list of reasons to visit our city.

ARRIVE Hotel re-opens Monday the 15th.

If public transit in Memphis is an issue that matters to you, Memphis Innovation Corridor invites you to join in for a series of virtual public meetings that will happen June 15-30.

The DM’s Chris Herrington has a look at Preston Lauterbach’s 2015 book Beale Street Dynasty, which Herrington labels an essential Memphis read.

Local breweries Beale Street Brewing Co. and Crosstown Brewing Co. are teaming up to join the Black is Beautiful brewers’ movement in response to the murder of George Floyd. Participating breweries brew a stout and then donate all proceeds of the beer’s sales to a local foundation of the brewery’s choice. The two Memphis breweries will donate proceeds from the sale of their stout to MICAH.

Amazon will make a feature film about Memphis 901 FC’s Tim Howard.

Bella DuBalle will host Fridays at Atomic Rose starting this Friday. $10 cover after 9 PM. There will be two shows:

  • “War of the Roses” at 8 PM. This is Memphis’ own “RuPaul’s Drag Race” style drag competition.
  • “The Rose Review Drag Show” at 11 PM

Subway’s “buy a footlong, get one free” deal is back when you order online or through the app.

Donald Trump picked up a cherished endorsement over the weekend: the Ku Klux Klan.

Apologies for no post yesterday. I had the “first day of work” jitters, although I don’t know why. Back tomorrow with more news.

Caldo Tlalpeno (chicken chipotle soup) @ Maciel’s

For quite some time now, friends have been telling me that I must try the spicy chicken soup at Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos. I have to admit I didn’t make it a priority, thinking, “It’s just soup, how good could it be?”

I should have made it a priority. I thought of it yesterday and called in a to-go order for lunch.

That container was HUGE – if you want a reference point, Mendatius T. Roll standing to the right of the soup is about 7 inches tall counting his hair. There was easily enough for two good meals, even if I hadn’t also ordered Maciel’s chorizo cheese dip and house-made chips.

The soup was loaded with chicken and the flavor was outstanding. It’s got quite a bit of spice so you’ll want a cold drink handy. I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to lunch today when I’ll have leftovers.

When we hear the name “Maciel’s,” most of us tend to think of the tacos, the burritos, or the sandwiches. Don’t sleep on the soup though. It’s every bit as good as the rest of the menu.


Saturday update

As if it weren’t enough that we have a pandemic and a curfew going on, a tropical storm is heading our way. T.S. Cristobal, the third named storm of the 2020 season, is currently in the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to make landfall on the Louisiana coast Sunday morning, passing over Baton Rouge as a tropical storm and Monroe, Louisiana and Little Rock as a tropical depression. That will put Memphis on the east side, typically the hardest-hit.

I’ve been asked multiple times when the curfew will end. Even cops I have talked to have no idea. Mayor Strickland renews the curfew on a daily basis, and news didn’t come that it had been renewed yesterday until about 2 PM. That has made it hard on my friends in the service industry, who don’t know if they’re closing at 9 PM or 1 AM until they get to work. You can’t file for unemployment for four hours.

I’m receiving tips that Downtown parking officials are cracking down hard writing tickets for metered spaces. They had somewhat loosened up during the house arrest and the early phases of reopening.

Geoff Calkins’ columns alone are worth the cost of a $7/month subscription to The Daily Memphian. Yesterday he explained why the restructured NBA season is good for the Grizzlies. The 8 worst teams, the ones with no chance of making the playoffs, aren’t invited to Orlando. The Grizzlies only had one game against the bad teams on their remaining schedule. The teams trying to catch up to Memphis and take the 8 seed, had considerably more.

From Memphis River Parks Partnership:

Yup that exists: a socialist version of Monopoly.

I’ve been active on the Pabst Blue Ribbon group on Facebook this week. I asked if anyone else stands up and applauds when the delivery man wheels the PBR in. Several people responded that they did, and I also heard from delivery people who said they appreciated it. Thank you for your service.

I also answered a question asking, what is your second choice when PBR is not available? As a certified expert on beer, with 8 plates on the Flying Saucer’s ceiling to prove it, I can tell you that no beer tastes as much like PBR as the Irish lager Harp. If I have to pick a domestic beer, Miller High Life would be my runner-up.

Motown & Margaritas returns to Tin Roof tomorrow and every Sunday 6 to 9 PM. Wind down the weekend with some good music and $5 margarita specials.

Dylan whipped up a new dish at Silly Goose yesterday that may make it on to the menu: red bean hummus.

This was yummy and the color made me feel like I was eating meat when I actually wasn’t – wait, I was, those dark pieces are bacon. I’m sure you can ask for that to be left off if you’re a vegetarian though.

If you missed out on Memphis Chamber’s COVID-19 webinars, you can watch them here.

I’m going back to work on Monday! After two and a half months off I am ready to be productive. The blog may be hit-or-miss the first part of next week as I adjust to having a schedule again. Probably back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update: Virtual Volunteer Day is today

Volunteer Odyssey hosts Virtual Volunteer Day on their Facebook page all day long today. They’ll broadcast live, introducing you to their nonprofit partners (a new one each hour). They’ll have projects you can do from where you are, with materials you already have on hand. Share your experiences on social media using the tag #VolunteerOdyssey. Partners/projects include

  • Wolf River Conservancy and Memphis Transformed
  • Spreading Sunshine
  • Levitt Shell
  • Memphis Botanic Garden
  • Room in the Inn
  • Overton Park
  • Child Advocacy Center
  • MIFA

Virtual Volunteer Day is kid-friendly and you can complete as many of the projects as you want. Those who live outside of Memphis are welcome to join.

The Rendezvous is opening back up at 50% capacity for lunch and dinner. They will open at 11 AM and for the time being will close at 8 PM. They say a later closing time will make more sense once sporting events and concerts return.

Quench Wine & Spirits is offering online ordering, pick-up and curbside delivery during the pandemic. Order on their website and pick up at 99 S. Second Street across from the Peabody.

South Main Sushi is expanding their take-out hours to 4:00-8:30 PM.

Set your DVR to record the June 11 edition of “TODAY with Hoda & Jenna.” B.J. Chester-Tamayo of Alcenia’s will cook with Hoda and Jenna. Those of you reading this blog from out of town, if you want a taste of Memphis, Alcenia’s new online store ships many items nationwide. It has pies, bread pudding and chow-chow, as well as non-food items like a soul food cookbook.

If you like sweets, might want to take a walk around Beale this week. A friend of mine went to Dyer’s yesterday to pick up an order and on the way back, a woman stopped him and gave him a free dozen Insomnia Cookies. I had a S’mores cookie and it was excellent.

No protest was planned for last night, but one broke out anyway following a civil disobedience training class at the National Civil Rights Museum. Organizer Frank Gottie has called for a protest at Poplar and Highland tonight at 6.

New Wing Order has announced their special flavor for the month of June: Tom’s Tiger Wings, which have a sweet orange flavor with a touch of heat.

The Downtown Local is looking for a lead cook/chef and a line cook. Email to apply or come by any day between 4 and 6 PM.

Caught up on the Downtown gossip this week… so tempted to reach out to someone I’ve never officially met and tell them they’re about to make a huge mistake. Naaah I guess I will mind my own bizness and let life lessons be learned the hard way. Meanwhile I’ll just sit here and play with my trolls. I have a whole stable of them y’know.

Speaking of trolls, Socially Distant Perjorie made a new friend yesterday:

Former Secretary of Defense and retired Marine general Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis penned an opinion piece this week, denouncing his former boss Donald Trump. “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.” Mattis’s rebuke was praised by Republican senators Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski as “stunning,” “powerful,” “overdue.” If you agree with Mattis, you have a chance to save democracy on November 3.

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


Thursday update

Got a lot of news today, but I’ll start off with a trivia question, one I discovered yesterday as I was studying for Blind Bear trivia. Last night had a round titled “Eggcellent Eggs.” The question wasn’t among those asked, but I wanted to share it anyway because the answer was rather surprising.

Chicken eggs can be either white or brown. What is the factor that determines the color of the egg? Answer at the end of this post.

The big news is that the DA in Minneapolis has announced new charges in the George Floyd case. Derek Chauvin, the officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, has had his murder charge upgraded from third-degree to second-degree. The three other officers who were on the scene were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Let’s hear it for the good guys: Downtown Express food mart at Second and Madison opened their doors to the protesters last night and offered free drinks and snacks.

The Daily Memphian has a recap of last night’s protest march. The tone of the marches has changed, and it sounds like they are about people of all races coming together to love and support one another.

Organizer DeVante Hill announced to the group that there will be no protest tonight or tomorrow night, and they will meet up Saturday at the I AM A MAN Plaza at 6:30. There will also be a “family day” protest at 4 PM Sunday and churches are encouraged to bring families and children.

Mayor Strickland announced that city leaders will meet with Hill and fellow organizer Frank Gottie several times over the next few weeks to come up with ways to end structural racism and change police policies.

The second big piece of news today is that Memphis Tigers assistant coach Mike Miller is stepping down. He wants to spend more time with his family. He has two sons in high school who both play basketball. Miller had been a star recruiter for Penny Hardaway, able to flash NBA championship rings to show where playing for Penny can lead you. Geoff Calkins: With Miller gone, pressure increases on Hardaway

The third big piece of news is that the NBA has announced a plan for restarting the season to be submitted to its Board of Governors. Here are key points of the plan:

  • All play would happen in a tightly-controlled environment in Orlando, in an attempt to keep the coronavirus out.
  • 22 teams of the NBA’s 30 would be invited to Orlando, the cutoff being teams that were within 6 games of a playoff spot when the season was suspended in March.
  • Around July 31, teams will play out an 8-game end to the regular season.
  • There could be a play-in series to determine the number 8 seeds, giving the number 9 teams an opportunity to steal the seed from the 8th place team at the end of the regular season.
  • The NBA Finals would likely be in October.

The Grizzlies, currently in 8th place in the West, would be invited under the terms of the plan, but they would have to fight through the 8-game regular season and possibly the play-in games to retain their playoff spot.

Announcements from MATA:

The Memphis Farmers Market Crop Hop 5K is going virtual this year. Run a 5K June 20 or 21, submit your time to the website, and post a selfie of you with hashtag #crophop5k. Registration is $20 and includes a MFM tote bag and a $3 coupon for use at the Market.

Regina’s Cajun Kitchen in the Lincoln-American Tower posted that when you dine in, you get a free five-piece Mango Habanero (wings, I’m assuming) when you spend $10 or more.

Cat’s Ballroom will present a free beginner dance class outside the Downtown Memphis Commission building at Main and Adams Friday, June 12 from 8 to 9 PM. Bring a partner and learn a few steps on a romantic, safe date night. Masks are required and they will space people out.

Cordelia’s Market will host The Giving Grill Saturday from 11 AM to 1 PM. This is a community grill-0ut to benefit 275 Food Project.

117 Prime has re-opened for dinner. Key things to know:

  • 5 PM to 10 PM (but keep in mind there’s a 10 PM to 6 AM curfew currently)
  • Bar will open an hour early, at 4 PM. Happy hour at the bar 4 to 7 PM, with $1 Gulf oysters, $5 cocktails and glasses of wine, and $3 local and domestic beers (last time I was in there they didn’t have PBR).
  • Curbside and to-go menus still available 11 to 3 for lunch and 4 to 9 for dinner.
  • Limited capacity
  • Employees will wear PPE and wash their hands frequently
  • When you enter, a non-invasive temperature check is done and you have to sanitize your hands
  • Masks are not required, but guests are encouraged to wear them anytime not at the table

Speaking of those temperature checks… someone I know went to a restaurant this week and had his temperature taken with one of those forehead thermometers. He was told, “98.6… you just barely made it. Point-4 more and we’d have to ask you to leave.” 99.0 seems like an awfully low threshold. Bodily temperature fluctuates and it’s possible for it to be in the low 99s at times, after exercising for example. 99.6 or 100.0 sound like much more reasonable limits.

Edible Memphis has updated its black-owned restaurants guide. Some of Downtown’s best restaurants are black-owned, including Alcenia’s, Cozy Corner, LUNCHBOXeats, Sage, and many more.

From Lifehacker: The phone settings you need to know before protesting. These settings are especially relevant here in Memphis, where police have been known to violate consent decrees in their tracking of protesters and activists.

Robusto by Havana’s Mix will host a My Father Cigars event Friday, June 19 from 5 to 9 PM. This smokers’ event is the perfect opportunity for you to pick up some cigars for your father for Father’s Day.

A new graphic novel called Pandemica came out this week. At the time it was written, the author had no idea there would be an actual pandemic at the time of the release.

Silly Goose is known for its pizzas, but they have pasta too. Any pizza topping can be a pasta ingredient, but several of my friends have had great success with this formula:

  • Ask to speak to Dylan
  • Tell him what color you prefer (red, white, or green – meaning sauce)
  • Tell him if there’s anything you don’t eat
  • Answer a few questions of his as to what you like

Do this and about 10 minutes later you’ll have delicious pasta in front of you. Dylan is one of those chefs were “make me something good” is a great way to order. He enjoys it and you get to discover new pasta dishes. By Health Department regulations, all food has to be served in disposable containers, so don’t be surprised when your pasta comes out in a foil-lined pizza box rather than a bowl.

Trivia answer: The color of the egg is determined by the color of the hen that lays it. White hens lay white eggs, and red and brown hens lay brown eggs.

Jeannette took reservations for Blind Bear trivia, even bar stools, to enforce the 6-foot rule. She wanted us to come up with team names in advance so she could put them on the reservation signs. I had trouble coming up with anything good, but then my socially distant troll pointed out that we were under house arrest the entire month of April. Therefore, anything that happened that month was fair game to use as a name. I thought back to that time the president of the United States suggested we ingest disinfectants to prevent the coronavirus.

That was good for a $10 gift card for Best Team Name. I must have studied the wrong eggs, though, because we didn’t finish in the top three.

That’ll do it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update: Phase 2 of re-opening extended

Yesterday Mayor Strickland extended Phase 2 of the Back to Business reopening plan by more than a week, to June 16. With 190 new cases reported yesterday, Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph called the numbers “alarming” and said “we don’t want to go back” and that it was up to the public to wear face masks to ensure that we don’t.

Dr. Randolph attributed the rise in cases to “community transmission in general” and not to clustering in areas like jails or to events like Memorial Day. He said that if the increasing trend continues, the health department will consider mandating that everyone wear a mask in public.

Dr. Randolph announced that health-friendly businesses, ones that require all people who enter (employees and customers) to wear a mask,  will be listed on the health department website. Good way to get a little free publicity and let your customers know they’ll be protected against the virus when they come in.

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick has reopened for dining inside. To ensure everyone’s safety, he has put rules in place, including:

  • You must get your temperature checked upon entering, and if your temperature is 100.4F or higher you will be asked to leave.
  • You have to have a face mask on at all times when you are away from your table – when you come in, when you get up to go smoke or use the restroom.
  • No tables of more than 4, except for two in the lobby set up for 6. Customers are asked not to move tables together. Tables are spaced 6 feet apart.

Memphis Food & Wine Festival is calling off their 2020 festival. The event was scheduled for October 17, but thanks to the coronavirus that date is now Saturday of Music Fest. The food and wine festival will be back “bigger and better than ever” in 2021.

Comma Comedians who perform at restaurants and breweries around town will have a comedy show online on Zoom this evening from 8 to 9.

Memphis River Parks Partnership will hold a Tom Lee Park Engagement Pop-Up tonight to share information about the new design proposal.

Blind Bear trivia is on tonight for a 6 PM curfew-adjusted start time.

Downtown Walgreens now has all its windows boarded up. It is open for business, however.

I hate to sound like an alarmist, and I pray this scenario never comes to pass, but…

What’s your plan, Stan?

Three of the four officers involved in the killing of George Floyd have still not been charged. Worst-case scenario, suppose the DA finds insufficient evidence to charge them with murder, manslaughter, or negligent homicide. People are going to be angry and there could be riots. If that happens:

  • If you live Downtown and work in another part of the city, what’s your plan to get home?
  • If you have kids in day care, what’s your plan to pick them up and get them to safety?
  • Do you have food in the house to last several days, as well as other essential supplies including the Holy Grail of supplies, toilet paper?
  • If you live in a ground-floor apartment or condo, what’s your plan if rioting comes to your neighborhood?
  • If you own a business, what’s your plan for getting your customers and employees out safely?
  • If you normally park your vehicle on the street, what’s your plan to keep it from being vandalized?

Might be a good idea to download a national news app and enable notifications, so you will know the fate of those cops as soon as it happens.

I’ll end this post with something I saw on social media yesterday that makes a lot of sense. People say

“It’s horrible that black people are being killed, but we must not allow businesses to be vandalized”

When what they need to do is reverse it and say

“It’s horrible that businesses are being vandalized, but we must not allow the killing of black people”

Back tomorrow with more news, or later today possibly.



Tuesday update

Mayor Strickland and Police Director Rallings called a special news conference yesterday afternoon. Because the protests turned violent Sunday night, requiring the use of tear gas, and because there was property damage, Strickland is imposing a 10 PM to 6 AM curfew nightly until further notice. “If you’re out during that time, you can be arrested,” the mayor said.

On my block of Main, the windows of Flight, Walgreens, and Winfield’s (a minority-owned clothing store) were broken out.

The curfew will surely continue at least as long as the nightly protests do. Frank Gottie, one of the organizers of the protests, is that the plan is for them to continue until the three other Minneapolis PD officers in the murder of George Floyd are arrested.

Bar & restaurant hours affected

Keep in mind that the curfew does not mean that bars and restaurants will close at 10. The people who work there have to be at home themselves by that hour.

I was in both the Silly Goose and the Blind Bear yesterday, and both of them had a plan to close their kitchens at 8, do a hard last call at 8:30, and have everyone out and the doors locked by 9.

I’ve seen some restaurants that have announced last delivery  orders taken at 7:00 and last seating for dine-in at 7:30 so that they have time to close up shop and get home before the curfew.

Also, patio dining may not be available for a while. Let me explain why…

Early yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at the Silly Goose watching a video activist Hunter Demster had been sent. The person who shot the video said that bricks and concrete slabs were being placed near Downtown businesses, so that people would have convenient weapons to throw through businesses’ windows.

About an hour after that, a car pulled up outside the Silly Goose and a woman came in, very agitated. She repeated the story about bricks being left for use as weapons, and that she and her group were sweeping the area and had found a few left outside and wanted to warn the owner.

Important point here… SHE DIDN’T BRING ONE OF THE BRICKS IN TO SHOW US. That makes me wonder if this was part of a disinformation campaign. However, it concerned management to the point that they moved all the patio furniture inside, and other bar and restaurant owners were texted about the threat and some did the same.

On to the news…

The Blind Bear brought trivia back last week, and it was a complete success, with people remaining socially distanced while having one of their normal weekly activities back. However, trivia start time has traditionally been 7:30, which won’t work if they need to have everyone out at 9. This is not set in stone yet, but Jeannette is considering the idea of moving start time back to 6:00 this Wednesday.

The Blind Bear is getting a 16-foot shuffleboard table. One of the poker tables will have to go to make room, but booths will be added to make up the seating space.

Happy Mexican posted that they are re-opening their Downtown location for dine-in today.

The interior of Royal Furniture is getting cleaned out in preparation for its conversion to a hotel. Even the bedroom set that lights up is gone.

Puck Food Hall will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a cookout on its newly upgraded patio Saturday, June 6 from 2 to 8 PM. Come socially distance while enjoying burgers and sausages with fries. All their vendors plan to be open regular hours Saturday, although I suspect the curfew may affect that a bit.

BBQ egg rolls have returned to the menu at Kooky Canuck.

Things are getting back closer to normal at Ghost River Brewing Co., and they’re expanding their hours:

  • Wednesday 4-9 PM
  • Thursday 4-9 PM
  • Friday 12-9 PM
  • Saturday 12-9 PM
  • Sunday 12-8 PM

The new hours were posted about an hour before the curfew was announced, so the 9 PM closing times may possibly be adjusted to give taproom employees time to get home.

The June 14 River Rat Rounders poker fundraiser for Alive Memphis, scheduled to be held at the Green Beetle, was canceled.

The latest business to fall to the coronavirus is Binghampton’s Caritas Village. The dining and meeting space isn’t closed for good, but will be at least for the summer.

Want to know what it’s like to get tested for COVID-19? Read an account from The Daily Memphian’s Jennifer Biggs. She said it couldn’t have been easier.

Cheers to the Memphis Grizzlies for giving employees paid time off to vote.

Think 2020 isn’t crazy enough already? Let me show you a really ugly picture.

Presidential election scenario…

Trump wins Ohio and Iowa, which are really more reliably red than they are swing states now.

Biden wins Virginia, which is really more reliably blue than a swing state now.

Biden wins Pennsylvania, where RealClearPolitics has him up 6.5%, nearly enough to declare PA “leaning Biden” as opposed to “toss-up.”

Biden wins NE-2, Nebraska’s congressional district containing progressive Omaha.

Biden wins Michigan, which seems very possible given Trump is doing everything he can to look like a raving lunatic in that state.

However, Trump hangs on to win Arizona, a state many thought would flip blue this year. Trump also wins swing states Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

That would give us this map.

Click the map to create your own at


An Electoral College tie would throw the election to the House of Representatives, with each state delegation receiving one vote, 26 needed to win. At this point it wouldn’t matter who won the election – the opposing party would spend the next four years claiming we have a president who wasn’t elected by the people. If this map is the one we get, we might be better off saying this “America” experiment was fun for most of the 244 years it lasted, and asking the Queen if she’d like her 13 colonies back and 37 additional ones.

Some of the chants from the protest last night

“I’ve got my hands above my head!”
“Please don’t shoot me dead!”

“Say his name!”
“George Floyd!”
“Say his name!”
“George Floyd!”
“George Floyd!”

“Hey, hey, ho, ho!”
“Racist cops have got to go!”

“When I can’t breathe, you can’t breathe!”

“Memphis, Light, Gas…”

“Let them go!” (meaning, the arrested protesters)

Apologies for no post yesterday. It just felt appropriate to take a day off.

Back tomorrow.