Thursday update

Last night I had a dream about the ancient Roman Empire. I saw examples of their architectural ruins, which resembled the abandoned 1960s bank buildings on Court Avenue around Second and B.B. King Blvd. Although, an abandoned 3-story building of theirs was not even as tall as I am. The pagan tribes that eventually conquered Rome after more than 1000 years got their strength by eating lots of chicken nuggets.

Doctors advise not consuming any caffeinated soft drinks within eight hours of bedtime. This is what happens when you don’t listen.

On to the news, and we have a lot of big stuff today. First of all, U.S. District Judge Jon P. McCalla denied a temporary restraining order allowing a group of limited-service restaurants (restaurants whose total sales are more than 50% alcohol) to remain open after being closed by Shelby County Health Directive No.9. He agreed that the plaintiffs would suffer “devastating economic injury,” but did not find that the Health Department’s closure of the restaurants was “arbitrary and capricious” or “unnecessary” in the face of a health crisis.

The group of restaurants that were plaintiffs in yesterday’s ruling do not include the Donwotnwn limited service restaurants and Midtown cocktail lounge Alchemy. However, Nick Scott, owner of Alchemy, believes it is unlikely that U.S. District Court Judge Fowlkes will rule the other way in their case. So the bars that sell less than 51% food will almost certainly be closed for the foreseeable future, unless some kind of reopening agreement with the Health Department can be reached.

One of the Downtown limited service restaurants, the Silly Goose, is remaining open for take-out, and has announced a new special through the end of August: When you buy one of the wood-fired pizzas between 4 and 8 PM, 100% of the purchase price goes to the bartender on duty. Cash is king, so don’t forget to hit the ATM before you come to the Goose. Note that shift change is at 6, so if you want to support your day bartender come before then, and if you want to support your night bartender come after.

In other Health Department news, owners of independent restaurants have delivered a letter to its director, Dr. Alisa Haushalter. In the letter they request

  • Same-day testing results for employees of restaurants, noting the devastating financial impact when a restaurant has to close for a week, awaiting results for one employee
  • Clear science-based guidelines from the CDC to follow
  • To re-open bar seating. Bar seating is a type of seating some customers prefer, just as others prefer standard tables, high-tops, or booths. The letter notes that for some restaurants, bar seating makes up a large part of capacity and is vital for the financial success of the business.

The restaurants also stated that they support masking and believe that being pro-masking is being pro-small business. The letter was signed by 27 owners of Downtown restaurants, including Bert Smythe (McEwen’s), Felicia Willett (Felicia Suzanne Restaurant), Michael Patrick (Rizzo’s), Michael Hudman and Andy Ticer (Catherine & Mary’s, Gray Canary, Bishop), Ryan Trimm (Sunrise, 117 Prime, 3rd & Court) and Patrick and Deni Reilly (Majestic Grille, Cocozza).

For my cigar-smoking readers, Robusto by Havana Mix, the cigar lounge on Peabody Place, now carries Southern Draw cigars.

Here’s info on how to watch the WGC-St. Jude Invitational which happens today through Sunday.

Make a difference while supporting your favorite golfer. Go to Birdies for St. Jude and make a pledge to donate for each hole on which a golfer of your choice beats par. Shout-out to Grizz announcer @PetePranica for tweeting.

The annual St. Jude Marathon, normally held the first Saturday in December, is going virtual this year. Participants can choose one of three options: Complete the 5K, half-marathon, or whole marathon on race day; complete two of the three up to and on race day; or complete all three up to and on race day. Runners will pick their own race route this year. If you don’t run, as always there will be an option to support a runner. Last year’s race raised a record $12 million for the children’s hospital that never bills families for treatment.

The Grizzlies and the American Red Cross will co-host a blood drive in the alley on the north side of FedExForum tomorrow, Friday, July 31, 9 AM-3 PM. Donors will be entered into a drawing to win one of two team autographed basketballs. As an added bonus, the Red Cross is testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies for a limited time… so if you donate, you will get a report in about a week letting you know if you have ever been exposed to the virus and not known it.

Did you know that Presidents Island is a prized location for deer hunting? People from all over enter a lottery to bow hunt on the island, which is considered a place to harvest a large, mature buck. There is a 9-point or larger harvest rule.

From stats site FiveThirtyEight: MLB’s “Plan” didn’t pan out is the subject of the latest Hot Takedown podcast. National infectious disease expert Dr. Fauci says the MLB season could be endangered by the recent Miami Marlins outbreak but it doesn’t need to be stopped. Anyone suspect that Dr. Fauci has the same kind of blind spot about baseball during COVID-19 that I have about bars?

There needs to be a transcript-on-demand service for people who don’t have time to listen to podcasts.

The NBA seeding games start tonight with two games broadcast live on TNT. At 5:30, Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans host Mike Conley and the Utah Jazz. I bet all of Memphis will be rooting for Utah in that one, not just because of our love for The Conductor but because we’d like to see the Pels fall further back in their race to catch the Grizzlies for the 8 seed. At 8:00 a crosstown L.A. rivalry comes to Orlando as the Lakers host the Clippers. Wait, don’t they both use the same stadium? So it’s an intrastadium rivalry rather than crosstown… look, don’t get caught up in words and just be glad there are sports to watch.

Hygiene theater is the latest new term to spring forth in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis. People are sanitizing and scrubbing, scrubbing and sanitizing, yet the vast majority of the effort may be nothing but a big waste of time. Surface transmission is now believed to be far less a transmitter of the coronavirus than was originally believed. The studies that said sanitizing was a valuable weapon in the virus fight were said to have “stacked the deck to get a result that bears no resemblance to the real world.” Perhaps history books will use “value signaling and hygiene theater” as the heading to introduce readers to the summer of 2020.

Six hours late is better than never… back tomorrow with more news, and I can already tell you I will have numerous topics to rant about.