Wednesday update

This morning I found a fantastic smartphone app called GoVoteTN. You enter your address and it will show you a list of all races in the upcoming election. It will also show you polling locations, districts, and other useful information to know.

Bad news for the Memphis Grizzlies: Justise Winslow, who was projected to be the starting small forward for the team in the seeding games starting nine days from now, is out for the rest of the season with a hip injury. Winslow was acquired from the Miami Heat in a trade back in February, but had not played for the Grizz yet this season. I wonder what the plan will be now? Start Kyle Anderson at small forward? Or start DeAnthony Melton at shooting guard and move Dillon Brooks over to the 3 position?

The news from the COVID-19 task force meeting yesterday was mostly not good. Testing is near 100% of capacity and therefore they are asking that you only make an appointment for testing if

  • You’re displaying symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, a dry cough, or loss of taste or smell; or
  • You’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 – meaning, you’ve been within 6 feet of them for 15 minutes or longer, or had direct contact such as hugging or kissing.

They are asking people who are not displaying symptoms to hold off on testing right now. Also, the Health Department is asking employers not to require a second test for employees quarantined due to a previous positive test to return to work. If the employee has been isolated for 10 days and has shown no symptoms for 3 days, the Health Department deems them safe to come back.

Health Department director Dr. Haushalter said in the noon press conference that she had an afternoon meeting scheduled to discuss “tripwires,” thresholds at which additional restrictions would be automatically triggered, with Mayor Harris and the other mayors in the county. She expected to have a draft document by next week. She stressed, however, that if we all wear masks or face coverings when out in public, none of the additional triggers will ever be hit.

Dr. H encouraged those who are awaiting testing results to start making a list of anyone they had been in contact with over the past 2 weeks. That will help contact tracers hit the ground running should the test come back positive.

The Rendezvous has once again closed its dining room due to the increased levels of spread of the coronavirus, They will remain open for take-out and their shipping kitchen will remain open.

The creation of a commission responsible for renaming streets was approved yesterday by the Memphis City Council. However, the renaming of Poplar between Front and Danny Thomas to Black Lives Matter Avenue was shelved and referred to the commission.

Stats site FiveThirtyEight has released its Major League Baseball predictions for 2020. For fans of the St. Louis Cardinals, parent team of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, the forecast is pretty blah. The Cards are given a 37% chance to make it to the postseason, a 21% chance to win their division, and 2% to win the World Series. Three of the four other teams in the National League Central, the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Milwaukee Brewers, are higher up in the list.

The Grizzlies invite their fans to wear Grizzlies gear as they walk, run, or bike the riverfront, then report the number of miles covered here. Collectively, the goal is for fans to cover the 831.4 miles from Memphis to Orlando so Memphis can “Be There for Tip-Off” on July 31. Look for updates on Facebook and Instagram. Once the 831.4 is achieved, those who participated will be entered into a drawing for some sweet prizes.

If you want to try a beer from Uptown’s new brewery Grind City Brewing Co., head to Slider Inn Downtown where they have Viva Las Lager on tap.

Downtown Neighborhood Association president Jerred Price is forming a new committee to save the Mud Island Amphitheater.

River Time Market & Deli on Court Square is now offering grab & go meals that are always fresh, never frozen, and for which there is no contact after cooking. Below is a photo of their slow cooked beef with rice:

That’s it for today. Let me once again encourage you to PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASKS so businesses in Memphis do not have to close again. Believe me, I don’t like wearing a mask any more than you do, but I certainly prefer it to a second lockdown, which is where we may be heading if the numbers continue to go in the wrong direction. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

No ruling has been issued in the case of a group of limited service restaurants, including Downtown venues Blind Bear, Silly Goose, and Max’s Sports Bar, in their request for an injunction allowing them to remain open following their closure by the Shelby County Health Department as a measure to reduce spread of COVID-19. Counsel for the restaurants argued that the difference between limited service and full service restaurants – whether their sales are less than or more than 50% of food – is irrational as relates to the spread of the virus. Health Department director Dr. Haushalter said the department was acting on the advice of CDC officials who came down the week of July 4. The judge said that he does not want to rule yet on this case because a similar case will be heard before another judge next Monday.

Coverage by Action News 5 references photos of large crowds on Beale Street this past weekend.

A few hours down I-40, Nashville is gaining national attention after TMZ named the city No Mask-ville. Bar closure orders are being flouted there, and many people aren’t following social distancing and masking regulations and recommendations.

Not a Memphis or even a Tennessee thang but worth an embed in today’s post:

Patios are now back open for dine-in at two Aldo restaurants: Aldo’s Pizza Pies Downtown and Slider Inn Midtown. Of course, Slider Inn Downtown has had the air-conditioned inside open for dine-in the past couple of weeks. If I have a productive day today, I think I may reward myself with a visit to Downtown Slider for happy hour.

The parking lot at Tom Lee Park has been converted into a pop-up skate park with help from the folks at Society Skate Park and Contact Skate Shop.

From the Daily Memphian: Former Memphis Tiger Jeremiah Martin plans to take advantage of his NBA opportunity. After showing out in the early portion of the NBA G-League season, the Brooklyn Nets signed Martin to a two-way contract in January.

Very good Twitter thread on COVID-19 precautions by Republican Mississippi governor Tate Reeves. There is nothing wrong with admitting that we are dealing with incomplete information when it comes to the virus. Sometimes it is necessary to change course with the guidance issued to prevent spread.

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


Sunday update

For the first time in 18 years, I decided not to attend an event Downtown because I felt it was unsafe to walk there and back. My friends had their wedding party at Loflin Yard last night. However, the past couple of months I have read reports on Nextdoor of people drag racing down Front Street, sticking guns out of their car windows and shooting them in the air. Between that, the 108 degree feels-like temperature, and COVID-19, I decided the risk was a bit high.

Looks like I did the right thing. From Nextdoor this morning: “On the negative side, I did witness about 7 or 8 gunshots from one car directed at the one behind it at 11:25. Called 911 and gave particulars.” Another post encourages Downtowners to send photos and videos to Steve Shular at the mayor’s office:

It was the day of the displaced bar regulars at Slider Inn Downtown yesterday. Us Bardog people got there and claimed the bar a few minutes after they opened at 11. For the second week in a row, I want to commend Slider Inn for how they run their restaurant. Around 3:30 yesterday, a large group came in, and I just knew that if they could have, they would have crowded the people sitting at the bar, impatient for drinks, not caring about social distance at all. However, the hostess stopped them, and showed them all to seats. Since their group was larger than 6, she broke them up into two tables.

They’re doing Frito Pie as a side right now when you order three sliders! That is one heck of a good deal.

Memphis 901 FC picked up a point in league standings in their away match against Atlanta United 2 which ended in a 2-2 draw. Their next match is at home on Saturday.

If you want to get an idea of what Cerrito Trivia’s Matching in Memphis is like, they released a video of their July 17 game.

Staying home today, other than runs to Family Dollar and Walgreens. Sundays tend to bring out too many people who disregard COVID-19 regulations. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

I want to start off this post by saying congratulations to two of the most beautiful people I know, Alex and Mary, who tie the knot today. I’m sure the ceremony officiated by Rev. B-RAD will mark the start of a long and happy life together. I will try to make it to the party tonight, although I have plans with friends earlier in the day so we’ll have to see if I’m still standing by evening. Good news is, my plans with friends are at a full-service restaurant so there’s no chance I can catch COVID-19 there.

Bleacher Report has been doing a “30 Teams, 30 Days” analysis of each NBA team prior to the restart of the 2019-20 season, and by all means you should read Ja Morant Changes Everything, the piece about the Memphis Grizzlies. Ja has become a part of his community, dining at places like Arcade Restaurant, Huey’s and Majestic Grille. Even the Majestic owners’ son Seamus got a mention.

Fans – about 1000 of them – will be allowed in AutoZone Park for Memphis 901 FC’s home opener vs. Charlotte on the 25th. The seats will be an extra-safe 12 feet apart, double the normal social distancing recommendation. There will be temperature checks, digital tickets, limited concessions, and staggered exits to help keep everyone safe. Small clutch purses will be allowed but bags won’t. Season ticket holders will have first shot at the 1000 tickets.

Atomic Rose has dinner and a show tonight. Join them at 6 for dinner, then a viewing of Rocky Horror Picture Show at 7:30. This is a 21-and-up venue.

Due to COVID-19 ruining everything, there will be no live performances for Elvis Week this year. A virtual Elvis Experience pack will be sold for $50.

You just can’t fix stupid: A Utah meeting about masks in schools had to be postponed when almost no one showed up in a mask. Meanwhile, teachers are so worried about returning to school that they’re preparing wills.

AARP did an investigation into who hoarded toilet paper during the pandemic. The culprits tend to be older, worry warts, and those with highly “conscientious” personalities. Damn. If my mom were still alive, she’d probably have 200 rolls stuffed in her closet.

The world is going to have a new continent and ocean in only 5 to 10 million years. Water from the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden will flood a basin, separating Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya from the rest of Africa. This 2018 article has more details. Shall we start a naming contest for the new continent and ocean?

There’s a proposal in City Council to rename Poplar between Front and Danny Thomas, which would include the portion of Poplar that runs past the jail, to Black Lives Matter Avenue. I support this one million percent!

The Grizzlies have released their television schedule for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. They will play three scrimmages and all will be broadcast live on with commentary by Pete Pranica. The scrimmages are

  • Friday, July 24, 2:30 PM, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Sunday, July 26, 7 PM, Houston Rockets
  • Tuesday, July 28, 1 PM, Miami Heat

All 8 seeding games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southeast, but the following games will also be televised nationally:

  • July 31, 3 PM, vs. Portland Trail Blazers (NBATV)
  • August 3, 5:30 PM, vs. New Orleans Pelicans (ESPN; no doubt because of Zion vs. Ja)
  • August 7, 3 PM, Oklahoma City Thunder (NBATV)
  • August 11, 5:30 PM, Boston Celtics (TNT)

For those on Xfinity, Fox Sports Southeast was moved to a different tier of channels earlier this year, so you might want to check if you have it in advance of the start of the season.

The Cousins Maine Lobster food truck is at the Memphis Farmers Market this morning… although, I will once again remind folks that you can get a mighty fine lobster roll anytime a few blocks away at Slider Inn.

Blind Mississippi Morris plays Blues City Cafe at 5.

Well, they closed my rooftop last night. It was the absolute proper thing to do, because they had a positive test in the building. On the positive side, they finally fixed my air right, and it’s below 70 in my apartment for the first time in July. I slept well last night.

Yesterday I tried a couple of menu items from STIX. This time I ventured beyond hibachi and got creative in my choices.

Above are the sushi tacos, tuna tataki and avocado topped with spicy aioli and sweet soy, in a crunchy wonton shell. You get 2 of them for $5.

This is their shrimp bun, crispy shrimp tempura in a creamy, spicy sauce with apple ginger slaw on an Asian bun. You eat it like you would a soft taco. You can get one for $5 or two for $9.

I need to get super rich so I can donate $10 million to a university and get naming rights for a building or large lecture hall. Imagine your kids starting the fall semester and having a class in the Perjorie T. Roll Hall of Academic Achievement. You know I’d do it too… now I just have to figure out where to get $10 million. Launder money for Russians?

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

Friday update

A new grocery delivery service, Bluff City Greens, has the potential to be a game-changer for those Downtown, on Mud Island, and in Soulsville. This is an employee-owned grocery delivery service. You pick what you want online, and they do the rest. Their selection is quite extensive and includes a lot of items you can’t find at Walgreens, Family Dollar, and City Market. Really, their selection reminds me of a combination of the former Jack’s Food Store and Easy Way at Main and Jefferson. There’s free delivery on your first order. After that delivery is $3.99 (Downtown) or $0.99 (Soulsville).

This is a game-changer for Downtowners who don’t have a  vehicle, or who have a vehicle they’d get rid of if not for runs to Kroger. It’s also a game-changer for South Memphis, which Bluff City Greens wants to expand into as they hire more delivery drivers to address food desert issues in that neighborhood.

A hearing for bars limited service restaurants closed by the Shelby County Health Department has been rescheduled for Monday. The bars seek an injunction allowing them to reopen as they build a case to show that they are no more the cause of COVID-19 than full service restaurants. Judge McCalla will hear the case at 2 Monday. The rescheduling allows two separate lawsuits to be combined.

Recap of the COVID-19 task force press conference yesterday: Health Department director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said it is now taking 5-7 days to get reports of new cases back from the labs. This makes it harder to do contact tracing, because those infected have been infected for up to a week before the Health Department is informed. It also makes it more important to look at a 7-day rolling average of new cases, since the number of new cases on any one day cannot be assumed to be yesterday’s tests.

She said the task force is working on “trip wires” on advice from the CDC. These are conditions under which new restrictions would be automatically triggered, speeding up the process of implementing them, if certain thresholds were crossed. She said they expect to have a draft of what the trip wires will look like in 1 to 1½ weeks. A reporter asked if Haushalter could give an example of a potential trip wire. Haushalter did not want to, because she wanted yesterday’s message to remain on masking. If we get more Memphians to cover their faces, she said, none of these trip wires will ever get triggered. She did say the trip wires would be a “laser-focused approach” that would have the most impact.

Haushalter said the results are preliminary at this point, but so far we are not seeing as big an impact from people going out and socializing on the July 4 weekend as we had around Memorial Day.

Mayor Strickland took the stage to present some data. Since the making ordinance went into effect, the city has received 324 complaints about lack of masking in area businesses. Investigation by Code Enforcement officials found 229 of those businesses to be in compliance, 124 warnings were issued, and two businesses were issued summons to court, meaning they had three strikes. One of those businesses was a Kroger, which will nationally implement mandatory masking for customers starting Wednesday. The other was a neighborhood market. Strickland said those businesses as well as convenience stores are the subject of many complaints.

Strickland said there has been a big improvement in the number of Memphians wearing masks, and echoed that statement in his daily COVID-19 online update, encouraging everyone to keep it up. Hey, remember when Haushalter announced the closing of the bars limited service restaurants? She said the restrictions didn’t have to stay in place for long if we did better on masking. Well, we’re doing better, so…….. ?

Strickland said the city and county are working on reducing the amount of time you have to wait in line to be tested. He encouraged anyone who is symptomatic to not let the wait in line discourage you from being tested.

This wasn’t discussed in yesterday’s press conference, but UPI reports (UPI still exists?) that a COVID-19 vaccine candidate is looking really strong and enters its third phase of testing next week.

Early voting for the August elections begins today and continues through August 1. You can early vote at any location and here’s a list. Downtowners will want to go to the location at Poplar and Second. It’s open 9-5 Monday-Friday, 10-4 Saturdays, and 8-4 the final day of early voting Saturday, August 1. Note that if you vote absentee, you MUST mail your ballot to the Election Commission. You cannot hand-deliver it. If you do, your ballot will be stamped “not counted.”

The Daily Memphian’s Bill Dries is back with his outstanding ballot basics article.

The Commercial Appeal has an update on Cafe Lit that is coming to 111 Madison. The space will be part performance venue, part soul food restaurant. The owner plans to tell the story of African-American history through food, art, and entertainment. “Lit” is short for “literature” and African-American literature will be a major theme. The building was an Overstuffed Deli location years ago.

To my fellow Downtowners who spend their evenings on rooftops: Be on the lookout for a comet about 45 minutes after sunset. has viewing information. Bring binoculars if you have them.

There’s an open house at 266 Lofts apartments, 266 S. Front, today from 10 to 7. They’ll show off 266 as well as their other properties and there will be food and giveaways.

Yesterday I returned to STIX, this time to try something from their hibachi grill. After looking at the options, I selected the Sukiyaki steak. It comes with Julienned scallions, onions, carrots, broccoli, and steak tossed in teriyaki sauce. You can choose your temperature of meat (I chose medium rare) and your preferred rice (I got steamed; fried is $1 extra).

It was as delicious as it looks. It came with yum yum sauce (which Perjorie T. Roll is standing on) and soy sauce packets, which I poured on the rice.

Next up I plan on trying the shrimp steamed buns, the Asian versions of sandwiches. They sound good because they come with sriracha ginger slaw.

I ordered online, and don’t forget there’s a STIX901 promo code that’ll get you 10% off.

Time to put in some work and then the weekend is here. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

I hate to speak ill of a legend, but after watching last night’s match, I have to wonder whether it’s time for Memphis 901 FC to bring this “Tim Howard in Goal” experiment to an end. He looked sluggish last night against Birmingham, giving up 3 goals in 30 minutes. Having Howard as an active player was more of a marketing ploy to put butts in seats, and COVID-19 has prevented that from happening. Maybe it’s time for the next Memphis 901 FC goalkeeper to take over while having the best mentor he could possibly ask for.

Former Grizzly player and Tigers assistant coach Mike Miller has been introduced as the new head coach of Houston High boys’ basketball. He will coach his sons there. This is surely a stop on the way to an NCAA coaching career. Don’t high school coaches have to teach? How cool would it be to say that you have Coach Miller for third period P.E.?

For those wondering if Coach Penny still has the golden touch now that Mike Miller has left his coaching staff, wonder no more. Yesterday five-star center Moussa Cisse announced that he will reclassify to the class of 2020 and play for the Tigers this coming season if college basketball actually happens. He will help fill in a big hole in star power in the front court created when James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa departed for the NBA.

Willie Nelson has rescheduled his Orpheum date for Monday, November 16. I wonder if the Orpheum takes out death insurance when a performer the age of Willie is booked?

Speaking of old people, the folks who own certainly took down their new website quickly after I linked to it in yesterday’s post! For those of you who missed it, it appeared to be a WordPress template for a company to which other companies outsource HR functions.

The Flyer’s Bruce V weighs in on the county’s plans to close the bars limited service restaurants and open the schools.

The Commercial Appeal asks if we will ever see buffets again. Marketing director Kelly Brock is interviewed about the Peabody’s brunch buffet, but there’s another reason Downtowners will want to click through to this article… SHORTY!!! The man who drew a crowd at the Silly Goose’s pasta bar for years has also drawn a crowd at Owen Brennan’s omelet bar for years.

Chef Michael Patrick of Rizzo’s was interviewed in this Fox 13 report of the Health Department looking for creative ways to allow restaurants to re-open at a higher capacity, including putting tables on sidewalks and parking lots.

You can get banned on some Facebook groups for talking about this, but this week Mendatius T. Roll and I tried the new Wendy’s Baconator flavored Pringles:

They’re good, but in no way do I think I’m eating a Baconator when I munch on them. Maybe Pringles will come out with a Mrs. B’s Sub flavored chip soon so Memphis Sandwich Clique will have something to talk about.

WMC Action News 5 has a look at the official report from the CDC’s visit to Memphis around the July 4 holiday. The report discusses the “trip wires” Health Department director Dr. Haushalter has talked about, conditions under which tighter restrictions would be immediately triggered. Dr. Haushalter is going to discuss the trip wires in today’s noon press conference.

Back tomorrow with more news, or later today if anything important comes up. WEAR YOUR MASKS!


Wednesday update

Memphis 901 FC kicks off the regular season tonight with an away game at Birmingham at 7 PM. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. The soccer club released their TV schedule for the 2020 season.

Daily Memphian: Get to know the USL’s Group G

Apple has reached a settlement regarding slowing down of iPhones with older batteries, and if you were an iPhone user a few years ago, you may be eligible for a payment of up to $25.

I see the website has a new look…

The current debate on Facebook is about businesses going cashless. I can really see both sides of this discussion. On one hand, if a business does not operate in cash, robbers won’t have any incentive to hold the place up. Also, money is indeed dirty (I’m talking physically, not psychologically), even before you take the pandemic into consideration.

On the other hand, it seems like one more way the poor are (perhaps unintentionally) discriminated against. If those who don’t have a bank account want to buy from a cashless business, they have to go buy a prepaid debit card. They might have to pay $3.95 to load $50 on a card, so they’re paying an 8% premium for being poor. There needs to be a way to create a level playing field so poor people don’t get left further behind.

Another thing about cashless, what do you do when there are temporary card network outages? About a month ago, I went to pay my tab at Blind Bear, and my card got declined. No problem, I had cash. I had just deposited two checks, so I knew I had  plenty of funds, and the card worked the next morning at Walgreens. But, in the moment, how do cashless businesses handle that kind of thing?

Stix, the new Asian place on Second, is hiring a sushi chef. Here are the details:

We are looking for an energetic employee willing to learn how to be a highly-skilled sushi chef. The responsibilities include preparing rice, chopping and slicing various meats and vegetables. They should be detailed-oriented as you will be preparing orders and take into consideration food allergies. The sushi chef should be able to work well under pressure and maintain high quality standards for the dish being served.
Sushi chef responsibilities:
– Inspecting the quality of the ingredients used to prepare sushi (fish, vegetable and fruits)
– Prepare various sushi dished according to quality, portion, size, presentation and food safety
– Maintain clean work environment
– Sterilize all equipment before very use
– Effectively communicate with staff to ensure orders are prepared properly
Sushi chef requirements:
– High school diploma or GED
– Able to work under pressure
– Excellent customer service and time management skills
– Knowledge of food safety
– Stand for long periods of time

They also posted a link to their online ordering and said to use the coupon code STIX901 for 10% off.

I think I previously mentioned that @kendall_downing is a great Twitter account to follow if you can’t livestream the Tuesday/Thursday COVID-19 task force press conferences at work. Yesterday I found another one: @Local24Brad. Both of these guys start a thread for each press conference and tweet important announcements in pretty close to real time.

Uh oh, looks like one of South Main’s favorite bars may put its to-go operations on hiatus. Max’s Sports Bar posted the following last night:

Grab our signature blood orange margarita and dinner. We have some great sandwiches ready for pickup! This might be your last chance for a little while.

From Yahoo Sports: It’s time to face reality. No one is playing college football in the fall. Want to prove the analysts wrong? WEAR YOUR MASK!!!

My rooftop continues to be a fine alternative to the closed bars. My neighbors had extra food last night and made me a yummy plate:

I had eaten twice already yesterday, but I rarely say no when offered international food, particularly from a culture whose food I have never tried before. That’s Persian rice on the upper left and Persian brisket/corned beef on the lower left, along with BBQ chicken and a marinated tomato. Yummy. Thanks everyone for dinner! I am dealing with this round of the bars being closed much better than the first days of the house arrest back in March.

There was a shooting inside the Exchange Building at Second and Madison around 3 this morning.

Ever woke up from a dream, and been ashamed of the person you were in the dream? I dreamed I volunteered at a Donald Trump rally. Trump himself checked me in, looking up the origins of my name to determine my value to his campaign. “Paul… good Biblical name dating back to Roman times. Welcome aboard, Paul.” I got the sense I would not have been as welcome if my name was Amir or Devonte.

Today’s the deadline to file your taxes if you haven’t done so already.

Wonder what’s going to happen to Halloween this year? It could be a big spreading point for COVID-19. Even if bars and clubs are closed, or are open but banned from having Halloween parties, there will still be house parties all over the city. Education seems like the Health Department’s only tool in that fight, but how do you educate people who can’t be educated? Really, not just with respect to Halloween, that’s the million dollar question for the Health Department right now.

Time to go to work. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

Yesterday, 17 Shelby County businesses which are classified as “limited-service restaurants” by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and which had to close under Health Department Directive No. 8, filed two lawsuits against the county and the health department seeking damages. They also seek restraining orders preventing the County from enforcing the closure of those businesses.

Three of the businesses are Downtown restaurants – Blind Bear Speakeasy, Silly Goose, and Max’s Sports Bar. The owner of a fourth, Nick Scott of Alchemy, has had ties to Downtown for years.

Commercial Appeal

Daily Memphian

Geoff Calkins’ column


Action News 5

Local 24

Three businesses in Puck Food Hall closed last week. They are City Block Salumeria, Venga, and Doughjo. Revenues went down by 75 percent following the implementation of the Safer at Home order in March.

Tennessee will have two sales tax holidays in 2020. The first holiday, July 31-August 2, will exempt clothing purchases up to $200, and clothing purchases up to $3000. Double the limits last year, nice!

The second state sales tax holiday is August 7-9 and exempts food and drink purchases at restaurants – well, the ones that are legally allowed to be open, but hopefully that matter will be settled by then.

I gave a friend of mine who is shopping for a laptop to use primarily for college some general shopping tips yesterday. There may be others doing the same, so I’ll share those tips here too. Note that if you are shopping for a computer for a different reason like business, gaming, recording, etc. these recommendations would not apply to you.

Storage: Get a solid state drive (SSD), not a hard disk drive (HDD). 5 to 20 times faster.

A 128 GB SSD should be enough if you’re using it for school. If you need more storage later, you can buy a 1 terabyte (1000 GB) USB drive for around $50.

Memory/RAM (sometimes called DDR): Minimum 8 GB. You’ll have performance/speed issues if you get less.

Safest bet for school is a Windows 10 computer. Chromebooks may not be able to run the software you need. MacBooks are the best, but much more expensive and the extra cost isn’t justified.

$400-650 is a reasonable price for the type of laptop I have described. When you find the computer you want, shop around on multiple sites to find the best price.

If you want to shop for a laptop in person rather than online, Cooper Systems at 2744 Mt. Moriah Parkway is a good place. I would trust their recommendations way more than a sales associate at Best Buy.

I’m not saying you should buy from Amazon necessarily, but when you find the computer you want, search Amazon for its make and model number. Less than 4 stars, don’t buy it. Less than 4.5 stars, read the reviews carefully and see if you’re comfortable buying it.

Totally OK to buy last year’s model at a discount. Computers used to double in power and speed every 18 months but that is no longer true.

Elmwood Cemetery hosts The Plagues of Memphis, Part 1, an online event, tonight 6:30 to 7:30. Cost is $10. They’ll discuss diseases of the 19th century, and treatments such as leeches. You probably don’t want to eat dinner during this session. Just think, 50 years from now, Elmwood will be giving coronavirus tours.

There will be a protest outside City Hall at 11 asking Gov. Lee to close all Tennessee meatpacking plants, claiming they are COVID-19 hotbeds.

Let me share another photo of what my life is like away from the bars:

Yeah I’m managing to get by somehow. Also, thanks to Bill and Pam at River Time Market and Deli for my newest face covering:

I’ll wear it the next time I go out, which will probably be to full-service restaurant Slider Inn on Saturday unless good things happen this week.

Time to head to work. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

The Daily Memphian recently published some exciting news about a Downtown Memphis institution of higher learning. The University of Memphis Law School is now a top 20 law school for placing students in federal clerkships. These clerkships are a sign of prestige in the law community and often put a young attorney’s career on the fast track to success. Memphis is tied with Cornell for the 20th spot, and is ranked higher than regional schools Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

Patrick and Deni Reilly have info about their ghost restaurant Cocozza that will operate out of the Majestic Grille:

As I posted this weekend, I’ve been experimenting with an apple cider vinegar & dish soap mix to trap fruit flies/gnats. One thing I’ve learned: Close every drain in your home before putting the trap out. If you don’t, you’ll end up with more fruit flies than you started with, not fewer.

My Facebook friends also advised me to pour boiling water down every drain twice a day. Boiling water is a bit beyond my kitchen abilities, though.

The Memphis Flyer has an article about the online specialty store Wok’n in Memphis will open later this month. Shiso vinegar, soy sauce, kimchi, and oils to be used in cooking will be among the products offered.

My intuition tells me the bars limited service restaurants will stay closed until the first week of October. I hope I’m wrong, because that would be economically devastating for my friends who work in or own those businesses. It would also mean we have months of suffering and death from COVID-19 ahead of us.

At least COVID-19 stopped those “We Love Pub Crawls” events that were organized by national companies rather than locals. Those events were total amateur nights and crapped up our favorite spots with rude, demanding people who never tip. The crawls were like party pedal bikes minus the wheels.

As I’ve been doing lately, I took a six-pack of PBR up to the rooftop about an hour before sunset, and discovered there was a celebration going on… two of my neighbors had just got married! Congratulations! Socializing with my neighbors is going to help me hold on to my sanity during the pandemic.

Gladly accepting invitations to do things at locations that are not in bars limited service restaurants… last week’s health directive was not a stay-home order and I have no intention of locking myself in my apartment every minute I am not at work. Back tomorrow with more news.


Sunday update: This Pork Is a Jerk sliders @ Slider Inn Downtown

About 11:30 yesterday morning, my friends Randy and Theresa texted me. “Slider Inn Downtown has their dining room open 4 to 10 today,” they told me. “Want to join us at 4 when they open?”

Human interaction! I was not expecting to have any of that yesterday. “Sure!” I texted back.

I got there a few minutes after 4, and the “Please Seat Yourself” sign at the door had been replaced with a “Please Wait to Be Seated” sign. The hostess at the door took my first and last name and my phone number and wrote down that I planned to sit with my friends at the corner of the bar area. She took my temperature and then I was free to go to my seat. Excellent! That is what every full-service restaurant should be doing right now, and that is what every bar limited service restaurant should do if they are allowed to reopen. No one gets in without a mask, a temperature check, and an assigned seat to go to.

I was starving. We’re having a fruit fly problem in my building right now and I have been hesitant to eat at home and have uncovered food out. So I didn’t eat at all Friday and I hadn’t eaten yesterday. I was excited to be in a place where there were no fruit flies and plenty of menu items I hadn’t tried yet.

As they slowly reopen following a temporary closure a week and a half ago, they are running a limited menu:

I ordered the This Pork is a Jerk sliders with Caribbean jerk spiced pork tenderloin and Jamaican mango cabbage slaw. I got them with a side of fries.

These were outstanding! The pork was juicy and tender, and the jerk spice gave the meat a bold flavor put not overpowering, and the slaw complemented the meat well. I enjoyed the sliders very much, and they looked so good that Randy and Theresa ended up ordering them later in the evening.

I have a very obedient troll:

Normally the troll only stands next to the things I eat, not things other people eat. However, I made an exception when Theresa ordered a side of elotes con crema. It’s an alternative to the fries that usually come with sliders. Have a look at this!

Wow wow WOW. I may never order fries at Slider Inn again. It looked amazing!

Although they were open limited hours this Saturday, they told us they’d be back to full hours of 11-10 next Saturday. They close at 10 because the Health Department says you can catch COVID-19 at full-service restaurants beginning at 10:01 PM. Also the golden carriage turns back into a pumpkin at midn… oops, I confused Cinderella with Health Directive No. 8 there for a minute.

I can hear the Facebook “medical experts” now: “How IRRESPONSIBLE was it for you to meet at a restaurant bar area with two people from OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSEHOLD!!! You should have cooked pork sliders at home, then got on Zoom and compared your pork sliders to the ones your friends cooked! ALONE, TOGETHER!


  • I had no problem sharing contact tracing information
  • I had no problem having my temperature taken, and would have left (and quarantined until I could get a COVID-19 test and had the results back) had my temperature been above the limit
  • No one was sitting within six feet of Theresa’s left
  • No one was sitting within six feet of my right
  • My mask was on anytime my feet touched the floor
  • I counted to 20 each time I washed my hands after using the restroom

I take careful precautions, but I am willing to take on an amount of risk slightly greater than zero in order to be human. To suggest that we not socialize face-to-face at all for up to 18 months until a vaccine is ready is preposterous.

More from the Facebook “medical experts”: “And you probably had ALCOHOL with dinner, didn’t you??? Don’t you know that the combination of socializing and alcohol causes COVID-19, kind of like kissing in a swimming pool causes pregnancies?”

Health department director Dr. Haushalter said there is nothing wrong with dining at a bar area and having a beer with dinner. It’s just that I considered each individual slider a dinner unto itself, and to borrow a Taco Bell term, I considered the fries to be Fourthmeal. Also my troll had a French fry for her dinner and had a shot of Jameson with it.

Thanks to Slider Inn for an excellent dinner, an excellent overall experience, and for following COVID-19 protocols. If bars limited service restaurants had all followed the protocols as closely as Slider Inn did (especially having a host/hostess at the door at all times), I doubt they would have been forced to close this week.

So, what else was open yesterday?

  • Local, a bar that is licensed as a full-service restaurant, was open
  • Green Beetle, a tavern that is licensed as a full-service restaurant, was open
  • The Majestic patio was being set up for ghost restaurant Cocozza diners who wanted to dine al fresco (for those who don’t speak foreign languages, that means “while frying like an egg in a skillet,” or at least that’s what it meant yesterday)

(I can just see the Jennifer Biggs “we visited 25 bars which are licensed as full-service restaurants and this is what we found” headline on the Daily Memphian website tomorrow)

Oh also I saw a party pedal bike riding down Main as I looked out the window at Slider. How ridiculous is it that those public nuisances on wheels are allowed to operate, but I can’t sit at the bar and get crawfish mac and a socially distanced PBR and watch a show about a vet rescuing a mangy fox at the Blind Bear?

(God I miss sports)

I may have to take a walk today. Sunday is the day when idiots get out in large groups – idiots who don’t wear masks, often argue when told to put a mask on, and have no concept of giving others 6 feet of space. They probably have no idea the bars limited service restaurants are closed because they don’t read or watch the news. Might be fun to observe them from a distance as they go in bars limited service restaurants and come right back out after being told it’s take-out only.

Let’s have a look at the forecast for today… possible morning shower, then chance of PM thunderstorms. High 91, low 72 with upper 60’s in the ‘burbs. The great news, though, is wind becoming northwest at 10 MPH, shifting to northeast at 4 MPH by night. Oh, man, the rooftop is going to feel so good tonight around sunset! Well, assuming that thunderstorm doesn’t come through right then.

There’s a petition going around for liquor by the drink reform in Tennessee. It was created by Skinny, owner of Hi-Tone, who paid $5000 to renew his liquor license but has been unable to open since. As of this writing about 800 people have signed it, including me.

This is sad:

I’ll repeat something I wrote in Monday’s post since it’s now timely… a friend who went to Loflin Yard next Sunday for brunch said the breakfast sandwiches are delicious, reasonably priced and they fill you up.

That’s it for this post. About 7 I’ll grab the PBR and head up to the rooftop weather permitting. As for between now and 7… yeah I don’t know. Please wear a mask if you go out, and I will see you tomorrow.