Saturday update: We need a public vaccine site in 38103

If any of my readers know city COO Chief McGowen who is in charge of the vaccination campaign, might want to show him this.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine, who like me, is a Downtowner who does not rely on a car to get around. He has not gone to get vaccinated yet. It’s not that he’s anti-vacc at all. It’s just that the city has made getting vaccinated inconvenient for him. When we get to a point where he can walk or trolley to a vaccine site, he’ll do it.

I want to re-emphasize that it is preposterous that we do not have a public vaccine site (other than pop-up sites to vaccinate the homeless) in the 38103 zip code. I bet there is no other similar-sized U.S. metro that does not have an accessible vaccination site in its center city.

Now: I want to stay on my soapbox for a minute and take aim at Dan Conaway, who writes opinion pieces for The Daily Memphian. Yesterday Dan wrote Not vaccinated? There are plenty of shady trees at Elmwood, meaning you could be on your way to an early grave if you don’t do your part in starving COVID-19 of human hosts. This line, in particular, rankles me:

“Not getting a vaccine is all about you, a selfish and self-indulgent exercise.”

Dan, I agree with the sentiment of your overall story. However, the way you communicated your point was absolutely HORRIBLE.

I remember last June, when we were in Phase 2 of re-opening. I went out to neighborhood restaurants, which happened to be small businesses owned by my friends, and dined in. According to the health directive at the time, I was perfectly within my rights to do so. Yet the preachy-preachies, the Facebook and Twitter “health experts,” told me I was being selfish by dining in at local restaurants.

Did being called selfish make me change my mind, and either change my restaurant orders to take-out or stay home entirely? Hell no. Their preachiness galvanized me. It made me go out even more. I don’t like being told what to do, especially by people completely lacking in qualifications to tell me.

You want to convince people to get the COVID vacc? Take all judgment out of your message.

Even if someone tells me he’s not getting vaccinated because Donald Trump is the closest thing the world has had to Jesus in the past 2000 years, I’m not going to respond with judgment or criticism. I would probably fake a couple of sneezes to cover up my laughter, then remind him that Trump himself has been vaccinated.

From Marker: Why everyplace looks the same. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, take a walk through Downtown’s South End neighborhood, or look at the rejected building plans for 7 Vance.

Cafe Keough is hiring baristas. Nice to know that my block of Main will have a coffee option other than Starbucks again soon.

A friend told me that a shot of Jameson at Beck & Call, the rooftop bar atop Hyatt Centric, is $17. A bottled domestic beer is $7.50. For those who don’t buy a lot of drinks and need a comparison point, neighborhood bars generally price Jameson shots in the $7-9 range and domestic bottled beers in the $3.50-$4.00 range.

Legendary Thai restaurant Bhan Thai is closing after almost 20 years.

The Flyer has a look at Red Bones Turkey Legs, a “constant pop-up” housed inside Carolina Watershed. I love turkey legs! They dress them up too. You can get them stuffed, topped with Cajun Alfredo sauce, topped with Alabama white BBQ sauce, or a variety of other ways. Sounds delicious! Who’s up for a trip south to Watershed soon?

In other Watershed news, Andy Hall plays at 2 today.

I spent some time at the Silly Goose yesterday, and later at Max’s Sports Bar. When I go to a bar, I just open the door and walk in. I don’t send my minions in first to give me a report of who’s in there.

Don’t forget, there’s a River Market today 1-6. It will be at River Garden, 51 N. Riverside Drive. 30+ vendors and a DJ.

Elon Musk hosts Saturday Night Live tonight. I don’t watch a whole lot of TV but I may have to tune in for that one.

It’s National Give Someone a Cupcake Day. It’s also National Coconut Cream Pie Day.

If you’re looking for a field trip outside of Downtown tonight, I recommend going to see ’80s hair band cover band Aquanet at Lafayette’s tonight. Julien, Roscoe, and Cindy no longer have to be the Dance Floor Police because that ridiculously stupid restriction went away in the current health directive.

If you’d prefer to stay Downtown for your Saturday night entertainment, The Michael Brothers take the stage at Blind Bear at 9.

Well crap. There’s rain on the radar in Central Arkansas, and Weatherbug’s hourly forecast thinks it’ll be here in the 10-11 AM hour. That blows a huge hole in my Farmers Market/South Main plans. Now I’ve gotta figure the day out. All my Saturday options will become much more favorable in a week, when (hopefully) all the stupid restrictions will be gone and we’ll be back at the bar without any limits on how many people can sit together there.

Still, I’m going to find some way to achieve the “play hard” of the work hard/play hard yin and yang, because I’ve got some adulting to do the early part of next week. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Let’s start with a “just because” picture. I found this yesterday as I was researching an online article I’m writing:

Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay

It has nothing to do with the content of this post, but it makes me happy.

Happy No Pants Day!

It’s the first Freebie Friday of the year at the Redbirds. The first 1500 through the gate get a free Redbirds free tote bag courtesy of Southern College of Optometry. Game time is 7:10 and the Durham Bulls are once again the opponent. Triple-A Baseball is doing 6-game homestands vs. the same team this year to minimize travel.

From Eater: The Lie of “No One Wants to Work”: Amid reports of a restaurant industry “labor shortage,” employees say all they really want are wages that make the risk worth it.

A Ja Morant docuseries will debut June 3.

Tonight is Music Knight at the Memphis Chess Club with musical guests Julia Goff & Lauren Thomas from Visible Music College.

Sigh… the Grizzlies lost to a crappy 20-47 Detroit team last night, and as a result return to 9th place in the West, a half game behind Golden State.

The yellow-and-black We Have Soul sign may have been rejected by the Design Review Board, but Memphis River Parks Partnership has plenty of other improvements to Mud Island River Park that will go forward.

Been a good week… earlier in the year, I told several good friends that I had a goal for myself. Intuition told me I was likely to hit my goal in the month of June, although it could be sooner. Yesterday I learned I hit my goal in April. So I’ll go out to celebrate after work, and one day next week I’ll probably treat myself to a nice meal out. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Jerred Price, president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, posted some news to Nextdoor last night: The yellow-and-black “We Have Soul” sign proposed for Mud Island has been denied by the Design Review Board. Many commenters thought the sign was ugly and out-of-touch with the character of our city. WREG has more info.

Friday lunches return to the Majestic Grille this week. They’ll have fish & chips, New England clam chowder, seafood flatbread, all your favorites.

With Mother’s Day coming up Sunday, I want to mention that you can pick up uniquely Memphis items at Feelin’ Memphis, the gift shop at 509 S. Main. What will you find there? Let me take a look through the shop’s most recent photo album. Paintings… books… inspiring wall hangings… honey… clothing… handbags… home decorations… glasses…. cocktail kits…. plants… home furnishings. Local gifts from great local folks.

Jane Roberts from the DM with another outstanding piece: Up to 66% of locals have COVID antibodies. Counting those who have developed antibodies from having had COVID and those who had the vaccine, we are approaching herd immunity.

The Grizzlies rolled past the Minnesota T’wolves last night in a high-scoring game, 139-135. That puts Memphis back in 8th place in the NBA’s Western Conference with a slim 0.5-game lead over the Golden State Warriors with 7 games remaining in the regular NBA season. Got next: Tonight at Detroit, 7 PM.

Arnold Perl, a longtime promoter of the city of Memphis, has died at 81. Perl was instrumental in getting FedExForum built as part of the Grizzlies’ agreement to move from Vancouver.

Cupcake Cutie owner Robert Clayton was interviewed about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund’s help in getting restaurant and bar doors back open. The SBA has said it will prioritize applications for businesses owned by veterans, minorities, and women.

Live at the Tracks returns to Central Station Hotel tonight. Kennard Farmer will provide the live music 6:30-9:30.

YOGA! If you’re looking for a workout for the mind and body, with beer, don’t forget that there’s an all-levels yoga class at Grind City Brewing every Thursday at 5:30. $16 or you can use your existing Downtown Yoga or ENVISION Memphis class package to pay. $2 off your first beer for yogis.

Loflin Yard will have a Mother’s Day brunch with mimosa specials this Sunday.

Memphis Chess Club will have a Mother’s Day chess party Sunday 11 AM to 2 PM. The special includes a 12″ pizza from their cafe and their entry-level Learn the Rules class. You can bring the entire family, although they encourage children to be at least 7 and accompanied by an adult.

From Fox Chattanooga: The hunt for Memphis river monsters

I was asked yesterday a couple of times, if the mandatory mask mandate is allowed to expire, will I continue to mask up in public? My answer is this:

  • I’d keep a mask in my back pocket
  • Anytime I entered a business that continued to require or request masks of its own accord, I would be happy to put mine on, and their mask policy would not factor into my decision to patronize the business;
  • Anytime a person approached me for conversation, and I got the sense (spoken or otherwise) that he or she would be more comfortable if I were masked, I will happily put mine on;
  • Anytime I find myself in an extremely crowded space, I will consider putting my mask on;
  • If I find myself around a lot of children, who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated yet, I will consider putting my mask on (although not being around children sounds like a better solution);
  • Otherwise, no, my default value would be, I will not wear a mask, even when indoors.

That’s it for today. We’ll see if Dr. Randolph shows up to the noon COVID task force press conference with any news about next week’s health directive. Back tomorrow with more.

Happy Cinco de Drinkooooo!

Before we get to Cinco de Mayo news, I want to share a link to a kick-ass book I found this week as I was working on my professional writing.

Naval Ravikant is the founder of AngelList, and an early-stage investor in companies like Uber, Twitter, Clubhouse, and Postmates. He does a podcast on the pursuit of wealth, good judgment, and happiness.

One of Naval’s biggest fans, Eric Jorgenson, combined his collective wisdom into a book. Naval gave him permission to publish, with one stipulation – the price had to be free.

I’m more than halfway through and it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Here’s a link to the PDF. You don’t even have to supply an email address to get it. Just open the link and start reading.

On to the news… it’s Cinco de Mayo, or as I call it, Cinco de Drinko! Where St. Patrick’s Day is for the amateurs, Cinco is for the professionals. Holly compiled a list of Cinco specials on the I Love Memphis Blog. A quick look at some of the Downtown ones:

  • $3 tacos for $9 at Maciel’s (street, seafood, and fajita tacos included)
  • The outdoor seating area will be back open at Slider Inn Downtown, with taco and drink specials
  • $5 apps and margaritas at Rumba Room. 2-for-1 tequila shots
  • Tug’s will have Cinco specials all day

There will also be Cinco specials at the Redbirds tonight. $5 for three carne asada street tacos (THREE for $5? That’s a screaming deal) and $5 margaritas. Gates at 5:45, first pitch at 6:45. The Durham Bulls are the opponent.

Jane Roberts from the DM has speculation that the stupid distancing restrictions in restaurants and bars will become recommendations in Shelby County around mid-month. I hope you’re right, Jane!

In other COVID news, the city has a new promotion going on called Shot for a Shot. Prove that you’ve been vaccinated and you’ll have a shot to win a Chevy Camaro, a Chevy Colorado, a Nissan Altima, or a Nissan Rogue… or if you don’t like any of those cars, pick another car of equivalent or lesser value.

The COVID news ’round these parts is mostly good, but there is one red flag I noticed… according to COVID Act Now, our next-door neighbor Fayette County is back in the red zone with 25.7 new cases/day/100k residents. That affects Shelby County because they send their hospital patients here.

A temporary We Have Soul billboard has been proposed for Mud Island. Most of the reaction I’ve seen from locals on Twitter has not been very positive. Kinda looks like it belongs on a construction site. Or a crime scene with lots of yellow and black tape, which for this city is certainly appropriate.

The 5 Spot in the back of Earnestine & Hazel’s will host The Painted Knife Drag Review with Musical Guests Heels and Model Zero Saturday, May 15. $10 cover.

Road closures for BBQ Fest start today. They include

  • Riverside Drive from Union to Georgia
  • Beale Street from Wagner to Front
  • Wagner Place from Beale to MLK

The roads will reopen Tuesday, May 18.

MATA is looking to hire 100 bus drivers and they’re dangling a $3000 bonus to make it happen. This is a job seeker’s market.

The Broom Closet will host an Introduction to Energy Work class Wednesday, June 2. $10 fee. Hmmm I might consider attending that one.

Two canoe teams are looking to break the Mississippi River speed record and of course, that means they’ll pass by Memphis. The record to navigate from the river’s origin in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico is 18 days.

From WREG: The chicken wing shortage is real in Memphis, and prices are going up too. Yes, from what I observed, this has been very true. predicts a mostly, sunny clear day with temperatures a little below normal but still quite pleasant. 72/52 with north wind. Might wanna take a light jacket if margaritas on a patio are your Cinco plans.

I’m gonna get back to reading that Naval Ravikant book until it’s time for work. After I get out this afternoon, it will be holiday celebration time. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

Good morning! Today is Star Wars Day, but around these parts it’s the day of the Twitter embeds. I didn’t plan it that way. It just happened. If your work blocks Twitter and you’re reading this on a work computer, might want to disconnect your phone from Wi-Fi for a minute and pull up this post there to get the full effect.

Photo and story from FOX 13:

From the DMC:

A look at the City Council:

I’ll say it again… I betcha anything Dr. Jeff Warren, who’s on the COVID task force, was responsible for that stupid rule a couple of health directives ago that bartenders wear a full face shield as well as a mask. Fortunately that was turned into a recommendation after only 4 weeks.

From WREG: BBQ Fest will kick off a smaller Memphis in May this year. BBQ Fest is May 12-15. Tickets must be purchased in advance and masks will be required. The festival will have fewer teams and will be more spread out to allow for social distancing. Many teams, mine included, are taking the year off.

From the CA: Developer Tom Intrator is seeking outside investors for his planned redevelopment of the Pinch District

A loss to the NY Knicks last night dropped the Grizzlies to 9th place in the West, a half-game back of Golden State. Remember, 7th-8th place teams only have to win once in the play-in series; 9th-10th place teams have to win twice. So Memphis really needs to claw its way back. Got next: 7 PM Wednesday at Minnesota.

It’s Opening Night at the Redbirds. Tonight, as will be the case every Tuesday this season, your ticket includes a free order of Ballpark Nachos. Upgrade them to BBQ Nachos for a small surcharge. The opponent tonight is the Durham Bulls. I’ll try to cover Redbirds promotions daily on this blog, but if you want a complete list for this homestand, OurSportsCentral has it.

From the CA: The Redbirds want to make summer feel normal

A Beale Street cover charge is under discussion once again.

From Local 24: Memphis is seeing more hotel bookings than other cities. “Kevin Kern” of Memphis Tourism is quoted.

David Sweat of the Health Department indicated that the upcoming health directive will be discussed in this week’s COVID task force press conferences. I wonder if we’ll hear anything about it today? I have a feeling that the change I want to see the most, completely unrestricted bar seating, won’t happen as soon as the next directive. I hope I’m wrong.

Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

There’s great news on Nextdoor this morning. The city has started installing speed humps at crosswalks on Riverside, and it’s reported that cars have to slow down to a near stop to make it over the humps.

Farther north on Riverside near the I-40 interchange, a Renew at Riverview resident posted a photo of an overturned car yesterday evening. It was unclear whether the car belonged to one of the drag racers or someone trying to get out of the drag racers’ way. I should have turned on the police scanner as soon as I saw that photo, but I didn’t think of it.

The Broom Closet at 552 S. Main will host a ghost hunting class on Sunday, June 27 from 7 to 9 PM. Stephen Guenther, founder of Historical Haunts, will share his techniques. This is an enhanced version of a presentation he gives at conventions. The event will wrap up with a paranormal investigation in their historic building. Cost is $10 per person and this is an age 16 and over event.

AutoZone seeks a Corporate Recruiter to work at its Downtown Memphis headquarters Store Support Center.

Jell-O Shot Jenga is a thing now.

Marketing campaign fail: Hackensack, New Jersey is trying to draw shoppers to its downtown area. Their strategy? They’re rebranding the area, referring to it as The Sack.

Better marketing: Between 8:00 and 11:59 PM tomorrow, score a free crunchy taco at Taco Bell because the moon will resemble a taco.

If you’re a Daily Memphian subscriber, they have an in-depth profile of the Memphis Police chief nominee, “CJ” Davis. Although there were a lot of transparency issues in the candidacy process, I have to say it looks like Davis has a lot of forward-thinking ideas.

The Grizzlies host the New York Knicks tonight at 8.

MPD is investigating a fight between several women that broke out on Beale Street shortly before the bars closed Saturday night/Sunday morning. Ah, things are getting back to normal post-pandemic.

Gonna be a hot one today. says it will be muggy and windy with a high around 85.

Sign the pandemic is nearly over: L.L. Bean reports that pants with buttons and zippers are now outselling pants with drawstrings or elastic waists. Thanks to Morning Brew for the info.

Here’s a video of one of the biggest traitors ever to work in a presidential administration, Gen. Michael Flynn, botching the Pledge of Allegiance:

He was what, a three-star general? And he doesn’t know the words to the Pledge? Sounds like a five-star piece of shit to me.

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

Sunday update

TEDx Memphis comes to the Levitt Shell October 30. You have until June 15 to apply to give a talk. Talks must be no more than 18 minutes in length.

The South Main Association will have its monthly South Main Social at Wiseacre Brewing Co. at B.B. King Blvd. and Butler Ave. Tuesday, May 11 at 6 PM. Speakers will include

  • Wiseacre co-founder Kellan Bartosch
  • Big River Market owner Nick Barbian and architect Ryan Morris
  • South Main Nutrition owner Kim Derryberry
  • Good Fortune Co. owners Arturo Leighton and Sarah Cai

The event is free for SMA members, $20 for non-members. Join the SMA here. Due to COVID restrictions, an RSVP does not guarantee a spot at the event.

By the way, I was out from 11 AM to 8:30 PM yesterday at several different venues. My general observation was that people were observing social distancing about as much as drivers on I-240 observe the speed limit. And really, that’s fine. Anyone who wants a vaccine has had plenty of time to get one. It’s time for the remaining distancing restrictions to go away.

Here’s a link to James Aycock’s COVID Week-in-Review for this week. The most alarming statistic: Not even 11,000 people were vaccinated last week, down from 35,000 four weeks ago. James also shares a New York Times article with insight into vaccine skepticism.

Former Memphis Tigers running back was selected number 150 in the NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Gainwell was one of the stars of the 2019 team that went to the Cotton Bowl before sitting out the 2020 season.

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick is looking for an energetic part-time host or hostess to work 3-4 shifts per week.

Cinco de Mayo is Wednesday! Any Downtown restaurants or bars doing specials for Cinco de Drinko? Send ’em to me at or on Facebook and I’ll compile a list. Remember, folks, St. Pat’s is for the amateurs. Cinco is for the pros.

Reminds me… Tuesday is the one-year anniversary of Shelby County moving into Phase 1 of re-opening. The preachy Facebook “health experts” nearly lost their shit that places would be open for dine-in on Cinco de Mayo. Bars were not allowed to be open during Phase 1, but this is before the health department understood there are no bars in Tennessee – there are limited-service restaurants, two of which served me drinks on Cinco last year.

WREG has video of the St. Patrick’s parade on Beale yesterday. Also, the article notes that the annual Africa in April festival will be rescheduled for August of this year.

There’s a Pre-Mother’s Day Brunch at Butterific Bakery & Cafe, 488 S. Second, noon to 4 today. Brunch by Situational Cravings, day drinks by The Pop-Up Bartender, 2 PM speech by Lady Shea of Power Gospel 99. All moms will receive a gift bag and vendors will be on site selling Mother’s Day gifts.

It’s Sexy Sunday featuring Paula Raiford and DJ Mo at Carolina Watershed today 3-9. $10 cover.

Grassfire Bluegrass Band plays Loflin Yard today at noon.

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

Saturday update

Apologies for no post yesterday… simply put, I ran out of time!

I’ll start off with a dining recommendation. Thursday I got to sample a piece of octopus from Curfew, the creation of chef Fabio Viviani in the new Canopy Hotel across from the ballpark. It was really good! I expected it to be tough and chewy, like squid/calamari. It wasn’t chewy at all – it was tender and the flavor was outstanding. From the menu:

Spanish Octopus – celery slaw, crisp potatoes, n’duja vinaigrette $21

There’s a May Day St. Patrick’s parade on Beale Street from 3 to 4. “Social distancing of parade spectators and the wearing of masks is highly encouraged.” Yeah I don’t see the social distancing thing happening. I hate to be negative but I don’t think this is the brightest idea, particularly because parades are events that attract children (none of whom have been vaccinated yet). I want an economic stimulus for Beale Street and its surroundings as much as anyone, but this would’ve been better had organizers waited until June.

County Mayor Lee Harris dropped a hint that as of May 15, most of the remaining stupid COVID restrictions will become recommendations.

Looking for a job in the hospitality industry? There will be a job fair Tuesday at the convention center, with more than 40 companies represented.

From the Memphis Flyer: Race becomes crisis point at U of M Law School. The disaffected faculty member who is resigning is the wife of Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. She claims that well-qualified Black applicants were overlooked for promotion in favor of whites with fewer qualifications.

A word from our Congressman:

Talk about dancing on someone’s grave! Memphis’ annual Juneteenth celebration on Friday-Saturday, June 18-19, will move to Health Sciences Park which used to house a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest. He and his wife are still buried there. That is just fucking fabulous.

In addition to being May Day, today is also Beer Pong Day.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association is in talks to get the mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit to our neighborhood. It will help reach Downtowners who are unable to make it out to the city’s vaccination sites. If you take advantage of the opportunity, you’ll get a free MemPop. Sites and dates will be announced soon.

Rizzo’s seeks a Salad Chef. Punctuality and the desire to learn (from one of the very best) are highly desirable traits.

Catherine & Mary’s is hiring a bartender. Fabulous opportunity to get your foot in the door at the Andrew Ticer/Michael Hudman family of restaurants.

There are volunteer opportunities open at the Memphis Farmers Market.

DJ Superbrad plays the Blind Bear tonight at 9. That should be fun. It’s time to dance again! $10 to get in, free if you know the password. He’ll be spinning ’70s-2000s.

The Grizzlies got a rough win over Orlando last night. That puts them back in sole possession of 8th place in the West, a game lead over San Antonio and a game and a half over Golden State. The Grizz are now two and a half games behind Portland for 7th. Got next: Memphis travels to Orlando for a rematch tonight at 7.

Apple’s AirTag went on sale yesterday. With an iPhone 11 or later, locate your keys or other items you misplace frequently.

Slim & Husky’s got a mention in Food & Wine’s The Best Pizza in Every State for Tennessee.

Well, damn… the Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UT Health Sciences was arrested in a drug bust that netted weed, crack, scales, and guns. The professor got hit with a resisting arrest charge too. He was one of 9 people busted.

Eric Hughes plays Momma’s tonight at 7.

Today’s music lineup at Carolina Watershed: The Michael Brothers at 2 and Shufflegrit at 7.

FreeWorld plays Rum Boogie Cafe tonight 8-12 and Blues City Cafe tomorrow 8-12. Blues City is the band’s “home base” and the place where they freestyle and get creative the most. Highly recommended if you can stay up that late on a Sunday.

Longshot is back open again. Its new hours are Tuesday-Saturday 5- midnight.

From Local 24: Yes, you can eat cicadas, but not if you’re allergic to shellfish. Uh… no thanks.

Taking a break from Bardog Saturday brunch for a while until we can all sit at the bar without any restrictions. I’ll be in South Main today, leading off at the Farmers Market followed by one of Earnestine & Hazel’s, Max’s Sports Bar, or Slider Inn. Back tomorrow with more news.