Thursday update

Downtown’s St. Jude Children Research Hospital has become the first hospital in Shelby County to require COVID vaccination. Employees, including employees of fundraising arm ALSAC, will have eight weeks to get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (2 doses) or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (1 dose). Those who fail to meet the requirement and who don’t have a medical or religious exemption will be put on 2 weeks unpaid leave after that; if still not vaccinated at the end of the leave period, they will be fired.

This is a sign of how serious this next wave of COVID, spurred by the Delta variant, is becoming. I would urge those of you who have not been vacc’d to go get that done. Otherwise, I would not be surprised to see mandatory masking come back, even for those who are vaccinated. Possibly social distancing too.

COVID Act Now has Shelby County’s reinfection rate at a staggering 1.42 today. I don’t think we’ve seen a number that high since the original Safer at Home order. A rate above 1 indicates exponential growth of COVID cases in our county. To quote independent data analyst James Aycock, “We’re in trouble.”

Dave Barnes headlines the Get Loud! concert at Handy Park, Beale at B.B. King Blvd., tonight at 6 PM. The Nick Black Band will open. These Thursday shows are free and family-friendly.

Seasoning company McCormick is hiring a Director of Taco Relations. The successful candidate will travel the country to find out the latest taco trends, connect with taco enthusiasts on social media, and collaborate with the staff in McCormick’s kitchen. Must be able to work remotely up to 20 hours a week September-December of this year. Pay is $25,000 a month. That is not a typo.

In other taco news, Maciel’s on Main has announced they will be open for lunch only through July 27. I guess they are going through the same staffing issues many restaurants are.

For those of you who are fans of Nate’s bar upstairs at Earnestine & Hazel’s: Friday is Nate’s birthday. Get by there and say happy birthday to him if you get a chance.

Also on the birthday front: Go by River Time Market & Deli today for lunch and tell Pam happy birthday.

A man was arrested for doing 90 MPH in his Chevy Camaro on Poplar near Watkins. The speed limit is 40. The driver was street racing a white sedan, which was not able to be pulled over. Drag racing calls were up more than 100% for the period 2018-2020.

5 Whataburger locations are coming to Memphis, but they’ll all be in the ‘burbs.

An overnight shooting at Second and MLK is under investigation.

Dr. Michelle Taylor, a pediatrician, has been nominated by County Mayor Harris to lead the Health Department. She is also a military veteran. The County Commission votes on her nomination July 26.

There are throwback prices tonight at the Redbirds: $2 domestic drafts and $1 hot dogs. The team will have their throwback Memphis Chicks uniforms on. First pitch vs. Norfolk 7:10.

Tonight is Cerrito’s Music Bingo at Grind City Brewing Co.

Rodd Bland and the Members Only Band will have an EP release Sunday 7-11 PM at B.B. King’s club on Beale. The EP, released in conjunction with Nola Blue Records, is a tribute to Rodd’s father Bobby “Blue” Bland.

From Vox: The five-day workweek is dead. The pandemic has opened the path for Americans to take back more of their time.

One of my favorite authors on Medium, Zulie Rane, has a killer mind trick: If you think someone is lying to you, have them repeat their story, but tell it backward. Oh Zulie, where were you when I needed you 6 years ago? The trick is part of Zulie’s 11 tips to become a better conversationalist.

Heat index is expected to top 100 today, so take precautions if you have to be out. My plan is to stay home all day and evening and write as much as I can. I’ll be back tomorrow with more news.