Friday update

I did a rare second Thursday update with two extremely time-sensitive stories. Since most of my readers aren’t used to checking back in the afternoons, I’ll repeat them here.

County Mayor Harris and County Health Officer Dr. Randolph did an update yesterday afternoon on the Delta variant of COVID in Shelby County. We’re at a 7-day rolling average of 136 new cases a day, highest seen in several months. Our positivity rate of 8.9% is also the highest seen in several months. The reproduction rate is 1.52, the highest since the original Safer at Home order. I did a comprehensive recap of the press conference but I’ll highlight a couple of points Dr. Randolph made:

  • The spike in cases can be attributed in part to 2 things: The fact that Delta is so much more transmissible than the previous strains, and that we let our guard down with the masking and distancing over the July 4 weekend. The main reason Delta is spreading, though, said Dr. Randolph, is that so many people are unvaccinated. We would not see these numbers if people were getting vaccinated.
  • Dr. Randolph closed with a question to Shelby County: Is it going to take children dying before we understand this virus is not a hoax, and go get vaccinated? There are several children in intensive care in Mississippi, including 2 on ventilators.

The second piece of news I reported was more positive. The Blind Bear has decided to try something wild and crazy. Today during their happy hour, 3 to 6 PM, you can get any item on their food menu (excluding steaks and wings) for 50% off. That means you can get their rich seafood risotto, their yummy arancini balls, their pan-seared salmon, or their herb-roasted chicken for half the regular price.

The DM has an excellent article this morning on drummer Rodd Bland and the release of his debut EP, “Live on Beale Street: A Tribute to Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland.” The album is not just a tribute to Rodd’s father, but to the other musicians who have inspired him along the way. The album is released today and Bland and The Members Only Band have a release party and concert at B.B. King’s Blues Club Sunday night.

The Ida B. Wells statue will be unveiled this morning at Fourth and Beale following a parade. Wells was a journalist in the 1880s and 1890s who chronicled lynchings and racial injustices of the early Jim Crow era. She was forced to flee Memphis for fear of her life. Parade down Main Street to Beale Street at 9, statue unveiling at 11.

The DM’s Chris Herrington has a pic of the street taco wings that are New Wing Order’s flavor of the month in today’s Street Food column.

Carmen Hicks headlines Soulin’ on the River at Mud Island Amphitheater tonight at 7. Lawn chairs, picnic baskets, and coolers are welcome.

Promoter Curtis Givens’ Can I Live Weekend is back. Festivities include a black-tie affair atop the new Hyatt Centric Hotel tonight and his annual All White Affair at Mud Island River Park Saturday 3-8 PM. A reader texted me and asked why tents were being set up on Mud Island. I believe that would be the reason why.

Ducklings were rescued from a storm drain on Georgia Ave. yesterday.

Workouts on the rooftop of Old Dominick Distillery return next Thursday, July 22. The event consists of low-intensity, high-impact Hot Pilates at 6, yoga at 6:45, and cocktails at 7:30. YOGA!

Today is Guinea Pig Appreciation Day. Fun fact: Guinea pigs are considered a delicacy in Peru, especially their brains.

Fake drive-out tags are becoming a huge problem, WREG reports. People are buying them off the black market to avoid vehicle registration fees.

Former Memphis Tigers center Moussa Cisse is headed to Oklahoma State after dropping out of the NBA draft. The forecast #1 pick in this year’s draft played for OK State. You can’t blame these kids for going where they believe they can get groomed for an NBA career. Millions of dollars potentially hang in the balance.

An Amtrak train bound for Memphis crashed into a tow truck near Jackson, MS. No one on the train was hurt, but the two people in the tow truck were killed.

All-You-Can-Eat Fridays return to the Redbirds tonight, and this week’s theme is sliders. Get as many as you want, plus hot dogs, potato salad, chips, and up to 2 drinks (water/soft drinks) per person with a specialty ticket. has us down for a 40% chance of storms today (probably late afternoon if they happen) increasing to a 70% chance tonight. The good news: We aren’t likely to hit 90 until the middle of next week.

Today was going to be a day for me to stay home and write, but I can’t ignore that happy hour special at the Blind Bear. Gotta make up my mind between the salmon and the arancini. Back tomorrow with more news.