Who do YOU want to be on New Year’s Eve?

The great thing about New Year’s Eve is that you can be anyone at all, anyone you want. Here are some personas that are commonly worn on New Year’s Eve in Memphis. Do any of these suit you?

  • The guy who tells his group of 14 friends, “I know the GM, let me text her and see if she’ll let us all in for free”
  • The girl who cries uncontrollably all evening
  • The “nice guy” who lets his female friend crash in his spare room, then takes all her clothes off and has sex with her while she’s passed out
  • The group that runs up a $270 tab, writes “N/A” on the tip line and totals the tab out at 270
  • The person who pisses himself while lying on the couch in the back room
  • The criminal who waits in an alley with a gun, knowing there will be plenty of easy pickings who take the shortcut to the parking garage
  • The guy who walks down a residential street going “WOOOOOOOOOOO!” at 4:30 in the morning
  • The asshole bar owner who jacks the price of a 32 oz. PBR from $6.25 to $14 for the night
  • The woman who’s so drunk that she doesn’t understand why the bartender won’t accept her Chili’s gift card to pay her tab
  • The guy who won’t be able to pay his January rent because he ordered bottle service to impress a group of females
  • The guy who looks forward to meeting someone new in 2022 – and that someone will be a lawyer to help get him out of the DUI charge he got driving home from the NYE party
  • The girl who projectile-vomits all over a table full of strangers
  • The person who ended up in the ER because people decided to fire gunshots out their car windows to celebrate the stroke of midnight
  • The person who spends half the month of January in the hospital because they caught COVID at the NYE party
  • The woman who gets trampled in a stampede on Beale Street
  • The guy who spends the entire night consoling his terrified dog because people won’t stop shooting fireworks
  • The guy who leaves his credit card at one of the 7 bars he visited on NYE and has no idea which one it was
  • The guy who *almost* makes it to the toilet and leaves a sea of diarrhea and his boxer shorts in a stall in the bar’s restroom

Me personally, I’m going to be the guy who stays home on New Year’s Eve because I don’t want to meet any of the people described above.

If you absolutely must get out tonight, Longshot ($100 cover but all-inclusive with open bar, buffet, champagne toast at midnight, and two bands) or Loflin Yard (no cover, DJ, champagne toast at midnight) would be my top recommendations.

From WREG: COVID concerns ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations on Beale Street. Yup, gunshots are not the only way being on Beale Street on NYE can kill you anymore! One important note from that article: SCHD director Dr. Taylor has requested permission from the state to implement a mask mandate here, but so far that permission has not been granted.

The Grizzlies host the San Antonio Spurs tonight at 7. First 5000 fans in attendance get Dillon Brooks sunglasses. They’ll be without Xavier Tillman Sr., who has been added to health & safety protocols. Dillon Brooks, DeAnthony Melton, John Konchar, and Jarrett Culver are also out due to the protocols, and Ziaire Williams and Sam Merrill are out with injuries. I hope Ja and Jaren are triple-masking and taking plenty of Vitamin C.

So now, I say “Hey Siri,” and my phone, MacBook, and HomePod Mini all think I’m talking to them. It’s like having three cats, all named Kitty.

No, scratch that. Siri actually listens. Cats don’t.

Closings this weekend:

  • STIX Downtown will be closed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
  • Bedrock Eats & Sweets will be open 8-2 New Year’s Eve, closed New Year’s Day
  • Tamp & Tap will be closed today through Sunday
  • Silly Goose won’t be open during the day New Year’s Day to give employees time to recover from New Year’s Eve

Bowl games today:

  • Gator Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Rutgers, 10 AM, ESPN
  • Sun Bowl: Washington State vs. Central Michigan, 11 AM, CBS
  • Cotton Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Alabama, 2:30 PM, ESPN (CFP semifinal)
  • Orange Bowl: Georgia vs. Michigan, 6:30 PM, ESPN (CFP semifinal)

Max’s Sports Bar will open at 2:00 today for the first CFP semifinal game. Max’s will open at 10:30 tomorrow for the Arkansas-Penn State game.

I didn’t have a prediction for the exact score in the Music City Bowl yesterday, but I knew three things:

  • Tennessee would lose
  • Tennessee fans would fall all over themselves making excuses
  • Then those Tennessee fans would start talking about “NEXXXXXXXXT YEEEEEAAARRR”

Check, check, and check.

A buddy of mine actually bet on the Vols yesterday. Dude, what were you thinking? I wouldn’t bet on Tennessee against a bunch of circus clowns! Not that I’d have the chance, since sportsbooks don’t take bets on the annual Orange-White Game.

You can sign up for a free Memphis Jookin’ class to be held at the Halloran Centre on Saturday, February 5. Learn the fundamentals of this dance phenomenon from the people who made it famous: Dr. Rico, Draem, and Surf.

Silly Goose installed a standing bar near its DJ booth yesterday. I like it. It lets you be near the dance floor while still providing a place to park your drink.

From MakeUseOf: Use your smartphone to identify anything

A mixed-use project has been proposed for the corner of E. Butler Avenue and B.B. King Blvd. It would offer more than 300 residential units as well as commercial space. The project would connect B.B. King Blvd. to the South Main Arts District in terms of walkability. Residents of the new apartments would be able to walk across the street for Wiseacre beer and Little Bettie pizza, a rather nice neighborhood amenity.

Grandiose narcissists gotta have each other’s backs:

WeatherBug’s hourly forecast shows Memphis as cloudy all day with the temp topping out at 73 around 3 this afternoon. Tonight things get interesting:

  • 9 PM: 68 / 40% chance of light rain
  • 10 PM: 68 / 80% chance of storms
  • 11 PM: 68 / 70% chance of rain
  • 12 AM: 68 / 40% chance of light rain
  • 1 AM: 68 / 50% chance of light rain

Cloudy and holding steady at 68 after that.

Plans for tonight: I’m staying home! If just one bar used truth-in-advertising to promote its NYE bash, I’d consider going there. What would that look like?

“Join us for TWICE THE COVER, HALF THE FUN NIGHT at (insert bar name). Free samples of the hottest trend for 2022, the Omicron variant, for you to take home.”

Back tomorrow if there’s any news to report.

Thursday update: Go Boilermakers!

Last night Ja Morant made it crystal-clear he belongs in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. He led the Grizzlies back from 14 down to defeat the L.A. Lakers, 104-99. Ja had 41 for the night, becoming the only Grizzly in history to have three 40-point games.

Today we are all Boilermakers fans. Tennessee takes on Purdue in the Music City Bowl at 2 on ESPN. Other bowl games on TV today, all on ESPN:

  • Duke’s Mayo Bowl: North Carolina vs. South Carolina, 10:30 AM
  • Peach Bowl: 12 Pittsburgh vs. 10 Michigan State, 6:00 PM
  • Las Vegas Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Arizona State, 9:30 PM

The DM’s Geoff Calkins: “Here we are, not even into 2022 yet, and you can already kiss an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament goodbye.” Penny’s Memphis Tigers lost to Tulane last night, 85-84. Tulane is number 215 in the NET rankings so last night would be viewed as a “bad loss” by the committee.

Calkins points out that Jalen Duren and DeAndre Williams were out due to COVID protocols. Those two would have likely stopped Tulane at the rim if they’d been available. If they had to miss the game because they were unvaccinated, that’s Penny’s failure to stress the importance of getting vaccinated on Memphis’ chances to get to the postseason. Is there a Leadership 101 class AD Veatch can send Penny to this coming summer?

Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted yesterday on five of six federal charges related to sex trafficking of minors. She faces up to 65 years in prison.

Today is Bacon Day. My picks for the day would be the egg sliders at Bardog, add bacon and cheese; the Madison Avenue Burger from Huey’s; the Yonge Street Burger from Kooky Canuck; the wild rice dish with bacon, cheese, and mushrooms from Westy’s.

James Aycock reports that the 7-day rolling average for new COVID cases is at 1246 today, the highest it’s been at any point during the pandemic. The positivity rate is an astounding 29.8%. Yeah I think I will skip New Year’s Eve gatherings this year.

Deal alert: Downtown Walgreens has sriracha ranch cashews and sea salt & pepper cashews on sale for $3.89 this week, if you’re looking for nuts to tide you over until The Peanut Shoppe gets its new location open.

I met the most interesting fellow this week – he was an investor in a biotech startup founded in the ’00s by Christopher Duntsch, Ph.D., M.D., who graduated from UT Health Sciences in Memphis and did a fellowship here with Semmes-Murphy. Duntsch, known as Dr. Death, moved to Dallas in 2011 and six years later was convicted of maiming patients (perhaps intentionally) on whom he performed neurosurgery. If you want to learn more, there is an original miniseries on Dr. Death on Peacock and there is also a Dr. Death podcast.

Health Order 29 was issued by the Shelby County Health Department on Wednesday and will go into effect after the first of the year. The order

  • Reflects new CDC guidance that patients who test positive but who are asymptomatic only have to isolate for 5 days;
  • Continues to require masking in schools covered by the ADA;
  • Continues to highly recommend (but not require) masking in public indoor spaces
  • DOES NOT contain any ridiculously stupid restrictions on restaurants like early closing times, food requirement with alcohol, time limit on table seating, or closure of bar areas

Do you love mint chocolate chip ice cream? Do you love beer? Get to the Memphis Made taproom this weekend for Andy’s Mint, a chocolate stout with mint. If you can’t make it to the taproom, it’ll arrive in select stores this weekend too.

Insomnia Cookies has a couple of deals going on right now. One is a box of 24 classic cookies for $22. Don’t forget, they have a location on Beale Street that will deliver. We’ve ordered on our phones and had warm cookies delivered to us at the bar and it works really well.

If you’re a healthcare worker, civic employee, first responder, or a FedEx/UPS/USPS/Amazon driver, you can take advantage of the following Insomnia Cookies in-store deals:

  • Free cookie in-store with no purchase required, or
  • Make a $5 purchase and get a free 6-pack of Classic Cookies

All these deals run through January 2.

River Time Market & Deli will be closed until Monday, January 3.

Betty White, who turns 100 next month, says the key to her diet is “avoid anything green.” Betty, let me know next time you’re in Memphis, would love to split a meatzza and a bottle of wine with you.

I’ll end with this:

Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

Exciting news for The Edge District this morning. The DM reports that Rootstock, a wine importer, will open at 644 Madison in March. They will focus on small, family-owned wineries that have a story to tell, rather than carry the products of corporate wineries as the grocery stores do. The owner’s son will open a bar next door.

The same article announced that commercial renovation has begun on the five top floors at the 114 N. Main office building. The Downtown Memphis Commission occupies the lower floors.

Be one of the first 10,000 fans to welcome the Memphis Grizzlies home as they play the L.A. Lakers and you’ll receive a Grizzlies rally flag. Tip-off is at 7 and the game will be carried on NBAtv – odd, because another station, Bally Sports Southeast, is sponsoring the flag giveaway.

Congratulations to Texas Tech, who took the Liberty Bowl trophy last night with a 34-7 victory.

Update on severe storms coming today:

That’s it for now. Not much planned for tonight and tomorrow as people get ready for New Year’s Eve. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

The Liberty Bowl kicks off in Memphis at 5:45 this evening. The Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-5) are 9.5-point favorites, according to Caesars Sportsbook, over the Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-6).

Earnestine & Hazel’s will open early at 4 today to accommodate those who want to pre-game with a Soul Burger.

There were long lines to get tested for COVID across the county yesterday. Good news for Downtowners, though: A look at the list of Shelby County testing sites reveals that there is FINALLY a site in the 38103 zip code: Harbor Town Pharmacy on Mud Island can test you.

Due to safety protocols and staffing issues, Rizzo’s will be doing carry-out and pick-up orders for the next few days. The menu will be limited but most of your favorites will be on there.

Yup that exists: A ham bar. The restaurant in Brooklyn has a rotating menu of 10 hams.

The American Athletic Conference has updated its COVID policy for conference basketball games. If a team does not have enough players to play a game, that game will now be considered a no contest rather than a forfeit.

The Grizzlies defeated the Phoenix Suns 114-113 last night to end their road trip out West.

Memphis Magazine: Vance Lauderdale answered a question about the elevator in the D.T. Porter building at 10 N. Main, the first elevator in Memphis. It was rumored to once have been pulled by mules. Lauderdale goes on to discuss D.T. Porter himself, a well-known Memphis businessman during the Gilded Age and the period post-yellow fever when Memphis was a taxing district of the state.

Weather alert for tomorrow:

5498 new COVID cases were reported in Shelby County since last Friday. To quote the words of the great Ron Simmons, DAMN. Here’s what that does for the 7-day rolling average:

There’s currently no mask mandate in Shelby County, but I’ve started wearing my mask in my building’s elevator and when I visit Walgreens or DGX. It just seems like a considerate thing to do.

The lights on the I-40 bridge will have a special display Friday night into Saturday morning as we ring in the new year.

Yesterday there were plumbers at the Silly Goose repairing a water leak not far from where I was sitting at the bar. “Does that guy work here?” they asked the bartender at one point.

“No, he’s just a regular here, why?” she replied.

“He’s kinda nosy,” the plumbers said. LOL!!!!!

Reading a little true crime this morning thanks to a most fascinating conversation I had with a delivery driver yesterday. Later I may get out and mingle with some Texas Tech and Mississippi State fans before they head to the Liberty Bowl. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

OK, folks, buckle in, it’s rumor time. I heard a really interesting one this weekend. Let’s take a moment to talk about corporate restaurant chains and how they manage risk.

Starbucks loves to open stores, lots and lots of them, in dense urban areas with considerable foot traffic. However, not every such area is an ideal fit for a Starbucks. Opening a store, having it underperform for a couple of years, then shutting it down has a negative impact on the corporate bottom line. Starbucks likes to avoid such situations.

So, what corporate does is keep an eye on local coffee shops in those dense urban areas. If a local coffee shop proves successful for a period of a few years, then corporate has the proof it needs that a Starbucks location would work in that immediate area.

That’s believed to be why we have a Starbucks at Main and Monroe. Starbucks watched a coffee shop on that block of Main for several years and its success indicated that a Starbucks would thrive in a closely nearby location.

Now, in the case of Main and Monroe, Starbucks was able to establish a win-win with a local hotel – Starbucks got a location on one of Downtown’s prime corners, and the hotel got to advertise that guests could get their morning Starbucks fix without ever stepping outside.

What if such a win-win is not possible, though?

In that case, I’m told, Starbucks looks for a business within the immediate vicinity (like, a 2-minute or shorter walk away from the local coffee shop) that is willing to sell. They buy the business, shut it down, take over its lease, and open a new Starbucks location there.

I’m told that Starbucks is impressed with another local coffee shop and is searching for a location nearby and may have identified a space.

Have you heard what I’ve been hearing? Feel free to hit me up at paul@paulryburn.com or on social media and we can discuss.

The Grizzlies ended a 3-game losing streak with a 127-102 victory at Sacramento last night. The win came despite three players – Dillon Brooks, DeAnthony Melton, and Yves Pons – entering COVID health & safety protocols. Desmond Bane came through big with 28 points and John Konchar got his first start and double-double.

The Grizzlies remain in 4th place in the West and are avoiding play-in scenarios by 4 games, that being their lead over the 7th-place L.A. Lakers. The Grizzlies travel to Phoenix tonight for an 8 PM game with the Suns.

University of Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch put an exact number this weekend on how many players on the men’s basketball team are vaccinated: 11 (out of 17 on the roster). However, some of the 11 are redshirts and players out with injuries. Unvaccinated players have to enter COVID protocols, and therefore be unavailable to play, whenever one of their teammates tests positive for the virus.

Thinking back to my teaching days at the university… Oh, man, trying to schedule make-up exams during the age of COVID would be a nightmare. My sympathies to those instructing classes during the age of COVID – especially to my fellow math teachers, because it’s near impossible to give take-home exams in math classes.

The Liberty Bowl parade is on Beale Street today at 3. REMINDER: Ask how much a beer is before you order it. Some bars on Beale are known to implement enormous upcharges on event days. Under no circumstances should you be paying double-digits for a 32 oz. cup of domestic beer.

Interesting job listing I found this morning: Intelligence analyst for the state of Tennessee. You’d be analyzing data and following leads to help find missing children. Fulfilling and stimulating work but since it’s a government job the pay is kind of crap.

If you’re a fan of Memphis wrestling, you might want to make Jerry Lawler’s Bar & Grill on Beale Street your New Year’s Eve plan. “The King” himself will be there, as will “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart.

The Moxy Hotel will host a Midnight Memories New Year’s Eve party Friday. They’ll start off with drag queen bingo at 7, followed by a performance by singer Raheem Imam. Champagne toast at midnight.

That’s it for now. I’m going to get some writing done, explore the capabilities of my new HomePod Mini, then get out around noon.

Christmas 2021 recap and a little Sunday news

For Christmas, I went out to Eads to spend the day with my wonderful friends Randy and Theresa. We met at Bardog on Christmas Eve and they drove me out there. Here are some pics from Christmas Day.

Perjorie T. Roll with a bottle of Jim Beam cream liqueur

Perjorie getting ready to do a shot of the liqueur

Zorro the papillon. This is his first real Christmas, as he spent his first 4½ years “working” on a stud farm in Mississippi.

I got a HomePod Mini for Christmas. It found my music that was on the iPod I have barely used since 2007. I connected it to my Mac and pulled up a WWE show on Peacock to test the audio. It sounds great.

The Tender Bar, a book Randy has been recommending to me for some time now.

Randy preparing to slice the beef tenderloin

Christmas dinner with a PBR, Perjorie, wine from Portugal, and even a place setting with my name on it

Peanut butter pie for dessert

Thanks to Randy and Theresa for a marvelous Christmas. I came back with See’s candies and homemade cookies, as well as a down vest which I won’t be wearing anytime soon since the coolest high in the forecast for the rest of 2021 is 63.

The DM has stories about the new sequin mural that lines the I-40 underpass on Main Street and also about Downtown’s new selfie museum.

It’s Boxing Day.

The Grizzlies play a road game against the Sacramento Kings today at 5:00. TV will be Bally Sports Southeast as usual.

From the Daily Beast: Ugly passenger brawl sours one of the lucky flights to take off on Christmas Eve. I’ll give you one guess where the plane was heading. The brawl was over mask mandates.

Memphis set a new record high of 77 yesterday, a full 25 degrees above normal.

Memphis’ 2021 Christmas high temperature was only 10 degrees cooler than its July 4 high temperature.

That’s the news for today. Back tomorrow or Tuesday.

Christmas update

Independent data analyst James Aycock posted his COVID Week-in-Review a day early, and the outlook for Shelby County is very, very bad. The 7-day rolling average of the number of new cases per day is skyrocketing, now at 559 cases per day. That works out to 60 cases/day/100K, once again above the threshold of 50 at which the CDC recommends even fully vaccinated people mask in public indoor spaces.

If it makes you feel any better, New York County, New York (Manhattan) is at an astronomical 247 cases/day/100K. So it could be worse here. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it soon will be.

Shelby County’s mass COVID testing sites will be closed today and Sunday. I mean, I get it, it’s Christmas, but wow that timing is terrible.

The Little Rock Central High basketball team got a nice surprise in their Christmas gift bags this week: tickets to the Memphis Grizzlies vs. the Chicago Bulls in the annual MLK Day game. Central High drew national attention in 1957 when it desegregated.

The Memphis Tigers have been declared 2021 Hawai’i Bowl champions by forfeit. It apparently doesn’t count as a 7th victory for the season, though.

The Brass Door is closed until 2022.

Not only is it Christmas Day, but it’s also National Pumpkin Pie Day.

Bardog will open at 5 today. Over on Beale Street, Alfred’s and B.B. King’s will also open at 5.

I’m joining friends for Christmas dinner, then I will be out this evening. I thought about not posting today but decided the link to James’ summary was important enough that it couldn’t wait a day. Y’all be careful out there, especially those of you who are not vaccinated. Merry Christmas and I’ll be back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

1288 newly confirmed COVID cases in Shelby County today. Damn. This virus is accelerating like we’ve never seen before.

Memphis will not play in a bowl game this evening. The University of Hawaii had about 20 players test positive for COVID. As a result, they pulled out of the Hawaii Bowl. On such short notice and with such lengthy travel, the bowl will not be able to schedule a replacement. The Tigers finish the season 6-6.

Provided Texas Tech and Mississippi State remain healthy, the Liberty Bowl parade will happen on Beale Street Monday at 3, followed by a pep rally in Handy Park at 4:30.

Both Aldo’s locations are closed today and Christmas Day.

Bedrock Eats & Sweets will be open from 8 AM-2 PM today and will be closed tomorrow.

Elite Total Wellness is closed today through Sunday.

The Green Beetle will be closed today and tomorrow and will return to normal hours Sunday.

Silly Goose will be open from noon to midnight today. They will open at 7 PM Christmas Day.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. has released Group Hug, the latest beer in their Before Times series celebrating activities we took for granted before the pandemic. They tuned up their Hug recipe to produce a 10.1% ABV wheat ale with late addition hops. It’s available in 750 ml bottles in their taproom.

Food & Wine reports that Taco Bell is putting crispy chicken wings on the menu next year.

Interesting: There are smartphone apps that detect hidden cameras

Ballet Folklorio de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez comes to the Orpheum January 21.

That’s the news for today. I will probably take tomorrow off from blogging. Merry Christmas everyone.

Happy 10th birthday Blind Bear + Thursday news

Happy 10th birthday to the Blind Bear, which opened its doors to the public on December 23, 2011. The place has been my second living room ever since. Congrats to Jeannette and all the folks there on this milestone.

There’s a party tonight to celebrate! Charles and Randi will be dealing blackjack. You can play for free to win Bear Bucks, which can be exchanged at auction for prizes including golf bags, fire pits, and T-shirts. Albert King Jr.’s Final Touch Band plays 8 to midnight. Photographer Jamie Harmon will be there 8:00-11:30 to take speakeasy photos and “mug shots.” The Amurica photo booth will be on the patio.

Wow… there were 776 new cases of COVID reported today in Shelby County, bringing the 7-day rolling average of new cases to 414. That means the rolling average doubled in just 5 days – on Saturday it was 202.

Here’s a scary stat – a study by a health institute at the University of Washington predicts that 140 million in the U.S. will be infected with the Omicron variant between January 1 and March 1. That’s 40 percent of the population.

Paula & Raiford’s Disco will be closed today, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.

The DM has an article about Dreamers’ Revival, the upcoming TV show where Daryl and Ashley of Walking Pants Curiosities will help 13 entrepreneurs spruce up Downtown storefronts for their businesses.

Today is Festivus.

The MemphisWeather.net forecast has us at 63/53 today, 72/62 for Christmas Eve, and a near-record high of 75 for Christmas, with 0% chance of rain throughout. Highs are expected to remain in the 70s through December 28.

That’s the news for now. I hope to see you at the Blind Bear party tonight.

Wednesday update

Word is starting to come in about openings & closings this week and next for the holidays or out of concern over COVID. Let’s see what we’ve got so far, then we’ll get on to other news:

Atomic Rose: Drag show at 10 PM Christmas Eve with ugly sweater contest with a $100 prize; closed Christmas Day; drag brunch Sunday 12/26 at 12:30 PM

Ghost River on Beale Street: Thursday 12/23 4-9 PM with music by Kaleidoscope; closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; Sunday 12/26 1-8 PM with music by Pam and Terry

Ghost River on Main: Wednesday 12/22 4-9 PM with trivia and The Vegan Table food truck; Thursday 12/23 4-9 PM; closed 12/24-12/28

Gray Canary is closed “out of an abundance of caution” until Wednesday, December 29.

Little Italy Downtown will be closed on the 24th and 25th. They will be open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Max’s Sports Bar will be closed Christmas Eve and will be open 5-11 PM Christmas Day.

Sunrise Memphis will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Check back for further updates as the week goes on. Now, on to the other news:

South of Beale has a new chicken curry bowl that is quickly becoming one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Both the Downtown and East Memphis locations have the curry bowl.

Volunteer Memphis has its signup form online for corporations who want to volunteer as teams for the 2022 MLK Days of Service, January 13-17.

Yesterday President Biden signed a bill into law removing the name of former KKK member Clifford Davis from the Memphis federal building. The name of Odell Horton Sr., the first African-American judge in Tennessee to sit on the federal bench, will remain.

The DM reports that the historic Mallory-Neely House in Victorian Village will reopen for tours. It will also host a special Roaring ’20s event on March 5 called “Blind Tiger Speakeasy.” The mansion, built in the 1850s, has survived the yellow fever pandemic of 1878, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19, and the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2022.

President Biden announced yesterday the federal government would give away 500 million free at-home rapid COVID tests. People will be able to order them on a website and they’ll be delivered via U.S. Mail.

Biden went on to say that hospitals will overflow with the unvaccinated this winter and federal troops will be deployed to help. He stressed, however, that for those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted, COVID is not the threat now that it was in March 2020. It does not sound like the U.S. is heading for lockdowns like those being implemented in other countries.

Biden also had some rare praise for his predecessor, the Trumpster, who announced recently that he got his COVID booster.

Methodist has seen COVID hospitalizations increase 50% in its hospitals in the past week.

Independent data analyst James Aycock (@firstresponses) tweeted that we are up to a rolling average of 341 cases a day and a positivity rate of 9.0%. Things are going down the crapper fast COVID-wise. If you are unvaccinated, you are taking a big risk if you socialize this holiday season.

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