Tuesday update

The Grizzlies’ Ja Morant has been named Western Conference Player of the Week for the second week in a row. Here’s a big part of the reason why:

Ja is certainly leaving little doubt that he should be a starter in next month’s NBA All-Star Game. You can make that happen by voting here (the link helpfully fills in Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. for you). Alternately, you can get on Twitter and include #JaMorant and #NBAAllStar to vote.

DGX was oddly closed late Sunday afternoon and evening. Their normal operating hours are 7 AM-9 PM every day. I guess they got hit by Omicron like nearly every other business in the county right now. They were back open when I went in there yesterday.

Dang, my earthquake app is going crazy with the notifications this morning… apparently a fairly sizeable quake and a bunch of aftershocks happened around Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and Fox Islands.

Local nonprofit Volunteer Odyssey is hiring. If you would find it fulfilling to connect Memphians with great volunteer experiences, you might consider applying. Here’s a description of their open Volunteer Experience Manager position:

The Volunteer Experience Manager is at the heart of the mission of Volunteer Odyssey. This position ensures high-quality volunteer experiences – working directly with our individual volunteers and partners throughout the community. An ideal candidate has a passion for community service, knowledge of the nonprofit sector, and a heart for Memphis.

You know crime in your city is bad when even the chief of police had a service weapon stolen. Folks, I don’t care who you are, don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your car. Even if you plan on being away from your car for only a few minutes. Even if you park in a neighborhood perceived as “safe.”

Congratulations to college football national champs the Georgia Bulldogs! The Dawgs toppled Bama 33-18 last night. It’s Georgia’s first title since 1980.

Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest will be back April 24. The organizers hope to do the festival at its traditional location on Riverside Drive and Wagner Street between Union and Beale, with live music, bobbing for crawfish, and all the fun. However, if Omicron or a future variant continues to rage, they can do a drive-through crawfish offering as they did in 2021.

One thing to note: The last Sunday in April is the usual date for Beale Street Wine Race. I hope Wine Race and Rajun Cajun don’t get scheduled on the same day. Wine Race’s web page says the 2022 date will be announced soon.

Oh, I see why Rajun Cajun is the 24th… it’s usually the 3rd Sunday in April, but this year that day (April 17) is Easter. The last time that happened, they did Wine Race the 2nd Sunday and Rajun Cajun the 4th Sunday.

Starting Saturday, private insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID tests per month for people on their plans. Thanks, Biden!

Today is National Hot Toddy Day.

The Grizzlies host the Golden State Warriors tonight. The game will tip off at 7 and be broadcast on NBAtv. Don’t forget to get there early if you’re going – first 3000 through the gate get a #JaCozySzn Tech Suit Hoodie. Be sure to come back on the 29th for the matching pants.

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

Monday update

Tyler Harris put in 20 yesterday to give the Memphis Tigers a quality win over Cincinnati, 87-80. The Tigers were short-handed, but those who played, played with heart and lived up to their potential.

Know what I really like about the Tigers’ schedule? We don’t see Houston, the only AAC team ranked in the top 25, until February 12, and again in the Tigers’ final home game March 6. That’ll give the Tigers more time to gel as a team and get everyone healthy before we have two chances at Quadrant 1 wins.

Next up for the Tigers: A road game Wednesday at UCF.

The Grizzlies extended their winning streak on the road in L.A. yesterday, handling the Lakers 127-119. Let’s have an updated look at what this means for the Western Conference standings:

  • The Grizzlies (28-14) are still in sole possession of 4th place
  • … BUT, they are now only 1 game for catching the Utah Jazz (28-12) for 3rd place
  • They are 5 games ahead of 5th-place Dallas (22-16)
  • It’s looking more and more likely the Grizzlies will get into the playoffs without going through a play-in series – they lead the 7th-place Lakers (21-10) by 6.5 games

I’d say it’s been a pretty good weekend for Memphis basketball.

I’ve had two different people recommend The Nine Thai Sushi this weekend. I haven’t been there yet, and I love Thai food and also sushi.

I’ve also been told that Taco Bell’s crispy chicken wings are pretty good, if you like breaded wings. They’re only here through Wednesday, so if you want to try them, you better act fast.

Cat’s Ballroom at 45 North B.B. King is holding six weeks of beginner salsa lessons starting tomorrow. Classes are Tuesdays 6:00-6:50 PM and the cost for the series is $90.

Seriously considering a special blog post naming and shaming people who only bother to review a restaurant on Google or Yelp when they give it one star. What negative and miserable people they must be.

From Lifehacker: You can stream all the Winter Olympics without a cable subscription. The opening ceremony is February 4 but some of the round-robin team competitions begin on February 2. Reminder to Xfinity customers: You get Peacock Premium, which will carry much of the Games, for free. The Games will be held in and around China’s capital, Beijing.

Yesterday the Blind Bear had a women’s college basketball game on during brunch and I noticed that the University of Kentucky had a player named Treasure Hunt. Kudos to her parents on an excellent naming job. I wonder if she has a brother named Duck?

I recently finished the book I was given for Christmas, The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer. It’s a coming-of-age memoir centered around Publicans, a local neighborhood bar in Manhasset, New York, on Long Island 17 miles east of Manhattan. If you have a favorite bar – one in which Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar” could come on the jukebox or playlist and everyone would immediately start singing – I think you’d like this book.

There will be a history presentation of Memphis street names this Saturday at Elmwood Cemetery at 1 PM. That should be informative. I was recently given a look at 1925 and early 1950s street maps and noticed there were streets with different names and different routes than they presently have. Tickets are $20 and masks are requested for this event.

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

Saturday update

Edited to add: Get on Twitter and tweet the hashtags #JaMorant #NBAAllStar. Let’s help get our hometown hero a starting role in the All-Star game.

The International Blues Challenge has announced new dates for 2022. With Omicron raging all over the world, international travel is difficult, and packing bars and clubs to capacity just a few short weeks from now isn’t a safe idea. Therefore, these will be the new dates for IBC:

  • Friday, May 6: Quarterfinals Night 1
  • Saturday, May 7: Quarterfinals Night 2
  • Sunday, May 8: KBA Ceremony, Youth Showcases, Semifinals
  • Monday, May 9: IBC Finals at the Orpheum

I love it!!! A lot of years, I’ve wanted to go to IBC, but I’ve decided against it because it’s been too cold. That won’t be a problem in May. Also, note that IBC does not conflict with any Memphis in May event: Music Fest is April 29-May 1 and BBQ Fest is May 11-14.

Never been to IBC before? It’s your chance to hear the best blues in the world, played by bands from all over the world. My advice would be to buy a wristband on one of the quarterfinals nights, which gets you in all the clubs on and near Beale participating in IBC. Make note of bands you particularly like and then check to see if they advanced to the semifinals, and if you want to hear them again, go back.

A reminder that the Blind Bear has a country DJ tonight. I plan on going, not because I’m into country music, but because I’m curious who will show up. Wondering if people from East Memphis and the ‘burbs will come Downtown for this. I can’t remember the last time a Downtown bar or club had a country DJ, and even country bands are rare down here.

Wonder if DJ Superbrad plans on doing all modern country, or if he plans on throwing a little classic stuff in there? I could get down with some Conway Twitty or Merle Haggard.

The Grizzlies play a road game at the Los Angeles Clippers this afternoon at 2:30. Strangely, the unusual start time and big-city opponent were not enough to land this game on national TV, so look for it on Bally Sports Southeast (Xfinity 831).

Little Bettie, the wood-fired pizza kitchen inside Wiseacre Downtown, has announced updated hours for the month of January:

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday-Wednesday: 4-9 PM
  • Thursday: 4-10 PM
  • Friday-Saturday: 11 AM-10 PM
  • Sunday: 11 AM-7 PM

You can order from LIttle Bettie online if you prefer. If you’re Downtown to attend a Grizzlies or Tigers home game, show your ticket for 10% off your Little Bettie order.

At Soul & Spirits, the new brewery on the far north end of North Main, every beer they produce is inspired by an artist, producer, or writer with deep Memphis roots. Here’s what they had to say about one of their beers.

Here you’ll see Green Onions-our single hop series pale ale. We make a base beer and feature only one hop so it’s easier to understand how individual hops can completely change how the beer tastes and smells. This batch features Talus-a new hop that has come to the market that is super groovy! Talus brings forth more of a savory vibe leaning towards juicy pink grapefruit, rose and hyacinth, and notes of fresh cut cedar. Only available on draft at the Soul & Spirits beer hall, we make this in super small batches to keep it fresh and interesting. Get it while it lasts!

There are currently more than 25,000 COVID cases confirmed in Shelby County. However, due to lack of testing, unreported positives from at-home tests, and asymptomatic people who are never aware they have COVID, independent data analyst James Aycock thinks it’s reasonable to estimate 75,000 active cases in the county right now. If you come in contact with 13 people today, it’s likely one of them has it. If you’re vacc’d and boosted, you’re probably gonna be okay. If you’re unvaccinated, you’re playing Russian roulette with your health.

Today is Elvis’s birthday. He’d have been 87 today.

The MemphisWeather.net blog has a climate report for the month of December for those of us who like to nerd out on weather statistics. It was the second warmest December on record. The average high temperature for December 2021 was 66.5, warmer than a typical March in Memphis.

Bonus weather nerd alert: We are now in what is typically the coldest time of the year in Memphis, with a normal high/low of 50/33 from January 7-13. On the 14th we begin our bounce back up, with the normal high rising to 51.

In the ’90s, the coldest normal high/low for Memphis was 48/30, proof that global warming is a real thing.

In more current news, there’s a 100% chance of rain tonight, possibly heavy at times and possibly with a few thunderstorms mixed in. Gusty winds too. Factor that into your evening plans.

My brunch buddies are out of town, so I’m going to stay home this morning and watch a couple of newly-released videos by Eckhart Tolle. I’ll see if they give me any professional writing ideas. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Dr. Michelle Taylor, director of the Shelby County Health Department, announced in yesterday’s COVID-19 task force press conference that the Tennessee state health department had denied her request to institute a new mask mandate for Shelby County. Due to recent legislation, the SCHD no longer has the autonomy to issue such a mandate on its own.

Did you know that Ghost River has a book club called Books on Tap? They meet the last Thursday of the month at the Main Street location, and those who participate get 20% off their tab while the book club is in session. At the December meeting, they decided they would rotate the genre month to month, and for January it will be sci-fi/fantasy.

The book to be discussed at the January meeting is The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. If you want to shop for the book locally, you can go to Novel at Poplar and Perkins and ask for the book at the counter and get 10% off.

The rotating list of genres will be

  • comedy
  • fantasy/sci-fi
  • feel-good/romance (February’s genre)
  • historical fiction
  • literary fiction/drama
  • memoir
  • suspense/thriller/mystery

Bardog has a new shot called the Beaver Eater:

Cordelia’s Market has a wine & cheese subscription you can sign up for. Every month, members receive a box that contains 4-5 perfectly paired selections of wines, cheeses, and crackers, along with 1-2 seasonal items. Sign up by January 24 to receive the February box.

Cordelia’s isn’t the only one offering a monthly subscription. Taco Bell rolled out its Taco Pass nationwide this week. You sign up for $10 a month in the app and get one free taco a day. You have your choice of several tacos, the Doritos Locos Taco Supreme proving to be the most popular in a trial run conducted in Tucson.

MEMPops will donate all its January in-store tips to the Hospitality HUB.

The USL has announced the 2022 season home openers. Memphis 901 FC will host Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Saturday, March 12.

Mayor Strickland sent Governor Bill Lee a letter asking him to make a new bridge, crossing the Mississippi River at Memphis, a priority. The three-month shutdown of the I-40 bridge last year demonstrated how much shipping across the U.S. is affected when a key route across the river is cut off.

The CA has a first look at what will be offered at South Point Grocery at 136 Webster when it opens next month.

Today is National Pass Gas Day and I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore Day.

Harris and Fitz, with special guest James Dale Green on mandolin, will perform at Westy’s at 9:30 tonight.

Broke Tall Folk play The Vault tonight at 8.

There’s a half hour swing dance lesson, followed by two hours of social dance, tonight at the Rumba Room.

That’s it for today. I’m off to a late start. I guess the cold made me sleep extra well. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Up super early to watch the precipitation move in this morning. Reloading the @memphisweather1 Twitter feed frequently. I heard the pitter-patter of sleet against my window 2:45-3:00ish AM, then it changed back to rain.

The DM has a recap of the press conference held by a group called Tom Lee Park for All yesterday morning. It’s a diverse group of individuals who hold different opinions on what should be done with Tom Lee Park, but they have one common interest: parking.

The original redesign of the park included about 140 on-street parking spaces on both sides of Riverside. However, that plan reduced Riverside to 2 lanes. When Mayor Strickland announced his intention to keep Riverside a 4-lane road, designers went back to the drawing board and came up with a plan that had on-street parking only on the west side of Riverside, reducing the number of spaces to only 68. The group claims this violates the mediation agreement between the city, Memphis River Parks Partnership, and Memphis in May. They say that there won’t be enough parking under the current design to make the park accessible to all Memphians.

The city has said there will be plenty of free on-street parking near three of the park’s entrances at Vance, Huling, and Butler. However, the Tom Lee Park for All group responded, parking there would require walking up and down the bluff, which is a challenge for those with disabilities.

Tom Lee Park for All wants the parking lots restored to the master plan for the park. They’ve filed a suit in chancery court over the matter.

A couple of days ago, I told you about a new mocktail available for a limited time at Bardog. It turns out that is just one of many mocktails available this month around Memphis as part of an Edible Memphis promotion: ChampionSip. 16 mocktails will compete in a bracketed tournament to crown the best mocktail in Memphis. Voting will take place in the first round, quarterfinals, semis, and finals January 17-31. Downtown bars participating include

  • Bardog Tavern
  • BarWare
  • Good Fortune Co.
  • Gray Canary
  • Pontotoc Lounge
  • Slider Inn Downtown
  • South of Beale
  • SugaShack

This promotion will let people who want to do Dry January be able to do so without staying away from the bars all month. Me personally, when Edible Memphis does a PBR bracket, then I’ll be interested.

FACTS posted by Mayor Jimbo from Mempho yesterday:

Vaccines work, and boosters work even better.
Current COVID data from Baptist Memorial Health Care:
  • Not vaccinated 84.75%
  • Vaccinated 14.35%
  • Boosted 0.90%
  • Not vaccinated 88.57%
  • Vaccinated 11.43%
  • Boosted 0.00%

You can still get the virus if you’ve been vacc’d and boosted, but your chances of getting seriously ill are much, much, much less. This is not me preaching at you; these are just cold, hard numbers.

A USA TODAY poll named Downtown Memphis’ Hyatt Centric hotel one of the best new hotels in the U.S. for 2021.

The Grizzlies celebrate National Mentoring Month with seven events in January, including Mentoring Night at tonight’s home game vs. the Detroit Pistons.

A Memphis judge, Gina Higgins, was hit by a car while crossing Second Street yesterday. She was said to be in non-critical condition in Baptist East.

Authorities have named a suspect in the November 17 murder of Young Dolph, but he is not currently in custody.

Rep. Jeremy Faison, chairman of the Republican caucus in the Tennessee House, was escorted out of a high school basketball game after he attempted to pull the referee’s pants down.

I’ll let @memphisweather1 have the last word in today’s post.

Wednesday update

MemphisWeather.net has a blog post on the expected winter weather tomorrow. Long story short: Tomorrow morning we’re going to get precipitation. The question is, at what point during that precipitation will the temperature fall below freezing, causing the rain to convert over to a wintry mix and then snow.

If it doesn’t convert over to ice and snow by 7 AM, then commuters are gonna have a real problem tomorrow morning. Offices will be open, but the roads will be icy for the drive home. If you’re a manager, I implore you to be understanding of employees who don’t want to risk coming in.

The Majestic Grille will be closed this week (January 4-10) to give employees a little time to rest following a busy holiday season. They’ll be back open on the 11th.

Lanes on the I-40 bridge will be closed today for routine inspections by ARDOT.

The Memphis Tigers held off a late Tulsa rally to get a W, 67-64. The Tigers improve to 8-5, 2-1 in conference. They have a few days off before hosting Cincinnati on national TV Sunday.

Insomnia Cookies has two limited-edition vegan cookies to try this month:

  • Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread – a double chocolate banana cookie with chocolate chips and nibs
  • Vegan All of the Above – a brown sugar cookie with chocolate-covered pretzels, white and dark chips, coffee, and coconut

Protect your privacy. Your phone is secretly always recording: How to stop Google from listening. Several weeks ago I mentioned how I started seeing Billy Joel-related ads after riding in a car that had Billy Joel playing on the stereo.

StyleBlueprint recently listed 10 seriously good salads in Memphis and two Downtown restaurants had salads that made the list: the Roasted Cauliflower Salad from Raw Girls and the Salmon Niçoise at the Majestic Grille. The Gazpacho Salad from Maciel’s was listed too, but apparently, you have to go to the Midtown location to get it.

Yesterday the City Council told Memphis Police that more needs to be done to slow down drag racing. The North Main Precinct, which covers all of Downtown, was one of four precincts seeing the biggest increase.

In its latest 5 Star Story, Action News 5 looks at the Cotton Museum inside the Cotton Exchange Building.

Blind Bear is doing a country DJ night with DJ Superbrad Saturday. Yee haw. The tunes start at 9 PM. I’m not a country music fan but I’ll go just for the people watching.

The Ja Morant Show continued last night as the Grizzlies beat Cleveland on the road, 110-106. Let’s get an update on the Western Conference standings:

  • The Grizzlies (25-14) remain in 4th place
  • They’re 3 games back of the Utah Jazz (27-10)
  • They’re 5 games ahead of 5th-7th place Denver, Dallas, and L.A. Lakers

From Heavy.com: Kevin Durant sends a message to the NBA about likely Western Conference All-Star starter Ja Morant

From the Dubois County (Indiana) Herald: Try Memphis for a winter outdoors destination

Fox 13 investigates an attack by an inmate with a brick on another inmate at 201. The attacker was jailed on capital murder charges; the victim was there for violating his probation. Lawyers say the two inmates should not have been housed together because of their vastly different charges.

In the news: For the first time since 1931, GM is not the top-selling automaker in the US. Thanks to better supply chain management, Toyota passed GM in sales in 2021.

Winnie-the-Pooh has entered the public domain, as have all original compositions published before 1926. You’re now free to obtain a copy without paying, and you can create your own books, films, TikToks, etc. based on Pooh without owning royalties to the author’s estate.

It’ll be interesting to see if copyright law changes in the next two years. If it doesn’t, a certain mouse will enter the public domain. Time for Disney to start paying the lobbyists in Washington.

That’s the news for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with more.

Tuesday update

The city and Memphis River Parks Partnership are being sued by a group called Tom Lee Park for All. The group claims that the plan to redesign Tom Lee Park violates the mediation agreement between the city, MRPP, and Memphis in May. Memphis in May is not a party to the lawsuit.

Congratulations to Ja Morant, who was named the NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week yesterday. Morant celebrated by turning in another All-Star-worthy performance last night as the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies took down the Brooklyn Nets, 118-104.

Penny’s Memphis Tigers return home tonight to host Tulsa. The game will be at 8 PM and televised nationally on ESPNU.

Earnestine & Hazel’s will be closed this week and will reopen Friday, January 7 just in time for the weekend.

If you know anyone in Arlington, Texas, let them know some good Memphis food is on the way. Chef Tam (of Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe in The Edge District) plans to open an express location there.

Bardog has added a new mocktail to its drink menu. The Re-Salud-tion is made with cranberry winter syrup, ginger beer, and orange juice and is garnished with an orange peel swath and cranberry. It’s a good choice for those doing a Dry January or merely looking to cut back now that the holidays are over. Tag your photos of this drink with Bardog Tavern and Edible Memphis for the chance to win a $100 gift card to the restaurant of your choice.

Speaking of Bardog, it’s the best place Downtown to celebrate National Spaghetti Day today – with Grandma’s New Jersey meatballs, of course.

The Design Review Board will consider a colorful mural proposed for the outside wall of the Hyatt Centric at Beale and Wagner. It’ll give people doing donuts in their Chargers and Challengers, as well as the cops parked nearby doing nothing about the reckless driving, something pretty to look at.

The MemphisWeather.net forecast for Thursday is worth noting. Thursday will start off with a low near 30, and during the day there will be a “decent chance of snow and rain” with the high only making it to the mid-30s. The low Thursday night/Friday morning will be in the upper teens.

Convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell’s husband dumped her for a yoga teacher while she was locked up in solitary. LOL! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. There is nothing a narcissist hates/fears more than being discarded. Oh, wait, maybe there is one thing a narcissist fears more – getting old. Ghislaine turned 60 over the holidays.

The New York Attorney General’s office has subpoenaed the Trumpster and his two eldest children, Don Jr. and Ivanka, in an investigation of the family’s business practices.

That’s it for this chilly Tuesday. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

I’m going to repeat a recommendation I’ve made on here before. I wish I had made it last week.

I strongly recommend that my readers AVOID pub crawls organized by national companies that do not have a full-time presence here in Memphis.

How do you know if the organizer is a national company? First of all, they’ll have a very generic name – something like “Pub Crawls Are Fun.” No connection to the local community is indicated in the name.

Secondly, pull up the Events tab on the company’s Facebook page. If you see “Boston pub crawl,” “Nashville pub crawl,” etc., you know they aren’t local.

If, after reading this, you’re still thinking about attending a non-locally-organized pub crawl, at least do this: Prior to buying your ticket, call EVERY bar on the list. Confirm that they are part of the pub crawl, that as a pub crawl participant you’ll be admitted without an additional cover charge, and also confirm any drink specials or other bonuses for crawlers. Get the name of the person providing this info so you have someone to quote if you’re told differently at the door.

Be especially skeptical of these pub crawls on weekends when the bars wouldn’t have to rely on outside help to draw a packed house – for example, the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day or the Saturday or Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

Slider Inn has added a new weekend brunch item at both its Downtown and Midtown locations: country fried steak sliders.

Loflin Yard will be closed through next Wednesday the 12th for some light renovations, some deep cleaning, and so employees can get some rest after a busy New Year’s weekend.

I’m seeing a lot of “I f*cked up already, 2023 is going to be my year” memes posted to Facebook. People, please remember to cite your source when quoting the Tennessee Vols athletic department.

Shelby County is now averaging more than new COVID cases per day per 100,000 population. About 1.5% of the county’s residents are currently infected – but due to home tests and a large number of asymptomatic cases, 4% is probably a realistic number. Will you be around 25 people today? If so, chances are one of them will have COVID.

Elvis fans: There’s a new podcast called Memphis Flash that I think you would enjoy. Hosted by Brad Birkedahl and Mark Shaffer, the podcast uncovers hidden gems related to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Today is Humiliation Day and “Thank God It’s Monday” Day. It’s also National Weigh-in Day. Today is also a day to remember that one day, you will die. Could today possibly SUCK any harder?

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Brooklyn Nets tonight at 6:30 on NBAtv.

Insider tip I gleaned from studying the Memphis Grizzlies promotional schedule: You might wanna go ahead and buy tickets to these two Grizzlies home games and make plans to get there super early:

  • Tuesday, January 11 (vs. Golden State Warriors): Free #JaCozySzn Grizzlies Tech Suit Hoodie to the first 3000 fans
  • Saturday, January 29 (vs. Washington Wizards): Free #JaCozySzn Grizzlies Tech Suit Pants to the first 3000 fans

New Tennessee license plates will be available beginning today. Do prison inmates still make those?

Local poker league River Rat Rounders hosts its first official poker night at Grind City Brewing Co. Thursday night. Double league points with $125 to the winner of the main game and $25 to the winner of the turbo. It’s free to play and there are a lot of fun bonuses to being part of the league. Great way to meet people too.

Weird dream I had last night: I worked for Memphis’ regional satellite branch of the Metropolitan Opera of New York. My office (and company-supplied apartment) was in the Memphis Botanic Gardens and we were planning an upcoming fundraiser/awareness event to be held on Kavanaugh Blvd. in Little Rock. There was an explosion at the property next door to where I worked, causing it to rain rose petals on the facility’s parking lot.

All right. Time to hit Publish and begin a long trek to inbox zero, then try to come up with a list of what I want to get done this month. Back tomorrow with more news.

First update of 2022

It’s time to start attracting good luck and good fortune in 2022. Do it Southern-style at the Blind Bear today with ham, blackeyed peas, collard greens, cornbread, and mac and cheese. Plates are $15 and will be available from 11 AM until they run out. Unclear why Southerners eat these foods on New Year’s? Here’s an explainer.

It’s an all-SEC college football title game as Alabama and Georgia punched their tickets in yesterday’s semifinals. Today’s bowl action:

  • Outback Bowl: Penn State vs. Arkansas, 11 AM, ESPN2
  • Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame, noon, ESPN
  • Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs. Kentucky, noon, ABC
  • Rose Bowl: Utah vs. Ohio State, 4 PM, ESPN
  • Sugar Bowl: Baylor vs. Ole Miss, 7:45 PM, ESPN

Tigers on national TV alert: The Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team has a road game against Wichita State which will be nationally televised on CBS this morning at 11.

From Food & Wine: Why this off-putting Chicago liquor is so damn special. Chicagoans say both “this defines us” and “this is terrible” about Malort.

Ja Morant moved closer to being named an All-Star with a 30-point performance vs. San Antonio last night. The Grizzlies won 118-105. Let’s have a look at what that does for the Western Conference standings:

  • The Grizzlies (23-14) are in sole possession of 4th place
  • They trail the Utah Jazz by 4 games for 3rd place
  • They lead the 5th-place Denver Nuggets by 4 games
  • They’re avoiding play-in scenarios with a 5-game lead over 7th-place L.A. Lakers

The Grizz get the weekend off, then will play at Brooklyn Monday.

It’s National Bloody Mary Day. Maybe I’ll have one this morning with my plate of good luck. Remember, today is Saturday, so a lot of places will be offering the drink as a brunch special.

Weather alert:

MemphisWeather.net says rain is expected noon-7 PM with best chance of storms 1-4 PM.

RIP Betty White, and she’s not the only beautiful soul we lost yesterday. I will miss my Peabody lobby bar Christmas Eve drinking buddy.

So I have a conundrum. The Arkansas game (Outback Bowl) is on at 11. The Tigers basketball game is on at 11. Ideally, I’d like to see both, which would put a trip to Max’s Sports Bar on the morning’s agenda – but the forecast makes getting back to the core a bit too dicey for my taste. Max’s is out.

The only other of my regular bars where I can easily keep an eye on 2 TVs at once is Silly Goose, and they’re not open until this evening.

That leaves Bardog and Blind Bear. Due to the New Year’s Day food special – and due to the fact that I want to park myself at one bar all day and avoid the weather – Bear has the advantage.

Of the two games, I care much, much, much more about the Arkansas game. They have the chance to beat a storied Big 10 program and finish with their best record since Bobby Petrino crashed his bike. So I’d like to get there right at 11 and request the Arkansas game on the TV in front of me.

But someone could, quite correctly, come along and note that this is Memphis, and the Memphis basketball game should be on the best TV in the house – even though it’s now likely the Tigers aren’t going to be invited to the Big Dance.

I suppose this is a high-class problem to have. Back tomorrow with more news.