Heat and mosqueet

That’s how one of the other guys staying at the Union Mission described summer in Memphis. Not much at the Mission makes me laugh, but that did. 

Yesterday around 4 PM at the Mission, word got out that a donation of individual cartons of chocolate milk had arrived in the dining room. A stampede practically broke out. I had no idea chocolate milk was so in-demand among that audience. I would’ve guessed it would take something at least 70 proof to get some of those men to move that fast.

Baron von Opperbean, the interactive exhibit being installed on Mud Island by artist Chris Reyes, now has a Facebook page you can “Like” to get news and updates in your feed.

Flying Saucer is doing Singo Bingo from 1-3 PM on Saturdays. Don’t know what that is? Check out the Singo site – it’s bingo played with clips of songs rather than numbers. Win up to $50 in gift cards.

Today is International Sushi Day. The Nine Thai Sushi, STIX Express, and South Main Sushi would be good places to celebrate.

Beale Street Bears looks at three players the Grizzlies could send to Houston along with the number 9 pick in the upcoming NBA draft in exchange for the Rockets’ 3 pick. I’ll spoil it for you: Santi, Kennard, Smart.

It’s Time Tour: Girls Night Out tonight at the Orpheum has been canceled.

The Redbirds host Jacksonville today at 12:05. The heat is giving us a break today (the “mosqueet,” probably not so much), so it’s a good day for a day game.

There will be a Puppy Pride Parade in Court Square at noon Saturday. It will be hosted by the Moxy Memphis hotel across the street from the square. Strooly will DJ and there will be vendor giveaways.

By the way… if you’ve been mourning the loss of the bocce ball court at Main and Talbot since Slider Inn Downtown installed its back patio – the Moxy has a court. I’m sure hotel guests have priority, but I bet if you bought a drink at the Moxy’s lobby bar, they’d let you play. Fun fact: The Moxy’s front desk agents double as bartenders. That’s very Downtown Memphis.

Edible Memphis, in its most recent “Where Should I Eat?” e-newsletter, reports that fine dining restaurant Amelia Gene’s has a $50 tasting menu on Thursdays. (That’s a bargain for fine dining.) If you choose, you can add a $30 wine sampling that includes five glasses.

Blind Bear specials this week:

  • Cream of asparagus soup
  • Fried crawfish po’boy with fries
  • Cajun sausage and peppers pasta
  • Strawberry cream cake

New hours for the Soul & Spirits taproom at 845 N. Main, starting July 2 (they’ll be closed July 4):

  • Mondays: Closed
  • Tuesdays-Wednesdays: 4-9 PM
  • Thursdays: 4-10 PM
  • Fridays-Saturdays: 1-10 PM
  • Sundays: 1-6 PM

Apologies for the typos in yesterday’s post. I did that one entirely on my phone where it’s easy to make and not notice accidental keystrokes. Back tomorrow.

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The Mission Man’s Summertime Conundrum

How an unusual but very cool (among homeless shelters) policy at the Memphis Union Mission puts me to a tough decision every day

The main building of the Union Mission – where we dine, go to chapel, watch TV – is square shaped, built in two phases (two L shapes) between 2017 and 2023. It’s therefore known as Phase 1 and Phase 2. It has 6 dorms that sleep about 200. It is thoroughly modern with good air conditioning.

The other building, MES (no idea what that stands for) is the original Mission building, built in 1945. These days it’s used only for sleeping. It has 123 beds. It’s been retrofitted with A/C but it’s ineffective. The last night I stayed in :MES, it was about 83 and stuffy ithere. (I hear there are plans to eventually replace MES with a Phase t3.)

Depending on the dorm, we are awakened at either 5:30 or 6:00. I tend to skip breakfast (a bowl of corn flakes in milk most days) in favor of charging my devices. Most days I’m out the door by 7:00, headed to the Downtown core. I stay out until about 1:00 PM, being sure to be back to the Mission in time to beat the 2:00 deadline to get in free for the night.

But that 7 AM departure time? That’s totally a time of MY choosing. Which is kinda cool in a way, yet it also creates a problem for me.

You see, most shelters – including Calvary, the other large men’s congregate shelter in town – kick their guests out right after breakfast.

Memphis Union Mission does not. You can hang out in the common room until 9, when the front office opens; then go up there and check in and get a bed assignment for the new day. A LOT of men do this. A lot of men never set foot outside.

I can’t imagine doing that. I want to go see my friends. I also want access to Wi-Fi, which the Mission does not have. Without it I can’t write this blog.

But by the time I get back to the Mission between 1 and 2 in the afternoon, more often than not I find that all the Phase 1 and Phase 2 beds are taken. So, off to MES I go. Another night in MES. Another night in 83 degrees.

Those of you who know me well know I loooooove air conditioning.

I love my friends more, though.

And I love writing for all of you more.

I just hope I feel the same way in August. It’s gonna be a long, hot summer.

On to the news…

There’s a FREE showing of The Color Purple tonight at the Orpheum.

Flyway Brewing beers are showing up Downtown even though the Little Rock-based brewery has yet to open in the High Cotton space on Monroe.

The Memphis Medical District Collaborative’s success is gaining national attention.

The National Baptist Congress of Christian Education is meeting at the Renasant Convention Center this week.

Today is Take Your Cat to Work Day.

A man has been charged with stealing a Corvette Downtown Saturday night.

Libraries and government offices will be closed Wednesday for Juneteenth.

I bet some sports psychologist is going to make a lot of money off Rory McIlroy this week. That was an epic choke in the U.S. Open.

Looks like it’s going to be a rainy Monday. Back tomorrow with more news.

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Sunday update

If you ever want something to eat on a Sunday morning but can’t afford to pay, check out the back parking lot of KFC at Poplar and Danny Thomas. Church groups set up there and feed anyone who is hungry. It’s right across Poplar from the Union Mission so it’s convenient.

This morning I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, two oranges, a granola bar, and a water. They were smoking meat too, but I didn’t feel like waiting. Thanks to them for a great breakfast.

Memphis 901 FC got a 2-1 win over New Mexico United last night.

The DM checks out DeMoir Books which recently made a home on Main.

Today is No Orange Clothes Day. Especially Tennessee Vols orange.

Another short post today. The reason/excuse du hour is that my back hurts.

Coming soon: The Mission Man’s Conundrum: How something fairly unique to the Memphis Union Mission puts me to a tough decision every day I stay there.

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Saturday update

My friend Jason visited the new Shell station at Danny Thomas at MLK and he says it’s basically a candy store with some gas pumps. In particular, he noted the many flavors of cotton candy and jelly beans.

The Peanut Shoppe will be closed this Sunday in observance of holidays.

The U.S. Coast Guard Band will play a free concert at the Cannon Center next Saturday, June 22.

Huey’s is hiring managers.

Short post because laptop battery dying.

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Friday update

Biscuits & Jams, the new restaurant in Hotel Indigo at B.B. King Blvd. and Court, is The Daily Memphian’s $10 Deal this week. You can get challah French toast, loved by new Memphis entrepreneur Elon Musk, for $7.09.

George Strait’s new song dropped this morning. Normally I don’t follow county music but these are the kinds of things you learn when you sit at Allie Cat’s bar at Bardog.

Wednesday morning, a woman living at the Hernando Flats apartments (G.E. Patterson Ave. and Hernando Street) discovered two men hiding in her Jeep as she got in. They accosted her with a gun and got away with her purse, wallet, and work ID. That area southeast of B.B. King and Vance reminds me of the way the southeast quadrant of Cooper-Young was 30 years ago… up-and-coming, but still a place people can walk from the hood in less than 5 minutes.

Today is Flag Day in the U.S. It’s also the Trumpster’s 78th birthday.

And it’s National Bourbon Day. Belle Tavern can help you celebrate with a large selection of bourbons.

Je’Caryous Johnson brings classic film New Jack City to the stage at the Orpheum with 2 performances Saturday. Tickets are $79.75.

Speaking of the Orpheum, there are jobs open there:

Smart Growth America has named Memphis the deadliest city for pedestrians.

Comedian Matt Rife stopped by Envision Fitness at Main and Madison for a workout prior to his Orpheum show Wednesday night. He and his crew were said to be really nice.

Some people hate Rife, though. I walked around Downtown Wednesday and noticed that Rife drew a heavily female – HOT female – crowd. It was the best-looking audience I have seen Downtown since JT did a show here.

There will be a vegan festival in Fourth Bluff Park Sunday.

MarceauxMarceaux DJs Eight & Sand Lounge in Central Station Hotel tonight 9 to 1. From the hotel’s website: “His style is an eclectic blend of electronic soundscapes and rave-friendly techno that feels right at home on a dark dance floor.”

That’s it for today. I have stuff to do Saturday morning so there may not be a post tomorrow. Back soon with more news.

It’s free to read this blog, but I gratefully accept tips! 
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Thursday update

The CA has ways to celebrate Juneteenth in Memphis, including

  • Friday-Saturday in Health Sciences Park
  • Freedom Ride bike ride on Mud Island Saturday
  • Shop Black Festival at Fourth Bluff Park Saturday
  • Community Day at the National Civil Rights Museum Wednesday

LEO Events seeks a Director of Events.

The CA has a look inside DeMoir Books & Things on Main Street in the old Feast & Graze space. The store has an emphasis on LGBTQ+ and BIPOC content.

Also from the CA: Is Memphis Tigers basketball getting Louisville back on the schedule?

Former Tiger DeAndre Williams discussed his future plans with Action News 5.

Joey Chestnut may be banned from the July 4 Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating competition on Coney Island… but on Labor Day, he’ll go heads up against fellow multi-time hot dog eating champion Takeru Kobayashi. The battle will be broadcast on Netflix.

Singer/songwriter Ashley McBryde, who got her start in Memphis, doesn’t drink whiskey anymore but she still sings about it.

There will be a pop-up art book sale Saturday at 325 Wagner Place. Cocktails  and coffee drinks will be served.

That’s all for now. Back tomorrow.

It’s free to read this blog, but I gratefully accept tips! 
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Wednesday update

Administrative note before we get started: A couple of people who have attempted to send me a tip via the Venmo link in the footer of these posts have been asked for the last 4 digits of my phone number. Use 8113 if you get that prompt.

I’m learning that the homeless community Downtown often refers to Court Square as “Squirrel Park.” Really, isn’t that a better name? There are apartments, hotels, restaurants, and hair salons on the square, but no courts. Most of those are a few blocks to the north on Adams, Washington, and Poplar.

Speaking of Downtown streets, Monroe Avenue is back open from Front to B.B. King. The block between Riverside and Front remains closed and will be for years for museum construction.

NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West has passed away at 86. West was GM of the Grizzlies 2002-2007 and was named NBA Executive of the Year for the 2003-2004 season.

Did you know the Renasant Convention Center has an email list you can subscribe to? Make sure you don’t miss out on any events… and as a bonus, they’ll keep you informed of Cannon Center events as well.

Speaking of the Cannon Center, Memphis Quartet Show will be there Thursday-Sunday. This gospel event will present 17 quartets over that period.

Billy Strings will bring new age-bluegrass to FedExForum December 6-7.

Bardog Tavern loves healthcare workers! They get 10 percent off breakfast and a morning happy hour with work ID. Don’t forget, Bardog opens at 7:30 on weekdays now.

Stats site FiveThirtyEight released its presidential election forecast yesterday. Unlike RealClearPolitics’ forecast, this one is based not only on polls, but also on statistical models of voter behavior. Some insights from the forecast as of this morning’s update:

  • President Biden is a 52/48 favorite to defeat the Trumpster and win a second term
  • There’s an 0.4% chance neither wins a majority of electoral votes, throwing the election to the House
  • Electoral vote forecast is Biden 273, Trump 265 (270 needed to win)
  • Pennsylvania is the current tipping-point state. Biden is predicted to win there 47% to 46%.
  • Arizona has the closest projected outcome of any state (Trump by 0.6%)

Flying Saucer has Dad Hats just in time for Father’s Day:

The 8-team College World Series is weird this year – only 2 conferences are represented with 4 teams each.

Blind Bear will have a watch party for the Florida State-Tennessee CWS game Friday at 6.

If you listen to the local police scanner, you know the intersection of Boyd and Tate is among the most dangerous in Memphis. It’s a mile southeast of Downtown, with Crump-Georgia-Walnut the closest major intersection. MPD targeted that area Friday, producing many arrests as well as gun and drug seizures.

The Grizzlies seek an executive suite and club box concierge and also an intern in communications and publications.

The Metal Museum seeks a part-time guest services assistant.

Joey Chestnut has been banned from the July 4 Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating competition because he was signed to a sponsorship deal for Impossible Foods. They make a plant-based hot dog that competes with Nathan’s.

That’s it. Staying out again tonight probably. Back tomorrow.

It’s free to read this blog, but I gratefully accept tips! 
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Tuesday update

Seeing Red and DJ A.D. will provide the music at this Thursday’s Peabody rooftop party. 6-10 PM, $15 to get in, $40 to be a VIP. Register to win a Bud Light Sasquatch party cooler or tickets to Come from Away at the Orpheum. VIPs get an Asian-inspired buffet of marinated skirt steak, roasted marble potatoes, and Hawaiian rolls.

ShowerUp Memphis, an organization providing mobile showers and personal care for the homeless, seeks an operations manager.

Some analysts believe Desmond Bane should be traded this offseason. NOOOOOOOOOO!

Today is Corn on the Cob Day.

Blind Bear specials this week:

  • Grandma’s vegetable soup
  • Cheese ravioli tossed in house-made vodka sauce topped with grilled chicken
  • Steak fajitas with Mexican rice and refried beans
  • Chocolate chip cookies with ice cream

Madaline Collins plays Live at the Tracks at Central Station this Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30.

Miz Stefani plays The Central BBQ Sessions at Central BBQ Downtown this Saturday at 6:00.

There will be a Juneteenth Shop Black Festival at Fourth Bluff this Saturday from 11 AM to 6 PM.

I wonder what’s going to become of this abandoned Shell station at Crump and Florida:


As recently as 7-8 years ago, that intersection was right in the middle of the slums. But now it’s surrounded by new swanky apartments on the north side of Crump, and on the south side there’s now a bar that serves breakfast, late night, and everything in between. In other words, this lot now has 3 advantages going for it:

  1. location
  2. location
  3. location

I wonder what’ll become of it. Remember, another abandoned Downtown gas station was repurposed into a TACOnganas this year.

Got a question for anyone who can shed some light. Over on Medium, I have a regular reader in Spain who wants to leave me a tip. However, none of the payment methods in my footer (Venmo, Cash App, Apple Pay) will let him initiate the transfer. Any recs for a global cash transfer service? I bank with Ally Bank if that makes a difference.

That’s it. I stayed out last night, so you get an early post today. Back tomorrow.

It’s free to read this blog, but I gratefully accept tips! 
Venmo: @Paul-Ryburn
Cash App: $PaulRyburn1
Apple Pay: paul.ryburn@gmail.com

Monday update

Got some good news for you early birds: Bardog is now open at 7:30 AM Monday-Friday. Health care workers, factory third-shifters, cops, whoever else… come get your breakfast super early. Most days you’ll find your favorite blogger sitting at the bar, composing the day’s post.

I love how Bardog started a trend of bars opening before 11 AM in Downtown Memphis. Birdie’s, Silly Goose, and Momma’s open early as well. There are also breakfast restaurants like Sunrise Memphis, Sugar Grits, and Arcade that have full bars.

Dinstuhl’s at Main and Peabody Place now has chocolate-covered strawberries and raspberries. 

Memphis 901 FC drew Colorado Springs Saturday night 1-1.

Yuck! The forecasts have Memphis hitting the mid 90s Friday-Sunday.

Memphis Animal Services has put out an SOS. They’re desperately in need of adopters and fosters right now. Otherwise they’ll have to start euthanizing dogs due to lack of space. 

Posters like this one are popping up around Downtown Memphis:

For those of you who don’t know who this is: He lived a great story and made Downtown a more interesting place.

The DM has a look at Project Green Fork’s Loving Local festival, held yesterday at PGF-certified Grind City Brewing Co.

What used to be the Mud Island Mississippi River Museum will become an “immersive, interactive entertainment experience” designed by local artist Chris Reyes. This sounds SUPER COOL and I can’t wait to be in the finished product.

Today is National Egg Roll Day and National Iced Tea Day.

There is now a $10,000 reward for info about the shooting death of a woman in Downtown Memphis last August 27. The car she got into about 3 AM near South Main and Pontotoc got shot up and several others were hit.

The Saucer has jalapeno cheddar corn dogs on special today. Chicken franks.

ABC 24 has a look back at this past weekend’s Anime Blues Con.

Backbeat Tours has added a Memphis Street Art Tour that includes a tour & tasting at Old Dominick Distillery. The tour departs daily from Alfred’s patio at Beale and B.B. King at 1:00 PM. I recommend getting there around 12:40 to sign up.

Speaking of street art, here’s a piece I photographed Saturday as I walked back Downtown from Momma’s. It’s in the Florida Street underpass just north of Crump.

Memphis Made is closing its Cooper-Young brewery as its owners plan the move to The Edge.

It’s a beautiful day and I have several things to get done, so most likely I’m going to stay out tonight. Back tomorrow with more news.

It’s free to read this blog, but I gratefully accept tips! 
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Saturday update

Memphis 901 FC takes the pitch at AutoZone Park for a 7:30 match tonight vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.

The Belmont Stakes is today with a post time of 5:41 PM CDT. TV: FOX

The Metal Museum plans to increase its focus on jewelry.

The Cossitt Library has a new exhibit on its main floor: From Numbers to Narratives: Exploring Prosecution & Safety in Shelby County. Come grab you a snack from Dos Hermanos Kitchen and check out the graphs & charts.

Today is World Gin Day.

Virginia has moved from “Leans Biden” to “Toss Up” on RealClearPolitics’ electoral map. That’s a bit of a shock because Virginia has been pretty solid blue the last 3 presidential elections. The Trumpster now leads President Biden 219 to 202, with 117 electoral votes classified as toss-ups. 270 is the number needed to win.

Beer lovers, don’t forget – Flying Saucer’s anniversary party is today. Lots of rare tappings, live music, caricatures.

Also don’t forget, today is the book festival & sale at Cossitt Library.

Today is Men’s Eco-Wellness Day at Black Seeds Urban Garden, 580 N. Fourth. Free health screenings, yoga, healthy food, and voter registration.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow if there’s news to report.

It’s free to read this blog, but I gratefully accept tips! 
Venmo: @Paul-Ryburn
Cash App: $PaulRyburn1
Apple Pay: paul.ryburn@gmail.com