Tuesday, January 24, 2012


It’s the time of year, for me anyway, to start thinking about New Year Resolutions, and this year, I am staying ahead of the curve making these effective for 2013.  I am convinced this is a good thing because not only will it give me more time to form the habit (& what the hell I’m already late for 2012), it also reaffirms my belief in another calendar year & a denial of the Mayan prophecy’s end of the world.  Besides being ‘timely challenged’, I never believed in enacting New Year Resolutions before the Chinese New Year & since I have absolutely no idea of when that it is, I’m right on schedule.  Researchers say over 75% of resolutions fail before the second month…… essentially making those people losers!  I am a firm believer in giving myself every opportunity to succeed, feel good about myself &….. my God, don’t researchers have anything better to do with their lives?

* I will no longer procrastinate in reminding myself not to procrastinate.

* I will immediately cease stopping at all yard & garage sales.  I realize this vastly diminishes my chances of appearing on 'Antique Roadshow' but it also virtually eliminates the possibility of ending up on an episode of ‘Hoarders’. 

Drag Toilet Paper App

* Not only will I always check for toilet paper upon using a public restroom & the bottom of my shoes upon leaving the same, I will also alert any poor snot that is inadvertently dragging a 3ft 2 ply remnant behind them.  Sometimes it may be best to have an App for that.

* I will no longer forward chain emails that contain an implied threat, bad luck, loss of friendship, sudden fame, abduction by aliens, fall from grace or instant wealth if friends, coworkers or people that I barely know decline to drop what they’re doing and forward it on in the next 30 seconds to 10 of their closest BFFs (starting with me).
Now, if something unfortunate, unforeseen or unexplained happens to me in the near future, you may want to rethink this one for yourself.

* I will always give my coworkers the benefit of the doubt. If my Elvis Is Pez Dispenser turns up missing, I will NOT send out a dept-wide email angrily accusing someone of stealing a prize I got in the fourth grade for winning third place in the “What Arbor Day Means to Me” contest with my poem: The Silent Song of the Spanish Maple.  If something is irreplaceable, either because of sentimental or monetary value, I will have the good sense not to leave the cherished item perched on the edge of my desk. 

* I will no longer congratulate a woman on her pregnancy unless & until I am 105% sure she is pregnant & by that I mean her water will have to break right in front of me &  possibly even more than that.  Trust me! There is no where to hide when this salutation goes horribly wrong even if clearly evident she is hiding more than a basketball.  “Is it a boy or girl?”  It’s neither you dumb s*#t!

* I will make a concerted effort to not be ‘The Mayor’ of anything…..nor will I ever make it a goal of mine to achieve the top score on Angry Birds.  However since I did such a great job in Farmville, I will plant a garden this spring!

* I will buy a super jumbo bag of napkins this year.  It is no longer acceptable to empty out the dispenser at Papa John's or Mickey D’s or even break out, from the deep recesses of my pantry, those Lordy Lordy-Look Who’s 40! napkins and later pawn them off as designers. Understand, it’s not that I’m frugal but more an issue of  bachelor lifestyle, combined with the fact that I seldom write a ‘list’ before going to the grocery store in preference to ‘winging it’ & unfortunately napkins are something that never seemed to get winged.

* I will always, always, ALWAYS hang up my keys upon entering the house.  Knowing, not only will this save me countless hours of frustration from yelling fiercely at inanimate objects accompanied by an unusually high level of cursing when my A.A.A.D.D.D. (Age Activated Attention Deficit Dysfunctional Disorder) kicks in.
Hey you’d make this a resolution too if for some good reason your keys ended up in…say….the oven!    I’d bet a dime to a dollar that yours have ended up in some ‘unlikely’ place for a very rational reason too.

* I will NOT update either my iPhone or my iPad  to just keep up with the Joneses (& budgetary constraints of course) until at least well into the year 2013…..unless either  contains a teleportation application  & my God……we're probably at least 3 or 4 versions away from that I’m thinking. 
'Scotty, beam me aboard' not so wild now huh?

Yessiree.......I’m feeling pretty good about being able to handle these!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Random Seasonal Thoughts.......

- Memphis December 2011 Snowfall 1.4"
      Buffalo December 2011 Snowfall 0.4"
Is this the Bizzaro World Global Warmists had envisioned???

- My mind tends to wonder (even more than usual) this wondrous time of year to Ghosts of Christmas past.  I remember as a young boy in New Jersey, my father loved to put up Christmas lights and displays.  He was fabulous at it...we were always the most decorated 'house in the hood' even before they started giving out prizes for it.  One year he went all out....thousands upon thousands of lights and all kinds of displays.  He even went up on the roof and put up Santa's sleigh and 8, not so tiny, electric reindeer. Very cool!  I'm not sure what we did to the power grid in that area of jersey but I do remember the electric meter spinning at something like Warp 9 ("Scottie, we need more power!") and how our lights twinkled inside the house (even tho they weren't twinkle lights).  Great stuff......even today I smile!
Um...we need a bigger dylithium crystal
The problem was Dad was not as good, nor as anxious, about breaking  down the Holiday Spectacular after the holidays.  So there we were in mid-March, as the thaw began, bringing it down.  As we were in the process, a car slowed and the driver put down his window, "Hey buddy why don't you put freakin bunny ears on the reindeer and leave them up for Easter"?  Ha Ha!!.....it was actually pretty funny and I wondered, maybe worried is the better term, if only for a second, that my 'old man' wouldn't pull off the transformation.

This year's Hallmark!
-So this holiday season I am watching my friend's two puppy terriers, Rudy & Leon.  Yes, my life has come to this. I'm a part-time Dog Walker now......that's something like a distant understudy to an Associate Dog Whisperer (who also always carries a small supply of waste disposal bags).  I'm not sure I see this as a career path, and intend to keep the day job as a 'paper boy', but the puppies are so cute and they call me 'Uncle Lou' now. (I'm a quick study on that dog whisperer thing) Anyhow, last weekend there was a Christmas parade on the island and I jokingly asked Rudy & Leon's parents where their little holiday outfits were....... "In the downstairs hall closet", without pause, the reply came.  YIKES....I'm committed or should be! Before I made time to carefully think this through, I had them dressed in their 'holiday best'...... sweaters, mufflers and head gear.  They looked dapper, tho Rudy was none too fond of the antlers and Leon preferred wearing his Santa cap like a beard.  What I had not anticipated was that this little island parade was big stuff & a contest no less.  Had I completely lost my mind???
Ice Ice Baby in her Float
Most of it is kind of a blur now, but I vaguely remember Rudy & Leon dragging me down the road while they hob-nobed with their canine brethren (sniffing is more accurate)......all the while I was 'waiving to adoring throngs' along the route like I was on a float in Atlantic City and, oh yes, simultaneously trying to dodge 'the presents' left by the horse drawn carriages leading this whole charge.  Thank Santa Claus there were liquid refreshments at the end of the cavalcade and no one got a picture of me for the cover of the widely distributed 'Harbor Town Sun Times'.  That honor, deservedly, went to Ice Ice Baby!

-Holiday Dirigibles - At what point did inflatables, originally intended for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, become suitable lawn ornaments??? Yesterday I saw Snoopy riding a tractor being pulled by Donner & Blitzen......  In light of current economic conditions and since this has become a billion dollar industry, I am in favor of a luxury tax on anyone who sells or displays these in their front yards. Let's get a handle on the deficit folks!

-Rockin Around The Christmas Tree----It's going to be a simple Tennessee Country Christmas for everyone.  All y'all are getting a personally handcrafted Elvis pet rock this year. No feeding or medication required.  If, by chance, you have received a pet rock from me in the past, expect a festively decorated pine cone instead!

Santa's Village as shown by NORAD
- For years now, at least the last 2 anyway, I have debated the myth/the man.....Santa Claus.  After all, how can a fat man in a red suit, whose only work-out includes a steady diet of milk & cookies, make it around the world dispensing gifts in just one night??? Recently I have been given indisputable proof, including a photo, of his existence. Among the two million or so apps available now, there is one for tracking the annual journey of the jolly old elf supplied by NORAD, the folks responsible for the aerospace defense of North America.  I don't know about you but I will rest easier tonight knowing there IS a Santa Claus, NORAD has got our backs & my 3 year old grandson will show me how to use the app on my iPhome come Christmas Eve.....

-Dear Santa:
I'd like you to know I've been pretty good this year (but then you knew that already, ha-ha, didn't you....)  I know in years past I had some doubts and also made a few comments about your weight, but I do believe, truly I do, and I'll be tracking your journey this year.  (By the way, any chance you and the reindeer can do a couple of loop de loops around the Memphis-Arkansas bridge?).  As far as the weight goes, hell we've all put on a few lbs this year.  Tell you what tho, I intend to run the St Jude Half. So after this year's trek, you're welcome to come hang & train with me for awhile. (You need to lose the beard & the red suit tho....& don't even think about BBQ)  I'm sure Mrs. Claus wouldn't mind and you gotta need a break from those dam...um elves!  Of course if I were you, I'd probably pick a secluded spot in the South Pacific. Just sayin...
I want you to know there are no hard feelings that last year's 72" plasma flat screen I wanted ended up at my neighbor's house.  The jumbo pack of tube socks you left for me was really nice.  No need for another pack because they have lasted me all dam year.  I'd still be chuckling over that talking fish head you gave me too but I re-gifted it for someone else's enjoyment. Hell I don't even fish....but I think you got the last laugh with Bass Pro setting up shop right next to my house!
Anyhow Big Guy, no offense intended, I wish you much luck on the annual journey & I'll be grateful for most anything I get (but if a NEW Harley shows up at my other neighbor's house with a bow on it this year, you and I will have to have a serious conversation!)
Most sincerely,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Swimmin in Skittles

Didn't I see that violin on Antiques Roadshow?
On a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin, played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes at Washington DC's Metro Station,. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:
*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . ..

How many other things do we miss as we rush through life?  Lord, I know I have.......

"Damn, I knew the answer to that question!"
That trend will only continue as smart phones & tablets continue their advancement with folks fixated on some version of Angry Birds (& even scarier......some will be behind a steering wheel doing 60) and not the more simple joys of life......which are open, tactile and often free!  On Saturday afternoon....... I watched from the bluff, for several minutes, the wonder of a slow moving coal barge chugging down the Mississippi on it's journey to New Orleans.  Can't you just see it???  It was quite delightful!
Frampton Comes Alive now & 35 years ago

Even better was the sound of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra later that evening.  While I'm a rock & roller at heart, almost nothing beats that sound & those Rock Stars! Think about it.......almost every Hollywood movie has an orchestral background but to see & hear an orchestra up close & personal..... Oh Lord!

Each one of us is on a roller coaster ride through life.  Granted some are a little further along than others & some soon pulling into 'The Station' (maybe with a sudden stop & before they wanted to).  As adults, we're all past the Big Hill.  It's just how many loop de loops & twisty curvies you have left because tomorrow is promised to no one.   So promise yourself this:  Even as the world whips by at its frenzied pace, enjoy the simpliest things that life has to offer:  the beauty of a sunset, the wonder of a bird in flight, a walk in the park or by the river, the joy & innocence of a small child  (even better if their yours 8-) & that lone virtuoso in the subway station.  If you take the time to listen to the sound and enjoy the moment, you'll be swimmin in skittles!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Thud Factor

Um.....Good place for one.....
There was an article on Bloomberg (a business and financial website) this past week that hard copy newspapers will be gone by the year 2040.  I suppose, that as sad as that sounds, the death knell of newspapers is eventually inevitable....... by that time the baby boomers, of which I thought I was one, will either be gone or on respirators.

Growing up in an era when the local newspaper was King has made me a bit nostalgic.  I was a paper boy (still am for that matter).  My son was too.  It taught a good sense of responsibility at an early age.  Now 'paperboys on bikes' whose routes covered nearly every house on the block have been replaced by 'contractors in trucks' who often drive 70+ miles to deliver 300 papers.

Philly telling it like it is
I have a Smart Phone, which I confess, makes me feel none too smart a good deal of the time and an iPad2  but it's just not the same loading up the digital edition as having that big old fat Sunday paper waded & thrown up there on the sidewalk.  There is that anticipatory excitement and 'the ritual' with the Sunday paper...... 
I wake up, after resisting for a bit, throw on my Ole Miss hat, turn on the TV and start the coffee.  Then it's out the front door to pick up the 2lb. blue sack which I already know is there from hearing it hit the ground the night before.  This varied activity is played out in neighborhoods across America.  Today, I take a quick survey of my 'hood' and of the 16 houses on the block, 5 take the Sunday paper (roughly a third).  I suppose I should take this survey a little deeper and go bang on some doors, iPad in hand, & find out what generation each belongs to: Boomer, Generation Jones, Gen X or Gen Y and what makes then tick.  However, I can't.  I am currently in a state of daze.  All these years I thought I was a Boomer and, come today, I find out there is some made up new category (I'm a Joneser....WTH) and they shelved me in there!  Ugh....need coffee & the comfort of my paper!

My hometown Squeeze
After fixing my coffee, it's back to the coffee table to unwrap my prize and spread the sections out all over.  I seldom read the front page first unless there is something sensational or of compelling personal interest.  Today is no different.  Instead I opt to freelance the sections out of order, because I'm a rebel (in my own mind anyway),.....often going, strangely enough, to Op-Ed, to see what my colleague OS has on his mind today........and whether I will agree with him.  More times than not I do.  After that it's book reviews & the New York Times Bestsellers list. Then I usually like to see what's happening in Business, especially the local scene & hoping for good news.  In years past, being from Philly, I would have gone straight to Sports first but that section usually falls to third or fourth on my list now unless the Memphis Tigers or the Grizzlies are playing.  Neither is.....nor is there hope the Griz will be playing anytime soon.   I can't avoid them tho!  That impact lands them in Business
A Rite of Passage
About this time I am wondering if I should even get up today......  I grab the M Section (A&E) & turn to my horoscope.  Good fortune!  I'm a Moon Baby & it's 5 STARS!   Joy.....I can leave the house & I am thinking my Eagles will trounce the Cowboys tonight too!  About this time I catch a peak at the Classified Section and there is an article in Careers on Networking.....one of my favorite pastimes.  I am there.  After that, it's off to Local News, My Life & a quick glance at the Obits just to make sure I haven't 'deadlined' & made that column.

Statistics still say newspapers are the Number One destination for advertising.  I agree.  Everything else is about ad avoidance except for 'search' and Super Bowl Sunday.  Today I'm thinking the extreme couponers are happier than an F5 whittling through an Arkansas trailer park because there are over $200.00 worth!  Me, I look for my Walgreens circular to see what's on sale.  Like churches, there's one on every corner in Memphis and it's my favorite store! I usually peek at most of the circulars especially my favorite French store Target' & Best Buy for stuff I don't need but must have....   

At $2.00, the Sunday paper is both a bargain and an institution.  If you get home delivery, it also comes with the full suite of digital products....and 'breaking news'!  I like to tease a good friend in MS.  We had to sell him the digital edition a few years ago when we cut back delivery to his area.  Every once in awhile, I send him a hard copy.  He pitches a tent by the mailbox, loads up on sun screen & bug repellent and waits on the mailman.  Then he likes to tell me he rolls around the newspaper naked when he's done reading, a vision I'd like to avoid.  Or when I get an e-mail from my favorite radio DJ pleading with me to 'water board' or, at the very least, perform an acid drip on a carrier because he didn't get his paper that morning.......
That's the kind of passion that loyal readership exudes!

No, I don't believe that newspapers will be extinct by the year 2040.....not even close!  Newspapers will morph into something else..... much like the 2002 Tom Cruise film Minority Report
depicting the year 2054.  It featured eye-sensor behavioral targeting and a USA Today digital e-paper with BREAKING NEWS.  Both technologies already exist! 

The future, as is often said these days, is here, but for now enjoy 'the thud factor' & the wonder of the daily miracle.....ink, toil & newsprint and keep your smart phone handy for the updates.
In 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a day. The worldwide recession of 2008, combined with the rapid growth of web-based alternatives, caused a serious decline in advertising and circulation as many papers closed or sharply retrenched operations.  While there are many less daily broadsheets & tabloids today, many newspapers have seen resurgence in both areas as they further define the business model.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Social Network

Space Book, My Face, Twitzer, LinkedUp, UrSquare, Gadzooski...... How is it humanly possible to keep track of all the noise?  Hell, just trying to remember all the passwords & what I had for lunch yesterday is challenge enuf for me! (BTW, it was Gus's finger lickin good World Famous Fried Chicken & a break in the BBQ tour)  Now i'm not saying all this social media isn't really good stuff......  I mean how could we possibly live without Google Search?  I do remember those days of course....ahhhhhh..... the Encyclopedia Britannica, 8 track tapes & vinyl 2.....  I like to call that time BG (Before Google).  Sometime today ask someone relatively young (& use your IPhone & Twitter them by all means) about the calendar terms BC & AD and see if they can come up with Before Christ & After Death.    Now when you go into Bar Dog on trivia night everyone is checking out the competition for IPhones.  "Hey, I'm just texting my sister"!

Yep!  That's about me.......You?
Let me give two cents worth of free advice I have learned through personal experience...um I mean extensive scientific research.....never & I mean NEVER click on an ad on FaceBook. Eventually, maybe even instantaneously, you will regret it like the Wedding Chapel in Vegas!  FaceBook is damn good!  They have your complete profile which you have so generously given them & everyone tracks your 'cookies'.  What do they do?  They serve you ads that are behaviorally targeted & incredibly hard to resist sometimes..... particularly if they catch you at a weak moment.  I'm a marketing executive and they still catch me from time to time.  How then does a mere civilian resist??? One such moment came a few months ago.  I still own that house near the beach in New Jersey and I pay too damn much for the pleasure.  There it was, the temptress, on the right rail:  See what you'll pay in only seconds at the lowest rate in years, just 3.75%, click here.  So after only a slight pause of hesitation I clicked through & supplied the information on the property.  Within 2 seconds of the time I hit the send button, my phone began to ring incessantly.  My e-mail box was bombarded.  I wasn't just seeing what I might pay at all.  I was farmed out like a greased pig across the Internet landscape via Lendingtree.com & literally contacted by over 30 different 'institutions'.  I don't know about you but I don't handle that kind of stalking very well and it took quite a bit of doing to undo that unfortunate click.  I felt like a sad little sea lion swimming amongst the killer whales.  If you indeed need a loan, the Internet is probably not the best place to search one out.  Seek out a local lender & go from there.  (SteeeeeeeeeRike 1)

Remember the old adage.....there is no such thing as a free lunch.  It's actually true!  There still isn't!  If you are lucky enough to be 'randomly' selected with a pop-up as the 600th person of the day and You have Won a FREE IPad 2......(You'll just have to trust me on this).....You have not! (SteeeeeeeeeRike 2)
It's just lucky for me that I recently received an e-mail from a Ugandan foreign minister who is willing to deposit millions of dollars into my bank account & all for just a small handling fee......so I'll be able to buy
IPad 3's for all my FB friends anyway.....just as soon as the check clears!

As you may or may not be aware, I am currently single.  I enjoy work, golf, reading tennis & women....& not in that order.  It's been sometime since I've dated and because I've heard &........been encouraged to do so....why not check out Internet Dating?  I had resisted to this point.  I'm kind of old fashioned after all but then there it was....a weak moment......& speeddating.com on the right rail!
Before I knew it I had clicked thru (for research purposes naturally) & supplied all the pertinent information.  The dye was cast!  Immediately I was fed to hungry wolves like a slow red fox!  My God....There are Plenty of Fish in the Sea.  I must have gotten at least 10 hits in the first 30 seconds!  What......Do these women live on the internet and my God....wouldn't it be helpful to at least have all your teeth in the profile pic???   Once I had realized the sheer madness of it all, I tried to reverse the process.  Let me tell you this.  It's easy in...... not so easy out....especially when PANIC sets in!  It must have taken me nearly 40 minutes to figure the 'out'.  The subsequent nightmares were not worth the 'research' & there was a short time that I even considered becoming a Tibetan Monk. (Foouullll Tip)  Facebook is so damn good.  It can even target several of my likes at the same time.  Meet Young Women Who Like to Play Golf......  Yikes!

OK....Maybe FB wasn't the best place to start with Internet dating.....apparently more research was needed! I decided to give Zoosk a try.  Zoosk, self described, makes 2 assumptions - First; everyone wants to play.  Second; everyone wants to be a Zoosker, after all, life is a game and finding love is one of it's biggest challenges.  Don't bother accepting the logic.  Get on with the game & the madness! Hey, I didn't make that up.  It came straight from Google!  Zoosk seemed like a good second start for me, after all I liked the girl in the commercial.  Unfortunately the girl in the commercial is no where to be found or available on the Zoosk site!  Also, Zoosk and I got off to a shaky start.  Once I activated my 'membership, I found that I was ranked 13,767,542.  Hell, that's no real confidence builder and come on.... at least throw me a bone here....you know, put me in the middle of the pack somewhere in the 6 mil level anyway.   Activity is the barometer though and sure enough, all it takes is a few 'winks' from the other side and you are there.  Sure enough, in less than a week, I was able to shave that 13 mil right in half without really trying.....Oh Yea!!!  Alas, whatever scientific mumbo jumbo gumbo matching formula Zoosk uses wasn't working for me because that gal in the commercial.....she never did materialize!  Also, neither of Zoosk's two major premises worked for me because I didn't want to play nor, as wonderful as it may have sounded, was I cut out to be a 'Zoosker'!
1 in 5 relationships start online (& end there too!)
(SteeeeeeeeRike 3)

While I am not totally ruling out continued & escalated research in this area with a move toward paid and affluent sites like Match.com.  I think, for now, I'll stick to a more traditional approach like networking,  mixers and basket weaving!  There's no telling who's out there across the 'net'.......                                                                            a yankee in Memphis

How's your day?  Apparently, a recent study on Twitter usage by Cornell scientists found that people start their day off in a good mood,  it decreases from there & improves once work ends.  People were also happier on the weekends.  They found all this out in 140 characters or less (& for several million dollars of course).  My independent research, over a 4Square 'check in' at Cozy's BBQ, confirmed the same thing....& for a lot less!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Monday....& THE BIG DAY!

Sunday night hadn't ended too well....... My beloved Philadelphia Eagles took it on the chin in the late game....or better yet got 'Romo'd' (a term my daughter-in-law coined to accurately describe the quarterback play of her team--The Dallas Cowboys).  So, after some restless sleep, I was expecting none too great a Monday and also some teasing by the Cowboy faithful!
SURPRISE SURPRISE SURPRISE as Gomer Pyle use to beam.  First things First.  It's always a great day when, not only can you get up and smell the roses, but you can get up and smell anything for that matter.  Being able to come to work is the icing on the cake! 
But it is Monday after all and Friday is now so far away....
Coming to a Pyramid near you.....

I'm heading over the AJ Willis Bridge, from Mud Island, facing the Pyramid and I am pleasantly shocked to see 3 trailers in the Pyramid parking lot.  On these trailers are the very first signs of life that Bass Pro is committing to actually constructing their 'BP Wonderland'.  I was never a big proponent of BP in the first place but let's bring it on for God sake.  So WHOOPEE!  Now, of course, Bass Pro may be just fooling us again,  After all this conversation started 8 years ago & these trailers may just be sitting there for just as long BUT today I am encouaged!
We sell Kayaks & all kinds of Guns!
Hell, I even had to stop and take pictures...... OK I admit that was kind of dorkish but I work for a 'major media  news organization' so there's precedent & there's also my facebook post I'm thinking and I didn't even consider this silly blog then.  Somehow I just felt compelled..... rather obligated to do it..  If this thing ever takes off, and I'm finally starting to believe it will, optimist that I am, I may even patronize the place once or twice.....possibly buy a kayak, a shotgun or maybe a whoopie cushion!  I'm sure to be bringing visitors by. Right???  It's funny how even the unexpected can put a smile on your face to start the day!

The real shining moment, on an otherwise cloudy Monday, had to be the monthly luncheon on campus at the St. Jude's Memphis Club.....an honor and privilege for anyone.  St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is the Crown Jewel of Memphis!  It opened on February 4, 1962 and was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. Its mission:  To find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment and never turn any child away.  St. Jude's has treated children from every state and all parts of the world and remarkably....all at no charge.  It has a rather hefty operating budget.....over 1.7 million a day and is covered largely with public donations!  So that's why ALSAC & the St.Jude club affiliations are so important.   In 1962 survival rates for most cancers were very low,  one -ALL ( acute lymphoblastic leukemia ) was only 4%.  Today, with St. Jude's help, the survival rate has risen to 94%!   Learned a lot there today.....always do! 
Chili's Care Center

Next Monday (09/26/11) THE BIG DAY, as Chili's calls it, all net profits from their sales go directly to St. Jude's to continue their fight against these deadly deseases.  Please support this great cause and make plans to eat at Chili's on that day.  To date Chili's has helped raise over $30,000,000.   Let's help rid these deadly diseases from our planet and eat at the same time 8-)
 Someone you know, possibly very closely, has been touched by one of them.  It happened to me and St. Jude saved little Robert's life and for that I am eternally grateful!  Please help them save even more children 8-)

This Blog doesn't seem so silly to me now and what a Fantastic Monday itz been....... I'll take them a day at a time & am greatful for every one that I get.
(& please don't forget about Chili's Monday, 9/26, too)!

Friday, September 9, 2011

State of Q

Memphis is arguably the BBQ Capital of the United States.  Note, I said arguably because I know there are folks in other areas, particularly Lexington, Kansas City & the Carolina's that also lay claim to that same title.  So I don't mean to 'ruffle anyone's feathers'.
BBQ is Serious Business!

Memphis is also home to the Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Contest......a four day kick-off event....party rather, that will just wear you out.  There is no need to go if you don't know a Team because that's where all the food, frolic & fun is.....under the tents!  I learned that nearly 5 years ago when I got here. Um...I also learned that 'jello shots' can kill ya!
The Jumbo

So recently I was thinking, which I have been known to do from time to time, and I asked myself what I thought was a pretty simple question...
I wonder who really has the Best BBQ in Memphis?  It's actually a 'loaded' question because there are several types of Memphis BBQ: Pulled Pork, Dry Seasoned Ribs & Wet Ribs and it seems everyone has an op-ed.  For me it originally came down to Interstate BBQ for pulled pork, The Rendezvous for dry ribs & Neely's for wet.  Realizing tho that I am just a novice in this division, I asked my good friend, mentor & resident Memphis culinary expert Leroy for his input. He turned the question right around on me.  "Who do you think has the best Brother Lou?"  After I told him, he started to laugh. "Interstate...Interstate??  Have you seen their BBQ pit?"  Why no.....I haven't.  "Yea, well neither have they Brother!.....C'mon I'm taking you to lunch at one of the best..... Payne's!" Now I probably would have never bumped into Payne's myself, unless I lost my way, which I have also been known to do.  It's not in the best location, over on Lamar, and nothing to look at, being a converted gas station (it's been there so long no one can seem to remember what brand of gas it use to be) but damn if it wasn't the best pulled pork sandwich I had ever tasted!  Ms. Payne, a beautiful woman, was kind enough to even show me the BBQ pit   I had the 'Jumbo' (Leroy asked me how many Jumbo's I wanted.  Um....one will do just fine!) BL had the sausage & BBQ bologna which looked equally as awesome.  I decided right then & there....I needed to know where all the best Memphis BBQ is......just in case....in case someone asks me the question: Where's the best??? 
I really had limited myself to Topps, A&R, The BBQ Shop, Central, Corky's, Blue's City and a couple of others.  Upon finishing up at Payne's, Leroy tells me "Next week we're going to Cozy's". (Cozy's Corner over on North Parkway).   Um, this is going to be a real challenge & I am going to need some serious training if I have any hope for survival......
I've come to understand there's a world more of Memphis BBQ out there and I've decided to find out for myself, ala Anthony Bourdain, on
Yankee's Memphis BBQ World Tour 11/12.  

I think I'll even get some t-shirts made!  Locations & dates on the back even.  Damn....maybe I can hook a reality show or at least a cookbook deal out of this.  OK, I'm getting carried away a little....er a lot but what the hell, shoot for the moon and if not the stars at least you'll find yourself with a plate of ribs!
 If ever there was one position in the newspaper business, other than my own, I would aspire to....it would have to be Food Critic.  Eat & get paid for it.  NICE! Admit it...you would too and I'd put a bottle of Rendezvous Hot Sauce on that. 

Cozy's Ribs on Deck
I asked one of our food critics at the paper - DD- for his input and while he agreed that Payne's & Cozy's were among his favorites, he also related that some of the best Memphis BBQ is in Arkansas. YIKES!? This is going to be much tuffer than I originally thought.....and off such a seamingless simple question too.  After all, when one starts off with the premise that barbeque is a sauce & intended to cover one's cooking mistakes....you've got a long way to go!
I'm up to the challenge......only my cholesterol level stands in the way.
Here's to Where Pigs Fly & not how you start but how you finish 8-)
a yankee in Memphis