Memphis in May

Finding Memphis Food in New York – Some of you are a bunch of Titty Babies!!!!

Yeah I called you a snowflake, snowflake. I mean come on Memphis….You let a silly 5 year old tweet and article get your panties all in a wad because someone threatened your beloved BBQ? I mean lets talk about some serious fucking issues……

I am kidding folks, slow your breathing. Now that the ‘preview’ part on my two social media platforms picked up those three sentences I can come clean. Much like that ill fated tweet I do hope that I can get a bunch of clicks by people who actually think I was serious. Sorry if some of you think that I was serious about that. I have said it before and I will say it again;

“Trying to Find Memphis Barbeque in New York City is much like trying to find a New York Bagel in Memphis.”

That tweet on Sunday was a perfect segway into my point today. We love eating up here in New York. The different cuisines, the different flavors, the 3 Michelin Star restaurants it is something that you can’t explain in 500 words or less. One such cuisine that we have not really found up here is Cajun/NOLA Food. We tried a Bourbon Street joint near restaurant row a couple years ago and it was horrible. On each trip back to Memphis we would immediately head straight to Bayou Bar and Grill or Second Line to get our fix but there had to be a good option here in New York. 2 weeks ago we were Sunday Funday’ng up on Second Avenue and were talking to some fellow patrons and they recommended a joint up the street at Second Avenue and 90th called The Infirmary.

I made a mental note and this past week I was in the area and popped in for a quick bite. The Menu was straight Cajun/NOLA, they had poboys, catfish entrees and even had Abita beers. The bar reminded me of the old “Sleep Out Louie’s” and Original “Bayou Bar and Grill” white marble and it didn’t smell of stale beer and bleach so that was a plus. The food was killer and we will be back!

IMG_2769Bar and yes they have Frose for you fancy people – Old SOL Alums – recall the frozen Margarita Machine?

IMG_2771You have to respect a joint that has not one but two Absinthe vessels.

CajunInfirmaryNYCRoastBeefPoBoy.0I mean have you ever tried to eat a poboy with a raging hard on? It was fierce I tell you!

IMG_2773“Brunch is Bitches Robo” Alex from the Cigar Inn

IMG_2772Catfish, Fried Chicken, Oysters, PoBoys, Shrimp and Grits, its all there folks!

IMG_2770Cloth napkins, Crystal Hot Sauce – Life is good my friends.

IMG_0917 (1)So they lack Sides and don’t believe in proper sandwich buns, some of you guys are just mean I tell you! They do have a good smoked Pastrami up here that is pretty good.

Hope you had a good laugh and got to the bottom of this post before you are blasting me on Social Media.



Random Pictures on the iFoam – Memphis Edition

Some of these are pretty good. Then again some of these are pretty bad depending on how you look at them.

IMG_0908Someone (not me) was enjoying their “Soul Burger” on the walk from home into South Bluffs

IMG_0926Had to snap a picture of my first downtown condo. Why the hell We didn’t keep that sucker is a mystery to me.

IMG_0941Me and A-Cups on the porch Sunday. We don’t have porches here in New York, we have stoops.

IMG_0934I took some major shit from the NYC boys for my “Preakness” Attire. I had to wear a jacket to Weed’s party and it was kind of warm so I broke out the shorts too. That was my first beer too!

IMG_0909Hadn’t seen this knucklehead in years. She is all grown up! We will have to add her and her sister to the CARL LIPBALM MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP list.

IMG_0940Lisa Marie and her little sister Willimena Esmerelda (she was born on Willie Nelson’s birthday) also do you not see her giving me an a Elvis pose? 

Don’t worry, that is all for the pictures from Memphis so relax.

Beware of the Gnome Killer – Pictures from BBQ Fest

Sorry folks its an inside joke. Well except for The Computer Hacker, he didn’t see the humor in late night experiment to see if Gnomes can fly. Anyway here are some pics that ended up on my iFoam from the weekend.

IMG_0881Little Lisa Marie at BBQ Fest. You can defiantly tell that she is RJ’s kid. She went after that cheese dip like a fat kid does with Chocolate Cake!

IMG_0882Sent this to Mrs. Trumpet and Lady Barrister to show that Mr. 3 first names and I were still alive and above ground.

IMG_0875If you didn’t know any better you would think that these boys were on a cooking team.

IMG_0877Sneak into town and the pitmaster was away at a working gig. I will catch you next time E.

IMG_0942Anybody know the number of the guy who loves Eddie Money? We have a fairly large surplus of Coors Light.

It was good to see everyone.

Happy Anniversary of Circling the Sun 50 times Weed

Editor’s note – I am fairly disciplined about divulging people’s names on this worthless dribble of a blog. If they didn’t have a nickname already I normally gave them one that doesn’t really incriminate them. That being said, the person named “Weed” is a real nickname but I promise that her name has nothing to do with Colorado’s State Flower/Plant and it would take too long to explain how she got it. 

So 2 weeks ago I headed to Memphis for some work, some play and to celebrate Weed’s surprise 50th birthday. I have to give D credit, she orchestrated this thing like a mad scientist. When the guest list got above 30 even I was wondering if the surprise could be kept quiet but she pulled it off.

Friday night we all arranged to meet up the Flying Saucer and as the Mo-Ho’s trickled in it was waterworks on each and every arrival. Many 40’s were drunk that night on 3rd Avenue and I ‘think’ I rolled into bed around 3ish. Saturday we all headed up to Midtown for brunch, beers and the surprise. Bless OTB (Old Tired & Bitter) and Ziggy for hosting, it went off without a hitch. Afterwards things went ugly as we headed to Beale for the stalking of Barbara Blue and Gnome attacking.

Happy Birthday Weed, we have known you the longest and we love ya. Even if you were “a couple grades behind us.”

IMG_0884That poor boy spent a little too long down at the BBQ Fest. (not anyone we know)

IMG_0886The birthday girl and D aka the Mad Scientist of Planning (venue not disclosed)

IMG_0903This is when you could say that “it went off the rails”

IMG_0895Play that Funky Music White Girl aka Baby Fine Hair!

IMG_0905My Missouri Legal Counsel

IMG_0907We miss ya Raiford!

IMG_0911Snot did come out of my nose when I saw some of these pics. Oh and A-Cups, yes I am going to forever be haunted by the image of grandma’s hoo-hoo.

IMG_0914The Unofficial Queen of Beale Street – Ms. Barbara Blue

IMG_0916A view over Nate’s shoulder

IMG_0919Here is where it went off the rails on Saturday night!

IMG_0922If never hear Lucinda William’s “Drunken Angel” ever again I am probably good with that!

IMG_0928Sunset over Monroe Avenue as I was heading into Bardog.


Happy Birthday Weed! It was great to see everyone and play with the MoHo’s too!


The “Don’t be that Guy/Gal” Guide to The World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest

I post this every year. Yet someone ‘drinks his lunch’ at BBQ fest and they ‘pull a smoothie’ and isn’t heard from for almost a full day. The list from last year is right Here and if you plan on heading down there please read them. Now for this year I am going to change it up a tad. You see, I celebrate the fact that I am not on a team. It isn’t that I don’t like comradery and some good ball busting (I do that at the Cigar Inn enough) but I don’t like the idea of burning a week of vacation to work my ass off. Then there is always a chance I could lose a friendship over something silly and worrying if the team is going to remain in the black isn’t for me.

The dichotomy of a BBQ Team is a very fragile one. You have some people who want nothing to do with the cooking contest except for drinking for a solid week. You have some who are serious in the competition. Those are the ones who are traveling across the region each weekend and normally are not there so much for the party but for the competition. Normally in a given week there will be a blow up in the tent. I saw them numerous times when I worked for MIM some 7 years ago. My parents were original member of “Boss Pit” one of the first double decker rigs down there and a drunken argument lead to them leaving the team. Sadly I have seen teams disband because of the things that go on down on the banks of the river.

Oh don’t worry, the only thing that disbands are the members. The team name probably will go on but members move from team to team. My parents left BBQ Fest and moved it over to Italian Fest at Holy Rosary and it was a smaller contest. That being said, here is the list for those who are visiting BBQ Fest so that you don’t become “That Guy/Girl”;

  1. Don’t be a dick and try to BS your way into a booth if you are not invited. There are 250 teams, if you want to learn or see the interior of a booth I suggest visiting during the day either Thursday or Friday when it isn’t busy. When the sun goes down is not the time to get BBQ 101.
  2. If you see a tip jar for the team throw a couple bucks in the damn thing. Those Bud lights didn’t grow in Tom Lee Park and someone picked them fresh that morning. This also applies to the bartender who may get a split of the jar and heckles people to give money. When Shobo went one year, she carried her own wine in the park and got heckled for getting a cup of ice because she put a 5 in the tip jar.
  3. Don’t be an ass. It happens every year. The Germantown housewife who puts on her push up bra to bring the cans together gets silly on moonshine. She flirts with someone in the booth and they think that the “Awkward Touch” sign has been turned on in a booth. Next thing happens someone gets hauled out of the booth by an off duty cop and people are pissed.
  4. Friends of Friends don’t invite their own friends – This one just slays me to no end. There are 250 cocktail parties going on at the same time in Tom Lee Park. While you are walking to the tent that you are invited to you hear someone yell your name. This is a friend of yours who you haven’t seen in years but “We keep up on Facebook” and they are in a booth that you don’t know. Don’t be that “guy/gal” and ask them if they can get you in the invited party. It makes it weird for everyone.
  5. If you do happen to over indulge in refreshing drink – Don’t drive, wait it out for the 3 hours to get an Uber or cab. Then again I hear that T.O.D.D. is in town and he has a suite at the South’s Grand Hotel.


10384819_10152441353909170_1252489496298450880_nGoes without saying

Have fun and of course remember the password “Joe said he needs me to go get charcoal”

Pictures of the Week – Memphis and NYC

This additional duty of doing a daily Corny Lenten Joke and my other job as an amateur tattoo artist is tough on a guy so I apologize for this not getting posted yesterday. Here are some pics that ended up in my phone from last week’s wedding (some I don’t have a clue how they got there) & some I snapped here in Gotham.

img_0395Only in Memphis on Cleveland at Poplar do they have this awning.

img_0396Mommy, why is that strange man who daddy calls Robo taking a picture of me and don’t the courts say that he has to be 50 feet from me? Love me some Lisa Marie (not her real name) and next trip she will be making my bloody Mary’s for me!

img_0397Sure, let’s go to Wet Willies on a Friday afternoon on Beale Street. What could go wrong. Hey Chicken F*cker (I don’t know if she reads this worthless dribble) – remember when you used to get Call A Cab’s delivered to the pool by your minions? It is amazing that you gials graduated from Rhodes and we didn’t go into liver failure.

img_0399Here is where Rocky at Alex’s Tavern and Josh may fight because both say they are the oldest family owned bar/tavern in the city. I am not getting into the middle of this fight, I love both joints.

img_0400So Happy that this place is Non-Smoking now! Great to see Max knocking the cover off of the ball with this joint!

img_0401Big Spoon/Little Spoon – What goes on in Vegas and in Woodlawn stays in Vegas and Woodlawn. #Idonotcarethatyouhaveacramp #youaregoingtodie

img_0405Love me some Melzie W!

img_0432RAB rocking the old department store label!

img_0422Just about to enter the Matrix and show off her Elaine dancing skills. Great to see you A-Cups! You and ‘The Carol’ need to come up again! Just after March 30th!

img_0446So let me get this straight – I fill this out ‘right’ and I won’t be called for jury duty?
But if I fill it out ‘wrong’ then I get picked and get to hang with the troglodytes of New York?
Hey Big Al – What’s your mailing address?

img_0443Happy Fat Tuesday!

img_0447We kept on wondering why Maya was chewing up all of our stuff. Then we realized that she had destroyed all of her toys. A quick trip to Petco and Maya is a happy dog. Maddy – She couldn’t give 2 F*cks!

Have a good weekend!

CBT’s Top 10 list for Memphians doing WCBCC this weekend

I do this every year for my fellow Memphians. This year because I am a resident of the Empire State I am happy to report that I can finally give my 9 readers the Unabashed top ten survival and suggestion guide for WCBCC. Before I get moving along I can already see the blank space on 4 faces of my New York readers so let me explain what The World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest or WCBCC is about…. Think of these New York events; St Patrick’s Day Parade, San Gennaro Festival, Puerto Rican Day Parade, Halloween in the West Village, Mermaid Parade at Coney Island, Santacon in Manhattan, New Year’s Eve, The West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn and my favorite, the 7 Train at midnight on Saturday night on Payday. Now you roll all of those drunk ‘shit shows’ and you have Thursday night at WCBCC but with 85 degree heat And ‘swamp ass’ humidity. You get the picture? And people wonder why I didn’t go down this year…..
Anyway without further adieu, here are Carbunkle Trumpet’s suggestions and survival guide to WCBCC. Please note, if I find out that you break rules 6, 4, and number 2 consider yourself banned and unfriended from me. Here folks is the list;

10. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I say it each and every year, you see my lips moving but you never listen to Uncle Carbunkle Trumpet.

9G. Fashion for the Ladies – If you have to say “Does this XXX make…” the answer is YES and go put on more clothes. Same applies for high heel shoes in the park. Don’t get me wrong, I love a woman wearing high heels. I see it every day but the banks of the Mississippi is not the place to wear a yard of cloth and hooker heels. And don’t wear flip flops, closed toe shoes ladies.

9B. Fashion for the Boys – Boys, if you stand naked in the shower and cannot see your feet (I get it is cold in the bathroom) you should not be wearing a tank top that reads “Suns Out, Guns Out!”! Trust me, nobody wants to see that shit.

8. Get a Tetanus shot prior to heading down to Tom Lee Park – Believe it or not, you can get a nasty infection from an ice luge that isn’t properly disinfected.

7. While we are on the subject of booze, I would advise against drinking anything out of a mason jar. Everyone has cousin who lives in Kentucky and makes their own mash.

6. You will have ugly babies with 11 fingers if you have sex in a port-a-potie. Why? Is the smell of Jello shots, hickory smoke and blue water an aphrodisiac? You will get caught and I hope someone puts that shit on Instagram too! *DISLAIMER – I have heard of one couple getting caught each year since I was on staff with MIM. Whisky Tango Foxtrot people!

5. Speaking of bad behavior, I get it that you used to go down to BBQ fest when you were in college (hello, the majority of my readers are in their 40’s) but a lot of you are parents and have children who want to go down there. Don’t let them. I say this as I can already see you in the carpool line getting called out at (INSERT PRIVATE SCHOOL NAME HERE) carpool line by someone saying “Hi Mrs. X, I heard you let someone drink beer out of your cleavage last night.” *DISCLAIMER #2 – I know of 2 moms who will never look me in the eye still to this day.

4. Eat a friggin salad at lunch and drink 1 gallon of water each morning. There is not sufficient medical service in Tom Lee Park.

3. Speaking of service and I know this from firsthand knowledge. I don’t’ care how much you beg, the people driving the golf carts are not allowed to take on riders. If you have an elderly patron or someone with a broken leg you could have loaded them in the park on Wednesday so why should MIM have to worry about it?

2. If you get a DUI with the amount of Uber’s, Taxi’s, Lyft and places to crash downtown then you should never be allowed to drive again. Seriously (I am not kidding) you are a fucktard and should not be allowed to breathe my air. I have ZERO patience with this during big festivals in Memphis because people are not in their right mind anyway.

1. Ok, I am off my soapbox. For those of you who Social Media panhandle invites to BBQ teams booths let me let you in the park secret. Tell the doorman at the team you want to come in and freeload that “I saw Robo last night and he told I am invited.” #Robocares

Never knew where that woman ended up after that night. Pay no attention to Teddy Graham waiting till she sniffed the roofie. #cometoNYCAllisonandwhipmyass 
It is about the pork afterall ! 

Festival Season in Crime-Free Memphis & words of wisdom by CBT

I hope that everyone had a great weekend. We had great weather here and it looks like all of New York emerged from their winter slumber and took to the streets and parks this weekend. On Saturday rather than go bust balls with the boys at the Cigar Inn, I decided to take my show on the road and sat on a bench outside of Central Park and smoke my cigar there. Smoking is prohibited in any public park but the benches along 5th Avenue on the outside of the stone fence are fair game. As I was sitting there watching the con artists ‘sell’ their CD’s, I got in some great people watching. I glanced down at my foam and get a text from our former houseguest as she and Aunt Terry are at the Downtown Olympics in South Main back in Memphis. It gets me to thinking and I remember that on Sunday was the start to Festival Season back in Memphis.

I have to be honest, I really am going to miss Festival season this year I always consider the Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival as the start of the season. It always starts with tons of beer, sunburns, people making bad fashion decisions and there normally there is a guy walking around in red shorts and funny leather spa shoes. That festival is always a fun one because you never know who you will see mainlining Vodka (you know who you are) straight from the bottle. Traditionally I was always in bed by 7:30 that Sunday and was good to go on Monday morning for work.

The next one that I will miss but I have to admit that it is starting to lose it’s appeal to me is the Great Wine Race. I think last year’s comment by TG summed it up the best. “Well I am going to go watch the whores” because the whole day starts going south right after you have that 2nd Call-A-Cab. Don’t get me wrong, I am going to miss my “I only see you at Festivals” friends this year because I believe that weekend we are going to be in Philly at a One Year Old’s birthday party. Yes, I typed that, I am going to a freaking 1 year old’s party.

I could go on and on but you get the picture. So if you are reading this worthless dribble of a blog at your desk this morning and sporting the first sunburn of the season just remember Carbunkle’s words of Wisdom when it comes to Festival Season; “It is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t want your ‘check liver’ light to come on during BBQ fest so take it easy!”

IMG_0983Looking up 5th Avenue towards The Met

IMG_0987They are doing it wrong!

IMG_0992Slackers! I miss Aunt Terry!

IMG_0986This is what happens when you day drink at the pool on a Friday. And no this isn’t Park Slope, this is South Main

Oh and if you were wondering what the meaning of my title picture is, that is me waiting for my first Bloody Mary that Katie was going to make for me.

The Best and Worst Shows I have seen

Wow! Some of you readers are still kinda salty that I had such a killer Friday last week. This is a perfect time to tell you about a discussion I had a couple weeks back. Back in March right after we went to see Billy Joel in MSG I was talking to some work peeps about how great the show was and so on. We then were talking about great and not so great performances that we have seen in our lifetime. My friend started telling me how one of his buddies was dying to see either Bette Midler or Barbara Streisand. They paid a king’s ransom and got tickets to see the show. Apparently the performer wasn’t really into it that night and “phoned it in”. Let’s just say my friends buddy was pissed and to this day hates that performer with all the bile in his belly.

I can say that with my past life experiences I got to see both the front and back of stage shows. I won’t name any names but I have seen Diva’s and some people that I keep waiting to come across the teleprompter saying they have been found dead from an Overdose. I will list a couple here in a few later but last Friday when we were waiting for The Avett Brothers to come on stage we had a similar discussion. One of my work cohorts said that they already knew that the Avett Brothers will kill it tonight. I looked at this person with the (Southerner didn’t comprehend what the Northerner said) puzzled look and they tell me “Dude this is Madison Square Garden. It is the Mecca of venues. You either bring your A-Game or you stay the F at home!” It makes sense is you think about it. Which do you think that a performer is going to get more fired up for; the 1PM time slot at the Washington County Fair or opening act at Madison Square Garden?

Anyway not to rub further salt in the wound but The Avett Brothers came on stage and completely shredded that stage! Not to further rub it in to my friends in Memphis but living up here really doesn’t suck. First of all you have everybody and their brother trying to get a date in MSG (they have an event 365 days a year) or if they can’t swing that they go to a smaller venue that still is killer. When we saw Squeeze they both admitted that they were pumped to play in New York. Anyway without further ado here is a short list of best and worst performances I have seen in my lifetime;

Worst Shows CBT has seen

  1. Diana Ross @ Live At The Garden – phoned it in and didn’t give a feck)
  2. Hank Williams Jr @ The Mid-South Coliseum – Dude was so shitfaced he could barely stand (don’t judge)
  3. Little Richard  @Beale Street Music Fest – If you have to have a teleprompter to remind you where you are and you still screw that up….retire dude.
  4. Sheryl Crow @ Beale Street Music Fest – I won’t say that she was drunk but even the kids who passed out on the grass said she sucked.
  5. Eric Clapton @ Mud Island Amphitheater (I am going to take some shit for this one) The man is a legend but if he is just going to come out and sing his songs and not say one word that wasn’t a lyric…..I got the CD too Mr. Clapton, I could have just listened to that instead.

Greatest Shows CBT has seen (in no particular order)

  1. Michael Franti @Beale Street Music Fest – I know right? He came on stage and played his heart out and bared his soul. Seriously because of that experience I am now a fan.
  2. Billy Joel @MSG – The official House Band of Madison Square Garden. He gets it and he loves it!
  3. Billy Joel & Elton John @ The Pyramid – I hear they aren’t the best of friends but they sure do fake it and put on a great show.
  4. Rod Stewart @ The Pyramid & @ The Mid-South Coliseum – He loves to tour and play.
  5. Earth Wind & Fire @ Beale Street Music Fest – I have said it before, I attended a religious experience on the banks of the river that Sunday.
  6. Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band 1986 @ Mud Island Amphitheater (The Rain Show) *back story* The band came out and was able to get 2 songs in before the heavens opened up and rained for 45 minutes. Maybe 750 fans stayed and Jimmy came out and sang acoustic because if he tried to amp up he “Would Shock the Shit out of himself” and played all the great songs.
  7. Jason D. Williams @ Center for The Southern Folklore Street Festival – If you have a chance to see him get it on stage by all means do it!
  8. Blues Boy King @ Opening Night at BB Kings Memphis – Got a special invite to sit in on sound check and even at his age the man loves to play.
  9. Seal @ Live at The Garden – I admit it, I wasn’t really looking forward to this show when the lineup came out but he changed my opinion. High Energy and he loves to play.
  10. Harry Connick Jr. @ Live at the Garden – Harry is and always be the consummate performer. This was the epic “I am playing my ass off and all I get is a chicken wing?” show where table guests put platters of food on the stage for him.
  11. KC & The Sunshine Band (Sound Check the Day Prior) @ Sunset Symphony – Pretty much this is a closed set but because I was a child slave labor worker for MIM I got to attend. The Band interacted with the Memphis Symphony and performed the band’s songs. KC had a riot and loved it. This is where we have the infamous “Where is Robert Ross (stage manager)? Robert Ross I want bongos for ‘Shake Shake’. Do you hear me Robert Ross? I want fucking Bongo’s!” Oh this was on a hot mic that probably could be heard in Mud Island. As we all stood with our mouths open I believe it was BK who said “KC don’t fucking play does he?” The show on Saturday was ok but I think the sound check was better.

10400999_23522759927_8854_nJason D. Williams getting it on stage! This concert series showcases the local musical acts and is a free festival, if you have ever attended the old King Biscuit Blues festival down in Helena, it reminds me of it. As old Charlie Musslewite used to say “Son if you don’t have the blues after you spend an afternoon at festival then you ain’t got no soul!”


He absolutely destroys Piano’s!


Consummate Showman! Sure he is crazier than squirrel poop but you got to love a professional.


28440_390775564927_286971_nPuddle of Mud at BSMF – You ever heard 6K people scream “Fuck You”?

28814_400029399927_1580650_nEver wonder what a wall of speakers looked like?

28440_390775599927_2947718_nHarms and I at Earth Wind and Fire’s Sunday Service. Top 5 Moment!

28814_400029524927_7158628_nI am not saying that KC is a Diva but ‘she’ does expect the best from his stage performers.

28814_400029689927_6501356_nI won’t go into great detail but the River and MIM will change you.

So what’s your favorite show?


Fellow Bloggers You Should Also Read – Paul Ryburn

We are going to get this new series off the ground as my friend down in Belize,  TacoGirl, is in the process of moving and she has promised her answers back to me in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime I figured we would showcase a US blogger that I have known for as many years that he has lived in 38103.  Paul, along with Mike King, was very vocal about the homeless and did a great job of identifying them and if they carried an open warrant they were removed from the downtown streets. Yeah, Memphis had a bad problem with more aggressive panhandlers back in the day and thankfully they made a dent in it. I am a frequent stalker of Paul’s blog as he does a great job of showcasing the events in downtown Memphis  and supporter of some great non-profits. Also it keeps us up to date with the goings on in our former city.

Anyway thanks to Paul for playing along and I will showcase Taco Girl in about 2 weeks.

The Cold Hard Facts About Your Blog

  1. Name of your blog, hyper link, twitter handle, Facebook page and your Pen Name.  Paul Ryburn’s Journal,, Paul Ryburn on Facebook, @paulryburn on Twitter. I don’t have a pen name, I use my real name. 
  2. How did you come up the name of the blog and or your Penname?  Given that it is a personal blog, “Paul Ryburn’s Journal made sense.
  3. Describe your blog/brand in 5 sentences or less. I started writing  journal in 1999 so my former students at the U of M could keep up with me. In 2004 I converted it to blog format; in 2004 I found out my neighbors actually read this thing, so I started taking it seriously and posting every day. It is about my life in downtown Memphis. The main posts I try to make in my writing is that there is a lot to do down here in walking/trolley distance, and there is no easier place to meet people and make friends. 
  4. Did your blog change direction over the course of the life of it? If so can you explain? About 2005-6 it changed from my own personal journal to “The Downtown Blog” so I started treating it as such. However, I still throw in personal stuff whenever I want. I do not get paid and I have no editor, allowing me to write without a filter.
  5. Number of times you try to post something in a week?  I go for at least once a day and sometimes multiple posts a day. I post whenever I have something interesting to share with my readers. If I skip a day it’s because I don’t have anything interesting, and I am not going to post simply for the sake of posting.
  6. Where do you get your material and how hard/easy is it for you?  Word of mouth is my best source; also, accounts I follow on Twitter, things friends post on Facebook, RSS feeds
  7. What countries are your readers coming from?  Mostly US. Occasional readers from Canada and Europe, which I assume are people planning to visit Memphis or Memphis transplants.
  8. How often do you encounter readers on the streets/social media and does it still freak you out when they say that they read you?  It doesn’t freak me out at all when people come up and tell me they read my blog. I have had people tell me they have found jobs, gotten seats on nonprofit boards, and been reunited  with pets because of things I have posted. I have had people tell me they have moved Downtown from other parts of the city, and in a few cases even moved here from out of state, after reading my blog. I am more proud of those things than I am of winning any Best of poll award.   What freaks me out is when people recognize  me but are afraid to come talk to me because I’m this “big, important local blogging celebrity.” I’m just a regular guy! I promise you, I am one of the easiest people to meet.
  9. Got any good “hate mail” comments you want to share with the class?  In 2006 I went on a rant after a few of my friends got robbed and the panhandlers got out of control. A reader named In2RealEstate send me a long email saying I was destroying property values in the area. Because I was honest? By the way Downtown is a good deal safer in 2016 than it was a decade ago.
  10. Any particular blog post that you are particularly proud of? Please include the link if you like.  I don’t have time to search of the links, but there was a September 23, 2015 post about the behavior of a homeless woman Downtown that I am proud of. Also search “Popester in da hizzy” (2005) and “Chicken fried steak rap” (2015)

Let’s Talk about you shall we?

  1. Who you be?  I’m Paul Ryburn. I have a Master’s degree in computer science and spent five years teaching math at the University of Memphis. Since then I have been a web designer, currently for an organization that sanctions a card game.
  2. Where you be? Downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Proud resident for nearly 14 years.
  3. Where did you come from? (please don’t say hospital or parents) Little Rock, Arkansas. I moved to Memphis to go to Rhodes College. Except for a six-month stay in San Diego, I have been a Memphian ever since.
  4. Care to talk about your family or if you have any ankle biters/pot lickers (pets) where you charge your laptop/tablet?  I’m an only child. My mother still lives in Little Rock. I don’t have any family in Memphis. No pets.
  5. Name up to 5 countries/places you visited, loved and recommend to my readers? San Diego – Beautiful city, perfect weather.  Montreal – So laid back. Great culture. Obviously I would go in the summer. I hate cold weather. Lexington, Kentucky – Made several visits as a traveling corporate trainer. Likeable town. Little Rock – Up-and-coming mid-sized city.  Chicago – Love the walkability. Again, would go in the summer.
  6. What countries/cities you have on your radar for future travel locations?  New York (Manhattan), San Francisco, Seattle, I wouldn’t mind a trip to Romania after 2005-06 Flying Saucer visits taught me that the girls in Romania are really hot. *Editors Note – Oh Paul, I have failed to mention something about my neighborhood Cigar Joint on East 73rd street.  One of the girls who works there is Romanian and well…..Lupe is built like a brick shithouse!
  7. If you had the financial means to do so, where would you like to live and why? Downtown Memphis, where I live now. I could not give up my friends and favorite places for any amount of money. I might maintain crash pads in Midtown Memphis and in maybe one or tow of my favorite cities.
  8. When you aren’t banging on a keyboard what do you like to do for fun?  I am a regular at the bars of Downtown Memphis, where I hang out with my friends – and I have friends on both sides of the bar. My favorites are my “Big Five” of Bardog Tavern, Blind Bear, Flying Saucer, Silly Goose, and Max’s Sports Bar. I also love poker and played for money online before the government banned that in 2011. Occasionally I play in weekly bar games Downtown. I am on a BBQ team called the Moody Ques that competes in Memphis in May and regional contests. I am Director of Public Relations for the team and have a voting seat on the team’s board of directors.
  9. We know that you read (who doesn’t?) but who else do you read/stalk on a daily basis? You know it is weird, I really don’t have any other blogs I visit daily. I have their RSS feeds and click on when a post looks interesting, and I follow many of them on Twitter and Facebook. That is how I learn about latest posts.
  10. Could you get me an introduction with that author so that I can send them this questionnaire? N/A

Fun/Random Stuff that you would like to share with the class

  1. What is your favorite food and restaurant (doesn’t have to be in your current location)  Mexico Chiquito, Little Rock Arkansas. I love a plate of brown-and-yellow Tex-Mex food.
  2. If you are living abroad, what is the one thing that you miss the most? N/A
  3. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (please don’t say older)  Still in Downtown Memphis, even with a wider circle of great friends. Not married, no kids. Director of PR for a grand champion BBQ team.
  4. What’s on your bucket list?  Hmmm, I never really think in terms of bucket lists. Win cooking trophies at BBQ Fest, visit cities I mentioned. I don’t know. Most of the things I’ve really wanted to do already. I guess “find a sane women who communicates well and understands me” is on the bucket list, but then “win a billion dollars in the lottery” is probably equally likely.
  5. What is the question do you want to ask Carbunkle Trumpet (I promise to answer honestly) Karaoke. WHY??????  Fair question and God knows that we have had some fun with the Karaoke harassment over the years. Full Disclosure – I have ‘sang’ a couple of songs, primarily Elvis songs, in Memphis at the Monkey and naturally alcohol was in play. I have visited a Korean Karaoke parlor here in the Koreatown section of Midtown Manhattan and I can say that you have not seen a better shitshow! One of the bars that we visit to watch football has evening Karaoke but we haven’t partaken. Don’t worry, if you make it up here, I promise not to take you to Iggy’s or the Koreatown joint.

Thanks for playing along Paul.