Thursday, September 30, 2010


Wow, time flies when you're talking to the world.

Blog number 400.

That's a bit surreal to me.

Still, it's a pretty nice milestone. When I started this I had no idea where it was going to go.

I still don't.

One of the things that makes it one of my guilty pleasures.

I've done joke posts.

I've done angry posts.

I've taken on serious topics.

I've told you some of my most personal stories.

It's been cathartic for my soul.

I've been very touched by people who have told me how much they've liked my writing. I've enjoyed defending my opinions.

Discussions, good or bad, are important as such. I'm not so conceited to think I know everything.

Good, bad, or indifferent I'll be here on the blog for another 400 and more.

Thank you one and all.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Four Quotes Makes A Gallon

Okay, that pun sucks.

Seriously, doesn't any really good pun make you go, "Uuuuuggggghhhhhh"?

This morning, after a nice "gumbo run" (that's ATM lingo for dropping off gumbo to my friends here in the core of Downtown Memphis), I stopped by the Bardog Tavern to have a bit of breakfast.

BTW, the above link is to my gumbo recipe. Copy it and spread it out. It's not mine to keep.

Now then, back to Bardog Tavern. I have nothing but high praise for the food there regardless of the time of day.

Dmitri, the chef, is a good friend of mine.

He's also one of the most gifted chefs I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. His food is absolutely amazing.

This morning he was looking for a new quote for the daily special chalkboard.

He ALWAYS has a new quote every day.

Yesterday it was a quote from my literary hero Mark Twain.

Gotta like a man who quotes Mark Twain, at least in my book.

Today, he was looking for a new one.

I gave him one of my favorites:

And that's all I'll say about that on this most gorgeous Fall day.

For the record, the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich I had for breakfast was delicious.

Two more orders on the "gumbo run" has led me to the Majestic Grille.

Some days life just can't get any better. This is one of those.

Food, friends, community.

A fine trinity if you ask me.

Just one of the many reasons I'm the luckiest guy all y'all know.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

All y'all in South Jersey.......see you soon.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday

She was my first girlfriend.

The most beautiful girl in the world both then and now.

I'm pretty sure everybody feels that way about theirs.

She gave me my first hug.

She gave me my first kiss.

There was nothing I couldn't tell her.

She told me later it was love at first sight.

I was inclined to believe her then, and am now.

No woman has ever been a bigger champion of me. No woman has ever defended me with more zeal.

Without her, my life would have been far different.

I wouldn't have a life at all.

Eighteen years ago I held her hand as she took what would be her last attempt to beat the cancer ravaging her body.

The chemotherapy was a long shot to begin with.

It would be the last birthday we would be together.

At least until my time comes.

Happy Birthday Mom.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Run Fatboy, Run!!!!!!

Three hundred plus pound Governor Chris Christie(R-New Jersey), shown here ordering a subordinate away from his all you can eat buffet:

insists he's only interested in being the Governor.

Aspirations for higher office?

Bite your tongue.

He's happy where he is.

He's a man on a mission.

A man with a vision.

He's a man of the people of New Jersey.

Sure he is.

So his upcoming travels over the next month are surely on behalf of the state that pays and houses himself and his family.

Where's the "Round Mound of the Far Right Ground" off to?

Only some of the biggest electoral states.

California, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Connecticut.

Supposedly he's going to be promoting New Jersey.

One can make a case for the border states. A couple hours over, a couple hours back, get back to work the next day.

Apparently the Republican National Party wants his overly cherubic mush being seen with every candidate they can strap him to.

I guess they hope his election karma can rub off.

If New Jersey is actually as messed up as Blubbernor Christie says, I say his staff better grab ahold of him, clear his blow hole, and roll him back into the water called, "Running New Jersey".

Seriously, promoting New Jersey to Californians? What in the Hell can you say to persuade someone living in sunny, warm California that's going to make them want to pack up and head east?

You'd have a better chance of selling pork chops in a mosque.

Using the thin excuse of "promoting New Jersey" is weak, even for the Governor.

He's stumping for the Party, and pimping himself out for his next office.

As such, he's not working on behalf of the state.

Conducting personal business on government time is a huge breech of ethics.

Sadly, it happens all the time with politicians.

Earlier this year the Chubbernor ordered the state House and Senate into session just because he could. It still ranks as one of the wussiest hissy fits in New Jersey political history.

Dean Wormer said it best Mr. Tubbernor:

Drunk with power is drunk nonetheless.

Here's an idea Govenor Doughboy. If you are indeed working on behalf of the State of New Jersey, and you want to help with the budget crisis, charge a hefty fee to the candidates you're stumping for. You're regarded as a "hot commodity" in the Party. Sort of like Sarah Palin, except with a better education and the ability to trash talk on your feet. However, since you are already being compensated by the taxpayers, it would be highly unethical to make money while on State time.

The solution is easy.

Bring that cash home and turn it over to the Treasurer.

Don't forget to include the "soft" money.

Of course, that won't happen.

Grubbernor Christie is nothing more than the very type of politician he pretends to loathe.

Good luck on your next waddle for office fat boy.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Goodnight Lilly

I told her, just before leaving New Jersey:

"You've got to be here when I get back."

Unfortunately, the demands of man are but a request to God.

Lilly had become quite ill over the last week. She went to the vet's office twice.

They gave her medicine at first.

Yesterday, she spent the day at the vet's getting IV's for dehydration.

Chris kept me updated throughout the day.

After a long day, she bought Lilly home. She described her as lethargic, disinterested in both food and drink, and looking sad.

I knew in my heart of hearts I would not see her again.

My phone rang shortly after 10:00 pm.

Lilly passed quietly into the night in the arms her beloved owner moments before.

Goodnight Lilly.

Air Traffic Mike, brokenhearted.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Jillian's, Primetime, And Now What?

Reader alert: Local Memphis issue/blog.

Jillian's opened, the chain went bankrupt, they closed.

Primetime opened, nobody noticed, they closed. Still, at least initially, nobody noticed.

It's actually a good retail/commercial space.

The question has been bandied about, "What should they open there next?".

Some want a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise.

I'm not opposed to that. I'm not sure it would fly in spite of my favoring them over other brands of wings. The down side of this idea is the level of noise travelling upstairs to the $300 a night suites that will eventually be built above the space.

Others would like to see a grocery store. Again, I'm really good with that. I'd love nothing more than a nice grocery store in Downtown. Especially one within walking distance. The problem? I don't think the Belz family really wants to have a Kroger attached to the flagship hotel of the Peabody family of hotels.

Besides, I'm sure they'd refuse to stock duck in the meat department.

I have a different idea for the space.

Put in a Museum of Memphis.

Okay y'all, hear me out.

Museums are family attractions. We have few of those here in the heart of Downtown. Those that we do have are woefully spread out and in many cases under used.

I say consolidate them into one, focusing on the history of the Downtown area.

Why just Downtown?

That's what they will be surrounded by for most of their visit.

How many of you have been to the museum on Mud Island and when was the last time you were there?

They have some great artifacts that nobody gets to see.

Ever been inside Mr. Handy's house on Beale Street?

Many of you haven't.

How many times have you been asked who Tom Lee is by tourists?

Can you tell the story?

Good luck finding any meaningful information on the history and historical significance of Beale Street.

The histories of Cotton Row and Main Street are the histories of our neighborhoods.

The building is well suited to it. The location is well suited to those who come into our neighborhood to visit.

The exhibits can easily be assembled and be put into context.

How about some "then and now" exhibits of the various aspects of our neighborhood?

People come visit us by the thousands every year. Many ask questions about the city. More ask, "What's a good family oriented thing to do?".

I DO support both a BWW's and a grocery store.

I have thought both ideas out.

First, either terminate or let Hooter's lease expire. My last experience there was horrible, especially the wings.

Take the unused kitchen equipment from Primetime, move what's usable down to the old Tower Record location. Open up BWW's there. This works well in many ways. It gives Peabody Place an anchor on that corner. It has a hotel across the street, street visibility from Beale Street,has ample space, and ample parking.

Now then, clean the now defunct Hooter's up and out. Put a Kroger/Schnuck's/(fill in your grocery store of choice here). This also works. Good street presence, ample parking, visibility from Beale Street (the tourists have shopping needs that don't involve convenience store prices as well), and it's still close enough for us that live here to walk to or drop in on the way home.

So there you have it.

We get family friendly entertainment that helps boost awareness of and interest in our neighborhood's history.

We get a BWW's.

We get a grocery store.

Think about it.

Mr. Belz, I am available to meet with you at any time. I have many ideas.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Mr. Belz gets to fill some empty space.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Just In Time For The University of Tennessee Football Season!

Wow! What an honor and a thrill.

I KNOW I promised an aviation blog today, but some days this thing writes itself.

I ran into the official mascot of the University of Tennessee football mascot on Main Street in Memphis today!

He consented to an interview.

Ladies and gentlemen, "Coney Top".

"Hiya folks!"

Hiya Coney Top. Welcome. What brings you to Memphis?

"Mostly my crack habit, ATM."

Damn brother, that's pretty rough.

"Not as rough as being a former UT football player ATM."

Really? No big, bright NFL career?

"Do I look like Peyton Manning?"

Well, except for the missing teeth, I'd have to say you favor him.

"You know, I get that a lot these days."

So you're the official mascot of the Vols now, huh?

*hic* "Yeah."

What happened to the mutt?

"Lane Kiffin took him west. Last I heard, he's now Chinese food."

Yeah, banner year for you guys last season. What's in store for you guys this year, Bruce Pearl appearing shirtless on "Jersey Shore"?

"You heard?"

Are you shitting me?

"In the tape you can barely see Snooki under him?"

Eeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww, TMI Coney.

"I know. I'm still trying to unsee it."

Guess the crack helps, huh.

"Just like my PSA says, *Just say maybe to crack*"

That sort of gets a "Fail" here at the blog Coney.

"If you had my degree, you'd think you'd overshot your lot in life."

Fair enough.

So why a traffic cone mascot?

"Did you see our team last year? All we did is have people pass around, over, and through us. Besides, the NCAA said no to roadkill and black guys picking up trash on the Interstate."

I'm offended by the "black guys" remark.

"Ever see a white guy in orange picking up trash on a southern Interstate?"


"Look, I'm just grateful to have a job. Poor former Coach Fulmer is still out of work."

Ever see him of late?

"Yeah. Here's a recent picture of him."

Wow, the Coach looks terrible.

"Yeah, he tried to find another job with a Tennessee football degree, too."

Not even a flashing light?

"Nope. He's got a Tennessee football degree too."

Damn. That sucks.

"Yeah, Tee Martin's pissed."

Whatever happened to him?

"He's an afterthought as far as I know."

Well, if you see him and Coach Fulmer, wish them well for me. They provided lots of entertainment for the "challenged" masses.

"Sure will, ATM."

Heading back to Knoxville soon, Coney?

"Just as soon as my bus heads out from the Greyhound station."

Buses suck.

"I know."

How do you pass the time while on them?

"I scout potential football players for the team."

A lot of big guys ride the bus?

"No, they're the guys picking up trash on the Interstate."

That makes sense.

Nice talking to you Coney. Take care getting back to Knoxville.

"Thanks ATM. Can you give me a "Go Vols" for the effort?"


"Why the Hell not?"

I don't speak gibberish.

"Fine. Friggin' Tigers fan."

Listen Coney, did you ever learn exactly WHAT SEC stands for?

"Frankly, no."

Sports Education Conference.


Remember: Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym. Those who can't do any of the above, played SEC football.


Later Coney. Best of luck.

So that's the excitement for today.

Time for some clam chowder and a glass of white wine at the Majestic Grille.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

When Birthday Parties Go Good

Last Sunday, downtown Memphis' own Bardog Tavern celebrated it's second anniversary with a major alley party.

This year, for personal reasons, owner/founder Aldo Dean chose to take this opportunity to make it a fundraiser for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Cancer touches way too many families these days.

Aldo's included.

The clouds gathered.

Still, the party went on.

For multiple pictures, click here on Paul Ryburn's blog.

Aldo and crew were shooting for a goal of $15,000.

It rained off and on during the event.

A lot of us wondered if Aldo and the "Team Bardog" would be able to reach their goal.

I went to Bardog for breakfast sliders (bacon, egg, and cheese) for breakfast.

I looked up, looked at the chalkboard to see this:


I'm sure Aldo's late sister would agree.

Like I said, cancer touches too many families, period.

Kudos to Britanny for donating her long, brown hair and to those who supported her effort.

I have a few pictures of my own, but they are currently in my digital camera sitting in my condo.

Today, after feeling under the weather for better than a week, I'm back to my old self. I had some medicines that weren't playing nice with each other.

That is being put into order.

Tomorrow, some aviation stuff.

Until then, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.