Monday, March 31, 2008

Blight and delight in downtown Jackson
I doubt it would make a silk purse, but it does make a passable sandwich
Originally uploaded by kosova cajun

This past weekend I attended a conference at the Edison Walthall Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi. The conference was good, but the once elegant hotel, located almost within spitting distance of the governor's mansion and state capitol, has really gone to seed. I've stayed in a lot of lousy places through the years, but even I was shocked at how poorly the Edison Walthall is maintained and managed.

Anyway, a friend at the conference, knowing my proclivity for off-the-wall foods, recommended that I try the pig ear sandwich at the Big Apple Inn, a soul food joint on Farish Street just around the corner from the Edison Walthall. My lunch at the conclusion of the conference was covered in the conference cost (which was generously paid for the Mississippi District of the Assemblies of God), so I elected to eat a club sandwich there at the Edison Walthall first.

"I'm looking forward to trying the pig ear sandwich, but I want to fill my belly first in case I don't like it," I told my friend.

"Oh, don't worry! You'll like it," he assured me.

After lunch, another friend and I walked over to the Big Apple Inn. Although it really wasn't far from the hotel, at first I wondered whether I had lost my way. Farish Street looked abandoned. No, worse than abadoned. It looked like a war zone -- and believe me, I know what a war zone looks like! Maybe worse than a war zone --like a scene from some apocalyptic movie. On the left side of the street we walked past a row of buildings with every door and window smashed, leaving the rubble-littered interior on display to passers by. Drops of dried blood on the sidewalk formed a trail leading to a thick congealed puddle in one of the entryways of the ruin. Not a soul was stirring on the street. I doubted the directions my friend had given me, and even if he was right, surely the place had long since shut down. But we eventually found the restaurant, heavily fortified with iron but still inviting with its bright red sign and awning.

Inside there was a friendly young lady behind the counter and a couple of kids running around and playing among the bright orange and yellow plastic chairs. The menu on the wall listed the following: smoke sausage, pig ear, hamburger, hot dog, and bolonga -- all one dollar, tax included; hot tamales -- $5 for a half dozen or $8.50 for a dozen; pops, chips, and two kinds of beer.

I ordered my sandwich and got a grape soda from the pop machine to wash it down, which seemed somehow the appropriate accompaniment to a pig ear sandwich, but I don't know why. Everything was available in "hot, mild, or no hot." I chose hot. After all, I'm from South Louisiana. My mama put Tabasco in my baby bottle!

So how was it? It was ok. It was midly spicy but not unbearably so (at least not for a South Louisianian). The bun reminded of the ones they use for those little Krystal burgers we used to call "gut grenades" when I was in college. It stuck to the paper when I opened it. The texture of the pig ear was a bit gelatinous. Overall, I would say that it's something you eat for the experience, not the taste. But it wasn't bad.

The restaurant is located at 509 Farish St. For another blogger's experience with the same restaurant, click here.

I picked up a fascinating hitchhiker today. But that story will have to wait for another post. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Photography and fishing

I visited an old childhood friend over the weekend. My friend is a country vet in Mississippi who keeps a few livestock, and his cow pond is loaded with big 'ol catfish.

Note that I have the camera case strapped around my chest and the fishing rod in my hand. Photography and fishing are my two thrills. I may offend both photographers and fishermen by saying this, but I see a link between them. I've noticed since I started posting to flickr that one of the most common compliments paid to photographs is "nice capture". For me, that comment defines the common thread between the two pursuits: the thrill of the capture.

In an earlier entry I wrote that I wanted to cultivate photography as an act of worship. So which is it -- the thrill of the catch or the glory of the Creator? Hmm, I'll have to think about that. Maybe the first of these is my real motive and the latter the motive to which I aspire. Or maybe the two of them really are compatible somehow.

Which one's uglier?
Originally uploaded by kosova cajun

Sunday, March 09, 2008

came across this
Originally uploaded by kosova cajun

I was going through some old photos to put together a slide show and I came across this. I wonder why I didn't think it was worth posting back in August of 06 when I took it. Maybe it's because whenever you post a flower picture there are already 500 kajillion other ones out there just like it only better. (Same thing with sunsets.) On the other hand, maybe the real question is not, "Why did it escape my notice before?" but "Why did it catch my eye this time?" I'm pretty sure I know the answer. So far it's a cold, blustery March here in Birmingham, and I'm hungry for some signs of spring.

Friday, March 07, 2008

My man, Gerti Gjoni

Gerti is a good friend of mine who was in the youth group of the International Church during my time in Tirana (95-97).  He is a very gifted singer, and he really loves Jesus.  I just have one  criticism: Personally I wish he would sing more Albanian stuff rather rather than doing Sting and Phil Collins impersonations.  (I've got a recording of a demo of an Albanian song he wrote himself, and it rocks way more than what he sings on TV!) Anyway, these clips on YouTube are definitely worth checking out. 

Monday, March 03, 2008

Check out this for a delicious little foretaste of Rev. 7:9-10.