Lunch with COGIC

If you’re in the mood for fair/festival-style soul food, it’s a good day to check out the Main Street Mall between Poplar and Exchange. Many vendors have set up there to cater to the COGIC crowd.

You can also buy an assortment of furry hats, sequined purses, expensive suits and other essential COGIC gear on the Main Street Mall today.

Saturday update: COGIC here until 2010, Verizon Wireless XV6700, and Gimme Five!

There has been some talk that the annual COGIC convention (which is in town this week) might move to Atlanta or some other large city following their 100th anniversary in 2007. Well, yesterday the Memphis Business Journal reported that COGIC has reached an agreement with the city to stay here until 2010 at least. I’m sure all the people in the service industry downtown are thrilled… the “saints” are such wonderful hotel guests, great tippers and courteous restaurant customers, considerate drivers, etc.

I’m up early this morning… gotta be outside all day shooting photos of Downtown Memphis for a website project I’m working on. I’ve also been contacted by a French blues magazine (I’d link to it but it’s a new magazine and they don’t have their site ready yet) asking me to snap some pics of Beale Street, the W.C. Handy statue, and anything else I can find that shows off Memphis’ musical heritage. I’ll get that done today as well. It’s not a paid gig but I’m happy to do it because it promotes the city.

A few weeks ago, regular blog reader The Romanian Sensation invited me to join a network called Hi5 and be her friend. I checked it out – it’s sort of a crappy knock-off of MySpace. It has a lot of the same features as far as profiles, friend lists, etc. It also has this feature where you can “Give this person Five” as a form of kudos. There are all kinds of different Fives you can give – Diva Fives, Better Half Fives, Cool Fives, etc. You know, I haven’t heard the expression “gimme five” since Willis and Arnold were on TV. Then again, when you join Hi5 at least you don’t automatically get “Tom” as your friend.

But even though Hi5 appears to be a MySpace clone and not as good, I went ahead and joined up. Heck, it’s free, and it seems to be used a lot in the international community. Maybe I can use it to recruit some new Romanians to live and work in Memphis in the summer of ’07. My page on their site is if you want to check it out, although it’s basically the same as my MySpace page but with a lot fewer friends on my list.

I got a new phone last week – the Verizon Wireless XV6700. It’s a Smartphone/Pocket PC with 320×240 color touch screen and slide-out keyboard. It has a 1.3 megapixel digital camera, and pocket editions of the Microsoft office software. It also has built-in Wi-Fi and one-click access to Microsoft Internet Explorer. Now that I’ve had it and used it for a little while, I can report that I love this phone. I’m so glad I got this model and not the more heavily hyped (and more expensive) Treo. Shout out to Dustin at Big Foot for recommending the XV6700. Good call.

Angie A. is going to be furious that I have a better phone than her precious Uber Phone 3000.

All right, I’m off to take some pictures. Look for me downtown with my Hog Hat around 6:00 tonight for the Arkansas-Tennessee game.


Saturday is the Arkansas vs. Tennessee football game (6 PM). That means it’s the one day a year when I can walk around Downtown Memphis wearing my Hog Hat.

GO HOGS!!! I’ll be at whichever of Sleep Out’s, the Flying Saucer, or Big Foot appeals most to me at the time.

Short lunchtime post today, because I have to do a demo for some of the top people in Communications at the city schools. Tonight: The Dempseys @ The Saucer.

Post-election wrap-up: Why Republicans got shellacked, a Pelosi-led House, and Harold Ford Jr.

Back in the ’90s, I used to watch this show called “The McLaughlin Group” every Friday night on PBS. It was five political analysts arguing about the week’s events. Two McLaughlin alumni have great post-election analysis articles online today.

First of all, Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard has an article entitled Post Mortem: Why the Republicans Got Shellacked in the Midterms. Now, Barnes is very conservative and I normally find myself disagreeing with him quite a bit, but this time he nailed it. He spelled out perfectly the reasons why the Republicans lost. It’s worth a read, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum.

Meanwhile, McLaughlin alum Eleanor Clift has an article speculating on the direction a Nancy Pelosi-led House will take next year. Again, right on. The Democrats have a choice in 2007. They can open all kinds of investigations and attempt to get revenge on the Republicans for 12 years of rule; or, they can look toward the future and come up with innovative ways to lead this country in a positive direction. The Democrats had better do the latter if they expect my vote in the 2008 elections.

Here in Tennessee, Harold Ford Jr. lost and I’m not surprised. I knew he was going to lose when several hardcore Democrats told me within the past week that they DIDN’T plan to vote for Ford. They’re upset with his corporate-friendly/Bush-friendly votes on the energy bill of 2005, the bankruptcy bill of 2005, the Iraq war, and the wiretapping bill of 2006. “He’s a Republican posing as a Democrat,” they told me. I understand their sentiment – the only reason I voted for him is because I wanted the Republicans to lose the Senate. If Ford runs for Lamar Alexander’s seat when it comes up, I may very well vote for Ford’s primary opponent, and maybe even Alexander (if he runs again) over Ford in the general election.

That’s all for now. Glad this election is behind us.


Breaking news: Donald Rumsfeld is said to be resigning from his post as Secretary of Defense, effective immediately. Great news for the good ol’ US of A.

Just updated the EP’s Delta Kitchen pics with new info, see below.

Pics: EP’s Delta Kitchen and Bar (updated with additional info)

After cruising to first place at trivia tonight, the Rapscallions headed down the street to dine at EP’s Delta Kitchen and Bar at Second and Beale, in the old Elvis Presley’s Memphis building. Here are some pics. Images may be slightly out of focus/off-center due to the fact that these were taken by an amateur photographer and professional alcoholic.

(Edited to add: Thanks to the Nuh-Uh Girl for identifying some of the dishes below. Her comments appear in yellow.)

Stuffed (and fried) frog legs – I think it was a kind of olive tapenade on top, great! Frog legs are chewy (more of a gator texture, I would say), and delicious flavor

Portobello mushroom – with onions, cheese (and was there crabmeat? – I am pretty sure there was SOME kind of meat on there, as it was not a veggie dish)

Oysters – I think they were roasted?

Lobster etouffee – but not a typical etouffee, more tomato than cream sauce, and it had the lobster and shrimp! Yum!

The Nuh-Uh Girl adds: Other dishes we tried were

– Shrimp Mousse Terrine – light and fluffy, great contrast to the heaviness and spiciness of some of the other food

– Duck seafood gumbo – good flavor, just the right amount of spiciness, duck was great! HUGE portion, great buy for money (This is Paul again: I agree. Huge bowl for $10 – big enough to eat as a meal. So far I consider this THE recommended item out of the whole menu.)

– Shrimp and Oyster pie – good taste, but very small and not enough seafood in the actual dish

Attn Chad and the Nuh-Uh Girl: You missed dessert. Pictures below.

I can’t remember the names of these dishes and didn’t take notes because I was too busy eating… if any of you remember what these were let me know and I’ll update. Downtowners, you MUST try this place. Incredible food and local-friendly.

Welcome COGIC

This is the week when the saints of COGIC gather in downtown Memphis for their annual convention. Welcome, and if you have any questions about the area that you’d like to ask a local, feel free to e-mail me.

One of the best ways to celebrate the abundance that God has given you is to share that abundance with others. To that end, I’d like to ask you to please tip your servers well when you go out to eat at downtown restaurants this week. With so many people in town, the servers are going to be extremely busy, and they deserve to be compensated well for their hard work, don’t you agree?

A standard tip at a restaurant is 15%. For your convenience, I have computed 15% of common amounts below.

  • 15% of $10.00 = $1.50
  • 15% of $20.00 = $3.00
  • 15% of $30.00 = $4.50
  • 15% of $40.00 = $6.00
  • 15% of $50.00 = $7.50
  • 15% of $60.00 = $9.00
  • 15% of $70.00 = $10.50
  • 15% of $80.00 = $12.00
  • 15% of $90.00 = $13.50
  • 15% of $100.00 = $15.00

If you make special requests of your server – food prepared a special way, substitutions, etc. – you may want to consider tipping your server a little extra, say, 20%. Again, for your convenience, 20% of common amounts is below.

  • 20% of $10.00 = $2.00
  • 20% of $20.00 = $4.00
  • 20% of $30.00 = $6.00
  • 20% of $40.00 = $8.00
  • 20% of $50.00 = $10.00
  • 20% of $60.00 = $12.00
  • 20% of $70.00 = $14.00
  • 20% of $80.00 = $16.00
  • 20% of $90.00 = $18.00
  • 20% of $100.00 = $20.00

Also, please keep in mind that if a restaurant does not give a COGIC discount, it’s a policy set by management. Your server has no influence over that policy and does not deserve to be penalized on his or her tip. If you only want to eat at restaurants that give COGIC discounts, it would be a good idea to ask about this before you are seated.

I personally can attest that when you freely share your bounty, as God Himself would, with all those around you, it comes back to you tenfold and more. So please keep that in mind when you sit down to eat in downtown Memphis this week.

Again, welcome. Thank you for spending you tourism dollars in Memphis, and if you have questions about Memphis just ask.

Monday update

I updated my MySpace profile this weekend. I re-read my old profile and realized it sounded like all I do is hang out at bars, and that’s not very good. So I rewrote it with more details, to give people a better idea of who I am and what I’m all about. Hopefully I come off sounding like a more well-rounded person now.

Sunday I spent about 7 hours at Sleep Out Louie’s. For some reason EVERYONE showed up yesterday; the place was packed from open to close (or at least, from open until 7:00 when I left). I love that place because I can always count on some interesting conversations up there – for example, yesterday I spent some time talking to a guy who invented a silicone prosthetic eye. Pretty cool. It’s just one of those topics I knew nothing about and enjoyed learning. Anyway, great times yesterday at SOL. We even had an off-duty Beer Goddess up there, and this time I’m not talking about my Halloween costume.

Speaking of which… with Halloween over, I had no more need to wear my hair in pigtails, so I got it cut last Thursday – about 3 inches shorter than it was. Reaction has been just about 50-50 between “Oh, you got a haircut, you needed one, it looks good” and “Why did you cut your hair? I liked it long.” After looking at pics of myself the last time my hair was this short and comparing to more recent pics such as this one taken in August,

… I’ve decided that I agree with the “why did you cut your hair” crowd. So I’m going to let it grow back out. Not as long as it was for Halloween – that was TOO long but I needed to do the pigtails – but back to the August length as pictured above. I think that’s a happy medium.

So, no haircuts until February probably, and since I normally pay $25 a haircut, that means I have enough money to buy an extra 10 Pint Nite beers at the Flying Saucer. Speaking of which, I’m at the Saucer right now as I type this. Earring Girl is my waitress. They’re out of Blue Moon. The managers are having a meeting at a table across the room, and I’m tempted to walk over and ask what they were thinking when they booked that disaster of a Halloween costume contest. I also want to ask if they plan on hiring any more Romanians. But then, walking across the room seems like an awful lot of exercise – I’d probably burn 0.25 calories. Never mind, I’ll just sit here and drink instead.

It looks like there is interest in eating dinner at EP’s Delta Kitchen and Bar tomorrow night after the Rapscallions kick ass at trivia. If anyone is interested in going, you can meet up with us at the Saucer around 8:30-8:45 (that’s generally about the time trivia is over). Or meet up with us at 7 and join the team! Even with a big group, I doubt we’ll need reservations, considering that the place has been open less than a week and hasn’t advertised.

No plans for Wednesday night as of yet – I’ll probably go to a bar or something. Maybe I’ll play a few games of NTN Trivia at Sleep Out Louie’s to help convince management not to get rid of it. The Saucer’s Buy the Beer, Keep the Glass beer Wednesday night is Bridgeport, and if there’s no additional charge for this week’s glass maybe I’ll get one – Bridgeport IPA is tasty (but VERY hoppy, so if you’re not an IPA lover, this might not be the beer for you).

Thursday, of course, The Dempseys play the Saucer, so I’ll be there. Attn Dempseys fans: You know that song where Brad and Joe switch instruments mid-song, and at the end Joe tosses Brad his guitar back? Well, Saturday night, for the first time ever, Brad dropped the guitar. From what they said, it sounded like it cost some $ to repair. Sunday night at Huey’s Joe stood about 1 foot away from Brad when he tossed him the guitar.

Friday night I may be out of town, but if not I’ll be at Sleep Out Louie’s. Bobby Durango, Crash Kole, and Josh Lemons will be playing. Bobby, the lead singer/guitarist, played with the Rock City Angels back in the ’80s, and Crash and Josh are two of his top students. There may be guest guitarists as well. Here’s a flyer for the event:

I caught part of their show last time and they were good – particularly Bobby, with whom you really see different sides of his personality when he sings.

All right – time to get off the laptop and drink some beer, then maybe hit one or two more bars on the way home. Have a good Monday night everyone.

Election, hurry up and be over

Every time I open up my mailbox I find two or three pieces of negative mail from Harold Ford Jr. telling me what a horrible person Bob Corker is. I also find two or three pieces of negative mail from Bob Corker telling me what a horrible person Harold Ford Jr. is. I can’t turn on my TV without seeing campaign ads explaining why the other candidate is unfit for the Senate.

I’m fed up with both of them. A couple of weeks ago, I early voted, and at the time I voted for Ford. I now wish I could re-do my vote, and either leave the Senate race blank or write in Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges as a protest. Both Ford and Corker have run disgraceful campaigns in these final weeks and I’m embarrassed to have either of these men representing me in the Senate. I realize a lot is on the line here, and it’s not just these two men but party machinery and supporting organizations running the ads. But still, if this is what you have to do to get a seat in the Senate, then it’s time to overhaul the American election system.

Horrible, horrible example to set for our children.