Monday, January 23, 2012

Shipping Out

January 23, 2012

This Thursday, an fellow Samoan Peace Corps Volunteer, John, and I begin our trip from Fort Lauderdale to the various Caribbean ports and Panama Canal aboard the Holland-American ship, Zuiderdam. John is an old U.S. Navy salt with lots of sailing and sailboat experience, but never has gone to the Panama Canal. Me? Well, why not? There may even be some good stories to put on this blog.

Mary, not very comfortable at sea, is going with some friends to celebrate their mutual friend's 60th in Seattle.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


January 16, 2012
Today I took a number of foreign exchange students, mostly Muslims, to an MLK event sponsored by the Minneapolis Park Board at Powderhorn Park Community Center, located in one of the most multi-cultural areas of the city. I asked them if they had ever heard of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in their native countries and what they knew about him. I also asked the students to be observant of the attendees and to see who sat with whom at the tables.

All the students had heard of Dr. King in their native countries, many had listened to his "I Have a Dream" speech and were aware of his efforts to help black people. They observed the people at the event were mostly white and that blacks tended to sit together.

The Community Center was filled with people and a free meal of fried chicken, collared greens, corn bread, rolls, rice and beans was served to the hundreds in attendance. The program consisted of an African drummer, hip-hop dancers, a folk singer, an Aztec dance group, a gospel group, and Powderhorn Park's drum corps. The performances were excellent. The only program reference to Dr. King was a question to the audience as to how old Dr. King would be today (83), answered by one older person, and for the entire audience to shout, "Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr".

After the program I gathered the students to recap the event and give my thoughts on what Dr. King meant to me. I said that Dr. King's achievements were not through political office, but through non-violent means of raising people's awareness of injustices done to others and being able to organize people who shared his vision of inequality.

On my way home, it struck me that MLK Day may have become a chance for some to talk about togetherness, free food, entertainment, or a day off from school to go on a long weekend trip. As for Dr. King's "Dream", it seemed more of a dream than ever before.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wink Eye

January 9, 2012

Ruby Tuesday server, Cari, and bartender, Joshua, presenting two Wink Eyes in West Plains, Missouri

West Plains, Missouri is an Ozark town in the Southeastern part of the state about 10 miles from the Arkansas border. It is the hometown of the author, Daniel Woodrell, who writes country noire novels, the most famous being "Winter's Bone" which was also made into a movie and nominated for four Academy Awards in 2010. I just had to drive there to check out the place, being warned not to look anyone in the eye and stay away from meth labs.

My quest to possibly meet the author, known to be secretive, and interview meth technicans proved to be futile. Equally futile was my quest to meet anyone who knew what "wink eye" described in another West Plain-based novel by Woodrell, "The Death of Sweet Mister I wondered whether anyone in the Ozarks had ever heard of the dish, so I started asking anyone I met.

At the local Ruby Tuesdays I quized the server, who then quized restaurant patrons, bringing a curious bartender and nacent author to the table. No one had ever heard of wink eye. I described what it was and much to my surprise they later appeared at the table with two wink eyes. They had to go out to a nearby Walgreen's to get the eggs, the restaurant not having any, and prepared the dish. Now that was service!

Most people refer to the dish of "Wink Eye" as "Egg in the Basket" with a lid or "Toad in the Hole. For anyone wishing to learn more, here is the Wkipedia link:

Please also check out the bartender and young writer, Joshua's blog at .