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February 11, 2010

Vol 8 • No 5

Dueling catfish

Garland City, Arkansas, is small. In fact, you could drive right by it and be none the wiser. Just over 350 people call it home, but on a Friday or Saturday night, the population of this sleepy city more than doubles. And it’s all thanks to catfish.

Quite a haul

It took us three casts to catch a seat at the Bonefish Grill. Was it worth the effort? Sure. We had to see what all the fuss was about.

Don't forget the bar

Arriving early at Theo’s is part of the experience, because that way you can get at least one drink in the cozy cocktail lounge before sitting down to dinner. We did just that, arriving early for our 7 p.m. reservation so we could enjoy a pinot noir and peruse the menu.

Diners, drive-ins and dives

In what’s become an annual tradition in the Best Restaurants issue, we asked for nominations for the best unheralded dining in Arkansas. And we were flooded with responses.

On the trail of the chili dog

Be aware of slaw and beans.

Dinner specials

The year 2009 didn’t see a remarkable boom in restaurants. But Arkansas still managed to welcome some bright additions to its dining scene and old favorites continued to satisfy.

Jack: 4 year old Husky-German Shephard

Tea Party time

A Tea Party group, the Arkansas Patriots for Action, is going to have a gaggle of candidates in for a Q&A tomorrow night.

Get your 3rd district scorecard

You'll need one to keep up with the burgeoning field for 3rd District Congress. Today's addition is Steve Lowry, a Springdale Republican and former DEA agent.

The line is open

Over to you. PS -- Looks like Oaklawn Park won't get that $5 million matchup of fillies Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta.

Feb. 3-9

It was a GOOD week for …LEGISLATING. The General Assembly convened its first “fiscal” session, a biannual exercise mandated by a voter-approved constitutional amendment. With little extra money to spend, all were hoping for a quick and routine exercise.

Still showcasing

The Ark. Times Musicians Showcase continues tonight at 9 p.m. at Sticky Fingerz with Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth, Dangerous Idiots, Flash LaRue (pictured) and Rah hoWard.

In Brief, Feb. 11-13

Once again, Sticky Fingerz hosts the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. The third round features Rah HoWard, Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth, Flash Larue, and Dangerous Idiots while Juanita's brings modern rock with Parabelle, Prosevere and Die on 3.

Justice is served

It was a long time coming, but justice has finally been served in the extraordinary judicial operation overseen by now-defrocked Judge Willard Proctor. Proctor, in short, operated a gulag, in Cycle Breakers Inc., a private agency he established and which he hoped to build into a national operation.

The Insider, Feb. 11

For the first year since 2002, Riverfest will not incorporate North Little Rock into its traditional entertainment offerings. The shift southward comes in response to feedback from festival goers, according to festival director DeAnna Korte.

Words, Feb. 11

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that these local could-bes have been out of public view lately because they’ve been busy working on being dope, rather than, say, sulking because the A-state doesn’t get its due.

False colors

Straight talk was seriously abused when right-wing extremists started calling moderates like President Obama “Nazis” and “Fascists.” We’d have thought it a joke, except those people don’t joke. They stew, they plot, they obsess, they lie, but they don’t joke.

Bruno's abides

For such a legendary local favorite, Bruno's Little Italy in West Little Rock has never really done it for us in the past. But there's no arguing that Bruno's is an institution in the local dining scene, and after our last meal there, we've finally come around.

Lincoln, Boozman--eloquence lost

Eloquence is not evidence of virtue. It can be the opposite. It does not suggest honorable commitment to a job or competence at that job. It can provide cover for the opposite.

The Observer, Feb. 11

The Observer has been battling insomnia lately, so we were awake around 1 a.m. last Sunday night when the Winter Event came to Little Rock —snow that came down as heavy as we’ve ever seen it in our near-tropical state.

Review: Exene Cervenka and the Dexter Romweber Duo

Though it was a brief encounter in a night of three, Exene Cervenka’s visit to White Water proved to be a charmingly intimate set. Exene, like someone’s spunky aunt bedecked in multiple rosaries and a silk apron, grinned and chatted the whole time, engaging in banter with even the youngest and the drunkest present.

The Televisionist, Feb. 11

Just in case you’ve been living in a rented storage locker with no Internet access for the past five years, I’ll clue you in on a little secret: TV ain’t just on TV anymore. One of the best for watching TV without the TV is

Still showcasing

The Ark. Times Musicians Showcase continues tonight at 9 p.m. at Sticky Fingerz with Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth, Dangerous Idiots, Flash LaRue (pictured) and Rah hoWard.

In defense of Cabot

With regard to Bob Lancaster's Best and Worst of 2009 article, once could assume that Mr. Lancaster is just another in a long line of liberal journalists who use their position to further stereotype good, hardworking, decent middle class Americans.

To-Do List, Feb. 11-17

Haiti Homebuilding Benefit, Gravity Slashers, 'In Love With Broadway,' The Pretty Things Peep Show, Retribution Gospel Choir, 'Stomp,' TC & the Eddies.

Hundley suit settled

A lawsuit filed by the granddaughter of the late Dr. John Hundley, a prominent Little Rock orthopedist and thoroughbred horse breeder, against her father for allegedly misappropriating funds from a trust inheritance was settled in January.

Rep masters tricky 'Cat'

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is one of Tennessee Williams' acknowledged masterpieces, yet it is a large, unwieldy play that the playwright openly struggled with. It is a misshapen, oddly repetitive piece and yet it comes across as Shakespearean in reach and scope.

Too much potus

We’ve had four good presidents, and we won’t have any more good ones, the U.S. Supreme Court having just decided that hereafter the plutocrats can simply buy the presidency, and of course they’re not going to install anyone in the office who’ll serve anyone’s interests except their own.

Think piece

It’s no secret that “The White Ribbon” as a whole has much to owe to iconic pieces by Bergman and Dreyer but, astonishingly (and exhilaratingly), it can stand tall beside some of the masters’ greatest works. This movie looks and feels like a classic because it is one.

Two Deltas

I was staring at this year’s Delta Exhibition winner, Kyle Chaput’s “Oso Bay Site 47” when the Arkansas Arts Center guard gestured to me to join her at the back of the room. “Do you see the bat and the rat?” she asked. And taking up her vantage point, I did see the bat and the rat. She was looking for more there, too, she said.

Climate action good for Arkansas

Thirty-five Senate Republicans and three Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, support Senate Resolution 26 to block the federal Environmental Protection Agency from reducing greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters like coal power plants.

Smart Talk, Feb. 11

Munitions-maker American Rhein-Metall Munitions has invited news media to tour “the first and only 40mm green ammunition facility in the United States.” “Green Ammo” is supposed to be more environmentally friendly than regular ammunition, though still harmful to those who are struck by it.

What's Cookin', Feb. 11

Satellite Cafe has scaled back its business hours in anticipation of a remodel, tentatively scheduled for the coming weeks, that would leave the Heights restaurant closed until May.


Wooldridge's family values

Blogger Blue Arkansas reports 1st District congressional candidate Tim Wooldridge's leadership role in a group, the Families First Foundation, one of whose controlling purposes is to be anti-homosexual.

Lock and load

Pencil in Feb. 27 and grab your gun. There's going to be a Second Amendment rally that day at Barton Coliseum.

Live by the earmark ....

John Brummett points out the twist in logic -- blatant hypocrisy is a better description -- in Sen. Gilbert Baker's criticism of Rep. John Boozman's love of federal earmarks when he's feasted on state level pork and even called for federal earmarks for a Conway project. Brummett notes that both are conservative enough to be a solid third vote with Oklahoma, home to the nuttiest senatorial duo in the land.

Morning musings

1) My last words on last night's vibrant open line on chili dogs (inspired by Doug Smith's chili dog search in this week's Best Restaurants cover story): No beans in the chili.

Still The Same.

You think of Zack’s Place, you probably think of darts and pool and those plate dinner specials that change every day and are marked up on that wipe board.

Welfare check dispute

An interesting story in the Batesville Guard Monday, unfortunately behind a subscription wall. It concerns the application by District Judge Chaney Taylor, a former Republican state representative, for Social Security Income checks for each of his year-old triplets.

$14 million snipe hunt?

Nature, updating a "recovery" plan for the ivory billed woodpecker, paints a bleak picture about the bird's existence and raises questions about spending on the search and recovery.

This one's for DBI

Roby Brock says Denny Altes is among those thinking of joining the Ben Hur-sized Republican field for 3rd District Congress.

Vote now on billboard message

Friends of the Earth is soliciting votes on a choice of potential billboards to erect in Arkansas in the wasted effort to get Sen. Blanche Lincoln to back off the anti-clean-air legislation on which she's thrown in with pollution-friendly Republicans.

Thursday To-Do: Haiti Homebuilding Benefit

The Moving Front. And zombies.

The calm before the storm

The legislature will clear out early today and not return until next Tuesday. The Senate's concerns were put to rest about the revenue stabilization act and the governor's designs on some pockets of money and all voted to approve introduction of the bill today.

Thursday: Parabelle, Arkansas Chamber Singers, Dr. Rex Bell

Parabelle. Juanita's brings modern rock with Parabelle, Prosevere and Die on 3, 9 p.m., $5.

Republican exodus

Hardly a day passes without a Republican braying about the cowardly Democrats in Congress fleeing expected electoral disaster.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth

Brother Andy & His Big Damn MouthFrom: North Little Rock Formed: One year ago.Members: Brother Andy (vocals, guitar), Chad Conder (drums), Johnny D.

Another front in SWEPCO fight

The Sierra Club and Audubon Arkansas today sued in federal court to stop construction of the SWEPCO power plant in Hempstead County.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Dangerous Idiots

Photo by Lizzie Burnham. Dangerous IdiotsFrom: Little RockFormed: 2009Members: Paul Bowling (bass, vocals), Shayne Gray (drums, vocals), Aaron Sarlo (guitar, vocals).Bona Fides: Bowling was in Trusty and il libretina and Gray and Sarlo were in Techno-Squid Eats Parliament.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Flash LaRue

Clint Moreland, Bryan Frazier, Matt Matthews, Jeff Dunman. Flash LaRueFrom: Little RockFormed: End of 2008Members: Clint Moreland (drums) Bryan Frazier (bass, vocals) Matt Matthews (guitar) Jeff Dunman (guitar, vocals), Shaun Hartman (guitar, vocals), Sean Lindsey (occasional percussion).Album: Currently recording, partly with Jason Tedford and partly at a home studio, a debut.Connections: Lots of familiar faces here: Frazier's long performed solo.

Studying the light bill

The Public Service Commission served notice today that it will hold a hearing on whether Entergy Arkansas, once it is freed from a current system agreement with other members of the multi-state Entergy corporation, would be better served by a new system agreement or operated as a stand-alone utility.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Rah hoWard

Rah hoWardFrom: Little RockDebut: Started rapping seriously at 16.Albums: A mixtape, "Motivation," with the follow-up, "The Winner," due in March.National love: For "Motivation," hoWard's been interviewed on Shade 45 radio, featured on Shade 45 DJ Angela Yee's blog and appeared on

Cuts coming in Conway

The Log Cabin Democrat reports that payroll cuts are likely as Conway copes with a reserve fund with more than $1 million less available than had been believed.

The race is on

Rumors are rife that the $5 million purse race proposed by Oaklawn's Charles Cella for top fillies Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta is back on, but not for the April 3 Apple Blossom stakes.

Q&A: James McKissic

This is what the most likeable man looks like. This afternoon, I had coffee with the outrageously colorful, world renowned Riviera pianist James McKissic.

Pick up "Shutter Island" tickets at the Showcase tonight

All you've got to do is come to the Musicians Showcase tonight and visit the Arkansas Times table to get a pass to see a sneak preview of Martin Scorcese's new film, "Shutter Island" at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at  Rave.It debuts in theaters on Friday, Feb. 19.

Look, but don't record

The Republican Party of Arkansas has issued media groundrules for covering Sarah Palin's talk Tuesday for a GOP fund-raiser at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.

R.I.P. Drunken Angels (2008-2010)

Drunken Angels never say die. (From L-R) Mikey Hayes, Travis Hill, Tracy Sanchez and Todd Hunt Bummer news.

Clinton hospitalized UPDATE

ABC News is reporting that former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized in New York city.

Two faces of the GOP

Yet another episode in the hit reality series, Blithering Hypocritical Dicks: Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) today echoed Rep. John Boehner's (R-OH) supposed concern that televising President Obama's bipartisan health care reform summit would turn it into a "media show" -- even after both called for him to make the process more transparent.

Idol Talk: Charity Vance, hated on mostly

Best video description ever? Overlooked until now: Charity Vance's "Golden Ticket" interview.

Questions, questions

The Republican campaign apparatus succeeded in planting a question with Arkansas media to get federal candidates on record on pending health legislation.

Dwight David Honeycutt headed to SXSW, organizing fundraiser

DDH. Or actually Roland Honeycutt Jr. is the one headed to SXSW in March.

Silver thread

And golden needling.

Top Of The World.

A little piece of Arkansas makes it big on the global stage.  Junior League of Little Rock's latest cookbook "Big Taste of Little Rock" has been named the Best Fundraising Cookbook in the World by Gourmand.  The announcement came in Paris at a special ceremony yesterday.  Congratulations!

Breaking: Dwight David Honeycutt

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A dream of light rail for Northwest Arkansas

A recent study led by the University of Arkansas Center for Community Development found that Northwest Arkansas is a strong candidate for light rail.

Bro. Andy and His Big Damn Mouth prevails

Big times at round three of the Musicians Showcase. Despite the threat of snow, we packed em in. And Flash LaRue scored well enough to make the wildcard round.

Shushing the Twitters

Another court in Baltimore -- a la Judge Chris Piazza in the Curtis Lavelle Vance murder trial -- has shut down Twitters and other instant communications from courtrooms during trials.

About that light snow forecast

None at my house. Anybody in LR area see any?

Clinton goes home

NBC reports that Bill Clinton went home from the hospital this morning. He's expected back at work Monday.

Dickering on a stimulus bill

Bipartisanship isn't happening on a stimulus bill and everyone's pointing fingers at each other. But here's a question for Republican candidates for Congress from Arkansas.

Valuable bus time

Schools in Arizona have reduced discipline problems and turned long school bus rides into productive study halls with Wi-Fi access.

Judicial candidate

Wendell Griffen, the former Court of Appeals judge, confirms that he's considering a race for circuit judge in the fifth division seat vacated by Willard Proctor's ouster.

President Palin

Politico, which covers Sarah Palin like she's the president in waiting despite universally bad poll numbers, grumbles about media covering Sarah Palin like a president in waiting.

The two faces of the GOP

OK. Sen. Joe Lieberman is not technically a Republican. But close enough and many Repubs are engaging in this same foolishness. He stars in today's episode of the continuing reality series, Blithering Hypocritical Dicks.

Fleeing (alleged) thief shot

Hmmm. I expect more to come on this report from Garland County sheriff's office:

Fleeing (alleged) thief shot

Hmmm. I expect more to come on this report from Garland County sheriff's office:

Weekend To-Do: Gravity Slashers

GRAVITY SLASHERS7:30 p.m., Verizon Arena. $10-$23.If you're an X Game nut, or just interested in seeing people fly through the air on motor bikes, performing tricks with names like can-cans, heel clickers, superman seat grabs, strippers, super flips, cordovas, dead sailors, cliffhangers, sterilizers and tsunamis, then this is definitely your scene.

Weekend To-Do: 'In Love with Broadway'

Christiane Noll ‘IN LOVE WITH BROADWAY'8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $32-$72.Hello, young lovers: Broadway voices Christiane Noll and Doug LaBrecque are coming to Little Rock for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Pops' “In Love with Broadway.” Soprano Noll sang in the revival run of “Ragtime” last year in New York and includes “Urinetown” and “Mambo Kings” in her credits.

The Weekend: Damn Bullets, The E.O.S., Casey Donahew, Brother Andy, James McKissic, 'Big Lebowski' fest

Casey Donahew. FRIDAY 2/12Perennial Little Rock folk favorites Damn Bullets show off their four-man take on folk music alongside The Ben Miller Band and Adam Gussow at White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m., $6.

Appeal granted for school shooter

Westside school shooter Mitchell Johnson, who was sentenced to 12 years in 2008 for credit card theft after a guilty plea, can appeal the sentence, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Video recap

Round three winner Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth. Video by Brian Chilson.

Sheltering the homeless

Robert Johnston, an advocate for the homeless, asks why the city of Little Rock didn't arrange shelters for the homeless in this week's patch of icy weather despite having done so during an earlier cold snap.

More details on LR fatal shooting

More details in the case of a Little Rock man who fatally shot a man who entered his house on South Martin Street yesterday.

Curtis Coleman apologize?

No indeed. The Republican senatorial candidate stands pat. He stands by, behind, for and every other way in support of his statement comparing embryonic stem cell research to the Holocaust.

Boren sets Arkansas stop

David Boren, the former U.S. senator and current president of the University of Oklahoma, will visit Little Rock Tuesday to talk about his new book "A Letter to America."

GOP cookie shop

Rogers Mayor Steve Womack announced for 3rd District Congress today. The issues section of his website comes from the Republican cookie factory, with all the usual pieces.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Judges commentary on Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth

joshuaI'm sure that there were more than a few shallow minds that took one glance at the three sets of pasty legs descending from three pairs of faded Daisy Dukes and thought: What the hell?

Mother loses custody at Supreme Court

An interesting state Supreme Court case, reported by Stephens Media. Angie Fletcher, who'd allowed a boyfriend to care for her son in Arkansas after Hurricane Katrina because she couldn't care for him while staying on the job as a New Orleans cop, lost custody of the child, now 12, in a 4-3 decision today.

Saturday Not-To-Do: Chubby Carrier

Because of the bad weather in Texas this show's been cancelled.CHUBBY CARRIER AND THE BAYOU SWAMP9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern.

Local news goes viral

Here's startup effort to bring local news about Magnolia and Columbia County to readers by the Internet.

Sunday To-Do: Valentine's Burlesque

VALENTINE'S BURLESQUE WITH THE PRETTY THINGS PEEP SHOW8 p.m., Revolution. $10.If you're not planning on staying home on Valentine's Day night and watching “Sextistics," you could do a lot worse than this throwback burlesque show.

Tonight: True Soul's Lee Anthony shows off his artistic side

It's Second Friday Art night tonight throughout downtown. At the Historic Arkansas Museum, an exhibit featuring (True Soul Records founder) Lee Anthony, Jon Haydn and Mary Shelton.

Do you 'appreciate' Social Security slash?

Elaboration is needed, but Rep. John Boozman is off on the wrong foot in his response to where he stands on Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to slash Social Security and Medicare as part of a grand budget plan.

Disney on Ice returns to Verizon

From April 21-25.Details after jump.


"Square Pegs," cracklin. CRACKLE TVwww.crackle.comJust in case you've been living in a rented storage locker with no Internet access for the past five years, I'll clue you in on a little secret: TV ain't just on TV anymore.

Daily Digest: Papa paparazzi; Bill Withers; John Hughes, writer; NBA players, readers; Wes Bentley sobers up.

Is it just me or has Roger Ebert's jaw situation been the best thing to happen to his writing since getting dumped by Oprah?

Still got 'Shutter Island' tickets to give away

We didn't give them all away at the Showcase last night.It screens at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at Rave.If you want a ticket, send me an email at lindsey @ with the heading GIVE ME A TICKET.

UAMS names neurosurgery chair

UAMS has a new chair of its Department of Neurosurgery. He's Dr. J.D. Day, who comes from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

Grade inflation list: Corrected

The State Education Department has released a corrected list of the 52 high schools -- rather than 58 -- found to have inflated grades.

You are up

The line is open. PS: Jason Tolbert says Republican Johnny Key won't be making a race for 1st District Congress.

On the trail of the chili dog

Maybe not as good as the long-gone D and D, but chili dogs from The Hop, Dave's Place and Terri-Lynn's B-B-Q deserve consideration.

Whither Halter, still

John Brummett considers Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's political options and concludes that a race for 2nd District Congress might make most sense.

Slacker Saturday

I may or may not be around much today. It's judgment day on the Arkansas Times Academic All-Stars and the task is as formidable as ever.

Wooldridge and discrimination

The Blue Arkansas blog continues to focus on 1st District congressional candidate Tim Wooldridge's Board membership in a religious-backed organization, Families First of Arkansas, whose published principles include a belief in "wise" discrimination against homosexuals.

Network with the Times

Most people know it, but in case you're just joining us: The Arkansas Blog also provides Twitter feeds and posts to the Arkansas Times Facebook fan page (you need not have a Facebook account to check the fan page).

Speaking of (dating) networking

Some major space devoted in NY Times today to a free on-line dating site, OkCupid, which is relying on statistics crunching for a better match game.

The latest in the Third

Republican Sen. Cecile Bledsoe's announcement in the 3rd Congressional Disrict. A little more understated than Womack's recent.

Fresh thread

Spin away.

Nearly naked ladies

If you're not staying home on Valentine's Day night with your main squeeze, you could do a lot worse than this throwback burlesque show.

Influence peddling

John Brummett writes that those who get worked up about state legislators raising campaign money during the legislative session don't have much of a point given the mostly off-the-radar wining and dining that lobbyists do of legislators during the legislative session.

Church tumult

I believe there could be a good crowd at mass at Holy Souls Catholic Church today, with the bishop scheduled to make an appearance.

The so-called jobs bill

The Democrats latest political stumble was Harry Reid's pullback from the supposedly bipartisan "jobs" bill.

Legislative paydays

The Democrat-Gazette did its fine annual job (sub. reqd.)

A word from our sponsors

This isn't free, you know. So we encourage you to check out our advertisers.

Justice Jim Johnson dies

THE JOHNSONS: Justice Jim Johnson with his wife, Virginia (she's now deceased), when she made her run for governor.

Restaurant News.

Three notes from the Arkansas restaurant scene. Lilly's DimSum Then Some ventures into breakfast.  Nancy Tesmer and Jeffrey Moore have started B-Side, a breakfast place within Lilly's party room.  The offerings include pancakes, waffles Scotch eggs and more.  Buffalo Wild Wings will open its West Little Rock location in late April if all goes according to plan.  A set date has not been announced.

Restaurant News.

Three notes from the Arkansas restaurant scene. Lilly's DimSum Then Some ventures into breakfast.  Nancy Tesmer and Jeffrey Moore have started B-Side, a breakfast place within Lilly's party room.  The offerings include pancakes, waffles Scotch eggs and more.  Buffalo Wild Wings will open its West Little Rock location in late April if all goes according to plan.  A set date has not been announced.

Death by Chocolate.

Ah, the things I do for this blog.  Saturday was a day full of fun, friends, and chocolate.  The 6th Annual Eureka Springs Chocolate Festival was held at the Best Western Conference Center... packed full of people from all over.  Students from several regional high schools and volunteers from several organizations served up all sorts of chocolate objects, edibles and varieties to the crowd, some carrying trays full and some manning tables.  Four different fountains (a blue white chocolate fountain, red milk chocolate and traditional milk and dark chocolate stations) were crowded with attendees dunking everything from Rice Krispy treats to Fritoes (a surprisingly good sweet-and-salty combination!).  Mountain Bird Coffee offered espresso and a favorite varietal.  There was chocolate covered popcorn, big chunks of fudge from Two Dumb Dames, truffles from 2nJoy Magazine, chocolate covered fortune cookies from Holiday Island Vacation Rentals, and... well, I could spend all day listing all the sorts of chocolate that was free with paid admission to the event.

Celebrating the Asian New Year.

What a way to welcome in the Year of the Tiger.  The seventh annual Asian New Year Celebration Dinner hosted by the Asian Pacific Resource and Cultural Center Saturday night was the largest such event the group has held, more than doubling previous dinner attendance to well over 100 people this time.  And what a dinner.  Over the course of four hours, nine courses of delicacies were served up -- including beef, bok choy and mushrooms in oyster sauce, shrimp with onions and peppers, a seafood based egg drop type soup, pork with quail eggs over noodles, specially marinated and fried chicken, Thousand Year eggs, savory marinated jellyfish, seaweed, Chinese sausage, Eight Treasure sweetened rice and of course the traditional whole fish.  Attendees also enjoyed searching their steamed pork dumplings for the elusive green pea, which entitled them to a special prize.

Dale Hawkins dies

Rockabilly pioneer Dale Hawkins, who'd made his home in Central Arkansas since the early '80s, died last night after a long battle with colon cancer.

Rocker Hawkins dies

Another death reported today of an Arkansas resident of note. Lindsey Millar's Rock Candy blog has the scoop on the death of Dale Hawkins, a rockabilly artist and producer probably best remembered for "Suzie Q."

Let 'er rip

Line's open.


Well, it's been a while. The following was written on February 8th.

Keet exploring UPDATE

Former Republican state Sen. Jim Keet has been saying for days he'll run for lieutenant governor if Bill Halter doesn't.

Diners, drive-ins and dives

In what's become an annual tradition in the Best Restaurants issue, we once again turned to our readers for help. On our Eat Arkansas blog, we asked for nominations for the best unheralded dining in Arkansas. And we were flooded with responses.

Politician analysts

Three potential Republican presidential candidates, including Mike Huckabee, are paid contributors to Fox News. And they are not alone in the politician/analyst field Good for them financially.

Brisket Like Buttah.

So I asked Twitter fans (you can be one too) on Thursday where they’d stop to eat if they were on their way to Northwest Arkansas.

Brisket Like Buttah.

So I asked Twitter fans (you can be one too) on Thursday where they’d stop to eat if they were on their way to Northwest Arkansas.

First, more charter schools

Just guessing at likely topics of discussion at a coming educational summit of "25 to 30 of our state's prominent business and community leaders" being promoted by Gov. Mike Beebe's most recent appointee to the state Board of Education, Vicki Saviers of Little Rock.

The race for Proctor's seat

Causley Edwards, a Little Rock lawyer who's an administrative law judge for the state Human Services Department, has announced he'll run for Willard Proctor's former circuit judgeship.

Senate upheaval

Despite a big lead in the polls and a big campaign chest, Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana has decided he won't seek re-election this year.

Ken Starr to Baylor

Report says special persecutor Kenneth Starr will be president of Baylor University. Hope he does a better and more honest job than he did as special prosecutor.

Monday To-Do: Retribution Gospel Choir

RETRIBUTION GOSPEL CHOIR9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $7.Fronted by the Best Name in Rock Music titleholder, Alan Sparhawk, Retribution Gospel Choir is touring on the release of its second album, “2,” and treating Little Rock to another big Monday night show that our small city probably wouldn't get on a more lucrative weekend day.

Paper Trails' stupid war on Riverfest

With Riverfest peeking out over the horizon, look out for months of ill-informed, crotchety bitching from Democrat-Gazette columnist Linda Caillouet leading up to the festival.

Demilitarized zone

Speaking of charter schools: I had a long lunch today at Copper Grill with Warwick Sabin, former Times colleague and Oxford American publisher; Jay P. Greene, the UA endowed professor of education reform, who also blogs; and Josh McGee, a doctoral student at UA, who also blogs here.

The power of incumbency

And, I should add, popularity. Gov. Mike Beebe's re-election campaign said today that he'd opened fund-raising in January with a bang --  $893,387 for the primary account and $126,300 for the general account.  A bit more than $1 million in all.

Gunner DeLay for Congress?

Says here that the former state senator is thinking about a Republican run in Third District.

How cold is it?

It was cold enough -- a wind chill around 24 degrees -- that Oaklawn Park called off racing today after the fourth race on account of the cold and track conditions that made racing unsafe for horses and riders.

Bafflingly popular ventriloquist coming to Verizon

Jeff Dunham and "friends" yuck it up on Sunday, July 18 at Verizon.Tickets, which go for $43.25, go on-sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 26 via the Verizon box office and all Ticketmaster outlets.

Quotable on Jim Johnson UPDATE

Good (meaning nicely done) news-obituary today in the Democrat-Gazette by political editor Bill Simmons on Justice Jim Johnson, the legendary segregationist who took his life Saturday at age 85.

Quotable on Jim Johnson UPDATE

Good (meaning nicely done) news-obituary today in the Democrat-Gazette by political editor Bill Simmons on Justice Jim Johnson, the legendary segregationist who took his life Saturday at age 85.

The war on Riverfest

Lindsey Millar on Rock Candy rips off his Clark Kent disguise and deconstructs the flaws in Democrat-Gazette columnist Linda Caillouet's annual hating on Riverfest.

Happy Washington's Birthday (observed)

I cannot tell a lie. I'm outta here.


You know the push broom beats, the trashcan lids, the italicized red font. “Stomp” has become so ingrained in the collective pop culture consciousness since its explosion in the mid '90s that it's easy to forget just why, 16 years later, it's still so pervasive: It's all pretty cool.

Look who gave UPDATE

Stephens Media dug up some of the contributors to Gov. Mike Beebe's event-free haul of $1 million in January.

Who is the Tea Party?

The New York Times tries to assess the identity of this sometimes amorphous movement in an extensive report. Sometimes it's just an appendage of the Republican Party.

The magnificent seven

There are now six Republicans -- with the addition of Boone County Judge Mike Moore -- and one Democrat in the race for 3rd District Congress.

Toyota troubles

The automaker will temporarily idle two plants, in Texas and Kentucky. The company still hasn't opened the plant Arkansas lost to Tupelo, Miss., reportedly on account of Toyota's questions about the quality of Arkansas's workforce.

$18.5 million lawsuit win for Arkansas

The attorney general's office announced today a whopper of an $18.5 million settlement with drugmaker Eli Lilly over its marketing of the drug Zyprexa for uses not approved by the FDA.

Delay grade inflation penalty

House Speaker Robbie Wills wants to delay for a year the rule that makes it harder for students at grade-inflating high schools to qualify for lottery scholarships.

Dining With Toddlers.

We talk a lot about food and the restaurant experience here.  Now that I'm a mom, I find myself in this position of having a toddler who goes to restaurants with me a lot.  It can be challenging, that's for sure!

Dining With Toddlers.

We talk a lot about food and the restaurant experience here.  Now that I'm a mom, I find myself in this position of having a toddler who goes to restaurants with me a lot.  It can be challenging, that's for sure!

Contest for county clerk

Sherwood businessman Steve Walden will be a Democratic candidate for Pulaski County clerk. Larry Crane, a lawyer and state employee, had previously announced.

Tuesday To-Do: 'Stomp'

'STOMP'7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $22-$47 You know the push broom beats, the trashcan lids, the italicized red font.

The Palinator cometh

Sarah Palin at Verizon Arena or the dog show finals on TV? I think I'll take the dog show.

Still got 'Shutter Island' tickets

The screening's tonight at 7 p.m. at Rave.All you've got to do is email calendar @ with the heading GIVE ME A TICKET.

A Kennedy for Congress?

He's Patrick Kennedy, 27, director of public programs and public policy at the Clinton School of Public Service, and he's formed an exploratory committee about running as a Democrat for 2nd District Congress.

Caution: tax cutter at work

Irony: A proposal to study yet another Arkansas capital gains tax cut -- approved by a legislative committee today -- was put forward by Maumelle Republican Rep. Ed Garner, who's appeared periodically on the state sales tax deadbeat list.

Slow day

Maybe an open line will spice it up. I do hope to add a report from the Sarah Palin appearance sometime tonight.

Korto's Fashion Week collection

Check it out via's what BlackBook had to say about yesterday's show: I noticed that most models were wearing super long lashes with a hint of orange or magenta, the reoccurring colors of the collection.

Palin does NLR

Jaman Matthews checks in from Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, where Sarah Palin entertained a Republican fund-raiser tonight: If the world experiences a sudden shortage of red and blue dye, we can safely blame Sarah Palin. The former vice-presidential candidate/former Alaska governor (/former Republican?)

A dream of light rail for Northwest Arkansas

A recent study led by the University of Arkansas Center for Community Development found that Northwest Arkansas is a strong candidate for light rail.

Looking for a home?

A Little Rock resident reports a robopoll last night, the most interesting questions matching Lt. Gov. Bill Halter against U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln and against Tim Griffin, the Republican candidate for 2nd District Congress.

The Boozman two-step

U.S. Rep. John Boozman, who's running for U.S. Senate, has been forced to provide a statement on the idea by a ranking Republican to privatize -- and cut -- Social Security and Medicare.

Do you miss him yet?

The Obama organization is sending around this graph of U.S. job losses under the Bush and Obama administrations.

LR suspect in spotlight

The New York Times today examines the case of Abdulhakim Muhammad, accused of killing one soldier and wounding another at a Little Rock military center.

The Medicaid crunch

I mentioned a while back that the Medicaid funding crisis could be the next big state government story.

Wednesday To-Do: TC & The Eddies

TC and Poe. TC & THE EDDIES8 p.m., The Village.

Palin fund-raiser details UPDATE

We won't know the final tally on the Republican Party's Sarah Palin fund-raiser until the party files its financial reports.

Arkie Idol Update: It's all over, probably

Keia Johnson, 26, Memphis (Miss ASU '04)Screen time: None. Unless I completely missed it.

Dustin can't handle the truth

Letter from Holly Dickson, staff attorney for the Arkansas ACLU: Three teenagers who live in a state residential facility and are currently waiting for foster or adoptive homes here in Arkansas have requested to join our case challenging Act 1 [which prohibits adoptions by unmarried couples].  Today the Attorney General is filing a motion asking the judge to deny these young people’s request to be heard in the lawsuit. With today’s motion, the Attorney General is trying to keep the very people most directly affected by Act 1 – children in state care who desperately need homes – from having any say in the case.  In 2009 alone, 248 teenagers aged out of the system in Arkansas, reaching their 18th birthdays and leaving state care with no parents to provide them with economic or emotional support.  Nobody knows better than these young people what it means to have their chances of being placed in a good home made even smaller by this unfair law. When the judge allowed the Arkansas Family Council to intervene in our challenge to Act 1, he said that we shouldn’t be afraid to let anyone have a voice in this case.  Why is the attorney general so afraid to let the very children most impacted by Act 1, the children it claims to care so much about, have a voice in this case?

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3 Recap

Brother Andy. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Arrest in hit and run

Channel 4 reports that a Little Rock man is in custody in the investigation of the person responsible for a hit-and-run wreck Monday night at Sixth and Chester that left Gail Ragland, the wife of state Rep. Roy Ragland seriously injured.

Child endangerment arrest

A Conway couple was arrested for leaving a six-month-old child in a cold car in freezing weather for 45 minutes while they reportedly played video games.

Pretty Things Peep Show photo recap

Photo by Brian Chilson. I spent Valentine's Day and a good part of the night toiling, with no real success, with PVC pipes under my house.

Must-Do List: Spring 2010

Vetiver and their unintentionally horrifying press photo. No need for introductory paragraphs.

New Mexico to stand in for Arkansas in Coens' 'True Grit'

Just like Arkansas. Filming starts in March or April.

Congressional notes

Tim Griffin, a Republican running for 2nd District Congress, announces his endorsement by Jay Dickey, the Republican booted from 4th District Congress by Rep. Mike Ross.

Good 'get' for Huckabee

Michelle Obama will guest on Mike Huckabee's Fox program this weekend (7 p.m. Sat.

Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum to Verizon in April

Big show: Tim McGraw and his 22 Country number one hits and maybe the most popular act in contemporary country, Lady Antebellum.The date's Friday, April 9.

Meet Me OnThe Other Side.

As I have lamented before, good breakfast spots in our town are hard to find.

Flash: Republican tells truth

A number of red-hot Republicans are a little cool on Republican state Rep. Rick Green of Van Buren because he forms the occasional coalition, friendship even, with Democratic legislators.