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July 30, 2009

Vol 7 • No 29

Carmageddon, interrupted

If you haven’t noticed, the last few months haven’t been fun for those in the car business.

Taken by the cleaners

There was a time when most men got their shirts back from the laundry folded.

Editor's choice

As always, the Times staff exercised editorial prerogative to issue our own list of bests to accompany readers’ choices in the standard categories.

Strumming along

When I was but a young lad, back in my college days, something was missing.

Theater with a view

In the summers when I was a kid, my parents used to take us to the Asher Drive-In, where the start time for the movie was always determined by God.

They have horses here?

Betting the house at Oaklawn’s new gaming-o-rama


When it comes to the best in local broadcasting, Craig O’Neill has won the Arkansas Times triple crown — best DJ, best sports broadcaster and now, the best in TV news.

Night owls take note

Among the arcane laws governing alcohol in Pulaski County, one is fairly clear.

Thrills, fixed spills

I don’t go to Splash Car Wash to get my car clean. I go for the thrills.

If you knew sushi, like they knew sushi

It’s sensible of the readers of the Times to vote Sushi Cafe the area’s best sushi.

In his own words

For me, writing is largely a selfish act.

Mighty fine in 2009

Times readers -- thousands of them -- have selected the Best of Arkansas, from antiques to sushi.

Family values senator

This slow morning I think it's worth linking to a bit more detailed account than the morning paper carried on the latest family values Republican politician to fall on his, er, sword.

Latest phony rap on Obamacare: UPDATE

It would promote "euthanasia." No. It would promote awareness of the possibility (and wisdom in my own experience with parents who had very clear wishes) of having a "living will."

Meanwhile, back at the lottery commission

COURTESY: Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue mentioned to me last week that he hoped to push up the lottery start date from the scheduled beginning at the end of October.

The line is open

Sorry for the delay.

Lottery: small world

With most top-paying jobs filled, the state Lottery Commission has begun hiring workers farther down the salary scale. Connections don’t hurt.


An imbecile wrote this in the local daily paper on July 22: “Today, the dog days of summer end and football begins.”

July 22-28, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … DEAL-CUTTING. At long last, Little Rock is on the verge of a deal to sell the old Ray Winder field to UAMS.

Ember’s easy pieces

Ember Boutique looks like an average clothing store aimed at young women in not-so-fashion-forward Central Arkansas.

Special needs kids

The budget cut for Arkansas Governor’s School is old news by now, but I was reminded of it when Gov. Mike Beebe visited the school last week.

To-Do List, July 30

T Tauri Film Festival, Frown Pow'r / the See, Hip-Hop Showcase, Emery, Diving Bell Ball, Caspian Hat Dance, the Crystal Method and Starlight Mints make a few entertainment options this week.

Eye on Arkansas, July 30

What's Cooking, July 30

Khalil Moussa, general manager of Cregeen’s Irish Pub, is breaking away to open what he terms a “new American pub” in the space that long housed Julie’s on Shackleford Road.

This modern world, July 30

Orval, July 30

E. Lynn Harris: An appreciation

In his novels, E. Lynn Harris never set out to reach literary highs: No lyrical turn of phrase a la Toni Morrison or profound character analysis found in the best of James Baldwin.

Homeless and homosexuals

I appreciate City Director Erma Hendrix making her hateful comparison that homosexuals = criminals = homeless people, because it prompted me to speak out in favor of using the old Job Corps building as the Homeless Resource Center.

Steak out

There’s an affordable steak deficiency in Central Arkansas outside the chains.

American Idols Live! 2009

I am not ashamed. I love “American Idol.”

In brief, July 30

At White Water, one of Little Rock’s finest guitarists, Greg Spradlin, shares a bill at with relatively new local act Flash Larue, which promises on its Facebook page that “No matter who you are, Flash Larue has written a song you love,” 9 p.m., $5.

One dip or two?

State Rep. Allen Kerr, a Little Rock Republican, has blown the lid off a decade-old scheme in which elected county officials had figured out a way to draw both regular and retirement pay, with the public none the wiser.

Words, July 30

From a report on an annual meeting of Southern Baptists:

The Observer, July 30

The Observer was at Downtown Deli the other day, preparing to enjoy a chicken Caesar wrap, when we witnessed one of those moments that serves to refill the tank — perpetually on the razor edge of bone dry — that holds our meager reserve of faith in human kindness.

E. Lynn Harris: An appreciation

In his novels, E. Lynn Harris never set out to reach literary highs: No lyrical turn of phrase a la Toni Morrison or profound character analysis found in the best of James Baldwin.

Smart Talk, July 30

Mike Huckabee set up the Huck PAC ostensibly to support other worthy politicians.

Power of other people’s money

Some people got intrigued a couple of weeks ago by a casual reference in this space.

Heavyweight chump

“Tyson,” a new documentary about the former heavyweight champ, is like a well-worn joke. You know how the story goes; the power lies in the telling.

Double-dip redux

Brummett dips into the boiling issue of elected county officials who surreptitiously -- and extralegally in some cases -- arranged to draw their retirement pay while still working.

Bring back the bouncing balls

Readers here expressed unhappiness yesterday with the Arkansas Lottery's decision to use computer-generated numbers for lottery games rather than draw them from a machine with bouncing balls.

The dog's day

U.S. Mike Ross gets prime time in the NY Times account of the health legislation deal brokered yesterday with Blue Dog Democrats (still reflexively termed "fiscal conservatives" despite their advocacy to ratchet up health care spending for their local providers and numerous past episodes of extravagant spending for the likes of  military and agriculture pet projects.)

Little Slice of Heaven.

More praises from Nao at GreenAR by the Day, over Fayetteville area coffeehouse Little Bread Company.

Our Food.

Much debate here lately about what constitues Arkansas food. So here's a forum for which to discuss said foods.

Julie's space to become Khalil's

Khalil Moussa, general manager of Cregeen's Irish Pub, is breaking away to open what he terms a “new American pub” in the space that long housed Julie's on Shackleford Road.

Update: Casa Manana

CASA MANANA Last week in this space, we bemoaned the lack of inexpensive local Sunday breakfast options.

Weekend To-Do: T Tauri Film Festival

T TAURI FILM FESTIVAL7 p.m., Independence Hall, University of Arkansas Community College, Batesville. Free.“Suddenly one day some fat girl in Ohio is going to be the next Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father's camera and for once the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever, and it will really become an art form,” said Francis Ford Coppola, famously, years ago.

Ark. employment: Could be worse

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued its fourth quarter 2008 report on employment and wages.

Thursday: Greg Spradlin, Flash Larue, Ryan Couron, Art Fashion Trade Show Dance and more

At White Water, one of Little Rock's finest guitarists, Greg Spradlin, shares a bill at with relatively new local act Flash Larue, which promises on its Facebook MySpace page that “No matter who you are, Flash Larue has written a song you love,” 9 p.m., $5.

Trailer Gazing: The Coens' latest

Can't wait.Also, big props to whoever cut this trailer together. Love the rhythm."A Serious Man" gets a limited release on October 9.

Put out that cigarette ....

..... please? The Coalition for Tobacco Free Arkansas is applauding Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore for approving the City Parks and Recreation Commission's recommendations that the city have a no-smoking policy in city parks and golf courses.

Kirk Demaris uses familiar faces for his family portraits

Siloam Springs artist Kirk Demaris had been drawing a lot of attention lately for his contributions to "Crazy 4 Cult 3-D," a forthcoming art show tribute at LA's Gallery 1988.He's produced a number of paintings of cinema families in family photo portrait pose.

Hillary is debt-free

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has wiped out her political campaign debts and is sitting on more than $3 million in surplus senatorial and presidential campaign cash.

Charles Portis on McSweeney's

To promote "Read Hard," an anthology of writing from the Believer, McSweeney's excerpts one  of the featured pieces, Ed Park's tribute to Charles Portis, "Like Cormac McCarthy But Funny."

Take this job...

Warwick Sabin, former associate editor for the Times, will be leaving his post as associate vice president of communications for the University of Central Arkansas to committ himself fully to his duties as publisher of The Oxford American.  Sabin has been doing both jobs since April of 2008, and was only paid for his work at the university.  According to a news release from UCA, Sabin approached president Allen Meadors about the move in April.  UCA's vice president of university relations, Jeff Pitchford, will take over for Sabin with the new title of vice president of university and government relations.  Sabin says he'll be taking a significant paycut, but is looking forward to dedicating more time to the magazine.  "There has been a lot of progress at The Oxford American and I'm excited about the opportunity to build on the successes we have had over the last 15 months," he said. 

Candidate Baker emerges?

State Sen. Gilbert Baker has issued a murky statement today relative to U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln and health care.

Rove's work for Tim Griffin

Washington Post reports as if it's a shock: Karl Rove was hip deep in the fruit basket-turnover of U.S. attorneys, including the ouster of U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins in Little Rock to make way for White House political hit man Tim Griffin (pictured).

How rainy is it?

Punchline: Record-breaking. Through late afternoon, the Weather Service reported about more than 11 inches of rain in July in Little Rock, far more than the July record of 9.2 inches set in 1891.

Arkansas angle

The website of Essence magazine has a couple of articles of interest in Arkansas today.

The new LR emergency sirens sound like the bass line in "Paul Revere," according to D-G

"The siren, which the two departments demonstrated Wednesday, emits a lower, denser tone that's reminiscent of 1980s hip-hop, as opposed to the shrieking whine that usually emits from racing fire and police vehicles."

Hog bulletin

Since I got called down for passing along a Fox 16 "exclusive" on this, what?, a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd just note for the record that highly touted receiver running back Broderick Green WILL play for the Razorbacks in the fall.

Ex-gov Tucker in legal claim

Arkansas Business reports a backpay claim filed against former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker by employees of a California company in which he had an interest.

Prison bosses on carpet

Twitters from all over suggest legislators gave Prison Director Larry Norris and Correction Board Chairman Benny Magness a pretty good going over -- Republican lawmakers seemed to be at the forefront -- over a lack of public dislcosure about untoward incidents in prisons.

Country dog in the city

However U.S. Rep. Mike Ross slices it -- for or against health reform legislation -- the Republican Party of Arkansas is sure of one doggone thing.  He's wrong.

The line is open

I'm heading to the house.

Suspend cash for clunkers?

Has instant success already overwhelmed the program? I'll note that Germany extended its similar program becase of its popularity.

Soothing Siesta.

When it comes to mixed alcohol drinks, I tend to go on the light side.

A wing and a prayer

The realities of life for a shelter dog can be grim.

They have horses here?

Like all gambling halls, Oaklawn's new 52,000-square-foot gaming extravaganza is designed to make you forget about pesky stuff like paying the rent. That's certainly one reason it's Arkansas Times' readers odds-on favorite place to gamble, including competitors in neighboring states.

Govt. health care

Like your private health care? Thank government intervention for it, Paul Krugman writes.

The morning Huck UPDATE

Mike Huckabee did some pre-spinning in advance of his filing later today of his quarterly Huck PAC reports.

Pass Employee Free Choice Act

A great piece on the legislation by Paul Begala. Compare the real-life lot of a home health care aide with, say, the CEO of Bank of America.

Soldier shooting suspect in court

-- Brian Chilson photo Abdulhakim Muhammad appeared briefly in Circuit Court this morning on the capital murder charge that he killed one soldier and shot another outside the Little Rock armed forces recruiting station.

Friday To-Do: Frown Pow'r - The See

Frown Pow'r. Photo by Brian Chilson.

What's wrong with the South?

Sad numbers here. The "birther" nonsense -- that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and thus is ineligible to be president -- has gotten little traction anywhere except among Republican members of Congress and the South.

Sic Big Dog on Blue Dogs

That's the suggestion from Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker, seconding Tina Brown, on what to do about Blue Dog obstructionism of health legislation.

Suga City plots come back

Arkansas Bo and Goines of Suga City. After establishing all sorts of buzz with tracks on several Conduit comps and mixtapes — including "Biggie," which garnered a bit of radioplay — growing an impressive fanbase and signing to Koch Records, local rap duo Suga City fell off the face of the earth last year.

Saving cash for clunkers

Contrary to GOP Noise Machine propaganda, the "cash for clunkers" car rebate program is imperiled because it's too popular.

Club 2720 closes shop this weekend in Spa City, but headed for LR

On Saturday, almost four years to the day Jeff Jenkins opened the late-night club 2720 in Hot Springs, he's celebrating the end of the road with a big bash.

Teabagger wants welfare

Gotta love it. A reliable source provides a report from the Pulaski Quorum Court meeting Tuesday night. One of the noisy "Tea Party" activists apparently spoke on the need for more sheriff's patrols in the rural parts of the county.

What Jim Bunning stands for

Tom Schaller, writing on Nate Silver's, finds deeper meaning in the coming retirement of U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, the less-than-zero Republican from Kentucky.

Two scoops in Pine Bluff

How about this. Pine Bluff School Superintendent Frank Anthony retired June 30.

About those Blue Dogs UPDATE

Washington Post explores an important angle on U.S. Rep. Mike Ross and fellow Blue Dogs. You know, the supposed "fiscal conservatives"?

The Weekend: Cool Shoes, Rigby Fawkes, Gavin Degraw, Flash Larue and more

Rigby Fawkes. FRIDAY 7/31Cool Shoes returns to Downtown Music, with DJs Shortfuze, Risky Biz and Ike, 10 p.m., $5.

Saturday To-Do: The Diving Bell Ball

DIVING BELL BALL.8 p.m., Revolution. $7.There are a number of access points to the Diving Bell Ball.

Cuba, si

WOULD YOU DRINK A MOJITO WITH THESE GUYS?: A briefing by the Cuba trade team -- Rep. Robert Moore, Morril Harriman, Gov. Beebe, Sen. Jim Luker, Tyson's Archie Schaffer.

Saturday To-Do: Emery

EMERY7 p.m., the Village. $15 adv., $20 d.o.s.With neckties, sweater vests and library outfits from the 1970s, Emery's appearance sure doesn't match its post-hardcore sound, full of screams and breakdowns, catchy hooks and melodies.

Saturday To-Do: Hip-Hop Showcase

Bobby, with big bro 607. HIP-HOP SHOWCASE8 p.m., Vino's.

The Gossip Wii themselves in the skating rink

Love Long Distance Balloons gone bad, I guess.

Bill to abolish lottery

The interim report of the Arkansas Legislative Digest has a nice little scoop today. Sen. Sue Madison of Fayetteville has drawn up legislation to effectively abolish the state lottery.

Bill to abolish lottery

The interim report of the Arkansas Legislative Digest has a nice little scoop today. Sen. Sue Madison of Fayetteville has drawn up legislation to effectively abolish the state lottery.

Lost Gunbunnies album coming soon on Max

Max Recordings announced today that the lost Gunbunnies album I told you about several months back will be released on Aug. 18.

48-hour film project kicks off

Just an hour and half until hundreds of local folks start running around trying to write, produce, score and edit a short film in two days time.

Tributes and traveling music

I'm slipping out early and leaving you with an OPEN LINE. On my way out the door, some reading recommendations: Chris Bahn at Arkansas Sports has written a nice tribute to the late novelist E. Lynn Harris, who died last week.

Ad agencies seek lottery work

I guess we missed a callback from the state Lottery Commission on the details, but I'm told six advertising agencies expressed interest in the big advertising contract by the 4 p.m. deadline today.

Baker: Finger in the wind

Brummett elaborates today on what I suggested earlier this week: State Sen. Gilbert Baker's murky and otherwise irrelevant statement on national health care legislation is a signal that he's re-evaluating a candidacy for U.S. Senate.

What's disorderly conduct?

Seems to me there's been too much talk about race and not enough talk about the law in the cuffing and arrest of Harvard prof Henry Gates.

Post pulls Hillary jab

A satirical video by the Washington Post went too far, the editors belatedly decided, in characterizing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a "Mad Bitch."

Crime in Conway County

I had kind of hoped for more in the paper this morning on this crime story from Conway County, reported last night by KATV.

Progress on Park Avenue?

TARGET SITE?: The old University Mall. A reliable source came across something interesting this week.

All in the family -- Huckabucks

Add the influential Politico website to the politics watchers that have taken note of the poor financial performance of Mike Huckabee's Huck PAC.

All in the family -- Huckabucks

Add the influential Politico website to the politics watchers that have taken note of the poor financial performance of Mike Huckabee's Huck PAC.

The line is open

You're on.

Get your Keith Urban tickets

Correction to a website ad: The contest is still open for the drawing for free tickets to the Keith Urban concert Aug. 6 at Verizon Arena.

Serving God and Wal-Mart

For Wal-Mart watchers: A couple of new books examine the discount chain's rise and its impact.

Who's a racist?

Frank Rich, after highlighting the hypocrisy and inconsistency in the Henry Gates-fueled discussion of race in America, gets to the simple and indisputable bottom line:

Extradition for animal cruelty

Baxter Bulletin has details on the extradition of a woman from Vermont who's a fugitive on a 2006 misdemeanor animal cruelty conviction.

Sleepy Sunday

The big chopper landing atop UAMS' new hospital today was just a disaster drill. Otherwise, I don't have much.

Well there is this ...

Republicans have decided the "Cash for Clunkers" program is too popular to continue. A Senate filibuster is in the works.

Oh, and this

Channel 4 counts five shootings in LR since Friday night, one fatal. The latest involves critical injuries to a convenience store clerk shot at 18th and Woodrow.

Ember's easy pieces

Ember Boutique looks like an average clothing store aimed at young women in not-so-fashion-forward Central Arkansas. Airy dresses hang from racks pushed against walls and jewelry spills over a large table in the middle of the room. There's a charming seating area near a large floor mirror, perfect for watching a shopping companion try on clothes.

Prescott powerhouse

U.S. Rep. Mike Ross. 'Voice of Power?'

Shades of the Huck-a-hatch UPDATE

Way back in the dark ages when this blog broke the story that a deal was in the works to move the State Library and History Commission to the old Dillard's building on Main Street, several people suggested that the move was to create space in the Big Mac office building for legislative office space.

R.I.P. Billy Lee Riley

Pocohontas native and Sun Records great Billy Lee Riley, who'd been battling cancer since May, died early Sunday at St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro.

Swine flu update

The state says it has lab confirmation of 150 cases of H1N1 influenza A in 38 counties -- no deaths. The state will cease counting cases, but that doesn't mean the spread of the illness is over.

Billy Lee Riley dead at 75

Billy Lee Riley Sings "Red Hot" at Arkansas Capitol from Anthro-Pop on Vimeo. Rock Candy reports the death of legendary Arkansas rocker Billy Lee Riley, who died Sunday in Jonesboro at the age of 75.

Gossip in LR tickets on sale

Via Vino's website. They're $15 in advance, with a $3 service charge.

Pepper Pickin' & Packin'.

Nao over at GreenAR by the Day has a great little piece on how to freeze bell peppers.  Definately some good information to check out.

Clean Eats.

Clean and healthy, that is. Eating local and organic has become a lot more than “weeds and seeds” munching, that’s for sure.

Park Avenue update

I reported Saturday that plans on file indicate that bids will be opened Wednesday on site work for the delayed Park Avenue mixed use project on University Avenue where the University Mall once stood.

Monday To-Do: Caspian Hat Dance

CASPIAN HAT DANCE9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.And now for something completely different: From Amsterdam come five shirtless, be-wigged, funny-sunglass-wearing multi-lingual multi-instrumentalists.

Repubs target Snyder, Ross

The National Republican Congressional Committee says it has targeted 70 Democratic House members. The hope is that tough votes on health care and energy will make them vulnerable.


As mentioned earlier, six organizations filed bids to be considered for the Arkansas Lottery's marketing work -- a deal worthy maybe $4 million or more a year.

Injured at hospital

KATV reports that a suspect being chased by a Little Rock motorcycle officer hit a woman in a crosswalk outside Children's Hospital today.

Welcome to the 'hood

An e-mail from a new business owner in Hillcrest is making the rounds (and I've since confirmed its authenticity.) The author must have missed the city news conference about the dropping local crime rate.

Monday: Ryan Cabrera, NU-Collective Jazz Quintet

You might remember Ryan Cabrera as the teen idol who was forced down our throats by the Ashlee/Joe Simpson clan a few years back.

Teabagger alert

Reporting grows on efforts by the right-wing group backing the Tea Party protests to organize disruptions when congressmen have town hall meetings back home.

Time To Go Out Again...

The "Let's Go Out Little Rock" group is venturing to a new dimension next week... the confines of the Eggshell Kitchen Company on Kavanaugh in the Heights.  From six to eight on Tuesday the 11th, enjoy snacks and wine and free knife sharpening.  Check out the group's website for more information.

Crime and an open line

Here's your open line. But, first, some more reporting from KARK on that mysterious attempted robbery/abduction in Conway County last Friday.

UALR building plans

The UALR Board of Visitors put the finishing touches today a proposed building program to be supported by a $31.6 million bond issue.

Dead poets society UPDATE

I'd just like to say amen to a comment Sen. Robert Thompson of Paragould made yesterday at the meeting of a committee discussing Higher Education Department spending plans for existing college scholarship surpluses and the coming lottery money.

Citizen Clinton

Forner President Bill Clinton is in North Korea today attempting to negotiate the release of two American journalists.

'Birthers' are bonkers

Eugene Robinson writes that he's never encountered any political activists as nutty as the "birthers" who question President Obama's eligibility to be president.

Double dip watch

Here's news of another fake school superintendent retirement, enabled by the School Board of the Lincoln School District so the super can draw pay and retirement.

State revenue shrinks

The state has released the first monthly revenue report of this fiscal year and, in the words of the state's economic forecaster John Shelnutt, "It's not good."

Mad Men

As predicted here yesterday, the competition for the state lottery marketing contract is down to the Communications Group and the Ramey Agency.

Benton's loss; LR's gain

WET AGAIN: New restaurant headed to former Vermillion. Good news on the restaurant scene, particularly for that crowd -- you know who you are -- who had made Mike Selig's Vermillion their unofficial clubhouse.

Hutchinson in state Senate race

Jeremy Hutchinson had been dropping broad hints that he'd be making a race for state Senate this year and it would appear it's official.

The end of the world?

No, but you could see it from here. Lou Holtz might run for Congress, challenging a Florida Democrat.

Private schools win sports fight

David Goins of Fox 16 has the scoop on today's Arkansas Activities Association vote on an effort to prevent scholarship-granting private schools from competing for state footballl championships.

Tuesday News Blues

It's Happening Here Too: Fugitive emissions from gas well sites are caught on an infra-red video camera.  The footage is from a well-site in Texas and was obtained by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. 

Tuesday To-Do: The Crystal Method

THE CRYSTAL METHOD9 p.m., Juanita's. $18 adv., $20 d.o.s. Since the debut of its platinum “Vegas” in 1997, the Crystal Method has continuously raised the bar for electronic music.

North Korea relents

DON'T SAY CHEESE: North Korea's news agency distributed this photo. Hours after former President Bill Clinton arrived as a special emissary, North Korea has announced it will "pardon" two U.S. journalists arrested there.

NLR native attached to new project

North Little Rock native Jay Russell ("My Dog Skip," "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep") is attached to direct "Duncan," a film about a grown woman reconnecting with a stuffed animal from her childhood, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

No 'town hall'

The "town hall" announced by the Central Labor Council for Wednesday night with U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder at a SWLR union hall has been scrapped.

Jim Dickinson benefit

Big benefit show this weekend for LR native Jim Dickinson, who recently suffered a massive heart attack, incurred big medical bills and will need nine months to recover.Full details, via Ardent Studios, after the jump.

Vesuvio chef dies

Rosario Patti, the Italian chef at the helm of the popular Vesuvio Bistro in the Best Western Governor's Inn in western Little Rock, died Monday as a result of a stroke suffered over the weekend, his friends say.

The line is open

And I'm heading for home.

Next for the Buffalo

The Buffalo National River needs more horse trails and a second camping area for equestrians. It needs fewer horse trails. It needs more walking trails. It should pave the roads. It shouldn't pave the roads. It needs less private access. It needs more private access. It needs to be left alone.

Organizing for Obama

The DNC-sponsored organization is actually called Organizing for America and it's a push to build support for what is now being called health insurance reform.

And speaking of health care ...

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, in an interview yesterday with Paul Barton, sounded committed to passage of a health plan that includes a public option for coverage.

Bouncing balls v. computers

Some lottery fans are VERY serious about their dislike -- and distrust -- of computer-generated numbers for lottery drawings.

Huck PAC: Thinks small

Jason Tolbert notes a lengthy response from Sarah Huckabee, director of father Mike Huckabee's Huck PAC, to alarums from Tolbert and others about the PAC's puny fund-raising against other Republican presidential candidates.

Death in drive-by

Police have identified a suspect, but have not yet arrested him, in the shooting death of Latonio Quince in a rolling drive-by on Mabelvale West near Southwest Hospital early this morning.

Wednesday To-Do: Starlight Mints

STARLIGHT MINTS9 p.m., Juanita's, $5, 18 and up.Really funky, heavy beats, trade-off vocals and instrumentally complex arrangements have attracted fans across the country to Oklahoma's psych-pop pranksters Starlight Mints.

Wedding bell news

The mention of Sarah Huckabee earlier prompted multiple notes from friends of the family that the former governor's daughter is engaged to be married.

Daily Digest: Paula's out, 'Lovely Bones' is up, Torii Hunter to Travs and more

It's all over but the crying, "American Idol" will almost surely be Paula-less next year.Apple has the trailer for "The Lovely Bones," Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" follow-up.

Mayor has appendectomy

Mayor Mark Stodola began experiencing discomfort yesterday and, after consulting a physician (City Director Dean Kumpuris) and tests, was admitted to St. Vincent Infirmary.

Foods We Grew Up On.

After our conversation here on Arkansas foods, I found myself in the presence of memory-jogging cuisine at one location of the state's oldest restaurant, Franke's Cafeteria.  That there is a smothered steak with Lima beans, Jalapeno cornbread muffin, eggplant casserole and marinated salad.  Of course, pie was involved.  Read more about it at Tie Dye Travels. 

Books: iattpybicay

Local poet Michael Inscoe, whose debut chapbook, "i am trying to please you because i care about you," is available for purchase at the House, has likened his aesthetic to mumblecore, the no-frills film movement focused on telling stories about young people struggling to communicate.

This art project is cooler than your art project

From the mind of local artist Carey Voss and a host of collaborators, the Roadkill Project: The general idea is this: make papier-mâché facsimiles of local roadkill.

Wednesday and Thursday To-Do: 'Slumberland'

‘SLUMBERLAND’7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Riverdale. Donations.If you miss one of these screenings for “Slumberland,” the breakout Arkansas film at this year’s Little Rock Film Festival, you’ve probably missed the boat.

Let the sun shine in

This UALR news release appealed to me for obvious reasons. Courses for fall at UALR include studies of Woodstock, the Age of Aquarius and the music of Bob Dylan.

Wednesday: 'Goonies,' Graham Wilkinson and more

Should the blue skies hold, Movies in the Park winds down its season with this year's "People's Choice," "Goonies," sundown, free.At White Water, Austin's Graham Wilkinson and the Underground Township, a local favorite, plays a rootsy jam, 9 p.m., $5.Nashville indie pop band Slow Claw is at On the Rocks with Swiss Family Knives supporting, 9:30 p.m, $5.Acoustic trio Almoust InFamous does covers at the Afterthought, 8 p.m., $5.

Lottery commission at work UPDATE

With Gerard Matthews following the the current health discussion at Children's Hospital, I'm relying on Capsearch for reports from this afternoon's lottery commission meeting.

Post pulls video feature

The Washington Post has killed "Mouthpiece Theater," a satirical on-line video feature that set the stage of its demise with a photo of Hillary Clinton on a label for "Mad Bitch" beer.

New Harington

Coming in September: the latest from Donald Harington. In “Enduring” (Toby Press, $24.95, hardcover), the Fayetteville novelist continues his exploration of Stay More, the fictional Ozarks town he created some 40 years ago that’s been the setting of most of his novels.

Wine, Wine Everywhere...

and plenty of it to drink.  Like wine?

Rind Time For A Summer Treat.

Arkansas' sweetest watermelons are once again featured at the Cave City Watermelon Festival this weekend.  Went last year, plan to go back this year.  I mean, seriously, where else can you consume all the watermelon you can eat for free?   Read about the fun I had last year at Tie Dye Travels.

Dinner Time.

On Thursday I'll be heading up to the 111th Annual Tontitown Grape Festival.  It's one of Arkansas' oldest festivals... and what might surprise you is that the "star" of this food festival isn't the mighty grape but incredible spaghetti.  As in homemade pasta with homemade sauce.  As in made by hand by folks who have been doing it for decades.  As in eight thousand dinners -- that's how many are expected to be made over the next few days.  That's a whole heck of a lot of pasta.