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October 19, 2006

Vol 4 • No 40

Lendall gets it

Green Party candidate Jim Lendall is no flake. He gets it.

All gay all the time

I take no pride in predicting this development months ago. But the Republicans, bereft of strong candidates and fresh ideas, have come home to their old standby -- hatred and/or fear of gay people.

The Observer

It was a weekend of football and brass.

This Modern World

GOP holds only Rangel, Pelosi cards

All right. It’s less than a month from the midterm elections. It’s getting wild out there. Here’s the situation. Republicans have won both major national elections since Sept. 11, 2001. They’ve done so for two reasons.

River vu

Our House, the non-profit agency that assists the homeless, has sold 4.5 acres it owned along Overlook Drive above the Murray Lock and Dam that was deeded to it a decade ago by the federal government. The new owner wants to build a 30-unit condo there.

The after-party

Only a year ago, conservative columnist (and Arkansas native) Wesley Pruden wrote about Louisiana Democrats who were “barely hanging on to their fragile control of state offices,” and added, “Louisiana and Arkansas are the last Southern states nurturing l

Editorial cartoon


New newspaper targets black community

Arkansas has a new newspaper, a monthly targeting the black community, named Stand! News.

Baghdad in LR?

The business elite of Little Rock declared war on Little Rock school teachers and lost. They’ll be lucky if they don’t reap the whirlwind, a la George Bush in Iraq.

How much harm could he do?

When North Korea exploded a nuclear device and ushered in a new age of nuclear terror last week, those halcyon days of peace and optimism that marked the turn of the century suddenly seemed so much further back in the mists than a mere six years.

Smart Talk

This week: Our liberal senator; a photography exhibit; the sudden rise of Newport.

Central stories

Thank you for the Arkansas Times’ recent coverage of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. The community’s commemoration of this significant chapter in our nation’s history promises to provide many opportun

For Graves

The Times endorses Barbara Graves in her race for mayor of Little Rock.

Fayetteville then and now

When I was graduated at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 1951, the city’s population was 17,071. Today it’s 67,158 and growing. The university had about 5,000 students when I was a freshman, and today there are almost 18,000 in the college.


Nothing wrong with Ark. Or Fla. either.

The week that was Oct. 11-17, 2006

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … GOING NEGATIVE. Republican A$a Hutchinson, desperate to close a gap in the governor’s race, is all negative all the time in his TV ads. Democrat Mike Beebe, hoping to preserve his margin, also has turned negative, particularly

It's Clinton's fault

They tried to tell me. Over and over, year after year. Talk radio and the local daily newspaper especially. The truth was out there. Been a snake I’m a hundredfold bit. Right there in front of me, but I was one of those “none so blind as they who will not

The third way

Many Little Rockers will remember Betty White, and fondly in most cases. She and her companion, Elton, were once Little Rock’s best-known street people — the only ones widely known by name, in fact. An interracial and intergenerational couple, they bicycl

Cut the lights, screen the films

More than 90 of the best documentaries selected from 1,000 entries will be screened over 10 days at the 15th annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival starting Friday, Oct. 20.

Documentary film schedule

Here is a list of some of the films being shown at the 15th Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival beginning Friday, Oct. 20, and running through Oct. 29. A complete list of films is available at

Roth on the rocks

Former Van Halen frontman and solo hitmaker David Lee Roth will perform on the Smirnoff Ice stage inside the State Fairgrounds at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20,

‘Off to War’ DVD box set released

Kino International this week has released a four-disc DVD box set of the Discovery Times channel documentary series “Off to War,” produced by Little Rock natives Brent and Craig Renaud.

Escovedo to rock Hendrix

Americana singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo will perform a free concert at Hendrix College's Staples Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 21, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The doors open at 7 p.m., and seating is first-come, first-served. Escovedo is the son of a

569-8485 -- UPDATE

No time for me this morning. I'm off to KUAR.

569-8485 -- UPDATE

No time for me this morning. I'm off to KUAR.

Owen Gleiberman on 'Flags of Our Fathers'

The battle sequences, shot with a desaturated, nearly black-and-white clarity in Iceland, and with an added layer of CGI, evoke Saving Private Ryan, and that's a problem: The rawness of the action holds us, yet Eastwood never approaches Spielberg's mesmerizing logistical virtuosity, his revelations of blood and terror.

Asa plays 'homosexual card'

Scroll down the blog today and you'll find documentation of the Republican Party's strategy in the home stretch of the Arkansas elections: demonize gay people.

I heard they even stopped using the same needle over and over

The Division of Health will also be hosting a FREE Flu Clinic (for anybody interested) from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 16, 2206 at the Arkansas State Fair Grounds, Hall of Industry, 2600 Howard Street, in Little Rock.  This will be an excellent opportunity for your family and friends to receive a flu shot.


The Central Arkansas Labor Council today endorsed Bill Walker in the race for LR mayor.

Beebe by eight?

Louis Jacobson, a columnist for the D.C.-based Roll Call newspaper, today updates his rankings of the races most likely to result in a change in which party controls the governor's seat.

Oppo research -- UPDATED

The Republican Party is getting behind its crazy man Jim Holt, perhaps the only statewide candidate with a shot at victory this year.

Cheap scrips

Wal-Mart announced today that it is expanding is $4-generic-drug plan to 14 more states, including Arkansas.

Are we blue?

Republican Gov. Mitt Romney referred to Arkansas as a blue state the other day in explaining on CNN why he expected it to elect Mike Beebe this year.

We still say Hastert is toast

From ABC: The former clerk of the House of Representatives, Jeff Trandahl, who testified for more than four hours before the House Ethics Committee today, is believed to have testified that a top aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert was informed of "all issues dealing with the page program," according to a Republican familiar with the investigation.

It's still Mike!

Zogby's interactive poll for the Wall Street Journal  has been updated. It has always been the closest of the polls. Taken Oct. 10-16, it shows a widening margin for Mike Beebe, who leads in the latest 49.2-45.

The Huckster PAC

This week's Insider provided a summary, but if you'd like to look yourself at the quarterly filing by The Huckster's presidential exploratory and traveling money PAC, here's a link. He still hasn't reported by the registered owner's name, an in-kind donation for the Lord's Ranch jet flight that we uncovered, though he reported one in-kind trip by a different corporate entity last month.

The missing news release

The hate machine has been cranking furiously over at Republican headquarters. But we're still waiting for one decrying how the state is giving free rent to the government of a nation flooding our country with illegal immigrants.

The missing news release

The hate machine has been cranking furiously over at Republican headquarters. But we're still waiting for one decrying how the state is giving free rent to the government of a nation flooding our country with illegal immigrants.

Media mileage

Gov. Mike Huckabee is still milking gallons out of the national media on his weight loss/jogging routine.

Former N.J. gov. defends Asa!

Asa Hutchinson this afternoon held a press conference to release a letter from former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean defending Hutchinson's record as the undersecretary for border and transportation security at the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.

Jesus Camp

Here's my review in the week's Arkansas Times. 

Buzz Bissinger in LR

The author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August was in Little Rock today talking to Catholic High School students.  Armchair critic was there.  Here are his observations:Bissinger is a terrific "get an education or your athletic ability is shit" motivational of the best I've seen or heard.  And if he wasn't quite that blunt w/ the language today at Catholic High, he was almost.   He gets very worked up as he recounts that year and gives updates on a few of the players he came to know, particularly Booby, the black Odessa Permian star whose knee and his life were wrecked and who still calls him periodically.  And it was deadly quiet when he told of interviewing the magnificent, talented Dallas Carter athlete--at the Huntsville prison, where he's serving 20 yrs for going on a stealing spree with 3 of his teammates after he'd led Carter to the first state championship by a Dallas high school in 40 yrs.   He'd thought he was immune, since he'd always been in high school.Channel 4 (the network of the TV series) was there and will I'm sure have footage tonight.  Also, Charlie Schlumburger (who roomed with Bissinger at Andover circa 1970--thus his trip to LR at his own expense to talk to the boys), his driver/scheduler for these 48 hrs, said he'd be interviewed on Channel 4's early morning show tomorrow. Had a good, easy chat with Bissinger, a NYC native, before the talk--out in the hallway while classes were in session.   Says he likes the FNL tv series, and said the critics love it but "nobody's watching it," and he heard today it will probably be cancelled after it runs the 12 or so episodes alreadyin the can.  Said NBC wants to go with all reality shows in the 8-9 Eastern time slot.   Too bad.

J.R. and Henry's Sports Column: Saturday is Hogs' proving day

J.R. and Henry: Ole Miss Game a Proving Ground Validation. That’s what this Saturday’s game offers the Arkansas Razorbacks an opportunity to earn.

Judge allows wristbands in Watson Chapel

U.S. District Court Judge Leon Holmes this afternoon granted a preliminary injunction allowing Watson Chapel students to continue wearing black wristbands until the trial for their First Amendment lawsuit.

Manohla Dargis on 'Flags of Our Fathers'

In this respect, the film works, among other things, as a gentle corrective to Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” with its state-of-the-art carnage and storybook neatness.

A.O. Scott approves of 'The Prestige'

Set in a stylized late-Victorian world of dueling music-hall magicians and diabolically clever inventors, it has a satisfyingly puzzlelike structure, zipping around in time and scattering clues throughout its busy scenes and frames.



Trailers for two anticipated films

Milos Foreman's Goya's Ghosts with Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem and Stellan Skarsgärd.Venus starring Peter O'Toole

Where's my Sherrybaby?

not in LR.  Matt Smith has taken it off the Coming Attractions page.  Sad.

Mission accomplished

Why do the Army generals hate America? The American military’s stepped-up campaign to staunch unrelenting bloodshed in the capital under an ambitious new security plan that was unveiled in August has failed to reduce the violence, a military spokesman said today.

No Dillard's in Chenal

We had a pleasant chat Thursday with reps for a company doing media work for Red Development of Kansas City, which will be building the Promenade at Chenal, an upscale shopping center long discussed at Chenal and Rahling.

A different kind of candidate

Both of the long-shot candidates for governor talk about “sustainability,” with the occasional “paradigm” and “holistic“ thrown in. One of them had to sue to get a place on the ballot; the other collected most of the signatures he needed at a neighborhood

All A’s in ‘Science’

“The Science of Sleep,” by French director Michel Gondry, is kind of an extended riff on dreams and the creative mind, a sweet morsel of a film.

A private collection goes public

The Sequoyah Research Center at UALR will be able to branch out into Indian visual art thanks to the donation of a large collection of contemporary artwork by retired chemistry professor J.W. Wiggins. Starting today (Thursday, Oct. 19), a portion of the W

The Carroll County New$

Carroll County News imposes a blackout on news from the State Fair after no ads are placed.

An eclectic storm

Though the weather seemed a bit stormy earlier in the week, there are some bright spots on the horizon for music in Little Rock. With jazz and acoustic artists (boasting multi-page bios of experience) heading into town, it’s a good week to appreciate the

How to pay for a new airport

When the Little Rock Airport Commission voted last month to spend $10 million on repairs and upgrades on the 35-year-old terminal at the same time it’s seriously considering building a new one, commission member Carl Johnson warned it was a bad public rel

The Rep’s young and restless

Nicole Capri, the director of education at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, has brought together 70 performers, from grade schoolers up to college students, for “Hollywood and Broadway on Main!” The revue of some of the big moments in theater and film will

Good grub at Gadwall’s West

While the north side of the Arkansas River has a lot of things to see — an Old Mill, a submarine, a soon-to-be-finished ballpark — one of the stops we’ve really relished in the last couple of years has been Gadwall’s Grill, waaaay out on North Hills Boule

Gutierrez an ASO treat

Cuban pianist will play with the symphony this weekend; 'Art' opens Friday at the Phoenix Theater.

A film fan’s heaven

For those who ever dreamed of making a documentary — and I’m guessing there may be many of you with Sony digital cameras who’ve had that thought lately — the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival provides a great opportunity for educating the wannabe film

TV highlights, Oct. 19-25

MONSTER FEST Begins 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 22 American Movie Classics (Comcast Ch. 31) AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: TEST TUBE BABIES 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2) THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SESAME STREET 9 p.m. Tu

Bruce James Calls the Hogs

Of Ole Miss’ 22 starters, 15 players are new on campus this fall, and because of that they’ve been extremely inconsistent and have played like they don’t know each other or what they doing.

What's cooking

What's cooking: Sakura Japanese Restaurant, Imagine; Don Vicci’s;Argenta Seafood Co.

Circular firing squad

NY Times: Tax-cutters are calling evangelicals bullies.

Huckabee flunks

Conservative think tank grades Gov. Mike Huckabee a failure on budget policy.

See you later

I'm off for a week to Providence and New York. Warwick and Seymour will step in and I'll try to check in periodically.

Mark it down(?)

The reviews are in and many of the major publications (Hollywood Reporter, Variety, LA Times, Rolling Stone, USA Today, Ebert & Roeper, Time, Newsweek, NY Times, WSJ, Washington Post) gave it very favorable reviews.  It's sitting at an 83% cream of the crop rating on

Philip Martin gives 'Flags' luke warm reception

Were it not quite so self-impressed, Clint Eastwood’s highly anticipated Flags of Our Fathers might be taken as an earnest, sturdy tribute to what has lazily been designated “The Greatest Generation.” As it is, it is by no means a bad film, although it takes a long time to tell us very little, and at times seems to buy into the very myth it is de- bunking.

Moviegoer shunned (shameless self promotion)

By Philip Martin in his "On Film" column today.  He writes, "Here’s a brief guide to Internet resources for moviegoers . . ." and then lists several excellent internet resources: rottentomatoes, imdb, metacritic, ghostbird and Greg's movies at yahoo (which I don't think is very good anymore).  I keep thinking, he's not going to go local.  Wrong.  There's a link to Joey Lauren Adams new film Come Early Morning, Matt Smith's Market Street Cinema and PM's own blog, which is always a fun read (it has more than film stuff and some witty posters).  Then he concludes, "Are there any others?

There must be something

more than tolerable about Marie Antionette.  The reviews are coming in and they're not bad.  It's sits at 61%on the cream of the crop meter, which isn't great, but the NY Times, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, LA Times and NY Magazine all liked it.

More nominations for the brothers Renaud

Craig and Brent Renaud, Little Rock natives and documentary filmmakers have been nominated for Documenary Association award for best limited series.  Their film Off to War chronicles the trip of Arkansas national guard troops to Iraq.  It's out on DVD this month.  Check it out.  These guys were nominated for a Director's Guild Award for this same film. 

Best foreign pic

All the nominations are in.  Here's the list.  Early favorties have to be Spain's Volver, Mexico's Pan's Labyrinth, and Canda's Water.

Dana Stevens and Anthony Lane should hang out

She obliterates Marie Antionette and she takes aim at Sofia Coppola.  Here's her review from Slate.

David Edelstein likes 'Flags'

But doesn't care much for the script.  The review is in New York Magazine. The screenplay, by William Broyles Jr. and Paul Haggis, needed another draft: Toward the end, after several narrators have come and gone, the author James Bradley (played by Tom McCarthy) shows up, and we’re meant to realize that he has been interviewing Iwo Jima vets for a book after the death of his dad (George Grizzard, who’s supposed to be Ryan Phillippe 50 years on).

CQ yawns at Ark. gov. race (the "CQ" is for "Congressional Quarterly"), via the New York Times, turns its attention to the Arkansas governor's race.

Oops, he did it again (UPDATE)

If you're Gov. Mike Huckabee, an out-of-state media appearance just isn't complete without a bad attempt at humor that ends up offending someone.

Stay the course

Things are going swimmingly with Bush's Iraq strategy!

Big weekend for new movies locally

Nine new movies open in the Central Arkansas market today, including a changeup in the two movies being shown at the IMAX Theater south of Little Rock National Airport.

Monday night massacre

The level of Congressional corruption is really something to behold, especially the audacity of its perpetrators.

Monday night massacre

The level of Congressional corruption is really something to behold, especially the audacity of its perpetrators.

Alejandro Escovedo performs in Conway on Saturday

The brilliant Americana singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo will perform a free concert at Hendrix College's Staples Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 21, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Ramblings for the Weekend!

If you haven't yet, go here,  The Rude Pundit:, mad props to Dogtownius Maximus for this link.  Okay, okay, okay, Mr. Ricky has got some stuff to say.  That rhymed, what of it!  1.  What is the deal with the hunter orange/ real tree camo campaign materials I'm seeing now?  Okay, I get it, you're going after the "huntin vote" and that's fine, but does the sign have to be 33% orange?  Democrats, Republicans, Communists and even three members of the Green Party hunt.  Hunting is not a political issue.  Really guns aren't a political issue either, the use of those guns to intimidate, commit crimes, kill people, etc. is an issue.  But back to my point, I don't hate hunting or fishing, I have done and do both, but when you leave the woods, you don't need the all the camoflage anymore.

Symphony director passes away

William Vickery, the executive director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, died this afternoon. He had a heart attack earlier this week.

Carl Bernstein: Then and now

A blog reader asked me to comment on Carl Bernstein's speech last night at the Main Library in Little Rock.

More on Obama visit

Details are trickling out about U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's visit to Little Rock on Oct. 28 in behalf of Mike Beebe's campaign for governor.

Familiar face

Seen Friday evening on KATV, Channel 7, reporting from Fayetteville in a feature about Reynolds Razorback Stadium ahead of Saturday's game against hated rival Ole Miss: Betsy Pilgrim, once a featured TV news person in Central Arkansas.

The price of news

Arkansas Times' David Koon has an excellent Media column in this week's Times about adman Gary Heathcott outing a North Arkansas publisher for refusing to print stories about kids from his area who win prizes at the Arkansas State Fair in retribution for Heathcott's ad agency not placing paid advertising in the publisher's paper.While David's column is informative, the practice is nothing new.Louie Graves of Nashville is a long-time practitioner of the policy of no-ads-no-news.

The home stretch

Well, folks ... this is your Arkansas governor's race. Two-and-a-half weeks until Election Day, and political opinion columns probe: 1.)

Pat Tillman's brother speaks

By popular request, here is a link to an essay published Thursday by Kevin Tillman, whose brother, Pat Tillman, was an NFL player killed while serving as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan in 2004.

Hard to be humble

The Arkansas Razorbacks this afternoon beat Ole Miss in Fayetteville, 38-3. That makes them 6-1 overall, 4-0 in the SEC, and lone leader of the SEC West division.

Hard to be humble

The Arkansas Razorbacks this afternoon beat Ole Miss in Fayetteville, 38-3. That makes them 6-1 overall, 4-0 in the SEC, and lone leader of the SEC West division.

Dems optimistic, but guarded

The New York Times writes about Democrats anticipating positive outcomes in the November elections. It's due more to multiplying Republican problems than to anything the Democrats are doing.

Beebe by a hair

That's how Brummett calls it today.

Us, too

Dale Bumpers talks about his regrets at not running for president.

AFI to honor Pacino

Al Pacino has been named the recipient of this year's American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award.  Seems fitting to toss out may favorite Pacino films: 1.  The Godfather 2.  The Godfather Part II 3.  Serpico 4.  Scent of a Woman 5.  Dog Day Afternoon 6.  . . .

Ian McEwan's 'Atonement'

is being adapted for the screen by the same folks who brought you Pride and Prejudice last year.  Keira Knightly, Brenda Blethyn, James McAvoy and Vanessa Redgrave all star.  Here's the story.

Film Factory in New Orleans

From Hollywood Reporter: Ceremonial groundbreaking took place Thursday in New Orleans for the Film Factory, the largest production studio in the state's history.

What does this mean?

1. The Prestige (Buena Vista)$14.8 million | 2,281 | $14.8 million | 1 2.


Is up on the L.A. Times "The Envelope" website.  This is different from other sites because it compiles opinions and observations from many different journalists.  There are a lot of surprises on the list.

Amy Berg on The Treatment

The director of Deliver Us From Evil, a documentary about sexual abuse in the Catholic church appeared on Elvis Mitchell's radio show this week.  Have a listen. 

Sunday . . .

I'm back from a quick and pleasant trip to Fayetteville for the game.  Leaves are changing along I-540 and the Razorbacks looked strong against a weak Ole Miss team.

Obama considering presidential run

Less than a week before he is scheduled to appear in Little Rock to campaign for Mike Beebe, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama says he is pondering a presidential run in 2008.

Movie Club

Mine took in Chinatown not long ago.  An awesome film and one of the best Nicholson performances (my favorite, at least).

A Few Endorsements

Tomorrow is the first day of early voting - the day I usually like to go vote.

And the polls say

Found this in the e-mailbox from Roby Brock at Talk Business: Our third and final Constituent Dynamics poll indicates solid leads for Democrats Mike Beebe and Dustin McDaniel, but the biggest movement shows Democrat Bill Halter opening up a lead on Republican Jim Holt.

The fighting typists

The history of the Battling Chickenhawks. It's long but worth the effort.Go here, first: Then here: then here:

A high honor . . . Republican style

This is a little item from today's edition of The Sentinel-Record in Hot Springs. It illustrates the Republicans' high regard for owners of small businesses:What price for glory?

David Denby on 'Babel'

Not much love for the latest film from the guys behind Amores Perros and 21 Grams.

Continuing to understand 'Flags'

David Denby is the latest critic to weigh in negatively on Flags of Our Fathers.  He writes, The movie has a fine, sensitive temper, but it lacks an emotional payoff.

Holt on air

Republican lieutenant governor nominee Jim Holt will be on the Pat Lynch Show at 10 a.m. this morning.

Return to one-party rule?

USA Today names Arkansas among a handful of states where one party is poised to control the executive and legislative branches of government.

Early reviews of 'Babel'

Writes Peter Travers of Rolling Stone: Some things never change. The gifted Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and his remarkable screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga - this film completes the brilliant trilogy they began with Amores Perros and 21 Grams - have applied the concept of Babel to the way we live now, in a world threatened by terrorism and divided by language, race, money and religion.

Early voting starts today

Early voting for the 2006 general election ballot begins today in Arkansas, and it will continue through Monday, Nov. 6.

Mr. Diebold; paging Mr. Diebold UPDATED

Serge Rachmaninoff, the Hempwallace elections reporter, says it was chaos at his early voting precinct.None of the aging poll workers had any idea of how the electronic voting machines work, and older voters were having a heckuva time figuring the things out.Worst of all, the machine on which Serge tried to vote hadn't been calibrated correctly so that when he touched the screen to vote for Mike Beebe the vote was cast for A$a! Serge finally figured it out but when he went to look at the paper-tape printout of his votes the ballot was too big to show through the little window anything except the last three or four votes on his ballot.UPDATEVoting was brisk at 4 p.m. at the McMath Library.The poll workers knew what they were doing.The electronic machines were functioning reasonably well.

Last but not least, here's Nick Wilson

With two weeks until Election Day, Asa Hutchinson today finally brings out an attack on Mike Beebe's handling of the corruption scandal involving his state Senate colleague Nick Wilson.

Gov. debate draws two of four

We've been remiss not to mention or allow comment on last night's gubernatorial debate broadcast statewide on AETN.

It's just kickball - and weekend junk

     So my kickball team was lost in the playoffs this weekend marking the end to a great season of playing a schoolyard game.  I love the Little Rock Kickball Association and almost everyone in it.  Each Sunday, hundreds of adults bring their families, friends and pets out and we all play kickball, six innings a game, tons of fun.  There are three divisions spanning competitive to "laid back".  And once your game is over, usually people hang out, watch other games, scout teams and basically have a great time all thanks to a little red ball, a baseball diamond and no lightning.       Now I love playing kickball, and I have gotten trounced, I done the trouncing on others, I've been in nail biters and I've been the hero that saved the game and the zero who lost it.  I've played in all three levels and I've had the time of my life doing so, but this weekend I had my first truly bad taste of the dark side of the big red ball.  We were playing a good team, it was a hard fought battle and at the end, our own mistakes (and a few from the umps) killed us and we lost.  Now if that's all it was, I could quietly sit back and take it on the chin, but I have to say the way in which the other team acted, through out the entire game and they game they played before that wasn't just embarrassing as a kickballer, but reprehensible as members of a civilized community.       First of all, it's just kickball, and if you're in the competitive league it just means you want to play serious ball, like it was a sport.  But the game isn't any different from the Laid-Back-League who's playoffs depend less on the score of the game and more on the costume contest and audience participation sketch, it's all just kicking a big rubber ball around in the dirt and having fun.  I mean, I go out there because A) It's ridiculous for anyone over the age of 14 to be playing kickball for any reason.  B) Ummm, it's kickball, it's really fun C) You're kickball team is like a whole other set of friends you see once a week on the field of glory and you have that team dynamic that a lot of us don't get in the "real world" D) Did I mention grown men and women sliding, diving for catches, debating the bunt or kick away strategies, the guy with the tiger tail, the team that played in prom dresses, hello?  No where in there did I list sloshed meat head spouting off the entire game and trying to intimidate the high school umps and calling the women on the opposing team things that frankly I wouldn't say to my ex-wife who cheated on me with the Pacific Fleet.  It was bad; ya'll, real bad.  I mean I've seen worse in a bar fight, sure, but this is kickball, this is Sunday afternoons and going to El Porton after, this isn't my freshmen year of college all over again.  LRKA has a zero tolerance policy about this kind of behavior, but it was not enforced during either of those games and that's a shame.  I would have enjoyed my day in the cold a lot more had I not been subjected to poor attitude, disregard for fellow kickball enthusiasts (and the many children out to watch their parents or siblings) and complete lack of anything resembling dignity, honor or sportsmanship.       So if anyone sees this team of Mr. Chebags, I apologize on behalf of kickball everywhere, they exemplify only what a kickball team should never be.  I hope the commissioner and the board will witness first hand what a poor addition the make to the overall association and let them know they need to either play like kids and act like adults, or not come out on Sunday.  The pursuits of the Ultimate Kickball Championships of the Known Universe continue next Sunday at Hindman Park off 65th street in Little Rock.  The public is welcome to come watch, though you may want to carpool, not a lot of parking down there.

Overheard in Little Rock

Random Stuff, overheard in LR. Please, edit expletives, do it for the children, for the children, I says!.

Oscar Fever

Here's a good column about why studios wait until late in the year to release all of the Oscar contenders.  "Oliver Stone" and "Tom Logan" should certainly read it.

Interview with Joey Lauren Adams

Here.  Her latest film Come Early Morning opens in limited release in November.

Catch a Fire

Buzz is building for this film.  Here's a "For Your Consideration" article from Stuart Levine writing for on Tim Robbins.

Will 'Flags' have to pay for its Oscar nod?

Here's an article in the New York Times suggesting panic at Paramount over the poor debut weekend numbers for Flags of Our Fathers.   Flags has to hope that it makes many early critics lists to encourage people to take a hard look at this film.  If that doesn't happen, Little Children, Catch a Fire, Little Miss Sunshine, Bobby, or an out-of-nowhere film like The Good Shepard or Blood Diamond could sneak in this race.

Gotham Awards

An interesting bunch, the Independent Film Project, that is.  They're the folks behind the awards.  Their nominees are out today: Best Feature Film The Departed, Little Children, Half Nelson, Marie Antionette, Old Joy Best Ensemble Cast Babel, For Your Consideration, Little Miss Sunshine, A Prairie Home Companion, Shortbus Best Documentary Deliver Us From Evil, An Inconvenient Truth, Following Sean, Iraq in Fragments, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple Breakthrough Actor Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine; Shareeka Epps, Half Nelson; Melinda Page Hamilton, Sleeping Dogs Lie; Rinko Kikuchi, Babel; and Channing Tatum, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.

Addictions and substance abuse experts meet in Little Rock

Experts on addictions and substance abuse will join faculty members from UAMS to discuss issues related to drug and alcohol abuse.

Diedrich named assistant VP of patient care services

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center recently promoted Michele Diedrich, RN, BSN, MA to Assistant Vice President of Patient Care Services-Chief Nursing Officer.

Critics vote

The LA Film Critics will vote on December 10th, according to Tom O'Neil.  The New York Film Critics Circle will vote on December 11th.  The National Board of Review voted on December 6th last year.   

Childish name-calling

I don't understand why Mike Beebe is drawing attention to Asa Hutchinson's new television ads by criticizing them.

Childish name-calling

I don't understand why Mike Beebe is drawing attention to Asa Hutchinson's new television ads by criticizing them.

Pause and reflect

John Brummett today assembles various light-hearted observations of the campaign season, from the Democratic Party's intervention in behalf of Bill Halter to the Republican Party's desperate attempts to find issues to hang on Democratic candidates.

Men's club

Arkansas has the second-fewest number of women running for the state legislature this year. Nationwide, a record number of women are competing for state legislative seats.

Debate open line

Did anyone watch last night's debate on AETN between 3rd Dist. U.S. Rep. John Boozman and his Democratic challenger, Woodrow Anderson III?

The odd couple

Gov. Mike Huckabee finally takes some time to campaign for a Republican ... in Arkansas. Huckabee today joins Asa Hutchinson on a bus tour of South Arkansas. They began in Pine Bluff this morning, and they will make stops in Fordyce, El Dorado, Magnolia, and Hope before finishing with a rally in Texarkana.

State Fair sets attendance records

The Arkansas State Fair ended on Sunday just short of setting an all-time record for total attendance, but it tallied several single-day attendance records.

Independents going with Dems

A Washington Post-ABC News poll says Independents this year favor Democrats over Republicans by a two-to-one margin.

Obama or football? (UPDATE)

The Democratic Party's campaign committee yesterday sent an official press release announcing that the rally with U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is set to take place at the State Capitol on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 4:15 p.m.

LR city manager nixes dome idea

Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore tells the Arkansas Times that he will advise against moving forward with a proposal to add a dome to City Hall.

Beebe family suffers loss

Anthony Taylor, the son-in-law of Ginger Beebe, wife of Attorney General Mike Beebe, this morning was found dead of an apparent suicide at the Hampton Inn in Searcy.

Huckabee attacks Beebe

Gov. Mike Huckabee in a Republican Party press release joins Asa Hutchinson in bashing Mike Beebe over his role in the Nick Wilson corruption scandal.

The name's familiar

KATV, Channel 7, featured a new face with a familiar name as the sports anchor on its 5 p.m. newscast today.Without any introduction or fanfare, a young man by the name of Dale Nicholson did the sports in place of Steve Sullivan.Of course, Dale Nicholson has been the president and general manager of KATV for what seems like forever.The young man who did the sports did a creditable job.No "Jr." or "III" appended to his name.

Wrong impression

KTHV's opener for its 5 p.m. newscast left some folks thinking Mike Beebe had dropped out of the race for governor.

Razorback tickets for Alltel go on sale Nov. 6

Alltel Arena will be putting tickets to the Arkansas Razorbacks game with Texas Tech and Coach Bobby Knight on Monday, Nov. 6, at 10 a.m.

J.R. and Henry's Sports Column: Just in time for Game 3

It's been a busy weekend for J.R. and Henry, and they both apologize for running a little late.

Andy Mayberry Is A Fool

I listened to the Vic Snyder - Andy Mayberry debate tonight. I thought Hutchinson was reaching pretty low in some of his non sequitur attacks on Beebe - but Mayberry is the new poster boy for slimy campaign tactics.

$348,000 grant funds UAMS research of multiple sclerosis

A researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has been awarded a $348,487 grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Tom O'Neil rants about Gotham Award nominees

in the L.A. Times, When the Gotham nominees were announced yesterday, however, there was a shocking embarrassment among the contenders for best picture: "The Departed," which cannot, in any way, be defined as an indie.

Up next for Coens, Clooney

George Clooney will re-team with Ethan and Joel Coen for the film Burn After Reading.  The film will begin shooting in September 2007 after Clooney wraps work on his latest project Leatherheads with Renee Zellweger.

What to make of 'Babel'

Here's a "For Your Consideration" piece from Stuart Levine writing for  He says, If audiences found “21 Grams” too depressing and unrelentingly bleak, they won’t be rushing out to see “Babel.” Their loss.

The Motley Mind of Matt: Who else but the Crue, with Aerosmith!

Rock and film god Matt Smith saw Motley Crue in Indianapolis a few days back; yes, I know that sounds like a shock.

Blue Man coming back in 2007?

Pollstar, the website covering concert news and show dates, reports today that Blue Man Group is returning to Alltel Arena on Feb. 18, 2007.

What I have argued

The Departed, whether intended or not, is a legitimate Oscar contender and may, until Dreamgirls opens, be the frontrunner for Best Picture.  I didn't think this would be the case, even after I saw it.  Don't get me wrong, it is an excellent and the best of what has been in national release this year.  That said, I worried that it would cater only to one demographic, until I started hearing from women how much they loved the movie.  And then I saw the box office numbers - $77 million in 17 days.  Scorsese's movies aren't known for making a lot of money (although The Aviator did eclipse 100 million).  And then there's the weak opening of Flags of Our Fathers and the poor early reviews of Babel.  Both of those films were considered locks for Best Pic.  It's still too early to see what happens, but I think The Departed picks up momentum with each week.  November isn't a huge month for Best Picture contenders, but December is.  The Departed should be well past $100 million by then and Warner Bros. should have its campaign going strong.

Slow blog day

Sorry for not posting more today. I left Little Rock early this morning to drive to Fayetteville to participate in a panel discussion about ... blogging.

Voting absentee, so to speak

The citizens of Desha County apparently won't have any problems voting in this year's general election. Even the dead ones.

Cancer support home presents: NO EXCUSES

Washington Regional Cancer Support Home will present “Making Spirits Bright,” a 1-hour interactive discussion offering those coping with breast cancer support and suggestions for enjoying a meaningful and peaceful holiday season.