Arkansas Times Recommends is a weekly series on our blog Rock Candy in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we’ve been enjoying lately. This edition is for the hordes of students returning to classes this month:
I recommend rewatching the Rodney Dangerfield “Triple Lindy” diving scene in “Back to School” — which precisely predicts the pathos and comedy of the Donald Trump campaign for president that came almost 30 years later. — David Ramsey
Back to Hendrix College packing list:
2 fifths Fireball cinnamon whiskey
2 fifths Captain Morgan
1 case Purple Haze Abita
1 case PBR
1 bottle Adderall
Bike shorts/shirt for dorm Tour de Franzia
4 cases ramen noodles
2 bottles Axe deodorant
— Leslie Peacock
Amid a month of convalescing following a leg injury, I remembered something important: Coloring is a fun and soothing way to kill time. Especially if you have a grown-up coloring book. I highly recommend “Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book,” by Shea Serrano and Bun B, cofounder of seminal Houston rap duo UGK. It features more than 40 rappers in poses based, often, on iconic photos. I haven’t been happier in weeks than in the hour I spent on Biggie’s radiant Coogi sweater. — Lindsey Millar
Here is the ultimate back-to-school recipe:
Coffee mug eggs. You will need two eggs and a teaspoon of milk. Spray the mug with nonstick cooking spray, crack two eggs into the mug and add the teaspoon of milk. Place in microwave for 45 seconds. Stir. Heat for another 45 seconds. Stir again to make sure they’re cooked thoroughly and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top! — Kaya Herron
You want to keep a journal? Wonderful! Spending hours writing passages that no one but yourself is ever allowed to read sounds like a great way not to live imprisoned inside the solipsistic hell of your own ego. I recommend you try the staplebound notebooks made by Italian manufacturer Fabriano, which are available at Michaels for about 4 bucks each.
I’ve kept a dumb journal for most of the past 10 years, and I’ve gone all over the map. There are those cow-colored composition books — 50 cents a pop at the dollar store — but I’m a self-conscious 30-year-old, and I don’t want the girls in physics lab to laugh at me. A basic, college-ruled Five Star notebook was once a sensible option when I had more patience for pen and paper, but the endless hole of the Internet now makes longhand seem more and more like a special event. That means smallness is a virtue — and anyway, I like unruled paper because sometimes I want to doodle.
Then there are Moleskine notebooks, which are well made, attractive and obnoxiously overpriced. Also, every Moleskine comes with a small pamphlet describing the venerated history of Moleskine in the history of art and literature and … I just refuse to participate. The one time I bought a $15 Moleskine notebook at an independent bookstore, a beret instantly materialized on my head and couldn’t be removed for months.
Which brings me to these Fabriano “EcoQua” books. They’re compact, flexible and slim. They’re affordable enough (yes, page by page it’s still an incredible rip-off, but let’s be honest — it’s going to take you months to fill the little thing). I buy the unruled kind, though there are also lined, dot and grid options available. And best of all, they’re only subtly pretentious. — Benji Hardy
All students should be encouraged if not required to use flip phones. Not to go all Jonathan Franzen here, but nothing can warp your value system and wreck your relationships with nature and other humans faster than a smartphone. The Internet is an arena of bottomless despair developed by military-funded scientists and nurtured by libertarians and politicians — it’s the enemy. Nothing good will come of it, and it is plainly destructive, easily one of the great catastrophes of my life. — Will Stephenson
I was going to make a joke about being sure to have a good pocket protector. And maybe a slide rule holster. So I went to the web. And I learned the pocket protector lives! All sorts for sale. One carried a price tag of $250. WTF?
Turned out that’s the price from one supplier for 500 pocket protectors, customized with the logo of your company or whatever. Come to think of it, this could be a great product for a student club fundraiser. Buy a wad of them and put the high school logo on it, then mark them up for resale. As the tout said: “An inexpensive yet practical item making a big comeback. Great to advertise your company or product. Corporate recipients will appreciate you saving their shirts from pen leaks.”
Do people still use pens? — Max Brantley