Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things they’ve been enjoying this week.
To call, just cup your hands around your mouth and give out a low “who cooks for you? who cooks for you-all?” (hear the hoot here). Even if the sound you made only barely approximates the call, you’re likely to get a response. Sometimes, it’s the joker in the next campsite over calling back. Sometimes, I think the owls know it’s an old lady calling, and they answer to be polite. But mostly, it’s an inquisitive brown-and-white streaked strix varia, and it, too, will ask you who’s in the kitchen.
— Leslie Newell Peacock
Bird calls pt. 2
Sticking with the bird theme: My father-in-law is an excellent gift-giver, but when he’s buying presents for my children, he generally does whatever he can to troll my wife and me. That’s meant toy jackhammers, a robot that dances to the same terrible song and various musical instruments. So when he recently gifted our bird-loving son a wall clock that makes bird calls on the hour, my wife and I rolled our eyes. But, turns out, it’s lovely! The bird calls are loud enough to hear throughout the house, but not pitched to scare — unless you happen to be up at midnight and have forgotten you have a bird clock and the bald eagle’s maniacal laugh-cry sounds. But the clock has a light-sensor and only sounds when the room it’s in is lit, so you have to be up at midnight with the lights on to be terrified. Meanwhile, we’re learning as a family what the common loon, pileated woodpecker, purple martin and Baltimore oriole sound like and feeling like we’re in the woods while we’re all trapped inside our house during the week.
— Lindsey Millar
The Argentine Firecracker remembered
Highly recommend securing a copy of Yvonne Dunleary’s “Fanne Foxe,” the seedy and cinematically rendered tale of how a med-school-student-turned-stripper named Annabelle Battistella ended up in the arms of Arkansas Congressman Wilbur D. Mills, and of how Mills’ career — then at its peak of power — was sullied after the Washington, D.C., police fished an evening gown-clad Battistella out of the tidal basin near the Jefferson Memorial following a boozy late-night ride with Mills et al. The book is swaddled in mid-’70s trashy paperback blurbs (“She had the ways, he had the means … and together they made the front pages!”) and, like the best of its kind, includes scads of candid vintage photographs: Foxe with Ann Margret, old ads for Foxe’s headlining stripteases at the Silver Slipper and, of course, the bespectacled, love-torn Mills.
— Stephanie Smittle
I’ve long had the image from the early ’90s of television contestants frantically racing through grocery stores flinging huge hams into their grocery carts and stocking up on diapers burned into my brain. So I’ve been happy to discover vintage episodes of “Supermarket Sweep” on Netflix and Amazon Prime. The object of the game show was to spend as much money as possible given the allotted time you had based on your performance in an early-round buzz-in supermarket-style trivia game. Even 20 some-odd years later, it’s hard not to yell at the TV screen when contestants’ shopping strategies are appallingly bad. The show is perfectly awkward, the outfits are wild and host David Ruprecht went through a baffling but entertaining sweater phase in the 1991 season featured on Amazon Prime.
— Rhett Brinkley