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DECEMBER 14, 2011


COMMENT stick to it. This is America. So what if people are offended? I’m more offended by these apologies that always come out than anything else. I don’t think what the man said is worthy of all this hoopla. That is a problem in today’s society with the Internet and such. Things get blown out of proportion in a hurry, and then the TV news has to get a hold of it and try to stir up the pot. jtsims I went to Fort Baptist Northside in the early ’90s with the sons and daugh-

ters of Vietnamese and Laotian refugees. Their parents, most of whom spoke no English, took whatever jobs they could find, from furniture factory jobs down to the chicken plants. A few families started restaurants or Asian food markets. The high school age kids worked too so the family could make ends meet. Sound familiar? Today, many of those students are now doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, teachers, etc., and their children speak little to no Vietnamese. Twenty years from now, I see no reason we won’t see the process repeat itself with the Mexi-



An open letter to Mark Martin When you entered office at the Capitol, you immediately changed the news channel on the public television in the Capitol Rotunda to Fox News. It had been set to a more mainstream and moderate news source by your predecessor. With the results released by several recent surveys (Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll and University of Maryland) that indicate a person having no exposure to news at all has better knowledge of events than someone who watches Fox News (either Republican or Democrat), I’m hoping you’ll do the right thing and change the channel back. Will you do your part to help Arkansas citizens be better informed? Or will you continue to subject both public employees and visitors to the “news” channel that distorts facts and promotes disinformation? Karen Wells Little Rock

From the web In response to an Arkansas Blog post on Nashville News Publisher Mike Graves’ column on the De Queen-Nashville high school football game in which he wrote (and subsequently apologized for saying) that he was “embarrassed for the decent citizens of De Queen, especially when the prayer and our national anthem were ignored by the thugs in the crowd who kept their caps on” and asked “when we give the illegal so much, how do we expect them to have any respect or regard for America?”: I don’t know about anyone else here, but I am tired of people speaking their minds, then apologizing for it. The apology means nothing. Stick to your guns. If you say what you believe, then 4

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can and Salvadoran immigrants, just as it has many times before, including my wife’s family who came to Subiaco, Arkansas, from Germany 100 years ago. FSMXNA In response to an item on the Arkansas Blog, “Occupy Wall Street is making a difference.” It amazes me that people in power are swayed by protesters screaming out against them from a safe distance. Ole LBJ heard the sea of antiwar protesters outside the fence day and night until it bothered him so much he chose not to run for a second term. He could have ignored the noise and had a second term with no one so much as knocking a hair out of place yet the protesting finally got to him and he slunk off to Texas to die five years later. I’m glad it works! Protesters have saved us from some of the worst of the 1%, and we’ve already seen the power of those dirty hippies trashing our precious parks. Winter doesn’t seem to be slowing them down much but I predict next spring will be a watershed moment. We’ve got the winter to let the Occupy message foment in our minds and I think by next spring a whole lot of us Centrum Silver folks will get our Occupy on. In truth our election system and our government has become so corrupted it hardly works at all. Hundreds of years of special-interest sponsored amendments and bills and tax breaks have spoiled the soup. Can anyone name an aspect of modern American life that hasn’t been corrupted? Can’t even trust your kids to your local priest, for crying out loud. And if the boy plays football — look out! It’s high time we have a major adjustment. The way things are we can’t keep kicking the many many cans on down the road. It’s time to take our medicine and deal out a lot more medicine for those who can’t handle the truth that America is a cesspool of corruption controlled by Fascism in the form of Citizens United. A country of war profiteers. An oligarchy taking us back to pre-Civil War days when Massa held all the cards. It will not stand! Occupy your mind and the rest will follow! Deathbyinches

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Saved by the Court

t was the one percent against the 99 percent when the legislature took up “tort reform” in 2003, and the one percent prevailed easily. Since then, the Arkansas Supreme Court has been knocking holes in this unjust and unwise statute. We see again that the separation of powers is a wonderful thing. Corporations, the Medical Society, the Chamber of Commerce, the Poultry Federation — they were united in support of a bill making it more difficult, if not impossible, for the poor to win a sizeable legal judgment against the rich. Legislators were so intimidated by this fearsome coalition, they didn’t even ask the proponents to make a case for the bill. At committee hearings, opponents presented strong witnesses and sound arguments against “tort reform.” The other side didn’t say much more than “call the roll.” The proponents, for example, couldn’t find a single insurancecompany executive to testify that “tort reform” would bring down the cost of insurance, though that was supposed to be a principal reason for the bill. People in the insurance business knew better than to tell so flagrant a lie in so public a forum. They knew the real purpose of the bill was to shield wrongdoers from a jury’s justice. Legal experts said at the time that the legislation was unconstitutional and would eventually be found so by the Supreme Court. Two attorneys general had said the same thing about similar legislation, previously considered. But the legislators weren’t interested, and they were shameless. The “tort reform” bill passed on a near-unanimous vote. Various provisions of the “tort reform” law had been stricken by the Supreme Court before last week’s decision, in which the Court threw out the law’s million-dollar limit on punitive damages. Associate Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson wrote for the majority that the Arkansas Constitution allowed the legislature to limit the amount of recovery only in matters arising between employer and employee. The Court thus refused to overturn a $42 million award for punitive damages that was made in Lonoke Circuit Court to a group of farmers who sued a provider of contaminated rice. The trial judge in the case, Phillip Thomas Whiteaker, also had declared the million-dollar limit to be unconstitutional. The president of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce has said, predictably, that the Supreme Court decision will discourage “jobcreating entrepreneurs and business leaders.” The supporters of “tort reform” are more law evaders than job creators. They tell the common man and woman “just give up your rights, and we might find low-paying work for you.” It’s not a good deal, and thanks to the Supreme Court, the people of Arkansas don’t have to take it. 6

DECEMBER 14, 2011





FLYING A LITTLE LONGER: The North Little Rock city council and mayor Pat Hays agreed to postpone a controlled goose hunt in Burns Park that was scheduled for next week. The mayor is seeking alternatives to thin the amount of geese causing issues at the park.

Tim Griffin’s photo op


eventeen words from my congressman, U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin of Little Rock, sent me into orbit last week. Said the Republican congressman, in his Twitter feed: “I am currently touring Arkansas Children’s Hospital and learning more about the incredible work being done here.” His tweet was dutifully regurgitated by the Arkansas Republican Party and, I’d guess, other elements of the right-wing electronic echo chamber. What’s not to like? Who doesn’t like Children’s Hospital and the miracles it performs? Answer: The Republican Party, if policies count more than a Twitter post intended to wrap a politician in the warm gauze of sympathy for sick children. Eight months ago, Griffin voted in lockstep with a budget proposal crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan that would have gutted Medicaid as a guaranteed health insurance program for poor people. It would have turned it into a block grant program. Had the legislation not been defeated in the Democrat-controlled Senate, it would have reduced Medicaid spending by almost $800 billion over 10 years. It would have allowed states to cut back services to the disabled, children and the elderly. Without Medicaid, Children’s Hospital doesn’t exist as we know it. Sixty-five percent of its patients are covered by Medicaid. Though Republicans wouldn’t cut it all at once, it’s easy to guess some of the first casualties. Intensive care and emergency services would continue at some level, but would vital early childhood intervention programs, Head Start and basic primary care continue? The odds would not be good. I had a personal window last week on the value of such a simple thing as an encounter with a Children’s Hospital primary care physician. The only medical problem facing one young patient was head lice. But it was an outgrowth of deeper problems in her home, problems that began being addressed thanks to a

call from the concerned Children’s Hospital physician. Cut Medicaid and you can soon forget such luxuries as this timely intervention that kept a home intact and a child in school. MAX Ryan has not given up on his BRANTLEY budget plan. He’d still like to cut taxes of the wealthy, at the expense of poorer people, and reduce Medicare and Medicaid outlays. He’d give poor people vouchers to help buy insurance, yes, but the vouchers would be supported by only about a quarter of the federal money now being provided, says the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Faced with rising health costs and insufficient insurance, poor people would go without. The big new Children’s Hospital buildings that Tim Griffin toured and touted? They’d be emptied of sick children and caring staff in favor of enriching the wealthy. The National Association of Children’s Hospitals has told Congress that the hospitals are already strapped by decreasing Medicaid support and the burden of uncompensated care. Cuts in spending are also a guarantee of greater costs. Children who need attention, but don’t get it, will experience worsening, more expensive conditions. Polls show American people prefer elimination of tax breaks for the rich and tougher regulation of banks over cuts in spending on vital programs, looser government regulations and no tax increases. By his past votes, Tim Griffin indicates he doesn’t believe the polls. Or he believes that photo ops and lip service at the local Children’s Hospital will cover his support for the Republican assault on governmentsupported medical services for the poor, from children to elderly. In 2010, many voters voted against self-interest. It could happen again — certainly if no one runs against Griffin. He’s currently unopposed.


New fraud: Regulation is bad


n the catalog of imagined horrors inflicted upon the nation by a merciless government, none is more enduring, at least in the minds of big business and the Republican right, than regulation. They have invoked it for 40 years, since President Nixon, Republican, signed all those laws regulating discharges into the country’s air, lakes and streams and forcing businesses to have clean and safe workplaces. Last week the Republicans used their big majority in the House of Representatives to pass a nonsensical bill to halt new federal regulation. Every important regulation on business would hereafter have to be approved by both houses of Congress. It would quadruple the workload of Congress, which cannot now even pass routine budget bills, and virtually guarantee that no act of Congress dealing with the health, safety and financial security of the American people would ever again be implemented. But it was just theater. No one seriously thought that could work or should become law. But the Republican congressmen all rushed out boilerplate statements crowing about their votes to create jobs by voting to stop President Obama from imposing burdensome rules on those desperate good people, “the job creators.”

Rep. Tim Griffin sent the media a statement claiming that he had just voted to stop the heavy ERNEST hand of Barack DUMAS Obama from “crushing Arkansas job creators.” He didn’t identify the Arkansas employers or potential employers whom the president and his bureaucrats were crushing and how they were doing it. If he were pressed, he would probably say it’s those forthcoming rules to control greenhouse gases, coal ash and other pollutants from fossil fuels, a list supplied by the coal and petrochemical industries and electric utilities. Griffin would be hard-pressed to show that less government regulation produces jobs. He was a mole in the best laboratory for that research, the George W. Bush administration. (Griffin worked in the White House political office.) Bush came into office denouncing the excessive regulation of the Bill Clinton administration and promising to be more obliging of industry. He put lawyers, lobbyists and executives from industries in the jobs regulating their industries, and regulation came to a virtual standstill, from the Environmental Protection

A Christmas Carol


t was beginning to feel a bit like Christmas when, on a crisp crystalline night, I went to the Rep and was completely charmed into the season by its fresh and moving “A Christmas Carol, The Musical.” All the essentials made the transformation into the musical: Scrooge, the ghosts, and, early on, the words the pitiless Scrooge threw at the kinder-hearted folk who appealed to him on behalf of needy children at Christmas: “Are there no prisons?” he sneered. “Are there no workhouses?” Later, during Scrooge’s long night terrors, a ghost presented him to two spectral children, their multiple needs apparent. “This boy is Ignorance,” the ghost intoned. “This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware of this boy.” As the miser cringed in belated understanding, the ghost repeated the miser’s own words to further haunt the old man: “Are there no prisons? Are there

GUEST COLUMN no workhouses?” As one who’s MARA LEVERITT written plenty about prisons, I have seen those two children in the flesh — and by the thousands. They grow into teen-agers, and later adults, whom we fear. We build prisons to house them, correct them, punish them — and sometimes kill them. Yet, we know that most will eventually be freed to try — usually with scant support — to re-integrate into our larger society. We fill our prisons with grown-up versions of Ignorance and Want and, like Scrooge, are blind to their humanity. We have learned well to “beware” these children, while we’ve allowed ourselves to believe that — somehow — they should have grown into good citizens, however much their childhoods lacked good training, responsibility and love. But, as Dickens wrote, “if [men’s] courses are departed from, the ends will change.” On the very day I attended the

Agency to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the other financial regulators. Bush’s EPA refused to carry out the Clean Air Act even after the conservative U.S. Supreme Court said it was obliged to. How did all that work out, congressman? The economy produced a net growth of almost 23 million jobs under the extreme duress of the Clinton regulators. In the caress of the Bush regulators, the job creators produced a hair over 1 million jobs—the worst eight-year jobs record since the Great Depression. We need more of that, Griffin says. The regulatory bugbear does go back largely to Nixon and to the Democratic Congress that worked so closely with him. There was the hated Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by Nixon in 1970, requiring all private and government employers to provide a workplace free of toxic chemicals, mechanical dangers and unsanitary conditions. For 20 years, industries denounced OSHA regulations and pointed to ridiculous sounding rules. They were supposed to be costing millions of jobs. You hear the complaints only rarely now. One reason is that some 14,000 workers were killed or died from workplace accidents or sicknesses every year then. It’s down to a little over 4,000 a year now although employment has almost doubled. Injury rates and

work-related sicknesses have dropped dramatically, from 11 per 100 workers in 1972, when the rules went into effect, to 3.5 per 100 workers now. All the consumer product safety rules that Republicans are raging about now? That pretty much started with Nixon and his firebrand consumer affairs director, Virginia Knauer, who died, incidentally, the other day at 96. All the current fuss about regulation is over the implementation of the Clean Air Act, signed by Nixon, along with the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. When a major air pollutant is identified, the EPA is supposed to adopt regulations to bring it under control. Now it’s carbon dioxide, mercury, nitric acids and other contributors to global warming. Congress and their regulatory lackeys acted upon the growing alarm of Americans about polluted lakes, rivers and harbors, the smothering smog and deteriorating quality of the air over major cities like Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago (and, yes, Little Rock), the acid rain that was killing forests in the industrial heartland and the rising incidence of respiratory diseases among children and the elderly. All those horrors are much better, thanks to regulation, and some day we will combat greenhouse gases, too, though maybe too late. It is well to remember that the Griffins and the chambers of commerce all those years said the rules were excessive and job killing.

Rep, the Arkansas Department of Correction announced a new program that will bring prisoners together with dogs that have been, like them, outcast. Renie Rule, an executive at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, who also volunteers in a prison, pushed to get the program established. To its credit, the ADC recognized the value — to inmates and dogs alike — in teaming up with CARE, an animal rescue group. Here, for both, is a chance for training, responsibility and love. All dogs accepted to Paws in Prison will come from shelters with high kill rates. They will be paired with inmates who will train them to become eligible for adoption. In turn, as any dog-lover knows, the very presence of dogs around inmates and staff will help humanize our prisons. Inmates selected for the program will themselves be trained. They will have to earn the right to teach and care for a dog. The dogs will sleep in their cells and be allowed in most parts of each prison, where they can interact with other inmates and staff. The goal is for each dog to earn the

American Kennel Club’s good citizenship certification. When dogs are adopted, the trainers will get new shelter dogs. Socialization and a second chance at life is the good news for the dogs — and for many of their trainers, as well. For those men and women who will never leave prison, the dogs offer the feel of fur, lessons in gentleness, a chance for playfulness and simple wordless companionship amid loneliness and loss. Our Scroogy little hearts may snarl that prisoners don’t warrant such comforts. But prisoners are often their own worst punishers. Their white uniforms bespeak guilt, but many also suffer shame, the heavy chains they “forged in life.” They long for the chances that old Scrooge got: a chance to do something good; a chance, at last, to give. These needy dogs offer them that, along with generous, tail-wagging acceptance. Thanks to Rule, the ADC and CARE. Without costing the state a farthing, they have created a transformative gift. As some lucky dog might say, “God bless us, every one.”

DECEMBER 14, 2011



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ne of the markers of a football program’s relative progress is that the concept of “season” will naturally expand. ’Tis true that some of this is a function of an overwrought base simply obsessing over every stitch from signing day through spring and summer practices, fueled by as much fodder as their ISP’s bandwidth cap will permit. But success breeds this kind of zealotry. Winning 28 games over three years has given the Razorbacks that sort of year-round allure. The supposed lull between the end of the regular season and that bowl game far, far off in the distance is one period that, by all rights, should be quiet. It’s a weekslong vacuum for bowl-bound teams and for schools that flopped their way to an early finish, it’s a signal that basketball is about to take center stage for a while. There is no such December malaise in Fayetteville anymore. The coaching carousel spins almost off its axis for a few weeks, which means that coveted assistants like Garrick McGee get wellearned shots at taking over flagging teams. When the McGees of the world morph into commodities, the implication is clear: your program is thriving when the alsorans start plucking fruits off your tree. It is then rare for one coordinator to rise while the counterpart falls. But when Willy Robinson finally got his walking papers last week, dismissed for failing to build upon a sturdy foundation laid late last year, Arkansas found itself in that very odd position of replacing both at once. To supplant McGee, head coach Bobby Petrino brought back his brother Paul, paroled after a two-year stint in Champaign as Ron Zook’s OC at Illinois. Frankly, the little brother is a beneficiary of fortunate circumstance, as McGee’s ascent left the door ajar for a return to Arkansas when Zook and his staff were mercifully flushed after a six-game skid to end the season. This sort of hire will always incite fears of Razorback supporters who get justifiably queasy over the slightest taste of nepotism within the program, but even the jaded have to acknowledge that Paul Petrino is far more steeped in offensive know-how than the common hanger-on. He helped make Casey Dick a somewhat respectable passer in short order, then was part of Ryan Mallett’s early flourishing in 2009. The more curious and divisive choice was spent on rehabbing a defense that ranked somewhere near the middle of the

national rankings despite returning a wealth of seasoned contributors. Ultimately the man Petrino tabbed as BEAU Robinson’s sucWILCOX cessor was Paul Haynes, who struck many observers as an odd selection given that former Miami coach Randy Shannon was rumored to have been the early front runner, and that Haynes had spent only one year as Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator. Haynes and Petrino have connections dating back to their NFL stints, and it became apparent from the latter’s press conference (“Paul Haynes is extremely familiar with the way we operate”) that the decision may have been forged long before it was announced. To hear former Razorback/current “Drive Time Sports” talking head Marcus Elliott talk, though, you’d think that this is some sort of conspiracy hatched to keep the Hogs’ defense playing harmony to Petrino’s offensive melody, which is absurd. Elliott, like many, seemed titillated by the mention of Shannon, then had those rosecolored glasses shattered when Haynes was announced. It’s understandable that common fans would endorse someone with Shannon’s background, but is it realistic to think that a former head coach of Shannon’s caliber and age would take a coordinator job at this point? Consider this: the coordinators of inarguably the two best defenses in the country are Kirby Smart (Alabama) and John Chavis (LSU). Smart toiled as a position coach for various teams before Saban made him coordinator at the ripe age of 32; Chavis built up the Tennessee defense during its halcyon days in the late 1990s before he became a casualty of Philip Fulmer’s ouster in 2008. Neither has been a head coach to date. So Shannon would have been a coup, but he was probably more of a pipe dream than anything else. Arkansas needs to bolster its defense principally through a more global approach to recruiting, an area where Haynes excels, and by reestablishing a physical presence in the secondary, once a hallmark of this program that has dissipated over time.  There is much to be gained by having the two Pauls in the fold in early December. Both get an audition in Dallas on January 6, an opportunity to hit the ground in full stride and get a leg up on recruiting.

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South in a handbasket Which way? A devoted Times reader e-mails a question from Colombia: “Where did the expression ‘going south’ come from? There’s a big debate here.” Yes, I can imagine that people in South America don’t want to think “going south” has a negative connotation. But, I’ve been under the impression that “going south” means roughly “going to hell,” that is, “deteriorating, falling apart”: Perry’s presidential campaign is going south. We usually think of hell as being downward from here, and downward is south on a map. The on-line Free Dictionary confirms that one meaning of “go south” is “to lose value or quality.” In a similar vein, the expression sometimes means “to stop working,” the dictionary says, as in “I need more time for this project. My computer has gone south.” FD says that go south can also mean “to make an escape; to disappear”: Cheyne went south as soon as he was released from prison; “to fall, to go down”: The market headed south today, and “to quit, to drop out”: Fred got discouraged and went south. So it seems the expression is mostly negative. Hellish, if you will, but the dictionary doesn’t say for certain that hell is

where it came from. Colombian debate will continue. (For what it’s worth, I remember Gene Autry singing DOUG “South of the borSMITH der, down Mexico way … ” and that was pretty positive. Ay, ay, ay, ay.) Dominate usage: “It’s a fun show. It educates people about a culture not dominate in Arkansas.” Dr. Douglas Young of Conway questions the use of dominate, and is correct in doing so. Dominate is a verb, as is predominate, which means about the same thing. The adjectives that mean “major, ruling” are dominant and predominant. Unfortunately, we often see the verbs where the adjectives should be, and sometimes where an adverb should be. It’s a predominantly black college, not a predominately black college. Peeking too soon: Jimmy Jeffress saw the headline, “Fort Smith Tea Party Forum Offers Peak at 2012 election.” It piques one’s interest, though not in the way a headline should.



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DECEMBER 14, 2011


It was a good week for…

It was a bad week for…

THE BURNS PARK GEESE. The North Little Rock City Council agreed with Mayor Pat Hays to postpone next week’s planned controlled goose hunt in Burns Park to reduce the flock of 200 near-domesticated waterfowl by 150 or so. Hays said he’d open the record to any suggestions for alternatives to reducing the problem caused by geese — both prolific defecation and unpleasant attitudes toward walkers, bikers and other park users. Hays said he wanted to quickly put suggestions in place to see if they might work. If not, the hunt might be rescheduled in January before the hunting season is over.

EQUALITY. According to new analysis by a University of California at Berkley economist, six members of the Walton family are worth as much as the bottom 30 percent of Americans. The Waltons’ $70 billion represents (according to a 2007 Forbes analysis) the assets of about 100 million people.

HYPOCRISY. Sen. Jason Rapert (RConway), an outspoken critic of President Obama’s handling of the economy, received $5,990 from a federal stimulusfunded state program to convert vehicles to run on natural gas, the Democrat-Gazette reported. PAY-OFFS. An FOI request from the Arkansas Times revealed that Willy Robinson, recently ousted defensive coordinator for the University of Arkansas football team, will be paid his base salary, about $27,000 a month, through March 5 unless he’s hired before then. He’ll also get a bowl game bonus equivalent to one month’s base pay. Not a golden parachute, perhaps, but a nice soft landing.

THE BUSINESS LOBBY. The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a nearly $50 million verdict in Lonoke County for farmers who said they were damaged when genetically altered rice from the Bayer CropScience contaminated their crops. Importantly, the court upheld a finding that a statutory cap on punitive damages, which constituted $42 million of this $48 million verdict, was unconstitutional. The state legislature passed the cap in 2003, hoping to extort acquiescence out of a Supreme Court fearful of the business lobby, even though two attorney generals, Beebe and Pryor, opined that it was unconstitutional. KEVIN LEWIS. The Little Rock lawyer, who swindled several banks of nearly $50 million through fake improvement district bond issues, was sentenced to 121 months in federal prison. He’d pleaded guilty earlier to one count of bank fraud. He’s agreed to $33.8 million in restitution, though it’s unclear what ability he has to make that restitution.


Tell the bees DRIVING IN TO THE OFFICE one day last week, we heard a report on NPR about beekeepers, those hearty souls who ride herd over the bugs that make the honey. A beehive is a great advertisement for cooperation and selfsacrifice, we think, with every one of the furry, heaving multitudes contributing, over the course of a lifetime, a few drops of liquid gold for the greater good before passing on with a bee-ly sigh. It got The Observer thinking about dear old Dad, who had a few hives on the family stead, way out in the boondocks of Saline County. Dad was a doer, and when he did anything he did it all the way, so soon after he came home with his rattling pickup truck full of empty bee-boxes he’d picked up at an estate sale, he had to get the rest of the beekeeper’s accoutrements: the white suit, the bellows-equipped tin smoker, the bee-keeper’s helmet with fine mesh all about the face and elastic at the neck. Every time we saw him in that getup, we couldn’t help but think of astronauts tottering around on distant planets, the mesh keeping out those pesky Martian mosquitoes, as big and angry as Spitfires. After he was gone — more than 10 years in the grave as we write this — The Observer learned that our father had been a Pentecostal preacher once in his youth. He had settled into a much more peaceful understanding with the Universe by the time he took up the bees, but we suspect it was the ritual of beekeeping that appealed to our father’s fallen-away heart: Smoke the bees to calm them. Crack the lid of the hive with a flat crowbar. Pry out the frames, breaking loose the hard wax. Lift the frames out, the capped and filled honeycombs translucent gold, amazing and impossible, sunlight seeping through each perfect chamber. Such architecture! Though Intelligent Design has been ripped off and turned into a rallying cry by zealots these days (and a good scientist could probably

explain to us those identical hexagons without the need for the Almighty with enough time and cussin’), The Observer learned to know God in our youth by looking at those tiny cells, each one designed and made — somehow — by an unimaginably smaller brain. There can be no randomness to this, we thought then, only some Higher Order. That first harvest, once the frames had been safely stolen away and spirited back to the barn by the mammals, a few determined bees clinging to our rattle trap International Scout for awhile before giving up and turning back, we remember Dad taking off his gloves, opening his Case knife, then plunging it into the raw honeycomb, the amber honey rising to meet the tip of the blade. He sawed out a rough, dripping square, and held it out to us. That’s how we remember him there: clad all in white, smiling at what he had made, holding out the dripping comb to a son who would one day stand in awe of him but not then. We remember how the anticipation of sweetness rose in our mouth — rose, rose, rose, as it still does as we write this. Here’s another thing we didn’t learn until after he was gone: A good memory is much sweeter than the sweetest honey. SURFING THE INTERNET the other day, The Observer came across a website that’s been clearly needed for far too long: www.devastatingexplosions. com. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a hand, hovering over a big red button like the one we imagined sitting on the president’s desk back when we were a kid. Click the hand, and you’re treated to a devastating explosion. That’s all it does. We don’t know if it’s a work of genius or a testament to the fact that some folks have too much time on their hands, but it sure does help blow off some steam after Christmas shopping.

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The Arkansas Times filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the 106 lucky people who won the lottery to be allowed to kill two geese in Burns Park Dec. 20-22 as part of a sanctioned hunt to reduce the population of Canada geese in the park. No Christmas geese for them. Mayor Pat Hays postponed the hunt to consider alternatives for goose population reduction. But the list may be reactivated for a January hunt. Meanwhile, we noted one thing interesting about the list. Of the 106 names, only one seemed an obvious woman’s name, Crystal Brown. The rest of the would-be geese slayers all carried manly monikers.

Thanks, but no thanks Opponents to a land use plan for the Lake Maumelle watershed, scheduled for a Pulaski Quorum Court vote last week have grown frantic in opposition. The latest development is a “compromise” plan with some controls, but far less than the ordinance would provide. The Arkansas Farm Bureau floated general elements of the compromise in advance of committee meetings Tuesday on the ordinances. They would list prohibited uses in the watershed; set aside 25 percent of the land as open space and put buffer zones along creeks. Period. The Farm Bureau has also joined with Republican official opposition in starting a new talking point – that unpaved roads are the real source of potential pollution in the watershed and perhaps a taxpayer-financed plan could be developed to pave them all. That wouldn’t hurt majority landowner Deltic Timber, the Chenal Valley developer, one bit. There was also this: In building opposition, the Farm Bureau said it was joined by the League of Women Voters and Citizens Protecting Maumelle watershed in opposition. Wrong and/or misleading. The League wants more than currently proposed, but president Nell Matthews said it supported the proposed plans and will work to improve them after adoption. A member of the Citizens Protecting group said the Farm Bureau was wrong “on many levels.”

Big money for lawyers It’s known that the lawyers got $185 million in legal fees. It’s not CONTINUED ON PAGE 13 12

DECEMBER 14, 2011


Liberals have a lobby It’s the Arkansas Public Policy Panel. BY DOUG SMITH


hile native liberals are distraught over the conservatism of Arkansas politics, Bill Kopsky, executive director of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, says that politics in his home state of Oklahoma are even rougher and farther to the right than Arkansas’s. “Arkansas still elects moderates who can get things done,” Kopsky said. “It’s like Hutchinson running against Beebe. Hutchinson ran as a social conservative and Beebe beat him easily.” (Former U.S. Rep. Hutchinson, a Republican, opposed Beebe, a Democrat, in the 2006 governor’s race.) The panel and its affiliate, the Arkansas Citizens First Congress, can work with Governor Beebe, just as they could work with former Gov. Mike Huckabee, a mostly moderate Republican, Kopsky said. But Arkansas politics are starting to look more like Oklahoma’s. Kopsky said the legislative session earlier this year was the most polarized along party lines that he’d seen in his 15 years with the panel. For the first time, the Citizens First Congress couldn’t find a single Republican legislator who’d sign on as a co-sponsor of its bills. And there were more Republicans than ever. The party is likely to gain a legislative majority in the near future. More far-right Republicans in state government would make the Panel’s work more difficult, presumably. But then the continued existence in Arkansas of a poorman’s support group like the Panel, lobbying against big, rich conservative interests like the Chamber of Commerce, the Farm Bureau and the Poultry Federation, is somewhat surprising. At least until one learns that the Panel has more resources than one might have expected. Operating from a house on Second Street, near the Capitol, the Panel is supported by grants from foundations that share its interest in education, the environment and other issues, and by individual donors. It has an annual budget of $950,000, a staff of 14, “hundreds and hundreds of volunteers,” and a professional lobbyist. But then the Panel has more to do now than in its early years. It was founded in 1963 as “The Panel of American Women,” by Sara Murphy, a liberal activist, in the

bill to protect water and land from pollution by natural-gas drilling, bills to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. But the Congress says it helped pass legislation to lower taxes on low-income single parents with children, to eliminate red tape that was preventing some eligible children from being covered by the ARKids First health insurance plan, and to require school districts to “stop stockpiling and start spending money designated for helping low-income and minority children achieve more academically.” A team of interns, college students working with the Panel for one semester each, reads all the bills introduced and flags the ones that should interest the Congress. Most of the interns are social stud-

aftermath of the Central High School desegregation crisis. The Panel, all mothers of public school children, championed racial and religious diversity. Other prominent female progressives joined Murphy in the movement — Brownie Ledbetter, Jean Gordon et al. By the ’70s, the group was dealing with issues other than school desegregation, and male liberals were signing up. The name was changed to Arkansas Public Policy Panel in 1972. By 1992, grassroots activists and people like J. Bill Becker, then president of the Arkansas State AFL-CIO, were talking up a grassroots lobby group at the Capitol to tell the story that the corporate lobbyists didn’t. The KOPSKY: Greets guests at Panel Christmas party. Citizens First Congress was formed in 1998. The Congress now has 49 memies or political science majors. One or two ber groups, some of them local grassroots that work the longest hours are paid “a pitgroups that were organized by the Panel tance,” Kopsky said. The other 5 to 7 are unpaid. Kopsky has been with the Panel — the Gould Citizens Advisory Council, Parkdale Citizens in Action — some of since 1996, and executive director since them independent, long-standing groups 1999, when Ledbetter retired. that support the Panel’s work (Arkansas The legislature meets in regular session Advocates for Children and Families, the for only a few months every two years, but Sierra Club, etc.). The groups select the the Panel is engaged fulltime in organizdelegates to the Congress. ing local groups of activists, especially in the predominantly black communities of The Congress spends about $40,000 a legislative session — the $875 legislative southern and eastern Arkansas. Bernalunch here, the $765 legislative breakfast dette Devone of Pine Bluff is the organizthere. It does little in the way of testifying ing director. The idea is to get people participating at legislative committee meetings. The in the political process who haven’t been Congress’s style is to inform its members about bills that would affect them, and let doing so before, because “the process is those members talk to their local legislacontrolled by the same people who’ve tors. “We bring a lot of grass-roots people controlled it forever, the good old boys or into the process,” Kopsky said. “They’re whatever you call it,” Kopsky said. Once the local groups are organized, they go to very effective.” Individual members of work building community centers, cleanthe Congress’ 49 member groups total ing up election fraud, improving schools, about 7,000, Kopsky said, and the Panel Kopsky said. The new groups are often in has 14,000 names in its data base. A number of the Congress’s bills died conflict with other residents. In the prein this year’s more conservative legislature dominantly black town of Gould, the City — a “wage theft” bill to penalize employers Council recently tried to ban a group orgawho don’t pay the wages they promised, a nized by the Panel.


Goose hunt a man thing





It was the Duchess of Windsor who said “You can never be too rich or too thin.” Was it Jennings Osborne who said “You can never have too many Christmas lights”? Whoever, the thought is surely appropriate in Arkansas today. Sixty-six communities are adazzle in this year’s version of what the state Parks and Tourism Department calls the Trail of Holiday Lights. (The Tea Party’s not pleased with that name, we’ll bet. Holiday, indeed.) Old-timers can remember when outdoor Christmas lights were scarce in Arkansas. Now, every region of the state has dozens of towns with impressive displays. A person could drive from Texarkana to Piggott and see awesome Christmas light displays every few miles. A person probably wouldn’t, but a person could. Below is a list of the Trail towns, by region.




17. Corning, 18. Piggott, 19. Rector, 20. Blytheville, 21. Osceola, 22. Jonesboro, 23. Newport, 24. Wynne, 25. West Memphis, 26. Marianna, 27. McGehee

1. Siloam Springs, 2. Bentonville, 3. Rogers, 4. Fayetteville, 5. Eureka Springs, 6. Berryville, 7. Harrison, 8. Bull Shoals, 9. Yellville, 10. Cotter, 11. Mountain Home, 12. Horseshoe Bend, 13. Mountain View, 14. Heber Springs, 15. Batesville, 16. Pocahontas


2 1






11 10








13 15

49 48






55 53

14 56













62 64

45 66



63 26

43 42

28 29



River Valley


38 39 35


30 34 33




28. White Hall, 29. Pine Bluff, 30. Monticello, 31. Hamburg 32. North Crossett, 33. El Dorado, 34. Smackover, 35. Texarkana, 36. Ashdown/Little River County area, 37. DeQueen, 38. Nashville, 39. Historic Washington State Park, 40. Prescott


41. Gurdon, 42. Arkadelphia, 43. Hot Springs, 44. Mena, 45. Waldron.


46.Greenwood, 47. Fort Smith, 48. Van Buren, 49. Alma, 50. Ozark, 51. BoonevilleMagazine, 52. Paris, 53. Altus, 54. Wiederkehr Village, 55. Clarksville, 56. Dardanelle, 57. Russellville, 58. Morrilton


59. Conway, 60. Searcy, 61. Beebe, 62. Jacksonville, 63. Sherwood, 64. North Little Rock, 65. Little Rock, 66. Benton

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INSIDER, CONT. known how much money their clients got. The lawyers won’t say, and a Texarkana circuit judge turned down a request from an opposing attorney that he require disclosure of the amount. The case involves a class-action lawsuit against more than 20 groups of insurance companies. Plaintiffs allege that numerous customers of those insurance companies were harmed by the companies’ use of a software program called Colossus in calculating damages in automobile accidents. Some 25 lawyers from Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma joined in filing the suit. Judging from filings in the case, John C. Goodson of Texarkana is the lead attorney for the plaintiffs. He did not return calls from the Arkansas Times. Goodson is married to a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. At least 24 groups of defendant insurance companies have settled with the plaintiffs. Those settlements, approved by Miller Circuit Judge Kirk D. Johnson, produced $185,106,129.64 cents in legal fees for the plaintiffs’ lawyers. A group known as the ANPAC defendants (for American National Property and Casualty Company) has not settled, and ANPAC’s lawyer, Elizabeth Fletcher of Little Rock, has tried to discover how much money has gone to the members of the class, the actual injuried parties. She asked for the number of class members, the number of claims paid, and the total amount of claims paid. “Fundamental fairness and the principles of due process support ANPAC’s right to discover this information,” Fletcher wrote. “The potential for conflict between the members of the class and the class lawyers, which specifically bears on issues of adequacy of counsel, increases as there is less and less relation between the amount collected by the class members and the hundreds of millions of dollars collected by the class attorneys.” Goodson replied that the information sought by Fletcher was irrelevant, and accused her of “slinging mud” at him. Judge Johnson agreed with Goodson about the irrelevancy of Fletcher’s request. Last month, the suit against ANPAC was dismissed at the request of Goodson and his law partner, Matt Kiel. Their motion did not explain why they wanted a dismissal. Judge Johnson dismissed the case “without prejudice,” which means it could be filed again.

DECEMBER 14, 2011


The 13th hole

Brett Overman has a knack for turning bad luck into folding cash. A story of determination, success and the power of golf. BY DAVID KOON


DECEMBER 14, 2011



s the old saying goes: Into every life, a little rain must fall. Whatever old sage first said that wasn’t really talking about rain, of course. He was talking about Act of God stuff: fires, floods, tidal waves, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and all the other things that keep insurance agents awake at night. The little problems of our lives usually roll right off our backs. It’s the big things that tend to jut up like thorns when you pass a hand over all your days. When those Act of God Days come — and they will come eventually for all of us, make no mistake — that’s when a guy like Brett Overman is a good friend to have. If Overman was 65 or 70 years old, it might not be all that shocking that he’s now on his fourth highly successful business venture — National Disaster Solutions, a 24/7/365 multimillion-dollar outfit that drops into major disaster zones all over America to help communities and property owners pick up the pieces. When you hear that he’s only 36, though ... well, it’s enough to make the average Joe feel positively useless. Since he started NDS in 2004, Overman and his crews have haunted those places in America and the Caribbean where others are trying their damndest to get out: New Orleans after Katrina; Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake that reduced most of the country to rubble; Joplin, Mo., after the May 2011 tornado that turned a mile-wide swath of the town to so much nail- and glass-strewn mulch. Disaster has been very good to Overman, helping him buy his dream home in South Florida and befriend everybody from musician Jimmy Buffett to the perpetually-tanned actor George Hamilton. That said, it’s not all business to him. He talks quite a bit about the human side of his work; the need to help. It’s hard to speak in praise of a rich man these days, when so many have it so rough, but Brett Overman isn’t your typical rich guy. In an America where too much wealth seems to be built upon the air, Overman got his the old fashioned way: sweat, a bit of luck, the gift of gab and a mean game of golf.    If there’s such a thing as a born businessman, Brett Overman might qualify as a child prodigy. Brett’s parents, Pat and Ben Overman, said that when he was a boy, their only son had a head for business that surprised even them. At an age when other kids were spending their allowance on comic books and baseball cards, Brett was asking his mother for

books on sales and marketing. He set up lemonade stands, and later started buying trinkets in bulk and selling those. In elementary school, he got a job picking strawberries in his small hometown of Caraway (35 miles northeast of Jonesboro), negotiated a price with the farmer, then hired other kids as subcontractors to do the actual picking. Rather than mow a few lawns during the summer for spending money, Brett turned it into a business. “He was going around town getting jobs to mow yards,” Ben Overman said. “When we checked, Brett was getting the jobs, and then having all his friends bring their mowers over and mow the grass. He’d give them half the money. They’d use their mowers and gas, and he’d get the jobs.” “I was never really afraid to work,” Brett said. “In that, I was different — probably a little out there and weird. I didn’t do normal things as a kid, I’ll be the first to say.” Around age 6 or 7, Brett discovered what would become one of the great passions of his life (and, he says, the key to everything he has done so far): the game of golf. Pat Overman said he’d take his clubs, catch a ride over to the golf course in Manila, and stay all day in the summer. His father said Brett would often play in rain and snow, because he believed it might give him an edge if he was ever caught in a gale during a tournament. Brett said that to him, golf is beyond a challenge. “It’s something that’s a true, ongoing work of trying to get better, better, better,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s the constant trying to better yourself, or the love of the outdoors, or the opportunity to go to new, fun, intriguing places. At the end of the day, I look back on it and say: single handedly, golf has probably accounted for 75 percent of my relationships.”  After the family moved to Jonesboro when Brett was in the 9th grade, he joined the golf team at school, and was soon playing in junior tournaments all over the country (he skipped both his junior and senior proms because he was off playing golf). He was mature enough, even at a young age, that his parents usually allowed him to fly places by himself and stay with trusted members of the country clubs where he played. One of those tournaments, Ben Overman remembers, was another turning point in his son’s life. “He went to this place in South Florida and played, and he came home and told us: I’m going to live there someday,” Ben recalls. “That’s where he lives today: Turnberry Isle, Florida. ... He knew at

real-time business experience that he said just can’t be taught in a classroom. In his sophomore year of college, The McIlhenny Co. offered Overman what was then the fourth franchise of their Tabasco Country Store, a touristy outlet that sells merchandise emblazoned with the Tabasco logo. With help from his parents, Overman and a cousin started their Tabasco Store in Branson, Mo. He was just 19 at the time. It was a great concept and a great market, Overman said, but the location they picked wasn’t the best. The store did OK, but not terrific. Still, running his own business at that age taught him a lot about the rigors and responsibilities involved in keeping a business afloat. After graduating from college, Overman followed his dream of playing professional golf to South America. He spent 11 weeks there on the South American Tour, with sponsorship from Tabasco, before he realized the hard truth about himself. “It was one of those deals where you can’t look in the mirror and lie to yourself,” he said. “I’ll never forget it. I was in Brazil. I’d just played my tail off, probably the best I’d played down there, and I was in a tie for 34th or something.

I said to myself then: This is not really what I want to do.” Overman came home, and went to work at his father’s small, family-run janitorial business. “It wasn’t a week before he said, ‘Dad, the real thing is to get into restoration,’ ” Ben Overman recalls. Everybody dreads the idea of something terrible happening in their home — a fire that soots up the place but doesn’t destroy it, a sewage leak that fills up the basement with dark swill, even — God forbid — a traumatic event that leaves the walls and carpets soaked with blood. Even so, not many homeowners have given much thought to how they might get their house back to square one if any of those things happened. That, in a nutshell, is where Brett Overman was coming from when he got the idea for AllClean USA. There were other restoration companies, of course, but Brett wanted to do it better. His father, he recalls, was skeptical at first. “He said, ‘You didn’t go to school for that, Brett. You’re not a carpenter. You’re not a contractor,’ ” Overman said. “I probably couldn’t spell restoration, but I’d seen another company there in my

hometown do it and do it well. You hear things about different people, and I’d heard there was a demand for a serviceoriented company at the time to do that.” Still, he knew his dad was right. He wasn’t a painter, or a carpenter, or a plumber, and didn’t know the first thing about putting a house or business right after a disaster. He needed on-theground experience. So, just after Christmas 1998, Overman started cold-calling restoration companies in Lafayette, La., offering to come down and work for them for free. After getting rebuffed by several businesses, Overman finally found an owner who knew him from his golfplaying days in Lafayette. He’s friends with the owner now, and they joke about the fact that when Overman first called and offered himself up as an unpaid intern, he thought it was a prank call and almost hung up. After listening for a while, though, the man on the other end of the line told Overman to show up ready to work the next morning at 8:30 a.m. That first day was a quick education. The second call of the day was a CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

OVERMAN: A self-made man.


15 years old that he was going to live there, and he’s lived there the last nine or 10 years.” In high school, Brett took some ribbing from the football players for being on the golf team, but it stopped when he got a full-ride scholarship to play golf at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “All the football players would tease me: ‘Hey, Brett, come play football. Why you playing that sissy game?’ ” he said. “Shortly after, knowing I was going off on a college scholarship, my phone would ring, and they’d say: ‘Hey, can you teach me? Can you give me some lessons?’ ” After just two weeks in Lafayette, Brett’s friend — former PGA Tour pro Craig Perks — introduced him to executives with the McIlhenny Co., the family behind the famous Tabasco sauce, made and bottled on Avery Island in South Louisiana. The McIlhennys were soon close friends with the likeable Arkansan. “Literally for five years, I had a key to Avery Island,” Overman said. “That was a huge culture thing for me. And once again, it traced back to the game of golf.” Overman would travel all over the world with McIlhenny executives during his time in Lafayette, getting

DECEMBER 14, 2011


trauma scene — a suicide. Overman is a guy who keeps it together well, but when he describes that scene, you can catch a glimpse of the horror in his face — and maybe a peek at the 20-something kid in a haz-mat suit who wondered just what the hell he had gotten himself into. “We were having to wipe down the walls,” he said. “There’s blood everywhere. The lady I was working with went to move the sofa, and when she does, there’s the guy’s ear ... I remember walking out, and she said: ‘Kid, are you sure you want to get into a business like this? It’s not very glamorous.’ ” He got through it, though, and stuck with it. After three weeks of working every kind of restoration job imaginable, he came home to Jonesboro, asked his dad for a $7,000 loan, bought two truckloads of equipment — carpet cleaners, drying fans, air scrubbers and more — and started All-Clean USA.   “I had some business cards made up,” he said, “and I went door to door to all the insurance people and property people that I knew, telling them I’ve started a business, this is my story — not knowing what in the hell I’d do if the phone rang.” Two weeks in, it finally did: friends of a friend who’d had a fire. “They said it was the first fire they’d

— typical golfer,” Fortenberry said. “I went home and told my wife about it, and her impression was: ‘You need to run.’ ” Fortenberry was offered the job and decided to take it. In 2001, the first year of the Conway office, they did around 30 jobs, barely enough to keep the doors open. In 2010, All-Clean Conway did 389. By then, Overman had expanded All-Clean all over the state and regionally, opening offices in Hot Springs, Little Rock, Springdale and Memphis. It was a different kind of expansion in 2004, however, that would take Overman’s business life to the next level.

BUDDING ENTREPRENEUR: Overman (at left) running a trinket stand with his uncle.

ever had,” he said. “What they didn’t know is that it was the first fire I’d ever done. I got two of my dad’s maintenance people, and we went in, and in about five days we cleaned that house top to bottom, painted about four rooms, cleaned their carpets, and when we left they just signed their [insurance] check over to me.” That job netted enough to pay his dad back. It was more money than he’d made the whole time he was playing golf in South America. One job turned into another, and then another. As All-Clean in Jonesboro took off, Overman started think-

ing about expanding — perhaps a little prematurely, he admits now. He had family in Conway, so he set his sights on opening another office there and started advertising for a manager. After weeding through over 100 applications, he settled on Burle Fortenberry, who had been laid off from Nucor Steel and was then driving a school bus part time. Fortenberry had never worked in restoration before. They met for their interview at Colton’s Steakhouse in Conway. “I showed up more or less dressed up, and he was in a T-shirt and jeans with his cap turned around backward

Since the time he was a kid playing golf tournaments, Overman said, he’d wanted to live in a warm climate — somewhere tropical, where you could play golf in shirtsleeves year round. Once All-Clean was on its feet and growing, Overman decided to pull the trigger on buying property in South Florida. He eventually sold that property for a hefty profit, but the idea of living there had taken hold once again in his mind. The thought of a house near the coast naturally got him thinking about the threat of hurricanes, and the money to be had if a disaster-restoration company was in the right place at the right time.

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Overman called his cousin, Tyson Overman, whom he’d partnered with on the Tabasco Country Store, and told him his idea: While Brett kept All-Clean humming in Arkansas, Tyson would move to Miami, start a restoration company, and get busy knocking on doors. By the time the next hurricane came ashore, they’d be ready. They packed his cousin’s things into moving vans, trucked him to Florida, and Florida Disaster Services was born. You know, of course, what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. For the next 10 months, the hurricane factory that is the Gulf of Mexico quit spinning hurricanes toward Florida. “We’re losing money, and not really getting anywhere, debating on whether it was going to work,” Overman said. “Then 2004 hits. We have Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances, Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Jeanne. That tapped the resources of everybody in the industry — four hurricanes spread out like that throughout the state.” The first big job was a retirement highrise in Punta Gorda, Fla., which had been heavily damaged by Hurricane Charley. “We worked day and night,” Overman said, “recruited people, brought them in, for three hard weeks, and then you’d have another [hurricane] hit over on the East Coast. That went for three hard weeks, then you had another one hit in the panhandle. At one time, we were spread out in four different areas — two 26-yearold kids.” Looking to expand further but with his cousin worn a bit ragged, Overman bought Tyson out in 2005, got his general contractor’s licenses for all the states on the Gulf Coast, and then folded Florida Disaster Solutions into National Disaster Solutions. The ink was barely dry on his new business cards when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Fourteen days after the levees broke, Overman ventured into the city under armed guard with representatives of FEMA, who wanted to assess a high-rise building there for possible use as a command center. Overman remembers driving into the drowned city, his SUV weaving through stalled cars and National Guard Humvees, at times driving through water deep enough that it came up into the floorboards around their feet. “I’ll never forget pulling up at that building, and they had seven bodies tied together, tied to the posts of the portecochere, there where you drive in,” he said. “The water had receded a little, and they were still in search and rescue mode ... There’s the business side of things: ‘We’re going to be able to come in here and get a lot of work.’ But the more you were there — and I didn’t leave for

worst true, widespread devastation that I’ve ever seen. ... You had people at every corner, trying to direct traffic. They think this is their street and they’re actually four streets over. They didn’t even know where they were, because the street signs and all the landmarks were just gone.”

YOUNG MAN WITH A DREAM: Overman playing golf as a boy.

90 days straight, I didn’t go anywhere — you get more involved, and touch more people, and hear sad, heartache stories, you just want to do everything in your power to help.” Eventually, NDS got the contract to do demolition and remediation on every Jesuit school in New Orleans, along with contracts to restore everything from movie theaters to doctor’s offices. By the time they got to many of them, the tropical heat had turned the buildings to a fetid and moldy nightmare, with mushrooms growing out of the walls in some cases. Most of them had to be completely gutted back to the bare framing, and rebuilt from there. “Being in the battle like that every day, it really puts things in perspective,” Overman said. “Human life, and just caring about people ... . It makes you truly appreciate things a whole lot more. It makes you step back and think what’s really important.”

Since Katrina, which really put National Disaster Services on the map, Overman and NDS have responded to trouble all over, including working in 21 states and in the wake of the last 16 hurricanes. Back in August, after rains from Hurricane Irene swamped Vermont and completely cut off many small towns, NDS was there. The company, by Overman’s estimation, rebuilt around 75 percent of Vilonia — including 35 homes in one neighborhood — after the tornado back in April of this year. It was Joplin, Mo., however, which he said is the worst destruction he’s ever seen. A large swath of the town was virtually wiped off the map in May 2011 by a mile-wide, EF5 twister that churned through the middle of the city. He’s in the restoration business, Overman said, and in most cases, there was just nothing left in Joplin to restore. “That was the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Worse than Katrina, worse than the hurricanes. That’s the

It isn’t all rain clouds and ominous skies for Overman, however. Soon after moving to South Florida, he met — again, through the magic of golf — the Florida real-estate developer Donny Soffer, who owns the five-star Fountainbleau Hotel on South Beach and other high end properties in the region. With Soffer, who Overman said he now considers a second father, he has traveled all over the world, including partying with hotel heiress Paris Hilton in Sardinia and cruising the Caribbean with the musician Jimmy Buffett on Soffer’s 270-foot yacht, Mad Summer. “Brett is not a user, he’s a friend,” Soffer said. “His heart is in the right place. We’ve always had a relationship like a father and son — but I don’t always know who the father is. ... He doesn’t just come along because I have all the toys. He’s a true friend.” Through Soffer, Overman has befriended A-list actors, star athletes and big-money philanthropists, including Anthony Kennedy Shriver. Overman currently works extensively with Shriver’s charity, Best Buddies, which helps people with developmental disabilities. “He’s got a great demeanor, respect for people, such a good humor,” Shriver said. “Plus he has a refreshing mentality and a spirit that is hard to find these days. ... There’s something special about people from your part of the world. Bill Clinton sure has it. And Brett’s got the same kind of thing. It all comes naturally to him, and that’s helped him in golf, business, whatever he does.” Even though his job often has him meeting people in the worst moments of their lives, Overman still has a lot of wantto left in him. Nobody knows when the next Act of God is going to lay them low, but it’s kind of amazing to think Overman might well have another 36 years — or more — to work with.  “It’s the passion in what you love,” he said. “I see that in other people. To me, that’s the key to staying young and healthy. That’s what I do. It wakes me up. It motivates me. I didn’t set out to say: ‘I want to have 400 jobs and make x-amount of dollars.’ I try just as hard at 36 as I did at 23. Your responsibilities change a little, but I’m still passionate about it, and I still love it.” Kelley Bass contributed reporting.

DECEMBER 14, 2011


Arts Entertainment AND

old boys who’re constantly moving. How did the Arkansas crew work out? The Arkansas crew we had did a great job, but we had to supplement it with people from Louisiana and elsewhere, so it’ll be nice to see the local crew base grow so we don’t have to bring as many people in.

Nichols talks ‘Mud,’ more A Q&A with the Little Rock director. BY LINDSEY MILLAR


think I can finally say that I have a career without smirking,” Jeff Nichols said last week on the phone from outside his editing studio in Austin, Texas. The Little Rock-born writer and director couldn’t, actually. He started laughing as soon as the words left his mouth. Call it a symptom of his current state of mind — “cautious optimism,” he says — about “Mud,” the Southeast Arkansasset coming-of-age drama that wrapped filming just before Thanksgiving (and with Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon and a host of other name actors starring, the biggest film production set in Arkansas since ever). About the prospects of his sophomore film “Take Shelter” in awards season (most notably, up for five Independent Spirit Awards, more than any other film save “The Artist”). And about his future in the business. How are you feeling about “Mud”? You just really never know until you get into the editing room and put it all together. But while we were filming, I had the same feeling I had on “Take Shelter,” this distinct feeling of, “Man, we’re doing something unique.” You hope that 18

DECEMBER 14, 2011


culminates into a good film. With a bigger budget than your previous films, were you able to get a lot of different takes during filming? Yes and no. It’s really funny. We were still very limited on time because we were limited by Screen Actors Guild rules on how much time the two boys who play Ellis and Neckbone [Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland, respectively] could work. So there are still some scenes where I got two takes. But this movie is immensely more covered than my other films. The biggest difference between this film and my other films is that I really wanted to move the camera. “Take Shelter” had very specific camera movement. “Shotgun Stories” had no camera movement. Each of those were creative choices, partly dictated by production restraints, especially on “Shotgun Stories,” but mainly dictated by story. Most of “Mud” was shot using a Steadicam. It’s a pretty big progression because the camera moves constantly, which is really appropriate for the film: It takes place on a river, and I’ve always said I wanted the camera to move like a river, so it kind of flows through the story, not to mention that it’s a film about these 14-year-

How was filming in Arkansas otherwise? [State film commissioner] Christopher Crane made it possible for us to shoot in Arkansas. That guy is a badass. He’s the best thing to happen to Arkansas film in a long, long time. There were plenty of instances where he could’ve said, “This just isn’t going to work,” but he didn’t. Whether the film is good or not, I don’t know. Or whether it presents Arkansas in a light that people want to see themselves in, I don’t know. But it’s a beautiful film. Like jaw-dropping. Because Arkansas is beautiful and the river is amazing. I’m trying to put as many shots in the movie as I can. You shot a lot of the film on an island? It’s outside of Eudora. It was this farmowned piece of land. It was ridiculously beautiful. Sandy beaches and tall willow trees. It feels like you’re on an island in the “Thin Red Line” or something, but in Arkansas. Sam Shepherd had some days off and he would just come out to the island. I’d look up and Sam Shepherd would be on the island looking at barges. But all of our locations were really great. McConaughey was joking to me about it; he said for all of them you take a car down a dirt road, then it turns into a gravel road, and then it turns into mud, so you have to get out and take a four-wheeler and then, when you’re almost to set, you have to get out and walk down a path for five minutes. Another time, he said, “I knew when I turned on Possum Waller Road, this was going to be a good-looking location.” I hope that translates. So how was working with McConaughey? I love him. I think he’s amazing. He’s a superhero. We had him dangling from trees and jumping off moving dirt bikes in cowboy boots. He’d come and talk to our stunt guy and he’d say, “Yeah, I think I can do that,” and he’d just nail it. He’s just a cool guy. He’s focused and

serious when he needs to be and he’s totally laid back the rest of the time. You definitely had way more star wattage than your previous films. Was that hard to manage? Not from my perspective. We had two huge movie stars and they were up for the challenge. We took them into these backwoods crazy places and they were up for it. We had them staying at the Days Inn or whatever. I never heard anybody complain. No prima donna moments at all. My big worry going in was how I was going to deal with someone who’s on their Blackberry all the time or asking about their trailer. McConaughey never wanted to go to his trailer. He was around all the time. He was part of the process. He wanted to be part of that process. Reese was a little different because her parts were more self-contained, but she was very similar in that regard. Last time we talked you said you were at kind of a crossroads, where you felt like the next decisions you made could set the course of your career. Has that thinking changed at all? It’s a constant thing that I’m managing. The cool thing about having “Mud” in the can is I feel like with these three films I’ve said a lot about who I am as a filmmaker and, from this point on, I’m done establishing myself. Watching these three films, you can definitely get a sense of the kind of filmmaker I am, but maybe it’s a little harder to categorize me. You’re potentially about to get even more juice in awards season. Getting nominated for five Independent Spirit awards is crazy. It’s already made a difference. But it goes back to the heart of what I was telling you several months ago — it just allows me to keep some control in my hands and allows me to make some decisions about what I want to do. That’s the most exciting thing to me about “Mud” — that I was able to get it made at a much bigger level than I ever had before and still make it one of my films. What sort of schedule are you on? We’re hoping to have it done by the spring. It’s a big movie, but the pieces are there, from what I’ve seen. Read an extended version of this interview at

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8:30 p.m. Stickyz. $5 or a canned ham.

Last month, Amboy Community Food Pantry in North Little Rock served more than 900 people. That’s 900 people who would have gone hungry had it not been for the volunteer-run nonprofit. But pantries don’t just fill themselves. So in addition to the good work of the volunteers who run the food bank, the nonprofit also needs donations; hence this show. The Hamboy Jukes Band (dig the nod to the Amboy Dukes, the psychedelic rock



band that launched Ted Nugent into the world) is a super-group of sorts, including Jimmy Powell (Go Fast), Walter K (Shannon Boshears Band), Mike Nelson (Gun Bunnies, Big Silver, Amy Garland Band), Johnny Atomic, JR Top (Booyah! Dad), Mark Wyers (Josh the Devil and The Sinners, The Weisenheimers) and Gil Franklin (Port Arthur Band), as well as Jim Jolly on guitar and jazz pianist Bill White (Farris Holliman’s Rhythm Masters). Be sure to bring a canned ham. Other nonperishable food donations will be accepted as well.

7 p.m. Old State House Museum. Free.

In the olden times, before smartphones and liquid crystal displays and cathode ray tubes, before even film itself, people still huddled in dark rooms to stare at glowing projections. You know, for entertainment. One of the earliest methods of creating shimmering distractions was the magic lantern, a sort of proto-projector that bounces light off a mirror and directs it across

an aperture and through a lens and a glass slide with a colorful image on it. Later innovations enabled the images to move, thus humanity took another step toward the birth of film. The Old State House Museum will give audiences a taste of Victorian-era entertainment, with a genuine antique magic lantern, which “rapidly projects spectacular color slides on a full-size movie screen.” The images are dramatized by costumed entertainers and by the audience itself, which is encouraged to clap, stomp and join in chants and songs.


WHALE FIRE, PHANTOM LIMB 9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.


Little Rock’s Whale Fire is all ear candy of the sweetest variety: clean, clear guitar lines, catchy melodies and falsetto “ooh-oohs” all over the place, anchored by bedrock bass guitar. On the band’s EP from last year, the lead track “Sirens” includes all these characteristics; it sounds like a mission statement. Phantom Limb is a duo that got started in a fairly inauspicious way. A couple of friends — Justin Kinkel-Schuster of St. Louis (also of buzzed-about act Theodore) and Andrew Bryant of Oxford, Miss. — got to playing songs and recording them and then before they knew what happened, they had an album. The group’s self-titled debut (on Misra Records) filters Dinosaur Jr.-style guitar rock through The Band’s country-boy soul and raggedy backwoods sensibility. Vocal harmonies recall those of the critically vaunted Fleet Foxes, so if you dig that sound, Phantom Limb is recommended. POLKA YOUR EYES OUT: Veteran polka outfit Brave Combo plays Stickyz Thursday night.




8 p.m. Stickyz. $10.

Call me crazy, but with the exception of being at some sort of German beer garden — kielbasa in one hand and the afternoon’s third massive stein-full of beer in the other — I’ve never really dug polka. But one exception might just have to be Brave Combo. The Denton, Texas, outfit got started in the late ’70s, doing polkafied covers of rock classics and by the 20

DECEMBER 14, 2011


FRIDAY 12/16 8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $20$65.

late ’90s/early aughts, Brave Combo was winning Grammys for Best Polka Album (1999 and 2005) and being featured on The Simpsons — a sign that you’ve made it if ever there was one. The band’s polka version of “Must Be Santa” from 1991’s “It’s Christmas, Man!” even resonated with Bob Dylan, who included a nearly identical arrangement of the song on his own Christmas album, 2009’s “Christmas in the Heart.” Dylan told Street News

Service that he “first heard that song years ago on one of those ‘Sing Along with Mitch’ records. But this version comes from a band called Brave Combo. Somebody sent their record to us for our radio show. They’re a regional band out of Texas that takes regular songs and changes the way you think about them. You oughta hear their version of ‘Hey Jude.’ ” High praise from Blind Boy Grunt himself? Hey man, good enough for me.

For its annual holiday show, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents an evening of familiar favorites. Selections include “Let it Snow,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Ave Maria,” selections from “The Nutcracker,” the “Winter” concerto from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” RimskyKorsakov’s “Snow Maiden Suite: Dance of the Clowns,” and much more. Also just as a headsup: Santa is rumored to be in attendance, so you’d better watch out, and all that. There will be another performance Saturday night at 8 p.m. and a matinee at 3 p.m. on Sunday.



FRIDAY 12/16



10 p.m. Juanita’s. $12

ARMY OF LOCALS: Damn near every local rock band – including Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth, natch – plays White Water Tavern Friday night.

Bluegrass fans have always placed a premium on instrumental virtuosity. Whether they favor old-fangled traditionalists or newgrass hippies, playing at lightning speed has always seemed — to the outside observer, at least — to be one of the necessary components. By that standard, Minnesota quintet Trampled By Turtles more than measures up. “It’s a War” from the band’s 2010 disc “Palomino” blisters by and begs the question: Other than its instrumentation, what really differentiates this from a hardcore song? But it’s not all warpspeed antics, and the band displays an understanding of nuance on other cuts. Trampled by Turtles (or TxT for short) is no stranger to mixing it up in terms

of cover material. Right now there’s a string-band version of the classic Pixies tune “Where is my Mind?” on the band’s website. And in addition to the foundational bluegrass influences, the band name-checks acts such as The Band, Bill Callahan and Townes Van Zandt. (Aside: is there anyone making music right now who doesn’t cite Van Zandt as an influence? Don’t get me wrong, “Live at the Old Quarter” is a desert-island pick for sure, but dang it seems like everyone in the world got hip to ol’ Townes in the last five years or so.) Anyways, if you dig prog ’grassive (sorry, couldn’t help it) acts such as Yonder Mountain String Band, Old Crow Medicine Show and the like and you haven’t already checked out TxT, don’t pass up this show.

FRIDAY 12/16

FRIDAY 12/16


How about some crunchy, moody modern rock, with the volume turned down ever so slightly? Stickyz hosts Hurt, for an acoustic performance, with opening act Jeffro, 18 and older, 8:30 p.m., $12 adv., $15 d.o.s. The Arkansas River Blues Society’s Christmas Open Blues Jam includes a house band featuring Unseen Eye, Gil Franklin and Lucious Spiller, Cornerstone, 8 p.m., $5. Maxine’s has an evening of singer-songwriters, with Brian Martin, Bonnie Montgomery, Glass Anchors and Isaac Alexander, 8 p.m., $5 adv., $7 door. Or is a jam-packed night of horror-punk more to your liking? Then check out the Rotten Records showcase Only Flesh, featuring The Kill Crazies, The Muddlestuds, Moment of Fierce Determination, Let Them Be Buried, Rehab Superstar, Livid and Project 7, Downtown Music Hall, 5 p.m.

8:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.

If you ever wanted to gorge on a preholidays smorgasbord of Little Rock’s leading rock practitioners, here you go: Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth, Stella Fancy, Jab Jab Sucker Punch (new band with personnel from Big Boss Line and The Moving Front), Adam Faucett, William Blackart, Iron Tongue, Jonathan Wilkins and Booyah! Dad. That’s eight — count ’em eight — bands, with even more in the offing, going by the WWT’s website. It’s like a competitive eating contest but with bands instead of hotdogs or hot wings or whatever. Eating contests are ultra-gross, while this is certainly not, but still: Just how much music can you cram into your ears in a single night? Why not find out once and for all?

BLAZIN’ BLUEGRASS: Trampled By Turtles mixes up warp-speed bluegrass and altrock at Juanita’s on Friday night.



10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.

Word comes along that the bearded warriors of The See have been hard at it finishing up their newest platter, “Pretending and Ending.” I think one of the songs on it is called “Hey,” a

Downtown Music Hall has White Wives, featuring former members of Anti-Flag, Dandelion Snow and American Armada. But don’t mistake this for a side-project or a synthesis of the members’ other bands. The band has a markedly different sound, more widescreen indie rock than political punk. Opening acts are Josh the Devil & The Sinners and Adam Faucett, 7 p.m., $8. Arkadelphia native Nick Flora traffics in bouncy indie rock in the mode of Ben Folds and David Bazan. Flora plays at Revolution with North Little Rock jangle-meisters Knox Hamilton and heart-on-sleeve singersongwriter Jarred McCauley of Little Rock, 8 p.m., $8 21 and older, $10 younger than 21. Long-running nostalgia act The Manhattan Transfer plays a holiday show at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, 7 p.m., $28-$54. Standup comic Rahn Ramey has appeared on HBO’s Comedy Relief and in the films “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” and “Escape from New York.” Ramey is at The Loony Bin through Saturday night, various show times, $7-$10. Irish Consul General Paul Gleeson makes his first visit to Arkansas to meet with local dignitaries, Trapnall Hall, 6 p.m.

demo version of which is available on the band’s MySpace page, and it’s a good’n. It’s got a tender touch. It’s not as bruising as the band sounds live. Or once sounded live — it’s been a while since I saw The See. Also, I hear tell that there might be a special treat for

the first hunnert or so folks through the door. Wonder what that might be? Perhaps a recording of some of those new songs? I’m not one who’s given over to idle speculation, but that’d be pretty sweet. Also performing: Coach, the promising local rock act.

SATURDAY 12/17 Chris Milam brings some laid-back songwriting to Browning’s Mexican Grill, 8 p.m. Juanita’s hosts Fayetteville pop-punk stalwart Dreamfast, whose newest EP, “My Wounds, My Weapons” is packed with ultracatchy, booze-fueled tunes, 9 p.m., $6. Blisterin’ Arkansas bluesman Michael Burks plays an 18-and-older show at Stickyz, 8:30 p.m., $10. Over at Revolution, Wrangler Space pays tribute to Widespread Panic, 18-and-older, 9:30 p.m., $8 adv., $10 d.o.s. Cornerstone hosts “A Gumbo Christmas,” with Butterfly & Rebirth of Irie Soul, Fiyah Teddy, Brukshot Burnz and more, 9 p.m., $10.

DECEMBER 14, 2011


AFTER DARK All events are in the Greater Little Rock area unless otherwise noted. To place an event in the Arkansas Times calendar, please e-mail the listing and all pertinent information, including date, time, location, price and contact information, to


Rahn Ramey, Michael Brown. The Loony Bin, through Dec. 16, 8 p.m.; Dec. 16, 10:30 p.m.; Dec. 17, 7, 9 and 11 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. www.




Acoustic Open Mic. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. Bolly Open Mic Hype Night with Osyrus Bolly and DJ Messiah. All American Wings, 9 p.m. 215 W. Capitol Ave. 501-376-4000. Brian & Nick. Cajun’s Wharf, 5 and 9 p.m.; Dec. 21, 5 and 9 p.m.; Dec. 28, 5 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. Grim Muzik presents Way Back Wednesdays. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8:30 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. Hamboy Jukes Band. Benefit for Amboy Food Pantry. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8:30 p.m., $5. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. www. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Karaoke. Hibernia Irish Tavern, 9 p.m. 9700 N Rodney Parham Road. 501-246-4340. www. Karaoke with Big John Miller. Denton’s Trotline, 8 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-315-1717. New Music Test: Swampbird, The Monastics, Stephen Neeper Band. All-ages. Revolution, 8 p.m., $5 over 21, $10 under 21. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 5 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Wretched, The Browning, Serpents, Massakren, Wraith, They Were All Goliaths. Downtown Music Hall, 6 p.m., $8 adv., $10 d.o.s. 211 W. Capitol. 501-376-1819. downtownshows.


Rahn Ramey, Michael Brown. The Loony Bin, 8 p.m.; Dec. 16, 10:30 p.m.; Dec. 17, 7, 9 and 11 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


Cirque du Soleil’s “Dralion.” Verizon Arena, 7:30 p.m., $32-$142. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-975-9001.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, 2012, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. Victorian Christmas Magic Lantern Show. The show uses an antique “magic-lantern” that rapidly projects spectacular color slides on a full-size movie screen. They are dramatized by a costumed showman, singers, and musicians—and by the audience, which provides the sound effects, claps, stomps, and joins in chants


DECEMBER 14, 2011


DROP THE BASS: Dallas-based DJ Jeremy Word returns to Discovery Saturday. Word wears many hats: DJ, producer, remixer (Janet Jackson, Timbaland, Flo Rida) and promoter (Electric Daisy Carnival). But he comes to Discovery as a DJ, bearing gifts of giant, electro-flavored dance-floor bangers. Also includes sets from DJs Ewell and Crawley. Doors open at 9 p.m., $10. and sing-alongs. Old State House Museum, 7 p.m., free. 500 Clinton Ave. 501-324-9685. www.


Rock Town Slam. Arkansas Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $5-$10. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. www.



“A Blue Christmas.” Featuring Ben “Swamp Donkey” Bremmer. Artchurch Studio, 7 p.m., free. 301 Whittington Ave., Hot Springs. 501318-6779. Brave Combo. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8 p.m., $10. 107 Commerce St. 501-3727707. The Gettys (headliner), Chris DeClerk (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www. Giovanni & Friends. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. “Inferno.” DJs play pop, electro, house and more, plus drink specials and $1 cover before 11 p.m. Sway, 9 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke. Zack’s Place, 8 p.m. 1400 S. University Ave. 501-664-6444. Manhattan Transfer Holiday Show. Walton Arts Center, 7 p.m., $28-$54. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. Nick Flora, Jarred McCauley, Knox Hamilton. Revolution, 8 p.m., $8 over 21, $10 under 21. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Ol’ Puddin’haid. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Oona Love. Maxine’s, 8 p.m., free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Port Arthur Band. Parrot Beach Cafe, 9 p.m. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 5 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. “VIP Thursday” with Power 92 and Stack 3. Juanita’s, 9 p.m. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Whale Fire, Phantom Limb. White Water Tavern, 9 p.m., $5. 2500 W. 7th. 501-375-8400. www. White Wives, Josh the Devil and the Sinners, Adam Faucett. Downtown Music Hall, 7 p.m., $8. 211 W. Capitol. 501-376-1819.

Antique/Boutique Walk. Shopping and live entertainment. Downtown Hot Springs, third Thursday of every month, 4-8 p.m., free. 100 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Arvest River Market on Ice. See Dec. 14. Hoilday Open House. Includes visit with Santa and more. Faulkner County Library, 4 p.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. Lionels at Laman. Display from the Arkansas Chapter of the Lionel Collectors Club of America. Laman Library, Dec. 15-31, 9 a.m., free. 2801 Orange St., NLR. 501-758-1720. www. Paul Gleeson. This reception for Gleeson, the Consul General of Ireland, includes appearances from local dignitaries, including Gov. Mike Beebe and Mayor Mark Stodola. Includes live Irish music and dance by the McCafferty and O’Donovan Schools of Irish Dance. Trapnall Hall, 6 p.m. 423 E. Capitol Ave. 501-940-5910.


Wine Tasting with Bruce Cochran and James Cripps. Sample four wines. The Afterthought, 5:30 p.m., $10. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-6631196.



Arkansas River Blues Society’s Christmas Open Blues Jam. House band includes Unseen Eye, Gil Franklin and Lucious Spiller. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8 p.m., $5. 314 Main St., NLR. 501374-1782. Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: “Holiday Pops.” Robinson Center Music Hall, Dec. 16-17, 8 p.m.; Dec. 18, 3 p.m., $14-$52. Markham and Broadway. Brian & Steve. Flying Saucer, 9 p.m., $3. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-7468. Brian Martin, Bonnie Montgomery, Glass Anchors, Isaac Alexander. Maxine’s, 8 p.m., $5 adv., $7 door. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Brian Mullen. Denton’s Trotline, 9 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-315-1717. Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth, Stella Fancy, Jab Jab Sucker Punch, Adam Faucett, William Blackart, Iron Tongue, Jonathan Wilkins, Booyah! Dad and more. White Water Tavern, 8:30 p.m. 2500 W. 7th. 501-375-8400. DJ Silky Slim. Top 40 and dance music. Sway, 9 p.m., $5. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Dominique, Kia Dyor, Whitney Paige. Triniti Nightclub, 9 p.m., $5 21 and older, $10 18-20. 1021 Jessie Rd. “The Flow Fridays.” Twelve Modern Lounge, 8 p.m. 1900 W. Third St. Gas Station Disco. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, Dec. 16-17, 10 p.m., $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-224-7665. The Gettys. Shooter’s Sports Bar & Grill, 9 p.m.,

$5. 9500 I-30. 501-565-4003. Hurt, Jeffro. 18-and-older show. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8:30 p.m., $12 adv., $15 d.o.s. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. www. Larry Cheshier. Fox And Hound, 10 p.m., $5-$10. 2800 Lakewood Village, NLR. 501-753-8300. Michael Leonard Witham, Elliot S. Cotten. Reno’s Argenta Cafe, 9 p.m., $5. 312 N. Main St., NLR. 501-376-2900. PG-13 (headliner), Richie Johnson (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. Rob Moore. Cregeen’s Irish Pub, 8 p.m., free. 301 Main St., NLR. 501-376-7468. Rotten Records Presents: Only Flesh. Featuring The Kill Crazies, The Muddlestuds, Moment of Fierce Determination, Let Them Be Buried, Rehab Superstar, Livid, Project 7. Downtown Music Hall, 5 p.m. 211 W. Capitol. 501-376-1819. “Songbird Sessions.” Featuring Elizabeth Kennedy and Onna Love. Artchurch Studio, 8 p.m., free. 301 Whittington Ave., Hot Springs. 501-318-6779. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Thomas East. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Trampled by Turtles. Juanita’s, 10 p.m., $12. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www. Vince Martini & The Hi-Balls. The Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


Rahn Ramey, Michael Brown. The Loony Bin, through Dec. 16, 8 p.m.; Dec. 16, 10:30 p.m.; Dec. 17, 7, 9 and 11 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. www.


Arvest River Market on Ice. See Dec. 14. Holiday Dessert Social. Holiday desserts at the Argenta Branch of Laman Library. Laman Library, 6 p.m., free. 2801 Orange St., NLR. 501758-1720. LGBTQ/SGL Youth and Young Adult Group. Diverse Youth for Social Change is a group for LGBTQ/SGL and straight ally youth and young adults age 14 to 23. For more information, call 244-9690 or search “DYSC” on Facebook. 800 Scott St., 6:30 p.m. 800 Scott St. Lionels at Laman. See Dec. 15.


Sherry Laymon. The author will sign copies of her book, “Fearless: John L. McClellan, United States Senator.” Dolce Gelato, 1 p.m. 228 Cornerstone Blvd., Hot Springs. 501-525-6580.



Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass, Phantom Limb, William Blackart. Maxine’s, 8 p.m., $5

adv., $7 door. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: “Holiday Pops.” Robinson Center Music Hall, through Dec. 17, 8 p.m.; Dec. 18, 3 p.m., $14-$52. Markham and Broadway. Chris Milam. Browning’s Mexican Food, 8 p.m. 5805 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-9956. www. Deryl Dodd. Shooter’s Sports Bar & Grill, 9 p.m., $10. 9500 I-30. 501-565-4003. DJs Jeremy Word, Ewell and Crawley. Discovery Nightclub, 9 p.m. 1021 Jessie Road. 501-664-4784. Dreamfast. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $6. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Ed Bowman & The Rock City Players. The Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. The Freds (headliner), Sarah Hughes (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www. Gas Station Disco. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10 p.m., $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-224-7665. “A Gumbo Christmas” with Butterfly & Rebirth of Irie Soul. Also featuring Fiyah Teddy, Brukshot Burnz and more. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 9 p.m., $10. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-3741782. “Independent Music Night” Hip-Hop Showcase. Downtown Music Hall, 9 p.m. 211 W. Capitol. 501-376-1819. downtownshows. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. “KISS Saturdays” with DJs Deja Blu, Greyhound and Silky Slim. Sway, 10 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Michael Burks. 18-and-older Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8:30 p.m., $10. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Shannon McClung. Flying Saucer, 9 p.m., $3. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-7468. www. Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers. Ward Country Dance, 7 p.m., $6. Hwy. 319 and Hickory Street, Ward. Strange Love. Cregeen’s Irish Pub, 8 p.m. 301 Main St., NLR. 501-376-7468. www.cregeens. com. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Tragikly White. Denton’s Trotline, 9 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-315-1717. Wrangler Space (Widespread Panic Tribute). 18-and-older Revolution, 9:30 p.m., $8 adv., $10 d.o.s. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090.


Rahn Ramey, Michael Brown. The Loony Bin, 7, 9 and 11 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


Arkansas State High School Cheerleading

Championships. Hot Springs Convention Center, 9 a.m., $5. 134 Convention Blvd., Hot Springs. 501-321-2027. Arvest River Market on Ice. See Dec. 14. Christmas in the Wild. Come meet Santa and enjoy cookies, hot cocoa, crispy treats, arts and crafts and join Santa as he presents gifts to the animals. Little Rock Zoo, 9:30 a.m., $10$15. 1 Jonesboro Dr. 501-666-2406. Falun Gong meditation. Allsopp Park, 9 a.m., free. Cantrell & Cedar Hill Roads. Lionels at Laman. See Dec. 15.


11th annual Conway Regional Toy Run. Includes music from Clover Blue and Unseen Eye. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for a child age 3-16. Landers Harley-Davidson, 10 a.m. 10210 Interstate 30. 501-472-1628. The Buzz 2011 Christmas Celebrity Karaoke Contest. This event features Buzz 103.7 radio personalities and includes courtesy drinks and prizes, with all proceeds benefiting Youth Home. Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m., $50. 20919 Denny Road.




Christmas Craft Workshop. Students ages 6-11 make a variety of gifts to take home, class taught by Terri Taylor. Artchurch Studio, 9 a.m. p.m., $20. 301 Whittington Ave., Hot Springs. 501-318-6779.



Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: “Holiday Pops.” Robinson Center Music Hall, 3 p.m., $14-$52. Markham and Broadway. Breakfast, Books & Booze. Includes brunch buffet from noon-3 p.m., $8, with lots of books and records for sale from local distributors and labels, and acoustic sets from Matt Anders & Mark Lierly, Alan Short, Andy Warr and others. White Water Tavern, 12 p.m. a.m., $5 after 7 p.m. 2500 W. 7th. 501-375-8400. Christmas Concert. MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, 2 p.m., free. 503 E. 9th St. 501-375-5197. Hawkboy, Ocean is Theory, Marksmen, Falcon Scott. Downtown Music Hall, 7 p.m., $10. 211 W. Capitol. 501-376-1819. downtownshows. Karaoke. Shorty Small’s, 6-9 p.m. 1475 Hogan Lane, Conway. 501-764-0604. Lending Love Fest. All-ages show featuring Taylor Thrash, Moses Uvere, Cloud N9ne, Crash Cabin, School Boy Humor. Revolution, 6 p.m., $10. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Muses Project: Voices of Angels Concert. Garvan Woodland Gardens, 3 p.m., $25. 550 Akridge Road, Hot Springs. 501-463-4514. www. Nightflying 31st anniversary party. Featuring Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Trey Johnson & Dave Almond, David Ball & Hired Hands, Liquid Groove Mojo, Anna Jordan-Williams & Moonshine Mafia, Dayton Waters, Salt & Pepper, Rena Wren & Company, Greg Batterton, Andy Tanas, Mike Taber, Chuck Young, The John CONTINUED ON PAGE 25

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DECEMBER 14, 2011


HELP WANTED ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS Friday, December 16 - Thursday, December 22

CELEBRATING OUR 11th YEAR! Dirty Girl r 2:00 4:15 7:15 9:15

Juno Temple, Jeremy Dozier, Milla Jovovich

Another hAppy DAy r 2:00 4:20 7:00 9:15

Ellen Barkin, Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore Sundance Film Festival MelAncholiA r 1:45 4:30 7:00 9:30 Kristen Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland Cannes Film Fest MArGin cAll r 2:15 4:25 6:45 9:00 Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto Berlin International Film Festival the WAy pG13 1:45 6:45 Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Deobrah Kara Linger tAke Shelter r 4:00 9:15 Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham Sundance & Cannes Film Fest

screen your FeaTure, shorT, documenTary or musIc vIdeo! emaIl For deTaIls

Free WI-FI In The lobby


The husTler

Tues 1/10 • NR • 7pm • $5


501-312-8900 1521 MERRILL DR.

December 18th

Sounds of Christmas 11 am in the Sanctuary

Christmas Eve December 24th Family Candlelight Service 5:30 pm in the Sanctuary Candlelight Communion 10:30 pm in the Sanctuary

Christmas Day December 25th

Christmas Worship 11 am in the Sanctuary

Celebrate Christmas on Center Street with First Church!


DECEMBER 14, 2011



DEC. 16-17

Market Street Cinema showtimes at or after 9 p.m. are for Friday and Saturday only. Rave shows are for Friday only. Breckenridge, Chenal 9, Lakewood 8 and Riverdale times were not available by press deadline. Find up-to-date listings at NEW MOVIES Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (G) – That rascally Alvin is at it again, driving Dave crazy and making him scream, “ALVIN!” only this time on a cruise ship. Also, Alvin raps. Rave: midnight, 11:00 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 12:30, 1:45, 2:45, 3:30, 4:15, 5:30, 6:30, 7:15, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 10:45, 11:30. Another Happy Day (R) – This tense drama concerns a wedding day fraught with potential for explosive outbursts among family members who can’t seem to get along. Market Street: 2:00, 4:20, 7:00, 9:15. Dirty Girl (R) – A precocious young lady and a closeted young man traipse across the country, she in search of her biological father, he to escape his homophobic small town. Market Street: 2:00, 4:15, 7:15, 9:15. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (R) – Robert Downey Jr. once more stars as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson. Rave: midnight, 10:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:15, 2:00, 2:30, 4:30, 5:15, 5:45, 6:45, 7:30, 8:15, 8:45, 9:45, 10:30, 11:15, 11:45. Young Adult (R) – Charlize Theron stars as an unlikeable former prom queen turned desperate old hag who has returned to her small hometown to try to woo back her now happily married old flame. Rave: 11:15 a.m., 2:15, 5:00, 7:45, 10:15. RETURNING THIS WEEK Abduction (PG-13) – Hey, it’s that werewolf guy from the vampire movie, and he’s in a movie (this one) where bad guys are chasing him. Don’t hurt werewolf guy, ya’ll! Movies 10: 12:05, 2:30, 4:55, 7:20, 9:45. Arthur Christmas (PG) – This 3D computeranimated film answers the question of how Santa manages to deliver all those gifts in one night. Rave: 1:05, 6:40 (2D), 10:30 a.m., 4:00 (3D). Contagion (R) – Matt Damon, Kate Winslett, Laurence Fishburn, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hawkes and Marion Cotillard star in Steven Soderbergh’s movie about a virus that kills everybody. Well not everybody, but you get the idea. Movies 10: noon, 2:40, 5:10, 7:35. Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13) – Exactly what it sounds like, from director Jon Favreau. Movies 10: 12:45, 4:10, 7:05, 9:55. The Descendants (R) – Clooney inches ever closer to making his “About Schmidt” in this tale of furrowed-browed, middle-aged soulsearching set in scenic Hawaii. Rave: 10:40 a.m., 1:25, 4:20, 7:05, 9:50. Dolphin Tale (PG) – This story about an injured dolphin overcoming adversity and learning to use a prosthetic tale will jerk the tears out of your face so hard you’ll get whiplash. Movies 10: 1:30, 4:00, 6:30, 9:20 (2D), 12:15, 2:45, 5:15, 7:45, 10:20 (3D). Footloose (PG) – This remake of the 1984 classic will probably make you side with the humorless minister who doesn’t want the small-town kids to have any fun ever. Movies 10: 12:20, 2:50, 5:20, 7:55, 10:25. Happy Feet Two (PG) – In which computeranimated penguins with famous voices sing and dance and carry on in glorious, wholly

SHERLOCK HOLMES 2: “It’s elementary, my Dear Watson: Dr. Moriarty has simply taken a familiar and beloved fictional character and created a lucrative new film franchise by adding tons of KABLLLLOOOOOW!!! SKLADOW!!! RAT-A-TAT-A-TAT-A-TAT-A-TATA-TAT!!! KABOOOOOOSH!!! BLADAAAOOORRSHHHHKA-POWWWW!!!” necessary 3D. Rave: 11:25 a.m., 4:25, 9:30 (2D). The Help (PG-13) — Emma Stone and Viola Davis star in this adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s novel about the African-American maids who work in white households in 1960s Mississippi. Movies 10: 12:30, 3:45, 7:00, 10:05. Hugo (PG) – Martin Scorsese’s latest is a familyfriendly 3D epic based on the best-selling “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” Rave: 10:25 a.m., 1:35, 4:40, 7:50, 10:55 (3D). Immortals 3D (R) – The producers of “300” continue to blur the line between movies and over-long video game cut-scenes. This one has hordes of glistening dudes fighting with swords and whatnot. Rave: noon, 3:00, 5:40, 8:20, 11:05 (3D). J. Edgar (R) – Word is this flick is enjoyable enough, but doesn’t get into to the nitty gritty of J. Edgar Hoover’s deepest, darkest secret, namely, his crippling addiction to crossword puzzles. With Leonardo DiCaprio. Rave: 9:20 p.m. Jack & Jill (R) – Dear sweet Lord, is there any way for us to all just pay Adam Sandler to not make movies? Riverdale: 2:05, 7:00. Margin Call (R) – This thriller, starring Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore and Jeremy Irons, depicts a day in the life of an investment firm back in the good old days, fall 2008. Market Street: 2:15, 4:25, 6:45, 9:00. Melancholia (R) – The latest from Dutch director Lars von Trier has to do with celestial destruction as a metaphor for feeling bummed out. Your goth girlfriend will love this film. Market Street: 1:45, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30. Midnight in Paris (PG-13) — Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams hang out with literary heavyweights of the 1920s in Paris. Movies 10: 10:00 p.m. The Muppets (PG) – This Muppets reboot starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams has gotten nothing but glowing reviews. Breckenridge: Rave: 10:05 a.m., 12:55, 3:50, 6:35, 9:15. Riverdale: New Year’s Eve (PG-13) – What could possibly go wrong with a holiday-themed rom-com starring Ashton Kutcher, Jon Bon Jovi, Ludacris, Ryan Seacrest, Zac Efron and everyone else in the world? Rave: 10:50 a.m., 12:35, 1:55, 4:55, 6:50, 7:55, 10:50. Paranormal Activity 3 (R) – The franchise continues with more found footage of people who conveniently videotape their lives. This one takes us back to the genesis of the demon

from the first two. Movies 10: 12:40, 2:55, 5:05, 7:15, 9:40. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13) — The resurrected ’70s sci-fi franchise continues in this origin story of just how those primates got to be so smart. Movies 10: 12:35, 3:00, 5:25, 7:50, 10:15. The Sitter (R) – Jonah Hill plays an Apatovian man-child who must decide whether he will be the babysitter or else become the babysat, from director David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express”). Rave: 10:20 a.m., 11:20 a.m., 1:30, 3:45, 4:35, 5:55, 8:30, 10:05, 11:00. The Smurfs (PG) — The venerable Dr. Doogie Howser must aid a cadre of tiny blue communists as they flee from an evil plutocrat who seeks to control their means of production. Movies 10: 12:10, 2:35, 5:00, 7:25, 9:50. Take Shelter (R) – Critically acclaimed and directed by Little Rock native Jeff Nichols, in which a husband must protect his family from his apocalyptic nightmares. Market Street: 4:00, 9:15. Tower Heist (PG-13) – A Bernie Madoff type steals millions from his clients as well as the retirement funds of the staffers at his luxury condo. Rave: 10:35 a.m., 1:20, 4:05. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (PG13) – Vampires and werewolves and young actresses and supernatural battles and sexual tension and dramatic things and other stuff all are factors in this movie. Rave: 10:10 a.m., 1:10, 4:10, 7:10, 10:10. The Way (PG-13) – Martin Sheen plays a father who learns some unexpected lessons after traveling to France to pick up the remains of his adult son, who was killed while hiking in the Pyrenees. Written and directed by Emilio Estevez. Market Street: 1:45, 6:45. Chenal 9 IMAX Theatre: 17825 Chenal Parkway, 821-2616, Cinemark Movies 10: 4188 E. McCain Blvd., 945-7400, Cinematown Riverdale 10: Riverdale Shopping Center, 296-9955, Lakewood 8: 2939 Lakewood Village Drive, 7585354, Market Street Cinema: 1521 Merrill Drive, 312-8900, Rave Colonel Glenn 18: 18 Colonel Glenn Plaza, 687-0499, Regal Breckenridge Village 12: 1-430 and Rodney Parham, 224-0990,


‘THE SITTER’: Landry Bender, Kevin Hernandez, Max Records and Jonah Hill star.

One crazy night done mostly right Jonah Hill salvages ‘The Sitter.’ BY SAM EIFLING


n “The Sitter,” a still heavy-set Jonah Hill plays a college student on suspension, a perpetual ball of screwups without aim or scruples. Then he volunteers to go babysitting for a night — an act of self-sacrifice, actually, to help his painfully single mother get to mingle at a party — and his life turns partially around. Along the way, there are laughs. This is the sort of template that bad movies have relied on for eons, and indeed, “The Sitter” sets its stakes low enough that it’s only going to top out at “not half bad” in most estimations. Let us be generous and say, then, that it is not half bad. David Gordon Green, the Little Rock-born director, doesn’t reach the heights of his 2008 stoner-canon “Pineapple Express,” but he does manage something here better than the typical group-date movie for 16-year-olds, which is, truth be told, the ground “The Sitter” claims. Strongly in the defense of “The Sitter,” none of the three child actors is loathsome. The eldest, played by Max Records (of “Where the Wild Things Are” fame), is a dour neatnik partial to v-necked pullovers and the bonanza of pills he keeps in a fanny pack to control his anxiety attacks. His younger sister, played by Landry Bender, is going through a “celebutante” phase, which excuses her working-girl cosmetics schemes and her insistence on slinging Paris Hilton-grade hip-hop lingo. For someone whose life’s dream is to be famous and be invited to parties, she is surprisingly tolerable. Then there’s the adopted Central American firebug, played by Kevin Hernandez, who enjoys smashing things, introducing small explosives to plumbing and disappearing at inopportune times. His penchant for petty theft also leads to his snatching of a critical MacGuffin that allows the film to sic an enjoyably unhinged Sam Rockwell and cronie J.B.

Smoove after Noah. Thus our hero is set upon the sort of character-building course — saving his own hide, upholding his ever-higher standards of what a babysitter ought to do — that comedy is made of. Enjoying “The Sitter” requires that you forget anything you might think you know about New York City geography, and to accept that sometimes logic simply can’t be invited to the ends of movies. But outside of its mishmashed plot, the “Sitter” completes its emotional arcs convincingly, which in a movie about One Crazy Night is often the true feat, as “Adventures in Babysitting” could tell you. A word, then, about Hill, without whom “The Sitter” would be a dog’s breakfast. He’s maybe the most unlikely leading man working in films today — obese, slackfaced, moptopped — but he displays a surprising bit of range in “The Sitter,” working from the same vulnerable crassness that made his vulgarityspewing secret bromance with Michael Cera in “Superbad” the most memorable aspect of that slacker-teen classic. Like fellow Judd Apatow disciple Seth Rogen, Hill can reach into a wellspring of honesty on multiple fronts. He appears to honestly not care. Then he appears to honestly want to cause verbal harm to those around him. Then he appears to honestly ache when he’s wounded. Even while the film orbiting around him is this hostile to realism, you root for his character and you root for the actor. Maybe it’s that both he and Rogen are, to be charitable, nontraditional stars, but somehow they’re able to combine tenderness and crassness with uncommon success. With any luck his turn earlier this year in “Moneyball” gave a glimpse of a future when Hill’s talents do more than merely prop up B babysitting comedies.

AFTER DARK, CONT. Calvin Brewer Band, After Eden, Erica Jones, Mary Holt, Gina Parks, The Hump Night Blues Band, Dual Carb, Nightflying publisher Peter Read and more The Big Chill, 4 p.m., $10. 910 Higdon Ferry Road, Hot Springs. Porter’s Sunday Jazz Brunch. Porter’s Jazz Cafe, 10 a.m. 315 Main St. 501-324-1900. Sunday Jazz Brunch with Ted Ludwig and Joe Cripps. Vieux Carre, 11 a.m. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Traditional Irish Music Session. Hibernia Irish Tavern, through March 18: first Sunday of every month, 2:30 p.m.; third Sunday of every month, 2:30 p.m. 9700 N Rodney Parham Road. 501246-4340.


Arvest River Market on Ice. See Dec. 14. Lionels at Laman. See Dec. 15. True Soul album signing. Signing event with Lee Anthony, Thomas East, John Craig, Lorenzo Smith, Tim Anthony, Albert Smith and York Wilbourn. Pyramid Art Books and Custom Framing, 3 p.m. 1001 Wright Ave. 501-372-6822.


Red Ball Nation Arena Kickball. Electric Cowboy, through April 29: 6 p.m. 9515 Interstate 30. 501562-6000.


TRUE SOUL: DEEP SOUNDS FROM THE LEFT OF STAX. Book-signing and talks by Lee Anthony, Thomas East, John Craig, Lorenzo Smith, Tim Anthony, Albert Smith and York Wilbourn, 3-5 p.m., Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing, 1001 Wright Ave.



Deas Vail. All-ages Revolution, 8 p.m., $8. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. revroom. com. Karaoke. Thirst n’ Howl, 8:30 p.m. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Rev Theory, Girl on Fire. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $10 adv., $12 d.o.s. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501372-1228. Ted Ludwig Quartet. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www.


Bill Clinton. President Bill Clinton will sign copies of his newest book, “Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy.” Barnes & Noble, 3:30 p.m. 11500 Financial Center Parkway. 501-954-7646. www.


Arvest River Market on Ice. See Dec. 14. Lionels at Laman. See Dec. 15.



Jeff Long. Khalil’s Pub, 6 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke Night. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. Karaoke Tuesday. Prost, 8 p.m., free. 120 Ottenheimer. 501-244-9550. Karaoke with Big John Miller. Denton’s Trotline, 8 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-315-

1717. Lucious Spiller Band. Copeland’s, 6-9 p.m. 2602 S. Shackleford Road. 501-312-1616. Mandy McBryde. Maxine’s, 8 p.m., free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. The See, Coach. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m. 2500 W. 7th. 501-375-8400. Tuesday Jam Session with Carl Mouton. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


“Latin Night.” Revolution, 7 p.m., $5 regular, $7 under 21. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-8230090.


Arvest River Market on Ice. See Dec. 14. Christmas for Kids. Includes Santa, entertainment and snacks. Hot Springs Convention Center, 10 a.m. p.m. 134 Convention Blvd., Hot Springs. 501-321-2027. Lionels at Laman. See Dec. 15. Tales from the South. Authors tell true stories; get schedule at www.talesfromthesouth. com. Dinner served 5-6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Reserve at 501-372-7976. Starving Artist Cafe. 411 N. Main St., NLR. 501-372-7976. Trivia Bowl. Flying Saucer, 8:30 p.m. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-7468. www.


Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre: “A Year with Frog and Toad.” Arkansas Arts Center, through Dec. 18: Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 1 and 3 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m., $11-$14. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. “A Christmas Carol, The Musical!.” A musical retelling of Dickens’ classic, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, through Dec. 21: Fri.-Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed.-Sun., 7 p.m.; Tue., Wed., 2 p.m., $30$60. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. “Holiday Cocktails with Larry Miller.” The comedian and “Waiting For Guffman” star takes to the stage in a one-man show about marriage, children and drinking and how each one leads to the other two. Walton Arts Center, Fri., Dec. 16, 8 p.m., $16-$26. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “Hot ‘n’ Cole, a Cole Porter Celebration.” Fastpaced revue includes many of Porter’s hit melodies, including “Anything Goes,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “In the Still of the Night” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” Lantern Theatre, through Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 18, 2:30 p.m., $15. 1021 Van Ronkle, Conway. 501-7336220. “It’s A Wonderful Life.” TheatreSquared presents this stage adaptation of the classic Frank Capra film about the true meaning of Christmas. Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios, through Dec. 18: Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Sun., 2 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 21, 2 p.m., $10$26. 505 W. Spring St., Fayetteville. 479-4435600. “Judgment at Nuremberg.” Abby Mann’s drama is based on the trial of Four German judges accused of supporting the Nazis and how the case was complicated by the developing relationship between West Germany and the United States. The Weekend Theater, through Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m., $12-$16. 1001 W. 7th St. 501-374-3761. Moscow Classical Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” The Moscow Classical Ballet presents the story of Clara, The Mouse King and The Sugar Plum CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

DECEMBER 14, 2011


AFTER DARK, CONT. Fairy. Walton Arts Center, Dec. 17-18, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 18, 2 p.m., $32-$46. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “Not Now, Darling.” British farce concerns the hilarious complications between a fur shop owner, mobsters and mistresses. Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, through Dec. 17, 6 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 18, 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.; through Dec. 24, 6 p.m.; through Dec. 31, 6 p.m., $15-$33. 6323 Col. Glenn Road. 501-562-3131.



BENTON BOB HERZFELD MEMORIAL LIBRARY, Saline County Library, 1800 Smithers Drive: Artwork by Stephanie Cheatham through January, reception 2-3:30 p.m. Dec. 17. 501-778-4766.


ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER: “Will Barnet at the Arkansas Arts Center: A Centennial Exhibition,” through Jan. 15; “Cast, Cut, Forged and Crushed: Selections in Metal from the John and Robyn Horn Collection,” through Jan. 15; 43rd “Collectors Show and Sale,” drawings ranging from 18th century to contemporary and contemporary craft from 26 New York galleries, through December. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.Sat. 372-4000. BUTLER CENTER GALLERIES, Arkansas Studies Institute: “Ark in the Dark: An Exhibition of Vintage Movie Posters about Arkansas,” 35 posters for films dating between 1926 and 2009, from the collection of Ron Robinson, through Feb. 25; “Thomas Harding, Pinhole Photography,” through December; “Reflections in Pastel,” Arkansas Pastel Society’s 4th national exhibition, through Jan. 14; “Leon Niehues: 21st Century Basketmaker,” through Jan. 28. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 320-5790.


1300 MAIN ST.: Woodblock prints by Jill Storthz, 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 17. ARGENTA STUDIOS, Fourth and Maple, NLR: V.L. Cox, Doug Gorrell, open studios, 5-8 p.m. Dec. 16, Argenta Artwalk. GREG THOMPSON FINE ART, 429 Main St., NLR: “Interwoven: The Work of Robyn Horn and Dolores Justus,” sculpture, works on paper, paintings, through Jan. 14. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. Open 5-8 p.m. Dec. 16, Argenta ArtWalk. 920-2778. HEARNE FINE ART, 1001 Wright Ave.: “An Annie Lee Christmas,” paintings, prints, collectibles, sculpture by Chukes. 372-6822. KETZ GALLERY, 705 Main St., NLR: Sulac, recent works, opens with Argenta ArtWalk reception 5-8 p.m. Dec. 16, show through Dec. 30, also work by more than 30 artists. 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. 529-6330. OLD STATE HOUSE MUSEUM, 300 W. Markham: “Victorian Christmas MagicLantern Show,” antique projector shows color slides, music, sing-along, 7 p.m. Dec. 14; “An Enduring Union: Arkansas and the

Civil War, through March 11. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9685. THEA CENTER, 401 Main St., NLR: “Arkansas League of Artists Winners Show,” release of “A Rain Falling Star: Thea’s Journal,” 5:30-8 p.m. Dec. 16, Argenta ArtWalk. 379-9512. UNIVERSITY PLAZA, SUITE 300: UALR Applied Design Department’s “Fall 2011 Open Studio,” exhibition by faculty and students, silent auction, raffle, sale, 4-7 p.m. Dec. 14. 569-3182 or 683-7556.

Book Signing Monday, December 19th, 3:30PM 11500 Financial Centre Parkway Little Rock (501) 954-7646 President Clinton will sign Back to Work only. Limit one book per customer. No other books or memorabilia, please. A limited number of wristbands for entry will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 9AM on the day of the event, and a line will form for entry. Please call the store for complete details.

An lusive Exc Y.E. N. nt Eve Four Course Dinner with Chef Fabrizo Costangia & Chef Donald Smith $100 per person • Reservations Required Limited to 100 Guests 1501 Merrill Drive little rock, Ar 72211 501.225.0500

Get more info and get to know your favorite writers at BN.COM/events All events subject to change, so please contact the store to confirm.


DECEMBER 14, 2011


reservations recommended open Monday-Sunday For Dinner


Information in our restaurant capsules reflects the opinions of the newspaper staff and its reviewers. The newspaper accepts no advertising or other considerations in exchange for reviews, which are conducted anonymously. We invite the opinions of readers who think we are in error.

B Breakfast L Lunch D Dinner $ Inexpensive (under $8/person) $$ Moderate ($8-$20/person) $$$ Expensive (over $20/person) CC Accepts credit cards

BELLY UP Check out the Times’ food blog, Eat Arkansas



SUCCULENT: Curry in a Hurry’s mutton biryani.

Currying favor New NLR Indian restaurant Curry in a Hurry shows promise.


e wanted to love Curry in a Hurry even before we tasted the food. But we were a bit skeptical when we pulled up to the convenience store on North Little Rock’s Pike Avenue. We squinted dumbly at the inconspicuous entrance, nearly camouflaged by next door’s neon beer ads. Once inside, we were puzzled by the absence of tables in the main room. We were ushered to a pale purple sideroomcum-closet. It’s large enough to hold a square table and not much else. “Slumdog Millionaire” was on the TV, remote in easy reach next to the upright roll of paper towels. Overly bright photos of entrees line the walls, and floral curtains cushioned diners from neighborhood happenings just beyond the walls. The manager, Sahil Hameerani, an early-30s immigrant entrepreneur, recommended “the popular Chicken 65,” and left us with menus — but not before informing us that the place is family owned and his dad does the cooking. The menu includes such rarities as bheja masala (goat brain) that aren’t Indian restaurant standards, but we ordered “spanich” pakora and chicken 65 to start. The spinach was lightly battered and deep fried, served with tamarind sauce. We could taste it through the chickpea crust. The bittersweet, salty meld had a satisfying texture. Chicken 65 is usually boneless deep-

Curry in a Hurry

1800 Pike Ave. North Little Rock 753-4400

QUICK BITE This is the place to try goat brain or liver, and the Indian standards — curries, masalas and biryanis — are fresh and hearty. If there is space, dine in. The dining set up and friendly manager are part of the charm. HOURS 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. OTHER INFO All credit cards accepted. No alcohol. Limited dine-in seating.

fried chicken. In south Indian lore, it takes 65 days to age the marinade. When the dish arrived at our table, it was practically glowing from the overhead fluorescents. The showy red comes from hours of marinating in spices (and, we suspect, a bit of food coloring). For balance, it was garnished with crispy fried curry leaves and cool cilantro. This version of chicken 65 was barely fried, but it still made us long for the beer that Curry in a Hurry doesn’t serve. It does offer a bright green basil juice, which makes a nice palate cleanser. It has a sugary, vanilla flavor and tiny, gummy seeds. We were less impressed with the breaded pakora. The overwhelming

flavor was “generic deep fried.” If we chewed thoughtfully, a hint of cumin muscled through, but unless we’re polishing off a night of heavy drinking, it’s a dish we’ll avoid. The chicken 65 was tender and tangy, but despite its professed popularity, was less interesting than some of the other offerings. The seekh kabob — with a strong fennel undertone — was served in a delicious flaky naan. The vegetable curry will become a safe standard, with plump potatoes, carrots, peas and moderate heat. The spices are distinct, particularly ginger, and the fresh cilantro was a welcome touch. The mutton (in India mutton refers to goat) biryani was succulent, although the rice could have been a tad spicier. Haleem, a mush of meat, barley and wheat, often resembles overcooked dahl. But in Curry in a Hurry’s version, both meat and wheat still retained their separate properties, even as impossibly thin strips of beef melted into the sticky base. Palak paneer was the standout. It’s a dish often noted more for its texture than its flavor, but Curry in a Hurry mastered both. The spinach tasted fresh and not too gelatinous. The paneer — fresh cheese — was perfectly browned, firm and generous. There was just the right amount of creaminess and a subtle heat that didn’t leave us scrambling for rice and water. Dessert isn’t on the menu, but when we asked, Hameerani brought us khir and gulab jammon. The khir was a bland, gritty rice pudding with almond flavoring and cashew topping. It’s dessert for those who don’t really like dessert. But the gulab jammon was the best we’ve ever tasted. Usually this donut-like dessert is much too heavy, a victim of its own thick, sickly-sweet syrup. But this syrup was light and the donut fresher and airier than we could have hoped. In fact, fresh food and hospitality seemed to be the overriding theme of the odd little two-table restaurant. Hameerani was chatty, excited about his new venture and seeking honest feedback — and with the TV and private dining, he’d obviously put effort into making the space comfortable for patrons. Curry in a Hurry has no pretension and a lot of heart. It feels like a Southern approach to Indian cuisine. The portions are hearty, the prices are moderate but it’s the authenticity — of both the food and the dream — that will bring us back.


the first retail tenant in the downtown former YMCA building, at Sixth and Main, according to Sharon Priest, director of Downtown Little Rock Partnership. The sandwich and smoothie franchise has an expected March 2012 opening date. The California-based Tower Investments purchased the building in 2005, with plans to redevelop it as retail space. But in 2010, the building was unoccupied and up for sale. Little Rock resident Shellie Barnes purchased the building in August 2010, rescuing it from another buyer who wanted to raze it for a parking lot. Perhaps Tropical Smoothie is the first of many retailers who will embrace the historic building. According to Priest, the business’ commitment “is another affirmation that things are happening downtown.” LOCAL LIQUEUR COMPANY LOMBARDI closed shop this month, falling

victim to banks’ cautious small business lending practices, according to owner Nick Lawrence. Lawrence and a partner started Lombardi in Little Rock in 2007, shortly after Lawrence’s primary employer, Delta Airlines, filed bankruptcy. “I’m a pilot. My salary was sliced, my pension gone. I needed look into something else,” said Lawrence, a Little Rock native. His business partner had a recipe for limoncello, so they decided to mass-market the liqueur. The company offered three lemon liqueurs, but its signature product was Lombardi Cream of Limoncello. For the past two years, Lawrence has kept up his flight schedule while overseeing the liqueur company. It was a small operation with three fulltime employees at its peak. Finding capital became increasingly frustrating. Lawrence said banks wouldn’t offer a loan because of insufficient cash flow, and several private investors offered help, but then backed away. THE HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM

has posted the recipes from the winners of its 7th Ever Nog-off — John Robert Jackson’s Eggnog (People’s Choice), Capital Eggnog (tie for Taster’s Choice Award) and OMnog (tie for Taster’s Choice Award). Go to arktimes. com/nog for the link and more information.



65TH STREET DINER Blue collar, meatand-two-veg lunch spot with cheap desserts and a breakfast buffet. 3201 West 65th St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-5627800. BL Mon.-Fri. CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

DECEMBER 14, 2011




EDITED BY WILL SHORTZ 57 Jaded ale drinker’s question? 32 Himalayas, e.g.: 61 Pied-à-___ Abbr. 63 Like many a 34 “___ me my whisper Highland lassie, 64 Rugged rocks O”: Burns 65 Pro’s foe 35 Pulitzer nominee 66 Some readouts, for the novels briefly “Black Water” 67 Not realized and “Blonde” 36 Accommodating 68 For fear that person? … or a 69 They may be announced en hint to 20-, 28-, route: Abbr. 48- and 57Across Down 40 Bat cave deposit 1 Darken 43 It’s part of the 2 Most downcast gene pool 3 French city associated with 44 Intentions lace 48 Call of a siren? 4 Gianni’s 52 Chess champion grandmother Mikhail 5 Lesser-known astrology symbol 53 It may be green 6 Missing women? or black 7 Massage deeply 54 Seek damages 8 Longtime Democratic 55 Warm and comfy House leader 9 Tapless tapTO PREVIOUS PUZZLE dancing S E M I R A S P Y 10 Mayberry moppet T R A C I C H A T V O R C E G U A R D 11 Construction worker O O O H C A R R 12 Org. with U L L U P S T A K E S auditors S S A P O S L O 13 Giant legend S A R A N K E W 18 Little slapfest T I N F I N I T I V E 21 Takes too much, briefly R O U T S O N E D 25 Alternative to I, I N F A L F you, he or she F I F T Y F I F T Y 26 Gives the nod to E A H A G S A I D 29 Suffix with peace C T O S H A T T E R 30 Food and shelter T A S I A H A L E 31 Home in a A B E R N U S D A Mitchell novel

Across 1 Sting figure 5 Car dealer’s starting point: Abbr. 9 Old Buckeye State service station name 14 Chewy candy treat 15 Old buffalo hunters of the Great Plains 16 Work that gives the illusion of movement 17 Needing no invitation 19 Safety ___ 20 Like a successful marathoner? 22 Late-night beverages 23 1960s teach-in grp. 24 Bit of crying 27 Same: Prefix







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Puzzle by Paula Gamache

33 ___ Fein 37 Registering the most on the applause-ometer 38 Music producer Brian 39 Women’s businesswear 40 Prime meridian std. 41 Slangy reversal

42 Chemical agent for climate change 45 “You’re on!” 46 Title woman in a Harry Belafonte song 47 Duplicity 49 Many a rosary carrier 50 Good-humored

51 Prod

56 Like an acrobat 58 Prod

59 Non-P.C. suffix

60 They’re taken in high sch. 61 Home of the Horned Frogs: Abbr.

62 Directional suffix

For answers, call 1-900-285-5656, $1.49 a minute; or, with a credit card, 1-800-814-5554. Annual subscriptions are available for the best of Sunday crosswords from the last 50 years: 1-888-7-ACROSS. AT&T users: Text NYTX to 386 to download puzzles, or visit for more information. Online subscriptions: Today’s puzzle and more than 2,000 past puzzles, ($39.95 a year). Share tips: Crosswords for young solvers:


ACADIA Unbelievable fixed-price, three-course dinners on Mondays and Tuesday, but food is certainly worth full price. 3000 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, CC. $$-$$$. 501-603-9630. D Mon.-Sat. BIG ORANGE: BURGERS SALADS SHAKES Gourmet burgers manufactured according to exacting specs (humanely raised beef!) 17809 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-1515. LD daily. BIG ROCK BISTRO Pizza, pasta, Asian-inspired dishes and diner food, all in one stop. 3000 W. Scenic Drive. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-8122200. BL Mon.-Fri. BLACK ANGUS Charcoal-grilled burgers, hamburger steaks and steaks proper are the big draws. 10907 N. Rodney Parham. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-228-7800. BLD Mon.-Sat. BOBBY’S CAFE Delicious, humungo burgers and tasty homemade deserts. 12230 MacArthur Drive. NLR. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-8517888. BL Tue.-Fri., D Thu.-Fri. BUTCHER SHOP Large, fabulous cuts of prime beef, cooked to perfection. 10825 Hermitage Road. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-312-2748. D daily. CAJUN’S WHARF The venerable seafood restaurant serves up great gumbo and oysters Bienville, and options such as fine steaks for the non-seafood eater. 2400 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-3755351. D Mon.-Sat. CAPERS As good a wine list as any in the area, and a menu that covers a lot of ground — seafood, steaks, pasta. 4502 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-868-7600. LD Mon.-Sat. COPPER GRILL Comfort food, burgers and more sophisticated fare. 300 E. Third St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-3333. LD Mon.-Sat. DELICIOUS TEMPTATIONS Decadent breakfast and light lunch items that can be ordered in full or half orders to please any appetite or palate, with a great variety of salads and soups as well. 11220 Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-225-6893. BL daily. DIZZY’S GYPSY BISTRO Interesting bistro fare, served in massive portions. 200 River Market Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-3500. LD Tue.-Sat. THE FADED ROSE The Cajun-inspired menu seldom disappoints. Steaks and soaked salads are legendary. 1615 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-9734. LD daily. FERNEAU Great seafood, among other things, is served at the Ice House Revival in Hillcrest. Thu.-Sat. 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$$-$$$$. 501-603-9208. D Tue.-Sat. FLYING SAUCER A popular River Market hangout thanks to its almost 200 beers (including 75 on tap) and more than decent bar food. 323 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-372-7468. LD daily. FRANKE’S CAFETERIA Plate lunch spot strong on salads and vegetables, and perfect fried chicken on Sundays. 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-225-4487. LD daily. 400 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-372-1919. L Mon.-Fri. FRONTIER DINER Nice selection of man-friendly breakfasts and lunch specials. 10424 Interstate 30. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-565-6414. BL Mon.-Sat. FROSTOP Big and juicy burgers and great irregularly cut fries. 4131 JFK Blvd. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-758-4535. BLD daily. GRAMPA’S CATFISH HOUSE A longtime local favorite for fried fish, hush puppies and good sides. 9219 Stagecoach Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. 501-407-0000. LD. RED DOOR Fresh seafood, steaks, chops and sandwiches. 3701 Old Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-666-8482. BL Mon.-Fri. D daily. REDBONE’S Piquant Creole and Cajun food that’s among Little Rock’s best. 300 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-2211. LD daily. RIVERFRONT STEAKHOUSE Steaks are the draw here — nice cuts heavily salted and peppered, cooked quickly and accurately to your specifications, finished with butter and served sizzling hot. 2 Riverfront Place. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-7825. D Mon.-Sat. RUDY’S OYSTER BAR Good boiled shrimp and oysters on the half shell. 2695 Pike Ave. NLR. Full bar, All CC. 501-771-0808. LD Mon.-Sat. TRIO’S Fresh, creative and satisfying lunches; even better at night, when the chefs take flight. 8201 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-2213330. LD Mon.-Sat. VIEUX CARRE A pleasant spot in Hillcrest with specialty salads, steak and seafood. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-1196. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat., BR Sun.


CHI’S CHINESE CUISINE Offers a broad menu that spans the Chinese provinces and offers a few twists on the usual local offerings. 5110 W. Markham St. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-604-7777. LILLY’S DIMSUM THEN SOME Innovative dishes inspired by Asian cuisine, utilizing local and fresh ingredients. 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-716-2700. LD daily. OSAKA JAPANESE RESTAURANT Fine-dining Japanese dishes and a well-stocked sushi bar. 5501 Ranch Drive, Suite 1. $$-$$$. 501-868-3688. LD. PAPA SUSHI Hibachi grill with large sushi menu and Korean specialties. 17200 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-7272.


DECEMBER 14, 2011


SAIGON CUISINE Traditional Vietnamese with Thai and Chinese selections. 6805 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-6634000. L Tue.-Fri., D Tue.-Sun.


WHITE PIG INN Go for the sliced rather than chopped meats at this working-class barbecue cafe. 5231 E. Broadway. NLR. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-945-5551. LD Mon.-Fri., L Sat. WHOLE HOG CAFE The pulled pork shoulder is a classic, the back ribs are worthy of their many blue ribbons, and there’s a six-pack of sauces for all tastes. 516 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-664-5025. LD Mon.-Sat. 12111 W. Markham. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-907-6124. LD daily 150 E. Oak St. Conway. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-513-0600. LD Mon.-Sat., L Sun. 5107 Warden Road. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-753-9227.


AMRUTH AUTHENTIC INDIAN CUISINE Indian restaurant with numerous spicy, vegetarian dishes. 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-4567. LD daily. CAFE BOSSA NOVA A South American approach to sandwiches, salads and desserts. 701 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-614-6682. LD Tue.-Sat., BR Sun. DUGAN’S PUB The atmosphere is great, complete with plenty of bar seating and tables. Try the mozzarella sticks. 403 E. 3rd St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-244-0542. HIBERNIA IRISH TAVERN Broad beverage menu, Irish and Southern food favorites and a crowd that likes to sing. 9700 N Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-2464340. TAJ MAHAL Upscale versions of traditional dishes and an extensive menu. 1520 Market Street. Beer, All CC. $$$. (501) 881-4796. LD daily. THE TERRACE MEDITERRANEAN KITCHEN A broad selection of Mediterranean delights. 2200 Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-217-9393. L Mon.-Fri., D Mon.-Sat.


GRAFFITI’S The casually chic and ever-popular Italian-flavored bistro avoids the rut with daily specials and careful menu tinkering. 7811 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-224-9079. D Mon.-Sat. RISTORANTE CAPEO Authentic cooking from the boot of Italy is the draw. They make their own mozzarella fresh daily. 425 Main St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-376-3463. D Mon.-Sat. ROCKY’S PUB Sandwiches and a fine selection of homemade Italian entrees, including as fine a lasagna as there is. 6909 JFK Blvd. NLR. Beer, Wine. $$. 501-833-1077. LD Mon.-Sat.


JUANITA’S Menu includes a variety of combination entree choices. 614 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-372-1228. L Mon.-Fri., D Thu.-Sat. ROSALINDA RESTAURANT HONDURENO A Honduran cafe that specializes in pollo con frito tajada. 3700 JFK Blvd. NLR. No alcohol, No CC. $-$$. 501-771-5559. LD daily. REVOLUTION Broad menu that includes tacos and enchiladas, tapas and Cuban-style sandwiches. 300 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-823-0090. D Mon., LD Tue.-Sun. TACO MEXICO Tacos have to be ordered at least two at a time, but that’s not an impediment. 7101 Colonel Glenn Road. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-416-7002. LD Wed.-Sun.

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Counting Down



DECEMBER, 14, 2011


UE is ready to ring in the New Year! This New Year’s Eve, there’s something in town for everyone—from a nice quiet dinner to dinner parties and late-night happenings. But first things first—shopping for fun party outfits for guys and girls! Lulav served as our photo shoot location, so be sure to check out their plans for dinner and a dance party. “A reminder from Budweiser. Great times are waiting. Designate a driver.” Celebrate the New Year on Third St. in the River Market. The Third Street folks have plans in several popular locations with live music, great food and big fun. Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro High energy Dizzy 7 Band performs 9-12:30 $10 cover after 8:30 $5 In•A•Godiva•Da•Vida Martinis and $7 Dave Matthews “Dreaming Tree” wines. Champagne Toast at 12 and Party Favors! No reservations required. 375-3500 Dugan’s Irish Pub Rock out with the Shannon Boshears Band No Cover – no reservations

Party Favors and a Champagne Toast at Midnight Dinner Special: Filet mignon with colcannon and glass of house wine $28 244-0542 Copper Grill Enjoy their specially created New Year’s Eve menu (see on Party room space is available. 300 E. Third Street Call now for reservations, 375-3333 Zin Urban Wine Bar Celebrate the New Year In Style at ZIN! No Cover! 
Enjoy party favors, champagne & wine and flights & drink specials 246-4876


Chris Rodgers EVOLVE — Citizens of Humanity core slim straight jean Georg Roth red/black woven shirt HOWE black blazer


DECEMBER 14, 2011

Mindy Van Kuren BOX TURTLE — Korto Momolu asymmetrical, deep v, sequined dress Angel Court earrings & necklace SHOE CONNECTION — Peacock feather tassle lace patent and lace platform by 2 Lips Too


Leah Foster TULLE — strapless Rubber Ducky pleated dress in Champagne SHOE CONNECTION — Gunmetal sequin platform pump by Madden Girl

➥ We wandered into ARKANSAS FLAG AND BANNER recently, not to buy a windsock but because we sometimes just like to check in, and discovered a sale in progress—half off all Christmas items! While there we were also reminded of a unique gift idea that allows you to own a bit of history. You can purchase a custom engraved brick that will be placed at the entrance to the renovated Dreamland Ballroom (upstairs from the store). A brick in the stocking is, after all, preferable to coal. ➥ For the fashion forward guy in your life, head to EVOLVE for their 12 Days of Christmas Sale. Follow them on Facebook to see each sale each day leading up to Christmas. Co-owner Greg Rudkin adds, “And be looking for big changes in 2012!” Could this mean Evolve is evolving? ➥ Get your nog on. EGGSHELLS KITCHEN CO. hosts a Nog Off Egg Nog Contest during Happy Hour in the Heights, Thursday, December 15 at 5 p.m. ➥ PLEASANT RIDGE update: word has it that a new eatery will open in the former Capi’s location, closed since September. We hear that it will be a Japanese restaurant featuring a sushi bar and hibachi grills. ➥ We propose that you check out the 50% off rack at PROPOSALS in the Heights. Too good to be missed!

Light Up ShoeLaces A Great Gift for All the Kids You Know

Leah Foster PINKY PUNKY — Black backless with shoulder adornment by Nicole Bakti and rhinestone and silver embellished wrist jewelry and earrings SHOE CONNECTION — Color-blocked black & purple suede with glitter platform sling back by Society 86

Mindy Van Kuren PROPOSALS - Teal V-neck slip dress under a rhinestone and bead embellished neckline and sheer dolman sleeve drape overlay by Maria Bianco Nero Faux skin gunmetal clutch by Narmi Oversized rhinestone ear jewels SHOE CONNECTION — Peacock Feather tassle lace patent platform by 2 Lips Too

Hampton Inn “Have Fun, Be Safe, Stay in the River Market, Call for Reservations.” 244-0600

DINNER Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa Festive International Feast—items featured from several countries. 5:30–9:30, adults $40; children $15 239 Central Ave., Hot Springs 501-609-2553 or 1-800-643-1502 Copeland’s Restaurant Celebrate Big Easy Style at Copeland’s! Offering drink specials and a select

below Box Turtle 2616 Kavanaugh — 661-1167 M-F 10-6, SAT 10-5, SUN 12-5

Chris Rodgers EVOLVE — Citizens of Humanity core slim straight jean Ben Sherman black woven shirt and Ben Sherman kings fit blazer

dinner menu of signature dishes. House champagne for $3 per glass or a bottle at ½ price 312-1616 Lily’s Dim Sum and Then Sum Lily’s is bringing in 2012 free of surprises, so you can rest assured knowing that you’ll have a wonderful time with delicious food in an intimate and familiar setting. With no reservations required and a $2.75 “Half Wit Wheat” drink special, you’ll have a Lily’s New Year’s Eve exactly the way you want it to be. 716-2700


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Mindy Van Kuren TULLE — Mori Lee strapless black and sequin party dress SHOE CONNECTION — Cognac shiny platform stiletto by D Chris Rodgers EVOLVE — Citizens of Humanity core slim straight jean Thomas Dean black/brown stripe woven shirt HOWE black blazer

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Lulav A Modern Eatery Three seatings to choose from 5, 7 and 9 p.m. with music from Amy Jo Savannah starting at 7 p.m. Fixed four-course menu at $69 per person; optional wine parings with each course at $20 per person. Complimentary butler passed canapés, champagne and party favors. Reservations required. Free entry to Lulav Ultra Lounge New Year’s Eve party. 374-5100 Sonny Williams Chef will be offering a “Chef’s Dinner” as well as regular menu. Free valet parking. Jeff Colwin at the Piano Bar all evening. Over 335 wines in the collection. Reservations required. 324-2999 The Terrace Celebrate the New Year Mediterranean style with a sumptuous, prix-fixe menu. Three seatings starting at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Reservations recommended. 217-9393

Continued on page 35

NYE 2012 EditioN Balloon Drop • Laser Light Show Complimentary Champagne Toast Live Video Recording • Party Favors

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The 7 and 9 seatings will enjoy the music of Amy Jo Savannah Butler Passed Canapes Plus 4 Course Dinner $69 Per Person See the full menu online Optional Wine Pairings Each Course $20 Per Person

NYE PARTY Party with 200 of your closest friends from 9pm - 1am with award winning wines and cocktails. DJ Joel spins by request (70s-80s-90s & Today) Complimentary Bottle Wyclif Napa Champagne Per Couple (if you arrive before 9:30pm) Party favors for Every Table! RSVP required – this event will be SOLD OUT SOON!

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Tokyo House Come in for a relaxing dinner and bring in the New Year in a calm setting, enjoying the large variety of delicious sushi that Tokyo House has to offer. Best of all, no reservations required! 219-4286 Union Bistro Multiple choices for a five-course meal. Appetizers, salads and four generous entrée options including steak, fish and pork along with two dessert choices. Enjoy a pleasant dining experience in a warm bistro setting. $45 per person. Reservations required. 353-0360 Vesuvio Italian Bistro Introducing new Chef Fabrizo Costangia, a previous visiting chef from Napa Valley who liked Little Rock so much that he’s come back for a longer visit He and Chef Donald Smith will team up to prepare a special four-course New Year’s Eve dinner. To provide the highest quality and service, they will only accept reservations for 100 diners. Reservations required. 225-2500

DINNER PARTY (more than a dinner) Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa Gala Dinner Dance 7:30 Crystal Ballroom Big Band and five-course gourmet dinner, two before or after dinner drinks, wine with dinner, champagne toast at midnight and party favors. $175 per person. 239 Central Ave., Hot Springs 501-609-2553 or 1-800-643-1502

Discovery Discovery loves New Year’s Eve! Discovery offers a production in the showroom hosted by Dominique Sanchez, a Las Vegas-like performance with her younger performers. Hip/Hop & Top 40 dominates the lobby. Girls get in free, and cash drops in the disco tech at 2 a.m. The disco tech rotates up to 3 to 5 deejays a night and brings regional and headliners from across the country. This New Year will also feature a game room in the lobby along with the finals of the lingerie contest. 664-4784

The Peabody Hotel River Top Party 9 until after midnight! Music from Tragikly White, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Rodney Block & the Real Music Lovers, Epiphany and Tomorrow Maybe, Tre’ Day, DJ G- Force and Brandon Peck. $45 in advance - $55 day of party 21 or older 399-8056 Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa Festival Party 8:30 – 1:00 live band, party favors, champagne toast at midnight. $45 per person. 239 Central Ave., Hot Springs 501-609-2553 or 1-800-643-1502

Four Course Menu Champagne Toast and Party Favors $45 Per Person Seatings at 5pm • 7pm • 9pm Call For Reservations


Club Sway VIP Experience includes complimentary Hor D’oeurves, ‘Ever Flowing’ Champagne fountains, express Red Carpet entry. VIP & General Admission includes complimentary midnight Champagne Toast, balloon & confetti drop, Laser Light Show, live video recording, 2011 mixtape, party favors & more 9 p.m.-12 a.m. 907-2582 “A reminder from Budweiser. Great times are waiting. Designate a driver.” Don’t have a designated driver? Call Yellow Cab Company 568-0462 or Bumblebee Pickup service 765-5733. Download the Cocktail Compass Little Rock App for easy dialing of taxis.


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DANCE PARTY (dinner and dance music) Lulav A Modern Eatery Ultra Lounge opens at 9 p.m. offering award-winning wines and cocktails. DJ Joel spins by request (tunes from the ‘70s-‘80s-‘90s and today). Complimentary bottle of Wycliff Napa Valley Champagne per couple if you arrive by 9:30 and party favors for every table. Party with 200 of your closest friends from 9 until 1. $25 per person (free entry with Lulav dinner reservation) Reservations required. 375-5100

New Years Eve Dinner


Affordable Prices. PARTY AT HOME For those planning to stay at home for the evening, order ahead from Burge’s from their fine selection of smoked meats. Hickory smoked turkeys and hams have become a tradition for many families and friends. Cook blackeyed peas, and you’re ready for 2012. Phone to order 1-800-921-4292 or Burge’s Hickory Smoked Turkeys and Hams, 5620 R. Street in the Heights 666-1660 And if you’re planning a house party, do what the pros do and head to Krebs Brothers Restaurant Store. There, you can stock up on new wine, champagne and cocktail glasses. Set the scene with matching stemware, serving dishes, unique cheese plates and festive cocktail napkins. Also save yourself some trouble by stocking up on easy-to-make dip mixes. Kreb’s Brothers Restaurant Store 4310 Landers Road, North Little Rock 664-5233 Happy New Year!

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DECEMBER 14, 2011



outside the (gift) box

Unlikely shopping spots yield treasures galore



he following stores may not immediately come to mind when thinking of gift buying, but, as we discovered, prime shopping spots often lie off the beaten path. We begin in Hillcrest where instead of heading to our usual haunts, we stop first at Rhea Drug. They always have eye-catching window displays, especially this time of year, but today we choose actual shopping over window gazing. Inside we find tubs of peanut, pecan and cashew brittle from Juanita’s Candy Kitchen in Arkadelphia lining the aisles and shelves brimming with gifts— like these sweet bear mittens. Heading a block down, we visit Shoppes on Woodlawn, located in a charming two-story house, and find it packed ceiling to floor with gifts—all artfully arranged. There we discovered this spare Twinkle Bright Tree, minimal yet merry, and an ingenious use for a vintage bike tire. The Spoken For photo holder can be used year round for displaying your favorite pics or during the holidays to hold cards. We suggest adding ribbon or a bow for maximum festiveness. We then travel south to The Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Gift Shop, which is a real find. They have home décor, lotions, handbags, holiday items and more—from fun to elegant. On this visit the store is bustling with shoppers picking up shawls, ornaments and sundries. Though not pictured here, we were taken with a new addition to the store: handmade, ceramic Spirit Shakers by artist Jon Baring-Gould. Each has a distinctly expressive face and each makes a soothing sound when cupped in the palm and

shaken. Since the gift shop is a nonprofit, purchases are tax-free, and you can feel good knowing that all proceeds benefit the Cancer Institute Auxiliary and patient-centered programs. The Playaway Gift Shop at Arkansas Children’s Hospital is also a gem and has grown from a rolling book cart to an impressive 3,000 square-foot store. They have a huge selection of toys, gourmet goods, stationery, frames, crystal, figurines, collectibles, bath products, potpourris, candles, jewelry, clothing and, yes, even more. Best of all, the store raises funds to support the hospital. Heading downtown, we score big in the stocking stuffer department at River Market Books & Gifts in Cox Creative Center. Finger puppet narwhals, anyone? I’ll take two. We also grab one of their perennial hot sellers, an Unemployed Philosophers heat-expressive mug. When filled with a hot beverage, these dinosaurs transform into bare bones! Magic! We also discover the too cool Tiny Tim LED Booklight, perfect for the design conscious book lover. This miniature articulated lamp is based on a design classic, the Anglepoise lamp. Before calling it a day—these dogs are barking—we venture over the river to Jacksonville and hit Oliver’s Antiques. Oliver’s always offers pristine vintage fare and never disappoints. Afterwards, head to Double R Florist across the street where the over-the-top decorations alone are worth the trip. Sure you can find great presents at big box stores, and we all have our usual go-tos for gift buying. But we’d like to encourage you to put these out-of-theway places on your radar. Think of them as the secret fishing holes of the retail scene.

Almost 50 years ago, Bacon magnet and John Wind bracelet from WINTHROP P. ROCKEFELLER CANCER INSTITUTE GIFT SHOP

Alden Burge started with a small smokehouse in his back yard, preparing mouth-watering smoked turkeys for family and friends. What started as a hobby, would soon become a full-time business steeped in tradition. With the local demand so strong, he and his wife Margaret added a restaurant at the Lewisville, Arkansas location. And in 1974, Alden Burge branched out to open another restaurant location in the capital city of Little Rock. Today, that tradition continues at Burge’s®. From our original Lewisville, Arkansas location we continue to send out the finest selection in smoked meats to our loyal customers all over the United States, year round. Our hickory smoked turkeys and hams have become a long tradition in many family meals, and nothing says “thank you” or “happy holidays” like a gift package from Burge’s® to friends, business associates, and family, particularly during the holidays. We are extremely grateful to our loyal customers for their continued confidence. We welcome our new customers to experience our personalized service and look forward to providing your family with the finest selection of smoked meats available. And as always, your complete satisfaction is guaranteed.

How to order — Mail-Order or Lewisville Pickup Orders — Phone - 800.921.4292, Fax - 870.921.4500, or

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DECEMBER 14, 2011


Christmas changes


anta Claus has turned Republican, I understand, and plans to make some big changes in the Christmas ritual. Foremost among them: people had come to regard Christmas gifts as an entitlement, and Republicans have given us to know what horrible things entitlements are, so Santa Claus wants to phase out the Christmas gift-giving tradition altogether. Instead of presents under the tree for the little ones, S.C. wants the little ones to get jobs. Newt Gingrich was saying just last week that it would be a great benefit — a great character builder — if we’d put the little scudders to work as young as four or five, and Mr. Claus concurs, I gather reluctantly. Apprentice them out to a no-nonsense sweatshop run by a stern taskmaster — the coffin maker in Oliver Twist comes to mind — and it wouldn’t be long before they learned the value of a dollar, and the pride of earning the wherewithal to buy their own crust of bread or bowl of weevilly gruel when malnutrition threatened their on-the-job efficiency or proficiency. Or just furnish them a daily can or two of Red Bull, the cost deducted from their wages, of course, if they have enough wages to cover a can or two of Red Bull, and they could probably get their work

quota just from jitters resulting from that. And what’s left over after the Red Bull and the flat tax withholdBOB ing, sure, by all LANCASTER means splurge on a peppermint cane to hang on the tree and have the family take turns jumping up and licking it two or three times a day during the 12 Days of Christmas. Such extravagant living as that is morally contraindicated, understand, but it’s your dime — literally, it’s your dime; as a dime a day sounds about right as a wage in an economy fueled in large measure by pre-pubescent sweat and pre-pubescent tears. This no work/no-holiday-candy-tolick-on ethic is as American as beating child-labor slackers with fireplace pokers, going back 400 years to John Smith at Jamestown. It received Biblical sanction from St. Paul in II Thessalonians — and there’s no reason why American children should be excluded from it. Literary bleeding-hearts got them excused in the first place, and we’re a tougher-minded lot today. We know they’re just spoiled brats mostly, who could use a little shaping up.



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And not since the 19th century has an American political candidate or party had the tough-love discipline to hold urchins’ little feet to the fire, to oblige them to pull their own weight, to pull up by their own bootstraps if indeed the developing Republican scheme admits of their going to work shod. It might very well not. Oh, but working full time they wouldn’t be able to go to school, the spoilers say. Sure they would, say N.G. and S.C. in reply. It’d be the School of Hard Knocks primarily, yes, but eventually the other kind, too. The other kind that banned God and made slouching apes out of Adam and Eve and won’t let you beat up homos or pack. It might test their stamina a little to go to hard knocks school every day and nopack ape school nights and weekends and holidays, but little kids have pep to burn so why not put it to good use? The bleeding hearts say well, their hands are too small and tender, they don’t have the strength to turn a lug wrench or load 16 tons of No. 9 coal or rassle professionally on the WWF circuit. You got the same razzmatazz once about women in the work force, but Rosie got a foot in the door and women proved they could do the job and for only a small fraction of what it costs to get a man to do it. With just a teensy bit more of timely government deregulation, you could get a child under 10 to do the job for even less than you have to pay a woman, and with

the anticipated Republican-agenda legislation enacted and in effect if the child grumbled or sulked about it, or started talking union or threatening to call OSHA, you could tase the little troublemaker or waterboard him or whatever the situation required. Bruise him to death sort of accidentally, as one of the Artful Dodger’s workhouse overseers claimed was his specialty. Garnish whatever coppers were left in his, ahem, paycheck and pass them along to the Koch boys who have to have money from somewhere — or lots of somewheres — to keep their humongo hog act going. Not that this mess of trash that’s bantering toddler workfare really cares about the issue. Their ultimate aim is to revoke all government regulation, so they can get free and unlimited permanent access to the trough, and they figure if they can scrap the child-labor regs then the rest shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The most troubling question for me in all this is how they lured Santa Claus — Santa Claus! — into their shameful kuplotting against the urchinry. I’ve got some theories on that — from the disillusioning predictability of his Christmas night routine to the physical threat to Toyland from man-caused climate change — and I might get around to expounding on them later. Meantime, bear this in mind, that Santa is an anagram for Satan. Might be a clue in that.










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Petit Jean

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Queen Wilhelmina

disc over w hat ’ s new for 2012 Admission to Arkansas State Parks museums will be FREE beginning January 2, so make plans to explore outstanding collections and connect your life to the people and events of Arkansas’s past. And some of your favorite parks are even better! Historic Mather Lodge at Petit Jean State Park and The Ridges at Village Creek, the Andy Dye signature golf course at Village Creek State Park, will reopen in spring following major improvements. Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge will close temporarily February 1 until summer 2013 for renovation while all other facilities at the park, including the campground and trails, will remain open.

888-AT-PARKS •

Keep up with all of this and more with the Arkansas State Parks On-the-Go Park Guide app for your smart phone. December 14, 2011 39

It’s the return of the annual Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase as performers compete for an array of prizes. All acts who have at least four songs of original material are encouraged to enter. All styles are welcome.


Semifinalists will compete throughout January and February at Stickyz and Revolution. Weekly winners will then face off in the finals in March. Check out for information on how to enter online and upload your files. Door prizes will be given away to fans in attendance.




Arkansas Times  
Arkansas Times  

Arkansas Times