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Eat Arkansas

White Water gets Southern Salted

Lauren McCants, the Southern Salt Co. food truck founder and chef, is now serving food at the White Water Tavern Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday. On the menu: hamburgers and cheeseburgers (of course) as well as deep fried pork tenderloin sandwiches, deep fried chicken sandwiches, a smoked bologna and over-easy egg sandwich (real good, she says), chicken nachos and a special, like coconut curried chicken. There are vegetarian options, as well: Deep-fried tofu sandwiches, prepared with avocado and like a fish taco; and sweet potato and avocado tacos.

Artisan sandwiches at Kent Walker's

Kent Walker’s Artisan Cheese now offers more than locally crafted cheese and brews: It's grilling sandwiches and serving them up all day. The menu includes a basic house grilled cheese, made up of a blend of Walker cheeses; Melinda’s Pimiento, named for the wholesaler who created the recipe; the Bonta, a blend of house cheeses with Bonta Toscana, Amy Bradley-Hole’s unparalleled tomato sauce; a Not-Your-Mama’s bologna sandwich with house-blend cheeses, spring mix lettuce and tomatoes with a special spread and more.

Snag-a-Salad is solid despite some absent ingredients

Despite a few differences between menu descriptions and finished products, this Conway eatery is still worth a look.

Dining Review

Perfect pizza

October 20, 2016
Perfect pizza
DeLuca's is the jewel of Hot Springs. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

Good Weather

October 20, 2016
Good Weather
Lakewood pop-up gallery makes a home for art in limbo. /more/

To-Do List

White Water hosts a big Mississippi Blues Show

October 20, 2016
White Water hosts a big Mississippi Blues Show
Also, Red Octopus at the Public Theater, Alcee Chriss III at First Presbyterian Church, Harvestfest in Hillcrest, the Arkansas Times Hog Roast, Wildflower Revue at South on Main and Made By Few in Bentonville. /more/


Max Brantley

Trumped in Arkansas

After two solid debates and the release of a video and corroborating testimony that further confirmed the misogyny of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidential election Nov. 8 /more/

Ernest Dumas

White House sex

Illicit sex has invaded the White House since Tom Jefferson's days and sometimes also the public aspects of presidential elections, but Donald Trump threatens to make sex the central issue of a presidential election /more/

Gene Lyons

The big loser

So now the big crybaby says he's losing because his opponent is crooked and the referees are blind. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Lessons learned

October 20, 2016
Lessons learned
Picture Bret Bielema pole-vaulting for a minute. Then, once the laughter subsides, hear me out with this absurd analogy. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Eat Arkansas

For food lovers

Eye Candy

On art in Arkansas

Street Jazz

A view from Northwest Arkansas

Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 21, 2016 - 15:36:00

Marijuana backers fault state's cost report UPDATE

click to enlarge DAVID COUCH: Questions state estimates on cost of marijuana regulation. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • DAVID COUCH: Questions state estimates on cost of marijuana regulation.
David Couch, spokesman for the group backing the amendment,, Issue 6, to allow medical marijuana in Arkansas, has sent a  response to a state report issued this week on the impact of the measure.

As I noted before, the state report — relying on Finance and Administration, State Police and ABC estimates — says it would cost far more to regulate the amendment that it would produce in tax revenue — $2.4 million in revenue against $4 to $5.7 million in costs.

Couch has said previously that the amendment requires that it be revenue neutral. He's also scoffed at the figures cited in new expenses. Me, too. 20 new state troopers and 20 new Ram pickups for them, plus all kinds of support, because medical marijuana is legalized. How does legalizing a medical usage of a drug they already are nominally staffed up to investigate require such an additional need for police manpower?

In any case: Here again is the state report on the amendment (there's a separate one on the initiated act.)

Couch responded:

I’ve briefly looked at the DFA report and it is fundamentally flawed. If you look at the states that they use to calculate the average marijuana sales per capita they use only 6 of 25. Of these 6, Illinois and Nevada are new to the medical marijuana market and not even fully operable yet. They have Nevada at 0.93 per capita. Why did they leave out Arizona at $33.63 per capita? What about the other states that have medical marijuana?

It is also important to note that 4 of the 6 states they chose allow patients to grow their own marijuana. Issue 6 does not.

They also did not include any revenue generated by the application and license fees. They did however point out that with respect to Issue 6 that it is required to be revenue neutral and that General Assembly can impose additional taxes and/or reallocate the ones imposed in the amendment.

Also they also ignore all the other economic benefits of Issue 6. We are paying the Chinese at least $3.2 million to create 400 jobs here. The average worker will make $14 per hour. We are rebating the Chinese 65% of the property taxes that they pay. Issue 6 will create 800 jobs (for people who will pay income tax) and all of the property taxes will stay. The average dispensary employee makes $17 per hour.
Which reminds me: How was it that Gov. Asa Hutchinson could promise the Chinese company a 65 percent discount in local property taxes without votes of relevant governing bodies in Pulaski County first that assess the tax and approve these payment-in-lieu-of-tax deals on property benefitting from tax-advantaged bond issues. (I know, they'd all probably roll over anyway, and the biggest taxing agency in the county, the Little Rock School District, was taken over by the Hutchinson administration, but still.)

click to enlarge unnamed.png
UPDATE: Backers of Issue 7, the initiated act for medical marijuana, also have objected to the state report on their measure.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care (ACC) – the sponsors of the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, Issue 7 on this November’s ballot – condemns a recent report issued by the state Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) as inaccurate and misleading. The report is a political stunt seeking to curtail support for Issue 7, which would offer seriously ill Arkansans the opportunity to seek this treatment option with their physician’s authorization.

The DFA report estimates that implementation of a program under Issue 7 would annually cost the department between $635,000-$993,000. The DFA arrived at these numbers in part by estimating the need to hire 20 new law enforcement officers and purchase 20 Dodge Ram 2500 trucks. Yet the report gives no reason why these new expenses are needed. In truth, costs for law enforcement personnel go down when states implement medical marijuana programs, as police no longer need to target patients seeking relief from cannabis.

The report makes other absurd claims as well, again with no explanation. For instance, the report claims that Issue 7 would cost a combined total of $3,960 per year for nitrile and latex gloves, and $100,000 for self-contained breathing apparatuses, devices worn by firefighters to provide breathable air in life-threatening situations. It is difficult to imagine how Issue 7 has anything to do with these expenses, and the report provides no rationale for their inclusion as Issue 7-related costs.

Most state medical cannabis programs are cost-neutral or run at a surplus. Programs in Michigan, Oregon, and Arizona have brought in millions of dollars in surpluses. For a comparison of fiscal information for state programs please see

The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act was drafted to be completely self-funded by levying a tax on medical cannabis. Nonprofit cannabis care centers established under the Act would be required to pay a license application fee of up to $5,000 and an annual renewal fee of $1,000. Patients would pay an application fee of up to $50, and testing labs application fees range up to $1,000. ACC believes these sums will more than cover the administrative costs of running the program, and may indeed lead to a surplus.

Ryan Denham who serves as Deputy Director for the Issue 7 stated, “This misleading report is a desperate attempt by a state agency whose head was appointed by Gov. Hutchinson, who previously led the D.E.A. and is currently leading the opposition to this patient-led effort. We hope voters are not misled by this intentionally deceptive report and will make the sensible and compassionate choice at the polls in November.”


Friday, October 21, 2016 - 13:08:00

TGIF and the video report

Here's an open line along with the mid-afternoon news and comment.


Friday, October 21, 2016 - 12:30:00

How about cheese dip for lunch Saturday?

click to enlarge cheesedip.jpg

Big day in Little Rock tomorrow, what with the Race for the Cure hordes on the street. What's for lunch?

How about the World Cheese Dip Championship from noon to 3 p.m. in the River Market Pavilion.

You can buy a bargain $8 ticket online until late tonight and also at the gate.

There will be music as well as the work of cheese dip competitors to sample and drinks will be sold.

It's also for a good cause — the Harmony Health Clinic. Looks like a perfect fall day for cheese dip and something to wash it down.

It's my duty to help judge the event. Somebody has to do it.


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Today's headlines: The campaign for medical marijuana

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Friday, October 21, 2016 - 15:54:00

Coming to McLeod: Hursley and Simmons, land and dreamscapes

click to enlarge Dreamscape by Dominique Simmons, at McLeod
  • Dreamscape by Dominique Simmons, at McLeod

Heads up for Thursday, Oct. 27: Matt McLeod Fine Art Gallery opens "Landscapes / Dreamscapes: At the Crossroads of Observation and Memory," an exhibition of drawings and paintings by Little Rock artists Jeanie Lockeby Hursley and  Dominique Simmons

Here's what Simmons says about her dreamscape role in the show: 
“In my work, the past and the present share the same surface. The forms are always in motion, or on the verge of change. The results are electric marks and forms either coming into being or disappearing.” 
Simmons is unafraid to use challenging palettes — such as complementary oranges and purples above — and texture, and her work springs from a deeply creative and confident mind. She has been making serious art, she notes on her website and other places, for 30 years. 

Hursley, also a fine mid-career artist (and overly humble; you'll play hell trying to find her work online, though you could go here), says she has a "persistent fascination with interrupted landscapes."
"I am interested in the visual tension created when nature interacts with the built environment. From early pastel drawings of trumpet vines inundating a railroad crossing to a recent encaustic painting of a homestead overwhelmed by kudzu, the investigation continues."
There will be an opening night reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and in honor of Halloween, candy will be served along with the libations and other food. McLeod is at 108 W. Sixth St., catercornered from The Rep.

click to enlarge Landscape by Jeanie Lockeby Hursley at McLeod.
  • Landscape by Jeanie Lockeby Hursley at McLeod.


Friday, October 21, 2016 - 15:52:00

Arkansas Times Recommends: Indian Grocers, nerdcore documentaries, "Pepe the Frog" explainers, Anne Carson and more

Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.

A last-minute Halloween costume recommendation: Halloween does not play to my strengths. I am a cheapskate, and honestly, I'm not that skilled at putting together day-to-day clothes (said the wife, "You can't wear seersucker with corduroys!"), much less some kind of elaborate costume. But I had promised to go to a friend's get-together. After thinking over my options for a while, I decided to put on a sports coat and carry an issue of The Watchtower. My Jehovah's Witness outfit was voted scariest costume at the party.

-Guy Lancaster

click to enlarge "top kek," the name of a Turkish cupcake and the linguistic byproduct of a nebula of webspeak dialects.
  • "top kek," the name of a Turkish cupcake and the linguistic byproduct of a nebula of webspeak dialects.
If you aren't well-versed in weird Twitter and fall more in the "the internet is a fascinating place I want to learn more about" camp than the "the internet is mostly a cesspool where I check email, read the Arkansas Times and look for craft ideas on Pinterest" one (a rough approximation of how the Millar family breaks down, by the by), you should listen to this podcast about Pepe the Frog from always excellent "Reply All." It's a really fun and fairly pithy explanation of how a somewhat obscure indie cartoon character, a fairly grotesque looking stoner frog named Pepe, became the go-to meme for white nationalists for Trump to such a degree that Hillary Clinton now has an explainer about Pepe on her website. It's a good explanation, but listen to the podcast instead; it's much more fun. Along the way, you'll learn a little about the infamous messageboard 4chan and "rare" internet memes, the slipperiness of irony on the web and the etymology of international web speak, "top kek." 

-Lindsey Millar

click to enlarge "Rescue Time" productivity log.
  • "Rescue Time" productivity log.

To all our computer-bound, GTD curious but not necessarily David Allen groupie, $47,476+ annual income workers of America who are suddenly puzzling over ways to keep track of your work hours so you don't trigger the overtime DEFCON1 alarm your boss is installing in her payroll software: consider installing Rescue Time on your Mac or PC. 
This is not timesheet software, per se. It is more along the lines of activity tracking with the bonus of being able to see the hours associated with your activity.
Ideal for people who:
  • …want to be able to categorize and view their activity by one of 5 degrees of productivity, e.g. Very Distracting, Distracting, Neutral, Productive, to Very Productive. 
  • …want to be able to say their time on Facebook is actually probably pretty productive overall since you admin your company's myriad Facebook pages. (You can dictate which software/website/
  • …want periodic overviews of your hours, how productive you were, and how it compares to previous periods via the RescueTime dashboard or emailed summaries.
  • …want help focusing and meeting productivity goals (some of the features are available only to premium customers).
  • …need a free solution.
  • …need it to integrate into Slack (albeit a limited sort of way, and for premium customers only) or other software.
  • …need to dictate when to start and stop recording your activity. (If you work from home, for instance, and have a hard stop on work duties at 6pm but still browse the web or watch a movie after 6, you can tell it to never record after 6. Or to never record on certain days.)
  • …prefer a hands-off, low maintenance tool but want to be able to tweak the nobs. I recommend logging into the dashboard on occasion and reviewing your activity to make sure you're getting accurate information. (So you can manage that "Very Distracting" two hours your kids watched Animaniacs on your second monitor while they hung out with you on "Surprise Bring Your Kids to Work Day" last week.) 
Not ideal for people who:
  • …spend a lot of work time away from your computer or on other devices.
  • …have employers who need more precise in/out time, etc. 
  • …need more powerful integration into other services or software. 
  • …are afraid to know that much about themselves.
-Bryan Moats

click to enlarge "Apotheosis of the Slavs' History" - ALFONS MUCHA
  • Alfons Mucha
  • "Apotheosis of the Slavs' History"

I thought I had my bases covered when it comes to Little Rock’s ethnic grocery stores — and yes, I wince a little at the dated, whitebread ring to the assumed homogeneous American baseline implied by that moniker — but I was evidently wrong.

I shop at Sam’s or Mr. Chen’s when I need something East Asian (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, etc), Ali Baba for Middle Eastern goods, Asian Groceries for dahls and curry components, and whatever tienda happens to be nearby for Mexican and other Latin foods. But what if I desperately need, say, pickled herring or a two-pound wheel of Bulgarian cheese? Turns out those and other sundry European obscurities are available at Indian Grocers, which is on Rodney Parham Road near North Shackleford (it shares a strip mall with Franke’s cafeteria, but if any culinary cross-pollination has resulted, I’m not aware of it).

Why exactly Indian Grocers — which, as its name implies, mainly purveys products from the subcontinent — carries such a large contingent of Slavic and Nordic goods is unknown to me. It’s wonderful, though. A dozen varieties of Ritter-Sport are on display inside the front door, and there’s a cold case crowded with delicate jars of caviars and roe spreads and fish bits at the end of one aisle. Eastern European cheese products coexist with blocks of paneer; pumpernickels jostle the chapatis in the freezer. I bought a loaf of Latvian rye bread, a tin of stuffed cabbage leaves, four pounds of red lentils, some pita and a passionfruit soda. I also randomly plucked what looked like a decade-old TV dinner from the frozen case, but it inexplicably rang up as $17.99 and I quickly backtracked. So: explore with caution.

-Benji Hardy 

click to enlarge Amphora of Hercules fighting Geryon, circa 540 B.C. - PAINTER OF MUNICH
  • Painter of Munich
  • Amphora of Hercules fighting Geryon, circa 540 B.C.

There's such a thing as a learned suppression of one's need to take things literally, and as far as I can tell, it's a vital prerequisite skill to have in your toolbox if you're a person who's studied Greek and Roman mythology, even casually. Sure, Aristotle tried to put his foot squarely down in the concrete, naming and classifying and dissecting and counting and defining, but isn't it Aeschylus' "Oresteia" that comes up in talk of criminal justice systems, or Euripides' "The Bacchae" that makes its way into conversations about smashing the patriarchy? There's something in the supple, slippery language of myth and drama that, when translated by a skilled hand, can set your mind spinning with poeticism and punch in a way that "Nichomachean Ethics" isn't likely to do.

That immediacy and red-hot imagery drips from the pages of Anne Carson's lusty Hercules-and-Geryon love triangle novel, "Red Doc>," and from its much earlier predecessor "Autobiography of Red." A compendium of otherwise Sapphic-sounding fragments weaves in non-ancient words like "kindergarten" or "sandwich" or "hockey practice" so seamlessly we spill over them without pause, and the reader is probably a dozen chapters in before marveling at how easily the literal slipped away, how easily sentences like "Don't pick at that Geryon you'll get it infected. Just leave it alone and let it heal, said his mother rhinestoning past on her way to the door. She had all her breasts on this evening" are absorbed, having forgotten the story's (loose) basis in ancient myth, on surviving pieces of Stesichorus' "Geryoneis."

Here's an excerpted chapter called "X. Sex Question," from the first book, in which inklings of lust become mutually acknowledged between Herakles and Geryon:

I better be getting home.
They continued to sit. They were parked way out on the highway.
Cold night smell
coming in the windows. New moon floating white as a rib at the edge of the sky.
I guess I'm someone who will never be satisfied,
said Herakles. Geryon felt all nerves in him move to the surface of his body.
What do you mean satisfied?
Just—satisfied. I don't know. From far down the freeway came a sound
of fishhooks scraping the bottom of the world.
You know. Satisfied. Geryon was thinking hard. Fires twisted through him.
He picked his way carefully
toward the sex question. Why is it a question? He understood
that people need
acts of attention from one another, does it really matter which acts?
He was fourteen.
Sex is a way of getting to know someone,
Herakles had said. He was sixteen. Hot unsorted parts of the question
were licking up from every crack in Geryon,
he beat at them as a nervous laugh escaped him. Herakles looked.
Suddenly quiet.
It's okay, said Herakles. His voice washed
Geryon open.
Tell me, said Geryon and he intended to ask him, Do people who like sex
have a question about it too?
but the words came out wrong—Is it true you think about sex every day?
Herakles' body stiffened.
That isn't a question it's an accusation. Something black and heavy dropped
between like a smell of velvet.
Herakles switched on the ignition and they jumped forward onto the back of the night.
Not touching
but joined in astonishment as two cuts lie parallel in the same flesh.
Both books are astonishingly quick reads, due in part to the amount of negative space afforded to the page to lend the poetry its pulse and pace, and if I were pressed to explain why I find them so compelling and magnificent, I'd probably cite how willingly the reader suspends the literal in favor of the symbolic, how the books don't so much require the reader to disengage the literal and the logical; no such effort's even necessary; the poems have already led her halfway down a road of anachronistic myth before she even realizes she's taken a step.

-Stephanie Smittle

Real life is generally crazier than anything fiction can come up with, even if we are severely lacking in magic space wizards here on Planet Earth. To that end, forgo the blockbusters and throw yourself a documentary film festival. Here are a few films to get you started:

"Keep the River on Your Right"

When artist and anthropologist Tobias Schneebaum left for Peru on a Fulbright fellowship, no one could have predicted what happened next. Looking for an escape from the rampant homophobia and anti-Semitism that had plagued him in his native New York, Schneebaum disappeared into the jungle, eventually taking up with the remote Harakmbut tribe. What follows is a tale of love, loss...and cannibalism.

"Okie Noodling" 

One of the greatest documentary films of all time, "Okie Noodling" follows the exploits of the intrepid catfish hunters of Oklahoma and their non-traditional fishing methods. How non-traditional? Well, they catch huge river cats by blindly shoving their arms into underwater holes and allowing the fish to bite onto them. And if that sounds insane, wait until you see it in action.

"The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" 

While it's true that the filmmakers played fast and loose with the timeline in this classic video game doc, it's still a fun watch. Ever wonder what a "kill screen" is? Did you even know there are arcade game celebrities? This one is worth it just to get to know Billy Mitchell, the hot sauce slinging master of Donkey Kong and other classic games.

"Nerdcore Rising"

Alex Trebek recently made headlines for calling a Jeopardy! contestant a "loser" when she expressed an interest in "nerdcore hip-hop." For a look into the scene, there's no better film than Nerdcore Rising, which chronicles Damian Hess' (aka MC Frontalot) attempt to launch a music career by rapping about things like goth girls, text-based game series Zork and other aspects of geek culture. Full disclosure: I saw MC Frontalot a few years ago in Fayetteville and it was an amazing show. Suck on it, Trebek.


Friday, October 21, 2016 - 14:01:00

Good Weather, outdoors and in (Elliott Earls)

If you read this week's Arts and Entertainment feature on Good Weather Gallery, you are probably wanting to know a little bit more about the show opening tomorrow, Oct. 22: Elliott Earls' "Death of a Salesman."

Earls is a graduate from and artist-in-residence at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield, Mich., and is designer and performer as well as an artist. He created has created original type designs (see one below), his posters in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and in 1999 won an Emerging Artist grant from the Wooster Group in Manhattan. That's a lot of cred for a guy doing an art show in a garage in North Little Rock (but the A&E feature story will explain). 

As you can see in the video above, the show consists of Cyclopsian figures (like Puck did to Bottom, Earls has given them donkey's ears), two dimensional works incorporating some of his type faces, and what might be "neocubist" homages to Francis Bacon. 

Here is what Earls says about his show at Good Weather:

Death of a Salesman is a crash of exhaustion with internal combustion at play. In a continued indictment on nihilism, Elliott Earls (the eccentric, exuberant, brash, and sometimes perverse savant) has mutated/muted his surrealist imagery into a wall of familial heraldry and a room of oddities and otherworldly forms. The iconography in this work possesses a solipsistic eye flanked by large attentive ears. The cyclops as a symbol of brute strength and power is a misfit. More relevant is his nature as a shepherd and his ancestral lineage as the son of Earth (Gaia) and Sky (Uranus); an analogy for the ineffable experience of fatherhood’s influence on the work and Earls’ relentless drive to behold this alien sentience.
A reception is 6-8 p.m. at the gallery, 4400 Edgemere Road in North Little Rock. 
click to enlarge Elliott's Blue Eyeshadow, font designed by Elliott Earls for Emigre.
  • Elliott's Blue Eyeshadow, font designed by Elliott Earls for Emigre.


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