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Friday, May 30, 2014

Notes from the road: Herman's Ribhouse review and the curious Internet filtering at Ark. Supreme Court

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge 39 YEARS LATER: Still satisfying.
  • 39 YEARS LATER: Still satisfying.

I'm in Fayetteville this morning and if my wife's judicial duties finish in time we hope to get up to Crystal Bridges for the Paley collection exhibit. As I cool my heels in a Washington County Courthouse jury room, I thought I'd clear the decks of a couple of things:

* DINING REVIEW; HERMAN'S RIBHOUSE: It is unbelievable, but the last time I set foot in this classic roadhouse was 1975. Law professor Bill Clinton was holding forth on colorful sayings he'd picked up on the road during his losing race for Congress. "I wouldn't piss in his ear if his brain was on fire," lingers pungently in my memory. Herman has gone, to the great Smokehouse in the Sky but, I gotta tell you, Herman's is worth a stop. We tried to go on a Razorback weekend last year but the line, served by a portable tent, was two hours long, if you could make it at all.

There was a good crowd early on a Thursday night. Bottom line: Huge portions of food, well-cooked with perfect team service. And fairly priced. Who knew that a $9.50 appetizer of shrimp remoulade would be maybe a dozen jumbo (and I know jumbo) boiled shrimp, perfectly cooked and plenty cold. The small rib plate meant three huge spare ribs, tender and peppery. They aren't my favorite ribs in Arkansas, but they are rich and good. The cole slaw is first-rate. Beer is served in frozen solid mugs. If I had a quibble it would be to add some normal beer on draft to go with the crafty assortment available, including a couple of locally brewed drafts. I think I had Schlitz my last visit. Setting remains perfect., with red-checked curtains, wood paneling and a hard-working grill team right behind the bar. They call this "open kitchen" in trendy restaurants.

* NO JUSTICE ON THE INTERNET: A lawyer attending a continuing legal education session yesterday in the Arkansas Supreme Court building discovered that the free WiFi there didn't allow access to all his favorite websites. He could get Asa Hutchinson's website. And the website of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. But, among others, websites of the Arkansas Blog and the Pinnacle Law Firm were labeled "suspicious" and not accessible. I confirmed this and filed an objection on our status with Blue Coat, the web filtering service in use there.. In time, we were granted readmission to the worldwide web as viewed from chambers of the Arkansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Why did this happen? I do not believe it was an automated selection based on content, even if this blog does use words like piss now and then. I believe it was a result of a specific complaint to get us shut out. I won't share my suspicion on a computer-savvy person of my acquaintance that I'd finger if this were to be so.

Oh, didn't you know? The Pinnacle Law Firm is the home of Matt Campbell, otherwise known as author of the Blue Hog Report. 
Coincidence, right?

PS — To make clear if I didn't already, I don't think these blocks were institutional in nature. But the nature of the Blue Coat filtering service is that anybody can file a complaint against a website. How they act on those remains shrouded in mystery for the moment, but I do know that a couple of sites happened to have been among the victims for no good reason that is apparent to me.


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