Favorite

The observer, Nov. 13 

The Observer took Junior with us to the poll when we went to vote last week. He's got nine long years to go before he casts his first ballot, but he bore the wait well, even though the lines were long. While we were waiting our turn in the G-through-K chute, we talked it over: what a ballot is; what a referred amendment is; the difference between political parties; why voting is so important. He's in third grade now and more than likely learned all that stuff several recesses back. But as we've recently discovered, he's already practicing the fine art of humoring his Old Man. Nodding and furrowing his brow in all the right places, he let his Pop have his chest-swelling Civics Moment — something like the one we allowed our Mom back when we were his age.

When The Observer finally got our ballot, we adjourned to a table and prepared to start bubbling. The moment we picked up the pen, however, Junior suddenly turned in place and stared dutifully at the wall beside the table like a soldier at parade rest.

“What are you doing?” we asked. “Turn around.”

“No,” said Junior, “It's secret. It's supposed to be secret.”

We couldn't help but smile all the way through our ballot. Thomas Jefferson, no doubt, would have been proud of us both.

 

OK, we were barely into the second week of November on Sunday when carolers showed up to serenade the staff at Starbucks. Never has The Observer had such an overpowering Bah Humbug moment. We wanted to rip their Santa hats off and point out that the latte a la mode is flavored with pumpkin, not gingerbread.

We were already on the humbug train after getting a monthly magazine with a Christmas tree on the cover. What happened to Thanksgiving?

It is an old complaint, now, this stuff about starting Christmas early. But come on, we just now got the spider down. The jack o'lantern hasn't completely rotted. We're not yet out of Snickers.

We felt rushed, unprepared, miserable. Go away! thumped our heart. But our inner shopper is weak, the merchants strong. Next thing we knew, we were buying little kitty cat ornaments at the store next door.

Is Little Rock ready for crosswalks? Do our drivers slow down at the big stripes, smile warmly and let pedestrians cross safely? 

Nope. The Observer was motoring on LaHarpe last week when a driver ahead in the lane next to him stopped for people trying to cross to the backside of City Hall.

His law-abiding was not rewarded. An SUV following close behind at warp speed couldn't stop in time and smashed into the law-abiding car's rear with a huge smack.

If the police really want to accommodate pedestrians, they really need to commit to the crosswalks — make the zebra stripes big and bold, with advance warning and lights, like you see in more civilized places. Gestures will only bring you car accidents or flattened folk.

 

The Gangster Museum of America is not a bad little museum, and opening such a place on Central Avenue was not a bad little idea. Abandoned bathhouses are all right, in their place, but a past-its-prime resort town like Hot Springs needs other attractions too.

Back in its roaring days, the city was almost as famous for its criminals as its waters, yet to our knowledge, the tourism industry has never tried to capitalize on this before.

The museum has photographs, videos and other exhibits recalling the famous outlaws who visited Hot Springs with frequency and occasionally settled down there — Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Owney Madden. A visitor can handle a Thompson submachine gun — eat lead, Machine Gun Jack McGurn — and place make-believe bets on a roulette wheel salvaged from one of the many casinos that used to operate in Hot Springs, proudly and illegally. There's a great guide too, one who really knows the material. Grew up in Hot Springs, we'd imagine, but didn't ask.

Kids probably wouldn't be interested, but for grown-ups, the Gangster Museum is worth the price of a ticket ($8 for adults, $7 for seniors). It's located about a block from the formerly famous Arlington Hotel — which, the museum points out, still has an Al Capone suite.

 

 

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Addendum

    he Observer has our regrets, just like everybody else. For example: last week, Yours Truly published a cover story on the increasingly ugly fight over Eureka Springs' Ordinance 2223, which is designed to protect a bunch of groups — including LGBTQ people — from discrimination in housing, employment, accommodations, cake buying, browsing, drinking, gut stuffery, knickknack purchasing, general cavorting, funny postcard mailing and all the other stuff one tends to get up to in the weirdest, friendliest, most magical little town in the Ozarks.
    • Apr 30, 2015
  • Snake stories

    The Observer's boss, Uncle Alan, is something of a gentleman farmer on his spread up in Cabot, growing heirloom tomatoes and watermelons and crops of chiggers on property that looks like the perfect farmstead Lenny and George often fantasized about in "Of Mice and Men."
    • Aug 27, 2015

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Labor department director inappropriately expensed out-of-state trips, audit finds

    Jones was "Minority Outreach Coordinator" for Hutchinson's 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The governor first named him as policy director before placing him over the labor department instead in Jan. 2015, soon after taking office.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in The Observer

  • Writers blocked

    OK, back to basics, Observer. Get hold of yourself. Give the people what they want, which is escapism! If you don't, this column is eventually just going to devolve into The Prophecies of Hickstradamus at some point in the next four years: "The Orange Vulture perches in the fig tree. The great snake eats Moonpies and Royal Crown Cola by starlight ..." That kind of thing. Nobody likes that. Too much deciphering and such.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Cassandra

    The Observer's grandfather on our mother's side was a crackerjack fella. Grew up in the sandy hills north of Conway. County boy, through and through. During hog-killing time in December 1941, the story in our family goes, when word of Pearl Harbor reached his little community, he and his friends loaded into his T-model truck and made the rough journey to the first speck of civilization that included an Army recruiting office, where they all enlisted.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Learning to love North Little Rock in Park Hill

    • My father in law built this house from WW2 materials he bought cheap. The walls…

    • on December 5, 2016
  • Re: A killing in Pocahontas

    • my name is kimberly some parts are true some are not travis was a victum…

    • on December 4, 2016
  • Re: Vive la resistance!

    • We are not asking you to place a stent in the Democrats Heart nor to…

    • on December 4, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation