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Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Dining Review

A diner that's the real deal

October 19, 2017
A diner that's the real deal
Littlefield's on JFK. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

Comedy of bad manners

October 19, 2017
Comedy of bad manners
A sugary Moliere remix helps the medicine go down at The Rep. /more/


Max Brantley

Caution: government at work

I have several government targets this week. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Tax tales

The easiest task in the world may be to persuade people that they are paying higher taxes than folks in other communities, states and countries, but there is never a shortage of people taking on the task. /more/

Gene Lyons

The casting couch

Long ago and far away, I had an academic superior who enjoyed sexually humiliating younger men. There was unwanted touching — always in social situations — but mainly it was about making suggestive remarks, hinting that being a "hunk" was how I'd got hired. /more/

Movie Reviews

American Made' is as swift as Seal's hustle

October 5, 2017
American Made' is as swift as Seal's hustle
It's a Reagan-era romp from director Doug Liman. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Thumped again

October 19, 2017
Seems like a bad prescription for beating the all-pro assemblage of talent that dons Alabama garb year in, year out, but the Arkansas Razorbacks started their third quarterback in three years against the Crimson Tide, and the end result was predictable. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 23, 2017 - 08:58:00

Potlatch acquires Deltic Timber

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Two major woodlands companies, Potlatch and Deltic Timber, are combining in a stock deal that will leave Potlatch shareholders with 65 percent control of the new company, which will be organized as a real estate investment trust. Deltic shareholders will get 1.8 shares of Potlatch for each Deltic share, making the deal worth about $1.18 billion.

Both companies had been looking for ways to improve their conditions. Potlatch struggled with volatility in the lumber business. Deltic was being pressured by a shareholder to increase value.

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Deltic was founded by Charles Murphy, the oil company leader. Its investments include mills, about a half-million acres of timberland and real estate development projects, notably the Chenal Properties development in western Little Rock. As yet, none of the news coverage of the combination suggests any changes for that portion of Deltic's business.

Potlach's current CEO, Mike Covey, will lead the renamed PotlatchDeltic Corporation.


Monday, October 23, 2017 - 07:36:00

The Monday Democrat-Gazette was slimmer this morning

click to enlarge SECTION MISSING: Where's the business section?
  • SECTION MISSING: Where's the business section?

Did your Monday morning Arkansas Democrat-Gazette include a business section?

Mine didn't.

I suspect that's a permanent change, though I saw no notice of it in the newspaper. There WAS an announcement Saturday that a former feature of the Monday section, a syndicated computer column, would now appear on Saturday and that the bankruptcy listing, once also a Monday feature, would henceforth appear Sunday. I took that as a signal of the coming demise of the Monday business section, but expected a formal announcement of some sort. I didn't get a response from a news executive I queried by e-mail about the change.

In truth, not much in news was lost to the regular reader from the end of the generally canned section, but it will save the publisher paper. I've long wondered why they don't save more newsprint by excising the abbreviated stock listings from the daily business sections, given the ubiquity of electronic sources for more timely and thorough market data. Tough times in publishing, in case you haven't heard.


Monday, October 23, 2017 - 07:22:00

Might the Weinstein case lead to a safer world for women?

click to enlarge WEINSTEIN A WATERSHED? In treatment of women? - NY DAILY NEWS
  • WEINSTEIN A WATERSHED? In treatment of women?

The exposure of Harvey Weinstein's serial offenses against women is quickly progressing far beyond the story of one man. It has begun to raise the question of whether it might, in time, change the world in treatment of women.

Consider the run of the news today:

* In the case of both Weinstein and Bill O'Reilly, favored tactics to protect predators — nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreements in claim settlements — have failed.

* Misdeeds by others have become staple news stories — New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh and movie director James Taback to name two mentioned this morning. I wrote recently of complaints of general misogyny in the halls of the Texas and California legislatures.

* Speaking of misogyny: So far it hasn't set him back much, but Donald Trump's mistreatment of women has not been forgotten. See Charles Blow's column today.

...there is no limit to the questioning of women in the Trump universe, no matter how high those women have risen, no matter the merits of their claims, particularly if the women are black or brown or if they have directly challenged Trump.

As Michelle Lyn wrote for last week:

“According to Trump’s sordid he-said-she-said turn of events, however, Wilson isn’t an elected official supporting a constituent and friend, she’s a ‘wacky’ woman. Just like Clinton and San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz were ‘nasty’; Brzezinski had a ‘low IQ’; Megyn Kelly has ‘blood coming out of her wherever”; and Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of assault, ‘would not be [his] first choice.’”

She continued:

“Women who hold truth to Trump’s power are often met with petty insults and cyberbullying (Paging Melania!) — but most of all, Trump and company brand them liars or assail them as absurd.”
As long as Trump leads by example, others will undoubtedly consider themselves immune from consequences for chauvinistic, abusive or even criminal behavior. But the lessons of Weinstein, O'Reilly, Ailes and others in the growing list ought to begin to give some men pause.

Even in Arkansas. Or do you think Arkansas women already enjoy equality and a workplace and social milieu free of sexual objectification, harassment and abuse?

PS: Here's more from Vanity Fair on the "Weinstein effect."

PPS: Ross Noland, a Little Rock lawyer and candidate for state representatives, notes one way the law, thanks to Arkansas courts, could be improved to protect women. It's a case where a man who entered a Marmaduke woman's house naked from the waist down and began masturbating. He chased the woman and she was injured fighting him off. Still, he had an aggravated residential burglary conviction overturned because the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled there wasn't sufficient evidence that the criminal intended to cause serious physical injury. Noland, who says he'd introduce legislation to close the loophole, comments:  "Designating sexual assault as anything less than a serious physical injury is wrong."


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Rock Candy

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 09:22:00

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's "French Connection" tackles Milhaud, Weill, Ravel and Debussy

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Okay, so the Brazilian rhythms in Milhaud's "Le boeuf sur le toit" ("The Bull on the Roof") didn't always line up, and perhaps the composer himself pushed what could have been a cute five minutes of dissonant flute and oboe vignettes into a protracted fifteen. Still, Saturday night's concert from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra was an absolute delight. To see the ASO flexing a somewhat auxiliary muscle was fun and refreshing, and I hope people get out this afternoon to hear the raucous program which, in part, recalls the timeframe when early 20th century French composers had major musical crushes on Gershwin, et al.

"Le boeuf," Milhaud's "surrealist ballet," as ASO Associate Conductor Geoffrey Robson called it —- was worlds away from the seat-filling safe bets that make up the Greatest Hits of Classical Music and, despite wearing its jazz influences on its sleeve, was simultaneously worlds away from any pops/Broadway repertoire. The composer, perhaps thumbing his nose as Brahms, as Robson said, fashioned a dance that was alternately voluptuous, sublime and goofy, with the aforementioned dissonance working as musical cartoon, like the impressionistic landscapes painted by Oliver Wallace's score for Disney's "Alice in Wonderland." Except, maybe, a "Wonderland" in which the scenery changed every eight or sixteen bars.

Afterward, when the violin section departed to allow for the Steinway grand to be wheeled out for rock star pianist Ji to play Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major, it felt like ritual. Like a magician who arranges things before your very eyes to show you he hasn't rigged anything up to deceive you. Ji arrived on stage in a snug, crisp white button-up shirt, impeccable shoes and white pants with a mid-calf hem length and a loud print. Enough of a hotshot to quell any sartorial objections from more conservative patrons, Ji's fingers flew as they do on the Android commercial "Monotune," and the ratio of notes played to time on stage was dizzying.

Ravel was tight with Gershwin, musically, as the second movement's simple but "scintillating engaging melody" (Robson's words) demonstrated. It was given a reverent treatment by Ji, and the unity of the violin section behind him was perfect in this and other moments, like a perfectly attuned hive of bees, humming vibrantly at the same frequency.

Then, as my listening companion described it, a giant vacuum came and sucked every ounce of jazz out of the room. Kurt Weill's "Berliner Symphonie," seven movements played as one 20-or-so minute continuous brooding statement, was utterly serious and desperately inquisitive, fists raised to the sky, a la Jerry Goldsmith's score for "Planet of the Apes."

And then came Claude Debussy's "Petit Suite," otherwise known as dessert. The sweet collection of four vignettes from the man Robson called "the father of modern music" was so festive and sparkly it made me fantasize about a brilliant feat of Christmastide computer hacking, wherein every satellite radio instance of that tired old rendition of "Sleigh Bells" were replaced with this confection from Debussy; I think we'd all enjoy the holiday a little more.


Friday, October 20, 2017 - 14:02:00

Guest Playlist: Alex Flanders of KABF-FM 88.3's "GIRLS!" gives a primer in advance of tonight's benefit show

click to enlarge Alex Flanders
  • Alex Flanders

A while back, we asked Alex Flanders, host of "GIRLS!" on KABF-FM 88.3 and entrepreneur behind Crying Weasel Vintage, to put together a playlist for us, showcasing some favorite rockers from her Thursday night radio show. What we got was a 27-track certified tutorial in rock, pop and punk made by women, not to mention further proof that women are behind some of the most inventive rock and roll being made today.

Tonight, GIRLS! hosts a benefit for the community radio station at the White Water Tavern, 9 p.m., featuring sets from DOT, Squelch, and Junkbomb, as well as comedy sets from Brittany Birrer and Cortney Warner and a costume contest celebrating historic iconic women, "musicians, scientists, artists, activists, authors," or others.

We thought we'd share some crucial tracks from the GIRLS! archives ahead of the show. If you like what you hear, listen in on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. 8:30 p.m, and join the host, et al. tonight and dress up as your favorite historic woman.


Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 10:10:00

Fountain Fest sculpture reveal tonight at the Arts Center

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You'll have to go to the Arkansas Arts Center's Fountain Fest tonight to see how Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects' winning sketch (above) for the temporary sculpture in the Carrie Remmel Dickinson fountain in front of the building was carried out. The party, with food, drink and music, gets going at 5:30 p.m.

Fountain Fest, now in its fifth year, is a fundraiser sponsored by the Contemporaries group of young Arts Center members. Besides the ticket price of $25, proceeds from raffle tickets go to the purchase of artworks for the AAC Collection. Raffle items include a Louis Vuitton purse valued at $1,000 and a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old Bourbon.

AAC's Canvas restaurant will serve heavy hors d'oeuvres, Lost Forty Brewing and Stone's Throw Brewing are supplying the beer and Roxor Gin is making the cocktails. Guitar-vocal duo Luke Johnson and Brian Nahlen will provide the music; museum school instructors will make art and Children's Theatre actors will entertain with a shadow puppet photo booth. And, of course, there's the sculpture to enjoy.

The event runs until 8:30 p.m. Get your tickets at or by calling 396-0337.


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