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Arkansas Times Recommends

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016 - 15:34:00

Staff Picks: 'Transparent,' William Klein, 'West of Eden,' Meat Vending Machines and more

We've been plowing through some addictive Netflix and Amazon shows in the Ramsey household and these are all really obvious choices but sometimes you need the nudge to embrace the obvious, so: "Transparent," "Better Call Saul," "Nurse Jackie." And we enjoyed "Love," and we sort of enjoyed "The Americans" but then it all becomes too hokey somehow and we quit.

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Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016 - 15:46:00

Staff Picks: James Baldwin, Stephen Shore, Mujadara and more

This is a recipe, guys, that’s much more appropriate for cold weather. Now that the frantic wheezing of spring is almost upon us, I’m sure you all want to be picnicking outside in the clover and sunlight, laughing and kissing each other and gobbling down asparagus and quail eggs, not hunched over a smoky hearth ladling out gloppy, brownish Lebanese comfort foods. But because I have no sense of anything appropriate or right, here it is: Mujadara, one of my favorite dishes in all the world.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016 - 15:17:00

Staff Picks: Shel Silverstein, Max B, the history of emojis and more

I don't understand Tumblr, and its very existence makes me feel insecure and prematurely aged in only the way that a social media platform you don't understand can do, but today I found a wonderful Tumblr called "70s Sci-Fi Art." (I'm using that word the wrong way, aren't I? Is that how you refer to it, as "a Tumblr"? I'm done for.)

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Flake & Kelley

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016 - 16:09:00

Staff Picks: Sad songs, Christian songs and Lee Van Cleef

I generally don't love westerns. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the simplistic moralizing, all black hats and white hats and bullshit showdowns. Maybe it’s a consequence of growing up as the geekish asthmatic in a household of competent, muscular men who build houses and drive tractors. Maybe it’s just the fact that watching people squint into the desert sun makes me feel uncomfortably thirsty.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015 - 15:46:00

Staff Picks: Star Wars, Jimmy Buffett, podcasts, local coffee and more

I recommend stopping by and grabbing a cup of coffee from the combination Spokes bikeshop/Orbea Headquarters/coffee shop location on Main Street. It is certainly the best coffee you'll find in the River Market area and easily beats out whatever funk your office is calling coffee. No food to speak of but let's be fair, it's a bike shop. Lay off. Plus, it took no time at all for barista Cynthia to learn my usual drink order as well as the pronunciation of my abnormal name, Cyclesome Drinkabunch.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015 - 15:57:00

Staff Picks: Walmart, the Smell of Death, Streetcar Parties and more

So here's a Halloween thing to do: Listen to an Arkansas Tech University professor of psychology talk about the smell of death! Ilan Shrira was a guest on NPR's "Science Friday" today, talking about putrescine, a compound found in decaying corpses. You know you want to hear it, so go to their website and hear him talk about his experiments on campus. (Guess what he discovered! People run from the smell of death of rotting corpses!)

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015 - 16:04:00

Halloween Staff Picks: Candy guide, Oakland Cemetery, China Mieville, Ganksta N-I-P and more

The irony of people thinking there's ghosts in the cemetery, somebody told me once, is that while there are plenty of dead folks in your average boneyard, very few of them probably shuffled off their mortal coil INSIDE the cemetery — which, if I remember my superstitious bullshit correctly, is how ghosts get attached to a place to begin with. That said, the dead do speak, and if we want to understand where we're going as a city, a community and a species, we should probably listen. To that end, my Halloween pick is the free cell phone tour of the storied Oakland & Fraternal Cemetery, at 2101 Barber Street in East Little Rock.

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Flake & Kelley

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015 - 16:34:00

Staff Picks: Bulldogs, BET cyphers, ginger scallion sauce and a message from Kaya

So I'm a sucker for smush-face dogs — bulldogs, Frenchies, pugs. As such I could look at jmarcoz's Instagram account all day. Smush faces galore. Longer on the English variety than French, but plenty of both and lots and lots of puppy shots. You can have you cat shots. I'll take the bullies. How can you not smile?

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015 - 15:10:00

Staff Picks: 'Documentary Now!', Google Cardboard, Daniel Romano, hangovers and more

This week my brother introduced me to the IFC show "Documentary Now!" created by and starring Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Myers. Every episode is a parody of a canonical documentary, is the idea. So far I've only seen one, "The Eye Doesn't Lie," which reimagines Errol Morris' "The Thin Blue Line" so directly and successfully that Morris must be incredibly flattered (or confused).

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015 - 15:19:00

Staff Picks, New Orleans Edition: Bellocq's Storyville portraits, Manchu's Chicken, Kilo G & more

My recommendation this week is for the Storyville portraits of Ernest J. Bellocq. Bellocq was the son of a wealthy creole family in New Orleans. Hydrocephalic, with an oddly-shaped head and an awkward gait, he was something of a loner in his day. He apparently worked as a commercial and industrial photographer, taking photos of ships, engines, machinery, etc.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015 - 15:59:00

Staff Picks: Netflix and Chill, Benji's pasta fresca, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more

The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015 - 16:00:00

Staff Picks: Winning, Possums, an Arkansas Times 'End of Summer' mix and more

Here is a mix I made this afternoon inspired by the end of summer (still about a month off — I think about it all the time) and by something called the "Abilene paradox," which I read about on Wikipedia recently and have since found applicable to just about everything in life. Other recommendations this week:

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015 - 15:08:00

Staff Picks: Tom T. Hall, native languages, Mike Tyson's abandoned mansion and more

TK Today over at my regular gig across town, I endorsed a reissue of lost outlaw country–vintage recordings called The Texas Album by Jimmy Rabbitt & Renegade.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015 - 14:49:00

Staff Picks: Stephen Hawking, San Miguel de Allende, procastination, '70s yacht rock and more

If you should happen to find yourself in the lovely colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, the guidebooks will advise on all sorts of fun stuff to do and sights to see but really the most important thing in San Miguel, and arguably the most important thing on the planet, is the taco stand on Insurgentes, which opens around dusk and goes until 3 or 4 in the morning. The pastor tacos with pineapple (I prefer flour tortillas but the corn tortillas are good too; oh, and with Oaxaca cheese if you like)—I mean, you really can't hardly eat other regular tacos after you eat these.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015 - 16:48:00

Staff Picks: Microbes, jaguar attacks, Adam Sandler and more

We've been reading a kergillion books lately at our house. Scrambling to make it to 1,000 books before kindergarten. Don't tell them I said this, but I did the math and I don't think we'll make it. Regardless, we've read some wonderful books, but one that has moved me the most in the last few weeks is "Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes." It is amazing at putting the little things into the context of enormous planet earth. It is beautifully illustrated and handily written.

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 16:10:00

Locs Off Wolfe, Kanye West's font, the destruction of the Pacific Northwest and more

I have a really bad habit of quickly typing text messages and pressing send without re-reading them. Often times the messages go to the wrong person, or my tone is harsher than intended, or or auto-correct simply decides on an entirely different message without my consent. Regret, anger and frustration set in and all I can do is wait for a reply.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015 - 16:36:00

Staff Picks: Pluto, Elle Luna, South Georgia Bass

This Tuesday, July 14, NASA's New Horizons mission will reach its destination, and we'll collectively get to see things no human has ever seen before — things that surely no human should ever get to see at all, considering Pluto is a Russia-sized lump of frozen rock looping an irregular orbit some three billion miles from the only place humans have ever lived. But somehow, one thing has led to another, and now we have a little metallic child noodling its way towards trans-Neptunian space and snapping pictures. It took nine and a half years to get there, traveling almost a million miles a day. To get a sense of that scale, I suggest you force yourself to spend six or seven minutes scrolling through If the Moon Were One Pixel.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 16:54:00

Staff Picks: Obama's 'Amazing Grace,' Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Arthur Russell and more

Paul Laurence Dunbar, the African-American poet, novelist and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, would celebrate his 143rd birthday tomorrow. I recommend reading some of his works with care, including two of his poignant pieces on African-American history, "The Unsung Heroes" and "When Dey 'Listed Colored Soldiers," which are both about the Revolutionary War. One of my all time favorite pieces however is the "Invitation to Love," which today is quite appropriate after the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015 - 16:19:00

Staff Picks: Tequila popsicles, Google Sheep View, Sammi Smith, Iraq War literature and more

A big, big recommend to author Phil Klay's masterful short story collection "Redeployment," which deservedly won the National Book Award in 2014. I finally got around to reading it recently, and it's clear to me that Klay, himself a former U.S. Marine who served as a second lieutenant in Iraq's Anbar province, has written the best work to come so far from our post-9/11 sandbox adventures in the Middle East, not to mention a worthy addition to the pantheon of great literature about young people at war, from "A Farewell to Arms" to "The Things They Carried." Bloody, disturbing, confusing, but always heartrendingly real, it's a book every American should read, if only to witness the physical and psychological meat grinder this country put a whole generation of soldiers through for dubious goals and uncertain ends.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015 - 14:50:00

Staff Picks: Loving Day, Shovels & Rope, Cosmic-Americana, Prince bootlegs and more

A minute ago I was watching to Sturgill Simpson’s video for "Turtles All the Way Down" which got me thinking about Beachwood Sparks, which reminded me of The Court & Spark, which ultimately brought to mind Gram Parsons.

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