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Smart Talk, March 20 

Huckabee collector’s item

The New York Times last week reported that Eric Woolson, Mike Huckabee's Iowa campaign manager, was offering a heckuva deal on “Huckabee for President” T-shirts. The offer came with a fictional plug from Chip Saltsman, Huckabee's campaign manager — “My Huckabee T-shirt took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I laughed. I cried. It was better than ‘Cats.' ”

According to the Times, the shirts were on offer last week for $5, plus $1 for postage and handling. For members of the media, however, the price was said to be $35, plus $7.50 postage and handling.

Woolson told us by e-mail that the offer was legit, but the media attention had created a run on the shirts. Write him at ewoolson@theconceptworks.com. He said he's out of smalls and mediums, but had L, XL and XXL.

Check it out

Want a glimpse into decision-making at Wal-Mart? Go to checkoutblog.com. On it, Wal-Mart buyers write about new products they've evaluated, from electronics to lawn care products. Writes the New York Times: “The result is an intensely personal window into the lives, preferences and quirks of the powerful tastemakers at Wal-Mart. Sample entry: One writer doesn't think video on demand is a ‘near-term threat' to movie sales because on-line videos can't be downloaded easily and quickly shared with multiple video players in different locations.

First-class verse

Success in the world of poetry and a $5 bill will buy you a cheap hamburger, but bragging rights and publication in a well-regarded journal might at least make the hunger pangs easier to bear. Scott Standridge, a Little Rock writer who programs computers to pay the bills, was a finalist for the 2007 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, an annual competition founded by the Formalist, a respected journal of poetry that ceased publication in 2004. The contest continues, however, and the winner and 11 finalists are published in the yearly “Measure: An Annual Review of Formal Poetry,” which will be released later this month. Expat Arkie Jack Butler, author of “Living in Little Rock with Miss Little Rock,” is also a past finalist.

Standridge's entry, “Noir, #28,” clothes classically Shakespearean themes in a Humphrey Bogart trenchcoat, describing a man's sensual but deadly encounter with a femme fatale.

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