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

  • Friday's headlines and your holiday open line

    What happened at the State Board of Education and what does it mean; Legislation filed for Hutchinson's government reorganization plan; Pediatric flu-related death in Arkansas reported; Suspect arrested in unsolved 2008 North Little Rock homicide.
    • Dec 21, 2018
  • New episode of Rock the Culture: "Juice In Your Own Life"

    In this week’s episode, Charles and Antwan provide perspective and conversation on the Little Rock Mayoral Election and State Board of Education’s consideration of the anticipated request to waive the Fair Teacher Dismissal Act. In addition, Charles and Antwan discuss all things happening in the Little Rock School District with Superintendent Michael Poore.
    • Dec 11, 2018
  • End of the week headlines and your open line

    Alderman candidate misses chance to cast deciding vote for himself in runoff election; Dem-Gaz to phase out print delivery in El Dorado, Camden and Magnolia; Rapert threatens UA Fort Smith over 'Drag Queen Story Time' event; The Van seeks to raise $35,000 in three weeks for new warehouse facility in South Little Rock.
    • Dec 7, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • On Walmart and state money

    No they don't need state help. Any conservative legislator who is true to their tea party principles will crow on about crony capitalism. I look forward to deafening silence.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • On shitholes

    The Observer is at home today in our kitty cat socks, weathering a combination sick day and snow day. Way down in Stifft Station, we live at the top of a hill that slopes away in all directions. That's good in a flood, but piss poor other than for sledding during snow and ice, especially when you only have access to a two-wheel drive car.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The job

    The Observer and Mr. Photographer were headed across town on our way to another press conference the other day when we got to talking about The Job. Newspaperin'.
    • Mar 15, 2018

Latest in The Observer

  • Phoenix

    If you're reading a paper copy of this esteemed publication right now, you're holding something special in your hands: the last weekly print edition of the Arkansas Times, the end of an unbroken chain that goes back and back, week by week, every week, to May 1992, when the Times became what the hep cats call an "alternative newsweekly."
    • Dec 20, 2018
  • Ramblin' Jack

    The Observer, like a lot of folks, is drawn to the real places: barbecue joints and honky-tonks, seedy truck stops and greasy little diners where the waitresses and clerks still call you "Hun," used bookstores that have been there since Faulkner was still drinking mint juleps, bait shops hung with dusty-eyed bass pulled up from the deep when Eisenhower was in the White House.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • Phillips

    After many years of faithful service, it seems as if the transmission in Black Phillip — our trusty 2006 Honda CRV — is in the process of giving up the ghost.
    • Dec 6, 2018
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation