Sunday, March 4, 2012

Not All Music can Cross Over

In the music business, lot's of artists like to cross over from one genre to another. There are countless examples, like Taylor Swift, who crossed from Country to Pop. But there are examples where it doesn't work. On Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, I guess they wondered if LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" could cross over to  the "Singer-Songwriter" category. Could Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen do that song? You be the judge. Enjoy. http://tinyurl.com/6s8x4qq

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Imagine Someone Trashing Your Lunch

We had a chance this morning to talk with Dr. William "Sonny" Walker, who was the first African American appointed to a cabinet position in Arkansas history. The appointment came from then Governor Win Rockefeller. As I mentioned on the air this morning, those of us who did not live in Arkansas at the time know of Rockefeller's work in clearning gambling out of Hot Springs, and his work using his connections for Economic Development in Arkansas.
This year would have been Rockefellers 100th birthday, were he still alive. And the Rockefeller Institute is working on a celebration of his life and his legacy. Part of that is reminding us of his work in civil rights.
Now, back to this morning. Walker told us his appointment was controversial in both the White and Black communities. Whites saw him as a radical. Blacks saw him as a sell-out.
He job related to expanding economic opportunities. He told the story of his attempt to convince a bank to hire black tellers. That was unheard of at the time. The response from the bank was for him to go find someone who could do the job.
Dr. Walker told us he went to a credit union, where he found a young African American teller. He collected her credentials and presented them to the bank. The good news is the bank agreed to hire her. The bad news is the way she was treated by her fellow employees. While we have to remember the time and the culture during that period, the treatment was awful. She was made to feel very unwelcome. She would bring her lunch to work, hoping to enjoy it in the bank's breakroom. But that was not possible. Her fellow employees, according to Dr. Walker, would literally trash her lunch. They would find garbage and scraps, and put those items in her lunch, making it impossible for her to eat.
She eventually left Arkansas for a position in Portland. She was later recruited for community economic development in Oregon where she enjoyed success, and later in Atlanta, where she became very successful.
Problems with race relations continue to bubble under the surface in Arkansas today. But it's worth taking a moment to think about this woman,  Dr. Walker, and Governor Rockefeller. They all, in their own way, blazed a small path.
If you'd like more information about the life and work of Governor Rockefeller, you'll find it at http://www.wr100.org/.
If you want to know more about Dr. Walker, you'll find it at: http://tinyurl.com/6qhnvun.
I found talking to Dr. Walker captivating, as I heard him reflect on those times. No one liked him. Not the blacks, not the whites. As he reflected back, he now realizes that he might have even put his family in danger.
Walker will speak tonight as part of a panel discussion at UAPB. It is at 6pm, free, and open to the public.

Monday, February 20, 2012

BBQ at the Airport?

Now here's an idea that makes sense. Arkansas Business reports in it's electronic version today that Whole Hog will open in the vacant spot at the Little Rock National Airport. Here is a link to the story: http://bit.ly/AzRMjK

Now this is what the Airport needs. Airport leaders struggle with how to best portray Central Arkansas when travelers arrive. They point out the Airport is the first Arkansas experience most out of state visitors have. It's their first impression. Hence, Airport leaders have wanted a nicer entrance to the Airport. They've wanted fountains. They've wanted art. But let me ask you a question. When is the last time you had a visitor who said "Show me some fountains", or "Gosh, you guys sure have a nice entrance to your airport". No, most of them want to talk about food. More specifically, BBQ.

So for all the work to make the Airport bigger, nicer, add art and fountains, if this story is true, they've finally hit on something out at the Airport. A first impression that needs napkins, and gives our visitors a choice of six different BBQ sauces, each better than the next. I promise, no one will go home and say "Boy, they have great fountains at that Little Rock Airport". But I've tasted Whole Hog. That's something they can enjoy as they wait to board the flight home. I bet they will go home and tell their friends (especially up in Yankee Land) "Man, the best BBQ I've ever had I had at the Little Rock Airport". That's not a first impression. It's a lasting impression. Now, when can they add Catfish?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

OF TASTYKAKES AND WEIGHT LOSS

Many of us have fond memories of foods from our childhood. I have several, which includes a product called TASTYKAKE. Another is Gefilte Fish. Trust, me, they have nothing in common.
The various varieties of TastyKakes were a regular in our home. My favorite was the "Junior", a small yellow layer cake with chocolate frosting. I also liked the Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes, pictured here.
So imagine my joy when I got a tweet from a friend announcing for all who cared the snack cake is being sold at the Target Stores in Little Rock. Understand, this product, made in Pennsylvania, has not been available anywhere in Arkansas for as long as I've lived here. (But for a one week period at a single Wal Mart in Hot Springs about two years ago.)
My travels don't generally take me to Target. But with that Tweet in hand, off I went. And yes, my friend was right.
And, in talking to a Target Manager who just happened by, he told me they sold the product in two locations in the store, because it's been a very good seller. Oh Joy, it looks like they'll continue to carry my favorite snack cake from childhood.
I'll have to admit, that they don't taste exactly the way I remember from childhood. Yes, I still like them. But somehow they are not quite as magical as I anticipated. That said, they do bring back memories from growing up in New Jersey, and I'm enjoying the snack cake and the memories. In short, I still like them.
And this is where my problem begins. I've been successful with a weight loss plan which I've even talked about on the radio. Called "Plan Z", I lost 24 pounds in five weeks, and I kept it off for 6 weeks through the holidays. The learning to keep it off is part of the plan. I go back on Plan Z "reduction" on Monday, confident in my ability to loose another 15 pounds.
The diet materials arrived this week, and this morning I have scoured the manual. While it's very helpful, no where did I find even a reference to TastyKakes. In short, they are not on the diet. Not really a surprise.  (small tear forms on right eye).
But oh, Joy, there is a loophole. I won't go into the details, but when you go on "Z - Reduction", which is the part of the diet with rapid weight loss, you actually start with a binge. Two days of eating as much of whatever you want. They explain it in the materials, and even after reading it, I don't fully understand it. I'm just taking it on faith. It worked the first time, so I'll do it again. In short, you put on a little temporary weight which comes off very quickly, and jump starts your rapid weight loss.
The timing couldn't be better. I have TastyKakes, and my dedication to this diet plan means I must binge this weekend. Want to guess what the cornerstone of that binge will be? (Again, a small tear forms.)
Thank you Tastykake. Thank you Target. And Thank you Plan Z for the guilt free binge.
Two days worth will have to hold me for a long time.
Meantime, if you like snack cakes, Hostess announced this week they were filing for bankruptcy. Now's the time to line up an alternative. Might check out your local Target store. Bye-bye Twinkies, hello TastyKakes!
Except for me. Bye Bye Tastycakes, hello lean protein. And vegetables. And a little fruit.
(In the interest of full disclosure, Plan Z is an advertiser on our radio stations, which is tied to my success on the diet. You can get more information at www.planzdiet.com)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CAN A CITY SAY NIMBY?

"Not In My Back Yard" is a common saying when Government or developers want to put something residents see as undesirable in their neighborhood. Homeless shelters are a good example. So are prisons. And trash dumps. Try to build one, and the local community groups will talk about property values, environmental impact or increased traffic flow, and storm City Hall to say "Not in My Back Yard".

But now it's the City of Little Rock saying NIMBY, because the Fed's want to build a day center to help homeless Veterans. Yes, Veterans. The Fed's have already cut a deal to fix up the old Cook Jeep location on Main Street to serve our Veterans.

And therein lies the problem. City leaders have other ideas for development on Main Street, and a center to serve the homeless, even homeless Vets is not a part of that plan. So, City Hall says NIMBY.

The City needs better arguments. First, my friend the Mayor said the City should have been notified. Well, as Max Brantley writes in the Arkansas Times Blog, that just doesn't hold water. The Fed's took out legal ads in the paper. Community blogs wrote about it. Here's a link to Brantley's blog post: http://tinyurl.com/7n2578g Isn't there someone at City Hall who should be reading legal notices?

The Mayor also suggests the Main Street location is a poor idea because there is a liquor store right across the street. And guess what, some homeless vets have substance abuse problems.
Let me point out the new location for the Wolfe Street Center is just around the corner from the former car lot. Wolfe Street is an outstanding organization, and hosts substance abuse meetings on a regular basis. Those Vets needing help could find it in walking distance.

The Mayor points out the city is already working on a Day Service Center for the Homeless, and that location is better suited to serve the homeless, including the Vets. That Center will be out on Confederate Blvd. Heck, it's almost walking distance. When you get off the bus.

The truth is, the Mayor just doesn't want the new Veterans Homeless Service Center on Main Street. A homeless day center, even for Vets, is obviously not consistent the vision he and others have for a redeveloped Main Street. I get that. I think most people get it. A center serving the homeless, even homeless Vets, is probably not going to attract downtown business, more entertment venues and maybe even some residents.

If City Hall wants to trump up some bad reasons for yelling NIMBY, that's their right. I just hope the next time a neighborhood group opposes a government or developers plan that will impact property values or increase traffic, City Hall will have more empathy when citizens say NIMBY.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Wife was Right about Jack Black

Several months ago, my wife brought home a new product for me to try. It was a small tube of of Jack Black beard lube. As you can see from my picture, I shave my head. I do it every morning in the shower. And I was very happy with the product I had, and saw no reason to try the new product she brought home. I figured I knew more about shaving my head then she did, so I tossed this little tube in the drawer.

Fast forward to this past weekend. I was a Men's store in Little Rock, and as I completed my purchase, the salesman gave me a free sample of the same product which I've been ignoring.

I don't know why I tried it when he gave it to me, but I did. I will tell you, it's the best shaving experience I've ever had. I use it sparingly, just a light coat over my dome and face. I don't know how it works, but there are two things I like. First, it gives me a very close shave, better than anything else I've used. And second, it doesn't gum up the five-blade shaver I use. The lube rinses out quickly, and that means I can also shave faster. A third bonus is that in contains some kind of oil that keeps my head smooth, and doesn't dry out. Give it a try. My wife was right. I don't say that often, and I've never said it in print. Now we'll see if she reads this blog.
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SPEAKING OF ODD THINGS ---
She also told me about a story she heard regarding a dead rodent and Mt. Dew. Seems a man is suing Mt. Dew, claiming he found a mouse in his Dew. The Company's response: That can't possibly have happened, because the content of Mt. Dew would have disolved the mouse. Really? Is that the best answer they could come up with.
You can't make this stuff up. Here's a link to the story: http://tinyurl.com/7aodl67

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WHAT DO SENATOR MARK PRYOR AND OCCUPY LR HAVE IN COMMON?

The short answer is frustration. I had a member from the Occupy LR folks on my morning show on FreshTalk 93.3. I say member, because he was quick to point out they have no structure. But they do share a common frustration about what he called lack of representation in Government. His point was that big business can afford to lobby Congress and regulating agencies, but the common person has no way to be heard, hence the movement.
Fast forward to Senator Mark Pryor. He is also frustrated. His comes about from a lack of action on real solutions for the economic problems facing the country. The Senator said this morning he doesn't think we'll see any real answers before the election. The reason is simple. If a member of Congress votes for any kind of revenue increase or spending cut, those same big dollars the Occupy people talk about will be used in ads to target that Congressman or Senator. "He voted to raise your taxes", or "He voted to take away your benefits".
So, frustration over the big money that controls Congress is a concern they share.

I hope you'll join me for "AM Arkansas", weekday mornings from 6am-8am on FreshTalk 93.3 - Arkansas' New Talk Station.

Friday, December 30, 2011

THE FOUR REPS

I hope you've had a chance to hear "The Four Reps". These are four young men who came together as part of the Young Performers Program at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock. I first heard these guys when they performed at a Rotary meeting.
I immediately invited them to come be on the radio with us, and they joined us this morning. Below is a still picture of them in our studio this morning, with the audio from one of the songs they did on air. I hope you enjoy them.

video