Saturday, January 14, 2012


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

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


"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: 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.