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Community Blogs, Arkansas Times

Daily Arkansas news, politics and entertainment. Featuring the state's most trusted blog, dining guides and dining reviews, movie times and more.

Published: Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:00:01 -0500

Last Build Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2018 02:00:00 -0500

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Not quite the worst book in the world, but still . . .

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 12:26:00 -0500

Sitting next to my keyboard is a book which just annoys the hell out of me, but I can’t give it away, and good conscience forbids me from throwing it in the trash.

I was online a while back, ordering a book, when a “suggestion” popped up, a siren song to my love of all things Irwin Allen. A new series of novels based on the best Allen creation, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.”

Now, no matter what you you might think of how Voyage degenerated over the years into a cheesy monster of the week show, both the original movie and the first season of the series are good, solid entertainment. And I was sort of intrigued by the description:

“Living Death is an unmade episode that deals with man's ability to create life and the dangers such a miracle brings about in this action packed never before revealed story in a new series of pocket books in the ‘Lost Episodes’ range.”

In hopes that this novel might reflect some of the storytelling quality of the first season, I let slip eight dollars from my credit card. True, in a lifetime of stupid mistakes this hardly qualifies as my worst, but still, it’s one I’ll not make again.

He said, hopefully.

I knew I was in trouble when I began reading the back of the slim paperback (21 pages) and found not one, but two spelling errors. Now, I have been guilty of some spelling whoppers, especially on my blog, but not on the backs of my books.

“Pocket Books Universal brings you a new series based on famous TV series that for saome reason or other had an episode omitted from production or never made, despite having the script done and ready to go before the cameras.

“This first book explores the depths of the sea and dangers galaore as we go on a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and join Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane as they confront The Living Death.”

Don’t bother trying to Google Pocket Books Universal; it seems to exist only in the fevered imagination of the person who wrote this piece of fan fiction. Not only is the writer’s name not on the book, but the writer of the episode on which this “novel” is supposedly based is also nowhere in sight.

And the writing?

Well, most of the words are spelt right, which is a plus, I suppose. As for the writing style? Well, I wrote a “Star Trek” story when I was 14, and it was every bit as well-written as this . . . this . . . this thing.

But what to do with it?

I can’t give it to Goodwill or the public library used bookstore, as I fear my karma would suffer irreparable harm. I can’t just lob it in the trash because that just goes against everything I believe in.

I could hang on to it until I die and it is sold in an estate sale, and some jerk will proclaim, “So this is the type of junk that Drake read!”

Well, somebody will no doubt do that anyway.

It’s a classic case of damned if i do, and damned if I don’t . . .


Today’s Soundtrack

Listening to John Mock’s “Celtic Portraits” today.


Now on YouTube: The UFO Show

My interview with filmmaker Bob Emenegger, a conversation in which we discuss his work in TV commercials and documentaries about UFOs.

On the Air: The UFO Show

"On the Air with Richard S. Drake" celebrates 27 years years on the air in 2018.


Quote of the Day

Most people are willing to pay more to be amused than to be educated, - Robert C. Savage

Running for My Life . . .

Sun, 08 Apr 2018 12:21:00 -0500

“We’ll see if we can get you an extra couple of years,” the doctor said, and my mind unaccountably went to Ben Gazzara. I have written about Gazzara before, and his TV series “Run for Your Life,” in which he played a terminally ill man who had a series of adventures in which he made love to numerous women, fought various men, and never threw up, even once.

I’m pretty sure my road ahead isn’t going to be quite as thrilling, though,  like  Gazzara’s Paul Bryan,  I’ll still be dancing on the edge, every day. Then again, he got promised 18 months of life, and the show ran for three years. So you never know, do you?

If this makes me seem shallow, well, when was the last time I cared about that? I’m a child of TV shows, movies, music and literature; I’ll gladly draw inspiration and reference points from them all.

It wasn’t as though I wasn’t paying attention, as the doctor ran down each procedure in turn, and then explaining why each one wouldn’t work in my case. Finally we got to an option which may give me more days in this realm of existence.

We get to go back next Thursday, to talk about setting things in motion.

In the meantime, I have been looking at the many books I have in my collection, thinking about which ones I really want to read, and which I can go ahead and give now to Goodwill and the used bookstore at the Fayetteville Public Library.

The days I have ahead with Tracy.

The exhaustion I have been feeling will increase, as other symptoms may also manifest themselves.

Unlike Ben Gazzara, I won’t be making love to beautiful women around the world (not the sort of thing one can explain to one’s wife at the best of times) nor will I be going mano a mano with ruffians of any sort. Just as well, I suppose.

But as long as I can write, about the things that matter to me, and events in my life (both past and present) I will continue to do so.

And as I say, “Run for Your Life” lasted for three years, so who knows what may happen?


The Usual Disclaimer

I don’t write pieces like this for pity, prayers or pats on the back. How you respond is entirely up to you, which is as it should be.

Tracy is on Facebook - Tracy Reeves-Cutaia - and it would be nice if you could spare a moment or two and send her a message of encouragement.  That would mean a lot to me.


Today’s Soundtrack

Listening to John Barry’s soundtrack to “Somewhere in Time” today. Not only is this one of my favourite scores, but also one of my favourite movies, based on the novel by the great Richard Matheson.


Now on YouTube: Catherine Reed: The Music of the Spheres

A collection of music pieces by my friend, Ms. Catherine Reed, taped in the studios of Fayetteville Public Television and the NWA Women’s Conference and Festival, at the University of Arkansas.

Catherine Reed: The Music of the Spheres


Quote of the Day

The public which reads, in any sense of the word worth considering, is very, very small; the public which would feel no lack if all book publishing ceased tomorrow, is enormous. - George Gissing

Fayetteville: Is Alderman John La Tour capable of learning?

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 12:15:00 -0500

One day, like Saul on the road to Damascus, John La Tour may well have an epiphany - namely, that the folks he rails against online are also his constituents, and deserve more respect than the felgercarb he likes to post online.

By now, most are probably aware of the silly posts he left on his city council Facebook page earlier this week:

"Homosexual are attempting to lower my professional reputation online by leaving me one star reviews when I have never provided them with any service. Please google my name when you have time. If you can, please leave me a good review. Thank you."

This was later changed to:

"My political opponents, mostly homosexuals and their supporters, are attempting to lower my professional reputation..."

And then:

"My political opponents are attempting to lower my professional reputation..."

Now, of course, all of the comments have been removed.

He still has a personal Facebook page, where, if you like, he can read of his support for Judge Roy Moore, his distaste for gay marriage, and one amusing little video entitled “They are coming for our children.”

Many are the comments left by his supporters. I have just spent the better part of an hour looking over his current Facebook page - shouldn’t there be a public service award for that? - and it is pretty obvious that Comrade La Tour is fairly partisan.

Fair enough, I suppose. Liberals on the City Council are pretty open with their views, and I don’t want to live in a world in which everyone thinks the same way as I do.

But I got the strong feeling that Alderman la Tour doesn’t exactly shut his ears when he hears a good conspiracy theory.

He uses language that is aimed foursquare not at the general public, but at those who see the world exactly as he does. Again, not a crime, but a little impolitic.

Even so, I have no intention of signing any petition demanding that he resign. Why turn John La Tour into a political martyr? Or create an issue for the next election?

And, if the city council were to appoint someone whose views fell more in line with the majority of city council members, well, all hell would literally break loose.

You’ll find this, I believe, under the Laws of Unintended Consequences.


Today’s Soundtrack

Listening to the great Holly Near this morning.


Now on YouTube: Fayetteville - an Alternative History

A look at recent Fayetteville history: Al Vick: Fayetteville - an Alternative History


Quote of the Day

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

When is a whistleblower not a whistleblower? When they are trying to set you up for a lawsuit . . .

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 12:33:00 -0500

Once upon a time there was a columnist (in a publication I will not name) whose writing bordered on such outright racism that I felt compelled to write about him on several occasions. Okay, more than several, if you want to be technical about it. But he pretty much only had himself to blame. Besides his oft-stated love for the 1950s, a period of time he held high regard for, as it represented - not only for him, but lots of other folks whose idea of the period seems largely to come from “Leave it to Beaver” reruns - the high point in civilization. All too often he had one culprit in particular when it came to many of the problems of the 21st Century. Minorities, especially young males of a certain minority, who didn’t seem to share the values that so many decent Americans held close to their hearts. Whether the subject was crime, incarceration, the problems facing the American family or a whole host of other topics, well, his targets were tailor-made for the crabby old farts of the world. He was a walking, talking caricature of those you so often encounter online, those who believe the world would be a far better place if only more people saw the world through their eyes. He would go for several weeks without mentioning race at all, and then, like your crazy uncle at a family reunion, the urge would overcome him, and he’d Hulk out in print. What’s a guy to do? A guy who writes? You got it. I wrote about him. In fact, he was quite a hobby of mine for a while. And then, one day, I get an email from someone claiming to have worked for him, someone offering up all sorts of juicy gossip about the man, some amusing, and some repulsive. It was like Christmas came early that year. The personal stuff I had no interest in, as my own life is far from beyond reproach. But the tidbits about his professional dealings with others, well, that was another matter altogether. My correspondent (who had not identified himself in any way) was hot and heavy for the world to discover the less than honorable side of the man in question. Okay, I wrote at one point, we need to meet in person before we can go any further. Hemming and hawing followed. Excuses of all sorts were offered, as to why we could not meet just yet. Well, was my reply, I really need to meet you, and get first-hand look at the information you are offering. I explained that we just couldn’t proceed any further without that happening. And then came, in the words of those great philosophers Simon and Garfunkel, the sounds of silence. I made one or two efforts to reestablish contact, but he had retreated like a turtle into his shell. Ah well, you win some and you lose some. Speaking of which, sometime later I reread all of his emails, and came to the conclusion that I hadn’t actually been communicating with one of his former employees after all, but the man in question. I can’t prove it for a fact, but given the salacious nature of what was offered, and the fact that no one else ever printed the material, I’m pretty sure I dodged a bullet there. I think that _______ was hoping I would write about the material in my blog, thus opening the door for a nice lawsuit against me. I’m not a rocket scientist, but I was smart enough not to fall for that one. And I continued to write about him on occasion, and I imagine I will again in the future. ****** Today’s Soundtrack Listening to Herb Alpert’s CD “Midnight Sun” this morning. Why aren’t you? ***** Now on YouTube: Mendy Knott My interview with playwright Mendy Knott. It was a fun show. "On the Air with Richard S. Drake" celebrates 27 years years on the air in 2018. **** Quote of the Day Only mediocre people are always at their best. - Somerset Maugham [...]

Dear President Trump: I look good on TV - can I have a job?

Thu, 29 Mar 2018 11:22:00 -0500

First off, sir, I realize that if If I really want to be considered for a job, I should post my plea on television, but I suspect that you are far more literate than many suspect. Why, Stormy Daniels herself has told us of your fondness for Forbes magazine.

And now that you have hired former Disney Channel actress Caroline Sunshine to work in your press office, why, you have given hope to all of us out there on television, no matter how large or small our audience is.

Not only have I had my show for 27 years now, but my wife tells me that I am fairly photogenic, on a really good day.

I realize that you don’t like to hire folks with any actual experience for the jobs that you fill, so whatever writing experience I have will just have to be ignored. Other than being a devoted viewer of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” I have no nautical experience at all - perhaps Secretary of the Navy? And the fact that I think it is entirely possible to have windows in a submarine gives me a special edge over other, less photogenic candidates, I think.

I’m not picky, sir. But with so many jobs empty in your administration, I’m sure I could fit in somewhere.

I could make sure that your subscription to Forbes magazine is re-upped on time. I know you’d appreciate that.

Like so many of your appointees, I have a wealth of ignorance; I am sure that we could work well together.

I’ll sign off now, sir. I thought of placing an ad in Forbes, but each issue has so many words for you to have to wade through. Perhaps I’ll just put my resume on YouTube, where you can watch it at your leisure.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to try and Make America Great Again in my own way, a little bit at a time . . .


Today’s Soundtrack

Today’s heartfelt plea to our Great Leader was aided considerably by Gaelic Storm’s CD “Special Reserve.”


Quote of the Day

If you listen, you learn; if you talk, you don’t. - actor John Hurt

Candidates and elected officials: your Facebook/Twitter pages should be open to everyone - no private accounts

Sun, 25 Mar 2018 12:13:00 -0500

Maine GOP candidate Leslie Gibson, whose sole claim on history may be that he Tweeted that a young Parkland survivor was a “lesbian skinhead” in response to her joining in on protests (and called another a “moron” and a “baldfaced liar”) tried to salvage his campaign for the state legislature by making his Twitter page private, meaning that only the folks in his intellectual treehouse could read what passed for his wisdom.

Didn’t work.

After taking heat from members of both the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as the public, Gibson bowed out of the race.

So, I have been thinking (not always the best course of action for me personally, but I often can’t help myself) about those in public life and private Twitter or Facebook accounts. While we live in an age when some employers still think that they have the right to an employee’s social media passwords, which I don’t agree with, I do believe that all social media accounts of political candidates and elected officials should be open to the public.


Well, because in a private account one can really let one’s hair down, so to speak. The reality of a person - or as much reality as the virtual online world allows - is revealed, nobility and all, warts and all.

And in an age when folks unwisely choose to share online not only their most brilliant ideas but also their basest ones as well, the voting public has a right to see those thoughts.

It’s the old game of acting one way in public and revealing your true self around a select few. It is morally and politically abhorrent, and I would not vote for any candidate who has a private account.

More to the point, having public Twitter/Facebook pages will also show us the sort of people who support a candidate. Are they racist, sexist, or the sort who look down on others simply because they are different?

And how the candidate responds to such posts left upon their page will also reveal a great deal about them: namely, are they willing to stand up to the Neanderthalish crowd or remain silent?

An individual’s interactions on social media may reveal just as much, if not more, as tax returns, political endorsements or news articles.

Perhaps one day soon, if I can find the time, I’ll root around on the Internet and see which of our current office holders and candidates in Northwest Arkansas have such private accounts.


Today’s Soundtrack

Listening to the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, this morning, cuz I feel good and I’ve got the world on a string.


Now on YouTube: Ms. Jori Costello sings “My Least favorite Things”

Ladies and gentleman, presenting Ms. Jori Costello, and the perfect song for the Trump years, “My Least Favorite Things.”

Well, we taped it in the studio several years ago, but it just seems more relevant with each passing day.


Quote of the Day

It is very nearly impossible... to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind. - James A. Baldwin

Isn’t a “No Soliciting” sign supposed to be like a crucifix against a vampire?

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 13:29:00 -0500

“Young man,” I said, pointing to the sign on the door, “is English your second language?” I might not have been so testy, but he was the second one to come pounding on the door that day. It doesn’t bother me so much as it does my poor dogs, who react to every knock on the door as if a horde of Daleks were on the porch.

I arrived too late to greet the first caller, who must have fled when they heard me yelling at our Hell Hounds and knocking them aside with a snow shovel so I could answer the door.

Oh, don’t call the Humane Society on me; that was a joke, for the Lost Souls who lack a sense of humour.

They had left their pamphlets outside the door. Jehovah’s Witnesses, who, while not having a chance in hell of converting me, are actually the very nicest, most inoffensive people who have ever come calling.

The second was a young man who may have thought that the sign meant “No Prostitutes Allowed.” “

“Hello,” he began, “I’m _______ with AT&T . . .”

It was at this point that - okay, a little rudely - I pointed to the sign and asked him about his language skills.

Well, he took my version of “Get off my lawn!” in his stride, at least.

I don’t actually get annoyed at the folks who get come calling - or used to, before we put the sign up - but at their parent organizations, whether they be security systems, Internet providers or kids selling chocolate bars.

I was a door-to-door salesman for about a week in 1974, and I know the pressure put on the folks knocking on doors. But if I wanted a mercantile Christopher Lee to come calling, I’d take the sign down.


Today’s Soundtrack

Listening to Mister Eddie Rabbit today. Is there a better way to start the day than with a man who loves a rainy night?

Perhaps I could have phrased that a little better . . .


Now on YouTube: Shamrock, Texas - bring out your dead!

Can a city’s cemetery be a reflection of the town itself? Shamrock, once a thriving Route 66 town, has suffered the same fate as many others - a rundown city center, businesses closing, and a cemetery which is half taken care of, and the other half strewn with weeds - at least at the time this program was produced.

So here it is:

Shamrock: Graveyard of Doom:


Quote of the Day

THE DOCTOR: But did you bother to tell anyone they might be eating their own relatives?

DAVROS: Certainly not. That would have created what I believe is termed “consumer resistance.” - Doctor Who/Revelation of the Daleks, written by Eric Saward

“Well, you have cancer.”

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:15:00 -0500

I was sitting in the doctor’s office a few days ago, reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet,” when he came in and asked, “How are you today, Mr. Drake?” The thought flitted through my mind that, all things considered, he knew more about that than I did. Turns out I was right about that. referring to the biopsy I had undergone last week, he said, “Well, you have cancer of the liver.” I gave him my fullest attention, thus proving once again what Samuel Johnson once wrote, “The prospect of hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully.” We discussed various surgical options, as well as chemo and radiation. You know, for a guy who has made New Year’s Resolutions to keep out of the clutches of the medical establishment, I’m not doing all that well, am I? He told me that it is something that must be taken seriously, and I answered, “Well, doing nothing is not an option.” Well it could be, if I was a moron, I suppose. When I was first diagnosed with high blood pressure, folks who didn’t have it themselves were full of advice on how to deal with it, and when I became diabetic, the same sort of folks were all too eager to offer advice. Naturally, none of their advice included going to an actual doctor. So cancer, which I have written about over the years as it has affected others, now becomes part of my life, and one of the many things I will write about. Meaning that, like so many others, I’m a guy with cancer. But, as much as I can, I’m not going to let that define who I am. I’m not being pollyannaish here; I know that there will be days when the very idea of getting dressed and facing the world will be almost more than I can bear. But, you know, I have a wife who loves me, and if I give in to self-pity it won’t be helping her very much. I’ve got books to read. I’ve got a lot of writing to do, especially on this book about Fayetteville I haven’t devoted nearly enough attention to of late. I have my blog. I have my show, though I understand that there will be weeks when I just won’t be able make myself even think about it. And there will be times when just the idea of cancer will bring me up short, and I’ll just say, “Shit.” Still, I hope to make it through this as well as I can, “Bloody, Bold, and Resolute,” to quote the Bard. And one of the ways I will deal with it is to write about it, though: A) I’ll do my best not to be maudlin about it, and A) I’ll write about plenty of other things as well, as ever. So let’s get out there and have a nice day, Yawning Reader. ****** Once again, a reminder As always, I don’t write pieces such the above in an effort to garner sympathy, prayers or pity. If you want to make me feel better, just tell me the words I love to hear: “Nice writing!” Those words have a wonderful curative power, all on their own. If someone says they will pray for me, well, I always sort of assume that they read the title and the first paragraph, and stopped there. My wife is on Facebook, however, and if you feel so inclined, you might drop her a line or two of encouragement. None of this will be easy on her. ***** Today’s Soundtrack Listening to some Donna Summer, because there are times when disco is just what the doctor ordered. **** Now on YouTube: Life is a Museum: An Afternoon at Crystal Bridges My adventure at Crystal Bridges: Life is a Museum: An Afternoon at Crystal Bridges *** Quote of the Day Most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do - James Harvey Robinson [...]

Congressman Steve Womack: The Scowling One was on a roll last week

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 11:55:00 -0500

Going out of his way yet again to demonstrate that he isn’t quite sure who he represents, Congressman Steve (The Scowling One) Womack spread the love around last week, proving once again that he will not stand against the tide where it comes to the GOP agenda.

HR4607: TSO voted on a bill which would grant federal regulators the ability to discard financial rules and scale back the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Currently, federal agencies must review regulations every ten years, and get rid of regulations considered to be obsolete. Now, under this new bill, reviews will take place every seven years, and expands said reviews to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Credit Union Administration.

Because ultimately, who needs a Consumer protection bureau when you have men like TSO minding the store?

In addition, TSO voted against a Democratic bid which would require public disclosure of any and all regulation rollbacks which would benefit President Donald Trump or members of his family.

HR1917: This bill would indefinitely (like forever?) delay a Clean Air Act rule put in place to curb hazardous emissions from brick manufacturing. This rule goes after discharges of hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen chloride and various hazardous metals which the EPA has said are linked to cancer and asthma.

But wait! There’s more! The bill would also postpone from 2020 to 2023 the implementation of a rule to reduce pollution from wood-fueled heaters.

A Democratic bid to mandate that there is no reason that EPA head Scott Pruitt to have to fly first class or charter planes on government business.

Yeah, TSO voted against it.

And last, but certainly not least where it comes to protecting the public, TSO voted in support of HR1119, which would provide protection for power plants which burn coal refuse from shut down minds. Yes, Steve Womack, the People’s Champion, voted to protect those who would fill the air with sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, mercury and arsenic.

Offhand, I suspect that if Congress had to breathe in this stuff for a week or two, we might see a dramatic change in their voting.

Once again, Congressman Steve Womack and his brothers and sisters in the GOP benefit from people not reading newspapers, where their voting records are published.


Today’s Soundtrack

Listening to the CD “An Evening with Don Williams” - anything to mellow me out after reading about Steve Womack's latest shenanigans.


Quote of the Day

There is always a pleasure in unraveling a mystery, in catching at the gossamer clue which will guide to certainty. - Elizabeth Gaskell

Biopsy Redux

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 12:32:00 -0600

“Those two Valium you gave me haven’t kicked in yet,” I told the nurse. “Maybe you had better give me about 12 more.” She laughed and said, “They will.” And damned if she wasn’t right.

Going in for a biopsy on my liver this week - hoping it turns out to be nothing more than the usual flotsam and jetsam which can build up in the oddest places - I consented, once again, to have some sort of needle slid into me and samples withdrawn.

They took eight samples, though the sum total really didn’t seem to amount to all that much. Still, a good time was had by all.

As I was in the ready room - or whatever they call it - I was listening to a fellow through the next curtain talking about how he had refused any sort of sedation during a heart cath procedure, because he didn’t trust the doctor. When he described how he felt like he had been hit in the chest with a hammer, I thought, yeah, well, dude, you should have expected that one.

At which point he drew the curtain back and said, “Hey! How are you?”

A nurse came over to draw the curtain back, but I said, “No, I’m enjoying listening to his stories,” which made him laugh.

He then began to tell me of his medical history, beginning with first getting cancer in his twenties. Now on a walker, cancer has spread to his spine.

He was upbeat while talking about it, but it gave me a chance once again to consider how unfair life can be. What was truly sobering was that, even though he was younger than me, the ravages of disease had made him look much, much older.

After a few minutes they came to take me on my voyage of discovery, to borrow a phrase from the great Carl Sagan.

Around this time the Valium finally began to take hold, which of course prompted the usual round of, “Can you tell us your name and your birthdate?”

After answering the second time, I added, “And we are in Fayetteville, Arkansas.” I thought for a second and added, “Please don’t ask me who the president is.”

The doctor laughed. “I don’t like to hear those words myself.”

The rest of the story, Wambling Reader, is your typical Marcus Welby MD stuff. You get numbed, you get jabbed, samples are taken, and you get wheeled back to recovery, where you hang out for an hour.

I must have been really relaxed, because the nurses said they could hear me snoring. I guess I didn’t need those extra 12 Valium after all . . .

And then Tracy took me home, where I blissfully slept the day away.



As always, when I write something of this nature, I am not seeking prayers or sympathy. If you want to make me feel good just say, “Nice writing!”

You could spare a prayer or two for my wife, though, who has to put up with my whining.


Today’s Soundtrack

Listening to “The Very Best of Diana Krall” CD this morning. If you haven’t got it, you should get it.


Quote of the Day

"If you want to watch a movie about a billionaire playboy with a penchant for darkness, inflicting violence and dressing up in masks, you're far better off seeing The Lego Batman Movie." - Daily Mirror film critic Chris Hunneysett, in his review of Fifty Shades Darker.

And now, a moment of silence for those lawmakers in thrall to the NRA

Sun, 04 Mar 2018 11:41:00 -0600

Adding insult (contempt?) to injury, the Florida legislature not only rejected a bill to ban assault weapons, but immediately moved to the go to position for such lawmakers: a moment of silence for the victims of the Parkland shooting.

Because nothing says we care about a problem like offering up a moment of silence.

Indeed, GOP state senator Kelli Stargel offered up this bit of moral obscenity:

“Thoughts and prayers are really the only thing that’s going to stop the evil from within the individual that is taking up their arms to do this type of massacre.”

So maybe it’s time for us all to hold a moment of silent prayer for those elected officials whose sense of responsibility doesn’t extend to constituents who the victims of gun crime.

Along with rallies, how about massive pray-ins (to coin a phrase) for those who can only offer up cliches and moments of silence every time there is a shooting.

After all, if prayers are the recommended course of action on the part of lawmakers, then prayers asking that the cowering men and women in thrall to the gun industry will actually do their job might be a neat counter-solution to their self-serving silence.

Florida’s Stargel also claimed that banning assault-type weapons would be a “slippery slope.” Offhand, Senator Stargel, when faced with slippery slopes, well, that is when people have a right to expect you to put on your hob-nailed boots and tackle that slope.

Our thoughts and prayers go with you. Because really, if Heavenly intercession is the only way we can get you and your like-minded legislators to tackle this issue, well, I’m willing to give it a try.


Actually, I’m not sure even prayer would influence Congressman Steve Womack

Adding even more fuel to the suspicion that Arkansas Congressman Steve (The Scowling One) Womack doesn’t actually consider humanity when he votes comes the news of his vote blocking a Democratic attempt to debate two gun-safety bills (HR3464/HR4240).

Like all so many law makers who offer up prayers and moments of silence, The Scowling One had nothing to say when before the vote.

Perhaps he is praying that not too many people are looking at his voting record.


Today’s Soundtrack

Listening to Dan Fogelberg this morning, just to calm myself down.


Quote of the Day

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. - Marcus Garvey

University of Arkansas: An act akin to rape?

Sun, 25 Feb 2018 12:31:00 -0600

In a perfect world, not only would the frat house where this alleged vile act took place be shuttered (preferably forever) but all of the young men who took part would have to register as sex offenders. Oh, and expelled, to boot.

Not being a perfect world, well, the young men involved will no doubt grow up to be the Future Leaders of Tomorrow.

In Saturday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette came this article, written by Jaime Adame:

UA frat sued over photos

The first paragraph reads:

“A lawsuit filed Friday claims Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity should be held responsible for sexually explicit photographs taken without consent and then distributed to an email network for University of Arkansas fraternity members.”

A young woman - “Jane Doe” - has sex with a fraternity “associate” member in a bathroom stall in February of 2017 at a frat party. All well and good- we've all done similar in our lives. But here comes the morally repulsive part.

At the urging of some Future Leaders of America, one yabo sticks a camera phone under the door as part of his initiation into this bastion of young American manhood, and takes a few “art shots” of the couple having sex.

According to the story, more than a few trailer trash fraternity members also took photos - presumably so they could see what actual sex looked like, should any of them ever be lucky enough to meet someone wowed by their charm.

Yes, some non-fraternity members also were in on the action, but we’ll leave them aside for the nonce, and concentrate on the fraternity, since, as we all know, fraternities are the best of the best.

The lawsuit claims that this was part of a “Picture pledge” with the picture later sent out over the Arkansas LCA Gmail list-serv.

Turns out that two (at the very least) of the Future Leaders of America may have put some pressure on said yabo who took the pictures to upload and distribute them online.

Frat members claim that there was never such a thing as a “Picture Pledge.”

I wonder, if, any point, the young art lover in question may have thought to himself, “Are these really the kind of guys I want to be associated with?”

Nah, probably not.

The lawsuit claims, rightly so, that the young woman has suffered in terms of self-esteem, personal reputation and lost educational opportunity.

It isn’t just the fact that Video voyeurism is a crime but the fact that so many of the Future Leaders of Tomorrow involved evidently didn’t have the brains or moral fibre to figure out that what they were doing was not only shameful, but that such action reflected badly upon their parent organization, their university, their state, their gender and their families.

Let loose the dogs of war upon any of these Future Sex Offenders of America who may be found responsible in this matter.


Ha. If they were “responsible” none of this would ever have happened.

If the University of Arkansas does not act on this, then, by God, they are little more than accomplices in the violation of this young woman.


Today’s Soundtrack

Listening to Christopher Denny’s “Age Old Hunger” CD this morning.


Quote of the Day

I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die. - Isaac Asimov

Young people vs the gun industry: how long till the inevitable backlash?

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 09:52:00 -0600

While I am happy that young people are making their voices heard after the latest shooting outrage, I’m pretty certain that the backlash against them will be coming like a tidal wave within a matter of days. Just a look at Facebook on any particular day will reveal the deep contempt that many feel for the young at the best of times.

It didn’t take very long for some in the media to turn against the families of the victims of September 11, after they refused to toe whatever conservative narrative was demanded of them. Sandy Hook families? Ditto.

Black Lives Matter, which came about as a result of police shootings? Double ditto.

Backlash against the #MeToo movement? Triple that.

Mockery of the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment? Well . . .

And so it will be with the young people who are making their voices heard now. Alex Jones’s website, the news source for the unhinged, has already begun his part of the crusade:

Second Amendment shall not be infringed

Politicians will talk down to the young people who have seen their friends killed before their very eyes. And even the young people who haven’t yet, but may still have that awful experience.

There will be counter-movements, which will look suspiciously like Tea Party rallies.

Those whose day is not complete unless they have posted a Facebook meme mocking the young will be hard at it, much to the amusement of their Facebook “friends.”

Gorge Soros will be blamed for the movement, as well as the infamous Libtards. Actually, that has already begun:

Florida Survivors Push Back After GOP Activist Says They’re ‘Hijacked By Left-Wing Groups’

Individuals will write long and largely unreadable Facebook treatises on the subject.

And as the movement grows, the anger, mockery and confusion on the part of those who refuse to consider matters from the view of the young will intensify.

Politicians, in the meantime, will pray. And President Trump? Well, he will have a “listening session” with students and staff from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where no doubt the students will learn about his “historic” election, the FBI dropping the ball on the killer so they could indulge in their witch hunt of him, and how nobody in the world cares more about gun violence than he does.


Quote of the Day

Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained. - Helen Keller

Increased security for schools? And just who is gonna pay for it?

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 18:37:00 -0600

It is one of Life’s Great Ironies that the same folks who seem to routinely vote down school bond issues are clamoring to increase funding for security, which will no doubt mean even more teachers will have pull money out of their own pockets so that students can have basic supplies. I am not questioning the need for safer schools, but as long as every mass shooting brings out frenzied defenders of the Second Amendment with Facebook memes mocking any and all concern about the proliferation of guns in our society - not to mention the number of elected officials in thrall to the gun industry - I have the sinking feeling that more stringent gun laws belong more in the realm of Fantasy Island than the United States of America. So the remains: who will pay for the increased security, and how? A few years ago we had militia types who were volunteering their time and firepower to guard schools, but I’m pretty sure they lost interest as soon as the TV cameras went away. Taxes. I have seen some online (why do I even look there for rational arguments?) claim that the federal government should shoulder the burden. It boggles the mind to think of how this might even be set up. Use the National Guard, as Barbara Boxer once suggested? Some have argued that military veterans should shoulder the task, though these ideas seem to go in the grouping of “Let’s run it up the flagpole and see it anybody salutes” notions. It won’t be the feds who will come through. Hell, the best the clown car that is Congress can offer up are prayers - which I am not knocking - but God does, after all, help those who help themselves. It’s going to have to be local municipalities who will have to shoulder the financial burden, whether it means putting up cameras, or hiring rent-a-cops to wander the halls of schools. This leaves aside the whole question of whether we really want our schools to resemble something out of a police state. Some have argued that teachers should be required to take weapons training and thus be in a state of constant vigilance. But there again, who is going to pay for the weapons and the training required? Property taxes will have to increase - dramatically. There may be no objections from many folks right now, but what about in the majority of American school districts where there have been no shootings? Hell, folks today whine that “I have no kids in the damn school system,” as they traipse down to vote “no” on bond issues. If you can’t get them to support education in their own communities, why do you think these stalwarts will vote “yes” on any bond issue to increase security? Sorry, kids, you are on your own. But if it makes you feel any better, there are some truly patriotic, passionate and eloquent Facebook memes about the Second Amendment out there. ****** Today’s Soundtrack Enjoying The Celtic Woman CD “A New Journey” while I ponder how people’s minds work. ***** Now on YouTube: Samuel Totten on Genocide My interview with Sam Totten, who has investigated and written several books about the atrocities committed in Darfur, perpetrated by the Sudanese government. In addition, he is the chief editor of the journal Genocide Studies and Prevention. "On the Air with Richard S. Drake" celebrates 27 years years on the air in 2018. **** Quote of the Day The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose. - James Baldwin [...]

Another Day, Another Shooting: A Politician’s Prayer

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:19:00 -0600

Hello, Lord, it’s me again, Senator Booker Blish, and I’m here to say a prayer for the families of the folks gunned down in ________, and, it goes without saying, everyone in that lovely community, which was violated by an evil man with mental health issues today.

And yes, I know that I have voted against more money being spent on mental health facilities, so maybe you could add this to my prayer: please don’t let anyone remember it this week, especially in my district.

I also fervently pray that the American people will not choose this particular time to politicize this emotional issue, and realize that it is too soon to talk about any sort of gun legislation. Really, way too soon. Honest.

As an addendum to that little part of my prayer, can you use your Heavenly influence and prevent the talking heads at CNN, MSNBC or really, you know, any of the news outlets anywhere in the world from mentioning just how much money has come my way from the NRA? And making any sort of unfair comparison between those donations and my voting record?

And in keeping with my prayer for a peaceful nation, might it be possible for the snowflakes who read too many newspapers and keep track of my voting record to skip my next town meeting, and maybe all go see the new Star Wars movie instead?

Well, I guess that’s all, Lord. I know you have a lot to deal with right now, what with all the prayers you must be getting tonight, and stopping the next evil person with obvious mental health issues from killing innocent folks.

Oh, before I go: I haven’t had a chance to mention it before, but it looks like I might actually have a primary challenger this year. If you could whisper in the ear of the good folk at the NRA and tell them that money doesn’t go as far as it used to, well, I’d appreciate it.

I like to think we’re all on the same team.

I guess that’s all for today. I’ll check in again the next time an evil, mentally ill person person does this again. Say, in about a week or so?



Today’s Choir

Senator Blish’s prayer was recited while listening to a Catherine Reed CD.


Quote of the Day

Never does the human soul appear so strong and noble as when it foregoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury. - E.H. Chapin

Lies, Damned Lies and Facebook Memes

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 12:13:00 -0600

Looking over my recent Internet history, I realized that most of my online searches have been journeys to counter the racism, sexism and outright lies found on so many Facebook memes.

The other night I was responding with some irritation under a typical Facebook meme trumpeting not only falsehoods, but racism, as well, when I found my anger replaced by pity. This was a person - one among so many - who post lie upon lie on an almost hourly basis, and never removes them, once the lie has been revealed.

I suspect for such people - and many of their Facebook “friends” - removal of such a post would constitute an act of surrender to the forces of evil they sense all about them.

I should tell you at this point that even though pity - or as much of that feeling as I could generate - filled me, I still posted my angry retort to their racist post. I am only human, after all.

It would be so nice if I could say it was just racist conservatives who post falsehoods online, but it just ain’t so. Liberals post just as much nonsense, and all because they find something that conforms their worst suspicions of the Other Side, and in their excitement, all intellectual discernment leaves them.

Like their brothers and sisters on the Other Side, they neglect to go to the search engine of their choice to check if what they are posting is even true or not.

And so, hundreds of years of human progress goes down the toilet, as racist and ignorant memes are posted, and the peanut gallery gives in to their Internet Outrage, showing off their rage and contempt online.

I had a whole list of such memes in front of me when I began to write this, but I scrapped it. In the time it took to write the above paragraphs, a hundred new memes have no doubt been added to Facebook, some funny, but those are outnumbered by the memes that are vile beyond belief, racist or sexist.

I’m still naive enough to believe that folks will respond to passion, eloquence and facts, but in an age when folks proudly show off their ignorance, well, it’s harder and harder to hold on to that belief.

Well, refuting their lies has taken up way too much of my time, especially when, after one of their posts has been proven to be a lie, they swiftly follow it up with three equally as ugly.

I guess that’s what happens when folks spend too much time dog-paddling in their own genetic pool.


Today’s Soundtrack

Dog-paddling down Moon River today, soaking up a little Andy Williams as I write.


Now on YouTube: Peter Tooker

My interview with Fayetteville Renaissance Man Peter Tooker. Writer, former Grapevine editor, former public access board member and ACORN volunteer, Peter represents Fayetteville at its finest.

"On the Air with Richard S. Drake" celebrates 27 years years on the air in 2018.


Quote of the Day

Civil War? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn’t every war fought between men, between brothers? Victor Hugo

Arthur Jones puts the final nail in the myth that the GOP is the party of Lincoln

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 12:24:00 -0600

Those who have no working knowledge of history will tell us again and again that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, and that in the past - the far, far past - Democrats were a party of racists. Thus, for them, it has ever been so. A view as bizarre as the belief among the anti-vaccination crowd that the 1980‘s Swine Flu shot caused AIDS.

Or, as the Washington Post recently put it:

“Blaming the Klan on modern Democrats is like blaming the Unabomber on the Montana Territory”

And now comes Arthur Jones of Lyons, Illinois, to flush the urban legend of the modern-day GOP being the “party of Lincoln” right down the toilet.

Jones, who is not only a Holocaust denier, an anti-Semite and white supremacist to boot, is poised to become the GOP nominee for his state’s 3rd Congressional District.

Nobody could be found to run against him in the primary.

Jones, who has run more than a few times unsuccessfully in the past for various offices, is running in a heavily Democratic area. Chances are that any Republican running in the race is likely to be a sacrificial lamb.

Chair of the Illinois Republican Party, Tim Schneider, issued a statement to a newspaper saying that, “The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones. We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the 3rd Congressional District.”

But still, Arthur Jones, who brags about using a Swastika in a campaign ad, is is about to become the Republican candidate in the March 20 primary.

It seems to me that if the GOP were serious about Jones and his contemptible beliefs, they would have found somebody to run against him.


Even if he loses, the very fact that he will be a GOP candidate in 2018 will become recorded history, and Republicans all across the country will have to face the Jones factor.

Because even when he loses, the fact that the GOP couldn’t find a way to stop a racist Holocaust denier from representing them will cast a pall over all Republicans, everywhere.

At this point the only question that remains is this: Will Donald Trump campaign on his behalf?


Today’s Soundtrack

Using my rhinestone studded keyboard today, typing along to a Glen Campbell CD titled simply “Country,” featuring live performances of some of his greatest hits.

Have you got True Grit?


Quote of the Day

Insomnia is my greatest inspiration. - Jon Stewart

The Adventure of the Topless Club Gourmand

Sun, 04 Feb 2018 12:25:00 -0600

Once upon a time a young woman was writing an article about sexually oriented businesses in Fayetteville for the Ozark Gazette, and didn’t want to go by herself to interview the dancers. As her boyfriend wouldn’t go with her, she asked me to go. “Uh, sure,” I said.

Sitting with her in a booth, I had the creepy feeling that it looked for all the world like a father/daughter sojourn into the seamier side of life.

It got a little weirder for me when two comely young women sat across from us, and she began her interview.

Suddenly, I wasn’t sure where to look.

Oh, I could have stared straight into the eyes of the young women while they were talking, but the steely gaze of an older man seemed somehow, well, inappropriate. And again, a little creepy.

Half listening to the conversation, I began to let my eyes roam over the room. There was the stage, of course, with its obligatory pole, and a few tables scattered here and there.

At this point a large man came in, sat down at one of the tables, motioned to the waitress - I dunno what else to call her - and asked to see the menu.

The what? Menu?

Again I say, what?

Much to my surprise she brought him out said menu, and after glancing over it, he ordered steak and a baked potato. You know how there are moments in your life when details can be recalled years later with crystal clarity? Well, this was one of them.

At this point I have to say that the interview, while covering a broad range of topics, didn’t last all that long. This is important for you to know.

Within a few minutes a plate was delivered to the man who had come out for an evening of fine dining. He ate his dinner with gusto, and when he was finished, he asked the young woman who had brought his dinner to convey his compliments to the “chef.”

Now, I’ve had more than a few steaks in my life, and I’ll tell you this: any steak that is prepared in three minutes isn’t something to send any sort of compliment to the kitchen over.

I think he fondly imagined the topless club’s Chef Boyardee, lording it over a crew of cooks in a gleaming kitchen. I, on the other hand, pictured the janitor/bouncer shoving meat bought on sale into a microwave, and sliding it out when it was done.

Call me cynical, but I think my view of things may be closer to the truth.

At any rate, we left before he ordered dessert, but I have no doubt that he was equally as fulsome in his appreciation for a job well done.

I don’t eat as much steak as I used to, but one thing I am pretty sure of: if you want a good meal, you don’t order it in a place where most of the staff are, well, in a state of undress.


Today’s Soundtrack

Sprinting to the blog’s finish line today while listening to the soundtrack from “Chariots of Fire,” by Vangelis.


Now on YouTube: Clarke Buehling

My interview with banjo master Clarke Buehling.

"On the Air with Richard S. Drake" celebrates 27 years years on the air in 2018.


Quote of the Day

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. - Marcus Garvey

I see you. And in my contempt and rage, I see only you . . .

Sun, 28 Jan 2018 10:57:00 -0600

Years ago, when I was a regular listener of talk radio, there was a regular cadre of callers who would scan each morning’s paper and fixate upon any crimes that seemed, in their estimation, to be committed by minorities or illegal immigrants. The crimes of white folk, equally as heinous, escaped their attention entirely.

For them, the only crimes committed in our area were perpetrated by folks of a darker complexion than they themselves possessed.

This is the same demon which possesses many online (especially Facebook) who feel compelled to post news article after news article (no matter how distorted they turn out to be) and meme after meme, proclaiming the misdeeds of black people, gay people, liberals, minorities of all types, and, yes, those of the Muslim persuasion.

Especially those belonging to the Muslim faith. For these Lost Souls, there is what amounts to a Muslim crime wave sweeping across the land.

After each and every post will come the responses, ranging from racist and sexist epithets to cries calling for execution - often before a trial.

If you point out to them that an equal number of crimes may be committed by white men and women, the only response, if indeed there is one, is a collective “Huh?”

Either they do not believe it, or the mania requires them to believe that The Other is out to get them, to kill them, to take their jobs, to take their place at the university and to marry their daughters. They know it, deep within their bones, and it is their patriotic duty to sound the clarion call, whether they are posting half-truths or not.

Yeah, and these are the same stalwarts who mutter darkly about the Deep State . . .


Today’s Soundtrack: I’m typin’ my life away

Today’s blog is brought to you courtesy of the CD, “Eddie Rabbit: All Time Greatest Hits.”

Cuz really, don’t we all love a rainy night?


Now on YouTube: Hurricane Katrina

My interview with Paul Harris, who has written a moving account of his time in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

"On the Air with Richard S. Drake" celebrates 27 years years on the air in 2018.


Quote of the Day

Ask God’s blessing on your work, but don’t ask him to do it for you. - Flora Robson

Tom Cotton, from Senator to Minion?

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 23:18:00 -0600

There was once a United States senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton by name, and like Cassius, he had a lean and hungry look about him. But in less time than it takes grass to grow between mowings, the distinguished senator has become merely another henchman to the cabal running the White House.

Oh, perhaps he thinks he is a “made man” now that he has adopted the playground language of the man he is in thrall to, and said of his colleague Lindsey Graham, that he had sat at the “kiddie table” during his 2016 GOP presidential run.

A member of his own party. Lot of brain power went into that move.

One can almost imagine him calling the White House and asking, “Did I do good? Did I do good?”

Oh yes, it was a good thing. It was a real good thing . . .

Enough has been written about the “shithole” conversation, but I’d just like to ask this:

When did an open and frank discussion become an excuse for supposedly grown men to carry on like rabid Facebook posters?

It’s a far cry from Lyndon Johnson’s, “Come now. let us reason together.”

Senator Cotton, who was hurling himself in front of every camera he could find in the past week, no doubt fondly imagines he has a bright future in the new GOP.

But Tom, you don’t really have a political future. Not any more.

The moment you became an enabler, a henchman, a minion, well, you stopped being your own man. The moment you excused presidential gutter language simply because such gutter language suited your cause, you became just another guy who longs to be close to the Boss of Bosses.

If I were you, I’d start wearing pin-striped suits, while carrying a violin case.

Cuz you’re just a minion. And minions, no matter what type of business they are in, are disposable. After a while, Trump may have to be reminded of your name when you walk into a room.

And what is truly sad is how enthusiastically you have thrown yourself into the role.

No profile in courage here.


Quote of the Day

“My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilization, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can’t prove it, but you can’t disprove it either.” - Christopher Hitchens