Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekend OTR -- April Fool's Day

kickmeYes, it’s April Fool’s Day weekend, so that means it’s time to find those people you love, prank them without mercy and make them look stupid.

Of course, it might be far more civilized to listen to an old time radio episode and get your kicks that way. It couldn’t hurt to try it out, so kick back and listen to a sparkling episode of Blondie from that era when radio was king.

Before doing that, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit to, your source for more old time radio programs than you can shake a stick at. Of course, OTR fans should also head over to First Arkansas News every Sunday to check on the latest Lum and Abner comic strip. Yes, that’s an original series over there and you don’t want to miss it.

Having said all of that, click the below link to listen to this weekend’s OTR episode.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kids’ shows that won’t drive you nuts


There’s a lie out there suggesting that televisions are great at keeping kids quiet.

That’s only partially true. I’ve learned a couple of things over the years about kids and TV shows. For one thing, some of the programs are as hard to bear as nails on a blackboard. For another, there’s a good chance your kids will want to watch their favorite television shows with you.

Obviously, then, it’s in your best interest to steer your kids toward shows that don’t stink and toward those that you might actually enjoy.

I first became aware of all this when my daughter was about seven-years-old (she’s 11-years-old now). I stayed home with her when she was sick one day and she wanted to watch a Hannah Montana marathon on the Disney Channel.

“You can watch it on the TV in your room,” I suggested.


“Well, there’s a TV in my bedroom. You can watch it there.”

“No, daddy. I want to watch it with you.”

So, I wound up watching Hannah Montana. Hours and hours of that slop. I learned to detest Miley Cyrus, her father and everything associated with that miserable program.

That established a pattern, it seems. There are shows she likes and she wants to watch them with me. While she still watches some stinkers, I try to steer her toward the ones that won’t drive me insane.

Want to employ the same tactic? Here’s a guide that will hopefully help.

Kids’ shows you might actually enjoy

1. Phineas and Ferb (Disney) – Is this show for kids or adults? Considering the off-kilter humor and fun of it all, I suspect it was written for both. This cartoon features a couple of inventive brothers who spend their summer building everything from time machines to roller coasters that put everything at Six Flags to shame. The series also features their older sister, Candace, who is obsessed with busting her brothers to their mother and getting them in trouble (she always fails).

The true star of the production is, arguably, Perry the Platypus, a deceptively docile creature who turns into a super agent and battles the vaguely evil Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.

The show is certainly “child friendly” and parents will appreciate the humor, puns and the creators’ obvious love of the 1980s. Watch the below episode to see all the elements that make this show great come together and pay particular attention to the song at the end (there’s an original song in each episode and it’s typically a gem). Warning – there’s a good chance you’ll get hooked on it and might pester your kids to watch it with you.

2. Good Luck Charlie (Disney) – here’s one that was allegedly created so that entire families could enjoy it, and it shows. This is a live-action comedy centered around the Duncan family of Denver, Colo. The premise of the show is that Teddy, a high school girl, maintains a video diary for her little sister, Charlie, so that she might pass on solid advice to the toddler.
Meanwhile, you’ve got an older brother who is kindhearted but none to smart, a younger brother who is a holy terror and a couple of bewildered parents who try to keep up with their four kids (yes, a fifth one is on the way). Parents will identify with the sneakiness and mayhem provided by the kids, while children will enjoy the antics of the Duncan siblings.
This one earned my “not suck” rating during a season two episode in which the mother, Amy, was caught on tape chasing a jerky teacher through a high school with a mop:

3. So Random (Disney) – this one is all about live action sketch comedy. Some if it is rotten and the lip-syncing musical guests will send most people over the age of 14-years-old running out of the room. Most of the bits, however, are at least mildly amusing and you’ll find one from time to time that’s an absolute hoot:

4. The Regular Show (Cartoon Network) -- I'm still not sure if the creators had kids in mind at all when they created this surrealistic cartoon. Still, there’s nothing too harmful about it and, besides, High Five Ghost is one of the greatest one-dimensional characters in ages.

The show is all about how a lazy blue jay and raccoon slack around and cause trouble. From that premise, all else follows. Have a look:

Shows to avoid

The descriptions of these shows will be somewhat brief as it’s too easy to get sucked into ranting about awful they are. Instead, I’ll just briefly mention why they all suck and stress the importance of staying away from them and distracting your children should they start to watch any of this stinkers.

1. Victorious (Nickelodeon) – this one is all about kids attending a high school of performing arts. The problem here is that the words “creative” and “obnoxious” are synonyms. The result is a bunch of characters that are supposed to artistic but are just jerks who might actually benefit from the ass-kickings they’d surely receive at a “regular” school.

2. Shake it Up (Disney) – Two junior high school girls dance on a Chicago cable show. And they dance. And dance some more. They’re probably dancing right now, in fact. The redhead is slightly stupid while the brunette isn’t. When they’re not dancing, they’re doing things that are supposed to be funny. That’s pretty much it. Yuck.

3. A.N.T. Farm (Disney) – here’s another one about genius kids. They’ve got advanced talents at various things, but the whole thing comes across as a backdrop for China Anne McClain who has an apparent talent for launching into annoying songs far too often. Don’t watch it. You’ll hate it. Your kid might watch it and enjoy it.

4. Essentially, all live-action tween comedies on Nickelodeon except iCarly are painful to watch. There’s a catch-all for you. Truthfully, iCarly is OK, but the show has really gone downhill over the past season or so (i.e., the iCarly girls are now “legal” and the producers seem uncomfortably aware of that fact from time to time).

Arkansas home sales up in February


Believe it or not, February turned out to be a pretty solid month in Arkansas in terms of the number of homes that were sold.

How did things go in February? The combined number of homes sales in central Arkansas, the Fort Smith area, the Jonesboro area and northwest Arkansas totaled 1,169 in February — up 12.4 percent from 1,040 sales in the same month a year ago. The average sales price in February for those areas was $156,576 — up 6.06 percent from $147,625 in the same month last year.

Click here to have a look at the full report over at The City Wire in Fort Smith.

That nifty report is put together every month by The City Wire in conjunction with that number-crunching Ethan C. Nobles, the owner of this here blog and First Arkansas News.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Music Monday: Wall of Voodoo

Yes, just the thing to listen to before returning to work for the week…

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.   PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Horoscope for the week of March 26

Here we go with another installment of the most accurate horoscope of the planet.

What makes it so accurate? It’s written by the mysterious Dr. Zodiac – our in-house psychic, mystic and master of the occult. Yes, he speaks directly to the stars through the Crystal Ouija Rune Board – a device of his own invention which he hopes to sell to Wal-Mart, Walgreens and other fine retailers if he can find some investors to help him develop a slick, marketable prototype.

Sadly, Dr. Zodiac has learned the stars hate us all and are generally out to make our lives miserable. Sure, some people will find good fortune from time to time, but that’s mostly driven by purse spite.

At any rate, let’s see what the stars have in store for us in the coming week:


Mar 21-Apr 19

Do not buy the red one. By the blue one. Does that mean anything to you? The stars tell me it means something very important, but they won’t tell me why. Good luck solving that mystery. Perhaps it will become obvious to you during the week. Good luck. Your lucky number this week is ambiguous.


Apr 20-May 20

It’s time to buy a dog, Taurus. Mostly because you could use the companionship, but there’s also the satisfaction you’ll get when it barks at that neighbor’s dog that has been keeping you up at night. I’d suggest a terrier. They’re loyal to their owners and have that piercing bark that will drive your neighbor nuts. Remember – the local animal shelter has plenty of dogs in need of good homes. Do the right thing. Your lucky number this week is 9.


May 21-Jun 21

You will fire all of your cats this week when you realize they eat a lot but give back next to nothing in return. There’s a problem, however – you are a softie and the cats won’t leave on their own. That being the case, it’s highly unlikely that anything will change. Your lucky number this week is also 9.


Jun 22-Jul 22

You will become addicted to a television show for kids this week and will feel guilty about it. There’s nothing wrong with Phineas and Ferb or even Good Luck Charlie. Adults who watch that Shake it Up thing, however, deserve to be placed under observation, however. Choose wisely. Your lucky number this week is 112.


Jul 23-Aug

Just because the unyielding stress of modern society has caused you to make so many compromises that you’ve lost site of your dreams, don’t believe for a minute that you can’t have any fun. Why not go see a movie? Yeah, that’ll make up for everything. Your lucky number this week is PG-13.


Aug 23-Sep 22

It’s election season, but don’t let that get you down. There’s very little you can do, anyway. Keep this in mind – every election since 1992, the rise of political action committees and everything else has been manipulated by the stars so as to maximize our misery. How else can you explain the elections of either Bush or Obama? Your lucky number this week is 4. 


Sep 23-Oct 23

You will resolve to go out of your way to by American products this week so as to help the economy. You will be disappointed to learn that few things are made in this country these days. How did that happen? In a sane world, things would be different and there’s your answer. Your lucky number this week is 7897.


Oct 24-Nov 21

Your obsession with where Peyton Manning would wind up has been extinguished. He’s a Bronco, thus proving the notion that all colts grow up to be broncos. It’s time to start worrying about something else stupid. Your lucky number this week is 18.


Nov 22-Dec 21

Your prayers will be answered – a new Star Trek television series will be developed. Now, I don’t know when it will air, what it will be about or when a new series will be announced, but one will show up at some point in the near (or distant) future. Trust me on this. Your lucky number this week is NX-01.


Dec 22-Jan 19

It might be a good idea to plan a trip this week. You know that thing you didn’t want your spouse to discover? He or she will find out all about it this week and will want to discuss it with you at length. St. Louis is nice this time of year. Your lucky number this week is 362436.


Jan 20-Feb 18

You will become convinced that ninjas are stalking you this week. Is there any truth to that? Maybe. Of course, it could be that you’re just paranoid. It’s better to be safe than sorry, particularly when it comes to ninjas, however. Good luck learning to be stealthy, hiding your tracks and doing all those other things necessary to evade ninjas. Your lucky number this week is 91356.


Feb 19-Mar 20

A lot of people in this world wear glasses, and that fact will dawn on you this week. You never were terribly observant, where you? Your lucky number this week is 40274.