by Max Brantley
I'm happy to say I finished tax returns last night. You? Some other odds and ends:
* STRAIT TALK: George Strait drew 17,036 to Verizon Arena last night. Times photog Brian Chilson has plenty of shots at this Facebook link. The night included the gift of a home to a military veteran, also among Brian's photos.
* HAPPY TALK: There'll be lots of news as colleges and scholarship programs announce winners of big awards for freshmen in next fall's entering class. I got a note last night of one that interested me. The University of Virginia, a prestigious public institution, offers about 30 full-ride scholarships on a competitive basis each year, an award worth more than $200,000 over four years to out-of-state students. This year's winners haven't been posted yet, but a proud granddad tells me there two Jefferson Scholars selected from Arkansas this year out of a finalist group of more than 100 — Drew Ricciardone of Little Rock Central and Laura Jackson of Pulaski Academy.
* TECH TALK: As Little Rock struggles through a messy process of selecting a site for a building that it hopes will incubate technology businesses, more word comes of what seems like a surer ticket to success than another office building. First Kansas City, and now Austin, have been chosen by Google for installation of an ultrafast broadband network. I"ve written before about the commercial possibilities that Kansas City thinks may come of this. If nothing else, it encourages competition among other broadband providers, good for all users. Anybody have Google's phone number?
* SOCIAL MEDIA TALK: Yes, there's the occasional downside to high-speed Internet access. Or even low-speed for that matter. Police at the UA campus in Fayetteville yesterday arrested a fourth-year architecture student for sending a message on Twitter that was interpreted as threatening. It prompted authorities to clear the architecture building as a precaution. From the UA release
The Twitter message was cryptic: “UPDATE: Someone screams over the mezzanine and shoots all the forth [sic] year.”