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Smart talk, July 31



Cleveland Arkies


For old baseball fans, seeing a left-handed pitcher from Arkansas having a great year with the Cleveland Indians is what Yogi Berra is supposed to have called déjà vu all over again. This year, it's Cliff Lee. In 1948, it was Gene Bearden. A rookie knuckleballer, he won 20 games, had the best earned run average in the American League, and won a one-game playoff with the Boston Red Sox, pitching on one day's rest. He was from Phillips County, and for many, many years after that famous victory a yellowing page from a Cleveland newspaper hung in a Helena motel, with a picture of Bearden at work under the headline “Boston cooler.” The Indians beat the Boston Braves in the 1948 World Series, with Bearden winning one game and saving another. But he never had another season like that one. His six-year career ended with only 45 wins, almost half of them in his first season. He died in 2004.


“The Queen”: Sequel to visit LR?


The Los Angeles Times reported recently that Peter Morgan, screenwriter of “The Queen,” about the British royal family and British politics, would be in Little Rock soon to gather material for a third film in his trilogy about former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The third will be “The Special Relationship,” and focus on Blair's friendship with President Bill Clinton. His other fictionalization of Blair was “The Deal,” about Blair's early rise to power.

Morgan told the Times that neither Blair nor Clinton, who'll be depicted in the final years of his presidency, will get off easily in the movie. Morgan sees similarities in Blair and Clinton, calling them both “decisive, full of conviction and quite ruthless.”

We vote for Helen Mirren, who starred as Queen Elizabeth in “The Queen,” as Hillary Clinton. She's only two years older than the U.S. senator.


‘Misadventures in the Dark'


The Arkansas Times has added a new blogger to its lineup of community blogs. She's Lauryn Smith, 28, who'll be writing “Misadventures in the Dark: Scenes from the life of a single girl.”

Find her at

“I call boys,” she writes in opening her initial blog post. “Always have. Even when my mom encouraged me not to, I called anyway. Still do. Not over and over, mind you, but if the desire to do so strikes, I call.  The difference between me and most girls who call boys, however, is that my calls tend to require a 1 plus an area code before the regular ol' seven digits. In other words, they typically live out of state.” She writes, too, that she likes “passionate, press-you-against-the-wall kisses,” is a cynic about love and a valuer of friendship.

“I am a coin toss but I am always me,” Lauryn says.


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