“David Hay, the bee master at the 45th annual U-T San Diego Countywide Spelling Bee, had to call a recess halfway through the two-student final round after the 92 middle-schoolers competing exhausted his supply of 500 words.” A person who raises bees is a beekeeper. Until now, I didn’t know that a person who presides over a spelling bee is a bee master. I’ll bet he stays busy.

Speaking of bees, one of my favorite newspaper names is found in Sevier County: The De Queen Bee.


If I remember correctly, the guy in charge of the ducks at the Peabody Hotel is called a duck master, rather than duckherd, or duck major. Ducktator might be appropriate.

The ducks are still on parade at the original Peabody in Memphis, but the Peabody in Little Rock was sold to Marriott and the ducks stopped marching here last spring.


I’ve been hoping to hear more from ASA. Maybe we will if they get their proposal to legalize medical marijuana on the ballot.

ASA’s full name is Americans for Safe Access. It was formed in 2002, during the George W. Bush administration, and deliberately chose the acronym ASA because the head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration at the time was former Arkansas Congressman Asa Hutchinson, a particularly savage opponent of marijuana and marijuana users. When Hutchinson left the DEA and ran for governor of Arkansas a couple of years ago, he used the slogan “ASA!” Voters were unimpressed. Now he’s running for governor again, and ASA members are likely to show up at his rallies. It would be amusing to hear a politician asking people who were shouting his own name to pipe down.


Any talk of political acronyms in Arkansas must include the dueling acronyms of the Little Rock school-integration crisis in the ’50s. When segregationists tried to fire teachers considered insufficiently bigoted, opponents of the move organized and called themselves STOP (Stop This Outrageous Purge). The segregationists responded by calling their own group CROSS (Committee to Retain Our Segregated Schools). In the end, the Stoppers turned back the Crossers.