The Observer

Summer suggestions from The Observer

In a normal year, The Observer turns things down a notch in the summer, moving a little slower and not getting up too much during the heat of the day. Summer in Arkansas sure ain’t no time to be working for a living. We do as little as possible of that while the heat is on. We still, however, crave entertainment in the Dog Days. Given that, we thought we’d share a few suggestions.

Under construction

The Observer has been a little concerned about all the construction going on in our fair city and beyond of late. Well, “concerned” is a bit much, we guess. How about “miffed”?

Cat problems

Whether because of where The Observatory is located — though we haven’t noticed any new canneries or fish markets springing up along Maple Street — or because some felines live to make a nuisance of themselves, The Observatory has been besieged by alleycats of late.

Squinting at diamonds

At 9:21 a.m. on a Tuesday in the middle of February — Fat Tuesday, actually — The Observer took the trash out.

Under the dome

The Observer has long been an America junkie. We don’t buy dumb T-shirts or American Flag swim trunks or bumper stickers that say “Love It or Leave It,” but we swear to you that we would, this moment, give our life for this country if our democracy was threatened, because that is what it takes sometimes.

Resolutions 2021

At last, we come to the end. How it is that 2020 wound up lasting 36 months or so we’ll never know. That’s a problem for the eggheads up at the college maybe, though whether you should contact Quantum Physics, Poli Sci or the Philosophy Department to try and crack that nut is anybody’s guess. But whatever the case, here, after long and terrible months, we come to the end of the dread year of 2020.

A hard rain’s gonna fall

To bask a bit longer in the hours after the first moment we glimpsed light after they called the election for decency on Saturday, four very long days after the vote and after four very long years that proved why that vote was do-or-die, The Observer, Spouse and Junior went out for a long family drive to look at the fall colors and just sorta breathe full, deep breaths for the first time in years.

November, mon amour

It is mid-October where we are and The Observer finds ourself again at one of these moments — plentiful in the last few years — when you, Dear Reader, know something that we don’t.


October is The Observer’s favorite month and has been for as long as we can remember. Not just for the costumes and free candy from any stranger well-off enough to leave a porch light burning on Halloween, either. We also love October for the sort of cultural permission slip America gives itself one month out of the year to consider darkness and dark things, witches and spooks, moonlit gardens where every leaf is spotted with blood and a werewolf prowls.

Endorsements 2020

For parks staying parks and the 1961 International Scout.

Topgolf? Take a mulligan on that lousy idea, mayor

Allow us to tell you what's going to happen with this Top Golf bullshit Mayor Frank Scott Jr. is exploring for 18 acres of the former War Memorial Golf Course.

Five questions to ask politicians about policing

We pick our leaders, and those leaders pick the leaders of the police departments. That means that if you’re mad as hell and aren’t gonna take it anymore, you don’t actually have to take it anymore. All you’ve gotta do is register to vote, cast a ballot for the people who are dedicated to holding the powerful to account and convince a couple ten thousand of your friends to do the same.

Arkansas restaurant truths

Stuck as we are inside the hermetically sealed bubble of The Observatory, The Observer has been thinking a lot about restaurants recently.

The Observer: Craving a fast-forward button

While The Observer was never quite a “people person,” more likely to spend time with characters in books and films than with flesh-and-blood folks unless they’re kin or married into our little circle, we find that we have come to miss shared social experiences quite a bit during this thing, locked down as we are here in The Observatory with Spouse and Junior, two crazy cats and whatever volunteer critters are making those scratching, skittering noises we’ve heard coming from the crawlspace.

A car story to brighten your quarantined heart

It’s Friday the 13th as The Observer writes, the Dow Jones is a dumpster fire, a deadly virus is sweeping across the land and a 73-year-old, truth-phobic toddler is flying the jumbo jet on which we are all passengers for at least the next 10 months. Given that, allow Your Old Pal to hopefully brighten your quarantine cell, secluded cabin or hermetically sealed containment unit with a tale of the good ol’ days.

The Observer's ears won't stop ringing

The Observer is about to hit the back slope of our 40s come this July, and as our dear old Pa and Granny and every other well-seasoned adult in our life tried to tell us back when we were in the carefree summer grasshopper portion of our existence, the idiot lights to our body are starting to wink on, one by one. 

The last bar

True story: Heaven is a bar where the World Series is always on TV, it’s always happy hour, and “Lay Lady Lay,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” or “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is eternally playing on the jukebox. An old bubblefront Wurlitzer, maybe, or one of those early ’60s jobs full of 45s, glowing like the command console of the U.S.S. Enterprise next to the squat battleship of the cigarette machine. Quarter for three plays. Make your choices and take your chances, kid. 

Resolutions 2020

In 2020, we will answer one call per month from a number we don’t recognize, just to help keep our spirit of adventure alive. In that same vein, we will also tell the woman down at the haircutting place, “Just work your magic,” by way of instructions on every third haircut, then just close our eyes and let the locks and eyebrow notches fall where they may. 

A year at the picture show

The Observer is a movie buff of some renown, even though the ticket prices and fees and concession prices and all the other stuff that pays for Brad Pitt and our local theater owner to live in the style he is accustomed to can really rack up.


For us, Halloween has become the greatest thing one can do with underpants on, a chance for adults to be kids again and for kids to consider an insulated-by-fun glimpse of all those things that you must confront as an adult: the unknown, the macabre, the unsettling.