The observer, April 23 

The Observer's lovely bride went in for some dental work recently — a cap for a tooth that was having some structural problems. After over an hour of sitting, mouth agape, for the dentist, Spouse was fitted with a temporary crown, given her sugar-free lollipop for being such a good girl, told to come back in two weeks for the permanent, and sent on her way. Out in the parking lot, Spouse decided she wanted to have a peek at the good doctor's still-numb handiwork, so she angled the rearview and gave a big smile.

It was only then that she discovered that the dentist had fitted her with not a plain old white temporary cap, but a big, honkin' gold cap. Paging Dr. Dre, please proceed to the courtesy phone.

To be fair, the cap isn't at the front of her mouth, Wu Tang Clan style, but you can see it when she smiles big. The Observer, always the snarky sort, was ready with the teasing from the first glint, but we've held our tongue. One of the rare joys in our life is seeing our sweetie smile, and we wouldn't want to jeopardize our supply. For the two weeks it takes them to get her permanent — and hopefully white — crown in, we can keep the references to gangsta grillz behind our teeth.


The Miss USA Pageant — the slightly jazzier foil to Miss America — was held last weekend in Las Vegas, and we caught a clip online. In the clip we saw, several of the contestants posed in their swimsuits while beside them their hometowns, interests, school affiliations and such hovered in the electronic ether. When it got to Miss Arkansas USA — a lovely young woman from Conway named Chanley Painter — we couldn't help but notice her interests: fiddle playing and armadillo watching.

We can understand the fiddle playing. There's something great about watching a beautiful woman bow the strings (we suggest either Vivaldi's “The Four Seasons — Spring” or “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”), but we've got to question the armadillo watching. We've watched some armadillos in our time — usually while they were splatted out on the yellow line, as if born and reared in the road ditch for the sole purpose of being big rig fodder. The few live ones we've ever encountered weren't exactly balls of fire, either. Given that, we can only deduce that “armadillo watching” must be some kind of code word, maybe something like “going to the submarine races,” which — back during The Observer's checkered youth — was what all the kids called parking down by the river on moonlit nights with your girl.

Now, we're not rude enough to invite ourselves, but we ain't above trying to beg an invitation, either. So, Miz Painter, if you're out there and you're going armadillo watching anytime soon, can we come? Solely for research purposes, of course.


The armadillos of our acquaintance can open an ice chest and pop open the top on a soda can, and will, just moments after you've drifted off to sleep in your tent. Then you can engage in armadillo listening — listening to it chug your last Diet Dr. Pepper.

This doesn't happen on your northern campouts. These are Southern critters — South American, really.

But a pal of ours, always interested the ways of the armadillo and loving those articles in the paper about how the big roly-polys were migrating northward, had a plan. He was going to scoop up the dead armadillos down his way, by Magnolia, pitch 'em in an ice chest and, on his annual summer trip to upper New York state, drop their carcasses along the highway.

If Miss New Jersey begins to show an interest in armadillos, you'll know why. 


The Literary Festival was pretty high-brow and all, but Sunday's session on sex was unique. In a Clinton School classroom in the Arkansas Studies Institute, a rapt group listened to the author (Laura Castoro) read steamy sex scenes from various romance novels and discuss why they were good. She didn't flinch, and neither did her audience, as she related tales of funny sex, tantric sex, sad sex, and sexy sex. She didn't blush at the mention of all the body parts. Questions from the audience were few, but nobody looked particularly uncomfortable. Here they were, scribbling notes on how to properly get their heroines in the sack, when they could have been home reading the Bible.



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