Observer Sept. 2 2004 

The River Rail trolley took a trial run the other morning south over the Main Street Bridge and east on Markham to the River Market. The Observatory, in the Heritage West Building at Markham and Scott Street, got a happy message later in the morning from the Central Arkansas Transit Authority that it would not have to move the Heritage West Building south to make room for the nose of the trolley car as it makes the turn east. The transit authority once had real fears it might have to remove some sidewalk — built over a basement rather than solid ground — from the north side of the Heritage building to keep from knocking would-be riders down. That would have been quite a big deal. Those fears were allayed, but CATman Keith Jones said the trolley “IS close” to the sidewalk. So close, in fact, that the trolley car driver will warn pedestrians it is headed into that turn by clanging the trolley bell. “If necessary,” Jones said, he’ll “tap the air horn, which will back up anyone within a few blocks.” He also insinuated the horn could periodically wake up the staff of the Arkansas Times. Hey, we don’t sleep at our desk. There’s a perfectly nice couch in an office at the other, trolley-free, end of the building. It has happened to The Observer again. He took his car into the body shop for an estimate on some repairs. He returned the next day, to leave the car so the work could be done. The owner said, “Hey, I thought I saw you on TV last night. They showed this guy, and I thought it was local TV, and I said, ‘I know him! He was in the shop today!’ But it turned out it was national TV. And you know who it was? Vice President Dick Cheney!” A couple of weeks ago, The Observer was on a bus going to a John Edwards rally when a woman told him he looked like Dick Cheney. How much must he endure? He doesn’t expect to be told he looks like Brad Pitt, or even John Edwards — though when he was younger … — but that wretch, Cheney? There’s hardly anybody on earth he’d rather not look like than Dick Cheney. He’d rather be told he looks like Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies. A nicer guy. The Observer is looking for a silver lining here. Unless Halliburton mistakenly sends him a huge check, it’s going to be difficult. Some friends of The Observer’s made a 7 p.m. trip to the grocery store for some Olympian refreshments, and because the sun was way over the masthead, one of them had already enjoyed a beer — quite quickly, the day having been a difficult one. It was a sip that left its mark on her otherwise sweet breath. So when she noticed a stand in the store parking lot where folks were selling tickets for a “temperance rally,” she considered making her way over there — perhaps a start at mending her ways (if not her breath). But before she could reach them, these saints of sobriety began to pack up, in some hurry, throwing their things in the back of a trunk and zooming off. Raffle tickets for a temperance rally? Just doesn’t smell right to us.

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