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The Observer March 2 

When all the restaurants in the area go smoke-free (we’re being optimistic here), The Observer thinks those that were partitioned to separate the smokers from the non-smokers should keep the dividers up to separate cell phone from non-cell phone users.

Cell phone users in restaurants are becoming increasingly rude. Peeps: We’re eating, we’re conversing with our table, and we don’t want to hear your end of a phone call. There’s a reason payphones are housed in glassed boxes or put in an area away from the public.

When cell phones first surged in popularity, they were used discreetly in public places, especially restaurants. The user might step outside to make a call or take one, especially one that might last longer than “I gotta call you back.” He or she might even apologize for the interruption.

The trend now, however, is toward louder conversations within earshot of the unlucky souls who came to dine at the same time.

The topper for us came at, of all places, a Wendy’s restaurant, where only three or four tables were occupied. This diner, all alone, loudly let us all in on a lengthy conversation better carried on in private: admonition of the person on the other end for an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, choice of friends (bad) and relationships (bad), a running down of others, and a lot of other gossip.

So, sitting in the cell phone section of Wendy’s, we thought: Why not a new meaning for booth? If you asked for one, you would be led to a sound-proofed, glassed-in table, and your toxic conversations would go no further than your fork. No more sidestream gossip, that’s what we want!



The Observer was passed a story recently from the Associated Press about a woman who found a bird’s head inside her can of pinto beans.

The La Preferida brand beans were recalled, the AP reported. But it did not say what kind of bird the head belonged to. Our correspondent worried that it could have been the head of our hard-to-find ivory-billed woodpecker.

He need not have. The bill would not have fit into a 15-ounce can of beans. An ovenbird is more likely, given the gustatory nature of the container. Thank goodness it (apparently) wasn’t a swallow.



Wouldn’t you know it?

When Floy Luppen decided to give up driving and sell her car, she was parting with a 1992 Ford Taurus whose career had been spent traveling no more than just a few blocks, from home to Terry’s Grocery and Smith’s Drug and back. It had only 43,000 miles on it.

No sooner was it sold — with the tag unintentionally left on — than the Taurus went on the trip of its life, being used as the getaway car after a robbery in West Little Rock. The police called Mrs. Luppen, who thoroughly enjoyed the news that her car had at last seen some excitement. “I don’t think it had ever gone very fast,” she told The Observer.



Re the mention last week of zombie dreams: We have been put on notice that the premier zombie reference work is “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks. “It is required reading,” a reader informs us.

We knew there would be at least one reader out there who would appreciate our musings on zombies.



The Observer is shorthanded this week, to the tune of one, and is wondering what a unidexter can write about using only the left side of the keyboard. We’d have to write about sewers and stars and sad faces and T rex and the raw taste of waste. We’d feast, rest, see a red serf draft a stage farce.

Drat! Gad! 2 few 2 wrest a start.


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