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The Observer had just finished a nice, healthy lunch in the River Market and was taking a nice, healthy stroll back to the office when he breathed in a nice, healthy dose of marijuana.

Two young guys, one with a backpack suggesting Kerouac-style travels, were just up ahead. The Observer figured he better pick up the pace and get ahead of the tokers before he ended up with a stiff contact high that would make the afternoon less productive (but not unenjoyable).

He caught up with them at the intersection, waiting for the light to turn. Sure enough, both had their own doobie.

“How’re you doing?” one of them asked, with a chuckle. Then he offered The Observer a hit. No, thanks, The Observer said. Gotta go back to work. Otherwise …

Now The Observer was walking with them, trying to keep one step ahead of the smoke. The guys were telling him about when they were in San Francisco and how everyone there offers everyone else a hit of their weed. “I said to this old man one time, ‘Want a hit?’ and he said, ‘Sure,’ and took a big ol’ hit. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a big ol’ bag of government-grade shit. I had a hit of that and I was done for the day. And I mean, I was used to having Humboldt County weed.”

“That’s some good shit,” his friend said, to underscore the point.

“Where do you work?” the other guy said. “Right here,” The Observer said, having reached the building our office is in. Everyone shook hands, and The Observer went up to the office. He thinks he can still taste the pot.



The Observatory sits overlooking a busy downtown intersection, so we knew what had happened the other day when we heard it: A deep, hollow boom that sounded like a safe had just been dropped off the roof. Our tendency to rubberneck brought The Observer and officemate Warwick Sabin to the window. Down below, two cars sat near the streetcar tracks, each with a crumpled hood and a dazed driver still sitting with a deflated marshmallow of airbag in his lap. Gingerly, they dismounted from their respective steeds. Heads were scratched. Cell phones were opened. We tried to judge crasher from crashee by the respective looks of disgust and humiliation on their faces, but could not. In a moment, Johnny Law was on the scene to figger it all out, and paperwork was exchanged. From the lack of an ambulance, it seemed that thankfully no one was hurt — though you never know what might befall someone later, in the dead of night, when the lawyers asking “Have you got your check yet?” prowl the airwaves.

The Observer, no matter what you read here, is not the sharpest tool in the drawer (we have just learned, to paraphrase the immortal Kurt Vonnegut, that you can inflate a blimp with a bicycle pump if you’ve got enough time). That said, after a few moments of staring down on the wreck, we turned to Sabin — anybody’s vision of a sharp tool — and remarked: “You know, with cars as big as they are, it’s amazing we keep them apart as well as we do.”

Yet another pearl of wisdom from Yours Truly, free of charge. Y’all be safe out there, you hear?



The Observer and Spouse were heading back from a recon trip to Lowe’s over the weekend when Spouse noticed a new arrival in that industrial area between the East McCain big boxes and the interstate. “PODS” read big letters painted on the sides of several dozen minivan-sized containers stacked along the fence. The Observer’s thoughts sprang Body-Snatcherward, but Spouse knew the scoop: It’s a moving company. The Pod people drop off a container on your front lawn, you load it up with all your boxes and La-Z-Boys and close the garage-style door, they come pick it up and hoist it on the back of a truck, and then drop it off at your new digs.

This system, we think, has enormous potential to take up where passenger rail service left off, if the Podders would install a window or two. Load up your pod with a futon, a camp toilet, a cooler of sustenance and a few buddies, and ride to the Grand Canyon on the back of a flatbed. No need to rent a hotel room once you get there, either.


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