The Observer 

The Observer, being a new homeowner, has developed a keen taste for stories of other people’s house-related misfortunes. We thought we’d hit a sort of schadenfreude peak recently when our brother-in-law pressure-washed a considerable chunk of his finger off — he’d borrowed the machine from a neighbor to clean the swing set, then "ran out of things to wash," and moved on to his toddler daughter’s jumbo bubble-blowing wand. But then we received an email from another comrade-in-DIY, the same guy who last year let us in on the secret of what happens when you microwave a Peep. We’ve found his company is best enjoyed in wide, open spaces. His tale begins: "I’ve read that one can use a shop-vac to unclog sinks and decided to give it a try." The first round went well. Our friend turned on the suction, and "pulled away the hose to reveal about five feet of hair clots hanging out of the drain. I removed the hair by hand and tried the sink. It was still clogged." Repeated rounds of vacuuming finally got all the hair out, but the sink still drained slowly. So our friend got creative. "I got a bright idea to reverse the shop-vac and try to blow the clog out," he wrote. "The sink was still full of water from the clog. I placed the hose on the drain and turned the vac on. I was immediately covered with sludge, silt, [poop], and 50 years of sink goo as it shot out of the overflow drain across the bathroom (but mostly in my face). I had crap hanging from my beard and streaking down my glasses." Our friend did finally get his sink unclogged, he said, but not before he’d pulled half his town’s sewer gasses into his house. He concluded: "The inventory taken from the drain includes five pounds of hair, a thumb tack, fish tank gravel, a variety of unidentified stuff, and a Lego man head." All these things, we’re certain, will eventually find their way to the microwave. The Observer applauds innovation in the workplace. Thus, we relate this story. Three young women who work for a large Little Rock company enjoy going out on the town together. Often, a disagreement arises as to when the partying should end. But it’s never the same person who wants to stay out late or come home early. They just can’t come to an accord. So they decided to have a contest. A "sizzler" contest. The women chose three workdays in which they would get themselves up in their most "sizzling" outfits, hair, makeup and accessories. It had to work within the "business casual" rules in the office: no evening wear, gowns, cocktail dresses, tiaras, etc. One of the women quit after two days, betrayed and crippled by a pair of expensive shoes. The others kept going, and a winning sizzler was declared by a panel of co-workers. Apparently, the winner’s hair extensions gave her the edge. Or maybe it was the leather pants. The sizzler gets to decide whether the group stays out late or goes home early on their next jaunt. Also, the friends who came up short of sizzle will buy her dinner. If you were wondering what goes on all day in those sterile gray office cubes of corporate America, now you know. From more people with time on their hands at work, The Observer was passed this memo that made the rounds in state offices: To: Richard Weiss, Finance and Administration. From: M. Huckabee RE: Good news — but problems in delivery: French … 1. Thank you for getting word out on "State revenues grow" 2. BUT: 3. You are quoted as saying, "I am very pleased where we are now vis-à-vis where we were last year." In the future please refrain from any use whatsoever of French. Since the French have refused to back our crusade in Iraq, this administration refuses to use any French words, products, or culture. We are thinking about asking the Arkansas Arts Center to drape the two Monets until the French see the error of their ways. … My French translator, Rex, who took French so long ago it was OK then, tells me "vis-à-vis" translates roughly as "face-to-face" which is kinda kinky and doesn’t make much sense anyway. Wouldn’t "relative" be better? … Yours in lost pounds. (How much weight have you lost this month?)

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