What with the big, clear-the-decks Road Trip issue last week — which we're sure you stuffed immediately in your motorcar's glove box, turtle hull or catchall, for when you get a hankerin' to gallivant — The Observer has had two glorious weeks to Observe since the last time we conversed. We've taken full advantage of it, too, even if the weather has been vacillating wildly between "actual October" and "fairly mild for August." A few more days of this, and the jack-o-lanterns will rot on the doorstep long before they can be lit for the first candy beggars. Yours Truly hates a hot Halloween, the goodies threatening to melt in the bottom of the bag and little ghosties sweating through two sheets by the time they hit the tail end of Ridgeway. That's Arkansas for you.
So much to say, so much to cover. No dilly-dallying. Five pounds of puckey in a 2-pound bag is the rule, so we will move on quickly.
Did you see that the Federales finally took down the former judge from up in Wynne, who — investigators said — had allegedly been having his way with some of the young men who came before him as defendants, allegedly forcing them to bend over while he snapped voyeuristic pics of their rumps, allegedly having some of them do more, all while allegedly having a human heart, a moral soul and a conscience? He is innocent until proven guilty on all that, of course, but we suspect maybe less so on those last three. The G-men, we hear, frog marched him right on into the jailhouse where he'd sent so many, his stately black robe traded in for an orange jumpsuit. Let's hope the next to wear that robe takes the oath a little more seriously. Then again, they can't do any worse.
Speaking of — though time is short — The Observer must take a moment for a shout-out to the true hero of that sordid tale: Emily White of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, the lawyer and dogged investigator who first broke that rotten fruit open so that justice might pour forth as mighty waters. Without her, everything stays. Google "Boeckmann" and "Emily White" if you don't believe it, then tell her thanks the next time you see her down at the coffee shop.
Did you see all the scary clown furors? What the hell? Reminds The Observer of the Satanic Panics of the old days, only the clowns wear less makeup than the Goth kids they were putting on trial in kangaroo courts back then.
Did you see the bridge that said no? The Observer was on the Main Street Bridge with the other reporter riffraff when they tried to make the old Broadway span kiss the river it had defied since Calvin Coolidge was president: an explosion that thudded in the bones from 500 yards away, a spray of plywood crapola into the river, and then the bridge that was supposed to be lounging among the catfish by then just ... didn't, with a near audible "uh-oh" rising from the hardhats lining the barges along the north shore of the river. Once we learned it didn't really have a Plan B in case "Massive Controlled Explosion" failed, The Observer tried to cable the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department with word that we would be willing to bravely accept 15 percent of the $93 million bridge contract to venture out onto the now precarious span and reset the charges, but our offer of help went rudely unheeded. Five hours later, two boats with a big ol' cable finally managed to yank down the bridge, a scenario that Jerry Bruckheimer is NEVER going to be interested in making a thrilling, ripped-from-the-headlines movie about. As Dorito Mussolini's presidential campaign has shown us, the American public is clamoring for a straight-talking, semi-anonymous, obscenely wealthy hero fighting against the odds! But once again, Arkansas misses its chance at stardom. Can't say we didn't try.