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The Observer, Aug. 26

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HERCULES: Took it to City Hall.
  • HERCULES: Took it to City Hall.

Jody Hardin's pigs have 72 hours to get out of Grady. Mayor's orders.

The mayor, who happens to be Jody Hardin's uncle and his neighbor in downtown Grady, said it was incumbent on him to "take swift action" after the six Gloucester Old Spots visited City Hall on Sunday. Then, Hardin says, they went to the bank. One of them jay-walked "and that was the reason for the eviction," he sighed.

The pigs had trotted over from Hardin's small farm, "a nightmare hell-hole moneypit" in the city limits of Grady that has been in Hardin's family since the late 1880s. Farmer Hardin had been in trouble with the law before. He was, in fact, "on probation," for teaching his flock of turkeys to follow him down Main Street several years back. Seventy or 80 of them.

It was the Gloucester Old Spots' first visit to City Hall, which is four houses down from Hardin's property. Hardin said their pen was new and "heavily armored" but, unfortunately, Hardin believes he left the gate open and the pigs crossed the mayor's yard and headed for the seat of government.

"I fully understand it's an election year and he has to come down hard," Hardin said about his uncle, whom he affectionately described as a "dirty rotten scoundrel" who has called the police on occasion when Hardin's goats have rambled over to his backyard.

Hardin must now find a home for the pigs, or pay a $1,000 fine. He's hoping the fact that the pigs are a rare breed will help him find a home. The home might need to hold more than six pigs; some of the renegades are pregnant.

For the fourth year now, The Observer spent a hot Friday, Saturday and Sunday last weekend making a movie for the Little Rock leg of the annual 48 Hour Film Festival. Team Arkansas Times won the whole enchilada last year, so we've got something to prove. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, the idea is that teams draw a genre out of a hat — action, sci-fi, western, or what have you — and then they have 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a seven-minute film that fits in that genre.

Though that might sound like child's play, there's a lot of work poured into those seven minutes. Sleep is a luxury most teams can't afford. Coffee is the Elixir of Life. Speed in all things is your friend.

The Observer realized this year that we're getting a bit long in the tooth for that kind of running around. The realization came at about 4 a.m. Sunday morning. Though we've been lucky enough to grab what sleep we could in our own beddy-bye in previous years, this year found us camped for a good bit of the weekend at The Fortress of Employment, our red eyes dazed and blinking into the fluorescent lighting of the Arkansas Times newsroom come the darkest hour of Sunday before the dawn.

I don't know if you've ever had the opportunity to sleep at your place of wageslavehood, but it is definitely not recommended. The Observer usually avoids the Times on the weekends like someone has poisoned the water hole. Mrs. Observer hasn't yet seen fit to toss us completely past the couch to the curb, so we've never had the pleasure of trying to sleep in this place full of hard surfaces to write on and chairs designed to keep sleepy editors awake at two in the afternoon on a slow news day.

After trying out a plywood bench with thin, burlap-like cushions in the office of a co-worker, The Observer finally settled on one of the few comfortable chairs in the whole joint — those in the lobby, placed there to convince waiting guests that we're a snazzy media org instead of The Island of Mismatched Furniture. Still, trying to sleep bolt upright isn't fun for an old fart like Yours Truly, even in a well-upholstered chair. We woke three hours later with our lower back throbbing and our neck feeling like someone filled it with crushed glass.

We got our movie in on time, thanks to some sleep-deprived whippersnappers (thanks Eric, Mona and Jessi!) but we're thinking: might have to Observe from afar in the future.

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