We'll put it bluntly: The Observer is used to cussing a blue streak at the office whenever we feel like it. Language of all kinds is tolerated — hell, practically encouraged — around The Observatory. However, we have friends whose workplaces are a little more uptight. Occasionally, we will send an e-mail to one of these friends that's not quite as squeaky clean as their workplaces' filters would like, and we get a very quick message back telling us our e-mail has been sent to the principal's office for containing one or more objectionable words. Now usually these messages reference something about “content,” which clues us in to go back and replace an “s” with a “$,” or some such deceptive maneuver, and resend. We admit to feeling a slight twinge of junior-high shame when it happens, but the filter doesn't know our Mama, so we don't worry about it too much.
However, on a recent day, a completely innocuous message to an employee at a local religious private school drew a rejection message that about made us faint dead away:
“Body of message generated response:
571 Reputation Violation”
Reputation violation?!? How, we thought, does this computer filter know what The Observer did in high school? Why does it still hold it against us 20 years later? And, most importantly, is it going to tell our mother?
Though The Observer lived for summertime when we was but a young'un, the older we get, the less we can stand the oven-like heat of the dog days. That's why we got a kick out of the story sent in recently by Van Buren heating and air man George McIntosh. George has been an HVAC contractor for 27 years, and for the past 10, he's been providing a rather unique service to the state. With ductwork and AC units on wheels, his company — georgemcintoshservice.com — provides mobile air-conditioning for outdoor events, and emergency air units for businesses whose coolerators have gone on the fritz. Add to that the fact that George is a big music fan, and you can see why he sprang into action during the recent B.B. King and Willie Nelson concert, held last month at Riverfest Ampitheatre.
George appreciates the fact that B.B. and Willie are no spring chickens, and knew playing an outdoor concert when the heat index was scheduled to top 100 degrees would be hell. To that end, he says he tried for weeks to get through to someone about donating his portable air units for the show, to no avail. Finally, the night of the show, he said, “I decided to take the bull by the horns. I had just air-conditioned a 60-by-100-foot tent … and while hauling a load of my equipment home I started thinking: How could they turn down an offer to blow some cool air onto the stage free of charge?”
Four hours before the curtain, George simply showed up at the gates and said that he was there to air-condition the stage. After getting the go ahead, he set up four units — each twice the size of refrigerators — on either side of the stage, with flexible ducts pointed at the band and the vocalist.
“Words can't express how rewarding it was to see no sweat on B.B as he performed,” George said. “He stayed seated the whole time he performed and at one point his two guitar players were seated on either side of him. I could see the pants leg of the bass player moving from the airflow. Wow. Such a good feeling to know that was from my actions.”
Though George never got a chance to meet Willie or B.B., he said he knows his efforts were appreciated. The promoter has approached him about providing AC for the Bob Dylan show scheduled for Riverfest Ampitheatre at the end of August. “The promoter said that I probably saved B.B.'s life because he never could have performed in such heat,” George said. “I don't know about saving his life, but maybe we got a few more songs out of him because of it.”
Spoken like a true music fan.