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The Observer, Feb. 28

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On Monday of this week, the North Little Rock Animal Shelter had to put down seven pit bull terrier puppies. Last year it killed 297. Since 2003, when North Little Rock started regulating the breed, the shelter has put down 1,159 pit bulls (and thousands of other breeds).

The breed is illegal in that city, and the shelter policy is if they're too dangerous for North Little Rock, they're too dangerous for adopters in other jurisdictions. So they have to die.

One can argue whether singling out pit bulls makes sense. Just last week, after Little Rock passed an ordinance requiring pit bull owners to register their dogs and pay special fees, the newspaper reported a child was mauled by a Laborador retriever.

But it's hard to argue that pit bulls, labs, chihuahuas, housecats and any other pet that will otherwise replace itself six or seven times once a year for several years should not be sterilized.

So why don't people do that? North Little Rock Animal Shelter director Billy Grace doesn't know. His agency's distribution in the past of 700 flyers succeeded in persuading only 10 owners, he said. Maybe it's a guy thing.

Grace has an idea that's been ignored, to date, by the state legislature: Make the entire state follow the licensing rules that Little Rock and North Little Rock promulgate: If your pet is spayed or neutered, pay little or nothing for a license. If you insist on keeping your pet intact, pay big for it.

That would cut down on the carnage and let shelters focus on the happier part of their jobs: Adoption. Recycle!

The 22nd Depression Era Glass Show and Sale (known locally as the Glasshoppers' show) — something The Observer would never have gone to without an escort — was a veritable ice floe, sparkling goblets and wine glasses and punch bowls and crystal candlesticks dripping with cut-glass prisms. Ladylike things, glass plates and drinking glasses etched in flowers and ribbons. Breakable and dainty, but with hefty price tags.

And where was this gallery we fluttered through on our tiptoes?

In the Hall of Industry, of course, on the State Fairgrounds, where the livestock show is held, next to the railroad tracks, a sea of asphalt and 1950s-era perfunctory buildings. The contrast was striking.

Maybe The Observer is unreasonable, but there is something so Arkansas about putting the Fostoria on display near the Swine Hall. We are never far from our agricultural roots.

Weekend before last, The Observer did nothing. Well, not NOTHING nothing. We ate. We slept. We wrangled a kiss or three from Spouse. We read the paper and a not-too-satisfying book. We changed the spark plugs in the Mobile Observatory, and went to the park with Junior, and watched more television than we should have. We spent a pretty good bit of time staring at the yard, wishing it was spring so we could get our grubby little hands in the dirt.

But in terms of Actually Doing Something — dancing, drinking, driving fast, setting stuff on fire, taking controlled substances and getting trucked off to the Academy of Laughter like Britney — our weekend was mostly uneventful.

When The Observer was younger, we were kind of obsessed with making the good memories, the kind with details that hang with you and jut up like rocks from the still pond of life when you look back on it. The big, loud memories — we thought then — are all you really get to take with you, so we were going to gather them while the gatherin' was good.

The older we get, though, the more we've come to appreciate the stillness, those Saturdays and Sundays where, when asked by friends what we did over the weekend, we have to honestly reply, “Nothing.” While we know the details of those days are about as permanent as a sand castle below the high tide line, they're still precious. In terms of how we see our life when we look back on it, the effect is much more subtle — a calm and slowly expanding series of mental ripples, as opposed to the cannonball splashes we made when we were younger. Call us crazy, but we say: A whole lotta Nothing beats 10 seconds of Something any day.

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