Dear Mahatma: My son is a Boy Scout and currently working on his Citizenship in the Community merit badge. He needs to speak with someone at the city about the pothole process and what we as citizens can do to prevent potholes. Who would you recommend he speak to? I'm sure there are more pressing issues for this said person, but a few minutes of his time would be appreciated. -- Mom/Chauffeur/Chef
Dear Mom Etcetera: Potholes? What potholes?
Ha-ha, as the great Dave Barry used to say. You think we have potholes now, wait until this beautiful and accursed snow melts. Nothing prevents pothole prevention like winter weather.
Our advice, assuming you live in Little Rock, is to call Public Works at 371-4475. Those are the pothole guys. Our own experience with Public Works is that folks there are friendly and helpful. Maybe wait a few days, until the shock of that polar vortex wears off.
We also recommend doing a web search. The number of hits about potholes and asphalt is prodigious. In fact, we read an article from "Asphalt" magazine.
We kid you not. It's "the magazine of the Asphalt Institute." The piece was headlined "Preventing and repairing potholes and pavement cracks." A history of the Asphalt Institute reveals it's a century old and was formed by oil companies including several variations of Standard Oil, the great petroleum monopoly. Turns out that making asphalt starts with crude oil.
Good luck on that merit badge.
Dear Mahatma: I have recently seen an expired temporary tag from out of state. Could law enforcement in Arkansas give that driver a ticket? -- Local Boy
Dear Local: Our immediate reaction was -- heck yeah. But our immediate reaction is often wrong. We also confess to repeatedly whacking the mole of temporary tags, one of the topics that most inflame the righteous indignation of readers of this column.
So we checked with Bill Sadler, the longtime spokesman for the Arkansas State Police. He tells us that any state's temporary tag is subject to the same laws as a regular tag, even when displayed on a vehicle operated away from the state in which the tag was issued.
Dear Mahatma: I have heard the expression "busier than a gnat in a peach orchard," but not "nuttier than a peach orchard boar." I grew up in the Alma area and made summer money picking peaches. I can attest to the busyness of gnats! --JRW
Dear JRW: Thank you for reminding us to report another explanation for the behavior of peach-orchard boars. Another reader says peaches fall to the ground, ripen and ferment. The boars eat the fermented peaches and become, not necessarily nutty, but drunk.
Either way, the thought of an intoxicated porker puts a smile on us like a wave on a slop bucket.
Is folklore great, or what?
Vanity plate seen on a Mustang: GUDKARMA.