A Threefer 

The Utes, Becker & Mitt/Jon

There’s no sugarcoating the ass kicking the Utah Utes football team received at the hands of the University of Washington on Oct. 1. It was the inaugural game of Utah’s entry into the Pac-12 (or Pac-11.5, as it might be termed now, since Utah only played half a team for half a game). With only nine seconds ticked off the opening-kickoff clock, Washington held a 7-nothing lead. That’s fast. How fast? Well, let’s just say that it usually takes a half a day to cook a goose, but Utah’s goose was cooked, carved and served while half of the unseated crowd was still buttering its popcorn.

I watched the game only two rows removed from my former seats, which—you may recall—were swiped out from under me by the greedy Utah football ticket office a few years ago. Directly in front of me in those seats were four happy Utah fans, not knowing I would spend the next couple of hours conspiring to drop all kinds of mayhem on them, from mustard dogs to kettle corn. I couldn’t, of course. Besides, if I tossed food in that direction, I’d also have to throw a churro backward about six rows, because the eight seats we once had there (my seats were City Weekly’s seats, a total of 12) were pirated at the same time. The reason I thought better of tossing a churro was because if I did, the Utah coaches might catch sight of my perfectly aimed spirals and put me in the game.

But, it’s Tuesday now. I’m over Saturday’s whupping and I’m long over the stupid Utah football ticket office (me and a few thousand other people who would rather watch the Utes at a sports bar these days). I go to games I want with tickets I can spot buy. That saves me lots of beer money, and it saves Utah football from wondering if I will ever donate to their program. I will not. They can kiss my Greek heinie.

I wish the team well, but my money’s going to the dance department. I mean, why not? Have you ever seen a trained dancer who didn’t know the steps? Have you ever seen a dance audience leave en masse before the concert was over? And did you see the Utah football team after halftime Saturday, looking like it was the first time it had ever walked on a field or seen a football? Or Utah’s fans leaving early? This past Saturday, Ute fans proved they are in the same class of quitters as BYU fans when it comes to heading for the parking lot. Case closed—when it comes to money donated to guys in tight pants, it’s going to the guy in the tutu.

Go Utes. Hope you fare better against Arizona State.

I recently took it up with Salt Lake City leaders that they’ve made a royal mess of Main Street, the street that was once the city’s crown jewel. I have more than a passing interest in Main Street since our offices, which house 50 people or so, are located smack-dab in the middle of what is now fondly called Little Amsterdam—not because it’s so beautiful, but because for several blocks along Main Street, primarily between 200 South and 300 South on the west side, one can easily conduct commerce in illicit drugs and other sundry illegal behaviors. Another apt name for that stretch of Main Street could be Little Sewer.

Hey, I have nothing against open sewers (I grew up in Bingham Canyon, and our sewer ran right through town in the form of a once-pristine canyon stream). And I don’t have anything against commerce—that’s what Main Street is for, right Mayor Becker? Oh, I don’t even know why I bother with Becker. He’s too busy thinking that what Salt Lake City needs most is a 2,400-seat theater. He wants Salt Lake City to be considered a “Big-League City,” and in his mind, have a theater that serves no unique purpose except that it would allow for bigger props (like the missing helicopter at the Capitol Theatre presentation of Miss Saigon) and have oodles more remote seating. You want to kill the new Salt Lake City theater idea? Just have the University of Utah football team offer up a performance there.

Becker has a good start on the “Big-League City” stuff. After my column ran, I got piles of e-mails and comments from readers and local business owners. Only one arrived from a city official: City Councilman Soren Simonsen, who formerly officed on lower Main, and we agreed to have lunch. Becker, apparently constrained by his tight-fitting bike-riding regalia, didn’t respond, but at least I no longer get those annoying PR e-mails from City Hall. Thanks, Mr. Raymond. Among the startling comments I got were those comparing Main Street in Salt Lake City to New York City’s Times Square circa 1980. That’s “Big League” all right, Becker. Come down and smell the reefer sometime, OK?

One final thing: Given the latest one-sided blending of rural (Republican Mormon)/urban (Democrat non-Mormon) in a charade of legislative redistricting (Bluff, in the same proposed district as Salt Lake City, is closer to Santa Fe, N.M., for example), is there any reason to believe a child born into a Democratic non-LDS household today has any kind of future in Utah? Could the message be more clear? Not Mormon=Not Welcome.

Best to you, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr.—Utah just screwed you both. If anyone truly wonders what a Mormon presidency would look like, look at Utah. Can it get worse? Yeah, the side in power is armed, dangerous and crazy, just like some of history’s other political demons. 

Twitter: @JohnSaltas

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