I’ve been using Twitter for several weeks
now and am up to 81 followers. Besides
reaffirming that I’m a Twitter nobody
(Shaq picked up about 50,000 followers in
the past 10 days), that’s weird. I’m losing
followers as fast as I’m gaining them. I kind
of figured that would happen since some
of those early people following me lived in
Sweden, Canada and England. It was just
odd that they would even pretend to care
about the goings on here in Salt Lake City.
Maybe they dropped me because I never
followed them back. Babies.
I don’t mean to take up lots of space
and time with this Twitter stuff, but I
admit there’s a certain fascination about
it. Writing in just 140 characters is a fine
way to communicate, I think, and limiting
speech has its advantages. Wouldn’t
it be nice to limit a Sunday sermon to 140
words? We all know a politician or salesperson
whom we’d like to muzzle, too. I
don’t see a problem until it comes to marriage
vows and jury verdicts, perhaps: “I
now pronounce you husband and …” or,
“We find the defendant …”
Last night I found a new use for Twitter. I sent a tweet to my followers for story ideas for today’s column. All I got was Internet silence. This morning I opened Twitter to find a few suggestions, but nothing major. It wasn’t lost on me that a 2 a.m. tweet is like singing in an empty stadium—there’s no one there to hear you. So I tweeted about that. They were still asleep. A few ideas came in, though. Here they are:
From Ted: Hey, how about writing about the Flatlanders? OK, Ted, I will. I saw the Flatlanders’ (Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock) fantastic show at the State Room on Sunday night. It’s a great venue, a perfect setting for a band as tightly knit as the Flatlanders, and it was my first visit. The Flatlanders are Texas buddies, stellar songwriters and first-rate musicians. Their every show is a clinic in giving fans their money’s worth.
I first saw Joe Ely perform in Chicago
in 1981 opening for Linda Ronstadt—of
all people. I was on a writing gig having
recently interviewed Ely by phone while he
was performing in Park City—of all places.
He’d just finished touring with the Clash
and he just blew it up that day. It remains
one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.
You’ve gotta see “Fingernails” live! When
I moved back to Salt Lake City, I begged
Sam Callis and Otto Milleti to bring him
to the Zephyr. I offered them free ads in
the old Private Eye. They took me up on the
offer and brought him. Say thanks, Salt
thank me. After a
trip in 1991 to New
Orleans, I also convinced
club owners to catch
onto the karaoke
craze they’d never
heard of. So, one for
Next Tweet from
M: Write about
Huntsman. OK, here
it is: Good luck, Guv.
You’ve been great,
kept your word,
opened eyes and
opened doors. You
led those horses’
asses to water, and
it’s up to us to make them drink.
LRM asked that I write about the Tribune.
Been there, done that. Tried following a
recent Rolly column, though, but couldn’t
find it. Thankfully, it turns out Tribune
columnists fall under the category of
“Entertainment” on the Tribune Website. I
have nothing to add to that.
However, the Tribune’s Glen Warchol is
usually a good source for stealing ideas. Not
today, though. He’s tweeting about hummingbirds.
Yup, hummingbirds. He’s got half
of Mormondom pissed at him, and he’s worried
about a little bird that looks him in the
eye and flies backwards. That’s like his critics,
except they don’t look him in the eye.
Responding to that tweet, I got a lengthy
e-mail from TP, more of a story than story
tip, that I’ve taken the liberty of cutting
down to size. If you ride bikes, turn away.
The Bicycle Gangs of Salt Lake
County. By TP.
If you drive in Salt Lake County you’ve seen them. They’re wearing the same colors of bike-riding tights, showing loyalty to their group—their gang colors. Like gangs, they break the law. They don’t use the bike lanes taxpayers provided for them. They block traffic and cause hazards to motorists. They speed down hills, they run stop signs and make illegal turns at will. I get a ticket if I run a stop sign or am speeding. How come biker gangs don’t?
But because they own bikes, they think they can break the law. And just like gangs, you can’t talk to them. They’ll flip you off first and even challenge you to pull over for a fight. Anyone driving in Mill Creek Canyon has either nearly hit a biker or nearly been hit by one. It doesn’t matter that you also paid a fee to enjoy the canyon; they think they own it. And they don’t even pay to use it. Why not charge them?
I ride, too, but now I think some motorist will take his rage out on me because I’m alone and an easy target. Biker gangs think they rule the road. Wake up, Police! Get the word out—stop the bicycle gangs.
I wasn’t going to print all of that, but
just last week I was crossing 400 South
at a crosswalk. Approaching cars in both
directions were stopped. A bike rider
sped past and damned near clipped me.
He just turned his head and gave me a
smirky smile. I’m not as mad as TP. I’m just
glad pricks like him are on bikes and not