World’s first 9th and 9th Whale-athon Record Broken | Opinion | Salt Lake City Weekly

World’s first 9th and 9th Whale-athon Record Broken 

Smart Bomb: The completely unnecessary news analysis

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Well Wilson, you could be right, the big, colorful whale at 9th South and 11th East could be the coolest thing in the City of Salt. But already, the news media has labeled it “the whale at 9th and 9th”—demonstrably inaccurate. It's as bad as not being able to distinguish Kimball Junction from Park City.

But we digress. It took Stephen Kesler three years to design and build the full-size—23-foot—humpback that's been breaching in the center of a roundabout since April 2022. It's called “Out of the Blue” and oddly, it has become a sports venue.

In October, four dudes made headlines by running a marathon around the whale. We are not making this up. Wyn Barnett, Jackson Bradshaw, Evan Service and Caleb Leftwich ran 630 laps around it—26.2 miles. It was the first Whale-athon in the world.

Sure, it sounds nuts, but they did make history. Wait, there's more: Last week, Allie Kolaski ran 800 laps—30 miles—as training for an ultra-marathon. Great, but not everyone wanted a whale there. One group sought a giant gnome sculpture to grace the roundabout. Yes Wilson, that would be weird.

The gnome people are not giving up. They place little gnomes around the whale because they are spirits of the earth—or something. Keep a lookout for the world's first Gnome-athon.

Saving the Great Salt Lake—Don’t Look at the Man Behind the Curtain
The Utah State Legislature is saving the Great Salt Lake! They instituted the Agricultural Water Optimization Program to save the water that northern Utah farmers take from the Bear River. Grants to save water can amount to $1 million.

But oops, the state didn't collect data to see if any water was saved at all. Well, as Utah Jazz fans like to say, “There's always next year!” The Leg is also considering the Bear River Development Project to build a huge reservoir and keep Bear River water from flowing to Great Salt Lake. Well Wilson, it's what they call reverse logic.

Lawmakers even took a helicopter ride over the lake to be sure it is shrinking. And golly sakes, it is. They are very detail oriented.

The Great Salt Lake drought contingency plan would seek voluntary water transfers; would report annually how much water the lake should have; and impose a $75 fee for each acre-foot used by secondary water suppliers—agricultural would be exempt. What!

Alfalfa farmers suck a lot of water out of the Bear. One-third of Utah's alfalfa crop goes to China. Yes Wilson, it is like shipping the Great Salt Lake to Asia. At this rate, scientists say, the lake will disappear in five years. By then, Utah lawmakers might have a better plan.

Don’t Say ‘Palestinian’—Or You Could Get F#%&ed
You better not utter anything about Israel and Hamas or you could get the ax. Listen to this: Mehdi Hasan's Sunday political talk show on MSNBC got canned. Hasan, a Muslim, was critical of Israel for the war in Gaza.

Welcome to the new McCarthy era. Other public figures who have been dumped for their views on Gaza include celebrities Melissa Barrera, Susan Sarandon, Bella Hadid, Mia Khalifa and the list goes on and on. Don't they know real Americans support Israel in the aftermath of the massacre of 1,200 Israelis by Hamas militants?

Still, employees, students and others have suffered for voicing their opinions as some 15,000 Palestinians have been killed during the ongoing bombing of Gaza. So of course, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered Florida public universities to disband campus groups associated with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Free speech—not exactly.

It's reminiscent of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's Red Scare and the mass hysteria in the 1950s over the perceived threat of communism. Anyone accused of being a communist was in for a very bad time. Palestinian supporters best not post online.

Yes Wilson, it does seem like Palestinians and Israelis will keep killing each other until they're all dead. Still, there is never an excuse for harming non-combatants, period.

Postscript—That's a wrap for another festive week here at Smart Bomb, where we keep track of history in the making so you don't have to.

The U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives was a collaborator in then-president Donald J. Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election and remain in power. Now that is history. A hundred years from now, they'll be talking about Mike Johnson, the evangelical backbencher who could look through a keyhole with both eyes at the same time.

Life is not fair: The Florida State football team went undefeated in the ACC and was denied a position in the College Football Playoffs. Here's what Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell said about the selection committee: “#$%& &$# &%$#@&.”

OpenAI's Sam Altman was fired from the artificial intelligence company but returned as a mastermind who seems less concerned with the dangers of A.I. than turning a billion bucks or two. What's more important, saving humanity or making a killing?

And then there is this: The Oxford University Press has selected “Rizz” as its Word of the Year. It's a slang term that refers to someone’s “ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.” Well yes, Wilson, everyone knows you and the band have plenty of rizz—or something that rhymes with it.

Well hell, Wilson, it's hard to be upbeat when there's people killing each other all over the place. Seems like the history of humankind is filled with war and death and the killing of innocents. Give the band some coffee and take us out with something to remember:

There's a graveyard by the station
Where the girls wear nylon skirts and
Sandals from Hungary
The boys ride their Riga 1's
Upon the little hill
Such sadness and grief
The trees die standing

That's where we made our trysts
And struggled with our guns
Would you still love me
If the clocks could go backwards
The girls would fill with blood and
The grass would be green again
Remember the dead
They were so great
Some of them

Where do the boys lie
Mud mud mud
How does the grass grow
Blood blood blood

I gaze in defeat
At the stars in the night
The light in my life burnt away
There will be no tomorrow
Then you sigh in your sleep
And meaning returns with the day

Where do the boys lie
Mud mud mud
How does the grass grow
Blood blood blood
“How Does the Grass Grow”—David Bowie

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