<em>“Here we stand before your door.</em>
<em>As we stood the year before.</em>
<em>Give us whiskey, give us gin.</em>
<em>Open the door and let us in.”</em>
—an old Philadelphia Mummers poem.
On December 31st, 2015 I made a promise to myself. I swore that I would not allow the corrosive, cancerous people and things that had made 2015 the worst year of my life come into 2016 yoked to my back. With less than two weeks left, I see nothing on the horizon that can possibly make me break that oath.
This is an entirely good thing. Especially given that 2016 provided enough misery for all of us without the extra baggage. As we are, allow me to share a few random thoughts on stories that I will carry with me into the new year.
— As a proud alumnus of Utah State University, it pains me to see the two main money making teams in such bad shape. The Aggie football and men’s basketball teams are not good. And I am not sure the future is anything that an optimist could cling to blithely.
We are in the middle of basketball season, so I will withhold judgment of Coach Tim Duryea’s performance until we start to play league games. I like that he has bolstered the non-conference schedule with games that will make the team stronger over the long season—even though we have lost most of those tougher games.
Football? It’s a hot mess. And by hot, I mean Pluto in February.
Matt Wells is not a good football coach. He has been in the big chair for four years and the Aggies have fallen every year. Former head coach Gary Andersen’s guys have moved on…and what is left is a team that is destined to be the victim of a few years of Mountain West belt-whippings.
Just look at our division. Boise State is back to its old glory. Air Force and Wyoming have recruited themselves into league championship contenders. New Mexico and Colorado State are both rebuilt nicely. There are six teams in our division and five of them are ascending. The contrarian is us. We are going down…hard and fast.
Utah State University is banking on the fool’s gold of a refurbished stadium and the bi-annual visits of BYU and Boise State to suggest the football program is healthy. It isn’t. What ails the Aggies is a coach in over his head, a team filled with malcontents and membership in a league where such problems equate to a litany of losing seasons ahead of us.
— Staying local, will the large buildings currently empty throughout Cache Valley still stand as a counter-argument to those who are oft-quoted (but shamefully never challenged by the local media) saying that CV is in great financial shape?
It is entirely a good thing that the Cache Valley Mall appears to be having a healthy Christmas season. What happens there on Tuesdays in January? How many businesses that might be wooed to come to CV will offer jobs that pay $12 an hour or more?
The disparity between the haves and have-nots is growing in northern Utah. It can be addressed, it can be ignored, but it is not going away until things change.
— Separate, but related to the preceding blurb, I tallied the money I have spent on my last 10 visits out of Cache Valley on Sundays. I averaged $41 a trip. On every Sunday that I want to do recreational activities, or just entertain myself, the first choice is to take my money elsewhere. I am not alone.
If the people—elected or selected—that determine which new businesses in Cache Valley are available to those who want to spend their money on Sundays decide that adherence to Mormon dogma is more important than making money, allow me to tell you how happy Ogden, Layton Hills, Salt Lake City and the entire state of Idaho are to take my money.
Especially Idaho. Those party animals love me up there!
News flash: “Family friendly” doesn’t make nearly the same amount of money as “fat, drunk and stupid.”
— In 2017, when I am taking my daily walks down Main Street, I am going to have my camera in my hand ready to record. If I see you texting when driving, I am going to record you doing it and then stop down to the Logan PD station and show them the evidence.
Driving whilst texting endangers me and those I love. I’d go up to your car and punch you in the face if I thought I would get away with it. Since vigilante justice is frowned upon in Utah, I will just be “that guy” who snitches out your self-absorbed, addictive and illegal habit.
You are warned.
— Finally, on January 20th, 2017, a sexual predator with a history of career failures and a propensity towards sociopathy will be the most powerful human being on the planet. I will not type out his name in my columns or on Facebook. I will not debate his attributes with friend or foe. I will continue to resists this horrific reality with vim and resolution.
I am not a proud American. I will not salute the flag of my country, or stand at attention for its pledge or anthem. I will only pray to a deity I do not believe exists that this lazy, narcissistic charlatan will quit in four years without having been responsible for the deaths of millions.
And that is it for 2016. I will return to this space sometime in January. To all, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May peace be with us and the world entire.