Today, we present a little friendly advice for the new guy ...
Now that Ogden officially has a replacement mayor in the honorable Mike Caldwell, I believe I speak for city residents everywhere when I say that Mr. Caldwell has some pret-ty big shoes to fill.
Big. Floppy. Shoes.
Naw, I'm just kidding. In all seriousness, I've always had a soft spot for Matthew Godfrey, the city's former mayor. Part of it has to do with the violent reaction he elicits in the community. We aren't talking about people who simply disagree with his politics; these are people who firmly believe that if Matt Godfrey isn't Satan himself, he at the very least has the dude on speed dial.
And now, we've gotta break in a new mayor.
So then, what should Mayor Caldwell's first order of business be? I mean, after he's removed the phone books stacked on the chair in his new office, and had the mirrors in the executive washroom raised to their original height? Just this: Mayor C needs to come up with some sort of crazy, off-the-wall scheme for Ogden.
Look, we've got a long history of loony in this town. This is Ogden, people. We eat nutty ideas for breakfast around here.
Don't believe me? Why, just consider a few of the plans -- some realized, most not -- that have been floated in the past:
Gonzo over gondolas. Any crazy talk simply MUST begin with the commuter chairlift proposed to link downtown Ogden with Weber State University. And Malan's Basin. And Snowbasin. And, eventually, several other planets in our solar system.
A Streetcar Named Derision. Another popular idea is a commuter trolley-car system. Which, coupled with nearby Salt Lake City's recent designation as gayest city in America, would kinda make us the San Francisco of the Intermountain region. Without all the hills, of course. Or that fishy smell.
Winter wonderingland. Speaking of hills, how about a man-made snow hill for the city's annual Winterfest celebration. (This year's theme: "A Cold Day in Hell.") Once a year, we close 25th Street just above Washington Boulevard, fill it with snow, and use it for sled races, skiing, snowmobiling and something called "skijoring." Which is undoubtedly the result of one of those Reese's Peanut Butter Cup moments, wherein a downhill skier and a horseman are sitting around in a bar, spitballing ideas, when suddenly -- bingo! -- horshes on skis! No, wait! Skiing behind a galloping horsh!
What's in a name? Remember the moniker of the merchants group back when downtown Ogden was really going downhill? They called themselves the Downtown Ogden Association. Yeah. Talk about your unfortunate acronyms.
Look! Up in the sky! It's the 19th century! I'm truly saddened the proposal for a high-tech unmanned police blimp was recently scrapped. It offered a futuristic vision of lighter-than-air aeroships patrolling the skies above Ogden, on the lookout for criminals bootlegging sarsaparilla and the like. Criminals who would then make their getaway on the city's extensive trolley system. Leapin' lizards!
World's largest scalable Popsicle. That's right, it's an ice-climbing tower in downtown Ogden. Because, apparently, rock climbing isn't quite crazy enough for these "high" adventure people. So at some point, somebody stood at the base of a very large cliff they were about to scale and thought, "Hey, you know what would make this even MORE dangerous? A nice coating of something really slippery. Like Vaseline. Ooh, or ice."
Also proposed by these same people: A separate downtown facility where you could run with scissors.
Velodrome. It's been suggested that Ogden build something called a "velodrome." For the life of me, I still don't know what that is, but it sure sounds kooky.
Crashing trains. But perhaps Ogden's greatest idea yet came back in the 1980s, when Ogden's mayor proposed staging an actual, honest-to-goodness train wreck as a way to draw tourists to Junction City. If you don't think that idea alone makes Ogden the epicenter -- ground zero, if you will -- for wacky ideas, you haven't been paying attention.
Not that this is a bad thing. After all, people know where places like tiny Nederland, Colo., are because of events like "Frozen Dead Guy Days." And think about it: What's the last great idea the city of Layton came up with? Another Olive Garden franchise? Bo-ring.
So here's my proposal: We set up an annual festival in downtown Ogden and call it, oh, let's say, the "Ogden Street Festival." And what we do is we get everybody all liquored up and offer all sorts of fun, family-friendly activities throughout the day. Like dwarf-tossing. (Hmmm, any suggestions for the first little person we might use?)
And then for the main event, just before the fireworks that night, we take a gondola car, and we take an unmanned police blimp ... and ... we ... CRASH THEM INTO EACH OTHER!
Oh, the humanity. That crazy, crazy humanity.
Hey! Mayor C! There are more ideas where those came from. Reach out to Mark Saal at 801- 625-4272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.