Recently, I angered a number of readers with a highly insensitive column that may have inadvertently accused the non-LDS population of this state -- or "gentiles," as they're known in the local parlance -- of being dishonest.
Well, just to show you there are no hard feelings over all the scathing letters to the editor ("Saal's column about honesty offends gentile," "Saal's column a pitiful attempt," "Saal's column linked to increases in cancer, out-of-wedlock births"), I've decided to throw a party. And the best part? You're all invited.
That's right, each and every one of you -- be you gentile or non-gentile -- is invited to a big ol' block party this Friday night at The Junction in downtown Ogden.
OK, so technically it's not "my" party. (Because if it were, we'd be holding it at Chuck E. Cheese's.) But I do happen to know the folks putting on this party, and I'm even playing a small part in the festivities.
It's the second annual "Standard-Examiner Tops in the Top Block Party and Readers' Choice Awards." And what the event lacks in brevity/catchiness of name, it more than makes up for in sheer fun/excitement. Indeed, at the risk of overselling this event, I'll wager that the state hasn't seen a gala like this since the Mormon Tabernacle Choir donned paper ponchos and sang "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The free event will include dozens of vendor booths, an inflatable bounce toy, face painting, a balloon artist, free train rides, a kids craft and wildlife exhibit, a chalk art contest and all sorts of fabulous door prizes for the public.
Entertainment will again be provided by the Greg Simpson Band, who had last year's crowd up and dancing -- including many who had no business dancing.
Also back by popular demand will be the Standard-Examiner's official newspaper-carrier training simulator. It's a replica of a house, with a porch featuring a welcome mat, a dog and a cat. Contestants throw rolled-up newspapers at the porch. Hit the mat, and you win a prize. Hit the dog or the cat, and you get a special surprise. Hit the roof, and we give you a job.
Naw, that's just a little newspaper carrier humor. In reality, our carriers would never dream of tossing a newspaper on a roof. Mostly, because they've all got noodle arms.
New this year will be a "Draw With Cal" booth, featuring rapscallion Standard-Examiner cartoonist Calvin Grondahl.
All this, and free popcorn, too.
Included in the evening will be the winners of our annual Readers' Choice Awards, the most coveted hardware this side of the Grammys.
And it's all FREE!
But just in case you need even more incentive to attend the block party of the century, emcee for the evening will be yours truly. Which means, if nothing else, all of you angry gentiles can come on down and mercilessly heckle me.
Ooh, or try to hit me with newspapers at the simulator.
As long as we're extending invitations, I'd also like to invite you all to one other event this week. At 1 p.m. Wednesday, out in front of the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home, 1102 N. 1200 West, Ogden, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department of Utah, Chapter 995, will hold a dedication ceremony/unveiling for two more monuments saluting Purple Heart recipients in the state of Utah.
It's open to the public, refreshments will be served and it's an opportunity to honor the sacrifices of our veterans.
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @Saalman.