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Core Samples

By the time I set up my tent in the living room to see if my new humongously-thick inflatable sleeping pad would actually fit inside it, I’d already mulled over our "local" rugby side’s chances of getting to the "sweet 16" in the Division 1 national club championships, perused this summer’s astounding concert lineups for Deer Valley and Red Butte Garden, previewed the next day’s NFL draft, and caught the Rolling Stones in concert.

Of course I forgot to check to see if batteries were included with the pump that came with the "memory foam airbed" before I left the store, and so all I had actually accomplished was to set up the tent and unroll the quite-flat and as-yet-not-inflated membrane along its interior footprint.

There were positives on the table prior to acquiring the needed D-cells batteries, however. For instance, it looked like the Park City Haggis ruggers could actually pretty much stink up the joint down in Vegas on Saturday and still come away with an invite to the next round which will be held in a couple of weeks in Austin, Texas. They had that going for them. And wouldn’t you know it, they got blown out and still advanced.

Another would be the deliciously satisfying assignment of trying to qualitatively digest the off-scale list of performing artists scheduled in concert at my two favorite "adult" venues. There’s something about being encouraged to bring your own "picnic" supplies while setting up a small homestead on a grassy plot in front of a stage that’s well within my wheelhouse.

I’m trying extremely hard not to "peak" too early on this concert thing, to "pace" myself, as it were. Right! The only way that would be even remotely possible is to keep visions of Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams and the rest of that quite eclectic bunch away from my left brain.

The first symptom that I might be getting a bit ahead of the curve on the preparation end of things is when the first list appears. It matters not that I pretty much take the same flotsam and jetsam to each show; I must have a list unique to the event even if the only thing different about each one is the name of the act.

To be sure, it’s a chemical romance kind of thing. Just the thought of Susan Tedeschi belting out a blues while husband Derek Trucks embellishes her vocal with his gorgeous bottleneck guitar work is enough to send the old endorphins flowing toward a confluence with agave nectar. Not to mention Dwight Yoakam, Alejandro Escovedo, the Gipsy Kings, and Los Lobos.

It’s rather ironic that there would be any interest in the NFL draft laying about the house, considering that I haven’t had a team to call my own since the late Georgia Frontiere moved Smokey’s Rams to Saint Louis from L.A. back in 1995 (after L.A. had stolen them fair and square from Cleveland years earlier).

An occurrence at the end of the seventh round of the draft, however, may have caused me to look at possibly re-bonding with my old team. There is this somewhat obscure tradition wherein the last player taken in the draft, the 252nd to be precise, is anointed and celebrated as "Mr. Irrelevant."

He’ll get wined and dined and find himself awash in iPods and Izods and, for a week anyway, be the toast of Newport Beach, California. A rather dubious distinction to be sure, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that many eligible college players never got drafted at all.

What makes Mr. Irrelevant relevant in the foothills of the Heber Valley this year is the fact that he came from the University of Idaho, my Vandals, as it were. That’s right, David Vobora, an outside linebacker from "Big I," as the team has been known in the Meehan family for a few generations, was drafted at the end of the seventh and final round by the Rams.

This is actually the Rams’ last chance to get me back on board. If they decide, for whatever reason, to cut Vobora (is that a Hall of Fame name, or what?), well, they can just move to Crawford, Texas, for all I care. This is their chance to finally provide their fans with some serious in-your-face Idaho defense and they better not blow it.

And that brings us to my final involvement before setting up the tent in my living room on the day in question — the Rolling Stones concert. As usual, my point of view reeked of front-and-center as Mick strode the stage and "Keef" roamed about picking the most recognized rhythms in the raucous history of rock and roll.

It seemed to go on forever with each anthem more stirring than the previous. Individual guest shots with Jack White, Buddy Guy, and Christina Aguilera were highlights for the ages. Ron Wood and Charlie Watts kept on keeping on, as did a great horn section and a brilliant set of background vocalists.

Did I forget to mention that the entire concert, filmed at New York City’s quite intimate Beacon Theater by Martin Scorsese and 10,000 highly-flexible camera operators, played out on an IMAX screen not much bigger than the backside of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon? You marvel at the geriatric energy and virtuosity the Stones still put on display. And they don’t even need four D-cell batteries to pump them up.

Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and a free-lance writer with a background in commercial and community radio, among other pursuits. He has been a columnist and feature writer for various Park City publications going back to 1973.


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