More Dogs on Main Street
December 28, 2007
Because there isn’t anything else going on, it is customary to use this last screed of the year to make wild predictions for next year. These are based on a careful analysis of consumer trends, mountains of data, and a long discussion with the dog on a cross-country ski trip around the hay fields. The predictions that come true are mine the others are from the dog. She gets most of her information from Fox News, so you have to cut her some slack.
The Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary are close at hand. This a strange process in which we outsource the selection of presidential candidates to two states that look about as much like the rest of the U.S. as Utah does. Die-hards from both parties will be choosing among a crowded field of candidates that, quite frankly, nobody likes. Mitt Romney will give a tearful recollection of his many hunting trips with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. That will be enough to convince the primary voters to vote for him on the basis that they find him slightly less repulsive than the other choices.
Taking their cue from the Republicans, the Democrats will also nominate a candidate who stands for nothing, can take any position at any time to pander to the audience at hand, and who has no clear policy on anything. The battle between Clinton and Romney will be a Herculean effort to avoid uttering any simple declarative sentences or getting trapped taking a position on anything. For some reason, significant numbers of voters will find one or the other of them absolutely inspiring, while the majority begins making plans to be out of the country for election day. This is a dream, not an actual prediction, but it is my sincere hope that the vacuum created by Clinton and Romney will be filled by an independent slate of Chuck Hagel and Mike Bloomberg (in either order). The independent ticket wins, rendering both political parties useless and obsolete.
We have about a year to go before George W. Bush is packed off to join Martin Van Buren, Chester Arthur and Warren G. Harding in the dustbin of history. There’s no telling what damage he will do in the remaining months, but it’s certain that the Democrats in Congress won’t be able to do anything about it. A year from now it will be discovered that Congress has been in recess for the entire year, and nobody noticed or cared. If they could convince Bush to spend the next year mountain biking in Texas, we would all be better off.
On a local level, after months of litigation, Talisker will win the right to purchase The Canyons. Having won, they will come to their senses and conclude that they don’t really want it. There will be another year of litigation while they try to get out of the deal. A judge will eventually void the contract on the grounds that the property is affected by an Indian curse that was known but not disclosed by the seller.
Park City will proceed full speed ahead on the park-and-ride lot at Richardson Flat, despite the fact that nobody will use it for daily commuting. An extensive public-relations campaign will not convince people to drive from their homes in Kamas and Heber and, about the time the car is finally warmed up and comfortable, to get out and stand on a frigid, wind-scoured plain waiting for a bus that will take them into exactly the same traffic jam they could have driven into on their own. The benefits of adding 15 minutes of standing at a bus stop in the cold to an already lengthy commute are not outweighed by the burdens of being able to regulate the temperature, radio programming, and companionship in your own car. Not even adding the opportunity to spend another 15 minutes transferring buses at the Old Town Transit Center will convince Americans (even the undocumented ones) to park in Egypt and take the bus.
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My New Year’s resolution to quit eating chocolate by the cubic yard will last until about noon on New Year’s Day when I go in for a brownie at Deer Valley. But that’s longer than it lasted last year, when I polished off a pound of fudge at breakfast New Year’s Day. Having taken the pledge and attended my meetings regularly, I will be able to resist the urge to buy another antique tractor in 2008. The tractor I won’t buy is probably a Ford 8N or maybe the Massey-Ferguson TO-30 a guy over in Denver is sending me photos of. And when I don’t buy it, it will fit nicely in the barn next to the 1944 Farmall A that I bought on eBay last month. (I had always wondered who in the world, what kind of crazy person, would bid sight unseen on a 63-year-old tractor in another state. Turns out that would be me.) The ’44 Farmall A is in the barn next to the ’53 Farmall Super C. I’m expecting a litter of Cub Cadet lawnmowers in the spring.
In early summer, unknown Ralph Petersen will stick a stack of envelopes in his jacket pocket, intending to drop them in the mail on his way to work. But he will forget (probably because he missed his bus at the park-and-ride lot), and the credit-card bills will go unpaid until the next time it’s cold enough to wear the jacket and he discovers his error. The late payment is only $183, but it will cause a statistical alarm to go off, signaling wholesale credit-card default. The ensuing financial panic will make the sub-prime mortgage mess look like a picnic. The mortgages are secured by real estate that isn’t completely worthless. The credit-card debt is secured by the airline tickets, restaurant meal and hotel room Ralph and his wife enjoyed on a recent vacation, which are rather difficult to repossess.
The Hagel-Bloomberg ticket will take a look at the mess we are in and decide they would rather own The Canyons than be president.
Tom Clyde served as Park City attorney in the 1980s and is the author of "More Dogs On Main Street." He has been a columnist at The Park Record for nearly 20 years.