Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Rain, the Golf, the Park, the Pageant and Other Things

We just returned from a three-day excursion to Palisade State Park and environs. After Trish spent two days packing for the trip we hopped in Dad's motor home last Wednesday June 24 and with his ATVs in tow traveled the 150 miles south to Palisade, about 6 miles south of Manti, Utah. Carl Paulsen, Trish's Dad, came with us and so did her sister Melanie's family: husband Ryszard Cholodowski and children Britta and Marek.

It is a nice little state park, complete with campsites and a lake -

and a golf course.

Carl and Hans and I played nine holes on the first day. Hole #4 is fun - it is a shot over a spectacular canyon. (I shot par on that hole.) We rented a canoe the first and last day and a paddle boat in the middle. The water was cold but very good for swimming. We put a lot of miles on the ATVs in nearby Six Mile Canyon.

All was not rosy with the ATVs, however. We got a citation from a park ranger for the expired registration on the smaller of the ATVs. And we got a warning from another park ranger for Ellie not wearing the proper head gear on our last day of riding.

On Thursday night the 25th we went to the Mormon Miracle Pageant on the grounds of the Manti Temple.

It depicted the history of the LDS Church -

and performers enacted scenes from the Book of Mormon.

It was all wonderful, except for the rain. It drizzled on us through most of the performance, forcing us all to improvise with what blankets, umbrellas, and other coverings we could find. Halfway through the performance we asked the kids if they wanted to leave and they resolutely said "No." By that time I think they were pretty cozy in their makeshift shelters.

Manti is a fun little town filled with the pioneers spirit mingled with all the usual tourist accoutrements. The wind whipped up pretty good on our last night there and we had to temporarily take down one of the tents. But the food was good, the water was clear, the stars were numberless, and when the sun was out the sky was blue. It was a great trip. And Annie and Ruby learned a lot about water and mud.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pratt Family

Yes, the Riggs are related to Parley P. Pratt.
Through my Mom Cleo Judd's side of the family, Parley is my great-great-great-great grandfather. Some years ago I joined the Jared Pratt Family Association. Jared is the father of Parley and Orson.
I hadn't been too involved until a couple of years ago when I discovered that a prominent businessman here in Utah, Robert Grow, whom I know fairly well from my business and political associations, was the new President of the Association. I immediately contacted him and told him we were related. We now refer to other as "Cuz." I don't see him that often because he is also a prominent Democrat and has been often mentioned as someone who might run for political office in Utah.
I got an e-mail from Matt Grow, new Historian of the Association and an assistant professor of history at the University of Southern Indiana. He announced that on July 2, BYU will host a conference on Parley and Orson Pratt. Along with Professor Terryl Givens of the University of Richmond, he has been directing a seminar on the thought of the Pratt brothers. He and Terryl are currently writing a biography of Parley. They also have eight graduate students from around the nation and the world who will be presenting their research on the life and thought of the Pratts at this conference.
I can't wait, as this should be a great opportunity to delve more deeply into our Pratt ancestors.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Temple Celebration

Last Friday, May 30, Trish and I and Hans attended the cultural celebration commemorating the dedication of the Draper Utah and Oquirrh Mountain Utah temples. After nearly three months of weekly rehearsals as part of their regular Young Men and Young Women meetings, more than 14,000 youth from 51 stakes participated in "Come Up to the Mountain of the Lord."

Our stake's segment celebrated the role of immigrants in settling and building up the kingdom in the Salt Lake Valley. Parry, Peter, and Ellie all participated in the dancing. Ellie was especially thrilled, as she was allowed to participate before turning 12 on May 7. (Yesterday at Church she was welcomed officially into the Young Women's organization.)

According to Church leaders, these cultural celebrations are more than just celebrations. They are a way to direct the focus of the youth to the temple. For years the First Presidency has authorized a temple cultural celebration with a temple dedication, which gives the youth of the temple district, in particular, a special opportunity to celebrate the dedication of the temple.

Although traditionally temple youth cultural celebrations are held the evening before the dedication, the celebration for these temples was scheduled between the two to accommodate both districts. They are also usually held in open air venues to accommodate the large audiences. Only the huge Conference Center could have accommodated all of the people indoors! The different segments of the celebration were choreographed and directed by the individual stakes. It was quite an achievement to pull it all together. The end result was marvelous!

It was an inspirational program to watch but we were even more delighted to listen to our three children rave about their experience. What an inspired program!

Bestemor's Passing

Carol Jean Stewart Paulsen's funeral was held Saturday, May 30 at 11 a.m. at the home ward of the Paulsen family at 4500 S. 2700 E. in Salt Lake. It was a wonderful service. The spirit there was strong and "Bestemor" (as she was known to her grandchildren and which means "Grandmother" in Norwegian) would have been very pleased. Her grandchildren sang a medley of her favorite Primary songs, highlighted by "Sing Your Way Home." Her children also sang the closing hymn. At the graveside services we let loose yellow and white balloons into the air to commemmorate her life. On Sunday the 31st many of us watched a 2002 interview with Carol Jean conducted through a Young Women's project. In the interview, a vibrant and energetic C. J. described her life as a child, her school days, here love affair with her beloved Carl, the raising of her 12 children, and her wonderfully eclectic views and philosophy of life. It was a delightful interview. I wish I had known her earlier in her life.

Here is the official obituary:

Carol Jean Stewart Paulsen 1928 ~ 2009 Our wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Carol Jean Stewart Paulsen, passed away in her sleep in her home May 27, 2009.She was born Dec. 7, 1928, in Salt Lake City, Utah, daughter of Harold Fitzgerald Stewart and Abbie Loraine Sermon. She married Carl Bergstedt Paulsen on Aug. 22, 1952 in the Salt Lake Temple. After graduating from South High School, she obtained a Bachelor's degree at the University of Utah in home economics. She also did post graduate work in dietetics at Columbia University in New York. She worked as a dietician at the Salt Lake County Hospital and LDS Hospital. It seemed natural that most of her dreams had to do with food, and she was known for organizing wonderful dinners and events. Carol Jean's life was an example of service, giving, and love. Her greatest service was to her family, including her husband, 12 children, and foster children. Her primary objective was to instill in them a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ten of her children served full-time LDS missions, which brought her great joy. Her 40 grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren knew her as Bestemor (grandmother in Norwegian). She embraced many other dear friends as a part of her family, and they will also miss her loving influence. Carol Jean thought the best of everyone. To her, life was "grand" -even in her last few declining weeks. The license plate of her car appropriately displayed one of her life themes "B-Gentle." She shared her joyful spirit through music. Song was always a part of family gatherings. She encouraged her children and grandchildren to perform, and even assisted with music lessons and instruments. We will always remember the most important life lessons she taught us -that we can choose to have joy and abundance. Her children are Lori Ann Eberhard, Stewart (Annette) Paulsen, Paige Paulsen, Char Warr, Andrea Paulsen, Melanie (Ryszard) Cholodowski, Marie (Charles) Roberts, Patricia (Robin) Riggs, Erik (Lenice) Paulsen, Leif (Lisa) Paulsen, Lars (Lori), and Nels Paulsen. Her siblings include Margaret Ward, DeAnne Zarbock, Harold Stewart and Michael Stewart. She is preceded in death by her parents, her son Leif Paulsen, and her sister Mary Jane Stewart. Viewing will be Friday, May 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 30 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Olympus Stake Center located at 2700 East 4500 South, Holladay. Funeral services will be held at the same location Saturday at 11 a.m. Interment at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.

Here are some photos from the graveside services (thanks to Charles Roberts):

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Carol Jean Stewart Paulsen – 1928-2009

Trish's beloved mother, Carol Jean Stewart Paulsen, died yesterday, May 27, at her home in Salt Lake City in the arms of her beloved eternal companion, Carl. Trish and the rest of the Paulsen family are quietly going about their preparations for the funeral, which will be held on Saturday, May 30.

Carol was a wonderful mother-in-law. Her light and optimism filled every room she entered. She was full of sunshine and color and loved every moment of her life. In spite of near constant pain during the last few months of her life, she never complained. Instead she always buoyed up others and had a kind word for everyone she encountered. Everything Trish knows about mothering, about caring, and about having faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ she learned from her mother.

She undoubtedly has had joyful reunions on the other side with family members and friends that have passed on before her, but most especially with her son Leif. I also know that she has already met and talked to my own mother, Cleo Judd Riggs. They share the same birthday, December 7.

May Heavenly Father continue to bless you, C. J., as we honor you in the days ahead.

Elvin Loy Riggs

E. L. "Al" Riggs just underwent heart surgery last Thursday the 21st at St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake. He had a valve replaced and two bypasses. He had serious trepidations about undergoing the surgery, mainly because he really didn't feel all that bad. I mean, what's a little shortness of breath between friends! But doctors said that because of his excellent overall health he was a good candidate for this kind of surgery, even at 85 years of age!

Since the surgery he has been on constant pain medication, making his speech slurred and his mind a bit slower than usual. He mentioned more than once that had he known how bad his pain would be from the incision he wouldn't have gone under the knife. I called him on it, though, and he admitted that he was not serious.

He went home today and is expected to fully recover. But the recovery will be long and hard. Kim Hess is here this week to lend a helping hand while Dawn Carson will provide ongoing family support along with the rest of us who live here in Utah.

God bless, and best wishes for a speedy recovery, Dad!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Words of Wisdom

Do NOT do this or you will catch the Swine Flu!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Treasure on Earth

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are admonished to not lay up treasures for ourselves here on earth, for "where [our] "treasure is, there will [our] heart be also." But we are also taught that "men are that they might have joy." Here are some of the treasures we enjoy on earth:
Some are of made for recreation:

Others are made for spiritual renewal:

But the best are made for love

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hans' Pinewood Derby Experience

It started last year.

Hans, our youngest son, had just finished dead last in his first Pinewood Derby. He wasn' t upset, exactly (he always has a good spirit about him), but we could tell he was a little disappointed. That year his dad helped him.

This year, he asked his stepdad to help. The pressure was on!

On to 2009. Two weeks ago, Hans was surfing the net for Pinewood Derby racer styles and came across a racing carrot! He loved it and decided that was the style for him.

So last Saturday, in preparation for the this year's race, Hans and I gathered our pine block, wheels, and axles, and headed to the home (and shop) of our good friend, Jeff Dahl. Jeff and I walked Hans through the initial phase of shaping. We had Hans draw the pencil outlines, taught him to use a bandsaw, and then he cut the basic outline. He and I then whittled it into carrot shape, sanded it down, and - voila! - a carrot appeared. The best part is that Hans did almost all of this himself.

We then brought it home for painting. Hans did all of that, too, but Ellie made a really fun and cute rabbit out of clay looking as though it were hanging on for dear life to something going really fast! It was extremely creative (we have very talented children). She baked it in the oven and then glued it on the back of the carrot. At about that same time we happened to run into our next door neighbor, Rod Farrington, who, unbeknownst to us, was a Pinewood Derby expert. Even more coincidentally, his brother Mark actually created some years ago a Pinewood Derby instructional video that was commercially available for sale!

Well, Rod's eyes lit up when he saw our carrot. He thought it was great and wanted to help. But all we had left to do were the most important parts - the weighting and the wheels.

Rod gave us lots of advice and we put together a final version that was real nice looking and perfectly weighted - but didn't roll straight! We then went down to his brother Mark's shop (he lives only a couple of miles away) and added Mark's expertise to the mix. The long and short of all of this is that we started over again! We got a new block and Hans once again did all the cutting and painting but this time we cut out better axles for the wheels, making the racer roll straight. By the time we were done with version two, it was a lean, mean racing carrot machine!

Last night was the race.

You could cut the tension with a knife. (not really)

The boys were ready for blood! (just kidding)

All the other dads were worse than Little League dads. (not so much)

The Carrot took second in its first two heats. Hans was pleased, but the competitive bug had overtaken him!

We added some strategic graphite to the wheels and a little to the bottom of the body so it would glide without resistance when it rode atop the racetrack's wooden guides.

He then promptly won every other heat for the rest of the night!

Race after race, each boy complained when they were put in the same heat as the now nefarious carrot. Even some dads began to question the tactics of this virgin Pinewood Derby dad.

But everything we did was legal and by the book!

Finally, after the cumulative times had all been calculated, Hans took FIRST PLACE!

Needless to say, Hans was very happy. Ellie was almost as thrilled, since her rabbit strode the crest of the winner. In fact we all shared in the victory and the fun.

There was a wonderful spirit there and some good natured teasing with the other dads.

It was GREAT!

Get ready NASCAR!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Utah Legislature and the Aftermath

The 2009 General Session of the Utah Legislature ended last March 12. It was one of the most successful sessions personally I have ever been a part of. We at the Salt Lake Chamber were successful in getting almost everything passed we wanted, most of which was focused on getting construction jobs restored through increased highway and building construction funding, an incentive to get people to buy new homes, and restoring funding to two great projects, USTAR and the World Trade Center Utah. We were also successful at amending some troublesome bills regarding guns in the workplace, excessive damage rewards for trial lawyers, and slowing down the so-called "Card Check" initiative.

Overall, the Utah Legislature did a great job. First and foremost, it balanced Utah's budget. The Utah Constitution requires the state to balance, so the Legislature and the Governor can NOT deficit spend, unlike our friends at the federal level (who simply print more money when it suits them). In order to accomplish this, the Utah Legislature reduced anticipated state agency budgets by an average of 8% WITHOUT dipping into its savings account (known as the "Rainy Day Fund"). It also did so without raising any taxes, although it did raise the motor vehicle registration fee by $20 per vehicle. Through all of this, it restored key construction projects and the 16,000 plus jobs that go with them, it passed reasonable liquor law reform (including eliminating private clubs, which have always been stupid, in my view), and it did NOT pass more stupid immigration laws. All in all, I was very proud to be part of that process.

At the same time I was able to land a brand new client, renew another one, and place myself in a good position to pick up two or three more in the next few months.

The day after the session ended Trish and I attended Carl Paulsen's birthday party at his and Carol Jean's home. We had a nice dinner, great conversation, and Stewart paid a very moving tribute to his Dad. It was great to see all of them. They are such a wonderful family. I am proud and honored to be part of them.

The next morning Trish and I went to Las Vegas where we stayed in our Westgate timeshare. On the way down we spent the night at the home of my cousins Kenneth and Becky Gull in St. George. We are not, of course, gamblers, so one could ask why did we go to Las Vegas? Well, it was cheap. It was also warm (70 degrees every day we were there). And we got to sit by a pool each day.

For Family Home Evening :) we saw the show "Love" with Cirque du Soleil and featuring Beatles music. We loved it! What a great soundtrack. And those acrobats of Cirque are simply amazing! The next day we toured the new Westgate Towers on the Strip and upgraded our timeshare, buying more space and shifting from Park City to Orlando. Then they gave us a ride back to our resort in a stretch limo (a first for both of us).

The best part, though, was getting away to spend quality time together. It was a great getaway!

Draper Temple - Dedicated

The Draper Temple was dedicated in a series of 12 dedication sessions over three days - March 20, 21, and 22. After the months of open house activities and service opportunities, it is nice to finally see "our" temple opened. Trish served the morning of the first day of dedication sessions, March 20. She was privileged to serve as an usher right outside the Celestial Room. She got to meet President Monson and President Eyring.
We then attended the dedication session on Sunday morning at 9 am. We got to watch it from the marriage waiting room on TV screens. We were privileged to sit next to our bishop, Ted Hill, and his wife Becky. Later that afternoon we took the children to a dedication session that was broadcast to our Stake Center. One of the highlights of the day was Trish and Ellie (and to a lesser extent, Peter) manually personalizing all of our white handkerchiefs with embroidering.
For both of us and our children, this has been a wonderful opportunity to serve, to get to now so many more of our neighbors, and to re-dedicate ourselves to the House of the Lord. Trish and I have already scheduled a time to visit in two weeks.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Draper Temple

We have been very involved in the Draper Temple Open House. Trish and Robin attended an early "VIP" open house reception on January 13, where the First Counselor in Robin's former Stake Presidency acted as a personal tour guide inside the temple. Our stake was also asked to provide volunteers on January 19, February 17, and March 20, the opening day of the dedication. Robin has served three volunteer shifts so far - two as a member missionary host and one as part of a security team, watching the temple from 10 pm to 2 am. Trish has served one member missionary shift with Robin and will serve again as an usher on March 20. We took the kids through on January 23 and Trish took a non-member friend through last Thursday.

It is a beautiful temple. In two of the rooms there are original wall murals that are absolutely gorgeous. The baptismal font is spectacular. The wedding prep and waiting rooms are very nice and can accommodate a large number of weddings. But otherwise this temple is very small. It will serve a smaller but more focused population. It will require more volunteers and fewer paid staff to clean and repair. Sessions will be by appointment only. It is clear that Draper and Sandy residents will be given a keen sense of ownership of this temple.

We forget here along the Wasatch Front how blessed we are with these big temples that are the workhorses for the entire Church. We are looking forward to a new and more intimate relationship with this new temple.

"Everything Happens When You Turn 12!"

Ellie, our 11-year-old who will be 12 on May 7, was so excited yesterday at Church when she discovered that she would be eligible to participate in the upcoming Draper Temple Celebration for the youth in the new Draper Temple District. The event will be held in the Conference Center on May 29 and 30. Rehearsals begin March 18 at Mutual and will continue each Wednesday until the performance. Because she will officially join Young Women in the middle of preparations for the celebration, she has been asked to start coming to Mutual on March 18. She loves to dance and sing and so when she found out she was going to start Mutual a bit early, she exclaimed "Everything happens when you turn 12!"

There are 19,000 youth in the temple district. Each stake will have 5-10 minutes on stage. That's it. Even so, it will be a wonderful experience for our youth.

We attended the First Birthday party for Keaton Riggs yesterday at Micah and Amanda's. It was really fun. Keaton was head first into the cake. What a cute little guy! They have done a wonderful job with their home. The basement is a great family room for all occasions. Robin arrived late to the party, having attended the annual meeting of his High Priests Quorum. The subject of the meeting was temple work, very timely, given that we are all so involved in the dedication coming up on March 20-22. At the meeting, Bishop Hill told him that he was where he needed to be - in a place where he can continue to strengthen his spiritual armor on behalf of his family. It was a very insightful comment.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ruby and Annie at Two

Our girls have been two years old for over a month now. And they sure have grown!

Both are saying a lot of fun things (although Annie is much more verbose and insists on practicing her vocabulary 24/7). They can say their colors, identify furniture, family members, animals, food items, and parts of the body. The other day while in the shower together, Annie pointed to Trish's behind and said "Coot boonie!" She has also a pronounced lisp. She refers to Robin's reading glasses as "Daddy'ths glathethes." On the way home from Ikea tonight, Annie spotted the new Draper Temple all lit up and excitedly and repeatedly said, "Temple, temple, temple!" Trish decided to turn it into a Family Night activity and drove them right to the Temple for a closer look.

They love to "read" books with us and go for walks. They follow Mommy and Daddy around like little ducklings. All of the young women in the ward love them and we never lack for babysitters at Sacrament Meeting.

Their enthusiasm for life is infectious. Catch it!

Ready to Rumble

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Utah Legislature – 2009 Edition

I have been swamped since the 2009 General Session of the Utah Legislature began on January 26. It has been one of the busiest sessions in my career. Here’s why:

  • The Salt Lake Chamber has five major public policy initiatives (transportation, economic stimulus, energy resources, immigration, education), all of which will take a lot of political will and resources to pass

  • I am working on three other projects at the same time for various other clients

  • I am monitoring over 200 pieces of legislation for the Chamber and other clients
    I am trying to land as many new clients as I can while the legislature is convened

  • Life in a family of six children does not simply shut off because I am busy at work.

That being said, the best part of all this is being able to go home each night to two little girls who run into my arms when I first walk in the door, to the dulcet strains of “I’m So Glad When Daddy Comes Home.” My love for my four older children also grows each day. I always look forward to my time with them.

And then there is the love of my life, Trish. Nothing makes me happier or gives me more joy than being with her, learning with her, growing with her. The Lord has indeed blessed me.

The Panic of 2008-09

Since the first hint of “bailout” legislation back in October until the recently passed federal “stimulus” package, we have all heard about the urgency of it all. We were told back in October, for example, that if specific authorization for billions of dollars of bailout money were not immediately approved, we would be on the brink of comprehensive financial ruin as a nation.

Well, none of that happened.

We are still here. Most of us till make house payments on time, most of us have not lost our jobs nor had our pay reduced. Most of us still go out to dinner from time to time and put a little away each month in savings. Except for certain hard-hit industries like housing and construction (which, admittedly, are huge sectors, the depression of which really caused most of the economic trouble we are in collectively), we are, as a people, still doing fairly well.

I have concluded that most of what ails us is the way in which our economic status is communicated to us by the media. Most of what we hear is bad news, even though most of it never touches us personally. If none of us had ever read a newspaper or watched a TV news show, or read about the economy online, we would never have known that there even existed an economic downturn. The bottom line is that most of the negative economic experience we have is almost psychosomatic.

They used to call recessions “panics.” I think that is an apt name for them even today.

President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

Back on January 20 our staff at the Salt Lake Chamber gathered in our executive board room to watch and listen to the inaugural speech of our new President, Barack Obama. As a conservative who was not supportive of Obama nor terribly impressed with his policy pronouncements, I was nonetheless impressed with his speech and gratified to see him refer to the many time honored characteristics of our nation, things such as patriotism, hard work, and self-reliance. Since then, nearly every night, Trish and I have prayed for him to be successful - not necessarily in a public policy way, but in a way that will enable him to receive the guidance he needs to lead this nation down the correct path. Our prayers are and will continue to be with him as he strives to lead us through very rough economic waters.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Utah Utes Beat 'Bama in Sugar Bowl

Last Friday the University of Utah Utes defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 31-17 in the 2009 Sugar Bowl to wrap up an undefeated season for the second time in four years. At 13-0, the Utes are the only undefeated college team in the country and, in my opinion, deserve to be ranked No. 1 and declared the national champion. But, due to the BCS, this won't happen. Nevertheless, the Utes pulled off a magnificent win, capping off a great year for football fans here in Utah. As a long-time Ute fan, former Crimson Club Board member, and current season ticket holder, I could not be more proud.

That being said, there is one other aspect of this Ute football team that I am even more proud of. Forty-five of the football players are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The majority of those are returned missionaries. There is a poise and spiritual groundedness that sets this team apart from a any other I have ever followed. Also, the head coach, Kyle Whittingham, and many of his assistants, are active LDS. These men are great examples to these players. They are to be commended for not just the success on the field, but the success that will come to every one of these young men for having played for a program that is directed by such solid individuals. My congratulations to all of them.

Update: I have been reading a lot of blogs and letters to the editor and other sources about the arguments for Utah being ranked #1 and declared the national champions. But here is the most entertaining article, from Rick Reilly at ESPN:

Some gifts people give are pointless: Styling mousse to Dick Vitale. An all-you-can-eat card to Kate Moss. The BCS Championship given to Oklahoma or Florida.
It means nothing because the BCS has no credibility. Florida? Oklahoma? Who cares? Utah is the national champion.
The End. Roll credits.
Argue with this, please. I beg you. Find me anybody else that went undefeated. Thirteen-and-zero. Beat four ranked teams. Went to the Deep South and seal-clubbed Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The same Alabama that was ranked No. 1 for five weeks. The same Alabama that went undefeated in the regular season. The same Alabama that Florida beat in order to get INTO the BCS Championship game in the first place.
Yeah, that's how it is now in the shameful, money-grubbing world of college football. If you're Florida and you beat Alabama, you get a seat in the title game. If you're Utah, you get a seat on your sofa.
Hey, remind me: What do they give out for one of those BCS things anyway? It's been so long since I cared. Something from Sears? This is the sixth year in the past 10 that the title has been in dispute under this cash-grab, fan-dis, monopoly that the BCS has created. Which is why the title game just doesn't matter anymore. It's like being named Miss Ogallala. Or Best Amish Electrician.
Just take a look at the teams that think they're worthy of being called national champs:
USC? Great year. Wonderful. Let's all go to SkyBar and celebrate. But it lost to Oregon State, a team Utah beat.
Texas? You think beating Ohio State by a nubby three points gets you the title? The Big Ten was 1-6 in bowl games! That's like pinning David Spade!
Florida and Oklahoma? They lost. Utah never did.
So that's it. Utah is the national champion. The Utes should probably have two now, actually. They went undefeated in 2004, too, and their coach still thinks they were the best team in the land. Smart fella named Urban Meyer. Coaches Florida now.
By the way, we're calling our title the "national" championship because it actually includes the whole nation­—all 119 Division I schools—unlike the BCS, which includes 66. Yeah, the BCS somehow eliminated the middleman—the NCAA. The conferences these schools play in take their dump trucks full of cash straight from the TV networks and fairness can go suck a lemon.
The Utes won't get the trophy they really deserve, so we gave them one of our own design.
Do me a favor. Call Ohio State president Gordon Gee and ask him why he won't support a playoff. He's one of the most powerful presidents in the NCAA. He could get it done. If he says anything other than, "We don't want to share the loot" then you know he's lying his bow tie off.
"This is not how we normally do things in America," says Utah president Michael Young. "In America, quality usually wins, not conspiracy. And there's a reason people usually enter into a conspiracy. It's money. You make money doing it. And those that are in on the conspiracy want to stay in and keep everybody else out."
Sure, BCS blowhards will hand you schlock about how the college football season is like a playoff, how it's an elimination tournament every week. Really? Well, how come Florida and Oklahoma weren't eliminated with their losses? Utah ran the table, beat everybody set in front of them, including Ala-damn-bama in no less than the Sugar Bowl, and gets the bagel.
Oh, by the way? It was Utah's eighth straight bowl win, the nation's longest streak. Among the losers during that run? Let's see USC, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and now the legendary Houndstooth Hats.
"What else do we have to prove?" asks Utah's magical quarterback, Brian Johnson. Good question. He and the Utes essentially whipped Alabama at home. Handed Nick Saban a garlic necklace to wear the entire off-season. Stepped on his team's neck 21-0 in the first three possessions and never looked back. Let's see. Who was it that was losing to Alabama until nearly six minutes into the fourth quarter? Oh, yeah. Florida.
What, you want the Utes to win a spelling bee? Make a prize-winning souffle? Knock up Angelina Jolie? What?
It just slays me. It really does.
Call Myles Brand, president of the asleep-at-the-wheel NCAA, and ask him if he and his greedy presidents are going to stand in defiance of president-elect Barack Obama, who wants a playoff and wants it yesterday.
Ask Brand what he's going to do if Obama starts asking the Justice Department to look into anti-trust hearings against the BCS. The Utah Attorney General has already launched an investigation into that very thing. Or ask him what he'll do if Obama asks the Department of Education to consider withholding federal funds from these schools that have entered into this secret club called the BCS. You don't think playing in the title game means millions in general-fund donations for a school? That's as unfair as anything Title IX fought against.
Until all these people do the right thing, I'll be celebrating with the true national champions—the undefeated, untied Utah Utes. (Our new slogan: Utahk about a team!)
Lemonades for everybody!