David Rodeback's Blog

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Saturday, July 18, 2009
On Parade (or at Least AT the Parade)

Results of this year's Steel Days Parade Political Straw Poll. My own Parade Awards, featuring everything from a world-class high school marching band (you know which one) to fake eyeballs.

After nearly five years and more than 670 posts -- but who's counting? -- blogging gets to be a habit.

I watched the whole Steel Days Parade in American Fork this morning, which ran from about 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. where I was sitting (near the beginning). In the process I ran up a tab at the neighborhood boys' lemonade stand (where everybody knew my name), coached a gentle four year old in the finer points of getting to some of the thrown candy before other children scoop it all up, and made notes for this blog post on my iPod Touch.

I know, I know. I could have Twittered live, or something like that, but I still don't see why I would want to Twitter. "Not that there's anything wrong with that."


The Steel Days Parade Political Straw Poll: I'm always interested to observe the cheers, jeers, and stony silence showered upon the mayor and members of the city council as they pass by in the parade. Last year there were jeers for the tax-raisers (one mayor, three city councilors) and cheers for the two who voted against the tax increase (Councilman Rick Storrs and MFCC). Apparently, people notice these things. In some past years I've noted that parade-goers applauded and waved for everything and everyone before and after the mayor, but greeted him with stony silence. This year the results of my unscientific poll are . . .

Indeterminate. In past years the elected officials have been scattered through the parade, but this year the four who were in the parade were all bunched together, so it was difficult to tell which ones inspired which responses. I did hear a few cheers specifically for Councilman Storrs and MFCC by name, and I noticed that folks at least waved to Mayor Thompson. The Police and Fire Departments were more popular than their elected bosses, in any case.


My own parade awards, that is.

The Coolest Thing on a Hot Day: The American Fork High School Marching Band, immediately preceded by Gwen Richan Adams, their first drum major(ette), who marched more than 70 years ago! Most high school marching bands play Sousa for a challenge, I think; this one probably plays him to rest up for their other music.

The Weirdest Bait-and-Switch: A female clown was showing people her "iPod": a slightly enlarged, simulated pea pod with two (presumably fake) eyeballs in it. On the general subject of clowns, one child near me wondered why they make people ugly and then put them in parades.

The Best University Motto that Could Be BYU's: Utah Valley University's, Engage!

The Best Metaphor for ObamaCare: The girl walking along the route with a pizza asking, "Anybody want a pizza?"

"Sure," I said.

"Really?" she asked in apparent disbelief.

"Only if it's free." I said.

"It's $5.30."

"No thanks," I said. What I didn't say was, "I need to know the real price up front. It affects my decision."

The Deceptively Simple Physics but I Could Still Never Do It Award: The girl doing gymnastics on a high bar on a moving trailer. Runner-up: Cosmo dancing atop a van. It was a moving van, but not a moving van, if you know what I mean. The cat can dance.

The Best Musical Group that Isn't the American Fork High School Marching Band: The Danny Newell All-Star Band. Runners-up: The Payson High School Pipeband (bagpipes!) and the Lone Peak High School Marching Band (relatively small but with a good sound). Honorable mention goes to the barbershop group whose name I forgot to note, even though the guy with the microphone said that rehearsals are a great way to escape one's wife. (Why would one want to do that?)

David's Worst Parade Idea of the Year and The Best Metaphor for Economic Stimulus (dual award): Grabbing the mosquito repellent instead of the sunscreen, while rushing out the door. On the other hand, I remained entirely unbitten for the duration of the parade. On yet another hand, I would have been unbitten without the repellent, like everyone else there, and the fact remains that, seeing the sun and the nearly cloudless sky, and acting with far too much haste, I applied the wrong remedy.

The Entry Which Should Have Been Right Behind the Horses: The one advertising topsoil and fertilizer. 

The Best Thing I Haven't Seen in Our Parade Before: Targeted handouts. One lady asked if we had pets, and only gave us her handout if we did. Several handouts were targeted to women only. What I don't know is, was this a sign of the recession (let's buy fewer copies) or an effort to go green (let's save the trees, reduce the litter)? It works either way. Runner-up: The street sweeping truck at the end of the parade, sweeping the street and turning tight circles and figure-eights.

The Most Persistent Lingering Question from Past Parades: If the boys are the Cavemen, shouldn't the girls be the Cavewomen, not the Cavettes? Runners-up: Why does almost every parade entry obey the rule that candy and such can only be thrown by walkers, not from moving vehicles -- almost every parade entry, that is, except some City officials, whose minions hurl the candy directly from the vehicles? And isn't our preoccupation with royalty vaguely un-American? (That said, at least our royalty is -- are, if you're British -- pretty.)

The Worst Blogger Pun after Mentioning Beauty Queens: Almost everyone in the parade this year looked really hot.

The Best Reason to Attend Tonight's American Fork Idol Finals at Art Dye Park: Sam Beeson is the emcee. The Grammar Punk is a class act. (This has been a public service message unrelated to the parade. Did you notice?)

Finally, I am pleased to announce that you, gentle reader, have finished in a tie for the Best Blog Reader of the Day Award. Take the rest of the day off work, and treat yourself to an extra popsicle.

Heidi Rodeback comments (7/18/09):

The defining moment for me was when a parade announcer said, "Let's give it up for the Mayor and City Council." The crowd was unmoved. So the announcer tried again. "Come on, guys. Let's give 'em a hand." Much better. Now they could clap. Does anybody really think people get excited about giving it up for the Mayor and City Council?

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