Monday, August 31, 2015

How to Retain a Church Member Might be How to Reform a Convict

   If prison reformers were to look for advice on how to reform convicts, what might they find? What if prisons were to turn to other institutions to see what they are doing?
   I picked up one answer in Sunday School this week. The church I belong to, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has set three guideposts for retaining new members: (1) Give them a friend, (2) Give them a calling (an assignment), and (3) Provide them with the nourishing word of the Lord.
   A similar formula for working with prisoners would revolutionize the correction of our criminals.
  One, let's give them a friend. Everyone -- and I mean everyone --  needs a friend.  Everyone benefits when there is someone who loves them, and is there for them, someone who cares, and listens and advises. Where in all our prison system is this found? It might, perhaps, be there some. You might point to the counselors, to the church workers who come in each week, or even to friendly guards.
   But, I don't know that there is a prison system that designates a friend for every inmate, that assigns someone to be available on a daily basis, same a real friend is. I think there should be.
   Two, give them something to do. Let them develop a hobby. Give them a good and worthy pastime.
   Three, nurture them with teaching, and edifying, and direction. Teach them all the basics mothers teach, things like, if you can't say something nice, don't say any thing at all. Teach them to be the most civil people on earth. Wouldn't that be neat, if a prison could achieve this, if a prison turned out people who were more courteous and well-mannered than average people are? We may not achieve quite that much, but if we were to pursue such a goal, it might make a difference.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Bullying Laws can be Good, but Why Must Bureaucracy Come with Them?

   I'm a little surprised at the posts I see on Facebook saying that instead of preaching against bullying, we ought to teach our kids to man up and fight the bullies. I replied to one of the posts, saying:
   "Maybe the answer is not an either or. Teaching kids to stand up for themselves can be a good thing. But, it is not wrong to teach kids not to pick on each other. I'm a little surprised at how people oppose teaching children not to bully each other. What am I missing? What is wrong with teaching this?"
  I then took a moment to study a little on what anti-bullying laws actually call for. Every state has one. I did not like a law I found in Utah. It requires local education agencies to develop plans of action against bullying. While having a plan of action against bullying can be good, it seems this law probably creates a burdensome bureaucracy, as the education agency has to spend time coming up with a program, and has to report on it and fill out so much paperwork.
   Why make it so difficult?
   Either just make the rules yourself, spelling out what is right and wrong and what the punishments are, or, just give the school agency authority to make the rules without either requiring that it make the rules if it doesn't want to, or requiring any paperwork showing it is compliant.

Give Trump some Credit in the Event with Jorge Ramos

    So, Donald Trump has been castigated for kicking journalist Jorge Ramos out of a press conference. Well, I'd like to thank him for letting Ramos back in. And, not only did he let Ramos back in, he allowed him to debate with him for an extended period of time. How often does that happen at a press conference, to that extent? Usually, it is ask your question, and maybe have a little follow-up, but on to the next question from the next journalist.
   And, I'd like to thank both of them for the respectful, professional tones in their voices as Ramos came back in and they started their discussion. I missed listening to some of their back-and-forth, but would not be surprised if they maintained respectful tones of voice for the entire exchange.
   I disagree with Trump on immigration. I disagree with a lot of what he said in the press conference. but, I laud him for taking the questions. I laud him for letting Ramos back in the room. Judging the whole of the event, and not just the start, says you have got to give Trump some credit.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Transport Yourself to Any Place in the Universe at this Theme Park

   There's a whole new type of theme park to be rolled out. And, just like when roller coasters were introduced and became all the rage, this will be a game-changer. And, it'll happen as soon as someone stops overlooking modern technology and chooses to apply it.
   I'd sure love Salt Lake City to be the place to introduces such a park, and wish I could excite one of our nice, wealthy people to build it.
   The new park will take on all the advances in robotics we've enjoyed these past few decades. We are hearing a lot about self-driving cars, and drones are almost passe by now, but I haven't yet heard of an amusement park packed with robotic people and creatures. Why not a Jurassic Park?  Why not a park where visitors interact with and take rides on the necks of life-sized robotic dinosaurs?
   Or, you could have Peter Pan, Paul Bunyan, Rumpelstiltskin, and all the characters from storyland. If the characters could be made light enough, you could have a realistic-looking Superman flying through the air, courtesy of unnoticeable nylon string (or some such transparent or unnoticeable string.) Spiderman could defy the law of gravity as he bounded up the side of a building in a manner no human actor could hope to duplicate.
  Computerized interaction? All the robotic characters would be programmed to respond to the tourists, talking with them, dancing with them, or whatever.
   And, how about a section of the park being filled with what we might call interactive tunnels? One such tunnel could be a greeting tunnel, where the visitor enters to be greeted by an image on the wall of a dog, running alongside him, programmed to run at the same pace as the tourist. The dog says, "Welcome to Salt Lake City," in as much of a bark-sounding voice as can be created. Then, when the visitor says, "Cat," the image of the dog flips to that of a cat, and, in a voice slurred to sound like the meowing of a cat, the "Welcome to Salt Lake City" is echoed. If the visitor yells, "Duck, bear, lion," not waiting for each animal to respond by itself, all three appear, and the tourist is greeted with a chorus of welcomes.
   In another interactive tunnel, the walls are programmed with exploding images that change as the visitor touches the wall. If the visitor scratches or drags his hand along the wall, it responds with  with an image tearing along with his hand.
   In another tunnel, the visitor transports himself at the command of his voice to any place on earth or in heaven. He says, "New York," and the walls of the tunnel make it appear he is in New York, complete with people talking back and forth with him as they walk on the street with him. The visitor is surrounded on every side by the city, panels ahead retracting into the walls as he approaches, replaced by panels sliding out further ahead with the very same imagery. There is all the splendid-ness and grandness of a well-produced movie, except this screen is one that not only envelopes the visitor, but interacts with him,
   3D without the glasses. And, you are in the movie instead of just watching it.
   Transport yourself to Kathmandu, to an African jungle, or to the far reaches of the universe, all at the command of your voice. Samantha on Bewitched couldn't do you better.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Salt Lake City: Where Wonderful Stories are Brought to Life.

   The next generation of amusement parks might include a Jurassic Park. Scientific advances certainly make it possible to have life-sized robotic dinosaurs roaming through a park, interacting with visitors and giving them rides.
   What once was a dream, often becomes reality. What is thought of in books and movies, inspires things that become real.
    Why not a park with all kinds of life-like robots? Peter Pan, Jack in the Beanstalk, Puff the Magic Dragon, etc.
   Salt Lake City: Where wonderful stories are brought to life.
   But, if Salt Lake is to do this, it had better hurry. I would guess if an amusement park like this doesn't already exist, it will very shortly. The technology exists.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

If Walmart is Correct in Why it is Dropping Assault Guns, Bless America

   What of this: Walmart -- the largest seller of guns and ammunition in America -- is pulling assault rifles off its shelves. . . .  And, it says it is doing so because they just aren't good sellers.
   How I want to believe them.
   How I want to believe Americans don't need gun control. Rather, they can see on their own that they don't need weapons that can take out crowds. Rifles to hunt, yes. Rifles to protect, yes. But, not rifles to kill en masse.
   Could it be that sales are down? I believe Walmart simply said the weapons just aren't selling. Maybe they haven't sold well all along, and Walmart simply decided, Well, if they don't sell, why are even offering them? But, if sales are down, that, too, would be neat. It would be an indication Americans don't even want to be associated with the weapons that are being used in so many mass murders.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dinosaur Displays: Is there a Better Place to See them than Utah?

   I wonder if Utah markets its dinosaur sites as a package. I'm thinking, make them better, make improvements, make them even more tourist-worthy, and advertise them together to the dinosaur enthusiasts. Offer bus tours that visit a number of the sites.
   For Utah might offer as much as anyplace in the world, when it comes to dinosaur sites.
   Look at what there is in this state:
   Carnegie Quarry in Dinosaur National Monument has been called, "one of the best displays of natural history on the planet" ( There, in the world-famous fossil wall, visitors can view the bones of almost 1,500 dinosaurs. Scattered throughout the 200,000-acre monument are at least a thousand other dinosaur remains. Tourists find themselves at a place where excavation and research are ongoing. Part of the monument is in Utah and part in Colorado, and I do not know which site of the state line has Carnegie Quarry.
   The Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point offers what is among the largest displays in the world of mounted dinosaurs, 
   Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry maybe 32 miles south of Price is home to the world's densest concentration of Jurassic-era dinosaur bones.
   There are more than 30 dinosaur skeletons and 14 horned dinosaur skulls at the Natural History Museum of Utah. The museum also boasts the world's only display of 14 horned dinosaur skulls.
   There are bones from more than 10 creatures from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods at the George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park in Ogden.
   There are displays such as a dinosaur egg with an x-ray of an embryo inside it at the BYU Earth Science Museum. The museum offers one of the largest, as well as most-valuable, Jurassic displays in the world. About 25,000 visitors pour into the museum each year.
   There are more than 3,500 dinosaur tracks at St. George Dinosaur Discovery at Johnson Farm. There's also a dinosaur "butt impression," which is so uncommon that there are only 5 in the world. The St. George site has been called, "the most important in the world for researchers working on early Jurassic footprints.
    There have been enough bones found at the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument that some are suggesting if is, "the next frontier for dinosaur hunters." It has also been called the "last great, largely unexplored dinosaur boneyard in the 48 states. No tourist exhibit exists yet, but it would seem one should be build, as the area warrants that.
   And, there are other spots. The Dinosaur Museum in Blanding certainly should not be left out. Perhaps it could be upgraded so it boasts of having the world's best presentation on feathered dinosaurs. For all I know, though, it could already make that claim.
   And, there is the Museum of Moab and Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail near Moab, the Prehistory Museum in Price, and the Utah Field House of Natural History in Vernal. And, there might be other sites I am unaware of. 
  If you want to see dinosaur remains, Utah is your place. Could the state bill itself as the best place in in the world to see dinosaur displays and learn about dinosaurs? I don't know, but I'd guess that with a few upgrades, we could.
   And, we should. We should upgrade and polish every site to be tourist-worthy, and maybe create a few more sites. Maybe turn one or two of them into state parks, to bring in the funding necessary for the upgrades. Package some or all of them together in a tour, and bill it as the world's preeminent dinosaur tour, carrying the tourist from site to site throughout the state. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Would that Lobbyists Were not Treated Better than Citizens

   It may seem a little disconcerting that a state board voted Monday to remove the American Legion from is small quarters in the capitol in order to expand a luxurious lounge for lobbyists.
   To me, it is disconcerting that the lobbyists have a lounge, at all. I would that all citizens petitioning the government were treated equal. I do not like it that lobbyists are granted this and treated with greater favor than the general public.

Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry, Dinosaur National Monument will Reap Benefits

   This sounds wonderful. Utah Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz are proposing designating the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry as a national monument and upgrading Dinosaur National Monument to national park status.
   Interestingly, most of us are not even aware of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Emery County, despite the significance of its having the world's densest concentration of Jurassic-aged dinosaur bones. Giving it national park or monument status will provide exposure. Likewise, upgrading Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal to park status will bring more attention to it.
   These are ways of developing our tourism resources and preserving our natural treasures. Kudos to Reps. Bishop and Chaffetz.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

God of All My Day

A God I have at midnight
  A God I have at noon
For my God is all the time
  Light of day or light of moon

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Seeking to be a Peacemaker in National Politics

   If you would foster good feelings between those of different opinions, host the debate. If you want  the issues to be discussed fairly and evenly, because you feel they are important, then host the discussion. The man who sets the table, sets the rules. So, if you seek more decorum in public discussion, be the one who offers the debaters a place at the table.
   Blessed are the peacemakers. . . . And, there certainly is room for peacemaking in the world of politics.
   Every time a controversial issue arises, round up the highest authorities willing to come and comment, and let them discuss the matter. If that means senators and mayors, wonderful. But, if it means lesser players, go with it.
   Of course, you will have to be a large enough entity that an invitation from you matters. In Utah -- if Utah were to seek to be such a player in national affairs -- one possible host would be the Deseret News. Since getting the story in the media would be important (for a stage without an audience means nothing), that would be one member of the media already carrying it.
   The Deseret News has set rules for online comments for some time now. Perhaps the same rules could be applied to those who come to comment on national issues. By encouraging thoughtful, gentlemanly (and gentlewomanly) comment, the forum could help steer the country from the the divisive and uncivil discussions that are all too common these days.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Make this the Emmys for Scientific Research

  All those scientific papers that come out in the course of a year's time, why not host a large conference on them? Discuss them. Debate them. Get leading figures on each topic in the same room to have a civil pondering of what the studies mean.
  And, at the same confab, hold an awards banquet, with the best study of the year, and the best studies of the year in each of the categories. Kind of an Emmys for scientific study. And, give awards not just for papers, but for other research being done around the country.
   Now, why not do this in Salt Lake City?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Alcohol's Threats Include Cancer

   I suppose this is news to me: Alcohol contains carcinogens, or at least one. That's been known for years, I read.
   A new report is confirming the link of  alcohol to breast cancer, but the connection to cancers is not new. It has been known for a long time that liquor causes esophageal cancer. Alcohol has been tied to other cancers, as well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Miller Motorsports Park: A Piece of the Puzzle

   Miller Motorsports Park: One of the best road courses in all the world.
   So I read in today's paper. And, for those of us who would like to use the race venue to attract tourists to Utah, there is other good news in the sale of the motor sports park to Mitime Investment and Development Group, a Chinese interest.
   Now, part of the story strikes me a little strange.  The Chinese owners want to use the park to train people for a racing industry just emerging in China. It would seem training like that could be done right there. Then, again, maybe they want to train in America to learn from the people who know racing best.
   At any rate, bringing people from around the world to Salt Lake City is what I have been calling for in my blogs for a while, now, so this fits in. They plan to bring in enough mentors that they expect to build a hotel-like residence to accommodate them.
   Other good news from the story: None of the 90 employees are expected to be laid off.
   The park is to be operated at its current level or higher. I take that to mean that in addition to being a training facility for the Chinese, none of the current offering of races will be lost. They say they want to build on what is there, which means making it even better.
   If you have one of the best race courses in the world, if you have what the buyers call, "the friendliest race track in North America," that is something that can be built on. You do have something to work with.
   Seems to me, if it is tucked away in Tooele, while you might want to do a better job of getting race fans from across the Wasatch Front over there, you might also want to develop your attendance by billing it as one of the world's best courses and bringing in tourists. Upgrade the race offerings, advertise regionally and beyond, and bring in the fans.
   Now, you might not get too many tourist based just on coming to see the race course, alone. But, if you have other tourist attractions, and this was just one of the many, the pitch will work.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Miller Motorsports Park Sold to a Chinese Firm?

   Do I like it that Miller Motorsports Park is to be sold to a Chinese company? Horrors, is my first reaction. Surely they should have selected an American buyer.
   But, it is good that people of all nations should live together, and work to make life better for each other. Perhaps having such bonds with other countries helps create a brotherhood of man between us. I consider on this, as I go to bed. I may settle on this opinion as I drift off to sleep.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Call it the House of Discussion

   Salt Lake City, do a new thing that has never been done. Create a center -- calling it the House of Discussion, perhaps -- where people come to study, discuss and exchange ideas on the world's issues.
   Abortion? There is a library with all the books on the topic, all of the videos and, when possible, spokespersons from the various organizations. In addition to studying, you can go a room with other vacationers to discuss the pros and cons of abortion.
   Same with evolution, you have a library, spokespersons and authorities, and a discussion group. Same for global warming, immigration, capital punishment, gun control, and so forth.
  Host debates. More, seek to host the debates. Seek to be bring the discussions to Salt Lake City. Whenever a public issue erupts, bring in the biggest names participating in the national discussion. Set rules of decorum, of conduct for the debates. Demand civility.
   Host symposiums where you invite leading authorities on the topics, not so much so they can debate, but rather that they, themselves, can study the issues, exchange thoughts and learn from each other.
   And, have symposiums where instead of hosting authorities, you invite the average Joe to sit on a panel and decide what should be done on a public issue. Call them citizens commissions. You can do the issues over and over again on each issue. Thus, the First Citizens Commission on Abortion, the Second Citizens Commission on Abortion, etc.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Lion and the Bear and the Tiger and Isaiah 11:6

   I can only wonder. I see a video of a lion and a tiger and a bear -- buddies they are -- displaying affection for each other.
   And, I think of the scripture, Isaiah 11:6. "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."
   And, I think of all the videos on Facebook, of cats and dogs affectionately playing with each other. I think of the videos that show animals being kind. I do not know if animals have always been this way, and whether this is not at all a fulfillment of Isaiah 11:6. The lion and tiger and bear bonded when they were young, orphans all, and became family. Maybe that is all that amounts to.
   But, I wonder. I wonder if animals are becoming kinder to each other. Either way, watch this video and you will be a little amazed at the affection the lion, tiger, and bear have for each other.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

War is Often Necessary, but it is Never Kind

   I read tonight on how Japan's military might was largely depleted and the nation was considering surrendering before the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An estimate 105,000 lives were lost without good cause, if this is true.
   If it is true.
   If our leaders knew this, knew that surrender was imminent, then Hiroshima-Nagasaki becomes one of history's great atrocities, one of its great war crimes. It becomes one of the most important things to be taught in our school classrooms. It is said, Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. We should know of what happened. If this is the way history did come down -- if Japan was about to surrender -- what happened should be considered one of the more important things we learn in our history classes, lest, otherwise, we repeat what appears to have been an enormous tragedy.
   If Japan was going to surrender anyway, the bombing was wrong.
   But, whether we see that bombing and war, in general, as necessary, we must surely lament the price. I think also on the tragedy of World War II, in whole. I marvel at how many lives were lost (more than 60 million). If the number killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was great, then ponder on all the blood it took that the total bill came to more than 60 million lives.
   I think also of the loss from traditional bombings, and of how great that was. I think of Dresden, Germany, where two or three days of bombing claimed maybe 25,000 lives. That is a lot. It is almost a quarter of the number who were killed by the only nuclear weapon ever used in a war.
   War is not kind. It is often necessary, but it is never kind.
(Blog was added to and edited on 9/21/15.)

Salt Lake City -- Always Something

   Sometimes, a tourist comes calling as quickly as given a call. Call him, invite him, and that's all it takes.
   Las Vegas invited the gamblers. Los Angeles invited amusement park goers. Even a small city, such as Branson, Missouri (population about 11,000) found it could draw crowds as easily as building an attraction and sending out invites. Branson splashed out a number of entertainment venues, including Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, and now attracts visitors from across the county.
    Two guys with the last name of Borglum carved the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt into the mountains of South Dakota and people have being rushing to see it ever since. In the same state, the Jackpine Gypsies motorcycle club held a rally in Sturgis in 1938, and it blossomed to become an event so successful that it stretches the capacity of the community to host it.
   It's a formula that works: Give the people something to see, and they will flock to your community. As the character played by Kevin Costner learned, Build it, and they will come.
   If Salt Lake City so desired, it could turn itself into a tourist city, more so than it already is. There are a lot of things we could build. To borrow on a slogan, we could build so many things that people would come here for the best of everything. There is a large, undeveloped corner of the city beckoning to host such dream development, a place where everything could be packed into a large tourist zone. Now, in all their zoning, I doubt any city does this -- master plans a sprawling tourist zone -- albeit they do have smaller amusement zonings.
   Listen to what we could do, and tell me it would take mile after square mile to accommodate it all. Now, before we get started, I want to suggest we steer clear of the entertainment many communities invite. No "adult" entertainment. Don't even have a liquor store in the entire zone, although granting liquor licenses to the hotels. Keeping the licenses to the hotels will allow tourists who need to drink to do it there, without it becoming a part of the entertainment offerings, themselves.
   So, here goes.
   Build an activities mall, complete with the finest facilities for wall climbing, yoga, skateboarding, target shooting, paint-balling, and most every other activity. Make the facilities so nice, that if you are a skateboarder, you will want to come to Salt Lake City so you can say you've done one of the world's best skateboarding sites. Same with each of the other activities.
  Hold national or international-level competitions in every one of the activities, thus attracting visitors on two levels, they coming both to participate, and to spectate.
   Built a place where the best high school and college choirs perform. Invite the best. After a time, it comes to be that if you want to be known as one of the best college singing groups in all the land, then you must be able to say you've played at High Note Central (or whatever it should come to be named) in Salt Lake City, just like it is a big deal for a performer to say they've played on Broadway. And, on the flip side, it comes to be known that if you want to catch such music live, you come to Salt Lake City.
   Cater to hobbyists of most every different type. Make Salt Lake City capital for each. For example, have national cooking competitions. Provide a cooking school that offers a one- or two-week course so it will fit into the schedule of a vacationer. Develop or bring in a world-famous cook to teach.
   Make Salt Lake the chess capital, a place where you can come to play grandmasters blindfolded, or participate in what is called a ladder, playing up the ladder against top competition from throughout the nation. Make the program so strong, chess enthusiasts will flow to Salt Lake City to be part of it simply because they are chess player and this is the place where you go when you are a chess player. Chess is just one idea, but if you get every chess enthusiast in the country thinking he or she needs to come here, you've got a fair number of visitors.
     Have a standing circus, not just an ordinary circus, but one of the best, so people will want to say they've seen Ferrado's Circus (or whatever we name it) in Salt Lake City.
     Build a destination-worthy museum or aquarium or arboretum or observatory or zoo or amusement park -- or all of the above. Or, provide shuttle services to the current zoo, aquarium, or amusement park. Run polished video teasers of the offerings at a visitors' center.
   Do a new thing that has never been done. Build a large building -- perhaps called the House of Discussion or perhaps called the Rocky Mountain Exchange -- where people come to study, discuss and exchange ideas on the world's issues. Abortion? There is a library with all the books on the topic, all of the videos and, when possible, spokespersons from the various organizations. In addition to studying, you can go a room with other vacationers to discuss the pros and cons of abortion.
   Same with evolution, you have a library, spokespersons and authorities, and a discussion group. Same for global warming, and immigration, and capital punishment, and gun control and so on.
   Birds already being a slight attraction, what about creating a world-class aviary and making those birds a big attraction? Rope off a portion of the tourist zone from being developed, so it is preserved as a bird sanctuary. Give it state park status. Tell the stories of the native birds and of other birds. Seek out stories of birds from history, such as when the seagulls saved the crops in the Salt Lake Valley and tell these stories in well-produced videos.
   Rejuvenate the Salt Flats. They remain one of the world's wonders. Market what you have. This and our wetlands are two things we already have that we should build on. Hold races more often, and market and advertise them better than has been done in the past. Why should not having the world's fastest vehicles in town be something not only to attract tourists, but something Utah residents should not be excited to watch?
   I don't know, is there anything special about running on the salt surface? Could we bill it as the world's fastest natural track, and invite runners to come set records for being the fastest on a natural or salt surface?
   Nearest to the airport, have a visitors' center offering stunning video footage from the national and state parks from across the state -- and from other tourist-worthy locations. Provide bus service to the various sites for those who didn't think of these parks before they came, but now don't want to miss them.
   Leading over to the visitor's center, have a welcoming tunnel, where visitors walk along an interactive wall with changing images on it. A dog runs alongside, barking in a dog-type voice that says, "Welcome to Salt Lake City." When the visitor yells, "Duck," the image changes to that of a duck, and the duck quacks the same, "Welcome to Salt Lake City." He yells, "Bear," and a bear appears, growling out, "Welcome to Utah, buster!"
  Say, "Mountains," and the mountains of Utah appear on the wall of the tunnel. Say, "Skiing," and footage of skiing appears. Say, "Polygamy," and a cut from "Sister Wives" comes up.
   Touch the image on the wall with your hand, and it implodes, seemingly being swallowed up into your hand. Touch it again, and it explodes into an image of steam rolling through a sky of sparkling stars.
   At the end of the tunnel, the imagery on the wall gives way to a transparent wall, and an actual person walks alongside you, welcoming you to Salt Lake City. Or, instead of that, perhaps have the tunnel open into a small room where a member of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir is there to sing a personal greeting. Or, have the choir member be the person at the end of the tunnel.
   Strengthen events at Miller Motorsports Park. Pass a portion of the Tour of Utah through the area. Have so many events and attractions that there is always something going on. Make your slogan, Salt Lake City -- Always Something.
   (This blog updated and corrected 8/17/15.)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Make the Best Activities Mall in the Nation Part of the Tourist Zone

   Weave in an activity mall in the tourist zone I suggest for the area around the Salt Lake City International Airport.
    Batting cages, paint-balling, wall climbing, bowling, ice skating, roller skating, skeet shooting -- most everything.
   And, for every activity, provide a national-level competition. Invite the best roller skaters, skateboarders, and bowlers to events. Make it so tourists are not only drawn as participants, but as spectators.
   If things go well enough, maybe even host a National Activities Olympics every two years, inviting each state to send a team for all the activities in the mall. Make the venues meet all the standards for hosting such high-level competition and provide enough seating in each for reasonable-sized crowds.
   Though activity malls exist in spots, this would probably give Salt Lake City the best one in the country, which, itself, could draw in tourists.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Citizens Packing Heat Against Criminals: Isn't this Vigilante Justice?

  Throw everyone a gun, then.
   I'm not so sure that is the answer to all the gun violence in America, but there is not a shortage of people who believe it is.
   Tell me, how is this not vigilante justice? Isn't the definition of vigilante, a person who belongs to a group of self-appointed citizens who undertake law enforcement on their own, often because they believe law enforcement agencies are inadequate.
   I suppose, even if we went with my suggestion, which is that we have more security guards, that, too, might be considered vigilante justice. Having security guards, though, does have one distinction: The guards are not self-appointed, but have to get hired to get the assignment.
   At any rate, I do favor our hiring more security guards, instead of encouraging everyone to buy and start packing heat. I see dangers in saturating the pubic with people carrying guns. The better approach is that of having someone appointed to pack the heat, and to protect the rest. Typically speaking, communities from the smallest on up hire a sheriff or police officer. As the town grows, they add more. As crime increases, they add more.
   It's called law enforcement, and it works.
   Having a person appointed as the designated crime fighter -- instead of tossing everyone a gun -- has been the more organized way of dealing with law breakers. It's a tradition I wish we'd stick to.
   This does not mean we restrict those who want to carry guns. It is their Second Amendment right. It just means we should be adding more guards as a way of addressing the problem.
(Note: The third to the last paragraph, and the last one, were added to the post 10/27/15 while I was editing this and adding a word that had been left out.)

Site Just Miles from the Airport has its Advantages

  Place the prison at about 7200 West near I-80? Not altogether a bad move. I would like to the prison to remain in Draper, but the site not overly far from the airport also has advantages.
   It remains reasonably close to a lot of volunteers, and to workers.
   It remains close to professional services and to the courts.
   It is probably as close to families of the prisons as is Point of the Mountain.
   It is not bordered by residential homes.
   It does not detract from current nearby commercial development.
   Yes, Point of the Mountain is the better site, but not by much, if we are talking what is good for the prison and the prisoners.

Create a Tourist Zone the Likes of Which no Other City has

I posted the following on the mayor's Facebook page.
   Mayor Becker, during your press conference, you suggested master planners have wondered what to do with the land stretching west of the Salt Lake City International Airport.
   How about zoning it for tourism? How about packing it with entertainment and educational attractions the likes of which are uncommon?
   Perhaps put in a museum, but not just any museum. Don't put one in unless it will be destination-worthy, offering something beyond what normally is offered. Put in a standing circus, maybe, but only if you can make it an exceptional circus, one worthy of drawing in visitors from across the country. Yes, that's a lot to do without knowing whether it will attract any visitors, but if you put in the best circus in all the land, you have reason to believe that if you advertise it, they will come.
   What you put in will largely depend on what you can pull off. Maybe you'll decide to have a venue for the best of college and high school choirs, a place where they come to perform -- and a place where people from around the country come to listen to the best such music in the country. If you can pull that off, do it.
   Mayor, why not? Why not zone the whole of the property for tourism? It might not be developed overnight, but we designate land for industrial parks, and give them time to develop. No other city has done such a thing as this. Cities might have amusement zones on their land-use maps, but nothing such as this. Be the first. Capitalize on the fact the land hasn't been wasted on housing. Although there is some industrial development, for the large part it also remains free of that.
   Do allow large corporations to go there, and smaller, novelty companies that, themselves, might attract visitors. Speaking of the large companies, by placing them right in the entertainment zone, you give them venues to use as they woo their clients and visitors. Developing such an environment right in the corporate park will be a selling point for attracting large companies that few other cities can offer.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Post More Guards Instead of Having All of Us Carry Guns

  If there are those in our theaters, and schools, and malls who are attacking people with guns, it follows that we must defend ourselves by placing people with guns in those same places. It would be wise of America, therefore, to hire more security guards, post more security guards, and employ more security guards.
   Surprisingly, I do not know that this is happening. I do not read about it. I do not hear news stories telling of a surge in security guards since Sandy Hook three years ago.
   If we are being attacked more, doesn't it seem that this is what should follow: an increase in the number of security guards?
   We do hear a lot of talk about how everyone should go out and buy a gun. There is no doubt many are saying that is the solution. I am not so sure. I think we should be mindful of the danger of everyone owning and carrying guns. The more guns, the more the danger.
  Guards are the alternate solution. And, I believe, the wiser solution.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Seize the Moment by Utilizing the Land for More than a Prison

   Placing a prison near the airport would be about as wasteful a thing as we could do.
   Wasteful in terms of what the land has the potential to be used for, for it is not a prison and not another industrial park that ought to go there.
   Yes, land near airports is often given little more value than to be the home of industrial parks. Salt Lake International Airport, itself, is an example of this.
   How we sell that property short.
   How should the land be used? Look at it either of two ways. Look at it from the angle that it is an entrance to your state -- a welcoming point -- and look at it from the angle of who uses the airport, and what can you do to accommodate them.
   The natural use of the land lies not in an industrial park and not in a prison.
   Who flies in? And why shouldn't we locate their uses right next to the airport? Some are simply our own residents, flying back from trips out of town, and there is no great need for them to do little but hop in their cars and travel across town to their homes.
  But, others are visitors. I don't know that any other city utilizes land around its airport as a greeting point, but, why not? Location, location, location, it is said, and why not apply that principle to tourism? Why not greet the tourist with convenient, now-you're here, look-what-we've got venues? Sell yourself. Sell your city and sell your state to the visitor. On a three-hour layover? Well, this is your lucky break, because an organist from the world-renown Mormon Tabernacle Choir just happens to be playing right now and you can catch a shuttle and be there enjoying it within minutes.
   Pack as much as you can into the welcome zone. Maybe put up a destination-worthy museum. Maybe have a couple notable zoo animals with a pitch to see the rest at Hogle Zoo. Offer the best of your singers and the best of your clean comedians.
   Who flies in? Corporate visitors? Corporations are anxious to woo and dine their clients. Why not help them? Why not have such a welcome zone partially for their benefit? Done correctly, developing such a zone can serve as a sales pitch for economic development, for corporations will appreciate it that you help them entertain their visitors.
   Also, sometimes companies fly their own workers in and out, Why not place some of these companies right there in the airport zone? Make it convenient for them to fly in and out, and maybe you will attract some international companies that like this feature.Economic development, again.
   Location, location, location. Its a principle not being applied to the land around airports, but it should be. Opportunity is being wasted. Make Salt Lake City the city that utilizes this resource like no other city does. We are fortunate that much of the land around ours is still available. Many cities do not have this option, for the land around their airports is already developed.
    The land around an airport has a value like none other. Let's not squander it on a prison, or on another industrial park. Seize the moment, someone has said, and I think we should.

Friday, August 7, 2015

I Call for More Guns, but Put Them in the Hands of Security Officers

   We should consider whether theaters should hire more guards, posting one in every screening room. And, whether guards should be in our schools, and more of them in our malls, and in our shopping centers, and in other venues where the public gathers.
   Are more security guards a partial answer to the mass shootings? My impression, is yes. One of the alternatives is for more citizens to carry guns. The randomness of that, however, would mean a gun-bearing person wouldn't necessarily be there when needed unless the number of citizens bearing guns really skyrocketed.
   Dangers do come with people having guns. If we encourage everyone to arm themselves, we will face surely face those dangers.
   I like the answer of having security guards better. It is disappointing that we have reached a point where we should feel the need to have guards in public places. But, if the need exists, we should push that direction, we should encourage more places to hire guards.
   We should also be concerned about who ends up behind the guns, who we hire to be the guards, and how they are trained

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Seventy Years ago Today, the Threat of Nuclear War was Unleashed

   Seventy years ago today, the threat of the world dying in a nuclear war was unleashed. Seventy years ago today, on August 6, 1945, the U.S. bomber Enola Gay dropped a uranium bomb on Hiroshima.  Nagasaki would follow days later, with a bomb being dropped there. The bombs killed an estimate 105,000 people, though getting an accurate figure is difficult if not impossible.
   The miracle of peace is that no one has used a such bomb since, despite there being more than 15,000 nuclear weapons now on the earth. Russia and the U.S. account for 93 percent of them, but seven other countries also are nuclear powers.
   It can be argued, the bombing of Japan saved lives, for without it, the U.S. faced a bloody assault on the Japanese mainland. The battling for the Okinawan islands had already claimed 12,520 American and an estimate 200,000 Japanese lives, about half of which were civilians.
   Still, I think we should wonder if  we were wrong to use the bombs. I think we should wonder if the cost in human life was too high. I think we should wonder if the cost in human life would also have been too high if we had landed an assault. I do not know. I do not know what would happened if we had both turned away from bombing the mainland and from mounting a land assault.
   But, I think it right to question. If, in the end, we decide it had to be, so be it. But, questioning such large loss of life should certainly be done.
   This day deserved more attention than it received, for the bombing unleashed the threat of nuclear war upon the world.
   (A correction was made 8/16/15 to this post. I had suggested 140,000 lives were lost, but 105,000 is probably more accurate.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Land Near the Airport is Like an Old Violin

   Wish I could drum up support for why land near the airport is the most wasteful of sites for the prison.
   The worst place of all.
   Not in terms of whether it will make for a good prison site, for it will. But, it is the worst of sites in terms of what we are giving up, in terms of what that land should be used for. With most any property, if the prison is built on it, the displaced uses (such as high tech development) can be moved elsewhere.
   But, not so with the property near the airport. There is only one international airport, only one within hundreds of miles. If we are to take advantage of this location, then those uses that lend to being next to an airport cannot be shifted to any other place.
   I will grant that land near airports often is seen as having little more value than to be home to industrial parks. We notice the Salt Lake Airport is an example of this, as it has an industrial park next to it.
   How we sell the value of that property short.
   How should we use the land? Look at it this way: Who flies in? Who flies in on the airlines, and why shouldn't we locate their uses right next to the airport? Most of them are simply visitors of residents, and perhaps there isn't much we can do to accommodate them. But, some are corporate visitors. We can accommodate them. We can develop the area to make it as attractive as possible, so some of those corporations might want to locate next to the airport. And, more, we can provide entertainment and lush landscaping and a pleasant environment in the land around the airport, making it a place where the corporate visitors are greeted and dined.
   Done correctly, developing such an environment in the area pitched to large corporations might be a sales point no other city offers, for I know of no city that includes as part of its corporate zone venues to entertain and places to woo customers and guests for the corporations.
   Who else flies in? Tourists. Why not accommodate them? Why should we not greet them with as many venues and things to see as is possible? "Location, location, location" has always been a rallying cry in marketing, so why should it not apply to tourism? We cannot move our national parks, nor our ski slopes, but that does not mean we should throw away the advantage of being near an airport. Simply build additional tourist attractions there, and a visitors' center that promotes all the sites in the state.
   Why should the prison not go near the airport? After all, of the four proposed sites, it is the best for the prison, in terms of being near to services and to the prisoners' families and to volunteers and to workers.
   Only Point of the Mountain is better.
   I, truly, want the prisoners to have the best site for them. I dream of a prison that truly rehabilitates the prisoner. Considering what makes for a great prison system is a hobby of mine, and I give it much thought.
   I say, leave the prison in Draper, for that site offers what will make for a wonderful prison.
  Leave the land around the airport alone, for it has a value like none other. If we succumb to the temptation of using that land for a prison, we will be snatching it away from a more glorious use. We will be wasting that property. We should "mine" that land for the hidden treasure that is in it. We should capitalize on the value it has. We should utilize it for its highest usage.
  A prison near the airport? More industrial parks? I would hope that is not the future of that property.  I think of the poem that begins:
   "Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
   "thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin
   "but held it up with a smile . . ."
   I am not a master violin player, nor perhaps even a master of persuasion, but I do hold up the land near the airport with a smile, realizing its potential. Come Tuesday, it likely will be named as the future home of the prison. It is going and almost gone.
    Would that the mayor or city council or someone would see the value of this land, and step up in protest. If the plea I offer here does no good, let someone else pitch the message, let someone else play this violin.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

If You are Doing the Public's Business, do it in Public

  If you are doing the public's business, do it in public. When lobbyists come calling, turn on the video camera and roll it online, so everyone can listen. There was a day when it wasn't reasonable to make all our elected leaders' communications public, but with today's technology, it is possible. Nor is it much of an inconvenience.
  We live in the 21st Century. We should let our manner of governing adapt to the times. If possible legislation is discussed in the meeting, why not make it public? If the elected leader and the person visiting just discuss politics in general, don't make them air a video. But, if the meeting lends any tone to something the visitor thinks would be good legislation, run the cameras.

This Supports the Argument of Evolution

   Now comes the case for evolution before the court to proclaim that different animals must be related. The good part of them have in common four limbs, two eyes, two ears, a nose, a heart, lungs, a liver, circulating blood, etc.
   So, surely we can see they are related.
   This, truly, is one of the strong arguments for evolution. If they are not related, why then do they have such commonalities? These things suggest relation, and evolution.
   Though it is a good argument, there are at least two possible answers. One, God used the tools He was used to using. He knew if he gave them hearts and blood, it would be a way of providing necessary functions to the body. He knew if He gave them four limbs, they would be able to walk and grasp and such. Giving them mouths provided a way for eating, drinking, making vocal noises . . .
   And, breathing. That's right, we can breathe out of our mouths, so why do we all have noses, as well? That we do share the nose in common might seem to indicate we are all related, evolution is behind it all. But, then again, if breathing through the mouth is possible, why didn't some mammals evolve without noses?
   The other possible answer, as to why there are so many commonalities if God is creator, is that this type of life requires such things. It is not just that God gave them these commonalities because they were His habits when He did His creating, but, rather, they are necessities. This theory seems somewhat unlikely, to me, but it is still a theory to consider.
   As I reach the end of my reasoning, for the time being, I see the explanations of evolution do have more power this time around than do the possible answers from those that hold that creatures are not related through evolution.

Monday, August 3, 2015

To Get a Favor from a Public Body, Lobbyists Should Make it Public

  I like the dividing line I found the other day on which government records should be public, and which should be allowed to be kept private. If an email, or phone call, or document concerns an official action by the governing body -- if it announces it, or proposes it, or weighs in on it -- then, it should be open to the public.
  But, if it does not, it becomes of the domain of things the government official need not make open to the public.
  Public security matters excepted, of course -- but I mean things that really would compromise our security.
  I realize this would open a lot of things to the public. Think of it, suddenly even visits from lobbyists would be public information. You would have to record and release the parts in which proposals for legislation occurred.
   But, why should such conversations be private? If the lobbyist is asking for legislation, should that not be a matter open to the public? I don't think you should expect to be able to ask a "public" body for something, unless you are willing to make the petition public. If you want a favor from the public body, you should have to go public to get it.

Cookie Cutter Creatures

   Whatever it is in DNA that does not allow a lion to produce offspring with a bear, we could liken it to a cookie cutter. Well, an open-ended cookie cutter, one that you could pass things through without hitting the roof of the cookie cutter, since it has no roof in this case.
   So, you take a cookie cutter shaped like a star and try to pass through it something shaped like a rectangle, and it will not work. Only a star can pass through. Nothing else of the same size will fit.
  So, it seems to be with creatures at conception. If one of the parents has claws, and the other does not, when the image tries to pass through the "cookie cutter," it cannot, for it is of a different image. If one parent is a lion, the features of a bear will not fit through.
   Of course, this theory presupposes that the problem is not that the two species never will be attracted to each other, never will be interested in each other.
   Look at the human in all its races. All fit through the same mold or cookie cutter. Same, perhaps it might be of dogs. Their various breeds, for the most part, fit through the same mold or cookie cutter. But, a lion and a bear? Not going to happen.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Should We Ever Want to Thank Him, What Would We Thank Him for?

   Should we ever want to thank Him, what would we thank our Father for?
 For being, for He created our spirits.
   For immortality, for we shall travel the heavens forever.
 For freedom to choose, for He gave us agency.
   For opportunity, for He allows us to pursue many a great endeavor.
For mortality, for He gave us the opportunity to come to earth.
  For death, for He gives us the opportunity to return to Him
For breath, for He gives us the air we breathe.
  For legs, for He gives us the ability to run, and chase the farthest sun.
For sun light, for He casts it in our sky
   For arms and hands and the ability to hold things and handle things and carry and grasp.
For water, for we cannot go a day without it, and find it free and all around.
  For food, for it is His providence that gives it.
For a beating heart, and a liver that works.
  For health.
For family.
  For the love of others and others to love.
For the chance to sin, that we can overcome sin.
  For the chance to repent.
For His Son's sacrifice, His atonement, His example.
  Should we ever want to thank Him, what would we thank our Father for?
For being and purpose and all that we are.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Let Personal Communications be Private, But Public Decisions Be Public

  Where do we draw the line on Hillary Clinton and her emails? Do we say that if she is communicating as a government official, all her emails should be public?
   I say, some should, some shouldn't. And, we need to consider where to draw the line.
   Going into this consideration of where to draw the line, I'm thinking any communication that binds a government decision or action should be open to the public, for any time the government acts, the action should be the public's business.
   But, if the communication carries no action, and is not part of the process of coming to a decision on a pending action, if it is just the public official's opinion or thoughts or even knowledge on a non-pending matter, then let it be private, regardless whether it is communicated during working hours.
   So, as to whether I'm against Hillary using her personal email instead of a Department of State email account, it depends what she put in the emails. Some I would be against, and some I would condone.
   She should release any emails that resulted in, or reported of, actions being taken.
   I am against how many things we classify. I, along with many, am against the government classifying so many things. Hillary's emails included many things that came to be classified, and now she is under attack for that.
    If a true government secret -- something that truly endangers national security  -- was released, that is one thing. But, I'm guessing by far the lion's share, at least, of the classified information in Hillary's emails, shouldn't have been classified, and Hillary's free speech rights are being violated by the notion she should not have emailed what she emailed.
   And, taking this conversation to a matter I have for some time been concerned about, I am against how we have to file Freedom of Information requests to get bonafide public documents and information. We shouldn't need to submit to the FOIA process in order to get information. If it is government information, we should be able to walk into the building, ask for the information, and walk out with it.
   Better yet, place everything on line. Everything that does not have legitimate reason to be kept from the public ought to be available at the snap of the fingers.
  A government's actions and proceedings should almost always be open to the public. But, a government official should be allowed to express opinions without having every word he or she says being placed in the public domain.

It Takes a Village to Raise a Village

   It takes a village to raise a village. You won't have the best of neighborhoods if some of its members are going astray. If you don't foster and love and teach each other, some will surely bend the wrong direction.
   Correction is needed not just for the child, but for the adult.
   Some will go astray, regardless, of course. But, more will be good if you have the courage and take the time to correct them. Correcting fellow adults, though, is not a common thing. Usually,when someone sees a friend doing something wrong, they say nothing. They simply let it slide.
   If there is someone needing correcting, and the others do not do that correcting, the correcting will not get done. And, nothing taught, is nothing learned.
   Society is no better than the values it teaches. So, it becomes important that those members who have the values are courageous enough to do the teaching. What is it the scripture says? "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." When you have good values, you should share them -- put them on a candlestick, so to speak.
   What would a child grow up to be like if the parents shied from the teaching? What if they were afraid to correct the child? Even so, it is with adults. If the others in the village shy from doing the correcting, the delinquent adult will be minus an impetus necessary for change.  Change is more is more likely when there is someone to advocate it. Without the help, the delinquent is often blind to his fault. Not wanting to see the error of his ways, he remains in it unless someone points it out.
   This principle also applies when there is a general fault in the community. If the group, as a whole, is wandering in to false paths, and adopting poor values, someone must have the courage to speak up.
  If society does not correct its own, it will never overcome its faults. If we are to be a good society, as a whole, we must reach out to our component members. We must not say, "Am I my neighbor's keeper?" Usually, we verbalize that with the different words, but words which mean the same thing. "It is none of my business," we say.
   It is our business. If a good neighborhood is to exist, it must bring up it's members. It takes a village to raise a village.