Monday, February 29, 2016

Let Salt Lake City Boast One of the Funniest Places on Earth

   Everybody likes a good laugh. And, some say it is medicinally beneficial and therapeutic. Let me phrase this another way: If nothing is more enjoyable than a good laugh, then, if you want to provide the best entertainment available, you better have a House of Humor.
   But, the distinction is, not just any humor.
   I google, and find clean humor is not an unknown commodity. Listings come up titled, "10 Funniest Christian Stand up Comedians," and "Clean Comedy Shows." No, clean comedy is not something that needs to be invented> It's out there.
   I just want to polish the product. I just think Salt Lake could develop a House of Humor (I use uppercase, because I like that name for the venue)  that would be worthy of national acclaim. Now, sometimes the difference between nationally acclaimed and not nationally acclaimed lies in the marketing, One place can be no better than any other, except that it is advertised and billed as the best. So, I suggest once you get a good House of Humor in place, start chanting its glories and hype it as one of the funniest places on earth.

Do E-cigs Fill Your Lungs Too Full of Water?

   It's in the water. One of the dangers of e-cigarettes might be in the water they use. Speaking to a health technician the other day, asking him what he thought of e-cigarettes, he told me of how when he was working at hospitals in Las Vegas, he and other workers noticed a connection between many admitted with respiratory problems and the e-cigarette.
   Michel Gomes, to give the technician credit. Michael Gomes, a critical care certified registered nurse.
   He suggested the vapor from the e-cigs goes to the lungs, and it is more moisture than those lungs can safely take.
   Although water on the lungs is new to me, as a rap against e-cigs, I google to find many have wondered about vapor on the lungs. One site echoed my thought, that the e-cig just doesn't deliver all that much water to the lungs.
   Still, I wonder.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

When it Comes to Marijuana, Utah Values Cry for a Utah Solution

   The term "Utah solution," has been used to address immigration, Medicaid expansion, and other things. Now, I wish we would come up with a Utah solution for medicinal marijuana, one that allows having it to those who benefit from the drug.
   But, not to those who seek it just for recreational purposes.
   It so seems there are abuses. The drug becomes so easy to obtain, those who do not need it medically slip right in and get it along with those who do. We've seen what happens in other states. Why not -- if we are to approve medicinal marijuana in Utah -- learn from what is going wrong in other states?
   There is a danger in a doctor's deriving too much income from marijuana patients. If he becomes dependent on the marijuana clientele for his income, he will have incentive to grant the prescriptions whether the patient really needs them or not. His thought will be: The more patients I have, and the more I can sell, the more money I will make.
   Calling him a pusher would be a little much, because he is not going out and soliciting the business. But, calling him a supplier is in order. If he were to be a supplier simply of medicinal marijuana, that would be fine.
  But, he has incentive to become a supplier not just of medicinal, but of recreational Mary Jane. Now, the word "supplier" takes on much the same meaning that it has on the streets when the drug is being obtained.
   Another problem? Consider on this: If a patient says he has pain, there is no disputing it. There is no such thing as a pain-o-meter. The doctor cannot place a meter on your chest and get a reading as to whether you are in pain. There's no such device. He takes the patient's word. At least, many doctors do.
   So, it becomes that anyone can feign pain, go to the doctor, and say, "Give me some marijuana," and the doctor obliges.
   So, it becomes that . . .
   If you legalize medical marijuana, you legalize marijuana.
   I have a problem with that. I hope the rest of Utah does, also. I would like to think we would want to correct the problem, if we can, to any extent. I wish we would come up with a Utah solution. I wish we would remove the danger (or try to) of doctors becoming reliant on their marijuana trade. I wish we would remove the danger (or try to) of people getting marijuana under the guise of being in pain.
   I suggest a few things, and imagine others could come up with yet other ideas.
   (1.) Require those dispensing the drug to meet the same educational and professional standards as pharmacists. I get it, that pharmacies would lose their license if they distributed marijuana, so that is why we have dispensaries. But, if we cannot use pharmacies, at least duplicate them as best we can.
   (2.) Make it unlawful for a doctor to derive more than, say, 20 percent of his business from marijuana prescriptions.
   (3.) Make it a crime to prescribe marijuana if you know the patient will just be using it for recreation. Yes, this would be hard to enforce, but at least you are making it illegal, and that will have some effect.
   (4.) Make it unlawful for a patient to obtain marijuana under false pretenses, to feign a malady or to pretend pain in order to win a prescription.
   (5.) Make it unlawful to fill a prescription without diagnosing a malady. And, that malady must be one that typically brings enough pain to justify a pain prescription such as marijuana.
   (6.) No one-year cards, as are offered in other states. Prohibit the doctor from prescribing more medicine (marijuana) than needed for the time frame that the malady normally lasts. And, require the doctor to reevaluate the malady each time he does a refill.
   If we can see things are going wrong in the other states, we shouldn't just copy their laws and make them our own. We should see the problems, and attempt to correct them. Any legislation that fails to do this, falls short of being responsible. We have values in this state, and I maintain that recreational use of marijuana is not one of them. Utah values deserve something that can be stamped as a Utah solution.
   So let's provide a Utah solution.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Rambling Blog Calling for Utah Solutions with Medical Marijuana

   Tell me -- not again, but for the first time -- why it is dispensaries are created to distribute medical marijuana? Why cannot marijuana be distributed through pharmacies, same as any other prescription?
   The Utah Senate has approved a medical marijuana bill. And, I read how it calls for the creation of dispensaries. (The Utah House now takes up the bill.)
   Is it to hold the cost down? Is the thought, that if pharmaceutical companies are involved, they will raise the cost? My reply to that, is that just because pharmacies are used, doesn't mean the product cannot come from the same source as it would if dispensaries are used.
   Actually, in theory, it would seem pharmacies might result in less expense. There is less overhead. The same pharmacist that gives you all your other prescriptions, gives you your marijuana. There is no need for adding new middle men.
   Then, is the need for dispensaries one of convenience? Do we want dispensaries just so medical marijuana will be easier to obtain? I cannot imagine there being more dispensaries than there are pharmacies, so that would seem to be questionable reasoning.
   Unless the dispensaries were located right next to doctors who commonly prescribed marijuana. And, that brings up another question: In states where marijuana is approved for medical use, is the business scattered evenly among all doctors, or do some doctors cater to the marijuana business, specializing in it?
   I see danger in that. If a doctor's living is dependent on how many marijuana prescriptions he/she can issue, he/she is going to have incentive to "supply" marijuana to people.
   Another potential problem:Since marijuana is a pain medication, and since it is hard to dispute whether someone is in pain, it becomes that anyone can walk into the doctor's office, say they have pain, and walk out with a prescription for marijuana.
   These are problems other states might be facing. I do not know. I only know, if Utah is to allow medical marijuana, it should find a Utah solution. We should not simply rubber stamp what is being done in other states. We should take measures to ensure that doctors do not become dependent on the marijuana segment of their business. We should take steps to ensure people cannot simply walk in, say they are in pain, and walk out with a prescription when their real aim is to use the marijuana for recreation.
    So, I would suggest a few things:
   (1.) Use pharmacies, not dispensaries.
   (2.) Make it unlawful for a doctor to derive more than, say, 20 percent of his/ her business from marijuana prescriptions.
   (3.) Make is a crime to prescribe marijuana if you know the patient will just be using it for recreation. Yes, this would be hard to enforce, but at least you are curbing the danger by making it illegal.
   (4.) Make it unlawful for a patient to obtain marijuana under false pretenses, to feign a malady or to feign pain in order to win a prescription.
   (5.) Make it unlawful to fill a prescription without diagnosing a malady. And, that malady must be one that typically brings enough pain to justify a pain prescription such as marijuana.
   (6.) Prohibit the doctor from prescribing more medicine (marijuana) than needed for the time frame the malady normally lasts. And, require the doctor to reevaluate the malady each time he/she does a refill.
   These solutions will not totally cover the problems. But, at least they are partial safeguards. If you can see the danger of abuses, at least make those abuses illegal. These things will not stop the person needing medical marijuana from getting it, but they might stop others from getting it when they shouldn't.

(Edited Feb. 27)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Let the Salt Lake Valley Have View Areas at Scenic Spots

   When a scenic view appears along a highway in the outback, we provide a place where we can pull over and view it.
   We should do the same in our cities. Often the lights of the city, and the various views, are gorgeous. If a city wants to sell itself to visitors, why would it not do this? I wish there were such pull-outs in the Salt Lake Valley. Instead, I find sound walls often cut off the views. We should install turn-outs that are high enough that you can see over the sound walls.
   Beauty that is hid is a tragedy. Let our scenic views be on display for all to see.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Will Our Name be Attached to Mismanaging Ecosystem?

   Comes a story in the Deseret News warning that the Great Salt Lake is shrinking so much that portions of the lake bed are turning to a dust bed that could cause great particle pollution.
   A comment online from one naming himself Prodicus warns, "One of the worst environmental disasters of human history was the drying of the Aral Sea." Prodicus notes a productive ecosystem turned into a bowl of toxic dust.
   I google, and learn the lake is but 10 percent of its 1960 size. Much of what once was under water is now a desert, known now as the Aralkum Desert. The lake began to shrink when the Soviet Union began to divert water for irrigation projects. What has happened is recognized as easily one of the biggest environmental missteps in all of history.
   While the toxic elements in the dust are the result of a history of weapons testing, industrial pollution, pesticides and fertilizer runoff, it is the dryness of the lake bed that results in so much dust being picked up and blown about by the winds.
   Salt Lake will not be so toxic. Still, there could very possibly be somewhat of a disaster to answer for. Do we, as stewards of this lake, want to add our names to the list of those who have mismanaged the ecosystems they were given? God gave us much when he gave us the Great Salt Lake. Will we prove unwise and foolish in how we have cared for it?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Call it the House of Humor

   Good humor has no capital, so, make Salt Lake City that. Give this city a venue where wholesome humor is the only humor that reaches the stage. And, as the venue establishes itself, look around the nation -- the world -- in search of anything comparable.
  And, if there is nothing to match it, sing its glories in ads. Market it. Often, that which is great is only limited by its lack of being publicized. Bring in truly humorous comedians, and tell the world this is the place.
   For humor, for good, clean humor.

Monday, February 22, 2016

An Amusement Park with all the World's Finest Cars

   How about a amusement park where you can drive any (or all) of the world's finest and most unusual cars?
   The Lamborghini Veneno, the Ferrari LeFarrari, the Bugatti Veyron, the Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita . . . and most every other dream car. Bring them altogether in one site, and let the world come to test drive them.
   Aye, it will be expensive to stock this "amusement park." One car, alone, is expensive, but trying stock them all? I can see why you wouldn't dare take on creating such a park if you doubted it would work.
   But, consider again how many people are car buffs, how many people would love a chance to drive car after car, all the world's finest automobiles. It would be brazen for Salt Lake City to open such a park, for sure, but it possibly might work. Maybe you could get the car makers to kick in huge discounts just to have their cars represented at the park.

Introducing Salt Lake City's Camhurst Fighter Jet Ride Park

   Come to Salt Lake and fly in a fighter jet!
   I wonder if (and doubt) there is anywhere you can go to put down the ticket price, and soar into the sky, passenger in a fighter jet, spinning and pirouetting and taking your breath away like no roller coaster ride ever thought to do. Maybe fuel costs are to expensive to make this possible, I do not know.
   Salt Lake City's Camhurst Fighter Jet Ride Park, or whatever you want to name it.
   Off top, it sounds like an idea that would work. A very expensive ride, but still an idea that would work. If Salt lake did offer such a venue, certainly it would attract people from all over for thrill of a jet ride.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Big Pharma Deserves Evidence Against it Before We Judge Against it

I speak of our feelings toward President Obama, and the federal government, and Big Pharma, among the many. Sometimes (oft times, that is), we are too quick to jump on others, and to jump on the bandwagon that jumps on them. I think of the Wild West, and of vigilante justice, and of people rushing innocent people to the hang noose.

In some ways, we haven't changed.

We seek out someone to hate, and we all pile on.

We do it in our work circles, and in our social circles . . . and in our politics.  

I do not mean to say there are not things about Obama I do not like. I certainly wouldn't vote for him. And, there are things about the federal government I do not like -- and the IRS, and the BLM. Big Pharma has its problems. Well, indeed, might it drive up prices for its advantage.  

Big Pharma. It is it I am thinking about tonight. I had some exchanges on Facebook about it. Some suggest there are cures for cancer, but Big Pharma won't market them because that would take away their profiting on people having cancer.

My, my. Is it true?

Some suggest Big Pharma stands in the way of medical marijuana. The plant is simply too cheap. It would ruin the pharmaceuticals' ability to charge high end for the drugs now on the market.  

My, my.  

Now, here's the trick: I'm not convinced that the conspiracy theorists are not right on some things involving medicine. I even wonder about marijuana. But, failing to move a cure for cancer because it would remove their market of people being treated with more expensive products?

Maybe, but I would hope not.  

There is a natural inclination for people to find fault and to hate others and to make accusations that simply are not true. Yes, we do it with our friends, and our associates, and our neighbors. We are a fault-finding bunch, we are. And, Big Pharma is a natural target. I do not say everything that is said against Big Pharma is wrong. I just say, we ought to be looking for evidence before we listen too closely to the rumors.  

There is cancer in the winds of gossip. And, that can include the gossip against Big Pharma.

There can be more lies on idle lips, than lies from those the idle lips condemn. When the idle gossiper suggests someone is lying, that, itself, is often a lie.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Big Pharma Would Utilize Marijuana if it Were all so Wonderful

  If marijuana is such a wonder drug, why then are not synthesized components from it already on the market?
   And, performing well?
   I have heard the reasoning that the reason marijuana is not approved for medical purposes in many states is that the pharmaceuticals do not want it approved, as the price is too low and they only want products they can charge a lot for.
   That does sound like a conspiracy theory, perhaps, as the reasoning is that the pharmaceuticals are conspiring against medical marijuana. Still, if the simple definition of a conspiracy theory is that people conspire, then yes, there are going to be conspiracy theories that are real, for people do, at times, indeed, conspire.
   But, I will tell you why I don't adhere to the theory, why I don't think it is the pharmaceuticals standing in the way of medicinal marijuana. If there are components in marijuana that do hold medical promise, they would want to utilize them. They would want to extract those components, stick them pills -- they can set the price on them -- and take advantage of them.
   But, I don't know that there are more than just two products on the U.S. market, and neither of them are setting the world on fire. We have Marinol and Cesamet, which have synthetic versions of marijuana chemicals (Dronabinol and Nabilone, respectively).
   Then there is Sativex, which has been undergoing testing for years without gaining approval. Sativex is derived from botanical marijuana, not synthetics. That it is being tested puts to rest the claim that marijuana cannot be tested since it is an illegal drug.
   Hey, Big Pharma wants to market drugs. It wants successful products. It seeks them out. It has laboratories dedicated to finding them. You think that for some reason they wouldn't look at synthesized chemicals in marijuana? I don't follow that logic.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thank the Pope for Praying for Those Who Die Trying to Reach America

   I think of the pope praying at the border for those who have lost their lives trying to reach America. I wonder if it was one of the few events honoring those who have died there, one of the few moments someone has paused to observe their loss.
  Where are the candle light vigils? Have there been any, at all? Does anyone on this side of the border mourn the passing of these people by going there for observances? More than 3,000 have given their lives trying to reach America in the last 20 years. For that, has so much as a single candle been lit down at that border?
   So, I thank the pope. I thank him for going there and mourning this loss of life.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Do Away with Backroom Meetings

   I would that my state were the most open and transparent in the nation. That would entail the meetings being open. It would mean the Republican caucuses would no longer run to get behind closed doors.
   I wish even the lobbying process were open to the public. I think it would be wonderful if a few legislators, on their own, told lobbyists that they would love to meet with them, but only if the meetings were open to the public. The meetings would be videotaped and posted online.
   Backroom meetings? Do away with them. Do everything in view of the public. The public's business should be conducted in public.
   I pause, at this point, and wonder what meetings might should be behind closed doors. Off top, if the meeting is about legislation, I cannot think of any. If the meeting is about your election campaign or such, hold it behind closed doors whenever you like. But, if it is about legislation, no.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Are We Living in the Marijuana Bubble?

   I suppose I wonder if we are living in a marijuana bubble, a time when people's belief in Mary Jane well exceeds what the drug is worthy of.
   If so, it might be a bubble that sticks around for a long time.
   I think most on the medical benefits the drug is suppose to deliver. From a little bit of looking into it, I'm beginning to doubt it is what it is cracked up to be. Maybe three drugs on the market derived from marijuana components or synthetic components? And, none of them are wonder drugs?
   And, the biggest medical benefit of marijuana is that it is a pain killer, no more? Not that pain relief doesn't have value, but pain relief is a far cry for curing someone of disease or defect.
   I have been a proponent of medical marijuana. Now, I find myself wavering.
   Then, when I find good evidence that marijuana is not overly fantastic as a medicine, I find myself further questioning other claims made for marijuana, like it being as great a source of creativity that they say it is.

Monday, February 15, 2016

If Marijuana is a Wonder Drug, Why so Few Medicines from it?

   Ah, so there's a prescription drug with a chemical taken right out of the marijuana plant. And, it might receive FDA approval. Doesn't this mean medicinal marijuana would be available in Utah, with or without the Utah Legislature making it legal? No, it is not like the whole plant is the commodity, but this could mark the beginning of the components from marijuana finding their way into pharmaceuticals.
  In addition to this natural-component product, there are drugs with synthesized components.
   Sativex, by name. That's the one with the natural marijuana ingredient. You can already get it in England, Germany, and Canada, among other nations. Sativex is said to treat neuropathic pain and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis. And, it is used as a pain treatment for those with advanced cancer. It was in Phase 3 testing in the United States in 2015. I don't know if that testing was completed.
   Then, there's Dronabinol. That's got some synthetic THC in it. It is said that it stimulates appetite and treats nausea.
   Nabilone is along the same lines. And, there are other synthetics in the pipeline, undergoing testing.
   Here's the question: If marijuana is such a wonder drug, if the properties in it can do all the grand things that we hear about, then why have not more marijuana-type products passed FDA's testing requirements?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Did Jesus Experience These Things?

   If the Savior experienced all things while down here, would that include the experience of being wrong, of maybe even causing harm when you did not intend to? Did he have the experience of not being able to help someone as much as He would have liked? Did He experience not having things turn out the way He intended them to?
   He was perfect. He had no flaws. I am aware of that. But, He was born of a human mother and half mortal -- for a reason.
   I think of the story in Mark 6:31-33, of how he thought to take His disciples to a desert place to rest, for there were many people in the place where they were, so that they didn't even have leisure to eat without people disturbing them.
   So they departed in a ship privately, it says. And that word, "privately" suggests they did not want people to know they were leaving, or where they were going.
  "And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all the cities, and out went them, and came together unto him."
   So, Jesus had hoped to take his disciples to a place where they could be at peace from those that would disturb them. But, it didn't work out that way. It didn't turn out as intended. The people saw Him leave, and recognized Him, and chased along the shoreline, and were at point o fexit when Jesus and His disciples arrived to get off.
   I think of another story, in Mark 5, of how a man had a legion of spirits, and Jesus would to cast them out. But, they plead with Him, that instead of sending them out of the country, to send them into a herd of swine. Jesus accommodated them, and the spirits entered the swine, and the swine ran down a steep place into the sea and were drowned.
   And, as a result, I would guess, the owner or owners were without their swine. That they may have had owners is indicated in that it says, "And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done."
   When someone does you harm, you might want him to leave. And, even so, we read, that the  people, "began to pray him to depart out of their coasts."
    Jesus was half mortal. He came down to earth to experience all things. It does seem to me that experiencing such things as these are part of experiencing all things. I know such experiences are part of life's learning experience for me, and consider they might have been part of the Lord's experience, as well.
   I could be wrong, but I wonder. And, no, I do not think it wrong to wonder.
   I think of how it is said that since He was half mortal and half non-mortal, He had the power to not die, and could have refused to die when crucified, but gave His life up. I wonder if it would be the same with the two stories I have related. He lived the mortal side of life, and chose not to use His "powers" (if I can use that word), to see into the future to know that the people would follow him along the seashore, and to know that when the swine were killed, the people would fear Him.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Could Utah Lead Out in the Testing of Marijuana? Probably Not

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Friday it would like more research before medicinal marijuana is legalized.
   Consider, then, what needs to be done, or what could be done. The typical testing for pharmaceuticals involves primarily three steps: Giving it to 20-100 people to see if it is safe, giving it to 100-300 people to see if the drug has efficacy, and giving it to 2,000-3,000 people to see if it has therapeutic value. Could Utah follow those three steps, before legalizing a drug derived from marijuana?
   I read how marijuana has not been tested. If this is true, that this type of testing has not taken place, doing this would place Utah at the forefront of researching medical marijuana.
   I think we might should consider the expense of such a study, though. I do not know how much it would be, if it would be something we could pay for, or if it would be prohibitive. I read how small companies often sell their patent rights to large pharmaceuticals when their product reaches this testing stage, as it is expensive. I wonder how many workers are required to conduct the study. I wonder if the medical school at the University of Utah could be utilized to conduct the study and if that would hold the expense down.
   Then, the question comes, can you even do a study -- should you -- if the drug remains illegal on the national level. It seems the first step is to call on Congress to rewrite federal law, and that rewrite should include provision allowing marijuana to be grown for and used in testing.
   Or, the right of the states to legalize marijuana could be tested in the courts, with the question being whether the 10th Amendment's reserving powers not given the federal government to the states means the states have the right to legalize marijuana regardless what the federal government says.
   Either way, whether Congress changes the national law or whether the courts rule favorably on the 10th Amendment, if the reason for little research is due to marijuana being illegal, then when that approval comes, the pharmaceuticals probably would be quick to do testing.
  The thought that Utah could be at the forefront of research would disappear.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Marijuana Should Remain Illegal Until the Federal Law is Changed

  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints certainly makes a point on the fact marijuana remains federally illegal. As I reflect on this, it occurs to me no state should be allowed to forge ahead with marijuana legalization unless the federal law is changed.
  I wonder how many court cases have questioned the various state approvals. Or, have there been no such court cases at all? There certainly should be some. You don't simply defy federal law and expect not to end up in court. At least, you shouldn't be allowed to do so.
   Either the national law should be enforced, or it should be changed. It seems to me, that with as many states as have approved marijuana either for recreational or medical use, somewhere a Congress member should be bringing up legislation. One way to address the issue would be a replacement law saying marijuana is illegal except when approved by a state. That is the status essentially in effect, but without an actual law giving it efficacy.
   Marijuana should remain illegal until the federal law is changed. Unless it is changed, the various state laws should not have effect unless a court rules it is a matter of state rights under the Constitution.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

In the Land of the Free, the Refuge is Freed

   And, the land is free again, meaning the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The land will be returning to public usage after the FBI has been given time to investigate the property to find out if damage has been done to Native American artifacts, and to assess the crime scene.
   Hey, this is no small refuge. In terms of birds, alone, it might offer more varieties (I've heard it has about 250 species and I've heard 320 species) than the Great Salt Lake (which has 250 plus). As much as two-thirds of the Pacific Flyways migratory population has been known to visit Malheur. But, I understand, some times only 5 percent of the flyway's population stops by. We'll have to see if all the guns and militias have scared the birds off (lol). Malheur has been hailed as a nationally-famous mecca for birds.
   Lake Malheur is one of nature's wonders, or so I have heard it said.
   Bald eagles, and loons, and horned larks? Come see them. Want to see a bat? They have them here, 14 different species. And. there are lots of coyotes, and deer and elk and bobcats and lions. (Not sure how close you want to get to those last two.) See bighorn sheep and wild horses. Fishing is forbidden, but the lake is stocked with the rare redband trout, and with shiner, mottled sculpin, longose dace, chub, brown bullhead, sunfish, and others.
   So, if you just want to get out and see nature, see wild animals, Malheur is a good place.
   But, it is more. There is kayaking, and canoeing, camping and hiking.
  It is home to American Indians, maybe 100 Paiutes living there. The refuge has pulled together their historical narratives and offers them to visitors.
   Aye, it would be neat to see Malheur draw more visitors in the aftermath of the occupation.
   (Slight editing and addition to the article made Feb. 12, 2016.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Give the Donald some Credit, but not all of it

   "Who did you vote for in the New Hampshire primary?" I asked the clerk at Smith's grocery.
   "None of your business," she shot back. But, then she noted it wouldn't have been Trump.
   I walked out of the store wondering if we are experiencing a high interest in politics. "None of your business" has been a standard sentiment in the past, but this year, I seldom get that when I ask people who they are voting for. It is just as rare that someone suggests the that the two things you don't talk about are politics and religion.
   Politics are no longer boring. It seems everyone is excited to talk about them.
   This is reflected in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries, each of which witnessed record-setting attendance. Iowa's Republican caucuses attracted nearly half again more than they did in 2012, which previously held the record. In New Hampshire, the Republicans drew 15 percent more than they did in 2012, which, again, was when the previous record was set.
   At least in part, Donald Trump deserves some credit. While I don't at all want him elected, he's been at least a definite factor in the upswing in voter interest.
   But, note that the last records were set as recently as the previous presidential election. That indicates a surge already underway at that time, and it now remains ongoing. Politics once were anything but cool, but are they now more fashionable?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dispensing Medicinal Marijuana

   As Utah considers medicinal marijuana, and as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comes out in opposition to one bill, I see the issue of dispensing the product is something I need to get up to speed on.
   I wonder of the states that do have medicinal marijuana, how many dispense it through the normal route of pharmacies. I imagine it is considered a herb, and would be considered over-the-counter if not for it being illegal. Do the states that have it, have dispensaries just for marijuana? Why? In California, if I understand correctly, dispensaries usually do not offer traditional prescription drugs. In Connecticut, there are only about a half dozen dispensaries, so I assume that state, also, does not allow every pharmacy to dispense it. Why not? Why not simply say, you need a doctor's prescription, and the doctor can only prescribe it when you have a medical need, and then dispense it through all pharmacies, but not through any stand-alone, just-marijuana-for-sale dispensaries?
   The question then becomes who supplies it to the dispensaries, since it is illegal to grow it. The growers and suppliers, I can see, would need to be controlled. If not, many of those raising marijuana would surely sell to recreational customers in addition to the pharmacies.
  (Note: Some small additions made to blog Feb. 12, 2016.)

Monday, February 8, 2016

To the Bigger Dreamer, goes the Bigger Victory

  To the bigger dreamer, goes the bigger victory. If I think I am too old, I may fail to have dreams of what I can do with my life. Meanwhile, all the 21-year-olds have their lives before them. Who has the bigger dreams, them or me? Which is more likely to succeed? To the bigger dreamer, goes the bigger victory.

Prescription Drugs Could Easily be Cheaper

   I suppose I do think it would be easy enough to bring the price of medical prescriptions down. Just make it so a lot of of us could produce them. Yes, I think it is as simple as that.
   Just make it so many of us could run out and make them.
   The translation, of course, is that regulations have to be rolled away. I don't know if you have to be licensed to produce prescription drugs, but why? As long as you are producing a quality product, let that be the only requirement. Let the FDA test any drug it will, and take it off the market if it doesn't meet standards.
   But, other than that, no regulation.
   I'm not completely sold on this proposal, but I really lean toward it. The negative, is that if you take away all regulation, then you take away patents. Can we do that? Would it discourage the drug companies from coming up with new drugs because as soon as they developed something, someone would copy them?
   It might be we would need to keep some force in our patent laws, while taking some of the force out of them. Or, leave the patent laws alone, and simply scrape the regulations away for drugs once the patents expires.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

To the Team with the Bigger Dream, goes the Victory

   To the bigger dreamer, goes the victory. Though they be the underdog, if their dream is larger than that of their opponent's, victory is often theirs.
   When you teach them to dream, you teach them to win. You instill in them passion, drive, hope, and desire -- and those are the things that winning is made of.
  Yesterday, I blogged on BYU's home loss to Pacific, wondering if fear of failure had contributed to the defeat. Today, I opened my paper and learned how Pacific considered the game their post-season, of how it was their chance to play before an NCAA-tournament-sized crowd.
  I assume, they also felt that way before the game, although those were post-game comments.  I assume, the coach pitched the dream to them, told them this was their chance to play before 20,000 fans, and take it to a NCAA tournament caliber team, and end the Cougars' 17-game homecourt winning streak.
   Pitch a dream, earn a victory.
   On the flip side, BYU might have been reflecting on how last month they had lost to Portland just after upsetting Gonzaga. Now, having upset St. Mary's two nights earlier, were they running scared that they it might be deja vu against Pacific? Which team was playing for more, Pacific or BYU?
   The team with the biggest dream often triumphs.
   How does this apply to life? We will be limited in what we achieve if we relegate ourselves to what we have become. If we consider ourselves a 6-15 team (Pacific came into the game 6-15), we will not play better than that. If I, for example, consider only that I am a 61-year-old man, there are a lot of life goals I won't even set.
   But, if I continue to dream, I might yet do something with my life. The same with you. If you do not limit yourself based on what has happened, but build a dream, it might come true.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Lesson of Life from a Basketball Game

   All a good coach is, is a person who sells you a dream, and shows you how to achieve it.
   Now, I've been known to say (with great exaggeration, of course), that all I ever learned, I learned from a game of basketball. Well, I think to tell you right here and now of the lesson I learned from a basketball game today -- and why a good coach is a person who gives you to dream.
   My BYU Cougars suffered one of their most improbable losses ever this day, and I thought on the coaching. Coach Dave Rose is a good coach, but I wonder if this time he could have done better, or if there were other "coaching" voices, not his, that caused the downfall. Today's loss to lowly Pacific came two days after upsetting 25th-ranked St. Mary's. That mirrors a loss to Portland in January that came two days after a huge upset of Gonzaga.
   Is it possible the coach didn't properly prepare BYU for Portland and Pacific? Those are games you should have won, and would have if the coach had you playing at your highest level.
   No, I don't know if Coach Rose inadvertently planted negative thoughts, but there are hints that fear of failure was present, even if that fear was planted by someone other than the coach. I remember a player before the Portland loss saying the Gonzaga win would be for naught if they lost the next one. And, before the Pacific loss, I heard a sports announcer expressing concern that they not lose to lowly Pacific.
   Hey, warning against losing is not a positive approach. Rather than sow seeds of doubt, sell only the dream. Say only that by winning the second game of the two, you are in position to challenge for the conference title, or whatever.
   Sell only the positive. Sell only the dream.
   Now, what does this have to do with life? We are coaches of our family, friends and associates. And, more than coaching anyone else, we coach ourselves. If we would become what we might become, we must concentrate on what can be achieved, and what is possible. We must dream. We must consider our potential and our possibilities. The why-nots might not matter if we give them no mind, but they will if we give them enough of our attention.
   I will close by saying, yes, there are times you should warn of the pitfalls, and the dangers. That, too, is part of coaching. But, be wary of being wary. There will be times, there is no good reason to even voice the negative. When you don't need to, don't do it. And, when you do offer up warnings, hasten in before and behind with the positive.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Greg Walden's Speech

   While armed occupation might be the wrong way to go about protesting, and while the BLM and such agencies might be right in some of their doings, we should consider the matters in which the BLM does not handle things correctly.
   A video of Rep. Greg Walden speaking to his fellow Congress members points to injustices that have been committed in Harney County, Oregon. Though I have no time to overview it, I will post the link. It is 24 minutes long, so you might choose to wait for me to post something briefer on the topic, but here it is:
   Videos of Walden's speech have gone viral, and a good speech, it is.

Does the Art of Sweating Lead to a Longer Life?

   If the art of sweating holds secrets to the art of long living, I say we are not studying it enough.
   I thought more on whether toxins can be emitted through sweat as I went jogging last night and tonight. What I'm reading on the Internet, says sweating out toxins is a myth.
   But, I wonder.
   I thought of my own sweat, of how it bleached color from a nice shirt. Then, I thought of how another item of clothing often gets holes eaten in it from my sweat. (Inasmuch as it is pertinent what item of clothing that is, as the sweat might have different elements there, I will have to say it is my shorts.)
   I also thought how we spread minerals and such on our skin, and the oils seep through and help heal our bodies. If something can seep in, then surely it can seep out. It has the power to pass through the skin. Of course, the toxins need to be released from the flesh before they can travel through the skin. Is there anything that would cause them to be released? Heightened blood pressure, maybe? The cardiovascular process when we exercise? The softening of the skin caused by the motion of exercising? (My brother gave me that one.)
   Bottom line, there might be more cause for an exercising person to emit toxins than there is for someone sitting in a sauna. All sweat might not be created equal.
   My brother also observed that sweat can smell different, depending on what we have eaten. I thought to verify this, and found online a quote saying, "A diet rich in spicy foods, onions or garlic, for instance, can cause such odors to travel through the bloodstream and enter sweat glands."
   So, if garlic and onions can come out in sweat, why not toxins?
   So, there is reason to suppose sweat can secrete toxins. A daily sweat might be a daily cleanse. It might have elements that can lead to better health, and, who knows, longer life. Studying sweat becomes something that could be important to us, to extending our lives. Are there analytical studies showing the composition of sweat from a person while running as compared to the sweat of a person while sitting in a sauna? Does sweat draw toxins from the flesh? From the bloodstream? From the intestines? (I doubt that last one.) If it is from the flesh, is it from the muscles or from fat, or from both? Does a severe sweat alter the chemical composition of the body, perhaps the pH balance?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

If Death is to be Chosen, let it be Without a Sales Pitch

   When the doctor walks in the room, in that end-of-life moment, and sits the family down to tell them palliative care is the best option -- not curative care -- people listen.
   That's the doctor speaking.
   Death with dignity, he tells them. If quality of life cannot be maintained, let it go.
   I am not so easily convinced. Oh, do not get me wrong. I do know there are times for palliative care. I do know there are times, all you can do is make it comfortable for them.
   But, my thought is, why not do everything you can to make it comfortable for them while also not selling them on death? If they are going to want to die, let it be their own decision, not one that is pitched at them.
   I do wonder about hospice, which requires the patient to renounce curative care, placing himself outside the safety net of curative care. Why would we ever do that to a person? Why not leave options open, for the patient's condition often changes even when the doctor is sure it won't. How often I have seen doctors misjudge.
   Death should be an option, but it shouldn't need to be sold to us. The salesmen of death are sometimes the very people who should be saving us.

One of World's Greatest Poems

This is about as good of a poem as I have ever read: 
Isn't it strange how princes and kings,
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?
Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.”

― R. Lee Sharpe

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Can a Good Sweat Emit Toxins?

 "Eight lies and health myths from fitness trainers," says the headline, and it lists the notion that you can sweat toxins out of your body as one of those lies.
   I turn to another online article and read, "Sweat is not made up of toxins from your body, and the belief that sweat can cleanse the body is a myth."
  I just returned from the gym as I look these links up. While exercising, I thought along the lines of how exercise is like a body cleanse. I wondered what threshold of sweat (how much) was necessary to cleanse the body, and I supposed it was a rather large amount.
   I wondered if toxins aren't the agents of death in the body -- one of the key reasons for death being upon the earth. I wondered if there is a point, when you cleanse the body through sweat, that it is more inclined to reject new toxins when they are removed. My thought was, perhaps a clean house doesn't accept toxins, but passes them through in the excrement.
   And, so, does all this wondering come crashing down now that I read that toxins are not emitted through sweating? No, not altogether. I'm a little sceptical. I think of my own sweat, and of how it has discolored my clothes. I remember once, I forgot to bring a T-shirt, so I just wore my nice red dress shirt. That one exercise session ruined that shirt, leaving it with streaks of discoloring.
   Seems if it weren't toxic, it couldn't do that.
   I also wonder if all sweats are equal, if sweat from a hard workout might differ from one that comes from sitting in a sauna. And, supposing sweat can emit toxins, I wonder if it cleanses different parts of the body than does a colon cleanse. A colon cleanse would clean out toxins in the colon. I'm not sure sweating has any power to take anything out of the colon. Rather, it might cleanse out toxins which have traveled to and are embodied in the flesh.
   Unfortunately, it does seem those who say sweat doesn't cleanse probably are right. It seems it would be a simple thing to take sweat, analyze it, and see if toxins are in it. Surely, they've done this. And, surely, then, that is why they say sweat doesn't emit toxins.
   I wonder, though.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Case of the Fundraiser for Veterans and the Ethics of it all

   When a candidate donates to a charity, can it be a way of buying their votes? I wondered, as the clerk at the convenience store suggested to me that the veterans appreciated the money Donald Trump raised for them in Iowa. Trump raised about $6 million for the veterans, with $1 million coming from his own pocket.
   Is this buying votes? When you give such money, are you giving it with the thought that those receiving the money might be more inclined to vote for you?
   Frankly, I do see it as a way of buying votes. The sentiment is not, "I'll give you $50 if you vote for me." But it is, "I'm giving you $50, and if you want you can vote for me." The candidate is giving money and he is aware the people receiving it are voters. He is hopeful they will want to show their appreciation by voting for him.
   Shall we consider this a big sin? In terms of what we are used to, in relation to how lobbyists buy influence and campaign contributors seek seek favors, it is within the realm of accepted practice.
   I wish that it weren't.

Monday, February 1, 2016

You don't Kill Just because Someone Resists Arrest

   I was not aware the FBI shot into the vehicle LaVoy Finicum was fleeing in. Bless the FBI for releasing the video, as that was good. But, shooting into the vehicle was not proper. I don't believe in killing a person for resisting arrest, unless that person poses a danger to you or to society. Finicum did not.
  Although I see it reported in one article that the FBI did shoot into the vehicle, googling, I found no other article, and wonder if the report is true.
   I also consider that the FBI might have seen the occupiers vehicle barreling toward them and felt threatened. There might be justification for shooting into the vehicle, then, in order to stop it. Without going back to view the video, though, I don't know that the threat of being rammed by Finicum's vehicle was that great. I remain inclined that shooting into the vehicle was wrong. But, were they just firing warning shots aimed well away of hitting someone?