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California Gull

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This is a reprint of an article from yesterday’s Salt Lake Tribune:  I want to personally thank  Tribune columnist Robert Kirby for a welcome reality check.  In an era of absurd news items this is one of the more absurd of late.

The State Bird of Utah is…. the California seagull(!?!) And now they want a state gun!

“A bit of personal disclosure seems in order before I start. Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, is a friend of mine.

Carl and I live in the same neighborhood. I used to be his home teacher. His wife Sherry is a wonderful woman, who, like my wife, struggles daily with the misfortune of being married to a lunatic.

That said, I do not share Carl’s uber-conservative politics. He knows I don’t vote for him. In fact, whenever I see Carl on TV, I want him to shut up. He won’t, though, but then neither will I.

Carl is currently sponsoring a resolution that would make the Browning model 1911 handgun Utah’s official handgun, a move I find completely ridiculous.

First, because we need an Official State Firearm like we need a hole in our … um, never mind. We just don’t need one.

But if we did, it shouldn’t be the model 1911, even though famed Utah gunsmith John Moses Browning invented it.

I get that we have some official state symbols, including a few which actually make sense — the state animal is the Rocky Mountain elk, state fish the Bonneville cutthroat trout, and coal is the state rock.

Then there are the head scratchers, such as the state cooking pot, fossil, tartan, vegetable, HISTORIC vegetable, star, anti-depressant, grass, dance, colonoscopy, hymn, etc.

Note: I made up a few of those. I’ll let you figure out which ones.

I’m against the proposed Utah state gun for the same reason I’m against the California gull as the Utah state bird — it’s a poor fit and representative of Utah only by the thinnest of margins.

The seagull (flybyus excretus) became the Utah state bird not because it’s indigenous to Utah or, frankly, even motivational. It’s because of religion. Seagulls reportedly once ate all the crickets threatening Mormon pioneer crops.

Religion is also behind the official state emblem (beehive), state bug (honeybee), state flower (sego lily), and state vehicle (minivan). None of these are particularly inspirational or even solely specific to Utah.

Carl wouldn’t agree. According to him, the Model 1911 is “an implement of freedom that has defended America for 100 years. … This firearm is Utah.”

With all disrespect, no, it’s not. If you want a gun that is Utah, it should be the Hot Glue Gun. After all, more Utahns own one of those than a .45-caliber automatic.

Scrapbooking, church crafts, weird hobbies and jury-rigged fixes, the hot glue gun has contributed far more to making Utah what it is today than the Model 1911.

Like an actual firearm, a glue gun can be used inappropriately by fools and criminals. I’m both. Following a hiking accident last year, I tried fixing a split toenail with a hot glue gun. I immediately wished for a Utah state burn ointment.

On the bright side, perhaps there’s a loophole in Carl’s Utah state firearm resolution. If it is adopted, maybe then, like the California seagull, it will be against the law to shoot them.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com.

There is a whole lot of the pot calling the kettle black going on these days. Now, before you react to that statement read on.

 For those of you in what we call the “younger generations” who may not be familiar with it, that phrase has nothing to do with skin color. In my grandparents generation most frying pans were made out of iron. Which is a black metal. Most tea kettles – which sat on the stove opposite the frying pan – were silver. Probably made out of aluminum. So the pot calling the kettle black is a reference to those statements where you project your own choices, deficits or actions onto others. Generally others who might have the power to point out to you your own hypocrisy. Here’s one of my favorite Jewish teaching sayings meant to encourage you to look at yourself through other’s eyes before you decide what your reality may or may not be:

“If one person calls you a horse ignore them. If two people call you a horse think about it. If three people call you a horse buy a saddle.”

I’ll end this with one of the wisest statements I’ve ever heard anyone say. “Don’t believe everything you think.”   Dr. Wayne Dyer


Tara Sitser - Leadership Member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project

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