To Our Friends, Neighbors, Frenemies, the Universe and Everyone and Everything

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Ulis Newton Elementary School students  Drew Wilson, left, and Derek Hyde examine the exhibits at the Clark County Wetlands Park Nature Preserve and Nature Center in Las Vegas Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. (Martin S. Fuentes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sig Sauer hand guns are on display at Discount Firearms and Ammo on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (David Becker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
This undated image released by A&E shows Phil Robertson from the popular series "Duck Dynasty." Robertson was suspended last week for disparaging comments he made to GQ magazine about gay people. (AP Photo/A&E, Zach Dilgard)
Petroglyphs as seen Friday, March 1, 2013 at Petroglyph Canyon in Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. There are 300 rock panels made by native cultures during the Archaic period (8,000-1,000 BC)The area is located south of Henderson is 48,438 acres in size.
(Jeff Scheid/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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Two-aught-thirteen, unlike every other year in the history of ever, was a very challenging year. OK, a bit of hyperbole. It was no 1929, 1939, no 1945 or 1962 or 1974 or even, God forbid, 2001. But we still had challenges. Clowns shutting down the government. Clowns driving like clowns, with guns, on our major thoroughfares. Bad weather.

So that gets us all sort of warmed up for 2014. We wanted to ask you, that is, everyone, for a few favors. If it’s in your power to grant them, please do. If not, just skip it and go onto the next.

This is just a partial list, by the way, of fine whines.

1. Speaking of hyperbole, let’s stop comparing Obamacare to the Holocaust, slavery, or the bubonic plague. Providing subsidized health insurance to poor people is in no way comparable to the systematic murder of millions of innocents.

2. Let’s stop defending privileged white people who say stupid things about minorities, even if they claim that Jesus told them the stupid things. Jesus did not say anything about gays. He certainly didn’t say that Jim Crow laws and second-class citizenship for black Americans were the will of God.

3. Let’s stop pretending that science doesn’t count if it’s a bad thing for Exxon-Mobile. Let’s start considering science and technology when drafting public policy. Let’s start funding science and medical research. Let’s stop being dumb asses and start training future crops of Nobel Prize winners instead.

4. Let’s think about neighborhoods downtown more, like Carson Street, when we are building new developments, like the Container Park.

5. Let’s get a decent bookstore downtown. (That looks like it’s going to happen thanks to our friends and frenemies at the Downtown Project! Whoo-hoo!!!)

6. Let’s get some funding for the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. And while we’re at it, let’s make sure Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Valley of Fire State Park and the other AMAZING natural resources around us get the funding, protection from vandalism and stupidity, and care that they need and deserve.

7. We could, just maybe, stop calling everything AMAZING even if it’s just a pretty cool and satisfactory arrangement.

8. Can we finally find some way to help the mentally ill that doesn’t involve a Greyhound Bus and a plastic bag full of anti-psychotic medications?

9. And speaking of the mentally ill, we should be working on a way to separate those who will hurt themselves or others from their firearms. Something like, oh just spitballin’ here, a national registry of those who are mentally ill or are convicted felons? And when they try to buy guns, we check and see if they’re on that national registry? And if and when they are, we don’t give them unlimited amounts of firepower?

10. Let’s stop blaming teachers for everything that’s wrong in our schools. Teachers work hard. They deserve our respect, not public shaming.

11. Let’s support the continued blossoming of arts and creativity downtown and throughout Southern Nevada. The Downtown Project folks may have made a couple of missteps, but they have done a lot to foster the arts here. And we have to acknowledge the fortitude and perseverance of artists who have been here for years and decades, and who are finally getting noticed by artists and art critics worldwide.

12. Let’s hope that the economy continues to improve, that people can find the jobs that they need to stay sane and healthy, and that investment continues to lift most boats down hereabouts. Also, advertise in free weekly periodicals and support archaic communication media like “ink” on “paper.”

And of course, let’s hope that everyone has an entertaining, fulfilling and most of all, safe new year. We love our readers, even (or especially!) the ones who send is vaguely threatening emails and post cards written in crayon. Peace. Namaste. Keep on truckin’. Hang loose. And Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

The staff at CityLife