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LATEST NEWS
October 31, 2017 - Halloween
Grandkids and their Halloween Costumes
Rob and Desiree's three sons - Dracula, Tiger, Policeman
Kevin and Angie's two daughters - Dalmatian and Mermaid
Jared and Melissa's - Witch, Spiderman and a Pirate
Mike and Steph's - Sheriff Callie and the Bandit
October 20 - Video of the Total Solar Eclipse
We were fortunate to meet Mr. Marco Cosmacini from Italy at the Terreton Idaho LDS Stake Center on the day of the total solar eclipse in August. Marco set up two cameras to catch the eclipse. One looking toward the sun (and those of us watching the eclipse) and another on a small telescope capturing the sun. In the video below he merged the video of the sun with the video of the screen and synchronized the two videos into one. This video starts a couple of minutes before total eclipse and ends a couple of minutes after total eclipse. Capturing the Sun's image during a total eclipse requires some experience to get the settings correct. This was Marco's third eclipse and he put that experience to work here in capturing a marvelous event. The video below is a low resolution version suitable for the Internet. He provided me a high resolution version starting about 15 minutes before total eclipse and ending about 15 minutes after. Thanks Marco for sharing these wonderful videos."
Eclipse Video
Halloween - Costume Time
Presenting the grandkids in their 2017 Halloween Costumes
August 21 - The Great American Total Solar Eclipse
Sherry and I, along with two other families from our ward made our way to Terreton Idaho for the Great American Eclipse of 2017. This was my first total solar eclipse and it was "Fantastic!"

I had selected Terreton Idaho as the best location as it was close to the "center line" (maximum eclipse duration). Totality was short as solar eclipses go. In Terreton, just 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Many variables control eclipse duration. Among them are:

(1) Distance from the earth to the moon. The further away the moon is the shorter totality is. In fact, the moon can be so far away that there is no totality. Such an eclipse is known as Annular Eclipse. A bright ring of the sun remains around the dark moon.

(2) Distance of the observer from the center-line

(3) Where in the overall path of totality the observer is. If you are in the middle of the path, you get longer totality. For this eclipse that point was in Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois. 2minutes and 40 seconds.

The local time for totality at Terreton was 11:33 am Mountain Daylight Time.

The Terreton Idaho Stake was kind enough to allow the use of their bathrooms for this event. They also offered picnic tables in their pavilion. The area here is quite flat allowing us to see the so-called 360-degree "sunrise" in all directions. Note to my Thai Friends: southeast Idaho has a strong LDS population (about 50% just like Salt Lake City). Thus, a rather small farm town like Terreton can be home to an LDS stake.

The first photo shows the solar corona around the eclipsed sun and the fake sunrise off in the distance. During totality with binoculars, I saw the planet Mercury (for the first and only time in my life).

As totality ended, a brilliant "diamond ring" common to solar eclipses was displayed. We did not see Bailey's Beads - perhaps because of the larger than the normal distance to the moon. [ A video from nearby Wyoming also showed Baily's beads were absent].

I didn't take a portable thermometer to Idaho for the eclipse, but the drop in temperate was very noticeable. Back at home in Sandy, Utah, my weather station is always collecting data and sending it to my computer. The eclipse started about 10:15 am. The temperature at home at that time was 81 degrees (27.2 C). From there it dropped to 75 degrees (23.8 C) just before noon. In the Salt Lake area, the sun was 91% obscured. That caused a 6-degree temperature drop (3.4 degrees C). From that point, it rose like on a normal summer day.

I would guess that the temperature in Idaho (under a totally eclipsed sun) dropped 10-12 degrees Fahrenheit. That is another truly remarkable effect of a solar eclipse.

I made a new friend at the eclipse. Marco from Italy. He and his family also ended up at the Terreton Stake center. This was his and his spouse's 3rd eclipse, but first for their son Leonardo (see photo). As unbelievable as this all seems, Marco and his wife both work for Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation where I worked in the 1980s. Today the company specializes in planetarium projection systems. Marco had a sophisticated scope with a solar filter. He took a one-half hour of video of the eclipse that includes totality. I look forward to receiving a copy of his video. See the family photo below.

The photo below features Sherry and me along with the Baker's from our ward in Sandy Utah. We are looking at the sun with our solar glasses as the moon was passing in front of the sun before totality.

Bakers(L) Haslams(R) view the moon moving in front of the sun prior to totality
Marco from Italy with his wife and son
Kelly Wall from my ward took the following panorama photos. They dramatically show the 360 degree sunrise during totality. The view here is to the south The horizon in all directions looked like this.
The eclipse was in process at this point, but had not yet reached totality. Sort of an "eerie daylight"
This panorama view was taken during totality. Note the local "darkness" while it was daylight at the horizon.

On the way home, we had a Thai dinner at the home of Hal and Connie (Kanungnit) Merritt in Blackfoot, Idaho. The best Phad Thai I've ever had in the U.S. Hal was my second senior companion. We served in Khon Kaen, Thailand, in 1973.

It was an amazing experience. I now understand why people travel all over the world to witness “A Total Eclipse of the Sun”.

July 24 - Pioneer Day in Utah

I love a parade. I have that gene in my genome. Nevertheless, I was not motivated to attend the most attended event of the Pioneer Day celebration, "The Day's of '47 Parade." Over the years a critical element of the parade "pacing" has been sorely lacking. What is "pacing?" it is ensuring that there is never much distance between parade entries. The greatest parades in the United States: (1) Pasadena Tournament of Roses and (2) Macy's Thanksgiving Day, always do a great job at spacing. Not so for Utah's biggest parade and that's sad. Secondarily ever since the decision to run the "TRAX Light Rail System" right up main street (where the parade used to be presented) the ability to enjoy the parade has decreased. That was a bad decision. TRAX should have gone up 200 West into the city and gone underground from 500 south onward (like the system in Atlanta works).

This year a member of the First Presidency, President Uchtdorf, returned to lead the parade. Last year Elder Ballard performed that duty, the only time I can remember where it was not a member of the First Presidency.

I watched the parade on recorded television. There were some very fine floats this year. The two best in my opinion appear below. The "Theme" was "Visions on a new Horizon". It was odd that multiple float builders decided that perhaps a recreation of the steamship "Horizon" that brought many Saints for Europe to the United State would fit that theme. Secondarily, because of the way in which "the people" chose many of the parade awards, it was beyond understanding how a float with no animation won the award for the best animation. Say what?

I can only hope the Days of '47 organization looks seriously at restoring the Pioneer Day parade to its old glory before my life is over.

The people's and children's choice for best float. West Jordan Mountain View Stake
One of the floats featuring the ship "Horizon" - Draper Suncrest Stake
For additional and better images see 2017 Day's of 47 floats
June 25 - July 2 - Southern California Vacation
This year was the Hanks turn to take a vacation with Grandpa and Grandma. They selected Southern California as their chosen destination, so we took up residence for a week at Dolphin's Cove Anaheim.

New things we learned: The Hank's oldest daughter (age 4) is fearless, roller coasters are her passion. After getting off Space Mountain at Disneyland she said "That was Awesome!" While she is a picky eater, her younger sister is not! The young one eats just about anything and everything, generally leaving little left on her plate. She loves the Merry-Go-Round and cried every time it was time to get off!

Grandpa was impressed with the design of the motion base for "Soaring Around the World" (formerly Soaring over California") There are 3 bays if seats, each bay has 3 rows of about 12 people each that are hoisted in the air. Thus about 100 people are served on each trip. Each bay is connected to a motion based that generates motion felt by the riders. A dome screen provides video "with inserted simulated elements" as a dozen or so places around the globe are visited including: The Matterhorn, Paris, Wild Animals in Africa, Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, the South Pacific, Utah's Monument Valley, and ending at Disneyland, Anaheim California, during the nightly fireworks.

World of Color at California Adventure was also well done as was their main Roller Coaster California Screaming

Not much new at Disneyland, but the old favorites are still there.

We also love Sea world San Diego (or Orlando). The Killer Whale show is being phased out and today is simply an educational event about the Orcinus Orca. Angela achieved her dream of swimming with the Dolphins in the training pool where new Dolphins are trained. Her group included just two sisters from New York with a similar dream.

Here are some of our favorite photos:

The Newport Beach California Temple Newport Beach Stake Center adjacent to the temple. At 11:00am we joined in with about 260 visitors!
In front of Snow White's Castle The Hanks with Mickey himself
Nothing like meeting Rapunzel and her prince (Disneyland) In front of Mickey's Fun Wheel (California Adventure). Finally a Ferris wheel that can load 3 cars of 6 people at once.
The old carousel (Disneyland) Dumbo existed back in 1957 when Grandpa first went to Disneyland
Sherry and grand-daughters at King Triton’s Carousel (California Adventure) The Hanks with Lightning McQueen (Cars Land - California Adventure)
Kevin and his little girl (Huntington Beach) Sand Castles (Huntington Beach)
Sherry and grand-daughters at King Triton’s Carousel (California Adventure) The Hanks with Lightning McQueen (Cars Land - California Adventure)
Angie and the Youngest (Huntington Beach) Grandpa gets wet with the oldest (Huntington Beach)
June 28, 2017 - SeaWorld San Diego
Angie finally gets to Swim with Dolphins
Angie takes a ride holding the dorsal fin Angie hugs her favorite animal
Dolphin Clips
Orca Encounter - The New Educational Program
April 15, 2017 - A celebration of Easter?
Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. So where did the Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs come from?