When we moved to the Valley in 1978, I knew there were concessions to be made in order to live the "sunshine life."At first, we noticed there was no daylight savings time, only one freeway and virtually no left-turn signals.

Local folklore had it that it was Barry Goldwater's fault. He thought that since cows and chickens couldn't tell time, changing the clock wouldn't make any difference, that freeways would make Phoenix another L.A. and that he would rather make three right turns any day in order to avoid acknowledging that he really wanted to go "left"!

As you can imagine, our eyebrows were up.

As we cozied up in our suburban stucco with Navajo white walls, we couldn't help but notice that we lived alone. In fact, all we could hear sometimes were voices coming from behind six-foot concrete walls. Every now and then we would see sparkling clean new cars and SUV's with blackened windows dart into garages that closed quickly behind them.

No house party. No block party. However, lots of Republican parties! In fact, these parties seem to never end. There was the impeachment party of Gov. Evan Mecham for campaign finance fraud, the conviction and resignation party of Gov. Fife Symington for bank fraud, the $700 million alt-fuel debacle party under Gov. Jane Hull that almost bankrupted Arizona, the SB 1070 party, etc. It has been a really strange ride.

I'm not sure how many locals know this, but until the 1960s Arizona was a Democratic state... like in the color blue. It wasn't until all those "party animals" from the Midwest showed up that the Arizona Republican Party found its footing on those social issues supported by these Bible Belt conservatives.

So, you may ask, why did we hang around in such a bastion of progressive thought and simply not move on to the "Left Coast?" Well, our reasons included: This is really good sunshine; the Valley normally is not severely affected by a national recession; we created a life; and, finally, we were too lazy to pick up and move.

So we decided to get a life in "Wing-Nut Valley." You can too. This survival guide has worked for us, but not all of our recommendations may work for you. Here's how we have created a lifestyle that surrounds us with happy thoughts and positive influences.

Visualize that your pool is your beach. Surround it with palm trees, outdoor bars and built-in barbecues.

No matter what happens, always stay positive and take ownership in the belief that life is an evolution and that things will get better over time.

Consistently apply the "hug test" when meeting prospective new friends. If they don't hug back then they're not your friends.

Eat good, healthy food and work out on a consistent basis. Try natural remedies for illnesses prior to taking prescription drugs.

Read lots of books written by men with beards and women with smiles on their faces.

Find your spiritual self outside of organized religion.

Eat at Mexican restaurants where they will appreciate your opposition to SB 1070.

Watch MSNBC or CNN for national news; Channel 12 for local news; and, of course, read the East Valley Tribune for my commentaries! Never, never, ever turn on Fox for any reason.

Always vote for the most liberal candidates. If you can't tell who is the most liberal, vote for the Democrat.

Be sure to tell your significant other, your children, your extended family members and your closest friends that you really, really love them.

Remember, as Belinda Carlyle sings, "Heaven is a place on earth." Let's treat it that way.

• Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler

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