Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, July 30, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, July 30, 2011 

STUART Tolchin..........On LIFE



HAIL Hamilton My Turn




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Clayton-Smith


Patricia Colonello




Richard Garcia


Lina Johnson

Ivonne Durant


John Aveny 


Jeff Brown

Pat Birdsall

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Ron Carter

Rev. James Snyder

Bobby Eldridge

Mary Carney

La Quetta Shamblee

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Meaghan Allen

Sean Kayden

Overcoming adversity should 

be praised not derided 

Yes, it’s true that when one buries his or 
her head in the sand what is left undefended 
above ground is an enormous (depending 
on individual body-type) vulnerable target. 
Sure, burying our head in the sand and 
ignoring what is going on around us may not 
seem like an acceptable solution to coping with the present-
day world; but from my point of view this position appears 
to be the posture of choice for a lot of us. If you picture what 
I am talking about, you will perceive a very peculiar land and 
humanscape indeed.

What I’m trying to say is that at this particular point in 
time the events around us seem so incomprehensible and 
frightening that perhaps the best thing to do is to ignore 
as much as possible and simply hold on to a few of one’s 
old accepted truths and to just go on living one’s life in an 
undisturbed and satisfied manner as possible. I think my 
neighbor up the street successfully lives this way. I am told 
he is a master craftsman who produces highly individual 
custom-made furniture and cabinets for his customers. He is 
an obviously intelligent and educated man with a graduate 
degree who works all day in his driveway or garage. I pass 
him a couple of times a day as I walk my dog in the morning. 
We have these short talks, wherein it quickly becomes obvious 
that we disagree about almost everything. He is a political 
conservative and an avid reader and believer of the New 
Testament. He listens on his radio to Rush Limbaugh for three 
hours every day and can recite the Limbaugh position on any 
point. I am in no position to ever question the accuracy of his 
interpretations of the Limbaugh philosophy or the accuracy or 
his interpretation of Scripture, but what I marvel at is that he 
never seems to experience doubt.

He is as certain about the after-life as he is about the evils of 
Obamacare. He seems to have a clear understanding of this 
crazy debt-ceiling business and is certain of the right course to 
follow. He seems healthy; his life seems to be working well, 
he exercises regularly and is in great shape. I, on the other 
hand, am unable to properly maintain anything including 
my own body. I am overweight, frequently out of breath, 
plagued by diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, dental 
deterioration, and a failing memory. (all this is on a good day); 
yet I am convinced that his way of being is inappropriately 
limited, while my way of living is preferable.

Contemporary brain scientists maintain that an individual’s 
experience of a rational united aware inner self does not 
correspond to present scientific understanding. They explain 
that, although individuals might experience themselves as 
some kind of united entity, really behavior, opinions and 
feelings are governed by many different internal locations 
of which we are consciously unaware. We are ruled by an 
unconscious; an unconscious which is often in conflict with 
itself, like warring political parties alternating in their power 
and influence. It all kind of reminds me of what seems to be 
passing for our own political system. The choice we might 
have at the conscious level is to try and be aware or to ignore 
the whole thing and maintain that we know what we are 
doing. Is this kind of unexamined life worth living? Many 
of us would probably say, “damn right” and hold on to our 
few time-tested opinions and beliefs, really not caring if these 
beliefs match the latest scientific or historical revelations.

As I struggle with my weight and health and continual 
disorganization, I sometimes long for that kind of certainty 
and power over my behavioral choices. I want to make 
changes but I cling to old habits. I respect my neighbor who 
sees no need for change because he is content and his life 
seems to be working so well. Really, I am certain only of my 
own uncertainty and might try and give that up if I knew 
how. At the same time I now believe that this uncertainty 
is reflective of the actual nature of existence. We are at war 
inside and outside.

One belief I cling to is that the weekly writing of these articles 
carries some importance. There is a message contained in 
these writings that is intended for you and for me. I think that 
message is something like, IT’S OKAY TO BE UNCERTAIN 
AND CONFUSED. It is the way things are. Maybe, it is better 
to go through life with eyes open and above-ground. At least 
that makes it more probable that we will notice if someone is 
sneaking up behind us.



 Last Wednesday the Los 
Angeles Times published, 
“Encouraged in the face of 
adversity,” a human interest 
story about one of my students, 
a teen mom, who had just 
graduated from Ramona High 
High School in East LA. It was a wonderful story about 
a wonderful young lady -- Genesis Diaz. 

However, I was surprised --and frankly appalled 
-- by certain insulting, contemptuous, and totally 
undeserved, comments about Genesis’ struggle to make 
a better life for herself and her daughter. 

How could anyone find fault in the story of a 17-
year old Hispanic teen mom from the barrio wanting a 
better future? Isn’t that what America’s is all about -- the 
opportunity for a better life? Isn’t that the reason why 
our ancestors came to America in the first place?

Sure, Genesis’s made some choices that might have 
been better, but she’s also taken full responsibility for 
them. She didn’t take the easy way out by getting an 
abortion or abandon her baby to an anonymous family 
from an adoption agency. Quite to the contrary, she 
accepted her situation and decided to make the best of 

Genesis spent three hours a day on three different 
buses with a baby to commute from South Central to 
go to Ramona High School, an all-girls year-round 
high school in East LA. And she did it because Ramona 
is one of the few schools in LAUSD that offers the 
special services needed by teen moms, and other “at 
risk” female students who would otherwise drop out of 
school altogether.

But completing her high school diploma wasn’t 
enough for Genesis, she wanted more -- much more. 
She had a dream, and she had a plan to make it come 
true. It was a simple plan: finish high school and go to 
college. And she did it, earning an overall 3.95 GPA.

The most onerous comments came from one 
disgruntled reader, “Julio Childers,” who described his 
best friend: “[He] grew up in East Los Angeles Rowan 
and Folsom and was not into gangs, did not have a child 
at age 15, was in the Escalante honor math classes and 
graduated from Garfield. He as a Mexican American 
from East LA and was not into the hoodlum culture 
those at Ramona High are.”

Not true. Some girls at Ramona do come from gangs, 
but the school strictly enforces its anti-gang policy and 
makes every effort to discourage gang affiliations.

Childers then attacks Genesis because of her 
immigrant background: “Merging harms Mexican 
Americans the most with those from Central America 
and Mexico, they are of different cultures. The name 
gave it away because no Mexican American will name 
their daughter Genesis. These are different cultures 
with different circumstances and Salvadorians have 
their own issues independent of Mexican Americans.” 

This is a stunning admission by a Latino of the 
current ethnic divide among Hispanics and the 
prejudice being directed against Central American 
immigrants, especially Salvadorians. 

There were also a number of frivolous complaints 
from readers about taxpayer money being wasted 
on these teen moms and their children, money that 
could be much better spent elsewhere in our troubled 
economy. But what better way is there to spend our 
national treasure than to invest it in the betterment and 
future of our disadvantaged young?

Of course, this means improving the quality of our 
public schools and expanding access to our colleges 
and universities. College may not be for everyone but 
no bright, talented high school graduate should be ever 
arbitrarily denied the opportunity to continue their 
education just because they can’t afford it. 

Genesis has earned her right to attend the college 
of her choice by successfully overcoming the almost 
overwhelming challenges faced by most teen moms 
and graduating from Ramona with honors. 

I can’t believe that America, the richest country in the 
world, is so short-sighted that the only option available 
for a teen mom, like Genesis, is a life on welfare or 
working at a minimum wage job. How can a nation 
that purports to praise excellence, initiative, and self 
reliance allow this to happen. But it is happening and it 
is happening much too often.

Genesis is a real-life urban hero, an outstanding 
example of someone pulling themselves up by their 
bootstraps. Her success is encouragement to all teen 
moms. She should be praised for her desire for a 
better life and for her determination to make that 
desire a reality. Genesis should be praised for her 
accomplishments, not derided. 

RICH Johnson


Methinks with all the attention 
paid to our legislators in 
Washington lately, it would be an 
opportune time to review some 
of the rules and regulations state 
and local legislators have lovingly 
passed into law on our behalf. 

First, let’s take a peek at Alaska (a very animal 
friendly state): For example while it is legal to shoot 
a bear, it’s illegal to wake one up to take its picture. In 
Anchorage don’t tie your pet dog to the roof of your car 
or you’ll pay. The Fairbanks authorities tell you to resist 
the temptation to give a moose a drink if the beverage 
is alcoholic. In Juneau, the state capital, you may not let 
your pet flamingo roam in your favorite barber shop.

Arizona will prosecute you if you hunt camels inside 
their borders. Not only is cocaine illegal, it is also illegal 
to manufacture imitation cocaine. So resist doing that. 
Don’t ride your horse up the county court house steps 
when you visit Prescott.

In Arkansas it is illegal for the Arkansas River to rise 
higher than the main street bridge in Little Rock. (How 
do they enforce that?) Guys and gals: Don’t flirt on the 
streets of Little Rock. You could spend 30 days in the 

Our home state, California, has put real thought 
into it’s statutes. For example, in Baldwin Park, it is 
forbidden to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool. In 
the upscale town of Carmel it is illegal for a buy to go 
outside wearing a jacket and pants that do not match. 
(I’d be in big trouble.) In Chico don’t plan on bowling on 
the sidewalk. It’s just plain wrong. And if you detonate a 
nuclear device in the city limits you’re gonna pay a $500 
fine. Don’t annoy lizards in Fresno’s City parks. The 
Glendale PD will stop you in your tracks if you drive 
your car in reverse. (I wonder if backing out of a drive 
way is illegal.) And if you want to drive sheep down 
Hollywood Blvd, you are limited to 2000 of them…at 
one time that is. In our fair city of Pasadena it is illegal 
for a secretary to be alone in a room with her boss. Let’s 
not forget that one. And ducks have the right of way to 
cross Rancho California Street in Temecula. 

I want to remind you again of my upcoming 
performances with JJ Jukebox. We are a group of guys 
who play music from the 1960s and 1970s such as the 
Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. Come join us and sing 
along. Wednesday, August 10th at Mary’s Market in the 
Sierra Madre Canyon for an evening barbecue, 6:00pm 
to 9pm. Contact Carolyn at 355-4534 for reservations 
or directions. Saturday, August 13, 6:00 to 8:30 we 
are playing at Corfu Mediterranean Restaurant, 48 
W. Sierra Madre Blvd. Call 355-5993 for reservations. 
Come sing along with us and enjoy really good food.

Finally, the local Comedy Improv group I am 
involved with will be performing that same week at 
CafÈ 322. The date is Thursday, August 11th at 7:00pm. 
CafÈ 322 is, coincidentally, at 322 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. 
Call 836-5414 for reservations. Let’s see, barbecue on 
Wednesday night, Italian food on Thursday night and 
Mediterranean food on Saturday night. I’d call that a 
balanced meal. You?

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REV James L. Snyder 

Mr. Uncle Sam, don’t touch my Apple Fritter

Curbing Bad Behavior: 

 I usually live life on an even 
keel. I once had an odd keel, 
but fortunately, I had the good 
sense to throw it back into the 
water from whence it came. 
I take pride in maintaining a 
certain sense of balance in my 
life. But, there are those times 
when all balance is thrown 
out the window.

 Just this past week when I was enjoying an unusually 
wonderful sense of balance in my life, the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage changed my whole demeanor.

 We were watching the news on television. When I 
say “we,” I am not insinuating in any regard that I was 
paying any attention whatsoever to what was happening 
on the television screen. I usually have a book in hand I 
am perusing while I am allegedly watching TV.

 Out of nowhere, I heard her exclaim, “They just 
wouldn’t do that.”

 I continued in my book and paid no attention to her.

 “What in the world is wrong with those people?” I 
heard her say.

 By now, my curiosity had gotten the best of me and 
I laid my book down and said, “What has got you all 
riled up tonight?”

 “Didn’t you hear what they just said?”

 “I’m sorry; I was looking at my book.”

 “Well,” she said in a very disgusted manner, “the 
government is thinking about taxing junk food. Can 
you imagine anything more ludicrous than that?”

 I always like to, at least try to think of the positive 
side of things. With the way our beloved politicians 
have been going these days, it is very hard to find the 
positive side. Although I am not in favor of taxes, 
I know that as a citizen I need to pay my fair share. I 
have no problem with that. I’m not, however, in favor 
of tacking on some new taxes. What’s wrong with the 
old ones?

 Then my wife said something that turned my 
thinking all the way around.

 “You do know what junk food is, don’t you?”

 That was a crazy thing to say. Of course, I knew what 
junk food was. I stay away from that food category and 
pride myself in eating healthy food every day. No junk 
food for me, thank you.

 I shrugged it off at the time and replied to my wife, 
“Oh well, the government has to do whatever it has to 
do in times like these.”

 “You do know that Apple Fritters are considered junk 
food by our government? And when they start taxing 
junk food they will be taxing your Apple Fritters.”

 “They don’t.”

 “They wouldn’t.”

 “They better not!”

 At this point, my even keel was experiencing some 
very turbulent tendencies. I try to be a good citizen 
but there comes a time when a person has to put his 
foot down. I had come to the point where as that old 
philosopher who said, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t 
stands no more!”

 What I want to say to good old Mr. Uncle Sam is 
simply; do not touch my Apple Fritters. Some things in 
life are sacred and for somebody to fool with them will 
only rile the anger of those religious people devoted to 
Apple Fritter Veneration. Believe me; you do not want 
the Apple Fritter Gang to get riled.

 The Creed of these Apple Fritter followers is simply, 
an Apple Fritter a day keeps the blues away. Nothing 
cheers the day like starting it with a freshly baked Apple 
Fritter. Regardless of the problems I have to face during 
the day, if I start with an Apple Fritter the day seems to 
go much better.

 Now, Mr. Uncle Sam, let me explain some of the 
facts of life to you.

 First, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” 
is one of the most famous phrases in the United States 
Declaration of Independence and considered by some 
as part of one of the most well crafted, influential 
sentences in the history of the English language. These 
three aspects are listed among the “unalienable rights” 
or sovereign rights of man. Everybody knows that 
the phrase “the pursuit of happiness,” is a reference to 
Apple Fritters. No more pure form of happiness exists 
then enjoying a freshly baked Apple Fritter.

 And another thing, why blame the lowly Apple 
Fritter on the debt problem? I have been associated with 
Apple Fritters most of my life and I have never known 
an Apple Fritter to spend money it does not have.

 I have given this a lot of thought. Apple Fritters are 
not responsible for the debt problem in our country but 
rather politicians are responsible. My thought is simply 
this. Instead of considering Apple Fritters as “junk 
food,” why not consider politicians as “junk politicians” 
and tax them. That would make much more sense.

 Out in the real world everybody operates along these 
lines; if you create a debt, you have an obligation to pay 
that debt and not shove it off on somebody else. The 
only ones who do this are all those “Junk Politicians” 
who have no sense of how much a dollar is really worth 
let alone where it comes from.

 I still stand by the words of Jesus. “And he [Jesus] 
said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the 
things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things 
which be God’s” (Luke 20:25 KJV).

 Mr. Uncle Sam, touch my Apple Fritter at your own 

 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He 
lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. 
Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.
net. The church web site is


by Ron Carter

It seems the more we age the faster time 
passes or maybe it’s because we place more 
tasks into our daily lives. As I post this blog, 
I realize the month of July 2011 ends this 
coming Sunday. How quickly the first seven 
months of the year passed? I reminisced on what has occurred in 
my life during this period year to date. I smiled, because several 
wonderful events have taken place. And, there was also one sad 
event. Last week my mentor and good friend Ralph McKnight, a 
husband, father, fastidious gentleman, intellect and a representation 
of everything good in the Pasadena community, passed away. Ralph’s 
death reminded me how important it is to pause and smell the roses, 
exercise, spend time with dear friends and family and most of all to be 
true to oneself by loving those who “really” look out for us. I will never 
be the same, because I met a selfless man named Ralph McKnight.

As I contemplate adding another meeting to my schedule, I plan 
on taking some time to spend a few quiet moments everyday with 
myself. I will close my office door (whenever I remember) and even 
turn off the lights to hopefully spend a few moments to rejuvenate the 
over-worked cells in my body. Today, instead of driving to one of the 
neighborhood restaurants – which is about a mile from my office – to 
have lunch, I walked. It felt good walking on Lake Avenue in Pasadena 
while I checked out the cars speeding by. Everyone seemed to be in 
a rush to get to their next appointment. It’s amazing how many of us 
are rushing through daily activities without regard for the wear and 
tear on our bodies.

I know that I’m not alone in thinking “Tempus Fugit,” the Latin 
words for “Time Flies,” because most of my colleagues complain 
insistently about where time has gone. It’s easier said than done, but 
I’ll say it anyway, “slow down even if it’s only for a few moments.”

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