Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, May 26, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 15




 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 26, 2012

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

HAIL Hamilton My Turn




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


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



The other day a 
Vietnam War vet 
friend of mine 
asked me if I’d ever written anything 
about Memorial Day. I replied that I 
had... but that it was back in 2007. I 
sent him the editorial. That night he 
called me on the phone and asked me if 
I could get it reprinted this year. Below 
is the piece as originally published. This 
was back when The Mountain Views 
News was called The Mountain Views-

 It’s hard to believe it’s been five years 
since I wrote that column. During this 
time there’ve been a lot of changes 
made at the paper-- all of them for the 
better, including its name change. I’ve 
seen a black-and-white weekly with 
a small readership of residents grow 
into one of the largest locally published 
weekly in the San Gabriel Valley with a 
readership of nearly 150,000. 

 That’s an incredible accomplishment 
for such a short time, and it is all due 
to the leadership of its Publisher, Susan 
Henderson, and a loyal staff dedicated 
to making The Mountain Views News 
the great paper it is today. So this 
Memorial Day take a moment to 
commemorate the fact you have such 
a well-written local source of news and 
commentary. Our community is truly 
blessed. We should all be proud.


 Patriotism is everywhere on 
Memorial Day. Flags fly and flowers 
decorate the graves of our fallen 
heroes. Red, white and blue bunting 
adorn the balconies of buildings and 
homes. Volunteers and Volunteer 
Organizations march in patriotic 
parades all across the nation. Patriotic 
speeches are made by politicians and 
military leaders. The President places 
a wreath of flowers on the Tomb of the 
Unknown Soldier. There are readings 
of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg 
Address. Memorial Day is also the 
start of the Summer Season. For most 
of us, however, Memorial Day means 
attending picnics and other outdoor 
activities, and consuming large 
quantities of hot dogs and beer.

 But what does Memorial Day really 
mean? Is it only about flags, flowers, 
hot dogs and beer? Or is it about 
something much larger and more 
powerful in the American psyche?

 Unfortunately, many of us have 
forgotten the true meaning of this 
important national holiday. 

 Memorial Day was originally called 
Decoration Day and was established 
as a day of remembrance for those 
who valiantly died in the American 
Civil War. Although there is evidence 
that organized women’s groups in 
the South were decorating graves of 
Confederate dead before the end of 
the war, Waterloo N.Y. was officially 
declared the birthplace of Memorial 
Day by Lyndon Johnson in May 1966 
a hundred years after the original 
commemoration. Of course at that 
time we were engaged in another civil 
war—this one fought in the streets of 
our nation over the war in Viet Nam.

 How Memorial Day originated 
is uncertain. The planned or 
spontaneous gathering of people to 
honor a community’s war dead in 
the 1860’s tapped into the general 
human need to honor all the war 
dead, each gathering contributing 
honorably to the growing movement 
that culminated in General John 
Logan’s official proclamation on May 
5, 1868. Three weeks later on May 
30, his General Order No. 11 was 
first observed when flowers were 
placed on the graves of Union and 
Confederate soldiers at Arlington 
National Cemetery. The first state to 
officially recognize the holiday was 
New York in 1873, in remembrance of 
the original 1866 commemoration at 

 So this Memorial Day, after 
consuming your allotment of hot 
dogs and beer, take a moment to 
honor the young men and women 
who throughout our history have 
answered the call to duty and 
sacrificed their lives on the alter of 
freedom. Reflect for a minute about 
the price these patriots paid with their 
blood, sweat and tears so we could 
enjoy this Memorial Day with our 
families and friends. Remember also 
that honor, duty and devotion to our 
nation in the defense of liberty is the 
price free men must pay to guarantee 
that freedom endures. As Lincoln said 
so eloquently at Gettysburg 144 years 

 “...It is rather for us to be here 
dedicated to the great task remaining 
before us— that from these honored 
dead we take increased devotion to 
that cause for which they gave the 
last full measure of devotion—that 
we here highly resolve that these 
dead shall not have died in vain, that 
this nation under God shall have 
a new birth of freedom, and that 
government of the people, by the 
people, for the people shall not perish 
from the Earth.”

 My birthday was 
about a month ago and both my wife and 
son gave me books as presents. I am just 
getting around to reading the books right 
about now as I have been struggling with 
another book for about 6 weeks. Hooray! 
I finished that book about a week ago 
and have acquired some new insights. 
This now finished book is called the AGE 
OF INSIGHT, The Quest To Understand 
the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain 
written by Eric R. Kandel.. Are you bored 
already? Really, you shouldn’t be. First 
of all, the book is absolutely beautiful. It 
is a very large, over 600 page, book that 
displays on its dust jacket a large copy of 
Gustav Klimt’s captivating, gold encrusted 
portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. If you are 
disinterested in descriptions of portraits 
and are more interested in the hard-truths 
of reality please be aware that another Klimt 
painting, the “Kiss,” was sold at auction in 
2006 for $88,000,000. That’s right; eighty-
eight million dollars.

 Perhaps this dollar quote will make this 
article a little more palatable for you. The 
book’s author is a Nobel Prize winning 
Neuro-Biologist with whom I first became 
acquainted on the Charley Rose program, 
wherein he was described as one of the 
smartest men in the world. Of course, 
also present with Kandel was another old 
scientist, James Watson, the co-discoverer 
of the structure of DNA, who was similarly 
described as one of the smartest men in 
the world. Unfortunately, soon after his 
appearance on the show Dr. Watson was 
interviewed and made some truly naïve 
and stupid remarks about people of African 
descent. These remarks totally ruined 
Watson’s career and stand as a lesson 
demonstrating the incredible limitations 
often demonstrated by seemingly intelligent 
and respected scientists. I believe the 
acceptable term used today is “domain 
specific” which means that, outside of their 
own narrow field of expertise, scientists 
don’t know nothin’.

 This limitation of contemporary scientific 
knowledge is ironically appropriate to the 
thesis of Kandel’s book. He asserts “that all 
visual art, from the ancient cave paintings 
of Lascaux to contemporary performance 
pieces, have important visual, emotional 
and emphatic components that we now 
understand on a new level”. That level is 
the presentation of material reflecting the 
unconscious unfettered by the rational 
constraints of the aware and socially 
acculturated mind. Over forty years ago I 
was very privileged to enter the now closed 
caves at Lascaux in the Dordogne region 
of France. These paintings of ancient 
animals, painted twenty thousand years 
ago on the curved rock walls of the caves 
are the single-most evocative art I have ever 
seen. The paintings are more than alive 
and contain a frightening naturalness that 
conveys the living experience of these pre-
historic painters. 

 Last year I saw a 3-D movie by Werner 
Herzog which explored and presented 
the newly discovered Chauvet cave 
paintings which are thirteen thousand 
years older than the Lascaux paintings. 
These paintings were created by ancient 
Cro-Magnon men over thirtry thousands 
years ago. The creators of these paintings 
arguably had no spoken language yet their 
paintings are expertly and magnificently 
executed. Some neuro-scientists assert 
that these paintings demonstrated that 
the human mind capacity had completely 
evolved more than thirty thousand years 
ago. Other researches postulate that 
these sophisticated paintings done prior 
to the time oral language evolved are a 
demonstration of artistic sensitivities and 
abilities, which were later lost with the 
coming language. Arguably man’s creation 
and utilization of language had been at the 
expense of the artistic ability manifested by 
ancient cave artists..

 The entire Age of Insight book is 
an exposition of the influence of the 
unconscious upon behavior. We may 
all think we are making decisions and 
exercising our volition, when actually the 
decisions to act have been made in our 
unconscious and have generally begun a 
full second before we have any awareness 
of our intention. Our experience of 
authorship is an illusion linked to our 
utilization of language, which fools us into 
thinking we are exercising free will.

 In my May/June issue of Ode Magazine in 
an article entitled “Exploring the Promise 
and Perils of the New Unconscious” it is 
stated in big red letters:

 “This reality is very hard for people to 
accept. People try to control their behavior 
by conscious decisions, but really it is only 
the illusion of control”

 Okay, so what do we do; or better, what 
can we do? First we should maintain an 
awareness that we have been mislead by 
science. Our educational system, which 
mainly emphasizes language abilities like 
reading, has deprived us of an awareness 
of the unconscious forces that are actually 
calling the shots. I’m afraid that over-
reliance upon limited scientists like James 
Watson has disempowered mankind 
and prevented us from making decisions 
with any real understanding of the way 
we function and how we have survived 
over the millennia. I believe it is the 
unconscious which links us all together and 
creates a community engendering mutual 
survival rather than a continuing state of 
war and destruction. Let’s hope we can get 
it together and then have the time to enjoy 
the presents we give to one another.

Mountain Views News 
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of Los Angeles in Court 
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Madre; in Court Case 
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Madre, California, 91024. 
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Views News and may 
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A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


RICH Johnson



 Have any weird relatives? My list of my weird 
relatives would take several pages. A shorter list 
would be my unweird relatives. Furthermore, 
I am sure I’m on every one of my relative’s weird 
relatives list. Remember, we are not alone in this 

 In a related cultural uniqueness, let me ask 
you if you have ever said anything really dumb? As any regular reader of my 
column can attest, I have with relative frequency. We all do. Dumb statements are 
everywhere. Of course politics is a hotbed for dumb statements. Here are some 
of my favorites:

 “We’ve got a strong candidate. I’m trying to think of his name.” Senator 
Christopher Dodd

 “China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.” Charles de Gaulle

 “People who like this sort of thing will find this is the sort of thing they like.” 
Abraham Lincoln

 “We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur.” Al Gore

 “I don’t intend for this to take on a political tone. I’m just here for the drugs.” 
Nancy Reagan (at a anti-drug rally)

 “The streets are safe in Philadelphia; it’s only the people who make them unsafe.” 
Frank Rizzo, mayor of Philadelphia (special nod to a very dangerous woman I know 
from Philadelphia)

 Sports is another part of our society wherein the occasional faux pas rears its 
often humorous head:

 “He must have made that {movie} before he died.” Yogi Berra (referring to Steve 

 “The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing.” Dizzy Dean (famous pitcher 
in the 1930s and 40s)

 “I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first.” George Rogers, 
New Orleans running back

 “I’ve won at every level, except college and pro.” Shaquille O’Neal

 “It’s almost like we have ESPN.” Magic Johnson on how well he and James Worthy 
play together

 Technology and industry have their fair share of blunders:

 “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olson 
(Founder of Digital Equipment Corp. 1971)

 “We went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with 
some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us?’ They said no. So 
then we went to HP, and they said, ‘we don’t need you. You haven’t got though 
college yet.’” Steve Jobs (Apple Computer founder)

 “$100,000,000 is way too much to pay for Microsoft.” Unidentified IBM executive 
in 1982 (Btw, As of February 2012, Microsoft was worth $285,000,000,000. That’s 
billion folks)

 And finally, does the name Dick Rowe mean anything to you? It probably won’t 
but his quote certainly will go down in history as one of the dumbest. 

 Re: the Beatles in 1962: “We don’t like their sound and ‘guitar music’ is on the 
way out.” Dick Rowe (Decca Records executive)

 In a follow up, Mr. Rowe was judging a talent contest along side George Harrison 
when George told him he should have a listen to these guys called the Rolling 
Stones. Without hesitation Mr. Rowe signed Mick Jagger and company.

 So, if you ever say anything dumb ever again, just remember you are in good 

Just when you 
think you have all 
of the idiots in the 
world organized 
and in their proper place, someone comes 
forth to challenge the number one position 
there might an epidemic of idiots in 
our world because there sure is a large 
amount and it seems to be growing every 

They come in a variety of sizes and shapes 
and dispositions. There are political idiots, 
religious idiots, celebrity idiots and just 
plain downright stupid idiots. Of course, 
the stupid idiots have somehow crossbred 
with all the other idiots.

I am not exactly sure what category the 
person is that I am about to tell you about 
because he could fit into many categories. 
A few years ago, a former senator from Nebraska 
(if you are from Nebraska you have 
my sympathy) announced that he was suing 
God. It really does not matter why he is 
doing God, I think it had something to do 
with terrorism in this world, but the fact 
that he is suing God for anything caught 
my attention.

I know what my mother used to tell me, 
that I should not call people names. However, 
I do not think my mother was including 
people such as I am talking about 
today. If it walks like an idiot, and thinks 
like an idiot, and talks like an idiot, it must 
be an idiot.

One of the first things that came to mind 
as I heard this story about suing God was, 
which God did this person have in mind?

Did he have in mind the popular conception 
of God? By that, I mean the God most 
people think of when they think of God. 
This God is a combination of Abraham 
Lincoln, good old Aunt Eloise who would 
not hurt a flea (much to the aggravation of 
her dog) and a series of fairytale characters 
that all end in "and they all lived happily 
ever after."

I would not mind suing this God myself. 
The philosophy of this God is "do 
nice things and you will feel better about 

Or maybe he is thinking of the God of 
his own imagination. This may be closer 
to the truth. Most people make up an image 
of God in their own mind, which has 
nothing to do with reality. Most of these 
people if reality ever had the occasion 
to enter their mind the shock would kill 

Of course, if he is suing the God of his own 
imagination, isn't he really suing himself?

I am just wondering if this former senator 
from Nebraska has ever heard of a book 
called the Bible. And, has he ever read it?

It amazes me how many people form an 
idea about God and have never read the 
Bible. Consequently, they have no real 
conception of God, only what they heard 
other people say.

For example, when things go bad people 
always blame God but when things go 
right they congratulate themselves on a 
job well done. If you want to blame God 
for the bad, then give Him credit for the 
good. It only makes sense, however when 
we are dealing with idiots common sense 
and sound reasoning are out the window.

As I was thinking more about this matter 
of suing God another thought hit me. How 
do you swear God in?

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth, so help 
you...aaah... so help you...aaah... so help 
you, Yourself."

If somehow we can get past the swearing 
in, what idiot would accuse God of some 
atrocity and then want God to tell "the 
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but 
the truth?"

I have known many idiots in my day and I 
cannot think of any one that really want to 
hear "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing 
but the truth." What they want to hear 
is what they want to hear, and they do not 
want facts to get in the way.

The other side of the matter is what if God 
would counter-sue? I mean, turnabout is 
fair play.

"Your Honor, I have checked My records 
and I did give this man brains. What he 
did with it only man knows. As far as My 
records are concerned he hasn't used his 
brain since the second grade."

God continues His argument, "I also gave 
this man other talents and abilities along 
with an instruction manual so he would 
know how to use them. According to My 
records, he has never read the instruction 
manual. As far as I can see he has used his 
talents and abilities for selfish purposes 
and not to glorify Me."

The question I want to pose to this former 
senator is, does he really want God to tell 
"the truth, the whole truth, and nothing 
but the truth"? Is he sure his closet is absolutely 
free of skeletons?

There must be something more idiotic 
than suing God, but at the moment, I cannot 
think of anything. No man ever born 
of woman will ever judge God, but God 
will judge every one.

Jesus said, "But I say unto you, That every 
idle word that men shall speak, they shall 
give account thereof in the day of judgment." 
(Matthew 12:36 KJV).

Then the apostle Paul made this observation, 
"So then every one of us shall give account 
of himself to God." (Romans 14:12 

I'm not too concerned about what people 
think about God, I want to know what 
God thinks about me.

Mountain Views News

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