Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 24, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 5



Mountain Views News Saturday, November 24, 2012


By Christoper Nyerges

[Nyerges is the author of “Self-Sufficient Home,” “How to Survive Anywhere,” and 
other books. He can be reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or www.]

“What’s Going On?” 

News and Views from Joan Schmidt

November: National Children’s Book Week:

 For twenty-five years, I taught at Annunciation School, Arcadia, and during 
November, one bulletin board was designated to National Children’s Book Week-
the week before Thanksgiving. Throughout the year, reading was emphasized, 
and monthly book reports were required. But that week was special and we talked 
about different great books and authors-like Ray Bradbury who always came to 
annual Duarte’s Festival of Authors. 

 This year, headlining the 10th Annual Festival of Authors were best-selling 
crime writer T. Jefferson Parker, award-winning novelist Susan Straight, and 
celebrated poet, novelist, performer and activist, Juan Felipe Herrera as featured 
speakers. For our youngsters, there was a Kids Corner, where authors read from 
their books, told Halloween tales and talked about the magic of writing. They 
included Alva Sachs, I’m Five and On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!, Jason Silva, The Tale of Edgar Trunk, 
Chani Warnasuriya, Spooky Tales of the Orient, Evelyn De Wolfe, Conversations with Madame ZoZo, 
and Rob Robledo, How do you Hide a Dinosaur. Then Gerald Shiller, master magician and author did 
his amazing sleight of hand magic, and face-painting was available. Local favorites included Duarte’s 
Alan and Claudia Heller, Life on Route 66: Personal Accounts Along the Mother Road to California, 
Whisker Wisdoms by Alexander The Main Coon Cat as shared with Dr. Robert Jacoby, and U Touch 
I Tell, by Chi Hosseinion, which is a MUST for all parents. (The author herself was abused.) Joseph 
Borda had quite a display of pictures and his medals from serving our country. His book is Across the 
Seas. I cannot say enough about this event. It lasted several hours and there was so much to do with 
the guest speakers and entertainment during the day. There were so many varied authors to talk to 
and find out what inspired them. There was food available so it provided an all-day event for young 
and old alike.

 Another OUTSTANDING EVENT occurred around the Annual Festival of Authors. It was 
the 100th Birthday of Los Angeles County Library System! We are talking 88 available libraries 
to county residents. I live in 
the county area, and use Live 
Oak Library. It may be small in 
size, but “Good Things do come 
in small packages!” So many 
times, I found not only great 
books, but videos there. In Sixth 
grade Literature, we read from 
Watership Down and Phantom 
Tollbooth. As a treat, I brought 
the videos for the class to view. In 
March, we learned about Caesar 
Chavez. From the Duarte Library, 
I checked out No Grapes, and 
then assigned writing project, 
a Persuasive Article to boycott 
grapes. No matter which county 
library you belonged to, you 
could make a request and it 
would be obtained from one of 
the 88 facilities! So many times 
in class, we read a selection from 
our Literature books, and then 
the students went to the library 
to read the rest of the book. In 
Ancient History, I went down 
to Baldwin Park’s library-it had 
videos about all the civilizations. 
When students lamented there 
was no working computer at 
home, I pointed out the library 
had several, and a couple were 
designated as “reserve” ones to be 
utilized as needed.Throughout 
the year, there are so many 
special programs and events at 
the libraries-special story hours, 
contests, and much more!

 When Live Oak Library 
celebrated County’s 100th year, 
they had a party complete with cake, refreshments, balloons, games, prizes, book giveaways , little tote 
bags, and stuffed animals! My grandkids had a blast! Happy 100th Birthday, Los Angeles County 

 What happened to National Book Week? Way back in 1913, Franklin Matthiews, Librarian of 
the Boy Scouts toured America, promoting higher standards in children’s books. In 1916, with the 
aid of Frederic Melchior, editor of Publishers Weekly, and Anne Carroll, Superintendent of Children’s 
Works at the New York Public Library, sponsored Good Book Week. In 1944, the newly established 
Children’s Book Council began administering Children’s Book Week, but in 2008, it was changed from 
November to May. Well I am still celebrating books in November and will do so in May too! Reading 
is the key to learning!

 In the evenings of late December of 2008, I would often sit with 
Terumasa and Nami and have dinner together, often watching television, 
and always trying to converse with Terumasa. Terumasa was the 
friend of our house guest, Nami, and he was here from Japan for a short 
visit. He was a noble man who exuded greatness. I loved to be around 
him, and wished that our language barrier was reduced.

 One late afternoon, after we had the backyard memorial for 
Dolores, a few people lingered in the backyard and living room to talk. 
Terumasa sat there next to me, with Mel sitting there listening. Terumasa looked at me while we 
talked about Dolores. He said, “Christopher,” to gain my attention. 

 “Christopher,” he repeated with great concern in his voice.

 “Why are we born? Why are here? Why do we live this life? Why must we experience all this 
pain?” He paused. He was about to cry. He added, “Why do we die?”

 We were all silent for a few moments. Joe Hall looked at me, wondering what I would say. Joe 
had previously made it clear to me that he didn’t believe in reincarnation, so I suppose he wanted to 
see how I would respond. Mel commented, “Those are the questions, alright.”

 I nodded to Terumasa. What could I say? Should I offer my opinion as to the meaning of life 
and death in a few simple words with the attempt to cross the chasm of our English-Japanese divide? 

 “Yes, what is this all about?” I asked rhetorically. I felt that I was certainly able to intellectually 
approach those questions, but I did not feel emotionally up to it in that moment. 

 “Let’s talk about that some more soon,” was all I offered.

 Eventually, only Joe Hall and Mel remained talking, and when I finally walked Mel to his car, 
he turned and said, “We should get together and talk about Terumasa’s questions. I’d really like that.” 

 “OK,” I told him. “We will, but you have to promise to come.” Mel said OK.

 About a month later, we planned Boy Voyage party for Terumasa, who would be departing the 
following day. 

 We set up an outside table, with lights and a table full of dinner. Nami came up with Terumasa 
and we invited them to sit down. It took a little while for Terumasa to realize that this was a party for 
him. He laughed loudly when he realized this was his surprise!

 We filled our tea cups and touched them together for our toast, reciting words of love and 

 Then, after asking Terumasa about the details of his departure, and what he’d be doing back in 
Japan, we made the effort to answer his questions. Myself and my associate Prudence prepared with 
different parts of the book “Thinking and Destiny” by Harold Percival, along with our own insights.

 We didn’t want our bon voyage to Terumasa to become a strict metaphysical study, but rather we 
wanted to provide some preliminary answers to his serious query. It was as much for us as it was for 

 We decided that we were born upon this world in order to continue our spiritual evolution. Each 
of us added some comments to this, but everyone seemed to concur that this is why we are here, and 
which is why we are here to live this life.

 The subject of pain was much more complex. Yet, we denounced the notion that our pain is 
something given to us, or done to us, by “god,” as is so often averred by religious zealots. We men and 
women are the sources of pain on the earth, which usually come about by some violation of natural 
law, some breaking of the Ten Commandments, not abiding by the Golden Rule, and by partaking of 
the Seven Capital Sins. Our pain is the result of our own choices, and when we learn from our pain 
and our choices, we – if we are intelligent – learn to make other choices. 

 This was a big topic, but again everyone was in agreement that we bring our own pain upon ourselves, 
and that pain is largely unavoidable.

 Then we talked about death. Prudence read from “Thinking and Destiny” and pointed out that 
death can be a friend to our Spiritual Self, that our bodies are simply not destined to live forever, and 
that – like it or not – we will all die as part of our long progress towards spiritual perfection. 

 This was not wholly agreeable 
to all, but the topic of death is so 
full of emotion and opinion and 
religious dogma that we did not 
attempt to have agreement all 
around, and that was OK.

 By now we were feasting on 
some delicious Japanese fish 
and soup, and we gave Terumasa 
some gifts to take back to 
Japan. We all exchanged phone 
numbers and emails and we 
all hugged. It was clear to all 
that change was coming soon, 
and that this wonderful warrior 
would soon be gone. On the following 
Saturday morning, Terumasa 
flew away to Japan.

 [The preceding was an excerpt from 
Nyerges’ “Til Death Do Us Part?” 
book, available from Kindle or from]

Claudia and Alan Heller

Best Jacobi’s



After an odyssey of design and construction stretching across more 
than a decade, North America has delivered the last of the twenty-
five 12-meter dish antennas that comprise its share of antennas for 
the international ALMA radio-telescope array. This is an important 
milestone in the construction of a vast observatory that astronomers 
have already begun using to open up a “final frontier” of the spectrum 
of invisible light.

ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, stretches 
across more than 75 square miles of a high-altitude desert plain in 
northern Chile. The scientific communities of North America, Europe, 
and East Asia have banded together to build the observatory, and are 
sharing its $1.3 billion cost. When completed, ALMA will have a total 
of 66 antennas—25 from North America, 25 from Europe, and 16 from 
East Asia.

“We are delighted to deliver this final ALMA antenna from North 
America,” says Mark McKinnon, the North American ALMA Project 
Director at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in 
Charlottesville, Virginia. “It is a real testimony to the production team 
that we were able to overcome many technical challenges to complete 
the antenna delivery.”

Faint radio waves, emitted naturally by gas and dust in space, will be 
detected and measured by the antennas, with the measurements then 
processed by a supercomputer to generate images as detailed as would 
come from a single dish that was miles across. These images will give 
astronomers insights into previously invisible or unresolved processes 
of planet, star, and galaxy evolution, both nearby and across cosmic 

The technique of combining radio telescopes to form a virtual, high-
resolution instrument has been in use for decades. For example, 
the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) recently revitalized Very 
Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico uses this technique to explore the 
Universe as seen in centimeter-wavelength light. ALMA is the first 
VLA-scale array to attempt this feat at millimeter and submillimeter 
wavelengths. For these shorter wavelengths, an antenna dish surface 
must be more precise, able to maintain its parabolic curvature to 
within the thickness of a human hair amidst harsh conditions at the 
16,500-foot- high ALMA site.

Radio waves, including millimeter and submillimeter waves, are 
identical to light waves, except that their wavelength—the distance 
from one “peak” of magnetic flux to the next, or the peak of one “wave” to the next—is much longer. For comparison, the wavelength of a typical FM radio signal (at a frequency of around 100 megahertz) it 
is about 10 feet—compared to a wavelength of a very small fraction of an inch for light waves. Millimeter- and submillimeter-length waves lie between what we usually call radio waves and light waves, and 
in astronomy this portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is almost entirely unexplored.

Funding to build the 25 110-ton North American antennas was provided by the NSF, in the largest single procurement in the history of the foundation’s astronomy division. 

Once ALMA is completed next year, it is expected to serve as a state-of-the-art radio telescope for thirty years or more.

“This is a very exciting time in astronomy,” says Tony Beasley, NRAO Director. “With ALMA we are taking perhaps the greatest leap in observing power in the history of the science.”

You can contact Bob Eklund at:

Final North American ALMA Antenna Heads Up to High Site. Photo Courtesy: NRAO/AUI/NSF, Carlos Padilla