Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 20, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 17



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 20, 2013

JOE Gandelman........Independent’s Eye

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




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Pat Birdsall


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


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

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Jasmine Kelsey Williams




Monday, Tax day, Patriot day, Jackie Robinson 
day and of course, Boston Marathon Day 
was definitely a day filled with special omens 
and lessons. My task and your task is to try 
and figure them out. The day for me started 
with awakening anger about the fact that the 
basketball game which could determine the fate 
of the Lakers was not available on Direct TV. 
For those of you who couldn’t care less this game to true Lakers 
fans was highly significant. At the conclusion of the preceding 
game the amazing, tremendous, invulnerable, invincible Kobe 
suffered a catastrophic injury. There was 1 minute and 43 seconds 
when Kobe went down and the score was tied. If the Lakers lost 
this game they were almost surely out of the playoffs. Amazingly 
the Kobeless team struggled to a surprising victory and managed 
to win the next game against fearsome San Antonio.

 On Monday night the Utah Jazz was scheduled to play 
Minnesota. A loss by the Jazz would allow the Lakers to reach 
the playoffs no matter what the result of the Lakers final game 
on Wednesday. I desperately wanted to watch that game which 
was not available without a special NBA package. While driving 
to Downtown LA for my first Court Appearance I unsuccessfully 
tried to contact Direct TV in order to make arrangements to 
watch the game. All I could get were taped messages telling me 
to call other extensions which were equally unhelpful. Arriving 
downtown, I climbed behind a fence, a shortcut I have been 
using for about forty years. After a couple of hours I returned 
via the same route and there on a patch of mud were my car keys. 
Strange I had lost them without even knowing it. Of course I had 
no other set of keys and it would have been disastrous if I was 
without keys. Finding the keys that I did not know I had lost was 
another omen—a strange occurrence that indicated to me that 
someone or something was watching over me whether I knew it 
or not. Maybe it’s a message.

 At lunch I continued my unsuccessful search for a Direct 
TV office. From Information I obtained addresses that turned 
out to be non-existent. I ended up in South Pasadena and went to 
Burger Continental for lunch, something I had never done before. 
Surprisingly at lunch I said a few words to the server. She related 
the story of her brother who had been kidnapped in Mexico. She 
left her family here and went to Mexico and paid over a great 
deal of money. Eventually he was returned missing a kidney and 
suffering. He soon committed suicide and the server returned 
to Pasadena only to learn that her husband had left her and run 
off with a younger woman. We hugged and she cried. Another 
female customer observed this scene and came over and hugged 
me. Believe me having strange women come over and hug me 
is not a common occurrence in my life. This felt to be another 
message indicating that being available to other people is a reward 
in itself.

 After lunch, back to Court, where as I left the building at 
the end of the day I first heard of the Boston Marathon Bombing 
from the Security Guards. I was concerned but not deterred from 
my quest to see the Utah Jazz game. I found a restaurant and 
called my wife and as far as I can tell we were the only people in 
town who watched the Jazz unfortunately win the game. The next 
day there was a knock on the door downstairs. I live way up in 
the canyon and no one ever comes to the door. A man needed to 
park in the driveway as he was doing some work across the street. 
He recognized my name from my newspaper articles and I invited 
him into the house and we talked for a few moments. I learned 
that his family was from Belorussia which is where the City of 
Tolchin was located and where my grandfather and father were 
born. I had never before met a person from Belorussia and we 
talked and I soon realized that his father and my grandfather had 
swum across the same river to escapes the Russian draft. As we 
talked about this discovery he noticed a painting upon our wall 
which depicted seemingly entranced Hispanic villagers dancing 
around a cactus. This man was born in Paraguay to which his 
father had migrated and he said something about the Circle of 

 If there is any point to my articles, which I sometimes 
doubt, it is that I believe that all these seemingly unrelated details 
that make up our days are all part of some huge abstract mosaic 
which gives us hints on how to live. Sometimes we have to do 
difficult things; years ago we had to swim across frozen rivers; 
today, sometimes we must persevere in order to view a basketball 
game and tomorrow we must demonstrate our adherence to 
Democratic principles and the civil rights of our inhabitants even 
when it is frightening and inconvenient to do so. Perhaps that was 
yesterday’s message as understood today.

Once again it happens 
with sickening suddenness 
-- a jolting shock 
that alters and cruelly 
mocks our assumption 
of "normalcy." 

On a weekend when 
the news cycle focused 
on North Korea's rising 
threat, the struggle to 
enact gun control and a dumb written comment 
about the -murdered-by-the-Nazis Anne Frank 
by self-absorbed teen singer Justin Bieber, the 
venerable Boston Marathon run ended in horrific 
bomb blasts. The result: at least three dead 
(including 8-year-old Martin Richard who was 
greeting his dad at the finish line), at least 176 injured 
-- and at least 25 missing one or more legs. 
With two flashes, the first successful terrorist attack 
on a U.S. City since Sept. 11, 2001 shoved the 
issues of national security and life's uncertainty 
to the forefront.

Immediately after the bombing, President Barack 
Obama made a brief statement that included this: 
"I've updated leaders of Congress in both parties, 
and we reaffirmed that on days like this there are 
no Republicans or Democrats -- we are Americans, 
united in concern for our fellow citizens." 

Oh, really? 

 It soon became clear that some on the left immediately 
began speculating that it was right-
wing terrorism. Some on the right suggested it 
was Muslim terrorists. And -- proving that not all 
nuts are on the shelves at Whole Foods -- right-
winger Alex Jones and left-winger Cynthia McKinney 
both hinted that somehow the government 
was involved. Many Americans talk about a war 
on obesity. How about a war on stupidity?

The fact is this: just as America has hurtled into 
the 21st century with all of the technological, 
cultural and economic changes that this kind of 
progress entails, the American lifestyle starting in 
the 1950s began to take a hit with mass killings 
and terrorist attacks and attempts. As a result, 
places where Americans can feel totally safe have 
dwindled. Rule out skyscrapers, walking on a university 
campus, being in a university hall, in high 
school, in elementary school, watching a movie, 
going to a fast-food restaurant -- and more.

It was inevitable that sooner or later there would 
be an attack on some big sporting event and for 
years writers have speculated on attacks at other 
venues, such as malls. Our sense of vulnerability 
increases as the venues of safe havens decreases 
-- even though the odds are low of being a victim 
of a terrorist attack.

In 2012, Robert Bailey of Reason estimated the 
odds of an American dying in a terrorist attack 
were 1 in 1.7 million. Other estimates from websites 
over the years varied -- one had it one in 9.3 
million worldwide. Others higher.

But odds matter little to the dead, injured and 
grieving families of terrorism's and murder's victims. 
Terror is just that: a murder-political technique 
designed to ostentatiously end in a body 
count that will terrorize, influence, bully or demoralize 
a populace and/or government. After a 
while there is a sameness where the murderers all 
seem the same and seemingly spawn each other. 
Right terrorism seeks the same dead body message 
as left terrorism and even incidents start to 
look the same.

The Daily Beast says former FBI counterterrorism 
investigator Mark Rossini saw some "disquieting" 
similarities between the Boston bombing 
and the March 2004 Madrid train bombings that 
killed 191, injured 1,800 and turned out to be 
the handiwork of a terrorist cell inspired by Al 

In these kinds of horrific events, the names and 
political positions of the murderous groups may 
change. Because evil doesn't only come in different 
forms. It copies and clones itself.

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for 
newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has 
appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-
in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for 
independents, centrists and moderates. CNN's John Avlon 
named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists 
and Commentators. He can be reached at jgandelman@ and can be booked to speak at 
your event at

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A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder

RICH Johnson



 Did you ever have a day 
when everything went so 
well that you could not 
believe you were awake? I 
have dreams of times when 
everything goes perfect. Then, I awake to the 
reality of the world around me. I guess everybody 
dreams of at least one perfect day.

 Last week my dream came true... or almost.

 For no apparent reason I awoke from sleep 
feeling quite happy. I had no explanation for this 
giggly feeling of mine. I do not normally rouse 
myself from sleep with a chipper attitude. Just ask 
my wife. On second thought, don’t.

 I just was in such a good mood that I broke out 
into song, which my wife threatened to end my 
life if I did not stop it immediately.

 I did not try to psychoanalyze myself and think 
that perhaps this was the beginning of senility or 
something. I just accepted it as a great day to be 

 One of my basic philosophies of life is, don’t 
look a gift horse in the mouth; after all, he might 
have bad breath.

 This particular day nothing could bring me 
back to earth. I was all but literally dancing on the 
clouds and I cannot dance. But it was a good day 
to be alive and know it.

 Very nonchalantly, the Gracious Mistress of 
the Parsonage addressed me in a rather semi-
informal manner. “Would you run to the store 
and get me something?”

 Being in such a high spirit, I sang my 
affirmative answer to her in spite of her glaring in 
my direction. I did not care. I would have jumped 
over the moon if she had asked at the time. Lucky 
for me, she did not ask.

 I was in such a good mood that I thought a 
shopping trip would be okay. Let it be known that 
when it comes to shopping, shopping and I go 
together like peanut butter and lobster tail. It was 
such a wonderful day and I felt so terrific I agreed 
to go shopping for my wife. Not that I needed a 
new wife, the one I have is fine, thank you.

 When I entered the store, I had a nagging 
feeling that something was wrong. Being in such 
a great mood that I was in, I shook it off and 
rebuked it firmly.

 In record time, I found the item my wife 
needed. Dancing and singing up the aisle, I went 
immediately to the checkout counter. When I got 
there, I found nobody there. On the counter was 
a bell and next to the bell, a sign that read, “Ring 
bell for cashier.”

 Being in such a great mood, I rang the bell 
to the tune of the song I was singing at the time. 
After all, happy is as happy shares, and I had my 
share of happiness at the time.

 Then I heard it.

 “All right,” growling from the back of the store, 
“I heard ya. I’ll be there when I get there.”

 If I would have stopped there, it might not 
have gotten out of hand. Being in the goosy-kind 
of mood I was in, I had to take it one step further. 
I stared at the bell until I could stare no more and 
then I broke out into song accompanied by the 
cashier’s bell. I wish you could have been there, it 
was spectacular.

 “I heard you the first time,” the voice exploded 
from the back of the store. “I’ll get there when I 
get there and not a second sooner.”

 I smiled to myself and reminded myself that 
nobody was going to spoil my mood of happiness 
today. Then I saw her stomping up the aisle 
towards the cashier counter where I was waiting. 
If looks could kill, and I am not so sure they can’t, 
I would have died on the spot.

 I do not think steam was coming out her ears, 
but I am not absolutely sure about that. I know 
there was fire in her eyes, which were focused in 
my direction like a laser beam. When she got to 
the counter she growled, “Are you the one ringing 
the bell?”

 With my finger on the bell, and nobody else in 
the store, it was hard to answer in the negative. In 
fact, it was hard for me to say anything while she 
was looking at me the way she was looking at me. 
She stared for a moment, at least it was something 
close to a stare that burrowed itself deep into my 
soul and that goosy-kind of feeling evaporated.

 “It’s customers like you,” she snarled, “that 
makes my day terrible.”

 She then looked at the one item I had laying 
on the counter for her to ring up. She looked at it, 
and then looked up at me and then looked back 
at the item on the counter.

 Hissing like I have never heard hissing before, 
“Is this what you’re making all that racket about?”

 Did you ever have a day when you felt like 
crawling into a groundhog hole and hiding until 
next February?

 On my way home from the store I thought 
about what David said in Psalm 23. “Yea, though 
I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me...”

 I can endure anything and anybody as long as 
God is with me.

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. 
He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs 
Shores. E-mail His web site is all means.

We’ve all said dumb things from time to 
time. Except for that guy in the back of the 

Frankly I’ve never heard that guy speak. 
He probably follows what may be of the 
best pieces of advice available: “Better to remain silent and be 
thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”. I think 
we can attribute that quote to Abraham Lincoln.

Good politicians are masters of not really saying anything. 
A White House spokesperson was once quoted as saying: 
“It’s not easy getting up here and saying nothing. It takes a 
lot of preparation” Ain’t that a fact. I feel for White House 
press secretaries. They must prepare up the wazoo to not say 
anything and act like they are giving out answers. Tough job.

You remember the Al Gore invented the internet faux paus? 
Well here is exactly what he said: “During my service in the 
United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the 

Thanks Al.

I think Ronald Reagan was doing a microphone check when 
he said: “My fellow Americans, I’ve just signed legislation that 
will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

Good job Mr. President. 

Frank Rizzo, the mayor our editors hometown once said about 
the city of brotherly love: “The streets are safe in Philadelphia. 
It’s only the people who make them unsafe.” 

Profoundly put Frank.

George Stephanopoulos (real name) said this when he was a 
Clinton White House aide: “The President has kept all of the 
promises he intended to keep.” 

The Rhode Island Governor, Frank Licht, had this to say 
during the 1972 presidential campaign: “Nixon has been sitting 
in the White House while George McGovern has been exposing 
himself to the people of the United States.”

Nixon won a landslide.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley during the 1968 Democratic 
Convention upheavals: “The police are not here to create 
disorder, they’re here to preserve disorder.”

Richard Daley, Mayor of Chicago for 21 years.

And finally, President Kennedy in his trip to Germany all those 
years ago should have said “Ich bin Berliner” which means 
“I am a Berliner.” What he did say was “Ich bin ein Berliner” 
which translated means “I am a jelly doughnut.”

Sweet Jack!

Have a good week everybody.

Mountain Views News

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