Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, May 4, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 15



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 4, 2013 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder

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


 The great pastime of 
America throughout the 
years has been sports. 
Americans have been 
ingenious in turning 
something simple into 
a sport for everyone to enjoy. I must say I have 
enjoyed my share of sports.

 When younger, I was a baseball fan. I went 
to as many games as possible. The Stadium in 
Baltimore Maryland was just a few minutes from 
my house so I could visit it often, and I often did. 
I did not really care who won the game as long 
as it was a good game played, not to mention the 

 The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage accused 
me of going to ball games just to eat hotdogs. 
Whenever I would return from a ballgame the 
first question would be, not who won the game 
but, “How many hotdogs did you eat?”

 If the truth was known, and you will not get 
it from me, many a hotdog sacrificed itself at 
a ballgame. After all, when you are watching a 
ballgame, who has time to keep track of how 
many hotdogs you are eating?

 I did have a moment of anxiety once when my 
wife threatened to weigh me before the game and 
then weigh me after the game to see if I had eaten 
too many hotdogs. When she first mentioned it 
I laughed, but I noticed she was not laughing, 
which caused me some deep concern.

 Fortunately, for me it never got to that, but 
came perilously close.

 Nothing is more relaxing on a Saturday 
afternoon than sitting in a ballpark watching a 
ballgame in progress. Somehow, all the cares of 
the world seem to flutter away while watching 
the game.

 It all ended for me one summer.

 I had come into the house from some chore 
and my wife greeted me by saying, “Do you know 
your ball team is on strike?”

 I looked at her, laughed and said, “I know. 
They get three strikes and then they’re out. That’s 
the way they play the game.” I winked at her and 
laughed good-naturedly. “Finally,” I said to her, 
“you’re coming to understand what the game is 
all about.”

 “No, you don’t understand. Your team is on 

 “I get you, and this Saturday I’m going to go 
and watch them strike again.”

 It took me a while but finally my wife got 
through the thickness of my skull and got me to 
understand the strike she was talking about was 
not the strike I was talking about. It is always nice 
when people are on the same page.

 In a marriage situation, the biggest challenge 
a couple has is staying on the same page. Even 
though the husband and wife might be reading 
the same book, for some reason wives have the 
ability to read three or four chapters ahead. When 
a husband tries to correct her she impatiently 
says, “We were on that page last week. Try to 
keep up.”

 Try as we might, it is a rare husband who can 
keep up. But we try.

 When I got up to the same page as my wife 
about the baseball team on strike, I was feeling 
rather low. “What do you think about your 
baseball game now,” she taunted.

 As it turned out, the baseball team was actually 
out on strike and if I remember correctly, we 
missed the whole season that year. They were on 
strike for, you will never guess, more money.

 Up to that point, I thought the players played 
because they loved the game. Boy, was I on the 
wrong page with that. I went to games because 
I love the game and it did not matter to me who 
won or lost as long as it was a good game.

 Now, to find out that my heroes, if you can call 
them such, were primarily interested in money 
was disheartening. I have never been able to 
watch a game since with the same excitement I 
did before.

 Why can’t we just have fun? Why does life have 
to be such a battle? Why can’t we have a baseball 
game just for the fun of it?

 Recently, I attended a baseball game at the 
local high school. I thought I would just go and 
enjoy the game. I did not know any of the players; 
I just wanted to enjoy the game.

 Then I met an unfamiliar phenomenon of high 
school baseball. Parents of baseball players!

 The game started as normal but soon the air 
exploded with shouting and yelling in the stands. 
I did not quite understand what all the noise was 
about at the time. Two women, imagine that, 
got in a fistfight over the ballgame! They were 
mothers of two of the players on opposite teams.

 That was just the beginning of the shouting 
and the yelling that afternoon. As I walked away, 
I sadly shook my head and said to myself, “Why 
can’t we just have fun?”

 I believe the Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes 
explains it well. “I have seen all the works that are 
done under the sun; and, behold, all was vanity 
and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 1:14 KJV).

 Some are so caught up in the vanity and 
vexations of life that they never know what it is 
like to just enjoy life. Why can’t we just have a 
little bit of fun?

Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. 
E-mail His web site is www.


 Today has 
been really 
for me. Prior to that time I 
was really disturbed by the 
entire country’s reaction to the 
bombing which occurred at 
the conclusion of the Boston 
Marathon. Every reference 
to this bombing described 
the perpetrators as deranged 
monsters infected by the disease 
of radicalism. I understand, but 
rather than treating “radicalism” 
as pathology I think it would 
be appropriate to at least make 
an attempt to understand the 
thought processes of radicals. 
Perhaps understanding may 
lead to a kind of solution that 
will allow Americans to feel 
more secure while addressing 
the criticisms that people from 
other cultures direct toward 
us. Before we allow the United 
States to metamorphize into 
a martial state wherein we are 
regularly searched, monitored, 
and photographed, it certainly 
makes sense to look at ourselves 
from different perspectives.

 The recent tragedy in 
Bangladesh wherein hundreds 
of garment workers were killed 
while employed creating clothes 
for the more privileged people of 
the Western World was a horrible 
reminder of the disparities that 
exist in today’s world. Reading 
about this tragedy resulted in 
me thinking about the bombing 
from a different viewpoint. 
I read that the workers of 
Bangladesh, employed making 
cheap clothing for us, earn on 
the average thirty-eight dollars 
a month. Think about this while 
you think about the marathon. 
Can we understand that, for 
some, a marathon is seen as 
a run to nowhere by people 
scantily clad in their underwear 
as they gather in the famous 
cities of the world? How does 
that look to the great percentage 
of the world that lives in 
poverty without food, water, or 

 I believe that there are 
enough assets to go around in 
this world and the real problem 
is improper distribution. 
Horrible inequalities do exist 
and will continue to exist but, 
at least, there should be some 
attempt to understand what 
other people experience. Will 
America, focusing on the 
need to protect itself, simply 
demonize its perceived enemies 
and voluntarily allow itself to 
be imprisoned by fear? I think 
the major solution to world 
problems is communication. 
There is a great deal to be 
gained through non-aggressive 
conversation --- more than can 
be gained through attack, war, 
and hatred. At the beginning 
of this article I mentioned that a 
couple of things have happened 
to me today that have left me 
feeling pretty encouraged. 

 In the afternoon I drove to the 
Kaiser medical facility to order 
refills of the medication I must 
take daily. There is construction 
in the parking lot and Security 
officers are stationed to direct 
traffic. Another vehicle did 
not notice the Security Officer 
and turned right, almost hitting 
me. The driver of the car, a 
woman about half my age, 
glared at me and honked her 
horn. After we both parked 
our cars, she charged up to 
me and began screaming and 
cursing. The anger in her eyes 
was truly frightening. I became 
very upset and screamed at the 
woman using similar words to 
the word she directed at me. She 
charged ahead walking into the 
facility and I followed behind. 
The incident activated one of my 
many medical conditions, atria 
fibulation, I guess, and I began 
breathing hard and perspiring. 

 Still I followed my young 
tormentor and waited in the line 
behind her. As we waited in line 
she suddenly turned toward me 
and looked up at me and said, 
“I’m so sorry. I just didn’t see 
the guy directing traffic. I’m just 
having a bad day.” Now there 
was no anger in her soft brown 

 What did I do then? I started 
to loudly sob and I couldn’t stop.

 What did she do? She hugged 
me - that’s what - and she kept 
on hugging me. After I stopped 
crying we exchanged a few 
words and I told her I was going 
to try and write an article which 
included our incident. She gave 
me her e-mail address and I’m 
going to send her this article 
and perhaps she’ll reply and I’ll 
have a new reader or even a new 

 Later, another incident 
happened at the Pasadena 
Library. As I drove through 
the parking lot a car suddenly 
started to back out of its space 
and almost hit me. I beeped 
my horn and the car stopped 
without hitting me. The driver 
pulled back into her space but 
would not look up or make eye 
contact. Eventually the driver 
got out of the car and I said, 
“Parking lots are frequently just 
a place waiting for accidents to 
happen.” The driver of the car, 
a young woman, turned toward 
me and said “I’m so sorry”. I 
just learned to drive and I was 
thinking about my psychology 
test. Thank you for saving me.”

 Well that’s the end of today’s 
stories. These incidents give me 
hope. It’s a better feeling. 

Mountain Views News 
has been adjudicated as 
a newspaper of General 
Circulation for the County 
of Los Angeles in Court 
Case number GS004724: 
for the City of Sierra 
Madre; in Court Case 
GS005940 and for the 
City of Monrovia in Court 
Case No. GS006989 and 
is published every Saturday 
at 55 W. Sierra Madre 
Blvd., No. 302, Sierra 
Madre, California, 91024. 
All contents are copyrighted 
and may not be 
reproduced without the 
express written consent of 
the publisher. All rights 
reserved. All submissions 
to this newspaper become 
the property of the Mountain 
Views News and may 
be published in part or 

Opinions and views 
expressed by the writers 
printed in this paper do 
not necessarily express 
the views and opinions 
of the publisher or staff 
of the Mountain Views 

Mountain Views News is 
wholly owned by Grace 
Lorraine Publications, 
Inc. and reserves the right 
to refuse publication of 
advertisements and other 
materials submitted for 

Letters to the editor and 
correspondence should 
be sent to: 

Mountain Views News

80 W. Sierra Madre Bl. 

Sierra Madre, Ca. 

Phone: 626-355-2737

Fax: 626-609-3285




GREG Welborn


“Bluffing is a great strategy, except when it’s not.” I 
can’t remember who said this, but it’s one of those 
great – almost Yogi Bera-esq quotes – that capture 
a life lesson in a few simple words. I do know 
that it was first postulated many decades ago, but 
it almost perfectly applies to the situation into 
which President Obama has placed himself with 
his rash pronouncements concerning Syria.

Not long ago, Barack Obama took to the 
opportunity of a very public address to announce 
that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad using chemical 
weapons would cross a “red line” and be a “game 
changer”. In case there was any potential for 
misunderstanding, Obama clarified by stating, 
“I’ve made it clear to Bashar al-Assad and all who 
follow his orders we will not tolerate the use of 
chemical weapons against the Syrian people, or 
the transfer of those weapons to terrorists”. This 
was just last month, and he concluded with the 
ominous threat, “the world is watching; we will 
hold you accountable”.

It would take an ignoramus not to realize that as 
a line in the sand. It’s the equivalent of betting 
all the money you’ve got on the hand of cards 
you hold in an effort to demonstrate just how 
confident you are that you will win. Of course, 
if your hand is as strong as you’re implying, then 
there is very little risk to this strategy. But if you 
hand is weak, you’re bluffing, and everything 
depends on your opponent folding. If they don’t 
fold, you lose two ways.

First, you lose that hand; but secondarily, and 
more importantly, by losing that hand you’ve also 
communicated that you bluff when your position 
isn’t that strong. You lose the ability to bluff in 
the future, and you geometrically increase the 
necessity of backing up what you say in the future. 
Any future threat or promise must be kept or you 
lose all credibility.

That is unfortunately where President Obama has 
lead himself and the rest of the nation. Syria’s 
Assad has now used chemical weapons in his 
fight against the rebels seeking to dislodge him 
from power. The Israelis have evidence, as do 
several other western nations, and now our own 
intelligence community has evidence of it. The red 
line has been crossed, and the world is watching 
to see what the American President will do.

Nothing is what the American President is 
going to do. Lest there be any doubt about that, 
Obama held a press conference to walk back 
his earlier comments. Now, the intolerable and 
game changer means that we’ll ask the U.N. to 
investigate. As surreal and naïve as that sounds, 
it is exactly what the American President has told 
the world he meant by telling Assad he’d better not 
use chemical weapons. 

Oh boy, there’s going to be hell to pay. Assad, like 
a little boy testing him mom, touched what he 
wasn’t supposed to touch, and mommy is going 
to… call for an investigation? Sends quivers down 
my spine; that’s for sure. Obama announced 
that he will now ask the U.N. to conduct a 
comprehensive investigation to confirm that 
Assad has crossed the line. The likelihood that the 
U.N. will be given timely and unfettered access to 
the killing fields is less than the likelihood of snow 
in hell. The bottom line is that there seems to be 
no practical, significant 
consequence to defying 
this president, and that 
is a very dangerous thing 

Now, I am not without 
sympathy for President 
Obama. There is ample 
evidence to suggest that 
toppling Assad’s regime 
will result in worse 
mayhem than if he’s 
allowed to stay in power. 

The opposition forces in Syria include elements 
of Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Both 
are jihadist factions that would like nothing better 
than to have another foothold in the Middle East 
and access to chemical weapons. That is a very 
real possibility, perhaps even probability, if the 
Assad regime falls.

What’s obvious is that President Obama didn’t 
think through the consequences of his strategy 
and actions. If he had no intention of brining 
about the end of the Assad regime – and I don’t 
necessarily disagree with that conclusion – then 
he shouldn’t have threatened to do it if the red 
line was crossed. On the other hand, if he was 
willing to let it fall, then he should have taken a 
more active part in preparing the successors to 
that regime. There should have been a lot more 
nation building. But this is something anathema 
to Obama and other liberals.

To assume that we, the United States, have the 
right to determine the composition or general 
philosophy of another nation’s government is in 
their minds unthinkable and morally repugnant. 
Liberalism dictates that we must accept the 
legitimacy and goals of any government, no 
matter how repugnant, repressive or cruel. 
Liberalism rests on the assumption and principal 
that all nations are morally equivalent and 
equally credible. So enshrined is the principal 
in Liberalism that the U.N., whose members 
include more dictators than democrats will decide 
whether Assad can kill his own people and defy 
the norms of civilized behavior.

But that is not all that is at stake. Obama’s 
credibility is on the line elsewhere. Iran was told 
just last month “as President of the United States, 
I don’t bluff”, supposedly as a stern warning that 
developing nuclear weapons would not be allowed. 
Obama has committed himself to action in Syria 
and in Iran if certain red lines are crossed. If one 
country is allowed to cross its red line without 
meaningful consequences, do we really suppose 
the other won’t cross theirs? Of course they will.

Obama’s naïveté, inexperience and outright 
fecklessness have destabilized an already unstable 
region. It has lost Egypt and Libya, pushed Syria 
further into the hands of Jihadist extremists and 
strengthened the hands of the Iranian Mullahs. 
Bluffing is no substitute for commitment and 

RICH Johnson



 I love dogs. And I like the fact that 
Sierra Madre is dog friendly. The citizenry 
certainly takes advantage of it, particularly 
in the downtown area. Any late afternoon and evening you 
will see a constant parade of dog owners being tugged around 
Kersting Court and beyond by their dogs. I find it particularly 
enjoyable when a small dog sees a large dog and immediately 
goes postal on the big dog. I wonder what the big canine 
thinks. Of course, the only defense a small dog has against 
a big dog is his bark. His bite would only trim the dog’s paw 

 What I don’t like about dog friendly are the owners 
who refuse to take responsibility to pick up after their dog. 
Anybody else step in the stuff getting to their car? Just last 
weekend, right outside one of the local eating establishments, 
was the residue of a dog conducting his business. A trail of 
stepped in “you-know-what” led right up to the door of the 
restaurant. Yum! In fact it was at that very spot that a local 
couple recently told me of their plight with the local dog 
owners. It seems they had the audacity of putting a “No Poop” 
sign in their front yard. Maybe you can guess what happened. 
People started tossing their poop laden bags next to the sign 
in these people’s front yard. 

 I’ve been told by people who tabulate these sort of statistics 
that the average dog will produce a couple hundred pounds 
of “waste” a year. How many dogs are there in Sierra Madre? 
Don’t know but I bet it piles up (sorry). Some municipalities 
have gone so far as to require dogs to submit to DNA testing. 
That way if they find an abandoned supply of “waste” it can 
be analyzed and the guilty parties can be suitably punished 
hunted down and punished.

 My fix would be easier. People out walking their dogs would 
have to show proof, when asked by the property authorities, 
that they were carrying little plastic bags with which to deal 
with the canine by-product or be given a $100 citation. What 
say you?

 So as not to end on a down note here is proof that men are 
like dogs:

 Dogs can hear a can of food being opened from half a block 

 Dogs look dumb and lovable at the same time

 When you want to play, dogs want to play

 When you want to be left alone, dogs want to play

 Dogs love you if you rub their tummy

 And dogs leave their toys everywhere.

Mountain Views News

Mission Statement

The traditons 
of community 
newspapers and 
the concerns of 
our readers are 
this newspaper’s 
top priorities. We 
support a prosperous 
community of well-
informed citizens. 
We hold in high 
regard the values 
of the exceptional 
quality of life in our 
community, including 
the magnificence of 
our natural resources. 
Integrity will be our 

LEFT TURN with Howard Hayes 
will return next week