Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 16, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page A:5



Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 16, 2013 


WILD” By Christoper Nyerges

[Nyerges is the author of “How to Survive Anywhere,” “Guide to Wild Foods,” 
and other books. You can learn about his books and classes from School of 
Self-reliance, Box 48134, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or www.ChristopherNyerges.

(PASADENA) The Tournament of Roses 96th 
Rose Queen and her court may be on a whirlwind 
schedule, but they weren’t too busy to 
stop by for their annual tea with the girls living 
at Hillsides. 

Rose Queen Ana Marie Acosta, who attends 
Polytechnic School, and the six Rose Princesses 
visited Hillsides’ auditorium on the charity’s 
main campus in Pasadena on Thursday, 
November 7, 2013 for an afternoon of crafts, 
fresh fruit, vegetables, cookies, and Dots 

The afternoon was a huge hit for the girls of 
Hillsides, who enjoyed every minute of their 
“royal treatment.”

 “I love meeting new princesses every year. I 
want to become one myself,” said one Hillsides 
teen who had participated in the tea for five 
years. She had been counting down the weeks 
until the event for over a month, and she was 
thrilled that the day had finally arrived.

The afternoon started with the Royal Court 
introducing themselves, each providing her 
name, age, school, and favorite food. When 
Princess Sarah Elizabeth Hansen, 19, who attends 
Pasadena City College, shared the fact 
that she liked pizza, she received applause and 
laughter from the audience. 

Hillsides Director of Community Resources 
Laura Kelso encouraged the Hillsides girls 
to stand up and share the same information, 
which some willingly did. When one 
girl was hesitant to introduce herself, Queen 
Ana stood up with her so it would lessen the 

After the introductions, the girls decorated 
frames with stickers, colored markers, and 
patterned duct tape, with the Queen and Princesses giving advice and using the time to get to know 
the girls. “It’s beyond special being able to inspire, help or provide giggles to girls, and can keep you 
beaming for days,” said Princess Elizabeth Woolf, 17, from La Canada High School. She said community 
service was ingrained in her by her parents, who encouraged her to participate in service at 

“The Rose Queen and Royal Court is an amazing Pasadena tradition, and we feel fortunate Hillsides 
is able to share in it,” said Hillsides chief executive officer, Joseph M. Costa. “This annual visit is something 
the girls look forward to, and we can’t thank the Tournament of Roses Association enough for 
making it happen.”

The Rose Queen and her Royal Court make more than 100 community and media appearances during 
their reign, culminating with the 125th Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game. The Hillsides 
tea, which lasted from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m., was the last of two events on the day’s schedule.

Hillsides is a premier provider dedicated to improving the overall well-being and functioning of children, 
youth, and families in need. For more information about Hillsides, please visit www.Hillsides.

For the first time, I watched an episode of “Man vs. Wild” with Bear 
Grylls. Yes, I have heard about it for years, and yes, I have seen young 
teenagers drooling over their Bear Grylls’ knives, and yes, I even saw Mr. 
Grylls doing some silly act on the Jay Leno Show. But I had never watched 
the “Man vs. Wild” show.

 I expected some great lessons on survival, and relevant topics on how to protect myself and my 
family from the many threats within and without. I expected entertainment also; I mean, it’s television 
after all. But I naturally assumed that with all the popularity of this show, it would have something 
useful, interesting, relevant, and imminently valuable to share. Boy was I wrong!

 During the one episode I watched, I don’t think I saw any useful survival skill that I would ever be 
in a position to employ. In fact, most of it would be categorized as what NOT to do! Furthermore, 
there was no sense of purpose or reason to what the man was doing. OK, he was dressed a bit too neat 
and clean and he was on this quest for water in the desert.

 He jumps into a deep rocky hole looking for water. Really? A “survival expert” would never have 
jumped into such a chasm in this dangerous manner since a real expert could have seen there was no 
water in there merely by looking. But you do get to see him scramble out of the hole. OK, so he has 
athletic abilities, but not the wisdom to demonstrate what not to do.

 He then dug a little hole in a dry stream, which is indeed a spot where you’d find water. I have done 
just that many times and dug deep enough to where water would seep in, clarify on its own, and then 
I could drink it. But Mr. Grylls, instead, proceeded to pack wet sand into the sock he just took off his 
foot and squeeze the sock to get out a few drips of water. Really? Again, a real expert would not do 
that, and the bad thing about the show is that someone will leave thinking that is a bonafide survival 
skill. He’s appealing to the lowest common denominator of thrills and grossness but he didn’t show 
real useful skills, and he could have, and he should have.

 Folks, it only got worse.

 Next, he is purportedly wandering along and found some debris in the desert. Looks like some 
hang-glider crashed here, he tells us. Really? All the gear was relatively new – not worn out and 
weather worn like you’d expect to find in the desert. And lo and behold, he found just the right 
amount of debris to rig together a little three wheel cart and then the old parachute was used so the 
wind could pull him along. Very ingenious yes, but the debris was most certainly planted there, and 
the likelihood of anyone ever actually fashioning such a vehicle from found objects is so remote as to 
be laughable. In fact, I began to ask my friend if the show was intended to be comedy.

 There were numerous dangerous maneuvers when one could have taken a safe route. He chooses to 
whirl around edges of a mountain on his supposedly-found parachute cord, rather than just hike the 
safe and sure way around. He squeezes through holes in rock when he could have safely gone around. 
And he quickly makes a bundle bow to shoot a rock tied to a string to a distant hill so he could hang 
on the rope to get to the distant mountain. Really? He would have done far better simply by tossing 
the rock. But most of the purported skills seem faked. I could not help but wonder how many naive 
teenage boys will die when they try to duplicate what the “survival expert” on TV did. 

 And part of my point is, there was no point! Grylls chooses danger when there are obviously 
many safe ways. You survive not by taking ridiculous and unnecessary risks, but by thinking your 
way through a situation and choosing the wisest route. This was bad TV, bad advice, there was no 
real drama and no point to Mr. Grylls’ wanderings. Is the show really popular? If Mr.Grylls is really 
the expert he is made out to be, why does he allow himself to be paid to demonstrate the antithesis 
of “survival”?

 Before we turned off the pointless show, my viewing companion and I watched as Mr. Grylls took 
two aluminum tubes and purported to make a fire piston. He stuck a little bit of some sort of tinder in 
one end, and hit one tube of aluminum into another and magically produced a glowing ember. Folks, 
that was as phony as they come. If any of you have tried to get an ember with a fire piston, you know 
that everything has to be “just-so,” and even then it will be very difficult. This was just one more staged 
aspect of a phony show that is not even good entertainment. 

 We turned off the TV and found it far more enlightening and enriching to discuss Paul Campbell’s 
latest book on the Universal Tool Kit. 

 And what of the hour or so I spent watching Bear Grylls? Well, as Alan Halcon likes to say, that’s 
an hour of my life I’ll never get back.

Rose Queen Ana Marie Acosta chats with a 
girl living at Hillsides during a visit from the 
Rose Court to Hillsides.


ARCADIA-- Nathan Chou, a senior at Arcadia High School, earns a rare perfect score on his Advanced 
Placement Calculus Exam. Of the 3,938,100 AP exams taken in 2013, Chou was one of just 11 
students in the world that reached perfection on the AP Calculus BC Exam. Nathan answered every 
multiple-choice question correctly, and earned the maximum scores on each of the essays in the free-
response section of the exam. 

“We are very proud of Nathan and his amazing accomplishment,” said Dr. Brent Forsee, Principal 
at Arcadia High School. “We have some of the best students in the country attending Arcadia High 
School, and Nathan is a proud example of that.”

The Advanced Placement Exams are written and scored by college professors from around the world, 
and are typically designed to cover a full-year of intensive, college-level knowledge and skills, so it is 
very rare for a high school student to earn every point possible on the exam. With nearly 4 million AP 
Exams taken in 2013, in subjects ranging from Art History to Calculus and Physics, the percentage 
of students receiving a perfect score is extremely low. This astonishing result is characterized by the 
College Board’s AP Program as “an extraordinary academic achievement.” In total, more than 104,000 
students took the AP Calculus BC Exam in 2013. 

Nathan has received nothing but A grades since attending Arcadia High School, and is very active in 
the school’s many academic clubs. Chou is a member of the Math Team, Science Bowl, Quiz Bowl, 
Science Olympiad, and Physics Team. He also has been in the Arcadia High Symphony Orchestra for 
the past four years playing the violin and piano. Chou, a National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist, 
also speaks Mandarin and Spanish in addition to English. He also enjoys competing in website coding 
competitions, and has designed and developed academic student support websites with his friends. 
Nathan’s proud parents moved to Arcadia before he was born, because they wanted him to be educated 
in the Arcadia Unified School District. Before attending Arcadia High, Nathan was a student at 
Baldwin Stocker Elementary School and First Avenue Middle School. 

“Being in the Arcadia Unified School District has allowed our son to fully develop his potential,” said 
Nathan’s Father, Wen-Feng Chou. “There is certainly a lot to celebrate, but I think as a parent I am also 
proud of the district. This proves our public school system really works.” 

Born and raised in Arcadia, Nathan also traveled to Taiwan over the summer for a short-term mission 
and helped children learn English. He also enjoys playing the piano for his church. 

While Nathan, “did not see this coming at all”, he was quick to thank all his teachers, especially Kerry 
King (his AP Calculus teacher), his parents, and his friends for all their support and encouragement 
over the years. 

Nathan is excited to continue his academic studies in college, but has not selected which university 
he will attend. 


Unique event is hosted in Crevelling Lounge by PCC Small Business 
Development Center

Pasadena, CA – The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Association of Health 
Underwriters are hosting an Affordable Care Act Enrollment Fair on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 
from 2pm to 7pm in the Crevelling Lounge at Pasadena City College at 1570 east Colorado Boulevard 
in Pasadena. Insurance professionals from the Pasadena Chamber and LAAHU will be on hand to 
assist the public in enrolling for health insurance through Covered California. The event is provided 
free of charge as a program of LAAHU and the Pasadena Chamber. The Pasadena City College Small 
Business Development Center is hosting the event with the Chamber and LAAHU. 

Those wishing to discuss health insurance needs and sign up under the Affordable Care Act can 
make an appointment to meet one-on-one with an insurance professional at either 2pm, 3:30pm or 
5:30pm. Anyone wishing to RSVP should call 626-795-3355. There is no cost to attend and no cost 
for consultations, advice or assistance in signing up for health insurance under Covered California. 
20 Covered California Certified Insurance Agents will be available to assist the public. Some will be 
Spanish speakers. Parking is available in the student lots at PCC for $2. The venue is easily accessible 
by public transit, as well. 

Individual insurance experts, certified by Covered California, will be on hand to talk confidentially 
with individuals about coverage and insurance costs. They will also be able to assist with enrollment 
under Covered California, including for Spanish speakers. 

“The ACA Enrollment Fair is an opportunity for the public to sit down with an insurance expert to 
ask questions, find out about coverage and the cost, and take the hassle out of enrolling,” said Dierdre 
“Dede” Kennedy, LPRT, CHRS, President of LAAHU and Vice President of Polenzani Benefits and 
Insurance Services, LLC. “We ask the media to help us get the word out that many Pasadena Chamber 
and LAAHU members are certified and stand ready to help. For those unable to attend we suggest 
they visit and click on Find an Agent to find an exchange certified agent in your 

The unique event is being hosted by Pasadena City College and the Pasadena City College Small 
Business Development Center. It is sponsored by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and the Los 
Angeles Association of Health Underwriters. 

“The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce is pleased to partner on this one-of-a-kind event and be able 
to help experts from among our membership and the LAAHU to assist people in signing up for health 
insurance under Covered California and the Affordable Care Act,” said Pasadena Chamber CEO Paul 
Little. “We appreciate LAAHU and our professional insurance provider members who are donating 
their time to assist people in signing up for health insurance coverage.” 

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association is a professional business organization. 
Since the earliest days of Pasadena, the Chamber has played a major role in the development of this 
internationally renowned city. Since 1888, when the organization was founded as the Board of Trade, 
the Chamber's primary purpose has been the enhancement of both the business climate and the quality 
of life in Pasadena. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce serves 1500 members.