Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 26, 2015

MVNews this week:  Page 12




Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 26, 2015 


Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown

Tis the season for champagne and sparkling wine, 
so I continue my month-long review of bubbles 
with an old friend, Chandon Brut. I first met this 
brut at Market City Caffe (now in Burbank only). 
I enjoyed it by the glass and was, and still am, 
impressed by the crispness and light tannins. We 
lost touch with each other through the years – no 
fault of theirs; I just became a little adventurous, I 
guess. The song, thankfully, has remained the same, 
and maybe the lyrics have changed just a bit, but 
for the better. The house of Moet Chandon owns 
the winery lock, stock, and barrel, which I think is 
a win-win for the wineries, as well as for you and 
I, the consumer. It adds a real French touch to the 
winemaking process. The grapes included come 
from the Yountville area of the Napa Valley. 

 Chandon Brut is made in the traditional 
méthode champenoise process whereby the wines 
are individually bottle-fermented before being 
riddled and disgorged. The wine is made up of 
pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier, and 
aged for at least six months to give it a rich citrus 
and pear taste that I feel produces a round and full-
bodied wine - you might even catch the scent of 
freshly baked bread or a bite of apple. A holiday 
hint for you: pour the cold bottle of Domaine 
Chandon into a room temperature flute, free of 
dish soap. This will allow the bottle to mature 
in the glass, and for under $20 you might just be 
seeing stars while not breaking the bank! I give 
two hearty thumbs up for this California Sparkler. 
Enjoy it with red grapes, crackers and goat cheese, 
and maybe some fresh calamari, if you can find it! 

Closure: Corked

Dills Score

Each week I will give you my Dills Score. Starting 
with a base of 50 points, I added 8 points for color, 
8 points for aroma or “nose”, 8 points for taste, 
8 points for finish, and 9 points for my overall 
impression, which includes my value rating.

Total Score 89

 Retails for $18.00, on sale for around $14 at area 

Next week my annual 10 Ten list


Pulitzer Prize Winners

Fiction: All the Light We Cannot See by 
Anthony Doerr. 

History: Encounters at the Heart of 
the World: A History of the Mandan People by 
Elizabeth A. Fenn.

Biography or Autobiography: The Pope and 
Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the 
Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer. 
General Nonfiction: The Sixth Extinction: 
An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolber.

National Book Awards

Fiction: Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles.
Non-fiction: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the 
World and Me.

Poetry: Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of 
the Sable Venus.

Young People’s Literature: 
Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep.

Newbery Medal and Honor Books

Medal winner: The Crossover by Kwame 

Honor Books: El Deafo by Cece Bell, illustrated 
by Cece Bell and Brown Girl Dreaming, by 
Jacqueline Woodson.

The Hugo Awards for Science Fiction

Best Novel: The Three-Body Problem by Liu 

PEN Literary Awards

Debut Fiction: The Dog by Jack Livings.Science 
Writing: War of the Whales: A True Story 
by Joshua Horwitz.

Biography: The Queen’s Bed: An Intimate 
History of Elizabeth’s Court by Anna Whitelock.

Royal Society Prizes for Science Books

Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the 
Heart of the Planet We Made, Gaia Vince 

International Book Awards

Art: Mariano’s World: The Life and Art of 
Mariano Rodríguez Tormo by Carmina Rodríguez 

Best New Fiction: A Life in Books: The 
Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley by Warren Lehrer.
Biography: After the Holocaust: In Spite of 
Everything, I Remain an Optimist, Remembering 
Noah Flug by Bettina Schaefer,etc.

Childrens’s FIction: Anung’s Journey: An 
Ancient Ojibway Legend as told by S. Fobister, 
authored by C. Nordgren.

Children’s Mind/Body/Spirit: How The 
Trees Got Their Voices by Susan Andra Lion.
Children’s Non-Fiction: Master the Arts! A 
Kid’s Activity Book about Italian Masterpieces by 
the National Gallery of Victoria.

Fiction: Mystery/Suspense: The Alcatraz 
Rose: A Lawrence Kingston Mystery by A. Eglin.

Spirituality: This. Only This. Mindfulness 
Strategies for Discovering Peace in Every Moment 
by Michael H. Brooks.

Edgar Awards for Mystery

Best Novel: Mercedes by Stephen King.

Best Fact Crime: Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, 
and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by 
William Mann.

Young Adult: The Art of Secrets by James 

Best First Novel: Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom 

The JAB Awards for Excellence

Fiction: A Time to Kill by John Grisham,Prince of 
Tides by by Pat Conroy; The Grapes of Wrath 
by John Steinbeck; The Winds of War by Herman 
Wouk; Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon.

Diet/Weight Loss: The Seven Secrets 
of Slim People by V. Hansen and S. Goodman.
Health: Healing Back Pain: The Mind-
Body Connection and Mind Over Back Pain both 
by John E. Sarno.

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills

Jeff’s History Corner By Jeff Brown

J A N U A R Y 1 B E C O M E S N E W Y E A R ‘S D A Y

The early Roman calendar consisted of 10 months 
and 304 days , with each new year beginning 
at the vernal equinox; according to tradition, it 
was created by Romulus, the founder of Rome, 
in the eighth century B.C. A later king, Numa 
Pompilius, is credited with adding the months 
of Januarius and Februarius . Over the centuries, 
the calendar fell out of sync with the sun, and 
in 46 B.C. the emperor Julius Caesar decided to 
solve the problem by consulting with the most 
prominent astronomers and mathemati cians 
of his time. He introduced the Julian calendar, 
which closely resembles the more modern 
Gregorian calendar that most countries around 
the world use today. As part of his reform, Caesar 
instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, 
partly to honor the month‘s namesake: Janus, 
the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces 
allowed him to look back into the past and 
forward into the future . 

On the Marquee: Notes from the Sierra Madre Playhouse


Who Can Possibly Design Fiesta Floats?

By Joan Schmidt

 A few days ago, the Pasadena Star News ran an article 
about the expense of having a float in the annual Rose 
Bowl Parade. The article said having a float in the Rose 
Parade was equivalent to buying a home! That sure caught 
my attention. 

 The cost begins with the fee just to have a float in the 
parade- I believe it was about $7000 for a small one and 
$15000 for a large one. Then the article explained the costs 
of a designer, building, materials, and even the flowers had 
to come from out of California with the current drought.

 Then the reporter interviewed Tim Estes of Fiesta Floats 
and that was it for me. I thought of the tragic sudden death 
of Raul Rodriguez this past year and wondered who could 
possibly fill the void?

 Raul was an awesome designer for the parade for over 
fifty years including more than 200 while working with 
Fiesta Floats since 1988. Tim Estes of Fiesta Floats said 
that Raul had such a great flair, great texture in his design 
and it allowed Fiesta to do all those beautiful floats. Every 
year I loved watching the Parade and always looked for 
Fiesta Floats to see Raul’s magic.

 Raul Rodriguez, a third generation Angelino, was 
born January 2, 1944 to Rubin and Natalie Rodriguez. 
His father was a metal sheet worker and his mother a 
department store supervisor. (They preceded him in 
death) His survivors include his spouse Robert Cash, 
his two younger sisters, Irene Rodriguez-Moran and 
Teresa Arzola as well as many aunts, nieces, nephews and 

 Raul was raised in Boyle Heights and his family moved 
later to Whittier, Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs. Raul’s 
amazing career began at age 15 when he created his first 
Rose Parade Float for the City of Whittier. He studied 
at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena; also 
Cerritos College in Norwalk and Cal State Long Beach. 

 Harlan Boll, Rodriguez’ publicist announced his 
death in February of this year. He relayed that Raul had 
won more Tournament of Roses awards than any other 
designer in its 125-year-plus-history. 

 When and where did I meet Raul? It was in 1991 when 
he and Mercedes Ellington (Granddaughter of Duke) were 
the Grand Marshalls for Duarte’s annual Route 66 Parade. 
Mary Barrows always found the most awesome Grand 
Marshalls and that year was no exception. Mercedes and 
Raul were thrilled to receive a Key to the City of Duarte 
and then a small Key to the City was presented to Roxy, 
Raul’s macaw at the time. Raul was so thrilled!

 Duarte used to have a Float Building/Viewing Pavilion 
and every year various non-profit groups volunteered and 
their organization received a portion of the profits. Early 
morning, the day prior to the parade was the judging. This 
hour or so was closed to the public, but as a member of 
the Press, I was privileged to attend and always looked 
forward to seeing Raul and having a chat. He was such a 
nice man and so kind to all.

 Several years ago, various organizations recognized 
“Women of Achievement.” It was a wonderful event 
and the highlight was Stephanie Edwards as emcee and 
Raul Rodriguez attending with special gift bags for the 

 What an awesome man. What a legacy he left behind. 
But the Parade won’t be the same without his awesome-
designed floats.

Caption: (Clockwise bottom left) Shaw Purnell, Don Savage, David Tolemy, Karesa McElheny and 
Christopher Cappiello in Deathtrap by Ira Levin. Photo by: John Dlugolecki

Deathtrap by Ira Levin and directed by SMP Artistic 
Director Christian Lebano opens on Friday, January 
15 and plays through February 20. The longest-
running comedy thriller in Broadway history, 
Deathtrap will excite and surprise SMP audiences. 
The play bears viewing twice - just like the movie The 
Sixth Sense once you know the secret you’ll want to 
see it again to catch all the undercurrents you missed 
the first time. With a wonderful cast, Deathtrap is 
sure to sell out early. Don’t miss out - tickets are on 
sale now at or by 
calling 626.355.4318 (General Audience $30, Seniors 
$27, Youth 13-21 $20, Children 12 and under $17 - 
may not be suitable for kids under 10).

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: