Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, June 24, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, June 24, 2017 


Astronomers and solar physicists will be out in 
force during this summer’s total eclipse of the 
Sun (, now 
just two months away. They’ll use ground-based 
telescopes, airborne instruments, and orbiting 
satellites to shed new light on some of the Sun’s best-
kept secrets. But if there’s one thing the American 
Astronomical Society (AAS) wants you to know, 
it’s that the August 21st solar eclipse is much more 
than a scientific bonanza—it’s an opportunity for 
everyone to experience what is arguably nature’s 
most awesome spectacle.

 When the Moon totally blocks the Sun’s bright 
face (
eclipse-experience), the landscape darkens 
suddenly, bright stars and planets shine forth in a 
twilight-blue sky, pastel hues of sunset glow around 
the horizon, the temperature drops noticeably, and 
birds and animals behave as if night has fallen. 
But the star of the show hangs in the sky where 
the brilliant Sun used to be: the impossibly black 
silhouette of the Moon, ringed by our star’s faint 
outer atmosphere: the pearly white, gleaming solar 
corona. Made of rarefied gas heated to millions of 
degrees, the gossamer corona gets sculpted into 
streamers and loops by the Sun’s powerful magnetic 
field and shines with a light seen nowhere else. It is 
hauntingly beautiful. 

 According to AAS press officer Rick Fienberg, a 
veteran of 12 total solar eclipses, “Going through 
life without ever experiencing ‘totality’ is like going 
through life without ever falling in love.”

 On Monday, August 21st, the Moon’s 70-mile-
wide dark shadow will sweep across the United 
States from Oregon to South Carolina. Some 12 
million Americans live within this narrow path, 
and they’ll be joined by millions of visitors eager 
to stand in the Moon’s shadow for 2 minutes 40 

 The rest of the continental U.S.—outside the 
total eclipse path—will see a deep partial eclipse 
in which the Moon covers half or more of the Sun’s 
bright face. But a partial eclipse offers almost none 
of the drama and beauty of a 100% total one. “It’s 
literally the difference between day and night,” says 

 Here’s another difference: the totally eclipsed 
Sun is safe to look at directly. But a partial solar 
eclipse, even a very deep one, is unsafe to look 
at directly without using a special-purpose solar 
filter, namely, one certified to meet the ISO 12312-
2 international safety standard (https://eclipse.aas.
org/eye-safety/iso-certification). Such filters are 
commonly available in the form of cardboard- 
or plastic-framed “eclipse glasses” and hand-
held viewers (

 “Never wear eclipse glasses while looking 
through binoculars, a telescope, or a camera lens,” 
warns Angela Speck, professor of astronomy at the 
University of Missouri. “Sunlight focused by the 
optics will burn right through the filters and injure 
your eyes.” Speck co-chairs the AAS Solar Eclipse 
Task Force, which is helping to prepare the country 
for the August 21st event by maintaining the Solar 
Eclipse Across America website (https://eclipse., which provides basic information about 
the eclipse, links to other authoritative resources, 
and safety tips. 

 “If you don’t have a safe solar filter,” says Speck, 
“you can view the partially eclipsed Sun indirectly, 
for example, by pinhole projection as described 
on our website (

 The August 21st total solar eclipse is the first to 
touch the continental U.S. since 1979 and the first 
to cross from coast to coast since 1918. It’s also the 
first to be visible exclusively from the U.S. since we 
became a sovereign nation. 

 Solar eclipse eye safety: 

 Solar eclipse resources, including books, maps, 
equipment suppliers, and much more: 

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@

Photo by Robert Slobins


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder



[Nyerges is the author of 
such books as “How to 
Survive Anywhere,” “Self-
Sufficient Home,” and 
“Extreme Simplicity.” He 
teaches at Pasadena City 
College and through the 
School of Self-Reliance. He can be reached at www.]

 One day I went to Bean Town in Sierra Madre and 
started talking with my friend Michael, who was 
reading a book about love. Love, one of the few topics 
you can study your entire life and never really “get it.”

 “The problem,” I told Michael, as if I knew what 
I was talking about, “is that we think about this 
way too much, whereas the animals – at least some 
animals – don’t think about it. They just act. The 
basic fundamentals of what most of us mean by love 
– protection, providing food for the young, some 
training – are simply done without all the considering 
and evaluating and vacillation that humans are so 
famous for.”

 Michael nodded. He didn’t talk a lot but he listened, 
and when he spoke, he asked a deep question or he 
had a pithy comment.

 We agreed upon certain things that every human 
should know about “love” and its many facets and 
tangents. A man cannot have more than one woman 
at a time, whether wife or girlfriend. OK, some try 
and seem to get away with it, and some are even 
involved in consentual polygamy. But that seems to 
be the exception, not the rule. One woman at a time, 
period. That works and other arrangements do not. 
Even when people try to have “open” arrangements, 
they all seem to fail in the long run.

 We agreed that the Masai men in Africa might 
have four wives there and “get away with it,” because 
that is the social norm. It is done in plain view with 
everyone knowing that’s what’s happening. But it 
won’t work here.

 Don’t have sex if you’re not prepared for children. 
Don’t have children until you’re ready to devote 
the next 15 or so years to them, as a child without 
involved parents is part of the formula called “How to 
make a criminal.”

 Michael and I agreed on some of these basics, and 
we occasionally brought up the principles in the “Art 
of Loving” book by Eric Fromme.

 I liked chatting with Michael because he was not 
dogmatic, and listened in a conversation as much as 
he talked. It was clear that when we talked, he was 
seeking answers as much as he was telling me his 

 We tried to clarify the difference between “love” 
and sex in a relationship, and how they are actually 
very different things. Michael brought up the case of a 
man who divorced his wife because he learned she’d 
had plastic surgery, and was therefore not as naturally 
beautiful as he’d assumed.

 “The man was in love with the woman’s body,” said 
Michael with a bit of anger in his voice. “He wasn’t in 
love with the person – just her body.” Unfortunately, 
we both agreed that most people are hopelessly 
confused about this, often falling in love with a body 
and never really getting to know the person inside. 
“I mean,” said Michael, “ a meaningful relationship 
can’t be built on just good looks and sex. You’ve got 
to have a lot more going for you than that!” I agreed.


We tried to define those traits that make a good 
relationship. It wasn’t hard. We identified many 
traits that are desirable, and many that were not. 
We both started shouting out the traits as I tried to 
write them down. “You’ve gotta really like the other 
person,” said Michael. “And you absolutely must have 
some common interests, whether it’s religions, or TV 
shows, or exercise, or academics. Something! And I 
still don’t know what love is,” laughed Michael, “but 
I think even more than love is basic respect. You’ve 
got to have mutual respect.” A few people from the 
next table were listening, and begin to add to our lists. 

 Here’s what we came up with:

 Things you want in a relationship:

Affinity to one other, for whatever reason. 


 Communication. We both agreed that men and 
women can barely communicate with each other 
because they see the world so differently. But at least 
– if you want a good relationship – you have to work 
at communication, and continue to resolve issues 
whenever they come up.


 Caring about the relationship, per se, and working 
on it.

 Clarification about how you deal with money.

 Religion and politics: Some relationships work 
when there are diverse religious and political beliefs, 
but it is a strain. Stick to those who share your core 

Someone who shares your core beliefs about life, 
hygiene, use of time, etc.


Things you don’t want in a relationship:




 Extreme focus on outward appearances.

 Incompatability with money.

 Each person always trying to be the Alpha dog.

 Lack of cleanliness. Yes, we agreed that no one 
wants to live with a slob.

 After a while, we realized that neither of us brought 
up that nebulous word “love,” nor did we include sex 
in our list. We both agreed that mutual respect is at 
the top of the list to cultivate, and that jealousy and 
possessiveness will kill any relationship.

 [This essay is part of an unpublished book written 
by Nyerges, about growing up in Pasadena. He plans 
to publish it in the next few years.]

After about a million days of toil, sweat and 
aggravation, the Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage and I decided to take a few days off and 

 I am not a real expert when it comes to relaxing. 
I have not pursued a PhD in relaxing and therefore 
it is a foreign theme to me.

 Of course, I have advised many people to chill 
out, relax a little bit and not get so excited about 
things. What doctor do you know who takes his 
own medicine? Or, what pastor do you know that 
listens to his own sermon?

 I could preach a sermon to beat all sermons on 
relaxing and not getting so uptight about things. 
You would think after listening to some of these 
sermons that I was an expert in this area. My 
expertise is only in telling other people what they 
should be doing. I do not have time to listen to my 
own sermons.

 My wife and I realized a month or so ago that 
we have not taken a day off in over six months. 
Actually, we were trying to figure out the last time 
we did take a day off.

 “I think,” my wife said most reflectively, “that we 
should take a day off and relax.”

 It has been my policy throughout my marital 
life to not disagree with my wife. This was one of 
those times when I was in full agreement with her 
statement. It doesn’t happen often, when it does, it 
is time to celebrate.

 For us, a couple days off takes a couple months 
of planning and when I say planning, I mean 

 We had to coordinate the date with the rest of 
our family, and with the church schedule.

 I fully understand that the church will run quite 
well without me, but I have conned myself into 
believing that it can’t. That means, I have to make 
special plans for when I take a day off.

 It did not take me long to rearrange my schedule, 
but it was a different story with my wife.

 She had to coordinate her schedule for a couple 
days off with both of the daughter’s schedule 
because she watched the grandchildren while the 
parents were working. It took several months for 
her to coordinate all of the schedules and finally, 
voilà, we arranged a time that we could “leave 
Dodge,” and head to St. Augustine for a couple 
days off.

 We left after the Sunday evening service and 
our plan was to return Wednesday before the 
Wednesday night service. If you plan something 
right, it all comes together.

 We left that Sunday night and headed for our 
motel to settle down for several days of rest and 
frivolity. I do admit that I have a PhD in frivolity 
and so I was ready to for frivole. (Pardon my 

 When we woke up Monday morning, I began to 
realize that my definition of rest was not exactly 
the definition my wife embraced.

 For me rest is staying in bed with a cup of coffee 
in one hand and a good book in the other hand. 
Actually, in my hand was my tablet, which had my 
Kindle app, which contains over 300 books. The 
hardest decision I had was to choose which book I 
was going to read first.

I had recently purchased the Kindle edition of 
The Complete Father Brown Mysteries by G. K. 
Chesterton. Oh, that Father Brown. What an 
interesting character he is.

I had just got into the first story when I heard from 
my wife, “Well, are you ready to go?”

It was then I discovered her definition of rest is not 
my definition of rest.

 Her definition of rest is to visit all the thrift 
stores in the St. Augustine area. Unfortunately for 
me, she knows every one of them.

 With a little bit of persuasion on her part I got 
out of bed, dressed and walked with her to the car 
so she could drive us to the first thrift store.

 It has been a long time since I have been in a 
thrift store and so I had forgotten pretty much 
what it was all about. I walked in the first one and 
that thrift store aroma smack me right in the face.

 “Doesn’t that,” my wife said with a giggle in her 
throat, “smell wonderful?”

 Obviously, we have noses from different 
resources and my nose said, “Yuck, what stinks?” 
I was afraid to give the information to my nose in 
fear that it would start a sneezing fit.

 After five minutes I had seen everything in that 
thrift store I wanted to see. So, I said to my wife, 
“Could I borrow the car keys?”

 “You’re not done shopping?” she said quizzically.

 I nodded my head and with a great deal of 
hesitation, she handed over the car keys and I 
exited the thrift store and three steps out of the 
door my nose said to me, “Thanks.”

 I must say that my wife and I are good partners 
in just about everything except in this area of 
relaxation. However, every good relationship has 
its opposites. The important thing is to recognize 
the opposite and not allow that to define the 

 I like what the prophet Amos said, “Can two 
walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).

 The best part of a relationship is walking 

 Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God 
Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He 
lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him 
at 352-687-4240 or e-mail 
The church web site is

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