Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, June 16, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 16, 2018 

SUSAN Henderson, Publisher

Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Kevin Barry


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Renee Quenell

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden



This week I really, really wanted to write a column about my 
Dad and by extension my grandfathers, my brothers, my 
brother in law, my uncles, my sons, my ex-husband and every 
other man who has taken on the awesome responsibility of 
being a good father. Some of the men I want to salute even 
took on the challenge when the child/children involved was 
not their own and yet they were there through the good 
times and bad, helping to shape the next generation of responsible citizens and good 
human beings. That is what I want to talk about….but it will be hard to do with the 
minute by minute drama going on at the White House, but I will try.

 Now about Mr. Carpenter….a good man who is worthy of all the praise that can 
be given on Father’s Day. I’m hoping that during his lifetime (he passed in 1976), I 
told him that enough. I’m pretty certain 
I did because I knew more than anyone 
else in our home, how much he had to 
put up with. The gender divide in our 
house was equal, 3 against 3 (Dad and 
2 boys/Mom and 2 girls). But through 
it all, Daddy was a great father to us – 
especially Baby Girl Me!:

 He was good at following the rules. My 
Dad obeyed a 5 year old who banned 
him from hunting Bambi or her relatives 
or Smokey the Bear and his kin. 

 He was a great actor because for years 
he received ugly tie after ugly tie with 
what appeared to be genuine joy. (One 
day as an adult he came to one of my 
children’s church performances with a 
hideous looking tie on. When I asked 
him what possessed him to buy it, he 
said, “I didn’t, you gave it to me when 
you were 8! Oops).

 He was tolerant, especially of me 
at Phillie’s home games where all I 
wanted to do was buy stuff and go to the 
bathroom (he was an actual baseball fan who went to the games to watch).

 He was a cool chaperone at my first boy/girl dance at the end of 6th grade. 

 He was the best banker who paid great dividends with every A earned on my report 

 He was a heart surgeon…kind of….healing my first broken heart at age 11 with 
a milkshake when I lost a battle for the attention of the most popular boy in class. 
(Footnote: Sammy from Stanton Elementary….I’m still pissed.) 

 He was my hero, a proud WWII Marine who every year on his birthday tried to fit 
into that uniform again!

 He was also famous, at least in my eyes, when he made the front page of the 
Philadelphia Daily News after returning from the March on Washington. (No quotes, 
just the picture of him and 2 others front and center)

 By Executive Order he declared my birthday as my own personal holiday…a gesture 
that still works well!

 He was also a great household lawyer. His defense of me when I was in trouble 
with the Big Cheese (Mom) made Perry Mason look like a rank amateur! 
He was my protector delivering the best 6 words to my future husband when asked 
permission to marry me, “You better be good to her”, with a look that said all the rest!

 He was super patient. Popping the clutch 10,000 times didn’t bother him at all!

 But most of all, even through those difficult teenage and know it all young adult 
years, he was the best father a girl could have. (He was also the best Grandpa just 
taken away from us way too soon).

 And, with all that he still had time to work everyday and keep a roof over our head 
and food on the table. 

 Happy Father’s Day Daddy and the same to all of you. I hope you realize how 
important you are to your children. Both the big things and the little ones. Good 
Fathers (and Mothers) really do shape the future.

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 Well, the so-called peace summit with North Korea has come and gone. And as anyone 
anyone with a scintilla of intellect could’ve predicted, Trump made a fool of himself.

 Basically, dictator Kim Jong Un ran rings around the wannabe dictator. He suckered 
Trump into giving him legitimacy on the world stage, sidestepped any substantive discussion 
of Kim’s human rights abuses and agreed to suspend or end U.S. military exercises with 
allied South Korea. In return, the supreme deal-maker got squat: No specific North Korean 
commitments to surrender any nuclear weapons, no timetable, no verification process.

 Trump lauded Kim as “very talented.” That may or may not be true, but compared to the 
sap-in-chief, Kim is indeed a Mensa genius.

 The press asked Trump whether he trusts Kim. Trump said yes. Then he said something 
truly revealing: “I may be wrong, I mean I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey 
I was wrong.’ I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.” 

 Indeed he will. He’ll likely blame Obama or Hillary or the “deep state.” But it was 
refreshing to hear him acknowledge, in rare moment of candor, his instinctive refusal to 
admit error or take responsibility for anything.

 This remark was equally revealing: “They have great beaches (in North Korea). You see 
that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean. I said, ‘Boy, look at that 
view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo?’” Alec Baldwin didn’t say that. The Onion didn’t 
say that. Trump himself said that - and it explains a lot. He views his sham presidency as a 
massive business opportunity. If he makes nice to Kim, with or without denuclearization, 
maybe Kim will let him build a few hotels and beach resorts. Something terrific, located far 
from the gulags.

 Which brings us to Trump’s supreme remark. In praise of Kim, he said this: “His country 
does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.”

 Remember when Republicans used to condemn anti-democratic regimes that abused 
human rights? Remember when they assailed Obama for talking to Cuba - which they 
denounced as “a concession to tyranny?” That was so four years ago. Now they sit in 
silence, abetting Trump’s fetishistic love of dictators, gargling his snake oil.

 Trump wants what Kim has - public spectacles of “love” and “fervor.” If only Trump 
didn’t have to deal with pesky checks and balances, constitutional restraints, and freedom 
of the press, he could fully unleash his id and do what Kim routinely does to ensure that 
“love” and “fervor.” Here’s the gist of what Kim does, according to a massive 2014 report by 
the United Nations:

 “Inmates are imprisoned, usually for life, in camps without ever having been brought 
before a judge … They have never been charged, convicted or sentenced… (Many) are 
incarcerated based solely on the principle of guilt by family association. Some are even 
born prisoners… The living conditions in the political prison camps are calculated to bring 
about mass deaths. Forced to carry out grueling labour, inmates are provided food rations 
that are so insufficient that many inmates starve to death…

 “These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, 
imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution… the forcible 
transfer (and) the enforced disappearance of persons and … knowingly causing prolonged 
starvation. (These crimes) resemble the horrors of camps that totalitarian states established 
during the twentieth century.”

 Trump was too besotted with the “fervor” for Kim to care a whit about how that 
“fervor” is manufactured. He demanded no concessions from Kim, on human rights or 
demilitarization, and he got none. He betrayed our democratic values, got played for a 
sucker, and got nothing substantive in return. (He doesn’t need a verification process, 
because, in his words, “I have one of the great memories of all time.”)

 Remember Trump’s rhetoric during the 2016 campaign, when he claimed that countries 
around the world were laughing at us? Well, mission accomplished. Rest assured that 
Trump’s sponsor in Russia, and his dictatorial counterparts the world over, are laughing at 
us now.


Editor Note: This column is an excerpt from Tom Purcell’s 
humorous book, “Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood,” available 

 My 84-year-old father still asks me why I did it.

 The “incident,” as my family refers to it, dates back to 1973, when my father 
remodeled our basement into a family room. The project included a small bathroom, 
which would be the bane of his existence for more than 30 years.

 You see, my father, always looking to save a buck - he had six kids to feed, after 
all - bought the cheapest sink and toilet he could find. Though the sink worked fine, 
the tiny toilet rarely functioned properly.

 My father spent much of his spare time unplugging it. He pleaded with us not to 
use it unless it was “an emergency” and “for goodness sakes don’t even think about 
number two!”

 Armed with this knowledge, then, it is remarkable I did what I did.

 One Sunday morning, after chomping on a large Washington apple, I lay on the 
family room couch, too lazy to go upstairs to the kitchen to dispose of the core.

 I noticed, 12 feet away, that the toilet lid was up. In a moment of insanity, I aimed 
the core at the toilet and flicked my wrist. The core floated majestically in the air, a 
perfect trajectory, and landed in the center of the bowl with a satisfying “ker-plunk!”

 I later flushed it and never gave it another thought.

 Over the next six months, the toilet plugged up several times. My father, a maestro 
with a plunger, was always able to clear the pipe. But one Sunday morning, the tiny 
commode presented him with the mother of all clogs.

 Nothing would free it. The plunger failed, but not before my father was soaking 
wet. Two jars of Drano had no effect. Even a plumber’s snake, which my father 
borrowed from our next-door neighbors, failed to dislodge the blockage.

 In a fit of rage, my father unbolted the toilet from the floor. In one mighty heave, 
he lifted it off its mount and set it aside. He knelt before the black hole in the floor. 
He reached his large paw inside, then his forearm, then his biceps.

 His head pressed against the damp floor, sweat dripping off his nose, the veins in 
his temples ready to explode.

 His eyes lit up. He had something. He carefully removed his biceps, then his 
forearm, then his paw. He was on his knees now staring at his clenched fist. He 
unpeeled his fingers slowly. In the center of his palm was a black, rotten apple core.

 I could go into excruciating detail about my father’s incredible reaction - how he 
ran through the house shouting, “Which of my idiot kids flushed an apple core down 
the toilet?”

 But I won’t.

 I will tell you that my father, unlike bumbling dads presented in the media today, 
earned our respect. He believed it was his job to help my sisters and me master basic 
virtues - certainly to master common sense - and I failed him that day.

 His powerful model left a profound impact and guides me still. Even at 56, I’m 
filled with joy when I live up to his high standards and make him proud. I’m filled 
with disgust when my actions fall short and make him sad.

 That is the incredible power my father holds over me.

 Still, he phones me now and again with a familiar question: “Why did you flush an 
apple core down the toilet?”


Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood,” a humorous memoir 
available at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is 
nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on using this column 
in your publication or website, contact or call (805) 969-2829. Send 
comments to Tom at

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