Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, November 24, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:5



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 24, 2018 


Left of Left

Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 




Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton


When I first saw pictures of the charred ruins of 
Paradise, California after its destruction by the “Camp 
Fire,” the worst wildfire in the state’s history, I couldn’t 
help thinking of the images of Hiroshima taken more 
than 73 years ago at the end of World War Two, the first 
of two Japanese cities wiped off the face of the earth by 
two single atomic bombs. Many historians consider the 
destruction of Hiroshima as “the Birth of the Atomic Age.” 

 Will the obliteration of Paradise be seen by future historians as the event that 
gave rise to “the Birth of the Earth-first Age?” The age in which mankind finally 
accepts its role as stewards of this small blue water world, with all its beauty and 
its vast diversity of life. I would hope so, but I have my doubts. 

 The devastation of Paradise and Malibu, and all the other wildfires that have 
ravaged the West in one of its driest summers ever, preceded by some of the most 
ferocious hurricanes in U.S. history, and the President of the United States still 
doesn’t believe in human-caused global warming and climate change. 

 President Trump is a perfect example of the wrongheadedness that must 
change before a radical paradigm can occur in human thinking, while so many 
of our leaders stubbornly cling to discredited ideas, while creative, constructive 
science-based solutions are being ignored. For example, the myth that global 
warming and worldwide climate change are not happening, or if they are, are not 
manmade and, more importantly, are not supported by verifiable peer-reviewed 
scientific research. 

 Not true! There is now an estimated 97.5 plus percent consensus among 
climatologists and other scientists studying global warming and climate change 
who agree that the scientific evidence to date has proven beyond reasonable 
doubt that these phenomena are happening and that they are manmade. The 
only real disagreement among these scientists is how quickly global warming 
and climate change are occurring. The best guess being they are happening much 
more rapidly than previously thought.

 But I suppose, if you don’t believe in science or its conclusions about nature 
based on the Scientific Method, or worse you are persuaded by pseudo-scientists 
masquerading in white lab coats as real scientists coming to a contrary or false 
conclusions because they are being paid to do so, then what can I say? You 
probably believe the myth that all vaccines are inherently dangerous, even life 
threatening, and should be avoided at all costs like the plagues they purport to 

 You probably believe the myth that U.S. astronauts never landed on the moon, 
as broadcast live on TV around the world, that what the world really saw was a 
video hoax accomplished with sophisticated special effects in a NASA television 

 And if you are so naïve or such a Trump sycophant, you probably believe the 
narcissistic whopper he told Aris Folley in an interview in The Hill [07/12/18], 
“You know a poll just came out that I am the most popular person in the history 
of the Republican Party… Beating Lincoln.” Trump said with almost mythic 
portentousness, “I beat Honest Abe.”

 Unfortunately, Trump neglected to identify what poll he was referring to in the 
interview, as presidential approval polling didn’t exist during the presidency of 
Abraham Lincoln. Mere hyperbole, you say—like a car salesman exaggerating the 
features on an automobile. Absolutely not! Trump comparing himself to Lincoln 
are the words of a pompous ass—created out of pure fantasy by an insecure 
habitual liar, incapable of telling the truth--especially when it comes to himself.

 Watching the coverage of Donald Trump, outgoing governor Jerry Brown and 
incoming governor Gavin Newsom, touring the burnt-out remains of Paradise 
and Malibu. I wondered if Trump offered them anything more than condolences? 
Did they come away from the meeting expecting much help from the Trump 
administration, knowing they are not members of the Trump’s tribe. 

 I wondered whether either Brown or Newsom took the opportunity between 
Paradise and Malibu to gloat at Trump over the crushing defeat suffered by 
Republicans in the midterms, under the tidal wave of the Democratic Tsunami, 
even after barnstorming around the country for Republican candidates. And, 
I wondered, what about the bitter loss of the Republican-controlled, Reagan-
stronghold of Orange County, suffering his biggest rebuke with the surprise upset 
of one of his staunchest supporters--14 term Dana Rohrabacher [R-Huntington 
Beach], “Putin’s favorite Congressman.”

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“Thanksgiving is the time of year when we reflect on 
our incredible blessings, but many Americans aren’t 
feeling very thankful?”

 “That’s what an interesting Harris poll survey 
conducted a few years ago for American Greetings 
found. Psychotherapist Amy Morin reported in 
Forbes that three in five Americans would ‘rather 
do something else rather than reflect on what they’re thankful for on 

 “But we have so much to be thankful for. Our economy is booming. 
Our standard of living, the world’s best, is improving. Could we so take our 
blessings for granted that we forget how good we have it?”

 “It appears that far too many Americans are doing just that. 
argues that a typical middle-class American today lives better than billionaire 
John D. Rockefeller did 100 years ago. As rich as Rockefeller was, he didn’t 
have air conditioning; sophisticated medicine (my grandfather died in 1937 
at age 34 from strep throat because penicillin hadn’t been discovered yet); 
safe, fast travel; limitless dining and entertainment options; and many other 
wonderful things that we have.”

 “To be sure, 2018 is the best time in history to be alive - and not just for 

 “That’s absolutely true. In Time magazine last year, Bill Gates reported 
global improvement across several indicators. Childhood deaths fell from 12 
million in 1990 to 5 million in 2017. More than 90 percent of children now 
attend primary school. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty 
declined from one-third in 1990 to one-tenth in 2017. Gates reported that 
2017 was the greatest year in human history, but 2018 has been even better!”

 “I get that America has its share of problems and challenges - like every 
country, it’s a continuous work in progress - but why can’t we kick back on 
Thanksgiving and be thankful for what we’re doing right? A little gratitude 
isn’t going to hurt anyone!”

 “Science says gratitude is good for us. In another Forbes piece, Morin 
identifies seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. For starters, 
gratitude - showing appreciation - helps us win new friends. Morin writes that 
‘whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or you send a quick thank-
you note to that co-worker who helped you with a project, acknowledging 
other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.’”

 “It certainly feels good to be cordial to and appreciative of strangers!”

 “You speak the truth. Science says gratitude improves our physical and 
psychological health. Simply put, being grateful makes you feel better. It 
‘reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment 
to frustration and regret,’ reports Morin. And it enhances our empathy and 
sensitivity, which helps us understand and sympathize with our fellow human 

 “In these divisive times, we could certainly use more empathy toward those 
with whom we may disagree!”

 “Morin reports that grateful people sleep better, have higher self-esteem 
and enjoy increased mental strength. That makes perfect sense. When you’re 
grateful, you see, you simply have a better sense of well-being. But when 
you’re resentful or pessimistic, you’re trapped in the narrowness of your 

 “Grumpiness makes me grumpy!”

 “It sure does. Look, despite our ongoing challenges and disagreements, we 
have an incredible bounty to be thankful for. There has never been a better 
Thanksgiving to show our gratitude, and that’s what we should do because 
gratitude is good for us!”


Copyright 2018 Tom Purcell. 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


A friend who works in campaigns recently joked that there 
ought to be a mandatory, two-week respite from any kind of 
political talk immediately after Election Day.

 Fighting a bad cold and exhausted from what had turned 
out to be 20 days straight of galloping around the state behind 
candidates and their campaigns, the idea of a blackout on any 
sort of political talk had an undeniable appeal.

 Above my desk here at PennLive, we have a carousel of TVs tuned to cable news, 
guaranteeing that my work day is filled with fresh outrages and lower-third crawls 
trumpeting the latest in not-really-breaking news.

 A day or so after Election Day, my cell phone started vibrating nonstop with updates 
and news about leadership elections in the state House and Senate. I started getting 
the push alerts about the debate over a Pelosi speakership; the Florida and Georgia 
recounts, and the emerging contours of the Democratic Blue Wave on Nov. 6.

 There comes a point where even the most dedicated news junkie has to put down the 
remote, put the iPhone on vibrate, and hop off the endless campaign merry-go-round.

 So I did. And for two days last week, my world didn’t extend much further than a 
Crosley combination turntable that my wife got me for Christmas about 10 years ago.

 My vinyl collection, assembled over 30 dedicated years or so of collecting, takes 
up a huge shelving unit in my home office. Cassettes and CDs are packed away in 
huge plastic storage tub with little or no organization. The choices, theoretically, were 

 But for my two-day holiday from politics, I decided to set some rules for myself: I’d 
only listen to albums. And they had to cut across genres and generations and decades.

 I found myself digging out a Dylan’s greatest hits compilation, “This Ain’t No Outer 
Spaceship,” by the first-generation Athens, Ga. band Love Tractor, Sinatra’s “In the 
Wee, Small Hours” and others.

 You don’t have to look far to find essays waxing rhapsodic about the ‘warmth’ of 
vinyl, compared to the sterile, digital bits and bytes of the compact disc. News stories 
about records being the savior of a dying music industry (or not) are equally abundant. 
And I’m eternally amused by my friends telling me how their kids, unironically, 
exclusively listen to records (although there is a preponderance of evidence to support 
the conclusion that aging GenXers like me still remain a core constituency).

 For me, though, the biggest difference between vinyl and other recorded media is 
that it’s an active - not a passive listening, experience.

 While you can stream an endless playlist to keep you company while you make 
dinner or putter around the house, you have to get up to turn the record over when it 
hits the end of the side. That mere physical difference keeps you more engaged in the 
music. You have to listen. You have to pay attention - even as you pore over the liner 
notes (its own reward) or get the odd piece of work done.

 The records turn into sonic roadmaps as well. Putting on the Dylan compilation 
prompted me to remember how I’d come by it (yard sale, maybe?). The Love Tractor 
LP (picked up on a buying spree in grad school in Chicago) reminded me of how how 
much I loved the first wave of Athens bands.

 So I found myself listening to The Method Actors, Pylon, and, of course, R.E.M. 
(their debut “Chronic Town” EP and a live bootleg of a performance in Durham, 
N.C, called “Heavenly Time,” that I’m pretty sure I bought out of the back of a music 
magazine sometime in 1984 or 1985).

 Listening to Simple Minds brought me to Big Country. The Sinatra records, from my 
Dad, led me to Basie and to Louis Prima - which was blasting in my living room in the 
same way it used to echo through my Nonna’s house when I was a kid. Over the course 
of couple of days, I worked my way through a dozen or more LPs.

No cable news. No push alerts.

 The campaign stuff and the politics gossip? It was no shock to find that it was all 
pretty much right where I’d left it, effectively unchanged from the beginning of my self-
imposed sabbatical. For a minute, I wondered if I’d missed out on anything crucial.

Then I put another record on.


Copyright 2018 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political 
Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on 
Twitter @ByJohnLMicek and email him at

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