Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, May 23, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 23, 2020 





Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 

Audrey Swanson

Mary Lou Caldwell

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

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee

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In the middle of 
last December I had 
surgery that resulted 
in a three week period 
of immobility. When I 
should have been able to 
get around I experienced 
great fatigue, a loss of 
taste and smell and 
chills which I attributed 
wrongly, I now believe, 
to prescribed opiates. 
It might have been the 
undiagnosed virus; but anyway I was unable 
to get around much. Then came the enforced 
confinement associated with the virus which 
is still in effect. Luckily in order to assist my 
daughter who remains temporarily left without 
childcare assistance, my wife and I have allowed 
ourselves the wonderful luxury of picking 
up and caring for our infant granddaughter. 

 During the half-hour rides back home, 
sitting next to the baby in her carseat, I have 
received an education more valuable than any 
I received in all my years of schooling and 
working. My first lesson was to realize that 
when your newly born grandchild holds your 
finger in her fist you are spiritually connected 
in a way and to an unmatched depth that reveals 
the worth of human connection. Often, once at 
home, we put the baby in the center of our bed 
and I will lie beside her. I have fallen asleep next 
to her as she sleeps and can testify that this is 
one of the most peaceful feelings in the world. 
(Please don’t worry –there was no danger that I 
would roll over and injure her.)

 The next lesson involved my reaction 
to of her facial expressions and mood. When 
she was just a few months old and smiled 
and recognized me, my whole life experience 
changed. My darkest worries about the 
coronavirus and about what I should be doing 
in my retirement all disappeared. Really, all I 
felt and still feel when she looks at me, was 
a gratitude to the strange forces that have 
combined to create her and me and have placed 
us together in this specific moment in time. 
When the baby looks into my eyes, I feel like 
she knows and accepts me like no one else, 
including me, ever has. 

 When she looks at me, or at her hands, 
or her fingers, or at the lights, or a sounds, or 
a moving fan, or an object she has dropped, it 
is clear that she is directing her entire being to 
absorbing this information. There is a way in 
which she hits her leg and then hits the arm of 
the chair and then hits her leg again which to my 
way of thinking tells me she is learning about 
what is “her” and what is not. She performs 
complicated experiments with her vocal tones 
some of which are shrill enough to seemingly 
break glass (that has not happened yet but it 
might soon.) 

 Being me, and being newly retired 
and being unable to leave the house I poked 
around on the internet trying to gain some 
understanding of what happens to me when I was 
with her. Something I realize most of you would 
have understandably thought unnecessary. I 
believe I gained some understanding when I 
chanced upon an article relating to experiments 
done with mice. Studies have demonstrated that 
when a mouse first experienced a new odor 
their entire brains registered activity. Once they 
have experienced that odor and are exposed to 
it again the brain activity is highly restricted and 
few parts of the brain are activated. I believe the 
initial response of the mice is comparable to the 
reaction of my granddaughter who is learning 
and absorbing with her entire being. I believe 
this totality, this focus and concentration is 
what conveys to me her depth of understanding 
and concern—a feeling I almost never get from 
any other individual. (I know my daughter 
would hate any comparison of her daughter to 
a mouse ;) but anyway it is my thought that as 
adults, unlike infants, we are so concerned with 
our own tasks and projects and troubles that 
we cannot get out of ourselves to fully absorb 
much of anything outside of our limited focus. 
Perhaps this restricted focus inevitably leads to 
feelings of isolation, loneliness, and in many 
cases to despair. Societies have created various 
kinds of institutions and practices to combat 
what I think of as these painful feelings but 
these institutions no longer seem to be doing 
the job.

 In my former law practice I was 
appointed by the county to represent indigent 
individuals who were often extremely 
troubled. Alcohol and drug excess were 
standard conditions as well as problems of 
impulse control which often led to reckless 
acts and suicidal thoughts. Well not only 
clients; a few years ago, a case I was handling 
had to be rescheduled because the Judge had 
committed suicide. I wonder about the feelings 
of despair that darken the lives of so many. In 
connection with that concern I just ordered 
a book entitled Deaths of Despair and the 
Future of Capitalism. The book arrived last 
night and I glanced through it written before 
the onset of the pandemic. I gathered that the 
authors (a Nobel Prize Winning Economist 
together with his wife) believed that a great 
number of premature deaths, not only suicides 
and accidental drug over doses but also deaths 
resulting from alcoholism were clear indication 
that great numbers of Americans are not very 
happy. Surprisingly they concluded that a state 
of common despair existed that had little to do 
with economic circumstances.

During the night as I slept my mind combined 
a bunch of ideas and I awoke with the strong 
feeling that the unhappiness of the public at large 
had to do with the way the entire Educational 
system contrasts with the experience of a 
growing infant. I have maintained for a long 
time that the only thing actually learned in 
School was how to read and that the only ability 
needed to excel was a good memory. I have 
always wished that the academic purpose of 
School would be to assist individuals in learning 
how to think and to properly value their own 
thought process. If this is not done, as it is 
not, a great percentage of individuals will be 
easily manipulated into taking action against 
their own best interest and the best interests of 

 The last three years have been a horrifying 
example of what can and should not happen. 
The typical academic experience is in direct 
contrast to the way an infant absorbs relevant 
information. Information is acquired by the 
infant as a necessary and valuable reduction 
of uncertainty. This vital information is 
acquired through the use of every bit of their 
brain, focus, and attention. Yes, it is similar 
to the experience of the mice described above 
who first acquire information prior to taking 
the information pretty much for granted. My 
night-time musings must have concluded that 
this fully focused attention results in complete 
personal connection to the experience which 
is communicated to others and results often in 
great mutual understanding. Students in School 
are doing something else; generally, simply 
trying to absorb and memorize information 
that has nothing to do with their needs other 
than the need to pass the class and will soon 
unapologetically be forgotten. I am certain 
that such a process is not healthy and may well 
result, without exaggeration, in negative feelings 
of disconnectedness from their own intellect. 
There may well be a resultant disrespect for 
oneself which eventually leads to despair 
and sadly to untimely deaths. I believe that 
a different kind of academic training which 
encourages independent questioning and 
reflection will allow many individuals to 
value and appreciate their own abilities. 

 This may all be confusing and 
simplistic but I know that thinking hard 
about an important idea is good protection 
from the feelings of isolation that might be 
expected in these times and is a valuable 
practice to be followed for a lifetime. To 
me, my own mind is almost as valuable a 
companion as is my granddaughter who I 
will see soon

Be Safe






Here's one COVID-19 silver lining: The drive-in theater, a 
uniquely American creation, is doing booming business again.

I've long been nostalgic for this wonderful piece of Americana. 
When I was growing up in the '70s, my mother and father often 
packed my five sisters and I into our massive station wagon to see 
outdoor movies.

America's first drive-in theater opened on June 6, 1933 in Camden, 
N.J. According to, it was the creation of Richard 
Hollingshead, whose mother found indoor theaters uncomfortable. 
His idea, which he patented, was to create "an open-air theater" that would let 
patrons watch movies from "the comfort of their own automobiles."

The concept was a success, but it wasn't until 1949, when Hollingshead's patent was 
overturned, that drive-in theaters began opening all over the country.

"The popularity of the drive-in spiked after World War II and reached its heyday in the 
late 1950s to mid-60s, with some 5,000 theaters across the country," reports History.
com. "Drive-ins became an icon of American culture ... ."

Kerry Segrave, author of "Drive-in Theaters: A History from Their Incep-tion in 1933," 
explains that the boom resulted from several uniquely American trends in the 1950s.

New highway systems allowed entrepreneurs to purchase inexpensive farmland for outdoor 
theaters, which patrons could easily drive to.

Americans' love of the automobile also was important. Car designs were bold and creative 
- the 1957 Chevy is still widely loved as a classic, beau-tiful design.

American cars in the '50s weren't just machines to get people to and from places - they 
were statements. Americans loved spending time in their cars, including hours at drive-
in theaters.

And with the baby boom well under way, for many single-income fami-lies with more 
than two children - like my family - the drive-in theater was one of the few entertainment 
venues they could afford.

We attended outdoor movies frequently in the mid-1970s and it was al-ways a treat. 
The cooler was packed with soda pop and sandwiches. The family-size potato chip bag 
could feed a village. We lowered the tailgate of our Plymouth Fury station wagon and 
set up a glorious buffet on it.

Soon, the blue sky fell dark and the film projector began rattling. Black-and-white numbers 
- "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" - flashed onto the screen. Yellowed 1950s footage advertised hot 
dogs, popcorn and other concession items we could never get our father to buy. Finally, 
the feature film - such as "The Love Bug" - would play.

The drive-in theater never was as popular in any other country as it was in America. 
All great things come to an end, however. In 1978, as operat-ing costs grew and rising 
land values encouraged entrepreneurs to sell to developers, the drive-in theater began 
to decline.

The United Drive-in Theatre Owners Association says only 305 drive-in theaters now 
exist - and, boy, are they needed now, as the coronavirus, and its social-distancing mandates, 
are impeding freedom to be enter-tained.

I trust that many more entrepreneurs, the lifeblood of our economy and the engines 
that will drive our economic recovery, will invent creative ways to get us to the movies. 
Large, blow-up screens? Temporary theaters in mall parking lots? How about dinner 
and a movie in restaurant parking lots?

Where there's a need, a solution quickly follows, as the American drive-in theater is 
reinvented all over again.

Tom Purcell, author of "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood," a hu-morous memoir 
available at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist 

Don’t tell the people in charge, but my 
friend’s wife is a member of the L.A. resistance. 
She’s been regularly going out 
into the underground economy to get her 
hair done.She’s been meeting with her 
hairdresser at an undisclosed location 
- his daughter’s driveway – and striking 
a small but symbolic blow for old-fashioned 
American freedom.

My friend’s wife is in no danger of getting 
in trouble with the authorities, but her 
hairdresser is.

According to power-mad politicians now 
in charge of the economic and social 
lives of 10 million people in Los Angeles 
County, if she’s caught defying the rules 
of the county’s super-strict shutdown, it’ll 
cost her a $1,000 fine.

The hairdresser, who has been prohibited 
from working for two months, isn’t worried 
about being caught and hit with a 
fine. She can’t afford to pay it anyway.

Her real fear is being turned in to the police 
by a neighbor, which reminds me of 
the way some rotten French people during 
World War II told stories about their 
neighbors to the Gestapo after the Germans 
took over their country.

I fully support what my friend’s wife has 
been doing. But watching her have to 
sneak around like a saboteur to get her 
hair done is just one reason living under 
L.A.'s shutdown is getting harder for me 
to take.

Across the country, dozens of states have 
finally come to their senses, ending their 
shutdowns and reopening their economies. 
Yet here in L.A. County we’ve been 
going backwards.

We’ve just been told that our severe, absurd 
and often unscientific shutdown orders 
won’t be lifted until July 4 – at the 

In other words, if I want to sit on a Pacific 
Ocean beach, I have to drive up to Ventura 

If I want to eat dinner with my wife in a 
restaurant, I have to go to Santa Barbara.

If I want to drive to my favorite hotel 
in Palm Desert and play golf and hang 
around the swimming pool, however, I 
still can’t.

Right now, the hotel pool is empty and 
you have to order 
food and take it 
to your room. If I 
want to eat in my 
room, I can do it at 

As I tweeted this 
week, if I hear 
about a hotel that 
opens and has a swimming pool with 
water in it and a restaurant that I can sit 
down and eat in, I’m there.

People have tweeted back to me and said, 
“Oh, please don’t do that. You could die.”

But I don’t care. I’m not afraid. Anyway, 
the odds of my not dying from the coronavirus 
are heavily in my favor.

My chances of being killed while driving 
50 miles to a hotel are a lot higher than 
dying from any virus I might catch.

I don’t gamble, but I like to go to Las Vegas 
for the shows, swimming pools and 
great restaurants. I also like to drive to 
Palm Desert to play golf and to Solvang 
to do wine tasting.

I hope the state and local politicians in 
charge let me enjoy those simple pleasures 
again soon.

The New York Post, God bless it, did 
its best to shame them this week by demanding, 
on its front page, the end of the 
coronavirus shutdown – Now!

I’m on the same front page. I’m ready to 
get back to the world beyond my basement 
and backyard.

Tens of thousands of my fellow Los Angelenos 
are too, but it’s like we’re trapped in 
a foreign country whose rulers are dumb, 
stubborn and despotic.

Until July 4 if we want to go to a beach 
and sit on the sand or play volleyball – 
with our face masks on, I presume – we’ll 
have to drive up to Santa Barbara.

Friends of ours did that the other day and 
some locals innocently asked if they were 

“No, we’re not tourists,” one of my friend 
said sadly, “We’re actually refugees from 

Michael Reagan is the son of President 
Ronald Reagan, a political consultant.

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