Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, November 28, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 28, 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

Everything in combination has left me very 

 This really happened. My wife was coming 
downstairs and heard the end of a telephone 
conversation with my daughter. What she heard 
was me saying “Irene is so negative”. Immediately 
thereafter I noticed Irene being very harsh and 
abrupt with me. Finally, I timidly asked, “What is 
wrong?” She said, why did you say to Stacy that 
I was so negative?” At first I didn’t know what 
she was talking about, although by now many of 
you probably have figured it out. Last week my 
daughter requested that the whole family take 
Covid Tests before getting together for Thanksgiving and the joint birthday 
on Saturday. My daughter’s test was labelled inconclusive while my son and 
the baby’s father were labelled negative which meant things were positive. 
This freaked everybody out. Until she was sure, one way or the other, my 
daughter felt she could not send the baby to day-care or allow my wife and I 
to take care of the baby on Monday as we usually do. My daughter arranged 
to take another test on Sunday and further requested that my wife and I take 
a test as soon as possible. We tested on Sunday and received the results on 
Monday resulting in my conversation with my daughter wherein I stated my 
wife was completely negative. That’s all my wife heard and you can imagine 
what she thought. Eventually, we figured it out and broke up laughing, 
friends again, until at least the next misunderstanding. Today, my daughter 
received her results and HOORAY, she too was negative but is still feeling 
cautious and we are all still discussing what our weekend plans will be.

 Anyway, the whole point of this little story is what kind of crazy world 
creates use of language wherein the statement “she is negative” is understood 
to mean something highly positive. Words can have unexpected meanings. 
On the way to and from being tested I saw four huge yellow billboards that 
proclaim in huge black letters HYPERWOLF. Do any of you have any idea 
what is the meaning of that sign? I believe confusion is intended. Those in 
the know will get the information they need. It’s scary. 

 Today, establishment characters like former Republican Speaker of 
the House John Boehner (he of zippety doo-dah resignation fame) has become 
the chair of the Cannabis Roundtable, a cannabis lobbying organization. 
Of course a total reversal of his legislative positons regarding drugs. 
To me this indicates that language is being used to fool the public and what 
seems like a benefit to low income people will end up making rich folk richer. 
For example in 1969 already putting people into jail for simple drug possession 
seemed ridiculous. A President Nixon policy called the War on Drugs 
was established. As time has made clear this war on Drugs was really a War 
on Race intended to put young men of color into jail. White America was 
scared of the Black Panthers, and the repercussions of the assassinations of 
Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Young black men were considered a 
threat and the War on Drugs was handy way to lock them up and keep them 
under control. That’s what it was all about and it’s been that way for a very 
long time. The decriminalization of drug possession may well mean that 
States save money, and individual favored people will greatly profit. Sure, let 
“negative” mean “positive” so as people we can become more confused and 
easily manipulated. The next four years should give us some test results. I 
wonder if the results will be called positive or negative but I’m pretty sure we 
will all remain confused. 

 What happened to the Wall? What happened to the approaching 
migrant gangs? Actually, what happened to the Progressives? Have we been 
fooled again? 

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It may be the sort of birthday where someone shouts, 
“50 candles blazing on the cake? Are you crazy? Why 
don’t we just fill a pinata with cow methane while 
we’re at it???”

I’m speaking of the 50th anniversary of the Environmental 
Protection Agency. President Richard Nixon 
proposed the independent executive agency on July 9, 
1970 (fun fact: “EPA” was the only term on that particular 
Nixon tape with fewer than FOUR letters) and 
it began op-eration on December 2, 1970.

(This was mere weeks before Elvis Presley’s famous meeting with Nixon in the 
Oval Office. Nixon would maintain an interest in both Elv-is and the environment, 
as witnessed by a joint operation of the FBI and EPA in investigating the 
effect of a hunk’a hunk’a burning love on the ozone layer.)

The EPA didn’t arrive on the American scene a moment too soon. Bob Hope 
and Red Skelton were running out of smog jokes, and newcom-er Flip Wilson’s 
Geraldine Jones character was in danger of her sassy catch-phrase becoming 
“What you see is what you get – no, I’m over here – *cough* *cough* just squint 
real hard…”

I know some people long for the Good Old Days (“Who needed Jell-O Pudding 
Pops when you could just draw them right out of the well? Mmmmm…”), but 
we were some NASTY sons of guns before federal intervention.

We thought an “ecosystem” was a plan for blowing your horn while driving 
through a tunnel. Tourists seeing the U.S.A. in their Chevrolet frequented tourist 
sites such as the World’s Largest Ball of Particulate Matter.

It was a “buyer’s market” for hitchhikers. (“If you ain’t haulin’ at least three barrels 
of benzene in the back of your pickup, I’d just as soon walk, mister.”) The 
fuzziness of nostalgia helps us forget that kids couldn’t even make a simple paper 
football in class without calling time-out to add lead paint and asbestos to 
the project.

Homeowners and factories took shortcuts and were not particularly keen on 
looking at the big picture. And if they did look at the big pic-ture, afterwards, 
they let the photographic chemicals run off into nav-igable waterways.

I know sometimes the EPA is accused of going hog wild with regula-tions (arguably, 
little Jimmy’s mud pie business probably ISN’T that big a threat to endangered 
wetlands), but in general we shouldn’t take the agency for granted.

They educate us about fuel efficiency, set radiation standards and prepare Environmental 
Impact Statements for all major government projects. Roughly 1,000 
“Superfund” hazardous waste sites have been reused or redeveloped in the 40 
years since Congress put a priority on such cleanups.

Considering humanity’s desire to cut corners, bend rules and kick the can down 
the road (suddenly the Traveling Wilburys song “The Dev-il’s Been Busy in 
Your Backyard” is playing in my brain), there will al-ways be a need for the folks 
at the EPA to serve as our ecological conscience and maintain this great land’s 
natural beauty.

Just don’t get me started on the funding of OTHER federal programs, such as 
the Pony Express Saddle Inspection Agency or the Depart-ment of Keeping 
Betsy Ross Supplied with Needles.

Those can go to the Landfill of History for all I care. Unless there’s another 
cracked landfill liner…

All these complications make me mad enough to whack a pinata!

Hey, there’s one now…BOOM!


My family canceled Thanksgiving this year – my favorite 
holiday since I was a kid.

Usually, 30 to 40 people gather at my parents’ house 
and sit next to each other at three tables. But in this 
year of COVID-19 – aptly named, because I and everyone 
I know has put on about 19 pounds since March 
–the grand event has been canceled.

When I was a kid in the 1970s, my parents lived in a modest house. We 
packed people in for Thanksgiv-ing nonetheless, with three tables taking 
up every inch of space in the dining room and living room. The tight circumstances 
made the event all the more fun and memorable.

When I taste turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce – the cheap 
kind in the ribbed can! – I taste the many years of camaraderie and happiness 
we’ve enjoyed around those tightly packed ta-bles.

I knew as a boy, as I still do now, that the family members around the table 
were our primary blessings and sources of happiness. As sad as we are that 
wonderful aunts and uncles have left us over time, we are thankful for the 
many new souls whose joy has enriched our continually growing clan.

My parents have 17 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, and we 
all look forward to hearing stories about what they’ve said or done, often 
laughing out loud. Their joy fills us with joy.

But there will be no Thanksgiving gathering this year – no laughter around 
the dinner tables, no catch-ing up as we talk about everything and nothing 
at all. That’s somewhat troubling, because we don’t know how many such 
gatherings we have left at my parents’ home.

That’s taking a toll on all of us this Thanksgiving, when everyone could use 
an enjoyable feast to take a respite from all the disruption in our lives and 
recharge our batteries a little bit.

If 2020 has given us one important lesson, it’s that we shouldn’t take for 
granted the blessings we still have in abundance. That lesson makes clear 
that the people who will NOT sit around the Thanksgiving table this year 
are what is most valuable to us. This year has reminded us to get back to 
the basics.

We don’t need massive riches to fill ourselves with happiness. To the contrary, 
material wealth can cause unhappiness – particularly when markets 
crash and fortunes disappear. Truthfully, Kenny Rogers summarized well 
the three basic things we need in our lives to pursue happiness: someone to 
love, something to do and something to look forward to.

And, boy, am I looking forward to picking back up with my extended family’s 
magical Thanksgiving gathering next year – to getting back to normal.

Perhaps it takes an especially disruptive year to bring us back to our senses. 
That’s the spirit in which I’m taking 2020.

As far as the economy and our country’s future goes, my family is as apprehensive 
about the coming months as anyone. We have experienced lost 
work and wage cuts, as millions of Americans have.

Though we won’t sit around the Thanksgiving tables enjoying each other’s 
company this year, we still will be thankful for the many blessings we’ve 
been given.

Tom Purcell, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist 

Mountain Views News

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