Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, August 14, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 13

Mountain Views News Saturday, August 14, 2021 OPINION 13 
Mountain Views News Saturday, August 14, 2021 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 
Dinah Chong WatkinsAudrey SwansonMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 

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What war? Let me try and explain. For a really long time 

yesterday was a great day. The morning was slightly overcast 

and I was scheduled to meet my new golfing companions in 

the heat. 

My wife was concerned as the day prior after playing 

golf she noted my truly exhausted state. She demanded that I 

take along water. She threatened to disable my car (that’s her 

actual word) unless I agreed. I followed her advice and for 

the first time rented the electric cart. It turned out to be the beginning of a great day. 

Not only did I play much better than usual but also I was able to carry on interesting 

conversations with my golfing partner who did walk the course. He’s only seventy and 

he’s a Republican.

”We need to declare war” he said. I asked against whom this war should be 

declared. I pointed out that other wars like the war in Afghanistan, the post 9/11 action 

against Iran, the War in Viet Nam had, to my mind, been tragic mistakes. I pointed 

out that the War against Poverty and the War against Drugs had both been complete 

failures. He seemed to agree for a moment and said that he was quite pleased and 

understood why both his highly educated sons (one is a professor of physics and the 

other a published poet) have decided not to bring children into this crazy world which 

is travelling towards human extinction.

At this point we finished our game but I chose to play another nine holes using 

the electric cart and quite enjoyed myself. Really the rest of the day was quite wonderful. 

I got a message from Kaiser that my new triple progressive lensed glasses were ready so 

I picked them up. Afterward, I suggested that we go to the Pasadena mall and allow the 

baby, or former baby (she is now two) to have the new experience of parking structures, 

elevators, escalators, and a large restaurant. It is true that approaching her first escalator 

our granddaughter clearly said “I scared” but my wife faced the problem by picking her 

up. I think she actually said “it’s moving!”

Once inside the restaurant things worked out well for a while. The very helpful 

service staff brought crayons and drawing paper, immediately supplied a high chair, 

and a child’s menu. Still, this wasn’t enough! The former baby demanded her sippy 

cup which we had left in the car four flights below. Since my wife had driven she felt 

she could find the car faster. Off she went for what seemed an interminably long time 

during which my son and his niece played beautifully together painting pictures with 

ketchup and ice. Notwithstanding my son’s considerable learning disabilities they play 

beautifully together and watching them was particularly gratifying for me. 

Eventually my wife returned with the sippy cup. She did get lost walking 

underground from one end of the parking lot to the other and eventually having to 

climb three flights of stairs. We finished eating but forgot to get our parking ticket 

validated. As you can probably tell we are not experienced mall attendees but managed 

it and all in all had quite a nice time. 

 Unfortunately I made the mistake of watching MSNBC and became 

so depressed that I could not force myself to write an article. After a mostly sleepless 

night I woke up and still felt the same way but took out the trash and walked around our 

canyon circle with my dog. The bear had been around and had knocked over several 

trash cans spreading garbage all over the street. I remembered the adage that one 

should pick up your own trash and some of other people’s as well. I did what I could 

and passed two pillows on another house that read ENJOY TODAY. 

So I went home and wrote this article. In reviewing my yesterday and today I 

realize that much needs to be done and I don’t know what it is and neither does anybody 

else. All we can do is to keep trying, doing new things, learning new things and not 

unnecessarily exhausting ourselves. MY WIFE WAS RIGHT! We need to maintain 

our strength, be sensible, feel free to talk to people and enjoy today as best as we can. 

Really humans are good at adapting and coping and learning. Maybe the enemy is not 

ourselves but simply our misunderstandings and misplaced loyalties. I hope so. 

Have a good week. 



Frosty's belly had a smudge of orange rust. I pulled out the 

metal ice shaver tube, the edges of the grater were worn 

smooth from overly ambitious summers of watery, home

made snow cones. His corncob pipe was long gone and 

his stovepipe hat had a 2 inch jagged crack in the back. He 

wasn’t so much white as snow than faded yellow, like a snow 

bank on a popular dog walking route. 

“How much?” I asked as I took a dollar bill from my wallet. 

“Twenty-five dollars.” she said, as visions of a pedicure danced in her eyes. 

“You gotta be kidding me, it’s broken.” 

“But it’s vintage.” 

DIY Yard Sales. From May to August you can find them popping up like clumps 
of weeds in your neighborhood. Every 5 years or so I’d clean out the back of my 
closets and brave the dark, hidden, inner reaches of my basement to haul out 
junk - I mean treasure - I could no longer live with - spouse excepted. I would 
pile the scrap - I mean treasure - to the front of my driveway, and tack up a 
couple of hand written posters on local street poles. Two hours before the start 
time, people would come and view my offerings, many of them curious, more 
of them critical. But at the end of the day, I’d have a cigar box full of change and 
a handful of single-digit denomination bills. They paid me to take away my 
junk - I mean treasure. 

Incidentally, their closets would soon fill up with incomplete sets of Faberware 
bought for two bucks, 8-track tapes of Donny Osmond's Greatest Hits, stacks 
of National Geographic circa 1970’s, and faded XXXL tees - a certain savior fare 
musky odor still clinging to the collars. It was the Bric-a-Brac Circle of Life. 

Second hand shopping used to be a low-cost weekend excursion. Yard sales and 
Flea markets shared two things. Bargain hunters with big dreams of snagging 
an undiscovered Rembrandt from someone’s great granny’s attic and rookie 
sellers whose Avengers Edition No.1 comic book is going to pay for that beach 
house in Hawaii. Granny’s talents in paint-by-numbers notwithstanding, the 
real winners at the Flea markets are the fast-talking Ginsu Knives salespeople 
from whom you buy not one, not two but three sets of the World’s Sharpest 
Knives with the lifetime guarantee. Not only can you cut cleanly through a copper 
pipe with a Ginsu, you can fix a BLT for lunch with it right after. 

I never got into Yard Sales. Unlike restaurants with Open Kitchens where you 
can view the chef preparing your food, I don’t want to actually know the stranger 
who used to wear the denim jacket I just bought. In the back of my mind it 
turns into an episode of “Who Wore It Better?” When I was 14, I bought a heavy 
woolen, sailor's jacket from the Salvation Army Thrift store. The black top with 
the smart square flap on the back had two stripes on the arm designating the 
wearer as a Seaman Apprentice. I doubt he’d want to know its glorious days of a 
submariner was now reduced to high school gossip in the canteen with a crew 
of acne-prone, buck-toothed teens. 

In the era before “fast fashion”, clothing was an investment. You bought clothes 
that would last years or at least until your younger sibling grew into it. Now a 
sweater can be had for the same price as a 3 course meal for at Panera. We toss 
our cheaply-bought clothes, like a container of fat-free yogurt, 2 weeks after the 
expiration date. “Vintage” stuff - anything pre-Iphone 4, can command sticker-
shock prices. Gone are the days when United Way sold blue jeans and button-
downs by the pound. 

Pre-owned, pre-loved, consignment - fancy names for fancy prices of second 
hand goods. And that Avengers No.1 edition and the beach house? Check out 
the the word REPRINT in small print by the title, and convince your spouse 
staycations are better anyways. 

Email me at 

Read more at: 



I came across an email sent to a friend circa 5 years ago 
who was, at the time, a father-to-be. 

“To my good friend and father to be Pastor Briant…”, 
the email began. And now I, embellish on that 
electronic communique to, include all fathers and 

I said to Briant if fatherhood impacts you the way it 
impacted me you are soon to be blessed with a new 
and special understanding of the love of God as seen 

through the special prism of the eyes of a father. 

You are about to witness the miracle of birth. If you involve yourself, Dad, in the 
whole experience, labor through birth, (which I strongly encourage) your love 
for your bride and your child will enter the cosmic range. 

Shortly after your wonderful wife gives birth, you will experience a love at a 
depth and level of which you currently have no comprehension. Your love for 
your child will be unlike any other love you have experienced. You can comprehend 
your love for your wife, your career, golf, friends, video games, me (lol) and 
even guitars. They all pale in comparison, mi amigo. 

Almost immediately, you will describe your love for your child as a love that disappears 
completely off the page and up into the clouds. I love my children more 
than I can fathom or understand. And this sudden burst of enlightenment was 
and is, very possibly, the greatest cosmic proof of the existence of our Heavenly 

Part two of your specific blessing is, Briant, you know you are about to have a 
daughter. I have suggestions for you. But let me first quote writer John Sinor: 
“It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in 
heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.” 

Fathers who carve out quality special time, early on with their daughters, are 
investing in their daughter’s lifelong emotional wellbeing. Without your special 
involvement Dad, your daughter could, very likely, develop a hole in her heart. A 
hole your daughter could spend the rest of her life emotionally trying to fill with 
whomever or whatever just happens to come along. 

I committed to make sure that hole never appeared. I set aside time to regularly 
take my daughter out and spend quality time with her. My daughter and I had, 
and still have, a close friendship. Time spent with just the two of us is a continuing 
investment that reaps huge long-term benefits. It really pays off! She’ll even, 
(very occasionally) side with you in disagreements with your wife! Don’t get used 
to it. 

And to all fathers out there…especially fathers of daughters. Let me quote Lady 
Gaga: “I love my Daddy. My Daddy’s everything. I hope I can find a man that will 
treat me as good as my dad!” 

I hope all us fathers earn and witness our daughters (and sons too) express the 
same tender words Lady Gaga (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) used to 
describe her father. Get it? Got it? Good! (Thank you Court Jester!) 

By the way, Nanos has a music next Thursday, Friday and Saturday Night (6:309:
30pm). Acoustic folk music night Thursday with Catharine Beck and friends, 
Friday night Eric Eckstrand Group. And Saturday night is JJ Jukebox (I’ve heard 
of them). Fun rock from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s. (626) 325-3334 for reservations. 322 

W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. 

It all kind of piled up this week. 

COVID hospitalizations and deaths are up. We’re still trying 
to convince the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, even 
as intensive care units fill beyond capacity. As the Delta 
variant attacks our children, Florida’s governor threatens 
the withhold the wages of educators who want to protect 
the lives of young people in their charge. 

People are still shopping baseless claims of election fraud, 

and are actively working to knock the legs out from under 
American democracy. And, as an added bonus, an earth-shattering new report 
reinforces the reality that the world is literally on fire. 

It’s … a lot. 

Surveying a landscape of denial on the basic realities of public health (vaccines 
and masks prevent illness) and science (people contribute to climate change, 
and are in a position to mitigate it), you ask yourself what you can do to sway 
the opinions of so many people who are so clearly dug in, and won’t move off 
those positions, no matter how hard you try to appeal to their better angels or 
sense of patriotism. 

My own rage over seeing the nation dragged backwards in its fight against the 
pandemic after a summer that began with such promise is palpable. I’m beyond 
tired of the “I wish I’d gotten the vaccine” stories that have seemingly accompanied 
every new death. I’ve yelled at the TV after the umpteenth account of a 
passenger attacking a flight attendant because they refused to wear a mask, or 
follow some other pandemic protocol designed to keep all of us safe. 

So I could have gone on the attack. And the people who agree with me would 
have applauded. And the people who disagree with me would have filled my 
email inbox with invective that I can’t repeat here. And nothing would change. 
And we’d make no progress. 

But giving up also isn’t an option. As the ancient Roman philosopher-emperor 
Marcus Aurelius reminds us, all you can do is put your head down and do your 
job. Ultimately, as author Ryan Holiday has translated for him, the obstacle becomes 
the way. And examples of it are everywhere if you look. 

Take, for instance, the Florida school officials who have told Republican Gov. 
Ron DeSantis to bring it with his threat to dock their pay over mask mandates. 

“Standing up for our students and our families is part of our job,” said Nora Rupert, 
a member of the Broward County School Board. “Being afraid that we’re 
going to lose our job — be removed from office, fined, lose our salary — bring 
it. Bring it. Because when you put that out there it makes me work harder for 
our school children and our families.” 

This week, in tiny, Republican-controlled Tioga County in rural Pennsylvania, 
Republican county commissioners told a state lawmaker pushing for an Arizona-
style sham investigation of the 2020 election results to take a walk, as they 
denounced the costly and “unnecessary chaos,” that such a probe would cause. 

In Texas, Democratic state Sen. Carol Alvarado spoke for more than 14 hours as 
she filibustered a Republican-backed voter suppression bill. The bill, which opponents 
said would suppress voters of color and the disabled, ultimately passed 
on an 18-11 vote, according to the Texas Tribune. 

According to the Tribune, Alvarado, who wore running shoes and a back brace, 
wasn’t allowed to take bathroom breaks or even a drink of water. Nor was she 
allowed to sit or lean against her desk on the Senate floor. 

But she kept at it. The obstacle became the way. 

And those are just the headlines. Think for a moment of all the doctors and 
nurses who are putting their own health and safety at risk as they treat the unvaccinated, 
who have urged us time and again, to get vaccinated so we wouldn’t 
reach the crisis stage in which we currently find ourselves. 


A year or so back, at the height of the pandemic, I wrote that there was no 
greater failure in the warrior state of ancient Sparta than to drop your shield. 
That’s not because it not only protected you, it also protected the hoplite marching 
into battle next to you. It was about protecting the whole line. 

Those healthcare workers. The educators in Florida. The county commissioners 
in rural Pennsylvania. They’re protecting the whole line. Even if you don’t agree 
with them or their choices, there’s no disputing that they’ve put responsibility 
to the whole above responsibility to themselves. 

They’ve recognized that the obstacle is the way.