Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 25, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 11

OPINION Mountain View News Saturday, December 25, 2021 
OPINION Mountain View News Saturday, December 25, 2021 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola 


Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMeghan MalooleyMary 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 
LaQuetta Shamblee 

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It’s 5 a.m. and I am thinking about an old baseball 

movie called Band the Drum Slowly starring Robert De 

Niro as a simpleminded catcher who has difficulty con

necting with others. The other players mock the naïve 

and trusting nature of the De Niro character and con

spire to lure him into a card game called “TEGWAR”, an 

abbreviation for “The Exciting Game without Any Rules”. 

The only point of the game is to create rules for the single-

minded purpose of taking advantage of the weaker De 

Niro character. The film is probably intended as a meta

phor for world history and had a personal poignancy for 

me. The theme of the film connected with the revelation 
of my son’s developmentally disabled person diagnosis. A few years later, his mother 
moved away and I became his single parent of my son and daughter thinking about 
how I could explain the Rules of Life to them and to myself.

I have been thinking about this kind of question for most of my life. Raising 
my son and daughter brought this nonsensical teaching home for discussion never 
debate. My son, before he even went to school told me he that he didn’t want to be 
a “birdie”. He meant “burden” and I emphasized with all the power that I had that 
people such as he who had disabilities such as he, were special people who were kind 
of a gift to others. People had different abilities but no matter the differences being 
alive was a pretty wonderful thing and underneath we were all equal. He understood 
me and when he went to School, supplied with a fully packed lunch, he would be very 
hungry when he got home. It took a while but I eventually realized that he would 
give much of his lunch away to other students. He explained to me that he knew he 
would get more food when he got home and that many other kids were hungry and 
were unsure of when they would eat again. Perhaps Jesus would have approved of his 
behavior but I didn’t. I did my best to explain why what seemed so unfair was really 
not his problem but I never succeeded very well.

 Within a few years my son and daughter had living with us two friends of my 
sons who needed a place to live. They paid no rent but added a great deal to all of our 
lives. When my son passed high school age and my daughter was going off to College 
I concurrently met the woman who became my future wife and who will hopefully 
proofread this article today, thirty years later. As she moved in it became obvious 
that changes had to be made. I urged my son and his friend to move into one of the 
apartments I owned that was rented to the organizers of a group of disabled people 
in which my son happily participated. As a part of this group my son was flown to 
Washington D.C. and the group performed at Bill Clinton’s Presidential inauguration 
in 1992. I expected rent from these organizers which would be paid at some future 
time but never was. This failure was not by design and future payments were promised 
to pay “soon”; but “soon” never came. Surprise, surprise! Eventually, the apartments 
were lost to bankruptcy but the benefits conferred upon my son, to my mind at 
least, outweighed any financial losses. Let’s face it. I, also, have never been very clear 
on what rules or non-rules to follow. 

As we enter 2022, I am still confused. Of course I write these published articles 
every week without pay and feel very privileged to have this opportunity. I 
am very privileged living with my wife in our large house in this wonderfully safe 
Sierra Madre canyon community. I am retired comfortably and bemoan the inequality, 
hierarchy, dominion and misery that covers the world. As confusing as things as 
I know my family, all of whom I see several times a week, are still fortunate. But then 
what about the future? What are the rules to follow? Although what I call “Tegwar” 
by which I mean pursuing only self-interest appears to be the path to foreseeable 
complete disaster. My hope and belief is that the teachings of the Judeo-Christian 
ethic and the other great world religions will utilize technology to illuminate the human 
race enabling the world to find the communal path necessary for a prolonged, 
even if not perpetual, survival. That is my hope and prayer as we enter this new year!. 


Christmas card trends are telling — they speak to the mood 
of the country — and this year’s trend offers some positive 

According to the Washington Post, hand-written “snailmailed” 
Christmas cards are all the rage, particularly among 
millennials who all of the sud-den are spending more on 
Christmas cards than baby boomers. 
We baby boomers came of age well before everything went 

I still have and cherish the hilarious hand-written letters my friends and I shared 
during our college years in the ‘80s, when we were spread all over the nation. 

One of my most prized possessions is a letter my grandfather wrote in 1921. He 
died when my dad was only 3 years old, but the old letter offers a connection to 
the grandfather I wished I had got to meet. 

For a long time, Christmas-card writing was a big social event. 

The card itself didn’t matter so much as the funny notes my friends would write 
and the pleasure and enjoyment we would experience when the cards arrived in 
the mail. 

I can’t recall the last time I wrote and snail-mailed a letter to a friend. And I likewise 
stopped hand-writing Christmas cards long ago, as most of my friends have. 

Maybe millennials will inspire us to resume the annual practice. 

They came of age in the digital world, where everything — even Christmas cards 

— is automated and bulk mailed. 
Every year, companies send out generic mass-printed cards to employees and 
customers, and every year the cards, which took no effort to produce and therefore 
evoke zero emotion in their recipients, are tossed unopened into the trash. 

Millennials are taking an entirely opposite approach to Christmas cards. 

“Lindsey Roy, chief marketing officer of Hallmark, which has more than 3,600 
holiday cards in its lineup, says millennials are looking for special cards for important 
people in their lives,” reports the Post. 

“’They have teachers to thank, or caregivers,” Roy tells the Post. “They want to 
find the card that is exactly right, and they are willing to pay a bit more if they like 
the design and it says the right thing.’” 

To get the right card with the right message — to create a card that stands out in 
a stack of junk mail — they’re using foil-lined envelopes, decorative tape, vintage 
postage stamps and more. 

Technology offers new opportunities to share authentic messages. 

“Hallmark’s new Sign & Send service allows users to compose a handwrit-ten 
message on paper, snap a photo of it and upload it,” reports the Post. 

Sign & Send users also can send cards with QR codes that the recipient can scan 
with a smartphone and see the personalized multimedia content. 

Whatever the approach, millennials are willing to pay up to 6 bucks per card to 
prove that they went to great lengths to show their gratitude and affection to their 

This year’s upward Christmas card trend may appear to be a small matter. 

But in a digital world in which so many are experiencing increasing social isolation, 
increasing rudeness and incivility, and increasing inhumanity, I think it’s a 
wonderful step in the right direction. 

It offers a nice and badly needed human touch that we can all use more of. 

Better yet, the combination of technology and thoughtfulness offers an opportunity 
for humor. 

Send a card maker a photo of your cat and the company can create a cus-tom 
Christmas card that says cheery things, such as “Meowy Christmas from my 

–Tom Purcell is an author and humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 
Email him at 






My daughter, Olivia, has indicated I need to set 
aside 8 hours so we can watch the three existing 
“Matrix” films to reacquaint ourselves just before 
we watch the brand spanking new fourth “Matrix” 
movie. (By the way, I think “The Matrix” is a documentary 
lol. It’s not fiction.) 

Anyway, staying close to my commitment to outfit 
you with useable and or, useless trivia, I went into 

the wayback machine and researched some mildly interesting trivia 
(well interesting for me anyway). The trivia? Original title of well-
known movies. So here goes: 

“Pretty Woman” The Richard Gere/Julia Roberts film was originally 
called “3,000”. Apparently, that was the amount of money offered 
to Julia Robert’s lady of the evening character to spend a week with 
Richard Gere’s character. 

“Saturday Night Fever” This film classic was based on a New York 
Magazine article by a journalist who toured the dance club scene of 
Brooklyn. Had the producers stayed with the journalist’s article title, 
we would remember John Travolta’s breakout movie as “The Tribal 
Rites of the New Saturday Night”. 

“Blade Runner” taken from a story by Philip K. Dick, which, if used 
we would remember as “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” 

“Some Like it Hot” The 1960 Billy Wilder classic starring Marilyn 
Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon was originally titled “Not Tonight 

“Alien” This scary classic from 1979 was going to be known as ”Star 
Beast”. Thank goodness they changed it “Star Beast” sounds like a 
Disney movie. 

“Back to the Future” Get this. The studio wanted it to be called 
“Spaceman From Pluto”. Many of us believe Christopher Lloyd may 
very well be an alien (That’s a compliment by the way). 

“Big” the wonderful Tom Hanks movie was originally titled “When 
I Grow Up”. The problem was they couldn’t find a director or a star 
who would sign on with the title. 

“Field of Dreams” This Kevin Costner classic was originally titled 
“Shoeless Joe” adapted from the novel “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella. 
Using that name made sense, but to studio execs it wouldn’t 
make cents. 

“Tangled” The Disney hit’s original title would cause the film to lose 
half its audience…BOYS. That’s what the Disney execs surmised 
when they changed the original name “Rapunzel Unbraided”. 

“Casablanca” This iconic Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman classic 
was Warner Bros retooling of a stage play about an upscale Moroccan 
nightclub. The name of the play? “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” 

“Goodfellas” Scorsese’s mob classic was supposed to be named after 
the book it was based on; The problem was Brian DePalma already 
made a movie with that name. And there was a TV series with the 
name. The name? Oh yeah, “Wiseguy”. 

“American Pie” This film actually had two other names. One was 
“East Great Falls High”. The other name was…are you ready?.... are 
you sure?... Okay, here goes: “Teenage Sex Comedy That Can Be 
Made For Under $10 million That Your Reader Will Love But The 
Executive Will Hate” 

Last minute additions: 

“Wind-Up Heroes” became “Toy Story”
“The Lunch Club” became “The Breakfast Club” 
“Affairs of the Heart” became “Fatal Attraction” 
“Love Hurts” became “Basic Instincts” 
“Hunter” became “Predator” 
“Watch the Skies” became “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” 
And last and certainly not least…
“Night Skies” became “E.T.” 

Have a wonderful week. Me? I’ll be watching “The Matrix”. 

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