Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 29, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 13

OPINION Mountain View News Saturday, January 29, 2022 
13 OPINION Mountain View News Saturday, January 29, 2022 




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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I hope Jack Nicholson’s challenge hurled at the 

rest of us in “A Few Good Men” is untrue. Very much 

I would like to believe that the transparency promised 

by just about every candidate as the battle for our votes 

was something more than mere words. Increasingly I 

have come to understand that presenting truth is sim

ply not in the best interest of those in power no matter 

what party they represent. What those in power want 
is to stay in power. To do that fictions are created to pacify a potentially out of 
control population. We are all manipulated to act in the interest of those in power 
rather than doing what is best for us. Maybe this all necessary to maintain the 
organization of our culture and truthfully many of us live comfortable and often 
satisfying lives.

 Still I am bothered by the inevitable loss of freedom and curiosity and 
the diminished joy of living. Let me start by talking about my 2 and ½ year old 
granddaughter. She is at an age where she is discovering that she has a mind of 
her own. She has amazing energy and always seems to have her own agenda in 
mind. She stamps her foot and pouts if she does not get her way. She wants what 
she wants and she wants it now. She plays games and teases but is full of love and 
mischief. A behavior that I found very interesting (actually everything she does is 
interesting to me) occurred on Saturday. My wife had placed some fresh flowers 
in a vase and cautioned her not touch them. She ignored the warning and took 
a flower upstairs to display it to my son and me. How nice of her to share; but 
while she displayed the flower to us she purposely broke off a part of the stem and 
yelled down to my wife, “meema” the name she has created and bestowed upon 
my wife, “I broke the flower”. I am pretty certain that her thought processes were 
something like wanting to hold the flower when she noticed it and wanting it even 
more when she couldn’t have it. She craftily snatched the flower displaying it to us 
and in her mind thereby turning us into her allies as she taunted her grandmother. 

That’s the dilemma. Human beings early become aware of their own agency 
and probably it is the responsibility of caretakers and parents to help the child 
maintain their energy and creativity so that they can get along in society and simultaneously 
use their abilities in the most fulfilling ways. Do we want our kids 
to be good little boys and girls who follow all the rules and make their parents 
proud; but at what expense? I know it’s socially unacceptable to openly compare 
oneself with others but I will take a risk and do it. Pleasing one’s parents is not the 
most fulfilling way to lead a life. I don’t know exactly what I would rather have 
done but these past couple of years of pandemic isolation has left me some time to 
reflect. I think about the one time I stood up for myself which was when I stood 
up for myself and told my parents I would not serve in the armed forces during 
the Viet Nam war. I think we talked about the rightness of the war and whether it 
was reasonable to expect me or anyone else to put our life at risk so as not to suffer 
the disapproval of others, including my mother. I took his message to mean 
something like “You’re a smart boy. If you don’t want to go into the army then 
figure a way to stay out without damaging your whole life and “without ripping 
your pants” (You know causing my mother unnecessary grief.) 

Already, I have heard my granddaughter say “walk in single file” which 
must be a repeat of what she hears at daycare. I want to tell her not to do it and to 
maintain her independence. I know this would be bad advice and also know that 
my daughter would get mad at me. I need to communicate that sometimes, most 
of the time, you have to walk in single file but you don’t have to think in single file. 
Life is an experiment with a predetermined end. The challenge is to enjoy that life 
and to do this I think independence of thought must be maintained and it ain’t 
easy but it is the truth. I get that, Jack! 




In these inflationary times it’s not easy to laugh as you watch the value 
of your hard-earned savings being de-stroyed. 

But I chuckled out loud when I read some of the tips offered by 
Bloomberg News to beat inflation, which is at its highest point in 
more than 40 years. 

Since Americans have enjoyed low inflation and stable consumer 
prices for a long time, Bloomberg explains, Americans are “a little 
rusty on basic inflationary-era tactics.” 
Bloomberg turned to the long-tortured people of Argentina for guidance, as they have become 
experts at navi-gating hyperinflation rates as high as 50 percent in a typical year. 

The tips the Argentines offer are the polar opposite of everything my Depression-era parents 
taught my sisters and me about managing our money — nutty tips that suddenly make 
sense in a nutty world. 

Here’s the first one: spend your paycheck immediately. 

Why put money in the bank where its purchasing power will decline in value every day, 
when you can buy a new refrigerator, sofa or some other big-ticket item that will cost more 
a month from now? 

In these goofy times, the sooner you buy it, the less you will pay for it. 

Another tip: borrow lots of money. 

If you can borrow a million today at a 3 percent annual rate and the inflation rate continues 
at 7 percent, you will enjoy a 4 percent gain. 

That is, as today’s dollars inflate, it will be easier for you to repay the loan in the future. 

Even this English major can see that makes sense — sort of. 

Another tip: buy cars. 

That was certainly my strategy in my spendthrift 20s, when I lived paycheck to paycheck, in 
part because I always had to have a nice ride that I couldn’t afford. 

I can’t believe any news outlet would encourage Americans to put their money into automobiles, 
traditionally a horrible, rapidly depreciating investment. 

But in a world turned on its head — there is a shortage of cars due to a shortage of computer 
chips used in their manufacture — even new and old cars are soaring in value. 

My father has lost a fortune in cars over his lifetime, as they depreciated 30 percent or more 
the day he drove them off the car lot. 

Finally, he got lucky. He leased a 2020 Kia. A year from now when his lease is up he will 
make the payoff of $13,500 and keep the car because it will be worth significantly more 
than that. 

Bloomberg offers some traditionally sensible tips, such as buying inflation-linked bonds, 
which increase in value as inflation increases. 

Bloomberg also suggests buying a home, which also makes sense, as a house is a great hedge 
against inflation. Though good luck finding one at a reasonable price, as housing values 
have soared. 

Covid has caused considerable market disruptions that have contributed to rising prices 
and our inflation woes. 

The federal government’s stimulus spending, massive borrowing and especially its continuous 
money printing are major drivers of inflation. 

I wish we had confidence that our political leaders had a sound strategy to solve this problem 
— a problem largely of their own making — but we don’t. 

I’m surely not alone in my worry that financial matters may get plenty worse before they 
get better. 

Until then I’ll demonstrate my investor acumen by squandering my hard-earned savings on 
a shiny new car I can’t afford. 



Time to review the five stages of our Federal terror 
alert levels. At the bottom is our safest level “LOW” 
signified by the color green. The next level up is 
“GUARDED” displayed by the color blue. 

“ELEVATED” is one more level up and is against a 
yellow backdrop. “HIGH” is orange and “SEVERE” is 
signified by, not surprisingly, the color red. 

Are we the only country with terror alert levels? I can’t imagine that 
being so. So, I did a deep dive and a little research and discovered the 
following evidence according to historical data regarding European 
Historical threat levels: Evidence compiled by that scholarly organization 
known affectionately as the MPTT (Monty Python Think Tank): 

The British have four security levels in in their response to terrorist 
threats. The first is “miffed” followed by “peeved.” Third is “irritated,” 
followed by their highest security level, “A bit cross.” “A bit cross” has 
not been used since the blitz in 1940 which caused tea supplies to 
run out. They had a fifth level referred to as “bloody nuisance” but 
that has not been issued since the American Revolution, errr, I mean 
American Insurrection. 

The French, whose opinion and affirmation many Americans greatly 
crave, announced yesterday it had raised its terror alert level from 
“run” to “hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “collaborate” 
and “surrender.” The rise in French alert levels was precipitated by a 
recent fire that destroyed France’s only white flag factory, effectively 
paralyzing the country’s military capabilities. 

Italy has increased their alert level from “shout loudly and excitedly” 
to “elaborate military posturing.” Two more levels remain: “ineffective 
combat operations” and “change sides”. This motivated the Germans 
to raise their alert status from “disdainful arrogance” to “Dress 
in uniform and sing marching songs.” The Germans also have two 
higher levels: “invade a neighbor” and “lose.” 

The Spanish, ignoring updated information on their security alert 
levels, chose to speak excitedly about the deployment of their new 
submarine fleet. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms 
so the new Spanish Navy can get a good look at the old Spanish Navy. 

Thank you, John Cleese, and the whole Monty Python Think Tank 
for your tireless (and often tiresome) contributions to society at large. 

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