Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 23, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 12

OPINION12 Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 23, 2022 OPINION12 Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 23, 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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When I was in the second grade I remember the teacher 
calling me “the question man”. It’s true; I’ve always had 
questions, but seldom have I received answers. As I get older, 
and I am getting older as this coming Thursday is my birthday, 
I still have not received many important answers. In fact, 
as I now think about it, most human life is a search, a QUEST 
for answers. Really. I think what engages us most is the search 
rather than the solution. For example, every morning for the 
past couple of months, just after waking up, I play the New 
York Times puzzle game on my iPhone. 

 While I play the game I don’t worry about what I am supposed to do today or 
should have done yesterday, or what I am afraid will happen tomorrow. As I play the 
game I note amazing things happen. Words just pop into my head and after that popping 
I feel the rush of entering a bunch of re-lated words. This feeling as the words rush 
out of me is something like the pleasure I feel as I step under the morning hot water 
shower except that I don’t have to get out of bed, worry about falling down the stairs or 
tripping over something and struggling to properly adjust the water flow, direction, and 

The difference between the shower and the puzzle is that with the shower it is not 
the quest that is enjoyable; instead it is that wonderful feeling as the water hits my body 
which is the great reminder that I am happy to be alive. The puzzle is very different. 
There is a short moment of success when I reach the Genius level of the puzzle, which 
I haven’t yet reached today, but the focused moments, minutes, sometimes hours of the 
quest are a great pleasure. It would be wonderful to feel that pleasure all day but eventually 
I have to get out of the shower. After the shower I feel the anxiety of living in this 
confused threatened world and wishing I did not feel so powerless. 

I wish I was more content with myself. Internally I feel I have the resources to feel 
better but there is a lack. I am not alone. I feel that the whole culture surrounding us 
diverts us from realizing our own powers and looking elsewhere for acceptance. Many 
years ago I was having lunch with a Court Interpreter who had someone else’s child with 
her. The little six or seven year old girl told us that she was not with her mother because 
her mother was somewhere getting her car painted. I asked the little girl what the color 
of the car would be and she said “gold so that other people would know how rich they 

The little girl’s answer symbolizes something for me. I think the need to depend 
on other people’s opinion in order to appreciate oneself is universally crippling. The way 
we are all raised and educated contributes to a kind of selfishness and personal dissatisfaction. 
Even in Junior High School and High School I can remember resenting the fact 
that the teachers would evaluate term papers and written assignments with a grade and 
never explain what the grade was based on. That information was withheld I believe as 
a way of maintaining power over the young. Parents do the same thing of-ten feeling 
that teaching their children to conform to wishes of others is the only way to keep them 
safe. Sadly, for me and a great many others the world that has been created no longer 
feels safe.

 There has been a historical search for leaders to preserve or even create our feeling 
of safety. Religions and political systems promising answers have emerged but the 
representatives of these systems, no matter how humanely intended, have left us with 
leaders invariably interested in competitively maintaining dominance and control. 

Right now it seems that the entire world feels unsafe and powerless no matter how much 
individual wealth they possess. Individual mansions and gold Cadillacs and Black Teslas 
are not going to do the trick. The change necessary will begin with the answering of 
young people’s questions and sharing whatever information that is already present. 

Young people will then find the answers so long as they are not overly controlled and 
made to conform. Their inquisitiveness and curiosity is vital and should be encouraged 
rather than stifled. I hope that that is the answer. 

A final question is- - what other answer is there? 



More years ago than I 

really care to count, the 

children’s librarian in 

my little town in rural 

northwestern Connecti

cut, apparently tired of 

my endlessly renew

ing the same book over 

and over again, pressed 
a copy of “The White Mountains” by John 
Christopher into my eight-year-old hands. 

Mrs. Bullock was her name. She was the 
mother of one of my schoolmates. She’d 
taken note of my reading habits, such as 
they were were, and decided to take matters 
into her own hands. If I liked the book 
I’d been endlessly renewing, she argued, I’d 
love this one. 

She was right. I read every volume in 
Christopher’s pulpy series, which followed 
the adventures of young people rebelling 
against alien overlords’ bent on keeping a 
servile population under their collective 
thumb with futuristic tech that suppressed 
their individuality and free will. 

It was the start of my lifelong love of books 
and libraries. And viewed through the 
prism of 40-odd years, it was an oddly prescient 

Students and their teachers in schools 
across the country — and now public libraries 
— are waging a brave fight against 
the king of organized book- banning campaigns 
that once only seemed the province 
of the worst kind of totalitarian governments 
— or dystopian science fiction. 

As Pennsylvania Capital-Star Washington 
Reporter Ariana Figueroa made astonishingly 
clear in a recent story, hundreds of 
books, across dozens of states, are being 
banned at alarming rates. 

A majority of the bans we’re seeing across 
the country have targeted books written by 
authors who are people of color, LGBTQ+, 
Black and indigenous. The books feature 
characters, and deal with themes, that reflect 
the experiences of marginalized communities, 
Figueroa reported. 

And while those behind these campaigns 
hide themselves behind the mask of parental 
control, what I think they’re really 
concealing is fear: Fear of a country and 
world that’s changing around them. Fear of 
voices that were kept silent too long who 
are now speaking up and demanding their 
seat at the table of power. Perhaps most importantly, 
fear of the erosion of their own 

Books are more than printed matter. 
They’re conduits to an endless universe of 
knowledge. And they are the greatest democratizer 
we’ve ever invented. 

Take one down off the shelf, read it, and 
finish it, and it will nudge you to another, 
and another. Before long, you’re navigating 
the twists and turns of human experience, 
letting your own curiosity be your guide, 
allowing it to bring you to places you’ve 
never been, and to introduce you to people, 
places, and cultures you might never 
have met or experienced on your own. 

And that’s why, when they’ve sought to 
erase people and cultures, every authoritarian 
from the beginning of time until 
now has destroyed their books and burned 
their libraries. 

After the the Romans tore down ancient 
Carthage, brick by brick, and sold its people 
into slavery in 146 B.C.E., they gave the 
Carthaginians’ books to the city’s adversaries, 
who either destroyed or lost them, 
silencing them forever. 

The Nazis held well-documented book 
burnings in 1933. And in a modern twist, 
Vladimir Putin’s Russia is struggling to 
keep the truth of its savage invasion of 
Ukraine from its own people. 

Last year, students in a Pennsylvania 
school district about 40 minutes south of 
Harrisburg made nationwide headlines 
when they took on — and won a reversal 
of — a year-long ban on a list of anti-racism 
books and educational resources by or 
about people of color, including children’s 
books that dealt with the Rev. Dr. Martin 
Luther King and Rosa Parks. 

The school board’s president, Jane Johnson, 
told the Washington Post at the time 
that the board was trying to “balance legitimate 
academic freedom with what could 
be literature/materials that are too activist 
in nature, and may lean more toward indoctrination 
rather than age-appropriate 
academic content.” 

Hear that? Indoctrination? That’s the voice 
of fear talking. It’s a way to push back, 
without appearing to push back, against 
arguments that you’re trying to silence or 
erase those whose voices badly need to be 

When a student — or anyone — picks up 
a book, it’s a moment of singular liberation. 
It’s their first step down that hallway 
of knowledge. It’s the start, rather than the 
end, of the adventure. And there’s no telling 
where it might take them — perhaps 
even to the halls of power themselves. 

And if they’re very lucky, they will have 
their own Mrs. Bullock to help guide them 
down those twisting and turning corridors, 
always nudging them along, gently 
prodding and testing them, but never, ever 
standing in their way or blocking the path. 

Only the fearful do that. 



As is the hope of all of my columns, this column 
is intended to en-lighten your knowledge, 
lighten your load, tickle your funny bone, and, 
possibly, most importantly, equip you with the 
ability to light-en someone else’s load by passing 
the humor along. 

1. If the enemy is in range, so are you. 
2. Incoming fire has the right of way. 
3. Don’t look conspicuous as it draws fire. 
4. The easy path is always mined. 
5. Try to look unimportant. They may be low on ammo. 
6. Teamwork is essential. It gives the enemy someone else to shoot at. 
7. The enemy diversion you have been ignoring will be the main 
8. If your attack is going well, you have walked into an am-bush. 
9. Never draw fire, it irritates everyone around you. 
10. Anything you do can get you shot, including doing nothing. 
11. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than your-self 
12. If you are running short of everything but the enemy, you are in a 
combat zone. 
13. When you have secured an area, don’t forget to tell the enemy. 
14. Never forget that your weapon is made by the lowest bidder. 
15. Friendly fire isn’t. 
Recently, I challenged a very dear friend of mine to stop using the word 
“thing”. And I am challenging you to minimize your use of that bland, 
dull word. “Thing” is an example of what is referred to as vague language. 
A black and white word. Metaphorically speak-ing, add color to 
your use of the language! 

Instead of, “I like that thing you are wearing”, say, “I admire that beautiful 
yellow dress you are wearing.”

 ”What is that thing crawling up your arm?” Instead, say, “What is that 
dangerous looking big black spider crawling up your arm?” 

Use much more descriptive and specific words. People will think you 
are very smart and well read. I’ve been fooling them for years. 

On another note, let’s continue to support local businesses. What-ever 
city you reside in, frequent the local merchants whenever you can. Your 
use of the local merchants will keep them open and well within arms 

I could speaking glowingly of most all of the restaurants in Sierra 
Madre. This week I mention Corfu. Your commitment in support-ing 
Corfu by being an active customer has paid off. 

Corfu’s menu is varied and based on my first hand experience, eve-ry 
entrée is excellently prepared. If you order his chicken kebab dinner, 
you will be amazed (and delighted) how moist and tender the chicken 
is. All entrees are cooked fresh to order, so the wait for your chicken 
kebab dinner will be 15 minutes…but oh, it will be so worth it. 

Corfu is on Sierra Madre Blvd one-half block west of Baldwin on the 
south side of the street. There is parking in front and in back. Their 
number is (626) 355-5993 and you can order food to go. 

In conclusion, I like how things are turning out. There are things to 
keep a watchful eye on. And the thing is, watching these things closely 
will help things move along more better lol. Now is a good time to 
bring things to a conclusion. Think on these things. 


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