Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, September 10, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 13

13 Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 10, 2022OPINIONOPINION 13 Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 10, 2022OPINIONOPINION 




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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This last month has not been easy for me. I cannot 
remember ever facing a heat wave like this. Connected to 
the heat wave we have lost electrical power several times 
which meant that our home was without air conditioning. 
My son’s apartment in Pasadena has also been without air 
conditioning resulting in him staying at our house along 
with his newly acquired dog. Actually, all of us have known 
the dog for over five years. Her name is Xi Xi and formerly 
was taken care of by my son’s Chinese girlfriend which is 
the explanation for the dog’s rather peculiar name. About 
five years ago my son and his girlfriend Elena were at the Humane Society eager 
to obtain a dog. I am told that while in the parking lot they were approached by aChinese woman who spoke some English but was more fluent in Chinese.

After some conversation my son and his girlfriend understood that the 
woman was telling them that she had to return to China and that she would like to 
give the dog to Elena. Elena eagerly accepted the dog and asked the dog’ name. She 
heard the woman say what sounded like Xi Xi and that became the dog’s name, at 
least we all thought that was her name. Recently a Chinese speaking family moved 
in across the street and one day we introduced the dog to our neighbor. She asked 
the name of the dog and we told her it was Xi Xi. The woman laughed, and through 
her seven year old son, who was more fluent in English, explained that Xi Xi, or 
words close to that, meant “Thank you” in Chinese. Obviously my son and Elena 
had misunderstood the woman’s response. They thought that they were being given 
the dog’s name when it now seems clear that the woman was thanking Elena for accepting 
the dog.

The saga of XiXi continues. A few months ago Elena tripped over the dog 
at about 2 A.M. and broke her hip. She has been hospitalized ever since. During 
this period Elena’s elder sister has kept the dog and my son would visit the sister 
and the two of them, I think, along with Xi Xi, conforming with Covid regulations 
would visit and talk with Elena through the window. Elena’s sister has other dogs 
and other responsibilities and eventually it all became too much and it was decided 
that Xi Xi had to live elsewhere. Now Xi Xi lives with my son which is problematic 
because theoretically my son’s apartment does not allow dogs.

The owner of the apartment has been very cooperative and allowed the dog 
to remain with the provison that the dog make no noise. When Xi Xi is with my 
son she makes little noise. When left alone she barks non-stop. For the past few 
days, and at prior times. Xi Xi has been staying with our dog Dreamy here in Sierra 
Madre. (For those of you who notice such things please note that DREAM is composed 
of the same letters as is MADRE, all by some coincidence.) Xi Xi, when left 
alone still barks wildly. 

Another problem is that a bear has been present at our front door. Actually 
this is not a totally unusual problem in Sierra Madre. In a column I wrote a few 
years ago I described the turmoil when a bear actually got into our house while I 
was busy watching NBA playoffs. Occasionally I let the dogs off their leash to do 
their business but my wife has cautioned me to be aware of snakes especially when 
walking XiXi. Yesterday a neighbor and I, although agreeing that the Canyon is a 
wonderful place to live, enumerated eight non-domesticated animal species that we 
have seen walking on our street. These animals included, in addition to frequent 
snakes, bear, deer, raccoons, possums, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, and the mountain 
lion that ate the dog across the street. It’s all a bit unsettling

Additionally, I think associated with my aging my senses of hearing, vision, 
taste and smell have diminished. I wanted to discuss these problems with my regular 
doctor but that appointment had to be rescheduled because she had fallen while 
playing pickle ball and ruptured her Achilles tendon. 

No I can’t really blame my problems on Xi Xi but I noticed myself beratinga friend I met for breakfast who complained that he had left his “cat” in the car and 
now had to walk back in the heat to get it. I snapped at him asking how he could 
dare leave the animal sitting in the car in the midst of this terrible heat. He laughed, 
but not much, explaining that he said “hat” not “cat”. 

Yes, all in all, September has been pretty tough. 


I’m confused. 

I got the flu a few months ago, the worst flu I’d ever had. It wasn’t 
COVID — I have never tested positive for COVID — but it was a 

For more than a week, I was a lump on a bed, completely unable to 
move or do anything. 

To make sure I wasn’t going to perish, I paid a visit to the hospital 

emergency room. They tested me for all kinds of things and, five 

hours later, said I had the flu and that I could go home. 

It was nice to be assured that all I had to do was let my immune system wage a mightybattle for the rest of the week. 

It wasn’t so nice when the bills started coming in, which totaled more than $7,000 — from 
what I can gather. 

I have a decent health insurance policy through my corporate client that has temporarilybrought me on as an employee to support a big project, so, after deductibles are met, I 
owed $2,500 or thereabouts — from what I can gather. 

Months later I am still in a state of total confusion and know it will take me hours to figure 
out how much I owe and to whom. 

And I am not alone. Millions of Americans are befuddled by their health insurance policies 
and the convoluted bills they receive when, God forbid, they need to get health care. 

According to the Portland Press Herald News, there are lots of hidden fees in medical bills 
that jack up the cost of services, and there is no continuity among providers. 

One hospital may charge $750 for an MRI and another may charge $3,000 or more for the 
identical service. conducted a survey that found more than one in four Americans are befuddled 
by unexpected medical bills. 

Don’t understand the difference between co-pays and deductibles or in-network and outof-
network providers? 

Well, get in line, because you have a lot of company — but there may be hope for us all yet. 

In January 2022 the No Surprises Act went into effect. It requires hospitals and health care 
providers to make the fees they charge for services public, according to MarketWatch. 

The intent of this act is to prevent patients from getting crushed by surprise bills, such as 
“balance billing,” which explains well. 

Balance billing occurs when providers bill a patient for the difference between the “retail 
price” they charge and the amount that the patient’s insurance pays — which is almost 
always less. When some providers bill the patient for the difference, or balance, it’s called 
“balance billing.” 

In other words, if you have an emergency and you get care from a provider outside of your 
network, you will get a big fat bill. 

But under the No Surprises Act patients are liable only for their in-network fees. 

That’s a nice start, but the real problem is that our health care system is a confusing mess. 
It needs reform from top to bottom. 

If a person does not have a decent health insurance policy — and decent policies are costlier 
now — he’s still at the mercy of receiving massive bills for needed care. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out who and how much I owe for comingdown with the worst flu of my life. 

Tom Purcell, creator of the infotainment site, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-
Review humor columnist. Email him at 



If you ever had the opportunity to 
meet Queen Elizabeth, you would 
have been instructed to address her, 
on first occasion, as “Your Majesty”, and thereafter “Ma’am”. 
“Her Majesty” (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor) was indeed a 
class act! On her role as Queen she said: “I declare before you all 
that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to 
your service.” 

One of “Her Majesty’s” final acts was to officially ask Liz Truss, to 
form a new government. Ms. Truss is Britain’s third female Prime 
Minister. Margaret Thatcher was the first in 1979 and Theresa May 
was second in 2016. (Is it ironic that all three women prime ministers 
were members of Britain’s conservative party?) Someday, maybe 
sooner than we think, the United States may elect its first woman 
president. I look forward to that day. There are excellent prospective 
women candidates on both sides of the political spectrum. 

As for now, the closest I could get to women in the White House, 
is to take a peek at “first Ladies”. I did a little digging and found 
interesting anecdotes regarding these extraordinary women. The 
majority of our first ladies used their public presence to promote 
important causes. And some had interesting diversions. I’ll highlight 
a few. 

Michelle Obama (2009-2017) earned a law degree at Harvard Law 
School. And she has written two best sellers. 

Laura Bush (2001-2009) was a teacher, a librarian and advocated for 
No Child Left Behind legislation. 

Barbara Bush (1989-1993) wrote a memoir from her dog’s perspective. 
And was the second first lady who also became the mother of 
a president. 

Pat Nixon (1969-1974) was the first first lady to actively confer 
with foreign leaders. She was also the first first lady to wear pants 
in public. 

Eleanor Roosevelt (1933-1945) wrote a daily newspaper column 
and hosted a radio show. And so much more. 

Lou Hoover (1929-1933) was a geologist and spoke Chinese fluently.
Grace Coolidge (1923-1925) taught deaf students. 

Florence Harding 1921-1923) was the first first lady to vote. First 
to fly in an airplane and oh, the first to be accused of poisoning her 

Caroline Harrison (1889-1893) was the first first lady to use electricity 
in the White House. 

Frances Cleveland (1885-1889) was the youngest first lady at age 21. 

Lucy Hayes (1877-1881) banned alcohol from the White House and 
hosted the first Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. 

Margaret Taylor (1849-1850) was the first first lady to shoot a gun. 

Sarah Polk (1845-1849) was the first first lady to forbid dancing and 
card playing in the White House. 

Now, speaking of truly amazing women, Sharon Lechter, co-author 
of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, author of “Exit Rich”, and financial advisor 
to four presidents, will be speaking to business professionals at 
the University Club of Pasadena on Thursday, September 22, from 
9:00-12:00 noon. 

Ms. Lechter will be sharing how to thrive in this uncertain market 
and economy, and retire a millionaire. Whether you’re a real estate 
professional, financial planner, or small, medium or large business 
owner join us (oh yes, I will be there). Lunch will be provided. Consider 
this a free invitation. RSVP to www.danicapattonhometeam.

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