Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 3, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 13

Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 3, 2022 OPINIONOPINION 13 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 3, 2022 OPINIONOPINION 13 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola 


Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMeghan MalooleyMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Dinah Chong WatkinsHoward 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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Let me start out by saying that I’m in a foul mood and if 

you are looking for a happy, happy Christmas column perhaps 

you should look elsewhere. It’s not your fault but I really can’t 

completely blame myself. I look at my IPhone and continually 

ae deluged with requests for continuing additional contribu

tions. What kind of a system are we living in? It’s not an elec

tion as much as a horse race where the winning side gets to keep

its jobs and its pet programs and rip off money from the rest of 

us. As American military companies and oil companies rake 

off huge profits from the Russia/Ukrainian war wherein both 
sides suffer huge civilian casualties while the disruption of lives connected to the fantasies of 
an ageing unbelievably wealthy tyrant’s dreams of restoring a lost empire continue?

Of course, we lucky Americans have our own delusional unpunished billionaire lusting 
for more parades and tributes as he dreams about an acceptance that will never come. I 
really do not want to believe that money can buy everything although the recently divorced 
Bezos seem to be contesting one another by making huge contributions to their own favorite 
projects. Frankly I do not enjoy being governed within a system wherein unfathomable 
amounts of money devolve to a favored few who then contest with one another for even more 

Frankly the well-publicized squabbles between Musk and Bezos revolt me no matter 
how many spaceships, car companies, newspapers, and tech companies they control. 
Constitutional freedoms seem to wither when confronted by immense wealth. Actually mydisenchantment probably has less to do with dueling billionaires and the unpunished but 
still highly publicized former President. After a long career as a criminal defense attorney 
representing indigent clients I am now retired and unfortunately pretty isolated. I regularly 
meet with friends and family at local golf courses and restaurants but find myself becoming 
provoked over what should be inconsequential matters and frequently none of my business.

For example, Monday the 28th was the birthdate of both my children who were born 
two years apart. Their mother, my ex-wife, lives far off in New Mexico. She has had only one 
brief meeting with her granddaughter and plans for a visit this year had to be cancelled because 
of her ongoing medical uncertainties. Really, it is none of my business, but I want very 
much to keep the already loosened structure of the family together. Therefore, I had to keep 
my mouth shut as we visited my son’s girlfriend in the medical rehabilitation center where 
she has been recuperating from a broken hip and a kind of mental deterioration directly 
resulting from overly prescribed pain and anxiety medications.

Feeling her suffering and needing to remain positive is necessary but difficult as she 
still cries in pain while we were present. After the visit my son and I stopped for lunch in 
Monrovia and as we ordered, I asked the server, who we had met before, for a special complimentary 
Birthday muffin and a tap dance. The answer of course was yes to the muffin and 
no to the tap dance. As she said this the 60ish woman at the almost adjoining table said that 
this was also her birthday and that she was waiting for a friend. I think that on any given day 
the odds against two strangers seated almost next to one another are absolutely huge (365 
squared I believe) which totally fascinates me but which my son says would interest no one 
but me. 

Anyway, when the Birthday woman’s friend appeared she made some small excuse 
about being late but explained that she had been busy arranging another Christmas Cruise 
the 18th she and her husband had taken together. I am not a Cruise fan and I believe the 
Birthday woman was widowed and certainly less wealthy than her friend who displayed a 
fancy wedding ring. None of this is of particular interest (even to me) but what interests me 
is that it is now Thursday and I am still angry and thinking about this woman that I never 
spoke a word to. I mention all this in connection with the book I am just beginning, “the 
Myth of Normal” subtitled “Trauma. Illness & Healing In A Toxic Culture written by Gabor 
Mate (accent above the e) I haven’t got to the healing part yet but what I have read asserts that 
“the entire social construct of world we’re living is deeply flawed, with toxicants on everylevel.” 

As I understand the book so far, the point is made that the pressures of modern dayliving and the enforced control of behavior and a maintained silence undermines emotional 
balance and leads to chronic depression drug addiction, and increased suicides. Typical 
behavior involves experiencing and focusing anger at inappropriate instances which are unthreatening 
and seemingly safe.

Now that I have an explanation perhaps I can go back to sleep and wake later to read 
the rest of book. Well, I warned you at the beginning. I hope it has not been a complete waste 
of your time. Happy Holiday Decorating! 




Since the dawn of time (or in this case, the day before 
Thanksgiving), there have been three traditions that herald 
the advent of the holiday season; non-stop commercials 
for perfume, Merci chocolates and Chia Pets. This 
year Chia’s banking on Baby Yoda, painter Bob Ross, the 
Poop Emoji and gasp! Willie Nelson - oh Shotgun Willie, 
say it ain’t so that you’ve joined the ranks of Joe Namath 

and Jimmie “Dyno-mite” Walker who now hawk Medicare 

The divine birth of Jesus Christ and salvation to the world aside, Christmas is to most 
people, all about shopping. Shopping for friends, family, colleagues, co-workers, pets 
and pests but most of all - you. 

No mere N95 mask can prevent Covid-19 Revenge shopping now gripping every 
man, woman and child. Like a fever, the torrid urge to buy, buy, buy belies common 
sense as you forage through the stores, surrounded by wreaths of green garlands, 
candy land grottoes and Mariah Carey warbling over the sound system, “All I Want 
for Christmas Is You”. 

Yes, eleven months of the year you’d blithely walk past the front aisle display of “As 
Seen On TV” products without a backward glance, but today the Lizard Neck Light 
is just the ticket for Uncle Buck's glaucoma and who in the family would say “No” to 
a roll of Alien Tape? It’s the babysitter's best friend! And Zlata in Accounting? The 
Finishing Touch Flawless Facial Hair Remover - how perfect is that? 

There are household attics the world over, private mini-museums of well intentioned 
but unwanted gifts. Time capsules of another era and different chapters of life - BradyBunch lunchboxes, sequined tube tops, POG collections, Mom jeans, posters of Farrah 
Fawcett, Nirvana and The Lord of the Rings. And in a dusty bin, 99 cents versions 
of Elf on the Shelf. But squirreled away in an overlooked nook, lies a cigar box, with 
fastidiously made mix tapes of artists like Air Supply, Grand Funk Railroad and New 
Kids on the Block -our journey’s gatekeepers to life’s heart skipping highs and bittersweet 

My most memorable Christmas gift was the one I least wanted, a Bobby Sherman 
vinyl record. My father gave it to me, I guess he thought it was groovy, me being a 
typical tween, I grunted my thanks and in the same breath asked for the receipt so I 
could get the money instead. 

But I’m not one to live in glass houses, because I’m known amongst my friends for 
giving pitiable gifts. They go as far as to figure out if I’m their Secret Santa and try 
to trade me off. And by no fault of my own but of the time and place I was living in, 
which didn’t celebrate Christmas, pickings were extraordinary slim. I couldn’t give 
another embroidered panda bear, by the third one, they just weren’t that cute anymore 
(sorry WWF). 

At the Beijing Friendship Store, the government-run store foreigners were allowed 
to shop in, I happened upon an item - not only unique, decorative, educational and 
functional, it was a bargain seeing I was working for rock bottom wages. 

At the party, my Secret Santa recipient was less than thrilled when she unwrapped 
the 14 inch tall rubber anatomically correct model of the human body marked with 
acupuncture points. Even the set of acupuncture needles that came with it didn’t light 
up her eyes. She grunted her thanks but this being China, she didn’t bother to ask 
for the receipt as no refunds were ever given. A few months later I heard rumors she 
pasted a photo of her ex-boyfriend's face on it and used it as a voodoo doll. I figured 
that was a win for me. 

So tread carefully young (at heart) shopper, ignore the festive caroling and Santa's 
helpers all contrived to make you buy the silliest and most inane gift for your loved 
ones and those you are indebted to, they’ll have their place soon in their own mini-
museum of misfit gifts. Admission is by good intentions only. 

Dinah Chong Watkins column appears the 1st and 3rd issues of the month. 



We have 21 days and counting ‘til 
Christmas. If you have a large circle 
of family and friends, you may be witnessing the draining of 
your net worth and the escalation of your debt-to-income ratio. 
By the way does this ring true? “The easiest test to demonstrate 
unequivocally the superiority of women over men is to watch a 
man trying to wrap a Christmas present.”
That being said, please permit me to attempt to distract you with 
some useless information: 
1038: The first recorded use of the word “Christmas” was in 
England in 1038. 
Also, historically accurate is the fact carol singers going house 
to house was the result of Christmas carols and carolers beingbanned within church walls in Medieval times. (The carolers 
tended to dance in circles while singing. I suspect early Baptist 
influence lol!)
No turkeys eaten on Christmas Day in England and Europe. The 
rich would eat goose or swan (I get the neck).
Venison (deer) was on the common people’s (err, I mean middle 
class) menu. The really poor would be given what was left of the 
deer (the heart, liver, tongue, feet, ears and brains). Those “delicacies” 
were known as a deer’s “umbles” and were made into a 
“umble” pie. And that’s how we got the expression “humble pie”. 
Boxing Day, a traditional holiday across the British Empire, was 
celebrated the day after Christmas. The really rich gave money 
to the really poor in hollow clay pots. (No, the really poor were 
not in the hollow clay pots, the money was. (Get it? Got it. Good!)
The clay pots had to be broken to get to the cash and the pots 
were nicknamed “piggies”. And that’s how the expression “piggybanks” came to be. By the way, “Boxing Day” is still celebrated 
in many countries associated with the British Empire.
In the year 1659, the Massachusetts Colony outlawed Christmas. 
The “Penalty for Keeping Christmas” law was enacted. Anyone 
found observing Christmas was fined five shillings ($48 buck!). 
Christmas was to be a day of fasting and humiliation. Yikes! 
A description of the three stages of man:

1. You believe in Santa Claus 
2. You don’t believe in Santa Claus 
3. You become Santa Claus 
Ultimate truth: “Nothing is as mean as giving a little child something 
useful for Christmas.”
I’m almost certain I started questioning the existence of Santa 
Claus when I started getting clothes for Christmas.
“Christmas, here again. 
Let us raise a loving cup;
Peace on earth, goodwill to men,

 And make them do the washing up.” (Wendy Cope)
Well, I’ve taken up enough of your time. 
I have two humble encouragements: 

1. This Christmas, shop and dine as much as you can 
from your local shopkeepers and restaurants. They can use the 
2. If you are looking for a New Years’ Eve party, consider 
coming to Nano Café. Saturday Night, New Year’s Eve, December 
31st, 7:00-12:00, Wonderful dining event (about $65 for a 
choice of wonderful dinners and New Year’s champagne toast). 
Plus, my band, JJ Jukebox, will be performing danceable “fun 
rock” from the 1960s-70s. Call (626) 325-3334 for reservations.
Be well and enjoy family and friends! 
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