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

MVNews this week:  Page 13

Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 10, 2022 OPINIONOPINION 13 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 10, 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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You know what I mean by a dog race, don’t you? Dogs race 

around the track chasing a mechanical rabbit that they can never 

catch. It’s different from a horse race wherein humans sit on top 

of the horses and hit them with whips. In both kinds of races the 

dogs and the horses don’t really win anything. The rabbit really

isn’t real and the horses at Santa Anita lately are dying but the 

races keep going on for the benefit of the owners and the bettors 

and the crowds who escape from the reality of the rest of their 


My point is that for the poor dogs running is all an illusion. 
There is no real rabbit to catch. They are deluded into believing there is a reward for all 
their effort but the make-believe rabbit is just an instrument of control used to make the dogs 
perform in accord with the desires of their owners. I use this example of dog racing as an analogy 
for the methods used to control human behavior. It is an accepted fact that the minds of 
young children are able to learn and instantiate new information in a way not possible for adult 
minds. I really don’t know why this is true but one has to simply look around to see almost 
every single child acquire language in some mysterious way.

 Almost every single child acquires skills in language with absolutely no structured lessons. 
Really it’s an amazing unexplained process that is not connected to the intelligence of the 
individual child. In fact, humans such as Albert Einstein and Nobel Prize Winning Richard 
Feynman are reported not to have spoken almost until the age of four. Typically, most humans 
are using language at about two and are quite accomplished speakers by the age of four.

To continue my animal metaphor, it already feels like I am beating a dead horse. My 
point is that young children all have these wonderful active minds capable of doing amazing 
things and yet the adult world fills these minds with nonsense and lies. Going through this 
holiday season it is so clear that children’s minds are deluged with fantasies about Santa, and 
goblins, and ghosts. Personally I put all the teaching about religion and the all-powerful deity 
watching over us who requires that we be good boys and girls and do what our parents and 
teachers tell us or face unimaginable horrors in the same category. Kids are taught not ask 
questions and just do what we tell you is the message from the all-powerful God.

Of course, eventually, many, or even most kids, feel betrayed. They realize that there is 
no Santa, and no ghosts, and have deep questions about God and the after-life. At some point 
the thought that doing what their parents want them to do is not the purpose of their own 
lives. These realizations are certainly confusing and frequently traumatic as people struggle to 
find meaning in their own life. Those, who have been taught not to question begin to question 
everything and search for an escape from their own despair. Going back to the attendance at 
horse races individuals seek to escape from their confused inner life and seek diversions like 
amusement parks and festivals and frequently find drugs as a means of escape. Very frequently 
in today’s societies individuals are prescribed drugs, easily abused drugs to mitigate their 
despair. Another means of escape is often adventure and lawlessness and risk-taking behavior 
and violence; all in all it’s not a very pretty picture.

Is all this early exposure to what I call lies and fantasy necessary to enable people to 
live in a civilized manner? Frankly, I think not. For reasons I cannot fully explain I was never 
exposed to religion, had no birthday parties, no access to television (it wasn’t available in the 
1940’s) no trick or treating or Halloween Costumes, no toys that I can remember and yet surprisingly, 
I guess, I have always been a pretty happy person free to pursue my own curiosities. 
In Elementary School I actually was known as the “question box”. What did I do? My parents 
somehow had acquired a multi-volume encyclopedia and I read the whole thing. The name 
of the Richard Feynman short memoir is “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”. The author is 
pictured on the front cover with his head back, relaxed, happy, and satisfied. I have that book 
on my bedroom dresser and receive inspiration as I wake up. 

On the top of page 10 Feynman laments that he was recruited into the Manhattan 
project to assist in developing a bomb that would defeat Germany. Even after it became clear 
that Germany would be defeated without the necessity of developing a potentially world-destroying 
Atomic Bomb Feynman says he continued to work to develop the bomb and didn’t ask 

Questions are really important and it is my hope, hopefully all of our hope, than we can 
ask questions about the civilization that has developed and which seems to be in the process of 
destroying itself. 

Merry Christmas—say hi to Santa if you see him! 


Saint Nick wasn’t the only man in a red suit that magical Christmas 
season 50 years ago. 

On Saturday December 23, 1972, I walked from my house to Sharp’s 
Drive-In Market and splurged on four 20-cent comic books. 

One of my selections was heavily influenced by an ad appearing in 

DC Comics: “Coming in December…DC’s Christmas gift to you! 
Shazam is coming!” 

I could scarcely wait to rush home and open my copy of “Shazam!” #1. Unfortunately, 
my gut reaction upon seeing the interior artwork was, “What’s this cartoonyjunk???” You see, I had recently sworn off “kiddie” comics. But “Shazam!” grew on 
me. By the second issue, it was my favorite title. 

“Shazam!” #1 featured the triumphal return of “the original Captain Marvel” and 
his extended family. Introduced in Fawcett’s “Whiz Comics” #2 (cover-dated February 
1940), Captain Marvel was the alter ego of boy reporter Billy Batson. By speaking 
the magic word “Shazam!,” Billy summoned a mystical bolt of lightning and 
transformed into a costumed adult super-hero who saved the world from countless 

During the 1940s (what comics aficionados refer to as the Golden Age of Comics), 
Captain Marvel appeared in his own 12-chapter Republic movie serial and even 
outsold Superman on the newsstands. 

But “the world’s mightiest mortal” went into limbo in 1953 because of (a) the declining 
popularity of super-heroes and (b) a long-running lawsuit in which DC accused 
the good captain of being a rip-off of Superman. 

That’s why “Shazam!” was such a big deal in 1972, bringing Captain Marvel and the 
rest of the Marvel Family back to a nostalgia-crazed world after almost 20 years. 
(The comic had to be named “Shazam!” after the magic word and the wizard who 
gave it to Billy, because in the ensuing decades rival Marvel Comics had trademarked 
the name Captain Marvel and introduced the first of a series of heroes bearing that 
name. Countless fans over the past half-century have gotten the book title and hero 
name confused, so DC officially changed the hero’s name to Shazam circa 2012.) 

Still…even though the revival spawned a fondly remembered live-action CBS Saturday 
morning program and a 1981 NBC animated version, the Big Red Cheese (as 
arch-villain Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana dubbed him) never matched his former 

(When I was writing for “Comics Buyer’s Guide” magazine in 1987, I received a letter 
from Captain Marvel co-creator C.C. Beck, lamenting that the modern handlers 
had made the character either too silly or too grim, rarely capturing the delicate balance 
of whimsy and suspense that marked the original incarnation.) 

I’m glad DC keeps going back to the drawing board, trying to let the do-gooder live 
up to his potential. My family enjoyed the 2019 movie and looks forward to next 
year’s sequel, “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.” 

I hope that this Christmas some lucky child finds Shazam! graphic novels or a DVD 
of the aforementioned movie under the tree. 

We still need to believe in the triumph of good over evil. 

We still need some good, clean fun. 

And we sometimes need to comfort ourselves with the fantasy that one magic word 
could endow us with the strength to solve all our problems. 

I heard rumors that the concept has even reached the White House, whose current 
occupant perhaps read the 1940s adventures of Captain Marvel. 

“With one magic word…fourscore and seven years ago…” 

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at and visits to his 
Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” 


 As the “tis the season” season inches 
closer and closer, we find ourselvesbiding our time in a variety of unusualsituations and/or locations. Sitting in a 
car, for example, at a mall while our significant other is inside for hoursexchanging a single family member’s Xmas gift. 

Is this the perfect time for distraction? to ponder? Shall we? Let’s try. 

Speaking of shopping why do shorter lines in supermarkets slow downthe moment you enter that line? No matter which line you get in, yourline will slow to a crawl while the other lines will speed up! 

Why do we drive on a PARKway and park in a DRIVEway? 

Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii? 

Why do the Allstate Insurance commercials say “not available in allstates”? 

Are mattresses ever not on sale? 

What do people in China call their good dinner plates? 

How do you handcuff a one-armed man? 

Why does careGIVER and careTAKER mean the same thing? 

If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have branches? 

What was the best thing before sliced bread? 

Why don’t they make airplanes out of the same material they make theindestructible black box out of? 

Why do QUITE A FEW and QUITE A LOT mean the same thing? 

Sitting in a packed theater, which arm rest is yours. I’ve heard the oneon the left is yours and the one on the right is the other persons. Whichis which? 

Why is it everyone driving faster than you is an IDIOT and everyonedriving slower than you is a MORON? 

And my all time favorite redundant redundancy: “I found a book in the 
library with the title “How to Read a Book”. If you can’t read a book,
how can you read a book on how to read a book?” 

By the way, if anyone asks you what the difference between ignoranceand apathy is, tell them, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” 

Again, a soft-pedal redundant encouragement from yours truly to shoplocal shop owners. Let’s knock their socks off with an exploding holiday 
sales season. 

Also, another shameless plug to join my fun rock and roll band, JJJukebox, for a New Year’s Eve party at Nano Café Bar and Grill inSierra Madre. Stay close to home on New Year’s Eve:
$65 per person for a gourmet meal including your choice of: SlowRoasted Angus Prime Rib, New Zealand Lamb Chops, Grilled Salmonwith Caviar Hollandaise, Chicken Cordon Bleu.
Also live music, dancing, party favors, champagne toast. Call soon tosecure your place (626) 325-3334. Nano’s is at 322 West Sierra MadreBlvd. in Sierra Madre. 

And I sincerely hope your Holiday Season is sensational! 

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