Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 28, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page 13

13 Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 28, 2023OPINIONOPINION 13 Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 28, 2023OPINIONOPINION 




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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Well, after two weeks I finally have tested negative for the 
Covid Virus. You brave souls who struggled through my article 
of last week know that I was pretty confused. Prior to the time the 
article hits the newsstands on Saturday I send it out to a number 
of friends. The surprising thing about the replies I received is that 
the newer the friend, the more concerned they seemed to be. It 
is true that I exaggerated a bit in an attempt to create an overall 
comic effect; but really there was not that much exaggeration. My 
newer friends seemed to be very worried about me while my oldest 
friends just said that I seemed as crazy as I always seemed and 
they got a good laugh from the article. 
Anyway now the virus may be gone but I am still experiencing what I have heard 

called “brain fog”. This is a lingering sense of confusion and an inability to focus very much 

on anything. Perhaps this is simply a condition, like the loss of taste and smell that will in 

time disappear. What I fear is that the confusion is just the first signs of increasingly serious 

mental disabilities associated with the ageing process. In case you forgot, and I wish I could 

forget, I am approaching eighty and experience all sorts of problems. For most of the time 

during my enforced Covid inactivity I have done very little other than to grow my goatee and 

wake up to admire it. On my first Covid free day on Monday my wife drove me all the way to 

Chino to see my regular dentist. This was necessary because a front lower tooth right in the 

middle of my mouth was very loose and there was a danger I would swallow it.

The journey was full of surprises. My dentist had injured himself while try to fix 

some machine and had cut off his right thumb. Still my one-handed dentist had managed to 

pull the tooth from my mouth and keep it in his possession so that it could be worked on and 

replaced in my mouth wired to the adjacent teeth. Right now I am toothless which is a new 

look to mesh with my recently grown, and still growing, goatee. My wife insisted on driving 

which was fine with me. We followed the route suggested by, more like ordered by the GPS 

system within the car. (If you know what GPS stands for you are way ahead of me.) Interest

ingly, I have never used the GPS system and am proudly ignorant about most technological 

advances or possibly retreats. 

I have never used Social Media probably because my wife has never taught me how to 
log on to it. She tells me that overall it would be to upsetting. That’s okay with me because 
I have trouble reading text messages and would always prefer directly talking with someone 
and actually having a conversation wherein the parties actually listen to one another. Textingis something else which allows one party to just go on and ignore the other person. In fact I 
have recently noticed that even in my phone conversations the other party really doesn’t listen 
and I believe that, rather than listening, they are “multi-tasking” ignoring me and just waitingfor me to shut up so that they can prattle on. Maybe, the problem is me related to my isolation, 
retirement, and an inability to fill my time satisfactorily. 

Perhaps I am just angry that the world seems willing to leave me behind and I don’t 
know what to do about it. Today was my regular Wednesday golf date and I begged off sadlyhappy to remain in bed and allow my wife to prepare a late tasty breakfast. A friend called 
wanting to meet in Pasadena for lunch. I am bit hesitant about driving and fear getting confused 
about directions so I picked up my son and brought him to lunch with us. I was impressed 
with how my disabled son presented himself. He remembered every time I had taken 
him to Court and was interested in learning about my friend’s life. He asked questions and 
talked to strangers much like I do. My friend complained about spending thousands of dollars 
to fly to Florida with his first wife to visit their son. It sounded a bit complicated and 
unpleasant. I felt pretty fortunate having the life I do. My son, daughter, and granddaughter 
live right nearby and other than during the quarantine period I see them regularly and speak 
on the phone with my son every day. (Yes it’s true that my daughter has little time to talk but 
she does text.) After I got home I looked in the mirror and admired my goatee as some sort of 
accomplishment. I saw my missing front tooth as a statement that, like my perhaps clumsy but 
persevering dentist, I was doing my best to deal with the present. 

Well, that’s about the best I can do. This article truthfully describes my present confusion and 
the hope that there can be some improvement. I am proud of myself for continuing to write, 
and for me somehow, that makes for a better world. Confusing isn’t it? 



Groundhog Day cannot come soon enough. 

It’s the thick of winter. Cabin fever is setting in. Incivility is worse 
than ever. 
A delightful, silly diversion is what we need about now, and Punxsutawney 
Phil has been delivering needed joy this time of year since 

As you know, every Feb. 2, on Groundhog Day, Phil is pulled from a tree stump on 
Gobbler’s Knob, a few miles outside of downtown Punxsutawney, Pa.
If he sees his shadow, his Inner Circle organizers allege, there will be six more weeks 
of winter. If he doesn’t, spring will be just around the corner. 

Regardless of what Phil proclaims, there will be an abundance of fun surrounding the 

The Inner Circle, a group of local dignitaries, works hard all year long to make sure 
of that. 

As the legend goes, the Inner Circle president is the only person on Earth who understands 
Phil’s native language, “Groundhogese.” 

At daybreak on Feb. 2, Phil tells the president whether or not he has seen his shadow. 
The president then directs his vice president to present a paper scroll that shares Phil’s 
prognostication to the world. 

This event has put smiles on thousands of people’s faces for many years, but, with the 
popularity of the delightful 1993 Bill Murray movie, “Groundhog Day,” it has swelled 
to attract some 20,000 visitors to the small town every year. 

In addition to the festivities on Feb. 2, visitors enjoy a large banquet, a talent show, 
a dueling-piano contest and a “Groundhog Club” event in which Phil’s fans from all 
over the world celebrate their love of all things Phil. 

Phil’s popularity has led to the establishment of the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery 
Center, which, this Feb. 2, will induct Phil as the final member of the Weather 
Discovery Center’s Meteorologist Hall of Fame. 

The Center hosts a series of entertaining and educational weather exhibits for children, 
as well as adults, that helps them learn and explore “tornados, thunderstorms, 
weather folklore (including our own famous Punxsutawney Phil), precipitation, 
clouds, the water cycle, weather forecasting technology, lightning, and weather emergency 

The Center also hosts a variety of field trips and educational events, such as the exploration 
of the winter season through activities, games and technology. 

Their “Snow Day Saturday” lets children immerse themselves in winter-related exhibits, 
snowy crafts and activities like the “famous snowball fight” — even though that 
old-fashioned childhood “sport” is probably now illegal in other parts of the country!
All of these wonderful, fun and informative communal events — which have grown 
out of an innocent and silly bit of folklore — are what we need right now. 

They offer an example of human nature at its best — one worth noting in a world surrounded 
by so many examples of human nature at its worst. 

I wish I had planned ahead to attend the events in Punxsutawney this year.
My two-year-old Labrador, Thurber, was born there (he can’t predict the weather but 
he sure does have meal times down pat). 

I’ve become good friends with the two terrific “Punxsutawney-ians” whose two beautiful 
dogs, Sunny and Tank, gave me the best pup I could ever hope for. (See more at 

The point is, every day, each of us has the choice to be positive or negative, hopeful or 
dour, kind or rude. 

The kind citizens of Punxsutawney have chosen to bring much needed cheerfulness 
into an increasingly uncheerful world with an enjoyable and upbeat tradition that 
brings out the best in us all. 

When a whole town of people get civility and good humor so right, it’s worth calling 
attention to their great work! 



I run this column, oh, every year or so, 
because it is my personal favorite. Years 
ago I sat down with a classroom full of 
1st graders and proceeded to recite the 
first half of the proverbs listed below. I queried the class to finish the 
proverb. And below is what we created together. 

First Grade Proverbs 

I will recite the original proverb followed by the student’s “revision”. 
These were the actual comments generated in this pedagogic experiment. 
Please try to apply these timeless truths to your own life. 

Better to be safe than……….sorry! 
Better to be safe than…..…..punch a 5th grader! 

Strike while the………..iron is hot! 
Strike while the……….bug is close! 

It’s always darkest before…….the dawn! 
It’s always darkest before……..daylight savings time! 

Never underestimate the power of……a woman! 
Never underestimate the power of……termites! 

Don’t bite the hand that………feeds you! 
Don’t bite the hand that………looks dirty! 

A miss is as good as a………mile! 
A miss is as good as a………mr.! 

You can’t teach an old dog……new tricks! 
You can’t teach an old dog………math! 

If you lie down with dogs, you……get up with fleas! 
If you lie down with dogs, you……will stink in the morning! 

Love all, but trust…….a few! 
Love all, but trust………me! 

An idle mind is.……… the devil’s plaything! 
An idle mind is.……… the best way to relax! 

Where there’s smoke, there’s……fire! 
Where there’s smoke, there’s……pollution! 

A penny saved is………a penny earned! 
A penny saved is…………not much! 

Two is company, three’s………a crowd! 
Two is company, three’s………………….the musketeers! 

Children should be seen and not………heard! 
Children should be seen and not……..spanked or grounded! 

If at first you don’t succeed………try, try again! 
If at first you don’t succeed…………get new batteries! 

You get out of something what you……put into it! 
You get out of something what you……see pictured on the box! 

When the blind lead the blind…… both shall fall into a ditch! 
When the blind lead the blind……….get out of the way! 

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Cry and……you have to 
blow your nose! 

Since this is my favorite piece of writing, I took a bit of a deep dive to 
find out what other “celebrated” authors looked to as their favorite literary 
masterpieces (most of them had several). 

Ernest Hemingway: “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy 

Stephen King: “1984” by George Orwell 

Jane Austen “Sir Charles Grandison” by Samuel Richardson 

Ray Bradbury: “The Gods of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs 

F. Scott Fitzgerald: “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen 
Suzanne Collins: “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith 

Mark Twain: “Le Morte d’Arthur” by Sir Thomas Mallory (Steinbeck’s 

J. K. Rowling: “Emma” by Jane Austen 
If you want a great meal, adult beverages and memorable fun rock and 
roll join my band at Nano’s Sierra Madre, Saturday night February 4th. 
Performance 6:30-9:30. (626) 325-3334 for reservations. 

Finally, thank you for enjoying my column. I write it with you in mind, 
hoping you will share the humor and experience the joy of brightening 
up someone’s life with humor. 

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