Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 18, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page 14

14 Mountain View News Saturday, February 18, 2023 OPINIONOPINION 14 Mountain View News Saturday, February 18, 2023 OPINIONOPINION 




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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If the future tells us that Humankind fails to survive 

will it be my fault? Of course not; I’m just an ordinary per

son busy living my life with little time or energy to worry 

about everyone else. My concerns are mainly about my 

own health and the health of my family and close friends 

and also my dog. I say to myself that I am concerned about 

maintaining the character of our wonderful little town of 

Sierra Madre but am befuddled by the ongoing continuous 

debate about the Meadows Project and, frankly, I wish the 

whole thing would go away. Underneath it all I am against 

change. I like my life now and wish people would stop both

ering me asking for contributions for one cause or other.

Political and social concerns are like sporting events to me. I root for “our 

side”. Anyway, even if my team loses there is always next year. Right? How much at

tention am I expected to pay to things that I really have no power to affect? If things 

get really bad some really smart scientist will think of a way to save everybody and we 

probably won’t even notice it.

Have you ever heard of Norman Borlaug and the “Green Revolution? Probably 

not! Well, for your information, for a time he was considered to be the greatest, or at 

least the most important person in the world. After World War II Borlaug developed 

an ultra-resistant strain of wheat that increased productivity dramatically. He is cred

ited with developing a variety of dwarf wheat that could be grown in pretty much any 

sort of environment around the world. He was universally celebrated for saving the 

lives of billions of people who may have otherwise starved to death. In 1970 Norman 

Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Prize for a lifetime of work to feed a hungry, poten

tially starving, world. 

Dr. Borlaug’s influence continues and what is known as the Norman E. Borlaug

International Dialogue brings together experts from more than 65 countries to ad

dress the triple threats of COVID conflicts, and Climate crisis demands. That’s all 

wonderful, isn’t it? The Scientists and the experts will save mankind and we can all 

go back to debating the Meadows Project or some local problem knowing that we can 

rely on Science to take care of the big major problem of preserving life on this planet. 

Well, I’m afraid that this confident attitude is not well-founded. Monday, a 

friend of over forty years came for a brief visit and presented my wife and I with his 

presentation entitled EARTH ISLAND, a project to conserve, preserve, and restore 

the environment. My friend, and most other well-informed people believes that hu

manity cannot rely on Science to resolve the problems. He, together with partners, 

have spent months and money a developing a game like-educational platform entitled 

EARTH ISLAND. The video game that will educate individuals of all ages, including 

young game players, about the perils of the climate crisis. Importantly, the “Game” is 

intended to be so involving that individual “ordinary people” will understand that it 

is their responsibility to save the world. By interacting with the game individuals will 

discover what they can and must do to not be part of the problem but, rather, to be 

part of the solution. 

My friend explained that the world cannot assume that scientists and world 

leaders will alone defeat the climate crisis. (Sorry Norman) The first thing that must 

be done is to get individuals, ordinary people, involved and allow them to realize there 

is something they can do. Well, to be truthful, I have never viewed or “interacted” 

with a video game and really did not focus or fully understand what my friend pre

sented. I avoid technology whenever possible and am more of a reader than an 

interactor. My friend recognized this and suggested a book to me, The Ministry for 

The Future authored by Kim Stanley Robinson. I was told that this book published 

in 2020 was a favorite of ex-President Obama. Well, that was enough for me and as 

soon as my friend left I drove over to Vroman’s Book Store to purchase the book and, 

of course, couldn’t find my wallet. I include this information as a kind of testimony

illustrating the possible difficulties in accomplishing anything.

Anyway, I finally managed to buy the book and read the first three chapters 

which take place in a near future. All the characters are suffering horribly from the 

boiling heat and at the end of the chapters are all boiled to death. I stopped reading at 

this point but was so affected that I composed this article as at least my first hesitant 

step recognizing my own need to take some responsibility and do something as I al

ready feel like I am more a part of the present and not just worrying and ignoring the 

future. A good beginning! I’m going to finish the book. 



It was the meatball. Slathered in a homemade tomato sauce 
with hints of oregano and pumpkin pie spice, nestled on top 
of a generous bed of room temperature penne pasta. The jolt of 
the sweet, chewy bullets stuffed into the meatballs was a sensation 
- of the unpleasant kind. Inside the ragu, casings of black 
varietal raisins plumped up with the savory sauciness lay in 
wait. This was our inaugural dinner, Sue’s House Special, she 

“Blergh!” my tummy responded, and thus began the trajectory 

to hell. 

We were fortunate enough to live in a time and place when household help was affordable to 
the average family. With a newborn, it was a no-brainer to have another person help share 
the load. A friend recommended Sue whose profile was impeccable. A former kindergarten 
teacher, professional cook and hobbyist whose specialty was recycling items into handicrafts. 
We swiped right before anyone else could take our perfect match. 

I’d love to say our introduction was a “Meet Cute”, but the geriatric citizen that showed up 
on our front door with 6 suitcases in hand, was 4 decades older than the photo she posted on 
her profile. Nevertheless, we had a signed contract and we showed our new roommate to her 

It took a few weeks and many meals studded with raisins to acknowledge Sue wasn’t going to 
work out. We gave her a generous severance, and though our contract was terminated, Sue 
asked for a few extra days of accommodation to which we replied, 

“No problem.” 

The day before Sue’s departure, we attended a funeral. It was a sudden and unexpected death,
I wore the only black dress I had - a thigh length black pinafore with white collar and cuffs, 
taken from a dubious waitressing gig back when I naively believed “meat markets” were found 
only at Vons. My post pregnancy corpulence strained the dress seams like the hills of Big Bear 

We returned home, melancholy and blue from our friend's passing when we opened the front 
door and our son toddled over to greet us - 4 hours past his bedtime. A few minutes later, a 
young lady, otherwise known as a complete stranger, came round. 

“Who are you? Where’s Sue?” 

“She's at the hospital.” 

“What? We’ll go there right away, thanks for looking after our son but you can go now.” 

“No, I’m here to find her ID card.” 

My husband went to the hospital and I ushered the lady to the door who reluctantly left, promising 
her that I’d find Sue’s ID card. 

In the time Sue had stayed with us, I never went to her bedroom. The door wasn’t locked but 
might as well been, as it was jammed from behind. I mustered all my hamster strength and 
cracked an opening big enough to slip through. 

I don’t watch horror movies, mainly because most of them are set in someone’s home. Sue’s 
bedroom confirmed my good sense. From the floor to the ceiling, worn boxes, trash-filled 
bags, broken furniture and general junk was stacked up like a cast-off Jenga set. A fishy smell 
lurked by the closet. I opened the door and half a dozen cockroaches rushed at me like the defensive 
line of the Kansas City Chiefs. Her closet was full of half eaten foods, used McDonalds 
ketchup packets and desperate cockroaches fleeing from the light. 

Sue, turns out was a hoarder. She collected trash but didn’t follow through with the recycling 
part. Not only did she she hoard our garbage, but our neighbors in our apartment building, 
all 32 floors of them. 

We learned Sue’s prognosis was encouraging, she’d be recovering in the hospital for a couple 
of weeks. The young lady - her granddaughter, went to look after her. 

The next day the pesticide company sprayed our home. In the evening our unwelcome “roommates” 
came out from the floorboards, their hard-shelled carapaces twitching in epileptic fits. 
The floors became carpets of jerking jitterbugs. 

They say what’s one man's trash is another man's treasure. But sometimes it is - really just 



Let’s deviate from the typical President’s 
Day trivia shall we? Let’s face 
it, everyone knows George Washington’s 
teeth were made of elephant 
and walrus tusks and not wood. And 
James Madison was 5 foot 4 inches tall and barely 100 pounds. 

Let’s look at the bigger picture. Important US trivia. For example, 
what was the first U.S. city to host the Olympics? 1904 Summer 
Games were in St. Louis. St. Louis was also the first non-European 
city to host the Games. 

The first president born in a hospital? Jimmy Carter. More presidents 
were born in log cabins than in hospitals. Wow! 

No president was an only child. James Buchanan had six sisters and 
four brothers. Speaking of Buchanan, he was the only president who 
never married. Ever. His first lady was his niece, Harriet. 

The good ol’ USA is not the only country to not use the metric 
system. In addition to us, Myanmar and Liberia. I hear Myanmar is 
close to adopting the Metric system. Remain strong Americans! 

Our most famous arch-criminal, Al Capone was not imprisoned for 
smuggling or killing people. Nope. The Feds finally got him in 1931 
on…tax evasion. He did seven years hard time in Alcatraz. Got out 
early (1939) due to a couple of sexually transmitted diseases that fried 
his brain. Died at the age of 48. 

Was Ohio the 17th state or not? Well, yes and no. It’s true the US 
Congress approved Ohio’s request for statehood in 1803. They just 
for-got to ratify Ohio’s State Constitution. 150 years later Congress 
voted to retroactively ratify the document. So, Ohio’s real year of admission 
was 1953 sliding right in before Alaska and Hawaii in 1959. 

The largest state in America is, Alaska. Everyone knows that. It’s 429 
times the size of Rhode Island, the smallest state. Alaska’s coastline is 
longer than the coastlines of all the other 49 states… combined! Wait 
a minute. Rhode Island has 300,000 more people than Alaska. 

Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable. The only state 
that borders just one other state. And the only state whose official 
flower is not a flower…it’s the pinecone. 

Finally, I have to confess my home state, Minnesota, has lied to me 
all these years. Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, the whole state 
led me to believe it had the most lakes of any state in the union. Truth 
is, Minnesota has close to 12,000. But it truly pales in comparison 
to Alaska with its more than 3 million lakes. Such pain and shame. 
What’s worse, is the Mississippi River, is not the longest US river. 
Nope, the Missouri River is 200 miles longer. More pain and shame. 

I’d like to give credit to self-identified “word nerd” Meghan Jones for 
her brilliant contributions to the world of knowledge…from which I 

Have a stellar Presidential Holiday Week! 


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