Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 25, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page 14

14 Mountain View News Saturday, February 25, 2023 OPINIONOPINION 14 Mountain View News Saturday, February 25, 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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“My whole life---it is as if I were a passenger on a train. I 
didn’t want to be on the train, but I have no strong desire to get 
off, either. I don’t know where the train is going, but meanwhile I 
will count the poles and watch the scenery and see what the other 
passengers have in mind. And when the train arrives at the last 
station, I get off. I look around. I like the place where I am. I don’t 
know exactly how I got here, but I’m glad to be here just the same.”

What do you think of that? It is a precise quote from SUNDAY 
NIGHT AT SEVEN The Jack Benny Story by Jack Benny and 
his daughter Joan. Before I go further let me give you a little background 
information. I have always loved reading. For me it has 
been a kind of nourishment. My parents were non-High School 

graduates. In fact, my father born in the Ukraine where many Jews were not even allowed 
to attend School, he only attended Junior High School in the eighth grade and then quit. He 
actually told me that he quit because there had been some sort of assignment for the kids to 
tell a true story about their experience when they were not in School. So he got up in front of 
the class and talked about escaping from Russia (yes the Ukraine was part of Russia then) because 
there was a pogrom and his family was in danger of being killed by Cossacks. Cossacks 
were this group in Southern Russia, noted for their horsemanship who were manipulated by 
the Tsar to keep the Jews in line I am told. Anyway, my Dad told the story and the teacher 
criticized him for making the story up and he was angry and just quit school.

Anyway, that’s the story I was told and I mention it to explain why there were no 
books in our apartment. I have heard that soon after I was born some door-to-door salesman 
had talked my parents into buying a multi-volume encyclopedia set consisting of about 
twenty books. He convinced my parents that having these books in the house would have a 
great influence on their infant son’s life. With the help of my grandmother, who at the time 
was learning to read English, I eventually read all the volumes much to the consternation of 
my little sister who used her crayolas to scribble all over the books. I realized that it pleased 
my family to see my reading and I was allowed, even encouraged, to talk about what I had 
read. This seemed to make them happy even though when I think about it, no one was particularly 
interested in anything I told them. Still I felt that my talking and sounding smart 
pleased them and I was happy to make them happy. Of course, today, I realize that there were 
other consequences. I never learned to do anything else. All my clothes were laid out and 
picked for me. I never had any chores or even knew where my clothes were kept. I didn’t even 
have a bedroom in the two bedroom apartment as my parents had one room and my sister 
and grandmother shared the other bedroom.

Let’s go back now to my first paragraph. That paragraph is the final paragraph in the 
book about Jack Benny. Jack Benny was born Benjamin Kubelsky in Chicago Illinois a son of 
immigrants (just like me). Some salesmen I think talked Jack’s parents into buying a violin 
for him and he started studying the violin at the age of six. He was a failure at School and 
was expelled but his violin lead him to vaudeville, radio, television, and world adoration and 

My point is that we have little control of our own lives. We are passengers pulled 
along by our own momentum. Our primary responsibility is to stay aware and see what the 
other passengers have in mind. We need to just look around realize where we are and let 
our individual talents and gifts lead the way as we merge into the world. Jack had his violin 
that he played to make his parents happy. I read and talked about what I read and thought 
in my mind to make my parents happy. Today, I am sometimes criticized by people for 
seemingly talking just to sound smart. Little do they know I am writing and talking in an 
attempt to make them happy. At least that is what I like to think I am doing as I often end my 
articles with inspirational hopeful messages while noticing that I live in this beautiful place 
just minutes away from both my children and also just up the hill from the golf course and 
Kaiser. Think about it. We are all very fortunate to be passengers on our individual trains 
that brought us to and where we are right now. We need only to keep looking around and do 
what we have already been prepared to do. Still, it would be nice if I learned to cook and even 
choose my own clothes. Luckily, there is still time and the train keeps moving. 



Here we are. Another year, another February, and we are deepinto another Black History Month. 

Every year, for 28 days (29 in leap years), we are rightly introduced 
to and reminded of the innumerable contributions Black people 
have made to this nation. Corporations make bold and brazen 
acknowledgments, educational institutions salute Black history, 

and churches sponsor dinners representing a culinary smorgasbord 
undeniably definitive of recipes that originated in the African diaspora. 

All of this is good. Black people have a complex and vibrant history vastly distinct 
from other ethnic groups due to the religious, economic, social, psychological and 
educational experiences that have been visited and inflicted upon us. 

By exploring and acknowledging Black History Month, the nation is paying homage 
to a group of men and women who are strong, resilient, innovative, forgiving (in 
some cases, arguably too forgiving) and have contributed immensely to the vitality 
and success of the United States – a nation where some people never intended for 
us to obtain full citizenship or be fully included within the panorama of American 

Black History Month undercuts cultural stereotypes by highlighting vital facts, 
notable statistics and distinguished accomplishments. Although there has been 
notable improvement in media portrayals of Black peopleover the past few years, 
particularly regarding commercials, the triumphs far too often are obscured and 
dismissed from public discussion. 

Truth be told, racism has always been a part of this nation. It is deeply ingrained in 
the fabric of our culture and is as American as apple pie. What we have witnessed 
over the past several years is blatant, undisguised bigotry – the type that many white 
people had to keep disguised and leashed since the 1950s – now being allowed to 
unapologetically permeate various sectors of our society, in many cases without 

Anyone who has a pulse and is socially and culturally woke is astute to the current 
challenges facing Black Americans. We have brazen right-wing politicians who routinely 
stoke the flames of racial and cultural animosity and division. The time is ripe 
for a reinforcement of Black excellence to combat such racial resistance. 

Since the time of this nation’s inception, Black Americans have had to wage a historically 
long battle, fighting to obtain rights that were supposed to be guaranteed 
by our constitution – rights most other groups have taken for granted. The mountains 
and minefields that our ancestors had to face head-on and triumph over are a 
testament to their impervious strength and spirit. 

We are enduring similar battles today in the 21st century. Being Black in America 
often means waging an ongoing battle. It means dealing with a history and people 
that have been defined by blood, sweat, tears, pain, occasional dashed dreams, setbacks 
and periodic victories. 

Black history is not some event that should be confined to one specific month of the 
year. The history of Black people, like other ethnic groups, is one that deserves full 
and undivided attention. 



This week I’m looking back to a 
column I wrote 11 years ago. My kids were in college then, unsure 
of what they wanted to do with their lives. Hey, I’m still not 
quite sure what profession I want to pursue. 

I offered up a bit of advice to my children regarding their choices. 
Whatever profession they choose, make sure it is a career you 
enjoy pursuing. 

New concept? Hardly! 

My research took me back to 950 B.C. I considered the writings 
of the world’s smartest man. You might have heard of him. 
Solomon, 2nd child of King David and Bathsheba. Solomon’s 
writings include the Biblical books of Ecclesiastes, Proverbs and 
The Song of Solomon (or The Song of Songs). 

When Solomon became King, God came to him and offered 
him whatever he wanted. Solomon said, “Give your servant a 
discerning heart to govern your people and distinguish between 
right and wrong.” BINGO!! God was pumped. RIGHT ANSWER. 
He told Solomon since he didn’t ask for wealth, longlife, or even the death of his enemies, God was going to give it all 
to him… except for maybe the death of his enemies. 

When it came to major life choices, such as career, Solomon said 
in the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verse 22, “So I saw that 
there is nothing better for a man (or woman) than to enjoy their 
work.” In other verses he adds, “…and enjoy the fruit of your 

And now 11 years later, my kids are finding fulfillment in their 
careers. More importantly they are also finding fulfillment in 
their personal lives, ancillary activities and friends. 

Encourage your children to pursue their dreams; to be sure to 
end up doing something they want to do, even if it means shifting 
midstream or even after college. Same goes for you 30, 40, 
50, 60. 70, 80 year olds. 

Let me leave you with good Americana suggestions from our 
friends in the Lone Star State: 

When in doubt, let your horse do the thinkin’.
Don’t squat with your spurs on.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Never slap a man who’s chewin’ tobacco.
Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier ‘n puttin’ it 
back in. 
If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try 
orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stopdiggin’.
Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that 
comes from bad judgment.
If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now 
and then to make sure it’s still there. 
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or 
a fool from any direction. 

Maybe my favorite: “A horse doesn’t care how much you know 
until he knows how much you care… 

March 18th is the next JJ Jukebox concert at Nano Café in Sierra 
Madre. If you like good food and the music of groups like The 
Doobie Brothers, Steppenwolf, the Beatles, Neil Diamond, call 
now (626) 325-3334 and make your reservations for Saturday, 
March 18th, 6:30-9:30pm. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 
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