Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, July 1, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page B:8



Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 1, 2023 




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola


Stuart Tolchin 

Harvey Hyde

Audrey Swanson

Meghan Malooley

Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Dinah Chong Watkins

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee











I opened my mailbox and pulled 
out the flyer - Chung King Express. 
Standing there in the noon day 
sun memories flooded back to the days when I’d go 
door-to-door, stuffing mailboxes with Chinese take-
out menus. This being Canada, I had no worries about 
being shot at - only the occasional crazed, jagged-
tooth mutt and cranky seniors on their upholstered 
rocking chairs yelling at me from their porch,

“Hey kid! Don’t put that dang thing in my mailbox, 
come up and give it here, you think I want to walk all 
the way to the curb just to throw it out later huh? And 
grab the other stuff in my mailbox while you’re at it.”

Inevitably, I’d give them their mail and the menu 
while they’d huff,

“And get offa my property!”

But usually not before asking,

“Hey, can I get a senior's discount?”

From a rube who couldn’t crack an egg, to the 
Number 1 wonton wrapper, that summer working 
at Hoy's Chinese Restaurant taught me more than 
the shortcuts to Sweet & Sour sauce - by the way, it’s 
Strawberry Jello-O. 

Hoy's wasn’t just a Mom and Pop shop. Like many 
small businesses, it was the whole clan. Spouses, 
siblings, cousins, grandparents, in-laws and any 
children that had grown out of the Pampers Pull-Up 

The restaurant was in what you’d call a one horse 
town, not one traffic light, a two pump gas station/
grocery store and Hoy's was the only diner within 20 
miles. By default, it was also the community center, 
like the tv sitcom Cheers with beer and a side of Beef 
with Broccoli. I manned the phone at rush hour and 
got to know the regulars by their orders. The Candells 
had their Combos A34, B22 and C6, no peppers and 
extra hot mustard packets, the Wokowizes were egg 
rolls, Moo Shu Pork, Honey Walnut Shrimp and big 
tippers - everyone fought over their delivery. And then 
there was Roger, ah Roger - always with the Family 
Combo, heavy on the garlic chili sauce and a single 
pair of chopsticks.

The owner Hoy tinkered with the menu to better 
appeal to the palate of rural homesteaders of the 
80’s. Somewhere, somehow, maybe it was a tip from 
his fifth cousin in that big city Windsor, Hoy offered 
up General Tso's Chicken. It was an instant hit with 
the customers. Hoy then discovered the fast food 
corporation mantra “Deep fry it and they’ll buy 
it.” Next up, the infamous Cream Cheese Wonton, 
a complete mystery meat to the canon of Chinese 
cuisine, but a bestseller at $4.99 a quarter dozen.

During the slower work hours, our underage and 
underpaid teenage crew argued the origins of the 
X-men and General Tso who by the mere translation 
of his name was proof that he didn’t come from the 
motherland but the island offshoot Taiwan. The 
political ramifications of the USA's recent recognition 
of China as the only legal government would have 
provided us with hours of heated discussion with the 
daily newspaper, radio commentary and Volumes II 
and VII of the Encyclopedia Brittanica to reference 
from, but shift after shift, why or why not Spider-Man 
could beat Batman won out. 

What did I learn that summer? That working in a 
restaurant is backbreaking (tip well, for Canadians 
10% is considered extremely generous), solid 
friendships are made in the wok-searing heat of the 
kitchen, and fortune cookies, like General Tso never 
came from China.

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

How much do we actually know 
about America? The United States in 
particular. Let’s take a closer peek.

1. Question: Who designed the current U.S. flag?

Answer: It was 1958 when a 17-year old Ohio high school 
student, Bobby Heft was instructed to design a U.S. flag as 
his class project. I remind you there were only 48 states at 
the time. 

Bobby had a hunch Hawaii and Alaska would soon be 
states so he designed a flag with 50 stars. His teacher gave 
him a “B-“ on the project because of the “error”. 

Young Mr. Heft submitted his design to the White House 
along with 1499 artists. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Bobby 
won and received a personal call from some guy named 
Dwight D. Eisenhower. The President personally told 
Bobby his rendering was going to be the new official U.S. 

His teacher upgraded his grade from a “B-“ to an “A”. Way 
to go Bobby!

2. What is the official language of the United States?

Answer: Are you ready? WE DON’T HAVE ONE! (Kids, 
work it out right and you could make $5 betting with mom 
or dad.)

3. What’s the name of the guy who spent more time 
in space than any other American?

Answer: Tricked you! It’s not a guy! Her name is Peggy 
Whitson, a NASA Biochemist astronaut from a farm in 
Iowa. She had to stop because she hit her “radiation” limit. 
(I wonder if she glows in the dark.) She applied 10 times 
before being selected. Psss’t, she was also the first woman 
to command the International Space Station. 

4. Who was the first “First Lady” to hold her own 
press conference?

Answer: Probably no surprise, it was Eleanor Roosevelt, 
FDR’s wife. What’s more only female reporters were 
invited to attend.

5. What country’s constitution did our forefathers 
model our constitution?

Answer: No, Ben and company didn’t think it up all by 
themselves. Are you ready? The founding fathers modeled 
our constitution after the constitution of the Iroquois 
confederacy of Native American tribes.

6. What was the first movie made in Hollywood?

Answer: You may be tempted to say 1910 when a short film 
called “In Old California” was filmed in Hollywood. I can 
give you half points. The first epic Hollywood film, The 
Count of Monte Cristo, began filming in Chicago and was 
finished in Hollywood in 1908. Directed by Francis Boggs 
and starring that film icon Hobart Bosworth. 

7. Which state’s name is misspelled on the Liberty 

Answer: Pensylvania, or Pennsylvania. 

By the way, if you hit the Liberty Bell with a hammer the 
note you will hear is Eb. Who knows when information 
like that will come in handy?

Speaking of mind jarring sounds, JJ Jukebox is back at 
Nano Café, Saturday night, July 22. 6:30 – 9:30. If you like 
good food, fun rock and roll, a full bar and dancing, come 
join us. Nano Café is at 322 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. Phone 
number is (626) 325-3334. Would love to see you there!!

Happy Fourth!

 I don’t think I ever 
believed in God, but I did 
believe in intelligence; or what 
I thought was intelligence. After all, it was, and 
still is for me, pretty impossible to see God; but 
I could see “intelligence”. It was that stuff that 
was contained in books and for as long as I can 
remember I spent most of my time reading books. 
I’m afraid that I was so naïve that I never thought 
about who wrote the books. I just assumed 
that if it was written in a book it had to be true. 
Lately, I have come to realize that my belief in the 
ultimate power contained in the written word was 
absolutely crazy and unfounded.

 Still today I meet people who believe that 
teachings by some person or group of persons are 
so vital that all one need do is to believe. Have faith 
and one will have ever-lasting life in a place called 
Heaven. I don’t mean to offend anyone and best 
of luck; but it all seems very unlikely to me. Why 
would anyone believe anything so unlikely? Of 
course the explanation is that from their infancy 
many people were infused with this belief by the 
very people that they trusted, their parents who 
at first, we all believed knew everything. For me 
leading life was a day to day struggle and one was 
sustained by loving and caring for those around 
you and not upsetting them.

 So that is how I lived my life, never 
even looking at the Bible which I was sure had 
been created by people pretending that they had 
received the information from some infallible 
non-human source. As I got older I read about 
“creation myths” in books and came to believe 
that all cultures had their own myths and these 
myths functioned to control people and made 
it possible to face the certainty of individual 
death without thinking about it too much. 
Our particular culture is a consumer capitalist 
culture. We are all influenced to strive for wealth 
and glory and to distract ourselves with all sorts 
of things that we have been taught to believe will 
make us safe or admired or something. Everyone 
seems to be very busy not wanting to be a loser and 
yet there seems to be an epidemic of depression 
and despair connected with alcohol and drug 
abuse, prescription or not, and it all seems very 

 Lately, I have been consumed with the 
idea of knowing myself better. In conjunction 
with that search I recently read Leo Tolstoy’s The 
Death of Ivan Ilyich. If you have not read that 
little novella I recommend that you do not. The 
novella was the first fictional published work by 
Tolstoy after his religious crisis and conversion. 
Although written in 1851, the novella paints a 
frightening, familiar picture of a culture obsessed 
with status seeking only admiration from 
others and continually distracting itself with 
meaningless tasks. People busy themselves with 
piano playing, card games, and preparation for 
parties. Even a friend’s death is of little interest 
because what is most important is chances for 
personal advancement. It is all very familiar 
and underneath it all is the fear of death which 
everyone tries to ignore. I guess Tolstoy’s point 
is his inability to find an acceptable meaning 
of life in the face of ultimate certain death. He 
hints that if one is not burdened by status and 
position it might be possible to genuinely care 
for another human being or something beyond 
oneself. I have come to believe that the answer is 
not contained in books, which after all are just the 
construction of humans in written form. I do not 
think that Artificial Intelligence can provide the 
answer as it too is a creation of Man not free of his 
foibles. I have come to believe that the Search for 
Meaning can only be found by discovery within 
each individual. I think that is the only true 
intelligence but I am still searching around. 

 On a lighter note… HAPPY 4TH OF 
JULY and be sure to enjoy the Parade! 

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