Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, September 2, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page 13



Mountain View News Saturday, September 2, 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







 This whole day has been very strange and 
I’ve spent the last quarter-hour outside howling at 
the moon. Right now it is August 30, the full moon 
that has already risen is the last Super Blue Moon 
until 2037. The moon of course really isn’t blue. 
The “blue” refers to this moon as a very rare occurrence being the 
second full moon in a single month -hence the expression, “once in 
a blue moon”. It is not the rarity of this occurrence that is important 
for me, but rather that it is big and full and glowing and is therefore 
the perfect setting for howling which is what I want to do now.

 August 30, beginning at midnight was a very difficult time 
for me. At 12:04, four minutes after midnight my IPhone alerted me 
that there was a message from Kaiser showing me the results of a test 
that I had taken earlier in the day. The message concluded with the 
phrase “Please do not reply to this message as this notification is automatically 
generated. “ After some struggle I was able to download 
the message which informed me that I had a quantitative score of 
1.27 which suggest equivocal evidence of TRR amyloid. It was midnight, 
my wife was asleep, and there was really no one I could call. I 
tried to do some research myself and scared myself do death. I did 
not sleep the rest of the night and was now filled with information 
about cardiac amyloidosis which I really could not comprehend.

 What I did understand however was the list of accompanying 
symptoms which seemed to be completely concurrent with how 
I have been feeling and observing. The worst thing I read is that 
once there is a diagnosis of amyloidosis the average life expectancy 
is 2.5 years. Look I am already close to eighty years old with lots of 
aches and pains and am always forgetting things but comparing myself 
to my friends I feel pretty fortunate. As I write this I realize that 
without the medical assistance from Kaiser the coverage with which 
came accompanying my marriage I would have probably perished a 
long time ago. 

 It really is time for me to take stock and realize how truly 
fortunate I am. All in all, especially compared to the condition of 
many of my contemporaries, I have little to complain about—until 
last night. At 5 a.m. I called a friend in Tennessee and she also did 
some research and told me that rather than being so upset I should 
focus on the word “equivocal”. Good advice probably but I was still 
very concerned, perhaps over concerned—but sleepless and needing 
more information.

 When the regular work-day began I tried calling and messaging 
my cardiologist and eventually received a call from someone 
at Kaiser who was not a doctor but who informed me that the doctor 
told him to advise me that the test results showed no abnormalities. 
This made me crazy as I told him he didn’t know what he was talking 
about and that I wanted to talk to the doctor. I was rude and he 
became offended and hung up on me. I tried to call back but the 
call was not accepted. Now I felt really crazy and isolated and interpreted 
my “flying off the handle” as my wife describes it as some 
further indication of my involvement with a deteriorative condition. 
Finally at about 3:30 p.m. my actual cardiologist called me and we 
discussed the test results and he emphasized the word “equivocal”. 
He said he would order another test in about a year and a half which 
elated me because I realized that in fact my condition was not that 
serious. I will be around for a while and now on Saturday, together 
with my family, plan to go to the Arboretum Library where I am a 
volunteer. It is my hope to pick out a book from the library which I 
can go over with my four year old granddaughter such that we will 
create a book report describing our reactions to the book. 

That report will then be placed on a pedestal next to the book for the 
world to see. Now I feel pretty good and although it’s almost midnight 
I plan to go outside and look at the moon and do a little quiet 
howling. Please email any comments to

We all make mistakes. I vividly remember making a mistake back 
in 2009. I later realized, it wasn’t a mistake, but I thought it was at 
the time. I’m sure someday I’ll make another mistake…at least I 
will think it’s a mistake at the time. Who knows, I could be making 
a big mistake right now.

Actors make mistakes. Some by taking a role they later regretted. Harrison Ford 
wishes he had never done Blade Runner. Michelle Pfeiffer hated playing in Grease 
II. Christopher Plummer hated playing Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. 
George Clooney regrets playing Batman in Batman & Robin. And finally Matt 
Damon regrets agreeing to film the third Bourne film, The Bourne Ultimatum. 

Speaking of Matt Damon, he may have made what may go down in history as the 
biggest mistake in acting history.

Matt turned down the role of Jake Sully in Avatar. Now get this: James Cameron 
offered Matt 10% of the profits meaning Damon would have made over $250 million 
dollars. Matt says he’s certain there will never be an actor who turned down 
more money.

Speaking of James Cameron, Claire Danes turned down the role of Rose in a little 
movie called Titanic. Claire said she couldn’t handle the added fame and had just 
starred opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet. By the way, Gwyneth Paltrow 
also took a pass on the role.

Speaking of James Bond, the first knucklehead actor who turned down the role was 
a British actor who said no to play Mr. Bond because he wouldn’t commit to being 
in two films (From Russia With Love, and Dr. No). This brilliant actor paved the 
way for Sean Connery to waltz in and become a household name.

The “brilliant” actor who turned down playing James Bond? Another household 
name (for different reasons). His name was…Richard Johnson. Figures.

Liam Neeson, one of my favorite actors, turned down the role of James Bond for 
the film Goldeneye. The reason? His wife to-be told him, “If you play James Bond, 
we’re not getting married.”

While we’re on Mr. Bond, let me point out Sean Connery turned down the role of 
‘Gandalf’ in The Lord of the Rings.

John Travolta turned down the role of Forrest Gump. He also turned down the 
role of Alan Bauer in Splash, Jim Morrison in The Doors, and Travis Bickle in Taxi 
Driver the role which made a super star out of Robert De Niro.

Brad Pitt turned down Neo in The Matrix later joking he took the red pill. He told 
an interviewer if he was doing a show on great movies he passed on, it would take 
two nights. And by the way, Madonna, not one for regrets, regrets turning down 
The Matrix.

John Lithgow could have been the Joker in Batman. Johnny Depp said no to playing 
Ferris Bueller. It just goes on and on. I think I will stop now.

We might have not seen Bill Murray relive one day over and over again on Groundhog 
Day, That is, if Michael Keaton had said yes to the role. By the way, according 
to Danny Rubin, the writer of GroundHog Day, Bill Murray’s character relived the 
same day 12,395 times!

Finally Tom Selleck was offered the lead in a little movie called “Raiders of the Lost 
Ark”. Turned it down flat. Anyway, who ever heard of Harrison Ford?

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Madre; in Court Case 
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Madre, California, 91024. 
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Once upon a 
time, gentlemen 
in jackets and 
ties, and ladies 
in cardigan sets 
with clutch purses 
and kitten heels, waited patiently 
at the gate to board their flights. 
After they were seated, a passenger 
pulled out a long metal canister 
from his jacket. With elegant diplomacy, 
the stewardess intervened, 

“Sorry sir,” the stewardess said as 
she lit the lady’s Virginia Slims,

“Only cigarettes allowed, no cigars. 
May we offer you a Marlboro 

Present Day: A multi-generational 
family with strollers, car seats, and 
shrieking video games, each loaded 
with a maximum capacity carryon 
to avoid the baggage fees, splay out 
in the waiting area, overlapping and 
oblivious to the other passengers 
anxiously lining up for the flight at 
the next gate. A waft of cheesy pizza 
grease and fries follows the travelers 
as they board the plane, Yeti bottle 
in hand.

Civility, real human-wide coach 
seats and free meals went the way 
of the Dodo bird when the Airline 
Deregulation Act in 1978 hit the tarmac. 
In its wake came No smoking 
(good), cheaper flights (even better) 
and bigly big overhead carry-on bins 
- conveniently sized for a 2 year old 
or small dog, no way am I paying for 
an extra seat!

Why do we feel that Darwinian 
urge to be first aboard and first to 
deplane? Flying is like a blind date 
gone south. At first we’re more than 
eager to test the waters but once confronted 
with the reality of sticky tray 
tables and the funky scent whipping 
down from the air vents, staying for 
dessert is out of the question. Wily 
aircraft manufacturers conjure up 
futuristic prototypes of standing 
room only cabins, no doubt to scare 
us into gratefully accepting even tinier 
seats on their latest models. 

Who knows who'll be sitting next to 
you for the next hour or ten? A yapper, 
an arm rest bully, a body trumpet, 
someone who loves, loves their 
hard boiled eggs? And the most 
terrifying of all, the passenger who 
strikes fear in the stoniest of hearts, 
whom we avert our gaze and whisper 
prayers they don’t sit next to us 
- that howling, meowing, unpredictable, 
unreasonable, unending, banshee 
that no Bose noise-canceling 
earphones can block. The Baby.

And though I’m confident that I’ve 
now flown more miles than Orville 
and Wilber Wright, the storied inventors 
of the airplane; in the multitude 
of forgettable flights, there is 
one that still stands out.

Dublin to Newfoundland: Somewhere 
over the gray mass of the 
frigid Atlantic Ocean, the final resting 
place of the Titanic, the airplane 
began to shake like a yard sale Ninja 

“Passengers and cabin staff please 
return to your seats and fasten your 
seatbelts, we’re experiencing some 
turbulence. Food service will be discontinued 
at this time.” the pilot announced 
calmly over the intercom.

I tightened my seat belt, I’ve been 
tossed around before, hah! No worries! 
Undisturbed, the seasoned 
traveler up in the last row of First 
Class continued reading The Da 
Vinci Code. Then a whoop! And a 
tummy twisting drop. The beverage 
cart unhinged itself from the cabinet 
and careened down the aisle. A 
few yelps and urgent murmurs arose 
from the crowd. To assure myself 
I looked back to the traveler, but 
his eyes were shut and lips silently 
moved as he rolled a string of rosary 
beads between his fingers. 

Yikes! I thought, tightening my seatbelt 
even more, now I really wish I 
chose the filet mignon instead of the 
chicken entree.

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

For more Close Encounters Of The 
Wrong Kind go to



We have lived in Sierra Madre for 22 years 
now and the single worst quality of life issue 
here is noise and air pollution from gas 
leaf blowers.

Every week hundred’s of gardeners come 
into our town and blow and blow with each 
blower being heard within a ¼ mile radius. 

Forthose of us that are stay or work at home 
we have to endure hours of this noise every 
week. The Energy and Natural Resources 
Commission looking into city noise wants 
to remove gas blowers from the new Noise 
Ordinance altogether. Are they kidding. 
They want to remove the #1 loud noise polluter 
in our town from consideration????

Many towns across California have banned 
them including Pasadena, South Pasadena, 
Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, 
Belvedere , Berkeley , Beverly Hills, 
Carmel , Claremont , Del Mar , Indian 
Wells, Laguna Beach , Lawndale, Los Altos, 
Malibu, Mill Valley, Piedmont , Hermosa 
Beach, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, and 

Are leaf blower bans enforceable? A typical 
response from a survey was that the bans 
are 90-95 percent effective. In most cities, 
enforcement is performed in response to 
citizen complaints (i.e., police do not seek 
out violators in the absence of complaints).

 In 2024 buying gas powered leaf blowers 
will be banned in California however one 
can still use the old leaf blower until the 
machine dies. If you want gas powered leaf 
blowers banned from Sierra Madre and included 
in the New Noise Ordinance let the 
City Council members know that!!


Allen & Linn

Mountain Views News

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concerns of our readers 
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values of the exceptional 
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Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: