Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 20, 2024

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 20, 2024 







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



IS IT ME....or IS IT ME?

 After the forced isolation relating to the 
pandemic and congruent with my recent retirement 
at age 77, I realized that something had to change. 
Generally, I resist and have lived at the same property 
for 45 years. Of course during these years, there have 
been some changes. My first small house had an 
inflated cost of over $50,000 and is now long gone and 
has been replaced with a larger house containing three bedrooms and the 
necessary stairs. Unfortunately this change required an unanticipated 
loss of two large trees which are fondly remembered by my two children. 
Now these children are in their 50’s. I guess I have forgotten the trees 
along with much else, but I cannot forget the stairways, which at my age 
become steeper and higher if you know what I mean. 

 Luckily there exists within walking distance, The Los Angeles 
County Arboretum. It’s just a beautiful place existing in the city of 
Arcadia just across from the racetrack and the Santa Anita mall, 
composed of relatively flat ground and various Garden locations and is 
a perfect early morning walking place. On these early morning walks 
among the peacocks I actually began to notice the different plants and 
flowers beneath the ever-changing Beautiful Morning Skies above the 
Magnificent mountains. One quick word about the peacocks on the 
other side of Baldwin Avenue are many expansive family residences with 
appropriate street names such as Harvard, Princeton, Cambridge, and 
Oxford. And who do you think appears on the roofs or the lawns of these 
houses? Perhaps you have guessed but it was a complete surprise to me. On 
the other side of a very busy street are seen multiple peacocks and peahens 
often walking in front of or behind but always near their little chicks. It is 
a very surprising and surprisingly moving site and my wife and I and our 
4-year-old granddaughter frequently go on what my wife calls a “peacock 
safari” to the amusement of all of us. My granddaughter now does a 
wonderful vocal peacock imitation which to others might be disagreeable 
but from her mouth is a wonderfully entertaining experience..

 Being in the Arboretum was a kind of life-changing experience. Soon I 
became a volunteer and participated in multi-multiple 3 hour orientation 
programs. I did my best to keep up with the rest of the volunteers as the 
leaders describe the different localities within the arboretum. There was 
much information, a little too much for me to absorb it. I became more 
aware of my limitations. I took my place in a volunteer spot to which I was 
assigned. This was weed pulling going up and down in the hot sun and 
definitely not for me and I requested a different assignment. Happily, I 
was assigned to the library. 

 Now I am involved as a potential moderator of a discussion group about 
the connection of human beings to the natural world. In preparation I 
have begun to read the book “Plants and Society.” 

The first sentence of the book states “Much of modern society is estranged 
from their natural world; people living in large cities often spend 90% 
of their time indoors and have little contact with nature. “ And this was 
written before the pandemic. On the first page of the book it has the 
name of all the great necessities in life: food, clothing, shelter and fuel. 
As I thought about the necessities I realized how fortunate my life has 
been; but I realized how troubling it is to know that many Americans do 
not have these needs met. Part of my realization is that although I am 
aware of the problems, I have made a little effort to do much about them. 
Just let me think about personal values. One thing I cherish is a feeling 
of safety for my family and myself. I want, actually need, to feel that I 
understand what is going on around me. I want to be able to trust the 
news that is presented to me and to make my own evaluation of what is 
right conduct. I try to understand other people's values. Right now during 
this momentous election cycle, 

 I have a great deal of trouble understanding where other people are 
coming from. Perhaps, like everyone else, I would benefit from a calm 
exposure to other situations and we would all not feel so disconnected. 
Connections to other people and to the natural world are as important 
as meeting our basic needs and I feel I have already gained something 
from my experience with the peacocks and the trees. I believe it is another 
human need. 

A pet peeve is an aversion or annoyance a person finds, well, 
annoying. Like my column for instance. Even I find it annoying… 
probably more often than you find my column annoying, aggravating, 
bothersome, disturbing, irritating or dare I say vexatious.

Grandma’s were asked in a recent interview what really got their goat. A sweet 
grandmother was convinced the airlines were conspiring by making airplane seats 
smaller and smaller. Another sweet silver-haired septuagenarian (maybe she was a 
octogenarian) was awfully upset at those people who make noise when they chew. I 
bet slurping soup bothers her too. My favorite was a sweet, sweet senior citizen who 
sat and wined and cried about people who wine and cry. It made me whine and cry. 
You too?

Chewing only bothers me when I’m hungry. And for heaven’s sake, when in public, 
keep your hands away from your nose. I don’t care if it itches. If you really have to, 
go ahead and scratch your nose as long as your hands stay above the part of your 
schnozz that faces down. In other words pick your friends, not your…

Repetitive tapping…a pencil, pen, foot, knuckles, bowling balls…geesh already. 
People who talk during movies. Do you have friends who are perennially late. I do.

And why would people talk when they could be listening to you or me. Not 
replenishing the toilet paper and thereby stranding people far from a toilet roll 
should be a felony. 

The “friend” you let use your car and they return it with an empty tank of gas. 
While we’re at it what about people who don’t use the Oxford comma. Don’t know 
what the Oxford comma is? Wow…look it up and report back to me.

The worst part of complaining to friends is when you tell your friend what happened 
and…your ‘friend’ stops you and says “well, you think you got problems…” and 
goes on and on about what’s bothering them. 

A former president, Teddy Roosevelt said, “Complaining about a problem without 
proposing a solution is called WHINING!” Is it really me getting serious? Yikes! 

But I stumbled onto an extraordinary educator named Tony D’ Angelo. He helps 
students (and wayward adults) improve their quality of life with what we might call 
“shifting the paradigm” (changing the way we think about or do something).

Tony tells us:

 “The most important things in life aren’t things.”

 “You must first get along with yourself before you can get along with others.”

 “In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next


 “Have a strong mind and a soft heart.”

 “When you’re young, try to be realistic; as you get older, become idealistic. 
You’ll live longer.”

 “Never let your persistence and passion turn into stubbornness and


 “The only real failure in life is one not learned from.”

 “You can learn a lot from people who view the world differently than 

 you do.”

 “You are not a tree. If you don’t like where you are, move.”

God offered King Solomon power, riches and a long life, Solomon asked for wisdom 
instead. God loved Solomon’s request and also gave him wealth and a long life. A 
few of Solomon’s bits of brilliance: 

 "Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty 
temper exalts folly." Proverbs 14:29

" Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of 
fools." Ecclesiastes 7:9

Now don’t get angry but I’m gonna promote JJ Jukebox’s next concert. We will be 
playing February 10 at Nano Café. That’s Saturday night 6:30-9:30. Bring someone 
special and embarrass yourself on the dance floor. Great food, drinks, dancing and 
60’s and 70’s rock music. Call (626) 325-3334 for reservations.

Bye for now.

Mountain Views News 
has been adjudicated as 
a newspaper of General 
Circulation for the County 
of Los Angeles in Court 
Case number GS004724: 
for the City of Sierra 
Madre; in Court Case 
GS005940 and for the 
City of Monrovia in Court 
Case No. GS006989 and 
is published every Saturday 
at 80 W. Sierra Madre 
Blvd., No. 327, Sierra 
Madre, California, 91024. 
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California Newspaper 




The new year rings in as a Polar Vortex swoops 
into Southern California. Local residents feverishly 
scrounge in the back of their closets for closed toe 
shoes and environmentally-correct quarter-zip 
fleece tops made from recycled Mountain Dew Baja 
Blast bottles.

Pandemonium erupts as electric space heaters sell out at Walmart, 
leading to spontaneous visits to grandparents from Millennials, intent 
on “borrowing” their Nana's hot water bottle, and decades-long rental 
tenants struggle to find exactly where the furnace controls are and do 
they actually work? 

Long pants and socks make a reappearance on Venice Beach where 
chiseled body builders along Muscle Beach begrudgingly cover their 
cobbled six-packs under puffy goose-down vests. 

Meanwhile, local weather reporters proclaim apocalyptic forecasts of 
tree-toppling winds, floods, snow, and freezing temperatures, the likes of 
which no person, plant or animal has ever seen. 

Oh my word!

Now what actually happened. People added a hoodie to their regular 
T-shirt and swapped out the flip flops for No-Show socks and Crocs. Of 
course, there were some who, taking advantage of the cooler weather, 
broke out the sheepskin booties, flannel underpants, leather jackets and 
REI Timber Mountain insulated outerwear. 

As Southern Californians, we’re acquainted with seasonal variations 
of 10°F throughout the year, however, our neighbors up to the north 
smugly smirk at our freezer burn when it drops down to the mid-fifties 

“Hah!” they sneer,

“We walk to the corner store for a single can of Pepsi in the middle of a 
white-out bone chilling blizzard, even when we gots tins of Coke back in 
the fridge.”

These Arctic warriors below the 49th parallel give no ground to the 
glacial conditions which bedevil them six to eight months of the year. 
Catch the news video from the recent home game of the NFL Buffalo Bills 
against the Pittsburgh Steelers, not only was the game postponed a day 
from the ferocity of snowfall and high winds, but Buffalo Bills fans came 
out on Game Day morning to help shovel out tons of snow packed in the 
stadium. Bare chested and broad, the Buffalo fans were rewarded with a 
17-31 win against Pittsburgh. On the game, New York's governor Kathy 
Hochul commented, 

“There’s good karma playing in the bitter cold.”

For many Californians, their experience with snow is man-made drifts 
blowing out of a machine at The Groves or Disneyland around Christmas 
or perhaps a quick drive up on the 330 North to Big Bear, cardboard sheet 
in the trunk for a non-government-regulated slide down a hill by the 

But isn't that what we love about South California? Here we brave the 
proliferation of taxes, the incredibly high costs of living, the intractable 
issues of homelessness, the crime rate of a major metropolis, the absence 
of a White Castle slider, in exchange for what?

Ask the Arctic Warriors, they visit us all year round! 

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

For more Close Encounters Of The Wrong Kind go to 

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: