Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 2, 2024

MVNews this week:  Page 13



Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 2, 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




 It was a day filled with surprises. I had 
awakened already angry because I had been unable 
to enter the zoom meeting to chat with my Mounrain 
Views News colleagues. I am concerned about the 
huge number of large delivery trucks in the area. and 
had wanted to bring that up. 

 Anyway, I found a message from my regular 
Wednesday morning golfing partner cancelling our 
game. This left me with a frustrating amount of time to fill as I had a 
scheduled medical exam for which I was required to check in an hour 
early after not being allowed to eat or drink for four hours prior to the 

 What to do after breakfast? I found myself studying, or at least 
reading over the Department of Motor Vehicle Handbook. A few days 
earlier I had attempted to renew my license which is due to expire in a 
couple of months and learned as a person 70 years or more (I will soon 
be 80) I was required to pass both an eye test and a written test. The 
requirement of the eye test frightened me as my eyesight is not what it 
once was. On Saturday I was prepared to flunk the eye test, but I passed 
easily which made me wonder about the reliability of the test. 

 After the eyetest I was directed to another window to have my 
picture taken and was prepared to take an actual behind the wheel driving 
test. Instead, I was informed that actual driving tests were never required 
no matter how old the applicant for renewal happened to be. This seemed 
crazy to me but what I was told that a demonstration of knowledge of 
traffic laws was required. I was asked if I had prepared for such a test, 
and I laughingly said that I doubted that much preparation would be 
necessary, confident that my over fifty years of lawyering handling drunk 
driving cases would be ample preparation. 

 Well, of course, I failed the test; twice, in fact. I was told that I 
could not take the test again that day but could come back another day and 
take it for a third time. Upon inquiry I was handed a DMV Manual and 
told that I might want to study it. Well, frankly, I resented the obligation, 
an actual assignment to do something. I just could not make myself do 
it—telling myself that perhaps it was safer for everybody if I just stopped 
driving after my birthday when my present license expires. Nevertheless, 
on Wednesday morning with my golf game cancelled I found myself 
actually reading the manual. 

I drove to DMV and now every intersection, every pedestrian, 
every other vehicle felt like a test question. I took the test and passed 
easily. I was elated and to celebrate I decided to drive a few blocks to 
the golf course and walk a few holes with a pull cart rather than use the 
electric cart. I walked just four holes and was exhausted and had to ask for 
help from strangers to get the cart back to the office and get myself back 
to the car. I called my wife from the car and told her that I would drive 
home and asked if she would then drive me to the hospital in time for my 
test. Remember now I had not eaten for six hours or so and just felt like 
I needed my wife’s support. 

 She drove me to the hospital where I was required to wait an hour 
before I was called in to take the CT scan of my liver. This was a very 
weird experience of having a dye inserted into my arm and then asked 
to lie uncomfortably with my hands stretched above my head as 
this machine rolled me into what looked like a giant windmill.

 The test took only about fifteen minutes, and I called my wife who 
got me and took me home to get my pills to be taken after dinner. I think 
because I had not eaten all day, I fell asleep as my wife drove home. At 
home I fell into bed after finding a basketball game on tv and slept during 
the whole first half but was able to watch the second half and appreciated 
the efforts of the oldest guy in the League. I fell asleep wondering when I 
would learn the results of my test. I wonder what today will be like.

Well, let’s see, looking at my timepiece, the year is 2024, It’s March already 
and here we all are. So…how’s your life going so far? Are you where you want 
to be? Yes? No? Not yet? Not quite? Don’t ask? Beat it Rich!? I suspect most 
of us desire to achieve something…noteworthy and positive. And most of us 
aren’t exactly where we want to be. 

Years ago, a motivational speaker confessed he wanted to be what they call a “scratch” golfer. 
Someone who plays the game of golf near perfectly. Seeking advice, he was told to practice 
more because “practice makes perfect”. Right? Wrong! Practice doesn’t make perfect. The 
motivational speaker confessed he had perfected the world’s worst golf swing. So, what’s the 
answer: “Perfect practice makes perfect.” Matt Groening once said through his alter ego, Homer 
Simpson: “Trying is the first step toward failure! Truer words have never been spoken Homer, 
errr Matt. It’s also the first step toward success!

 The real truth is most homo sapiens dream of achieving success, stick their metaphorical big toe 
into the waters of risk once or twice, meet resistance, pull back and spend the rest of their lives 
dreaming of what might have been. Well, I hope and pray this column motivates you (and me) 
to “reach (and stumble) for the stars”. The best way to achieve our mutual success is to give us all 
a glimpse of the true realities associated with real people.

What you and I will see is wildly successful people who faced failure and chose not to stop. I’ll 
start with the “biggest” failure.

Mystery Failure #1: Did you know this painter sold only ONE of his paintings his entire life…and 
at a deep discount. How much to buy one of his paintings today…well in 2022 someone paid 
$117 million for one of his paintings. Mystery Guest Vincent Van Gogh.

Mystery Guest #2 Our young comedian’s first time performing didn’t go so well. When he saw 
the audience he froze and was booed off the stage. Mystery Guest Jerry Seinfeld.

Mystery Guest #3 Divorced, broke, depressed single mother on welfare saw her first book rejected 
by 12 publishers. And the literary agent who signed her agreed to publish only 500 copies…of 
Harry Potter! Mystery Guest J.K Rowling,

Mystery Guest #4 Being rejected by publishers, and on his way home, in frustration, to burn his 
first manuscript, our author ran into a Dartmouth classmate who encouraged him and helped 
him find a publisher. Mystery Guest Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Mystery Guest #5 As a child, this person didn’t start speaking until he was four, didn’t start 
reading until he was seven. He was treated as though he was mentally handicapped. Imagine if 
he gave up. Mystery Guest Albert Einstein

Mystery Guest #6 Teachers told this “failure” that he was “too stupid to learn anything”. Mystery 
Guest Thomas Edison

Mystery Guest #7 Our young filmmaker was rejected twice by the University of Southern 
California’s School of Cinematic Arts. He also suffered from dyslexia. Mystery Guest Steven 
Spielberg To date the failure Steven has won 12 Emmys, 3 Oscars and 7 Golden Globe Awards. 
Oh yeah, and the school that rejected him twice (USC) has their “USC School of Cinematic Arts” 
housed in the Steven Spielberg Building! and (Finally) 

Mystery Guest #8 This writer was told he “Lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. Mystery 
Guest Walt Disney Walt encourages us with these words: “I think it’s important to have a good 
hard failure when you’re young…Because it makes you kind of aware of what can happen to you. 
Because of it, I’ve never had any fear in my whole life when we’ve been near collapse and all of 
that. I’ve never been afraid”. 

So, I leave you with this. Unearth and unpack that manuscript you’ve been working, err sitting 
on; or take a brush up acting class at the Sierra Madre Theater, dig out the old paintings, maybe 
dust off the guitar, get your friends together, form a band, practice and get a gig…maybe at Nano 
Café right here in town.

When God created us humans, He infused us with His creative gene technology. You were meant 
for greatness. Make it happen!

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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A member of the

California Newspaper 


COVID March 2020. It started with the lipstick. 
Why bother when I had to cover it with a medical 
grade surgical mask? Then came the eyebrows. 
What with the face shield, the gloves, the anonymous 
haz mat suit, here was the perfect opportunity 
to let my unibrow flourish, au revoir Tweezerman. 
Let’s choose to say, it all went downhill from there.

Present Day. I find myself make-up free and maskless at Costco flipping 
through the Kirkland EZY Wear Daytime Joggers. I eyeball the 
waistband for the size. I scoop up a half dozen in differing shades of 
black, my bi-annual clothes acquisition now complete. Good-bye 
Fashion Week in Milan, during the pandemic years I had evolved into 
an exclusive Gold Star Costco shopper.

I appreciate the freedom of not having to trek into a crowded fitting 
room, squeezing into or sliding out of a wrong size, scrutinizing how 
it looks through an unmerciful mirror. With the impulsive giddiness 
of buying a Scratch-Off lottery ticket, I take the chance that I will look 
fabulous with a five piece ensemble including underwear and socks 
for under $100.

Beijing Pre-COVID. Budding pink cherry blossoms and the cessation 
of winter dust storms herald the oncoming of Spring and with it, my 
gung ho anticipation of summer vacations back in America. Strategically 
I planned my precious days, shoehorning visits with family and 
sightseeing around Costco’s opening hours. Was the Grand Canyon or Statute of Liberty as exhilarating as Costco? Close!

At first I packed my treasures in an extra carry-on, then expanded to a battered surplus suitcase - sturdy enough to hold the platoon serving size of HoneyNut Cheerios, 
Heinz ketchup and Pepto-Bismol. But under the spell of the Warehouse Specials, my airline baggage allowance exploded to 40 gallon polycarbonate tote bins, filled with 
USDA Prime porterhouse steaks, flash frozen and kept on dry ice for the 25 hour door-to-door flight home.

One year, in the prolonged smoggy stretch of midwinter, when the last of the Cheerios had long said their goodbyes, a whisper of hope, and rumors swirled in the expatriate 
community of a Kirkland sighting. 

Following a trail of half truths and local lore, our desperate group finally stumbled upon a scruffy storefront, not much bigger than a gas station Circle K. Inside was the 
usual fare of maize, rice, dried squid and traveling underpants (a story unto itself), seeing our deflated faces, like kids who pulled a lump of coal from their Christmas 
stockings, the shop clerk motioned for us to follow her into the back room. 

There, in an oversized closet were pallets of Kirkland Signature products - nut bars, coffee, diapers, dish soap, dog food, cat food, baby formula, everything edible and 
in-between. We packed up as much as our car could hold and handed over grocery bags stuffed with cash (when the highest Chinese currency bill is equivalent to USD 
14, a Cash Sale for a house involves a fleet of Brink’s trucks). 

Elated with our find and pinky-swearing never to reveal our new-found Kirkland source, there was still something amiss, something not quite right. After a few minutes 
it dawned on us - the everyday plus twice on Sundays Costco $4.99 rotisserie chicken. We agreed, Peking Duck will just have to do.

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

For more Close Encounters Of The Wrong Kind go to




Views News

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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: