Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 16, 2024

MVNews this week:  Page 11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 16, 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



Really, life isn’t easy especially if you’re me. 
It’s tough for everybody but as one gets older, 
I think it gets tougher because there are not 
the usual distractions of work, and the other 
distractions are all a part of a busy life. I have 
become very dissatisfied with myself, noticing 
that I rely on my wife to do everything. Not 
exactly everything—I still manage to dress 
myself but with difficulty. The arm holes of shirts and sweaters 
are never in the right place or the whole shirt is backwards. 
Zipping up Jackets and vests has become almost impossible. I 
just can’t seem to get the little prongs at the bottom to stay in 
the right holes and the zipper comes apart.

 I live in the lower Sierra Madre Canyon, an idyllic place with 
beautiful mountain views in every direction. However, the 
roads are very narrow and curvy, and one can never see what 
is around the next curve. Additionally, there has been the 
arrival of huge delivery trucks and maintenance trucks that are 
often too huge to make the turns and stay stranded while their 
drivers wonder what to do.

 I understand that the maintenance trucks are necessary 
today probably related to problems caused by the weather 
conditions; and I also understand that the huge delivery trucks 
became necessary especially during the period of the Covid 
confinement and I also understand the convenience made 
available to the residents who now need not venture to Whole 
Foods or Ralphs but driving has become very hazardous and 
actually dangerous. Frequently the delivery truck drivers are 
unfamiliar with the area and really do not know where they are 
going and, at times, must ask for help. I wish that the presence 
of these trucks was prohibited except for certain times during 
the day or evening or something.

 I need to add that my overall stress is compounded by the 
overall situation within the country. Seriously what is going to 
happen to the country? The aged Biden and Trump are the now 
set as the Presidential candidates later this year. We all know 
that they both face the problems of ageing. These are problems I 
understand as my eightieth Birthday approaches, and I struggle 
to produce a lucid article. Of course, Biden is weakened, 
notwithstanding his forceful and energetic performance 
during his State of the Union Address and Kamela’s bouncing 
up and down behind him seemed to me comical and not very 
Presidential; but at least she is a known quantity.

 It is very troubling, to say the least, that I have read or 
heard nothing about potential Republican Vice-Presidential 
candidates. Certainly, this is an important choice as should 
Mr. Trump (perish the thought) actually be elected, and should 
it become obvious that in the actual wording of the 25th 
Amendment to the United States Constitution Section 4 which 
addresses the case of a president who is unable to to discharge 
the powers and duties of the Presidency but cannot or or does 
not, execute a voluntary declaration on the initiative of the vice 
president together with a majority of the president’s cabinet the 
vice president becomes the acting president.

 I have no sense of who this person might be, but it will be a 
person chosen by Trump who, one can be sure, will never admit 
to being unfit. Remember also, just as a part of the whole picture, 
that on January 6, 2021, for the moment, still as President, 
seemed to advocate the lynching of his Vice- President Mike 
Pence. (It all seems like a bad dream, doesn’t it.) The chaos that 
we might all soon be facing seems unimaginable. I, like many 
retired people, am completely dependent upon the Federal 
Government to receive my monthly Social Security payment. 
The entire population and the nation are accustomed to living 
within a nation that works. The electricity works and water 
comes out of the faucets and the Country keeps running and 
wages are paid et cetera, you know what I mean. In a time of 
overall chaos who knows what will be happening and no one 
seems willing to even consider that possible, but not altogether 
improper eventuality, 

 Put it all together, my little personal problems together with the 
potential future calamities facing everyone it is understandable 
why I am STRESSED. 



When was the last time you read a scholarly work regarding tongue 
twisters? Truth be told I am probably incapable of producing a 
scholarly work on any subject. But a non scholarly work on tongue 
twisters seems right up my alley. Throwing caution to the wind, here is my column

In 1878 writer J.W. Shoemaker, wrote and published a book entitled “Practical 

In this scholarly work, Shoemaker suggests tongue twisters have a therapeutic value as 
“Diction exercises”. Me, I just think they are fun and potentially embarrassing. Let’s 
dive in shall we?

The oldest and most well-known tongue twister?

“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled 
peppers? If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled 
peppers Peter Piper picked?”

The Guiness Book of World Records reports the following as the most difficult tongue 
twister in the English language:

“The sixth sick sheikh’s sixth sheep’s sick.”

MIT Speech communication scientist Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel says not so to 
Guiness. MIT’s submission, according to Dr. Shattuck-Hufnagel, is harder. You be the 

“Pad kid poured curd pulled cod”.

Please forgive my penchant for alliteration as I offer up a treasure trove of tongue 
twisters to tackle: (Please do not practice these while operating heavy machinery, 
driving a vehicle, or crossing a busy street) This first offering is a tribute to my editor:

“I saw Susan sitting in a shoeshine shop. Where she sits, she shines, and where she 
shines, she sits.” (Watch out for the wayward “h” in the above twister.)

And now a tribute to one of my editor’s sons and his dad:

“Fred fed Ted bread and Ted fed Fred bread.”

“Betty bought butter, but the butter was bitter, so Betty bought better butter to make 
the bitter butter better.”

“A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk 

“If practice makes perfect and perfect needs practice, I’m perfectly practiced and 
practically perfect.”

“Top chopstick shops stock top chopsticks.”

“The great Greek grape growers grow great Greek grapes.”

“Gobbling gargoyles gobbled gobbling goblins.”

“Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager managing an imaginary menagerie.”

How can you write your own tongue twisters? There are exercises on the world wide 
web (more alliteration) on how to construct your own tongue twisters.

If you are a deep existentialist thinker, this tongue twister might have truly deep 
meaning for you:

“I thought a thought. But the thought I thought wasn’t the thought I thought I thought. 
If the thought I thought I thought had been the thought I thought, I wouldn’t have 
thought, I thought.”

In other news, I would like to thank Howard R. for correcting my February 24th 
column on campaign slogans. I committed a couple of errors. The first was referring to 
Adlai Stevenson the second, who ran for president in 1952 and 1956, as the son of Adlai 
Stevenson the first. He was actually the grandson. 

My other mistake was not updating the post president who lived the longest after his 
presidency. I listed Herbert Hoover who lived 31 years past his time in office. In actuality, 
Hoover’s long held record was broken by Jimmy Carter, who left the presidency in 1981 
and is still alive today 43 years later.

If you see me with a bag over my head, it is worn in shame at having misinformed 
my much loved and coveted readers. I will have the bag removed by Saturday night, 
April 13th when my rock and roll band JJ Jukebox, will be, yet again, performing at 
Nano Café. 6:30-9:30. 322 Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre. Please come but make 
reservations by calling (626) 325-3334 after 4:00pm Wednesdays through Saturdays

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Faster than my 93 year 
old uncle,

More powerful than a 
wet paper towel,

Able to leap from 
one third grade math 
equation to another!

It’s a loaf of bread!

It’s a couch potato!


It’s Hamster Girl!

I didn’t take heed of Channel 7’s 
meteorologist Dallas Raines and his Mega 
Doppler 7000HD, forecasting a wild stint 
of Santa Ana winds. Overnight, they blew 
ferociously through the county, 75 mph 
gusts upending centennial-old trees and 
power lines. In the early morning, casualties 
abounded, two of which were my empty 
garbage bins. Down, down, down at the 
bottom of the street, blocking the road they 
lay on their sides, their little wheels spinning 
but getting them nowhere. 

In my ho-jamas (discount brand sweats, 
good enough for home wear but not outside), 
I scurried down the hill and wrestled the 
hulking 96 gallon containers, my Dearfoam 
slippers digging into the crusty asphalt. 
Yes, they had the advantage with their slick, 
boxy, physiques but I hamster-handled them 
upright. The trial had only just begun.

When Canada hosted the Olympics, it 
ignited a fitness fever across the country 
that 98% of its citizens did not care to catch. 
A nation that prized its poutine; greasy fries 
topped with chunks of squeaky cheese and a 
slurry of hot brown gravy, now was badgered 
into getting in shape. An Olympic Challenge 
was bequeathed from the hallowed halls of 
Ottawa to the unfortunate denizens of the 
least powerful - public school students. 

The Olympic Challenge was a month-long 
fitness program, a supercharged testosterone 
Track and Field with fiendish hints of Navy 
SEAL or more appropriately, the Royal 
Canadian Mounted Police - our version of 
the FBI and CIA but on horses! There were 
daily requirements for running, jumping, 
push-ups, sit-ups and for me, fudge-ups. We 
were each given a booklet to record our daily 
targets but I would fudge my results, 30 sit-
ups within a minute? No problem! I used the 
BOGO method, one actual sit-up equaled 
two, three if Scooby Doo was on TV.

I had a lock on the Gold Medal, I was faster, 
higher, stronger than my classmates, at 
least in the booklet. Then, on the morning 
of the last day of the Challenge, with my 
eye on the prize, the principal announced 
the medal winners would be awarded that 
afternoon - after the Track and Field events. 
I lasted until mid-morning, my sweaty 
baton handoff in the Relay Race made me no 
friends. However, this was the dawning of 
“Participation” award-think and 98% of us 
received Bronze medals. Fitness? It’ll never 
sell, I thought.

I looked up beyond the hills, up to the red-
tailed hawks carving through the blustery 
skies, up to the majesty of the San Gabriel 
mountains, up to my place, a quarter mile 
hike on a 75° incline. Tears blistered round 
my eyes.

The squalls started blowing again. I frog-
marched that black colossus to its final 
destination, straining against the wind, as I 
dug down to my inner being, encouraged by 
the inches I had conquered so far, I raised 
my head in victory, just then the lid of the 
trash bin flipped open, swatting me in the 

There’s no Hollywood ending to this story, 
no nick-of-time rescue, no wind-behind-
my-back melody, it was a slow, unwieldy 
slog over the hill. Exhausted, my hamster 
muscles gooey from the Olympian effort, 
recovery was in the hands of Door Dash - a 
double order of poutine, extra cornstarch in 
the slurry please.

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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