He Said/She Said with Robin and Shawn

Dear SSHS,

So I took your advice and ended a relationship face-to-face, with honesty and integrity but was shocked at the rude text I got from the guy five days later. It really hurt my feelings, and now I wonder what you each think is the best way to break it off with someone?

~Honest and Hurt, Walnut Creek

He accusing her - Couple fighting seriesShe Said: There must be 50 ways to leave your lover—yours is the question for the ages. I prefer to hear the straightforward approach, the way you did it, but maybe that’s a female thing. Sometimes there just isn’t a way to end things well, so you just have to do it in a way that allows you to be your highest and best self.  There’s often nothing you can say to prevent the sting and some will sting back in pain. Take comfort in the fact that his lashing out confirms you made the right decision. Shawn, was this a guy-ego thing?

He Said: Yeah this guy’s ego was hurt BIG TIME. But take comfort in the fact that you were honest and gave him the courtesy of a face-to-face explanation. Of course there’s a lot of different ways to end a relationship, but there’s really only one right way and you nailed it. Unfortunately a lot of people take the cowardly approach nowadays and break things off via electronic communication such as text message or social media posts. He’ll eventually think highly of you because you gave him that respect, especially when the next girl he dates dumps him on Facebook.

Dear HSSS,

My son graduated from college in June and is sitting home, doing nothing.  What’s a fair amount of time to give him to relax and recover before insisting he get out there and get a job and move out?

~Frustrated Father, Oakland

He Said: Give the kid a break! He just graduated college; you should be a proud papa because he received a higher education. Ok, break’s over, now it’s time for you to be concerned again. It’s time to ask your son some important questions: Does he have a plan? Direction? Passion or interest in anything particular? A skill set that translates into gainful employment? A college degree is great and everything, but sadly it doesn’t guarantee a job after college nowadays. If your son doesn’t have a legitimate answer to any of these questions, then he’ll be sitting on your couch for a very long time. I’d give him until the end of summer before you smack him in the face with the ‘help wanted’ section.

She Said: Good stuff, Shawn. I would add that volunteering and internships are good ways to get one’s foot in the door too. What you don’t want to do is make it so comfortable that your son has no reason to look for anything. Not expecting anything from him is exactly what you’ll get, so just pay attention to that little moral hazard. I wouldn’t give him money either.  You’re giving him a roof over his head and food on the table, but the fun parts of life he needs to fund himself.  Oh, and when he does get a job, he needs to start paying a reasonable amount of rent, otherwise you could end up with failure to launch. Congrats on the college education though. That’s awesome!HeSaidSheSaidgraphic

Robin Fahr is a communications specialist and host of Conversations seen daily on Tri-Valley TV, Channel 30 and online at trivalleytv.org. Shawn and Robin also host He Said/She Said on TheTalkPod.com.  Send your questions to AskHeSaidSheSaid.com.

Summer Writer’s Block

It’s not a big surprise that my annual summer writer’s block is back. I’ve come to expect it. When summer rolls around, every orifice in my body tightens up when it’s time to extract something creative for this fine magazine. I’ve found it tough coming up with magic when I’m wearing flip-flops and board shorts while sucking on a cold Corona. Truthfully, after 9+ years of at least one article a month, the well might finally be dry. Brilliance is fleeting. Truthfully, I may have peaked in the spring of 2011. As NBA announcer and former Golden State Warriors Head Coach Mark Jackson once said (when the team got bounced from the playoffs too early), “There’s no shame in my game.” Well there’s no game in my shame either or something like that. I came, I wrote and now I’m tired. I don’t want to talk retirement just yet, but similar to last summer, the best that I can do right now is come up with a few random thoughts on a variety of unrelated topics.


My oldest daughter, Hannah, is leaving for college in a couple of weeks and I’m sad. I’m happy for her, but sad for me. Me, I’m probably going to cry. I’m very close with my girls and not having the oldest one around will take some getting used to, and I’m not sure I’m ready. Granted, every baby bird leaves the nest eventually, but my guess is it’s easier for the mommy bird to adjust than the daddy bird. Mommy birds are tougher and they had to sit on those damn eggs forever. Not to mention regurgitating three meals a day for months. Now with just one kid at home, I’ll have to focus 100% of my attention on her younger sister, Claire. How was school today? What did you do at school? Do you like your teachers? Who did you hang with/talk to/text? Do you have a lot of homework? What are your plans for the weekend? Do you want to walk the dog with me? Watch TV with me? Go to the gym with me? Let’s bake cookies. Hopefully I’ll be able to hang on until Parents’ Weekend at the University of Colorado (Sept. 30th – Oct. 2nd) without first having a major breakdown. Whatever you do, don’t even remind me that both my girls will be going away this time next year because I don’t think my heart can take it. I’m thinking of starting The Danville Lonely Dad’s Club. Applications are available online at www.lonelydads.com.

Olympic Blues

I love the Olympics. There are over 10,000 athletes representing 205 countries (minus a few who have been banned for PED doping). It’s the thrill of international competition, the amazing athletic accomplishments and the immense pride of country that inspires me every four years. It inspires me to go into rehab after watching approximately 280 hours of television over a two-week period. I just can’t seem to get enough swimming and diving, track and field, gymnastics, rowing and fencing. What am I going to do with all my spare time once the Olympic committee wraps up the closing ceremonies? I guess I could pick up a hobby like ballroom dancing, magic or binge watch Game of Thrones. I’ve heard Game of Thrones is a little Olympic-like, if Olympic events included slayings, incest and dragon defecation.

Happy Viewing

If Game of Thrones is too big a commitment, Silicon Valley and Veep might be the right call. These two HBO sitcoms are quite possibly the funniest two shows on television—that is, if you don’t mind an occasional F-bomb in the dialogue. By occasional, I mean virtually every other word frequency. Regardless, both of these shows are uniquely crafted, wonderfully acted and perfectly paced if you like that sort of thing. Silicon Valley follows the rise, fall and VC flogging of a start-up data Compression Company located in Sun River, Oregon. Just kidding, the company, Pied Piper, is located in Silicon Valley…pay attention! Veep, on the other hand, is about a female Vice President and her staff of politically gifted, but morally challenged, gutter-mouthed nitwits. Serena Meyer maneuvers Capitol Hill as the Assistant President (VEEP) for three seasons before ascending to the position of POTUS, President of the United States in Season Four. The brilliance of both shows is in the writing—something I can relate to, obviously. The rapid-fire in both SiliconValley and Veep sparkles with topical references, industry accuracy, jaw-dropping insults, putdowns and trash-talking. If only I could employ that type of banter in my work place. I hope the writers of these two shows can keep it up because, take it from someone who knows, it’s difficult to be brilliant for an extended period of time.

Book Club

I don’t belong to a book club, but I’m open to an invitation. If I did belong to one, my first recommendation would be The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom. You might recognize the author’s name from his previous works, which include Tuesday’s with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven and For One More Day. While technically I can label myself a writer, I’m not a Mitch Albom type of writer. He’s in a completely different league than yours truly. Using baseball vernacular, Mitch is first ballot Hall of Famer, 300-game winner and I’m a single A utility infielder that makes a lot of errors. The above-referenced book chronicles the life of a guitar virtuoso from birth to death with Forrest Gump type run-ins with actual musicians such as Duke Ellington, Elvis, Hank Williams, Burt Bacharach, Lyle Lovett and Paul Stanley of Kiss. It includes a love story, a reunited family story and a music history story. From cover to cover, it’s a wonderful compelling read. The type of writing a hack magazine scribe can only dream about penning. One day.

Dub Nation

I’ve been a Golden State Warriors fan since the early 70’s and the addition of Kevin Durant to an already great team, still hasn’t sunk in. I saw my first game in 1975, the fall after they won their first NBA Championship and to be honest, I truly never thought I would see the team win another one. The 2014/15 season was a dream come true and the conclusion of the 2015/16 season was a nightmare. Now, with Durant, they might not lose a game next season. If you thought 73 wins was impressive, just wait until they whip off 82 and then sweep the playoffs 16-0. Just kidding, the Dub’s might lose one game, if they rest the starters. However, they might also run off 5-6 titles in a row. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Rubba Dub Dub, 4 All-Stars in a tub.

I do like these compilation pieces, although a few of you “haters” might see them as pieces of dog excrement. I like dogs so I can give anything a positive spin. Hopefully next month, I’ll regain my mojo and come up with an entire article on just one topic. Either that or I’ll formally retire from my 10-hour a month volunteer writing job and travel the world. Just kidding, I can’t afford to travel the world. Who do I look like, Mark Zuckerberg? If you did like this article, please “Like it” on my Facebook page and maybe MZ will hire me to be Vice President of Humor Lifestyle at FB or the official FB Humor Lifestyle blogger. The stock options alone would cure my writer’s block.

And Then I Wrote…

This month my lovely bride and I will celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary by taking a ten day cruise to Alaska.  When the travel agent asked what we looked forward to the most, we both replied, “Being pampered.”  Both of us have had some physical problems this year, so we simply want to rest and have our needs taken care of. This will be our twenty-eighth cruise.

Cruise ship in Glacier BayPeople travel, of course, for a variety of reasons: relaxation, sightseeing, aiding those in need, seeing other cultures, and simply for bragging rights at cocktail parties.  Remember the couple who return from a trip to Europe and tell about having dinner with the King and Queen of Sweden. When asked how it was, the wife replied, “He was nice, but she was a bit haughty.”  On their next trip they insisted that they had dinner with the Prime Minister of Great Britain and his wife. The answer again, “He was nice, but she was a bit haughty.” She lost all credibility after visiting the Pope in the Vatican.

My wife Shirley and I are people watchers, as well as sightseers. We’ve met some delightful folks over the years, and, yes, we have met a few whom we would not describe as delightful. We have been on tours that we adored, just as we adored some of our “on our own” explorations.  We both enjoy cruising and those gigantic ships are really quite inexpensive resorts: lodging, food, entertainment, transportation, shore tours, shopping (for Shirley), recreation, and classes all for $100-500/day per person depending on the accommodations, the cruise line, and destination.

Vacations, touring, and cruising, however, are even more fun when they are almost free, free, or even include getting paid. I personally have been fortunate enough to have had eleven such experiences, nine with “the Boss.”

After teaching for two years, I decided it was time to try my hand at professional theater, specifically, acting. I tried it for several months to no avail and decided that I did not want to continue that lifestyle in order to become an “overnight sensation” after twenty-five years. I, therefore, enrolled at U. C. L. A. in order to pursue an M. A. in theater. The classes I took were marvelous, but I did not like the regimentation of the performing area. I acted in two plays and, without realizing it, happened to be in residence at the university at the proper time to be eligible to tour the Orient with a show from the school sponsored by the U. S. O. and the Department of Defense.

We performed at bases in Southern California, then flew in military cargo planes to Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Wake Island, Guam, and Hawaii. We averaged one or two shows a day for about six weeks; flew around 45,000 miles; and we were paid the magnificent sum of $7.00 per day from which we had to pay for our rooms and meals. Most places did not charge us, so I came home with a camera, a tape recorder, and a few—very few—dollars in my pocket.  I also came home with incomparable memories, pictures, and stories with which I have bored family and friends for over half a century.

After I abandoned the career that never was, I returned to teaching high school in the Southland. Four rather successful years later, I read about a organization which had campuses all over western Europe. They taught classes in language and culture and toured in the countries where the language was spoken.  Teachers who recruited eight or more high school students could accompany the students as “chaperones” and receive the trip free. I tried, unsuccessfully, to recruit students for a Spanish program. (Why Spanish?  I have no idea.)  When that failed, I recruited four students for one of the French programs and four other kids from the area who had signed up on their own were assigned to me, giving me my eight and the free trip.

After a few days in Paris we went by coach to the mountains in southern France at Villard-des-Lans where we were housed in a school for French students with respiratory problems during the regular school year.  High in the Alps, the views and clean air (we were from the L. A. area) delighted us.  Because I had rather extensive residence camping experience, I was named assistant principal and received a small stipend. The money, however, paled beside the adventure.

The following year the organization offered me a position as principal, but I did something else. What was it? Oh, yes, we got married. The year after that, however, I went back as a principal, accompanied by my new bride. We spent three weeks in Melun, a suburb of Paris, then another three weeks on the French side of Lake Geneva at Evian-les-Bains, where the girls’ dormitory was a renovated 12th Century castle.  Talk about wonderful experiences—and I got paid nicely. Small children prevented a return for other summers.

About a decade later, while at Purdue University, I taught a full semester, four credit hour course in American Musical Theater. After my retirement in 2000, I adapted the course for Elderhostels (now called “RoadScholars”) and for the Diablo Valley College Emeritus program. In April of 2004, while reading the Travel Section of the San Francisco Chronicle, I found a story detailing lecturing on cruise ships, listing two agencies that contracted lecturers. I sent resumes to each of them. About three weeks later I received a phone call asking if I could do the musical theater program on an Alaskan cruise out of Vancouver, Canada. A quick check of our calendars (four seconds flat) prompted a loud, definite, joyful “yes” answer, beginning a four year love affair with virtually free cruising.

Of course, I had to adapt what had originally been a full semester course, later four to eight hours, in order to accommodate cruise schedules that varied from two to five hours. I never knew what my schedule or hours would be until we were on the ship itself. The number of people attending the lectures ranged from twelve to 200, and we  met some fascinating people, including the mayor of one of the largest cities in the U. S. and a retired sports editor of the New York Times.

In the four year period from 2004-08 Shirley and I enjoyed eight cruises: two to Alaska, two to the Mexican Riviera, two back-to-back in Hawaii, one from Florida to San Diego through the Panama Canal, and one from New York City to the Caribbean. We had to pay the agencies $25 or $30 per day per person, but, with one exception, we had ocean view cabins with everything available to us that any other passenger enjoyed.  Actually there was one and only one restriction: we had to agree, in writing and notarized, that we would not play Bingo, which is not much of sacrifice to people who do not play the game.  Why no Bingo?  I never did get a definitive answer to that question.

When the recession of 2008 hit, however, the cruise lines stopped contracting lecturers in the arts, and we had to pay full price (ugh!) for any subsequent cruises, including the one this month.  Additionally, the cruise lines insisted that lectures all be on Power Point, which I find boring and too regimented.  One other factor dictated that it was time to “pack it in”:  I turned 78 in early 2009.

When we cruise now, we have to balance the budget, the calendar, and our aging bodies. But, it was sure fun while it lasted.

Anchors Aweigh!







Mallet Instruments

Some of the most unique and varied sounds of a percussion section in bands and orchestras come from the melodic mallet instruments. These instruments add exciting sounds and rhythms to the ensemble. They include the popular Xylophone, Marimba, Vibraphone and Glockenspiel. I would venture to say that not too many people know the difference between these instruments.

If you think all musicians in bands and orchestras just sit quietly and play their instruments, watch the percussion section in the back of the band or orchestra. There you will find a beehive of activity. Here are the movers, beaters and shakers of the ensemble. A percussionist must be versatile with the ability to play many percussion instruments: Mallet instruments; Snare Drum; Bass Drum; Timpani; Cymbals and more, while being able to move quickly.

wooden xylophoneAudience members frequently comment that it is so much fun to watch the percussion players as they are very animated and move around so much. They must be careful not to get in each other’s way while quickly moving to other instruments.

“My favorite instruments are the mallets,” said Christine Calara, the very talented principal mallet player in the Danville Community Band.  “I enjoy playing these instruments because they are unique and also for their soloistic nature.” Calara started out playing piano and this experience transferred well to the mallet instruments, as the two rows on mallet instruments resemble the white and black keys on the piano.

Mallet Instruments

The Xylophone is a percussion instrument consisting of two rows of graduated, tuned bars of hardwood, usually rosewood, that are struck with a stick or mallet that may be either hard or soft. Early instruments were known in Southeast Asia in the 14th Century. They are also used in many non-western cultures, particularly in Africa. They have also attained a high degree of perfection in Javanese orchestras.

Xylophones have a range of three and one half octaves with a tone quality that is dry and wooden without lasting resonance. In the 1830s the instrument became better known and was admitted into Musica Regularis; accepted by symphony orchestras as well as rhythm bands.

The Marimba is a xylophone-like mallet instrument from Africa, primarily the Congo, and also Central and South America. It was introduced to America in the early 16th Century through the slave trade.

It has a number of wooden bars, also usually rosewood, of different sizes and thickness. Located under the bars are tuned, tubular, metal resonators encompassing up to six or seven octaves in larger instruments. The most common instrument is probably four and one half octaves. It is not unusual for the larger Marimbas to be played by several musicians at the same time.  It has a warm and mellow tone and is played with rubber or felt-headed mallets. The instrument is considered the national instrument of Guatemala and is very popular in Central America.

The Vibraphone is a percussion instrument originating in the United States around 1920. It is similar to the Marimba but has tuned and graduated metal bars arranged in two rows, again, like a piano keyboard. It is played with padded beaters. It is fitted with electrically driven rotating propellers suspended below the bars causing a vibrato sound—hence the name Vibraphone. A sustaining or damper pedal is part of the instrument. These instruments are usually built with a three octave range although some are larger. The Vibraphone is used frequently in jazz music.

The Glockenspiel is a percussion instrument made up of tuned metal bars, rectangular in shape and arranged in two rows like a piano keyboard. It is played with mallets and has a range of two and one half octaves. This instrument has been used in orchestras since the 18th Century and is of Asiatic origin. They are sometimes known as Orchestra Bells.

A Bell Lyre is a portable Glockenspiel in Lyre form, designed to be used in marching bands.  It is held in front of the player and struck with a small metal beater.

Mallet Musicians

Some noted mallet players have become well-known for their musicianship and fame. Lionel Hampton is one of the most famous musicians in the modern era. Hampton, (1908-2002) was an American jazz vibraphonist, percussionist and band leader. His early fame began when he was invited to play with Benny Goodman in his trio that then became a quartet. He also played with Louis Armstrong and Buddy Rich. In 1940 he left the Goodman group to form his own band.

Arthur Lyman (1932-2002) was born in Hawaii and played Vibraphone and Marimba. He excelled in Faux-Polynesian music that became known as “Exotica.”  During the 1950s and 60s Lyman was known as the “King of Lounge Music.”

Martin Denny, (1911-2005) a pianist, composer and band leader often used mallet instruments in his music and hired Lyman to play in his combo in 1954.  The two men became closely associated in the music world.

The addition of mallet instruments bring exciting sounds and offer different rhythms, melodies and a great range of tones that add to the overall appeal of the music. Not only are the mallet instruments a great addition to the music but they are fun and exciting to play.

Please submit your questions and comments to banddirector01@comcast.net.  Visit our website at www.danvilleband.org for up-to-date information about the  Danville Community Band.







2016 Acura RDX A Responsive Crossover!

Lately, my weekly test vehicles have been a string of good looking and well-performing crossover SUV’s. The popularity of the crossover is attributed to their high seating which creates a better birds-eye view, plus the storage flexibility and overall seating convenience. Crossovers come in all sizes and shapes and are available from nearly every manufacturer. Needless to say, competition has become fierce and car companies are doing everything they can to get interested parties into dealerships to see their offerings. This review features the luxury compact submission from Acura – the 2016 RDX.

The RDX entered the field with the 2013 model and has received an update for 2016 including a new, V-6 motor and subtle styling improvements. The front and rear fascias have been reshaped and the back now includes LED taillights. The headlamps display a level of luxury with a string of five LED lights strung like a row of diamonds on a bracelet. The upside down, pentagon-shaped center grille creates a look of movement even while standing still. The fender arches are pronounced with flattened half circles that surround 18-inch wheels.

2016 Acura RDXThe 2016 Acura RDX is available as one trim level in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, along with three packages: AcuraWatch Plus ($1300), Technology ($3,700), and Advance ($6,650). The standard FWD base model has an MSRP of $36,310, while the AWD is $37,810. You can order the AcuraWatch Plus and the technology packages together if your wallet will allow! The AWD with intelligent control, as termed by Acura, has been returned in the 2016 models, sending more power to the rear wheels under acceleration for improved stability.

The cabin is comfortable and designed with a rich feel for both the eyes and touch. The left and right sides of the dash are arched like bird wings with the center body housing having one large screen for the entertainment center and one for the operational controls. The front seats conform to eight-way adjustability, while the rear seats are snug and more suitable for smaller people. Don’t forget, the RDX is a compact crossover.

The rear cargo compartment delivers 26.1 cubic feet with the rear seat up. Levers on both sides of the rear cargo compartment allow for easy flattening of the 60/40 split-second row seats to expand the rear storage area to 61.3 cubic feet. Four tie-downs placed at each corner allow you to securely anchor your contents in place. A large speaker provides great sound for those fun tailgate parties.

2016 Acura RDXPower is generated from a 3.5-liter V-6 that generates 279 horsepower at 6,200 rpms and 252 foot pounds of torque at 4,900 rpms. The 3.5-L produces plenty of muscle both off the line and on the freeway. To improve fuel economy, three of the six cylinders smoothly deactivate under lighter loads without the drive ever knowing of the transition. The fuel economy ratings are 20/city and 29/highway for the FWD and 19/18 for the AWD. The V-6 is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential SportShift paddle shifters just in case you feel sporty.

Cool Features:

  • Cylinder Deactivation
  • Rear Cross Traffic Monitor
  • Multi-View Rear Camera
  • Acura Navigation System with 3D View

Standard safety features on the 2016 Acura RDX include multi-view rear camera with guidelines, advanced compatibility engineering body structure, dual-stage multiple-threshold front airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, vehicle stability Assist™ with traction control and motion adaptive steering, ABS brakes and hill start assist. Optional safety items available with certain package levels are a forward collision-warning system, collision mitigation braking system™, lane departure warning, blind spot information system, and rear cross-traffic monitor system.

In Summary –The 2016 Acura RDX is a well-styled compact luxury crossover vehicle that is great for an individual, couple or starter family.The RDX delivers decent power and is available with many high-tech features we have come to expect from Acura. The ride is smooth and the handling is confident. If you find yourself in the market for a compact luxury crossover, then the RDX is worth a test drive and your consideration.


2016 Acura RDX AWD Advanced


Base price:                  $43,420as driven: $44,340 (including destination & optional features)

Engine:                       3.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC6-cylinder

Horsepower:             279 @ 6,200 RPM

Torque:                       252 @ 4,900 RPM

Transmission:            6-speed automatic

Drive:                          AWD Drive

Seating:                       5-passenger

Turning circle:           38.9 feet

Cargo space:              26.1 cubic feet

Curb weight:              3,774 pounds

Fuel capacity:             16 gallons

EPA mileage:             City 19/Hwy 28

Wheel Base:                105.7 inches

Warranty:                    4 years/50,000 miles powertrain limited

Also consider:             Audi Q5, BMW X3, Buick Envision, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti QX 50, Lexus RX,

Mercedes-Benz GLC, and Volvo XC60


Assistance League Scholarships

In the fall, these determined visionaries will attend such institutions of higher learning as Diablo Valley College, U.C. Davis and Princeton.

Congratulations, Scholarship recipients of 2016!  Kneeling (L to R) Sharofidden Abdugapparov, Scholarships Co-Chair Cindi Segale, Christopher Yi, Jomari Fernandez, Barune Thapa, Scholarships Co-Chair Lesley Salo; middle row (L to R) Erica Wagoner, Justine Rawlings, Antonio Chavez-Islas, Carl Damon Wiley, Alejandro Hernandez, Opal Franklin, Marina Edwards, Angelica Singh;  standing (L to R) Terra de Haan,  Jules Mc Clary, Jenna Weathers, Ahmadullah Hasani, Lillian Hunter-Reay, Tajh Elliott, Julie Ho, Vanessa Cortez-Avila, Dannesha Lewis, Bob Zhou, Liliana Calderon, Ines Torres and Brittany Chauvin.Alive media magazine august 2016 Assistance League of Diablo Valley Awards $146000 in Scholarships

Since 1999, Assistance League® of Diablo Valley’s Scholarships program has provided financial and emotional support to high school, community college, and university students who express a desire to advance through educationby maintaining a designated grade point average, volunteering in campus and community projects, and charting an academic time line.

While the aforementioned requirements document both academic and community achievements, the interview phase gives the Scholarships Committee members invaluable insights as to how these aspiring nurses, police officers, physicians and computer scientists have overcome substantive challenges. One young man in Pittsburg who found himself without transportation to the interview rode his bicycle to Walnut Creek. Another candidate related how he longed for the day when he could tell his widowed mother that she did not have to worry about his college expenses.

As in previous years, the desire to excel prevailed.

High School awardees include Liliana Calderon, San Raphel High School; Sharofiddin Abdugapparov and Julie Ho, Pinole Valley High School; Alejandro Hernandez, Middle College High School, San Pablo; Christopher Yi, Aspire Richmond Academy; Jomari Fernandez, Pittsburg High School; Juels Mc Clary, Deer Valley High School, Antioch; Tajh Elliott, Freedom High School, Oakley; Carl Damon Wiley, Jr., De La Salle High School, Concord; Matthew Cawley, Brittany Chauvin, College Park High School, Concord; Lillian Hunter-Reay, Miramonte High School, Orinda; and Tiffany Bui, Sierra High School, Manteca.

Community College recipients include Ysidra Camarena, Antonio Chavez-Islas, Vanessa Cortez-Avila, Ahmadullah Hasani, Charrell Sherman, Ines Torres and Rubie Villela, Los Medanos College, Pittsburg; Valeria Avila, Opal Franklin, Contra Costa College, San Pablo; MaryAnn Ching, Marina Edwards, Dannesha Lewis, Erica Wagoner and Bob Zhou, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill.

Additionally, three relatively recent categories, titled Spotlight, Sandi Lou Back-to-School and the Norma Dresser Field of Dreams Scholarshipsare funded by private donors who have determined the criteria for eligibility. Recipients must maintain a 2.8 grade point average and carry a minimum of 12 units during the entire time they receive funding.

The Spotlight Scholarship, which is renewable each year, is awarded to students who show particularly strong focus on their educational goals that lead to a career path in their chosen field.   Recipients are Natalie Hill, UC Davis; Kayla Lopez, JFK University; Justine Rawlings and Jenna Weathers, Cal State University East Bay; Alison Spencer, UC Berkeley, Eric Wagoner, Jr., Los Medanos College; Sophie Zhang, Princeton University. More specifically, the Spotlight On You Scholarship addresses vocational and technology education; this year’s recipient is Terra de Haan, Los Medanos Community College.

The Sandi Lou Back-to-School Scholarship award supports astudent who has returned to school after a lengthy absence.   William Hays, currently a student at Diablo Valley College, will attend UC Davis where he will major in Computer Science.

The Norma Dresser Field of Dreams Scholarship celebrates a chapter member who spent her last years dealing with deteriorating vision.  This scholarship benefits students with visual impairment as they work toward their educational goals. The recipients for 2016 are Atheana Savage-Anderson, Horizons High School, Concord and Angelica Singh, Diablo Valley College.

A fourth privately funded scholarship is the multi-year Mardis Preciado Memorial Scholarship.  The recipient must be a student who has received a one-year scholarship from Assistance League of Diablo Valley last May and has achieved a 2.8 grade point average in his or her first year in college.  The money will be disbursed in equal payments over the remaining six semesters of undergraduate work as long as the student maintains 12 units and a 2.8 grade point average.  The 2015-16 recipient is BaruneThapa, a student at University of California, Berkeley, whose major is Public Health/Molecular Cell Biology.

Congratulations to all!  Scholarships committee members look forward to hearing from them in the ensuing years.  To learn about all of Assistance League of Diablo Valley’s philanthropic programs, please visit this website: diablovalley.assistanceleague.org.



He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Q. When and how far back can I trim my daisy bush without damaging it? It’s one of the “He-Loves-Me, He-Loves-Me-Not” Daisies. I’d like to keep it at its current height of about three feet.

Abstract beautiful flower, colorful floral background , wet yellow petals border, daisy plant over red , nature at spring, macro detailsA. Daisies are best pruned in between flushes of flowers or in the spring of the year. Unfortunately, they always seem to be in bud or bloom so there is no perfect time to prune them. Hence, I’d trim them when the majority of the flowers are spent, realizing that I’ll be sacrificing some of the next flush of flowers. Trim the growth with a pair of hand pruners or use an electric hedge shears. I’d cut back the herbaceous or green stems avoiding the old woody portions of the plant. Plants trimmed back to bare stems are unattractive looking, and the pruning doesn’t encourage the lateral shoots. To keep it at three feet, you’ll need to prune it several times each year. Another option is not to prune it at all.  Instead, enjoy the endless flowers and when the plant out grows its space, remove it and replace it with a new plant. Daisy plants are not that expensive and grow back quickly.

Note: Marguerite Daisy or Euryops are sometimes referred to as the “He-Loves-Me, He-Loves-Me-Not Daisy. It gets its name from a story of a day dreaming young girl’s method of determining whether the boy in her dream is the love of her life. She would pick a flower and remove each petal saying, “He-Loves-Me, He-Loves-Me-Not,” alternating the phrase between each petal. The answer lies with the last Daisy petal. I’m not so sure it’s used very often today as this was from a more innocent times.

Q. Why are my New Guinea Impatiens disappearing overnight? Something is cutting them off at the base and carrying them away, as I find no evidence of the plants or any part of them anywhere around.

A. I’d strongly suspect roof rats. Roof Rats obtain much of their water requirement from their food or from free water such as sprinklers. Hence, they’re very fond of fruit, especially oranges and tomatoes as they mature. Water restriction have curved their water supply so they’re forging on other plants aka, New Guinea Impatiens. New Guinea’s are a herbaceous and succulent plant so they’re a perfect target. Roof rats generally begin searching for food shortly after sunset. These rats may cache or hoard considerable amounts of solid food, which they will eat later. These food caches may be located in a variety of other hiding places, generally near their nests. they’re very mobile, so they’re a tough problem to control outdoors. Traps would work but not baits as there are too many household pets that could be harmed. My suggestion is to move on and replant with something else.

Q. I purchased a bag of pure Mesquite charcoal for barbecuing. Can you tell me the origin of Mesquite?

A. Mesquite is a very interesting large shrub or small tree that is indigenous to the southwest and the desert areas. There are three common species of the Mesquite: Honey Mesquite (Proposes gladiolas), Screwbean Mesquite (Proposes pubescens) and Velvet Mesquite (Proposes velutina). Mesquite grows to forty feet high and is deciduous. It’s a member of the pea family and has the characteristic bean pods which have long been used by humans, wildlife and livestock as a food source. It is estimated that over seventy-five percent of a Coyote’s diet in late summer is from the mesquite beans. Native Americans relied on the Mesquite pod as a dietary staple from which they made tea, syrup and a ground meal called Pinole. They also used the bark for basketry, fabrics and medicine. A favorite of bees and other insects, the Mesquite flowers has a honey, fragrance. Mesquite has a true tap root which can go down in the soil forty feet deep looking for moisture. The tap root can be larger in diameter than its truck. It is the tap root that is used for firewood while the above ground parts are used for furniture or tool handles. The density of its wood fibers makes Mesquite an extremely hardwood. It’s a favorite with those who like to grill because the density causes Mesquite to burn at temperatures higher than most other charcoals. It also burns slowly and is smokeless sealing in the natural juices as the meat cooks.


In 2001, the American Film Institute named Humphrey Bogart as the greatest film star of the 20th Century, ahead of Cary Grant, John Wayne and James Stewart. Bogart was only a star for a few years; from 1940 to his death in 1956. Before that he was a supporting actor who specialized in getting shot by James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson. His roles were distinctive and his name in his best movies we all know (or do we?). Let’s see.

  1. His first break came in 1936’s “Petrified Forest.” He plays an escaped convict who holds the stars of the movie cap rives in a remote diner. What was his name?
  1. His big break came in 1940’s “High Sierra.” He plays an ex con known to the public as Mad Dog, who meets his demise on Mount Whitney. What was his name?
  1. In 1941, Bogie got one of his most famous roles in “The Maltese Falcon,” as a private eye in one of the classic films noir. What was his name?
  1. His most famous movie, “Casablanca,” followed in 1943. He played the owner of Rick’s American Cafe in that Moroccan town. What was Rick’s last name?
  1. In 1948, Bogie starred in my favorite movie “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Although Walter Huston steals the movie, Bogie does great job as the vagrant who goes mad with gold fever. What was his name, including middle initial?
  1. Bogie finally won an Oscar in 1951 playing a drunken boat captain opposite Katharine Hepburn in “The African Queen.” What was his name in this classic?

Ego: The Enemy of Progress

In a previous article entitled “There is no room for ego in medicine,” I pointed out the danger the patient faces when the doctor thoughts are owned by his ego. One example is when I was helping a cancer patient with the miseries of Chemo, two of which are depression and loss of appetite; I suggested that she ask her doctor to prescribe a substance that had proven to counteract these effects. His answer was that it was “not part of his protocol.”  I will leave the conclusion to you.

I recently cured a lady of severe pain with holistic, non drug methods only to have the lady’s physician put down my methods, handing her a prescription for a drug with many side effects, even though she was pain free. What could possibly cause this kind of attitude?

In my book WHY? The question that could save your life, my goal is to get the reader on the path of being proactive in their healthcare. One chapter attempts to explain this kind of behavior, explaining the difference between left and right brain thinking, and why doctors tend to be very left brain dominant.

The left brain is where memorized information is kept. The right brain is your imagination and the source of new information. Our present educational system tends to teach by memorization of current knowledge, which much of the time will change quite soon after, especially when that knowledge is influenced by the instructor’s opinions. In the case of foreign language, you don’t need to memorize verb tenses to communicate quite well in Mexico or France. They will come as you talk.

Too much memorization, without allowing challenges, can almost shut off the right brain, especially when one goes into graduate level education, such as medical school.  This explains why so many entrepreneurs, among them Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, became successful without degrees.  Progress comes from imagination, not memorization. Major symptoms of left brain dominance are the “know it all” and the egotist. They can’t get “outside the box” to see their lack of understanding. They own the box and defend it.

It will take several articles to demonstrate the incredible damage and slowing of progress that has been caused by doctors and scientists, who, once they become recognized, violently defend their position and work to destroy and degrade anyone who challenges them.  If it is position that results in more money, throw in greed, which multiplies ego.

Truly brilliant people are quite aware of how little they know, in fact, the height of brilliance is realizing you don’t even know what you don’t know—then the mind is truly free to take in new information. This kind of humility is essential to true scientific research.






Natural Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries

The Rotator Cuff muscles (four muscles in total) are the primary support structures for the shoulder. Therefore, even minor dysfunction associated with these muscles can create pain and decreased performance of everyday tasks. A Rotator Cuff injury can be caused by many everyday activities. These activities include traumatic events (e.g. fall on an outstretched arm, “yanking” of the arm), repetitive motion (e.g. throwing a ball, carrying children) and chronic improper posture (e.g. operating a computer, driving).

There are three major types of Rotator Cuff injuries that we treat successfully:

  1. Rotator Cuff Muscle Tears: This is a partial tear of one or more of the four Rotator Cuff muscles. Rotator Cuff muscle tears are often accompanied by deep achy pain in the shoulder and arm weakness.
  2. Tendonitis: Tendons are at the ends of each muscle and attach the muscles to the bones they move. When there is inflammation of these tendons it is called Tendonitis. The symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tendonitis are often trigger point pain over the tendon accompanied by deep, achy pain in the shoulder and arm weakness.
  3. Rotator Cuff Impingement Syndrome: Chronic injury of the Rotator Cuff can lead to a “pinching” of the nerves passing through the shoulder. This is commonly referred to as a Shoulder Impingement or Rotator Cuff Impingement. Symptoms often include numbness, tingling or sharp, shooting pain into the arm or hand.


The most common forms of medical treatment for Rotator Cuff injuries are anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections and surgery. Although meds and injections may reduce the severity of pain associated with rotator cuff dysfunction, they are not a long-term solution and may do more bodily harm than good in the long run. Surgery is a last resort and should only be used if there is irreparable damage to the shoulder that cannot be handled with proper rehabilitation.

First:  Heal the Damaged Tissue

Ending the pain caused by a Rotator Cuff injury requires stopping the cycle of inflammation that is creating the pain. Class IV laser therapy is an excellent method for this, because it is presently the only modality that can both reduce inflammation and heal tissue simultaneously.  During Laser Therapy, the infrared laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level, increasing metabolic activity and improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. As the injured area returns to normal, pain is relieved and function is restored.

Second: Correct the Shoulder and Postural Mechanics

Long-term pain relief of shoulder injuries involves rehabilitation of the shoulder, neck, and thoracic spine. Shoulder rehabilitation is achieved by utilizing specific postural adjustments, exercises and specific posture stabilizing methods in order to re-establish proper motion and strength of the shoulder joint. Ongoing strengthening and stretching exercises are used to rehabilitate the musculature of the shoulder to ensure lasting results.

If you suffer from chronic pain, it is worth your while to spend some time figuring out which of any number of factors are contributing to your pain — we will help you explore which combination of therapies will help you heal it. The good news is — you can do it without drugs, and you can get back to the activities you love!

Dr. Niele Maimone, DC is the owner and founder of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter.com.