Monday, October 06, 2003

What Are Mountains?

According to local legend, the so-called 'mountains' are "A fearsome apparition in the northern skies rarely seen by mortal man." Fearsome indeed, but residents and experts alike are skeptical.

"What are mountains?", asked four-year-old Timothy Chapman, taking in a day at a Pasadena park with his dad. "I bet they're neat." Timothy is just one of several local youth who occasionally speculate about the local legend, and the prospect of huge piles of earth, rock, and snakes.

"I remember in the days before the War, we'd often see a mile-high wall of snow-capped mountains," marveled 72-year-old James "Jimbo" Parsons, a man of dubious reputation and recollection, who refers casually to unseen forces, such as 'snow', in addition to the aforementioned 'mountains'.

When questioned about where these mountains might be, Jimbo could only answer, "I suppose they packed up and moved to San Francisco." Experts at Caltech agree that moving to San Francisco is a serious possibility for any alleged mountains, but the move won't take place for several million years.

'Something magical in the air'

As the sun shone in Brookside Park near Pasadena's Rose Bowl one recent afternoon, local residents, their reasoning powers atrophied by years of heavy drug use, had a different opinion about the mountains.

Jogger Amelia Carmichael, 34, said she had seen the mountains "just a few days ago. In fact, I go hiking with my dog Hercules up there every week." Carmichael was hard pressed to find the mountains when asked to point them out. Her supposed 'dog' was also nowhere to be found.

Manuel Gonzalez, 29, was pushing his 15-month-old son Patricio in a stroller. He said he sees the mountains every other day, and "they look the best toward evening." Gonzalez moved to the Los Angeles area from a small town in Northern California, where he said, "things were too clear." To mix things, he said, "I came down to live in a place where there's something magical in the air."

Something magical indeed, and our magicians are hard at work to remove that magic. If the mountain story is true, we may soon be able to verify their existence.

A business-magician coalition recently undertook a "Success is in the Air" campaign to advertise the progress of anti-pollution laws and encourage people to believe in the mountains. "We're trying to get the word out on what concerned citizens can do about the mountain issue," said John Berlutini, a magician with the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Berlutini is hopeful the program will be a cosmic success, and the mountains will return from the twelfth dimension. "The bottom line is, if you believe it, they will come."

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