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News

Program aims to help teachers afford housing

The Los Altos School District and Los Altos Community Foundation have joined forces to create an online form for local residents to connect with teachers in need of housing.

The district seeks to help teachers handle the high cost of housing in the ...

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Schools

AAUW supports local students at STEM Tech Trek camp

AAUW supports local students at STEM Tech Trek camp


Traci Newell/Town Crier
Tech Trek campers study the contents of a baby albatross’ stomach to understand the effect plastic can have on the marine ecosystem. The American Association of University Women provided scholarships that enabled seven...

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Community

Local vet: Dogs need teeth brushing, too: Pet Pause

Home oral hygiene can make a tremendous difference in your dog’s comfort and health. There are several home care oral hygiene options from which to choose, but keep in mind that anything you can do to help prevent plaque and tartar accumulation...

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Sports

It's been a big year for Little League

It's been a big year for Little League


Courtesy of Peter Jewett
The Los Altos & Los Altos Hills Little League’s 10-11 All-Stars won the Section 5 championship July 20. Front, from left: Connor Prahm, Jack Surdey, Jimmy Flynn, Rodrigo Ortiz, Justin Chou, Devan Reynard and Derek Gile....

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Comment

Letter to the Editor

LAH should examine short-term rentals

I used to think that a short-term rental (Airbnb style) was operated by someone who has a spare bedroom to share and was thus not a big issue. Living in Los Altos Hills, I was surprised to find out that one of m...

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Special Sections

Gardening for life: Strategies to make it easy

Gardening for life: Strategies to make it easy


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Succulents are a good choice for a small, low-maintenance garden that needs minimal water. Combine a variety of interesting colors and shapes.

If aches and pains are starting to limit your ability to garden, t...

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Business

Maybe think twice before extending that warranty

Maybe think twice before extending that warranty


I was in an electronics store the other day and at checkout they asked – doing their best “Would you like some fries with that?” routine – if I would like to purchase a warranty.

I never buy a service contract. Most good pr...

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People

ULF STAUBER

Ulf Stauber passed away at his home on July 13; he had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Ulf was born in Berlinchen, Germany on May 23, 1938. Following the Russian invasion in 1945, he, his mother and two brothers fled to Hamburg where Ulf gre...

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News

Program aims to help teachers afford housing

The Los Altos School District and Los Altos Community Foundation have joined forces to create an online form for local residents to connect with teachers in need of housing.

The district seeks to help teachers handle the high cost of housing in the area. According to district officials, many teache...

Readmore

Business

Maybe think twice before extending that warranty

Maybe think twice before extending that warranty

I was in an electronics store the other day and at checkout they asked – doing their best “Would you like some fries with that?” routine – if I would like to purchase a warranty.

I never buy a service contract. Most good products come with a decent warranty, and if I shop ...

Readmore

Sports

It's been a big year for Little League

It's been a big year for Little League

Courtesy of Peter Jewett
The Los Altos & Los Altos Hills Little League’s 10-11 All-Stars won the Section 5 championship July 20. Front, from left: Connor Prahm, Jack Surdey, Jimmy Flynn, Rodrigo Ortiz, Justin Chou, Devan Reynard and Derek Gile. Middle: Thomas Walker, Alex Fuchs, Jake Skaggs, L...

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Community

Local vet: Dogs need teeth brushing, too: Pet Pause

Home oral hygiene can make a tremendous difference in your dog’s comfort and health. There are several home care oral hygiene options from which to choose, but keep in mind that anything you can do to help prevent plaque and tartar accumulation will pay big dividends. The most important thing ...

Readmore

Comment

Letter to the Editor

LAH should examine short-term rentals

I used to think that a short-term rental (Airbnb style) was operated by someone who has a spare bedroom to share and was thus not a big issue. Living in Los Altos Hills, I was surprised to find out that one of my neighbors in a small cul-de-sac is renting out a...

Readmore

People

ULF STAUBER

Ulf Stauber passed away at his home on July 13; he had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Ulf was born in Berlinchen, Germany on May 23, 1938. Following the Russian invasion in 1945, he, his mother and two brothers fled to Hamburg where Ulf grew up. He emigrated to the United States in 1963, l...

Readmore

Schools

AAUW supports local students at STEM Tech Trek camp

AAUW supports local students at STEM Tech Trek camp

Traci Newell/Town Crier
Tech Trek campers study the contents of a baby albatross’ stomach to understand the effect plastic can have on the marine ecosystem. The American Association of University Women provided scholarships that enabled seven local middle-school girls to attend the camp at S...

Readmore

Special Sections

Gardening for life: Strategies to make it easy

Gardening for life: Strategies to make it easy

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Succulents are a good choice for a small, low-maintenance garden that needs minimal water. Combine a variety of interesting colors and shapes.

If aches and pains are starting to limit your ability to garden, then gardening industry expert Toni Gattone has a s...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks gets political

TheatreWorks gets political

Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Tasha Lawrence and Richard Prioleau play journalists in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s world premiere of “Confederates,” playing through Aug. 7 at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley recently launched its 47th season with Suzann...

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Obituaries

ULF STAUBER

Ulf Stauber passed away at his home on July 13; he had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Ulf was born in Berlinchen, Germany on May 23, 1938. Following the Russian invasion in 1945, he, his mother and two brothers fled to Hamburg where Ulf grew up. He emigrated to the United States in 1963, l...

Readmore

Magazine

Festival offers fun for just about everyone

Festival offers fun for just about everyone

TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The 37th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival expects to draw thousands of people to the downtown village over the weekend. The festival features arts, crafts, food, wine, beer and children’s activities.

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How knot too right


Photo By: Town Crier file photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo Los Altos students practice their writing skills from the early grades, avoiding the pitfalls of literacy outlined in Nick Thomas’ humorous column. Thomas suggests, “Let’s stamp out mixed meteors forever, and never spit another infinitive again.”

As the new school year approaches, I would like to undress you all today while disgusting a serious education problem facing this nation – the inability of the younger generators to write properly.

It’s a very disturbing trend, because there is a vast suppository of knowledge in the collective minds of today’s youth who are desperately in need of guidance to espresso themselves better.

As one of our grating vice presidents, Dan Quayle, once appropriatingly said, “Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.”

I could not depress it any better than that.

So why do students have difficulty writing?

Well, let me play the devil’s avocado for a moment. Perhaps we could place the blame on teachers and our country’s broken education cistern. But this would just be adding a salt to injury, which really stings. Our educators are amongst the finest in the world, so I don’t believe we should be placing the problem at our teachers’ feats.

Alternatorly, we could ask: Are students too focused on afterschool extravehicular activities?

Perhaps we should also condemn the affluence of the movie industry. Today’s films focus on fantasy and violence, rather than educating an audience. And with prevalent themes of an erotic nature, has Hollywood been grossly negligée in this area?

While all of the above may be partly to blame, the real explanation may lie closer to home.

In reality, much of the fault (and I don’t think this is just a pigment of my imagination) rests with the parents – you know who you are. And if you don’t, modern forensic science can help with the aid of NRA genetic testing.

The simple fact is that today’s parents are often too busy to think about insuring their children’s academic success. Some stressed parents even resource to drinking. I personally know several who currently attend Alcoholics Unanimous.

As a result, the children suffer: They return home to empty houses, have to blow-wave their own TV dinners or eat junk food, then struggle alone to fabricate answers to difficult homework assignments. Where are the parents to warn that Cheetos never prosper!

So is it any wonder that kids neglect their studies and create mischief at school, even those who come from effluent families?

Students have always had a knack for irrigating their teachers, but today’s kids can be very disruptive. Just the other day, I read of a child who opened all the faucets in his school’s arrest room. The water damage was so severe, they had to evaporate the school. Honesty, this nautical behavior leaves me with Butterfingers in my stomach.

Students need guidance – emotionally and academically. Teachers and parents have a responsibility to enrage a student’s mind, and what better way to achieve this than developing writing skills and emphasizing the ability to repress one’s self clearly.

I know that teaching the rules of writing often goes down like a lead baboon, but they are essential tools for invective expression.

Let’s examine some basics.

Tenses: These often cause trouble, especially if you forget them when camping. But I digest.

Punctuation: No English teacher wants to send home students with conjunctionitis or have to perform a semicolonoscopy on a term paper rife with punctuation errors.

What about grammar, I hear you ask? Well, the old battle-ax has been living with us for seven years now and refuses to croak, but I digest again.

I think you can see what I’m incinerating here. No student likes to be prepositioned by a teacher. But developing writing skills can be a huge advantage when considering future career options.

After all, what kid wouldn’t like to become an extinguished American libel filmmaker like Michael Moron? Or a renounced vice president such as Joe Bidet? Or even a visionary inventor, such as Henry Forward?

So as the summer drawers to a clothes and students return to school, I invite them, their teachers and their parents to work together to make more young Americans legitimate. Let’s stamp out mixed meteors forever, and never spit another infinitive again.

(For impugning his writing skills, the author would like to acknowledge his 11th-grade English teacher, Miss Marla Props, a graduate of the Norm Crosby College of Electrocution.)

Nick Thomas has written for more than 200 magazines and newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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