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News

Obama visits Los Altos area

Obama visits Los Altos area

President Obama made a fundraising stop today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills, an appearance that spurred traffic disruptions, helicopters scouting overhead and protesters. In the wake of his visit, unknown persons, apparently no fans of Ob...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Fantasy becomes reality as author faces death

Distinguished English author Terry Pratchett looks a bit like a mix of Dr. Andrew Weil and Johnny Cash – with a touch of wizard thrown in (depending on the tilt of his black fedora on any given day). He enjoys a huge fan base, having written in the fantasy genre for both children and adults. In fact, Queen Elizabeth liked him so much that in 2009 she knighted him for services to literature.

Pratchett is best known for his fantasy book series about a place called Discworld, described as a large disc resting on the backs of four giant elephants, all supported by the giant turtle Great A’Tuin, as it swims its way through space. (Are you still with me?)

I must confess, I found this whimsical place very funny to think about. In fact, alone in my office, I laughed out loud for quite some time. Then, as I slowly regained my composure and tried to carry on my serious work, I unexpectedly broke into another fit of hilarity as my subconscious began to ponder, “Then, who’s holding up the turtle?”

That’s what happens when you only dip your toe in the waters of Pratchett-land. To fully appreciate his genius, one must enter the gates fully engaged and ready to believe.

I am not well acquainted (OK, I’m not acquainted at all) with the fantasy/sci-fi genre, but that plotline makes “Star Trek” seem like “Father Knows Best.” In fact, there are Discworld conventions, much like the Trekkies have.

After the initial jolt, however, it is apparent that Pratchett’s Discworld is not as unrelated to our Earth as it would seem at first glance. He cleverly uses his fantasy civilization to parody our own present world situations in war, politics, entertainment and society in general.

In 2009, Pratchett also became known on UK television for an award-winning BBC documentary series on Alzheimer’s disease. He has contracted a rare form of the disease, Posterior Cortical Atrophy, in which areas at the back of the brain begin to shrink and shrivel.

In the April 21 Guardian, a British newspaper, reporter Stephen Moss writes of Pratchett:

“‘It’s not morbid to talk about death,’ he insists. ‘Most people don’t worry about death, they worry about a bad death.’ In Discworld, death is an attractive, sympathetic, sometimes comic figure, a far-from-grim reaper – and Pratchett sees no reason to change his view here in Roundworld.”

I’m just saying … imagination can be a wonderful thing, and I love the way Sir Terry Pratchett is using his to transit many worlds: flat and round, here – and hereafter. We wish him well.

Sharon Lennox-Infante, a contributing editor for Book Buzz, is a Los Altos resident.

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