Sun02142016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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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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