Wed05042016

News

MV council adopts rent dispute ordinance, despite reservations

Despite criticism that it lacked teeth, the Mountain View City Council approved last week a second reading and adoption of a controversial program aimed at resolving rental-housing disputes between tenants and landlords.

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alwa...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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The art and law of storytelling

I recently had a most enlightening experience from a very unlikely source. I was a guest at a law conference, where I was hoping to enjoy a lovely weekend at a resort on the ocean and a couple of luxurious spa treatments. However, I never made it to the spa and barely noticed the ocean view because I got completely caught up in actually attending the sessions. Unbeknownst to me beforehand, the theme of this particular conference was “The Art of Storytelling” – which, when you come to think of it, is an intriguing topic for almost anyone, and on so many levels. I was all in.

And then it got even better. They hired great storytellers to teach the lawyers how to be great storytellers. By that, I mean that they used “actors” to teach real-life lawyers how to be better lawyers. Who would have thought you could hone your real-life craft by learning from great pretenders? It was brilliant! The audience was introduced to actors and screenwriters from some of the great TV shows – some in person (really fun!), and some via numerous clips from law shows.

I grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries and later became a great fan of law-centered TV shows. I remember “Perry Mason,” but my obsession with law shows really kicked in with “L.A. Law,” followed by “The Practice” and “Boston Legal.” I also suffered a brief, shameful dalliance with “Ally McBeal,” which I can barely admit to today.

I didn’t actually realize it at the time, but now I can see that what attracted me the most were the closing arguments. The writing was so compelling. When the defense presented its case, I became convinced it was right. And then the plaintiff would present his or her argument and blow holes in the defense, and I did a 180 and believed that side. I am not a lawyer myself, so I remained oblivious for the most part to the nuances of the actual accuracy in those arguments, but I didn’t care. Great storytelling is great storytelling.

In real life, court cases can drag on for days or months and are often onerous with dry, linear, factual details presented in a running monotone. In the entertainment industry, on the other hand, all of that time is compressed into sound bites that are presented with emotion and compelling hooks that draw you in and make you believe.

As a lawyer, one might want to reject the old approach in favor of using great storytelling that may distort data beyond recognition but produce an “aha” moment in the minds of listeners. Hollywood, of course, has always known this and was now sharing the “how-to” with the people who may need it most.

For those of us who love a great story – whether it’s a book, a movie or a TV show – learning more about how a story is constructed and delivered can enlighten our world, whatever our purpose or profession. I’m just saying … some people may call it “spin,” but it is a kind of magic that, when properly understood and practiced, can enrich many aspects of our lives. And a side perk may be that you become a much sought-after guest at dinner parties, where everyone wants to be seated next to you.

Sharon Lennox-Infante is a Certified Life Coach who lives and works in Los Altos. For more information, visit sharonlennox.com.

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