Wed09172014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Book on Johnny Carson fails to qualify as biography


Like millions of other Americans, I enjoyed watching “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson” during the 30 years Carson hosted the late-night TV staple.

I was often curious about the private life of the impossibly suave and seemingly imperturbable man who did such a wonderful job as host and comedian night after night. But Carson apparently was a rather unhappy and mean-spirited individual who spent all his free time drinking, smoking and chasing women, at least according to Henry Bushkin, author of “Johnny Carson” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

To be fair, Bushkin’s book is not really a biography of Carson – a more accurate title would be “Carson and Me.” There is precious little information on Carson’s early family life in Nebraska, apart from a description of his mother as a heartless, impossible-to-please woman.

The author, who spent most of the 1970s and 1980s as Carson’s lawyer, confidante, tennis partner and general all-around fixer, provides plenty of behind-the-scenes snapshots of the man behind the public figure, but most are descriptions of the things Carson and Bushkin did together.

I felt a certain guilty pleasure while reading “Johnny Carson.” There are details of the parties Carson threw and attended with his many rich and famous friends, most of whom were his drinking buddies. He maintained a friendship with Frank Sinatra, though Sinatra might have been the only man who intimidated Carson.

The book fully chronicles Carson’s many failings as husband and father. After all, he was married four times, cheated remorselessly on all of his wives and spent no time with any of the three sons he had with his first wife, Joan.

Bushkin was certainly a good lawyer and friend to Carson. He negotiated numerous contracts for the Carson show; the rental and purchase of various properties, homes and businesses; and the shows Carson performed in Las Vegas for years. But along the way, it is clear that Bushkin lost some of his morals through his association with the entertainer. Bushkin’s womanizing eventually led to his own divorce.

Carson ultimately fired Bushkin, like he did so many other of his employees, in a cold and casual manner, the apparent victim of unsupported rumors.

What was Carson really like? According to Bushkin, he was “an incredibly complex man: one moment gracious, funny and generous; and curt, aloof and hard-hearted in the next.”

“Johnny Carson” left me feeling rather sad: both for Bushkin, who lost his way while attached to a rich, demanding man, and for Carson, who died alone and seemingly adrift from his family.

Bushkin’s tome should make an entertaining read for book clubs that enjoy nonfiction and biographies, though a thorough biography of Carson, one of America’s most beloved hosts and entertainers, remains to be written.

Leslie Ashmore is a longtime Mountain View resident who belongs to two book clubs.

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