Thu09182014

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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To do or not do, to like or not like

Reflections

Like Tevya In "Fiddler On the Roof," I have a constant dilemma: making up my mind. Tevya sets up one side of a question, makes up his mind, then says,"On the other hand ..." I understand him completely. A mind that balances both sides of an issue finds it difficult to make a decision.

In my days of grading student essays, I'd anguish over choosing a high grade for creativity and logic vs. a lower one for frequent errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. It wasn't only a professional judgment on my part, but also the ever-present compassion. This student was someone's child, with feelings of pain and loss of self-respect if dealt the lower grade.

The pain became mine, however, because of the need to reread each paper several times before my professional judgment won out. At least I decided to use green or purple ink rather than the blood-red marks all over the paper. I knew also that students counted the "goods" and "well-dones" in the margin that helped to soften the "needs more work" or "How about a specific example?" scribbled in other places. I could not, in good conscience, ignore the errors, hearing in my head parents' shocked comments or the weary complaints of college English teachers who felt that we forced them to do remedial work.

Other judgment calls put me on the fence as well. As a drama critic, I must evaluate the success of local theater groups in presenting the opening of a new play. To be supremely objective, one must divorce oneself from audience reaction, personal favorites or the opinions of fellow critics.

Recently, I praised the musical "Raisin" for its sincere adaptation of "Raisin in the Sun," which I had taught many times. Should I carp at some of the singing that sounded a bit strained or at the contrast between the raucous music and the emotional story? The worst scenario occurred when a fellow critic blasted the production as "dated" and some friends agreed. Wait a minute. The audience can recognize a play's themes even if time has changed the way history views the passions of the black American characters in Lorraine Hansberry's drama. Can one say that "Saving Private Ryan" is dated because of the language of some of the GIs?

As a former film reviewer, I find it hard to view a film dispassionately. We went to see "There's Something About Mary," fully expecting to laugh and relax as Siskel and Ebert promised we would. We left the theater disgruntled and annoyed with the inanity of the plot and the antics of the characters, not one of whom we could find sympathetic. For once I had no problems making up my mind. Boo, hiss!

Unhappily, I find that I have joined the majority in judging Bill Clinton. I went from a very naive belief in our president's denial of wrongdoing to painful cynicism when the tawdry details came out. Being on the fence in this case proved terribly destructive to my belief in Clinton's public statements. Wanting something to be true does not prove to be an intelligent way to evaluate an important problem. How can one trust a liar, a public liar at that? It didn't help to be aware of President Kennedy's amoral behavior or of President Roosevelt's dancing around the horrors of the Holocaust. Most of those revelations came out long after their time in office.

I suspect my Tevya-like balancing act will always be part of my need to evaluate our times. Uncomfortable as it may be to stand alone, I realize I find it hard to divorce my judgments from my instincts to see the world in a positive way.

I value the words of Thoreau:

If a man does not keep

pace with his companions,

perhaps it is because

he hears a different drummer.

Let him step to the music

he hears,

however measured or far away.

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