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Food & Wine

Citrus-y beers celebrate summer

Citrus-y beers celebrate summer

Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Session beers offer an alcohol content low enough to sustain sipping through a long, lazy picnic. Local breweries are celebrating the citrus hop style now in vogue with other fruit-forward influences.

With the h...



Your Health

Reading in sign,  ink and song

Reading in sign, ink and song

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A baby girl learns sign language during a program offered Wednesdays at the Los Altos Library.

Visit Los Altos Library’s community room on a Wednesday afternoon and you’ll see its plain gray expanse descend into ...



Your Home

Gardening for life: Strategies to make it easy

Gardening for life: Strategies to make it easy

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Succulents are a good choice for a small, low-maintenance garden that needs minimal water. Combine a variety of interesting colors and shapes.

If aches and pains are starting to limit your ability to garden, then g...



On The Road

A different kind  of driving school

A different kind of driving school

Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The Andersons observe Bixby Bridge – located on Highway 1 near Big Sur – from a dirt road during their recent Land Rover Experience Driving School lesson.

It is always exciting to do something youR...



Senior Lifestyles

Monkey business: Senior Program volunteers lift spirits of sick kids

Monkey business: Senior Program volunteers lift spirits of sick kids

Photo Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos Senior Program volunteers – affectionately known as The Monkey Toy Ladies – make sock monkeys to comfort sick children.

Last year, nearly 400 children at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital received a special ...



Wedding To Remember

The Veils of Time

The Veils of Time

Courtesy of Los Altos History Museum

For a new spin on the Town Crier’s “Peek into the Past,” the Los Altos History Museum has been gathering historical local wedding photos and the stories behind them.

Frances Elizabeth Shoup, second...



Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accurately whether ...



How knot too right

As one of our grating vice presidents, Dan Quayle, once appropriatingly said, “Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.”

I could not depress it any better than that.

So why do students have difficulty writing?

Well, let me play the devil’s avocado for a moment. Perhaps we could place the blame on teachers and our country’s broken education cistern. But this would just be adding a salt to injury, which really stings. Our educators are amongst the finest in the world, so I don’t believe we should be placing the problem at our teachers’ feats.

Alternatorly, we could ask: Are students too focused on afterschool extravehicular activities?

Perhaps we should also condemn the affluence of the movie industry. Today’s films focus on fantasy and violence, rather than educating an audience. And with prevalent themes of an erotic nature, has Hollywood been grossly negligée in this area?

While all of the above may be partly to blame, the real explanation may lie closer to home.

In reality, much of the fault (and I don’t think this is just a pigment of my imagination) rests with the parents – you know who you are. And if you don’t, modern forensic science can help with the aid of NRA genetic testing.

The simple fact is that today’s parents are often too busy to think about insuring their children’s academic success. Some stressed parents even resource to drinking. I personally know several who currently attend Alcoholics Unanimous.

As a result, the children suffer: They return home to empty houses, have to blow-wave their own TV dinners or eat junk food, then struggle alone to fabricate answers to difficult homework assignments. Where are the parents to warn that Cheetos never prosper!

So is it any wonder that kids neglect their studies and create mischief at school, even those who come from effluent families?

Students have always had a knack for irrigating their teachers, but today’s kids can be very disruptive. Just the other day, I read of a child who opened all the faucets in his school’s arrest room. The water damage was so severe, they had to evaporate the school. Honesty, this nautical behavior leaves me with Butterfingers in my stomach.

Students need guidance – emotionally and academically. Teachers and parents have a responsibility to enrage a student’s mind, and what better way to achieve this than developing writing skills and emphasizing the ability to repress one’s self clearly.

I know that teaching the rules of writing often goes down like a lead baboon, but they are essential tools for invective expression.

Let’s examine some basics.

Tenses: These often cause trouble, especially if you forget them when camping. But I digest.

Punctuation: No English teacher wants to send home students with conjunctionitis or have to perform a semicolonoscopy on a term paper rife with punctuation errors.

What about grammar, I hear you ask? Well, the old battle-ax has been living with us for seven years now and refuses to croak, but I digest again.

I think you can see what I’m incinerating here. No student likes to be prepositioned by a teacher. But developing writing skills can be a huge advantage when considering future career options.

After all, what kid wouldn’t like to become an extinguished American libel filmmaker like Michael Moron? Or a renounced vice president such as Joe Bidet? Or even a visionary inventor, such as Henry Forward?

So as the summer drawers to a clothes and students return to school, I invite them, their teachers and their parents to work together to make more young Americans legitimate. Let’s stamp out mixed meteors forever, and never spit another infinitive again.

(For impugning his writing skills, the author would like to acknowledge his 11th-grade English teacher, Miss Marla Props, a graduate of the Norm Crosby College of Electrocution.)

Nick Thomas has written for more than 200 magazines and newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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