A Piece of My Mind: A modern-day visionary

On my travels in June, I met a modern-day visionary. His name is Zachary Brown and he is the co-founder, executive director and so far the sole employee of the Inian Islands Institute, a center designed, according to his business card, to provide “Experiential living and learning in the Wilderness of Southeast Alaska.”

Zach was raised in in Gustavus, Alaska, a town of 400 people at the northern end of the Alaskan panhandle, surrounded on three sides by Glacier Bay National Park and on the fourth by Icy Strait. Gustavus is accessible only by boat and seaplane. When the residents of Gustavus feel the need to escape the hustle and bustle of town, they visit the Hobbit Hole.

Life in the Hills: Other Voices

Ten years ago, I went kicking and screaming to the Hills of Los Altos from our beloved home near Almond School. I had friends to the right of us, friends to the left – there I was. But then I wasn’t. Up in the Hills, down the long driveway, in our new flag lot on an acre, I was afraid I would never get to know my neighbors that I couldn’t see out my window.

But little by little, the charms of our semirural town of Los Altos Hills have revealed themselves to me. Much of the credit goes to my Portuguese water dogs, first Shasta and now Maverick. Two times a day these friendly, energetic, sweet companions required some kind of exercise, which translates into many hours spent walking around the neighborhood. We met our neighbors, also out walking, driving by or dragging their trash cans to the curb.

Chicken pox: The Villaj Idiut

My wife accompanied my oldest son last month on his school’s eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C., for a week.

It was the perfect opportunity for “baching” it, I figured, me and my youngest home alone – which meant unmade beds, Taco Bell for dinner every night, dirty dishes piled high in the sink, soiled clothes on the floor and the unmistakable stench of body odor coming from different areas of the house.

No Shoes, Please: A Sunday matinee


Years ago, I was sitting in a theater awaiting a performance of the Broadway hit “Dreamgirls.” Next to me sat a petite, elderly woman – 10 of whom you could easily stuff into the trunk of your car.

A Piece of My Mind: A bridge to somewhere

“What’s going on?” I asked the young man busily setting up tables at the plaza where Main and State streets intersect.

“We’re kicking off the Los Altos Downtown Vision plan,” he responded. “Stick around – we’re collecting community input. And we’re serving refreshments!”

Learning to detach

As I opened the box filled with treasured pieces from my youth, I came across a letter I once placed on my mother’s pillow at the age of 7. Always fearful of confrontation when wanting my way, this means of communication helped me get my desires off my chest with no fear of rebuttal – at least in that moment.

History lesson: No Shoes, Please

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who are currently making history in our country without appearing to know too much about it – American history, that is. On its face, it seems pretentious and judgmental to single out people who are weak in any particular subject area, American history or otherwise. I myself know nothing about many topics, and I think that’s true for just about everyone.

On the other hand, there is something not quite right about Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ praise of historically black colleges as “pioneers” of the school choice movement when in fact they arose in response to Jim Crow policies that had prevented African-Americans from entering public schools at all. She should have known better, and I don’t mean that in any finger-wagging context. I really do believe that she – or any education secretary, for that matter – should have a better handle on historical context to not only prevent future foot-in-mouth incidents, but to engender faith in her ability to make acute observations, sharp analyses and effective, coherent policies.

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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