Palo Alto pizza democracy

Observing the vetting of five candidates for two seats on the important Planning and Transportation Commission by nine current City Council members at around 6:45 this evening, my attention was drawn to three half-eaten pizza pies at a table arms length from the action and a lunge away from me. Without disrupting the affair I reckon pepperoni, sliced tomatoes and combo. The box says New York Pizza, nearby, affordable but frankly second tier or worse.

Bottom line: I’d rather see leadership eating Pizza My Heart or Pizza Chicago at 20 percent higher cost, but I would predict a more efficient thru-rate.


Schmidt, Lippert and three rather unappetizing pies.

Schmidt, Lippert and three rather unappetizing pies.

seat turns over from Claude Ezran who I recently upgraded from nemesis to potential ally to Art Keller who said recently and without explication that he is not voting for me. I think he goes by Arthur, like the rock group. Sorry I called you Kessler in a speech.

Schmidt, Lippert and three rather unappetizing pies.

Schmidt, Lippert and three rather unappetizing pies.

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Putin riot

Stanford's Michael McFaul my old Deadhead buddy was on Charlie Rose the other night and other speakers but probably not he compared Putin to Catherine the Great, talk about pussy riot!

Stanford’s Michael McFaul my old Deadhead buddy was on Charlie Rose the other night and other speakers but probably not he compared Putin to Catherine the Great, talk about pussy riot!

BLUF bottom line up front: I am comparing, as far as their knowledge of Vladimir Putin, Michael McFaul the former ambassador and Alexis Harte, a local musician. Maybe Michael, Alexis and I can jam together at Lytton Plaza, or Red Square.

I am trying to realize, meeting Michael McFaul for the first time in 31 years, that we are way beyond being old drinking buddies or concert going-chums (and besides I knew him indirectly in that we double-dated with my classmate his girlfriend at the time, his freshman year at Stanford, the three of us Gunn seniors, 1982).

So I will probably not suss out my thesis about whether being the son of a music teacher helps him hear false notes and propaganda in diplomatic channels. (I dropped this on him briefly at an Amanda Renteria for Congress event in Portola Valley recently, just missing him at the meet and greet at World Affairs council in Atherton some weeks prior).

Pleased to see him even in split screen on Charlie Rose the other night.

Thanks for the “BLUF” bottom line up front.

Interesting to say that he has been tracking Putin since 1991 because during glasnost a group of local elected officials, like Los Angeles City Council (and Zef TK, the one whose name is on side of Hollywood Bowl) went to St. Petersburg to meet their counter-part-counter-comrades and Putin was a low level admin of that, and Mike was already intrigued by the Soviets and there. He is Candi’s protegee but to her left. He was a Rhodes Scholar after Stanford 1986, Obama admin Security Council then Ambassador, until just after Sochi.

The crew on Charlie Rose kept comparing Putin to “Catherine the Great”.

I rang out of blue my former near-client and still-friend Alexis Harte because his song about George W. Bush has a line about Putin. Here is a recent video which may help.

I fantasized about inviting Michael to Dark Star Orchestra at Fox Redwood City recently. I am buying the line in Foreign Policy Review that when he got to Stanford he was struck by the indulgence per se of a dorm mate having 100 Dead tapes, not that he was a deadhead too. In Russia, he caught some grey-market jazz shows, they say. He did tweet about pussy riot. I think this is about my tenth McFaul citation on Plastic Alto; will give it a rest. I had invited Mike to see Taylor Ho Bynum event 9/20/14 at Lytton Plaza; he connected my name, the following week to that invite but didn’t let on if he remembered the exact connection, that I was friends with his freshman year girlfriend. ( I called her, now happily married to someone else, with 2 boys, almost men when Mike was named to Obama team and she said “I know, my dad just called.”)

Not to seque too far from Alexis Harte video name-checking or one-line summation of Putin, Vladimir “he is too highfalutin”? but Bill Murphy, a Paly 1969, playing guitar with Gunn 1982 Stanford 1986 Esther Berndt alto saxophone last night at CoHo claims that Jerry Garcia sat in with Vince Guaraldi at a residency in Menlo Park, didn’t realize, will, as Bob Marley says, suss that out.

The other day I wore a black knit cap from Riot, a new line in downtown near Broadway L.A.

Ok, back to work.

and 1:

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Slow pitch softball plus a pinch of Carl Hubbell the usual

Having struck out with Palo Alto Weekly, Daily News and Daily Post, I am counting on Stanford's Communcations 4 to tell the true story of the Weiss campaign

Having struck out with Palo Alto Weekly, Daily News and Daily Post, I am counting on Stanford’s Communcations 4 to tell the true story of the Weiss campaign

Mr. Weiss,

My name is Erin Ashby and I am a Stanford student currently enrolled in COMM 104: Reporting, Writing, and Understanding the News. We are currently making candidate profiles for the upcoming Palo Alto City Council election and I have been assigned to you.

You briefly met one of my peers at the Farmers’ Market this weekend on California Ave., Alex Blandino! (as a junior at Stanford, .310, 12 hr, 44 rbi, communications major, from Palo Alto but prepped at Saint Francis)

I was hoping to get the following information from you to put in your bio:

-elected experience
-other professional experience
-reason for running
-length of time of residence in the Palo Alto area 
-family (general)
-any endorsements for the campaign (up to 3)

Hope to hear from you soon.


(we spoke by phone and she told me that she could not meet up in person because she was at a medical appointment — I live on campus so suggested an in-person meeting might facilitate her article)

gosh golly.
be well.
don’t swing at any bad pitches.

mark weiss
1788 Oak Creek Drive #217
Palo Alto,  CA 94034

(650) 305-XXXX call any time

say “wah hoo wah” old school dartmouth lingo for “hurray” or “good luck” to your new coach.

The Unwinding by George Packer who’s mother and father taught at Stanford, background for my campaign (I had mentioned in our phone conversation, as an influence — Nancy Packer has endorsed me as well; we had talked for about 12 minutes on Wednesday, October 15, at 3 p.m.)

endorsed by: Matt Gonzalez, the SF Green former Supervisor; Greg Brown, the muralist; Henry Ford a black football pioneer, if that’s my rainbow coalition of supporters and inspirations. 

I sounded fairly articulate when we spoke I hope some of that ends up in your notes.
Also, I shot a portrait of Alex with his camera for my blog, if you remind him to forward to me. (see above)

I am an arts guy but played basketball and tennis for Gunn and baseball 8 years in youth leagues plus junior high football flag for Terman

A former client of mine Mark “Stew” Stewart produced a Broadway show “Passing Strange” about his life as a black artist but it workshopped on campus. Also Aleta Hayes a Stanford instructor endorses me and sang at some of my events.
lives in town.

I once went to a Grateful Dead concert with Michael McFaul, in 1982 his freshman year on the Farm my senior year at Gunn; he is at Hoover and the former Ambassador to Russia said hello to him for first time in 30 years last month.

also, he did not endorse me but Rich Kelley a Stanford basketball legend and NBA player this morning said I could use his picture for my blog and you hereby have permission (  c earthwise productions 2014) to reprint it or use academically. enclose (he is the 6’11 guy, I am the 5’11 3/4 inches guy, with hat — Erin said later that the picture was not usable so we sat for each other not selfies but simultaneous cellphone portraits or close enough, serially at least. I suggested trying Veronica Weber of the Weekly and ask for one of the outtakes “the one in which I am smiling” as opposed to glaring (10/1014 or staring into space, from 2012)

born 1964 chicago
aquarius, moon in cancer scorpio rising

read my blog: plastic alto (its a jazz reference)
my partner in life is terry acebo davis a former arts commissioner here and visual artist (and works for stanford but please do not say what exact department I had mentioned off the record I hope) (I also brought one of the yard signs Terry made to the meeting we had today)terryNanking
from last Wednesday, 10/15

Hi Mr. Weiss,
Just got back and able to start writing.

Three questions for you:
-Does your girlfriend reside with you? I just need to use the correct conjunction

-What do you mean by Henry Ford a black football pioneer? I want to make sure I correctly identify your endorsers

-Do you happen to have a picture of you with your entire face? Unfortunately that is one of the requirements of the assignment. I can pull one off of your website if that would be easier. Totally up to you.


(did not see that until the next morning, luddite that I am…)

you might have called to let me know this is here.
i have to be in a meeting in 10 minutes.

I live at Oak Creek. Terry Acebo Davis lives Downtown North. We keep separate residences, but in some parlance we “live together”. complicated.

Henry and Rochelle Ford have endorsed my campaign. They are for real husband and wife, probably 60 years. Henry was first back (african american) quarterback at Pittsburgh the University (tony dorsett , Larry Fitzgerald and him are on their poster) and then played briefly in the NFL for Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns before their inter-racial marriage (she is considered…Syrian?) got him blackballed, according to a recent book, on “black football pioneers” and a lecture they jointly gave recently to PAHA.

they live on waverly before kingsley. yellow house with sculptures she makes and sells. his son marc ford played running back for paly while jim harbaugh year younger was QB there.

 i actually did just promise the other day to hire a photog for official campaign snap but otherwise steal my face as we deadheads say.

an hour later, while sitting at the ARB ready to oppose the placing of a giant antenna at Palo Alto Little League fields

A Little Chin Music for The Corporate Behemoth 9/18/14 plastic alto wordpress blog
(not sure why the all caps came in, and was too in a hurry to correct…SORRY)


Hi Mr. Weiss,
I was hoping to gather a little more information from you for you profile. My professor gave me back comments on my first draft.

Unfortunately I have practice and a meeting after it tonight but do you have time for a short phone call again?
(Erin plays on the softball team, if you didn’t glean that from mention of the new coaches, from my alma mater, Dartmouth)


slow pitch softball and i pinch of carl hubbell as always

our header: Re: Fw: Palo Alto City Council Profile CORPORATE CREEP AT BASEBALL LITTLE LEAGUE PARK
(I said in there somewhere that corporate creep is my term for encroachment of a corporate mindset into the public sector or everyday life; see also Kurt Vonnegut “Player Piano” circa 1959)

(meanwhile I had a brief correspondence with Alex Blandino who confirmed that he played four seasons at PALL. Also, somewhere in there I promised to try to get Ms. Ashby job interviews with Cincinatti Bengals and San Diego Chargers, I also name-checked Anne Cribbs Warner the former Olympian and pr wiz. I hope to check out a game next spring, win or lose, and meet the Dartmouth brain trust. Plus Matt Maltz will coach Gunn girls again, maybe Erin Ashby will do a clinic or something for Titan Ladies.

As a lagniappe I was thinking of linking to “You Know Me, Al” by Ring Lardner and “The Glory of Their Times” by Lawrence Ritter, the two best books on baseball, as much for A.B. as E.N.A or my readers..

I had a card like this until the great ransack of 2/1/08

I had a card like this until the great ransack of 2/1/08

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Weiss spurs jangle jingle

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Newk’s fade, or an hour at Peet’s and I’m guessing 40 items or topics


newk or roll??

newk or roll??

1. my notes from last night at CoHo, although filed under “Tuesday Sept 2″ (“Strike up the band” was crossed off, meaning i missed seeing the showing, at Stanford Theatre)
Tues at CoHo – Esther Berndt, Giants, 3-0 Game 1

Halliwells on Lauren Bacall

Can We make Friday, Oct 24 Elisha J. Cook Day in Palo Alto? (for NS re DP)

Tom Stoppard, Araceda, you cannot stir things apart, from James Gleick re Chandra

2. My day book for today, Wednesday, Oct 22:
or back up, for Tuesday Oct 21
a. Jeannette Smith-Laws stanford vice provost, I met at Windhoever and wanted to further the acquaintance. She’s been there 32 years I think she said. I have posted photos of her twice. She said to send the second one along, the one with Patience young.I probably have four.
b. laundry — took the risk of letting my clothes sit in dryer for two hours while I moseyed
c. Jazz Esther 8 p. heard the tail end of it, and instead of walking the sax player my former Gunn classmate to her car (“Raji” did, Raji the Death Cab fan), I chatted up Bill Murphy a Paly ’69 or so, and heard his stories about Ellington in Palo Alto, a second Monk show and more. Jerry Garcia sat in with Vince Guaraldi during his residency.
d. my bike front tire had a blowout so I left the wheel at CoHo shop and put the bike on Margueritte, will fetch it this noon.
e. a lady from Andreeson Horowitz or A16 has my four-color ballpoint pen, I will demand to be made whole, deep pockets and all that. I got a free shirt so no loss really, if that’s her argument. She should pay me to wear the shirt. E D U or something clever and insidery but not “incoherent and irrelevant” in the Victoria Thorpe sense.
f. Erin a Stanford student is writing about the Palo Alto City Council elections for a journalism class, the one that features Alex Blandino writing on Cory Wolbach. Will meet her later today on campus.
g. I missed a Yemen panel and film at UnAFF but caught 30 minutes of a film about Andrewe Goodman the “outside agitator” killed by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in the sixties; I think I had seen it on tv.
h. not on the actual list but I went by Ross Road Y to use by new $137 membership –which I think of as temporary, and did 3 miles on a elliptic trainer raising to beat the 35 minute clock by 30 seconds.

3. the Stanford Theatre has six programs featuring Bacall thru Nov. 2 (but not on Election Day?!)
I am shooting for catching The Big Sleep on 24 or 25 with or w/out Dark Passage.
Maybe Young Man with a Horn but probably not sticking around for Woman’s World. Maybe How to Marry a Millionaire, for Marylin but really the schedule kind of is weak. Is Lauren Bacall Jewish?

4. Cupertino Pioneers 2014 football media guide, and I have more to post or add from last weeks Gunn loss to Cupertino 14-6, which I falsely reported (on the internet?) as Gunn wins 12-0, which was only true for a second.

5. Los Olvidados a film by David Feldman, at UnAFF or was. A documenter about cardboard cutouts by Ramiro Gomez an homage to unseen workers (references a film by 1951 Luis Bunuel also known as Young and Damned I saw in Al Lavalley class in Hanover

6. I bought an $180 pass for UnAFF out of respect for Jasmina Bojic but in truth may only use it for $30 worth if that. Happy thought. Like this whole thing.

7. Two cd’s: Michael Franti Yell Fire and something that belongs to Terry or her ex-husband, Sonny Rollins RCA includes Don Cherry on “Dearly Beloved” which is a Jerome Kern tune in a Fred Astaire movie “You were never more disorganized” or something.

That takes me about 20 percent into the scene I can capture self-reflexiley here, PoMoMoJo flo.

This is Mark Weiss for Palo Alto Council news break in that I just placed a yard sign — designed by Terry Acebo Davis and Rob Syrett — at the new home of my old neighbor Suzanne Tamarang who is near Middlefield and Woodside Road but you never know.

This one has Newk or Sonny about 12 years later, 1974 at Ronnie Scotts and with Rufus Harley not Don Cherry — will have to dig in deeper; fairly certain I can distinguish a trumpet or cornet from a bagpipe.

Also: what says AMG about other covers of “Dearly Beloved”.

I heard of “Newks Fade” on the Bob Dylan radio hour, baseball special. Rollins it to look like Don Newcombe the Brooklyn baller. A fade is a type of curveball. A trick. A gimmick. Jazzy in the pre-Columbian sense.

note to Victoria Throep: if this is confusing to you, write me and I will break id down.

I think I had this card and lost it in the Great Ransack and Burgle of Feb. 1, 2008:

who moved my cheese? my snatched my Newk?

who moved my cheese? my snatched my Newk?

like Jackie Robinson homeward bound, I tried this:
A few more thoughts on Sonny:
Sonny rollins 06 DonNewcombe

In the 50s, Sonny’s nickname was “Newk” because he bore an uncanny resemblance to Brooklyn Dodgers’ pitcher Don Newcombe. I’d never known the story of how he got the name until I happened upon an excerpt from Miles Davis’s autobiography on Sonny’s official website:
“One day, me and Sonny were in a cab…when the white cabdriver turned around and looked at Sonny and said, `Damn, you’re Don Newcombe!” Man, the guy was totally excited. I was amazed, because I hadn’t thought about it before. We just put that cabdriver on something terrible. Sonny started talking about what kind of pitches he was going to throw Stan Musial, the great hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals, that evening…”
Is there any jazz musician today who looks a lot like a famous professional athlete? And if, say, a great young bassist was a dead ringer for Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, how many of today’s jazz fans would get it when the bassist billed himself as “Big Papi”?
Plus: The first video to surface from the concert. (It’s Sonny playing “Global Warming,” which is called “Global Morning” on the set list.)

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party with trees rasta x large

Party with Trees
Party with Trees
Rasta / X Large

speaking of which Leon Russell at Yoshis oakland 2 nights tues and wed, $43 each 8 p.m. show

keeo th eniht job buddy

keeo th eniht job buddy


(rasta x large indeedy)

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Identical v. a stone and a stone

I am pretty weak on Scott Turow, but I could not resist posting mention I teared literally from the Times of some weeks ago a blurb about “Identical” a murder mystery involving twins. Because I had been writing Muff Bonini a former Gunn basketball player one year behind (and five inches fifty pounds and three hundred points ahead of) me, now a judge, a “hanging judge” even. That plus the Cohens Steve and Eric are all over Plasti cal to, too.

Eben. Ok, Terry, Carol and I were walking to breakfast in a remote Central Coast town, nearly halfway to Los Angeles, if you excuse the Zeno-ism. They had bought the previous day a painting from Betty and her bassett hounds. As we passed Betty’s yurt, there was a sign “Bassetts Crossing”. Then a man (name dFred) approached walking a black dog. “Does your dog know or nose the bassets?” I asked. Sure he said, but the bassets are not to friendly (somehow Katherine Chrystal Foster or whatever he name, the snobby school board lady wanna be from Princeton or Yale comes to mind, and my freshman and sometime roommate at Dartmouth Edward Brandes Teddy Conway, who said “anybody can be nice; what is hard is being cool”).

I went into my slightly mis-remembered riff from Alterman about “a stone and a stone” do not give false measure, “eben” means ebony but also is a false stone it is wood. That’s the short version.

I am late to a movie about Yemen and then one about The South in the Sixties, the Gaints are up to 5, safely, we believe, Esther Berndt is playing sax soon enough, there will be bear or beer, and I said “sounds like heaven”. Also, a softball player and journalist named Emily may call or drop by to try to say something kind about the 50-year old teenager in the OBEY lid lampin’ lampin’ lampin’ robber-baron style, and aspiring for public service. or as Madigan Shive – now there’s an endorsement, would say, “on the aspire”.

The character in the story is Paul Gianis if that is close enough for plastic alto.

despite the fact that there are twenty typos and weirdos above I take pride in announcing that the Times blurb has “Gianis” “One N” while the Amazon has “Giannis”.

The name “stone” derives from the use of stones for weights – a practice that dates back into antiquity. The ancient Hebrew Law against the carrying of “diverse weights, a large and a small”[6] is more literally translated as “you shall not carry a stone and a stone (אבן ואבן), a large and a small”. There was no “standard” stone in the ancient Jewish world,[7] but in Roman times weights crafted to a multiple of the Roman libra (a pound of about 327.54 g) for use in commerce were often made of stone.[8] Such weights varied in quality – 10 and 50 [Roman] pound examples acquired in Italy, possibly from Pompeii, were of polished blackstone,[9] while a 40 pound example on exhibition in Eschborn, close to the Roman frontier in Germany, was made of sandstone.[10]

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