I woke up in a big yellow taxi, counting crows and pondering dense housing

I woke up in a SoHo doorway, a police man knew my name. Twenty years in the Tin Pan, Lord there’s got to be another way.

That’s a pretty close to direct quote of a famous song by a famous band. Who are you? I’m telling you (and that’s an indirect Abbott and Costello allusion). Who, the rock band. Maybe that’s considered their epynomous song. I don’t know (third base). Tin Pan means Tin Pan Alley, the writer or singer or sleeper or prisoner is saying he wants to break out of the box, or escape the dense pack and stack housing being built around him, even if the doorways are nice or feature 1 percent for art details like bas relief trees or lunch buckets or cars.

I’m saying he’s saying that just as this rock band wanted to do something more unique than industry-standard, we in Palo Alto can and should do something more unique than bureaucracy-normal. For example, since we control the zoning to the VTA lot at Page Mill and El Camino we should be picky and tough on the developers — Spieker? Pollack? Merv Morris’s son? — and not approve the thing on the table which is more like the gum stuck on the bottom of my shoe. Chewed and trodden.

I almost said this the other night, because I was on the list after Entwhistle, the Stanford Hospital CEO. Get it? I was going to indirectly quote The Who — “there’s got to be another way” — because he shares the name with the rock star. (Which is better than mooning Liz Kniss, who I like)

Oh, weird, weird seque and digression: Elif Batuman spoke at Green Apple on Ninth Friday and Terry and I — Terry Acebo Davis, the former two-term, six-year Palo Alto Arts Commission member and my bride — were coming back from checking on her Mom in assisted living and I tried to convince Terry to go to the reading but we opted for the non-intellectual more sensual choice of Dumpling Time on Potrero Hill. We fed our faces not our minds. We are only human, albeit she a two-term commissioner and me a nine-time candidate for leadership here. (Nine = council candidate 2009, 2012, 2014 + Library commission 2010 + Planning And Transportation Commission 2012, 2014 plus Human Relations Commission 2013, 2018 plus ARB board candidate 2015 — it was supposed to be 2014 co-terminus with election cycle but they decided to pin Art Keller by claiming my ap necessitated a continuance from fall, 2014 to post-election winter, 2015 i.e. to hide the true colors of the pseudo-residentialists i.e the same people who later hid their developer  donations, or tried to, or some of them, or one of them, maybe — who I like and voted for, actually. Yes, this is confusing).

Especially for a music blog and post.

Is that nine? Where is number nine? Number nine? I can edit to add later if I miss a date or two. It’s true. I use only the best info, the best.

I started to speak on The Who and the health care cost initiative — my point is that I’m afraid or concerned that if the initiative passes it would have the unintended affect of harming nurses — disclosure my wife Terry besides being an artist and former commissioner is also a CRONA nurse in the ER at Stanford, for many years. I have the problem generally with the initiative process: can we believe the headline? Is there small print that trumps (!) the  big? If we had better leadership, or a more attentive citizenry — George Packer’d not dense-packed — would be need initiatives at all? — but I noticed that Terry did not stand when Entwhistle asked his people to stand to show their opposition. It’s nuanced. So I passed. Or continued the thought to here.

And, yes, earlier that evening I did bring up President Hotel defense during Budget comments because TOT would increase, while we displace 80 citizens. And yes I did mis-quote Buck Henry’s line for Dustin Hoffman towards Anne Bancroft so that I could plausibly deny comparing Liz Kniss to Mrs. Robinson. (which makes WHO Ben Braddock: me? the developers? the FTTC?)

And yes because I saw Errol Morris “Fast Cheap and Out of Control” ten times many of my posts mimic its form: Am I discussing the VTA lot, the President Hotel, the health cost initiative or all three? Or music?

Also, I don’t know the protocol of letters to council. Do they edit parts of me? Do they delete photos? I always forget to check. Do I care? I DONT CARE DO YOU? Well, do you, punk? Do you punk?

In between a smart lady and very good writer from Brooklyn wrote a post about the environment, Rachel Carson and Joni Mitchell AND I saw a poster for Shoreline and the fact that my faves The Counting Crows, or maybe just Counting Crows –are they crows, metaphorically or merely counting crows and their humans? who wants to know? — this is a preview for that big day coming concert. Go see the show. And I’m sorry if you live in South Palo Alto and don’t like Adam Duritz and can hear the show anyhow. And ironic that Danny Sher who brought Monk to Paly in 1968 built Shoreline and fought City Hall 250 Hamilton (before blue trees) and thought music at 456 was “good idea” but didn’t go all in.

Anyhow I was merely going to forward to council my letter to Maria Popova but thought to include (and self-publish) this into.

(And I actually woke up to not the who and joni and adam but Awkwafina and some rapper and the upcoming council race and happy donuts — long story, Nora Lum and Joe Simitian’s wife’s assistant Mary Ramos who said something very funny and street about raisins. That might not be here name. Check back for updates. I have her card. Works with Karen Hughes and sometimes Kari Bull.)


Hi, Maria.
Apropos of your excellent post about Joni Mitchell “Yellow Taxi” I tried to quip, via “reply” that in Palo Alto, California we are getting nostalgic about parking lots.
What I mean or meant by that is that here, where land is very expensive and developers are disrupting normal small-city self-government there is, for example, a proposal to build a dense-housing structure on a public-zoned parking lot. The demand for office space here is so intense that parking lots are an endangered species. Sure, I’d love to tear up parking lots and restore to natural grasses (there was once an NGO I followed called Alliance for a Paving Moratorium) but in context here I prefer parking lots to more dense buildings. The lot I’m considering, although it is hardly exceptional, was owned by a public agency, the VTA — they run the bus lines thru Santa Clara County — the actual name of “silicon valley” — geographic not sociological — but sold as “surplus” to a developer. If we the people want to permit the project — we control the zoning, for example, and have to change such to permit such — we should at least be creative about what ends up there. I’m suggesting that rather than market rate housing for millenial wage serfs, we earmark it as a prison for white collar criminals, mixed with housing for guards and cops and fire fighters, or for Nurses, especially CRONA union nurses from Stanford hospital — maybe that’s a separate project — and a teacher and a token artist to interpret the experiment and tell us “how are we doing?”
I’m reacting parktly (no pun or autocorrect) to Michael Moore’s recent movie about low security Norse prisons — no myth.
And my 11th grade sociology teacher Tom Rowland who showed us “Glass Houses” (Alan Alda, Billy Dee Williams) AND “In Cold Blood” (Robert Blake?)
Also, Moor and Bender, Philosophy 1, Dartmouth College, winter, 1984: do prisons rehab or just punish? What is the point of punish?
I didn’t realize you were into music. Zoe Keating is such a goddess. I briefly used her as poster child for my concert business. She appeared in my venue, The Cubberley Sessions (at a community center and former high school lunch room) with a rock band called Van Gogh’s Daughters. Actually I built a fake series around their avails: Twin Harmonic Pop Series — a spoof on Noise Pop, a much bigger concern.
What exactly is your background in music?
Mark Weiss
actually, I like to say that Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows — who cover “Yellow Taxi” and are appearing here at Shoreline Amphitheater next week or so — are the exact musical analogue to my POV. I did meet Adam a couple times — most notably my then-client Stew opened for him on tour in 2002 10 dates AND my second cousin Craig Ruda opened separately for him them and was on his label when he was in Joe 90.
dba Earthwise of Palo Alto 1993-2018 25 years
Plastic Alto blog –more than 1,600 posts none as clever as the least of your’n


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
This entry was posted in ethniceities, jazz, la la, media, music, Plato's Republic, sex, this blue marble, words and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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