Slopestyle, freeski or just peoples

There are actually 18 different Eileen Gu’s

I met FoxFace from “Hunger Games” at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto – – three feet where I am sitting right now as I write this. I had no idea who she was — a movie star — I only saw her as a young person wearing a Stanford Shakespeare shirt. (Jacqueline Emerson)

I saw Chelsea Clinton maybe once in her four years here — she was always followed by a group of young-looking male and female fake Stanford students who were actually Secret Service. Her ex-boyfriend was also briefly a Palo Alto commissioner – although now I forget whether he was on Parks or Arts or Human Relations. 

Turkey’s third most famous person – and their best soccer player – -briefly owned a cafe here, on Bryant. He wrote his name and the search term “fastest goal” on my newspaper. (Hakan Suker)

At yet another cafe I met the parents of a current Stanford freshman – she is Columbian and danced for the London Ballet before enrolling.

Just yesterday, back at Coupa, I met a woman in a Michigan sweatshirt who said she competed in the Olympics as an alpine skiier. (Her name was B_, I think. L_ B__)

There’s a woman from Gunn, Joanne Firesteel Reid, competing in biathlon — 57th in the world. Go, Titans!

The world’s fastest man, Cubberley grad Bill Green, could not compete in the Moscow Olympics in 1980 because we boycotted. He later died young. His illness presented with an inability to move his legs.

Until you’ve walked a mile in Eileen Gu’s shoes, let alone completed as many flips on freeski or slopestyle, don’t judge her.
Hurrah for J. Zang!


note: slopestyle and freeski are now words. I can’t wait for Webster’s 12th to make that official. 


edit to add, hours later:


Jessica Zang a local high schooler who is also a columnist for the Palo Alto Weekly wrote a piece about her mixed feelings but overall support of Eileen Gu, the superstar breakout personality and case study of Beijing 2022 winter games, who was born and raised in SF but by a Chinese national single mom. Reminded me of my Dartmouth classmate, and dormmate (and briefly, 10 weeks my roommate) Peter Gallenz a world class Nordic skier.

Lives near Frankfort

Peter narrowly missed two Olympic teams, in 1988 and 1992. He came in 19th in the world, representing the US at the 1990 World championships, two minutes behind the German winner. He coached the US women’s Olympic biathlon team. And years after retirement from athetics he was named Dartmouth Wearers of The Green — normally its reserved for All Americas and Olympians but they inducted him for competing for the red-white-and-blue during the off years. Peter, I recall is of German descent; his parents emigrated here post-war. But he speaks fluent German and manages a large real estate portfolio for a German-Canadian firm. The Gallenzes in Rockford, Illinois had a different memory of the ancestral land than did the Weisses and the Levis of Chicago. But I am proud of my old friend and don’t think of him as any less of an All America or Dartmouthian. The people who beat Pete in 1990 were Mark Kirchner of Germany, Eirk Kvalfoss of Norway, Sergei Tchepikov of Russia, Herve Flandin of France, Frank Luck of Germany who was literally born to if not be a star then to watch the firmament, Steffen Hoos of Germany, Andreas Zingerle of Italy, Valery Medvedtsev of Russia, Valeri Noskov of URS — uh, oh, thin ice here on recent European history; Johann Passler of Italy, Juri Kashkarov of URS, Alfred Eder of Austria, Birk Anders of Germany, Pieralberto Carrara of Italy, Martin Rypl of Czechoslovakia, Roman Klinc of Yugoslavia, Ulf Johannson of Sweden, and Sasso Grajf of Germany. And by the way, I interviewed for the student newspaper my three schoolmates who competed in those Sarajevo games: Tiger Shaw, downhill; Dennis McGrane, jumper; and Glen Eberle, biathlon. And since we are on a slippery slope, let’s think a minute about the four-sport skier Alden Van Buskirk who died in 1961 but left some poetry people still read and the difference between “stale” and “state” — popcorn. You know, to munch. (pun on wrong German city)



well, well, well – but not jumping into a well real or figurative, as was suggested by my friend Eugene S. Robinson in his recent missive — I am going both solipsistic and self-similar and PoMo don’t you know – -herewith and hencelike:

These young people are being used by a totalitarian and repressive government, and elites. 

Similarly, Jessica Zang is being used by Bill Johnson to help Palo Alto’s development elites. 

if ms Zang is ambivalent about totalitarian governments she must love working for Bill Johnson and not being able to chose for herself who can comment here. 

you should really go and scrub me from my previous comments here, if you want to be a good Stalinist…

When I was in college we had a professor who said that if you are equally mean to all women it is not discriminating. 

His name was Vincent Starzinger and he’s dead now.

Is that funny?

Kudos to Jessica Zang for covering this important issue.

This is a minor point — but I wrote it elsewhere on PAW/TS:

The City of Palo Alto issued a “Message of Hope” signed by four leaders including the chief of police and the city manager and the head of the Human Relations Commission:

Web Link (oink is muted but it said this, in part – -not sure what I was responding to: Below is a message of community and hope sent from City Manager Ed Shikada, Police Chief Robert Jonsen, Reverend Kaloma Smith, and Pastor Paul Bains this afternoon:

In these uncertain and unprecedented times, our unified message is to elevate and uplift the themes of local and national community peaceful protests sharing loss, anger, and a call for change through equity and inclusion. Our prayers and condolences are with George Floyd’s family during this challenging time and as a nation, and we can only imagine the pain that they are enduring. We recognize the calls for systemic change that this and other tragedies demand. We must stand together in response calling for inclusion through peaceful exchange and dialogue.)

I was a journalist and an English major plus I have a blog, plus I post here, alot, and I care how words are used.

It troubled me that the “Message of Hope” was so poorly written.

Maybe going forward the City could hire JZ this writer, though she is in high school, to help write future official utterances.

Jessica Zang raises orchids when not writing for either Oracle or PAW

(There’s something in the council packet from a citizen asking Council to retain the current police spokesperson, who is not sworn and a recent hire, a woman of color…that’s a related point).

I recommend the Spike Lee movie “Do the Right Thing” from 1989 which gives a poetic and cinematic voice to an argument that maybe overlaps with @Latrelle but I cannot recall precisely if Malcolm X “by any means” necessary says something that is translated as “it is expedient to damage property and break the glass of the Apple Store on University Avenue and steal computers because a man was murdered by Police 2,000 miles away”.

I would read any texts that Jessica’s posters suggest that say that (“text” meaning books, articles, links not that you need a smart phone or my digits, dig).

What can we learn from all this that help our civilization and community going forward?

It’s great that teenagers like JZ (!) are helping to frame the dialogue here.

My original comment was along the lines of taking the author’s side and not judging the athlete. After being censored I flipped to pointing out the comparison between Gu being used by China and Zang being used by Johnson. 

My blog has the original comments plus something about a German-American skier I know personally who works in Germany.


I will sign re-up and step right up with a lift from Jessica’s work. It’s impressive for a high schooler but still a bit naive. 

Watching Chinese American freestyle skier Eileen Gu receive backlash from Americans for representing China, I realize that I can’t simply separate the Olympic games from these ever-present political divides. On the flip side of the coin, California-born Chinese figure skater Zhu Yi faces similarly heinous comments from Chinese citizens for representing China and falling on her Olympic debut skate. Because of the uncomfortable tension between the two countries, Olympic athletes often find themselves caught in the crossfire of foreign diplomatic warfare. And on a lower scale, I understand their pain. I face a difficult tug-of-war of emotion; on one side, there’s the country I’ve called home all my life, along with the troubling current events and human rights allegations. On the other side, there’s a deep pride for and kinship with my culture and family that I can’t ignore; it’s not a easy task to renounce the heritage that’s central to who I am today.

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
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