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silicon valley’s weekly newspaper

Breaking Down Genre-Bending Band’s New Release p51

MET R

MUMLERS THE WORD ESTOF OB

Vote for the Best!

OM .C

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 · VOL . 25, NO. 28 · SAN JOSE, CA · FREE

Win W Wi n Dinners at Left Bank & Vin Santo, Renaissance Fair Tickets METROGIVEAWAYS.COM

DETAILS P20

9/11Blowup An Obama official quits, and experts say the ‘jet fuel’ explanation for the Twin Towers’ collapse just doesn’t add up BY JAY LEVIN AND TOM McKENZIE

p14

[02]

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

Samsung

HOME OF FAST, FRIENDLY, COURTEOUS SERVICE.®

®

1.2”

©2009 Samsung Electronics America, Inc. All rights reserved. Samsung, Touch of Color, ToC, Auto Motion Plus 120Hz and Medi@2.0 are trademarks or registered trademarks of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. All other product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Screen images are simulated.

• Windows Vista® Home Premium • 15.6” High-Definition HP BrightView Infinity Display • SuperMulti-DVD±R/RW With LightScribe And Double Layer Support • Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n

#5956414

99

Eco-friendly

*As compared to 2008 similar size class Samsung LCD TVs in standard mode.

FEATURING: SMART PACKAGE WITH AUTO BRIGHT, LIVE SENSOR CINEMA MODE & TIME CONTROL

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• • • • •

42999 After Instant Savings

1600x900 Resolution 50,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio 2ms Ultra-fast Response Time Connectors: VGA , DVI-D, 16:9 Format • 300-nits

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• 150-Sheet Cassette • Up to 2,400x600 dpi Effective Output • SPL-C Printer Language • Memory / Storage 32 MB #5692571

97

YOUR BEST BUYS ARE ALWAYS AT FRY’S!

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159

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20 GIFT CARD

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SOUNDBAR DVD HOME THEATER WITH AMBISOUND AND 1080P VIDEO UP-CONVERSION 1080p HDMI with True High Definition Video Upconversion USB Direct Plays photos and music from USB flash drives Sound bar system in a stylish integrated single-unit design Sophisticated Design which matches your Flat TV Connect and enjoy multiple sources

274

• 12-amp Motor Powers • Bagless Technology Frees • Micro Filtration Captures Dust • Easy-Empty Dust Cup • No Tip/Anticlog Hose System $

30

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SHOP ONLINE at www.FRYS.com "Advertised prices valid only in metropolitan circulation area of newspaper in which this advertisement appears. Prices and selection shown in this advertisement may not be available online at Fry's website: www.FRYS.com" METRO_WED_9/9/09_LEFT

$

• 3.3x Optical Zoom • DIGIC III Image Processor • 2.5" LCDs #5876473/#5876493

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30

129

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THE BEATLES ROCKBAND $ SPECIAL VALUE EDITION

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EACH

*Rebate Offer Does Not Refund the Sales Tax Paid by the Customer

FREE PANASONIC CORDLESS PHONE WITH PURCHASE! • Unlimited Free Calling To Any Number In The United States With No Monthly Fees • Caller-ID, Call-Waiting And Voicemail • Clear Land-Line Voice Quality • Easy Setup Within Minutes

#5741362

CAMPBELL 600 E. Hamilton Ave. (408) 364-3700 • FAX (408) 364-3718 CONCORD 1695 Willow Pass Road (925) 852-0300 • FAX (925) 852-0318 FREMONT 43800 Osgood Road (510) 252-5300 • FAX (510) 252-5318 PALO ALTO 340 Portage Ave. (650) 496-6000 • FAX (650) 496-6018 SAN JOSE 550 E. Brokaw Road (408) 487-1000 • FAX (408) 487-1018 SUNNYVALE 1077 E. Arques Ave. (408) 617-1300 • FAX (408) 617-1318

$

$

**Upgrade Rebate Requires Proof of Previous Ownership

30

229

$

6499 - Mail-In 45 -**Upgrade 20 =

In-Store Price

Rebate Mail-In Rebate PC CD-ROM #5732392

FREE*

STORE HOURS: M-F 8-9, Sat 9-9, Sun 9-7 Prices Good Wednesday, September 9, 2009 thru Thursday, September 10, 2009 Prices subject to change after Thursday, September 10, 2009, 2009 Limit Rights Reserved. Not Responsible for Typographical Errors. No Sales to Dealers or Resellers. Rebates Subject to Manufacturer's

Fry's Electronics, American Express® Cards, MasterCard, Visa Card, and Discover Network Card, Accepted at All Fry's Locations

Specifications. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Sales tax to be calculated and paid on the in-store price for all rebate products.Actual memory capacity stated above may be less. Total accessible memory capacity may vary depending on operating environment and/or method of calculating units of memory (i.e., megabytes or gigabytes). Portions of hard drives may be reserved for the recovery partition or used by pre-loaded software.

Limit 2 Per Customer

7200RPM

500GB

NERO 9

FREE HOME PHONE SERVICE

79

99

SIGNATURE MINI USB 2.0 PORTABLE HARD DRIVE • Durable Hard Drive • Made for Travel

$

MAXIMA BAGLESS UPRIGHT/ VACUUM

$

POWERSHOT 10.0 MEGAPIXEL DIGITAL CAMERA

14

99

1TB

SERIAL ATA/300 HARD DRIVE

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99

UPGRADES

*With Purchase

#5320868

139

4GB WATERPROOF $ USB FLASH DRIVE

99

SOFTWARE $

$

$

Limit 1 Per Customer

WIRELESS COLOR LASER PRINTER

• Windows® XP Home • 802.11b/g Wireless • 1GB Ram Memory • 160GB Hard Drive • 10.1” WSVGA Display With Webcam Built-In • 6-Cell Battery

• • • • •

Uses up to 40% less power than conventional LCD TVs.* Free of lead and mercury.

20" WIDESCREEN LCD MONITOR

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329

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479 - 50 = $

Intel® Atom™ Processor N270

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Behold brilliant HD images, thanks to a Mega Dynamic contrast ratio and Auto Motion n Plus 120Hz™ technology.

• SuperMulti DVD Burner with LabelFlash Technology • Multi in one Digital Media Card Reader • Windows® Vista Home Premium (64-Bit) $ 99 and get a Free Copy of Windows® 7 Instant Regular after release date. Savings Price

599

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Ultra Slim 1.2” depth

DESKTOP PC FEATURING AMD Athlon™ X2 7450 DUAL CORE PROCESSOR WITH 3GB MEMORY & 320GB HARD DRIVE

Intel® Centrino® Core™ 2 Duo PROCESSOR WITH 4GB MEMORY & 250GB HARD DRIVE

$

Breakthrough LED picture quality

After All Rebates

8499

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1TB DriveStation TURBO USB EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE • Optional Full Disk Encryption (FDE) to Protect Data from Unauthorized Access • Memeo™ AutoSync

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8999

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Have us Install Your In-Home Wireless Network We Can Also Set Up and Configure Parental Control Set Up Includes One PC and Security

Please see Sales Associate for more details

HOME OF FAST, FRIENDLY, COURTEOUS SERVICE.®

Samsung

®

1.2”

©2009 Samsung Electronics America, Inc. All rights reserved. Samsung, Touch of Color, ToC, Auto Motion Plus 120Hz and Medi@2.0 are trademarks or registered trademarks of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. All other product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Screen images are simulated.

Breakthrough LED picture quality ty

Ultra Slim S im depth 1.2” de th

Behold brilliant HD images, s, thanks to a Mega Dynamic contrast ratio and Auto Motion ion Plus 120Hz™ technology.

Our most aadvanced vanced HDTV technology packaged into technolog a razor-thin razor-th silhouette.

Eco-friendly Uses up to 40% less power than conventional LCD TVs.* Free of lead and mercury. THE BEATLES

*As compared to 2008 similar size class Samsung LCD TVs in standard mode.

SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND/ ABBEY ROAD

GAMES

CONSOLE WITH BONUS 3 GAMES $

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009

[03] MUSIC CD #6006478/#6006458

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

1 2 95

$

EACH

ELITE GAME SYSTEM*

20 GIFT CARD

WITH BONUS 2ND CONTROLLER & NINJA BLADE

*With Purchase

*Includes: • 120GB Hard Drive • Black Wireless Controller • Xbox LIVE Headset

2477

BLU-RAY MOVIE #5995234

1577

DVD MOVIE #5995444 CAMPBELL 600 E. Hamilton Ave. (408) 364-3700 • FAX (408) 364-3718 CONCORD 1695 Willow Pass Road (925) 852-0300 • FAX (925) 852-0318 FREMONT 43800 Osgood Road (510) 252-5300 • FAX (510) 252-5318 PALO ALTO 340 Portage Ave. (650) 496-6000 • FAX (650) 496-6018 SAN JOSE 550 E. Brokaw Road (408) 487-1000 • FAX (408) 487-1018 SUNNYVALE 1077 E. Arques Ave. (408) 617-1300 • FAX (408) 617-1318

3 2 99

$ $

4177

NEW RELEASES

$

3177

DVD MOVIE #5981134

4977

BLU-RAY MOVIE #5992934

1

3877

DVD MOVIE #5992924

STORE HOURS: M-F 8-9, Sat 9-9, Sun 9-7 Prices Good Wed, September 9, 2009 thru Thurs, September 10, 2009 Prices subject to change after Thurs, September 10, 2009 Limit Rights Reserved. Not Responsible for Typographical Errors. No Sales to Dealers or Resellers. Rebates Subject to Manufacturer's Specifications. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Sales tax to be calculated and paid on the instore price for all rebate products.Actual memory capacity stated above may be less. Total accessible memory capacity may vary depending on operating environment and/or method of calculating units of memory (i.e., megabytes or gigabytes). Portions of hard drives may be reserved for the recovery partition or used by pre-loaded software.

1

52 99

BLU-RAY MOVIE #5995224

1977 1877

$

BLU-RAY MOVIE #5992714

4 9 99

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$

EACH #5978494/#5978484

299

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EACH

$

BLU-RAY MOVIE #5992844

PLAYSTATION 3/XBOX 360

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3 9 99

33

99

#5978324

#5964464

PLAYSTATION 3/XBOX 360/Wii XBOX 360

#5993524

$

BLU-RAY MOVIE #5993254

$ 77

SEASON

99

$

9

$

24

$

#6024948/#6025008

2677

$

SEASON

EACH

$

$

BLU-RAY MOVIE #5981144

$

PSP

#5958634

PSP

2 5 99

AVAILABLE TOMORROW BY NOON

$

PLAYSTATION 3/XBOX 360

4 2 99

99

139

XBOX 360

#5964964

Wii

#5962444

Wii

34

$

#5818483

1 9 80

EACH

$

$

#5969944/#5969954/#5969964

$

$

$

SPECIAL VALUE EDITION

PC DVD-ROM

59

Wii

Wii/PLAYSTATION 3/XBOX 360

#5887403 #5887293/#5886833

#6025048

$

THE BEATLES ROCKBAND #5973484

24 9

$

4 2 99

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$

EACH

2277

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$

3377

DVD MOVIE #5985594

SEASON

4

THE COMPLETE LOW PRICE GUARANTEE “We Will Match Any Competitive Price.” * Before making a purchase from Fry’s, if you see a lower, in-stock, in-store price at a local competitor, Fry’s will be happy to match the competition’s price. “30 Day Low Price Guarantee.” If within 30 days of purchasing an item from Fry’s you see a lower in-stock price at a local competitor with a low price guarantee, Fry’s will cheerfully refund 110% of the amount of the competitor's low price guarantee. Or, if within 30 days of purchase, a local Fry's, or a local competitor without a low price guarantee has a lower price, Fry's will refund 100% of the difference. NOTE: All comparisons are based on price, excluding any applicable sales tax. Low price guarantee for notebook computers, microprocessors, memory, CD and DVD recorders, camcorders, digital cameras, and air conditioners is within 15 days from purchase date. To apply for Fry's low price guarantee, simply bring in your original cash register receipt and verifiable proof of a current lower price. *All comparisons are based on in-store tagged prices at the time of request, excluding sales tax. Offer good on all fresh-boxed products of the same exact model in stock at a local competitor. We reserve the right to limit this offer to one of each model. Offer does not apply to wireless phones and pagers that require a service agreement. Offer does not apply when price includes bonus or free offers or one-of-a-kind or limited-quantity offers. NOTE: Does not apply to expired ads. Fry’s ads are valid for only stores listed in the ad. Celeron, Celeron Inside, Centrino, Core Inside, Intel, Intel Core, Intel Inside, Intel SpeedStep, Intel Viiv, Intel Xeon, Itanium, Itanium Inside, Pentium, Pentium Inside, the Centrino logo, the Intel logo and the Intel Inside logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

[04]   CONTENTS

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

Cover Silicon Valley’s Weekly Newspaper

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Features

Why do we make the same mistakes over and over again? FIND OUT. BUY AND READ

DIANETICS THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH by

L. RON HUBBARD Price: $20

Available at your local bookstore or at

Hubbard Dianetics Foundation 1865 Lundy Ave. San Jose, CA 95131 (408) 383-9400 stevenscreek@scientology.net Š 2009 CSI. All Rights Reserved.

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

University U n i ve r s i t y A Art rt 2 0 0 9

– the – University A University Art rt O Open pen A Art rt Competition Competition & E Exhibition xhibition

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UArt U Art San Jose 456 456 Meridian A Avenue venue 408-297-4707 UniversityA 408-297-4707 UniversityArt.com r t.com

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009

[05]

[06]   LETTERS

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

BY TOM TOMORROW

entire meal, not to mention a shirt and a pair of pants. Thanks for your article! Was a nice â&#x20AC;&#x153;taste from home.â&#x20AC;? Ran Locur Tel Aviv, Israel

Mess Me Up I can really win a date with the Stardust Cowboy (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Stardust Memories,â&#x20AC;? Cover Story, Sept. 2)? Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mess with me! Be still, my heart. Thank you for unearthing treasure for those of us who have yet to dig deep enough. Felicia Ordaz San Jose

The Right to Bare Legs

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5

Pita Party I read your story about the Golden Falafel Ball (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Great Balls of Joy,â&#x20AC;? Metro Menu, Aug. 26) and found it delightful, particularly the bit about the schnitzel. You managed to combine the entire conďŹ&#x201A;ict of being Israeli into 1 1/2 sentences. We (the Israelis, sorry, forgot to mention Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m one of them) miss the good old continent (Europe) even though it reminds us of bad things (especially

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when German is involved). We try to ďŹ t into the Middle East (with the falafel and all) but do it with our own fried chicken European twist, and ultimately, we have this dream about making it â&#x20AC;&#x153;big timeâ&#x20AC;? in the United States, which usually ends up as movers or taxi drivers in New York City or making falafels on the West Coast. One thing about the pita, I guess itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a cultural thing: in Israel (and in other places in the Middle East), we

prefer the pita to be ďŹ&#x201A;uffier; this way the sauces are imbibed, and by the end of the sandwich you have one last bite that tastes like everything combined. Yummy! Another big plus (and the ultimate success factor of a good pita) is that the thicker, ďŹ&#x201A;uffier ones are more likely to stay in one piece ďŹ ll the end. Now, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve eaten falafel in a pita, standing up, with tahini on it, and spicy salads, and some curry too, the last thing you want is a broken pita. It can ruin your

Why shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Michelle Obama wear shorts when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 106 and sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on vacation? She sets a good example for American women everywhere by being ďŹ t. Where else in the world would people object to a beautiful woman showing off her shapely, toned legs? Only in Iran or Afghanistan or maybe Outer Mongolia. Meanwhile, yet another politician has been caught with a mistress. Hooray for Sanfordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife for throwing him out. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the usual double standard: the Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be seen in shorts, but married senators and governors can cavort with their girlfriends and still remain in office. What a country! Joyce Keller Santa Cruz

Swingers While I can understand the city of San Jose providing parks for residents, and visitors, I do not understand why the city needs to provide golf courses. Even when â&#x20AC;&#x153;golf was booming,â&#x20AC;? it still was only played by a very small portion of the population. It takes to long to learn and get good at, then it costs too much to play often. The same goes with the county providing recreational airports for county residents. There are only 3,400 pilots of all ratings (student, private, air transport, etc.) out of 1,850,000 county residents. It takes $10,000 and one year of time to get a private pilot license, and then you have to pay at least $100 an hour to rent a plane to occasionally use. Most people have better things to do with their time and money. Golf courses and recreational airports should be private businesses. If there is a demand they will succeed. If there is not a demand they will fail. Let the market decide. Let the Market Decide From SanJoseInside.com

Grading Teachers I agree that teachers should not be evaluated solely by test scores. Teachers are faced with unique challenges every year that they must ďŹ&#x201A;ex to, such as the differences in children and the variety of classroom situations. A childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s test score is onedimensional and could never truly reďŹ&#x201A;ect the teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s multifaceted impact on that child. I also agree that the better teachers out there deserve much more than they are receiving! Kayla Coleman From SanJoseInside.com

J!Tbxzpv Scare Tactics I saw your scary antiâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;drunk driving ads on TV, coppers. Slipping the cuffs on one-beer-over-the-line dads and businessmen may make revenue for the state, but it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make you heroes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We will ďŹ nd you?â&#x20AC;? Go catch some dangerous criminals, why donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you? You know the difference between 100 mph maniacs and slightly tipsy driversâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and so do I.

SEND US your anonymous rants, raves, gripes and diatribes about your co-workers, bosses, enemies or any badly behaving citizen who rankles your ireâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;or about citizens you admire. Send to: I SAW YOU, Metro, 550 S. First St., San Jose, 95113, or via email to isawyou@metronews.com.

Gpmmpx!Nfusp!po!Uxjuufs!bu!uxjuufs/dpn0nfuspofxtqbqfs/!!Bddftt!boe!cfdpnf!b!gbo!pg!NfuspĂ&#x2013;t!Gbdfcppl!qbhf!wjb!pvs!tipsudvu!VSM-!NfuspGC/dpn/!

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009

[07]

Courses Starting in September

[08]   SILICON ALLEYS

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

It All Starts Here! ALL COURSES IN OUR NEW LOCATION 2505 Augustine Drive, Santa Clara

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Check out our new facility and choose from the many courses starting this month which include: Q

Business and Management Project Integration and Risk Management, 2356-044 Project Leadership and Communication, 4550-043 Human Resource Management, Introduction, 5580-115 Analytic Planning for Project Success, 3997-031 Introduction to Accounting I: Financial Accounting, 3658-111 Creating Effective Customer Acquisition Strategies, 22408-001 Mathematics for Financial Planning, 2730-060

Q

Engineering and Technology Python Programming for Beginners, 20776-005 Web Design, Introduction, 22609-001 Adobe Illustrator: Introduction, 6497-096 Developing Applications for iPhone and iPod Touch, 21938-005 Data Warehouse Solutions and Business Intelligence, 3502-026 Wireless Communications, Introduction, 5455-015 User Centered Design Fundamentals for the Web, 0087-008

Q

Biosciences Data Analysis and Modeling for Bioinformatics, 1032-034 Clinical Trials Site Monitoring I, 0608-039 Regulation of Drugs and Biologics, 19007-009 Drug Discovery, Introduction, 4853-021

Q

Education TESL Methodology of Bilingual and English Language Development, 0633-090

CLASSES START THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 14

See ucsc-extension.edu/tm for directions, course details and to enroll SiliconValley

KNOWLEDGE YOU PUT TO WORK

GARY SINGH

Walking Willow

I

N CASE YOU weren’t there, the urban-blight exploration junkie played his greatest hits on Auzerais Avenue, Stockton Avenue, 24th Street and in the parking lot of the Pink Elephant Center. The junkie had recently been in recovery, but after reading the wonderful book Touring Historic Willow Glen: Ten Walking Loops, he immediately relapsed and needed to kill the pain at all costs. His journey through ignored Willow Glen began at 831 Malone Road, a hideous, rundown, boarded-up former hardware store and flooring company. The junkie looked through the windows and eyed the decades-old fixtures and rickety displays. You see, if one peeks at the original 1927 map of Willow Glen, Malone Road forms the southern border. Formerly known simply as “The Willows,” the area incorporated as its own city in 1927 solely to stop the railroad from coming through. Thus began a long heritage of Willow Glen being identified with unapologetic NIMBYism—which only became worse when it got its own ZIP code 40 years ago. But since the dead hardware store still exists after 20 years of nonoperation, maybe the NIMBYs aren’t so invincible after all. Right across the street in Arnone’s strip mall sits the PT Market & Liquor store, offering a gracious, affable and forthcoming environment. Unlike other liquor stores in the area, PT is not crammed to the gills with shelving and feels much airier than one would expect. There’s even a Chinese Happy Buddha statue right there to greet you, and the young Chinese girl behind the counter tells you to rub its tummy for good luck—advice usually heeded by locals gobbling up throngs of lottery tickets. After leaving the PT Market, the junkie made his way westward down Malone all the way to Lincoln, a corner housing the aptly named Lincoln Avenue Liquors. One can see what’s left of an ancient neon sign directing visitors where to park. Unfortunately, this place has been getting flak from neighbors for what seems like decades now. One episode went down a few years back when the store began displaying X-rated cigarette lighters in glass cases, in full view of any adventurous minor who might be intrigued by such things. Residents brought the hammer down and coerced the owner to remove the lighters even though no one had actually purchased any of them. At one time, this particular stretch of Lincoln Avenue was actually interesting, with a used bookstore, a used record store and a killer baseball card shop called Mike’s Coliseum. Alas, no more. From there, the junkie proceeded north all the way up into the heart of the neighborhood, the celebrated Thus began a long corner of Lincoln and Willow streets, heritage of Willow also the site of Willow Glen Liquors. This is where many folks used to buy Glen being identified cheap wrestling tickets for bouts at with NIMBYism— the San Jose Civic, circa 1983. For which only became eight bucks, kids could go watch worse when it got the Magnificent Don Muraco (the bad guy) beat the crap out of Bob its own ZIP code Backlund (the good guy), while our dads got embarrassingly plastered in the audience. Ah, the good ol’ days. If certain developers get their way, this classic liquor shop will probably bite the dust before too long, but the establishment is quintessential Willow Glen. You can tell because it carries brands of rotgut malt liquor that contain ginseng and amino acids. Finally, the binge finished a few blocks up the road at one of the all-time distinguished landmarks of Willow Glen: Mr. T’s Liquor Locker. The old-school neon sign is one of the most revered anywhere in the South Bay. Reviewer Martin “the butcher” B on Yelp.com gave it four stars: “I’ve talked to old timers who shouldertapped for drinks back in the early ’60s. The original Mr. T is long gone but the Middle Eastern guy who owns it now doesn’t seem to mind when I call him Mr. T.” He’s actually Indian, not Middle Eastern, which proves one last thing: that reviewers on Yelp just cannot be trusted for accurate information.

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What do you remember about Willow Glen? Email me at SiliconAlleys@metronews.com.

mashup

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y   SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009MASHUP

[09]

best of the local web

A roundup of news, commentary and opinion from around the valley. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect Metro’s editorial views.

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‘Facebook’ Cast Not Geeky Enough Scriptshadow, which obtained the first leaked script for the Facebook movie now claims to have casting choices, including Justin Timberlake as Napster’s Sean Parker. “News In Film” created this handy graphic. Jesse Eisberg kinda works as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, we guess. But how about Michael Cera, instead? With some hair-curling he’d have the look down, and he could have used the role to break free from the “twee teenaged dork” typecast and into the much more interesting “Asperger-levelantisocial teenaged computer nerd” role.

PRETTY VACANT

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[10]

MASHUP SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009NEWS

Santa Clara Valley, California

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Space Workforce Down Sunnyvale’s NASA Ames battens down while federal cutbacks hurt aerospace industry By Taylor Dinerman VERY MAJOR downturn in the space industry, most memorably those of the 1970s and the early 1990s, has resulted in pain for the industry and a disaster for the workforce. In the 1970s not only did the industry lose most of the huge intellectual and monetary investment it had made in the Apollo program, it also lost the trust and goodwill that made the Moon mission such a remarkable success. Never again would people be able to go to work on a space project with the certain knowledge that their government would allow them to finish the job. The history of the space shuttle’s

[11]

recruiting overseas. Even so, many of the 1980s-era space programs suffered from the lack of an experienced workforce. Aside from the Challenger disaster, the best example is the flawed Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched with a defective main mirror. At the Pentagon, problems with contractor performance led to the buildup of a skilled and skeptical group of acquisition specialists who were able, within the limits of the possible, to keep to industry honest. These men and women were let go in 1993 when the Clinton Administration decided that its planned cuts to the civil service would fall almost entirely on the Defense Department. The results are well known to the industry. Without this cadre of specialists flawed projects such as the National Reconnaissance Office’s Future Imagery Architecture and the joint civil-military National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System were given the green light. The difficulties that still afflict these programs and others that began in the 1990s are not only eating up important parts of the budget, but are pulling many of the industry’s best people away from other important work that they should be doing. So now the space industry is facing the very real possibility of a series of major cutbacks that could once again devastate its ability to compete. According to a recent report in Aviation Week, the aerospace and defense industry as a whole has cut 30,000 jobs recently. This may be only the beginning. The administration shows little desire to defend this sector and the president himself seems eager to veto a budget with “exotic” systems. The cutbacks at Boeing and the 900 jobs that are being lost at Lockheed Martin are in response to the previous cancellation of

development on a shoestring budget throughout this period is an example of the way NASA tried and failed to keep the Apollo mystique alive in spite of the budget cuts. The widely believed claim from that time was that they were building the “DC-3 of Space.” Instead of confronting the politicians and the public with the truth—that the shuttle was a delicate and limited space vehicle—the space agency’s leaders dazzled everyone with the idea that cheap and abundant access to space was just around the corner. Meanwhile stories, which may have been apocryphal but were

eminently credible, circulated of Ph.D. rocket engineers driving cabs in Silicon Valley and Florida. The layoffs at NASA and at the contractors threw away a generation’s worth of highly qualified men and women. When in the 1980s they were once again needed to support the Reagan-era buildup, a good proportion of them were unwilling to take the risk of rejoining an industry that served a government customer that had unceremoniously dumped them. The aerospace industry as a whole, and the space industry in particular, were able to get around this problem partly by aggressively

2,300 Number of research

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personnel currently working at NASA Ames Research Center, which opened at Moffett Field in 1939

Ames annual budget

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin pay a year to park jets, with scientific equipment installed by NASA, at Moffett

NASA annual budget to keep astronauts flying to space station through 2020

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[12]

NEWS SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

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T-Sat and other military space programs. While it is claimed that the shortfall in communications capability will be made up with a couple of extra AEHF satellites, there seems to be no serious program under way to fill the inevitable large-scale requirements for bandwidth that will occur in the later half of the next decade. The men and women who are needed to build that next generation of military communications systems are now unemployed and there is every possibility that they will never work on another highly advanced space program. According to Aviation Week, the industry claims to have learned its lessons and will make every effort to maintain a balanced workforce. One wishes them the best of luck, but the pressures on them, from both shareholders and from their unions, may make it impossible for them to hire a new generation of workers and engineers. With NASA’s current outyear budget projections billions of dollars below earlier estimates and the decisions stemming from the final report of a committee studying the

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agency still up in the air, the prospects for the traditional U.S. space industry do not look good. If the Constellation program is gutted, as now seems likely, it will take years or decades to rebuild the expertise that was lost. America’s leadership in space, which has been the principal goal of every president’s space policy since Eisenhower, will be at risk. No matter how promising the NewSpace industry is, it cannot, by itself, carry the whole burden of the Defense Department and NASA’s future needs. Boeing and Lockheed Martin and the other big space firms are facing serious dangers to their ability to carry out the jobs that the nation has long expected them to do. For the time being it is going to be up to Congress to keep the space industry on life support. In this case the politicians on Capitol Hill will have to show the courage to ignore the traditional thoughtless cries about pork-barrel spending and save an irreplaceable national asset: the men and women of the U.S. space industry. M

Recall Failure Saves Monte Sereno Money >c'%%-!dcanildXVcY^YViZhh]dlZYjeidgjc[dgild hZVihdci]ZBdciZHZgZcdIdlc8djcX^a#AVhilZZ`! hdbZgZh^YZcihlZgZje^cVgbhWZXVjhZdcZd[i]dhZ XVcY^YViZh!A6C6B6AADN!VhlZaaVhBVndg8JGI>H LG><=IVcYK^XZBVndg9DCE:GGN!kdiZYidVlVgY i]ZbhZakZhV(%%eZgbdci]hVaVgn#I]^haZYVc\gn gZh^YZcihidaVjcX]VgZXVaaeZi^i^dcXVbeV^\c!l]^X] ZcYZYaVhilZZ`V[iZgVc\gnVXi^k^hih[V^aZYidXdaaZXi Zcdj\]h^\cVijgZh#I]ZXdjcX^abZbWZghÉhVaVg^Zhl^aa XdhiBdciZHZgZcdVidiVad['&!+%%eZgnZVg!l]^aZV gZXVaaZaZXi^dcldjaY]VkZXdhii]Zidlc'%%!%%%# M

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[14]   COVER STORY

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

Explosive Theory

Eight years after 9/11, a growing organization of building trades professionals suspect that there was more to the event than the government will admit By Jay Levin and Tom McKenzie UST A FEW YEARS ago Ed Munyak, a fire protection engineer for the city of San Jose, seemed like a lonely, out-there figure, a sometimes-target because of his outspoken position on the events of Sept. 11, 2001. These days, hundreds of other building trade professionals have joined him in challenging the official narrative about the collapse of three buildings at New York’s World Trade Center (WTC) on that fateful, traumatic day.

J

Munyak, of Los Altos Hills, is a mechanical and fire engineer whose job is to review building plans to ensure they comply with the California Building and Fire Code. In 2007, after speaking out on his own for a few years, Munyak signed on with a then-fledging organization called Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth (AE911 Truth), founded by Bay Area architect Richard Gage. 16

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009   COVER STORY

BUILDING A MOVEMENT ! Sjdibse!Hbhf-!gpvoefs!pg! Bsdijufdut!boe!Fohjoffst!gps! :022!Usvui-!tbzt!uif!Xpsme!Usbef! Dfoufs!dpvmeoÖu!qpttjcmz!ibwf!cffo! cspvhiu!epxo!cz!qmboft/

[15]

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

EXPLOSIVE THEORY 14

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[16]   COVER STORY

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Today, far from being isolated, Munyak now counts as allies 804 professional architects and building engineers from around the country. Collectively, they have joined Munyak’s call for an independent technical investigation of the causes of the WTC buildings collapse. In doing so, they reject the federal government’s conclusions that two airplanes alone brought the buildings down—without the aid of preplanted explosives. Munyak and his fellow AE911 supporters recently received acknowledgement from the FBI’s counterterrorism division, which concluded that the organization’s core evidence deserves—and will get—FBI scrutiny. In a letter, Deputy Director Michael J. Heimbach assessed AE911’s presentation as “backed by thorough research and analysis.” Munyak and his professional allies insist that they are not conspiracy theorists, and they refuse to speculate on the “why” or “who” of 9/11. Munyak described their basic position in an interview with Metro. “Buildings do not fail from fire related causes in the way that World Trade Center 1, 2 and 7 failed. Steel frame or composite steel buildings, modern highrise buildings—they just do not collapse

catastrophically like that. It’s impossible. “Only if you sever columns in some other way will those buildings collapse. It takes too much energy, and that energy was not there even with adding in all that jet fuel. It defies all engineering analysis and theory that those buildings collapsed in that manner. It just doesn’t make any sense.” Apparently reinforcing this position, a team of three scientists working at technical laboratories in the United States and Denmark reported in April that analysis of dust that they say was gathered at the World Trade Center found evidence of the potent incendiary/explosive “super thermite,” used by the military. The re-investigation movement received attention this week after it percolated into the high ranks of the Obama administration. The President’s green jobs advisor, Van Jones, resigned on Sept. 5 amidst a controversy over his statements about Republicans and his endorsement of a 2004 statement by the group 9/11 Truth. org, when he was head of an Oakland nonprofit organization. The letter, signed by more than 100 official-version doubters, called for “immediate public attention to unanswered questions that suggest that people within the [Bush] administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.”

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009   COVER STORY

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Patriotic Duty San Jose architect Thomas Lyman Chamberlain, another member of AE911 Truth, calls the official account of the 9/11 events â&#x20AC;&#x153;a fraud.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;In light of the human life and liberties being taken based on that fraud,â&#x20AC;? Lyman wrote on the AE911.org site, building industry professionals â&#x20AC;&#x153;have a patriotic duty to invoke their credentials on behalf of the victims and the integrity of our nation.â&#x20AC;? Chemical engineer T. Mark Hightower of San Jose, a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, agrees. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is clear that the

The steel doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get to the temperature that would cause it to weaken, no steelframed high rise has ever collapsed due to ďŹ re and we have over 100 examples. No force can crush that kind of a structure at near freefall speed. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ludicrous. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;RICHARD GAGE

buildings had help to bring them down,â&#x20AC;? he says. AE911 Truth has grown rapidly, igniting a struggling grassroots movement of hundreds of other â&#x20AC;&#x153;9/11 Truthâ&#x20AC;? organizations, and spearheading a growing assault on the official story. In recent years, other single-profession 9/11 Truth groups have launched or gained momentum, including those comprised of airline pilots, ďŹ reďŹ ghters, veterans, medical professionals, scholars, lawyers, religious leaders and former government employees. Also individually calling for a new inquiry are two dozen retired U.S. military brass and eight former U.S. State Department officials, along with a number of Republicans who have served in high

federal positions since President Reagan, including former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts and former Reagan administration Assistant Defense Secretary (and retired Marine Corps colonel) Ronald D. Ray. Activists around the country attribute AE911â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s professional credibility and its unwavering focus on the WTC as the fuel that has galvanized the movement. David Ray Griffin, the retired Santa Barbara philosophy professor and theologian who is perhaps the leading intellectual force within the Truth groupsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with seven 9/11 books to his credit, including The New Pearl Harborâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; notes that it â&#x20AC;&#x153;is possible many of these organizations wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even have formed without AE911 ďŹ rst being there.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;AE911 represents the biggest boost yet to the credibility of the 9/11 truth movement,â&#x20AC;? Griffin says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is clear there are far more architects and engineers who have spoken out against the official story than have publicly supported it.â&#x20AC;?

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The local members of AE911 Truth and their allies elsewhere make these arguments:

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â&#x20AC;˘ Crucial elements of the key government study on the step-by-step events that occurred in the collapse of the WTC buildings donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stand up to analytical scrutiny. The study was undertaken by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Commerce Department agency responsible for building and other safety codes and standards.

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â&#x20AC;˘ An airplane crash and subsequent ďŹ re arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sufficient cause to bring down the towers, not even when combined with the presumed dislodging of ďŹ reprooďŹ ng that protected the core steel beams in the areas in which the two planes struck. (This dislodging, NIST asserts, made the steel vulnerable to softening by ďŹ re and brought on the collapseâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the ďŹ rst ever of a steel-framed building hit by ďŹ re.) â&#x20AC;˘ NIST never tested for explosive residues despite evidence, including many eyewitness accounts from ďŹ rst responders and people who escaped the buildings, that explosives and incendiaries were present. â&#x20AC;˘ The collapse of the three buildings resembles two different types of controlled demolitions, and not the bending or toppling of a heated building section that might result from a ďŹ re. Following the collapses, NIST assembled a panel of more than 300 staff and external experts and spent three years and $20 million on what it claims is the 18

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[17]

[18]   COVER STORY

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

EXPLOSIVE THEORY 17

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most exhaustive technical study ever of a building collapse. Released in 2005, the initial NIST report concluded that the twin towers, which NIST agrees could not normally be brought down by fire alone, collapsed because of a combination of factors, most crucially the dislodging of fireproofing by the planes’ impacts. This allowed certain beams to soften sufficiently to force an inward bending of perimeter-supporting steel beams, putting so much pressure on the fire-weakened—and in some cases severed—center steel columns (three severed in one tower and five in another out of 47 in each) that they collapsed in the areas where the planes had struck. NIST also stated that there was more than enough “mass plus acceleration” of the upper stories of the twin towers as they fell to force a collapse of the lower structure straight down at nearly free fall speed, with each floor adding its weight and the force of its fall to the pressures on the floors below—a theory it argues is supported by elaborate computer models. NIST’s report on the third building to collapse, WTC7, released in August 2008, argues that mass computer modeling of existing evidence also fails to support an explosives theory. The report concludes that WTC7 was brought down by seven hours of fires combined with falling debris from the towers that weakened an entire building section and forced the collapse of a key support column, allowing the

building to cave in on itself. (The NIST towers report should not be confused with the 9/11 Commission Report, which came out a year earlier with a wildly inaccurate technical analysis that not even NIST accepts.) Poll numbers reflect varying levels of disbelief of the official narrative. The Zogby poll in 2004 found that half of New Yorkers thought that U.S. officials knew the terrorist plot was going to unfold and consciously failed to act. The New York Times and CBS News commissioned an Angus Reid Global Monitor poll in 2006 and found that 80 percent of Americans thought President Bush was at least hiding something regarding 9/11. In 2006, Popular Mechanics magazine published a study debunking critiques of NIST, most notably the assertion that explosives brought down the Trade Center buildings. All this was before engineers, scientists and architects began to organize and present evidence challenging both the official narrative and Popular Mechanics’ defense of that narrative.

Puzzling Evidence Within his 20-year career, Richard Gage counts among his accomplishments the design of numerous fireproofed steelframed buildings. In an interview with Metro, Gage, 53, a lifelong Republican, described having a moment of clarity

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009   COVER STORY

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when he first heard alternative theories of 9/11 presented in March 2006 by David Ray Griffin. As he tells it, he was driving to a construction meeting and crossed the talk radio political divide that day to listen to progressive Pacifica Radio’s KPFA interviewing Griffin. “What Griffin was saying is that the ends of these beams that were being ejected out of the World Trade Center at 55 mph were dripping with molten steel, and they landed more than 500 feet away,” Gage recounts. The station also played interviews recorded after 9/11, including with firefighters who described hearing explosions and seeing flashes of light that would support an explosives/incendiaries theory. Before this, Gage notes, he hadn’t paid heed to the technical details of the collapse or questioned the official story. Particularly striking to Gage was the fact that the taped eyewitness interviews had only in August 2005 been released to The New York Times by the city of New York by court order— nearly four years after 9/11. “This was information that has been hidden by the city of New York, and it became obvious the reason why they hid it,” Gage said. “So I began looking at it myself. The more I read, the more disturbed I got, and I realized fairly quickly what I needed to do, and that was to start Architects and Engineers for 9/11Truth.” As founder and executive director, the soft-spoken Gage has since become something like a subversive Al Gore,

delivering a disturbingly inconvenient PowerPoint presentation that he maintains dissects most of the key elements of the NIST report. Somewhat obsessed with recruiting as many building professionals as possible, Gage left his job and spends most of his time traveling from city to city presenting the core forensic case to bodies of fellow experts and to any groups that will listen. “Most all of the architects and engineers that I present to, once they see the graphic evidence, they are completely overwhelmed, as I was, with the forensic-based scientific facts surrounding this case,” Gage says. He gets similar buy-in from nonprofessional groups of all political stripes. Like Munyak, Gage cites the fact that steel framing serves as a heat conductor, actually cooling fires and equalizing the burden on any one steel section. “The steel doesn’t get to the temperature that would cause it to weaken,” he says. “No steelframed high rise has ever collapsed due to fire, and we have almost 100 examples.” As for NIST’s theory that once the towers’ impact-area beams gave way, the mass above them would rapidly crush the lower stories, Gage argues that the premise ignores the laws of physics. “No force can crush that kind of a structure at near freefall speed. It’s ludicrous,” he says. “Not only that, the videos show that 95 percent of the south 20

[19]

[20]   COVER STORY

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

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EXPLOSIVE THEORY 19 tower is being blown outside, indicating explosions. And the top of the north tower is being reduced from 15 stories to seven stories before it even starts to drop. Half of its mass is destroyed in the first two seconds. “The remaining mass cannot fall at near freefall speed and crush 80,000 tons of steel and pulverize to powder 90,000 tons of concrete and create tons of molten metal by some unknowable process.” Defending the NIST research, spokesman Michael Newman says the agency’s computer models were highly reliable in their crucial assessment of the amount of fireproofing dislodged—a factor not present in fires in other steel buildings cited by Gage. NIST, supported by a number of independent building and explosives professionals who are critical of AE911, also stands behind its theory that the impact of the upper floors crushed the lower ones. “Basically, gravity and the utter force of the upper floors forced the towers down,” Newsman says. “If you have 20 floors of mass suddenly released, as it goes downward it picks up more mass and more force—and, yes, you can have a building collapse in 10 seconds, and yes, it is physically possible. “We believe that three years of hard scientific technical investigation based around a tremendous amount of evidence and confirmed by many physicists will give you the same conclusions.” Newman adds that while the force of the collapse created air pressure that blew debris outward, mimicking what Gates argues are explosions but which NIST says were not, there was more than enough mass still descending straight down to hammer the lower floors into collapsing one by one, each failed floor then adding to the descending mass. However unquestioningly the public, media and government may have accepted NIST’s conclusions (“I saw the planes hit the buildings; what else could have brought them down?” is a common refrain), Gage and his “not-so-fast” colleagues argue that they easily found flaws and ignored evidence in the study. Most prominently, the 47-story steel structure Building 7 was never struck by a fire-proof dislodging plane but collapsed anyway.

Dust to Dust Moreover, according to Gage and others, a major clue that something in the twin towers was producing far more heat than could a jet fuel fire (and reached far more of the steel structure than the areas around the jet fuel fires) is the alleged sightings by some first-responders and later by some of the debris-removal crews, of molten metal, like hot lava, some found to be glowing in the basements of WTC

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009   COVER STORY

buildings up to three weeks after 9/11—far longer, they say, than jet fuel sources could produce. (Interviews of many cleanup-crew members by a demolition company found no evidence of molten steel sightings. Gage cites evidence to the contrary.) Newman says NIST believes that any molten metal sightings, including metal seen pouring from the south tower, were likely molten aluminum from the airplane. Moreover, he says, NIST was not presented with evidence of molten steel, and if some melted, this occurred after the event, in fires underground, and was not a contributing factor to the fall of the building. Gage dismisses this as “impossible without a source of oxygen such as thermate,” adding that molten metal seen in NIST-cited videos isn’t the color of molten aluminum. The 9/11 Truthers also respond that most of the steel evidence was carted away rapidly and recycled in China before it could be examined to prove either melting or NIST’s key theory of dislodged fireproofing, and consider this “destruction of evidence.” Supporting AE911’s theory is Dr. Steven E. Jones, a nuclear physicist known for his work in cold fusion. Jones says he was forced into early retirement from his position as a professor at Brigham Young University because of his work attempting to show that powerful explosives were present in the WTC towers. After Jones initial analysis was harshly criticized for flaws by BYU’s own building engineering department, Jones and other scientists co-authored a new critique accepted for publication in the peerreviewed New Civil Engineering Journal that mentioned thermite as a potential culprit in the building collapses. This was followed by a research paper published last April. Co-authored by Jones and associate professor Niels Harrit of Copenhagen University’s famed Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, and by Dr. Jeffrey Farrer, lab manager for BYU’s Transmission Electron Microscopy lab, as well as four other researchers, the paper provided vivid microscopic photo evidence of highly flammable red-gray chips that the authors say appear to be super thermite found in four different reputed WTC dust samples sent to Jones by suspicious New Yorkers who had collected them shortly after 9/11. Thermite, a mixture of aluminum powder and iron oxide, is known to burn through steel. Adding either silicon, magnesium or titanium to the mixture makes it thermate or “super thermite,” a substance with an accelerated capacity to cut through steel. According to Gage, “the military uses it to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter.” “Dr. Jones found the chemical signature of thermite,” Gage says. “So, the evidence 23

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SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009   COVER STORY

EXPLOSIVE THEORY 21 all ties together to support the hypotheses of a controlled demolition.” In an interview with Metro, Jones said his and his colleagues’ microanalysis of the four different samples of dust collected from various sites in lower Manhattan revealed not only extensive presence of red-gray chips of unignited thermite, it also found significant traces of microspheres of previously molten iron that are normally the product of incendiary explosions far hotter than jet fuel fires. “What strikes me as odd,” Jones said, “is that these red chips we found are so striking, and yet no one has reported their presence before. These red chips are very unusual and very prevalent, and they test out as being consistent with a form of thermite. We can ignite them, and they react very violently when touched off. So how do you explain their presence in the towers’ dust? “USGS [the U.S Geological Survey, which did some testing on WTC dust for NIST] has a lame explanation for not looking for this. I have been encouraging them to test early dust samples, but they haven’t responded.” Jones said he sent a letter in April 2008 to NIST about his findings, inviting it to test its own dust for such chips. In public comments since, NIST has dismissed his research as not scientifically valid, because Jones can’t prove the “chain of custody” of the dust he tested. Other groups, notably contributors to AE911.info, which supports the NIST findings, argue that neither the samples nor Jones tests are reliable. Jones simply says: “They don’t need my dust to test. They have plenty of dust of their own where they know the chain of custody. They just won’t test it.”

Gage and other Truthers point to other indications of explosives. Besides vast mushroom clouds of dust and debris exploding outward at the top of both towers, videos show squibs that appear to be many small explosions. Moreover, like some first responders and escapees, in some cases live on-air broadcasts reporters joined in describing the explosions. According to Newman, NIST studies showed that the apparent explosions and squibs were actually compressed air from the force of the collapse finding openings

If you have 20 floors of mass suddenly released, as it goes downward it picks up more mass and more force—and, yes, you can have a building collapse in 10 seconds, and yes, it is physically possible. — MICHAEL NEWMAN, NIST

Mushroom Clouds Gage, Jones and other critics cite other official evidence possibly pointing to explosives including the fact that iron-rich microspheres were found in tests by USGS and RJ Lee Labs. Says Gage, “In the twin towers, it’s very explosive. You can see the explosions in all the videos, and what’s happening is the explosions are creating this incredible dust cloud. The dust clouds are forming immediately. In the dust from the WTC, you have millions of these tiny, perfectly spherical microspheres of iron. Now, where did they come from? “The only way they could have been formed is to have molten iron and then a series of explosions whose incredible force atomizes, if you will, the molten iron.” Dr. Jones notes that a USGS scientist told him the microspheres might have come from the cleanup process, when crews were cutting steel. “Problem is that we have samples from long before the cleanup began,” he says.

and blowing debris and dust outward in an explosive manner. Eyewitness accounts of explosions, he says, weren’t evident in 10,000 interviews NIST conducted, and a few such reports were readily explained by other phenomena. “No one gave us any evidence that there was any kind of explosive,” Newman says. Nor did NIST find evidence of a “severe high-temperature corrosion attack,” he says, noting that sulfur and manganese were heavily present in building materials and that any corrosion might have occurred in the debris pile after the buildings’ collapse, due to the conditions there. AE911 critics support NIST with an argument that explosive sounds likely derived from electrical and air-conditioning transformers exploding, the sound of floors collapsing onto each other, or rivets popping all at once as the pressure got to them. “The way I see it, it had to be the rivets,” the 24

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[23]

[24]   COVER STORY

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

EXPLOSIVE THEORY 23

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building codes have been accepted by the international organization that models building codes. That wouldn’t have happened if they doubted our findings.” Gage and his allies say that Newman is one among a group of governmentdependent employees fearful that evidence of explosives would be too traumatic for the public to handle—and probably too risky to their political superiors. Notably, however, unlike with, say, Environmental Protection Agency research on WTC toxins, no whistleblowers have emerged to lend credence to that theory. Not FALLOUT !Uif!hpwfsonfouÖt!uifpsz!bcpvu!xibu!eftuspzfe!XUD!Cvjmejoh!8-! one NIST scientist xijdi!xbt!opu!iju!cz!b!qmbof-!epft!opu!tbujtgz!nfncfst!pg!BF:22!Usvui/ or technician has protested the findings or leaked an accusation that the NIST report was online Journal of Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy influenced by political pressure. Theories quotes one firefighter saying. Ed Munyak, who is more nuanced than “So why didn’t we look for explosive Gage in his critique of NIST, concedes that residues in the towers?” Newman asks the NIST report actually provides some rhetorically. “Because there was no evidence supporting alternative theories evidence saying go that way. There was a of the WTC collapse. Munyak argues lot of evidence saying look at the impact that top-down influence shows up in the of the plane, the loss of fire-proofing, the overall presentation of the report to the bowing of the perimeter beams, which was public and its final conclusions, not in all the final straw that broke the camel’s back.” its details provided by working technicians Even so, why not test debris—a relatively and scientists. simple operation—to put the question “There is some very good information fully behind and silence critics? in the NIST report if you really look at Newman says NIST did calculate the it and analyze it, as I’ve done, that makes quantity of thermite that would be the case that something else happened,” needed—and found that it would require Munyak says. “The report [conclusion] a tremendous amount in each column to says there was one structural failure get it to melt. and after that happened, collapse was Newman acknowledges that NIST’s inevitable. Which just is not the case. I’m response that it sees “no need” to test dust saying that’s the falsehood of the NIST for any form of thermite won’t satisfy political leaders, not so much the people critics, and adds: “We don’t try to debate who do the research.” or argue with these folks because they have “The fact is that the collapses don’t their opinions and what they believe is resemble any fire-induced behavior evidence, but to us it is counterproductive of structures, but it exactly mimics to engage in debate. a controlled demolition, so why not “We’d rather let the body of evidence investigate that? It’s all very suspicious and we presented stand on its own merits. We that’s why an independent investigation is feel this is a very good piece of work—in needed so we can all learn from this.” many ways pushing investigations way beyond what’s gone before. Our work is LA Weekly founder Jay Levin is writing a to help strengthen buildings, and proof of book about the WTC scientific dispute. Tom the validity of our research is that most McKenzie is a freelance reporter. all our recommendations for changing

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009

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[26]   SPORTS

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Get into the hottest bars, clubs and lounges! twitter.com/metronewspaper

Get into the hottest bars, clubs and lounges! www.metrofb.com

[28]

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

mind body & spirit g Classes & Instruction

Focus Learn How To Meditate - And Why! Enjoy life! Calm the mind. Improve relationships. Make better decisions. Meditation and Buddhist View with Reed Sherman. Everyone is welcome. No previous experience necessary. $10 per class. Every Wednesday evening, 7:309, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Los Gatos, 15980 Blossom Hill Rd. Los Gatos, 95032. Call Kelsang Gamo 408/226-0595 for information or visit us at www.MeditationInSanJose.org

g g Healing & Bodywork

Roxanne’s

Professional massage. Near Downtown 899 W. San Carlos, San Jose. 10am to 10pm 408-292-0505, CMT

Bella Spa The best in relaxation, with aroma therapy. 359 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View. 650-965-8899

CBS The best Professional massage in the Bay area. Saratoga Ave. near Westgate Mall. 408-728-0717

Grand Opening

Beauty Day Spa

The best Asian Acupuncture & massage will make you feel like a new person. Stevens Creek & Hwy 85 408-973-8179

Skin care, Chinese massage & waxing. 278 Hope St. #D. Mountain View. Visa & M/C. mvfacialbeauty.com 650-965-9588

Massage & Relaxation

Beauty Island Spa Skin & body care. Best massage available. Stevens Creek Blvd. Cupertino. 408-996-8396

Massage By Michael

To advertise, call Michael R. Hill at 408.200.1308

g Psychics

Psychic Counseling Healing & Workshops Affordable, short courses. Certifications. clairvoyancefoundation.com 408-625-1060

Great massage by Asian man. In $50. Outcall $70. By CMT. For days 408-551-0767 or after 7pm 408-893-1966.

Want W ant ttoo kknow now what DIANETICS w hat D IANETICS ccan an ddoo ffor or yyou? ou? ® ® C o nt a c t : Contact: Hubbard H ubba rd Dianetics Dia net ics Foundation Fo u n d at i o n 11865 865 Lundy Lu ndy Ave, Ave, San Sa n Jose Jose CA CA • ((408) 4 0 8) 3383-9400 8 3 -9 4 0 0 sstevenscreek@scientology.net tevenscreek@scientolog y.net

$$100 10 0 © 22009 0 09 CSI. C SI . A ighht s R e s e r ve d Alll l R Rights Reserved

• 2 days days • aaudiovisual ud iov i sua l presentations p r e s e nt at i o n s Ha nd s-on experience ex per ience with w it h DIANETICS DI A N E T IC S • Hands-on so so you you see see the t he results resu lt s and a nd benefits benefit s yourself. yo u r s e l f .

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009STYLE

THE DEVIL WEARS FLORAL AND FUR!!Wphvf!fejups!Boob!Xjoupvs!!

svmft!uif!sbh!usbef!jo!ÕUif!Tfqufncfs!Jttvf/Ö

A Wintour’s Tale

J

UST BECAUSE you like to put on a beautiful Carolina Herrera dress or a pair of J Brand blue jeans instead of something basic from Kmart doesn’t mean you’re a dumb person.” This is one of the first sentences out of 6CC6L>CIDJG’s mouth in I=:H:EI:B7:G>HHJ:, the new documentary that focuses on the woman reputed to be “the pope” of high fashion. As editor of American Vogue, the most powerful and best-respected fashion magazine in the world, Wintour reigns supreme over the biggest names in the rag trade and legions of quavering assistants. Clad in what must be the world’s biggest collection of floral-pattern dresses and unashamedly decadent fur coats, her scrawny arms are perpetually folded over her chest as she placidly surveys the scene. In a film being touted as the real The Devil Wears Prada, Wintour does seem to be a caricature of herself. Behind the iron curtain of her perfectly frosted, sculpted bob, this is a woman who really does live in this bifurcated universe of Kmart vs. haute couture. Directed by R.J. Cutler of The War Room fame, The September Issue will hit selected theaters on Sept. 11, Santana Row’s CinéArts among them. The picture is a whirlwind of tense office drama, glamorous photo shoots in far-off locations and racks upon racks of opulent garments, enough to satisfy the thirst of any follower of high fashion. Though well paced and largely entertaining, this portrait still never quite melts the frost behind this most fabled of all ice queens and never looks deep enough at what’s behind that pair of notorious dark sunglasses. The picture largely follows what it takes to create the telephone book of Seventh Avenue, the Vogue September issue of 2007, which to date remains the thickest magazine the publication has ever brought to print. Much of the story focuses on the relationship between Wintour and Vogue creative director Grace Coddington. With her bright red mane falling past her shoulders, fiery personality and artistic genius, Coddington is the exact opposite of robotlike Wintour, and their 20-year-plus partnership is the lifeblood behind the success of the magazine. However, The September Issue was shot before the worldwide economy went into the shredder. Much of the magazine culture presented in The September Issue no longer exists. Vogue’s ad pages have been down significantly the last two years, and there have been consistent whispers circulating that French Vogue’s Carine Roitfeld will soon be replacing Wintour as editor. As such, perhaps the world presented in The September Issue, a place where $50,000 can be blown on a photo shoot that is ultimately spiked, turns out to be more of a documentary of a bygone era. Jessica Fromm

[29]

[30]

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009MENU

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[31]

tjmjdpo!wbmmfzĂ&#x2013;t!hvjef!up!Ă&#x;of!ejojoh Difg!Tqpumjhiu Jeffrey Stout of Alexanderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Steakhouse is saluted by Silicon Valley Restaurant Week_34

Chinese Surprise ;Za^eZ7j^igV\d

Despite expectations, Sunnyvaleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ginger Cafe serves a strong pan-Asian menu with fresh ingredients By Stett Holbrook

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hen I visited Ginger Cafe for the ďŹ rst time a little while ago, I expected ordinary American-style Chinese food awash in sauces as thick and sweet as ketchup, in a garish dining room thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s supposed to evoke Chinese exoticism to non-Chinese diners.

Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not what I found. Instead, I was confronted by a menu thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mainly Chinese, but makes stops in Vietnam, Thailand and Hong Kongâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;an effort to please as many people as possible but without providing mastery of any one cuisine, I thought. Inside, the dramatic, circular dining room is done up in all kinds of Asian art and furnishings, a Buddha head, rattan furniture hanging from the walls, red ďŹ&#x201A;ags and a massive, wheel-like wooden chandelier suspended from the ceiling. A P.F. Changâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s knock-off, I thought. But I thought wrong. Ginger Cafe offers a solid menu of satisfying Asian standards served with noticeably fresh ingredients. Chef Tuyen Chung was born in Vietnam but lived in Hong Kong and China before

coming to the United States, so the pan-Asian menu isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a gimmick; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a reďŹ&#x201A;ection of his diverse experiences. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect dim sum from such a wide-ranging menu, but the short list offers several dim sum classics that are a testament to the kitchenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s skill, like the juicy Shanghai dumplings ($5), crispy blue-crab dumplings ($4.50) and pan-fried leek and shrimp in rice paper ($4.50). The cilantro-and-lime-juicemarinated squid and shrimp served on crispy shrimp crackers is a refreshing starter ($9) for the withering heat weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had recently. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beautifully presented on a long white plate. Eat it quickly, though. The seafood marinade quickly makes the crackers soggy. The Thai-inspired spicy seafood coconut soup ($10) is another winner. Made with squid, shrimp, mushrooms and bamboo shoots in a lemon-grass-enlivened coconut-milk broth, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brightly ďŹ&#x201A;avored and satisfying. Less accomplished was Ginger Cafeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s string bean chicken ($8.25). With wok-blistered green beans, timing is everything. Cooked

too long or left to linger in the kitchen the beans loose their snap and â&#x20AC;&#x153;wok hay,â&#x20AC;? the justcooked vitality they have right after leaving the wok. Mine were cooked past their prime, and the chicken, while tender and ďŹ&#x201A;avorful, was drowned in a goopy sauce. The best dishes I tried at the Sunnyvale restaurant were the XO bacon-wrapped scallops ($17) and the cumin lamb ($17). Given their fatty richness, I think of scallops as the bacon of the sea. Adding bacon to them plays off their savory goodness. The bok choy and distinctive XO sauce make this dish easy to love. The lamb is tossed with fat mushrooms and red bell peppers and enough cumin seeds to make it crunchy. The lamb itself is wonderfully tender and touched with a thin but assertive garliclaced glaze. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; s a full bar and a good selection of tea. I ordered a pot of oolong tea ($2.50) and was pleased to see they serve highquality loose leaves, not the bagged stuff. Ginger Cafe offers a few desserts, such as fried bananas and

red beans with mango served in little shot glasses with whipped cream ($2 each), but I skipped them. The restaurant serves a good number of vegetarian dishes and a few mock-meat items, such as the vegetarian kung pao chicken ($8.75) and vegetarian Thai duck curry ($11). The â&#x20AC;&#x153;chickenâ&#x20AC;? is made with soy protein and is surprisingly poultrylike. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;duckâ&#x20AC;? made with wheat gluten is not as good, since itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rather ďŹ&#x201A;abby, kind of like duck skin. The yellow curry sauce served with it is good but didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t deliver the spiciness advertised on the menu. Sure, this isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the rigorously traditional Asian food you can ďŹ nd in Milpitas or Newark, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s OK. The food can be good, the setting is quite comfortable and the full bar helps ease the sting of the electronic lounge music, Phil Collins and monsters of light rock standards that play on the sound system. Lesson learned. First impressions about a restaurant often donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hold up. The proof is in the plate.

[32]

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009   DINING GUIDE

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[33]

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[34]   DINING GUIDE

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

CHEF SPOTLIGHT

Jeffrey Stout

A

LEXANDERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S STEAKHOUSE in Cupertino has been embraced by vegetarians, carnivores and ďŹ sh lovers alike thanks to the diverse and imaginative culinary skills of executive chef ?:;;G:N HIDJI. Providing reďŹ ned cuisine in a stylish setting with an Asian ďŹ&#x201A;air serves as the foundation of a restaurant that deďŹ es easy categorization and continues to innovate. Along with co-owner James â&#x20AC;&#x153;J.C.â&#x20AC;? Chen, Stout remains ambitious in his efforts to deliver dishes without compromise. Before Alexanderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Stout worked as research and development chef for the California Cafe restaurant group and spent time at the Blackhawk Grille in Danville, the Fourth Street Grill in Berkeley and Napa Valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Domaine Chandon. A Bay Area native, Stout grew up with a Japanese mother and an Anglo father, an upbringing he says formed his Asian and European cooking style. Stett Holbrook

Chef Spotlight is a regularly occurring feature leading up to Silicon Valley Restaurant Week, Oct. 14â&#x20AC;&#x201C;21. Each week, I will proďŹ le a chef involved in SVRW. For more information about the event, please go to www.siliconvalleyrestaurantweek.com.

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009

[35]

[36]   DINING GUIDE

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009   DINING GUIDE

mjwf! gffe My Beef With Bourdain

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NTHONY BOURDAIN just isn’t that cute anymore. I don’t tune in regularly, but his Travel Channel show, No Reservations, is usually entertaining and informative in a watch-the-booze-thirsty-hedonist-travel-tofar-flung-lands-and-eat-with-the-natives kind of way. It’s one of the few bright spots in a sea of formulaic celebrity cooking programs and vapid chef competitions. But after watching his episode on San Francisco, I’m officially off the Bourdain bandwagon. The so-called bad boy of cuisine would have you believe that he is a pleasure-seeking rebel in a world of politically correct, vegan killjoys. While I’d much rather have a beer with him than with Rachael Ray, I’ve come to see him as a sinister force of corporate culinary conservatism. The conceit of the San Francisco episode was that he was traveling behind enemy lines where anyone who didn’t agree with comrades Alice Waters and Michael Pollan is banished to a month of arugula picking on a biodynamic farm in Mendocino County until they develop the proper reverence for sustainable agriculture and Slow Food. But as he sampled food at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and dined at high- and low-brow restaurants such as Incanto, the House of Prime Rib and Red’s Java House, Bourdain realized that San Francisco’s food scene isn’t just boiled tofu served by humorless lesbians. There’s a lot of really good food, too. He wanted to hate San Francisco but couldn’t. Of course, Bourdain knew as well as anyone that San Francisco’s food scene bears little resemblance to those stereotypes. In his blog (http://anthony-bourdain-blog .travelchannel.com/read/im-not-angry), he admits as much and says that he loves the city. I’m with you there, Tony. And I share your disdain for sanctimoniousness and gastro-dogma. But where is your scorn for the other side of the coin? For petroleumintensive industrial agriculture? For a pork industry that pollutes the groundwater of poor communities and contributes to the spread of antibiotic-resistant staph infections? For a chemical-dependent, climate-changing food system that claims to feed the world but doesn’t? Why don’t you pick on them instead of Alice Waters? Bourdain’s faux Frisco-trepidation was an entertaining plot device I was willing to accept. What I’m not willing to accept is that his derision of all things organic, sustainable and humane somehow make him a culinary rebel. In fact, the opposite is true. Gastronomically speaking, Bourdain is as conservative as Dick Cheney. He’d have you believe that he’s the Lou Reed of food, but he’s more like Clay Aiken—safe and predictable. In the scene where he’s chowing down on a cheeseburger at Red’s Java House, he wonders why anyone would care where their beef came from or if it was organically raised. Never mind that nobody who goes to Red’s asks such questions. What bothers me is his mockery of such questions at all. “It tastes like it died screaming,” he says with glee as he digs into to his dripping burger. Why celebrate an animal dying in pain? Is that cooler than treating animals and food in general with respect? Is it punk rock to cheer the products of cruel factory farms that treat workers almost as poorly as the animals they warehouse? A true rebel would challenge the powers that be and seek to bring down an unfeeling industrial food machine. To be really rebellious would be to expose the lies and greed behind agribusiness and look for alternatives that celebrate sensually pleasing food that happens to be produced in an environmentally sound way. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, they generally go hand-in-hand. Bourdain is ultimately a great defender of the status quo. He poses no threat to industrial agriculture. Instead, he sneers at those who seek an alternative to it. He’s a dream for the likes of Cargill, Monsanto, Con Agra and other agribusiness heavies who are under pressure to clean up their act. And that what makes him dangerous. He offers conformity cloaked in a leather jacket. And that’s not cool. Follow me on Twitter at Twitter.com/Stett_Holbrook

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[40]

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009   ARTS

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[41]

METROGUIDE

Gjmn On a scale of 1 to 9, ‘9’ is about a 3_45

Stratford On Gothic @Zk^c7ZgcZ

San Jose Rep’s Rick Lombardo gives ‘As You Like It’ a high-tech urban look By Steve Palopoli

WIZARDLY Kbnft!Dbsqfoufs!dbtut! b!tqfmm!jo!Tbo!Kptf! SfqÖt!ÕBt!Zpv!Mjlf!Ju/Ö

ITH EACH passing year, the question of how to bring Shakespeare alive for modern audiences gets more and more complicated. Shakespeare Santa Cruz gets most of the credit in Northern California for bringing new approaches to the Bard’s works—many of them classic, some of them weird but interesting, and others just completely random (with at least a couple of them, including the now-legendary Merry Wives of Windsor–in-a-trailer-park gambit, that I will never be able to make up my mind about). But with his directorial debut for San Jose Repertory Theatre, artistic director Rick Lombardo has staked his claim to a place in a very small group of modern Shakespeare visionaries. By any standard, this production of As You Like It is an unqualified triumph. But the fact that it was built on one of Shakespeare’s shakiest and most controversial plays only makes it all the more impressive.

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The typical Shakespeare nut has seen enough mediocre stagings of As You Like It to be wary. Critics for centuries have argued about whether As You Like It is a great work, or a comedy trifle. What Lombardo’s version does is reaffirm the pure entertainment value of this often misunderstood play while at the same time shoring up the argument that its thematic subtext (“civilization” vs. nature, corruption vs. love) has some fascinating substance. To put it another way, one that Lombardo himself may or may not appreciate: this production is to Shakespeare what The Dark Knight was to Batman. It may sound crazy, but hear me out. The first half of the play is one of the sleekest, coolest Shakespeare stagings I’ve ever seen. The vibe is urban gothic, with three huge, high-tech screens behind the stage that conjures up an epic dose of cold cosmopolitan chic. The lighting by Daniel Meeker is used to full effect for this purpose, as in an

interrogation scene that features several characters huddled around one single harsh light, stage right. Baddies like Duke Frederick, who of course drives his brother Duke Senior (and eventually all of the play’s main characters) into the Forest of Arden, are given an underworld flavor highlighted by the sharp black suits and glamour wear by B. Modern (who has done a lot of work for Shakespeare Santa Cruz over the years). And the updating of the play’s crookedwrestling subplot to the world of ultimate fighting is genius. When the action shifts to the forest, the play always seem to bog down; however, an able cast featuring Anna Bullard as the cross-dressing Rosalind (one of Shakespeare’s most interesting female characters) and Blake Ellis as a wonderfully goofy-but-lovable Orlando keeps the interplay intriguing, in a build-up to a fabulous ending. But by far, the standout moment is James Carpenter’s delivery of the play’s famous “all

the world’s a stage” monologue. I’ve seen this play performed many times, including in the film version, and I’ve never seen anything that even comes close to what Carpenter does here. To give away too many details would risk spoiling the breathtaking surprises to be experienced; suffice it to say that to say that to see Carpenter as the melancholy Jacques act this scene in a flurry of snowflakes, against a backdrop of a winter forest lit by a blue glow, is the most powerful moment of theater I can recall seeing in quite some time. His performance is the first among many elements that combine to make this not just must-see Shakespeare, but mustsee theater, pure and simple. AS YOU LIKE IT, a San Jose Repertory Theatre production, plays Tuesday at 7:30pm, Wednesday at 11am and 8pm, Thursday–Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 3 and 8pm and Sunday at 2pm through Sept. 27 at the Rep, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose. Tickets are $35–$64. (408.367.7255)

[42]   STAGE/ART/LIT

SEPTEMBER 9-16, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y   SEPTEMBER 9-16, 2009STAGE/ART/LIT

‘Spamalot’ Springs

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STAGE PREVIEW

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ILICON VALLEY’S Broadway drought is coming to an end when Broadway San Jose kicks off its premiere season with Monty Python’s Spamalot. The touring version of the musical comedy “lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is set to open Sept. 15 at the San Jose Center for the LEAPIN’ LAKERS!!Kfgg!Evnbt!ebodft!xjui!uif! Performing Arts for a six-day run. Mblfs!Hjsmt!jo!ÕNpouz!QzuipoÖt!Tqbnbmpu/Ö Spamalot, which ended its Broadway run this last spring, was nominated for 14 Tony Awards and took home three, including best musical, in 2005. The Broadway hit is loosely based on the 1975 film and recounts the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as they embark on a quest to find the Holy Grail. While on their mission, King Arthur and company encounter the dancing Laker Girls, a bloodthirsty rabbit, a flatulent Frenchman and an armless and legless knight. Those familiar with the humor of Monty Python will understand that the musical really makes little to no sense, and that’s the point. It mocks Arthurian legends, while lampooning historical characters and pop-culture icons. Critics have hailed Spamalot as a musical for non–theater lovers. “I really do believe that this is kind of a perfect company they put together with this cast,” says Jeff Dumas, who originated the role of Patsy, King Arthur’s trusted companion, on the national tour. “As far as the show goes, the creative team did a really good job of maintaining the quality over this long of a run.” Highlights of Spamalot include a line of dancing divas and knights, flying cows and an extended version of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Life of Brian that Dumas’ character sings at the top of Act 2. “Being able to sing the unofficial Python anthem every night is really a privilege,” says Dumas. “Growing up we all watched [Monty Python[, and all the guys in the show know everything about it.” Despite the absence of John O’Hurley (from Seinfeld), who played King Arthur during the San Francisco run earlier this year, the touring cast is filled with Broadway veterans, including Christopher Gurr as King Arthur, Merle Dandridge as the Lady of the Lake, James Beaman as Sir Robin, Ben Davis as Sir Galahad and Matthew Greer as Sir Lancelot. When asked why Silicon Valley theatergoers should come out to see Spamalot, after a brief pause, Dumas quipped, “Have you been watching CNN lately? I’ll say that is all the reason you need.” Andrea Frainier MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT, presented by Broadway San Jose, plays Sept. 15–17 at 7:30pm, Sept. 18 at 8pm, Sept. 19 at 2 and 8pm and Sept. 20 at 1 and 6pm at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Blvd., San Jose. Tickets are $20–$88. (408.792.4111)

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[43]

[44]   STAGE/ART/LIT

SEPTEMBER 9-16, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y 8VbZgdc;VWg^X`

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009FILM

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Hello, Dollies

Animated ‘9’ borrows badly from better screen adventures for young audiences

By Richard von Busack

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T IS especially disheartening to see the preview of a movie and think, “I’d like to see that,” and then suddenly realize that you did— a week ago. A lot of flaws can be covered by 3-D animation. Nobody sane would describe The Final Destination as much of a movie, for example. But in the swimming-pool death-trap sequence, some witty animator floated a discarded Band-Aid toward the viewers. That familiar disgusting experience at a public pool is honored at last—a little value-added to go with the $3.50 3-D goggle tax. The previews of 9 in 3-D look like an altogether different movie than the one I saw flat. In the trailer, the muddy, khaki-green/ gray colors define themselves into a foreground and background instead of making the screen a square pond of Anderson’s Pea Soup. The little burlap dolls look crisp in front of the postapocalyptic debris behind them. And you want your visuals when the script is so startlingly derivative—a quest picture leading to a spiritual revelation of such flatulence that Pastor Rick Warren couldn’t

match it in a month of Sundays. The title character (voiced by Elijah Wood) is a doll-size creature with a zipper front and camera lenses for eyes. As he awakes, the Age of Man has just come to a noisy end; the bodies of the last dead humans haven’t turned to skeletons yet. A terrible war has destroyed the world. The only living creatures are these mysterious living dolls and their hunters: killer androids made of bones and servos. Mark Pauline of Survival Research Laboratories must have been one of the last humans to die. The creature 9, mute at first, encounters some of his fellow creatures: 2, a wise old man; then comes the ninja girl 7 (voiced by Jennifer Connelly), the only woman in the picture—a warrior with a seagull skull for a helmet; most important somehow is a ponderous, self-important bishop (Christopher Plummer), a belfry dweller with an English penny as a jewel in his mitre. Without much introduction to each other or the audience, the poorly differentiated bunch deal with a fateful mistake by 9. It’s the moment our hero powers up a kill-bot, a sort of cast-iron

version of Cthulu, with a magic talisman. This happens for no explicable reason: Curiosity? A momentary lapse of sanity? There’s a certain flair to the characterization here, particularly the beasts that keep rising up and threatening the little homunculi with their tigerish talons. But 9 invites you to make allowances for it. It’s only a cartoon (which doesn’t excuse it for its terrible lack of story; this is the year of Up and Coraline). The film is designed for younger viewers (who won’t be so young that they haven’t seen some of the plot devices here). It is as simple as it is so that viewers can fill in the spaces with their own imaginations (which is just underwriting by another name). And as an animator friend sternly reminded me, the cost of cartoons is such that the lowest common denominator has to be reached. Thus 9 is what it is, with one morally monochrome battle after another recorded in 360degree camera spin. Finally, a film sold with the slogan “Not your father’s animation” really ought to have had some serious innovation to back things up. It’s not just the

fathers out there who’ll have seen this stuff before. There’s too much evolved CGI animation to make excuses for the film’s really bad shape. If there were any original ideas in 9, I missed them—something that wasn’t a pastiche or a nod or an homage to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The burlap skins of the characters look like Oogie Boogie in The Nightmare Before Christmas. The opening sequence bears an unfortunate similarity to the pre-titles in Coraline. (Didn’t they know? Didn’t anyone tell them?) The baby-doll-headed monster is like the strange doll-baby/spider made by the nasty neighbor boy in the first Toy Story. The film treats you like you’ve never been to the rodeo before. And 9 wraps up its saga with a version of a plot gaff just used in Harry Potter and the Half Blood-Prince: one more detail in a real multidimensional disappointment.

9 (PG-13; 79 min.), directed by Shane Acker and written by Pamela Pettler and Acker, with the voices of Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly, opens Sept. 9.

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FILM  SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

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Reviews by Laura Fishman, Michael S. Gant and Richard von Busack.

New The Baader Meinhof Complex (R; 150 min.) Director Uli Edel races through the incredible history of the most successful band of revolutionaries of the 1970s: a group of fearless German radicals whose ultimate goals got lost amid jail sentences, copy-cats, botched operations and cultureclash-producing efforts to tie up with the Palestinian cause. Ultimately, Edel is more interested in action than doctrine. This group, best known as the Red Army Faction, is barely identiďŹ ed as Communists, and its linksâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;if anyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;to East Germany are less important than its ďŹ repower and its attacks on U.S. Army bases, German banks and right-wing newspapers. A gripping story, but one that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d really prefer to see stretched out into a miniseries. What Bruno Ganzâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;as some sort of humane law ofďŹ cialâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is doing in this ďŹ lm is for the Germans to know and us to guess at. Martina Gedeck is excellent as the journalist-turned-radical Ulrike Meinhof; her own tragedy gives you a handle on this long but speedy saga. (Opens Sep 11 at the Guild in Menlo Park.) (RvB) I Can Do Bad All by Myself (PG-13) Tyler Perry directs, writes and stars in another Madea comedy. (Opens Sep 11.) I Puritani The Bellini opera as presented by Teatro Comunale di Bologna. (Shows Sep 13 at 11am and Sep 16 at 7pm at Camera 7 in Campbell.) My One and Only (PG-13; 108 min.) See review on page 47. 9 (PG-13; 79 min.) See review on page 45. 9/11 Film Festival The ďŹ fth annual 9/11 Film Festival at

Oaklandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Grand Lake Theater features screenings of multiple ďŹ lms about 9/11 conspiracy theories, including the world premiere of Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup and Anthrax War. Proceeds from the event will be donated toward Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and NYC Coalition for Accountability Now. Speakers at the festival include David Ray GrifďŹ n, a philosophy of religion professor at Claremont Graduate University who has written 10 books on the subject of 9/11â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s falsity. Janette MacKinlay, who works on the Executive Council of NYCCAN, the organization working to get an initiative on November ballots for â&#x20AC;&#x153;an independent, impartial investigation into the events of September 11,â&#x20AC;? will also appear. Bonnie Faulkner, host of KPFAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guns and Butter, will be the festivalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s MC. The event will also feature live music by the musicians Vic Sadot and Jeremy Goodfeather. Tickets for the festival are $10 each day. (Shows Sep 9-10 at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland; see www.communitycurrency.org.ďŹ lmfestival2009.html.) (LF) The September Issue (PG-13; 90 min.) A documentary about editor Anna Wintour and the making of the biggest issue of fashion magazine Vogue. (Opens Sep 11.) Sorority Row (R; 101 min.) A sensitive look at the good deeds and important educational opportunities provided by our nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s collegial social organizations. And then a serial killer has to come along and ruin it for everybody. Just to give you an idea of what this means, consider that from now on actress Teri Andrzejewski can put on her rĂŠsumĂŠ that she played â&#x20AC;&#x153;Brad-Clad Sisterâ&#x20AC;? in Sorority Row. (Opens Sep 11.) Still Walking (Unrated; 114 min.) Master director Hirokazu Koreedaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pensive comedy-drama about a family reunion. The plot reďŹ&#x201A;ects one of the towers of world cinema, Ozuâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tokyo Story; it is shot Ozu-style from the lotus-sitting position

on tatamis. The old-peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home looks like itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been there forever, with its sliding screens open to the breezes. This permanence is an illusion, for this is an end-of-summer story, with the simmering sounds of cicadas, and sunďŹ&#x201A;owers punching yellow holes in the screen. Coils of citronella burn at night to match funerary incense by day. The family has reunited to record an anniversary of the passing of an eldest son. The grandmother is restrained but still prone to sadness; she pulls her family toward her with one hand and slaps at them with the other. The correct, remote old grandfather is supposedly a doctor, but heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really a duffer, his patients having all shufďŹ&#x201A;ed off to the next world. Koreeda sets a place for us at their table. Our surrogateâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the strangers there, whose estrangement we feel keenlyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;are the second son, Ryota, and his wife. Ryotaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s burning shame and resentment grows during the feasts and rites. Counterpoint to the ďŹ lmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s solemnity is the way his kid sister knows how to tame the mother, how to ignore the lady when sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trying to needle or interfere and how to connive to advance the ďŹ nancial interests of her own children. Playing this sister is the singer-turned-actress named You. Ms. You is a creature of rare effervescence, with a shaggy haircut, a loose lower lip and a cracked voice. In a drama where everyone has their own solemmness, sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the one person who doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take herself seriously. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s her levity that makes this compelling and beautifully made ďŹ lm really a comedy when all is said and done. (Opens Sep 11 at Camera 3 in San Jose.) (RvB) Whiteout (R; 96 min.) Kate Beckinsale investigates a murder in Antartica as the light goes away. (Opens Sep 11.)

Revivals Dial M for Murder/Strangers on a Train (1954/1951) In London, a foolproof murderfor-hire plan goes awry when the victim (Grace Kelly) grabs a huge pair of scissors. This Hitchcock thriller is a stagy one, despite the scissors scene. John Williams steals the show as the mustard-keen Inspector Hubbard. Also starring Robert Cummings and Ray Milland, unfortunately. BILLED WITH Strangers on a Train. A blissful collaboration between Patricia Highsmith, Alfred Hitchcock and Raymond Chandler. Two strangers have drinks together on the New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;to-D.C. train. One, Guy (Farley Granger), is a celebrated tennis player who has climbed out of the ghetto. The other is a senatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s son, Bruno (Robert Walker). When Bruno suggests the idea of killing a troublesome woman in Guyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life, the tennis player thinks itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a joke. But Bruno is all too serious, and after performing the hit in question, he wants Guy to reciprocate. The ďŹ lm is genuinely macabre, with a manic merry-go-roundbroke-down climax, but what repays the rewatching is Walkerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bruno, one of cinemaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most memorable villains. (Plays Sep 15-17 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB) Niles Film Museum Regularly scheduled programs of silent ďŹ lms. Sep 12: The Vagabond (1916) with Charlie Chaplin. Charlie incites the wrath of the Rom, in a ďŹ lm that was a namesake for one of L.A.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best early revival-movie theaters. Captain Kiddâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kids (1919) has Harold Lloyd shanghaied by girl pirates. The Love Nest (1923) concerns Buster Keatonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bout with buccaneers, and Sailors, Beware (1927) stars Laurel and Hardy as a pair of mariners dealing with some ďŹ shy cargo. Bruce Loeb at the piano. (Plays Sep 12 at 7:30 in Fremont at the Edison Theatre, 37417 Niles Blvd; www. nilesďŹ lmuseum.org.) (RvB) Rebecca/Shadow of a Doubt (1940/1943) Joan Fontaine plays the new wife of British nobleman Max de Winter (Laurence Olivier). She ďŹ nds a chilly welcome at de Winterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s English manor, Manderley. Her husband seems distracted, bitter; her housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), is in open revolt against her. Gradually, she begins to fear that the ďŹ rst Mrs.

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y  SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009FILM de Winter, Rebecca, was such a paragon that she will never be able to match her. It is the only Hitchcock movie to win a Best Picture Oscar. BILLED WITH Shadow of a Doubt. A bright, trusting niece (Teresa Wright) with a bit of a crush on her uncle (Joseph Cotton) begins to suspect the man of being the “Merry Widow Murderer.” Hume Cronyn is memorable as one of those placid smalltown folks with a taste for gore literature—or worse. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s key essays on the subject of betrayal; it was filmed in the then-idyllic town of Santa Rosa. (Plays Sep 1114 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB) The 39 Steps/Secret Agent (1935/1936) The fountainhead of the modern spy film, in which cool and murderous elements are balanced. It’s the earliest and perhaps the purest version of a recurrent Hitchcock theme: an innocent man pursued by both the police and a shadowy mob of spies. Robert Donat plays a flippant Canadian who ends up the prime suspect in a murder, committed by the 39 Steps, a group of espionage artists. BILLED WITH The Secret Agent. John Gielgud stars as the reluctant gentleman spy “Ashenden,” in an adventure taken from two of Somerset Maugham’s perhaps autobiographical accounts of espionage in Switzerland, 1916. As in the 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, the stuffy British heroes are overshadowed

by Peter Lorre, who here plays a Mexican professional assassin. “Childlike, beautiful and unfathomably wicked,” the critic Otis Ferguson. (Plays Sep 9-10 in Palo Alto at the Stanford Theatre.) (RvB)

Reviews All About Steve (PG-13) No one is doing what Sandra Bullock does, walking the line between glamour and girl-next-door, producing her own comedies and getting mileage out of being a New Jersey girl in a Fifth Avenue body, a quick fast lady in world too slow for her. But All About Steve—despite a sturdy screwball comedy script—shows that Bullock may have to move on to a new stage. Bullock plays Mary Magdalene Horowitz, a Sacramento crossword puzzle composer still living at home with her parents, who is set up on a blind date with Steve (Bradley Cooper), a cameraman from “CCN News.” Mary falls madly in love at first sight and starts chasing Steve around the country. Bullock’s bleached hair and skimpy outfit shows that she’s thinking young, but she may have too much integrity to be right for a yakkety ditz like Mary. Fortunately, Thomas Haden Church—as a straight-faced, splendidly conceited newsman—takes up some of the slack as Steve’s co-worker, who mischievously encourages Mary in her pursuit. Bullock is

most likable acting on her honest desire to pounce on Steve; there’s no girlish coyness in a line like “I’m going to eat you like a mountain lion.” She’s about ready to play some fine cougars, hunting down some younger man and making him like it. (RvB) District 9 (R; 112 min.) Humans and alien refugees live in close proximity in Johannesburg in dystopian sci-fi thriller by Neill Blomkamp. The story is told documentary style, as we follow the mysterious disappearance of Wikus (Sharito Copley), a human employee of Multi-National United. During a raid on the alien camp, Wikus is sprayed with some alien fluid. After this incident, we can cut and paste in much of David Cronenberg’s version of The Fly, as the smarmy Wikus begins to mutate, losing his fingernails and teeth. The massive corporation he works for makes him a wanted man, and he’s forced to get the help of one of the prawns. Producer Peter Jackson’s hand is visible in the flawless animation of the bug creatures. All of the most interesting parts of this story—about the otherness of the aliens—are kept off-camera. (RvB) Extract (R; 91 in.) Mike Judge’s new film is a comedy of cuckoldry and castration. Joel (Jason Bateman) runs a small company. His wife, Suzie (Kristen Wiig), is on a sex strike. At

[47]

FILM REVIEW

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The Big Tepid Renée Zellweger motors through the ’50s in vague biopic ‘My One and Only’

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T ONE POINT in the wearying ’50s-era road movie My One and Only, Robbie (Mark Rendall) coaxes his mother to “find a balance between Dorothy Malone and Donna Reed.” This line bothered me on a couple of levels. Firstly, this kind of opposition shows a hazy memory of 1950s movies: Reed was hardly the most chaste-looking woman on the Ikeera screens (remember From Here to Eternity)? This vagueness increases in a Pennsylvania drive-in scene where a young girl goes on about the phoniness of Hollywood movies, even while she’s watching a very un-Hollywood Hollywood movie, Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat. (The director here is an oldtimer, 63-year-old Richard Loncraine, and he still didn’t respect the law that it’s an bad idea to cut to a movie that’s better than the one we’re watching.) Moreover, Renée “The Scrunchtress” Zellweger really has neither the qualities of the bad/good Malone nor the good/bad Reed. Zellweger has vivacity, God knows, but this movie treats her like a great beauty who staggers everyone who passes. Zellweger plays Ann Devereaux as an opportunistic Southern lady, straight out of Auntie Mame: grand, but always looking for a husband. She’s separated from her last husband (Kevin Bacon), a jazz bandleader. Impulsively, she takes her first son, Robbie, and her second son, George (Logan Lerman), off in a Cadillac convertible to find a new life. The obviously gay Robbie prepares for school plays that never come off. George— a writer-to-be dazzled by J.D. Salinger—tries to maintain contact with his father while chafing at the long ride west across America. The production design by Brian Morris, the music by Mark Isham and the photography by Marco Pontecorvo are all of a high quality. The ’50s urban locations are expensive looking. But scarcely a minute of My One and Only rings true: from little things like a lady leaving her purse at a table with a man she’s learned not to trust, or bigger moments like a pumped-up scene of a robbery-minded hitchhiker. Loncraine overprepares the audience for every development, which is odd because the mood in so many of the scenes seems uncertain, as if no one knew whether they were comic or tragic. David Koechner, known for playing bald, portly oddballs, is excellent as Bill, a paintcompany magnate with whom Ann becomes briefly affianced. Bill is asked to give young George some advice on how to deal with women. The boy winces, expecting something embarrassing. What Bill actually says is that women are seldom the right temperature, and a gentleman ought to keep an extra sweater around for their sake—and that’s all a man really needs to know. There’s a final surprise: My One and Only turns out to be the life story of a noted movie actor. I heard my own mom—an easygoing woman, too, but she knew her movies—once describing this mystery actor as “a male starlet.” Not to spoil the ending, but this real George is best loved for one film, a cult spoof, where his daintiness and his peerless mahogany tan helped him send up famous swashbucklers. He was always very popular with the women too. He must have always had that extra sweater on hand. Richard von Busack MY ONE AND ONLY (PG-13; 108 min.), directed by Richard Loncraine, written by Charlie Peters, photographed by Marco Pontecorvo and starring Renée Zellweger and Logan Lerman, opens Sept. 11.

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FILM  SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

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Joel’s workplace, there’s nothing but chaos; the employees’ prejudices make for squabbles. Enter a hot little grifter named Cindy (Mila Kunis). Hoping for a fair shot at her, Joel takes the worthless advice of his old pal Dean (Ben Affleck). Some good laughs and quotable bits here, particularly a running joke about Suzie’s sweatpants, fastened with the security of a chastity belt. But just as Judge’s last two comedies, Office Space and Idiocracy, made it as cult items, it seems Extract will have its best days on home screens. The visuals aren’t thought out much. Another matter is the relentless centrism of Judge’s humor—and thus Extract, with its shirking assembly lines with workers too small-minded and addled to agitate for their rights. It’s the Capra view of a mob of workers needing a wiser boss. There’s a patronizing streak in this film that’s going to be left as an aftertaste after the froth of it dissolves. (RvB)

The Final Destination (R; 82 min.) A 60 Minutes–style exposé on America’s crumbling infrastructure, cast with characters for whom one feels about as much empathy as one would if they were crash-test dummies. Certainly, they ask for it, going to a race track at the beginning (“Tell me again why we came here instead of going to a movie”). When the premonition-wracked Nick (Bobby Campo) saves his friends from flying engine blocks and race car wheels, a frustrated Death goes after them all in more baroque ways. I admired the scene of a mother at a beauty parlor being tended by a pair of beauticians acting like they’re in Sartre’s The Maids, among a riot of malfunctioning machinery. Then, also, there’s a swastika-tattooed tow-truck driver immolated in the middle of trying to organize a crossburning. The film’s one character worth sparing is George (Mykelti Williams), a security guard who tries to kill himself: “I’m just trying to give God what I think he wants.” That God hates us and wants us all dead is the underscored message of this unusually unpretentious and honestly misanthropic snuff film; the elation-producing death mechanisms in 3-D are worthy of the Coyote and the Roadrunner. The demise of the film’s total macho butthole Hunt (Nick Zano), staged at the swimming pool of the “Forest Lawn Country Club,” is pretty ingenious even by the standards of the franchise. Director David R. Ellis films in a composite of Florida and Quebec, creating one blandsville semi-Midwestern nowhere, where death is clearly a release. (RvB) Gamer (R; 95 min.) A future-set thriller about a dangerous contest. With Gerard Butler, Kyra Sedgwick and Michael C. Hall. It’s from the Crank folks. It Might Get Loud (Unrated; 97 min.) The trio of Jack White, the Edge and Jimmy Page got together for a summit meeting in a studio for It Might Get Loud. Davis Guggenheim’s fine documentary paean to the electric guitar. What happens is not really more than a sum of its parts, though it’s gratifying to see three such first-rate guitarists stumbling over the tricky chords of the Band’s “The Weight” just like all of us campfire jammers. (RvB)

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Taking Woodstock (R; 110 min.) Ang Lee and James Schamus bring their customary historical density to this view of the three-day-long music festival in upstate New York, August 1969. There are no significant anachronisms to throw you back into 2009, and the slightly faded colors and the split-screen honor our traditional view of the festival, learned from the documentary Woodstock. Based on Elliot Tiber’s memoir, the film tells the story of Elliot (Demetri Martin) trying his best to keep the family’s decaying Catskills motel open in the summer of 1969. After hearing that a nearby community is going to cancel a huge rock concert because of fear of rampaging hippies, Elliot has the inspiration to contact the local dairy farmer Max Yasgur (Eugene Levy) to see about renting his pastures for a concert. Lee keeps the big event mostly offscreen. The festival’s chaos helps Elliot take the cork out of his bottled-up sexuality. It’s not easy to make a good movie about this event; the younger the viewer, the sicker they are of hearing about it. Taking Woodstock’s serene appreciation for a passing time makes this one of the best fictional movies about the 1960s. (RvB) Tetro (Unrated; 127 min.) Francis Ford Coppola’s new work is set in Buenos Aires. Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich) descends on his long-lost half-brother (Vincent Gallo), who abandoned him in New York. Their mutual father is a renowned and much-married orchestra conductor (Klaus Maria Brandauer). In rejection, the older brother has changed his name to Tetro. This broken-legged lone wolf winds his way through a series of cafes, having written off the writing life. His adoring wife, Miranda (Maribel Verdú), tries to smooth the roughness between the brothers, but Bennie’s own ambition to become a writer inflames matters. The synthesized black-andwhite surfaces are more than alluring. Inside this discursive film is a twisted melodrama, which the audience has to dig out for themselves. The lead actor is a major obstacle in this dig. Gallo seems to have been hired for metareasons. He must be the Gallo who is the derided indie director (of The Brown Bunny) rather than Gallo the actor—the hectoring, monotonous actor, a gaunt chest-jabber, a humorless, dour version of Christopher Walken. (RvB) World’s Greatest Dad (R; 99 min.) Bobcat Goldthwait’s film is a bracing comedy of taboos. The main character is a foul and creepy teen called Kyle (Daryl Sabara), whose most cherished thoughts are of auto-erotic asphyxiation. His beaten-down, sensitive father, Lance (Robin Williams), is a failed writer and a high school teacher. Lance’s hopeless demands for affection from Kyle are thwarted, right up to the point when he finds the boy dead from his own decadence. Weeping, Lance tries to disguise his son’s death as the suicide of a sensitive outcast. The plan works alarmingly well. Kyle’s shocked fellow students had never realized how deep the boy was, and they urge Lance to find more of the late Kyle’s writings, which Lance quickly fabricates, making both father and son a hero. Goldthwait is a brave nonconformist, directing with the assurance this deepblack comedy will find people who’ll love it. Williams does some of the most integral, gentle and praiseworthy acting of his career. (RvB)

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y  SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009FILM 8djgiZhnLVgcZg7gdh#E^XijgZh

SOUTHERN EXPOSURE Lbuf!Cfdljotbmf!boe!Upn!Tlfssjuu!tubs!jo!! ÕXijufpvu-Ö!b!uisjmmfs!tfu!jo!Boubsdujdb<!ju!pqfot!Gsjebz!wbmmfzxjef/

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Showtimes

for all the local theaters are available online 24/7 at www.movietimes.com

METROGUIDE

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‘Away’ With The Mumlers On the eve of their record release show, Mumlers leader Will Sprott breaks down their new album, track by track By Steve Palopoli HE Mumlers’ debut record, 2007’s Thickets and Stitches, launched the ambitious San Jose band onto a national stage. Besides attention from Rolling Stone and NPR, it was the album that launched a thousand blog posts. The consensus: Ambitious. Fascinating. Soulful. Distinctive. And above all, unpredictable. They ain’t seen nothing yet. The Mumlers’ follow-up, Don’t Throw Me Away, which drops Sept. 9, is twice the record that Thickets and Stitches was, branching out in every direction at once. Its first single “Coffin Factory” sounds like a cross between ? and the Mysterians’ “99 Tears” and Talking Heads’ Fear of Music album, while something like “99 Years Ago” is so textured and atmospheric it should be immediately put on the soundtrack to something. As the band prepared to play a record release party at the Blank Club this Friday, I asked Mumlers frontman Will Sprott to break down Don’t Throw Me Away track by track. ‘Raise the Blinds’ “We put that song on at the beginning of the record because we thought it’d be hard to say what kind of music it was.

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AGENTS OF CHANGE Uif!Nvnmfst!qmbz!b! sfmfbtf!qbsuz!gps!uifjs! ofx!bmcvn!Gsjebz!bu! uif!Cmbol!Dmvc/!

It’s not clearly any genre. It’s really frustrating as a musician when people ask me what kind of kind of band we are. I can’t answer it. And that song is really fun to play, it’s got all those little changes.” ‘St James St.’ It’s pretty much a literal description of my street. I lived right on the corner of St. James and Sixth Street in San Jose. There’s a 7-Eleven right there, and there were always people coming and going. I was trying to take the neighborhood and imbue it with some sort of mythological force. And it’s a play on “St. James Infirmary,” the old song. ‘Tangled Up With You’ “I wrote the music before I wrote the words; it doesn’t always go like that. I had a particular idea about it, that line that walks up, “bum, bum, bum, bum,” it was very clear that should be in there. When I played it with the band, that one idea started morphing, and it had this mariachi feel to it. You can really hear it in the middle. We were really into it.” ‘Coffin Factory’ “I wasn’t thinking of “99 Tears” consciously, but it’s very possible that that song is soaked down deep in my consciousness. Because ? and the Mysterians starts with a symbol, so it’s the first thing that plays

when I turn on my iPod. I’ve heard that song 3 trillion times. When we went into record the songs, we sort of demoed them for the engineer and the guys that run our record label. They were like, ‘This is a cool song, but we’re not sure its going to fit on this record.’ But I knew it would work. [Afterward] they wanted it as the single.” ‘99 Years Ago’ “It’s another one where it’s really hard to say what kind of music it is. I wrote that song a really long time ago, and didn’t put the words to it until later. Actually, it had a completely different set of lyrics. I’m glad [it seems] atmospheric, that’s something we’ve always been interested in. We’ve always thought it would be fun to score movies, do something purely atmospheric. We have so many different sounds at our disposal.” ‘Sunken City’ “I worked for a short time at the Tech Museum. I was the ‘console operator’ at the IMAX theater. It was the most mindnumbing job I’ve ever had. I’d sneak out on my lunch break and go to Cesar Chavez Park [where the song is set]. It really was pretty much written sitting in Cesar Chavez Park. I kind of like that one, because I don’t really

specialize in happy songs, but I feel like that one’s uplifting.” ‘Soot Black Suit’ “That was the other one where people said ‘Really? That has something to do with the other songs on the record?’ But I really like that one. It’s the only instrumental on the album. We don’t use that many guitar effects and pedals, but the studio we were at had a stockpile of them. We had a lot of fun arranging it.” ‘Golden Arm & Black Hand’

“That’s the only song that we recorded for the first record. We weren’t ever happy with that recording, so we rerecorded it. We all like the song a lot, but it’s been hard to pin down. It’s been a very hard song to capture. It’s got tricky harmonies that we’ve changed a lot over time. And it doesn’t have that party vibe that a lot of the stuff we play can have, because our live show is really geared toward being fun and entertaining. But I’m happy with this recording of it.” ‘Fugitive and Vagabond’ “That’s the only song I’ve ever written for something. I’m not going to say what it was for, ’cause I’m sort of happy it **

[52]   GALLERY

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

gallery

metroactive.com/club-gallery

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didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get used. I got to have my song and do whatever I wanted with it. I wrote the words and music in one day, really quickly, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the ďŹ rst time Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d done that.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;BattleďŹ eld Postcardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a song weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve played maybe once or twice live. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quiet and mellow. It was kicking around for a long time, but it was questionable whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be a band recording or not. It sort of hearkened back to when I ďŹ rst started playing guitarâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the kind of song I used to play a lot. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot of ďŹ nger-picking songs the band has never heard.â&#x20AC;?

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pretty much a literal description of my street. I lived right on the corner of St. James and Sixth Street in San Jose. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a 7-Eleven right there, and there were always people coming and going. I was trying to take the neighborhood and imbue it with some sort of mythological force.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Throw Me Awayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;That song has

just gotten such a good reaction, more so than any other song that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever written or played. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been playing it since the release for our last record, and people would always come up and ask if it was on a record. It was a weird song. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more like it could be a song from 50 years ago. The ďŹ rst time I played it for the band, they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even think I wrote it, they thought I was messing around with some cover song. But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s grown on us over time. The guys who run the record label didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really want us to put it at the end, but we were trying to make it all hang together as a record, and it just seemed like the best thing to end it on.â&#x20AC;? THE MUMLERS play a CD release party Friday, Sept. 11, at 9pm at the Blank Club, 44 S. Almaden Ave., San Jose. Tickets are $8. (408.292.5265)

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009

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SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009   MUSIC

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[59]

[60]

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

A San Jose Downtown Association Production

Thank You to Our 2009 Sponsors

Headlining Sponsors

Media Sponsors p

Major j Sponsors p

Radio R adio Sponsors Sponsors

Santa Clara County C Association of o Realtors • L Lyris yris y • Barr B Barry ry Swenson Builder Builde er Commerrcial • Hopkins and Carley C • McPharlin, Sprinkles S & Thomas, LLP Ritchie Commercial Salas O’Brien Engineers, E Inc. • Red Bull • Y e ellow Cab • JetBlue J Air rw ways • V e espa Yellow Airways Vespa A T TM’s of Ameri ica • Comcast • Cr rys ystal Geyser • Hotel DeAnza D • Pizza My He eart ATM’s America Crystal Heart Fairmontt San Jose • Good Ka arma • San Jose Mar rriott • Signs Now Karma Marriott San J ose Redevelopment Agency • Of ffi fice of Cultural C Af fffairs Jose Office Affairs

M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y    SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009   MUSIC

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[61]

[62]   MUSIC

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

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plus

also

One Pin Short

$17 Adv./ $20 Dr. Drs. 7 p.m., Show 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 16 â&#x20AC;˘ AGES 16+

Sugar Ray plus Dirty Heads also Aimee Allen

$20 Adv./ $25 Dr. Drs. 7 p.m., Show 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17 â&#x20AC;˘ AGES 16+

Steel Pulse plus

Band of Brotherz

$26 Adv./ $30 Dr. Drs. 7 p.m., Show 8 p.m. Sep 16 Mayer Hawthorne in the Atrium (AGES 16+) Sep 18 Michael Franti & Spearhead (AGES 16+) Sep 22 Mason Jennings (AGES 16+) Sep 23 Rebelution (AGES 16+) Sep 24 Pepper (AGES 16+) Sep 29 Trivium/ White Chapel (AGES 16+) Sep 30 Beenie Man (AGES 16+) Oct 2 Zion I/ The Jacka (AGES 16+) Oct 3 Collie Buddz/ Devin the Dude (AGES 16+) Oct 9 Andre Nickatina (AGES 16+) Oct 10 State Radio (AGES 16+) Oct 11 Groundation (AGES 16+) Oct 16 Brother Ali (AGES 16+) Oct 17 The Devil Makes Three (AGES 21+) Oct 21 UFO (AGES 21+) Unless otherwise noted, all shows are dance shows with limited seating. Tickets subject to city tax & service charge by phone 866-384-3060 & online

www.catalystclub.com

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

Carpet Cleaning!

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009

[63]

[64] ADULT ENTERTAINMENT

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

gg g Phone Entertainment

Adult Entertainment

Phone Entertainment

Adult Employment

To Advertise

Nude In Mud

Your services ALL over the SOUTH Bay, call Michael R. Hill at 408-200-1308

Female models. Cash paid. Over 18. 408-221-6333 Adult Entertainment

Over 40 Busty Lady Dominant Bambi loves cream & fetishes. Incall. 38D-24-36 leggy blonde. 408-605-3465

Super Hot Gorgeous exotic brunette. Sweet & petite with 34C all natural. 110lbs. In call Sunnyvale. 650-834-2371, Marlena

Black Beauty

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A girl practically has to sexually assault you to tell you she’s interested—or, as you put it, “grab” you in such a way that she “clearly” lets you know where you stand. Um . . . either she wants to be your girlfriend or your urologist? These flirting moves are human universals, meaning women around the world do these things when they’re attracted to a guy; it’s not like women bang pots and pans together in China. They are typically subconscious signals for both the sender and receiver, and a woman will generally send more than one if her desire goes beyond helping you save a bundle on your car insurance. While most men aren’t keeping a running tally of a woman’s flirting moves, humans who aren’t on the autism spectrum have a capacity called “theory of mind.” This is a sort of mind-reading—an ability to guess what’s somebody’s feeling by observing their body language. If some man’s red-faced and flipping you off, you know he probably isn’t longing to buy you a steak dinner. If a woman’s “toying with an object”—say, frantically jiggling the locked doorknob of the supply closet you’re both stuck in—it’s safe to assume she wants to go out, but probably not on a romantic, candlelit date with you.

If you can’t hear what a woman’s body language is telling you, it’s probably because the loudest sound in the room is your low opinion of yourself. So, you’re shy. So are lots of guys. Ask one of them how he got a girlfriend, and you won’t hear “I stayed home complaining bitterly to my cat about being dateless, then this beautiful sweet girl came to my door, asked if I felt shy and resentful, and if so, could she be my girlfriend?” You are free to wait for that rare woman who will grab you like she cares—and wait and wait, because she’ll probably be the lady who’s paid to roll you over at The Home. The more you avoid what you’re afraid of, the more you ingrain avoidance as your personal operating system and datelessness as your lot in life. If you really are signal-deaf, don’t hit on women in your workplace, but hit on women everywhere else. There’s no need to log hair-twirls; there’s just finding a woman attractive and being man enough to chance 10 seconds of feeling foolish if she says no when you ask her out. Remember, dating’s a numbers game. You could be the biggest worm ever to wriggle the planet, but if you try enough women, one of them will eventually be blind enough, drunk enough, or deluded enough to say yes.

BnÒVcXZWgd`Zd[[djgZc\V\ZbZci#I]Zg^c\lVh]^hbdi]ZgÉh#H]ZÉhaZ[ibZhhV\Zh!Vh`^c\idiVa`Å egdWVWanVWdjii]Zg^c\!l]^X]bnZmVXXjhZYbZd[È]^_VX`^c\#ÉI]ViWdi]ZghbZ!VhYdZh`cdl^c\ i]Zg^c\lVhcZkZggZVaanb^cZ#;g^ZcYhVgZiZaa^c\bZid`ZZe^i#ÅB^[[ZY Think of the ring like the toilet in your apartment—something that’s all yours, but not to take with you as a keepsake when you move on. Because it’s jewelry, it seems like a gift, but it’s really a symbol of the marriage to come. If nothing’s to come, the ring should come off and find its way back to its original owner. Yeah, your fiance was a jerk. And it’s tempting, when people are

jerks, to jerk back—which means letting who you are be dictated by others instead of living by your own standards. If you’re just looking to keep the thing, be honest about it. Otherwise, maybe be glad you’re only removing a ring, not looking for a tattoo artist who does decent enough cat and mouse heads to turn “Tom and Kerry Forever” into “Tom and Jerry Forever.”

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M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009

CLASSIFIEDS

metro CLASSIFIEDS CLASSIFIED INDEX 65 67 67 67

PLACING AN AD 68 70 70 71

Single Services Employment Family Services Music

Legal & Public Notices Automotive Home Improvement Real Estate

.

g Employment Jobs

Seeking a personal & experienced driver. Schedule: MONDAY - FRIDAY, NO WEEKENDS. 8am - 4pm Email me for more details: edelstein220@gmail.com (AAN CAN)

Live-in Caregivers Needed immediately! $100 Sign-On BONUS. We offer excellent benefits, training, and weekly pay! Call to set up interview today! Must have 1 yr eldercare experience, (nursing home exp. a plus) valid driver’s license, proof or veh. insurance & reliable trans., and good communication skills. CALL LivHOME now @ 408.879.1835, or 800.417.1897

[67]

Live in and Hourly Caregivers Needed!! Possess skills that include excellent communication, listening and positive attitude. For immediate consideration, please apply online or fax resume to 925.943.7601. http://professionalhc.com/ employment

$$HELP WANTED$$ Extra Income! Assembling CD cases from Home! No Experience Necessary! Call our Live Operators Now! 1-800-405-7619 EXT 2450 www.easywork-greatpay.com (AAN CAN)

Bartender / Cocktail Servers Full time or Part Time available. Alex’s 49er Inn, San Carlos & Bascom. Apply mornings only.

Tell A Friend You saw it in the Metro Classifieds!

Activists Wanted through out Bay Area !! Help qualify California Initiatives. $15-$25 Hourly. Flexible hours. Please call 831-325-5314

Engineer/Sr Software at Santa Clara, CA: resp for using C/C++ to conduct development of s/w tools for electrical analysis of high speed PCB & IC packages. Fax res to 408 260 9342. Sigrity, Inc.

g Career Development

Do you dislike your job? Come in for vocational checking. You may have talents you don’t suspect. Contact Scientology Test Center. 408-383-9400

Bartenders Needed Fun jobs. Great money. Earn $25-40/hr. Call for certification and placement information. $199 tuition with this ad. 888.901.TIPS or visit www.abcbartending.com

Pass It On Let them know you saw it in the Metro Classifieds!

Call the Classified Department at 408.298.8000 Monday through Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Fax your ad to the Classified Department at 408.271.3520.

@

classifieds@metronews.com Please include your Visa, MC, Discover or American Express number and expiration date for payment.

±

Mail to Metro Classifieds, 550 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113.

DEADLINES: For copy, payment, space reservation or cancellation: Display ads: Thursday 3pm Line ads: Friday 3pm

g Business Opportunities

Earn What You’re Worth! Keep your full-time job and start part-time with Primerica Financial Services, a subsidiary of Citigroup. Improve your future now by helping families reach their financial goals! Call Carol at 877-613-9141

**BODYGUARDS WANTED** FREE Training for members. No Experience OK. Excellent $$$. Full & Part Time. Expenses Paid When you Travel. 1-615-228-1701. www.psubodyguards.com (AAN CAN)

Attention Readers Some ads in this section may require an initial investment or fee. Metro Newspapers encourages you to thoroughly investigate any advertiser’s claims before sending payment.

New prenatal class at Yoga Center Santa Cruz New prenatal, asana only class at Yoga Center. $13 drop in/$10 series. 428-C Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 www.candicegarrettyoga.com for more information

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We SOLVE Computer Problems!! Mention Metro Ad For $20 “Express Computer Tune-Up” Computer Repairs for Desktops, laptops, home networks, virus, slow/dead systems, data recovery. Microsoft Certified. Call for free quote!!! Free pickup and delivery. 408-734-3123.

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High School Diploma! Fast, affordable and accredited. Free brochure. Call Now!. 1-888-532-6546 ext. 97 www.continentalacademy.com (AAN CAN)

Open House - MMI College of Ayurveda Sat. Sep. 12th & Oct 10th, 1pm at Mount Madonna Institute. For More Dates & Info Phone: 408.846.4060 Email: info@ MountMadonnaInstitute.org www.MountMadonna Institute.org

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our offices Monday through Friday, 8.30am  Visit to 5.30pm at 550 South, First Street, San Jose.

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Convenient Live Oak location. $262.00 per/mo. Call Glenn Kramer at 831-724-2343

Play at Broadway Playhouse, Santa Cr Running Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays staring September 25th ending October 18th. Visit sharksanddancersc.com for tickets and performance information.

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Lil Wayne, E-40, Snoop Dog, San Quinn Thug World Records explosive label features lil Wayne Snoop dog E-40 G-unit and more. Free Downloads, MP3s, RingTones, videos. www.thugworldrecords.com 408-561-1255

Looking for Female Lead Vocalist. Weekend 10/piece band possibly looking for a female vocalist. The band is high energy into R&B funk. 3 front singers with horns. Must be good with harmony & a team player. Permanent member only. Prefer southbay located. Reply to 510-797-4782. Instruction

Guitar, Bass and Organ/ Piano. Conveniently located near 101/Blossom Hill Rd. 408/224-2936. www.schooloftheblues.com

g g Miscellaneous

Marriage breakdown because of incompatible personalities? If you and your partner are having trouble come in and get your personalities checked, as this may be the reason for your disputes. Call 408-383-9400

SessionDrummer.net Real drum parts online. Real tape sound. Digital formats include: WAV, AIFF, Sound Designer 2. $160.00 per song. Randy Burk, Producer/ Session Drummer. Oakland, 510/567-8572

534,311 People Browse through the Metro Classifieds each month! Get seen today! To advertise, call 408-200-1300.

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Metro's Classifieds: Be seen both in print and onlineby one of the largest, most active audiences in the South Bay! To advertise visit metroactive.com or call 408/200-1300.

Bands

Pregnant? Considering School Of The Blues Blues/Jazz weekly private Adoption? instruction on Harmonica, Talk with caring agency specializing in matching birthmothers with families nationwide. Living expenses paid. Call 24/7 Abby’s One True Gift Adoptions. 866/413-6293 (AAN CAN)

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[68]

ASTROLOGY SEPTEMBER 9-15, 2009 M E T R O S I L I C O N VA L L E Y

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Legal g Legal Notices

Legal & Public Notices

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT #528115 The following person(s) is (are) doing business as: Income Tax & Bookkeeping Solutions, 151 Southside Dr., San Joe, CA, Leticia Camarena, Ruby Naranjo, 36 Park Essex Pl., San Jose, CA, 95136. This business is conducted by a general partnership. Registrant has not yet begun transacting business under the fictitious business name or names listed herein on. /s/Leticia Camarena This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Santa Clara County on 8/24/2009. (pub Metro 9/02, 9/09, 9/16, 9/23/2009)

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT #527091 The following person(s) is (are) doing business as: SPark FX, 2615 Whispering Hills Cir., San Jose, CA, 95148, Yun Ho.

This business is conducted by a Individual. Registrant began transacting business under the fictitious business name or names listed herein on 7/28/09. /s/Hun Ho This statement was filed with the County Clerk of Santa Clara County on 7/28/2009. (pub Metro 8/19, 8/26, 9/02, 9/09/2009)

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6g^Zh(March 21–April 19): I don’t think I’m being

g Professional Services Financial Services

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We can Get You Out of Debt in Months Instead of Years America’s Only Truly Attorney Driven Program Free No Your ad will appear in both Obligation Consultation 877print and online. To advertise 458-6408 visit metroactive.com or call 408/200-1300.

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unduly optimistic when I speculate that you’re on the verge of achieving a ringing victory over your bad self. What makes me so confident that this development is in the works? Well, in recent weeks you have been dealing more forthrightly and intelligently with the lowest aspects of your character. You have also become more fully aware of the difference between your out-and-out unregenerate qualities and the unripe aspects of your character that may someday become very beautiful. There’s a second sign that you’re close to transforming one of the most negative things about you: You have almost figured out the truth about a murky curse that you internalized some time ago. When you finally identify it, you will know intuitively how to banish it forever.

IVjgjh(April 20–May 20): I expect that you’ll be

a force of nature in the coming days, the human equivalent of a divine intervention. In fact, you might want to give fair warning to friends and loved ones who assume that you have always been and will always be steady, placid and mild. Otherwise they may be unduly freaked out when your intelligence explodes like a double rainbow or when you start emoting like a waterfall. They might accuse you of “not being yourself ” when your laughter turns volcanic or your decisions hit with the force of the aurora borealis. It’ll be interesting for you to notice which of your close cohorts responds most favorably to this outbreak of your elemental gifts.

<Zb^c^ (May 21–June 20): “Here’s what I did not do this summer,” begins the testimony of one of my Gemini readers, Beth Hylton. “Not once did I swing on a tire swing over the river, watching the pink shimmery reflection of myself in a wet suit on a tire swing. I did not take a day off work to sneak out alone to Jones Beach with a book and a beer in a ginger ale bottle. I did not eat outside at a red-checkered-tablecloth-and-too-much-cheese-onthe-pasta Italian restaurant, sucking back carafes of Gallo like Kool-Aid. I did not catch fireflies for the satisfaction of setting them free, and I did not nap in the noontime sun. Where are all the ‘I dids’?” I’m happy to inform Beth, as well as any of her fellow Geminis who might have been remiss in doing the kinds of activities she named, that the next three weeks will be a very favorable period to make up for lost time. 8VcXZg( June 21–July 22): Murmurs and whispers will have more clout than clamors and shouts. A candle in the dark will provide more illumination than a bonfire at high noon. Short jaunts could transform everything permanently; long trips might only shift things slightly and temporarily. Forceful confrontations may lead to a muddle; feints and tricks and bluffs could spark crafty solutions. The “simple facts” will probably be tainted by lies of omission; the messy contradictions are likely to be eminently trustworthy. AZd( July 23–Aug. 22): KFC is test-marketing a

flamboyant new menu item at selected restaurants in the United States. This remarkable delicacy is an exotic sandwich that consists of bacon, two servings of cheese and special sauce, all held together not by bread but by two slabs of fried chicken. I nominate this spectacular creation to be your earthy metaphor of the week. In accordance with the astrological omens, I hope it inspires you to head out to the frontiers of extravagance in both your spiritual affairs and your romantic life. The coming days will be an ideal time to pray to both Christ and the Goddess while making love, for example, or to get sandwiched between two delicious devotees while meditating naked, or to perform a boisterous ritual to invoke emotional riches with the help of a genius of love.

K^g\d (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): It’s Build Up Your Confidence by Any Means Possible Week—for Virgos only. During this holiday, you have an astrological mandate as well as a poetic license to pluck the easy victories. So go ahead and solve the kinds of riddles that are your specialty. Arrange to be in situations where your perspective is desperately needed. Put yourself in the presence of people who think you’re a gift to the human race, and subtly encourage your secret admirers to be less secretive. If you have any trophies or awards, make them more visible. There’s no shame in

bragging this week, Virgo, but for best results do it with your best understated elegance.

A^WgV (Sept. 23–Oct. 22): My first demand is

that you weed out the wishy-washy wishes and lukewarm longings that keep you distracted from your burning desires. My second demand is that you refuse to think that anyone else knows better than you what dreams will keep your life energy humming with maximum efficiency and beauty. Now please repeat the following assertions about 20 times: “I know exactly what I want. I know exactly what I don’t want. I know exactly what I kind of want but I won’t waste my time on it any more because it sidetracks me from working on what I really really want.”

HXdge^d(Oct. 23–Nov. 21): Ants may literally be

crawling in your pants as you pull off a savvy coup or a brilliant stroke. An annoying pest may try to distract you at about the same time that movers and shakers are tuning in to your magnificence. But I don’t mean to imply that minor irritants will undermine your victories. I think you’re too unbeatable for that to happen. At worst, you’ll have a mild headache as you receive your reward or stumble slightly as you stride into the spotlight.

HV\^iiVg^jh(Nov. 22–Dec. 21): “That which can

be destroyed by the truth should be,” wrote author P. C. Hodgell. I wish there were a gentler way to articulate that wisdom, but I can’t think of one. Instead I’ll suggest a way to apply it so as to make the end result more graceful than shocking: Don’t pour out the whole truth all at once in one big dramatic gesture. Do it gradually and tenderly. As you do, keep in mind that when the truth has finally dismantled the thing that could not endure the truth, you may be able to use the debris as raw material to build something new that the truth will feel right at home in.

8Veg^Xdgc (Dec. 22–Jan. 19): What if a billion

Chinese people jumped up into the air at the same exact moment? Would they create, at the moment they landed, a shockwave that would cause an earthquake on the opposite side of the world, in Chile and Argentina? No one knows. I’d like to propose a not unsimilar but more interesting experiment. What if every Capricorn who reads this horoscope reserves one minute at exactly 1pm EDT on Sept. 12, and during that time you all meditate intently on a single glowing thought, which is this: All of you Capricorns deserve an act of uncanny grace that will help free you from one of your most oppressive beliefs.

6fjVg^jh ( Jan. 20–Feb. 18): Some rare people,

through heroic acts of will and the help of a really good imagination, manage to free themselves pretty thoroughly from the inertia of their past. This accomplishment is more possible for you right now than it has been in a long time. In fact, you could even overcome a negative legacy that made some of your ancestors crazy and sick. For maybe just the third time ever, you’re in a position to escape the sins of the fathers and the flaws of the mothers!

E^hXZh(Feb. 19–March 20): If you build it, they

will probably come. If you just pretend to build it, they may come anyway, and end up sticking around because of your charming attunement to life’s deeper rhythms. If, as you build it or pretend to build it, you act manic or send out mixed messages, they may be intrigued and attracted, but they definitely won’t come. So my advice, Pisces, is to suppress your mood swings as you at least start pretending to build the thing in earnest.

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John, have you no sense of system? We have, in fact, established the type and gauge of wire and other details needed to pull off this classic stunt. (Actually, my assistant Una established them, with my distant supervision.) However, if you don’t mind, we need to tackle the big picture first. Clarence Darrow, as everybody ought to know but probably doesn’t, was the most famous defense attorney in America a century ago. Quickwitted and eloquent, he was renowned for his impassioned arguments on behalf of unpopular figures. His clients ranged from pioneering labor leader Eugene Debs to thrill killers Leopold and Loeb. Darrow is perhaps best remembered for his unsuccessful defense of schoolteacher John Scopes, and by extension the theory of evolution, in the so-called Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. Some say this was the trial at which Darrow, described by The New York Times as a man of “wicked zest and mordant humor,” employed the cigar-ash trick. Other accounts merely say it was a favorite tactic, without citing a particular case. But Darrow, not a reticent fellow, mentions nothing along these lines in his autobiography. Newspaperman H.L. Mencken, who covered the Scopes trial extensively in his columns, never said anything about it either. So for now we’d better chalk this story up as: coulda happened, probably didn’t. The sad fact is, cherished though the notion may be, I haven’t found reliable evidence that any lawyer ever tried the cigar-ash trick in a courtroom. A 1980 article in a lawyers’ magazine claims it had recently been ventured in a Dallas administrative hearing, but there’s no cite. Cigar Aficionado magazine quotes federal judge Loren Smith as saying he once slipped a straightenedout paper clip into an 8-inch stogie, which he then calmly smoked in a white-carpeted meeting room, declining an ashtray until he had seven inches of ash. Not a trial, no jury. Still, not bad. We do have corroboration for one impressive essay at jury bamboozlement. A 1963 Time article relates the story of high-profile attorney Melvin Belli arguing a personal-injury case for a plaintiff who’d lost her leg. At the beginning of the trial, Belli brought a large L-shaped package wrapped in butcher paper into the courtroom and let it sit for days on the counsel’s table, tantalizing the jurors. Finally, while making his closing argument, he slowly unwrapped the package to

reveal a prosthetic leg. You might say this lacks the subtlety of the cigar trick, but you’d have to agree it’s in the same league. You wanted practical advice, though. I volunteered Una to discover what she could. She acquired six cigars and five short pieces of piano wire ranging in diameter from 0.062 inches down to 0.015 inches; she also straightened out a standard paper clip. She then carefully fed each wire into the center of a cigar and set up an elegant apparatus of metal clamps inside a box to allow the cigars to burn undisturbed. Needless to say this accomplished nothing, since the cigars needed air passing through them to keep them lit, which, as a nonsmoker, Una was disinclined to supply. She next tried rigging up a hand-pumped bladder to draw air through the cigars. This plan was also a failure. Finally, sacrificing herself for science, she sat on her patio and gingerly puffed away. The results: • Each of the wires worked reasonably well for keeping the ash together on the cigar. Typically, the ash reached 4 to 4.5 inches before Una extinguished the cigar. • The finer-gauge wires worked best—the thicker ones tended to shed bits of ash around the middle. Possibly the thin wire penetrated more cleanly and didn’t chew up the guts of the cigar. The finest wire was able to endure a modest amount of hand movement without dropping any ash. • Una, though careful not to inhale, thought she was going to die. However, you know what they say about omelettes and eggs. So there you have it, John—fine-gauge piano wire is all you need, plus of course a cigar. Now, what you’re going to do with this knowledge I can’t say. Smoking is verboten in courtrooms these days, and I doubt a cigar would go over too well in most indoor meetings. But that’s hardly my problem. All I do is provide the facts. The application is up to you.

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