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Embarcadero underpass to be Vikings' realm

Original post made on Mar 25, 2013

The Embarcadero Road tunnel underpass next to Palo Alto High School may soon look a lot like Viking territory.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 25, 2013, 2:07 PM

Comments (84)

Posted by Simms, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

And a major target for graffiti and vandalism.


Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

nope, doesn't work, I forgot all spaces are compressed to a single space...


Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

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.............._________|_______.....................
...............\\\\\\\\\......\\\\\\\\\......\\\\\\\\\.......(.......)...
.................\\\\\\\\\......\\\\\\\\\......\\\\\\\\\......`oo'.....
..................))))))).....)))))))......)))))))..(.(..`-'......
......,---.,..../////////....../////////....../////////.....\.\..........
..../..,-,_)../////////,,,,,,/////////,,,,,,/////////........\.\........
...(.(.......__...__...__..|.__..__...__.......).).......
....\..`---(.O.)(.O.)(.O.)(.O.)(.O.)(.O.)---'../........
......\.......`-'.....`-'....`-'.....`-'....`-'.....`-'......./.........
~~~'~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~'~~~~


Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

The murals are a good idea. The murals in the Cal Ave under-crossing which have been up for over a decade don't seem to get much vandalism, or if they do get it, it is well cleaned up. I think taggers tend to go for blank spaces or blighted spaces, and may have more respect for a surface already adorned by art.


Posted by Paly Mom, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm

When I squint, I think I see a Viking ship! Hahaha!

Cedric, your surname is just Gallic-ly beautiful.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Hmmm, I went to PALY, but Vikings and sports was not my thing, nor should it dominate in the minds of PALY students or Palo Altans in general. All this competition and bullying concern, suicide by railroad and some of the biggest offenders when I was in school were the "jocks" or whatever they call them now.

Also ... I'll be flummoxed, but I cannot think of a single non-war related Viking image ... so this is going to be all about imperialism, raiding, raping, pillaging, burning down villages ... sorry ... bad idea in my opinion. What else did the Vikings do?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Paly Grad, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Also went to Paly and am not a big fan of Vikings. Perhaps a mural of the school and its students' accomplishments from the past year would be more fitting than generic Viking imagery. Many schools after all have Vikings as their mascots.

Another idea to look at would be the Mnemonics art project at Stuyvesant: a wall of glass cubes, some filled with random relics from the school's past. We are after all one of the oldest schools in the Bay Area.


Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

The idea for this project must have come from the students of the class of 2013, given that it is their "'gift' from this year's senior class" and it was presented by their Class President.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The Foundation for Global Community had a principle of "Pose no enemy," which is good advice. We can have differing ideas without bashing on each other.

They could have pictures of vikings playing sports. Even if they are of viking ships, etc, more violent imagery are unlikely to get approved.


Posted by some guy, a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm

What about the ethnic stereotyping? What about the use of Viking names/symbols by non-Viking teams? Isn't this offensive, demeaning and racist? Or maybe it's just that people of Viking heritage don't have a complex about it?


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] What comes to your mind when you think of Vikings I wonder? Broadswords and Viking ships raiding coastal villages all over northern Europe perchance?


Posted by art lover, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 25, 2013 at 6:45 pm

In most cities, murals reduce the amount of graffiti. Unless you folks are predicting vandalism by Gunn students.


Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 25, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] It's not their fault that their school mascot is a viking. The part of your comment that viking imagery tends to be violent is valid, but not the part of calling the idea stupid.


Posted by anon, a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2013 at 7:28 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] This is something for the students, by the students. Palo Alto High School has recently excelled in sports, and has been receiving copious donations to fund the athletic program, so clearly not everybody shares your opinions.

Think before you post. You make Palo Alto look so shallow when you worry about how a mural reflects poorly on the school in the light of bullying and suicides.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Classic ASCII Cedric. Glad you found a format to make it work above.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Just curious, but why are the Paly HS teams "Vikings?" Is there a history to this choice like the Stanford Cardinal formerly known as Indians?


Posted by PV, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm

And when do we get a wall for the Gunn Titans?? Paly isn't the only High School in Palo Alto!


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 25, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I have to agree with anon: this has been proposed and will be carried out by students who cared enough to make it happen, and I hope they can ignore the mean-spirited posters. I am a Paly mom and none of my kids have been involved with sports, yet I still think this is a great idea.

@PV - if some Gunn students want to do something similar, there is nothing stopping them from being creative.


Posted by Too much sports, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm

I agree it's a creative idea. I just wish sports didn't so dominate the culture. So much "philanthropy" in the interests of sports. It's in quotes because the philanthropists expect and get a lot of public praise and publicity.
I like the new Pope's emphasis on humility and help for the poor. PaloAlto young people can use a little more humility, and less self-aggrandisment.


Posted by Let it go, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:29 pm

What a great idea!! Why does everything in PA need to turn into a major debate....these kids are creative let them come up with an idea.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 25, 2013 at 10:22 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

When I went to PALY that underpass was painted bright yellow with primitive kiddie type images on it. It was nice and bright and not about sports, war or just one aspect of life at PALY, in fact it was not about PALY, it was about the community and kids.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 26, 2013 at 1:52 am

Hey remember..

It takes a Viking to raze a village!

There was this hilarious National Lampoon cartoon where Leif Ericson discovers America. Anyone remember that one?


Posted by Pat Markevitch, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 26, 2013 at 7:37 am

I went to Paly and I am proud that they are doing this. Congratulations to the kids who came up with this idea. Good luck and Go Vikings!


Posted by KudostoKids, a resident of Monroe Park
on Mar 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

It is so frustrating how we, as a community, can bash just about anything. This is a wonderful idea by creative students who want to literally leave their mark on our community in a positive way. All the power to them. Our kids don't want to tag, they want to paint murals that reflect their school spirit. We should be proud of them. I know I am.


Posted by Lorin Krogh, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2013 at 11:02 am

I agree w/ the post by Crescent Park anon. Why is the sporting theme so predominant? Most people had issues with the "jock" crowd (except the "jocks" themselves). Aren't there other themes that could be used along side this one that's proposed?


Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2013 at 11:09 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 26, 2013 at 11:16 am

I know people from other communities who read Add a Comment for the humor factor. Today's offerings will not disappoint. Perhaps the wall will include a depiction of a Viking with Palo Alto expertise: bashing and debating (to death). Go Vikings! This will be fun to see.


Posted by gunn parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2013 at 11:42 am

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

The Vikings is the mascot for the whole school, not just the sports teams. Nothing in the article indicates this is a sports-centric art project. It's probably been emblazoned on the FIRST robotics competition entrants, debate club T-shirts, and whatever other clubs the school has.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2013 at 11:55 am

Thanks Lorin Krogh, the jocks are pretty full of themselves thinking they are the only ones that matter! ;-) This is a Palo Alto underpass. It does not belong to PALY.

As for the fact that supposedly the kids came up with this idea themselves, that is an interesting claim, who and how many? Everyone in Palo Alto and elsewhere uses that underpass. If the kids had come up with an second amendment theme would that be just as good?

Seriously though, walking to school as I did, I think when I was in high school I would have been bummed by a school spirit sports theme, it's too non-inclusive and intimidating to those who are not crazy about sports.

There's maybe 18 different people posting here with their opinions, that is hardly Palo Alto talking an issue to death ... the hyperbole from those who don't care about other's opinions is what is wrong, not the opinions or airing them.


Posted by Enough!, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm

VERY cool!


Posted by Enough!, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Gunn can have the California Avenue underpass. There are underpasses for everybody. Unless Stanford now wants in. Oh no! And to people who think "too much sports" even though it was not stated that this was a SPORTS (OH HORROR) thing in the article, there is nothing wrong with kids who participate in sports. Generally, in Palo Alto, they tend to be well behaved, studious kids (most teams exceed the required 2.0 GPA and in fact, have GPA's that are over 3.0). "Too much sports" seems to be a prevailing attitude in Palo Alto online commentary, and it comes off as tedious. Also a very high school, jealous of the jocks kind of thing. We have had some state championship teams at that school, which is difficult to achieve in a state league that allows public schools to compete with private schools (who can recruit) for the top spot. Y'all should be proud of what the kids have achieved, instead of knocking it every chance you get.


Posted by Crescent Park Mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I think having the school mascot theme is a great idea! It shows a lot of pride in the school and will be wonderful for future generations of Paly students to show their families.

Awesome that the Paly students drove the process, too. Great learning experience.


Posted by litebug, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm

(former resident of 38 years)

I don't care about the topic being discussed here, I was just curious as to what it was about. But I was struck by the amount of censorship here by "staff" which far exceeds any I find anywhere else and, believe me, I visit a lot of sites, including the equivalent for other communities, including the one where I now live. I wouldn't have expected this topic to have generated so much censorship! While I agree that some is necessary, it sure seems like there is over-zealous use of it here and I wonder what other people think about that. With this much censorship for a relatively mundane topic how can anything more serious and contentious ever be discussed here?

Now I wonder if this criticism of excess censorship will itself be censored!


Posted by Enough!, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm

@litebug: This has been going on for some time. I have been watching these posts for years, sometimes participating, sometimes not, and have also, been appalled at the amount of censorship on this site. I have seen some of the comments that have been removed prior to their removal, and most were not in violation of TOS, they were merely contrary to the 'group think' of Palo Alto. The amount of censorship is indeed, well above the level of censorship in just about any other nationally published and respected publication. When people have complained about this issue, myself included, it's been the position of the paper that these are their comment boards, and they can do as they please.

I suppose they can, but it does give this forum a lack of sophistication and the appearance of a definite agenda that is not apparent in other online local/national news publication comment boards. Now, we shall see how long THIS post lasts.


Posted by Scandinavian, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm

There are all sorts of school and school sports mascots. Some of them seem kind of random. As a Scaninavian, though, I have definitely felt unwelcome living in this city and this is reflected by some of the ridiculous posts on this thread.


Posted by Reader, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Ha ha ha - LOL A Noun Ea Mus!


Posted by Parent, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Neighbor - how true. I'm sure within days of the completion of the Paly artwork (after what surely will amount to not an insigficant effort-to-be from those clever and talented Paly students), that Gunn students will find a way to get creative...

Jim H. true as well. I'm sure Gunn will claim an underpass in short enough time...

Lets see - territorial markings around town. Sounds like fabulous idea. What harm could POSSIBLY come of it.

Maybe those Paly students ought to be asked to keep their wonderful artworks on their own campus, for everyone's good.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm

There is a great lack of history in this town. It is amazing to me that nobody seems to have actually looked into the history to find out about the Vikings.

The Vikings probably "found" north America long before Columbus. They were a great sea faring nation and their longboats were very seaworthy. They were great explorers and sailors.

They have a reputation for pillaging the lands they invaded, but it does not take from the fact that they were the greatest seafarers of their time.

I would suggest that learning history and geography from the Vikings would be a wonderful project for us all to learn.

Here is a start Web Link


Posted by secret!, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm

seriously claire and lisie? BAD idea. ugh.


Posted by Hahaha, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2013 at 4:23 pm

These posts display just how little palo alto moms have going on in their lives.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm

@ Scandinavian - welcome to Palo Alto. I was surprised to read of your experience. I must admit I thought that Northern Europeans - light color eyes/skin are welcome. Now try to think of a darker skin, or a southern of the border accent or an address - other side of the highway. Or all of these.
Mural - Any mural currently in Paly? many schools have such. If no - why not practice there?
Then, Gunn. Where should they paint?
Graffiti, it is called. That is if "outsiders" paint on walls.


Posted by Paly Student, a resident of Duveneck School
on Mar 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Not sure why everyone here thinks this will be a sports themed mural. There is literally not a single word said about this having a sporty or "jocky" theme to it.


Posted by Lisie Sabbag, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Hey everyone! Claire and I would like to adress a few things.
First of all, the mural is going to be a representation of our whole graduatiin class, and are working with everyone, not just 'jocks', to do so.
As for the focus on the Viking, it is simply our school mascot. There is a stereotyped "raping and pillaging" Viking, but we Paly students have a different definition of the Viking that reflects how we think of ourselves, and we take pride in him.
Lastly, we wanted to gift this mural to the city as a way to connect palo alto cotizens to the student population through something beautiful, not to mark our territory.
We welcome any constructive criticism for the mural if you would like to address us personally and civilly at lisie2013@gmail.com and marchonc@gmail.com.


Posted by Not A Palo Alto Mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Everyone commenting foolishly should go back to sipping their diet coke and continue their gossiping about students they don't know. No need for bops, a viking mural would be awesome.


Posted by Dude, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm

The idea that supporting a viking mascot is also supporting "imperialism, raiding, raping, pillaging, burning down village" is so egregiously asinine that I simply _must_ comment.
Firstly, if you cannot think of a single "positive" image relating to Vikings, you don't know history very well. Did you know that it is was a Viking who first discovered America? It's true, and that's because Vikings are [portion removed] CONQUERORS/EXPLORERS.
Secondly, even if we were concede that the Vikings were as bad as you pretend (they aren't, more on that later), you absolutely have to consider that almost every group of people on earth at the time was decrepit in some form or the other. Sure, the Romans had gladiator fights that were bloody and brutish and far more imperialism than the Vikings ever did, yet we STILL romanticize them because they were cool and awesome! Now, I can sense that you want to make an argument about Nazis in response to this point. Don't do it. That'd be stupid.
Now, lastly, let's remember that the modern portrayal of Vikings is A CARICATURE. Sure they were horrible, but not as much as we exaggerate them to be. [Portion removed.]
Please, stop deionizing everything that isn't a facsimile of Germaine Greer and learn to accept that some people think that Vikings are awesome, WHICH THEY ARE.


Posted by E, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Mar 26, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I think this is suchhh a good idea I can't wait to see it finished, and I think it is really cool that each class can change it up a bit each year! :)


Posted by Sally Bemus, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm

This is a wonderful gift of public art to cheer up that drab underpass. I can't wait to see what develops under the leadership of our creative and talented Paly students, Lisie and Claire.


Posted by Linda, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 26, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Great idea! Let the kids do something creative. I miss the art on the walls at Mitchell park.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I wish the Paly gay student who posted on another thread would have experienced some of the support shown here. That thread was blocked, enabling comments only to those who are logged in. A "pamom" started another thread in the hopes of enabling support there. That threat was blocked, enabling comments only to those who are logged in. Link - the first comment is the student comment -Web Link
Students, parents - maybe there is a way for you to show your support of this student? quite possibly other students who do not feel comfortable to post?


Posted by lulu, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm

I hope the Paly kids have a great time doing something creative with this opportunity. So long as the Palo Alto Public Art Commission stays out of the picture, and keep their ill conceived digital egg far away, very far away, this should be a great project.


Posted by Joanna O, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Way to go, Lisie and Claire! I enjoyed reading your comment about your project. I walk through that tunnel often and can't wait to see the new art. More power to the youth and teens in our community! My children and I will enjoy watching the complete mural unfold over the next 10 years.


Posted by Medieval History Buff, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I have studied medieval European history for years and years.

The Vikings built ships known as the greyhounds of the seas. For hundreds of years, none were faster, or more maneuverable, or could sail in deep or shallow water so well. That is why they sailed upriver and raided inland. it was not until the reign of Mac Beth (Shakespeare lied) that the Scots, specifically the Mac Donald clan of the Hebrides, captured one and reverse-engineered it to build a ship that could compete. That was when nations began fighting back.

What finally did in the Vikings was commerce. The Vikings built their economy on the spoils of war, pillaged goods ( most of which was stolen from churches, where all the gold in a community was kept). But the Germans, specifically the cities of the Hanseatic League ( Hansa is German for "trade", as in "Lufthansa", air trade), built their economies on trading with other nations and regions, and became profitable to the max. The Vikings failed to catch on and continued with their raids, until, defeated more and more by Scots and English who became proficient at fighting them, finally gave up the fight. By that time, their culture was very primitive in comparison with that of continental Europe, and they were looked down upon by them.

However, the legacy the Vikings left were the tall blondes of the Ukraine ( the first place they ever raided), Normandy in France, Saxony in Germany, Northern Italy, Iceland, the Isle of Man, the Scottish Hebrides, the east coast of Ireland, and northern England, including York. There were even Vikings in the Shetland Islands, where some people still speak an ancient dialect of Norwegian called "Norn", as well as the Orkney Islands just north of Scotland ( they were given to Scotland as a dowry for the marriage of King Christian of Denmark's daughter to King James III of Scotland).

That is it in a nutshell....not much to admire except the ingenious engineering of their shops. Even their religion was violent.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2013 at 10:29 pm

@Medieval History Buff - thank you for your educational post!! I am still hoping to see some support for the Paly student I mentioned above.
Maybe the tunnel mural can portray a community where all are welcome? colors, sexual orientation etc.? Maybe a nice idyllic day @park? kids @playground, adults watching, including a couple of same gender? older (various colors/sizes) kids playing recreational sports?


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2013 at 7:58 am

What can you paint in a mural about Vikings besides Viking longships and big blonde guys wearing armor with horned helmets waving broadswords? There is not much interesting in that for most people and it has certain negative connotations. The idea for this theme seems not well thought out and the military aspect of it is contrarian these days. I'd just say I don't want to look at it.


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 27, 2013 at 8:44 am

"The Vikings built ships known as the greyhounds of the seas. For hundreds of years, none were faster, or more maneuverable, or could sail in deep or shallow water so well."

If they'd kept up development they might have come up with the catamaran. That was left to the polynesians.


Posted by Katherine, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Great idea Michael, Claire and Lisie. The tunnel will be much improved with the artwork. Look forward to seeing the murals designed by the many creative Paly students. Don't pay attention to the naysayers......this town has way too many residents that like to complain about anything and everything. Go Paly!!! Go Vikings!!!!!!!!!


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 27, 2013 at 1:13 pm

For the record my comments were just made to be humorous and not to weigh in via pro or anti Viking aspect.

But I think it would be hilarious if it were labeled

"It Takes a Viking to Raze a Village"

and then under the mural was a copy of that National Lampoon comic of yore (about 1976 or so). "The Vikings Land Before Columbus" or "Leif Ericson Discovers America" it was titled. I searched and searched but no luck!

Or maybe the mural could depict a group of Vikings egging the Gunn campus? Hee hee


Posted by Medieval History Buff, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Actually, the Vikings never wore horned helmets, that is a Wagnerian myth. They wore helmets with black ravens' wings attached, and the sails of their ships bore I ages of ravens. The sails were used as tents when on land.

Also, the Vikings, possibly under Leif Erickson, DID land on the East Coast and try to settle after the Greenland venture failed. However, most of the landing party was killed off by ( haha!) the Native American Indians, and the survivors left and gave up for good, declaring the native people too vicious ( chuckle, snort). They called this short-lived settlement "Vinland". I believe Thomas Pynchon wrote an historical fiction book based on this.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm

@ A Noun Ea Mus - Your "It Takes a Viking to Raze a Village" is hilarious.
@Medieval History Buff - thank you, again, for your educational postings.
Rereading the details of the planned mural. If I understood correctly, the mural is planned to be a continuous work of the upcoming decade Seniors - I am wondering how is it possible to know what would be the next year's Seniors wish? or five years, or ten? Maybe future Seniors will choose to try to support their peers - actively, vocally? Maybe future Seniors will want to use technology we do not know, yet maybe another purpose?
Current Seniors, my (current) suggestion - Go for a bigger than life mural!!! sharing on the tunnel's wall your vision of your dream community! A community where everyone is welcome. (maybe you can have one side of the tunnel, Gunn the other? coin toss? That may spare a future discussion about -comparable- sites/walls for murals). Draw the mascot somewhere in school. Maybe you can have an open discussion about the Mascot? Maybe Medieval History Buff (postings above) needs to spend even more years, learning? Possibly you could educate us, all?


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I think the best way to "double down" on the whole Viking thing is to "invoke" the Ravens. Like on Game of Thrones the ravens could be the Paly school messengers, etc.

The Paly cafeteria menu could then mutate to this..

Web Link

So tempting to name an office worker there and chime in that I'm overly enthusiastic to pick out her resultant uniform! :)


Posted by CONCERNED PALY STUDENT, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2013 at 8:18 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm

All of Palo Alto will get stuck looking at someone's bad idea of a joke for years.

Instead of attacking people for what they think, or pretending that anyone who doesn't like this idea has something wrong with them, or the whole city has something wrong with it, yet these are the same people who complain about the art or buildings.

I don't see why people have to be so intolerant of someone voicing a contrary opinion that they cannot deal with the content instead of name calling or dismissing the point.

I seem to recall PALY used to have owls all over it ... weren't owls part of PALY or a mascot at one time. It would be much nice to paint the underpass and then let as many students as want to have access to a paint brush and paint their version of an owl under the underpass.

I really do not see what you can paint when you just have a Viking warrior or longship ... one on each side ... or a whole bunch of them ... and even less interesting if you don't paint them with horns on their helmets.

Something public like this should really have a little thought about it. Vikings are exclusively blonde and blue-eyed, male warriors, the Nazis of their day ... it is an exclusive image if you care to think about it. Some people realize this so instead of thinking about it just attack the thoughtful as being negative. Well, I'm trying to be positive. Maybe it doesn't say anything bad about anyone else, or any race, or any sex, it just has a thoughtless implication of one tradition from a day when PALY was a different demographic than it is today.

So the people who blindly support this, and who find clever ways to cast others in a bad light just for asking if a better theme could be developed are really the ones who are un-democratic and thoughtless.


Posted by Paly student, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Honestly all this nonsense about Vikings reflecting "jocks" is really silly. Paly students resonate with the Viking mascot regardless if they are involved in sports or not (this is coming from a female who has never played a paly sport).

Also it's really gross seeing so many grown community members making generalizations about "jocks" at Paly. Do you know how many people play sports at paly? And then they have to read these comments about and see adults stereotyping them with the typical high school bully football player. You guys are supposed to be the mature ones.


Posted by Paly Student, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Also "concerned paly student" is joking. she posted her comment on facebook. she posted her comment on facebook. one of her best friends is helping plan the mural.

And why is the viking such a big deal? that's a very common school mascot. And all school mascots are pretty much based off of something vicious. The trojans were just as violent. That doesn't mean that we're creating a violent culture at Paly. The viking is our school symbol... but not something we aspire to become. Like this is honestly just such a ridiculous argument that I don't even know how to counter argue it oh my goodness.


Posted by ..., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm

All these concerned posters are being incredibly hypocritical.

Saying how vikings are too violent and how the mural will promote bullying or whatever

and then turning around a saying horrible things about sport players at paly! isn't that a form of cyber bullying? from "mature" adults? you guys should honestly be ashamed of yourselves.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2013 at 10:49 pm

@CrescentParkAnon: Thank you.
@Paly Student: Thank you for clarifying that- Also "concerned paly student" was joking. Questioning should be OK. I hope. CrescentParkAnon tried to say that. Teenagers used to do that, once upon a time. I do not think that anyone who questioned the proposed mural, stereotyped the school students or the sports players. These are just other opinions as to THIS specific Mascot on a public road. Legit opinions, hopefully, even if not conforming with yours, or the "concerned paly student" who took the time to post a really tasteless joke.


Posted by Paly Student, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:12 pm

@village fool - If you're questioning in a manner that is rude and hurtful to all student athletes then you go from a concerned citizen to a bullying hypocrite in two seconds flat.

Question the mural all you want but don't say negative things about students athletes while you do.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Paly Student said:
> If you're questioning in a manner that is rude and hurtful to all student athletes

Did they teach you about straw arguments in high school yet? No one has said anything rude about student athletes. Can you point to a rude or hurtful comment here about student athletes or find a student athlete who will express how he or she was hurt?

It's hurtful to all Palo Alto and anyone who appreciates freedom of speech and democracy to twist political correctness into a form of attack.

Back on the subject of the mural, I don't like it when they name stadiums after companies, and I don't think PALY owns or has any claim to this underpass. If a mural is going to be painted that everyone in Palo Alto has to look at it should represent everyone.

If that thought slipped by without consideration, the correct response instead of getting mad at someone who points it out would be to think about it and maybe try to exercise and stretch some young minds to find some artistic statement that is inclusive and general instead of dredging out what is a symbol of a school that was founded in 1898 when being inclusive or sensitive to certain people's feelings was not yet valued.


Posted by Paly Grad, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 28, 2013 at 5:03 am

I've been posting on this site regularly for a couple of years now, previously under the name of "Paly Student". I'm a recent Paly grad currently in college with a sibling still at Paly who is not aware about the plans for a mural. Nor are any of her friends.

I can appreciate that the students putting forth this proposal have likely devoted much effort into this project, but I think it's also important that the input of the entire community be taking into account, especially considering the public nature of the project.

Right now, it's not clear to me what the project would even entail. I have not been able to find a website or webpage describing the specifics of the mural: Is it going to be a retrospective collage with vikings representing the events that took place in the past year, is it simply going to be a single painting of a viking scene every year, or is it going to be one large continuous mural of viking imagery that is continued year after year? Clarification would be greatly appreciated.

More important, I question whether the mural even has the support of the entire Paly campus, let alone PA residents who will drive by it every day. My sister and her friends were not aware of the mural. I know for a fact that two years ago as a student at Paly, I would have had serious concerns about the mural: I've always been extremely proud of the school and its diverse student body, and am worried about the aesthetics and inclusiveness of the mural. There's no getting around it: As many have already pointed out, vikings are simply not very representative of the demographics and aspirations of the student body.

I was very involved in the arts at Paly and will say that what concerns me the most, however, is the design of the mural. Setting aside the fact that school murals are very elementary school-ish and dizzyingly colorful, it is likely that the quality of the mural itself will vary greatly from year to year. There's been a great focus on photography recently at Paly in the arts and less on painting. The success of the mural will basically depend EVERY year on whether Paly has a handful of great painters who actually want to paint a mural. Painting a mural is not easy, especially if it's under an underpass. What if no one wants to paint a mural one year or no one is artistically capable? How does the student body get a say in what the select painters decide to paint?


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2013 at 8:34 am

Thanks "Paly Grad, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis", finally a participant in an actual discussion based on facts and fairness.

It's a good point about upkeep and maintenance, because just about anything that gets done that someone can get at these days gets graffiti on it without days - and sadly that even includes indoors. Who is going to repaint and pay for materials to keep this up?


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2013 at 9:44 am

I didn't attend Pally but we use to play them in sports. I know people who went to Paly, IMO let 2013 do this. All schools should show their pride and spirit. Pally is an old school, has a history of greatness, just not in sports.


Posted by Garret, a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2013 at 9:49 am

Sorry about that my spell checker went whacko. Paly.


Posted by area man, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

I am astonished by the number of posters who obviously have not bothered to read the original story (or didn't understand the story) before launching their uninformed and in many cases fantastical comments.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised; this phenomenon is common throughout the Palo Alto Online forums. The quality of the discussion is often quite poor because the conversation veers all over the lot, with people remarking based on "facts" that are not and were never mentioned in the original stories.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:16 am

I think too many people on this thread have way too much time on their hands.

Lighten up and let the kids be kids.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

> I think too many people on this thread have way too much time on their hands.

Why publish the story at all because obviously people who read it just have too much time on their hands - especially if they comment?

Retired people and senior citizens ... forget it, you all have too much time on their hands to have anything important to say.

Students during the summer ... forget it, you have too much time on their hands to have anything important to say.

Some people have to complain about others having too much time on their hands when they don't have anything to support their own opinions.

I wonder if it would be too much to ask the editor to delete or edit out unhelpful posts like this that just berate people for posting their opinions? Isn't posting opinions what this forum is about, so these comments are by definition not helpful.

Comments that deny the value of another's opinion based on things irrelevant to the subject at hand, like ridicule, are unhelpful and antithetical to the whole idea of a Town Square Forum.

Do they teach that in Kindergarten anymore and people just forget it by the time they get to High School or Fatherhood?


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 28, 2013 at 6:45 pm

The senior Vikings warriors quietly steered their long ship up Baron Creek late one evening. It was the annual "Eggensplatten", an ancient Viking ceremony whereby the most accomplished warriors did mock battle with their juniors. The battle had been planned for the Citadel arena, but the Evil Overland from Ireland had been trying to quash all native Viking culture.

Quail eggs, bought to them by their trained Ravens, were tossed and the side more "Eggersplattered" lost.

As the senior warriors entered the battle arena they saw the juniors had been overtaken by the fact that they accidentally had entered the sacred area of their long time rivals, the inhabitants of the Gunnister Kingdom. The eggs were splattered all over their ancient rivals sacred walls.

The seniors Vikings knew right away that the Evil Irish Overlord would be livid and take out stark revenge. They ordered a hasty retreat just as the Irish occupier troops arrived. Some of the Vikings were captured and burnt in oil that very night.

This was the last heard of that tribe of Vikings as the historical record gets hazy.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm

I can see it now, competing high schools come in to vandalize this mural because of silly competitive comments like the egg wars things, that may even be light-hearted and funny. Then they get his back in some other way because they don't have a mural, and then it escalates from there. Just a small incident can grow to create a competition that gets out of hand. Some people see that as fun. I don't. Keep it unrelated to schools and sports, something the whole city and other cities can enjoy that does not provoke vandalism.


Posted by Jeanne d'Arc, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm

CrescentParkAnon said it well. Keep it apolitical, non-sports, non-competition, and it will be okay.

Then it really will be Not an issue!


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 28, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Back in the day....high school kids would park their cars at the Leland Tomb, shine the car lights on the tomb, all blast their radio's on the same channel. And twist the night away. I assume some drinking occurred. Today it would be decried as sacrilege or something.

I don't think any comment is going to start a war of "escalating vandalism". But if that floats your long boat...go for it.

Lewis Black needs to come on and do his "Ripple of Evil"

Web Link

It's in their somewhere...

But back to the story. Though little is known about the ancient Paly Vikings the Gunnister Kingdom's band of "Titans" continued on. The name Titan is a bit misleading as it refers to their motto "We're Number One So We Try Harder". The Vikings had little need of any slogan, their sense of ordinate entitlement so entrenched. But had they any slogan it would have been something like "Hey (belch) Pass the Meade".

Years later an ancient Viking mural was discovered on an excavated overpass adjacent to the trading "joes" arena. Not to be outdone The Titans created their own yearly ritual. A large "Burning Dog" was erected on Stanford Land next to the dish. The Titans would all break down the fence and, along with their dogs and trained wolves, would lite afire the Burning Dog and the canines did howl..


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm

And thus the problem CPAnon - people take too many things too seriously and too personally. Your reaction is an example.

Opinions are opinions. Supportive or dismissive. Like them or hate them.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Crescent Park Dad, it's really irrelevant what you think about how others react when they are on point, and you are not. Your comment is a personal attack done in a way as to make someone else look like the problem, when really you are just carrying it on. You really cannot criticize "people" in general for something you are doing as you criticize, it makes you look silly and undercuts your credibility.


Posted by Paly Student, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2013 at 1:11 am

@cpanon - yes there are comments on this story saying negative things about high school athletes based on their own high school experiences, referring to them as "jocks" which is a term that has negative stereotypes associated with it.

Lauren kough says that she does not like the idea of a Viking mural because she believes it is too central to the jock crowd. She then says that this is bad because many students had problems with the jock crowd.

How is that not hurtful or stereotyping.

YOU say that jocks were the OFFENSERS of high school students and relate those offenses to current day palo alto issues, clearly tying "jocks" (student athletes) to current day issues. And then you say that you're not being hurtful?


You need to learn how to express your opinion better. If you had said something like "oh I wish they would make something less sports related so that students not involved in sports could also take pride in it". That's ok and acceptable.

But you chose to say "I never liked sports. And with all this competition and bullying and stuff going on.... Well the perpetrators were always the jocks." Not ok, and obviously a rude and harmful thing to say.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 3, 2013 at 9:54 am

> How is that not hurtful or stereotyping.

I don't know .... maybe because it's just not.

Here is what I actually said: "All this competition and bullying concern, suicide by railroad and some of the biggest offenders when I was in school were the "jocks" or whatever they call them now."

You claim that hurt jocks that some of them were associated with bullying when I went to PALY.

There is a stereotype because young people when everything is going right for them personally tend to not have the life experience to think about other people and even ridicule and bully them.

As that implied, this is not limited to the "male" "athletic crowd" if that makes you feel better, but the sports stereotype has been connected to an arrogant attitude for a long time for a reason.

So making the point that thinking only about PALY and about sports and grabbing a public spot to put up a "school spirit" mural without really considering how it looks of the connotations over multiple dimensions, to me, seems a lot like inconsiderate to me.

Making comments like the student body voted on it, or as someone if it was not you said - [all] "Paly students resonate with the Viking mascot regardless if they are involved in sports or not" - is also inconsiderate of Palo Alto in general as well, or that the Viking represents everyone, in my opinion, seems a lot like inconsiderate to me as well.

Picking up and running with a weak premise by trying to say my comment hurt someone or that I need to learn how to express my opinions better. well, again I'd just say you are reversing the idea of political correctness for your own gain and using it for something it does not exist for, which insidious if you are going to carry and evolve that tactic into the future, it is an invalid and non-fact-based rhetoric.

I would also like to point out that you used quotation marks to attribute to me a quote I never made and cannot find on this page. I find that hurtful, offensive and dishonest.


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