Here’s To You California..

ISOA Banner  I will be the first to admit that I have only been in California on a handful of occasions and only once in the 21st century. But here is my gallery celebrating your State.  I visited San Francisco and those pictures will be coming soon. But for this gallery I want to concentrate on the central farm lands and such. Here is a gallery of that:

As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view:

California Biking…

I have been doing some housekeeping in my photo archive this wintry day and ran across these “biker convention” pics that I have yet to publish.  They were taken in the summer of 2009. I think most of these guys are boomer weekend warriors, not the Hell’s Angels variety.

As usual, click on any pic to see a larger slideshow…

Automatic voter registration through DMV

Gov. Jerry Brown acted Saturday to increase participation in California elections and help prevent shootings at colleges, approving automatic voter registration and banning concealed weapons on campuses.

Source: Jerry Brown OKs automatic voter registration through DMV – LA Times

California has always been kind of “out there” for me but they do things that need to be done much before most other States. Where most of the “red” States are doing things to make it harder to vote, leave it up to very blue California to do the opposite. Thinking about it, it just makes sense that if you are getting a license with a permanent address attached why shouldn’t that automatically allow you to vote with that address? Why do you have to do anything else? Given that so few of us seem to vote these days we should make it as easy as possible to vote.  You got a driver’s license, you can vote…

But since this new law will mainly affect those 18-24 year old voters I imagine the GOP will fight it in red States. Most of those young folks will likely vote Democrat.  Maybe their decision to require a valid driver’s license at the polls in the red States  will backfire on them. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I just don’t understand how a party that claims almost sole ownership of patriotism and the Constitution can act the way they do sometimes.  I read recently where a southern State is now limiting the hours of voting in certain districts.  They say it is to save money but almost all the districts are predominately African-American.  Hypocrisy is saying one thing will doing the exact opposite. That description just seem to totally fit the 21st century GOP right now.  I hope that changes but I don’t see, given the current anti everything mood over there, that it has a chance of happening…

As Goes California, So Goes The Nation

From The Redwood Forests…

To The Redwood ForestsAccording to the info found near the base of this beauty the redwood forests of California would be pretty much just some stumps if we had left it to the industrialists. Thank heavens people fought that from happening. Woody Guthrie was right that “This land” is from the Red Wood forests to the Gulf Stream waters.

The Great American Garden Basket…

Central California – Garden Basket of America

When we visited central California in 2009 I was expecting to see many vegetable fields but not as big as what I found. The picture above is of an artichoke field of probably 3,000 acres. I never imagined that many artichokes were even consumed by us.  Without California we would be restricted to fresh veggies only while they are in season. The California vegetable fields are very American….

Apple Computer…

Cupertino, CA – Apple Computer

One of the things that give America the edge in the world is our technological genius and nothing says that like Apple Computer. Given that they are making some major announcements today I thought it appropriate to feature them in today’s post.  A couple of kids starting a multi-billion dollar industry in their garage is very American…

From The Redwood Forests..

Sequoia National Park, CA – The Mighty Redwoods

Until you have been up close and personal with a mammoth redwood tree you just don’t understand the majesty of them. My most recent encounter with them was in the Sequoia National Forest. Yes, that is me in the picture. I don’t think redwoods grow anywhere else in the world so they are very American.  I am a firm believer that we should change the national anthem to Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land. I “From the redwood forests to the Gulf stream waters” shows the heart of America much more than a puny sea battle of an 1812 military conflict. I wonder what it would take to get that done?

Epic California Drought Could Change the Way We Eat

2014-03-11_08-41-22California is America’s bread basket—or, more accurately, its fruits and vegetables basket. The Golden State produces 95 percent of the country’s celery, half of its bell peppers, 89 percent of its cauliflower, 96 percent of its tomatoes, 95 percent of its garlic, 90 percent of its avocados—and the list goes on. In fact, the state accounts for nearly one-fifth of the entire agricultural output of the U.S. SOURCE: Epic California Drought Could Change the Way We Eat – Ovens.

Lets face it, we are all addicted to California fruits and veggies.  We expect to have our strawberries throughout the year instead of just during the Spring months as our grandparents did. We want everything, even if it is out of season. The California droughts could have a profound effect  on our supply of fruits and vegetables. One thing to relieve that is that there is quite a bit more things coming from Mexico and South America now. Even our little supermarket here in my small town has tomatoes from Mexico, plums for Argentina and other countries.

2014-03-23_13-10-30The drought problem for California in not surprising given that they have a population of more than 38 million people! That is several times more than all the ten red States (shown blue on this map)  in the “Great American Desert” combined. They now pump much of their water from hundreds of miles away.

It seems that the most needed invention for this world today is taking the salt out of ocean water. If that could be done on an economic scale California could quit stealing water from its neighbors and continue to be the vegetable garden for the U.S.

To the Redwood Forests



This land was made for you an me.  Those words were written by Woody Guthrie. He was one of my favorite songwriters. The picture (that is me in the picture) was taken in June 2009 in northern California during our month long trip out west.

Trip Log – California dreaming….

SL California ShoreHere is my synopsis of California as I promised yesterday.  California is indeed a very beautiful State and the weather is great.  The great redwoods in the northern part of the State are awesome along with mile after mile of pristine shoreline.

But I think just way too many people have  “discovered” California.  30 million people; wow! After seeing the local news for almost 4 days I have come to a couple of conclusions:  They can’t see the forest for the trees; even those in the northern part of the State 🙂 .  They seem to want to vote on just about everything. In that respect it is quite impossible to have any overall plans or objectives for the State.  The California government is in an impossible situation because of such short sightnedness. The voters want it all but don’t want to have to pay for it. They micromanage everything thing including their 9.25% sales tax with a complicated number of exemptions.

The other thing I noticed is that for some reason they all seem to think that the speed limit signs must be “average” speed. They spend hours and hours every week in traffic jams  and then go 100 mph to make up for the creeping.  And they are probably the least courteous bunch on the highways that I have ever encountered and I have been in the NYC and Boston traffic! If you come here don’t dare use your turn signals to show a lane change; you are just asking to be cut off.  And “keep right except to pass”; forget it; it doesn’t exist. Their road signs in a word suck.  If you don’t know that xyz “street” is actually a highway that  goes to a particular city then you are certain to get lost because they never show you that.

But, when Californians get out of their beloved cars they are a friendly enough bunch. We struck up conversations with several of them during our stay there. Mostly to ask for directions . That was Yvonne asking not me of course 🙂 .  The final mention on this topic is that they have a great  mass transit system around San Francisco but almost no one has “discovered” it yet I guess. So, overall, California is a great place with WAY WAY too many people who WAY WAY love their cars TOO TOO much. One thing that could help most of the above problems would be for a very brave governor and legislature to add a $3/gallon gasoline tax. But of course no one is that brave in California.

PS………  One thing I forgot to note on this post was the ethnic diversity of California. Around San Francisco there are people from all around the world.  Part of that is due to being close to Stanford, CalTech, and the other high profile schools. There is also a very high percentage of Hispanic origin even in northern California. It was not unusual to be someplace as a white Anglo and be in the minority. That almost never happens to us in the Midwest. At lease for those living outside the major cities.  It would be nice to have that kind of diversity where we live.

Even in northern California the housing prices are simply sky high. A small shack of 700 square feet costs about $500,000.  How can lower class and lower middle class even live here? I suspect the average monthly mortgage is over $2500 per month. The cost of everything seems to be higher (for instance a hamburger outside the fast food places is typically $8.50) but housing, even after the bust, is out of reach. The final post observation is that I was surprised at how the average towns seem to mimic those of  Mexico in there makeup and appearance.  I know that of the Hispanic origins but I was just surprised how strong it still is.