February 22, 2003


California - "The Golden State"

Katie: "California has extremely tall trees and a huge pornography industry."

Brendan: "California - Better wine than France."

Jen: "I cannot smell the aroma of oranges or orange blossoms without becoming nostalgic about the state where I was born, raised, and spent the first 27 years of my life. I miss the Missions and the Mexican food. The sight of the Milky Way, while spending a night in the desert, will take your breath away, as will the sun on the water at Laguna Niguel."

Tony: "I'll take California. We've got great skiing, breathtaking deserts, and fantastic beaches. Some of the most cutting edge universities on the face of the planet call California home. California birthed the motion picture and computer industries, as well as nurturing pioneers that manage to fuse both. And quite frankly, I like Disneyland - anything which makes the French howl in disgust is fine by me.

California is a land overflowing with agricultural activity, and hosts some of the best wineries around.

And did I mention the hot women?

California is one of the greatest places on earth (our worthless and stupid politicians aside). And we have enough firepower to wipe out any who would mess with us."

Delsyn: "I moved to California 3 years ago and I can say that there's no place in America more beautiful, whatever kind of scenery you like. You like the mountains, the beaches, skiing, watersports, the desert, the snow? it's all within a few hours drive.

The San Diego Zoo
The Los Angeles Philharmonic
The Golden Gate Bridge

True, we also have those enclaves of so-bad-they-might-as-well-be-French like Berkeley and Hollywood, but I say judge us by our best, not our worst!"

David: "California - The land of:

Gray (lights out) Davis,
Arriana (SUV terrorist) Huffington,
Barbara (DNC Shadow Leader) Streisand,
Sean (I love Iraq) Penn,
Michael (come here little boy) Jackson,
Disney (Give the nice mouse your money) Corporation,
All the I-haven't-a-clue Hollywood celebrities,
Bottled blondes,
Silicon breasts,
liposuctioned hips,
rebuilt noses,
Rehashed TV shows,
Over taxation,
and celebrities who have mistakenly deluded themselves into thinking that just because we like the way they sing, dance, tell jokes, act, or bounce in slow-mo that we care one iota about what they think.

Gee maybe I should do South Dakota instead....

Actually once you ignore the LA and San Francisco areas you discover that California has:

Giant Redwoods,
Yosemite National Park,
Mount Shasta,
The central basin,
Death Valley,
Great Wineries,
Farming – do you like Strawberries, Artichokes, Olives, Garlic, Onions, Almonds, Pistachios, Oranges, Lemons, etc.
The top military weapons designers and developers in the free world.
Great skiing,
Fantastic Golf Courses
The finest, hardest working common folk who ever existed. We’re not all brainless celebrities, and loony left wing radicals. There is a lot of folks here who just want to work hard, raise their families, love their spouses, support their communities, love their country, cherish their freedom and get through the day without losing the smile on their face, just like everywhere else in the vast land. You know the type – rednecks."

jkrank: "Name something. Anything. We have it. Or we will invent it."

Ith: "California has the Golden Gate Bridge with fog rolling in from the Bay, it has Disneyland where I've spent many happy hours with friends, it has the Big Sur coast where I can just go on a Sunday afternoon, and it still has the spirit of the pioneers who came here to find their dream."

Official Home Page

Posted by Lester on February 22, 2003 03:32 AM

Land of Da Goddess.

Land of Moxie.

Land of Mikey/Electric Bugaloo.

Land of Gnome-Girl.

Land of Hoopty.

Land of kd.

Land of mountains, oceans, snow, sun, heat, cold, fires, rain, sunsets, sunrises, etc.

We have it all.

And, you can get to any single one of those things in almost an hour or two driving.

Posted by: Da Goddess on February 22, 2003 01:13 PM

My birthplace. Hollywood. Movie stars. The Golden Gate Bridge.

Posted by: Amy on February 22, 2003 03:04 PM

Did you know that the sleepy winery town of Sonoma was the first capital of the Republic of California?

The California flag, like those of Hawaii and Texas, is unusual in that it features a design used by a formerly independent country.

It is said that the lone red star was added to the Bear Flag in solidarity with Texas.

Posted by: feste on February 22, 2003 03:11 PM

In defense of California (against David's remarks), Michael Jackson is from Gary, Indiana, Arriana Huffington is from Greece, and Gray Davis and Barbra Streisand are both from Brooklyn, NY. We do have to take credit for Senn Penn, though.

Why do they live here? Well, if you've got the money for it, here is where you want to live. Wonderful weather, an amazing mix of races and cultures, any kind of food you want, beautiful landscapes, beautiful women (and, I assume, men) and the attitude that you should be able to do what you like if you're not bothering anyone else. I grew up in Tennessee, and with all due respect to Glenn Reynolds, I wouldn't live anywhere other than California.

Posted by: Dan on February 22, 2003 03:55 PM

Driving for the first time across the bay bridge from Oakland into San Francisco, and seeing San Francisco rise up like a white diamond from the sea is still ranked as one of the most beautiful, magical moments of my life.

Posted by: Loretta on February 22, 2003 05:19 PM

The 17-Mile Drive in Monterey.

Posted by: Linkmeister on February 22, 2003 05:45 PM

I was so looking forward to this blog, but of course I started with my home state and of course found it full of negative bullshit. You'd think this would be one place where people could, if they can't say something nice maybe just bite their fucking tongues for half a second.

California is made all the richer by places like Berkeley and San Francisco, which dilute the per capita meathead narrow-minded persona that the rest of the world sees in us. People from the Bay Area tend to be tolerant of others to the point of celebrating them - even, at times, the Archie Bunkeresque among us. That said, I think I'm going to have to give up on reading any more of what I thought was going to be a ruling blog.

Posted by: Jessica on February 22, 2003 07:55 PM

the coves in palos verdes
the redwood highway
big sur
death valley
mt lassen
the western end of the mother road, route 66
fresh produce
all that sun and virtually no humidity, ever
the Santa Anas
Catalina Island
Joshua Tree park
the coronado hotel
El Burrito in Redondo Beach
San Pedro

Posted by: pril on February 22, 2003 10:06 PM

I debated whether to edit the comments or pull them off Michele's blog as-is. Her blog and readers are almost as far to the right of the political spectrum as I am to the left. I fretted about this and other negative comments. In the end, I decided that open comments and unedited commentary would celebrate our freedom of thought and of speech way more than me trying to cut out the rough edges or to put my liberal spin on things. Perhaps I was wrong.

What I feared more than having someone be offended by the posts was that the comments would be filled with trollish rants or juvenile crap. To my surprise, none of that has happened, yet, and there have been very few negative comments about the project itself. I'm sorry it offended you.

Posted by: Lester on February 22, 2003 10:57 PM

Ain't reality tough? California is what it is...one of the most physically beautiful states, which seems to attract all of those idiots David mentioned.

By the way...once again we see that it is actually you on the Left who are the real opponents of free speech in this country. Thankfully, you did not censor the comments because they were negative. I find it scary, however, that you actually considered it. Funny, though, that there is no discussion of whether or not Jessica's profanities would offend anyone. Many Californians seem to want free speech when it means pornography and obscenities, but not dissenting political views.

Finally, I am thankful for one truly great individual that California gave to the rest of the world...Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: Robert on February 23, 2003 03:04 PM

[off-topic]Why don't we just refrain from name-calling and enjoy this fabulous blog?

Solonor did such a wonderful job here, and he's worked really hard on it. Let's try to play nice with each other in this space, at least. What makes this blog such a wonderful idea is that this can be the ONE place that we can leave our political inclinations behind and just talk about the things that we love here in America.

Take a deep, cleansing breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Let's all be about the loooove while we're here, 'k? :)[off-topic]

I'm a newbie here in California, but I fell in love with this state my first week here--for many of the the reasons already mentioned, but my favorite thing about California? I've met so many of my fellow bloggers face-to-face here! :)

Posted by: skits on February 23, 2003 06:25 PM

I've only been in Southern California a year but I am in love. The hook? The fact I can wear a tank top and my shorts in February. Beats my hometown anyday.

And La Jolla. I look forward to my next visit to the coast.

Posted by: Alicia on February 24, 2003 02:53 AM

Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Strip.


The Redwoods.

Posted by: Robin on February 24, 2003 03:27 AM

Re: Jessica's comment

Jessica, I am:

Pro gay-rights
Pro gay marriage
Pro Israeli security
Pro Paletinian statehood
Pro Free Speech
Pro immigration
Pro tolerance
Pro marijuana legalization
Pro choice
Pro feminism
Pro dissent
Anti death penalty
Anti racism
Anti Creationism
Anti Religious Right
Anti Falwell, Buchanan et al
I voted for Bill Clinton twice

and I always thought of myself as a classic liberal.

I am also pro Second Amendment, pro capitalism, and (horrors) pro America and in my nine months of living in San Francisco I was labeled a "Right-wing reactionary fascist Nazi" by a community that handed out a flyer in my apartment community on September 13, 2001 asking us not to fly American flags lest we offend some of our residents.

I do not shrink from acknowledging the less savory episodes in America's past - our hands are hardly clean. On balance, however, America and it's awesome military power has been a force for more good and liberation of oppressed peoples than any other comparable state in history.

For all that you claim that San Francisco is the home of tolerance, try having a Republican Party or NRA bumper sticker on your SUV or hold up a "Free Iraq" sign at an anti-war rally and see how much "tolerance" you get.

Aren't you the one who called me a "meathead"?

As for celebrating California, I may hate Hollywood celebrities bonehead statements, but I'm still going to the movies!

Hollywood - home of American cultural imperialism!

Posted by: Delsyn on February 24, 2003 01:15 PM

I think California's varied climate and topgraphy is what draws and inspires people to visit and eventually many to settle. You can have just about any environment you crave.

I asked a Swiss born friend if he missed the sheer beauty of his home and he replied "Yes, sometimes...but I don't always want mountains."

Posted by: feste on February 24, 2003 01:18 PM

Loretta: The other one is driving in from Marin across the Golden Gate Bridge on a sunny day with the fog just kissing the top of the north tower...it makes your heart sing and you forget about the grind from Corte Madera to the Waldo. *G*

Posted by: feste on February 24, 2003 01:23 PM

People like to pick on San Francisco. But given all that, I think it's important to state the obvious, that it's one of the most amazingly beautiful cities I've ever seen. The whole Bay Area is mind-bendingly gorgeous, really.

Posted by: Matt McIrvin on February 24, 2003 08:09 PM

the arroyo seco in pasadena. a quiet and (almost) natural oasis in the middle of suburban los angeles.

Posted by: vj on February 28, 2003 04:40 PM

I've been around the world several times and there's nothing anywhere as sweet as backpacking in the Sierras. We are blessed, but I reluctantly have to agree with several of the previous commenters. I originally came here decades ago and fell in love with the open-mindedness of the people, but over time, the bay area has become one of the most intolerant places I've been. Still, San Francisco and Berkeley are unique and (usually) great places to visit.

Posted by: uisgebaugh on March 2, 2003 03:22 AM

I was born and raised in California. I love CA. The state has the most beautiful contrasts in the country, deserts to the sea, farmland to forbidding snow-packed peaks. CA has something for everyone. Unfortunately it has too much for authoritarian-socialists. My firearm sports forced a choice on me, my heart or the place of my birth. I now live in Tennessee the volunteer state and a class III state.

Posted by: MarcS on March 8, 2003 12:43 AM

I neglected to mention above, the misty coastal ranges, the cool isolated bays, the mysterious coastal redwoods, the majestic Sierra redwoods, the coolness of a zero humidity 100 degree day, the warmth of a one hundred percent 50 degree evening, the small club concerts, the art museums, the traffic, the extent, the homeyness and the urbanity. California broke my heart.

Posted by: MarcS on March 8, 2003 01:59 AM

As a native-born Californian, I would list 1: the weather. 2: the beautiful natural scenery. Especially in southern Cal, you can't beat the weather, and you can grow any kind of plant. We have higher mountains than Colorado, and the 3rd most miles of beach in the U.S. It varies from sun-drenched in the south, to wild, rocky and gorgeous, in the north. All these natural attributes are offset by more wackos per square mile than practically anyplace on earth, and our democrat-orchestrated economic mess. However, it's pretty much impossible to consider leaving Yosemite, the Sierras, the Redwoods, and the California Coast. Find me another state with scenery like this, and I'll move. Heather D

Posted by: Heather on March 8, 2003 09:22 PM

California, like many of the women who live here is, geographically, stunningly beautiful. Like many women however, when you know it better, it is difficult to remember just what you originally found attractive. The urbanites that shape our social trends and laws celebrate diversity of appearance with a smarmy enthusiasm that is, frankly, hard to believe. Their fixation on group identity is more reminiscent of the third reich than a vibrant, pluralistic society. Their certainty in the righteousness of their position pushes any other viewpoint out of sight except in the occasional letters-to-the-editor posting, and the nature of their response to opposing viewpoints makes you think they slept through logic 101 except for the part about ad hominem and even there they missed the part about it being a fallacy. I must admit that I live here because the money?s good in L.A. Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, among others, all have magnificent scenery if you want to work for less. I guess the scenery?s not the thing. Sooner or later, though the government will erase the money distinction. What ever happened to the idea that ?to secure these rights governments are instituted among men??

The scenery is lovely, though. I can see 60, 80 miles east from my place to Arrowhead and the sun on the windows there in the late afternoon. The drive to work takes me past Baldy and Wilson and their ranges that I can see with more clarity than I should be enjoying at 100 feet per second. The silence in the desert is utterly indescribable to someone who hasn?t experienced it and you can still see the sky that inspired the ancients.

Posted by: Rick on March 9, 2003 04:23 PM

california is the greatest state in the union precisely because of all of its natural beauty. everyone who has commented on that has it right.

on the other hand, people cite the same negatives about california, and it's all about this stereotype of the kind of people who live here. look at every post, look at every negative stereotype. you were thinking of white people weren't you? they're not even the majority here. enough with the old stereotypes already.

Posted by: cobb on March 9, 2003 11:13 PM

Well, no, as a matter of fact, it?s not just whites fixated on group identity, although whites are amply represented. In government we have Maxine Waters, Antonio Villaragosa, Cruz Bustamante and Willie Brown, to name just a few high profilers and Halle Barry Danny Glover, Harry Bellafonte and Spike Lee in show biz. True, Spike Lee is a New Yorker, but he also works in L. A., and makes full use of the celebrity earned in an entirely different field to push his ideas of social justice. The list could go on with nearly every non-white legislator, actor and for that matter, academician you can name from California. The exceptions are few and far between indeed and include the kind of appearance diversity the post-modernists value above all else.

The scenery is lovely though.

Posted by: Rick on March 10, 2003 04:11 PM

As many have mentioned, the natural beauty here is wonderful. I noticed when I moved here that the state and the federal government have done wonderful things to make much of the beauty accessible to so many. They may not do a perfect job at the park services, but the people bust their hump so we can all enjoy it.

The beauty is awe-inspiring, whether it's the redwoods, the coast, alpine lakes... any place that constantly takes my breath away on such a massive scale has a lot going for it.

Posted by: Chrees on March 10, 2003 05:51 PM

Wow. Lots of angry Californians out there. Looks like California won't drift sleepily through the 21st Century. Most of the comments deal with the great weather or the great natural beauty and I wholeheartedly agree with both. However, the greatest characteristic of California in my eyes is the urban/wilderness mix. A person can be stuck in some wall-to-wall mass of humanity in Southern California one place, and then go just five miles away to mountain bike in some canyon while dodging deer and the other local critters. Before I came out here I couldn't believe that 10000+ acre county parks even existed. And after you're done, back to your 10 or 15 million closest neighbors--they may not like you, you may not like them, but hey, that's what you get when you have so many people from so many backgrounds deciding to settle here--a crazy, dynamic mix.

Posted by: Steve W on March 10, 2003 10:56 PM

California- what can I say that has not been said except that it truly has too many contradictions to classify- Amazing surf, pristine wilderness, scholars and fruitcakes, and of course the weather. My personal preference is for the cities to disappear and leave the coast and mountains, but it would not be the same if it didn't have all the yahoos driving out of control on the freeways b/c they make you appreciate the great parts even more.

Posted by: Carter M. on March 11, 2003 05:47 AM

I was born and raised in this state, as was my mother and now my son. I have traveled widely within it, yet in almost 46 years have seen only a relatively small part of it. California is THAT big and all-encompassing. Except for the little detail of being one of the 50 US states, California is otherwise its own country, with as much diversity in population, economy, geography, and resources, as anyone could ever want. I have found nothing outside California's borders that would ever make me want to permanently abandon my home state. Ironically, I have encountered much WITHIN its borders -- incompetent politicians and the plethora of idiot laws and programs they have foisted upon us; skyrocketing taxes and cost of living; locust-like transients (whether rich or poor), who come to California for a few years and then depart for greener pastures, complaining that the state has become "too run down" or "too crowded," leaving the state all the more impoverished when they depart; etc. -- which might finally CHASE me away from the land of my birth, much as the grizzly bear abandoned the state whose flag he adorns. I'm sure he didn't go willingly, or easily, and neither will I.

My family and I have put up with a lot to make a living in our embattled home state. But that's OK. We're here for the long haul because we simply love all of California -- from the beaches to the mountains, the redwoods to the deserts, the valley delta to the grapevine, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, Fresno, Modesto, and all points in between -- and we couldn't bear the thought of abandoning her to the mercies of those who will never love her half as well as we do. As my email address suggests, I proud and grateful to be a native son of the Bear Republic. California is my country.

Posted by: James Merritt on March 13, 2003 01:22 AM

As a native Californian, I agree with many of the previous commentators that the weather, the topography, the people of this state make a magnificent eclectic mix found in no other U.S. state. (more reminiscent of parts of Europe)
If I had come across a better place to live and raise children and grandchildren, I'd BE there.

Posted by: Bill on March 13, 2003 07:29 PM

One of the indescribably beauties of California (Berkeley and SF in particular, but I'm sure this goes for most metro areas) is being described quite eloquently on Bobby Burgess' site these days. Those smarmy urban women sure know how to make a guy feel at home. That's probably one of the things that makes them so attractive (and damn, what kind of comment was that, anyway, Rick with the italics problem?).

Posted by: Jessica on March 13, 2003 10:33 PM

We have visited California many times. Been to San Francisco, LA and San Diego and their environs. What people say about California's beauty is all true and even better than can be described by mere words or pictures. Yes, although I love New England's true 4 seasons, it is haard to beat the feel of California's soft weather. We would like to live there except for the threat of earthquakes - do not want to spend the last minutes of our lives trapped under a fallen overpass.

How come California's politics and the political opinions of its people are so wacko?

Posted by: Jimbo on March 15, 2003 07:20 AM

Thanks for the critique, Jessica, your'e quite right. I intended to italicize just "apparently", but made a typo in the html and didn't use the preview. The mistake didn't show up until it was too late.

Posted by: Rick on March 16, 2003 03:02 PM