Books for Everyone!

Mid-December 2020

California State History

California State History: It was the name of the class that I took at Sac State during the winter of 1983, and a good class it was. Taught by an elderly gentleman from the hills of Pennsylvania (that would be in the vicinity of Pittsburgh), this Required Course at this State University was intended to inform The Student about the Legacy and the Laws of the Great State of California.

This course constituted the initial stepping of my toe back into the structured, restricted and confined Academic Setting of the Classroom. I was soon searching for a way outta there, but I was also looking for answers to the plethora of questions that I, a non-Native Californian, had amassed about the Golden State. Those queries can best be summed up in three words: Is this normal?

Eureka, it was!

My Dear Son had to take the same mandated-History of California class when he attended my semi-alma mater in the mid-late2000s. The comically ironic attitude of the Lecturing Professor had not changed much, although by the dawn of the 21st century, there was an awful lot more awful California history at which to laugh, deride, jeer and mock. This prof teaching the History of the Golden State was also a non-Native, a circumstance that led me to ponder whether the Natives are at all interested in California history, aside from the “history” they believe are living, or making.

The Millennial Prof informed Dear Son, who informed me, that the population of California after the Great Depression was greatly augmented by Okies, which is the primary reason for the virulent protectionist-labor strain that currently drains the State Budget. The class-warfare mentality is hard to root out of a state that roots itself so deeply in the images of farmers, agriculture and land usage as if California invented those means of earning a living. There are some Californians who think this place is the original Garden of Eden, not the Garden of Allah.

In my class of the immediate-post-Moonbeam I era, the intriguing educational situation of a non-Californian teaching this history class was completely lost on the other students, long-time residents or native Californians. They slouched and slumped in their chairs, waiting for the two hours to come to an end. I, however, was eating up every morsel and syllable that this prof was proffering. I’d venture to say that he and I were the only ones interested in this subject!

I do not recall the name of my prof for that class, but I do very vividly recall a few of his more accurate and prescient comments on California, a state I’d just recently moved to from the East Coast:

The Governor: Everybody gets 2 terms, no matter how awful he is.

I’d like to think that this hard-and-fast-fantasy-rule will be broken by the current occupant of the State Dictatorship, a guy who sends out his stay-at-home-forever orders as if they carry the sense of urgency and moral imperative of Amber Alerts. I’ve come to call them Gavin Alerts just before they go into cell-phone-trash.

The Guv’s inability to rein in the cranky out-of-control vocal cords reminds me of my own commentary on a female relative of dismal deeds. A brave but nosy in-law apprehensively whispered to me:

“I understand that you and She are not talking.”

I replied: “I’m the one not talking. She won’t shut up.”

I fully expect the Gavin Alerts to jump the digital Rubicon from the electronic device to the freeway this winter, and appear on those amber-colored LED-flashing overhead signs. Not that anyone would even be on the road if he is locked up in his dimly-lit house! That kind of contradictory, counter-intuitive illogic forms the California State Action Plan. For those of us Citizens who are linear, logical and intuitive thinkers, that mindless dimwit mind-set is The Non-Action Plan.

The State Panickers have already used up all of the freeway billboards, with the ginormous gruesome face of the Masked Karen and her crow’s feet, worrying half to death that she will come across, somewhere, those 5 million Californians, who, in March 2020, were predicted by Bold-Action Governor, would most assuredly die. Yes, once Karen leaves the House, she will be traumatized by the sight of those stiff bodies, strewn all over the sidewalks, blocking her path to her yoga class that has, alas, been cancelled.

And she, Noble Masked-Martyr that she is, will have to contend — all on her own — with those cadavres as if they all have leprosy! Where are the Moon Suits when you need them!!

In the true nature of the true-believer-Californian, the Failed Nebbish in the Statehouse will probably be re-elected before any of the Recalls become real. That’s why we all must stay-in-the-house and shelter-in-tent.

The Graft-and-Corruption here are rinky-dink: In Pennsylvania, the citizens hold pothole conventions to determine who will get the latest contract to re-fill the holes they filled the previous winter.

I know that the problem here, at least outside of the Sierra Nevada, is the dearth of pot-hole-prone roadways. All we have is the potheads, the pot dispensaries, and the gone-to-pot economy.

The State Educational Slush Fund: The California Dept. of Education is the funnel through which the money is sent by the State Superintendent of Schools to bureaucrats and — the real reason for the Dept. of Ed: The State Teacher’s Union. Students have very little to do with budgetary or even educational concerns.

That statement was not news to me, after I’d experienced New Jersey schooling. I was, that same semester, on MWF mornings, experiencing the lethargic, slouching in his chair, always late-to-class, ski-bum brat-son of the State Supt. of Schools — in the Geology Class that I took to fulfill science requirements. I’d already been working with geologists for a few years, so the junk science being peddled, even then, in 1983, was laughable.

That course was “instructed” (propagandized) by a True Believer, a fairly young woman for an Associate Prof. I would call her a Perfect Ass, except her A— was not perfect. It was definitely always on display. She pranced in her thin-wale corduroy jeans that scarcely covered the strutting derrière, and flung her rear-end length hair as she reached one side of the classroom, and then turned, flinging the hair, to prance toward the other end of the front of the classroom, clomping her clogs as if rehearsing for an Irish step dance, or maybe Flashdance!

We all make trade-offs in life. I decided fairly early on in this class to jettison any chance of an A, so that I could at least verbally defend the geologic and meteorological sciences that I’d learned from trained professionals and experienced laymen, and, to be equitable, laywomen. I listened to just about all that I could handle of her pompous preaching about the evils of fracking, and the coming doom of the Hole in the Ozone Layer, and the melting of the Polar Ice Caps due to — the Global Freezing that was now Global Warming. My tolerance, for at least a month, was an act of restraint and dignity, considering the vulgar display in the front of the Classroom. Her job was to explain the Moho layer, not fear-monger the ozone layer.  Her explanation of the slip-strike fault revealed quite a few slips, strikes, and faults where this Eco-babe was concerned.

So when this Prancing Prissy Greenie, who believed she was the Gaia-God’s gift to geology, predicted that by the year 2000, New York City and San Francisco would be under water, due to the melting of the polar ice caps, I stated:

“No big loss.”

It might have been the raucous laughter in the class that set Prissy Greenie off. When the time came for the final grade, I knew that Ski-Bum-Brat Son of the Education Czar would get an A, and he did. I got a little love note on my final exam, that I’d just missed the A by .5 percent, because her break-point was 94 between B and A. I redressed the balance that next semester when I referred this session of her class to a major-class jerk of a friend (who was a minor-class jerk).

Now, to return to the professional professor of the winter of 1983!

The Lightning Rod Cabinet Official: James G. Watt, Secretary of the Interior during the first term of President Reagan, was basically there to take all of the lightning strikes from the endless controversy that he was causing — so that Reagan could accomplish his economic and foreign policy miracles. Bill Bennett was a lighting rod of lesser voltage. I do recall his statement about the National Teachers Union Blob: They lack only a ski mask and a gun.

I just had to conduct some online research of the Watt-Controversy because, in those days, I paid very little attention to news, politics or, ahem, controversy. Since that era, I have learned that the best way to create controversy within the Ever-Shrinking Media is state the truth, bluntly, with wit. Mr. James Watt was really driving the lunatic fringe off the edge! Judging by the odious anathema that Watt still inspires on the Web, this man functions, even today, as a lighting rod, and as a role model for truth, justice, and the American way!

This live wire was wayyy ahead of his time! Genius time!

One of his most insightful barbs is: ”If you want an example of the failure of socialism, don't go to Russia, come to America and go to the Indian reservations.” Those reservations have come a long way with the introduction of capitalism and commerce and free market principles in action. In fact, so has America!

This CSUS History Professor stated that Mr. Watt is a descendent of The James Watt, that dazzlingly bright Enlightenment man; that fiery steam engine that could and did; the engineer, inventor and great Scot: James Watt. At the age of 29, he triumphed where older, experienced engineers had not only failed; they hadn’t even known where to try to succeed. Watt took what was already there, the steam engine, and improved its efficiency — after having observed a kettle on the boil.

Andrew Carnegie called Watt an explorer of many things, and a great man. I call him a great Scots, one of oh so many. The Irish saved civilization, but the Scots invented the modern world . . . for a profit. It took a Scots and his intensely useful units of power to fire up the Industrial Revolution.

Revolution comes in many different shapes and forms and sizes and ways. The State of California is veering haphazardly, but powerfully, toward revolution. As is par for the California course, most of the comatose politicians here do not even realize it. This one-party State cannot keep the lights on, because solar and wind “energy” have never succeeded in the free marketplace.

“Green” energy was crammed down the throats of the productive utility companies through political mandates to subsidize those losers at the enormous cost to the rate-payers, We the People. The Phoney-Energy has been shoved at us, and we are more than happy to shove it back at these grossly incompetent, and stupidly corrupt politicians and cronies who have Led the Way to Disaster.

The sunny skies are no longer sunny for the Silicon Valley suzerains who are gonna feel the pain of a bankrupt state, very soon.

PG&E has been backed into the survival corner; it must do what it has to do to survive. Moving its headquarters out of San Francisco and into Fallon, Nevada might be in the works, the electrical works, that is. It’s become the latest chapter in California history for countless companies, moving out-of-state to survive the past 30 years of California history without any leadership or any laws that make free-market profit or sense.

My class with this delightful gentleman came to its end, but I have never forgotten his courteous manner and insightful instruction. This session was a night class, held twice a week, during the winter. I was very fascinated by every bit of the historical and hilarious philosophical banter and facts; but at the end of class, I typically rushed out of the room to drive home to my rented abode to watch whatever was left to watch of “The Winds of War,” the first theatrical motion picture made for television!

Robert Mitchum, stout and sleepy-eyed as he was, was infinitely preferable to any of the dud dudes in that classroom. One evening, I dropped my leather gloves as I raced out of the room. And this very kind professor came into the hallway and called after me.

“You dropped your gloves,” he explained. “The leather is very fine. It is hard to replace this type of leather nowadays.”

Chivalry! Imagine that! I do it all the time.

I have recently found equally fine leather gloves, from a business in New Jersey. This family-owned and family-run company, assures me that, since 1998, they have been working to bring to me, the customer, the largest selection of hand-made leather gloves for men and women anywhere. They offer only products they are proud to sell.

And they only offer merchandise from the finest Italian family businesses in Italy. That affirmation is code for Not Made in China.

California history needs to get on-board with that winning plan!