Friday, August 19, 2011

Mellow, Baby, Mellow

Thought for the Day:  I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix.   Dan Quayle

What do you think about when you think of California? The Beach Boys, beach music, and surfing? The laid-back mellow life? Diversity and liberalism? Pot and politics? I know the song was actually written about New York City, but I kinda associate California with the attitude expressed in Simon & Garfunkle's happy feel good song "Feeling Groovy" (Go ahead. You can give it a listen. I'll wait.)

Ahhh. Feel better?

I grew up in Maryland, whose nickname is "America in Miniature", but I gotta tell ya, California seems to have it ALL. It ain't exactly "miniature", either.

Consider the swaying palm trees and the redwood trees so enormous, streets are cut right through the middle of them . . .  the beaches and rugged coastline, the mountains, the desert, and the winding roads through lush wine country. How about relentless sunshine, the incredibly diverse architecture, seafood out the wazoo, and taut tanned bodies on the beach. Don't forget the San Diego Zoo, and the iconic red cable cars of San Franciso. I've never even visited the state, but I must confess, I do romanticize it. It sounds like a state where there is something for everyone, and it would take a lifetime to see it all. But, of course, I'm not gonna show it all to you. Just a handful of shots, before we take a look at some of the strange laws still on their books.

I'll bet you're all familiar with this sign.

Old Faithful

Golden Gate bridge

Sam Francisco cable car

Mt. Whitney

By the way, did you know California's Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet, used to be the tallest mountain in the United States? That claim to fame ended when Alaska joined the union.

Adultery --- which is the only grounds for divorce in New York --- is not grounds for divorce in California. As a matter of fact, adultery in Southern California is grounds for marriage.  Allan Sherman

OK, so California has earthquakes, wildfires, and mudslides. A few flaws, I'll grant you. But how about their laws?  Let's take a gander:

  • Sunshine is guaranteed to the masses. (How grandiose of them!)
  • Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship. (especially the two-legged ones)
  • It's a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle. Unless it's a whale. (Free Willy!)
  • Women may not drive in a housecoat. (They probably frown on curlers, too.)
  • No vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 MPH.
  • In Alhambra, you can't leave your car on the street without a permit.
  • In Arcadia, peacocks have the right of way to cross any street, including driveways. (And they're mighty proud to take it, too.)
  • In Baldwin Park, you can't ride a bicycle in a swimming pool. (Shucks)
  • In Belvedere, a City Council order reads: No dog shall be in a public place without its master on a leash. (Guess it's a dog-lead-man world out there, huh?)
  • In Blythe, you can't wear cowboy boots unless you own at least two cows. (Sounds like a truth in advertising law to me.)
  • In Burlingham, it's illegal to spit. Except on baseball diamonds. (Can you do it from the bleachers?)
  • In Carmel, a man cannot go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that don't match. (Talk about fashion police.)
  • Also in Carmel, it used to be illegal to eat ice cream while standing on the sidewalk. (This law was repealed when Clint Eastwood was mayor.)
  • Women are not allowed to wear high heels while in the city limits of Carmel. (Wonder why Clint didn't snuff this one out, too.)
  • In Cathedral City, it's taboo to sleep in a parked vehicle.
  • You also can't bring your dog to school in Cathedral City. (How will he ever learn to read?)
  • In Cerritos, all dog "waste" must be picked up within seven days. (That's pretty liberal.)
  • In Chico, you must have a permit to throw hay into a cesspool. (In case you were tempted ...)

Dick Cheney says he loves California. Out here the rich and famous can shoot people and get away with it.  Jay Leno

California is the only state in the union where you can fall asleep under a rose bush in full bloom and freeze to death.   W.C. Fields

California is a nice place to live --- if you happen to be an orange.  Fred Allen

OK, boys and girls, it's that time you've all been waiting for. Time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

***  Just as his name implies, Beau is a beautiful dog. But this fella doesn't just have the beauty; he's got the brains, too. This twelve-year-old Montana black Lab, whose breed is well-known for its friendly nature and superior hunting skills, happens to be a math whiz. In this world, in which many people are woefully inadequate without benefit of a handy dandy calculator, this dog can add, subtract, do some division, and has even memorized some square roots. Impressive, huh? Owner (and trainer) David Madsen says his "canine calculator" is correct approximately 85% of the time.

***  Ever since cavemen drew pictures of woolly mammoths on cave walls, humans have had the urge to express themselves artistically. You'd think by now we'd be running out of ways to do that, wouldn't you? Not so. Since about 1994, some Chinese artists have been carving images onto leaves. Yeah, actual leaves. Specifically, they carve images on chinar leaves, which look similar to maple leaves. An intact, insect-free leaf is plucked from the tree and then dried in the shade for approximately ten months. Then it's boiled for about five hours to kill bugs and bacteria. After that, special tools are used to remove the leaf's surface, essentially splitting the leaf in half, without damaging the leaf's veins, which provide the finished product with a certain je ne sais quoi aesthetic quality.  After carving, the leaf has to be dried again, a delicate procedure which results in a whopping 60% breakage. The most popular topic is the Mona Lisa, followed by Jesus. Marilyn Monroe is also a popular choice for these special order items. Can even have a subject of your choice on that leaf. Pretty cool, huh? Prices range from $24.95 to upwards of two hundred dollars. If you'd like to take a peek at some of these unusual works of art, check here

*** Dear me. Has your hard-earned six-pack turned into more of a bulging beer keg these days? That has a way of happening to some beer-swilling gents as they get older. But fear not! Now, you can drink all the beer you'd like, thumb your nose at the gym as you drive past it, and still have that slim-looking silhouette of your youthful, more athletic days. I present to you ... the MANX. Supermarket chain Asda has perfected these high-waisted trunks, allegedly invisible when worn under ordinary clothing, (forget it if your clothes are extraordinary ...) which lift and firm flabby bottoms, suck in those unsightly beer bellies, and smooth away those love handles nobody really loves. (pssst ... we used to call 'em g-i-r-d-l-e-s) This isn't the first special stretchy-fabric undergarment marketed for men who aren't at peace with their embarrassing body wobbles and jiggles. Asda introduced a body-sculpting vest two years ago called ... ready for it? The moob tube.

Th-th-th-th-at's all, folks!

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. I just love California for the all the reasons you mentioned: the magnificient redwoods, the ocean, the somewhat eccentric culture (love that especially) and so on and so on. I love how there is less judgement of other's than what I see in other parts of the country. The state has so much going for it, except, of course, the earthquakes. We have experienced some slight tremors on our visits, but natives just take it in stride.

    My daughter went out there 15 years ago and was only planning to stay a year. She got Californiaized quickly and only returns east for visits. Most mornings, before going to work, she or her husband go surfing. Now that is the life!

    We have been to Carmel (Clint Eastwood's town) and Big Sur. They are both jewels, but it takes quite a bit of wealth to park your butt there. You can smell money on your way into the town. I can understand the matching coat and pants law.

    One thing I noticed during my vacation travels to both the Atlantic and Pacific this year is that tan bodies are much more in the east. The Pacific is quite cold and requires wearing a wet suit most of the time. The sun doesn't shine through them and the people are quite pale. Also under the wetsuits they are wearing 80 SPF, just in case. They are very health conscious.

    If you ever go there, you need to know that "organic" and "narly" are the two words most used in sentences. Everything is cool, dude.

  2. A couple of well placed commas would've made some of those laws sensible - like the dog/master/leash one. Wow.

    California is probably the one state that I have absolutely no desire to see. Truly.

    I wonder what state is next week.....hmmmmmm!

  3. Hilarious! I love all those crazy laws!

  4. My good friend went on vacation to California & loved it. She said in Beverly Hills, the Post Office has valet parking!

  5. Manx? Are you serious? Hahahaha!

    As always, I love the laws.

  6. Hi, Starting Over. Wow, thanks for all the narly info, dudette. Yeah, I really think I'd like it out there, too. Probably too old (and too klutzy) to take up surfing, but it sure would be awesome to get into the ocean every day.

    Hi, Skippy. Not a fan of earthquakes and mudslides, huh?

    Hi, Heidi. I'm glad. I'm having a lot of fun researching them.

    Hi, Kara. Wow, now, doesn't that take the cake!

    Hi, Linda. Yeah, Manx. Too much, huh?

  7. Oh cool, I gotta get me a moob tube! I'm glad I'm married as you just don't what you're getting these days, when a person takes off their clothes and shoes.

  8. Susan- wonderful, as always. I can't wait til you do Vermont! Thanks for the cheer up!

  9. I wonder who the Chinese used for their Jesus model; he seems to become more Caucasian and hippyish by the day!

    The only bit of your country I've visited is Florida (in transit). It was a bit like being in Spain.

  10. I just absolutely love your humor. And the Manx. Good Lord Above, what will they think of next. I know, I know, don't ask.

  11. Hi, Carrie. Works both ways. There's a folk song from the '60s called "The Unfortunate Man" about a man who marries, but on his wedding night, his new bride washes the "paint" from her face, takes off her hair, removes a glass eye, and takes off her leg. It was quite funny. At the end, it went, "Now all you young men, 'Fore you marry for life, be sure to examine your intended wife; Remember the lawyer who trusted his eyes, and a little bit later got quite a surprise..."

    Hi, Austan. Gonna be a while. (I'm going in alphabetical order!)

    Hi, Starting Over. And I'm glad you do! I always enjoy your comments.

    Hi, Cro. You must've been in south Florida; lots of Spanish architecture there.

    Hi, Anne. Thanks. I hope you and your young un are doing well.

  12. I used to live in California. I miss it.

  13. Hi, Melissa. Quite a difference between California and Maine, eh? Thanks for stopping by, dear lady.

  14. >>... OK, so California has earthquakes, wildfires, and mudslides. A few flaws, I'll grant you.

    Mother Nature also provides California with riots from time to time.

    >>... What do you think about when you think of California? The Beach Boys, beach music, and surfing? The laid-back mellow life? ... I know the song was actually written about New York City, but I kinda associate California with the attitude expressed in Simon & Garfunkle's happy feel good song "Feeling Groovy"

    Well, first of all, the "laid-back" reputation is undeserved. For the most part (Venice Beach excepted), it's only "laid-back" relative to NYC. Put a Californian in any other state and he/she is going to wonder, "Why is everyone driving so damned slow?!"

    For me, more than any other song, the one I will probably always most associate with California is 'GOOD VIBRATIONS' by The Beach Boys. Heck, during my Santa Monica High School years (1974-1977) every Friday pep rally at noon ended with that Beach Boys classic.

    Thanks for the directions, Susan.

    D-FensDogg Wuz Here.

  15. Yeah, I know about those riots, but I don't think you can blame them on Ma Nature.

    I've heard about the fast driving, but all the native Californians I know are so mellow, their pictures oughta be in the dictionary next to the word.

    Good Vibrations is a great pick My hubby is a Beach Boys fan, but sometimes I wonder: isn't it about time they became Beach Men?

    I wuz here too.