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Category Archives: California

Sunday Morning in the Mines

Are you looking at my legs? I bet you are because they’re the best damn legs of anyone in Sunday Morning in the Mines. I know you wonder how my pants, held high by my chest, got those big holes. I don’t remember and don’t want to after another six days digging for gold in […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Charles Christian Nahl, Gold, Painters

Age of Consent

A California man I knew long ago is currently in the hot waters of moral indignation and lust for punishment. His alleged crime: having sex with a sixteen-year-old girl, whom I shall correctly call a woman, from June to September a few years ago. At the time he was fifty-four. The district attorney, no doubt […]

Also posted in Sex

Guy Rose Paints a Peasant

“Pardon me, Madame,” I say in French to a lady framed in the Crocker Art Museum. “May I ask you a few questions?” “You can see I’m busy, I reckon.” “Yes, but you’ve been at this task a long time and I thought you could take a little break.” “I’ll keep working, go ahead and […]

Also posted in Claude Monet, Giverny, Guy Rose, Painters, Poverty

Drought is God’s Punishment

Until last week I thought the drought that’s squeezing California resulted from natural weather fluctuations, and didn’t want to be political or presume to have scientific insight so rarely mentioned climate change and then only as a relatively minor factor. I should’ve known there was a much simpler yet more ominous explanation, and Shannon Grove […]

Also posted in Abortion, Bakersfield, Kern County, Kern River, Religion, Rick Perry, Sacramento, Texas, Weather

Gold Rush

Poor guy farming hardpan back East hesitated and missed first California opportunity but rode fast and walked hard in eighteen fifty-five for Kern River Rush yielding most miners three, four, even five ounces of gold daily and up to fifty bucks per. Guy didn’t have many good days and following year wadded smart aleck newspaper […]

Also posted in Bakersfield, Gold, Kern River, Short Pieces - GTC

Interned American

I’m doing pretty well for old man. Twenty years ago I retired from gardening at seventy-five. I was in twenties when Pearl Harbor hit and things got bad in California for people like me. I was born here, you know. That didn’t matter. They sent wife, three kids, and me to internment camp up north […]

Also posted in Aging, Short Pieces - GTC, World War II

Saber-Tooth Cat Revisits Red Rock Canyon

Let me clarify this point: I like to be called saber-toothed cat. Do not call me a Smilodon, that pompous academic name thrown at us by humans who’ve lived such a short time compared to the millions of years various branches of my family survived and flourished in a world far more beautiful than the […]

Also posted in Animals, Bakersfield, Cats, Central Valley, Elephants, Environment, Geology, Kern County, Oceans, Red Rock Canyon, Rhinos

Relative Real Estate

newspaper says going to be one oh three in bakersfield seventy three in santa barbara but former has lower housing prices

Also posted in Bakersfield, Housing, Poetry - GTC, Santa Barbara

Wealth

This story appears in the collection “In Other Hands”

Also posted in Agriculture, Bakersfield, Food, Fresno, Immigration, Modesto, Poetry - GTC

Gold Mining

miles underground it sleeps while men in saloons forget they have to mine and crush fifty tons ore before pumping particles into cyanide lake to realize but a sparkling ounce Source: Lecture by geologist Tim Elam at the Kern County Historical Society, November 19, 2011.

Also posted in Gold, Kern County, Poetry - GTC

Interned American Recalls World War II

doing pretty well for old man twenty years ago i retired as gardener at seventy-five i was in twenties when pearl harbor hit and things got bad in california for people like me i was born here you know that didn’t matter they sent my wife three kids and me to internment camp and made […]

Also posted in Poetry - GTC, Racism, World War II

Arnold Schwarzenegger Must be President

I know many of you believe I failed as Governor of California and am now indisputably a cur since I fathered a child, now age thirteen, with a member of my domestic household staff. You sympathize with my wife, Maria Shriver, because she long endured my infidelities and didn’t learn of this one until recently, […]

Also posted in Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barack Obama, Bodybuilding, Debt, Economics, George W. Bush, Maria Shriver, Marriage, Movies, Real Estate

Material Handler on the Road

I still wonder if my adult working career for many years progressed like a tortoise in sand because of apathy or a reflexive hatred of manual labor that began too soon, at age nine, when my mother remarried and her new husband, a drill sergeant masquerading as an electrical engineer and contractor, drafted my stepbrother […]

Also posted in Abraham Lincoln, Alcohol, Auburn, Babe Ruth, Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Burbank, California Youth Authority, Carmel, Cars & Driving, Chico, Clint Eastwood, Coast Ranges, Construction, Drugs, Electricians, Errol Flynn, Families, Frank Lloyd Wright, Fresno, George S. Patton, George Thomas Clark, Grass Valley, Hollywood, Interstate 5, Los Angeles, Manual Labor, Marijuana, Media, Mental Health, Monterey, Newspapers, Pacific Ocean, Rocklin, Rolling Stones, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, Sierra Nevada, Stephen Stills, Stockton, Television, Unions

General Jerry Brown Promotes Executions

It is my ultimate honor as a warrior and patriot to campaign for governor of California in the manner of General Patton, wearing a three-star helmet, a pearl-handle pistol on each hip, and gleaming combat boots on my fast-moving feet. I am Jerry Brown 2010, and have banished the gubernatorial space cadet of the 1970’s […]

Also posted in Capital Punishment, Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman, Murder, Rose Bird

Fantasizing on Highway 99

Pretty soon you’ve got to drive from Bakersfield to Sacramento.  You are, of course, thankful you don’t have to start further south in Los Angeles and thus crawl up and down scorched and barren mountains that separate the city of glamour and poverty from the rest of the state.  Your journey, instead, will take you […]

Also posted in Bakersfield, Fresno, George Thomas Clark, Highway 99, Sacramento, Sports, Travel

Fear Not, California – Bakersfield Shall Save You

Have you been to Bakersfield?  Ask that of most people in California and they’ll say, “No, but I’ve been through it.”  They just kept on rolling over parched Central Valley earth en route to Los Angeles or the Bay Area.  Why didn’t they stop?  Perhaps they were startled or saddened by the eternal glare from […]

Also posted in Bakersfield, Politics

Arnold Acting on Budget

Doesn’t Arnold look good?  No matter what the camera angle or lightning, day or night, inside or outside, that rascal is chiseled and tanned and verily glowing with handsomeness and charm.  You know it.  He’s got a hell of a smile, too, at once split-front toothy and warm and empathetic.  It’s a smile full of […]

Also posted in Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bodybuilding, Debt, Economics, Movies