It's November in California — Whatever That Means
by Burton S. Blumert
by Burton S. Blumert
Those folks who regard snow and ice as a dire threat to life and limb and flee to tropical, southern Florida never lose the imprint of the seasons. They are simply on a prolonged holiday. Well, more like a permanent sabbatical.
In case you hadn't noticed, Californians view the world through a cockeyed lens. We don't deny the traditional four seasons; we simply substitute our own version.
To most Americans, November 1st is a reminder that brittle cold nights and frigid winds are just around the corner. The first snow flurries never fail to bring a smile, and they reaffirm the seasonal nature of life.
This year in California, November blew in with blistering heat and fire-breeding winds, confirming that we do have seasons like every place else. The problem is that California's four seasons do not come with ordered sequence. Flood, Drought, Fire, and Earthquake seem to be scripted by Hollywood.
I will never forget that wondrous day when the offices of the San Mateo County Drought Commission were almost swept out to sea by a flash flood resulting from two inches of rain that fell in less than an hour.
Drought and flood are never out of mind in California. Both political parties are held captive by the giant farming interests and the cost and availability of water is a constant, even if under-publicized political issue.
California's citizens are under official directive to either be ready for the next flood, or not to flush too often. We are required to attend prayer meetings imploring the Creator to grace the farmer with good weather and good markets. (I have yet to hear any farmer show the slightest concern for gold dealers, or the gold market.)
Most of California's 35 million live in the counties near San Francisco and Los Angeles. The closest these folks get to agri-business is a visit to the Farmer's Market. I forgot to mention that of the estimated 35 million in the state, 9 million are immigrants. (The breakdown of those who are "documented vs. undocumented" seems to be unknown. What is known is that the word "illegal," as applied to immigrants, will probably soon be illegal.)
Look, people who live south of the border come to California for wages. They recognize the opportunities. Start as a dishwasher and in six months you'll own a car. If you close your ears to lawyers about "rights," you'll be opening your own restaurant in a few years.
The bad joke about Mexico's lousy Olympic team says it all; Any Mexican who could vault over 7 feet, swim swiftly, or "out run a speeding bullet," had already crossed the border into the US.
The great appeal of California for American immigrants is the weather. There is nothing more democratic than a temperate climate. I've told this before, but Murray Rothbard had difficulty identifying the street "crazies" in California. In New York City, the marginal folks wore things like WWII battle gear with vinyl table coverings as overcoats.
In California EVERYBODY wears short-sleeved shirts. It takes a few moments of conversation to determine that rendezvousing on Mt. Wilson with a spacecraft leaving for another galaxy holds little appeal. Anyway, you quickly decide that you have enough friends.
But, Californians are just like other Americans. They know that November means the holidays will soon be upon us. The experts say that California is overdue for a 7+ quake. If we get one of those in the next 60 days, I may not get the opportunity to wish all of you out there in LRC land a wonderful and joyous Christmas and good health for the New Year.
Well, it looks like I just did.
November 4, 2003
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