20 Reasons to Like California
Love It Or Leave It
What are your feelings towards California?
No Respect for California
A fellow writer wrote a wonderful article on Hubpages called “How to Get Ideas for Writing”. One of her article ideas was about Florida and why one wouldn't want to live there. I thought it would be fun to make a list about my state, California.
As a native Californian, I am always amused at the jokes and jabs at my state. They are not always flattering. For instance, in January 2015 Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, gave his people a warning that their cities were becoming Californiaized. Is that even word? My spell checker doesn't like it. Hand me the Webster's!
Why the bad feelings towards the Golden State? What did California ever do to you, Governor Abbott?
Oh, he's not the only one who refers to California as a bad example. It seems the state is always getting knocked around for something. We're the Rodney Dangerfields of the United States. Can't get no respect. We're the tree huggers with the solar powered toilets. We're munching on granola while singing Green Day in our hybrid cars.
Well, that might be us, but there's a whole lot more to California! See my list and let me know if you agree!
Only in California
A guide to the more offbeat treasures
Sue Ann, Small World, and a Bridge
Good Weather and Disneyland
1. Climates and Landscape. We're known for our micro-climates and changing scenery. There's pretty much something for everyone. Like the heat? Go south or inland. You're bound to hit the deserts and valleys. Prefer a little fog? Head out to the coast and watch the waves of the Pacific Ocean caress the beaches. Are you a hiker or skier? The Sierra's are calling you. Like it just about 75 degrees? Head out to the San Francisco Bay Area or San Diego. You want to experience civilization? Plenty of big cities and little towns to explore. We even have a volcano, Mt. Lassen, which last erupted in 1917.
2. Betty White. I bet you thought she was a product of Minnesota. Nope. Betty White was born in Beverly Hills and graduated from Beverly Hills High School. Rose was only a character she portrayed on Golden Girls. She got her start in radio in 1939 and she's been making us laugh ever since.
3. The Golden Gate Bridge. If you've ever stood at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge and seen the expanse that it covers you probably wondered how they ever pulled it off. The bridge is one of the many projects undertaken during the height of the Depression that got folks back to work. And, it almost didn't happen. The Crash of 1929 made it impossible for the state to sell the bonds needed to fund the project. It was the founder of Bank of America, Amadeo Giannini, who funded the project.
4. Silicon Valley. Stanford University was a draw for many innovators and thinkers in the 1940s and 1950s. The first tech manufacturer set up in Palo Alto in the 1950s and it grew from there with Intel and other tech companies springing up. And, don't forget Google and Facebook! So many every day items can trace their roots to this little part of the state...iToys, anyone?
5. Disneyland. Come on, it's the happiest place on earth! This amusement park is enjoyed by children and adults alike. I've been there a few times myself. The park is forever updating so you get something new each time you visit. Don't tell me you've got something against Mickey Mouse?
El Capitan and Avocado
Yosemite and Big Trees
6. Yosemite National Park, the El Capitan Climbers, and Waterfalls. I bet you, too, sat transfixed watching those two guys climb up El Capitan. What is it about Yosemite that draws millions of tourists and adventurous hikers and climbers each year? Is it the granite walls? Could it be the gentle mist felt at the base of Bridalveil Falls? It all starts with what Ansel Adams called the Range of Light. There's no way you can enter the road to Yosemite Valley and not be awestruck by the grandeur.
7. Avocados. If nothing more, we grow the tastiest avocados. Where would your guacamole for Super Bowl Sunday be without them? It's rich in nutrients and an easy way to get a green themed food for your office's St. Patrick's Day party.
8. The Bay to Breakers. It's a marathon surrounded by a street festival. It's the costumes and the, um, lack of costumes we find so entertaining.. People do take this race seriously. It can be a challenge running up and down those San Francisco Hills. But, I prefer seeing what crazy costumes folks can come up with each year.
9. Stanford University's Mascot and Marching Band. Stanford, with all those geniuses and medical research breakthroughs, has the goofiest mascot. And then, there is the marching band. Or is it an un-marching band? They're the ones with the bandleader in a wedding dress (or other garb), where the musicians march to their own drum beat, and cowbell guy rocks out...you remember cowbell guy, don't you?
10. Giant Sequoia Trees. They rate as some of the oldest living beings on earth. The oldest specimen found was 3,500 years old. They are the largest trees on earth averaging 200 feet tall and 23 feet wide. Stand under one and you can't help but feel very small. These trees can only be found in certain parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Twenty Completely Random Trivia Facts
Average Temperature in Los Angeles
Betty White's First TV Appearance
Hollywood on Television (1949)
Golden Gate Bridge Half Way to Hell Club
19 men who were saved by the safety net
First Silicon Valley Tech Company
Shockley Semiconductor (1956)
Opening Year Attendance at Disneyland
1 million visitors (opened 17 Jul 1955)
First People to Climb El Capitan
Warren Harding, Wayne Merry, and George Whitmore (1957)
Percentage of US avocados grown in California
Reason Bay to Breakers was created
To lift people's spirits after the 1906 earthquake
Year the Tree became Stanford's unofficial mascot
1975 (it belongs to the band, not the university)
Special feature of Giant Sequoia bark
It is fire resistant
Role Tom Hanks played on Happy Days
Former classmate of the Fonz
Official name of Carmel
Feature that made Levi's unique
Person who owned Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Company that built the Endeavor
Number of volunteers who put together Batkid's special day
Two Great Movies
Two of the best movies from native Californian, Tom Hanks.
Well Respected Actor and Wineries
11. Tom Hanks. One hell of an actor, isn't he? He is a product of Concord, CA and often waxes poetic about his days at Chabot Community College before he got his big break. Since then acted on TV and in movies. He won his two best actor awards for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. And, before that, he made his splash dressed up as a woman on Bosom Buddies.
12. Carmel. The cypress trees overlooking the shoreline are stunning. There's multimillion dollar homes that make your mouth drop open. You might even catch some golf with former mayor of Carmel, Clint Eastwood. Did you know he is a native of San Francisco?
13. Venus and Serena Williams. The tennis greats are from Lynwood, CA. I had to look it up. It's in Los Angeles County. They took the tennis world by storm in the early 1990s. Now in their early 30s, they have 26 Grand Slams between them. Not bad, eh?
14. The California Poppy. It is one of the most simple, vibrant flowers you'll ever see. A field of orange poppies in bloom can take your breath away. There are several patches growing in my neighborhood. When they bloom, we know spring is right around the corner.
15. The Wine Country. You like wine, don't you? Well, drive on up to Sonoma and Napa Counties where you can indulge in all the wine tasting and warm weather that you can stand.
Celebrities and Batkid
Cookbook with a California Flavor
Farmer's Markets are big in California. These recipes showcases our delight in local produce.
Famous Chocolatier and Batkid
16. Ghirardelli Chocolate. They've been around since 1852. It's the second oldest company in the United States. The parent company is now Lindt and Spungli, but headquarters and production are right here in San Leandro, California. They are a certified green company and they control the entire production process from bean to chocolate product.
17. Forecourt of the Stars. You've probably seen the ceremonies where a famous person bends over to plant their hands in a square of cement. These squares are in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly called Graumann's Chinese Theatre). The first prints were cemented by actress Norma Talmadge on 18 May 1927.
18. Levi Strauss & Co. The company was founded in 1853 in San Francisco, CA to serve the apparel needs of gold miners. He and Jacob Davis patented the reinforced rivets in jeans. What kind of pants might you be wearing today on your lazy Sunday afternoons if they hadn't figured this out?
19. Space Shuttle Endeavor. The fifth and final space shuttle in NASA's program has been retired. I watched it as it passed over my house in Autumn of 2012. It now rests at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. In 2017, it's permanent exhibit home will be completed and open to the public.
20. Bat Kid. Alias Miles Scott is a cancer survivor from Tulelake. His wish through the Make-A-Wish foundation turned San Francisco into Gotham City and captivated an entire country for a day. Mayor Ed Lee, Police Chief Greg Suhr, and seemingly the entire city made this a special day for Miles. Not only did he save Lou Seal, he melted a few of our hearts along the way.
If Batkid doesn't make you think kindly towards California, well, then, I'm all out of suggestions. And, really, I am, because Batkid makes number 20 on my list. If you haven't warmed up to us yet, you're out of luck.
Thanks to Catherine Giordana's "How to Get Ideas for Writing: 30 Ideas in 30 Minutes" for inspiring this article.
Mascot Version 2006
Californians Have a Good Sense of Humor
Just so you know, we don't take it personally. In fact, we're kind of amused by all the fuss. Some people spend quite a bit of time thinking about California, don't they? The state really gets under their skin.
Now, I now that some don't feel that way. Maybe some of you don't even know that much about California. I bet you don't even think of California once in a 24 hour period.
I thought I'd compile this list of 20 things to like about California to show that underneath the eccentricities there's a lot to like. Notice I said like. I don't want you to get all gushy or anything. You don't need you to love California. You might want to move here. We've got enough people already and not enough water. So, let's just keep it at a safe distance, okay?
California, Hear I Come
See? There is quite a lot to like about this West Coast state. I've just listed a bunch of things off the top of my head. I could come up with 20 more easily. I didn't even mention the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Crookedest Street, The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, or Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike!
Next time you want to poke fun at California, we'll laugh right along with you as we sit in our patio chairs in February soaking up the warmth of the sun. But, deep inside we know there's a lot of good stuff going on in the Golden State.