Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hollywood #3

At first I thought I would list my favorite ten films as certainly the art of the film is THE ART coming out of California.  Movies have more influence than any art form, with the possible exception of music.  Anyhow when I began to think about all the films I have seen and looked at best 100 films chosen by others I realized it was going to be impossible to choose ten.   So I am going to include links to my favorite actors and actresses and have you look over them and remember.  These are the 5 movies that I would see again any time, however.  Interesting 2 of them I saw before I was 10.  None of the first four appeared on any lists that I found.  What are your favorites?

Wizard of Oz
Snow White
Brazil What a wonderful harbinger of things to come this one is.
Little Murderers  If you did not see this movie, here is one of the best scenes.
Godfather 1 and 2

Jack Nicholson

Merle Streep

Humphrey Bogart

Lauren Bacall

Robert Dinero

Kathryn Hepburn

Marlon Brando

Ingrid Bergman

Charlie Chaplin

In case I missed your favorite here is a link to the top ten actresses of all time and the top ten actors of all time.

And finally one more link that pretty much sums it up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


 Probably the most well known city in California is Hollywood which has become synonymous with the film industry.

"According to the diary of H. J. Whitley, also known as the "Father of Hollywood," on his honeymoon in 1886 he stood at the top of the hill looking out over the valley. Along came a Chinese man in a wagon carrying wood. The man got out of the wagon and bowed. The Chinese man was asked what he was doing and replied, "I holly-wood," meaning 'hauling wood.' H. J. Whitley had an epiphany and decided to name his new town Hollywood. "Holly" would represent England and "wood" would represent his Scottish heritage. Whitley had already started over 100 towns across the western United States." Wikipedia 

Whitley bought lots of land, put in electricity and built the Hollywood Hotel to attract investors in the new town 
so he seems to deserve the appellation "Father of Hollywood".

Although the Lumiere Brothers are credited with the birth of modern cinema Hollywood is the oldest film industry 
in the world and the first recorded instance of photographs capturing and reproducing motion was a series of photographs of a running horse by Edward Muybridge, which he took in Palo Alto, California using a set of still cameras placed in a row. Muybridge's accomplishment led inventors everywhere to attempt to make similar devices. In the United States, Thomas Edison was among the first to produce such a device,the kinetoscope.  

The film industry actually began in Fort Lee New Jersey where some of the major studios started up.  
Edison had a studio in West Orange, New Jersey and there were also studios in Manhattan. Other major centers of film production also included Chicago, Texas, California, and Cuba.

D.W. Griffith filmed the first movie ever shot in Hollywood, In Old California, a Biograph melodrama about California in the 19th century, when it belonged to Mexico.  After hearing about Griffith's experience in Hollywood many studios followed to avoid the heavy fees Edison imposed for the movie making process. Not sure how that worked actually as they were still making movies.

In Los Angeles, the studios and Hollywood grew. Before World War I, movies were made in several US cities, but filmmakers tended to gravitate towards southern Californiaas the industry developed. They were attracted by the warm climate and reliable sunlight, which made it possible to film movies outdoors year-round and by the varied scenery that was available. There are several starting points for cinema (particularly American cinema), but it was Griffith's controversial 1915 epic Birth of a Nation that pioneered the worldwide filming vocabulary that still dominates celluloid to this day...Wikipedia


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Silicon Valley

California is associated with three major United States industries Agriculture, Film Making and Technology.

Silicon Valley in the Santa Clara Valley is the global center for high technology, venture capital, innovation and social media.

"The "Silicon Valley" has come to have two definitions: a geographic one, referring to Santa Clara County, and a metonymical one, referring to all high-tech businesses in the Bay Area. The term is now generally used as a synecdoche for the American high-technology economic sector." Wikipedia

This info is notable for the two very similar words "metonymical and synecdoche" which have slightly different meanings. Check out the links if you are interested.

The whole section in Wikipedia about the Silicon Valley is very interesting and I can't decide which parts are the most important so I suggest once again you check out the whole article. A lot of people got together informally at first just to try and make computers more available to the average person and next thing you know they had started a revolution in communication.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

California #7

I think getting into the 20th Century it is most important to look with care on how California deals with its water, as it is key to its success in many ways but also in the long run is creating problems.  Since California usually leads the way for the us we should be aware of what works and what doesn't.

At the beginning of the century even more people poured into the state due to the completion of the
Lincoln Highway and Route 66.  Most of the people settled in the warmer Southern parts of California but most of the water was in the North.  Both the Federal Government and the State were involved in building projects that diverted water from the North to the South.  There was always a struggle between the interests of agriculture, industry and water for the growing population.

HERE is an article in a recent New Yorker that describes the situation as it has evolved to the present day.

And here are the Mamas and the Papas dreaming on.... CALIFORNIA DREAMING 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


I'm afraid the story of California's handling of it's Native American population was just as bad if not worse than the other states I have covered so far.
The first thinning of the population had to do with Eurasian diseases which the indigenous population had no immunity to.  That really was not anyone's fault.  However, many native inhabitants were forcibly removed from their lands by incoming American settlers.  And under the law ACT FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND PROTECTION OF THE INDIANS passed in 1853 any white person who saw an Indian who did not appear to be gainfully employed, could charge them as vagrants, take them in front of a Justice of the Peace who would have them SEIZED AND SOLD AT PUBLIC AUCTION.  The person who bought them would then have their labor for four months without compensation. 
God Bless America.  

Things are pretty bad now but so far at least we don't have laws like that.

The Salinan People

On a lighter side here is the Simpson'g version of California Here We Come.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

California #5

During the Civil War California sent gold to the Union forces but due to a large population of Southerners was not able to muster official soldiers, although slavery did not exist there.  There were a large number of Californians who did fight on the side of the Union an unofficial capacity however such as the "California 100 Company".

Until 1869 when the First Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah's was complete.  It was a very long and dangerous journey to California. After that hundreds of thousands of United States citizens were able to easily migrate westwards into the state.

HERE are the crew from I LOVE LUCY on their way West singing all the way.

Friday, May 11, 2018


What is now California was explored by various Europeans during the 16th and 17th centuries eventually being claimed by the Spanish Empire.  The area then became part of Mexico in 1821 following the war for independence but was ceded to the United Staes in 1848 after the Mexican-American War.  

Amazing how many wars seem to be necessary to keep human beings from doing more constructive activity!

In 1848 people began to swarm in to California to seek their fortune after gold was discovered.

HERE is a short trailer for Charlie Chaplin's THE GOLD RUSH.

Here is a full length version of THE GOLD RUSH if you have the time.

And HERE is a simple youtube cartoon that paints the picture in broad strokes.

And so begins the long saga of the country's pilgrimage of people to California to find gold in whatever form they imagine it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Evidence of human occupation of California dates from at least 19,000 years ago.  Because of the temperate climate and easy access to food sources, approximately one third of all Native Americans in what is now the United States were living in the area of California.

"The indigenous people practiced various forms of sophisticated forest gardening in the forests, grasslands, mixed woodlands, and wetlands to ensure availability of food and medicine plants. They controlled fire on a regional scale to create a low-intensity fire ecology; this prevented larger, catastrophic fires and sustained a low-density "wild" agriculture in loose rotation. By burning underbrush and grass, the natives revitalized patches of land and provided fresh shoots to attract food animals. A form of fire-stick farming was used to clear areas of old growth to encourage new in a repeated cycle; a permaculture."...Wikipedia

Sounds like they knew what they were doing better than we do!

California Mission Basket

HERE  is a delightful children's video that explains the life of the California Indian tribes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

California #3

Everything California does is important because it is so large and has so many areas with dense population.

"California's $2.75 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state.[13] If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world,[14]and the 36th most populous as of 2017.[15] The Greater Los Angeles Areaand the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies ($1.2 trillion and $821 billion respectively as of 2016), after the New York City metropolitan area.[16] The San Francisco Bay Area's combined statistical area had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2016 (~$94,000),[17] and is home to four of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization[18] and four of the world's ten richest people.".... Wikipedia       

We can only hope that THIS policy of solar panels on new construction spreads to all the states.

Here are two versions of IT NEVER RAINS IN SUNNY CALIFORNIA.  Albert Hammond's is the 
best musically but it is interesting to see Sonny and Cher together after all these years.

Sonny and Cher

Albert Hammon

Monday, May 7, 2018

California #2

This is one state that everyone can locate as it takes up most of the West Coast.

It is interesting to see what percentage of the population of California in 2007 spoke languages other than English.  It is about the same today but here is a complete analysis.  This is certainly a trend that will be spreading throughout the country in the years to come.

I will probably be including a song each time I post about California because there is such a rich selection to choose from.  Here is the state song with delightful postcards from 1914.

Sunday, May 6, 2018


So many Americans have headed off to California to seek gold, a Hollywood career or simply the sunshine and the open life style that I think it best to start off with Al Jolson's often sung hit 'California Here I Come' as we head for the state that initiates a lot of what eventually becomes the way we do things in the rest of the country.  Pictures from Northern California.