Christmas in Marin

Christmas ornamentsI’ve had a very nice Christmas, both Eve and Day.  I also had a very Marin Christmas.  I was at a party this afternoon and met some very nice people.

In a discussion about rising college prices, one man told me that this problem resulted from income inequality.  He was surprised when I suggested that tuition inflation probably had more to do with government loans enabling colleges to get away with charging money, as well as with top-heavy administrations and overpaid professors.  I didn’t push it and nor did he, but I do think I gave him something to think about.

Another man earnestly told me that all of his food allergies were the result of genetically modified food.  He was at a loss to explain how I, who had myriad food allergies growing up, no longer have any.

Finally, a third man said that Marin’s current (very disturbing) drought is the product of anthropogenic global warming.  When I mentioned that we’d had a drought here way back in the late 1970s and that most of America was freezing and deluged with snow and sleet, he was nonplussed and fell silent.

With all three men, I didn’t push the agenda.  It was a congenial party and I had no intention of raising the temperature in the room.  I do hope, though, that I planted little seeds in their minds from which something might sprout.

By the way, speaking of Marin County, Daniel Henninger today published a very funny letter (behind a paywall) purporting to come from a Marin County navigator to “His Excellency, President Obama.”

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  • sabawa

    I would be interested to know if you ever hear a follow-up positive response from any of the party-goers.  I have wondered about the previous ice ages followed by some kind of warming… cars, no factories, no nothing.  

  • Ymarsakar

    Maybe you are developing an intimidating aura backed by some kind of true belief, Book. And they can detect that.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I do believe that Ymarsaker is onto something, Book! You do give off an aura that is mightily intimidating to the jejune fopery of the Progressive Left.

  • Larry Sheldon

    I remember when Marin County refused to build (or allow?) reservoirs to “control sprawl and unsightly growth”, so when the drought y’all built a pipeline on the lower deck of the John F. McCarthy Memorial Bridge.

  • Charles Martel

    Larry, Marin built a northern reservoir, called Soulajule (soo-lah-who-lay) in response to the drought of the mid to late 1970s, and filled it with water drawn from the Russian River in Sonoma County to the north. While the county was waiting for Soulajule to fill, it ran a temporary pipe across the Richmond Bridge from East Bay to get water from the Sacramento River.
    Technically speaking, Marin hasn’t been all that averse to building reservoirs, but planners know there’s only so much rainfall the county can collect. The good reservoir spaces have been taken, so it’s easier to import water from the north while trying to keep population down via zoning.
    The problem is that Sonoma County to the north, busily metastasizing, needs more and more Russian River water. That river is capricious—often at flood stage in rain years, a trickle in dry years. Something will give when Sonoma closes in on the 1 million mark (Marin has 250,000 residents), and I think it’s a certainty Marin will lose.
    Most Marinites are reflexively opposed to nuclear power, although a small modern nuke could power a desalinization facility large enough to supply most of the populous southern county’s water needs on an ongoing basis. But superstition and orthodoxy reign supreme here—if Jane Fonda showed how bad nuclear power is in “The China Syndrome,” why that almost 35-year-old science documentary is good enough for them!
    Adding to Marin’s woes is a giant social engineering scheme by a mega-agency that is “planning” the Bay Area’s future. That future is train-bus-and-ferry-centric, despite the failure of any of those transportation systems to attract significant ridership, as well as plans for very dense (by Marin standards) zoning to house less affluent people.
    (Less affluent = the Mexicans and Central Americans necessary to sustain the lifestyles and social-justice conceits of the mega-agency’s morally and intellectually superior staffers. Their neighborhoods will remain conveniently expensive and remote from the dense housing hubs they seek to create.)
    Book may well have planted a seed. but bear in mind what often happens to seeds: Birds eat them, or they fall into too shady or too dry a place. Or some zealous gardener considers them potential weeds and plucks them out. Knowing Marinites, I think that last possibility is the likeliest.

    • Larry Sheldon

      I lived in Mountainview, Daly City and finally Sunnyvale for a lot of years–left in late 1989.

      Looked at houses in Tiburon.

      Brother lives in Sebstapol (the one near Santa Rosa.

      Friend retired from Golden Gate transit (or what ever it is called),

      Santa Clara County had reservoirs for a long time–lost a lot to the prodigals.

      But  hey, yout have houseboats and toad fish and a Frank Lloyd Wright City Hall that looks like it uses as much water as the rest of the city.

      Crissy is gone, Hamilton is gone, did y’all finally get rid of Gnoss?

      • Larry Sheldon

        One of my favorite places is the Bay Model–is it still there?

        I guess The Well (5 Gate Five Road, I think) is long gone.
        And San Quentin?  I suppose without Caryl Chessman it has probably fallen into decline.

        The race track–Sears Point, was it?  Gone I suppose to reduce the carbon footprint.

  • Charles Martel

    Gnoss is still there. It might even become a small regional hub if more privatized air travel catches on in response to TSA. No danger to it for now.
    Golden Gate Transit is still called that. It runs six or seven ferries from Larkspur and Sausalito, as well as a fleet of buses. I think it’s still hemorrhaging money despite a $6 toll on the Golden Gate Bridge to subsidize its non-auto transports.
    The Lloyd Wright civic center is an energy sieve, but it adds cachet to the suburban experience, so people look the other way.

    • Larry Sheldon

      In case somebody starts playing with the arithmetic….

      I was born in California (Glendale).  My dad was born in California (Oceanside).  His father and mother were born in California (Del Norte county and Los Angeles, respectively).

      Prior to the mid-to-late 1980s I refused to travel east of a Denver-Salt-Lake-City line without a a round trip ticket in my pocket.

      The company I worked-for for a lot of years was gone, the State I grew up in was gone.

      Loma Prieta had nothing what ever to do with my leaving California.  A bit before noon that day I got a call from a man here asking if I was still interested in moving and when I said I was, he said he had dropped an offer into the mail.

      About six hours and four minutes later, the Nimitz, part of the Sunny Jim Rolph bridge, the building across the street for where I was on the 5:14 train, and most of the book shelves in my home in Sunnyvale collapsed.

      • Larry Sheldon

        People say “well, wouldn’t you like to go home one more time?

        The answer is “yes” (a daughter, and my brother, and many nieces and nephews live in the place with that name) but the California I knew is gone.

  • Charles Martel

    Bay model still there and going strong. Lotsa school kids and old farts like me making regular pilgrimages.
    Gate 5? Still there, and still respected as the progenitor of hip high-tech mentality.
    San Quentin–“Q”–still there. Just completed a new multi-hundred million-dollar Death Row to accommodate the hundreds of men awaiting execution. The prison grounds are conservatively estimated to be worth $2 billion. While the state may be tempted to sell it off to avid developers, it would have to a.) build a new facility somewhere else, which could cost a billion or two itself, and b.) build it within shouting distance of San Francisco. The state constitution requires that the death house must be very near a major city to lend access to lawyers and witnesses.
    Sears Point is still there and going strong as a major stop on various race circuits. It was renamed Infineon Raceway sometime in the 90s, then recently renamed Sonoma Raceway when Infineon surrendered naming rights. All of us around here still call it Sears Point and nobody wonders what you mean.

  • Ymarsakar

    He was at a loss to explain how I, who had myriad food allergies growing up, no longer have any.
    Obviously Book’s immune system grew stronger over time and was able to fight off the mold in the Leftist air. Whereas the guy still has a little something from the old days.
    Finally, a third man said that Marin’s current (very disturbing) drought is the product of anthropogenic global warming.
    I wonder if this reminds anyone else of the good old days where village shamans looked up at the sky and said “the spirits are angry”. They looked at the drought and said “we must sacrifice to appease the spirits”. They looked at an earthquake or mud slide and it was, “we have angered the gods on Earth”. A lightning strike burns out a flaming tree and then a house, and it is said, “The Gods of Heaven are angry at us”.

  • Larry Sheldon

    ‘I wonder if this reminds anyone else of the good old days where village shamans looked up at the sky and said “the spirits are angry”.’

    I think I first started thinking that in the 1940’s and 50s when “they” battled for control (in the Los Angeles ‘Basin’) of backyard incinerators as THE cause of the smog™, when it seemed clear to the young (high-school grad. 1956) me that the steel mills in Fontana and the butadiene plant in El Segundo (and maybe the freeways between the two) had a lot more to do with it.
    What I didn’t realize, in my ignorant youth, was that the backyard incinerators were the source of the “activated charcoal” that reduced the LD50 dose of the smog to acceptable levels.

    And so, by the time we got through the droughts and floods and global cooling and earthquakes to Y2K and global warming people were offering me new choices about continued employment and so forth because of my constant railing against the religious beliefs about Big Government as the only source of salvation.

  • beefrank

    It is interesting, Bookworm, how your examples were with Marin men. Were the conversations with Marin women limited to the new shoes delivered from Nordstroms? I wonder if the men related the conversation with their wives on the drive home only to dismiss the opposing comments as from a teabagging nut?
    My favorite rememberance of ‘The China Syndrome’ was Jack Lemon’s character racing around in his 1974 brown BMW 2002 which also was my first car but a ’76 model. 
    It has been years since spending Christmas in Marin but still have the childhood memories of brisk weather, cloud-covered Mt. Tam, aromatic smokey haze from wood-burning fireplaces hanging over the valley and the twinkling colored lights from the homes below. One Christmas morning, I watched the sunrise from Mt. Tam’s summit.  Here’s a New Years’ toast to the germination of your planted seeds.

    • Larry Sheldon

      "Here’s a New Years’ toast to the germination of your planted seeds."

      I’ll drink to that.

      [OOTD I need to figure out how to use the HTML tags and attributes…..]