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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Friday, December 14 2001

California dreamin'

When I was at UCLA, a classmate mentioned that he was planning to go to the city for the weekend. Already that long ago, Los Angeles and San Diego had surpassed San Francisco in population and San Jose was closing in fast. But even there, surrounded by Los Angeles, I knew immediately that he was referring to San Francisco as "the city." In spite of Jack Webb's proposition in the opening of many years of Dragnet on radio and television that "this is the city, Los Angeles, California," San Francisco is the original and continues to be the quintessential California city. If Southern California is a state of mind as described yesterday, San Francisco is another one...everything in between, including my longtime home town, San Jose, is just in between.

Worldwide surveys reportedly find time and again that San Francisco is the most desirable tourist destination in the world (though Disney World/Orlando may profit more from their also-huge draw). Not quite as familiar to most Americans via the media as Los Angeles, San Francisco is nevertheless a high-profile center, with many television and movie series and individual productions set here (The Lineup, The Streets of San Francisco, Full House, Dirty Harry, Mrs. Doubtfire). I still remember the jingle of one of the very first television serials, I Remember Mama, and the opening line, "I'll never forget our house on Steiner Street..." I hear it inside every time I cross Steiner Street.

When my brother Tom toured California between our first and second trips to Ireland together, we visited both Yosemite and San Francisco, but I told him if he'd had to choose between the two, I'd recommend San Francisco slightly higher. It's full of breathtaking views on every side, highrise buildings that earn it the nickname Manhattan West, a Chinatown that's the biggest outside Asia, and the city was the cauldron that gave birth to the beatnik and hippy cultures and innumerable "rock legends" growing out of the latter.

Famous, or infamous, too, as the home of the fruits and nuts—and all that's true (when Tom and I were hiking on a favorite trail along the bay giving the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge, what should suddenly pop up before us than a man wearing nothing but his running shoes and socks. He'd probably run in the local marathon called Bay to Breakers that day, and quite likely "attired" the same way). But San Francisco is much more than screwballs and decadence, with attractions for everyone. Golden Gate Park is one of the best urban intercity parks in the world and, unlike most of the parks in some cities (San Jose comes to mind) there's no admission charge. There are also national parks and preserves within the city (including Alcatraz).

~ On Tuesday (after David Caldwell's two entries for the weekend, followed by Judy Rose's on Monday), we'll turn to Christmas memories. Please give some thought to special events in your Christmases past that you can share. Preferably in Blacklick Valley...not California!

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Worst jokes (second of three)

A marine biologist developed a race of genetically engineered dolphins that could live forever if they were fed a steady diet of seagulls. One day, his supply of the birds ran out, so he had to go out and trap some more. On the way back, he spied two lions asleep on the road. Afraid to wake them, he gingerly stepped over them. When the police spotted him, they arrested and charged him with transporting gulls across sedate lions for immortal porpoises.

—Sent by Jim Martin

Advent thought for the day

A Christmas moment—"A Present? For me?" That's what our three-year-old grandson asks whenever someone walks in with a wrapped box in their hands. No matter how old we are, we still like gifts that have our name on them. That's actually the deepest meaning of Christmas—that God has a gift with your name on it. Jesus' birth announcement said, "A Savior has been born to you" (Luke 2:11). Jesus came to be a Savior for you to do the dying for all the wrong things you've ever done. Heaven is the most expensive gift God could ever give you—it cost Him His Son! All your goodness will never be enough to buy that gift. Only Jesus' death could do that.

—Ron Hutchcraft
Sent by Jim Martin

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