Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

The California Lifestyle (c): Play mister for me...

07/24/2013 4:56 PM

07/24/2013 5:14 PM

Now that I've had six months to live The California Lifestyle (c), anytime I have a moment where I think I'm living The California Lifestyle (c), I will announce to anyone around me, "California Lifestyle Moment."

And, naturally, strangers will nod knowingly. After all, when I was in Minnesota, if I was having a Minnesota Lifestyle Moment, such as having trouble starting the snowblower, watching the Twins/Vikings/Minnesota presidential nominee lose, or pulling weeds off a tangled northern pike lure, I would never announce to strangers that I was having a Minnesota Lifestyle Moment. It was just a given.

But in California, I find myself experiencing these moments. Here are a few I have had recently.

A. Exhaustive conversations with a friend about his urban chicken ranching. He has five chickens, and finds them enormously entertaining. Today the chat was about genetically modified feed, how some lowlifes get tired of their chickens, and something called a Chicken Mister (not a formal title, but a device to blow water droplets on chickens). One must have misty chickens.

B. Walking through San Francisco and loving it, and then coming home and having another friend allow as how she lived there and found it ... well ... not that great. I know, I know, it's the most beautiful city in the world. I get that. Please don't write and ignite yet another Sacramento v. San Francisco War. Not. In. The. Mood. So I was waxing eloquently about how great San Francisco was the other day, and she was pooh-poohing it. This weekend, we found ourselves both in San Francisco within blocks of each other. This time, I found it strangely disappointing, and she, a former resident, was reinvigorated by it. I think it was because I stepped in something weird and it kind of altered my worldview there for a day.

C. Don't ask what I stepped in. I don't know what it was, but my friend says San Francisco needs a good power wash. Or a nice misting.

D. I have noticed a number of unusually beautiful people around California. Not even like tens, or even like Gavin Newsom, but people who look like they were created by Pixar for a movie about the Planet of Stunning Humans. In Oregon, people were mostly covered up in putrid wet fleece, so we couldn't tell what anyone looked like. In Minnesota, they were wearing lunar excursion suits.

E. Another California friend of mine who's from the south and I were talking about all the rats we see in our neighborhood. I mean, these are big rats. Golden retriever sized vermin. So I suggested we go rat hunting, and we got all excited about this, because this is something men of a certain age from southern and midwestern states have done. Then I had lunch with my friend who is an animal rights activist, and she made me feel really bad about shooting rats, and I didn't even bring it up with her. I just could just feel her California vibe healing my rat-killing lust. And she's not even from California.

F. I find myself reading the signs everywhere that say the State of California has determined that there are chemicals known to seriously mess you up at this establishment. My father, who lived to be 80, would have laughed as he made another martini and lit up a Pall Mall and ripped into a steak. I find myself wondering what those chemicals might be, where they are, and whether unmisted chickens might be in danger somewhere.

G. I read the other day that the now-retired city manager of Vernon, Calif., earned $911K per year, which is about $375K more than Janet Napolitano will make running the UC system. He wanted his $500K per year in CalPERS. Oh, and he had been convicted of public corruption. I found myself getting really upset by CalPERS. Again.

H. California Lifestyle Moment!

i. I need someone to mist me.

About This Blog

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.


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