Friday, December 19, 2014

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

By Francis P. Church, first published in the New York Sun in 1897. We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of the Sun: Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends […]

The rural life : Oh! Christmas tree

Is there anything more gemütlich than a Christmas tree? My father loved this German word (“geh-MOOT-lisch”) which defies English translation but to me blends homey and cosy with poignant happiness. Hard to get enough of a feeling like that. Even so, four Christmas trees in one home may be overdoing it. In our defense, I’ll […]

California rambling: Aspirational inventions

A childhood dream became realized while exploring the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, recently. There, resembling a tail-less, aluminum, dragonfly on the exhibit floor was a United Helicopters Commuter (UH-4). Produced in July 1946, this compact, personal helicopter was the concept of aviation pioneer Stanley Hiller Jr. and industrialist Henry Kaiser to allow anyone […]

My turn: Holidays, stress and fitness

Oh, the holidays! The cheer, the joy, the turkey and presents, the Hallmark scenes, the drunk uncle, the prying questions, the obligations, the empty chairs of missing loved ones. The perfect Christmas card photos, the annual five extra pounds, the overspending for presents. Do I have mixed feelings about the holidays? Yes, and I’m not […]

Publisher’s ink: This logic went out the window years ago

The best four words a father hears from his child are “Dad, I love you.” The second best four words this father heard recently from his daughter were, “I GOT A JOB!” It’s been three months since our youngest excitedly gave us the good news. I decided to wait the customary 90 days before sharing […]

Restoring salary cuts should lead to more cuts

“The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away…” — Job 1:21 Or as the saying goes here in El Dorado County: The politicians hath taken away and the politicians gave back. It goes without saying El Dorado is experiencing difficult days ahead financially. So when seven elected officials had their earnings clipped last year […]

The balancing act: D-Day is fast approaching

Although President Eisenhower used the term D-Day meaning “Departed Day,” for the purposes of this column it means “Deficit” day and it is fast approaching. Actually El Dorado County is already running at a deficit and has been doing so for about a year and a half. At the end of the county fiscal year […]

Bill of Rights anniversary

Editor’s note: The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution were the Bill of Rights. They went into effect. Dec. 15, 1791, 223 years ago. Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the […]

Belltower: Paul Strand and Berlin Airlift

As someone who taught photography part-time for 17 years and film and art history another six years after that, I recognize a lot of names of famous photographers from the past. One of those is Paul Strand. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is doing a major retrospective on Strand. That museum, according to a review […]

Reservoirs shift

One has to follow reservoir reports weekly to have noticed it. The lake levels report printed in the Friday, Dec. 5, edition of this paper on page A2 reported the first rise in reservoir levels since Feb. 13. Last rain season Folsom Lake hit its lowest level of the year Feb. 6 when it sank […]

Something to think about: Glide, baby, glide

The strains of Christmas music; the cold air on your warm face; the looks of determination on some faces, joy on others; the brief moment of exhilaration and terror when you let go of the rail and glide on the ice; the rhythmic thwack, rattle of people crashing into the railing, hoping to stay upright; […]

The weekly Daley: Letters from Santa

Dear Bruce, Let me just say that what you did with our Giants this year was incredible. I loved every minute of the season, the playoffs and of course the series. You wouldn’t believe how many other managers tried to sweet-talk me into a different outcome. Ha, ha. I mean Ho, ho. Good luck next […]

Persistence pays off

The staff at the El Dorado Irrigation District has been dogged in its pursuit of getting a water delivery contract from the Bureau of Reclamation. The persistence and innovative ideas have begun to pay off. After securing the additional 17,000 acre-feet of water from Project 184, confirming those water rights with the State Water Resources […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Fair and balanced

A recent column by Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of the New York Times, impressed me on many levels. In it she examines the criticism of the papers coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and explains the Times’ process in reporting news. Without going into the specifics of her column I was impressed by the lengths […]

My turn: Obtaining more water is crucial

At a recent meeting of the El Dorado Water and Power Authority (EDWPA) which is a joint powers authority (JPA) between the county of El Dorado, The El Dorado Water Agency and EID, EID Director Prada questioned the necessity of continuing our pursuit for state approval of water rights to be used in a previously […]

Sympathy for the Devil

So if you meet me Have some courtesy Have some sympathy, and some taste Use all your well-learned politesse Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, um yeah Pleased to meet you Hope you guessed my name, um yeah. Sympathy for the Devil, the Rolling Stones Hillary Clinton seems to have a political tin ear. […]

Home country: Santa is everywhere

For years now, Herb Collins has been helping Santa by donning the red and the beard and the tassels and waving to passing cars on Christmas Eve out at the Old Fort Road crossing. He takes a bag of candy along, in case anyone cares to stop, and he also takes his daughter Cindy along, […]

California rambling: Bracebridge Dinner

Beginning Saturday and continuing for 13 nights, California’s most storied holiday pageant and its associated free concerts will fill the Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park with music and pageantry as sublime as the natural beauty surrounding the hotel. Bracebridge Dinner is a holiday event unlike any other. It is a three-hour performance and banquet at […]

The 13th Amendment

Amendment XIII Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Children’s eyes are teachers

Children’s first teachers about marriage and love are their parents. For about 18 years, the kids watch their parents in action. How the parents react to each other is a very important lesson and may determine what they expect from marriage. It may determine what type of person they decide to marry. • I was […]

Rock doc: Wake up and smell the genes

Like millions of Americans, my day starts by plugging in the coffeepot. In my case, it’s an old fashion percolator. It clears its throat and brews my coffee while I rub sleep out of my eyes and brush my teeth. My habit of starting my day with coffee — and following that initial cup with […]

The tax theory of everything

The government of Democrats by the Democrats for the Democrats is a government that believes its sole purpose is to find new ways to tax us and new ways to waste all that money. Take, for example, the Federal Communications Commission. Its chairman, Tom Wheeler, appointed by President Obama, wants to add another tax to […]

My turn: In memory of Deputy Danny Oliver and Det. Michael Davis

On Oct. 24, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Detective Michael David Davis were wantonly gunned down in one of the most cold-blooded rampages in the history of either county. By all accounts, these were exemplary law enforcement officers, fathers, husbands, sons and neighbors. Deputy Oliver spoke his last words as he […]

My turn: Let’s have a party!

Why don’t all of you come to my party? It will be efficient, fair and one that everyone can join. This party will be different than the parties you are used to. Our party goers don’t harbor special interests; base most of their beliefs on their political party ideology, religious beliefs, feel entitled or join […]

Restore the 40-hour week

While California’s unemployment rate is 7 percent, that is just an average. There are parts of the state where unemployment is as high as 22 percent. Of course, 7 percent is nothing to brag about. The national unemployment rate is 5.5 percent. The real question is how many people have checked out of the job […]

The balancing act: Living in a dream world

On Nov. 19 the Sac Bee in its inimitable style wrote an editorial entitled “El Dorado County deserves better” which repeated the same old lies by writing “Both an outside firm’s assessment of county government and a county grand jury found a deeply dysfunctional government in which bullying, intimidation and disrespect run rampant.” The editorial […]

Belltower: Time, time

Time, time is on our side, as the Rolling Stones sang. Not the way our government runs it. Whether it is fall-back or spring forward, changing one’s sleep rhythm is just plain unhealthy. And none of these time changes saves a lick of money. When Daylight Saving Time is forced upon us it runs up […]

Something to think about: Glitter and attitude

I do not believe that little boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails; neither do I believe that little girls are sugar and spice and everything nice. I know better, being a girl myself. I do know what princesses are made of:  glitter and attitude. I know this because we have […]

The weekly Daley: Life: Thanks for everything

Assuming that I’m still here today, I will be 70 years and one day old. Seventy, count ‘em. The big seven-zero. That was my Thanksgiving gift yesterday, and I trust that it will keep on giving for at least the next 365 days, or so. Way back in 1944, as the legend goes, I was […]

Thumb on business

Although there are hundreds of American accounting firms listed as having conducted at least one audit, there are only four qualified to do accounting for large publicly traded corporations. The “A” list of accounting firms, primarily locally based, comes from the official Website of the Public Accounting Oversight Board. We counted 50 and only got […]

The first Thanksgiving proclamation

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation City of New York, Oct. 3, 1789 Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested […]

My turn: Prevent the holiday bulge — 10 healthy eating tips

By Lynn Norton, MS, RD The holidays and their food celebrations are almost here! Sound wonderful? Many love the holidays, but dread the annual resolution to lose weight. Consider this: if you eat 500 extra calories a day for two months, you could gain nearly 10 pounds. Limit holiday weight gain with the following tips. […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Poor, poor Mr. Alger

The reason some people don’t want to hear the truth is because it will destroy their delusions. — paraphrasing Friedrich Nietzsche Thank you for your recent letter to the editor of Nov. 17 expressing concern at how misguided and misinformed I am. While I do not expect to change your mind one wit, I wanted […]

Eisenhower memorial

In May, architect Frank Gehry pared his 8-story high 447-foot-long metal tapestries down from facing screens to one background screen for the proposed President Eisenhower Memorial. He also changed stone relief images to several statues. The real problem with the transparent metal screens is they all concentrate on Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower’s youth in Kansas. […]

The rural life : Forever young…and deluded

Recently I read something about Taylor Swift that amazed me. It wasn’t that she’s “America’s most important musician,” as this week’s Time magazine cover story calls her. Or that her last tour grossed a record-setting $150 million, or that her new album, “1989,” had the biggest week of sales since “The Eminem Show” in 2002. […]

Masters of disaster

El Dorado County’s leaders have a habit of tripping over their own shoelaces on their way to the water spigot. The result is they keep dispensing sand from the spigot. The six-point motion from the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors Oct. 14 regarding its membership in the El Dorado County Water and Power Authority […]

The weekly Daley: New words

Unless you’ve been living on a desert island lately, you will know that “vape” beat out “bae” as the Oxford English Dictionary’s “Word of the Year” this year. Based on some recent personal experience, I’m familiar with “vape,” although I had no idea it would be in the running for top honors with the Oxford […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Words that scare me

There are a few words that my wife, Monika, uses that scare me. When she says, “What did you just say to me?” I know instantly that I should not have said what I said. My first impulse is to pretend I can’t recall what I said, but she doesn’t buy my response. My next […]

California rambling: Cooking the bird

You would think that 393 years after the first Thanksgiving dinner was held, Americans would know the best way to prepare turkey. Though each year it seems a new method is announced with its inventor declaring it to be the best way yet to cook a turkey. We all know the traditional roast turkey. It’s […]

My turn: Censuring will not censor me

As headlined Wednesday in the Mountain Democrat, the EID Board of Directors voted 3-2 to censure me in its Nov. 10 board meeting. Censure has no impact other than an attempt by three special interest board members to unjustly inflict public disgrace upon me. The real reason for the censure attack against me is that […]

My turn: Toys for Tots

Christmas comes just once a year, and as we usher in the start of the Christmas season, we are fortunate to live in a community that is ever mindful of those children among us who are in need. This year marks a significant event for Toys for Tots as our Marine Corps League 697 and […]

Save and cut

Human Resources Director Pam Knorr was chosen by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors to sit in as interim county chief administrative officer. It is somewhat early to give her a rating, but from all accounts she is filling the bill and may even be exceeding the deposed CAO. Knorr did have previous experience as […]

Where’s the boom?

From September through Nov. 7 permits for single-family home construction totaled 19. That’s less than 10 per month. Not exactly a boom. Ditto for August, which saw eight single-family home permits taken out. The small number of new building permits indicate resale homes are still low enough to attract most buyers. On Sept. 26 Mountain […]

Belltower: Ground squirrels aren’t chipmunks

Reader Bruce Long of El Dorado Hills sent me an essay from the Marin Independent Journal that was published in the 1980s. Bruce moved here from there and likes getting the Mountain Democrat in the mail. It’s a nice sketch about someone who has a summer cabin along the South Fork of the American River. […]

The balancing act: Misplaced priorities

After at least a dozen Balancing Act columns describing the mismanagement of El Dorado County business by the county Chief Administrative Officer Terri Daly, the CAO resigned under pressure from the Board of Supervisors, who finally recognized that an immediate change was necessary. The light bulbs finally went off when the BOS recognized that because […]