In the old, classic comedies of the studio era — the screwbally roller coasters of marriage and remarriage, with their dizzying verbiage and sly innuendo — adulthood was a fact. It was inconvertible and burdensome but also full of opportunity. You could drink, smoke, flirt and spend money. The trick was to balance the fulfillment of your wants with the carrying out of your duties.

The desire of the modern comic protagonist, meanwhile, is to wallow in his own immaturity, plumbing its depths and reveling in its pleasures.

The Death of Adulthood in American Culture -

Oh, my Lord, yes.

Cars and Kicks

Is that Flo? Wigwam Hotel, Holbrook, AZ. Photo by Aaron J. Wolf

Is that Flo? Wigwam Hotel, Holbrook, AZ. Photo by Aaron J. Wolf

In the twelve-hundred miles of our journey that lay along Route 66, we saw a dozen places that hinted at Pixar’s fictional hamlet of Radiator Springs. No single place captured the essence of that town more than the little burg of Holbrook, Arizona.

Turning a corner where the Route 66 sign pointed to the right we suddenly saw…

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California’s Energy Crisis

California’s Energy Crisis

Cholla Power Plant, Arizona. Photo by Aaron J. Wolf

Cholla Power Plant, Arizona. Photo by Aaron J. Wolf

One thing you learn as you travel across America is that our energy and environmental challenges come from unexpected places. Arizona, a state that for many of us exemplifies alignment with the environment, apparently is not as much so as we might think. Indeed, the state has been singled out by the EPA as a producer of greenhouse gases.

Much of…

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Friday Extra: Fifty Books that Inspired Me

Friday Extra: Fifty Books that Inspired Me

Riffing off of lists produced by a couple of friends – political thinker Matthew Stinson and Baidu executive Kaiser Kuo – these are the books that I have read in full that inspired my life, my work, my interests, my learning, and my writing.  They are not necessarily the best fifty books that I have read, and, with apologies to my regular readers, only a few are about California. But they are…

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The Lesson of a Petrified Tree

The Lesson of a Petrified Tree

Petrified log and Painted Desert. Photo by Aaron J. Wolf

Petrified log and Painted Desert. Photo by Aaron J. Wolf

There couldn’t have been more than a couple of dozen people in the entire Petrified Forest when we visited. A pity. Walking the paths between these gargantuan Triassic fossils, then reading the climatic history of this region in the layers of the adjacent Painted Desert was a lesson in mortality as well as geology.

A child near us asked her…

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Catching Dreams

Photo by author

The Colorado Plateau looking Northwest from the rim of the Barringer Meteor Crater. Photo by author

There is something about the vastness of the Colorado Plateau that, when seen from a lofty perch, invites contemplation.

Standing atop the rim of the Barringer Crater, first my son and then the rest of us turned our eyes away from the extraterrestrial wonder below and looked across the Plateau…

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UCLA 28, UVA 20

For the record, I would be shocked if I woke up Tuesday and UCLA was still ranked 8th in college football.

Sunset Crater and a Seismic America

Sunset Crater and a Seismic America


Sleeping north and east of Flagstaff, Arizona, just north of I-40 is Sunset Crater, the heart of a complex of volcanos – the San Francisco volcanic field – that dot the southern section of the Colorado Plateau. With the oldest of the volcanoes dated at six million years, and the youngest, Sunset Crater, just under 1,000 years old. Northern Arizona is not what a Californian would think of as a…

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Kitty prefers microbrew over canned beer.

(via rightsided)

A Californian in America

A Californian in America

Although The Golden West Review is a web-based magazine about California, we cannot understand or appreciate this remarkable state without reference to the other forty-nine. We have, thus far, avoided such reference, but in reading through our work so far – and what we have scheduled – I realize that we run the risk of falling prey to the worst kind of provincialism. Should we fall into that…

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Hidden Gem: A Mountain of Gold on the Deep Blue Sea

Hidden Gem: A Mountain of Gold on the Deep Blue Sea

We are spoiled for choice in California. The state is so filled with incredible things to see that the merely stunning is considered everyday, and left forgotten, if not neglected, save by a tiny few. Such is the lot of Montaña de Oro State Park.

I’ll fess up first: if my son had not become enamored with the park while on a school camping trip, I might well have permanently overlooked it. Montana…

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A Californian Hero Passes

A Californian Hero Passes






As you have probably heard by now, we lost a great Californian this week. USC graduate, Olympian, airman, POW, and inspirational speaker Louis Zamperini passed away, aged 97.

Zamperini spent his life serving others. He represented the United States on the track in the 1936 Olympics, delivering a performance that even impressed Hitler. In the air as a naval aviator in the Pacific…

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I think that bubble is going to burst.

It’s inevitable at some point there will be a cap on student loan guarantees. And when that happens you’re going to see a repeat of what we saw in the housing market: when easy credit for buying or flipping a house disappeared we saw a collapse in the price housing, and we’re going to see that same collapse in the price of student tuition, and that’s going to lead to colleges going out of business.

Mark Cuban explains the huge problem with our student loan crisis (via micdotcom)

Betting the for-profit universities go first. 

(via edwardeclectic)

New York Ignoring California’s Lessons. Again.

New York Ignoring California’s Lessons. Again.

MTA outsources $235M Verrazano Bridge project to China – NY Daily News. Bad, bad idea. We tried this on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, and less than a year later engineers are finding cracks and rust in the welds. NYC could learn a little from us about China’s newest toxic export: tofu construction.

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Will Sharing Culture Kill the Car Culture

Will Sharing Culture Kill the Car Culture

The Cheapest Generation
Derek Thompson and Jordan Weissmann
The Atlantic 

This is not a particularly recent article, but one that starts a Californian wondering: what happens to our culture, our land, and our lives when the car is no longer at the heart of all of those things? How does the geography of our cities, and of the entire state change?

I know that the first reaction is “hey, it can…

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