Sac Bee names Independence Trail its top trail for 2013

“Tops on the list for 2013 is the Independence Trail, north of Nevada City,” the Sacramento Bee writes in today’s edition. “You might just pass the trailhead by as you wend your way along Highway 49. But do yourself a favor and stop for a 3- to 4-mile, out-and-back jaunt amid the fragrant cedar and ponderosa pines and the shadows cast by the twisted madrone and live oak. Late naturalist John Olmsted and friends built the trail themselves, taking an old flume trail and leveling and compacting the dirt so that those using wheelchairs or those too frail for jagged paths can experience nature. It is the very definition of win-win for outdoor lovers of all abilities.”

The rest of the article is here.

McClintock, now Gaines, represents us by living outside our district

Congressman Tom McClintock, who represents Truckee and previously our western county, lives in Elk Grove. (Maybe that explains why he keeps calling our region the “Sierras,” not the “Sierra.”)

Now our 1st Senate district representative Ted Gaines has followed in McClintock’s footsteps. We received an email newsletter earlier this week that Gaines was moving out of the district, from Rocklin to Roseville.

The Sacramento Bee has written an article about it. Good for them.

“State Sen. Ted Gaines is going home but leaving his 1st Senate District constituents behind, at least temporarily.

“Gaines recently told recipients of his district’s email newsletter that he and his family are leaving Rocklin after deciding to ‘temporarily move back into our long-time home in Roseville.’

“The Gaineses had moved to Rocklin following the state’s August 2011 political remap so Gaines could run for re-election in the new 1st Senate District, which includes Rocklin but not Roseville. Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, the senator’s wife, represents the 6th Assembly District, which covers both cities.

“It might not be the best thing to do politically, but it’s not illegal,” (an election-law expert) said in an email.”

The rest of the article is here.

A list of our representatives is here.

Big Ten’s premier football programs damaged (again)

In 1978, Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes was fired after punching a player of the opposing team. In 2011, Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel resigned amid an NCAA investigation into rules violations.

In the end, that was the legacy of the two of the most “winning” coaches in OSU history.

Now Michigan State has announced a bombshell: all-star senior linebacker Max Bullough has been suspended for the Rose Bowl on Wednesday against Stanford for violating team rules. Bullough’s father and grandfather played football for Michigan State. (The reason for the suspension was not specified, but it was the last game of his college football career).

Stanford was going to beat Michigan State anyway, but this is another example of the premiere Big 10 schools eschewing what we like think of as “Midwest values.” Good for the Spartan coach, though, for drawing a line. In fairness, we should be told what team rules the linebacker violated.

Still, this kind of drama is a real contrast to football programs such as Stanford’s — something you think about as a parent, not just a college football fan.

Time to focus on local elections

Christmas has passed, and the local elections are coming in our western County in 2014. Supervisor jobs and supposedly non-partisan ones that depend on specialized skill sets are up for grabs.

I smell another contentious year of elections, with unqualified albeit ideologically like-minded people jumping into the race to “save us”; a “secret slate” if you will. Nasty personal attacks will surface too.

Sadly, with a declining, aging population, we don’t have much “new blood” around here; just recirculating blood. Simply put, some of these candidates need a better-paying job, with Calpers benefits. And ironically, some of them preach the “anti-government” mantra.

We’ll be around to peel the onion off that skin (dealing with the angry birds along the way, as usual). But it’s up to all of us to “unmask” any masquerades we see and vote our conscience.

Candidates are not always what they seem (“I know not seems,” as Shakespeare put it).

Happy New Year!

Hawaii Calls

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt:
We’ve been fans of Hawaiian regional cuisine for many years. We have cookbooks from Sam Choy, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, among others.

We’ve owned Alan Wong’s New Wave Luau cookbook since it came out in 1999. (Ten Speed Press, one of our favorites, is the publisher). In Hawaii over the years, we’ve eaten at both of Alan Wong’s restaurants, The Pineapple Room at Ala Moana Center and Alan Wong’s King Street.

Once we carted Alan’s New Wave Luau to a rented place on Maui (not far from Mama’s Fish House) and cooked many of the recipes there.

It was a highly contemporary kitchen, with a Wolf range, but as we learned later, it was merely connected to hose that ran outdoors to a small propane tank (like the ones for your BBQ). We cooked up a storm and we emptied the tank — much to the owner’s surprise. (Wong’s kalua pork recipe cooks for four hours alone).

With President Obama vacationing in Hawaii, we noticed articles that Alan Wong is one of the President’s favorite chefs. He and the First Lady have eaten at Alan Wong’s and his favorite dish is Wong’s Twice Cooked Soy Braised Short Ribs with Korean chili.

The recipe is here.

In 2009, the Obama White House turned its first congressional picnic into a Hawaiian luau, in celebration of the president’s home state. And Wong prepared traditional luau foods like kalua pig and lomi lomi salmon.

Wong’s luau for Congress included a dunking booth:

San Jose 49ers

10-AAC-5287-jpgKudos to the 49ers for their come from behind win in their last game at Candlestick Park.

We repeatedly went to Candlestick (more for baseball but also some football), and I never enjoyed it much. Cold and wind.

Santa Clara is going to be a state-of-the-art stadium — for one sport.

It reflects the economic shift south — to San Jose. Think tech, not Bechtel and Chevron.

I’ve been a resident in both places, and San Francisco has more going for it.

The new football stadium is adjacent to an amusement park that we went to in high school, though it is home to one of the California missions — and near Original Joe’s restaurant.

The baseball stadium in San Francisco has a lot of character, and one of the best views in town.

Times are changing. We lived in the San Jose area when it was making a transition from orchards to tech. Now the South Bay is going to host an N.F.L. football team.