February 8, 2008

Caught Between A Barack And A Hard Place

Good morning and good Friday. Once again Sunrise Santa Cruz brings you the best of what the sky has to offer today and today we have another winner from the afternoon/evening of January 22. It was a wild day down at Lighthouse Point with all kinds of exotic clouds filling the sky which made for quite a bedazzling display of the Father, Sun and the Holy Coast. This is the same night I caught the rainbow thru the arch, a snowy egret landing on runway seven and a tide as low as Bush’s approval ratings. Besides those cinematic treats, just another night in a
cold water paradise.

So Thursday was a special day and not just because the Golden State Warriors were playing on national TV. Yesterday began the Chinese New Year, which is the Year of the Rat, who holds a place of honor as the first creature in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese lunar calender. Legend has it that the rat was the first one to arrive when Buddha summoned 12 animals to name a year in each cycle after each one of them. The rat was followed by an ox, a tiger, a rabbit, a dragon, a snake, a horse, a sheep, a monkey, a rooster, a dog, a pig, and a cornish game hen.

According to author Theodora Lau, “The charm and innovative personality of the rat is legendary-he did not become the first sign of the cycle without good reason. The rat loves to run the show and everything had better look sharp under his stewardship.” The Chinese say those with a rat child are very lucky because when the parents get old the child will take care of them. Rat child-what a tender, lvoing way to describe one’s offspring.

This election year is supposed to be positive for the United States, which was founded in the year of the monkey. Lau, author of the “Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes” says the “the rat and the monkey are very compatible, and since it’s the year of the rat, it will do well for the monkey. Both the rat and the monkey love challenges and they will be able to find the solution.” It’s the old monkey see, monkey do, ratso does the same as you.

The Chinese lunar calender is based on cycles of the moon and is constructed in a different fashion than the Western solar calender. The beginning of the year falls somewhere between late January and early February. Lau says writing the book gave her a new perspective on people. “I am more understanding and tolerant. People sometimes can’t help who they are (George Bush.) They are locked into a point of view (Dick Cheney.) You can’t change it, so don’t get upset (American people.) It’s not your fault (Al Gore.)

I went to my son’s school yesterday for an assembly that featured a talk given by renowned local historian and award-winning teacher Sandy Lydon, who spoke on the topic of “Firecrackers, Hungry Ghosts and the Year of the Rat: Exploring the Chinese Spirit World. This is what I learned when I was paying attention and not thinking about the mind-blowing Shaquille O’Neal trade to the Phoenix Suns. The Chinese believe it is better to be born lucky than clever. Luck plays a bigger role in life than hard work. There are two kinds of spirits, good and evil. Loud noises from firecrackers frighten the evil spirits. Evil spirits don’t like the color red (firecrackers.) And the Electric Light Orchestra’s number one hit was “Evil Woman.”

When a Chinese person dies, the family is responsible for taking care of their spirits. Nothing is more important in China then family, with the exception of mu shu pork. Chinese people rarely go anywhere alone and that is why half there nation is glued to a cell phone. 8 is the best lucky number, 4 is bad luck and 25 or 6 to 4.

Here are some things you should have done yesterday. Switch on lights, eat sweets and most importantly, clean your house and colon. The big do nots-don’t wash your hair, buy any shoes, pants or books or ride a shetland pony. Or give out your social security number to anyone over the internet with a return address in Nigeria.

So that’s the new year rundown. I hope you’ve been enjoyed the photos as of late because as Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton showed us, this time of the year is “As Good As It Gets” for landscape photography on the central coast. I would love to hear from some of you out there in the heartland. Silence is not golden, it’s more of a silver. Rise up and speak to me, let me read your voices. Comprenez vous?

And lastly, birthday wishes go out to Lee Gilbert, who for many years has been like a mother to me. It seems like almost yesterday that I popped out of her womb. Mom, at age 82, I am almost willing to forgive you for not breast feeding me. Remember, I said almost. Have a great weekend and enjoy the outrageous sky. Oh, and today’s subject title has nothing to do with the text, I just like the way it sounded. There’s change in the air and I’m excited. Later.


  1. Happy birthday Lee. Dude, has the curse of Chris Webber reached the Warriors? You don’t lose to the Bulls at home with their 3 top scorers in streetclothes. Bush’s approval rating may be lower than the tide, but it’s time he’s washed out to sea. Personally, I’d rather be Obombmaing down the slopes, but Pebble Beach ain’t bad.

    Comment by 12 — February 8, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

  2. OK – I got to talk about this post. First I thought you got this all off a placemat at Tams. Secondly, if everyone born in the same year is a “rat” that would mean that everyone in your high school class would also be a rat which never seemed to allow for enough diversity – this thought has often occurred to me while waiting for the sweet and sour chicken to arrive. Thirdly, if I was supposed to clean my house and not wash my hair yesterday it would have been helpful to have been told this in Wednesday’s post as opposed to today’s. And last, but certainly not least – how about those photos – particularly the last one – very impressive – haven’t seen a sky like that since the last time you posted one. Thanks and keep up the excellent work!

    Comment by brad — February 8, 2008 @ 10:55 pm

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