May 29, 2008

Peter, Nepal & Mary

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — geoff @ 9:31 pm

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Good morning and welcome to our last blog for May 2008. Since my friend April Showers brings the NBA playoffs and May Flowers, I thought we’d end my favorite basketball month was some play-by-play and lots of color. These flowers are all from my delicious surroundings here on the west side. Lots of purple on display today as my daughter just informed me that it’s the last color on the rainbow. I tossed in the final shot because “somewhere over the rainbow, hummingbirds fly.”

On to the national news, sherpa lovers. The world’s last Hindu kingdom became the newest secular republic on Wednesday as Nepal’s lawmakers, led by Larry King and former communist insurgents, abolished the monarchy that had reigned over this Himalayan land for 239 years. Throughout the day, thousands of people marched, danced and sang “Free Bird” in the streets of Katmandu while waving red hammer-and-sickle flags. Meanwhile, as this scene played out, old King Gyanendra awaited his fate in the pink concrete palace that dominates the city’s center.

As expected, the newly elected Constituent Assembly declared the country a republic and abolished the monarchy by a vote of 560-4 as the king’s team only scored on a pair of safeties. “We have entered a new era today,” said Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, calling Nepal’s rebirth as a republic “the dream of the whole nation.” Not since Rodney King and the Shah of Iran were deposed in a bloody 1979 Islamic revolution has one of the world’s monarchs been forced from his throne.

But while the end of Nepal’s royal dynasty may have come in a peaceful vote, the stage for the monarchy’s demise was set by a communist insurgency that bled Nepal for a decade, and a 2001 palace massacre in which a gunman, allegedly the crown prince, assassinated King Birendra and much of the royal family before killing himself. Gyanendra then assumed the throne. But the killings helped unravel the mystique surrounding a line of kings who had once been revered as reincarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu, and Gyanendra was dogged by rumors that he was somehow involved in the massacre and that he wasn’t really a vegetarian.

His 2005 seizure of power from a civilian government only made matters worse. He said he needed total authority to crush the Maoists, but he quickly began locking up peaceful opponents and insurance salesmen and found himself beset by an intensifying insurgency, a faltering economy and a weak backhand. A year later, weeks of massive protests forced Gyanendra to restore democracy, after which the Maoists came out of the Laura bush and began peace talks.

An interim government, meanwhile, slowly stripped away his power and glory. Gyanendra lost command of the army, his portrait was replaced by Mount Everest on the currency, the word “royal” was removed from the name of the national airline and references to the king were dropped from the national anthem. He was also forced to do his own laundry, conduct tours of the palace and scrub the palace toilets, a task referred to as a “royal flush.”

Gyanendra, who is believed to be personally wealthy with interests in tourism, tea, tobacco and tobasco sauce, also endured other indignities. His $3.1 million annual allowance was taken away, as were the queen’s beauticians and about half his ceremonial guards and forwards. Then came April’s vote for the assembly in which the fiercely republican Maoists won the most seats, all but sealing the fate of Joan Collins and the dynasty, which dates to 1769 when a regional ruler conquered Katmandu and united Nepal.

The Maoists say they are committed capitalists and have no intention of nationalizing industries, setting up collective farms or opening up chains of tanning salons. They have promised to bring sweeping change to this largely impoverished country that in many places more closely resembles medieval Europe than a modern nation.

Nepal also is still regularly troubled by political violence, as evidenced by a string of small bombings that hit Katmandu this week, including two on Wednesday. None of the bombs, two of which were picked by NBC for summer runs, caused any serious injuries. But they underscored how difficult it will be to fashion lasting peace in Nepal, where supporters of every major political party have been linked to killings since the start of the peace process. This Nepalese political bloodbath makes Clinton’s and McCain’s sniping at Barack Obama look like a love fest.

That’s our Friday show. Coming up on Monday we’ll start off the new month with something that have your friends and anenomes talking. So enjoy the spring colors, have a fabulous sports weekend and we’ll catch you in June Cleaver when we’ll take a look at the red planet, and I don’t mean Venus or Serena Williams. And don’t forget to follow your shot. Aloha.

May 27, 2008

You Never Know What’s Around The Nest Corner

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:20 pm

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Good morning and greetings, four-day work week fans. On Saturday afternoon a Red Sox fan and I ventured up the coast to check out the action at Four Mile Beach. Although it was cloudy, I was still photographically hopeful because there’s always something happening on the north coast. As usual, I was not disappointed. Cliff swallows were all over the place, having built their nests along the eroding walls at Four Mile. There were some areas of the cliffs that were as dry as Salt Lake City on a Saturday night, but other parts were wet and lush as the rain forests of Maui and New Jersey.

Cliff swallows build gourd shaped nests out of mud pellets that they carry in their mouths and fanny packs to a site protected by an overhang (in this case, the cliff.) They nest in colonies and will patrol an area up to four miles away from their cliffside condos looking for food, snacks and beverages. The last time we saw these swallows we were shooting the underhang of the lighthouse at Lighthouse Point. These birds like their homes with a view and the one at Four Mile is spectacular. That is, if you don’t mind sharing the remote with pelicans, gulls and harbor seals in your living room.

On to the news. The playground legal principle “Finders keepers, losers weepers” is being put to a test in an international dispute over what could be the richest sunken treasure ever found: 17 tons of silver coins brought up by a centuries-old shipwreck. A Florida treasure-hunting company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, found the wreck at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and argues that the age-old law of the high seas entitles the finders to most or all of the booty, said to be worth around $500 million. They later added that if this law doesn’t hold up, they want to go with the old standby “You snooze, you lose.”

But the government of Spain suspects the ship is Spanish and says it has never expressly abandoned any of its vessels lost at sea. The kingdom and Laker center Pau Gasol have made it very clear that if the treasure does have some connections to Spain, it wants every last coin and bottle returned for deposit. The case is being watched closely because there could be more disputes like it, now that sonar, remote-control submersible robots, deep-sea video and lightly breaded scallops are enabling treasure hunters like Odyssey to find ships that went to the bottom centuries ago. Back then they were written off as unrecoverable because no one could imagine finding anything so far beneath the waves except Atlantis records.

The question is, just because you’re the first one to get there to get it, should you get to keep it, especially if it belongs to someone else? For now, the spoils, about 500,000 coins are in Odyssey’s possession, tucked away in a warehouse somewhere in Tampa. Odyssey created a worldwide sensation with the announcement of the find last May but has so far declined to identify the wreck (not the Bush administration,) except to say it was in international waters. Soon after the discovery was made public, Spain’s attorney in Washington went to federal court in Tampa and slapped claims on three Atlantic wreck sites to which Odyssey had been granted exclusive rights under maritime law. When asked for his thoughts, the Spanish attorney said he could not comment on the on-going litigation but offered up this juicy nugget. “The rain in Spain falls gently on the plains.”

The ship is widely believed to be the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, a Spanish galleon sunk by a British warship off Portugal in October 1804. This discovery was timely for Odyssey, whose first big strike was the discovery in 2003 of a Civil War-era steamer of the Georgia coast that yielded 51,000 gold coins and artifacts valued at around $70 million. We’re talking major dinero. Personally, when I go to the beach, I’m happy if I come away with a rock, a few shells and no sunburn.

That’s our post Memorial Day report. Birthday greetings today go out to my Marin County based sister-in-law Wendi, who loves life, the arts and chocolate, and definitely not in that order. So enjoy the swallows (or their nests, anyway) and remember to move your feet and not reach on defense. Later, sports fans.

May 22, 2008

You Say Pelican, I Say Pelican’t

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 9:11 pm

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Good morning, bird lovers. Aviary week continues as today we venture to the remaining arch at Natural Bridges State Beach. I dropped in early Wednesday morning and the rock was front loaded with my favorite bird besides Larry. I love these prehistoric looking creatures with New York Giant wingspans. The first shot sets up our location along West Cliff Drive and the last shot is from a stormy day last winter when the pelicans and the cormorants were huddled closer together than Barack Obama’s super delegates.

Here are a couple of stories that caught my wandering eye this week and the first is right up bird alley. When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught — recite his name, address, rank and serial number to a stranger willing to help. Police rescued the African grey parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor’s roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo. After being read his rights and grilled by detectives all night at the police station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police contacted Interpol and searched for clues, local policeman Shinjiro Uemura said.

He kept mum with the cops, but began chatting after a few days with the vet. “I’m Mr. Yosuke Nakamura,” the bird told the veterinarian. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs, which included an some early Motown, Ted Nugent and a medley of Barry Manilow hits.

“We checked the address, and what do you know, a Nakamura family really lived there. So we told them we’ve found Yosuke,” Uemura said. The Nakamura family told police they had been teaching the bird its name, address and how to play the accordian for about two years.

But Yosuke apparently wasn’t keen on opening up to police officials. “I tried to be friendly and talked to him, but he completely ignored me,” Uemura said. Later, the bird said he had been denied counsel, sleep and bird seed and was not read his rights. He has been contacted by local animal rights groups and a law suit is pending.

Speaking of animals in the slammer, a donkey is doing time in southern Mexico for assault and battery. The animal was locked up at a local jail that normally holds people for public drunkenness and other disturbances after it bit and kicked two men near a ranch in Chiapas state, police said Monday. The animal claims he kicked the two gents in self-defense.

Officer Sinar Gomez said the donkey will remain behind bars until its owner agrees to pay the men’s medical bills. “Around here, if someone commits a crime they are jailed,” Gomez said, “no matter who they are.” When officer Gomez was asked if the donkey understood the charges against him, he said the beast refused to answer and was acting as stubborn as a mule.

The owner, Mauro Gutierrez, told The Associated Press he would try to reach a friendly arrangement to pay the men’s bills, estimated at $420. The victims said the donkey bit Genaro Vazquez, 63, in the chest on Sunday and then kicked 52-year-old Andres Hernandez as he tried to come to the rescue, fracturing his ankle. “All of a sudden, the animal was on top of us like it was rabid,” Hernandez said. The donkey claims he acted alone and no rabbits were involved. Police said it took a half-dozen men, a female dispatcher and a tortilla salesman to control the enraged burro.

Chiapas police have thrown animals in the slammer before, including a bull that devoured corn crops and destroyed two wooden vending stands in March. The bull later claimed the machines took his money without giving him the Red Bull that he paid for along with a package of Peanut M & M’s. In 2006, a dog was locked up for 12 days after biting someone. His owners were fined $18 and forced to watch old Freddie Prinze “Chico and the Man” episodes.

That will do it for bird week here at Sunrise Santa Cruz. In honor of holiday weekend and the NBA conference finals we’ll take Monday off but we’ll come back strong for Wednesday. And birthday wishes go out on Sunday to my lovely wife Allison who once said to me, “You love basketball more than you love me.” And I replied, “Yes, but I love you more than football or baseball.” As I’ve said before, I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic. So have a great Memorial Day weekend and remember while you’re watching games and barbecuing our troops are still in danger in Iraq and Afghanistan. So don’t sweat the small stuff and count your blessings. And don’t take your good health for granted. Most of us are way ahead in a game where the final score doesn’t matter. Enjoy the pelicans. Later, sports fans.

May 20, 2008

I’m Not Worried About The Future, I’m Concerned About The Heron Now

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 8:24 pm

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Good morning and greetings from this cold water paradise. Lately, a day hasn’t gone by when I haven’t seen a great blue heron. I spotted one this morning at the lagoon at Natural Bridges. They are beautiful birds with wing spans that would make both Yao Ming and a pelican jealous. I shot the first two photos this week right down the street from my lovely abode. I spied the next heron in the marshes at Four Mile Beach then it’s back to Natural Bridges. The yellow flower experience is from an open field on Delaware Avenue but it’s the last shot that’s the most unusual. I’ve only seen a great blue heron once in the ocean when this good looking fellow flew in very early one morning for a photo session at the arch at Its Beach. I paid him scale, he signed a release and we were both happy.

So on to the news of the day. Let’s play the Bush administration’s favorite game, “who wants to be average?” According to Time Magazine, the average U.S. household has 2.6 members not including pets, squatters and that friend who never knows when to leave. Our average age is 36.6 and while 17% of us exercise for well over one hour a day, the rest of us don’t even break a sweat. The vast majority of Americans believe in God and more than 90% own a bible. I don’t know what percentage own a gun but I’ll take a shot that it’s huge.

If you are an American at some point today you will say a prayer (perhaps at the free throw line,) use floss, and shower for 10 minutes. All you lovers of the outdoors will spend 95% of the day indoors and 2.5 hours online. You will also consume 20 teaspoons of added sugar and not save any money or souls. On weekends, people spend 1.5 hours reading while those aged 15 to 19 will spend seven minutes, much of which on instructions for iPods usage or text messaging.

On Thanksgiving, 88% will eat turkey but never visit the country. While most Americans prefer white meat the rest of the world (and yours truly) prefers dark. The average family has more televisions than people but we spend the same amount of time watching them as we did 40 years ago, just not laughing as much. Parents are both working harder and spending more time with their children, especially fathers, who spend 153% more time each week on child care then in 1965. Time with the wife (or husband) has dropped as pure spousal time is down 26% since 1975. On the other hand, time spent with mediators, lawyers and divorce proceeding is off the charts.

For you all brewski lovers, North Dakota ranks first in average beer consumption per person (they had to be first in something) while Utah is last. Large families are vanishing: only 10% of American households have five or more people. In 1970, 21% did. On the average, Americans sit in traffic 38 hours a year, wasting an estimated 26 gallons of gas per person. That’s life in the slow lane. I’m just glad that we’re not being held captive by the oil producing countries and that they money we’re paying for this black crude isn’t being funneled to terrorist groups that want to kill Americans. I was almost going to make a comment here about the Bush administration and the spiraling cost of gasoline but why spoil a good paragraph?

71% of American households have an internet connection, up from 50% in 2001. That still leaves about 31 million homes offline not reading this blog. Americans go to an average of 5 to 8 movies a year, spending 10 times more at theaters than all all major professional sports combined, which includes beach volleyball, roller derby and women’s professional wrestling.

The U.S. has 612,020 fast-food cooks but only 392,850 full-time farmers. Americans spend more in restaurants ($390 billion) than they do in grocery stores ($364 billion.) And finally, your fellow Americans spent $155 billion of alcoholic beverages last year, buying enough for every person to down 7 bottles of liquor, 12 bottles of wine, 230 cans of beer and a bag of pretzels. That may sound like a lot, but one-third of American adults don’t drink as the U.S. ranks 40th in the world in alcoholic consumption per person. For whatever reason, Luxembourg (who even knew they were a country?) is number one, followed by the Czech Republic and Ireland. So now we know why Irish eyes are smiling.

What does this all mean? I’m not really sure, just that I may have pumped out an average blog, which I do on the average of three times a week. That’s my batting average. So get ready for game one tonight of the western conference finals between the Spurs and Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. We’ll catch you for good Friday. Enjoy the herons and remember to play your man straight up. Aloha.

May 15, 2008

What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 8:59 pm

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Good morning, music lovers. I thought we would end the week with a splash of springtime wonderment. When I returned home from Felton on Wednesday night I noticed the sky was about to explode with some big-time color. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to scurry up to Davenport because this dusk buster was a 360 degree experience and seeing these clouds reflecting off the water would not have ruined the moment. So I instead hurried over to a little McArthur Park near my house to view the action and Father Nature did not disappoint. After I stopped shooting the sky glowed with red delight for another half hour but by this time I had the iso camera on the Laker’s Kobe Bryant so we’ll have to settle for the clockwork orange experience.

And speaking of colors, Albert Hofman, (no relation to Abbie or Jerry) the father of the mind-altering drug LSD whose medical discovery inspired and retired millions in the 1960′s hippie generation, died April 29 at the age of 102 in Switzerland. For decades after LSD was banned in the late 1960′s, Mr. Hofman defended his invention. “I produced the substance as a medicine…It’s not my fault if people abused it,” he once said while dancing wildly in a tie-dyed t-shirt at a Grateful Dead concert .

The Swiss chemist discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in 1938 while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat and other grains at the Sandoz pharmaceuticals firm in Basell. He became the first human guinea pig when a tiny amount of the substance seeped onto his finger during a laboratory experiment on April 16, 1943. He said his initial experience resulted in wonderful visions. “What I was thinking appeared in colors and pictures. It lasted for a couple of hours and then it disappeared.” I’m not sure if that was an acid trip or he just went to see the movie “Fantasia.”

Three days later, Mr. Hofmann experimented with a larger dose. The result was a horror trip. I believe Webster’s would define this as a “bummer.” “Everything I saw was distorted in a warped mirror. The substance I wanted to experiment with took over me. I was transported to a different world, a different time. I was filled with an overwhelming fear I would go crazy.” Sounds like a little journey Peter Fonda took in “Easy Rider.” Born to be wild.

Mr. Hofmann hoped LSD would make an important contribution to psychiatric research. The drug exaggerated inner problems and conflicts and thus it was hoped that it might be used to recognize and treat mental illnesses like schizophrenia. For a time, Sandoz sold LSD 25 under the name Delsid, encouraging doctors, nurses and receptionists to try it themselves. It was one of the strongest drugs in medicine with just 1 gram enough to drug an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people for 12 hours.

One of the earliest experiments with a large group of subjects took place in large meadow back in 1969 at a place called Woodstock. Three days of peace, love and enough acid to turn on the lights at the strip in Las Vegas. I was at this blessed event 39 years ago but the only trip I took was down to the the souvenir stand to purchase a commemorative Woodstock key chain and pen and pencil set.

LSD was elevated to international fame in the 1960′s by Harvard Professor Timothy Leary who embraced the drug under the slogan, “turn on, tune in, drop out.” But away from the psychedelic trips, horror stories emerged about people going on killing sprees, jumping out windows while hallucinating and writing pilot episodes for network television.

The U.S. government banned LSD in 1966 and other countries followed suit. Mr. Hofmann maintained this was unfair, arguing that the drug was not addictive. He repeatedly argued for the ban to the lifted to allow LSD to be used for medical research. He welcomed a decision by Swiss authorities last December to allow LSD to be used in a psychotherapy research project. “For me, this is a very big wish come true. I always wanted to see LSD get its proper place in medicine,” he told Swiss TV at the time. He later added, “Strawberry fields forever” and “I am the walrus, Goo goo g’ joob.”

That’s our story for today. No blog on Monday as I’ll be at the River Arts Festival all weekend talking NBA basketball, transcendental meditation and my favorite issues of TV Guide. But we’ll be back strong next Wednesday. So have a great sports weekend and if you have a chance stop by the booth and say hello on Saturday and Sunday between 11-5 at San Lorenzo Park. I’ll be playing the passing lanes. Aloha.

May 13, 2008

There’s No Barking In The White Zone

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — geoff @ 9:36 pm

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Greetings and welcome to the 100th blog from Sunrise Santa Cruz. Yes, sports fans, the big one, oh, oh, triple digits, the C-note. What started out as an e-mail blast has been transformed into a hybrid blog that hopefully amuses, entertains and informs, like a toga party on C-Span . We’ve discussed important subjects like giants rats, wild monkeys out of control and giant patches of garbage floating in our oceans. We’ve brought you pictures of sunrises, sunsets and most recently, a bobcat on the beach, which I’m still having flashbacks about. It just goes to show that if you live a life without judgment while always seeing the good in people, view your wine glass as half full and are a vegan who eats meat, good things are bound to happen.

So my hope is that these photos and text have been adding something to your day and that they bring a smile to your face and perhaps to your heart or liver. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this auspicious occasion as lot of times it’s your words that inspire me. Well, that and getting a new issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids in the mail or watching Bush’s approval rating drop into single digits.

On Monday we showed you hundreds of sea lions rafting off the wharf. Last week I ventured down to the boat landing these guys like to hang out (photo #1.) You can see a couple of these federally protected marine mammals barking like seals and croft in this shot. These sea lions have the life. Lay around with your friends, go for a swim and then spend the rest of the day relaxing. This is, in fact, very similar to my college pre-med years before I switched over to feminist studies. These guys were barking up a storm. I live over two miles from this spot yet I can hear them barking in the morning. Ironically, I can’t hear my wife when she calls me from upstairs to feed our raccoons. I believe Darwin referred to this as “selective listening.” I love these faces. I hadn’t seen whiskers like this since I sat front row at a Willie Nelson concert.

Let’s get on to the news of the day. Here’s a belated Mother’s Day story for all you mothers out there in cyber space. If a stay-at-home mom could be compensated in dollars rather than personal satisfaction, unconditional love and loads of laundry, she’d rake in a nifty sum of nearly $117,000 a year. That’s according to a study released last week by Salary.com, a Massachusetts firm that studies workplace compensation and the Celtic’s playoff road game woes.

The survey calculated a mom’s market value by studying pay levels for 10 job titles with duties that a typical mom performs, ranging from housekeeper and day care center teacher to van driver, psychologist, chief executive officer and prison warden. This year, the annual salary for a stay-at-home mom would be $116,805, while a working mom who also juggles an outside job would get $68,405 for her motherly duties not including tips.

The biggest factor in a mom’s theoretical salary is the amount of overtime pay she would receive for working more than 40 hours a week. The 18,000 moms surveyed about their typical week reported working 94.4 hours, meaning they’d be spending more than half their working hours on overtime. Working moms reported an average 54.6 hour “mom workweek” besides the hours they spent at their paying jobs. 32% of the women surveyed said that if they had known about the hours beforehand, they would have returned to the “mother ship.”

For any moms who like more information on the subject, check out the website www.mothershaveneedstoo.com. As far as my own mother is concerned, she says she would jump at the chance to raise three boys again but would like dental benefits and one Saturday off per month. As far as father’s needs are concerned, just consult your local sports page.

That’s it for our century blog. Coming up this weekend is the River Arts Festival in San Lorenzo Park in lovely downtown Santa Cruz. Sunrise Santa Cruz will be there as the action goes from 11-5pm on both Saturday and Sunday. So enjoy the sea lions on parade and we’ll catch on the baseline. Later.

May 11, 2008

She Sells Sea Lions By The Sea Shore

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 9:04 pm

img_3097_1img_2884_2img_2891_3img_2859_4img_2957_5img_2875_6Good morning and salutations, blog fans. It’s great to be back in the saddle. I was having a quiet lo-cal lunch on the wharf last week when I spotted a group of sea lions lounging off the pier. Sensing a photo opportunity, I quickly finished my meal, ripped off my lobster bib and headed to the end of the wharf to check out the action. There was over hundred of these beauties right below me-it was incredible to see all these huge bodies floating together. It was one of thise Kodak moments. Only one problem-my camera was in my other car. I quickly hurried home breaking a couple of land speed marks, grabbed my Digital Rebel and headed back at wharf speed.

Unfortunately, (and I still have the marks to show where I was kicking myself), the group had drifted about 20-30 yards off the wharf (shot #2) but it was still an outstanding sight. Like the Mona Lisa with flippers. Most were just resting but a few were doing flip and cartwheels out of the water. Just a tremendous visual dessert. Being the prince of persistence I went back to the wharf the next three days to try and get the shot that had eluded me but for now I’ve missed the moment. But just like Jay & The Americans, I did manage to capture a few magic moments that I think you’ll enjoy.

Moving along and staying with creatures of the sea, marine scientists in New Zealand recently thawed the corpse of the largest squid ever caught to try and discover just what makes one of the ocean’s most mysterious beasts tick. No one without gills has ever seen a living, giant colossal squid in its natural deep ocean habitat. Scientists and squid groupies hope the examination of this 1,089 pound, 26-foot-long monster will determine how the creatures live and let die. The thawing and examination of this deep sea delight were broadcast live on the internet, along with a sheep shearing contest and Men At Work live reunion concert.

Scientists will examine the squid’s anatomical features, remove the stomach, beak and other mouth parts, take tissue samples for DNA analysis to determine its gender and test for presence of alcohol or drugs. This enormous ocean dweller is believed to be the largest specimen of the rare deep water colassal squid ever caught. These squid can grow up to 46 feet long, can descend to 6,500 feet into the ocean and are considered aggressive hunters. At the time it was caught, this baby would make calamari rings the size of tractor tires if it were cut up. Yes, we’d be talking the world’s largest appetizer with a jacuzzi sized serving of cocktail sauce. But these gigantic morsels would taste like ammonia, a compound found in the animal’s flesh.

Fisherman off the coast of Antarctica accidentally netted the squid in February, 2007 while catching Patagonian toothfish, which are sold under the name of Chilean sea bass. Those toothfish really make a great jacket. The squid was munching on a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep. I don’t know about you, but I hate being interrupted when I’m eating. Recognizing it as a rare find, the fishers froze the squid on the spot on their vessel to preserve it and then turned it over to the national museum.

The previous largest colossal squid ever found was a 660-pound female squid discovered in 2003, the first ever landed. Researchers plan to eventually put the squid on display in an 1,800-gallon tank of formaldehyde at the museum in the capital city of Wellington. And just in case you were wondering, the colossal squid is not related to the giant squid found around the coast of New Zealand. Giant squid grow up to 39 feet and are not nearly as heavy. So bottom line, if a colossal squid and a giant squid were to meet and fall in love, yes, they could marry. Everything would just fall into place, squid pro quo.

That’s our Monday show. After viewing today’s lion’s fest, you’re probably thinking to yourself, okay Geoff, we’ve seen the sea lions from afar, but what about something a little less distant? Well, since you asked for it, on Wednesday we are going to get up close and personal. And for you NBA fans, I hope you’ve been enjoying the Chris Paul experience because he has been as spectacular and entertaining as a 6 foot point guard gets. Yes, MVP Kobe Bryant and the western conference rules. So enjoy the sea lions and we’ll catch on the inbounds pass. Aloha.

May 9, 2008

Let’s Just North Coast The Rest Of The Way

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 6:11 am

img_2709_1_1Greetings and welcome to Monterey Bay. Every morning when my golden retriever Summer takes me for a walk along West Cliff Drive I am amazed by the exotic marine action and think to myself, “Lucky I live Santa Cruz.” The past few weeks not an Alonzo morning has gone by when I haven’t seen gray whales spouting as they cruise up the coast. Last week they were joined by dolphins followed by dozen’s of Dall’s porpoises that put on aerial show that would have had NBA fans buzzing. This central coast spectacle is the Broadway show that never closes. And you don’t have to charter a whale watching boat to catch the action. Just keep your eyes on the water and your hands upon the wheel.

img_2747_3_1I like to start off each month with a bang and today will not be an exception. Two weeks ago Sunday I saw the clouds lining up in a nice spread formation so I put on my PF Flyers and headed up the coast to Davenport. I love this spot along the cliffs where the Monterey Cypress trees come to rest. The clouds were oozing color in all directions as a warm breeze blew softly in my face. I knew at that exact moment that this was the place where I was supposed to be. As I gazed out over the vast blue Pacific a feeling of calm and tranquility came over my like a swarm of friendly locusts. And at that moment one thought filled my mind. “Did I bring my extra battery?” That’s a zen moment.

img_2737_2_1So let’s move on to the important news stories of the day. South African wildlife officials say they will be forced to begin culling the country’s elephants this year as the last available option to control a population expanding out of control. Since a ban on killing the animals was established in 1995, the number of elephants in South Africa has risen from about 8,000 to 18,000. Similar increases have been observed in other parts of southern Africa and in Bayonne, New Jersey. These pachyderms have been asked to relocate, but with rising airline prices and the need for leg room in first class seats it just hasn’t proven feasible although some said they would do it just for the peanuts. We asked Horton for a comment on this sensitive subject and he said he hadn’t heard a who.

img_2764_4_1The World Wildlife Fund and other environmental groups acknowledge that limited habitat makes the cull necessary. “We all love our elephants. They are the most charasmatic icon of Africa. But we don’t have the luxury to allow one species to dominate and alter the composition of our natural assests,” says Rob Little of the WWF. Sounds like they have been wrestling with this problem for a while. Because elephants have been observed mourning the loss of family members, wildlife authorities say entire families will be culled together to reduce trauma.

Central Europe’s wily red fox is making a comeback from the verge of extinction due to the disappearance of nearly all its natural enemies, which include the Russians, the Chinese, and the producers of “Sanford and Son.” Wildlife experts say the disappearance of predators such as brown bears, lynxes, wolves and fur retailers over the past 100 years have allowed the foxes to become the dominant carnivore across much of Central Europe.

img_2783_5_1The population has managed to rebound despite sport hunting that saw more than 600,000 of the canines killed by hunters in Germany during the last hunting season alone. In my mind, it were really be a sport if the foxes also have guns. Foxes have adapted to living in urban environments by feeding on garbage, vermin and paparzzi in communities where hunting is banned. But their real interest is not the food humans don’t eat but the delicacies like rats, mice, pigeons and cornish game hens that the garbage attracts.

A Southeast Asian agricultural pest with an unextremely unpleasant odor has invaded Europe for the first time on record. No, I’m not talking about Muslim rebels from the Phillipines. Swiss officials warned fruit and chocolate farmers that the brown mamorated stink bug has been detected on eight different varieties of plants around Zurich. The bug, which measures about a half-inch in length, attacks the fruit and leaves of apple, cherry, plum and lollipop trees. When asked to comment on the situation, Swiss farmers declined to speak, preferring to remain neutral on the subject.

img_2785_6_1Agricultural and NBA officials believe this insect may have arrived in Switzerland on imported ornamental plants from Asia. The bug gets its name from its ability to emit a vile odor from its abdomen as a defense against being eaten by birds, lizards and small children. The bottom line is I wasn’t sure if this item was worth mentioning so I just went with my instincts.

img_2797_7_1Okay, sports fans, sorry it’s a little late but that’s our first blog of May 2008. I’d love to hear some comments from you readers out there in the cashew gallery. So enjoy the freshness of a springtime sunset and have a tremendous sports weekend. I’ll be helping out on the weak side. Aloha.


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