Good morning and welcome to our first photo blog of the new month. Sweet September blesses us with our highest average temperature here in Santa Cruz and if the first two days of the month are any indication of what lies ahead then Indian Summer will be rocking. Much like the Gin Blossoms did at the Boardwalk a couple of Friday nights ago.
Something that makes a rare appearance here on the central coast in the summer months are colorful sunrises and sunsets. Too much fog, not enough clouds and too many reality shows on the networks. But the evening of August 5th on West Cliff Drive was a welcomed exception. The sky turned various exotic shades of color as literally hundreds of pelicans cruised by in V formations (photo #2) into the different layers of red, orange and yellow magic. It was an outstanding evening that also included Dorothy and a rainbow making an appearance that added to the magnificence of the moment. It was the only sunset I shot this entire summer and it was simply an outrageous night to own the gift of sight.
The Bejiing Olympics ended a couple of weeks ago and now my Chinese conciousness is restricted to some spring rolls, beef chow fun and sweet and sour chicken. It was a tremendous two weeks of international competition that was loved by all Tibetans. As we know, swimmer Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals, which would have tied him for 9th in the gold medal count, ahead of France, Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Vermont. But as to leave no Sharon Stone unturned, here are a few facts about the Olympic medal count that you may have missed between the appetizers and the main course.
Human-rights loving China won the most gold medals at the Beijing Games with 51, which includes the 14-year-old gymnast in the underaged floor competition. They become the first country to crack the mu shu 50-gold mark since the Soviet Union in 1988. The most golds ever won in a single Olympics is 83 by the United States in 1984. It’s the first time since 1936 that a country other than the United States, the Soviet Union or Yemen has led the medal count.
Per capita, China won one gold medal for every 25 million people in the country. The United States’ per capita rate was one gold for every 8.5 million. The tiny island nation of Jamaica, which won a staggering six golds in Beijing, had a per capita rate of one gold for every 450,000 Rastafarians. Had China won at that rate, the country would have earned 2,889 golds, which they would then have shipped to Wal-Mart for the blue light special.
African countries won a total of 40 medals, the highest total in history for the continent. Unfortunately, it did not eliminate hunger, famine or ethnic genocide on the dark continent.
Six countries won their first ever Olympic medals: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Mauritius, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo and Subway . One question, where the hell is Mauritius and Tajikistan, and how did I get an ‘A’ in geography?
India has 17% of the world’s population. They won 0.31% of Olympic medals, most of which were for being completely useless over the phone to American callers. Iceland was the least populous country to win an Olympic medal, which they later froze. Pakistan, the world’s sixth-largest nation, was the most populous country not to win an Olympic medal and the only country to oust their President during the Olympic games. And finally, Sweden had the best medal tally (4 silver, 1 bronze) without winning a gold, proving that blondes can still have fun without winning gold.
So that’s our Olympic recap. Join us again on Friday when we’ll look at what a little rain in August can do for the photo experience. And pro football fans rejoice as the NFL season begins tomorrow night when the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants host the Washington Redskins. As a longtime Giant’s fan, I am still in shock and awe over last year’s final game victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots. Not that I’m a tad skeptical of the Giant’s chances of repeating this year but put it this way-I’m not wearing an Eli Manning jersey as I write this. So enjoy the western sky, the return of the NFL and we’ll catch you downfield. Later, Tom Brady fans.