January 25, 2009

Action Speaks Louder Than Birds

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 9:01 pm

img_7738_11img_9457_11img_7894_11img_8106_11img_9534_2img_8609_1

Good morning and greetings, Michelle Obama fans. Well, it was quite the week as we made the transition (and I don’t mean from offense to defense) that this country and the rest of the world had been eagerly awaiting. It was out with the old and in with the new. Or as Jay Leno put it, “On Tuesday, America got to hear those four words we’ve been waiting for, ‘former President George Bush.” And “President Bush said he is leaving Washington with his head held high, because it is the best way to spot shoes that are coming at you.”

I’m going to miss George W, but only, and I do mean ONLY, in terms of this blog. Or as NBC’s future “Tonight Show” host Conan O’Brien remarked, “President Bush is winding things down. Yep, Monday was President Bush’s last full day in office. He called the leaders of Denmark, Italy, Russia and South Korea to say, ‘thank you.’ Yeah, his exact words were, ‘thank you for being one of the last four countries that will still take my calls.’” It’s a shame the Bush error, er, I mean era, has to come to an end.

Monday also said goodbye and good riddance to Dick Cheney. His former company, the war profiteering Halliburton, has benefited more than anyone from the ongoing Iraq conflict. And he and Bush were also just a tad too cozy in their relationship with the oil companies. Or as Jay said, “Monday was also Dick Cheney’s last full day in office. Actually, he spent the entire day trying to get the price of gas back up to $4 a gallon. And at the end of the day they went in and removed the gas pump that Exxon installed in his office.”

Here’s a take on the outgoing VP from David Letterman. “Big interview with Dick Cheney over the weekend. Dick Cheney said that he’s actually lovable. Dick Cheney. Actually loveable. I’m thinking about this. It really does melt your heart when he flashes that winning sneer.” Thanks, Dave.

And more, this time some insight from ABC’s late night jokemeister, Jimmy Kimmel. “Former Vice President Cheney was in a wheelchair at the inauguration. His aides say he pulled a muscle while moving boxes yesterday. But I don’t know if I believe that. In fact, if you look closely, you can see the reason he’s in a wheelchair is because his feet turned back into hooves a day before they were supposed to. That was not as it was agreed upon in the pact.”

Tuesday was inauguration day and a moment in our history that many Americans thought they would never see. Once again, Jay Leno. “Two million people attended the inauguration, compared to less than 500,000 when Bush was inaugurated four years ago. But that makes sense because four years ago, you know, people had jobs to go to.” And “Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts made a mistake during the swearing in of Barack Obama. That’s the second mistake the Supreme Court has made with a president, if you count the time they declared Bush the winner.” And my favorite, “Barack Obama said his first act as president will be to pardon Aretha Franklin’s hat.”

So there is sense of excitement and renewed hope in the air. Americans are counting on Barack Obama to make good on his campaign promises and bring about the changes this country so desperately needs. But it will not be easy for the new President, as there is more optimism in the sports books in Las Vegas for the Arizona Cardinals than there is among Wall Street investors. Personally, I haven’t been this excited since “Friday Night Lights” returned to NBC.

All right, enough with politics and onto today’s photo ensemble. Each morning after I finish meditating, chanting and doing 100 pushups, I head down to Natural Bridges to check out the action. There are always pelicans and cormorants on the big rocks but today we’ll peruse the ever changing pond off the beach. Our first three subjects are a great blue heron, a snowy egret and a very good, or should a say, great egret. I have lot of shots of these birds in flight, which we’ll check out some time before the “E” Entertaiment Network runs the show, “Whatever Happened to Scooter Libby?”

The shot of our long-necked friend and his quacking pals was taken a couple of hundred yards up from Natural Bridges. I had heard about them from Eric Clapton, “I told you ’bout the swams, that they live in the park.” That would be DeAnza. The final photo of the exotic looking duck was taken over at Schwan Lake on the eastside. I’m not sure what kind of duck it is (maybe wood) but I know it’s not Peking. Maybe we could ask George Bush-he seems to a little bit about ducking.

That’s it for our inauguration special. After the sky cleared on Thursday night there was a beautiful pink sunset but I was inside a gym watching my favorite son play basketball. I could see the colors of the clouds reflecting off the gymnasium doors but when it comes to choosing between the son and the sunset it’s no contest. But it was somewhat painful as I am into bringing the most vivid and spectacular colors in the sky to this site and this night was magnificent, like LeBron James at the buzzer in Oakland on Friday night. But when your son throws no-look passes and threads the needle like Betsy Ross on a fastbreak, the Steve Nash in me has to watch and keep stats.

So celebrate the final days of January and get those snacks and hot hors d’oevres ready for Super Sunday. I hope you enjoyed the collage of late night political humor. We’ll catch you across the middle in February. Aloha and later, Monta Ellis fans.

January 18, 2009

Rise Matters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:13 pm

img_9583_11img_9586_21img_9597_31img_9599_41img_9614_51img_9635_61

Good morning and greetings, Martin Luther King Day fans. Today we celebrate the birthday of a man of who had a dream and a vision for this country, a giant of a man who preached peace, unity and non-violence. I also have a dream, but my includes cheerleaders, chocolate cake and me reverse jamming on a fast break in traffic. It’s an historic week as a new President will be inaugurated, bringing hope to millions of Americans. So let’s go to the sky and see what else is on the rise. Or in the words of the lovely Alicia Keys, “Where do we go from here?”

Let’s first start off with some space info courtesy of our friends at space.com. Last Saturday night’s sunset (January 10) featured a giant moon rise that will go down as the best and the brightest of 2009. Much like my leaping ability, the earth, moon and sun are all bound together by gravity, which keeps us going around the sun and keeps the moon going around us. This also brings us the phases as the moon makes a trip around Earth every 29.5 days, or about as often as I shoot consistently from beyond the three point stripe.

But much like the rotation on my jump shot, the orbit is not a perfect circle. One portion is about 31,000 miles closer to our planet than the farthest part, so the moon’s apparent size in the sky changes. Last Saturday night, my karma and the moon was at its perigee, which is the closest point to us on this orbit.

According to NASA and Bernie Madoff’s accountant, this moon appeared about 14 percent bigger in the sky and 30 percent brighter than some other full moons during 2009. And as you know, four out of five astronomers recommend full moons to their patients who chew gum. This month’s full moon is known as the Wolf Moon from Native American folklore. January’s is also known as the Old Moon, the Snow Moon and for you rock and roll fans, Keith Moon.

At moonrise, the moon will appear even larger than it will later in the night when it’s higher in the sky. This is an illusion that scientists and the NBA Rules Committee cannot explain. Some think it has to do with our perception of things on the horizon versus stuff overhead. Personally, it think it’s Magic, and I do mean Johnson.

Much like the contents of my stomach, the moon is never truly 100 percent full. For that to happen, the moon, the sun and the holy ghost, er, the earth have to be in a perfect line, and when that rare circumstance occurs, there is a total eclipse of the moon. Which is not to be confused with a total eclipse of the heart.

Here’s a little parting fact for you lunar lovers. The moon is moving away as you read this, by about 1.6 inches a year. Eventually this drift will force the moon to take 47 days to circle our world or about the same amount of time it takes me to recover from playing 48 minutes of full-court basketball.

I shot this moonrise on West Cliff Drive on the cliff above Cowell’s Beach. Yes, just ten short days ago, when the New York Giants were still favorites for a Super Bowl repeat, Bush was still searching for weapons of mass destruction in Dick Cheney’s office and the tide was extremely low. How low was it? I saw a sea anenome with a sign, “Will sting for food.” When the moon rose over the mountains it was an awesome sight. I hadn’t seen anything that impressive rising from the east since the Giant’s playoff run last season. Or in the words of Mr. Van Morrison, “What a marvelous night for a moondance.”

Now for some late night humor. “I think everybody has warm feelings for George Bush now. He held his final press conference yesterday. And he admitted, it takes a big man to do this, he admitted that a couple of things didn’t go according to plan. A couple of things went haywire. Yeah, his first term and his second term.” Thank you, Dave Letterman.

Here’s another one from CBS’s late night king. From the Top Ten Reason Barack Obama Appears A Little Nervous: Offered Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich $100,000 for his old Senate seat.

One more from the humor front. A dog was sitting in a movie theater with his owner. The dog never took his eyes off the screen, growling menacingly whenever the villain appeared and wagging his tail at the sight of the hero. And elderly lady, who had been watching the dog’s reactions from the seat behind, tapped the owner on the shoulder and said, “That’s amazing behavior from a dog.” Yes, it is surprising,” said the owner, “because he absolutely hated the book.”

That’s our salute to Dr. King. Enjoy the history that will be made on Tuesday and know it’s a step in the right direction. What we are asking our new President to do is a herculean task as in many ways my overall floor game is in better shape than this country. Let’s keep the faith and remember that unlike my runway modeling days, our country’s future is ahead of us.

Let me leave you with this quote from Dr. King from his historic 1963 march on Washington where he seemed to fortell his own imment assassination. “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” For many Americans, Tuesday will be that day. Fortunately, I have already been to the promised land, for when the Giants knocked off the undefeated Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl, I was on sitting high atop the mountaintop.
We’ll catch you in the red zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Chris Paul fans.

January 11, 2009

The Tears Of A Cloud

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 10:09 pm

img_9094_6img_9079_5img_8743_4img_8714_1img_8717_2img_8751_3

Good morning and greetings, NFL playoff fans. It’s been a week of chilly mornings and clear skies here on the central coast so we’ll have to journey (or is it Foreigner?) back to December of 2008 for today’s photo highlights. But before we hit the North Coast, for a little taste of politics, let’s head to our nation’s capital. “Barack Obama’s daughters started at their new school in Washington, DC. Yeah, their teachers are really impressed and said that both girls are already reading well above President Bush’s level.” And earlier this week, Obama met with all three living ex-Presidents and one current brain dead President. Thank you, Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno. I’m going to miss our Commander in Chief. Our as the bumper sticker says, “Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its Idiot.”

Within ten miles of my lovely abode on the upper westside lie many spectacular North Coast beaches. We’re talking Wilder Ranch, Laguna Creek, Panther Beach, Bonny Dune, Shark’s Tooth and Davenport Beach, among others. But my personal favorite is Four Mile Beach, which according to the way the Black Crowes fly, is just four miles up the coast. As I mentioned in this blog before, it’s a beautiful feeling pulling off of Highway 1 and being the only car in the lot. As Dave Mason would say, “Alone, Together.”

I then hop out of my car and sprint like Usain Bolt to the railroad tracks where I always stop to take a couple shots and perhaps score a few brussel spouts that have swan dived off the passing trucks. You can see two of the tracks of my dreams moments in today’s photo display. The cloud cover on these two mornings was thicker than the swarm of golden raisins I add to my morning oatmeal which created a pleasant backdrop to highlight the always present groups of gulls that like to party at Four Mile.

But my favorite shot from this December cloud conference would be the first photo. The reflection of the clouds in the stream the feeds into the very surfable Pacific really works for me. Back in 2004 I saw a photograph of a sunrise by the now deceased photographer Galen Rowell. The sky was on fire and it was reflected in a lake in a mountain setting. When I saw that picture I said to myself, “This is what I want to do” and since than have always been fascinated by the reflection action. I believe I nailed it in this photo. Then again, I voted for Mondale.

What would be a blog without some jokes? Once again the credits go to my favorite son Jason. Two women were arguing over whose dog was smarter. The first woman said, “My dog is so smart that every morning he waits for the paper boy to arrive, then he takes the paper from the letterbox and brings it to me.” The second woman said, “I know.” “How do you know?” asked the first woman. The second woman said, “My dog told me.”

This next one is a little long but definitely worth it. A man was passing a pet shop when he saw a talking monkey advertised for sale. He was so impressed by its vocabulary that he bought it on the spot. That evening he took it to his local bar and bet everyone ten dollars that the monkey could talk. A dozen people accepted the challenge but despite the new owner’s coaxing, the monkey refused to say a word and the man had to pay up. When he got home, the man was puzzled to hear the monkey chatting away merrily.

The next evening the man returned to the bar and bet everyone twenty dollars that the monkey could talk. Again there were plenty of takers, but to the man’s anger, the monkey remained silent. After paying up, the man took the monkey outside. “I’m taking you back to the shop, ” he screamed. “You’re a complete waste of money.” “Chill out,” said the monkey. “Think about the odds we’ll get tomorrow.”

That’s the end of our programming for today. And the dream is over for the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants as Eli Manning and the Giant offense put on a pathetic display in the Meadowlands yesterday as they lost to the Eagles. I’m not a big Philadelphia fan but I do love their cream cheese. Shot that beautiful full moon rising on Saturday night that we’ll check out in our next blog. So until then, enjoy the magic that comes from living along the edge of the contintent and able being to see, hear and experience NBA basketball. We’ll catch you in the lockeroom. Aloha and later, LeBron James lovers.

January 4, 2009

Sky Goes To The Runner

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 8:26 pm

img_9262_11img_9266_21img_9275_31img_9298_41img_9313_5img_9316_6

Good morning and greetings, New Year’s fans. Well, according to my Laura Bush Memories calendar, 2008 is now just a fading memory as 2009 is upon us. And much like the day I strolled down the wedding aisle, there is no turning back. I have to admit, I’m going to miss 2008, just like I’m going to miss trips to the doctor, dentist and the free throw line. Speaking of which, not to toot my Lena horn, but my son Jason is 27 for 32 from the charity stripe for the PCS Pumas so far this season. I shot the same percentage (84%) in my playing days, but that was shooting layups by myself in practice.

Returning now to our regularly unscheduled program, the last trimester of 2008 was not the most glamourous or titillating when it came to brilliant colors in the sky. Of course, there were a couple of nights I missed due to Security Council meetings but on the whole this was not a year that will go down in the Hall of Flames.

But the last week of December did have its moments and today we will take a look at the most colorful and enchanting sunrise from that post Christmas Day action. These shots were taken on the final Sunday of 2008, the most 28th of December. I arose from a restful night of sleep, having had my usual arrary of dreams, which included not having studied for a test, not being able to find my car and not being able to dunk with my left hand. As I looked outside I could see a red tinge in the early morning clouds and took that as I sign that we were in for something very good this morning.

So I tore of my George Jetson pajamas, packed up my aura and camera and headed down to Its Beach. It was still kinda dark and the sand was as cold as a frozen mozzarella stick but one look at the sky said something special was on the way. And yours truly was not disappointed. As you can see from the photos, red was the color of the day as the sand blazed with the rouge from the Monterey Bay sky. It’s mornings like this that make me want to leave the cozy confines of my upper westside sports sanctuary to captures moments of early morning Santa Cruz magnificence that I can later share with you cyber readers and members of the NCAA, the NBA, the most importantly, those listening in with the NSA.

Now that we’ve got those photos out of the way, on to the comedy section of our program. This one courtesy of my Spanish-language loving, pre-med 9th grader Jason. Old Doctor Morris went to see a patient in her home. “Could you fetch me a hammer from the garage?” he asked the woman’s husband. The husband fetched the hammer. “Right,” said the doctor a couple of minutes later. “Now I’d like you to get me some pliers, a screwdriver and a hacksaw.” The husband became alarmed at the last request. “Just exactly what are you going to do to my wife?” he asked. The doctor replied. “Nothing until I can get my medical bag open.”

Love this one. A man walks into a psychiatrist’s office with a pancake on his head, a fried egg on each shoulder and a piece of bacon over each ear. “What seems to be the problem?” asked the psychiatrist. The man said, “I’m worried about my brother.”

And for you religion fans and canine lovers, a man lived alone in the country with his dog. One day the dog died and the man went to his parish priest and said, “Father, my dear dog is dead. Could you possibly say a Mass for the poor creature?” The priest replied, “I’m afraid not. We cannot have a service for an animal. But there’s a new denomination down the lane and there’s no telling what they believe. Maybe they’ll do something for your dog.” “Thank you, Father,” said the man. “I’ll go right away. Do you think five thousand dollars is enough to donate for the service?” The priest exclaimed, “Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus. Why didn’t you tell me your dog was Catholic?”

So in the words of Chicago Transit Authority, this is “only the beginning” for 2009. We have more photo highlights from 2008 that will be coming down the pike during the month of January. And of course, lots more jokes. Until then, enjoy the winter sky, savor your friends and family and remember to take things day by day. We’ll catch you in the Meadlowlands. Aloha, mahalo and later, Darren Sproles fans.


Follow Sunrise Santa Cruz on Twitter
Sunrise Santa Cruz in the news!