February 22, 2009

Laughter The Storm

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — geoff @ 10:28 pm

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Good morning and greetings, Led Zepplin fans. Much like my time at the Woodstock Music Festival back in 1969, “I’ve been dazed and confused for so long it’s not true.” But enough about my three days of peace, love, mud and music. We’ll hit that subject another time. Let’s just turn the Jimmy Page and head to the coast. Or in the words of Woody Allen, “I love the rain-it washes the memories off the sidewalk of life.”

Last Monday was as rainy a day as I’ve ever seen here in Santa Cruz. According to The Allman Brothers, “They call it Stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad.” In this case, Gregg Allman was as incorrect as was his relationship with heroin, cocaine and Cher. Precipitation pelted the landscape all day, giving us the drenching that we needed. I hadn’t seen that much water fall since I honeymooned in Niagara Falls and got stuck in that car wash.

At around 5 pm it began to hail and the ground was soon covered with a white peppermint coating, much to the delight of my daughter, who because her parents have decided to raise her in this Mediterranean climate is somewhat snow deprived. She has never experienced the thrill of going to sleep and waking up to a winter wonderland. Then again, she likes to summer at Sunset Beach on the North Shore. At her tender age, my only connection to the islands was when someone poured me some Hawaiian Punch.

Anyways, after the hail I returned inside to chant and meditate before watching Brian Williams and NBC news. But before you could say, “Connie Chung” the phone rang and my friend Jeanne was excitely stating, “Geoff, get down here, there’s a huge rainbow.” So I threw on my Mahatma Gandhi parka and headed down to West Cliff. When I arrived at Natural Bridges a few minutes later I quickly valet parked and was Helen ready for action, but alas, I was too late. The rainbow was fading like the New York Giants in the playoffs and the sun, which had incredibly made an appearance on this Joelish gray of days, was disappearing behind the clouds. I took a few shots but there weren’t blog or James worthy. This has been the story for me this winter season. I’m always either a few minutes late, inside a gymnasium or in a catonic state.

Which leads me to Tuesday morning. The storm clouds were beginning to clear out as the sky and light were changing every 30 seconds. Shots #1 and 2 are from this morning. A rainbow made a brief appearance to the north but it never really got bright. But I was hooked on a feeling that this was going to be a rainbow day and was on red alert for this infrequently sighted galaxy of colors.

Alas and definitely alack, nothing appeared and my son had a game at 4 pm so I headed inside the gym to relive my childhood. At halftime my stats loving friend Janet came inside and said, “Geoff, you’ve got to go out there-there’s a full arc rainbow.” Like Tommy Smith in Mexico City I John Carlosed out of that gym to see a most beautiful sight, the full arc of rainbow, which was starting to fade in front of my eyes. So no photos, just the memories of Dorothy, that damn little Toto and another missed opportunity. Which coincidentally described my sons team’s play in the first half.

The third cloud shot was taken looking south after we left the gym followed by a nice sunset to close out the day. Not the color I was necessarily looking but definitely blog material. So just in case you missed it, we’ve got it for for you. Or in the words of Ralph Kramden of “The Honeymooners to his wife, “You can’t put your arm around a memory.” Replied Alice, “I can’t even put my arm around you.” “Oh, you’re a riot, Alice. Bang, zoom.”

On to our comedy segment. “Everybody has got Fashion Week fever in New York City, where they had a big 50th anniversary tribute to Barbie. Can you believe that Barbie has been around 50 years? During that time, they have had Preppie Barbie, Wedding Barbie, and Republican Running Mate Barbie.” -David Letterman. “Last week, an American satellite collided with a Russian satellite over Siberia. And Sarah Palin said she could see the collision from her house.” -Jay Leno.

Here’s more about that Republican babe from Wasilla from Dave Letterman. How about this? A celebrity birthday. Today is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s birthday. I’m not saying how old is, but from her house, she can see 50.” Sarah Palin is actually 45 years old today, and just to tell you a little something about me — Sarah Palin, I think, is the first vice presidential candidate that I have pictured naked. Well, since Lloyd Bentsen. ”

These next two political dandys are from Craig Ferguson. “It’s Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday, and to honor the occasion, the U.S. Mint is releasing a new penny that shows Lincoln’s house. That’s appropriate because that’s about how much a house is worth these days. And it’s a great day for America, but a very tough day for the President. Another Obama Cabinet pick has withdrawn his name from contention. Obama ’s nominees are dropping faster than babies out of that octuplet mother.”

And finally, “As you know, pro baseball player Alex Rodriguez, or A-Rod, has admitted to using steroids. He said he feels bad because he was stupid for three years, to which former President George W. Bush said, ‘Hey, try it for eight years.’” -Jay Leno.

That’s it, the party’s over. Unless you’re my brother Paul, who along Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving and the Celtic’s Rajon Rondo, celebrated their birthday on Sunday. Paul, who has been like a brother to me, is an NBA video legend who always hustled back on offense. For him the party continues.

So enjoy the rain, don’t watch too much news and we’ll catch you running the backdoor play. And remember, “Everything that glitters is gold and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.” Does anyone know what that means? For that matter, “Does anybody really know what time it is?. Does anybody really care?” Thank you, Chicago Transit Authority. On that note, aloha, bodhisattva and later, Earl ‘the Pearl’ Monroe fans.

February 15, 2009

Say It, Don’t Spray It

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 8:54 pm

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Good morning and greetings, Steely Dan fans. As any major dude with half a heart will surely tell you my friends, the winter weather on the central coast at this time of year should be wet and wild and that is what we have experienced the past week. Sun, showers, baths, billowing clouds, threatening skies, Nathan hail, we’ve had it all. After experiencing all that meteorlogical drama a friend suggested, “You go back Jack, and shoot it again.” And make sure Rikki doesn’t lose that number.

Last Saturday an early morning high tide combined with a rising swell to create a festival of spray and watch down along West Cliff Drive. There was a very attractive orange creamsicle sunrise that I pretty much missed as I was engrossed in my daily 200 situps that I like to start the day with. Either that or I knock off a couple of frosted blueberry Pop Tarts. Anyway, when I saw the light hitting the trees I sensed a photo opportunity, so I put off my condolence call to Tom Daschle, threw on my personally autographed Michael Phelps warmup suit and headed down to my favorite avenue in Santa Cruz.

As you can see from the photos, the waves were pounding the cliffs the same way my son now pounds the offensive boards against me in our driveway. It is always exhilarating to be on West Cliff when the swell is up or there’s a swimwear photo shoot in progress. A different sense of energy engulfs the edge of the continent. When you think about how far these waves have traveled across the Pacific to make their final statement it’s somewhat mind bloggling, perhaps awe inspiring and maybe even a little humbling. But that could be because on my life’s journey I rarely travel east of Long’s on Mission Street.

As far as the last photo goes, I’ve seen many weddings performed at Lighthouse Point, but this is the first marriage proposal I’ve run into. I didn’t stick around to see the perspective bride’s reaction, but I hope to make it back there for the signing of the prenuptial agreement. I guess I’m just a sucker for romance.

As Caroline Kennedy would say “You know,” I really enjoy writing these blogs. It gives me a chance to exercise (or is that exorcise?) my brain and hopefully allows you, the reader, to perhaps take a moment to sit back and say, “Is he serious?” As my friend Nancy once said to me as we trekked through the Himalayas, it’s all about the “stream of conciousness” and I like to think of myself as a posessing a steady flowing tributary. When it comes to my mind, I’m believe there’s a river running through it. But that could just be the Bobby Redford in me.

On to the late night politics. “Monday was the Westminster Kennel Club’s 133rd Annual Dog Show. As you know, these just aren’t regular dogs. These dogs are scrutinized and gone over, literally, with a fine-tooth comb. And they’re judged, here’s how they’re judged: appearance, of course, appearance. Silky coat, silky coat. Firm hindquarters, firm hindquarters. It’s also how John McCain chose his running mate. So every dog is groomed, blow-dried and flea-dipped. You know, it’s the same thing they did to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for the impeachment trial.” -David Letterman.

More political news from CBS’s late night king. “President Brack Obama has relaxed the White House dress code. He’s the first president to do that since Bill Clinton, who, of course, established ‘Pants-Free Friday. Man, here’s something chilling. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is now warning that there will be another terrorist attack. He got that information by waterboarding himself.”

It’s been cold back east. “People are sick and tired of the cold weather. Here’s how cold it was today in Washington, D.C. Vice President Joe Biden put his foot in his mouth just to keep it warm.” -David Letterman. And finally, let’s not forget the former Vice Presidential candidate. “Sarah Palin is back in the news as well. She’s been criticizing anonymous bloggers. She calls them ‘pathetic.’ Apparently she feels that unknown people should not be criticizing politicians, unless the unknown person is running for vice president. Then it’s all right.” -Craig Ferguson.

So that’s our salute to Jonas Brothers, the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Golf Tournament and the NBA All-Star game. Tune in again next time when we’ll bring to you moments of grandeur from the westside of Santa Cruz along with my unbiased political commentary, riveting philosophical thoughts and outside shots from way beyond the three point line in my mind. In the words of the Moody Blues, “I’m just a singer in a rock n’ roll blog.” So enjoy the day, enjoy the spray and we’ll catch you running the backdoor play. Aloha and later, Gus Williams fans.

February 8, 2009

Dew Looks Like A Lady

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — geoff @ 9:56 pm

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Good morning and greetings, tax-paying fans. Well, we finally got some much-needed moisture here on the central coast as a storm system from the Eastern Pacific blew in on Thursday which was ollowed by a second system from the Gulf of Alaska on Friday, bringing smiles to the faces of children, farmers and umbrellas salesmen.

Which brings to mind the question, what to do on a rainy day besides go to work? Some people like to stay curl up inside and read a good book, others like to hit the movie theatres and then they’re people like my friend Dan who went for a hike in Nisene Marks State Park to “see what all this long overdue moisture was doing for the local fungus community.” He sent me some beautiful photos-I haven’t seen mushrooms that colorful since they rested on a bed of extra wide egg noodles from my most recent culinary entanglement with beef stronganoff.

So as the rain fell I thought, let’s head outdoors and check out the wonders of moisture. But where to go to feel those raindrops keep falling on my head-West Cliff to see the surging sea, Four Mile to check out the bird life or to the University to see the majestic redwoods? Ultimately, I opted for the sidewalk less traveled and just walked around the block to check out the local scenery so as not leave a carbon footprint, just a size 11.

The morning rain always does wonders for the close-up shots. There were so many flowers and brilliant colors to choose from in Mr. Rogers neighborhood as the plants seemed as happy as Pittsburgh Steeler fans to be taking in the precipitation. I encourage all of you to go for a walk in the rain or to paraphrase Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, “Take a walk on the wet side.”

On to our political humor segment. Not a whole lot really caught my eye this week but here are a few that brought a smile to my face and a hug to my heart. “This week, on CNN, they have been showing a blueprint of the White House to help viewers visualize the layout of the West Wing. Yeah, when he saw it, former President Bush said, ‘So that’s where the bathroom was.’” -Conan O’Brien. In an interview with Al-Arabiya, an Arab-language news channel, President Obama said that he wanted to persuade Muslims that the Americans were not your enemy. In an early sign of improvement, the crowd of protestors outside began chanting, ‘Injury to America.’ So that’s better.” -Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live. And “right after Sunday’s Super Bowl, President Barack Obama placed a congratulatory phone call to the Steelers from his BlackBerry. Meanwhile, John McCain called the Cardinals from his ham radio.” -David Letterman.

And here’s a few more from the late night boys. “This weekend, the Republican National Committee elected their first-ever African-American chairman. His name is Michael Steele, or as he’s known in the Republican Party, ‘the black guy.’” -Conan O’Brien. “Tuesday was Groundhog Day, and I don’t know why this stuff always goes haywire in Alaska. Here is what happened. A little bit of trouble. Groundhog comes out of its hole. Sarah Palin shoots it.” -David Letterman.

Now, moving on to the Governor du jour. “Oh, boy, the Illinois senators were mad, they voted to impeach 59-0. Not only was he Blagojevich convicted, his hairdresser was given the death penalty.” -Jay Leno. And for our last note on politics, “You know it’s interesting, when Bill Clinton needed stimulus for his package, he just called an intern.” -David Letterman.

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to send birthday wishes to my favorite mother. On Sunday, she celebrated her 83rd birthday and it harkened me back to the moment we first met. All of a sudden, the warm, soothing hot tub I was relaxing in disappeared and I bravely began my journey down the birth canal. Like a salmon heading upstream to spawn I breached the Manhatten air, looked up and thought, “Are both those for me?” Before I could say “Help, Dr. Spock” a nurse shoved a bottle in my mouth, and I was left in state of shock and disappointment, or the same feelings I experienced when I saw my SAT scores. Anyway, I let go of those lingering emotions months ago and now I can look at my mother and say, “Ah, maybe next time.” That’s what being an adult and being responsible for your emotions is all about.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s show. If I’ve learned anything on my brief time here on this planet, it’s just to take life one day at a time. That’s really all we can do. Well, that and always carry a litter bag in your car. Because in the words of Steve Martin, “If it fills up, you can always throw it out the window.”

So now that the NFL football season is finally over we can now focus on something more important than someone carrying a pigskin across a goal line-NBA basketball. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are on a mission which will be interesting to watch come playoff time. One more note. Besides my mother’s birthday, the highlight of the weekend was seeing my son pull off a 360 spin move in the air and finish with a layup. Fortunately my brother Brad was there to see it experience the moment with me. You know what they say, Coast Athletic League Basketball, “Where Amazing Things Happen.” We’ll catch in the low post. Aloha and later, David Lee and David Lee Roth fans.

February 1, 2009

Easy Like Sunday Evening

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 10:32 pm

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Good morning and greetings, February fans. Well, once again, the skies over Monterey Bay have been clearer than the broth in Golden City’s wor won ton soup so for today’s photo entree we’re going to have to go back into the archives.

We’ve had very little precipitation in January. Friday’s headline of the San Francisco Chronicle screamed, “Forecast: Worst Drought Ever.” That’s a scary proposition for us Californians. January is supposed to be our rainy season. Instead, we are having Donna Summer conditions when it is supposed to be Johnny Winter weather.

On to the photo ensemble for today. Yesterday was Super Sunday and I should say congratulations to the New York Giants for being the best team in football yet they didn’t appear in the Super Bowl. They beat the Steelers and crushed the Cardinals during the regular season but found themselves, like the rest of us, watching yesterday’s game on TV. No, I’m not bitter, but Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress, you owe us.

Today’s series of photos culminates with the final shot, which I call “Super Sunday.” This sunset harkens back to February of 2006. I shot it on West Cliff Drive from my old haunts along Stockton Avenue. You could feel something special was brewing in the sky from the texture of the clouds and the hundreds of spectators lining the cliff that night were not disappointed. I haven’t seen that deep shade of red since my no sunblock days back at Jones Beach in the 70′s. It was in the words of Davy Jones and company, “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday” although “charcoal was not burning everywhere.”

On to some late night political humor. Our former Commander-in-Chief is back in Texas. “This is kind of an awkward time for President Bush. He’s too young to retire, yet still too old to destroy the moral and economic infrastructure of another country.” -Jay Leno. And “Bush is not worrying about the country. No, it’s like he’s still president.” -David Letterman

And let’s not forget Joe the Plumber’s newest best friend, John McCain. “Did you know this? We have a brand-new Miss America, Katie Stam, from Indiana. They choose Miss America based on personality, how the young woman looks in a swimsuit, and how she looks in evening gowns. That is the competition. It’s the same way that John McCain chooses a running mate.” -David Letterman. And “The official temperature at the inauguration was 18 degrees. John McCain said it was so cold his teeth were chattering, and they were in his pocket at the time.” -Jay Leno.

And one more for the McCainster. Hey, earlier this week, all the e-mail service in the White House completely collapsed. No e-mails coming in, no e-mails going out. Everything had to be written down on paper by hand. It was like if John McCain had been elected president. ” -Jay Leno

But of course there are problems . “Listen to this. They’re closing Guantanamo. That’s how bad things are, ladies and gentlemen. That’s how bad the economy is. You know it’s tough, you know the economy is bad, when even the terrorists are being laid off.” -David Letterman. But there is hope. “Looks like the Obamas have already helped the economy. J. Crew stock has gone up 10%, because First Lady Michelle Obama has been spotted wearing their clothes. Which begs the question, Mr. Obama, how would you feel about wearing a Buick?” -Conan O’Brien

Cruising along, “President Barack Obama gave his first sit-down interview as president to an Arab TV network. He’s reaching out to the Arab world. In fact, he even made a cameo appearance on one of the biggest sitcoms in the Arab world, ‘How I Met Your Mullah.’” -Jay Leno. An finally, “President Obama still has not gotten used to the White House, apparently. This is true. Today, on his way into the Oval Office, he tried to mistakenly open a window that he thought was a door. That’s true. Yeah. White House employees said at first it made them laugh, then a wave of nostalgia washed over them.” -Conan O’Brien

I should really thank the folks at www.politicalirony.com for allowing me to spend less time transcribing from my TiVo so can I bring you the best in late night political humor at a time when most of us are in dream mode, or in my case, break dancing with the stars.

Since we all love kids, here’s a joke from one of the greats, Milton Berle. I think it will touch your hearts. Realizing that she’s been too permissive with her three youngsters, a mother decides to take them in hand by starting with their tendency to curse. On the next school morning, as the three wild ones sat a the breakfast table, the mother asks Teddy, “What do you want for breakfast?” Teddy says, “I’ll have some of that goddamn cereal.”

At that eptihet, the mother sees red and hauls off and slaps Teddy halfway across the room. She asks her second, Freddy, what he wants. Freddy says, “I’ll have some of that goddamn cereal.” Once again the mother goes wild and bounces Freddy off one wall and into another. The mother turns to Eddie, her third son. “What do you want for breakfast?” Eddie says, “You can bet your ass it won’t be that goddamn cereal.”

That’s all she wrote for today. I hope you enjoyed your Super Sunday, an afternoon and evening in America where more pizza is consumed than on any other day in the universe. I believe this festival of snacks and alcohol also includes the consumption of 130 trillion pounds of chips, guacamole and chicken wings and that’s just during the pregame show. It was quite the game, featuring everything that NBC, football fans and PETA activists could hope for. So enjoy the incredible sky, pray for rain and we’ll catch you on the baseline. Aloha and glory days, Bruce Springsteen fans.


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