Good morning and greetings, springtime lovers. A couple of weeks ago, my friend, web designer and future California high school teacher-of-the-year Kevin called to tell me that the flowers were going wild at the local Aboretum. And since I was taking some much-needed time off from the war crime tribunals in the Hague and AIG had canceled their March Madness Spring Break party in Cancun, I found myself with some rare free time on my hands.
Now, growing up in the Garden State of New Jersey, we didn’t have an aboretum, we had a delicatessen, where pastrami, corn beef and crisp rye bread were always in bloom. So like Lewis and Martin, we journeyed north up Western Drive to an oasis of southern hemisphere pagentry, a virtual Madison Square Garden of mulch.
The UCSC Aboretum is located on the campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz on what was originally part of the vast land holdings of pioneer settler Henry Cowell. As a matter of fact, when people learned how much land old Hank owned, they uttered, “Holy Cowell,” which I believe was the first time this expression was heard outside of Yankee Stadium.
The UCSC website states that the Arboretum occupies one of the most propitious (great word) horticultural sites in the world. The climatic and anticlimatic topographic diversity is such as to allow experimentation with almost every species that might be grown along the coast between San Diego, Disneyland and Crescent City, which is not to be confused with Emerald City. The diversity of the soils, which includes granite, schist, limestone, sandstone and Mollie Stone’s can scarcely be matched anywhere on the planet. This soil is as fertile as octamom.
The Arboretum began in 1964 with a gift of about 90 species of eucalyptus, a holiday fruitcake and a box of chocolate-covered almonds. They broke new ground in the propagation of the exotic South African proteas, (photos 1 & 4,) formerly believed to be “difficult” horticultural subjects. For me, it is was algebra. Over the years hundreds of selections of Australian plants were sent to the Arboretum and propagated for the first time in America. Kind of a “Coming To America” meets “Crocodile Dundee.”
The bottom line is, the Aboretum is a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours, chock full of exotic plants of every race, creed and color. Do yourself a favor and check it out and tell them that Kevin sent you. Oh, and aspiring photographer and future hair model Aimee Gilbert took the final and best shot of today’s series.
On to the late night comedy section of our show. “The federal government agreed last Sunday to provide an additional $30 billion to AIG. According to AIG, $15 billion will be used to build the world’s biggest toilet, down which the other $15 billion will be flushed.” –Seth Meyers “Bernie Madoff and his wife Ruth want to keep $69 million. They said that’s not money they swindled. That’s just money they had laying around. That’s money they saved by switching to Geico. And Warren Buffett says the U.S. economy has fallen off a cliff. I said, ‘Well, who cares what that margarita guy thinks anyway?”‘ — David Letterman
The journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush was convicted on Thursday in an Iraqi court. He was sentenced to three years of non-stop high-fives.” — Jimmy Fallon “President Obama has lifted the 8-year-old ban on stem cell research. But he was emphatic about one point. He said no cloning. No cloning. Except for Scarlett Johansson. And they say President Barack Obama’s hair is already starting to turn gray. Been in office two months, hair already starting to turn gray. And so today, Alex Rodriguez’s cousin injected him with Just for Men.” — David Letterman
Here’s a guy that won’t go away, that Osama bin Laden. We got another audiotape from bin Laden. Have you heard it? He attacks moderate Arab leaders, he calls for renewed jihad, and he gives his NCAA picks.” –David Letterman “The U.S. is convinced that North Korea is testing a new long-range ballistic missile. But North Korea insists that it is just a satellite intended for peaceful purposes, like peacefully bombing South Korea.” I want to go to Papa Jong’s, the new North Korean pizzeria. It is going to be good. The delivery policy at the North Korean pizzeria is a little different. If the pizza is not there in 30 minutes or less, the driver gets executed.”–Jimmy Fallon
One more thought for today’s post. I am beyond upset about what is happening with the daily newspapers in this country. They are in more trouble than Bernie Madoff’s accountant. The Rocky Mountain News is history, the Seattle Post Intelligencer went down last week and our San Francisco Chronicle is thinner than the slices of roast beef on the French Dip sandwich at Nate ‘n Al’s.
I grew up with the New York Times and love the feeling of holding what I’m reading. Of course, this leads to getting newsprint on my hands which I then get on cabinets or the refrigerator door which my wife will then reprimand me about. Bottom line is, I love reading the traditional newspaper and absorbing all the sports, national and world news-it is not the same as reading it over the Internet! Plus, as my mother, brothers and now son can attest to, reading and eating is one of life’s great pleasures. I was going to say about as good as it gets with your clothes on but we’ll reserve that thrill to draining the winning jumper with the game on the line.
That’s all she wrote. So enjoy the spring, the flowers in bloom and the continuing March Madness. There were tremendous games the first two days and this weekend’s action wasn’t exactly chopped liver. We’ll catch you at the regionals. Aloha, mahalo and later, Micheal Ray Richardson fans.