Good morning and greetings, Allman Brothers fans. There are times when I sit down at my computer and I feel like “I’ve been tied to the whipping post. Good Lord, I feel like I’m blogging.” And this is after days of waking up with the “Statesboro Blues.” But, “Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man. Tryin’ to make a livin’ by posting the best material I can.” And to sum up the southern rock experience, we know that “Crossroads seem to come and go but the gypsy flies with sweet Melissa.”
So yesterday was Father’s Day and the first day of Donna summer. I think Seals and Croft summed it up when they said, “Summer breeze, makes me feel fine. Blowin’ thru the jasmine in my mind.” The group America, while riding thru the desert on a horse with no name, put a good take on summer with, “When the days are longer and the nights are stronger than moonshine.” As I frequently tell my Tucson-based fact checker and former back-up singer to the Moody Blues, Nancy Mager, everything can be said in a song. This includes my haftorah, which I sang on my bar mitzvah day like a young Neil Diamond. That’s a whole lot of “Holly holy.”
So let’s move on to today’s photo journey. In our salute to the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year, we return to 2008, before Bush was exiled to Main Street. The date was January 23, the place Natural Bridges State Beach. Now the previous day was epic along the coast. The highlights included a very, extreme low tide, the rare opportunity to photograph a rainbow thru the arch at Its Beach and a spectacular display of color at dusk that wowed sunset fans lined up along the cliff. It was a day, much like my circumcision or when the U.S. invaded Grenada, that I will never forget.
So this was the following night, and as I headed down to the beach I was still buzzing like John Edwards on health care reform before he was caught with his pants down. I could see from the way the clouds were lining up that this was the kind of night I wanted to make sure I didn’t run out of film, even though I was shooting digital. My batteries were extra charged as in the words of Buddy Miles, “Well, my mind’s been going thru them changes” as the sky was going thru them phases. We started off with a rustic gold, then moved into a smooth blue, outstanding orange before hitting Tahitian tan, wild salmon before finishing off with riviera red. All in all, a stunning display of clouds, reflection and color. I hadn’t seen anything that magnificent since the first time I saw Michelle Obama go sleeveless.
At the same time I was shooting at Natural Bridges, a Davenport-based photographer named Ed Dickie was taking in this same celestial display up at Waddell Creek. His panoramic shots of the north coast sky were dramatic and utterly superb, much like the breakout first season of “Petticoat Junction.” We’re talking Billie Jo, Bobbi Jo, Betty Jo and Uncle Joe, who we know is “moving kind of the slow at the junction, Petticoat Junction.”
On to the late night experience. “It’s a little different over there when they have an election in Iran, because the women, they get to vote. Unlike our ally Saudi Arabia. But in Iran, the women get to vote and it’s great, because they’re already wearing the booth. But what do you expect from this country? It’s run by a wacko, driven by oil companies. It’s Alaska.” –Bill Maher “Politics is very similar over there as here. Ahmadinejad says if he’s elected, he’ll bail out the camel industry.” –Craig Ferguson
“But this guy, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he claims victory and he is very unpopular. And the danger politically of this, he could ruin the political career of his brother, Jeb Ahmadinejad. Here’s the breakdown of the Iranian election: 63 percent of the vote for Ahmadinejad; Moussavi, he’s got 34 percent of the vote; and 3 percent of the vote goes to Ralph Nader.” –David Letterman
Here now are a few choice puns, courtesy of my son Jason, who every night before he goes to sleep thanks God for creating “The Office”. A farmer is milking his cow and as he is milking, a flu comes along and flies into the cow’s ear. A little bit later, the farmer notices the fly in the milk. The farmer says, “Hmph. In one ear, out the udder.”
A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. “But why?” they asked, as they moved off. “Because,” he said, “I can’t stand these chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”
And here’s my favorite. A doctor liked to stop at a bar after work and have an almond daiquiri. One day, Dick the bartender ran out of almonds, and used hickory nuts instead. The doctor took a sip and said, “Is this an almond daiquiri. Dick?” And dick said, “No, it’s a hickory daiquiri, Doc.”
That’s our salute to Frankie Valli and one of the four seasons. A word on Father’s Day. My father is 92 and still living the somewhat good life in Santa Cruz. I feel so blessed in being a father, as I have two children who each day make me feel, much like Lou Gherig, that , “I am the luckiest man alive.” So I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Sometimes, I get so caught up in the day to day stress that I tend to forget these blessings, but seeing these children reminds me to focus on the important things, like having your health, the ability to see, hear and laugh and the upcoming season of “Sons of Anarchy” on FX.
So let me sum up my thoughts by quoting President Barack Obama, who says, “If I could be anything, it would to be a good father. Being a parent isn’t an obligation, it’s a privilege.” Enjoy the long days, the warm nights and the kids playing of beach volleyball. We’ll catch you somewhere below the rim. Aloha, mahalo and later, Peter Vecsey fans.