November 29, 2009

Close Your Eyes And Count To Two Hundred

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:28 pm

Good morning and greetings, NFL fans. Today, we are gathered here in holy matrimony to celebrate, commerate and exonerate the 200th posting of this blog, known world-wide as Sunrise Santa Cruz. That’s right, sports fans, what started back in August of 2007 as a simple cry for help has seemingly come of age. I like to consider this site a forum for the posting of the important issues of the day, like my unbridled love of jellied cranberry sauce, ABC’s new hit comedy “Modern Family,” and scores from Division V high school basketball. It’s a think tank for us Pepsi generation people, you know, for those who think Neil Young.

So what have I learned after a double century of blogging away like a Mark Twain on methamphetamine? To quote Edwin Starr, when asked what war is good for, “Absolutely nothing.” Well, that is not completely true. I already knew that I like to make people laugh, a trait which also functions as a great defense mechanism. We’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine. Funny, I always thought it was penicillin or tetracyline. And they also say the pen is mightier than the sword, yet, I don’t see myself entering a duel with a Bic Fine Point.

Over the years, I have found that I enjoy giving straight answers only out of necessity, leading friends, family and my court-ordered psychiatrist to often ask, “Really?” So what I’m doing today is just looking inside myself, going introspective, kind of a self x-ray or a colonoscopy of my soul. What it means is that I enjoy putting the written word down on paper, or in this case, my computer screen. That and I’m just incredibly lonely.

I guess my point is, after two plus years of blogging away without a sponsor, I am still enjoying this ride on the ferris wheel of life. I love capturing moments of nature’s magnificence, something that only God, National Geographic and Kobe Bryant can create, and sharing it with you cyber viewers. I want to thank everyone who has has been along for the ride and say that I may have already written my best posts, although my rabbi insists I still have a few good ones left in me. And for those of you who tune in for the photos, I still have the passion, the drive and model good looks to keep this site going for a long time, or at least thru the end of Hanukah.

So to celebrate this sacred occasion, or what one critic called, “The emancipation proclamation of the written word,” we are going to journey to my favorite street on planet Earth, West Cliff Drive. Or as one long-time resident told me last week, “The one thing Santa Cruz got right.” This is from the morning of November 10, back in a time when the world was filled with love, peace and happiness. Wait a minute, that’s not two weeks ago, that’s back in 1968 from a double album released by the Chambers Brothers. Not to be confused with the Isley Brothers and their 1973 hit, “Who’s That Lady,” an early tribute to Michelle Obama.

Anyway, when my brother Brad, better known on this site as the “King of Comments,” complained to me about the lack of diversity of sunrise shooting sites, I decided not to venture to the chilly sands of Its Beach at Lighthouse Point for this occasion, but instead, Bird Rock along the cliff. Yes, Brad’s scathing comments took me out of my comfort zone, but like a cat, I always land of my feet, so moving a few hundred yards down West Cliff was well worth the price of admission. And I have forgiven my youngest brother, as I know he is always looking out for my best interests, although I now refer to him in conversations as my half-brother.

I loved the colors in the sky this morning, particularly the orange-gold, creamsicle look of photo #4. The waves were smacking up against the coast as you can see in image #5. All in all, not a bad way to start the day on the left coast, for a half hour later, the sky was as colorless as a Governor George Wallace breakfast fundraiser. And just is case you’re keeping score, I shot three sunrises in November that I thought were blog worthy. And shockingly, zero sunsets, which I plan to use as a tax write-off under emotional expenses.

Let’s procede to the late night action. “The ratings just came in for Sarah Palin’s appearance on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ It earned Oprah her highest ratings since the episode where she reunited the Osmond family. Yeah, viewers who saw both episodes say Palin’s more likable but that Donny and Marie are more qualified to be president.” –Conan O’Brien “John McCain, Sarah Palin’s former running mate, read the Sarah Palin memoir. After 23 years of military service, five years as a prisoner of war, 22 years as a U.S. senator, I’m sure that John found Sarah’s story very inspirational. “A lot of people are saying that it’s too soon for Sarah Palin to write a memoir. They say she should wait until she had at least ten more years of inexperience.” –David Letterman

“The George W. Bush library design was unveiled this week by former First Lady Laura Bush. Did you know that she was a librarian when she first met George? In fact, she’s the only thing he ever checked out of a library.” President Obama is getting ready to pardon the White House turkey, the Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. I don’t want to say Geithner is not doing a good job. But, today, God asked for his name to be taken off the bill.” –Jay Leno “On Friday, President Obama pardoned the White House turkey. Mmm-boy. Dick Cheney didn’t miss an opportunity. It proves that Obama is soft on poultry.” –David Letterman “In a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition, President Obama is scheduled to pardon the White House turkey this coming Wednesday. ‘Hey, that’s great,’ said Joe Biden. ‘I didn’t even know I did anything wrong.’” –Seth Meyers

That’s our post Thanksgiving report. In summation, I started writing this blog because there was so much going on at the time with wars, monetary stress and health issues that I wanted people to have a chance to take a moment and get away from it all. While all these things were happening, the sun was still rising and setting, the birds were singing and the Golden State Warriors were still losing. I wanted people to look, laugh, and maybe learn a little something before asking themselves, “Is he serious?” and then go back to the their lives. I hope I’ve been semi-successful. So I hope it was a pleasant holiday weekend and let’s roll into December as November is soon gone with the wind. We’ll catch you down the fairway. Aloha, mahalo and later, Tiger Woods fans.

November 22, 2009

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butterflies!

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 8:59 pm

Good morning and greetings, Thanksgiving fans, and welcome to Monarach Monday. We are just a few days away from celebrating the festival of the giving of thanks, which for many of us includes the inhaling of golden turkey, savory stuffing, creamy sweet pototoes, Ocean Spray cranberry sauce and a variety of desserts that would send Jenny Craig straight to the treadmill. It’s a traditional gathering of friends and loved ones, that has to rank, for some families, as the most stressful meal of the year. Personally, I’m quite fond of this holiday as I do the carving of the turkey and am already half-full by the time I sit down, so there’s little chance of overeating.

November is also the month when the monarch butterflies hit their peak at a eucalyptus grove at Natural Bridges State Park. At this time of they year, when it’s sunny and warm, the monarchs flitter and flutter overhead, giving one a feeling of peace and tranquility that only nature and the first season of “Sons of Anarchy” can create.

The monarch state preserve at Natural Bridges is the only one in California. Two years ago the monarch population peaked at about 3,000 to 4,000, where as the year before the total was 10,000. Barbara Cooksey, an interpretive specialist at Natural Bridges, said at the time “Ten years ago, there used to be 150,000 every year.” When asked why the number has dropped so drastically, she said, “Herbicides, pesticides, choosing up sides, habitat loss, a last-second loss and bioengineered corn and soy, because both products contain pesticides. The pollen will blow to adjacent milkweed and the insecticides will kill the caterpillar.

Monarch butterflies spend the winter along the Pacific coast because the weather here is cold enough that the butterflies can go into reproductive diapause yet not freeze. This is a state similar to hibernation and something my parents mentioned during the talk about the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees. The air temperature is also the reason why butterflies never need to wear sweaters.

The monarchs come to this particular eucalyptus grove at Natural Bridges because of Santa Cruz’s reputation for liberal politics. It is located in a canyon with shelter from the wind and which filters sunlight to keep their bodies from freezing. The eucalyptus trees also flower in the winter, giving the butterflies a convenient source of food and while making nifty holiday gifts for dragonflies, fruit bats and distant low-flying relatives.

As you can see in photos 3 and 4, monarchs cluster in the trees. They cluster like this to protect themselves from the wind, rain and Fox News. Clustering may also make it easier to find a mate, as the male scent gland no longer functions in the monarchs and is a whole lot cheaper than emonarchHarmony.com.

To get to Natural Bridges, the monarchs fly 60 to 100 miles a day with a brief stopover for lunch. On the west coast they must fly against the wind and will only take to the air when the weather is warm and above 55 degrees. To paraphrase butterfly lover Sammy Hagar, “I can’t fly 55.”

Monarchs are born in the fall, and like most goals I set, live six to nine months. They follow the milkweed patches north as the weather grows warmer. Each generation flies a little further north to lay their eggs and then, like most of my hopes, dreams and baseline jumpers, die. Monarchs do not have a mouth with which to chew. During this stage, they can only drink water with a straw-like proboscis, which gives them energy. Unlike my Aunt Shirley, a monarch drinks only about once a week, so as you can imagine, that is one long sip.

So now you’re probably wondering, how can you tell the difference between a male and a female monarch? The males have a spot on each hind wing, easily seen on the upper side of the wing. The females do not have the spot and their black lines (veins) are wider than the male’s veins. Also, the females tend to cry at the drop of a hat while the males like to talk sports while being emotionally unavailable.

Monarchs are perhaps the most well-known of all North American butterflies. They are one of the few insects capable of making transatlantic crossings, mostly thru travelocity.com. They can’t really hear, but like my Uncle Morty, sense the world through smell and vision. They communicate through colorization by the opening and closing their wings. It is also suspected that male monarchs communicate with the female monarchs by emitting a scent referred to as pheromone. That’s why you’re might hear a female monarch say, “There’s something about an Aqua Velva bug.”

Butterflies have the broadest visual spectrum of any known animal and can see colors that humans can’t. They can see UV light, which humans can’t. Much like me these days, they don’t really sleep, but are inactive when it’s dark. They can’t shut their eyes because they don’t have eyelids. That’s why you never say to a butterfly, “Close your eyes, I’ve got surprise for you.”

Monarchs begin life as an egg. The eggs, laid on milkweed leaves, hatch into caterpillars. The baby caterpillars eat the milkweed and grow very quickly. The milkweed contains a poison that the monarchs use for their defense. That and a two-three zone trap. While the poison doesn’t hurt the monarchs, it makes them taste bad to birds, other predators and pygmy tribesman.

Finally, the Aztecs believed the adult monarch butterflies to be the incarnation of fallen warriors, wearing the colors of battle. This is not to be confused with the dysfunctional, going-nowhere Golden State Warriors, who have just fallen and can’t get up.

On to the humor of the late night. “President Obama is in China this week, or as they call it, the ‘People’s Republic of Wal-Mart.’ Fox News is criticizing President Obama because he bowed to the Japanese emperor, and earlier he got in trouble with bowing to the Saudi king. See, that never would happen with President Bush. He only bowed to Dick Cheney.” –Jay Leno “President Obama has lifted his ban on doing interviews with Fox News. Well, yesterday, President Obama was interviewed by a reporter from Fox News. And you could tell the reporter was from Fox News because the first question was, ‘How do you think you’re doing as president on a scale from minus one to minus ten?” –Conan O’Brien

“President Obama was in Japan. Some people are upset that Obama bowed to the Japanese emperor. It’s still better than when former President Bush high-fived the emperor and said, ‘Give me some skin, Mr. Miyagi. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is in the news. Cheney slammed President Obama for bowing before the emperor of Japan. Cheney said, ‘Come on, it’s not like he’s the CEO of Exxon. It’s been announced that President Obama’s first state dinner at the White House is going to be held in honor of the prime minister of India. Guests are encouraged to wear black tie and to bring any laptops with tech problems.” –Conan O’Brien

“The other day, Sarah Palin said she’d like to have coffee with Hillary Clinton. Now, Hillary is saying she looks forward to it. The two have agreed to meet at the Never Will Be President Cafe.” –Conan O’Brien “Last week, an 11-year-old boy shot and killed a black bear that wouldn’t leave his family’s front porch. Right after that, Sarah Palin wanted to know if he would be her running mate for 2012.” –Jimmy Fallon “You know who was on Oprah the other day was Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska. The high point was when the Governor shot a cigarette out of Oprah’s mouth.” –David Letterman “In her new book, ‘Going Rogue,’ Sarah Palin says she doesn’t like vegetarians. Palin says all vegetarians should go back to Vegetaria, where they came from.” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s our pre-Thanksgiving report. Growing up in New Jersey, orange and black buses used to pass by our house every day and my high school colors were orange and black, so having this incredible grove of multi-colored marvels less than a mile from my home seems like a natural progression. Coming up next week we’ll take a look at my favorite sunrise from the month of November. So enjoy the holiday and time spent with friends and family and we’ll catch you running the double reverse. Aloha, mahalo and later, Matthew Stafford fans.

November 15, 2009

Nice Skies Finish Last

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:00 pm

Good morning and greetings, NBA fans. Per my psychiatrist’s orders, I was walking along West Cliff Drive last week, hoping that the edge of the continent would help enlighten me as to what to write about. And then, while being serenaded by the crashing waves, chains of pelicans and lost tourists, I remembered my wife telling me that I was soon going to turn 57. Fifty-seven! The number blows my mind. Holy middle age, Batman.

When I think fifty-seven, I usually think Heinz 57 Sauce, not the amount of candles atop my birthday cake. That’s a little too close to the big six oh. And here I am, at age 56, and I still haven’t decided whether I want to be a fireman, policeman or vice-president when I grow up.

So that got me to thinking, at this stage of the game, and we’re talking middle innings, I should write about what I’m grateful for. I’m not trying to get too personal, just trying to give you cyber readers and blog stalkers a little insight inside the mind, the spirit and occasional psychotic breaks that go into making Sunrise Santa Cruz.

Both are my parents are alive and living in Santa Cruz. My father is 92 and my mother, who didn’t breast feed me, is 83. Some thirty-odd years ago, on a hot summer night back in New Jersey with the humidity over 100%, I told my parents they should move to Santa Cruz. I wasn’t sure if they heard me over the whirring of the air conditioner, but a few years later they showed up on my doorstep at West Cliff Drive, wondering if they could stay for the night. Turns out they had sold their house and business, put their stuff in storage and manifest destinied to the west coast.

Well, that one night turned into five months, before I had to have them evicted for too many late night parties. At the time my modeling career going full bore and I needed my beauty sleep. They are now living happily in semi-retirement, enjoying the good life in Santa Cruz while running a small interstate bookmaking operation.

The house on West Cliff Drive, where I spent my wonder years (1975-89), is also where I met my wife, Allison. I was advertising for a quiet, female roommate and she showed up, spied the ocean view and asked when could she move in. I explained to her it wasn’t that simple. She then told me her father had Laker’s season tickets at the Fabulous Forum (3rd row across from the visitor’s bench) and I said, in that case, forget last month’s rent and a deposit, you’re in.

Then, after nine years, we rushed into marriage and the rest is AP World History. She is the greatest thing to ever happen to me, not including the time my freshman basketball coach stormed into the lockerroom at halftime and screamed, “Dammit, no one is playing any defense out there except for Gilbert.” Ah, high school memories.

Our marriage has produced two children and a golden retriever. Jason is a 5′ 10″ high school sophomore, with a 5′ 9″ wingspan, who speaks Spanish like the maitre de at the Tacqueria La Cabana. He is a smart, sensitive, funny kid who someday would like me to pay for his medical school. I still remember the day he told me, “Dad, I either want to be a doctor or the Oakland A’s video guy.” I am extremely proud of him and will be even prouder the day he dunks a basketball in traffic off the fast break.

My daughter Aimee is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed gift from God. She is a gifted artist who also has big ambitions. She told me one day that she either wanted to be a lawyer or a hair dresser. She knows how to make her father laugh. She has the smile, the glow and an aura surrounding her, and most importantly, can throw strikes all day as a lefty softball pitcher.

Which brings me to our golden retriever, Summer. Some say there’s no such thing as love at first sight, but when I saw that tubby, little six-week-old ball of fur, I was hooked, line and sinker. Unlike Jason and Aimee, she hasn’t mentioned any plans for the future, just that she wants to be fed and covered by President Obama’s new health care program.

That’s the immediate family. I’ve got two brothers and an imaginery sister. My brother Paul lives in Marin County and created all the “NBA action, it’s fantastic” promos when he was Director of Video Promotion for the league back in New York. He claims I didn’t speak to him for a week after he beat me in ping ping for the first time (never happened,) and even if he did, it wouldn’t have been more than two or three days.

My brother Brad resides in Boulder, Colorado and is CEO, President and head chef at People Productions, which involves Intelligently Integrated Media and delicious gluten free desserts. My youngest brother is very devoted to his work, as exemplified by the example he sets for his employees by snowboarding in as much fresh powder as possible during office hours.

And finally, as Jennifer Aniston once told me, you’ve got to have friends. Over the past year, through some difficult days, many of you have touched my heart, pancreas and other vital organs. Now, there are way too many of you to mention here, although if any of you had sponsored this blog, you’d have top billing. In any case, I’ll mention a few.
I had lunch on Friday with my oldest non-New Jersey pal, Doug, whom I’ve known for 38 years, yet, still don’t know his last name. I have a incredible friend and confidante named Nancy Mager, whom I speak to almost every day, and who fortunately allows me to call her collect. And then there is my old Garden State pal Steve, who I struck out swinging twice in our minor league championship game and who still remembers the grin on my face. Steve and I go way back, I knew him before there was history.

All right, enough of my life story. For our photo runway, we’re heading over to Natural Bridges State Beach. This would come under the heading, something old, something new. The first three shots are from a sunset from this week back in 2005, before Michelle Obama started going sleeveless. The last three images are from an outrageous night back on October 26, when this cloud formation lit up the western sky and dazzled partygoers, sports fans and focus groups gathered along the West Cliff Drive.

On to some late night humor. “Sarah Palin announced that she’s gonna travel across the country on a bus to promote her new book. She’ll be hard to miss ’cause it’ll be the only bus on the road with a dead moose strapped on the hood.” –Conan O’Brien “On Monday, Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Palin will sit down and they’re going to talk for an entire hour. And I was thinking, too bad John McCain didn’t do that with her before he chose her as his running mate.” –David Letterman “CBS News is reporting that President Obama has decided to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Obama says it’s all part of his plan to finally deliver on the campaign promises made by John McCain” –Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama is traveling to Asia this week. He’ll be making a trip to China. While he’s there, Obama plans to visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and America’s money.” –Conan O’Brien “Al Gore was here in New York yesterday signing copies of his new book ‘Our Choice’ at Barnes and Noble. It was strange, Gore wouldn’t write his name. He just signed each book, ‘I’m sorry, tree.’” –Jimmy Fallon “The AMA is urging the Federal Government not to classify marijuana as a dangerous drug and do more research. That’s what they said. It’s a big story, yeah. Yeah, that request came not only from the AMA but also from KFC.” –Conan O’Brien

“Three young Americans have been charged with espionage in Iran after straying into the country while hiking in Iraq. Now, obviously, we all pray for their safe return. But hiking in Iraq? I mean — you know, if you’re hiking in Iraq and Iran, you might want to get a you new travel agent. I mean, who goes hiking in Iraq? What was the rafting trip to Somalia all booked up?” –Jay Leno “Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was forced to resign because he used prostitutes, will deliver a lecture tomorrow at the Harvard center for Ethics. Yeah, if you want to check out the speech, it costs $500 for half an hour, $900 if you want to stay for the whole hour.” –Jimmy Fallon “Chrysler announced it’s coming out with a new logo that’s going to appear on all of its cars, and they hope it will boost sales. And it should help, because the new logo says, ‘Toyota.’” –Conan O’Brien

That’s it for our mid-November report. I’d like to welcome some new folks to the blog, who I met this weekend at the Autumn Artisans Faire. Glad you’re along for the ride. And thanks to everyone out there who has read this far down in this posting. So enjoy the November skies and we’ll catch you on the far sideline. Aloha, mahalo and later, Peyton Manning fans.

November 8, 2009

I Can See It In Your Sunrise

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 9:55 pm

Good morning and greetings, Perry Mason fans. About a month ago, I received the following notice in the mail: SUMMONS FOR JURY SERVICE. Now, I was hoping for CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE WON A MILLION DOLLARS or YOU’VE BEEN CHOSEN AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL, but in retrospect, the notice for jury duty ranked a close second or at least took home the bronze.

Now, as we all know, the right of a trial by jury is a privilege afforded to every citizen in the U.S not currently residing at Guantanamo Bay. Personally, when I’m thinking privilege, it’s more along the lines of meeting a President Obama or bringing joy to a sick child, not being judged in a courtroom by a group of my peers, most of whom wish they were elsewhere. This right to a trial by jury is guaranteed by the Constitution and the NBA, where caring happens.

Nevertheless, I was prepared to perform my civic duty, so I picked out something from my Clarence Thomas fall collection and headed down to the court house. We were first directed into the jury assembly room, where prospective jurors were greeted with a luxurious spread of hot hors d’oeuvres, my favorite being the little quiches in the shape of gavels. It was a nice way to say hello although the stuffed mushrooms were a little overdone and the bailiffs ate most of the shrimp.

We were then called out by name and directed to head over to Department 7. I was thrilled that the woman who did the name calling pronounced mine correctly. It’s the same feeling I get when I go to a doctor’s office for the first time and when asked on the questionaire, “what do you like to be called?”, I always answer “Brad Pitt, or sometimes “George Clooney.” It’s my way of giving back.

We were then warned by a Sheriff’s deputy that the following items would not be allowed in the court building. Knives of any size, pocket tools, screwdrivers, whiskey sours, scissors, knitting needles, pine needles, mace, pepper spray, pepper steak, handcuff keys, nail files, wallet chains, fast food chains, forks, glass bottles and inflatable life rafts.

Then it was on to the courthouse, where we then sat outside the courtroom before being given the magic words to enter. As I strolled through the courtroom doors, I immediately spotted the long-haired defendant, looking very dapper in his jailhouse khakis. He was looking around and smiling like a jaybird, or maybe that’s jailbird. He was seemingly thrilled that all these people had come to pass judgement on him. Either that, or he was just a lunatic. I then wondered, what crime was this gleeful soul accused of and did I remember to put the parking pass on the windshield of my car.

A distinguished-looking, white-haired judge then welcomed us and starting off by thanking us for appearing to fulfill our civic duty. And then before you could say “Judge Judy, “jurisprudence” or “Dear Prudence,” his honor declared that “the parties had agreed that they no longer required the services of a jury so we’ll see you in two years.”

Well, the joy in the room was overwhelming. I hadn’t seen that many happy people gathered together since McDonalds introduced the McRib sandwich. I was back in my car and headed home before you could say “will the defendant please rise.” They say justice is blind. I say, every once in a while, the blind squirrel finds an acorn.

So now that the verdict is in, let’s move on to this week’s photo funhouse. I was going to feature a sunset that I shot back in October that had greatness written all over it. But then on Wednesday morning, this sunrise came along and moved to the front of the pack. Unlike in poker, a full house sunrise beats a royal flush sunset.

I had been up since 3:15 am that morning, working on my doctorate on the causes and effects of enormous tv viewing by middle-aged men. When I looked outside at 5:50 am the sky showed great potential, much like I exhibited back in my junior high basketball days. So I headed down to West Cliff and when I arrived at the coast, I was greeted by a beautiful orange and gray canvas of November clouds. As the creator and co-star of Sunrise Santa Cruz, these are the kinds of mornings that make me it all worthwhile. Well, that and being able to find my car keys.

Along with my trusty golden retriever, we proceeded to Its Beach. It felt good to be in the sand shooting away, as this was the first classic sunrise of the fall season. By 7 am, the sky was a whitish gray and you would never have known that there had been morning majesty in the air. And that is what Sunrise Santa Cruz is all about, capturing those moments and bringing them to this blog. Well, that and being a comedic forum for anything that flows through my stream of conciousness.

So let’s bring on the late night humor. “It’s interesting what former presidents do when they leave office. Bush is now working as a motivational speaker. And if you want to be motivated, who better to turn to than the guy who invaded the wrong country and started a depression.” -David Letterman “President Obama planted a tree on the north lawn of the White House this week, in a spot where Bush planted one that did not take. Apparently, nobody had the heart to tell Bush that his tree was actually a coat rack. ‘I’m going to go water my tree!’ ‘Whatever you say, Mr. President.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Some bad news for Sarah Palin. I don’t know if you heard this, according to a recent survey when asked, 7 out of 10 people said Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president. 7 out of 10. Yeah. Even worse, the question was, ‘Are you happy with your long-distance service?’” –Conan O’Brien

“Abdullah Abdullah just quit next week’s runoff election against Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzi. Abdullah Abdullah said, he was just following in the footsteps of his role model, Palin Palin.” –Jimmy Fallon “Yeah, no runoff election in Afghanistan. Apparently a second election would be way too expensive to rig. So Abdullah Abdullah says he is pulling out because he wants to spend more time with his wife, Paula Abdullah. Abdullah Abdullah may be out of the race, but they say in four years his idiot son will be on the ballot. That would be Abdullah W. Abdullah.” –David Letterman

“Do you believe it’s been a year since Barack Obama was elected president? Amazing, huh? Well, actually, there’s been some changes. His new slogan is now, ‘Yes, we can, but don’t hold your breath. The White House has approved a new plan to pay — they’re going to pay members of the Taliban to change sides and support the U.S. And if it works there, they’re going to try it with Fox News.” –Jay Leno “President Obama has made a stunning announcement. President Obama has approved a new plan to pay members of the Taliban to switch sides and support the United States. Yeah, apparently he’s promised them 72 virgins and full dental coverage.” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s our pre-Veterans day report. Shot another gorgeous sunrise yesterday morning on the final day of the Coldwater Classic down at Steamer Lane. It was epic conditions as the swell was up and waves were pumping. And congratulations to go out to Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees for winning their 27th World Championship. It just goes to show that, in the words of the Beatles, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love,” but it can sure can help purchase starting pitching and hitting. We’ll catch you in the end zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Bronx Bomber fans.

November 1, 2009

You Are Really Pumpkin Else

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — geoff @ 9:08 pm

Good morning and greetings, Sunrise Santa Cruz fans. That’s right, boys and squirrels, on Saturday night, we celebrated the very holistic holiday we North Americans refer to as Halloween, where our children leave home with empty shopping bags and pillow cases, and for the mere price of donning a costume and saying those three magic words, return with enough bite-sized loot to finance a small, non-violent coup in Central America.

For my golden-haired daughter, this means enough chocolate to sail right thru Valentine’s Day and beyond. We’re talking snack size Hershey’s, Nestle’s Crunch, M & M’s, Almond Joys, Butterfingers, an apple and some cash given by neighbors who forgot to go and and purchase the necessary ammunition to ward off these sugar-driven young soldiers of good fortune. I’m just glad this country is not dealing with any obesity issues or this time-honored tradition of giving our children boatloads of candy during flu season might raise a few eyebrows.

As a child, this day was always greatly anticipated, much like my first day of law school, my last visit to the orthodontist and my bris. The planting of the chocolate, the gathering of the chocolate and then the emptying out of the chocolate was akin to a religious experience. Gazing upon those mini-mountains of full-sized packaged delights, lined up by brand grouping gave me a strong sense of accomplishment, something similar to what those Eygptian slaves must have experienced when they finished building the Pyramids.

And like NFL coaching, this holiday teaches children how to diagram a game plan, follow thru and experience closure, as when their parents say, “That’s enough, no more trick or treating!” And the beautiful thing is, if your child’s bag gets filled up and is too heavy to carry, they can always come home, dump it out and begin their pilgramage again. Which brings to mind the Steve Martin line, “Always carry a litter bag in your car, because if it gets filled up, you can always throw it out the window.” It’s an equal opportunity holiday that was embraced by the Bush administration’s “No Child Left Behind Without Candy” program. It also teaches our youth to share and share alike, as in “Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar.”

So in honor of this chocolately delicious holiday, we are photographically heading four miles up the north coast to the U Pick Em Pumpkin Patch at Rodoni Farms. This palatial plot of pumpkin pleasantries is located across the road from Four Mile Beach, which means as you tour the farm you can see the waves crashing against the rocks along the coast. Nothing like having a white water view while searching for your future carving companion.

The first shot features the pumpkins on the same day they were plucked from the growing fields on the other side of Highway 1. Amongst this orange crush, you can see that the freshly-snipped stems are still green, which is the same color my face turned the last time I went out for a sailboat ride on the bay in choppy waters. To quote the Jewish Defense League slogan on the possibility of future sailing trips, “Never Again.”

We then move on to a group of turban squash, which can be made into a creamy soup, distinctive bookends or lovely holiday earmuffs. The next image features the incredible, edible variety of squashes that are available on the pumpkin front at old McRodoni’s. Until I ventured to this place of squash madness, when I thought pumpkins, I thought orange. You know, like, orange you glad I didn’t say bananas? But much like many of the answers on the math portion of my SAT’s, I was wrong.

These red pumpkins are LaRouge/Cinderella, a deep red, French baking pumpkin. Personally, I just like to fill them with brie cheese and surrender. The green are Fairy Tales, which taste like butterscotch. We close with my personal favorite, the gray Jaradhale from Australia. Along with kangaroo parmesan, they are a staple in the Aussie’s diet as they eat these bright orange flesh beauties like potatoes. In summation, as the lovely Donna, who oversees this coastal establishment told me last week, “Everything here is grown to be eaten. And keep your hands off that spaghetti squash.”

Now here are a few more fun facts about our friend the pumpkin. They were once thought to be a cure for freckles. Pumpkins are 90% water and 10% talk. The name pumpkin originated from “pepon,” the greek word for large melon or Rush Limbaugh. The largest pumpkin pie ever baked was five feet in diameter, weighed 350 pounds, took six hours to bake and was recruited to play tackle for the Cleveland Browns. And finally, for those inquiring minds, the world record pumpkin was a 1,689-pound giant grown in 2007 by Joe Jutras of Rhode Island. And just think about how big it could have gotten if had a larger state to grow in.

On to our late night fun fanfare. “In a speech in Canada, former President George W. Bush said he was proud that when he was in office he didn’t sell his soul, which is true. He rented it to Dick Cheney, who then sublet it to Halliburton, but it’s totally different.” –Jay Leno “Yesterday, former President George W. Bush made his debut as a motivational speaker. Afterwards, Bush said, ‘The crowd was so motivated, many of them left halfway through.’” –Conan O’Brien “Speaking of former President Bush, he gave a motivational speech in Florida yesterday. Bush spoke for half an hour and said he ‘just hopes’ his ‘words were inspirationistic.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“It’s a great day for America, everybody. It is our secretary of state’s birthday. Happy birthday, Hillary. President Obama asked her what she wanted, she said ‘Your job.’” –Craig Ferguson “President Obama is in the news. He’s been criticized for only playing sports with other men. He’s been taking some slack for that lately, so yesterday, he played golf with one of his top female advisers or as Fox News reported it, ‘Obama plays a round with another woman.’” –Conan O’Brien “This weekend, President Obama declared a national emergency in response to the growing threat of swine flu. So I guess I better stop licking doorknobs for real this time. In response to Obama’s declaration, the Republican leaders this morning came out in support of the swine flu.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Did you hear this? President Obama has approved a new plan to pay members of the Taliban to switch sides and support the United States. Yeah, in a related story, 10 million unemployed Americans just joined the Taliban.” –Conan O’Brien “A new poll from CNN found that more than 70% of Americans said that Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president in 2012. When she heard that, she was like, ‘Yeah, but that still leaves 50%.’” –Jimmy Fallon “A 66-year-old deputy U.S. Attorney General in South Carolina, named Roland Corning, lost his job, got fired, after police discovered him in a cemetery with an 18-year-old stripper, a bag of sex toys, and a bottle of Viagra. … But to be fair, people do grieve differently” –Jay Leno

That’s it for our Halloween special. If you want to visit the Rodoni Farms Pumpkin Patch, it will remain open on the honor system thru Christmas. So if you’re looking to find that special someone a holiday gift, nothing says I love you like a variety of winter squashes. Coming up next week we’ll take a look at a sunset that will knock at least one of your socks off. We’ll catch you down the third base line. Aloha, mahalo and later, World Series fans.


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