Good morning and greetings, March madness fans. That’s right, it’s the time of year when college basketball takes center stage. We’re talking about the NCAA tournament, where even the casual fan will go for a dip in the office pool. For a devoted NBA lover like myself, March madness brings the excitement of buzzer beaters, fantastic finishes, teary-eyed cheerleaders and more end to end action than at your local Toyota recall center.
But there’s more to this month that comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb shank. March to me always means rainbows. So to start off today’s photo coalition, I have enlisted shots of my favorite rainbow (photos #1 & 2) from the archives of Sunrise Santa Cruz.
For this colorful arc of triumph, we journey back to March of 2006 and the cliffs above Cowell’s Beach. This rainbow appeared on and off throughout the afternoon, and when I finally tracked it down, it was exhausted and allowed me photograph it’s essence. I tried stitching these two shots together to show the full double arc, but was as successful as President Obama has been trying to quit the nicotine habit. Which brings to mind one of my favorite lines from “The Honeymooners.” Norton says to Ralph, “Mind if I smoke?” An exasperated Ralph replies, “I don’t care if you burn.”
We then fast forward ahead to last Monday, when rain and hail graced the central coast. In the late afternoon, the little pebbles of ice were once again bouncing off my car’s windshield, but this time with the sun was shining merrily in the background. Both Dorothy, Auntie Em and I knew what was coming up next. But before I could get down to West Cliff, a rainbow (photo # 3) appeared in the sky, so I snapped it way up high, before it could hit the fade mode.
I then looked to the west as the sun was starting to french dip into the clouds. I drove to the coast like Marco Polo and came upon this fantastic light (photos #4-6) at Stockton Avenue. It was a spectacular sight that lasted just a few minutes before the sun disappeared behind the holy coast of clouds. That’s the beauty of capturing the moment-you’ve got to be there to experience it. I remember the words of one my early spiritual coaches, Bobby Ram Dass, who said, “Be here now.” What he forgot to mention was “and make sure you bring your camera.”
Since we’re in kind of a sunset mode, here’s a story I think you’ll enjoy from Desmond Butler of the Associated Press. A woman was admiring the sunset on a tourist webcam in northern Germany when she spotted a man who was lost on the frozen North Sea. The man had climbed over pack ice off the coast to photograph a sunset near the town of St. Peter-Ording, then became disoriented on the ice and starting dancing.
Unable to locate the beach or a dance partner, the man began using his camera to flash for help. That got the attention of the woman who was hundreds of miles away in southern Germany, who was watching the sunset over the sea on her computer while cooking wienerschnitzel.
The woman contacted the police, who located the man’s signals and guided him into shore by flashing their car lights. Officers then lectured him on the dangers of trekking out on the frozen ice and eating too much bratwurst.
Locals are well aware of the risk of disorientation as darkness falls and the beach becomes hard to identify, but vivid sunsets over frozen landscapes, much like fresh schnitzengruben, often draw people away from the shore. At the time the man lost his bearings, the air temperature was below freezing. He could have frozen to death, fallen through the ice or worse yet, have to sit through a season of “Hogan’s Heroes” reruns.
St. Peter-Ording is popular tourist destination known for its beaches, sailing, and sauerkraut. The local tourism board runs a Web site with a webcam. The board, however, said images from the webcam, much like my TiVoed episodes of “Southland” are routinely erased, so the dramatic flashes from the man’s camera were not saved before the story came to light. So here’s a tip for you amateur shutterbugs-if the surface you’re shooting on can melt, spring for a postcard.
On to the late night follies. “Record ratings for the Oscars last night. Kathryn Bigelow won best director for her film about the Iraq war. But in her speech, she forgot to thank the two people without whom this film could never have been made — Bush and Cheney.” –Jay Leno “Barbie’s birthday. Did you know that? And if you don’t know Barbie let me just tell you. She is the pretty, plastic doll who didn’t run with John McCain.” –David Letterman
“Hey, how about this? President Obama had a meeting at the White House with Jay-Z and Beyoncé. And, in fact, they hit it off so well, Jay-Z gave the president his own rap name, ‘Biggie Deficit.’ Earlier today, the president of Haiti was at the White House to meet with President Obama. He said the people of his country need jobs, they need places to live, and they need health care. And then the president of Haiti spoke.” –Jay Leno” “Yesterday, President Obama hosted the Alabama Crimson Tide football team at the White House. At one point, the quarterback threw a football to Obama, which was the first time during his presidency that anything’s gotten passed.” –Jimmy Fallon
“George W. Bush is writing a book about his eight years in the White House. I can’t wait. I’m going to take it with me to the beach this summer. And it will be good to hold down the blankets. I’m telling you, if there’s one thing you want to do, is get a nice fire going and curl up with a big book and relive the Bush administration. And it’s green. It’s entirely made out of old Al Gore ballots. Friends have been saying ‘Jeez, congratulations, Mr. President, we didn’t know you had a book deal, we didn’t know you were going to write a book.’ And they said ‘Are you using a ghostwriter?’ And the former president said ‘No, the guy’s still alive.’” –David Letterman
“Former President Bush announced today he is writing a book on how he made decisions while in the White House. The book will be divided into the two chapters, ‘Heads’ and ‘Tails.’” –Jay Leno “Here’s a big story out of Washington. The Senate voted against a plan to send a $250 check to 57 million elderly people. In the end, senators decided not give the elderly money, because you know, they’re just going to spend it on drugs.” –Jimmy Fallon “On ‘The Early Show’ tomorrow morning, Harry Smith will receive the first live TV colonoscopy. CBS is very excited; they’re already planning the spinoff show, ‘How I Met Your Rectum.’” –Craig Ferguson
So that’s our pretournament report from somewhere bluebirds fly. Just the other day, President Obama was heard singing, “Birds fly over the rainbow, why, oh why can’t I get a health care bill passed?” And Notre Dame fans, enjoy St. Paddy’s day and the classic holiday meal of corn beef and cabbage. I won’t be wearing it but I’ll be thinking green, because that’s the way I roll.
Shot a gorgeous sunset on Sunday night that surprised everyone along the coast. So have fun with the brackets, spring forward and we’ll catch you making a backdoor cut. Aloha, mahalo and later, Evan Turner fans.