May 9, 2010

Are You Through Cormoranting And Raving?

Good morning and greetings, Dwight Shrute fans. That’s right, my son Jason’s favorite TV show, “The Office,” is starting to grow on me, and the beet farming Mr. Schrute is quite the character. Throw in Jim, the insane Michael Scott and the rest of the gang, and this show is the “Seinfeld” for the texting generation. Because of my hand modeling career and my undercover work for NASA, I don’t get to watch it as often as I like, but when I do it rarely disappoints, unlike the road to Hana, last season’s New York Giants or my senior prom.

Last Thursday was an interesting day, as I like my stress served medium rare. The Dow Jones plummeted 1,000 points in 15 minutes, due to either a high speed trading glitch, the Greek credit crisis or the Raider’s cutting ties with quarterback JaMarcus Russell. This free falling of the market cost investors and Bernie Madoff’s son’s billions. But it’s only money, and in the words of billionaire Paul McCartney, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.” Yes, that may be true, but it really does buy everything else. Well, except for peace of mind, which, American Express says, is ‘priceless.”

But some good things happened on Thursday. As I headed out onto my walk along West Cliff Drive, I noticed the cormorants had returned to the shelf along the cliff (photo #1) just outside of Natural Bridges. They had been gone for close to a year, or about the last time I shaved. They’re here to build nests (photo #2,) talk sports and go on Facebook.

They had been nesting in this spot last summer, until one day when they just vanished. They had seemingly destroyed their nests and hightailed it out of there faster than you could say, “Steve Carell.” I soon learned that there wasn’t enough food in the area and they were starving, so they flew the coop and rented condos in Tahoe for the summer. It missed seeing the eggs hatch and the babies being born, but fortunately, the “Sons of Anarchy” returned to FX that week, and nothing nourishes and replenishes the soul like the adventures of an outlaw motorcycle gang.

So I shot away like Annie Liebowitz in bankruptcy court on this beautiful spring day along the Pacific coast. A gull joined the action and squawked away (photo #4,) making a sound I hadn’t heard since my wedding night.

Two years ago, when I was shooting the cormorants in this same spot, gulls starting attacking me as I waded in along the ice plants. I thought to myself, wow, how interesting, here’s one species of birds protecting another. Somebody get me National Geographic on the phone. Well, it turns out my theory of birds of a feather sticking together was incorrect, as I was walking too close to the sea gulls nests and they felt threatened. I hadn’t seen that kind of aviary anger since Larry Bird choked Dr. J in the eastern conference finals back in the 80′s.

While I was snapping away, another group of birds flew into the picture. At first, I thought they were cornish game hens and immediately starting boiling some wild rice. Then I realized these grayish winged objects were pigeons as one landed on a stool nearby. Many of us think of pigeons as dirty little birds that don’t do much good for society, like the Republican party. But this little squab, who landed on the fence nearby and I named Walter, seemed different and conjured up my thoughts on KFP, who proudly proclaim, “we do pigeon right.”

The final shot was taken as I was walking down near the lighthouse and came upon this pelican, who was just a few feet off the path. Since he allowed me to get within a few feet of him, I immediately thought that he was either sick or a fan of the blog . He was an absolutely beautiful bird and his feathers gleamed in the sun, much like my hair does after using my daughter’s tropical coconut shampoo.

Pelicans along the west coast have had health problems in the recent past and this fella looked hungry, so I put a $20 bill in his bill and pointed him in the direction of the Crow’s Nest. There he ordered an ice tea, the calamari appetizer and a fish taco, and then flew out of there without leaving a tip. So now we know he must have been sick, because in the bird world, pelicans are known as very good tippers.

Let’s move on to the late night, “Something very suspicious happened over the weekend. A car parked at, like, 45th and Broadway, very suspicious. And I’ll tell you the most suspicious thing about the whole episode was that the guy found a parking place. Thank God the car bombing was thwarted by an alert carjacker.” –David Letterman “The bomber’s name is Faisal Shahzad. What, is Snoop Dogg naming terrorists now? They’re still looking for his brother, Fo Shizzle. They don’t know where he is.” –Jay Leno

“Anyway, police raided this guy’s house. I guess it’s in Bridgeport, Conn. Some of the neighbors say the suspect told them he worked on Wall Street, so they were relieved to find out he was just a terrorist.” –Jay Leno “Authorities say Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bombing suspect, went to terrorist camp in Pakistan. Honestly, who are these parents that are sending their kids to terrorist camp?” –Jimmy Kimmel “Yeah, they plucked a guy off a plane. They say he was a moody loner. Last year, he vacationed in the tribal regions of Pakistan. Well, no red flags there.” –David Letterman

“Speaking of terrorism, two new videos from the Pakistani Taliban seem to show that their leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, is alive, even though the U.S. thought he was killed. So, either our intelligence is wrong or they’re just shooting the new movie, ‘Weekend at Hakimullah’s.’” –Jimmy Fallon “The Iranian dictator, Ahmadinejad, is in town. He has got a busy schedule. Today it is the U.N. And then tomorrow, he’s going to be on ‘The Rachael Ray Show,’ filleting a camel.” –David Letterman “It’s Cinco de Mayo, or as they call it in Arizona: May 5th.” –Jimmy Fallon

“On Monday, British Petroleum promised to pay all necessary cleanup costs for this oil spill. And they said they will do it, no matter how much they have to raise gas prices.” –Jay Leno “British petroleum, these boobs running this operation, they said: ‘O.K., now wait a minute. It’s just going to be a P.R. nightmare. What can we do? We’ll give everybody a free tank of gas. All you have to do is drive your car right down next to the Gulf of Mexico.’ They say the oil spill has the potential to kill more wildlife than a Sarah Palin hunting trip.” –David Letterman “Well, scientists are predicting that the oil from the BP spill will eventually reach the shores of Florida. So if you hated visiting your grandparents before, wait until you’re hosing down their oily bodies after a long day at the beach.” –Jimmy Fallon

One more environmental note. There’s bad news for Crimson Tide fans, as thick blobs of tar have begun washing up on the shores of sweet home Alabama. These BP boys were about as prepared for this spill as I was for changing for my first diaper.

I spent Friday afternoon at a track meet in lovely Pebble Beach, and then triple jumped home and shot a cute sunset that evening. So with my camera as healthy as LeBron James’ elbow, we’ll continue to photograph life as we know here in this cold water paradise. I hope Sunday was a good day for all you mothers out there. We’ll catch you at the free throw line. Aloha, mahalo and later, Rajon Rondo fans.


  1. Today’s post raised so many questions for me. You do undercover work for NASA? You haven’t shaved in a year? Pelicans are good tippers? Man, the things I don’t know. Guess I need to keep reading this blog….

    Comment by Dallas Braden — May 10, 2010 @ 8:00 am

  2. You must have had your Wheaties this morning, lots of good lines. One small correction. It was Dr. J who was choking Larry Bird, who kept mentioning to the Doc the numbers 45-10, which was the difference in their scoring to that point. I wonder if the comorants talk trash to the pelicans?

    Comment by Rory Sparrow — May 10, 2010 @ 11:17 am

  3. KFP. U R killing me.

    Comment by Jerry Hoffman — May 11, 2010 @ 1:34 am

  4. This is a nice place..very peaceful and calm, nature friendly place. i love it!

    Comment by Sunrise At Escala Lodges — May 13, 2010 @ 1:59 am

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