June 27, 2010

Soccer Right In The Kisser

Good morning and greetings, sports fans. What a wild and wacky week for supporters on the athletics front. Now, if you know me, you know I’m a soccer nut. Wherever I go, I’m dribbling a soccer ball and yelling GOOOOAAAAALLLLL! I say, what’s not to like about a sport that has little scoring, where the majority players never get use their arms and the fans riot in the stands? USA, USA, USA!

But of course, that’s not the whole story. The USA national team’s journey into this international Woodstock of corner kicks, yellow cards and players faking injuries is teeming with story lines. We’re talking game-deciding goals taken away by outrageously poor officiating, last-minute winning kicks and those nail-biting scoreless tie games. Personally, as a gifted learner, creative thinker and high achiever, I’ve set many goals for myself. Unfortunately, Landon Donovan fans, none have come on the soccer field. Here today, Ghana tomorrow.

Growing up in the Garden State of New Jersey, we did not play ultimate frisbee or launch scud missles with our foreheads to try and score goals. We did play a much less sophisticated form of the sport in kickball, where I performed like Pele in PF Flyers. There must be something genetic in my jeans as neither my son or daughter has much interest in the sport or ever blowing one of those vuvuzela horns. Just a couple of minutes of hearing those made me want to strangle Nelson Mandela and rip out my eardrums. God bless FIFA, as my World Cup runneth over.

Now I understand the excitement surrounding the best players from each country getting together for this kumbaya of international sports competition. The scene in South Africa reminded me of my first trip to Yankee Stadium. I was as excited as Tony Hayward visiting the White House as we crossed over the George Washington Bridge and heading into the Bronx to visit the House the Ruth built.

Earlier in the day, I knew this event was going to be something special as I put on my baseball cap, grabbed by glove and tightened up my bulletproof vest. And when we arrived at these hallowed halls of Yankee greatness and peanut shells, I was not disappointed, although I couldn’t believe all the cursing, violence and alcohol abuse, and that were just among the security guards. “Buy me some macadamia nuts and Cracker Jack, I don’t care if I never go back.”

Then for you tennis fans, we had the match of the ages at Wimbledon, as a five-set thriller between American John Isner and Frenchman John Mahut, (who curiously didn’t surrender,) lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes. That’s right, Brooklyn Decker fans, 11 hours plus. You could have flown to England, picked up some fresh muffins and an autograph from Hugh Grant, gotten back on the plane and arrived home with time to catch the final game and a repeat of “Benny Hill.”

The fifth set itself was a six hour plus marathon, or about the same amount of time it takes me to get dressed for a wedding or an exorcism. Because if you know me, you know I like to dress for success. The score in the fifth set was 70-68, which is like a soccer game ending at 50-49. A match like this, much like weight dropping under 175, will never be seen again.

In the mail this week, I received my new copy of Boys’ Life and Via, the AAA Traveler’s Companion magazine. In the section, “Reader’s Favorite Places to watch sunsets, the first location listed was Lighthouse Point, Santa Cruz, CA. In the words of Tania Garber, “no freeways, buildings, or mountains obscure the view from the cliffs. As the sky and Monterey Bay morph from one beautiful color to another, it’s like watching a movie in its entirety.” Tania, I could not have plagerized it any better.

So for today’s photo listings, we are heading to this glorious spot. These are two sunsets I shot from Tania’s favorite spot. I like shooting here because of the sweeping ocean view, the dynamic color of the cloud reflection action on the sand and the parking is free.

The first three shots are from an early October twilight experience while the last three came in mid-February. For those loyal observers of the sky at dusk, these are good times of the year as summers are a bummer on the color front. We just don’t get the clouds. I haven’t shot a sunrise in months, and that’s why someone like myself, who craves color in the sky and blueberry muffins, doesn’t hibernate in the winter.

On to the late night. “You know about the big change in Afghanistan? General McChrystal did an interview in Rolling Stone and he was talking about how much he didn’t like Joe Biden. He was talking about the Administration. He was trashing everybody. So President Obama calls the guy home from Afghanistan, and they had, like, a sit-down in the White House, in the Oval Office, today. It was very, very intimate. It was the President, it was General McChrystal, the Salahis, and that’s it. The general is in trouble for shooting off his mouth. Once again, another hole Obama can’t plug.” –David Letterman “Today, President Obama fired General Stanley McChrystal, saying McChrystal showed poor judgment in his Rolling Stone interview. It turns out when it comes to criticizing the White House, the general’s policy is ‘just ask, and I’ll tell.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama is being criticized now. Here’s the problem. The British Petroleum guy, Tony Hayward, was on his yacht recently. Everybody thought, whoa, this idiot. I mean, the Gulf of Mexico is turning to asphalt and the British Petroleum guy is relaxing on his yacht. When he heard about that, President Obama was so angry, he missed a putt. Now, in Obama’s defense, people are saying, ‘Wait a minute, the president has always had his own particular way of relaxing.’ For example, George W. Bush had his way of relaxing. He was president. That’s how he relaxed.” –David Letterman David Letterman’s “Top Ten Ways Tony Hayward Can Improve His Image” 8. Reveal secret behind his soft and lustrous curly hair 6. Shoot new BP commercial where he is viciously pecked by angry pelicans 4. Get a job at Poland Spring; accidentally dump a billion gallons of water into the gulf

“While testifying before Congress yesterday, BP CEO Tony Hayward called the oil spill a ‘complex accident caused by an unprecedented combination of failures.’ Then he realized he was reading notes left on the stand by a Goldman Sachs executive.” –Jimmy Fallon “Congressmen have been saying from the beginning that BP is either lying or grossly incompetent. Well, why can’t we have both?” –David Letterman “Sarah Palin has revealed she has tried marijuana, but she did not like it. You know, it’s amazing: 200 million Americans have smoked marijuana. The only ones who don’t like it seem to be elected officials. Ever notice that?” –Jay Leno

“Looks like this Gore divorce could end up being pretty costly. In fact, Al Gore now talking about only trying to save half the planet.” –Jay Leno “Yesterday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economy appears to be on track to continue to expand through this year and next. And then he said, ‘And you can take that to one of the remaining banks.’” –Jimmy Fallon “A great day for President Obama. He addressed a group of senior citizens in Maryland today. He’s pitching his health care bill. According to a poll, half the seniors thought the president was convincing, 30 percent thought he was unconvincing, and the rest thought he was Will Smith.” –Craig Ferguson

So that’s our last posting for June 2010. And congratulations go out to my parents, who last Friday celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a lovely lunch at Risorante Italiano, which offers award-winning Italian fare in a casual and festive atmosphere. Not counting leap years, that’s 21,900 days, or 525,600 hours of marital bliss. In a word, unbelievable! And they said it would never last a half century.

Went with Jason and my financial advisor/ minor league scout friend Bruce and his son to the Oakland Coliseum Saturday night to see the A’s in action. It was 70′s Retro Night, and Bruce must have some pictures of owner Lewis Wolff because we had front rows seats behind the A’s dugout. It’s tremendous seeing the ballplayers up close and personal as the head into the dugout, while everyone in the park is sitting behind you. And remember, a walk is as good as a hit and tie goes to the umpire.

So enjoy the remaining days of June and get ready for the July 4th weekend. And if you’re in the mood, tell someone today you love them. We’ll catch you down the right field line. Aloha, mahalo and later, Trevor Cahill fans.


  1. Your words make Monday mornings dance with energy. Thanks for those beautiful West Cliff Drive views you captured and shared with us. Hey, USA did much better than many doubt sayers exclaimed. O’boy, I now have a weekend away from those vuvuzela horns. Since your “Oily bird gets the worm” blog and between World Cup Soccer and Baseball, we have been checking out hybrids, biofuel and electric cars. Thanks for the reality check and a nudge to do our part in reducing our petroleum consumption directly or indirectly.

    Comment by Babs — June 28, 2010 @ 10:04 am

  2. Having played no soccer growing up, my main experience of futbol has been watching my daughter play. Now, that she’s giving it up for other sports like tennis, basketball and track, I can say it was not my cup of iced tea. There is strategy and the players have to be in great shape, but I saw enough scoreless or 1-0 games to last me a lifetime. As for the oil spill, I have stopped buying plastic water bottles, which means I am almost always thirsty in the car. And per Wimbledon, other than having my own 120 mpw (miles per week) serve, I prefer matches where there are actual points played with extended rallies. Bring back Brad Gilbert, either one will do.

    Comment by In a Ghana-Da-Vida — June 28, 2010 @ 10:50 am

  3. I’m with you on the absolutely annoying sound of the “hornets” during the soccer game. Reason enough not to watch it.
    Thanks for the photos, the late night humor and your own spin on things.
    see you soon.

    Comment by Wendi — June 28, 2010 @ 10:57 am

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