October 31, 2010

Where Is Pumpkin, Where Is Pumpkin, Here I Am, Here I Am

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 2:49 pm

Good morning and greetings, chocolate bar fans. That’s right, boys and squirrels, yesterday we celebrated the festival of sugar also known as Halloween, where our children leave home with full hearts and empty shopping bags and return with enough bite-sized loot to feed the poor in Calcutta and Beverly Hills for an entire World Series.

For my golden-haired daughter, this means enough candy action to cruise right thru Valentine’s Day and beyond. We’re talking snack size Hershey’s, Nestle’s Crunch, M & M’s, Almond Joys, Twix, along with 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 incredibly good fortune.

As a child, this day was always greatly anticipated, much like my last visit to the orthodontist. The planning of the chocolate, the gathering of the chocolate and then the emptying out of the cocoa loot 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 and hope for the future, like when I first realized I had the unique look, magnificent complexion and great hair to be a runway model.

This holiday teaches children how to put together a game plan, follow through and experience closure, as when their parents scream, “That’s enough, no more damn 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.” And while you’re at it, 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 sands of Four Mile Beach (photo #2.) Nothing like having a white water view while exploring the landscape in search of a future carving companion. You know what they say, they’re nothing like a boy and his gourd.

The first shot features the pumpkins on the same day they were plucked from the growing fields on the other side of Highway 1 (photo #3.) 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 any future sailing trips, “Never Again.”

The red pumpkins are LaRouge/Cinderella, a deep red, French baking delight. Personally, I like to fill them with brie cheese and then surrender. The gray are Jaradhale from Australia, which are a staple in the Aussie’s diet as they eat them like potatoes. As Donna, who oversees this coastal establishment once told me, “Everything here is grown to be eaten. And stop playing with that spaghetti squash. It’s not a football.”

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% juice. 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 devoured by a thin man with one scoop of vanilla ice cream. And finally, 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.

Let’s head to the late night action. “Sunday is Halloween — it’s the scariest day of the year. Unless you’re a Democrat – then it’s next Tuesday. According to a new L.A. Times poll in the gubernatorial race here in California, Jerry Brown now leads Meg Whitman 52 percent to 39 percent. She spent $163 million of her own money and she’s behind by 13 points. That’s the biggest expenditure of money for a loss since the Yankees. The man Dick Cheney shot in the face on that hunting trip four years ago says that Cheney has never apologized. Hey pal, join the club. The rest of the country is way in front of you.” –Jay Leno

“Last night on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ Bristol Palin came out dressed in a gorilla costume. They say this is the closest a member of the Palin family has ever come to acknowledging evolution. Apparently the Octomom still has 29 frozen embryos, which is almost enough to give one to each Chilean miner. I think it’s time for President Obama to build a border fence around the Octomom’s uterus.” –Jimmy Kimmel The main purpose of the North Korean demonstration was to introduce Kim Jong Il’s new heir-apparent – his youngest son, Kim Jong Un. But don’t be deceived…his cheeks are, in fact, not chubby. He’s storing up evil for the winter.” –Jon Stewart

“Delaware Republican senate candidate Christine O’Donnell blamed her campaign’s recent troubles on unfair coverage in the “liberal media.” Yup, the liberal media used two of its favorite tricks on her: ‘Record’ and ‘Play.’” –Seth Meyers “According to news reports, Christine O’Donnell’s father used to play Bozo the Clown. It must be weird when your father is a grown man dressing up like a clown, and you’re the embarrassment in the family.” –Jimmy Fallon
“Jackass 3D” just opened. It’s the life story of New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino.” –David Letterman

So welcome to November, as October, like my hopes and dreams of being being a good free throw shooter, are gone with the wind. Shot a couple of gorgeous sunrises and a sunset this week, so you know, like the elections on Tuesday, they’ll be coming down the pike. So I say, vote early and vote often and we’ll catch you coming out of the bullpen. Aloha, mahalo and later, Brian Wilson fans.

October 24, 2010

It’s Fall And I Can’t Get Up

Good morning and greetings, NBA fans. Well, the weather, much like my vertical leap, has changed, as fall is in the air. Here on the central coast, we really don’t get the spectacular fall folliage colors one finds in New England or Colorado, where the aspen trees turn the mountainsides into Goldie Hawn. So today, we are going to discuss this fall classic with the help of writer Debra Byrd, the founder of earthsky.org.

Now I am very connected to the Chinese way of thinking and ordering. Whether it’s spring rolls, chow fun or anything driving along the sweet and sour highway, I’m down with the program. The Chinese were great students of nature and lobster sauce. Autumn is connected in Chinese thought with the direction west, considered to be the direction of dreams, visions and Pleasant Hawaiian vacations.

In the Chinese tradition, the autumn season is associated with the color white, much like today’s Tea Party. This also includes the Beatles White album, the sound of weeping, the Sound of Music, the emotions of both courage and sadness, Smokey Robinson’s “I Second That Emotion,” a white tiger and Kobe Bryant, who’s the “Black Mamba.”

To the Chinese, nature means more than just the cycling of the seasons. Nature is within us and around us, in all things. We know it’s part of Chinese culture to maintain and add to ancient wisdom as with new entrees to old menus.

In contrast, we in the western world tend to replace old ideas with new ideas, like “Law & Order” with “Law & Order: Los Angeles.” So although our western way of thinking encourages advances in things like technology, economics and super-sized meals, the Chinese understanding of natural cycles remains far deeper than ours, like the deep frying one does in preparation of crab rangoon.

Here’s an easy lesson on the Chinese way of thinking about nature, its cycles and black bean sauce. We all experience the fact that things sprout and begin to grow in the spring along with the NBA playoffs. They ignite or bloom in the summer with baseball and reach completeness in late summer with the beginning of NFL football. They begin to dry and wither in autumn at the time of the World Series. They rest in winter during college basketball. In ancient Chinese thought, these five seasons or five ‘phases’ include an inherent understanding that the cycle continues endlessly just like the 24 hours of ESPN, with each period of rest or winter followed by new growth, spring or “SportsCenter.”

Each of the five phases or ’seasons’ of ancient Chinese philosophy carry associations with specific things. These are not to be confused with the Frankie Valli or the Four Seasons, where I like to stay when I’m in New York.

Here’s a simple example. While summer is associated with the the emotion of joy and sunblock, autumn is associated with courage, sadness and the new TV season. It is, because, in autumn, things are dying, like “Lone Star” did on Fox. The light is dying, as the days and my patience grow shorter. Plants, trees and fours are winding down their cycle of growth. Sadness, courage, the raking of leaves and sobbing uncontrollably are tasks and natural emotions as these changes are taking place.

That’s part of what the Chinese philosophy of the five phases or five elements and the chefs from Panda Express are trying to convey. Sadness and madarin chicken are part of the autumn season. Sadness and your choice of fried rice or chow mein isn’t an emotion or choices to be avoided at all costs. Instead, sadness and your choice of two entrees is simply part of nature.

So to celebrate the autumn equinox as the Chinese philosophers did, you might stand facing west while ordering, considered the direction of autumn in ancient Chinese philosophy and all P.F. Chang’s. Just stand for a few moments, honor the ‘westness’ of autumn and then order the Hong Kong Beef with Snow Peas. Consider your dreams and visions, the path on which you’re moving forward through your life and then finish your meal with the Great Wall of Chocolate.

Light white candles against the growing darkness of the season or place white flowers on your table along with an order of shrimp with candied walnuts in a white sauce. White is the color of autumn in the Chinese tradition and color of many Americans enjoying Chinese cuisine during this time period.

Allow yourself to weep for things you have lost, like for Yankee fans the American League Championship Series to the Texas Rangers. Weeping is the sound of this season according to Chinese philosophy, particularly if you live in New York, Philadelphia or are a Red Sox fan.

Find the courage to face what’s ahead, like the Warriors’ not making the playoffs. The Chinese understanding of nature’s cycle is in and around everything and the beautiful thing is you can order it all to go. All things come with egg drop or hot and sour soup, bloom, reach completeness, become brittle and die, then rest. Then the cycle begins anew, with the crispness of a fresh order of green onion pancakes.

So in celebration of our autumn dreams, today we are featuring the second good sunset on the fall, shot from Lighthouse Point on October 1. The amazing part of this night were the pink and purple clouds to the east as the west glowed red. It was like the sky had divided into two parts, and I was able to shoot one from column A and one from column B. I then skipped home and topped off the night with some milk and good fortune cookies.

Here’s a taste of some “Real Time” humor. “A very joyous week. A week where the whole world was watching a bunch of men trying to climb out of a hole they dug for themselves — but enough about the Democrats. Lets talk about those Chilean miners. Americans love Chilean miners. I haven’t seen so much hoopla about an endless procession emerging from a scary hole since the Octomom. One guy had four women waiting for him; there was the wife he never divorced, then there was the woman he lives with, then there was his current girlfriend and then the baby mama. He is now known as the Tiger Woods of mining.” –Bill Maher.

That’s our notes and jolts for the week. Had a chance to check out the action at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic down at Steamer Lane last Thursday morning as the waves and the light were fantastic. There’s a different feeling to this town when the waves are pumping.

Speaking of which, I’m double pumped and ready for the tomorrow’s start of the new NBA season. Like my freshman year at Syracuse, it’s going to be a classic. For you Giants’ rooters, enjoy the World Series and we’ll catch you in McCovey Cove. And don’t forget about the New York Giants and the Cowboys tonight on Monday Night Football. What a wonderful time of the year for those of us with a casual interest in sports.

So enjoy the action and be grateful for the simple things in life, like friends, good health and dial tone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Buster Posey fans.

October 17, 2010

It’s Sad But Blue

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 7:07 pm

Good morning and greetings, baseball playoff fans. Well, we had a few warm days last week, unlike the summer, which was colder than the stares I got when I wore my Malcolm X hat to a Tea Party civil rights march. I can count on one gloved hand the number of mornings recently where I’ve walked on the cliff in a short sleeve shirt or tube top, so I’m savoring the pleasant weather, or what my Native American ancestors called Indian Summer.

So it was back on September 6 that I learned a dead blue whale had washed ashore up at Bean Hollow State Beach. Well, you know how I feel about harpoons, so before you could say “there she blows,” I grabbed my camera and my Moby Dick walkie talkie and headed north up the Pacific Coast Highway.

Twenty-seven minutes later I arrived at Bean Hollow, which is three miles south of Pescadero by the way the crow flies, which is always coach. As I headed towards the inlet where this fallen monster lay, I detected a scent in the air. It was not the smell of fresh baked brownies or my Old Spice, and even for an Aqua Velva man like myself this was something ripe and special. I had forgotten to pack my nose plugs, but fortunately had brought along a bag of mini marshmallows just in case the rangers ended up making smores, so they did the nasal trick.

It was an eerie and truly unbelievable sight. In the first image you see exactly where the whale came ashore with Bean Hollow Beach in the background. If you look in the top right of the second shot, you’ll see where the baby was lying. Shot number three shows you the incredible color and beauty of the eight-month old who never made it into the sea. So sad and surreal.

The next two shots show you the immense size of this marine mammal. Gigantic doesn’t begin to describe this magnificent sea creature. 80 feet long and 75 tons! It was larger than “The Event” on NBC, simply bigger than any creature you can imagine. And the fact that it cruises by our front yard here on Monterey Bay just adds to the greatness and tragedy of this story.

So with a thank you and assist from writers Tovin Lapan and Kimberly White of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, let’s take a closer look at what I consider to be a once in a lifetime viewing experience. Like seeing me windmill dunk off a fast break.

As it turns out, this fully-grown female apparently died of blunt-force trauma. According to an official with the California Academy of Sciences, it likely died after being hit by a large ship . Scientists found hemorrhaging on its belly and at least three fractured vertebrae, according to Academy spokesman and gymnast Andrew Ng.

“There’s no forensic evidence on the whale that could lead us to the identity of the boat,” he said. “However, given the size of the whale, it’s most probably a large, industrial ship.” I guess that rules out the Good Ship Lollipop.

The whale was pregnant when it died, and its 8-month-old male calf likely came out of its mother’s belly post-mortem. Unlike myself, it was not a breached birth. Guy Oliver, a research fellow and and first baseman at Long Marine Lab, measured the fetus at 17 feet.

“How do you describe something that’s dead but so incredibly beautiful?” Oliver mused. “Massive, beautiful, a little ripe to the nose. The fetus was like a ghost. Almost pure white, not like a beluga, but with a little bit of yellow on the dorsal fin.

“I think perhaps what happened was in the collision, the fetus was pushed slightly downward, posterior,” he continued. “And as there was gas buildup in the intestines and in the stomach, the fetus was literally expelled and drifted slightly away from the female.”

Oliver said there are a number of reasons why the whale may have been unaware of the ship. This included lack of sleep, a cognitive deficiency possibly caused by something it ate like a bad shrimp cocktail, or simply because it was traveling through a layer of water where the sound of a passing ship may not have been as noticeable. In other words, she did not hear that train a comin’.

Dave Casper, a veterinarian at the Long Marine Lab in Santa Cruz and not the former Raider tight end, said the mother likely was a North Pacific blue whale and was probably on her way to the Sea of Cortez to give birth to the calf in just a couple of months. Scientists took muscle and bone samples from the fetus and conducted a visual inspection, but there was no match in the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted whale list.

Unlike their friends the grays, blue whales don’t follow specific migratory routes. Local whale watchers have seen more blue whales in Monterey Bay over the past several months than they’ve seen in the past seven years. Observers believe that’s largely because blue whales feed almost exclusively on krill, and ocean upwellings have been bringing up nutrient-rich waters from the depths. Well, in the words of BB King, for this magnficent creature, the krill is gone.

The beaching of the blue whale was also unique, since the species generally migrates south toward warmer climates this time of year. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen a blue whale wash in along our coastline in 30 years, so it’s very rare,” said State Park Ranger Frank Balthis. “And what really is incredible is there’s the fetus of a calf. It’s one of the first times that’s ever been seen.”

It’s been more than three decades since the a blue whale landed on a local beach. The skeleton of that 87-foot whale, which washed up on Fiddlers Cove near Pescadero in 1979, is on display at the Long Marine Lab along with some of my greeting cards.

This whale most likely will not be honored in same way, as it is a laborious process to prepare the bones, and it took seven years for the first whale skeleton to be completed, or a little bit less time that I took for me to receive my undergraduate degree from UCSC in molecular biology, er sociology.

Scientists believe the roughly 3,000 California blue whales spend from June to October feeding in California. Then it’s five or six months in Mexico and Costa Rica, where they can enjoy, much like yours truly, the warmer water and mating rituals. They then head back up the coast for massage and spa treatments. Females give birth to a single calf every two to three years, and the gestation period is 10-11 months. This just make the situation even sadder as they’re not popping out babies like the Octamom.

There have been two other blue whale ship strikes this year. One was hit in Monterey Bay over the summer and was not believed to have been injured. The body of a 70-foot blue whale that washed up on San Miguel Island off Southern California was determined to have been struck by a ship. Which brings to mind the words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus of Hill Street Blues, “hey, let’s be careful out there.”

Blue whales are the largest animals known to exist. They can grow to 110 feet and weigh up to 180 tons. Now that’s a big fish. “It’s heart is probably the size and weight of a Volkswagen Beetle,” Oliver said. And interestingly enough, even with a tongue the size of a Buick, it can’t swallow anything larger than a beach ball.

So no one is going to remove the bodies because the whale itself is just too damn big, so the plan is to let nature take its course. Animals in the water will eventually break down the carcasses, even though that will take several months. Rangers say that they don’t expect it to be a problem because the part of the beach where the whale is isn’t very popular and that smell could knock over a tractor trailer.

Let’s bring in a little late night humor. “Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown’s campaign is in trouble for allegedly calling her opponent Meg Whitman a ‘whore.’ This after his staff spent the weekend coming up with their new campaign slogan: ‘Just say ho.’ “Jerry Brown has apologized to Meg Whitman after a campaign aide called her a whore. Let me tell you, that is totally out of line. Politicians don’t become whores until after they’re elected. “Meg Whitman has released a new TV ad in both Mandarin and Cantonese. This is part of her effort to reach out to the Asian community. That’s how California works, where a white woman from back East, trying to replace an Austrian governor, runs an ad in Chinese to explain to people why she hired a Mexican maid.” –Jay Leno

“Donald Trump is running for president. He’s not the kind of guy that would stage something like this for publicity. I know it’s official because today, Trump threw his hair into the ring.” –David Letterman “Wouldn’t that be exciting? We haven’t had a president who wore a powdered wig since John Quincy Adams.” –Jay Leno “Trump refers to the White House as a ’200-year-old tear-down.’” –David Letterman

“Obama is going to tour India and Asia. I guess he wants to check up on American jobs. It’s being reported that the economy lost 95,000 jobs in September. And that’s just people leaving the White House.” –Jay Leno “People are saying that everything is Obama’s fault – he hasn’t dug us out of Bush’s recession and two wars fast enough. That’s the problem. Somebody threw a book at President Obama. If you’re trying to scare a president by throwing a book at him, you’re one president too late.” –David Letterman

So that’s a look at one of this planet’s endangered creatures. And believe me, I know what it’s like to be hunted for blubber. So baseball lovers, enjoy the great pitching matchups and we’ll catch you deep in the whole at shortstop. Aloha, mahalo and later, Cody Ross fans.

October 10, 2010

The Wheels On The Columbus Go Round And Round

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — geoff @ 4:29 pm

Good morning and greetings, Yankee and Giants’ fans. It’s a wonderful time of the year for the lovers of sports, as we’ve got the baseball postseason, NFL football and the NBA preseason. It certainly makes for a well-rounded lifestyle of viewing and booing. Throw in the new TV season and it’s eyeball ecstasy. All I can say is, God bless America and TiVo.

And speaking of America, today we celebrate Columbus Day, which means the kids are home from school and mattresses can be had for a really good price. But what do we really know about this man, whose given name at birth was Cristoforo Colombo? So in honor of the holiday and with the help of Angela W. La Fon from Yahoo’s Associated Content, let’s take a look at the Lieutenant Columbo of the open seas.

He was born in Genoa, Italy and as I child loved salami. He began a career as a seafarer at the age of fourteen and later supported himself by selling maps, charts and vaccum cleaners. He wanted to find a trade route to get to India and China because land travel was risky and he craved egg rolls and sweet and sour shrimp. He believed that Asia would be 2,400 miles west of Spain when, in fact, 10,000 nautical miles lay between Europe and Asia. In the words of Agent Maxwell Smart, “sorry about that, chief. I was this close.”

Columbus first went to King John of Portugal with his idea to find a westward sea passage to Asia, but after months of waiting, the answer was no thank you and please put him on his do-not-call list. He then went to Queen Isabella of Spain, but her response to Columbus’s idea was that his price was too high, that he wanted too many ships and that he was nuttier than an almond rocha.

Young Christopher came back with a counter offer. He said if he reached the Indies, he wanted a title, a table of contents, a coat of arms, a light jacket and one tenth of all profits for Spain. I won’t say the Queen rushed into her decison, as it took her six years to agree to his deal and then couldn’t remember his email address.

Spain wanted to gain supremacy over other European countries so she and King Ferdinand accepted Columbus’ plans after taking out travel insurance. Columbus, who had given up and opened a medical marijuana dispensary, was four miles out of town when the Queen’s courier caught up with him and shared the news, weather and local sports.

It wasn’t easy to get the money or the ships, but it was even harder to find a crew and a chef who made vegan dinners. Many sailors and tire salesman still believed that the earth was flat and that at some point a ship would hit a waterfall and fall off of the side of the earth. I felt the same way the first time I boarded the Staten Island Ferry.

A royal decree on April 30, 1492 ordered the suspension of judicial proceedings against criminals and Wall Street bankers who agreed to sail with Christopher Columbus. Even so, only four prisoners and a couple of day traders took advantage of this offer. He set sail with ninety sailors, some dramamine and the first season of “The Love Boat” on DVD.

Christopher Columbus’ first voyage with the Nina, Pinta, the Santa Maria and the SS Minnow began on August 3,1492, which I believe was a Thursday. On October 12, a sailor on the Pinta shouted “Tierra!” or “Land!” Columbus and his crew were actually seeing the island of San Salvador, some 375 miles off of the coast of Florida. He thought he was in the Indies or Cleveland and called the natives Indians.

He claimed the island for the King and Queen of Spain and Laker center Pau Gasol. Columbus discovered many of the Caribbean Islands, including Honduras and Panama, along with parts of South America, Central America and Club Hedonism in Jamaica.

Even though he made three return trips west, Christopher Columbus never actually stepped foot on the mainland of North America. The first European explorer to realize the discovered lands were not part of Asia was Amerigo Vespucci, from whose name the word “America” derives and who penned the lyric, “I’ve been to the desert on a horse with no name, it felt good to get out of the rain.”

With the passing years, Columbus grew very religious. He claimed to be hearing divine voices and loved to sing along to early recordings of Tony Bennet. Till his death, he believed that he had toured to Asia during his voyages and that some day the Cubs would again win another World Series.

In 1866, in honor of this Italian Stallion, the Italian population of New York organized a celebration of the discovery of America and chicken parmesan. In 1968, much to the delight of Sleep Train, which is your ticket to a better night’s sleep, Columbus Day was declared a federal public holiday on the second Monday in October. But on the downside, because Columbus has been thought to have killed and enslaved native Americans of Haiti, some people are rejecting the holiday, but are still willing to participate in the red tag sales events.

Moving on to the photo garden, when I saw the macro colors in these dahlias, I knew I had to bring one more corsage to this cyber dance. Much like the establishing shots on the new “Hawaii Five-0″ series or watching my son drain three-pointers, I never tire of their beauty. So book em’ Dano. And here’s a shout out to my favorite new fall flower, Grace Park, who hangs ten as Five-O’s Kona Kalakaua, who we all know is Officer Chin Ho Kelly’s niece.

On to some late nite follies. “Obama has been now finally getting on the campaign trail trying to help [Democrats]. Their big plan is a series of what they call backyard visits where the President speaks to people in their backyards in Middle America. Because nothing calms the fears of Middle Americans like having a black man suddenly appear in your backyard.” –Bill Maher “President Obama has been meeting with voters in what he calls ‘backyard chats.’ He’s held these in real people’s backyards. You know something, I think all politicians should talk to people in their backyards. Then you could take what they say and spread it on the lawn. Yesterday President Obama told voters that he’s a Christian. But you see how Fox News reported it? They said Obama admits he’s a follower of the bearded radical from the Middle East.” –Jay Leno

“President Obama had said if the stimulus bill passed, companies like Caterpillar would hire a lot of Americans. Caterpillar has announced that they are hiring hundreds of workers, in China. And if you call the White House to complain, you get the hotline in India. There was a very emotional send-off for Rahm Emanuel at the White House on Friday morning. Rahm Emanuel cried because he’s leaving the White House, and President Obama cried because he’s still there. Donald Trump may run president. Is that a good idea? Haven’t enough Americans already been told, ‘You’re fired’?” –Jay Leno

“EA Sports released a new version of the video game ‘NBA Jam’ that features Obama, Biden, Bush, and Cheney. Bush and Cheney play the first half, then Obama and Biden try to come back from a 6 billion point deficit. A Senate has passed a new bill that requires TV stations to lower the volume level on commercials. This is great, a hundred of the most powerful people in the nation have managed to do the same thing my remote does.” –Jimmy Fallon “They say Osama bin Laden is struggling to stay relevant. Welcome to the club. In his latest audio tape, bin Laden is talking about global warming. If he thinks it’s hot now, wait until he gets to hell.” –David Letterman

So that’s our show. Birthday wishes go out today to my old Fabulous Forum pal, Lynn Hock, who is the Jeannie Buss of Laker fans and taught Kobe how to pump fake. And if you’ve never seen an 80 ton blue whale or Orson Welle, stay tuned to this channel.

So enjoy the ongoing baseball playoffs and we’ll catch you in the bullpen. Hope to see you next week at Open Studios. Aloha, mahalo and later, Tim Lincecum fans.

October 3, 2010

You Never Forget Your First

Good morning and greetings, Open Studio fans. We’re at that magical time of the year where local artists in Santa Cruz County open up their homes and studios to the public. And once again, yours truly is part of this incredible harmonic convergence of arts, crafts and finger foods.

But before we chat about landscape and nature photography from the westside of town, let’s talk a little weather. After a summer that would have left an eskimo’s teeth chattering, the local thermometer hit the century mark on September 25, shattering a 73-year-old-record, which might have been the Doors first album, in which Jim Morrison said to grab some matches and “come on baby light my fire.” This was the first album I ever played over and over again as I still have “no time to wallow in the mire.”

Anyway, this record-breaking heat, the same kind I used to feel from the Feds, was brought on by a high pressure ridge that built up over the entire state. This surpressed the marine layer and any thoughts I had about why I’m never finished medical school.

Then Monday rolled in and the thermometer soared to 103, which tied the record set back in 1970. And as we all know, the tie goes to the runner and with a suit and jacket. But then on Tuesday, things started to cool off once again, as a result of a that high pressuring ridge weakening, like myself when confronted by a piece of chocolate layer cake. This brought in the marine layer and a tall glass of milk.

But if you think it was warm on the central coast on last Monday, it was baking like my honey glazed Easter ham in downtown Los Angeles, where the thermostat hit a scorching 113. I don’t want to say it was a tad warm, but it was so hot, squirrels were handling their nuts with potholders. And at the Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs, they said, “screw it. Open the bar. Drinks for everyone.”

Let’s venture on to the photo frontier. Following a warm Tuesday afternoon, parades of clouds gathered in the sky, so I headed down to Stockton Avenue primed for Disney action. This was to be the first sunset of the fall season and it was a winner, winner, chicken dinner.

The waves were pumping full force and the locals were getting big rides up and down West Cliff. As you can see from photos 4 and 5, pink was the flavor of the night, as clouds filled the sky with a full 360 degrees of color. As the title reads, you never forget your first, although sometimes those memories, like the essay I wrote for my college admissions, gets a little hazy.

I’ve been as busy at dusk as a beaver on steroids, as I shot two more gorgeous sunsets this week. In the words of the boys from Thin Lizzy, “spread the word around, the color is back in town.”

On to the late night fun. “At the UN, President Obama called on other countries to help us track down and eliminate radicals and extremists. But they told Obama, ‘Hey, the tea party is your problem, buddy.’ These Tea Party groups are very conservative. In fact, 58 percent of Tea Party members now believe Joe Biden is a Muslim. “President Obama’s approval rating dropped again. Things are so bad, Muslims are accusing him of being Christian. ” –Jay Leno

“Bob Woodward has written a book which states that the White House agonized over the decision to leave Iraq. Too bad no one agonized over the decision to go into Iraq.” –David Letterman “Bristol Palin has denied rumors that she’s dating The Situation from ‘Jersey Shore.’ If The Situation becomes Sarah Palin’s son-in-law, he’d still have the most normal name of any boy in the family.” –Jimmy Fallon “There’s a new opera about Bill Clinton. I don’t know how it ends, but I bet it isn’t with the fat lady singing.” –Craig Ferguson

“President Obama has written a children’s book. Why not? He’s got nothing else on his plate. “Obama’s book is called ‘The One-Term Engine That Could.’” –David Letterman “In a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, President Obama said he has Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones on his iPod. Unfortunately, the question was ‘Do you have a plan to fix the economy?’” –Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama has listed the songs on his iPod. The Tea Partiers are checking to see if ‘Born in the USA’ is on the list.” –Jimmy Fallon “BP announced earlier today that they have created a new Safety Division for offshore drilling. In related news, General Custer has just hired a lookout.” –David Letterman “While in New York City, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Louis Farrakhan. I’m not sure where they met, but I think we can rule out the Carnegie Deli.” –Jay Leno

So Open Studios is the next two weekends. I’d love for any of you readers of Sunrise Santa Cruz to come by and check out the photography but more importantly, we can bond for a moment live in person, as this cyber experience of me writing and posting doesn’t take the place of human interaction. And if that’s not enough of a draw, then there’s also juice and cookies. I guaranteee it will be a fun experience and if not you get your money and karma back.

So I hope to see you at Open Studios this coming weekend. Birthday wishes go out on Wednesday to my cousin Gina, who’s an incredible artist and has always had the good fortune to share the same initials with me. And on Thursday, the Dean Smith of anathesiology, Dr. Michael Schur, celebrates his big day. How he finds time to perform his medical duties and write for “The Office” has always amazed me.

So enjoy the baseball playoffs and we’ll catch you later in the postseason. Aloha, mahalo and later, Willie Mays fans.


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