November 28, 2010

A Weekend To November

Good morning and greetings, holiday season fans. That’s right, for many, this past week and the next five are their favorite times of the year. For me, it’s the NBA playoffs and anytime I get dial tone. If I listen closely, I can almost hear Andy Willams singing, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” or for my non-Amish friends, the most wonderful time for a beer.

I know I may be a little premature with this, but nothing else came across the radar scope this week, so bring on the holiday festivites. What red-blooded, white-celled American doesn’t love the endless TV commercials, holiday parties, and most importantly, buying gifts for people you don’t give a rat’s tush about? If I seem a bit cynical about the upcoming mistletoe invasion, I apologize to my cyber constituents. It’s just my stream of holiday unconciousness.

Now we just finished Thanksgiving, where I ate enough turkey to jump start my pilgrimage to the Mecca in Milwaukee. It was a great time to gather with family and reflect on some things that I’m grateful for. Here are a few random post holiday thoughts.

I’m grateful that it’s not 2012 and there isn’t real talk of Sarah Palin becoming the first female president. Besides my head literally exploding, I don’t think my family is ready to move to Canada, Cancun or the Canary Islands.

I’m grateful there is gravy. Without it, Thanksgiving for many would be like living in Kansas or the Sahara Desert. Very dry. Man cannot live on jellied cranberry sauce alone.

I’m extremely grateful that I have my health. Unlike a friend of mine, and I’m not going to mention Steve Margolin’s name, I’m not excited about getting older. Every time I feel a pain in my chest, I wonder, am I having a heart attack? At this poinsettia in my life, I’m just happy to play basketball and come home in the same clothes I left in. As I’ve said before, I’d like to strangle the guy who coined the phrase, “you’re not getting older, you’re getting better.” Listen, I may come off as “Mr. Positive,” but soon-to-be 58 is not the new 57. That’s Heinz.

I’m grateful for my wife, children and our golden retriever Summer. Without my lovely Allison, how else would I have ever known there is sometimes another way to look at situations? Without my children, every Saturday of my life would have been spent sitting in the dark at the movies digesting some form of chocolate, followed by Chinese cuisine. Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound too bad. And without Summer, and with my apologies to my daughter Aimee, who else would I look at 100 times a day and say, “you’re such a good girl.”

Of course I’m grateful for my brothers, my imaginary sister, extended family and special friends, and those reading it know who I’m talking about. I’m especially fortunate to have two parents who are still alive and have allowed me to open a catering service that provides them with home cooked meals that you won’t find being prepared on the food network. Hot and ready to go, gratuity already included.

I’m also damn grateful to be living on the central coast of California and not doing a tour of duty overseas in Afghanistan or Iraq. How difficult it must have been for the thousands of military families on Thanksgiving with a loved one so far away and playing hardball with the Taliban or Al Queda. For many of us, the war is a forgotten item on the news but for those families it’s the lead story every night.

There is so much more I am grateful for but I don’t want to get too mu shu or pen the sequel to “War and Peace.” Let me just say I’m so lucky to have this forum to be able to write about whatever sprints across my mind and share it with you readers. The fact that I can throw some world-class sunrises and sunsets from this cold water paradise only adds fuel to the fire of my mind. If I’ve made you think or laugh or say, “wow, that’s gorgeous,” well, in the words of my favorite Hanukah Bush, “mission accomplished.”

That brings us to today’s photo op. This was a Saturday night a couple of week’s back, where the clouds and sky brought many along the westside to their feet with almond joy and late afternoon delight. I was perched along West Cliff Drive at Stockton Avenue, and this sunset glowed for a long while after dusk, leaving me not only with the satisfaction of knowing that I would be sharing it with all of you, but that I could almost leave behind the thought of recent sunsets missed. As I said, almost.

On to some great late night. “TSA says they are going to crack down on the invasive pat-downs. In fact, one agent was transferred to another parish.” –David Letterman “This year marks the first Thanksgiving in which travelers will get molested before they get to their uncle’s house. You know, if I wanted somebody halfheartedly patting my groin without eye contact, I’d get married.” –Seth Meyers “The TSA has issued some special packing tips for travelers before Thanksgiving weekend. They say not to bring food, sharp tools, or any shred of dignity.” –Jimmy Fallon

David Letterman’s “Top Seven Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a TSA Agent”
“Do I need a degree in groping?” “Am I only doing this for the sweet TSA uniform?”
“If I find explosive underpants, may I keep them?” “Should I practice by frisking people on the street?” “In five years, whose pants do I see my hands in?” “Do I really want to know what a fat guy’s thighs feel like?” “May I frisk myself?”

“Former President George W. Bush has published his memoirs, called ‘Decision Points.’ Bush was asked if he used a ghost writer and he said, ‘Nah, I stopped believing in those after I turned 12.’” –Jay Leno “At the dedication of his Presidential Library, George W. Bush said it’s long been his dream to build a building for teenagers to drink behind.” –Seth Meyers “Sarah Palin’s new book can be found right next to George W. Bush’s new book in the ‘Apparently Anyone Can Write One of These’ section.” –Jimmy Fallon

“That’s right, Palin has a brand new book. And you thought Thanksgiving dinner makes you drowsy.” –David Letterman “In her new book, Sarah Palin says she once gave up chocolate for an entire year just to prove she could do it. Still think she’s not qualified to be President?” –Jimmy Fallon “I’ll tell you how confident Sarah Palin is about the upcoming Presidential election. She’s already started writing her inaugural address on her hand.” –Jay Leno

Well, that’s our show and the last blast for November 2010. I hope the Thanksgiving holiday was a pleasant and a leftover-filled experience. And for those those menorah fans, let me wish you a Happy Hunakah, when I begin the always memorable apple sauce and sour cream-filled journey to latke city. For those of you keeping stats, it starts on Wednesday. We’ll catch you in punting formation. Aloha, mahalo and later, Blake Griffin fans.

November 21, 2010

Open The Window, It’s A Little Stuffing In Here

Good morning and greetings, cranberry sauce fans. That’s right, we’re just three shopping days away from Thanksgiving, the holiday where families gather together to give thanks that this occasion occurs only once a year. Then throw in some turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, the Detroit Lions losing and some dysfuctional family behavor. Top it all off with with a little tryptophan pudding and bring on Black Friday.

So in honor of this festival of gravy and leftovers, I thought we would take a stroll down Plymouth Lane and look at some of the more interesting and unusual aspects that make this day so damn special.

According to my sources at KFC, the food that would have been on the first Thanksgiving Day menu consisted of venison (deer), wild fowl (geese, duck, wild turkey, eagles, parakeets), seafood (lobster, eel, cod, pirana), dried corn, pumpkin, nuts (walnuts, acorns, Ross Perot), and fruits (plums, grapes, Liberace).

There was no milk, cookies, cheese, cheetos, bread, butter, sweet potatoes, pringles, cranberry sauce, apple, peaches or pumpkin pie at the original Thanksgiving Day feast. The Pilgrims ate their first dinner with only spoons and knives as all the forks were in the road.

There is no official reason or declaration for the use of turkey on Thanksgiving. Along with chipmunk, possum and prairie dog, it just happened to be the most plentiful meat available at the time of the first celebration in 1621. Fossil evidence shows that turkeys roamed the Americas 10 million years ago, approximately 5 million years before the invention of gravy.

The Guinness Book of Records states that the greatest dressed weight recorded for a turkey was 86 lbs, at the annual “heaviest turkey” competition held in London, England on December 12, 1989. For some reason, that date rings a bell. Turns out it was a free range, honey basted turkey packed with bowling ball stuffing.

Being a bourbon man like myself, wild turkeys, while technically the same species as domesticated turkeys, have a very different taste from farm-raised turkeys. Almost all of the meat is “dark” (even the breasts) with a more intense turkey flavor. However, there is no difference between wild and domesticated gravy.

Wild turkeys can fly up to 55 miles per hour over short distances. Domesticated turkeys cannot fly but can sprint like a barbecued chicken. Only male turkeys gobble. The gobble is actually a seasonal mating call which I perfected back at Syracuse. Turkeys have great hearing skills but no ears. Thus you will never hear a turkey say, “I can’t believe how cold it is. My ears are freezing.”

History states that only five women Pilgrims survived the first year at the Plymouth settlement and they were the first ones to cook and prepare the first meager celebration meal, in 1621. Journals say the celebration lasted 3 days after which the women were left to do all the dishes while they men drank beer and then fell asleep watching football.

Twenty percent of cranberries consumed are eaten on Thanksgiving. However, I dine on the Ocean Spray of life 52 weeks a year. Contrary to popular belief, Native Americans did not eat cranberries, but found them extremely useful for dying fabric, decorating pottery and hurling them at unsuspecting Pilgrims.

The first Thanksgiving involved no cranberry sauce or hot dinner rolls. Cranberries were everywhere, but sugar, which is an even more important ingredient in cranberry sauce than the cranberries themselves was a huge luxury good at the time. So that meant no Haagen Daz on the pumpkin pie.

Sarah Josepha Hale, author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and America’s first female magazine editor, wrote to five U.S. presidents over 40 years urging that Thanksgiving be made a national holiday. She was eventually successful with Abraham Lincoln and her fleece was white as snow.

And finally, the average person consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. And that’s just while carving the bird.

We continue with a joke I never tire of. A turkey farmer was always experimenting with breeding to perfect a better turkey. His family was fond of the leg portion for dinner and there were never enough legs for everyone. After many frustrating attempts, the farmer was relating the results of his efforts to his friends at the general store. “Well I finally did it! I bred a turkey that has 6 legs!” They all asked the farmer how it tasted. “I don’t know” said the farmer. “I never could catch the darn thing!”

Moving along, for today’s photo montage we head to over to Natural Bridges State Beach. I was going to feature a beautiful sunset from last Saturday but then Thursday evening came along and Derrick Rose to the head of the class.

I could see that the late afternoon clouds had some unusual texture, which bode well for some much needed color in my life. And as you can see from the last two images, it was a blanket of orange in the sky, and I knew then that this was what I needed to bring to this week’s post. Only the best for my cyber audience and imaginary friends.

Lots of late night fun this week. “Sunday night was the debut of the reality show, ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska.’ It got huge ratings. Even people over in Russia were watching and they didn’t need TVs. They could see it from their porch. The new Oxford dictionary has declared Sarah Palin’s made-up word ‘refudiate’ the 2010 word of the year. When asked for her reaction to the dubious honor, Palin said she would not ‘dignitate’ it with a response.” –Jay Leno “Sarah Palin has a new show. She takes viewers all around Alaska, and shows them where she water-boarded Levi Johnston.” –David Letterman

“President Bush is everywhere talking about his book and he’s being very candid. In one interview, he said that he used to do stupid things while he was drunk. But think about it, who among us hasn’t had a couple of drinks and invaded Iraq? “Former first lady Laura Bush used to be a librarian. Coincidentally, she’s the only thing George W. Bush ever checked out at the library.” –David Letterman “They just had the groundbreaking ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. It’s easy to get into the building, but then you spend 10 years trying to find an exit strategy.” –Jimmy Fallon

“The day before Thanksgiving is National Opt-Out Day, where people are being asked to boycott the TSA’s full-body scanners. Sponsors of the event say people shouldn’t be made to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable while traveling. That’s what Thanksgiving with your family is for.” -Jimmy Fallon “People are concerned that the new airport security scanners could lead to pictures of their genitals ending up on the Internet. Apparently no one has told them that without pictures of genitals, there would be no Internet.” –Conan O’Brien

“It was bad enough when the TSA agents would go through your underwear in your luggage. Now they’re going through your underwear while you’re wearing it. Now, to make it worse, the airlines are charging a $15 molestation fee.” –Jay Leno “In San Diego, a man refused to be patted down by airport security and some people are calling him a hero. I don’t mind being patted down by airport security, but I don’t like it when the guy says, ‘Now you do me.’” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s our pre-holiday report. On Thursday, take a moment to reflect how fortunate you are to be among family and friends. For many, this day is not all fun and games and stuffing, as many people and families are just happy to be fed a hot meal. So savor those warm feelings and try and be grateful for more than the leftovers on Friday. And remember, it is always better to thanksgive than receive.

We had some wild weather this weekend as a cold front traveling south from Alaska brought buckets of rain, hail, thunder, lightning and a beautiful full arch rainbow that graced the early morning sky on Sunday. It reminds me of the old joke, what’s the technical term for a warm, sunny day which follows two days of rain? It’s called Monday.

So enjoy the four-day weekend and we’ll catch you in the end zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Mark Sanchez fans.

November 14, 2010

You’re The Gorilla Of My Dreams

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 4:44 pm

Good morning and greetings, Dark Continent fans. Well, it’s a special time here at Sunrise Santa Cruz because today marks the 250th time that I have sat down at this computer and wondered, “what the hell am I going to write about this week? That’s right, 250 postings and still no word from the Publishers Clearing House. So I spend my days waitng by the phone with Dusty Springfield, just “wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin.”

Anyway, this is going to be a good one as it’s guest blog time with the fabulous Judy Bingman. Now you remember Judy, who we guest featured back on March 10 of this year with the post, “It’s More Than I Can Bear,” a fabulous pictorial display that included polar bears, brown bears and a couple of former Chicago Bears.

Judy, who I met at a local art show and has been texting me non-stop ever since, taught for 35 years at Los Gatos High School, yet never once took attendance. She started shooting wildlife back in 1996, as her passion over the years has taken her to Africa, Antarctica, South America and the South Bronx.

To get the shots of the polar bear and her cubs, Judy was cavorting around in the snow and ice in minus 38 degree below temperature, which is a tad chilly for me. The good news is, she says she is finally getting some feeling back in some of her fingers and toes and has vowed to go back and photograph the bears again. I just might join her if I can find my flannel shorts.

So this time Judy really wanted to take the Pepsi Challenge and bring photographs to the table of things you and I would only see in a zoo or at a rave party. So back in September she hopped on a plane in San Francisco and flew to London, then on to Nairobi, Kenya and from there to Kigalli, Rwanda. That’s right, Rwanda, the Club Med of genocide back in the 90′s.

After spending a night the Hotel Rwanda, not to be confused with the Eagles, “Hotel California,” Judy was taken by rickshaw to the Gorilla Mountain Lodge, which she had selected over the Chimpanzee Motel and the Orangutan Motor Inn. It’s located in Volcano National Park, where I do most of my shopping when I’m in Rwanda.

Our intrepid photographer had signed up beforehand for three treks to see the gorillas, at a cost of $500 an hour for the actual shooting time. Since the gorillas move locations in the jungle every night, the rangers go out early in the morning and scout them out before sending out the trekkers. You can sign up for an easy, moderate or hard trek, and you know what I would have gone for. The harder the trek, the higher the location. Judy, being the adventurer that I am not, signed up for the easy but got the moderate and off they went.

The group included eight people and two guides, and the first hour they walked and skipped thru farm land, singing camp songs and the Monkee’s greatest hits. At that point I would have taken the Last Train to Clarksville. The second two hours were all uphill and quite strenous, as the guides cut thru the bamboo forest and dense undergrowth with machetes. At that point, I would have been happy to just cut to the chase.

One of her guides had been the porter for American zoologist Dian Fossey, who studied gorillas for 18 years in Rawanda before she was murdered in 1985. After walking through the forest for two hours, the group came to a clearing and there was a family of 15 gorillas. For Judy, it was a very emotional moment. “Tears started rolling down my cheeks. My hair was sopping wet because of the humidity. I was so amazed and overwhelmed. Here I am right next to these incredible animals with all the mud, sweat and tears. I was just so excited.” I can easily relate, as I remember the first time I hiked in and saw a baby squirrel I cried like a newborn.

There was one big Silverback (photo #2), who was the leader, the boss, the head honcho. When he becomes a teenager, the Silverback’s hair color changes and he becomes the photographic prize that everyone wants to see. Joining him in the bush were a couple of male black backs and some females with their babies. They had already downed their breakfast of bamboo and Wheaties and were just rolling around, playing cards while the mothers nursed their young under the hair dryers.

At this point, Judy and the group were standing in the clearing, just 20 feet away from the awesome specimens of nature. It was an amazing moment. I experienced the same feeling of awe and wonder when Jerry Hoffman and I were judges down at the Boardwalk for the Miss Miller Lite Contest, but I cried for a different reason.

The gorillas got to within 5-10 feet of the group. Judy saw a baby that had been born that morning, and another that was three months old (photo #3.) Our guest blogger, who is 71 years old, was congratulated by the group for her effort after the two hour walk back to the lodge. Judy had led the trek and established the pace, and upon her return was carried back to her five star hut by a group of pgymy warriors, who presented her with a bouquet of flowers and her first blow gun. You should see her nail a mosquito from fifty yards.

After three treks to shoot gorillas, Judy upped the stakes and then flew on to Dar Salam, Tanzania, where she hopped onto a six seater plane and headed to the Selous Game Reserve at the Lake Manze Adventure Camp. She was met at the airport by her personal chef and safari guides, who she immediately asked, “are we going to see any lions in a tree?” The guide answered, “probably not” and they headed off in the jeep on an open air safari ride.

Twenty minutes later, before you could say, “king of the beasts,” they came up pride of lions, and one climbed up into a tree and you see the results (photo # 4.) “I had never seen a lion in a tree. I thought, oh my God, she is so beautiful. It was magical.” I experienced a sense of deja vu when Judy told me this story as it was the same words she uttered the first time she saw me lying in a bush.

Judy was there five nights, and on these jeep safaris saw giraffes, zebras, NFL referees, wildebeasts, gazelles, cape buffalo, buffalo wings, hippos, crocodiles, hyenas, wild dogs and rabid poodles. The birds were picking the bugs off heads of the hippos, something you rarely see here on the west coast. Judy also saw a baboon, which she said was very similar to the one we recently had in the White House for eight years.

She also saw elephants every day and spotted these two juveniles (photo #5) when they were first on land. The matriach of the herd kept on chasing them away because of their bad manners. “I was watching the behavior among the elephants. I had never seen anything like this before. Those two were behaving like 7th graders. It was so interesting as we weren’t just watching an elephant standing there.” Later, the elephants were asked if they remembered Judy but shook their trunks no.

On the final shot, Judy’s goal was to capture the perspective of the smallest to the biggest creature. As she lined up the shot, she thought to herself, “I’ve got an incredibly cool image here. This is something you won’t ever see in a zoo.” With the towering giraffes along with the zebras and gazelles, it’s the kind of photo rarely seen on this site but just another day in the wildlife beat of Judy Bingman.

Judy is available to talk to groups about her adventures with the gorillas, polar bears or the IRS. To get in touch, contact her at judybingmanphotography@gmail.com or check out her website at judybingmanphotography.blogspot.com.

On to some late night humor. “In his new book, George W. Bush says he’s happy to be out of Washington. Well, it’s unanimous. He’s going to be on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and tomorrow he’ll be on the Rachael Ray Show, water boarding the veal cutlets.” –David Letterman “Bush’s memoir is 512 pages. To be fair, 200 of those pages are just games and puzzles.” –Craig Ferguson “Former President George W. Bush was on ‘Oprah.’ When asked about being the leader of the free world, Oprah said, ‘It’s not bad.’” –Conan O’Brien

“Republicans fresh off their victory on Election Day say their first priority will be to dismantle the new health care law. And believe me, there’s nothing people without a job love more than less health care. Republicans were complaining about the cost of Obama’s trip, and that he was staying at the Taj Mahal. It turns out he was actually staying at the Taj Mahal Express, by the airport.” –Jay Leno “Nancy Pelosi is throwing a party to celebrate her time as speaker of the House. If you would like to get her a gift, she’s registered at Bed, Bath and Don’t Blame Me.” –Jay Leno

“Obama’s in India for two days and Republicans are already accusing him of being a Hindu.” –Jay Leno “A special shout-out to the independent geniuses, who switched sides again because President Chocolate Jesus did not make it rain twenties in two years.” –Bill Maher “JetBlue is appointing retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal to its board of directors. That’s who I want looking for my missing luggage — the guy who’s been trying to find bin Laden for 10 years.” –Jimmy Fallon “An exciting night. I’m really glad to be on cable. The truth is, ladies and gentlemen, I have dreamed of being a talk show host on basic cable ever since I was 46.” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s it for the gorillas that I’ve missed, or for Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fans, the thrilla in gorilla. And birthday wishes go out on Thursday to my old Cabrillo College pal, Vicki Sheppard, who still holds the Olympic record for the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen.

So enjoy the light in the morning because it gets dark too damn early for me these days. And welcome back Conan O’Brien, whose first week of shows had moments of tremendous humor. We’ll catch you under the boards. Aloha, mahalo and later, Kevin Love fans.

November 7, 2010

Would You Like Soup Or A Ballot?

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 7:51 pm

Good morning and greetings, post election day fans. As many of you know, I try to stay away from politics in this space because ripping into the former mayor of Wasilla, the Republican Party or what I’d do if I were queen for a day just wouldn’t be politically correct.

When it comes to the goings on in Washington, I refuse to get upset or rant and rave about mistakes of past administrations. I just go with the flow, drifting like a basil leaf slowly down the stream of pesto life. Yup, that’s me in a nutshell.

So we’re a week past the midterm elections where those plucky Republicans won control of the House and cut into the Democrat’s majority in the Senate. Now, I’ll admit, I do enjoy the voting process as the Electorial College was my safety school. So while Proposition 19 is still in my bloodstream, I thought I would relay a few thoughts to my cyber constituents.

Let me start by saying that I’m not a huge fan of the billionaire Koch Brothers, who not only created the Tea Party but have declared war on President Obama. What a bunch of fun, patriotic bros. To read more about these fine fellows, check out their profile written by Jane Mayer in the August 25, 2010 edition of the New Yorker magazine. It’s a mind blower, much like the 2012 presidential aspirations of “how’s that hope and change thing going,” Sarah Palin.

I’m confounded by all the people who backed the Tea Party and their candidates. In the words of House GOP leader John Boehner, what we just witnessed was a “repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the people.” I believe he might be repudiating that Obama is the worst black president in our history.

I understand the frustrations of so many in this country, but Michelle and her hubby are not the ones that got us into this mess. Certainly you can fault the president for not being tougher on the perpetrators of the financial mess we’re in. No one from Wall Street has paid the price as these scoundrels continue to profit at a beyond obscene level. They should be in jail, not reaping hundreds of millions while unemployment, foreclosures and emptied savings accounts flood the nation. The rich get richer while the poor and middle class are getting screwed.

And remember, over the last two years, all the Republicans have offered have been obstructions of Obama’s policies. I don’t know if the Republicans know how to solve problems. They’ve made a living the last two years of creating them for the Obama administration.

Those Tea Party candidate who were voted in now have a chance to turn things around and make the changes they were talking about. To quote the newly elected senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, ” I have a message from the Tea Party. We have come to take our government back.” I say to those voters who expressed their disatisfaction in the voting booths, be careful what you wish for because you just got it.

So that’s my political rant. It’s a tough time for any president as our country deals with the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the threat of Islamic terrorism and whether the Yankees can resign Derek Jeter. All I know is, the man between Barack and a hard place has only had two years in office and Michelle still looks fabulous in those sleeveless ensembles.

Let’s move to the photo flavor of our program. We’ve entered the three month arena where the morning and evening skies light up on a nightly basis. This is my favorite time of the year, along with chocolate, the NBA playoffs and any three-day weekend.

So today we’re looking at a glorious sky from last Thursday morning. I was shooting this blissful event along West Cliff Drive to could capture the clouds reflecting on Its Beach. As you can see, it was a pretty fabulous way to start the day, as mornings like this are why I got into the sunrise business.

Exotic looking clouds continued to fill the sky throughout the rest of the day, which made me think the sunset was going to be well worth of the price of submission. But then as the sun was setting, it seemed to be petering out, and as happened the night before, what looked so promising would end with despair, disappointment and disillusionment, like the end of the season for Yankee fans.

So I popped into my parent’s abode to check on their status and a few minutes later, looked outside and saw that the sky had blown up with color. I quickly raced to the coast and saw it was lit up like the Fourth of July, with red and pink streaks filling like sky while reflecting on the Pacific like a canvas on fire. I was sick with regret, as I wasn’t in a prime location to shoot, so I raced over to Natural Bridges, but when I got there, the glow was gone, the colors had faded and the party was over.

I wouldn’t say I was distraught, but just amazed that I had missed this photo opportunity. This daily double of an amazing sunrise and sunset on the same day doesn’t come along often and was the best or certainly the second best one I’d seen over the last eleven years. And as all inactions have reactions, it led to the following exchange with my old pal Valerie at Safeway yesterday morning. “Were you out there Thursday night? It was really amazing.” I replied, ” Do you know what aisle I’d find the rope?”

Now I’m grateful to have caught the sunrise and I realize there will be more sunsets coming down the pike but this one was off the charts and I blew it. And it’s my sworn mission to bring these spectacular moments of awesome beauty to this site. I asked, “why, God why?” And God answered me. ‘Why not?” Lesson learned. You soothe, you lose.

But wait, it gets bitter, er better. Friday night, the clouds were once again gathering, waiting to do their dance at dusk. Unfortunately, I was at a meeting concerning my son’s jump from high school to the NBA, and it ran long. As I exited the building I saw the sky aglow, and this time drove like the new Steve McGarrett to Stockton Avenue just in time to watch the colors fade. Unbelievable!

Back-to-back world class sunsets and I missed them both. But fortunately, I did have a chance to chat briefly with a fellow who had captured this November beauty on his cell phone. In his words, “the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen.” Game, set, match.

On to the late night. “It seems most experts are predicting that Republicans will win back the House tomorrow. When Americans heard that they were like, ‘Wait, we can win back our houses? “President Obama sent out an e-mail encouraging his supporters to take at least three friends with them to vote. That’s not how people vote — that’s how women go to the bathroom.” –Jimmy Fallon “Tuesday was bad for President Obama. Voters threw away the hope and just went for the change.” –Jay Leno

“Republicans are saying, ‘It’s time for a change.’ And Democrats are saying, ‘Stay the course.’ And Charlie Sheen is saying, ‘Where are my pants?’” –Craig Ferguson “In an interview on ‘Entertainment Tonight’ this week, Mary Hart was told by Sarah Palin she may run in 2012 if there was no one to do it. That’s not how you run for President. That’s how you offer to babysit.” –Seth Meyers “Sarah Palin says she wants limited government. Does she mean fewer elected officials or more officials who resign in the middle of their terms? I think limited government will be perfect for her limited abilities.” –David Letterman

“Ohio Republican John Boehner will take over for Nancy Pelosi. Those are some big eyes to fill.” –Jay Leno “John Boehner will be the new speaker unless, out of habit, he blocks his own confirmation.” –Stephen Colbert “It looks like California is on the verge of legalizing marijuana. You thought the haze over L.A. was bad before.” –Jay Leno “Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts went to the polls this morning in California to support Prop 19. Unfortunately, the election was the day before.” –Jimmy Kimmel

So that’s it for this week in politics and photo regrets. Birthday wishes to go out Thursday to my old backcourt mate Doug MacKinnon and his lovely bride Alison, who both decided to be born on the same day. And coming up next week is another guest blog from the photographer Judy Bingham. I guarantee this is one you will not want to miss.

So enjoy the fall skies, the amazing morning light and we’ll catch you deep in the end zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Monta Ellis fans.


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