Good morning and greetings, Indian winter fans. I don’t want to say the weather has been pleasant recently, but last week I felt a warm breeze brush up against my cheek and thought, is this really Santa Cruz? It felt more like Hawaii or downtown Fiji. But after this luau of tropical thoughts cleared my mind, I knew this feeling of winter warmth was just temporary, like the crown on my upper right back molar.
But who am I to complain, as the temperatures across the country have been colder than the center of the petite filet I ordered last week at the Sizzler. I have been receiving satellite photos from back east of the snowfall and I am astounded at how much white powder has fallen out of the sky this winter. It’s like the Mexican cartels have taken over the Weather Channel.
Let me pass along a few facts about the fluttering flakes. This January is on record as the snowiest in history. The northeast has had six major snowstorms (we’re talking heavy, wet snow) since Hanukah. Cities like New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Syracuse and Beaver Falls have set new record snowfall totals. Unbelievable! I wish I could be back there to enjoy the blinding snow, black ice and heavy shoveling, but that would require wearing boots, gloves and a jacket, which would be in violation of my eleventh commandment, thou shall always wear shorts and not freeze like a popsicle.
But here it is late January, and the skies have been clearer than my complexion at my senior prom. Last week, the plum trees blossomed at the field where I run my golden retriever, producing thousands of pink flowers that decorated the trees and covered the ground with a layer of color of a pink, creme-filled Hostess Sno Ball. For a Ring Ding Jr. man like myself, this cornucopia of spring colors in the middle of the winter was a visual treat, like any episode featuring the lovely Sofia Vergara on “Modern Family.”
Moving along, much like the Rodney Dangerfield movie classic from 1986, last week I went back to school. I’ve always valued the importance of knowledge and have tried to further my education as much as possible. I want to keep my mind sharp as I battle the middle ages, so I made sure I had my notebook in place and pencils sharpened when I signed in for Traffic School.
Now the reason for this back-to-school moment was, I was traveling a tad above the speed limit on my way to San Francisco in December. Thank God that officer got me on his radar, and when he U-turned around and put on his flashers, a feeling of calm came over me, like angels dusting my face with baby powder. Ever since receiving this ticket to the CHP’s Ball, I have slowed down on the road. It was a valuable lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my life, or at least the next 18 months.
There were so many schools to choose from in the online classroom. There was the Too Lazy For Traffic School, the Not Guilty Traffic School, The Speeders Network and The Comedy School for Less, among others. Being someone who’d like to be in the islands, I chose the Aloha Traffic School. All in all, it was a valuable learning experience about rules and safety on the roadway, as I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun without laughing. I will carry that certificate of completion near to my heart as this is as close as I’m going to get to receiving a master’s degree.
For our photo runway, I was going to blast out a gorgeous winter sunrise, but instead I am upping the ante and bringing out the big guns. This my favorite sunrise from our first month, taken back in January of 2008. Everything came together this night at Natural Bridges as the sky, the clouds, the sand, colors and reflection action were just off the charts. I remembered standing on the beach during the final shots and thinking about how lucky I was to be experiencing this moment of incredible beauty while wondering if I had locked my keys in the car. God gives and I take.
On to the late night. “In the State of the Union address tonight, President Obama focused his speech on how to bring prosperity back to America. It basically involves all of us convincing Oprah we’re her half sister. That’s the plan.” –Conan O’Brien “The Republican response to the President’s State of the Union speech was fairly gracious. They said it was a pretty good speech for a foreigner.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Three Supreme Court justices — Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas — did not attend the State of the Union address. Taking their place was Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson.” –Conan O’Brien
“The White House held a state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao. The cellist Yo-Yo Ma was there. It’s the first yoyo we’ve had in the White House since George W. Bush.” –David Letterman “There was one really awkward moment when Hu found out that Obama was a Nobel Peace Prize winner and, out of force of habit, tried to have him arrested.” –Jay Leno “At the state dinner, Hu opened a fortune cookie that said, ‘You will lend us another trillion dollars.’” –Conan O’Brien
“John Boehner was subject to some controversy because the President hosted President Hu of China this week, and Boehner was invited to the State Dinner and did not come. President Hu was very disappointed. He promised his friends back home that he would get a picture with ‘orange man who leaks.” –Bill Maher “A Washington Post columnist is proposing a ‘Sarah-Palin-Free February,’ a whole month in which she’s not mentioned. This is stupid. Don’t pick February, the shortest month.” –Jay Leno “Egypt is in the second day of angry street protests. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling for calm. Because nothing calms an enraged Arab country like a powerful woman ordering it around.” –Conan O’Brien
“A social networking revolution has started in Saudi Arabia. Over 10 million Saudis are now online. In fact, the most popular social networking site for women in Saudi Arabia: ‘Cover-Your-Facebook.’” –Jay Leno “The U.S. Postal Service announced plans to close an additional 2,000 branches after losing $8.5 billion. Maybe in retrospect, making people wait in line while you slowly finish your bag of fiery hot Cheetos isn’t such a good idea.” Taco Bell pulled its ads during MTV’s new show “Skins” because of its inappropriate content. MTV was like, “Really, Taco Bell? We have inappropriate content? Have you seen what’s inside a chalupa?”–Jimmy Kimmel
So that’s our last blast for January. Birthday wishes go out this Saturday to my friend, confidant and translator for these blogs, Nancy Mager. Nancy is from back in the old country and although she would be too modest to mention it, developed the first recipe for baked ziti. She herself, is quite the Italian dish. When you have a Yankee fan like this in your life, you are very fortunate indeed.
So enjoy the national food and beverage holiday we call Super Bowl Sunday we’ll catch you at the championship trophy presentation. And remember to try and appreciate every day for what it is. Aloha, mahalo and later, Kevin Durant fans.