Good morning and greetings, NFL playoff fans. Well, the world-wide weather picture has gotten off to a flying start in 2011, as there was horrific flooding in Australia, torrential rain and killer mudslides in Brazil and enough snowfall back east as to waltz into a winter wonderland. Gone away is the bluebird, here to stay is Lobster Newburg.
The big news this week continues to come out of the desert in Tucson, Arizona, where the nation tried to make sense of the tragedy that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. This shooting by a deranged gunman played out all over the world and led my daughter to ask, “Dad, do you own a gun?”
Now the Beatles said “happiness is a warm gun” but I’ve always been more of a Guns N’ Roses, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” kind of guy. My first thought was to tell her, yeah, it’s in my bottom drawer, next to the hand grenades and my missle launcher. But that would have been wrong. Let me state for the record that I do not own a gun, water pistol, pea shooter, rifle, shotgun, sling shot, bazooka, machine gun or sherman tank.
The only time I’ve fired a weapon was during riflery at summer camp, and I will admit I enjoyed checking the target to see my marksmanship. However, that was the only time I was packing any heat, although a couple of times I’ve left my house concealing my garage door opener on my belt.
Since I’m not a policeman, prison guard or currently in the military, I really have no interest in drawing my weapon and firing at anyone. I do my shooting with a camera, and all my aiming is to please. The concept of shooting someone, with the exception of any Taliban, Al Queda or the boogie man does not really appeal to me.
It’s not so much that I’m a pacifist, it’s just that I’m allergic to bullets. Or as Woody Allen once told me, “years ago, my mother gave me a bullet and I put it in my breast pocket. Two years after that, I was walking down the street, when a berserk evangelist heaved a Gideon bible out of a hotel room window, hitting me in the chest. Bible would have gone through my heart if it wasn’t for the bullet.”
Now I normally don’t quote the President of the United States or the American League in these pages, but in case you missed the Obama eulogy in Tucson, I thought I’d pass on a few words. Barack Obama said he wanted to “make sense out of that which seems senseless. When a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations – to try to impose some order on the chaos. But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”
He added these words when speaking of nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, who was gunned down while meeting her congresswoman at the local Safeway. “I want us to live up to her expectations. I want her democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”
These are the kind of words I enjoy hearing coming out of the mouth of our elected leader rather than “mission accomplished.” They were written by the President, chief speechwriter Jon Favreau, senior adviser David Axelrod and Cody Keenan, a former writer for late Senator Edward Kennedy. The reason I mention this is because unlike the President, I wrote this post alone, with an assist from my spellchecker/senior grant writer Nancy Mager of Tucson, who drove by the shooting site twenty minutes before it happened and was horrified that this tragedy happened in her wacky, gun-loving state.
Let’s move from lack of gun control to something a little more colorful and relaxing. Today’s photosynthesis brings us back to the lovely sands of Natural Bridges State Beach on the evening of January 6. It was a night of intense color and big waves, as the swell was pumping and surfers were out in droves. And if you check out photos two and five, I actually caught a couple of wet-suited boys in action with my tow-in photography. It’s like I always said, if it swells, write it.
As you can see, the heavens turned some lovely shades of orange, red and purple, just another winter sky on Santa Cruz’s north shore. Colors like this always pump me up, which is the same feeling I got watching the world’s most dangerous closer, Kobe Bryant, going up against the Warriors on Wednesday night. Both the sunset that night and Kobe’s late game heroics were performances you see once in a lifetime. No two are the same and then they are gone in a flash, not to be repeated because last time I checked, nobody was TiVoing sunsets.
Let’s head to the late nite. “Sarah Palin’s reality show will not be returning as she contemplates a possible run for president in 2012. When a candidate walks away from a reality show, that’s when you know they’re serious about being president of the United States. A new study shows that a woman’s tears can chemically lower the level of testosterone in a man. When that happens, the man will also start to cry and then eventually be elected speaker of the House.” –Jay Leno “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a speech urging Arab leaders to enact real reforms. Halfway through the speech, Arab leaders looked at each other and asked, “Why is a woman talking?” –Conan O’Brien
“The two biggest websites right now are Wikipedia, where you go to learn about things you care about, and Facebook, where you go to learn about people you stopped caring about years ago.” –Craig Ferguson “There’s a new website that allows you to use Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, surf the web, and read all the news in one place. That one place is called “work.” –Conan O’Brien
“So far this winter, it has snowed in 49 out of 50 states, but not Florida. So now, your grandparents can complain that the snow doesn’t visit them either.”–Jimmy Kimmel “Astronomers discovered the smallest star in a far-away galaxy, called a dwarf star. I had about 50 jokes about the dwarf star and, what a coincidence. They all ended with Tom Cruise.”–David Letterman
So in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, Jason and I are headed up to the Oracle Arena today to see the Warriors take on the Carmelo Anthony-less Nets. Last year when we went my growing boy brought a sign, “I also have a dream-the Warriors in the playoffs.” I couldn’t have been any prouder. Like son, like father.
So let me leave you with the most famous of quotes from Dr. King from 1963. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’” That is, everyone except Michael Jordan in his prime.
And Warrior fans all over the bay area share in his dream, as despite years of ineptness ny management, they have risen up in their seats and shouted in unison, “oh, deep in my heart, we do believe, we shall overcome and make the playoffs some day.”
A final thought. I took my all-time favorite sunrise shot back on Dr. King’s birthday back in 2005, so this day is special in many ways. So enjoy what’s left of the three-day weekend and we’ll catch you running a cross pattern. Aloha, mahalo and later, Dorell Wright fans.