Good morning and greeting, crosstown traffic fans. The voodoo child himself, Jimmy Hendrix, once said, “rainy day, dream away.” At this stage of my life, which is far off Broadway, I’m more of a “rainy day, shoot away” fan, which means the sun can take a holiday.
So back on a gray, dreary morning in April, as a light rain fell, I grabbed my camera and a picnic basket full of freshly baked antioxidants and headed up to place full of color and enchantment, the Aboretum at UCSC.
I managed to stay awake during the five minute drive and by the
time I arrived at the front gate, the rain and my arches had stopped falling. I love shooting close ups of flowers after the rain, as the moisture just adds to the beauty of the moment. Which leads me into my favorite line about precipitation from the master Woody Allen. “I love the rain-it washes the memories off the sidewalk of life.”
The UCSC Aboretum is located on the campus of my alma mater, the University of California at Santa Cruz, where back in the late 70′s I received a degree as a double major in sociology and pick up basketball. It was originally part of the massive land holdings of pioneer settler Henry Cowell, who when he told people of his vast real estate empire, would often hear the reponse, “holy Cowell.” Rest assured, this is information you won’t find on Wikipedia.
The Arboretum and my journey into manhood began in 1964, with a gift of about 80 species of eucalyptus, a lemon pound cake and handful of magic beans. This piece of Santa Cruz unreal estate occupies one of the most highly favorable horticultural sites on the planet. The unique weather and topographic diversity are like few places in the world and the soil is as fertile as the Ocotmom.
The Arboretum then started importing plants from all over the southern hemisphere, and if you are a fan of exotic-looking flowers like the space-age South African protea, than there is no better place to come and feast your eyes. This is the main course for today’s photo six pack. Hundreds of species from down under were sent to this garden spot and grown for the first time in America, creating the largest collection of Australian plants outside of Crocodile Dundee’s back yard.
So what we’re talking about is acres and acres of gorgeous plants from all around the world living the good life overlooking Monterey Bay. I highly recommend checking it out as I always have a certain glow when I leave this place. Or maybe that’s just the radiation.
Unfortunately, April showers bring more than April flowers. The grand ol’ Mississippi River set a record for high water level last week at Natchez, Mississippi. This was not a mark farmers, casino owners or river boat captains were looking for Mother Nature to
break. Because of a huge snow melt and a very wet spring, the river is swamping towns, millions of acres of farmland while doing wonders for the sand bag business. This newest disaster is
causing billions of dollars in damage and the full extent won’t be known till the river crests, as four of five dentists recommend Crest for their patients whose houses are now submerged
So you may be wondering, how fast is the water really traveling? Well, according to Michelle Bryner of Life’s Little Mysteries on MSNBC.com, the Mississippi River is currently flowing at 2 million cubic feet per second in Memphis, which is comparable to a football field of water at a height of 44 feet per second.
Another way to look at it: If you were to stand at one point in the river, it would be as though 2 million basketballs of water were moving past you every second. The NBA and Mississippi River, where amazing happens.
My favorite river to spell is about 2,350 miles long. It starts up in Minnesota and passes through of Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana and Mississippi before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the flood conditions, animals have been forced to vacate their homes and condos, including a lovely little snake known as the water moccasin, which has headed for the trees and people’s homes.
Much like the East German Olympic team, they are strong swimmers, and their deadly fangs will put a crimp in your day, unless you’re not bothered by tissue damage. And it gets even better for wildlife fans, as the flood waters also contain alligators, spiders, rats, bats, gnats, cats, fire ants and uncles. So you might want to check with a lifeguard or exterminator before
entering the water.
On to the late night. “Al-Qaida has not yet picked a new leader to run their terrorist organization. Apparently, candidates keep losing interest after asking, ‘What happened to the last guy?’” –Conan O’Brien “Apparently Osama took a lot of Viagra. That’s why they thought he was armed.” –David Letterman “The White House announced that the $50 million reward for Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts won’t be going to anyone. Then China was like,
‘Wanna bet?’” –Jimmy Fallon
“Osama Bin Laden’s supporters want to rename the Arabian Sea where his body was dumped Martyr Sea. Really? Martyr Sea? Hiding in your bedroom for six years? How about Chicken of the Sea? It seems the country of Packalies, I mean Pakistan, is threatening to end cooperation with the U.S. What are they
going to do, cut off our heroin?” –Jay Leno
“Sarah Palin said Obama should stop ‘pussyfooting around’ and release the photos. Yes, because the guy who ordered the SEALs into a sovereign country without permission and killed public enemy number one is a pussy, and the woman who quit her job as the governor of a state with no people after half a term and won’t do an interview with anyone but Greta Van Susteren is a bad-ass. Right.” –Bill Maher “In the wake of President Obama’s decision to
not release pictures of Osama bin Laden’s body, a number of new conspiracy theories are surfacing claiming that bin Laden is not really dead. Which means Barack Obama will go down in
history as the first black person ever to have to prove that he killed someone.” –Seth Meyers
“The unemployment rate went up last month for the first time since November. But on the bright side, I hear a senior management position just opened up at al-Qaida.” –Jimmy Fallon “The identity of the Navy Seals that killed Osama bin Laden is being kept secret. It’s for their own safety. It’s to keep them from being high-fived to death.” –Jimmy Kimmel “The CIA is going
through the stuff they found in Osama bin Laden’s compound, including a diary. They haven’t read it yet because they can’t find the little key to open it up.”– Craig Ferguson
David Letterman’s “Top Five Questions on the Application to Replace Osama bin Laden” 10. “How many threats per minute can you type?” 7. “How do your co-terrorists describe you?”
6. “What is the current bounty on your head?” 2. “Were you bar mitzvahed?” 1. “What are your long-term goals, besides not getting killed by Navy SEALs?”
“The safest delivery driver at UPS recently logged 4 million miles without an accident. He’s being awarded UPS’s highest honor: long pants.”–Jimmy Fallon “President Obama gave a speech about how great it is to have immigrants in our country. Maria Shriver may give the rebuttal.”–Jay Leno
“Oreo is planning to unveil a 3-cookie Double Stuff Oreo with an extra layer of cream called the “Triple Double.” The other name they considered was “Rocket Ship to Planet Diabetes.”–Conan O’Brien “A Dairy Queen in Canada broke a world record this week by creating a 10-ton ice cream dessert. Or as we call that in America, “a medium.”–Jimmy Fallon
So another week is now in the books. Enjoy the NBA conference finals and we’ll catch you in the low block. Aloha, mahalo and later, Kevin Durant fans.