May 1, 2011

From Sea To Shining Sea Lion

Good morning and greetings, Crimson Tide fans. I have been keeping my semi-loyal, subscription-free readers up-to-date about the tornadoes that have been ravaging the south and midwest. Now, you may be wondering, Geoff, (if I may call myself that), what is this obsession with tornadoes? Why not the Olds Toronado? With so much else going on in the world, why are you so interested in these twisters?

It’s a simple answer, my friends and compatriots. I love exotic weather. Much like the question and answer section of the Miss Universe Contest, severe weather conditions have always fascinated me. As I write this, it could be pounding snow in Lake Tahoe, pouring rain in Missouri, hot and humid in West Palm Beach and 82 degrees and perfect on the North Shore of Oahu. Or as my son Jason once said about island weather, “cloudy with a chance of paradise.”

So last week it was Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that felt the full brunt of the devastating effects of the most recent killer twisters. This has been the second deadliest tornado outbreak in history, as twisters a mile wide with 200 MPH winds wiped out neighborhoods in seconds on their killing path. These aren’t just your every day incredibly terrifying tornadoes, they’re super tornadoes that the boys and girls at the Weather Channel haven’t witnessed in years.

The atmosphere, much like Memphis Grizzly fans, have been in a frenzy as the jet stream keeps blasting along the country, as warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico keeps feeding these super cell thunderstorms that produce monster tornadoes. And here’s the kicker, sports fans. April is not the number one tornado month. The crown is held by Miss May.

What blows me away about tornadoes is the incredible quickness of its destructive powers. When a fire burns down your house, it’s a fairly slow process as the flames take their time in wreaking their havoc. With a tornado, it’s a couple of seconds and everything is gone. Your home, your memories, your sofa, gone before you could say “what happened to Katie Couric?” Tuscaloosa will not be the same for a long, long time as we’ve learned it’s not just the little towns that the twisters pick on.

Now let’s move on to today’s subject at hand. I’m a big fan of the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. Now, it’s not because the “Locals Only” parmesan crusted chicken in a bed of garlic mashed potatoes at the Firefish Grill or Gilda’s $8.95 Prime Rib Special, which is one of the best bargains in town. It’s because of the pelicans, gulls, boys, eels, seals, tiger shrimp and sea lions that can be found along this pier. Well, that and the crispy french bread that kicks off the Gilda experience.

I had lunch their last week, and while I was enjoying my vegetarian tri-tip plate, a whale surfaced in the bay, less than 200 yards off shore. It was spectacular, much like the scalloped potatoes and clam chowder that come with this Tuesday $9.95 special. Seeing this magnificent creature rising up out of the water reminded me that only at the edge of the continent does this kind of magic happen. And at Sea World when Shamu is in the mood.

When visiting this local landmark, one can always check out sea lions languishing on the pilings, sleeping atop of one another on the boat landings or swimming in small groups off the pier. But on this day, as you can see in photos one and two, I caught a group hundreds of sea lions rafting just twenty to thirty yards off the wharf. It was a spectacular sight, as most were just relaxing after a fish and chips lunch. What made it more even more interesting was the sound of their heavy breathing, the kind I hadn’t heard since my early telemarketing days.

I had never experienced a gathering this large. I returned the next three days but there was no sight of this massive sea lion colony. So once again, it’s all about capturing the moment, as my venturing to Gilda’s for the freshly caught prime rib paid off big-time. It was a day that came along with a choice of potato or rice that I will truly never forget.

Now here are a few fun facts about our friends the sea lions. They don’t drink water, lemonade or ice tea as they get all the water from the food they eat. Thus, you will never see a baby sea lion with a sippy cup. Much like many of my older relatives back east, they do not chew their food and just swallow their fish whole, which is easy when it’s gefilte.

Sea lions love to dine on fish, squid, pro quo, octopus, pasta, shellfish, insensitive, crustaceans, and lemon grass spring rolls. They are among the most vocal mammals, as the bark, bite, growl, roar, snore, grunt, chant, whisper, honk and give the middle finger salute. Even though I live over two miles from the wharf, I can hear them barking in the morning. Now if I could just hear my wife when she calls me from upstairs, I could get rid of that damn baby monitor.

Sea lions get very nervous when they are in the same room with sharks, killer whales and IRS agents. They can sleep both in and out of the water, but hear better under water. Like I tend to do at pool parties, when sea lions deep dive, they slow down their heart rate to allow them to remain underwater for ten minutes before resurfacing. But unlike these sleek, exotic mammals, I always like to have a big beach towel and a cocktail waiting for me when I resurface.

On to the late night. “The White House Easter egg roll was held yesterday. It was a great opportunity for kids from all over the country to come to the White House and look for the president’s birth certificate.” –Jimmy Kimmel “President Obama hosted the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. It was a little awkward though. Donald Trump showed up and demanded to see each egg’s birth certificate.” –Jimmy Fallon “The good news is, President Obama was born in America. The bad news is, so was Donald Trump.”–Jay Leno

“Donald Trump is now attacking President Obama’s grades, suggesting that he was a poor student. First it was the birth certificate, and now the grades. Trump won’t be happy until he proves that Obama doesn’t exist. Donald Trump says he’s glad the focus is off President Obama’s birth certificate, and now he’s demanding to see President Lincoln’s death certificate.’–Jimmy Kimmel “Trump was in New Hampshire, where they have the presidential primaries, and he was testing the waters to see if the country Is ready for a buffoon.”–David Letterman

“A study found Americans spend $1.2 trillion every year on stuff they don’t need. Or as Republicans call it, health care. New York just passed a law that allows same-sex conjugal visits for prisoners. Isn’t that pretty much what prison is?” –Jimmy Fallon “New Jersey had a governor, married, who decided he was a homosexual, and he was having so much fun being a homosexual that he didn’t want to be governor any more, and now he wants to become a Catholic priest. I’m just going to leave the punchline up to you.” –David Letterman

“It’s my birthday. Sadly, the celebration was marred when Letterman demanded to see my birth certificate.”–Jay Leno “One of Charlie Sheen’s “goddesses” broke up with him because she wants to live in a less dangerous environment. The same day that Charlie Sheen loses a goddess, all of a sudden, Katie Couric announces that she’s leaving CBS News. Coincidence?”–Jimmy Kimmel “A new study found that students who use Facebook while studying have 20 percent lower grades than students who focus. When kids who use Facebook heard that they were like, “20 percent? Big deal. What’s that, like 10 percent?”–Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our first verbal barrage for May. The first eight series of the NBA playoffs concluded on Friday, and it’s the best opening round I can remember since Woodstock. Round two, like the feel of the trade winds blowing on the North Shore, should be fantastic. So enjoy the May flowers and we’ll catch you screening on the baseline. Aloha, mahalo and later, Zach Randolph fans.

1 Comment »

  1. For some reason, reading this post this morning made me hungry. What’s for dessert?

    Comment by Tony Allen — May 2, 2011 @ 8:06 am

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