Good morning and greetings, winter solstice fans. According to the Farmer’s Almanac and my NBA schedule, the days are now getting longer, as gone away is the blue bird, here to stay is Larry Bird, as we frolicked and played, with five games on Christmas Day, watching in a winter wonderland.
Yes, the seasons have changed here on the central coast, and for the most part the skies have been clearer than the roads on Christmas morning. The winter air has turned chillier than President Obama’s presence at a Tea Party clam bake. And luckily for me, my home here on the upper west side was built insulation free, so I never have to worry about things getting too stuffy. I’m just fortunate that I prefer my wine and women the same way; slightly chilled.
So you know that I like to keep you up-to-date on my early morning ramblings. There was a spectacular sunrise last Monday and then a pretty good one on Friday, but due to circumstances that were way beyond my patrol, very little of these mornings of color on parade will grace the pages of Sunrise Santa Cruz. But the good news is that they’d be perfect for my new site, missedsunrisesofsantacruz.com.
It’s always interesting the way these mornings work, as the days when I’m poised and waiting, there’s been no drama in the sky, or at least not the Rose Parade of colors one expects from this site. Then, when I wasn’t emotionally available, the sky blew up once and then twice. Lionel Ritchie then called and said, “congratulations, you’re three times a lady.”
Normally, I’m as prepared for these morning exercises as Mitt Romney answering questions about $10,000 bets, but I should have listened to my astrologer when she said last week was not in the stars. That’s funny, because she didn’t mention anything during my palm reading.
The reason I bring this up is to let you know that at this middle-age stage in life, I am still very much a work in progress, and these mornings of missed opportunities are just a reminder that I am really in control of nothing except my remote. At this point in the aging process, I’m not sure if I’m getting older or just ripening.
December is one of those prime time sunrise and sunset months, but on the precipitation front, the central coast has been drier than North Dakota when it entered the Union. But while we are experiencing fog-free, sunny days, last week the midwest and Rockies saw more drifts of white powder than a backstage party with Led Zeppelin. This deadly snowstorm halted travel throughout the Great Plains as we’re talking blizzarding snow, howling winds and icy road conditions which created havoc for those heading home for the holidays. Now if only the ski operators in Tahoe could be so lucky.
But this being the final blast of 2011, I want to end the year with a bang for the ages. So we are going back into the photo archives and returning to the morning of my all-time favorite sunrise from the month of December. We’re talking a world-class, state of-the-art experience, one that you want to wake up your friends and ancestors for.
Now there are good sunrises, great sunrises and then there are ones that are off the chart. This is one from the category of the spectacular. It was back in 2006, a much gentler time when members of Congress still had a little dignity.
It was the day after a huge swell hit the central coast. This blessed event of high surf just added to the pagentry of the morning, as although I was shooting at low tide, a rather large pool of water remained next to the cliffs along Its Beach. This stroke of luck allowed me to capture the outrageous reflection from the clouds (photos three and four) on this golden pond, a sight I have not seen before or since this glorious morning.
This dawn experience had a little bit of everything, as the sky put on an award-winning show with color changes were simply amazing. We went through a series of various shades of red, orange, yellow and white, and this was all before the sun came up over Steamer’s Lane (photo eight.)
And, as an added bonus, the clouds in the western sky (photo six) were as spectacular as I’d ever seen, with pink swirls of ribbon that made this morning a 360 degree extravaganza.
Sunrises like this are few and far between. When I look back upon the images from this morning, I realize how lucky I am to be living in a place where you can show up for an event like this without a ticket and grab a front row seat. And no cover charge.
On to the late night. “Kim Jong Il, the crazy leader of North Korea who hated us, passed away over the weekend. And get this — his 28-year-old son, Kim Jong Un is taking over. It won’t be easy. He’s got some big women’s sunglasses to fill.” –Jimmy Fallon “North Korea announced the passing of their supreme leader, Kim Jong Il. His younger son will take over. At first, there was speculation that power could pass to one of Kim’s two sisters, Kourtney Jong Il or Khloe Jong Il.” –Jay Leno
“Kim Jong Il made his staff call him ‘dear’ and spent the day drinking cognac. It’s like I have a twin, ladies and gentlemen. The family is saying now that in lieu of flowers for Kim Jong Il, they encourage you to send enriched uranium.” –David Letterman “When Rick Perry was told about Kim Jong Il, he said, ‘I never heard of him, but then again, I don’t listen to that rap.’” –Jay Leno
“Last night Rick Perry compared himself to Tim Tebow. The difference? Tim Tebow actually has a prayer. The candidates all have their position on the Federal Reserve. Ron Paul is anti-Fed. Mitt Romney is pro-Fed. And Newt Gingrich is over-Fed.” –Jay Leno “On the campaign trail, Ron Paul said he does not like his milk homogenized. After this, Rick Perry said, ‘I am also not a fan of gay milk.’” –Conan O’Brien
“In Sioux City, Iowa, there was another debate between the seven Republicans running for president. All your favorites were there: Grumpy, Dopey, the other Dopey, Romney, Bashful, another Dopey, and Happy. “This was the 427th of 2,000 debates to be held between now and when President Obama is re-elected. There are so many debates. For a group of people who don’t want the government interfering in our lives a lot, they interfere in our lives a lot.” –Jimmy Kimmel
So this brings down the curtain for 2011. As I look back upon the year, it’s reassuring to know that our efforts in Iraq were not for naught and that a new civil war hasn’t broken out. But that would be looking at our war efforts as half-empty, and I’m no longer that type of guy.
So savor your family and friends and be grateful for your health and good fortune. We’ll catch you in 2012. Aloha, mahalo and later, Vanessa Bryant fans.