Good morning and greetings, New Year’s fans. Well, 2011, much like the hopes of my camera not breaking down on me while I was about to shoot Saturday morning’s New Year’s Eve sunrise, is now history. Ah, karma.
It reminds me of the old joke, “What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence? Time to get a new camera.” I could sum up the missed morning experience by paraphrasing the lovely Teri Hatcher from a classic Seinfeld episode, “it was real and it was spectacular.”
This missed morning magnificence then led into Saturday night’s sunset, which had fans lining the coast to check out the super sky along West Cliff Drive. I was in possession of my daughter’s Kodak pocket camera to capture this magic moment, but it just wasn’t quite the same without that Canon in my hand. Yes, size does matter. But with any luck, I’ll display some memorable images from this night before breaking my New Year’s resolution.
When I think about the 365 days that I just crossed off my Justin Bieber calendar, I’m left with the thought of what a wild and wacky year it was. So in honor days of future passed and a Canon trashed, let’s take a quiet stroll down Lois Lane and see what washes up on the memory banks of what’s left of my mind.
The first thing that jumps out is the state of our nation. God bless America, land that I love, where last year President Obama and Congress couldn’t even agree on anything, including whether Michelle should have gone sleeveless on New Year’s Eve. Is it just me, or is something wrong when the approval rating for our elected officials hovers at 1%? As amazing as it was that Barack Obama was elected President, I have to wonder if he and the kids are enjoying the experience? But then again, despite his difficulties in making progress with our economy, I guess he had a better year than Osama Bin Laden or that wacky Khadaffy.
Late night political comedy was off the charts last year, as the Republican presidential candidates provided more material than an Orson Welles’ bathrobe. There were so many statements and foot-in-the-mouth moments to choose from, but I believe the top spot must go to the lovable Herman Cain, who it seems was rolling around in more than dough in his days as the Godfather of pizza.
Just the fact that he could run for the top job in our country with an expertise in mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce is one thing. But to have, for lack of a better term, the basketballs to run for the top office with those skeletons in his closet was just simply amazing. He was definitely Cain but certainly not able.
For us folks here on the central coast, the weather, like my blood pressure when not watching the New York Giants, was relatively stable. But for the rest of the country, it was simply bonkers. Never has there been 365 days of such extreme weather conditions. Texas was brutalized with severe drought conditions, raging wild fires and Rick
Perry. Oklahoma saw massive heat waves and the Oklahoma State football team get screwed out of playing for the BCS national championship. We had killer tornadoes in Missouri and Alabama and massive flooding in Tennesseee. And then Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey, Connecticutt and Vermont, leaving these states in worse shape than the Indianapolis Colts without Peyton Manning.
This weather was more extreme in 2011 than some statements made during the NFL and NBA lockouts, and one has to wonder if this will be the norm from now on or just a one-year cool hand fluke? It made for riveting watching on the nightly news, as I have always been amazed at how diverse the weather is around the fifty states. I mean, an earthquake in New Jersey? This would never have happened if Tony Soprano still had a back office at the Bada Bing club.
And speaking of our 50th state, when the reporters covering President Obama’s Hawaiian vacation were doing their standups, we could see dozens of people swimming in the warm tropical water in the backgound. This is while a good part of the country is shivering. God bless Hawaii. Anywhere you can wake up where the temperature is 72 degrees, the birds and papayas are singing and Steve McGarrett is on patrol is truly a plumeria paradise.
There was much evil and suffering in the world in 2011 and it continues to reign in 2012. What some people continue to do to others on this planet is unspeakable. That is why every day that you wake up with a healthy mind and body is a blessing that should never be taken for granted. Why bad things happen to good people will never be fully answered for me, so I take life one game at a time and always remember to re-up my TiVo programming every 12 days.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that after all the painful and difficult situations people have gone through over the past year, I came out relatively unscathed. Sure there have been moments of me not whistling Dixie (like New Year’s Eve morning,) but the overall picture still looks relatively bright, even if I’m not watching in HD. Both my parents (94 and 85) are still roaming the planet, everyone in my family is healthy, and our golden retriever just got accepted into law school. There’s always plenty of food on the table, so it seems I’m just one lucky boy who has a forum to make a small cyber contribution while displaying a little beauty from life when my camera isn’t on the injured list.
So although the holidays have passed, it’s still looking a lot like Christmas here at Sunrise Santa Cruz, as for our photo replay, we are venturing back to the night of December 25. It was a very spiritual day, as the NBA kicked off its shortened season with five back-to-back games on the inner tube.
But while these millionaires in shorts were jamming and slamming, the evening sky was lighting up like Ray Allen from the three-point stripe, treating holiday beachgoers to this exciting show. I decided to observe the festivities from the sands of Natural Bridges State Beach. It was an entertaining low tide experience, and one that I was excited to share with my mistletoe and menorah fans.
And as a bonus, the final shot is from local photographer Judy Bingman, who made the trek on Christmas Day down to Pfieffer State Beach in Big Sur to capture this spectacular sunset. She had hoped to shoot the light coming through the arch at sunset, but instead had to settle for the panaromic moment of holiday reflection.
So that’s a brief look back at 2011, as we move on to the new year of hope, dreams and NFL and NBA playoffs . And this one is a biggie, as my friends and compatriots from the Fort Lee high school class of 1970 all will be turning the big 60. That’s a frightening number to write, no less say.
So I’m hoping it was a good holiday season. With the latkes and jelly donuts behind me, I can now get back to focusing on the important things in life, like keeping Jason’s high school basketball stats. We’ll catch you making amazing plays from the slot back position. Aloha, mahalo and later, Victor Cruz fans.