Good morning and greetings, precipitation fans. Well, we finally got a little moisture here on the central coast, as a quick storm blew in last Monday and dropped about half inch of rain. I know that rainy days and Mondays always got Karen Carpenter down. When I asked Gregg Allman about it, he replied, “They call in stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad.” Unfortunately, I don’t agree with Gregg on this one, but then again, I’ve never been married to Cher.
By mid-February, Santa Cruz has usually received around 20 inches of rain. This year’s total is about 10 inches, which doesn’t have the ski resorts owners in Tahoe turning cartwheels. It’s been an extremely dry year and with no significant rain in the forecast, we’re stuck enjoying clear days and summer-like conditions. When I further queried Gregg Allman on the situation, he replied, “You’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day. Lord knows it makes me high when you turn your love my way.” Hey, Gregg, let’s not get so personal. I was only asking about the weather.
So on that note, what do we really know about rain? And who doesn’t love it when it blows in and breaks up the sunny monotony? Well, on the moist note, here are some fun facts about our friend we know as liquid precipitation.
Rain starts off as ice, snow or Billy crystals at cloud level. Freezing rain is rain that freezes when it hits the ground; sleet is frozen ice pellets and purple rain never meant to cause you any sorrow. B.J Thomas claims that rain drops can travel down to earth at speeds of about 22 miles an hour, and 25 MPH in a school zone.
For those watching their weight, there’s light rain, which is classified at dropping no more than .10 inches an hour, while heavy rain falls at more than .30 an hour. When I asked the lovely Carly Simon about her thoughts on this subject, she claimed, “I haven’t got time for the rain.” Rain drops do not fall in the shape of a teardrop, they but fall in the shape of a flat oval. But as we know, “Too many tear drops for one heart to carry on means you’re going to cry ninety-six tears, you’re going to cry ninety-six years.”
Rain is recycled water that has evaporated from lakes, rivers, hot tubs, oceans, ponds, jacuzzis, streams, bayous and the orca tank at Sea World. Acid rain was first discovered by scientists at the Woodstock Music Festival. And believe it or not, the Statue of Liberty is turning green due to acid rain, as it is made out of copper and the acid dissolves the copper and discolors it. Which brings to mind an old Woody Allen quote, “My love life is terrible. The last time I was inside a woman was when I visited the Statue of Liberty.”
Now let’s play rain geography. Louisiana, which has Mardi Gras coming up this week, is the wettest state in the U.S, receiving an annual rainfall of 56 inches. Mount Waialeale, smack in the middle of the Garden Isle of Kauai, Hawaii, has approximately 350 rainy days every year, which has the ferns singing like the Pointer Sisters. The world’s heaviest average rain fall (about 430 inches) occurs in Cherrapunji, India, where as much as 87 feet of rain has fallen in one year. Yet the locals go about their lives singing, “Gray skies are going to clear up, put on a happy face.”
And finally, under the category of “I did not know that,” the umbrella was originally intended not to protect mankind from falling droplets, but to shade people from the hot sun. The word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra, meaning keep your cranium dry. But who doesn’t love it when those rain drops keep fallin’ on our heads? I believe when it comes to precipitation, my feelings are summed up by Gene Kelly, who’s laughing at the clouds because the sun’s in his heart. “I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again.”
So when it’s raining, I like to grab my camera and head up to the Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz, which is conveniently located just minutes from my westside abode. It has acres and acres of exotic plants and flowers, serves as a research and teaching facility as well as a cool hangout for hummingbirds and their friends. We’re talking wild and rare plants from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, California and New Jersey that are difficult to find in your local yellow pages.
When I’m looking for photographic conditions for shooting plants, the wetter the better. The first three shots are from my most recent expidition while the second three are from any earlier journey to this oasis of exotic color and wonder. I love visiting there after a storm, which conjurs up the words of Woody Allen from the classic ‘Play It Again, Sam.’ “I love the rain – it washes memories off the sidewalk of life.”
On to the late night. Rick Santorum is hoping his three wins in the Republican primaries on Tuesday will postiion him as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. And I think that’s reflected in his new campaign slogan: the other white meat.” –Seth Meyers “Rick Santorum said women might not be suited for military action because their emotions aren’t suited forcombat. Which can mean only one thing: He’s never seen an episode of ‘The View.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Have you noticed Romney doesn’t even blow dry his hair anymore? He dries naturally from Rick Santorum breathing down his neck.” –Jay Leno
“It was a bad night for Newt Gingrich. In terms that Newt can understand, I think the voters told him they want to start seeing other candidates.” –Jay Leno “Newt Gingrich is trying to save his campaign by focusing only on areas where he has the most support. So he’s mostly focusing on Georgia, Tennessee, and the Cheesecake Factory.” –Conan O’Brien
“Mitt Romney said today that he learned something. There are things that money can’t buy — like Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri. “Romney’s campaign is in such bad shape, today he moved the part in his hair even further to the right.” –Jay Leno “Mitt Romney is trying hard to connect with voters. He seems like he’s too affluent. Romney was talking about his father’s humble beginnings as a carpenter. He said, ‘I’ll never forget the day my dad started building our fourth beach house.’” –Conan O’Brien
Birthday wishes on Wednesday go out to George Washington, Dr. J, Julius Erving and my brother Paul. Back in the late 70′s, Paul left the warm, cozy confines of our oceanfront home on West Cliff Drive to pursue his destiny in New York. I stayed behind and watched whales, pelicans and roller skaters cruise by along the cliff and prepare for this blog. He went on to become a CNN producer and sports anchor in Atlanta and the NBA ‘s Entertainment’s Director of Video Promotions while I counted clouds and watched the sun dip into the Pacific.
Now we are both raising teenagers, still marveling at the New York Giant’s playoff run and beyond amazed at the meteoric rise of Palo Alto’s Jeremy Lin. To coin the phrase my brother brought into the league’s venacular, “NBA action is fantastic.” So is it having a brother like him. And as Bob Hope says, “I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom.
So that’s our Rainn Wilson report. Our final word on precipitation belongs to that smooth lefthander Jimi Hendrix, who said, “Rainy day, dream away, let the sun take a holiday.” And speaking of which, I was in a celebration mode on Saturday, when at age 59 years and 49 days, I had my best day on the basketball court since my wife bore us children. Hitting the three, spinning in the lane, throwing no-look passes, I was in the zone and on fire. And yes, there were witnesses.
This day was a blessing for me and my catch and shoot game. So maybe my future isn’t so far behind me. We’ll catch you exploding to the hoop. Aloha, mahalo and later, Russell Westbrook fans.