Good morning and greetings, President Clinton fans. Well, time continues to fly like an eagle, as my Beyonce calendar says we’re into the merry, merry month of May. Or as the the Dalai Lama once told me, “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” I replied, “You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.” Then the Dali came back with, “Don’t sweat it, for today is tomorrow you worried about yesterday. So I got that going for me, which is good.
So April, much like my hopes of figuring out what we’re still trying to accomplish in Afghanistan, is now history, as another month has been filed into my memory and Tyra Banks.
Alas and Iraq, some rain fell during our fourth month, and one morning
I grabbed my camera and headed up to the Arboretum at UCSC to do a
little California dreaming. I love shooting the flowers when they’re moist, as it makes the experience more enjoyable than catching all the green lights.
Then either coincidentally, ironically or for you Spirit fans, Dr.
Sardonicusly, last Monday, when I decided to feature these flowery
photos in the first blast of the new month, the headline story written
by Cathy Kelly in the Santa Cruz Sentinel was about a memorial service
for the founding director of the Arboretum, Ray Collett, who passed away February 22 at the age of 79.
During my wonder years back in the 1960′s, Ray Collett took about 130
acres of empty pasture land and converted it into a horticultural
wonderland, which today is known for its collections of exotic plants
from Australia, New Zealand, Yankee Stadium and South Africa, as well
as some California beauties. We’re talking about a selection of plants
unmatched anywhere in the world, including my own Garden State of New Jersey.
Much like myself, Ray Collett was a visionary. This oasis of international beauty came about when a gentlemen from Hollister needed a home for his fine collection of eucalyptus trees and Hanukkah bushes.
Today, this lovely piece of real estate overlooking Monterey Bay is a
flowing canvas of space-age looking plants along with gangs of rabbits
and occupying hummingbirds. The current director, Brett Hall, says “The Arboretum is Ray’s Living Memorial.” I hope to be as lucky one day, or at least leave behind a few dandelions, a mulberry bush or a small patch of poison oak.
So what do we really know about flowers? Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said that “flowers are the stars of the earth.” They have been an important part of civilization since before cable. Much like my early modeling years, they have been worshipped for their beauty and grown wherever the grass was green. More importantly, they are given to loved ones to symbolize powerful emotions or when begging for forgiveness.
Like Chaz Bono, flowers can either be male or female. Male flowers
have a stamen that is coated with pollen, thus the derivation of the
words stamina. Hummingbirds, insects and tiny paratroopers fly from
flower to flower and become coated with pollen. The pollen is
eventually transported to a female flower by the pollinator through
various social networking techniques. Flowers use a variety of these
techniques to attract potential pollinators, including tasty nectar,
color displays and offering free websites.
Now here are a some things you may not or may not have wanted to know about flowers. Broccoli is a flower as well as a vegetable, which might explain why I love the beef and broccoli lunch special at Tam’s on
Mission Street. Scientists discovered the world’s oldest flower in 2002, in northeast China. The flower, named Archaefructus sinensis, bloomed around 125 million years ago, resembles a water lily and was found growing in a wheelchair.
According to Better Homes and Garden and Maxim magazine, the
scientific name for plants which produce flowers are called angiosperms, derived from the Greek word “angos” and “sperm” meaning “seed bearing”. The tulip, a symbol of life, love and immortality, actually dates back to the time of Confucius. And as Confucious says, man with one chopstick will go hungry.
And my laurel and hearty congratulations go out to the the Titan Arum.
Not only is it the world’s largest flower it is also the world’s smelliest. This fragrant native of the central Sumatran rainforests is known affectionately as the Corpse Flower for its heady perfume of rotting flesh. Which might lead to the question, “I love your perfume. Is that ten-day old pork chops?
Now to top it off, here are some of my favorite sayings about flowers.
“Earth laughs in flowers”-Ralph Waldo Emerson. “I’d rather have guns
and roses on my table than diamonds on my neck”-Emma Goldman.
Perfumes are the feelings of flowers”-Heinrich Heine.
“I hope some day to meet God, because I want to thank Him for the
flowers”-Robert Brault. “With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures, some books and a freezer full of Haagen-Dazs bars, I live without envy”- Lope de Vega. “Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them”-A Milne.
“We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved. I like flowers, I also like children, but I do not chop their heads and keep them in bowls of water around the house”-George Bernard Shaw. “At my age flowers scare me” -George Burns
On to the late night. “Now allegations are coming out that the Secret
Service were partying with strippers and hookers, not just in Colombia
but in El Salvador, Buenos Aires, Moscow. You got to hand it to these
guys. A lot of us look at the world and say, ‘F**k it.’ These people
actually do it.” –Bill Maher “A new campaign video by Barack Obama
implies that Mitt Romney would not have killed Osama bin Laden if he
had been president. Today Romney shot back. He said not only would he have killed bin Laden, he would have strapped him to the roof of his
car and taken him on vacation with him as well.” –Jay Leno
“Mitt Romney is going to have to pick a vice president and apparently
it is between Chris Christie and the senator from Florida, Marco Rubio. So it’s between a Cuban American and a cubic American. Other people say that Mitt should balance the ticket by picking someone who has taken all of the opposite positions of him, like himself.” –Bill Maher
“New Rule: If the Indians have a rocket that works, but the North Koreans don’t, we have to stop being scared of North Korea and start being scared of India. Now, you may ask, why would the Indians launch a missile at us? Well, as Sarah Palin points out we did steal their land. New Rule: Let’s follow Canada, and get rid of the penny. It costs more to make than it’s worth. And we don’t need another copper-colored reminder that government is a useless, stupid boondoggle. We already have John Boehner.” –Bill Maher
“So let me get this straight. Republicans, you’re annoyed by the arrogance and braggadocio of a wartime President’s political ad. You
think he’s divisively and unfairly belittling his opponents, I see. I have a question: ARE YOU ON CRACK??? Were you alive, lo, these past ten years? It seems unseemly for the President to spike the football. Bush landed on a fucking aircraft carrier with a football-stuffed codpiece; he spiked the football before the game had even started!” -Jon Stewart, blasting GOP hypocrisy over President Obama’s Osama bin Laden ad
That’s our first journey into May. It was a good week on the whale watching front, as the humpbacks are traveling along the coast. Last Thursday there were three hanging in the kelp beds off of West Cliff less than 100 yards off shore. Always a pleasant way to start the day.
And I’m not a big fan of war, but a book written by prize-winning war
correspondent Dexter Filkins titled “The Forever War” is one you will
not want to put down. He was there for the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and when Saddam was toppled in Iraq. It is brutally honest, sad and compassionate. Just something to pick up if you’re looking to do some light reading. Dexter Filkins is simply outstanding and, like myself, incredibly courageous.
So it’s early May and soon to be 38-year-old Derek Jeter is hitting
.397 to go along with a league-leading 48 hits. Too bad he can’t
pitch. We’ll catch you shagging flies in the outfield. Aloha, mahalo
and later, Mariano Rivera fans.