Good morning and greetings, NFL training camp fans. Well, the glow from a week in paradise is still with me, but the memories of the sweet papayas and warm trade winds are growing fainter by the day, much like the chances of Sarah Palin being invited to perform her stand-up routine at the GOP convention. I have slowly readjusted to mornings on the central coast, which I like to refer to as the “Seven Shades of Gray.”
This is not a complaint, just an observation of the everpresent marine layer that makes me feel like I’m stationed at Camp Pendleton. Or in the words of Ronald Reagan. “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they have made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.” Nor do the Kardashians.
I believe it was either David or Robert Frost who once said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the toll road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” I love cruising down this weekly cyber highway of adventure. I remember telling my babysitter back in my first year of colllege, “Never be afraid to do something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic.”
So that’s the thought that I bring to this posting every week. I’m hoping in some small way that my photos and thoughts are making a difference in people’s cyber existence. In the words of Tom Brokaw, “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” And I believe it was either Joyce or Val Kilmer who once told me, “Poems are made by fools like me, but at crunch time, only God can make a three.” Okay, so I’m NBA paraphrasing.
So let’s get down to business. July 2012 will be remembered for its brutal, scorching, unrelenting heat. Highways were buckling, planes were trapped on runways in melted asphalt while the earth cracked all over the midwest. July was hotter than the U.S. Women’s gymnastic team’s Q Rating, which right now is higher than a Michael Phelp’s Louis Vuitton ad.
In a story written by Seth Borenstein for the Associated Press, it has been officially confirmed by federal scientists and the cast of “Baywatch” that this past July was the hottest month ever recorded in the lower 48 states. Climate scientist Jake Crouch of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center was standing up straight when he said, “It’s a pretty significant increase over the last record.” In the past, skeptics of global warming have pointed to the Dust Bowl and the New York Giants victory in the Super Bowl to argue that the recent heat isn’t unprecedented.
But Crouch says the current year “is out and beyond those Dust Bowl years.” The average temperature in July was 77.6 degrees. That breaks the old record from July 1936 by 0.2 degree. Records go back to 1895, CDs to 1979 and 8-Track tapes to 1964, when the Beatles and Rolling Stones first sailed to America and landed on the Ed Sullivan Show.
The first seven months of 2012 were the warmest on record for the nation. And August 2011 through July this year was the warmest 12-month period on record. According to Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the record in July isn’t such a big deal. “But the fact that the first seven months of the year are the hottest on record is much more impressive from a climate standpoint, and highlights the fact that there is more than just natural variability playing a role: Global warming from human activities has reared its head in a way that can only be a major warning for the future.” In the words of Al Gore and Foreigner, “Urgent, urgent, emergency.”
As of this writing, 63 percent of the nation is experiencing drought conditions. 70 wildfires are burning in 13 states west of the Mississippi. Two million acres were scorched in July. Throughout the midwest, the massive heat has warmed lakes up to 80 degrees plus, causing massive fish n’ chips kills. If this is the new normal, then we’re all in trouble. Or as Whoopie Goldberg once told Billy Crystal, “Normal is nothing more than a cycle on the washing machine.”
We’ll end this subject with a thought from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who took a moment to blast some colleagues and climate change contrarians.
“The seriousness of this problem is not lost on your average American. A large majority of people finally believe climate change is real, and that it is the cause of extreme weather. Yet despite having overwhelming evidence and public opinion on our side, deniers still exist, fueled and funded by dirty energy profits.
“These people aren’t just on the other side of this debate. They’re on the other side of reality. And don’t get me started on Mitt Romney and his tax returns.”
For today’s photo fondue, we are returning to the skies of the Garden Isle. Because of the Patriot Act, I decided to photograph each morning’s sunrise on Anahola Bay. What we are looking at are the peak moments from Tuesday through Monday, with Thursday taking the day off. Things really got interesting on Friday (photo #3), when the clouds turned vivid orange and red in a display of the color that I had never seen in the islands, either at sunrise or dusk. It was world-class, all the way. Or as one local told me, “I’ve never seen a sunrise this vibrant. And you have such soft hands.”
On the to the late night. “Mitt Romney kept his selection of Ryan as his VP nominee secret for more than a week. You know how he was able to keep it secret? He had it hidden next to his tax returns. Ever since it was announced Sarah Palin will not be speaking at the Republican Convention, the Romney campaign has been flooded with thousands of texts and emails demanding that she be allowed to speak… all from President Obama.” –Jay Leno
“During the announcement, Mitt Romney said that he and Paul Ryan are ‘America’s Comeback Team.’ You know, as in ‘come back in four years and try again.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Romney and Ryan kind of look like a father and son in an ad for Super Cuts.” –Jimmy Kimmel
“Paul Ryan’s plan is to cut government spending with his razor-sharp widow’s peak…You could open a can of beans with that.” –Jimmy Kimmel “It was a great Olympics – Team USA finished the games with 17 more medals than China. China said it was tough to swallow – especially when they had to make all of our “We’re #1” T-shirts.” –Jimmy Fallon
Let’s end on a political note. According to NBC News, as of last Thursday, the spending on the 2012 presidential radio and TV ads has now surpassed the half billion mark. With $37 million spent just last week, the total is now $512 million. That’s about as much as was spent on the 2008 campaign, and it’s not even Labor Day.
The money goes to TV stations and the networks. Just in case you were wondering what other ways you could spend $500 million, you could feed 9.2 million malnourished children for 50 days, immunize 29 million children for life or provide clean water for 500 million children for 40 days. Instead, it’s just buying attack ads on TV stations. That’s obscene. Think anyone in America is hungry? Homeless? It’s disgraceful.
So on that happy thought, enjoy the warm days of August and remember this site is all about beauty and laughter. We’ll catch you showing everyone why you’re the only player in baseball, along with “Say Hey” Willie Mays, to have 3,000 hits, 1,200 RBI’s, 300 steals and 250 homers,. Aloha, mahalo and later, Derek Jeter fans.