October 28, 2012

Whoa, Deer, What Can The Matter Be?

Good morning and greetings, Giants fans. What a tremendous time it is for Bay Area sports fans. The Giants are once again World Series champions, the 49ers are a powerhouse in the NFL and the Oakland A’s are coming off one of the most amazing seasons in baseball history. Throw in the Warriors, who if healthy, should be a playoff contender and that leaves just the Raiders, who still boast the Raiderettes. That’s commitment to sideline excellence.

And come December, the D-League Santa Cruz Warriors hit the floor at the Kaiser Permanante Arena. It should be semi-NBA fantastic. In the words of former Warrior general manager Dick Vertleib, ” Basketball is the second most exciting indoor sport and the other one shouldn’t have spectators.”

Former player turned analyst, Charles Barkley, who has put his foot in his mouth on air more than a baby chinchilla, once said of his fellow NBA players, “They run like deer, jump like deer and think like deer.” And that leads us into today’s topic.

I’ve been spending a good deal of time this past month up on the hill at UC Santa Cruz, where I’ve been observing the landscape and wildlife. The latter would include rabbits, squirrels, black crows, Russell Crowe, hawks, doves, pacifists, hummingbirds, a bobcat and one wily coyote.

But the animal that take center stage among the redwoods are the deer, as I have seen Bambi, Thumper, Donner, Blitzen and a cast of hundreds. Up in the woods, they have no fear of flying or humans as they casually munch away at the all-you-can-eat-brunch of trees, bushes and foreign exchange students.

Every once in a while you see them cross the road to move onto another meadow. Fortunately in California, we observe the pedestrian right of way, which means you must stop for deer at corners or crosswalks, even if it’s in an open field setting. What this means is that Bambi and her friends can come and go as they please and not have to worry about being mowed down by a Toyota Forerunner on it’s way down the hill.

But this doesn’t hold true for the rest of the nation. In a story written by Justin Hyde for Yahoo News, a new study has found that car-deer crashes are rising sharply after a few years of decline. This is just in time for the peak season, when the most deer in the northern and eastern parts of the U.S. are likely to play Russian Roulette along the interstate.

The combination of too many cars and too many deer is a deadly one, as research from the Look Out, Bambi Institute has found that about 200 people a year die on the roads in crashes caused by darting deer.

State Farm Insurance used its claims data to research the problem and estimated that deer and a family of porcupine hit 1.23 million vehicles between July 2011 and June 2012, which is up about 8% from last year. According to my calculations, over a 12 month period, that equates to over 100,000 of God’s little creatures being nailed on the road per month, which is not just a danger to them but to drivers throughout. But Pablo Picasso wouldn’t buy this. As he once said, “I don’t believe in accidents. There are only encounters in history.”

Well, my Spanish friend, I wish you had told me that a couple years ago when two drivers nailed my Nissan Maxima twice in a year, causing over $4,000 in damage each time. Fortunately, like a good neighbor, State Farm was there and took care of me. I don’t want to say that I drive defensively now, but I’m like a savant as far as anticipating potential hazards rather than just reacting to them. And remember, please don’t squeeze the shaman.

Most of this unfortunate action between man and venison occurs in the northern, eastern and in a few southern states. But the west coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so tanned. State Farm says the worst state in terms of nailing a deer is West Virginia, where a driver has a 1 in 40 chance of hitting in deer in the next 12 months. However, the odds are 1 in 60 in striking up an intelligent conversation with a Tea Party member.

South Dakota, Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania are the next four states where the buck doesn’t stop here. The least likely state to hit a deer is Hawaii, where you are more likely to run over a plate lunch of chicken katsu, which includes two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad.

So what’s the cause of the rise in deer related accidents? Well, you could point your finger at the deer population, as these herds have grown larger than Justin Bieber’s ego. We’re talking more than 20 million deer, and that’s with hunter’s playing pop-a-shot each fall during hunting season. A bigger deer population means more animals crossing the roads in search of food, water and good, clean family entertainment.

Peak season for these deadly incidents is November. October and November are also peak mating season, and I can tell from personal experience that it’s a bitch getting jolted by a car’s bumper when you’re trying to take care of business.

According to Susan G. Clark, a Yale University professor who studies relationships between humans, deer and a couple of antelope, these collisions usually take place at dawn and dusk. “Deer don’t come programmed to be on the lookout for cars. They have no idea that it could threaten their lives. If they were a wolf, they would have some idea what to do.” Or as my rabbi once told me, when you live with wolves, you learn to howl.

So as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus used to say in his trademark phrase on Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.” But the final word of this subject belongs to Ellen DeGeneres, who had this thought. ‘I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.”

So for today’s photo lineup we are starting off with a shot I took recently up at the university. Then it’s on to two sets of deer who were visiting my neighborhood. I always enjoy looking out my office window and seeing deer prancing down the street. It brings back those Marlin Perkin’s “Wild Kingdom” flashbacks.

Next is a frog that was hanging out inside a drainpipe at our Kauai vacation house. I told him I’d be glad to switch locales with him but he politely declined my offer. That guy was a prince.

The last two shots are of a bobcat I shot at dusk up on campus. I had been looking to photograph the sunset but lucked out and ran into this beauty. Fortunately, he wasn’t in an attack mode and agreed to sign the release and we both went on our merry way.

On to the late night. “Tonight President Obama and Mitt Romney debate foreign policy. Pundits say it will be close, but it will probably go to the candidate who wore the ‘I killed Osama bin Laden’ T-shirt. Donald Trump says he will reveal big news about President Obama on Wednesday. Trump said he would have announced it sooner, but faking a Kenyan birth certificate is harder than it looks.” –Conan O’Brien

“Obama is still ahead in the swing states and among women. He is of course losing among men and in any states were you can buy the Confederate flag in a mall.” -Bill Maher “Yesterday Mitt Romney’s son Tagg said that during the debate he wanted to punch President Obama for calling his father a liar. He also wants to punch his father for giving him the name Tagg. Endorsements are rolling in. The Atheist Party has endorsed Obama for president. When told the news Obama said, ‘Thank God.’” –Conan O’Brien

“A CNN poll today said that 46 percent of viewers who watched thought Obama won and 39 percent thought Mitt Romney won. So, it looks like Obama’s strategy of staying awake through this one paid off.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Last night, Mitt Romney said when he was looking to hire females, he would browse through ‘binders full of women.’ Romney said he got the idea from Tom Cruise.” –Conan O’Brien

Jay Leno to Obama: “What’s this thing with Trump and you? It’s like me and Letterman. I don’t get it.” Obama: “This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya.” “Experts say the entire 2012 election could come down to just eight states. The states are: confusion, dismay, depression, apathy, shock, disbelief, despair, and anxiety. Those are the eight states.” –Jay Leno “Earlier today, vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan gave a major policy address on poverty. We’re still not sure whether he’s for it or against it, but he was talking about poverty.” –David Letterman

So that’s our last blast for October 2012. Enjoy the festival of chocolate we call Halloween and the start of the NBA season. We’ll catch you making history by blasting three home runs in a World Series game, a feat accomplished only by Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols and then being named MVP. Aloha, mahalo and later, Pablo Sandoval fans.

October 21, 2012

I Don’t Know Weather I’m Coming Or Going

Good morning and greetings, warm weather fans. Well, for a stretch last week, Indian summer was on full alert, as October had been hotter than my outside shooting when I was a streetballer at Jade Street Park back in the 80′s.

So like Sponge Bob, I’ve been soaking in every moment of these warm autumn days, as the insulation in my westside abode, like my vertical leap, is almost non-existent when the colder weather hits. What this means is, on a warm day, I’ve got that natural air conditioning going, making me the coolest guy in town. But as soon as the weather changes, I go back to living in what could be only called the land of the frozen tundra, brought to you by Direct TV. Don’t just watch TV, Direct TV.

So it’s all about the weather. Or should I say climate? That’s what brought me to our beloved coldwater paradise, where the redwoods meet the kelp. I believe it was either Timothy Leary or educator Anthony J. D’Angelo who said, “Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” And as John Denver once crooned, “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.” Just make sure to slab on the sunblock.

My journey to the Cruz started back in the Garden State in 1970, when I had to make a very difficult decision about whether to attend Syracuse or Northwestern University. After doing my due diligence, talking with school administrators and consulting my astrologer, it suddenly became crystal clear. I could drive the six hours to Syracuse, or hop on a plane to attend Northwestern. Before you could say, “AAA,” it was off to Syracuse, which is an old Indian name meaning “place where snow goes to sleep.”

It was during my sophomore year, when it went from a winter to summer with no spring, that I decided it was time to move to greener pastures. Too many gray, rainy days. Singer Roger Miller once remarked, “Some people walk in the rain. Others just get wet.” I was getting soaked.

English writer John Ruskin had this observation. “There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” Obviously, Johnny boy hadn’t spend much time around the northeast corner of the Finger Lakes region. I was in the New York state of mind and wanted out After all, I was only planning on being an undergraduate for seven years, and was determined to attend an institution of higher learning where the sky was blue.

A friend who was attending Colorado State in Fort Collins sold me on the idea of a Rocky Mountain high experience, so after filling out my transfer application forms (which I have absolutely no memory of), it was off to University of Colorado in Boulder.

It was the first time I had ever flown on an airplane. Before getting on the flight, I remembered the words of American writer Jean Kerr. “I feel about airplanes the way I feel about diets. It seems to me they are wonderful things for others to go on.” As I climbed on board, it harkened me back to a scene from the movie classic “Airplane” when as the plane was about to take off, an elderly lady in the seat next to Ted Striker if he was nervous? Ted replied, “Yes.” She then said, “First time?” Replied Ted, “No, I’ve been nervous before.”

I still remember the first moment I got a glimpse of Boulder, nestled in the foothills of the Rockies. Now here’s where the story gets interesting. On my first night on campus, I met a stunning summer school student named Thea Ford, who was from a wealthy family in San Francisco. After telling her my life story, she said these nine words to me. “You should be going to school in Santa Cruz,” followed by “Wow, I’ve never met a runway model.”

My education in Boulder was like Dr. Ruth, short and sweet. Although the sky was bluer than a Red Foxx monologue and the sunsets over the Continental Divide spectacular, the climate was a tad chillier than what I was seeking. And besides, I needed a break from my intensive studies, so after two inglorious semesters it was time to go on sabbatical.

I decided to try and expand my horizons, so I bought myself a U-Rail pass and headed over to Europe. It was a great experience, except for the fact that there were too many Europeans over there. I spent some time doing research in Morocco, where the local culture was at least 100 years back in time. While at the local marketplace in Marrakesh, I bought a necklace made of figs that I proceeded to ingest, which then allowed my digestive system an opportunity to ride the Marakesh express. All aboard the pain.

Meanwhile, my old linebacker pal from Syracuse, Doug MacKinnon, had set up shop on West Cliff Drive, while my brother Paul was up at the dorms at Stevenson College. So in February of 1974, I flew out to the Golden State, where I was met by this dynamic duo at the airport and we headed down the coast.

My memory gets a little hazy from here, but what I do remember were drought conditions that brought on 23 straight days of 70 degree plus weather, which was liveable for an east coast boy in February, I thought, this will work for me, and decided to attend Cabrillo College in the fall. From there it was on to the basketball courts at UCSC, and the rest is meterological history.

So it all began 38 years ago, and that brings us to today. Weather continues to play an important role in my life, as being a photographer, I need more than sunny and blue. As superstar portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz once told me between bites of whitefish at a Bat Mitzvah, “Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy, your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.” To this day, I still have no idea of what she was talking about.

So as we move towards baseball’s fall classic, we are getting closer and closer to the prime time season for the world-class sunrises and sunsets, where my light shines brightest.

Today’s photo groupon is from last Sunday night. I started shooting the sunset at Natural Bridges, where there was a wonderful pocket of yellow light in the sky to go along with the surfers, pelicans and big waves. But the intense action came after I got into my car and drove over to the entrance to the Long Marine Laboratory. The horizon was turning different shades of blood orange and red, and I used the bushes to create a silhouette effect that I learned in a class I had never taken. It was an exhilarating way to end a day, especially after watching the New York Giants crush the 49ers in the afternoon.

On to the late night. “In an interview Wednesday Mitt Romney, who had previously stated he would not introduce legislation limiting abortion, vowed that he would still be a ‘pro-life president.’ Which makes sense because Romney defines ‘life’ as anybody making over 250,000 dollars a year.” –Seth Meyers “Romney took two different sides on abortion within 24 hours this week. There are shorter waiting periods for actual abortions.” –Bill Maher

“Biden aggressively contested nearly every claim his opponent made during their debate. Then President Obama was like, ‘Wait — you’re allowed to do that?’ A new poll found that only 47 percent of voters find Mitt Romney to be trustworthy. Then Romney was like, ‘Well, I hope it’s not the same 47 percent I don’t care about.’ This week President Obama’s Facebook page received more than a million ‘Likes’ in a single day. All of them from Republicans who watched last week’s debate.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Today the Secret Service caught a woman trying to sneak into the White House with a mysterious package. Turns out it was just Ann Romney with some carpet samples.” –Jay Leno “After Paul Ryan stopped by for a photo op at a soup kitchen, the head of the charity said Ryan did nothing. In other words, that man is ready to be vice president.” –Conan O’Brien

“Mitt Romney is refusing to participate in the long-running special on Nickelodeon called ‘Kids Pick the President.’ Romney said it’s nothing personal; he just says that these kids are part of that 47 percent who contribute nothing to the country and mooch off their parents and grandparents.” –Jay Leno “People close to the campaign are saying that Mitt Romney’s son, Tagg, is now one of his chief advisers. That’s right, when Mitt asked him to join the team, he put his arm on his son’s shoulder and said ‘Tagg, you’re it!’” –Jimmy Fallon

So that’s my story, weather you buy it or not. We’ll catch you showing football fans why you’re the most impressive rookie quarterback to come into the NFL in years. Aloha, mahalo and later, Robert Griffin III fans.

October 14, 2012

An Apple A Day Keeps Julius Erving Away

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 7:44 am

Good morning and greetings, fall harvest fans. Yes, fruit and vegetable lovers, this is the time of year that all kinds of cash crops are being harvested here on the central coast, with most of these spoils of the earth ending up on the grocery shelf or at a Farmer’s Market. Of course, some of these products find their way to our local dispenseries, but that’s another exit along the preventive glaucoma highway.

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the cherry tree, so it was with red delicious interest when I came across this story written by Ben Popken at lifeinc.today.com. It seems that our crisp and juicy friend, the apple, is the latest food that it may be in short supply on supermarket shelves. Or in the words of Che Guevera, “The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.” Gil Scott-Heron said “The revolution will not be televised.” That’s why I’m going to TiVo it.

So who is to blame about dem apples? Well, I blame everything on the Republican farmers and Congress. Of course, I’m just kidding, I don’t blame Congress. No, granny smith fans, the fall guy or gal here is mother nature, as an early warm spring, not to be confused with Irish Spring, brought out the blossoms on the apples trees. Then came a March-April cold spell that wiped them off the map. Or as actress Mayim Bialik would say, “No blossom, no apple” or “No tickee, no washee.”

For example, in Michigan, the nation’s third largest source of apples, the crop is down 80 percent, while the Detroit Lion’s play has been even worse. New York’s crop, which is the nation’s second largest, has been cut by half, despite the addition of golden boy Tim Tebow. As they say in Ecclesiastes, “All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full, like the Oakland Coliseum most Sundays.” This has nothing to do with our deciduous friend, I was just going with the flow.

The NFL and the U.S. Apple Association estimate this year’s inventory at 202 million bushels and one peck, down about 10 percent from last year. A bushel equals 42 pounds. That’s 966 million fewer pounds of apples to go around for apple pies, cakes, cobblers, tailors, iPhones and strudels. The USDA’s estimates are for the lowest harvest in 20 years and for the Giants not to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

But there is good news on the apple front. Washington State, which normally supplies 60 percent of the nation’s apple inventory and annual rainfall, is looking to break a record on the harvest front. The big question up there in the Pacific Northwest is, can they find enough people to pick the apples before they start falling and can the Seahawks go to the Super Bowl with a rookie quarterback at the helm? And even more importantly, will they be able to lure an NBA team back to Seattle? If the apples are not on the trucks by Thanksgiving, they’ll be carpeting God’s green earth, creating an all-you can eat buffet for our hermaphrodite friend, the worm.

But even if Washington bucks up and finds its pickers, the DEA and USDA say it won’t be enough. Here in the Golden State, we don’t have to worry, as the apple crop is peaking like Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, as locals will be set for the baking, canning, juicing and bobbing season.

On the other hand, the U.S. Apple Association says not to panic, as they say there will be no shortage and apple pies will be flowing out of the stores like the great Mississippi at Thanksgiving time. They say things may change in the spring, but by then, imports from Chile, New Zealand and New Jersey can pick up some of the slack. So there’s no reason to panic, but if you must, panic constructively.

Some apple thoughts. Actor Scott Foley says “The older I get, the more I become an apple pie, sparkling cider kind of guy. Financier Bernard Baruch once observed that “Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the only one who asked why.” And writer Dorothy Parker came out with this doozy. “Ducking for apples-change one letter and that’s the story of my life.” I guess she’s talking golden delicious.

On a personal note, I’m quite fond of fuji apples. And I can down freshly pressed apple cider like water. However, when it comes to applesauce, Mott’s Original is the god I pray to. That’s because only the finest apples make it into the Mott’s basket, before being blended in their special family recipe along with 25 grams of sugar to ensure a flavor that meets my high standards. As it says on the jar, “Putting little between the orchards and you, the way you trust us to.” Or as William Shakespeare once said, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none, except with drone strikes to Al Queda.”

So for today’s photo enclave, we are showcasing our friend, the organic apple, as they appear on a couple of trees at The Farm at UCSC. It’s an exhilarating experience seeing produce in the growing stage. I saw broccoli in the soil for the first time. I always thought it grew together along with the beef.

We then check out an early October sunrise shot from the playing field up at UCSC. Although I wasn’t able to capture the reflection of the clouds on Monterey Bay, they did create some viewing action for students and Phi Beta Baseball Kappa wearing alumni in the local vicinity.

On to the late night. “Apparently after last week’s debate, polls show Obama trailing Romney by one point. One point — or as it’s also known, ‘the thing Obama failed to make during last week’s debate.’ Last night, a woman on QVC fainted on the air, but her co-host kept talking as if nothing had happened. One person was unconscious while the other one just kept talking — kind of like last week’s presidential debate.” –Jimmy Fallon

“While the average American’s net worth has gone down in the last four years, the net worth of the average member of Congress has actually gone up. No wonder Congress isn’t motivated to do anything — they’re the only ones better off now than they were four years ago. Unemployment is 7.8 percent, the lowest it’s been since Obama took office. The Obama campaign said they can’t wait to take these statistics and not use them in the next debate.” –Jay Leno

“According to Nielson numbers, more than 70 million people watched Wednesday’s debate either on TV, online, or from one of the podiums.” –Seth Meyers “I have not seen a black man look that disinterested and annoyed since I dragged Chris Rock to that Beach Boys concert.” –Bill Maher

“Your choice now is pretty clear. You can either vote for the guy who got rid of bin Laden or vote for the guy who wants to get rid of Big Bird.” –David Letterman “In a new interview, first lady Michelle Obama said that she would choose Will Smith or Denzel Washington to play her husband in a movie. Or as Democrats put that, ‘Any way they can play him in a debate?’” –Jimmy Fallon

The consensus is that Mitt Romney won the presidential debate last night. The only people who thought Obama won were the replacement refs. -Jay Leno “At one point last night President said the one thing about being president is learning to say no — especially when someone asks, ‘Do you feel ready for this debate?’” –Conan O’Brien “The only thing that could have salvaged the president’s performance would have been if the body of bin Laden fell from the ceiling onto the stage.” –Jimmy Kimmel

So that’s the scoop. Congratulations go out to my three-point shooting nephew Joshua, who celebrated his bar mitzvah this past weekend. Now he is a man. Let’s see if he can move his feet on defense.

We’ll catch you as a 40-year-old smacking a pinch hit home run in the ninth and then blasting another bomb in the 12th inning to win it and send Yankee fans into a happy frenzy. And then hitting another game-tying homer in the bottom half of the ninth again on Saturday. Aloha, mahalo and later, Raul Ibanez fans.

October 7, 2012

Float Like A Butterfly, Blog Like A Bee

Good morning and greetings, baseball playoffs fans. The weather on the central coast went wild and crazy last week, as in a 24-hour period, we went from Indian Winter to Blazing Saddles. To kick off October, the mercury skyrocketed like the price of gas, as the thermometer hit triple digits with an impressive 100 degree showing. This sudden heat wave caught tourists and local shamans in this normally Mediterranean climate off guard, as there is usually separation of fog and state.

I don’t want to say it was hot, but I was sweating like President’s Obama’s advisors after the first debate. I hadn’t perspired like that since the mailman arrived years ago with an envelope containing my SAT scores. As Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson once said, “The person who scores well on an SAT test will not necessarily be the best doctor, lawyer or businessman. These test do not measure character, leadership, creativity, perserverance or the potential to one day become an unpaid blogger.”

Because of the intense heat, I had to get out of the kitchen, so I grabbed my camera and headed up to the Alan Chadwick Gardens at UC Santa Cruz. Formerly known as the UCSC Garden Project, this two-acre wonderland was created back in 1967, when I was still two years away from my non-life changing Woodstock experience. What kills me today is that I can’t find the ticket that I bought for this blessed event of peace, mud and music. I could sell it on E-Bay and be set for life, or at least through Groundhog Day.

The Garden was created back at a time when the redwood forests were being bulldozed, and there was a need for something as beautiful and as natural as my skin tone. I remember years ago, as a premed law student at UC, going to the garden to cut fresh flowers, which was an option for all students in the honors program.

It was a place where I sought refuge from the pressures of endless studying, intensive paper writing and full-court hoops action at the East Fieldhouse. And all that peace, love and full-court happiness led me to getting my degree in sociology, which today, with $1, will get me a USA Today and all the pie charts I can eat.

So I headed up to the garden to go one-on-one with nature’s blooms. But then, in the words of Gomer Pyle, “Surprise, surprise,” as when I entered this orgainic arena in search of a floral appetizer, I was greeted with the Monday’s special, medallions of butterflies, who were flittering and fluttering all over the hillside. It was quite a pleasant surprise. Or as Russian poet Boris Pasternak once said between shots of vodka, “Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” I’d go with a new car.

I paused at this beautiful sight and thought, love is like a butterfly. It goes where it pleases and pleases where it goes. I can very much relate to these little self-propelled flowers, as we delight in their beauty, but rarely admit the changes they have gone through to achieve that beauty. As a former hand model, I’ve been through it all. As George Carlin said, “The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”

So it was mid-morning on the first day of October, and it was already so hot, even Donald Trump’s hair wouldn’t have gone outside. On my way up to the university, I saw a guy holding a sign, “Will work for shade.” I walked by a woman wearing a pantsuit without the pants. Bottom line, it was scorching. How hot? My sweat was sweating.

As I walked up into the garden, I saw that the fruit trees were exploding with apples, a scene that reminded me of a dream I once had about being trapped inside a jar of Mott’s raspberry flavored apple sauce. I believe it was Johnny Appleseed’s nutritionist who said, “Great trees give more shade than fruit, but we’ll let the redwoods to speak for themselves.

So back to this upper westside Garden of Eden. I had gone in search of the beauty and colors of the autumn flowers. But instead, what really got me excited was the plethora of butterflies, who were sucking down the sweet nectar like it was a carton of Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice.

Now, I admit, I’ve been a loyal Tropicana man all my life. However, I was recently introduced to some Odwalla 100% Pure Squeezed All Natural Orange Juice and it blew the Trop right out of the park. That’s nourishing the body whole. There’s an old Japanese proverb that says, “The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.” Or as I once googled my rabbi, if nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. Or need for rainbow calendars.

So today’s photo gallery offers up the best of my journey to the Alan Chadwick Garden. While I was shooting away, the hummingbirds were on full alert, zooming around from plant to plant, enjoying the best of what the nectar gods had to offer.

I relished the benefits of this brief, unexpected heat wave, which lasted another 24 hours before the natural coastal air conditioning kicked in and the fog returned with a vengeance. I think my morning could be summed up by the words of Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho, who tweeted while stand up paddling down the Amazon, “You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life when we fully allow the unexpected to happen.” And that’s why I carry the American Express card. Never leave home without it.

On to the late night. For tomorrow’s debate, President Obama’s advisers have been working with him to keep his responses short. In fact, the only words the president plans on saying are ‘bin Laden’ and ‘dead.’ That’s it The presidential debate is on Wednesday. Mitt Romney has been preparing for the debate by debating a Republican senator who plays the part of President Obama. Meanwhile, President Obama has been preparing for Romney by debating an ATM machine.” –Conan O’Brien

“Well, last week in Vermont, the guy from the Dos Equis beer commercials — you know “the most interesting man in the world” — he hosted a fundraiser for President Obama. See, that shows you how things have changed. Four years ago the slogan was hope and change. Now it’s ‘stay thirsty my friends.’” –Jay Leno “It’s rumored that in a recent Univision interview, Mitt Romney wore makeup to appeal to Latino voters. I can’t wait to see Romney’s appearance on BET.” –Conan O’Brien

“The first debate is tomorrow night and I heard that the Obama campaign is a little worried because during his flight to Nevada on Sunday the president watched four hours of football instead of studying — although it did mark the first time all year that Obama has actually seen something get passed.” –Jimmy Fallon “Today was not only the first presidential debate, it was also President Obama’s 20th wedding anniversary. I think the president got a little confused. At one point, he told Michelle that she was out of touch with the middle class and Romney looks as beautiful as the day they first met.” –Conan O’Brien

“The presidential debates were earlier tonight, and I think most of the nation’s all thinking the same thing – just one more day until Thursday Night Football.” –Jay Leno “Arnold Schwarzenegger was on ’60 Minutes’ promoting his book. He said you can’t run from your mistakes. You have to confront them. Yeah, especially if they look exactly like you and keep calling you dad. “In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new book, he says his first clue that the housekeeper’s son was his was when the boy started looking like him. His second clue was when he was the only Mexican kid with an Austrian accent.” –Conan O’Brien

That’s another blast for October. And speaking of blasts, on Saturday, an Arctic blast swept over two-thirds of the country, bringing snow, freezing rain and 74 record-low temperature marks. Sheridan, Wyoming, was a toasty five below. Check, please.

So we’ll catch you being the first player to win the baseball’s triple crown since 1967 and being a team that was picked to finish last, only to end up in first place on the last day of the season, the only day in which you were on top. Aloaha, mahalo and later, Miguel Cabrera and Oakland A’s fans.

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