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.