December 30, 2012

Somewhere Over The Fiscal Rainbow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 5:11 pm

Good morning and greetings, New Year’s fans. Well, twelve months have past since the big ball dropped in Times Square, and as I wander through this lifetime, I still have so many answered questions, like why are we here, why do bad things happen to good people, and why am I paying Direct TV hundreds of dollars per month and I still can’t get Showtime?

Since last New Year’s Eve, when I had a few too many wine coolers and tried to take my pants off over my head, I’ve pumped out 51 postings of my wit and wisdom here at Sunrise Santa Cruz. According to the fact checkers at MIT, that would equate to approximately 76,500 words, three hundred commas and one semi-colonoscopy. And with a nod to the folks at Canon, who at one point considered sponsoring this site, these pages also included over 300 images of semi-spectacular beauty from the central coast, South Pacific and my modeling days. I believe it was my high school driver’s ed teacher who once said, “Everyone has a photographic memory, but not everyone has film.” And that, my Kodak moment friends, is the reason I went digital.

So as Smithsonian Magazine once pointed out, these weekly ramblings of mine are all about the humor. Whether it be a quip from Woody Allen,”Life is full of misery and suffering and it’s all over too soon,” or these gems from Rodney Dangerfield, “I met the Surgeon General. He offered me a cigarette,” or “If it weren’t for pickpockets, I wouldn’t have any sex life at all,” I only borrow from the best. You can throw in anything from Mel Brooks, the Three Stooges, Honeymooners or the Zucker Brothers. The list of comedy greatness, like the amount of recording hours on my new DVR, is endless. There are so many classic lines circling through my mind that I need to air out on a daily, weekly and bi-monthly basis, because that’s the way I roll. In the words of Jane Fonda, “We cannot always control our thoughts, but we can control our words, and repetition impresses the subconcious, and we are then master of the situation.” God, I loved her in “Barbarella.”

I find myself inserting simple everyday comedy into my daily life, as when I’m at Safeway, and the checker asks me if I need any help out, I always answer, “No, just emotional.” Gets ‘em every time. And that’s a tough audience. Or when the bank teller asks how would like my money, I usually reply, “Regular size bills.” Or just the simple act of walking up to someone and tapping them on the opposite shoulder. That never ceases to amuse me. Yes, I’m what you might call a late bloomer.

As my former editor, pilates instructor and Nashville-loving friend Nancy Mager has often reminded me, everything is in a lyric. You’ve got the old standbys like “Does anybody really know what time it is?,” or “Does anyone remember laughter?,” and my mother’s favorite, from ACDC, ‘I’m on the highway to hell.” That song is so soothing. I always like to toss musical lyrics into these posts, because everything has been said in a song and it’s a clever way to paint a picture. And as Rod Stewart says, “Every picture tells a story.” At least that’s what he told his eight children with five different women.

So moving along, on Christmas night, the Gilbert entourage went out to eat at a local westside restaurant that will remain unnamed (Thai Orchid.) While I was happily downing my gai yang and pad see ew with enough sweet and sour sauce to fill the Red Sea, a couple sat down at the table next to us. We engaged in polite conversation and I then went back to filling my arteries with pad thai.

At some point, I believe while I was prospecting for the chicken in the kang ka ree, the gentlemen asked if I was a photographer. I replied, “why yes, I’m Ansel Adams Jr.” He said he had come to my house/gallery/fortified compound a few years ago for Open Studios and remembered me from all the 8×10 glossy headshots of myself that were hung on the walls.

But things revvved up a notch when his wife chimed in that she gets my blog every week. Wow, what a nice gift from Santa that left me with a sense of renewed vitality along with a twist of thai iced tea. I was so taken by the moment and appreciative of their kind words that I decided not to tell the restaurant manager they were planning on stealing the silverware from the table.

So on that note, I want to thank the millions, er thousands, er hundreds, er all my faithful cyber followers who have supported my non-profitable, subscription free site over the past year. I appreciate you coming back each week and going down the path of lies, exaggerations and half-truths that make this site what it is. I promise to always have a place for you to journey to each week to enjoy a little comic relief and take in some of nature’s beauty. They say they best things in life are free. Here’s hoping this is one of them.

For today’s photo outburst, we are heading back to the day Santa rested, December 26. It was a classic day along the coast, as the clouds played hide and go seek, with periods of rain and sun creating prime rainbow conditions.

These multi-colored arches were out in force a good part of the day, and I shot sections of the first in the early morning from the parking lot at Natural Bridges. I then caught another one looming over the upper westside that was a full arc wonder. We close the year with a couple of afternoon shots of the clouds above Steamers Lane and Its Beach. All in all, it was wet and wild, just a classic day with rainbows stepping up and making spectacular appearances up and down the coast. In the words of author Rachel Houston, “When you reduce life to black and white, you never see rainbows.” And that’s why, sports fans, I’m all about the color.

So that’s it for 2012. We’ll catch you shooting hitting the soft jumpers, driving to the hoop and knocking off Bin Laden. Aloha, mahalo and later, President Obama fans.

December 23, 2012

Old McDonald’s Had A Sandwich

Good morning and greetings, winter solstice fans. Well, the days, much like the time it takes me to do a 100 pushups in the morning, are once again getting longer. Autumn is now history, but it went out with a memorable bang, delivering a body blow to the nation’s midsection as the first big blizzard of the season hit on the final day of fall, putting the big chill on holiday travelers, retailers and Santa’s reindeer.

So at this time of year, when the weather turns a bit nippy, my favorite activitity changes from running to chewing. And every once in a while, I stray from my strict vegan diet and enjoy a hearty sandwich. It could be a chicken parmesan, corned beef or bacon, lettuce and tofu. Or perhaps a french dip, patty melt or the old reliable cream cheese and jelly. Then there’s the meatball marinara, barbecued tri-tip or roast beef and cheese. Let’s face it, put anything that once walked between two slices of warm, fresh bread and I’ll eat it.

I believe it was the early Aztecs who developed the first sandwich, a grilled ham and cheese with a horseradish mustard dressing. It has become as much a part of the American landscape as ABC’s “Nashville,” starring the lovely Connie Britton and Hayden Panittiere. It’s been studied and eaten by the great philosophers of our times. As writer Bill Bryson put it, “In three minutes, 98 percent of all the matter there is or ever will be has been produced. We have a universe. It is a place of wonderous beauty and gratifying possibility. And it was all done in about the time it takes to make a sandwich.” And with that, my condiments to the chef.

But there is one sandwich that is my Eliot Ness, the untouchable. And that would be the McRib. But what do we really know about this legendary boneless pork sandwich that is famously molded, caulked and grouted to resemble a rack of ribs? Well, hold on to your mcappetites, because I’m going to give you the low down on this legendary beast of burden that comes slathered in sweet and tangy barbecue sauce on a soft, warm bun.

In a story written by Dina Spector and Kim Bhasin for Yahoo News, McDonald’s announced that the McRib is back. This has faithful devotees of the sandwich and nutritionists dancing in the streets, as nothing in modern sandwich times compares to the following of the shrewdly marketed and boldly bonelessly engineered product.

This grand slam of pork pleasure was supposed to return at the end of October, but was pushed back to help boost end-of-the-year sales just in case the Mayans were right.

So what’s the story behind the McRib? Rene Arend, the inventor of the Chicken McNugget and the Hubble Space Telescope, said that the McNugget was so popular when it was first introduced that the Golden Arches ran out chicken. So out of necessity, as McNuggets were scarcer than finding a Tea Party liberal, McDonald’s needed a new hot-selling product, and the Filet-O-Lobster wasn’t the answer.

Rene Arend designed the McRib after the barbecue-sauce-slathered pork sandwiches he ate during a visit to the Mayo Clinic. The McRib doesn’t contain a single bone or piece of cartilage. With no bones, you’ve got more taste. And no bones means more pork, which means more sandwich, and more sandwich means means satisfaction. And that’s a guarantee you can take to your cardiologist.

Before we go any further, I should tell you that on the McDonald’s website, there a little directive spelling out “The 101 reasons to eat a McRib.” Here’s the intro. “We know you’re out there. The ones who have never tasted the legend that is the McRib. Maybe you’re saying, “Give me a reason to try a McRib. With that tender, boneless pork bathed in our sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, do you really think we could stop at one reason?” The sound you hear now is my rabbi screaming.

In 1972, a professor at the University of Nebraska, Roger Mandingo, developed the “restructured meat product” that the McRib is actually made of . This “restructured meat product” contains a mixture of tripe, heart, and scalded stomach, which is then mixed with salt and water to extract proteins from the muscle. Now doesn’t that sound yummy? The proteins bind all the pork trimmings together so that it can be re-molded into any specific shape — in this case, a fake slab of ribs, frisbee or a new heart valve. When the folks at Burger King heard this, they said, “Go ahead, have it your way.”

McDonalds and the Better Sandwich Bureau says the McRib consists of just five basic components: a pork patty, barbecue sauce, pickle slices, onions, and a sesame bun. But, as reported by Time magazine, a closer inspection of McDonald’s own ingredient list reveals that it contains a total of 70 ingredients, including azodicarbonamide, a flour-bleaching agent often used in the production of foamed plastics like yoga mats. Well, nothing says improved flexibility, more strength, better concentration, improved posture and better breathing than downing a pork sandwich for the ages.

The McRib has become a legend for its here today, gone tomorrow appearances on McDonald’s menus. And like my obsession with the new Miley Cyrus, it has generated a cult-like following. As they boast at the Arch’s site, “You’ve seen what we did to french fries. Just think about how drool-inducing we can make pork.”

Well, unfortunately, they haven’t quite sold me on taking the McRib challenge, as I’m in training for a pizza triathlon. Let’s face it, McDonald’s has struck gold with this juicy, tender, boneless,semi-real pork concoction on a sesame bun. As franchise founder Ray Kroc himself would tell you, “The McRib only comes once year and you never know when. Tasting one is like catching a glimpse of a falling star.” Check, please.

Today’s photo foray features the first hour of light from last Friday, the first day of winter. This was the winter solstice at its finest, with the added Toulouse-Lautrec like effect of it being the shortest day of the year. I was thrilled when I first saw the early morning sky, as I knew something special was sitting on the horizon. I was shooting up and down along West Cliff as huge waves battered the coast. As an added bonus, after the initial cloud colors disappeared, new ones appeared (photo #4,) which surprised and delighted yours truly. After putting an all-star performance, the sun disappeared into the dark clouds. Two hours later, it was pouring and the storm was in full regalia. But what an opening act.

On to some late night humor. “In what’s being called a stunning literary find, a Danish historian has discovered the last remaining, unpublished fairy tale from Hans Christian Andersen. It’s called “Congress Solves the Fiscal Cliff. Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton passed out, hit her head, and suffered a minor concussion. Well, we found out today why she passed out. Apparently, she heard the Lakers won two games in a row.” – Jay Leno According to the Mayan calendar, Friday is the end of the world. You know what? There is a sign of the apocalypse. The New York Knicks are in first place.” – David Letterman “And as silly as this all may seem, a worldwide survey shows that one in 10 people believe the world is going to end on Friday. A Chinese man even designed a survival pod. The inventor says they can hold 14 people comfortably, or roughly three American people comfortably.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“And now The Mayan Channel forecast. Thursday: cloudy, chance of showers, high 39. Friday: volcanos, asteroid strikes, apocalypse.” – David Letterman
“Everybody I run into is talking about the end of the world. They’re not believers in the Mayan apocalypse. They’re Laker fans.” – Conan O’Brien “After three years and six seasons, the final episode of “Jersey Shore” aired tonight. Or as the Mayans put it, “So we were off by one day.” This week, police in Ohio had to break up a fight between two neighbors with the last names Hall and Oates. But don’t worry. It was quickly broken up by officers Simon and Garfunkel.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Yesterday, the Senate floor was reserved for farewell speeches from retiring senators. Each senator received a fitting gift: a gold watch that stopped working years ago Airlines in Europe are testing a new robot that can make drinks for passengers instead of having flight attendants do it. This way, flight attendants can stay focused on their most important job — ramming the beverage cart into your elbow.” – Jimmy Fallon “A woman in Spain was arrested for stashing three pounds of cocaine in her breast implants. I thought, “That’s quite a bust.” – Craig Fersguson

So that’s the pre holiday scoop. We’ll catch you being named Sports Illustrated Man of the Year and not being called for a personal foul in over two weeks. Aloha, mahalo and later, LeBron James fans.

December 16, 2012

What Time Is It When Your Blog Strikes Twelve?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 10:39 am

Good morning and greetings, late fall fans. Well, I’m counting down the days on my Taylor Swift calendar until winter takes center stage on Friday. But before we catapult from the shortest day of the year into the cold play of seasons, I want to go back to the last Wednesday, when the Mayan calendar and my life speedometer read 12/12/12/. Added together, it’s the perfect 36, which is the score I would be hoping for if I ever took the ACT exam. For me, it’s always about the academics and chocolate. Or as the Pope summed it up, “God gave the angels wings and humans chocolate.”

It was a day of great significance, as I turned 60 years old but felt 16 degrees celsius. So as I merrily skipped down West Cliff Drive the following morning, I decided that because of all the hoopla that went along with this celebration of twelves, I would write about a few things that cascaded through my mind that morning. Or at least the ones I could tell you about without being fined by the FCC or the National Association of Professional Women. Nobody knows the truffles I’ve seen.

Leading off is my son’s return from college. He’s has been away for three months. As a result of his absence, I slice and dice a lot less as leftovers last a lot longer without his teenage appetite at the plate. I find myself trying to engage my wife and daughter in conversations about sports, and I never tire of them rolling their eyes at me in delight. Actually, the biggest change is that I no longer live vicariously through my sports-minded son, but instead through my golden retriever. Of course, I now have the opportunity to spend quality time with my 15-year-old daughter. We do our hair, exchange makeup tips and talk a lot of WNBA. I see so much of me in her, which is scary and rewarding at the same time.

Meanwhile, the days are getting shorter, the temperature is getting colder and I’m still getting older. When I hit West Cliff in my fall shorts collection for the 7:30 tip off, I’m chilled and thrilled. But after walking for ten minutes or so along the gorgeous Pacific, I find myself warming to the occasion as a pleasant thaw sets in, erasing my emotional numbness. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s exhilarating to be out there strolling along the edge of the continent. And then there’s the human bonding factor. Let’s face it, I’m a people person. Over the years, I’ve seen the same folks day after day on these morning jaunts, yet I’ve never once acknowledged any of them. Of course, I’m just kidding, it hasn’t been years.

On an sad note, my camera died of a massive stroke on December 4th. Fortunately, my brother Brad rode to the rescue and bought me a new car, er camera body, to replace it. I am now shooting with a Canon Rebel T3i, which is a nice upgrade from my old Digital Rebel. I don’t want to say my previous camera was old, but scientists uncovered fossil remains of this model at a recent archeological dig.

So with my new pal in hand, I shot my first sunrise with it on Friday morning. I’m featuring its glory in today’s post. I started out shooting along the path at West Cliff before perching myself on a large log down at Its Beach in order capture the reflection of the color in the sand. As the sky started to glow and I went into Ansel Adams’ mode, I can honestly say that I was just as excited about capturing these sunrise moments as when I first started shooting. Unlike B.B. King, the thrill is not gone.

The last two shots shot are a glimpse of the sunset from that evening. The sky was cloudy all afternoon but just before the sun dropped an opening appeared near the horizon, and I took full advantage of the photo opportunity. It’s literally a new dawn shooting with this baby. And an assist goes out to my brother Paul for gifting me with a new computer monitor, so I can stare for hours at these images on a screen the size of my car windshield.

So the whole birthday experience was tremendously warm and satisfying, like the ingesting of the dozens of potato latkes I consumed during the festival of lights. But then another senseless tragedy reared it’s ugly head, the slaughtering of young school children and teachers in Connecticut. I know when people read this blog, they are hoping to find some humor, or at least sentences with correct punctuation. I will never understand why bad things happen to good people and why evil is so pervasive. By writing this blog, I hope in some miniscule way that these words of mirth and frivolity take away from all the bad that surrounds us. I know it probably doesn’t, but I’m going to keep giving laughter a shot.

On to the late night. “According to the latest census poll, a large number of Californians are moving out of state and going to places like Texas and Nevada. Look, I know a lot of us are disgusted with the Lakers, but that’s no reason . . . The Lakers are so bad, when Mitt Romney talks about the 47 percent, he means Dwight Howard’s free throw shooting. A close friend of mine said his doctor gave him less than two weeks to live. But it turns out his doctor’s a Mayan. He says that to everybody.” –Jay Leno

“Al Qaeda’s number two man has been killed by an American drone in Pakistan. In a related story, today Al Qaeda’s number three man announced he’s stepping down to spend more time with his family.” –Jay Leno “Mitt Romney met Manny Pacquiao just before Pacquiao lost his boxing match to Juan Manuel Marquez. Afterwards, Romney told Pacquiao, ‘You lost for the same reason I did – young Hispanics.’” –Conan O’Brien “McDonald’s reported today that it had better than expected sales in the month of November. Executives credit the success to increased advertising, new menu items, and two states legalizing weed.” –Jimmy Fallon

The International Olympic Committee has stripped India of its right to participate in the games. In response, India said, ‘Fine, just try logging on to your computers now.’ The governor of Arizona punched a reporter who asked her about global warming. Afterwards she apologized. She said, ‘Sorry, I’m a little touchy because it’s almost Christmas and it’s 135 degrees outside. – Conan O’Brien “Today the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the European Union. The peace prize is awarded in Oslo. When someone told me, I said, ‘Norway?’ He said, ‘Yes, way.’” –Craig Ferguson

So as 2012 winds down, there’s one more shout out to all my classmates and friends that were born in 1952 and turned the big 60 this year. And that would be to my old New Jersey pal, Steve Margolin. I’ve known Steve since grammar school, and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about how he’s always been jealous of me. We played years of basketball together, traveled through Europe and pounded down some of the best Chinese food on the planet. He’s been a great friend and is the most excited New York Knick fan in North America. Just don’t ask him about that time I struck him out with a sidearm fastball in our minor league championship game.

So that’s our final fall report before we head into winter mode. We’ll catch you being the most surprising rookie quarterback in the NFL and having your team in playoff contention. Aloha, mahalo and later, Russell Wilson fans.

December 9, 2012

Zero To Sixty In Ten Paragraphs Or Less

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 2:23 pm

Good morning and greetings, potato latke fans. Well, coming up this week, I’m hitting another milestone along the long and winding road of my life. No, it’s not the 500th sunrise or the 1,000th sunset I’ve shot or my viewing of the season finale of the family friendly “Sons of Anarchy.” No, it’s something even scarier than the every day activities of a Northern California outlaw motorcycle gang involved with the IRA, CIA and Mexican drug cartels. So I’m just going to lay it out there. I’m turning 60.

There, I said it. Six tee. The big six oh. I’ve been trying to avoid this day for a decade, ever since I turned the big five oh. But like turning into your parents, there’s no avoiding it. Even though the number 60 flows out of my mouth as smoothly as cashew butter on a fresh croissant, it’s a painful realization that I’m not getting any younger. Let’s face it, in dog years, I’m dead.

There was little joy in telling people over this past year that I was 59, because that was way too close to the six decades mark. I remember the words of author Hervey Allen, who once said, “The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams, the old servants of regret.” Ironically, Hervey died while taking a shower at age 60. And that is why from now on I’m only going to take bubble baths.

Years ago, Anglo-Irish priest Jonathan Swift lamented, “No wise man ever wished to be younger.” I’m not sure what that says about me, as I wouldn’t mind knocking thirty years off my life resume. And it was either Daniel Day Lewis or Abraham Lincoln who proclaimed, “In the end, it’s not the years that count. It’s the life in your years.” I’m all for living life to the fullest, and that’s why my new HD DVR recorder is able now able to store over two hundred thousand hours of programming. As they say, “Don’t just watch TV, Direct TV.”

The actor George Clooney, who I can’t count the number of times I’ve been mistaken for, once remarked “I’m kind of comfortable with getting older because it’s better than the other option, which is being dead.” On this point I’m in full agreement. They say age is just a number. If I had a choice, I would keep mine unlisted.

Pablo Picasso once tweeted to his friends that “One starts to get young at the age of sixty and then it is too late.” Hopefully, with my boyish good looks and silver locks, I’ve bucked that trend. He also once said “I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” Yes, happiness is all about the simple pleasures. If so, I’d like to live as a Hawaiian man with lots of warm breezes.

Mark Twain wrote that “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.” What an interesting thought. Sounds like a TV series on FX. I know that I’m getting older, as I’m no longer the chiseled Adonis I was back in grammar school. I believe it was my rabbi’s wife who said, “You’re aren’t really turning 60. Just 21 with 39 years experience.” That sounds great. If only I didn’t groan like Don Rickles every time I bend down to pick something up. Or in the words of the great Yankee centerfielder Mickey Mantle, “If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.”

But it’s all good, because I have no choice in this aging matter. Or as journalist John P. Grier offered, “You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime.” Or as baseball’s Chili Davis put it, “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.” Myself, I’m not really thinking 60, more like $59.95 plus tax.

The ageless baseball player Leroy “Satchel” Paige once quipped, “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” So I’m going to take his advice and look at this birthday event as another marker along the freeway of life. After all, sixty is just a number, which at this stage of my life, sounds a whole lot better than seventy, eighty or ninety. So to quote the great philosopher and socialite Paris Hilton, “The way I see it, you should live everyday like it’s your birthday.” That’s sound advice coming from a woman who said it while making a video in her birthday suit.

So here’s the bottom line. I’ll be sixty years old on Wednesday. I’m healthy. I can still hit the open three. Loving family and friends abound. I’ve got a a golden retriever who worships me. So life is good and I am more than blessed. And my accountant says I’ll be able to live off the karmic residuals from writing this blog for decades to come.

For today’s photo entertainment I’m going back to my blonde roots. The first two photos are my favorite sunrise moments taken at Lighthouse Point. Portraying the early morning beauty in the skies above Santa Cruz is one of the reasons I started this blog. The other is that I’m very lonely. Then to mark this milestone occasion we move on to a couple of photos of yours truly in the South Pacific and shrouded in color on the central coast. We then close out the birthday montage with two shots of me and my golden retriever Summer. She’d been hounding me for weeks to include her in this holiday package.

On to a little late night humor. “Today in Washington, President Obama met with leaders of the American Indian tribes and they honored the president by giving him his own Indian name: ‘Running Deficit.’ The CEO of The Cheesecake Factory is now warning that Obamacare will be very costly. Hey, The Cheesecake Factory is one of the reasons we need Obamacare in the first place. Mitt Romney is going back to work. Romney is joining the board of directors at Marriott hotels. See, who says President Obama can’t create jobs? There’s one right there. Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he’s taking steps to run for president in 2016. In fact, this week he’s meeting with donors. He better hope they’re brain donors.” –Jay Leno

“A new book coming out reveals that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was born a Catholic, became a Mormon, then returned to the Catholic church, then became a Baptist, then again returned to the Catholic church. And I think he’s at it again because he’s now asking people to call him Marco Rubinstein. The Obamas have decorated the White House with 54 Christmas trees. It’s all part of their ‘For the last time, we’re not Muslim’ campaign.” –Conan O’Brien

“A lot of dissension among conservatives. One of the leaders of the Tea Party has resigned after a major split in the movement. The Tea Party is now divided between angry whites and even angrier whites.” –Conan O’Brien “A new survey found that ‘Sophia’ and ‘Aiden’ were the most popular baby names this year. The least popular baby name was Kim Jong Sandusky. “McDonald’s just announced that it’s bringing back the McRib later this month. Or, as the Mayans put it, ‘Hey, we tried to warn you.’” –Jimmy Fallon

So that’s the birthday report. Birthday wishes also go out to my old radio partner turned boxing promoter Jerry Hoffman, who celebrates the trip down the birth canal on the same day, 12/12/12. I don’t want to say Jerry is excited about this date, but he has been planning a surprise party for me with cake, ice cream, pony rides and ring card girls ever since the first day we met.

So enjoy the festival of lights that is Hanukah and the parade of latkes, apple sauce and sour cream. We’ll catch you getting off to a great start and surprising everyone with your team’s early season success. Aloha, mahalo and later, New York Knick fans.

December 2, 2012

Basketball Is Life, The Rest Is Just Retail

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:53 am

Good morning and greetings, high surf advisory fans. Well, if you like driving rain, gale force winds and giant waves smacking up against the coast, then last week was a good time to be on the central coast. It was invigorating walking on West Cliff last Thursday morning, as remnants of the previous day’s destruction was evident all along the path. I love being on the coast when a storm is raging. Or as author Alice M.Swain once remarked, “Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.” I couldn’t describe my personna any better.

On Thursday’s sunrise, gorgeous red clouds appeared, which caught me by surprise as I thought there would be as much color in the sky as you’d see at a Tea Party clam bake. There was some disappointment about not capturing this morning glory, but when I called Peter Townshend, he said he had also missed it, but reassured me with his words “We won’t get fooled again.” I then thought to myself, “Who are you? Who, who, who, who?

So during storm watch Wednesday, I reunited with my old radio partner, Jerry Hoffman of 12 Sports Productions, and headed up to UC Santa Cruz to attend Media Day for the Santa Cruz Warriors. As a flower child of the 60′s, I’m still amazed that in 2012, Santa Cruz is the new home of a professional sports franchise. The only pro action I had previously seen in our little kelp-filled conclave was the Coldwater Classic down at Steamers Lane. Personally, I’m much more a fan of a warmwater classsic, due to shrinkage issues and the fact that it’s difficult to wipe out in a hot tub.

Anyway, getting back our new NBA Developmental League team, it got me to thinking about the pick and role that basketball has played in my life. My earliest memories are from grammar school, where we were once beaten by a score of 82-5 by a team that featured a sixth grader that went on to play in the NBA. My favorite memory from high school was the six days a week of basketball practice. My fondest thoughts from my college days at UCSC were playing basketball at the East Fieldhouse while doing research for my doctoral thesis on the importance of playing strong weakside defense.

After graduation, I took my game to Jade Street Park in Capitola, where running with my basketball buddies was always the highlight of the day. When I moved down to Hermosa Beach, you could catch me on the basketball courts in Manhattan Beach, a place where NBA players would sometimes show up and throw me around like a ragdoll. When I returned to Santa Cruz after a ten year stint in SoCal, the action was at Willlowbrook Park in Aptos, where I still practice my arts and what’s left of my craft on Saturday mornings.

Hoops also played a big role in my working life. While attending the University of Colorado, I had trouble with a statistics class that I ultimately had to drop because I had no idea what was going on. After graduating from UCSC, my brother Paul, who by this time was working for the NBA as Director of Video Promotions, helped me secure a job a a columnist for the league’s magazine “NBA Today,” in which I created a column called “Stats The Way It Is,” which detailed everything you ever wanted to know about NBA statistics and more. I’m not sure if that’s ironic, sardonic, and chronic, but it started me down the road to writing about my passion in life, pro hoops and men’s fashion.

Here’s a little side note. One night, when my son Jason was six or seven, we were watching a Laker game together, and he turned to me and said “Daddy, can I keep stats on Shaq and Kobe?” I was stunned, as had never mentioned my statistical past to him. I handed him a yellow pad and he went to town, tracking field goal attempts, free throws and how many Laker girls were natural blondes. At that moment, I knew there would never need to be a paternity test to determine if he was really mine, so that UPS driver down in Hermosa was finally off the hook.

I should also mention that playing basketball with my son while he was growing up was an incredible joy, as I never let him beat me. But as he got bigger, quicker and stronger and I was no longer able to stop him from scoring, I did what fathers have done throughout the ages and passed the torch. I stopped keeping score. This way, I could retire undefeated, because at that point, he was destroying me. In fact, he was so inspired by this transformation of events that he wrote one of his statement essays for his UC application on beating me like a drum the first time. The king was dead.

When I was a student at UCSC, my DJ brother and I did a Sunday night radio sports show on KZSC. This led to me interviewing Hall of Fame New York Post baskeball columnist Peter Vescey, who I later worked for as an indentured servant, staff writer and later co-writer on and off for decades. It also led to a brief stint working for NBC as a field producer for “Showtime,” where I was lucky enough to interview the likes of a Kevin Garnett, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson. Bottom line, I have been living and breathing NBA basketball for years, and having the Warriors come to town with their D-League team is just an added treat, like having Direct TV’s NBA League Pass beamed into my home in a non-HD format for the last 12 years.

One final basketball note. When I first met my wife Allison, she told me her father had Laker season tickets right off the floor at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood. Despite the fact they were not actually courtside, this was not a deal breaker and it did not affect our budding relationship. In later years, when I asked her if she wanted to go to a game, she repeated the words her mother had told her father. “Call everyone you know, and if no one else can go, go alone.” Now you see why I married her.

For this week’s photo lineup, we are continuing the sunrise serenade, as on this late October morning I headed up to UCSC to shoot the action overlooking Pogonip. When I arrived, the fog was blowing through, taking away the pure color but adding drama to the moment. When the mist partially cleared, I started to shoot, and you can see the morning evolved into a beautiful experience, as the multi layers of color decorated the sky from the trees to the sea. Love those early bird specials.

On to a little late night. “President Obama and Mitt Romney met at the White House. I guess it was a closed event: There was no press allowed, there were no cameras, no recordings — to which Mitt Romney said, “I’m not falling for that one again.” – Jay Leno “Today Mitt Romney had lunch with President Obama. It was an awkward moment when the bill came and Obama only offered to pay 47 percent.” – Conan O’Brien

“Powerball officials say two people won the $580 million. Congratulations to the winners — Mitt and Ann Romney. President Obama had lunch with Mitt Romney. There was an awkward moment when Romney looked around and said, “So how much do you want for the place?” A prison inmate in Oregon who shot his own jaw off has demanded the state pay for his surgery. At least that’s what I think he said.” – Conan O’Brien.

So that’s our first blast for the new month. We’ll catch you leading your team to three Super Bowl championships while going down in history as one of the greatest and handsomest quarterbacks of all time. Aloha, mahalo and later, Tom Brady fans.

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