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.