March 31, 2013

Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just A Slow Lunar

Good morning and greetings, Final Four fans. This past March had a few memorable sunrise and sunset moments, which came as a surprise as last year at this time, there was less going on in the sky then what my resume shows from college graduation to the present. So I was happily surprised Tuesday night when I saw a cloud bank still open at sunset time. Unfortunately, my timing, like my answers decades ago on the SATs, were slightly off, and I arrived a few minutes too late to capture the prime time moments. It was then that I recalled the words of John Denver, “Sunshine, on the water, looks so lovely. Sunshine, almost always, make me cry.”

So as I dried my tears, my interest and the sun started to disappear into the spring clouds, as I sensed there would be less color forthcoming than could be seen at a Tea Party “Bigger is Better” rally. I was about to hightail it back to the warm confines of my humble westside abode, when all of a sudden, in the words of Gomer Pyle, “Surprise, surprise,” as a full moon appeared on the horizon. It was, much like finding out that I had made an overpayment on my 2012 taxes, a very pleasant feeling, as I had not been following the phases of the moon as closely as the playoff races in the NBA’s western conference.

So I decided to hang around and watch this beautiful orange sphere rise over my spirit and Monterey Bay. It had been a while since I had photographed a full moon, and it added a little extra skip to my step on a night when I really hadn’t gotten my money’s worth and had been left wanting more. Well, the full moon rising made up for it. It reminded me of the time I met the Buddha on the road. He told me, “Three things cannot be long hidden: The sun, the moon, and the truth. After that I didn’t want to kill him.

So as the moon is one of our constant companions in the sky, let’s take a look at some fun facts about our crater and cream-filled orbiting friend.

The moon is our closest neighbor in space. Much like a waiting room at a Greyhound bus station, it is a rocky, airless world that is the earth’s only natural satellite, unless you have Direct TV. My personal trainer and many astronomers believe the moon was formed after an object bigger than Bill O’Reilly’s ego smashed into our Mother Earth four and a half billion years, around the birth of John McCains’ parents. The material from the Earth and the colliding object eventually came together to form the moon and later the Big East Conference.

The surface of the moon, like a case of bad acne, is loaded with craters, which come from asteroids, comets and Ajax that have collided and colluted with the moon’s surface. Unlike the Shadowbrook Restaurant, the moon has no atmosphere, and with no weather, the lunar craters, like Dick Clark over the years, remains well preserved.

According to AAA, the moon is about 250,000 miles from Earth. To get there traveling by the speed of light would take 1.52 seconds. By rocket ship, we’re talking 13 hours, by car, 130 days with a few stops for gas, and by U.S. mail, ah, just forget it.

Since there is no atmosphere, wind or weather, footprints left on the moon by astronauts or martians will remain visible for at least ten millions years, which adds up to a whole lot of calendars. Water was discovered by the Arrowhead Company back in 2009, along with tiny ice cube trays strewn along the moon’s surface.

When astronaut Alan Sheppard was on the moon doing the broad jump for mankind, he hit a golf ball and drove it 2,400 feet, which is nearly half a mile by the way Sheryl Crow flies. He then choked and missed the putt for par.

When aboard our favorite satellite, you can jump six times further, carry objects six times heavier, but will still have trouble sneezing with your eyes open. And according to Weight Watchers, if you weigh 100 pounds on earth, you would weigh 16.6 pounds on the moon. The moon, “Where No Food is a Sin.”

Despite repeated pleas from Pink Floyd, there is no “Dark Side of the Moon.” The moon happily spends its day rotating around the earth, so all sides of the moon are hit by the Father, the Sun and the Gulf Coast at some point. Temperatures on the moon can drop to 250 degrees below zero, so if you go, you might want to bring a poncho.

In a survey conducted in 1998 by the You Got To Be Kidding Me Institute, 13% of those surveyed believed that the moon was made of cheese. The response was split evenly. 50% said Swiss, 50% went with Monterey Jack.

Canada was the third country to enter the space race. However, instead of sending astronauts, they sent their national hockey team along with a backup goalie from the Montreal Canadians.

Under the category of “I did not know that,” the honeymoon is a named after the full moon in June, as it fell between the planting and harvesting of crops and was traditionally the best month to get married. No word on what moon annulment is named after.

And finally, the Slovakian psychiatrist Eugen Jonas created a method of birth control and fertility based on the full moon. Thus, from his research came the term, “I’m going in for a moon landing.” And I believe it was either the Lennon Sisters or John Lennon who said, “Yeah we all shine on, like the moon, the stars and the sun.” That’s all good and well, but what I want to know is, if Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, who will be the first woman? I’m going with Madonna. Just a hunch.

On to the late night. “Bill Clinton now says he wishes he had supported gay marriage back when he was president. Clinton said at the time he was too busy campaigning for open marriage.” –Conan O’Brien “Last year there was some trouble at the White House’s Easter egg hunt. One kid looking for eggs turned up Obama’s birth certificate.” –David Letterman “Yesterday former CIA director David Petraeus apologized for having an affair with his biographer. He said he hopes this begins a new chapter in his life. It got awkward when he said, ‘Any of you ladies want to write it?’” –Jimmy Fallon

“Happy birthday to retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She’s 83 years old today. And listen to this: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court wished her a happy birthday. Last night President Obama celebrated Passover by hosting a seder at the White House. There was an awkward moment when Sasha asked, ‘Hey, I thought we were Muslim.’ During its trip to the Middle East, President Obama helped restore Israel’s relationship with Turkey. Now, onto the final hurdle – restoring Israel’s relationship with pork.” –Conan O’Brien

“John Kerry visited Iraq and also Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with Dennis Rodman.” –David Letterman
“Wal-Mart will test a new delivery method for customers who order online. They’re asking shoppers to drop stuff off for other shoppers on their way home. In exchange, Wal-Mart would give them a discount on their bill. So if you always wanted to work for Wal-Mart but didn’t want to get bogged down with the paycheck and healthcare, this is for you.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“North Korea is warning the U.S. that war with South Korea may break out at any minute. Or as Obama put it, “Can’t believe I’m doing this. Get me Dennis Rodman.” Yesterday President Obama told reporters that his NCAA tournament bracket is busted. Obama said they were the worst picks he’s ever made — then he looked at his economic advisers and said, “Ehh, maybe not.” A man in Pennsylvania was arrested for hunting deer in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. Or as Jeff Foxworthy put it, “Eh, too easy.” – Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our last lunar blast for March 2013. We’ll catch you hitting a clutch 3-pointer bomb from the outskirts of Dallas that sent the game into overtime and then your Michigan team into the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. As for the Kansas Jayhawks, “All they are is dust, or should I say, Russ Smith in the wind.” Aloha, mahlao and later, Trey Burke fans.

March 24, 2013

Wherein Butterflies The Problem

Good morning and greetings, springtime freshness fans. As we all know, last Wednesday was the first day of spring, also known as the vernal equinox or thank God it’s not winter anymore. It’s a day when the equator, the center of the sun and my car’s brakes are fully aligned, which includes a free rotation of my seasonal conciousness.

For the next three months and throughout the NBA playoffs, the sun will gently warm my heart and the northern hemisphere, which will bring smiles to those living in the Mountain West and Great Lakes region and New England states, where recently it has been colder than a reception for Mel Gibson at a B’nai B’rith luncheon.

On the first day of spring, temperatures were up to 25 degrees below my usual scoring average, with more snow than you could find at a Pablo Escobar stash house. The calendar may have read late March, but the ground was snow covered and frozen, which reminds me of the Woody Allen line, “Who bothers to cook TV dinners? I suck them frozen.”

So how cold was it? It was so cold down at a city morgue, you couldn’t tell the stiffs from the guys who worked there. A guy fell out of bed and his pajamas broke. Republicans were actually hugging Democrats while waiting for the bus. A chicken was seen walking down the street with a cape on. Sherwin Williams needed a third coat. And it was so cold that a guy saw one dog trying to jump start another. At least that’s what he thought he was doing.

The arrival of spring also means thousand of college students heading south across the border to sunny and cartel free Mexico, to celebrate and inebriate the annual ritual of spring break. We’re talking places like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Myself, I was always more interested in fast breaking than spring breaking, as because of my Quaker upbringing I don’t drink alcohol or jump off balconies from my hotel room.

I know the draw of surf, sand, suds and sun is a powerful one, but boozing it up was never my thing, as it interfered with my study of the Torah. I’m just kidding, I was always much more of a Kaballah man. But those decapitating cartel boys, who have total disregard for bystanders, umpires and referees would deter me from heading south to where the party never stops. But being a tanned hard body, I can still relate to the words of Robin Williams, who says “Spring is nature’s way of saying, let’s party.”

So on that note, we’re heading down to Mexico. In a story written by Mark Stevenson for the Associated Press, scientists reported last week that the number of Monarch butterflies making it to their winter refuge in Mexico dropped a shocking 59 percent this year, falling to the lowest level since comparable record-keeping began 20 years ago. It was the third straight year of their decline of the migration from the United States and Canada to spend the winter living in mountaintop fir forests in central Mexico. Six of the last seven years have shown drops, and there are now only one-fifteenth as many butterflies as there were in 1997. This is not good news as I have spent half my life chasing the bright, elusive, butterfly of love.

So what are the reasons? The World Wildlife Fund, one of the groups that sponsored the butterfly census, blamed climate conditions, jealousy of moths and agricultural practices, especially the use of pesticides that kill off milkweed, the Monarchs’ main source of food. The butterflies breed and party in the U.S. in the summer, and then migrate to Mexico in the winter. Mexico says they have down their part to protect the butterfly reserves by eliminating large-scale illegal logging and promoting the movies of actress Salma Hayak, who once said, “I keep waiting to meet the man who has more bats, er balls than I do.”

The loss of milkweed in the U.S. makes it hard for the butterflies to lay eggs, and for their young that do hatch to find enough food to grow to maturity. In addition, unusually hot or dry weather can kill eggs, meaning fewer adult butterflies. South of the border, unusual cold weather, lack of water, tree cover and mariachi bands means that Monarchs are less likely to survive the winter and reach adulthood. And thus they will never see Eva Longoria’s new reality TV show, “Devious Maids,” based a Mexican series that that follows four maids who work in Beverly Hills but dream of their own success. And all this time I just thought she was a desperate housewife. Or as the former Mrs. Tony Parker once put it, “I find it a turnoff whenever men aren’t into some kind of sport.” And that, my friends, is why I watch NBA TV.

Lincoln Brower, an entomologist at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, says, “To blame the low numbers of monarchs solely on what is happening north of Mexico is misleading. Herbiciding of soybean and corn fields that kills milkweed is a serious problem, but the historical decline over the past 19 years has multiple causes. All three countries need to face up to the fact that it is our collective activities that are killing the migratory phenomenon of the Monarch butterfly.” So some fingers, including the middle, are being pointed. And I believe it was either actress Jessica Alba or Mexican writer Oscar Funetes who said, “What the United States does best it understand itself. What it does worst is understand others.”

The head of Mexico’s nature reserves, Luis Fueyo, said there are still some problems to be solved at the wintering grounds in Mexico, including some scale-logging and water availability. The Monarchs don’t drink any water throughout their long migration until they reach Mexico, and the mountain streams in the area have been affected by drought, human use and pinata parties. No butterfly lives to make the round-trip. The millions of Monarchs cluster so densely on tree boughs in the reserve that researchers don’t count their individual numbers but rather measure the amount of forest they cover. It’s just another reason why they can’t see the forest through the trees.

This winter, the butterflies covered just 2.93 acres, down from 7.14 acres last year. That doesn’t bode well for us, as who knows what we’ll be seeing this fall in the eucalyptus groves at Natural Bridges and Lighthouse Field. It doesn’t sound promising. So the final word on this situation south of the border comes from Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, who said ” I would rather die standing than live life on my knees.” Viva la revolution, and for you Elvis and Ann Margaret fans, “Viva La Vegas.”

For today’s photo enclave, I’m featuring a group of butterflies at play. The final shot shows the Monarchs clustering in the trees at Natural Bridges State Park. When you look up at this sea of orange and black, you’re viewing one of the true wonders of nature, as their migration north to reach this safe haven, much like me trying to get back down to my high school weight, is brutal. Or as Jennifer Aniston once said, “I love the feeling of being in love, the effect of having butterflies when you wake up in the morning. That is special.” I can relate, as I’ve always savored the early stage of being in love, when I woke up feeling like a happy caterpillar.

On to some late night humor. “A guy in Great Britain found a way to make cars run on coffee. The good news is if cars start running on coffee, it means once again I can smoke at the pumps. Are you folks excited about St. Patrick’s Day? It’s the day I tell Irish jokes written by Jewish writers.” – David Letterman “To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Carnival Cruise had all their toilets overflowing with green water.” – Jay Leno “For many colleges, this is spring break. College kids will go to places like South Beach to make mistakes they will cherish for a lifetime. Spring break is an important American tradition. It’s how we grow a new crop of MTV teen moms.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Last night on “The Tonight Show,” during the monologue Jay Leno called NBC executives “snakes.” The response came quickly. “Jay Leno has crossed the line and gone too far,” responded the snakes. The new show “Bates Motel” premiered last night. It was very suspenseful. The whole time watching it I was thinking, “Will that guy get stabbed? Will he survive to see the next week?” I’m sorry, that’s while I was watching “The Tonight Show. Julius Caesar was romantically involved with Cleopatra for 14 years. After he dumped Cleopatra, there were rumors that Julius Caesar fathered an illegitimate child by a housemaid. But those rumors turned out to be false. It was actually Caesar’s cousin, Julius Schwarzenegger.” – Craig Ferguson

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced that he supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Or as illegal immigrants put it, “Who do you think’s going to build that path?” Kate Middleton revealed that she wants to have a boy, but Prince William is hoping for a girl. However, they both agree that no matter what gender it is, its nanny will love it just the same. Burger King is now offering a turkey burger on its menu. Or as horses put it, “Nope, still us.” There’s talk that “Today” show host Matt Lauer is the top choice to replace Alex Trebek when he leaves “Jeopardy.” Or as Alex Trebek put it, “Who is Matt Lauer?” – Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our Monarch update. I hope you have been relishing the incredible play this week of LeBron James and of March madness, as we are now down to what my daughter will be turning in August, the sweet sixteen. Enjoy the week and the celebration of matzos. We’ll catch you shocking the world by going alley-oop crazy and pulling off the biggest upset in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Aloha, mahalo and later, Florida Gulf Coast University fans.

March 17, 2013

She’s Got A Cricket Inside, But She Don’t Care

Good morning and greetings, daylight saving time fans. I think most of us enjoy the light later in the day, as now I don’t hop into my pajamas till at least 8 pm. Light is a very simple concept, although Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he invented the light bulb. Ellen DeGeneres summed up the situation for all of us when she said, “In the beginning, there was nothing, God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.”

As many of you know, I’m very much into sports, although most of my exercise these days come from dragging my heels, pushing my luck and jumping to conclusions. And I’m talking all the sports, including football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, snowshoeing, knock hockey, bass fishing, skeet shooting, ping pong, synchronized swimming, jai alai, bird watching, dog sledding, sky diving, bull fighting, jump roping, log rolling and darts. And that’s just what I’m into on weekdays.

But there is one sport that I’ve never really gotten into, and that would be cricket. For some reason, this bat-and-ball game never really captured my fancy, unlike canoeing, jump roping or my favorite, body building. But for sports fans in many countries, cricket is right up there on the top of the menu, and that’s where we’re headed today.

In a story written by Frank Elaridi for ABC News, a Salt Lake City food company has a new line of energy bars that have people chirping because of their unique ingredients. The company, named Chapul, perhaps because that’s where you might want to go after eating one of their products, has an energy bar that includes, coconut, ginger, lime, and you guess it, crickets.

A chart on their website shows that both cows and insects are 57 percent protein, but cows are 43 percent fats, while insects are just 22 percent fats. No word on centipedes, arachnids, or Arby’s new roast beef sandwich.

According to Chapul founder Pat Crowley, ” What this basically means is that insects have similar protein contents to livestock, but are healthier because they have less fat. We thought the people who would be most receptive are environmentally conscious people who already eat healthy products and energy bars and who wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Insect diets are common in many countries but not in the United States and Europe. That is because many Americans have ants in their pants.

Crowley wants to introduce insects into American cuisine, but there is a psychological barrier that Americans have about eating insects because it isn’t part of the culture. That is, unless you go bike riding with your mouth open. He wants to introduce insects into the American diet by using ingredients like chocolate and peanut butter, the way sushi was introduced into American cuisine with the California Roll. Holy Jiminy Cricket! For some reason, this really bugs me.

According to Steven R. Kutcher, an entomologist based in Arcadia, California, there are insects in almost everything Americans already eat. Hey, the FDA allows up to 450 insect fragments in every one-pound box of pasta. The average American consumes about 20 pounds of noodles every year, so you crunch the numbers. It’s like the old joke, ‘Waiter, what’s that fly doing in my soup? Don’t worry, the spider on the bread will get him soon enough.”

“When you eat rice, flour, beans, there are going to be insects in them, but people don’t see them,” Kutcher said. “So that’s always been part of the human diet, especially before there was processed food.” Kutcher says although insects are high in protein while low in sodium and contain no trans fats, there is one negative aspect to snacking on them.

“The downside is, with something like crickets, they have spines, claws and exoskeletons made from chitin and it’s not digestible, so it goes right through you,” Kutcher says. “When you eat crab or lobster, you don’t eat the whole thing, you take off the shell. With something like crickets, you can’t remove the chitin.” No chit?

Chapul grinds the crickets into a flour in its bars so there are no legs, claws or antennae present, which makes for good eating but bad reception. When they are ground up that way, the chitin is still not digestible, but consumers don’t have the problems that come from eating all the body parts and they still get all the nutrients. So this way they have a leg up on the competition.

So what do crickets taste like? Seafood, veal chops, Doritos Loco Tacos? “It’s not quite like chicken,” Crowley says. “It has an earthy taste like sunflower seeds. The insects are pretty mild tasting, so it tastes like whatever you flavor it with. It’s like popcorn, if you flavor it with butter, it taste like butter.” Waiter, I’ll have the fried rice, shrimp and broccoli and the crickets in black bean sauce.

The esteemed TV star, Dr. Oz says that chitin in its ground form is a fat blocker and good for one’s health. That may be all good and well, but I’ve always preferred Beatles on a CD, not as a side dish. As I fumigate the thought of insect ingestion through my mind, I get butterflies in my stomach. If we’re going to start eating what’s crawling, hopping and buzzing around us, we’re heading down a new frontier on the culinary highway. Well, either way, I think I’ve finally figured out why those mantises have been praying about all these years.

Now I have a confession. I previously said that this year’s sunrise and sunset season ,much like my infatuation with Kim Jong Un’s new wife, was pretty much over. This was based on the fact that in the past, there has been less action in the sky in March than visa requests to visit North Korea. But I was wrong, as there was a spectacular sunset Thursday night, a gorgeous sunrise Friday morning followed by another pretty sunset that evening. I don’t know if it was the result of global warming or my digital karma, but I managed to photograph a couple of these events. In the words of the singer Meat Loaf, who I happen to love with mashed potatoes, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

For Friday’s sunrise, I started shooting from the cliffs above Cowells Beach, before moving over the Steamers Lane to capture the sun rising over the water and the mountains of Monterey. But the favorite photographic moments came when I moved onto Bird Rock along West Cliff Drive, and I was able to capture the sun rising through the trees, which was almost as exciting as the NBA action on Friday night. It was some unexpected late winter beauty, and I savored it like last week’s episode of “Justified” on FX, but without the TV MALV rating for language, violence and thank goodness, no nudity.

On to some late night humor. “The big news is the new Pope. His name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio. If you’re saying to yourself, “Boy, that name sounds familiar,” you’re right. For seven years he was the ace reliever for the Yankees. With the selection process going on for the new Pope, there’s a lot of papal trivial. For example, did you know that no Pope has ever in the history of the church been elected without carrying Ohio? The cardinals each write down their choice on a small slip of paper and put in a silver chalice and then they mix all the names up and they’re drawn out. It’s the same thing they do for the Vatican’s Secret Santa.” – David Letterman

“In accordance with Vatican tradition, the cardinals in the papal conclave will release white smoke when a Pope is chosen. The practice was started by those two ancient leaders, Cardinal Cheech and Cardinal Chong.” – Jimmy Fallon “After tours of the White House were canceled due to budget cuts, Donald Trump offered to pay for them. All he’s asking is they rename it the Trump White House and Casino.” – Conan O’Brien “Mayor Bloomberg tried to ban giant 16-ounce sugary sodas and a judge overturned the ruling. And I said, “Thank God I don’t have to drive to Canada to get my Mountain Dew anymore.”- David Letterman

“Thanks to daylight saving time, we lost an hour this weekend. If you’re watching this show, you’re about to lose another hour. Everyone is talking about is these Google glasses. People are already worried about radiation from cellphones. So why not make a device that you can put next to your eyes all day?” – Craig Ferguson “According to reports, Saudi Arabia is considering dropping public beheadings because of a shortage of government swordsmen. You don’t want amateurs to cut people’s heads off because that could be barbaric.” – Jay Leno

So that’s our last blast for winter. Birthdays wishes go out on Wednesday to my esteemed writer/editor/deluxe dessert making pal Martha Lawrence, who’s one of the few people in the continental U.S. who never mistakes Encinitas for Escondido.

We’ll catch you streaking up and down the court while running the show for the hottest team in the NBA west. Aloha, mahalo and later, Ty Lawson fans.

March 10, 2013

The Cold And The Beautiful

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:27 am

Good morning and greetings, Ides of March fans. In case you’re wondering what the Ides are all about, it’s the 15th day of March on the Roman calendar, the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated back in 44 B.C.E. after adding croutons and parmesan cheese to one of his famous salads. And interestingly enough, that’s where the expression of “All roads lead to Romaine” came from. And I believe it was George Clooney, who directed and starred in the movie “The Ides of March,” who then coined the phrase, “When in Romaine, do as the Romaines do.” The final thought from the salad bar comes from Cool Hand Luke himself, Paul Newman, who said, “The embarrassing thing is that the salad dressing is outgrossing my films.”

So as a TV critic and blogger, I pride myself on staying atop of the pulse of this great nation, which I accomplish through phone, email and ham radio. And what I have learned is that cold and flu activity is alive and well around the country. Yes, just like the postman always rings twice, people are still coughing and sneezing, wishing and hoping, laughing and praying that the common cold, also known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection, doesn’t stick around too long and turn into bronchitis, running pneumonia or chicken pox. As the poet Ogden Nash once spouted, “A family is a unit composed not only of children but of mice and men, women, an occasional animal and the common cold.”

Now I rarely get a cold, but that comes from living life in a bubble. But when I do, I’m never thrilled with the nasal drainage, sore throat, hallucinations, sneezing, hoarseness, panic attacks, fatigue, fever, growth spurts, headaches, loss of appetite, premature hair loss, congestion, chills, thrills and the wonderful overall achiness. I know those days of dragging around the house, with my sinuses as stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey never last more than than a week or so, but it gives me a true appreciation when feeling healthy of having nothing hanging over my head except a couple of hunting trophies.

According to researchers at the Kleenex Institute, there are more than 200 viruses known to cause the common cold. What this means is because there are so many different viruses wreaking havoc, while at the same time new viruses are graduating and going to college, the body never gets a chance to build up any resistance. With our immune system down on ground level, the body is as helpless as a baby veal to fight off bacteria, and colds return as frequently as our daughter tests our boundries. This makes the common cold one of the world’s most reoccurring diseases in the world, along with selfishness and stupidity.

So how do colds spread? Well, it is very simple, my non-glove wearing friends. It is by direct hand-to-hand combat, er contact, that these germs are spread. And it’s just so easy, like taking John Candy from a baby. All you need is someone blowing their nose, and then when they touch someone else, they’ll be as infected as a computer done in by a Chinese government hacker. And as a bonus, a cold virus can live on items like telephones, computer keyboards, magic wands, pens, books and treasure maps for several hours, or the time it takes for your number to be called at the DMV. When you grab a doorknob, a shopping cart, or a hazardous waste suit, you never know whose disease-ridden hand my have been on it before. So if someone had sneezed, ah-choo becomes ah, s***.

Personally, I love that special moment when the feeling of a cold front moves into my chest. Now it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I know I’m in for some good, old-fashioned feeling lousy for a few days until I’ve been punished long enough, and my nasal passages clear and I can quietly slip back into men’s clothes.

Now it’s a common myth that wintertime is the cold and flu season. But you are mistaken, my runny nose due to excessive mucus flow friends. Although colds are much more popular during the colder months of the year, it’s not because of the frigid temperatures, but for the fact that people are huddled together like football players indoors and this helps to spread the joy and love. For young children in school and day care, the reoccurring cold is a parent’s nightmare, just like getting the call from the principal’s office informing you your child is not on the honor roll.

So what is one do to to avoid the contracting the common cold or being harassed by telemarketers? Best option, live in total isolation, with no contact with any fellow human beings. If that’s not realistic, wash your hands forty to fifty times a day, as cold germs can survive up to three hours outside the nasal and Northwest Passage. You want to keep your fingers and toes away from your eyes and nose as to try and avoid infecting oneself with some cold virus particles that may have come along for the ride. Remember, as any detective will tell you, a handshake is not a man’s best friend in the world of cold cases.

But don’t be afraid to go out in the cold weather. You won’t catch a cold or a sniffle. A cold virus can only enter the body through the nose and mouth, so wearing warm clothing or a fur lined burka will not help to decrease your chances of catching a cold or a Saudi prince. Heck, you can go outside with wet hair and no jacket and play in the snow and never worry about getting a cold. Hypothermia yes, a cold, no. And my thanks to for some research help on this matter.

So with spring less than ten days away, I thought for today’s photorama that we would take a break from the sunrise/sunset experience and check out some sights from the upcoming change of season. Plants and trees have been blooming for weeks here on the central coast, and I’m always amazed at the way they know when it’s time to make their yearly appearance above the soil. It is always a thrill to see new life surface. And after doing some landscaping a month ago, my rose bushes have been busier than the phones in the Golden State Warriors ticket office, as both spring majesty and the NBA playoffs (hopefully) are on the horizon. I believe it was Bill Murray or the Dali Lama who said, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. I say,” Ronzoni sono buonio, Ronzoni is so good.” But the final word belongs to writer Robert Brault, who simply says, “Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.”

On to some late night humor. ” President Obama took a group of Republicans to dinner last night. And at the end of the meal, the president personally picked up the tab. Afterwards, Republicans said “Typical Democrat. Spend, spend, spend.” Dennis Rodman visited North Korea. Rodman came back and said President Obama should call North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But President Obama was busy discussing Iran’s nuclear capabilities with Scottie Pippen. Last night Justin Bieber outraged fans by showing up two hours late for his concert. In fact, I’ve got to tell you, I almost left.
Horse meat was found in some products at Taco Bell. Which explains Taco Bell’s new slogan, “You can lead a horse to Taco Bell. We will take it from there.” – Conan O’Brien

“As you know, the Pope stepped down today. There’s a lot of cardinals running for this Pope position. Some of the slogans are pretty catchy. My favorite: ‘Yes, We Vati-can.’” – Jay Leno “President Obama’s half-brother is running for office in Kenya. He’s a political novice who was born and raised in Africa. I don’t know much about the half-brother.” – Craig Ferguson “Yesterday, Groupon fired the founder and CEO of the company. Yeah, he could tell something was up because today’s deal was his parking space.” – Jimmy Fallon “Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new Facebook news feed today. He said that with this improved news feed Facebook hopes to give the world “the best personalized newspaper that we can.” He’s playing it a little bit loose with the word “newspaper.” A newspaper tells us that North Korea is threatening to attack us, not that your friend went to Panera Bread this afternoon.” – Jimmy Kimmel

So that’s our daylight saving time report. Interesting that folks in Arizona and Hawaii don’t join in the savings fun. We’ll catch you putting up tremendous, back-to-back 41 point performances last week and putting your team on your back as you try and will them into the playoffs. Aloha, mahalo and later, Kobe Bryant fans.

March 3, 2013

There’s A Season For Everything

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 10:11 am

Good morning and greetings, March madness fans. For a fashionable photographer like myself, the season to capture the spectacular comings and goings in the morning and evening skies is shorter than a pair of Danny DeVito’s pants. And that is why during the months of November, December and January, I am constantly on red alert, as much like my proclivity to stay abreast of the goings on in the TV world, I don’t want to miss anything.
As a sunrise specialist, I live by a certain motto-”You snooze, you lose,” which I unfortunately did this past Saturday, when I missed out on an unexpected March show of morning glory when my wife allowed me to stay up past my bedtime Friday night and watch TV. “Dateline” led to dream time, and when I awoke at 6:50, the show was over. I chalk it up to collateral damage from milk and cookies.

On a more positive note, December and January were glorious months for me on the photography and modeling front, as the skies and runways were filled with color and delight. But as the Lord and networks giveth and taketh, it all came to an end quickly for this mild-mannered reporter for a great American website, as February was bleaker than my prospects of doing the backstroke in the fountain of youth. Ah, to feel young again. I believe it was either playwright George Bernard Shaw or the boys from Lynrd Skynrd who said, “It’s a shame to waste youth on Neil Young.” And I just hope Neil remembers, “A southern man don’t need him around anyhow.”

That being said, I captured just one good sunrise and a few sunsets in February, which just goes to show that as a cloud choreographer, you always have to be on top of your game. Much like a finely conditioned athlete, it’s helpful to be able anticipate the play before it happens. Like a Peyton Manning, I try to see the whole field, and avoid those roughing the photographic quarterback penalties.

So another front, it was a tragic week here on the central coast, as two Santa Cruz police officers were gunned down by a psychopath who shouldn’t have been out on the streets. It’s not often that Santa Cruz is mentioned on NBC’s national news, and when it is, I prefer it to be for a spectacular nature event like killer whales surfing the break at Steamers Lane than a senseless double killing that makes everyone in the community feel vulnerable.

After a series of violent crimes in February, folks are wondering, what is happening in our lovely seaside community? The dark side has been driven to the forefront, and what we see is not a pretty picture. Bob Dylan once said, “Democracy don’t rule the world, you’d better get that in your head. This world is ruled by violence, but I guess that’s better left unsaid.” And here all this time, I thought the answer was blowing in the wind.

And there are no easy fixes to these problems. People are asking, “Do you feel safe living here in Santa Cruz.” I feel safe for the moment, but tragedy gives no warning. So I’m grateful at night, when I’m lying in bed in my Don Johnson pajamas with my Direct TV HD DVR by my side for protection, to have made it through another day, week or TV season.

So for today’s photo funhouse, we are returning to last Thursday night, the final day of our shortest month of the year. The place is my favorite sunset shooting location, Natural Bridges State Beach. I’m fond of the most natural of bridges for two reasons. One, I love capturing the intense color of the clouds reflecting on the sand. And two, and more importantly, it is the closest location to my westside abode, and this way I rarely get carsick on the journey.

I had no expectations for any dusk developments, as it had been a few weeks since I shot a meaningful sunset. But then as the day wound down, the clouds hung around in the western sky, setting the stage for some late February magic. This night had most things a digital boy could ask for, except for the last phase of color when we go from outrageous orange to blood red. But for a night when my expectations were lower than my cholesterol and blood pressure, it definitely did the trick.

On to some late night humor. “This horse meat scandal just keeps growing. And it isn’t happening only in Europe. According to a new report, donkey meat has been found in hamburgers in South Africa. Consumers said when they were eating the burgers, they sensed something was wrong but they couldn’t quite pin a tail on it. In fact, in South Africa more than two-thirds of the meat products tested contained undeclared ingredients. Or as we call that in this country, a hot dog. A storm dumped 17 inches of snow on Amarillo, Texas, yesterday. It was really confusing for people sneaking over the border. They thought they’d gone all the way to Canada.” – Jay Leno

“Life of Pi” took home four Oscars. It’s about a young boy trapped at sea on a small boat with a man-eating tiger. Yet with all that, it’s still a better way to travel than a Carnival cruise. According to the new study, women talk almost three times as much as men. Well, you know why? Because they know men aren’t listening the first two times. ” – Jay Leno “Last night a toilet flooded the lobby where the Oscars show was being held. The show won an Oscar for best portrayal of a Carnival cruise. Big winner last night was “Life of Pi,” a story of a young man who wakes up in a lifeboat with a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and tiger, which oddly enough, is also the plot of “The Hangover 3.” – Conan O’Brien

“Big international controversy about the Oscars. When they aired in Iran, the Iranian government digitally added sleeves to Michelle Obama’s gown. They also altered the video so that Jennifer Lawrence is now deliberately tripped by the Israelis.” – Conan O’Brien “The White House officially released portraits of the White House gang. You can all see the portrait of Hillary Clinton. It will be on next month’s cover of the “Sports Illustrated” pants suit issue. Anybody see the Academy Awards last night? The show last night was so long that by the middle of the show the audience was begging Daniel Day-Lewis to free them. Have you seen a movie out there called “Zero Dark Thirty?” It’s about the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his wife Mary Todd bin Laden. Pope Benedict was nominated for an Academy Award. He’s going up against “Lincoln” for best big hat.” – David Letterman

“Officials in Pakistan are complaining that the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” contains a lot of errors. They were like, “The movie makes Pakistan out to be a hellish wasteland of corruption and intolerance — but in real life, it’s WAY worse than that. Manti Te’o was apparently one of the slowest linebackers to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL’s scouting combine yesterday. You can tell he took it to heart because today he spent three hours on an imaginary Stairmaster. Beyoncé has actually designed her own pair of sneakers. The sneakers are made of stingray, ostrich, cat hair, crocodile, and anaconda skins. So if you want a pair of those sneakers, you’d better order it now while species last.” – Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our first blast for March. We’ll catch you being the best shooter in the NBA and ringing up the Knicks for league-high 54 points on Tuesday in Madison Square Garden. Aloha, mahlao and later, Stephen Curry fans.

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