May 26, 2013

All We Are Is Gusts In The Wind

Good morning and greetings, extreme weather fans. It was a bit breezy on the westside of town last week, as the trade winds were gusting along the coast. The winds brought with them chains of pelicans, who flew by in glorious formations, with many stopping at the remaining arch at Natural Bridges to shower, shave and recharge their cell phones, which they keep in their bills. That’s right, cell phone bills. Can you hear me now?

So you may be wondering, how windy was it? It was so windy that on my wife’s birthday on Saturday, she didn’t have to blow out the candles. Unfortunately, her wish did not come true, as when the candles were extinguished, the basketball season still wasn’t over.

My wife and I follow the advice of that wise sage Phyllis Diller “Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” Our marriage is still a work in progress, although she is constantly saying that I never listen to her. At least that’s what I think she said.

So getting back to my wife’s hoop dreams, if you’re an NBA fan, last week was a good one for you, as there were back-to-back overtime thrillers at the start of the conference finals. I realize that professional basketball on TV is not watched by every American with a pulse, with the main reason being the lack of constant violence, as players don’t smash into one another play after play until only the non-conscussioners are left standing. Basketball is a much more graceful sport, played by seven foot ballerinas with wing spans the size of pterodactyls and contracts even bigger.

But as basketball nuts were rejoicing, it was not a good week for the folks in Moore, Oklahoma, as a killer tornado packing 200 mile an hour winds tore through the city, leveling everything in its path. The photos of the destruction were terrifyingly amazing. I remember being instructed as a young child to wait 30 minutes after eating before going swimming and never turn your back on a tornado. And the world’s most dangerous food is wedding cake.

It was a scene of total devastation, as buildings, homes and schools were leveled by a storm that lasted less than an hour but will affect lives forever. It seems, like my subconcious wanderings, that the weather continues to get wilder and wilder, and if this is not global warming, than God is really pissed off about something. And he wanted me to remind you, his last name isn’t “Dammit.”

Perhaps he’s peeved because people litter. I originally supported the death penalty for litterers, but I’ve mellowed over the years and life without the possibility of an egg roll would suffice. I’m still amazed that as I stroll around in 2013, some morons still treat the earth like their personal ash tray. Listen, if you want to suck in that tar and nicotine into your lungs, be my guest. But I would really appreciate if you would not exhale, thereby not polluting my air space and that way getting double the carcinogens to build a straw mind and an unhealthy body. That may sound cruel, but I’m not living in Marlboro country.

And don’t get me started on the slaughter of African elephants by poachers fulfilling the Chinese insatiable need for ivory. I’m not of big fan of extinction, but that’s where these giant creatures of the forest are headed. And Asian gangs are to blame, as I may have to call for an international ban of all chow fun products. What do you get if a herd of elephants tramples Batman and Robin? Flatman and Ribbon.

Continuing on the litter front, the other day I was driving by a fast food establishment, which will remain nameless, (Burger King) and I saw a woman toss her lunch out of her window and onto the ground of the parking lot. My immediate reaction was wanted to strangle her and then go in and order the new Memphis pulled pork sandwich with an Oreo shake. This woman needed a severe scolding or a lobotomy, although I doubt either would have helped. So I opted for the strawberry banana smoothie and some blood pressure medication.

I’m always wondering, where are these people’s consciences, where are their souls? Now, this isn’t the world’s worst offense, like murder or pirating a cable signal, but it leads me to believe that these people, like the batteries in my transistor radio, are dead inside. Which brings to mind the words of Marilyn Monroe, firing back at her critics when she said, “It’s not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on.” Works for me.

So where is this all leading? Well, while our military is racked by gross sexual misconduct, troops still dying in Afghanistan and the IRS being called in for a major audit, spring flowers, gently prodded by April showers, continue to bloom.

We had a little rainfall on the morning of May 12, so I put on my Doobie Brothers raincoat, grabbed my camera and headed out into the pleasant storm. I didn’t have to travel much further than my front yard, as this year, the roses are blooming faster than I can make bouquets. I’d like to think that it’s my organic gardening technique, but that would be giving myself more credit than when I graded myself in college at Syracuse.

I cut back these beauties in the winter, and as a way of saying thanks, they came back with a vengeance I haven’t seen since Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas hit the big screen in ‘War of the Roses.” Let me end with a flowery quote from former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. ““I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.” Thank you and good night.

On to some late night humor. “During a Senate hearing yesterday, Senator John McCain said it was too hard to always have to update apps on his iPhone. No one has the heart to tell him the device he was holding was a garage door opener. A new international poll finds the least popular country in the world is Iran. After hearing this, North Korea said, “What do we have to do?” –Conan O’Brien

“Anthony Weiner has formally announced he is running for mayor of New York City. “Weiner said, ‘Nobody will work harder to make it better.’ As opposed to his first campaign promise, which was ‘Nobody will work better to make it harder.’” –Jay Leno “Everything’s going bad for President Obama with Benghazi and other controversies. But Obama’s trying to turn things around. He’s sending in SEAL Team 6 to bring back Justin Bieber’s monkey.” –David Letterman Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia the head of the religious police said he believes that Saudi citizens who use Twitter will go to hell. Let me get this straight. Tweeting leads to damnation. But filling a palace with kidnapped beauty contestants — that’s OK?” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Really, Tea Party? Really? You’re surprised that you’re targeted by the IRS? You named yourself after a group of people who proudly and historically violated tax laws! Look, if I had a vanity license plate that said ‘Weed 420,’ I might expect to get pulled over now and then. “Prince Harry this week toured the Jersey Shore with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. It was the first meeting between the Prince, of the House of Windsor, and the Governor, of the House of Pancake.’” –Amy Poehler

“If you think Benghazi is worse than slavery, the Trail of Tears, Japanese internment, Tuskegee, purposefully injecting Guatemalan mental patients with syphilis, lying about WMDs, and the fact that banks today are still foreclosing on mortgages they don’t own, then your hard-on for Obama has lasted more than four hours, and you need to call a doctor. “The Obama administration is experiencing multiple scandals, and the Republicans are having multiple orgasms. Three scandals at once? Rush Limbaugh today said, ‘I feel like I’m on Oxycontin again.’” –Bill Maher

So that’s our last blast for May. Birthday wishes go out on Tuesday to my sister-in-law Wendi Gilbert, who lives by the simple philosophy that any day involving chocolate is a good day.

We’ll catch you showing the Miami Heat and a national TV audience why you look like an-up-and coming NBA superstar. Aloha, mahalo and later, Paul George fans.

May 19, 2013

A Watched TV Never Boils

Filed under: Uncategorized — geoff @ 10:03 am

Good morning and greetings, sunrise fans. Ah, what a short, strange trip life is. We never know what’s around the corner or why the grass is greener on the other side of the defense. It’s not that I’m feeling my age, because I really believe that 60 is the new 58. When I gaze into the mirror, I generally like what I see. But still, for someone like myself, being 60 years old still blows what’s left of my mind. Because let’s face it, I’m no spring chicken, although I am very tender and have a high ratio of white to dark meat.

Now I can’t say for sure how how long I’ll be around, because that’s the number only the Big Guy and my life coach knows. But with my father being 96 and still telling my mother how gorgeous she is, and mother, at 87 not hearing half of what he says, things look good for me penning these verbs of wisdom for a while.

I believe it was Oscar Wilde or Oscar Madison who said, “The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life. And the body is born young and grows old. That is life’s tragedy.” Well, that and my favorite police drama, ‘Southland,’ being cancelled on TNT. The show was critically acclaimed and more authentic than half the stuff on my resume.

So with my wordsmanship, it’s all about trying to create something semi-coherent with 26 of my favorite vowels and continents. After meditating and praying like a mantis in an effort to come up with a topic for this post, I came up with a blank slate. Normally, thoughts burn inside me like a urinary tract infection, but I just wasn’t my antibiotic self.

So nothing was really stirring inside except for my thoughts on the NBA playoffs, which I had been lucky enough to be spouting off about over the radio air waves for the past month. Unfortunately, in just a few weeks from now, I will go cold turkey, which I happen to like with a little cranberry sauce, as the the basketball playoffs will have ended. I will then be left with the question, what to do with all this free time? Except for a couple of nights when I decided to delight my wife and go NBA free, I have watched basketball every evening for six and a half months without winking or blinking.

As a result of I being engrossed watching players who earn more in a day than I do in a leap year shooting a sphere through a hoop, a lot of TV hours await me on my DVR platter. Now, you might be thinking,”Geoff, how can you spend so much time watching TV?” Life is supposed to be an adventure, to be spent zipping around the planet, not through TV commericals. I believe it was Marshall McLuhan’s cable installer who once said, “The great thing about television is that if something important happens anywhere in the world, day or night, you can always change the channel.”

I had a wonderful childhood, with memories of weekends at the beach, summer sleep away camp and almost being breast fed. I remember as a child integrating with my parents while watching black and white TV classics like “The Honeymooners’ and ‘Sergeant Bilko.’ And then there were the educational shows like ‘The Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello and the Bowery Boys.’ Laughing at their hijinks was pure unconditional joy, and now thanks to God and You Tube, I can replay many of those classic moments anytime I want. What a great society we live in, as when we’re not watching TV, we can sit in front of a computer screen and spend hours and hours being entertained by one disease Bill Gates and his foundation will never be able to cure.

I know that not everyone loves or bows to TV. Woody Allen said, “In Beverly Hills, they don’t throw their garbage away, they make it into television shows.” To some, “Theatre is life. Cinema is art. Television is furniture.” Steve or Frank Lloyd Wright called TV “chewing gum for the eyes.” Erma Bombeck chimed in with “If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead, but should be resuscitated if the third game goes overtime.”

Okay, so the boob tube is not a great motivator for children, teenagers or family pets. I believe it was Oprah’s strength coach who said, “TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they’ll have with twenty-six. Open your child’s imagination. Read a book.” Now I love to read, which I often to while watching TV. It’s like killing two birds with one Sharon Stone.

Comedian Jason Love speaks for me when he says, “I could have been a doctor, but there were too many good shows on TV.” Yet many folks remain bitter about what the tube is doing to the youth and storm chasers of today. Author Dan Spencer is one of them. “On cable TV they have a weather channel-24 hours of weather. We had something like that where I gew up. We called it a window.” Hey, sometimes I need to know the rainfall numbers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Keeping you ahead of the storm, Sunrise Santa Cruz.

So here’s the soft truth about the cold hard facts. We all have to make sacrifices. Ahead of me is a road full of network and cable dramas, crime shows and the new Hawaii Five-O. Many talented people in Hollywood have spent a lot of time writing and producing these shows, and as a full-blooded American, I want to be part of the television solution, not the problem. So when the NBA season winds to a halt, I’ll sit down and give these shows the proper respect and my full attention, which my wife knows is rarely a simple proposition. For us, TV is like a stroll through the redwoods or a drive along the coast, as it brings us together and it gives us a chance to talk about people who don’t exist and the situations they get themselves into. It’s pure magic with no commercials.

But occasionally, like in all relationships, conflicts arise, but these are easily resolved. Or in the words of writer Donna Gephart, “Today, watching television often means fighting, violence and foul language-and that’s just deciding who holds the remote control.” Hey, all’s fair in love and cable.

Today’s photo adventure brings us back to the morning of January 25. This turned out to be a truly incredible date on my Selena Gomez calendar, as the twelve hours of daylight were spectacular in the skies above Monterey Bay. We’re talking about a gorgeous sunrise, followed by thunderhead clouds and topped off by a magnificent sunset that had photographers and shamans lining up like bowling pins along the coast.

I shot the first four photos from the field facing east at Lighthouse Point, capturing the sun as it rose over Steamers Lane. I then shifted my focus and aura to the west, as the fog was blowing in off a West Cliff Drive, and it made for a stunning contrast to what was happening in the eastern sky. All in all, it was a day of spectacular color and surprises that my camera and shadow will never forget.

On to some late night humor. “China announced it will no longer buy recycled trash from the U.S. I don’t have a joke here. I’d just like to give a round of applause to whatever genius has been selling trash to China. Earlier this week it was announced that Barbara Walters is stepping down. Footage just surfaced from 1962 of the young Barbara as an undercover Playboy Bunny. You can tell it was Barbara because she keeps asking men if they want their drink “on the wocks.” O.J. Simpson was in court this week trying to overturn his conviction on armed robbery and kidnapping. O.J. said, “I’m tired of everyone thinking of me as a robber and kidnapper and forgetting what a great murderer I am.”‘- Conan O’Brien

“O.J. Simpson is back in court today. He’s trying to get himself a new trial. He was tossed into prison for a long time for stealing his own sports memorabilia. Double homicide, nothing. Stealing sports memorabilia, 30 years to life. They’re predicting a trillion cicadas for the northeastern part of the United States. They haven’t been here in 17 years. When they got to New York City, they saw Yankee Stadium and the first thing they said was, “Wow, Mariano Rivera is still pitching!”‘ – David Letterman

“Eagles’ offensive lineman Evan Mathis posted a picture on Instagram that shows him relieving himself on an IRS building with a caption that says, “Audit this!” Or as the IRS said, “OK, see you tomorrow at noon.” Officials in Belize say that a construction company accidentally destroyed a set of Mayan ruins that were 2,000 years old. Or as the Mayans put it, “Eh, it’s not the end of the world.” Whole Foods is apologizing for switching the labels on some salads, which caused vegans to accidentally eat chicken. So if you’re a vegan who mistakenly ate one of the salads, that’s why it was so delicious. A new poll found that 54 percent of Americans are tired of Justin Bieber. It gets even worse when you hear that they polled only 54 percent of Americans.” – Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama is not having a good week. With three scandals shaking the White House, they’re saying this is one of the worst weeks of Obama’s presidency. Obama was like, ‘How could things get worse?’ And Joe Biden was like, ‘You rang?’” –Jimmy Fallon “New Rule: Republicans trying to turn the Benghazi attacks into a scandal that taints Hillary Clinton’s chances at a 2016 presidential run must realize that scandals don’t weaken Hillary Clinton, they only make her stronger. Travelgate, the Rose Law Firm, Whitewater, Vince Foster, Monica Lewinsky…Hillary Clinton eats scandals for breakfast. If the Republicans keep this up she’ll not only be President, she’ll appoint Bill to the Supreme Court.” –Bill Maher

So birthday wishes go out on Saturday to my beautiful television watching companion Allison, who knows what’s important in life and thus lets me hold the remote. And to my westside friend Marc Techner, who gets handsomer every time I see him.

We’ll catch you being one of the most underrated players in the NBA while leading your team to the Western Conference finals. Aloha, mahalo and later, Mike Conley fans.

May 12, 2013

He Ain’t Heavy, Bees My Brother

Good morning and greetings, whale watchers. It was an exciting week along the edge of the continent, as the huge grays are making their annual migration up the coast. It’s a thrill to be walking along and seeing these giant, majestic creatures of the sea surface offshore. It serves as a reminder of how fortunate I am to have manifested my destiny to this cold water paradise, where the redwoods meet the sea of Golden State Warrior fans.

Yes, Stephen Curry and the Warriors have been the talk of the basketball world, and if you tune in your radio dial to 630 AM or 97.9 FM weekdays between 3 and 5pm, you just might catch me trying to speak as slowly as possible, so that more people than my mother can decipher what I’m going on about while dissecting the NBA playoffs.

So getting back to the somewhat frigid Pacific, the water temps here on the westside ranged last week from 51 to 53 degrees. To someone like myself, who at this stage of the game is as a delicate as a bouquet of Mother’s Day roses, that is a bit nippy. Thus, I live my life in Santa Cruz on the water, not in the water. That is, except when I do my weekend snorkeling and scuba diving at the hot tub overlooking the ocean where my parents reside.

There, I explore a world full of sharks, manta rays and exotically colored fish. Wait a minute, I’m confusing my weekend water therapy with a dream I had last night, when I went with Jacques Cousteau to Red Lobster for the endless shrimp special and unlimited Cheddar Bay biscuits. JC was in rare form, as he was downing those sweet and sour shrimps like they were M & M’s that melted in his mind, not in his hand.

After dinner and a game of darts, he looked me in the eye and summed up the reason for my life and this blog. “When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.” And thus, that is why I bare my soul to the the world and the foreign press each week. When the fish n’ chips of life are down, you must lift people up. It would be an act of cyber treason not to. At least that’s what my rabbi tweeted to me.

As my high school prom date once told me, there are many fish in the sea. At this moment, we are doing are best to overfish certain species. If you’re going to a restaurant and ordering endangered species like swordfish, sea bass or blue or yellow fin tuna, wake up and smell the mercury. But even with this harpooning of one of nature’s greatest resources, the fish will hopefully come back. But another key player in fulfilling our American diet is in bigger trouble.

In a story written by Seth Borenstein for the Associated Press, a new federal report blames a complex set of environmental stresses to have caused a dramatic decline among honeybee colonies. It’s a symptom called colony collapse disorder. This dramatic disappearance has baffled a select team of black bears and scientists. Factors include multiple viruses, a parasitic mite, Tom Arnold, bacteria, poor nutrition, not flossing regularly, genetics, habitat loss, last-second buzzer beaters and pesticides.

This is a very serious issues and our government is at odds as to where to point the finger. The parasitic, disease-carrying, tic- like bug, known as the varroa mite, can withstand the chemicals beekeepers use and has its own Facebook page. In Europe, they’re blaming the chemicals, as they began a two-year ban on three pesticides that have been linked with declining bee populations. The Obama administration, however, is reluctant to blame pesticides solely for the declining bee colonies, as they think it is a Republican problem.

Four out of five bee keepers who recommend sugarless pollen for their bees who chew gum say the multiple causes have made it harder to do something about their mysterious disappearance. The disorder has caused as much as one-third of the nation’s bees to just disappear each winter since 2006. Last year, the nation’s biggest bee keeper said he lost 42% of his bee colony, but that he made up for his losses at the track.

Honeybees are needed to pollinate crops, as they are crucial to the U.S. food supply. About $30 billion a year in agriculture depends on the health of these busy, buzzing little workers. Besides making honey, honeybees pollinate more than 90 flowering crops. Among them are apples, nuts, psycho cases, soybeans, avocados, chips, asparagus, citrus fruit, cranberries, beef and broccoli. About one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination. The rest comes from multi national food conglomerates, who focus on good health and proper nutrition while bringing us Twinkies, Slurpees, Whoppers, Super Sized Fries and Cheesy Kale Chips.

So here’s the bottom line. The nation may be on the brink of not having enough bees to pollinate its crops, and modern farming practices are leaving very little land for bees and other pollinators, but plenty of room for polluters. Myself, I have always been happy with bees, although my parents pushed me to try and get A’s. The final word on this subject belongs to my old pal, Billy Shakespeare, who came up with this gem when he summed up the situation. “To bees or not to bees, that is the question.” Then he threw in this reminder, “Listen to many, blog to a few.”

For today’s photo arcade, we are heading up the North Coast to lovely Four Mile Beach. The date was April 2, and I wanted to check out the wildflower action, which I knew,like my allergies, would be in full spring bloom. The vast amount of yellow, red, orange and purple wildflowers did not disappoint me, as their vibrant colors stood out on in contrast to the gray sky. The sea gulls were just an added bonus. When we can visit a remote beach like this just five minutes driving time from your home, something is right in the world.

On to some late night humor. “Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is the guy who told his wife he was going for a hike and then went to Argentina to see his girlfriend. He was then exposed as an unethical, lying, cheating weasel. In a stunning comeback, he has been elected to Congress, where he’ll fit right in.” –Jay Leno “When asked if Hillary Clinton will run for president, Bill Clinton said, ‘She’s having a little fun being a private citizen.’ And then he added, ‘Not Bill Clinton fun, but fun nonetheless.” –Conan O’Brien

“Some experts are saying that the 2016 Democratic presidential race could come down to Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Biden is calling her a worthy opponent, while Hillary is calling him ‘practice.’ “The National Park Service is launching a new campaign to attract younger visitors. It has a very creative slogan: ‘National Parks: Nobody Knows You’re Drinking in Here.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“PETA is really upset at Chris Christie for killing a spider in front of a group of school children. Governor Christie said, ‘If PETA is upset by that, they do not want to know what I had for lunch today.’” –Conan O’Brien “The NRA this week elected a new president, choosing Alabama lawyer Jim Porter who recently referred to Attorney General Eric Holder as ‘rabidly un-American’ and still calls the Civil War the ‘War of Northern Aggression.’ He’s known around the NRA as ‘Reasonable Jim.’” –Seth Meyers ” On Mother’s Day, Hooters is giving away free wings to all mothers who come in. Eating lunch with your mom at Hooters — I guess some guys never get tired of their moms saying, “Look at me when I’m talking to you!” -Jay Leno

So Happy Mother’s Day to all, as our lifetimes, the month of May and the NBA playoffs move on. We’ll catch you putting on an incredible first half shooting performance that had the nation buzzing about the Golden State Warriors’ backcourt. Aloha, mahalo and later, Klay Thompson fans.

May 5, 2013

What A Day For A May Dream

Good morning and greetings, spring flowers fans. It’s the magical month of May, a spectacular time to be alive and smelling the roses on this marvelous planet of ours.

The weather on the central coast has been as impressive as Lindsay Lohan’s vow to turn around her life, and I, for one, am fully in her corner. I fell in love with her in “Mean Girls” and my admiration for her courage has grown from there. As Lindsay says, “Life is full of risks, why not take them?” Or you could simply pay for them first.

Last week, I found myself being asked the questions, “Can you believe it’s May?” and “What was it like being a supermodel?” Yes, the days on the calendar continue to hurry by like Kim Jong On’s wife trying to escape from under his demilitarized zone.

Last Wednesday was May Day, the first of May, and if the weather around the nation was any indication of what’s in store, then hold onto your barometers, thermometers and wind chimes. I never judge a book by its cover, except for Playboy’s party jokes, but this opening chapter of our fifth month was a doozy.

May Day is a celebration of the international workers movement. In Seattle, it’s celebrated annually by brave anarchists smashing windows of local businesses while dodging pepper spray. Yes, nothing helps keep the focus on the global economic crisis and the immigration reform movement than creating havoc and running wild in the streets with a bandana covering your face.

In Hawaii, May 1 is Lei Day, which always brings smiles to vacationing honeymooners. It celebrates the history and tradition of the lei, the fragrant floral necklaces that have become synonymous with the aloha spirit and vacation rentals on the Big Island. In the Hawaiian culture, giving or receiving a lei carries a special meaning, like here on the mainland, when you give that special someone cash on their birthday.

Let’s head back to the weather map. In Colorado and Wyoming, May started out with a blast of wet spring snow. I received a first hand report from my brother Brad in Boulder, who was snowboarding down his driveway so he could de-ice his mountain bike. But as they say in Colorado, ‘If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes,” as one minute it will be blizzarding and then sunny the next day with blue skies and 70 degree temps, making that snow disappear faster than a box a donuts from Rush Limbaugh’s desk. For you Denver basketball fans, the only months that snow hasn’t fallen or people weren’t grumbling about the Nuggets being knocked out of the first round of the playoffs have been July and August.

The first day of May also brought buckets of heavy snow and fried chicken all across the midwest. For those of you who aren’t geography majors, Sioux Falls, which is the largest city in South Dakota, got its first May snowfall in 37 years. Kansas City experienced a May snow for the first time since 1907, which coincidentally is that last time the Chiefs had a shot at the Super Bowl. Schools in Wisconsin and Minnesota were closed as children frolicked and played and went ice fishing. I may be old-fashioned, but nothing says spring to me like mittens, boots and snowplows on the road. That sound you hear is the groundhogs chuckling.

Meanwhile, trouble loomed to the north in Fargo, North Dakota, which I didn’t even realize was part of the United States. For the last four out of five years, the Red River has flooded, swamping this city of 105,000 and ruining prom plans. It’s an annual event for high schoolers in this area to come together and bond over filling up sandbags, of which a million were filled this year in preparation for the rising waters. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” The good news is the river crested over six feet below record levels, which means the newly built sandbag dykes remained dry. The bad news is they’re still in North Dakota.

So while the snow was coming down harder than Oprah running wind sprints, a natural disaster was taking place in southern California. No, I don’t mean the announcement of Fox’s summer TV schedule, but wildfires, fueled by dry, gusty conditions, were burning out of control all over the Inland Empire. Conditions throughout the Golden State are drier than my mouth in the middle of the night when I wake up and hear the camels laughing, but that’s nothing that a little sleep apnea can’t take a care of. With high winds, high temperatures, high cholesterol, low humidity, dry brush and a wet comb, it adds up to a perfect storm for wildfires. It’s one thing to be stuck in traffic on the 101, it’s another when fire is burning in the diamond lane.

Since we had some April showers, I feel it’s my cyber duty to feature some magnificent May flowers. Today’s beauties are bearded irises, the fleur-de-lis symbol that for centuries has represented French royalty, which makes them the flower most likely to surrender. These ornamental masterpieces feature more colors blended together than you’d see in the stands at a day game at Yankee Stadium. Their name comes from the fuzzy hairs growing from the downward facing petals that are called beards, leading to the name of bearded iris, which is still no excuse not to shave.

So let’s end with a flower joke. Two friends, a blonde and a redhead, are walking down the street and pass a flower shop where the redhead happens to see her boyfriend buying flowers. She sighs and says, “Oh, crap, my boyfriend is buying me flowers again.” The blonde looks quizzically at her and says, “What’s the big deal, don’t you like getting flowers?” The red head says, “Oh sure, but he always has expectations after giving me flowers, and I just don’t feel like spending the next three days on my back with my legs in the air.” The blonde says, “Don’t you have a vase?”

On to the late night. “An elementary school here in New York City has become the first school in the country to serve only vegetarian food. It’s serving only vegetarian foods, like tofu. Now when bullies say, ‘Give me your lunch money,’ students are like, ‘Here, take it.’ Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in trouble. He was arrested this week for threatening to expose some sensitive government secrets. And you can tell it’s serious. His bail was set at 200 goats. New reports say New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will not run for president in 2016 if Hillary Clinton does. In a statement, Hillary said that she appreciates the decision and the support. Then she added, “Because I would crush him.” – Jimmy Fallon

Washington Wizards center Jason Collins just came out of the closet, making him the first pro athlete in a major sport to be openly gay. He is getting credit for being the first openly gay pro athlete. Or as Martina Navratilova put it, “Hello!” – Jimmy Fallon “More news keeps coming out about Jason Collins, the NBA player who revealed he’s gay. It turns out he’s a free agent looking for someone to sign him. He’s got some interest from Chicago. Not the Bulls, the Broadway musical. There’s a trend now of prison inmates reviewing their prison on Yelp. The downside is that people are now committing crimes just to get the amazing fish tacos at Rikers Island.” –Conan O’Brien

“There’s now talk here in California of letting noncitizens serve on juries. The bad news: If you’re ever on trial for underpaying your nanny, you could get the death penalty.” –Jay Leno “It’s been two years since the SEAL team busted in and got Osama bin Laden. On the night of the raid, the guy never knew what hit him. It’s like being married to a Kardashian.” –David Letterman “I don’t consider myself a baby boomer. To me, that means hippies. What do I have in common with a hippie? I never went to Woodstock. I never wore flowers in my hair. I never took huge amounts of LSD and then battled killer ducks who I swear were out to kill me. All right, I did the last one but I didn’t think it was groovy.” – Craig Ferguson

So welcome to May and the second round of the NBA playoffs. We’ll catch you showing fans what gems there are to be had in the second round of the NBA draft. Aloha, mahalo and later, Draymond Green and Chandler Parsons fans.

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