September 29, 2013

Birds Of A Feather Dine Out Together

Good morning and greetings, fall weather fans. Last Saturday, folks on the central coast were surprised as rain showers from a cold front blew in and soaked local basketball courts. It was the first significant amount of rain we had since the end of June, as the summer weather was a rather dry. How dry was it? A salmon knocked at my door asking for a drink of water.

But lo mein and behold, it’s been ever drier in the Bay Area, as they have received less rain from January 1 to mid-September than in any year in recorded history, which goes back to the gold rush and early years of Joe Montana.

According to Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury, only 3.94 inches of moisture has fallen since New Year’s Day in San Francisco, not including the amount of tears shed by 49er fans after recent losses to the Seahawks and Colts. San Francisco has the oldest rain gauge and strip clubs west of the Mississippi, dating back to 1850, around the birth of John McCain. At least that’s why Carol Doda told me.

San Jose and Oakland are also experiencing record dry years for 2013. Now I don’t need a weatherman to tell me which way my hair is blowing, but I would think that our little community would be on close to a record pace. In the words of either Julius Erving or Irving Berlin, “Nobody knows how dry I am.”

But according to clinical psychologists and local meteorologists, the lack of precipitation is not as bad as it looks. Bob Benjamin, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Monterey says, “Don’t panic yet. We need to look at all the winter rain from the end of last year to put this in perspective.”

Which reminds me of a story. Two frogs fell into a bowl of cream. One didn’t panic, he relaxed and drowned. The other kicked and struggled so much that they cream turned to butter and he walked out. And then God created ice cream.

It rained 50 percent more than normal in November and December in the the Bay Area. Those early winter storms filled reservoirs and had Golden State fans getting soaked in the parking lots outside Oracle Arena.

Now unlike the chances of the Warriors making the playoffs this year, the odds of having a wet winter aren’t looking good. Water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean indicate an El Niño year of a wet winter is not in the cards. According to four out of five climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who chew sugarless gum, the chance of an El Niño developing through Dec. 31 is only 6 percent, or the same odds that the Oakland Raiders will be a playoff team this year.

But then again, if weather forecasters were really able to predict what lies out there on the weather front more than a month from now, they’d be in Las Vegas, playing roulette and doubling down on Wayne Newton. And when it comes to large cities, Las Vegas gets the least amount of rain in the country. But it does get the most degenerate gamblers pouring into town. So I guess you could say it’s a wash.

So once again, pelicans took center stage of my morning strolls along West Cliff last week. On Wednesday I had to stop twice in my tracks to admire the formations flying by, as they were easily each 200 to 300 strong. Their flight patterns were amazing, and as I stood there, an old Chinese proverb came into my mind. “You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but can can prevent them from building nests in your hair.” And that’s why I wear I baseball hat whenever I walk.

Then on Thursday, after having breakfast on the wharf with my brother Paul, we took a leisurely drive along West Cliff and as we approached the parking lot at Natural Bridges, all hell broke loose. In the water and the air were hundreds and hundreds of pelicans dive bombing head first after the anchovies. Every time a group would hit the water, the gulls would scream like they were at a Justin Bieber concert.

There were thousands and thousands of gulls and various shore birds stretched out a half mile along the coast, as they were twisting and shouting all morning and then late into the afternoon. It was a spectacular sight that also included some seals, sea lions and enough anchovies to make Caesar salad dressing to fill Lake Michigan.

The only thing missing were the whales, but field scout Jerry Hoffman reported seeing them breaching along the coast in Aptos that afternoon. And then the next morning, as I patrolled along the shoreline, the vast majority of birds were gone, with just a few stragglers to entertain the troops.

It had been one of those magical moments which lasted for hours. This event brought to mind a Turkish proverb that says, “God finds a low branch for the bird that cannot fly.” Yet this is the same guy who couldn’t find his way to let me dunk once. I guess no one said life is fair.

On to the late night humor. “So to express your opposition to Obamacare, you go to the book about a stubborn jerk who decides he hates something before he’s tried it, and when he finally gets a taste, he has to admit after he’s tasted it, ‘This is pretty f**king good.’” –Jon Stewart on Sen. Ted Cruz reading Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” on the Senate floor. “Texas Senator Ted Cruz had quite a day yesterday. To protest a government bill that would fund Obamacare, he decided to take the floor of the Senate and keep speaking until he was no longer able to stand – at which point he would collapse, be taken to the hospital and be treated for exhaustion by Obamacare.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Ted Cruz read “Green Eggs and Ham” aloud. That has now replaced jumping on Oprah’s couch as the weirdest thing done by a Cruz on television.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Breaking Bad” airs its final episode on Sunday. It’s about a chemistry teacher who has cancer and starts making meth to help cover his medical bills and provide for his family. Or as Republicans call that, a legitimate alternative to Obamacare.” –Jay Leno “Thanks to “Breaking Bad,” the ratings for AMC have skyrocketed. You know what else has skyrocketed? — the number of high school kids now taking chemistry.” – Conan O’Brien

“The U.N. General Assembly is here in New York City. Today, President Obama gave a big speech on the Middle East. The leaders from the Middle East said, ‘You have touched our hearts, and from now on we shall have peace.’ And Obama said, ‘Really?’ and they said, ‘No, but the look on your face was priceless.’ Another study says parents are biologically programed to dislike their children’s spouses. I asked my father-in-law if that was true, and he was like, “Not now, I’m watching “Craig Ferguson.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The NBA is considering introducing jerseys with players’ nicknames rather than their last names. Players like the nickname jersey because it’s easier for fans to relate to them and harder for women looking for child support to find them.” – Conan O’Brien ” A North Carolina woman stabbed her roommate’s ex-boyfriend because she claimed he wouldn’t stop playing Eagles music. He’s OK, but apparently she stabbed him with those steely knives but she just couldn’t kill the beast.” – Jay Leno

So that’s my last blast for September. We’ll catch you making your last appearance on the mound at Yankee Stadium one of the great moments in baseball history. Aloha, mahalo and later, Mariano Rivera fans.


  1. This past weekend, there were a few pods of humpback whales observed by Capitola and the Cement Boat. It was a beautiful weekend here on the coast… Heading down to the village for more!

    Comment by Babs — September 30, 2013 @ 7:45 am

  2. All those pelicans and not a blue footed booby in sight!

    Comment by checkstand #11 — September 30, 2013 @ 8:05 am

  3. Geoff, you still need to get up early tomorrow. You’ve been classified as an essential service.

    Comment by "B.O." — September 30, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

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