March 30, 2014

What Kind Of Fool Am I?

Good morning and greetings, Final Four fans. Well, according to my Olsen Twins calendar, today is the final day of March, meaning the madness is soon coming to an end. We are now heading toward that one shining moment, when the NCAA champion is crowned, as every other team in the field of 64 will have ended the season on a losing note.

Finishing off a year in this fashion is always painful, for some more than others. Or in the words of former basketball coach Bill Musselman, “Defeat is worse than death because you have to live with defeat.”

This year’s NCAA basketball tournament certainly has lived up to the hype. Last Sunday’s heavyweight battle between undefeated Wichita State, riding a 33-game winning streak, and the much ballyhooed freshman of Kentucky was an all-time classic, one of the best ever. The Wildcats emerged as the victors as the Shockers got screwed in the bracket matchups.

But my favorite game was an opening round tilt between Mahattan College and the defending champion Louisville Cardinals. It pitted an emotional coaching confrontation between the teacher, Rick Pittino and his former student and assistant coach, Steve Masiello.

The 13th-seeded Jaspars almost pulled off the upset, as they had the lead with a few minutes to go, but a couple of mistakes proved to be their undoing as the Cardinals prevailed. This led to Friday night’s epic battle of the Blue Grass State between Kentucky and Louisville, with the young Wildcats prevailing as the champions were dethroned.

To read a tremendous story about the behind-the-scenes drama coming into the Manhattan game, click on http://grantland.com/features/ncaa-tournament-manhattan-college-louisville-cardinals-steve-masiello-rick-pitino/

For basketball fans and endodontists, this is must read material.

So with March leaving the arena, April takes center stage tomorrow at the midcourt stripe.

And if it’s April 1, we are talking April Fools’ day. Which brings to mind an old Chinese proverb, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, get a free order of egg rolls.

Or as English writer Charles Lamb once observed, “Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever.” Love the optimistic take.

Now no one, besides perhaps Carnac the Magnificent, knows how this day actually came about. Word has it that back in 1582, around the birth of John McCain’s great, great, great grandparents, King Charles IX of France put out the word that the New Year, which was then celebrated from March 25 to April 1, be moved to January 1, so that the peasants could get a bigger bang for their bucks on calendars.

Now this was during a time in history when internet access was limited and there was no television or radio, so word spread slower than I make changes. So people who forgot about the change or didn’t accept the new date system were goofed upon, as they were given funny gifts, invitations to nonexistent parties or a trip the guillotine. When asked for a comment, Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat sponge cake.”

Or as Mark Twain later wrote, “Let us be thankful for fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.”

Now some say it was actually Pope Gregory in 1562 who introduced the new calendar to the Christian world, but his website has been removed and his people did not return my calls.

As for myself, I don’t really participate in any April Fools’ pranks or jokes, as I prefer to fool or tell people white lies throughout the rest of the year. Over the first trimester of my nine year courtship, my future bride’s favorite question would always be, “Really?” And as I used to say, if you have to ask me that question, you already know the answer, a remark she always found quite endearing.

As to why I would mislead or run the misdirection play, who knows, it’s just in my DNA. I’ve always loved fooling people, of course, not maliciously, or as my wife likes to say, “He’s kidding.” Or as the great Winston Churchill once put it, “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”

So April 1 is a day for hoaxes, pranks, bloopers, blunders and practical jokes. Like putting ‘kick me’ signs on people’s butts. Humorist Will Rogers once remarked, “The trouble with practical jokes is that they very often get elected.

So courtesy of abs-cbnnews.com and wierdfacts.com, here are some of the more amusing April 1 jokes and pranks played over the years.

In 1957, the BBC television program Panorama ran a famous hoax, showing the Swiss harvesting spaghetti from trees. Millions were duped by the report, with many of them asking how they can grow their own spaghetti trees. Still even more called in asking if they knew of any trees that grew sauce.

In 1996, Taco Bell pulled the wool over Americans’ eyes when they took out full-page ads in major newspapers, claiming they had purchased the Liberty Bell and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell. Now that’s thinking outside the bun.

In 1998, Burger King introduced the “Left-Handed Whopper.” This juicy burger supposedly included the usual condiments in original Whopper sandwich, but these were “rotated 180 degrees” to suit left-handed customers. And that’s why God gave us two hands to hold a Whopper.

In 2010, Google “officially” changing its name to “Topeka”, then in 2011 released a new product called “Gmail Motion” that supposedly let users send and receive e-mails using gestures. Last year, Google announced the shutdown of its popular video-sharing site YouTube, which drove young social media users into the panic over the possibility of having to read a book.

And finally, back in 1969, Dutch TV reported that the government had introduced a new way to detect hidden televisions by simply driving through the streets with a new detector. At that time, all households had to pay for a television license. The only way to avoid your television from being detected, was to pack the television in aluminum foil. Within a few hours all aluminum foil was sold out throughout the country.

So let that be a reminder to you ladies out there. Sometimes a knight in shining armor turns out to be a loser in aluminum foil.

So what’s a fool to do? For my money, I’ll go with the Beatles. “The fool on the hill sees the sun going down. And the eyes in his head see the world spinning round.” And then he blogs about it. Enough said.

Which leads us into today’s photos, a collection of shots featuring birds in flight, accompanied by the sun dropping into the Pacific. This past fall was a fantastic time for pelican viewing at dusk, and these photos reflect some of the magic moments along with a few gulls that came along for the ride.

On to some late night humor. “Intelligence officials say they had a hard time predicting Russia’s invasion because Vladimir Putin doesn’t own a cellphone or use the Internet due to fear of being tracked. You can tell Putin doesn’t spend much time online. When he says “LOL,” he means “Look out, Latvia.” They’re considering a new 10-cent fee on grocery bags here in New York. My mom said, “Who’s laughing at the eight-thousand bags under the sink NOW?” – Jimmy Fallon

“First lady Michelle Obama is in China right now. Today she was busy doing some official business. She placed a wreath on the grave of General Tso, the creator of spicy chicken.” – David Letterman “There’s a new website that helps you write elaborate works of personalized fiction. It’s called Match.com.” – Conan O’Brien

“The NFL made a big announcement yesterday that will greatly impact how players celebrate in the end zone. The league has banned players from dunking over the goal post. If I want to watch a sport without dunking, I’ll watch the WNBA. Toronto held the first mayoral debate of 2014 tonight. Rob Ford faced four challengers. None of the other candidates specifically mentioned drugs. They let Mayor Ford say over and over again that he’s the only candidate with a proven track record. He’s also the only candidate with a proven crack record.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“Americans have been given another month to sign up for Obamacare as long as they check a box on the website saying they tried to sign up before the original deadline. It’s expected to be answered as truthfully as boxes that say “Yes, I am 18.” In an interview with “Meet the Press,” former President Jimmy Carter said he won’t send emails because he believes the NSA is reading them. And also because he can’t find the “send” button on his typewriter. Google announced last night that it will launch a new security feature to make it harder for situations like the NSA spying program to happen in the future. Then they went back to driving around and taking pictures of the street you live on.” – Seth Meyers

So if you’re keeping scorecard at home, this is my 420th post. We’ll catch you being the best shooter in the NBA while wowing the crowds and willing your team to victory at crunch time. Aloha, mahalo and later, Stephen Curry fans.

March 23, 2014

Clothes, But No Cigar

Good morning and greetings, springtime fans. Well, March Madness got underway on Thursday, and it was the greatest opening day in 35 years, as there was major drama, wild upsets and fabulous finishes.

Then Friday started off with the Duke Blue Devils, picked in these pages last week by college guru Dr. Michael Schur and my son Jason to win it all, go flaming down in defeat to the Mercer Bears. It was upset city, baby, as brackets around the nation started crumbling.

Having surveyed the remaining field, despite their opening round loss, the good doctor still likes the Blue Devils to cut down the nets in Arlington.

So we have gone from a field of 64 teams down to the Sweet 16, which just happens to be the age of my ice cream scooping daughter Aimee, who performs her sundae-making, milk shaking, chocolate covered strawberry magic at Sweet Treats on Mission Street, when she’s not hostessing or waitressing at the new “Your Place’ restaurant next door.

At her tender age, she can work 48 hours a week, and she is going for the gold. Or should I say the green?

Now this is basically her first real job, and she’s hit the ground sprinting. She’s got that strong work ethic, as she believes in its inherent ability to strengthen her character. And buy clothes.

As she told me the other day, “Dad, those on top of the mountain didn’t just fall there.” Or as columnist Ann Landers once tweeted out, “Nobody has ever drowned in their own sweat.”

Her new occupation struck a chord with me, as when I was her age, I took a summer job in the Garment Center in Manhattan, New York. As defined by the boys and girls at Wikipeda, “The Garment District is a dense concentration of fashion-related companies, home to the majority of New York’s showrooms and major fashion labels.” It’s packed into an area less than one square mile, just down the road from the very seedy Times Square district. And with not a tree in sight.

This was back in the years before Mayor Rudy Guiliani rode in and cleaned up the area, and if you were looking for sex shops, adult theatres or a little companionship for an hour, Times Square was the place to be. Or as the welcome sign reads down at the Manhattan Visitors Center, “New York. New Jersey is our bitch.”

As a child growing up in the aforementioned Garden State, I would take the bus into the Big Apple with my father. We’d hop off and head to the Greek barbershop on 42nd street, where he’d get a haircut and I was first introduced to the wonders of Playboy magazine. Of course, I only read the interviews.

Then we would head up the street to Tad’s Steak House to dine on salad, garlic bread, baked potato and steak for just $1.29. Fantastic. Of course, the taste of that steak would ruminate through my digestive system for days, but it was worth it.

The Garment District is the center for fashion manufacturing and design in the U.S. For me, it was to be a lucrative adventure, as I was a young man on the loose on the mean streets of New York.

I thought I was being hired as a showroom model, but ended up working in the shipping department of a company called Judy Bee, a manufacturer of children’s clothing. We were shipping out garments to all the major stores in the tri-state area, and I was responsible for making sure the right dresses got on the racks that the truckers came to pick up. It was interesting work, as I was the youngest person in the shipping department and certainly the only one with a possibility of one day landing on the Dean’s List.

I would take the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel and be deposited at the New York Port Authority on 41st Street. From there it was just a short walk through the bustle and the hustlers to work. Most of my fellow workers were immigrants from throughout the hemisphere. It was a melting pot of working souls.

Sometimes we had to deliver our goods to trucking facilities, so we would take the racks down the freight elevator and hit the pavement of the Big Apple. It was wild scene, pushing racks of clothing by whizzing taxis through the streets of Manhattan. For me, this was a summer job. For everyone else, it was their pasts and their futures.

The man running the shipping department was an older gentlemen from the Caribbean named Danny, and a few weeks into my employment he suffered a heart attack. I guess there were limited replacement candidates available, as they offered me the opportunity to take over running the department at a very tender age.

I was thrilled at the time, because of two words. Overtime pay.

I then began working a fourteen hour day. My parents were traveling in Europe and neither of my brothers were around, so I was home alone with our golden retriever. I basically woke up, went to work, came home and then repeated the pattern, as the hours on my time card took on a life of their own.

One of the thrills was when the day shift ended, and I got to order out dinner from one of the many restaurants in the area. I was living large, and although Danny came back to work and ended my brief in foray into management, I look back upon that time with a smile. It was day to day grind, but the my spirits were high and my paychecks kept rising.

Now I didn’t want to make it my life’s work, and I turned down an invitation to go back again the next summer. It was a time of learning, yearning, but especially earning. Opportunity knocked on my door and I answered it. I knew if I hadn’t, that it would be ringing my doorbell for years.

So for today’s photo chronicles we are going back to the final morning of 2013. The clouds were positioned a little further to the east than normal, so I shot this sunrise along a different section of West Cliff Drive. The clouds did their job as they rotated from red to orange to tangerine. After the sun rose, I took the final shot from Bird Rock to take in the waves, the lighthouse and the sky, all in one final December scoop.

On to some late night humor. “President Obama released his March Madness bracket this morning, picking Michigan State to win the tournament. In response, Vladimir Putin started moving troops into Gonzaga. The Obama administration announced it is going to require colleges and vocational schools to demonstrate that they are properly preparing students for jobs after college. So don’t be surprised if your chemistry class tomorrow is all about how to make a cappuccino.” –Seth Meyers

“Vice President Biden said today that the U.S. is considering sending troops to the Baltic states bordering Russia. According to Biden, the Baltic states are the territories located just past Boardwalk and Park Place.” –Seth Meyers “Some American cities go all out for St. Patrick’s Day. In Chicago they dye the river green. In Boston everyone wears green. In Colorado, they smoke the green. Then someone tells them it’s St. Patrick’s Day.” – Criag Ferguson

“St. Patrick’s Day is a huge deal here in New York City. Two million people turned out today for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s the one parade where the horses are the ones that have to watch where they step. Lawmakers here in New York are considering a plan to bring slot machines to LaGuardia Airport. Of course there’s always that other way to gamble at LaGuardia — checking a bag.” – Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our first post for spring 2014. We’ll catch you perhaps rethinking your plans about entering the NBA draft and going back to college for another year. Aloha, mahalo and later, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins fans.

March 16, 2014

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Tournament

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 8:58 am

Good morning and greeting, March Madness fans. Well, it’s that time of year, when the NCAA college basketball tournament moves over to the forefront of American sports. It’s three weeks of the best in collegiate sports, with a spotlight on cinderella stories, fantastic finishes and according to the FBI, $2.5 billion illegally wagered on these highly contested contests.

As Paul Newman said in the ‘Color of Money,’ “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.” However, when it comes to my betting strategy, I’ll go along with humorist Kin Hubbard, who once said, “The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.”

The term “March Madness” was brought into the American vernacular back in 1939 by Henry V. Porter, who used it to describe an Illinois high school basketball tournament. It has also been referred to as “The Big Dance,” a giant mambo contest with 68 teams vying for the ultimate prize, a national collegiate title and the right to cut down the nets.

And why is everybody so jacked up about these three weeks of hoops hysteria? In the words of former NBA G.M. Dick Vertleib, “Basketball is the second most exciting indoor sport, and the other one shouldn’t have spectators.” Amen.

What makes the tournament so exciting it’s that it is one and done. You lose and you’re going home. So you have schools from the smaller conferences going up against the major powerhouses, and as we have seen in the past, upsets are always on the menu. All the games are televised, so you can fill out you own brackets and watch as the field goes from 64, to 16, to the Final 4 and then the crowning of the eventual champion.

For the players, it’s what they have been striving for, the reason they go to college for one year, to win a national championship before they head off to the NBA and a million dollar payday. But there are some exceptions. Former NBA Coach Frank Layden asked a player who wasn’t reaching for the dream, “Son, what is it with you. Is it ignorance or apathy?” He replied, ‘Coach, I don’t know and I don’t care.”

From the casual fan to the hard-core basketball nut, the nation is hooked on bracketology. As a result of this obsession, American businesses lose an estimated $1.2 billion in worker productivity during the NCAA tournament as fans try to pick winners. But to quote my rabbi, “Forget the tournament. Bet on yourself instead.” As for myself, I have the same chance of picking the winners of the tournament brackets whether I fill them out or not.

Now, the odds of picking a perfect bracket randomly are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1, or more than nine quintillion to one. Or in the words of Jim Carrey,’ “So, you’re saying there is a chance.” It seems you would have a better chance of being hit by a meteor, struck by lightning or getting an Anthem Blue Cross representative on the phone.

So courtesy of www.washingtontimes.com, here are a few fun facts you may not have known about “March Madness.”

In 1994, before Monica Lewinsky was old enough to down a glass of Manischewitz, Bill Clinton became the first sitting president to attend an NCAA tournament game, watching his Arkansas Razorbacks beat the Michigan Wolverines to get to the Final Four. He also attended the championship game, where Arkansas defeated Duke and later partied down with the Razorback cheerleaders.

Back in 1973, the championship game went viral as it was broadcast for the first time in prime time. With his pals, the Grateful Dead looking on, the big redhead, center Bill Walton, put on a fantastic show, hitting 21 of 22 shots and scoring 44 points in leading the UCLA over the Memphis State.

As Walton said later, “The Grateful Dead, they’re my best friends. Their message of hope, peace, love, teamwork, creativity, imagination, the dance, the vision, the purpose, the passion, all the things I believe makes me the luckiest Deadhead in the world. And nobody runs the pick and roll better.”

With the win, it was all sunshine and daydreams in Southern Cal. And that winning tradition was established by Coach John Wooden’s, the ‘Wizard of Westwood’, whose UCLA Bruins dynasty defined college basketball for more than a decade. Under Wooden, UCLA won ten national titles in 12 years, including seven in a row starting in the early 60′s. That’s what you call the pyramid of success.

Moving along, the University of Connecticut is the only Division I school in history to win the men’s and women’s basketball championship in the same year. Catholic universities have won the national championship eight times. They includes Holy Cross, LaSalle, the University of San Francisco, Loyola of Chicago, Marquette, Georgetown and Villanova. Yeshiva is still looking for their first title.

So as the tournament gets underway this week you’re probably wondering about my Final Four picks. Well, since I’m really an NBA guy, I’m going to turn this space over to my esteemed colleague Dr. Michael Schur, who in his heyday claims to have blocked one of Michael Jordan’s, er Dean Smith’s jumpers during an intramural game in the Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill.

In his words, “Geoffrey, I’d first like to thank our sponsor, Sherman’s Deli, with two convenient locations in the Palm Springs area. My Final Four picks are Florida, Duke, Villanova and Arizona. As for the 2014 NCAA champions, while teams may be able to stop Duke’s super frosh Jabari Parker, the somewhat overlooked Mr. Rodney Hood, who may be the most unsung NBA ready player in the tournament will lead the Blue Devils to the promised land and it will be Mike Krzyzewski Blue Devils cutting down the nets at the AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on April 7.”

So for those of you who like shooting colorful sunrises and sunsets, it’s wait till next fall, as the skies have gone silent over the last month. So today we are heading back to the evening of November 10, when the clouds were swirling and twirling and the pelicans were in full formation mode. Just an outstanding digital night of flight along the edge of the continent.

On to some late night humor. “The crisis in Ukraine still has people worried. Today John McCain led a group of senators there to get a firsthand look. When they landed, McCain said, “This is a disaster, these people are living like animals!” And then someone said, “We have a layover — this is LaGuardia Airport.” The College Board says it’s revamping the SAT to focus more on what students will need in college. In fact, the SAT is now just one question: ‘How much money do your parents have?’” –Jimmy Fallon

“It’s not such a great day for a family in Florida recovering after eating steak laced with LSD. About halfway through dinner they realized there was a problem when someone asked for a side of mashed potatoes, and that someone was the steak. A family in Oregon called 911 after they were trapped in a bedroom by their cat. I’ll say it again. They were trapped in their bedroom by their cat. Apparently the cat held the family hostage until its demands were met. Its demands were food and sleep.” – Craig Ferguson

“A family called the police because their cat cornered them in a bedroom. They would’ve climbed out the window but their hamster was blocking the way. fal Yesterday Edward Snowden urged technology companies to improve their encryption techniques in order to prevent hacking. Then he said, “But not right away. I’m still using Obama’s Netflix password to watch ‘House of Cards’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law is on trial right now. He produced all of al-Qaida’s videos. Not only is he on trial but he would like to let you know that the first season is available on Netflix. President Obama’s wife Michelle has highlighted her hair. She has blond highlights in her hair. And those will probably be the only highlights of his second term. – David Letterman

So enjoy the last few days of winter. We’ll catch you being a magician with the ball and being the greatest scorer in college basketball history. Aloha, mahalo and later, Pistol Pete Maravich fans.

March 10, 2014

Does Anybody Really Know What Daylight Savings Time It Is?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:02 am

Good morning and greetings, daylight savings fans. Yes, sports fans, it’s the time of year when most of us spring forward to take advantage of more daylight. Or as Phil Collins so delightfully put it in the Book of Genesis, “Let there be light.”

And as every season turns, on Sunday we shifted from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time. The extra hour gives us a chance to savor the daylight, letting our love lights shine by not sleeping while the sun beams away. However, I haven’t awoken after the sun has come up since before there was history, so I am unaffected and emotionally unavailable.

Let’s face it, I don’t think anyone is thrilled when it gets dark at 5 pm. Furthermore, I’m really not crazy about dark chocolate. As Dr. Martin Luther King wrote, “Darkness is only driven out with light, not with more darkness.” Or in the words of Muhammed Ali, “Prejudice comes from being in the dark, sunlight disinfects it.” Then he knocked out Sonny Liston.

So everyone’s happy when when the days are longer and the nights are stronger than moonshine, which is my shout out to U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens and the wonderful cast of FX’s drama “Justified.”

So who came up with this brilliant idea of more daylight? Well, the credit goes to one of our Founding Father’s, Ben Franklin. According to his friend Jerry, back in 1784, Ben noticed people burning candles and incense late at night, yet sleeping in past sunrise in the morning. Thus, Franklin’s famous quote: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” And this notion helped pave the way for one of Ben’s first major inventions, the VCR.

Now this founding father didn’t actually invent DST, but as Ambassador to Paris, he wrote an amusing letter to the Journal of Paris about his “discovery” that the sun gives light as soon as it rises, and needled Parisians for their night-owl, candle-burning ways. He wanted people rise up and go to bed earlier, to get up and make their lives shine. Or in the words of Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres, “Go to bed in your fireplace and you’ll sleep like a log.”

Ben Franklin wanted people to take advantage of the light, to open up their shutters and blinds and let the sunshine in. In his words, “Do not anticipate trouble or worry what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” But always use sunblock to absorb the sun’s ultra violet rays. Or wear a hat or bonnet.

So the U.S. officially started observing DST in 1918, one year after my 96 year old father was born. There are two states that don’t observe this practice, Hawaii and Arizona. Indiana came around and adopted the program back in 2006 in response to the wishes of Hoosier native David Letterman, who ironically, shares the same birthdate as my father, April 12.

Coincidence? I think not.

The Hawaiians don’t observe it because the U.S. government took their islands away from them, so they don’t have to listen to anything besides Don Ho. Besides, they’re our only tropical state and we don’t want to mess with paradise. We’ve already paved enough paradises and put up parking lots.

And what can we say about Arizona? They didn’t want to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday as a federal holiday, are not crazy about diversity and aren’t big on immigration. The only thing growing in Arizona is the crime rate. It’s like the old joke, how many Arizona State freshman does it take to change a light bulb? None, it’s a sophomore course. Sorry, Wildcat fans.

We know that crime goes down during DST, as muggers and low lifes prefer to operate in the dark. And here’s a little known fact. According to the website www.acurite.com, back in September 1999, the West Bank was on Daylight Saving Time while Israel had just switched back to standard time. West Bank terrorists prepared time bombs and smuggled them to their Israeli counterparts, who misunderstood the time on the bombs. As the bombs were being planted, they exploded–one hour too early–killing three terrorists instead of the intended victims–two busloads of people. Sounds like they had a blast.

So take advantage of the light. There’s an old proverb, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” We all know that we are but a moment’s sunlight, fading in the grass. So don’t forget to smile on your brother. Or sister. Right now.

So not only is the time changing, but so are the patterns of the clouds, as I haven’t shot anything sunrise or sunset worthy in over two weeks. So for today’s photo ensemble we are returning to the morning of December 8. Just a beautiful culmination of red, orange and yellow colored clouds in the sky, which is not the worst visual to start off the day. Throw in some waves, the reflection on the Pacific Ocean and you got yourself a Santa Cruz sunrise.

Oh, and by the way, I got my blood test results back and the results were “greatly improved in all areas.” In a two month period, my total cholesterol was down 32 points, my triglycerides down 56, my good HDL cholesterol was up 4, my LDL 26, and my non-HDL down 37. So thanks to all of you who were praying for me. It just goes to show what a little exercise and low-wheat, low-carb starvation diet can do for you.

On to some late night humor. “This week the Russian government gave all 44 of its Olympic medalists a new Mercedes. When asked what happened to the athletes who didn’t medal, Putin said, ‘Do not open trunk.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Russia gave all of its gold medalists from the Sochi Games $120,000 plus a brand-new Mercedes SUV. While the silver and bronze medalists all received life in prison.” –Seth Meyers

Despite the fact that the Ukraine has been all over the news for the past few weeks, a survey found that 64 percent of U.S. students still couldn’t find Ukraine on a map. Said Vladimir Putin, “Soon nobody will.” – Seth Meyers “Because of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, President Obama is threatening them with economic sanctions. Obama said if Russia doesn’t pull out of Kiev we’re not going to let them borrow any of the money that we borrowed from China.” – Conan O’Brien

“President Obama this week launched a new effort to help young minority men warning them not to make the same mistakes he did when he was their age such as get high and not take school seriously – unless, of course, they definitely want to be president.” –Cecily Strong on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” “Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of the birth of the Tea Party. They had a big celebration and played their favorite party game: pin the blame on the darky.” –Bill Maher

“Vladimir Putin said the tanks that you see rolling through the streets are just part of the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.
This situation in Ukraine is very serious. As a matter of fact, today George Clooney and Matt Damon flew in to rescue the artwork. Anybody see the Academy Awards last night? I watch every year to make sure I’m not in the dead actors montage.” – David Letterman “A new survey found that the average American child watches 24 hours of TV every week. In fact, experts say it’s important for parents to lay down the law and tell their kids to get outside and look at their phones. – Jimmy Fallon

So bring on the light. We’ll catch you putting up most improved player like numbers while dazzling NBA fans with your spectacular dunks on a nightly basis. Aloha, mahalo and later, Gerald Green fans.

March 2, 2014

The Wheat Shall Perish

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 9:46 am

Good morning and greetings, cereal grain lovers. Today we are talking wheat, which is grown throughout the world, as it’s delightfully nutritious and a highly useful grain. It’s a staple food used to make flour for bread, cookies, cake, pad see ew, cereal, chips, donuts, green onion pancakes, pasta, pizza, bagels, soup, fried chicken, chocolate bars and chow fun noodles.

So basically, we are talking about everything that I’ve eaten on a daily basis for the last sixty years, except when I’m atoning on Yom Kippur, when I get by on my good looks and a hot bowl of steam.

According to the folks at Wikipedia, where I shop for my kosher meat, wheat is grown on more land area than any other commercial food. It is one of the three most produced crops in the world. Wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein in human food, having a higher protein content than the other major cereals, which includes corn, rice, Coco Crispies and Count Chocula.

Wheat has been cultivated for over 10,000 years, or around the birth of John McCain’s great grandparents. It is one of the first cereals, along with Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, known to have been domesticated. Archaeological records suggests that this domestication first occurred in a small region of southeastern Turkey, by the Isle of Cranberry Sauce. Wheat’s ability to self-pollinate has been the envy of the other cereals, as it has facilitated the selection of many distinct domesticated varieties, including Apple Jacks, Cap’n Crunch and Sugar Smacks.

Now why am I talking wheat? Well, back in December, my primary care physician threatened to put me on a statin, as my cholesterol was higher than she liked. It’s always been on the high side, but I had been taking red rice yeast, a supplement that been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for poor circulation, indigestion and to remove rust from cars. It’s also good for lowering cholesterol, which it did for me a few years back.

But since then my cholesterol has gone back up, and the Dr. Adkins Haagen-Daz diet didn’t seem to be working. So my doctor gave me two months to get my numbers turned around, or be flogged in a public square.

At around this time my wife gave me a book entitled, ‘Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health.’ Written by cardiologist Dr. William Davis, this lunatic, er physician, wrote that it you cut out the wheat, the weight will melt away.

Now I was a bit skeptical but a somewhat desperate, as I did not want to go on any medication, for my body is a sacred place of non-perscription devotion.

So I decided to give it a try and cut out as much wheat as I could for two months. This meant no bread at any meals, no sandwiches, pasta, rice, chips, cakes, or cookies. What I could eat was meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, avocados, cheese and nuts. Fruit was out because of the sugar, but I ignored that because I had to eat something. I’m not a big salad guy, although I am starting to come around to the ruffage revolution in my sixth decade.

So basically I was living in low carb city. Well, the first few weeks were rough, as I was hungry like Virginia Wolf all the time. But I knew it was for a worthy cause and continued sucking down chicken and broccoli like it was milk and cookies.

Over the past month I have eaten more roasted broccoli than I have in my entire life, and I’ve fallen in love with this deep-green stalked vegetable whose large flower head is full of large clusters of tight buds.

And beyond joining the cabbage club, I started walking at least an hour every morning. And then Holy Lipitor, Batman, after a few weeks, my weight started dropping like the Dow Jones. Every morning I would get on the scale and see a lower number, which gave me a sense of accomplishment, which would inspire me to go around hungry all day. I truly thought that I would never, ever lose this weight without doing something drastic, like going on a program or swearing off cream cheese. Never, ever, ever.

So last Thursday morning I hit a new low on the scale, and then skipped off to get my blood tested. I will be disappointed if my cholesterol levels haven’t gone down, but will react calmly before launching a class-action lawsuit against Dr. Davis for loss of glutin and chocolate.

So now I’m waiting and hoping. I believe it was Albert Brooks or Albert Einstein who once said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” Which reminded of the proverb, “He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.” And that’s what separates the wheat from the chaff.

Moving on, today’s photo follies feature a sunset shot back on November 26. I had already posted some images of it back in December, but there were so many good shots of pelicans on the move at dusk that I had break them out for an encore.

The rust and orange colors on the horizon were exceptional this night, and as we HBO viewers know, Rust Cohle never sleeps. It was a night of pure tangerine joy as the pelicans just kept coming while the sky quietly blew up.

On to some late night humor. “The Arizona legislature passed a bill that would allow business owners asserting their religious beliefs to deny service to gay customers. Some businesses have already put up signs that read: ‘Nice shirt, nice shoes, no service.’” –Seth Meyers “CNN is canceling Piers Morgan’s talk show. Yes, it’s been 238 years since the Declaration of Independence, but it still feels good telling the British guy to get out.” –Craig Ferguson

“Yesterday New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was asked about the slow pace of his weight loss and said, quote, ‘Rome was not un-built in a day.’ In fact, Christie and Rome have a lot in common: one was built by Julius Caesar, and the other was built by LITTLE Caesar.’ It’s rumored that Sandra Bullock will end up making $70 million from the movie “Gravity.” “That’s great!” said the real astronauts making $59,000 a year. -Jimmy Fallon

“A former Target employee is accusing the store of hiring only attractive people as managers. Apparently he’s talking about a Target store I’ve never been in. In California the owner of a Christian medical marijuana dispensary says God told him to sell pot. The dispensary owner said it’s right there in the book of Dude-eronomy.” Conan O’Brien

“In a new interview, the Dalai Lama says watching TV is a waste of time. What we should do is make more shows that appeal to the Dalai Lama. How about shows like “Two and a Half Monks,” “The Big Buddha Theory” and “CSI: Tibet”? Or what about “Parks and Reincarnation”? A married couple in California were walking through their backyard and they found a treasure trove of rare gold coins. It’s the biggest discovery of valuable coins since Stedman cleaned out Oprah’s couch.” – Craig Ferguson

So that’s the show. We’ll catch you finally staying healthy and putting up numbers like one of the top young power forwards in the NBA. Aloha, mahalo and later, Anthony Davis fans.


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