June 29, 2014

I Haven’t Got Time For The Rain

Good morning and greetings, change of season fans. Well, the weather was simply delightful for the first week of summer, with temperatures in the high 70′s and the fog at a minimum. Unfortunately, there is no precipitation in the forseeable horizon, as we are in the midst of a severe drought, with 2103 being the driest year in California history.

Now contrast this historic lack of precipitation to what happened in Minnesota last week, in the land of Kevin Love and a 1,000 Laker fans. Folks in the twin cities experienced severe weather with record rainfall, as the rivers were raging while people were being flash flooded out of the better homes and gardens. In the words of writer Jarod Kintz, “I love it when the streets near my house get flooded, because it’s the only time I can go out and walk my fish.
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Meanwhile, here on the Central Coast, we’re as dry as my mother-in law’s brisket, while throughout the midwest people are doing the backstroke in their living rooms, as they are dealing with the worst flooding in decades.

It’s not that I would mind boaters canoeing through my bedroom. Hey, I’d like fly fishing from my dining room table, but these extreme summer storms are no joke.

The Mississippi River was at its highest level in 15 years, totally bloated by the torrential amounts of rainfall, as Minnesotans are experiencing their wettest summer on record.

Fortunately, late in the week, the river crested, according to four out of five dentists who recommend Crest for their patients in the Twin Cities area.

Now on to the nuttiest meteorlogical story of the week. Sean O’Connor is one lucky man. Last week, the Georgia resident was about to rake up some leaves in his driveway when a bolt of lightning struck him in his right leg’s steel-toed boot.

A few minutes later he picked himself up off the ground. He had a taste of blood in his mouth and he realized his leg hair was singed. Or as the Bowery Boys’ Slip Mahoney might have put it, “Sometimes bread cast out over the water comes back as burnt toast.

Sean then looked across the driveway and saw that his boots were no longer on his feet and that one of them was smoldering. He then realized he’d been hit by lightning and had taken up smoking.

He quickly headed over to the emergency room, where doctors didn’t initially buy his story. “At first they didn’t believe me, but when I showed them the singed hair on my legs and the boots they all wanted to shake my hand,” said O’Connor. “They said they’d never met someone who lived after being struck by lightning.” The doctors then pooled their money and had Sean go buy them lottery tickets.

An electrocardiogram scan later revealed that O’Connor had an irregular heart rate, a condition associated with lightning strikes. About 71% of all people struck by lightning survive, but often suffer from severe burns, personality changes, insomnia, impaired hearing, constant pain and a craving for rocky road ice cream.

Bottom line, Sean says he’s okay but from now on he’s going to stick to wearing sandals.

According to the National Weather Service, the chances of being struck by lightning or getting an Anthem Blue Cross representative on the phone are one in a million.

Florida is the deadliest spot, as there are twice as many lightning casualties than in any other state. Most lightning deaths and injuries occur during the summer months, when people are involved with activities like boating, swimming, bullfighting, bicycling, golfing, knife juggling, jogging, walking, cliff diving, hiking, camping, and trolling for great white sharks.

So take heed, as the Fourth of July is historically one of the most deadly times of the year for lightning strikes. I’ll close with the thoughts of Dirty Harry, former Carmel Mayor Clint Eastwood, who once remarked, ““They say all marriages are made in heaven, but so are thunder and lightning.” When it comes to lightning, you’ve gotta ask yourself this question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

Last week in our photo department I featured two sunrises. Well, this week I am once again featuring the buy one get one free photo experience, but from the sunset files.

Both sunsets were shot from the cliffs above Stockton Avenue. The first displayed some unusual cloud formations, as the zoom lens captured different shades of the yellow and rust colored clouds.

The second sunset highlighted the sun filtering through the clouds and shining through onto the Pacific waters. Two nights, two different experiences along the edge of the continent.

On to some late night humor. “The World Cup has an official song. The official anthem is ‘We Will Find a Way.’ It narrowly beat out the other contender, ‘I Feel Someone’s Teeth in My Shoulder.’ At the World Cup, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez bit a player from Italy’s team. It’s the third time he’s done it. The last time he bit a Chinese player and then claimed he was hungry an hour later.” –Conan O’Brien

“The next opponent for the U.S. will be Belgium. The Belgians are favored over the U.S. But so far, the Belgians have been cagey about saying if they think they’ll win. That’s right, the Belgians are waffling. A big movie opened today. “Jersey Boys.” I It’s about the hot musical group all the kids love — Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. To be honest, I don’t know how well “Jersey Boys” is going to do. People in Los Angeles can’t relate to a movie about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Because people here have no idea what a season is.” – Craig Ferguson

So June is just about history. You may have noticed a new blog format last week. Credit goes to my webmaster and recent UCSC college graduate Kevin Deutsch, who majored in mathematics and received a masters degree in teaching me how to post my blog.

We’ll catch you turning in 40 in your final year and storied career with the Bronx Bombers. Aloha, mahalo and later, Derek Jeter fans.

June 22, 2014

Time Keeps On Slippin’ Into The Future

Good morning and greetings, World Cup fans. As I child growing up in the Garden State of Tony Soprano, I was in love with sports. Whether it was football, baseball, basketball, kickball, stickball, tether ball, bocci ball or Lucille Ball, I was totally on board.

Sun up to sun down on weekends and summer months, you could find me on a field or some asphalt, bonding with the neighborhood crew while not having a care in the world. I enjoyed the feeling of competing and winning, as it had the same taste as a chocolate shake. Or as another Jersey guy, Coach Vince Lombardi, once said, ‘If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”

So during my childhood wonder years, sports was my number one priority. But for some reason, the game of soccer never came across my radar. As a youth, I never recall playing this international game which is called football around the world. This led to later developing the theory that if God had wanted us to play soccer, he wouldn’t have given us arms.

Now I know that this is not the world view, as soccer fans are as passionate and crazy as mad dogs. I’ve seen very little of the World Cup play, as I am still coming to terms with the NBA having gone into summer hibernation.

But word on the street has people buzzing about the Cup. Last week, the USA beat a very tough team from Ghana, a country the size of Rhode Island on steroids. The soccer nation swelled with national pride, while I was still contemplating the championship proclaimed by the San Antonio Spurs and the mental state of LeBron James.

People around the planet take this sport very seriously, or in the words of English soccer manager Bill Shankly, “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I’m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” I say, the more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle.

So one night last week, after my wife and I had finished watching an episode of “Halt and Catch Fire,” the new AMC series that replaced ‘Mad Men,” she remarked that time seems to be flying by. I thought to myself, when does it ever not?

Our son is now halfway through his undergraduate college career, with two years down and two to go. He did not follow in the footsteps of his father, who thought four years would be nice, but seven would be heaven. I was living the good life on West Cliff Drive, and was in no hurry to leave the academic world of the hardwood floors up at UCSC’s East Fieldhouse.

So I’m now in my seventh decade on the planet. Hitting the 60th birthday was fairly trumatic, as telling people I was that age was just nuts. 60! Now that I’m 61, all of a sudden I’m Roger Maris.

I don’t want to say I’m getting old, but in today’s mail I received a letter from the Trident Society, informing me that “cremation just makes sense,” as there would be no need for embalming, funeral homes, cemetary property, caskets, tiskets and taskets. And I would be helping the environment. Or in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift: that’s why the call it the present.”

So yeah, time is racing by. We’re more than halfway through June, and soon the July 4th holiday will be history. My daughter is going to be a senior in high school, but I’m not worried about any empty nest, as I believe she is determined to convert our house into a rabbit rescue haven.

Right now, she has two bunnies, Marvin and Scarlett, who are currently residing in her room. They’re pretty easy to take care of, as they only demand hay 24 hours a day. They are actually very cute, and if Aimee is lucky, one day within the next century she will actually be able to hold the grumpy Marvin.

So I’m hoping for a solution in Iraq and for them to stop pooping on Aimee’s floor. We all have our hopes and dream. As either Aimee or writer Jarod Kintz once remarked, “You know what I like most about people? Pets.
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We are all on our own paths. Time keeps rushing by faster than the speed of my DVR, and I’m just trying to hang on for the ride. It’s not always easy, as life is full of everyday challenges.

But remember, you know what they call the person who finishes last in their medical school class? Doctor.

All I know is “Life lives, life dies. Life laughs, life cries. Life gives up and life tries. But life looks different through everyone’s thighs.

So for today’s photo funnies you’re getting two January sunrises for the price of one. The first is from January 24, where I was shooting from Bird Rock along West Cliff Drive. There wasn’t any great color in the sky, but waves were pumping and the clouds were puffy enough, so it worked for me.

The second, which was from January 24, was kind of like a sunrise lite, with the muted red clouds briefly lighting up the sky above Lighthouse Point. The last two shots brought out shades of orange and yellow, and I enjoyed that, because in the words of Monty Python, “I’m always looking on the bright side of life.”

On to some good late night humor. “Congrats to the U.S. soccer team for beating Ghana in the opening round of the World Cup. Yeah, they did the impossible — getting Americans to watch soccer. “Alex Trebek has broken a world record for game-show hosts, after hosting 6,829 shows in his career. When asked how he’s made it through so many shows, Trebek said, “What is Scotch?” – Jimmy Fallon

“Yesterday, the Iranian president tweeted a picture of himself all alone watching a World Cup game on television. Yeah, then he watched his favorite show — “It’s Always Sunni in Philadelphia.” This morning the Pentagon announced that the United States has captured a leader responsible for the Benghazi attacks. Republicans were ecstatic and said, “So, they finally got Hillary?” – Conan O’Brien

“Match.com is charging $5,000 to set you up with someone who looks like your ex. You wouldn’t believe how many guys on Match.com once dated Kate Upton.” – Conan O’Brien “Rob Ford is running for re-election. He’s got a very catchy campaign slogan. You’ll see it on bumper stickers all over Canada: “The crack stops here.” – David Letterman “Kourtney Kardashian is reportedly pregnant. Just this morning I was thinking to myself, “There just aren’t enough Kardashians.” – Craig Ferguson

“Starbucks has teamed up with Arizona State University to create a program that will pay for Starbucks employees to get a college degree. Starbucks is doing this because without an educated workforce, nobody will be able to afford $10 for a cup of coffee.” – Jimmy Kimmel “Over the weekend Starbucks announced a new program that will pay employees to take online classes at Arizona State. Said Starbucks employees, “We already went there. That’s why we work at Starbucks.” – Seth Meyers

So that’s my report. Congratulations go out to my parents, and particularly my mother, as they are celebrating their 64nd wedding aniversary on Wednesday. I don’t want to say they rushed into it, but they were registering for gifts on their first date.

We’ll catch you leaving the announcing table at TNT and taking the head coaching job with the Golden State Warriors. Aloha, mahalo and later, Steve Kerr fans.

June 15, 2014

I’m Walking On Sunshine

Good morning and greetings, college graduation fans. We are less than one week away from the summer solstice on June 21, which coincides with the end of another glorious NBA season. I’ve always been of the opinion that the NBA season is too short, as in an ideal world, wheat would not be the enemy and the the playoffs would go for twelve months a year.

The solstice is a special day on my J.Lo calendar, as we see more sunlight than on any other day of the year. Although with the Santa Cruz’s June gloom in the room, you might want to sleep in. Just don’t let the sun catch you crying.

This plethora of sunshine is due to the earth axis performing a major tilt towards the sun. I believe it was my insurance agent or the great Buddha who once said, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” How about my glasses or keys? Obviously, this great Hindu Prince has never vacationed in Santa Cruz in June.

It’s not that I mind the dull, colorless, morning sky. The massive star comprised of hydrogen and helium is not my best friend anymore, as I have paid the price of not having sun blocked during my childhood beach days at Jones Beach or during my Wonder Years living on West Cliff Drive. The sun was frequently shining on the front deck, and those UV rays were a constant guest on my skin.

The King of rock and roll and one of the great hound dogs of our time, Elvis Presley once said, “The truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.” So the June gloom will pass as the sun broke through early on a couple of days last week. I was walking on sunshine, and wooah, it made me feel good.

These dreary morning condition were not just limited to the central coast, as the May gray turned to June gloom from the Bay Area to Santa Barbara and beyond.

And speaking of the Gaucho state, my son Jason returned home on Friday after finishing up his second year of studies at UC Santa Barbara. As I mentioned in previous posts, he knew three of the students killed during the shootings in Isla Vista last month. So friends have been asking me, ‘How is he doing?”

I don’t really know, because after a one day off for a memorial service for the fallen, it was back to classes and his life resumed, but things couldn’t have been totally normal. Jason then went into studying for finals mode, as the exams for biology and organic chemistry involve more memorization than my brain could ever have held.

All I know is that my head would have exploded if I had to take in the volume of work. And that’s why I carry my sociology degree in my wallet. Never leave home without it.

Jason is around for only a week before he goes back down south to attend summer school and work on his beach volleyball game. I’m going to miss him, but what is even sadder is that while he’s home, I’m wondering when the next school shooting will be. I know that school’s out but the guns have not been safely locked away.

There have been 74 shootings at schools and campuses since the Sandy Hook massacre back in 2012 in Connecticut. Two weeks after Isle Vista, there was a shooting death at Seattle Pacific University. Then last Tuesday, a 15 year old brought an assault rifle with him on the school bus to high school in Oregon and killed another student.

A longtime family friend told the press that the 15 year old killer,” was very quiet, I never saw him angry, he was extremely even-tempered, he was always at the best possible behavior.” Boy, lucky he didn’t have a temper.

In the aftermath of all the recent shootings, President Obama expressed his frustration on our inability to enact even modest gun control legislation. “Our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There’s no advanced, developed country on earth that would put up with this. We’re the only developed country on earth where this happens.”

He went on to say that as a nation we have to do some soul searching, as these school massacres have become the norm. There is no end in sight. I guess the best we can do is duck and cover.

For today’s photo display we are going back to the sun, as we watch it drop into the horizon at sunset back on January 24. The location was Stockton Avenue along West Cliff Drive, and while the pelicans floated by, the sky and clouds turned from a nice shade of creamsicle orange to candy apple red. Or fire engine red for you “Rescue Me” fans.

On to the late night humor. “The campaign manager who helped unseat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last night is a 23-year-old man who interviewed for a job at Panera Bread last month. Said Cantor, “Is that position still available?” – Seth Meyers “Kim and Kanye are honeymooning in Mexico. Republicans and Democrats agree that if there’s ever a time to seal the border, this is it.” – Craig Ferguson

“A Whole Foods store in New York will start offering customers cocktails while they shop. It’s part of Whole Foods’ new slogan, “You’d have to be drunk to pay these prices.” One of the top people in a Mexican drug cartel is a woman who apparently looks exactly like Kim Kardashian. The only difference is the head of the drug cartel has a job and is less of a threat to America.” – Conan O’Brien

“President Obama surprised tourists by walking to a Starbucks near the White House. Even more surprising, he traded five Taliban members for a grande soy latte.” – Seth Meyers “President Obama faced some criticism for chewing gum during a D-Day ceremony. He said, “Sorry, but if I don’t get my Nicorette, there’s going to be another war on this beach.” -Jimmy Fallon

Last night was Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. The air conditioning stopped working during the game, which made it feel like 90 degrees inside. Or as football players, baseball players, tennis players, soccer players, and runners put it, “Must be rough.” That’s right, LeBron James sat on the bench for the final four minutes of the game. And what’s crazy is his teammates still kept passing him the ball. I can’t believe how hot it got during that game. It was so hot that even the LOSING team dumped Gatorade on its coach.” – Conan O’Brien

So here’s a salute to all you fathers out there. We’ll catch you at 22 years of age playing like an all-pro at both ends of the court in the NBA Finals. Aloha, mahalo and later, Kawhi Leonard fans.

June 8, 2014

Pardon Me, I Have A Fog In My Throat

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 9:00 am

Good morning and greetings, NBA Finals fans. Well, the June gloom has returned to the coast, excluding any sort of color in the sky during my morning treks along West Cliff Drive. Last week’s early morning weather could be described with one just word-dreary, with a nice touch of drizzle.

Now dreary is defined as dismal, boring, dull or sad, kind of like the state of the New York Yankees this season, with the exception of the Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka. But it perfectly defines the state of the early morning sky, as it has been more than fifty shades of gray for the month of June.

However, the waves were still collapsing along the shoreline, the dolphins were jumping and the pelicans were flying through the fog in formations that have been more than impressive. If you like more than a touch a gray, and long for the climate of Pacific Northwest, then you were right at home last week, as we didn’t see traces of blue sky till early to late afternoon.

Which reminds me of a joke. It’s two o’clock in the morning and a husband and his wife are asleep when suddenly the phone rings. The husband picks up the phone and says, “Hello? How the heck do I know? What am I, the weather man?” promptly slamming the phone down. His wife rolls over and asks, “Who was that?” The husband replies, “I don’t know, it was some guy who wanted to know if the coast was clear.”

Moving along, the national weather scene was another story, as there was solid precipitation hurtling down on parts of the nation.

Last Tuesday, baseball-sized hail smashed homes and cars in Nebraska and Iowa, as powerful thunderstorms moved through a nice slice of Midwest states, bringing with it severe flooding, tornadoes and insurance claims.

The National Weather Service said the system involved a “training” of thunderstorms, which involves a series of storms following one after another, along with winds up to 100 MPH and drenching rain. It brings to mind the thoughts of writer Al Bernstein, who said, “Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.” Okay, so even the Big Guy (or Gal) is entitled to a mistake every once in a while.

Last Tuesday, the weather in Iowa was described as nasty, with the skies “black as the ace of spades.” There were 13 reports of tornadoes in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. Weather forecasters main concern that night was widespread straight-line winds. As they like to say in the midwest, “It doesn’t have to rotate to be dangerous.” I say anger is only one letter short of danger.

This hail storm was monster by any standards, The most damage was done at a car dealership 30 miles outside of Omaha, where their brand new-vehicle inventory was sitting out on the lot Tuesday when the storm blew in. Approximately 4,500 new cars and trucks were nailed by the hail as the hoods, roofs, windshields were smashed to smithereens, with damages estimated at $162 million.

So if you’re driving through the Cornhusker State and are looking for some new wheels, this might be a good time to buy, as it will be discount city after they replace the glass and pound out those dents.

So what the hail is this about? Hail is frozen, solid water droplets formed at the top of thunderclouds that fall at speeds up to 120 MPH. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, hail causes approximately $1 billion in damage annually in the U.S. to houses, buildings, cars, crops and baseball hats.

If you’re a fan of this form of solid precipitation, the place you want to be is Hail Alley, a 625-square-mile area located near the borders of Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. This area receives an average of 9 to 11 days of hail per year, more than any area in North America, with Cheyenne, Wyoming being the hailstone capitol.

Approximately 24 people are injured each year by hail in the U.S. The last fatality attributed to this act of God was back in 2000, in Lake Worth Village, Texas. A 19-year old man was struck by softball sized hail while trying to move a new car and died the following day from associated head injuries. That’s why I always drive wearing a batting helmet.

The largest hailstone in terms of diameter and weight ever recorded in the U.S. fell in 2010, in Vivian, South Dakota. It measured 8 inches in diameter and 18.62 inches in circumference, weighing in at 1.93 pounds. According to the Weather Channel, it later fell in love, got married and now leads a quiet life out in the suburbs..

But as size matters, in April of 1986, huge balls of ice fell from the sky and crashed to the ground in Bangladesh. 92 people were reported killed as hailstones weighing more than two pounds and the size of mangos were the culprits.

Hailstorms can be deadly to nature. In 1953 in Alberta Canada, a giant hail storm smacked down on a five mile wide area, killing more than 36,000 ducks and ducklings. Four days later another hail storm passed through the same area, killing another 27,000 waterfowl and a hockey goalie.

Then in July 1978, 200 sheep died when baseball sized hail rained down on them in Montana. It was a sad week for animal lovers but a good week for lamb chop fans.

For our photo fun zone today we are returning to Lighthouse Point on the morning of January 12. The sunrise the previous day was outstanding, and I wasn’t that upset to return to the cliff on back-to-back days to take in the morning magnificence. The colors of the clouds and the reflection on the sand at Its Beach was spectacular, just the way world class sunrises ought to be.

On to some late night humor. “We bring back a POW, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, from Afghanistan and to get him back we traded five Taliban thugs. These guys were down in Gitmo and now they get freed after 10 or 15 years. So now they’re released and they get to fly home. And I’m thinking, if you go to the airport and you’re stuck behind these guys in security, good luck. “When they sent the Taliban thugs back to Qatar, they got picked up in a stretch camel.” –David Letterman

“The United States has traded an American POW for five Taliban prisoners. Originally, the deal included Joe Biden, but the Taliban said no.” – David Letterman “In a new interview, President Obama revealed that his daughter Malia recently went to her first prom. She wore a corsage on her wrist while her date wore a red laser dot on his head.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Last Friday CNN had its worst 10 p.m. ratings of all time, with only 35,000 viewers tuning in. I left it on for my dog, and when I came back, she was reading a newspaper. Tim Tebow said that he’s staying in shape in case he gets another opportunity to play in the NFL. Then his boss said, “That’s great, but these Waffle Tacos ain’t going to make themselves, so . . .” – Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our show. I’ve been posting some of my photos on Santa Cruz Waves. The link is https://www.facebook.com/santacruzwaves. Check it out, it’s all about living large in Santa Cruz.

We’ll catch you losing in the Conference Finals but still being the most explosive and exciting player in the Western Conference. Aloha, mahalo and later, Russell Westbrook fans.

June 1, 2014

The Daze Of May

Good morning and greetings, sports fans. April showers and May flowers, like my once perfect eyesight, are now history. I can still remember the day I realized I needed some cheater glasses. I blame it on the lemon chicken.

I was sitting inside a darkened room at O’mei, a restaurant on the westside of Santa Cruz that has been serving Chinese provincial cuisine with an understated elegance since 1979. For people in the know, it’s the best Chinese food in town. The only problem was that every time I walked out of the place, I was left wanting more.

But why point fingers? As my favorite Swami Tejomayananda once said, “If your heart is full, you don’t feel that hungry.”

Now I could have ordered more food and come away with a fuller belly, but at the time, my digestive tract was more suited for the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets, where I rarely left not totally satiated.

Back in the 80′s, these noon time feasts were always a Friday tradition, as we would roll out to the Mandarin Palace on a search and destroy mission, intent on devouring anything and everything that came down the pike. Egg rolls, pot stickers, fried rice, Condoleezza rice, beef and broccoli, cashew chicken, shrimp toast, french toast, chow fun, spare ribs, mu shu and grits, along with enough sweet and sour sauce to fill Lake Tahoe.

Back in those crab rangoon days, I was counting cream cheese filled won tons rather than carbs. The cooks would come out and fill the display trays. We would immediately empty them and eagerly anticipate the next round. It was the circle of life.

Or as the old Chinese proverb goes, “A peasant must stand a long time on a hillside with his mouth open before a roast duck flies in.”

Anyway, to make a long story shorter, I was trying to read the menu but I couldn’t tell if it was beef with baby corn or corn beef. One of the gentlemen at the table pulled out of pair of cheater glasses and before you could say, “red chili dumplings,” it all became clear. I had seen the light. Help was on the way.

Anyway, April started out in fine fashion, as the first round of the NBA playoffs got underway and were beyond fantastic. Everybody talks about the greatness of March Madness and college hoops, but this was full blown April insanity.

The opening round were all best-of-7 series, which means you have to win four times to advance. That leaves lots of time to sit around recapping the action and anticipating the what happens next.

The first round matchups featured San Antonio-Dallas, Oklahoma City-Memphis, LA Clippers-Golden State and Houston-Portland. Eight solid, exciting NBA teams. All wanted to move on in their quest for an NBA championship.

Turned out, three of the four series went the full seven games, while the fourth went six. Every night there was a game going down to the wire, and better yet, eight overtime contests, which is just a hoop dream. This was a two week stretch of wall-to-wall excitement, with fantastic finishes as the excitement kept building as the series moved along.

It was basketball heaven, as the first weekend in May brought us to the deciding game seven action. Then it was on to the semi-finals and then the conference finals. Now we are back to a rematch of last year’s finalists, which features the Miami Heat, led by the best player on the planet, LeBron James, who are gunning for their third straight championship and the San Antonio Spurs, who are seeking redemption for a title they had within their grasp last season but let slip away.

But as May brought joy, it also drew pain, as tragedy struck when a crazed madman slaughtered six students in a rampage in Isle Vista, which borders the UC Santa Barbara campus. The six killed were all UCSB students. None needed to die.

My son, a sophomore at UCSB, was there that night in the area where the shootings took place. For not some sort of fate, he could easily have been out on the street when the bullets were flying and never would have known what hit him.

Turns out, he knew three of the students who were slain, which is three more than needed in anyone’s lifetime. Jason has seen other friends and classmates die. It seems strange, as when I was growing up, I can’t remember anyone dying, except my dreams of playing in the NBA.

The shootings hit a little too close to home. When I saw the video of Richard Martinez, the father of Chris Martinez, who was shot and killed as he walked into a deli, his pain, grief and anger was heartbreaking. If Jason had decided to go out for some dessert, that easily could have been me being the new poster Dad for our latest national tragedy.

So this Memorial Day weekend was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. Jason’s life is now back to semi-normal, as as he is studying like a maniac for finals. The Isle Vista shooting are fading out of the national news cyle, replaced by other disasters around the globe.

But will this insanity ever end? We have gun and mental health issues that are out of control. Parents should not have to bury their children.

On today’s photo front, we are returning to Lighthouse Point on the evening of January 21. There was a lovely sunrise that morning, so this was a day that I took a double dip on the digital frontier. As you can see, the swell was up, as the waves had been pumping since dawn’s first light. They continued to roll in at Its Beach as the sun set, which delighted everyone who had gathered along the edge to take in the evening’s hazy festivities.

No late night humor this week so I’ll go with a couple of jokes.

A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named ‘Amal.’ The other goes to a family in Spain, they name him Juan’. Years later; Juan sends a picture of himself to his mum. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wished she also had a picture of Amal. Her husband responds, ”But they are twins. If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Amal.”

A turtle was walking down a street in New York and suddenly got mugged by few snails. A policeman arrives to investigate the matter and asks the turtle, “Could you please explain to us about the incident.” The turtle not knowing what to say, replies, “I don’t remember. It happened so fast.”

So that’s our first blast for June. We’ll catch you coming up big down the stretch and leading your team in the quest of another championship. Aloha, mahalo and later, Tim Duncan fans.


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