January 25, 2015

The Balls Never Lie


 Good morning and greetings, football fans, and welcome to my fully inflated Super Bowl preview.   Coming up on Sunday, the nation will be consumed with food, alcohol, TV and football, as the New England Patriots battle the Seattle Seahawks for the bragging rights to see who is the baddest of the bad, with the NFL championship trophy on the line.
Last year, Super Bowl XLVIII became the most-watched American television program in history, barely beating out the “Sons of Anarchy” season finale. So if you didn’t catch the games last weekend, you missed out on an utterly fantastic, unbelievable finish that still has the Green Bay Packer nation in a severe depression.So let me give you a little recap of the action leading up to Super Sunday in Glendale, Arizona.

Representing the American Football Conference are the New England Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, who I am often mistaken for.   He has led his team to three Super Bowl titles.  He also has a child with the most attractive assistant D.A. in America, actress Bridget Moynahan from the CBS series “Blue Bloods.”  This golden boy is married to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bunchen, whom he met on a blind date.  Some guys have all the luck.

And speaking of luck, to get to the Super Bowl, the Patriots crushed quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game by a 44-7 score.  It was a total beatdown, as once again, the highway to the Super Bowl runs through the New England thruway.

There was not doubt about the outcome of this game.  But there was big hullabaloo afterwards, as it seems the Patriots used 11 footballs in the game that were deemed to be, much like my ego, deflated by the NFL’s standards.   When the balls are deflated, it makes them easier to grip when throwing a pass downfield.  This would give the Patriots a seemingly unfair advantage.
The footballs were questioned after the game and had no comments on advice of their attorneys.  When asked about the allegations of “DeflateGate,” Tom Brady called the accusations “ridiculous” and maintained his innocence. “I feel like I have always played within the rules,” Brady said. “I would never break the rules.”  Now bending them, that might be a different story.

New England Coach Bill Belichick, known in some circles as “The Hoodie” for his wearing of sweatshirts along the sidelines, says he was shocked to learn about the story and has never talked to anyone on his staff about football air pressure, the function of atmospheric conditions or his recipe for linguini with red clam sauce.


The Patriots say they will continue to cooperate with the investigation.  But this where the story gets interesting.


Back in 2007, the NFL determined that New England had violated league rules when a Patriots staff member videotaped signals by opposing coaches.  This undercover operation became known as Spygate.  The team was fined and stripped of their 2008 first-round draft pick.  The NFL then fined Belicheat, er Belichick, the maximum allowed $500,000 for this black ops affair, the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league’s 87 year history.

A report described the league office as “disappointed, giddy, angry, euphoric and distraught,” after learning of the ball alterations.   The Patriots could lose future draft picks, a couple of cheerleaders or one of Belichick’s favorite hoodies if the league confirms the balls were deflated.


Hey, if you don’t get caught, it’s not cheating.  And if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.

Now for the Seattle Seahawks, the road to the Super Bowl was a bit tricker, as they found themselves trailing with four minutes to go,  19-7, to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game.  At this point, Packer fans, known as the cheeseheads, knew they were headed for the Super Bowl and were going wild, celebrating with swiss cheese fondue, melted brie inside puff pastry and my personal favorite, crab rangoon.  The game was in the bag.


But then, the greatness of sports finishes took over, as the Seahawks came back from the dead, and in a finish that you wouldn’t believe, went ahead and won in overtime, after taking the lead in final two minutes, only to have the Packers drive downfield in the final minute of regulation to tie the score.


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call must-see TV.  The Packer nation was left in shambles, or as longtime Packer fan told me, ‘It’s the worst loss in my lifetime.”


The last four minutes of the game was surreal, as it was the largest comeback ever in a conference title game.  It was so unscripted.  You had to see it to believe it.  I saw it and I still didn’t believe it.


After the game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who claims Jesus came to him in a dream when he was 14 years old, said,“That’s God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special. I’ve been through a lot in life, and had some ups and downs. It’s what’s led me to this day.”

Packer QB Aaron Rodgers had a slighty different take on the subject.  I don’t think God cares a whole lot about the outcome. He cares about the people involved, but I don’t think he’s a big football fan.”  Amen, brother.


One more note on the game.  It seems the Las Vegas initially screwed up the point spread and made the Seahawks an early 3 point favorite.  Well, 80% of the bets in the first 24 hours were on the Patriots, which means the big gamblers thought the spread was wrong and put a ton of dough on New England.  So the big money is riding on New England, and if the Patriots win, Las Vegas is going to take it the shorts.  Big time.  Count on it.


Remember, it’s doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s whether or not you beat the spread.


For our Super Bowl viewing session, we are going to back to a series of photos I shot back on a Sunday night back in February 2006.  The place was Stockton Avenue along West Cliff Drive, and on this night the sky did not disappoint.  The cloud color went from soft tangerine to vivid orange orange before finishing up with the grand finale of a blood red.  Meanwhile, the waves were pumping and the crowds along the cliff were loving it, making it a perfect, super Sunday night.

On to some late night humor.  “Tonight President Obama gave the State of the Union address. The Obamas invited 22 guests to the speech, including a former Cuban prisoner, an astronaut, and a doctor. Either that or he was setting up the weirdest bar joke of all time.  The RNC released its first presidential debate schedule, which includes at least nine debates in different states across the country. As opposed to the Democratic debates, which will just be Hillary staring at her opponents until they burst into flames.” – JImmy Fallon
“Last night was the State of the Union address, and everyone’s excited about the huge special appearance by a guy we haven’t seen in a really long time: 2008 Barack Obama. That guy had swagger.” – Jimmy Fallon  “Last night President Obama gave the State of the Union address, and I just have to say that I don’t know what union he was describing. But I want to live there. I want to move. It sounds outstanding. There’s a middle class. They have small businesses. It sounds great.” – Seth Meyers 

“Vice President Joe Biden said he has privately met with 17 Republican senators at his home to try and connect on issues like tax reform. Biden asked what he can do to speed up negotiations, while Democrats asked, “Does this door lock from the outside?”   A new helicopter service called Gotham Air is now offering users cheap flights from Manhattan to JFK or Newark airports that start at just $99. If there’s two words I trust together in the same sentence, it’s “cheap” and “helicopter.” – Jimmy Fallon

“A new study revealed Vermont businesses could benefit financially by legalizing marijuana. And by Vermont businesses I mean specifically Ben & Jerry’s.  In Florida, a teenage boy was arrested for posing as a doctor. After hearing about it, Dr. Phil said, “Wait, it’s illegal to pose as a doctor?” – Conan O’Brien  “This fall Pope Francis will host Mass at Madison Square Garden. And unlike the New York Knicks, he will have a prayer.” – Seth Meyers
More on Super Sunday next week.  Enjoy the game and we’ll catch you putting on one of the all-time greatest shooting performances while setting an NBA record by scoring 37 points in the third quarter Friday night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.  Aloha, mahalo and later, Klay Thompson fans.

January 18, 2015

No Tears, No Fears, It’s The New Year

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:47 am
Good morning and greetings, New Year’s fans.  Well, Sunrise Santa Cruz has returned from a two week sabbatical, where I hoped to take advantage of being off the computer grid to experience what others do with their lives.  This would include activities like hiking, bungee jumping, camping, running with the bulls, fire walking and attempting to free-climb El Capitan.   Basically, just looking to expand my horizons of my so-called life.
It was to be a glorious time, freeing myself from staring at my monitor like a mental patient. Just getting out into the great outdoors and seeing what the world has to offer.

So back in early January, I turned my computer over to hospice care, where it could live out its days freezing up as much as it liked.  I was free to journey into the unknown, not tied down by the internet, where I could view a rare John Travolata selfie with his natural hair or read about Lady Gaga stripping down to sweat out her toxins.  Free at last, God almighty, free at last.
But due to circumstances under my control, it did not come about, as I spent two weeks watching hours and hours of NBA hoops.  This has been a fantastic season for NBA fans, because there is at least one great game a night.  And for Golden State fans, this has been a dream season, as they have risen to the top of the NBA hierarchy.As a nameless long time Warrior follower (Doug MacKinnon) told me last week, this Warrior season has made his life “20 to 30 per cent better.”   And that’s just during the daylight hours.
Not only do they have the leading MVP candidate in point guard Stephen Curry, who is the most exciting talent in the NBA galaxy, but along with teammate Klay Thompson, they are must see TV.  If this team stays healthy, the skies are the limit, as Warrior fans have waited a long time to get to the mountaintop.Were he alive today, the great Dr. Martin Luther King would have said “I have a dream.  That one day the Warrior nation will rise up see rookie head coach Steve Kerr lead his team to an NBA title.”
This just in.  College basketball expert and anesthesiologist to the stars, Dr. Michael Schur, who coined the phrase, “one and done” just called in his predictions for the NBA Finals.  He’s picking the Warriors to come out of the west and Kentucky from the eastern conference.
 And when I wasn’t watching the NBA, my wife and I were going through four seasons of Showtimes’ “Shameless,” a comedy drama about a group of siblings who are basically abandoned by their dead beat, alcoholic father and dysfunctionally survive on their own.
Season five premiered in January, and I can proudly say we are all caught up on the action.  Of course, taking a long walk in the meadows at Yosemite would also have been nice.  And commercial free.
So I would like to return to the final day of 2014, or what we call New Year’s Eve.  Now I like to play it low key on this major occasion of revelry, as I also do on most all other occasions.
My wife and I celebrated the eve by taking in a movie on the DVD.  I was thinking about a romantic comedy like “When Harry Met Sally,” Sleepless in Seattle” or “Apocalypse Now,” but my wife had something else in mind.   “Basic Instinct,”  a feel good, family fun movie with overt sexuality and graphic depiction of violence.I had seen this 1992 flick before, as did my wife, but she wanted to bring in the new year on a high note.
For me, I just loved the costume changes.  And of course, the famous scene when a young Stone Stone reveals her Volvo always brings down the house.  Or as she said to co-star Michael Douglas, “You know I don’t like to wear any underwear, don’t you, Nick.”
So a thriller with perverse sexuality and erotic bloodshed.  That’s the way you count down the year.
So the weather nationwide was wild and wacky on the final day of 2014, as the coldest winter storm of the year blasted unsuspecting Southern California with snow and bitter cold conditions.   How cold was it?  Sharon Stone would have been wearing thermal underwear.
So I didn’t see the ball drop in Times Square, as I was out by 11:45.  I then awoke from a dream at 6 am, where I was at college, but I didn’t have any where to live, which meant I was already falling behind in my classes.  What a pleasant state of mind to experience during my first moments of consciousness in the new year.
Then, while lying in bed repeating, “I’m not in college, I’m not in college,” I heard the garbage truck coming down the street and realized I had not taken the cans out.  So I whipped on Miley Cyrus sweatshirt, dashed outside, grabbed the can and dragged it down the street, catching the truck at the end of the block.  Mission accomplished.
And that, my cyber friends, was the start of the new year.
So I then headed down to West Cliff to take a walk and see the sunrise.  The air was cold and crisp, with not a cloud in the sky.  People were scattered along the cliff taking pictures of the first rise of the new year, but I just kept walking, breathing in the start of 2015.  It was a good feeling, a good start to what I hope will be a good year.  We’ll see.
So for today’s photo feature, we are going back to 2014.  It was the morning of November 18, and the place was a very familiar Lighthouse Point.  It was a magnificent sunrise, with the red clouds turning orange and reflecting all over the sand as the waves crashed at Its Beach.  It was early morning magic with admission free.
On to some late night humor.  “According to a new report that just came out, the average college freshman reads at a seventh grade level. Or if you’re an optimist every seventh grader now reads at a college freshman level.  A Saudi Arabian prince has said that oil may never again rise above $100 a barrel. He said it’s gotten so bad he can’t afford to buy his wife her own car that she’s not allowed to drive.” – Conan O’Brien

“For the first time since 2007, the FDA Has approved a new device to treat obesity. The amazing breakthrough is called a vegetable. One of the new gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show is a belt that tells the person wearing it when it’s time to lose weight. Another device is a pair of jeans that says, “Hey, try a salad.” – Conan O’Brien

“John Boehner is a member of a country club in Ohio. It turns out that the bartender was plotting to poison Boehner. Now wait a minute. Isn’t that the movie with Seth Rogen and James Franco?  Here in New York City, it’s cold. It’s so cold the Republicans want to use the Keystone Pipeline to deliver soup.” – David Letterman

“Today is the birthday of Elvis Presley and dictator Kim Jong Un. Last year Kim Jong Un had Dennis Rodman on hand to sing to him. This year he had a low-key celebration. He spent the day at home reading Sony’s emails.” – Jimmy Kimmel  “The Girl Scouts announced that they’re adding three new cookies this year, which include Rah-Rah Raisins and two gluten-free flavors. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses said, “If they ring the doorbell, pretend we’re not home.” – Jimmy Fallon

So that’s my new year’s report.   We’ll catch you leading the league in three point shooting while your team has the best record in the eastern conference.  Aloha, mahalo and later, Kyle Korver  fans.

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