September 28, 2014

Don’t Use That Atonement With Me

Good morning and greetings, Indian summer fans. On September 22, which according to my Kim Kardashian desktop calendar was last Monday, we experienced the fall equinox, as the sun’s rays shone directly over the Earth’s midsection, or around the area of what this social media personality is famous for. Or as Kim says, “People don’t understand the pressure on me to look perfect.”

Now during this time, everything is even Steven, as there is equal daylight and darkness hours throughout the world. What this means is that a change of season has occurred, as summer has turned to fall and the baseball playoffs are not far off. Which brings to mind this quote from actress Natalie Wood, “The only time a woman really succeeds in changing a man is when he is a baby.”

Now not all folks in the northern hemisphere are excited about this change of seasons, as in some parts of this country, the weather is basically June and winter. But here in Santa Cruz, Indian summer has arrived, as we have warm weather with daily highs in the mid-seventies, when classic rock ruled.

Not taking into account our medical marijuana outlets, our average high for September is 76 degrees, give a toke or two. This leads to long sunny days and pleasant nights, when we can leave the windows open and experience the sounds of nature, like the raccoons tag team wrestling in my backyard.

These mask wearing bandits are known for their intelligence, because every time I forget to put up the gate on my doggy door, they take it as an invitation to come inside and sample the cuisine.

There’s nothing like coming downstairs in the middle of the night and finding a raccoon sitting in my chair eating chips and pineapple salsa while watching the NFL network. The only thing worse was the time I found a bobcat in my pants, but that’s another story for another time.

As I mentioned last week, we celebrated the Jewish New Year on Thursday, when we dipped apples in honey, and hoped for a sweet year ahead and a New York Giants win over the Washington Redskins that evening. Well, the Giants put 45 points on the board and Derek Jeter knocked in the winning run in classic fashion in his final at bat at Yankee Stadium, making this a New Year’s night to remember.

Now coming up on Friday night is Yom Kippur, which next to Christmas Day, when the NBA shows seven games nationally, is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. It’s the Day of Atonement, and it’s the one day of the year that the synagogues and temples are packed, as sort of a harmonic convergence of davening and guilt.

We are supposed to fast all day while we pray, to make amends with people we have sinned against over the past year. Fasting is a piece of cake for me, but praying is much more difficult, for my ADD mind is moving faster than the rabbi’s lips, and I read more fluently in Swahili than I do in Hebrew.

There are certain things we are forbidden to do on this holiday. We don’t eat, drink, be merry, bath, wash, luffah sponge, douse ourselves with perfumes, lotions or tanning butter, wear leather shoes, break dance and the toughest of all, engage in marital relations. And my wife is very serious about this, as she has a strict rule about me not dating during the high holy days.

We are also encouraged to wear white clothing, to symbolize one’s purity on this day and our love of tennis.

Now I don’t take this atoning all that seriously, as I know that God is my co-pilot and that he and the NSA have monitored me closely over the past year. But I know I’ll observe this holiday properly this year, as I’ll have made peace with God, my friends and I got $10 off my Direct TV bill this month.

My slate has been cleared with the people who are important to me. I’m not big on forgiveness. But I say, forgive, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because I deserve peace. Those are great words to follow. But rarely do I.

The great Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” So I’m a little weak. I can live with it.

But as a final thought, I’ll turn to the remark producer Paul Boese once said,”Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Interesting thought. Just like my prostate.

But remember, revenge is a dish best served Cold Nidre.

So for today’s photo lineup, I’m going to close out the month with a blast, I am featuring some classic shots from past Septembers. Lots of color, lots of fond memories from these magic moments in the sky along the coast.

On to some late night humor. “In an interview, Bill Clinton hinted that his daughter Chelsea’s baby is due in early October. Though it got weird when reporters asked if it’s a boy or a girl, and Hillary said, “I haven’t decided yet.” Bruce Springsteen is 65 years old today. Now when he’s dancing in the dark, it’s because of cataracts. It’s Sea Otter Awareness Week. It is taking the country by storm. Today Donald Trump put a sea otter on head. No one noticed.” – Craig Fergsuson

“Many of the leaders and assistants to the leaders from around the world were in attendance at the U.N. Climate Summit. They say this was arguably the most high-profile, significant meeting that will in no way change anything whatsoever.” – Jimmy Kimmel “According to a new report, Nigeria owes New York City over $500,000 in unpaid parking tickets for its foreign diplomats. Nigeria apologized and said they’ll pay the fines right away if they we send them our bank account number, our PIN, and our mother’s maiden name.” – Seth Meyers

“A man scaled the White House fence and ran across the lawn to the front door. Is it just me or is “The Amazing Race” running out of ideas? In another celebrity photo leak, nude photos of Kim Kardashian have been posted to the Internet. Kim said she’d be very embarrassed if only she knew how.” – Conan O’Brien

In an interview, Kim Cattrall said there could be another “Sex in the City” movie. An hour later, ISIS surrendered — there’s only so much they can take”. – Conan O’Brien “Tonight is Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium. He’s finally coming to the end of an amazing career that spanned over 20 actresses.” – Seth Meyers

So that’s it for September. We’ll catch you coming out of nowhere this season and catching three touchdown passes in the Giant’s win over the Redskins. Aloha, mahalo and later, Larry Donnell fans.

September 21, 2014

Slow Down, What’s The Rosh?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 8:48 am

Good morning and greetings, High Holy Day fans. Coming up Wednesday night, people of my tribe will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s basically the same as Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but with a slightly kosher twist.

Instead of a huge ball dropping in Times Square, we start the countdown in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. At the count of 10, a hand-made matzoh ball, about the size of a volleyball, gets passed around the table, and at 1, this tasty little dumpling made of butter, eggs, salt, pepper and some finely minced parsely plops down into the chicken soup and the celebration begins.

Of course, I’m just kidding. It’s more like the size of a tennis ball.

Rosh Hashanah is a day when we stay home from work, which isn’t a stretch for me. It’s an occasion when children of other religions wonder, “why can’t I be Jewish” and “what’s this bar mitzvah deal all about?” Hey, membership has its privileges.

And it is a time for introspection, to look within and without at the mistakes of the past year. I tend to gloss over this part rather quickly, as I tend not to want to dwell on the past, because I’m bound to make the the same mistakes in the future.

It is also a time to plan changes to be made in the new year, but I tend to file that under the “later” or “never” department. Snails are laughing at the speed I make changes.

Food is a big deal on this holiday, as we like to start off the new year with a good taste in our mouths and minds. So on the first night we dip apple slices (I prefer fuji or golden delicious) into honey to symbolize hopes for a sweet new year and for the Dow Jones to stay above 17,000.

Every Friday night, we have a Shabbat dinner with the family, which during the school year includes just my wife and myself, as our son is off at college and my daughter is off to the Hamptons on weekends. On this night we begin with the prayer over the Kedem Pure Grape Juice, my wine of choice.

We also eat a braided egg bread called a challah, which my wife used to make but we now purchase downtown at Noah’s, where their classic New York signature gourmet bagels are fresh-baked in-store every day.

The challah is usually shaped like a football, but on Rosh Hashanah they make them round with raisins, symbolizing the continuation of life and the celebration of the New York Giants picking up their first win of the season.

For me, it’s all about the meal. My wife is very much into the songs and prayers. I am too, in that I’m praying the service will end soon so we can move on to the culinary portion of the program.

So throw in some sweet brisket, honey cake and some freshly caught gefilte fish, and it’s a merry new year. All that’s left is the blowing of the chaufeur, er shorfar. We blow this ram’s horn on the holiday to call to mind the beginning of the new year, to remind people that the British are coming, to recall the inspiring words of the prophets and the hope that one day NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL will take domestic violence as seriously as his Super Bowl Sunday sponsors. Shofar it hasn’t been so good.

Now not only is Rosh Hashanah the start of the high holy days, but it also kicks off the new fall TV season. But I’m still reeling after seeing the opening episode of the “Sons of Anarchy,” as I can no longer recommend it as a family show.

The two-hour premier was shocking from the start, as the brutality, torture and savagery was way over the top. I wasn’t sure if I was watching a drama series about an outlaw motorcyle club or a recruiting tape for ISIS. But it will all come to an end soon, as in the words of executive producer Paris Barclay, “We can’t kill everybody.”

But there is good viewing on the way. Returning shows like “Newsroom,” and “Boardwalk Empire” are in their final season. “Parenthood” is ending its powerful run and creator Jason Katims of “Friday Night Lights” fame says his goal “is a great finish.” You can bet on it.

James Spader and “The Blacklist” returns tonight, and if you can get beyond Megan Boone’s wig and acting you might want to tune in.

So if you’re in need of some entertainment, tune in a “Justified,” “The Americans,” “The Good Wife,” “Ray Donovan,” “House of Cards,” ‘Homeland,” “Mad Men,” or “The Bridge.” These shows are written by the best in the business.

I’m not saying watching television is better than reading a good book. There have been many times I couldn’t put a book down, but I’ve never had trouble turning the TV off.

Nonetheless, there is a lot of good programming to choose from. So enjoy this magic box for what it is. Adulthood is a short season.

So since this is the start of the new year, I figure it is only right to close out the old one. These photos are from the evening of February 20, the final glorious sunset from last winter. I was shooting from Stockton Avenue, and what made this night special was the glow and colors that stuck around long after the sun had set.

It was a proper sendoff, as the sky filled with ribbons of orange clouds before turning impressively red for the locals on West Cliff.

On to some late night humor. “During a speech last night, President Obama announced that the U.S. will lead a huge multinational coalition to fight the terror groups in Iraq. Of course, most people just turned it off because they thought it was a rerun.” – Jimmy Fallon “In his speech the other night, President Obama announced that he’s counting on the support of an international coalition. Right now, we can’t get the support of the International House of Pancakes. – David Letterman

“They’re now selling parking places in New York. You can buy a premium parking place for $1 million. When President Obama heard that, he said, “Hey, wait a minute. I’ll give you $2 million if you will take the place I’m in.” New York City is now selling something like 10 prime parking spots. Each parking spot will cost you a million dollars. In a related story, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will pay you a million dollars for the spot he’s in. – David Letterman

A Michigan funeral home is offering a drive-thru viewing option. Or as they’re calling it, “Jack Actually in the Box.” – Conan O’Brien “At San Francisco’s airport last Tuesday, customs officials confiscated 20 giant millipedes. You should never bring a millipede on an airplane. There’s just not enough leg room.” – Craig Ferguson

“Earlier tonight President Obama spoke to Americans. Obama is getting tough with ISIS. He’s now going to force them to sell their NBA team.” – David Letterman “It’s been discovered that a healthy 24-year-old woman in China has lived her whole life without a major part of her brain. Scientists are calling her “the lost Kardashian.” – Seth Meyers

So let me say l’shanah tovah, which means have a good year and never take the Raiders and the points. We’ll catch you ending your Hall of Fame career and playing your final home game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. Aloha, mahalo and later, Derek Jeter fans.

September 14, 2014

Kiss Me, I’m Polynesian

Good morning and greetings, NFL fans. I am almost a month removed from my Hawaiian vacation, as each day it recesses further into my memory bank, which is now open from 9-5 on Saturdays.

At the ripe old age of 61, to say I spend a lot of time in the tropics is laughable. It’s quite one-sided, as I am one week on and fifty-one weeks off these fantasy islands.

Hey, I know I’m just fortunate to able to fly over to the Garden Isle and pay the Hawaii State Tax on rentals at 13.962%. That’s the true aloha vacation spirit.

Hawaii is our 50th state, and how the U.S. came to acquire this prime piece of real estate is questionable at best. So let’s go back to the very beginning, when God created heaven, earth and the macadamia nut, and see how this exotic archipelago in the South Pacific found its way into the union.

About 40 million years, or around the first episode of “Law and Order,” volcanoes erupted creating the Hawaiian Islands and the early ABC Convenience Stores. Kauai is about five million years old, joining Oahu, Maui, Staten and the Big Island as the major players in the area.

Today there are underwater eruptions happening off the southern end of the Big Island, and a volcano will be emerging to form a land mass and join the Hawaiian chain of islands. The volcano, named Lo’ihi, starting forming around 400,000 years ago,and should be making an appearance above sea level in approximately 10,000 to 100,000 years, or when they let Ray Rice back into the NFL.

Back in ancient times, when violence in the NFL was limited to the playing field, the first visitors to Kauai came from the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. The arrived, not in speedboats, but in double-hulled outrigger canoes, loaded with pigs, chickens, VCRs, dogs, coconuts, iPhones, sweet potatoes, taro, Charo, sugar cane, bananas and packets of Soy Vey teriyaki sauce.

The Hawaiian islands are the Earth’s most isolated parcels of land, which makes them squeezably soft and biologically unique. There was no lauas, hula dancing shows or Thomas Magnum sightings, so the flowers and plants grew in relative isolation for millions of years.

We then fast forward to the early 1800′s, when the islands were ruled over by one big kahuana, King Kamehameha the Great. This great Golden State warrior had twice tried to invade Kauai, but was unsuccesful both times.

The first time, severe weather coming over from Oahu sank many of his war canoes, and once his men reached shore, they were slaughtered like kalau pigs. The survivors were later sacrificed to the gods. I guess the road to paradise isn’t always paved with good intentions.

The head muckety muck of Kauai, King Kaumaualii, realized that three times might be the charm, so he saved his people from annihilation by negotiating an agreement with King Kahehameha. The island was never conquered and with no blood spilled, became the last piece of the kingdom. That’s one for the books, Danno.

In 1778, British explorer James Cook was the first European to set afoot on the islands. He named them the Sandwich Islands, after one of his sponsors, the Earl Of Sandwich. On his third visit to Kauai, this man who was first greeted as a local god because he first arrived during a sacred festival, was killed by the local natives, and thus became toast.

Cook’s arrival opened the floodgates for Europeans, missionaries, acrobats, laborers, businessmen, sailors and surf instructors. Along with them came a fabulous array of Western diseases, which helped thin out the local population.

Then we move to 1893, when Queen Liliuokalani tried to introduce a new constitution that would have ended democracy and restored the island to a monarchy. Well, a group of civic minded European and American business leaders didn’t find this quite to their liking, so to preserve the democracy, they overthrew the Queen with the help of U.S. Marines and established a Provisional Government in her place, which did not exactly seem kosher.

Hawaii was then made a U.S. territory in 1898 and in 1959 achieved statehood. There are many Hawaiians who are still pissed off about the deposing of the Queen and non-locals surfing Oahu’s north shore.

In 1993, on the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Congress passed a resolution, which President Clinton signed into law, offering an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for its involvement in the illegal invasion by the U.S. and his future involvement with Monica Lewinsky.

It is easy to realize why they call the islands a vacationer’s dream. The weather is perfect, the beaches are beautiful, and the rains warm and frequent. On the north shore of Kauai, nobody is in a hurry. This is a place where sweatshirts go to retire.

So if I’m lucky, someday I may call this land where NFL games start at 7am my home. But if not, that’s okay, because when you grow up in New Jersey and then move to California’s central coast, you’ve traded up. I mean, where do you go from here? Moving to the islands is just a natural progression.

So for today’s photo feature, we are heading back to the Garden Isle. We start off the program with a sunrise taken from inside our beachfront house in Anahola, then on to the beach where this surfer was paddling in as the sun rose on the horizon.

We then move to a nice closeup shot of a group of coconuts hanging from a coconut palm tree, and then it’s on to a bunch of sweet Hawaiian bananas that were growing on banana tree in a neighbor’s yard.

Then we see a nice variety of colorful shells I picked up along the beach, followed by some fragrant plumeria flowers that were moist from a recent rain shower. We move along to a snail the size of an Buick before we come upon a critically endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal. There are only 1,100 remaining in the wild, all centered around the islands, so seeing one is a rare treat.

On to a little Hawaiian humor. A man was walking along the beach and found a bottle. He looked around and didn’t see anyone so he opened it.

A genie appeared and thanked the man for letting him out. The genie said, “For your kindness I will grant you one wish, but only one.”

The man thought for a minute and said, “I have always wanted to go to Hawaii but have never been able to because I’m afraid of flying and ships make me claustrophobic and ill. So I wish for a road to be built from here to Hawaii.”

The genie thought for a few minutes and said, “No, I don’t think I can do that. Just think of all the work involved with the pilings needed to hold up the highway and how deep they would have to be to reach the bottom of the ocean. Think of all the pavement that would be needed. No, that is just too much to ask.”

The man thought for a minute and then told the genie, “There is one other thing that I have always wanted. I would like to be able to understand women. What makes them laugh and cry, why are they temperamental, why are they so difficult to get along with? Basically, what makes them tick?”

The genie considered for a few minutes and said, “So, do you want two lanes or four?”

So that’s my story of Hawaii. We’ll catch you wondering what in the wide, wide world of sports you were thinking about when you suspended Ray Rice for only two games for domestic violence. Aloha, mahalo and later, Roger Goodell fans.

September 7, 2014

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Good morning and greetings, NFL fans. Well, the 2014 football season is underway, and already my hopes for the New York Giants going to the Super Bowl have been dashed, by a preseason performance best labeled as “dismal.”

Although the Giants did go unbeaten in the preseason, this perfect record will not mean anything after tonight, when they face the Detroit Lions on opening night of Monday Night Football. In the words of renowned sportscaster Al Michaels, “Those three words resonate like no other.”

At this point, there is a little hope for optimism. Quarterback Eli Manning, the guy who runs the show and has two Super Bowl rings, is coming off a terrible 2013 season, where he threw 27 interceptions and was a complete mess. New York started out 0-6, and although they finished the year at 7-9, I had completely given up on the season after their first three possessions on opening night. Seriously.

I kid you not. There I was, happily looking forward to a semi-successful season of Big Blue football, but in their opening game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giant’s first three possessions resulted in a fumble and two Manning interceptions. At this point I was horrified, mortified and needed to be anesthetized.

I couldn’t believe how upset I was over their abominable play. It was at this point, not ten minutes into the freaking 2013-14 season, that I cut the emotional chord for the team that I had rooted for my entire lifetime.

Now even though the Giants played well in the second half and had a chance to win the game, I had given up. I had no forgiveness in my heart for Eli Manning. I realized this was just a football game and it’s a long season, but I was too discouraged to root on. I had lost my Giant’s mojo.

So the past is hopefully not my future, and I’m all set to go with my sixteenth year of the NFL Season Ticket package, which will enable me to watch all 16 regular season New York Giant games from the comfort of my living room. Some years have been pure ecstacy, while others have had my questioning my existence on the planet.

As all New York Giant fans know, we’ve had lots of memorable wins and incredible moments over the past couple of decades, but with it also comes a lot of pain and emotional suffering. I can honestly say that many of the greatest days of pure orgasmic joy have come from watching the Giants squash the opposition, whether it be Joe Montana and the 49ers, Tom Brady and the Patriots or Tony Romo and the Cowboys.

I remember the Conference Championships back in 2000, when the underdog Giants took on the Minnesota Vikings and destroyed them, 41-0. Up until this point, this was happiest day of my life. The Giants kept scoring touchdown after touchdown, and my andrenaline was running super high. I remember thinking, why can’t I feel like this every day? And if birds fly over the rainbow, why then, why can’t I?

I recall back in 1986, watching the Giants take apart the 49ers by a 49-3 score. My brother Brad called me during the game, and after he hung up, I thought to myself, that’s the happiest that I ever heard him sound. And I’m sure at that moment my father, my brother Paul and the rest of the Giant football nation were partying like it was 1999.

So once again this season, I have the RedZone Network that shows you the highlights of every scoring play of every game. Just when you thought your TV entertainment experience couldn’t get any better, DIRECTV takes it to a whole new level.

So that horror show on opening day is now a season of the past, and a fresh slate of games is upon us. We’ll see what happens tonight, as Eli Manning still looks out of sync and has a lot to prove. The French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, not to be confused with Jean Paul Belmondo, said that, “In the football match, everything is complicated by the presence of the other team.” And that’s why they paid Jean Paul the big bucks.

So I guess I’m still a believer. I know things could be worse. Just ask my son Jason. He’s a Raider’s fan.

So for today’s photo display, we are heading back to the skies above Monterey Bay. There have been a few outstanding sunsets that have made headlines this summer, and if you were lucky enough to see the sky last Friday, you were treated to a spectacular sight.

I could see from the late afternoon clouds that something special was in the air, but I decided to have dinner with my wife and just shoot the closing act. So just before desert I drove over to a park nearby and caught the colors peaking over the Santa Cruz mountains. It was fantastic.

They don’t make them much better than that. It was world class, Santa Cruz.

On to some late night humor. “The NFL season kicked off officially tonight. It’s that magical time of the year when millions of Americans transition from checking Facebook all day at work to checking their fantasy football lineups all day at work.” – Jimmy Kimmel ” Football’s back. Surprisingly, only two teams played tonight, but the Oakland Raiders have already been eliminated from the playoffs.” – Craig Ferguson

“A spokesperson for Jennifer Lawrence, one of the people who had nude photos leaked, is calling her nude leaked photos a violation of privacy. Meanwhile Kim Kardashian is calling her nude leaked photos “stuff I was going to release next week. Five geckos sent into space as part of an experiment have all died. On the bright side, they were able to save 15 percent on their car insurance.” – Conan O’Brien

“The NFL season kicks off tomorrow night. And then Friday is the start of the Super Bowl pregame show. What an awful day today. It’s 90 and insufferable. No, wait a minute. That’s me. Here’s how hot it is. I got on the subway this morning and I saw a rat eating a Dove Bar. – David Letterman

“The drug store CVS announced that the corporation is changing itself to CVS Health, and they’re no longer selling cigarettes. The CEO estimates the company will lose about $2 billion this year because they’re not selling cigarettes. It is part of their customer health focus. Competitors of CVS, like Walgreens and Rite-Aid, have no plans to follow suit. As much as they understand the consequences of smoking they also understand the wonderful consequences of making $2 billion a year.” – Jimmy Kimmel

So that’s our football report. We’ll catch you and the gang wreaking havoc on fellow outlaw motorcycle clubs tomorrow night on your final season opener on FX. Aloha, mahalo and later, Jax Teller and “Sons of Anarchy” fans.

August 31, 2014

Kauai Am I Still Writing This Blog?

Good morning and greetings, Labor Day fans. For some, the first Monday in September celebrates the American labor movement, a tribute to the contributions American workers have made to the prosperity of our nation. For others, it symbolizes the end of our summer dreams, when life is good and the living is easy.

But for the rest, it’s just another three-day holiday weekend, because as soon as Tuesday rolls in, it’s like we never skipped a beat. I believe it was either the Reverend Al Sharpton or Aristotle who said, “The end of labor is to gain leisure.” But I prefer to quote from the Talmud, where it is written, “No labor, however humble, is dishonoring, with the exception of blogging.”

So when we left off last week, I had just arrived at our oceanfront rental in Anahola. I knew we were going to a place of extreme beauty, but I was still overwhelmed when we entered the premises. The color of the water looked fantastic, and there wasn’t a drop of kelp or seaweed for thousands of miles.

I thought to myself, “Hemolele i ka mâlie,maika`i nô Kaua`i,” which means, so perfect is the calm, so beautiful is Kaua’i. I was ready for a week in paradise, to be surrounded by the ocean, the trade winds and the gentle sounds of my neighbors partying from the house next store.

Yes, lo and behold, there was some festivities going on, as preparations were in place for some impending nuptials the following day.

It turned out being a beautiful ceremony, and afterwards I congratulated the happy couple and left them with this thought. The only dreams that matter are the ones you have when you’re awake, so recycle your damn beer cans and get the hell out of here.

And just like the gigantic butterfly tattoo on the bride’s shoulder, they flew off, never to be seen again.
So the first couple of days we just hung around our Hawaiian hacienda, enjoying the beachfront experience. Fortunately, we had all brought water shoes with us, as the beach out in front is on a coral reef, which is a little rough on the feet. But with the water temperature a delicious 81 degrees, it was all good, as I spent time trying to perfect my dead man’s float.

The next day my daughter wanted to go to her favorite beach, so we drove west through Princeville and Hanalei before reaching Lumahai Beach. There are no signs marking this spot, you just park on the road and hike down through an exotic tropical jungle. There’s no lifeguards, just signs warning you about strong rip tides, powerful backwash, and treacherous shorebreak waves. Perfect for families with young children.

This beach is exotically beautiful, as when you enter you see black lava rock along with crystal clear blue water and golden sand. The beach is very swimmable in the summer time, and if you get their early, you can have a slice of tropical paradise all to yourself.

Kauai gets a lot of precipitation, as these frequent rain showers make the north shore is as lush as on any island on the planet. Fragrant plumeria flowers bloom all year round, and walking through a tropical rain forest after a liquid shower is a frenzy of excitement for the olfactory senses.

We stopped for lunch in the lovely little town of Hanalei on the way back. When off the mainland, we only dine in the finest establishments, so we hit L & L Hawaiian Barbecue for the traditional plate lunch of two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad and a hot entree, which included teriyaki chicken, barbecued beef, short ribs and enough chicken katsu to feed Detective Steve McGarrett and cast and crew of the new “Hawaii Five-O.”

A couple of days later, we hit the road again, this time to Tunnels Beach on the north shore. We arrived at 10 o’clock and the parking lot was overflowing. When on vacation, I need to be quarantined from other tourists, so although the beach is snorkel gorgeous, it was not a memorable trip, except for this shot of a local holding his board while checking out the surf. I spoke to him briefly and he said he was due for a light trim.

On the way home we stopped at the magnificent St. Regis Princeville Resort, where the rock lobster entree will run you $63 in the Terrace Restaurant. It comes a la carte, but with a tremendous view of Hanalei Bay.

Overlooking the majestic Hanalei mountains, the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. The St. Regis introduces an unparalleled level of sophistication and serene luxury to one of the most remarkable destinations in the world. And that’s the way I roll.

Now one afternoon, my daughter’s friend came running in yelling,”Geoff, get your camera, there are turtles hatching down the beach.” Well, before you could say “Jacques Cousteau,” I was watching baby sea turtles crack out of their shells, hit the water, and then take their first strokes before heading out to sea.

It was an amazing sight, as there must have been sixty eggs shells scattered around. There were another thirty eggs buried in the sand, but they were just empty shells the following morning. It was one of those Animal Planet/National Geographic moments, but with no commercial interruptions.

So our week in paradise went by quickly. One of our neighbors on Aliomanu Road gave me a bunch of mangos plucked right off her trees, along with papayas and lychee fruit, which I hadn’t sampled before. The downing of those juicy mangos was a religious experience, something I wished at I had at my bar mitzvah alongside the gefilte fish.

Mount Waialeale on Kauai is the second rainiest spot on Earth, averaging 440 inches per year. It’s where umbrellas go to die. The constant rain showers on this Garden Island produce fantastic waterfalls. So on the way back to the airport we dropped in to see Wailua Falls. On the way there we ran across a wild boar and her piglets, which made me feel a lot better about not ordering the baby back ribs special the night before.

Moving on to the photos. The first shot is Lumahai Beach, where they filmed “South Pacific”, and then on to Tunnels Beach, where I ran into my dreadlocked friend. Then it’s the view of Hanalei Bay from the St. Regis Resort.

The next photo is one of our neighbor’s papaya trees, before moving on to the baby sea turtle exiting his shell, and then what this bad boy is going to look like when he’s a bit older. We then finish up with the majestic Wailua Falls, where you can just drive up and shoot from the roadside. Now that’s the aloha spirit.

Next week, sunrises and more, so stay tuned.

Now here is comedian David Cross’ favorite joke. So a guy’s walking down the street. He sees a friend approaching him, and his friend has a Band-Aid on his forehead. And the guy says, “What happened?” The friend says, Oh, my God, this was f**king nuts, man!

I was at this rooftop party on the 12th floor, sitting on the edge, and a gust of wind blows me off the building. Twelve stories up. Unbelievably, there are these to clotheslines about three stories down that break my fall. I sort of bounce over them, and end up hitting this awing, and then I bounce off the awning into the pile of mattresses.

And then I bounce off the pile of mattresses and get flung up another 20 feet in the air, ‘I’m dead,” but then I land on this open truck hauling marshmallows. And you know, I scratched my forehead with my finger at one point.

And the guy’s like, “Holy sh**t! You must be the luckiest man alive.” And his friend says, “No, no, no. That’s Jim Belushi.”

So that’s part two of my Kauai adventure. Next week you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know and more about this lovely Garden Isle.

We’ll catch you two making the sequel to one of the great comedy movies of my generation. Aloha, mahalo and later, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels fans.

August 24, 2014

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Anahola I Go

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:05 am

Good morning and greetings, summer vacation fans. Yes, I have returned refreshed, rejuvenated and almost fully resuscitated from a much needed sojourn to the South Pacific. While off the continent, I tend to live the simple life and take relaxation to new heights. Or as writer Robert Orben so aptly put it, “A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it.”

So despite the threats of Hurricane Julio threatening to blow our Hawaiian holiday out of the water, we forged ahead. I tend not to sleep well the night before a flight, so it wasn’t unusual when I awoke at 12:50, fully rested for our 7 am departure out of San Jose. I figured I’d catch up on my sleep during the halftime ceremonies at our kosher kalua pig luau party.

We boarded our Alaska Airlines flight, and I was hoping to be seated next to a super model, as my wife was sitting up in first class. When I laid eyes on my newest possible best friend for the next five hours, I asked the flight attendant if I could sit in the emergency row seats, which were as empty as my pockets after being stripped search by a TSA agent.

After raising my right hand and swearing that I would open the door during an emergency landing, I now had junior air marshall status and all the leg room in the world. To quote the great Dr. Martin Luther King, I was “Free at last free at last, God almighty, free at last” from mindless chatter.

Well, that lasted about one minute, because the woman sitting behind me was a blabbermouth. Yes, a blabbermouth. It was bad enough that I had to hear her life story, as she had a voice that boomed out like a megaphone on steroids. Fortunately, I brought along author John Grisham’s first non-fiction book to read, and this and 35 cups of orange passion guava juice carried me the 2,200 nautical miles over the water.

We landed at 9:30 Kauai time and picked up our rental car, before heading over to a sacred landmark on the Garden Isle, the Costco in Lihue. We just needed to pick up some essentials for the trip, which included a two pound container of Grade A, 100% Hawaiian grown Macadamia nuts. These gourmet kernels were planted on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island and were hand picked on the beautiful Island Princess Orchard Estate. They were like my skin tone after a day in the tropical sun-dry roasted, lightly salted and deliciously smooth.

Macadamia nuts were first grown in Australia and are one of Australia’s few contributions to the world’s food plants, along with dingos ate my baby and shrimp on the barbie. These sweet, buttery nuts are essential for a healthy, nutritious, well-balanced diet, so we picked up a bowling bowl bag size of Mauna Loa Premium roasted macadamia nuts covered in creamy white chocolate, sweet shredded coconut and luscious milk chocolate, just to play if safe.

I then hand picked out a half dozen, beautiful yellow skinned papayas. This “Fruit of the Angels” is a true taste of the tropics, and the first thing that smacks my vacation taste buds each morning. Hawaiian papayas, like a sunny August morning in Santa Cruz, are rarely seen on the mainland. As my Swedish nanny always used to say, “Forbidden fruit always tastes the best.”

Another island essential is the Extra Sweet Maui gold pineapples, which were glowing with an exotic rust color that I had rarely seen before. These babies take 18 months to grow, and were so juicy that I needed to wear a lobster bib while cutting them up.

But on vacation, man cannot live by food alone, so there must be tropical beverages. Now I’m not talking Hawaiian margaritas, mai tais, pina coladas or Molokai milkshakes, but the Aloha Made Guava, Passion, Strawberry and Pineapple Orange drink. They are formulated in the islands and are 100% All Natural, made with natural cane sugar and containing enough fruit juice in each can to fill up a tsetse fly.

Oh, did I mention that I ran into the megaphone women and her entourage in Costco? It was like a mini reunion, as a few tears were shed as we swapped phone numbers and exchanged air hugs.

We then packed up the car we headed north to Kapaa, where we stopped at Foodland for a few more essentials before heading north again to our final destination, Anahola.

Now when people talk about places in Kauai, names come up like Princeville, Hanalei or Poipu Beach. Anahola is rarely mentioned in the guide books, as it consists of a post office, convenience store and an overpriced hamburger stand. It’s an old native Hawaiian village were pineapple and sugar plantations once thrived. Now it’s home to mainly the trade winds, native Hawaiian and a some lucky vacationers.

If you prefer seclusion, or for me, near total isolation, then you’ve come to the right place, because Anahola Bay is a hidden secret. A large stream flows into the ocean, and the golden sand beach is mostly deserted, except for sand crabs, pieces of the coral reef and locals fishing for dinner.

So we arrived at our oceanfront rental, and were thrilled at first sight. I had driven by the house before, but hadn’t been inside. Well, after entering, all I could see was water, as the view was real and spectacular.

There was a breeze blowing through the house 24/7, so the air was delightful and the view consistently fantastic. The ocean was 30 feet from the living room, and with the water temperature a pleasant 81 degrees, we were set for a week in paradise.

So that’s part one of what I did on my summer vacation. Coming up next week in part two, I’ll discuss sunrises, sea turtles, wild boars, fresh mangos, spear fishing and University of Hawaii’s Rainbow Wahine volleyball program.

So for today’s photo party, we’re staying local and taking a general look around Anahola. The first shot is the view looking west out of our living room. The next shot is Anahola Bay, followed by our favorite beach, with a rainbow over the stream that feeds into the ocean.

Next is a photo of another stream along the beach, followed by some early morning light on Kalalea Mountain, which from a side view bears a striking resemblance to King Kong. We then look upon some fragrant plumeria flowers that are used to make leis, and then it’s on to one of the locals I shot climbing in a banana palm plant. More photos to follow.

On to some late night humor. “SeaWorld just announced that it will soon double the size of its killer whale habitats. The whales say it’s almost as good as their previous tank — the ocean. Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian have ended their so-called feud after eight years. Then John Kerry said, “Man, that was rough. Now on to the Middle East. – Jimmy Fallon

“Whole Foods has started selling rabbit meat. They’re killing them humanely. They’re using only rabbits that died of shock after seeing the prices at Whole Foods. The man who created the first Internet pop-up ad now says he’s sorry. The man also says that a 15-minute call to Geico could save you 15 percent on car insurance. The U.S. Postal service has lost $2 billion this spring. Postal officials are busy emailing each other wondering how this could happen. – Conan O’Brien

“President Obama announced last Thursday night that the U.S. would begin air strikes in Iraq. So in a way, it was the ultimate throwback Thursday. Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner is planning to open a new farm-to-table restaurant in Queens. So, whatever you do, don’t ask to see the special. According to a new study, men over 5’10″ are twice as likely to cheat on their partners. And men under 5’10″ are twice as likely to cheat on forms where you have to enter your height.- Seth Meyers

So that’s my first Hawaii blast. We’ll catch you having the quickest comedy mind in show business but leaving this planet much too soon. Aloha, mahalo and later, Robin Williams fans.

August 3, 2014

Summer-Don’t Leave Home With It

Good morning and greetings, August fans. Now what red and white blood celled American doesn’t look forward to a summer vacation? Whether it’s renting a cabin on Mosquito Lake, visiting Yosemite or the Grand Canyon or just sitting around in your backyard relaxing like a mental patient, everyone loves a summer sabbatical.

For our nation’s students, it means two to three months weeks away from the grind and pressure of homework, tests, incessant bullying and the cafeteria’s salisbury steak.

But it wasn’t always like this. According to the folks at tidbit.com, back in the early 1800s, around the birth of John McCain’s babysitters, schools went year-round as the National Lampoon and summer vacation had not yet been invented.

Then along came a spider and Horace Mann, the great education reformer, who worried that overstimulating the minds of children could lead to mental breakdowns, insanity and worst of all, low SAT scores. Educators worried that if there were no breaks to take children away from schools, the insane asylums would be filled with teachers. Or in the words of Woody Allen, “Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym.”

So in the 1840s, the summer break was created. Everyone was now happy as a clam, as teachers and students got that much needed break from one another. Meanwhile, doctors no longer had to be concerned about children spreading disease while packed in like sardines inside sweltering classrooms.

As the sign reads at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., “There are three good reasons to be a teacher-June, July and August.”

Now transitioning into August, it tis the season when the Gilbert Family Robinson takes their annual trip to the South Pacific. It is a time for relaxation, rejuvenation, reincarnation and macadamia nut elation, in a land filled with aloha spirit, fresh papayas and angry Hawaiians.

Unfortunately, our son Jason will not be going to the islands, as he’s in Santa Barbara taking an organic chemistry lab class, which I never had the pleasure of partaking in as a sociology major. It’s the first time the four of us will not be together enjoying chicken katsu and macaroni salad in this tropical paradise. But we’re taking our daughter’s friend along because we like even numbers.

So we are heading over to Anahola Bay, on the northeast shore on the Garden Island of Kauai. We rented a house right on the water, so life shouldn’t be too stressful. I’ve been looking forward to it all year, and can’t wait to feel the trade winds and the sand beneath my feet while exploring the Napili coast and the food aisles at the Costco in Lihue.

So I’m taking a two week break from the blog, and shall return to these pages on August 25. So let me say to all of you aloha kakou, which translated means may there be love between us and don’t bother texting me.

So for today’s photo conference, we are heading down to West Cliff Drive on the morning of February 18. It wasn’t a spectacular sunrise by any means, but the sky lit up with some gentle red clouds which turned into a light orange sherbert sundae float. And then the sun rose up through the lighthouse and all was good on a winter’s morning.

On to some late night humor. “According to French officials, the gardens at the Louvre have become overrun with rats. Officials later apologized and promised to refer to us as Americans in the future. Wikipedia is now accepting donations using the online currency Bitcoin. So now you can support information you’re not sure is true with currency you’re not sure is money.” – Seth Meyers”

Seventeen siblings from New Jersey just won $20 million in the lottery. When asked how they plan to spend the money, they said, “Remodeling the shoe we grew up in.” The TSA is offering a $5,000 reward for the best idea on how to speed up airport security lines. So far the best idea is making a line for people who know what they’re doing and another line for people who have never been to an airport before.” – Jimmy Fallon

Actor Orlando Bloom threw a punch at Justin Bieber last night during an argument at a night club in Spain. Orlando’s hand was pretty sore today, you know, from all the high-fives he got. A new study found that having a sense of purpose can actually help you live longer — While having a sense of porpoise can help you swim longer. – Jimmy Fallon

So birthday wishes go out this week to my daughter Aimee, who is turning sweet 17 on Thursday. She’s beautiful and ambitious, and I am very proud of her and the rabbit ranch she’s currently running out of her bedroom.

Also celebrating his birth on this date is my old Hermose Beach pal and financial consigliere Bruce Meyers, who smiles every time he hears the word “strand.”

So that’s my story. We’ll catch you making blockbuster trades as GM of the Oakland A’s, as you’re going for it all this baseball season. Aloha, mahalo and later, Billy Beane fans.

July 27, 2014

Sweet Home Santa Cruz

Good morning and greetings, large mammal fans. Well, the town was buzzing last week, as the humpbacks put on a show all around Monterey Bay. As the gulls were screeching, the humpbacks were breaching, along with tens of thousands of sooty shearwaters playing follow the leader on the upper level of the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

I feel a certain sort of kinship to the humpbacks as all the activity brought back memories of my entrance to this planet. I was breeching at my birth, as I came into the world butt first.

Yet, I have never been a fan of anchovies, as I’ve never been a fan of this oily, little baitfish, much less swallowed a mouthful of thousands in a single gulp.

But their presence brought the humpbacks to our lovely bay. The whales were first spotted over by Cowells Beach, as Tuesday’s lunch special on the wharf included a choice of soup or caesar salad and 80,000 pound mammals leaping out of the water for dessert. Or you could have substituted gelato.

According to my field scouts, the whales were entertaining the westside crowds at Lighthouse Point, Mitchell’s Cove, Natural Bridges and the CVS on Mission Street. I saw a few gliding by on my morning walks, but I supplemented that by lunge feeding while visiting the Facebook photo pages of Santa Cruz Waves.

Their photos of the humpbacks in breach moments have been fantastic. I haven’t taken any whale watching trips as of late, as I prefer paddle boarding around my bathtub.

So last’s week weather bordered on near perfection, as the days were warm and the coast and my mind were fog free. The air and warm water temperatures brought back memories of my youth, when an all-day trip to the beach was the summer highlight.

Despite the fact that we had to travel over the George Washington Bridge, then get onto the Cross Bronx Expressway, then over the Triboro Bridge before entering onto the Southern State Parkway, then the Meadowbrook Parkway and finally through the Khyber Pass before we finally reached our destination, it was always worth the drive.

I would arise at the crack of the dawn, hitting the bakery when they opened for our fresh sandwiches rolls. We always built up an appetite on a ride, so I made sure we had about eighty sandwiches for my brothers and friends.

We hit the parking lot at Jones Beach at 8am, and then had to wait for the umbrella stand to open so we could then drag it down the sand and park ourselves right at the water’s edge.

We then settled in and it was amazing, sitting oceanfront, while jumping the waves and choosing from a selection of steak, meatloaf, pot roast and vegan cream cheese and jelly sandwiches every fifteen minutes. It was a smorgasboard of delights, with enough fruit, cookies, chips and beverages to feed the Seal Team Six.

But my favorite part of the the day was when everyone left the beach and the sun started to sink in the sky. The golden hour was magnificent, and when we were kids my parents would take us over to another beach park to load up on hamburgers, fries and chocolate milk before setting off on the ride home. I couldn’t wait to get back and play with my sunburn.

So these thoughts leave me with a very good feeling about Santa Cruz, the place I call my home and try to avoid jury duty. I have lived in this cold water paradise for almost thirty years, and I’m still amazed at how beautiful it is.

My wife and I had dined twice in a gazebo last week, which has the fantastic view of the white water break at Natural Bridges Beach. Looking out, the mountains of Monterey were as clear as a bell and the ocean water an exotic blend of aqua blue. Allison peered out over the water and said, “It looks like Hawaii.” There is no greater a compliment.

So I am proud to call this cold water paradise where the redwoods meet the humpbacks my home. As I’ve always said, home is where your house is.

Which leads me to this. I received an email last week from a blog reader, who was hoping I could help getting some info out to others who would like to experience this central coast lifestyle and relocate to Santa Cruz. You can check it out at: http://www.propertyinsantacruz.com/relocating-to-santa-cruz/

Anything for my readers.

So for today’s photo funpack, we are going back to the evening of February 13. I was shooting from Stockton Avenue as a full moon was rising to the east. The clouds on this night were fantastic.

The photos really don’t do justice to the immense size and colors of these masses of frozen water crystals, but you get the picture. The sky was awash with 360 degrees of various shades of pink, as sunset watchers gathered in droves all along West Cliff Drive to take in the action.

Seinfeld’s George Costanza might have described the enormous clouds as having a “pinkish hue.” To me they were real and spectacular.

On to some late night humor. “NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is back in the news. He says the military at the NSA often shared nude photos that Americans had emailed to one another. So if your girlfriend won’t send you naked pictures, just tell her, do it for the troops. “You can tell this drought is getting really bad. Today at lunch, my waiter asked if I wanted a glass of water or a future for my children. I took the water.” –Conan O’Brien

“President Kennedy said let’s put a man on the moon, and by God, 10 years later we put a man on the moon. Yesterday was the 45th anniversary. Nowadays a big deal for us is we combined the croissant and the doughnut to get a cronut.” –David Letterman ” According to a new poll, two-thirds of people in Colorado think it should be illegal to smoke marijuana in public, while the other one-third are still laughing at the word ‘poll.’” –Seth Meyers

The summer is flying by. We’ll catch you playing the role of Ray Donovan,a professional “fixer” for the rich and famous in LA, who can make anyone’s problems disappear except those created by his own family. Aloha, mahalo and later, Liev Schreiber fans.

July 20, 2014

Now Batting, The Shortstop, Number 2, Derek Jeter

Good morning and greetings, national pastime fans. Last Tuesday, the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star game was played in Minnesota and broadcast by Fox TV. The wind was blowing out to left, which Fox News later blamed on President Obama.

Many who tuned into this summer classic were there to watch the final chapter of New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter’s all-star game experience. Jeter did not disappoint the baseball nation, as in his first at bat he smacked a double to rightfield and then later scored the game’s first run.

At age 40, Jeter still looks tremendous in those Yankee pinstripes. As a youngster growing up he dreamed of played for the Yankees. Early in his career he spoke from the heart when he said, “God, I hope I wear this jersey forever.”

For baseball fans, the game was a must see TV moment. Derek Jeter exemplifies everything that is good about sports. He is finishing up his 20th and final season with the New York Yankees, whose pitching staff has been ravaged by injuries and as a team are drowning in mediocrity.

But the Yankee captain has had a great run as a Bronx Bomber. As he says, “My office is at Yankee Stadium. Yes, dreams do come true.”

So this was a chance for the five-time World Series champion and baseball’s all-time leader in hits as a shortstop to step up once again and look good on the national stage. And that he did. Early on he made a nice play in the field and singled in his second at bat, before he was replaced and got a well-deserved standing ovation.

Retired Yankee slugger Reggie Jackson, a man with an ego the size of Manhattan, once said of the young Jeter, “In big games, the action slows down for him where it speeds up for others. I’ve told him, ‘I’ll trade my past for your future.’”

As for me, I’ve still have a great future behind me.

Derek Jeter exudes style and class as an athlete. He’s been a winner on and off the field, as his ex-girlfriends would put together a very formidable all-star lineup.

From Mariah Carey to a former Miss Universe to a Sport Ilustrated swimsuit model to actresses Jessica Biel and Minka Kelly and more, the the Yankee captain is the envy of many and is one of the most clutch daters of all-time.

So I’ll leave it up to former Yankee owner George Steinbrenner to put Jeter in perspective. “The name Derek Jeter is made for stardom. He’s got an infectious smile, and he’s so handsome and well-behaved. He’s just a fine young man who does everything right. He’s like Jack Armstrong and Frank Merriwell, guys I grew up rooting for. Some guys come along who just measure up.”

As they chant at Yankee Stadium, ‘Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter.” It has a nice ring to it.

Now growing up in New Jersey, baseball was my favorite sport. I started playing organized ball at any early age. During my first official at bat, I was hit in the head by a pitch thrown by a friend of mine.

Luckily I was wearing a batting helmet and I did not experience any effects of a concussion, although after that I had an incredible urge to take piano lessons.

My favorite baseball memory involves my old friend Steve Margolin. We pitched against each other in minor and little league growing up. He was the top dog on our side of town.

This led up to us dueling on the mound in the championship game at the Little League field. With the game on the line and runners in scoring position, I struck him out to end the game with three sidearm fastballs. Just pure smoke.

Stevie boy, the league’s home run champion, just stood stunned at home plate, as my coach and teammates carried me off the field on their shoulders.

It’s a fond memory for me and a nightmare for Steve. He recently told me he’s still shell shocked from whiffing on three straight pitches.

But what really irked him was the the smirk on my face after I threw it by him. What I would give for a picture of that.

After the game my father took me to Artie’s Luncheonette, where I celebrated with a chocolate milk shake. Some things in life don’t change. The memories just get a little hazier.

So in honor of the all-star game, today I am featuring an all-star sunrise. This was from the morning of February 4 down at Lighthouse Point, and is one of my favorite sunrises of the year.

The colors and the changes in the cloud were spectacular, and the reflection on the sand at Its Beach was amazing. This was a truly magnificent morning along the coast and what world-class sunrises are all about.

On to some late night humor. “Yesterday was the big World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. And if you caught only the last couple of minutes of the game, don’t worry – you saw the whole thing. During yesterday’s World Cup final, a guy ran onto the field with the phrase “natural born prankster” written on his chest — because nothing says good clean fun like spending the night in a Brazilian prison.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Well, it was an amazing weekend in sports. LeBron went back to being a Cavalier, Carmelo went back to being a Knicks, and soccer went back to being a thing you drive your kids to. Brazil’s coach resigned following the country’s historic 7-1 loss in the World Cup last week. He says he wants to spend more time focusing on not being murdered.” –Seth Meyers

“It’s a great day for a man in Brazil. He’s 126 and has been called the world’s oldest person. He says the highlight of his life was playing goalie for Brazil in this year’s World Cup. Yesterday, Iran asked the U.S. for an extension on disabling their nuclear program. When asked how much time they needed, they said, “10, 9, 8…” – Craig Ferguson

“According to a new report, 81 percent of people would cheat on their partner if there were no consequences, while 19 percent of people are pretty sure this is a test.” – Seth Meyers “Authorities at the airport in Los Angeles intercepted an illegal shipment of 67 live giant African snails. It’s being called the world’s slowest perp walk.” – Conan O’Brien

So the summer moves along. We’ll catch a pod of about 15 of you returning to Monterey Bay last week for an anchovy feast at Moss Landing. Aloha, mahalo and later, humpback whale fans.

July 13, 2014

There’s No Place Like Away

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 9:03 am

Good morning and greetings, NBA free agent fans. Well, if you’re an admirer of summer fog, then last week was a superb time to vacation in Santa Cruz, as the mornings were moister than my eyes during the season finale of “Parenthood.”

It seemed odd, while being in the midst of the worst drought in California history, to be walking in the morning rain. I wasn’t singing in the rain, but it was a glorious feeling and I was happy again.

Well, the basketball world was shocked on Friday, when Mr. LeBron James, who happens to be the best player on the planet, announced in a first-person essay on the Sports Illustrated’s website that he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Holy mistake by the lake. This is the team he had fled from four years ago when he made his decision to team up with the Big Three and take his immense talents to South Beach.

“My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball,” James told Lee Jenkins of SI.com. “I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now. “I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.”

LeBron ranks as one of the greatest of all-times, a superstar among superstars. It’s not every day that the league’s top talent is there for the taking, as NBA teams were wildly clamoring for his guest services. The consensus was he would return to Miami.

After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown.”

The player who teamed up with the Big Three in South Beach is returning to Cleveland as a different LeBron. ” Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go … without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.”

When we speak of LeBron, we’re talking about a 30-year-old, four-time MVP who’s in the prime of his career. He has the charm and charisma that make him the top dog on the court as he has dominated the league over the last half decade. At 6’8″, 250 pounds, LeBron is built like a freight train, with the quickness of a cheetah and mad skills that have led him to putting up insane numbers for his career.

As he says, “Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been the best player. I love being a leader, and I love being the best. I just want to get better. It’s not about being cocky or selfish or anything like that. It’s just how I am.”

And ladies and gentlemen, this world wide conglomerate of a small forward was available on the open market, but few thought he would leave the confines of South Florida.

LeBron had led the Heat to four Final appearances and two straight championships over the past four seasons. But in an attempt for a threepeat, the team looked old and were blown out in this year’s Finals by the San Antonio Spurs.

LeBron didn’t want to wither on the vine in South Beach. He was all about winning championships, but I guess he got a little homesick. And he had his doubts about whether team President Pat Riley would be able to put together another title bound team.

“I went to Miami because of D-Wade and Chris Bosh. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life.”

So Lebron kissed and made up with Cav’s owner Dan Gilbert, who called James a “coward” when he left. It seems that LeBron is all about forgiveness. “I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?”

So for LeBron at this point in his career, it’s not all about the money. It’s about the rings and where he will ultimately rank in the NBA hierarchy. Celtic center Bill Russell has eleven, Michael Jordan has six and Kobe Bryant has five. Those are the legends he’s chasing. When you’re in a stratosphere like LeBron, this is the way greatness is measured. The ring’s the thing.

But for a guy chasing titles, this move back home alters the landscape. As for next season, “I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. ”

Cav’s new first-year coach David Blatt was asked if he was excited to be coaching the four-time MVP. His response, “That would be understatement of the millennium.”

LeBron James is not just a basketball player, but a global icon, and knows the power that comes along with it. As he said a few years ago, “In the next 15 or 20 years, I hope I’ll be the richest man in the world. That’s one of my goals. I want to be a billionaire. I want to get to a position where generation on generation don’t have to worry about nothing. I don’t want family members from my kids to my son’s kids to never have to worry. And I can’t do that now just playing basketball.”

So for the player who guaranteed “Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven,” championships in Miami, it came down to this. “Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can.”

So Cav’s fans must be feeling like they’ve died and gone to heaven, as the Ohio’s favorite son is taking his talents back to Cleveland. Few saw this coming. It’s one of the great stories in sports on a few different levels.

In the words of the King, “I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”

I think it’s a wise decision.

For today’s photo circus we are heading over to Steamer Lane on the morning of February 3. When I arrived at this sacred spot of surfing, the sunlight was shooting up through the array of red clouds. The waves were coming through in big sets, and the sky turned from candy apple red to exotic orange. And then the sun rose and shone across the water, and all was good.

On to some late night humor. “There was a huge blowout at the World Cup yesterday when Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals. It got so bad that the refs told Brazil, “You know what? Go ahead and use your hands.” – Jimmy Fallon “Happy birthday to Ed Lowe, the man who invented Kitty Litter. Here’s what I admire about Ed Lowe. Here was a guy who was thinking inside the box.” – David Letterman

“Today is National Sugar Cookie Day. The entire month of July is National Cream Month. You’re welcome, diabetes. Cheesesteak is the dish Philadelphia is known for. I don’t know what dish we’re known for here in L.A. It may be kale salad that you can eat and then throw up later because you have an audition.” – Craig Ferguson

“Justin Bieber will be charged with one count of misdemeanor vandalism for throwing eggs at his neighbor’s home in January. Or as he calls that, “street cred.” People who wanted to go on the new Harry Potter ride at Universal had to wait in line for more than seven hours this week. That’s right, seven hours of waiting just for a couple minutes of action. Or as that’s also called, “watching soccer.” – Jimmy Fallon

So another post is in the books. We’ll catch you being the happiest people in America. Aloha, mahalo and later, Cleveland Cavalier fans.

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