October 19, 2014

You Snooze, You Lose

Good morning and greetings, fall foliage fans. Yes, the leaves are changing color and dropping off the trees, as we are going through some changes here on the central coast. I believe our lovely 90 degree October days, much like me sleeping peacefully through the night, are now history.

Or as author Anthony Burgess once said, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Snore and you sleep alone.”

As my body and what’s left of my mind continues to age, I don’t believe I’m getting the proper amount of sleep. Now according to researchers, if it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep, then you are very likely sleep deprived. The ideal amount of time is about ten minutes. I chime in at about ten seconds.

And to think, I used to be so good at sleeping that I could do it with my eyes closed

So some might say I am suffering from severe sleep deprivation. The problem is lately, I am now waking up every couple of hours for no reason at all. Even though I consume half of Lake Erie before I go to sleep, I never need to visit the men’s room. And I know it’s not my wife drop kicking me because of my snoring, because that is no longer a problem.

In the past, I would always fell asleep first, and that would drive her batty. But, problem solved, as she now has aids that render her safe and gentle sleep. She has offered to share, but I hesitate to take anything stronger than milk and cookies, as my body is a synagogue and I want to remain meditation and medication free for as long as possible, or at least until the opening of the NBA season.

I’ve always been an early riser, which works well in the sunrise business. But I am not in love with being awake in the four o’clock hour, and recently, that’s the time that my mind has decided it wants to go to work. Because when my brain goes on red alert, further sleep and dreaming is out of the question.

Oh, I try to go back to that unconcious state by thinking of pleasant experiences in my life, like my bar mitzvah party, being massaged like an eggplant and taking the SAT’s, but it rarely works. Once my concious mind gets ahold of the rolodex of thoughts that have been lingering from the previous day, it’s over, Johnny.

We all know that it’s torture not being able to sleep. Or being waterboarded by Dick Cheney. Many a night I have woken up and laid in bed like a mental patient, wishing for sleep to come back on, and always being denied. Listen, I love TV, but I don’t want to be watching the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” at 3 am.

Okay, maybe a little “Three Stooges, but my brain gets enough TV stimulation during normal business hours. And it better be an episode with Curly. “I’m a victim of soicumstance.”

In the middle of the night, I want my mind to be open only to dreams. When I dream during our REM (Rapid Eye Memory) Sleep, they are usually wild and crazy. But it’s the same dream during the non-REM phases that drives me nuts. I have dreamt it dozens of times over the last forty years. I’m at school and heading to a class that I’ve never attended and haven’t studied for the test. It’s always math. I have this uneasy feeling of not being prepared. Half the time I can’t even find the classroom.

Author James Baldwin, talking about dreams, once said, “The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.”

Now I have always been a wild REM dreamer, as in my dreams I am frequently in company of celebrities, old high school friends and Miss Universe contestants. My subconcious life is much more exciting than my concious state, as the excitement has slowed down in my care giving years.

So by not getting enough sleep each night, I spend my day my day actively yawning. This act of inhalation and exhalation of of air is linked to exhaustion, stress, ISIS, overwork, lack of work, Ray Donovan, fatigue, boredom and watching the first eight innings of a baseball game. I’m taking drowsiness to a new level.

However, I know in paradise, everyone naps.

It seems like I’m always somewhat tired. I know I suffer from sleep apnea, but my doctor says if I’m not falling asleep while doing 65 on the freeway, then not to worry about it.

We spend a third of our lives sleeping. I have already slept twenty years. I not asking for much when it comes to sleep. As rocker Warron Zevon once quipped, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I just really want to pass that damn algebra test.

So for today’s photo library I am showcasing the first sunrise of the fall season. The day was last Thursday and the place Lighthouse Point. I hadn’t shot a sunrise since last February, and the view from the sand down at Its Beach and Steamer Lane was spectacular.

In the words of the Chicago Transit Authority, it’s “only the beginning.” And what a delightful and colorful entrance it was.

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On to some late night humor. “Right around the corner is the midterm elections. There’s an anti-incumbent mood in the country. People are sick and tired of people who have been in the job too long and are lazy and overpaid and out of ideas. Wait a minute. I’m sorry. That’s me. The administration now has a name for the war against ISIS. Every military operation has to have a name so people can get behind it, and they now have a name for the war against ISIS — Operation Hillary’s Problem.” – David Letterman

“I was very happy to see that our old friend Jay Leno is coming back to television. He’s coming back to CNBC and he’s got a brand-new show. Jay drives a variety of exotic vehicles, and each week he runs down a different NBC executive.” – David Letterman “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance yesterday in over 40 days. But since he saw his shadow, that now means 60 more years of nuclear winter.” – Jimmy Fallon

“On this day in 1912, President Teddy Roosevelt was shot, declined to go to the hospital, and gave a 90-minute speech with a bullet in his chest. Then on this day in 2012, I spent the whole day on WebMD because my eyelid wouldn’t stop twitching. Brad Pitt said in an interview this week that he doesn’t feel safe in his own home without a gun. Said Pitt, “I don’t even know half these kids.” – Seth Meyers

“For the last two months evil North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has been missing. Well, apparently he is back in public. It turns out he was buried in the end zone at Giants Stadium. He claims he was kidnapped by Neil Patrick Harris.” – David Letterman “Today they announced the Nobel Prize winner for economics. It went to the guy who sold Derek Jeter’s socks for 400 bucks ” – Seth Meyers

So that’s another week. Be grateful for your health and think positive thoughts for others much less fortunate.

We’ll catch you hitting a three run walk off blast in the ninth inning and sending the Giants into the World Series. Aloha, mahalo and later, Travis Ishikawa fans.

October 12, 2014

Let’s Go, The Meder’s Running

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 8:54 am

Good morning and greetings, October lovers. What a great time to be alive and a sports fan on this planet. The baseball playoffs are in full swing, we’re one third into the NFL regular season, and the NBA preseason games are underway, which means the real deal is right around the corner. Ah, to be young and concussion free.

Now at the age of 61, I still have a heavy case of the Basketball Jones. For the last fifteen years, I have been playing half court pickup games on Saturdays out in Aptos. Fortunately this involves not a lot of running but a fair amount of sweating, which pleases my doctor to no end.

It’s a game of constant motion and jumping, although I only leave my feet if it’s an emergency. I’m a poster boy for playing at half speed.

So I look forward to hitting a few threes, making some no-look passes, and giving a lot of weakside help, which I think is one the reasons God put me on this great green earth. For you non-basketball folks, weakside help means basically leaving the man you’re guarding and creating a nuisance by double teaming opposing players.

It’s part of the old Magic Johnson philosophy, “Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates.”
Now it’s not all that glamorous, but this giving gratifies me like taste of any flavor of Haagen Daz. I know I’ve lost a step or two or three, but my hands are still are still my calling card, as the quickness is still there. And according to my rabbi, I have a very high basketball IQ.

So why am I telling you this? Well, the games at Willowbrook Park have ended. It was a gradual slow and painful process, as the players became disillusioned and stopped showing up. So not only do I miss my weekly workout, but the male bonding with the boys from the south county. You can’t put you arm around a memory.

So what’s a fella to do? Well, I’ve started playing over on the westside at Meder Street Park, where I used to run back in the 80′s. It’s a beautiful location, as the court has a lovely view of the eucalyptus trees. And there’s action every day.

The problem is, I’m now mostly running full court, something I thought I had left in the past, along with dating, trick or treating and leaking out on the fast break. Yes, this game now involves actual running, not just sashaying around the half court making clever comments while picking and rolling.

So right after playing I’m usually sore, so I head to the hot tub, where I soak up before I head into the the oxygen tent. I’m usually in traction the next day, but it’s nothing that a ventilator can’t fix. There’s a fine line between exercise and a heart attack.

My son Jason recently said that if he could build his life around anything, it would be playing basketball. Or establishing world peace through beach volleyball. The macadamia nut didn’t fall far from the cherry tree.

But it’s sometimes awkward at the park when there are fifteen guys there and I’m the only one who’s ever seen an episode of Magnum, P.I.. So I explain that I’m prematurely silver and a graduate student in Buddhist philosophy. Or as former Laker Coach Phil Jackson said, “If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.”

Sometimes before we run start running I get in a few games of half court. It feels so good to be moving and knocking down those open jumpers, bringing me back into the light.

It just goes to show that as one door closes, another back door play opens up. As the saying goes, some want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. Refuse to lose, defend till the end.

It’s all about standing tall, talking small, playing ball Get a life. Play basketball.

So for today’s photo display, we’re moving into the light, as we are heading down to Lighthouse Point and the arch at Its Beach. All the shots were taken at the golden hour around sunset time, when the sun is low in the sky and the colors and reflection delight.

I’m fond of the last shot of the wave exploding through the arch. This was a magical moment, and my favorite photo from this location.

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On to some late night humor. “A group in Russia has nominated Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize. When Putin heard this he said, “I’m all about achieving piece — piece of Ukraine, piece of Poland.” – Jimmy Fallon “Today is Vladimir Putin’s 62nd birthday. He celebrated the way he always does: having someone try his cake before him. It must be tough buying him a gift. What do you get for the man who has everywhere?” – Craig Ferguson

“The Obamas celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary. It was a quiet late-night supper. It was just the Obamas and a couple of White House fence jumpers. They’re doing everything they can to tighten security at the White House. Today, on the roof of the White House, they added one of those fake owls. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has resigned, and in her closing statement she said, “I’m leaving, not because of the breaches in security, but I don’t think I can take the pressure of the upcoming trick-or-treaters.” – David Letterman

“At the Eiffel Tower they’ve installed a new glass floor that lets tourists see what’s going on hundreds of feet below them. It celebrates France’s favorite pastime: looking down on people.” – Jimmy Fallon “The New York Post says that Oscar Wilde is responsible for Kim Kardashian’s rise to fame because he was the first person “famous for being famous.” When asked her thoughts about it, Kim said, “Is Oscar the one that lives in a trash can?” – Seth Meyers

“The speed limit here in New York City used to be 30 miles an hour. Now it is 25 miles an hour. I’ve gotten out of a cab moving 25 miles an hour. They’re now putting in speed bumps too. For years. it was just pedestrians. Nobody had seen North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for a week, then a month, and now six weeks have gone by and nobody’s seen him. They really started to get worried when he didn’t show up at the Clooney wedding.” – David Letterman

So the games go on and I’m loving it. We’ll catch you creating a TV sitcom called “The Goldbergs” that highlights my Wednesday night. Aloha, mahalo and later, Adam Goldberg fans.

October 5, 2014

Birds Are People Too

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 9:07 am

Good morning and greetings, baseball playoff fans. There were highs and lows on our local national pastime front last week, as the A’s were losers and the Giants were winners in respective one game wild card playoffs. It was especially painful for A’s fans like my son Jason, as they seemingly had the game won three times before they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

But then again, he has the football Raiders, who with any luck, will put together a winning season before he’s eligible for Medicare.

Now at this point in my life, the regular baseball season is for the birds, as it’s a tad long and way too slow. But birds are very much a part of my so-called existence, and I’m not referring to the heaping portion of teriyaki chicken I devour for lunch down at I Love Sushi, which comes with miso soup, calamari strips, california rolls, rice and salad, all for the bargain price of $7.50.

Why such a great deal? Because that’s the way they roll.

Now here on the central coast, we are surrounded by a diverse bird population. People are a different story.

When I wake up in the darkness and feed my baby squirrels, the birds are always singing. And it’s always the males, who are looking to protect their turf while crooning for some female companionship, because that’s the way God programmed us. We just don’t want to be lonely.

When I stroll down West Cliff, there’s a group of small birds who live in the trees that are always serenading passerbyers. They are joined by a variety of gulls screaming out over the water, as opposed to the pelicans, who are much more of the strong, silent type. They fly softly, but carry a big beak.

Now according to my sources in the aviary world, which would be the Santa Cruz Sentinel and writers Terri Morgan and Donna Jones, the Monterey Bay area is a pit stop or permanent home for 250 species of birds, not including Costco’s rotisserie chicken, of which they sell 60 million a year at their 650 warehouse stores. Come for toilet paper, leave with an giant roasted bird for $4.99.

This is because the Central Coast is part of the Pacific Flyway, a bird migration flight pattern that runs from the Arctic to the tropical rain forests and dictatorships of South America. Right now, after they’ve gotten in some breeding time up north, and we all know how enjoyable that can be, the shorebirds are heading through Santa Cruz on the way to their winter feeding grounds. Come for the food, stay for the fun and surf.

Natural Bridges Beach is a happening place if you’re into birds, as you can see egrets, hawks, black crowes, woodpeckers, pelicans, penguins, blackbirds, songbirds, Larry Birds, owls, orioles, yankees and gulls of every race, creed and color. I frequently see great blue herons with their tremendous wing spans, along with a variety of red shouldered and redtailed hawks, including the great Dominique Wilkens.

So if you’re a birder, the central coast is one of the great places to be in the fall. We don’t have quite an exotic a selection of species as in the Amazon jungles, where loggers are burning down and destroying the vegetation as fast as possible, but we pack a wallop with the belted kingfisher and red breasted sapsucker crowd.

Back in 2012, birders from all over the country flocked here when a common cuckoo was spotted in the Watsonville Slough, which blended right in with the crazies we have walking the streets of our town. Which brings to mind an old Turkish proverb, “For the birds that cannot soar, God has provided low branches.”

Now over the years, I have documented a group of cormorants, who built their nests on the cliff right outside Natural Bridges. I started photographing them back in June of 2008, as they gathered their nests, lay their eggs, went shopping, and hatched babies before eventually flying off to the world tour.

So when I saw this story in the San Francisco Chronicle last week, I was naturally interested.

Caltrans is demolishing part of the Bay Bridge, which is home to a gang of double crested cormorants. They are going to spend $709,000 to build 2½-foot-wide nesting condos and studio apartments on the underside of the new bridge, in the hopes that the 800 or so state-protected cormorants would move off the old span and sign new leases.

An additional $1 million has been spent to try to lure the birds over to the new bridge, using bird decoys, cormorant recordings, the best of the Doobie Brothers CD and even nests made from discarded Christmas wreaths and Hanukah bushes.

But the birds love the view and location and have no plans to relocate, So Caltrans came up with a Plan B, speeding up demolition in the hopes of beating next spring’s nesting season, because once the birds start laying eggs, work comes to a halt.

Apparently, the cormorants have told their friends about this prime real estate spot, as consultants hired to monitor the bird population have found 533 cormorant nests on the bridge this year, which is double the amount counted during construction three years ago. According to the new estimates, this would bring the total spent on relocating these protected birds to more than $33 million, or what an invitation costs to go to George Clooney’s wedding.

The lovely Julia Roberts and Matt Damon were there for the nuptials. Afterwards, David Letterman said, “What was it, a wedding or a heist?”

In a statement, a spokesman for the cormorants said they’re sorry about the exorbitant costs of the relocation, but it’s just too foggy and cold to nest over at the Golden Gate Bridge, as the suicide attempts make them a little nervous about raising their children in that kind of an environment.

So today I am showcasing some photos from our local bird population.The first shots are the location where the cormorants built their nests on West Cliff, followed by a shot of the babies. We then move on to a red shouldered hawk, followed by a snowy egret, then a great egret and some golden godwits at sunset.

We then finish up with a great blue heron in flight, followed by a cluster of gulls just wanting to have fun at Four Mile Beach.

On to some late night humor. “The NFL recently hosted a football workshop in China. Unfortunately, most kids just ran when they heard the word “workshop.” Congratulations to Chelsea Clinton, who gave birth to a baby girl named Charlotte on Friday. Or as Hillary described the baby, “Third in line to the throne.” Chelsea Clinton gave birth to a baby girl. And get this, she’s already said her first word: “Iowa.” – Jimmy Fallon

“George Clooney is off the market. Clooney and his bride got married in Italy on Saturday, and two days later they are still married! The wedding was so beautiful, it already won six Oscars. My advice to Clooney is to remember that marriage is complicated. It starts out pretty good, but then there are long rough patches, times when you want to leave. Oh, no, wait. I was thinking of “Oceans 13.” – Craig Ferguson

“LeBron James’ childhood will be the subject of an episode of a new children’s TV series. Hopefully it’ll help teach kids a valuable lesson — that they can do anything they put their mind to as long as they’re amazing at basketball. Scientists in northern California and Oregon found that marijuana gardens are threatening the salmon population. I don’t see the problem, really. Everyone loves baked salmon.” – Seth Meyers

“After a photographer was accused of harassing the royal baby Prince George, lawyers for Prince William and Kate Middleton said that their son “must be permitted to lead as ordinary a life as possible.” They then added, “Now get away from our castle!” – Seth Meyers “Evil dictator Kim Jong Un has not been seen in three weeks. I hate it when a recluse disappears, don’t you?” – David Letterman

So enjoy this California heat wave and we’ll catch you and your CIA bipolar personality on the new season of “Homeland.” Aloha, mahalo and later, Claire Dane fans.

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.

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