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.

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.

March 7, 2011

Words Fly Over The Rainbow

Good morning and greetings, no-fly zone fans.  Welcome to March, the month that comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb chop.  I hope it’s been a good week, or at least fair or partly cloudy for all you who are reading or skimming this.  So from the halls of Monterey Bay to the shores of Tripoli, let’s go right to the news.

That Moammar Khaddafy, or if you prefer the Hebrew spelling, Gadhafi, is really quite the character.  Up until now, my favorite colonels were Klink and Sanders, because those herbs and spices are so damn finger lickingly good.  But these gentleman having nothing over this lovable maniac from Libya, who’s been in power for four decades yet seems as delusional as the leaders of the Republican Party.

The colonel and his son, along with their original recipe chicken, cole slaw and biscuits, insist there is no rebellion going on in their country, and then they go out and blast away at the opposition like they’re quarterbacks on Super Bowl Sunday, except the bombs they’re completing are real.  I’ll give Khaddafy credit, this guy looks like he walked straight out of central casting, as he has that cunning, desert fox dictator look down to a fine science.  And I sympathize with him because I know how it feels to have $30 billion in assets seized, that really can put a damper on the day.  And just my luck, with the way things have been going, it looks like I’ll never get the money back I lent to Hosni Mubarek.

You’ve got to love any tyrant who can deliver a speech, much like many of my early posts, that is meandering, disjointed and has little to do with reality.  I remember years ago when I started this blog that, I, much like the Colonel, urged my readers to fight with me “to the last man and woman.”  Okay, so maybe I was a little needy.  But to my credit, I never blamed radical Islamists for giving young people drugs that goaded them into a frenzing of rioting and posting comments on this site.

But for now, as much as I love bloody crackdowns on my own people, let’s get away from arms embargos, trade sanctions and personal interventions and get back to our subject at hand.  Back on the morning of February 16, the morning light was outstanding, as the sun’s rays were shooting down through the clouds as I walked along West Cliff without my camera.  Later that morning, it Nathan hailed, aiding to the pagentry of the day.  So being a savant, I thought it might be a good idea to head down to the beach at sunset time, as the weather this day, much like my trip through the birth canal, had been rather wild.

Because of the earlier rain and my glowing aura,  the beach was deserted at Natural Bridges.  As you can see from the first photo, the clouds were somewhat ominous.  Then all of a sudden, before you could say, “we do chicken right,” the sky darkened and it starting pouring, which of course, is great for my camera.  And then, much to my sunny delight, a beautiful, full arc, double rainbow rose in the sky, that made me feel like I was back in Kansas with little Toto.

Because of my location, I couldn’t get the shot of the rainbow dipping into the Pacific, but as Mick Jagger once told me, “you can’t always get what you want.”  Fortunately, while the rain was pelting down upon me, I got what I needed.  Seeing that rainbow light up the sky was quite entertaining, much like last week’s episode of ”The Good Wife.”  Not as intense as the drama on “Southland”, but something that Donnie Wahlberg as Detective Danny Reagan on “Blue Bloods” would have appreciated.

You can see in the final shot that the post rainbow clouds were just phenomenal.
That leads to the question, what is a rainbow?  Four out of five scientists say it is a band of colors in the shape of an arc that is formed from reflection, refraction, and a psychotic reaction of the sun’s rays inside millions of raindrops.  They appear, in the words of B.J. Thomas when “raindrops keep falling on my head,” as when it is raining in one part of the sky and sunny in another.  Those are classic rainbow conditions, my friends, and when they are happening, I immediately fly into rainbow alert a la mode, which goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

From what I learned from the radar map back in weather school, the sun is always behind you while the rain is in front when a rainbow or unexpected guests appear.  So, if my coordinates and karma are correct, the center of the rainbow’s arc is always directly opposite the sun or any other family member, like Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.

Most people, or people who need people, who are the luckiest people in the world, think that the colors of a rainbow are apple red, tangerine orange, mellow yellow, Mean Joe greene, Vida blue, indigo girls and violet parker.  Well, believe it or not, Mr. Wizard once told me that a rainbow is made up of an entire other group of colors.  We’re talking colors that my eye, my dog or even my periodontist can’t even see.

Now how is it that we are able to see rainbows?   We are able to see the colors because light of different colors is bent when it travels from one medium, like the air and into another, in this case, the water of raindrops.  When all the colors that make up sunlight are combined, they look as white as the crowd at a Tea Party rally, but once they are refracted, they break up into colors we see in a rainbow or at the snack shacks we see along the beach at Wakiki.

Now listen closely, boys and squirrels.  Every person, no matter what race (like the 100 meters), creed or color sees their own personal rainbow.  What that means is that when you are staring at one like me, while snapping away like Annie Liebowitz at a bankruptcy hearing, you are seeing the light bounced off of certain raindrops.  The person or sailor next to you may seem to be looking at the same rainbow, but they may be seeing light reflecting off other raindrops from a completely different angle.  Are you confused?  Don’t worry, just click your heels three times and ask for Dorothy.

Now here are a few more fun facts about rainbows.  It was Sir Issac Newton who discovered the seven distinct colors of the visible spectrum with the help of his brother Fig.  Phil Collins wrote quite eloquently in Genesis 9 that rainbows are God’s promise.  And everything we see, feel, hear, taste, smell and text exists between the frequencies of red and violet.  I have no idea what that means, I just like the way it sounded, like my voice on Sportstalk radio.  And they say the ladder to heaven is built of rungs which are the colors of the rainbow.  Personally, I’ve always been more of a “Stairway to Heaven” guy, because I do remember laughter.

On to some great late night.  “Protests continue in Libya. It was reported that most of the protests are being organized on a dating website, which explains why half the protest signs say “No Gadhafi” and the other half say “No fatties.  They’re saying Gadhafi is “disconnected from reality.” According to the State Department, Gadhafi thought this year’s Oscars were fantastic.”–Conan O’Brien  “I thought the Oscars were supposed to be young and hip and I only saw all these old people. Then I realized I was watching “60 Minutes.”–Craig Ferguson  “The Oscar statue is about thirteen inches in height and weighs about 9 pounds. Oh wait, that’s Tom Cruise.”–David Letterman

“Moammar Gadhafi is starting to sound a little crazy. Al-Jazeera canceled his show, “Two and a Half Shiites.  Gadhafi said his people “love him.” I think that’s what he said. It was hard to hear over the rebel gunfire.”–David Letterman  “Everyone is saying we have to take control of Moammar Gadhafi. We can’t even control Charlie Sheen.  Charlie Sheen said that he’s now more popular than President Obama, at which point Mike Huckabee accused him of growing up in Kenya.”–Jay Leno

“Oprah has been invited by Egypt’s new government to do a show from Cairo. So they’ve replaced one power-mad tyrant who’s been ruling for 30 years with another one.” –Conan O’Brien  “Sarah Palin is going to India to make a speech. She’s hoping to visit some of those Indian casinos she’s heard so much about.” –Jay Leno  “Bristol Palin is releasing a book called “Not Afraid of Life.” Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is releasing a book called, “I’m Afraid of Books.”–Jimmy Fallon

“‘King Kong’ opened 78 years ago. It’s the story of a woman that gets carried away by an ape. The same thing happened to Maria Shriver.” –David Letterman  “Twitter was down for two hours on Saturday. It was terrible. I had to call random people in the phone book and tell them what I had for lunch.”–Jimmy Fallon  “The price of gas here was up to $4.50. When I started pumping, it was only $3.85.–Jay Leno

So that’s our first official blast for March.  If you like college basketball, and what true American doesn’t, this is a month to savor like your first Haagan Daz bar.  So be grateful for your clean water and we’ll catch you at midcourt.  Aloha, mahalo and later, Kevin Love fans.

January 16, 2011

Have Gun, Will Unravel

Good morning and greetings, NFL playoff fans. Well, the world-wide weather picture has gotten off to a flying start in 2011, as there was horrific flooding in Australia, torrential rain and killer mudslides in Brazil and enough snowfall back east as to waltz into a winter wonderland. Gone away is the bluebird, here to stay is Lobster Newburg.

The big news this week continues to come out of the desert in Tucson, Arizona, where the nation tried to make sense of the tragedy that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. This shooting by a deranged gunman played out all over the world and led my daughter to ask, “Dad, do you own a gun?”

Now the Beatles said “happiness is a warm gun” but I’ve always been more of a Guns N’ Roses, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” kind of guy. My first thought was to tell her, yeah, it’s in my bottom drawer, next to the hand grenades and my missle launcher. But that would have been wrong. Let me state for the record that I do not own a gun, water pistol, pea shooter, rifle, shotgun, sling shot, bazooka, machine gun or sherman tank.

The only time I’ve fired a weapon was during riflery at summer camp, and I will admit I enjoyed checking the target to see my marksmanship. However, that was the only time I was packing any heat, although a couple of times I’ve left my house concealing my garage door opener on my belt.

Since I’m not a policeman, prison guard or currently in the military, I really have no interest in drawing my weapon and firing at anyone. I do my shooting with a camera, and all my aiming is to please. The concept of shooting someone, with the exception of any Taliban, Al Queda or the boogie man does not really appeal to me.

It’s not so much that I’m a pacifist, it’s just that I’m allergic to bullets. Or as Woody Allen once told me, “years ago, my mother gave me a bullet and I put it in my breast pocket. Two years after that, I was walking down the street, when a berserk evangelist heaved a Gideon bible out of a hotel room window, hitting me in the chest. Bible would have gone through my heart if it wasn’t for the bullet.”

Now I normally don’t quote the President of the United States or the American League in these pages, but in case you missed the Obama eulogy in Tucson, I thought I’d pass on a few words. Barack Obama said he wanted to “make sense out of that which seems senseless. When a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations – to try to impose some order on the chaos. But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

He added these words when speaking of nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, who was gunned down while meeting her congresswoman at the local Safeway. “I want us to live up to her expectations. I want her democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”

These are the kind of words I enjoy hearing coming out of the mouth of our elected leader rather than “mission accomplished.” They were written by the President, chief speechwriter Jon Favreau, senior adviser David Axelrod and Cody Keenan, a former writer for late Senator Edward Kennedy. The reason I mention this is because unlike the President, I wrote this post alone, with an assist from my spellchecker/senior grant writer Nancy Mager of Tucson, who drove by the shooting site twenty minutes before it happened and was horrified that this tragedy happened in her wacky, gun-loving state.

Let’s move from lack of gun control to something a little more colorful and relaxing. Today’s photosynthesis brings us back to the lovely sands of Natural Bridges State Beach on the evening of January 6. It was a night of intense color and big waves, as the swell was pumping and surfers were out in droves. And if you check out photos two and five, I actually caught a couple of wet-suited boys in action with my tow-in photography. It’s like I always said, if it swells, write it.

As you can see, the heavens turned some lovely shades of orange, red and purple, just another winter sky on Santa Cruz’s north shore. Colors like this always pump me up, which is the same feeling I got watching the world’s most dangerous closer, Kobe Bryant, going up against the Warriors on Wednesday night. Both the sunset that night and Kobe’s late game heroics were performances you see once in a lifetime. No two are the same and then they are gone in a flash, not to be repeated because last time I checked, nobody was TiVoing sunsets.

Let’s head to the late nite. “Sarah Palin’s reality show will not be returning as she contemplates a possible run for president in 2012. When a candidate walks away from a reality show, that’s when you know they’re serious about being president of the United States. A new study shows that a woman’s tears can chemically lower the level of testosterone in a man. When that happens, the man will also start to cry and then eventually be elected speaker of the House.” –Jay Leno “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a speech urging Arab leaders to enact real reforms. Halfway through the speech, Arab leaders looked at each other and asked, “Why is a woman talking?” –Conan O’Brien

“The two biggest websites right now are Wikipedia, where you go to learn about things you care about, and Facebook, where you go to learn about people you stopped caring about years ago.” –Craig Ferguson “There’s a new website that allows you to use Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, surf the web, and read all the news in one place. That one place is called “work.” –Conan O’Brien

“So far this winter, it has snowed in 49 out of 50 states, but not Florida. So now, your grandparents can complain that the snow doesn’t visit them either.”–Jimmy Kimmel “Astronomers discovered the smallest star in a far-away galaxy, called a dwarf star. I had about 50 jokes about the dwarf star and, what a coincidence. They all ended with Tom Cruise.”–David Letterman

So in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, Jason and I are headed up to the Oracle Arena today to see the Warriors take on the Carmelo Anthony-less Nets. Last year when we went my growing boy brought a sign, “I also have a dream-the Warriors in the playoffs.” I couldn’t have been any prouder. Like son, like father.

So let me leave you with the most famous of quotes from Dr. King from 1963. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’” That is, everyone except Michael Jordan in his prime.

And Warrior fans all over the bay area share in his dream, as despite years of ineptness ny management, they have risen up in their seats and shouted in unison, “oh, deep in my heart, we do believe, we shall overcome and make the playoffs some day.”

A final thought. I took my all-time favorite sunrise shot back on Dr. King’s birthday back in 2005, so this day is special in many ways. So enjoy what’s left of the three-day weekend and we’ll catch you running a cross pattern. Aloha, mahalo and later, Dorell Wright fans.

September 12, 2010

When The Moon Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie, That’s Pepperoni

Good morning and greetings, NFL football fans. That’s right, the smell of the kickoffs and baby back ribs are in the air, and for lovers of this sport involving running, passing, blocking and trying to drill your opponent into the turf so he doesn’t know what time zone he’s in, life once again has real meaning, giving us the opportunitity to set new goal posts for ourselves.

Personally, I don’t get emotionally involved when watching my New York Giants. I remain cool, calm and collected, never getting too high or low. After all, it’s just a game being played by a bunch of guys who prefer to hug each other in the end zone after a touchdown instead of the cheerleaders.

And most importantly, for many fans in this pigskin nation, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but whether your team covers the point spread. Yes, it’s a special time for football lovers. I don’t want to say Jason was happy when the season kicked off, but I hadn’t seen him that excited since he starting ball-faking like Stephen Curry. Of course, that was until he witnessed yesterday’s Raider debacle and reality set in.

So for this beautiful late summer day let’s check out some memories from September’s past. For our photo entree we are journeying down to It’s Beach and Steamer Lane to check out a couple of glorious evenings with the full moon rising. Creedence Clearwater Revival might say it was “bad moon rising” but for me this experience was all good and better. So let’s get to it, the lunar the better.

The first shot shows the bad boy up close and in full regalia as it rose in late afternoon. The next photo was shot thru my favorite arch as then we move on to the beach itself, with the beautiful glow on the sand from the colors of dusk.

We then shift our focus to Steamer Lane, where I photographed the next full moon to rise in the company of sailboats and reflective action. You might notice the different colors on the moons and if you look really hard you can see the cow struggling to jump over it.

So what do we really know about the moon? Then again, what do I really know about myself? Well, Buzz Aldrin fans, I’m glad you asked. So thanks to our friends at space.com, here are some fun facts about my favorite satellite orbiting our planet. Of course, with the exception of DirecTV.

So for starters, and I’ll have the calamari and the shrimp cocktail, how did the moon form? According to the “giant impact” theory, about 4.5 billion years, the young Earth had no moon, no hope and no fear. At some point, a rogue planet, larger than Mars, struck the Earth in a great, glancing blow, like Ali’s left jab that knocked down Frazier in the Thrilla in Manilla.

Instantly, most of the rogue body, and a sizable chunk of Earth, Wind and Fire were vaporized. The crowd went wild as the cloud rose to above 13,700 miles altitude, where it condensed into innumerable solid particles that orbited the Earth. They they aggregated into ever larger moonlets, which eventually combined to form the moon which then led to the formation of moon river, which is “wider than a mile, I’m crossing you in style, someday.”

The Moon’s heavily cratered surface is not the result of childhood acne, but rather the result of intense pummeling by space rocks 4.1 billion ago. The scars of this war, seen as craters, have not eroded much for two main reasons: The Moon, much like my social life, is not geologically very active, so earthquakes, volcanoes and mountain-building don’t destroy the landscape as they do on Earth. With virtually no atmosphere or ambiance, there is no wind or rain, so very little surface erosion. Or in the words of Diana Ross, “no wind, no rain, no winter’s cold, can stop me babe, if you’re not cold.”

The rotation of the moon, the time it takes to spin once around on its own axis, takes the same amount of time as the moon takes to complete one orbit of the Earth, about 27.3 days, or about the same amount of time it used to take me develop a new dance move for Soul Train.

This means the moon’s rotation is synchronized in a way that causes the moon to show the same face to the Earth at all times, unlike myself, as I constantly change my facial expressions to show joy, serenity and frustration, like when my Giants dominate in statistically in the first half but can’t score in the red zone. One hemisphere always faces us, while the other always faces away. The lunar far side, or for you Pink Floyd fans, the dark side of the moon, has been photographed only from spacecraft and northern New Jersey.

The Moon is not round. Instead, it’s shaped like an egg with a side order of toast and hash browns. The airless lunar surface bakes like Betty Crocker in the sun at up to 243 degrees Fahrenheit for two weeks at a time, as the lunar day lasts about a month. Then, for an equal period, the same spot is in the dark. The dark side cools to about -272 degrees Fahrenheit, so you might want to bring a sweater.

The moon is sheathed by a rocky road of rubble created by constant bombardment by meteoroids, asteroids, comets and internet bloggers. There is no water, no air, no restrooms on the moon. The shape of the moon appears to change in a repeating cycle when viewed from the Earth because the amount of illuminated moon we see varies, depending on the moon’s position in relation to the Earth and the sun. Or in the words of Phillip Bailey and the gang, “you’re a shining star, no matter who you are, shining bright to see, what you can truly be.”

We see the full moon when the sun is directly behind us or someone drops their pants, illuminating a full hemisphere of the moon. Like today’s photo ensemble, the full moon rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. The full moon is the only moon that will be overhead in the middle of the night. Only 59% of the moon’s surface is visible from earth. No word on how much surface is visible from Neptune, Jupiter or Uranus.

The surface gravity of the moon is only one-sixth that of the Earth. The force gravity exerts on a person determines the person’s weight. Even though your mass would be the same on Earth and the moon, if you weigh 132 pounds on Earth, you would weigh about 22 pounds on the moon. How’s that taste, Jenny Craig? The moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth is the main cause of the rise and fall of ocean tides. Or as I like to think of it as, this time from the Outlaws, “green grass and high tides forever, castles of stone, soul and glory.”

When Neil Armstrong took that historical step of “one small step for man, one giant step for mankind” it would not have occurred to anyone that the step he took in the dust of the moon was there to stay. It will be there for at least 10 million years, or until the Merry Maid service arrives by rocket ship. When Alan Sheppard was on the moon, he hit a golf ball and drove it 2,400 feet, nearly one half a mile. Unfortunately, it missed the green and landed in the sand trap, which led to a double bogey and his dropping off the leader’s board.

The term “honeymoon” is derived from the Babylonians who declared mead, a honey-flavored wine, the official wedding drink, stipulating that the bride’s parents be required to keep the groom supplied with the drink for the month following the wedding. Either that or pay for the tux rental and the “entertainment” at the bachelor party. And finally, in a survey conducted in 1988, 13% of those surveyed believed that the moon is made of cheese. No cheese has ever been found on the moon, although crackers were found by the first Soviet cosmonauts.

Let me end with a quote from my old racquetball partner, Mahatma Gandhi. “When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.” I know where you’re coming from, my man.

Here’s a little taste of the late night. “U.S. commanders in Afghanistan are ending their zero-tolerance policy on corruption and allowing local officials who are on our side to be ‘moderately’ corrupt. It’s the same policy we have in Congress. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer stopped speaking during an interview and stared blankly at the camera for 30 seconds. The good news is, she’s now eligible to be governor of Alaska. Hillary Clinton opened the Middle East peace talks and said, “People with a history of conflict can learn to live together.’ And believe me, she knows what she’s talking about.” –Jay Leno

So that’s it for our last full week of summer. Clouds returned to the sky last week, which means it’s time to dust off my camera as change is in the air. Also caught a gorgeous crescent moon in the twilight on our way home from the basketball court on Friday night, which gave this post and Jason posting me up greater meaning.

On a sad note, condolences go out to the family of Jamie and Marylu Hall, whose son, Rafael, passed away on September 5. Rafael loved the beach, was full of life and will be remembered in his family’s hearts forever.

So I hope you enjoyed the first weekend of football as much as I enjoyed the first episode of the new season of “Sons of Anarchy.” Nothing like good, wholesome family entertainment. We’ll catch your in the corner of the end zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Arian Foster fans.

August 15, 2010

Who’s Your Friend, I’d Really Like To Meteor

Good morning and greetings, NFL preseason fans. Our gloomy weather has been a popular theme this summer, as while the midwest and east coast continues to swelter through extreme heat and humidity, we’re fogged in and drizzled out. My wife and kids came back from the east coast and were shocked by the chilly weather-I haven’t seen Aimee’s teeth chatter like that since she learned she’ll have to take calculus.

Speaking of the sky, today’s story comes to us from our friends at space.com. The celestial spectacle known as the Perseid meteor shower announced its August arrival with a bright fireball and stirring rendition of “I wish I Was in Dixie” over the skies of sweet home Alabama. Viewers from around the world, along with Oprah and Dr. Phil, were delighted by these bright streaks of light darting across the night sky.

A small 1-inch wide meteor caused the fireball when it met a fiery demise August 3 while streaking through Earth’s atmosphere. The fireball was observed by skywatching cameras at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and by roadies and groupies from the Lynyrd Skynyrd band.

The Perseid meteor shower peaked on the night of August 12-13 between midnight and dawn, with no Tony Orlando in sight. The fireball was low and outside in the sky when it entered Earth’s atmosphere. NASA observations found the meteor to be hurtling through the atmosphere at a phenomenal 134,000 mph, or about the same speed I left the DMV office after passing my driving test.

According to a spokesman from NASA, “the meteor cut a path some 65 miles long. It was about six times brighter than the planet Venus and George Bush and would be classified as a fireball by scientists and major league scouts and pitching coaches.”

Because of its relatively low approach in the sky and its long, shallow path, which coincidentally, is what Bush’s high school guidance counselor predicted he’d follow with his life, the meteor qualified as a so-called Earth-grazing meteor. Earth-grazing meteors are space rocks that enter the Earth’s atmosphere at a low angle and appear to move slowly and dramatically along the horizon, like a flock of overweight sea gulls. NASA’s Bill Cooke, who is a fine chef in his own right, says, “earthgrazers skim the atmosphere overhead like a stone skipping across the surface of a pond. Much like the chateaubriand I prepared last night, they are rare, remarkable and very colorful, among the most beautiful of meteors.”

The Perseid meteor shower is an annual event that occurs in mid-August when the Oakland A’s fall out of the pennant race and the Earth passes close to the orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. Comet Swift-Tuttle, whose debris creates the Perseids, is the largest known object, with the exception of Charlie Sheen, to make repeated passes near Earth. Its nucleus is about 6 miles across, roughly equal to the object that wiped out the dinosaurs and disco. Every August, like clockwork or Brett Favre saying he’s going to retire, our planet Earth cuts through the “river of rubble” left behind along the orbit of the comet.

And yet, while comets are composed chiefly of frozen gas, meteors, like my excuses for not using spellcheck, are very flimsy. They are material that, like solar dandruff, that have flaked off comets and are similar in consistency to cigar or Arthur Ashe. Most are scarcely larger than pebbles, grains of sand or the amount of true intelligence we gathered before invading Iraq. They vaporize as they enter Earth’s atmosphere, creating brilliant streaks across the sky, much like the blonde in my hair during my West Cliff days.

Material left behind by the comet, such as rayon and a nice polyester cotton blend, ram into the Earth’s atmosphere at about 37 miles per second. This creates a show of “shooting stars” that has become known as the Perseid meteor shower. These tiny visitors from the cold, vast voids of stellar space, or like newborns in a North Dakota winter, have been orbiting in the solar system for perhaps hundreds or even thousands of years. But they cannot survive the shock of entry and end up streaking across the sky in a brief, blazing finale lasting but a few seconds. Almost none hit the ground, but if one does, it’s an error and called a meteorite.

The Comet Swift-Tuttle and a John McCain high school yearbook were discovered by American astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle back in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln was President. It takes the comet about 130 years to orbit the sun. Comet Swift-Tuttle was last seen in 1992, and is due back in 2126, or around the same time I hope to figure out how to use my computer.

The 2010 Perseid meteor shower was one of the best ever, as skywatchers could see about one meteor per minute with maxmum activity of 90 to 100 per hour. And as I’ve always said, when it comes to the Perseid shower, buffalo chicken wings or barbecued baby back ribs, the meteor the better.

As a bonus to our shower and bath coverage, while the planets and moon are all very far apart in space, they appeared in a triangular alignment last week thanks to a special circumstance of orbital mechanics and instant karma. The outer planets, Mars and Saturn, take much longer to go around the sun than the inner planets Venus and Serena. Venus “laps” the outer planets frequently, although Serena has won more titles and has a better serve.

But wait, there’s more. In the predawn of last week, Jupiter was a brilliant jewel high in the southern sky and impossible to miss. That is, unless you are living in Santa Cruz, where it was just a rumor as we had one clear morning in July and none so far in August. In fact, the last time I saw the son at daybreak was when Jason woke me up to ask for power of attorney. And Mercury also made an appearance on the horizon last week, which was a special treat, particularly since it was in the sky and not in my broiled swordfish with toasted almonds.

So on honor of folks here on the central coast seeing less action and color in the sky than you’d spot at a Tea Party pancake breakfast, today we are showcasing a previously unseen winter sunrise from 2010 The date was January 15, a Friday for those of you who are fact checking. Another Disney morning along West Cliff Drive. Not the most fantastic colors I’ve ever seen, but compared to the skies this summer, this is this the Super Bowl, World Series and the final eposide of last season’s “Sons of Anarchy” all wrapped up into one morning.

On to a little bit of the late night. “You know those controversial TSA full-body scanners? Well, they’re coming to airports here in New York next month. Great. Normally I take a Xanax before I fly, now I have to take a Viagra.” –Jimmy Fallon “Yesterday was President Obama’s birthday. He turned 49 years old, if you believe the liberal media.” –Jimmy Kimmel Levi Johnston is running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Ironically, many of the babies he’ll kiss on the campaign trail will be his own.” –Jay Leno

So that’s our weather update. Birthday wishes go out today to my old LA pal Sue Arendt, who hails from the Nutmeg State and is now the Ivanka Trump of real estate up in Berkeley. So feel free to appreciate old friends and your good health. Enjoy the warming trend and we’ll catch you above the net. Aloha, mahalo and later, AVP fans.

July 11, 2010

Birds Fly Over the Oil Spill, Why Then, Oh Why Can’t I?

Good morning and greetings, heat wave fans. While the east coast was suffering under scorching, brutal, record breaking heat and humidity last week, the central coast was cooler than the other side of my pillow. If you like cold and foggy weather in the July, then Santa Cruz was the place to be. What tourist doesn’t love wearing mittens and a down jacket at the beach? Or to paraphrase my old pal Mark Twain, “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer riding the Big Dipper.”

The temperatures have been sweltering inland, but the chilly, gray sky mornings are normal weather for the coast. According to meteorlogist Diana Henderson of the National Weather Service in Monterey, “it’s not unusual. This happens every year at this time. That’s why they film ‘Baywatch’ in Hawaii.” It’s understandable, because we wouldn’t want to see Pamela Anderson wrapped in a blanket as she tries to save a school of baby dolphins from getting caught in a riptide. That would defeat the porpoise.

The central coast’s frigid summer conditions comes mostly from the chilly Pacific Ocean, which acts as an air conditioner and minty air freshener, according to Henderson. “Without it, we’d be Nevada.” That’s right, blackjack, showgirls and the illusions of Siegfried & Roy, right here, where the redwoods meet the sea and anarchy.

My thanks to Shanna McCord of the Santa Cruz Sentinel for the weather service updates. When I woke up Tuesday morning, the ground was soaked like my tank top after a ten mile run up the coast. It looked like rain, but it was actually the drizzle from the heavy fog. I hadn’t seen that much condensation on the ground since Jennifer Beals took the stage in ‘Flashdance.’

That brings us to our top news story of the week. As reported by Andrew Zajac in the Los Angeles Times, the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service said it would begin paying some gulf region farmers, ranchers and football coaches to flood their fields so that migratory birds can find alternative rest and nesting grounds to oil-fouled habitats.

The Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative will pay to use up to 150,000 acres of land “to provide feeding, resting and reading areas for migratory birds.” The program applies mainly to former wetlands, low-lying land and skateboard parks in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas and France. Conservation officials are hoping to attract birds who don’t have internet access to safe areas before they land on shores and wetlands contaminated by the massive oil spill.

Landowners would be expected to flood fields and promote the growth of vegetation and snacks favored by migratory birds, or to enhance existing wetlands on their properties, as rice fields, fish farms and Long John Silver restaurants are particularly suited to the initiative.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has fouled off numerous pitches along with marshes and coastal areas relied on by birds and other wildlife. The gulf region sits beneath one of the world’s major migratory flyways, with about 1 billion birds from more than 300 species passing through annually, says Greg Butcher, a vegetarian and director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society. “None of this is guaranteed to work,” Butcher says. “We’re expecting that this will work at least a little bit. We’re hoping that it’ll help a lot. What I’m really trying to say is these birds are screwed”

On that positive note, in a story reported by Michael Kunzleman for the Associated Press, less than three years before New Orlean Saints won the Super Bowl and the Gulf oil spill erupted, federal regulators and a couple of fortune tellers concluded several offshore drilling projects posed a low risk to endangered wildlife – a determination that contrasts sharply with recent scenes of birds and vacationers struggling to survive the slick.

A September 2007 memo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said large oil spills from the proposed Gulf drilling projects under review were “low-probability events” that weren’t likely to affect brown pelicans, sea turtles, other animals or the economic futures of fisherman, shrimpers and oyster lovers with Gulf Coast habitats.

The memo concluded that the chance of oil from an offshore spill of at least 1,000 barrels reaching endangered species or their habitats was no greater than 26 percent. Now, I’m no math whiz, but I’d calculate their estimates were off by, approximately, let’s say, a million percent.

Less than three months before the Fish and Wildlife Service issued its memo, the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that the same Gulf leases, including BP’s for Deepwater Horizon, were “not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of threatened or endangered species.” Well, I’m sure that comes as a relief to all the migrating birds and their families. Because as we all know, a bird in the hand is worth two gallons in the Bush administration.

So in honor of Larry Bird and friends, I thought we would take a look at some winged creatures who reside here on the central coast. We start with a great blue heron, who I photographed right outside the arch early one morning at Its Beach. I shot the snowy egret in the landing mode right after it had flown through the same arch on an extreme low tide afternoon. This was the same day I photographed a rainbow through the arch and decided that I wanted to be Mikhail Baryshnikov when I grow up.

Then it’s onto four snowy egrets in a marshland up in Richardson Bay in Mill Valley, followed by some pink flamingos vacationing in Palm Desert and a snowy egret reflecting in the pond at Natural Bridges. Flamingos don’t actually live here on the central coast but sometimes journey to Monterey Bay for a spa weekend and to have their legs shaved. Much like myself, they enjoy standing on one leg with the other tucked beneath their body. It’s both relaxing and a way to save on the wear and tear of our shoes.

The final image is a red shouldered hawk, who I photographed at Antonelli’s Pond, which is less than a mile by the way the crow flies from my compound here on the westside. It was early in the afternoon when I spotted this beauty. With my zoom, I was able to get close enough to get a shot of those incredible talons wrapped around the branch. And the best part is, this is the only hawk, besides Dominique Wilkins, that I’ve seen in this spot over the past eleven years. There’s something about capturing the flag or the moment.

Here’s a taste of the late night. “The East Coast is suffering from a terrible heat wave. Wall Street bankers are jumping out of windows just for the cool breeze on the way down. You people are so lucky you live in California. This heat wave back east is just unbelievable. … It was so hot in Washington, Nancy Pelosi skipped the Botox, had her face injected with frozen yogurt. Back in 1776, Americans were fighting to escape British rule, these days we’re fighting to escape British oil. They say traces of BP’s oil has started turning up in disturbing places, like congressmen’s pockets.” –Jay Leno

So that’s our show, petroleum lovers. Here’s a few quick petro facts before I cruise off into the fog bank. Americans drivers consume 19-20 million barrels of oil every 24 hours. That’s 10,000 gallons a second. If we all drove 30 miles less per week, oil consumption would drop 20%. Then again, if my aunt had,er, spheres, she’d be my uncle. Just a few things to think about the next time you fill up the old Hummer.

So in honor of the uniting of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, I’m taking my Sonny Crockett jacket out of mothballs. Sorry Knick fans, but your suffering will continue.

So enjoy the long days of summer and let’s hope someday that we leave Afghanistan. And if you have moment, say a little prayer for the displaced and homeless. We’ll catch you in the American Airlines Arena. Aloha, mahalo and later, David Lee fans.

January 24, 2010

Blast From The Last

Good morning and greetings, winter storm fans. Last week, we had five straight days of driving rain, heavy winds and big surf. I don’t want to say things were a bit moist, but it rained harder than the tears coming down the cheeks of Democrats in Massachusetts. Fortunately, my writing is covered by an umbrella clause, so I remained high and dry during the blogging process.

But in honor of our inclement weather and to celebrate the moisture we so badly needed here out west, I thought I’d pass on a few rain jokes. You know, some raincoat humor. And away we flow. There’s a technical term for a sunny, warm day which follows two rainy days. It’s called Monday. “Gosh, it’s raining cats and dogs,” said Fred looking out of the kitchen window. “I know,” said his mother. “I’ve just stepped in a poodle!” There was a communist named Rudolph. One day he looked out the window and said, “It looks like a storm is coming.” “No it isn’t,” said his wife. “Besides, how would you know?” “Because,” he responded, “Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear.”

Moving along, let’s revisit the lyrical front, where in the words of the Carpenters, “Rainy days and Mondays always bring me down.” But that is not true for yours truly, as Monday is the day that I share my flowing stream of unconciousness with the ever increasing cyber world, my parents and my rabbi. The Allman Brothers told us, “They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad,” but according to Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Tuesday’s gone with the wind.” Jimi Hendrix proclaimed, “Rainy day, dream away. Let the sun take a holiday.” But our last word of precipitation today will come from the great Eric Clapton, who said, “Let it rain, let it rain, let you love rain down on me.” And that my cyber friends, is why I never carry an umbrella.

But let’s move out of the rain and into the sun. Today’s photo journey brings us back to the final day of the decade, December 31, 2009. I wanted to make sure I captured this day on the photographic front, so we start off with a lovely sunrise from Its Beach and Lighthouse Point, two locations I am as familiar with as Julianna Margulies’ character on CBS’s “The Good Wife.” It was a good start to the special day, which at this point held more promise than the violent drug war ending in Mexico anytime soon or the US convincing Afghan farmers not to grow opium. How’s that for a smooth political transition?

But wanting to make this a full day experience, much like my graduation day from driving school, I then headed up the coast to Four Mile Beach to take in the gulls and the furthering clouds expansion. The beach was deserted, except for the large flock of gulls, and they greeted me with the same warmth and understanding as did the Iraqis on our decision to continue to occupy their country. Basically, okay, you got your shots in, now get out of here and leave us alone.

For the end of the day tapestry, I returned to the coast and Its Beach. It was an extreme low tide, so I strode thru my favorite arch the same way as General Sherman did thru Atlanta in his March to the Sea back in 1864, but a tad less destructively. I was hoping for a spectacular sunset to close out the decade, but a cloud front blew in from the north, so the final shot features the last bit of pure sunlight from the decade. And because of the low tide, brilliantly colored sea anenomes and sea stars were scattered throughout the beach, all rock stars in their own right. All in all, a tremendous end to the decade, although if a few more colors had appeared in the sky, I wouldn’t have held it against the big guy, and I don’t mean Alec Baldwin.

On to Conan O’Brien’s former neighborhood. “I’ve been having a hard time explaining this whole situation to my kids, because they’re still very young. So I had a doll made of myself, and now I can show my kids exactly where NBC touched daddy. I should have known something was up when NBC sent me that 2010 calendar that only went up to January.” –Conan O’Brien “Things are crazy. I don’t know what is going on on NBC. I don’t know what going on in the ‘Tonight Show.’ Earlier today I get a call from the executives at CBS and they wanted to know if I would consider a jaw enhancement. What? Are you kidding?’” –David Letterman

‘The big CBS show here, anybody seen the ‘Medium?’ It’s about a woman who can communicate with the dead. A woman without can communicate with the dead. As a matter of fact, this Sunday, this week, Johnny Carson calls up the medium and he asks her what the hell is going on with the ‘Tonight Show.’” –David Letterman “Former presidential candidate John Edwards has finally admitted that he did father a love child with his former mistress, Rielle Hunter. He released a statement today. Edwards said, ‘It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she’ll forgive me.’ Hey, if she inherits that hair, what’s to forgive?” –Jimmy Kimmel “The heaviest snowfall in over 60 years is being reported in Beijing, China. To give you an idea of how bad it is, the army is now having to use snowplows to run over dissidents.” –Jay Leno

“You know, it’s hard to believe President Obama has now been in office for a year. Isn’t that amazing? It’s a year. And you know, it’s incredible. He took something that was in terrible, terrible shape, and he brought it back from the brink of disaster: The Republican party.” –Jay Leno “President Obama says he blames himself for the upset in the Massachusetts Senate race because he was too remote. Meanwhile, today in Arizona, John McCain couldn’t find his remote. One of Osama bin Laden’s sons has written a book. He said his father was a cruel parent. For example, he made the kid wait until he was 18 years old before he let him blow up his first car.” –David Letterman

So that’s this week’s version of “Meet the Impressed.” Rumor has it that next week will be our first guest blog of the year, and mark my words, you will be impressed or we guarantee your money back. Caught a beautiful sunrise on Sunday that made up for the missed snow on the mountain shots from last Friday, as the clouds, just like my 9th grade algebra teacher, just wouldn’t cooperate. Hope you caught the NFC Championship game yesterday, as it had all the drama of Don Draper on a good night out. So enjoy the moisture from the skies and we’ll catch you deep in the end zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, New Orlean Saint’s fans.

April 5, 2009

Whale, I Guess This Is Goodbye

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:08 pm


Good morning and greetings, Monterey Bay fans. In my quest to expose my larger-than-life story to the cyberworld, each weekday morning, to paraphrase Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, I like to “Take a walk on the west side.” For me, this coastal experience takes me to my favorite street (besides Jason on “Friday Night Lights”) in the western hemisphere. That would be West Cliff Drive, where the cutting edge of the continent bonds with the blue Pacific. Along with man’s best friend and my consigliore Summer, we mink stroll the cliff, never knowing who or what we will encounter. It could be a whales, dolphins, prison pen pals, porpoises, pelicans, otters or insurance agents, and not necessarily in that order.

For this hybrid of a blog, I always like to start off the new month with something exotic and was all ready to showcase an incredibly gorgeous sunrise from a few winters back. But then news came to me, or in the words of Marvin Gay, “I heard it through the grapevine” that a whale had washed up along the cliff. Well, faster than you could say “Jacque Cousteau” I sprang into action faster than Shamu downing a bucket of popcorn shrimp at Red Lobster. But as darkness was approaching and not wanting to break my 8pm backcourt ordered curfew, I decided to venture back on Friday morning.

As you can see from photo #1, I was not alone in my holy quest to see this fallen giant of the sea. As it turns out, a year-old female California gray whale had been found dead, floating alongside the wharf on Wednesday. It was towed a mile out to sea, but then drifted back in and landed just north of my favorite arch at Its Beach. Rather than burying it in the sand or Fed Exing it up to Ano Nuevo to become an appetizer for the great whites, the city decided to use a tow truck to haul it up onto West Cliff, put on on a flatbed truck and bring it to the city dump. Or as Joni Mitchell would say, “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.”

You can see in photo #2 a couple of wetsuited boys getting ready for some action. When this 25-foot long, 8,260 pound juvenile was brought up from the beach, it was just surreal. It was as if one of marine life artist Wyland’s painting had come to life, as this decomposing beauty was dangling in the air while knocking the iceplants off the cliff. This was a very unusual disposal method for a whale and certainly nothing that has been seen before here in Santa Cruz. The whaling wall of West Cliff had come to life. And as a special bonus, this yearling had a certain scent to it and I’m not talking Old Spice-more like old Sock.

So much like sleeping past 7am, helping my son with his math homework and my journey down the birth canal, experiencing this whale’s tale was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was sad that all this attention was being paid to a deceased mammal but many people gathered on the cliff had never seen a live whale, so they were happy just to get a peek at one of these beautiful creatures that roam the sea and food shop in our Monterey Bay.

Much like Fernando Valenzuela, this youngster was born in the warm Baja California waters and was heading north to the nutrient-rich waters off of Alaska when she encountered some kind of problem that led to her ending up dead on Its Beach. According to Saturday’s Santa Cruz Sentinel, Joe Rodgers, a longtime Santa Cruz boat captain and marine surveyor, said he spotted a whale that size this week several times, going back and forth across the bay, seemingly looking for its mother. Gray whales, which can grow to 50 feet in length, travel an incredible 12,500 miles in their annual migration. For me, I drive to the bank, stop at Longs and the dry cleaners and I’m ready for a nap.

Well, enough of my blubbering and onto some late night humor. “Today at the White House, President Obama met with the CEOs of all the major U.S. banks. A lot of these big bonus guys. The CEOs looked around the White House and said, ‘You live in this dump? You know what’s interesting? Today, a reporter in Crawford, Texas, asked former President George Bush how he felt about General Motors and Bush said, ‘You know, since I left office, I don’t really follow the Iraq war anymore.” And “see, I feel confident that it’ll go well, because President Obama is very good with these economic leaders. He is a very good speaker, of course, and a good speech writer. See, the problem with President Bush was when he went to the summit, any time anyone said G20, he’d go, ‘Bingo!’” –Jay Leno

“Earlier today, President Obama filled three of the remaining top jobs at the Treasury Department. Their job will be to collect taxes from all the other cabinet members that haven’t paid them yet.” Actually, this is highly unusual for the government to take the kind of action they did with General Motors. I mean, the closest the previous administration came to getting involved in the car industry was Bush using jumper cables to jump-start Dick Cheney’s heart.” –Jay Leno And “President Obama visited Buckingham Palace and he met with the Queen of England, and here’s what they did. They briefly shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. I mean, it was just like my honeymoon.” –David Letterman

“Now here’s a story. A guy in Brazil goes spear fishing, and he accidentally gets shot in his own head with the spear. Well, they operate on the guy. He’s unconscious. They pull the spear out and he’s going to be fine. And you know the first thing he said when he came to was, ‘Well, that’s the last time I go spear fishing with Dick Cheney.’” –David Letterman “Looking back at his presidential run this week, John McCain said that he got a lot of votes because of Sarah Palin. And weirdly enough, that’s the same thing President Obama said.” –Jimmy Fallon And finally, “MTV, Music Television, is putting actual music videos back on their network. If it works, Fox News said they’ll start doing actual news again.” –Craig Ferguson

I’d like to say that all’s whale that ends whale, but by bringing this magnificent creature that graces our seas to the city dump for its burial just doesn’t seem completely right. Anyway, we’ve got a pair of birthday wishes going out for Tuesday as my snowboarding-crazed brother Brad turns the big 50 and my outside hitting, volleyball playing, sprinter of a son Jason turns 15. Brad, who I have known since he was a small child, is the President and CEO of the nationally renowned People Productions Media Services based in Boulder, Colorado. Through the years he has been like a sports brother to me. Or as Lilly von Schtupp in “Blazing Saddles” once said of my youngest sibling, “What a nice guy.”

As for Jason, if I loved him any more or was any prouder of him, my heart would burst. But even more importantly, he still hasn’t beaten me one-on-one in basketball yet, although I haven’t given him the opportunity in a while. But now that Bernie Madoff is incarcerated and my Vietnam war injuries have magically healed, I’m running out of excuses.

So enjoy the spring break, baseball’s opening day and tonight’s NCAA championship game. Four Tar Heel seniors put their future NBA careers on hold and returned to North Carolina this season in their quest for the title. They’re hungry, talented and in the words of James Taylor “In my mind I’m going with Carolina.” Only Michigan State stands in their way. We’ll catch you on the backdoor alley-oop. Aloha, mahalo and later, Magic Johnson and Yankee fans.

December 16, 2008

Love Thy Anenome

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 8:38 pm


Good morning, late fall weather fans. On Tuesday the Santa Cruz Sentinel featured a three shot photo spread under the caption “Chasing Rainbows.” Unfortunately, I have been on a different journey that could be called “Missing Rainbows,” or simply put, “What Is Happening With My Photo Karma?” Actually, that’s not altogether true as on Saturday I saw three and photographed one but the gold medal shot eluded me as I was in my car and want to shoot these multicolored moments of brilliance over the ocean, not along Soquel Drive.

As I was shooting the sunrise on Sunday morning a rainbow appeared to the north but it wasn’t bright enough to alert the National Guard or forwards. Then on Monday, the calls starting coming in faster than Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich put out bids for Barack Obama’s Senate seat. Reports and sightings of double rainbows were everywhere, but by the time I hit the streets they were gone or in the federal weather protection program. A West Cliff DRive walking friend said she saw a rainbow that was reaching into a beautiful white cloud before touching the moon. I thought to myself, “Cloud, moon, rainbow, nah, I didn’t miss much. I’ll just catch that in another century.”

Which brings us to today’s photo series. After missing a sunset last Thursday night that was a cross between spectacular and Michelle Obama, I decided to head down to Its Beach on Friday to take in the extreme low tide experience. Although the skies were Linda gray, the low tide exposed my favorite little cove inside the arch and my daughter and I were able to photograph some friends and anenomes.

Photo credits of the crab go to my daughter Aimee who has her father’s eye and her mother’s internal organs. The final photo of the birthday greeting was created by the renowned sand artist Paul House. You can see his work quite often on low tide days at Its Beach. He creates his sand magic with his hands and a stick-it’s amazing work and was quite the treat on anniversary of the day I stopped playing Michael Phelps in the amniotic fluid and entered the world of New York Yankee baseball.

Here are some fun facts I’ve written before about sea anenomes but I thought were worth repeating. Yes, I’m actually quoting myself. Sea anemones are polyps that looks like a plant but, much like friends from Greenpeace, are really voracious meat eating animals. In order for them to dine they cannot order out-they must wait for their food to swim by and when the prey touches one of their tentacles, it mechanically triggers a cell explosion that fires a harpoon-like structure which attaches to the organism that triggered it and injects a dose of poison in the flesh of the prey. Ironically, this is the same way I met my wife. This gives the anemone its characteristic sticky feeling while at the same time paralyzes the prey which is then moved by the tentacles to the mouth for that day’s entree. And of course, all entrees come with your choice of soup or salad, rice or potatoes and ice cream for dessert.

That brings us to our the comedy review, this segment courtesy of the NBC’s new 10 o’clock man, Jay Leno. “Insiders say that President Bush and his wife have already bought a home in Dallas to move into after the leave the White House. If this turns out to be true, this is the first time in his Presidency he’s actually had an exit strategy. Barack Obama says he is promising not to smoke cigarettes while in the White House. I don’t know, is that a big issue for the American people? Let me tell you something, if he can fix the American economy, he can smoke a bong in the White House.” And finally, “A 70 year old woman in India gave birth to a baby. The amazing part is she went into labor, delivered the baby and never missed one tech support call.”

That’s our midweek show. I shot a sunrise, sunset experience over the weekend along with some snow on the mountains and lots of wild-looking clouds on Tuesday. We’ll be seeing those down the road. And belated birthday greetings go out to my basketball playing buddy Jim Berry, who I believe taught Kareem Abdul Jabbar the fine art of the sky hook. So enjoy the anenomes and be thankful for the simple things in life, like TiVo and the NBA League Pass, which brings me every NBA game on the satellite. NBA action, it really still is fantastic. Aloha and later, Rajon Rondo fans.

December 7, 2008

Arch You Glad I Didn’t Say Bananas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:11 pm


Good morning, December fans and welcome to my 150th post, or blog for you sports fans. A beautiful sunset graced the skies above Monterey Bay on Saturday night (a friend described it as “endless”) but unfortunately yours truly missed it as I was vacationing in lovely Pescadero at the time. I was going to go with an array of sea anenomes for today’s photo display but decided that it has been too long since we’ve seen any arch action from Its Beach. But don’t despair friends and anenomes fans, they are on the way.

I love Its Beach. Before it was closed off to Swedish tourists and dogs, (much to the dismay of my golden retriever Summer) I would visit this spot eight days a week. I love shooting around the arch if for no other reason than, much like my outside shot, it will not be around forever. The constant wind and waves bring on the erosion that is always changing the look of the coast. Just like Natural Bridges once had three arches there is now one. And as Three Dog Night says, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” I always feel that when I’m shooting at Its I’m not just capturing the moment but also documenting history.

The first shot is the initial photo I took at low tide with the view of the lighthouse through the arch. This was taken at around 10:30 in the morning. The next shot was taken on a late fall afternoon at the golden hour. Shot #3 was taken from the other side of the arch looking west. I caught a perfect reflection as the water was as still as the brain waves patterns coming from the oval office. The next shot features the beautiful aqua color in the pool of water beneath the arch. I have hundreds of shots of this arch as the rock and water change color with the sky, clouds and price of oil.

The arch is covered with all types of sea life that we’ll check out later in the month. While shooting the fifth shot I was waist deep in water which was helpful since my wallet and cell phone were still in my pocket. But I loved the look of the white water, the clouds and the fog so I didn’t mind getting a little moist. If you look really closely you can see a chain of pelicans and a UFO flying by in the far right hand corner. The final shot shows the contrast between a blue and gray sky day. And you know what they say, “Gray skies are gonna to clear up. Put on a happy face.”

On to some comedy. Today’s segment once again courtesy of Jay Leno. And this joke I can really relate to. “The economy is bad these days. How bad is it? The airlines are now charging $15 bucks for each of the bags under your eyes.” Now readers of this blog know that I’m a New York Giants fan, despite yesterday’s pathetic performance in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. “As you know, Giant’s superstar receiver Plaxico Burress was arrested last week after his unlicensed firearm went off in his pants at a nightclub. Mayor Bloomberg wants to throw the book at him. Today he was given a choice. Either 3 years in prison or he has to play for the Detroit Lions.” And finally, “Hookers in New York are getting very creative with the economic crisis. They are now offering the Plaxico Burress special. For $100 bucks, they’ll make the gun go off in your pants.”

That’s the Monday experience. Coming up on our next blog I’ll be showcasing a sunrise that you’ll want to tell your friends, neighbors and pet sitters about. The reason I missed Saturday’s spectacular sunset was because I was attending my freshman son’s basketball tournament in Pescadero (who even knew that had a high school?) Jason’s varsity PCS team took third place as my point-guard playing son had 12 points, 9 assists, 9 steals and 3 blocked shots in the final game to earn all-tournament honors. It just goes to show that if you nurture your child, build their self-esteem and feed them the right combination of chewable steroids that the triple-double sky is the limit. So enjoy the arch and Veronica and we’ll catch on the goal line. Aloha, mahalo and later, Derrick Rose fans.

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