July 27, 2014

Sweet Home Santa Cruz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anything for my readers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 30, 2013

The Jet Stream of Consciousness

Good morning and greetings, super moon fans. Well, the weather last week was nuttier than a holiday fruitcake, as it went from two days of rain to picture perfect weather a couple of days later. One day I was strolling through the fog and early morning drizzle, feeling for vacationers who had hoped for a couple of beach days along our kelp-lined shores. But then, before I could say, “Where’s Eddie Snowden?,” the temperature was warmer than my feelings for actress Thandie Newton, the star of DirectTV’s Audience Network drama “Rogue.”

And my admiration for this morally compromised undercover detective continues to grow like the morning glory surrounding my home since I’ve learned the series has been picked up for a second season. I believe the late Andy Warhol was on to something when he said, “When I got my first televison set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships.” Tune in, turn on, drop out with no commercials.

Yes, I have many friends from the TV world. And I’ve learned so much from watching. Just like Groucho Marx. “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

And I’m excited about my summer reading list, as I’ve got a couple of books lined up that I am chomping at the bit to read. But I’ve learned that man cannot live by TV alone, although God knows I’ve tried. Or as comedian George Gobal once said, ‘If it weren’t for electricity we’d be watching television by candlelight.”

Let’s get back to the weather. In a story written by Seth Borenstein for the Associated Press, scientists say the jet stream, that river of air high above Earth that dictates much of the weather and reality television programming for the Northern Hemisphere, has been, like this post, unusually erratic over the past few years. The polar jet stream dips down from Alaska, goes across the United States or Canada, and then across the Atlantic and over Europe, It is fiscally responsible for most everything we experience on the weather front and on “The Housewives of Tahrir Square.”

Two weeks ago, the jet stream was responsible for record downpours that led to historic flooding in Canada and the Chicago Blackhawks winning the NHL Stanley Cup. Then there was the record-breaking heat in Alaska, where temperatures fluctuated between 94 and 15 degrees in a three week period and led to this joke.

An Eskimo was tapping on some ice looking for some fish when a voice said, “You won’t find any fish under there.” The Eskimo just ignored it and carried on tapping. Again, the voice echoed saying, ‘You won’t find any fish under there.” The Eskimo shouted, “Who are you, God?” and the voice replied. ‘No, the ice rink manager.”

The jet stream usually rushes rapidly from west to east in a mostly straight direction. But lately it’s been wobbling and weaving like Mel Gibson behind the wheel, wreaking havoc as it goes. The more the jet stream moves north and south, the more changeable and extreme the weather, thus giving Weather Channel personnel a reason to grow and smile.

The extreme weather continued in May, as early California wildfires fueled by the Miami Heat contrasted with more than a foot of snow in Minnesota. One day Seattle was the hottest spot in the country, while Maine and Edmonton, Canada, were warmer than Miami and Phoenix. This is what we refer to in the business to as thermometers gone wild. And speaking of which, if you were in Death Valley over the weekend, where temperatures hovered around 130, give me a call.

The fun and games continue as the winter of 2011-12 produced little snow while 2012-13 was chocolate blizzard city. A French dip in the jet stream and high pressure caused Superstorm Sandy to left turn and smack into New Jersey, a maneuver so rare and unusual as that happens once every 714 years, depending on traffic on the George Washington Bridge.

But when it comes to weather extremes, tornadoes take the cake and the ice cream. Over a recent 12-month period, the nation experienced a record 1,050 tornadoes. That was followed by a 12 month period where there was a record low for these killer twisters. But there’s no need to panic. It’s just the jet stream playing mind games. Or in the words of Mark Twain, “Everybody talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.”

Moving along, last Sunday the biggest moon of the year rose over Monterey Bay. But unless you were a pilot or wearing infrared night googles, you wouldn’t have been able to see this supermoon from the westside because of cloud cover. So today I’m showcasing my favorite harvest moon rising. This blessed event took place back in January of 2009. I was shooting from the cliffs at Cowells Beach across from the Municipal Wharf. Surfers were out in force as the late sun was lighting up the water. When that glowing orange sphere peaked up over the mountain, it was quite a rush. Just another fantastic night on Monterey Bay.

I’ll end our lunar discussion with this. Two guys were walking home from a bar. One says to the other, “What a beautiful night, look at the moon.” The other replied, “You’re wrong, that’s not the moon, that’s the sun.” They start arguing until they come upon a drunk walking in the other direction. They stop him and said, “Sir, could you please settle an argument? Tell us what that is up in the sky that’s shining, is it the moon or the sun?” The drunk look at the sky and then looked at them at said, ‘Sorry, I don’t live around here.”

On to some late night humor. “NSA leaker Edward Snowden somehow managed to get out of the U.S. with all their information. Now where is he? He’s in Russia now, going to be in Ecuador or wherever. He remains at large. Now what are the odds out of 350 million Americans, the only one the government wasn’t watching was him? In the middle of all these scandals, President Obama got some good news today. The IRS ruled that he can write off the first half of his second term as a total loss.

“President Obama gave a big speech on climate change. He believes global warming is getting worse because apparently he’s sweating a lot more during his second term. Yesterday, the Supreme Court opened the door for same-sex marriage to resume in California. Apparently, the judges were really swayed by that Liberace movie. Tourism officials in Paris have launched a campaign to make Paris friendlier to tourists. First step? Kick out the French.” – Jay Leno

“You folks know anything about climate change? I used to know a little bit about it but I don’t care anymore. There’s nothing we can do about it. But on the bright side, I’ve got a closet full of short-sleeved shirts I don’t otherwise get to wear.” – David Letterman “Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have named their newborn girl North West. The baby was named after the direction in which it will try to escape.” -Conan O’Brien “It was just announced that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have named their daughter North West. Or as Southwest Airlines put it, “Please don’t have a second child.” – Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our final blast for June 2013. Time continues to go by faster than I can change channels. We’ll catch you showing basketball fans what good TV theatre was all about on the night of NBA draft. Aloha, mahalo and later, David Stern fans.

March 17, 2013

She’s Got A Cricket Inside, But She Don’t Care

Good morning and greetings, daylight saving time fans. I think most of us enjoy the light later in the day, as now I don’t hop into my pajamas till at least 8 pm. Light is a very simple concept, although Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he invented the light bulb. Ellen DeGeneres summed up the situation for all of us when she said, “In the beginning, there was nothing, God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.”

As many of you know, I’m very much into sports, although most of my exercise these days come from dragging my heels, pushing my luck and jumping to conclusions. And I’m talking all the sports, including football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, snowshoeing, knock hockey, bass fishing, skeet shooting, ping pong, synchronized swimming, jai alai, bird watching, dog sledding, sky diving, bull fighting, jump roping, log rolling and darts. And that’s just what I’m into on weekdays.

But there is one sport that I’ve never really gotten into, and that would be cricket. For some reason, this bat-and-ball game never really captured my fancy, unlike canoeing, jump roping or my favorite, body building. But for sports fans in many countries, cricket is right up there on the top of the menu, and that’s where we’re headed today.

In a story written by Frank Elaridi for ABC News, a Salt Lake City food company has a new line of energy bars that have people chirping because of their unique ingredients. The company, named Chapul, perhaps because that’s where you might want to go after eating one of their products, has an energy bar that includes, coconut, ginger, lime, and you guess it, crickets.

A chart on their website shows that both cows and insects are 57 percent protein, but cows are 43 percent fats, while insects are just 22 percent fats. No word on centipedes, arachnids, or Arby’s new roast beef sandwich.

According to Chapul founder Pat Crowley, ” What this basically means is that insects have similar protein contents to livestock, but are healthier because they have less fat. We thought the people who would be most receptive are environmentally conscious people who already eat healthy products and energy bars and who wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Insect diets are common in many countries but not in the United States and Europe. That is because many Americans have ants in their pants.

Crowley wants to introduce insects into American cuisine, but there is a psychological barrier that Americans have about eating insects because it isn’t part of the culture. That is, unless you go bike riding with your mouth open. He wants to introduce insects into the American diet by using ingredients like chocolate and peanut butter, the way sushi was introduced into American cuisine with the California Roll. Holy Jiminy Cricket! For some reason, this really bugs me.

According to Steven R. Kutcher, an entomologist based in Arcadia, California, there are insects in almost everything Americans already eat. Hey, the FDA allows up to 450 insect fragments in every one-pound box of pasta. The average American consumes about 20 pounds of noodles every year, so you crunch the numbers. It’s like the old joke, ‘Waiter, what’s that fly doing in my soup? Don’t worry, the spider on the bread will get him soon enough.”

“When you eat rice, flour, beans, there are going to be insects in them, but people don’t see them,” Kutcher said. “So that’s always been part of the human diet, especially before there was processed food.” Kutcher says although insects are high in protein while low in sodium and contain no trans fats, there is one negative aspect to snacking on them.

“The downside is, with something like crickets, they have spines, claws and exoskeletons made from chitin and it’s not digestible, so it goes right through you,” Kutcher says. “When you eat crab or lobster, you don’t eat the whole thing, you take off the shell. With something like crickets, you can’t remove the chitin.” No chit?

Chapul grinds the crickets into a flour in its bars so there are no legs, claws or antennae present, which makes for good eating but bad reception. When they are ground up that way, the chitin is still not digestible, but consumers don’t have the problems that come from eating all the body parts and they still get all the nutrients. So this way they have a leg up on the competition.

So what do crickets taste like? Seafood, veal chops, Doritos Loco Tacos? “It’s not quite like chicken,” Crowley says. “It has an earthy taste like sunflower seeds. The insects are pretty mild tasting, so it tastes like whatever you flavor it with. It’s like popcorn, if you flavor it with butter, it taste like butter.” Waiter, I’ll have the fried rice, shrimp and broccoli and the crickets in black bean sauce.

The esteemed TV star, Dr. Oz says that chitin in its ground form is a fat blocker and good for one’s health. That may be all good and well, but I’ve always preferred Beatles on a CD, not as a side dish. As I fumigate the thought of insect ingestion through my mind, I get butterflies in my stomach. If we’re going to start eating what’s crawling, hopping and buzzing around us, we’re heading down a new frontier on the culinary highway. Well, either way, I think I’ve finally figured out why those mantises have been praying about all these years.

Now I have a confession. I previously said that this year’s sunrise and sunset season ,much like my infatuation with Kim Jong Un’s new wife, was pretty much over. This was based on the fact that in the past, there has been less action in the sky in March than visa requests to visit North Korea. But I was wrong, as there was a spectacular sunset Thursday night, a gorgeous sunrise Friday morning followed by another pretty sunset that evening. I don’t know if it was the result of global warming or my digital karma, but I managed to photograph a couple of these events. In the words of the singer Meat Loaf, who I happen to love with mashed potatoes, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

For Friday’s sunrise, I started shooting from the cliffs above Cowells Beach, before moving over the Steamers Lane to capture the sun rising over the water and the mountains of Monterey. But the favorite photographic moments came when I moved onto Bird Rock along West Cliff Drive, and I was able to capture the sun rising through the trees, which was almost as exciting as the NBA action on Friday night. It was some unexpected late winter beauty, and I savored it like last week’s episode of “Justified” on FX, but without the TV MALV rating for language, violence and thank goodness, no nudity.

On to some late night humor. “The big news is the new Pope. His name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio. If you’re saying to yourself, “Boy, that name sounds familiar,” you’re right. For seven years he was the ace reliever for the Yankees. With the selection process going on for the new Pope, there’s a lot of papal trivial. For example, did you know that no Pope has ever in the history of the church been elected without carrying Ohio? The cardinals each write down their choice on a small slip of paper and put in a silver chalice and then they mix all the names up and they’re drawn out. It’s the same thing they do for the Vatican’s Secret Santa.” – David Letterman

“In accordance with Vatican tradition, the cardinals in the papal conclave will release white smoke when a Pope is chosen. The practice was started by those two ancient leaders, Cardinal Cheech and Cardinal Chong.” – Jimmy Fallon “After tours of the White House were canceled due to budget cuts, Donald Trump offered to pay for them. All he’s asking is they rename it the Trump White House and Casino.” – Conan O’Brien “Mayor Bloomberg tried to ban giant 16-ounce sugary sodas and a judge overturned the ruling. And I said, “Thank God I don’t have to drive to Canada to get my Mountain Dew anymore.”- David Letterman

“Thanks to daylight saving time, we lost an hour this weekend. If you’re watching this show, you’re about to lose another hour. Everyone is talking about is these Google glasses. People are already worried about radiation from cellphones. So why not make a device that you can put next to your eyes all day?” – Craig Ferguson “According to reports, Saudi Arabia is considering dropping public beheadings because of a shortage of government swordsmen. You don’t want amateurs to cut people’s heads off because that could be barbaric.” – Jay Leno

So that’s our last blast for winter. Birthdays wishes go out on Wednesday to my esteemed writer/editor/deluxe dessert making pal Martha Lawrence, who’s one of the few people in the continental U.S. who never mistakes Encinitas for Escondido.

We’ll catch you streaking up and down the court while running the show for the hottest team in the NBA west. Aloha, mahalo and later, Ty Lawson fans.

February 17, 2013

Have Gun Will Unravel

Good morning and greetings, NBA All-Star game fans. As a citizen of the world, I like to watch the national news on a nightly basis. I’m a big fan of NBC’s Brian Williams, who hails from the Garden State of New Jersey and is one my favorite guests on Late Night with David Letterman. My favorite guests are comedian Chris Elliot, a former Late Night writer and performer who loves to zing his former boss, and actor Martin Short, who never fails to bring down the house. He loves kidding Dave about his youthful looks. On an appearance from last fall, Marty quipped, “I was watching backstage. I thought, is that one of the Winklevoss twins? They’re usually inseparable.” Especially when they’re counting Mark Zuckerberg’s money.

So two of the hottest news stories of 2013 have been the issue of gun control and Katy Perry’s dress at the Grammys. Here at Sunrise Santa Cruz, I try to turn my attention towards certain kinds of news stories, like flying squirrel epidemics, wild monkeys out of control and great new Valentine’s Day gifts. I tend to stay away from topics like crime, war, disease, poverty, global warming and Republican think tanks, because there is no humor in these subjects, except if you like tea parties.

But the talk of guns is everywhere. Last month, President Obama urged Congress to ban assault weapons, limit magazines to ten bullets and called for background checks for all gun buyers and Secretary of Defense candidates. In his State of the Union address last week, the president again issued the challenge to Congress for gun control while at the same time questioning if Derrick Rose will play for the Chicago Bulls this season and if there should have been a penalty called on that crucial last pass play in the Super Bowl.

Both sides feel strongly about the volatile issue. People on the left say you don’t need an assault rifle to defend yourself or to shoot Bambi, Thumper and friends. People on the right say that it doesn’t matter what Congress does, criminals will always have guns, and if you take them out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, all hell will break loose.

As we have seen, Americans are fascinated with guns. As playwright Irwin Shaw noted,” If football players were armed with guns, there wouldn’t be stadiums large enough to hold the crowds.” And that’s not because of those bullet-proof clad cheerleaders.

So I’m not going to talk about the senseless and ongoing gun violence, as there are no simple answers to this problem that is plaguing our nation and destroying families on a daily basis. But I have some other thoughts.

I don’t own a gun, rifle, pistol or fire hose. I don’t carry around a knife for protection, but I do have a fork and spoon in my car for take out situations and spontaneous picnics. I believe as I child I was fascinated by guns, as I have a picture of myself along with my brother Paul and a future eco-terrorist marching in a Fourth of July parade with a .38 magnum tucked into my waistband. I remember lots of waterguns, particularly the Eliot Ness tommy gun with a laser scope that would have drenched small cells of Al Queda. I did arm myself as a youth, as I purchased a sling shot after hearing the story of David and Goliath. I didn’t cut my hair for a year after hearing the tale of Sampson and Delilah. My friends and I owned a number of pea shooters, until one day when our rabbi confiscated them during a Purim Carnival.

When I was growing up, Chuck Connors starred as “The Rifleman.” When I went to sleep away camp in the summer, I was known as “Rifle Boy,” as I was a crack shot at the rifle range and on the tether ball court. I was disappointed when I discovered that tether ball was not a sanctioned NCAA sport, because as a child I had full ride scholarship written all over me.

I can understand why people like to own guns. I’ve been hot as a pistol on the basketball court but have never been pistol whipped. I like run and gun basketball but off the court, when I see a gun, I run. Face it, I’m an NBA, not NRA fan. Besides, I’m allergic to bullets.

So here’s the crux of the matter. When I leave my house, I’m not packing heat. Sometimes I bring a sandwich, some chips and a drink. Living here in Santa Cruz, I don’t feel the need to carry a gun for protection. I savor every day that I don’t run into someone with one who’d like to rob or harm me. At this point in my life I can’t image shooting anyone or anything except with a camera. And some day I want the sun to see me rise.

I certainly understand why someone would feel safer owning a gun. There are a lot of bad people out there and some of them have radio shows. You can’t live with blinders in today’s world. You never know who’s driving down the street with a loaded gun in their car. That’s why I always tell my children before they head out, remember, nothing good happens after 8 p.m.

So for today’s photo lineup, we are heading to the sky for some midday photo action. We start out some thunderheads filling the skies from above Cowells Beach. We then head up to UC Santa Cruz, where we get a nice view of Pogonip and the brown meadows on campus before going back down to the beach. Here we see a huge mass of liquid droplets and ice crystals above the Municipal Wharf, before finishing up with some surfers hanging ten or eleven at Cowells, where the waves are long and gentle and seem to break forever.

My mother often asks me if I ever studied meteorology. The answer is no, I’m just fascinated by weather and sports. I really don’t know why the weather does what it does, but I love photographing the results. When she questioned me about the pictures I posted today, I told her what Joni Mitchell once whispered to me. “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now. From up and down, and still somehow. It’s cloud illusions I recall. I really don’t know clouds at all.”

On to the late night. “Earlier tonight President Obama gave his State of the Union address. This is a real break with tradition. When the president walked into the chamber, instead of “Hail to the Chief,” they played “Hey, Big Spender.” – Jay Leno “President Obama gave his State of the Union address tonight. The rebuttal will be given by Marco Rubio. Or as he’s known in the Republican Party, “our black guy.” The Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address was given by Senator Marco Rubio. It’s just one more example of rich white guys getting a Hispanic to do a job they don’t want to do.” – Conan O’Brien “Be honest. How many of you never heard of Marco Rubio until last night? How many thought Marco Rubio was a game you played in a pool with the kids?” – Jay Leno

“Tomorrow President Obama gives his annual State of the Union address. If you’re not familiar, the State of the Union is where the president faces Congress and asks them to work together and fix America’s problems and Congress says, “No.” – Jimmy Fallon “Hillary Clinton is finished as secretary of state. They had a going away party for Hillary. She had a couple of drinks and admitted she doesn’t know the difference between Paraguay and Uruguay. Pope Benedict is quitting. He said he just wants to spend more time with his wife and kids.” – David Letterman “The Navy SEAL responsible for killing Osama bin Laden says he’s having trouble finding work. My advice: Charge $10 per high five. He will be a billionaire by the weekend.” – Conan O’Brien

So that’s our show. Birthday wishes go out on Friday to my Marin County brother Paul, who coaches his son’s Joshua’s basketball team. They’ve had a good season and Paul is the front-runner for middle school coach-of-the-year with the smallest starting lineup ever.

We’ll catch you celebrating your 50th birthday and perhaps being the the greatest NBA player of all time. Aloha, mahalo and later, Michael Jordan fans.

July 17, 2011

Nobody Knows How Dry We Are

Good morning and greetings, summer breeze fans. Santa Cruz is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, which consists of warm
to dry summers and mild to cool, moist winters. This climate is found in
only a few areas of the world, which includes southwestern Australia,
central Chile, the western cape of South Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, coastal California and a strip mall in Hoboken, New Jersey.

So we’re talking no freezing temps in the winter and little
rain in the summer. Although we don’t see much precipitation at this time of year, Santa Cruz seems like a pretty moist place, from the fog that hugs the coast to the Pacific Ocean that looms as an ever-present force of moving moisture. After the rainy winter and spring, we are in no danger of any drought action, but unfortunately, a good part of our nation cannot say the same. You’ve heard of dry counties, we’re talking dry country.

What they’re calling the Great Drought of 2011 has spread across 14 states, from Florida to Arizona. 14% of the country has suffered through the driest six months since 1895. Hardest hit is Texas, where no part of the state has been left untouched by the virtual lack of rain. Taking the biggest shot is cotton, which accounts for half the U.S. crop, as the plants are too weak to break through the soil that is drier than my sense of humor.

Life has been miserable for Texans due to excessively high heat, scorching dry winds and the retirement of Yao Ming. More than 30% of the state’s wheat crop may be lost. It’s law of the jungle, the wheat shall perish.

Back in June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 213 counties in Texas and the Oakland A’s batting order as natural disaster areas. Even if the weather changes, the rains come and the A’s start hitting, agricultural losses in the state will surge beyond $3 billion due to the blistering heat and lack of precipitation.

Oklahoma has only had 28% of it’s normal summer rainfall. It has been
triple-digit scorching hot for days on end and last week Governor Mary Fallin asked Oklahomans to pray for rain and Russell Westbrook to
pass more. And this comes after Texas Governor Rick Perry earlier in the year asked Texans to pray for rain and to try and forget his serious social networking faux pas when he singled out members of the media and blocked them from following his Twitter account.

So after a spring that was dominated by floods, tornadoes and the Dallas Mavericks, why is the earth being scorched like this? Four out of five meteorologists who recommend sugarless gum blame the high-pressure system that won’t leave the country’s midsection, making it impossible for cooler air from the north to break through. Many in the parched regions are now hoping for heavy tropical storms, drenching monsoons and the end of the NFL and NBA lockouts for relief.

The outlook through late September shows some possible improvement, but the chances of this natural disaster continuing are stronger than my weakside help defense. Further blame goes to La Niña, which is cooling our Pacific Ocean but bringing less moisture to the atmosphere, which prevents the storm systems from getting anywhere near these parched regions. We’re talking dead landscape, which much like the recent actions of the Republican Party, will take years to recover from. At this point, hope is flying solo.

And as an added bonus, a massive heat wave hit the upper midwest states and east coast last Friday, which topped off a week of record-breaking temperatures from Minneapolis to JFK airport In New York. Which brings us to the words of George Carlin as hippy dippy weatherman Al Sleet, “Temperature at the airport is 88 degrees, which is stupid because I don’t know anyone who lives at the airport.”

As of late last week, 900 high temperature records in the United
States had been tied or broken. And the bad news is, for July heat and humidity fans, as Karen Carpenter once whispered in my ear, “We’ve only just begun.”

Speaking of airports, last Wednesday night, 40 planes at Denver International Airport were damaged as hail stones larger than Carmelo Anthony’s ego fell for 15 minutes during a severe thunderstorm. Winds reached 70 MPH as a new single day record for rainfall was set. And
remember, Colorado borders Oklahoma and is a stone’s
throw from Texas, where the rain gauges have been emptier than my invoices paid box.

Moving onto today’s photo lunch special, we’re are going totally lunar. Last Thursday, as I was returning from my son’s summer league basketball game and on the way to my daughter’s softball game, I noticed the full moon rising as I cruised by COSTCO. I really would have preferred to see my favorite natural satellite rising up over Monterey Bay, but my timing and jump shot just aren’t what they used to be.

So instead, let’s head back to January of 2009 and take a look at the
biggest and brightest full moon of that year. I took in this lunar experience from West Cliff Drive on the cliffs above Cowell’s Beach. As you can see, this night was spectacular, and with the stars up above in my eyes, this evening goes down as my favorite among lunar loveliness. Or as my friend Van Morrison commented later, “What a marvelous night for a moon dance. And a fantabulous night for your blog.”

On to the late night. “A report says that a growing number of Americans are worth $1 million. The bad news: last year they were worth $5 million. Hitler’s birthplace in Austria has revoked his honorary citizenship. Talk about a rush to judgment. Michele Bachmann and her husband run this institution where they try to ‘pray away the gay.’ They want gay guys to think outside the bun.” –Jay Leno

“In Arizona they had a dust storm that was two miles high and 15 miles wide. It looked like something out of a movie. Visibility in Arizona they said was so bad that police were hassling white people.” –Bill Maher “A lawmaker in California is pushing for 13 counties to break away and form a new state called South California. Meanwhile, residents are pushing for a more fitting name: ‘North Mexico.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today he’s going back to the thing he does best. No, not that thing; the other thing. He’s going to star in a new Western. I think it’s called ‘Butch Cassiday and the Illegitimate Kid.’” –Craig Ferguson

David Letterman’s “Top Six Signs the United States Is Running Out of Money” 10. For $10,000, you get your face on the dollar
9. The White House now has a two-drink minimum 8. There’s a listing on eBay for North Dakota 6. Americans now attempting to sneak into Mexico 4. Costs $25 for each bag the president wants to check on Air Force One 1. Applied for a $40 billion loan from Oprah

So despite a tough finish, congratulations go out Abby Wambach and the U.S. Women’s soccer team for their inspiring play during World Cup action. And the same goes for the writers, actors and
crew from the epic series “Friday Night Lights,” which just
finished an wonderful five-year run on NBC. No program, with the possible exception of “Sons of Anarchy,” has ever moved me emotionally like this show did about families and high school football. The series finale was exceptional. As they say, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Texas forever.” We’ll catch you down the right field line. Aloha, mahalo and later, Tim Riggins fans.

April 4, 2011

You Can Run But You Can’t Low Tide

Good morning and greetings, no fly zone fans. Is it just me, or is our air assault and maybe we’ll supply these fun lovin’ rebels with arms approach constitute the nuttiest war yet? When I turn on Brian Williams with NBC News and they flash to Richard Engel in Libya with the rebel army, I’m not sure if I’m watching live coverage or a remake of Woody Allen’s “Bananas.”

Growing up, this film, along with the “Play It Again, Sam and Annie Hall” were my favorite Allen flicks. I love the Wood Man. Woody, as Fielding Mellish, plays a consumer products tester, who’s dumped by his political activist girlfriend because she was looking for someone with more leadership potential. He then heads down to San Marcos, where he joins the rebels and becomes President. You may remember the classic line when the rebels are discussing how to deal with snakebites,” you have to suck out the poison.” Or “he comes to the palace and he doesn’t bring an assortment?”

Anyway, when I see the incredibly brave Mr. Engel risking his life to report this story from behind enemy lines, and the rebel he is interviewing is carrying a PLASTIC gun into battle against Kadaffy’s troops, I am beyond amazed and distressed. These ragtag rebels have no commanders, fire rockets in the wrong direction and are constantly leaving runners in scoring position. I have sympathy for the Libyan people but this is not our battle. I’m more concerned about the simple things, like why there’s no funding so that our libraries can be open on Fridays. So I say, think globally, act locally, drink responsibly and remember, the tie always goes to the gun runner.

As I declared in these pages just last week, I put the sunrise season in the books. So it was much to my surprise, chagrin, consternation, amusement, suicidal tendencies and par for the course that last Tuesday, a shockingly beautiful sunrise appeared in the morning sky. After uncurling out of the fetal position, I hit the streets to check out the action, and it had, much like my IQ, peaked. Fortunately, I felt a whole lot better when my neighbor walked by with his dog and said, “oh, you should have seen it a half an hour ago, it was unbelievable.” Check, please.

Now, in my defense, which is always man-to-man, I was suffering from a really bad cold that morning and was looking forward to some periodontal surgery at 9 am. So I wasn’t really bringing my ‘A’ game to the plate. Still, that is not an excuse, and my psyche is still slightly black and blue from kicking myself for missing this morning magnificence that lit up the skies above Cowells Beach.

So I thought to myself, what could I do to make up for this faux pas for my audience who has supported me unconditionally and non-monetarily for close to six years? There was only once place to go (no, not Hawaii) and that was to the archives, where mucho sunrises, sunsets and cloud conferences lay dormant, waiting for their chance of renewed recognition for past greatness they have performed on the Monterey Bay stage, which is just slightly off Broadway by the way Sheryl Crow flies.

So let’s journey back to a morning of soft breezes in early April of 2006, before Kadaffy had gotten his latest tummy tuck. The tide was extremely low, which set up the possibility for tremendous reflection action as I headed down to Cowells Beach to scope out the morning festivities.

It turned out to be even better than I thought, as good April sunrises happen about as often as the Warriors appear in the playoffs. It does not compare color or texture-wise to what I semi-witnessed last Tuesday, but if you’re a fan of the movie “Endless Summer,” then photo number five is about as close as the Ansel or Don Adams in me is ever going to get.

Moving along, It’s a big week on the birthday front. Let’s start with an outside hitter, as my son Jason turns 17 on Thursday. It’s been quite a year for my first born, as in between taking four AP classes, my junior point guard son was named MVP of his basketball league as he led his team to an undefeated championship. He’s also co-captain of his volleyball team, and watching him hang, float and kill is a thing of absolute beauty, like my daughter’s face when I ask her if she wants cheese in her scrambled eggs in the morning.

But here’s the best part. My jump float serving son has told me that this summer he will be working on a jump program so that next year he’ll be dunking during the basketball season. That, along with the upcoming NBA playoffs and new episodes of “The Chicago Code ” have given me reasons to live and continue to floss. So that’s why I have included today’s special bonus photo #7. I call it “A Dog and his Boy.”

Joining him in Thursday festivities is my youngest brother Brad, who will be celebrating his special day by heli-snowboarding in Alaska. I really wanted to go with him, because nothing excites me more than being dropped off on the top of a glacier and be expected to make it down to the bottom in one easy piece. It’s not that I’m afraid of falling, it’s just that not myself when I’m in a coma. I give my brother credit, as I don’t want to say I’m a boneless chicken, but if you put some tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese on top of me, I’m parmesan done.

And finally on Friday, the guy who made this blog possible, my webmaster, psychic advisor and karate instructor, Kevin Deutsch, celebrates his last birthday before he becomes a high school math teacher. Kevin and I are like two peas in a pod as we both live for solving calculus equations, swimming in golden pools of pad se ew and Lady Gaga acoustic concerts.

On to lots of late night fun. “President Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan, he sent the Navy in to shoot at pirates in the Indian Ocean, and now he’s attacking Libya. It’s like he took the Nobel Peace Prize as an insult.” –Jimmy Kimmel “President Obama said the United States has clear and focused goals in Libya. He said he would share those goals with us as soon as Hillary shares them with him.” –Jimmy Fallon “Congress is mad at President Obama because he didn’t consult them before the war in Libya. Congress got us into two other wars and put us 14 trillion dollars in debt. I can’t imagine why he didn’t consult them.” –Jay Leno

“Donald Trump might be running for president and he just released his birth certificate. It lists his eyes as “blue” and his hair as “ridiculous.” Conan O’Brien “Donald Trump showed his birth certificate to reporters. Who cares about his birth certificate? I want to know if that thing on his head has had its vaccinations.–Craig Ferguson “President Obama had to use another door to get into the White House yesterday after he got home and the entrance to the Oval Office was locked. When he couldn’t get in, Obama said ‘Holy cow, is it 2012 already?’” –Jimmy Fallon

“The latest episode of “Dancing With the Stars” was preceded by Obama’s new show, “Dancing Around the Objectives in Libya.” Critics were saying Obama seemed defensive and slightly angry during his speech on Libya. Sounds like somebody’s March Madness bracket isn’t doing so hot.”–Jimmy Fallon “We’re down to the final four now. Only four Middle East countries we haven’t attacked. Obama is being criticized by both parties for not having a clear strategy to get out of Libya. But neither does Moammar Gadhafi, so it’s OK.”–Jay Leno

“Sarah Palin continues to make significant contributions to the English language. She asked, ‘Is Libya a war, an intervention, a squirmish, what is it?’ Squirmish is how I feel every time I hear Sarah Palin talk.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Sarah Palin said we’re in a “squirmish” with Libya. After she was corrected, she said “I shouldn’t be expected to get everything Acura. President Obama says that he prays every night before bed. Or as Fox News reported, ‘Obama in Daily Talks With Allah.’” –Conan O’Brien

David Letterman’s “Top Five Ways Moammar Gadhafi Can Improve His Image” 10. Less murdering 8. Release hit novelty song ‘Moammar Said There’d Be Days Like This’ 5. Promote himself from colonel to general 3. Just for fun, throw in some more Qs 2. Go on tour with Hosni Mubarak as the ‘Original Dictators of Comedy’

“President Obama didn’t throw any first pitches for opening day. Of course, he did throw us that curveball on Libya. President Obama’s approval ratings are so low now, Kenyans are accusing him of being born in the United States. If Moammar Gadhafi goes into exile, there are only three places that would tolerate a raving madman like that: Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Fox News.”–Jay Leno “Moammar Gadhafi has been described as a maniacal despot clinging to power. Wait a minute, that’s me.”–David Letterman

“A man and a woman who met on a British dating site eventually figured out that they were brother and sister. And since they live close by, they can actually carpool to therapy.”–Jimmy Fallon “Whole Foods, the organic grocery chain, is putting bars in some stores that will serve beer and wine. Their goal is to get you so drunk that you don’t notice the prices.–Jay Leno

“On Fox News, Donald Trump said Obama’s birth certificate could indicate that he’s a Muslim. Trump said he doesn’t trust anyone with a foreign-sounding name, and neither does his daughter Ivanka. Al-Qaida has a magazine, and the spring issue features a profile of Moammar Gadhafi. It also features a women’s section called “Death to Cottage Cheese Thighs.”–Conan O’Brien

So enjoy tonight’s NCAA championship game and we’ll catch you at midcourt for the trophy presentation. Aloha, mahalo and later, Jason Gilbert fans.

July 18, 2010

Roses Are Red, Whales Are Blue

Good morning and greetings, capped oil well fans. Well, the weather, much like my love for skinny jeans, has turned here on the central coast, as the fog, chill and gloom have been temporarily replaced by clear, sunny skies. But the blue sky, warm breezes and clam chowder in a bread bowl are not the only things that have returned, and as an incredible number of blue whales came to party in Monterey Bay about two weeks ago. Combine that with the reaper fans who swam here to see Blue Oyster Cult at the Boardwalk on June 25, and the bay’s burnin’ for you.

In a story, or “In-A-Gadda-Vida” for you Iron Butterfly fans, written by Laith Agha for the Monterey Herald, July 7 was once of the most extraordinary whale watching days ever here on Monterey Bay. Nancy Black, a marine biologist and owner of the Monterey Bay Whale Watch, says this is the first time since 2003 that blue whales or Dodger fans had been seen in any sizable numbers in the Monterey Bay.

At the time, including humpback whales and Miami Dolphins, 140 baleen whales were feeding in local waters. They flocked to Monterey’s waters to visit the acquarium and to feed on the abundance of krill, a favorite food of baleen whales. Instead of teeth, blue and humpback whales trap their food with baleen, a flexible bone structure that looks like a gigantic comb and acts as a filtering system that sieves small animals from ocean water, which is the same process I used to filter thru the sweet and sour shrimp at the Mandarin Garden’s all-you-can-eat buffet.

Because of the ecotourism, Northern Pacific blue whales typically breed and vacation 400 miles west of Costa Rica, then head north and toward the coast to feed. Though they often are spotted around the central coast from July to October, they have been spending the past few feeding seasons fattening up near Santa Barbara and farther south. This is because that is where the most krill has been and many are Laker fans, says local blue whale expert Tony Lorenz.

The prevalence of krill in local waters depends largely on oceanic upwelling, a wind-driven process that causes nutrient-rich water from the ocean depths to move toward the surface. So it’s not just the Kareem that rises to the top. Conditions have not been right in recent years to support large krill populations in the waters around Monterey, Lorenz says. Because blue whales primarily feed on krill and the fact that the Warriors only have made the playoff once over the last 16 years, they have not come around much.

At 75 to 100 feet long and upward of 100 tons, blue whales are the largest animals on Earth. They are larger than any dinosaur or anyone in Yao Ming’s family. To satisfy their appetites, they eat 4 tons of krill and a sandwich each day. There are about 10 million krill and a kosher pickle in each ton. Krill and avocado salad are the only things blue whales eat. The tiny shrimp-like creatures cluster together and whales ingest hundreds of thousand of them on at a time along with cocktail sauce and a few Ritz crackers.

Because of unregulated whaling in the first half of the 20th century, the blue whale was nearly hunted to extinction. That’s why I’m not crazy about harpoons or anyone mentioning my blubber. About 360,000 were killed from 1900 to 1966, when the International Whaling Commission banned hunting of blue whales. The global blue whale population is estimated at 10,000, with about 2,200 believed to live in the Pacific Ocean off North America or in Capitola.

Because of their size and oil inside them, blue whales were one of the most hunted whales for centuries. By the early 1900s they were almost extinct and rebuilding the species or a franchise is not easy, just ask Golden State Warriors fans.

The whales seem to be using long range communication or Facebook, as they can hear each other from a couple miles away to try and get the word out about the krill a minute. When blue whales have shown up in the past, they have been known to stay through summer and fall, then some head south as late as Christmas while the Jewish whales stayed thru Hanukah.

But how long they stay this time will depend on the food supply. “They could be here for a few days or a few months,” Black says. “We hope they’ll stay around here for a while.” Most likely they’ll stick around until, in the words of BB King. “the krill is gone.”

Let’s move onto this week’s photo entry. It was exactly three years ago today that I was heading down to the Boardwalk the see the fabulous Eddie Money in action. As I walked along West Cliff Drive, I spotted a pelican feeding frenzy in progress and hustled back to my car, grabbed my camera and proceeded to take more shots than Cav’s owner Dan Gilbert did at LeBron James after he announced he was joining Dywane Wade in South Beach.

Some kind of bait fish was running in the bay as the pelicans were dive bombing into the water like baseball fans going after a Derek Jeter home run ball at Yankee Stadium. It was a warm, beautiful night as I joined the pelicans to soak in the Money Man’s medly, including my personal favorite, “Wanna be a rocker, wanna be a rocker, wanna be a rock n’ roll star.” Eddie, who’s been performing here for years, was in classic form that evening. In his words, “I remember coming here in the 70′s when I was snorting South American countries.” All his greatest hits and a geography lesson.

I took the last couple of shots of the gulls and the coastline after the show. Just a classic combo of nature and rock, as there was a whole lot of shakin’ going on along the edge of the continent. The Money Man hits the Boardwalk this summer on July 30, with two shows at 6:30 and 8:30. And the best part is, the sand, sea, and sounds are free. As they say at Fort Knox, rich or poor, it’s nice to have Eddie Money.

And here’s the late night. “Rush Limbaugh had an apartment here in New York City. He sold the apartment for $11.5 million. That is $2.5 million for the apartment and $9 million for what they found in the medicine cabinet. But it was a huge apartment — 4,000 square feet of space. No, wait a minute, that’s Rush. Sold it for $11.5 million. It has a very narrow view. It overlooks the flaws of the Republican Party.” –David Letterman

“Let me say congratulations to Spain. They won the World Cup yesterday. Spanish people all over the world celebrated in the streets, except of course, in Arizona.” –Jay Leno “South Korea has new robots along its border with North Korea that can detect and kill intruders. Meanwhile they’re installing robots along the U.S. border that say ‘Hola.’” –Jimmy Fallon BP is putting a new cap on the leaking oil well. It could capture up to 90 percent of the disgusting filth that’s spewing from there. And if it works, they’re going to try the same thing on Mel Gibson.” –Craig Ferguson

“A lot of people continue to be very upset by the fact that we can’t get Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden? We can’t even get Roman Polanski. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away. He was a tough guy. Within five minutes in heaven, he fired God and told Jesus to lose the beard.” –Jay Leno “If you know anything about the big spy swap here in New York City, there were 10 spies and they were running around New York City stealing secrets. They arranged a big spy swap. It was very exciting. We sent them 10 spies, and they sent us four spies, plus a Cuban pitcher.” –David Letterman

So that’s it for this week’s entertainment. Last Wednesday, a gopher came out of a hole in my front yard and saw his shadow, which means at least six more weeks of saying, “what the hell are we doing in Afghanistan?” On a more positive note, congratulations go out to my cousin Gina, who’s softball pitching daughter Julie gave birth the same day to a 8 pound, 11 ounce boy. Reports are both mother and son Landon are doing well while Gina is warming up in the bullpen.

So enjoy the super selection of summer fruits and let’s all look forward to the day when we start to rebuild the Warriors and this country. We’ll catch you on the warning track. Aloha, mahalo and greetings, Joe Lacob fans.

January 18, 2009

Rise Matters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:13 pm


Good morning and greetings, Martin Luther King Day fans. Today we celebrate the birthday of a man of who had a dream and a vision for this country, a giant of a man who preached peace, unity and non-violence. I also have a dream, but my includes cheerleaders, chocolate cake and me reverse jamming on a fast break in traffic. It’s an historic week as a new President will be inaugurated, bringing hope to millions of Americans. So let’s go to the sky and see what else is on the rise. Or in the words of the lovely Alicia Keys, “Where do we go from here?”

Let’s first start off with some space info courtesy of our friends at space.com. Last Saturday night’s sunset (January 10) featured a giant moon rise that will go down as the best and the brightest of 2009. Much like my leaping ability, the earth, moon and sun are all bound together by gravity, which keeps us going around the sun and keeps the moon going around us. This also brings us the phases as the moon makes a trip around Earth every 29.5 days, or about as often as I shoot consistently from beyond the three point stripe.

But much like the rotation on my jump shot, the orbit is not a perfect circle. One portion is about 31,000 miles closer to our planet than the farthest part, so the moon’s apparent size in the sky changes. Last Saturday night, my karma and the moon was at its perigee, which is the closest point to us on this orbit.

According to NASA and Bernie Madoff’s accountant, this moon appeared about 14 percent bigger in the sky and 30 percent brighter than some other full moons during 2009. And as you know, four out of five astronomers recommend full moons to their patients who chew gum. This month’s full moon is known as the Wolf Moon from Native American folklore. January’s is also known as the Old Moon, the Snow Moon and for you rock and roll fans, Keith Moon.

At moonrise, the moon will appear even larger than it will later in the night when it’s higher in the sky. This is an illusion that scientists and the NBA Rules Committee cannot explain. Some think it has to do with our perception of things on the horizon versus stuff overhead. Personally, it think it’s Magic, and I do mean Johnson.

Much like the contents of my stomach, the moon is never truly 100 percent full. For that to happen, the moon, the sun and the holy ghost, er, the earth have to be in a perfect line, and when that rare circumstance occurs, there is a total eclipse of the moon. Which is not to be confused with a total eclipse of the heart.

Here’s a little parting fact for you lunar lovers. The moon is moving away as you read this, by about 1.6 inches a year. Eventually this drift will force the moon to take 47 days to circle our world or about the same amount of time it takes me to recover from playing 48 minutes of full-court basketball.

I shot this moonrise on West Cliff Drive on the cliff above Cowell’s Beach. Yes, just ten short days ago, when the New York Giants were still favorites for a Super Bowl repeat, Bush was still searching for weapons of mass destruction in Dick Cheney’s office and the tide was extremely low. How low was it? I saw a sea anenome with a sign, “Will sting for food.” When the moon rose over the mountains it was an awesome sight. I hadn’t seen anything that impressive rising from the east since the Giant’s playoff run last season. Or in the words of Mr. Van Morrison, “What a marvelous night for a moondance.”

Now for some late night humor. “I think everybody has warm feelings for George Bush now. He held his final press conference yesterday. And he admitted, it takes a big man to do this, he admitted that a couple of things didn’t go according to plan. A couple of things went haywire. Yeah, his first term and his second term.” Thank you, Dave Letterman.

Here’s another one from CBS’s late night king. From the Top Ten Reason Barack Obama Appears A Little Nervous: Offered Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich $100,000 for his old Senate seat.

One more from the humor front. A dog was sitting in a movie theater with his owner. The dog never took his eyes off the screen, growling menacingly whenever the villain appeared and wagging his tail at the sight of the hero. And elderly lady, who had been watching the dog’s reactions from the seat behind, tapped the owner on the shoulder and said, “That’s amazing behavior from a dog.” Yes, it is surprising,” said the owner, “because he absolutely hated the book.”

That’s our salute to Dr. King. Enjoy the history that will be made on Tuesday and know it’s a step in the right direction. What we are asking our new President to do is a herculean task as in many ways my overall floor game is in better shape than this country. Let’s keep the faith and remember that unlike my runway modeling days, our country’s future is ahead of us.

Let me leave you with this quote from Dr. King from his historic 1963 march on Washington where he seemed to fortell his own imment assassination. “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” For many Americans, Tuesday will be that day. Fortunately, I have already been to the promised land, for when the Giants knocked off the undefeated Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl, I was on sitting high atop the mountaintop.
We’ll catch you in the red zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Chris Paul fans.

July 8, 2008

Son Of A Beach


Ah, the good old summertime. All across the nation and up and down the central coast, fans of the sand are hitting the beach in record numbers to escape the smoke and Miami heat. As for myself, my favorite childhood memory (besides my actual birth) was getting up at the crack of dawn and heading out to Long Island to enjoy a sandwich dominated beach orgy of waves, sand crabs and the occasional jellyfish. Ahh, memories. In honor of the this sun-screened filled tradition, I thought we would take an offseason look at some of the hot spots along the coast.

We start out at wintertime at the Main Beach along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, where yours truly will be making an appearance Friday night to see Mr. Eddie “Wanna Be A Rock n Roll Star” Money performing at the bandshell. He’s bringing free tickets to paradise. We then move up to West Cliff Drive to check out of cloud-filled day at Cowell’s Beach, before hitting a big wave day at my favorite photo locale in Santa Cruz, Its Beach. Why it’s named Its I don’t know. I’ve got a theory but remember this is a PG rated site.

When then jet 12 miles north up the coast along Highway 1 to the lovely vista of Scotts Creek State Beach. When I drive this route I never tire of this spot-it’s as visually pleasing as anything I’ve seen on my brief time on the planet. It’s also a place where I used to collect abalone shells that I would find washed up into the sand after a winter storm. Next it’s to the carved out cliffs at Ano Nuevo, where the largest population of northern elephant seals gathers to feed, read, and breed, and not necessarily in that order. For a final shot we had north to Montara on the Pacific Coast Highway and take in the sights of the coastline along Devil’s Slide, where they are currently building a tunnel so when the road slides there is an alternate route. In the words of the legendary Jerry Garcia, the friend of the Devil’s Slide is a friend of mine.

There are many beaches that didn’t make today’s cut. We could start at Natural Bridges, then head to Four Mile, Laguna Creek, Shark’s Tooth, Davenport and the windiest of them all, Waddell Creek. That’s not even mentioning Bean Hollow, Pescadero and Pigeon Point. We’ll save those for round two.

I was going to write about the smoking problem in Egypt but we’ll save that for another day. I thought we’d end with a little humor. Since I couldn’t find any jokes I liked about beaches I thought we’d go with love and sports.

A husband and wife were both golfers. The wife was feeling a little neglected and wanted to know how much he loved her. “If I were to die tomorrow,” she said, “and you remarried, would you give you new wife my jewelry?” “What a terrible thing to ask,” exclaimed the husband. “Of course not.” “And would you give her any of my clothes?” “No honey, I wouldn’t. I can’t believe you’re even asking me that.” What about my golf clubs?” “No. She’s left-handed.”

That’s our show for today. Enjoy the beach and we’ll catch you under the umbrella. Aloha.

Follow Sunrise Santa Cruz on Twitter
Sunrise Santa Cruz in the news!