January 25, 2009

Action Speaks Louder Than Birds

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 9:01 pm


Good morning and greetings, Michelle Obama fans. Well, it was quite the week as we made the transition (and I don’t mean from offense to defense) that this country and the rest of the world had been eagerly awaiting. It was out with the old and in with the new. Or as Jay Leno put it, “On Tuesday, America got to hear those four words we’ve been waiting for, ‘former President George Bush.” And “President Bush said he is leaving Washington with his head held high, because it is the best way to spot shoes that are coming at you.”

I’m going to miss George W, but only, and I do mean ONLY, in terms of this blog. Or as NBC’s future “Tonight Show” host Conan O’Brien remarked, “President Bush is winding things down. Yep, Monday was President Bush’s last full day in office. He called the leaders of Denmark, Italy, Russia and South Korea to say, ‘thank you.’ Yeah, his exact words were, ‘thank you for being one of the last four countries that will still take my calls.’” It’s a shame the Bush error, er, I mean era, has to come to an end.

Monday also said goodbye and good riddance to Dick Cheney. His former company, the war profiteering Halliburton, has benefited more than anyone from the ongoing Iraq conflict. And he and Bush were also just a tad too cozy in their relationship with the oil companies. Or as Jay said, “Monday was also Dick Cheney’s last full day in office. Actually, he spent the entire day trying to get the price of gas back up to $4 a gallon. And at the end of the day they went in and removed the gas pump that Exxon installed in his office.”

Here’s a take on the outgoing VP from David Letterman. “Big interview with Dick Cheney over the weekend. Dick Cheney said that he’s actually lovable. Dick Cheney. Actually loveable. I’m thinking about this. It really does melt your heart when he flashes that winning sneer.” Thanks, Dave.

And more, this time some insight from ABC’s late night jokemeister, Jimmy Kimmel. “Former Vice President Cheney was in a wheelchair at the inauguration. His aides say he pulled a muscle while moving boxes yesterday. But I don’t know if I believe that. In fact, if you look closely, you can see the reason he’s in a wheelchair is because his feet turned back into hooves a day before they were supposed to. That was not as it was agreed upon in the pact.”

Tuesday was inauguration day and a moment in our history that many Americans thought they would never see. Once again, Jay Leno. “Two million people attended the inauguration, compared to less than 500,000 when Bush was inaugurated four years ago. But that makes sense because four years ago, you know, people had jobs to go to.” And “Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts made a mistake during the swearing in of Barack Obama. That’s the second mistake the Supreme Court has made with a president, if you count the time they declared Bush the winner.” And my favorite, “Barack Obama said his first act as president will be to pardon Aretha Franklin’s hat.”

So there is sense of excitement and renewed hope in the air. Americans are counting on Barack Obama to make good on his campaign promises and bring about the changes this country so desperately needs. But it will not be easy for the new President, as there is more optimism in the sports books in Las Vegas for the Arizona Cardinals than there is among Wall Street investors. Personally, I haven’t been this excited since “Friday Night Lights” returned to NBC.

All right, enough with politics and onto today’s photo ensemble. Each morning after I finish meditating, chanting and doing 100 pushups, I head down to Natural Bridges to check out the action. There are always pelicans and cormorants on the big rocks but today we’ll peruse the ever changing pond off the beach. Our first three subjects are a great blue heron, a snowy egret and a very good, or should a say, great egret. I have lot of shots of these birds in flight, which we’ll check out some time before the “E” Entertaiment Network runs the show, “Whatever Happened to Scooter Libby?”

The shot of our long-necked friend and his quacking pals was taken a couple of hundred yards up from Natural Bridges. I had heard about them from Eric Clapton, “I told you ’bout the swams, that they live in the park.” That would be DeAnza. The final photo of the exotic looking duck was taken over at Schwan Lake on the eastside. I’m not sure what kind of duck it is (maybe wood) but I know it’s not Peking. Maybe we could ask George Bush-he seems to a little bit about ducking.

That’s it for our inauguration special. After the sky cleared on Thursday night there was a beautiful pink sunset but I was inside a gym watching my favorite son play basketball. I could see the colors of the clouds reflecting off the gymnasium doors but when it comes to choosing between the son and the sunset it’s no contest. But it was somewhat painful as I am into bringing the most vivid and spectacular colors in the sky to this site and this night was magnificent, like LeBron James at the buzzer in Oakland on Friday night. But when your son throws no-look passes and threads the needle like Betsy Ross on a fastbreak, the Steve Nash in me has to watch and keep stats.

So celebrate the final days of January and get those snacks and hot hors d’oevres ready for Super Sunday. I hope you enjoyed the collage of late night political humor. We’ll catch you across the middle in February. Aloha and later, Monta Ellis fans.

July 6, 2008

Once Upond A Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 9:53 pm


Good morning and greetings, Independence Day fans. You know, when it comes to segments of time, it doesn’t get much better than a three day weekend. Well, except maybe for a four day weekend. There’s just something extra special about that added day. It’s no longer the dynamic duo of Saturday and Sunday, we’re talking extended weekend bonus time, where one can just sit back and say, “Hey, it’s only Friday. I still have two days to either work on a cure for an infectious disease, help out some people who are truly in need or just take the time to
accomplish as little as possible.” You know, like our forefathers and mothers did when the built this great country home of ours.

It’s the same feeling I get when I’m watching the NBA playoffs and there are three or four games a day. No matter how good the first one is, you still have two or three more contests coming down the pike. I have to believe this is what heaven is going to be like. But with no commercial interruptions.

For myself, it’s a day where I can just wrap myself up in a terrycloth robe and really experience televised sports to its fullest. Much like watching the national news every night, it’s not easy but someone has to do it. While some of us are hiking, surfing or kayaking, I’m taking in tennis, beach volleyball and major league baseball. These are my Olympic trials. And by the way, they are setting world records faster in these swimming races than the FARC rebels are imploding down in Colombia.

The tennis I’m talking about was Sunday’s Wimbledon Final between reigning champion Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal. We may have seen the changing of the point guards today as the five-time champ Federer from Switzerland was defeated in a five set thriller by Nadal in a match that had NBC analyst and former tennis bad boy Johnny McEnroe calling it the greatest he’d seen in his lifetime. It was drama city at the All England Club as the Duke and Dutchess of Windsor were partying in their seats like it was 1999. Unfortunately, I only saw the beginning and end of the most classic of matches as a rain delay in England threw off my equilibrium and I was instead watching a week’s worth of SportsCenters when the action was the most dramatic. It was Epic City, truly as good as it gets.

Anyway, it was all part of the Fourth of July weekend experience. And every year on this day there is a parade at my parent’s complex that runs along the coast. My daughter is always a part of the parade. As she says, “Dad, it’s a tradition.” Just like me being non-judgemental. I thought I would walk the parade route and capture some of the color and pageantry of the event and then blog it out into cyberspace.

Usually I’m bringing up the rear, but on this day, besides having a birds-eye view of the lovely blonde and a long-limbed Uncle Sam, who definitely had the reach around move down in the lead car (photo #6,) I didn’t really see anything that was James or photo worthy. So after the parade I moseyed on down to the pond at the complex and immediately spotted some lily pads (photo #1). No, I’m not talking Lily Tomlin, Lily Allen or the lovely Lilly Von Schtupp, but greenery along with red and yellow flowers floating on a golden pond. As I got closer I saw that in one of the luxury pads was a duck who looked more comfortable than Ken Griffey Jr. from the left side of the plate. Then splashing onto the scene was a mother and a family of ducklings and intrepid Great Blue Heron. And finally, in the words of the great Eric Clapton, I’d have “to talk about the swans, that they live in the park.” When I saw this combination that the 4th of July Gods had put together, I knew I had today’s blog. Something wet and exciting.

So my sister-in-law and the Queen of Comments, Wendi Gilbert, asked me if I could the make blogs a little shorter. Unfortunately, my union chief and my meditation guide say I can’t but in her honor and the fact that the Yankees were winners over the Red Sox in 11 innings tonight I’m going to make this one a little less wordsome. Because that’s just the kind of guy I am. Very tolerant and Mr. Positive. At least according to my son, Jason. So have pleasant valley Monday and we’ll catch you on Wednesday when we’ll head to over the Nile, or denial, which is not just a river in Egypt. Later, tennis fans.

June 3, 2008

Ooh Dream Beaver, I Believe You Can Get Me Through The Night


Good morning and greetings from the windy west side of Santa Cruz. For Monday’s photo entertainment, we went with a montage of the color red. Today we are going to stay with the single color theme as we’re talking shades of green. We’re talking lime green, Lorne Greene and Al Green. We’re looking at pine cones and flowers on the west side, patterns on the rock at Laguna Creek Beach, extreme low tide at Four Mile Beach and a family of quackers at Neary Lagoon. We’ll be doing more of these color coded days as we’ve got mellow yellow, brilliant blue, outrageous orange and passionate purple waiting to take their cuts at the plate.

So what’s happening on the nature front this week? Well, according to a all-star team of California scientists, the earth may be on the verge of a massive release of methane similar to one that caused a global warming that ended the last “snowball” ice age. Writing in the journal Nature, lead researcher Martin Kennedy of UC Riverside suggested the same kind of warming could be about to occur, not over thousands of years but within a human lifetime In the words of the group Spirit, “It’s natures way of telling you something’s wrong.”

Methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide and 10,000 gigatons of frozen methane are stored zip lock bags in the world’s oceans and permafrost. The current trend of accelerated permafrost melting as the Arctic warms rapidly could release vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere, triggering a sudden climate change. Kennedy worries that rising carbon dioxide levels could drive enough warming to destabilize the Earth’s stored methane reserves. Says Kennedy, “Unzippering the methane reserve could potentially warm the Earth tens of degrees.” Personally, I live by the words of the lovely Carly Simon, “I haven’t gone time for the methane.”

Sunscreen lotions used by swimmers around the world are contributing to a phenomenon known as coral bleaching, (not to be confused with Cloris Leachman,) threatening the coral and the marine life that depend upon it. A study sponsored by the European Commission found that even tiny amounts of cream based UV filters used to protect the skin from the sun’s rays caused bleaching of the coral reefs.

The chemical compounds join climate change, industrial pollution, high UV radiation due to the “ozone hole” and talk radio as the leading threats to coral reefs. According the the report, an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen are released annually in water near coral reefs, with 25 percent of the sunscreen ingredients on skin released into water over the course of a 20 minute swim. And incidentally, this is after staying out of the water for an hour after eating.

Now onto my favorite story of the day. Beavers will soon be living in the lakes, streams and the Joan rivers of Scotland for the first time since before Mary Queen of Scots was executed in 1587. The beaver, Wally, Lumpy and Eddie Haskell were all hunted to extinction across Scotland in the 18th century and the government plans to capture four beaver families in Norway and then release them in the lochs of Argyll’s Wildlife Reserve.

When the animals are released next spring, it will mark the first time that native mammals have been reintroduced in Scotland. Scientists will closely monitor the beavers over the following five years to determine the impact on the local environment, economy and entertainment business before any decision is made on a wider reintroduction. “By bringing these useful creatures back to their natural environment, we will have the chance to restore a missing part our our world of wetland ecosystems and re-establish much needed natural processes,” said Alan Bantick, chairman of the Scottish Beaver Trail Steering Group. As far as the beavers are concerned, I say dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.

That’s it for today’s look and world news and sports. I will leave you with the words of one Mr. Gary Wright. “I’ve just closed my eyes again. Climbed aboard the dream weaver train. Driver take away my worries of today. And leave tomorrow behind.” You know, after writing that, I really believe we can reach the morning light. Enjoy the green and get ready for the Lakers and Celtics to go at it in the NBA Finals. Let’s hope it’s as epic as the nature I saw today that I’ll blog out next week. Defense is desire. Later.

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