October 12, 2014

Let’s Go, The Meder’s Running

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 23, 2013

Once LeBron A Time

Good morning and greetings, change of season fans. Last Friday in North America, where I like to do most of my shopping, the summer solstice began at 10:04 am, as we moved from spring to the late Donna Summer. At that exact moment, Miami Heat fans were still dancing in the streets of South Beach, as LeBron James and company captured their second straight NBA title. It was the end of a glorious Estefan season, as this roller coaster ride of a series had incredible drama, with end to end non-stop action, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and that was just during the TV timeouts.

They say champions are made, not born or bought. And that it is better to give than to receive. How true this was in this series, as without some very timely help from the San Antonio Spurs, there would have been no joy in little Havana. As Mother Theresa once said, “If you can’t feed one hundred people, feed just one.” And that would also describe the play of the Miami Heat in the crucial fourth quarter of game seven, with the one being fed, Finals MVP LeBron James.

In an act of incredible generosity that would have buckled Mother Theresa knees, the Spurs gave game six of this best of seven series away to the Heat on a silver platter. This was with less than a minute to go in the final quarter, with the MVP ballots counted and the championship trophy literally waiting courtside to be handed to the Spurs. But they somehow let this golden opportunity get away, as the victory that would have annointed them as a dynasty slipped away because of a couple of missed free throws and rebounds.

Confucius said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Well, after the Spurs tanked a couple of crucial free throws and didn’t grab a couple of rebounds, legacies from both franchises were changed forever, as history was changed in an instant. It was so amazing that I could barely believe it was happening, as the Heat overcame a five point deficit to tie the game in regulation before going on to win in overtime.

After watching thousand off games, I had never witnessed a turnaround like this, in one of the most crucial games in NBA history, and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see it coming. And that is the beauty of sports. It is totally unscripted, and if you watch long enough, you’ll be an insider to an experience that fans will be talking about for decades. And this was one of these nights, one of those crazy, crazy old nights.

Unfortunately, a segment of the hometown crowd in Miami missed out on this experience as they left the arena in the final minute, thinking that they were at a Dodger game. Seems wanted to beat the traffic back to Fort Lauderdale. When they heard the announcement of the comeback from speakers outside American Airlines Arena, they tried to reenter the arena, only to be turned back at the doors. And what an overtime period they missed, as the defending NBA champions turned on the after burners and forced a final and deciding game seven of this epic championship series.

Fans were in a state of shock back in Texas, as this stunning turn of events made the Alamo almost looked like a win. The great Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” And the Spurs climbed to the top of the Unfortunate 500 Club charts as they gave away a championship. It was a shocking turn of events in a game that will go down as one of the best in NBA history.

Tim Duncan and the Spurs will be haunted by this untimely event for years to come. It was the championship that got away, and was so close they could have more than tasted it.

The following day, with my voice sounding like a young Demi Moore because of my incessant ranting and raging during this unbelievable overtime contest, I was able to recount the highs and lows, the twists and turns, the incredible ups and downs on the radio as the “NBA Insider,” which is what my mother used to call me when I was still camped out in her womb. She claims I was collicky as a fetus, but I was just preparing for life on the outside. I believe it was either Karl Marx or Carl Jung who said, “He who looks outside dreams. He who looks inside awakes.” I prefer the former, as I’m not a big fan of fracking for natural gas or deep understanding of myself.

And here’s the most amazing thing. Game seven ended over 72 hours ago, and I’m still buzzing with excitement from the events that unfolded that night and over the last two months. NBA action, it really is fantastic.

So the NBA season and spring 2013, like trying to figure out what’s happening with Don Draper on “Mad Men,” is now history. But summer is in the air, and the weather last week, like LeBron James’ performance in game 7, was outstanding. The mornings were warm, as I’m always surprised when I don’t need to be wearing my full metal jacket when parading down West Cliff.

The nature highlight of the week came last Tuesday, as my wife and I were strolling along the coast when a long chain of pelicans appeared off shore. I stopped in my tracks to count their number, as my wife was regaling me with a story about the Kabbalah and the late Tony Soprano. The count was over 80 birds, and their flight was truly one of those Animal Planet moments. It’s the magic at the edge.

But I know that despite this teasing of warm summer days and nights, the fog was hovering somewhere off the coast, waiting to invade and spoil the weekend plans of visitors from the inland empire. We on the central coast are so lucky to be living in this Mediterranean climate, where the temperature is never too hot or cold and the ocean water is chillier than my reception back in 1970 at the Selective Service office. America, change it or lose it.

So last Friday was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. On this morning, thousands gather around the world to greet the sunrise and pay their utility bills. And that leads us into our photo segment of today’s program, a lovely sunrise from the morning of January 19. The sky did its usual winter dance at Lighthouse Point and on the sand at Its Beach, and I was lucky enough to be invited to the recital. Seeing the sunrise over Monterey Bay is never a bad way to start the day.

On to some late night humor. “President Obama is in Ireland for the big G-8 summit. Security for the overseas presidential trip is unbelievable. He has 14 limousines, trucks loaded with sheets of bullet proof glass to cover the hotel windows, and fighter jets flying in shifts. That’s to protect the president. Joe Biden gets a pair of running shoes and a can of pepper spray. The Taliban is now recruiting women to become suicide bombers. And it’s not easy to qualify. The women must be able to push a car loaded with explosives because, as you know, they’re not allowed to drive over there.” –Jay Leno

“Germany is mad at the United States for the NSA eavesdropping. This, ladies and gentlemen, from the country that gave us the Gestapo. This story comes up about twice a year. They think they have located the body of Jimmy Hoffa, the former Teamsters union leader, after 40 years of being dead. Nothing on the NSA whistle-blower, but we think we know where Jimmy Hoffa is.” –David Letterman

“NASA is challenging Americans to help them figure out a better way to find threatening asteroids. Americans said, ‘What do we get if you pick our idea?’ And NASA said, ‘To live.’ “The Senate’s new immigration bill is apparently more than a thousand pages long and weighs 24 pounds. That doesn’t sound like an immigration bill. That sounds like a menu at The Cheesecake Factory.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Obama decided we’re going to arm the rebels in Syria. Yes! This is why I voted for Obama in the first place, so he could carry out McCain’s bad ideas.
The great news about getting into another war in the Middle East is that the next one’s free. Syrian President Assad crossed a red line. He used chemicals weapons. Using harmful chemicals to hurt your own people – who does he think he is, Monsanto?” –Bill Maher

Now for a joke. A couple is lying in bed, on their 20th wedding anniversary. The woman suddenly feels her husband touching her in ways that he hadn’t done in years. He started at her neck, and slowly traced a line downward, past the small of her back. He caressed one shoulder, then the other, and continued down across her breasts, stopping just below her navel. Next, he placed his hand on her left inner arm, and caressed down her side, stopping at her hip. He started over again on her right side, then brushed gently across her buttocks, and down her leg. As his hand was making its way up the inside of her left leg, he abruptly stopped and rolled over. She had become very aroused by all of this attention, and asked in a loving voice, “That was amazing, darling. Why did you stop?” He cleared his throat, looked at her and said “Found the remote.”

So that’s our NBA report. We’ll catch you showing the world why, despite just falling short of a championship this season, you’re a class act and one of the greatest power forwards of all times. Aloha, mahalo and later, Tim Duncan fans.

February 3, 2013

Beauty Is In The Sunrise Of The Beholder

Good morning and greetings, February fans. Well, last week brought violent weather to parts of the nation, as wild temperature extremes set off deadly thunderstorms and tornadoes, causing major damage and severe power outages. At the same time, Floridians were enjoying picture perfect weather, but it was not rosy for all in the Sunshine State, as Miami’s Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino admitted on his 28th wedding anniversary that he had fathered a secret love child and paid millions to keep it quiet. And all this time I thought not winning a Super Bowl was his biggest problem.

It brought to mind the words of Rodney Dangerfield, “I’ll tell ya, I’m alright now but last week I was in rough shape. I mean, last week I looked up my family tree – I found out I’m the sap. My wife said she was afraid of the dark. Then she saw me naked and now she’s afraid of the light. She made me join a bridge club. I jump off next Tuesday.”

So all the talk last week was of Super Sunday, as I was peppered with questions like Lindsay Lohan at her latest bail hearing. Where are you going to watch the game? Are you rooting for the 49ers or will you be rooting against them because you’re still bitter from the Giants blowing a three-game lead and not making the playoffs? Do I care if Joe Montana’s hair is going to be straight or curly? What color Gatorade will be dumped on Beyonce? And most importantly, what will the Dow Jones and my stomach be doing the next day?

With all this football talk filling the atmosphere, that according to Al Gore, “We put an extra 90 million tons of heat-trapping pollution into every day, as if it’s an open sewer,” the sun still managed to rise and set. Last Monday and Tuesday were a digital pleasure, as on both days I went for the photo daily double, shooting both the sunrise and sunset. Monday’s sunrise was beautiful and the sunset was pleasingly pleasant, but then on Tuesday morning all bells and sirens went off because as soon as I woke up, I was on red alert. I’ll get back to discussing Al Gore’s views on why the oceans are warming, the Arctic caps are melting, along with his sale of his television network to some guy named Al Jazerra as soon as Tipper tweets me back.

I had slept a little later than usual on Tuesday, as I had to finish off another disconcerting dream of being in school but not having gone to class with exams coming up. But it was still a solid week on the dream front, as in one of the more interesting ones, I was a cop and my partner was Rob Lowe. Over the years I’ve had conversations and adventures during my subconcious atoning with Howard Stern, Mel Brooks, David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld, Lola Falana and a cast of thousands, along with half my high school class.

But that’s another story for another time, but suffice to say that I’m doing a lot more partying on my subconcious time card than during my waking hours. But I always dress impeccably for bedtime, for as my wardrobe consultant once told me, “Be careful what you wear to bed at night, because you never know who you’ll meet in your dreams.”

I believe it was either Larry Bird, Magic Johnson or Jason Gilbert who said they were always out there practicing because they knew there was someone else out there working just as hard to be the best. I’m putting in the time when I’m asleep. If just wish I had a DVD to record these middle of the night cranial wanderings because I’d be up for an subconcious Emmy.

Anyway, back to Super Tuesday. I woke to a red sky over Monterey Bay, so I put on my Kool and the Gang poncho and headed for the coast. I wanted to capture the crimson reflection on the sand at Its Beach, but time wouldn’t let me, so I stopped at Fair Avenue to photograph the initial colors of the morning’s brilliance on the bay.

Next I went into silhouette mode, as I shot my favorite cypress tree with the sky blowing up behind it. Then, as the sky moved into a mandarin orange mode, I cruised down to Lighthouse Point to take in the full on magnificence of the morning experience. At the same time, the moon was setting as the sky cast about a pink carnation of color along the sand at Its Beach.

I then completed my photographic journey with a shot taken at Steamers Lane just before the sun made an appearance. It was a spectacular, world-class sunrise over the Pacific that I was thrilled to be a part of. And as a bonus, that night the sky caught on fire at sunset, which made my dinner of vegan veal parmesan and honey cake that much more festive.

On to the late night. “Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino has admitted he fathered a child while having an extramarital affair with a CBS production assistant. And today Manti Te’o said, “See, that’s why you have imaginary girlfriends.” Zimbabwe’s finance minister revealed yesterday that his country has only $217 left in the government Treasury. Today President Obama said, “Stop bragging!” – Jay Leno “A new show premiered tonight on the FX network called “The Americans.” It’s about Russian spies embedded in Washington, D.C., during the Cold War.The first episode was great. Their mission was to fake a drivers license for a young socialist Kenyan boy living in Hawaii.” – Craig Ferguson

“Former NFL quarterback Dan Marino has admitted to fathering a secret child back in 2005. I don’t know why people are surprised — the Dolphins never gave him good protection. A bipartisan group of senators has unveiled a plan that would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Or as immigrants call that, “a tunnel.” An employee of the U.S. Postal Service is retiring after 44 years without using any of her sick days. Friends describe her as “dedicated,” while co-workers describe her as “that lady who gave me the flu.” Last week Iran launched a monkey into space, and it actually returned to Earth alive. It was great news for the space program and terrible news for the monkey who thought he’d finally gotten out of Iran. – Jimmy Fallon

“The Boy Scouts of America is now considering an end to its longstanding policy of banning gay scouts. How about that? And the girl scouts have a new policy during cookie season. It’s called “Don’t ask, just sell.” In a big meeting of the Republican National Committee, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal told the GOP to “stop being the stupid party.” Then Texas Governor Rick Perry gave the rebuttal. Women can now serve on the front lines in combat. I believe up until now, the only woman who had ever seen action under a general was Paula Broadwell.” –Jay Leno “Women serving in the United States military will now be serving in combat. Finally there will be somebody in the tank who will stop and ask for directions.” – David Letterman

So that’s our first blast for the shortest month of the year. We’ll catch you showing NFL fans how you led your team to a stunning Super Bowl win. Aloha, mahao and later, Joe Flacco fans.

June 10, 2012

Swing Low Tide, Sweet Chariot

Good morning and greetings, French Open fans. The weather on the central coast recently, much like LeBron James 45 point outburst against the Celtics in game six, has been NBA fantastic. If you like thunder and lightning up the scoreboard, it’s a great time to be an NBA fan.

Last week on my morning strolls along West Cliff Drive, I noticed the tide was lower than my expectations of the Warriors making a good lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Low tide is always a treat, as it uncovers a plethora of the coastline’s hidden treasures. So last Tuesday, before you could say, “Sofia Vergara,” I headed down to Lighthouse Point to take in the green grass and low tide action. Forever.

As you can see in photo #1, the tide down at Its Beach was lower than my score on my math SAT’s. I was hoping to be able to walk through my favorite arch to photograph this classic structure from both sides, but I hadn’t brought along my snorkeling gear, so Samuel Gompers and I had to settle for the lovely view looking west. But if I had been able to Dwyane wade through, the view would have looked very much like photo #2.

I then headed back up the steps to catch the marine mammeled flavor of Seal Rock (photo #3.) There were a couple of pods of sea lions lounging in the water nearby, but my zoom wasn’t more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, so I wasn’t able to get a good shot.

But the swell was up and Steamer Lane was full of surfers trying to catch some wave action. Some nice sets were rolling in (photo #4) and at that moment, I reflected back on the words of The Rascals, “It’s a beautiful mornin’. I think I’ll go outside for a while. An jus’ smile. Just take in some clean fresh air boy. Ain’t no sense in stayin’ inside. If the weather’s fine an’ you got the time.” And boys and squirrels, luckily, one thing I do have, besides an almost clean driving record, is time.

By the way, not to date myself, but I saw The Rascals in concert iin New Jersey at Palisades Amusement Park in back in the mid 1960′s. I don’t want to say I’m getting old, but at the breakfast table I hear snap, crackle and pop, and I’m not eating cereal.

Anyway, today’s six pack of photos was brought on by the advent of low tide. And as we know, Tide gets out the stains that others leave behind. Dirt can’t hide from Tide.

So now you’re probably thinking to yourselves, I wonder what causes the tides to change? I thought you’d never ask. And remember, if it’s got to be clean, it’s got to be Tide.

According to Jeff Spicoli and surfingsantacruz.com, tides are created because the Earth and the moon are attracted to each other, just like magnets are attracted to each other. These are known as lunar tides. The moon tries to pull at anything (except Rush Limbaugh) on the Earth to bring it closer. But, the Earth is able to hold onto everything except the water and sometimes Oprah.

Since the water is always moving, the Earth cannot hold onto it, and the moon is able to pull at it The moon is pulling upwards on the water while the earth is pulling downward. Slight advantage to the moon and thus we have tides. And as we know, tides go to the runner.

Each day, there are two high tides and two low tides. The ocean is constantly moving from high tide to low tide, and then back to high tide. There is about 12 hours and 25 minutes between the two high tides, or about the same amount of time it will take me to catch up on the episodes I missed of the first three seaons of “Justified.”

When the sun and moon are aligned, there are exceptionally strong gravitational forces, causing very high and very low tides which are called spring tides, though they have nothing to do with the season. The gravitational force of the moon is one ten-millionth that of earth, or the same odds that I will one day be paid for writing this blog. But when you combine other forces such as the earth’s centrifugal force created by its spin, you get tides. Or as the Spin Doctor say, “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.”

The sun’s gravitational force on the earth is only 46 percent that of the moon. This makes the the moon the single most important factor for the creation of tides. And Tide knows fabric best. Since the moon moves around the Earth, it is not always in the same place at the same time each day. So, each day, the times for high and low tides change by 50 minutes. I believe it was either George Carlin or author Robert C. Gallagher who said, “Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.”

So to then complete my tidal wonderings, I kayaked over to the wharf to photograph some sea lions up on one of the boat landings. But Instead, much to my delight, there was a pod of around 60 lions lounging right off the pier. Rumor has it that earlier in the morning the crowd numbered 300, but I was happy to catch this group of rafting revelers.

So being that it was low tide city in the morning all of last week, after Tuesday’s outing I headed up to Four Mile Beach on Wednesday and Natural Bridges on Thursday. Both trips, much like the NBA conference finals, had their magic moments, and I’ll blast out these photos along with my thoughts on Larry Bird in the upcoming weeks.

On to some late night. “According to a new book coming out by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, apparently when he was in high school, President Obama smoked large amounts of marijuana. You know what that means? He could be our first green president. Unemployment is still looking pretty bad. In fact, the White House has a new slogan on job creation: ‘Hope and change the subject.’ The unemployment numbers are higher than President Obama was in high school.” –Jay Leno

“On Friday, President Obama spent the night at his home in Chicago for the first time in over a year. It was nice – he even went down to the basement and dusted off some old campaign promises. Mitt Romney has been giving his volunteers a free sweatshirt for making phone calls on his behalf. The sweatshirts are just like Romney, 100 percent reversible.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A new survey found that Mitt Romney is ahead of Obama among those who make $36,000-$90,000. Or as Romney put it, ‘And they said I can’t
connect with the poor.’ Obama gave Bon Jovi a ride to New York City on Air Force One. Makes sense – Bon Jovi’s living on a prayer, while Obama’s campaigning on one.” –Jimmy Fallon “There’s a rumor that President Obama will stop by today’s L.A. Kings hockey game. He doesn’t want to draw attention to himself. He just wants to blend in with all the other black, Hawaiian hockey fans.” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s all I’m giving of myself this week. Try and take a moment to be grateful for all you have. We’ll catch you blowing the minds of NBA fans and reminding people why you’re the king. Aloha, mahalo and later, LeBron James fans

December 25, 2011

Not All Sunrises Are Created Equal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 10:44 am

Good morning and greetings, winter solstice fans. According to the Farmer’s Almanac and my NBA schedule, the days are now getting longer, as gone away is the blue bird, here to stay is Larry Bird, as we frolicked and played, with five games on Christmas Day, watching in a winter wonderland.

Yes, the seasons have changed here on the central coast, and for the most part the skies have been clearer than the roads on Christmas morning. The winter air has turned chillier than President Obama’s presence at a Tea Party clam bake. And luckily for me, my home here on the upper west side was built insulation free, so I never have to worry about things getting too stuffy. I’m just fortunate that I prefer my wine and women the same way; slightly chilled.

So you know that I like to keep you up-to-date on my early morning ramblings. There was a spectacular sunrise last Monday and then a pretty good one on Friday, but due to circumstances that were way beyond my patrol, very little of these mornings of color on parade will grace the pages of Sunrise Santa Cruz. But the good news is that they’d be perfect for my new site, missedsunrisesofsantacruz.com.

It’s always interesting the way these mornings work, as the days when I’m poised and waiting, there’s been no drama in the sky, or at least not the Rose Parade of colors one expects from this site. Then, when I wasn’t emotionally available, the sky blew up once and then twice. Lionel Ritchie then called and said, “congratulations, you’re three times a lady.”

Normally, I’m as prepared for these morning exercises as Mitt Romney answering questions about $10,000 bets, but I should have listened to my astrologer when she said last week was not in the stars. That’s funny, because she didn’t mention anything during my palm reading.

The reason I bring this up is to let you know that at this middle-age stage in life, I am still very much a work in progress, and these mornings of missed opportunities are just a reminder that I am really in control of nothing except my remote. At this point in the aging process, I’m not sure if I’m getting older or just ripening.

December is one of those prime time sunrise and sunset months, but on the precipitation front, the central coast has been drier than North Dakota when it entered the Union. But while we are experiencing fog-free, sunny days, last week the midwest and Rockies saw more drifts of white powder than a backstage party with Led Zeppelin. This deadly snowstorm halted travel throughout the Great Plains as we’re talking blizzarding snow, howling winds and icy road conditions which created havoc for those heading home for the holidays. Now if only the ski operators in Tahoe could be so lucky.

But this being the final blast of 2011, I want to end the year with a bang for the ages. So we are going back into the photo archives and returning to the morning of my all-time favorite sunrise from the month of December. We’re talking a world-class, state of-the-art experience, one that you want to wake up your friends and ancestors for.

Now there are good sunrises, great sunrises and then there are ones that are off the chart. This is one from the category of the spectacular. It was back in 2006, a much gentler time when members of Congress still had a little dignity.

It was the day after a huge swell hit the central coast. This blessed event of high surf just added to the pagentry of the morning, as although I was shooting at low tide, a rather large pool of water remained next to the cliffs along Its Beach. This stroke of luck allowed me to capture the outrageous reflection from the clouds (photos three and four) on this golden pond, a sight I have not seen before or since this glorious morning.

This dawn experience had a little bit of everything, as the sky put on an award-winning show with color changes were simply amazing. We went through a series of various shades of red, orange, yellow and white, and this was all before the sun came up over Steamer’s Lane (photo eight.)

And, as an added bonus, the clouds in the western sky (photo six) were as spectacular as I’d ever seen, with pink swirls of ribbon that made this morning a 360 degree extravaganza.

Sunrises like this are few and far between. When I look back upon the images from this morning, I realize how lucky I am to be living in a place where you can show up for an event like this without a ticket and grab a front row seat. And no cover charge.

On to the late night. “Kim Jong Il, the crazy leader of North Korea who hated us, passed away over the weekend. And get this — his 28-year-old son, Kim Jong Un is taking over. It won’t be easy. He’s got some big women’s sunglasses to fill.” –Jimmy Fallon “North Korea announced the passing of their supreme leader, Kim Jong Il. His younger son will take over. At first, there was speculation that power could pass to one of Kim’s two sisters, Kourtney Jong Il or Khloe Jong Il.” –Jay Leno

“Kim Jong Il made his staff call him ‘dear’ and spent the day drinking cognac. It’s like I have a twin, ladies and gentlemen. The family is saying now that in lieu of flowers for Kim Jong Il, they encourage you to send enriched uranium.” –David Letterman “When Rick Perry was told about Kim Jong Il, he said, ‘I never heard of him, but then again, I don’t listen to that rap.’” –Jay Leno

“Last night Rick Perry compared himself to Tim Tebow. The difference? Tim Tebow actually has a prayer. The candidates all have their position on the Federal Reserve. Ron Paul is anti-Fed. Mitt Romney is pro-Fed. And Newt Gingrich is over-Fed.” –Jay Leno “On the campaign trail, Ron Paul said he does not like his milk homogenized. After this, Rick Perry said, ‘I am also not a fan of gay milk.’” –Conan O’Brien

“In Sioux City, Iowa, there was another debate between the seven Republicans running for president. All your favorites were there: Grumpy, Dopey, the other Dopey, Romney, Bashful, another Dopey, and Happy. “This was the 427th of 2,000 debates to be held between now and when President Obama is re-elected. There are so many debates. For a group of people who don’t want the government interfering in our lives a lot, they interfere in our lives a lot.” –Jimmy Kimmel

So this brings down the curtain for 2011. As I look back upon the year, it’s reassuring to know that our efforts in Iraq were not for naught and that a new civil war hasn’t broken out. But that would be looking at our war efforts as half-empty, and I’m no longer that type of guy.

So savor your family and friends and be grateful for your health and good fortune. We’ll catch you in 2012. Aloha, mahalo and later, Vanessa Bryant fans.

December 18, 2011

Let’s Not Get Personal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:41 am

Good morning and greetings, late fall fans. Well, I’m happy that the $800 billion war is over and our troops are out of Iraq. Reports are that this sovereign nation is now a more dangerous place than it was ten years ago, and that Iran is their newest best friend. All I can say is that I’m feeling a lot of shock but little awe. I’m just glad that this whole situation was never about the oil and vinegar.

So in last week’s ramblings, I looked at my life while pondering the province of growing older. Mark Twain once said that “age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Or was it “You know you’re getting older when you can live without sex but not without your glasses?” During my milk and cookies and research on this subject, I came across some interesting items that I wanted to share with my ever expanding waistline and cyber audience.

As many of you know, I live by the motto “you’re not getting older, you’re getting bitter, er better,” so I’m always looking at the bright side. For me, the glass is always more than half-filled with laughter, joy and total positivity. That is, after I finish pouring out the vindictiveness, judgementalness and negativity. Once those are gone, it’s smooth sailing on the open seas of life. And if you believe that, I got some intel about weapons of mass destruction that you might be interested in.

Doctors from the Hold the Mayo Clinic say that to enjoy getting older, we need to focus on positive emotions, not the negative ones. The bad should never outweigh the good and only the good die young. As the poster boy for the glass half-filled council, I find it very easy to go to the negative. It is a warm and familiar place that I never need directions to find, like the Safeway on Mission Street However, as I grow older, I realize this is a location I need not be, like downtown Fallujah. And as comfortable as the confines of this place is, it helps no one, particularly those closest to me, including my valet and tailor.

So, like the brave little soldier I am, I’m attempting to leave this negativity behind and close the door on this fun zone that I so easily journey to. I’m hopeful that this positive outlook is here to stay for a while. I can’t say for how long, but I’m shooting for at least through next week’s post.

So let’s get back to the fun topic of getting older. 13% of the U.S. population is over the age of 65. By the year 2020, the number is expected to double to 25% of the population. And “In the year 2525, if man is still alive, if woman can survive, they may find that in 10,000 years, man will have cried a billion tears.”

Jumping ahead, by the time a person turns eighty, the kidneys work only half as well as they did at age forty. No wonder plumbers are so expensive. And as I get older, I really enjoy being woken up in the middle of the night when my kidneys want to play.

But what I really love is getting back into bed and finding that my mind is racing like Secretariat hitting the back stretch. As a child, I didn’t know the middle of the night existed Now, it’s just an unwanted companion, keeping me from my much-needed dream research and beauty sleep.

Not to sound depressing, but approximately three hundred million cells die in the human body every minute. It’s like New Jack City in the bloodstream.

Fortunately, it’s really just a small fraction of the cells that are in the human body. According to census takers, the total number of cells in the human body come in at about 10 to 50 trillion. If you don’t believe me, count them for yourself. But there’s no reason to worry, as the adult body produces 300 billion new cells every day, or the same amount that California is building each year to house their exploding prison population.

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do. This isn’t because of genetics, but because it’s a righty world of machines, making it dangerous for accident-prone lefties. So if you know any lefties, be extra nice to them around the holidays and keep them away from any power tools.

And finally, scientists claim that the colder the the room you sleep in, the better the chances are that you’ll have a bad dream. They aren’t sure why this happens, but it does explain why I’m constantly dreaming about not being able to find my jacket.

Today’s photo fun park brings us back to a sunrise on West Cliff Drive on the morning of November 27. I took the first two shots to capture the color and pagentry of the clouds reflecting on Its Beach, before I had a Woodstock moment and realized that Ansel Adams would probably be shooting from across the street in Lighthouse Field. Thus photos three and four.

I then hurried back across the street to Bird Rock to see the sun making its first appearance of the day over the mountains of Monterey. And believe it or not, I have not shot a sunrise or sunset since this morning, as the clouds have been as few and far between as intelligent dialogue coming out of the Republican presidential debates.

On to the late night. “Ron Paul is in favor of letting states legalize marijuana, prostitution, and cocaine. So even if he doesn’t win, that’s going to be one heck of an election night party. Men are now going to their barber and asking for a Mitt. Then they go to the girl on the corner and ask for a Herman Cain. “Rick Perry said there were eight supreme court justices instead of nine. But, in his defense, he did know there were only three judges on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’” –Jay Leno

“Mitt Romney says if he is president he will create 11 million new jobs. Sure, they’ll all be in China, but a job is a job, ladies and
gentlemen. Michele Bachmann is picking running mates. That’s like the Colts picking out Super Bowl rings.” –David Letterman “I’m not sure Rick Perry got it. Like when they asked him what he’d do about the West Bank, he said he’d bring back free checking.” –Jay Leno

“Mitt Romney tried to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry during a presidential debate. Well, who says the Republicans are rich snobs out of touch with the common man? “Many voters feel that Mitt Romney is out of touch with real Americans after he tried to make a bet with Rick Perry for $10,000. When asked to comment, Mitt said, ‘I’m sorry, but that’s all I had in my pocket at the time.’” –Conan O’Brien

“Rod Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois, stood under some mistletoe earlier today and kissed 14 years goodbye Illinois is the only state where the present governor rides around in a car whose license plate was made by a previous governor.” –David Letterman “The White House held its annual Hanukkah celebration. It was a traditional Jewish ceremony, except for the part where it was hosted by a black man from Hawaii.” –Conan O’Brien

“Yesterday, someone threw a pair of shoes at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran has captured the shoes and is studying their technology.” –Conan O’Brien “Iran is now in possession of an American drone. When I heard that I thought, ‘Oh, my god, they captured Joe Biden?’ “An Alabama anti-gay politician has been leading a secret life as a sperm donor for lesbian couples. This is a classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.” –Jay Leno

So that’s our pre-Hanukkah report. If you’re a fan of potato latkes, break out the dreidels and get ready to spin the apple sauce and sour cream.

So enjoy the shortest day of the year on Wednesday and the blockbuster start of the NBA season next Sunday, which just happens to be Christmas day. It’s just like the angels planned it. We’ll catch you in early winter. Aloha, mahalo and later, Robert Griffin III fans.

July 24, 2011

Just Smile And Waves

Good morning and greetings, big wave fans. During the summer in Santa Cruz, the surf crowd doesn’t have all that much to get excited about, as the swells are smaller than the chances the Warriors will be playing opening night against the Lakers in November. At this point in my life, I would prefer to “luck out” rather than have a “lockout” of my favorite sport, but as the Dali Lama once told me, “Basketball is life and the rest is just karma.”

But let’s get back to the subject and predicate at hand. In a story written by Suzanne Bohan in the Contra Costa Times, the winter of 2009-10 was more brutal on the coastal erosion front than the Taliban’s continuing campaign against women and education. These super storms, which were faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall seawalls in a single bound, eroded huge chunks of shoreline and my faith in sand bags.

To see this displacement of Mother Earth in action, just stroll
along West Cliff Drive and you get a birds-eye view of the process.
According to a new study by scientists and Al Gore’s pilates
instructor, the coastline may be disappearing faster than Rupert Murdoch’s justification for Fox News, as climate change will be bringing encores of these powerful storm seasons.

During the 2009-10 winter season, waves in the Pacific and my urge to dance were 20 % stronger on average than any other year since 1997, when the whole ballroom obsession thing just took over me. The higher-than-usual sea levels, like my desire to rumba, foxtrot and tango, eroded away California state beaches at “unprecedented levels,” according to coastal geologists and lifeguards who saw their towers washed away. It’s the kind of winters we may continue to experience as global temperatures and out-of-control tuition
hikes for UC schools continue to rise.

In the erosion department, it is natural for the coastlines to be
stripped of sand by the powerful winter waves. In the summertime, it is replenishment city as the sand makes a return engagement on the backs of smaller waves. Unfortunately, after the stormy winter of 2009-10, King Neptune taketh more than he giveth, leaving the beaches more vulnerable to worsening erosion problems from than my thoughts and feelings after watching an episode of “Parenthood.”

Now normally you would blame these big-time storms on our old friend, El Nino, but instead, the finger gets pointed a his second cousin, El Nino Modoki, with Modoki being Japanese for “similar, but different,” or “does that come with teriyaki sauce?” This involves the raising of central Pacific water temperatures along with the salt and dried kelp content of miso soup.

What we’re really talking about is warm sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific flanked on the east and west by cooler waters, a sort of tempura condition. It’s akin to putting your right foot in, then taking your right foot out before putting your right foot back in and shaking it all about. It sounds like a lot of hocus pocus to me but that’s what it’s all about.

So to give you a look at what some of those waves blasting against the coast looked like, let’s journey back to a glorious day along
West Cliff. As you can see, the swell was pumping, bringing with it a high energy feeling and big spray. Photo number four is my favorite, as it’s the new wave hitting the backwash of the previous one and cresting up to form this furious entanglement of white foam. I really wanted to give this spectacular shot of fluid dynamics a clever title and thought long and hard before coming up with, “The Wave.”

We end this photo faire with a couple of landscape shots from
Its Beach during the golden hour from the same day. If anyone out there is cyber space knows how they came up with the name ‘Its’,
please clue me in. I could take a guess, but this blog is rated strictly PG-13.

On to the late night. “While testifying in Parliament, Rupert Murdoch was attacked by a man who threw a pie and yelled insulting names. Murdoch immediately gave the man a show on Fox News. NASA is considering replacing the space shuttle with a space taxi. It can do everything the shuttle can do, except pick you up if you’re black. A panel of medical experts has recommended that health insurance
companies provide free birth control to their customers. The recommendation has been hailed as ‘historic’ by women’s’ groups, and as ’10 years too late’ by Maria Shriver.” –Conan O’Brien

“Rupert Murdoch was testifying in his phone hacking case today, and a man attacked him with a pie. Fortunately, Murdoch knew to move out of the way, because he heard about the plan on the guy’s voicemail.” –Jimmy Fallon “Borders bookstores announced that it will liquidate its stock and close all of its stores nationwide. I don’t think this is what the Republicans meant by ‘closing our borders.’ The United States’ soccer team lost to Japan, which means we’re now losing to Japan in math, science, and penalty kicks.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“It’s rumored that Arnold Schwarzenegger is working on a memoir. Yeah, it’s apparently over 500 pages long — and that’s just the dedication to his kids.” –Jimmy Fallon “Rupert Murdoch said yesterday at the House of Commons that he was shocked, appalled, and ashamed. So apparently he watches Fox News, too.” –Jay Leno
“Sarah Palin’s son Track and his wife are having a baby. They haven’t picked a name yet, but they do know it will be a verb.” –Conan O’Brien

Top Five Surprising Facts About the Moon Landing
10. Was filmed on the same soundstage where they shot ‘Green Acres’ 8. They returned to the moon a week later because one of the astronauts dropped his car keys 6. Buzz Aldrin stuffed his space suit to make himself look bigger 4. Astronauts were charged extra for not returning the capsule with a full tank of gas 1. Neil Armstrong was also the first man on Mrs. Armstrong

So that’s my last blast for July. I’m going to take a couple of weeks off and head to the islands, so look for some aloha action on my return. In the meantime, be grateful for the food on your table as the current famine in Somolia is more horrible than words. It’s worse
than last week’s record-breaking heat and humidity in New York and the truly senseless massacre in Norway. We’ll catch you at home plate. Aloha, mahalo and later, Don Rickles fans.

June 12, 2011

Everybody Loves A Weiner

Good morning and greetings, twitter fans. Normally I try to stay away from the sordid world of politics, but after following the twists, turns and new day-to-day revelations of this story, much like the man swirling in the center of the controversy, I couldn’t resist.

New York Congressman Anthony Weiner has gotten himself into quite a pickle. Last week, he was all over the news, after first denying then admitting that he tweeted, texted, sexted and carrier pigeoned photos of one of his favorite organs to women he claimed to have never met in person. We know that organ couldn’t have been his brain because it was obviously not in use.

So we’re talking your basic on-line sexual hanky panky, like, hey I’m a Congresssman, want to see the emancipation of my proclamation. It’s hard to believe that after the recent embarrassing escapades of Schwarzenegger, Edwards, Spitzer, Sanford, Vitter, Craig, Lee, Ensign and others, that the
Weiner-meister didn’t know better than to keep his politics in his pants. I think it is safe to say this will not help him in his effort to get elected mayor of New York as Oscar Meyer Weiner has a better shot at this point.

And then to top it all off, we then find out that his wife, who is an aide to Hillary Clinton, herself an expert witness to knowing what it feels like to be cheated on, is pregnant. I’m not asking the Congressman to resign, just quietly go off to a treatment program, pray for your wife’s forgiveness and close down the damn
Facebook account.

So in honor of this sad and bizarre story of cyber lust, I thought in the interest in truth, injustice and very much the recent political way, we’d take a look at a even bigger weiner, the All-American hot dog.

Hot dogs are known by many names. We’re talking frankfurters, franks, you’re welcome, weiners, weinies, dogs, puppies, schnauzers and my personal favorite, meat byproducts in a warm bun.

Hot dogs and franks are staples of the American diet, but despite their production being regulated by the FDA, NBA and CIA, they sometimes get rapped for being made of, let’s say, not the highest quality ingredients. But when I’m looking for some meat scraps of liver, spleen, kidneys or pancreas on a toasted roll, nothing works better than a good old hot dog.

Now here are a few fun facts about my favorite dogs that aren’t golden retrievers. Every second of every day except Jewish holidays, 450 hot dogs are consumed in the United States. All I can say is “wow” and what is the waiting period before you
can become a vegan. The world’s biggest hot dog, not including Donald Trump, was 1,996 feet long, created by Sara Lee Corporation in honor of the 1996 Olympics. For you health nuts and Stanley Cup fans, a 2,377-foot chicken dog was made in 1985 in Canada, although as a gourmet chef I’m still not sure if chicken and dog should be used in the same sentence.

Hot dogs or frankfurters are said to have originated in Frankfurt,
Germany around 1484, right before the discovery of hamburgers, french fries and milk shakes. In 1904, the hot dog was introduced to America at the St. Louis World’s Fair, along with mustard, relish and Zout Stain Remover. And for you die hard romantics, Bruce Willis proposed to Demi Moore at Pink’s Hot Dog stand in Hollywood.

Americans now eat, inhale or exhume more than 16 billion hot dogs each year, including about 150 million hot dogs on July 4th. Personally, I’m a Hebrew National all beef-frank kind of guy, made with 100% pure kosher beef. As was written either in the Torah or
Bon Appetit, these dogs provide premium taste and high quality every time. Whether at a backyard picnic, bar mitzvah party
or bris ceremony, this is the frank you can depend on.

Back in 1957, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce officially designated July as National Hot Dog Month, so remember next month to grill up and do your part. And when you’re chowing down on that frank, which typically takes about six bites to eat, remember to thank Anthony Weiner and his contribution to this post and the American way of life that we relish.

So because of the reception this Friday honoring yours truly at
Assemblymember Monning’s office, I thought we would photographically go back to my roots and feature a daybreak experience that shows why I got into this cutthroat business.

This was a sunrise at Lighthouse Point that was just off the charts in terms of spectacular beauty. And it was also very unusual in that although it was low tide, because of a giant swell the day before, there was a huge pool of water encompassing Its Beach.

Because of this golden pond, I was able to grab the incredible colors in the sky and the reflection of the lighthouse in the water (photo # 3.) We finish off with the the sun greeting the day at
Steamers Lane. For a dedicated and unmedicated sunrise photographer like myself, mornings don’t get much better than this.

On to the late night. “It’s official. It turns out it was
Weiner’s weiner. At a press conference this afternoon, Congressman Anthony Weiner admitted that he tweeted out that
photo of his crotch. During the press conference, Congressman Weiner was choked up and got a lump in this throat – not as big as the lump in his underwear, but still, very emotional! It’s been a crazy few days. First, Anthony Weiner admitted tweeting that
photo of his crotch and John Edwards was indicted for covering up an affair. Or as Arnold Schwarzenegger put it, ‘Thank you God! This is the best week ever!’” –Jimmy Fallon

“The Anthony Weiner scandal shows that despite the wars and the economy, we’re all really still in 9th grade. Of course, Weiner is now desperately trying to make things better with his
wife. You can tell he’s sorry. Like today he sent her a picture of his penis with a little sad face on it.” –Jay Leno “I mean, call me old fashioned. But I long for simpler times and common
sense values. I want to leave our grandchildren an America where Congressmen bang their secretaries. Sorry if there’s no app for that.” –Stephen Colbert

“Despite the scandal, Weiner will not resign, saying he hasn’t done anything illegal and this is not the most embarrassing photo of him that has ever surfaced. That would be his senior portrait from high school. Weiner’s high school portrait was taken at one of the rare moments when he wasn’t being stuffed into the garbage can.” –Jimmy Kimmel “It turns out that one of the women Congressman Anthony Weiner was communicating with was a porn star. When asked how it was possible to get involved with someone in such a sleazy business, the porn star said, ‘I don’t know.’” –Conan O’Brien

“Sarah Palin’s cross country road trip is not a political event, she says, but just a summer vacation with her family, just like the ones you have. Except my summer vacations generally don’t have a title…Despite the news this week that our cell phones are giving us cancer, users are NOT giving up. They’re like, okay, my cell phone could give me cancer, but actually interacting with people in person is what leads to Chlamydia.” –NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”

“That’s right, Michelle Obama is taking Sasha and Malia to South Africa and Botswana and Sarah Palin was like, ‘Wow, they’re going to all the places Paul Revere went.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Donald Trump and Sarah Palin met and had pizza together in New York City last week. There was one embarrassing moment — when the waitress asked Donald if he wanted extra topping and he said, ‘No, my hair is fine.’” –Jay Leno

So that’s our look at Capitol Hill. As we close out this spring of wild weather, massive wildfires continue to rage in Arizona while record-breaking temperatures scorched the east coast last week. So be grateful for the cool weather on the central coast. We’ll catch you on a backdoor cut. Aloha, mahalo and later, J.J. Barea fans.

May 29, 2011

Things Aren’t Always What They Museum

Good morning and greetings, Steamer Lane fans. Last Friday, the Santa Cruz Surfing Club Preservation Society along with the Parks and Recreation Department and a dozen sea gulls invited the community to rendezvous over at Lighthouse Point to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first museum on the west coast solely dedicated to surfing and kelp beds.

Now I am very familiar with this location, as Lighthouse Point is my prime-time, number one, numero uno shooting spot when it comes to photographing world-class sunrises over Monterey Bay. I love using the lighthouse as a photographic point of reference, as it falls somewhere between the spectacular setting of Half Dome in Yosemite and the inner city quaintness of the old Yankee Stadium.

But today we are not referring to the outside of the lighthouse, but instead what lies within, which could be compared to my gruff exterior which belies a heart of gold. I wanted to know the inside word on how this sacred spot was deemed surf museum worthy.

I knew there was only one man who could answer these questions, and with any luck he wouldn’t block my call when I dialed him up. He is Howard “Boots” McGhee, who is a consider to be a friend, mentor and someone who I wouldn’t contact unless I had severe writer’s block.

Boots, who hails from the Seacliff side of the tracks, is a long-time surfer, much accomplished photographer and a mover and a shaker in this area, or at least that’s what he told me to write. He is also one of the gentlemen who is responsible for this Surfing Museum’s existence, so I went right to the source to find out how this history was made along West Cliff Drive.

Boots told me that back in 1985, before he and I started doing in the tow-in thing with Laird Hamilton, he was part of a small group that decided to turn this brick structure into the first surfing museum on the mainland. What a concept, a museum inside a lighthouse. It was like serving up a creamy bowl of Santa Cruz surfing history inside a sourdough bread bowl.

In the words of this man who’s a former body double for Bruce Willis, “it’s an interpretive museum. It’s a place where you learn things on the inside and then you step outside and you’re on top of the arena where it’s happening.”

How true, as once you exit this visual encyclopedia of Santa Cruz surfing lore, you’ve got Steamer Lane on one side and Its Beach on the other. This is not what surrounds the Museum of Natural History in New York, as when you exit onto 79th Street at Central Park West, very few dinosaurs are roaming the streets, unless you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Larry King.

Here’s one more thought. You might want to go check out the Surfing Museum sooner than later. Because of the sea caves and the erosion going on underneath this structure, this building will not be here forever. Boots gives the museum another ten years before it will have to be rebuilt across the street. Then again, years ago, he got smacked in the head with a longboard, and since then every time I see him he asks if I want to join him for lunch with Duke Kahanamoku.

So today I am featuring six shots of the lighthouse under different lighting conditions. I had dozens of shots to choose from, but these six give you a pretty good idea of what goes on in the sky at this incredible spot at the headlands of Monterey Bay. Santa Cruz, where the sky meets the sea.

Before we head into the late night, I wanted to make mention of the violent tornado that devastated the lives of the good folks of Joplin, Missouri. Turns out this last killer twister was something unique and not so special. Video evidence shows that it appears to be a rare “multivortex” tornado, which contain two or more small and intense subvortices that orbit the center of the larger tornado. That is why this twister was the deadliest tornado since the 1940′s and left the city of Joplin looking like it had been hit by a bomb.

To the late night we go. “The pastor who incorrectly predicted the Rapture said it was a very tough weekend. To make it worse, his friends keep calling him saying, “Hey, it’s not the end of the world!” –Conan O’Brien “The man that is predicting judgment day predicted the end of the world in 1994. He also predicted that Ashton Kutcher would never return to television.” –Craig Ferguson

“The preacher who predicted the apocalypse last weekend now predicts that the world will end in October. It’s the first time that someone’s end-of-the-world prediction was followed by ‘Have a great summer.’” –Conan O’Brien “Harold Camping, who predicted the end of the world, says the new date for the apocalypse is October 21. If it rains, it will be October 22.” –David Letterman “The Rapture-predicting preacher, Harold Camping, is really scaling back his predictions. He now predicts the end of the month will be May 31.” –Jay Leno

“President Obama visited the Irish village where his great-great-great-grandfather was born. Of course, that was always disputed by his great-great-great-grandfather’s archrival, Donny McTrump.” –Jimmy Fallon “That’s right, Obama was in Ireland. He thought about buying a four-leaf clover for good luck, and then he looked at the field of Republican candidates and decided it wasn’t necessary.” –Jimmy Fallon “Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels emailed his supporters over the weekend to tell them he’s not running for president. In response, his supporters were like, ‘Dad, we live in the same house. Couldn’t you just tell us in person?” –Jimmy Fallon

“New video has surfaced of Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1991 saying the housekeeper does a ‘great job.’ One clue might have been that he then added, ‘And she’s also a great housekeeper.’” –Conan O’Brien “There are rumors Arnold Schwarzenegger may have had a second child with another woman. I can’t believe Arnold would cheat on his mistress like that. “Turns out that Maria Shriver could end up with 100,000,000 dollars from her divorce from Arnold. She deserves it. She was a devoted wife and mother to at least 40 percent of his children.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A new Facebook app is coming out that will remind users exactly what they were doing a year ago from that day. Nine times out of 10, the answer will be ‘wasting your time on Facebook.’” –Conan O’Brien “Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, announced that he’s running for president. And this is cool — if his campaign isn’t over in 30 minutes or less, you get your pizza for free. “Subway sandwich shops are testing out several upscale restaurants called Subway Cafes. They feature wood paneling, lounge seating, and other things to distract you from the tuna fish being served with an ice-cream scoop.”–Jimmy Fallon

So that’s my Memorial Day weekend rant. I apologize for the fact that there were no NBA playoff games over the weekend, but that’s what happens when young teams Chicago and Oklahoma City implode down the stretch and ruin it for everyone. So enjoy the NBA Finals and we’ll catch you in June. Aloha, mahalo and later, LeBron James fans.

February 6, 2011

Let’s Go, I Don’t Want To Miss The Opening Snack

Good morning and greetings, football fans. Well, yesterday was the national holiday we call Super Sunday, which led into what I like to refer to as Malcontent Monday. For all you gamblers, midnight ramblers and pigskin lovers, the 2011 season, much like my dream of opening a kosher vegan deli is now history.

So what do we really know about this day of endless commercials and catastrophic caloric consumption? Scientists and 7 Eleven clerks have determined that it is the second largest food consumption day of the year behind Thanksgiving, but with a whole lot less cranberry sauce. The big ticket item on this day is our friend the avocado. According to my confidential sources inside the California Avocado Commission, somewhere between eight million and 150 billion pounds of avocado were consumed yesterday, and that was just during the pregame show.

The CAC, not to be confused with ABC, which is as easy as 1, 2, 3, says most avocados, which is actually a fruit, not a vegetable, were consumed through the process of guacamole. That meant Americans ate the amount of chips, were they lined them up in a row, would circle the earth 16,000 times without stopping once for gas or more dip.

We’re talking Lay’s Classics, Ruffles with Ridges, Cheesy Nacho Doritos, Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips, Maui Onion Kettle Chips and my personal favorites CHiPS, Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox, who was just sentenced to three years probation for conspiracy to commit securities fraud. As they say in Las Vegas, let the chips, including tortilla, fall where they may or as I like to say, what ever happens never happened.

But this was not just a day of gorging on incredible amounts of the unhealthiest foods on the planet. Forget about the 300 million pounds of snacks like pretzels, popcorn, acorns, nuts, mental patients, pizza, cake, steak, Tums, ice cream and Benedryl. According to Hallmark Cards, the Super Bowl represents the number one at home party event of the year, surpassing my Bar Mitzvah party, my 50th birthday bash, and the viewing of the pilot episode of “Southland.”

Of course, there may have been some alcohol consumed along with a little wagering done yesterday. I myself, being a devout Quaker with Amish leanings, do not partake in the spirits or believe in gambling. Instead, I keep my money in a safe, conservative place called the stock market. So in honor of the 30 trillion dollars that were bet yesterday on Super Sunday, here’s a gambling joke that makes me chuckle.

One day, at a casino buffet, a man suddenly called out, “My son’s choking! He swallowed a quarter! Help! Please, anyone! Help!” A man from a nearby table stood up and announced that he was quite experienced at this sort of thing. He stepped over with almost no look of concern at all, wrapped his hands around the boy’s gonads, and squeezed. Out popped the quarter. The man then went back to his table as though nothing had happened. “Thank you! Thank you!” the father cried. “Are you a paramedic?” “No,” replied the man. “I work for the IRS.”

Let’s move on to our photo parade. The skies have been sunny and clear as I haven’t shot a sunrise or a glance in weeks. So today we are going back to the morning of December 29th down at Lighthouse Point. This was a quiet and gentler time, before Egyptians started rioting in the streets because they wanted more jobs, cheaper food, political change and MTV.

It was a wonderful way to start the day, as the clouds made me feel like I was floating on a bed of frosted Pop Tarts. The colors in the early morning sky were outstanding, and to be able to share it with my cyber audience is why I got into this non-paying business. Well, that and to meet celebrities and reconnect with my old Guardian Angel buddies.

On to the late night. “Things are not looking good for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Today he canceled his Super Bowl party. That’s a bad sign. Protestors in Egypt are telling their government to “accept the realities of the modern age we live in.” Then they were attacked by guys on camels with whips.”–Jay Leno “The bookies have put the odds out for this weekend. The Packers are slightly favored over the Steelers and the rioters are slightly favored over President Mubarak. “Egypt has shut off cell phones and the internet. It’s like visiting your parents’ house.” –David Letterman

“The Midwest got over a foot of snow; it rained ice pellets in Dallas; it’s wet and freezing in New York. I was complaining about it all day to my friend in Egypt.”–Jimmy Fallon “It was so cold in Washington, D.C., that they needed jumper cables to get Dick Cheney started.”–Jimmy Fallon “There’s so much snow in Chicago, earlier today Oprah gave everyone a snowplow.”–David Letterman

“Today Al Gore blamed the current snow storms on global warming. Al Gore said, ‘a rise in global temperature creates havoc ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, increasing violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species.’ And finally Tipper said, ‘Al will you just pay the kid for shoveling the walk, please.’” –Jay Leno

“It’s the Year of the Rabbit. I was born in the Year of the Tiger, which doesn’t make sense because I was actually raised by a pack of wild ferrets. I think rabbits are adorable. I love how their noses twitch and their feet make little key chains.”–Craig Ferguson “MTV announced that Season 4 of “Jersey Shore” will be shot in Italy in the spring. Some Italians are calling it an insult, while some Americans are calling it payback for the Olive Garden.”–Jimmy Fallon

Some big birthdays to celebrate this week. On Tuesday, my mother, the woman who gave breached birth to me, will be 85 years young. To have her living just 1.1 miles away is indeed a blessing, as she does all my worrying for me and is a huge fan of this blog. She taught me much of what I know about life and meat loaf. So in honor of your special day, Mom, here’s a joke right up your alley.

A woman goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doctor, you’ve got to do something about my husband — he thinks he’s a refrigerator!” “I wouldn’t worry too much about it,” the doctor replies. “Lots of people have harmless delusions. It will pass. ” “But you don’t understand,” the woman insists. “He sleeps with his mouth open, and the little light keeps me awake. ”

Also celebrating her birthday this day is my niece Samantha, the Maria Sharapova of Marin County. And on Wednesday, it’s my old grammar school friend, Denise Cinquino Ayre, who I recently reconnected with after she left me on hold over the the phone for 40 years. Denise reminded me that I had twice invited her to go to Woodstock with me back in 1969, but she had to say no because of a modeling assignment. I told her she missed nothing except for three days of peace, love, music and mud.

So that’s our first blast for February. This has always been an interesting month on the weather front and this past weekend was no exception. The warm trade winds that blew with gale force on Saturday gave the central coast a tropical feeling I haven’t felt since devouring my last lemon chicken plate lunch from Ted’s Bakery on the North Shore. Throw in a couple of scoops of macaroni salad and wash it down with a mango coconut smoothie and you’ve captured the true aloha spirit.

So I hope you had an enjoyable Super Sunday as we now get back to focusing on the more the important things in life, like high school, college and NBA basketball. We’ll catch you at midcourt. Aloha, mahalo and later, Howard Stern fans.

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