May 31, 2015

The King The Ring And The Bling

Good morning and greetings, NBA Final Fans.   It’s now June, and there are only two teams left standing on the NBA horizon.  One is the Golden State Warriors, who have been the talk of the league all season, as Steph Curry and teammates have been dazzling on the court, compiling a league high 67 wins during the regular season and a playoff mark of 12-3, which nobody, including Draymond Green’s fashion consultant, saw coming.
The Warriors have blown through the playoffs, as they swept the New Orleans Pelicans, took care of the Memphis Grizzlies, and knocked off James Harden and the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference finals.  They had a little scare, when in game four,  Stephen Curry did a cartwheel in the air and landed on his head, but he was cleared by the doctors and came back an hour later and reentered the game.
At the time, with the Warriors leading in the series 3-0, one had to wonder, why in the wide, wide world of sports would they risk playing Curry, who had just been cracked on the noggin and had his brain scrambled.  To quote the great Woody Allen, putting him back in the game was a “Travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.”
Sunrise Santa Cruz medical consultant, Dr. Michael Schur, agrees, saying it was the worst medical decision he’s seen made in the history of sports injuries.
The Warriors path to the finals was made a little easier, in not having to face the San Antonio Spurs or the LA Clippers.   But Golden State took care of business in Oakland and were crowned the best in the west, and are now heading for the final challenge.  Their opponents will be the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by fastest gun in the east and the face of the NBA, the self-annointed chosen one, King James.
LeBron James is known as the best player in the world of basketball.  At 6’8″ and 250 pounds, this is a cat that the NBA has never seen, combining strength and quickness to make himself unstoppable.  He is the superstar amongst superstars,  a once in a lifetime athletic specimen.
Or as former NBA center Bill Cartwright describes him, “This guy is really unguardable.  He’s too darn big and too darn strong. Put a big guy on him and he goes around them. Put a small guy on him and he beats him up. He’s a nightmare of a match-up.”
He’s come a long way from a difficult childhood in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, where he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a junior in high school.  LeBron was drafted straight out of high school into the NBA by his hometown Cavaliers in 2003.  He played seven seasons in the Mistake by the Lake, before becoming a free agent in 2010.
In July 2010, he announced in a live ESPN program special titled “The Decision” that he was taking his talents down to South Beach to team up with Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh and play for the Miami Heat.  He said he came down to win five or six titles with the Heat, which unfortunately for him, never came to fruition, which led some to ridicule in the press about his decision making and not wanting to be “the Man”.
He stayed four years in Miami and won two titles, before deciding it was time to pack up go back home to Cleveland.  Like him or hate him, he is a highly influential and  very prominent figure in the sportsworld today.
After winning the eastern conference final game last Tuesday, LeBron James sat down and spoke to Joe Noga and the Northeast Ohio Media Group about where he is at with himself and his team.
Talk about your emotions and what it’s like to be in this position after your decision to return.”It’s very emotional to be back in this city. When I made my decision to come back here, I knew what I wanted to do. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It was going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication. It was going to be the toughest task for me to try to get this team back to the Finals.”
“I knew I’d have to step up my leadership. I had to be very patient. Which, I’m not a very patient guy.  For us to be sitting at this point today, being able to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals is special. It’s very special.”
Did you think you could do it this quickly?
“I understood we were young and inexperienced.  Things happen throughout the season and offseason that allowed us to acquire Kevin Love. And as the season started, Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert were acquired. It brought our team to a place where I felt we could compete.”Where does the accomplishment of reaching the Finals five straight times rank?”It’s special to know how far we’ve come as a group.  No matter what happens from here on out, to see what we’ve accomplished, being a first-year team together that’s had different changes throughout the course of the season, and faced so many obstacles throughout the season. Injuries here, transactions there, lineups here. It’s something we can be very proud of to this point.”
How much did Cleveland’s 51-year departure from a championship come to mind?  Do you think about that much, and perhaps being the guy who finally gets that for the city?

“I’m a guy who believes in unfinished business. I understood what these people are going through. The people here, not only in Cleveland, but in Northeast Ohio and all over the world who love and bleed wine and gold. To be at this point tonight, sitting here talking to you guys, is very emotional.”

Could I have foreseen this at the beginning of the season?

“I couldn’t. I couldn’t foresee us being in the finals at the beginning of the season. I just knew we had to get better and just seeing how young we were at that point in time. But I knew I had to lead these guys. And if they just followed my leadership, I knew I could get them to a place that they’ve never been before.”

How did the journey of the season get you here?  How has it steeled you for the finals?
“I don’t know how many chapters we have to this season. From the start of the season to making the transactions to acquire these guys. To us having injuries, to us getting to the postseason. To Kevin Love being out for the season. To Kyrie being out and banged up. We’ve had so many chapters that defined who we are.”
“We haven’t got caught up in feeling sorry for ourselves. it doesn’t matter. As soon as you’re out, next man up. When someone is not 100 percent, as a brother you pick that guy up. That’s what teamwork and trying to accomplish a dream is all about. Being able to sacrifice yourself and what you can do for the better of the team.”
Earlier in his career,LeBron was asked if it bothered him to have people root against him.”Absolutely not. Because at the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today.”
“I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They have to get back to the real world at some point.”
So there you have it.  Lots of story lines.  LeBron chasing his third ring.  The reigning MVP Curry going up against the four time MVP.  The Warriors back in the finals after a 40 year drought.  This matchup should be a doozy.So tune in on Thursday and check out LeBron taking on the Warriors, a dream matchup for the Finals. This is what Warrior fans have been waiting for all year, a chance to hoist that championship banner, proclaiming the title of the NBA’s best .

And if you ask me, I’m picking the Warriors.  The Cavs have to be happy to get  to the finals.  The Warriors are chasing a championship.  Warriors in seven.  Or maybe six.  I like the even numbers.

For today’s photo journey, we are taking a June visit up along the North Coast.  We start with a shot of the cliffs and the beach above Davenport Landing.  Then we drive two miles north to see a couple of photos of the sweeping coastline of Scott Creek.  All the while, pelicans are flying up the coast, and along the way I spotted a red shouldered hawk.
We end the journey a few miles up the road at Waddell Creek, famous for it’s windy conditions and great kite board riding.  This is the place I came to shoot after purchasing my first SLR camera.  The rest is digital history.
No late night humor this week.  We’ll catch you soaring like the Black Falcon and carrying the scoring load in the series clincher against the Rockets.  Aloha, mahalo and later, Harrison Barnes fans.

July 13, 2014

There’s No Place Like Away

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 9:03 am

Good morning and greetings, NBA free agent fans. Well, if you’re an admirer of summer fog, then last week was a superb time to vacation in Santa Cruz, as the mornings were moister than my eyes during the season finale of “Parenthood.”

It seemed odd, while being in the midst of the worst drought in California history, to be walking in the morning rain. I wasn’t singing in the rain, but it was a glorious feeling and I was happy again.

Well, the basketball world was shocked on Friday, when Mr. LeBron James, who happens to be the best player on the planet, announced in a first-person essay on the Sports Illustrated’s website that he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Holy mistake by the lake. This is the team he had fled from four years ago when he made his decision to team up with the Big Three and take his immense talents to South Beach.

“My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball,” James told Lee Jenkins of SI.com. “I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now. “I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.”

LeBron ranks as one of the greatest of all-times, a superstar among superstars. It’s not every day that the league’s top talent is there for the taking, as NBA teams were wildly clamoring for his guest services. The consensus was he would return to Miami.

After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown.”

The player who teamed up with the Big Three in South Beach is returning to Cleveland as a different LeBron. ” Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go … without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.”

When we speak of LeBron, we’re talking about a 30-year-old, four-time MVP who’s in the prime of his career. He has the charm and charisma that make him the top dog on the court as he has dominated the league over the last half decade. At 6’8″, 250 pounds, LeBron is built like a freight train, with the quickness of a cheetah and mad skills that have led him to putting up insane numbers for his career.

As he says, “Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been the best player. I love being a leader, and I love being the best. I just want to get better. It’s not about being cocky or selfish or anything like that. It’s just how I am.”

And ladies and gentlemen, this world wide conglomerate of a small forward was available on the open market, but few thought he would leave the confines of South Florida.

LeBron had led the Heat to four Final appearances and two straight championships over the past four seasons. But in an attempt for a threepeat, the team looked old and were blown out in this year’s Finals by the San Antonio Spurs.

LeBron didn’t want to wither on the vine in South Beach. He was all about winning championships, but I guess he got a little homesick. And he had his doubts about whether team President Pat Riley would be able to put together another title bound team.

“I went to Miami because of D-Wade and Chris Bosh. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life.”

So Lebron kissed and made up with Cav’s owner Dan Gilbert, who called James a “coward” when he left. It seems that LeBron is all about forgiveness. “I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?”

So for LeBron at this point in his career, it’s not all about the money. It’s about the rings and where he will ultimately rank in the NBA hierarchy. Celtic center Bill Russell has eleven, Michael Jordan has six and Kobe Bryant has five. Those are the legends he’s chasing. When you’re in a stratosphere like LeBron, this is the way greatness is measured. The ring’s the thing.

But for a guy chasing titles, this move back home alters the landscape. As for next season, “I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. ”

Cav’s new first-year coach David Blatt was asked if he was excited to be coaching the four-time MVP. His response, “That would be understatement of the millennium.”

LeBron James is not just a basketball player, but a global icon, and knows the power that comes along with it. As he said a few years ago, “In the next 15 or 20 years, I hope I’ll be the richest man in the world. That’s one of my goals. I want to be a billionaire. I want to get to a position where generation on generation don’t have to worry about nothing. I don’t want family members from my kids to my son’s kids to never have to worry. And I can’t do that now just playing basketball.”

So for the player who guaranteed “Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven,” championships in Miami, it came down to this. “Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can.”

So Cav’s fans must be feeling like they’ve died and gone to heaven, as the Ohio’s favorite son is taking his talents back to Cleveland. Few saw this coming. It’s one of the great stories in sports on a few different levels.

In the words of the King, “I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”

I think it’s a wise decision.

For today’s photo circus we are heading over to Steamer Lane on the morning of February 3. When I arrived at this sacred spot of surfing, the sunlight was shooting up through the array of red clouds. The waves were coming through in big sets, and the sky turned from candy apple red to exotic orange. And then the sun rose and shone across the water, and all was good.

On to some late night humor. “There was a huge blowout at the World Cup yesterday when Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals. It got so bad that the refs told Brazil, “You know what? Go ahead and use your hands.” – Jimmy Fallon “Happy birthday to Ed Lowe, the man who invented Kitty Litter. Here’s what I admire about Ed Lowe. Here was a guy who was thinking inside the box.” – David Letterman

“Today is National Sugar Cookie Day. The entire month of July is National Cream Month. You’re welcome, diabetes. Cheesesteak is the dish Philadelphia is known for. I don’t know what dish we’re known for here in L.A. It may be kale salad that you can eat and then throw up later because you have an audition.” – Craig Ferguson

“Justin Bieber will be charged with one count of misdemeanor vandalism for throwing eggs at his neighbor’s home in January. Or as he calls that, “street cred.” People who wanted to go on the new Harry Potter ride at Universal had to wait in line for more than seven hours this week. That’s right, seven hours of waiting just for a couple minutes of action. Or as that’s also called, “watching soccer.” – Jimmy Fallon

So another post is in the books. We’ll catch you being the happiest people in America. Aloha, mahalo and later, Cleveland Cavalier fans.

June 1, 2014

The Daze Of May

Good morning and greetings, sports fans. April showers and May flowers, like my once perfect eyesight, are now history. I can still remember the day I realized I needed some cheater glasses. I blame it on the lemon chicken.

I was sitting inside a darkened room at O’mei, a restaurant on the westside of Santa Cruz that has been serving Chinese provincial cuisine with an understated elegance since 1979. For people in the know, it’s the best Chinese food in town. The only problem was that every time I walked out of the place, I was left wanting more.

But why point fingers? As my favorite Swami Tejomayananda once said, “If your heart is full, you don’t feel that hungry.”

Now I could have ordered more food and come away with a fuller belly, but at the time, my digestive tract was more suited for the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets, where I rarely left not totally satiated.

Back in the 80′s, these noon time feasts were always a Friday tradition, as we would roll out to the Mandarin Palace on a search and destroy mission, intent on devouring anything and everything that came down the pike. Egg rolls, pot stickers, fried rice, Condoleezza rice, beef and broccoli, cashew chicken, shrimp toast, french toast, chow fun, spare ribs, mu shu and grits, along with enough sweet and sour sauce to fill Lake Tahoe.

Back in those crab rangoon days, I was counting cream cheese filled won tons rather than carbs. The cooks would come out and fill the display trays. We would immediately empty them and eagerly anticipate the next round. It was the circle of life.

Or as the old Chinese proverb goes, “A peasant must stand a long time on a hillside with his mouth open before a roast duck flies in.”

Anyway, to make a long story shorter, I was trying to read the menu but I couldn’t tell if it was beef with baby corn or corn beef. One of the gentlemen at the table pulled out of pair of cheater glasses and before you could say, “red chili dumplings,” it all became clear. I had seen the light. Help was on the way.

Anyway, April started out in fine fashion, as the first round of the NBA playoffs got underway and were beyond fantastic. Everybody talks about the greatness of March Madness and college hoops, but this was full blown April insanity.

The opening round were all best-of-7 series, which means you have to win four times to advance. That leaves lots of time to sit around recapping the action and anticipating the what happens next.

The first round matchups featured San Antonio-Dallas, Oklahoma City-Memphis, LA Clippers-Golden State and Houston-Portland. Eight solid, exciting NBA teams. All wanted to move on in their quest for an NBA championship.

Turned out, three of the four series went the full seven games, while the fourth went six. Every night there was a game going down to the wire, and better yet, eight overtime contests, which is just a hoop dream. This was a two week stretch of wall-to-wall excitement, with fantastic finishes as the excitement kept building as the series moved along.

It was basketball heaven, as the first weekend in May brought us to the deciding game seven action. Then it was on to the semi-finals and then the conference finals. Now we are back to a rematch of last year’s finalists, which features the Miami Heat, led by the best player on the planet, LeBron James, who are gunning for their third straight championship and the San Antonio Spurs, who are seeking redemption for a title they had within their grasp last season but let slip away.

But as May brought joy, it also drew pain, as tragedy struck when a crazed madman slaughtered six students in a rampage in Isle Vista, which borders the UC Santa Barbara campus. The six killed were all UCSB students. None needed to die.

My son, a sophomore at UCSB, was there that night in the area where the shootings took place. For not some sort of fate, he could easily have been out on the street when the bullets were flying and never would have known what hit him.

Turns out, he knew three of the students who were slain, which is three more than needed in anyone’s lifetime. Jason has seen other friends and classmates die. It seems strange, as when I was growing up, I can’t remember anyone dying, except my dreams of playing in the NBA.

The shootings hit a little too close to home. When I saw the video of Richard Martinez, the father of Chris Martinez, who was shot and killed as he walked into a deli, his pain, grief and anger was heartbreaking. If Jason had decided to go out for some dessert, that easily could have been me being the new poster Dad for our latest national tragedy.

So this Memorial Day weekend was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. Jason’s life is now back to semi-normal, as as he is studying like a maniac for finals. The Isle Vista shooting are fading out of the national news cyle, replaced by other disasters around the globe.

But will this insanity ever end? We have gun and mental health issues that are out of control. Parents should not have to bury their children.

On today’s photo front, we are returning to Lighthouse Point on the evening of January 21. There was a lovely sunrise that morning, so this was a day that I took a double dip on the digital frontier. As you can see, the swell was up, as the waves had been pumping since dawn’s first light. They continued to roll in at Its Beach as the sun set, which delighted everyone who had gathered along the edge to take in the evening’s hazy festivities.

No late night humor this week so I’ll go with a couple of jokes.

A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named ‘Amal.’ The other goes to a family in Spain, they name him Juan’. Years later; Juan sends a picture of himself to his mum. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wished she also had a picture of Amal. Her husband responds, ”But they are twins. If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Amal.”

A turtle was walking down a street in New York and suddenly got mugged by few snails. A policeman arrives to investigate the matter and asks the turtle, “Could you please explain to us about the incident.” The turtle not knowing what to say, replies, “I don’t remember. It happened so fast.”

So that’s our first blast for June. We’ll catch you coming up big down the stretch and leading your team in the quest of another championship. Aloha, mahalo and later, Tim Duncan 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.

June 9, 2013

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Good morning and greetings, NBA Finals fans. We are in the midst of the NBA Championship series between the the San Antonio Spurs, led by Eva Longoria’s ex-husband Tony Parker, and the Miami Heat, who are fronted by the greatest player in the free world, LeBron James, who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a fetus and dubbed “The Chosen One.” Who even knew he was Jewish?

I know many of you don’t give a rat’s behind about basketball, but when you watch a player like King James, you are witnessing history. This spectacular individual, who hails from Akron, Ohio, has been a fixture on the national scene since high school, where much like myself, he fought a lot of battles. His were with demons and power forwards while mine was the French Club, but you get the picture. As Kurt Vonnegut once noted, “True terror is to wake up one morning and realize your high school class is running the country.”

Lebron didn’t have things easy growing up, until a family took him in and gave him the love and guidance that put him on the right path. He is a physical specimen with immense talent, who is at the top of his game. He finally reached the mountaintop last year, when he won an NBA championship, and now he and his teammates are hoping to repeat, which in the NBA is slightly easier than getting the toothpaste back in the tube tops of the Miami Heat Dancers.

So with the season ending I’ll soon have free time to explore my other interests, like bull fighting, storm chasing and listening to classical music. I’ll be free to explore things on my to do list, like hiking the Appalachian Trail with Mark Sanford, starting up a men’s groups for the Guadalajara and Sinaloa drug cartels and climbing Mount Everest without any pants or oxygen tanks.

And from what I hear, there’s as much traffic heading up Everest these days as the 405 freeway at rush hour, although less frozen bodies in the diamond lane. But take a map and a scorecard, as over 200 bodies and counting are buried in the snow at 26,000 feet up, a place not affectionately known as the “Death Zone.”

I don’t really get the whole extreme mountain climbing deal. Personally, I have no interest in slipping through an ice crevice and plunging to a frozen grave. That’s what my dreams are for. We’re talking life and death here. I’m sure the view is great, so buy a post card. Is this challenge really worth risking your life for? It seems extremely selfish, especially if you have a family. If you really want to be challenged, try changing a dirty diaper in the middle of the night.

Here’s a mountain worth climbing, one that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took a shot at. “I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go the mountain. And I’ve looked over and 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.” Amen, brother.

So being a pacifist aggressive, I choose to sit back and watch the National Geographic Channel, not live it. I prefer to be living indoors, not “Locked Up Abroad,” a program on the NGC that I am totally fascinated with. I’ll probably never tunnel out from a Mexican jail or escape from a prison in Ecuador, but now I know how, thanks to my friends from the Brotherhood of Eternal Love out of Laguna Beach. Love is our law and perfection is our destiny. Or to paraphrase the late John Denver, “Orange sunshine, on my shoulders, makes me happy.”

Let’s move on to a lighter and as colorful subject. It’s been three months since I’ve shot a sunrise or a glance at my physique. In that time, I’ve taken a few photos, mostly of flowers and ice plants. Spring flowers are beautiful and fun to photograph, but shooting them is not really an adventure, like answering questions over the phone about qualifying for long care health insurance. Really glad I was on top of my game that day and remembered my name and where I was born, but the interviewer almost stumped me when she asked me to name the actress who plays the emotionally-conflicted undercover detective on “Rogue,” my new favorite show on DirecTV’s Audience Network.

So today I am featuring the last sunrise shot of the 2012-13 season that I shot from various points along West Cliff Drive. The colors in the sky were mixtures of yellow, gold, tangerine, magenta, cherry and avocado. The glow of the clouds on the water was nothing Martin Short of magnificent. It was a outstanding going away party open to all, with no invitations required. Rest assured, the early bird catches more than worms.

On to a little late night humor. “In Pakistan, the Taliban’s No. 2 man has been killed by an American drone. In a related story, today the Taliban’s No. 3 man said he’s stepping down to spend more time with his family. Convicted killer Joran van der Sloot is engaged and will get married in a prison in Peru. I’ve got a better idea. Cancel that wedding. Let’s fix him up with Jodi Arias, have them go on a date, and let nature take its course.” – Jay Leno

“Starbucks is now banning smoking within 25 feet of its stores. It will get even worse for smokers once they realize every Starbucks is about 25 feet from another Starbucks. A new study found that drinking soda is just as bad for your teeth as using meth. However, soda is still less likely to make you live under a bridge with a guy named Snake.” – Jimmy Fallon

And now, a joke. A rich millionaire decides to throw a massive party for his 50th birthday, so during this party he grabs the microphone and he announces to his guests that down in the garden of his mansion he has a swimming pool with two great white sharks in it. ‘I will give anything they desire of mine, to the man who swims across that pool.’ So the party continues with no events in the pool, until suddenly, there is a great splash and all the guests of the party run to the pool to see what has happened. In the pool is a man and he is swimming as hard as he can, and the fins come out of the water and the jaws are snapping and this guy just keeps on going and the sharks are gaining on him and this guy reaches the end and he gets out of the pool, tired and soaked. The millionaire grabs the microphone and says, ‘I am a man of my word, anything of mine I will give, my Ferraris, my house, absolutely anything, for you are the bravest man I have ever seen. So sir what will it be?’ the millionaire asks. The guy grabs the microphone and says, ‘Why don’t we start with the name of the bastard that pushed me in!’

So that’s our early NBA Finals report. We’ll catch you showing NBA fans that you can divorce a woman like Eva Longoria and still come out smelling like a Derrick Rose. Aloha, mahalo and later, Tony Parker fans.


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