March 14, 2011

It’s My Mardi, I Can Gras If I Want To

Good morning and greetings, Louisiana Purchase fans. Yes, despite the incessant rains, Katrina flashbacks and the shocking upset of Drew Brees and the Saints in the first round of this year’s NFL playoffs, Mardi Gras was in full swing last week in New Orleans. So to get into the true spirit of this event, I draped myself in beads and paraded around the house wearing a mask while my kids constructed a root beer float from which I could toss tiskets, taskets and a bunch of purple, green and gold baskets.

So what is this cajun-style holiday all about? Well, the words “Mardi Gras” are in the French language, right before “we surrender.” Broken down, “Mardi is the French word for Tuesday, and “Gras” means fat. So when French is translated to English, the last word spoken is the first word translated. So if this makes sense, mess amis, then we’re talking “Fat Tuesday,” which is not to be confused with “Skinny Wednesday,” “Obese Thursday,” “Rail-Thin Friday,” “Chubby Saturday” or “Ice Cream Sunday.”

The celebration of Mardi Gras goes back to an old ancient Roman custom of wild partying before a period of fast, like we do every year around my house on the day before Yom Kippur. It is believed to have come to America in 1699, right around the birth of John McCain, with French explorer Sieur d’Iberville. They started celebrating in New Orleans in 1827, when a group of philosophy students put on strange costumes and danced in the streets like wild monkeys. According to the Food Channel, the residents of New Orleans were captured by their liveliness and offered to sponsor them in a semester overseas studying computer graphics and dessert toppings.

Mardi Gras was originally known as Boeuf Gras, which means “Beef Fat”, which is not to be confused with my favorite criminal mastermind on the new “Hawaii Five-0,” Wo Fat. Boeuf Gras was the last feast of meat before Lent, the holiday where people traditionally go around asking to borrow money. The celebration originated in Europe and one of the customs was parading a fat ox through the streets. And if they couldn’t find one, they used Rush Limbaugh.

Mardi Gras is celebrated with a series of soft parades, in which floats are exotically decorated and are ridden by people wearing Chanel #5 and outrageous costumes. The costumed crew then throws beads and necklaces to the crowd which they collect as souvenirs, and in a new tradition, sometimes the women’s tops come off. This is called beads gone wild.

Mardi Gras is also known as “Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Waffle Wednesday and French Toast Thursday.” These names came about because Mardi Gras is the last day to celebrate before the Lent period starts, and therefore one should eat up all the fattening food items which are generally prohibited during the lent period fasting, like lobster eggs benedict, double fudge chocolate cake and chicken dinosaurs.

Mardi Gras and the day before college basketball’s March Madness begins are considered to be the important days for confessions of the sins and to get your bracket picks in as the following day starts with mourning and Lent until Easter Sunday and the Final Four weekend arrives. So although Fat Tuesday is gone with the wind, I’ve still got that jambalaya spirit. Anyone have change for a French Quarter?

So believe it or not, sports fans, the 2010-11 sunrise and sunset season, much like my dreams of getting the readership of this blog into nine digits, is pretty much over. It was chow fun while it lasted, as prime time was from late October through early February. So for today’s photo train, we are journeying back to the early morning of January 13, the last semi-spectacular sunrise to grace the skies above Monterey Bay. Much like my first shampoo with coconut cream rinse, it was a day and a cleansing my subconcious won’t soon forget.

As you can see, the eastern skylights started out on a good note, and then like my wedding night, just got better and better. The fifth shot was taken on the path along West Cliff Drive. While I was snapping away, a gentlemen came along and said, “the shot you want is from across the street.” I thanked him for the photo tip and that made a mental note to remind my kids never to talk to strangers, unless they were holding a seance or a camera.

Now, in my full-court defense, I have only been shooting from this spot around Lighthouse Point since the beginning of time, so this angle would have come to me somewhere before Medicaid. Anyway, my thanks to that gentlemen, who inspired the final and my favorite shot of this six pack, which I am pretty pleased to share with the thousands, er, hundreds of dedicated Sunrise Santa Cruz cyber constituents.

On to the late night. “Mexican President Calderon told President Obama that the United States must do more to reduce the demand for drugs. Obama said, “We got Charlie Sheen off cocaine. What more do you want us to do?”–Jay Leno “Charlie Sheen is planning a humanitarian trip to Haiti. He says he wants to show them what a real disaster looks like. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been offered a role in a sequel to “Terminator.” In this one, he travels back in time and kills the person that suggested he run for governor.”–Conan O’Brien

“In a new interview, Newt Ginrich says he cheated on two of his wives because he was too consumed with love for his country. Yeah, apparently he misunderstood the phrase, ‘Please rise for the pledge of allegiance.’” –Conan O’Brien “Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is a man who cheated on his first wife and left her while she was in bed with cancer. Then he cheated on his second wife with his current, third wife. I don’t think actual newts are this slimy.” –Bill Maher “Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Hucka-BS is attacking actress Natalie Portman for getting pregnant without being married. It could get a little awkward if he runs into Sarah and Bristol Palin at Fox News.” –Jay Leno

“Julianne Moore is going to play Sarah Palin in a new HBO movie. Julianne said, ‘But I know nothing about politics,’ and the producers said, ‘Perfect!’” –Craig Ferguson “A flight attendant was fired from Virgin Airlines for placing a baby in an overhead compartment. To be fair, the baby did not fit under the seat.” –Conan O’Brien “Airlines are considering charging for reclining seats. Also, your scrotum now counts as a carry-on bag.” –Stephen Colbert

“Women who drink are less likely to be obese than women who do not drink. All this time, you’ve been on Jenny Craig while you should have been on Johnny Walker.” –Jay Leno “Donald Trump denies that he’s pretending to run for president to gain publicity for his TV show. He says that anyone that says is this is clearly an “apprentice,” and they deserve to be fired on Thursday at 9:00. According to Forbes, the richest man in the world is from Mexico. It turns out he’s Oprah’s gardener.” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s our mid-March report from the Big Easy. We had a little tsunami action last Friday at the harbor here in Santa Cruz, as 17 boats were sunk, 50 were damaged and two men were left on base, but nothing compared to the fifth most powerful earthquake that devastated the residents of Japan. The footage of the tsumani that followed the quake was just incredible and made me appreciate that I had asked Stevie Wonder to take me to a higher ground.

So get ready for the wild and crazy first round of March Madness in the NCAA’s college basketball tournament and we’ll catch you in the field of 64. Aloha, mahalo and later, LaMarcus Aldridge fans.

September 19, 2010

I Hear You Equinoxing, But You Can’t Come In

Good morning and greetings, solstice fans. For change of seasons lovers, there are only three times during the year that the hours of daylight and of darkness are equal – at the spring and fall equinoxes and during halftime of Super Bowl Sunday. During the fall equinox, which arrives this Wednesday, the sun crosses the equator, passes Go and collects $200. This provides the earth with 12 hours of sunlight, a get out of jail free card and a hotel on Park Place.

Thus begins the change that results in winter for the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern. When asked about this flip flopping of seasons, the Beach Boys commented, “the southern hemisphere girls with they walk they talk, they knock me out when I’m down there. The midwest farmer’s daughter’s really make you feel alright, and the northern hemisphere girls with the way they kiss the keep their boyfriends warm at night.”

After the fall equinox and the new TV shows hit the networks, the northern hemisphere of the earth begins to tilt ever so slightly away from the sun, which drives my daughter crazy, thus slowly decreasing the amount of sunshine received until winter solstice, after which the days begin to lengthen again. Or in the words of the group America, “Ventura Highway in the sunshine, where the days are longer, the nights are stronger than moonshine.” Yes, music is my mistress.

So when the fall equinox enters our lives on Wednesday, the northern hemisphere moves away from Donna summer, which we had for about an hour here in Santa Cruz, and results in the beginning of autumn. And if you know Donna, you know, “she works hard for her money, so hard for it honey, she works hard for the money so you better treat her right.” The hits just keep coming.

In New Orleans they celebrate Drew Brees and Fat Tuesday, which is also known as Mardi Gras. As we approach Chubby Wednesday on the seasonal calendar, inquiring minds might wonder, are there any other names for the Fall Equinox? Well, how’s about Autumn Equinox, Cornucopia, Corn on the Cob, Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Woodstock II, Harvest Tide, Night of the Hunter, Day of the Jackal, Wine Harvest, Witch’s Thanksgiving, Witchy Woman and my personal favorite, Hotel California.

Now if you’re spiritual-minded like me, and live to meditate and breathe chocolate air, here’s an interesting perspective on the day from Tammy Burnsed of Associated Content from Yahoo Press. By the time of the fall equinox, most of the autumn vegetables, fruits, grains and medicinal herbs have been collected. Mother Earth, when not being pestered by Father Time, has once again provided an abundance of food for her children. The busy time of tending fields, harvesting and living without NBA basketball is almost done and though the work of storing and preserving foods and collecting nuts with the squirrels for the winter still lies ahead, it is time to take a moment of rest and give thanks for all that has been received.

As Diane Stein writes in Casting the Circle, “…with the death of the plants is the birth and the mystery of the seeds. All growth is held in suspension and silence within.” And as we know, coming into the new NBA season, the Miami Heat will be the top seed in the east, with the reigning champions LA Lakers the top seed in the west.

So with autumn slowly working its way into our starting lineup, for today’s photo fondue, we are going back to our beginning, or as Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina say, “maybe I’ll walk on back to Georgia, back this morning, back where I come from.” That would be to the wonderful world of sunrises, where I have found a niche and am very comfortable in this arena, although not as relaxed as I was at the Fabulous Forum during the Magic Johnson “Showtime” years.

The first four images are from one of only two sunrises I’ve shot during my digital days in the month of September. The first three were taken at Steamer Lane and as you can see, the sun reflecting off the water was an attraction I could live with. As the sun climbed upward, clouds continued to gather in the sky and I later returned to the cliff to shoot the rays filtering down onto Monterey Bay (photo #4.) Turns out the clouds were having a convention and I was one of the guest speakers.

The last two images are from a fabulous sunrise from late September of 2007. The final shot was taken in front of my favorite cypress tree along West Cliff Drive. I’m extremely fond of the silhouette action that this sapling brings to the digital table, as I am of the parmesan cheese and panko breaded chicken breast topped with a wine, garlic and butter sauce with sun dried tomatoes over mashed potatoes at Gilbert’s (no relation) Firefish Grill on the Santa Cruz Wharf. It’s the new Locals Only special and it is scrumptiously delicious.

On to the late night. “According to government auditors, the stimulus money is being held up because there aren’t enough government workers to oversee the spending. So follow me, in other words, government workers who aren’t there are needed to spend money we don’t have to create jobs that don’t exist. The Atlantic had a big article on the inevitability of Israel going to war with Iran over building nuclear weapons. But the White House thinks that strong economic sanctions will bring them to their knees, raise unemployment, and cause their factories to close – the same way those economic sanctions worked right here. This whole thing with Iran, it’s amazing how different our cultures are. In Iran a woman can get stoned for committing adultery. See, here in America, women commit adultery while getting stoned.” –Jay Leno

“Here’s a weather update from Florida. This week’s Koran smoke advisory has been lifted. That crazy pastor, remember he was going to burn the Koran, he’s now suspended it. … He said he’s now looking for directions from God on where to go. You know, I can’t speak for God, but I think if he grabs a shovel and starts digging, he’s heading in the right direction. “In the Delaware Republican U.S. Senate primary, Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell won a huge upset. Interesting woman, very conservative. She has come out against masturbation. So not only is she against politicians putting their hands in our pockets, she’s against you putting your hands in your own pockets as well.” –Jay Leno “New FBI statistics say that crime in the United States fell 5 percent from last year. Experts say the decrease in crime could be due to the aging of the population, increased incarceration, and many criminals finding jobs in the banking industry and on Wall Street.” –Jimmy Kimmel

So that’s it for our final post for the summer of 2010. I don’t know about you, but after this summer that would have left Mark Twain shivering, I’m going to get myself a warmer bathing suit. And if you have a spare moment, be extremely grateful for your good health. Unlike Jason’s free throw shooting at crunch time, it’s not automatic. We’ll catch you in the double coverage. Aloha, mahalo and later, Red Zone Channel fans.

February 14, 2010

The Few, The Clouds, The Marines

Good morning and greetings, winter weather fans. Last week, the Atlantic seaboard was bombarded with two blizzards that led to record snowfall, so much so that it completely shut down Washington D.C. for three days, but not the lips of Sarah Palin. Her criticism of President Obama was somewhat puzzling for a woman who admits to not reading a newspaper. But give the former Lens Crafter model and governor of Alaska credit, she was able to read the crib notes written in her palm so that she wouldn’t forget what planet she was on.

Now perhaps I’m being a bit harsh towards the former Vice-Presidential candidate, and if that’s the case, I don’t apologize. How she is being touted as a presidential candidate for 2012 is more mind-blowing than the Warrior’s Monta Ellis not being selected to the western conference’s all-star team. But for now, let’s leave her politics back east and get back to the weather, which was as wild on the central coast this past Tuesday as the snow drifts around the George Jefferson Memorial.

Storm clouds were lined up across the sky and the air was chilly as I headed out onto West Cliff, but fortunately I had come prepared and put on a warmer pair of shorts. The sun was darting in and out from behind the clouds as the light was changing quicker than Peyton Manning’s status from Super Bowl hero to goat. A flock of 35 pelicans (yes, I counted them) flew by in a v-formation, and then all of a sudden turned around in mid-flight faster than you could say “Happy Valentine’s Day” and started heading north. Now, I’ve seen hundreds of squadrons of these prehistoric birds in action, but I had never seen this about-face manuever. There was some strange magic in the air as I really wanted to be pelican briefed.

As I continued my sentimental journey down the cliff, I was joined by an artist friend of mine, who brought up the poet Mary Oliver. Her work focuses on her intense observations of nature from her walks through the wetlands near her home in Massachusetts. She has been called a visionary as “her poetry combines dark interpretation with joyous release.” That would be in contrast to yours truly, who combines dark meat chicken with jellied cranberry sauce.
As the skies starten to darken, I told my friend that I knew where Ms. Oliver was coming from, as when patrolling the coastline, I am always looking for images to capture for my digital sonnets. Mary Oliver says that the self is only strengthened through an immersion with nature. Well, that and NBA basketball.

We continued skipping down the cliff when a rain squall hit while the sun peeked thru the clouds. This meant it was rainbow time. And sure enough, before I could click my feet, grab little Toto and head back to Kansas, a spectrum of light with beautiful colors appeared in the sky. Now, I should mention I wasn’t carrying my camera on this expedition, so I just had to take in the moment for what it was. And in the words of Richard Starkey, better known as Ringo Starr, “you know it don’t come easy”

It reminded me of a rainbow I saw early in the morning on the cliff some thirty years ago. I lived on West Cliff Drive from 1975-89 and it was the only rainbow I remember appearing in the western sky. All the others made appearances from the east or the south. And in case NASA, the weather channel or is monitoring this report, yes, I do have photos of that multicolored beauty. Oh, and I also have pictures of the rainbow.

It was actually the second rainbow I had seen that morning, so I was already feeling my lucky charms. And as we all know, they’re magically delicious. My son had a basketball game in Monterey in the afternoon, so we headed south down Highway 1. The clouds were performing a matinee show and you could see the rain falling over the mountains in the distance. I then glanced into the rear view mirror and saw a rainbow as big as bus and brighter than Albert Einstein. My son asked me if he should make a wish and I replied, “No, just hit a few three-pointers and I’ll be happy.”

When we arrived at the gymnasium, all the talk from the parents was, “Did you see that rainbow? And did anyone bring water?” It was one of the all-time brightest, shining bows. Jason and I had seen one like that a few weeks earlier as we exited the Oracle Arena after an afternoon contest on Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. It was beaming so intently into the Oakland hills that at the time I thought, these colors are just unbelievable. Actually, what was even more unbelievable was that fact the Warriors won that day.

So, you’re probably wondering, where are those rainbow shots and how the hell did they Warriors win? Due to election coverage, there were no photos that day. But to make up for the lack of images from Tuesday’s refracted, reflected and neglected light show, we’re going to dig into the 2010 archives and unearth another recent winter olympic classic.

The date was January 22, and it was late afternoon as I perused the thundercloud-filled sky. I started off by shooting the clouds over the wharf and Boardwalk, before heading down West Cliff and stopping at Woodrow Avenue to take in the sun hiding below the clouds. I then took in the clouds streaming from the north as the sets rolled in at Stockton Avenue. The last shot is from Natural Bridges, looking south back towards Lighthouse Point. All in all, a lot of drama in the sky on this rainbow-less night. Oh, and in case you missed the box score, Jason’s team won going away and clinched it’s first league title.

On to the Conan O’Brien-less late night humor. “Well, tomorrow in Nashville, Sarah Palin will speak at the Tea Party Convention. Tickets are $550 apiece. But Sarah Palin said she will not benefit from the speech. See, that way she’ll have something in common with the people in the audience.” –Jay Leno “I’ll tell you, you woke up this morning, and New York, a tremendous sight. I mean, it was whiter than a Tea Party rally. People are still talking about the Super Bowl. It was the most watched TV program of all time. The second most-watched event was the episode of ‘Dallas’ where J.R. gets shot in the face by Dick Cheney. This President Obama, I mean, give the guy credit. He keeps working and working and working. He’s going to invite a bunch of Republicans to have a televised debate on healthcare. It’s going to be a big, big event. As a matter of fact, at halftime The Who will be there doing a special song about Lipitor.” –David Letterman

“Sarah Palin’s also getting criticized because last week she demanded that Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, step down because he used the word retarded. But then, Rush Limbaugh did the same thing on his radio show and that, she said, was O.K. Unfortunately, she’s been unable to respond to the criticism because she’s wearing mittens. The federal government was shut down today, and they estimate it cost about $100 million in lost productivity. The House is literally stuck in the House, and they can’t do anything. I have to admit, it is nice to see lawmakers shoveling something else for a change, isn’t it?” –Jimmy Kimmel “Hey, be glad you’re not back East. Huge snowstorms. I don’t think Washington has seen a snow job like this since that last stimulus package.” –Jay Leno

“And with all this snow, President Obama told all nonessential White House employees they didn’t have to come in. Well, actually, just Joe Biden. It was so cold, Nancy Pelosi had to sit in her driveway for 10 minutes defrosting her eyeballs.
It was so cold, Sarah Palin had to cancel a speech because she didn’t want to take her gloves off to read.” –Jay Leno “Did everybody watch the Super Bowl? Everybody’s happy for New Orleans. In fact, FEMA announced plans to congratulate them in about two weeks.” –Jimmy Fallon “Osama bin Laden is very ecologically minded. Like, last year, it was documented by the C.I.A. that he switched to a hybrid camel.” –David Letterman

That’s our update from the winter games. Someone asked me last week if I learned anything from shooting clouds. In the words of Joni Mitchell, “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow, it’s cloud illusions I recall, I really don’t know clouds at all.” Coming up next week will be our first guest blog of the year. This is one you’ll need your snow shoes for. Hope you caught some footage of the epic waves from Saturday’s Mavericks surf contest in Half Moon Bay which was described “as the best day ever.” So enjoy the skies and keep your eye on the NBA trading deadline. Aloha, mahalo and later, Kelly Slater fans.

May 10, 2009

Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Flight


Good morning and greetings, Jefferson Airplane fans. As you may know, here on the central coast, the air is certifiably filled with all kinds of bird life. Just take a stroll along West Cliff Drive and you can view pelicans, cormorants, exotic pigeons and gulls just wanting to have fun. Stop by at Natural Bridges and you see snowy egrets, great egrets, great blue herons and maybe Gil Scott Heron. Which brings to mind the aviary thoughts of David Crosby and The Byrds, “There is a season, tern, tern, tern. And a time for every purpose, under heaven, during the NBA playoffs.”

Our first set from the flight deck takes place over on the east side at Twin Lakes beach. It was back in December and as I drove by, I thought I was in a Jonathon Livingston Seagull novella as these gulls were learning about life, flight and the pursuit of happiness. I’m always fascinated by birds in motion, as earlier in the week I stopped my car to watch a snowy egret cruising the skies. When I asked Petula Clark where that bird might be heading she replied, “Downtown.”

I believe in this situation I would have been better off talking to the gangster of love himself, Mr. Steve Miller. After all, this space cowboy knows birds. As he once said, “I want to fly like a sea gull, to the sea. Fly like a sea gull, let me spirit carry me and Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals.”

We then venture photo wise back to Natural Bridges to check out a great egret in flight. This large, long-legged Dwyane Wading bird has a wingspan of almost five feet and a vertical leap of 48 inches, which makes it tough to defend in the low post. They are truly magnificent in flight, much like Dr. J or Michael Jordan taking off at the free throw line and throwing it down like my son Jason on an 8 foot hoop.

We then see a group of happy pelicans discussing politics and LeBron James selection as league MVP, as their compradres land and take off from the remaining arch. That brings us to our final photo of a hummingbird receiving its nectar fix from the pride of madera flowers. I took five shots in a five second sequence and in only one photo did the maroon thrush appear. I’m not sure what to make of it but either way, I won’t thrush to judgement.

Now here are a few fascinating facts about our flittering friends, the hummingbirds. These little fellas have the most rapid wing beat, 80 per second in normal flight, 200 beats/second in courtship flight and 400 beats per second on the night of the actual honeymoon.

Hummingbirds have hearts that are proportionally larger than any other animal on earth, accounting for 2-4% of their actual total body weight, not including socks and shoes. Their hearts beat at an average of 500 times per minute at rest, 1,200 times in stressful situations and 1,500 when being audited by the IRS or driving on an LA freeway.

These little hummers may consume 50-100% of their body weight in food per day and 200% of their weight in water per day. That’s why you often hear female hummingbirds ask, “Do I look bloated to you?” And lastly, four of five dentists recommend sugarless nectar for those hummingbirds that do chew gum.

Now on to the late night action. “Well, here’s the latest. The White House says, as of now, the swine flu not contained. It could continue to get worse. And they were just talking about Joe Biden.” “Cheney, he overreacted, too. Today, he waterboarded a pig. There’s no reason for that. No reason.” “President Obama spoke on the phone this weekend for 20 minutes with Mexican President Calderon on how to cooperate on fighting this swine flu thing. Afterwards, he said the people of America and Mexico have found common ground. I believe it’s called Los Angeles.” –Jay Leno

“They say that swine flu is not as potent as they originally thought. You know, like the Yankee pitching staff.” “Supreme Court Justice David Souter is stepping down. Now this guy has been called a reclusive loner who is against marriage. It’s like I have a twin.” –David Letterman “A vacancy on the Supreme Court. This is something we haven’t seen in awhile. Let’s just hope the president is better at picking a justice than the justices were at picking a president.” –Jay Leno

“Barack Obama and Joe Biden made a surprise trip outside the White House yesterday for burgers. Yeah! Obama ordered a cheeseburger and Biden asked for whatever comes with the toy.” –Jimmy Fallon “Hey! Some happy news. As you may have heard, the White House has a brand-new puppy. I believe his name is Arlen Specter.” “And a Georgia man is recovering in Pittsburgh after becoming the first U.S. recipient of a double hand transplant. Got two hands transplanted from another guy. He used them for the first time today to grab his heart when he saw the bill.” –Jay Leno

So that’s our show for today. Earlier this week I hit the Arboretum again at UCSC and captured some great moments of May moistness which we’ll peruse later this month. I’ve got to mention the sports highlight of the week, which took place on Wednesday, when my daughter Aimee got both the win and the save in her softball game against a very tough New Brighton/Cabrillo Crushers squad. In the final inning, with the score 10-9 and the bases loaded, she stuck out their biggest hitter to end the game and the place just exploded. Well, maybe not exploded…perhaps a sitting ovation. The win and the save-stats the way it is and was.

And finally, congratulations go out to my brother Paul and his lovely wife Wendi, who hosted their daughter Samantha’s Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, amongst the redwood trees up in Marin County. It was a quite the experience, kind of like the wailing wall meets the Jonas Brothers. All I can say is mazel tov and what about those Houston Rockets? So enjoy the birds, don’t forget to smell the flowers and we’ll catch you in the paint. Aloha, mahalo and later, Dominique Wilkens fans.

October 28, 2008

What’s The Matter, You Look Sunset

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 8:56 pm


Good morning and greetings, Sunrise Santa Cruz fans. Much like the monarch butterflies returning to the eucalyptus groves of the central coast or the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, the blog is back. And like devoted fans waiting for Mariah Carey’s next CD or costume change, I’ve been patiently waiting for some fall clouds to make their network debut in the California sky. Well, the wait is over as exotic color returned to the Monterey Bay skies on Monday night.

From the genesis Phil Collins along with Phillip (Earth, Wind & Fire) Bailey proclaimed that “She’s an easy lover.” Myself, I’m more of a cloud or NBA lover. And when I saw the late afternoon sky convulsing with all kinds of cloud formations I knew one of two things was going to happen. Either we going to be in for a fabulous display of colors or the fog was going to blow in like the bikers on my favorite new show “Sons of Anarchy” (it’s on FX-a really warm and fuzzy, feel-good program) and spoil everything. Fortunately, unlike Sarah Palin’s explanation of her foreign policy experience, the skies remained clear so the feature presentation went off on the big screen.

So I valet parked myself at the edge of the cliffs at Stockton Avenue along West Cliff Drive and watched the late October sun french dip into the horizon. As the sky to the west was going thru its changes (photos 1-3) I turned and looked south towards the lighthouse and saw that pink was very much in season (photo #4.) I then shifted my auto focus back to the west as the colors changed from orange to red as did the reflection on the water of the lovely Pacific. And much like me and Kobe spinning in the lane, this pre-Halloween event brought with it a 360 degree cloud experience. All in all, not a bad night, and it’s not even November.

So here’s a couple of rambling thoughts. From the political front, courtesy of Jay Leno, “As you know, Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama for President. That’s bad new for John McCain because at his age, he’s already having enough colon problems.” As for myself, I think the whole McCain campaign of negativity and grasping for Palin has been rather sad and pathetic. I find it very hard to believe that people think he is the kind of change this country needs. Or to quote the former Mrs. James Taylor, Carly Simon, “I haven’t got time for the McCain.” Or Sarah Palin. You betcha.

So Yankee-less World Series was delayed last night by an October snowstorm that blew into the east coast. And as one door almost closes another back door opens as the NBA kicked off its new season las night. Ah, the almond joy of eight straight months of basketball on the big screen. And Halloween is just around the corner and that means I’ll be eating mini chocolate bars for months. On that note, let me end this Octoberfest by saying that life is not a trick, it’s a treat. So be damn grateful for the all the good things you have like family, food and TiVo and don’t take your good health for granted. Because you never know what’s around the corner.

So enjoy the autumn skies, enjoy the day and most importantly, enjoy the moments. And remember, every day is sacred, except for some Tuesdays. We’ll catch you on the rebound in November. Aloha, sports fans.

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