March 29, 2015

No Need To Worry, We’ve Got Steph Curry

Good morning and greetings, early spring fans.  The insanity of March Madness continues to carry on, as we are now down to the Final Four teams.  Two weeks ago, I wrote that the finale was going to be a little anticlimatic, as the highly favored University of Kentucky team, who entered tournament undefeated, has just continued to roll on, compiling an very impressive 38-0 mark.
Or as former Butler head coach Joe Sexson once said, “Kentucky players put their pants on the same way our players do. It just takes them a little longer to pull them up.”
 Of course, as Ashley Judd, Kentucky’s most notorious fan reminded me, their starting front line is bigger than most NBA teams.  Gigantic doesn’t begin to describe them.  This vaunted college basketball program continues to find a way to win, as the Wildcats inch closer to a possible NCAA title, which will be decided next Monday night in Indianapolis.
As Kentucky’s vanquished opponents have proclaimed, “Coach John Calipari, tear down this wall.”
But truth be told, I’m not caught up in the hysteria of the college tournament, as there is something even bigger brewing in the Bay Area.  And that, my friends, are your Golden State Warriors.
And if you haven’t heard, there’s still time to jump aboard the Warriors bandwagon.  But don’t make any plans on hopping off until the middle of June, when the NBA championships will be decided.
 It has been a dream season for Warrior fans, something that is so magically delicious that you can’t take your eyes off the screen.  With nine games remaining in the regular season, Golden State has clinched their first Pacific Division title since the 1975-76 season, or when Rick Barry still had some natural hair on his head.
As point guard Steph Curry said last Tuesday night after clinching the title, “It feels great.  It’s my sixth year and we haven’t done it before.  It’s a big accomplishment, but obviously, we have a lot more to accomplish this year with goals in mind.  But this is a good stepping stone for us to win the division and keep it moving.”The blue and gold  have also shattered their all-time franchise record for wins in a season by securing their 60th on Saturday night, while at the same time breaking the mark for wins (26) on the road.  As they say, there’s no place like away.
Rookie head coach Steve Kerr’s squad has been blowing away opponents at home at the Oracle Arena, compiling a very impressive 34-2 mark.  The Warriors have a high octane offense, that involves a lot of ball movement and three point shooting, which really gets the crowds roaring.
The Warrior’s offense is predicated on moving the ball side to side, getting the best shots on every possession.   Everyone is involved in touching the basketball, and this unselfishness leads to good things happening.A longtime observer of the east bay sports scene, Bruce Meyers, says it best. “It’s magical.  It’s poetry in motion.”
But what really revs up the fan base at Oracle is the way the Warriors play defense.  Led by undersized power forward Draymond Green, the Warriors’ defense is a testament to tenacity, as the Warrior defenders have been stifling the opposition like never before.  Inevitably, at some point in the game, lately the third quarter, the Warriors play shut down defense and take their opponents out of the game, and then the rout is on.
Golden State has been magnificent at home, as it has been a party every night.  They are led by all-star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who have been touted as the best outside shooting tandem of all-time. But what makes this squad so effective is their depth, as they have twelve players they can run in and out of the lineup.  The team is hungry and focused, and has played at an extraordinary level all season long.Steve Kerr, with the input from veteran assistant coaches Ron Adams and Alvin Gentry, has transformed the Warriors into a title contender in his first season as head coach.

As owner Joe Lacob said at the time of his hiring, “Steve Kerr was incredibly prepared.   He covered every detail you could imagine.  He knew our roster in and out. He had assistant coaches he wanted to go after. It was like a tour de force. At the end of the day, I know he knows a lot about basketball.”
Golden State, unlike many other franchises, has remained relatively injury free, which is an immense blessing.  Teams like Oklahoma City, Portland and Chicago have been decimated by injuries, with players like the Bull’s Derrick Rose and last year’s MVP Kevin Durant’s futures in doubt.
The key to the excitement at the arena is the team play and it’s orchestrator, Stephen Curry.  Having just celebrated his 27th birthday, he is generally considered, with no disrespect to Russell Westbrook or LeBron James, the most exciting performer in the league.
He is a magician with the ball, and an amazing no look passer.  But what brings the crowds to their feet is his variety of dipsy doo moves to the hoop and his incredible three point shooting.  No one shoots threes better than Steph, and when he launches, it’s nothing but net.
And being 6’3″ and not bulked up, he’s easy to relate to, as a relatively small figure in a big man’s game.  He’s the best player on the best team, and a prime candidate for Most Valuable Player.
But he’s not after that award.  The Warriors are eyes are on a bigger prize, and that is an NBA championship.  It’s going to be tough, but they have they home court advantage, where they have been virtually unbeatable.
So it’s two weeks and counting till the end of the regular season.  And then the big show hits the stage, the NBA playoffs, which will be delectably brutal.  But the Warriors have what it takes, and they are confident that this could very well be their year. So keep the faith and stay tuned.
For our photo study this week, we are returning to the Natural Bridges State Beach on the evening of January 9.  I sensed early on that there would be some fireworks in the sky, and this night did not disappoint.I started shooting from the upper parking lot, and then headed down to the sand, where I caught the reflection of the clouds in the large pond of water.  It was a beautiful sight, as the sky and water were aglow with vivid color.  Game on.
On to some late night humor. “Ted Cruz released a presidential campaign video in Spanish. Cruz explained, “It’s important for me to reach out to the people I’m trying to deport.”  People are questioning if Ted Cruz can legally run for president because he was born in Canada. And the last thing we want to do is pave the way for a President Bieber.” – Conan O’Brien
“Senator Ted Cruz has officially announced that he is running for president. But if you see a T-shirt that says “Ted Cruz 2016,” those aren’t election shirts. That’s just how old he thinks the Earth is.” – Seth Meyers  “Republican candidate Ted Cruz said recently that in the 36 hours after he announced that he’s running for president, he’s raised over a million dollars. And Hillary Clinton closed her checkbook and said, “Happy to help. Can’t wait.” – Jimmy Fallon

“McDonald’s is introducing a Big Mac clothing line. Of course there already is a clothing line for Big Mac lovers. It’s called a hospital gown.  According to a new study, human waste contains gold and other special minerals. In the future this could make things awkward when a cashier asks, “How would you like to pay for this?” -Conan O’Brien

“Kraft Foods and Heinz will merge to create the fifth largest food and beverage company in the world. The merger will combine brands like Kraft Mac & Cheese, Heinz ketchup, Oscar Mayer wieners, and Philadelphia cream cheese. Or as stoners put it, “Already did that, bro.” – Jimmy Fallon”Today is the 20th birthday of the Starbucks Frappuccino. The CEO of Starbucks wrote in his book about the story of the Frappuccino: “It’s experimental, it’s adventurous, it fires people up and engages their imagination.” Does it, though? Seems like a coffee milkshake to me. ” – Jimmy Kimmel
So that our last blast for March.  We’ll catch you scoring 23 points in a win over North Carolina, and then going for a season-high 27 in the win over Arizona Saturday night to get to your Wisconsin team into the Final Four.  Aloha, mahalo and later, Sam Dekker fans.

December 21, 2014

It’s Not Weather You Winter Lose, But How You Play The Game

Good morning and greetings, Frankie Valli fans. I bring up the name of this great frontman for the group, The Four Seasons, because yesterday was the winter solstice, marking the change of seasons from fall to winter.

Yes, the skies have been greyer and the weather a bit damp and chillier, but being north of Big Sur, we take the good with the bad, the ying with the Yankees. After all, what good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?

On the other hand, as writer Robert Byrne once noted, “Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up yours.”

Now back in the 60′s, before I turned to hip hop and rap, the first record album I ever owned was the Four Seasons Greatest Hits. Frankie Valli had a wild falsetto voice, hitting some notes that dogs couldn’t even hear, as he belting out top ten hit tunes like “Sherry”, “Rag Doll” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”

Lyrics like,”Dawn, good away, I’m no good for you,” comprised the music of my early youth. I remember going on my first date with my future wife to Marianne’s Ice Cream and looking at her and thinking, “You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eye off of you,” which I believe was the same way I felt about pralines and cream in a sugar cone. Or was two scoops of the Alice B. Toklas Chocolate Fudge Brownie in a cup?

Either way, Frankie and the rest of the Seasons made a strong impression upon me, but it was the second album that I purchased that had a bigger and more lasting impact for a young boy growing up along with Bruce Springsteen in the Garden State.

As The Boss recalls from his childhood, “When I was growing up, there were two things unpopular in my house. One was me, the other was my guitar.” Gee, and I thought I had it rough having to eat oatmeal for breakfast.

Anyway, the album was The Doors Greatest Hits, with their signature song, “Light My Fire,” that got me hooked up to the rock and roll bandwagon. Back in 2004, it was rated number 35 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of all time.

Number one on the hit list was “Like a Rolling Stone,” by Bob Dylan, followed by the Rolling Stones ‘Satisfaction” and “Imagine” by John Lennon. Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” was number 17, and my generation’s classic anthem, “Stairway to Heaven” came in at number 31. “And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forests will echo with laughter. Does anybody remember laughter?”

But let’s get back to the winter solstice. This was no ordinary day. It is what meteorologists, vampires and wikipedia would classify as an astrological phenomenon, marking the shortest day and the longest night of the year. So according to the Farmer’s Almanac, what this means is the days are getting longer and the medical marijuana stronger.

So I celebrated the first day of winter like a man’s man, with the NFL, the NBA and my son, who returned on Saturday for a two week winter break. After weeks of studying and taking finals in biochemistry and human physiology, all he wants to do is sleep, eat, sleep and dance.

Oh, and watch his Golden State Warriors, whose mind boggling, franchise record 16-game winning streak was snapped last Tuesday in a loss at Memphis. But Steph Curry and the boys got back to their winning ways on Thursday, as their league leading record now stands at a very impressive 22-3. They’re rolling.

So last night, members of the tribe celebrated the sixth night of Hanukkah. During this holiday, we celebrate the miracle of the oil, which lasted eight days, by lighting candles on the menorah. We are then free to bandy about and do as we please, which most importantly involves the eating of potato latkes.

This is the highlight of the eight day festival of lights, as we fry up potato pancakes and then load on either apple sauce or sour cream, or in my case, both. They are delectably delicious and surprisingly, a low carb snack. I personally love to eat them under the mistletoe.

Now for a little holiday humor. It was Hanukkah and the tiny village outside Budapest in Hungary was frightened that they may not have any latkes because they had run out of flour

Rudi, the Rabbi, was called upon to help solve the problem. He said, ‘Don’t worry, you can substitute matzo meal for the flour, and the latkes will be just as delicious.’

Sarah looks to her husband and says, ‘Samuel, you think it’ll work?’

‘Of course,’ Samuel replies, ‘Everybody knows Rudolph the Rab knows grain, dear.’

So to highlight this occasion of shredded potatoes, grated onions and jelly donuts, I am showcasing my third favorite bridge after the George Washington and Golden Gate, Natural Bridges. It’s a tad older than the first two, formed millions of year ago, before the invention of the VCR.

There were originally three arches, but the outermost fell during the early 20th century, and the inner arch collapsed during a storm that I did not photograph in 1980. At that stage of my photography career, I was mostly shooting from Stockton Avenue and rarely ventured north up to the Bridges, so I missed shooting some landscape history. You snooze, you lose.

So these are some shots taken over the years, beginning in 2006. These days, the Bridges is the place to be when the sky blows up at sunset time, because the reflection of the clouds on the sand is always spectacular. And that is something I can live with. So enjoy the final arch.

On to some late night humor. “Sony has canceled the big Seth Rogen movie, “The Interview.” North Koreans hacked their email so Sony said, “Now we can’t show anybody the movie.” I’m disappointed. I think this is the wrong thing to do. And I hear in the film Meryl Streep is great as Kim Jong Un. Last year, my son gave me a delightful gift for Christmas. He took an egg carton, emptied it out, and made me a pill organizer.” – David Letterman

“This evening marks the beginning of Hanukkah. It’s that special tradition where people find out their friend is Jewish and think back on the number of times they’ve asked them what they were doing for Christmas.” – Jimmy Fallon “Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. And who better to celebrate Hanukkah with than our guest tonight — Garth Brooks. Right?” – Jimmy Kimmel

“I’m so excited for my son. On Christmas morning I want to see his face, to be there when he opens the gifts. I want the see what my assistants got him for Christmas. The Giants and the Jets won their football games yesterday. Astronomers say this will not happen again until the year 2164.” – David Letterman

“Those North Korean hackers are at it again. Earlier today they leaked Santa’s naughty list. Happy birthday to Pope Francis. They had a big birthday party for the Pope at the Vatican City Olive Garden.” – David Letterman “A man was recently admitted to the hospital for surgery after doctors discovered he still had surgical scissors in his stomach from a procedure performed 12 years ago. Said his new doctor, “The surgery was a success. Now where are my keys?” – Seth Meyers

So birthday wishes go out today to my old Fort Lee pal Steve Margolin, who after decades of shoveling snow and ice in Connecticut has finally relocated to the Sunshine State of Florida, where he spends the day watching the sunrise and sunset, NBA League Pass and being seated before 5:00 pm to catch the early bird matinee dinner at Flakowitz Deli in Boynton Beach, home of the mile high deli sandwiches.

So that’s the holiday report. It was an unbelievable week for NBA overtime games. So we’ll catch you putting on an fantastic shooting performances in a triple overtime win over the Spurs last week. Aloha, mahalo and later, Damian Lillard fans.

December 14, 2014

62 And Still Don’t Have A Clue

Good morning and greetings, December fans. As you may have known, last week I celebrated my 62nd birthday in the usual fashion, with cake, ice cream, animal balloons and pony rides. It was a fine day, starting out with a stroll along the ocean as the big waves battered the coastline.

At the end of my walk, I passed by a gentlemen wearing a “Life is Good” sweatshirt. I smiled, and knew I had a theme for the day.

So it was off to a tremendous start, as I was then greeted at home with several very clever top ten list birthday cards, which evoked laughter, a key to birthday celebrations. Then it was on to the phones, as I connected with many friends and family throughout this great land of ours. The festivities also included a fabulous Italian lunch and a dinner fit for a king.

All in all, it was day for the ages and I was left with a really warm feeling, like a piece of cinnnamon French toast.

And that was good, because at this point in my life, I like to keep my birthday celebrations low key, as my focus is on having a career by 70. Because you know you’re getting old when the only thing you want for your birthday is not to be reminded of it.

And that’s the downside. Much like Rodney Dangerfield, ” I know I’m getting old. Last week I walked by a cemetery and two guys came running after me with shovels,” I’m not crazy about this aging process. Yeah, I know 62 isn’t 92, but it sure ain’t 32. So it doesn’t thrill me when I hear an opponent on the basketball court say to his teammates while matching up squads, “I got the old guy.”

At that moment, I don’t have to look around and wonder who he’s talking about. But I guess that’s what happens when you’re playing with guys 40 iPads younger. I’m playing with all young bucks, and when I mention I went to Woodstock, they think I’m talking about pizza.

The aging process is catching up with me. I’ve got one toe, two fingers and a computer with arthritis. I’m beginning to like accordion music. Garden care has become a big thing in my life. Now fortunately, I haven’t gotten to the age of comedian George Burns, when he uttered, “When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick.”

Now I have heard unconfirmed reports from a few years back that there are at least 28 deceased classmates from my high school graduating class of 1970. Now despite turning 62, which makes me eligible for lots of insecurity and Social Security, God willing, it looks like the odds of my being around on the planet for a while are pretty good, being that my father is 97 and my mother 88. Unless, of course, they never told me about the adoption.

Now I’m no math major, but what this means is come next February and April, they will be 98 and 89. Holy smokes. When I was living in an outdoor health club called Hermosa Beach in the 90′s, I used to come up to Santa Cruz for the Thanksgiving holiday and when I left to go back to the southland, I would always think, “Will this be the last time I see my father?”

Well, two score and fifty drumsticks later, he is still ticking, although, unfortunately, is a shell of his former self. His dementia has robbed him of most of his short term memory, as his life is lived in a very small circle. But yet he lives on, with the heart of a grazing bison.

So to avoid early dementia, I try to keep my mind sharp as a tack, by doing things like writing this blog, reading non-fiction true crime, ordering egg rolls with every Chinese meal and immersing myself in the world of television. That’s what we call in social media business being well-read and well-viewed.

So I walk three miles each weekday to make sure my heart keeps pumping. This harkens me back to the Ellen DeGeneres line,”You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 today and we don’t know where the hell she is.”

So I don’t know exactly where my life is leading me, as I’ve lived in Santa Cruz for 29 years and could be ready for a change. But as long as my parents are hanging around their ponderosa a mile down the road, the central coast is where I will be. It’s pretty much I don’t know where I’m going, but I know where I’ve been. So stay tuned.

But I do know that wherever I’m at, I’ll be shooting photos, and this week’s selection are quite colorful. The year was 2010, and the place was Natural Bridges State Beach. As you can tell from the first shot, with the way the clouds were situated in this December sky, there was vast potential for some very deep visual activity.

Well, we got that and more, as there was fire in the sky, as the sand and water turned from tangerine to radical orange to ruby red. Just a spectacular night to be on the coast, as the sky was blazing and the sand was a disco inferno.

On to some late night humor. “New research has found that 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans ultimately return to eating meat. It turns out the way animals are treated is nothing compared to how people treat vegetarians. Last week my wife and I welcomed our second child, Frances Cole Fallon. Now I live with three females. Or as Obama put it, “Who’s laughing now, funny man?” – Jimmy Fallon

“Scientists say they’re getting closer to developing a pill to replace exercising. Americans heard this and said that it better come in cool ranch flavor. This week Apple stores are holding free computer programming classes for children. Or as that’s called in China, a job fair. A woman on a Southwest Airlines flight gave birth to a baby. As soon as he was born, the baby said, “I had more leg room in the womb.” – Conan O’Brien

“After the game in a gesture of friendship, LeBron James put his arm around Princess Kate. You’re not supposed to do that. You can’t touch royalty, as I continually remind my staff. A company has developed a grease burn protection so you can fry a skillet full of bacon naked. I did that once. I’m so embarrassed. I thought it would be fun to cook bacon naked. And then Denny’s fired me right on the spot.” – David Letterman.

“A flight headed from San Francisco to Phoenix had to make an emergency landing in L.A. today after a passenger gave birth midflight. The parents called the birth a miracle while the airline called it a second carry-on. The woman gave birth in the middle of a flight. I’m happy to report that the mother and child are doing fine, while the guy who was sitting next to her is not.” – Seth Meyers

“Today Prince William went to Washington, D.C., and he met with President Obama. He said, “It feels weird being in the White House because I’m not an American.” And then Prince William said, “Yeah, me too.” The meeting with Prince William took place at the White House because Prince William wanted to see where the president spent his days, but the golf course was covered in snow.” – Craig Ferguson

So birthday wishes go out today to my old basketball buddy, Jim Berry, who’s relocated from south county to Colorado, but not for those preventive glaucoma reasons you might think. If you catch my drift.

So I hope you’re enjoying the Golden State Warriors’ 16 game winning streak. We’ll catch you coming back from a hand injury and picking up right where you left off, as the most explosive guard in the NBA. Aloha, mahalo and later, Russell Westbrook fans.

November 23, 2014

Jolts And Quotes From The Gravy Boat

Good morning and greetings, turkey day fans. According to my Nicki Minaj desktop calendar, Thanksgiving is coming up on Thursday. For most, it is a week filled with joy, as families reunite and share in a bounty of food, drink and tryptophan. My favorite amino acid helps the body in making niacin, an important B vitamin, which works well as both a floor wax and a dessert topping.

So this week, the airports are packed and people take to the highways like lemmings. Or as the late, great Johnny Carson once observed, “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then they discover once a year is too often.” Hiyo.

Now when I look back into my blogging archives, it seems that I wax nostalgic about my favorite national holiday in the even years, as in 2010, 2012 and 1846.

So for today, I hope you’ll pardon me if I bring back some of the greatest celebrities quotes and a few new ones about this festival of turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and enough stuffing to fill the Grand Canyon.

So Thanksgiving is always a November to remember, as uncontrolled violence, er football, takes center stage on this holiday. Or as comedian John Caponera put it, ‘Who knew the Pilgrims liked football so much?”

It’s a time of bonding, when relatives and friends come together. Jon Stewart, coming off his directorial debut of his new movie, “Rosewater,” grew up in the Garden State of New Jersey and enjoys reminiscing about the holiday. “I celebrated in an old fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then killed them and took their land.”

It seems that the Indians got a raw deal in this whole Thanksgiving story. Or as Native American comedian Larry Omaha puts it, “My mother won’t celebrate Thanksgiving. She says it represents the white man stealing our land. But she’s not angry, she figures, what the hell, we’re taking it back one casino at a time.”

For the host family, a good part of the day is spent in the foxhole, better known as the kitchen, preparing for a feast that will be prepared by a few, eaten by many and cleaned up by less. Unfortunately, many people will go hungry on this day, and that is a sin. No one in America should go hungry.

Or as Mother Theresa once tweeted me from a Backstreet Boys concert, ‘If you can’t feed 100 people, feed one.”

There is something vaguely satisfying about putting together a meal that feeds so many. I just love cramming stuffing into the bird’s cavity, as the instructions always say to ‘lightly stuff” the bird.

Well, after I finish jackhammering the delightfully flavored mix of bread crumbs, celery, and unions into the self basting butterball, I place it in a plastic bag, and it does all the work. It’s like magic. There’s a great future in plastics.

Or as Roseanne Barr once described the filling of the crevice, “Here I am at five o’clock in the morning, stuffing bread crumbs up a dead bird’s butt.”

George Carlin had this take on the holiday. “We’re having something a little different this year for Thanksgiving. Instead of a turkey, we’re having a swan. You get more stuffing.” And it’s always so moist.

So it makes for a long day, but it only comes around once a year, and you have 365 days to recover from it. It can be a little stressful when the families reunite. Or as Stephen Colbert once noted, “Personally, I love Thanksgiving traditions: watching football, making pumpkin pie, and saying the magic phrase that sends your aunt storming out of the dining room to sit in her car.”

Thanksgiving is celebrated by most all in America, from the common working stiff to high profile celebrities in Hollywood. Former California governor Arnold Schwarzeneger, who is busy man due to the double family front on this occasion, made a keen observation when he quipped, “I love the Thanksgiving turkey…it’s the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts.”

Now my favorite TV talk show host, David Letterman, is retiring from the late night wars sometime in 2015. He will be missed. Here’s his take on the holiday. “Thanksgiving is the day when you turn to another family member and say, ‘How long has Mom been drinking like this?’ My mom, after six Bloody Marys, looks at the turkey and says, ‘Here kitty, kitty.’”

As the world know, David Letterman is a huge admirer of the world’s most powerful woman, Oprah Winfrey. As I’ve said before, Oprah is a saint, a woman with a huge heart that overflows with love and generosity. She changes lives on a daily basis, and if you want to model yourself after someone, the Big O would be a good starting point.

This is her thought on the day. ‘Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.” Or as comedian Kevin James once spouted, “Thanksgiving. Not a good day to be my pants.”

Which leads me to the words of writer William A. Ward, who so eloquently once said, “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?”

Well, I believe I have. I am particularly thankful for my health and the health of my family and friends. But I would also like the give thanks to you, the readers of this blog, who take time out each week to decipher whatever humorous thoughts sprint across my mind. It’s all about the laughter. The photos are the icing on the cake.

So for my final thoughts on this day before we celebrate Black Friday, I will defer to one of the funniest and palest men in American, comedian Jim Gaffigan, to put the holiday in the proper prospective. “Thanksgiving. It’s like we didn’t even try to come up with a tradition. The tradition is, we overeat. ‘Hey, how about at Thanksgiving we just eat a lot?’ ‘But we do that every day!’ ‘Oh. What if we eat a lot with people that annoy the hell out of us?’”

So in honor of the turkey day, for our photo follies, we are featuring a cluster of their distant cousins, the pelican. The day was November 14th, and I had heard a rumor of a mass gathering at Natural Bridges State Beach. Sure enough, they were packed in on the rocks like sardines and with the gulls down on the sand.

We then return to November of last year, as we head down to the Municipal Wharf and take in a couple of outrageous feeding frenzy moments, as the birds were going anchovie crazy. There was non-stop action with the volume turned up.

We then move on to a big flock of pelicans in flight heading north before we finish up with a delightful shot along West Cliff Drive of these amazing birds moving through the sun as it dips into the horizon.

On to some late night humor. “There are reports that leaders from ISIS and al-Qaida met at a farm house in Syria last week, and agreed to work together against their common enemies. That story again: Two radical terrorist groups managed to do what two American political parties cannot. The Keystone XL pipeline would run from Canada to the Gulf Coast. It’ll be the biggest underground structure leading into the U.S. Then people in Mexico said, “Eh . . . second biggest.” – Jimmy Fallon

I don’t know if you know this but Hitler was a painter and one of his watercolor paintings is being auctioned off. It’s expected to sell for over $60,000. So if you’re looking for a wedding gift for Charles Manson.”- Conan O’Brien “Today is the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. President Lincoln wrote it on his way to the site of the speech on the back of an envelope. One guy on the back of an envelope wrote the great Gettysburg Address — while every night it takes six guys to write this crap!” -David Letterman

“Germany has overtaken the United States as the world’s favorite country. The favorite country survey was based on more than 20,000 people in 20 countries. Isn’t it a little bit unfair that they did this before the McRib came back?” -Jimmy Kimmel “David Bowie’s new album is a greatest hits collection called “Nothing Has Changed.” On the cover he looks in the mirror and he says nothing has changed. When I look in the mirror I say, “Hello, grandpa.” – Craig Ferguson

“Scientists say the European space probe that landed on the comet has detected organic matter. This means there could be either life in space or a Whole Foods. We just don’t know. This week a group of activists, known as Anonymous, hacked the Twitter account of the KKK. The KKK is furious. They said Anonymous is just a bunch of cowards who don’t have the courage to show their faces.” – Conan O’Brien “A man in California was arrested after he stabbed his potential employer during a job interview. Well, at least now he knows where he sees himself in five years.” – Seth Meyer

So that’s my big holiday post. Enjoy this gathering for what it is and perhaps take a moment to think about the military families that are apart on Thanksgiving.

We’ll catch you slinging touchdown passes and putting up big numbers on the board week after week. Aloha, mahalo and later, Aaron Rogers fans.

February 16, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mr. Presidents

Good morning and greetings, three-day weekend fans. According to my Selena Gomez calendar, today is Presidents’ Day, an American holiday that is celebrated on the third Monday in February, although it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government and survivors of the Battle of Saratoga.

President George Washington’s actual date of birth is February 22, but the holiday was moved in 1971 in an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers and get Abraham Lincoln in on the action. Presidents’ Day is now viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present, with the exception of George Bush.

President’s Day may just be one holiday in February, but in a great American tradition, retailers and dispensaries use it as an excuse for sales all month. It’s the first major sales day of the year by the retail industry, and you can save on big ticket items like cars, computers and vaporizers to enhance your medicinal experience.

But l say forget the memory foam mattress and get into the intended spirit of the occasion by honoring our presidents. So today we’ll take a look at some wild and wacky things you may not have known about a couple of these icons, courtesy of the staff at the National Constitution and Manali Oakat at buzzle.com.

Let’s start with our first Commander-in-Chief. George Washington was a farmer, and was way ahead of his time as he grew marijuana and promoted it’s growth. However, the crop was grown mainly for its usage as industrial value as hemp, soil stabilization and enhancing Saturday morning cartoons. He is also credited with introducing the mule to American farms, which comes as a real kick in the ass.

G.W. never wore a powdered wig, as was the custom for men at the time, preferring a Yankee baseball hat. He adored Derek Jeter. Washington never shook hands with people, preferring the high five, low five or chest bump.

He was homeschooled by his father and brother and never took the SAT’s or went to college. He frequently got confused with spellings having letters ‘i’ and ‘e’. He loved ice cream, with his favorite being Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey and Cherry Garcia. He was the only president who never lived in Washingon D. C. preferring to commute by boat from his home in Mount Vernon to the Oval Office.

Fox hunting and fishing were his favorite sports, as he loved anything with a hook in its mouth. He bred hound dogs that he treated like members of the family. He gave them the names like True Love, Sweet Lips and Ben Franklin. He had six white horses in his stable and had their teeth brushed and flossed everyday. He was a big fan of Betsy Ross and the Supremes.

Washington’s image is a National symbol for the United States. His picture is on the dollar bill and was the first President to be on a postage stamp. His bust has been carved on Mount Rushmore. The state of Washington is the only state to be named after an American, with the exception of Esther Rolle who played Florida on ‘Good Times.’

George Washington used to snore loudly. This was the first reported case of sleep apnea. He suffered from toothaches throughout his life. At the time of his inauguration, Washington had only one tooth as all his teeth were pulled by the time he was the President. At times he wore dentures and was a spokesman for Polident.

He never told a lie as he admitted to once chopping down his father’s cherry tree, Before he died, he told his doctor, “I die hard, but I am not afraid to go. His final words were.”Tis well and I just don’t know where the next season of Homeland is headed. ”

On to our 16th president. Abraham Lincoln was born in a small one room cabin and given no middle name by his parents. As a child he had an averson to killing animals and never hunted or fished. People thought he was lazy, as during those times frontier families depended on fish and game to survive. Often a young Abe could be seen shooting the breeze with baby squirrels and chipmunks.

Lincoln only had 18 months of formal education, including summer school. He loved reading, education and taking Berlitz classes. He practiced law without a degree and was very disorganized. He carried important papers in his stovepipe hat so he wouldn’t misplace them, along with his driver’s license and a pack of chiclets.

Lincoln and his wife would have four sons, but only one of whom would survive past the age of 18. Robert Lincoln, the only son who would live to raise a family of his own was almost killed at a train station in New Jersey near the start of the Civil War. He slipped from a platform and would have fallen in front of the train had he not been grabbed by the collar and pulled to safety by Edwin Booth. Later Edwin’s brother, John Wilkes, would shoot and kill Lincoln, becoming the first president to be assassinated.

Lincoln was the only president to ever obtain a U.S. patent for the invention of the Lincoln Logs. He was the first major leader to feel that women should be allowed the right to vote. He was in the forefront of American Politics for just six short years, but in that time he became the most hated and the most loved president in the history of the United States. He was credited with tearing the country apart and bringing it back together. And for all he did, they only put him on the penny.

He never belonged to an organized church but read the Bible and the New York Post daily. He was a simple man who didn’t drink, smoke or chew tobacco. He hated being called Abe, as he preferred being called by his last name or the “‘White Mambo.” He established Thanksgiving as a national holiday. His cat ate at the White House dinner table and loved Little Friskies.

He was the first president with a beard. His Gettysburg Address, made at the end of the Civil War that ended slavery, is one of the most oft repeated speeches throughout history. It started out “Four score and seven years,” which ironically, is how I started out my first blog post.

If Honest Abe had been asked about today’s Tea Party, he would have responded “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Had he had the opportunity to read my writing, this would have been his response. “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” So I continue on.

For today’s photo lineup, we are returning to the evening of November 14. The place was Natural Bridges State Beach. Expectations were low on this night but then things went surprisingly well, with the sky turning different shades of red and pink, which was certainly preferable to the lighter shade of pale

February has been a great month for shooting sunrises and sunsets, and they are starting to stack up on my computer like 747′s on the runway at JFK International. So check for times and dates at a theatre near you.

On to some late night humor. “Norway currently leads the medal count with 12, followed by the Netherland and Canada, followed then by white-sylvania and albino-stan. The Winter Games are really the only games that to do well, you have to look exactly like the surface you’re competing on.” –Jon Stewart “Bob Costas had to take a break from hosting the Olympics coverage due to an eye infection. In fact, his eyes are so bloodshot, he’s been made an honorary member of the U.S. snowboarding team.” – Conan O’Brien

“They are very upfront about the fact that you should have no expectations of privacy if you go there to Sochi. The phones immediately are hacked, your computers are hacked, the rooms are bugged; one hotel – their slogan is ‘we’ll leave the mic on for you.’” –Bill Maher “It’s Fashion Week in New York City. I was walking to work today and I thought oh, my God, there’s a giant icicle. But it was a frozen supermodel.” – David Letterman

“Yep, tonight is the 969th and final episode of “Late Night.” Or as my dad put it, “Couldn’t make it to a thousand, huh? Quitter.” We’ve done over 10,000 monologue jokes over the last five years. And in case you missed any of them, the best way I could summarize those jokes is that Joe Biden needed Obamacare after Anthony Weiner texted Justin Bieber a picture of Chris Christie dating a Kardashian on the Jersey Shore — with Rob Ford. – Jimmy Fallon

So not only is February 22 the birthday of George Washington and Dr. J, Julius Erving, but it is also the day my brother Paul came flying out the chute, so birthday wishes go out to him while he still in his 50′s.

We’ll catch you turning 60 after gaining worldwide fame by appearing on three consecutive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues back in the late 70′s and early 80′s. Aloha, mahalo and later, Christie Brinkley fans.

September 22, 2013

The Hunt For Red September

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 1:17 pm

Good morning and greetings, autumn equinox fans. Back in 1966, the song that rose to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts was “Cherish,” a pop hit recorded by the Association. As I told my my wife numerous times while I was courting her, “You don’t know how many times I wished that I could hold you. You don’t know how many times I’ve wished that I could mold you into someone who could cherish me as much as I, cherish you.” She was a tough nut to crack.

That same year, the Happenings had the #3 hit, as they harmonized with, “See you in September. See you when the summer’s through.” It’s funny how summertime comes around in our little cold water paradise. To quote the lovely Mandy Pepperidge from the comedy classic “Animal House,” the weather this past June through August, “It really wasn’t that great.”

And then all of a sudden, it’s September, and the hot fun in the summertime returns to our central coast. The tourists have left, the kids are back in school, and my liver enzymes are returning to normal. And best of all, we are experiencing the warmest month of the year, with the skies clearer than my colon after prepping for the colonoscopy I had last week.

Fortunately, I came through this procedure with flying colors and it’s now on my resume as a film credit. I’ve always maintained that true happiness starts inside and one needs to look within. However, for the next ten years I’ll be probing my mind, not the silver lining of my intestines.

Which brings us back to September, which according to my Miley Cyrus Rocks calendar, is the month back in 1850 that California became the 31st Golden State in the union. I believe it was either Jimmy Kimmel or the Dali Lama’s barber who reminded me of this quote for September. “You may be only one person to the world, but you may also be the world to one person.” And in the words of Billy Joel, “But she’s always a woman to me.” From the mouth of one of four men to be divorced from Christie Brinkley.

Labor Day is the only legal holiday in September. It brings back childhood memories, as I always labored on this holiday, making sure my parent’s nursery school, which was located in our home, was set to go the next day for the rampaging youngsters. It was a day of painting tricycles and footsteps leading into the school. As I carefully painted the small footprints, this quote would come to mind. ‘Others will follow in your footsteps easier than they will your advice.” Hey, I just didn’t want them to end up in the neighbor’s backyard.

So back on Labor Day weekend, I wasn’t expecting any digital action, as the skies had been fog-free with few clouds to tweet home about. Besides, over the past nine years, I could count the sunsets I’ve photographed in September on one hand, so my expectations were lower than rainfall totals in Death Valley this summer.

But then on Sunday over the holiday weekend, a boatload of moisture surged into the atmosphere, which brought clouds and drama to the sky. As I peered out in the late afternoon at the formations and fronts moving in, I saw there was a window of clear sky at the horizon, indicating that could be a ruckus down at the junction in the near future.

My instincts were correct, as the sky blew up on this night. With a warm breeze blowing, the clouds just kept getting brighter and brighter, as people flowed into Natural Bridges to take in this unexpected sight. From where I was shooting, the brightest hues appeared over the sand and trees at the Bridges, denying me some of the incredible reflection that would have painted the Pacific waters. But to to be alive and experience something like this was a gift, an incredible visual display of light and color that I simply did not want to end. I was at peace, and so thankful to have captured these magical moments.

Moving along, I had one of those bittersweet moments on Saturday, as my son left home to start his sophomore year at UC Santa Barbara. I’m happy for him as he is loving the college experience. However, it’s sad to see him go as part of my heart goes with him. But he did make some history last Thursday, as he became the first Gilbert to reach the Jewish summit of Mount Everest. As he wrote on his Facebook page, “I just dunked a basketball. Now what do I do with the rest of my life?” Either way, I figure he’s now a lock to get into medical school.

On to the late night humor. “President Obama warned that the government could shut down in two weeks. Obama added, ‘Not because of a budget impasse but because we’ll all be watching the last episode of ‘Breaking Bad.’” “The CEO of Starbucks is asking customers to stop bringing guns into the coffee chain stores. He said, ‘It’s our job to rob you guys.’ Kevin Trudeau, the king of infomercials, has been sent to jail for fraud. The judge sentenced him to 10 years. But then he said, “Wait, there’s more,” and added another five years.” – Conan O’Brien

“For the first time ever, Miss America is a woman of Indian descent. The judge asked her three questions: Why do you want to be Miss America?, What will you do with the prize?, and How do I get my laptop to reboot?” – Conan O’Brien “For the first time an Indian-American has won Miss America. A 24-year-old named Nina Davuluri won by answering a question no one else could possible answer: “What is the name of last year’s Miss America?” – Jay Leno “The big controversy in the pageant this year was that Miss Kansas had tattoos. Miss America’s main competitor is the Miss USA Pageant, which is run by Donald Trump. Trump said tattoos made Miss Kansas look silly. Then he stuck his head into a cotton candy machine to whip up a fresh batch of hair.” – Craig Ferguson

“Saturday night was the big fight in Las Vegas between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez. Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne actually walked Floyd Mayweather to the ring. It really psyched out Alvarez. When he saw the three of them together he was like, “I don’t know who to hit first.” Yesterday, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco actually missed the birth of his son so that he could play with his team against the Browns. It was 8 pounds, 7 ounces. Not the baby — the diamond Flacco had to buy his wife to make up for it.” – Jimmy Fallon “Dairy farmers now warn that there could be a jump in the price of milk by the end of the year. Milk could be as much as $6 a gallon. Today Senator John McCain outlined a new plan to invade Wisconsin.” – Jay Leno

So the summer of 2013, like the New York Giants getting a first down rushing this season, is now history. We’ll catch you amazing the baseball world that you can win division titles with a tiny payroll in back-to-back seasons. Aloha, mahalo and later, Oakland A’s fans.

August 11, 2013

A Walk Is Better Than A Hit

Good morning and greetings, summer vacation fans. About ten years ago, my personal physician suggested that I should get more exercise. Now up until until my mid- forties, I had been playing full court basketball five a days and week and playing half court on Saturday, as it was my people’s Sabbath. I was in fairly good shape and was considering a career as a personal fitness trainer and hand model.

But then reality came calling, and it was a bitter pill to swallow. Work. I remember walking during this time and spotting a youngster dribbling a basketball, as he headed over to the park to play hoops. My heart sank like an open jumper, as the realization set in that I was no longer footloose and fancy free and that my life had changed.

But I was determined to make the best of it. It was not an easy task. Looking back on it today, those five days of work were longest days of my life.

So I discussed with my physician the exercise options that were open to me. Swimming was out, as I may have drowned in a past lifetime. I could go bike riding, but I never really built up a sweat riding my beach cruiser along West Cliff. And riding a stationary bike is just not that scenic, although it saves a lot of wear and tear on the tires.

Bowling, badminton and cliff diving just weren’t vigorous enough, so it came down to running. I had run track in high school, but those were the short sprints. I was never really excited about running long distances as my shoulders hurt from this activity. It was probably because I’m highly sensitive to the feelings of everyone around me and that I had the body fat of a young veal.

So I decided to start running around my neighborhood to work up a sweat, so that my heart knew I was still alive. I started strong, as I used to be able to run a good mile and a half before the heart palpitations set in.

And then something nutty happened. Instead of getting stronger so I could leap tall bushes in a single bounce, I found the more I ran, the weaker I got. This was not a case of what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. I had to face a harsh reality. My Olympic dream was over.

But out of this darkness came shining light, as my failings led me to my weekday strolls along West Cliff Drive. I still needed to get some exercise, and what better place to take in the sights while kick starting my heart and soul.

So the weather last week was not unusual here on the central coast. It’s nothing like what I experienced in the summertime back east, when it was hazy, hot, and most consistently, humid. I’m not saying it was like that all the time, as there were pleasant summer days, but the unbearable humidity dominated the headlines. It was hot when I awoke and the air conditioners would still be humming when I drifted off to sleep.

This is in contrast to last Wednesday morning, when I woke up to a light mist or what the locals calls rain. I remember putting the heat on in my car as I headed down to the cliff thinking, I can’t believe they refer to this as summer weather. Still, there was a certain charm to walking through the dreary fog and precipitation, as the pelicans, cormorants and gulls weren’t giving it a second thought.

Then came Thursday, and the sun was peeking through the clouds as I exited my westside abode. When I got to the parking lot at Natural Bridges, there were the faint signs of a fading rainbow alongside the remaining arch. I took this as a good sign. The ground was wet but the air was warm. We’re talking short sleeve weather, a rarity on summer mornings. I’m always somewhat shocked to see the sun or my under eye circles in the early part of the coastal day.

I was more than pleasantly surprised at this rapid turn of events, but I shouldn’t have been, as I had been down this road before. As I strolled along with my faithful golden companion, the sun was gleaming across the water, and a gorgeous cloud bank painted the eastern sky above Lighthouse Point.

As I headed south, a seal popped its head out of the water at Stockton Avenue, while further out, a great egret was hanging out in the kelp beds. The air was a glorious temperature, and despite the fact that I had woken up at 4:40 am and couldn’t get back to sleep no matter how many sheep I counted, life was good at that moment.

However, by the time I returned home, the clouds had come in and and erased all this morning majesty. I got lucky on this day, so I guess timing is still everything. Just a great day to take a walk on the mild side in this cold water paradise.

For today’s photo conclave, I am featuring moments from three sunrises for the price of one. The first and third were taken from the end of my street along the upper westside. The skies above Monterey Bay conveniently lit up on these two January mornings, which made the silhouette of the tree of life that much more vivacious.

The middle rise was shot during the same month from the cliffs above Cowell’s Beach, looking across to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. For you folks keeping a scorecard at home, last January was a fabulous month for sunrises. Just goes to show that they do make sunrises like they used to.

On to the late night humor. “U.S. embassies are closed all around the Middle East this week due to a terrorist threat. What happened was the U.S. intercepted a conference call of 20 al-Qaida operatives. Twenty on one conference call! Who is their carrier? I go under a bridge and my cellphone drops the call, but they can get 20 people in one call from a cave? I guess you all heard about this terrorist threat the president warned us about. One of the reasons al-Qaida is upset with the United States is because we are giving aid to Yemen. We didn’t have a choice. When life hands you Yemen, you give them Yemen aid. This story just gets crazier: Two more women have come forward to accuse San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual misconduct. That brings the total to 13 — or as Filner calls it, a groper’s dozen.” -Jay Leno

“As our studio audience knows, the security today for President Obama was incredible. In fact, first lady Michelle Obama already had the Secret Service sweep the president’s dressing room for chips, pizza, ice cream. This weekend President Obama celebrated his 52nd birthday. For his birthday, Michelle Obama jumped out of a cake and told him he’s not allowed to have any. Happy birthday to President Obama! He will be 52 years old on Sunday. If you’d like to get the president a gift, you can’t go wrong with Edward Snowden. He would love that. You can see that the President is getting a little grayer. In fact, they are starting to call him “The Silver Fox.” That’s because most of the silver in his hair was caused by Fox.” – Jay Leno

“Alex Rodriguez was suspended from baseball for using performance-enhancing drugs, but then he appealed, so technically he can still play. Last night he played his first game since the suspension and hit a bloop single. And then he said, “Imagine how far that would have gone if I was still on steroids!” Baseball suspended 13 players for alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs, most notably baseball’s highest paid player, Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees. A-Rod is suspended for 211 games. That is an odd number, but .211 is what they calculated his batting average would have been without the drug.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Fifty years ago today was “the great train robbery.” Robbers got away with $63 million in cash from a postal train in Britain. My father worked for the post office at that time. He was supposed to be working on the night that it was robbed, but he had the flu. He called in sick. Coincidence? All I know is right after the great train robbery, we ate well around my house. Yes, that is the night we got a brand new potato. I like heist movies. “Oceans 11″ was a good one. Then there was “Oceans 12″ where they robbed the people who went to see the movie.” – Craig Ferguson

“The Boston Globe newspaper has been sold for $70 million, even though 20 years ago it went for $1.1 billion. I couldn’t believe that story when I saw it for free on the Internet. LeBron James of the Miami Heat had to report for jury duty today. Of course there will be 11 other jurors to help decide the case, but you know he’ll wind up doing it all by himself. The NFL is about to get its first full-time female referee. Good for them. It will be a little different though. When a player asks her what he did wrong, she’ll say “Oh, you know what you did.” – Jimmy Fallon

So let’s it for August. I’m taking some time off and heading to the Garden Isle in South Pacific to study the mating habits of the chocolate covered macadamia nut. I shall return on September 2nd.

We’ll catch you showing the world the Australians can produce great TV crime dramas. Aloha, mahalo and later, “Underbelly” fans.

July 7, 2013

Here’s To The Red, White And Blue Whales

Good morning and greetings, marine life fans. Let’s face it, life is good if you live on Monterey Bay. When I walk along West Cliff Drive, I’m always fascinated by the waves, the changing skies and the people who pass by who don’t make eye contact. I see seals, dolphins, broncos, sea otters, sea lions, sea biscuits and the passing whales. I always stop in my tracks and watch them glide through the water, surface and then go back under as I await their next appearance. That’s the view you get from being a land bound creature. However, offshore is where the real action is, and that’s where we’re headed today.

You may have missed this story from back in mid June written by Jason Hoppin in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The description of the events in our front yard called Monterey Bay blew what little is left of my mind, as it described a kind of excitement unseen by yours truly.

It seems on this late spring day the bay was teeming with a lunch special for a variety of whales. This brought about a sight seen by a few but missed by the masses. The action was so spectacular that I wanted to bring it back into the July light.

The date was June 15, and giants of the deep were putting on an unbelievable show. Boat captains and calamari lovers estimated that at least 30 blue whales, which, next to the cast of “Baywatch,” are some of the most spectacular creatures ever to grace the ocean’s water, were involved in a feeding frenzy seven miles off shore in a place called Soquel Canyon. I have extensively researched these so-called “frenzies” at various all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets. It’s a world where mu shu pancakes meets Animal Planet and anything can happen, especially if there’s any sweet and sour sauce lurking in the area.

Now on a good day, blue whales measure about 90 feet. If you are thinking in terms of sports, this is the length of a basketball court, or almost a third of a football field, which means you’d need three first downs to just go end to end with these giants. Their tails alone are as wide as a Greyhound bus. Just imagine the earth’s largest dinosaurs swimming in the ocean. Now imagine them all jacked up and feeding on krill like a Yom Kippur fast had just ended.

If you could find a scale big enough, these big boys and girls would weigh in between 100 and 150 tons. Don’t bother them with Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig as much like myself, they’re not interested. Their tongues are the size of a Buick and get better mileage. And I don’t want to say that whale calves are big, but after a year of formulating inside their mother’s womb, these cute little babies emerge weighing three tons and measuring 25 feet. Try fitting that into a car seat.

And if you think your baby was a big eater, listen to this. For the first year, a whale calf dines on nothing but mother’s milk and cookies and gains 200 pounds a day, which leads to body issues during the teenage years. And in case you were planning a vacation, you can fit about 100 people inside a blue whale’s mouth. And these mammals have no need for cell phones, as they can communicate with relatives and other whales over a thousand miles away.

So what happened on this day all came about because of the wind. The spring breezes shoved the warmer surface water aside, which allowed much cooler water, which was filled with more nutrients than a Jamba Juice Peach Pleasure smoothie, to come up from the ocean floor. This process is called upwelling, which is great for hungry whales but not so good for family members of the lower species like krill, squid or members of the NRA, because on this day, they were the “blue plate special,” with a pun definitely intended.

Let’s just say that blue whales have a large appetite. How large? At one meal they can down four tons of krill along with a dinner salad and small dessert. According to Ken Stagnaro of Stagnaro Charters, on this Saturday, the ruckus out at Soquel Canyon was put in play by the krill getting trapped against the canyon walls by the tides with no way out. This led to “side by side, dozens of blue and humpback whales continually surface lunging (which is also my favorite way of eating) at the massive schools of krill, sometimes swimming within yards of the boat. We sat nearly motionless for nearly 90 minutes as the largest animals in the world gorged on the sea surface for everyone to see.” And all meals include an 18% gratuity added to the total before any discounts.

What made this day even more remarkable was that the blues don’t usually make an appearance until the NFL preseason, making this open sea dining experience that much more remarkable. There are usually humpback whales in the bay, but the blues were an unexpected late spring treat. Also on display were the orcas, the killer whales who like to dine on seals, dolphins and baby gray whales, and who along with Japanese and Norwegian whalers and Sarah Palin are the only natural predators of the blues.

It was nature gone wild this June day on Monterey Bay, which was first discovered by the Spanish explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo back in 1542 while searching for a junior college. And it was all made possible by the wind, which brought to the surface more culinary riches than could be found at all the Red Lobsters, Long John Silvers and Bubba Gump Shrimp Companies in America. Monterey Bay, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Stop by, admission is free.

For today’s photo entree, we are going back to March 15. This day started on a fabulous note, as I photographed a beautiful sunrise down at Lighthouse Point. And then that evening, color returned to the sky, as I started my photographic trek at Stockton Avenue before moving up to Natural Bridges to complete the daily double sunrise/sunset experience. Any time you can get two for the price of one is a good day on the photography front.

There’s no late night action this week so I’ll throw in a joke. A woman stormed up to the front desk of the library and said, “I have a complaint.” “Yes, ma’am?” “I borrowed a book and it was horrible!” “What was wrong with it?” “It had too many characters and there was no plot whatsoever.” The librarian nodded and said, ‘Ah. So you must be the person who took our phone book.”

So that’s our first blast for July. Hope you enjoyed the holiday week as now the summer of 2013 is in full swing.

We’ll catch you surprising the NBA world by turning down more money and signing a free agent contract with the Golden State Warriors. Aloha, mahalo and later, Andre Iguadola fans.

June 16, 2013

The Old And The Beautiful

Good morning and greetings, late spring fans. Another week has flown by and become a pleasant, yet quickly fading memory. Last week, both my children experienced some closure, as my son returned home from his freshman year at college and my daughter finished her sophomore year in high school. I have no memory of how I felt at those two junctures in my life, or for that matter, my thoughts at a good number of semi-momentus occasions from my past. No matter which way I slice it or dice it, my cranium is ripening like a golden papaya. As Mark Twain said, “What is human life? The first third is a good time, the rest remembering about it.”

I then must ask the question, is it really important to remember what I was thinking or feeling when these events occurred? I believe it was either Justin Beiber’s barber or the Dali Lama’s second cousin who had this thought. “One day at a time-this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone, and do not be troubled by the future, for it is yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it is worth remembering.” As a photographer, I capture the present, then share the past in the future. I believe that was a Kodak moment.

I’ve got to admit, I’m a little concerned about my legacy, because at this point, no one will ever accuse me of being a workaholic. The words “I wish I had spent more time at the office,” will never be uttered from my lips. That’s why I got a little nervous when I ran into this quote from Theodore Roosevelt. “There has never yet been a man in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering?” Well, in the words of Charles Barkley or Charles Dickens, “Never say never.” And never, never, never look away.

These days I try to focus ahead, because all the stuff that happened in the past doesn’t really seem quite as important. I don’t plan on living forever, although my father is going somewhat strong at age 96, so I figure I’ve got a few more Chinese birthday dinners in me. Sometimes it’s just about the cream cheese filled wontons. That’s crab rangoon if you’re keeping score at home.

Bottom line, the only things we’ll never know is how much time we have on this earth and when that jury duty summons is coming. But it seems through advances in medicine and energy drinks that people are living longer and longer. Just my luck, I’m finally getting my head together and my body is falling apart.

I know my hearing isn’t what it used to be. I’ve turned the response of “What?” into an art form. It doesn’t surprise me, as neither of my parents have heard a word since the Carter Administration. It’s like the old joke. A guy is talking to his neighbor telling him about the new hearing aid he just got. “It costs a fortune, but it was worth it. It works perfectly.” “Really,” said the neighbor. “What kind is it?” “Ten thirty.”

Speaking of aging, last week in Japan, the world’s oldest person besides Johh McCain, and the oldest man to have ever lived died of natural causes at age 116. Jiroemon Kimura, who was born in 1897, died last Wednesday morning from old age. Kimura was was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person in December 2012, after a woman from the United States died at the age of 115 after a surfing accident.

That month he also broke another record when he was verified as the oldest man ever to have lived, after reaching the age of 115 years and 253 days. And this was without ever commenting on the weather, asking what time it was or changing his TV channel. He was but a simple man.

Although he was the only the third man in history to reach 115 years of age, he was well off the all-time record set by French woman Jeanne Calment, who surrendered in 1997 at the age of 122, when she was run over by a squirrel gathering acorns, making her the longest living person in history to be done in by a small rodent.

Kimura worked at a post office for about 40 years. Friends say that’s what killed him. After retiring he took up farming, which he continued to do until the age of 90, when he got a computer and spent all this free time cruising dating sites. He did not smoke and only ate until he was 80 percent full. But neighbors say he drank like a fish. Kimura’s motto in life was “to eat light and live long,” means I may have to back off the chocolate cake in the morning.

“Jiroemon Kimura was an exceptional person,” said Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records. “As the only man to have ever lived for 116 years, he has a truly special place in world history.” The new oldest living man is James McCoubrey, an American who was born in Canada on Sept. 13, 1901. He’s 111 years old, which makes him the 32nd-oldest living person in the world. And all those who are older are women.

I think I know why women live longer. They are born with stronger immune system, which gives them the inner strength to deal with the opposite sex. They come with a better set of instruments, which leads to greater understanding and insight. They know they’re going to be around longer, so they can kick back and go with the flow. So that’s why my wife lets me hold the remote control when we watch TV. Because she knows time, time, time, is on her side, yes it is.

For today’s photo galaxy we are heading to Natural Bridges State Beach on the night of February 2. The orange and red tone of the clouds and the reflection on the sand was a sight to behold. I took it as a good sign for the days to come from our shortest month. I never tire of photographing the last remaining arch, as once their was three and now there is one. And in the words of Three Dog Night “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do. Two can be as bad as one, its the loneliest number since the number one.” Joy to the world.

On to some late night humor. ” The NSA has been listening in on phone calls. It’s people with cellphones. You know your phone is being tapped when you’re having a conversation and you hear the attorney general breathing. Happy birthday to the president’s daughter Sasha, who is 12 years old. For her birthday, her father gave her Justin Bieber’s phone records.” –David Letterman “There’s talk that boy band One Direction is trying to win over Justin Bieber’s fans who aren’t happy with Bieber’s recent behavior. Those guys from One Direction better be careful, or this could result in the world’s most adorable fistfight.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Hillary Clinton finally joined Twitter yesterday and racked up more than 200,000 followers in only five hours. Yeah, they were like, “Hillary in 2016!” and “Washington needs Hillary!” and “Hillary for the White House!” That’s not her followers. Those were her tweets. As part of a senior prank, students at a high school in Washington spray-painted all over their school, but they actually misspelled the word “senior” twice. That probably explains why they didn’t get into “collage.” – Jimmy Fallon

“There are reports that female terrorists are being fitted with exploding breast implants. How many guys are going to use this as an excuse? “Honey, I’m not looking at her breasts. I’m working for Homeland Security.” The guy who blew the whistle on the NSA scandal is a former security worker named Edward Snowden. He is a high school dropout. He was making $122,000 a year. He lived in Hawaii. He was engaged to a beautiful former ballerina. And he gave it all up. So not only is he a whistleblower. He’s also a moron. – Jay Leno

“House Speaker John Boehner called NSA’s Edward Snowden a traitor. But only because he leaked the name of his tanning bed. McDonald’s has started introducing breakfast items at night for what it calls an after-midnight menu. It’s all part of McDonald’s’ new slogan, “Welcome alcoholics.” – Conan O’Brien

So enjoy the NBA Finals. We’ll catch you showing NBA fans why, despite painful knee problems, that you can still light it up any night. Aloha, mahalo and later, Dwyane Wade fans.

June 2, 2013

A Mime Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

Good morning and greetings, rock and roll fans. Music is my mistress, as many days I walk around with a certain song playing over and over in my head, drowning out the voices that I normally hear and cherish. And cherish is a word I use to describe all the feelings that I have for you cyber readers inside.

Speaking of cherish, not to be confused with cherries, which are bursting with flavor and sweetness this time of the year, it was the first song played when my wife and I hit the dance floor at our wedding. It was either going to be that or the Guess Who’s’ American Woman,’ but “American woman, stay away from me,” really didn’t set the tone for what is an ongoing, twenty-four year journey of love, trust and Tivo, and definitely not in that order.

My wife and I have become inseparable, like two snow peas in a pod. She makes sure I’m balanced and rotated, like a good set of Michelin tires. I’m not sure she feels the same way, as the other day she quoted feminist Gloria Steinem, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” She then followed with this doozy from the former undercover Playboy Bunny, “The surest way to be alone is to get married.” I broke down and I cried. Hallmark couldn’t have said it any better.

After dropping off our daughter at school in the morning, we walk together on beautiful West Cliff Drive. It’s a magnificent way to start the day. She tells me about her hopes, dreams and aspirations, while my mind wonders about what I’ll be making for dinner that night. But through my nodding and inane comments she knows that I’m listening, a trait that is not easy for me, as my mind races faster than the earth rotates around Oprah. As she once told David Letterman, “When I look into the future, it’s so bright it burns my eyes.” And that’s why I wear sunglasses, because I’m finally getting the feeling that at this belated date, my future is ahead of me.

But stop the presses. Five minutes after I wrote the line about my brightening future, I had to remove my shades, as I received a phone call from a long time compatriot that put a damper on my previous statement. I found it somewhat ironic that less than 300 seconds after I had written the most optimistic sentence in my blogging career, I was suddenly no longer in that moment of joy and excitement. I was in a place that I had visited way too often in my life, where I didn’t need to make an appointment as it seemed they were expecting me. The future just ain’t what it used to be.

The situation brought to mind a scene from Woody Allen’s “Play I Again, Sam,” where he’s in a museum, attempting to pick up a woman who’s looking at a painting. Woody: That’s quite a lovely Jackson Pollock, isn’t it? Woman: Yes, it is. Woody: What does it say to you? Woman: It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of man forced to live in a barren, godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror, and degradation, forming a useless, bleak straitjacket in a black, absurd cosmos. Woody: What are you doing Saturday night? Woman: Committing suicide. Woody: What about Friday night?

Life is so strange, but with all the good and bad, it’s really just how you perceive it between your two ears. It seems like every day I’m getting older. Pablo Picasso said it takes a long time to grow young. I don’t want to say I’m getting old, but the most exercise I get is looking for my glasses. I’ve already lived the lives of five golden retrievers. And yet I still want to chase that tennis ball.

However, for a young man in his 60′s, I’m great shape. Despite waking up to go to the bathroom 13,000 times a night, I’m always fresh and raring to go in the morning. I know I don’t get enough sleep, and perhaps that’s why I spend a good part of the day opening my mouth involuntarily while taking a long, deep breath of air. I believe the medical term is called yawning and is a result of stress, tiredness and extreme virility. Throw in the fact that I snore like a banchee and next to Lou Gehrig, my wife might be the luckiest man alive.

The most important thing for me is keeping my mind active and making sure my DVR is plugged in. That’s why week after week I pound away at this key board, like Mozart with a jump shot, trying to put together some words and sentences together that don’t violate the Volstead Act. And who knows what the future holds? I could be sitting on a gold mine. So stay tuned.

For today’s photo appetizer, I’m finishing what I started two weeks, ago, when I featured a gorgeous late January sunrise shot at Steamers Lane. The mid afternoon cloud action over the bay was incredible. Today’s photos are the second half of the daily double, which was the fabulous sunset I shot that same night.

I started out my photographic adventure at Stockton Avenue along West Cliff Drive, and then like Lewis and Clark without the services of Sacagawea, made my way up to Natural Bridges for the grand finale. Just a beautiful night from the winter of 2013 on Monterey Bay. Days like this is why God invented the sky.

No late night humor this week so I’m going with a few jokes. A guy is sitting at home when he hears a knock at the door. He opens the door and sees a snail on the porch. He picks up the snail and throws it as far as he can. Three years later, there’s a knock on the door. He opens it and sees the same snail. The snail says “What the hell was that all about?”

A guy enters a bar carrying an alligator. Says to the patrons, “Here’s a deal. I’ll open this alligator’s mouth and place my genitals inside. The gator will close his mouth for one minute, then open it, and I’ll remove my unit unscathed. If it works, everyone buys me drinks.” The crowd agrees. The guy drops his pants and puts his privates in the gator’s mouth. Gator closes mouth. After a minute, the guy grabs a beer bottle and bangs the gator on the top of its head. The gator opens wide, and he removes his genitals unscathed. Everyone buys him drinks. Then he says: “I’ll pay anyone $100 who’s willing to give it a try.” After a while, a hand goes up in the back of the bar. It’s a woman. “I’ll give it a try,” she says, “but you have to promise not to hit me on the head with the beer bottle.”

A newlywed couple moves into their new house. One day the husband comes home from work and his wife says, “Honey, you know, in the upstairs bathroom one of the pipes is leaking, could you fix it?” The husband says, “What do I look like, Mr. Plumber?” A few days go by, and he comes home from work and his wife says, “Honey, the car won’t start. I think it needs a new battery. Could you change it for me?” He says: “What do I look like, Mr. Goodwrench?” Another few days go by, and it’s raining pretty hard. The wife finds a leak in the roof. She says, “Honey, there’s a leak on the roof! Can you please fix it?” He says, “What do I look like, Bob Vila?” The next day the husband comes home, and the roof is fixed. So is the plumbing. So is the car. He asks his wife what happened. “Oh, I had a handyman come in and fix them,” she says. “Great! How much is that going to cost me?” he snarls. Wife says: “Nothing. He said he’d do it for free if I either baked him a cake or slept with him.” “Uh, well, what kind of cake did you make?” asks the husband. “What do I look like,” she says, “Betty Crocker?”

So that’s our first blast for June. We’ll catch you stepping up in the playoffs and showing NBA fans why you’re the best young center in the eastern conference. Aloha, mahalo and later, Roy Hibbert fans.

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