December 4, 2011

It Just Dawned On Me

Good morning and greetings, December fans. Yes, time is flying by faster than Herman Cain could come up with denials for his extracurricular activities. I’m saddened to see the Godfather of mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce withdraw from the Presidential race, but it was a nice slice of campaigning while it lasted.

So with Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, it’s full steam ahead into the season where families and shoppers shift their focus from food and warm feelings to the holiday tasks of giving, receiving and most
importantly, returning.

December is also the time of year where I wake up every morning and
immediately search the sky for signs of clouds, color and intelligent life.
If I think there’ll be any possibility of viewing a this menagerie of color, I get dressed faster than J-Lo during a costume change, grab my camera and pepper spray and head down to West Cliff. I then eagerly await the heavens lighting up, so I can snap away like Ansel Adams on methamphetamine without any film hesitation. With any luck, the skies over Monterey Bay will cooperate and I’ll walk away with a prize that few can claim that morning.

That’s the beauty of shooting sunrises along West Cliff Drive. 99% of the time, I’m shooting alone. I guess that makes me part of the 1%. It’s not like sunset, when the the cliff is loaded with strollers, gawkers
and stalkers armed with their cell phone cameras, taking in the twilight
action. Shooting sunrise, much like my daily bubble baths, is a much more solitary affair, and in the last seven years I can count on one hand the amount of people who have joined me on this early morning excursion into photographic splendor. Alone but together.

Like chocolate, it’s usually semi-dark with when I hit the cliff, and then the sky lightens up as I await the immersion and conversion of this cloud conversation. It’s quite a diversion. What I enjoy most, besides the intense colors, reflection and finding a good parking space, is that this particular sunrise shot I’m getting is mine alone. I know there are people shooting this same spectacular moment up and down the coast, but from this particular location, it’s usually all mine. At least until this posting.

The reason for this sentimental journey is to capture these incredible moments and share it with cyber readers throughout the world and the west side. Like my old days as a Navy Seal, it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure. You do the hokey pokey and you turn your mind around, and that is what Sunrise Santa Cruz is all about.

So today’s photo montage showcases the first sunset I encountered this fall. We harken back to October 10th, where unlike my dreams and aspirations, everything fell into place that morning. I first shot the sky blowing up and the glowing reflection on the sand, before changing my location and moving back to Bird Rock to capture the full magnitude of this early morning convention of clouds.

I then continued photographing this happy gathering of cumulus at Four Mile Beach, where hundreds of gulls and a band of gypsys were waiting my arrival. For a sunrise shooter like myself, the dawning of clouds
is what it’s all about, and this was a fine way to start off the fall
festivities in this stage of Aquarius.

On to some late night humor. “Well, the inside talk is that Sarah Palin is going to endorse Newt Gingrich. If you think Newt is happy, you should see Mitt Romney.” –Jay Leno “Mitt Romney admitted in an interview, ‘I tasted a beer and tried a cigarette once as a wayward teenager and never did it again. This has the makings of the lamest ‘Behind the Music’ special yet. “If you think that’s bad, Jon Huntsman is now admitting that in college he experimented with parting his hair to the left.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Last week in New Hampshire, Herman Cain said that presidents don’t need to know every detail of every country in the world and he said he’s going to take that message across America to all 30 states.” –Jimmy Fallon “The star of the debate was Herman Cain. He didn’t talk much because the debate was about national defense and his area of expertise is pizza.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Tonight was the 14th republican presidential debate, or as Barack Obama has started calling them, campaign ads.” –Jimmy Fallon “It looks like the supercommittee chosen by President Obama to come up with
a plan to solve the deficit has failed. But don’t worry, he has announced a new plan. Next week, he’s appointing a super duper committee.” –Jay Leno “I just heard about a woman in Germany who just gave birth to a baby boy named ‘Jihad.’ Or as the TSA put it, ‘Hope you like Amtrak!’” –Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our first blast for the December. In case you missed it, it was a tad breezy here last week on the central coast. How windy was it? In the morning, I windsurfed from my bed to the bathroom. We’ll catch you throwing deep in the bayou. Aloha, mahalo and later, Drew Brees fans.

November 27, 2011

Turkeys Fly Over The Rainbow, Why Then Why Can’t Thighs?

Good morning and greetings, post holiday fans. Last week was different from others throughout the year, as many of us were able to deviate from our normal midweek routines and shift our focus to the festival of thanks, giving and gravy. It was a huge week for stuffing, as I personally made enough to feed a small Caribbean nation. After then roasting a 23 pound self-basting turkey along with some extra thighs to satisfy the dark meat side in all of us, it was on to leftover city as we all waited for the bell to sound for round two.

Ah, Thanksgiving. The holiday congers up many a pleasant thought in the hearts and minds of so many people. We’re talking a virtual plethora of food, family and football. I hadn’t been left with that warm a feeling since our thermostat got stuck on 85 degrees a couple of years ago.

We started our Thursday extravaganza with a variety of appetizers, continuing a tradition that would have made Trader Joe’s proud. Personally, I try to avoid much of the pregame meal, as in my role of George Washington Carver, after I’m done surgically performing my magic on the carcass crammed with moist, flavor-packed stuffing, I’m already half full. Or would that be half empty?

But this is not a great day for the turkeys or their relatives. And what do we really know about this main component of the Thanksgiving meal? Well, thanks to Sarah Ganly of Yahoo’s Associated Content, here are some fun facts about our recently exhumed holiday bird.

Turkeys have Jim roamed the planet for almost ten million years. Wild turkeys sleep in the low branches of trees at night, which means they can fly. They spend their days like Washington lobbyists, foraging for foods like acorns, seeds, berries, small insects, Congressional aides and gluten-free stuffing. A turkey can fly as fast as 55 miles per hour, sprint like Usain Bolt at 25 miles per hour, and do the hokey pokey, because that’s what it’s all about. Turkeys can glide without flapping their wings or gums for about a mile, which really impressed the Wright Brothers. Unfortunately, domestic turkeys can’t fly, except off the shelf at holiday time.

According to research by the Drumstick Institute, more than 45 million turkey are cooked and eaten in the U.S. and Puerto Rico at Thanksgiving. We’re talking enough gravy to fill Lake Michigan. Wild turkeys have a very different taste from farm-raised turkeys. Almost all of the meat is “dark,”, which drives Tea party members crazy. However, there is no documented evidence of any difference between wild and domesticated stuffing.

Turkeys have no external ears, but are experts at reading lips. These big birds can have heart attacks just like humans, and was proven when turkeys died from the shock of jet planes flying overheard and Herman Cain leading the Republican field of candidates. And sadly, if a turkey looks up when it’s raining, it can drown, which can also happen when smothering gravy on the white meat.

Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey, instead of the bald eagle, to be the national bird of the United States. He said the balding eagle had “bad moral character” and that in comparison, the turkey was “a much more respectable bird, a true original native of America and a bird of courage.” And all this time I thought Larry was the national bird.

So have you ever wondered why we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November? Or why the eagle flies on Friday? Well, we can thank Sarah Josepha Hale, a writer who penned the nursery rhyme “Mary had little lamb with mint jelly.” She wrote to President Abraham Lincoln, encouraging him to set aside the last Thursday in November “as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer.” She said “we have too few holidays and that Thanksgiving, like the Fourth of July, should be considered a national festival and observed by all our people, especially those who like dark meat.”

Hale was a writer and a visionary, whose fleece was white as snow. She thought this holiday would be therapeutic for our country and a catalyst in preventing the outbreak of civil war. Unfortunately, insanity reigned, and as civil war waged throughout the nation, President Lincoln issued the proclamation creating this national holiday of green beans, cranberry sauce and pumpkin lies. I give Ms. Hale much credit for detesting war and bringing about this holiday that joins families and the nation together in watching the NFL Network. Like I told my draft board, I’m a pacifist and not even comfortable when the the North plays the South in college football’s Senior Bowl.

Since there’s no late night humor this week I’ll substitute my annual Thanksgiving joke. A turkey farmer was always experimenting with breeding to perfect a better turkey. His family was fond of the leg portion for dinner and there were never enough legs for everyone. After many frustrating attempts, the farmer was relating the results of his efforts to his friends at the general store. “Well I finally did it! I bred a turkey that has 6 legs!” They all asked the farmer how it tasted. “I don’t know” said the farmer. “I never could catch the darn thing!”

For today’s photo playbook we are returning to last weekend, as I shot back-to-back sunsets from Stockton Avenue along West Cliff Drive. I didn’t get those outstanding fall colors I was hoping for, but the clouds definitely caught my attention, and when I put the zoom lens on, that’s when things really got interesting. It reminded me of the bachelor party I never had.

So another Thanksgiving is in the books. Now it’s on to high school basketball and some Christmas Day NBA tripleheader madness. We’ll catch you breaking the school record for most career touchdown passes. Aloha, mahalo and later, Andrew Luck fans.

July 17, 2011

Nobody Knows How Dry We Are

Good morning and greetings, summer breeze fans. Santa Cruz is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, which consists of warm
to dry summers and mild to cool, moist winters. This climate is found in
only a few areas of the world, which includes southwestern Australia,
central Chile, the western cape of South Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, coastal California and a strip mall in Hoboken, New Jersey.

So we’re talking no freezing temps in the winter and little
rain in the summer. Although we don’t see much precipitation at this time of year, Santa Cruz seems like a pretty moist place, from the fog that hugs the coast to the Pacific Ocean that looms as an ever-present force of moving moisture. After the rainy winter and spring, we are in no danger of any drought action, but unfortunately, a good part of our nation cannot say the same. You’ve heard of dry counties, we’re talking dry country.

What they’re calling the Great Drought of 2011 has spread across 14 states, from Florida to Arizona. 14% of the country has suffered through the driest six months since 1895. Hardest hit is Texas, where no part of the state has been left untouched by the virtual lack of rain. Taking the biggest shot is cotton, which accounts for half the U.S. crop, as the plants are too weak to break through the soil that is drier than my sense of humor.

Life has been miserable for Texans due to excessively high heat, scorching dry winds and the retirement of Yao Ming. More than 30% of the state’s wheat crop may be lost. It’s law of the jungle, the wheat shall perish.

Back in June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 213 counties in Texas and the Oakland A’s batting order as natural disaster areas. Even if the weather changes, the rains come and the A’s start hitting, agricultural losses in the state will surge beyond $3 billion due to the blistering heat and lack of precipitation.

Oklahoma has only had 28% of it’s normal summer rainfall. It has been
triple-digit scorching hot for days on end and last week Governor Mary Fallin asked Oklahomans to pray for rain and Russell Westbrook to
pass more. And this comes after Texas Governor Rick Perry earlier in the year asked Texans to pray for rain and to try and forget his serious social networking faux pas when he singled out members of the media and blocked them from following his Twitter account.

So after a spring that was dominated by floods, tornadoes and the Dallas Mavericks, why is the earth being scorched like this? Four out of five meteorologists who recommend sugarless gum blame the high-pressure system that won’t leave the country’s midsection, making it impossible for cooler air from the north to break through. Many in the parched regions are now hoping for heavy tropical storms, drenching monsoons and the end of the NFL and NBA lockouts for relief.

The outlook through late September shows some possible improvement, but the chances of this natural disaster continuing are stronger than my weakside help defense. Further blame goes to La Niña, which is cooling our Pacific Ocean but bringing less moisture to the atmosphere, which prevents the storm systems from getting anywhere near these parched regions. We’re talking dead landscape, which much like the recent actions of the Republican Party, will take years to recover from. At this point, hope is flying solo.

And as an added bonus, a massive heat wave hit the upper midwest states and east coast last Friday, which topped off a week of record-breaking temperatures from Minneapolis to JFK airport In New York. Which brings us to the words of George Carlin as hippy dippy weatherman Al Sleet, “Temperature at the airport is 88 degrees, which is stupid because I don’t know anyone who lives at the airport.”

As of late last week, 900 high temperature records in the United
States had been tied or broken. And the bad news is, for July heat and humidity fans, as Karen Carpenter once whispered in my ear, “We’ve only just begun.”

Speaking of airports, last Wednesday night, 40 planes at Denver International Airport were damaged as hail stones larger than Carmelo Anthony’s ego fell for 15 minutes during a severe thunderstorm. Winds reached 70 MPH as a new single day record for rainfall was set. And
remember, Colorado borders Oklahoma and is a stone’s
throw from Texas, where the rain gauges have been emptier than my invoices paid box.

Moving onto today’s photo lunch special, we’re are going totally lunar. Last Thursday, as I was returning from my son’s summer league basketball game and on the way to my daughter’s softball game, I noticed the full moon rising as I cruised by COSTCO. I really would have preferred to see my favorite natural satellite rising up over Monterey Bay, but my timing and jump shot just aren’t what they used to be.

So instead, let’s head back to January of 2009 and take a look at the
biggest and brightest full moon of that year. I took in this lunar experience from West Cliff Drive on the cliffs above Cowell’s Beach. As you can see, this night was spectacular, and with the stars up above in my eyes, this evening goes down as my favorite among lunar loveliness. Or as my friend Van Morrison commented later, “What a marvelous night for a moon dance. And a fantabulous night for your blog.”

On to the late night. “A report says that a growing number of Americans are worth $1 million. The bad news: last year they were worth $5 million. Hitler’s birthplace in Austria has revoked his honorary citizenship. Talk about a rush to judgment. Michele Bachmann and her husband run this institution where they try to ‘pray away the gay.’ They want gay guys to think outside the bun.” –Jay Leno

“In Arizona they had a dust storm that was two miles high and 15 miles wide. It looked like something out of a movie. Visibility in Arizona they said was so bad that police were hassling white people.” –Bill Maher “A lawmaker in California is pushing for 13 counties to break away and form a new state called South California. Meanwhile, residents are pushing for a more fitting name: ‘North Mexico.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today he’s going back to the thing he does best. No, not that thing; the other thing. He’s going to star in a new Western. I think it’s called ‘Butch Cassiday and the Illegitimate Kid.’” –Craig Ferguson

David Letterman’s “Top Six Signs the United States Is Running Out of Money” 10. For $10,000, you get your face on the dollar
9. The White House now has a two-drink minimum 8. There’s a listing on eBay for North Dakota 6. Americans now attempting to sneak into Mexico 4. Costs $25 for each bag the president wants to check on Air Force One 1. Applied for a $40 billion loan from Oprah

So despite a tough finish, congratulations go out Abby Wambach and the U.S. Women’s soccer team for their inspiring play during World Cup action. And the same goes for the writers, actors and
crew from the epic series “Friday Night Lights,” which just
finished an wonderful five-year run on NBC. No program, with the possible exception of “Sons of Anarchy,” has ever moved me emotionally like this show did about families and high school football. The series finale was exceptional. As they say, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Texas forever.” We’ll catch you down the right field line. Aloha, mahalo and later, Tim Riggins fans.

June 26, 2011

You Look Like You Just Saw A Coast

Good morning and greetings, Golden State fans. Just returned from a lovely five-day sojourn down to the land of endless strip malls and freeways called Southern California. If you ever want to remind yourself of how fortunate we are to live in this coastal oasis we call Santa Cruz, just take a ride on the I-5 south, Marvin Gaye your way through the Grapevine and you will realize how lucky we are to be
residing in this cold water paradise on the northern tip of Monterey Bay.

This is not to say, Laguna Beach fans, that there aren’t some lovely spots down in the southern section of our Golden State. My volleyball tournament playing son and I cruised through some exquisite locales, including Escondido, La Jolla, Claremont, Huntington Beach and Santa Barbara in our So Cal college tour. We saw a singing tree at UC San Diego, an incredibly beautiful northeastern-type premier liberal arts college that was Pomona, the greatness that is UCLA and finished off with a UC situated on the beach next to the mountains in Santa Barbara. It was a variety pack of collegiate delights. Southern California has a lot to offer, including Kobe and the Laker Girls, but what it doesn’t have is the uniqueness of Santa Cruz, where the redwoods
meet the sea of liberals.

Now I can understand why my son wants to go away to school and leave behind the memories and sports posters in his bedroom. After all, I grew up in New Jersey, and ended up getting my diploma seven years later from UC Santa Cruz. This unanticipated journey included pit stops at Syracuse University, the University of Colorado in Boulder, Europe, Africa and then my favorite academic destination, Cabrillo College. This was my manifest destiny, although I wouldn’t recommend it for children under 17 unless they were accompanied by a mature adult.

When it comes to beautiful campuses, I don’t think anything is quite as
breathtaking as our constantly growing little city up on the hill, where you stroll through the redwoods to classrooms that overlook Monterey Bay. But in this great nation of ours, there is quite a buffet of colleges to choose from, and Jason, who is heading into his senior year, is about to make some choices about where he wants to pursue his dream of
academia and perhaps college athletics. I don’t want to say I’m envious, but if he gives me the slightest word, I’m going with him. At least for the first week of disorientation.

What started this whole thought of the natural greatness of Santa Cruz was watching the sun rise up along the I-5 in the central valley. I was hurtling south through time and sportstalk radio when this yellow ball of
light popped up over the mountain. That got me to thinking about the mind-blowing sunrises over the Pacific where the sky just literally explodes with color and I can’t wait to come home and download my
goodies before later sharing it with the Sunrise Santa Cruz nation. I’m not saying that these kinds of moments of double reflection don’t happen in other places up and down the coast, but I know this picture is not being painted on the inland canvas of our state no matter who you vote for.

This isn’t really central coast bragging, it’s just having the local pride
and telling it like it is. The following day was the summer solstice and the sun was going to be departing from the evening sky at 8:39 pm. Now that is what I call a true festival of light as compared to the winter time when it’s dark before the evening news. So to honor the longest day of sun and fun, I thought I would feature a sunrise from one of those classic Santa Cruz mornings of glory.

As you can see, the sky and clouds were having a party this particular dawn session at Lighthouse Point. The colors and reflection action upon Its Beach were as outstanding Dirk Nowitzki’s MVP play in the NBA Finals. Photo #5 really captures the magnificence of the moment, as there were more varieties of color in the sky than Republicans throwing
their sombreros into the Presidential race. This is Santa Cruz, my friends, love it or believe it.

On to a little bit of the late night. “Senator John McCain is in a bit of
hot water after he made an unsubstantiated claim that illegal mmigrants
caused the Arizona wildfires. He kind of backtracked today. Now he’s saying it was just the Metamucil talking. John McCain made his claim that illegal immigrants started the Arizona wildfires without doing his research. The last time he did that we got Sarah Palin.” -Jay Leno

“New Republican Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is fluent in Chinese. In a short period of time the Republicans have come quite a long way. The last Republican president wasn’t even fluent in English. Former governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, is running for president. He’s one of those guys that can do everything — he speaks Chinese. In a couple of years we’ll all be speaking Chinese, so who cares?” –David Letterman “Most Americans know Jon Huntsman as ‘the candidate most Americans don’t know.’ Gov. Huntsman’s announcement puts him somewhere between Ron Paul and Count Chocula as the favorite to win the GOP nomination.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Anthony Weiner’s still involved with the internet. Today he started
his own site called MyTube. “And I still don’t think Weiner gets it. Did
you hear what he said at the end of his press conference? ‘Anybody want one last look?’” –Jay Leno

So that will do if for June 2010. Let’s hope the Souris river stops rising
in North Dakota and the wildfires stop raging throughout the country.
Enjoy the rest of the June gloom and we’ll catch you on Independence Day. Aloha, mahalo and later, Jimmer Fredette fans.

June 12, 2011

Everybody Loves A Weiner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 5, 2011

I Don’t Know Weather I’m Coming Or Going

Good morning and greetings, June gloom fans. The human mind, much like Rafael Nadal at the French Open, works in amazing ways. For example, every time I drink some Kern’s Nectar Guava juice, the thought of Hawaii blows through my cranium like a late afternoon trade wind. Just one taste and I’m back on the sand at Sunset Beach. It’s an amazingly easy way to go tropical when every sip is like a bite of fresh fruit.

What’s also amazing was the weather last week in Santa Cruz. On the final day of May, the weather was cold and rainy, or what San Franciscans refer to as “summer.” If I didn’t own a calendar, I would have thought it was mid-winter or just another holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, in other parts of our great United States, cities were experiencing slightly warmer temps. Phoenix hit the century mark at 100, Richmond, Virginia clocked in at 98 Memphis was a cozy 96 degrees. On this day, Santa Cruz was a tad cooler as the thermometer hit 58. On the eve of what many scientists, historians and lifeguards refer to as the beginning of summer, neither chivalry or shivering was dead.

I should also mention that downtown Baghdad hit a high of 114, but thank goodness we’ve gotten all our troops out of there and Afghanistan, so our brave men and women are no longer in harm’s way. Or as we like to say on the westside, “Mission Street Accomplished.”

Then came Saturday’s spring storm which brought driving rain, high winds and thunder clouds you don’t normally see this time of year. This while many around the nation sweltered under July-like temperatures with the bonus of high humidity. But then again, who doesn’t love winter weather in June.

I didn’t catch the forecast for Tripoli, but it’s reassuring to know that after 11 weeks of NATO bombing, Moammar Khadaffy has vowed to never give in, even after missiles knocked out his Direct TV satellite dish, which means that his catching the first episode of the new season “Men of a Certain Age” was in grave doubt.

But you would not have known this if you had tuned into NBC national news, as there was no time for a mention of Libya, Syria or Capitola. Brian Williams and his gang only have 22 minutes to cover the day’s events. So one might be left to wonder, what’s the update with Japan and that whole little nuclear reactor meltdown situation? Although it’s no longer a hot item, I’ve got to believe that many viewers might be wondering about this curious incident that had Chernobyl watchers sitting up straight in their seats.

Returning to the news, the aftermath of the destruction from the Joplin, Missouri tornado was moved back in the lineup, as the lead story on this chilly final day of May was the report of the dangers of cell phone use. A World Health Organization panel concluded that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic”, and put these playful little devices in the same category as the pesticide
DDT, engine exhaust or any program broadcast by Fox News. This does not mean they are cancer causing, just that it is possible.

Now that is very reassuring to know, being that every child in America owns a cell phone and we certainly would not want to leave any child behind. Personally, I’m not a big cell phone user. I’m much more of a walkie-talkie fan, especially when I can’t get good reception on my ham radio. But I believe the cell phone companies when they say that these devices aren’t dangerous. After all, isn’t that what the tobacco companies assured us years ago?

I can’t say that watching the world news is a positive experience, as it often leaves me shaking my head. When my dog does that, I know it’s a sign of an ear infection, but for me it’s my way of saying, “what is going on in this world? But then I realize, I can always turn the TV off, grab my camera and head out into the sunset.

And that brings us to today’s photo experience. I wanted to start off the new month with some fabulous color from a fall sunset from a few years back. The place was Natural Bridges and the swell was pumping as surfers were out in force. The sky turned from orange sherbert to a lovely cherry jubilee, giving off a reflection in the sand and in the Pacific that was well worth texting home about. Or as I like to say, just another good night at the office.

Here’s a little late night. “Sarah Palin may run for President. Doesn’t that thought make you nostalgic for last week when you only thought the world was going to end? This weekend Sarah Palin begins a nationwide bus tour, which I think is a good way for her to learn the names of all the states. I think Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin would be the perfect ticket. She can’t answer basic questions, and he has two answers for every question.” –Jay Leno

“Sarah Palin met with Donald Trump in New York yesterday. Then Sarah Palin left by helicopter and shot that thing off Trump’s head. Today in New York City, Sarah Palin had a meeting with Donald Trump. Now, experts say if those two joined forces on a Presidential ticket it would be the greatest gift ever given to comedy.” –Craig Ferguson “Sarah Palin had dinner with Donald Trump in New York. The first thing she did when she walked into the restaurant was shoot the rodent off his head.” –Jimmy Kimmel

So that’s our first blast for the month of June. Rumor has it we’re not done with the rain here on the central coast. So enjoy another week of the NBA Finals and we’ll catch you at the scorer’s table. Aloha, mahalo and later, Dirk Nowitzki fans.

March 28, 2011

March Comes In Like A Lion And Out Like A Glazed Ham


Good morning and greetings, Cinderella story fans. Is it just me, or has this early spring weather been wild and crazy? Torrential rains, howling winds, mud slides, water slides, downed trees, flash flooding, and that’s just in my driveway. So with springtime in the air, I just prance through the raindrops with a little extra hop in my step and a little more snap in my heels. Basically, I’m just river dancing through life, for which I thank my lucky charms.

On the eastern seaboard, where I grew up to be the shell of a man I am today, last week’s weather was also very springlike. Nothing says the baseball season is just around the corner like eight inches of heavy snow, or what Charlie Sheen calls “an appetizer.”

The midwest has been hit by an assault of killer tornadoes, wildfires were raging out of control and destroying homes in Oklahoma and heading back to this coast, a rare water funnel was sighted off of Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Personally, despite my love of condensed milk and water droplets, I have never photographed this rarity in nature, although I once got a good closeup shot of a funnel cake at a county fair.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the sunrise and sunset season ended a couple of months ago, as I have not wanted to shoot anything lately except for my computer. So for March, my expectations for drama in the sky, unlike my cholesterol, has been very low, as there has been little on the spectacular front to text home about in recent years.

The exception to this unwritten rule came on the evening of March 18, 2008. I was driving around aimlessly, hoping to spot a bobcat or leprechaun at dusk, when I glanced up at a somewhat dull sky and saw an opening at the horizon. Well, being the avid photog that I profess to be, I curtailed my hunt for baby chipmunks and eager beavers and parked myself along West Cliff Drive at Stockton Avenue, which is my favorite place to let my freak flag fly.

As you can see from today’s photo lineup, this night was indescribably delicious. The formation of the clouds gave thoughts to the heavens rising or the crown of creation. It was a canvas unlike anything I had ever seen. Throughout the experience, waves of pelicans flew overhead, adding to the festivities of the occasion. I remember standing alone/together out on the point, thinking how fortunate I was to be there at that moment. It wasn’t March Madness, it was pure March Magic.

Before we move on the hilarity of the late night pundits and our Commander-in Chief addresses the nation, I must say a few words about Libya. WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING? Or in the words of Jay Leno, “We’re fighting three wars now. Imagine how many we’d be fighting if President Obama hadn’t won the Nobel Peace Prize.”

As of last Wednesday, we had spent upwards of $1 BILLION dollars on the international assault to destroy Moammar Khaddafy’s air defenses and save the runnin’ rebels from likely defeat. My thought is, could that $1 BILLION have been better spent, like perhaps at home on the hungry, creating jobs or the Yankees’ starting rotation? I’m just stunned by his decision for the air strikes and picking Kansas to win it all. As my mother used tell me every day after packing my lunch box before I left for school, “Geoff, make love, not war.”

On to the late night. “No one can agree on how to spell Gadhafi’s name. He’s like the Hanukkah of dictators.” –Jimmy Kimmel “According to reports, Khadafy is surrounded by an elite corps of female bodyguards, all of whom are virgins. In a related story, today Charlie Sheen invaded Libya.” –Conan O’Brien “They’re using high-pressure water cannons and helicopters dropping seawater to try to cool down the reactor. And they say if that works, they’re going to try that here on Charlie Sheen.” –Bill Maher

“Sarah Palin visited Israel. As if the Jews have not suffered enough. She says she’s very excited to visit the Wailing Wall, because whaling is illegal in Alaska.”–Jay Leno “On a trip to Israel, Sarah Palin asked the Israelis why they’re apologizing all the time. They responded saying, ‘Because we told everyone Tina Fey was coming.’” –Conan O’Brien ”
Sarah Palin visited the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. There was an awkward moment when she said, ‘So this is what keeps the Mexicans out?’” –Conan O’Brien “Sarah Palin visited Israel. She says she likes all religions, ‘whether they celebrate Christmas or Jewish.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama has to cut his trip to Latin America short because of the situation in Libya — and to check on his NCAA brackets.” –Jimmy Kimmel “A man in Texas used his obituary to ask for donations to anyone running against Obama in 2012. And then his ghost was offered a nightly show on Fox News.” –Jimmy Fallon “Donald Trump says that if he’s elected, he won’t let the presidency interfere with the Miss Universe pageant. “How would Trump travel as president? Obviously, he’d use Hair Force One.” –David Letterman
“According to Newsweek, 73 percent of Americans can’t say why we fought the Cold War. This sounds bad until you consider that no one in the White House can tell us why we’re fighting the Libya war. We know more about President Obama’s basketball picks than his plans for Libya.” –Jay Leno

“A problem for our military in Libya is that they can’t tell the rebels from Gadhafi’s military. The U.N. has now declared that the war be fought as ‘shirts vs. skins.’” –Conan O’Brien “Obama said we will send economic aid to Libya to help the Libyan people reach their dreams. And if that works, they’ll try it here.” –Jay Leno

“A miniscule amount of radiation from Japan reached L.A. People panicked and ran out and bought gas masks and radiation suits. Then they went to the tanning salon. Rich people are buying Geiger counters. Poor people are putting bags of microwave popcorn on the windowsill. If it starts popping, get the hell out. “A South Carolina legislator introduced a bill to make it illegal for prisoners to use Facebook. They’re supposed to be doing time, not wasting it.” –Jay Leno

So that’s our last gasp for March. Hope you had a chance to catch some of the late winter storms live and in person. Last Friday, the light was spectacular on the cliff, as the sun’s rays filtered through the clouds and cast an incredible light upon the huge waves heading towards the coast. As the rain came down, a rainbow appeared in the sky and I just had to stop and take in the moment.
As usual, I didn’t have my camera with me because of a vendetta by my computer, but that’s another story. Suffice it to say, it was a moment along the edge of the continent as beautiful as a young Elizabeth Taylor, who like myself, never feared Virginia Woolf.

So once again, keep Japan in your thoughts. What a wacky year this has been, with the shootings in Tucson, the uprising in Eygpt, the tsunami and earthquake, the war in Libya and Duke losing in the semi-finals of western regionals. I’m not even going to mention the outbreak of cholera in Haiti.

So enjoy the return of warm, sunny days and we’ll catch you in Houston for the Final Four. Aloha, mahalo and later, Derrick Williams and Shelvin Mack fans.

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.

March 7, 2011

Words Fly Over The Rainbow


Good morning and greetings, no-fly zone fans.  Welcome to March, the month that comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb chop.  I hope it’s been a good week, or at least fair or partly cloudy for all you who are reading or skimming this.  So from the halls of Monterey Bay to the shores of Tripoli, let’s go right to the news.

That Moammar Khaddafy, or if you prefer the Hebrew spelling, Gadhafi, is really quite the character.  Up until now, my favorite colonels were Klink and Sanders, because those herbs and spices are so damn finger lickingly good.  But these gentleman having nothing over this lovable maniac from Libya, who’s been in power for four decades yet seems as delusional as the leaders of the Republican Party.

The colonel and his son, along with their original recipe chicken, cole slaw and biscuits, insist there is no rebellion going on in their country, and then they go out and blast away at the opposition like they’re quarterbacks on Super Bowl Sunday, except the bombs they’re completing are real.  I’ll give Khaddafy credit, this guy looks like he walked straight out of central casting, as he has that cunning, desert fox dictator look down to a fine science.  And I sympathize with him because I know how it feels to have $30 billion in assets seized, that really can put a damper on the day.  And just my luck, with the way things have been going, it looks like I’ll never get the money back I lent to Hosni Mubarek.

You’ve got to love any tyrant who can deliver a speech, much like many of my early posts, that is meandering, disjointed and has little to do with reality.  I remember years ago when I started this blog that, I, much like the Colonel, urged my readers to fight with me “to the last man and woman.”  Okay, so maybe I was a little needy.  But to my credit, I never blamed radical Islamists for giving young people drugs that goaded them into a frenzing of rioting and posting comments on this site.

But for now, as much as I love bloody crackdowns on my own people, let’s get away from arms embargos, trade sanctions and personal interventions and get back to our subject at hand.  Back on the morning of February 16, the morning light was outstanding, as the sun’s rays were shooting down through the clouds as I walked along West Cliff without my camera.  Later that morning, it Nathan hailed, aiding to the pagentry of the day.  So being a savant, I thought it might be a good idea to head down to the beach at sunset time, as the weather this day, much like my trip through the birth canal, had been rather wild.

Because of the earlier rain and my glowing aura,  the beach was deserted at Natural Bridges.  As you can see from the first photo, the clouds were somewhat ominous.  Then all of a sudden, before you could say, “we do chicken right,” the sky darkened and it starting pouring, which of course, is great for my camera.  And then, much to my sunny delight, a beautiful, full arc, double rainbow rose in the sky, that made me feel like I was back in Kansas with little Toto.

Because of my location, I couldn’t get the shot of the rainbow dipping into the Pacific, but as Mick Jagger once told me, “you can’t always get what you want.”  Fortunately, while the rain was pelting down upon me, I got what I needed.  Seeing that rainbow light up the sky was quite entertaining, much like last week’s episode of ”The Good Wife.”  Not as intense as the drama on “Southland”, but something that Donnie Wahlberg as Detective Danny Reagan on “Blue Bloods” would have appreciated.

You can see in the final shot that the post rainbow clouds were just phenomenal.
That leads to the question, what is a rainbow?  Four out of five scientists say it is a band of colors in the shape of an arc that is formed from reflection, refraction, and a psychotic reaction of the sun’s rays inside millions of raindrops.  They appear, in the words of B.J. Thomas when “raindrops keep falling on my head,” as when it is raining in one part of the sky and sunny in another.  Those are classic rainbow conditions, my friends, and when they are happening, I immediately fly into rainbow alert a la mode, which goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

From what I learned from the radar map back in weather school, the sun is always behind you while the rain is in front when a rainbow or unexpected guests appear.  So, if my coordinates and karma are correct, the center of the rainbow’s arc is always directly opposite the sun or any other family member, like Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.

Most people, or people who need people, who are the luckiest people in the world, think that the colors of a rainbow are apple red, tangerine orange, mellow yellow, Mean Joe greene, Vida blue, indigo girls and violet parker.  Well, believe it or not, Mr. Wizard once told me that a rainbow is made up of an entire other group of colors.  We’re talking colors that my eye, my dog or even my periodontist can’t even see.

Now how is it that we are able to see rainbows?   We are able to see the colors because light of different colors is bent when it travels from one medium, like the air and into another, in this case, the water of raindrops.  When all the colors that make up sunlight are combined, they look as white as the crowd at a Tea Party rally, but once they are refracted, they break up into colors we see in a rainbow or at the snack shacks we see along the beach at Wakiki.

Now listen closely, boys and squirrels.  Every person, no matter what race (like the 100 meters), creed or color sees their own personal rainbow.  What that means is that when you are staring at one like me, while snapping away like Annie Liebowitz at a bankruptcy hearing, you are seeing the light bounced off of certain raindrops.  The person or sailor next to you may seem to be looking at the same rainbow, but they may be seeing light reflecting off other raindrops from a completely different angle.  Are you confused?  Don’t worry, just click your heels three times and ask for Dorothy.

Now here are a few more fun facts about rainbows.  It was Sir Issac Newton who discovered the seven distinct colors of the visible spectrum with the help of his brother Fig.  Phil Collins wrote quite eloquently in Genesis 9 that rainbows are God’s promise.  And everything we see, feel, hear, taste, smell and text exists between the frequencies of red and violet.  I have no idea what that means, I just like the way it sounded, like my voice on Sportstalk radio.  And they say the ladder to heaven is built of rungs which are the colors of the rainbow.  Personally, I’ve always been more of a “Stairway to Heaven” guy, because I do remember laughter.

On to some great late night.  “Protests continue in Libya. It was reported that most of the protests are being organized on a dating website, which explains why half the protest signs say “No Gadhafi” and the other half say “No fatties.  They’re saying Gadhafi is “disconnected from reality.” According to the State Department, Gadhafi thought this year’s Oscars were fantastic.”–Conan O’Brien  “I thought the Oscars were supposed to be young and hip and I only saw all these old people. Then I realized I was watching “60 Minutes.”–Craig Ferguson  “The Oscar statue is about thirteen inches in height and weighs about 9 pounds. Oh wait, that’s Tom Cruise.”–David Letterman

“Moammar Gadhafi is starting to sound a little crazy. Al-Jazeera canceled his show, “Two and a Half Shiites.  Gadhafi said his people “love him.” I think that’s what he said. It was hard to hear over the rebel gunfire.”–David Letterman  “Everyone is saying we have to take control of Moammar Gadhafi. We can’t even control Charlie Sheen.  Charlie Sheen said that he’s now more popular than President Obama, at which point Mike Huckabee accused him of growing up in Kenya.”–Jay Leno

“Oprah has been invited by Egypt’s new government to do a show from Cairo. So they’ve replaced one power-mad tyrant who’s been ruling for 30 years with another one.” –Conan O’Brien  “Sarah Palin is going to India to make a speech. She’s hoping to visit some of those Indian casinos she’s heard so much about.” –Jay Leno  “Bristol Palin is releasing a book called “Not Afraid of Life.” Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is releasing a book called, “I’m Afraid of Books.”–Jimmy Fallon

“‘King Kong’ opened 78 years ago. It’s the story of a woman that gets carried away by an ape. The same thing happened to Maria Shriver.” –David Letterman  “Twitter was down for two hours on Saturday. It was terrible. I had to call random people in the phone book and tell them what I had for lunch.”–Jimmy Fallon  “The price of gas here was up to $4.50. When I started pumping, it was only $3.85.–Jay Leno

So that’s our first official blast for March.  If you like college basketball, and what true American doesn’t, this is a month to savor like your first Haagan Daz bar.  So be grateful for your clean water and we’ll catch you at midcourt.  Aloha, mahalo and later, Kevin Love fans.

February 6, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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