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.

April 25, 2011

Signed, Elephant Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours

Good morning and greetings, central coast fans. Since we last met cybernetically, tornadoes have continued to blast down across the south and midwest, with hail the size of softballs raining down on unsuspecting infielders and outfielders. This April has set the all-time record for tornadoes and putouts recorded. On Saturday, the airport in St. Louis was struck by the worst tornado in 40 years that left passengers clutching their bags of mini-pretzels and Albert Pujos’ jerseys.

My Kentucky-based field scout Nancy Mager told me last week of storms with howling winds and golf-ball sized hail that came along with thunder and lightning in the middle of the night in Bowling Green. I guess that comes with the territory when you live in tornado or Kirstie Alley.

Moving along to a place with a more gentle weather pattern, during the month of April, I have been focusing on the coastline beween Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. Two weeks ago, I wrote about the unincorporated community of Davenport and last week it was pesky Pescadero. For today’s action, we’re trapsing halfway between these two coastal oasis as we venture to the Ano Nueva State Reserve, which lies 25 miles north of Santa Cruz, which would be 50 miles south of San Francisco and 3,000 miles west of Yankee Stadium.

Because of my deep cover work, I last visited this sacred spot for elephant seals back in 2007. The Ohlone Indians, no relation to the Cleveland Indians, were the first people known to build condos in the Año Nuevo area. But then around the birth of John McCain in 1791, Mission Santa Cruz was founded and the Indian population, much like like my stock account back in 2009, plummeted due to the various diseases and some bad paella that Spanish had brought with them.

The Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino sailed by the point on January 3, 1603, which I believe was a Wednesday. His diarist, chaplain and flamingo dance instructor on the expedition, Father Antonio de la Ascensión, named it Punta de Año Nuevo (New Year’s Point) for the day on which they sighted it. They had recently stopped in Monterey for some clam chowder, calamari strips and pan-fried sand dabs and passed Año Nuevo while heading north for a rave concert.

Today, Ano Nuevo remains much like the way Vizcaino saw it and the way I see myself-wild, lonely and underdeveloped. What happens on this jutting out stretch of land, like my first year at Syracuse University, is magical and something, like the Supreme Court giving Bush the nod over Al Gore, that I won’t soon forget. Hundreds of elephant seals, seal lions and Navy Seals come ashore to rest, mate and give birth on the beach, sand dunes and private cabanas.

Año Nuevo State Park is the site of the largest mainland breeding colony in the world for the northern elephant seal. The surrounding area is also the number one location on the planet for great white shark attacks, as they love to snack on elephant seals and any other marine mammal that goes for a leisurely swim in this area. I don’t know about you, but being attacked by a great white shark has been something I’ve always wanted to avoid, like taking the SAT’s again.

So if you like to watch giant male elephant seals fighting, goring and tearing at one another to see who gets to be King Inseminator, (and who wouldn’t want to be?), than this the place where you get a front row seat. The top bull, like a Shawn Kemp, typically sires 50 pups each year without breaking a sweat. In one four-year period, a lone dominant male inseminated at least 225 females, after which he signed a few autographs and took a well-deserved nap.

Now here are a few, quick fun facts about elephant seals. Much like teams during the first round of the NCAA tournament, the seals journey thousands of miles as males head north to frolic in the waters near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and females swim west out to sea. During the migration, most of the seals never return to land, which would be a problem for someone like myself, who doesn’t like being in water or conversations that go over my head.

Elephant seals are capable of swimming in waters a mile deep for 90 minutes at a time, then taking a quick breath and going right back down again. Unbelievable. The seals are thought to nap while they dive, which is what I used to do during most of my upper division math classes.

Much like Mother Theresa and Queen Latifa, the females are big-time givers, as for four weeks, they forgo eating, massages and on-line shopping, as they lose as much as 40 percent of their weight in the production of milk and cheese. That’s no Jenny Craig experience. But after home schooling and nursing her pup for a month on land, Mommy abandons the youngster, mates, and heads back to sea for a much need spa treatment. That is, if she makes it by the Great Whites.

These hallowed grounds, much like the NBA Store in New York, is an exotic spot to visit. Since it was April, the seals you see in today’s photos are females and pups just relaxing, flipping around sand and doing crossword puzzles. But the fact that all this breeding, fighting and molting goes on with these gigantic creatures just 25 minutes up the coast is mind-blowing. So do yourself a favor and take the mile and half walk on the wild side. You’ll be glad you did and a grateful nation thanks you.

On to the humor of the late night. “Donald Trump is apparently on top among Republican voters. People are responding to his straight-forward honesty, tough talk, and utter lunacy.”–Jimmy Kimmel “NBC executives say that if Donald Trump does run for president, they will not renew ‘The Apprentice.’ So some good may come out of this.” –Conan O’Brien “Donald Trump is attacking President Obama’s background. And I said, ‘Wait a minute, Trump also is from a mixed background. He’s half jack and half ass.’” –David Letterman

“Donald Trump said that if President Obama releases his birth certificate, Trump will release his tax return. Obama said he won’t run for a second term if Trump releases that thing on his head. President Obama is celebrating Passover with a Passover Seder. After hearing this, Sarah Palin said, ‘Ah, so he is a Muslim. Obama will participate in a town hall meeting hosted on Facebook. So just like everyone else in America, Obama will be on Facebook when he should be working.” –Conan O’Brien

“President Obama celebrated Passover with a Seder at the White House. This morning, Donald Trump demanded to see Obama’s bar mitzvah certificate.”–Jimmy Kimmel “The governor of Hawaii said he first met President Obama just days after he was born. He knew it was Obama because he kept pointing to his diaper and calling for “change. To celebrate Kim Jong Il’s birthday. North Korea held the biggest magic show ever. Things got out of control when the magician pulled a rabbit out of his hat and it was immediately eaten by 28 million people.” –Conan O’Brien

“President Obama’s critics are lashing out over him shutting down the poker sites. Sarah Palin called it an overreaction, Tim Pawlenty said it was irrational, and Donald Trump said, ‘Be sure to watch ‘Celebrity Apprentice.” Gambling and Washington don’t seem to go together at all. One’s full of whores and seedy, soulless bastards and the other’s the gambling industry. Forty percent of Americans say they would rather cut their own hair than do their taxes. And then there are people that would rather do neither. I’m talking to you, Willie Nelson.” –Craig Ferguson

“Lenscrafters is upset with Tea Partier Michele Bachmann because she called Planned Parenthood ‘the Lenscrafters of abortion.’ Lenscrafters released a statement today calling her ‘the Costco of crazy.’ The FAA suspended an air traffic controller for watching a movie on the job. The controller said he was only watching a movie because he couldn’t sleep.”–Conan O’Brien “Pakistan says they are slowing down their hunt for bin Laden. Slowing it down? What is it, 10 years now? Could you go any slower?” –Jay Leno “Speaker of the House John Boehner says he will not host a Cinco de Mayo celebration this year. Boehner says he has nothing against Hispanic Americans, and in fact his speaker of the housekeeper is Hispanic.”–Jimmy Kimmel

So that’s our last word for April, as time continues to fly by faster than our involvement with non-lethal aid and advisors to the Libyan rebels. I hope you NBA viewers having been enjoying the playoffs, as the first ten days of action has been as good as it gets, unless of course, you’re a New York Knicks fan. The NBA, where amazing comebacks happen. Aloha, mahalo and later, Brandon Roy fans.

April 18, 2011

Are You Catching My Drift?

Good morning and greetings, NBA playoff fans. It’s been another week of wild weather across this great land of ours. We’re talking violent killer tornadoes accompanied by pounding rain, howling winds and Halle Berry.

On Friday, one-fifth of all this year’s tornadoes descended on the south and midwest as the Weather Channel totaled 158 twisters in three days. On Saturday, 62 tornadoes hit North Carolina alone, and the death toll from this entire storm system hit 35. There’s something about 150 MPH winds swooping in and wiping out families and neighborhoods in a matter of seconds that leave me a little on edge, like when I was waiting for the results of my colonoscopy. But that worked out okay, as like Robin Williams, I’m now I’m using it as a film credit.

So in my last post I told you a little something about the history of Davenport, which lies nine miles north of Santa Cruz. Today, on the photo front, we are venturing twenty miles further up Highway 1 to the sprawling metropolis of Pescadero. Now I don’t know too much historically about this coastal enclave, besides the fact that it was a very popular stage coach stop between Santa Cruz and San Francisco and that early settlers to this area discovered that you can make wonderful bread and a delicious cream soup out of artichokes.

I should also mention that each year my son (who dunked a volleyball on Saturday) plays in a preseason basketball tournament in Pescadero. My favorite memory from these back-to-back second place finishes was the first time I spotted the t-shirt for sale that read on the front, “Pescadero”, and on the back, “Who even knew we had a high school.” Classic.

So my brother Paul, who we last heard from when he wrote about his orchidholism (although he now claims to be sober and a succulent man), decided to stop at Pescadero State Beach on a recent trip down the coast. My middle brother has always loved this beach and on this day was child, wife and dog free, so he had all the time in the world to check out the driftwood action, go cliff diving and monitor gray whale traffic.

As you can see, my tennis-playing sibling really caught some good theatre, as he combed the beach like a homicide detective looking for blood splatter and shell casings. Ironically, on my first trip to the Golden State back in 1974, after flying into SFO, my old pal Doug MacKinnon, Paul and I headed down the coast and the first beach we stopped at was Pescadero. I was impressed with the golden sand, endless dunes and magnificent cliffs, and that was just inside the snack bar.

I remember thinking, like a young Balboa, this Pacific Ocean is going to work for me, but after dipping my toes in the water, I knew I was going to have major shrinkage issues. At this point in my middle-aged existence, I need the warm, tropical water to cleanse and rejuvenate my battered body and shattered soul, and 55 degree water just ain’t gonna cut it.

So what do we know about driftwood? What do we know about Norweigian Wood? And for that matter, what really happened to Natalie Wood?

So here are a few quick facts. According to Norse mythology, the first humans before John McCain, Ask and Embla, were formed out of two pieces of driftwood, an ash and an elm, by the God Odin and his brothers, Tito and Jermaine. Most driftwood is the remains of trees or shuttered Starbucks that have been been washed into the ocean due to flooding, erosion, confusion, high winds, garage sales or misplaced Lincoln Logs. And driftwood can be used as decorative furniture, like the couch in my living room and is a very popular element in the scenery for fish and government think tanks.

Here comes the late night. “Donald Trump insists that he is going to run for president. I guess he figures if he can pull off that hairstyle, he can do anything. Maybe he should ease into this — by running for a lower office first, like President of the Hair Club for Men. Trump said he can’t run because he has the #1 show on NBC. Which is kind of like having the nicest house in Haiti.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Donald Trump has a great campaign slogan: ‘A complex world demands complex hair.’” –David Letterman

“Critics say it’s illegal for Donald Trump to run for president while hosting a TV show. It’s also illegal to run for president if your hair wasn’t born in this country. According to a CNN poll, Trump nearly doubled his support from March. Actually, he just combed his March numbers over his current ones.”–Conan O’Brien “Barack and Michelle Obama will appear on Oprah’s show soon. Not to be outdone, Donald Trump’s hair will be making an appearance on Animal Planet.”–Jay Leno

“A meeting between Justin Bieber and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has been canceled. No word yet on how this will affect the meeting between Selena Gomez and Hezbollah. President Obama says he misses being anonymous. You know, back when he could blend in with the other Hawaiian Barack Hussein Obamas.” –Conan O’Brien. “Today, President Obama changed his slogan from ‘Yes, We Can’ to ‘Have It Your Way’”–Bill Maher, on the Democrats capitulating to Republican budget demands.

“The air traffic controllers are sleeping, the TSA is groping you, and the pilots are drunk. Who would have thought the most reliable workers at the airport would be the baggage handlers? A New Zealand airline is offering what they call “cuddle class.” Don’t all airlines have that? It’s called “coach.”–Jay Leno “The Pentagon announced that openly gay soldiers will begin serving this summer. When people asked why this summer, the Army said, ‘Because ‘Glee’ will be in reruns.’” –Conan O’Brien

“A new poll shows that only 19 percent of Americans strongly approve of President Obama’s performance. The other 81 percent don’t own gas stations. The price of gas in California is almost $5 a gallon. Coming into work, I passed a van packed with legal Americans. Gas has gone up 20 cents just this week. Shouldn’t we stop calling it crude oil at this point and call it obscene oil? Obama said in an interview that he really misses being anonymous. If he wanted to remain anonymous he should have run for vice president.” –Jay Leno

“Republicans are obsessed with abortion. If they really wanted to protect the weakest, most helpless people, wouldn’t they protect the Democrats? Glenn Beck retired or got fired…and a lot of people are asking who will now speak for the raving lunatics who startle you outside of a parking garage?” –Bill Maher “Because of a holiday, the deadline for taxes is April 18, so you have three extra days to dig through restaurant dumpsters for receipts.”–Jimmy Kimmel

So another post is in the books. And if you enjoyed my brother Paul’s photos, here’s some bonus photography for you. My brother Brad recently posted some incredible pictures and text from his Alaska heliskiing trip. You can check them out at http://www.glutenfreesnowboarder.com/2011/04/alaska-the-last-frontier/. If you want to enlarge the pictures just click on them. And remember, all proceeds go to the send Brad’s oldest brother to Hawaii foundation.

So enjoy the first night of Passover and first round of the NBA playoffs and we’ll catch you around the seder plate. Aloha, mahalo and later once again, Derrick Rose fans.

April 4, 2011

You Can Run But You Can’t Low Tide

Good morning and greetings, no fly zone fans. Is it just me, or is our air assault and maybe we’ll supply these fun lovin’ rebels with arms approach constitute the nuttiest war yet? When I turn on Brian Williams with NBC News and they flash to Richard Engel in Libya with the rebel army, I’m not sure if I’m watching live coverage or a remake of Woody Allen’s “Bananas.”

Growing up, this film, along with the “Play It Again, Sam and Annie Hall” were my favorite Allen flicks. I love the Wood Man. Woody, as Fielding Mellish, plays a consumer products tester, who’s dumped by his political activist girlfriend because she was looking for someone with more leadership potential. He then heads down to San Marcos, where he joins the rebels and becomes President. You may remember the classic line when the rebels are discussing how to deal with snakebites,” you have to suck out the poison.” Or “he comes to the palace and he doesn’t bring an assortment?”

Anyway, when I see the incredibly brave Mr. Engel risking his life to report this story from behind enemy lines, and the rebel he is interviewing is carrying a PLASTIC gun into battle against Kadaffy’s troops, I am beyond amazed and distressed. These ragtag rebels have no commanders, fire rockets in the wrong direction and are constantly leaving runners in scoring position. I have sympathy for the Libyan people but this is not our battle. I’m more concerned about the simple things, like why there’s no funding so that our libraries can be open on Fridays. So I say, think globally, act locally, drink responsibly and remember, the tie always goes to the gun runner.

As I declared in these pages just last week, I put the sunrise season in the books. So it was much to my surprise, chagrin, consternation, amusement, suicidal tendencies and par for the course that last Tuesday, a shockingly beautiful sunrise appeared in the morning sky. After uncurling out of the fetal position, I hit the streets to check out the action, and it had, much like my IQ, peaked. Fortunately, I felt a whole lot better when my neighbor walked by with his dog and said, “oh, you should have seen it a half an hour ago, it was unbelievable.” Check, please.

Now, in my defense, which is always man-to-man, I was suffering from a really bad cold that morning and was looking forward to some periodontal surgery at 9 am. So I wasn’t really bringing my ‘A’ game to the plate. Still, that is not an excuse, and my psyche is still slightly black and blue from kicking myself for missing this morning magnificence that lit up the skies above Cowells Beach.

So I thought to myself, what could I do to make up for this faux pas for my audience who has supported me unconditionally and non-monetarily for close to six years? There was only once place to go (no, not Hawaii) and that was to the archives, where mucho sunrises, sunsets and cloud conferences lay dormant, waiting for their chance of renewed recognition for past greatness they have performed on the Monterey Bay stage, which is just slightly off Broadway by the way Sheryl Crow flies.

So let’s journey back to a morning of soft breezes in early April of 2006, before Kadaffy had gotten his latest tummy tuck. The tide was extremely low, which set up the possibility for tremendous reflection action as I headed down to Cowells Beach to scope out the morning festivities.

It turned out to be even better than I thought, as good April sunrises happen about as often as the Warriors appear in the playoffs. It does not compare color or texture-wise to what I semi-witnessed last Tuesday, but if you’re a fan of the movie “Endless Summer,” then photo number five is about as close as the Ansel or Don Adams in me is ever going to get.

Moving along, It’s a big week on the birthday front. Let’s start with an outside hitter, as my son Jason turns 17 on Thursday. It’s been quite a year for my first born, as in between taking four AP classes, my junior point guard son was named MVP of his basketball league as he led his team to an undefeated championship. He’s also co-captain of his volleyball team, and watching him hang, float and kill is a thing of absolute beauty, like my daughter’s face when I ask her if she wants cheese in her scrambled eggs in the morning.

But here’s the best part. My jump float serving son has told me that this summer he will be working on a jump program so that next year he’ll be dunking during the basketball season. That, along with the upcoming NBA playoffs and new episodes of “The Chicago Code ” have given me reasons to live and continue to floss. So that’s why I have included today’s special bonus photo #7. I call it “A Dog and his Boy.”

Joining him in Thursday festivities is my youngest brother Brad, who will be celebrating his special day by heli-snowboarding in Alaska. I really wanted to go with him, because nothing excites me more than being dropped off on the top of a glacier and be expected to make it down to the bottom in one easy piece. It’s not that I’m afraid of falling, it’s just that not myself when I’m in a coma. I give my brother credit, as I don’t want to say I’m a boneless chicken, but if you put some tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese on top of me, I’m parmesan done.

And finally on Friday, the guy who made this blog possible, my webmaster, psychic advisor and karate instructor, Kevin Deutsch, celebrates his last birthday before he becomes a high school math teacher. Kevin and I are like two peas in a pod as we both live for solving calculus equations, swimming in golden pools of pad se ew and Lady Gaga acoustic concerts.

On to lots of late night fun. “President Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan, he sent the Navy in to shoot at pirates in the Indian Ocean, and now he’s attacking Libya. It’s like he took the Nobel Peace Prize as an insult.” –Jimmy Kimmel “President Obama said the United States has clear and focused goals in Libya. He said he would share those goals with us as soon as Hillary shares them with him.” –Jimmy Fallon “Congress is mad at President Obama because he didn’t consult them before the war in Libya. Congress got us into two other wars and put us 14 trillion dollars in debt. I can’t imagine why he didn’t consult them.” –Jay Leno

“Donald Trump might be running for president and he just released his birth certificate. It lists his eyes as “blue” and his hair as “ridiculous.” Conan O’Brien “Donald Trump showed his birth certificate to reporters. Who cares about his birth certificate? I want to know if that thing on his head has had its vaccinations.–Craig Ferguson “President Obama had to use another door to get into the White House yesterday after he got home and the entrance to the Oval Office was locked. When he couldn’t get in, Obama said ‘Holy cow, is it 2012 already?’” –Jimmy Fallon

“The latest episode of “Dancing With the Stars” was preceded by Obama’s new show, “Dancing Around the Objectives in Libya.” Critics were saying Obama seemed defensive and slightly angry during his speech on Libya. Sounds like somebody’s March Madness bracket isn’t doing so hot.”–Jimmy Fallon “We’re down to the final four now. Only four Middle East countries we haven’t attacked. Obama is being criticized by both parties for not having a clear strategy to get out of Libya. But neither does Moammar Gadhafi, so it’s OK.”–Jay Leno

“Sarah Palin continues to make significant contributions to the English language. She asked, ‘Is Libya a war, an intervention, a squirmish, what is it?’ Squirmish is how I feel every time I hear Sarah Palin talk.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Sarah Palin said we’re in a “squirmish” with Libya. After she was corrected, she said “I shouldn’t be expected to get everything Acura. President Obama says that he prays every night before bed. Or as Fox News reported, ‘Obama in Daily Talks With Allah.’” –Conan O’Brien

David Letterman’s “Top Five Ways Moammar Gadhafi Can Improve His Image” 10. Less murdering 8. Release hit novelty song ‘Moammar Said There’d Be Days Like This’ 5. Promote himself from colonel to general 3. Just for fun, throw in some more Qs 2. Go on tour with Hosni Mubarak as the ‘Original Dictators of Comedy’

“President Obama didn’t throw any first pitches for opening day. Of course, he did throw us that curveball on Libya. President Obama’s approval ratings are so low now, Kenyans are accusing him of being born in the United States. If Moammar Gadhafi goes into exile, there are only three places that would tolerate a raving madman like that: Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Fox News.”–Jay Leno “Moammar Gadhafi has been described as a maniacal despot clinging to power. Wait a minute, that’s me.”–David Letterman

“A man and a woman who met on a British dating site eventually figured out that they were brother and sister. And since they live close by, they can actually carpool to therapy.”–Jimmy Fallon “Whole Foods, the organic grocery chain, is putting bars in some stores that will serve beer and wine. Their goal is to get you so drunk that you don’t notice the prices.–Jay Leno

“On Fox News, Donald Trump said Obama’s birth certificate could indicate that he’s a Muslim. Trump said he doesn’t trust anyone with a foreign-sounding name, and neither does his daughter Ivanka. Al-Qaida has a magazine, and the spring issue features a profile of Moammar Gadhafi. It also features a women’s section called “Death to Cottage Cheese Thighs.”–Conan O’Brien

So enjoy tonight’s NCAA championship game and we’ll catch you at midcourt for the trophy presentation. Aloha, mahalo and later, Jason Gilbert 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.

January 30, 2011

Does This Sunset Make Me Look Fat?

Good morning and greetings, Indian winter fans. I don’t want to say the weather has been pleasant recently, but last week I felt a warm breeze brush up against my cheek and thought, is this really Santa Cruz? It felt more like Hawaii or downtown Fiji. But after this luau of tropical thoughts cleared my mind, I knew this feeling of winter warmth was just temporary, like the crown on my upper right back molar.

But who am I to complain, as the temperatures across the country have been colder than the center of the petite filet I ordered last week at the Sizzler. I have been receiving satellite photos from back east of the snowfall and I am astounded at how much white powder has fallen out of the sky this winter. It’s like the Mexican cartels have taken over the Weather Channel.

Let me pass along a few facts about the fluttering flakes. This January is on record as the snowiest in history. The northeast has had six major snowstorms (we’re talking heavy, wet snow) since Hanukah. Cities like New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Syracuse and Beaver Falls have set new record snowfall totals. Unbelievable! I wish I could be back there to enjoy the blinding snow, black ice and heavy shoveling, but that would require wearing boots, gloves and a jacket, which would be in violation of my eleventh commandment, thou shall always wear shorts and not freeze like a popsicle.

But here it is late January, and the skies have been clearer than my complexion at my senior prom. Last week, the plum trees blossomed at the field where I run my golden retriever, producing thousands of pink flowers that decorated the trees and covered the ground with a layer of color of a pink, creme-filled Hostess Sno Ball. For a Ring Ding Jr. man like myself, this cornucopia of spring colors in the middle of the winter was a visual treat, like any episode featuring the lovely Sofia Vergara on “Modern Family.”

Moving along, much like the Rodney Dangerfield movie classic from 1986, last week I went back to school. I’ve always valued the importance of knowledge and have tried to further my education as much as possible. I want to keep my mind sharp as I battle the middle ages, so I made sure I had my notebook in place and pencils sharpened when I signed in for Traffic School.

Now the reason for this back-to-school moment was, I was traveling a tad above the speed limit on my way to San Francisco in December. Thank God that officer got me on his radar, and when he U-turned around and put on his flashers, a feeling of calm came over me, like angels dusting my face with baby powder. Ever since receiving this ticket to the CHP’s Ball, I have slowed down on the road. It was a valuable lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my life, or at least the next 18 months.

There were so many schools to choose from in the online classroom. There was the Too Lazy For Traffic School, the Not Guilty Traffic School, The Speeders Network and The Comedy School for Less, among others. Being someone who’d like to be in the islands, I chose the Aloha Traffic School. All in all, it was a valuable learning experience about rules and safety on the roadway, as I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun without laughing. I will carry that certificate of completion near to my heart as this is as close as I’m going to get to receiving a master’s degree.

For our photo runway, I was going to blast out a gorgeous winter sunrise, but instead I am upping the ante and bringing out the big guns. This my favorite sunrise from our first month, taken back in January of 2008. Everything came together this night at Natural Bridges as the sky, the clouds, the sand, colors and reflection action were just off the charts. I remembered standing on the beach during the final shots and thinking about how lucky I was to be experiencing this moment of incredible beauty while wondering if I had locked my keys in the car. God gives and I take.

On to the late night. “In the State of the Union address tonight, President Obama focused his speech on how to bring prosperity back to America. It basically involves all of us convincing Oprah we’re her half sister. That’s the plan.” –Conan O’Brien “The Republican response to the President’s State of the Union speech was fairly gracious. They said it was a pretty good speech for a foreigner.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Three Supreme Court justices — Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas — did not attend the State of the Union address. Taking their place was Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson.” –Conan O’Brien

“The White House held a state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao. The cellist Yo-Yo Ma was there. It’s the first yoyo we’ve had in the White House since George W. Bush.” –David Letterman “There was one really awkward moment when Hu found out that Obama was a Nobel Peace Prize winner and, out of force of habit, tried to have him arrested.” –Jay Leno “At the state dinner, Hu opened a fortune cookie that said, ‘You will lend us another trillion dollars.’” –Conan O’Brien

“John Boehner was subject to some controversy because the President hosted President Hu of China this week, and Boehner was invited to the State Dinner and did not come. President Hu was very disappointed. He promised his friends back home that he would get a picture with ‘orange man who leaks.” –Bill Maher “A Washington Post columnist is proposing a ‘Sarah-Palin-Free February,’ a whole month in which she’s not mentioned. This is stupid. Don’t pick February, the shortest month.” –Jay Leno “Egypt is in the second day of angry street protests. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling for calm. Because nothing calms an enraged Arab country like a powerful woman ordering it around.” –Conan O’Brien

“A social networking revolution has started in Saudi Arabia. Over 10 million Saudis are now online. In fact, the most popular social networking site for women in Saudi Arabia: ‘Cover-Your-Facebook.’” –Jay Leno “The U.S. Postal Service announced plans to close an additional 2,000 branches after losing $8.5 billion. Maybe in retrospect, making people wait in line while you slowly finish your bag of fiery hot Cheetos isn’t such a good idea.” Taco Bell pulled its ads during MTV’s new show “Skins” because of its inappropriate content. MTV was like, “Really, Taco Bell? We have inappropriate content? Have you seen what’s inside a chalupa?”–Jimmy Kimmel

So that’s our last blast for January. Birthday wishes go out this Saturday to my friend, confidant and translator for these blogs, Nancy Mager. Nancy is from back in the old country and although she would be too modest to mention it, developed the first recipe for baked ziti. She herself, is quite the Italian dish. When you have a Yankee fan like this in your life, you are very fortunate indeed.

So enjoy the national food and beverage holiday we call Super Bowl Sunday we’ll catch you at the championship trophy presentation. And remember to try and appreciate every day for what it is. Aloha, mahalo and later, Kevin Durant fans.

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