October 19, 2014

You Snooze, You Lose

Good morning and greetings, fall foliage fans. Yes, the leaves are changing color and dropping off the trees, as we are going through some changes here on the central coast. I believe our lovely 90 degree October days, much like me sleeping peacefully through the night, are now history.

Or as author Anthony Burgess once said, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Snore and you sleep alone.”

As my body and what’s left of my mind continues to age, I don’t believe I’m getting the proper amount of sleep. Now according to researchers, if it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep, then you are very likely sleep deprived. The ideal amount of time is about ten minutes. I chime in at about ten seconds.

And to think, I used to be so good at sleeping that I could do it with my eyes closed

So some might say I am suffering from severe sleep deprivation. The problem is lately, I am now waking up every couple of hours for no reason at all. Even though I consume half of Lake Erie before I go to sleep, I never need to visit the men’s room. And I know it’s not my wife drop kicking me because of my snoring, because that is no longer a problem.

In the past, I would always fell asleep first, and that would drive her batty. But, problem solved, as she now has aids that render her safe and gentle sleep. She has offered to share, but I hesitate to take anything stronger than milk and cookies, as my body is a synagogue and I want to remain meditation and medication free for as long as possible, or at least until the opening of the NBA season.

I’ve always been an early riser, which works well in the sunrise business. But I am not in love with being awake in the four o’clock hour, and recently, that’s the time that my mind has decided it wants to go to work. Because when my brain goes on red alert, further sleep and dreaming is out of the question.

Oh, I try to go back to that unconcious state by thinking of pleasant experiences in my life, like my bar mitzvah party, being massaged like an eggplant and taking the SAT’s, but it rarely works. Once my concious mind gets ahold of the rolodex of thoughts that have been lingering from the previous day, it’s over, Johnny.

We all know that it’s torture not being able to sleep. Or being waterboarded by Dick Cheney. Many a night I have woken up and laid in bed like a mental patient, wishing for sleep to come back on, and always being denied. Listen, I love TV, but I don’t want to be watching the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” at 3 am.

Okay, maybe a little “Three Stooges, but my brain gets enough TV stimulation during normal business hours. And it better be an episode with Curly. “I’m a victim of soicumstance.”

In the middle of the night, I want my mind to be open only to dreams. When I dream during our REM (Rapid Eye Memory) Sleep, they are usually wild and crazy. But it’s the same dream during the non-REM phases that drives me nuts. I have dreamt it dozens of times over the last forty years. I’m at school and heading to a class that I’ve never attended and haven’t studied for the test. It’s always math. I have this uneasy feeling of not being prepared. Half the time I can’t even find the classroom.

Author James Baldwin, talking about dreams, once said, “The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.”

Now I have always been a wild REM dreamer, as in my dreams I am frequently in company of celebrities, old high school friends and Miss Universe contestants. My subconcious life is much more exciting than my concious state, as the excitement has slowed down in my care giving years.

So by not getting enough sleep each night, I spend my day my day actively yawning. This act of inhalation and exhalation of of air is linked to exhaustion, stress, ISIS, overwork, lack of work, Ray Donovan, fatigue, boredom and watching the first eight innings of a baseball game. I’m taking drowsiness to a new level.

However, I know in paradise, everyone naps.

It seems like I’m always somewhat tired. I know I suffer from sleep apnea, but my doctor says if I’m not falling asleep while doing 65 on the freeway, then not to worry about it.

We spend a third of our lives sleeping. I have already slept twenty years. I not asking for much when it comes to sleep. As rocker Warron Zevon once quipped, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I just really want to pass that damn algebra test.

So for today’s photo library I am showcasing the first sunrise of the fall season. The day was last Thursday and the place Lighthouse Point. I hadn’t shot a sunrise since last February, and the view from the sand down at Its Beach and Steamer Lane was spectacular.

In the words of the Chicago Transit Authority, it’s “only the beginning.” And what a delightful and colorful entrance it was.

On to some late night humor. “Right around the corner is the midterm elections. There’s an anti-incumbent mood in the country. People are sick and tired of people who have been in the job too long and are lazy and overpaid and out of ideas. Wait a minute. I’m sorry. That’s me. The administration now has a name for the war against ISIS. Every military operation has to have a name so people can get behind it, and they now have a name for the war against ISIS — Operation Hillary’s Problem.” – David Letterman

“I was very happy to see that our old friend Jay Leno is coming back to television. He’s coming back to CNBC and he’s got a brand-new show. Jay drives a variety of exotic vehicles, and each week he runs down a different NBC executive.” – David Letterman “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance yesterday in over 40 days. But since he saw his shadow, that now means 60 more years of nuclear winter.” – Jimmy Fallon

“On this day in 1912, President Teddy Roosevelt was shot, declined to go to the hospital, and gave a 90-minute speech with a bullet in his chest. Then on this day in 2012, I spent the whole day on WebMD because my eyelid wouldn’t stop twitching. Brad Pitt said in an interview this week that he doesn’t feel safe in his own home without a gun. Said Pitt, “I don’t even know half these kids.” – Seth Meyers

“For the last two months evil North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has been missing. Well, apparently he is back in public. It turns out he was buried in the end zone at Giants Stadium. He claims he was kidnapped by Neil Patrick Harris.” – David Letterman “Today they announced the Nobel Prize winner for economics. It went to the guy who sold Derek Jeter’s socks for 400 bucks ” – Seth Meyers

So that’s another week. Be grateful for your health and think positive thoughts for others much less fortunate.

We’ll catch you hitting a three run walk off blast in the ninth inning and sending the Giants into the World Series. Aloha, mahalo and later, Travis Ishikawa fans.

December 29, 2013

The Wolf Of West Cliff

Good morning and greetings, 2013 fans. Well, we’ve come to the end of the year, and what a year it’s been. We survived the idiocy of the debt crisis, hopped on the love train called Obamacare, and saw Kim Kardashian have a baby with Jerry West. And God willing, by the end of 2014 or the time my children are grandparents, we won’t have any more troops dying in Afghanistan.

Of course, I could drone on about other major news stories, like the Jonas Brothers’ feud, Justin Beiber’s monkey retiring or Miley Cyrus getting more ink than Michelle Obama, but that’s just the way of the world these days. It seems the more skin you show, the more the media pays attention. I can relate. I’m naked under my clothes every day.

So the Christmas holiday has come and gone, and this year my family celebrated it in the traditional way. Being Jewish, we don’t have a Christmas tree, but to get into the holiday spirit I always hang a sprig of mistletoe from my rear view mirror.

So on Christmas Eve, with my in-laws in town, we followed in the foot steps of our ancestors and went out to dine on some Chinese cuisine. We cruised over to Golden City, where we enjoyed some beef chow fun, chicken and eggplant in garlic sauce, and Mao’s personal favorite, sweet and sour chicken. The place was packed, and rest assured we had more than enough for a minyan.

The food was delicious, made even better as we played Pat Sajack by spinning the Lazy Susan that rotated the garlic chicken chow mein and the chicken fried rice. When the check was brought out, it was accompanied by fortune cookies and fried sesame balls. I quietly remarked to my daughter, “I wish we had some almond cookies,” as I’m trying to lower my cholesterol.

Well, before I could say, “Are there any more egg rolls?,” the restaurant’s owner walked over and handed me a container of Bakery Street Gourmet Almond Cookies wrapped in a red bow. I was momentarily taken back and canceled the order of pot stickers to go. I knew at that moment that it was going to be a White Christmas, as it was going to take lots of milk to down these little cakes of almond joy.

I bowed and thanked her, as we were amazed by the synchronicity of the moment. We paid the bill and left with 49 take out boxes of food. The only down moment came when I opened my fortune cookie and it read, “The fortune you seek is in another cookie.” Slightly dismayed, I cracked open another cookie that read, “That wasn’t chicken.” Still wanting to leave on a positive note, I went for a third try. “Confuscious say, if you think we’re going to sum up your whole life on this little piece of paper, you’re crazy.” I almost spit up the crab rangoon.

Then it was on to Christmas Day, or should I say NBA Wednesday. The league had scheduled five highly anticipated matchups, but due to player injuries and the Dow Jones hitting a new high, I was not prepared to sit inside on a gorgeous winter day and watch 13 straight hours of basketball. So instead, I taped the first two games and decided to go to the movies. I had no idea what an emotional commitment I was in for.

My son wanted to see “The Wolf of Wall Street,” so with my father-in-law in tow we headed downtown. Now, I hadn’t heard much about the movie, but it came highly recommended, a “must see” by Grantland’s Bill Simmons. Well, let me say this. This three hour spectacle of the rise and fall of Leonardo DiCaprio is still seared in my mind like a filet of ahi tuna
I hadn’t seen that many naked women since I accidentally wandered into a Rainbow Family’s tea party at Woodstock. There were more hookers than you’d find in the lobby at happy hour at the Hotel Del Ray in San Jose, Costa Rica. The movie made Sharon Stone and “Basic Instinct” seem like “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

And I don’t want to say that the drug use by Leonardo and this buddies was over the top, but there hadn’t been that much snow blown since the blizzard of Buffalo back in 1977. They also took quaalude use to a new high or new low. And let’s just say we saw a lot more of Australian actress Margot Robbie then we had ever bargained for. I think we saw the first and second Noel, if you catch my drift.

We then returned home and finished up the day with three good NBA games, with the Warrior win in the finale being the best of all. Now that’s what I call a merry Christmas. God bless the Father, the Son and the Holy DVR.

Moving along, last week I posted a beautiful, smoke enhanced sunset from back on December 16. For today’s photo follies we’re are going back to the early morning hours of this same day, when the waves were munching and crunching the shore along West Cliff Drive.

The sky lit up early and red was the color. The volume of the morning was turned up high as the wave action at Lighthouse Point and Steamer Lane was going at full tilt. Surfers were rushing like lemmings to the sea. It was a fabulous morning. I say that any time I can capture a gorgeous sunrise and a spectacular sunset on same day, my work is done.

A guy tells his psychiatrist: ‘It was terrible. I was away on business, and I emailed my wife that I’d be back a day early. I rushed home from the airport and found her in bed with my best friend. I don’t get it. How could she do this to me?” “Well,” says the psychiatrist. “Maybe she didn’t see the email.”

So that’s our last post for 2013. We’ll catch you in the new year showing NBA fans that you’re more than a prime time dunker. Aloha, mahalo and later, Blake Griffin fans.

November 25, 2012

Open the Window, It’s A Little Stuffing In Here

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:13 am

Good morning and greetings, post holiday fans. Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone as the turkey, along with mounds of stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce is just a happy caloric memory. It’s a holiday I always look forward to as it involves food, family and football, and not necessarily in that order. Or in the words of the late Johnny Carson, “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday, People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. Hiyo.

It’s a November gathering that brings families together to kick back, enjoy a fabulous meal and reminisce. No pressure, no presents, no Pilgrims, just being around people who we are closest to and the baggage they bring with them. It’s a simple way to celebrate a day that fills the memory books. Jon Stewart remembers this holiday well. “I celebrated in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”

For the home team, a good part of the day is spent in the kitchen, preparing for a feast while many around the world go hungry. As Mother Theresa once told me at a Bon Jovi concert, “If you can’t feed one hundred people, feed one.” For a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner, much needs to be done in preparation. But this work can be rewarding. As the queen of macadamia nuts Roseanne Barr once crooned, ‘Here I am at five o’clock in the morning stuffing bread crumbs up a dead bird’s butt.”

It’s a long day in the kitchen, but then again, this holiday occurs only once a year, giving you 365 days of rest in-between. Myself, I don’t mind the work, as the TV is on and football makes a pleasant backdrop for this late November surge. Columnist Erma Bombeck was an interested observer of the all-consuming pigskin experience. As she once wrote, “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Halftimes take twelve minutes. This is not a coincidence.” Or as my rabbi once noted, “On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down at the same time-halftime.”

It’s a fun day, as we reunite with family we sometimes see just a few times throughout the year. For the simple man or a big-time celebrity like Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s a special day on the culinary front. In the words of the Terminator, “I love the Thanksgiving turkey…it’s the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts.” And as David Letterman once chimed in, “Thanksgiving is the day when you turn to another family member and say,’ How long has Mom been drinking like this?’ My mom, after six Bloody Marys looks at the turkey and says, Here kitty, kitty.”

And we know that Dave Letterman is a big fan of Oprah. Oprah is a saint, a woman with a huge heart that overflows with love and generosity. She changes people’s lives on a daily basis, and if you want to admire someone in life, you might want to start with the Big O. This is her thought on the day. “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough. Or in the words of inspirational writer William A. Ward, “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?”

Well, damn it, I have, and I’m thankful for all I’m blessed with including family, friends, health and a new 51″ HD Plasma TV to watch the Food Channel on. But to put the holiday in proper perspective, I’ll let the final words flow from the pale face of comedian Jim Gaffigan, an expert on bacon who came up with this riff. “Thanksgiving. It’s like we didn’t even try to come up with a tradition. The tradition is, we overeat. ‘Hey, how about at Thanksgiving we just eat a lot?’ ‘But we do that every day!’ ‘Oh. What if we eat a lot with people that annoy the hell out of us?’” Thank you and good night.

For today’s photo entree we are featuring the first half of the November 14th double dip, when both the sunrise and sunset shined from sea to sea. In my last post we featured the dusk experience, where the texture of the clouds seemed unreal. For this sunrise, I misjudged where the prime action was and set up way down at the end of Its Beach (photo #1) to try and capture the red reflection on the water. But the real deal were the clouds above Steamers Lane, which I caught in photo #2 when they had turned mandarin orange, creating a citrus sunrise effect.

Then the heavy clouds rolled in and I moved along to take in some silhouette action from Lighthouse Field. All in all, it was a day of double delights, with folks along the central coast getting two spectacular sights for the price of one. For me, it was just another chapter in the life of a photo blogger with his trusty digital camera and a golden retriever that will never leave him.

On to the late night. “Facebook just launched a new app. They teamed up with the Department of Labor to create what they call the social jobs app. You can browse through 2 million job listings. You know it’s bad when even Facebook thinks it’s time for you to get a job.” –Jimmy Kimmel “During his final speech on the House floor yesterday, Congressman Ron Paul said the Constitution has failed. Which must be a bummer because he’s actually one of the guys who signed it.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A decorated war hero has an affair with his own sexy biographer, who thinks the spy master is stepping out on her with a second girlfriend. So she sends an email from a secret account saying ‘step off or I will cut a bi-atch.’ And the second hottie freaks out and contacts her friends, FBI agents, who launch an investigation, but gets pulled off the case because he sexed her a shirtless photo. The spy master protege, also a general, has sent thousands of e-mails to the second woman. This isn’t just a love triangle, folks. It’s a love pentagon.” -Stephen Colbert

“It was announced today that former General Petraeus has agreed to testify before Congress. I guess he figured, ‘Why not?’ Those questions can’t be any tougher than the ones he’s getting at home right now. See, when a general tells his wife, ‘I was pitching a tent in Afghanistan,” technically he’s not lying.” –Jay Leno

So that’s our last blast for November 2012. We’ll catch you showing NFL fans that despite suffering a devastating knee injury last year, you’ve amazingly come back better than ever this season while leading the league in rushing yards. Aloha, mahalo and later, Adrian Peterson fans.

June 10, 2012

Swing Low Tide, Sweet Chariot

Good morning and greetings, French Open fans. The weather on the central coast recently, much like LeBron James 45 point outburst against the Celtics in game six, has been NBA fantastic. If you like thunder and lightning up the scoreboard, it’s a great time to be an NBA fan.

Last week on my morning strolls along West Cliff Drive, I noticed the tide was lower than my expectations of the Warriors making a good lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Low tide is always a treat, as it uncovers a plethora of the coastline’s hidden treasures. So last Tuesday, before you could say, “Sofia Vergara,” I headed down to Lighthouse Point to take in the green grass and low tide action. Forever.

As you can see in photo #1, the tide down at Its Beach was lower than my score on my math SAT’s. I was hoping to be able to walk through my favorite arch to photograph this classic structure from both sides, but I hadn’t brought along my snorkeling gear, so Samuel Gompers and I had to settle for the lovely view looking west. But if I had been able to Dwyane wade through, the view would have looked very much like photo #2.

I then headed back up the steps to catch the marine mammeled flavor of Seal Rock (photo #3.) There were a couple of pods of sea lions lounging in the water nearby, but my zoom wasn’t more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, so I wasn’t able to get a good shot.

But the swell was up and Steamer Lane was full of surfers trying to catch some wave action. Some nice sets were rolling in (photo #4) and at that moment, I reflected back on the words of The Rascals, “It’s a beautiful mornin’. I think I’ll go outside for a while. An jus’ smile. Just take in some clean fresh air boy. Ain’t no sense in stayin’ inside. If the weather’s fine an’ you got the time.” And boys and squirrels, luckily, one thing I do have, besides an almost clean driving record, is time.

By the way, not to date myself, but I saw The Rascals in concert iin New Jersey at Palisades Amusement Park in back in the mid 1960′s. I don’t want to say I’m getting old, but at the breakfast table I hear snap, crackle and pop, and I’m not eating cereal.

Anyway, today’s six pack of photos was brought on by the advent of low tide. And as we know, Tide gets out the stains that others leave behind. Dirt can’t hide from Tide.

So now you’re probably thinking to yourselves, I wonder what causes the tides to change? I thought you’d never ask. And remember, if it’s got to be clean, it’s got to be Tide.

According to Jeff Spicoli and surfingsantacruz.com, tides are created because the Earth and the moon are attracted to each other, just like magnets are attracted to each other. These are known as lunar tides. The moon tries to pull at anything (except Rush Limbaugh) on the Earth to bring it closer. But, the Earth is able to hold onto everything except the water and sometimes Oprah.

Since the water is always moving, the Earth cannot hold onto it, and the moon is able to pull at it The moon is pulling upwards on the water while the earth is pulling downward. Slight advantage to the moon and thus we have tides. And as we know, tides go to the runner.

Each day, there are two high tides and two low tides. The ocean is constantly moving from high tide to low tide, and then back to high tide. There is about 12 hours and 25 minutes between the two high tides, or about the same amount of time it will take me to catch up on the episodes I missed of the first three seaons of “Justified.”

When the sun and moon are aligned, there are exceptionally strong gravitational forces, causing very high and very low tides which are called spring tides, though they have nothing to do with the season. The gravitational force of the moon is one ten-millionth that of earth, or the same odds that I will one day be paid for writing this blog. But when you combine other forces such as the earth’s centrifugal force created by its spin, you get tides. Or as the Spin Doctor say, “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.”

The sun’s gravitational force on the earth is only 46 percent that of the moon. This makes the the moon the single most important factor for the creation of tides. And Tide knows fabric best. Since the moon moves around the Earth, it is not always in the same place at the same time each day. So, each day, the times for high and low tides change by 50 minutes. I believe it was either George Carlin or author Robert C. Gallagher who said, “Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.”

So to then complete my tidal wonderings, I kayaked over to the wharf to photograph some sea lions up on one of the boat landings. But Instead, much to my delight, there was a pod of around 60 lions lounging right off the pier. Rumor has it that earlier in the morning the crowd numbered 300, but I was happy to catch this group of rafting revelers.

So being that it was low tide city in the morning all of last week, after Tuesday’s outing I headed up to Four Mile Beach on Wednesday and Natural Bridges on Thursday. Both trips, much like the NBA conference finals, had their magic moments, and I’ll blast out these photos along with my thoughts on Larry Bird in the upcoming weeks.

On to some late night. “According to a new book coming out by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, apparently when he was in high school, President Obama smoked large amounts of marijuana. You know what that means? He could be our first green president. Unemployment is still looking pretty bad. In fact, the White House has a new slogan on job creation: ‘Hope and change the subject.’ The unemployment numbers are higher than President Obama was in high school.” –Jay Leno

“On Friday, President Obama spent the night at his home in Chicago for the first time in over a year. It was nice – he even went down to the basement and dusted off some old campaign promises. Mitt Romney has been giving his volunteers a free sweatshirt for making phone calls on his behalf. The sweatshirts are just like Romney, 100 percent reversible.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A new survey found that Mitt Romney is ahead of Obama among those who make $36,000-$90,000. Or as Romney put it, ‘And they said I can’t
connect with the poor.’ Obama gave Bon Jovi a ride to New York City on Air Force One. Makes sense – Bon Jovi’s living on a prayer, while Obama’s campaigning on one.” –Jimmy Fallon “There’s a rumor that President Obama will stop by today’s L.A. Kings hockey game. He doesn’t want to draw attention to himself. He just wants to blend in with all the other black, Hawaiian hockey fans.” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s all I’m giving of myself this week. Try and take a moment to be grateful for all you have. We’ll catch you blowing the minds of NBA fans and reminding people why you’re the king. Aloha, mahalo and later, LeBron James fans

April 29, 2012

Crust Never Sleeps

Good morning and greetings, NBA playoff fans. That’s right, after a regular season schedule that was more compacted than my daughter’s makeup case, we have now entered the postseason. I don’t want to say that I’m excited, but I already have my clothes picked out for the “40 games in 40 nights.” And if you know me, you know that I dress for success. For NBA fans, the next six weeks are a stairway to hoops heaven. Or as Mark Twain once told me, “Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company.”

So when watching basketball, snacks invariably enter the playoff picture. And that leads me to today’s subject and predicate. In a story by today.com’s Jillian Eugenios, Pizza Hut’s Middle Eastern arm has taken crust-stuffing soaring to a new junk food height by adding cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets to their pizza crusts. I know what you’re thinking, “What, no fries or chocolate shakes?”

They’re called the “Crown Crust Cheese Burger” pizza and the “Crown Crust Chicken Filet” pizzas because of their shape, royalty and just pure audacity. Fortunately for Americans and their cardiologists, these cholesterol busters are only available in the Middle East and selected desert oasis.

This gorging, ground breaking event is similar to another pizza the company recently launched in England, which features a giant hot dog threaded through the crust along with tiny bits of the Beatle’s “Abbey Road” album. My thought is, who’s thinking up these concepts, what did his or her parents do to them as a child that sent them down this long and winding caloric road?

The Crown Crust, which is not to be confused with the Ford Crown Victoria, comes with either cheesburgers or chicken “gems” set outside the outside of the pie, which is in line with the separation of church and steak.

Pizza Hut Middle East announced the promotion last week on their Facebook page and in Mad magazine. Now here comes the best part. Their slogans were “Can’t decide on burger or pizza? Believe it or not you can have both!” A slice and a coronary. They referred to their pizza creations as the “gem of all pizzas,” and suggested that their customers can now “taste royalty.” Maybe you can’t be a king but you can have the cholesterol and clogged arteries of one.

This isn’t the first time that Pizza Hut Middle East has dabbled in unique culinary territory. The Crown Crust joins a pizza called the Cheesy Bites Remix on Pizza Hut Middle East menus, which is a regular pizza with cheesy pockets around the outside. What, just cheese? Forget about it. Now, if you fill those pockets with beef stroganoff, chicken pot pie or sweet and sour shrimp, now you’ve got me interested.

The Cheesy Bites Remix pockets were once only filled with mozzarella, cream cheese and miracles, but the remix variety offers “three times the fun,” which includes spicy Mexican seasoning, cream cheese and sesame, and mozzarella and parmesan. Who knew pizza could be this entertaining?

Well, Americans do, as business is booming, with 41% of Americans saying they eat pizza once a week compared to just 26% two years ago. I guess it’s all about eating, laughing and sharing a slice of life.

Fortunately for bedouins and their camels, the Crown Crust Pizza is just a limited time offering, and will come off the market as soon as there’s peace in the middle east. But the super chefs at Pizza Hut have been busy, offering cheese-stuffed crusts with cornflakes in Malaysia and a Fish Prawn King pizza, which comes topped with Alaskan Pollock fish fingers, King Prawns, Queen Latifah, mozzarella cheese, pineapple with a lime mayo sauce and a free goldfish.

But America is also doing its part in the world of bizarre fast food concoctions, with with Doritos Locos Tacos, Burger King’s bacon sundae and the infamous KFC Double Down, where the Colonel uses two pieces of juicy, boneless white meat chicken filets as bread. Throw in two slices of bacon, two slices of cheese and the Colonel’s Sauce and you’ve got something that’s finger lickin’ unbelievable. This baby is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun, paramedic or vegan healer.

Burger King has also rolled out a bacon ice cream sundae that is not quite what Michelle Obama had up her sleeves. That’s right, we’re talking an actual slice of kosher bacon on top of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and caramel. That sound you hear is my arteries crying.

And not to be left out of the party, last year Denny’s rolled out a bacon maple sundae, while more recently, Jack in the Box added a bacon-flavored milkshake. The last sound you heard was my rabbi screaming.

Now let’s finish up by thinking outside the bun. Taco Bell’s newest item, Doritos Locos Tacos, which the company launched nationwide last Wednesday, has taco shells made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Yes, you read correctly. This could be the cure for the common meal and insanity.

This is Taco Bell’s biggest product launch in its 50-year history, as they plan to spend up to $75 million to advertise the new tacos, about three times more than it usually spends to promote new health food items. But hold on to your pacemakers, as there’s even more good news, as they will be introducing a Doritos Cool Ranch taco shell this fall. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to make a mad dash to the border right now.

For today’s photo escalade, we are featuring my favorite sunrise from the month of April. The year was 2009, the place was Steamer’s Lane, and as you can see from photo #1, this sunrise started strong. What made this morning even more interesting was that it was my brother Brad’s 50th birthday and the 15th for my Regents Scholar winning, UC Santa Barbara Honors Program bound son Jason. The early clouds were just fantabulous, and this sunrise, much like candidate Obama in 2008, came out of nowhere, as there hadn’t been any color or diamonds in the sky for months.

Let’s move on to some late night humor. “Today is 4/20. This is like national pot day. And people celebrate all over the world. Although, I must say, the Senate did not celebrate this by smoking joints, for two reasons. One, it would be against protocol. And two, it would mean passing something. “Newt Gingrich was campaigning at a zoo this week and he was bitten by a penguin. Newt Gingrich is always campaigning at zoos. Mitt Romney once did a photo op at a zoo. That was a big mistake, because he stood next to the chameleon, and he changed colors.” –Bill Maher

“One of the agents involved in the scandal was on Sarah Palin’s detail in 2008 when he was running for vice president. And he posted a picture on his Facebook — apparently he had a little crush on her — of him standing behind her kind of smirking and saying, ‘I’m checking her out.’ Which is more than you can say for the McCain campaign. “Of course Sarah Palin has to answer this. Today she said, you know what, people are always checking me out. She said, ‘I can’t count the number of times when I’m walking away, and I hear someone say, ‘What an ass.’” –Bill Maher

“One of the Secret Service agents had this woman, and the deal was $300 and he gave her $30. I’m thinking, now wait a minute. I’ve got no problem with a guy trying to save taxpayer dollars. These are jobs that should’ve gone to American hookers.” –David Letterman “Congress is expanding its probe into the Secret Service scandal. Congressmen want to know how this could happen, who was responsible, and do those ladies take Discover cards.” –Conan O’Brien

“Newt Gingrich’s campaign is something like $5 million in debt. He is now so broke he’s no longer attacking the poor because he is one.” –Jay Leno “Newt Gingrich still receiving Secret Service protection. What are they protecting him from? Reality?” –Bill Maher

“Yesterday Mitt Romney won all five of the primaries. Apparently when you buy four primaries, you get the fifth for free. Yesterday the Dalai Lama said he likes George W. Bush as a person, but not as a president. When asked for comment, Bush said, ‘I love him as a Dalai, but not as a Lama.’” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s our last gasp for April. Despite the devastating loss of Chicago’s Derrick Rose, enjoy the first round of the NBA playoffs and we’ll catch you being the top sixth man in the league. Aloha, mahalo and later, James Harden 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.

May 29, 2011

Things Aren’t Always What They Museum

Good morning and greetings, Steamer Lane fans. Last Friday, the Santa Cruz Surfing Club Preservation Society along with the Parks and Recreation Department and a dozen sea gulls invited the community to rendezvous over at Lighthouse Point to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first museum on the west coast solely dedicated to surfing and kelp beds.

Now I am very familiar with this location, as Lighthouse Point is my prime-time, number one, numero uno shooting spot when it comes to photographing world-class sunrises over Monterey Bay. I love using the lighthouse as a photographic point of reference, as it falls somewhere between the spectacular setting of Half Dome in Yosemite and the inner city quaintness of the old Yankee Stadium.

But today we are not referring to the outside of the lighthouse, but instead what lies within, which could be compared to my gruff exterior which belies a heart of gold. I wanted to know the inside word on how this sacred spot was deemed surf museum worthy.

I knew there was only one man who could answer these questions, and with any luck he wouldn’t block my call when I dialed him up. He is Howard “Boots” McGhee, who is a consider to be a friend, mentor and someone who I wouldn’t contact unless I had severe writer’s block.

Boots, who hails from the Seacliff side of the tracks, is a long-time surfer, much accomplished photographer and a mover and a shaker in this area, or at least that’s what he told me to write. He is also one of the gentlemen who is responsible for this Surfing Museum’s existence, so I went right to the source to find out how this history was made along West Cliff Drive.

Boots told me that back in 1985, before he and I started doing in the tow-in thing with Laird Hamilton, he was part of a small group that decided to turn this brick structure into the first surfing museum on the mainland. What a concept, a museum inside a lighthouse. It was like serving up a creamy bowl of Santa Cruz surfing history inside a sourdough bread bowl.

In the words of this man who’s a former body double for Bruce Willis, “it’s an interpretive museum. It’s a place where you learn things on the inside and then you step outside and you’re on top of the arena where it’s happening.”

How true, as once you exit this visual encyclopedia of Santa Cruz surfing lore, you’ve got Steamer Lane on one side and Its Beach on the other. This is not what surrounds the Museum of Natural History in New York, as when you exit onto 79th Street at Central Park West, very few dinosaurs are roaming the streets, unless you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Larry King.

Here’s one more thought. You might want to go check out the Surfing Museum sooner than later. Because of the sea caves and the erosion going on underneath this structure, this building will not be here forever. Boots gives the museum another ten years before it will have to be rebuilt across the street. Then again, years ago, he got smacked in the head with a longboard, and since then every time I see him he asks if I want to join him for lunch with Duke Kahanamoku.

So today I am featuring six shots of the lighthouse under different lighting conditions. I had dozens of shots to choose from, but these six give you a pretty good idea of what goes on in the sky at this incredible spot at the headlands of Monterey Bay. Santa Cruz, where the sky meets the sea.

Before we head into the late night, I wanted to make mention of the violent tornado that devastated the lives of the good folks of Joplin, Missouri. Turns out this last killer twister was something unique and not so special. Video evidence shows that it appears to be a rare “multivortex” tornado, which contain two or more small and intense subvortices that orbit the center of the larger tornado. That is why this twister was the deadliest tornado since the 1940′s and left the city of Joplin looking like it had been hit by a bomb.

To the late night we go. “The pastor who incorrectly predicted the Rapture said it was a very tough weekend. To make it worse, his friends keep calling him saying, “Hey, it’s not the end of the world!” –Conan O’Brien “The man that is predicting judgment day predicted the end of the world in 1994. He also predicted that Ashton Kutcher would never return to television.” –Craig Ferguson

“The preacher who predicted the apocalypse last weekend now predicts that the world will end in October. It’s the first time that someone’s end-of-the-world prediction was followed by ‘Have a great summer.’” –Conan O’Brien “Harold Camping, who predicted the end of the world, says the new date for the apocalypse is October 21. If it rains, it will be October 22.” –David Letterman “The Rapture-predicting preacher, Harold Camping, is really scaling back his predictions. He now predicts the end of the month will be May 31.” –Jay Leno

“President Obama visited the Irish village where his great-great-great-grandfather was born. Of course, that was always disputed by his great-great-great-grandfather’s archrival, Donny McTrump.” –Jimmy Fallon “That’s right, Obama was in Ireland. He thought about buying a four-leaf clover for good luck, and then he looked at the field of Republican candidates and decided it wasn’t necessary.” –Jimmy Fallon “Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels emailed his supporters over the weekend to tell them he’s not running for president. In response, his supporters were like, ‘Dad, we live in the same house. Couldn’t you just tell us in person?” –Jimmy Fallon

“New video has surfaced of Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1991 saying the housekeeper does a ‘great job.’ One clue might have been that he then added, ‘And she’s also a great housekeeper.’” –Conan O’Brien “There are rumors Arnold Schwarzenegger may have had a second child with another woman. I can’t believe Arnold would cheat on his mistress like that. “Turns out that Maria Shriver could end up with 100,000,000 dollars from her divorce from Arnold. She deserves it. She was a devoted wife and mother to at least 40 percent of his children.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A new Facebook app is coming out that will remind users exactly what they were doing a year ago from that day. Nine times out of 10, the answer will be ‘wasting your time on Facebook.’” –Conan O’Brien “Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, announced that he’s running for president. And this is cool — if his campaign isn’t over in 30 minutes or less, you get your pizza for free. “Subway sandwich shops are testing out several upscale restaurants called Subway Cafes. They feature wood paneling, lounge seating, and other things to distract you from the tuna fish being served with an ice-cream scoop.”–Jimmy Fallon

So that’s my Memorial Day weekend rant. I apologize for the fact that there were no NBA playoff games over the weekend, but that’s what happens when young teams Chicago and Oklahoma City implode down the stretch and ruin it for everyone. So enjoy the NBA Finals and we’ll catch you in June. Aloha, mahalo and later, LeBron James fans.

September 19, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 6, 2009

The Prodigal Sun

Good morning and greetings, change we can believe in fans. Well, it’s December, which means the holiday season is upon us along with office parties, college Bowl Games and the pressure to figure out what gift to buy for that special boss or co-worker who you could really care less about. Yes, mistletoe fans, I’m already knee-deep in the holiday spirit.

Despite Derek Jeter and the Yankees winning the World Series, 2010 has been a somewhat challenging year. One long-time friend suddenly passed away, another sufffered a heart attack and then there was the balloon boy. Not that I’m feeling vulnerable, but I’m at the point that when I feel a pain anywhere in the chest area, I’m thinking, heart attack, any discomfort in the stomach area, appendicitis and if I have cramps, I’m already picking out baby names. As I’ve mentioned before, I’d like to strangle the advertising executive who came up with the slogan “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better. Well, he’s close, I’m getting older all right, but I’m getting bitter.

Actually, it’s not as bad as I’m making it sound, although there are some things that happened this week that made me shake my head and wonder, what in the wide, wide world of sports is going on? Let’s start with Tiger Woods, or should I say, Tiger Wouldn’t? You’ve got a gorgeous Swedish wife who makes delicious pancakes, two beautiful kids and enough money to buy Hannah Montana and you can’t keep it in your pants? Do the words honesty, trust or faithfulness mean anything to you or your caddie? Then again, he’s no different than Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, half the Republican lawmakers and a multitude of sports superstars. I’m no New Orleans Saint, but c’mon, Eldrick, keep your putter in your golf bag.

I also find the situation in Afghanistan somewhat confusing and disappointing. I love President Obama, I think he’s the best thing to happen to this country since the invention of TiVo, but his plans to deploy 30,000 more troops to be put in harms way to fight the Taliban is difficult to swallow. The Afghan goverment, coming off the rigged election is a mockery of a sham of a travesty, and just ask the Russians how easy it is to fight an enemy in a country where opium is king. The Taliban are the devil and the need to crush Al Queda is quite understandable but at the risk of how many lives? I hate to be too serious in this blog, but the President’s decision has crushed the hopes of many who thought change was in the air. Can you imagine what he would have done had he not won the Nobel Peace prize? We’re eight years into this war and just the thought of this new surge leaves me tired, emotionally drained and Bushed.

Getting back to my aging process, this week I had to make a very easy decision and wave the white flag to my son, Jason. We have been playing one-on-one basketball since he was old enough to double dribble and has never beaten me, and due to the Geneva Convention and my personal Bill of Rights, I’ve never allowed him to win. We had some close encounters of the below the rim kind this summer but he was never quite able to get over the hump. That could have been due to the fact that I kept the score and never let him know it was game point till I was one away.

Anyway, we were playing last week and with his quickness, jumping ability and incredible genes, I realized I’d have to be at the top of my game to ever to beat him again. So, like any aging racehorse going out to stud, I told him that I will never play him again when we keep score so I can be led out to pasture with an undefeated record. Now, a bigger man would have played him again for the inevitable father-son pasage of rights but I am not that kind of man. In the words of Moe Howard of the Three Stooges, when asked if he were a man or mouse, Moe replied, “Put a piece of cheese in front of me and you’ll find out.” Or as I say, live brie or die.”

Today’s photo fantasy tour comes to us from the month of November. The first two shots are the sun rising and cascading over the water at Steamer Lane. We then head over to Natural Bridges to see some magnificence in the western skies before finishing up with a sunrise shot that should have been first but got jumbled to due global warming and my declining basketball skills. There was a incredibly beautiful sunset that came out of nowhere this past Friday, but due to the fact that I was still basking in the glow of my son’s 21 point, 10 assist performance earlier in the day I was unaware that the sky would soon be aglow and missed it. It was as spectacular as Jason’s third quarter ending buzzer beater. It just goes to show, Ansel Adams fans, that I am still a work in progress.

On the the late fight funnies. “New reports on Sarah Palin’s ‘Going Rogue’ bus tour. They say she’s been traveling on private planes to various stops and then just hops in the bus at the local town. So, let’s see what you got. You have Sarah Palin, who’s no longer governor, who’s promoting a book she didn’t actually write by going on a bus tour which is not really a bus. Her big complaint? Politicians who aren’t real. Hey, congratulations. Chelsea Clinton just got engaged to her longtime boyfriend. That’s very exciting. And I understand Bill is already planning the bachelor party.” –Jay Leno “Speaking from West Point, NY, the President announced he will send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan over the next six months and 2,000 additional troops to Tiger Woods’s mansion in Orlando. Peacekeeping forces.” –Jimmy Kimmel

We were a little light on the late night humor so here are a couple of jokes that will hopefully fill the bill. A guy is sitting at home when he hears a knock at the door. He opens the door and sees a snail on the porch. He picks up the snail and throws it as far as he can. Three years later, there’s a knock on the door. He opens it and sees the same snail. The snail says “What the hell was that all about?”

A guy joins a monastery and takes a vow of silence: he’s allowed to say two words every seven years. After the first seven years, the elders bring him in and ask for his two words. “Cold floors,” he says. They nod and send him away. Seven more years pass. They bring him back in and ask for his two words. He clears his throats and says, “Bad food.” They nod and send him away. Seven more years pass. They bring him in for his two words. “I quit,” he says. “That’s not surprising,” the elders say. “You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here.”

So that’s our show. Birthday wishes go out to my old radio partner, Jerry Hoffman, who shares the day of December 12 with yours truly. Jerry, who you can read at www.12sportsonline.com, can still turn the double play at second and in his mind is the Chase Utley of central coast. So for you apple sauce and sour cream lovers like myself, enjoy the festival of lights and potato latke experience of Hanukah that begins on Friday night. We’ll catch you in the right flat. Aloha, mahalo and later, Drew Brees fans.

September 20, 2009

Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky

Good morning and greetings, NFL fans. Well, it’s been two weeks since I last addressed my cyber constituents and I’m relaxed, rejuvenated and as excited as Sarah Palin at a Gucci outlet store. During my time away, I was able to cleanse my mind of any impurities and once again focus on the important things in life, like return of the “Sons of Anarchy” on FX, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” on HBO and most importantly, New York Giant’s football. Or simply put, in the words of the Emmy award winning Seinfeld episode, I am “Master of My Domain.”

As I mentioned in my email blast, we’ve got lots of new folks checking out this important parcel post for the first time. I thought then it was only appropriate that we start the photo parade with a sunrise that was of the mind-blowing variety. This is the type of morning sky that makes me want to jump out of my bunk bed, rip of my Serena Williams pajamas, grab my skateboard and head down to Its Beach. No matter that the water is colder than the trail of Osama Bin Laden-this is the early morning experience that yours truly, the creator and fashion consultant to Sunrise Santa Cruz lives for. As you know, I don’t ask for much in life, maybe a just little dial tone in the morning. It’s like the old Rodney Dangerfield joke. “I woke up, my button fell off my shirt. I grabbed my briefcase, the handle fell off. I was afraid to go to the bathroom.”

So I would put this sunrise in the world-class category. What made this dawn explosion of clouds, sky and reflection was the happenings the day before, when a huge swell hit the central coast that left a large pool (or was it a pond?) of water at the bottom of the steps at Its Beach. So I was able to catch the reflection of the clouds and lighthouse (photo #3) in a spot that 363 days of the year would have been as dry as Kansas at low tide. And if this shot looks familiar, perhaps you saw it in this year’s Open Studios Art Tour calendar. That’s right, sports fans, another year of Open Studios is on the horizon. More on that later.

Moving along, in photo #5, we are now looking west as the sky is streaming with ribbons of pink. Never have a seen so much color in the western sky at this early hour. It’s moments like this of extreme color and light that make me proud to be an American and an American League fan. I was then carried by a group of Tahitian dancers over to Steamer Lane to shoot the sun rising up over the mountains of Monterey. All in all, quite a memorable morning on the cliff. As they say in commercials for the NBA, “Santa Cruz, where amazing happens.”

Now that my camera is finally fixed and I’m back in men’s clothes, I’m once again ready to pull the trigger on the colors and sights along the westside, bringing you the best of what I see and experience in my first lifetime here on one of my favorite planets in our solar system. And big surprise, what I’m looking for is the spectacular. I’ll settle for very good, but what I’d like is the incredible. And if I can’t get that, I’ll settle for the Yankees winning a least one playoff series, although the World Series would be a nice gift for October. Along with a new 72″ HD TV.

On to our late night political humor. “President Obama made his big healthcare address to a joint session of Congress last night. It went pretty well, except for one weird part in the middle of it, when a congressman from South Carolina suddenly yelled out, ‘You lie!’ It’s amazing this guy was able to sit through seven years of President Bush telling him everything in Iraq is fine without a peep, but last night, he yells out, ‘You lie!’” –Jimmy Kimmel “Barack Obama, of course, is not the first president to have ‘you lie’ yelled at him. Bill Clinton got that all the time, but only from Hillary. And that was only after he came home and told her he lost his pants in a tornado. Back when George Bush was president, Democrats in Congress, to be fair, would occasionally go ‘Boooo!’ But President Bush never took it personally, he just thought Congress was haunted.” –Craig Ferguson

“President Obama is giving a lot of very important speeches. He gave a speech about healthcare tonight, and yesterday he gave a pep talk to students. He told them that in order to succeed they need to work hard and study hard. Then today, former President George W. Bush presented the rebuttal. The president keeping busy. Yesterday, at the White House, President Obama welcomed the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Yeah, when asked if he likes hockey, Obama said, ‘What black man from Hawaii doesn’t?’” –Conan O’Brien “It was big night on television tonight. And instead of showing President Obama’s healthcare speech that was on tonight, Fox aired its season premiere of ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ I guess they wanted to give viewers a choice between hearing what’s wrong with our country and watching what’s wrong with our country.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Here’s kind of an interesting deal. You go onto the eBay, and you can bid on having dinner. You fly to Alaska and have dinner with the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. And the bidding starts at $25,000. I know a lot of people think that’s a pretty steep price to pay but you get an appetizer, you get entrée, and ammo. And for an extra $1,000, she’ll treat you like John McCain and cut up your meat. And they say now, unofficially, that for extra thousand dollars, she’ll actually shoot the main course. Dick Cheney is talking about maybe running for president in 2012. He’s got a great campaign slogan. It says, ‘Are you better off now than you were four heart attacks ago?’” –David Letterman “The University of Wyoming will open the new Dick Cheney Center for International Students. “The Dick Cheney Center for International Students. It’s just two buildings over from the George W. Bush Institute for Pretzel Safety.” –Jimmy Fallon

So that’s ends our regularly scheduled broadcast. Yesterday’s NFL Sunday was a rare double dip as in the words of my son, Jason, “How often do the Giants and Raiders win on the same day?” And congratulations go out to my old pal, Peter Vecsey, who last week was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. In his honor, I give you this quote. “If you can’t say something nice about someone, come sit right here by me”-Alice Roosevelt Longsworth. So enjoy the day and be grateful for what you have, like family, friends and TiVo. We’ll catch in the batter’s box. Aloha, mahalo and later, Eli Manning fans.

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