April 13, 2014

97 Ain’t Exactly Heaven

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — geoff @ 9:05 am

Good morning and greetings, NBA western conference playoff fans. It’s been a big month for birthdays in the Gilbert family, as last Monday, both my son and brother celebrated with cake, candles and ice cream, along with pony rides and a little pin the tail on the MRI.

So to update my brother Brad’s knee reconstruction, his surgery was postponed until this week so they could do some more tests. But my youngest brother has maintained a positive attitude, unlike his oldest brother, who would be bemoaning his fate to anyone within the continental U.S or Hawaiian Islands.

He’s heard from many people concerning their thoughts on his current predicament. The consensus is that he’s lucky to be alive. My wife says he now has to figure out why he is alive after falling 800 feet down an Alaskan glacier.

I haven’t shared my opinion, as advice after injury is like medicine after death. Luckily, both Abe Lincoln and I agree that “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

By all accounts, his future is still ahead of him, as this catastrophic knee injury won’t keep him down for long. Or as Kobe Bryant once said, “I’ve played with IVs before, during and after games. I’ve played with a broken hand, a sprained ankle, a torn shoulder, a severed lip and a knee the size of a softball. I don’t miss 15 games because of a toe injury that everybody knows wasn’t that serious in the first place.”

Kobe was referring to an injury to Shaquille O’Neal, who refused to comment on this story. He was too busy promoting his AriZona Beverage “Soda Shaq” line of cream sodas, which according to Charles Barkley, is “Spreading diabetes all across the world, as we speak. Got like 50 grams of sugar in one can of that cream soda.”

As it turns out, the Round Mound of Rebound was a bit off. A BevReview.com rundown of Soda Shaq noted that each 23.5-ounce can actually has 70.5 grams of sugar. Hey, who doesn’t love a drink boasting all-natural ingredients while containing just 1% juice? A big can for a big scam.

Or as the Center for Science in the Public Interest executive director Michale F. Jacobson put it, “Clearly, Shaq knows better. He has said he avoids soda himself, and worries about obesity and diabetes. But he’s now using his name, face, and reputation to make those health problems even bigger. It’s shameful hypocrisy, presumably motivated by money.”

It just goes to show when it comes to the Big Aristotle, it’s tough to separate a fool and his money.

Getting back to the birthday theme, Saturday was my father’s 97th birthday. That’s right. 97. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s nine decades plus seven years. Or to put it in simpler terms, that’s 5,244 weeks or approximately 35,405 days on the planet. Simply mindblowing.

My father is suffering from dementia, so his short term memory isn’t what it used to be. When I asked him a few months ago how old he was, he replied, “70.” He couldn’t even begin to fathom 97. When I asked him the same question on Friday, he couldn’t come up with an answer. Not even a guess.

America’s population of persons aged 90-and-older has almost tripled since 1980, reaching 1.9 million in 2010 and will continue to increase to more than 7.6 million over the next 40 years. People are living longer, but at what price?

There are a few advantages to being older. Basically, it’s that you can eat dinner at 4 pm. Someone once asked comedian George Burns what would he most appreciate getting for his 97th birthday. He replied, “A paternity suit.”

Birthdays are good for people, as statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest. But the golden years have not been good to my father. He has been robbed of most of the joy that made up his life, and the dementia has put an incredible amount of stress on my mother, who at 88 years young, is no spring chicken.

But each day, with a little help from the pharmaceutical world, she puts a smile on her face and loves him just the same, although their relationship has totally changed, as she’s now not a equal partner, but a caregiver. I would actually give her the title of a saint, because dealing with dementia is a 24 hour, seven day a week bitch.

But my father still has his one greatest joy, and that is my mother. She’s the gift that keeps on giving.

So for the woman who never breast fed me, in honor of my father’s 97th birthday, here’s a little joke for you. And thanks for never worrying.

A retirement village decided to hold a Singles Dance, at which this very sweet 90-year-old gentleman met a very sweet 90-year-old lady, and they danced and talked and laughed, and just hit it off great.

They continued to see each other for a while and enjoyed each other so much, and danced so well together, etc., that they decided to get married. On their wedding night, they went to bed and he reached over and took her hand and squeezed it, and she squeezed his hand back, and they went to sleep.

On the second night, when they went to bed, he reached over and squeezed her hand, and she squeezed his hand back, and they went to sleep. On the third night, he reached over and took her hand, and she said, “Not tonight, honey, I have a headache.”

So for today’s photo funhouse, we are leaving behind the glorious sunrises and sunsets of 2103 and turning the page to embrace the new year.

We are starting off with the sunrise from January 3, shot at the usual locations along West Cliff Drive, Lighthouse Point and Steamers Lane. It was a classic way to start off the 2014 festivities, as later in the day a gorgeous sunset stopped by to chat, which I will showcase next week.

Anytime I can capture a beautiful winter sunrise and sunset on the same day, I’m left with a feeling of fulfillment. At least until the next morning. So stay tuned.

On to some late night humor. “At the NCAA men’s basketball championship, President Clinton sat with President George W. Bush. In the second half, Bush tried to catch a foul ball.” –David Letterman “George W. Bush and Bill Clinton sat next to each other at the big game. Clinton congratulated UConn on its big win, while Bush gave Kentucky a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A man got a tattoo saying that Kentucky won the NCAA tournament this year even though they lost. The tattoo is right above his tattoo congratulating President Mitt Romney.” –Conan O’Brien “President Obama invited the U.S. Olympic team to the White House yesterday to congratulate them on their performance in Sochi. Of course it got awkward when Biden told the biathletes, ‘I won’t rest until all you guys can get married.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“McDonald’s announced that it has closed its three restaurants in Crimea because of the tension in the region. Then Putin said, ‘Is good to hear. Even I don’t have weapon as destructive as McRib.’” –Jimmy Fallon “The North Korean dictator is in the news again. He was re-elected with 100 percent of the vote. He said, “I haven’t been this happy since I scored 700,000 on the SAT exam.” – Conan O’Brien

“Happy Birthday to Hugh Hefner. He turned 88 years old today. His friends threw him a big party. They had a naked woman jump out of a giant bran muffin.” – Jimmy Fallon “A couple in Michigan is being sued for $2 million after they burned down their apartment complex while trying to cook a squirrel with a blowtorch. I’m not an accountant, but it SOUNDS like they might not have $2 million.” – Seth Meyers

“America’s biggest employer is Walmart, where the average wage is $8 dollars an hour. Meanwhile, Walmart’s owners are so absurdly rich that one of them, Alice Walton, spent over a billion dollars building an art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. And she said about it, ‘For years I’ve been thinking about what we can do as a family that can really make a difference.’ How about giving your employees a raise, you deluded nitwit?” –Bill Maher

So that’s a wrap. We’ll catch you being the best shooter in the NBA by hitting mind-blowing threes at crunch time. Aloha, mahalo and later, Stephen Curry fans.

March 23, 2014

Clothes, But No Cigar

Good morning and greetings, springtime fans. Well, March Madness got underway on Thursday, and it was the greatest opening day in 35 years, as there was major drama, wild upsets and fabulous finishes.

Then Friday started off with the Duke Blue Devils, picked in these pages last week by college guru Dr. Michael Schur and my son Jason to win it all, go flaming down in defeat to the Mercer Bears. It was upset city, baby, as brackets around the nation started crumbling.

Having surveyed the remaining field, despite their opening round loss, the good doctor still likes the Blue Devils to cut down the nets in Arlington.

So we have gone from a field of 64 teams down to the Sweet 16, which just happens to be the age of my ice cream scooping daughter Aimee, who performs her sundae-making, milk shaking, chocolate covered strawberry magic at Sweet Treats on Mission Street, when she’s not hostessing or waitressing at the new “Your Place’ restaurant next door.

At her tender age, she can work 48 hours a week, and she is going for the gold. Or should I say the green?

Now this is basically her first real job, and she’s hit the ground sprinting. She’s got that strong work ethic, as she believes in its inherent ability to strengthen her character. And buy clothes.

As she told me the other day, “Dad, those on top of the mountain didn’t just fall there.” Or as columnist Ann Landers once tweeted out, “Nobody has ever drowned in their own sweat.”

Her new occupation struck a chord with me, as when I was her age, I took a summer job in the Garment Center in Manhattan, New York. As defined by the boys and girls at Wikipeda, “The Garment District is a dense concentration of fashion-related companies, home to the majority of New York’s showrooms and major fashion labels.” It’s packed into an area less than one square mile, just down the road from the very seedy Times Square district. And with not a tree in sight.

This was back in the years before Mayor Rudy Guiliani rode in and cleaned up the area, and if you were looking for sex shops, adult theatres or a little companionship for an hour, Times Square was the place to be. Or as the welcome sign reads down at the Manhattan Visitors Center, “New York. New Jersey is our bitch.”

As a child growing up in the aforementioned Garden State, I would take the bus into the Big Apple with my father. We’d hop off and head to the Greek barbershop on 42nd street, where he’d get a haircut and I was first introduced to the wonders of Playboy magazine. Of course, I only read the interviews.

Then we would head up the street to Tad’s Steak House to dine on salad, garlic bread, baked potato and steak for just $1.29. Fantastic. Of course, the taste of that steak would ruminate through my digestive system for days, but it was worth it.

The Garment District is the center for fashion manufacturing and design in the U.S. For me, it was to be a lucrative adventure, as I was a young man on the loose on the mean streets of New York.

I thought I was being hired as a showroom model, but ended up working in the shipping department of a company called Judy Bee, a manufacturer of children’s clothing. We were shipping out garments to all the major stores in the tri-state area, and I was responsible for making sure the right dresses got on the racks that the truckers came to pick up. It was interesting work, as I was the youngest person in the shipping department and certainly the only one with a possibility of one day landing on the Dean’s List.

I would take the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel and be deposited at the New York Port Authority on 41st Street. From there it was just a short walk through the bustle and the hustlers to work. Most of my fellow workers were immigrants from throughout the hemisphere. It was a melting pot of working souls.

Sometimes we had to deliver our goods to trucking facilities, so we would take the racks down the freight elevator and hit the pavement of the Big Apple. It was wild scene, pushing racks of clothing by whizzing taxis through the streets of Manhattan. For me, this was a summer job. For everyone else, it was their pasts and their futures.

The man running the shipping department was an older gentlemen from the Caribbean named Danny, and a few weeks into my employment he suffered a heart attack. I guess there were limited replacement candidates available, as they offered me the opportunity to take over running the department at a very tender age.

I was thrilled at the time, because of two words. Overtime pay.

I then began working a fourteen hour day. My parents were traveling in Europe and neither of my brothers were around, so I was home alone with our golden retriever. I basically woke up, went to work, came home and then repeated the pattern, as the hours on my time card took on a life of their own.

One of the thrills was when the day shift ended, and I got to order out dinner from one of the many restaurants in the area. I was living large, and although Danny came back to work and ended my brief in foray into management, I look back upon that time with a smile. It was day to day grind, but the my spirits were high and my paychecks kept rising.

Now I didn’t want to make it my life’s work, and I turned down an invitation to go back again the next summer. It was a time of learning, yearning, but especially earning. Opportunity knocked on my door and I answered it. I knew if I hadn’t, that it would be ringing my doorbell for years.

So for today’s photo chronicles we are going back to the final morning of 2013. The clouds were positioned a little further to the east than normal, so I shot this sunrise along a different section of West Cliff Drive. The clouds did their job as they rotated from red to orange to tangerine. After the sun rose, I took the final shot from Bird Rock to take in the waves, the lighthouse and the sky, all in one final December scoop.

On to some late night humor. “President Obama released his March Madness bracket this morning, picking Michigan State to win the tournament. In response, Vladimir Putin started moving troops into Gonzaga. The Obama administration announced it is going to require colleges and vocational schools to demonstrate that they are properly preparing students for jobs after college. So don’t be surprised if your chemistry class tomorrow is all about how to make a cappuccino.” –Seth Meyers

“Vice President Biden said today that the U.S. is considering sending troops to the Baltic states bordering Russia. According to Biden, the Baltic states are the territories located just past Boardwalk and Park Place.” –Seth Meyers “Some American cities go all out for St. Patrick’s Day. In Chicago they dye the river green. In Boston everyone wears green. In Colorado, they smoke the green. Then someone tells them it’s St. Patrick’s Day.” – Criag Ferguson

“St. Patrick’s Day is a huge deal here in New York City. Two million people turned out today for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s the one parade where the horses are the ones that have to watch where they step. Lawmakers here in New York are considering a plan to bring slot machines to LaGuardia Airport. Of course there’s always that other way to gamble at LaGuardia — checking a bag.” – Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our first post for spring 2014. We’ll catch you perhaps rethinking your plans about entering the NBA draft and going back to college for another year. Aloha, mahalo and later, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins fans.

March 10, 2014

Does Anybody Really Know What Daylight Savings Time It Is?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:02 am

Good morning and greetings, daylight savings fans. Yes, sports fans, it’s the time of year when most of us spring forward to take advantage of more daylight. Or as Phil Collins so delightfully put it in the Book of Genesis, “Let there be light.”

And as every season turns, on Sunday we shifted from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time. The extra hour gives us a chance to savor the daylight, letting our love lights shine by not sleeping while the sun beams away. However, I haven’t awoken after the sun has come up since before there was history, so I am unaffected and emotionally unavailable.

Let’s face it, I don’t think anyone is thrilled when it gets dark at 5 pm. Furthermore, I’m really not crazy about dark chocolate. As Dr. Martin Luther King wrote, “Darkness is only driven out with light, not with more darkness.” Or in the words of Muhammed Ali, “Prejudice comes from being in the dark, sunlight disinfects it.” Then he knocked out Sonny Liston.

So everyone’s happy when when the days are longer and the nights are stronger than moonshine, which is my shout out to U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens and the wonderful cast of FX’s drama “Justified.”

So who came up with this brilliant idea of more daylight? Well, the credit goes to one of our Founding Father’s, Ben Franklin. According to his friend Jerry, back in 1784, Ben noticed people burning candles and incense late at night, yet sleeping in past sunrise in the morning. Thus, Franklin’s famous quote: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” And this notion helped pave the way for one of Ben’s first major inventions, the VCR.

Now this founding father didn’t actually invent DST, but as Ambassador to Paris, he wrote an amusing letter to the Journal of Paris about his “discovery” that the sun gives light as soon as it rises, and needled Parisians for their night-owl, candle-burning ways. He wanted people rise up and go to bed earlier, to get up and make their lives shine. Or in the words of Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres, “Go to bed in your fireplace and you’ll sleep like a log.”

Ben Franklin wanted people to take advantage of the light, to open up their shutters and blinds and let the sunshine in. In his words, “Do not anticipate trouble or worry what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” But always use sunblock to absorb the sun’s ultra violet rays. Or wear a hat or bonnet.

So the U.S. officially started observing DST in 1918, one year after my 96 year old father was born. There are two states that don’t observe this practice, Hawaii and Arizona. Indiana came around and adopted the program back in 2006 in response to the wishes of Hoosier native David Letterman, who ironically, shares the same birthdate as my father, April 12.

Coincidence? I think not.

The Hawaiians don’t observe it because the U.S. government took their islands away from them, so they don’t have to listen to anything besides Don Ho. Besides, they’re our only tropical state and we don’t want to mess with paradise. We’ve already paved enough paradises and put up parking lots.

And what can we say about Arizona? They didn’t want to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday as a federal holiday, are not crazy about diversity and aren’t big on immigration. The only thing growing in Arizona is the crime rate. It’s like the old joke, how many Arizona State freshman does it take to change a light bulb? None, it’s a sophomore course. Sorry, Wildcat fans.

We know that crime goes down during DST, as muggers and low lifes prefer to operate in the dark. And here’s a little known fact. According to the website www.acurite.com, back in September 1999, the West Bank was on Daylight Saving Time while Israel had just switched back to standard time. West Bank terrorists prepared time bombs and smuggled them to their Israeli counterparts, who misunderstood the time on the bombs. As the bombs were being planted, they exploded–one hour too early–killing three terrorists instead of the intended victims–two busloads of people. Sounds like they had a blast.

So take advantage of the light. There’s an old proverb, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” We all know that we are but a moment’s sunlight, fading in the grass. So don’t forget to smile on your brother. Or sister. Right now.

So not only is the time changing, but so are the patterns of the clouds, as I haven’t shot anything sunrise or sunset worthy in over two weeks. So for today’s photo ensemble we are returning to the morning of December 8. Just a beautiful culmination of red, orange and yellow colored clouds in the sky, which is not the worst visual to start off the day. Throw in some waves, the reflection on the Pacific Ocean and you got yourself a Santa Cruz sunrise.

Oh, and by the way, I got my blood test results back and the results were “greatly improved in all areas.” In a two month period, my total cholesterol was down 32 points, my triglycerides down 56, my good HDL cholesterol was up 4, my LDL 26, and my non-HDL down 37. So thanks to all of you who were praying for me. It just goes to show what a little exercise and low-wheat, low-carb starvation diet can do for you.

On to some late night humor. “This week the Russian government gave all 44 of its Olympic medalists a new Mercedes. When asked what happened to the athletes who didn’t medal, Putin said, ‘Do not open trunk.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Russia gave all of its gold medalists from the Sochi Games $120,000 plus a brand-new Mercedes SUV. While the silver and bronze medalists all received life in prison.” –Seth Meyers

Despite the fact that the Ukraine has been all over the news for the past few weeks, a survey found that 64 percent of U.S. students still couldn’t find Ukraine on a map. Said Vladimir Putin, “Soon nobody will.” – Seth Meyers “Because of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, President Obama is threatening them with economic sanctions. Obama said if Russia doesn’t pull out of Kiev we’re not going to let them borrow any of the money that we borrowed from China.” – Conan O’Brien

“President Obama this week launched a new effort to help young minority men warning them not to make the same mistakes he did when he was their age such as get high and not take school seriously – unless, of course, they definitely want to be president.” –Cecily Strong on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” “Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of the birth of the Tea Party. They had a big celebration and played their favorite party game: pin the blame on the darky.” –Bill Maher

“Vladimir Putin said the tanks that you see rolling through the streets are just part of the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.
This situation in Ukraine is very serious. As a matter of fact, today George Clooney and Matt Damon flew in to rescue the artwork. Anybody see the Academy Awards last night? I watch every year to make sure I’m not in the dead actors montage.” – David Letterman “A new survey found that the average American child watches 24 hours of TV every week. In fact, experts say it’s important for parents to lay down the law and tell their kids to get outside and look at their phones. – Jimmy Fallon

So bring on the light. We’ll catch you putting up most improved player like numbers while dazzling NBA fans with your spectacular dunks on a nightly basis. Aloha, mahalo and later, Gerald Green fans.

February 23, 2014

From Russia With Love

Good morning and greetings, Winter Olympic fans. If you’re like me, and you don’t snowboard down an Alaskan glacier for the thrill of it all, you might not have been that caught up in the Olympic Games from downtown Sochi.

That being said, I enjoy watching the highlights on the NBC national news to experience the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and to see what tie Brian Williams is wearing.

So last Tuesday, I was all set to see some fantastic downhill skier win a gold, an ice dancer slip and capture a silver or someone get bronzed at the half pipe. The training and dedication to be an Olympic athlete is inspiring and somewhat daunting. My motto has always been, it’s not whether you win or luge, but where you place the blame.

So as the news began, the first story was not from the slopes, but instead the bloody protests in Ukraine, a country that borders Russia in eastern Europe. Good luck finding it on a map. There have been violent months-long, anti government protests between the government and the opposition, who want a true democracy, closer relations with the European Union and the west and more radio air play for the band Pussy Riot.

The protesters, who are not big fans of Mother Russia, mean business, and unlike myself, are willing to die for their cause. Hey, when the first bullet is fired, I’m surrendering my satellite dish and three DVR’s.

So tens of thousands of protesters marched in downtown Kiev to show their support in defiance of the government. But then to make things really toasty, they built a ring of fire around their camp to protect themselves from the police. The streets were ablaze and no one seemed to be roasting marshmallows.

This led to bloody confrontations, as the death toll grew between government opposition and the police. At week’s end there were changes in the air as police joined the protesters and Parliament impeached the president.

This protest movement comes as another embarrassment for Vladamir Putin, who hasn’t gotten rave reviews for the accommodations in Sochi or his stand on homosexuality. As for me, all I wanted was the results of the men’s final in the curling competition, but instead got a replay of the ruckus in Tahrir Square without the camels.

So I don’t know how this is going to play out, but in the words of Vlad Putin,” Nobody should pin their hopes on a miracle.” Or as writer Dorothy Parker might have said of him. “It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard.”

So next up, I figure I’ll get my results from the four man boblsed competition. Well, no such luck, as we were then airlifted to South America, where young Venezuelans, unhappy with the ravaged economy, rampant shortages of basic consumer goods, rising crime and no players in the NBA, clashed with security forces who fired tear gas, water cannons and Dyan Cannon into the crowds.

Earlier in the week, the government had arrested Harvard-educated opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez for inciting the violent protests, which drove his supporters wild. Student protesters from the universities are united in their condemnation of the government, as inflation in Venezuela is running at 56.2%, the highest in the world. The protests were initially a reaction to rising crime, personal insecurity and one of the world’s highest murder rates. Many basic goods like bread, rice and brie cheese were missing from the shelves.

There’s an Venezuelan proverb that says,” A monkey dressed in silk is still a monkey.” This is not a reference to the former President Hugo Chavez, who recently died after ruling for 15 years. I just liked the quote. Or maybe it’s just my fondness for Bolivarianism or socialist rule.

Finally, Brian Williams got to the Olympic story, but by that time I felt like the U.S. women’s hockey team, dismayed, disoriented and disenchanted, after they suffered a crushing defeat in the gold medal game against Canada. They were less than four minutes from the gold before they collapsed. Now it’s four more years of silver.

Then to top it off, in the midst of one of the snowiest winters in history, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue hit the newstands and warmed the cold and weary throughout the east. S.I. called this year’s 50th anniversary cover, “the happiest cover in swimsuit history,” which features three scantily clad models in just neon bikini bottoms.

That just goes to show how freedom of the flesh, er press, works in a true democracy. And that’s just what those folks in Kiev and Caracas are fighting for.

For our photo journey, we are heading back to last September. At this time of year, the sun rises over the Santa Cruz Wharf, so I took the opportunity to shoot the sights from a different west side locale. The final two shots are from another morning of birds doing their thing in a cold water paradise.

This morning brought to mind an old Chinese proverb, “You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.” And if I’m not mistaken, I believe that’s something Detective Rusty Cohle mentioned while recalling a murder investigation in HBO’s thriller ‘True Detective.’ Or in his own words, “I know who I am. And after all these years, there’s a victory in that.”

Beware of the Yellow King and see you in Carcosa.

On to some late night humor. “Presidents Day, of course, started out as celebration of Washington’s birthday. Then someone remembered it was Lincoln’s birthday on the 12th. So now we celebrate Washington, Lincoln and all the other Presidents. I have no idea how this led to mattress sales. It’s probably something do with Bill Clinton.” – Craig Ferguson “This Valentine’s Day Americans must remember that politicians are like a box of chocolates. We bite into them to find out what’s on the inside only to discover that Democrats are too often soft and gooey and Republicans are mostly nuts.” –Bill Maher

“Ted Cruz, of course, was furious that the big storm back east shut down the government. He said, ‘That my job!’ But you know, there is a big difference between Ted Cruz and snow. Both are white and everyone’s sick of them – but eventually snow goes away. “I know climate change is a hoax – of course – but places that have never seen this type of winter weather got hit by it. More than a half a million southerners have been left in the dark — and then the storm hit.” – Bill Maher

“In Sochi, a man who criticized the Sochi games was sentenced to three years in a prison colony. After hearing the sentence, the man said it’s still better than a hotel in Sochi. “In California, an openly gay candidate is running for office as something called “a new generation Republican.” Or as their known in the rest of the country, a Democrat.” –Conan O’Brien

“In Florida there is a guy running for Congress who is 101 years old. And despite what you might think, the guy is actually quite a progressive. He wants to expand Medicare. He wants to fix Social Security. He wants to let women vote. Snow and ice have frozen and hardened over tons and tons of garbage. Here in New York City we call that the giant slalom. President Obama met with Mexico’s president. He had a message for Mexicans. He said, “If you like your fajitas, you can keep your fajitas.” – David Letterman

“Charlie Sheen is getting married to an adult film star. She’s no longer in the adult film industry. She is what they call a retired porn star. Too many concussions.” – David Letterman “Charlie said, “I just know this is the woman I’m going to be with for the rest of my February. A team of military researchers is developing a pizza that can stay edible for three years. It’s been a weird couple of years for the military. One minute you’re hunting Osama bin Laden and the next you’re trying to outsmart Papa John’s – Jimmy Fallon

So that’s my last blast for February 2014. We’ll catch you adjusting to playing the point guard role while being a leading rookie of the year candidate. Aloha, mahalo and later, Victor Olidepo fans.

February 2, 2014

Sunday, Sunday, Can’t Trust That Day

Good morning and greetings, NFL fans. Well, Super Bowl XLVIII is now a thing of the past, as yesterday America came together to consume more alcohol in a 24 hour period than on any other day of the year, with every other day, besides New Year’s Eve, coming in second. American, love it or drink it.

Being a non-consumer of the spirits, I only participate in the consumption of the 800 million pounds of guacamole along with 145,000 tons of chips consumed on this day. Of course, I always down a half dozen Hansens Natural Sodas made with real cane sugar to keep myself hydrated.

But this year, I hadn’t had time for the cane, as my doctor said if I don’t get my cholesterol down I’m facing possible castration. So no sugary liquids made it into my bloodstream. Face it, my body is a temple. Anyway, I don’t handle alcohol well. I’m more from the Woody Allen school of drinking, or as he once said, “The last time I had a drink I tried taking my pants off over my head.”

But that’s no reason for the rest of the nation not to party like it’s 1999. Yesterday, during the commercial-free battle between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, there was major consumption of food and drink. Because after all, this is America, and it was be the most super of Sundays.

It’s the way sports fans and raging alcoholics celebrate. Or as Frank Sinatra once chimed in, “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” Well, Frank, I guess I’ll just have to continue doing it “My Way.”

But there was much pregame excitement leading up to the build up to the big game. Super Bowl fans spent more money on food, snacks and recreational activities than on a year’s worth of the national Obamacare bill.

Actually, at this point, between Covered California and Anthem Blue Cross, I’d be better off if I had signed up for Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don’t Care.

Back to the game. On the food front, we’re talking about the intake of enough slices of two topping pizzas and cheesy breadsticks to blanket the continental U.S. from the eastern seaboard to to pepperoni coast. If you line up the chicken wings and throw on some honey barbecue sauce, we could stretch that to Marshall Islands before halftime.

As for myself, I went low key on the snack front, as I’m trying to lower my hopes and triglycerides. I had some buffalo tofu fries, vegan snickerdoodles and a gallon sized chocolate milk shake, so I was good for three quarters. The fourth quarter was just lots of lemon water to satisfy my sugar cravings and a big plate of low fat double cheesy nachos.

So I hope you gathered with friends, family or your probation officer and enjoyed the game, which was a great matchup on paper. It was the legendary quarterback Peyton Manning, with the league’s best offense versus the mild-mannered Richard Sherman and the Seahawk defense.

We all know what happened, as there was jubilation in the Emerald City as the Seahawks completely demolished the Broncos. And there was a lot of interest in who won or lost, as over $99 zillion dollars were wagered yesterday on all different aspects of the game.

We all know that you can bet on who scored the first touchdown, who led at halftime or if Madonna was wearing any underwear in 2012. But let’s go back to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and check out some of the prop bets you could have made. And as Pete Rose says, “please gamble responsibly.”

So here we go, courtesy yours truly and Bovada at www.Bovada.lv. Will it snow during the game? What will the temperature be a kickoff and the lowest temperature during the game? Will the power go out in the stadium? Will there be an earthquake, typhoon, or a one-sided, total blowout eclipse of the sun?

Lots of pregame action. How long will it take opera star Renee Fleming, and one of my favorite Sopranos, to sing the national anthem? Will she forget or omit at least one official word? Will she be wearing gloves when she starts singing, and if so, what color will they be? Will she showing any bare midriff? And will Denver running back Knowshon Moreno cry during the singing of the anthem, and if so, how many tears?

On to the Manning boys. How many times will Peyton Manning yell “Omaha” or “Help” during the game? Will Peyton throw a pick six? Will he throw a touchdown pass or interception first? How many times will his father, Archie, brother, Eli Manning, or Peyton’s first girlfriend be shown? And if she’s shown, did he get to first base on his first date?

On to the halftime celebration. What song will Hawaiian-born and raised Bruno Mars perform first? Will he and the Red Hot Chili Peppers play a song on stage at the same time? Will any member of the Chili Peppers be shirtless during their performance.? Will any go without pants? And will the halftime show break the record for most watched, set by Madonna in 2012, when she threw two touchdowns and ran for another in Indianapolis?

Will any player receive a penalty for excessive celebration? Who will Barack Obama pick to win the game? What color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach? What will happen to the Dow Jones on Monday? And finally, will announcers Joe Buck or Troy Aikman say the word “Marijuana” during the game? How about ganga or Mary Jane?

Well, since it was Super Sunday, for Super Monday, I am featuring a sunrise I shot on a Super Saturday. I’m referring to last Saturday, January 25, and the location was Lighthouse Point. This was a sunrise that did not disappoint. When the sky was peaking and blowing up red, it was just awesome, and the fact that it comes and goes so quickly is not lost on me.

However, this morning continued to evolve, as the sun came up and the clouds stuck around, creating a fantastic collage on the big screen of life. Throw in the soundtrack of big waves crashing along the cliffs and shoreline and it made for me my favorite sunrise so far this season. It was a sight to behold. In the words of the boss, Bruce Springstein,”Glory days, glory days.”

On to some late night humor “A petition to have Justin Bieber deported got over 100,000 signatures, which means the White House now has to legally rule on it. So finally a chance for Obama to issue an executive order that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.” – Jay Leno “There’s more trouble for Justin Bieber. Last night he was arrested in Toronto for assaulting a limo driver. First a DUI, now an assault charge. If Bieber keeps this up he’s never going to get into a good college.” – Jimmy Fallon

“A petition on the WhiteHouse.gov website asks the U.S. to deport Justin Bieber. If they get 100,000 signatures, the White House has to respond. They already have 87,000. The Canadian military is scrambling jets and mobilizing troops along the border to make sure this doesn’t happen.” – Jimmy Kimmel “Here’s some advice for Justin Bieber. Be nice and don’t beat up limo drivers, Justin, because one day you could be one.” – David Letterman

“Once again, President Obama will grant an interview to a journalist from the network broadcasting the Super Bowl. The game is on Fox this year, so Bill O’Reilly will do the interview. I’m taking O’Reilly with the points.” – Jimmy Kimmel “Joe Biden said that Hillary Clinton’s decision to run for president won’t affect his decision to launch a campaign. While Hillary says Biden’s decision to run for president won’t affect her becoming president.” – Jimmy Fallon

“You heard about the snowstorm in Georgia. A snowstorm in Atlanta resulted in a 10-hour traffic jam. To which people in Los Angeles responded, “You guys need snow for that?” – Conan O’Brien “Iran says they want to encourage more tourism from the United States. They might want to change that “Death to America” slogan. A lot of families are not comfortable with that.” – Jay Leno

“Subway has announced a major new campaign to get people to eat healthier. I’m no health expert, but maybe the first thing to do is not sell people piles of meat and bread by the foot. The mayor of Sochi, Russia, said that his city has no gay people. Yeah. Then his son said, “Dad, we need to talk.” – Conan O’Brien

So that’s it for January 2014 as February is now at the plate. We’ll catch you retiring from thirty years of running pro basketball and making the NBA a must-see international product. Aloha, mahalo and later, David Stern.

January 26, 2014

If It Swells, Write It

Good morning and greetings, Mavericks fans. Yes, due to cooperation from the father, the sun and the holy coast, the Body Glove Mavericks Invitational was a go on Friday, as 24 big wave chargers from around the planet got together for a little party in Half Moon Bay. For big waves surfers, in the words of Santa Cruz’s Shawn Dollar, “Mavericks is the place where it matters.”

Earlier in the week, surf forecasters were talking about the scoring exploits of Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, along with the strongest storm of the season heading for the west coast. It would be accompanied by light offshore winds and a huge swell coming in from a westerly direction, which would be ideal conditions for one of the world’s premier big wave surfing contests.

As westside thrasher Zach Wormhoudt says on what it takes to surf this break, “Big heart. Mavericks demands a lot of desire and passion to do what common sense dictates otherwise.”

As longtime surf scribe Bruce Jenkins reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, when a swell like this hits Mavericks, there is a combination of excitement and anxiety. For me, it would be nothing less than total terror, as the only time I like to be in water over my head is in the shower under a waterfall. These days I get my adrenaline rushes from body surfing in the hot tub.

As Jenkins noted, “northwest swells produce the most powerful, compressed waves at Mavericks, and they are especially dangerous because they produce a south-to-north current. And that is why I always dog paddle east to west.”

What happens a half mile off shore at Half Moon Bay is terrifying, because if you lose your board or get caught inside the pounding, churning, burning chamber of white water insanity, you end up taking a sea cruise through a dangerous jagged rock formation. At this point we’re dealing with life and death issues. It’s not like the danger of fouling out of a basketball game.

So why do it? Why risk life and limb for this gigantic rush of adrenaline? In the words of Maui-based, tow-in legend Laird Hamilton, who’s married to the lovely Garbriella Reese “For those searching for something more than just the norm, we lay it all down, including what others call sanity, for just a few moments on waves larger than life. We do this because we know there is still something greater than all of us. Something that inspires us spiritually. We start going downhill when we stop taking risks.” That’s what’s called preaching to my choir.

The excitement continued to build throughout the week, as there were 20-foot waves on Tuesday with 40-foot faces and 60-foot noses. But it did not come without a price, as one entry rider, Alex Martins, was involved in a severe wipeout and ended up in the hospital and out of the contest.

So Friday’s surf prediction was cloudy with a chance of paradise. We’re talking about a gathering of the best and the brightest big wave surf riders from Santa Cruz and from across the planet. When the word got out that a storm was brewing, our local contingent of all-stars flew back from Maui after surfing the break at Jaws.

So what does it take to surf this bad boy, whose waves and fury have sent big-time surfers to their graves? South Africa’s Chris Bertish, winner of the 2010 Mavericks Big Wave Invitational says, “Courage hardly sums it up. You have to be completely motivated to overcome your fears, especially when everyone is telling you not to do it.”

And how do they measure the size of the waves at places like Jaws, Mavericks and Coney Island? According to big wave pioneer Buzzy Trent, “Waves are not measured in feet and inches, they are measured in increments of fear.” Added Laird Hamilton, “Surfing’s one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what’s behind.”

So Friday’s contest went off as planned, with sets that we close to 40 feet in size. But according to Jenkins, “The dreaded southeast winds came up a little before noon, putting chop on the water. The swell was out of the west, focusing all of the ocean’s energy onto a narrow section of reef known as the “bowl,” producing waves so thick, fast-moving and hollow, only a world-class surfer would even think of taking the drop.”

The winner was South Africa’s Grant Baker, who put on a clinic under the most treacherous of conditions. This was Mavericks at its most dangerous, and world-class wipeouts were the featured item on Friday’s menu along with sand dabs and macadamia crusted mahi mahi.

“The conditions made it so nerve-wracking,” said San Francisco’s Ryan Seelbach. “Some of those waves – I mean, you’re right there, but then you look down, and whoa … I don’t want any part of that.”

So although I did not make the trip up the coast to Mavericks, I did manage to get into the spirit of the occasion by spending some quality time down at Steamers Lane last week. So for today’s photo funhouse we are going to the sunrise from Friday morning, as the feeling of big wave competition was in the air.

The early sky was not in a cooperating mood, but it eventually opened up and allowed the sun to shine through. And to get a little flavor of the competition going on up the coast, I posted a couple of shots from earlier in the week at Steamers.

Surfing at sunrise does a body good. Or in the words of the Hawaiian surf legend Duke Kahanamoku, “Out of the water, I am nothing.” Or as the bumper sticker says on my car, “Geoff would never go.” Aloha.

On to some late night humor. “Chris Christie is getting a lot of support from New Jersey’s Hispanic community. Some Hispanics like his moderate conservatism while others believe if you hit him he’ll break open and spill out candy. The former president of Trader Joe’s is opening a store that sells only expired food. The new store will be known as 7-Eleven.” – Conan O’Brien

“According to a new study, smog is drifting across the Pacific Ocean from China and polluting our West Coast. Can’t we make anything in this country anymore? Kanye West is in trouble after allegedly assaulting an 18-year-old. You know, if Kanye is going to beat up a teenager, couldn’t it be Justin Bieber? This week in his inaugural address, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spoke of wanting to bring the people of New Jersey together. He wanted to bring them together by having them all try to merge into one lane.” – Jay Leno

“When Governor Christie was sworn in, he put his right hand on a menu. Immediately following the ceremony, Christie closed the Holland Tunnel.” – David Letterman “Yesterday the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks advanced to the big game, which means this year’s Super Bowl will have teams from the two states where recreational marijuana is legal. Or as pizza delivery men put it, ‘Pray for us.’” –Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our surf report. We’ll catch you posting up 62 points and breaking the Madison Square Garden scoring record. Aloha, mahalo and later, Carmelo Anthony fans.

January 19, 2014

The Resolution Will Not Be Televised

Good morning and greetings, warm weather lovers. At the time of year when we’re supposed to be battening down the hatches and bonding with our umbrellas, summer has broken out in the Bay Area. Last Wednesday was the hottest January day ever recorded at the San Francisco Airport, as the runways hit 73 degrees. Santa Cruz had record breaking high temperatures, as the thermometer on my rain gauge hit a comfortable 82 degrees. Yes, it was hot. How hot was it? When the temperature dropped back down to 75 I felt a bit chilly.

I’m not saying that I mind Indian summer in January. Last week, as I was lounging around in my swimwear while bodysurfing the web, I ran across an article written by Nicholas St. Fleur for the Mercury News. This story was right in my wheelhouse. According to four out of five scientists, because of the lack of wind and rain, the skies along the west coast have been putting on tremendous aerial displays at sunrise and sunset. And the key to it all is the increased pollution particles in the sky. Kansas was right. All we are is dust in the wind.

Now as you know, I’m a sunrise and sunset chaser and a part time hand model. I’ve taken an solemn oath to try and record all the early morning and twilight action along West Cliff Drive and serve it up on a cyber platter. Last Saturday and Sunday I photographed two gorgeous back-to-sunrises down at Lighthouse Point, but since then the skies have gone dry and I’ve not shot a look, nod or glance since. So for me the lack of rain is a two-sided coin, as no clouds equals no breathtaking, mind-blowing, thank God I’m alive moments. All clear and no clouds makes Geoff a dull boy.

But let’s get back to why it happens, why at dawn and dusk the sky puts on a celebration for the middle-aged. These particles of pollution create a collusion of colors which are responsible for the confusion that scatters the light, which then brings on the fireworks we observe in the sky. Yes, pollution is the solution.

Without any weather patterns in the region, tiny particles of soot, dust and rust from cars, rickshaws, fireplaces, sweat lodges, construction sites and men’s gentlemen clubs hang around in the atmosphere much longer. These articles of particles bring us the exotic skylight canvases that have the smartphone phone boys and girls clicking away at dusk like it’s candy. Or as young poet Mattie Stepanek once wrote. “Sunset is my favorite color, and rainbow is second.”

Weather forecasters say that there is no rain on the horizon because of a high-pressure ridge that has been double parked off the West Coast for more than a year. This prevents Pacific weather storms from moving through and screws with my HBO reception. This giant zone of high pressure in the atmosphere is huge, even by Orson Welles standards, at nearly four miles high and 2,000 miles long. Try finding a pair of sweat pants to put around that.

We are also experiencing offshore flows, which are not the usual wind patterns that blow clean air inland from over the Pacific Ocean. If you add the atmospheric inversion that occurs at night, when a level of warm air rises above the cold air and remains trapped like rats near the ground, then the pollution has no place to go, which creates more fun with contaminants.

These three factors come together with sunlight to create a trilogy which results in the sunrises and sunsets, with God, Chris Christie and the Port Authority of New York cast in the supporting roles. It’s a fabulous show. I’m just hoping I make it into the credits.

So after that explanation of why the skies have been so deliciously inviting, I feel it only right that I take you to a recent photofest along West Cliff Drive. The day was January 6, which started off in spectacular fashion, as the sunrise was NBA fantastic. There were tremendous clouds in the sky all day, as sunset watchers were licking their lips in anticipation of the evening festivities.

But when the witching hour came around the clouds suddenly stifled the sun, and what once looked like an all-star Saturday petered out. I was surprised and momentarily disappointed-how could I have misread the signs? It was turning into anticlimatic city. Why would a loving God allow this to happen?

But patience has its virtue, and as I waited, all of a sudden the sky started to light up, with brilliantly vivid colors filling the horizon. It was unexpected, even though I should know to expect the unexpected. It was a wonderful culmination to a full day of light and anticipation. Or as novelist Pamela Hansford Johnson might have described it, “The sky broke like an egg into a full sunset and the water caught on fire.” I couldn’t have said it any better.

On to some late night humor. “We’re learning more about this George Washington Bridge scandal. During the traffic jam, a two-block commute that would normally take five minutes took 45 minutes to an hour. As we call that in L.A., ‘making pretty good time.’” –Jay Leno “Christie apologized and promised the bridge will stay open for cars, trucks, and the buses he’s throwing his staff under. New Jersey Chris Christie is still digging himself out of this Bridgegate scandal. In fact, some experts are now saying he could be impeached. When he heard that Christie said, ‘Mmmm, peach.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A new report found that more than half of the people who have signed up for Obamacare are older than 45. Which is no big deal until you find out they were 25 when they first tried to log onto the website.” –Jimmy Fallon “Police are searching Justin Bieber’s home for evidence in an egg-throwing vandalism scandal. You know you’re a real gangster when the police raid your home looking for something from the dairy aisle. Justin Bieber reportedly caused $20,000 in damage to his neighbor’s home by egging it. It’s being called the most pointless use of an egg since the fertilization of Justin Bieber.” – Conan O’Brien

“The White House announced that President Obama will visit Pope Francis in the near future. Pope Francis thinks Obamacare can be a success. Sure, he’s the Pope. He has to believe in miracles. They say that most airline seats on planes today are meant for 170-pound passengers. The last time the average American weighed 170 pounds, the Wright Brothers were flying the plane. Health officials are now warning that pot smoking can cause apathy. In fact, a recent poll shows that most pot smokers couldn’t care less.” – Jay Leno

So that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. We’ll catch you scoring a new career high of 54 points last week while showing NBA fans why you’re the second best player on the planet. Aloha, mahalo and late, Kevin Durant fans.

January 12, 2014

So How Cold Was It?

Good morning and greetings, NFL playoff fans. Well, if you like watching football played inside a freezer, there was a game for you last Sunday, as the San Francisco 49ers took on the Green Bay Packers on the frozen tundra called Lambeau Field. Temperature at kickoff time was 5 degrees, as 70,000 fans braved the icy conditions to root on their Packers. The team handed out free hand warmers, coffee, hot chocolate and blast furnaces you could put down your pants. But there was not joy to be in frozen Mudville, as San Francisco prevailed in the NFC wild card game to move on in the playoffs.

So why was it so damn cold, and why was 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick not wearing any sleeves, gloves or mittens?

The cause was the polar vortex, which I mistakenly thought was the material in the lining in my jacket. What swooped down from the north is what some might refer to as rare air, which are the strong winds that circulate around the Arctic Circle, that come with a smooth aroma with touches of vanilla and patchouli.

This dense, frigid air, which had everyone but native Hawaiians shivering last week, came down from Santa’s place at the North Pole, where I purchase the ice for my annual Super Bowl party. We’re talking about extreme cold air brought down by the jetstream that hadn’t been seen in decades. We’re talking weather history here, folks. Word on the street has it that if you were under 40, you would have never experienced this kind of bitter cold. Or have an appreciation for ‘The Honeymooners.’

The coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere flooded half the nation with record breaking low temperatures. This arctic cold front affected 187 million people and a baby. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in sub-zero temperatures, I tend to get a little cranky. I hate it when I have thaw out my pajamas.

This little vortex party that engulfed the nation also came with deadly snowstorms, that had residents digging out in bitter cold conditions. Combine this with icestorms, the constant blowing of dangerous winds and the image of Al Roker in snow pants and you have a week that had the Weather Channel throwing a party to celebrate their Neilson ratings. It was so cold champagne was being served in slices.

So let’s look at some of the extreme lows from last week’s hypothermia festival. Chicago smashed a subzero record with -16 below, with a wind chill factor that made it seem like -40 below. Records fell in Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas, as three states had wind chills of 40 below. Virginia and West Virginia shattered marks that had stood for 60 years. It was 30 below in Vermont, where there is, believe it or not, an ongoing heroin epidemic. North Dakota was so cold it seceded from the Union. It was so cold paramedics were checking houses for people trapped under the weight of blankets.

New York City’s Central Park broke a 118-year-record last Tuesday when the temperature dropped to 4 degrees, a record that had stood since 1896. International Falls, Minnesota had a wind chill factor of 55 below last Monday. Residents in Embarrass, Minnesota thought they might break their record-cold temperature of 64 below zero. When you live in a place where the thermometers go to 100 below, you better be tough. The radio was broadcasting iceberg warnings to motorists.

When it’s colder in Tennessee than it is in Alaska, something is wrong with this weather picture. On the set of the television drama ‘Nashville,’ rival country singing stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere were hugging each other just to stay warm. It was so cold in ‘Music City’ that parents were encouraging their kids to play with matches.

Last Tuesday, all 50 states saw freezing temperatures at some point. That included Hawaii, where it was 18 degrees atop Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano and the company which provides me with a constant flow of macadamia nuts. It was so cold that surfers were de-icing their boards on the North Shore.

In Chicago, the zoo’s lone polar bear had to be brought indoors, as she was missing the extra layer of blubber she’d have developed in the arctic. I wish I could say the same. At this point in life all my favorite food are seconds.

Just so you know, according the National Weather Service, exposed flesh can freeze in as little as five minutes with wind chills colder than 50 below. We’re talking rapid frostbite and that’s why tank tops are never a big seller at the Arctic Circle.

And finally, in the midst of this polar vortex invasion, the U.S. set a record last Tuesday for demands for natural gas. It was a day burrito lovers will never forget.

So since I would consider being in 50 degrees below conditions a semi-religious experience, for our photo follies today we are going back to a morning which has religious significance. I’m referring to Christmas, the day that they NBA has now made all its own, with five consecutive nationally televised games, which basically means 13 straight hours of NBA bliss.

I was shooting the sunrise from the cliffs above Fair Avenue along West Cliff Drive. As you can see, the backdrop was decorated for the holiday, as the morning sky was filled with red and orange streaks. Not a bad way to start off the day, as I was happy with the gift Santa brought me, although I was hoping for a pony.

On to some late night humor. “Chris Christie is dealing with a scandal after it was revealed that a top aide shut down access to the George Washington Bridge to get back at a mayor for not endorsing him. Christie was furious when they blocked the bridge. He thought they said they were blocking the fridge.” –Jimmy Fallon “Apparently someone in Governor Chris Christie’s office closed the bridge. This is what I don’t understand. You’ve got a major political figure and the busiest bridge in the world. Don’t put anything in writing. Do what I always do when I have something top secret to discuss. I go to a bowling alley and use the pay phone.” –David Letterman

“It’s warming up a little bit here in the northeast. The polar vortex has departed. It was supposed to leave Monday night but it got stuck on the George Washington Bridge.” –David Letterman “In advance of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Russian government announced that, contrary to popular belief, people in Russia will be allowed to protest. But only in a special protest zone – known as ‘Siberia.’” –Jay Leno

“Dennis Rodman took six former NBA players to North Korea to play against a local team in celebration of Kim Jong Un’s 31st birthday. I guess after years of playing alongside Michael Jordan, Rodman is very comfortable with totalitarian dictators. Dennis Rodman is like the uncle that Kim Jong Un never had killed.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Dennis Rodman has brought some former NBA stars to North Korea. Not to promote diplomacy – to avoid child support payments.” –Conan O’Brien

“Mayor de Blasio says he wants to get rid of horse-drawn carriages in Central Park, saying they are inhumane. Meanwhile, thousands of unemployed New Yorkers are saying, ‘I’ll pull the carriages. How much an hour?’” –Jimmy Fallon “The postal service is now saying that they are raising the price of a stamp from 46 cents to 49 cents. They would have made it an even 50 but that would have made the line at the post office go too fast.” –Jimmy Fallon

So that’s weather and sports. We’ll catch you averaging 32 plus points over the last five games and being the top lefty scorer in the league. Aloha, mahalo and later, James Harden 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
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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.

December 15, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 11:10 am

Good morning and greetings, celebration fans. Well, it’s December and according to my Kim Kardashian desktop calendar, another birthday has come and gone. Scientific studies have proven that people who have more birthdays tend to live longer. To quote actor Bill Murray, ” So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.”

I believe it was either Alex Trabek or Abraham Lincoln who said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” After another year of blowing out candles, I am well aware that as senior citizen, I am not getting younger. The painter Pablo Picasso once remarked ” It takes a long time to grow young.” The way I see it, I’m not quite over the hill but I’ve got a great view.

I know the number 61 one is just a number, but I prefer to associate it with Roger Maris’ home run record, not the age on my driver’s license. Lucille Ball had the right idea when she said “The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.” I don’t want to say I’m getting old but the other day I went to an antique auction and three people bid on me.

So on 12/12/12 of last year, I celebrated my 60th birthday. There was a lot of pressure on me to do it up right, so I rounded up the old gang and we watched the Golden State Warriors defeat the Miami Heat on a last second shot by Draymond Green. It was very similar to my bar mitzvah party, as there were no girls, plenty of appetizers and a 10 pm curfew.

So this year the pressure was off, as I could just sit back and enjoy hearing from old friends and cell mates. I savored the day for what is was, or as George Harrison once tweeted, “All the world is a birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.” And have all the ice cream you want. Socialite Paris Hilton once remarked, “The way I see it, you should live everyday like it’s your birthday.” And as the internet has revealed, she looks very good in her birthday suit.

They say that age is just a number. Baseball star Satchel Page once asked “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? Well, I wouldn’t be thinking 61. I wouldn’t mind switching those numbers around to the sweet 16. I believe it was Chinese scholar Yung No More who said age doesn’t matter, unless you’re a piece of muenster cheese. Although it seems the older I get, the fewer things seem waiting in line for.

Still, it’s a vicious cycle, or as astronaut John Glenn observed, “There is no cure for the common birthday.” Some feel that celebrating your birthday is like being happy that you are closer to your grave. Or as comedian Jerry Seinfeld once commented, “Birthdays are merely symbolic of how another year has gone by and how little we’ve grown. No matter how desperate we are that someday a better self will emerge, with each flicker of the candles on the cake, we know it’s not to be, that for the rest of our sad, wretched pathetic lives, this is who we are to the bitter end. Inevitably, irrevocably, happy birthday? No such thing.”

But let’s end this subject on a happier note. Here are three jokes for your amusement.

A family had twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was their looks. If one felt it was too hot, the other thought it was too cold. If one said the TV was too loud, the other claimed the volume needed to be turned up. Opposite in every way, one was an eternal optimist, the other a doom and gloom pessimist.

Just to see what would happen, on the twins’ birthday their father loaded the pessimist’s room with every imaginable toy and game. The optimist’s room he loaded with horse manure. That night the father passed by the pessimist’s room and found him sitting amid his new gifts crying bitterly. ‘Why are you crying?’ the father asked. ‘Because my friends will be jealous, I’ll have to read all these instructions before I can do anything with this stuff, I’ll constantly need batteries, and my toys will eventually get broken.’ Passing the optimist twin’s room, the father found him dancing for joy in the pile of manure. ‘What are you so happy about?’ he asked. To which his optimist twin replied, ‘There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!’

A traveling salesman was passing through a small town in Texas when he sees a little old man sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of a house. So he stops and says to him, “You look as if you don’t have a care in the world! What’s your formula for a long and happy life?”

And the little old man says, “Well, I smoke six packs of cigarettes a day, I drink a quart of bourbon every four hours and six cases of beer a week. I never wash and I go out every night; I don’t get to bed until four in the morning.” And the guy says, “Wow, that’s just great. How old are you?”
And the little man says, “Twenty-two.”

And here’s the third. You may have heard this before but it always brings a smile to my face.

Every morning a man passes a house in his street and every morning he sees a woman in her front garden beating her husband over the head with a French loaf. This goes on for months until one morning he passes the house and sees the woman is beating her husband with a chocolate éclair. Later that day he meets the woman in the street. ‘Aren’t you the woman who beats her husband with a French loaf?’ asks the man. ‘Only, today, I could have sworn you were hitting him with a big cake.’ ‘Oh, I was,’ replies the woman. ‘Today is his birthday.’

Today’s photo journey takes us back to the very chilly morning of December 6. I was sitting in my car along West Cliff waiting for some color to emerge in the clouds, but nothing happened until just before the sun made an appearance on the horizon. The action was occurring in a small area of the sky so I took out my zoom lens and captured red ribbons of cloud color. When the sun made its full appearance the moment was glorious, despite the fact that I had no feeling in my fingers.

Some things in life are worth a little frostbite for. This was one of them.

That’s the post birthday report. We’ll catch you showing NBA fans why you’re the best power forward in the game so far this season. Aloha, mahalo and later, LaMarcus Aldridge fans.

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