December 22, 2013

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Sunsets On Fire

Good morning and greetings, winter solstice fans. On Saturday, in the spirit of French painter Toulouse-Lautrec, we enjoyed the shortest day of the year, as fall turned into winter. December had already provided us with some wacky moments in the weather department, as we experienced both extreme high and low temperatures within a one week period. At one point I was wearing my bathing suit under my snow pants.

Back on December 10th, the air was a tad chilly. Okay, it was fall frigid. How cold was it? I didn’t make my bed that day, I just defrosted it. It seemed that a pre Christmas mass of cold air from the Arctic sent temperatures plunging, as we tied an all-time record low for the day at 27 degrees. How cold was it? I actually considered listening to Rush Limbaugh. That’s how desperate I was for some hot air.

But then last Monday, the thermometer hit 74 degrees, which matched the record high for the day. How hot was it? Hillary Clinton was spotted downtown wearing a pants suit without the pants. I had take off my shorts off with a spatula.

Yes, the weather has been wild and crazy, in a very meteor illogical way. And then last Sunday brought smoke from a fire in Big Sur, which put a whole new face on the skies above us.

Now we’re not supposed to be in wildfire season, which nature usually reserves for July or August. Be that as it may or June, last week’s fire burned in the dense forest and steep terrain of Big Sur. The blaze had some help from some offshore winds, which was burning the dry brush in the Los Padres National Forest, which lies 30 miles south of Monterey by the way Sheryl Crow flies.

This rare December fire, in one of the world’s loveliest places, came at a time when the earth was at its thirstiest, as this is the driest calendar year on record around these parts. During non-drought years, Big Sur averages 45 inches of rain, but has gotten only 7 inches so far this year, and just a half inch since July. Throw in some dry vegetation, warm winds and temperatures and boom, you’ve got yourself a burn baby burn, disco inferno.

So with this as the backdrop, I awoke to a dry mouth and a beautiful sunrise last Monday morning. The horizon was sailor red, with swirling clouds exotically placed in an colorful backdrop. But the highlight of the morning session were the huge waves blasting the coast. Seems a west by northwest swell dropped in on the bay, bringing the surf community out in full force. Or as my rabbi likes to say, “Live slow, surf fast.”

But the best was yet to come, as big waves continued to pound the cliffs throughout the day. As the sun started to dip in the sky, West Cliff Drive was filled with an early arriving crowd, as there was going to be a party at dusk and all were invited.

The smoke added an ominous presence, as there was an unusual ribbon of clouds reaching across the sky. This provided a nice cover for the sun as it made its descent to the horizon. Throw in the usual haze, humidity and pounding surf and this was the kind of show that brings the fans out of their seats. The sky was going through different phases of color. My personal favorite was the final act, which I can only describe as fifty shades of orange.

In the end, I was left with the memory and images of a classic late fall sunset. But here’s the best part. The following night the sky put on an even better performance that left this longtime observer filled with digital glee. Stay tuned.

On to a little late night humor. “Fox News host Megyn Kelly now says she was just kidding when she said Santa Claus is white. However, she’s standing by her statement that the Grinch who stole Christmas, definitely Jewish. Yesterday Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly told viewers that Santa Claus is white. Then she said Santa’s elves are Mexican and they are stealing jobs from American elves.” –Conan O’Brien

“In an interview Oprah Winfrey said she has no regrets about not having children. Oprah said, “I feel bad enough about bringing Dr. Phil into the world.” – Conan O’Brien “Here’s what I know about the moon. It’s pale and white and on some nights I stare at it for hours and hours at a time. Oh, no, wait, I’m thinking of Anderson Cooper.” – Craig Ferguson

“In a speech, Russian president Vladimir Putin slammed the U.S. for being ‘genderless and infertile.’ My question is: How did Vladimir Putin get his hands on my Match.com profile?” .” –Conan O’Brien “Somebody actually did a study that found that because of his hard-drinking lifestyle, the character James Bond would live to be only 56 years old. When men heard that they were like, “Yeah, I’d take that deal.” – Jimmy Fallon

So that’s our first winter report. We’ll catch you showing NBA fans why you’re the top scorer in the last five minutes of tightly contested games this year. Aloha, mahalo and later, Damian Lillard fans.

February 17, 2013

Have Gun Will Unravel

Good morning and greetings, NBA All-Star game fans. As a citizen of the world, I like to watch the national news on a nightly basis. I’m a big fan of NBC’s Brian Williams, who hails from the Garden State of New Jersey and is one my favorite guests on Late Night with David Letterman. My favorite guests are comedian Chris Elliot, a former Late Night writer and performer who loves to zing his former boss, and actor Martin Short, who never fails to bring down the house. He loves kidding Dave about his youthful looks. On an appearance from last fall, Marty quipped, “I was watching backstage. I thought, is that one of the Winklevoss twins? They’re usually inseparable.” Especially when they’re counting Mark Zuckerberg’s money.

So two of the hottest news stories of 2013 have been the issue of gun control and Katy Perry’s dress at the Grammys. Here at Sunrise Santa Cruz, I try to turn my attention towards certain kinds of news stories, like flying squirrel epidemics, wild monkeys out of control and great new Valentine’s Day gifts. I tend to stay away from topics like crime, war, disease, poverty, global warming and Republican think tanks, because there is no humor in these subjects, except if you like tea parties.

But the talk of guns is everywhere. Last month, President Obama urged Congress to ban assault weapons, limit magazines to ten bullets and called for background checks for all gun buyers and Secretary of Defense candidates. In his State of the Union address last week, the president again issued the challenge to Congress for gun control while at the same time questioning if Derrick Rose will play for the Chicago Bulls this season and if there should have been a penalty called on that crucial last pass play in the Super Bowl.

Both sides feel strongly about the volatile issue. People on the left say you don’t need an assault rifle to defend yourself or to shoot Bambi, Thumper and friends. People on the right say that it doesn’t matter what Congress does, criminals will always have guns, and if you take them out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, all hell will break loose.

As we have seen, Americans are fascinated with guns. As playwright Irwin Shaw noted,” If football players were armed with guns, there wouldn’t be stadiums large enough to hold the crowds.” And that’s not because of those bullet-proof clad cheerleaders.

So I’m not going to talk about the senseless and ongoing gun violence, as there are no simple answers to this problem that is plaguing our nation and destroying families on a daily basis. But I have some other thoughts.

I don’t own a gun, rifle, pistol or fire hose. I don’t carry around a knife for protection, but I do have a fork and spoon in my car for take out situations and spontaneous picnics. I believe as I child I was fascinated by guns, as I have a picture of myself along with my brother Paul and a future eco-terrorist marching in a Fourth of July parade with a .38 magnum tucked into my waistband. I remember lots of waterguns, particularly the Eliot Ness tommy gun with a laser scope that would have drenched small cells of Al Queda. I did arm myself as a youth, as I purchased a sling shot after hearing the story of David and Goliath. I didn’t cut my hair for a year after hearing the tale of Sampson and Delilah. My friends and I owned a number of pea shooters, until one day when our rabbi confiscated them during a Purim Carnival.

When I was growing up, Chuck Connors starred as “The Rifleman.” When I went to sleep away camp in the summer, I was known as “Rifle Boy,” as I was a crack shot at the rifle range and on the tether ball court. I was disappointed when I discovered that tether ball was not a sanctioned NCAA sport, because as a child I had full ride scholarship written all over me.

I can understand why people like to own guns. I’ve been hot as a pistol on the basketball court but have never been pistol whipped. I like run and gun basketball but off the court, when I see a gun, I run. Face it, I’m an NBA, not NRA fan. Besides, I’m allergic to bullets.

So here’s the crux of the matter. When I leave my house, I’m not packing heat. Sometimes I bring a sandwich, some chips and a drink. Living here in Santa Cruz, I don’t feel the need to carry a gun for protection. I savor every day that I don’t run into someone with one who’d like to rob or harm me. At this point in my life I can’t image shooting anyone or anything except with a camera. And some day I want the sun to see me rise.

I certainly understand why someone would feel safer owning a gun. There are a lot of bad people out there and some of them have radio shows. You can’t live with blinders in today’s world. You never know who’s driving down the street with a loaded gun in their car. That’s why I always tell my children before they head out, remember, nothing good happens after 8 p.m.

So for today’s photo lineup, we are heading to the sky for some midday photo action. We start out some thunderheads filling the skies from above Cowells Beach. We then head up to UC Santa Cruz, where we get a nice view of Pogonip and the brown meadows on campus before going back down to the beach. Here we see a huge mass of liquid droplets and ice crystals above the Municipal Wharf, before finishing up with some surfers hanging ten or eleven at Cowells, where the waves are long and gentle and seem to break forever.

My mother often asks me if I ever studied meteorology. The answer is no, I’m just fascinated by weather and sports. I really don’t know why the weather does what it does, but I love photographing the results. When she questioned me about the pictures I posted today, I told her what Joni Mitchell once whispered to me. “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now. From up and down, and still somehow. It’s cloud illusions I recall. I really don’t know clouds at all.”

On to the late night. “Earlier tonight President Obama gave his State of the Union address. This is a real break with tradition. When the president walked into the chamber, instead of “Hail to the Chief,” they played “Hey, Big Spender.” – Jay Leno “President Obama gave his State of the Union address tonight. The rebuttal will be given by Marco Rubio. Or as he’s known in the Republican Party, “our black guy.” The Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address was given by Senator Marco Rubio. It’s just one more example of rich white guys getting a Hispanic to do a job they don’t want to do.” – Conan O’Brien “Be honest. How many of you never heard of Marco Rubio until last night? How many thought Marco Rubio was a game you played in a pool with the kids?” – Jay Leno

“Tomorrow President Obama gives his annual State of the Union address. If you’re not familiar, the State of the Union is where the president faces Congress and asks them to work together and fix America’s problems and Congress says, “No.” – Jimmy Fallon “Hillary Clinton is finished as secretary of state. They had a going away party for Hillary. She had a couple of drinks and admitted she doesn’t know the difference between Paraguay and Uruguay. Pope Benedict is quitting. He said he just wants to spend more time with his wife and kids.” – David Letterman “The Navy SEAL responsible for killing Osama bin Laden says he’s having trouble finding work. My advice: Charge $10 per high five. He will be a billionaire by the weekend.” – Conan O’Brien

So that’s our show. Birthday wishes go out on Friday to my Marin County brother Paul, who coaches his son’s Joshua’s basketball team. They’ve had a good season and Paul is the front-runner for middle school coach-of-the-year with the smallest starting lineup ever.

We’ll catch you celebrating your 50th birthday and perhaps being the the greatest NBA player of all time. Aloha, mahalo and later, Michael Jordan fans.

July 17, 2011

Nobody Knows How Dry We Are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 4, 2011

You Can Run But You Can’t Low Tide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 16, 2011

Have Gun, Will Unravel

Good morning and greetings, NFL playoff fans. Well, the world-wide weather picture has gotten off to a flying start in 2011, as there was horrific flooding in Australia, torrential rain and killer mudslides in Brazil and enough snowfall back east as to waltz into a winter wonderland. Gone away is the bluebird, here to stay is Lobster Newburg.

The big news this week continues to come out of the desert in Tucson, Arizona, where the nation tried to make sense of the tragedy that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. This shooting by a deranged gunman played out all over the world and led my daughter to ask, “Dad, do you own a gun?”

Now the Beatles said “happiness is a warm gun” but I’ve always been more of a Guns N’ Roses, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” kind of guy. My first thought was to tell her, yeah, it’s in my bottom drawer, next to the hand grenades and my missle launcher. But that would have been wrong. Let me state for the record that I do not own a gun, water pistol, pea shooter, rifle, shotgun, sling shot, bazooka, machine gun or sherman tank.

The only time I’ve fired a weapon was during riflery at summer camp, and I will admit I enjoyed checking the target to see my marksmanship. However, that was the only time I was packing any heat, although a couple of times I’ve left my house concealing my garage door opener on my belt.

Since I’m not a policeman, prison guard or currently in the military, I really have no interest in drawing my weapon and firing at anyone. I do my shooting with a camera, and all my aiming is to please. The concept of shooting someone, with the exception of any Taliban, Al Queda or the boogie man does not really appeal to me.

It’s not so much that I’m a pacifist, it’s just that I’m allergic to bullets. Or as Woody Allen once told me, “years ago, my mother gave me a bullet and I put it in my breast pocket. Two years after that, I was walking down the street, when a berserk evangelist heaved a Gideon bible out of a hotel room window, hitting me in the chest. Bible would have gone through my heart if it wasn’t for the bullet.”

Now I normally don’t quote the President of the United States or the American League in these pages, but in case you missed the Obama eulogy in Tucson, I thought I’d pass on a few words. Barack Obama said he wanted to “make sense out of that which seems senseless. When a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations – to try to impose some order on the chaos. But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

He added these words when speaking of nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, who was gunned down while meeting her congresswoman at the local Safeway. “I want us to live up to her expectations. I want her democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”

These are the kind of words I enjoy hearing coming out of the mouth of our elected leader rather than “mission accomplished.” They were written by the President, chief speechwriter Jon Favreau, senior adviser David Axelrod and Cody Keenan, a former writer for late Senator Edward Kennedy. The reason I mention this is because unlike the President, I wrote this post alone, with an assist from my spellchecker/senior grant writer Nancy Mager of Tucson, who drove by the shooting site twenty minutes before it happened and was horrified that this tragedy happened in her wacky, gun-loving state.

Let’s move from lack of gun control to something a little more colorful and relaxing. Today’s photosynthesis brings us back to the lovely sands of Natural Bridges State Beach on the evening of January 6. It was a night of intense color and big waves, as the swell was pumping and surfers were out in droves. And if you check out photos two and five, I actually caught a couple of wet-suited boys in action with my tow-in photography. It’s like I always said, if it swells, write it.

As you can see, the heavens turned some lovely shades of orange, red and purple, just another winter sky on Santa Cruz’s north shore. Colors like this always pump me up, which is the same feeling I got watching the world’s most dangerous closer, Kobe Bryant, going up against the Warriors on Wednesday night. Both the sunset that night and Kobe’s late game heroics were performances you see once in a lifetime. No two are the same and then they are gone in a flash, not to be repeated because last time I checked, nobody was TiVoing sunsets.

Let’s head to the late nite. “Sarah Palin’s reality show will not be returning as she contemplates a possible run for president in 2012. When a candidate walks away from a reality show, that’s when you know they’re serious about being president of the United States. A new study shows that a woman’s tears can chemically lower the level of testosterone in a man. When that happens, the man will also start to cry and then eventually be elected speaker of the House.” –Jay Leno “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a speech urging Arab leaders to enact real reforms. Halfway through the speech, Arab leaders looked at each other and asked, “Why is a woman talking?” –Conan O’Brien

“The two biggest websites right now are Wikipedia, where you go to learn about things you care about, and Facebook, where you go to learn about people you stopped caring about years ago.” –Craig Ferguson “There’s a new website that allows you to use Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, surf the web, and read all the news in one place. That one place is called “work.” –Conan O’Brien

“So far this winter, it has snowed in 49 out of 50 states, but not Florida. So now, your grandparents can complain that the snow doesn’t visit them either.”–Jimmy Kimmel “Astronomers discovered the smallest star in a far-away galaxy, called a dwarf star. I had about 50 jokes about the dwarf star and, what a coincidence. They all ended with Tom Cruise.”–David Letterman

So in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, Jason and I are headed up to the Oracle Arena today to see the Warriors take on the Carmelo Anthony-less Nets. Last year when we went my growing boy brought a sign, “I also have a dream-the Warriors in the playoffs.” I couldn’t have been any prouder. Like son, like father.

So let me leave you with the most famous of quotes from Dr. King from 1963. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’” That is, everyone except Michael Jordan in his prime.

And Warrior fans all over the bay area share in his dream, as despite years of ineptness ny management, they have risen up in their seats and shouted in unison, “oh, deep in my heart, we do believe, we shall overcome and make the playoffs some day.”

A final thought. I took my all-time favorite sunrise shot back on Dr. King’s birthday back in 2005, so this day is special in many ways. So enjoy what’s left of the three-day weekend and we’ll catch you running a cross pattern. Aloha, mahalo and later, Dorell Wright fans.

October 3, 2010

You Never Forget Your First

Good morning and greetings, Open Studio fans. We’re at that magical time of the year where local artists in Santa Cruz County open up their homes and studios to the public. And once again, yours truly is part of this incredible harmonic convergence of arts, crafts and finger foods.

But before we chat about landscape and nature photography from the westside of town, let’s talk a little weather. After a summer that would have left an eskimo’s teeth chattering, the local thermometer hit the century mark on September 25, shattering a 73-year-old-record, which might have been the Doors first album, in which Jim Morrison said to grab some matches and “come on baby light my fire.” This was the first album I ever played over and over again as I still have “no time to wallow in the mire.”

Anyway, this record-breaking heat, the same kind I used to feel from the Feds, was brought on by a high pressure ridge that built up over the entire state. This surpressed the marine layer and any thoughts I had about why I’m never finished medical school.

Then Monday rolled in and the thermometer soared to 103, which tied the record set back in 1970. And as we all know, the tie goes to the runner and with a suit and jacket. But then on Tuesday, things started to cool off once again, as a result of a that high pressuring ridge weakening, like myself when confronted by a piece of chocolate layer cake. This brought in the marine layer and a tall glass of milk.

But if you think it was warm on the central coast on last Monday, it was baking like my honey glazed Easter ham in downtown Los Angeles, where the thermostat hit a scorching 113. I don’t want to say it was a tad warm, but it was so hot, squirrels were handling their nuts with potholders. And at the Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs, they said, “screw it. Open the bar. Drinks for everyone.”

Let’s venture on to the photo frontier. Following a warm Tuesday afternoon, parades of clouds gathered in the sky, so I headed down to Stockton Avenue primed for Disney action. This was to be the first sunset of the fall season and it was a winner, winner, chicken dinner.

The waves were pumping full force and the locals were getting big rides up and down West Cliff. As you can see from photos 4 and 5, pink was the flavor of the night, as clouds filled the sky with a full 360 degrees of color. As the title reads, you never forget your first, although sometimes those memories, like the essay I wrote for my college admissions, gets a little hazy.

I’ve been as busy at dusk as a beaver on steroids, as I shot two more gorgeous sunsets this week. In the words of the boys from Thin Lizzy, “spread the word around, the color is back in town.”

On to the late night fun. “At the UN, President Obama called on other countries to help us track down and eliminate radicals and extremists. But they told Obama, ‘Hey, the tea party is your problem, buddy.’ These Tea Party groups are very conservative. In fact, 58 percent of Tea Party members now believe Joe Biden is a Muslim. “President Obama’s approval rating dropped again. Things are so bad, Muslims are accusing him of being Christian. ” –Jay Leno

“Bob Woodward has written a book which states that the White House agonized over the decision to leave Iraq. Too bad no one agonized over the decision to go into Iraq.” –David Letterman “Bristol Palin has denied rumors that she’s dating The Situation from ‘Jersey Shore.’ If The Situation becomes Sarah Palin’s son-in-law, he’d still have the most normal name of any boy in the family.” –Jimmy Fallon “There’s a new opera about Bill Clinton. I don’t know how it ends, but I bet it isn’t with the fat lady singing.” –Craig Ferguson

“President Obama has written a children’s book. Why not? He’s got nothing else on his plate. “Obama’s book is called ‘The One-Term Engine That Could.’” –David Letterman “In a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, President Obama said he has Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones on his iPod. Unfortunately, the question was ‘Do you have a plan to fix the economy?’” –Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama has listed the songs on his iPod. The Tea Partiers are checking to see if ‘Born in the USA’ is on the list.” –Jimmy Fallon “BP announced earlier today that they have created a new Safety Division for offshore drilling. In related news, General Custer has just hired a lookout.” –David Letterman “While in New York City, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Louis Farrakhan. I’m not sure where they met, but I think we can rule out the Carnegie Deli.” –Jay Leno

So Open Studios is the next two weekends. I’d love for any of you readers of Sunrise Santa Cruz to come by and check out the photography but more importantly, we can bond for a moment live in person, as this cyber experience of me writing and posting doesn’t take the place of human interaction. And if that’s not enough of a draw, then there’s also juice and cookies. I guaranteee it will be a fun experience and if not you get your money and karma back.

So I hope to see you at Open Studios this coming weekend. Birthday wishes go out on Wednesday to my cousin Gina, who’s an incredible artist and has always had the good fortune to share the same initials with me. And on Thursday, the Dean Smith of anathesiology, Dr. Michael Schur, celebrates his big day. How he finds time to perform his medical duties and write for “The Office” has always amazed me.

So enjoy the baseball playoffs and we’ll catch you later in the postseason. Aloha, mahalo and later, Willie Mays fans.

July 4, 2010

Beauty Is In The July Of The Beholder

Good morning and greetings, fireworks fans. I know many of you are enjoying the holiday but perhaps wondering, how come most of us are not working today? So as part of my patriotic duty and for the fact that I love singing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” with the help of Wikipedia, answers.com and my unending stream of semi-conciousness, here’s a quick refresher course on why kids blowing off their fingers and firecrackers on the Fourth of July has become part of the American landscape.

In the United States, Alaska and Hawaii , Independence Day is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence which declared our independence from the Great Britain, which except for their language, wasn’t really all that great. The Fourth of July is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, fist fights, carnivals, fairs, picnics, drunken driving arrests, concerts, baseball games, domestic violence and political speeches that help celebrate one of America’s great three-day weekends.

The trial separation of the American colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence along with an internship for Monica Lewinsky. Congress then turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five and the Five Stairsteps, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams texted to his wife Abigail:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America, and not just because most Americans will be home from work. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival and blowout mattress sale day. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty and Major League Baseball. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more, or at least until we restore our economy, exit Iraq and Afghanistan, and clean up that damn oil spill.”

Adams’ prediction and my birth were off by two days. In a remarkable coincidence, both Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two founding fathers of the United States and the only two men who signed the Declaration of Independence to later become president, died within hours of each other on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the United States’ 50th anniversary, and the same day of birth as my high school homecoming queen, Vicki Grimsland, the Michelle Pfeiffer of Fort Lee High. Happy birthday, Vicki, and will you please sign my yearbook.

The Declaration of Independence declared. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men (with the exception of Michael Jordan) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Coincedentally, this is the same oath I had take from Direct TV when I ordered by NBA League Pass.

With these memorable words, Thomas Jefferson, at the age of 33, laid the cornerstone for the United States of America and later his late wife’s half sister, Sally Hemings. The Declaration of Independence invokes the principle of natural rights and lefts. These are the basic rights of which each individual is possessed, and of which he cannot be stripped by society or government except during the George W. Bush administration.

The adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the opening of the first Circuit City took place against the backdrop of ongoing Revolutionary War hostilities. When the signers affixed their John Hancocks and signatures upon the document they were, in the words of the group Triumph, “laying it on the line,” since there was a bounty on the revolutionaries’ heads. Who knew this kind of trouble could come from absorbent paper towels that clean up the smallest spills and biggest messes.

When Benjamin Franklin said, upon signing the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately,” it was no less than the literal truth. Just ask Saddam Hussein. Fifty-six men and a notary public signed the first copy of the Declaration of Independence. John Hancock, as president of Congress, was first, and he famously wrote his name front, center and large, right before cutting the ribbon on opening of his first insurance company. Remember, for all your financial needs, we have the solution. We’re John Hancock.

Let’s move on to this week’s photo sunspots. Traditionally, July is not a big month for sunrises or the cleanup of the biggest environmental disaster in world history. Looking back into the archives, I have only photographed one July morning sky blowing up over Monterey Bay in the past five years. This is due to coastal fog, lack of clouds and the fact that my contract with National Geographic allows me to sleep in past 5:30 am in the summer.

This central coast beauty graced our skies in July of 2006. It was a warm summer morning, a day that Michelle Obama probably went sleeveless. I woke up from my usual dream of not having studied for my test after not being able to find my car keys while being buck naked. So with that fine start to the day, I grabbed my Miley Cyrus mug, filled it with Red Bull and headed down to the coast.

As you know, when it comes to sunrises, I don’t stray far from Lighthouse Point. But at this time of the year, the sun rises further to the east, so I headed to Cowell’s Beach for the low tide equinox. Surfers were out in full force, as the offshore winds had me swaying as gently as a dancer at a Taliban bachelor party. As you can see, it was a fantastic start to the day, as the clouds, the reflection on the sand and the voices in my head all came together for this convergence of morning light.

On to the late night. “Sunday is July 4, when America combines our two favorite pastimes: alcohol and explosives. The fireworks are beautiful to look at, but more importantly, they drown out the gunfire.” –David Letterman “July 4 is my favorite holiday. No presents, no church, just a lighter and a trunk full of explosives.
Here’s a fireworks safety tip. Don’t get drunk and leave bottle rockets on the grill unless you want to see your hot dogs fly, which is fun too. For the second day, there were no World Cup games. I missed the sound of vuvuzelas so much that I taped a beehive to my head.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“BP’s company newsletter has an article that says most gulf residents aren’t upset with BP because their cleanup crews have boosted the local economy. BP taking credit for boosting the economy in the gulf is like al Qaeda taking credit for creating jobs in airport security.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Here’s something great. Russian spy ring here in New York City. They were busted in New York City. Once again, they were spotted by an alert T-shirt vendor. The Russian spies tried to blend in. They were acting like Americans. As a matter of fact, for two weeks, they were pretending they loved soccer.” –David Letterman

So that’s our first blast for July 2010. Yesterday, I drove by a cemetery, where hundreds of American flags were blowing in the wind. And then it hit me like a ton of emotional bricks, this is what this holiday is all about. For all our faults, God Bless America, home of the brave, land of the free. Or as they say in the NBA, “my country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of free agency.” LeBron James, of thee I sing.

Anyway, take a moment to remember how fortunate you are to be an American. Or a National Leaguer. We’ll catch you in the bullpen. Aloha, mahalo and later, Larry King fans.

January 31, 2010

Beauty And The East

Good morning and greetings, State of the Union fans. Let's start off today's festivities with a quick no-look pass at the national scene. President Obama just celebrated his first year anniversary in the White House with cake and ice feelings. A year ago, he took the oath of office, promising to be, according to Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer "a transformational president who would cure our ills and cleanse our politics." Today, only 39% of people said they would vote for him again and over 70% put the blame for his failures on his being lefthanded.
As Obama himself has conceded, the country "has the right to be deflated," writes Sean Wilenz in the New York Daily News. My jump shot is in better shape than the President's health-care reform, the economy is unemployed, and Iraq and Afghanistann are a bigger mess than my garage. A year ago, Americans were talking about electing "another Lincoln." Adds Wilenz, today Obama looks "less like a political messiah and more like a victim of unrealistic expectations." Which sound hauntily familiar to my first year of coaching basketball at the Boys & Girls club.

On the other hand, the economy, unlike my archilles tendon eight years ago, didn't collapse (actually , I was kicked,) and unlike when I started losing my basketball quickness, the country didn't suffer through a depression. For those Americans who were looking for instant results or instant karma, there's been a lot of frustration, much like the feeling of missing a wide-open layup.

Overall, it's been a trying year for our Commander-in-Chief, who walked into a situation that was trickier than the questions in the math section of my SAT's. The question is, are we better off now than we were a year ago? Remember, Jim Rome wasn't built in a day, but for many Americans, these are very stressful times, particularly if you're a Golden State Warrior fan.

Moving right along, in the Declaration of Independence, which ranks right up there with the Gettysburg Address and John Belushi's "Animal House" rantings, "Over? Did you say 'over?' Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the German's bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!," provides us with "life, liberty and the pursuit to view sunrises. Which leads me into today's point of interest. I ran across an article written by Abby Goodnough in the New York Times from January 5th. In it she wrote, in a new setback for a controversial wind farm proposed off of Cape Cod, which is not to be confused with a wind bag like Rush Limbaugh, the National Park Service announced that Nantucket Sound was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, guaranteeing further delays for the project.

Known as Cape Wind, the project is the nation’s first planned offshore wind farm and would cover 24 square miles in the sound, an area roughly the size of Manhattan, which we got from the Indians for $24 and a signed Derek Jeter baseball card. The park service decision came in response to a request from two Massachusetts Indian tribes, who said the 130 proposed wind turbines would thwart their spiritual ritual of greeting the sunrise, which requires unobstructed views across the sound, disturb ancestral burial grounds and change the television reception they receive for Red Sox home games.

In seeking the historical designation, the Wampanoag tribes — whose name translates to “people of the first light” — said their view to the east across Nantucket Sound was integral to their identity and cultural traditions. “Here is where we still arrive to greet the new day, watch for celestial observations in the night sky, follow the migration of the sun and stars in change with the season and watch Celtic games,” wrote Bettina Washington, historic preservation officer for the Aquinnah Wampanoag, in a letter to federal officials.

So this is where I pick up the story. What these two Indian tribes are asking for is the right to view an unobstructed sunrise, something they have done for a bit longer than I've been posting Sunrise Santa Cruz. They, more than anyone else, know that there is something spirtually cleansing to viewing the magnificence and beauty that daybreak brings to the dawning table. And I can relate to the "people of the first light," as at this stage of my life, I need some kind of light to read anything. The eyes may be the window to the soul, but I need those cheater glasses to see it. In conclusion, if it's important to Abby Goodnough, well, then that's good enough for me.

So for our photo journey, I have selected a montage of two shots of three different sunrises from the first eleven days of the new year. I could have gone with one more photo, but that would have been 7 from the first Eleven and that's just too much slurping for me.

Anyway, the first series is from January 2, just a wild display of some orange-tangerine wonder in the eastern sky above Lighthouse Point. We then move to the following day, where I was able to add my favorite arch to our photo ensemble. But my favorite sunrise of the year came eight days later on January 11, when I was shooting from Fair Avenue along West Cliff Drive and the sky just blew up with color. I shot from this spot to get a good overall view of the skies above Monterey Bay and it was just plastic fantastic. The windows of the houses along the cliff were glowing like my mind when people tell me that they were thinking about me while experiencing a beautiful sunrise. Reggie Jackson was known as "Mr. October." I'm thinking of myself as Mr. November, December and January.

Because of reruns, late night was a little light this week but here we go. "John McCain's wife and her daughter, Meghan, have posed for pictures endorsing gay marriage here in California, although Senator McCain — well, he's still very traditional. He believes marriage should be between an older man and a really hot-looking younger woman.
"Congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. They're going to the Super Bowl. The Saints beat the Vikings. Former President George Bush Sr., he was at the game. Now, his son George W. was invited. But you know him, when it comes to New Orleans, he's always, like, two weeks late." - Jay Leno

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that California can save money by no longer incarcerating illegal immigrants and just sending them to Mexico instead. Well, actually, today, the immigrants had three words for Schwarzenegger - 'I'll be back.'" "Wal-Mart announced it's cutting over 11,000 jobs. "That's an amazing amount of people: The problem is they made the announcement in English, so everybody kept showing up for work." –Jay Leno "It's Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff's birthday today and he celebrated, spent the entire day waving to Sarah Palin." –David Letterman

So that's our first blast from the month of February. Last week I mentioned rumors of a guest blog, but much like Brett Favre going to Miami, it just didn't happen. But it shall and there are also major snow drifts on the horizon. And don't worry, I've got lots more sunrises waiting on the cyber runway. And just to keep the presidential record straight, President Obama would like to see the Saints win it all next Sunday. Michelle, on the other hand, is excited about checking out Peter Townsend and the Who at halftime. Or as she put it to her hubby the other day, "Barack, can you hear me"? That's it Tommy fans, enjoy Super Bowl Sunday and we'll catch you on the winner's podium. Aloha, mahalo and later, Archie Manning fans.

January 18, 2009

Rise Matters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:13 pm

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Good morning and greetings, Martin Luther King Day fans. Today we celebrate the birthday of a man of who had a dream and a vision for this country, a giant of a man who preached peace, unity and non-violence. I also have a dream, but my includes cheerleaders, chocolate cake and me reverse jamming on a fast break in traffic. It’s an historic week as a new President will be inaugurated, bringing hope to millions of Americans. So let’s go to the sky and see what else is on the rise. Or in the words of the lovely Alicia Keys, “Where do we go from here?”

Let’s first start off with some space info courtesy of our friends at space.com. Last Saturday night’s sunset (January 10) featured a giant moon rise that will go down as the best and the brightest of 2009. Much like my leaping ability, the earth, moon and sun are all bound together by gravity, which keeps us going around the sun and keeps the moon going around us. This also brings us the phases as the moon makes a trip around Earth every 29.5 days, or about as often as I shoot consistently from beyond the three point stripe.

But much like the rotation on my jump shot, the orbit is not a perfect circle. One portion is about 31,000 miles closer to our planet than the farthest part, so the moon’s apparent size in the sky changes. Last Saturday night, my karma and the moon was at its perigee, which is the closest point to us on this orbit.

According to NASA and Bernie Madoff’s accountant, this moon appeared about 14 percent bigger in the sky and 30 percent brighter than some other full moons during 2009. And as you know, four out of five astronomers recommend full moons to their patients who chew gum. This month’s full moon is known as the Wolf Moon from Native American folklore. January’s is also known as the Old Moon, the Snow Moon and for you rock and roll fans, Keith Moon.

At moonrise, the moon will appear even larger than it will later in the night when it’s higher in the sky. This is an illusion that scientists and the NBA Rules Committee cannot explain. Some think it has to do with our perception of things on the horizon versus stuff overhead. Personally, it think it’s Magic, and I do mean Johnson.

Much like the contents of my stomach, the moon is never truly 100 percent full. For that to happen, the moon, the sun and the holy ghost, er, the earth have to be in a perfect line, and when that rare circumstance occurs, there is a total eclipse of the moon. Which is not to be confused with a total eclipse of the heart.

Here’s a little parting fact for you lunar lovers. The moon is moving away as you read this, by about 1.6 inches a year. Eventually this drift will force the moon to take 47 days to circle our world or about the same amount of time it takes me to recover from playing 48 minutes of full-court basketball.

I shot this moonrise on West Cliff Drive on the cliff above Cowell’s Beach. Yes, just ten short days ago, when the New York Giants were still favorites for a Super Bowl repeat, Bush was still searching for weapons of mass destruction in Dick Cheney’s office and the tide was extremely low. How low was it? I saw a sea anenome with a sign, “Will sting for food.” When the moon rose over the mountains it was an awesome sight. I hadn’t seen anything that impressive rising from the east since the Giant’s playoff run last season. Or in the words of Mr. Van Morrison, “What a marvelous night for a moondance.”

Now for some late night humor. “I think everybody has warm feelings for George Bush now. He held his final press conference yesterday. And he admitted, it takes a big man to do this, he admitted that a couple of things didn’t go according to plan. A couple of things went haywire. Yeah, his first term and his second term.” Thank you, Dave Letterman.

Here’s another one from CBS’s late night king. From the Top Ten Reason Barack Obama Appears A Little Nervous: Offered Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich $100,000 for his old Senate seat.

One more from the humor front. A dog was sitting in a movie theater with his owner. The dog never took his eyes off the screen, growling menacingly whenever the villain appeared and wagging his tail at the sight of the hero. And elderly lady, who had been watching the dog’s reactions from the seat behind, tapped the owner on the shoulder and said, “That’s amazing behavior from a dog.” Yes, it is surprising,” said the owner, “because he absolutely hated the book.”

That’s our salute to Dr. King. Enjoy the history that will be made on Tuesday and know it’s a step in the right direction. What we are asking our new President to do is a herculean task as in many ways my overall floor game is in better shape than this country. Let’s keep the faith and remember that unlike my runway modeling days, our country’s future is ahead of us.

Let me leave you with this quote from Dr. King from his historic 1963 march on Washington where he seemed to fortell his own imment assassination. “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” For many Americans, Tuesday will be that day. Fortunately, I have already been to the promised land, for when the Giants knocked off the undefeated Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl, I was on sitting high atop the mountaintop.
We’ll catch you in the red zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Chris Paul fans.

October 28, 2008

What’s The Matter, You Look Sunset

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 8:56 pm

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Good morning and greetings, Sunrise Santa Cruz fans. Much like the monarch butterflies returning to the eucalyptus groves of the central coast or the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, the blog is back. And like devoted fans waiting for Mariah Carey’s next CD or costume change, I’ve been patiently waiting for some fall clouds to make their network debut in the California sky. Well, the wait is over as exotic color returned to the Monterey Bay skies on Monday night.

From the genesis Phil Collins along with Phillip (Earth, Wind & Fire) Bailey proclaimed that “She’s an easy lover.” Myself, I’m more of a cloud or NBA lover. And when I saw the late afternoon sky convulsing with all kinds of cloud formations I knew one of two things was going to happen. Either we going to be in for a fabulous display of colors or the fog was going to blow in like the bikers on my favorite new show “Sons of Anarchy” (it’s on FX-a really warm and fuzzy, feel-good program) and spoil everything. Fortunately, unlike Sarah Palin’s explanation of her foreign policy experience, the skies remained clear so the feature presentation went off on the big screen.

So I valet parked myself at the edge of the cliffs at Stockton Avenue along West Cliff Drive and watched the late October sun french dip into the horizon. As the sky to the west was going thru its changes (photos 1-3) I turned and looked south towards the lighthouse and saw that pink was very much in season (photo #4.) I then shifted my auto focus back to the west as the colors changed from orange to red as did the reflection on the water of the lovely Pacific. And much like me and Kobe spinning in the lane, this pre-Halloween event brought with it a 360 degree cloud experience. All in all, not a bad night, and it’s not even November.

So here’s a couple of rambling thoughts. From the political front, courtesy of Jay Leno, “As you know, Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama for President. That’s bad new for John McCain because at his age, he’s already having enough colon problems.” As for myself, I think the whole McCain campaign of negativity and grasping for Palin has been rather sad and pathetic. I find it very hard to believe that people think he is the kind of change this country needs. Or to quote the former Mrs. James Taylor, Carly Simon, “I haven’t got time for the McCain.” Or Sarah Palin. You betcha.

So Yankee-less World Series was delayed last night by an October snowstorm that blew into the east coast. And as one door almost closes another back door opens as the NBA kicked off its new season las night. Ah, the almond joy of eight straight months of basketball on the big screen. And Halloween is just around the corner and that means I’ll be eating mini chocolate bars for months. On that note, let me end this Octoberfest by saying that life is not a trick, it’s a treat. So be damn grateful for the all the good things you have like family, food and TiVo and don’t take your good health for granted. Because you never know what’s around the corner.

So enjoy the autumn skies, enjoy the day and most importantly, enjoy the moments. And remember, every day is sacred, except for some Tuesdays. We’ll catch you on the rebound in November. Aloha, sports fans.

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