August 3, 2014

Summer-Don’t Leave Home With It

Good morning and greetings, August fans. Now what red and white blood celled American doesn’t look forward to a summer vacation? Whether it’s renting a cabin on Mosquito Lake, visiting Yosemite or the Grand Canyon or just sitting around in your backyard relaxing like a mental patient, everyone loves a summer sabbatical.

For our nation’s students, it means two to three months weeks away from the grind and pressure of homework, tests, incessant bullying and the cafeteria’s salisbury steak.

But it wasn’t always like this. According to the folks at tidbit.com, back in the early 1800s, around the birth of John McCain’s babysitters, schools went year-round as the National Lampoon and summer vacation had not yet been invented.

Then along came a spider and Horace Mann, the great education reformer, who worried that overstimulating the minds of children could lead to mental breakdowns, insanity and worst of all, low SAT scores. Educators worried that if there were no breaks to take children away from schools, the insane asylums would be filled with teachers. Or in the words of Woody Allen, “Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym.”

So in the 1840s, the summer break was created. Everyone was now happy as a clam, as teachers and students got that much needed break from one another. Meanwhile, doctors no longer had to be concerned about children spreading disease while packed in like sardines inside sweltering classrooms.

As the sign reads at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., “There are three good reasons to be a teacher-June, July and August.”

Now transitioning into August, it tis the season when the Gilbert Family Robinson takes their annual trip to the South Pacific. It is a time for relaxation, rejuvenation, reincarnation and macadamia nut elation, in a land filled with aloha spirit, fresh papayas and angry Hawaiians.

Unfortunately, our son Jason will not be going to the islands, as he’s in Santa Barbara taking an organic chemistry lab class, which I never had the pleasure of partaking in as a sociology major. It’s the first time the four of us will not be together enjoying chicken katsu and macaroni salad in this tropical paradise. But we’re taking our daughter’s friend along because we like even numbers.

So we are heading over to Anahola Bay, on the northeast shore on the Garden Island of Kauai. We rented a house right on the water, so life shouldn’t be too stressful. I’ve been looking forward to it all year, and can’t wait to feel the trade winds and the sand beneath my feet while exploring the Napili coast and the food aisles at the Costco in Lihue.

So I’m taking a two week break from the blog, and shall return to these pages on August 25. So let me say to all of you aloha kakou, which translated means may there be love between us and don’t bother texting me.

So for today’s photo conference, we are heading down to West Cliff Drive on the morning of February 18. It wasn’t a spectacular sunrise by any means, but the sky lit up with some gentle red clouds which turned into a light orange sherbert sundae float. And then the sun rose up through the lighthouse and all was good on a winter’s morning.

On to some late night humor. “According to French officials, the gardens at the Louvre have become overrun with rats. Officials later apologized and promised to refer to us as Americans in the future. Wikipedia is now accepting donations using the online currency Bitcoin. So now you can support information you’re not sure is true with currency you’re not sure is money.” – Seth Meyers”

Seventeen siblings from New Jersey just won $20 million in the lottery. When asked how they plan to spend the money, they said, “Remodeling the shoe we grew up in.” The TSA is offering a $5,000 reward for the best idea on how to speed up airport security lines. So far the best idea is making a line for people who know what they’re doing and another line for people who have never been to an airport before.” – Jimmy Fallon

Actor Orlando Bloom threw a punch at Justin Bieber last night during an argument at a night club in Spain. Orlando’s hand was pretty sore today, you know, from all the high-fives he got. A new study found that having a sense of purpose can actually help you live longer — While having a sense of porpoise can help you swim longer. – Jimmy Fallon

So birthday wishes go out this week to my daughter Aimee, who is turning sweet 17 on Thursday. She’s beautiful and ambitious, and I am very proud of her and the rabbit ranch she’s currently running out of her bedroom.

Also celebrating his birth on this date is my old Hermose Beach pal and financial consigliere Bruce Meyers, who smiles every time he hears the word “strand.”

So that’s my story. We’ll catch you making blockbuster trades as GM of the Oakland A’s, as you’re going for it all this baseball season. Aloha, mahalo and later, Billy Beane 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.

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.

January 5, 2014

In One Year And Out The Other

Good morning and greetings, New Year’s fans. Someone asked me last week if I had made any resolutions for the upcoming year. Up until that point, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind, as New Year’s resolutions for me have always gone in one year and out the other. Or as Jay Leno once said, “New Year’s Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot. Unless, of course, those tests come back positive.”

But I thought I would give it the old junior college try, as I usually look forward to the new year to get a fresh start on old habits. I wanted to do something significant to really challenge myself and prove that even at this advanced age, there were still some frontiers I could conquer besides walking more and watching less.

I was thinking about for some self improvement, and if that wasn’t possible, just doing something nice for people. There were so many directions I could go in, like eating healthier, exercising more or stop biting other people’s nails.

I could attempt to be a more positive person, to laugh more often at the news, to just enjoy life a little bit more. I could work on my career, or perform better at my job. But that would entail getting a job, and thus lied the problem. That would putting the cart light years ahead of the horse.

I could try to improve my inner and outer self by becoming more organized, as at this stage of my life, 98% of my time is spent looking for something I had in my hands just moments before. That might help reduce some stress. It’s not like I’m in a hurry, or as Mohandas K. Gandhi once tweeted, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Personally, I’ve always ascribed to the Chinese proverb, “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. Chow fun is where you want to be.”

I could volunteer to help others, try new foods or stop procrastinating, but I think I’ll start on that one next month. None of these resolutions felt right. So I decided to just go with what felt natural and stop eating chocolate for a hour each day. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but over a year’s time the numbers add up. That’s a two week, all-expense saved vacation from chocolate.

I’m just following the theory that chocolate slows down the aging process. It may not be true, but who am I to argue with science? Or as French actress Brigette Bardot once remarked, “It’s sad to grow old, but it’s nice to ripen.’ I’m just worried about being left on the vine too long.

So the holiday season has come and gone, and it will be missed. I got to see two movies, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ which I reviewed last week, and ‘American Hustle,’ which took us inside the world of a brilliant con man, a Congressional sting operation and Amy Adam’s cleavage. As she said, “You’re not nothing to me until you’re everything.” Everybody hustles to survive. I enjoyed this flick, although I was hoping for a little better.

So this being the first blog of the new year, I wanted to start it off in star spangled banner style. So we are heading back to the evening of December 17, when fire was burning in Big Sur and skies were torched with color. The previous evening’s sunset (which I posted back on December 22) was off the charts in beauty, or as my friend Bill Babcock described it, “the best sunset I can recall on the coast.”

So we were coming off a spectacular night, and this was to be the second half of a back-to-back, off the wall, plastic fantastic experience. For me as a sunset chaser, the only back-to-back evenings to surpass this experience came in January of 2008, when there were two nights of explosive color and light that set the bar. It was two nights of magical brilliance that I will never forget. But these December nights came awfully close to challenging for the gold.

I was shooting from Stockon Avenue along West Cliff Drive, and you can see early on that something big was underway. This night was a 360 degree viewing experience, as the entire sky was filled with glowing clouds. To the east it was pink city, to the west golden orange and ridiculous red. I was spinning like the Four Tops taking in this marvelous show.

If you look up world-class sunsets in the dictionary, you might see photos from this night. Moments like this is why I got into this business, being I’m a sunrise/sunset guy. It’s nice putting your arm around a memory.

So my resolution to my cyber audience is to bring you the best of what I see on land and in the skies above Monterey Bay, along with a little something to make you laugh and think. And not necessarily in that order.

Enjoy the NFL playoffs. We’ll catch you showing the basketball world why the Warriors are in a roll and you were an NBA all-star last season. Aloha, mahalo and later, David Lee 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.

December 8, 2013

Something Cold, Something New

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

Good morning and greetings, December fans. Well, there was a bit of a change in the weather last week, as the temperature dropped below freezing. How cold was it? I spent most of last week walking around with a toaster in my shorts.

Now I don’t want to say that it’s cold in my house, but I actually go outside to warm up. It’s an igloo with central heating. The furnace barely makes a dent in heating the frozen tundra which is our downstairs. It was so cold last week that I had to salt the hallway. I shouldn’t be able to hear my breath.

The fun continued. When I turned on the shower I got hail. My daughter’s new rabbit tried to hop in bed with me. I had to put on skates to go to the bathroom at night. I tried to take the garbage out but it didn’t want to go.

When I came downstairs Thursday morning, I looked at the thermometer and it read “ouch.” If that thermometer had been an inch longer I might have frozen to death. I turned on my computer to check the local temperature and it was 26 degrees. That’s a bit cool for a Mediterranean climate. I looked outside and saw Smoky the Bear grab a box of matches and run shivering into the woods. The mailman came by, I told him to watch out for polar bears.

I got in my car and started it by yelling “mush.” I would have been better off driving a zamboni. It was so cold I chipped my tooth on some soup. So I headed over to Starbucks where they wear serving coffee on a stick. The line was too long, so I drove over to Costco, where kids were fighting for turns on the rotisserie.

There was a politician standing out in front of the store who actually had his hand in his own pocket. The store was crowded and pickpockets were sticking their hands in stranger’s pockets just to keep warm. After I left the store I saw a hitchhiker holding a picture of his thumb and a sign that read, “Anywhere above 40 degrees.” Yes, the morning was a bit chilly.

So how cold was it last Wednesday? Well, icy air sweeping down from the arctic helped Oakland set a new record low of 33 degrees. San Jose and San Francisco tied their low record marks for the day at 29 and 40 degrees. It was 16 degrees in Morgan Hill and inside our home high school basketball star Morgan Green was writing in a flannel notebook. The National Weather Service said there was a chance of snow flurries in my kitchen.

On the national weather front, it was 15 degrees below zero at the Denver Airport on Thursday morning. The jet stream was pulling air into Colorado from Siberia, making it nice and toasty for Denver Bronco fans. Maybe they should weatherstrip the Canadian border. And if you’re keeping a weather map at home, the record low temperature for the Rocky Mountain state is −61 °F, set back in 1985 in northwestern Colorado. I believe Snapple and Peyton Manning freezes at that temperature.

My morning walks along West Cliff were exhilarating, as the skies were clear, the air cold and crisp and my epidermis frozen. With the skies being absent of clouds and drones, I spent time analyzing the early season play of the Warriors’ Steph Curry and his backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, not be to confused with Nucky Thompson, who seemed at odds with himself in the excellent season four finale of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”

So for today’s photo ensemble, we are heading back to warmer times and November 26. This day started out in spectacular fashion, with a world class sunrise that I featured in last week’s post. As the day moved along glorious clouds remained in the sky, so it appeared there would be some commotion down along the ocean.

The sky turned beautiful colors at sunset, but the most amazing part was the pelican action. As I stood on the cliffs along West Cliff Drive at Stockton Avenue, thousands and thousands of pelicans were in transit heading north. As I turned and looked south, I could see them coming in endless waves against the gray sky. Glory, glory, hallelujah.

But as they passed and I looked north, their formations blended into the multi-colored sky, which was turning various shades of exotica. This was a magical time, as the pelican migration was in full force while the sky was blowing up. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday evening.

On to some late night humor. “The president said despite the initial problems, it’s working better now and going to continue to improve. A million people visited on Monday, mostly to see if they were covered from injuries suffered at Wal-Mart on Black Friday. Amazon announced plans for an amazing service called Amazon Prime Air. When you order something from Amazon that weighs five pounds or less, a robot will drop your package on your doorstep. It’s all part of Amazon’s pledge to drive your dog insane.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“You know in some countries seeing an unmanned drone means your village is about to be destroyed. In America it means you ordered Mad Men on Blu-ray.” –Jimmy Kimmel “A new miniseries premiered tonight called “Mob City.” It’s about the 1940s when gangsters came from the east to L.A. In those days L.A. was overrun by gangsters — swarthy animals who stopped at nothing to shake people down for a few bucks. Today that role is filled by Kardashians.” – Craig Ferguson

According to a new report, America’s teenagers are 30th in the world in math. Luckily, America’s teenagers will never understand the report because they’re 85th in reading.” –Conan O’Brien “A new study found that the state where people cursed the most, where they used the most profanity, is Ohio. Most of those curse words are directly followed by the word “LeBron.” – Jimmy Kimmel

So it’s my birthday on Thursday and I plan on celebrating it the usual way, with a 24 hour fast, silent meditation and some Chinese take out. We’ll catch you showing NBA fans in the early season why you might be the next up and coming superstar. Aloha, mahalo and later, Paul George fans.

November 10, 2013

Four Hundred, But Who’s Counting?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:24 am

Good morning and greetings, Veteran’s Day fans. Well, I have arrived at another benchmark along the long and winding cyber road. According to the folks at WordPress, where I purchase all my slacks, today’s posting is my 400th. Yes, the cryogenically frozen Ted Williams, the last man to hit over .400 in the major leagues, would be very proud. Or in his words, “God gets you to the plate, but once you’re there you’re on your own.”

So how did it all begin, this journey of over 400,000 words that has left me with a sense of peace, resentment and a thirst for more episodes of ‘Homeland?’ I’ve fallen in love with this show and now draw my inspiration from Clare Danes, as bi-polar CIA agent Carrie Matheson. In her words of the events of 9/11 ” I missed something once before. I won’t… I can’t let that happen again.” That’s the same way I feel about shooting sunrises.

Or as my wife said to me on the morning of our 25th wedding anniversary, ” You’re a disgrace to your nation, Sargeant Nicholas Brody. You’re a traitor and a terrorist, and now it’s time you pay for that.” Hey, I would have been happy with just a card.

I’ve always liked to write. I believed I may have penned my first sonnet on the walls of my mother’s womb. It started out, “There was a boy from Nantucket.” I had discovered my inner voice. However, after I exited my mother’s tomb, my voice was then labeled as colicky, which led to writer’s block as I suffered from postpartum depression.

I started my official writing career in junior high, when I had a poem published in the 7th/8th grade school magazine. I was a shy child who was interested in nature, and I believe it it was reflected in my literary prose. Here’s the third and final stanza from a poem very appropriately titled ‘Spring.’

“In the city the buses are clattering. In the forest the animals are chattering. The hustle and bustle is too much for me. I like to watch spring show up quietly.” Now I know why my teachers referred to me as Robert Frost Jr.

I continued to write in high school and had a couple of humorous pieces published in our high school literary magazine. Back then I had great ambitions, as I either wanted to be a investigative reporter, a marine biologist or a Playboy photographer. But writing was in my blood. And besides, it beat saying everything out loud.

After graduation from college, most of my writing over the next few decades was NBA basketball, top ten lists and checks. My first official blog was posted back in June of 2007, and after that, there was no turning back. I was on a mission, as I could finally do something creative with those voices playing in my head. The problem was, lots of time they were speaking in Hebrew, and I had no idea what they were talking about.

I created Sunrise Santa Cruz as a place to showcase the beauty of our cold water paradise, with the emphasis on the skies above it. But as I’ve learned over the years, being beautiful isn’t enough, and that’s why I added the text because what is better than laughter? I mean besides living in a world where everything is chocolate.

I’ve tried to amuse and confuse your hearts and minds with jokes from the best late night writers on the planet. Now throw in over 2,400 digital photo images and you’ve got over six years extracted from my mind’s eye that I’ll never get back. I’m just looking to make you laugh and think. After all, in the words of Will Rogers, “An onion can make people cry but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.” Unless you consider a cucumber funny.

So for today’s landmark photo lineup, we are returning to one of my favorite spots along West Cliff Drive, the cliffs above Stockton Avenue. For fourteen wonderous years, I lived 100 yards from this location, and rarely did I miss a sunset or a game involving Michael Jordan. This spot, like Ted’s Bakery on the North Shore of Oahu, is sacred, as I’ve always felt so powerful standing there overlooking the Pacific, thinking about the chicken katsu lunch plate.

On this evening, I didn’t need Phil Collins to tell me something was coming in the air that night. When I hit the cliff, the sky was glowing in a wonderful and magical way, and it proceeded to get better and better. The sky kept changing to different shades of red, while the reflection turned the ocean into something looking like cherry punch. These photos say it all. October fantastic.

On to some late night. “The new mayor of New York City is a progressive Democrat with an African-American wife who used to be a lesbian. Or as Fox News reported, the apocalypse is upon us. The new mayor is married to a woman who used to be a lesbian. His campaign slogan: ‘If I turned her around, imagine what I can do for New York City!’” –Conan O’Brien

“Rand Paul, the senator from Kentucky, keeps getting into trouble. They say he actually plagiarized an entire section of his 2012 book, ‘Government Bullies.’ When asked for comment, Paul said, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Forbes magazine has named evil Russian President Vladimir Putin as the most powerful person in the world. People magazine also named him the sexiest dictator alive.” –David Letterman

“New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is hoping to win re-election tomorrow, and polls show that he’s winning by a 19-point margin. Christie has really worked hard on the campaign. I heard he spent all weekend shaking hands and kissing bagels.” –Jimmy Fallon “Chris Christie won by such a wide margin that pundits say this will give him the impetus he needs to run for president. And he’s got a new slogan: ‘Put the oval in the Oval Office.’” –Jay Leno

So 400 posts are in the book. That’s lots of words, verbs and hor d’oeuvres. We’ll catch you putting up numbers no other player has ever posted through the first five games of the NBA season. Aloha, mahalo and later, Kevin Love fans.

November 3, 2013

I Haven’t Got Time For The Chains

Good morning and greetings, NBA fans. Well, the baseball season is finally over, as a bunch of guys with beards from the New England area took home the World Series crown. Now being a New York Yankee fan, this series between the Cardinals and the Red Sox did not hold a lot of interest for me, as I am more fascinated by Alex Rodriquez’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball, where he alleges he was forced to take steroids in order to compete with the caliber of Derek Jeter’s girlfriends.

If anything, I think A-Rod should be charged with impersonating a major league hitter after going 3-for-25 in the 2012 playoffs. This was before he was eventually benched for running out of the basepath to date Madonna.

The end of the baseball season signaled the start of the NBA season, which kicked off last Tuesday night with two games but really swung into full gear on Wednesday, with 14 games on the slate. This brings out the beauty of Direct TV’s NBA League Pass, which allows the casual fan to watch every game from the comfort of their home. For the NBA faithful, this is the gift that keeps on giving, as much like the NSA surveillance programs, there is action every night.

Now I don’t want to get too excited, but expectations this season for the Golden State Warriors, like the Dow Jones, are at an all-time high. And judging by the way they blew the Kobe-less LA Lakers off the floor on opening night, there may be good reason for the Warrior faithful to get aboard the love train and ride this wave of love and unselfish play into the month of June, when teams and my teeth get crowned.

If you took in any action from last week, you saw fabulous plays, big upsets, buzzer beaters, an unconscious mascot and enough heartbreak and disappointment to make you want to go right back at it the next night. The NBA journey for the ring begins in late October and doesn’t take a breather until June. That’s a good eight months of wall-to-wall NBA action, which is available to me without ever having to leave my fallout shelter. It all goes back to what I learned in Hebrew school. NBA is life, the rest is just details and Kabbalah.

Moving from courtside to the upper promenade, over the last seven days, I’ve witnessed the sight of thousands of brown pelicans migrating along the coast. We’re talking morning, noon and night. On Saturday evening, they flew by in long chains, amidst a backdrop of colorfully changing clouds. It was a real post Halloween treat, but without the sugar, calories or chocolate guilt.

These chains, like the need for my rabbi’s approval, are endless. It’s an Aretha Franklin festival as they fly high and low over the water, usually in some sort of V-formation or in single, double or x-file, which I call the Fox Mulder special.

Now my memory isn’t what it never was, but I never remember ever seeing this many pelicans doing fly bys along the coast. You can just park yourself along West Cliff Drive at seemingly any time of the day, and witness these never-ending flight patterns of this wonderful species, who go back around 30 million years, or around the birth of John McCain’s grandparents.

Adding to the festivities, last Monday I was treated to a fantastic light show as I strolled along the cliff. The sun was shooting through a mass of morning clouds, and the light kept changing faster than the number of shirts I tried on before selecting the one I wore to dinner for my 25th wedding anniversary celebration at the Shadowbrook the following night. The morning was quite delicious, and the same could be said of the baked brie appetizer and miso-marinated Hawaiian butterfish. And to think, Jack Bauer said we’d never make it past 24.

That Monday afternoon, my mother and I witnessed a pelican feeding frenzy. I knew she was excited to see the action first hand, as the sight of hundreds of pelicans diving into the water while the gulls screamed was simply amazing. Or in her words, “I’m not getting out of the car. I can see them from here.”

So today’s photo gallery are shots from a day long feeding frenzy along West Cliff. I never tire of viewing these moments as nature’s volume is always turned way up. It’s quite a show and admission is always free.

On to the late night humor. “According to a new report, more than 700 fake Obamacare websites have been created. Security experts say it’s simple to identify the phony sites because they are easy to log on to. I tried to log on to the Obamacare website today. I don’t think I’m doing it right. I lost 300 bucks playing Texas Hold ‘Em. People have been speculating lately about what President Obama will do when he leaves office in 2016. The one thing I think we can safely rule out – website designer.” –Jay Leno

“Saudi Arabia is now threatening to sever diplomatic ties with the United States over Syria. I hope that doesn’t cause them to do something drastic, you know, like overcharge us for oil.” –Jay Leno “Today Obama was in so much trouble he called Hillary Clinton and he said, ‘Could you start early?’” –David Letterman

“The U.S. has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel for more than 10 years. Merkel actually called Obama to say that eavesdropping on allies ‘is not acceptable.’ Then Obama said, ‘Yeah, well that’s not what you said to England.’” –Jimmy Fallon “If the NSA agents are like most men they were probably only pretending to listen to what she was saying anyway.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“A new study found that 30 percent of Americans admit to getting most of their news on Facebook. You can tell news anchors are trying to compete with Facebook because tonight Brian Williams’ top story was just a picture of his cat.” –Jimmy Fallon

I had the pleasure of seeing lots humpback whales heading north up the coast last week. This is always a thrill. As I like to say, “You breach, I teach.”

We’ll catch you showing the baseball world that you still had something left in your bat as you helped your team capture the 2013 World Series. Aloha, mahalo and later, David Ortiz fans.

September 29, 2013

Birds Of A Feather Dine Out Together

Good morning and greetings, fall weather fans. Last Saturday, folks on the central coast were surprised as rain showers from a cold front blew in and soaked local basketball courts. It was the first significant amount of rain we had since the end of June, as the summer weather was a rather dry. How dry was it? A salmon knocked at my door asking for a drink of water.

But lo mein and behold, it’s been ever drier in the Bay Area, as they have received less rain from January 1 to mid-September than in any year in recorded history, which goes back to the gold rush and early years of Joe Montana.

According to Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury, only 3.94 inches of moisture has fallen since New Year’s Day in San Francisco, not including the amount of tears shed by 49er fans after recent losses to the Seahawks and Colts. San Francisco has the oldest rain gauge and strip clubs west of the Mississippi, dating back to 1850, around the birth of John McCain. At least that’s why Carol Doda told me.

San Jose and Oakland are also experiencing record dry years for 2013. Now I don’t need a weatherman to tell me which way my hair is blowing, but I would think that our little community would be on close to a record pace. In the words of either Julius Erving or Irving Berlin, “Nobody knows how dry I am.”

But according to clinical psychologists and local meteorologists, the lack of precipitation is not as bad as it looks. Bob Benjamin, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Monterey says, “Don’t panic yet. We need to look at all the winter rain from the end of last year to put this in perspective.”

Which reminds me of a story. Two frogs fell into a bowl of cream. One didn’t panic, he relaxed and drowned. The other kicked and struggled so much that they cream turned to butter and he walked out. And then God created ice cream.

It rained 50 percent more than normal in November and December in the the Bay Area. Those early winter storms filled reservoirs and had Golden State fans getting soaked in the parking lots outside Oracle Arena.

Now unlike the chances of the Warriors making the playoffs this year, the odds of having a wet winter aren’t looking good. Water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean indicate an El Niño year of a wet winter is not in the cards. According to four out of five climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who chew sugarless gum, the chance of an El Niño developing through Dec. 31 is only 6 percent, or the same odds that the Oakland Raiders will be a playoff team this year.

But then again, if weather forecasters were really able to predict what lies out there on the weather front more than a month from now, they’d be in Las Vegas, playing roulette and doubling down on Wayne Newton. And when it comes to large cities, Las Vegas gets the least amount of rain in the country. But it does get the most degenerate gamblers pouring into town. So I guess you could say it’s a wash.

So once again, pelicans took center stage of my morning strolls along West Cliff last week. On Wednesday I had to stop twice in my tracks to admire the formations flying by, as they were easily each 200 to 300 strong. Their flight patterns were amazing, and as I stood there, an old Chinese proverb came into my mind. “You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but can can prevent them from building nests in your hair.” And that’s why I wear I baseball hat whenever I walk.

Then on Thursday, after having breakfast on the wharf with my brother Paul, we took a leisurely drive along West Cliff and as we approached the parking lot at Natural Bridges, all hell broke loose. In the water and the air were hundreds and hundreds of pelicans dive bombing head first after the anchovies. Every time a group would hit the water, the gulls would scream like they were at a Justin Bieber concert.

There were thousands and thousands of gulls and various shore birds stretched out a half mile along the coast, as they were twisting and shouting all morning and then late into the afternoon. It was a spectacular sight that also included some seals, sea lions and enough anchovies to make Caesar salad dressing to fill Lake Michigan.

The only thing missing were the whales, but field scout Jerry Hoffman reported seeing them breaching along the coast in Aptos that afternoon. And then the next morning, as I patrolled along the shoreline, the vast majority of birds were gone, with just a few stragglers to entertain the troops.

It had been one of those magical moments which lasted for hours. This event brought to mind a Turkish proverb that says, “God finds a low branch for the bird that cannot fly.” Yet this is the same guy who couldn’t find his way to let me dunk once. I guess no one said life is fair.

On to the late night humor. “So to express your opposition to Obamacare, you go to the book about a stubborn jerk who decides he hates something before he’s tried it, and when he finally gets a taste, he has to admit after he’s tasted it, ‘This is pretty f**king good.’” –Jon Stewart on Sen. Ted Cruz reading Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” on the Senate floor. “Texas Senator Ted Cruz had quite a day yesterday. To protest a government bill that would fund Obamacare, he decided to take the floor of the Senate and keep speaking until he was no longer able to stand – at which point he would collapse, be taken to the hospital and be treated for exhaustion by Obamacare.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Ted Cruz read “Green Eggs and Ham” aloud. That has now replaced jumping on Oprah’s couch as the weirdest thing done by a Cruz on television.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Breaking Bad” airs its final episode on Sunday. It’s about a chemistry teacher who has cancer and starts making meth to help cover his medical bills and provide for his family. Or as Republicans call that, a legitimate alternative to Obamacare.” –Jay Leno “Thanks to “Breaking Bad,” the ratings for AMC have skyrocketed. You know what else has skyrocketed? — the number of high school kids now taking chemistry.” – Conan O’Brien

“The U.N. General Assembly is here in New York City. Today, President Obama gave a big speech on the Middle East. The leaders from the Middle East said, ‘You have touched our hearts, and from now on we shall have peace.’ And Obama said, ‘Really?’ and they said, ‘No, but the look on your face was priceless.’ Another study says parents are biologically programed to dislike their children’s spouses. I asked my father-in-law if that was true, and he was like, “Not now, I’m watching “Craig Ferguson.” – Jimmy Fallon

“The NBA is considering introducing jerseys with players’ nicknames rather than their last names. Players like the nickname jersey because it’s easier for fans to relate to them and harder for women looking for child support to find them.” – Conan O’Brien ” A North Carolina woman stabbed her roommate’s ex-boyfriend because she claimed he wouldn’t stop playing Eagles music. He’s OK, but apparently she stabbed him with those steely knives but she just couldn’t kill the beast.” – Jay Leno

So that’s my last blast for September. We’ll catch you making your last appearance on the mound at Yankee Stadium one of the great moments in baseball history. Aloha, mahalo and later, Mariano Rivera fans.

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