Thursday, July 30, 2009

Simply The Best

Coach John Wooden - UCLA
This week Sporting News named John Wooden BEST COACH EVER. It's always great to be the best at what you do and there is no doubt that Coach Wooden was the best at what he did. But beyond the game he coached he is an example for all on how to live life. Lucky for those that were closed enough to feel his touch first hand and lucky for us that could experience from his words whether spoken or written.
Thank you Coach for touching our lives and giving us words to live by, "The most important things in the world are family and love. The most important word in our language is 'love'. The word 'hate' we should remove from our vocabulary."
We will try, Coach, we will try.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cliff Diver in Training

I just love it when I see my grand-kids do things I would never attempt. Yep, that figure caught in mid-air is one of my grandsons!!!! Way to go, Nicko!!!!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Surf's Up!

Crystal Cove - July 25, 2009
This was my view waking up this morning. Almost makes me wish I could surf. The only time I every stood up on a surfboard was when I was aided by one of those Waikiki Hunks back in the 50's. They were the first true Beach Boys, the ones you would pay to help you ride the three inch waves at Waikiki Beach.
Move over Snoopy here I come...cowabunga dude!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cannabis Cup Curiosity

It has been said curiosity killed the cat, I don't know about that, but curiosity can certainly overwhelm the mind. I was sitting here watching Anderson Cooper on CNN, doing a story on medical marijuana and before I knew it one thing led to another. No, I didn't run out and get a quickie medical Rx and dash off to one of the local marijuana stores in California! But I did notice in the AC segment a label on one of the jars that read White Widow. Now never having heard of White Widow before I got curious and did a quick Google search.

My search informed me that White Widow was a Cannabis Cup winner! Cannabis Cup? What that heck is that, now I know about the Stanley Cup but Cannabis Cup was new to me. More Goggling led me to know why I had never heard of it, I am not a regular reader of High Times. In 1987 Steven Hager, editor of High Times, started this event in Amsterdam and it had been an annual event ever since. It is a five day event held every year over Thanksgiving. I didn't even know they celebrated Thanksgiving in the Netherlands. Well maybe the attendees are aware it's Thanksgiving, if you get my drift.

Sadly I found out about this a little too late to pass on the information in time for you can get Judge's tickets at an Early Bird Special of $199, the deadline was June 1st. Rats. Anyway just so you know, you don't get free samples with a Judge's ticket, you have to pay extra for the samples. And it wouldn't be fair to judge without sampling, right?

But I have digressed, back to curiosity. It has been said that 'a mind is a terrible thing to waste', I say a curious mind is never a waste.

Disclaimer: The sponsors of this blog in no way condone the use of illegal marijuana or support or defend the views of High Times Magazine.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Adios Gidget - Vaya con Dios

I loved this gal, my favorite ad of all time. I was so sad when they finally retired the ad and sadder still that our beloved Gidget is off to doggie heaven. To "Yo quiero Taco Bell", no mas!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

1969 Good Year for Wine and Tennis

Rod Laver - Tennis Great
We were born the same year, just seven months apart, Rod on the continent of Australia and me a half a world away in North American. We have been seen together on the same tennis court but alas that is where any similarity ends. Rod Laver won his first Grand Slam title in 1962, as an amateur player and he came back again in 1969 as a professional and did it all over again - won the Grand Slam; that's the Australian, French, Wimbledon and US Open all in the same year. It is quite a feat. I had the good fortune to meet Rod in the 70's at a tennis camp he was giving at Murrieta Hot Springs Resort. He is a quiet and unassuming man and very likable, the way I find most Australians. He taught us the serve and volley game that he himself was known for. Though for me I never had that good serve to follow in on and in addition probably have two of the slowest and lead filled tennis shoes you would ever see. The fun part was getting to hit with Rod, one on one, never mind trying to keep your eye on the ball, it was impossible not to forget for a second who that was across the net from you. We would rally back and forth a half dozen times and then Rod would set me up with what clearly would be a grand put away shot...winner, me! Back, back I go, reaching high over-head with my racket for my winning shot. Smash! Right into the net! I raise my head in disbelief, an opportunity lost, only to find the biggest smile on this Aussie's face; he had it all under control the whole time. I like it when nice, good people who do well become good examples for those that follow. To you Mr. Laver, you are one of the greatest and meeting you has always been an honor I have quietly carried with me for many, many years.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Say Ahhhhhhh....

Sunset at Makena Surf

Time to sit back, grab a Mai Tai (or two) and breathe in the peace the surrounds. And if we are lucky maybe in a few minutes we will see the green flash. Aloha for now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Going Home Again - Chesterfield, MO 1990-2000

After three years of living in paradise my wanderlust soul grows weary again. This time I have a totally different mindset as I am packing up and preparing for the trip back to the mainland. When I moved to Hawaii I felt I had to take everything with me, I suppose doing this was my security blanket substitute, moving across an ocean always seems like you are going farther than moving across land. What I decided to bring with me to my move to Missouri was basically whatever would fit in one TWA freight container pod. As I recall the dimensions we roughly seven feet by five feet by five feet. So I taped off the space on the floor in the guest bedroom and what would fit I would air freight to St. Louis the rest was sold or given away. They only exceptions were several boxes of books that I mailed taking advantage of the USPS great book rate. Once I landed in St. Louis and got ready to move in to my home it was really like starting all over again. Looking back on the experience it was a lot of fun and I was certainly doing my part to stimulate the economy, purchasing everything you can image from soup to nuts and everything in between. My new clutter-free environment soon became filled to the rafters with the usual crap that we tend to accumulate and keep and treasure over time. Over the years I had a great time redecorating the home to my own taste. It wasn't a large home for an average family, but for a single person it was really more than ample. Two of the extra bedrooms became guest rooms; another became my office with a wonderful view of the front yard and everything going on in the neighborhood. For some reason my decorating became very theme oriented; there was the Wimbledon Room, painted a cheery light yellow with one wall papered in a vintage tennis scene. The other guest room became the Garden Room complete with picket fence wallpaper on the lower third of the walls and the ceiling overhead painted with lots of white billowy clouds. A few years before I moved yet again, I did a major remodeling of the kitchen and added hardwood floors to the entire downstairs area. That kitchen still is my favorite kitchen and considering all of the kitchens I have had over the years I guess that is saying a lot. My guess if you were to ask the grandkids what they liked most is they would say the backyard. The house came with this huge rope swing that hung down from one of the great old oak trees. In fact it was the swing that was the closer on purchasing the place. In the summer months the kids could play to their hearts content out in that backyard and when water was added to the mix it became even more fun. Water and Missouri's clay soil become this gooey, slippery and slimy mixture that is a child's delight on a warm summer day. This little house had it all, a tree house atmosphere from the master bedroom with a view of the backyard from the tree tops, a crackling fire to warm your fingers and toes after sledding down the slope of the front lawn and into the street on snowy winter days. In the fall I could manage to rake up stacks and stacks and stacks of leaves that would be needed to be bagged and lugged to the street for pickup, always hoping it wouldn't rain and heavy the bags before I could finish the job. But I think my favorite time of year back here is in the spring, when I can just sit back and watch it all happen. Mother Nature is quite the designer taking those scraggly little tree limbs and turning them into a thing of beauty before my very eyes. People often talk about the fall, the changing colors of the leaves from green to a variety of reds, yellows and browns and it is no doubt a spectacular event. But for me that change when Mother Nature takes the dull and drab garments of winter and puts on her own version of Project Runway is my very favorite time. First the nubs and buds fatten before your very eyes, just the slightest bit of warmth to the air will cause the little leaves to breakthrough, followed quickly by the burst of the little buds into flowers of yellows, reds, whites and pinks. In almost an instant you find the drab whites and grays of winter gone, replaced with a new palette, rainbow rich in color.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Say Cheese!

Buzz Aldrin - July 20, 1969
Hard to believe that it has been forty years since the Man in the Moon met up with the Man on the Moon. Even today it is remembered as quite the feat. I remember in those days and months right after the event looking up at the moon in the night sky and thinking, "Man has actually set foot on that moon." Still gives me chills thinking about it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Artichoke Annie’s In Wonderland

Oh boy, I can't wait for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland to be released. Was Johnny Depp born for this role or what? Line forms behind me.

Giants Among Men

Robert Wadlow, the Alton Giant, died on July 15, 1940, at twenty-two years of age. He still tops the chart as the world's tallest man at 8' 11.1" tall. When he was born he weighed a normal 8 ½ pounds and was normal length. By the age of four his rapid growth had begun and was 5' 4" tall, by age eight he was over six feet tall. It appears he continued to grow up until the time of his death, growing 1 ½ inches the last year of his life.

Why do I tell you this, you ask?

Prior to my move to Missouri and during one of my visits I was taken on a little tour of local spots of interest. Included on the itinerary was a visit to Alton, IL, just over the river from St. Louis, to see the statue of Robert Wadlow – World's Tallest Man. So today when noticing it was the sixth-ninth anniversary of his death, it reminded me of that visit, and got me to thinking in terms of tall people.

Tall, I guess, is the norm for basketball players and so naturally the taller and tallest would gravitate to this sport more than likely. You have the Ming's; Sun Ming Ming at 7' 9" as the Tallest Basketball player and Yao Ming at 7' 6" as Tallest current NBA player. Kenny George at 7' 8" gets the title as Tallest American basketball player. Even so there are still a lot of inches separating them from Robert Wadlow's almost nine feet in height.

In poking around my fun facts sheet I found a few more stat's that you might find interesting:

Tallest American Football Player in NFL history – Richard Metcalfe 7' 0"

Tallest Baseball player in Major League Baseball – Jon Rauch 6' 11"

Tallest First Class Cricket player – Will Jefferson 6' 10"

Tallest Tennis Player on ATP Tour– Ivo Karlovic 6' 10"

Tallest Player in National Hockey League history – Zdeno Chara 6' 9"

Tallest Golfer on PGA Tour – Phil Blackmar 6' 7"

Tallest Female Volleyball Player – Nelly Alisheva – 6' 9"

And wrapping it all up with a couple of Hollywood's favorites: James Cromwell at 6' 7", Tallest Academy Award nominated actor, with Tim Robbins at 6' 5", being the Tallest Academy Award winning actor.

So there you have it, the long and short of it! Well, that's not exactly correct – there you have it, the tall of it!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Going Home Again – North Shore Oahu – 1987-1990

(Click on map to enlarge)

It started out quite exciting from the get go when I called the moving company to check on my shipment of household goods. As I mentioned in my last "GHA" post, I was a bit up in the air as to where I would finally pitch my tent in Hawaii, so I thought I would double check the shipping status now that I had found a home. Well good job that I did, as the shipper had my container of goods going to Maui not Oahu, seems I neglected to let them know my final plans. Oh, well you don't need much to live in Hawaii, just a swim suit, towel and a pot to cook the rice in.

The place I rented really was a country place, more shades of green then anyone could ever imagine, in every direction you cared to look. I think one of the things I delighted in most was the sound of mornings – with the dawn of the day's first rays of sun you could hear the unlimited variety of birds welcoming the new day in their own voice. I didn't have a white water view; just a vista of various hues of blue as it changed from sea to sky. Some days I could hear the pounding of the surf resonating up the canyon from Waimea Bay, especially in the winter months when the surf was at its highest. If you drove out to the North Shore during the summer months you would wonder what all the hoopla was about with these infamous monster waves, in the summer there were times when the bay looked literally like a child's play pool.

Living out in the country in Hawaii is so very different from the post card scenes that most people imagine when thinking of Hawaii. Seeing horses grazing in the open fields was the norm, chickens too were in abundance, though to be honest, the locals probably had them for "gaming" purposes and not for their egg-laying ability. Country living also meant living with all types of little critters, big and small. My favorite housemates were "Da Geckos", you know that cute little GEICO Gecko from TV, well several of his non-employed cousins lived with me.

My place was A-frame in construction, which meant I had this tall ceiling in the living room, and those little Geckos would climb across the ceiling with their sticky little toes. Usually we never had a problem, but on occasion, when I was engrossed in watching TV, one of those little devils would lose their grip, dropping down with a thud right next to me on the couch. It would scare the 'you know what' out of me. Little local experiences you never have to deal with when staying at swanky hotels.

Other fun experiences included power outages, when the big kawowo winds would knock down trees, which in turn would take out power lines. I remember after one storm getting out my little butane camp stove and cooking rice and chicken and eating by candlelight. It was fun.

Probably the most spectacular thing was the stars. When you live, out, away from the light pollution of urban areas, you see stars with a clarity never experienced elsewhere. I mean you see billions and billions of stars, really awesome – and that was the last view I had on most nights before drifting away to sleep, it was better than counting sheep.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Odd News Stories

Camden, New Jersey: Man dies after falling into vat of chocolate.

Stratford, Conn: Nude man shows up at dental office, five days late for his appointment.

Berlin, Germany: German police called to clear road of a dead badger found the animal in question had in fact gorged itself on over-ripe, fermented cherries and, blind drunk, staggered out into the middle of the road.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

Two hundred and thirty-three years ago today, our forefathers gathered in a room and put their names to pen and ink, announcing their separation from the Kingdom of Great Britain, as they signed, some boldly, America's Declaration of Independence. You remember how it goes, don't you?

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men 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.

Take a couple of minutes today to read this short document in its entirety – it's American's birth certificate and the very foundation upon which many of our other governmental documents were based.

For the complete text go to:

There is debate on whether or not the Declaration of Independence was actually signed on July 4 or not until August 2, but the document was ratified on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress and printed by Dunlap Broadsides and distributed that day – thus becoming American's Independence Day.

So tonight whether you watch the big firework displays high in the sky or you're more rebellious side takes over with firecrackers and cherry bombs, remember how it all came about. Give a tip of your cap to those who had the courage to just said NO to the King, shed their blood and give their lives for the freedom we enjoy today and continue to work to keep.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

It was a dark and stormy night as the freighter made its way through the choppy waters off the southern coast of Peloponnese. With any luck the Captain was sure he could make the port of Pireas in a couple of days, but the four passengers he had on board have been growing restless with each passing day. The two American ladies had been with him since his stop in Mallorca to off-load supplies; the other two, Italian ladies, boarded only recently at the stop in Naples.

Due to the extreme weather conditions the Captain had only been able to take one formal dinner with all of the ladies, and while nothing was said, he had the odd feeling that all four ladies knew one another. They seldom spoke to one another and if anything, they went out of their way to appear not the least bit interested in each other. He thought this most odd as usually he found his passengers the friendliest of people and quite prone to mingling on these treks. Hmm, he thought, perhaps it is the rough conditions that are causing them to seek solace alone.

He would reach the port of Heraklion by mid-morning and would over-night there while the exchange of goods was made and the ship was reloaded with supplies. The next stop was Santorini before heading on up to Pireas. A knock on the cabin door drew his attention away from the task at hand. It was one of the American's, Ms. Perryman, asking if it would be alright if they, all of the ladies, could take a ferry to Santorini and spend the night there, meeting up with his ship the next day. She mentioned that since the weather had calmed, they would like to get out and about, stretch their legs so to speak.

He thought this a bit odd due to their lack of interaction the last few days, but could see no problem with their plan and certainly he and the crew had plenty to do with their time in port before the next day's departure. He could not help noticing that all four ladies had a spring in their step as they walked down the ramp and over to the waiting ferry.

When the ladies arrived at Fira they quickly went to seek out their rooms in a nearby hotel. This being done the ladies went out together to browse the local shops. Reservations had been made for dinner at Koukoumavlos, where a table with a view had been reserved. At eight sharp, they were seated, once again at their favorite restaurant and on their favorite island. The wine, opened and poured, their glasses raised in a toast… "To Barbara, Happy Birthday, dear friend."

Summer Job

Times are tough back here in Missouri, but now Linda has a new summer job and she is raking in the hay!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Going Home Again - Irvine, California 1985-1987

I loved this little condo in Irvine, and I would be living there right now if I could. It was funny, I think it was the first place I ever saw, as I wanted it to be and not how it was, when the realtor took me by the first time. After living in houses or apartments most of my life, the idea of having a condo seemed so neat to me.

I had this idea in my head exactly how I wanted it and I soon as the ink was dry on the purchase contract I started the big make over. My niece called it my gray period, not as in depressing but as in hue. Gray carpet, white walls with a tinge of gray, gray grout between my 12" floor tiles and of course gray pots and pans in the kitchen.

I loved my new wide-stripped mauve and white canvas couch and mauve chair. Oh, and the art deco master bedroom in (you guessed it) grey and black. The unit was on the third floor, but nicely situated where it was just one flight up, the second floor was actually on the ground level and the first floor unit was one flight down. If memory serves me correctly The Irvine Company actually won a design award for this project.

It was nicely situated, my tennis club was located just a couple of blocks away, as was a convenient neighborhood shopping center, but we didn't think so much about walking in those days. Today I would love to have everything so close and within walking distance.

One day I was packing up Christmas decorations and watching TV when there was a knock at my door. It was a real estate agent wanting to know if I was interested in selling, as she had a client interested in this floor plan. Her client saw it within the week and a deal was made. Those were the days when properties actually had negative "days on the market".

So the next couple of months were spent packing -- I mean really packing, getting ready to ship all my stuff to Hawaii. First I was going to go to Molokai, then Maui and finally at the last minute found the perfect location on Oahu, but that's next week's story.