Friday, November 30, 2007

We're having weather

It's raining - for real. Not that misty stuff that's just a step above fog. Or the brief drizzle that lasts only a few minutes.

We're talking old-fashioned, day-long, Louisiana-style stuff. And I'm loving it.

I have the day off, and I can't wait to get outside.

The showers started early this morning, and it's looking as though they will continue through the end of the day. We're even under a flood watch.

The storm was triggered by a slow-moving low front that is sucking up moist ocean air from the south.

I think it's only the second significant rain event that we've had in San Diego since I moved here more than a year and a half ago, so I'm determined to make the most of it.
Nero, however, is having none of it. I tried to coax him out for a potty break and he froze after walking just a few feet out the front door. He wouldn't budge. I think all of the California sunshine has spoiled him.

Of course, the big downside to all of this is the traffic. People in these parts don't know how to drive in this weather - much like the problem Southerners have when it snows. And to make matters worse, all of the oil that accumulates on the roads during our lengthy dry spells turns the highways into auto slip-n-slides.

That's why accidents always spike when the weather gets stormy. The CHiP already is reporting more than 20 accidents in the area on its amazing traffic Web site.

Another problem is landslides, particularly in the areas that burned in October and have lost protective vegetation.

But that won't keep me from throwing on my rarely worn raincoat and heading out into the beautiful wetness.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


We headed to Ocean Beach for a walk to the dog park where we watched a silvery fall sunset.

That's me and Nero above. Click on any photo to view it at full size.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

This one's going to hurt for a loooooong time

A funny thing happened when I woke this morning. My nightmare didn't come to a merciful end; instead, it started all over again when I remembered that LSU's hopes of playing for another national championship in its own back yard ended in a devastating triple-overtime loss to an unranked SEC rival.

I can't stop replaying the final play of the game in my head - LSU quarterback Matt Flynn's failed pass to the back of the end zone on a mandatory two-point conversion attempt that would have kept the Tigers alive for another overtime series.

What was head coach Les Miles and his staff thinking? They were facing a must-score situation. LSU's passing had been suspect for most of the game, with Arkansas' secondary covering Tiger receivers like white on rice. All season long, LSU had effectively run the ball on short-yardage, must-get situations.

Run the option on the two-point-conversion attempt and the quarterback has several possibilities to score as the play unfolds. Commit to a pass and those possibilities are dramatically reduced and the risk level is dramatically increased.

So what does Miles and Co. do? They roll the dice and pass the ball.

After the game, Miles called the upcoming SEC title game a "much bigger" match than the one he lost yesterday, according to the Detroit Free Press. Huh???? Maybe that explains the game's inexplicable ending. Perhaps Miles just didn't realize that the ENTIRE SEASON was hanging in the balance.

So many times this season, the insane talent level of LSU was able to overcome the high-risk gambling habits of Miles. But this time the head coach's luck ran out.

And what's happened to our much vaunted defensive squad? Injuries certainly have taken their toll on several key players but that doesn't explain the increasingly passive play calling by defensive coordinator Bo Pelini or the big plays we keep giving up on key downs (Arkansas' quarterback having plenty of time to find an open receiver on a fourth-and-10 overtime play with LSU in the lead).

After guiding one of the most - if not the most - gifted college teams in the country for three years running, Miles and his assistants have little to show for it. No national championship. No appearance in a national championship game. No conference championship.

Better coaches are out there, and there's no reason why some of them shouldn't be in Baton Rouge.

Here's hoping that Michigan hasn't figured that out for themselves.

* Photo of Miles courtesy of my fellow former Times-Picayune alum Alex Brandon and the Associated Press.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

We spent the day eating like pigs at Rex's house with friends. Jess (head of the table) made most of the food, including an amazing kumquat sorbet.
Saying that Jess has gotten holiday meal preparation down to a science might actually be understating things. This is his Thanksgiving Day meal preparation schedule which maps out every step of the process in precise timing.

He actually sticks to it, and the plan works perfectly. And you thought Martha Stewart was anal.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A new career?

I attended my first red-carpet event this weekend, a quintessential southern California experience.

I was on the paparazzi front line outside El Cajon City Hall as gobs of B-list TV celebrities and teen heartthrobs arrived to take part in the annual Mother Goose Parade.

Among the first arrivals was John Schneider (Bo from "The Dukes of Hazzard") who pulled up in the General Lee. And, yes, the car still plays the first few notes of "Dixie" on its horn. (Click on the map or any pic for a larger view.)
Each of the other celebrities pulled up in one of several limos that were otherwise hidden behind City Hall waiting to pick up the stars after they arrived in their personal vehicles. The revelation shattered my naïve fantasy of celebrities' traveling around in limos everywhere they go.
Most of the celebrities shook hands and passed out autographs to the crowds of screaming fans surrounding the red-carpet area.

Schneider has held up well over the years.
But I can't say the same for Dean Cain, who stared as Superman in "Lois and Clark" then hosted the "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" series.
Erik Estrada arrived with his daughter.
Robert Wagner was with his co-star from the "Dennis the Menace" movies, Maxwell Perry Cotton, who also appears on "Brothers & Sisters."

The parade was a much-delayed repeat performance for Wagner, who apparently served as Mother Goose grand marshal with his wife Natalie Wood in the late 1950s. That was well before the boating incident, of course.
Eva La Rue (CSI: Miami) with daughter.
Efren Ramirez played Pedro in the movie "Napoleon Dynamite."
Greg Grunberg from "Heroes."
Kimberlin Brown from "The Young and the Restless."
Sara Paxton from "Aquamarine."
Corbin Bleu, star of the "High School Musical" movies, generated the most excitement.
Everywhere he went crowds of teens and pre-teens screamed their heads off and jumped up and down in ecstasy. It was pandemonium.
Drake Bell, of Nickelodeon's "Drake and Josh," was probably the least crowd-friendly of the bunch.
Kyle Massey of Disney's "Cory in the House" and "That's So Raven."
"American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee.
Emily Osment, who plays the sidekick to Hannah Montana.
Singer Monet.
Schneider hamming it up with the crowd. Woof!

Here's the lineup before the parade rolled down Main Street.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The only good Bambi is a dead Bambi

A Minnesota woman celebrated the first day of hunting season by stalking and killing a rare albino deer.

Watch video report here.

Clearly, I didn't inherit the get-a-thrill-out-of-killing-the prettiest-and-rarest-animal gene.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Beat Saban, the video

Día de los Muertos

Just across the street from Union Station in downtown L.A., people were celebrating the Day of the Dead in El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument.
The plaza was full of altars honoring departed family and friends.
The scene reminded me of the New Orleans tradition of building personal altars on St. Joseph's Day in the spring.

Many of the altars were full of personal items.
Others had political themes, like this one honoring Emiliano Zapata who was a leader in the Mexican Revolution.

Going home

I took the train back to San Diego from downtown L.A.'s Union Station.
This huge mural overlooks the station's east lobby . . .
Which is capped by this glass dome.
Here's the old lobby, which dates to 1939, on the station's west side.