Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Beauty from the Sea

Over last weekend, I joined my old friends (but young at heart) Jim and Gerry in Monterey for our yearly reunion. The main goal of our trip was a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The last time I went I was with parents on a field trip when Molly was 13 (she's about to turn 30), and it was just as long for Jim. Gerry had never been there. I took lots of photos, most of them unusable, and one video. Here it is: My first experiment at uploading to YouTube. (And my offering joins about a dozen other videos there of jellyfish at various aquariums, a popular subject.)

The weather was beautiful, clear skies and temperatures up into the 70s. We fattened up on fish and steaks at various eateries and went to see a couple of movies: "Black Snake Moan" and "Wild Hogs" (the former because we wanted to oogle a half-naked Christina Ricci, and the latter because Gerry has owned several Harleys). I was the only one who liked BSN and mostly because of the good blues soundtrack. Even Samuel Jackson picked a guitar and sang, not half bad. Christina, whom I remember as a chubby youngster in films, is anorexic thin with dark eyes befitting her character who has found no drug she wouldn't ingest and no male she wouldn't ball. The less said about Hogs the better. John Travolta continues his downward slide in films. The premise -- four aging yuppies who take a road trip on their motorcycles -- has promise, but the plotting and writing was schlock. Hard to believe it was the top box office grosser last weekend. William Macy, however, was great as the wimp who discovers his inner biker.

Hanging out with a couple of old codgers like myself gave me another opportunity to marvel over the ravages of age. Bulging midriffs, half-assed attempts to diet, an unholy curiosity about the opposite sex (now that 99% of the women are younger than we are), rigid and dogmatic political views, disturbed sleeping patterns, and big cars. What were we thinking when we came out into the world!

The weather continues mild and warm here in Santa Cruz. I learned today that Daylight Savings Time (spring forward!) is coming this Sunday. It seems earlier every year, just like the Academy Awards. Part of my brain, though, is still on Thai time (18 hours ahead of California).

This weekend is the anniversary of the start of the fiasco in Iraq (how many years ago?). Many of my friends are trying to put together a prayer service or a vigil to commemorate the event. But of course we've been at war with Iraq since the first Gulf battle under Bush Senior. It just got hotter under Bush Junior. We've been slaughtering the Iraqis, just like the Vietnamese before them, for an ungodly number of years. What date do we pick?

I have little enthusiasm for empty gestures. I think the next elections will solve little, although we may exchange an idiot for someone with a little smarts, and a better ideology. But no candidate has expressed my feelings that America made a major wrong turn with the Bay of Pigs and the Tonkin Gulf lie, and is on a doomed course. Don't even talk to me about economics. We're in hock to the world, and the only reason they don't call in our debts is because we're the buyer of last resort, the only country who will buy all the crap from China and elsewhere.

So I continue to explore options for moving elsewhere. And from time to time I find a little beauty in the natural world, like the jellyfish tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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