Saturday, February 10, 2018

Pita Taufatofua, the oiled-up, shirtless Tongan athlete, marched in the Winter Olympics. Taufatofua is actually a Tongan word for "Katie Couric left you her hotel number."

Pita Taufatofua, the oiled-up, shirtless Tongan athlete, marched in the Winter Olympics. In a related story, Katie Couric is not getting her hotel cleaning deposit back due to the excessive coconut oil stains on her bed.

There was a 70-car pileup in a snowstorm in Iowa.There were more rear-endings than at a Kardashian Christmas party.

As Donald Trump was boarding Air Force One, a gust of wind exposed his bald head. Trump is calling this Fake ‘dos.   

George W. Bush believes the Russians meddled in our 2016 election.Nobody is sure, but you can get good odds in Vegas that the Russians meddled in Hope Hicks.

Happy 4th birthday to a child in Florida who was born at 14 pounds. Although his name is Avery Ford, it does not matter, his mother still is not speaking to him.

The Dow Jones was down over 1,000 points today. It is so serious, Donald Trump actually went to the trouble to ask what the Dow Jones was. 

There is a dating service for highly educated, smart singles called Elite Singles. If they’re so smart, how come they misspelled elated?  

Omarosa was on “Celebrity Big Brother” and she did not have nice things to say about Donald Trump’s presidency. There is a huge difference between Trump and Omarosa. One in an unqualified, loud, ex-reality show personality and the other one is Omarosa. 

Porn usage in New England shot up after the Patriots lost the Super Bowl. If people watch porn to comfort themselves when their football team loses, how does anyone get anything done in Cleveland? 

Since you asked: 

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Bogusest of Times  

One Friday, a few years ago, I strapped my stand-up board to the top of my car and drove up the coast from San Diego to Santa Barbara. When I got to Santa Barbara, the police in charge of keeping out the unattractive people were on break and I scuttled in.

Before checking into my quaint hotel, a cross between a motor inn lodge and a bed & breakfast, with all the best of both, I checked the waves at Leadbetter beach by Santa Barbara City College. Normally by this time, 2:00 PM, the waves are blown out. Not today, calm and long rolling three foot waves.

So I paddled out to the point. There is almost nothing as intoxicating to me as the smell of Santa Barbara fog, eucalyptus, the ocean and a hint of tar. 

On one of my rides, I caught the wave just south of the point - Leadbetter is a point break surf spot - and rode it over 100 yards south. Did this about ten more times. 

Great session. 

Checked into my hotel, showered and took a nap that resembled time travel. When I closed my eyes for what seemed like a second, opened them up and it was 30 minutes later. And I was still physically tired, but mentally refreshed. 

Took another shower to get my money’s worth on hot water and towels, and headed out to get a drink at Joe’s Cafe. A drink that is stronger than Steve Bannon’s morning breath. It was a vodka tonic and I had to file a missing tonic report. 

After meeting some new best friends at Joe’s - you always do - I walked back to the hotel. After a call to check on my lively wife, Virginia, daughter, Ann Caroline and my-then puppy, Wally, I walked two blocks West in a golden sunset to the Brewhouse for the best ribeye steak in a red wine and mushroom reduction sauce with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh green beans in all of Santa Barbara. 

While I was finishing up my steak thinking how lucky I was on this day, three guys in a band were setting up on the small stage to play. When I asked them what kind of music they played, they said music to my ears. Rock and blues with some Neil Young thrown in. When I asked if I could sit-in and play on harmonica, they were delighted. Paid my dinner bill, walked back to my hotel, got my harmonica box with my 12 harmonicas in different keys, came back and played about ten songs with them.

Standing ovation, no lie. 

When I got back to my room, I poured a night-cap of Mount Gay Rum and Tonic, squeeze of lime - had to file my second missing tonic report of the day - turned on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and promptly heard three of my jokes in the monologue. (Wish I could remember what they were, but I do not) 

Just when I thought it could not get better, there was a knock on the door and Olivia Munn is asking if I can apply skin lotion to her back. OK, that is obvious BS. No, this was all good enough.

Like I said: the best of times.

The next morning, I was feeling the Joe’s drink and the red wine and the night cap, but I got an early start on surfing because I was meeting some old UCSB track friends for breakfast. 

While paddling out, I noticed I had forgotten to take off my favorite sunglasses of my life, prescription Ray Bans. So I put them in my board shorts pocket. 

When I got to the point, I fell and got tangled in thick rope- like kelp. When you fall in kelp and cannot move because your legs are wrapped up, all you can do is suddenly remember great white sharks like to cruise through kelp for the stealthy cover it provides.

This great white hunting trick revelation does not add a sense of calm when bound by kelp.

During the panic to get free from the kelp, I got hit by a wave and I swallowed a fair amount of sea water. Cold, tired and frustrated, I caught almost no waves. Checked my pocket and my sunglasses were gone. 

Rough session. But the bogusest of times were just getting starting. 

Shower, head to breakfast place on the water for a lovely brunch with great UCSB track people. But halfway through my eggs benedict, my stomach starts doing Michael Phelps kick turns. This is from the swallowed sea water. And maybe the wine and mushrooms. Either way, they wanted out. 


A smart man would have braved the crowded restaurant bathroom. But no, like with the towels and the hot water, I wanted to get my money’s worth of privacy from my hotel bathroom. 

You know how priorities - like filling your car’s tank - can quickly change from a C to an A?  Getting to my bathroom was now an A+ priority with potentially emotionally scarring laundry implications. 

Sweat was pouring down my face. Like when you are exhausted when running, I had to tell myself to get from one landmark to another. Just make it to that fence. Now that drinking fountain. That sign. That palm tree. 

Then I spotted the public bathroom 20 yards ahead. Hotel privacy be damned. If this thing had a hole that could flush, I was in. You know how your body can sense relief and begins to relax? That was what happened to me when I pushed on the bathroom door. 

It was locked. 

No. Not going to  happen. Cannot relax. This was my “Unbroken” moment without holding the big log. (Second thought, log might not be the best choice of words given my problem) 

Besides, I have virtually nothing but fond memories of my beloved Santa Barbara. Violently besmirching  my drawers in public would destroy that in  one nano-second. 

In a shuffle - because I did not want to introduce gravity and bouncing to the situation - I was slinking to my hotel bent-at-the-waist and scuffling my feet like Groucho Marx. By this time, I am in such discomfort, I have decided Lamaze breathing techniques were needed to get my mind off of things. 

In addition to counting-off my “who, who, who, hah, hah, hah,” breathing, I decided moaning out loud would help. This image of 225 pound sweaty 55-year-old man scuffling like Groucho and making animalistic grunting and moaning noises scared a Rockwellian family of four on their way to the beach half-to-death.  

"Mommy, why is that scary man sweating and moaning like that?" 

Did not care. Must. Make. It. To. Room. Who, who, who, hah, hah, hah. At this time, I made a mental note to learn butt-Kegel exercises to prevent a possible tragedy like this in the future. 

This part has a happy ending. Made it in the nickest of nick of times. 

However . . . 

Not to go into lurid details, but the weakest link in the chain of my hotel room was the inability of the toilet to flush much more that a Kleenex. That is what happened. Or, more accurately, what did not happen.

For the second fortunate thing all day, I heard the maid right outside my room. She was a lovely heavy-set Latino woman in her 40’s who did not speak one word of English.

Here is a great traveling tip: when trying to speak to someone, especially a middle-aged woman, who does not speak English, about your desperate need to borrow a plunger? Do not, repeat, do not make an up-and-down plunging motion with your fist. 

She looked me in sheer terror and yelled: 


(As I am sure you know, que is "what" in Spanish) 

We settled the whole misunderstanding without lawyers. I borrowed the plunger and fixed the problem. 

And happy hour at Joe’s started a little earlier that day.