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Posts tagged ‘amazing’

On the Cusp of a Cup

If you know me, even just through the site, then you know I’m a huge sports fan. I can pretty much talk any sport at any time to any one – hell, I’m probably the one guy you know who can explain Aussie rules. I’m someone who can appreciate the historic nature of certain sporting achievements, and I’m here to tell you – we’re about to see something epic.

Like most people who’ve spent their life in one place, I’m a homer when it comes to the local sports teams. Sure, there’s that torrid affair I have with the team from South Beach, but for the most part, I pull for the home team. Dodgers, Lakers, Galaxy, Rams, Raiders – all have held my affection at one point or another. At the top of the list, however, have always been the Los Angeles Kings.

Ask anyone who’s been around long enough to remember the gold and purple uniforms, and they’ll tell you how hard it’s been to be a Kings family. From their formation in 1967, most seasons saw the squad not getting so much as a sniff of the playoffs. But there was always a cadre of loyal fans.

Growing up, I was a huge Kings fan. I was a member of their fan club and had the framed certificate on my bedroom wall. We had Rogie Vachon between the pipes and Marcel Dionne leading the Triple Crown Line. There were high points, like 1982’s “Miracle on Manchester” takedown of Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers, but they were few and far between.

That all changed in 1988. A new owner, new unit and a new stud named Gretzky meant that hockey in LA would never again be the same. Wayne seemingly brought half the Cup-winning Edmonton squad with him, so success couldn’t be far off, right? Well, as Bill Murray found out in “Groundhog Day“, some corners can’t be cut. The Kings made it to the finals in ’93 but came up short, losing to the Canadiens 4-1.

While it didn’t bring a Cup to LA, the Gretzky Experiment nonetheless changed the face of hockey. New teams appeared in San Jose, Anaheim, Denver and Phoenix – the latter two Canadian teams that, much to the chagrin of those north of the border, fled to warmer climes much like a pair of snowbirds. There was a renewed interested in hockey in America, and both the Ducks and Avalanche would soon hoist the Cup.

Not so the Kings, however. Gretz was shipped to the Blues in ’99, and owner Bruce McNall to jail shortly thereafter, his financial house of cards in ruins. They might not have looked like the Kings of old, but they soon played like them, as the word “hapless” was soon used to describe their play once again. It would be another decade before hope appeared on the horizon.

The hiring of Dean Lombardi in 2006, along with solid drafts throughout the decade, allowed the team to slowly grow, slowly build into a contender. The emergence of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick and other home-grown players meant that hockey fans had reason to be optimistic. The 2011-2012 season looked like the year when it all might come together …

… And then they dropped the puck. Despite the acquisition of Mike Richards from the Flyers and a number of preseason pundits predicting success for the Kings, the team stumbled out of the blocks with a .500 start, leading to the firing of coach Terry Murray in December. Often, such turmoil would lead to a wasted season, but new coach Daryl Sutter brought a new level of discipline to the talented but underachieving team, and a trade-deadline deal for Richards’ one-time scoring partner Jeff Carter left the Kings with 4 well-balanced lines. The team had a big hole to dig out of, but finished strong and clinched the last playoff spot.

Watching this Kings team play is surreal for a long-time fan. We’re used to having our favorite players, people we love but understand are simply not as good as the other teams’ stars. This year’s squad – particularly now – are beasts. They only lost two games while blowing through the numbers 1, 2 and 3 seeds in the Western Conference, winning the first three games in each series. Favored in the Cup finals against the New Jersey Devils, they followed up a pair of overtime victories with a thorough dismantling of the Devils in Game 3. As desperate as you knew they were, New Jersey simply couldn’t stand up against Los Angeles. The Kings are bigger, faster and younger. They beat them on the power play and stoned them as penalty killers. The offense was better, the defense was better, the coaching was better – it was as dominant a performance as I’ve ever seen in a sporting final series, and a signature moment for the team.

As impressive as their performance was in the game, it was afterwards that the maturity and focus of this squad really showed. A big win on home ice in front of the largest sporting crowd in Staples Center history left them a single win away from hoisting the Cup, but there was no sense of celebration or joy – just a few glove touches as they moved on to the challenge of Game 4. Unlike their arena-mates the Lakers, I have no doubt the Kings will close out the series tonight and finally enjoy the celebration they so richly deserve – and have completely earned.

Make room in the rafters, boys – a new banner is on the way!

Sporting Nirvana

Is this a great time to be an LA sports fan or what?

Los Angeles has long taken grief from those who live east of it as some kind of wasteland when it comes to sporting events. A lot of that comes from the fact that we lost not one but two NFL franchises within a year, but the fact that whenever an East Coast team plays at Dodger Stadium there are usually more fans of the visiting team probably plays a role as well. Now I could hold up the pathetic records of those two football teams or the even more disgusting effect that the McCourt ownership had on the Dodgers as reasons why the people stayed away from the games, but the perception is what it is. But that’s all about to change …

All of sudden, LA’s sports franchises are all playing out of their minds. The Kings and Lakers are making title runs in the playoffs. The Dodgers have the best record in all of baseball. Heck, even the long-laughable Clippers are in the second round of the playoffs for the first time in … ever? The poor fans are losing their minds trying to decide which games to attend, even when they’re close to each other (and more on that in a minute). How in the Harry Carey did this happen?

Kobe and the Lakers are struggling to survive ...

You could argue that it started last year, when David Beckham finally validated that big contract by helping to lead the LA Galaxy to the MLS Cup. But it really goes back further than that. Blake Griffin … Andrew Bynum … Clayton Kershaw – these guys don’t just step off the bus in LA. Intelligent scouting – and a little luck – made sure that the LA clubs had the people on hand to lead the revolution. But you still have to execute …

No one is surprised to find the Lakers in the playoffs – hell, it’s the LAKERS. But to see the Clippers matching them victory for victory is a treat, especially for those who suffered through the last two decades of mediocrity. That mediocrity has over the years garnered the Clips a number of lottery picks, but it wasn’t until Griffin arrived that any of those picks were justified. Even he had to go through a year lost to injury before blowing up last year. But it was luck in the form of a petulant David Stern that really set the Clipper table for this year’s playoff run. When he voided the trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers, opting instead to ship him to their cross-arena rivals, you could practically feel the ground shift under Staples Center. Streaky at times as they sought to find their rhythm in a strike-shortened season (and to overcome the quirky decisions of coach Vinny Del Negro), the Clippers stayed in the middle of the pack before securing their playoff spot and a series with Memphis, whom they defeated in a tough 7-game series. The Lakers, meanwhile, had their hands full with the Denver Nuggets, a team that stretched Kobe and Co to seven games as well. Both LA teams survived, but were forced to move forward dog-tired to a second round matchup with considerably more potent opponents.

... while another LA team is on a mission.

Over at Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers are off their best start in decades, but if you try and tell me you saw this coming, I’m calling BS. Sure they have the defending Cy Young Award winner Kershaw and the should-be-defending MVP Matt Kemp, but this is the exact same team that couldn’t shoot straight last season. Sure, they had a soft schedule to start, but I don’t think anyone saw this coming. Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, mid-level starting pitchers brought in to fill out the rotation, have both pitched like they want Kershaw’s award. Kemp, meanwhile, has started this season even hotter than he ended the last, as improbable as that sounds. We’re only a month and a half into the season, and the team is as far above .500 as they were by the end of last year. No one else in the division seems to be stepping up, and the coast would seem to be clear for a Dodger playoff run.

Yes, halcyon days indeed – but there are dark clouds on the horizon. The Galaxy’s attempt to defend their title has been a bust, despite the surprising decision by Beckham to re-sign for another season. Both the Clippers and Lakers face difficult second round series, and if the Lakers’ thorough ass-kicking last night by the Thunder is any indication, the end of the road for both teams could be in sight. Over in Dodgertown, Matt Kemp is nursing a sore hammy that is threatening to put him – and most of the team’s offense – on the DL. The Blue Crew followed their amazing home start with a road thud, only winning half their away games so far this year.

If there is a bright star in the LA sports sky, it’s got to be the Kings. Unlike the other teams in town, the Kings were actually expected to compete this year for the NHL’s Stanley Cup. They had an established star in Anze Kopitar, a solid keeper in Jonathon Quick and new leadership in the offseason acquisition Mike Richards. But they stumbled out of the blocks, scoring fewer goals than any other team in the league, leading to the midseason firing of their coach. Normally, that would be the end of the line for a team, but much like my beloved Florida Marlins in 2003, the team rallied and jelled late in the season. They squeaked into the playoffs, but were clearly at the top of their game as they ambushed both the first and second seeds in the first two rounds. As I write this, the Kings are in the process of blowing out the league-owned Phoenix Coyotes in Game Two of their series. Assuming they wrap up the win, they’ll only be two games away from their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals since the Great One-led squad lost to the Canadiens in ’93 (remember Marty McSorley and Stickgate? I do … grr … ). An epic run to say the least.

One interesting side note to all the playoff excitement in the City of the Angels. LA has invested a lot of money (mostly private capital) in the region of town just south of downtown referred to as “LA Live“. That’s where you’ll find the Nokia Theater and Staples Center and, eventually, the new Farmers Field football arena. This weekend, if the schedules stay as planned, the area’s gonna get a workout like never before, as the Lakers, Clippers and Kings will all have home playoff games – sometimes on the same day. Add to that the Sunday afternoon finish to the Tour of California, the largest professional bicycle race in the country, and you’re going to have thousands of spectators competing for parking, real estate and air. Sports nirvana could quickly become sports armageddon – but that’s why we love it so much!

The Best Of Us All

As I write this, Luis Urzua has just stepped from a small metal cylinder onto the rocky ground above the San Jose Mine in the Chilean desert. Urzua, foreman and leader of the 33 miners trapped for nearly 70 days after a collapse sealed the only exit to the mine, was the last of the miners to be rescued – like the captain of a ship, he refused to leave until all of his charges had preceded him. As he exited the Fenix 2 rescue capsule that brought freedom to the trapped miners, he was bathed in the bright lights of media cameras and washed over with the loving embrace of a world of rapt witnesses.

Like the rest of the world, I was unable to turn away from the coverage. Cynics and conspiracy theorists will decry the tight control and choreography of the event by the Chilean government, who dictated everything from where the media could be to the t-shirt-and-custom-Oakley-sunglasses wardrobe each miner wore to the surface, but even the harshest critic was stunned when the government began to stream live video from within the survival chamber deep underground – just as the first rescue capsule arrived. Over the next day, miner after miner made the ride to the surface to be met with fresh air, family members, and the Chilean president. Some cried, some prayed, some exalted – all were elated. It was human theater on the grandest of scales.

We salute you, amigo ...

Commentary and coverage of this event can be found everywhere, so I’ll spare you the same talk of the heroic miners, their stoic families, and the hard-working team (including American drillers brought in from Afganistan to dig the escape tunnel) – all of which is true. To me, everything that is right and good about this wonderful outcome is personified by Manuel Gonzalez. A mine rescue expert, it was Gonzalez who first strapped himself into the untested rescue capsule for the first ride down 2,000 feet to the miners below. At a time when so much was being done to bring the miners out of the mine, it was Gonzalez – much like the heroic FDNY rescuers of the World Trade Center – who volunteered to take that ride into the unknown. Imagine for a moment what that must have been like – 15 minutes in a metal tube scant inches wider than your shoulders, surrounded by millions of tons of rocks with no control over your descent. It’s the stuff of nightmares – and hero tales.

To say the miners’ lives will never be the same is the silliest of understatements – hell, there’s already discussion about who should play them in the movie version of the rescue – but all of us who joined together in this worldwide event are changed forever. I was too young to appreciate the enormity of the first footsteps on the moon, but I have no doubt that this rescue will resonate through the ages in much the same way. It showed what can be done when everyone puts aside the petty issues of the day and brings all they have to bear on a challenge of momentous proportions. We are reminded once again that there is no issue that cannot be resolved, no problem that cannot be solved, no challenge that cannot be met if we apply the best of us all.

One last image for the ages:

Can Love Save The Shark?

There is something in the human psyche that makes us love animals. It’s why we have pets, it’s why we love zoos, it’s why we put up with the creepy clowns at the circus – we love animals and have a desire to be close to them. That love goes back as far as the record of man. We domesticate the once-wild animals we find around us, and continually to seek out additional animals. Technology has given us the ability to go places we never could otherwise, and to become close to animals in ways we never could before – and perhaps that technology can help us save some of those animals from ourselves.

Ask a group of people to name their favorite animals, and you’ll get all the old favorites … dogs, cats, rabbits, horses. Some may toss in some exotics, like ferrets or monkeys, and the marine lovers might opt for offshore species – whales, dolphins … or marlin … :-) Chances are, though, not too many would name sharks among their favorite animals … or would they?

Sharks are the ultimate alpha dogs of the oceanm sitting at the very apex of the predator pyramid. They are a very old species, slow to reach maturity and slow to reproduce – whereas a fish might spew forth thousands of eggs, a shark may only have a handful of pups each year. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem, but while they may have no natural enemies, that doesn’t mean there are no threats. They have one decidedly unnatural enemy that has pushed them to the very brink of extinction – man.

Not so long ago, sharks were a mysterious predator of the seas, seen only by the rare fisherman or unfortunate shipwreck victim. Then came a little movie called “JAWS”, and sharks were painted as an object of pure evil. Shark tooth necklaces were a sign of machismo, killing sharks became some sign of manhood, and shark fishing tournaments became all the rage – just this past weekend, a thousand-pound-plus mako was killed in a tournament off Anacapa Island. Man was killing sharks at a prodigious rate – and for what?

For all the misguided machismo, the harvesting of sharks for teeth and trophies pales compared to the real evil that man does upon sharks. Shark fin soup was once a delicacy in the Orient, but the desire of the people to share in the treat has driven a slaughter of sharks on an unimaginable level. One report indicates that as many as 73 million sharks are killed every year for their fins – most in the shameful process of “finning”, where the fins are sliced off the still-live shark before tossing it back in the sea to meet its fate. Another 50,000 sharks are believed to die as bycatch in fishing nets – every day. Most shark species are dangerously depleted and approaching endangered levels, and there’s no sign that we are willing to step up and do anything.

There may just be hope for sharks, though, and it comes from the strangest of places – cable TV. More than 20 years ago, the Discovery Channel started a week of programming about sharks as a promotional gimmick, and over the years it’s grown into one of the biggest ratings periods in all of cable programming. Shark Week, which is underway now, mixes special shark-themed episodes of current Discovery Channel shows like “Mythbusters” and “Dirty Jobs” with specials about various aspects of shark life and conservation. Along the way, common people are introduced to sharks in a way that shows them for what they are – potentially dangerous, but necessary to the oceans and certainly not evil. Much like the wild animals brought back from Africa in centuries past, sharks are gaining acceptance – and appreciation – among the populace.

As more people learn about sharks, they recognize the essential role they play as the scavengers of the seas. More importantly, they begin to understand the wanton waste of the resource that certain cultures are undertaking, and it helps develop a desire to help. The more people are introduced to sharks, the more they appreciate them … the more they love them … and the more embarrassed they become by the actions of their fellow man against them.

How can you help? For starters, contact your senator and urge them to support the Shark Conservation Act of 2009, which will tighten loopholes in current law to make it illegal to transport shark fins in US waters. If you live in an area where shark tournaments are held, challenge the organizers to improve their tournament rules to help conserve sharks, particularly those large ones that make up the broodstock. Most important, help educate those around you that sharks are an essential part of the marine ecosystem – one we cannot afford to lose.

On A Clear Day, You Can … See!

LA takes a lot of justifiable abuse for the two most-visible by-products of our super-sized population:  traffic and smog.  Politicians work hard to resolve both (generating a lot of hot air in the process … ) but the truth is that neither will be solved until we figure out how to decrease the local population – and we all know that’s not gonna happen any time soon.  Every once in a while however, nature steps in and lends a hand, if only temporarily. 

Los Angeles is a basin plain, wedged between mountains on the north and east and oceans on the west and south.  The prevailing sea breezes would like to sweep the smog to the east, but it only makes it as far as San Bernardino before it backs up, leaving us with the hazy skies we’re known for.   The further west you live (and the Home Office is about as west as you can get), the better the air quality, but it’s only gonna get so good.

This winter, though, we’ve been fortunate to be hit by a series of stronger-than-usual storms.  Well, perhaps “fortunate” isn’t the right word, or is at least in the eye of the beholder.  I suppose if I lived in one of the burn areas and was watching 4 feet of mud roll through my living room I might have a different opinion, but for the rest of us there’s a huge upside.  Once the rains end and the front passes through, the breezes that follow on the back side of the storm are usually strong enough to flush the smog out of the basin for a couple of days – and the results are breathtaking.

I was driving up from Long Beach yesterday on the 405 and as I passed the blimp port in Carson I glanced to my left and was amazed to see the Hollywood sign – clear enough to read.  Just to the right, the dome of the Griffith Observatory and off to the left, the Getty Museum.  Behind them all, the snow-capped mountains. 

Once in a while, nature reminds us what an amazing place this really is … :-)

Looking For A New Boat?

Is it me, or does it feel like the recession is starting to turn around?  The unemployment numbers are still bad – but not as bad as they were.  The stock market is better, folks are buying again (except Toyotas, of course), and the sun is starting to shine on the economy once again.  There are many ways to mark the economic turn around, but none as certain as when the ultra-rich aren’t afraid to spend big once again.

Let’s face it – there are some really big private yachts out there.  For a guy like me, who loves to fish but isn’t even in the same ZIP code as boat ownership, a battlewagon like BAD COMPANY is a mighty big boat.  For others, the luxury yachts lined up in Cabo San Lucas or Monaco are the ultimate prize.  If you’re really swimming in money – and the lawyers haven’t locked it up yet – you might roll with a megayacht like Tiger Woods’ aptly-named behemoth, PRIVACY.  But there are those out there for whom even a couple of hundred feet of luxury just isn’t enough – at least, that’s what one boatyard is betting.

The folks at Emocean Yacht Design, a Belgian marine architecture firm, have begun planning what would be the largest private yacht yet – a 200-meter monster.  For those of us on this side of the pond, that works out to 656-ft – over 150-ft longer than the current ARLEIGH BURKE-class Navy destroyers.  They haven’t found anyone ready to pony up the $500-to-$900 million needed to launch the beast, but here’s what the new owner can look forward to:

Drive-in garage, vehicle garage, two 30m day boats, helipad and hanger, 30m swimming pool, nightclub, casino and games room, 2 level cinema, 3 beach clubs with health spa, 10 vip rooms, 22 guest suites and owners deck

Did you catch that?  Two 98-ft onboard “tenders” and a full Olympic-size swimming pool.  With all that, she’s supposed to hit 28-kts and cruise at 20 – although the vast majority of us couldn’t even afford the fuel.

Of course, if this is still a little rich for your post-crash tastes, you can always charter Richard Branson’s yacht:-)

Is That … Sunshine??

Homer says five and a half ...

Homer says five and a half ...

Here at the Home Office we love to laugh at the weathermen, but once in a while they get it right.  They predicted we’d get pounded with rain this week, and boy did we!  I’ve lived in this house for 15 years, and with the exception of the particularly nasty storms we got back in ’98, this was the worst I’ve seen.

Looking at the trust rain gauge – otherwise known as a Homer Bucket, we can see that 5 1/2 inches of rain has fallen here since Monday morning.  Most of it came in four fast-moving storms that were each followed by eerie calm, although today was a more traditional soaker.  In any case, it’s more rain than we’ve gotten in many full seasons, and a welcome gift.

The truly amazing thing about these storms is the relatively minor impact they’ve had on the hillsides that surround Los Angeles, particularly the ones where last fall’s wildfires left them particularly vulnerable.  Nearly 1000 homes were preemptively evacuated, fearing the rivers of mud that all this rain would doubtless cause.  So far, though, the hillsides are holding.

This weekend is supposed to be clear, but there’s a possibility of another storm next week.  It’ll be nothing like what we saw this week, though – and I suspect it’s going to be quite a few years before we do again!

Rock Star Rescue Crew

It’s been a week since the massive earthquake destroyed Port-Au-Prince in Haiti, and there hasn’t been a lot of good news coming out of the region.  Aid trickles in, hampered more by a lack of infrastructure in country than any lack of sympathy by the world.  Bodies remain in the streets and crushed in buildings, and the smoke rising from burning corpse piles can be seen in many locations around town.  As the reality of the devastation sinks in, the task ahead for Haiti – and those who will have to step in to rebuild it – is daunting.

One bright spot amid the darkness is well-known to those of us in SoCal.  The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Heavy Rescue Task Force is one of the best in the world when it comes to dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes, having prepared to face the inevitable “Big One” here in SoCal.  When the first rescuers hit the ground in Haiti, the lack of resources and organization stymied their efforts, but not CRT2 – they came fully staffed, supplied and prepared.  Once a flatbed truck had been appropriated, they were a mobile rescue unit, moving site to site and applying their expertise to pull victim after victim out of the rubble.

Because it was clear that they were among the more effective groups in those chaotic first days, they attracted significant media attention.  Several SoCal news crews are in Port-Au-Prince, and have been documenting the efforts of their local team, but even CNN’s Anderson Cooper has followed the team around, turning them into something of a media sensation, particularly with the attention that came with their rescue of the “singing woman” earlier this week:

Ironically, as the team works to save lives in Haiti, SoCal faces one of its biggest challenges in years as a series of nasty rainstorms moves into the area.  The good news is that there are plenty of Urban Search and Rescue teams left here to get the job done.

You can follow the ongoing efforts of CA-TF2 at the LACFD’s Daily Briefings page.

And of course, if you haven’t already – and even if you have, if you can – click on the banner at the top of any SCMO page to donate to the Red Cross Haiti relief effort. They’re gonna need a lot of help for a very long time.

Shaken To Their Liberal Core

The amazing thing about democracy is that no matter which side of the political aisle you may sit on, you’re going to be subject to the whims and wishes of the electorate. Sometimes they’re going to see things your way, and sometimes, they’re not. It’s a lesson as old as the concept itself, and one that must be taught over and over. Today, members of the Democratic Party are the unwilling students.

Tomorrow morning, Democrats will awake to the uncomfortable reality that the newly elected junior senator from Massachusetts, the man replacing the revered liberal Ted Kennedy, is a Republican. They already have their spin doctors working the news shows, trying to convince themselves that this isn’t one more repudiation of the Obama administration and rather just a statistical blip caused by a weak candidate who blew an election. Meanwhile, the Republicans are doing giddy “toldya so” cartwheels and thinking it means that maybe – just maybe – the public is willing to forgive them for trying to foist them with Sarah Palin.

But what does it really mean?

Barack Obama strikes me as a sincere, well-intentioned person who is doing all he can to execute the platform he outlined during his successful campaign for president. And, to be honest, I don’t disagree with much of what he’s trying to do. But anytime you hit the ground running and never slow down, you can miss the scenery – and when that scenery changes, you can be the last to know.

We all know the President inherited a mess, and he did a decent job addressing the recession upon taking office. You can argue about the scope of his plans, but there’s no disputing the number of projects in work or the people employed by them – you can’t turn a corner in SoCal without running into some public works project with its “Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” sign. But once he turned his attention to health care, without slowing to first take the temperature of the populace, things went south in a hurry.

There’s a reason health care reform has been a concern for so long, and it’s not because Congress is lazy – it’s hard! There are a lot of details, and options, and opinions, and it’s been very difficult to achieve a consensus. Thus, every new Congress butts its head against it until bloodied then moves on to other issues. But this Congress – and the President sending the orders – had something different … a super majority, and they weren’t afraid to use it.

You know that old saying about how power – and particularly absolute power – corrupts? Well, Americans on the right – and, increasingly, the center – saw how Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi rubbed their hands together in glee at what they could do with their filibuster-proof majority and began to worry. At their core, most citizens don’t trust politicians, particularly if the checks-and-balances built into the system are overridden. Once it became clear that the Democrats were going to shove health care through no matter what the opposition thought – and with little concern for the opinions of said opposition – a red flag was raised. One-time fringe groups like the Tea Party movement suddenly gained traction, and an increasingly large number of voters wanted to put on the brakes. At the same time, the speed at which the Democrats were moving prevented them from seeing the size of the wave that was about to break over their heads until it was too late to do anything about it.

To be sure, the campaign of Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts Attorney General who was the Democratic candidate for the senate seat, is as much to blame for the loss as anything. She stumbled badly and often, and did everything she could to lose the election. But in a state with as long a history of sending Democrats to Washington, this is a stunning blow.

The message has been sent to the President and his party – slow down. Think things through. Consider all the opinions, even those of the opposition. Now we’ll see if anyone is listening.

Here Comes The Rain Again … And Again … And Again

We like to make fun of the local TV weathermen for the panic-stricken way they react to every cloud in the sky, but the truth is that most Calis (myself included) are pretty much clueless when it comes to weather. One of the reasons we live in SoCal is so we don’t have weather, and most of what we know is from experiences living elsewhere or hours spent watching the Discovery Channel. For the vast majority of the time, the forecast for LA is unchanged – sun, light breezes and mild temperatures.

Once in a while, though, the weather gods throw us a curveball. Most of the storms that roll off the Pacific pass to the north of us (are you listening, Portland?) – all we get are a few annoying clouds. But when the El Nino phenomenom fires up in the equatorial Pacific, things can get a little interesting – like they’re gonna get this week.

The following is the summary from a much longer forecast from Samuel Johnson of the USGS up in Santa Cruz. To say it catches ones interest is quite an understatement:

In short, the next 2-3 weeks (at least) are likely to be more active across California than any other 2-3 week period in recent memory.  The potential exists for a dangerous flood scenario to arise at some point during this interval, especially with the possibility of a heavy rain-on-snow event during late week 2.  In some parts of Southern California, a whole season’s worth of rain could fall over the course of 5-10 days.  This is likely to be a rather memorable event. Stay tuned…

To hear it described, we’re supposed to see a series of really fast, really nasty storms that will dump a couple of inches each on us here at the beach, and even more in the mountains surrounding LA.  That could be problematic for the folks in the foothill burn areas both in LA and Orange counties, where sandbags and K-rails aren’t going to do much against a wall of mud.

I’ve seen a couple of other forecasts that use the word “biblical” to describe what’s gonna happen this week. Naturally, I have to spend most of it in a class at a Boeing facility in Huntington Beach, which means I get to experience rush hour freeway traffic right in the middle of this slop. Should be … fun.

I’ll have the Home Office Rain Gauge deployed before the first drops fall – we’ll see together just how deep it gets.

Stay tuned …