Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holy Week

The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord - the King of Israel!"

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: "Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!"

His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.
-The Gospel of John, 12:12-16

Friday, March 26, 2010

Poor Judgment

Last week, news broke that Jesse James has been cheating on his wife, Sandra Bullock.

Oh, my.

I’m guessing this story will not keep the interest of the American public like the Tiger Woods affairs, but to date, four women have come forward claiming James had sexual relations with them while married to Bullock.

Sandra Bullock, of course, is the beautiful actress known mostly for making really bad films...

“Miss Congeniality”… “Miss Congeniality 2”… “All About Steve”…

...and perhaps for making really bad fashion choices.

Bullock finally won an Oscar last month after waging a full-out campaign for her role in “The Blind Side”.

What might not be known about her is that she has, on at least three occasions, made million-dollar donations to the American Red Cross for disaster relief, including the recent earthquake in Haiti.

Five years younger than Bullock, Jesse James started out as a bodyguard with the heavy-metal band Danzig, then opened a motorcycle shop in his mother’s garage, the now uber-famous West Coast Choppers. He hosted “Monster Garage” on Discovery Channel, among other ventures.

An interesting tidbit about James (courtesy of Wikipedia): in 2007, the California Air Resources Board fined James more than $271,000 because the bikes he custom-built were emitting 10 times the legal limits of hydrocarbons.

Naturally, Hollywood tongues are wagging. And while James denies most of the rumors, he does admit to “poor judgment”.

Hmmm. Wonder what he means by that?

Was he saying he was using poor judgment in having an affair? Or affairs, as it may have been?

This is pornstar Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, the first to come forward.

 Yes, the tattoo on her forehead says, “Pray for Sinners”.

So she’s a Christian.

Or was he saying it was poor judgment to marry Sandra Bullock?

After all, this is his first wife, pornstar Janine Lindemulder.

One might ask, what do these women have that Bullock does not? ...besides the word "pornstar" preceding their names?

Yep. Tattoos.

[Thanks to the shower scene in her recent movie, “The Proposal”, we know that Bullock does not have tattoos… anywhere. Not that I was looking…]

All this is to say that infidelity, like love, has nothing to do with looks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fashion and Public Education

I am the product of public education. I support it without reservation. If I had children, they would attend a public school – yes, even Memphis City Schools.

I can read. I can write. I can work math problems as a part of my daily activities. I feel privileged to have the education I have.

In addition to the core curriculum, in the public schools we learn the mythology of our nation (true or not), and are indoctrinated with a sense of national pride (deserving or not). And we are expected to learn how to function in a civilized society.

And conformity is valued high above free expression.

So it is not surprising that school districts are in an uproar right now over recent events that rock the foundation of that conformity.

For example, recently…
  • A female student in Itawamba County, MS, wanted to take her girlfriend to the prom; she also wanted to wear a tuxedo. In response, the school canceled the prom.
  • In Lebanon, IN, a student threatened to sue her school for the right to wear a tuxedo to the prom. The school changed its dress-code to “gender-neutral”.
  • A straight-A student in Copiah County, MS, chose to wear a tuxedo instead of the “drape” for her yearbook photo; the school intentionally left the photo out of the yearbook.
  • A similar incident occurred in Waldorf, MD; in that case, the school reversed its decision when the girl’s mother complained.
  • In Dunnelon, FL, a male student was sent home for wearing make-up, high-heeled boots and a bra to school.
This reminds me of one student I went to school with... Because his name was 'Lynn", he was constantly being assigned to "Girl's P.E." and other female-oriented classes.

Even when I was in school, there was a dress code.

Simply another word for conformity.

But in more recent times, as fashions have changed and the children and grandchildren of Baby Boomers are walking the hallowed halls, some schools are drafting almost Victorian dress-code policies to stamp out free expression through dress. They insist such free expression is “distracting to the educational process”.

Other schools have resorted to uniforms, which creates another distraction altogether.

I’m pretty sure I would have been obstinately opposed to school uniforms back in my day, even though that might have saved me from ridicule for some of the fashion choices I made back then. And I’m not so sure I favor them today. In fact, even today I rarely wear the “uniform” of the clergy – you’ll only find me in suit and tie on Sunday mornings (except in summer), and at weddings and funerals.

And if you see me in a necktie, look closely at it. It won’t be the typical “power tie”.

I’m fairly pragmatic when it comes to what people should wear:

  • If it’s cold outside, dress warm. If it is hot, dress light. It's foolish to do otherwise.
  • I don’t need to see your body, but if you insist on showing it, I’ll probably look.
  • If a young man wants to wear pants that are so large he must constantly keep one hand on his belt, that’s his own bad decision. Likewise, if a young lady wants to wear a dress so short she is constantly struggling to pull it down to cover her cheeks, that’s her own bad decision.

And thus we learn about consequences... like being put off an airplane because you're hoo-hoo is showing!

With regard to the prom issues, I know what the Bible says: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)

But public schools in America are not bound by the ancient Jewish law.

Furthermore, one can argue, what constitutes “men’s clothing”? What constitutes “women’s clothing”? Just because it was purchased in the Ladies Section at Dillard’s does not make it so.

Fashion is culturally defined. In Jesus’ day, men wore long robes… almost dress-like. I only see that fashionable today in places like Saudi Arabia.

Would a Scotman’s kilt be considered “women’s clothing”? Try explaining that to this guy!

In America, as “Rosie the Riveter” and other women took on men’s roles during WWII, they climbed into the dungarees and coveralls normative to the assembly line work they were doing and they like it. Thanks to fashion-forward influences like “Annie Hall” (1977), it is now normal to see women wearing pants in most work settings.

So the line has been sufficiently blurred. Now it is simply a matter of personal taste… and that, as you know, varies widely from person to person.

Seriously, what is the worst that could happen if a 17-year-old girl wears a tuxedo to the prom? Public ridicule? Social disorder? The end of the world as we know it?

How about if she left off the pants?

Is that better?

Monday, March 22, 2010


For those of you who are reluctant to click on a link posted on another blog site (I know, viruses are everywhere!), here's a sample from "Daily Squee", which I just added to my "Blogs I Love to Read" list. 

Okay, truth is, I'm still a little dizzy from the drugs given to combat my sinus infection, and with Easter just around the corner, the offices at "Banana Winds" are kind of busy right now.

Just look at the picture and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's a Blog's Life

Oh, I’ve heard the comments. Yes I have. You thought you were whispering, but I heard what you said.

“All ‘Banana Winds’ is about is drinking alcohol and pictures of scantily clad females.”

“And you’re a preacher. Shame on you.”

And you know what? You’re right. It’s a cryin’ shame. But what's a guy to do?

I read a lot of other blogs throughout the week. Some are deep thoughts.

I’m not so deep. Never have been.

Some are very creative and humorous.

I’m not so creative and humorous. Besides, "LOLCats" has already been done.

Some are cuddly stories about a day in the life.

Hmmm. Now there’s a thought. I could write about my day. Let’s see… where to begin…

I woke up at 6 a.m.

Actually it was 5:30 a.m. And 4 a.m. And 2:35 a.m. And 1:15 a.m.

Y'know, when Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett sang, "It's 5 O'clock somewhere", I thought they meant 5 p.m. 

You see, I finally went to the doctor yesterday about my sinus infection. After a week of coughing and blowing, it didn’t go away.

That old saw about “Ignore it and it will go away” is just not true!

And the doctor -- actually a physician’s assistant – prescribed two phenomenally-high-priced drugs for me. I think she ran a credit-check on me before giving me the scrip.

So now, the coughing and sinus drainage don’t keep me awake… the drugs do!

I know, I should have listened to the pharmacist. He told me I should not take them after, say, 4:30 in the afternoon. It was 5:30, yet I took them anyway… but that would have been 4:30 before the switch to Daylight Savings Time. Sigh.

So I arrived at the office earlier than usual. Might as well go to work, since I was awake.

It was a productive morning – probably because I was coked up on antihistamines. I wrote two sermons, one for Wednesday’s noon-time Lenten series, one for Sunday.

And I added "Daily Squee" to my list of "Blogs I Love to Read". (Karen says the blog should come with a dose of insulin.)

Then I went to lunch.

Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Because it doesn’t get much better than this.

While eating lunch at Backyard Burger (of course) – by the way, the BYB on Hickory Hill is a pig sty. I suspect it will close like all the other businesses in the area within the next year – I read some of my latest book, Hunter Thompson’s “The Rum Diary”. It’s about… oh, wait. We’re headed into the category of “Liquor and Entertainment” again. Sorry.

After lunch I visited a church member in the hospital. He’s been in ICU for over a month.

No, that’s not funny. Or heart-warming either. Sorry.

I returned to the office and scanned USAToday online. Something’s wonky with their new format and most of the time it fritzes out before I can read the whole story.

One headline grabbed my attention. Yesterday a private plane lost it’s propeller and landed on this guy who was jogging on the beach at Hilton Head! The jogger had his IPod headphones in, so he didn’t hear the crippled plane sneaking up behind him, and the pilot couldn’t see where he was landing.

I know, it’s tragic, but… what are the odds?!?

Then I finished up some over-due paperwork and rushed home to take my drugs before 4:30 so I might be able to sleep tonight. I remembered that the antibiotic is supposed to be taken with food, so I sliced an avocado and proceeded to eat. Then I looked at the bottle for the antihistamine / decongestant and read, “Take on an empty stomach.” So I emptied my stomach, took the antihistamine / decongestant, then ate more avocado and swallowed the antibiotic.

Are you enjoying my day yet?

By the way, I think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the best cheerleaders.

Tonight I attended a two-hour meeting of the church’s Board of Trustees. After talking about it endlessly for the four years I have been here (and they discussed it to death much longer than that), the roof still leaks!

By Banana Winds official decree: Any architect who designs a flat roof in this climate should be subjected to Chinese Water Torture, preferably in the building he designed! And furthermore, any church who accepts an architectural plan with a flat roof, well, friend, you get what you deserve.

Nonetheless, we discussed it one more time, came to no resolution that isn’t going to cost a brazillion dollars, and went home.

And I took out the trash. Tomorrow is collection day.

I wonder if any of the other neighbors find it odd that while there are only two of us living here, and we eat out a lot, we still fill the big garbage can and TWO recycle containers.

So now it’s going on 10 p.m. and I can hardly wait to hit the bed again. Who knows – maybe I’ll fall to sleep tonight. I mean, I’ve got to eventually, right? Right? Please?

Well that was my day. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

And now you know why I do what I do.

Hey, this has been fun! I should do this more often!



Monday, March 15, 2010

We Learned To Be Cool From You

The L.A. Times reported this morning that actor Peter Graves died yesterday at his Pacific Palisades home from a heart attack, just a few days shy of his 84th birthday.

Graves potrayed Agent James Phelps (top, right) in the original "Mission: Impossible" television show, which aired from 1967-1973. He was the only original cast member to return when the show was revived from 1988-1990.

Sometimes described as "stiff" or "gruff", Phelps was the epitome of cool.

Or maybe it was just the dark suit and pencil-thin necktie.

Graves was disappointed with Tom Cruise's 1996 movie-version of "Mission: Impossible", in which Agent Phelps was portrayed as a traitor and is killed in the end; Graves refused to participate in the movie and Jon Voight was brought in to play Phelps.

Another original "Mission: Impossible" co-star, Greg Morris, reportedly walked out of the Cruise film less than an hour after it started.

Born Peter Aurness in Minneapolis in 1926, Graves changed his name and followed his older brother, James Arness (Gunsmoke's Marshall Dillon), to Hollywood.

Interesting side note: James Arness wanted to be a Navy fighter pilot, but because he was 6'7" and had poor eyesight, he was rejected. He ended up in the Army during WWII, where he was seriously wounded in the leg at Anzio, Italy. Arness' job at the Anzio beachhead was to be the "depth-finder" -- when the troop-carrier stopped, Arness was the first one off the boat... to determine how deep the water was!

But I digress...

Graves married Joan Endress in 1950, and remained married to her his whole life -- I think 60 years is a record for Hollywood! They had three children and six grandchildren.

Graves had a unique acting career -- many of his earlier movies ended up on "Mystery Science Theatre 3000". But in his later years, he is probably best known for doing voice-overs and narrations, such as for A&E's "Biography" series. And, of course, there was his appearance in the comedy movie "Airplane!"

As Captain Clarence Oveur, he delivered the now infamous line:

"Joey, have you ever seen a grown man naked?"

Graves reportedly did not want to do the comedy, afraid it would destroy his acting career, which included such serious works as "Stalag 17". But with the success of "Airplane!", his career took a different turn, such that his later credits include "Airplane II: The Sequel", "Adams Family Values", "House on Haunted Hill" and "Looney Tunes: Back in Action". 

In memory of 
Peter Graves

1926 - 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

Despite the prediction of the Ground Hog on February 2nd, Spring has arrived in Memphis!

There are three ways I know this:

1) The daytime temperatures are now regularly rising into the upper 60s and 70s.

2) The flowers are in bloom.

3) I have my first sinus infection of the year!


Saturday, March 6, 2010


We went to see Eric Clapton in concert last night at the FedEx Forum, and all I can say is, "WOW!"

I first became aware of Clapton in the 70's rock opera, "Tommy".

In know, I know. I'm a little retarded when it comes to music.

In my defense, up until that time, I was still playing my dad's 45's (Buddy Holly, Al Freed) on a scratchy Sears and Roebuck suitcase phonograph. 

If you remember the movie, Clapton was the lead Preacher of the Cult of Marilyn Monroe.

I figured if I ever joined a cult, that would be it, simply because the Preacher was so cool!

When he released his Unplugged album in 1992, I fell in love with him all over again.

At 64 years of age, Clapton is probably the coolest -- if not the greatest -- guitarist alive. He can make a guitar sing like no one else. I so appreciate the large projection screens and the close-ups of his fingers on the guitar -- moving way too fast and smooth to really be able to see what he was doing.

And his voice is still as smooth as glass. He's been playing in rock bands longer than I have been alive, but he's still got it!

I wish I could say the same for his warm-up act, Roger Daltry. You may remember from my post after the Super Bowl how disappointed I was with Daltry and Pete Townshend's half-time performance. I was hoping Daltry would do a little better with less pressure.

Apparently not.

Just a year-and-a-month older than Clapton, Daltry has been performing since 1959. Unfortunately, he abused his voice with forceful, high-stress solos and falsettos, and now that age has caught up to him, his voice has left him and he pushes to make a sort of gurgling sound. It really is painful to listen to! Unlike Clapton, who has changed his musical style to suit is age and ability, Daltry is still trying to do the music of his youth... and fails.

Oh, and he still likes to show off his abs... although at 65, I don't want to see them!

Which makes me a little nervous about the Jimmy Buffett concert coming up on May 1st. He was born on Christmas Day 1946, which makes him 63.

Will we get a Clapton or a Daltry?

Or, after enough Margaritas, will we even care?

(And for those of you who take offense at this blog -- no, I don't think I'm being too harsh on Daltry... no, I couldn't do it before, so I doubt I will be able to do that when I'm 65... yes, I know we all either grow older or die -- here's my own before and after. Say what you will...)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010