Thursday, August 25, 2011


On Sunday, the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. will be dedicated.

The 30-foot sculpture of the great civil rights leader will be dedicated on the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. 

The memorial cost $115 million, all paid for by private donations.

More than 250,000 are expected to attend Sunday's dedication service, which will include a speech by President Obama and a rendition of "Amazing Grace" by Aretha Franklin.

Wednesday's earthquake caused a couple pre-dedication events to be moved, and Hurricane Irene threatens to move the dedication indoors. 

(Update 08-26-2011: The threat of Hurricane Irene has caused the MLK memorial dedication ceremony to be postponed indefinitely.)

(Update 08-26-2011: The threat of Hurricane Irene has also caused the postponement of Saturday's Jimmy Buffett concert in Bristow, VA.)

Dr. King was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. If you ever get the chance, stop by and tour the National CIvil Rights Museum, housed in the former Lorraine Motel.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


"Flotsam" is floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo.

As it refers to "Banana Winds", it is a collection of blog sites that bring a smile to my face.

And frankly, after this weekend, the Captain needs something to smile about.

cute baby animals - Typical Siblings...

Even if it is a photo of a cockatoo sitting on a peek-a-poo!

Thank you, Daily Squee!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Where Are We Headed?

Sometimes I feel like I just want to point the “Banana Winds” south, hoist the sails, and head out into the great unknown – no purpose, no plan, no schedule. Just go.

Unfortunately, there’s a nagging little voice in my head that keeps yelling from the wheel house, “Where are we going?” “What are we going to do there?” “When are we going to be back?”

A little tequila usually quiets the voices for a short time, but eventually they come back…

…and they usually bring along a headache with them when they return.

But recent events have made me want to just sail off into the sunset with no plan to return.

Take, for example, the recent battle over the national budget. The political discourse in America has become polarized to the point that our elected leaders almost allowed the country to default on its debt payments. In an attempt to shore up their political base and secure their future re-elections / paychecks, our Congress took us to the brink, the result of which was a plan no one likes, the downgrading of our credit rating, and the promise of more such battles to come.

And they have made it worse for those they were supposedly trying to help. Us.

What ever happened to the art of compromise? For better or worse, politicians used to be able to cut back-room deals with one another – “I’ll vote for your project if you vote for mine.”

But now it seems that intractable lines have been drawn and both sides are taking an “all or nothing” attitude. Special interest groups are demanding that candidates sign “pledges” in exchange for the promise of blocks of votes.

“Screw what’s best for the country,” our leaders seem to be saying. “I have to get re-elected!”

The nation is justifiably angry with our elected leaders, and many of the candidates for President in 2012 are riding that wave of anger. Angry people vote, and they usually vote against the status quo.

But despite their momentary popularity, what these candidates are not offering is a plan to bring our country together and fix what is wrong with us.

And I believe that is exactly what is wrong with us. We have lost our sense of unity, our common cause, our drive to make life better for all Americans.

When our soldiers went off to war in WWI and WWII, the American people were asked to make certain sacrifices… “to support our boys overseas!”

Hundreds of thousands gave their lives in battle, women joined the military-industrial workforce, and the folks back home recycled tin cans and rationed food, galvanized by a common cause: “to make the world safe for democracy”.

And we did.

Dylan Ratigan, host of yet another talk show on MSNBC, recently wrote a piece in Huffington Post, in which he recalled the early 1960’s, when John F. Kennedy was president. The U.S. and Soviet Union were in a race toward global dominance annihilation. President Kennedy turned the focus from war to peace, making the competition about who would get to the moon first.

He brought in the smartest people and harnessed the resources of our nation. Getting to the moon became a shared goal of the American people. The President proclaimed, “It will not be one man going to the moon… It will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.”

And we did.

By comparison, when our soldiers went off to war in Afghanistan and Iraq ten years ago, our President told us to “go shopping”. Trillions of dollars have been added to the national debt as a result of these wars, but our leaders are still afraid to call upon us to “make sacrifices”.

So our unifying principle now appears to be simple self-interest, “looking out for Number One!”

And this concerns me, because what happens in the world also spills over into the Church. As Dan Dick wrote about in a recent blog (read here) we’re seeing the same polarity and self-interest being acted out in the pews.

“I will not stay in a church that allows homosexuals. Unless the church teaches that homosexuality is an abomination it is not a church.” “When I found out the church supported collective bargaining, I knew I had to leave. Let those people work for a living like the rest of us. The church has no right to tell me my politics.” “I will not attend a church that gives aid to illegals (immigrants). Those people are criminals and the church is criminal for supporting them. I will only contribute money to a church committed to sending them back where they belong.”

Dan responds, “We have taken the body of Christ and turned it into a shopping center for narcissists. It is all about ME. If I get things my way, I stay. If the church won’t revolve around ME, I am out of here.”

It doesn’t seem to matter that we are in agreement on 99% of the issues, he concludes. “Evidently, the greater good we are doing makes little difference when there are one or two things of which we might disapprove.”

Back to politics: President Obama was elected with the campaign slogan “Hope”.

Apparently that was just a slogan.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not one of the angry voters.

Oh, sure, “I blog and I vote”.

But when election time comes around again, I am reserving my vote for candidates who can show me a plan for re-uniting a fractured nation.

Because those voices in my head are still crying out, “Where are we going?” “What are we going to do when we get there?” “When will we get back?”

Funny, I used to think they were just talking to me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Want My MTV!

Here at Banana Winds, we're all about "change". It's a constant theme in my life - change locations, change jobs, change the color of the walls, change the light bulbs!

But every now and then my heart yearns for days gone by.

I won't say "the Good Ol' Days" like the old folks do, because those days really weren't all that great! As a protective mechanism, our brains tend to make the past look better than it really was.

I was just reminded that 30 years ago Monday (August 1, 1981), MTV was born!

I don't remember a lot about my past, but I remember MTV.

Cable television was fairly new and I had just graduated from high school, waiting for college to begin. That meant a lot of late nights... just because I could!

Oh, I know the cable network is still on the air, but MTV is just not the same anymore. You know what I mean...

MTV originally stood for Music Television. It was almost non-stop music videos, 24 hours a day. Everyone knew they had to get thier music videos played on MTV. Recording artists were catapulted to stardom virtually overnight.

That is, if the video was any good.

For example, here's a bad attempt by Jimmy Buffett's people to make a hit video for MTV.

But the good videos stuck and stars were born!

MTV also created a new category of celebrities in their VJs - the video version of the DJs of radio. Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson, and - my favorite - Martha Quinn, were there to guide us through late nights of [ahem] studying!

Turns out, Martha's only four years older than me! Hmmmm!

Times change, and so does Cable TV. One would be tested to find music videos on MTV now, in the midst of all the other "reality shows" they broadcast. They are speaking to a new generation of television viewers.

Hey Church, are you listening?!?

Anyway, as a tribute to MTV's 30th birthday, here's the very first video broadcast, the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star".