Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Once again, sharing a little Christmas Cheer!

Merry Christmas to you and yours, from all of us on the "Banana Winds!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Hottest Woman Ever???

The news media were all in a tizzy last week with the announcement that “Men’s Health” magazine has declared Jennifer Anniston to be “The Sexiest Woman Ever!”


As usual, it was much ado about nothing.

First of all, "Men’s Health" named Anniston “The Hottest Woman Ever”. That’s not the same as “sexiest”.

Furthermore, Men’s Health magazine made this declaration based on a survey of its subscription base – a total of 30,000 25-35 year old (mostly) Singaporean males. In fact, the mag is called the “lifestyle guide” for Singaporean males!

So who do 25-35 year old Singaporean males like most?
#1 – Jennifer Anniston
#2 – Rachel Welch
#3 – Marilyn Monroe
#4 – Britney Spears
#5 – Madonna

For the full list, go here.

I can’t say that I agree with the survey. I mean, Madonna? Hot? Not!

Bettie Page #7? Seriously?

For those who don’t know who Bettie Page is, she was a famous 1950’s pin-up and fetish model.

I was disappointed to see that the gorgeous Halle Berry only ranked #35, and I chuckled when I saw burlesque star Lili St. Cyr listed at #83.

Remember the line from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”?

“…God bless Lili St. Cyr…”

And how did the beautiful Mila Kunis end up at #96?

I was also disappointed by who was left off the list – beauties like Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburn, and Ingrid Bergman.

Here’s the problem with surveys like this. When it comes to actresses, how one sees them is always affected by the role they play. Truth is, I have fallen in love hundreds of times with actresses in films and on television – everyone from Farrah Fawcett to Zooey Deschanel. Who didn’t momentarily lust after Catherine Bach in her “Daisy Dukes”, or Catherine Zeta-Jones in “Chicago”?

Now THAT is HOT!

Sometimes “hotness” is related to a particular situation – like the waitress who brings me beer and wings at Hooters.

Or the girl on the other side of the beer mug!

Sometimes "hotness" is determined by clothing... or a group thing... or both.

And sometimes “hotness” is fleeting. Does anyone else think the girl on “How I Met Your Mother” is hot?

No, not Robyn. Lily.

No, I haven’t seen “American Pie”. Why do you ask?

And i'm guessing - despite the magazine's argument that "funny is sexy" - Jennifer Anniston topped the list because of her latest role in "Horrible Bosses", in which she gives us this lasting image:

So why do magazines like “Men’s Health” publish headlines like “Hottest Woman Ever”?

For the same reasons the news media cover it, and the same reasons I’m blogging about it now. It sells magazines, and it gives us a legitimate opportunity to run photos of hot, sexy women!

Hey, I’m just commenting on current events!

So, who is my pick as the #1 “Hottest Woman Ever”?

Without hesitation, my pick is Lauren Bacall, who at 19-years-old co-starred with Humphrey Bogart in “To Have and Have Not”, and later in “Key Largo”. She never disrobed for a movie, but her sultry looks and deep, husky voice make her my pick for “The Hottest Woman Ever.”


Monday, December 12, 2011

I Finally Did It!

Yep, I bought a Jeep!

Back in march of 2009, I wrote here that I was planning to buy a Jeep when my 2000 Ford Ranger turned 10. No real reason; it just seemed right.

At the time, I was living in Memphis just a couple blocks from a Jeep dealership, and I drove past it a couple times every day, coveting the iconic vehicles parked there.

But suddenly, the car lot was gone. Like so many businesses in that once-thriving neighborhood, the dealership closed up shop on Mt. Moriah and moved farther east.

And I realized that even though 10 years old, my little Ranger was stil running fine, didn't require a lot of maintenance, and was just the right size for me.

Then came my birthday, February 2011. I decided to drive out to Hooters for lunch, about 20 minutes away. What else says Happy Birthday like a beautiful waitress in short shorts and a tight top!

Yes, I knew a winter storm was headed our way, but it wasn't expected to arrive until that afternoon.

Darned weathermen!

As I was finishing lunch, I noticed snowflakes starting to fall. I skipped the second margarita, paid my waitress, and headed for home.

The snow seemed to be dry as it lightly swirled across the highway in front of me. "Piece of cake," I thought, remiding myself it was my birthday.

But suddenly, traffic came to a skidding halt. The road had suddenly iced over. Farther ahead, a transition ramp with a steep incline was too slippery for cars to reach the top.

I bailed out onto surface streets. All the way home, my little Ranger - being light in the rear end - slipped and slid. I stayed in the right lane so I would slide into the curb rather than into other cars, and after two tense hours, I finally arrived home with permanent indentations left in my steering wheel.

I tell that story as a huge rationalization for buying the Jeep.

We live in Paducah now. Two years ago, Paducah experienced an ice storm that shut down the city for more than two weeks. The church I now serve rose to the occasion and prepared hot meals for utilities crews and people in the community who lost power as a result of the storm. I was impressed by their outreach then, and am proud to be their pastor now.

Word is that this winter is going to be a record-breaker in the category of ice and snow. I am hoping to not be the pastor trapped in his own neighborhood because his car can't get up the hill.

And unlike her previous employment in the public schools, my First Mate now has a job at a local hospital that won't be closed because of snow. I've got to be able to get her to work on time, regardless of the weather.

Thus, a 4 X 4 seemed to be the answer. And a Jeep was definitely the preference.

To be honest, I had hoped for a hard-shell, but the rag-top is going to be so cool this summer!

As for my little Ranger, there were twinges of emotion last night as I gave her a thorough wash and shine, knowing it was likely to be a farewell. But it's just a pick-up truck, nothing to get emotional about.

And, unlike my previous Ranger (1990 - traded in 2000), I didn't have to push this one onto the car lot.  In fact, I got $3,500 on the trade-in! Not bad for an 11-year-old pick-up with 100,000 miles on it! Woot!

By the way, the official color of my (new-to-me) Jeep is "Detonator Yellow".

Naturally, I'll be calling her "Banana Winds"!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bah! Humbug!!!

Oh no! The annual "Bah! Humbug!" blog has arrived.

I honestly didn't think it was going to come around this year. We've moved to a new church and a new parsonage, and we've already started decorating for the holidays. Things were going so well.

We found an artificial tree at Lowe's that we liked, but the display model was all that was left. So we bought it (at a 10% discount!), threw it in the back of my truck already assembled, carried it home, plugged it in and... Voila! Instant Christmas!

We've attended two Christmas parties already, and we're having the church's Youth Group over tomorrow night, so I've hung extra decorations outside to make the parsonage appear more festive.

I even thought about hanging lights on the gutters, but it's just too darn cold for that!

Why can't Christmas be in July?!?

I've even done most of my Christmas shopping!

Thank God for the Internet!

But what has harshed my buzz is the way others are carrying on about the holidays this year. Christmas has come to represent the very worst of our entitlement culture.

For example, each year my church contributes toys to one of our denominational agencies for distribution to underprivileged children. It's the same families year after year (a discussion for another time), but still a worthy cause. This year, however, a week before the deadline, we received a "desperate" plea for more toys. According to the letter, the agency had already "approved" 750 families for the toy give-away, and it was afraid of running short. The letter said the agency would have to take money from its already tight budget to "buy" extra toys at WalMart.

Or they could limit the number of toys each family can take.

And again, tonight on the nightly news a local agency made an appeal for help to "provide Christmas" to needy children.

You see, it's not "Christmas" unless the children receive free toys!

A representative explained that they had received requests from 50 more children than planned, and since they had budgeted $150 per child, they were short on funds!

Really? $150 per child??? They could reduce the gift amount to $100 per child - still pretty generous, I think - and still have $2,500 left over for egg nog!

Or Bakon and Egg Nog!

And while I'm ranting, could someone explain to me why everyone is expected to support the Salvation Army at Christmas-time? Members of my church stood in the cold for two days ringing bells in front of WalMart, soliciting donations for the SA. But isn't the Salvation Army a separate denomination? (Point of fact, Salvation Army split away from the Methodist denomination years ago.) Would the Baptists help raise money for one of our missions?

But I digress...

It's time we accept the reality that there are two separate events happening on December 25th. One of them involves the ancient folklore about a fat man in a red suit (with hot chicks dressed as elves) who miraculously delivers hundreds of dollars of free toys to good little boys and girls around the world.

The other is about the birth of a Savior, Jesus the Christ, who only offers eternal salvation to those who believe.

See why we're losing the war over Christmas?

While we're at it, it's time to stop all the fighting over "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays" - both are legitimate wishes for the season - and retire the "Keep Christ in Christmas" bumper stickers.

By the way, saying "Merry Xmas" is not some devious plot to take Christ out of Christmas. The letter "X" is an historic shorthand (in Greek) for "Christ" that predates all of our Christmas celebrations. Get over it!

We don't have to make Christmas an either/or proposition. Christians can celebrate both. And we do. But we should know the difference, know why we do what we do, and stop trying to merge the two.

No, Virignia, Santa never knelt at the manger in homage to the newborn Savior. Sorry.

And being a Christian doesn't mean I have to provide Christmas presents to all the children of the world.

Seriously, while extremist - but well-meaning - Christians are spoiling children and fighting to protect "Christmas" Trees in the name of Jesus, what are they doing about:
-the young widow spending her first Christmas alone?
-the unwed, teenage mother unsure of her future and that of her baby?
-the family about to receive a foreclosure notice on their dream-house?

What would Santa do?

 What would Jesus do?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mmmmm... Bacon...

The Banana Wind's First Mate recently returned from a trip ashore - that usually means to the local liquore store - reporting that she found a new adult beverage called "Bacon Vodka".

Sorry. I just vomited a little bit in my mouth.

Now, there's nothing the Captain likes better than the smell of bacon frying in the galley early in the morning. But Bacon in my Vodka?

"Vodka - it's what's for breakfast!"

The makers of this travesty insist that "carnivorous cocktails" - that is, "meat-infused drinks" - have been around for decades.They claim that one of Ernest Hemingway's favorite bars served meat-infused cocktails as far back as the 1940s.

Although there is no evidence that Papa ever drank that shit!

And he drank most everything!

And according to their web site, they've won awards.

Does that logo on the right look like a frying pan to you? Hmmmm... Suspicious!

Infused liquor hit the market several years ago. I remember attending a tasting of infused Vodka in 2005, at which the sales rep poured me a shot of pineapple-infused Vodka mixed with a shot of coconut-infused Vodka. Viola! Instant Pina Colada!

For those not paying attention, that Pina Colada was 3 oz. of 70-proof Vodka.

It was a very short tasting experience that day.

Sadly, this craze is not limited to liquor. A couple nights ago I sampled a bottle of red wine mixed with Dutch chocolate, because, you know, chocolate and red wine go together.

But not in the same bottle, you guys!

With the latest move to infuse every bottle of liquor with some other flavor - everything from lime to Tabasco (Yes, I'm talking to you, Southern Comfort!) - why not meat flavored?

But what does one do with Bacon Vodka? What recipes do you have to offer us?

The First Mate suggested "Bacon and Egg Nog". Cute.

The distillers are pushing their concoction as ideal for Bloody Marys.

Or, apparently, just drink it straight!

Then there's the inexplicably-named "Elvis Presley":

You'd think that one would call for a fried bologna-infused Vodka.

Or Demerol.

Well the Captain is a simple man. I believe Rum should taste like Rum.

And Vodka should taste like... well, nothing.

And Southern Comfort should taste like Southern Comfort.

Did you hear me, Southern Comfort?!? Leave my booze the hell alone!

And if I ever want my liquor to taste like something else, I'll add it myself.

Thank you. That is all.