Monday, December 31, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

"On the day after Christmas..."

The Captain is not happy!

I know. And so soon after Christmas!

Christmas was beautiful. The First Mate and I stayed in on Christmas Eve and had a quiet and wonderful dinner together, then exchanged presents before heading out to the 11 o’clock Candlelight Service at the Church.

The next morning, Christmas Day, the First Mate was “on call” at the hospital, and as we were eating our traditional Christmas morning waffles, she got the call. I spent the afternoon straightening up the house before my family arrived for dinner. Another nice evening.

Then it snowed. Overnight, we received 3-4 inches of heavy, wet snow. It was beautiful.

And cold!

Whatever happened to Global Warming!?!

Yes, I’m already ready for winter to be over!

I drove the First Mate to work (the Jeep’s first snow!), did “donuts” in the church parking lot (just to stay in practice), then puttered around – having given myself the day off.

So, after all that, how could I not be happy?

On December 12, I placed an internet order with Sahalie, an outdoor apparel company. According to the web site, “Standard shipping” assured me the order would arrive in “4-8 business days”. I received an email notification that it had shipped on December 13th. It would be here in plenty of time for Christmas!

The package had not arrived by December 20th, so I checked the tracking link. Sahalie had shipped my order using “FedEx Post” – which means that FedEx delivers the package to the local USPS for delivery. On December 16th, the tracking info said the order was “in transit” to the post office.

On December 24th, I called Sahalie. The operator was apparently not having a merry Christmas – and I didn’t make her day any better. She also checked the tracking information, then told me I would have to contact the post office to find out where the package is.

Of course, on December 24th, no one at the local post office dared answer the telephone!

The Sahalie operator said there was nothing more she could do for me. When I mentioned that Sahalie had promised delivery in 8 days, her response was simply, “We did our part.”

She said she couldn’t even file a “lost package” claim for 30 days!

I assured her I would not be making this same mistake again!

So yesterday I went to the post office. As it turns out, the tracking info only indicated that the package was “in transit”. It had not yet arrived here! The postal employee suggested I contact FedEx.

Of course, no one at FedEx wanted to answer the phone on the day after Christmas! Checking its website, an announcement in large red letters indicated that due to the winter storms, FedEx would not honor guarantees on packages scheduled to be delivered on December 26th.

Completely understandable. But my package was supposed to be delivered by December 20th!!!

Regrettably, I had no way of telling FedEx what I thought. However, the next time I travel to Memphis, I will surely speak my mind as I drive past headquarters!

“Prepare to be boarded!”

And so I wait. Fortunately, the package in question was not a significant portion of the First Mate’s Christmas gifts.

The Captain does tend to spoil her.

On a more hopeful note, the First Mate’s birthday is at the end of the month. Maybe the order will arrive by then.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Once again spreading a little Christmas cheer!

Merry Christmas from The Captain & crew of the Banana Winds!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Public Service Announcement

Christmas time is here...
...which means a lot of Christmas parties and celebrations...

...which means a lot of boozing and other stuff.

The Captain and crew of Banana Winds want to remind you...

Have a happy AND safe holiday season!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sometimes It's Hard

Sometimes it’s hard to be a Christian.

I know, some would say it has always been hard to be a Christian, that the Christian life is very difficult, what with all the “take up your cross and follow me” stuff that Jesus said.

But I’m not talking about that. Read my other blog if you want deep thoughts.

No, what makes it hard to be a Christian today is all the embarrassing stuff that other Christians are saying – out loud! – in the name of God.

If you have checked out any of my links (over there on the right side of the page), you’ll see that I keep a finger on the pulse of the non-churched public as well as the religious types. Gay blogger Joe.My.God., in particular, frequently takes to task the hypocrisy of major Christian figures in the news.

I find myself constantly wanting to apologize to Joe for what these crackpots are saying!

                             Dear Joe:
Please understand – not all Christians are alike!
                             Thank you.
                                   Capt. Dave

When I was younger, the American Family Association was the primary agitator. Its members “monitored” television shows, reporting to the AFA membership the number of profanities in each episode, as well as any other unsavory activities in the show. The organization frequently pushed for boycotts of products and companies that sponsored such shows, and occasionally pushed a boycott even when AFA had the facts wrong.

No, the original symbol for Procter & Gamble is not satanic, and no one from the company ever appeared on “The Tonight Show” admitting such!

Yet somehow the AFA still exists, and it is still launching boycotts. In fact, during this holy season, they have drafted a list of businesses who supposedly don’t allow their employees to wish customers “Merry Christmas!”

Suspiciously, they left off the list the overtly-Christian Chik-fil-A, which opted for the more inclusive “Happy Holidays!” this year.

Then there are the TV preachers. Who can forget the scandalous ministry of Jim and Tammy Bakker? Or the time God held Oral Roberts hostage, threatening to "call him home" if people didn't send him $900 million?

Most of us have long since gotten over Pat Robertson, who blames every tornado and hurricane on the wrath of God against homosexuals. It was with no little leap of joy that I watched him try to explain how he got God’s message wrong about the recent presidential election! But frankly, the man is 82 years old, and obviously bordering on dementia.

The Westboro Baptist Church continues to pop up in the news, spewing their unique brand of hatred in the name of God. Fortunately, the general public has risen up against Westboro and now stages counter-protests, coming between the Westboro haters and their intended targets.

And then there’s that preacher-guy in Florida with the biker mustache and a congregation of 20 followers who felt lead by God to burn the Muslim holy book, the Koran – despite warnings from our State Department that his actions would create even more problems for our troops in the Middle East.

And don't forget that old guy who predicted the end of the world last year.

I wonder what he's up to these days?

But the one that takes the cake this week is Scott Lively, a former California lawyer who is now leading a congregation of zealots in Massachusetts. When a local strip club was recently destroyed by a gas explosion, Lively gave God the glory, claiming that his congregation had been praying against that strip club (and other unsavory elements in the community) for more than two years.

Lively employs what are known as “imprecatory prayers”, based on Psalm 109, which asks for God to totally destroy His enemies. With this explosion, he claims, God finally and decisively acted.

Investigators, on the other hand, concluded that the explosion was due to an accident caused by a utility worker. But Lively still insists it was answered prayer.

Critics of Lively, questioning the efficacy of his claim, have pointed out that the strip club will probably sue the local utility company for millions of dollars. In effect, God has provided the club’s owners with a reason and the financial resources to build a bigger and better strip club in its place.

And non-Christians have been questioning why God would make the effort to strike down that particular strip club, when there are so many other things God could be doing with his time – like feeding the hungry and healing the sick.

More damning, however, was the realization that more than 20 people were injured in the blast, including firefighters responding to the alarm; and several other buildings were damaged, including a day care center.

Who would worship that kind of god?

Add to these the great number of people who were praying to God that President Obama would not get re-elected (including spiritual powerhouses like Pat Robertson and Billy Graham), and you have to wonder what God’s been up to lately!

“I know God was pretty busy last year helping Tim Tebow score touchdowns for the Denver Broncos, but from what I’ve seen this year, God apparently doesn’t care for the NY Jets! So what has he been doing, am I right?”

Do you see why I say it’s hard being a Christian today? I can’t compete with that!

While I’m out there trying to tell people about the loving and compassionate God of Christianity – the one who sent his Son to die for the sins of the world – I am constantly having to defend, deflect, and apologize for – not the Gospel message – but the pronouncements of all these other haters and crazies who claim to be speaking for my God!

They’re just making my job harder, that’s all.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Le Beaujolaise Nouveau est arrive'!

Today is the third Thursday of November, and you know what that means!!!

Yes, the 2012 Beaujolais Nouveau has been released!

And this year I only had to stop at two wine shops to find it!

Now, if you’ve read my posts from previous years (here) and (at the bottom of the story here) and also (here), you will know that I haven’t yet found a bottle of BN that is actually drinkable.

Something about “new wine”…

But it’s a tradition, so I plunked down the $10.99 for this year’s bottle of plonk... just because. I’m looking forward to popping the cork – maybe as soon as this weekend – and seeing what this year’s vintage tastes like.

I’ve already been warned that the 2012 Beaujolais’ will not be as good as 2010 or 2011- I can hardly imagine - so I’m not real excited about this year’s BN.

And sadly, this little tradition may be on its way out. According to one report, U.S. sales of Beaujolais Nouveau have plummeted over the past decade. In 1999, 742,000 cases of the vile swill were sold. In 2011, only 107,000 cases were sold.

And I suspect much of that was poured out somewhere besides into a wine glass!

Ah, Georges Dubuoeuf, it has been fun! But, alas, all good things must come to an end.

Tasting Notes 11-19-2012: it wasn't bad! Which doesn't mean it was good, but the 2012 BN tastes much better than 2011. 

Once poured, the fragrance of strawberry Jello filled the air. The First Mate / guinea pig - noted that it tastes like a fruit salad - strawberries, cherries, bananas, etc. 

And yes, according to tradition, it tastes better when "guzzled"!

Most anything does!

We re-corked the bottle and returned it to the fridge. If you want to try it, stop on by!

Final thought: if it was served to me without expectations, I would drink it. But I won't be buying a second bottle... Probably won't finish the first one!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bad News of the Week!

When I picked up the newspaper (on my iPad, of course) on Wednesday, I was truly alarmed at the headline I read! In fact, it sickened me! It disgusted me! What is this country coming to?!?
The headline read:
[Hold on to your seats, gentlemen! Ladies, avert your eyes!]
“Warner Bros. Considering Sequel to ‘Casablanca’”
What’s that? Yes, I know there was an election on Tuesday. What’s your point?

Seriously, Cass Warner, granddaughter of one of the original Warner Bros., is pushing for a sequel to what is arguably the greatest movie ever made!
I was preparing to write a blog about “Casablanca” for later in the month, since November 26th will mark the 70th anniversary of the premiere of the film, but this development has pushed up the timeliness of this post.
According to the news (and I checked several sources because I couldn’t believe my eyes!), Ms. Warner found a script written in 1980 by Howard Koch, a contributor to the original screenplay. In this script, we “learn” that shortly after leaving Casablanca, Ilsa Lund has a baby. But – you guessed it! – turns out Victor Laszlo is not the father. Rick Blaine is.

What you hear is the sound of me banging my head on the desk!
As the description reads, “The secret was not kept from Laszlo, but being the kind of man that he was, and owing so much to Rick, he adopts the child and treats him as his own son.”
So, 20 years later, young Richard goes back to Casablanca to learn more about his real father.

Maybe this is why I’ve had a headache these past couple of days! I thought it was the SoCo, but it could be all the head-banging I've been doing thinking about this hot mess!
Besides the triteness of this concept, I have two problems with this idea.
First, you don’t mess with the greatest film ever made! No sequel will ever be able to live up to the beauty of the original. Over the past 70 years, several directors have been approached with the idea of a sequel, even a re-make (“shudder!”), but each have WISELY turned down the offer. In the 80’s there was even a move to colorize the film, but that idea was also rejected.
What we have in “Casablanca” cannot be re-made or added to or improved upon. It is a self-contained work of art, and it should be left alone.
The second problem I have with this concept is, how exactly did Isla have Rick’s love-child?

Okay, maybe not “exactly”. I know how babies are made. I just don’t know when Rick and Ilsa had the opportunity.
Those who buy into this idea say that Rick and Ilsa did the dirty deed when she came to get the elusive Papers of Transit from him. Ilsa was willing to do whatever it took, they say, even shoot Rick if necessary. She doesn’t shoot him, so how else would she be able to get the papers from him?
Because, y’know, women only know two things: murder and seduction!
Some say that the sex scene was in the original script, but in the 1940s, sexuality was kept out of movies by the Production Code Administration. Thus, it is only implied that Rick and Ilsa had sexual relations in Paris (“We’ll always have Paris!”), and again that night at Rick’s Café Americain. They point to the awkward film cut-away to a lighthouse with a beam of light sweeping across the screen before returning to Rick and Ilsa’s emotional – and fully dressed – discussion about the papers.

Not to be naïve, but, to paraphrase Sigmund Freud, “Sometimes a lighthouse is just a lighthouse.”
So did they or didn’t they?
Think what you will, but I will never believe that Rick’s decision to put Ilsa on the airplane with Laszlo was determined by a one-night stand – even with a hottie like Ingrid Bergman!
No, as I see it (and I’ve seen it dozens of times!), the soft-hearted tough guy sees true love between Ilsa - whom he had once loved but who had broken his heart - and Laszlo, a hero of the resistance whom Rick greatly respected.
An honorable man – and Rick was – does not steal another man’s wife!
In the final scene, we see the airplane carrying Ilsa and Laszlo to safety, enabling Laszlo to continue his work for the resistance. Rick remains behind with Vichy Captain Louis Renault, who enabled their escape. And then we hear Rick’s inimitable line: “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

The End.
Forever and ever. Amen!
Dear Warner Bros.:
      Forget “Return to Casablanca”! Go work up a sequel to “Space Jam” or some other WB property that nobody cares about!

Yours truly,
     Capt. Dave

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

from Capt. Dave & the First Mate!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Sinking of the Bounty

[Captain’s note: With this blog, I in no way intend to dismiss the loss of life and damage done by Hurricane Sandy, neither in the Caribbean or along the east coast of the U.S. However, the following news item captured my fancy…]
On Sunday, as Hurricane Sandy was moving up the east coast of the U.S., the 180-ft. three-masted sailing ship HMS Bounty was making its way down the east coast.
The ship is not an original tall sailing ship. It was built in 1962 for the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty”, starring Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian, the leader of the famed mutiny.
For those interested, the original HMS Bounty set sail in December 1787 to collect breadfruit plants from Tahiti. The mutiny against Commander William Bligh occurred in April 1789. Bligh and his loyalists were put off the ship. The remaining mutineers eventually settled on Pitcairn Island and in January 1790 the ship was burned and sunk to avoid detection of the Royal Navy. The remains of the original Bounty were discovered in January 1957.
Now back to the present.
On Sunday, the (replica) Bounty was en route from Connecticut to St. Petersburg, FL when it encountered 40 mph winds and 18 ft. waves. As propulsion and communications systems on board failed, and the ship began taking on water faster than the pumps could move it out, the 16-member crew abandoned ship off the coast of North Carolina.
The majestic ship sank early Monday morning.
The Coast Guard located and rescued 14 crew members in two life rafts, and later found the body of the 15th crew member. As of this writing, only the Captain – who had sailed the ship for the last 20 years – remains missing.
It would appear that, in true form, the Captain went down with his ship.
In Memoriam
Captain Robin Walbridge
The YouTube clip below was taken from the HMS Bounty in a storm near Bermuda a couple years ago.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012


No, it’s not my birthday.
On this day five years ago, I launched “Banana Winds”!
Fire the cannon!
Everyone else was blogging back then. It was “the thing to do”. At first I resisted – I always do at first – but then I thought to myself, “Why not?”
The next question to be answered then was, what will you write about? Many of my colleagues were writing deep theological thoughts on their blogs.
I don’t have deep theological thoughts.
Nonetheless, write I did. And 425 posts later (this is #426) I am still finding the occasional subject about which to comment, usually with relevant and insightful references to wine, women, and song!
It’s a pyrat’s life for me!
I have no idea how many people actually read what I write – I disabled the comments feature almost right away, and the “hit counter” stopped counting earlier this year – but I don’t care. I write for myself, for the fun of writing… and sometimes simply to rant in a venue where the Captain is always right!
With the rise of Facebook and other social media, I have noticed that my fellow bloggers are writing less and less. They have other avenues by which they can rant.
And maybe, after so many years, blogging has simply run its course.
But I’m going to continue writing for a while longer simply because I enjoy it.
The look of Banana Winds has evolved over the years, but I have stayed true to my original course, taking what I believe to be a different tack on life, following the banana winds – “a wind not as dangerous as a hurricane but strong enough to blow bananas off the  trees” - pillaging and plundering as I go.
To read my very first post, click [here].
If you are one of my readers, thank you for joining me in my adventures. I hope you are having fun!
And if you happen to run into me on the beach or face down on the street someday, simply demand, “Why is the rum always gone?!?” and I’ll know it’s you!


Monday, October 15, 2012


Is nothing sacred anymore?

In this morning’s edition of USA Today, AP writer Audrey McAvoy reports that elements within the tourism industry in Hawaii are working to correct some misconceptions about the islands that have become common folklore thanks to… well… the tourism industry.

In an effort to distinguish the Hawaiian islands from other beach destinations, they are wanting to put the emphasis on real-life Hawaiian traditions instead of the kitsch so widely associated with a Hawaiian vacation.

While applauded by many – some of whom simply want to return the islands to the native people – this current movement would certainly be the death-knell for the local ABC Stores – found on virtually every street corner in the tourist sections of the islands – whose sole trade is plastic leis, hula-dancer neckties, and $5 ukuleles, not to mention the polyester “Hawaiian” shirts.

While preserving the island heritage and presenting an authentic picture of the native people is laudable, it’s also like announcing to the world that Santa Claus is not real!

For example, they want us to know that Tiki Bars did not originate in Hawaii.

Well, duh!

These were actually the creation of restaurant entrepreneurs like Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber back in the 1930s.

The fruity boat-drinks they serve are also not authentic to Hawaii.

Doesn't mean they're not tasty though!

The so-called tiki-torches that light beach areas everywhere were also created for Hawaiian tourists, as were the flaming knife dances.

We should also be aware that authentic Hawaiian hula dancers do not wear grass skirts or coconut shell bras. The grass skirts were imported from the Gilbert Islands in the late 1800s. Originally, hula girls wore skirts made of ti leaves. The grass skirts caught on because they were easier to pack when taking the show to the mainland.

As for the coconut bras… well, originally, the women danced topless.

Call me old fashioned…

Some will respond, “Does any of this matter?” In fact, many of these kitschy affectations have been a part of the Hawaiian tourist culture for more than 100 years. At what point does that, by default, become the prevailing culture?

On the other hand, it might matter more if it were your heritage, your traditions that were being replaced by dash-board hula dancers “Made in China”.

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Pyrat Looks at 50

“Yes, I am a pyrat,
Two hundred years too late;
The cannons don’t thunder,
There’s nothing to plunder,
I’m an over-40 victim of fate…
Arriving too late…
arriving too late.” (Jimmy Buffett)

They say the best defense is a good offense… or something like that.

So let me be proactive here and head off what I anticipate will be a month full of attempted age-related insults.

In February I will turn 50.

It’s kind of odd saying that out loud. Fifty is pretty old. It’s twice as many as 25, and half-way to 100.

To be honest, I never thought I’d live past 40, so these past 10 years have been a blessing!

What does turning 50 mean? I really don’t know. I’ve never thought about my age much. I acknowledged the fact that my high school class held its 30th reunion last year (without me… I hate those things!). And it was only a couple years ago that I realized I have been engaged in full-time ministry for 20+ years – half a career! – and that I can no longer call myself one of the “young clergy”.

I guess now I’m one of the old guys that need to get out of the way and let the young ones lead.

Ouch! That hurts!

So I’m turning 50. Hmmm.

What has really changed? We can start with the obvious: My belt line is getting wider… and lower! My beard is turning gray. And worst of all, the bald spot on the back of my head – which until just a couple years ago I never knew existed – is growing larger and more obvious.

And I know my first colonoscopy is waiting just around the next turn – a little gift to myself for turning 50!

But in my mind, I’m still 25. Although my body has grown older, I don’t really feel any different.

Or maybe that’s because when I was 25, I acted like I was 50!

By the way, the comments feature of this blog has been intentionally disconnected to prevent replies like you are thinking right now!

By some accounts, at 50 I should think of myself as an “adult”. I should think like an adult; I should act like an adult; I should dress like an adult.

So why does my brain keep drawing me in the opposite direction?

Over-compensating maybe?

I don’t want to get old – at least not that creaky, feeble, incontinent “old” that I see so much of in my ministry. I don’t want to sit around talking about all the medicine I’m taking, or complaining about my “damn prostate”, and I don’t want to spend all of my time sitting in some doctor’s waiting room.

“No, I can’t pee in the damn cup! My damn prostate’s not working!”

See? That’s just not me!

Truth be told, most pyrats don’t live all that long. Blackbeard met his fate in battle at age 38. Henry Morgan lived to be 53, but gave up piracy after sacking Panama at age 39. He was knighted and appointed lieutenant governor of Jamaica, where he served for nine years before retiring.

That’s no life for a pyrat!

Anyway, like it or not, in just over four months this ol’ pyrat will hit the big 5-0! You’ll be hearing more about it before then. It’s kind of been on my mind recently.

I don’t want a big hullabaloo in February – it’s just another birthday. I’m hoping the First Mate will shiver me timber… but I hope that every day!

And every night…

And when I wake up in the morning…

Hey, I’m just turning 50! I’m not dead!

Anyway, as for the rest of you scurvy dogs, skip the “over-the-hill” aisle at Spencer’s Gifts and buy yourself something nice – like maybe a six-tube Beer Bong or a Lava Lamp or even a fancy door mat.

All this Captain is asking for is another year of fair skies, a little wind in my sails, and smooth waters!

Monday, September 17, 2012


All summer long, my niece has wanted to go out on the ski boat with us. And all summer long – while we had extended stretches of hot, dry weather – her work schedule conflicted with ours.
Being a single mom, working full-time, and going back to college – two classes this semester – creates a tough schedule for her. I’m very proud of her!
Finally, on Tuesday of last week, she was off, so I took off early and we headed to the lake.
For those of you not familiar with Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, they are a couple of the least-appreciated treasures in our area. I grew up around these parts, but never really enjoyed the beautiful lakes that are just 20 minutes away.
We enjoyed the late afternoon on the lake – the First Mate, my niece, and her 6-year-old daughter who takes to water like a fish! The sky was clear and the air was warm. But when they jumped into the water, the report came back, “It’s a little chilly!”
As we headed back to the marina – looking full into another beautiful sunset – I noticed the wind had an unfamiliar chill to it. The temperature was dropping into the lower 70s. It was then I realized that the long, hot summer of 2012 was just about over.
Those who know me will vouch for it when I say I have a very narrow window of comfort. 100° is okay; I can tolerate heat pretty well. 80° is great. But at 75°, my body starts to tense up – right at the edge of uncomfortable – and I opt for something other than the Hawaiian shirts I wear all summer. At 70° I put on a jacket and spend more time gazing dreamily at tropical scenes on my computer screen.
Today is Monday. It’s 72° and raining outside.
Summer is almost gone.