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!