Thursday, February 26, 2015

50 Shades of WTF!

[See what I did there?...]

So apparently Christian Grey is not “all that” after all.

After a “record-breaking” opening over Valentine's weekend – because nothing says “I love you” more than taking your favorite girl to a BDSM movie – the much ballyhooed “50 Shades of Grey” movie has tanked. In just its second weekend in release, it dropped a whopping 73% at the box office!

That’s almost a record too!

Here’s how this works. The first weekend of a movie’s release is generated by advertising. For “50 Shades” we were relentlessly assaulted with teasers, advertisements, and faux news releases for months on end.

“If the book got you heated up, the movie will set you on fire!”

Perhaps so…

The second weekend, however, is attributed to word of mouth. That is, those first viewers rave so much about it that a second wave rushes out to see it.

The most successful movie in this respect was “Avatar”, a largely-computer-generated adventure which broke the $100,000+ mark for six consecutive weekends!

That didn’t happen this time.

And suddenly the media has grown silent... nary a peep about how Will Smith's new con man flick, "Focus", almost knocked the "steamy thriller" out of the top spot.

In fact, the Captain heard nothing about the movie’s crash-and-burn until I came across this video from Christy Carlson Romano (of Disney’s “Even Steven” fame).

Warning: This video is probably not safe for work!

But all is not lost. The movie did generate quite a bit of humor along the way:

And my favorite: 

To be fair, the Captain has not seen the movie. But I did read the book – which was more than enough. And being a fairly enlightened buccaneer, I was simply amazed at what I was reading.

This is supposed to be set in the 21st century. Which means we are some 40 years removed from the feminist revolution. And yet here we have a fairly intelligent college student falling head-over-heels for an older man whose main likeable quality is that he’s stinking rich.    

Seriously, I have heard of pre-nuptial contracts before, but having to sign a non-disclosure contract and granting written permission for this emotionally damaged rich guy to take control of your life, to take your virginity, tie you up, spank you, and insert various items into your bodily cavities seems a bit much.

And for what? What does Anastasia get out of this “relationship”? Christian Grey buys her a new computer, a new car, new clothes – which she rightly identifies as payment for sex, but accepts anyway.

Grey doesn’t want a relationship. He just wants to “f**k”. [His words, not mine.]

For a great review, see what my blogger friend over at “Jamie the Very Worst Missionary” has to say about it.

Defenders of the book/movie insist that Anastasia is a modern, liberated woman, learning to explore her budding sexuality with the much more experienced Mr. Grey.

The Captain calls “bullshit”, and can only see bad things to follow.

In fact, there was a case just this week at the University of Illinois at Chicago in which a student assaulted a co-ed. He is accused of tying her up, removing her clothing, then beating her with a belt, and even pummeling her with his fists when she cried out for him to stop.

Apparently she forgot the “safe word”.

The guy’s defense is that it was consensual, that they were just acting out a scene from the movie.

The Captain will need to see the contract.

But is this the future of dating?

“Hi, my name is Captain Dave. I’d like to take you out to dinner, then take you back to my ship and tie you to the main mast and flog you. Then I'll sexually assault you in various deviant ways, buy you a pretty new dress, and send you back to shore alone in a dinghy. I think you’ll find it ‘liberating’.”

Uhm. No.

So see the movie. Don’t see the movie. Whatever. The Captain is not a censor. I am not your nanny. You are adults.

Wait… I assume you are adults.

Good Lord, I hope you are adults!

Nonetheless, you need to make your own decisions about what is appropriate in your relationships.

Just make sure you have a “safe word”.

As for the Captain, I prefer “50 Shades of Blue”.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

Excuse me please...

Thank you for your attention.

Carry on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Man in Black

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford is a fellow blogger from northern Illinois. We have never met, but for several years now I have enjoyed following his writings. He is what the Captain would call “a deep thinker”.

Yes, I can assure you, no one has ever said that about the Captain!

Geoffrey posted his thoughts today about ISIS and the recent mass murder of 21 Coptic Christians. (You can read his post here.)

If you’re too lazy to follow the link, allow the Captain to briefly attempt a condensed version of it for you now.

Geoffrey confesses to finding it difficult to hate “the men in black” (ISIS). He laments that it is far too easy to dehumanize these men, to label them “animals” or “monsters” or “evil”. Because as he looks inward, he acknowledges that the man behind the mask could very well be him.

“Those men in black, no less than those men in orange, are my brothers, fellow creatures beloved of God no less than the men they are about to kill. I am called to love them. And love them I do, and must, because one of them could be me.”

Did I mention that Geoffrey is very provocative in his writings? This is one of the reasons I enjoy reading his posts. Whether I agree with him or not – and often I do – he says what he means, never pulls a punch. And he takes the criticism that inevitably follows.

No, Geoffrey is not a Muslim. He lives in northern Illinois. He is a seminary-trained United Methodist; the husband of a United Methodist District Superintendent, in fact.

This particular introspection by Geoffrey resonated with the Captain.

I know. A lot of fancy words. The Captain also went to seminary.

What I said was, I like what he wrote.

I was 17 when I committed my life to Christ. And when I say “committed”, I mean that I entrusted Jesus Christ with my life, death, and life after death.

Yes, I tend to live this out in unconventional ways, but I take my faith very seriously.

Following Jesus is my primary focus, my identity. I trust that his ways are true. I trust that following his teachings and commands are the path to true peace and happiness. I trust that no matter what may come, I will always be in the loving care of my Lord and Savior.

And I believe that Jesus calls us to a path of peace, not violence. Love, not war. Sacrifice, not… well, whatever the opposite of sacrifice is.

But over the years, I have played little mind-games with myself, the “what if” scenarios. You’ve probably done this too.
            -If some thug confronts you on the street and threatens your life, and you have the choice of fight or flight, what would you do?
            -If someone breaks into your house with the intent of doing harm to your family, and you have the means to, would you kill him?
            -If a madman bursts into your church brandishing a weapon, would you offer your own life in order to save your congregation?
            -If a foreign entity attacks your country, would you take up arms to defend it?

My answer, as a follower of Jesus Christ, is… No.

Granted, in each of these scenarios I have realized within myself the capacity to kill. I know I can kill another human being. I don’t even have to “dehumanize” him; I don’t have to make him into a “monster”. I recognize within myself the capacity to kill.

But I don’t. And I won’t.

Yes, so far these scenarios remain safely in the realm of the theoretical. I haven’t needed to test them.

But in order for me to harm or kill another human being, I would have to dehumanize myself.

I would have to block out every shred of decency my parents ingrained in me. I would have to rid myself of all compassion, of all conscience. I would have to turn off every sentiment and emotion in my soul. I would have to sever all ties to community.


And I would have to break my commitment to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, who taught that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us… who taught that even hating another is wrong, and calling a brother a “fool” will deliver your soul into hell. 

I would have to break my commitment to being a follower of Jesus Christ.

I would then become simply a killing machine, taking life with impunity.

And there would be no turning back.

I could not kill one day and return home and attempt to lead a normal life the next.

You might wonder then, “What about ‘the Captain’ and all this pirate nonsense?”

Call it an interest. A hobby. A fascination.

Since the invention of the boat, there have been pirates sailing the seven seas, pillaging and plundering and murdering. Some were economically driven (like the modern-day Somali pirates), others were ideologically driven (like ISIS, pirates of the desert; they even have a black flag!).

Either way, despite the efforts of Disney to sanitize their reputation, as a whole pirates were not nice people. I acknowledge that.

Now, a psychiatrist might suggest that “Captain Dave” represents your humble author’s “man in black”… a creative expression of my inner potential for evil… the dark side of my psyche…  


But then, perhaps this is so. Again, I recognize that potential within me.

But as I see it, the “Banana Winds” is more of a “party barge” than a fighting vessel.

The First Mate seriously puts a damper on the “wenching”.

And the only crimes the Captain is (knowingly) guilty of is plundering photos from the internet and stealing the occasional clever thought from a colleague.

The only shots we fire are made of glass and contain alcohol!

And if the Captain does represent my “darker side”, he is held firmly in check by being dressed up in foppish clothing and a big hat!

Like Geoffrey, I confess that the potential is there. We all have the potential within us to be “the man in black”, as much as most of us refuse to admit it.

But, at least for today, I have chosen a different path.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pampered much?

A small kerfuffle arose last week when it was reported that the University of Oklahoma has been “blacklisted” by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, a booking agent for touring rock concerts.

The action was reportedly taken after the OU school newspaper published details of the contract for the Jack White concert held on campus February 2nd.

In addition to the $80,000 fee – Holy crap! And they call me a pirate! – the contract spelled out other terms in the Tour “Rider”. The sponsoring body was obligated to provide the following for Mr. White:
            -“New York strip steak, prepared medium, no sauce, with clean, steamed vegetables”
            -Guacamole, made as follows:

The Rider also specified, “Please Note: This is a NO BANANA TOUR. (Seriously) We don’t want to see bananas anywhere in the building.”

Apparently nobody cares that the fee was published. And while it sounds ridiculous, nobody cares that we found out about the banana thing.

Although, if the Captain had known and been there, he certainly would have dressed as a banana just for that night!

No, what apparently ticked off Mr. White / William Morris / or whoever, was the publication of the guacamole recipe!

Now gentle reader, the Captain knows guacamole. Good guacamole. The First Mate learned her secret recipe from her mother, who learned it from her mother. It’s good stuff!

By the way, just smashing up avocados does not make guacamole. Just sayin…

But the Captain also knows that everyone has their preferences, so I won’t judge Jack White’s recipe. You can make it and decide for yourself.

However, it is the Captain’s opinion that such Tour Riders are ridiculous.

If you’re so damn picky, just make your own guacamole!

Nonetheless, such requests are not unusual, as noted in a Huffington Post article accompanying the Jack White story. For instance,
            -Madonna insists on having access to 20 international phone lines.
            -Mariah Carey insists on having 20 white kittens and 100 doves.
            -Rihanna, a girl after the Captain’s own heart, wants Haribo Gummies, Oreo Cookies, and cans of Red Bull.
            -Jennifer Lopez wants everything white, including the food.
            -Adele demands Marlboro Lights, European Lager Beer, and sandwiches without tomatoes.
            -Lady Gaga demands a mannequin with “pink, fluffy pubic hair”.
            -Marilyn Manson reportedly demands “a bald-headed, toothless hooker”.

No, that was not canon fire you just heard. It was the sound of the Captain’s head exploding!

Can Gaga not find room on the trailer to bring her own mannequin with her?

Fortunately, the University of Oklahoma has heard from Jack White’s management group, Monotone, Inc., which insists that the “blacklisting” story is not true. Their letter did take a shot at the unprofessional work of the school newspaper staff – before, during and after the concert – and defended the Tour Rider as an “attempt to execute a professional and pleasant experience for all involved.”

The letter went on to explain that Jack White hires a professional tour group to write the rider – he supposedly has no input in what it includes.

“We’re not even sure he likes guacamole,” the letter went on to say, “but we do know that the folks who work hard to put on the show do enjoy it.”

And, they added, “By the way, now that it’s out there, we recommend you try Lalo’s guacamole recipe. It’s delicious.”

All this makes the Captain wonder, is there any other profession in which a person can make such demands?

I know I sure can’t.

I’d love to be able to make “demands” in my “contract” – a professional massage after the Sunday services would be tops on the list!

The church tells me I’m lucky I get a paycheck every now and then!

And so I decorated my own office; I provide my own pens and notebooks; I brought my own cats; I even buy my own bottled water and Red Bull.

“Today’s sermon was brought to you by Dasani, ‘enhanced with minerals for a pure, fresh taste’, and by Red Bull, ‘it gives you wings!’”

And don’t even get me started on the Rum!

But congrats to Jack White and all those other pampered performers out there. I hope you know what a sweet life you live!