Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay


 


Sorry this post was delayed. The Captain has been looking for his ship to come in.

Literally. I want to buy a boat!

Being so close to the lakes area, it’s difficult to not be out there enjoying everything it has to offer.

Now, the Captain likes to read.


I read mostly fiction, mostly set in Key West or the Florida coast. And it seems everyone has a boat.

My favorite read right now is the “Trawler Trash” series by Ed Robinson. His blog “Quit Your Job and Live on a Boat” can be found in the list to the right. (Or go here.) He paints a very enticing picture of life on a boat...


Sure we have friends with boats. And they are kind enough to occasionally invite us to go out with them.

Much appreciated!

But there have been days – beautiful days! – when we have sat around waiting for an invitation that never came…

One of the local marinas does an annual in-water boat show (previously owned), and I always try to go.

Just looking, I tell myself. Can’t afford them anyway, I tell myself. Some day, I tell myself.

Teasing myself. Torturing myself.

If only I had an extra $30,000 laying around…

This year was no different. I immediately fell in love with an American Tug. Cute! Obviously cared-for. Well-appointed.


And bearing a $319,000 price tag!

Captain's Addendum 05-25-2017: I had the opportunity to tour the Tug today! It's amazing! The head has a dedicated shower stall, and there is even a washer/dryer on board!

Just as soon as I win the lottery...


Well, the boat show came and went this Spring; it was a cold and rainy weekend. When I was up there last week I noticed that many of the same boats were still in the water, waiting for someone to come buy them. So I decided I would go take another look.

When I pulled up, who should be standing there but my friend and fellow pirate, Captain Whitebeard.

He had come to the ship chandlery to buy a $4 part for his 22’ sailboat.

I explained why I was there, so he walked with me as I looked at cabin cruisers. Then he mentioned that he knew a woman who worked in the Yacht sales. “Come meet her.” So I did. As we talked, he asked - for himself - if she had any good sailboats in her listings. She took us down to another dock and showed us two or three that were – how do you say… “Project Boats”.

Of course, Captain Whitebeard is not afraid of tackling a project, but he wanted something nicer this time. So she took us to a 29.5-footer that was in amazing condition for its age. The owner was leaving town soon and needed to sell the boat fast, so the price was way below book value.


It took the weekend, but Captain Whitebeard’s First Mate fell in love with it too. They closed the deal yesterday!

So happy for them! We’ll be helping them set the sails this weekend.

But that leaves Captain Dave still without a boat.

Captain’s Note: Add to this [false] urgency the fact that the First Mate’s family is coming to spend a week at the lake with us, and boat rentals run around $350 per day.

Some describe boats as “money pits”, but spending that kind of coin on a rental also seems like throwing it away! As with renting a house, when you are done you have nothing to show for it.

So the Captain made a strategic retreat and aimed lower. Smaller boats closer to my price range. I began scouring internet listings. 

*Make the picture fuzzy so you can't really tell the condition of the boat.

*Only show the exterior; the interior is why this one is selling so cheap!

Uhm... no. Just. No. Nope. Nopitey nope! No way! No how!

One of the difficulties is that I’m not sure what kind of boat I really want…
Something flexible… 
Large enough to carry friends...
A good party boat…
And something livable for when the First Mate finally throws me out!

So I have looked at a lot of different boats.

I mean A LOT of boats!

What the Captain has discovered is that there is an invisible threshold in boat sales, as there is in car sales.

I occasionally have brief flashbacks of the process of buying my first car. Armed with $600 in my pocket, I looked at a lot of junks simply because they were “in my price range”.


Then I discovered auto loans.


And the Captain has been in debt ever since.

I have done a little research on boat loans and have a comfortable price range in mind. But it’s so easy to say, “For only $1,500 more we could get that one…” Or “For only $3,000 more we could get that one…” And before long I am daydreaming again of the big boats at the boat show.

“For only $25,000 more…”

“If I sold a kidney…”

But even for the more expensive of them, the Captain would still have to cut canon ports and supply my own canon!

What is this world coming to?

Captain’s Note: The First Mate is warming to the idea. But there is a lot of pegleg work left to do and time is running short.

Pray for me, brethren!


Monday, May 15, 2017

Movie Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword



“He who draws the sword from the stone, he shall be king!”
– Merlin, “Excalibur”

The Captain snuck off to the movies on Friday morning.

Yes, that is noteworthy. The last movie we saw in a theater was “La La Land”.


The Captain was not impressed.

And I normally don’t “sneak away” during the daytime. But this time I didn’t tell anyone I was going, and I didn’t invite anyone to join me, because I knew the movie I had selected would be a giant turd.

And I was right.

Having grown up reading fairy tales and stories of knights in shining armor rescuing damsels in distress, I am quite familiar with the legends of King Arthur. 


I have read most of the books written about the exploits of the Knights of the Round Table and watched every movie I could find.


My favorite – besides the 1975 British comedy “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” – is the 1981 British film “Excalibur”, with Nigel Terry as Arthur and Nicol Williamson as Merlin. Filmed on location in Ireland, the movie grossed $35 million (that would be $102 million today, adjusted for inflation), costing only $11 million to make ($32 million adjusted for inflation).



Half of that cost was paid to the guy who polishes the armor!

Halloween 1986, I dressed as Williamson’s “Merlin” for the campus Halloween Party I hosted.

Let’s just say the party was EPIC!

A few years later the First Mate even bought me a sword… never got as far as armor though.

Probably a good thing.


This latest entry in the catalogue of Arthurian tales is “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”. Using largely computer-generated sets and action, along with anachronistic haircuts and dialogue, and a heavy-metal sound track, the $175 million flop yielded only $14.7 million in its first weekend in release.


“Rotten Tomatoes” gives it a 27% ranking.

Captain’s Note: I have only walked out of two movies in my life. This one was close to being number three!

To put those dollars into perspective, “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” added another $66 million this weekend to its previous $145 million box office opening. Even the Goldie Hawn/Amy Schumer dud, “Snatched”, beat King Arthur by some $3 million!

Apparently the director, Guy Ritchie, was hesitant to bank on the rippling muscles and dashing good looks of Charlie Hunnam as an oddly reluctant king.


Whoops! Wrong show! 

Captain’s Note: Rumor is that marijuana might have helped Hunnam score the role.

So throughout this poorly-conceived action/adventure flick, the use of computer-generated sets and creatures was heavy-handed; Arthur’s evil nephew Mordred came off more as a Sauron-type character, complete with his own evil tower in Mordor: and the legendary sword “Excalibur” was imbued with magical powers – a la Thor’s Hammer.


To be fair, Arthurian legends vary about the true nature of Excalibur, and the legends do sometimes clash. For instance, a prevailing legend is that Arthur was proved King of Great Britain by pulling the sword from the stone.


Oddly, in this most recent rendering, the “stone” turns out to be the petrified body of Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon!


Yes, I know. The Captain didn’t call “Spoiler Alert!” I don’t care. You shouldn’t go see this travesty of a movie anyway!

However, there is another legend that says the sword of power (“Excalibur” literally means “cuts through steel”) was given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake.


King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.

Dennis: [interrupting] Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
-Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Rather than a magical blade that enables Arthur to kill all his opponents single-handedly (which makes the Captain wonder why the new Arthur bothered to put together his rag-tag band of misfits to accompany him on his journey to save Camelot), I prefer the more romantic notion from the 1981 movie:

Merlin: Behold Excalibur! The sword of power! Forged when birds and beasts and flower were One with Man, and death was but a dream!
-Excalibur

Upon giving the sword first to Uther Pendragon, Merlin expressed his hope that Excalibur would be used “to heal, not to hack”.

At that, Uther – a man driven by his lusts – failed miserably.

But the most recent manifestation of the story, Uther comes off looking better than Arthur; Arthur simply uses the sword to hack. Camelot is saved once Arthur kills all the bad guys!

And in the end, the once-reluctant King moves into the castle, orders his servants to build a “round table” for him and his homeboys to hang out around, and conducts court with a very cocky attitude.

Because, after all, he IS the biggest badass of them all!

Thanks to the legendary sword.

Sigh.


The days of our kind are numbered. The one God comes to drive out the many gods. The spirits of wood and stream grow silent. It's the way of things. Yes... it's a time for men, and their ways.
-Merlin, “Excalibur”




Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Why a Pirate?



Are you kidding me?

Flashback: One afternoon when I was in high school, I went to the grocery store with me dear ol' mother. There, in a giant bin, were cheap inexpensive teddy bears for sale. It dawned on me then that I was never given a teddy bear as a child and so, just joking around, I began whining to my mother, “I want a teddy bear!” Well, she obviously didn’t understand I was only kidding and she circulated word among my other relatives that “Dave wants a teddy bear.”

That Christmas, this future Captain got no less than four teddy bears!

And it was the beginning of a collection that grew until, one day I realized they were all stuffed into a long-unpacked-box. I kept my favorite – “Dave Bear”, who had been my constant companion throughout college and seminary – and donated the rest.


Fast forward to the present: my closest friends call me “Capt. Dave” instead of my professional title “Rev. Dave” or “Bro. Dave”. And as with the teddy bears before, friends will often point out or send me pirate-related items, which I always appreciate.

Captain’s Note: I am not alone in this passion, but I will not call out fellow pirates without their permission. However, you can find some of them in the links to the right.

My greatest goal is to one day buy a boat worthy of the name “Banana Winds”, and to become her Captain.


One day.

So recently a friend was in a store in another town and ran across a decorative pirate ship. He tagged me in a photo of it on Facebook.

Now, if the Captain bought everything “pirate-related” that friends shared with me, I’d need a second house just to hold it all.

As it is, I still need a second house to hold all my shit stuff.


But I digress…

Several comments later, a wag (who also happens to be my Boss) posted a dictionary definition of “pirate”:
pirate
noun pi·rate \ˈpī-rət\
  • : someone who attacks and steals from a ship at sea
  • : someone who illegally copies a product or invention without permission
  • : a person or organization that illegally makes television or radio broadcasts
After which he asked, “Why would you want to emulate that?”

Well, after the Captain looked up the word “emulate”…

emulate
1a :  to strive to equal or excel bimitate; especially :  to imitate by means of an emulator
2 :  to equal or approach equality with
…I responded with a Jimmy Buffett video and a “Why not?”

I wanted to post this:


… but opted for a kinder, more socially-acceptable response.

Captain’s Note: There is a much longer answer – which explains a whole lot about who I am – but I’m not ready to share that with the public just yet.

My question was (and still is): as a child, didn’t you ever want to be something/someone you are not?

Go back and re-read some of my Halloween posts…

It’s okay. We’ll wait…

A big part of a happy life is the use of the imagination. When role-playing, I can be anyone I want to be. Today, I am a pirate.

I mean, why do I always have to be the “good guy”? That’s my day job.


And know that while I am sitting across from you with a serene smile on my face, in my mind the Captain is pillaging and plundering!


Think about this: Would there be a Superman if there hadn’t been a Lex Luthor? Would there be an Elliot Ness if there hadn’t been an Al Capone? Would there be a Robert Maynard if there hadn’t been a pirate named Blackbeard?


Frankly, you guys need us! We make you look good!

Rest assured, the Captain has yet to commandeer a sailing ship… has yet to fire a canon… has yet to rob another of his gold and jewels…

We won’t talk about the drinking of rum.

At this point, I am simply the humble Captain of the Banana Winds, an internet blog successfully approaching its 10th year of publication.

And in that the Captain has persevered where many others have failed!

I don’t yet have a boat – unless you count the First Mate’s kayak – but I am on the water as often as I can talk friends into letting me ride along.

They tend to keep a watchful eye on me though…

And on their rum!


So relax. It’s okay if you don’t get it.

I don’t care.