Thursday, December 28, 2017

Approaching the New Year Differently

Right now the temperature outside is 29 degrees. It’s not expected to rise above freezing here until January 6th.

Yet, here sits the Captain in the belly of The Tiki Hut, with Tiki music on the stereo (a Christmas gift from the First Mate), and a small heater to create the semblance of warmth.

There might also be something in me mug to help keep me warm, I don’t know.

Crazy, I know. But I miss me boat.

C’mon Spring!

But since the Winter Solstice was only a week ago, I suppose I will have to be patient.

To pass time, the Captain has been thinking about the new year that is just days away.

Every year, some people make resolutions about the new year – how they are going to behave differently, presumably to improve their lives. Weight loss is always the #1 resolution, naturally following a holiday season filled with binging on food and alcohol. Financial restraint is another popular resolution – again, following a season of carefree spending.

So a couple days ago on Facebook the Captain posted a sincere query, asking what sort of resolutions me friends might be making for 2018.

A couple mates took the question to heart and shared their hopes and dreams.

But then the negativity started rolling in. And negativity, as the Captain has learned, is like an oil slick on water – once it gets started it just continues to spread.

“[I resolve] to not make any resolutions.”

“None. Whoever keeps their resolutions, anyway.”

“May all our troubles last as long as our New Year’s Resolutions.”

Wow! And they call the Captain cynical!

For the politically-engaged Christian, check out Jim Wallis’ 2018 list of resolutions here.

The Captain is not a deep thinker like Wallis, but I am serious about making improvements in this coming year.

One obvious resolution would be to finish the Boater Safety course online that I started in June of 2017.

I got stuck on the chapter about buoys and other navigational markers.

Related to that, the First Mate would appreciate if I learned how to drive the damned boat!

And those will happen.


As 2017 winds down, I’ve already begun cleansing my life of some of the more negative aspects that tend to bring me down.

In fact, last week I pared down my Facebook friends list by 30 names – people who just weren’t contributing to the direction I see for my future.

And there may be more to come.

While not original, I suspect the Captain’s list of Resolutions will ultimately look something like this.

Always a work in progress…

And now that the cabin has warmed up to a comfortable degree, it's time for the Captain to return to the real world.
So the Captain and First Mate wish you all a safe and blessed New Year. May 2018 be your year - a year filled with only good stuff coming your way.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Little Christmas Cheer!

Once again helping to spread a little Christmas cheer!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Banana Winds!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Baby, it’s cold outside...

Yes, anything below 70 will chill the Captain's bones!

But this is supposed to be a blog, not a weather report.

Just understand that if there’s anything the Captain is NOT dreaming about, it’s a white Christmas!

But things are heating up about, of all things, a Christmas song.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.

The First Mate tells me this argument has been coming around for several years at Christmastime when the song hits the airwaves and, like a handful of other annoying Christmas favorites, gets played over and over until we are all sick and tired of hearing it!

The controversy apparently began about 2005, when one writer called it a “date-rape Christmas carol”.

The Captain will let that sink in while we explore the origins of the song.

It was written in 1944 by Frank Loesser (also known for his work on “Guys and Dolls”). “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is not a Christmas song per se, but I guess since it talks about cold weather and snow, it gets lumped in with “Frosty the Snowman” and a number of others.

Loesser wrote this song for his wife. It was “their song”, which they would perform together at Christmas parties. It is a romantic and flirty little back-and-forth between a man and woman – she says she wants to go home, he gives every excuse to convince her to stay.

In the mid-1940s, it was cute. As I said, flirty.

When properly sung, it becomes obvious that the woman doesn’t really want to go home.

'What’s the big deal,' the modern reader might ask. 'Why doesn't she just stay?'

Well you see, once upon a time, dear children, it was considered “improper” for a single young lady to stay overnight at a gentleman’s house. If you read the lyrics (see below) you’ll see that most of her arguments revolve around “What will people think” rather than “I’ve got to get out of this place”.

Loesser allowed the song to be used in the 1949 hit movie, “Neptune’s Daughter”. A young Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams do us the honors:

Her:                                                     Him:
I really can't stay                                 (but baby, it's cold outside)
I've got to go away                              (but baby, it's cold outside)
This evening has been                        (been hoping that you'd drop in)
So very nice                                        (I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice)
My mother will start to worry            (beautiful what's your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor      (listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I'd better scurry                    (beautiful please don't hurry)
But maybe just a half a drink more    (put some records on while I pour)

The neighbors might think                  (baby, it's bad out there)
Say what's in this drink?                     (no cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how                              (your eyes are like starlight now)
To break this spell                              (I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell)
I ought to say, no, no, no sir               (mind if I move in closer?)
At least I'm gonna say that I tried       (what's the sense in hurtin' my pride?)
I really can't stay                                 (oh baby don't hold out)
Together: But baby, it's cold outside

I simply must go                                 (but baby, it's cold outside)
The answer is no                                 (but baby, it's cold outside)
Your welcome has been                      (how lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm                               (look out the window at this dawn)
My sister will be suspicious               (gosh your lips look delicious)
My brother will be there at the door   (waves upon the tropical shore)
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious      (gosh your lips are delicious)
But maybe just a cigarette more         (never such a blizzard before)

I've gotta get home                              (but baby, you'd freeze out there)
Say lend me a coat                              (it's up to your knees out there)
You've really been grand                    (I thrill when you touch my hand)
But don't you see?                               (how can you do this thing to me?)
There's bound to be talk tomorrow     (think of my lifelong sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied (if you got pneumonia and died)
I really can't stay                                 (get over that old out)
Together: Baby, it's cold
Baby, it's cold outside

Later in the same movie, Red Skelton and Betty Garrett reverse the roles – he wants to leave, but she is insistent that he stays!

What, you think Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt just thought that up?

Loesser received an Oscar for “Best Original Song” that year, it has been nominated as one of the “100 Greatest Christmas Songs Ever”, and it has become a standard for singers from Bing Crosby and Doris Day to Indina Menzel and Michael Buble’.

Captain’s Note: For what it’s worth, a different Loesser song was intended for the movie, but “I’d Like to Get You on a Slow Boat to China” was considered too risque’ for 1949!

I'd like to get you on a slow boat to China
All to myself alone
Get you and keep you in my arms evermore
Leave all your lovers weeping on the faraway shore

Out on the briny with the moon big and shiny
Melting your heart of stone
I'd love to get you on a slow boat to China
All to myself alone

Here’s the Captain’s thoughts – because I know you want to know… otherwise, why are you still here?

We cannot judge a song written in 1944 by modern-day standards, especially standards that have been created largely by current events. If Bill Cosby and the long list of newly-outed celebrity sexual predators had not become the focus of virtually every news headline today, this song might still be seen as romantic and flirty.

But in the current state of romance and flirtation - concepts almost completely destroyed by men behaving badly - this simple little ditty can easily be distorted to be a song about sexual predation: he is holding her against her will despite her efforts to get away.

As one recent critic points out, “She says ‘no’ three times!”

And “no” means “no”. Right?

Captain’s note: If you look closer at that line in the song, the woman actually says, “I ought to say, ‘No, no, no sir’.” But she doesn’t. Because she is flirting. She wants to stay, but what would her parents say? "There's bound to be talk tomorrow... At least there will be plenty implied..."

The Captain sees the current slough of criticism against this song in the same way as I see modern readers of the Bible shocked – “JUST SHOCKED!” – when they realize that slavery is acceptable, even approved of, in the scriptures.

Those holy writings were from a different part of the world, some from thousands of years ago. Hopefully we have progressed in our understanding of and appreciation of all human life since then.

And, for those readers older than your Captain, should I remind you of your own history with slavery?

But I digress…

In 2010, Persephone Magazine jumped into the fray in defense of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”:

     At the time period the song was written [1944], “good girls,” especially young, unmarried girls, did not spend the night at a man’s house unsupervised. The tension in the song comes from her own desire to stay and society’s expectations that she’ll go. We see this in the organization of the song — from stopping by for a visit, to deciding to push the line by staying longer, to wanting to spend the entire night, which is really pushing the bounds of acceptability. Her beau in his repeated refrain “Baby, it’s cold outside” is offering her the excuses she needs to stay without guilt.

Did I mention that Persephone Magazine is a feminist blog?

To be sure, the Captain finds nothing good to say about sexual harassment / sexual abuse.

But this is not that.

I just think “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a cute little song from a previous era. It perhaps gets more attention than other songs from that same era (go watch “Guys and Dolls” and come back and let’s talk) because it is overplayed during the holiday season.

But if you really want to talk about sexual predation and the abuse of women, turn on a modern day radio station and listen to some of the lyrics of today’s music.

Take, for example, “Blurred Lines”, by Robin Thicke:
What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place!

And then there’s the refrain, “I know you want it…”

Or the song “Mr. Carter”, sung by Lil Wayne:

Girl you're cold,
Girl you're cool
You herd of salt and pepper,
But girl you food
Girl you're hot like a bowl of stew
And I just stood over my stew and just blew
And when there was no more you in the soup,
I remove my spoon and drank you juice
You wanna do me do what you wanna do

No, the Captain will not print the refrain here.

Even I have my limits!

And this one from Maroon 5 called “Animals”:
Baby I'm preying on you tonight
Hunt you down eat you alive
Just like animals
Like animals…

And that’s the “safe” part of the song!

So now, after reading those lyrics, tell me again how bad “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is…

Time to pick a different fight.