Monday, September 21, 2020

A Moment of Tiki: Kakamoras and Moai

"A Moment of Tiki" returns for your viewing pleasure with two new episodes!

First up is episode 14: Kakamoras! In the Disney animated film Moana, there's a very fun sequence where the heroes of the film are attacked by pirates called Kakamoras. They're cute, tiny creatures that wear coconuts painted with fearsome visages as armor. Naturally, they're crazy cute, albeit a bit vicious. They differ significantly from the Kakamoras of Solomon Island mythology, which are small, hairy forest spirits who are generally peaceful but have been known to eat people on occasion. I suppose they're the Solomon Island equivalent of Hawaii's Menehune, but that's beside the point. The coconut Kakamoras are great additions to one's home tiki bar, but inexplicably this is one area the Disney marketing machine missed the proverbial boat on. Why Disney has chosen not to produce life-sized coconut warriors is beyond me, but that's easily remedied if you can get your hands on a coconut of two. Believe it or not, ordinary supermarket coconuts can be easily transformed into bloodthirsty Kakamora pirates, who also happen to be cute and cuddly. Let's make some Kakamoras!

In episode 15, I review the book The Statues That Walked by Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo. If you know anything about Rapa Nui, aka Easter Island, it's probably that the island is home to some 900 giant carved statues known as Moai. If you know anything beyond that, you've probably heard that the tiny island once had a great civilization that put all its effort into creating these giant statues, so much that the population cut down every tree which led to ecological collapse, famine and warfare that wiped out most of the population. It's a widely repeated cautionary tale about the folly of mankind and while it makes a great story, it's utterly and completely wrong. Archaeologists/anthropologists Hunt and Lipo lay out a convincing case backed up by copious amounts of evidence that the Rapanui people had a pretty good thing going until Europeans arrived, ruined everything, then blamed it all on the natives.

Remember, you can view all of my videos online at YouTube. If you enjoy, don't forget to subscribe and leave a comment! I'll be mighty grateful!

Episode 14: Kakamoras!

Episode 15: The Statues That Walked

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Friday, September 04, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

There weren't many bands bigger than Journey in the 80s. Success breeds imitation, and I daresay there wasn't a bigger Journey-esque band than Survivor (which will certainly earn me hate from Survivor's fanbase, but honestly, their sound share 90% of the same DNA). I heard "High on You" yesterday in the grocery store for the first time in maybe 20 years, and although I knew the lyrics by heart it took me a minute to remember the band. My first thought was, naturally, Journey, but obviously the singer wasn't Steve Perry. My mental list reached as far as .38 Special before I remembered Survivor. The song really is a well-crafted three minutes of top 40 goodness, filled with multiple hooks and catchy lyrics. I still have several Survivor albums from that era, none of which are anywhere near as memorable as individual songs. Strange how some bands craft brilliant albums with no hits, and others record forgettable albums filled with hits. Go figure.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... The Go-Go's.

Now Playing: Jorge Ben Samba Esquema Novo
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Friday, August 28, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

The Go Go's are back with a new song, "Club Zero." This makes me surprisingly happy, as it sounds like classic Go Go's. And I'm starting to think Jane's a vampire, because apart from the graying of her hair, she still looks like she did back in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Toto.

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Friday, August 21, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

It's weird, but lately songs that I haven't heard for 30 years or more have been spontaneously popping into my head. The latest case in point: Toto's "Stranger In Town." The chorus started repeating itself in my mind, and I remembered so little about the song I had to look up who the artist was. Imagine my surprise at discovering it was Toto! I only have one of their albums, Past to Present 1977–1990, a greatest hits compilation that doesn't include this song, despite it charting in the mid-80s. Go figure. The video was also new to me as well. It features Brad Dourif, of all people! Wow. Some things you learn way after the fact.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Willie Nelson.

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Monday, August 17, 2020

A Moment of Tiki takes on thatch and milk punch

"A Moment of Tiki" returns for your viewing pleasure with two new episodes!

First up is episode 12, in which I actually build something for a change. Remember how all the way back in episode 1 I showed how to flame-treat bamboo for use in your home tiki bar? Well, here's where we put all that bamboo to work, building an awning for the tiki bar that is covered with thatch to ward off sun and rain! I do have one caveat, however. Since filming these videos, I've learned Asian bamboo mites are prevalent in California and parts of Florida. Heat treating won't kill the eggs in the bamboo unless the whole thing is heated above 160F for a couple of hours--which simple flame-treating doesn't accomplish. Bamboo mites aren't found in Texas (lucky for me!) but if you live in California or Florida, be careful with self-harvested bamboo lest you get an infestation of termite-like critters in your home.

In episode 13, I am inspired by the May 2020 Home Bar Awards challenge, and take on the arcane mysteries of clarified milk punch. I put a tiki spin on this particular tipple, naturally enough, using several different types of rum, falernum and allspice dram to come up with my "Cabaritta Punch" recipe. It's good. It's also challenging to make, although since I've blundered my way through it once, the second time should go a little bit more smoothly. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

Remember, you can view all of my videos online at YouTube. If you enjoy, don't forget to subscribe and leave a comment! I'll be mighty grateful!

Episode 12: Thatch Me If You Can!

Episode 13: Clarified Milk Punch

Now Playing: The Kinks Everybody's In Showbiz
Chicken Ranch Central

Monday, August 10, 2020

Chicken Ranch anniversary: Happy birthday, Marvin Zindler!

On this date in 1921, KTRK consumer affairs reporter Marvin Zindler was born.

Zindler, of course, is forever linked with the Chicken Ranch, as his series of exposés on the brothel directly led to its closure. Marvin clashed with his father (who owned the well-regarded Zindler's clothing store in Houston) growing up and went on to try his hand at a host of different career options. He was a drum major (briefly) at Tarleton State, served in the Marines (again, briefly) before being discharged as 4F, was a radio reporter for defunct Houston radio station KATL, was a reporter for the defunct Houston Press, ran for mayor of Bellaire, was fired by one TV station because he was "too ugly for television" and was a Harris County deputy sheriff for years, where he worked in civil fraud and fugitive extradition before setting up the consumer fraud division.

Had he not died of pancreatic cancer in 2007, Zindler would've been 99 today.

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is available from both Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com. It's also available as an ebook in the following formats: Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

Now Playing: Antonio Carlos Jobim/Luiz Bonfá Orfeu Negro: Bof du Film de Marcel Camus
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Friday, August 07, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

I don't know why I thought of Mac Davis, but he was ubiquitous on the radio back when I was growing up. So I thought I'd feature his biggest hit, a tongue-in-cheek ode to self-affirmation, on today's Friday Night Videos. I was shocked to discover there were not any quality clips of him performing it! I considered using his appearance on the Muppet Show, which is good fun, but it's badly pixellated and I couldn't stand watching more than a minute of it. Fortunately, Willie Nelson comes to the rescue, because his cover of "It's Hard to Be Humble" is the musical elixir we didn't know we needed.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Desi Arnaz.

Now Playing: Les Baxter African Jazz
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