Thursday, April 23, 2020

Chicken Ranch anniversary: Happy birthday, Dolph!

On this date in 1923, Dolph Briscoe, who would go on to become the 41st governor of Texas, was born. He would've been 97 today. Briscoe, a long-time Uvalde rancher, is generally remembered fondly from his terms as governor for being a decent guy. But his administration did earn some dubious distinctions. Briscoe was the last Texas governor to serve a two-year term and the first to serve a four-year term. He undermined two efforts to rewrite Texas' abysmal constitution (which remains a trainwreck to this day). Briscoe once appointed a dead man to the State Health Advisory Commission, and if what I've heard is true, called a press conference in the aftermath to reassure the press and public that he hadn't lost his grip on sanity.

But what most people remember him for--and which doesn't appear in most official biographies--is that he is the governor who ordered the closure of the infamous Chicken Ranch brothel in La Grange. Ironically, Briscoe had no actual legal authority to order the Chicken Ranch (or any other brothel, for that matter) closed. But he did, hoping nobody would call his bluff. Fayette County Jim Flournoy certainly knew the governor had no authority to do so, but acquiesced to Briscoe and effectively ended a surreal two-week media circus that captured the attention of Texas as well as the rest of the country.

Governor Briscoe died June 27, 2010, after ignoring my interview requests for the better part of a year. He's have been 93 today. Happy birthday, Dolph!

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

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Moment of Tiki: Episodes 3 & 4

Hey folks, I'm back with two more episodes of "A Moment of Tiki" for your viewing pleasure. First up is episode 3, in which I review Smuggler's Cove by Martin and Rebecca Cate. It's an excellent introduction to the ins and outs of tiki culture, rum and cocktails without ever becoming too nerdy or overwhelming. Plus, it's got some excellent cocktail recipes within its pages as well. In episode 4 I shift gears a little bit and actually build something (making a video how-to-build a home tiki bar series was my original concept, but my projects aren't linear and take longer to complete than ideal for ongoing installments). In this case, I replace a shabby, makeshift window cat door with one that's more aesthetically integrated into my home tiki bar as a whole.

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 3: Smuggler's Cove

Episode 4: Cat Door

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Friday, April 17, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

Blue Öyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" is kind of an obvious choice for these times, but sometimes you just have to roll with it.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... John Prine.

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

We lost John Prine to COVID-19 this week. Here he is in better times with Bonnie Raitt singing "Angel From Montgomery."

Previously on Friday Night Videos... R.E.M..

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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

A Moment of Tiki

If this doesn't count as the most ridiculous thing I've ever done, I don't know what does. I've gone and started a YouTube series, "A Moment of Tiki." Goodness knows what I was thinking--I certainly don't have time to launch another project, yet here we are.

Here's the thing: Since I fell down the tiki rabbit hole very hard and very fast three years ago, I've been hard at work building my own tropical paradise in our backyard. Whilst doing so, I've been careful to document my building progress and technique, as evidenced by my build-along posts right here on this very blog. The ideas was that someone new to tiki might not have any idea how to do something, and rather than reinvent the wheel like I've done, they might take some inspiration from my efforts and save a little time and effort. I know I would've appreciated a bit more "how-to" than I was able to fine online when I was starting out. David Phantomatic of the Marooned Texas Tiki Podcast encouraged me to launch my own podcast devoted to tiki bar builds. I wasn't sure what good that would do anyone, as it's hard to convey a build technique through audio alone. But through the magic of YouTube, with its moving pictures and other chicanery, it might be possible to convey those same techniques. I listen to the Wood Talk podcast, and each of the hosts have their own video series where they do just that with various workshop projects. The idea is for me to replicate that, in a very small, and very niche way, with "A Moment of Tiki." Plus, there are cocktails.

The first two episodes are live now. I plan to launch a new episode every Monday through the end of April, then shift to a monthly schedule thereafter. If you could find it in your heart to mosey on over and give my videos a like, a kind comment or even gasp subscribe, I'd be grateful.

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Friday, April 03, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

I've done this one before, but if now's not the time to revisit "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" then I don't know what is.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Cheap Trick.

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