Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

Today, Desi Arnaz is best known as Ricky Ricardo--Lucy's husband--from "I Love Lucy." But he was a powerhouse entertainer in his own right before those two became a couple, performing with the legendary Xavier Cugat before striking out on his own. It was with Cugat that he first started performing what would become his signature piece, "Babalu." I think it's pretty apparent in this performance why he became a Big Deal.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Dire Straits.

Now Playing: Xavier Cugat The Very Best of Xavier Cugat
Chicken Ranch Central

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Chicken Ranch anniversary: Marvin Zindler (1921-2007)

On this date in 2007, KTRK consumer affairs reporter Marvin Zindler died of pancreatic cancer.

Zindler, of course, is forever linked with the Chicken Ranch, as his series of exposés on the brothel directly led to its closure. And for that reason, many people (mostly men) who are old enough to remember curse his name. Despite being a raging egomaniac, he was a powerful champion of the downtrodden in his lifetime, and did a tremendous amount of good. Where the Chicken Ranch was concerned, he let his lust for fame and the spotlight get the better of him, and this allowed people with a vendetta against the Chicken Ranch to manipulate him from a distance. Zindler was a person who firmly believed in his own righteous infallibility, and once it became clear the vast organized crime conspiracy behind the Chicken Ranch's operation did not exist, well, Zindler doubled down on the conspiracy angle rather than admitting he'd been duped. He went to his grave insisting on criminal conspiracy and corruption, although he was never able to prove any of his claims.

Despite this, nobody could argue Zindler wasn't committed to his job. He accomplished a tremendous amount of good throughout his career, championing the downtrodden and exposing slum lords, unscrupulous car salesmen and all manner of predators exploiting people who had neither the money nor power to fight back. But they had Zindler on their side. Despite constant pain from the cancer destroying him, Zindler insisted on delivering his famed restaurant report from his hospital bed on July 20. It proved to be his final report. Just over a week later, he was dead.

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.

Now Playing: Edmundo Ros & His Orchestra The Very Best of Edmundo Ros & His Orchestra
Chicken Ranch Central

Monday, July 20, 2020

A Moment of Tiki episodes 10 & 11

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

First up is episode 10, in which my little web series moves up into double digits! For this momentous occasion, I interview Austin burlesque performer and model Something Blue, who is all kinds of fun. We go behind the scenes for her photo shoot with Secrets By Miss Lisa, and a good time is had by all.

In episode 11, I review Beachbum Berry Remixed, probably the ultimate tiki cocktail recipe book, written by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. It's a combined edition of his earlier books, Grog Log and Intoxica! that is updated, revised and expanded with additional recipes. And wow, does he bring the recipes! Hundreds upon hundreds of classic cocktails reside within those pages, many thought lost forever before Berry's dogged persistence and devoted cocktail sleuthing uncovered them. Anyone who's enjoyed an authentic, classic tiki cocktail over the past 20 years likely has Berry to thank for the quality of their tipple.

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 10: Something Blue

Episode 11: Beachbum Berry Remixed

Now Playing: Various artists Technicolor Paradise
Chicken Ranch Central

Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

Back in high school I got into Dire Straits when everyone else my age did--that is, when "Money For Nothing" became the monster hit that consumed radio. That's about as far as my interest went, although I did get On the Night in college and listened to it quite a bit. Now, as I enter my dotage, I find myself seasonally enamoured with Dire Straits. Specifically, the band's become one of my go-to soundscapes for night swimming in the pool. Even more specifically, the double live album Alchemy, which I've only had for a few years. See, Alchemy was that one entry in the Columbia Records & CD Club (and later BMG) catalog that always beckoned me. I never pulled the trigger, because like a lot of my peers, I didn't really grok Brothers in Arms and all of Mark Knopfler's jazzy instrumentals. But when you become an old fart, sometimes you say "What the hell?" and scratch those 30-year-old curiosity itches. And I'm glad I did, because Alchemy is a spectacular live album that lives up to its reputation. Which is neither here nor there, because "Skateaway" isn't on Alchemy but it's exemplifies that particular Dire Straits sound I come back to every summer. It also doesn't hurt that this video is silly fun and takes me back to my teenage years, even though it came out before I was technically a teenager, and the one time I actually went skating I ended up with a broken leg. Ah, memories...

Previously on Friday Night Videos... MonaLisa Sisters.

Now Playing: Dire Straits Alchemy
Chicken Ranch Central