Friday, July 29, 2022

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 self-admitted 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. His passing in 2007 directly inspired me to seek out information on the "true" story of what happened with the Chicken Ranch, and when I learned that no such history book existed, I researched and wrote Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse. So in truth, Marvin Zindler is responsible for my book.

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: Esquivel Cabaret Mañana
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Friday, July 22, 2022

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

It's pretty much a given that the Georgia Satellites forever destroyed country music after hitting it big with the blues-drenched Southern guitar rock of "Keep Your Hands to Yourselves." Legions of mullet-wearing erstwhile country stars abandoned their ambitions of being the next George Strait or Randy Travis and instead settled for Billy Ray Cyrus rocking an amped-up Fender. In spite of this, you'd think the Georgia Satellites would've had more commercial success given the solid track listing of their debut album and deft expansion of their sound on the follow up effort. But no, after that first monster single fame quickly evaporated for the group. Which is a pity, because I have always liked "Battleship Chains" quite a bit. Sure, it's simple, but it delivers on its premise in spades, which is what any good rock song should do.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Three Dog Night.

Now Playing: Kava Kon Departure Exotica
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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

I'm writing about the Chicken Ranch again, because of course I am

Guess what, folks? I'm writing about the infamous Chicken Ranch again, because apparently that's what I do.

Follow: The Chicken Ranch, located in La Grange, Texas, purported to be the oldest continually-operating brothel in the U.S., was permanently closed in 1973 following a public campaign by flamboyant television personality Marvin Zindler. A Tony Award-winning Broadway musical was subsequently produced following said closure, and a motion picture starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds came shortly thereafter. Both were called "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." You may have heard of 'em.

If I'm doing my math right (checks math) that means 2023 will mark the 50th anniversary of the closure. Which brings us to my point--the contract's signed and I turned in the manuscript a few days ago, so there's no longer any reason to keep this close to my vest. Next year The History Press will publish a revised and updated 50th Anniversary Edition of my book, Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse. In the years since the first edition came out, I've uncovered additional information, corrected some errors and interviewed new people. Gaps in the narrative are filled. Errors that slipped into the first edition have been corrected. In short, this is the definitive definitive version of the story. I hope y'all will enjoy it!

P.S. The first edition's not long for this world, so if you want to stock up on a potential collector's item, now's the time to get while the getting's good...

Now Playing: Tak Shindo Brass And Bamboo plus Accent On Bamboo
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Monday, July 18, 2022

A Moment of Tiki: Dry July part 2

A Moment of Tiki episode 44
What's this? Jayme back with a rare mid-month episode drop for A Moment of Tiki? It's like a Christmas miracle! That's right, I'm back with episode 44: Dry July 2. If you missed the previous installment, the idea behind Dry July is that some folks who normally consume alcohol on a regular basis choose to abstain for a month. The reasons for doing so vary, but it has evolved into a national charitable event. Learn more at

Last time out, I shared my recipe for the Kokoleka Wai Niu, a rich, decadent sipper that it 100% tropical. This time out I go the opposite direction with the Tambulu Fizz, a recipe of my own devising that is a bright, light, intriguing sipper. I incorporate the dramatic (and somewhat unusual) flavors of rooibos tea, ginger beer and tamarind syrup to create a mocktail with flavor notes and mouthfeel to keep your tastebuds off balance for the duration. And I also give instructions for making tamarind syrup at home. Why isn't tamarind more ofen used in tiki cocktails? It seems like a no-brainer to me! Both recipes are included at the end of the episode.

Now Playing: Frank Sinatra The First Definitieve Performances
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Friday, July 15, 2022

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

I find it hard to believe I've never featured a Three Dog Night song here, because they recorded some killer music back in the day even if they didn't write their own material for the most part. "One" is deceptively simple and simultaneously lush. I really like it as a song that makes its point then lingers long after.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Stereophonic Space Sounds Unlimited.

Now Playing: The Beachcomber Trio Live at Kahiki 1965
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Monday, July 04, 2022

A Moment of Tiki: Dry July and Nautical Antique Warehouse

A Moment of Tiki
I'm back with a couple more episodes of A Moment of Tiki to share. First up is episode 43: Dry July. The idea behind Dry July is that some folks who normally consume alcohol on a regular basis choose to abstain for a month. The reasons for doing so vary, but it has evolved into a national charitable event. Learn more at

I'm of the firm opinion that all bars--be they of the commercial or home variety--should have an attractive list of non-alcoholic cocktail alternatives for guests who are not imbibing. The reason does not matter. Giving someone a Sprite garnished with a day-glo cherry doesn't cut it. With tiki, however, this is magnified tenfold. Tiki's all about the experience and the immersion is disrupted when everyone else is getting fantastic, creative beverages whilst those abstaining from alcohol are offered options that are, shall we say, lacking in effort. Whether you call them mocktails, drybations or zero-proof cocktails, the end result should be no less a treat for the senses. When I came up with this recipe, I wanted something that'd be a treat for the eyes with a blend of bright, unexpected tropical flavors. I also wanted a texture and mouthfeel that were decadent and luxurious. The end result is a little sweeter than I usually aim for, but I believe the end result works well. If it's too sweet for your tastes, feel free to have the amounts of cinnamon and orgeat syrups. If you try this at home, be sure to let me know what you think!

Episode 42 features a road trip to Nautical Antique Warehouse in Galveston. I've relied on a lot of DIY in building out my tiki space, but even the most creative maker sometimes just wants to buy some decor and be done with it. This video should give viewers a good look at this tiki-adjacent gem on the Texas coast. Owners Michael and Adrienne Culpepper have been bringing authentic ship salvage to buyers for 22 years now and make annual buying trips to huge ship breaking yards in India, Bangladesh and Turkey. Subscribe to their mailing list to get the heads-up on when new cargo containers full of amazing finds arrive. I'd visit much more often if Galveston weren't a three-plus hour drive away from me.

Now Playing: Sammy Davis Jr. That Old Black Magic
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