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  • MAD MEN Season Six Finale – A little disappointed

    Posted on June 24th, 2013 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment
    Mad Men  - What the hell???

    Mad Men - What the hell???

    Warning: Contains Spoilers.

    Well, the sixth season of MAD MEN came to a close a couple of hours ago, and honestly, although I dug the season as a whole, I thought the finale was a bit of a let down.

    Why, you ask? Why, when it was full of insane twists…Pete’s Mother missing at sea, Pete blowing the Chevy account because he couldn’t drive stick (and getting thrown under the bus…or the Camaro..by Bob), Don’s ousting, Peggy & Ted’s on-impulse affair…

    Yeah, juicy stuff, for a mid-season episode. Places to come back from, or look ahead from.

    But by no means did this season finale pack the creative and artistic wallop of last year’s closing. Remember, at the end of the episode, when Don literally walked off the set, out of Megan’s life, and into a bar where we pretty much new he was going to be up to his old tricks? Remember the music, “You Only Live Twice” swelling in time with his heavy footfalls as he walked past the cameras and set pieces?

    Yeah, none of that.

    Instead, we get a very flat, very dull ousting by the same people who have always supported Don, including Joan, who basically owed everything to him (well, a lot anyway) and Coop, who would have certainly had a 30-second heart to heart with Don quoting some Japanese culture or Ayne Rand book before even considering giving Don a leave, temporary or not. Then we cut to the same old tired scene of Roger trying to get back into Joan’s skirt, with Bob cutting the turkey like he lives at Joan’s, then Don acting like nothing ever happened, driving his kids, in his Cadillac, hours out of the way to whatever-the-hell small town in PA he lived in to show the dilapidated whorehouse to Sally and her brothers. It ends with that crappy Judy Collins song, “Both Sides Now”, which is so far out of the Mad Men/Don Draper spirit of things that it might as well have been (insert anything by Hendrix, Joplin or the Stones here).

    Yep. No cool cinematography, no really extreme meltdown to cause the partners to vote Don out, no incredible revelation by Don that he’s done something awful. Nope. Just some luke-warm “I’m drinking too much” (again), a luke-warm argument with Megan when he tells her he screwed her career royally, a luke-warm response to him getting basically fired from the company he created, a luke-warm response to – of all people – Duck Phillips, ushering in who will probably be his replacement, and a luke-warm look at his old stomping grounds, the friendly neighborhood brothel.

    Sorry guys, but I expected a lot more.

    Maybe I didn’t really expect Megan to wind up murdered in a Sharon Tate-esque scenario (which is all the buzz now), although I thought there was another hint to that when Don decided to move them to LA. Maybe I didn’t think there would be some major scene where Don gives Chaw the ultimate screw-over by somehow outing his and Peggy’s affair.

    What I did expect was showmanship. “Just the kind of theater that makes their work so different”, as that new guy from Ted’s company who no one ever remembers his name said in the Hershey meeting. So what the hell happened?

    First of all: Why did Don get ousted? It doesn’t make sense. Sure, he said some stupid things at the Hershey meeting. But Don is known for saying inappropriate things to clients and potential clients. If this were really an issue, he would have been fired in Season Two. So why now? Especially after doing something so nice for Ted. Wouldn’t Ted, in return for allowing him to go to LA, have nixed the idea of forcing Don out? He’s still a full partner, just like Don…which brings up another point: DON IS A FULL PARTNER. Seems he would have had a bit more of a say in the matter. Maybe not much, but more than just turning around and leaving.

    And what about Peggy? Really, Peggy? Acting on her feelings for Ted, a married man with two kids? Parading around in an outfit that made her look like she was ready to jump out of a cake in 1956? Then sleeping with him? Then getting mad when he said, for the 80th time, that he loves his wife and the whole thing was a mistake? Just doesn’t seem very Peggy like. Just doesn’t.

    Wow! This rant went on a lot longer than I expected. I guess I am more disappointed in this finale than I thought I’d be. It’s late, and I’m sure this is full of typos which I will fix in the morning. For now, here’s just one idea that they could have gone with, instead of the luke-warmy-ness that this season ended on:

    • Sally does something much worse than buying beer. Maybe she and her friends get drunk and steal, and wreck a car. Sally’s ok, but in jail. This is a sign of Sally’s teen rebellion, brought on by the times, and of course Don’s award-winning parenting.

    • Ted gets in much deeper with Peggy, to the point that we really feel his life will fall to pieces if he stays in town. Don is his only hope. Don refuses to help him at first…but realizes that he might have another suicide on his hands if he doesn’t change his mind quick, so he does. This gives Don a real, strong reason to stay in NYC, while completely screwing over Megan.

    • Don does some specific things to piss off Roger, maybe Joan, maybe that other guy who no one ever remembers his name. Specifics, not blowing a meeting with Hershey, a company he never thought would advertise in the first place. Maybe he jeopardizes Chevy. Maybe there are further repercussions from Jaguar. Something strong that would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    • While trying to help Sally, help Ted and help Megan, he blows up everything…maybe Megan finds out about his affair (from Sally?); gives the partners (including Ted) that very good reason to give him a “leave of absence”; Sally blames his behavior for her problems; Megan tells him that she will live in LA anyway and that they are basically separated. The episode ends with the irony that Don is finally trying to fix the problems he’s created, only to be thrown aside by the same people he is (finally) trying to help. The final scenes are of each of these people forcing him out of their lives, until he finds himself in a dark bar, nursing an Old Fashioned. The camera flies in slowly from behind him, and we see he is writing new ideas…maybe for a knock-out ad campaign for Hershey…on a napkin. The music playing? “That’s Life” by Sinatra. Yeah.

  • Tropical Storm Isaac washed out a Weekend in South Florida

    Posted on August 26th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    cover-murder-on-tiki-island-marinaLiving in the Tropics is great. There’s no better way to enjoy the Tiki good life than having a pool you can use year round, an outdoor Tiki bar and palm trees in your front yard. The downside is, you get Tropical Storms and Hurricanes now and then.

    We got luck with Isaac. Unlike some of the other storms we’ve been hit with, so far this one is just dumping tons of rain on us. It’s already after 5:00pm on Sunday as I write this, and we’ve been lucky enough to not even have a power outage. The winds have been minimal and street flooding is no worse than we usually get during a rain storm.

    But it is a wake-up call. We haven’t had a major storm hit our home in Sunrise (about 12 miles west of Fort Lauderdale Beach) since Wilma tore apart the area in 2005. Many of you out of the area may not even remember Wilma…it was overshadowed by Katrina, which caused substantial damage. But the fact is that Wilma was and still is listed as the most costliest storm in American history. So we’ve been lucky for 7 years…

    It was Hurricane Wilma which gave me the idea for my Tiki-oriented murder mystery book, Murder on Tiki Island. Living through a Category 1 (up to 3) Hurricane was a real eye opener. It made me think of what it would have been like had it hit us head on…basically that would have meant almost total destruction. That led me to research storms of South Florida, which reminded me of the 1935 “Storm of the Century”, a Cat 5 ‘cane that destroyed a large chunk of the Florida Keys. That, and my own experience in the storms here, were the inspiration for my book.

    All weather reports are indicating the worst of the storm is over for us. Tomorrow will probably be rainy but quiet. We dodged the bullet, again.

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the storm shelter inside Pirate’s Cove Tiki Lounge

  • Voodoo Cooler – Your Weekend Tiki Bar Cocktail Recipe!

    Posted on March 9th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    tropical-cocktail-artAs most of you mix-o-matic kats and shaker shakin’ kittens know, there’s a biz-zillion ways to combo rums, fruit juices and ice to make a groovy Tropical Cocktail. Some take time, skill and a bankroll to create, some are easy and cheap, and if done right, all are really good.

    The Voodoo Cooler

    is a drink that you can probably whip together with stuff you usually have laying around the bar, so you can have a tropical cocktail without taking a trip to the liquor store.

    1 oz dark or spiced rum (your choice)
    1 oz Midori
    2 oz coconut rum
    1/2 oz orange juice
    1/2 oz pineapple juicetropical-cocktail-2

    Shake everything up in a shaker with ice, and pour into the coolest looking Tiki mug you can find. Garnish with fresh orange and pineapple, a cherry, and an umbrella. This drink is a little sweeter than most, but it’s refreshing and has a real “islandy” taste.

    If you wanna go nutz…

    Put this all in a blender with ice and do a frozen job, then top with a jigger of 151. Woo hoo! Key West style, baby!

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the outdoor bar on the lanai, in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida

  • It’s National Margarita Day! So, here are some Tiki-Rita Recipes for your party.

    Posted on February 22nd, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    sexy-pin-up-girl-margaritaTiki Margarita Recipes!

    I just found out this morning that today is National Margarita Day. Not sure who put this day on Ash Wednesday, the day after Fat Tuesday, which created all kinds of problems for some people (from religious to hangovers), but it is what it is, so here are some cool Margarita drink recipes taken from “100 Margaritas” by Johnny Tiki with John Taddeo, available as a free PDF download from Voodoo Tiki Tequila.

    By the way…Voodoo Tiki Tequila is some great stuff, and is perfect for your Tiki bar. The bottles feature a hand-blown glass Tiki inside, and look great on your top shelf. They have a variety of styles, with the REPOSADO being my favorite. Check em out: VoodooTiki.com.

    Coconut Margarita

    “Also known as a Chi Chi Margarita, it’s coco sweet and tasty.”
    Ingredients:
    1 1/2 oz Voodoo Tiki
    Platinum Tequila
    1/2 oz Coconut Rum
    2 1/2 oz Piña Colada Mix
    1 1/2 oz Sour Mix
    Directions:
    Up or on the rocks combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with
    ice. Shake vigorously and let sit 5 seconds. Strain into martini
    glass or into a freshly iced rocks glass. For frozen – recommended
    – combine all ingredients in a blender with ice and blend smooth.

    Tiki Torch Mar-Tiki

    “Flaming shots are for showoffs…like me! And nothing lights a bar on
    fire better than the Grain Alcohol! Grab a bottle at your local liquor
    store or from Uncle Jesse’s liquor cabinet and layer your drink pouring slowly onto the
    back of a bar spoon over your glass. Careful! Unless your into outdoor living, wipe up any spills before igniting.
    Ingredients:
    3 1/2 oz Voodoo Tiki
    Añejo Tequila
    1 oz Everclear or Grain
    Alcohol (float and ignite)
    1 1/2 oz Roses Lime Juice
    Directions:
    Layer tequila first, then lime juice, then the Grain. Light the torch and serve

    Coconut Almond Margaritapina-mellon-pear-margarita

    “Tropical coconut and mango collide. A unique slant on the traditional tropical treat.”
    Ingredients:
    1 oz Voodoo Tiki Platinum
    Tequila
    1 oz Amaretto
    1 oz Malibu Coconut Rum
    2 oz Mango Juice or Puree
    1 oz White Cranberry Juice
    Directions:
    On the rocks, combine all ingredients and shake well. If serving up, shake well, then allow a few seconds to rest before pouring.
    Rim: Coconut Flakes

    Piña-melon Pear Margarita

    “Three sweet fruits – luscious prickly pear, juicy melon and
    sweet pineapple – make this mouth watering margarita a fruit filled favorite.”
    Ingredients:
    1 oz Voodoo Tiki Desert Rose
    Prickly Pear Infused Tequila
    1 oz Midori Melon Liqueur
    1/2 oz Triple Sec
    1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
    1 oz White Cranberry Juice
    1 oz Sour Mix
    Directions:
    Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and shake. Strain into martini glass or over fresh ice.
    Rim: Sugar

    NOTE! My old buddy Steve Sharpe suggests adding a dollop of honey to your margarita before you blend. Thanks for the tip, Steve. This will come in handy if we ever make it to Manilla.

    Happy Margarita Day! -Tiki Chris, reporting from the adobe bar next to Tiki Lounge Talk.

  • Hurricane Irene Brushes Past South Florida

    Posted on August 25th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments
    Hurricane Irene, just east of Florida, August 25, 2011. Notice how this storm is bigger than the state of Texas.

    Hurricane Irene, just east of Florida, August 25, 2011. Notice how this storm is bigger than the state of Texas.

    Here in Fort Lauderdale, we’re getting the first licks from Hurricane Irene’s outer bands. The sky over the Atlantic is nothing but bands of slate and dark gray, almost black, obliterating the sun from sunny South Florida.

    Sheets of dense rain have been coming in waves, and streets prone to flooding are already under several inches of water. Thankfully this bitch is 200+ miles away. If it had hit us as a Cat 3, as previously forecasted, I wouldn’t be writing this…I’d be heading for shelter.

    Let’s hope this whirling insanity doesn’t do much damage as it heads up the coast.

    -Tiki Chris, reporting from the observation tower at Tiki Lounge Talk.
    KeyWestMurderMystery.com