Posted on January 21st, 2013 No comments
It was the morning of Sunday, September 15th, 1963.
In New York City, a group of white ad execs had breakfast in a diner. They noticed a black family walk in, dressed for church. They thought it unusual for blacks to be in that part of town, but not unheard of. Everyone went back to eating breakfast without a second thought.
At the same time in Birmingham, Alabama, a white supremacist and member of the local KKK planted a bomb under the steps of a church known to be a place where civil right leaders met. The bomb exploded at 10:22 am, murdering four teenage girls (Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14) and injuring 23 others. This bombing was in response to the attempted desegregation of Alabama.
After the bombing, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (among others) voiced their outrage. But Dr. King went beyond voicing outrage. He wired Wallace that “the blood of four little children … is on your hands. Your irresponsible and misguided actions have created in Birmingham and Alabama the atmosphere that has induced continued violence and now murder.”
It takes guts to stand up to a Governor, especially to accuse him of having a direct impact on the cause of four children’s murders. But that’s what Dr. King did. He fought. Not with his fists, not with guns or dynamite. He fought with the power of his words, and 50 years after that tragic event we still hear his voice. It doesn’t matter if we saw him live, on TV, or in a taped speech years after his death. His spirit and legacy live on.
Here’s last year’s post on Dr. Martin Luther King, including the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
Here’s a timeline of Dr. King’s accomplishments, courtesy of OnlineCollegeCourses.com.
-Tiki Chris for Tiki Lounge Talk
Posted on December 7th, 2012 No comments
December 7, 1941. To most of us, it seems like a thousand years ago, and at the same time just yesterday. I suppose it depends on how much you realize that infamous day, and World War II, affected our parents and grandparents, and still affects us today. Although it’s true that Hitler was changing the world in Europe, it wasn’t until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor forced America full-on into the war. Had Japan not attacked, we may have never committed to the fight in Europe (American sentiment at the time was mostly one of support, but not one of entering England and France’s war). Germany may have conquered all of Europe. It may or may not have conquered Russia, it may or may not have set its sites on the U.S. But one thing is completely clear: The events of the morning of December 7, 1941 allowed the first domino to fall in the chain of events that lead America to become the strongest nation in the world.
On a happier note, there is one very good thing that came out of America’s involvement in World War II: Those soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors who survived the war in the Pacific brought back with them a love of the tropics, palm trees, grass shacks and exotic women…which led to America’s love affair with Polynesian pop and the wonderful world of Tiki.
Here are some video clips that I relate to Pearl Harbor Day, and WW2 in the Pacific general. Take a few minutes and allow yourself to go back in time…
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Movie Trailer, 1970
Pearl Harbor Attack Scene
Pearl Harbor, 2001
In Harm’s Way
John Wayne, 1965
Bali Hai, 1958
From Here To Eternity, 1953
The Sands of Iwo Jima
Final Scene, Infamous Flag Raising, 1949
Posted on December 5th, 2012 4 comments
December 5th marks the 79th anniversary of overturning one of the dumbest amendments ever added to the American Constitution: The 18th Amendment, also know as PROHIBITION. This was a perfect example of how a small but vocal group of dingbats could manipulate the government into getting their way. Thank God we don’t have that today (yes, that is sarcasm). Anyway, the 18th Amendment made it a federal offense to make booze or even just take a drink. This was supposed to stop men from become alcoholics, beating up their wives, losing their jobs, etc. etc. and to keep women from losing their virtue, becoming prostitutes and having any kind of fun whatsoever. Instead, it created the bloodiest band of criminals in our history: Gangsters. Finally, on December 5th, 1933, the federal amendment was repealed, and eventually (though not fast enough for most people) the states all repealed their individual laws. Well, most of them. As far as I know you still can’t buy booze from a liquor store in Atlantic City on Sunday night, and Ocean City, NJ is still a dry town…meaning yeah, you can’t even get a glass of wine with dinner. Then again, it’s kept Ocean City kind of nice. And it’s a short drive to Somers Point to Circle Liquors.
Here’s last year’s post, that I though was a lot of fun and worth reposting:
On December 5, 1933, the United States came to its senses and ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing the most ridiculous laws ever enacted in America…Prohibition. Yes, in case you missed that little tidbit in History class, from 1919 to 1933, it was illegal to make, sell, import, export, drink, look at or dream about alcohol. These laws were pushed through by a small but loud group of extremists who kinda thought making liquor illegal would stop people from drinking it, thus ending all problems of crime, mental illness and poverty in the US.
In walks Al Capone, and a whole lot of other smart guys like him. Up starts bootlegging. Crime shoots up, innocent people are killed (or jailed for having a slug), distilleries go out of business and moonshiners rake in the bucks. Yea, that worked really well, huh?
So in 1933, in the height of the Great Depression, the government ratified the repeal of these silly laws. YAY! Depression lessened immediately, gangsters went legit, and even though the economy was still bad nobody cared because they could get tanked on Jack while digging the tunes of Benny Goodman and Cab Calloway. If it weren’t for Hitler, the 30’s would have turned out all right.
So celebrate today with a swig of your favorite booze, a shot of hooch, a teacup of gin, a pull of beer or a refined cocktail in a highball glass. Whatever your pleasure, imbibe…for today marks the milestone when the US Government decided they should stick to governing and leave individual freedoms alone:)
Note: If Prohibition had actually worked, this would not be Tiki Lounge Conversations. It would be “Tiki Juice Stand Talk” and the conversations would be about playing Lawrence Welk tunes on my C-melody sax while drinking lemonade and driving my 1984 Chevy Citation. YUCK-OLA
Learn a little more about Repeal Day at http://www.repealday.org/
-Tiki Chris P reporting from the party room at Tiki Lounge Talk, the alcohol-endorsing blounge for Tikiphiles and retro swingers.
Posted on November 27th, 2012 3 comments
With the recent headlines of Hostess going out of business, many people are wondering how a company so old, so ingrained in American pop culture could close up shop overnight. Well, it’s a sad tail of greed, mismanagement and indifference, but that’s not what this article is about.
This article is about losing things you love.
So many of us who have a soft spot for mid-20th century pop have had to endure icon after icon fall from grace, only to be replaced by plastic-y, cookie cutter crap and chain-restaurant-ish dullsville blobs of made-in-China neveau detritus. From the demolition of almost all of America’s grand Tiki restaurants, to the destruction of the great movie palaces; from the downfall of America’s greatest music to its bubblegum-pop hip hop noise; we’ve seen way too many of the things that helped make America the great country it is get plowed down and swept away to make room for cardboard casinos and mislabeled “healthy” vitamin waters.
Hostess pies, Devil Dogs, and yes, Twinkies – although, let’s face it, they are crap too, have stood the test of time, and have been with us our entire lives. Personally, I’m not a big Twinkie fan. But I do enjoy a Devil Dog now and then (our wedding cake was made from them…long story, for another post) and like to splurge on a Hostess apple pie when I want my sugar count to soar to give my doctor a premature heart attack.
But there is one thing that I cannot live without.
I know, I know, many of you will say it’s the nutritional equivalent of eating Elmer’s glue and White Out. I don’t care. It’s the only bread I can eat a PB&J on. And it’s because that’s what I’ve always had my PB&J on, from when I was a little kid in the 1970s…you know, back when bread was bread, and Moms bought Wonder Bread because it tasted good and had the fun polka dots on the bag.
With Hostess making headlines last week as they close the company, apparently shutting their doors forever and denying future generations of Twinkies and Devil Dogs, something occured to me:
I can’t imagine a world without Wonder Bread.
The good news is, I probably won’t have to. In today’s society, there is a BIG difference between a successful BRAND and successful company. The company, run by a flock of who-the-hell-cares-as-long-as-our-bottom-line-stays-high investment firms, is worthless. The brand, however, is worth billions.
What I’m getting at is that just because Hostess the company goes out of business, it doesn’t mean Hostess the brand will go away.
Think about Monopoly, the game that’s been around since the 1930s. It was originally made by Parker Brothers games. Do you think Parker Bros. is still making Monopoly? Nope. Parker Brothers became part of General Mills, which merged it with Kenner, which was bought out by Tonka, which was in turn bought out by Hasbro. Still the same game, still the same fun, still the same look…just a different company building it.
Same thing goes with a candy bar I really dig. I think it’s a Philly/Jersey area thing, or at least used to be, because few people I talk to in Florida ever heard of Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. They disappeared about 10 years ago when a new company (Just Born) bought them out. They dropped the Goldenberg’s name, and sales fell. But they wised up…they brought the name back, and now I can buy Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews again, just like I did 30 years ago.
So will it be a world without Wonder Bread? I don’t think so. I have a feeling that great polka-dot packaging and paste-like bread will be around for a long time. I’m pretty sure Devil Dogs and Twinkies will, too, possibly even with the name “Hostess” blazoned in red lettering across the top of the package. In a few years, will anyone remember there was a time when that “name” stood for a company that went out of business, and caused a blip on the news headlines of 2012?
-Christopher Pinto, aka Tiki Chris
Posted on November 11th, 2012 1 comment
Today is Veterans Day, 2012,
and we’re going to take a minute to thank everyone who put their life on the line to keep America, and the world, a safe and better place.
Whether you were on the front lines or supporting staff, whether on a boat, in a plane, or on the ground, we want you to know that America knows that without ever one of you we wouldn’t be the great nation we are today. From the two World Wars where we fought against tyranny and beat the living hell out of them, to the ongoing fight to keep us safe from POS chicken terrorists, we salute your valiant and unselfish sacrifice.
I, Tiki Chris, have never served in the military. It is for that reason that I respect and honor anyone willing to put their life on the line to make sure I’ve got the freedom to sit here typing this post.
“The History of Veterans Day:
Many people don’t realize Veterans Day grew out of WWI. Here is a brief history of the day, taken from the US Department of Veteran Affairs Website:
“World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”
President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts
On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.
In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.
The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.
The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”
- Tiki Chris, reporting from the canteen at Tiki Lounge Talk