Posted on September 11th, 2013 1 comment
Just as the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 changed the course of American history (and directly led to the mid-century era that we love so much), the attacks on 9/11 changed America and Americans again. Personally, I think part of that change came in the from of more people having an appreciation for our culture, including our past.
The new Freedom Tower is being built…and what are they comparing it to? The height of the Empire State Building. Ellis Island is currently undergoing its second restoration in 25 years, after being neglected for decades. Classic cars are more popular than ever, with several TV shows dedicated to them. There is even a Tiki Bar in New York City again, after so many years without one.
We’ll be visiting New York City this weekend, including Ground Zero. I am not a New Yorker; I only saw the World Trade Center Towers once, in 1986. I looked up. It was amazing. It will be amazing to stand where they were, where the new tower is now. I will remember the 3000 people who lost their lives to a gang of whacked-out hoodlum cowards. And I’ll recognize that we haven’t had an attack in America since then.
Today, I raise a glass to all those who endangered or lost their lives trying to save other on this day. To the victims and their families. To everyone who was impacted by this horror.
- Christopher Pinto
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