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  • Dig it, man…Bop (slang/jive) Dictionary from 1955, for cool kats (hipsters). Gone, man, gone.

    Posted on February 17th, 2014 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 46 comments

    Beatnik-3Hey kats, let’s take a gone history trip back to the double-nickle brights of the last century.

    (Translation: Let’s take a history lesson from 1955)

    Hep talk, Jive, hipster lingo…It all started with jazz musicians back in the 1920s and 30s. It’s generally accepted that “jive” started as a kind of code, especially to warn your fellow musicians about an impending police raid on the speakeasy you happened to be playing in that night. From there it took off into just a cool way for these kats (musicians) to differentiate themselves from the squares, and from there is took off into any USA culture click that considered themselves gone, out, way out, and in possession of a coolness that the cubes could never dig. Dig?

    Sent to me 20 years ago through a very un-hip but easy-to-use channel, “email”, this is a list of the hippest words with their American translation. I’m not sure, but I believe this dictionary was originally printed in Mad Magazine, c. 1955

    ABE’S CABE – a five dollar bill

    BIG GEORGE – a quarter

    BLAZE – to go

    BLOOD – wine

    BREAD – money

    BRIGHT – day

    BROWN ABE – a penny

    CHEATERS – eye glasses


    COOL – nice

    CRAZY – odd

    CRIB – house

    CUBE – 3-D square

    CUT – make fun of

    CUT OUT – leave

    DIG, TO DIG – to understand

    DUCE – a two dollar bill

    ENDS – money

    FLICKS – movies

    FLIP – react enthusiastically

    GONE – wonderful

    GREASE – eat

    HENCHMEN – friends

    HOLLYWOOD EYES – cute girls

    HUB CAP – important fellow

    JAMS – bop records

    JELLY TOT – young hub cap

    KAT – latest version of hipster
    KICK – thrill

    LATER – I’ll see you

    LAY DEAD – wait

    MAN – opening word when addressing a kat

    MAN, MY – friend, comrade

    MAN, THE – Stan Kenton

    NOD – sleep

    NOWHERE – condition of a cube

    OUT, THE OUTEST – best

    PLAYER – popular fellow

    QUIT, QUIT IT – leave

    RANCH – house

    RANK – stupid

    SCARF – eat

    SCROUNGY – bad

    SIDES – bop records

    SILVER JEFF – a nickel

    SILVER WING – a half dollar

    SLAMMER – door

    SONNET – radio commercial

    SPLASH – rain

    SPLIT – to go

    SQUAT – sit

    SQUARE – one who is nowhere

    STOMPERS – shoes

    STONED – ecstatic

    STROLLER – car

    STRUGGLE – dance

    THIN ONE – dime

    TICKS – minutes

    TUNES – bop records

    TURKEY – square

    WASTED – broke

    WHEELS – car

    WILD – nice

    YARD, A YARD – a hundred dollars

    Dig it how some of these terms are still cool today, like ‘dig’ and ‘cool’, along with ‘scarf’, ‘player’, ‘crib’ and ‘jams’. I also particularly dig that “The Man” is Stan Kenton (see previous post). Well, it’s a bop dictionary, after all.

    Compare to the 1958 “COOL” Magazine Hipster Dictionary, one that was more for the masses, not so much for Bop jazzers. Some common ground, of course, but a lot more words for ordinary things. Bop musicians didn’t need so many words. They said very little, saving their strength to play all those notes in their complicated Bop charts. Wild, man, wild.

    -Guest Post by Zoot Jackson, Gobble Pipe blower and swingin’ kat extraordinaire.

  • Jazz Appreciation Month – This Kat’s Two Cents…

    Posted on April 30th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    jazz-legs-saxAs Jazz Appreciation Month (suitably monikered “J.A.M”) comes down to the last few bars, I thought I throw in a few riffs of my own.

    My take on Jazz Appreciation: Most people who don’t like jazz have two main complaints: There are no words, and a lot of it sounds all the same. Well kids, jazz does have words, as vocalists the likes of Ella Fitzgerald to Mel Torme to Billie Holiday to Dean Martin can attest to.

    That's me, playing Tenor Sax

    That's me, playing Tenor Sax

    As for the sounds…Here’s the deal, in my humble opinion… you can’t really appreciate jazz until you see and  hear it live, see the musicians play,watch them pour their soul into a solo, see the sweat drip off them as they strain to push that perfect blue note out of a horn. There’s a dynamic in watching jazz live that you just don’t get from an album. Remember, this music was invented when recording was a novelty. These guys played live, and that was their life. Once you see jazz kats jam in person, then you can get hip to the recordings, because instead of hearing a bunch of notes getting thrown around, you catch the real drift the players are laying down. That’s Jazz Appreciation. Can you dig it? yeahhhh.

    Now, a little bit about jazz and me, for any of you kats and kittens who might be in the mood for a little story. I added this recording of me playing Take the A-Train on the Tenor Sax just for fun. I’m a little rusty but hey, after 2 drinks I sound great!

    The first jazz song I ever remember hearing was a sort of modified version of All Blues (Miles Davis). It was on Sesame Street, a goofy cartoon skit with a jazzy triangle and a square. (see it here on YouTube). Even at that early age, something clicked.

    Doing a funny clarinet skit in a high school talent show

    Doing a funny clarinet skit in a high school talent show

    My old man was into Progressive Jazz (Modern Jazz, Traditional Jazz) and turned me onto some kool players like Miles Davis and Sonny Stitt. At around the same time, my Grandfather introduced me to the music of the Big Bands – Miller, Dorsey, Goodman, Shaw. He gave me my first Big Band record, Star Dust by Artie Shaw. That tune has followed me all my life.

    When I was around 11, I decided I wanted to play an instrument. I didn’t know much about jazz other than what I was hearing on the Muppet Show, when kats like Dizzy Gillespie would star. First I wanted to play the trombone. Then I heard a Harry James record (I’ve Heard That Song Before) and decided the trumpet was for me. I sold my small coin collection and bought a King Cleavland (still have it).  I didn’t want to take lessons – wanted to figure it out myself. I couldn’t get much sound out of it, but tried like hell anyway. Then one day my old man came home with a clarinet. It was missing some keys in the low register, and the reed was held on with electrical tape.

    Playing Sax in "Who Shot The Piano Player?!", a StarDust Productions murder mystery dinner show

    Playing Sax in "Who Shot The Piano Player?!", a StarDust Productions murder mystery dinner show

    Turned out to be a very old horn, a turn-of-the-century job. Bought a ligature and a new reed, and started getting some sound out of it. Not long after I picked up a cheap student clarinet in good shape, and started playing along with records, matching the sounds. Still couldn’t play a melody, but I was at least getting sound out of all the holes. Then, on a warm summer day in 1982, while walking around a flea market with my grandmother I came across a vintage licorice stick in great condition for 15 bucks. I convinced grandmom to lay out the dough for it, and that was the start of something big. I swear, that horn is magic. Magic in the real sense – for after fiddling around with it for just a few days, I sat down on my bed and made an attempt to play a song…first few notes…sounded wrong…changed the fingering…and just like that, I was playing Moonglow, in a way that would have made Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman proud.

    Playing a party in Atlantic City with Tony Deluca, 1990

    Playing a party in Atlantic City with Tony Deluca, 1990

    Soon after I got an alto sax, then a tenor, and taught myself how to play them just like the old-time kats did back in the 20s. I never learned to read music too well, just enough to get by in the college big band but not enough to hurt me none. I play from the heart, I play what I feel. I can play solo or with a group of kats and the better they are, the better I am. I played professionally during the 90s, and after swinging down to the Sunshine State in 2000 decided to play only for myself. I still dig the standards, bossas, latin jazz and bop. Never really got into fusion, but can appreciate what the kats were doing at the time. In the early 90’s someone turned me on to Dexter Gordon, and that got me into post-bop Modern Jazz more than ever.

    Today I continue to listen, learn and play. I’m still discovering players and songs from the 70+ years of great jazz, from Louis Armstrong to Louis Prima, from Duke Ellington to Charlie Parker. I’ve been blessed to have seen a few of the greats in person; I’ve been lucky to have watched some of the legacy bands like Miller’s and Count Basie’s carry on the tradition. I saw Duke Ellington’s son, then his grandson lead the Ellington band. I sat in Atlantic City lounges and got to experience Sam Butera and the Wildest  from five feet away. And once, for just a few minutes, I got to meet and talk with Wyinton Marsalis. Man, I am one lucky son of a gun.

    Sax on the bar, too much (or not enough) Bourbon

    Sax on the bar, too much (or not enough) Bourbon

    -Zoot Jackson keeping it kool at the Tiki Bar.
    Tiki Lounge Talk, the Retro Blog for Swingin’ Hipsters who dig the Tiki Culture Beat.

    Check out the Jazz Appreciation Month Website here.

  • Happy Anniversary to Tiki Lounge Talk!

    Posted on March 31st, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    happy-tiki-anniversary-bettApril marks the One Year Anniversary of Conversations at the Tiki Bar! Notice the shiny new header and the kool glowing background graphics? They’re just part of a month-long celebration of Tiki, Retro & Vintage fun.

    In the coming weeks I’ll post lots of fun-stuff, from some of the first few posts to new and exciting concoctions. I’m also planning on adding a drink recipe page and an events page to give a little more usable info in addition to the general silliness that usually swings around here.

    So sit back, take a sip of your Rusty Nail and enjoy Tiki Lounge Talk, the Tiki Blog for Tiki Culture & Tiki Lifestyle (whew that’s a load of Tikis, but I guess it will help with SEO!) in our second fantabulous year!

    -Tiki Chris, reporting from Sunny South Florida

  • A kool frame riffs millennium verbs (A picture says a thousand words, hipster style)

    Posted on January 31st, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    Tiki Chris' Bookshelf

    The saying goes, “A picture says a thousand words’. In hipster talk that translates roughly into “A kool frame riffs millennium verbs,” or in some circles “A swingin’ snapshot lays down a kat’s score hipper and with more jazz than some ramblin’ gin-weary monologue spread around like a tome, ya dig?”

    Case in point: The picture laid out before you kats is of my bookshelf, to my left as I type at this souped-up typewriter. I was just playing around with the interwebs when I shot my peepers over, and realized that everything on this part of the shelf, with very few exceptions, is 4o years old or older. Some of these gadgets I’ve had for years. Some of them I’ve had almost all my life.

    What’s really crazy is everything you see in this photo has a story. Some stories I remember vividly, as if they happened yesterday. Some are a little fuzzy, getting lost in time. But every time I glance over, I get a memory…Memories of places I used to hit that are gone forever. Memories of that far off land of childhood. Memories of things I loved to do. And memories of people I loved who are no longer around.

    I’m really digging this pic. I think what I’ll do, just for kicks, is give you kats and kittens a little story – from memory – that goes along with one of the items on the shelf. Every now and then I’ll re-post the photo and give you a new story.

    Let’s start with the big red car.

    What you see here is a 1933-1936 Cadillac LaSalle Sedan, made of pressed steel by the Wyandotte toy company. It measures around 13″ long, and originally came with solid rubber tires and a matching, teardrop-shaped camper trailer. The design was an idealized, Art Deco version of the real car, and was very modern for its time.

    In the 1970’s, my parents were antique dealers. Often my father would get up at five or six AM to hit yard sales and flea markets, looking for some kool stuff to buy and sell. One spring Saturday morning when I was around seven, my dad went out early to the yard sales, and came back while I was still asleep. He woke me up and brought me into the kitchen, where this crazy-looking toy car, big as an elephant, was sitting on the table. It was painted black, and had all kinds of little smiling faces and sayings on it… Mostly Happy New Year, 1939 I think…and little painted balloons and confetti. The paint was in pretty sad shape, and the tires were missing. I immediately fell in love with the big car, and my Dad said if I wanted, he’d repaint it for me and put some wheels on it. Of course, I said, and he got to work.

    He stripped the old paint off and painted it the original Fire Engine Red. Then he made some wheels (I think out of radio parts and rubber tubing) and put it all back together. Man, was it beautiful.

    I loved that car, and took damned good care of it for the last 33+ years. It’s always had a place of honor on a shelf or table, and now resides where I spend a lot of my time when I’m not out at the Tiki Bar, so I can look at it a lot. My father passed on to the promise land in 2002, which makes little things like this even more special to me. It’s amazing I still remember that day, and how happy we both were over this piece of steel. It makes me happy all over again every time I see it. (a little side note: The palm tree sticking up behind the car…my father made that for me, and the car, when we moved down to Florida in 2000. he seemed to think the car needed a palm tree, now that it was parked in the tropics.)

    – Tiki Chris, reporting live from The Tiki Blog

  • How to be a Hipster in 1958: Read COOL Magazine, Man!

    Posted on November 18th, 2009 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    cool-man-cool Don’t be a four-corner square, Jack. You want to know what all the Cool kids are doing? They’re hip to COOL Magazine, America’s Coolest Teenage Rag!

    COOL Magazine, March 1958 Issue
    COOL Magazine, 1958. Don’t be a turkey, click on the snapshots to peep them nice and big

    This copy my Mama bought new in 1958. It features a spread on George Burns’ son, Ronnie, plus Platter Party ideas, cool threads for tigresses, and a scribble on how to lay down a kickin’ kiss.

    But my fave part of this rag mag is the Hipster’s Dictionary. Man, any zotep zombie can be a real keen jelly bean if they read this magazine! Just memorize a few hip phrases like “let’s buzz around the barrel” (let us partake in the eating of food) or “Let’s take a treat on the main beat” (let us congregate where all the ‘in’ people are) and you’ll go from a moldy-minded miser to a zoolie hipster with the most in a flash, Jack! There are several pages from A to Z of hipster lingo, plus a few columns of phrases so you’ll be really in the know.

    Now, I want you kats and kittens to knock me your peepers for a few ticks, while I lay down this jazz. And when you get to a mugshot you dig, click on it, and it will blow up to actual size so you can read the feed without flippin’ your wig, dig?

    COOL Magazine: The Hipster’s Dictionary, Definition of Hip, Hep & Hipster

    Hipster's Dictionary, definition of Hip, Hep & Hipster

    There are a lot of kats who zonk out over hip, hep, hep cat and hipster. Well, here’s the definitions straight from the source, the Cool Mag Hipster’s tome from 1958:

    “HEP: An archaic word meaning “in the know”, replaced by “Hip”.

    HEP CATS: Cats & Kittens who read this this publication*

    HIP: Up to date, cool. A person who knows what’s going on. Replaces the word “Hep”.

    HEP CAT: Hip Cat and Hep Cat not used very often. Replaced by the word “Hipster”.

    HIPSTER: A cool cat or kitten who knows what’s going on.”

    *They meant COOL Magazine. I mean Tiki Lounge Talk, dig?

    So, essentially, you’d be a real Hep Cat for reading COOL magazine, and that would automatically make you hip, but a Hipster would never be called Hep because he’d be too hip for hep, are you hip to this jazz? Groovy. So what that means is that even in 1958, swing-era Hep Cats were still considered cool Jives. And since jive changes with the ages, we kool bachelor-pad-type hot-roddin’ Tiki bar-boozin’ Swingers can feel free to lay down our riffs with hip, hep, or whatever the hell we want without flippin’ anyone’s wig, dig? Fantabulous!

    COOL Magazine…How to Plan a Successful Platter Party

    Cool Magazine...How to have a Platter Party

    Now, I know all you kids out there really want to have a cool party like the one in the photo, with your beer-guzzling teenage brother (on the left) and funny-looking nine-year-old cousin who whines a lot. Well, our prayers have been answered. Angela, the swingin’ tigress Special Interests Editor at COOL Magazine, has laid down a scribble with all you need to know. She hits on such important subjects as having hot spaghetti with your pizza, giving little prizes like dented hubcaps, and making sure you have plenty of groovy records of Rock ’n’ Roll, Bop & Lindy to dance to. She is also very sure to pepper the article with lots of jive terms from the Hipster’s Dictionary. Imagine that!

    COOL Magazine: Fashions for Spring & Summer, 1958


    Those of you who are into retro and vintage clothing will flip for this. Our friend Angela once again graces us with her far out knowledge of what hip kittens want. But this time she drops the jive and writes like she’s got a byline in Harper’s. In fact, the whole spread looks sorta out of place in this rag. You’d think COOL Magazine would have spread with dolls dressed in Capris and off-the-shoulder tops, or blue jeans and leather jackets. Or black sweaters and thigh-high boots. Or, I dunno, leopard leotards. Anyway, if you click on the image you can blow it up to read all about it. Can you say “early product placement”?

    COOL Magazine: Part of the spread on cover boy Ronnie Burns


    This kid actually got a 16-Page spread in this issue of COOL. Imagine one star getting that much print today, huh? Especially since he was an aspiring star, the son of George Burns and Gracie Allen. (If you don’t know who they are, well, you better Google ’em). Even with all this press he never really made stardom, but he gave us a great bunch of pix that show how a cool boy of the late 50’s should be. See him working on his Corvette sports car (I suspect that’s the first time he saw under a hood in his life), clean his gun, read on the patio, swim, play ping-pong with his shirt nicely tucked in, and go Christmas shopping with his mother…just like…eh…all the…um…cool kids…yeah. (Why ain’t he smoking?)

    record-jamboreeFun Advertisements in COOL Magazine

    This rag is riddled with ads, as you might guess. Of course Marketing was in its baby stages in the ’50s, so they still didn’t really have the whole “We cater to the teenage crowd” mindset just right, just yet. 20-towels-ad

    This allowed for fantastic placement of ads for things like “Record Jamboree”, featuring hit albums of Polkas, Honky Tonk Piano, and Ragtime…you know, the stuff hip teenagers love to listen to. Or maybe the ever-popular “20 Towels for 5¢ Each”; that’ll have the kids sending cash and stamps by the handful. Of course there are a few ads that make sense, like those for losing weight (even in the ’50s) and subscribing to one or more of the publisher’s mags. Then I came across two jewels, two ads that made my day. The first was an ad for the “Magic Art Reproducer”, the second for “40 Model Cars”. I flipped like a burger when I saw these, because, in my collection of junk, I have these little trinkets, on display in my home. I don’t have all 40 of the bouncy rubber cars, but I have the caddy that’s in the ad. It’s times like this – going through a 50+ year old magazine that my mother kept all her life and gave to me, then finding ads for stuff that was fun, cheap stuff then, but are hard to find collectibles now, and knowing I have some of that junk (some of those toy cars I’ve had since I was a kid, and they were old then) – it’s times like this that I just have to sit back and say, “Wow, baby. That is some far out, frantic jazz.”

    Ad for the Magic Art Reproducer, and the actual one I have at home.

    Cool Magainze Ad - Draw Any Person With Our Gizmo


    Ad for Rubber Toy Cars, and a shelf in my home with six of those cars.

    Cool Magazine Ad - 40 Toy Cars for a Buck