Thursday, September 9, 2010

International Exotic Cocktail Day, October 1

Mark your calenders, kids, there's a new, totally Tikitastic Holiday and it starts this year, 2010. International Exotic Cocktail Day will commence on October 1st, 2010. It's a fantabulous holiday for everyone to recognize how lucky we are to live in a world where Rum and fruit juice can be celebrated by millions as an actual holiday.

Share recipes with your friends, gather in crowds and drink exiting concoctions around your Tiki bar, or meet up at the Mai Kai. Whatever floats your boat. Be sure to garnish everything you drink that day with a cocktail umbrella, pineapple slice and a cherry. Drink virgin frozen drinks at work and add the booze later on. Go ahead, after all, it's International Exotic Cocktail Day, so have a ball.

International Exotic Cocktail Day was conceived by yours truly, Tiki Chris Pinto of Tiki Lounge Talk and The Retro Tiki Lounge on Facebook in an effort to spread the good word about our wonderful Tiki Lifestyle.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bathroom Remodling, vintage style

Adding a Retro-rock wall look

The old look
1970s countertop

When I was a kid none of the men in my family ever paid a plumber, contractor or mechanic for anything. They did everything themselves, from replacing rusty pipes to remodeling entire rooms to replacing transmissions on cars. What they didn't know how to do they learned while doing. There was always someone to help, a friend or family member who had done the job before and learned the hard way.

Today I only know one guy (other than me) who can fix a running toilet or do an oil change himself, my buddy Steve up in Jacksonville. All the other fellas I know don't know the difference between a valve cap and drain shoe. But I do.

So I get to save a lot of money by doing things myself. The trade-off is the time. I've been renovating our guest bathroom now since August. So far I've probably got about 25 hours in the job and it's about half finished. But the whole thing will cost me about $250 in the end including new faucets, tile floors, new countertop and new wall treatments. I estimated this job at around $6000 to have it done by a contractor.

This is a drain shoe.
This renovation includes plastering the walls with an old-style stucco look, doing a black-on-black rock wall in the tub area (including the tub itself), new plumbing including valves, faucets and drain, tile floor and tiled vanity and sink. If all goes well it should be mostly finished by the end of September. I say mostly finished because as you all know, these jobs are never really done.

Wish me luck.
The hole to hell...through the 6" thick concrete slab

Thursday, August 26, 2010

1950s & 60s Car Commercials, MAD MEN style

New Post over at Tiki Lounge Talk with videos and images of great old car ads from the golden days of advertising. THIS is the kind of stuff Don Draper would have been hawking back in the day. Check it out at

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spilled Oil, and Oil Spills

Me (Chris P) with my 1940 LaSalle in 1981. I was 13.

When I was a kid back in the 1970s, my dad and I used to buy and sell vintage cars. By vintage I mean cars like a '29 Studebaker, a '31 Willies-Knight, a 1940 LaSalle and numerous Cadillacs and other tanks from the '50s and '60s. We changed a lot of oil in those cars, and a occasionally some transmission fluid. Back then, there were no "recycling" places to bring the used oil. So it either went into the trash, or in most cases, it went into a hole in the ground next to a tree at the back of our yard.

I'd say we probably dumped about 250 quarts of 10W-40 into the ground over the span of about 20 years. Nobody cared back then. Even the hippies didn't think anything of it. It's just what you did...after all, oil came from the ground, so Mother Earth would find a way to reclaim it.

Sometime in the mid 1980s we got a notice that they were shutting down several of the community wells that served out neighborhood. It so happens that once the EPA got the authority to start testing the quality of the drinking water, they found extremely high levels of contaminants, including mercury and lead, in the underground stream from which we got our water. They weren't sure how the contaminants got there, but mainly blamed it on fact that New Jersey was basically a toxic waste dump for years. They also said that some of the contaminants probably came from motor oil and anitfreeze seeping into the ground over the years.

So we stopped dumping oil into the ground. We collected it up in the old oil bottles and dropped it off at a gas station that had started recycling it. We stopped letting antifreeze drain off into the ground, and made sure no more transmission fluid leaked down. I've been doing that for almost 20 years now.

Then BP went and dumped a couple of bizillion gallons into the water. Dammit.

Dig Retro stories and Tiki drinks? Check out the Retro Tiki Lounge on Facebook!
And my swingin' Tiki & Retro Blounge (Web Lounge),

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Hukilau 2010

We had a great swingin' time at the retro-fab, tikirific Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale this weekend. See lots of pix, video and read all about it here at Tiki Lounge Talk:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Remember When...

Remember when the Internet was just the Internet, and there was no World Wide Web?

I still remember dialing up on AOL, getting that "You've Got Mail" message, and then getting the big giant button that said "ENTER THE WEB" or something like that. Then you'd click on and say, now what?

I also still remember the first website I ever saw. It was It was a single page, with a small clip-art of a pink glazed donut in the upper left corner, and two paragraphs on how wonderful their donuts and coffee were. Of course you couldn't order bags of coffee beans or anything on the site, but it did say to visit you local Dunkin' Donuts store to purchase some.

That was 1996. It took several minutes to load the page, and then the connection went down.

Two years later I bought my first collectible on eBay. It was something I'd looked for, for around 20 years. Found it on eBay in 15 minutes, paid for it with a money order and had it in ten days.

Jump to 2000. I buy a book on html. I never get passed page four. I download an mp3 for the first time. It takes twenty minutes.

2004: my 350 Ghz Mac G4 Tower can't handle the web fast enough to keep up with websites that have photos, buttons, ways to buy things, and some fancy-assed animations called Flash. I buy a 1.8 Ghz G5 iMac, and use the G4 as a doorstop.

2006: All of a sudden I'm getting angry because it's taking almost an entire minute to download a four minute video while I'm shopping for car parts for my 1953 Chevy and watching cartoons made entirely in Flash.

2008: The economy goes sour, but I don't care...I rarely go out anymore because all the time I spent socializing at bars and parties is taken up by commenting on MySpace, Facebook, and Weblogs.

2009: I have a light week at work so I decide to start a blog and build two websites, without having any idea what I'm doing. Technology has caught up to me, and they are set up in three weeks.

2010: Between writing for my two personal blogs, my work blog, four twitter accounts, two Facebook fan pages (or I guess now 'Like' pages), work fan page, myspace page (for nostalgic purposes), eight email accounts, and commenting on other blogs I have less than 30 hours a week to eat, sleep and work. I'm broke, so I'm still using my 2005 iMac which sounds like a lawnmower and crashes everytime I click on anything that remotely resembles movement. I haven't seen my wife in weeks, although we IM each other from different rooms in the house often. Something furry just walked by; I think it may have been a cat but without a word-bubble attached that says "lolz" I can't be sure.

2020: Now that computer chips are implanted in our heads, it's easier to work online. But I'm still getting emails from South African dictators telling me they have two million dollars waiting for me if I send them my bank info, and I still haven't seen a dime.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Murder on Tiki Island

My first full-length novel, Murder Behind the Closet Door has been selling well online! Now I'm working on my second book, Murder on Tiki Island. This story takes place in 1956 New York and Key West, with flashbacks to 1935. The action happens on a private island off the Florida Keys, Tiki island, where a Detective Bill Riggins once again finds himself in the middle of an unsolved murder case flanked with sultry women, bottles of booze and visitors from the afterlife.

Written in the old noir style of 50's pulp fiction, this story is turning out to be every bit as spooky, entertaining and fun to read as MBTCD.

I'll start posting some snippets on the official MBTCD fansite on Facebook as soon as they are ready.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A jealous idiot from the past tries to irk me & fails, as usual

There exist many a-holes in the world, some of which are tolerable, others who just need to be tied in a sack and thrown in the river with a few cinderblocks.

One such moron, an ex-employee who got fired for being talentless, egotistical and arrogant (a bad combination) decided to take out his frustrations on his failed life by leaving a nasty (laughable!) little drunken comment on one of my blogs. Mind you, this imbecile asserted that he was a 'writer', but you wouldn't know it from his lack of grammar skills, amount of typos within, and all-around ineffectiveness of his post (and come to think of it, his work!)

I feel sorry for people like this. He's failed at his marriage, failed as a father, failed in his career and all-around failed in life. As he approaches 60, it must be hell for him to realize his lifetime was a complete waste. I supposed he believed it would make him feel better to attack me, randomly, well over a year since he got fired and I last reprimanded him, on my blog. I suppose he is mostly jealous that I, many years younger than him, have accomplished so much more. C'est La Vie.

(You may be thinking, "If he's writing about this, it must have gotten under his skin". Well, the only thing that got under my skin was that this jackass was way too chicken to ever say any of his rant to me in person; he chose to be sneaky (that is his way, always has been) and tried to humiliate me on a public forum, instead of man to man (or man to weasel, in his case). I guess he was too stupid to realize I was easily able to delete his rant and block him from commenting again.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tiki Culture in America

A lot of people have been asking me questions about Tiki Culture in America (As if I were some sort of expert on the subject, just because I'm the author of Tiki Lounge Talk). Well, I don't report to be an expert on anything, but I do know my way around a Mai Tai. So, my newest project is to add a page to TLT explaining what Tiki Culture is to those who've not yet been fortunate enough to live it.

I've done a decent amount of research on the subject, much of it being behind my Tiki Bar researching rums. It's not going to be a long history of Tiki, just the major points along the way, something about its heyday, and of course the resurgence and what it means today.

Look for the new page on Tiki Lounge Talk early next week.
-Tiki Chris, reporting from the Pirate's Cove Tiki Bar, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Tacos for St. Patty's Day

We did the corned beef and cabbage thing on Saturday - went to the Irish Festival in Ft Lauderdale. It was fun, watched part of the parade (saw a nice Packard), had some good food, and I think every Irish person in South Florida was there. I never saw so many light-skinned blondes and red-heads in one place, in South Florida!

So tonight we had the traditional SoFl green tacos, green refried beans and fried mexicorn. Food coloring is a wonderful thing.

Last night I decided that is was time the world learned the TRUTH about St. Patrick. So I set down the history of St. Patty's day, and why we celebrate. Find out all about it at!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stupid cold weather

When I moved to Florida in 2000, it was to escape the cold. I hate cold. I don't particularly like snow. I like palm trees and a warm sun.

For the last 9 winters, Fort Lauderdale has been beautiful. The excessive heat of summer stops around September, and it's beautifully temperate through May. Only an occasional two or three day cold snap (40's) has interrupted that.

It seems this winter has been chilly since December. By chilly I mean 60s, so most of the rest of the country is saying "oh poor you". But seriously, 60° is too cold to work on the hot rod, or sit outside and enjoy a drink at the Tiki Bar.

I am officially ordering Mother Nature to wise up and warm things up. After all, my taxes pay her salary. So get on the ball, Mama. I expect 70s by tomorrow or there's going to be trouble.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Not enough hours in the day

Go to work, write, play the sax, play with the dog, pet the cat, talk to your wife, eat, sleep, work on the hot rod, go out, drink...Somehow it seems I used to be able to do a lot more stuff in a shorter amount of time!

Anyone remember the show "Harry O" from the 70s? He was a detective that lived on the beach...he had a boat that he was always fixing up, but it never went in the water. I've turned into that guy. My 53 Chevy hot rod has spent most of the last 10 years safely tucked away in  my garage, as I fix this, restore that, polish the other thing. Seems like I start on a project, two months go by and it ain't done.

Just the fact that I'm writing this instead of doing the brake job I started attests to the fact that it ain't goin' nowhere fast. It's up on jackstands, wheel's off. Brakes sitting next to it. Probably get to it in a week. Or two.

Why am I telling you this? Why do you care?

You shouldn't care! Now get off your lazy ass and go do something constructive already!

(he he he)
-Chris P

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Murder Behind the Closet Door, a murder mystery - ghost story by yours truly, Christopher Pinto

Back in 2002 I decided to write a novel, just for fun (meaning I never planned to try to publish it).

Eight years later, its gone from a lark to an actual book nearly ready for pub. The transition from a 200 page story about a ghost in a closet to a 600 page manuscript involving an intricate mystery is a story in itself,  much too long to pub here.

I had written over a dozen murder mystery plays for my dinner theater company, Star Dust Productions, plus had penned a gazillion short stories and newspaper articles over the years. But I never attempted a full-length novel, and thought it would be a fun project. The idea was to write a story that I myself would enjoy I incorporated people, places and things from my past (as many authors do) at the shore in South Jersey, set the story between 1938 and 1939 in Wildwood, New Jersey, and wrote different parts in different styles. I drew inspiration from characters such as Mike Hammer and Phillip Marlow for the detective. I got stylistic ideas from dozens of authors, from Stephen King to Hemmingway. And I threw it all together free-form, without an outline, without even a clear understanding of where the story would go...I let the characters drive the action. (Although this was a really fun way to write, as I discovered the plot while writing it, I wouldn't suggest it. It's really time-consuming and, as you might guess, caused a lot of discrepancies and continuity issues that needed to be carefully proofed and fixed as the book progressed. I didn't even have an ending until almost a year after I started writing. But damn, it was fun to write!)

So here I am, about six years from the completion of the first draft. I've been working on it part time of course, which accounts for the time frame. But I just completed all the edits of Chapter One, which means that Murder Behind the Closet Door is within a month or so of finalization. Soon the letters will go out to agents, and although I have no dillusions it will ever get picked up, I'm going to try. At the very least I'll get it self published on CreateSpace, mainly for my own amusement.

But honestly, I believe it's a good book. Not to sound conceded, but I'm actually a professional writer, and believe this book is well-written and interesting from start to finish. The characters are fun and always act real; the story is never contrived, and the characters don't make decisions based on what easily makes the story work. In contrast, the characters make very real-life, difficult decisions based on their circumstances. This made several plot points hard to actuate, but it makes for a much more realistic and interesting story, in my opinion (as I said, I wanted to write a story I would enjoy reading).

If you like murder mysteries, the paranormal, and a glimpse at life in another time, I think you'll enjoy Murder Behind the Closet Door. Coming soon, to a Kindle or Amazon store near you :)
-Christopher Pinto, author
For more information on Murder Behind the Closet Door, visit