January 20, 2013

[Ed. note: this was originally posted last March, but frequent commenter Jana is updating her cocktail book so here it is again by popular demand! I look forward to having a couple of these myself three weeks from now in Vegas!]

daiquiri The weather is starting to heat up, and with the nights starting to warm as well, the back patio is primed for daquiris under happy pineapple lights. Consider the daiquiri: simple, refreshing, a perfect drink to sip – not gulp! – while listening to surf, tropical, or exotica music by twilight. Daiquiris are not hard to make, the important thing is to start with a chilled class and shaved ice to make that first sip refreshingly dreamy. Here are a few recipes to try – you’ll find them all variations on the same theme. Bottoms up!

First, here is the classic El Floridita recipe, straight from Havana:

2 ounces rum
juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon sugar or simple (bar) syrup
1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur

Shake the ingredients with crushed ice and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway liked a little grapefruit juice in his to give it a tang; here’s the recipe, courtesy of Wayne Curtis’s And A Bottle Of Rum:

1 1/2 ounces rum (lighter rum is best)
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
3/4 ounce simple (bar) syrup
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce lime juice

Shake the ingredients in an iced shaker until good and frosty, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Finally, there’s mixologist Patricia Richard’s recipe for the Hemingway Daiquiri as served at the Wynn Las Vegas Parasol Up and Parasol Down bars:

1 1/2 ounces Oronoco rum
1/2 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce simple (bar) syrup
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce lime juice

Shake the ingredients in an iced shaker until good and frosty, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This one, I think, is my favorite. Similar ingredients, but a sharper taste, I think – especially when I reduce the bar syrup to 1/4 ounce (my preference).

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:51 | Comments (4)
January 18, 2013

…by the Tikiyaki Orchestra is now on YouTube via The Great White Shank’s channel for your listening enjoyment. I’ve been waiting for someone to upload a video of the song for awhile now, but as the saying goes, you want something done right you just have to do it yourself. So I did.

Aloha, Baby! is just a great track, full of fun and effervesence. I challenge anyone who might be in a bad mood or frame of mind to listen to it and not come away smiling. The track itself has some great layers musically, bouncing out of the starting gate with happy vibraphone, drums, bass and a little guitar emphasizing the backbeat. A Hawaiian steel guitar introduces the next section where it takes the lead backed by a swing-beat rhythm of riding cymbal and walking bass, surf guitar adding some tasty licks – I can’t help but think my old Top Priority buds would have loved that! For the second verse, the vibraphone is backed by a cheesy-sounding organ (just perfect) with clipped guitar chords emphasized. In the second “chorus”, surf guitar and Hawaiian steel share the lead, and if you listen carefully you’ll hear some very cool “clip clop” percussion accenting the swing beat. The final verse introduces a key change, but the instrumentation is the same as the first verse, although at times I think I can hear that organ lurking deep in the background. Rather than enter the chorus a third time, the song instead heads into a happy close with walking bass and cymbal again riding the tempo to an abbreviated end, which is the only disappointment in the song. Me, I would have finished with a crashing gong or cymbal just to emphasize the exotic joy this song conveys.

If you want to know where The Great White Shank’s musical heart is these days, it’s somewhere in between tracks like The Sandals’ Tradewinds, Laika and the Cosmonauts’ “Fadeaway”, Cachao’s “Guajira Clasica”, Jimmy Buffett’s “Floridays”, and Aloha, Baby! I dunno, there’s something about the vibe and musicianship these songs have that just seem to fit the way I want to live my life, at least as far as music is concerned.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:47 | Comment (1)
January 17, 2013

You gotta hand it to Jim Bacchi, creator of the fabulous Tikiyaki Orchestra exotica/surf/lounge band fame – he really knows how to create a persona that beats anything The Great White Shank could ever conceive of. Let me tell you, were I ever in charge of the ultimate Goodboys Invitational weekend, we’d gather at our various locals and fly Tikiyaki Airways to beautiful Waikiki Beach, where we’d stay at the fabulous and oh-so-chic Tikiyaki Polynesian Village Hotel. There we’d muster at the “Jungle Jetsetter Lounge” for a couple-two-three mai-tais before dining at the hotel’s lovely “Hang Kong Gardens” restaurant. Afterwards, it would be back to the “Jungle Jetsetter” where we’d groove the night away listening to Tikiyaki Orchestra perform awesome tunes like Hawai’i Nocturne and others you can find here. After repeating the same for a few days while mixing in some rounds of golf at a few local courses for good measure, we’d all meet at the Honolulu airport where, for parting gifts, each Goodboy would be given copies of Tikiyaki Orchestra’s “Swingin’ Sounds for the Jungle Jetset”, “Stereoexotique”, and “Aloha, Baby!” (my personal favorite) CDs.

It’s all mythical of course – all, that is, except for the band itself, which creates the most unique and enjoyable music this side of Exotica. And check out a few of their videos out on on YouTube like here and here, you’ll see what I mean. They’re actually California based, so I’m hoping to get out to see them one of these days.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:44 | Comments Off on It’s A Tikiyaki World
January 16, 2013

Since Christmas has been over the house has been filled with the wonderful “Tropical Breezes” mix I created a couple of years ago, then seriously augmented with lots of Cuban music last year. Not only does its laid-back attitude provide a soothing respite from a hard day at work, it conjures up thoughts of exotic places. Amazing what a combination of Caribbean steel drum, folk, exotica, reggae, samba, cha-cham, folk, soft rock, jazz, easy listening, guajira, mambo, and salsa can do for the soul! You can check any of these artists out on the Internet, they’re all great:

Alfred St. John’s Trinidad Tobago Steel Band
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Astrud Gilberto
Bob Marley
Cachao (currently a huge favorite!)
Chris Isaak
David Shelley, Doug Walker, Greg MacDonald,
Jason Roseman, Kent Arnsbarger, Robert Symons (steel drum artists)
Desi Arnaz Orchestra
Gary McFarland
Harry Belafonte
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass
Ibrahim Ferrer (another new fave!)
Jamaican Steel Band
Jimmy Buffett (lots!)
John Blakeley & Ron Nagle
Johnny Nash
Kenny Chesney
Larry Hall
Lifescapes Collection – Caribbean
Los Jets
Mambo All-Stars Orchestra
Marimba Chiapas (from Guatemala, no less!)
Martini Kings
Mongo Santamaria
Noro Moralez
Perez Prado and his Orchestra
Ralph Robles Octet
Ramone Stagnaro (I’m a big fave – check him out)
Reggae Beat
Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66
Stan Getz
Steelasophical Steel Band
Tim Heintz, Dan Higgins, Grant Geissman (mellow “environmental” music)
Tikiyaki Orchestra

…with a few great one-offs by folks like Alan Jackson (“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”), Bobby Bloom (“Montego Bay”), Chubby Checker (“Limbo Rock”), Stephen Bishop (“On and On”), James Taylor (“Mexico”), UB40 (“Red Red Wine”), Jan Hammer (Miami Vice music), The Beach Boys (“Kokomo”) and The Sandpipers (“Guantanamera”) thrown in, and you feel as if you’ve been transported to another place. One of these days I’ll be starting up my own Internet radio station where I can broadcast this great collection along with my surf and exotica collections to the world. All designed to make it a happier and less chaotic and violent place. It’s on my list for this year.

The Great White Shank goes Internet radio. Watch for it – I just have to work out a few logistics…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:30 | Comment (1)
January 15, 2013

OK, I’ve had enough. Sure, it was interesting watching from afar the cold snap we’ve been having here in the Valley of the Sun, but experiencing it for real is really something. Tuesday morning it was 24 – 24 %$#@& degrees – in my backyard. My honeysuckle was not just shriveled and that gross black-green color of death, but there was ice around its base from the watering system even at ten o’clock in the morning! Ice! I mean, the only ice you’re supposed to see in my yard are the cubes in my boat drinks! One of my Scottsdale friends told me he had a thin sheen of ice across his swimming pool.

It’s a historic cold snap we’ve had here. I mean, baby you gotta understand – people come here starting in November to get away from this kind of thing, not experience it for themselves. Like my neighbor told me today, if it’s gonna be this cold it could at least snow and give people something to enjoy. Instead, everyone’s yards have all colors of sheets and cloth hanging on vegetation and people are walking around with parkas on – something I didn’t even see last week in Massachusetts.

You’ll never hear me complain about 110 degree temperatures any more.

Until things get back to the way they oughta be around here I’ll just have to do with this:

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 18:02 | Comments Off on It’s $#@!& Cold!
January 14, 2013

I took a lot of crap from a few Goodboys the other night while watching some retarded cable channel (I think it was E!) broadcasting from the red carpet at the Golden Globes. There they were – I think it was Ryan Seacrest (who I know nothing about) and Kelly Osbourne (who I know is Ozzie’s daughter from their reality show of a few years ago) interviewing all these supposed stars, and I’m like a B17 Stratofortess over Schweinfurt taking all kinds of flak because I don’t know who Sofia Vergara is (supposedly, she’s the hottest chick in the world), and I guess I’m one of, I gather, a precious few who: a) has never watched Modern Family (a supposed popular TV show?), b) doesn’t think Tina Fey is either intelligent, clever, or funny, and c) has never seen, or has any desire to see “The Hangover”.

And for that I’m called an “aging hipster”… sigh.

Let me be as perfectly clear about this kind of thing as I possibly can be. First of all, I don’t watch network TV at night. Ever. I like the Food Network and enjoy “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”, “Restaurant Impossible” and “Restaurant Stakeout”. I like Golf Channel and the MLB Network. When the Red Sox start up I’ll watch their games on NESN for a while. But after Tracey gets home from work I prefer to give her the TV and let her chill out watching shows she likes like “Dexter”, “Trauma: Life In The ER”, or “House” (neither of which interest me), or whatever movies she finds on Encore or Cinemax or whatever. I’m just not a TV guy.

Second of all, I despise Hollywood and what goes for entertainment by the so-called “stars” of the stage and screen of today. Call me an old fogey, an aging hipster, or whatever, but I doubt any of it is either entertaining or funny. True, I’ve never watched the crap they put out there, but I’ve seen enough commercials for shows like “Elementary” and “2 Broke Girls” to be reassured I’m not losing brain cells or culture by not tuning in. And the same goes for award shows like the Golden Globes and the Oscars – all you’re seeing is a bunch of self-absorbed, infinitely shallow people who think everything they say is so darned clever (Tina Fey being the poster child for what counts as “clever” these days!) and that everything they do is so damned important. Neither of which I can say in all confidence is true.

Does it mean I want to see them all lined up against a wall and shot? No. Does it mean I think my Goodboys friends who watch that stuff are a bunch of morons? No. But that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla. Watch what you like, I don’t care, but don’t accuse me of being somehow less than hip if I don’t think Ellen DeGeneres is funny (she’s not), don’t know who Sofia Viagra or Kristen Stewart is, or if I could care that Jodie Foster comes out of the closet to introduce her gay partner.

…Rhetorical question: how can being gay be considered coming out of the closet anymore when it seems as if the entire industry you’re part of is gay? It seems to me that you’d only be truly coming out of the closet if you were heterosexual. But I digress..

Don’t hate me if I feel that sitting out on my patio and listening to my surf, tropical breezes, exotica, or Sandals collections while contemplating life beside the swimming pool and palm trees is preferable to watching Megan Fox or Kourtney, Kim, or Karma Karma Kamelion Kardashian on some stupid reality TV show. Forgive me if I prefer taking evening walks, surfing the net, or taking care of the rabbits to seeing just how outrageous Lucy Liu and Steve Tyler can be when idiots juggle beagles or break glass trying to become the latest Whitney Houston or Christina Aguilera on some stupid talent show. You can enjoy “Dancing With The Stars” all you like, just don’t invite me to the dance. Because I’m not interested.

If that makes me a “aging hipster” so be it.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:31 | Comments (8)
January 12, 2013

Had to go to Massachusetts to find some warm air as back in the Valley of the Sun they’re having a fairly unusual and extended cold snap with several nights of below-freezing temps. There go my bougainvillea and whatever else Tracey wasn’t able to cover. But that’s OK – that’s how nature culls out the herd, at least landscaping-wise.

I fractured a knuckle reaching into my parents freezer to grab a beer and the ring finger on my right hand is pretty swollen. The temps here in Mass. will be in the ’50s – perfect weather for winter golf – but I couldn’t grip a club even if I wanted to play. I’m tellin’ ya – life is dangerous if you’re The Great White Shank! I’m assuming I’ll be healed in time for Las Vegas golf at Snow Mountain.

Now back to work… it’s been a crazy weekend!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 09:54 | Comments Off on Weeknding
January 11, 2013

Got together with a few of the Goodboys tonight, lots of talk about our upcoming weekend in Vegas. Didn’t know Katy Perry did a song about a weekend in Vegas, but it came highly recommended. I think it’s pretty good – brings back a lot of great memories!

Shut up and put your money where your mouth is
That’s what you get for waking up in Vegas
Get up and shake the glitter off your clothes now
That’s what you get for waking up in Vegas

Less than a month to go, can’t wait for the show.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:45 | Comments Off on Vegas
January 10, 2013

Have you heard about the fuss over ESPN apologizing for Brent Musburger’s comments about Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend Katherine Webb on Monday night’s BCS game telecast?:

Musburger created the most interesting moment of the blowout between Alabama and Notre Dame when the ESPN cameras found Webb, who is Miss Alabama and Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, and McCarron’s mother. Musburger, 73, commented about Webb’s beauty and joked that boys in Alabama should throw the football around with their fathers because quarterbacks get all the beautiful women.

My God, the day America stops appreciating beautiful women is the day I get off the subway. I mean, for God’s sake – and I’m speaking a married man here – what the hell is wrong with commenting about a girl’s looks? This, BTW, from a cable channel that rarely omits images of attractive college cheerleaders as they go to break!

Look, I understand not every girl is beautiful, just as not every guy is handsome (I’m one of them). But the day we stop appreciating a person’s looks and how they present themselves (without being vulgar about it, of course) is the day America dies. Why do guys go to Vegas? Why do girls go to Vegas? Because the beautiful people are there! Why do only good looking girls become cheerleaders? Why do quarterbacks get all the cute chicks? It’s the way of the world. Not every girl is destined for cheerleader or prom queen, just like every guy isn’t destined to be surrounded by cute chicks.

Fortunately, as people grow older, the priorities of both guys and girls tend to be less superficial. But until then, who cares? I’m sick of people being offended for the most stupid things in the world.

This country is going down the freakin’ tubes.

Speaking solely as a guy – and if you girls don’t like it, too bad – I’m attracted to cute chicks. In Vegas, the Goodboys try to hang around with cute chicks as much as we can. Sure beats hanging around with ugly ones, that’s for sure. And what constitutes for attractive or ugly, anyways? Isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

If you girls can’t handle that, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:56 | Comments (3)
January 9, 2013

I never thought I’d be doing a Christmas post at this time, but I’m totally bummed that I’d never heard Mariah Carey’s version of O Holy Night until I was poking around YouTube looking for a (believe it or not) Miami Vice video the other day. A great performance that actually gave me chills.

Sure, her style isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but let me tell y’all, some of the notes she hits during her performance are beyond stratospheric and positively mind-blowing – that girl can sing! It’s bluesy, passionate, tastefully done, and (more than anything else) righteous. Different from Ricki Lee Jones’ wonderful version in just about every way one can imagine, but just as great. It’s the mark of a great tune.

Not that I’m totally surprised, mind you – after all, her “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is one of my all-time Christmas faves. And I like the way she both presents and expresses herself during the song – she knows she’s just toying with a tune that her incredible range can run rings around. Just listen to how on the first “O night divine” she hits that note most mere mortals reserve for the second time around. Then, the second time around she’s in “dog range”, hitting a note I’ve never heard before (is it mezzo soprano?). What’s most surprisng (at least to me) is that she does it with a joy and dignity to pull it off without sounding irreverent. It’s a very fine line for sure – as a diva she comes awfully close – but she pulls it off in a fantastic performance.

You know what else I like? I like the way she smiles during the song, as if she’s almost embarrassed to really let loose, the way she wears her hair down with her Christmas dress, and the way the puts her hand up to her ear when she hits a really high note to make sure she gets it right (Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys used to do the same thing when he was front and center back in the early and mid-70s).

All in all, a great performance. Do yourselves all a favor and file this one away for next Christmas season!

Now, back to 2013…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:46 | Comments Off on Christmas – One Last Gasp

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