First of all, I just want to wish everyone a safe and happy MLC Thanksgiving. And to let all of you, including those who stop by just to read my posts, how grateful I am to you for taking the time out to read my stories. Thank you.
I thought I’d make this an “All Things Thanksgiving” post. Feel free to post anything Thanksgiving related. We can even talk turkey if you’d like.
I think I’ve shared all my Thanksgiving memories over the years – from small-kid-time helping my mom crush the toast for the stuffing, to riding my bike around the neighborhood smelling the aroma of turkeys being baked, to surfing all day and working up an appetite for the big dinner.
I was talking turkey with some coworkers the other day during lunch and Kristen said how she always bakes the turkey every year. And that she’d sometimes have to make a quick run to the Chinese restaurant or local fast food place to pick up lunch. And I immediately said “Yes! That’s exactly how it was!”. The kitchen was closed because mom was busy getting everything ready for Thanksgiving dinner – so my dad would take us out to see if KDI (Kailua Drive In) was open to get a couple of burgers. And I remember how Kailua town was pretty much deserted. That made it so special – to see all the usually busy store’s parking lots empty, all the businesses closed, and just a few cars on the road – people going to relative’s house to celebrate the holiday, or people like us who were looking for food.
Then I said that I’ve never cooked a turkey. They mentioned that when people do it for the first time, they find the gizzards and wonder what they are. I said where do they find them? And they explained how the gizzards are in the cavity of the turkey in a little sack. And how you should never throw them away but instead put them into the stuffing. See, I learned something new today!
Speaking of never cooking a turkey, I don’t even know how to carve one. I just know how to eat one. LOL
But I remember my mom taking out the turkey the day before and letting it thaw out in the big, crinkled up aluminum pan – that was used for making kim chee – and letting the turkey “melt” all the water away. And mom would cook the turkey on the metal rack with the black drip pan underneath to catch all the drippings for gravy. I could never get enough of mom’s turkey stuffing with gravy. And because it was a special dinner – mom busted out the good china.
Yup, the Golden Wheat gravy pourer. Yes, it was called a pourer in our house. LOL
It wasn’t until after I was married that I was introduced to Pumpkin Chiffon pie. And I look forward to having it every Thanksgiving – with whipped cream on it, of course. Does anyone know where they sell it year-round?
And finally, here’s a song that I consider a Thanksgiving song – in my mind.
“I thank the Lord for all he gave me – it’s so good to be alive“.
So feel free to post anything Thanksgiving related. Stories, memories, jokes, songs, recipes, cooking advice, carving tips, or just to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
Last week we talked about Sci-Fi shows – like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond, and more. Well, this week, let’s swing to the other end of the spectrum and talk about Educational TV shows. (so random, yeah?).
Remember channel 11? We used to refer to it as ETV. And we actually watched it a couple of times in elementary school. Just image – we watched TV in school! Probably not a big deal now, but back then – Wow! Black and white TV in the classroom!
But during the summer I remember that at around 12 noon – when all the cartoons were done and all the game shows that followed were also done – all that was left were the soap operas. Or if you turned to ETV, you could watch Sesame Street!
I hardly watched Sesame Street. Usually only if it was raining outside and I couldn’t go out to play. But there was one portion of Sesame Street that I always looked forward to. The numbers thing. Not the one with “Count”, but this one:
And right after Sesame Street, it was… it was… wait for it, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood!
For some reason, the Mr. Rogers jingle always makes me want to take a nap. Maybe because the show came on around 1:00 – after lunch was pau and it was nap time. And in just a couple more hours – at 3:00 – it was Checker’s and Pogo time!
A-hem, but getting back to Educational TV programs, what other shows did you watch?
You know, I never heard about School House Rock until I had daughters. Seriously! And I feel like I’ve missed a lot by not watching Conjunction Junction and the other cool learning songs.
So catchy, the tune!
Anyone remember this local show? In fact, the host used to be a professor at KCC when I was there.
Romper Room with Robin Mann
And finally, here’s one that Paula mentioned that I had never, ever watched. Maybe it was “after my time”. LOL
The Electric Company
Did you watch any of these educational TV shows? Are there any other ones that you remember? No, The Three Stooges doesn’t count as educational.
Here’s a bonus video. It wasn’t really an educational TV show, and it was after our time, but I love this video from The Animaniacs.
Since Chicken Alice went home to the fowl gods, a good replacement is the fried chicken wings over at Sam’s on Nuuanu. It doesn’t have the kim chee flavor of Madam Alice. But the buggah is sure onolicious. I’d say better than Wing Stop. What is it about fried food that makes it taste even better than ordinary food? Wish I knew, wish I knew. Eh @Rod, get chance for a food topic again?
Ask and ye shall receive (sometimes). Thanks @Seawalker for the topic. Food topics are always popular.
Sam’s Delicatessen on Nuuanu – where Uptown Hardware used to be. It’s our go-to spot for picking up something to eat or to take over to a party – reminiscent of Chicken Alice’s!
As @Seawalker mentioned, a crowd favorite at Sam’s is the chicken wings. Nice and crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside and bursting with flavor.
Another popular dish is Sam’s mochiko chicken. Here’s a mini-plate of mochiko chicken – which comes with a dipping sauce – but it doesn’t need it. Unlike other mochiko chicken, this one is very flavorful.
What other food places are your favorites? I can tell you that Chodang Restaurant at the corner of Piikoi and Kona is a winner. They have something like a “value” menu. Although the meat-jhun plate is no longer only $4.99, at around $6 – it’s still a good deal, with all the banchan too! And it’s ono!
I heard that Pietro’s reopened in Kaimuki. Anyone try it yet? And for hot-pot, does anyone else go to Sweet Home Cafe? The variety of soup bases that they offer as well as their homemade dipping sauces makes it a favorite place. But it’s the free shave ice/coffee jello/tapioca balls/flavored jelly that come with every meal – really hits the spot. And did I mention that it’s free? It’s no wonder there’s always a line outside.
Favorite Pho place? Favorite pasta place? Open table to discuss food. (get it?)
Thanks again for suggesting the topic, @Seawalker.
How did we watch this stuff growing up and not freak out? Or maybe we did. I caught a few episodes on the SciFi channel and I kept thinking how I used to watch these twisted, warped stories and not let it bother me. Here, check out this short montage and see if they strike up some memories.
MLC reader, @Mitchkeys and I were talking about this one night and he could remember not only each episode and what it was about, but also the titles of each episode! Then he shared with me a “Best of” DVD that he burned. Thanks for the nightmares, @Mitchkeys!
I remember my friend and his brother told me that they watched an episode – I can’t remember if it was The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits – but it had to do with all the people at a masquerade party wearing creepy masks. Then as the clock stuck midnight, everyone took off their masks only to find out that their faces had molded into that of the mask. My friends said that because of that one show – they will not wear a mask anymore.
I’m glad I didn’t see that one!
What episodes of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits can you remember? Or were there other creepy shows that you recall watching?
Sticking with the cartoons theme, I look back at cartoons that we used to spend hours watching and think how weird or creepy they were. I guess in our day – with only 2 to 3 hours of cartoons a day (and none on Sundays) – any cartoon was a good cartoon.
Have you watched a Gumby cartoon recently? Okay, it’s not really a cartoon as it’s more claymation, but it was shown during the cartoon hours so I’m considering it a cartoon. Do you remember this intro?
Another creepy cartoon (I’m surprised I didn’t get nightmares) is Clutch Cargo. Watch their mouths.
Another similar one – Space Angel
And here’s one that I used to let my girls watch when the were kids. It’s funny, but creepy too.
What other creepy cartoons or comedy shows can you remember?
Anime has been a big thing for about the past twenty years. I remember when my two girls were growing up, I used to sit them in front of the TV in the morning to let them watch Sailor Moon. Then from that cartoon, anime went mainstream.
But we too had anime during our small-kid-time. Recognize this one?
I remember that the Mach-5 was a special car because it had a 5-speed transmission (and that’s not counting reverse). And then the Toyota Celica GT was introduced with a 5-speed transmission. I remember that because I thought it was the Mach-5!
Do you remember the Speed Racer intro?
There was another popular anime cartoon that I loved to watch. Remember this one?
And here’s one that was before my time. Do you remember watching this?
This anime I saw just a few times as KIKU reception was poor on the Windward side.
So you see, anime is nothing new. We had it growing up – just maybe not as much as there is today. Did you used to watch any of these anime cartoons? Any favorite episodes? Do you remember any other Japanese cartoons that you used to watch small-kid-time?
You might be familiar with the term “Mall Rats”. It’s those young kids that hang out at the mall after school and on the weekends. Of course we never did that in our younger days. We were scabbing networking and passing out club cards for socials.
But after our Las Vegas vacation, I coined a new term: Mall Pests.
Now, don’t get me wrong – these mall vermin are not unique to just Las Vegas. That’s right, we have Mall Pests right here in our own backyard.
I’m sure you’ve come across these pests. While walking around the mall, you hear “Excuse me, but may I ask you a question?“. Mall Pests.
Sometimes they’ll look me over and say “Konichiwa!” (keep laughing, @snow).
It’s those dang kiosks people trying to hock their wares – everything from body scrubs to jewelry cleaners to hair straighteners to lotions.
And they are aggressive pests. Make eye contact with them and their hook is set. Step towards their kiosk and they start reeling you in – like ahi on New Year’s Eve.
While passing one guy in a mall in Vegas, the looks at me and asks “Are you from Hawaii?“. How’d he know that? I’m not wearing any UH logo wear or anything! After I give a slight nod, he follows with “Are you from Oahu?” Ho, he’s good. Then he says “Here, let me show you something“. That’s when I wave my hand back and forth and say “No thank you“.
And I don’t look back. Never look back.
Another dialog aimed at Paula went something like this: Pest: Excuse me, but can I ask what kind of hair straightener you use? Paula: No thank you. Pest: No seriously, your hair is so nice. What brand of hair straightener do you use? Paula: Techno. Pest: Do you know that it is damaging your hair?
Whew, that was a close one.
At one of the malls, I played paparazzi and documented some pictures of these Mall Pests in action.
Here, the guy in the blue shirt is making his pitch while the girl in the red tries to hook one in.
Obviously, the girl in the red lost her previous catch and throws out her bait yet again.
While she reels in her catch, the guy in the blue casts his line.
Lots of fish around him but no one is biting. Meanwhile, the girl in the red is warming up the frying pan.
Dude, maybe it’s time to change your bait. Or chew gum.
He keeps casting out his line while she starts scaling her catch.
Now he’s resorting to flattery – “Oh what a cute baby you have there”.
Then I move in for a tighter shot:
“Excuse me ma’am, but may I ask you a question?”
At this point, the guy looks up and I’ve blown my cover. I point my camera to another part of the mall and pretend I’m snapping pictures, but he’s on to me.
He slyly moved behind the kiosk and looked down at his product, but I could see his eyes looking up at me. At that point, I got out of the area as I got all the pictures I needed.
As for the girl in the red, notice she’s now at the cash register? Whatever bait she was using sure was working better than what the guy in the blue was using.
Now I question – why do the malls tolerate this kind of aggressive sales tactics? I spoke to a local guy who works at one of the kiosks and he said that the vendors are NOT supposed to approach shoppers. Only when the shopper stops at their kiosk are they allowed to engage with the shopper.
Does this hurt the other merchants? You bet it does because when I start coming up to one of these Mall Pests and see them looking me over, I continue walking until I pass them. So what about the merchants that I just passed? I didn’t pause to look in their window, or even inside their store. I was focused on just getting by the Mall Pests.
Sometimes, the best offense is a good defense – even if it means being rude – because that’s all these Mall Pests understand. They prey on the locals aloha spirit and politeness.
And these Mall Pests are multi-lingual. I hear them speaking besides English, but Japanese, Spanish, and even French.
Maybe they start out working at the Rosetta Stone kiosk and learn while they earn.
So what’s your take on this? Do they bother you or do you just ignore them? Do you feel they are hurting the malls? To me, it’s equivalent to panhandling. And that can’t be good for our tourists.
I’d like to learn a little bit of sign language and sign to them that I don’t know what they’re saying to me. But what if they start signing back…
That got me thinking of my small-kid-time barbershops. As far back as I can remember, my mom used to take me to a barbershop that my auntie Yoshiko and her sisters ran. It was located in the Bowling City building. Anyone remembers this place?
It was on the corner of King St. and Alapai St. by the parking lot of HRT buses at the Alapai bus yard.
Aunty Yoshiko was very conservative and thought that all Japanese boys should have short hair. I’m talking shorty than a crew cut. Like wana kine haircut. And I used to hate it! Seeing my older brothers growing out their hair as it was in the 60’s and long hair was the “in” thing, I too wanted long hair. But my auntie would say in her Japanese accent – “Ahh, short hair look good on you. Now you look nice and handsome”.
Then when I got to the older grades of elementary school – my dad used to take me to see “Clara” at a small, 2 seat barbershop in Kailua town. Clara would let me grow my hair a little bit longer, so I could actually put some Three Flower or Seventeen brilliantine in my hair – and actually make a side part. Of course, each day before going to school, it required mom to get her hands full of hair wax and slather it all over my pokey Asian hair. That’s probably why she liked my hair buzzed cut as it didn’t require any maintenance. LOL
Then when I entered intermediate school – my dad still took me to Clara for my haircut, but it was the early 70’s and any haircut – no matter how long – was better than those “hippies” who didn’t cut their hair at all. I think my hair actually touched the top of my ears. Woo-hoo!
Once I started driving and working during high school, it was totally up to me to find a barber and pay for my own haircuts. This was entering the mid 70’s where long hippie hair was no long in style. Instead, it was the shagged look. It’s my belief that when everyone was growing their hair out in the late 60’s – barbershops became a thing of the past. Sure there were a few for the older generation, but not as many around for the long-hair kids.
Then in the 70’s when the shaped, feathered look (think David Cassidy) came in style – Men’s Hair Salons started opening up. Basically, they were higher-priced barbershops but with a mod-looking interior, hip music, and fashionista hair stylists. I used to go to this men’s salon in Kailua. The cuts were okay, but I could never get that feathered look with my hair. It could be layered, but it wouldn’t flow like how I wanted it to.
In the 80’s, I bounced around from hair salon to hair salon. At one time, I even used to go to Waimalu to get my hair done because the stylist was a good friend of mine that I knew from social club time.
Then in about the mid 90’s, a co-worker told me that he goes to Thom’s Barbershop at Ala Moana Center.. A barbershop!?! Do they still have those around? So I gave it a try. Ho, save money! And the guy who cuts my hair was good fun to talk to. And he cuts good. So I went back. And before I realized it – I went full circle. Well, I’m not getting my head buzzed like small-kid-time, but I’m getting my hair cut at a good ol’ barbershop. To this day, I’ve been a Thom’s Barbershop customer for… gotta be 20 years already.
And you know what? Having a good barber is almost as good as having a good psychiatrist. You can unload your problems, share your achievements, and walk away looking AND feeling better than when you walked in. Just as was quoted in the Bobby’s Barbershop Closing article: “The barbershop was networking at that time. This was before social networking. The barbershop was always the community hub for everyone to exchange information about friends and family.”
How about you? What’s your haircut history? Can you remember all the different places you visited to get your hair done? Did you finally settle on someplace? Or do you just pop into a convenient place and take whoever is available? Please don’t tell me you cut your own hair with a Flow-bee.
What small-kid-time Halloween costumes do you recall wearing?
Do you have any spooky stories or Halloween jokes?
Here’s my replies:
Have you ever carved a jack-o-lantern?
Actually, I haven’t. Or if we did when I was small – I don’t remember. Nope, never did. Maybe in school as we watched a teacher do it. Although I vaguely remember my dad roasting some pumpkin seeds once. But I don’t remember the pumpkin.
What small-kid-time Halloween costumes do you recall wearing?
The Tweety Bird costume, the Casper the Friendly Ghost costume, and as a Hobo.
Do you have any spooky stories or Halloween jokes?
Alice Yang, better known as Chicken Alice to us MLCers passed away earlier this month.
I think all of use remember eating that red, crispy, spicy chicken wings and drumettes in the little hole-in-the-wall on Kapiolani Blvd.
Chicken Alice opened her restaurant in 1982 – but she was cooking up this specialty dish a couple of years prior when she was running the Korea House bar on Keeaumoku St. Chicken Alice restaurant lasted for over 10 years until it closed in 1992. There was a time when she had even expanded to Pearl City and Kailua. KAILUA!?! Yes, I vaguely remember seeing the Chicken Alice Kailua store in the building behind of the Taco Bell. I don’t know why I never went there.
After Chicken Alice closed up, locals who were still jonesing for her delicious chicken – by word-of-mouth – found out which bar she was cooking up her famous chicken. And followed her from bar to bar. Word was that the last known place where you could satisfy your Chicken Alice fix was at Club Star Palace.
Five years ago, Chicken Alice contemplated opening a new restaurant with her nephew and his wife. They even learn her techniques to making it just right. But the new restaurant never came to fruition. But that does leave a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe – the Chicken Alice legacy will carry on.
Alice Yang was 75 years old. She is survived by sisters Grace Ozaki and Joyce Yang.
I wanted to thank Alice Yang for all the memories of eating her “kim chee chicken”. When I was working in Kapahulu, sometimes I’d drive down to Chicken Alice to get a plate to eat in the shop. I always scanned the menu and saw the other Korean dishes – which I’m sure were just a ono – but I always had to have the chicken.
I remember stopping by before heading to a pot-luck after calling in an order ahead of time. When we got there, the box of chicken would be ready with the top open. Alice would tell us to keep the top open as well as the package to let the steam out and keep the chicken crispy. The aroma just filled the car and it took a lot of will power to not “sample” a wing before making it to the pot-luck. Chicken Alice chicken was always a hit at any pot-luck.
If anyone would like to give it a try, here’s the recipe that’s floating around the internet:
Chicken Alice’s Wings
5 pounds chicken wings
Vegetable oil for deep frying (Wesson brand preferred)
1/3 cup Parks brand kim chee sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons salt
2-1/2 cups flour
2 cups water, or more, as needed
Rinse and dry chicken. Cut off and discard wing tips. Cut through joint to separate drummettes from other half of wing.
To make batter: Combine kim chee sauce, garlic, salt and flour. Add water gradually, enough to make a thick batter, about the consistency of pancake batter.
Add chicken pieces to batter, mix well and marinate in refrigerator 2 to 3 hours.
Heat oil to 350 degrees. Deep-fry chicken pieces about 10 minutes, until chicken rises to surface and coating is deep brown.
Thank you Chicken Alice for all the times that your chicken and kim chee satisfied this Korean’s stomach. I think I can say – and the readers would agree – that your chicken is the number one MLC fried chicken.
Rodney Lee is a Baby Boomer - and proud of it. Rodney started the Midlife Crisis blog back in the days of The Honolulu Advertiser and ran it for about 3 years. After The Honolulu Advertiser shut down, Rodney decided to continue his blog here at Midlife Crisis Hawaii. New blog entries are added every Monday and Thursday.
So join Rodney as he reminisces about the good ol' days.
Midlife Crisis Hawaii - where the memories live on.