Archive for April 2017

When I was first learning to type, many years ago, I asked the same question everyone else asks: why are the keys arranged so stupidly? Why aren’t they laid out in a more logical order, as in, just to take one random example, alphabetically? The answer I’ve heard countless times is that the first typewriter keyboards were arranged alphabetically, but that caused mechanical problems—once typists became reasonably proficient, the keys jammed frequently because the hammers corresponding to certain frequently used letter sequences were too close together. As a result, so the story goes, the QWERTY layout was designed to prevent jamming by moving those letters farther apart, thus slowing down the typists to a speed the machine could handle. Meanwhile, a more sensible and efficient layout called the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard has been around for a long time, but never became very popular because QWERTY simply had too much momentum in the marketplace.

That story has frequently been used (even by me) as an example of how an inferior, inefficient design came to be the standard—and remained so, long after the original reasons for its success became irrelevant. But the truth is more complicated and surprisingly controversial.

Faster than a Speeding Typist
The first issue is whether the switch to the QWERTY layout was truly intended to slow down typists—whether it was a matter of deliberately inconveniencing people for the sake of machines or whether it was simply expedient engineering. I have never seen any statistics as to how fast anyone could type using the original, alphabetical keyboard layout, but I think it’s fair to imagine that it would be faster only for people who have to look at the keys while they type. For well-trained touch-typists, I very much doubt that an alphabetical layout would yield any speed increase over QWERTY, and there is some evidence to suggest exactly the opposite. QWERTY may have its faults, but it seems to me that one need not get upset (as many have) that we’re all using a layout that’s substantially worse than the original.

But is there some layout that’s demonstrably much better than QWERTY? A lot of people think the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard meets that description. Dr. August Dvorak, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, designed this alternative layout in 1932 and patented it in 1936. Dvorak’s goal was to reduce typing fatigue by minimizing finger movement, so he put the most commonly used letters (including all the vowels) on the “home” row, while placing letters like Q and Z and certain punctuation characters in spots that are harder to reach. The Dvorak layout also favors the right hand, on the grounds that the majority of people are right-handed. Dvorak naturally claimed that his design was much better than QWERTY, but we need not take his word for it. A study performed by the U.S. Navy in 1944 showed speed improvements of as much as 75% when people who had previously learned the QWERTY layout were retrained on Dvorak keyboards. And that, say Dvorak supporters, should be that.

Dark Days for Dvorak
However, another study—this one performed in 1956 by the U.S. General Service Administration (GSA)—failed to confirm the results of the Navy test. It found, in a nutshell, that QWERTY was at least as efficient as Dvorak, and possibly more so. Further research conducted from the 1950s through the 1970s showed little or no advantage for Dvorak.

Two economists, Stan Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis, have written extensively about the Dvorak-versus-QWERTY debate. They mention the research suggesting QWERTY’s superiority and point out a number of significant flaws in the 1944 Navy study, not the least of which is the fact that Dvorak himself apparently oversaw that research in some capacity. In short, they say, the Dvorak layout isn’t and never was any better than QWERTY, and the only thing the pro-Dvorak studies really prove is that anyone who is retrained on any keyboard layout will get better. Therefore, no one should use QWERTY as an example of the free market “choosing” an inferior technology.

Rejoinder to the Rebuttal
But wait! Dvorak’s not out yet. Supporters of Dvorak claim that Liebowitz and Margolis have an axe to grind, and that in the very process of showing how earlier research was fudged, they fudged facts themselves. Specifically, pro-Dvorak folks say, the economists failed to mention that Earle Strong, who was in charge of the 1956 GSA study, had a personal grudge against Dvorak and had made public statements before that study was even performed voicing his opposition to any alternative keyboard layout. Randy C. Cassingham, author of the 1986 book Dvorak Keyboard: The Ergonomically Designed Keyboard, Now an American Standard (an unbiased title if ever I heard one), attempted to debunk Liebowitz and Margolis’s findings soon after they were originally published, but his work has been little noticed—except by other die-hard Dvorak fans looking to bolster their position.

The ferocity with which both pro- and anti-Dvorak views are evangelized in some circles rivals that of a religious or political cause. Both sides selectively downplay or emphasize whichever facts suit them best, and there’s precious little research on the subject that’s both truly objective and modern enough to have been performed using computers rather than typewriters. Anecdotally, Dvorak users frequently cite greater comfort as one reason for preferring it, and some claim that because Dvorak involves less finger movement, it’s less likely to contribute to repetitive stress injuries. Opponents counter that if you truly can type faster with Dvorak, then the increased number of movements will offset the ergonomic gains made by the decreased range of motion. And the debate goes on and on

The Best Test
All modern computers—Macs, PCs, and Linux machines—include the capability of switching into a Dvorak layout if that’s what you prefer (though the physical keys won’t match the characters they type unless you perform some minor surgery on your keyboard or put stickers over the existing letters). So if you want to try out Dvorak yourself, you need only consult your computer’s Help to find out how to change that setting. Chances are you’ll find that it takes a few weeks or so to retrain yourself to the point where you’re about as fast as you were using QWERTY. If you can tolerate the temporary loss in productivity, you may find the experiment useful.

I tried learning Dvorak myself, years ago, but gave up before I became proficient—I had to get my work done. On the other hand, I can already type as fast as I should ever need to using QWERTY. For me, the bottleneck is usually how fast I can think, not how fast I can type, so I suspect Dvorak would not make my life meaningfully better. If I spent all day, every day, doing straight transcription or had a quota to meet, though, I might relish any chance for a potential speed increase. Better yet, I might start looking for a job that didn’t involve typing at all. —Joe Kissell

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More Information about The Dvorak Keyboard Controversy…

Anti-Dvorak articles by Liebowitz and Margolis include:

Pro-Dvorak articles include:

Other articles about the debate include:

Randy C. Cassingham’s book Dvorak Keyboard: The Ergonomically Designed Keyboard, Now an American Standard is now out of print but may be available used, and may or may not shed any light on the situation.

The Wikipedia has articles on the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard and the QWERTY keyboard.

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Le Palais Idéal

The topic of weird, elaborate structures built by wealthy eccentrics has come up repeatedly here at Interesting Thing of the Day—think of the Winchester Mystery House, Neuschwanstein Castle, and Hearst Castle, for instance. Today we add to that list a palace constructed in its entirety by an eccentric of modest means: a postman named Ferdinand Cheval.

The story begins in 1879. Cheval, then 43 years old, had been working as a rural mail carrier in the southeast of France for 12 years. Because his daily routine involved walking about 20 miles (32km), mostly in solitude, he did a lot of daydreaming. One day (perhaps while his mind was elsewhere), he tripped over a small limestone rock. He noticed that the rock was oddly and beautifully shaped, so he wrapped it up in his handkerchief, put it in his pocket, and took it home with him. The next day, he went back to the same spot and found lots of other interesting stones. He recalled a striking dream he’d had in 1864, in which he’d built a huge castle of stone. Right then and there, he decided to make his dream a reality: he made it his life’s mission to collect enough stones to construct that castle.

Going Postal
Cheval began collecting rocks on his rounds, eventually adding about 5 miles (8km) of walking per day. At first he kept the stones in his pockets, then moved on to baskets and, finally, a wheelbarrow as the size and quantity of the stones he collected increased. Back at home, he set to work arranging the stones into an ever-larger structure. He also made numerous figures of people, animals, and plants out of concrete and blended these into the creation, which was held together with the help of cement and wire. Despite ridicule from his neighbors, he continued working on the project for 33 years, and it became his full-time occupation after he retired from the post office in 1896. By the time he declared it finished, in 1912, it had grown to roughly 85 feet (26m) long, 40 feet (12m) wide, and 35 feet (11m) high. It was dubbed Le Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval (or Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace).

And it looks like…well, no one can really say what it looks like. Cheval’s vision had been that of a fantastical structure incorporating elements from many different architectural styles. Part of it was intended to emulate a Hindu temple; part of it is supposed to look like a medieval castle. There are also influences from numerous other cultures from all over the world. And yet, the final product—a pastiche though it may be—has an odd sort of coherence that evokes (or possibly even inspired) Dr. Seuss.

Dying for Recognition
By the time the palace was complete, it had begun to draw international attention. Famous artists visited and drew inspiration from it; it was featured in media from postcards to magazines; and people came from far and wide to see this astonishing building. Public opinion about the work and its creator eventually shifted, and Cheval himself came to be regarded as an artist of some renown.

However, even though Cheval had essentially put the town of Hauterives on the map, the city government denied his request to be buried, along with his wife, in the palace. Not to be deterred, he went back to work in 1914 on a second, smaller structure in the local cemetery. He spent eight years building what he called the Tomb of Silence and Eternal Rest. Two years after its completion—and just days after he finished writing his autobiography—Cheval died and was interred in this new structure.

Set in Stone
The Palais Idéal was declared a cultural landmark in 1969, and underwent extensive renovations from 1983 to 1993. Today, the site draws more than 100,000 visitors per year to Hauterives. An exhibition at Paris’s Musée de la Poste (Post Office Museum) in 2007 showcased artwork inspired by Cheval’s palace, and included numerous artifacts relating to its history—including the original visitors’ log begun in 1905. The centerpiece of the exhibit was a detailed one-tenth-scale model of the palace (shown in the photo above).

I wouldn’t call this structure a work of architectural genius, and its artistic merits (or lack thereof) have been much debated. But no one can dispute that it’s audacious, wacky, and impressive. Whatever drove Cheval to spend half his life collecting stones and building bizarre monuments, it earned him a place in history as one of only a few truly famous postmen. —Joe Kissell

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More Information about Palais Idéal…

The palace’s official Web site has photos, videos, history, and tourist information; you can find abbreviated details at Whatsonwhen.

You can find some nice photos of the palace at Claude Travels.

Two lengthier articles about the palace and the man who built it are The postman who delivered a palace by Mary Blume at the International Herald Tribune (May 3, 2007) and Palais Idéal at Off the Map. You can also read about Ferdinand Cheval in the Wikipedia.

Information on visiting the town of Hauterives can be found at France-for-visitors.com.

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When my mother returned from a vacation to Florida with her sister a number of months ago, I called to ask how it went. “Oh, we had the best time!” she said. “We spent most of the trip planning our funerals. It was hilarious!” Well, that wasn’t quite what I was expecting to hear. On previous vacations my mom has gone on cruises, even tried parasailing, and I thought I had a pretty good idea of what activities she considered fun. Funeral planning was a bit of a surprise. It’s not that she’s ill or expecting to die soon. But, as she put it, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

I’ve seen some of those late-night commercials trying to sell funeral insurance, with the idea being that you can save your grieving loved ones the considerable expense associated with funerals and burial. But that wasn’t what my mother had in mind at all. (In fact, she made a point of saying that since she’d relieved the family of the burden of funeral planning, the least we could do is pay for it!) Rather, she’d gone to some local funeral parlors and asked them for pre-planning forms she could fill out, detailing her background and family contact information, and specifying her wishes for things like burial versus cremation, type of casket, a minister to preside over the ceremony, and so on.

Survivor: The Afterlife
What made this all so funny? For starters, these forms—which, mind you, are intended to be filled out by the person on whose behalf the services will be performed—often begin by asking you to list your survivors. That whole idea gave Mom and Aunt Ruth the giggles—how would they know, now, who will survive them? But even though you may have to leave a few sections blank, planning your own funeral gives you the chance to approach the details of how your death will be observed with a rare mixture of detachment and subjectivity. In other words, while you’re alive and healthy, you can have fun with the activity in a way that your bereaved loved ones, under the stress of the moment, never could.

Most pre-planning forms ask for basic things like whether you’d prefer a religious, secular, or military funeral. But you can get as detailed as you’d like. List the music you want to have played or sung. What kinds of flowers you want, if any. Scripture passages, poems, or other readings you’d like to have presented. Names of potential pallbearers. And even details about what clothes or jewelry you’ll be wearing while lying in that casket, whether you’ll have your glasses on, and what items should be added or removed before the casket goes in the ground. (My dad has always joked that he’d like to be buried with a plate of spare ribs. It could happen.)

Lay-Away Plan
Although it has always been possible to state your own funeral preferences, either in a will or elsewhere, the trend of doing more involved funeral planning for oneself seems to be picking up steam. The topic is covered in various books and Web sites, and of course most funeral directors can supply you with brochures, forms, and other information about their particular services. But for some people, merely planning out a memorial service is not enough. Among the other things you can now arrange are the following:

Have your ashes scattered at sea. The Neptune Society specializes in planning for cremation, and offers optional ceremonies at sea.

Rebuild Atlantis. I am absolutely not making this up. You can have your ashes encased in concrete and used as one of the building blocks of an artificial reef being constructed off the coast of Miami. The Atlantis Memorial Reef is being designed as an underwater garden that looks like some artist’s idea of Atlantis, and you can spend eternity there if you want.

Go into space. It’s not just for celebrity zillionaires and starship engineers. You, too, can have a small portion of your ashes sent into space by Memorial Spaceflights. Prices start at just $500 for a brief trip into zero gravity and back; $1,300 for an indefinite stay in orbit; or $12,500 to have your ashes sent to the moon—or even into deep space on a spacecraft powered by a solar sail.

Cut glass. If you’d like to keep your eternal remains close to home, you can have your ashes compressed into an artificial diamond by a company called LifeGem. That’s right: you can wear Grandma around your neck. Prices start at $3,300 and go up to $25,000. Only slightly less creepy: the same company can make gems from a lock of someone’s hair—dead or alive.

Furnish your home for the afterlife. If you think cremation offers more attractive options than burial, you haven’t visited CasketFurniture.com, which makes sofas, coffee tables, beds, entertainment centers, and other pieces of furniture that not only look like coffins—they can be converted, upon your death, to hold your remains. If you spend all your time lying on the couch anyway, why not buy one you can enjoy for centuries to come?

One step my mother has not yet taken—but plans to—is writing her own obituary. She wants to make sure it hits all the most interesting and important highlights. Unfortunately, you can’t control everything that will happen after your death. Maybe it’ll rain the day you’re buried; maybe the cat will knock over your urn of ashes; maybe your eulogy will have irritating grammatical errors. These things happen. You may not get the very last laugh, but you can at least make the Reaper a bit less grim. —Joe Kissell

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More Information about Planning Your Own Funeral…

Thanks to reader Toni Coleman for suggesting today’s topic!

Memorial Preferences is a $12.95 ebook about funeral planning. I haven’t read it, and the site won’t even load in Safari…caveat lector.

This funeral preplanning questionnaire from the Korisko Larkin Staskiewicz Funeral Home in Omaha, Nebraska gives you a good idea of what decisions you might want to make about your funeral.

You can find some additional funeral planning tips at the New York State Funeral Directors Association.

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Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death Revisited is a funny but sobering look at the ins and outs (well, mostly ins) of the American funeral industry. One conclusion: pre-paying for your funeral is a bad idea.

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Finally, for even more concrete suggestions, see Last Wishes : A Funeral Planning Manual and Survivors Guide by Malcolm James and Victoria Lynn.

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by Morgen Jahnke

When I was a kid, there was a time when artificial red food dyes came under intense scrutiny because of their purported health risks. In 1976, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the dye FD&C Red #2 because scientific studies showed it had carcinogenic effects on female rats. In response to the public concern about red food coloring, food manufacturers discontinued some of their red products, even if they didn’t contain Red #2. I remember this clearly because it meant that certain types of candy (such as M&Ms) no longer included red-colored pieces, and that I avoided any red candies I came across. More recently, another type of red food dye, FD&C #40, has been linked to increased hyperactivity in children, although it remains on the list of FDA-approved color additives.

Because of the controversy surrounding these artificial dyes, some food manufacturers have turned to another source of red coloring. Known as cochineal, or in some forms, carmine, this dye, produced from a type of insect native to South America and Mexico called the cochineal, has a history that goes back hundreds of years.

A Prickly Subject
The cochineal insect’s entire life cycle takes place on the pads of certain species of prickly pear cacti. Although sometimes mistakenly referred to as a beetle, it is in fact a scale insect, a type of bug that is usually quite small and that lives by attaching itself to a host plant and drawing sustenance from it. Like other scale insects, the cochineal produces a protective covering for itself, which appears as a white fluffy material on the pads of the cactus. The females are larger than the males, and live longer than the one week that is typical for males. Cochineal insects produce a chemical called carminic acid, which helps them repel predators, and is the source of the dark purple color used to make cochineal dye.

The traditional method of obtaining the dye is to remove the insects from the cactus pads by hand, and then to dry them in the sun before crushing them into a powder. It’s estimated that it takes about 70,000 cochineal insects to produce one pound (about 500 grams) of the cochineal powder. Carmine is a further refinement of the cochineal dye, obtained through a process of boiling the powder with certain other chemical compounds.

The Cochineal Craze
The production of cochineal was well established in Mexico when the Spanish first arrived there in the 16th century. Impressed with the vividness of the dye, they soon began exporting cochineal to Spain and the rest of Europe in vast quantities. Cochineal became a prized commodity on the Continent (Spain refused to trade it with the English), and it created huge profits for Spain. For this reason, the cultivation of cochineal was aggressively restricted to Spanish-controlled Mexico, although this changed when a French naturalist managed to smuggle cochineal-infested cactus pads to Haiti in 1777.

From there, cochineal production eventually expanded to South America, India, Portugal, and the Canary Islands, where it became particularly successful. The long-time demand for cochineal started to ebb in the late 1800s as new synthetic dyes were developed, and soon it was no longer economically viable to continue its production.

Seeing Red
Now, however, cochineal has emerged as a non-toxic alternative to the artificial dyes that supplanted it in the 1800s, and it is again cultivated in the Canary Islands, Peru, and Mexico. Not limited to food, cochineal and carmine are used to give alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, shampoo, and pharmaceuticals a bright red color, and are now regularly added to such food items as meat, poultry, jam, cheese, pastries, yogurt, and fruit juices.

Until recently, manufacturers in the U.S. were not required to list cochineal and carmine as specific ingredients in their products, but in response to public protest, the FDA began to look into the issue in January 2006. Certain groups of people, among them vegans, those who observe kosher or halal dietary restrictions, and people who have found they are allergic to cochineal, argue that they should be warned about food items containing crushed insects. I agree with them; although I have no concrete objection to consuming insect carcasses with my daily yogurt, I would appreciate having full knowledge about what I’m eating all the same. —Morgen Jahnke

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More Information about Cochineal…

Thanks to Lisa Vawter for setting us straight on the whole “cochineal are not beetles” thing.

The history of the food coloring “red scare” in the 1970s is detailed in John Henkel’s essay, From Shampoo to Cereal: Seeing to the Safety of Color Additives, on the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Web site.

Red Scales in the Sunset by Professor Arthur Gibson of UCLA is a good overview of cochineal beetles and the production of cochineal.

To see photos of cochineal-infested cacti, visit the Texas Indians Web site.

In January 2006, the Wall Street Journal reported on the new FDA proposal regarding cochineal and carmine product labeling.

The text of the FDA’s January 2006 report can be found on the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Web site.

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Tiki statue at the Tonga Room in San Francisco

One day last summer I walked into one of my favorite mom-and-pop variety shops in San Francisco and saw a big display of everything Tiki—a Tiki bar, Tiki glasses, Tiki masks, Tiki statues, Tiki books. My initial reaction was, “Ah, another cheesy American fad is reborn,” followed quickly by, “Cool! I need to own this stuff.” What can I say? I’m a sucker for faux culture, especially exotic faux culture—particularly when it involves interesting drinks. But I soon realized that I had only ever heard the word “Tiki” used as an adjective. I didn’t know what a Tiki actually was. I could identify Tiki-themed merchandise easily enough, but I wasn’t quite clear what culture it was supposed to represent. So I decided to do some research.

My first step, of course, was to watch the film “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Other than being set in the wrong ocean, it was a good way to get those Tiki juices flowing. After all, it does involve islands and rum. But it made me hearken back to the attraction of the same name that I’ve visited at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. This, in turn, reminded me of yet another notorious Disney attraction which is also populated by those ubiquitous Audio-Animatronic characters—namely, the Enchanted Tiki Room. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. So my next stop was the closest approximation of the Enchanted Tiki Room I could find in San Francisco: a restaurant called the Tonga Room. And what luck: just in time for happy hour and an all-you-can-eat buffet. At last I was getting somewhere.

The Authentic Fake-Polynesian Experience
The Tonga Room, like any good Tiki bar, is dark and funky, with a nautical feel, fake palm trees, and lots of large carved wooden statues. Unlike most Tiki bars, however, this one has a pool in the middle, with a floating raft that functions as a stage for the band. And every 20 minutes or so, visitors are treated to an authentic artificial Pacific thundershower. Morgen and I sat down, ordered scary-sounding tropical drinks, and loaded up our plates with vaguely Pacific-looking treats—basically a dim sum selection and a number of dishes involving pineapple. There could be no doubt that we were at last having a genuine Tiki experience. But the question still nagged at me…what does Tiki actually mean?

As I learned after some research on the Web, a Tiki is a carved statue representing a Polynesian god. OK, fair enough. But it turns out that “Polynesian” is a fairly broad and ambiguous term, as Polynesia covers a vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean—from Easter Island to Hawaii to New Zealand—and the cultures and languages represented are numerous and heterogenous. In some part of Polynesia, apparently, islanders once made and worshipped statues referred to as Tikis. So what does that have to do with a wacky American fad?

In the 1930s, bars and restaurants in southern California began to adopt South Pacific themes, as Americans were just starting to discover Polynesian foods and cultures. In an effort to lend some authenticity to the bars, artifacts from various Pacific islands began to show up, and Tiki statues soon became regular fixtures. Put a Tiki in a bar and, ipso facto, you’ve got a Tiki bar. And what would a theme bar be without special drinks? So bar owners invented strong, fruity drinks with exotic names like “Mai Tai”—often served in Tiki-shaped glasses—even though the drinks themselves had nothing to do with Polynesia. Neither, for the most part, did the food or music that became part of Tiki culture; like the décor, they were composed of bits and pieces from lots of different places, along with a healthy dose of imagination. Ironically, the very effort to make Pacific-themed bars more “authentic” eventually led to the creation of a pseudoculture that didn’t resemble anything in the real world. But that didn’t stop it from taking on a life of its own.

Pros and Kon-Tiki
Tiki culture soon got another boost. According to Polynesian folklore, the earliest inhabitants of the Polynesian islands had come from South America, led by a mythical figure named Kon-Tiki. But it was popularly believed that such a long voyage would have been impossible using the technology available when the first settlers would have arrived. In 1947, a biologist named Thor Heyerdahl set out to prove the feasibility of such a trip. Along with five assistants, he built a balsa log raft (which he also named Kon-Tiki) and drifted 4,300 nautical miles from Callao in Peru to the Raroia atoll in Polynesia. The trip took three months and was quite treacherous, but it proved that it could be done. Heyerdahl’s book about his adventure quickly became a best-seller, reinforcing Tiki mania.

In most parts of the United States, Tiki bars died out before disco. But in keeping with the modern “retro is good” meme, Tiki is experiencing a renaissance. I couldn’t be happier. I missed the Tiki fad the first time around, and of all the imaginary cultures I’ve experienced, Tiki is among my favorites. —Joe Kissell

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More Information about Tiki…

This article was featured in in Retro Carnival, Edition 1.

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A terrific overview of the history of Tiki culture by James Teitelbaum can be found in the online introduction to his book Tiki Road Trip: A Guide to Tiki Culture in North America. Also see The Book of Tiki by Sven Kirsten, a detailed, heavily illustrated, and somewhat tongue-in-cheek description of tiki culture. If you’re interested in making Tiki drinks, there are a couple of good books you might consider: Tiki Drinks by Adam Rocke and The Great Tiki Drink Book by Jennifer Trainer Thompson (with Nancy Thomas).

There are plenty of Tiki resources on the Web, for example:

  • The Tiki News Website is a fanzine created by Otto von Stroheim.
  • The Tiki Room features Tiki music, photos, books, and an active discussion forum.
  • Tiki Mon sells hand-carved Tiki totems.
  • Tiki Objects by Bosko carries handmade Tiki poles, masks, bars, mugs, shields, and all sorts of other Tiki paraphernalia.
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Thor Heyerdahl wrote about his adventures in Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft, which was also made into a documentary film in 1951.

If you’re ever in San Francisco, be sure to visit the famous Tonga Room on the lower level of the Fairmont Hotel. In fact, San Francisco has no shortage of Tiki bars. There’s also Trader Sams and The Bamboo Hut.

You may also find these ebooks interesting: How to Build Your Own Tiki Bar ($20) or Polynesian Tropical Island Theme Party ($13).

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