Happy St. Palentine’s Day!

We all know about Valentine’s Day–the holiday when couples gather together to celebrate their love while everyone else debates how much the pizza guy will judge them for ordering two large calzones. What you may not know about this traditionally feminine holiday is that it actually has its roots in a much more pure and underrepresented holiday celebration–St. Palentine’s Day.

St. Palentus stained glass window
St. Palentine with his famous stick used to defend the weak and throw down with Roman bandits

St. Palentine was originally a Christian priest who preached illegally to Roman civilians. Palentinus (his Latin name) practiced Christianity because he dug Jesus’ instructions which he basically stated as, “be excellent to one another.” Of the many citizens he converted was a man named Valentinus, who quickly became his most ardent follower. It was with Valentinus that Palentinus gained sainthood, after performing three miracles:

  1. Driving his chariot fifty miles out of Rome to pick up Valentinus from that sketchy party out in the burbs
  2. Helping Valentinus somehow install a Brazilian Teak deck out back in his Domus, elevating his legendary grill master status
  3. Saving Valentinus’ life.

The last miracle Palentinus performed was to push Valentinus out of the way of a runaway horse cart, allowing himself to get run over. When Valentinus knelt next to his dying friend and master, he asked what he should do with his life. Palentinus responded, “just be a good dude.” Valentius bowed his head to pray, and upon opening his eyes, Palentius had disappeared.

Entitled “The Rescue of St. Valentine,” this mosaic portrays that one time Paletinus saved Valentinus from that super skeezy party in Tivoli.

For many years, men from all around Rome would gather on the spot of that last miracle, crack an ice cold beer, and talk about how good of a dude Palentinus really was. It was from these discussions that the term “being a Pal” arose.

Eventually, Valentinus became St. Valentine, dedicating his life to performing weddings for Roman soldiers. St. Valentine helped many of Rome’s brave soldiers finally seal the deal with the comely ladies of antiquity.

Vibia Sabina. Quite the catch.

But none of this, including the much more famous St. Valentines Day, would have been possible without our man St. Palentine. So before we soon forget, let us celebrate the life and sacrifice of a real ‘pal’ with an ice cold beer by the barbecue pit that Ted helped you build. Oh and don’t forget, Mark loaned you his truck so you could pick up grilling gear. Maybe you should just firet that thing up and invite all your buddies. Why not? It’s St. Palentine’s Day!

Men with Moxie: Peter Lemon

The Vietnam War wasn’t the best war. No, that honor definitely goes to WWII. Now that was a war. Larger-than-life villains, espionage, codes, submarine warfare? Yeah, fighting in a bug-ridden jungle was no WWII. But that doesn’t mean the Vietnam War wasn’t chock full of just as many heroes as every war before it.

One such hero is our Moxie Man of the Week, Medal of Honor recipient Peter Lemon. Before you read on, not that he was not born an American, rather, a Canadian. Born on June the 5th, he is the 3rd youngest medal of honor recipient.

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During a fierce battle near the Cambodian border in 1970, Lemon single-handedly fought off a group of enemy soldiers. He shot at them with  his rifle and machine gun until both broke, then moved on to grenades. When there was only one soldier left, Lemon chased him down and killed him with his bare hands.

During a lull in the action, though he was himself injured, Lemon took the time to carry a wounded comrade to an aid station. It was during this that Lemon picked up his second bullet. But was he done?

Our Men with Moxie never are.

Returning to his post through a hail of gunfire, continued to fight off the enemy with grenades until they began to retreat. Then he found another machine gun, ran up a nearby hill, and stood there like freaking King Kong firing down on the retreating enemy soldiers. Until he passed out right there from blood loss.

I mean really, with a fistful of shrapnel and a couple bullets in him, our moxie man decides he needs a new position to better represent the enormity of his manliness.

But that’s not even the best part. The best part is that Peter Lemon fought off two waves of Viet Cong while stoned off his gourd. Like many other American troops at the time, Lemon was regularly smoking locally-grown marijuana. And while the craziest thing most people have done high was eat an entire carton of ice cream, Lemon killed two platoons of soldiers single-handedly. 

And that takes some serious moxie.

Father’s Day Advice: Act Like a Man For Your Kids

The pursuit of manliness. It seems to come naturally to most but in reality, for most men it is a constant and never-ending journey. Like when a bartender serves your cocktail with a straw. You throw that on the bar because men don’t need sipping accessories. Unless you are in Cabo and they have cool twisty color straws. Those are worth it.

However, there are also times in which you’re going to need to go the extra mile and put on a brave face. This rule applies almost anytime your kids are around. Like when you hit your finger pounding in nails.

Without Kids Around: profanities, followed by squeals of pain and suffering.

With Kids Around: smile and ignore the blood welling under your fingernail

Same with spiders, rodents, etc. As a father the expectation is that you are the brave one.

Or how about when you find yourself in a spicy food situation. What if your kids get you a Hot and Spicy Man Crate for Father’s Day?  But you don’t like spicy sauce. Well the crate is certainly sweet. But the contents… you can’t just ignore it–that’s rude. Your only option is to hitch up your dad-jeans (or perhaps overalls) and load up a mouthful of spicy tastebud-pounding goodness. There will be no crying (false) and don’t you dare utter, “this is too spicy.” Nothing is too spicy for you dad. It’s just perfect and what you always wanted. Keep those sugar packets handy (best remedy). Hey, strong men also cry.

As in all things, play it cool, bite your tongue, and think of your kids.

You think Timmy’s going to come out 100% okay if he’s raised by the kind of a father who can’t even handle his hot sauce? Chances are your ability to tolerate hot sauce will have minimal effect on his ability to handle life’s curveballs.

Or what if you end up with a fish hook in your ear? (Something we discussed earlier.) The only option is to calmly push it back into your own skin, clip the barb and pull it back out. Or don’t, maybe you want to be that new cool dad in the carpool line with the fresh piercing.

This is much more likely to happen if the kiddos get you a Gone Fishin’ Crate for Father’s Day, so brace yourself.

Father’s Day is here.

Men with Moxie: Alexander Selkirk

By now, you’ve all heard of our Man of Moxie series. Does the name Alexander Selkirk sound familiar? No? How about Roberson Crusoe? Because Selkirk was the guy Daniel Defoe based his famous island survivor on. Often truth is stranger than fiction. Such is the case with Mr. Selkirk.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

Fighting on orders of the Queen, Selkirk fought as a buccaneer, pilfering Spanish ships in the South Pacific Ocean. However, on one expedition, he expressed a lack of faith in the vessel he was sailing on. In an act of supreme foresight, Selkirk proclaimed that he would rather stay on an unoccupied island in the South Pacific than continue on in the rickety vessel. Such Moxie…

So the captain obliged, stranding him on Juan Fernández Islands with his gear and nothing else. (Turns out Selkirk was right, as the ship sunk off the coast of Columbia. The crew ended up in Spanish prisons.)

His first days on the island were spent miserably eating shellfish and regretting his decision. Then, to add insult to injury, a bunch of sea lions moved onto the beach and forced him from his recent home. This turned out to be a boon for Selkirk, however, as he soon discovered feral goats that past sailors had introduced to the island.

So, like Greg from Meet the Parents, our survivor man decided to milk these little goats.

Selkirk and Goat
Selkirk and Goat

Oh then he found some wild white turnips, cabbage, and peppers.

So he was eating like a king, but then another problem crept up–rats. Aggressive and hungry rodents began hassling Selkirk at night once he moved inland. So he did what any Moxie Man would do–he domesticated a grip of feral cats to defend him.

You read that right, our man who was living in the lap of luxury, eating goat cheese over a bed of cabbage and turnips, had his own personal “kitty Secret Service.:

At one point during his exile, a Spanish galleon came ashore. Preferring his island prison to a real one back on land, Selkirk managed to evade the Spanish until they gave up looking for him. How did they know he was there? Because he had built himself two huts. The man had a bloody guest hut. I guess it’s true about the British always being ready to entertain company.

Selkirk's Huts
Selkirk’s Huts

Selkirk was eventually rescued by another British privateering ship. Well, they were actually rescued by him. After the crew came ashore suffering from scurvy, Selkirk caught 2-3 goats a day, feeding them and restoring them to health. He probably would have built them all a hut if he’d had the time.

Alexander_Selkirk_Title_Page

 

Man Crates Brings Back Gone Fishing

It seems these days that less and less do you hear of men going fishing. Hell, it was a classic joke, “a bad day fishing beats a good day at work.” But why?

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Did fishing become somehow less appealing? Were fathers not passing it on to their sons? I don’t know why, but I just can’t shake the feeling like I’m one of the last anglers out there. Is this how the last of the mohicans felt?

And I am sure if you fish I’m sure you feel the same way. If you don’t fish, allow me regale you with all of the reasons you should at least give fishing a chance.

Clear your head. Seriously, when was the last day you actually relaxed? I don’t mean relaxed like, browsed Reddit, checked emails, or watched Game of Thrones. I mean a full day in which you make “just kickin’ it” a priority. 

Well that’s what fishing is for, my friend. You find a comfortable spot to sit or stand, you get your rod set, and get to it. I myself am a fly fisherman (a superior breed to be sure), so my fishing experiences are peaceful and melodic. Find a great spot, pull out some line, and cast. Rinse and repeat. And catching a fish beats yard work, if you ask me.

But I’m also a fan of ice fishing. Cut a hole in the ice, bait your hooks, and just drink beer until the sun goes down. Hey, you might even catch dinner while you’re at it. Most likely you will just be cold, but the sweet gear you can use and the tales you will tell make it worth it!

If you don’t fish, now’s a great time to wrangle up some of your bros, scare up some nightcrawlers, and head to the nearest body of water. Why not get matching Gone Fishin’ Crates while you’re at it? And definitely don’t forget the beer. Because that trout koozie will just look ridiculous.

 

Ten Manly Movies to Win Back Your Man Card

Your BBQ is winding down. The cooler finally has more ice than beer and everyone’s looking to crash on the couch with a cold one and a manly movie to doze off in front of. Unfortunately, the best you can do is Dances With Wolves. So it’s safe to say that now you’ve definitely lost the respect of your buddies. But maybe it’s not permanent.

The fact is, if your friends find out your manly movies are limited to Michael Bay films that aren’t The Rock, you’re going to have to make a pretty grand gesture to stop the endless jokes. So hit up the local Best Buy (oh who am I kidding, you probably only shop on Amazon, because you’re under 70).

  • Braveheart – they cannot take your freedom. To just put this on loop for the next three days straight.

 

  • Rocky – I mean, this is a pretty standard manly film, but whatever. The only reason I watch it is for the part at the end where Rocky just yells “ADRIAN!” over and over. Shit gets me every time. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tad3NI68dKA[/youtube]

Sylvester_Stallone_2012_2

  1. Rambo – I really want to drive home the point that if a movie has Sylvester Stallone, it’s probably manly enough.

  • Independence Day – Will Smith punches an alien in the head, makes a pithy comment and then smokes a cigar. ’nuff said [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfPWpEKhgfk[/youtube]
  • Die Hard – I think the letter Homer Simpson wrote to Die Hard sums it up best: “Dear Die Hard. You rock. Especially when that guy was on the roof. P.S: Do you know Mad Max?”

 

  • Literally any movie with Clint Eastwood in it. You name it. (Except Pink Cadillac. Don’t name that. It sounds like a drink- and unfortunately is a movie) 

  • The Mask of Zorro – the best part about having a copy of Zorro on-hand, is that if anyone criticizes it, you get to punch them right in the mouth.

Honorary Mentions:

  • Terminator I, II and III
  • Mongol
  • Tombstone
  • FightClub
  • The GodFather
  • Rudy
  • Gladiator
  • Animal House

There you have it. With even one of these flicks in your collection, you can make sure to impress your dude friends with your manly cinema knowledge. Oh, and stash that copy of Notting Hill/Love Actually under your bed, or they will find it.

I am sure you all have better idea– hit us with them @mancrates (yes we tweet)

Men with Moxie: John Harlan Willis

Both of my grandfathers were WWII veterans and they enjoyed regaling me with tales of their adventures. One grandfather was on a ship sunk in the Mediterranean, swam to shore, ended up in Egypt, and eventually bummed his way back up to England. There are countless of exceptional stories about WWII. I mean, that’s why the History Channel used to be WWII 24/7/365. One such story is the tale of Medal of Honor recipient John Harlan Willis–our Man of Moxie for this Week.

Mr. John Harlan Willis joined the Navy back in 1940 and was promoted multiple times throughout his service. His tour was relatively uneventful until the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. (Did you know Iwo Jima means “Sulfur Island”? That’s gross.)

baby-faced bravery

There he was injured and ordered to return to a battle aid station. But men with Moxie don’t easily retreat. Disobeying orders, he pushed to the front through artillery and sniper fire. At the extreme front of the line, he found an injured marine in a shell-hole. There, he calmly began administering blood plasma to the dying marine. But this is where Willis turned up the Moxie to 11.

Having just started the blood plasma, a Japanese grenade landed in the hole, which Willis looked at, shrugged, and tossed back. Then, seven more grenades came flying into the hole in quick succession. So, positively dripping with Moxie, Willis calmly threw back each one.

One handed. Because, he was busy administering a blood plasma the whole time 

Finally, the Japanese figured out that they were in fact battling Babe Ruth (Japanese Kamikaze pilots would sometimes yell “to hell with Babe Ruth!” before crashing their ships. They thought that was a pretty fine insult) and decided to throw a cooked grenade. This last grenade thrown would also be the final grenade, as it exploded in Willis’ hand killing him instantly.

But it doesn’t stop there. Motivated by his valor Moxie, his companions, though vastly outnumbered, rallied and pushed back the Japanese troops. So I’d say Willis’ actions alone justify a holiday. But there are millions more like him. Maybe we should just go ahead and make it Memorial Week.

Cheers to you John Harlan Willis.

(Have a great suggestion for our next Men with Moxie post? Let us know @mancrates )

Men with Moxie: Vance Flosenzier

We don’t all get a chance to face our own mortality (although we did talk about that last week). Most of us are probably going to die in a hospital bed peeing in a can. But some people reject that fate; like our Man of Moxie for the Week, Vance Flosenzier, the Shark Slayer.

In 2002, Flosenzier’s and his eight-year-old nephew Jessie Arbogast (what’s up with these last names, seriously) were playing at a Florida beach when Jessie was attacked by a 7 foot shark. He was only in three feet of water, but the shark was feeling hungry. He must not have seen the memo that Vance freakin’ Flosenzier was visiting the beach that day.

Because– Vance Flosenzier is crazy, and full of Moxie.

Note: Image Not to Scale
Note: Image Not to Scale

Not hesitating for a moment, Flosenzier waded into the ocean, grabbed the “apex predator” by the tail, and dragged it onto the beach. Because no one gives a crap about a fair fight when your opponent has an eight-year-old’s arm in their mouth.

So there they are on the beach, hot sun rolling off their shoulders, blood soaking the sand. Flosenzier holds the shark down with one foot, watching the resilient shark flop and defiantly struggle to give up its meal. He turns to the park ranger next to him and mutters, “do it.” The ranger pulls out his revolver and fills the shark with hot lead. Flosenzier’s only regret is that the ranger was there in the first place. Otherwise, he would have just punched the thing to death.

Because Flosenzier is a Man with Moxie.

His nephew later made a full recovery, but the shark…no that thing is dead. Flosenzier even went as far to make sure they retrieved the arm and re-attached it to his nephew in the following days. So the next time you see a shark attack, your reaction should be mindless. Grab that Shark tail, take him down, and drag that to the beach.

It’s what any man with moxie would do.

who wouldn’t fight this thing?

Men with Moxie: Peter Francisco

There are a lot of notable war heroes. Patton, Leonidas, any of the dudes in Black Hawk Down. But I’ve noticed that so very few of them were from the Revolutionary War. Sure there were some badass Patriots, but no one discusses their triumphs in the manly detail they deserve. I mean, really, how exciting is a bunch of dudes lining up in a row to shoot at another line of dudes?

Yawn.

That isn’t to say the War of Colonial Aggression was without its blood-splattered heroes. Take Peter Francisco–our Man of Moxie for the Week–he was found abandoned as a youth dressed like a nobleman, and was therefore raised as such. Truth be told, even if his parents were rich, they probably still weren’t able to feed him.

Ugly? Maybe. But don’t say it to his face.

Why? Because at age FOURTEEN, he was 6’6″ and 260. He was basically born to swing swords into peoples’ faces. Oh and don’t forget, back then the average height of a man was 5’6″. (Yeah that’s right, the average human height has been consistently rising over the last few thousand years. So if you’re a short dude who can’t find a girlfriend, sorry, but it’s been going on for millenia.)

Like so many youth of the day, Francisco was swept up in revolutionary fervor. He joined the army at 15 and was quickly stabbed and shot a few times. But that’s just a precursor to the triumphs that he would soon accomplish. His first major action was during the Battle of Stony Point where Francisco made a name for himself as a fearless monster. With a dachshund-sized gash in his side, he was the second man in the British base where me managed to manhandle three men to death and capture the ol’ Iron Jack.

Peter Francisco – making stamp collecting manly

Did the grip of injuries he’d incurred all before his 16th b-day stop our Moxie Man from digging his fingernails into the back of war? Not even a little  bit. Not even at all.

He reenlisted and during a retreat following a fierce battle, Francisco noticed a cannon the retreating Americans had abandoned. So, of course, he picked up the 1,100 pound cannon and lugged it to a Colonial-held position.

To put it in perspective: My biggest challenge at 16 was learning how to parallel park.

By this point, everyone knew that our boy Pete was not to be screwed with. But knowing about how unstoppable he was didn’t save anyone’s life at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. During that battle, someone pinned his leg to his horse with a spear. Instead of freaking out, Francisco grabbed the spear, pulled it toward him, and cut the soldier’s head off. What the hell. And he kept fighting, going on to kill like eleven dudes. That is until he was stabbed in the other leg. Lying in a field bleeding to death, he was rescued by a Quaker who was checking the battlefield for wounded.

It’s a pretty unfair fight when you’re taller than your opponent’s horse.

This is where most men without moxie would have stopped. But Francisco wasn’t done quite yet. In his final enlistment acting as a scout, he was ambushed in a pub by a British raiding expedition. As you’ve come to expect, he killed one of the nine men and injured the other eight, before stealing every single one of their horses and riding away with naught but a bullet wound in his side. But none the matter, at this point he was more musket ball than man. Oh and he was only 21.

The rest of his life was relatively uneventful and his death was so inglorious I won’t mention it here. Peter Francisco shall be remembered as a true Man of Moxie. Because while some men fight back by playing dress-up and throwing tea into the ocean, other men fight 9 dragoons in a pub and steal all their horses.

Have a suggestion for an inductee into our MEN WITH MOXIE hall of fame? Hit us up on twitter @mancrates

Why Men Love Bacon

This is about bacon. 

It’s no secret that men love bacon. You’d have to be living under a rock not to notice that an entire freaking bacon industry emerged almost overnight. But the real question that no one is asking is why men love bacon so damned much. Perhaps it’s because that question seems to answer itself. More likely, it’s because everyone’s too damn busy eating bacon to ask why they’re eating it.

credit: xkcd.com

But we reached out to our old friends from the National Bacon Institute of Bacon Research and Development for their input on exactly why men love bacon more than any other earthly substance.

“It’s pretty easy to trace a love of bacon to early man’s evolutionary needs,” explained Bacon Doctor Arnold Henderson, “I mean, men in the Stone Age required delicious food just as much as any modern-day man. Seriously, can you imagine living without TV and bacon? I shudder at the thought.”

mmmmm.... bacon
mmmmm…. bacon

“For our research, we eat hundreds of pounds of bacon a month,” said Greg Stevenson from the warm seat of his Jazzy. “We may have not revealed all of bacon’s secrets, but we’re getting closer.”

Henderson and Stevenson are famous for their innovative and brave research into the long-term effects of cooking with bacon grease on general male happiness. Their paper entitled, “How a Jar of Bacon Grease in a Fridge Can Feasibly Replace Anti-Depressants” nearly bankrupted three major pharmaceutical companies.

So what does the future hold for the future of bacon research?

“We’re making giant strides toward mapping the entire bacon genome. It’s been an ongoing process bringing in bacon experts worldwide.” Henderson explained.

His partner elaborated, “as a layman it may not make much sense to sink more into bacon research than we do into NASA, but trust me, the payoff is coming. Understanding just why men love bacon so much is integral to our ultimate goal as a species. Making more delicious bacon.”

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