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!

My May the Fourth – There is No Try

Lots of people celebrate May the Fourth–whether it’s by simply greeting people with “May the fourth be with you” or showing up to work in a full wookie costume. This year I decided to celebrate May 4th in the most sacred way possible; a six-movie  Star Wars marathon with a fellow nerd, Trent.

Let’s just say the rest of this post is a cautionary tale. WARNING: SPOILER ALERTS.

Trent and I figured that all six films run a little over 13 hours, so if we started at 7, that gave us plenty of breathing room to take occasional breaks. We planned with snacks, drinks, and as the light grew thin, booze.

7 a.m. – sleeping

8 a.m. – still sleeping

8:30 a.m. – panicked call from Trent, “DUDE WE SLEPT IN”

8:45 a.m. – marathon actually starts

9 a.m. – disappointment starts as the fact we’re watching a prequel truly sets in

10 a.m. – Trent googles the actor who played Anakin in Episode I (Jake Lloyd). We find out that not only does he currently look like this, but he’s also a bit of a jerk.

10:30 a.m. – discover Lloyd was in The Pretender. Geek out about how awesome that show was.

10:35 a.m. – all speaking stops because freaking Darth Maul is fighting TWO GUYS AT THE SAME TIME.

10:42 a.m. – Darth Maul is dead. Nothing interesting anymore.

11:05 a.m. – snack break

11:15 a.m. – Episode II starts. Panic sets in as we realize we still have five films left and it’s nearly noon.

11:30 a.m. – Hayden Christensen makes his first appearance on screen.

11:31 a.m. – drinking starts

11:35 a.m. – Trent and I organize a bad acting drinking game

12:15 p.m. – our Star Wars beers run out

12:20 p.m. – pause movie to call girlfriends for a beer run. Both of our ladies must have been super busy because our calls go unanswered. They knew how we were spending our day.

1:40 p.m. –  after crying through much of the rest of Episode II (including the Anakin/Padme love story that drags on for like four hours WTT?) we finally pop in Episode III.

2 p.m. – by this time we are both admittedly running out of steam, and more than a little buzzed. Trent tells me he’s getting tired of this, so I ask him what Han Solo would do.

2:01 p.m. – lengthy discussion of how badly Han Solo could beat up Hayden Christensen.

2:15 p.m. – Anakin just chopped some guy’s head off. Stellar.

2:30 p.m. – at this point Trent points out that Jedi would be wise to follow the Harry Potter model. That is, keeping young Jedi in school until they’re actually adults. Seriously, you combine a laser sword and untold psychokinesis with teenage angst and expect these guys NOT to lose it occasionally?

3:12 p.m. – General Grievous, easily the coolest prequel character shows up, to many (read: two) drunken cheers.

3:25 p.m. – inspired by the great General, I head to my liquor cabinet to make some top shelf Star Wars cocktail. In my state, orange Kool-Aid and Patrón sounds like a great idea.

3:30 p.m. – orange lightsabers are a hit at the party.

6:00 p.m. – in a panicked stupor, I wake up with the DVD menu of Episode III playing over and over in the background.

7 p.m. – even the prospect of watching A New Hope can’t give us a second wind. We watch most of the film in stubborn silence.

9 p.m. – it’s dark and we’re both sober and tired. Trent looks at me meaningfully and says, “I don’t care what you say, I’m leaving. This is stupid.”

Needless to say, I didn’t finish our marathon. Perhaps one should not mix prequels and originals for the same reason you don’t mix wine and beer. Or perhaps Star Wars marathons are for men greater than us. Whatever the reason is, I could not finish my May the Fourth marathon.

Next year I think I’ll just buy an R2D2 keychain or something.

May First: The Underrated Holiday

During my sleepless nights, I usually find myself perusing Wikipedia’s “On This Day” section. Late last night,  I was ‘mouth-open shocked’ to discover how big of a deal the first of MAY is.

I know May 1st marks the holiday “May Day,” but when I think about it, all that happens is an image similar to the one below pops into my head. And then I am confused because I have no idea what May Day is actually celebrating, and I have this picture of kids dancing around a pole, and by this point I have started thinking about my next meal.

I am not going to explain May Day as you can look on wikipedia. And the Maypole, well I still don’t understand that. What I do know is that in Germany, an edgy type of maypole tradition exists where if a strapping lad has a lucky lady in his life, he might erect a small maypole by her bedroom window. Still not sure if Freud ever shared his thoughts on this tradition but I wouldn’t be surprised. 

The Maypole. Wait, what is a maypole?
The Maypole. Wait, what is a maypole?

MAY FIRST in itself is a big day without any of the May Day gaeity. Here I have highlighted some of the more notable events that occurred on May 1st.

Maybe the last?
Maybe the last?

Cricket hasn’t captured the hearts of most Americans, but it…. actually no that’s it. I don’t know a single person who partakes in this classy sport, let alone understands the rules of the game. (√ New Years for resolutions 2014)

What can I say? I'm a sucker for secret societies
What can I say? I’m a sucker for secret societies

The Illuminati became mainstream after being featured in hollywood hits (tip of the hat to you Mr. Dan Brown), but did you know that the society was initially founded to oppose superstition, prejudice, religious influence in public life, abuses of state power, and to support women’s education and gender equality. Back in 1776, that kind of ideology was counter-culture and they were outlawed (hence the secret-society angle.) Fast Forward to modern day, their reputation falls somewhere between conspiracy theory and uncertainty and “I want in”.

8 hour work day? Where?  Cheers to Moses Fleetwood Walker for being a game changer / having an awesome name.
8 hour work day? Where?
Cheers to Moses Fleetwood Walker for being a game changer / having an awesome name.

Moses Fleetwood Walker- you have an unbelievably awesome name and it seems like you were also an awesome person. You paved the way for race equality for one of the greatest sports. If he were alive today, I have a three pronged plan on what I would do.

Plan A) try to meet him

Plan B (in the event plan A doesn’t work) stalk him

If both A and B have failed or resulted in a restraining order– Plan C) create a Man Crate for him and his career with the Toledo Blue Stockings.

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 1.42.39 PM

Enough said. I love that airlines have food. And I love airline food.  

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 1.42.03 PMToo soon. Just never forget.

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 1.41.44 PMAs a child born in the post-polio epidemic, thank you Jonas Salk. As for Guam, keep predicting the US Presidential Election results with your straw vote because 100% of the time, you guys have been right every time.

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 1.41.00 PM

Mush Mush! Naomi “ridin solo” Uemura, your trip was not easy.  As records say, during the 4th day of his trek, a polar bear entered his camp, demolished all his food, and pressed his nose against Uemura. Understandably pissed, Uemura was ready for the bear who came back the following day (which would be his last day) as Uemura shot him dead.

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 3.54.09 PM And to round out this crazy day, we have Pope John Paul II beatified (blessed). Fun Fact: PJPII beatified more people during his papacy than any other pope in history. Bin Laden was killed. Huge deal. Not going to explain further or project my personal political views.

And to cap it off, I saved the most notable for last.

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 6.50.06 PM

It’s true. Most people drink water. But I am not most people. I ate water. Happy May Day Folks. Celebrate accordingly.

Homage to Real Men – Father’s Day 2012

Father and SonThere’s a lot of useful knowledge out there that a man might find handy that’s probably best learned from books: calculus, Medieval History, maybe foreign languages, just to name a few.But there are a whole host of other things that men need to know: how to tie a half Windsor tie knot, how to drink like a man, how to use tools and build things, how to throw a punch, the best little hideaways to catch fish, how to talk to women, and how to change a tire or the oil on a car. And most of these things are best learned not from a book but from the giant of a man that most of us call “Dad.”

Most men aren’t born men. We follow in the footsteps (sometimes literally) of the great men that came a generation or more before us. They teach us about how the world works, about other people, and about ourselves, and in doing so they forge us into a new generation of men.

So it seems almost unfair that there’s only one day of the year that most of us honor our dads, grandfathers, and father figures and thank them for the countless hours they put into raising us to be the men we are today.

Father’s Day fast approaches. Make this one a memorable one. Give him something better than the ugly necktie you bought for him in elementary school—the one he still wears sometimes, even though it’s horrible, just because it means the world to him. Give him a gift that makes him use tools and his hands to open, the same way he put tools in your hands when you were younger and taught you to tear apart and build new things. This Father’s Day, send a Man Crate to Dad, Grandpa, or whatever man in your life had a hand in making you the man you are today.

After all, giving an awesome, memorable gift isn’t something most of us learn from a book.

To help all of you celebrate the great men in your lives, enter to win a Man Crate by visiting our Man Crate Father’s Day giveaway page.

Today is National High Five Day!

Borat High Five
High Five!

The High Five. Since the very first man used a rock to kill his supper, we have used various collisions of our ten-digit extremities in order to greet one another and express approval. Though many styles have risen and fallen in popularity over the years, it’s the simple palm-to-palm up-top hand clap that has remained steadfast as the de facto way to say, “thanks, man,” or “hey, congratulations,” or even, “way to punch that bear in the face, bro.”

We love the high five. It communicates more in a split second that what a dozen words can (or, depending on the circumstances, what a dozen words shouldn’t). It’s less awkward than a thank-you card. And nothing says “awesome” better than a high five.

At Man Crates, we dig the two-hand salute. That’s why we’re thrilled that today, April 19th is National High Five Day. We’ve been high-fiving everyone in the immediate area, and we want to get you in on it, too. That’s why we’re offering to give you five bucks off your order (between now and Saturday, April 21st) with the coupon code 5FORCANCER.

We also managed to find an awesome charity that’s using the high five for the highest (five) cause: cancer research (http://www.stayclassy.org/events/11th-annual-national-high-five-day/e9118). So for every crate you order using the coupon code above between now and Saturday, we’ll also donate five bucks to the American Cancer Society.

After all, beating cancer is something that everyone can high-five about.