Men with Moxie – Not Just a Crappy Soda Anymore

Pluck. Spunk. Grit. Cheek. Moxie.

Some men have it; some men don’t. Others–a rare few–have moxie by the truckload.  But most men just don’t know what it is.

mox·ie noun Slang.

1.vigor; verve; pep.
2.courage and aggressiveness; nerve.
3.skill; know-how.

Now you know what it means, but the best part is where it came from. Back in the late 1800s, when other soft drinks were experimenting with cocaine and rampant patent infringement, one drink stood alone. Moxie Nerve Food couldn’t worry itself with petty scrabbles over delicious sodas. Because they were proudly and unknowingly making the most repulsive soda known to man.

Adding soda water to his snake oil solution, “Doctor” Augistin Thompson proclaimed his beverage increased vigor and pep. The general populace responded with a common joke that one would need vigor and pep to drink the stuff. Oh, memes back in the day were so biting.


What did it taste like? Well considering I can actually use a computer, you can guess I’m not old enough to have tried it. But from what I’ve pieced together from the geezers I talked to, it tasted like sarsaparilla mixed with brake fluid. (For the truly curious, why not try a good taste of the past?)

And yet there were some chaps out there who thought Moxie was the bees knees. And it is to them we tip our hats today.

We tip our hats to the men who hoisted up their knickers, loaded their rifles, and brought us back-to-back wins in world wars. The men who ate their lunch on skyscraper beams because apparently the fear of heights hadn’t been invented yet.

We’ll be bringing you weekly stories about these men, the men who built our great cities and killed a whole bunch of buffalo. Because those men had moxie, and maybe some of it will rub off on you.

Manliest Men: Killing a Rhino with your Bear Hands

My local power company has a strange way of dealing with outages. Instead of giving an estimated time power will come back online, they simply list how many homes in the valley are still without power. Real men can’t deal with this.

During a major storm, you can watch that number steadily decline from tens of thousands. However, it always stalls at 274. There’s some strange circuit (or hell, maybe the repairman’s ex lives in the area) and for some reason 274 homes remain without power about 12 hours longer than the rest. And yeah, you guessed it. I live in that freaking area.

You’d be surprised how little can be accomplished without power. All of my candles are for smelling, not seeing…because I don’t live in 1344 and ride a dammed donkey to work every day. And NO I don’t own a lantern, because, again I don’t have three siblings who died from the plague when they were babies.

A picture of my roommate and I every time the power goes out.

I live in city in the United States of America, and at no point in my life should I have to think to myself, “gee, you know what this house could use? Some wall-mounted, oil-burning lanterns.”

During a typical power outage, I grumble like this to my roommate for around an hour, maybe two. Then I get sleepy and a little cranky. But mostly, I get antsy. I can’t get on the internet on my laptop, which means it’s essentially a $1,400 machine that plays Mine Sweeper and solitaire. I can’t watch TV or play Lego Star Wars on my Xbox. And I can’t really do anything on my phone, because if the battery runs out I can’t recharge it.

So I pester my roommate with mindless questions.

During the most recent storm, the topic of conversation was decided when I leaned over to my roommate and asked, “what would be the hardest animal to kill with your bear hands?”

“Lion, probably,” he said dismissively. In his defense, he’d been making a finger puppet show on the wall with a crappy flashlight he’d tucked into the nook of his neck.

I then calmly told him how easy a lion would be to kill with my bear hands. The fact is, lions aren’t too different from humans; one broken neck is all it takes. And in my particular state of mind, I certainly felt that breaking a lion’s neck would be no tall task.

This line of questioning continued, with him naming animals (we quickly decided the only rule was to not include sea animals) and me humbly explaining how I could easily kill it. Eventually we arrived at the one animal we both agreed would be the most difficult to kill bear-handed.


Yes, the rhinoceros. It is more or less a dinosaur. Seriously. Why does it need that big-ass horn? Is it stabbing things that have their internal organs farther than four feet from their skin? What the hell. And it seriously looks like it’s covered in a bulletproof vest of living tissue. There’s no way you’re going to even leave a bruise if you decided to punch it to death. And do you really think climbing onto that thing’s back and choking it is a viable option? Sure. If you wanna end up face-first on that gigantic sharpened bone that grows out of ITS FACE.

So I’m sorry to say it folks, but moving to Africa and punching my way across the Savannah is no longer on my bucket list. And hence become a part of the Manliest Men group that is congregating world wide will not be happening anytime soon.

But I probably do need to find a better way to occupy myself when I’m without power.

P.S. Many of you may noticed the fact that I spelled “bare hands” wrong throughout this post. It was not a mistake. You don’t get many opportunities in life for that pun to be relevant so I have to jump on any chance I get.

If you can’t kill one- try eating one 🙂

Shane Killington: Story of the Badass Bard

When Man Crates reached out to me about telling my life stories on their blog I was hesitant. Okay that isn’t true. I was hand-tagging wild moose in Alaska and my bush pilot crashed our plane. So I was a little busy.

Regardless of the excuse, I couldn’t resist. A bunch of guys stuffing stuff in crates and shipping them to men across the world? Yeah, Shane Killington can support that.

Lucky You

So you can tune in, once a week, to try life through the eyes of the last true living explorer.  But I wasn’t the first. So when I get bored of regaling you with my stories, I’ll drag you into the past and drum some history into you.

Take Hugh Glass. This 19th century fur trapper’s stories make my stories sound like lollipops and puppy tails. Here’s a good one: in 1823, after getting into a wrestling match with a momma bear (that subsequently turned into a stabbing match), Glass lay 200 miles from civilization with a broken leg and festering wounds. His companions thought he was as good as dead, so they took all his supplies and left him to die a slow and painful death in the forest.

But dying in a forest was not on Glass’ bucket list. So he rolled over, covered himself with the dead bear’s hide, and got to crawling. At one point, he laid himself  on a rotting log so maggots could eat the dead flesh from his back. At another point he scared to wolves away from a downed bison calf so he could eat it himself. Keep in mind, this guy was rocking a broken leg this whole time. He’s like Davey Crocket on speed.

After six weeks, he finally crawled into camp and still had enough of his humanity left to not gut those buttholes who left him to die.

Let’s Hear Your Story

Although Shane Killington has enough badass stories to last a lifetime, Man Crates asked me to find out some more. So I’ll turn it to you, fine readers. Got a badass story of your own? An uncle, a brother-in-law, you? Send it to me at and I’ll decide just how badass it is. Hell, I may even send you a Man Crate.

Man of the Week: Manteo Mitchell

Manteo Mitchell - Man of the Week
Running 400 meters in 46 seconds? Impressive… especially with a broken leg. Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images.

Watching the Olympics these last two weeks frequently leave us in awe of what the human body can do.  Watching Usain Bolt break record after record is incredible, but fortunately, this post is not about him.  In the midst of the world’s greatest athletes setting new highs, occasionally a story catches our attention not due to higher, stronger or faster feats, but because of raw perseverance and determination.  Manteo Mitchell is just such a story.

Mitchell was halfway through the second segment of the men’s 4 x 400 relay when he heard his leg snap.  SNAP, mind you.  This wasn’t a twisted ankle or a pulled groin.  It was a broken leg – and he still had 200 meters to go.  Although he claims that he did what anyone would have done in his position, I’m not sure too many guys would have powered through the intense pain to finish the leg.  But Mitchell did just that.  In fact, he finished his leg  of the race in just over 46 second, faster than three of the other seven competitors in the field.  Impressive.

When he felt his leg snap, I’m sure Mitchell’s teammate waiting for the baton on the other side of the track was the first thought through his mind.  He probably thought of all those millions of Americans watching him and cheering him on.  He likely thought of the hours of practice, drills, weight training and competitions leading up to the that moment.  He, like athletes before him, didn’t want to let down his teammates, his family, friends or countries by caving to the pain – though not a single person would have questioned him if he did.  And that’s what makes him the man of the week.

So to Manteo Mitchell, we’d like to say this:  Thank you for representing your country through the pain and agony of those last 200 meters.  Not only did you help team USA qualify, but you showed humility and perseverance in the face of adversity that sets an example for the rest of us.  We hope you heal quickly and hope to see you back on the track representing the red, white and blue as soon as possible.

What can NASCAR pit crews teach us about same-day shipping?

When you make the most awesome men’s gifts in the world Father’s Day is a pretty big deal.   June 17th is right around the bend, and lots of people are looking to us here at Man Crates to deliver awesome gifts to their dads.  We’re going to need to be fast to keep up.

That’s why last week we met up with a man in the business of being the fastest- NASCAR great Andy ‘Papa’ Papathanassiou.  Andy is the Human Performance Director for Hendrick Motorsports (HMS), sponsoring four race teams in the NASCAR Cup Series – Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Kane.

Andy Papas & Team Man Crates
Andy and Team Man Crates

The team’s 14 championships are attributed in part to the dramatic changes Andy brought to the pit crews, posting record pit stop times in many of the winning races.  If knowing how to change a tire makes you a man, Andy might be the reigning king of manhood.

Since revolutionizing pit crew coordination Andy’s gone on to coach all kinds of teams on how to work together quickly and effectively to get things done during crunch time, which for lots of jobs is all the time.

Team Man Crates changes a tire
Team Man Crates can change your tire in under 20 seconds

Over the course of the afternoon Man Crates competed with 11 other teams to change the 4 tires on a stock racing car, gleaning Andy’s keen insights into the principles of effective communication, individual responsibility, and producing amazing results as a team between each round.   We cut our tire-change time in half and ended up taking second place in the competition, trailing the winners by just a fraction of a second:

  1. 31.54 Seconds
  2. 21.07
  3. 18.41
  4. 15.36 Seconds – Final Tire Change Time

Andy’s lessons immediately made their way back to our fulfillment center where we were inspired to re-engineer the warehouse and hold the first ever Man Crates assembly time trials.

So whether you find yourself with a flat tire on the side of the road or need an awesome gift for a guy, Team Man Crates is here and ready to help.

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.

Skydiving from Space

Not satisfied to hold several earthbound base jumping records, Felix Baumgartner wants to be the first man to break the space/speed barrier – without an aircraft around him.  He already holds the records for lowest altitude base jump when he dove off the famous Brazilian Cristo Redentor statue and now he’s setting his sights higher.  120,000 feet higher.

Soon, Felix will hold the record for highest freefall in the history of man, jumping from the edge of space nearly 23 MILES above the earth.  For those of you keeping track, that’s way, WAY past the point at which blood begins to boil without special protection (65,000 feet).  Felix and his team of former astronauts will launch into the stratosphere in a special capsule hanging from a balloon that will prevent this unfortunate and messy situation from happening.  This feat has been five years in the making, and the entire Man Crates team wishes Felix and his team good luck.

Think we’ll send him a congratulatory Man Crate upon landing.  Maybe he’ll even take a Man Crate up with him next time to make it on of the highest airdropped gifts for men in history.  That’s be something.