Preparing for a North Korean Something or Other…

Everyone knows that Man Crates cares about preparedness. Whether you’re preparing for the zombie apocalypse or just an all-night LAN party, we want you to be ready.

So as North Korea readies its impressive nuclear arsenal, it’s time to start thinking about getting those bomb shelters and food stores ready. It’s the Cold War Part II and everyone knows that sequels are always better.

Preparing your bomb shelter

Have a house? Four walls? A roof? Dang…sounds like you got yourself a pretty sweet North Korean Nuclear Bomb Shelter. Congratulations!

Food storage

You spent the afternoon watching mushroom clouds (or real clouds, who can tell the difference?) rise on the horizon and you’re worried. Not to fret–just use our patented North Korean Nuclear Attack Food Storage Plan.

Step one: go grocery shopping on a weekly basis.

Getting ready for invasion

Everyone is aware of just how impressive and technologically superior North Korea’s nuclear program is, but you may not be familiar with their dominating military. Thus, you need to be ready for a ground attack. As you can see in the picture below, a picket fence (or anything above knee-height) will probably keep those pesky North Koreans out of your yard.

From left to right: American troop, North Korean troop, South Korean troop

People say the best weapon is one you never have to use. In that case, ALL of North Korea’s weapons are just fantastic. Their military prowess has the western world shaking in their collective capitalist boots. And just like in the first Cold War, everyone is so scared they’re making memes and jokes about the whole thing just to cope.

How to Spend the Rest of your Tax Day

You did it! You successfully navigated some of the most complicated and convoluted tax laws on the planet. So what’s next?

It starts at the office

Let’s be honest, it’s not like you spent the day actually working. Between double checking all of your numbers, the letter from your tax guy, and meticulously filling in checks, you accomplished zippo all day. So why break that streak after you drop off the check at the post office on your lunch break?

I say let it ride. Slack off. Sneak some whisky from that flask you keep for special occasions. But whatever you do, don’t work. You just wrote a check for an ungodly amount of money to a system you’re not sure you trust or even like all that much. So kick your feet up on the desk and play some Angry Birds on your phone. And if the boss man asks you what the hell you’re doing, just hit him with the classic Tax Day Shrug: 

Head for the nearest bar

Just because you spent all day trying to get three stars on all the levels of Angry Birds Star Wars doesn’t mean you aren’t stressed out. If you’re not stressed consider these fun tax day facts:

  • It’s entirely possible to pay twice the value of your home in property tax alone over 50 years.
  • That rich jerk you went to high school with probably has a lower tax rate than you.
  • The company that rich jerk owns probably pays no taxes whatsoever.

So as I was saying…alcohol.

Bars around the country are going to filled with millions of other men drinking away the pain of cutting Uncle Sam a big fat check. And if your bar is really hip, they probably have a special drink to celebrate the occasion.  Something like “the Taxman Drinketh” or the “Death and Taxes shot” or something, I don’t know I’m not a bartender.

Use those taxes

If you don’t feel like drinking yourself into oblivion, we understand. After all, it is still a Monday. Instead, spend the rest of the day really getting the most out of those taxes by using all those services your tax dollars pay for.

  • Drive on a road.  
  • Take out your trash.
  • Invade a foreign country.
  • Stop at a stoplight.
  • Bail out a few billion dollar banks.
  • Visit a library.
  • Drink some high fructose corn syrup.

And take solace in the fact that during the first French Revolution, the tax collectors were some of the first to lose their heads.

 

Summer Drinking Season: Do’s and Don’ts

Summer is upon us gentlemen. It’s time to embarrass our loved ones with pasty white legs and too-short shorts. Time to make commitments we’ll never keep once we see our winter gut in full daylight. But most importantly, summer is a time to enjoy a cold drink. There’s a reason Corona changed their entire identity to idealize sipping beers on the beach. But you must be even safer drinking in the summer than any other time of year because of just what’s at stake–your manliness. Think you’re Rico Suave because you ordered a mint julep? Or that you can drink that frilly drink if you just remove the mini umbrella? Think again. Here’s a few tips to get you through this confusing and…colorful time of year. Summer drinking season is upon us gentlemen.

Don’ts

  • Mini umbrellas. In fact, if your drink is served with anything but alcohol (or maybe a lime) in it, you should probably just send it back. This applies to mini swords, swizzle sticks, and twisty straws. 
  • Fruit. Sounds good doesn’t it? Sitting on a warm beach, sipping a drink and occasionally snatching a chunk of pineapple from your glass. Well, unless you’re a 3rd century Roman concubine, lazily eating booze-besotten fruit is not going to be a good look on you.
  • Unless it’s mixed with Coke, avoid rum. You’re not a teenager sneaking drinks from the liquor cabinet and you’re not a sorority girl taking shots, so why on earth are you drinking rum? Put. It. Down.
  • A bar is still a bar. Just because it’s warm and the patio furniture is outside of your favorite bar doesn’t mean you’re in Cabo San Lucas on Spring Break. So don’t order anything that’s going to make the barman look at you sideways, or that pisco sour may have more than an egg in it.  

Dos

  • Drink Corona. Seriously. Have you had a Corona on a beach?
  • Take shots of tequila, like everywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s warm and sunny or Minnesota–it’s summer and therefore copious amounts of tequila MUST be consumed.
  • Order margaritas. Blended. With salt. C’mon, how badly do you want to pull over at that snow cone shack every summer? But you don’t, because you’re not a pedophile and would therefore feel weird standing in line with a dozen 8 year olds. Well now’s your chance. (And hey, it’s yet another great opportunity to drink tequila.)

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.

THE RHINOCEROS

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 🙂   http://www.mancrates.com/crates/exotic-jerkies

Man Crates’ Spring Cleaning Guide – Putting the “pro” in Procrastinate

Spring cleaning is upon us once again, gentlemen. And unless you’re a groundskeeper or a farmer (which many of you probably are), it’s likely not your favorite time of year. So why not procrastinate a bit longer and read our handy Spring Cleaning Guide?

Step One – Procrastinate

We must say, we’re proud of you. You’re already ahead of the curve, as you’re on the internet procrastinating instead of cleaning out the rain gutters. Nevermind the fact that the last rainstorm damn near flooded your basement because the torrents of water weren’t properly channeled into a clean rain gutter–wet leaves are gross anyway. So don’t feel the need to leave, Man Crates is a safe place.

Step Two – Make a List of Excuses

Sure, I know Step Two is just a subset of Step One, but keep in mind, I’m still on Step One and I’m kinda milking it.

The important thing here is to be organized. Someone, be it a wife, roommate, or girlfriend is going to assault you pretty soon here and if you aren’t prepared, you’re in serious trouble. So make an itemized list of all the reasons why you can’t rake off that weird crust that developed on the lawn over the winter.

Here’s an excellent example:

ManCratesApproved

“Honey I need you to clean up the yard and all you’re doing is lying on the couch watching ESPN Classic.”

“My dear, it should be clear I’m merely adjusting my back. I have an important racquetball game with Ron in accounting tomorrow, and if he wins he gets my parking spot.”

That interaction? Man Crates Approved.

Step Three – Make a Real List

Eventually all good things come to an end, and your wife is bound to figure out that you would never play racquetball with Ron in accounting because that guy is a major tool. So you’d better get your plan in order.

You’re probably pretty good at making lists by now so I trust you can lay out which things you need to do first. Like putting out the hammock. And then stress-testing the hammock. Be sure not to shirk on this one–safety is paramount. Then of course you’ll need to take down the Christmas lights because that old batty woman next door keeps sneering at them. And because it’s like, April.

Remember not to rush this list. Step One is never really over when you’re spring cleaning.

Step Four – Feel Accomplished

Let’s be honest, Spring Cleaning is a bit of a joke. It’s more like “work relatively hard for a few hours on a warm Saturday so you can justify neglecting the yard for another month.” But don’t let that stop you from taking a serious load off around 4:30 in the afternoon. Drink a beer on the half-assembled yard furniture. Why not make it three? You could grill a burger…but you’re tired; and more importantly, the grill is still crammed deep in the recesses of the shed.

So just dial up Domino’s. You’ve earned it gents.

Scotch Pairings for Everything

SCOTCH SCOTCH SCOTCHtumblr_mczsu0Cyzs1rb3pk0o1_500

As Ron Burgundy wisely stated, Scotch is the most delicious beverage on earth. It is the nectar of the gods of which ancient Greeks spoke. It is the dew running softly down a blade of grass. It is a thousand years’ worth of laughter and happiness–aged in oak barrels for at least three years–bottled and served in a tumbler. With ice. Without ice. Or perhaps rocks? No matter how it is served, the pairings are a key component to enjoying your Scotch Whisky.

But if you’re like me, you’re always struggling to find new things to pair with your scotch. Here are a few things I’ve paired with scotch over the last few weeks:

  • Stalking an ex on Facebook. Oh just look at Chelsea thinks she’s so cool with her successful new fiance well I bet he isn’t drinking a fifteen-year Dalwhinnie right now. 
  • Suit shopping. Nothing demands good service more than refusing to remove a tumbler of whisky from your hand while some guy tries to tailor your sleeves.
  • Watching later Adam Sandler movies. What? It’s not like drinking scotch is going to make them any worse.
  • Soccer. No, not playing soccer you dolt–watching soccer. Sure, it’s all well and good to drink beer at a baseball game, but if I want to enjoy a few fingers of my favorite single malt at my nephew’s soccer game, all the sudden I’m a “deviant” who needs to “dial it back.” 
  • Smoking a cigar. Great. Now I smell just like my weird Uncle Chet.

Remember gents, it may be “too early” to drink scotch, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it. If you aren’t drinking it (stuck at work?), you’d better start thinking about it. Your pairings have got to be better than mine. Tweet us your favorite scotch pairings @mancrates

The Secret Subway Menu: Tips To Make The Most Out Of Your Footlongs

Subway sandwiches are an American institution. With more than 38,000 locations worldwide, it’s not hard for a guy to satisfy his craving for a “footlong” whenever such desire hits.

But if you’re like me and love Subway because it is just the right balance of healthy, affordable, and convenient that fulfills a man’s dinner needs, you might find yourself getting bored with the chain’s standard menu offerings, falling into the rut of always getting the same sandwich, on the same bread, with the same toppings. If that’s the case, let me share some tips for how you can “hack Subway” and rediscover your love for eating fresh, all over again.

1) The Secret Menu

Ok. Subway’s secret menu isn’t as robust as the famed secret menu at In-N-Out burger, but there are some items on Subway’s menu that aren’t posted above the cash register that your sandwich artist will happily make for you if you ask. The most popular of these items is likely the pizza sub, an item that actually recently was featured by Subway as a monthly “$5 Foot-long” but is not on the menu in many locations. The pizza sub combines pepperoni, marinara sauce, and your choice of cheese to give the closest replication to pizza you’ll get at Subway without actually ordering one of their pizzas. A Business Insider blurb about secret menu options at various restaurants suggests that Subway’s pizza sub was removed from the regular menu as part of Subway’s effort to market itself as a healthy initiative. To me, that just sounds like Subway is trying to deprive us of flavor.

2) Get Your Sub Toasted, But Do It With The Veggies Too

When you step up to order at Subway, the sandwich artist will ask you what you want, then ask if you want cheese, and finalize his or her inquiry by asking if you want it toasted. When Subway originally introduced toasted subs to its restaurants several years ago, the chain marketed it as doubling the number of options customers had for sandwiches. With this tip, your options are far more than doubled.

Instead of simply getting your meat, cheese, and bread toasted, ask the sandwich artist to place some veggies on the sandwich as well. Sure, certain veggies like lettuce and spinach don’t toast well, but if you’re a fan of peppers (green, banana, or jalapeño) and onions, ask for these items to be added to the sandwich. It’s also a good idea to have a little oil added before toasting so that the natural juices that will be heated off your veggies can have a vehicle to be distributed through the sandwich. Once you get your sandwich with veggies out of the oven, you can then add spinach and/or lettuce, dressings, and any other accoutrements that personalize your hoagie your way.

3) Skinny Up That Bread

Now I know that men don’t always want to be looking over their shoulder at calorie counts, but if you’re looking to slim up a sandwich a little bit, this tip will go a long way: When ordering your bread, ask the sandwich artist to scoop all the fluffy part out of the inside of the bread, leaving just the crust on the outsides of the roll.

This suggestion was given to me by a friend after I ordered a sandwich on flatbread (flatbread, incidentally, is worth a try if you are a traditionalist who has always ordered your sandwiches on a regular roll). My friend told me that I could ask for a regular bun, but have the insides scooped out, and it would be the equivalent of a wheat version of flatbread. Making this request was a revelation, and it’s rare that I order with straight flatbread anymore.

With these three tips, you should be able to shake up your Subway experience for the foreseeable future, keeping your menu options as fresh as restaurants’ ubiquitous tagline.

 

 

Scientists Weigh In on Heated Beef Jerky Debate

Scientists Declare Jerky King of Foods

Is jerky, in its various incarnations, the greatest food known to man? Scientists say yes.

In an unbiased report released yesterday, the National Jerky Institute of Jerky Studies stated that they found jerky to be the most scientifically flawless food mankind has ever devised. Dried meats, often referred to colloquially as “jerky” or “beef jerky”, have long been appreciated for their portability, ease of preparation, and taste.

However, jerky came under fire earlier last month when a flippant remark from a prominent politician brought jerky to the forefront of the American conscience. Acting quickly, a number of renowned doctors and scientists with the NJIJS conducted a number of experiments to lay the issue to rest.

National Beef Jerky Institute Seal

“We conducted a number of double-blind studies, in which both the subjects and administrators of the experiment were given different types of jerky,” explained Dr. Mike Harrison, “in every experiment the jerky was in fact eaten.”

Harrison continued, stating that while up to 40 percent of all food in the U.S. is wasted every year, in every experiment conducted by the NJIJS, 100 percent of the jerky was consumed.

“What does that tell you?” asked Harrison.

Leading questions aside, Harrison’s hypothesis of jerky’s infallibility stood up to a number of other equally scientific experiments.

High Consumption Rates for Jerky

“My colleagues have established the fact that people will eat jerky 100 percent of the time,” explained Ted Vance, another jerky PhD with NJIJS. “However, we wanted to test if anything could upset this number.”

Percentage of Beef Jerky Consumed

Although Harrison’s study proved that jerky had a 100 percent consumption rate, Vance believed outside factors could decrease the percentage. As such, the scientists conducted another study in which they subjected jerky to a number of outside substances to disrupt its consumption rate.

“We dipped the jerky in a combination of soy, ginger and garlic, thinking that this would act as a deterring factor for test subjects,” Vance said through a mouthful of beef jerky, “the only change we noticed was a drastic uptick in approving nods and satisfied ‘hmm!’s.”

When prodded that the scientists had simply soaked the jerky in a common combination of spices to create a popular Japanese flavor known as “teriyaki,” Vance declined to comment.

“Even just infusing the jerky with sodium chloride did nothing to affect consumption rates. If anything, it sped them up.”

Other interested parties, including the Potato Chip Research Institute of America, have yet to weigh in on the issue at press time, but there seems to be little doubt–jerky is now scientifically proven to be the greatest food known to man.

Man Crates Predictions for 2013

Every new year, I like to look at the upcoming journey around the sun for our planet and make predictions of what I think will happen in the next year that will probably happen again and surprise practically nobody. Here are some of the things I’m guessing are going to happen in no particular order.

1) Even crazier Kickstarter projects

It’s never been easier for your crazy uncle to fund his passion for invention.  The full spectrum of ideas, from the incredible Griz Coat to the less enviable realistic dating board game, have their place in this open forum of entrepreneurship.  Keep your eyes peeled  this year for:

  • Face recognition bathroom mirrors that highlight acne
  • Touch screen zippers
  • Voice activated dog leashes
  • Bark collars for children
  • Devices with less-than perfect voice recognition that turn phrases like “Jordan is hilarious” into phrases like “Jordan is a serial killer”

2) The World Will End

KA-BOOOOM!

Not really, but chances are someone will predict as much and be wrong. I don’t mean to brag but according to Wikipedia I’ve survived almost forty apocalypse predictions. Including the most recent one which had something to do with an ancient civilization whose prime time entertainment involved cutting a dude’s still-beating heart out, I’ve gotten pretty used to the idea that people will predict the end of the world, and out of spite, the world will keep on spinning. But the next apocalypse better have a more interesting movie made about it. The world ending is no excuse for movie makers to slack off!

3) Squirrel-to-the-groin Dance Remix will reach Two Billion YouTube Views

I hate to say it, but humanity loves to mock people who take a good shot to the nuts. Before YouTube existed, we got our dose of humor-on-home-video from television shows that offered money to contestants who not only suffered through getting hit in the nuts, but getting it in the nuts in the most hilarious way possible: by a man in a bunny costume holding a golf club.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHuVDusBrkE[/youtube]

Warning- watching this video may reduce your sperm count.

While these shows still exist, far more people just post it on you tube, allowing the countless masses to enjoy the free hilarity of watching your chances of fathering children drop. If anything, the fact that humor is becoming so available gives me the most hope for the future out of anything on this list.

4) Peter Jackson directs Snakes on a Plane 2 in 3 epic parts.

How many times have you seen a movie trailer and said to yourself “Hey look, another mediocre superhero movie.” Have you ever cringed at a trailer for a sequel that shouldn’t exist? It seems that movie makers don’t believe in a good movie that doesn’t have a terrible postmortem money grab attached.

Taken 2 poster
I rest my case.

5) Agoraphobia becomes the new norm.

Here’s a list of things I can do without leaving my home provided I have money and a computer with an internet connection.

  • Order pizza
  • Read books, watch movies and TV shows
  • Buy groceries and have them delivered to my front door.
  • Purchase and play video games with friends.
  • Make video chat calls to anyone with a similar program

This year, we can expect to see full-immersion virtual-reality pods that allow you to input cash in exchange for tasty nutrient goo.

How to properly dispose of your Man Crate

How to properly decommission your Man Crate

Many people use their Man Crates as time capsules, to store tools, socks & video games, or as packaging for future gifts.    There’s no higher calling for a crate than being put out to pasture through purposeful recycling.  However in other cases- when you’re on the trail and can’t carry the weight, or when your crate has otherwise out-survived it’s mission and purpose, there’s a respectful way to dispose of it.

Man Crate Decommissioning Ceremony

Set a date and invite people who were a part of the Man Crate’s life.  The gathering should be set for dusk, in a place where you can build a small ceremonial fire.  Attendees should be dressed appropriately.

  • Begin the ceremony with the lighting of the fire- the Man Crate should not be in the initial fire
  • The crowbar should be present
  • Present the crate to the group
  • If you were given the crate as a gift, say a few words about the person who sent you the crate
  • Recount the crate opening- where were you?  How long did you struggle to pry the lid off?

Conclude the ceremony by placing the crate in the fire.  Open beers.  Toast the bonds between us that transcend the physical  and give us our humanity.

 

Tell Us More

What did you do with your Man Crate once the chow was gone and the gear was put to use?  Take a minute and write in to let us know how you’ve recycled your Man Crate.