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.”

Get your fill

 

 

Man Crates Delivers [news of] a Baby

Man Crates Delivers [news of] a Baby
If you’re planning on it– finding out you’re having a baby can be just about the most exciting thing to ever happen to you. Really the only thing that could make it better would be tossing a Man Crate in the mix.
Just ask Tom and Ivory.
Meet Tom and Ivory, all-American couple from Michigan. Tom was away on business in middle-of-nowhere, Wyoming, when Ivory found out she was pregnant. She was excited, but not too excited that she spilled the beans right away. She had the class and wit to design a great plan how to announce the news to her husband Tom. Like everyone else who has purchased one, she found that a Man Crate was perfect for her situation.
So Ivory ordered one of our New Dad Tactical Bags, complete with Baby Owner’s Manual and mustachifier. Although she’d exercised an impressive amount of restraint up to this point, the news was itching to get out. Problem was, it was a Friday. Wisely, Ivory dialed up the Man Crates survival line for help.
Through some FedEx finagling and some negotiations with multiple gods, we were able to get Tom his manly baby bag the next morning. Because Ivory was our first customer ever to tell her hubby she’s pregnant via a Man Crate, we gave her a break.
Ivory spent the her Friday evening too excited to sleep and we spent our Friday night pleading to pagan deities and fed ex. At 10:17 a.m. the next morning, Tom received a package at his door in Wyoming. Having no clue what it was for, he began sifting through the contents of his package. Growing more and more confused, Tom had arrived at the conclusion that his greatest fear had been realized–his lady had bought him a murse.
Cool present Ivory.  A murse. 
But Tom continued digging and opening the package. Eventually finding: a camo baby blanket (Thanks for the camo napkin, Ivory); a camo baby hat (oh sweet a hat that doesn’t fit); and jerky (I mean, I guess I’ll carry a murse if it comes with jerky…).
Finally, Tom found the baby owner’s manual and the mustachifier and it all clicked.
Oh, I’m having a baby!! I HAVE THE MOST AMAZING WIFE… EVER. 
The New Dad Tactical Bag
The New Dad Tactical Bag
So there you have it. Man Crates is there for you during the big moments in your life. Rock on Tom and Ivory. Thanks for letting us be a part of it!
Does your Man Crates order have a fun story behind it? Tell us about it for some discounts / shwag! 

What’s Your Manliest Way to Die?

Everyone gets to choose how they live and spend their time, but very few get to choose how they die. But what if you could? I, for one, have always been partial to the last stand death. Just me and a few war-battered buddies standing tall to face the soon-to-be-victorious enemy. But don’t worry, we’re gonna take as many of those bastards with us as we can.

Sorry. I get carried away sometimes.

So I know the last stand isn’t on everyone’s bucket list. But every man has given their own mortality some thought. For me, the first time was when my bicycle bounced out of a pothole and I almost fell headfirst into an oncoming truck. I remember thinking “oh this would be the worst way to die.” Sometime shortly after I vaguely remember sitting down and watching 300.

There are a lot of manlier ways to die than getting knocked off your ten-speed by a Dodge Ram. Like with a Cuban cigar in your mouth and a Cuban woman sitting in your lap. Or telling Princess Leia “I know”  before being lowered into carbonite. Or any way that Michelle Rodriguez has died in a movie.

But hey, some guys might not want to think about it. Take my roommate. He spends so much time looking into the microwave while it heats his Hot Pocket, he has become statistically very likely to die from exploding Hot Pocket.

For anyone still pondering death, I compiled a list of some manliest’ ways to kick the can.

  • Casualty of battle between Autobots and Decepticons
  • Fist fight with a grizzly bear
  • Slack-lining over an active volcano
  • Last man on earth battling zombies
  • Saving women and children from a crashing Zepplin
  • Alligator Wrestling Championships
  • Eating too much bacon
  • Any death from the movie Armageddon
  • Riding a nuclear bomb destined for evil forces
  • White water kayaking down class 5 rapids in Piranha infested water.
  • Hari Kari
  • Freak swimsuit judging accident
  • Fighting a tiger from atop a hut you made yourself in a rural indian village

 

So You Forgot Mother’s Day…

You forgot Mother’s Day. It’s not like we warned you, right? Oh wait, yeah we did. Whatever, what’s done is done. Doubtlessly you fumbled your way through some pitiful excuse involving a car wreck and a hurt dog…but the damage is already done.

Can you make your way back to Golden Child status? Probably not. But you may be able to get her to start looking you in the eyes again at family functions.

Step 1 – Mend Fences

Remember that fence you blew up with your model rocket all those years ago? Well now would be a great time to actually fix it. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time to move out of the basement. I know, I know, you’re only 27, but still… At this point, you moving out could be the best belated Mother’s Day gift a mother could ask for.

You were a much better son when you were a kid

Step 2 – Keep The Pressure On

Sick of your brother Dan stealing the spotlight with his shiny BMW and pretty blonde wife? Well now is the time to shine.  Why not turn this Mother’s Day debacle into something positive? Make it Monday brunch. Or Tuesday; since you’re probably busy Monday.  The important thing to remember is that the crowds will be gone and you can really get down to business–how you’re still a great son.

Don’t forget to bring a spectacular Mother’s Day gift that you can calmly explain you didn’t want her to open in front of everyone. What kind of gift? We don’t know – that’s where you’ve gotta do some of the legwork.  Now if you’re talking Father’s Day gifts… then we may have one or two epic man gifts for dad.

Step 3 – Finish the Fight

Don’t let up yet, though. Go BIG. Bring a puppy (or a kitten, I don’t know your mom) to breakfast with an oversized bow around its neck. Buy her a car. If the gesture is grandiose enough, she’ll stop wondering why you forgot Mother’s Day and start wondering why her other son Dan is such an relentless failure.

And you’ll be free to forget Mother’s Day for another few years.

Bachelor Recipes – Ramen Pad Thai

Probably the hardest part about being single and living alone is remembering that you are actually responsible for feeding yourself. Whether it’s forgetting to eat or forgetting to buy groceries, single dudes have it rough. So whenever I run across a great recipe online that doesn’t require excessive shopping/prepping/ cooking/cleaning, I get pretty excited.

Cooking for One- don't mind if I do
Cooking for One- don’t mind if I do

The other day I hit the jackpot. Reddit user IronRectangle shared his version of the poor man’s Pad Thai. I of course tried it first and it may be the greatest inexpensive and quick meal since the McDouble.

The ingredients are simple and cheap. Top Ramen, peanut butter, Sriracha, and three eggs. I picked up a box of 24 packets of ramen for under $5 at my local grocery store and the peanut butter and Sriracha will last ages. As for the eggs, if you buy them in a 6-pack you’ll definitely eat them before they expire.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Boil 2 cups of water
  2. Add the Top Ramen packet. Toss the seasoning, that stuff sucks
  3. Set timer to 3:33 for the noodles because you don’t have time for more than one button.
  4. When the timer goes off, leave the heat on high.
  5. Crack 3 eggs directly into the water, one at a time, stirring them into the noodles.
  6. Finish cooking until eggs look done (1-2 min. max)
  7. Unless you’re a communist who likes soupy ramen, drain the water
  8. Add a large dollop of peanut butter and let it melt on the noodles for a minute.
  9. Mix in peanut butter, and then begin to add Sriracha to taste.

Pad_Thai

You did it! For probably under $.50 you just made a pretty substantial AND relatively nutritious meal! I’ve made it about a dozen times now and I can do the whole process in under five minutes. Even better, total cleanup is a pot, a bowl, and a spoon.

Have a Bachelor Recipe of your own? Share it with us in the comments below!

Men with Moxie: John Wesley Powell

This week’s Man with Moxie is a bit of a throwback. You may not have learned about John Wesley Powell in your American history course, but you damn well should have. Powell was born in 1834 to a poor family. However, this didn’t stop him from quickly obtaining a college degree (no small feat in the middle of the 19th century). Powell then fought in the Civil War for the Union where he lost most of an arm.

Meet Mr John Wesley Powell
Meet Mr John Wesley Powell

But none of this is the reason he is our Moxie man of the week. No, in fact, losing an arm in the Civil War is one of the more tame parts of Powell’s life.

In 1867, Powell set off to explore the West. Not content to simply walk around amid unknown dangers and potentially hostile natives, Powell’s favorite means of travel was by rickety canoe down deadly rivers. Instead of exploring around the Grand Canyon on foot, he chose to raft down the entirely unexplored  Colorado River and observe the country from there.

Choosing to travel by deadly rapids (with only one rowing arm) instead of walking–now that takes moxie.

Major Powell's famous armchair boat on the Colorado River In the Grand Canyon. August 22, 1872
Major Powell’s famous armchair boat on the Colorado River In the Grand Canyon. August 22, 1872

To add awesome to badass, he approached all of his explorations with an almost comical curiosity. Instead of being intimidated by natives, Powell would engage them to learn more of their culture. On one expedition, three of his men went missing and he suspected that Shivwit warriors were responsible. He later returned to investigate, and once he found the Shivwit tribe, instead of demanding retribution, he simply asked them why they had killed his men. Then they all sat back and smoked a whole bunch of pot. You know, for science.

John_Wesley_Powell_year_1869

No really, while other explorers and expansionists were pushing into the West, slaughtering native tribes and raising general hell, John Wesley Powell was passing around a Peace Pipe with the same guys who had killed three of his men. Now that’s a lot of moxie for a dude with one arm.

The Best Domestic Imported Beers for Your Buck

Forbes
You had ONE job, Forbes summer intern!

Today Forbes revealed that Sam Adams–a popular imported Boston beer–is beating out big name beers. While you may be surprised to hear that such a small, unknown foreign brewery is beating out the big boys here in the States, we thought it represented a great opportunity to tell you about other popular imported beers.

Miller Lite

A fine beer for any occasion, Miller Brewing Company is a small operation running out of far off Milwaukee (mɪlˈwɔːki). The beer they import to the U.S. is a light beer with little to no aftertaste (or before taste, really). Their beer pairs well with any exotic food, from corn dogs to hot dogs to chili dogs–it’s extremely versatile.

Natural Light

Referred to by in-the-know locals as “Natty Light,” Natural Light is an imported American-Style Light Lager sure to please anyone looking for a worldly taste. Natty is unique in that it is traditionally consumed in its native land not in a glass, but through a plastic funnel.

Beer 30

Easily the most exotic brew on our list, Beer 30 is one imported brew that fully encapsulates the best of its homeland. The ingredients that actually go into Beer 30 are a closely guarded secret, but rumors abound that anything from viscera to pure gasoline are used in the brewing process. Taking a sip of a finely imported beer like Beer 30 (which I believe is German for “delicious”) transports you to the gorgeous shores of Prince William Sound or the deep blue Hudson River. At no point in drinking this fine import will you have thoughts of suicide or depression.