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

 

 

Grooming your Groomsmen

It’s a safe bet you’ve never dreamt of your storybook wedding. Because, you know, you’re a dude. But whether or not you planned for it, it’s statistically probable you’re going to get married someday. After you take off that fedora. Go on. Take it off.

That’s better.

Now that you just raised your marriage potential by 100%, it’s time to start thinking about the wedding. One of the hardest parts of being a groom is finding the appropriate groomsmen. You really have to give it some thought before you ask Drunk Lou from college to stand behind you at the altar. And I know Chad was your favorite frat bro, but despite what he believes, he is not god’s gift to women. In fact, he’s not a gift to anyone. Because he’s a sleaze. If your brother ever hooked up with your prom date, it’s safe to say you should leave him out too.

So who does that leave?

Well how about that nerdy dude that helped you swing a C in your stats class? You’re definitely not going to catch him drunkenly slobbering on bridesmade after the ceremony. Or how about that childhood friend who still lives with his parents and posts on your Facebook wall once a day? You should probably just throw him a bone. And the religious guy in your dorm who claimed he “could have just as much fun without drinking” would probably save you some money on the bar bill.

We’d keep giving you wedding advice, but you’ve probably already forgotten what we just told you. Just remember that when you leave the groomsmen gifts until the last minute, Man Crates does rush shipping. But no, we can’t come tie your bow tie.

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.

Mother’s Day Gift Shopping for Dummies by Dummies

Oh, just Man Crates here, trying to keep you out of the dog house. Seriously though, what are you doing, you silly man/noob? Go out and buy a Mother’s Day gift!

No? Just gonna keep reading then, eh?

Oh c’mon. Mother’s Day is coming up. Like SUPER soon. May 12th. And you and I both know you’re going to wait until the last minute and then just buy something stupid at a 24-hour pharmacy. Oh, and then, you’re going to find the perfect gift online, but it’s going to be way too late, unless you want to spend like a million dollars on shipping.

And no, this is not an okay alternative to getting her a gift.

But you’re still here, reading a blog post instead of buying a Mother’s Day gift. So here’s my surefire way to find a great gift for your mom.

  1. Make sure you didn’t already buy her a gift. Ha ha who am I kidding even Voldemort never planned that far ahead. 
  2. Figure out what your mom likes. If you don’t buy her a good gift, you can probably cross yourself off that list.
  3. Check your finances. Oooo…probably shouldn’t have splurged on those concert tickets. Oh well, that $13 in your wallet helps narrow down gift options.
  4. Google “mother’s day gift ideas” (we did it for you). Realize all of those results are useless.
  5. Call your Dad.
  6. Buy whatever he says to buy.
  7. Buy her something.

But wait! Are you “dad”? Don’t worry, I’ve got tips for you too.

  1. Don’t stress out! You can potentially get away with flowers and a card. Lucky! (But seriously, don’t try to pull that crap on her birthday. You’ll probably get thrown down the stairs.)
  2. When the kids call, just advise them to buy things you’ve been neglecting to buy your wife since Christmas. Like a new step ladder so she’ll stop bugging you to change the lightbulbs.
  3. Drink a beer; you are a passable adult.
Get it? Step-ladder?

Top 5 Manly Skills To Know This Holiday Season

Society’s characterization of ‘being a man’ has transformed over the centuries. In today’s modern world, there are many things our father’s (father) would’ve known how to do that the contemporary man in this tech-enabled age has since forgotten.

But with each coming year, the holiday season arrives and reminds us that the basics haven’t changed—and to that end; you should never stop being a man. To survive the season with your manliness intact, here are the 5 basic skills every man should possess.

If you don’t have these skills in your arsenal, you’d better get cracking. Because as GI Joe has taught us, knowing half the battle.

1. Make a holiday toast
Toasting isn’t easy, but every man should be endowed with the verbal skills to charm an
audience. An elderly Hungarian priest once captured the essence of a good toast in one simple phrase ‘a good toast should be like a mini-skirt, just long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to remain interesting.’

2. Carve a Bird like a boss.
It’s holiday mealtime and your knife is poised to begin- will you look at the beautiful bronzed bird and weakly whisper, “Please do not let me maul this beast.” Or will you rise to the occasion and assert your manhood as you deconstruct the bird FTW.
The manliest of men are the ones who carve the turkey; it’s a timeless tradition and a job usually left to grandpas and dads. So grab your knife and cutting board, and step up to the plate.
Here’s how: http://chicken-recipes.wonderhowto.com/how-to/howto-carve-turkey-infographic-way-0122436/

3. Chop down a Christmas Tree
Chopping down your own tree is easily the manliest thing a real man can do to test his mettle at this festive time of the year. But before you get into the holiday spirit by felling your own pine, you must
know your escape path and when the tree starts to fall, use it. Here is what not to do…
http://www.urlesque.com/2010/01/13/tree-removal-fails/

4. Talk football.
The holidays mark the ‘beginning of the end’ of both the college and NFL seasons. And there’s no simpler way to say it: every man needs to be able to talk football. Whether your living room turns into a Pentagon War Room every weekend or you haven’t watched football since you caught a scene from Varsity Blues on TBS a few years back, now’s the time of year where you at least need to get some basics down. If you’re watching college football, the story this year is Notre Dame in the National Championship game. Fighting Irish fans think it’s well-deserved; most everyone else thinks they caught some generous breaks. Know your audience, choose a side, and debate vociferously.

5. Open a bottle of Champagne
I know what you’re thinking — it’s the holidays and we should be talking manly drinks, isn’t this a clear cider, rum & eggnog time? Or perhaps for the adventurous man with an international flair — a glögg occasion? Well, yes — and as a sidenote, if your drink has an umlaut in its name, you’re doing it right. So why champagne? Well, it lends itself well to celebratory environments so you’ll likely find yourself around it more than a few times this holiday season. Nearly every champagne bottle arrives with someone asking for help opening it. To open properly; remove the foil, check for wire, hold the neck of the champagne bottle and slowly begin to loosen the cork by twisting the bottle. You must hold onto the cork the entire time so it doesn’t come flying out and hit your fiancé’s great aunt in the eye. As you allow the cork to slowly ease out of the bottle, you will hear a gentle “sigh” rather than a “pop”. While a refined technique, there is a more manly alternative: use a sword http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye28n_aJspA “

Field Report: The Retro Gamer Crate

Play Testing the Atari 10 in 1

People often ask “How do you guys choose which things go into each Man Crate?”

I’d be lying if I said we had a scientific process- it’s more like a third-world parliamentary session where fisticuffs and blackmail are on even footing with polite debate and rational reasoning.  We’re opinionated and stubborn, and we don’t always agree on what will make the most awesome crate.    However in the case of the Retro Gamer crate, Jon and I play-tested the Atari 10-in-1 set against two competing retro-gaming systems on the market and hours later, with calloused thumbs and reddened eyes, we both knew that this was the set for us.

Atari 10-in-1 Review

On any album there are some singles and some filler tracks.  The 10-in-1 is no different.  Some of these games provide interesting anthropological  insights into the origin and evolution of video games rather than enjoyable replay-ability (Adventure, Realsports Volleyball.)  The best games stand the test of time, and casual and serious gamers alike will enjoy the top 3 titles below.

1. Missile Command

Missile Command Screenshot

Sam (high score: 52,465): Obviously we skipped the instructions and started playing all the games immediately.  This game was my early favorite because it’s an easy concept to grasp and the controls are intuitive.  The bad guys are attacking America with missiles and UFOs, you’re the fearless commander of the STAR-WARS defense shield responsible for shooting down all the incoming ordnance.

Jon (high score:19,380): The game gets hard pretty fast, the key to staying alive is naming your six cities. San Francisco.  Houston.  Chicago.  Washington.  New York.  Boston. It makes the mistakes real.  You just lost the Giants and the Smithsonian.  Nut up and aim better.  Enforcing drinking penalties also takes this game up a notch.

Continue reading Field Report: The Retro Gamer Crate