Archives for April2015


The Return of Tebow

Just when you thought it was safe to watch ESPN we see the return of Timothy Richard Tebow. What sounds like the beginning of a horror movie will definitely be one if the Eagles are actually serious about this guy playing anything other than a goal line back on 2 point conversions. Before I comment on the addition of Tebow to the Eagles on a 1 year contract, I just can’t get over the media coverage this guy attracts. When this information got released Skip Bayless had a giant orgasm about 8 times on Twitter. So yes I am going to be sick of people talking about this guy for the next 3 months when we all know he does not have the skill set to play QB in the NFL. What is it about this guy that people just can’t get enough of? I mean is it because he is Christian? A good guy? A guy coaches want in the huddle? I say yes to all of those, but many NFL players and college players are good guys and religious people and don’t get the breaks this guy has. So when we sit around at talk about Mr. Tebow let’s remember some interesting things:

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Image Credit: dumpaday.com
  1. He hasn’t played for over two years How many players do you know can be away from the game for two years and come back being better than what they were. I know he has been getting coached for the last 18 months but that is nothing compared to the action you get playing in the NFL.
  2. He lost playing against air Yes, you read that right according to Jay Feely on the Jim Rome Show on Showtime “I watched him one day … I sat and watched him do routes on air with Ken Whisenhunt as we were playing the Broncos,” Feely said. “And routes on air, there’s no [defensive backs], you know exactly what he’s going to run, there’s no pass rush. He had like 13 incompletions on routes on air. Jim, you and I could go out and do routes on air and we would complete most of our passes.”
  3. He is not an accurate QB I know what you are thinking, Jeff you are pretty picky wanting your QB to actually complete passes. His career completion ratio is at 48% which is absolutely horrible. In Chip Kelly’s system he will need to be able to make short and long passes and that is something he simply can’t do.
  4. He is a running QB who isn’t fast- Tebow’s main strength is his running ability, but he is not a fast guy, and you mean to tell me two years later he is faster? Tebow could outrun players in college, but not the NFL. If he tries to run the spread offense.
  5. He will be the Eagles 4th String QB- Tebow will be their 4th string QB, if he makes the roster he will be a goal line back. I believe this was all a smoke screen by Chip Kelly for a bigger move on Draft Day.

 

– Jeff Bauer

TWITTER: @jbauer36

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Why Guys Often Think About Affairs and What Happens When You Cross That Line

We can’t let women off on this topic. Statics show that while not as many women are prone to wander in a committed relationship, they indeed do. Some would argue that women and men seek the sexual attention and affection of another partner for totally different reasons. For women many times, but not all, the emotions of the connection drive them into the arms of another lover. Many times an emotional affair begins for women long before a physical affair.

For men, guys let’s be honest—married or in a committed relationship—when we see a women that as the country song says “is too hot” for us “to be cool.” Sexual thoughts will often cross our mind even if only briefly. Not to be too graphic but some guys take a second and third and maybe a fourth look at those t’s and a’s.

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Image Credit: nydailynews.com

Now for those of us who subscribe to a faith such as Christianity this can cause a struggle. Before Jesus came on the scene it could be said that there was a history of more “open” relationships. Throughout the Old Testament, many men of God had wives and mistresses. As time passed this way of life seemed to go as well. Thus, a person could take it that the Ten Commandments basically said, in a strongly male interpretation that would not hold up in seminary, of look but don’t touch. When Jesus taught the message that even lusting after a woman is equal to adultery, let’s be honest guys that’s some strong language.

What guy that loves Sports and subscribes to Sports Illustrated throws away the Swimsuit Edition that comes every year?

We all know men are visual beings. If it looks good, it must be good for us—right? However, even if as a guy that looking is an issue for you because of faith or personal commitments, there is a high price to pay if we as guys cross that line and go progress from avoidance to looking to touching.

Many guys think they are above this sort of thing. I have heard guys almost boastfully say: “I will never cheat. I never even look at other women.” When I hear this I often just let it go. Later, I will ask what appears to be an off-the-subject question of who are their favorite singers or movie stars. It almost makes me laugh out loud when they name all extremely beautiful women. Now all of those actresses could be the best, but come on guys it’s because they are attractive.

Some guys handle this situation by not actually having a sexual relationship with another woman as in actual having a full on sex act, but they regularly go to strip clubs and touch and look at young women. It’s sort of a justification in the mind. Trust me, it wouldn’t hold up in a court of law—I mean with most girlfriends or wives.

There is a friend that I will call Tyler. Tyler has been married for almost twenty years but right now finds himself in a tight spot. After the revelation of an affair, he has bounced from place to place sleeping and eating when and what he could. For Tyler, this was not his first affair in the twenty years of marriage.

In fact, Tyler is a minister. In his first real church position, he ran off with a lady staff member who was married. They had been sexually involved for a few months before what was done in the dark came to light. For a time ministry was over for Tyler. Yet, he struggled with the call he believed was on his life. This woman he had the affair with became his wife a few years later.

The relationship was fairly good. The sex was very satisfying. Yet, Tyler admits when he walked through a store he would almost always check out a nice backside.

Eventually, Tyler returned to the ministry. Less than a year in his new church, a very aggressive woman on staff started paying Tyler so extra special attention. Tyler was so focused on the ministry for a while it was just ignored. Then the marriage relationship got extremely tense.

You guess it, Tyler engaged in a sexual relationship with this woman. She was married and now Tyler was married too. It was a brief encounter but Tyler’s wife found out. The scene was horrible. Tyler was faced with a second congregation knowing he was an adulterer. The church actually sort waffled on what they really wanted done about the situation. Tyler was a passionate preacher and great at the duties of being a pastor. The churches attendance was up and so was the money. For over ten days of hiding out the leaders of the church didn’t even ask for Tyler to leave. Eventually Tyler gave his resignation.

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This time would be a wake-up call for Tyler. The motor that seemed to drive him to succeed in ministry seemed to be the same motor that drove him to a sexual compulsion. Seeking help he discovered a personality disorder and began to get some help. That process is ongoing. Yet, I dare say no matter how effective counseling is that when a beautiful woman is near there will always be an awareness that something is indeed too hot to remain cool.

Tyler is just an example of all guys. You could be an executive looking and longing for someone in the office. You could be a teacher in a school who thinks that they can successfully get away with an indiscretion with one of those pretty young girls that you teach. You could be a police officer and that attractive lady you just pulled over for speeding makes an offer that you might not want to refuse. The point is if you are a guy, then this will always be something that will present itself.

I have found that at times it is even not about status or attractiveness. I have seen some guys who have children with a number of women be some sad looking dudes and even well-known deadbeats.

Sex is powerful and the power and reality of seduction is real and alive and well for guys (and gals). Guys don’t always assume you’re the only one in the relationship that might stray. Even though you might think you are a dreamboat and the best lover she’s ever had some other guy might just be a little bit slicker than you.

When the line is crossed and an affair has been engaged in there are so many results that can happen. Sometimes it ends up on the news. The headline reads: Jealous Husband Kills Wife’s Lover.

For Tyler, he married his first affair. The second, he ran from as fast as possible.

To close let’s ponder these questions:

Honestly, guys do you not look and maybe like about someone other than your partner?

Do you often look and let your imagination do the rest?

Do you think going somewhere like a strip club is cool because you aren’t actually going to have sex?

Maybe, guys, you just flat out sleep around on your partner! You’ve done it once, twice, so many times you don’t even know.

Maybe you’re one of those slick guys that hides everything well. Maybe you have had so much success playing that you identify yourself as one of the best.

The reality is guys when toes start crossing lines there is always a price to be paid by someone.

There’s no way I’m going to condemn a guy for noticing a beautiful woman. Heck, what turns you on turns you on. If it’s long legs or long blonde hair, when you happen on it just in course of daily activity it happens.

The question of how we will define ourselves as men is what we do next? Do we flirt and see how far we can go? Do we remain true to our partners and say to ourselves something like “she’s hot” and keep walking?

Some people like to call this temptation, I simply call it life. Men and women are sexual beings. Both are going to see, feel, or think of something that attracts them. To deny that is a lie. Believe that lie if you must. I don’t feel that guys need to see this as some ragging battle they must fight. I have seen books in Christian bookstores that are titled things like everyman’s struggle and it be about sexual issues. At some point men, we have to realize what our attractions are and not necessarily broadcast them to our partners or on social media. I won’t suggest you tweet or give your status on Facebook as: “I like big butts and I cannot lie!!!” (Remember that song? You might be too young!)

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Image Credit: mtv.com

Be honest with yourself about what gets your sexual thoughts and attention. Be honest with yourself about that seemingly innocent relationship that inside you know isn’t something you hope remains innocent. Then you have to do some serious thinking. Cross that line. Pay that price. Each guy is faced with that question and each will have a different answer.

Here’s a final thought: no matter how often and how long an inappropriate sexual relationship goes for you…when the bill comes due how will you pay it? Will the cost be worth it? I had a middle school teacher who was a killer on us chewing gum. When caught, we had to write 500 times… “I doubled my pleasure. I doubled my fun. Now I must pay for chewing my gum.”

 

 

– Christian Chandler

TWITTER: @AuthorChrisC

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Email: authorchrischandler@icloud.com

The Highly Imposing Man’s Guide to Surviving Breakups With Dignity

This article was originally posted on DrunkInAMidnightChoir.com

 

We used to have the French Foreign Legion. It was a group of men you could join with the confidence that comes from knowing that there wasn’t going to be a lot of talk about feelings. You could hunker down in your foxhole with your bayonet and ammo pouch, eating cheese, sipping low-grade brandy from a flask, knowing that sooner or later a ball from the enemy’s rifle would kill that thing that was gnawing away at your gut—along with the rest of you. Maybe, during the armistice, while the guns were cooling, to the sympathetic ears of your brothers in arms, you would quietly utter the four words—and only those four words—that would explain what the fuck you were doing in the middle of the goddamn Sahara killing Saracens: “because of a woman.”

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Image Credit: nybooks.com

Amour rejeté. Rejected love.

Those were simpler times, and the political wind has shifted. While it’s no longer considered heroic to subjugate a less developed civilization just because your heart hurts, the suffering you’re feeling is too profound to idly sit by, waiting for it to heal. You’re numb; you’re in pain; and you’re drifting with a humiliating lack of direction. Well, I have news for you, frenchy: no one gives damn. Not your family. Not your friends. Least of all her. If you’re looking for help getting over your breakup—some sort of life preserver to get you through the next few bites of the retched plate of despair that you’re eating—well, you’ve come to the wrong place, compadre. This is where you’re reminded that feelings are unwelcome intruders—a mosh pit of rude little enzymes dancing around in your gray matter.

If you’ve lost your girl, it’s probably not your fault. Even highly imposing men have breakups. The important thing is how you comport yourself in the hours and days after your heart gets pulled through that gaping fissure in your sternum. You didn’t die, and quite frankly, there are bigger tragedies going on in the world, so you need to pull yourself together and show all of humanity that you are more than the sum of your dating experiences.

And this is how it’s done:

 

DRINKING – You’ve all probably heard the cliché that “drinking never solves anything.” That’s what your mom told you, right? Well, it is sort of true, but you’re not really looking for a cure here; you’re trying to make an impression. As an imposing man, it’s recommended for you to get sloppy drunk at least one time over a breakup. It’s how real men grieve. After that, just drink four or five stiff ones per night to kill off the weaker brain cells. You should only drink hard liquor: scotch, bourbon, rye, or tequila. Beer is for gentler times. You might have another drinking preference, but you’re going to have to put that on hold for now. How will it look if you’re drowning your sorrows with vodka martinis or champagne cocktails? If you are a lightweight and prone to breaking open the waterworks after you have a few belts of booze, then you shouldn’t drink at all, cupcake. Just empty half a bottle of whiskey into a mason jar and walk around pretending to guzzle the rest. When you see a passerby, make like you’re taking a swig. It’s not ideal, but if people don’t see you drinking at all, they’re going to worry about your feeling—and you can’t have them thinking that you have any of those.

SOCIAL MEDIA – Here’s a new thing that turns my stomach. When a man gets his heart broken, he is now overcome by the compulsion to announce it to the world via digital media. “I am so devastated by my breakup with @CoraJones that masturbation is not even an option right now.” The fact of the matter is that you aren’t going to win her back with a public estrogen dump, so shut the fuck up about your emotions. Assume she’s watching you and knows what you’re posting. After all, what better way for her to celebrate your agony with her friends than to read your Facebook wall or Twitter feed? Social media is a publicly accessible, permanent record of your current state of mind. It does not go away. Do you really want your social lessers to be able to punch in #myrtleloveache and be able to see 437 tweets that lay witness to your dramatics? Here are a few acceptable tweets that you can use if you can’t think of anything on your own:

  • “Bad week at work. Going to the gun range to blow off a little steam. @GreysonStone Want to come?”
  • “If that copier guy makes one more paper jam-related joke, I’m going to knock him the fuck out. #wrath”
  • “Does anyone know where I can buy a good #sharpeningstone for my edged weapons?”

BRAWLING – On the exterior, you’re the model of composure, but internally you’re a seething, rage-fueled turbine engine. You want to kill someone, but if you do, you’re just going to wind up at the top of a wooden staircase at Tehachapi with a rope around your neck. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a brawl or two to work out your angst. Actually, so long as greater numbers are involved,  this may be the one time when it’s even okey to lose a donnybrook. “Sure Cutter lost that fight. He was drunk and there were six of them. I think he might have dumped his girlfriend and she sent those dudes after him.”

COMMUNICATIONS – As a rule, once the breakup is done, you should not initiate any interactions with your ex. You probably need me to be more specific here: no face-to-face, telephonic, electronic, or written communications at all, frenchy. You may not leave a note somewhere hoping that she’ll find it. You may not deliver a message through your friends, or hers. Here are the situations where you can return her calls or correspondence:

  • She is claiming to be pregnant with your child. (Why get the lawyers involved?)
  • She has decided that she made a mistake in leaving you after she caught you with another woman and wants to beg for your forgiveness.
  • Her life is in danger. If this happens, you should only agree to help her reluctantly because you have a soft spot for dames who have been captured by highwaymen or pirates or whatever.

For a while, every time your phone rings, you’re going to hope that it’s her. It might actually even be her. If you don’t answer, you win. I don’t make these rules, but I do know that God gets nauseous when he sees a man breaking them.

REVENGE – There is no honor in physically harming a woman or damaging her property—ever. If you think you are likely to do either, please wait for my upcoming article Seven Honor Suicides for the Imposing Man, where I discuss acceptable reasons for checking yourself out and cool lines to leave in your suicide note. In no way does this mean, however, that revenge is off the table. Among your acceptable recourses are:

  • Having sex with one of her best friends or a family member. If it’s a family member, use the “One Generation Rule.” No one is going to be impressed with you scoring with an adult woman’s grandmother.
  • Emasculate her new boyfriend. You can accomplish this by either firing him from his job or fighting him over some bizarre insult. Watch the nineties classic Starship Troopers. One caveat: this is a fight you have to win.
  • Challenge her new lover to a classic duel, but only over something that is completely unrelated to her. Do not disclose to your seconds that the reason you’re fighting this duel is over losing a girl.

CLEANING HOUSE – Depending on how long the two of you dated, you probably have all kinds of pictures and tchotchkes scattered around your flat that you never wanted in the first place. Good riddance. Get a box or a garbage sack and unceremoniously toss anything that reminds you of her. If it has value, sell it or donate it to a charity. Along the same vein, your social media profiles are your public space and you should never allow someone who you are dating to intrude on them. If you have posted couple photos or allowed yourself to be tagged in them, you have to wait a little while before you take them off your feed. If you do it too quickly, she’ll know she affected you, but if you wait too long, you look like some sort of goddamn sentimentalist or worse. Your best immediate solution is to post a lot of recent photos, effectively ramming the digital images of your broken romance down so far that no one will notice.  For ideas of good post-breakup photos, friend request Vladimir Putin on Facebook. Whether he’s posing with the world’s largest Russian pike, riding shirtless on a horse, or poisoning a political opponent, that man knows how to get over a breakup in style.

CHANCE ENCOUNTERS – No matter how hard you try to avoid her, there’s always the possibility that she’s going to sashay into some pub that you’ve never been to before or show up at a party that she didn’t know was being held in your honor. Inevitably, she will look better than you’ve ever seen her look and be on the arm of some arrogant pansy with a fat wallet. Your first instinct might be to fill your hand with that snub-nose revolver you have tucked into your waistband or strapped to your ankle, but her new fop is probably supporting a wife and kids. So, until you have all of the facts and a coldblooded revenge plan, keep your weapon holstered.

Don’t: Pretend like you didn’t see her walk in. She knows you saw her, and acting like you didn’t see her is embarrassing for everyone and undermines the fine work that you’ve done up until now.

Do: Be gracious. “Listen, I was just headed to the bar. Can I buy the two of you a drink?” Say this whether or not it’s a cash bar. If the idiot date challenges you on it, knock him the fuck out. Actually, you can punch him in the face for the slightest provocation. It’s only bad form if you initiate the quarrel.

Listen, Nancy-boy, we don’t want to hear about how bad you’re hurting. We know you’re every stereotype in every mariachi song that’s ever been written. Time to get back to whatever it is that you were doing before you met her.

Pull on your boots.

Stand on your feet.

Show the world no pain.

Be a man—an imposing man.

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Image Credit: sky.com

 

– Chillbear Latrigue

TWITTER: @Chillbear

 

Apocalyptic BeBop by Two Brothers Brewing Company (Beer Review)

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Image Credit: beerstreetjournal.com

Apocalyptic Bebop from Two Brothers Brewing Co is one hell of a beer with an awesome name and an even better taste. It’s a Belgian-Style Quadruple Ale and the label describes it like this:

“A rhythmic beat starts as massive malt notes…a saxophone wails with complex Abbey yeast flavors…a guitar floats in on fresh cabernet oak…creating a crescendo so complex it can only be called… Apocalyptic Bebop.”

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We don’t know anything about BeBop or jazz, but we think we know beer. The first thing you notice when you crack open the bottle is that it doesn’t smell like a typical Belgian Ale. It’s different. You get a hint of apple instead of the citrus that so many Belgian Ales give off. That isn’t the only thing that makes this beer unique. It’s 10.2% ABV, and it comes in a 22 oz bottle.  That’s like 4 beers in one, and we support the idea of getting a good buzz from drinking only one bottle. It’s fun. If your wife tells you that you drink too much, buy a bottle of this. “But honey, I’m only having one beer tonight, not my usual four.” Winning.

Source: Ptmastermind.com

Image Credit: Ptmastermind.com

This beer tastes great and has a very smooth feel to it. Two Brothers really went the extra mile when creating it – the beer is even aged in 2012 Napa Cabernet barrels. Its flavors are complex and unique and because of that, Apocalyptic BeBop isn’t just a beer, it’s an experience.

You can find Two Brothers Brewing on Twitter at @TwoBrothersBeer.

 

FINAL VERDICT

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– Mike O’Brien

TWITTER: @SDLStaff

 

Firestone Easy Jack IPA Review

My wife recently surprised me with a mix-and-match 6-pack of some new craft beers. It’s a small part of what makes her the best wife ever. One of the beers in this six-pack was the Firestone Easy Jack IPA.

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IPA’s have been my beer of choice for the past few months. I recently had the DeSceutes Fresh Squeezed IPA that may be my most favorite beer ever. So I was excited to sit down with a new version of the classic. Plus the can features what looks like a bear fighting a lion, so you know it’s going to be a good time!

Before I even took my first sip, I noticed this beer smelled a bit fruitier than other IPAs. A collection of citrus smell alerted my senses right away. This was followed up by a light and refreshing first taste that left me double checking to make sure I was actually drinking an IPA. At 4.7% this was definitely a far more sessionable beer than others. The citrus smell turned out to be a slight hint of lemon which added a delicious tone to the cool taste.

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Then, once the primary taste had subsided, a different taste rolled across my tongue. This taste reassured me that I was drinking an IPA but even that turned into something different. The flavor that I was left with at the end of my sip was bolder than other IPAs have during their full duration. The taste was very roasted, almost akin to a porter without the chocolaty tones. It was a truly pleasant surprise.

All in all, I loved this beer. The flavor variation left me wanting to keep constantly sipping to continue the taste roller coaster I was on. Which I totally did. A delicious take on one of my favorite styles was exactly what I needed on a warm, early spring night.

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Image Credit: firestonebeer.com

 

 

FINAL VERDICT

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– Ron Palmieri

TWITTER: @ronofthemill

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LIVING ON THE EDGE: picking the right knife

Let me begin by saying i am not a martial arts instructor, just a regular guy who has learned a thing or two about knives and other edge weapons. This is not an instructional guide, or manual for being a bad ass. Now that being said, the first thing I’m always asked is why a knife why not a gun, my answer is you’re not always going to be able to carry or reach your gun, and a knife doesn’t need reloaded and with most knife stabbing strikes can be used with other items like a pen or car keys, I’ve even heard of using a drinking straw. Yes, ideally you would want a gun to keep as much distance as you can from an attacker. Most attacks are up close, usually within arms reach and well within striking distance of any blade or improvised weapon.

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Image Credit: knife-depot.com

Now the first thing you need to know about edged weapons and one of the most important things is your local laws, what you can and can not carry. Most places prohibit knifes with blades larger than Three or four inches, but lets face it your not Crocodile Dundee or the predator. Three or four inches is enough to do some real damage to not only tissue but organs as well, unless your being attack by a Jabba the hut sized attacker.

The next step is choosing your knife and in my opinion, there are only two real choices: fixed bladed knifes or folding pocket knifes. So I hope to help you find the best knife for you.

Lets begin with folding knifes. A pocket folding knife is obviously a knife that folds, fits in your pocket, and is probably the most common. Now what should you look for in a Folder, first thing you should look for isn’t how cool it looks (surprised right?), you want a blade made from 440 stainless steel or better, this will make sure the blade will stay sharp and is strong enough to do what ever you need to do. Next you need to pick what you want to use it for, I.E. work versus self defense. For self defense your going to want a spring assisted folder which have, dum dum duuummmmm, you guessed it a spring mechanism inside that helps it to open quicker, or with one hand and lets be honest if your attack you don’t want to fumble around. These type of knives usually have a thumb plate\knob on the blade or  on the back.Last but not least “blade wobble.” You can check this is when the knife is open and locked into place, then grabbing the blade (don’t be a dumb ass and grab it by the sharp side) with your index finger and thumb then trying to move the blade side to side and front to back.  If there is any wiggle to the blade then its probably, A. been used a lot, B. been thrown, or C, just cheaply made, eather way the knife is junk. Now you might be wondering “Wolfking, why is so important?”, Well if the blade moves that means that its not properly locked into place and can close on your fingers or snap the Axel causing it to just fall apart.

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Image Credit: toyarchive.com

Now let’s take a look a fixed blade knives. A fix blade Knife is harder to carry because they are harder to conceal do to the fact that they can’t be folded and put in your pocket. Every good knife starts with the steel, like with the Folder 440 or better. A full tang knife is what you what if you want a fixed blade. This means the metal that makes the blade runs all the way through the handle. Cheaper knifes will only have a rod welded to the blade, this are less expensive but tend to break very easily. Make sure the sheath for your knife will keep it secure, if you don’t have it you cant use it. A good grip is very important, I prefer ones with a rubberized textured grip or para-cord wrapped. Fixed blade knives tend to be more rugged than folders having no moving parts which is better if your in a situation you know your going to get dirty like camping outdoors.

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Image Credit: screeninsults.com

These are many other thing in considering what kind of edge weapon fits you such as other types of weapons, blade style, sheaths, But for now i hope you learned something. So remember be safe, know the law, and the best way to win a fight is to never let it start.

 

– Matt Mollett A.K.A the WolfKing

TWITTER @therealwolfking

The Ego

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Image Credit: cchsvoice.org

 

I opened the door to the bewilderment, in an attempt to recover the little faith left.

Going over my thoughts and trying to find the answer.

Traveling to every memory.

Wanting to see a sign show me the error.

Among debris, I spotted him in the distance.

Standing in front of me in an insolent attitude, “you have not learned anything,”  he said while smoking.

“You believe you are the God of this world, which is only ashes now.

For me it is a benefit that you’re blind.

Thinking you need the pain, however, I’m bored of seeing you fall again and again by the same stupid reason.

Ascending or descending once and for all, to the obscurantism that you’re going to for stubbornness” an ironic smile it drew it on my face.

Mercilessly I was telling him, a thousand times I’ve been back here but I never realized it was you.

I always thought you were part of who I am, nothing is further from the truth, because the ego that is just a disguise we use when we disconnect from the universal energy who created us to not feel alone, and believe we are someone important, when we forget our true value.

 

– Liseet Mata

website: liseetmatamartinez.com

TWITTER: @Liseetmata

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Why can’t I drink like my Dad?

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Image Credit: slacktory.com

As a boy, I spent a fair amount of time in pubs. My Dad enjoyed a pint, and being the Dad he was, he felt it was important that I became accustomed to British drinking habits from an early age. I should point out that my Dad wasn’t plying me with beer from the age of eight. I was simply in attendance during the nightly, post work drinking hours.

Saturdays, after I’d played rugby in the morning and the weekly shop had been completed, I would return to the pub with my Dad, and sit there while he played dominos. Sundays worked to a similar agenda, but the drinking would be split into two sessions – one either side of the Sunday roast.
My Dad wasn’t dragging me into seedy, back alley bars. We were living in a West Yorkshire village at the time. The pubs he drank in were village pubs – warm and cosy, family friendly. Everyone knew everyone’s name. But whether you agree with my Dad’s parenting approach or not, I will say this – some of my happiest childhood memories are from the times I spent listening to my Dad holding court in front the beer pumps.

During the four years I lived with my Dad, I only saw him ‘drunk’ twice – once on his fortieth birthday, when it seemed the entire village turned up to buy him a Jack Daniels. The second was one Christmas night when I wandered downstairs to find my Dad and my stepmother giggling inanely whilst trying to finish the game of Monopoly that had started at eight that evening. Four years of drinking, quite a lot of drinking (my Dad’s quota for week night would be four pints, a Saturday/Sunday session would see him clock up eight to ten pints) and only two drunkenings. One piece of advice my Dad gave me as a boy, ‘If you can’t handle it lad, don’t drink it.’

You see, to us Northern Englishmen, the ability to ‘handle the ale’ is a cornerstone of manhood. You simply can’t be a ‘bloke’ if you can’t handle the ale. I’m pretty sure there’s a law written down somewhere. Real northern men can drink and still continue with the day to day. It seems my Dad could handle his ale very well.

Spin on a few years – I am sixteen and living in San Antonio, Ibiza. I had my first job, busboy in a small rock n roll bar. The place was tucked away on a side street around the bayside of San An. It seemed like a good point for my drinking days to begin. I started casually – a few beers, maybe a shot of spirit to finish off the night. I would stagger from work and fall into a pizza place on the way home. Sleep would usually see me off before the take-away pizza was consumed, but that just meant I had something for breakfast the next morning.

pizza

Image Credit: collegehumor.com

After a few months of nightly consumption, I started to push my limits, from four to five, five to six. My drinking confidence was growing. But one point did niggle at me – the unit of measurement. Brits drink their beer by the pint. My Dad drank his beer by the pint. The people of the Mediterranean drink their beer by the half pint. So six beers in Spain – that was three beers in the UK. My Dad would still have seen me under the table.

It was a month before my twentieth birthday, and I was in London. Bright lights, big city, and the days of girly half pints behind me. I was back in the pub, back with the lads and the football and the clichéd jokes and barstool politics. My time in Spain had seen me become a lager drinker – which was handy, because the British ale industry had collapsed. The real ale (or bitter, as it is known to us English folk) that was available was usually sour after spending months languishing in the barrel. So, imported lager it was. My pint count climbed, steadily. I was ok until pint number four. I would be confirmed drunk by the time half of pint number four was consumed, and absolutely smashed when I returned the empty glass to the bar top. I don’t remember the staggering walks home, but it seems I continued to seek out take away food. There’s nothing quite like waking up with a hangover to find stone cold fish and chips in your kitchen. Stomach spinning stuff.

Mid-twenties – I was stuck at pint number five. And I do mean stuck. My friends were putting away six, seven, even eight pints. Come on Rob, six pints. You can drink six pints. Alas, level six of The Game of Beer remained hopeful and distant. It was around that time that one of my friends nicknamed me Four-pint. My claims of being able to drink five were lost beneath the sniggers and laughs of my drinking mates. My masculinity had been dinted. What would my Dad have said if he’d seen me sliding down the bar after four or five? It was around that time that I discovered whisky. My education went Irish, Scotch, and finally Bourbon. Oh yes, Rob had found his drink. I could get to six whiskies. Six whiskies suited me well. I drank Blackbush or something blended if I was waiting for pay day, one of the Singles if I was flush. But the issue of volume remained. By the time I’d hit my six-single-ceiling, my mates had only got to pint number three or four. I was already swaying and slurring. They were just warming up. I missed many night time adventures during The Whisky Years.

It was somewhere around my late twenties when a shift in British drinking culture saved me from becoming a pub pariah. I had returned to my hometown of Liverpool. The place was a very different city to the one I had left as a teenager. Businesses were flourishing, the universities were expanding and the bars heaved with loan rich students. But around the pubs of Liverpool, real ale was getting back up off the canvas. I ventured into this new drinking scene of flat flavourful ales, the sort of ales that had filled my Dad’s glass. One pint, fine. Pint number two, still fine. Pint number three, the pint I had previously believed to be the ‘tipping point pint’…. still fine. OK, pint number four – I was feeling it, but I was steady. Pint number five went down singing hymns. I paid for pint number six and asked the barman how strong the beer was.

The reply?

3.6% abv.

The beer my Dad drank was around 3% abv a pint. I was a member of the imported lager generation. Everything I’d been drinking was 5% and over. Honestly, when this epiphany struck, it was as if the light of beer heaven itself was shining its amber glow upon me. A new world had been found. One where Rob could venture out on a Saturday afternoon, purvey the pumps, and go for the 3-3.5% ‘Session Beer’. Look at me now Dad – it’s six o’clock on a Saturday evening, and I’m speaking in coherent sentences. My girlfriend isn’t shaking her head and asking when we’re leaving. I’m even chatting football – something I know fuck all about, but what the hell – it’s Saturday. I was redeemed, returned to brotherhood of northern men. One of the lads. OK, the hangover was still going to kick the shit out of me, but that was tomorrow. Tonight, I am handling the ale.

There was one drawback. The great resurgence of real ale in England is pretty much being spearheaded by hipsters. So gone are the days when a man can simply order a couple of pints and turn to watch the football. Oh no, now you’ve got to hear about the malt and the barely and the rye, the three different types of hops, two of which have been harvested under a full moon while Astral Weeks was being played from a Sony tape-deck. And we are paying well over the odds for our beer because the pub we’re drinking are cool whilst not being cool, and everyone hates each other while being completely connected through the medium of brewing. I’m not sure my Dad would approve.

brewery-tour-beer-flight-for-beer-tasting

Image Credit: craftbeeracademy.com

But, hipsterism aside, all is well. I have found my beer and realised my limits when it comes to whisky. I’m not so hung up on the drinking numbers game anymore. I think that’s called maturity. I will let you into a secret, I do miss walking into my kitchen the morning after the night before, and finding a yet to be eaten take away congealing on my kitchen work top. Last night’s take-away for breakfast – frown if you want, but you don’t know what you’re missing.

 

– Robert Leigh

TWITTER: @RLeigh78

Amazon Author Page

 

 

Death of the beard?

beard

Image Credit: collegehumor.com

More and more men have shed their beards in the last few months. For warmer weather? Or another dying fad? I’ve asked several of my bearded friends why they’ve decided to go completely smooth, seemingly out of nowhere and almost all of them at the same time. Four out of seven of them agreed, they felt that it was a “dying trend” and felt the original culture and meaning of the beard has been long obscured by its widespread popularity.

The other three, claimed it was warmer weather that influenced their decision to shave off an entire years worth of facial hair. Around here, it’s your typical bikers and rednecks sporting thick beards and shaped moustaches. (Oklahoma). Around 2012-13` it seemed like “hipsters” started sporting thick stubble, then robust beards, not long after the beard was no longer a sacred, manly object. Nor was it considered unhygienic or “dirty” for a regular (not homeless) guy to grow a beard. Everyone from college students, accountants, lumber jacks, to certain military personnel, rock beards nowadays. And what do women still think about the beard fad? Last check, they still loved it! At least the ones I know do.

So whoever you are; whatever you do; rock the beard with confidence… or don’t… peace.

 

– Clay Thiessen

TWITTER: @ClayTheGringo

Instagram: @fasteasyfree

The Pittsburgh Craft Beer Festival

pittsburgh-craft-beer-week-2015

Image Credit: yourbeavercounty.com

I love a good dark stout. Creamy, rich, smooth, and satisfying; complex, with a definite hoppy taste. That first room-temperature sip glides effortlessly down my throat and has a slight burnt quality with just a tantalizing hint of sweetness, one I can’t quite define. It has a warm but refreshing aftertaste.

Are you a beer snob? Do you judge your beers by appearance—it’s color, its clarity, its foamy head? Maybe it’s the smell that attracts you—sweet, spicy, floral, citrusy, piney, chocolaty, or roasted? Perhaps it’s how the beer feels in your mouth—thick or light, smooth and creamy, or snappy with carbonation? Whatever your preference, there is a beer out there for everyone.

Are you tired of drinking the same old commercially distributed beers? You are in luck. Craft beer brewers have been working to gain your finicky palate. And you can find a craft beer festival most places in the country.

It’s Craft Beer Week in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 17-26. Brewers from around the region gather to highlight the region’s craft beer culture, through education, collaboration, cooperation, and responsible beverage consumption. Over 300 craft beer-focused events are taking place over the area during the ten day celebration, ranging from free tasting and samplings to full blown dinners and specialty events.

One of the highlights of beer week is collaboration beers. City brewers get together to collaborate on weird and wild beers that are only released during beer week, from simple and reserved to wild and crazy.

This is your chance to support the local breweries, sample the visiting breweries, and attend one of the largest Craft Beer Week events in the nation. Cheers to Pittsburgh Beer Lovers!

brewery-tour-beer-flight-for-beer-tasting

Image Credit: craftbeeracademy.com

Are you a Craft Beer Lover? If you are, you are a unique and different breed of beer drinker. You want to know the alcohol by volume (ABV) and/or international bitterness units (IBUs) in your beer. You question the kinds of hops used, and you care about the little things that make the beer come alive on your taste buds. ABV is a standard measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is contained in a given volume of an alcoholic beverage (expressed as a volume percent). IBU is a measure of the bitterness in beer. One IBU is equal to one milligram of isomerized alpha acid per liter of beer. Isomerized alpha acids are the main bittering acids derived from hops. All of this will be covered at the craft beer event.

Maybe you are a sampler, or a casual drinker. Maybe you like to watch the game while you partake of an iced cold frosted mug. You might be a muncher while you eat. Or perhaps you love to drink while you grill or have an iced cold one while you dine. This festival has it all, and it’s calling you.

Are you curious to know how your beer is made? Would you like to take a class on making your own craft beer? The Pittsburgh Craft Beer Festival (#PCBF) has got you covered!

 

– Michele Jones

TWITTER: @Chelepie

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