Retro Relapse: The Death of Chinese Food

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

Chinese food is dying a slow and horrible death.

While it is probably still okay in bigger cities, real Chinese restaurants have been run out of most towns by massive buffets and the overabundance of Chinese take-out cubbyholes.

Sure, the Chinese cuisine in China still exists and always will but I am specifically talking about American Chinese food or New York style or whatever you want to officially label it.

If you don’t know, we don’t make the same stuff as China. America’s Chinese food is a Western bastardization of real Chinese cuisine but it fits our sweet-obsessed palates better and we probably wouldn’t be super keen on the authentic food. Besides, from what I hear from Westerners that have gone over there, it really isn’t something to write home about.

This shit is pretty tragic though.

When I was a kid, I had a few different Chinese restaurants near my home to choose from. They were nice sit-down establishments that served high quality cuisine. You got hot tea, those little fried strips of wonton, that spicy as hell hot mustard, some nice egg rolls, fried rice that was actually fried rice and a nice big meal of some crispy fried chicken bits covered in a stellar sauce – usually sweet with a touch of spice. Yes, there are several types of entrees but they are all just slight variations of a handful of dishes.

Somewhere along the line, corners started to be cut, ingredient quality went down the shitter and we were bombarded with Chinese buffets almost everywhere. Many were good in the beginning. Who could resist the allure of all-you-can-eat Chinese food? Plus you just walk up and make your own plate. No looking over menus, no ordering, no special requests, no waiting! Just straight up instantaneous Chinese food orgy for a few bucks! It was like getting a hand job while smoking a joint under the bleachers before fourth period algebra. To a Chinese cuisine connoisseur, such as my thirteen year-old self, we were able to try a little bit of everything, not break the bank and leave in an MSG-laced coma only to be hungry for more in two hours.

As time continued to pass, the quality kept dropping. In a few short years, we were all eating shit but we kept doing it. Truth is, many people still fall victim to the phantom pull of the Chinese buffet. Hell, it still grabs me sometimes when I’m hungry, lazy and just need a spontaneous romp through crappy food, overeating and hours worth of dehydration and self-hatred.

I convince myself it is good because I am nostalgic for what Chinese food used to be. It isn’t good and I’m an asshole lying to myself. The problem is, I have a need and that need can’t be fulfilled. So a craving that should be squashed in one meal becomes a craving that hasn’t been quenched in years. I really love Chinese food. Damn it, writing this fucking article is making me hungry.

Anyway, as these Chinese buffets took over American culture like some sort of edible Beanie Babies, they still felt the need to produce food cheaper and faster. As some Americans grew exhausted of the buffet experience, these Chinese take-out hole-in-the-wall joints started popping up in every suburban and rural strip mall. Now you could walk in and walk out in less than five minutes with a $6 dinner combo or a $4 lunch combo. And now, these places are everywhere.

The Chinese cubbyhole take-out takeover compounded with the buffets has pretty much changed the American Chinese food industry’s business model so much that the really good quality mom and pop restaurants got ran out of town. Where I live, the best of these restaurants shutdown a few years ago and my relationship with Chinese food has never been the same. It has dissolved into a horrible marriage full of drinking, heavy drugs, spousal abuse and absolutely no sex – the kids moved in with grandma.

Recently a restaurant that appeared to be a legit high quality Chinese joint opened near my house. I went in, I was disappointed. While it was better than a buffet or a cubbyhole, it was still pretty shitty and just a small step above its cheaper counterparts. I pretty much paid double the price for still crappy Chinese cuisine.

There is still one place that is okay in my town but it only exists because it is a “fusion” of all Asian styles and American as well. And that’s the thing, there is still a big market for Asian food but people now want sushi, hibachi, Thai and Vietnamese. The average American probably thinks all this shit is under the same umbrella but it isn’t. Traditional American Chinese food has become the bastard child of these multi-Asian eateries.

Then there is PF Chang’s but they mix up their cultural selections too and although I really like their Mongolian beef, Mongolia isn’t China and they are essentially the Asian Olive Garden. I hate Olive Garden, minus the bread sticks and high caloric salad – high caloric because I eat a shit ton.

I guess I’m going to just have to book a flight to New York or San Francisco. I’m certainly not going to stop this hunger outside of a major city with a large Chinese population.

Well, off to Panda Express at the mall, because it is now the best Chinese food in town.

Retro Relapse: The DH Rule Is for Pussies

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

You read the title right.

Yes, the designated hitter rule is for pussies. Maybe I am biased as my team, the Chicago Cubs, is in the National League and maybe I am cool with my pitchers hitting, as they have no problem knocking home runs and at the very least, getting base hits and RBIs. Travis Wood, one of our starting pitchers currently has a batting average of .240 and in 25 at-bats has 2 home runs and 8 RBIs. I’ll take it!

Regardless of Travis Wood’s success in the batter’s box, I have always felt this way about the DH rule.

Over there in the American League, teams are too scared to have their pitchers bat because typically, pitchers are shitty batters. That’s a bullshit cop out! Do the pitchers in the AL make half the money since they only play half the time? No, they get paid full top dollar while on the flipside their team has to waste a roster spot on a player who sucks defensively but justifies having his job because he can hit. The AL is where veteran sluggers go to die. That may be harsh but it’s true.

There are several players in the American League that are making a career out of being good in the DH role. The biggest one right now is the Boston Red Sox’s Tito Ortiz a.k.a. Big Papi. Don’t get me wrong, I love that guy and he is a great presence not just on the field and in the dugout but also as an ambassador of the sport. However, he wouldn’t have a career anymore if he was in the National League. Why? Because he isn’t a very effective defensive player on the field. At one point he was better than decent but old age has caught up to Big Papi. Luckily for him, he can still swing like a beast and knock home runs in the clutch.

Yes, in a clutch situation, a very good hitting DH is exciting. Ortiz knocking balls out of the park during the playoffs and World Series last year was a pretty awesome display of his hitting prowess. But should a one trick pony be put on a pedestal and celebrated at the most elite level of the greatest sport in the world? I’m sorry but I think that a player in Major League Baseball should be great on both sides of the field. The DH rule keeps guys around longer than they should be.

Does this mean that I think pitchers should be criticized for not being able to hit just as much as I am criticizing designated hitters for not being able to play effectively in position roles? Yes and no. While I think that pitchers should strive to be better hitters and be as effective as possible in the batter’s box, I also realize that pitching is their priority and having an ace on the mound and a stud in the bullpen is more important than having a better-than-average guy reach first base. But yes, pitchers should make a serious effort at becoming better batters when time allows for it and they shouldn’t go up to bat and not take it seriously. The one thing I love about the Cubs pitchers is that they can produce and there has been more than one occasion where a pitcher at bat has been the offensive catalyst that produced a Cubs win.

Additionally, what’s more exciting? A DH getting hits like they’re routine or a pitcher, expected to flounder, hitting a two run homer for the lead late in a game? I’m going with the latter.

The DH is a bitch rule. It is like a fucking cheat code. It reminds me of when I used to play my cousin in Triple Play ’99 on Playstation 1, back in the day, and I used to put in the home run cheat code allowing myself to bunt homers – just to be a dick. He hated it and I don’t blame him. But how he felt is how I feel when an American League team forgoes a hitting strategy when coming to the lowest point in their batting lineup because they can just pull out their big gun.

I like the challenge and the competition and the DH rule eliminates some of the challenge and strategic planning. Sure, one can argue that when the NL plays the AL, it is an even playing field because if the AL team is at home, the NL team can use a DH but that misses the point. You see, the National League didn’t need a designated hitter until it had to play the American League. The NL shouldn’t have to lower itself but if you’re forced to play tee-ball teams, you have to play as a tee-ball team.

Retro Relapse: 25 MORE Things Every Manly Man Should Own

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2016.

I did a previous installment of this list here.

But to paraphrase (or just cut & paste from the previous installment):

Why should a man own these things? Well, because they make you feel more manly and if you use these items, no one can deny your true manly essence. If you don’t have some of these things, befriend a man that does and share with him until you acquire your own.

So here we go!

1. A sleeping bag made out of a taxidermied great white shark.

2. A big forge for blacksmithing war-ready frigates.

3. A parang because it’s way cooler than a standard machete.

4. An industrial deli meat slicer.

5. Boxing gloves so you don’t damage your fists while taking care of the moose ruining your lawn.

6. A beer fridge the size of Fort Knox.

7. Jet fuel that you use as beard oil.

8. A pair of nunchucks fashioned from grizzly bones and mustang locks.

9. A guitar or another sweet instrument to woo the ladies into nakedness.

10. A big log to carry around to tone your muscles.

11. A pack of wolves who are your eyes, ears and enforcers around your property.

12. A legit gun holster with a six shooter.

13. An aquarium full of swordfish.

14. A boulder to throw. Men throw boulders.

15. An old hockey puck infused with Terry Sawchuk’s teeth and bones.

16. A flashbang grenade. They’re fun at parties.

17. MREs because sometimes the womenfolk make soups and salads.

18. A tank because Hummers are for sissies and quidditch moms.

19. A hippopotamus to use as a river raft.

20. A mean set of throwing knives because guns are noisy.

21. A great library. So when people come over, you can proudly and robustly proclaim, “This is my great library!”

22. An army of chickens that lay 200 grams of protein at your door each morning.

23. A pet anaconda used for resistance training.

24. A humidor that can hold several boxes of cigars and a party sub.

25. A 96 oz. porterhouse should always be on-hand.

Retro Relapse: 25 Things Guys Do That Make Them Pussies

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

*This is sort of a sequel to the post I did called 25 Things Manly Men Should Do On a Daily Basis. That post was well-received, so I figured that I should follow-up with the other side of the spectrum.

There are a lot of guys out there. In fact, like fifty percent of the population is guys. I’m not going to check the math on that because math is a waste of time and I’d rather allot more time to cooking bacon-wrapped bacon and getting hammered on brewery tours after chopping enough wood to build a town with a moderately sized zoo to house my Kodiak bear army.

Most men do things that make them pussies. I’ve slipped up once or twice in my life, as I am not perfect. Part of being a man is recognizing your faults, conquering them and never doing them again.

It is also a man’s duty to point out to other men when they are not living up to the essence of their testosterone-fueled birthright.

With that, I am going to list twenty-five things that make guys look like pussies and thus, not like men.

1. They would rather look like Jared Leto than a lumberjack with a dead moose over their shoulder.

2. They are a vegetarian or worse yet, a vegan.

3. They drive a Prius or another car manufacturer’s equivalent. A Smart car is a death sentence.

4. Whenever handed a beer by another man, it must be drank. Even if it is a bad beer. Unless of course you have a better beer on hand to share, in an effort to educate your friend’s palate. You should always have a good beer on hand: always.

5. They can’t pitch a tent: an actual tent. There are pills to help with boners and no man should shame another man who suffers from erectile dysfunction.

6. They fold their thumb under their fingers when making a fist.

7. When given the choice of bacon, they say “no”.

8. They watched Twilight with their significant other and then sat through one of the sequels as well.

9. They wear skinny jeans.

10. They use social media as a call for help or pity party or worse yet, they post song lyrics to convey their emotions.

11. They’ve actually voted on an American Idol contestant.

12. They eat their steak (or any meat, really) well-done or worse yet, with ketchup.

13. They refer to Jack Daniels as “bourbon”.

14. They don’t finish a beer. If you order it or it is given to you and you start drinking it, you must finish it.

15. They use the word “cute” to describe anything other than a female.

16. They consider Lil Wayne to be music.

17. They knock someone for drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon but they are holding either a Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Light, Mic Ultra or anything else in this category.

18. They sneer at cigars or pipes but fill their lungs with cigarette smoke or worse yet, menthols.

19. They carry purses or worse yet, they actually call them “man bags”.

20. They offer you a scotch, in attempt to appear manly, and they pull out a bottle of Cutty Sark or Dewar’s.

21. They use umbrellas on themselves.

22. They are too afraid of bugs to kill them or catch and release them.

23. They own a Fall Out Boy record or worse yet, they paid for it.

24. They have more beauty/hygiene products than deodorant, soap and beard oil.

25. They are offended by this post or they are hurt and offended by words in general. Grow up, man up, nut up and develop a sense of humor that doesn’t need to be approved by the girl who keeps you in the “friend zone”.

Retro Relapse: Baseball Needs to Grow the Fuck Up

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2016.

Warning: I’d call this a rant.

Baseball is the greatest thing in the world. It is more than a game. It is tradition, it is history, it is Americana at its most pure and it is what nearly every boy wanted to do before the NFL wrestled the ownership of Sundays away from Jesus.

The problem with this old sport is that it is a very large part of America’s unique history. While that isn’t bad in and of itself, it is ruined by those who must keep certain traditions alive despite the always changing and expanding world. Every other sport adapts with the times, sometimes a bit late, but they all adapt. Baseball has a really hard time with this and it is what is killing the game.

No one really gives a shit whether or not NFL quarterback Peyton Manning took HGH except for a few sports writers trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill and grind an ax. However, if a baseball player is even mentioned around steroids, the witch-hunt begins and the stake is already burning. Peyton Manning, after his recent Superbowl win is an American hero but Alex Rodriguez is still an unwelcome demon spawn. But I already talked about the PED issue. I’m just bringing it up because it is part of the bigger picture I am discussing in this piece. I also already talked about umpires being pussies and players as well. But all of this is relevant to my point.

Everyone in baseball is a fucking pussy. And not just those in baseball but those around it and the millions that watch it. Okay, not everyone but certainly most people.

This is why I am glad that a young player, Bryce Harper, is being pretty vocal about the sport having to adapt to the times. Last season, he put sensitive umpires on blast. Most recently, he’s been talking about players needing to man up and get over other players celebrating or showing excitement when they do something great on the field. He’s right. Despite other players telling him to shut the fuck up, he’s goddamn right.

Personally, I’m tired of professional athletes complaining about bat flips, victory dances and displays of emotion. The players claim that it is disrespectful to the player on the losing end. Jesus fucking Christ, man the fuck up and grow a set of fucking balls, pussies!

If a player is tired of a showboat, become a better player. If they can’t become a better player and beat their celebrating rival, they should learn how to grow thicker skin and deal with it. It’s childish bullshit. What’s next, participation trophies for all the professional athletes every year?

And really, did none of these players ever play ball as kids? Kids are brutal as hell and talk more shit and celebrate more than any professional athlete.

I sucked at baseball, even though I loved it. I got called all kinds of names. Yeah, it pissed me off and it made me want to knock the next pitch out of the park but I got over it and always came back the next day. And I was in middle school, certainly much younger than these crybabies. I also wasn’t making millions to play the game. I played it because despite the name calling, it was still fun.

Usually a player that celebrates too much is beaned with a baseball. There are other forms of retaliation but regardless, retaliation is a bitch move in that situation.

Sure, I get the old code. I understand that when one of your players gets beaned, you bean one of theirs: eye for an eye and all that jazz. It’s one thing if a bean is intentional, it’s an entirely different thing if it is an accidental wild pitch – that shit happens. But to bean a guy for celebrating a game-clinching multi-run homer, shows that the team on the losing end is a bunch of temper tantrum toddlers. Boo fucking hoo, you lost! Well, it’s a competition, someone has to lose.

The NFL penalizes football teams for a player showboating. I don’t agree with it but they’re pussies too. But no one is as big of a pussy about it as MLB players. And the fans are even bigger pussies than that. But luckily fans aren’t in the game to bean chronic offenders in the head.

The problem with baseball is that everyone, from top to bottom, is just a sensitive bitch. To see grown ass men act like pissed off toddlers in a sandbox rumble is deplorable. And if you call them out on it, they reference “the code” or talk about the “culture” of the game that us outsiders will never understand.

Well, if I go to a rival company and throw a ball at the head of an employee, I can’t turn to the media and talk about “the code” and the “culture” of the industry I work in. I’d be laughed at and probably be called “a baby” or a “psycho”. I’d also be in jail.

For guys that have a job that makes them a public figure, they can’t handle the scrutiny that comes along with their stupid childish behavior. But again, they’re fucking pussies.

The game needs to adapt in a lot of ways. It needs to change and grow up. The biggest change needs to come with the behavior and the ego of these prima donnas.

Baseball also needs to get over its shit with Pete Rose and deal with PEDs in a better fashion. But if you don’t see things through the MLB’s antique pair of glasses, you don’t know about the game and the tradition and the blah, blah, blegh!

There are a lot of old men in the baseball world that just need to die off. The sport may be be doing well enough but it can never be America’s pastime again if it doesn’t grow and change with America. Compared to baseball, I think football mostly sucks but that certainly isn’t majority opinion. It also won’t be majority opinion until baseball can kill off the zombies roaming around the grounds. They’re slow, they smell and they won’t stop until everything else is a wobbly mass of decaying shit and all the brains are devoured.

I just hope more young players are influenced by Bryce Harper. I hope more players become vocal if they share the same sentiment. I want to see the sport survive. Fuck that, I want to see it thrive. I want it to thrive like it did in the old days when it was the coolest thing in America.

In 1943, a team of women were told, “There’s no crying in baseball!” In 2016, a league of men don’t do much but cry.

Retro Relapse: New Brunswick In the Left Lane

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2011.

I live in Florida, most of you who are regular readers of the Swash know this, based off of some of my other writings and my overabundance of “two cents” sprinkled in from post to post. Well, Florida sucks from autumn until the week after Easter because of this thing we have down here called “season”. I’m personally thankful as fuck that it is almost over, as Easter is in a few weeks.

Why does season suck? Well my loyal Swashies, I shall tell you. First of all, the “snowbirds” crowd up the fucking roads and have every local person statewide pulling their hair out because most of them are pretty damn old and their driving skills are pretty much the exact opposite of the word “skills”. In fact, I have a very frustrating time trying to weave in and out of their Sherman tank roadblocks.

In my town, the elderly seem to drive 35 MPH and under in the 55 MPH zones, while in the 35 MPH zones they are flying. It is a weird anomaly that I have never been able to figure out for the life of me. If we are surrounded by trees with no traffic lights or reasons to stop, they slowly slide through traffic. If we are in a highly congested area with plenty of shops, stoplights, stop signs and pedestrians, they are like speed demons from Hell.

The real problem is that people drive differently in different regions throughout the U.S. and Canada. When this penis shaped melting pot collects the seasonal run-off from the rest of the North American continent, we have a mishmash of several different driving styles trying to compete for dominance. Unlike the free market, capitalism in driving is a failure. Well, then again, competition does eliminate the riffraff as many motorists are driven off of the road and/or smashed by this motorized multiculturalism.

The people from the Northeast aren’t so bad but the Midwest people are pretty goddamned atrocious behind the wheel. Canadians are by far the worst. I think they are overly cautious because they are used to dodging elk, falling rocks and suicidal trees. We do have deer in Florida but in my entire life, I have only seen one deer cross a busy road in a densely populated area and that was caused by new construction in its habitat.

As bad as Canadian drivers are as a whole, no region of that cold country to the north is as bad as the drivers from New Brunswick. Jesus David Carradine Christ, New Brunswick sure as shit takes the cake for drivers that are whacked out of their motherfucking minds! I can only assume that they are used to whale-surfing, bear-riding and other forms of recreational activities that are foreign to my tropical climate.

Anyway, their skills on the back of humpbacks certainly doesn’t translate to their ability behind the wheel of their Nautica Special Edition Mercury Villager minivans. I almost feel like Nautica made a deal with the government of New Brunswick and the citizens of that small province were all forced to buy these luxury soccer wagons. Fight socialism! Well, at least Nautica vans are better than the Zaporozhets from Red Russia.

The worst part about these badly and slowly navigating ass clowns is that they never get out of the left fucking lane!

If you are going to suck at driving, get the fuck out of the way!

Everyone knows that slow traffic is supposed to move to the right for faster traffic. Apparently Canadians do not know this. I can only assume that they don’t have these “rules of the road” in the cold north. Either that or Canadians are just self-absorbed assholes.

When you creep up on them, they don’t move. In fact, they drive slower. If you flash your lights, they get all temperamental, like you are the asshole and they brake and start flailing their arms around like fish out of water. Not that fish have arms but if they did, they would call them Canadians.

Come to think of it, Canadians really are fish out of water. They just don’t understand the rules of our evil capitalistic empire. They have a holier-than-thou attitude about how great their land is and how crazy and insane our land is. Yet they winter here and jump the border for better healthcare. How’s that socialism working out for you loggers and whale humpers up there?

Canadians, like the rest of the world, want to bitch about Americans but at the same time, secretly want to be American. I have no problem with that, I totally fucking get it, we are better than you in every way because we have real bacon, not that “ham” crap. We also have Apple Stores and newsstands that sell Sudoku books. Good luck finding that in the land of timber and Mounties. By the way, the Mountie was a shitty Intercontinental Champion back in the day and Bret “The Hitman” Hart is a whiner.

Anyway, Canadians can come down here and join our scary world but first, they must adapt to our “rules of the road”. If you see an American in a hurry, please move over and let them by. This applies to all American assholes that suck at moving over as well. You people are just fucking traitors and un-American! By moving over, you are saying to us Americans that “Hey, I’m not one of those douchebag Canadians holding up traffic while looking for a Cracker Barrel to drop a deuce in.”

See, Americans are often times crass, like myself, right now. However, we pretty much love everyone, contrary to the pop media outlets and preconceived perceptions of almost everyone that isn’t American (please disregard all religiotards and anti-fascist fascists with this example, most of us hate them too).

See, Americans dish it out because we can take it. The rest of the world (and extreme liberals) fucking hate that because they all have thin skin. America is great because we don’t have thin skin and most of us move the fuck over when one of our countrymen are in a bigger hurry than us.

Truth be told, this is basically a rebuttal to every Canadian (or other non-American) that I’ve heard spout bullshit about Americans and America while sitting in a bar in my country expressing their distaste for our way of life. I would never go to your country and bitch about you and your people on your soil. That is incredibly disrespectful and ignorant.

However, we’re always the assholes by default so when we say what’s on our mind, whether true or not, we come under fire. However whenever you spit your bullshit, it’s okay because you’re just talking down the evil empire. The same evil empire that is okay for you to hypocritically exploit and enjoy on your own two-faced terms.

Just do us all a favor and move the fuck over. Maybe then we can co-exist a bit better. If not, maybe we’ll start lobbying for a northern border fence too. At least when our south of the border Mexican homies are on the road they are going to work and moving along. Also, they are piled twelve deep in a Suzuki Samurai unlike the Canadians who only travel in pairs, in a minivan for eight, during rush hour traffic, just to hit up the Dollar Tree for single-use plastic stemware and Junior Mints.

The New Brunswickians or whatever they are called, have a saying on their license plate. That saying is “Be.. in this place.” That place is New Brunswick. So stay there! If not, feel free to enjoy America, we really don’t care but STFU and move over because we’ve got shit to do.

Retro Relapse: A Race Rigged to Lose

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2012.

*Also, I haven’t really reposted stuff from my days writing about politics and economics but this is something that got a lot of attention at the time and certain media outlets wanted to feature it, albeit without the colorful language and allusions to substance abuse. I said, “No, hoe! No one censors ya boi!”

*Plus, this is my 100th Retro Relapse post, so I wanted to dig up something special.

What the hell happened last night? No, I am not talking about some sort of development in the 2012 Republican primary, that’s basically over at this point. I am talking about this damn nausea and the monster sized jackhammer wrapped in flashing bright lights and obnoxious dubstep that is blasting through the thin
rock-like structure of my skull right now! Where the hell was that hotel room I found myself in this morning? What was that sticky mass all over the floor and as I woke up in it, what the hell was that that I saw under the bed: a slightly large syringe or a slightly small baster? What the hell was it used for? Do I really want to know either way? What’s with the fucking reggae blaring outside the window, it’s 6:30 in the goddamned morning!

Forty-five minutes later, why the hell am I sitting in the Naples-Ft. Myers Greyhound Track parking lot with my MacBook Pro burning my legs, as I type out this strange train of random chemically
influenced thoughts? My bagel tastes like shit, my head feels like it was raped by a dozen raging elephant cocks in a sexual repressed frenzy and I keep feeling like I need to puke but so far I’ve just had a few dry heaves – I guess I got it all out somewhere on the beach last night. The truth is, there isn’t a better time to write than now.

Reflecting on the events that brought me to this place, I feel that maybe I shouldn’t party so hard during the week. Then again, everything that has come from my seemingly careless actions has only contradicted this theory. You see, every boss in my company is in Mexico this week and therefore I have had no
distractions at the office from an administrative standpoint. No meetings, no meetings about what to talk about in future meetings and no meetings to talk about what we’ve talked about in previous meetings – all of which has something to do with wide receivers and debating over lunch options. I have actually got to
do some real work this week and because of that, have created some pretty amazing shit.

For those who don’t know, I am the Art Director for a major cigar manufacturer, which company is insignificant but a Google search will probably destroy my anonymity. Now considering that my boss has decided to release about eight dozen new brands at this year’s biggest trade show, I am expected to magically pull creative miracles out of my urethra on a whim. I’m certainly not complaining, this is what I do and the pay is sufficient; I’m also allowed certain freedoms at this job that I wouldn’t have elsewhere, which is why I have stayed for so long. This week has been pretty goddamned magical and even if the CEO hates my new concepts, I’m still in love with them and will fight for them as always, until my last breath or another big project that is made to seem more important than it actually is, is dropped in my lap at the last minute with a deadline of three days prior.

Those times when I don’t write a lot are because of the strenuous demands of my well-paying job. Which makes me appreciate the fact that the Republican primary is just about over and I can go back to focusing fully on my real job, as the busiest time of the year for the creative side of this business, is creeping up on me.

Writing about politics doesn’t really have a negative impact on my performance at my job, it actually seems to work in the opposite, as days upon days of conceptualizing something as insignificant to the real world as a cigar band can cause one’s brain to either erupt in colorful vulgar madness or completely shutdown. I do however find some senseless motivation in assisting the universe in putting more nails into Rick Santorum’s coffin and really, setting the bastards of this universe on fire is gratifying in a way that I will continue to do it without money on the table. However, getting a paycheck for it would be nice and ultimately, would be much more preferable than my current line of paid employment, as I could focus on rattling cages full-time.

The opportunity I have been waiting for, fell into my lap a few weekends ago. Now I was instructed not to write about this and I said that I wouldn’t until the election was over. These egomaniacal assholes probably assumed that I meant November but I didn’t specify and since the candidate that they work for is pretty much done at this point, his election is most assuredly over. Now I may look like a devious trickster here and I did give them my word to a degree, which I do hold my word true, but pure unadulterated truth is much more important in this case, as I have always believed in free speech and in transparency. What they wanted me to do was to compromise my principles where those two things are concerned, which immediately threw up a red flag and made me go into the mode of playing along to see what exactly it was that these schemers had up their sleeves.

I was asked to breakfast, early on a Sunday morning at the last minute to meet with important people on the staff of a Republican presidential candidate. I will not say their names or the candidate’s, as I only want to shed light on the situation and who it was doesn’t matter; I am sure this is standard practice amongst the leeches and vampires. Besides, the meeting was quick, as they learned almost immediately that I wasn’t going to play ball for them.

The leader of the group introduced himself to me and as he did, I checked him out on my iPhone to see if he was legit: he was. He immediately tried to butter me up by talking about my website and my work. He said that he respected my stance on the issues and that was why he needed to meet with me. He knew my website stats to a tee and talked about how my articles have reached hundreds of thousands of people through Facebook and various other social media platforms and political forums. He then brought up the fact that I was very biased for Ron Paul and because of that have gotten a lot of support and readership from other Paul supporters. Aha! The proverbial plot thickens!

The leader of the group asked me how their campaign could capitalize on Ron Paul’s “fall from grace” and gain the support of his loyal followers. I explained to him that when Paul was finally out of the race, his supporters would either walk away, write “Ron Paul” on their ballots in November or vote for Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. This guy refused to accept that and insisted that there must be a way to win over the hearts of Paul supporters to get behind his candidate. I told him that it would never happen no matter what kind of dirty tricks that he had in mind. The man got pissed and a bit irate at this point, as he stared at me intently between bites of his blueberry pancakes. I had to bring him to the realization that even if you compiled all of Ron Paul’s delegates with his boss’ delegates that the number was still dwarfed by the number of delegates Mitt Romney has amassed. I also made it clear that Barack Obama was going to get reelected regardless of how the GOP contest concluded; this was the point where his face got about as purple as his pancakes.

Calming down and trying to regain his footing with me, this guy said that people can be “persuaded”. He then added that they can “especially be persuaded by the voices they trust”. What this shady bastard was trying to do, in a nutshell, was to get me to write an article calling for Paul supporters to shift their allegiance elsewhere, based off of the fact that Paul is a greyhound that can’t win in a race rigged to lose. What this guy couldn’t see through the blinding light of his massive holier-than-thou ego is that his boss has no chance in hell of winning but that isn’t even the point here.

Now he never asked me to write something but it was heavily alluded to and he told me that there are a thousand writers/bloggers like me out there who would jump at the opportunity to help their campaign succeed. While that could very possibly be true, I am not nor will I ever be one of those soulless creatures out to make a quick buck by surrendering my principles and lying to those whose loyal eyes scroll across my words and thank me by simply re-posting my articles wherever they can.

The breakfast meeting was incredibly short and the guy was a complete jackoff. What I learned from this though, is how the media is bought and paid for at almost any level and how out of touch these big wig Washington insiders really are. This guy has no clue as to how any of this works and if he does, he certainly didn’t show it and only displayed what could be interpreted as pure arrogance and ignorance.

In the end, they got up and left and I was expected to pay my own tab. I guess the part where I tore his business card in half really set him off. His parting words were, “Have fun scribbling on cigar boxes for the rest of your life.” Funny, because ten minutes earlier he told me, “We want you to work for us.” What I now believe, based off of this encounter, is that there are bloggers and writers who do work for them. As insignificant as I am to the bigger picture, this must be true and it is seemingly the job of men like these to round us up and bribe us into making things go their way.

So as I finish this, thighs charred from this damn laptop, I stare out at the dog track, as the sun rises behind me, and wonder if greyhound racing is as dirty as the most important race in America. Do those speedy beasts on that track try underhanded devious tactics to get the edge on their competition or do they just race and hope for the best? Those animals were bred for pure competition and push themselves around that circle day in and day out and truth be told, every single one of them has more heart in their small chests than the vast majority of the beasts in the race to the White House.

Politics isn’t a sport, it’s just a beauty contest where the winner is chosen by how many cocks they fluff and how many corrupt corporatists they can convince to line their pockets. And hell, when that doesn’t work, some of that money trickles down into the pockets of those who can use the power of their words to change minds for the worse. It’s a vile, dishonest and disgusting tournament for jackals that would eat their own for one more go around that dirty track.

The best thing any of us can do, is to choose not to play their game.

Retro Relapse: In A Perfect World: The NFL With the EPL’s Structure

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

The English Premier League and most of European soccer has been around longer than the National Football League in its modern form (post AFL). Being a long time soccer fan, I have always been a big fan of the way the Premier League and most European leagues handle their shit. The structure of the EPL is awesome.

The NFL could benefit greatly by adopting a similar system. I know this is a pipe dream and probably too big of a feat to accomplish at this point but imagine a league of twenty teams, the bottom three each year get relegated to a lower league while the top three in the lower league get promoted to the big time NFL.

There would then be multiple lower leagues, like in English soccer, where teams would move up and down depending upon where they finish. This would open the floodgates for expansion and allow a lot more markets the accessibility of having a professional football team. Even if your local team didn’t fare well and get into the top level NFL league, they could still fight for championships in lower levels. It’d be like the pandemonium we have with all the bowl games in college. Multiple playoffs in multiple levels of the sport would be pretty fucking awesome. And yes, I said playoffs but I’ll get more into that further down.

In the Premier League, schedule strength isn’t even an issue and the playing field is level and fair. The reason being, every team in the twenty team structure plays each other once at home and once on the road. Again, everyone plays everyone on home ground and enemy ground once.

Now could the NFL have a 38 game season? No, even though from a fan’s perspective, that’d be awesome. They could however, have a 19 game season and just play each team once. Who gets home game advantage can be determined in some diplomatic fair way by some dudes in suits making a lot more money than me. Additionally, you could make the season 21 weeks and give these guys two bye weeks to rest because honestly, I don’t think one bye week is enough now. I’d even be in favor of expanding it to three bye weeks in a 22 week season. Think of all the football!

Now in the Premier League, there are no playoffs. The team with the most points at the end of the season is the champion. I’d change that however and make a 6 team playoff. The top two ranked teams get a first round bye while teams ranked third through sixth meet in the first week of a three week playoff; the winners going on to play the two top teams in a final four situation and those winners of those games playing for the championship. It’s fair, it’s easy and it’s badass! I would actually implore the Premier League to adopt this same playoff system even if it gets the traditionalists in an uproar. Playoffs mean more games, more money and more excitement!

I’d say that the NFL should go to three leagues of twenty teams, making a total of sixty teams. That nearly doubles the professional squads that we have now and increases the amount of local tribalism. All these states and large cities that don’t have teams can now have them. And hell, maybe the teams that continually flounder in the NFL, like the Cleveland Browns, can go on to win championships and have success once being relegated to a lower league. I’m not saying that to be disrespectful to Cleveland because in college basketball for example, no one ever complained after winning the NIT. In fact, those teams rejoiced and felt accomplished. This also doesn’t mean that teams like the Browns can’t fight for their spot to stay in the top tier NFL. In fact, this might improve competition between all the teams.

I know that from an economics standpoint, that it might not seem feasible for smaller markets to have a professional football team but if British soccer can have stadiums for dozens upon dozens of teams in their much smaller nation, America can get this done. Besides, not every stadium has to be Cowboys Stadium. Smaller markets can have smaller venues but it’d still be awesome. Hell, rent out some college fields.

This may all seem like a crazy idea and it probably is but I think that it’d improve the sport, breed more competition, create a lot more revenue, give more opportunity to players and give the fans so much more than what they have now. I wish I had a time machine and a shit ton of money so I could go back to the 1920s, buy a team and pressure the league into taking shape like this at its early stage.

Retro Relapse: 10 Laws On Growing and Living With a Majestic Beard

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

People often come up to me and say, “Hey dude, sweet beard! Would you mind if I fuck it?”

Well, they don’t say exactly that but that statement pretty much sums up their initial reaction to my bold and luscious facial foliage.

The conversation quickly goes to “How long did that take to grow?” or “How do you take care of that precious pelt?” And then I spend some time educating people on how I do what I do and how I cultivate such a majestic mastodon of sexiness on my face.

Anyway, I thought that I should write an article about my ten tips for growing and maintaining a badass beard. People keep asking me, so now I can just refer them to this post and they can read it for themselves and pass it on to their friends in need of the God-like levels of confidence that can only come from giving birth to a cosmic man forest on one’s face.

So here we go, these are my ten laws for growing, maintaining and thriving with a majestic beard!

1. Don’t shave. As hard as it is accepting change in your life, don’t give in. In fact, throw your razors away and embrace your place in the universe.

2. Again, don’t shave. It takes some time to get passed the early growth stage but you have to commit to get to a better place. Bruce Lee didn’t learn how to kick God in the face by watching a YouTube video.

3. As it grows longer and fuller, don’t let any animals move in and make it a nest. Always check it when you wake up in the morning. I had an eagle trying to setup shop and drop some eggs around my left cheek but I put a stop to it real quick.

4. Treat it like a fine Persian rug and give it a little shampoo once in a while. Some manly dudes I know like to use beard oil. That’s optional.

5. Don’t mimic assholes like Jack Passion. His beard is a mess and I’m not sure why he is world-renowned. Of course, I wrote about that douche nugget in my article My Thoughts On Competitive Bearding.

6. Stop worrying about what people think. When your beard grows and your masculinity increases and you gain Thanos-like cosmic power, there will be haters. Why? Because weak punks will fear the power you now wield.

7. Just be chill as fuck. Why? Because after the haters rise up in your life, expect the women to fall at your feet like you are Brad Pitt with John Holmes’ dong and Carl Sagan’s sexy voice. You will embody true eloquence and your desirability will be enhanced by your grizzly bear-like essence. You are now the beastly lord of the forest. Let the lesser creatures cower and lick their bitch wounds.

8. Stroke the beard often. Enjoy it, feel its power and relish in the fact that you look like the toughest hockey player in the world and it isn’t even playoff time and you don’t even play hockey. And at this point, if your beard was hit by a flying puck, the hard rubber disc would explode into dust, as your beard is like a million whiskers transformed into a million Neos from The Matrix.

9. Smile and know that you have succeeded in becoming a full man. But as Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Rule your manly domain justly and with care. Just because you wield the power, doesn’t mean that you have to show it off at every turn. Face your daily challenges with confidence and pride and move forward in life – knowing that this universe is a giant oyster that you can pluck for pearls whenever the hell you want.

10. If you ever doubt yourself or your progress, look in the mirror, touch your beard and give yourself a sly, sexy little wink. Without breaking eye-contact with your reflection, pleasure yourself. Problem fucking solved.

Retro Relapse: A Checklist of 25 MORE Things to Ensure You’re a Manly Man

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

Are you manly as fuck? Do you feel that the word “alpha” is a cute little term used by bitchmen who aren’t as evolved as you are in your rugged robustness? Do you think that this is a waste of time because you have nothing left to prove to yourself, let alone the Internet?

Regardless of all that, for piece of mind, it is still good to question yourself once in a while in an effort to further strengthen your already ironclad confidence.

This is essentially the second such list I have done on this site. Hopefully you scored well on the first one. If not, use that bad ass yet bodacious checklist, crush those items out and then come back to this checklist to further reinforce your man status.

Here is the checklist to see how you stack up in manliness. There are also five bonus points that can be earned.

_You have a thirst to be outside and regularly find yourself in the wild.
_You have shaved your own bacon from a nice pork belly *(bonus point if you hunted the pig yourself).
_You don’t put ranch dressing on pizza or buffalo wings.
_You can fire an arrow with good accuracy using a bow.
_You gave your beard a name and have regular conversations with him.
_Your presence improves and enriches the lives of those around you.
_Your beard smells like a combination of pipe or cigar smoke, whiskey and red meat.
_You have read at least five Jack London stories *(bonus point for ten or more).
_You like and enjoy eating meats that are more exotic than just cows, pigs, fish and chicken.
_You don’t understand what someone means when they use the idiom “good luck.”
_You can bench press more than the body weight of the average man *(bonus point for 300 lbs. or more).
_You have killed a bottle of bourbon in a night, on your own, and still maintained court, socially.
_You walk under ladders and then the ladder has bad luck.
_You know how to sail.
_You don’t know what a furry is.
_You support craft beer because macrobrews are shit and your mouth deserves better than beechwood-aged bullshit.
_You can fix your own shit in your own house.
_You have made something useful out of metal.
_You think there isn’t enough fighting in hockey and athletes in other sports are total pussies.
_You like the smell of asparagus in your urine *(if this item offends you, deduct 10 points from your total).
_You know how to properly smoke five different types of meat *(bonus point for ten or more).
_You own a bust of Charles Bronson.
_You have wrestled some sort of animal.  *(bonus point if it was for survival reasons and you’re still alive).
_You have made a shelter from stuff found in the woods.
_You are confused when restaurants don’t have steak.

Here’s how you measure up:
25+ points = You are a savior to men, you should lead them all to greatness.
20-24 points = You’re on the cusp of ultimate manliness; you’ve nearly reached the summit of the gods.
15-19 points = You need to work on your shit but don’t be discouraged, even giants grew from tiny ovaries.
10-14 points = Dude, for real? Stop shopping for doilies and punch a tiger in the face. If it swallows your hand, punch with the other one.
5-9 points = Stop fucking ordering appletinis.
0-4 points = Deduct whatever points you have because you don’t deserve them. You’re a zero.