Book Review: ‘Tiki Pop: America Imagines Its Own Polynesian Paradise’ by Sven A. Kirsten

There are books on Tiki culture and then there’s Tiki Pop: America Imagines Its Own Polynesian Paradise by Sven A. Kirsten and publisher TASCHEN.

What I mean by that is that this book is the bible on Tiki history in the United States, as it covers its genesis, all of its key elements, how it expanded into everything in pop culture and ultimately, how it faded away and then saw a bit of a revival.

Like all books I own by TASCHEN, this is image heavy and presented on premium paper stock. It’s a legitimate art book that truly delves into Tiki history and displays everything that one could imagine from that pocket of Americana.

This book is a very thick hardcover that covers so much territory, even for being chock full of hundreds of images and also being translated into three languages.

I found every single chapter intriguing and well researched. My only real gripe about the book is that the written part of each chapter is kind of short and I felt like it all could’ve been greatly expanded on. Maybe the author can do that in the future, as this has so many great entry points to different parts of Tiki pop that can be expanded upon in many books.

Regardless of that, this is still the greatest book I have ever come across on the subject. Plus, it’s beautifully and immaculately presented. For lovers of Tiki culture, this is absolutely a must own and it’s also really inexpensive for its size and quality.

Rating: 10/10
Pairs well with: other books on Tiki culture and pop culture from bygone eras.

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: 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: Bitch, You Ain’t 21!

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

*Written in 2014.

By the title of this piece, you are probably assuming that it is about teen girls trying to sneak into the bar to party with the big boys. Well, you’re wrong. In fact, I am talking about the whole other end of the spectrum. I’m talking about girls in their mid-thirties (or older) that still act and behave like they’re 21 year-olds who have only been able to drink just recently.

C’mon, you know the girls I’m talking about. The ones who show up at the bar, ready to rumble but wearing classier clothes than their early 20s counterparts and order somewhat classier drinks – usually something in a stemmed glass, as opposed to brightly colored fruity shots. They down martinis like a marathon runner grabbing for waters. They dance pretty uncoordinated but do a good job of keeping their balance for the first ten minutes until they break a heel. They also look like a drunk aunt when they hit on the 21 year-old unkempt fellow wearing a hat in a nice club while sipping on a Miller Lite. They are overly impressed with almost any form of flattery. They start handing out their business cards to everyone, even if you aren’t interested in buying a house from them or going to see the dermatologist they work for. Many of them hit a point in the night where they transform into werewolves howling at the moon and shredding everything in sight. Some of them smell like a mixture of Princess Night and cat piss. They are essentially cougars in training that will fail to reach full cougarhood. Instead, they will become the lonely and crazy cat ladies of modern urban folklore.

I get that life is hard and you like to party hard, I’m right there with you. The thing is, when you hit that late 20s mark and going into your 30s, things need to change. Behaving like you did when you were a bar newbie over ten years ago is not only sloppy and unattractive, it is also a clear sign of someone with problems that no real and mature guy is going to want to deal with. If you’re complaining that you can’t find a decent man but you regularly exhibit behavior like this, you are most likely going to continue to struggle with that. No one wants to deal with a drunken mess every time the bar is open. I say this to help and this is coming from someone who has been a drunken mess many times in his day. I’ve also evolved.

You’ve been doing this long enough that you should know your drinking capabilities and your limitations. You should also have enough self-respect to not publicly transform into an insane wildebeest dancing like an epileptic jellyfish while puking on barstools and sweating like a fat man in a buffalo wing eating contest. You’re also making yourself look like easy pickin’s for the date rapists and molly ninjas.

This behavior isn’t going to lead to anything good. Whether it is the quality of man you’ll potentially attract, the DUI you might get or the health problems that will eventually occur, life will never be your bitch. In fact, you will be life’s bitch. The hardcore “fuck it all to hell, let’s party” schtick will do the exact opposite of solving your woes. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have fun and let loose but you shouldn’t make it your life’s mission. You’ve got to have balance and control. And again, you should already know your limitations.

Additionally, all those spin classes mean jack shit when you’re bathing in martinis all night, every night. Also, you are aging really fast. Botox all you want but Joan Rivers looks like a plastic nightmare.

Now being in my mid-30s, I’ve learned the hard way that the body changes and one’s recovery time and ability to bounce back is nowhere near where it was in your 20s. While having a more established life and a real job to go to on a daily basis, I have to plan accordingly. This means no more weeknight trips to clubs or bars out of town, pulling an all night binger, only to have to be back at my desk and functional by 9 a.m. I’ve seen too many people my age get fired from good jobs because they can’t adapt and evolve passed their “party hard” nature.

Earlier, I mentioned the quality of mates one would attract exhibiting these traits. In most cases, women like this take home that young guy, which sounds pleasing to some but ultimately, he just wants to fuck you and will tolerate your bullshit as long as he is getting laid. The truth is, and as you all should know, most of these young guys won’t stick around very long and while the action is good, you’re left empty and back to square one. It’s a cycle that won’t end until you break it. I also see many girls taking home dudes in their 20s that they wouldn’t have even talked to when they were in their 20s. As time goes on, they downgrade their game and bring home guys they previously wouldn’t have given the time of day. And the ones that do stick around are usually emasculated lapdogs that will put up with your shit and take your abuse but they’ll never give you the fulfillment of actually being with a man. In fact, once you cheat on them, in front of them, they’ll probably just put on their headphones and cry to Snow Patrol.

The harsh reality is that there comes a time in life where you need to grow the fuck up or get left the fuck behind.

Retro Relapse: Fuck You, I’m A Beer Snob

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

*Written in 2014.

On the eve of the Fourth of July, I’ve already been freely handed a few beers by a few different people. I’ve had to decline because ultimately, I am a prick and an asshole. More correctly, I am a beer snob.

Sorry, amateurs. Even in the spirit of camaraderie, I just can’t get myself to physically touch a Coors Light, Bud Light, Mic Ultra or any other low calorie Yankee swill that broke ass dude bros chug while pretending they know something about soccer. Sorry, I’m also frustrated with the know-nothing World Cup cheerleaders who just so happen to be in every bar I’ve walked into in the last two weeks. Maybe I’ll write about that next.

Moving on, there is so much beer in the world. There are so many varieties, types and different nations with beer-making expertise. Even if you’re broke as shit, there is still affordable stuff out there. But these guys don’t want to experience anything new. They’re boring-as-fuck individuals that live boring-as-fuck lives and can’t stray too far from the norm because they’re way too comfortable being mediocre. They want their turkey sandwich for lunch everyday, they only fuck missionary style and they are more than content in a collared shirt and khakis picked out by their girlfriend. She’s boring-as-fuck too. She always wears capris and plain unflattering t-shirts. She took her hair out of a ponytail once but that was just because she had to change out her Stephanie Tanner scrunchie.

I don’t hate you people, I just hate your boringness. I hate that you are perfectly fine doing the same fucking thing everyday… for the rest of your lives. I don’t hate Budweiser but I hate the fact that it is goddamned Coca-Cola and it is the automatic default thing for “beer drinkers” to grab because it is the most recognizable. I hate that assholes drink up light beer while eating two dozen buffalo wings. It is a light beer because it is lower in calories. If that’s why you drink it, good for you – this may also make you a chick. But to those of you pounding a case of Bud Light every night while stuffing your face with fatty foods are ignorant fucking assholes. Ignorant fucking assholes with no taste buds, apparently.

Yeah, I’ll drink this shit too on occasion. For instance, one time I was doing manual labor in the Nevada desert and I was dying from the heat, was super parched and felt like I was going to collapse. A friend tossed me a Miller Lite. I popped that motherfucker open and it was the best goddamned thing I have ever drank. It serves a purpose: survival. Also, I’ll grab one of these American flagship beers when I’m at a baseball game and the vendor walks by because I’m too caught up in the game and too lazy to walk all the way to concessions to wait in a long ass line.

To all you hardcore IPA-drinking snobs jumping and cheering at my words, you guys can go fuck yourselves too. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good IPA but it isn’t the only thing out there. Also, many IPAs, by “many” I mean most of them, are way too hoppy. Yes, I also love hops but when it is so extreme that the beer becomes some bitter piece of floral shit, you can throw it in the goddamned dumpster for all I care. In the IPA department, I’m really enjoying Cigar City’s stuff right now: Jai Alai and Invasion to be specific.

Look, life is short. My point is, buy something besides the same crap. Expand your palate and your life experiences. The same goes for you goddamned Johnny Walker, Jameson, Jim and Jack drinkers. Stay away from the 4J’s and try some other whiskies.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. Celebrate your freedom by being free to choose something else in life.

And fuck your turkey sandwich.

Retro Relapse: Selling Out to Black Friday

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

*Written in 2014.

I hate Black Friday.

Truthfully, everyone should loathe it. It is an awful day that shows commercially obsessed Americans behaving at their very worst.

You have people who camp out for a week on concrete in front of Best Buy – just to save $15 on a 12″ television set. You have insane people who will punch each other’s lights out over the last “jerk me off” Muppet doll. People get mauled, they get crushed and they get stomped to death in America’s version of the Running of the Bulls. Let’s call it the Running of the Fools.

The hysteria is only getting worse. Now stores open even earlier. In fact, some open up on Thanksgiving before people are even able to get to their second plate of gluttony. Trust the advertising, screw your family!

Americans watch football, stuff their faces and then shout for glee over every commercial that shows some insane Black Friday deal that you can only get if you drop your turkey right that second and rush out the door to beat the other psychos that sold out their family for a couple fifty cent pillow shams and a $30 phablet that can shit out espresso.

I hate you people; you are the absolute worst and I don’t shed a tear when I hear about your kind getting squished to death trying to grab a limited edition toaster designed by Beyoncé.

I have always refused to participate. Not because I don’t believe in capitalism, but because I believe in what Thanksgiving represents – enjoying time with those I care about and celebrating that time together and eating a fuck ton of food until I hate myself and then go on to eat even more.

Hell, I couldn’t participate in Black Friday if I tried, because I embrace Thanksgiving like a goddamned champion and because of that, don’t plan to move for at least 48-to-72 hours. Additionally, it forces my family and I to have to spend time together because we are all sprawled out all over the house like hibernating bears moaning loudly like cold winos with an empty bottle.

If any of us were to participate in Black Friday, we would lose this annual tradition and quality time with one another. In turn, we would be transformed to serial murderers trying to collect a bunch of pointless trophies we don’t need while throwing away money on them because someone else will acquire the pointless trophies if we don’t.

It’s like the whole point of Black Friday is to be able to say to your neighbors and friends, “Hey, look at me! I’ve got all this shit! I’m fucking broke but I’ve got the most shit! Haha! And I’m glad my children saw me kill a woman to get this Hello Kitty branded thimble! You’re all fucking losers! Ha!”

So after years of refusing to participate in this annual Purge event, I stepped outside of my house because I had to acquire something. No, not a pointless trophy and not just some shit. I had to acquire a four pack of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout.

I sold my soul to the commerce gods, I am aware of this. The payoff was worth it, however.

The thing is, what I sought wasn’t some super HD smart goggles or a smartphone that can make a sub or a limited release doll with a light-up asshole or a special edition hobo-scented candle. What I wanted to get was the very best stout that America has to offer. It is actually something that enhances and enriches life, as opposed to something that just drains it away.

This beer only comes out once a year and in very limited quantities. I hate that they tie it to Black Friday but since it is a Budweiser owned product, the fingers of evil are touching this majestic brew. Unfortunately for me, I could not deny myself the experience of drinking this annual release even though it is on Black Friday.

Reflecting on my decision and having now drank this year’s version of the beer, Bourbon County Stout not only lives up to the hype, it far exceeds it. I actually went into this with the utmost skepticism. I anticipated it being very good but I didn’t anticipate it being a five-star beer.

I’ve had many great stouts in my day but this one takes the cake.

There is a lot going on with this stout. There are slight nuances of barley, roasted grains, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, caramel, fig and charred wood. It is jet black with a thin khaki-colored head, as well as a thick and somewhat creamy body. It also packs a nice punch with its alcohol level but is still smooth as hell and not bitey.

It cost me around $24 for the four pack and even though I’m a bit broke this week, it was a wise purchase. This time next year, I am going to have some extra money set aside so that I can buy their other limited edition beers that also come out on Black Friday.

Now I don’t expect Budweiser to do anything not evil but if they cared about families and the real spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, they should release the Bourbon County beers before the holiday, not the day after. I would much rather stock up on as much as I could get and then share it with my appreciative family members and friends over our epic Thanksgiving dinner. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy this on the biggest day of the year to celebrate gluttonous behavior?

In fact, savoring this brew might make people slow down on Thanksgiving and savor their food more. Maybe they wouldn’t get as full so fast and they would eat less and thus, not hate themselves after going comatose in the third quarter of the Cowboys game.

If acquiring Bourbon County’s beers ever becomes as insane of a task as going to Wal-Mart on Black Friday, I won’t do it. The fact that I was able to walk into ABC Liquor and grab a four pack within ten minutes, made this Black Friday experience okay. If this beer generates psycho levels of hysteria and people will try to kill me for a place in line, I won’t be in that line.

The moral of the story is that people are often times stupid and crazy. This stout was worth taking the risk of having to traverse through a sea of psychos. Luckily for me, psychos don’t like good beer or at least the psychos in my town don’t have good palates.

Retro Relapse: 30 Christmas Gifts for the Grizzly Man

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

*Written in 2015.

Christmas rules December like Hulk Hogan ruled the ring in the ’80s! It is the best holiday there ever was!

That being said, we all love getting presents and those of us who aren’t jerks, love giving presents. ‘Tis the season for giving and all that jazz.

So what should you get a manly grizzly man? If you are not sure, I have compiled a list of stuff. And there are things here that fit all price ranges and types of men.

Sure, it may be a little late but if you haven’t started shopping yet, get out there because this stuff may sell out, if it hasn’t already.

Anyway, enough rambling. Here is the list!

1. A fine cut of premium meat
2. A bottle of good scotch or bourbon
3. Cast iron cooking stuff
4. A stellar axe to cut firewood
5. A spacious tent
6. A sweet rifle
7. A good quality survival knife
8. A nice bow with arrows
9. A solid tomahawk made for throwing
10. A reliable fishing pole
11. Visually alluring flannel shirts
12. Attractive wood for crafting into manly furniture
13. Much needed tools
14. Stylish suspenders
15. A personalized baseball bat or hockey stick
16. A thoughtful item that you crafted by hand
17. A hefty meat carving board
18. Great literature such as books by Jack London or Louis L’Amour
19. A framed poster from a Clint Eastwood movie signed by Clint Eastwood
20. A top notch gas lantern
21. A box of premium cigars
22. Home brewing equipment
23. A big bag of beautiful coffee beans
24. An impressive array of cheeses
25. A pair of satisfactory hiking boots
26. A shiny new waffle maker
27. Exercise equipment or weights they may need
28. A well-kept collection of old baseball cards or stag mags
29. A manly cookbook
30. A musical instrument

Retro Relapse: The Princess Syndrome

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

*Written in 2014.

To all you princesses out there, this one’s for you!

You know who you are; the girl whose daddy always called her “princess” and bought her princessy shit for her room. The one who thought all those Disney movies were a primer on love and who thought that Prince Charming was the first guy you fucked. You roll with those other princesses, all perpetuating the same bullshit because those Prince Charmings who turned out to be Prince Douches must’ve just been under some evil witch’s spell. You can’t be the problem! No, not at all! You have “princess” bumper stickers all over your 2003 Kia Sephia and you wear shirts stating your royal status! It’s only a matter of time before a Prince Charming not under an evil enchantment sees all your princess shit and swoops in on his white horse to save you from the mediocrity that is your dull an boring royal lifestyle.

Of course reality is something much different than the bullshit fantasy you keep selling yourself, despite it being a cycle of repeated failure. It doesn’t mean that you don’t keep trying so hard though. The fairytale eludes you but if you have faith in it, you will get to that magic life you’ve always dreamed of. Your girlfriends pick you up, dust you off and continue to enable you, as you do for them. Yet it has never occurred to any of you that there can only be one or two princesses in the kingdom. You can’t all be “her royal highness”. Besides, if all of you are a princess, why is being a princess even special? It’s not and that’s the point.

You’re all one in the same striving for the same thing. With that being said, how can you stand out from the pack and be noticed? What makes you so special when you are just one princess in a sea of princesses? Truthfully, what makes you think a man even gives a fuck?

When I am confronted by a girl or a group of girls that exude this princess mentality, I run the other way. Not because I am intimidated by “royalty” but because I am annoyed by the stupidity of the world that they exist in. It’s the same reason that I walk away from dude bros at the bar who keep flexing and acting like they’re fucking Braveheart. You people are trying too hard and you need to chill because you’re acting like a piece of shit that can only attract other pieces of shit.

Ladies, just because your father and clam shell Disney VHS tapes filled your head with some bullshit, doesn’t mean that you have to project your fantasy on the rest of the world. Every girl who didn’t have an absentee father was “daddy’s little girl” at some point. Well guess what, there are billions of you in the world.

It amazes me though, how far some girls will go with this princess mentality. Not a weekend goes by that I don’t run into some girl celebrating her 32nd birthday, out in some shit bar, wearing a fucking tiara and a “Birthday Girl” sash over her princess gown like she just won some middle-aged average girl beauty contest. What’s wrong with you? I mean, really? I don’t recall Cinderella clutching the bar, puking up Jägerbombs all over her friends. And for fuck’s sake, by 32, you should be drinking adult beverages.

Let me further elaborate why your princess mentality is not going to get you a quality beau.

Real men, unlike the boys you typically get dicked up by, aren’t going to put up with your royal attitude. We aren’t going to deal with you being a stubborn bitch with a penchant for hissy fits. We aren’t going to see you as actual royalty… ever. You are not cheap or cost effective and even if you believe you are, you’ll still be a royal pain (pun intended) because nothing we do will impress you. Additionally, any woman who believes herself to be a princess is an idiot and not even worth attempting to have a real conversation with; real men don’t exist in fantasy.

It goes much deeper than that however, as chicks suffering from this Princess Syndrome are usually just awful people. You prefer men without a spine who will bow to your bullshit and kiss your ass. You are prone to cheating because when your spineless and nutless lapdog isn’t around, your royal vagina secretly yearns for the seed of a more masculine suitor. Unfortunately, this continues your cycle of Prince Charming revealing himself to be Prince Douche.

You are typically vindictive by nature and embrace your bitchiness like it is some badass hardcore badge of honor because you think you’re entitled to have such an attitude. You are not trustworthy and are probably always at odds with your “besties”. You certainly don’t know what “love” is, even if you think you feel it. What you feel is not real because your whole existence is built up on some Disney lie. Your life is an illusion. You’re shallow and empty and truthfully, no one wants to get to know you because there isn’t an actual person there to get to know. Stop being a fucking toddler.

This doesn’t mean that real men won’t approach you. We just won’t stick around when we come to know that we’ve got some princess in our midst. Maybe some of those failed Prince Charmings were decent guys but they bolted because you suck. That doesn’t make them all douches or assholes, it makes you the douche and the asshole. Furthermore, the real douchebags out there, who quickly see the game you’re playing, view you as easy pickings because they know that you are an emotionally vacant and distraught human being. There have been times where I’ve been drunk at a bar or a party and said to myself, “Fuck it, I’m horny and this will be a cakewalk.” It was.

There is no benefit to acting like a princess. You paint yourself out to be an annoying piece of shit and you’re just doing what a dozen other annoying piece of shits in that same bar are doing. You’re not unique, original and certainly not special. You are cookie cutter at best and frankly, the cookie is stale.

Shit to think about, princess.

Retro Relapse: The Legend of the Douchebag Brewer

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

*Written in 2015.

This article is inspired by a few things I have witnessed or heard from friends in the craft beer industry that are too respectful to publicly speak their mind – contrary to those that this is about.

Many of us that travel in craft beer circles, at one point or another, have heard the Legend of the Douchebag Brewer. He’s the brewer that has gained a bit of small town fame around his place of origin. He has also built up a reputation of traveling around and being a complete dickhead when visiting other breweries or talking to other craft beer connoisseurs.

The douchebag brewer is high on his own bullshit and whether or not he is good at his craft, he perceives himself to be the best in the world. In fact, he has to make sure that everyone knows this by always talking up his beer, his secret process and how it is superior to everyone else, all while trashing other hardworking and passionate brewers in the process.

Some of these douchebag brewers like showing up in brewery taprooms when the other brewers have left for the day. They then cowardly trash the beer to the bar staff or to other patrons, most of which are loyal customers of the brewery that the douchebag is trashing.

Their inflated sense of worth must cloud reality because whenever I’ve encountered this character, I have made it a point to avoid his brewery and write him off as a piece of crap not deserving of my business or respect. And I am sure that other craft beer connoisseurs view this character the same way.

These douchebag brewers often times take their self-obsessed views to social media, using Twitter and Facebook to express their “expertise” in regards to how great they are, how much everyone else “doesn’t get it” and to sell their preferred beer styles as superior to every other. Their palate is God and we all must bow down! Trust in Beer Jesus or be damned to an eternity of poorly crafted Berliner Weisse!

Some of these idiots perpetuate whatever beefs they seem to have with other brewers, whether real or imaginary. It is like some old school rap beef but no one really cares except for the whiny self-important douchebag brewer and maybe one hardcore fanboy that still relishes in the fact that his buddy brewer gave him a free beer six months prior.

What these people fail to realize is that they are doing massive harm to the craft beer industry and to their own brand. People don’t like supporting assholes and more often than not, they won’t knowingly support a douchebag. And trashing others who do what you claim to love is counterproductive to the bigger picture.

The craft beer industry is competing with the macro beer industry, who have now felt the threat and upped the ante in attacking beer that is better than their mass produced adjunct-filled garbage. If the freedom fighters are preoccupied with in-fighting amongst themselves, the evil empire wins. If you are as passionate as you claim about craft beer and your product, you shouldn’t want the evil empire to win.

Craft breweries need to build each other up. With as large of a piece of the pie as macro breweries have, there is enough to go around for craft breweries. If you think there isn’t, than you simply don’t understand business, economics and what it is that you do.

Most of the breweries that I love and frequent, go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to helping out the other breweries around them. People share brewing tips, they help the new guys get off the ground, offer business advice and often times collaborate in new beers, which strengthens their bond and thus, strengthens the craft beer scene.

There is a kinship among brewers and breweries that doesn’t exist in most other industries. Most brewers have the respect for one another being that their passions are the same and that they are all small businesses trying to make it in a highly competitive industry in a country with an unreliable economy. Through hard work and passion, there is a respect between brewers.

The douchebag brewers apparently don’t understand that and are only out for their own gain regardless of how it effects the industry as a whole. You have to build and create, not trash and destroy.

Now assuming that some of these douchebag brewers are as good as they claim, why wouldn’t they want to use their knowledge and skill to make the industry a better place overall? Through collaborations and joint ventures, they can help educate newer and less experienced brewers. They could be business and brewing mentors to many of the brewers who are good but not yet great. Besides, isn’t the world a better place with more good beer than more shitty beer?

Most brewers out there are pretty good people that understand all of this. But with everything, there are always bad apples. I choose not to support them because they are actively working against something I love, as well as the livelihoods of others who feel the same as I do.

If you are the master of your craft, you have a responsibility of passing that craft on. If your craft doesn’t survive, future generations won’t give a shit about you anyway.

When Budweiser, the Coca Cola of shitty beer, feels compelled to attack craft beer in every ad, they are against a wall and threatened. When you’ve got the beast’s balls in your hand, you rip them off, you don’t just stand there arguing with the other hunters that you are the best at holding the beasts balls because that’s when the beast bites your head off.

Ego ruins everything. And brewing great beer shouldn’t be about ego, it should be about kinship and respect because ultimately, isn’t beer better when you are sharing it with your friends?

Retro Relapse: Men Who Can’t Handle One Cocktail

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

*Written in 2014.

There isn’t a night where I go out that I don’t run into at least a few dudes who can’t seem to handle just one cocktail. You know you’ve seen them too. Hell, for all I know, you, the reader, could be one of these 5-star party animals that finds themselves crashing and burning after one Jägerbomb or even worse, one bottle of Bud Lite Lime.

You are the Mike’s Hard Lemonade drinker. The Smirnoff Ice sommelier. The ’90s poster boy for Zima, who considers a classic cocktail to be some swill manufactured by Bartles & Jaymes. The guy that doesn’t understand why people roll their eyes when you show up to a B.Y.O.B. with just one six pack. You show up the most gung ho, the most ready to throw down and often times the most obnoxious. You argue with bouncers about your shorts and trucker hat outside of a nice establishment. You have just one bowling shirt that you think is sufficient for dressing up when taking your significant other to a fancy anniversary dinner of Jack Daniel’s ribs at T.G.I. Friday’s. You probably get drunk on those Jack Daniel’s ribs. Hell, you probably still own a Korn t-shirt. You’re a self-described animal of the night that can go the distance and turn any shindig into an ultimate rager. The fact of the matter is, you’re the first one to fall in a room full of more suave party people.

Now don’t get me wrong, you can be fun and entertaining but after one round of shots, it isn’t fun to be holding you up against the bar, as you drool like a sloppy baby yelling out your ex-girlfriend’s name in front of your current girlfriend. I appreciate you buying me whatever the hell sweet and disgusting shot that was and I thank you for it, as it is still alcohol of some sort, but your response to my gratitude shouldn’t be puking and pissing on me while I’m trying to sit you down in a chair. Frankly, despite your inability to hang with us professional alcoholics, I’d like to spend more than fifteen minutes with you before 6 oz. of Popov and cranberry effect you like a Floyd Mayweather uppercut.

You’re not a bad person, you’re just not doing it right. You need help. You really need to train. You need to step your game up and learn how to control your shit. Maybe your DNA isn’t wired for drinking and if that’s the case, just stick to beer. However, when I say “beer”, I’m referring to something respectable. Nothing flavored, nothing clear and god forbid nothing low calorie! If you’re going to drink, just fucking drink. That is, unless you’re some dainty white girl who finds herself sitting around the house munching on SnackWells cookies because you can eat more of those than you can E.L. Fudge.

If you are a cocktail drinker, put down the energy drink mixers, pick a better vodka and for fuck’s sake, get to know some good whiskeys. There are a ton of badass cocktails that you can drink that have a ton more flavor and character than your disgusting concoction of Goldschläger and O.J. Hell, I made a list of my Top 10 Classic Cocktails (link no longer available). You should read it and start there.

It doesn’t end there though. You need to learn how to go the distance. If you crash early, pace yourself. Don’t start with a wimpy shot that will knock you on your ass immediately. Order a decent beer or a decent cocktail and take it easy. You don’t have to slam the fucking thing.

When starting out my alcoholic training regiment, I suggest that you limit yourself to just one drink per hour. When you get to a point where you don’t want to pass out in a pile of vomit within that time, up your intake to two drinks per hour. To be honest, I very rarely ever go beyond two-to-three alcoholic beverages in an hour. This is how I pace myself, still get seriously buzzed but don’t find myself hitting the floor like a tranquilized hippopotamus.

Now this may take some time to master and to get the hang of but I’ve had well over a decade to practice and I’ve got my shit together. I used to find myself overdoing it and honestly, sometimes on a rare occasion, I still do but for the most part, I keep it together, have a good time, get moderately inebriated and don’t find myself making bad decisions or becoming the burden of the party.

Class up your shit. This isn’t just drinking advice, it’s life advice. Maybe it is time to grow up because dude bros in their mid-thirties who still carry themselves in public like freshmen frat boys at their first kegger are just embarrassing themselves. Plus, you’ll never make a good impression on a potential life mate if you’re in the fetal position, soaked in piss.

And definitely don’t drink in front of bosses or co-workers until you can handle more than one cocktail.

I’m just trying to do my part. You’re welcome, America.