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: 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: 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.

Book Review: ‘The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World’s Greatest Human’ by Ian Spector

I got this book as a gift, as I wouldn’t have bought it for myself.

That’s not because I don’t like Chuck Norris but it’s because of what this book is, which is just a long series of “facts” about the man and how badass and incredible he is.

None of this is true and it’s all republished from a humor blog.

That being said, there isn’t a whole lot to say about the book. It’s a lightning fast read but if you enjoy this sort of stuff, you’ll probably like it.

Thus ends my really short review.

Rating: 6/10

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.

Retro Relapse: The Cost of Living by a Code

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

*Written in 2014.

As I’ve become and adult, I’ve realized several things about myself as the years pile on. One of those things is that somewhere down the line, I started living by my own code. It wasn’t intentional and I didn’t notice it until recently and it was actually a significant other that pointed it out to me but it is what drives me and what makes me who I am.

I am not stating that my code is perfect or infallible. I am also not stating that I am perfect and never violate my own code. Quite the contrary. Life, like the code, is a series of trial and error experiments that take shape throughout time. I am not claiming that I am better than anyone or that I have some secret formula at how to be the best human being possible. At the end of the day, I am trying to be the best that I can be by the standards, ethics and morals that I set for myself.

Do I win at that everyday? No. Everyday comes with failure but also comes with success. It is what you learn from that failure that leads to a bigger success ratio.

There are some issues one must deal with when one lives by a code. I wasn’t able to put some of this into perspective until I realized that I was living by my own code. The biggest issue, at least for me, is the fact that most people don’t live by anything other than reacting and responding to each situation in life as it is handed to them. Concepts such as loyalty and respect are lost amongst these people. In fact, borrowing John Cena’s mantra, I’m a firm believer in “Hustle, Loyalty and Respect”. Most people, don’t seem to know what that really entails and certainly don’t have the ability to even entertain the thought of such a simple concept or code. I’m not attacking them, I’m just stating my assessment based off of my own personal experiences.

It is hard when, on a daily basis, I am faced with people who violate not just these core principles but lack almost any sense of morals, ethics and a general understudying of what is right and what is wrong. I deal with it in life and especially at work. There is just a complete lack of character from the majority of people. Again, I don’t perceive myself as better than anyone but I do seem to look at things at a much deeper level and give a lot of attention to how my actions and my presence effects those around me.

While that is partly due to how I was raised, it has more to do with who I am at my core. Lots of people are taught these concepts as children but for many, it is in one ear and out the other and they go through life unaware of their complete lack of character.

For example, there are several people I work with who take advantage of the system in place within the office and look for constant loopholes within the rules and general company protocol. In life they take advantage of every shortcut and don’t have the foresight to understand how they aren’t developing certain skills and methods to be more efficient and better people overall. They take advantage of situations, which often times results in making things harder for their peers. More rules are instated, more challenges arise from these people and management continually tightens their grip. And it isn’t a natural need to fight back against some form of oppression or workplace fascism, it is just them trying to take the easiest route possible at work and through life at the expense of those around them. It is hard to name specifics without incriminating anyone.

In life, there are people who just have no concept of how they effect those around them. Neighbors who always fight – loudly, people who cut in line, people who violently argue over a typo on a coupon just to save another 35 cents, those assholes who walk into a quiet waiting room yelling into their cellphone about some girl with a “nasty front butt” – these are just a few examples of things I’ve witnessed over the last few days alone.

Then I have to think, how do people like this exist? How are they not annoyed enough by encountering other people exhibiting the same behaviors? How is this normal to them? How do they not drive themselves crazy? And why the fuck don’t most people have that urge to want to improve themselves and become better people? And by “better people” I don’t mean becoming ‘roided up freaks, silicone factories or the new owner of a 10 year-old German car they can’t afford.

Maybe at 35 years-old I am becoming an old crank or maybe after 35 years, my tolerance for juvenile behavior by most adults, especially those my age, is just so fucking baffling to me that I find myself wanting to stay in more and to not hang out with certain friends because I know a few certain assholes will probably be in tow. I have tolerance for stupidity but I don’t have tolerance for ignorance, especially from someone who is at an age where they should know better and want to be better.

I get it, we all have flaws, that is what makes us unique. We should all be able to recognize our flaws and want to work towards eliminating them. Perfection is not possible but to strive for perfection or at the very least, improvement, should be one thing that drives all human beings.

When you are a person that understands these things and tries to employ all of this, it is detrimental to your sanity when you see so many people content with being exactly the same (or slightly worse) as each day, each week and each year passes by. I’ve walked away from many friends because I got tired of hanging out with 21 year-olds in 35 year-old bodies. And yes, I do hold people to the standard I hold myself to.

When these people were still in my life, they would comment on how I’ve changed like it was a bad thing. Like somewhere along the line I sold out. No, sorry to break it to you, I just grew up and I faced the responsibility of adulthood and worked towards being self-sufficient, self-reliant and my own man living by my own code of ethics, morals and standards. I decided to always learn new things and to better myself everyday, so that each new day I was at an advantage over the previous day. And that is how the great people in the world and how men and women historically used to carry themselves. And people wonder why things have turned to shit and get worse with each passing generation.

And that brings me to my next point. The truth is, this really shouldn’t even be a “code”, it should just be the way people are and how they live and manage themselves and their lives. This is how shit used to be and why people from just a few decades ago could probably kick our asses in every way.

In Fight Club, Tyler Durden said, “Self-improvement is masturbation. Now self-destruction is the answer.”

He’s right because what the modern world considers “self-improvement” is a complete fallacy. And the “self-destruction” he referred to was the internal fight against the modern world’s false idea of self-improvement.

Retro Relapse: 25 Things Men Should Do This Winter

**Not quite winter but the summer list was popular, so I brought this one back too.

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

*Written in 2015.

I did a summer list about six months ago. So why not a winter list?

It is winter time. Well maybe not officially, as I am ignorant on the exact day it starts. I live in Florida though, so it is summer here from early March through late October. It is hot all the time and it kind of sucks, honestly. Can we have some damned snow, please? Please, baby Jesus?! But it’s December. It is probably definitely winter.

Anyway, it’s supposed to be cold and snowy and whatnot. This changes the outdoors and makes things pretty exciting if you love adventure and pretending you are on Hoth.

So what should a beastly manly MFer do with his time now that he has several months off from the heat and humidity (if you live in Florida)? Well, I’m glad I asked because here is a list of twenty-five things men should do over the winter.

1. Dig a hole in the ground, create a fire pit and roast a large woodland beast over it for you, your friends and family.

2. Cut a hole in a frozen lake and catch some big fish. Then eat those big fish.

3. Like on my summer list, go to a National Park and soak in the beauty of your surroundings. Everything looks different in the winter.

4. Take a long weekend and go on a minor league hockey road trip. Go see the two or three teams closest to you. Or better yet, go see a string of games in Canada, where hockey is most pure.

5. Pretend you’re a Cold War Soviet badass and run around nude in the snow chugging vodka from the bottle.

6. Go to Kentucky and travel the Bourbon Trail.

7. Wear an old Irish fisherman’s sweater.

8. Chop wood for your own fire.

9. Brew your own beer.

10. Go camping. It is the most fun in cold weather.

11. Start keeping a journal. Write down your thoughts, goals and plans. Hold yourself accountable to your written records.

12. Warm up by making a lot of sweet love with your special lady or your special dude.

13. Rent a cabin if you don’t own one and be wild for a bit.

14. Spend some time doing those much needed repairs around your house, if it is just too damned cold outside.

15. Go on a multi-day hike – the longer, the better. Also on my summer list but again, things are much different in the winter.

16. Build a canoe for you to enjoy in the summer.

17. Enjoy cigars and pipes on those cold winter days.

18. Get in touch with your inner creative, whether that is painting, writing, blacksmithing, etc.

19. Cut down your own Christmas tree from the forest.

20. Sit around a campfire and read the written words of Jack London or Louis L’Amour.

21. Go skiing or learn how to ski. You want to be your own winter James Bond, right?

22. Take up whittling or model crafting. Use your hands so they don’t go cold.

23. Listen to bluegrass in a rocking chair with a jug of moonshine in your lap.

24. Perfect your cooking skills. Create a great seasoning blend for meat. Master jerky making.

25. Allow your beard to reach full maximum winter plumage.