There’s something about cooking over a fire that’s just primal. There’s a reason that even the most ardent “cooking is women’s work” jerkwad will drop that crap the moment it’s time to start grilling. Since that’s the case, I asked my favorite barbecue master, Jonathon LaForce to work up a series of guest posts on such tasty subjects as grilling and smoking meats.
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”
So spake Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now. In the summer time, men and women all over North America try their hand at the use of flame outdoors to create meals. More often than not, the end result looks like any VC hiding in the tree line when that air strike came rolling in: Burnt, crispy, dry. That burger patty could be used for sandpaper, the hound just turned up it’s nose at your over-flambeed hot dog, and the chicken looks like it’s been damned to a flaming circle of hell.
It happens every year. Like clockwork. Never mind that you and your neighbors and kinfolk never do anything on the grill besides what I just mentioned. Oh sure, you looked good firing up your grill. You had the slick tools, the fancy grill gloves, your wife bought you a “Kiss the Cook” apron for Father’s Day. Your male friends all gathered around the grill telling you how nice it all looked and how manly you appeared as you plied your trade, the avatar of the fire god Hephaestus himself. And then they lied to you, as they choked their way through what had been meat and is now blackened carbon. Add a little more pressure to it and you could make diamonds out of it!
I see this every year. And it disgusts me. What happened to men who knew and understood that the proper application of fire to meat, fish, poultry and all sundry items given to us for consumption produces incredible results? I’m not sure, but I have ideas on why. Whereas humility is not a martial virtue, it is not one which I have made the effort to cultivate. Nor will I attempt to engage in it now. If I say do something in the course of these articles, it’s because I know by experience it works or doesn’t work. Simple as that.
People have asked me, repeatedly- “Jon, what’s the secret to your barbecue tasting so good? Is it the wood? Do you have a special butcher you use? What is it?”
I’ve done some thinking about Brian Holcomb’s excellent guest post on Saturday. When he and I were talking prior to that post being written, I made the comment that my wife’s sticking with me through all the crap we’ve been through actually made her hotter than Kate Beckinsale to me.
I did some thinking as to why that is, and I think I’ve hit on it.
You see, in this day and age, guys are bombarded by stories of women bolting from the marriage after the guy loses his job, or of leaving their husband for someone who makes more money, and so on. It’s terrifying to think that someone you swore to spend your whole life with is really only looking for a paycheck.
Honor is an important thing. However, honor doesn’t strictly depend on what you do. It’s also about how others view you. Being honorable is hard, and people want to be acknowledged as honorable. Unfortunately, some other people will want to tear you down as well.
In days gone by, dueling was how this was dealt with. Two men would draw swords and go after one another. Still later, it was pistols at 20 paces. Regardless of the tool, there was a definite risk of life which made it costly to be insulting.
Then, we became more “civilized” and dueling was banned. That didn’t end the practice but pushed it underground. Further, it gave the dishonorable sort an out. After all, now all they had to do was claim to be law abiding citizens.
For a while, boxing took the place of dueling. Two men would put aside their swords or pistols according to the law, and hopped into the ring to settle their disputes. In many schools, even in relatively recent times, the gym coach would put gloves and headgear on two students having issues and let them duke it out.
I was talking with a friend yesterday when they asked, “Dude, what is up with this preoccupation with violence? I thought you were running a blog on being manly and stuff, not some ‘warrior’ blog.”
It’s a fair question.
After all, I do spend a fair bit of time talking about violence as well as sharing information I find on how to administer it to the deserving. I’ve spent a lot more time on that than probably any other subject thus far.
In Part 1 of this series, I outlined various things a father can do to prepare his son to be effective in protecting himself and his family in later years. After all, knowledge is power.
However, no man is an expert in everything. He is either an expert in a handful of things or, like me, someone who knows some on a great many topics but can’t truly be called an expert in anything.
Either way, there’s holes in any man’s knowledge, and it’s virtually impossible not to pass those along to your son. That’s not a good thing, obviously.
Imagine, if you will, a building; maybe it’s an old barn or a warehouse, but it’s fairly isolated and relatively empty. You step through the door with your son the first time, and what do you see? Continue reading “A New Agoge Part 2”
Spartan boys, when they reached a certain age, were pried from their mothers and put into a special state-run school called “the agoge” where they were taught to be warriors. It almost had to be state-run because few parents would subject their children to such brutality.
By the time they were finished, they were Spartan warriors, and ready to defend their city from any attacker.
Today, most of us put our children in state-run schools as well…and the results aren’t anything like the agoge. In fact, they may well be the opposite of the agoge in many ways. While the Spartan school sought to turn boys into men, in many ways public education seeks to turn boys into girls. Continue reading “A New Agoge: Part 1”
A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about resurrecting honor. Unlike most posts here, this one took off and blew up thanks to a link from Instapundit. It also spawned some interesting discussions on Facebook. Since that first post was never intended to be all encompassing–it’s not a subject you can write about in a thousand words and call it done–it may be worth a second look at honor based on those discussions.
You see, several people argued that honor is intimately tied to the idea of duty. They have a point.
Honor is, in part, based on how one performs his duty. It doesn’t matter what that duty is, what matters is how you perform it. The janitor who takes care in cleaning the building has infinitely more honor than the CEO who just uses his job for the perks while he’s running the company into the ground. Continue reading “Honor and Duty”
Once upon a time, honor mattered. It was universal and vital for men to maintain their honor. People were actually killed in an effort to defend it…though it’s not all bad. Some killed by men defending their honor got hit musicals made about them, so there was an upside apparently.
Today, honor is just one of those things people don’t think much about. A handful of people still do, but society as a whole seem to think of honor as a quaint relic of a bygone era.
Once people stopped holding their honor as sacred, the world began a nasty descent into what it has become today. Men and women both view relationships, even marriage, as temporary arrangements and get married only for tax benefits or to be on one another’s insurance, nothing more. So-called “protestors” initiate violence regularly. Alleged leaders defend a would-be killer and excoriate the police officer who ended the threat.
The truth is, men fight. Maybe not for fun, but every person I know of that meets the definition of “man” I’ve laid out has been in at least one fight in their lives. When you think about it, it’s inevitable.
However, if you’re someone raised in the “conflict is bad” era, you may not know how to correctly throw punches.
If you’re one of those, no judgment here. You’re at least wanting to learn how to throw down if you ever need to, so here’s a video I came across that might help. Please excuse the hamhanded attempts at advertising, because the information is pretty good.
These are just two punches, and there are plenty of them, but it’s a good start. Learn these two correctly and practice them regularly, and you’ll be well ahead of the curve if you find yourself in a fight. Continue reading “The Basics of Punching”