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Archive for October, 2011

The Proletariat

In our state we have a phrase to describe the violence of the rising proletariat: Target Practice.

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Real Women Want Real Men

Here’s a link to an article that illustrates a woman’s desire for men to Man Up!  It would have been better had she provided some statistics to back up her argument, but it is still worth reading.  Perhaps those statistics are in Bennett’s book.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/10/07/why-does-america-have-so-many-peter-pan-men/

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Nature’s Energy Drink

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that the Energy/Sports Drink business is a global, multi-billion dollar industry.  Energy and sports drinks seem to be everywhere.  Billboards, magazines, TV and radio all carry ads for power-monster-rockstar-ades and sports heroes guzzle them by the gallon.  What does surprise me is that people not paid to endorse these products actually drink the stuff.  When you’ve been working hard, sweating like a pig in the heat of the day, pushing yourself to your physical limits, who really wants an artificially colored, artificially flavored, artificially sweetened Kool-Aid knock off?  When your electrolyte levels are low, your muscles are screaming for potassium, and your sodium tank is on empty, is your body really going to be satisfied with plastic bottle of liquid candy?

No, what I’m thirsty for after a hard day of cutting brush out on the farm is not some pastel-colored syrup crafted in a soft-drink lab, but a real man’s drink, something that will quench my thirst and really restore those lost vitamins and minerals.  I want nature’s energy drink, something that has been satisfying man’s thirst and restoring his tissues for thousands of years.  A tall, ice-cold beer.

Yes, beer.  Beer is nature’s energy drink.  Take a look at the nutrition analysis for a 12 oz. glass of regular beer:

Water 327.4g
Calories 153
Alcohol 13.9g
Protein 1.6g
Carbohydrate 12.6g
Fat 0.0g
Cholestrol 0.0g
Calcium 14mg
Magnesium 21mg
Phosphorous 50mg
Potassium 96mg
Sodium 14mg
Niacin 2mg
Folate 21mcg

Beer has nearly 20 times the potassium and twice the sodium of Powerade, nearly the same amount of carbs as a standard Gatorade, and then look at all of the vitamins and minerals that are completely missing from the usual sports drink suspects: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin and folate with no fat and no cholesterol.  All this without being mixed, measured, formulated and market-tested.  What other beverage can boast such riches, all of which are custom designed to restore the exhausted frame?  A Red Bull cannot stand up to an Ugly Pug, a Gatorade pales before a Guinness, and Accelerade falls flat before the mighty Aventinus.

Granted, a beer is not exactly what you want to drink in the middle of the big game when your mind needs to be sharp, nor when you are working with large power tools that can permanently alienate you from some of your favorite extremities.  But when the game is over and done, and the tools have been cleaned and put away, be honest with yourself, you know that what your body craves is “a beaker full of the warm South, full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, with beaded bubbles winking at the brim.”  And this is not because you want to be drunk.  It is because nothing tastes or restores your body’s equilibrium better than a beer.  Chesterton said “Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer’s day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented.  The fact that beer has a very slight stimulating quality will be quite among the smallest reasons that induce him to ask for it.  In short, he will not be in the least desiring alcohol; he will be desiring beer.”  Indeed.

Chesterton is not the only great mind to sing the praises of beer.  Here is a small sample of quotes from ages past extolling the virtues of that fermented blend of barley, hops, water, and yeast:

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

-Benjamin Franklin-

For a quart of Ale is a meal for a King.

-William Shakespeare-

He was a wise man who invented beer.

-Plato-

Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

-Winston Churchill-

Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world.

– Kaiser Wilhelm-

Beer is liquid bread, it’s good for you.

– Weird Al Yankovic-

It strikes me as unlikely that Shakespeare, Churchill, Plato, Franklin or the Kaiser would ever have sung the praises of Staminade.

So the next time you’re out in the sun, enjoying the feel of muscles employed in strenuous labor, don’t cheat your body that has worked so hard for you by filling it with synthetic, syrupy swill.  Reach for the real man’s beverage, the oldest, most natural and healthy sports drink the world has ever known.  Reach for a beer.

PS:  Budweiser, Coors, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller, Michelob and others of that ilk do not count as beer.  They may be mildly alcoholic and brewed from grain, but they are as unlike true beer as Mad Dog is unlike true wine.

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A War Like No Other

A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian WarA War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War by Victor Davis Hanson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoy reading classical Greek and Latin literature of all sorts: drama, poetry, and history, as well as books about these topics. So it was with a great anticipation of something good that I sat down to read Hanson’s “A War Like No Other”. Hanson is a noted author, historian and classicist, so what could be more interesting than his take on the Peloponnesian war? A lot of things, actually.

Not that “A War Like No Other” is bad. Hanson, as has been noted in many reviews, departs from the typical linear presentation of the war, taking instead a topical approach. In each chapter he examines the war as a whole through the lens of a particular aspect of the war. In “Armor”, he focuses on the life of the Greek Hoplite soldier, the main Hoplite battles, and how the nature of those battles changed radically from the opening to the closing of the war. Likewise in “Walls” he investigates the ancient Greek practice of siege warfare. Naval battles are discussed in “Ships”, cavalry in “Horses”, and so on. As he examines these topics in detail he also touches on several recurring themes, chief among them the cost of the war in material treasure, human lives, and the way the Peloponnesian war changed Western concepts of war forever. All of this is fascinating.

The issue I had was not with the information presented, but how it was presented. The topical approach simply did not work for me. It was too fragmented and disjoint. I felt like I was reading the same story over and over again. True, each chapter varied from the last in topic, but too many of the events and characters were repeated. The narrative thread provided by a linear history was disrupted as those characters and events lost their normal place in a timeline. It did not help that this was my first reading of a book on the Peloponnesian war. Perhaps if I had already read Thucydides, “A War Like No Other” would have been more accessible.

On the whole, Hanson’s book is worthwhile, but I cannot recommend it to the newcomer to the war between Athens and Sparta. Start with Thucydides. I intend to make him my next stop.

View all my reviews

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