Roosh vs. The Media

Last week there was a big uproar on social media about Roosh V from ReturnoftheKings.com and several books about pulling wool in 2nd world nations hosting meetups across the world.   The media presented this non-event as a series of “legalize rape rallies” and referred to Roosh over and over as “pro-rape blogger”.    Roosh responded the other day with a 30 minute press conference where he basically tears the bullshit clickbait media to shreds…it is pretty funny.

Of course this news had the expected results – outrage, “omg, I can’t even!”, people wanting to go to these locations to beat up “pro-rape people”, people posting white knight shit looking for pats on the back, etc, etc.   Roosh himself was doxxed and I believe his parents were as well, which came along with the usual death threats and other hijinks.

Now this Roosh guy is a pretty big deal on the internet and has been for quite a while now.   I think he’s one of the bigger if not the biggest names in the “manosphere” and “pick up artist” community.  I’m not going to say that I completely *get* these worlds or Roosh, but I’ve seen enough to have something of a feel for it and him.  He’s made a name for himself by pushing buttons of the feminist and/or social justice warrior world.   I believe immediately before this he declined an interview with some silly news outlet unless the reporter offered to give him a blow job.

While there is an element of “trolling” to ROK, it’s not entirely without substance.   There is some good food for thought on issues that are uncomfortable to discuss for most such as gender roles, multiculturalism and challenging the liberal stranglehold on dialog in this country (i.e. the “SJW’s” who shame the world into accepting their narrative).   I think the thing that endears Roosh & Co. to their readers is that although men whisper about these topics among ourselves, they’re out in the open and being brazen about these views.   Although I don’t count myself as one of ROK’s fans (or detractors) and I have some reservations about the manosphere/pick up artist world, I think it IS a valuable service to speak up and challenge views that most people take for granted, regardless of what those views are.

So on to the article that got Roosh all the bad press….

About a year ago he put out an article where he said that rape should be legal on private property.   I remember seeing this article about three months ago and was able to easily tell that it was satire with maybe a dash of confrontational bravado.   The point of the article was valid – if women don’t want to be raped, they should think twice about doing things like hanging out with sketchy people, getting wasted and going to sketchy places and the belief that the law will protect them takes away an element of self-responsibility to not put yourself in bad situations.

The response to this article was predictably “Are you saying it’s womens’ fault???!?!” and “Why don’t you just tell men to not rape women!?!!?”.    Both valid points/questions, but I think the point being made was that if the kind of people talking about “rape culture”, misogyny and male privilege put that kind of effort into convincing other women to not do stupid things and put themselves in vulnerable situations by say, getting trashed at a frat party or going back to “party” with a bunch of people you just met at the bar, I’m sure the number of rapes would decrease.     Yes, you could tell men to stop raping people (and of course that is said all the time and yes it is important to say), but if I were a woman, I’d rather trust my ability to avoid potentially dangerous situations over trusting that someone else has had “don’t rape” ingrained into them.    If I remember the article right, Roosh was taking it in a direction that he feels like the people who talk the most about stopping rape seem to be more concerned with having an axe to grind with men over practical solutions to the problem.

 

Overall, I thought he made a pretty valid point in his satirical article.   I also think it’s a bigger problem in American society that people who claim to want problems solved seem to get hung up on throwing blame on whoever they see as being responsible over finding real solutions.   For example, many people who claim to be concerned about the environment live a lifestyle not all that dissimilar from the SUV driving evil Republicans in the suburbs who they view as the culprit but since they think the right thoughts and hope that the government/big business will fix the problem, they’re part of the solution.   For the Black Lives Matter people it’s easier to annoy regular middle class white people (which yeah, I admit IS funny) than to address dysfunction within their own community that costs way more black lives than wrongful police shootings.   We could go on with more examples of this kind of behavior….

I think I will go on with one more example that Roosh points out in the video…   Right now there’s a plague of rapes in Europe caused by the wave of migrants that flooded in over the summer and previous Islamic immigration.   Sweden now has one of the world’s highest rape rates.   Just the other day a 10 year old boy was raped by an Iraqi refugee in Austria.    It’s a difficult subject for the media to address because it goes against their narrative, but attacking a guy with a blog is a lot easier.   The same people who post clickbait articles about male privilege and microaggressions aren’t touching this with a 10 foot pole.    Good point, Roosh.

Anyways, back to the press conference video…  It’s worth a watch.   On some levels I lose a bit of sympathy for Roosh since part of his persona was to push these people’s buttons but he does a good job of calling these people out on their bullshit and let them know what kind of damage they did to him.

As far as Roosh goes, I think he’s fortunate that most of the outrage over his existence is a mile wide and an inch deep, just like a lot of other issues that come up in our media-concocted “Two Minutes Hate” each day.   By that I’m sure most of the people that say this saw nothing more than a headline and started foaming at the mouth (which of course IS understandable if you really think there’s a pro-rape rally in your town) and then in a week or so when someone else gets into their cross hairs, even more people will forget about it.   He’ll probably always have some level of fallout from this event, but the short attention spans that the media and their outrage culture have created will work in his benefit in the long run.

Here’s the video…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD6ajfna7tE

Clinton and Cruz Cheating In The Iowa Caucus?

Several articles have come up accusing both candidates of fraud or at least very sketchy behavior in the Iowa Caucus.

 

First, let’s talk Hillary…

I guess the coin toss IS a real thing that’s in the books for the democrats when there is a split decision.   I was a little baffled by this too but I suppose it’s just as good of an answer as anything else in that situation.

I heard from a lot of people (mainly Bernie supporters) that most Democratic caucuses were ran by Hillary people.  Makes sense.  Usually it’s the elderly that do this kind of work.  I also heard from a lot of people that their caucuses were complete shit-shows and clusterfucks, maybe due to the record turnouts.   Some people made claims that counts were kind of shadowy between Hillary’s supporters and Bernie and that due to the long wait people were counted twice or not at all.

There was a video that surfaced on C Span of the caucus staff (in Hillary shirts) talking with Bernie’s precinct captain in a precinct that I think would’ve gone to Bernie (Roosevelt area in Des Moines.   Think LL Bean, ski trips and Dave Matthews Band) about the count where the Hillary lady claims there were more Hillary supporters than there actually were and you can see some tell-tale mannerisms of lying.    Other people said that they were short on new voter registration forms at the caucus site, which hurt Bernie (and Trump).

I’m sure Hillary’s people did fudge some numbers here and there.   I really, really think that the overall mentality of Hillary and her supporters towards Bernie’s camp was that they were a nuisance in the way of her destiny and not to be taken seriously.    Any success of Bernie would’ve been *wrong* and the result of just having a more aggressive ground game rather than being viable at the national level.   Basically Bernie winning would’ve been a fluke, rather than the “people’s will”.

One friend of mine described Hillary’s supporters at the caucus looking like “a bunch of constipated librarians and angry gym teachers” sneering at the Bernie supporters.   Another one talked about a Hillary supporter taunting the Bernie people as they came by.   I heard about a lot of shouting and animosity between the camps….

Another thing that I kept hearing was that the caucuses were often in split rooms.   Every time I’ve done it, it was in the same room.   This could just be a way to deal with the large crowds, since usually its done in a classroom or church or whatever.

Now on to Cruz…   The evangelical pull is stronger than I give it credit for in Iowa.   The evangelicals also liked Ben Carson.   I heard that many people’s decisions to switch from Carson to Cruz was made by the Cruz camp saying that Carson dropped out of the race that day.  I don’t know if that was the Cruz speech read at the caucus or what.  I heard some guy call in on the radio and say that and then the next day there were other reports of it.    Carson probably had 5% or something of support.   I know early on he was the strong favorite, above Trump and Cruz.

There’s also talk of the Microsoft counting machines favoring Rubio (who Microsoft supports…and probably the “GOP establishment” too).   His “strong third place finish” (in contrast to Trump’s “devastating second place finish”) was a little suspect, but I don’t know.   I didn’t hear much about him, but then again he comes off as less abrasive than Trump and Cruz with the “h’yuck, h’yuck, he can win!” aura to him.

 

So anyways, Cruz winning wasn’t all that surprising.  I figured it would be very close and it was, but I thought Trump would win.   Unfortunately for our Canadian friend he probably shot his wad here in Iowa and yeah, usually the Iowa Republican doesn’t go on to win it.

As far as Hillary goes, even if she didn’t benefit from shady tactics she only tied…and if there was foul play it’s pretty sad that tying was the best she could do.

I’m Not A Bernie Sanders Supporter, But….

…I do want to see the guy win the Democratic nomination and the Iowa Caucus.   Because the guy that’s not a crook or a commie won’t win and at the very least Bernie upsets the center left/center right apple cart a little bit.

So here we are on the day of the Iowa Caucus and here’s what I think will happen on the Democrat side:

Hilary’s people probably are shitting their pants right now over the prospect of her losing.  She’s acted like the nomination has been in the bag since day one and there’s probably a sense of “that’s not fair!” in her campaign that someone could outwork her in Iowa and if she loses it’s just because Bernie pushed it harder (which is of course the way you win elections…) and it won’t be viable on the national stage.   Or there’s a massive snowstorm coming in and the reason she’ll lose is because minorities and older people (her main supporters) couldn’t get out in the snow.

Anyways, they will try to win Iowa at the delegate level.   So she’ll (probably) lose the caucus, but she’ll try to arrange it so Hilary supporters will go on to be the delegates of their local caucus to the county and state Democrat caucus, where the votes actually count.   Ron Paul tried this last time around.

 

I have a feeling every precinct will have a smiling, smarmy baby-boomer there with a Hilary button shaking hands with the young people and telling them how great it is that they’re coming out to participate and applauding their enthusiasm, etc. to win them over and then volunteers to be the precinct delegate once the votes are tallied up.

If you’re a Bernie voter, make sure that one of your guys (or you) get picked as your delegate, especially if he wins your precinct.

I could see the same thing happening with Trump, with someone for a more “acceptable” candidate volunteers to be the delegate and learns that they can choose someone other than the candidate the precinct picked.      It’s completely above board, just a little on the sketchy side since most people probably figure that their precinct vote will go forward with the delegate.

Although I won’t be participating tonight, I’m looking forward to the results since we actually have something a little different than we normally would have on both sides.

It’s Iowa Caucus Time…

It’s that time of the election cycle again.   When you live in Iowa you’re subjected to call after call, door knock after door knock, ad after ad, etc.  Your mailbox is constantly flooded with large postcards with pictures of some candidate looking stern in a flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up, listening intently to the deepest concerns of a couple of actors dressed like the typical Iowan.

Last time around there was a period of a couple of weeks where I would get called no less than once a day by the Ron Paul campaign to ask a question I already answered (if I was going to the Straw Poll – and I even bought tickets from them).   Then they would call and say they needed help with the phones.   One day I snapped and told them that no they fucking didn’t need help because they were able to call so much and they stopped calling after that.

This year I just got a few bullshit postcards and about half a dozen calls from some smarmy Jeff Spicoli-sounding millennials asking if I was going to go to some Rand Paul event.    No thanks.   I was a little upset that I didn’t get the Donald Trump postcard that everyone else seemed to get.

I did get held up in traffic by a Sanders rally though.   I’m notorious for getting to work with about 90 seconds to spare, so every little bit matters.  I left a few minutes early one day and in downtown they blocked off the street so all the Sanders supports could march with their drums and banners into Wells Fargo Arena and hear him speak.   While my attitude towards him and his supporters is usually something like “Oh, that’s cute…” I was screaming with rage about these communist cocksuckers that day.   I did make it to work with a few seconds to spare after some speeding and running.   Way to fuck over the working man, Bernie.

Usually there’s a lot of good free entertainment (either actual entertainment, celebrity spotting or just policy wonk kinda stuff).   One year I saw Chuck Berry play at a John Edwards rally and one year I saw Joan Jett play in a tiny coffeehouse for Howard Dean.  This year I didn’t hear about anything that interesting happening.

So it has me thinking…   Is the media/political establishment already downplaying the Iowa Caucus as a proactive measure to shrug off the (very real) possibility of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump winning?   It seems like both parties (and the people at top that control them both!) have held their cards close on this one….they haven’t completely written it off, so if Hilary and/or Cruz whens they can still use it to their advantage.  But if Sanders/Trump wins, they can easily go down the “Iowa doesn’t matter” route” without going back on much.

Each year there’s always some talk about how something is wrong with the Iowa Caucus, usually that the state is too white to represent the rest of the country (we’re currently in the high 80’s percentage wise) or sometimes they’ll point to the high numbers of evangelicals (which probably isn’t that much higher than the nation as a whole, just a lot more than in New York City where the complaints come from).   Then they also point out a dismal record of Iowa picking the actual winner – I don’t know the numbers on this, but like most figures you can take what you want out of it.    Realistically the Iowa Caucus shouldn’t be seen as something that picks *the* winner, but it really narrows down the field and shatters some illusions on who is viable and who isn’t going forward.   If you can’t manage to run through a fairly small state and talk to “folks” at a couple dozen Pizza Ranch franchises and pick up some double digit support, you’re probably fucked nation-wide.

Anyways, I predict the hit pieces on Iowa will start rolling out tomorrow (Monday, 1/25) about how the results won’t matter because of aggressive ground campaigns in a small state don’t reflect feelings nationwide (Sanders), these people are too white, etc.    Then when/if Trump/Sanders wins, they’ll really, really, really come out and we’ll see articles about how “well, this is just the final nail in Iowa’s coffin!” and a lot of patronizing Trump-shaming (just made that up!) from the usual suspects in New York City.

Honestly, I’m looking forward to all the “shame on you!” editorials from all sides of the fence if we do pick Der Trumpenfuhrer.   They can all eat a dick and there’s a reason why people would go down the Trump route and that reason is because virtually everyone else “in the establishment” (media, politics) is so fucking god awful that we want a guy that sneers at them too.

On the Sanders note, I think that the Hilary creating the aura of “I’m already the candidate” has fucked her and it will backfire in Iowa.   Even if people like her, who will want to venture out from in front of the TV and into the cold to pick the “clear winner”?   Bernie’s people will come out.   They’re polling pretty close.   It’s easy to answer a poll, it takes a little more work to leave the house.

The way the Democrats do their caucus is a little different than the Republicans here… it’s almost kind of a last man standing thing.   So if there’s an even split between Hilary and Bernie and a couple O’Malley people, their group gets broken up and then they have to go choose another candidate to stand with.   His couple percent could be very interesting!   I’d imagine you would go for him if you think Bernie’s a socialist loon and Hilary is well, Hilary.

I also predict that both parties have a plan B in the way of making sure that delegates to represent the individual caucuses get picked that support one of the more legitimate candidates.  The results of the caucus goes to the county and state party conventions.   The delegate doesn’t necessarily have to vote for the person their caucus picked.   The Ron Paul folks tried this strategy and the state GOP nearly shit their pants when they figured out what was going on.

So I’ll say that if you’re a Bernie or Trump supporter, make sure that the delegate is someone from your camp.

Me personally I probably won’t be participating.  I have to work.  It is likely that I could get off early that night, but I’d feel kind of silly missing half a day for it.  I want to see how Trump’s candidacy plays out in the discussions before voting….and the caucuses really are a good time to meet people in your immediate area.

I would vote for Trump (*gasp!!!*)   Yeah, I know.   Wow, just wow.  I can’t even.   While I don’t completely trust the guy or believe that he can really change things, I do like the main tenants of his policy – economic populism and curbing immigration.   No, we’re not going to get Mexico to build a wall and honestly I think Islamic immigration to the United States isn’t really *that* big of an issue.   I live in an urban area and rarely see a Middle Eastern Muslim in my day-to-day life.  We have scarier people lurking among us already and realistically I’m probably several times more likely to be harmed by Hispanic immigrants than Islamic immigrants.

Anyways, we’ll see how this plays out when/if the non-acceptable candidates win.    While I don’t support Bernie, I’ll say good luck to those guys.   At the very least I appreciate that he’ll bring up some issues and views outside of mainstream politics

Frozen Chickens

The weather has been really erratic over the past two weeks or so.  The past two weekends had the coldest nights of the year, getting down well below zero.   We had a few normal winter days of 20F or so and a day that almost hit 40.   As I write this, it’s a seemingly balmy 4.7 degrees out there.

While these kinds of temperatures always suck, having the chickens make it a little more “real”.    Every morning I’m up at 6:30ish to go out, feed them, let them out and give them water.   This time of year I’m out every couple of hours to crack ice in their water dish or if it’s completely frozen solid, break out the ice and fill it up with hot water.   I feel like I should have to feed them more considering they’re not doing much foraging but strangely enough it doesn’t seem like they’re going through as much food.   They need the energy to stay warm, but they’re also less active.

Then there’s the eggs.  Normally they could sit out all day and it not be a problem, but if they sit for longer than a couple of hours they’ll freeze and crack.   We’ve been using these recently-cracked ones to feed the dog.

One breed (barred rock) is cold-hardy and the other (red hybrids) aren’t as much.    Still, they seem ok.  I’ve been checking their combs and feet for signs of frost damage.   I suppose there are things you can do to give them heat like heatlamps or heating pads, but there’s a risk of fire with those too…and some people say they’re unnecessary since they build up tolerance to the cold and as long as you keep them dry and out of the wind, they’re usually fine.   Their coop is (intentionally) airy but it seems ok.  I should put a little thermometer in there.    They just huddle up when they roost and they seem to get through the nights just fine.

Last weekend when it got down into the teens below zero Mary made a comment like “well, if we lose any chickens I have a feeling it will be tonight” which kept me up and nervous for a while.   Fortunately that didn’t happen and so far we’ve made it through almost as bad as it gets, temperature wise.   A big blizzard might ruin their day, but we haven’t had that quite yet.   I do remember their first snow, they had a “what the fuck is this?!?!” look to them when I came out to them that morning and they were NOT happy.

Although it sucks to get out of a warm bed before sun, I guess this sort of thing gives me a real touch of seasonality in my life that a lot of people don’t get.   Yeah, it’s cold.  There’s shit to do though and some living creatures depend on me to do these things…and in turn, I get eggs.

Oh Angela….

Angela Merkel has been at the helm in Germany for quite some time now and it’s kind of funny how often she’s flipped on the immigration thing.

She made a statement a few years ago that “multiculturalism has failed” in Germany.   A lot of people said “no shit”, even more said “I can’t believe she said that!” (and possibly “no shit” behind closed doors) but it was still considered a very controversial statement.   Although the demographic dynamics of the US and Europe are a little different, I still can’t picture as US politician making a statement like that.    Mean spirited or not, the “Iron Lady of Germany” could point to rising tensions between the West and the Islamic world, the lack of integration of immigrant communities in Germany and the rest of Europe and moreover the economic and social gap between native born Europeans and immigrants and their children.  At the time there was a rising tide against immigration all over Europe so although it was a controversial statement, it wasn’t out of nowhere.

 

Fast forward a few years later and millions from around the Middle East and Africa come knocking on Europe’s door.   Even people who tend to be into the the idea of immigration and that they can/should assimilate were uncomfortable with the idea of so many coming in such a short period of time.  Considering the EU’s economic issues and the fact that they still have problems getting the immigrants they already have on the same page, it’s not an easy task.   Merkel steps up to the podium to give the people of Germany (and the whole EU, really) a rah-rah speech about how “we can do it!” and take on the daunting task of…taking in all these refugees.  She threw some barbs at leaders like Viktor Orban of Hungary who basically said “no” and “fuck no” to taking them in and also threw some barbs and dropped some of that good ol’ Nazi guilt on domestic nay-sayers.

Fast forward six months later to New Years’ Eve.   Just as many predicted/stated, there would be a rash of sexual assaults throughout Europe committed by refugees or at least people of the same background as the refugees.   By all accounts the big incident in Cologne was horrific as they yanked girls (even underage ones) away from husbands, boyfriends, etc. to molest them.   I saw some video of them shooting off fireworks in the city center and it did have an unnerving aura to it all – not festive, but threatening.   It looked like a warzone.   It appears that similar attacks happened in other European cities and in places like Sweden the rape/sexual assault rate has gone through the roof and almost entirely due to the foreigners.   I don’t know if this is true or not, but I’ve heard from several sources that the rape rate in Sweden rivals some African countries – a combination of extremely docile prey and wound-up aggressors with an axe to grind against that society.

So after the outrage in Cologne, Merkel gets in front of the German public promising stricter scrutiny of the migrants and promises of fewer of them.

What happened to the idea that these people would be good for Germany AND that Germany had a moral imperative to take them?   The same lady that told everyone to open their hearts now tries to ride the wave of being tough on immigration, like no one remembers a few months ago?    Fuck her.

I think more than anything this gets chalked up as another example of how we (westerners in democracies) always tend to vote in wishy-washy opportunists with no real convictions on anything other than personal prestige.   It’s one thing to be responsive to your constituents but it’s another thing to stand up and just say some bullshit to dodge a (proverbial) bullet and avoid making difficult decisions.

Oregon (Still) Under Attack!!!

So this is still going on…   No one has died from gunfire or lack of snacks, but there’s a couple of things that stand out to me about this.
First, what happened to the whole “question authority” thing on the left???   I think the most bizarre thing about all of this is that the left/liberals have been very, very pro-government on this issue.   I don’t even think the ranchers/militiamen grievances have even been discussed at the national level from the left – they’re ready to accept everyone else’s narrative at face value.   I’ve heard/read a lot of “how dare they rise up against the government” and “why doesn’t the government just bomb the shit out of these guys?”.   I’m not saying I expect everyone to be on their side, I just think it’s noteworthy how pro-establishment the left is these days.   I noticed this with the Confederate flag debate too, all the talk about “treason”, “traitors” and so on.

The other thing is the idea that “if they were black or Muslim, they would’ve killed them all right off the bat.”      Yes, this is probably true.   Is this a case of institutional racism or is it a case of the US government not having the political capital to pull off something like that?    Let’s face it, right or wrong, everyone would be ok with the Feds wiping out an armed uprising of Muslims.   These angry white guys don’t exist in a bubble – there’s many out there that sympathize with them AND as we learned from Oklahoma City, it’s not exactly out of the playbook for these groups to commit acts of terrorism/revenge against the Federal Government.

It’s been a week since this thing started and fortunately it seems like the government is handling it in an appropriate manner by not being heavy-fisted with this and basically just containing/ignoring it.   This IS fourth generation warfare on our shores and there are factors beyond firepower vs. firepower to take into consideration and it’s best for all parties involved if they proceed with caution.

I have a feeling this will just fall off the radar shortly, which is a good thing.

Why Is Hungary So Anti-Immigrant?

Long story short – they have a history of being the conquered rather than the guilt of being the conquerors unlike Western Europe, a smaller economy without as much as the “fluff” (tourism, dishwashers, etc) as Western Europe, a strong leader on this subject (Viktor Orban) and most importantly, while Western Europe & the USA were shifting towards neoliberalism, multiculturalism and a consumer/individualistic society, Hungary was hanging out behind the iron curtain with only their national identity and the Communist Party – they had multiculturalism pitched to them but only at the international level a la “international solidarity”.

 


Excerpt from New World Made By Hand Novel Released

http://kunstler.com/excerpt-from-the-harrows-of-spring/

 

I absolutely love the World Made By Hand series by James Howard Kunstler and I believe this would be the fourth and final installment, considering he said he intended to make a novel for each season of the year.    The first one started off in the heat of summer and this one will pick up in the lean days of spring…

I don’t think in the modern world we really get how miserable spring can be without our contemporary systems of support.   Traditionally humans would store up food over the summer and fall to make it through the winter.   By the end of the winter even the most prepared were probably down to the least desirable food.   Other than dandelions and a few other spring greens, there wasn’t much to be had growing.   Animals were lean from the winter and often nursing new offspring.   In other words, mother nature wasn’t exactly giving up a lot of sustenance in the early spring which left a gap in the year where food was difficult to come by.

One of the most commented on aspects of the series has been the discussion of food in the post-cheap oil world Kunstler imagines, ranging from meager to downright appealing.   I imagine that this novel will be really grim, as human enjoyment in the other novels is often expressed through food…   There’s nothing to be happy about when you’re down to stored acorns and boiled dandelion greens.

I thought in “History of the Future” Kunstler was a little too hard on the “rednecks” (as usual – this guy hates the South) and as a guy from Iowa I always get a little nervous when people start bashing the South because I figure we’re next on the chopping block.    In this one it looks like the antagonists come in the form of yankee “social justice warriors” from Massachusetts, so it looks like that will probably balance out Kunstler’s involvement  the contemporary political battle going on for America’s soul.

 

I’m looking forward to the book released in June and I might do a video later…

First Alcohol in 7 Years…

So about seven years ago I decided to quit drinking.  Period.   No, not even because it’s your birthday.   Right, yeah, not even a beer.   Yeah, period.

I didn’t have a huge problem or anything, but it did get to the point where pretty much every night I was off work was spent on a bar stool with a Bud in hand and consequently every morning thereafter was spent loafing around dealing with a hangover and regretting the late night pizza.

I made a handful of live-improving choices within that previous year which made me feel like I was splitting off from the dead-end “let’s go get fucked up every night” mentality of a lot of people I was around and I increasingly became jaded with the idea of drinking or spending all night at a bar.   Although it sounds kind of strange to me now, I think I was also influenced by some of the straight edge people I was around at the time.   Not to say that they were people worth putting up on a pedestal (with all due respect), but I appreciated how they stood apart from the indulgence and tomfuckery of damn near everyone else that hung around the subculture world.

Anyways, a few months later I had my last beer.   Sitting in a cafe in Paris.  A Stella Artois, after a nice meal of duck confit, pommes frites and tiramisu.    I wasn’t exactly sure at the time it was my last and to be honest even though it was memorable, I always wished it was a good ol’ Budweiser and not some faggy European beer.

I wouldn’t say that I *lost* friends in the sense that people didn’t want to talk to me after quitting drinking, but it did make friendships difficult sometimes.   Being sober in bars gets old.   Listening to drunks feel guilty about being all fucked up around me and constantly telling me that they were “cutting back” got old (“cutting back” almost always means they were too broke to go out one night last week or something, btw).   Getting asked silly questions about if I was going to drink because of this or that occasion got old.   Although I had other bonds with my friends, drinking was definitely a big one that was hard to overcome.

For about five years I was married to/dated a girl that didn’t drink either.   Although after a short period of time I lost the temptation to drink, I’ll admit that made the time easier.  After we separated, I didn’t even think about taking up drinking again, although drinking does make being single a lot easier.   I did go to bars with friends during that period and generally enjoyed myself but at the same time I always felt a little out of place by NOT having a drink in my hand….and it sure as fuck would’ve been weird to go sit on a bar stool on my night off and pound water and I’m sure most women would send up an internal red flag if there was a dude hanging out by himself not drinking at a bar.

Anyways, on to my decision TO drink…

As everyone knows, a big set of interests of mine are things like unusual edibles, growing things, DIY stuff, food preservation, etc.  I would read about currant wine or making wine from kiwis, dandelion wine and so-on.   Although I never was interested in craft brews, the thought of them actually became interesting.   I would hear about this or that and think “Hmm, that sounds good” or “it would be cool to try to make this or that”.

The real enabler came this summer when Mary and I decided to pick up a six pack of O’Doul’s dark lager, almost as a joke (because she isn’t much of a drinker).    I actually enjoyed it and it wasn’t my last six pack of it either…   I liked the ritual of having something like that on my night off once everything is done and I’m maybe winding down, doing some work on my computer or whatever.

Although I don’t regret the decision to not drink, I do regret not drinking on SOME occasions.   I should’ve had champagne with my hockey team when we won our league’s championship last year – what an amazing event that was for us.   I’ve traveled to quite a few places since not drinking and should’ve done it just to partake in the local culture – why not ” ‘ave a pint” in a pub in London?    Get hammered on Brains (beer) in Wales and listen to the locals tell me about our culture.   Should’ve had some nice Argentinean wine or Quilmes and loosened up with the natives in Buenos Aires.    Should’ve downed some Tecates and screamed “VAYA!!! VAYA!!! VAYA!!!!” with the rowdy crowd watching the luchadores in Guadalajara.    Fuck, should’ve had a glass of wine with my mother on Christmas or a toast with Mary on some of our most important days.

Ok, so my first drink after all that time…   Mary is able to get decent wines at damn near wholesale prices through her job.    She had a bottle of a riesling that was apparently good but relatively cheap.   I forgot what it was, but I had about two glasses of it one night and it was a complete non-event. I thought I’d get tipsy, but it didn’t happen.   Two nights later was my hockey team’s Christmas party and I had two glasses of a moscato (which was really, really good), one glass of some red wine that was ok and two New Glarus beers (which are a hot commodity outside of Wisconsin, btw).   I figured that would be enough to put me under, but I just felt “bubbly” but still in control.  I think one more drink would’ve put me over though.

I’ve had a few drinks here and there…the grocery store has a “make your own six pack” for $9.99 of craft beer and I’ve purchased two of those (and drank about six) so far to try some things out.  I figured I’d probably go nuts for the next few weeks and then watch it taper off from there.   Right now I’m having a “Pumpkin Ale” which isn’t that bad, but I can’t see myself wanting to drink more than one of these.   I guess that’s kind of a good thing though…

All things considered, I don’t feel like I’ve caved or given in.   I think I’m at a point in my life where adding the occasional alcoholic beverage will only allow me to experience more things.   If a few months from now I’m downing 10 cans of Miller Lite a day, then we need to reevaluate this decision.  For now I like the idea that I can enjoy something of a special beverage in my home as I wind down for the evening or maybe after an afternoon of working outside or fully take part in some socialization rituals….and the fact that there are now so many more products that come locally and/or from small-scale agriculture that I can now partake in.

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