From the category archives:


What the heck is Perky Jerky?

Well, let’s get something out of the way first: it’s not jerky made for the beef jerky purist.

First, the name of the brand includes one of the least manly words in the English language.

Second, each serving of the jerky contains as much caffeine as a small cup of coffee. It’s touted as a performance-enhancing meat snack. Yes, really.

Wha? Caffeinated jerky? I know, I was pretty wary myself at first.

But here’s the thing–it’s delicious. Really delicious.

Around Christmastime, I decided I wanted to branch out from the big brand jerkies out there and try some local fare. So I went down to my local jerky store–yes, you heard that right, my local jerky store–and bought like six different brands that are made here in Oklahoma.

They were terrible. All of them. So dry it was like chewing on a piece of shoe leather. I threw half of it away, I couldn’t even stomach it, and I can stomach most anything.

This is why I’ve become a big fan of Perky Jerky. It’s the most tender jerky I’ve ever tasted. It’s flavored with the Amazonian guarana berry–that’s where the caffeine comes from–and it has a unique sweet taste that is uber-addicting. The jerky is packed with protein, is low fat and low carb, and is made without junk like nitrates, preservatives, or added MSG. A most excellent snack all around.

I never expected to embrace this new-fangled energy-meat, but what can I say: it’s weird, but wonderful.

Perky Jerky offered me 12 bags of their jerky to give away to one lucky AoM Trunk reader.

If you’d like to try this jerky for yourself, leave a comment telling us something you need more energy for.

We’ll randomly select one comment as the winner. Giveaway ends Jan. 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm CST.


 Editor’s note: AoM reader Jeremiah Jacques submitted the following piece as a guest post for the main site. While the article is a little quirkier and less practical than the normal fare on the main blog, I got such a kick out of it I told him I’d publish it here on The Trunk. Enjoy.

The sedentary nature of office work is sometimes enough to make a virile, white-collar man regret taking the path that led him to become an Assistant Deputy Coordinator of Client Data and Management Information, and to wish he’d instead been a cowboy, or maybe a lumberjack.

But the world is rapidly shrinking, the U.S.’s post-industrial economy is becoming service-oriented, and the average cowboy is barely pulling in $20k a year.

This brave new world has muscled legions of lumberjacks out of the forests and into cubicles, forced them to swap their chainsaws for three-hole punches, and made them watch as their barrel-chests atrophy into doughy abdomens scarcely able to support their enfeebled limbs. Observe:

But during my years as an office monkey, I’ve developed a few techniques to slow the inevitable decline into obesity-induced paralysis, and I thought the inner-cowboy of Art of Manliness readers might like to hear about them.

(1) Winston Churchill

One day, about two years after I’d transitioned from blue to white-collar work, I looked at my hands and noticed that the callouses I’d earned from earlier years of carpentry and steel fabrication had vanished, and given way to soft, womanly palms, better suited for applying facial ointments to sunburned infants than for slinging hammers.

So, I found this 35-lb. slab of asphalt on a roadside, and hauled it into my office:

I originally named him Writing Companion, because I would rotate the rough chunk of road around in my hands as I read/researched for writing projects. Soon, his name was truncated to W.C., and later re-expanded in a mutated form to Winston Churchill (one of my heroes).

I try to rotate Churchill around for at least a few minutes each day, and the activity prevents most people from mistaking me for an Oil of Olay salesman during handshakes. A session with Churchill can also be enough of an upper-body workout to get my heart-rate up… And, speaking of up, point 2 is…

(2) Ascend the Walls

Fitness pundits advise office workers to forgo the rock-star parking spot, to instead park at the far end of the lot– forcing us to take at least two short walks during the day.

I take that advice one step further, and forgo the luxury of stairs to instead climb walls as often as possible:

This kind of activity is fairly anaerobic, but it’s good for pecks, forearms, and tiny muscles in your fingers that you probably didn’t even know you had. This fitness technique will also lead many of your co-workers to believe you are of Sherpan ancestry, which comes with a whole host of unexpected advantages.

Not all buildings, and not all security crews allow for a man to make such an entrance, but the broader point is to take the difficult way on purpose whenever you can.

(3) Micro-Aerobics

Oliver Wendall Holmes said “Stillness and steadiness of features are signal marks of good breeding.” It would be tough to dispute the integrity of Holmes’s logic, but inactivity doesn’t burn calories.

Ever since studying percussion for a while in my early teenage years, I’ve been annoying classmates and co-workers by (mostly) subconsciously tapping out rudiments and rhythms with all four limbs. I hadn’t given much thought to this habit until I read an article published earlier this year in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Here’s an excerpt:

“Fidgeting at your desk [is] contributing more to your cardiorespiratory fitness than you might think. Researchers have found that both the duration and intensity of incidental physical activities (IPA) are associated with cardiorespiratory fitness.”

So, movement promotes cardio health, even when this movement is generated from incidental activity on a micro-muscular level. Cultivating a healthier  heart at work means that, when you’re not at work, you can do manly things–backing up trailers, brewing beer, surviving bear attacks, mixing concrete, refusing to wear socks with sandals, and collecting maps–with greater efficiency.

If Holmes is right, fidgeting will make you look like an inbred yokel, but you’ll be a cardiovascularly-robust inbred yokel!

Just because you are a white-collar man doesn’t mean you have to look like one. If you employ these tips, you can cultivate and retain ruggedness, and be a truly manly office monkey.



There has always been a lot of independent jerky makers out there who made jerky without all the artificial crap found in mainstream varieties. But this was of no help when you were stranded at a grocery or convenience store somewhere and wanted to get a tasty, protein-y, relatively healthy snack. You were left having to snap into a SlimJim. So it’s cool that Oberto’s (a company with real Italian-American roots that goes back almost a century) has overhauled its jerky and become the only major jerky brand to offer an all natural line. Their new better quality jerky is made with no artificial flavors, no artificial additives, no corn syrup and 30% less sodium than other national brands.

And Oberto’s is giving away a dozen bags of their new all-natural jerky to a lucky Trunk reader. Oh Boy! Indeed.

This is one of those giveaways where I wish I could win the prize myself. They sent me 3 bags and they were delicious. I could have really used 9 more. I freakin love jerky. If you’d like to be a luckier man than I, enter to win.

Entering is easy, just leave comment with what flavors you’d like if you win. You can pick any assortment of the following:

  • Hickory
  • BBQ Pork
  • Peppered
  • Teriyaki Turkey
  • Teriyaki Beef
  • Original

Giveaway ends Nov. 25, 2011 at 10:00 pm CST. We’ll randomly draw one comment as the winner.



Andrew Jackson said that these were his mother’s last words to him:

“Andrew, if I should not see you again, I wish you to remember and treasure up some things I have already said to you: in this world you will have to make your own way. To do that you must have friends. You can make friends by being honest, and you can keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will in the long run expect as much from you as they give to you. To forget an obligation or be ungrateful for a kindness is a base crime-not merely a fault or a sin, but an actual crime. Men guilty of it sooner or later must suffer the penalty. In personal conduct be always polite but never obsequious. None will respect you more than you respect yourself. Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition. But sustain your manhood always. Never bring a suit in law for assault and battery or for defamation. The law affords no remedy for such outrages that can satisfy the feelings of a true man. Never wound the feelings of others. Never brook wanton outrage upon your own feelings. If you ever have to vindicate your feelings or defend your honor, do it calmly. If angry at first, wait until your wrath cools before you proceed.”

Jackson took his mother’s advice  to heart by ever so calmly defending his honor in at least 13 duels, one of which he allowed the other man to shoot him first, took the bullet in his ribs without quivering, and then shot his opponent dead.


The Inkleaf Leather Co. crafts their fine leather goods in a small workshop in Colorado. This is a mom and pop operation in the truest sense; the company consists of a husband and wife team who make everything themselves, with their own four hands. They hand tool, hand dye and hand stitch everything they craft.  Their products are made with  4-5 oz Hermann Oak vegetable tanned leather and are stitched with waxed Irish linen thread, just like the top saddle makers use.

Inkleaf Leather Co. is giving away one of their large Moleskine notebook covers in walnut (an $80 value). Protect your trusty pocket notebook with handsome leather.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling us what you use your pocket notebook for.

Giveaway ends Nov. 17 at 10:00 pm CST. We will randomly draw one comment to be the winner.

Contest is over. Will be announcing winner shortly.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

In honor of the start of the World Series tomorrow, BIGS Sunflower Seeds is giving away a giant 5 gallon bucket packed with an assortment of their sunflower seed flavors (Bacon! Dill Pickle! Buffalo Wing!). When you’re done with the bucket, you can use it to store gloves or balls, or stock it with more sunflower seeds to keep in the dugout. The top is padded and doubles as a seat.

To enter to win, leave a quick comment telling us your favorite baseball team.

We’ll randomly draw one of the comments as the winner.

Deadline to enter is Wednesday, Oct. 26.


When AoM reader Gabriel Coeli recently visited the Modern Man Barbershop in Portland, Oregon, he was so impressed by the experience he wanted to write something up about it for The Trunk. Here is his report:


Before you even step through the front door of Portland, Oregon’s newest barbershop, you know there’s something unique about the place.

Outside, perched on an antique stool with a novel splayed in his lap, is a shoe-shiner. He wears a corduroy suit and a neat paisley tie. His mustache is curly and full – he looks like an atavist of Mark Twain; his name is Sam, and today he greets me with a grin and a firm handshake.

“Welcome to The Modern Man,” he says.

I pass under the spinning red, white, and blue barber’s pole hung over the door, and into a wide, refurbished parlor of a classic Alberta Street Victorian home. I hear strains of classic country music over the click and pop of the vintage record player: Marty Robbins falling in love with his Mexican girl. The floor is hardwood, and on it rests the large pelt of a black bear. Trophies of bucks, goats, and buffalo hang on the walls and stare empty-eyed. On a rustic wooden table, magazines are scattered haphazardly. Field and Stream. Guns and Ammunition. And because this is Portland, Hobby Farming.

I’m greeted again–this time by a stout man covered in colorful tattoos who sports large-gauge earrings that have stretched his lobes into globes. He introduces himself as Christopher, and pours me a neat Maker’s Mark–whiskey is complimentary with every haircut–and in between jovial, deprecating banter with his barbers, he tells me the story of his business.

“I’ve been working in and around small businesses for nearly all of my life.” he tells me. “I couldn’t imagine not working in one. I couldn’t imagine not owning my own business.”

Christopher was raised on a chili farm near Ashland, Oregon, in the dry, high deserts near the border of California. Some of his favorite memories, he says, happened on Sundays at the barbershop with his brother and father. “The barbershop was where I learned to be a man,” he says. “My father took us there and let us see the men talking, let us join their conversations, and then talked to us afterward about what it means to be a man. That was so important to me.”

So when Christopher decided to start his own business, he knew exactly what he wanted to do: “I wanted to build a barbershop my Dad would want to come to. I don’t want to be rich. I just want to make a living working for myself, and do what I love.”

The time comes for my shave and haircut. Bubba, a massive man in a white smock with his name embroidered just above his heart, leads me to one of the three barbers’ chairs. Since I’m a Marine full-time and a writer part-time, I ask him for a military medium-reg. He doesn’t ask me any questions; he knows the cut exactly. After an expert shearing, he leans me back and places a hot towel over my face, then lathers me up and produces a straight razor. Our conversation turns to the subject of marriage–I’m recently engaged, and she and I have been searching for venues for weeks. He tells me about his and his husband’s troubles finding just the right spot for their civil union. I tell him about the challenges of raising my five year-old daughter; he tells me the challenges of raising his sixteen year-old daughter. Bubba keeps me talking and chuckling the whole way through–he’s a genuine man, with a decidedly dark and absurdist sense of humor, and a contagious laugh that gets everyone in the shop going when he starts guffawing at one of his own jokes.

When Bubba’s finished with me, he directs me to the classic cologne bar, featuring scents such as absinthe, mouchoir and sapera. The bottles offer rich smells, and I take a little of the sapera for myself. It smells like honey, leather, and smoke.

Christopher and I go out the front door and light up a cigar–also complimentary with the haircut–and we chat for a bit while Sam shines my shoes. “This is just the beginning,” he tells me. He’s got plans to open a proper haberdashery and on the second level of his building. “Men’s clothes, men’s accessories–anything the modern man needs.”

His shop is already what Portland’s modern men need–it’s a barbershop, sure. But it’s also a place where true manliness–not the infantile, perpetual adolescent “masculinity” so rampant in our culture–is alive, encouraged, and honored.

Next time you’re in Portland, swing by The Modern Man on 25th and Alberta. It’s just $18 for a cut and your choice of whiskey, a cigar, and a pick-me-up for your heart. You won’t just leave looking respectable; The Modern Man will refresh your verve, and send you off with a manly smile on your clean-shaven face.

Gabriel Coeli is a freelance writer and a Marine living in Portland, Oregon. He contributes to several web pages.


This essay by Henry Rollins was originally published in Details Magazine in 1994.

Iron and the Soul

By Henry Rollins

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.


When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time. As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.’s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say sh–t to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr. Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

 From Ross Training

Hat tip to Carl Monster in the Community for this.


Today’s post on the entrance of your progeny into the world reminded me of this poem, from back in the days when dad was left to pace outside and wait for news of his baby’s arrival.

Becoming A Dad
By Edgar A. Guest

Old women say that men don’t know
The pain through which all mothers go,
And maybe that is true, and yet
I vow I never shall forget
The night he came. I suffered, too,
Those bleak and dreary long hours through;
I paced the floor and mopped my brow
And waited for his glad wee-ow!
I went upstairs and then came down,
Because I saw the doctor frown
And knew beyond the slightest doubt
He wished to goodness I’d clear out.

I walked into the yard for air
And back again to hear her there,
And met the nurse, as calm as though
My world was not in deepest woe,
And when I questioned, seeking speech
Of consolation that would reach
Into my soul and strengthen me
For dreary hours that were to be:
“Progressing nicely!” that was all
She said and tip-toed down the hall;
“Progressing nicely!” nothing more,
And left me there to pace the floor.

And once the nurse came out in haste
For something that had been misplaced,
And I that had been growing bold
Then felt my blood grow icy cold;
And fear’s stern chill swept over me.
I stood and watched and tried to see
Just what it was she came to get.
I haven’t learned that secret yet.
I half-believe that nurse in white
Was adding fuel to my fright
And taking an unholy glee,
From time to time, in torturing me.

Then silence! To her room I crept
And was informed the doctor slept!
The doctor slept! Oh, vicious thought,
While she at death’s door bravely fought
And suffered untold anguish deep,
The doctor lulled himself to sleep.
I looked and saw him stretched out flat
And could have killed the man for that.
Then morning broke, and oh, the joy;
With dawn there came to us our boy,
And in a glorious little while
I went in there and saw her smile!

I must have looked a human wreck,
My collar wilted at the neck,
My hair awry, my features drawn
With all the suffering I had borne.
She looked at me and softly said,
“If I were you, I’d go to bed.”
Hers was the bitterer part, I know;
She traveled through the vale of woe,
But now when women folks recall
The pain and anguish of it all
I answer them in manner sad:
“It’s no cinch to become a dad.”

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So AoM got mentioned in Newsweek today……..

Unfortunately, it was mentioned in connection with a  “musty script of masculinity.” I don’t feel so bad though, as we’re included with good company: apparently Shop Class as Soulcraft and Dirty Jobs are in need of a de-humidifier as well. I’m not entirely sure that the authors have ever visited our site; they certainly never asked for my input on their article (and from the looks of it-any input from anyone other than themselves).

After re-hashing the well-known problems with men-the lopsided number of women getting college degrees and the dropping proportion of males in the workforce- the authors set out to “reimagine masculinity.” And like many of who have attempted this project before, their proposal is simply to make manhood look more like womanhood. The authors argue for a “New Macho,” in which men take more paternity leave, spend more time with their kids, do more housework, and pursue traditionally female-dominated professions like nursing and teaching. There’s nothing wrong with these proposals-I’m certainly in favor of more-involved dads and if nursing is something you’re interested in as a man, then great. But I fail to see what doing these things has to do with manhood and masculinity. The article concedes nothing unique about men, nothing unique about what motivates and animates us. It mentions nothing of what to me manhood is-the substance of the inner-man-the values, actions, and mindset that make boys into men. Any attempt to reinvigorate masculinity by completely blurring gender lines is ultimately doomed to failure.

But I’ll cease my rant and open it up to you all….what do you think of the article and this proposal to reimagine masculinity?

Read the article here.