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31 January 2014

Time, Time For Some Time For Some Fiction: The Tunnel, Part 1

I've had numerous requests from a variety of people who know I occasionally dabble in fiction to post some.  As such, I figured I might as well.  I'll be serializing a story that's still in progress but tops out at over 15 pages.  If you don't want to read it, don't- I could give two sweet fucks.  If you feel like reading it, have at it.  If you bitch, you'll only make yourselves look like assholes, because once more you're whining to a person who doesn't know or give two fucks about you in a public forum filled with people who likely hate the whiners even more than I.  That said, here's part one of my Lovecraftian splatterpunk short- The Tunnel.



THE TUNNEL, PART 1
God has abandoned me.

Th-Thump.

My heartbeat is my only companion.

Th-Thump.

That, and the mass of roiling, armor-plated eel-like insects I’m pretty sure are eating my guts right now. I can feel them move, occasionally, but there’s no pain. The pain, which was so intense it felt like I’d been raped with a Roto-rooter going full blast, stopped a few minutes ago. Now the slight clicking sounds of their jaws in my guts and the feeling as their chitinous bodies scrape past my ribs or spine or pelvis are my only companions. That, and my heartbeat.

Th-Thump.

Given the fact that I’m sitting in a pool of blood that’s larger than my torso and seems to have bits of me floating on its surface, I don’t imagine my heart will be my sole source of comfort for long. I wonder how many pints are in the pool of blood I’m sitting in and if the demonic pincer-faced creatures that seem intent on exiting my abdomen through my bellybutton drink blood or just eat guts.   

“Which organ tasted the best?”, I wondered idly.  “Did those fucking things even have tongues?”  I assumed I would find out eventually, but for now the things inside me are too disgusting to contemplate.  I don’t want to throw up again. 

The last time I puked, I got none of what you’d expect- I produced a gout of blood, some yellowish-clear liquid that appeared to be pus, and then started choking as the thing I tried to puke up fought its evil way back into my stomach.

Th-Thump.

Christ, I wish I’d just die already.

Th-Thump.

I guess God’s domain doesn't extend this far underground. This must be the old stomping grounds of Lovecraft’s Old Ones, or Behemoth and Leviathan from the Bible, or maybe the land Beast in Revelations. Whatever this is, it sucks.

Th-Thump.

I didn't get here by being curious. Lovecraft couldn't have imagined the inanity that led to my arrival in this ancient underground city, and I’m an unlikely candidate for unleashing the Apocalypse. I’m a regular American guy, a guy who loves sports and naked chicks, and getting shitfaced on the weekends.  I work a boring nine to five job in a boring office with boring people.  I return home every night to an empty house, throw my shit on the floor, change into shorts, and do whatever the fuck I want.  The consummate bachelor.  Living the dream, as it were. At least until these fucking things got into my guts and a huge monster that would have made the worst shit in HR Geiger’s paintings look like characters in the opening credits to the Care Bears cartoon practically ripped me in half.

Th-Thump.

Perhaps the most unsettling thing about this entire experience is the fact that I have a raging hardon right now. The moment the pain went away, I got hard. Viagra hard.  The kind of hardon where your dick goes kind of numb and cumming’s almost impossible, and after an hour you’re considering slamming your cock in the nightstand drawer to settle it down, but you don’t because you’ll break your fucking nightstand.  It’s totally nonsensical, but having priapism as I am slowly devoured from within is about par for the course today.  

Th-Thump.

Like all little boys, I loved dinosaurs as a kid. I’d spend every afternoon looking through books about dinos, absorbing everything, memorizing their names, and imagining living with them. The one era I hated, though, was the Cambrian. The animals in the Cambrian were too weird even for me, and I loved weird shit. It was in that epoch that I discovered an animal that made me close the book on the Cambrian and eventually dinosaurs in general. It was disgusting- segmented like a millipede, only with these weird fins covering claw-tipped legs running all down its body. Its head was ringed by five eyes, which was creepy enough for me, because asymmetricality is something you don’t often see in nature, but it got worse- the head ended in a snake-like trunk, like a lowercase letter “e”. A lump of eyes perched atop a skull, but instead of a mouth on the underside of the skull, there was a long sinuous neck ending with a with a mouth that looked like a to-scale version of the monster plant in Little Shop of Horrors, crowded impossibly with thousands of needle-like teeth. This is the kind of animal that proves that Mother Nature makes shit so grotesque even Unit 731's most deranged doctors couldn't match what's commonly found at the bottom of the ocean.  Anyway, I’m pretty sure that’s what rattled after me, filling the tunnel with a clacking sound like a roomful of crazed typists, faster than any snake I've ever seen, and bored their way into my stomach. 

I caught a couple of them before they got in me, and stomped them into a grey green mush. 

One of them bit off my left pinkie and swallowed it whole as it sailed through the air. When I stomped it, it exploded, and I saw my severed pinkie pop out of its pulped body and arc through the air in slow motion as the quicker ones burrowed right into my belly button.  I can see my pinkie now. I couldn't get it at first, because it hurt so badly, with those things inside me, eating. It doesn't hurt so much anymore, except for the occasional stitch in my side, but I’m scared to move. It might start hurting again. I want to jerk off, too, to get rid of this hardon.  One last orgasm’s not too much for me to ask for, it is?  Maybe it is- I’m too scared of what will come out of my dick if I do. What if one of those things slithered out of my cock head? What if I shot nothing but blood? I think I’ll just lay here with my hardon.

Th-Thump.

Opabinia. That’s what they were called. But they only lived in the ocean. And they’re extinct. Supposed to be extinct, anyway.

Jesus, my dick is hard.

Th-Thump.

This is all Bret’s fault. Fucking guy was on me for weeks to try this new trail in the Appalachians. I had bought a mountain bike the previous summer, and had been reasonably diligent about taking it out, mostly just to get away from work and the city. He always wants to try the next new thing, the more dangerous thing, and I, of course, couldn't back down when he called me out.

“Quit being a fucking pussy, dude. Just grab your fucking bike and let’s go. This trail is supposed to be brutal, and you haven’t had a decent wreck yet.”  Bret would break Jackie Chan’s balls about being a pussy after jumping off the roof of a three story building if there was a five story building next to it off of which Chan could have leaped.  “While we’re at it, we can grab a drink in some hilljack bar, maybe bang some random farmer’s daughter, and be back in time for church on Sunday.”

Yet another ball-busting tactic. Bret knew that I never go to church. Shit, Bret knew I’d avoid church at all costs. That did not, however, stop him from making out like I was a card-carrying member of the LDS if I told him I wanted to get some sleep on the weekend, rather than hitting every titty bar in the tri-state area.  Knowing the futility of fighting him when he was just going to wear me down in the end with constant impugnations of my manhood, I conceded.

“Alright man. I give. Let’s go.”  Pausing to consider that I’d once more caved to Bret’s heavy-handed verbal tactics, I decided to add a “fucker,” for good measure.  Never hurts to have the last word.

Th-Thump.

We loaded our bikes into the back of his mud-drenched XTerra (he bought into the “extreme sports” billing Nissan gave it, only to find he overpaid for an underpowered SUV) and tore out of my driveway, headed to whatever destination he had in mind. About ten minutes into the drive I fell asleep, not knowing where we were headed, and not really interested. I awoke as the drive turned bumpy, to find us trundling along some backwoods dirt road in the middle of the mountains.

“Dude, is this West Virginia? Where in the hell are we?”  As I asked the question, I looked around at our surroundings- there was no sign of human habitation anywhere. No power lines, no houses, no signs, no empty beer cans heaved out of the back of beat-up local pickups… nothing.
“Yeah, bro. We’re on an old logging road. I heard about this trail from some friends at the rock gym. It’s gonna be brutal! This fucking thing isn't’t even on the map!”
While he spoke, I noticed the utter straightness of the road, in spite of natural obstacles like steep hills. Bret clearly didn't notice, as he was having the time of his life, roaring off hillocks and plunging through the occasional creek. I didn't mention it at the time, because holding onto the dashboard and not putting my face through the windshield was first amongst my priorities.

Th-Thump.

They’re moving in me. I can actually see them under my skin when I lift up my shirt. The bleeding seems to have stopped, which is good, and it looks like I've got three of them in me, judging by the scabbed-over spots where they burrowed into my sides. They weren't very big, only a couple of inches long, but they were fast. I barely had time to react before the first ones were on me, my natural instinct being to basically dance in place, trying to stomp them before they could get to me. There were so many, though. I couldn't get them all, especially when I was missing a finger, shit-scared, and completely disgusted.  As much as I wanted to defend myself, I didn't want to touch their long, hard-shelled bodies and couldn't help but flinch from the sight of their godawful snake heads. 

30 January 2014

There Is Nothing New Under The Sun- Faddism In Exercises And Implements, Part 3- Indian Clubs, Kettlebells, and Heavy Partials

If only Harry Potter was 1/10 this cool.

One of my main problems with Harry Potter is that it is completely beyond belief that anyone would regard a 130 lb male adult holding a twig while wearing his high school graduation uniform with anything resembling fear, and even less believable is the idea that such a person might be capable of inflicting harm beyond a hangnail upon a hated opponent.  Call it a function of my rapidly advancing age, my will to power, or simply the belief that a heavily muscled man bearing a broad axe is a far more formidable opponent than a slightly built man with a rapier, all other things equal.  Men ought to wield manly weapons, not twigs.  Perhaps that last installment should have done more to disabuse me of that notion, but it hasn't seemed to- I still stand in utter disbelief that some spindly, albino, elfin poofter with an overgrown steak knife stands a fucking chance against a dwarf with a two handed axe designed to cleave man from limb.




In any event, people back in the day were apparently unconcerned with looking manly, because when they weren't fiddling about with Weaver sticks, they were busy with Indian club bells, perhaps the only training implement ever invented that could make the Weaver stick look like the training method of choice for a paragon of manly virtue.





Indian Club Training, or How the British Took a Marginally Cool Thing and Fucked It in the Ear

As the name would indicate, the Indian club was invented in India and used primarily in India and Iran as a strength training tool for wrestlers.  Though they're known as the Indian club, the implement was actually invented in ancient Mesopotamia and was used by Egyptians, Persians, and various Middle Easterners.  Later, the Mughals took the implement to India, where it was carried forward into modernity.  the Indian club really comes in two forms- the far heavier Persian variant (meels) that the Iron Sheik brought to the West when chumping the Ultimate Warrior at a test of strength in the 1980s, and the far, far lighter Indian version.  


The manlier version, meels come in a variety of sizes and weights based on purpose. Light meels, which are more like Indian clubs, act as basically weighted cardio- the medieval version of the 1970s shameful foray into weighted cardio, Heavyhands.  The light meels, weigihing between 10 and 15 lbs., were used in sets of 100, which sounds like it would be about s much fun as getting a blowjob from a half-starved piranha. Heavy meels, on the other hand, clocked in at 25 to 60 lbs. apiece, and to make them even more wrist-breakingly unweildy, were up to 4.5 feet in length (Varzesh).  Indian clubs, on the other hand, can range in weight and get middlingly heavy, they're typically only two lbs- especially wherein the British were concerned.

I suppose one could say the Brits were suckling at India's teet.

Weirdly, the Indian club really caught on with the British after they extended their empire into the Subcontinent, where English soldiers picked up the implement from the Indians.  Given their blatant and wild-eyed contempt for the Indians, it's rather odd they'd adopt Indian training methods, but no one has ever accused the denizens of the British Isles of logical action- we can assume copious amounts of heavily salted boiled meats and whiskey were likely involved.  

Richard Pennell- first American strongman, first man to overhead press 200 with one hand, and credited with a 102 lb one hand curl (at 5'10", 190lbs).  Also, horribly "musclebound" and "slow" according to Victorians.

I suppose it should come as no surprise that the myth of being "musclebound" began being propagated in the 19th Century.  Guys like Louis Cyr, Richard Pennell, and others, were held aloft as examples of men who were too musclebound to be athletes.  Instead, smaller, leaner, less capable men were held aloft as the physical ideal, as they were the racehorses to the strongmen's draft horses (Kraemer).  Oddly, it was at this time that inner city dwellers in Britain were being identified as "soft as shite", as the Brits are wont to say, and resistance exercise began to be heavily encouraged, particularly for the sedentary.


Some strength training couldn't have hurt- I've seen children with better builds.

The thinking at the time was that the British must be prepared for the inevitability of another European war, and anemic and weak city dwellers would probably put up all of the resistance of a 20th century Parisian when accosted by a twelve-year-old German girl holding a marginally sharp stick and bearing a somewhat menacing glare.  Who am I kidding?  They'd surrender to a four-year-old Belgian holding a lollipop while shitting her pants.  Nevertheless, light resistance exercise began to be touted as the best method of achieving "fitness", as the implements used would be portable, and therefore convenient, and would allow the user to avoid the horrible specter of "muscle boundedness" or somesuch other nonsense.  Frankly, everyone was distracted by their teeth and had a hard time understanding what the Brits at the time were carrying on about.  Nevertheless, it was likely for this reason (war) that Englishmen put aside their pride and picked up clubbells on the regular to get "jacked".



Goya's depiction of how most Indian club classes ended.

The truly interesting thing about the adoption of the Indian club by the British was the execution- the British primarily utilized the clubbell as a part of a group fitness class.  If the idea of a bunch of drunken Britishers swinging light weapons hither and yon in a tight space seems like a skit out of Monty Python, you're not the only one.  British soldiers in India, however, adopted the implement as an alternative to calisthenics, however, so when they returned to the British Isles, club swinging morphed from its original, solitary nature into what can only be described as a proto-Body Pump class, complete with songs sung in cadence and occasionally set to music.  No, I am not making that up:

"In order to awaken a lively and abiding interest in calisthenic and gymnastic exercises, and to secure an enthusiasm and a fascination that shall convert indolence and sluggishness into cheerful and vigorous activity, it will be found absolutely necessary to employ instrumental music.  the best music for this purpose is furnished by a brass band" (Watson 124-125).
 Thus, Victoria-era Britian was filled with drunken, anemic limeys violently swinging 2 lb. bowling pins in circles while listening to oompapa music and screeching lyrics to military cadences at the top of their lungs... and this was considered to be a good thing.

According to esteemed physical culturist and author J. Madison Watson,

"Indian clubs, or scepters, as they are sometimes called, are deservedly held in the highest esteem by all gymnasts, affording, as they do, one of the very best and most extended series of exercises for developing the muscular power of the whole body.  Nothing can be better calculated to invigorate the respiratory system, expand the chest, call into action the muscles of locomotion and the principal structures around the joints, and enlarge and strengthen the muscles of the forearm, the upper arm, and the shoulder, as well as the abdominal and spinal muscles"(Watson 257).



Meanwhile, in America, clubbell training caught on with a bit more of the original intent in mind.  The seminal American work on the subject was published in 1866 by Sim Kehoe, which decried the British use of the short, light Indian club as suited only for "invalids or children"(29).  Apparently the populace of the British Isles were considered to be about as physically imposing as six-year-olds with cerebal palsy in mid-19th Century America, so Kehoe recommended the more robust colonialists utilize the long club, which ranged from 24 to 28' in length and weighed between four and twenty pounds apiece.  Kehoe described the most effective utilization of the club to consist of eight main strength training movements, based on those popular in India:

  1. Inner Front Circle
  2. Outer Front Circle
  3. Inner Back Circle
  4. Outer Back Circle
  5. Inner Side Circle
  6. Outer Site Circle
  7. Inner Moulinet
  8. Outer Moulinet
Suuuuuuuure.  I'll get right on that.

For detailed descriptions of the moments, check out Kehoe's book here, but sufficed to say it involves a lot of spinning bowling pins in circles for extended periods of time.  Clubbells remained in vogue throughout the 19th to the early 20th century, peaking with the inclusion of two nebulous and insofar as I can tell undefined Indian club competitions as part of gymnastics in the 1904 and 1932 Olympic Summer Games.  Thereafter, the smaller, lighter, more agile implements were abandoned in favor of far heavier objects.  They briefly enjoyed a resurgence through Dragon Door Publications, who dragged them out of obscurity, but they at best remain a curiosity best left alone for most- without a bit of instruction, best case scenario you wrench a wrist and worst case you smack yourself in the face with them.  I have managed to do both on more than one occasion.



Kettlebells... One More Thing the Russians Didn't Invent
Just as most people think the sandwich is a British noblemans invention in spite of the fact that it was invented in 11th Century China, most people think the Russians invented the kettlebell in the 19th Century because they were too weak to lift real weights, but in fact the kettlebell is far, far older.  the kettlebell, known in Russia as the girya, is a adaptation of a weight typically used in Russian markets to check the weight of a purchase of bulk goods.  The giri used by the Russians take their name for the Persian adjective “gerani”, which means “difficult” and was originally invented by the Greeks as an implement for strength competitions at the Olympic Games.  The stones were then adapted for strength training by the Slavs to build strength for war, and have been a part of Russian strength training techniques since the Eastern Slavs**  conquered Western Russia.  Additionally, implements similar to the kettlebell are ubiquitous in Asia, having been used for thousands of years in China and likely nearly as long in Japan and Korea in the form of the stone padlock.


Never go full retard.

In the 19th Century, kettlebell training and competitions became immensely popular. While I can find no evidence to support this, it would seem likely to me that Tsar Alexander had his army utilize them to ensure they were physically fit and strong, and may have played a part in Napoleon's defeat.  Thereafter, they continued to grow in popularity as the soldiers took the implements back to their hometown for local strength training and competitions.  Whether or not that's accurate, I have no idea- given the vast volumes available on vodka and the sparse information on giri, one can assume that Russians felt drinking was a far better use of their time that writing about something as simple and ultimately unimportant as a strength training implement.  Nevertheless, the strongest of the of the Russians ended up touring Europe with circuses as strongman acts, and disseminated information on the use of the kettlebell as they went, like drunken, mustachioed versions of David Carradine in Kung Fu, though with less cross dressing and autoerotic asphyxiation.



Apparently a depiction of Soviet era Hungarian strongman and kettlebell enthusiast Imre Nagath. 

With the rise of the Soviet nightmare came an emphasis on physical strength in the populace and public displays of strength on an international scale, ostensibly to show the West that only the people in the Ukraine were starving to death, and that was because Uncle Stalin liked the smell of dead people.  Collective farms held strength competitions and then sent their best lifters to holiday festivals in Moscow, where papa Stalin presided over the events and likely had the shitty lifters liquidated.  According to one source, having Stalin's soulless gaze upon you scared you into winning- "one girya-lifter is believed to have said: 'I was in no mood to continue the competition, but when I saw Comrade Stalin looking at me I immediately snatched the record'" (Dmitriev).



I've heard Vladimir Putin jerks off to this picture at least twice a week.

Competitions in girya lifting seem not to focus so much on pure strength as they do strength endurance:

  • The First Nationwide Festival of Strongmen, held in 1948, boasted 20,000 competitors, though there is no record of how many were compelled to participate through threats of liquidation or internment.  The winner of the event was a sailor named Alexei Protopopov, who snatched a 32-kilo girya 1,002 times with short breaks, ostensibly in the hopes he would be fed and allowed to sleep indoors.  
  • A contemporary of Protopopov, Aleksandr Bolshakov, clean and jerked a two 32-kilo for 19 repetitions, which seems light until you consider the fact he likely did so without having eaten for a couple of days.
  • A decade later, some lunatic named Ivan Nemtsev crushed the competition for eleven straight years, capping his utter domination of an entire country by snatching a 32 kg girya 370 times in a row.  



Although kettlebells typically come in 4 kg, 8 kg, 16 kg, 32kg, 36 kg , 40 kg, 48 kg and 56 kg sizes and are used for a variety of exercises ranging from the utterly useless Turkish Get up to the marginally useful high rep Olympic clean and jerk and snatch, kettlebell competitions only utilize the 16, 24 and 32 kg giri and simply consist of the snatch and the clean and jerk.  After the formation of the International Federation of Girya Sports in 1993, international competitions began being held in those two events, though they really only featured Eastern Europeans and a smattering of German, Greek, and American oddballs who had likely only just recently stopped dressing in traditional Chinese garb and yammering on about the what everyone else knew to be the extremely questionable utility of traditional martial arts in streetfighting.




Likely due to its popularity in Soviet Russia, it wasn't until they were popularized by Russian strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline that anyone in the West gave two shits about kettlebells.  Tsatsouline, a marketing genius, managed to build an entire industry out of nothing, convincing people that lifting a relatively light but ungainly implement hundreds of times was the secret to true strength, in spite of the fact that he himself, while fit, was not terrifically strong.  In spite of his best efforts and masterful propaganda, kettlebell training has basically remained on the fringes of actual strength training, but is generally considered great for insanely hot chicks with too much money, the infirm, children, and people who have difficulty lifting real weights.




The Partial Deadlift and Partial Squat Rear Their Beautifully Ugly Twin Heads

Clearly, picking up extraordinarily heavy things wasn't an overwhelming concern in the Nineteenth Century.  Strongmen hadn't really become tremendously popular, though by the early 1800s a few European strongman troupes had made it to American shores.  Heavy lifting, however, was not a popular activity- it was basically little more than the basis for the occasional freak show performance put on by giant men dressed like Roman gladiators for the entertainment of a paying crowd.  All of that changed, however, when I couple of 19th Century Americans stumbled upon a treatise penned by early 18th Century philosopher John Theophilus Desaguliers.  Desaguliers, in the midst of a lengthy work on mechanical action called A Course in Experimental Philosophy, analyzed the muscular action in strength performances by 18th Century strongman Thomas Topham.  Topham, a carpenter by trade built almost identically to Arthur Saxon at 5'10" and 200 lbs, was one of the first recorded professional strongman and served as a bodyguard to the aforementioned philosopher.  Desaguliers, then, has a front row seat to Topham's many performances, which included:
  • bending a large iron poker to almost ninety degrees by smashing it across his bare left arm.
  • carrying a sleeping watchman in his box a considerable distance and then dumping the occupant and his box over a waist-high wall.  
  • holding horse and cart back for fun while the driver whipped his horse in an effort to get the animal to pull away.  
  • lying extended between two chairs with a glass of wine in his right hand and five dudes standing on his stomach. 
  • rolling up a seven pound pewter dish "as a man rolls up a sheet of paper". 
  • twisting a kitchen spit around the neck of shit-talking hostler. 
  • lifting a fat man off the ground with one hand while lying extended between two chairs with four blokes on his stomach (Wikipedia). 
  • lifting a six foot long table off the ground and holding it horizontally, with a 50 lb weight hanging off the opposite end... holding it with his teeth.
  • bending an iron poker in half around his neck and straightening it again.



The feats that really blew Desagulier's socks off, however, were partial lifts.  One, in fact, was a lift so ridiculous in the effort it took to display that it is difficult to understand how it was actually conceived- a lift of 1,838 pounds a couple of inches off the ground.  As you can see from the illustration above, this lift required that a large platform be erected at least fifteen feet high, upon which Topham stood with a rope and tackle draped over his shoulders.  Using this, Topham lifted three hogsheads of water a few inches off the ground.  This feat of strength may seem about as puzzling to you as the need for a sequel to Adam Sandler's shitfest of an ensemble comedy Grown Ups, as it should- there is absolutely no reason whatsoever so much effort should have been expended for so little reward.  The next, and the one that perhaps can be solely credited with being the impetus behind the entire American heavy weight lifting movement, was Topham's partial deadlift of a stone roller weighing 800 lbs by wrapping it with a chain and holding either end (Desaguliers 290).

"I have seen him lift a rolling stone of about 800 lb with his hands only, standing in a frame above it, and taking hold of  a chain that was fastened to it.  By this, I reckon he may be almost as stron again as those who are generally reckon'd the strongest men, they generally lifting no more than 400 lb in that manner.  The weakest men, who are in health and not too fat, lift about 125 lb having about half the strength of the strongest.  N.B. This sort of comparison is chiefly in relation to the muscles of the loins; because in doing this one must stoop forwards a little.  We must also add the weight of the body to the weight lifted.  So that if the weakest man's body weighs 150 lb that added to 125 lb makes the whole weight lifted by him to be 275 lb.  Then if the stronger man's body weighs also 150 lb the whole weight lifted by him will be 500 lb that is 400 lb and the 150 lb which his body weighs.  Topham weighs about 200 lb which added to the 800 lb that he lifts, makes 1000 lb.  But he ought to lift 900 lb besides the weight of his body, to be strong again as the man of 150 lb who can lift 400 lb"(Ibid).



The feats of Johannes von Eckenberg (1684-1718), “Herkules Eckenberg.”  As you can see above, von Eckenberg was famous for the same sorts of shenanigans Topham was in the following century.  Apparently, the Renaissance was filled with a lot of carpenters with a lot of time on their hands.  

Desaguliers, in an effort to scientifically compare the strength of dudes who apparently had a trampling fetish, developed several strength testing machines.  One of them mimicked hip and harness lifting of the type that 17th and 18th Century strongmen William Joy, John von Eckenberg, and Thomas Topham made famous.   Realizing that a harness lift only tested the strength of a man’s hips, back, and thighs, however, Desaguliers also invented machines to measure arm strength and overall lifting power.  Using these, Desaguliers went on to calculate the force placed upon the body with lifts conducted at a variety of angles, rep ranges, and movements, and concluded that extremely heavy partials placed a greater systemic load on the body than lighter full range movements. 


They miss neither church, nor meals.

If you're having trouble believing that a philosopher's physics textbook inspired a group of people who later went on to decide that the Earth was 6,000 years old, subsist on a diet of Ho-Ho's and Ring Dings, and consider a 10 minute walk to be "exercise", you're not alone- this would seem far fetched to anyone with a spinal column that ended in something resembling a human brain.  If modern Americans can be trusted to do anything, it's to be as intellectually lazy as they are physically.  Americans of the 19th Century, apparently, were an entirely different breed.  Perhaps because they acknowledged the fact that the Bible was a work of historical fiction, 19th Century American not only read Desaguliers' book, but they built strength testing machines modeled on Desaguliers’ designs and littered the country with them, placing them on street corners, circus sideshows, and local fairs. There, Americans pitted themselves against each other in tests of "'main strength'—the strength of his back, hips,legs and hands—by moving a large weight a very short distance and thus see how he stood in comparison to his neighbors" (Todd 5). 


Looks more like a hypnotist than a lifter to me.

After becoming "the strongest man at Harvard", medical student and aspiring actor George Barker Windship tested his strength on one of these machines, pulling 420 but utterly failing in his attempt to get laid in the effort, as no one on Earth would likely be impressed by a 420 lb partial deadlift, unless it was performed by a sub 100 lb woman, invalid, or small child.  Thereafter, Windship gave up on the body weight exercises and gymnastics that had earned him his reputation for strength at Harvard and adopted a program of heavy weightlifting centered around extremely heavy partials in 1854.  Dragging his wounded psyche (and likely insanely sore carcass) home to Boston, Windship built a lifting machine based on Desaguliers' designs in his backyard "by sinking a hogshead in the ground and placing inside it a barrel, filled with rocks and sand, to which he attached a rope and handle. Then, standing on a platform he constructed above the barrel, he mimicked the partial movements of the lifting machine he had tried in Rochester" (Todd 6). 


5 Realz:  Isabel Ice is officially marriage material.

Hammering himself like he was some random jacked dude trying to pound Isabel Ice into a coma, Windship built his strength up quickly.  From his 420 pull in 1854, he managed a 700 pull in 1856, 840 in 1857, and a massive 1208 lbs in 1860, all performed without straps.  Having topped out on what his tiny little rat claws could handle, Windship built a wooden yoke attached to chains and continued to train squat partials.  “With this contrivance," Windship stated "my lifting-power has advanced with mathematical certainty, slowly but surely, to two thousand and seven pounds, up to this third day of November, 1861” (Todd 6).  Clearly, what people seem to like to call "Anderson squats" would far more accurately, impressively, and Dennis Miller-style obscure reference-ly be referred to as "Windship squats."



Though that ended up being his best lift, Windship kept pounding the iron like a 1950's meth fueled American housewife with a husband who gets a little punchy if his shirts are slightly wrinkled.  After going nuts working with lead shot-fulled globe barbells and heavy dumb bells, Windship invented the first adjustable dumbbell, built a standing chest press machine, trained with 180 lbs dumbbell at a weight of only 150, and even built an Indian club that weighed in at an utterly insane, impossible to conceive, and difficult-to-understand-exactly-what-the-fuck-he-did-with-it 137 lbs.  Though I have no evidence to support this theory either, it may have been that Windship was a doctor at the Boston Lunatic Hospital and he had to defend himself daily against the attacks of the nutters contained within, but George Barker Windship eventually built himself into what could only be described as one of the strongest human beings at 150 lbs to ever live.  


If it wasn't for this thing, you'd likely not even be reading this blog right now, because none of the shit taht inspired me to start lifting would have existed.  No Stallone, no Bruce Lee (he lifted on a Marcy trainer, which was a descendant of Windship's machine), no Ahnold... what a sad world it would be.

Capitalizing on his hard work, Windship hosted the first ever American professional strength competition, and although he ended up losing when his yoke snapped, Windship's reputation grew after he explained the mechanical action behind his opponent's lift to jounalists.  Thereafter, he began performing exhibitions of strength and delivering lectures on the myriad benefits of extremely heavy strength training. Calling the hand and thigh lifts and partial Hack lift he performed on his machine "health lifts", Windship gained a massive fan base, disabused the American public of the notion that being "musclebound" was unhealthy, spawned an entire industry of copycat lifting machines like Mann's Reactionary Lifter (a sort of trap bar deadlifting machine designed for women so they wouldn't have to change clothes to use it) and the Butler Health Lift machine.  With that, heavy lifting spread to both men and women, and the American populace began, for the first time, to lift heavy, often, and enthusiastically... as everyone fucking should.    



That ran incredibly fucking long, but hopefully it proved interesting.  In the last two articles in this series, I'll cover the Olympic lifts and the power lifts, and then probably carry on with my life writing about other shit.  I've also go more keto recipes coming, an article being co-written with J. Stanton of Gnolls.org about how badly people fuck up the simplest diet in history (the Paleo Diet), a new BME, and a books/music/movies article.  I've got a lot of irons in the fire, obviously.  Til then, go do some heavy partials, or I'll send Windship's ghost after you to mock you when you take your clothes off.
** Footnote:The people generally referred to as "Eastern Slavs" were actually mostly Finno-Ugric tribes, not true Slavs, which explains how they managed to conquer the bloodthirsty, mounted deathmachines of the former lands of the Scythians and Sarmatians.  I realize no one gives a shit but I had trouble understanding how the fuck that could have happened and decided to do some investigating.  Genetic analysis shows that most Ukrainians are more closely related to ancient Turks than modern Belarussians, who are actually of Slavic decent.  Additionally, the majority of basic Russian words are of a non-Slavic origin.  There, you learned more useless shit because I forced you to do so.

Sources:
Desaugliers, John Theophilus.  A Course of Experimental Philosophy, Volume 1.  W. Innys, 1744. 

Dougherty, J.H.  Indian Clubs and Dumbbells.  New York: American Sports Publishing Company, 1901.


Dmitriev, Oleg.  Of Russian origin: Girya.  Russiapedia.  Web.  10 Jan 2014.  http://russiapedia.rt.com/of-russian-origin/girya/


Kehoe, Sim D.  The Indian Club Exercise.  New York: 1866.


Kraemer, William J.; Keijo Häkkinen.  Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science, Strength Training for Sport. Hoboken:  John Wiley & Sons, 2008.


Roussin, Eric.  Champion Armwrestlers of Yore. Armwrestlers Only.  15 Sep 2013.  Web.  27 Jan 2014.  http://armwrestlersonly.blogspot.com/2013/09/champion-armwrestlers-of-yore.html


Todd, Jan.  "Strength is health”:George Barker Windship and the first American weight training boom.  Iron Game History.  Sep 1993.  Web.  29 Jan 2014.  https://www.academia.edu/3009405/Strength_is_Health_George_Barker_Windship_and_the_First_American_Weight_Training_Boom


Traditional Iranian Martial Arts (Varzesh-e Pahlavani).  Pahlavani.com.  Web.  27 Jan 2014.  http://www.pahlavani.com/ish/html/ph/new/meel.htm


Watson, J. Madison.  Handbook of Calisthenics and Gymnastics.  New York: Schermerhorn, Bancroft, and Co., 1864.


Wikipedia.  Thomas Topham.  Web.  29 Jan 2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Topham

23 January 2014

Holy Keto Condiments! This Just In- Keto Dieting Doesn't Have To Suck!!! Part #1.

Alpha gnoll is sick of eating the same shit, day in and day out, too.

Anyone else sick of eating the same fucking things over and over again?  After eating nothing but beef ribs, taco meat, Salisbury steak, and chicken wings for three years, I sure as fuck am.  Having run out of acceptable dry rubs, and after literally shitting myself a couple of times because some mysterious additive to dry rubs apparently causes fecal incontinence if eaten in large amounts, I decided to branch out.
It occurred to me halfway through writing this that 1) it's amazing I don't have pussy falling out of my pockets, and 2) a lot of you have the opportunity here to impress the living shit out of broads and close ass like you're Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross.  You're welcome.
While I realize pants-shitting would probably have ended most peoples' experiments into the Apex Predator Diet, I was rather unperturbed.  I did, however, come to the realization that without Animal Pak, I'd be missing out on a whole lot of nutrition, that I was often starving due to the moderate fat and low carbs I'd end up accidentally eating out of habit, and my taste buds are frankly exhausted by eating the same flavors day in and day out.  This became even more apparent when I discovered that paleolithic people ate upwards of 300 different foods a week, which lay in stark contrast to my own extraordinarily unvaried diet- how could I be Captain Caveman strong if I was eating with all of the culinary ingenuity of a seventeen year old?  Then, it dawned upon me that viewing my carb up day as the only day on which I really ate was telling me something, and lunch on those days could actually provide me with a clue as to how I could actually make the APD livable again.


I'm not sure I have ever missed a woman as much as I miss dürüm döner. 

Since leaving Europe, I've pined daily for schawarma and döner, both of which are ubiquitous street foods in Europe, but difficult to find, as is street food in general, in the states.  When you can find it, it is usually boasts one or more of the following features:
  1. It's hideously expensive.  In Vienna, one of the most expensive cities on earth, a half kilo turkey döner was 2 or 3 Euros.  Here, it's at least $7.  Same goes for schawarma.
  2. It sucks.  I actually berated some asshole for serving me the worst schawarma I've had in my life last Friday, and made him throw it away after a single bite.  Fucking yogurt in my zhug?  Not on your life.  That's disgusting.
  3. It's not keto.  If I were running shit, there would be yakitori or satay for sale on every fucking street corner in America, but apparently eating chargrilled meat on a stick sits poorly with skinny jean-clad, coiffed, plucked eyebrow-boasting, reality television-loving American males.  Thus, it's sandwiches or nothing on the street.
Thanks to government regulations, Ugandans eat better than Americans.  Much appreciated, fuckers!

With that in mind, I resolved to incorporate my favorite flavors into my diet before I abandoned the fucking thing altogether.  The result was fucking awesome.  In the first iteration of this series, I've tried chimichurri, an Argentine parsley and garlic condiment and marinade; pebre, a Chilean condiment similar to chimichurri but with more of a pico de gallo edge; zhug, a Yemenite hot sauce used all over Asia Minor; tahini sauce, another Asia Minor specialty; and am working on a red pepper paste devised with the help of Nuprin (coming in a future blog, as this one got really, really long), the jacked, lunatic Asian broad who contributed to the hormones series and was a sounding board for these recipes, in addition to being one of a handful of women on the planet who doesn't want to rub broken glass into my eyes while screaming Gloria Gaynor song lyrics in my ear.

Some constants you will likely notice in these condiments is that they're
  1. overwhelmingly garlicky
  2. keto as fuck
  3. paleo as fuck (olive consumption and use dates back to 17,000 BC, and wild garlic is still used in cooking)
  4. oil-based
  5. usually spicy as all hell (with the exception of chimichurri, though I even heat that up)
You'll notice these recipes are bereft of the standbys you generally see associated with ketogenic dieting- notably mayonnaise and butter.  The former might be the most disgusting thing humans have ever consumed as "food", and the latter is boring and not nearly as healthy as olive oil.  Additionally, butter-based sauces congeal, which doesn't leave you with a large window for use.  Dieters seem to eat one of two kinds of food- boring or fucking vile.  Fuck all of that- we're Chaos and Pain, and we intend to bring it, which is why the following seasoning recipes are all my own and not reproductions of other peoples'.



There is method to my madness, obviously.  Garlic is damn near regarded as magical by anyone who knows anything about the stuff, and has been throughout recorded human history.  It's got anti-cancer, anti-arthritis, anti-illness (reduced duration and frequency of the common cold), antibiotic, heart healthy, liver protective, blood pressure moderating properties, and it tastes fucking amazing (Garlic).  On top of that, they're all jam-fucking packed with inflammation-fighting, heart healthy, carbohydrate fucking, blood pressure lowering, shitting on depression, bone health and digestion-improving, liver detoxifying olive oil (Wilson, MNT).  Not superfood enough for you?   How about the effect of capsaicin (the shit that makes peppers spicy) on the body?  It treats allergies like Porches treat Paul Walker, fat like Stalin treated the Ukrainians, and delivers mild pain relief, not unlike ice cream apparently does for people who have vaginas instead of penises.



Zhug, Tahini Sauce, and Schawarma

I fell in love with chicken schawarma, an Israeli spit-roasted loaf of seasonings and pressed chicken parts, while I was in Vienna.  Since I left, I've not found its like in the US, though I will occasionally find something similar.  Even better than the meat itself is the hot sauce that comes with Yemeni, Israeli, and other Mediterranean foods, called zhug.  Zhug is, without question, the best tasting hot sauce I've ever had, sriracha included, and comes in two mouth watering variants, the mild red, Vampire-slaughteringly garlicky kind, and the asshole inflaming, tear-jerking, slobberingly delicious, super-hot green version.  Either one is incredibly tasty and one of the single greatest things you will ever taste, not matter what the fuck you put it on.  If you're the type who likes blue cheese with your ghost chili-infused wings, you might like the Israeli equivalent for schawarma- tahini sauce.  The best part about all of them? Close enough to zero carb that it's not worth posting the nutrition info.



Green Zhug
8 serrano peppers
8 cloves of garlic
1 habenero pepper with some of the seeds removed
1 small sweet red pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cilantro (chopped)
4 tbsp Zhug spice blend.  If you don't have zhug spice blend, use the following:
1 teaspoon freshly ground caraway seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground green cardamom
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Splash of lemon juice
Juice of one lime

Preparation:
Pile all of that shit into a blender or food processor and pulse until it's your desired consistency.  I hate chunky salsa, so I puree the fuck out of this stuff.  Play with the pepper content to get your desired heat.  I adjusted to the blend above pretty much immediately and am now sad I didn't use spicier peppers.  You can use the red zhug to cut the heat, so you can feel free to go fucking nuts.  If you're incapable of googling (and I am consistently amazed at the shit research skills I'm seeing of late), here's a Scoville chart to aid you in your chili shopping.



Red Zhug
Red zhug is a much milder condiment than green zhug, though you can tinker with it to make it spicier if you so choose.  Making the two of them definitely gives you a nice array of flavors, and allows the less adventurous people you feed to have a condiment that won't kill them.

Ingredients:
8-10 small sweet red peppers
8-10 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cilantro (chopped)
4 tbsp Zhug spice blend.  If you don't have zhug spice blend, use the following:
1 teaspoon freshly ground caraway seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground green cardamom
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Splash of lemon juice
Juice of one lime

Preparation:
Same as green zhug- pile all of that shit into a blender or food processor and pulse until it's your desired consistency.


Döner Kebap Sauce
If the above seems a bit much for you, or you just want something less garlicky and a little less keto for your schawarma, you can use döner kebap sauce.  Frankly, döner and schwarama are the same thing, but the following sauce seems to have been adapted for the Brits and Germans, both of whom seem to regard black pepper as the rest of us would naga viper chilies.  I still like adding garlic to this recipe, but it's unneeded.  my rule of thumb is one clove of garlic per chili, if you decide to add it.

Ingredients:

6 whole chilies (you can use sweet red peppers or try a red pepper that's somewhat hotter if you want)
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
1 can of tomatoes
Pinch of salt

Preparation:
This stuff really couldn't be easier.
Step 1.  Dump olive oil in pan and preheat to medium,  Soften chilies for 5 minutes in olive oil.
Step 2.  Strain tomatoes.
Step 3.  Remove chilies from heat and dump everything in blender and pulse until desired consistency.
Step 4.  Increase heat on pan to medium-high, dump everything back in pan and allow to reduce until it's no longer thin.



Tahini Sauce  
I can't say I am a fan of tahini sauce or its disgusting Greek cousin, tzatziki (which you can also use), but it's a standard thin topping used in pita/flatbread sandwiches, marinades, and dips.  You guys might like it, and it's damn good for you, so I figured I'd give you the lowdown.

Ingredients: 
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 gloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped (optional)

Preparation:
Step 1.  Using a blender or food processor, combine garlic, tahini and salt.
Step 2.  Dump the mixture into a bowl and add olive oil and lemon juice. If it's too thick (it should be kind of thin and runny), add teaspoon of warm water or lemon juice until desired consistency, then mix in parsley.
Step 3.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.



Chicken Schawarma
For those of you who have never had the pants-droppingly, puclic masturbatingly, mouth-wateringly awesomeness that is schawarma or döner, you might think that this recipe is a little overly laborious.  trust me when I say that it's not- there's really no way to get the meat flavored and juicy enough without the pan-fry finish employed in this recipe unless you have a vertical rotisserie (in which case fuck you, you lucky bastard).  I've been experimenting with the amount of juice/oil in the finishing process and have yet to decide upon a favorite yet, but I've done everything from simmer to sear the chicken and have loved it all.  Play with the amount and type of liquid in the pan when you finish this to determine what you like best.

Ingredients:

2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 large thighs)
12 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp raz el hanout (Moroccan spice blend you can actually use all by itself if you want) or garam masala (Indian seasoning that is almost identical)
2 tbsp schawarma seasoning (again, if you find a good one, you can just cheat and use this if you want) plus the following, or double the following if no schwarama seasoning:
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Liberal dusting of cayenne
Salt and black pepper

Preparation:
Step 1.  Trim the excess fat off all of the chicken parts and butterfly them
Step 2.  Pound the everloving shit out of the chicken parts.  Since you're not going to be slow roasting it on a spit, it needs extra tenderizing.
Step 3.  Cut chicken parts into four or five pieces each.
Step 4.  Put in a couple of large ziplock bags or a big marinading bowl (covered with saran wrap).
Step 5.  Allow the meat to marinade for at least two hours, though I prefer to marinade stuff overnight.  I turn the meat periodically to ensure complete coverage in the marinade.
Step 6.  Preheat oven to 400.  Roast chicken 15 minutes, turning once at about 7 or 8 minutes.
Step 7.  After the meat cools slightly, chop it into small pieces.
Step 8.  Pour all of the juice from the pan into a large skillet.  Add a splash of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice. Saute chicken on medium for 3-4 minutes, or until the smallest pieces turn brown and crisp.

Typically, this is served in a pita or flatbread with the addition of salad, whatever sauces you like, and pickles.  For ketogenic purposes, I just combine the chicken with both flavors of zhug and chow the fuck down.  On carb days, warm up the flatbread or pita and stuff that bitch full of meaty goodness and hot sauce for a nomzy as fuck sandwich.

My personal favorite, if you're feeling super enthusiastic, for flatbread is the Indian flatbread chapati.  I discovered this stuff from one of my exes, and it's fucking amazing.  I honestly don't recall the exact recipe, and as I doubt she'd be willing to provide it, here's a chepati recipe that's similar.  Chapatis are easy as hell to make, fucking delicious, and actually a pretty badass snack if you just feel like eating some slightly salty carbs (it's also amazing with zhug spread on it, fyi).



Chapati
These things, as I said, are fucking awesome, and in spite of what appears to be a lengthy process, it doesn't take more than 15 minutes to make a batch of these bad boys, from opening the cupboard for the flour to eating.

Ingredients:

2 cups white or whole wheat flour (or one of each if you have both)
3/4 cup water or milk
1 tsp salt (I usually taste the dough to see if it needs more)
2 tbsps olive oil

Preparation:
Step 1.  Stir together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt in a big bowl.
Step 2.  Use a wooden spoon to stir in the olive oil and enough water to make a soft dough that is elastic but not sticky.  Try not to eat too much of it (always a problem for me for some reason- I love uncooked dough).
Step 3.  Flour whatever surface on which you plan on kneading this (if you guys have never baked, just use a clean countertop, dust it with flour, and get your hands floury.  Then, knead the dough on that surface.  I knead the fuck out of the dough so I get soft chapatis, as they're easier to roll into a "burrito".  If you don't spend much time kneading, you may end up with stiffer chapatis, which isn't a big issue, but they might slit and dump your food in your lap.
Step 4.  Divide into 6-10 parts, depending on the size of your pan and desired chapati size.  Roll them into balls and let them rest for 5-10 minutes while you get in a round of Call of Duty or a blowjob for being the cooking virtuoso your girl never thought you could be.
Step 5.  Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot, and pop a little olive oil into it to keep the chapati from sticking.
Step 6.  On the same lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough until very thin like a tortilla.
Step 7.  As soon as the pan starts smoking, put a chapati on it. Cook until the underside has brown spots, about 30 seconds, then flip and cook on the other side. Easy peasy Japanesy.


Green chimichurri, pebre, and red chimichurri

Chimichurri and Pebre
Two weeks ago Amazon made more episodes of Anthony Bourdain's awesome show No Reservations available on Amazon Prime, and I happily sat down to watch an episode last Thursday while drinking a protein shake so I could fantasize about eating like a human being.  About halfway through the Rio episode I made two key decisions: 1) I am moving to Rio as soon as humanly possible, because booty and meat, and 2) Argentine steak sandwiches make everything I have ever eaten seem like dogshit in comparison.

I am not a sauce guy, but I somehow knew I would love the shit out of chimichurri, and so when I popped in to Pittsburgh's renown Gaucho for a steak sandwich, I was still surprised by my love for the green, oily deliciousness of chimichurri, but I didn't die of shock.  Thereafter, I immediately went home and set to determining how chimichurri is made, because if I know one thing, it's that it would taste like Brazilian booties look on just about anything I decided to top with it.  Pretty much any meat is fair game, and I've used chimichurri on ribs, steak, and chicken to good effect.



Green Chimichurri
Green chimichurri is the condiment and marinade typically used, though like zhug, each color provides it's own unique flavor.  Thus, you might as well make both, because they're both fucking amazing and you'll just sit wondering why you didn't if you make one and not the other.

Ingredients:
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
10 cloves garlic, chopped super finely
1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use a half cup because I prefer my chimichurri thicker.  Try both.)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/4-2 tsp red pepper flakes (I prefer everything spicy, but the red pepper is completely optional)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation:
Step 1.  Pulse parsley in processor to chop.
Step 2.  Add remaining ingredients and blend.  You can pulse it as much or as little as you like to achieve your desired consistency though- they key here isn't so much to make it 100% authentic as it is to make it perfect for you.
Step 3.  Separate sauce into equal parts.
Step 4.  Use half for basting or marinade.
Step 5.  Use other half as a condiment at the table.



Red Chimichurri
I've not yet tried this one, but it's on the schedule for this weekend.  I took Bobby Flay's recipe and modified it slightly to match what I learned making the other sauces.  This does not typically get used as a marinade, it seems, but I think it'd likely be a pretty badass marinade for roasted chicken, and it's supposed to be an incredible condiment on chorizo.

Ingredients:
1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon pureed chipotle in adobo
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish

Preparation:
Same as above.



Pebre
Pebre's what you would get if chimichurri and salsa flew off on a weekend getaway to the Virgin Islands and fucked like drug-crazed bunnies for the weekend.  It has the onions and spice of the salsa with the delicious, savory smoothness of the chimichurri.  Whereas chimichurri is Argentine, pebre is chimichurri's Chilean cousin.  As I stated above, I despise chunky salsa, so I actually just roughly chop everything and pop it in the blender to give it a consistency like chimichurri.  As to the red chili sauce or paste, the authentic version uses a pepper that's difficult to obtain in the US- the aji amarillo.  About twice as hot as serranno peppers, for reference's sake, they're supposed to be badass if you feel like ordering them on Amazon.  Given that they're lightly smoky and roughly the same on the Scoville scale as chipotle peppers, you might want to go with chipotle peppers for this recipe.  I was a bit lazy on this recipe and went with sriracha, but intend to make another batch with my own chili paste (recipe's below).

Ingredients:
6 scallions, finely chopped
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, stems finely chopped
3 to 4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons spicy red chili sauce, like sriracha
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
plus additional to taste water or lemon juice

Preparation:
Step 1.  Mix everything, except the water, together in a medium sized bowl.
Step 2.  Add enough cold water to barely cover the contents of bowl.
Step 3.  Mix everything together, cover, and place in the refrigerator for a few hours to let all of the flavors blend.  It's best eaten the day it is made, but if you keep it in a sealed container it's good for a 3-5 days, like chimichurri and zhug.



Bone In Ribeye with Chimichurri
Argentines cook everything over a smoky wood fire, so it's pretty difficult to replicate their techniques without an awesome grill.  I simply use a grill plate from Ikea on the stove, which produces adequate, if not good, results.  Putting aside the method of cooking, which you can look up if you're some kind of grill master and aren't currently snowed inside, here's a good way to prepare and season your steak.  The corn starch and salt mixture, followed by the par-freezing will get your meat to brown nicely and quickly on the outside, which means your steaks will be super juicy when they come off the grill.

This prep method works fucking wonders for steak sandwiches as well, if you happen to be eating carbs.  Just slice the steak against the grain, top with chimichurri, onions, and tomatoes, and pop that shit onto a crusty baguette and you're in business.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 boneless strip steaks, 1 1/2 inches thick (about 1 pound each)
Ground black pepper

Preparation:
Step 1.  Combine cornstarch and salt in small bowl.
Step 2.  Pat steaks dry with paper towels, then rub steaks in their entirety with corn starch/salt mixture.  Pop those bad boys onto wire racks and toss the whole shitteree, uncovered, in freezer for about 30 minutes.
Step 3.  Remove steaks from freezer and season with pepper.
Step 4.  Grill those bad boys  If you don't know how to grill shit, look it up. This isn't cooking kindergarten.
Step 5.  After you let the meat rest, top with as much chimichurri as you want.

We're not done, not by a long shot.  I intend to whip up my own chili paste using Tien Tsin chilies this weekend, and try out a few new things, including a paleo meat paste used in lahmacun, which is sort of like a Turkish pizza, in addition to a couple of different Chinese and Japanese meatball recipes, and Chilean roast chicken.  Not to worry- you fuckers won't starve to death on my watch.


For the idiots who can't find their own porn for some sad reason, rub one out to this.  You're welcome.

Sources:
Hirst, K. Kris.  Olive history.  About.com.  Web.  23 Jan 2014.  http://archaeology.about.com/od/oterms/qt/Olive-History.htm

Levine, Beth.  Health benefits of Capsaicin.  best of New Orleans.  4 Jun 2013.  Web.  23 Jan 2014.  http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/hot-shots/Content?oid=2208277

MNT.  What are the benefits of garlic?  Medical News Today.  9 Sep 2013.  Web.  23 Jan 2014.  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265853.php

MNT.  What are the health benefits of olive oil? Medical News Today.  20 Sep 2013.  Web.  22 Jan 2014.  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266258.php

Wilson, Jacque.  5 things you may not know about olive oil.  CNN.  26 Feb 2013.  Web.  22 Jan 2014.  http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/26/health/five-things-olive-oil/