Man Day

Man Day 2014

By: Andy Crawford

When was the last time you shot skeet?  Relaxed beside a pond and cast out a line? Spent the night underneath the stars?  Or went more than an hour in the great outdoors doing something other than mowing your lawn?

If you’re like me, you struggle to find time to enjoy such pursuits.  We stay busy day to day, and before we know it it’s been years since we truly enjoyed the great outdoors and the soul enriching activities it has to offer.

Fortunately, we don’t have to delay much longer.

Man Day was founded by a friend of mine, Kevin Cash.  He started the event to give men an opportunity to get out of the daily rut of modern life, and have some good ole’ fashioned fun and fellowship. It’s turned into an amazing event, and I’ve been inspired by Kevin’s vision and success.

Check out the video, and my interview with Kevin below.  And don’t miss the details about Man Day at the end.

Can you introduce yourself and let people know a little about your background?

My wife’s name is Lauren, and we have two beautiful children- Henry (3) and Caroline (1). When I’m not doing interviews for Man Day, I work at Christian Roofing and Remodeling as a Sales Manager.

How did Man Day get started?

Man Day was created when I discovered a lot of men (young and old) in our church had never fired a gun, so we scheduled a skeet shoot and had an overwhelming response. I realized that even though the majority of the people that attended had never fired a gun, or even owned one, the desire to fellowship with each other and to make something go boom lies somewhere in all of us. We built on that idea, and started adding other activities. The event grew from there. We had over 100 guys attend last year.

I’ve always loved the outdoors and all that it is associated with that: hunting, fishing, camping, etc. I love introducing it to others, as well as the fellowship and camaraderie it promotes. So I will look for any good reason to be outside doing manly things, and Man Day is that.

So what kind of activities do y’all do on Man Day?

The event is held on my grandfather’s farm in Nicholson, Georgia (about 10 miles north of Athens), and we set up right where the woods meet the pasture. There are two lakes people can fish from, and we have an organized skeet shoot. We give awards and raffle off prizes. It is a camping/tailgating type of atmosphere, including horse shoes, corn hole, card games, and ping pong.  We also have a fun archery challenge that you will have to come to see! Did I mention lots and lots of BBQ?  We cook it on site.

Other than his manhood, what should a man bring to Man Day?

A camping chair, fishing pole, shotgun, and any other camping stuff.  If they don’t have any of those things, no worries!  We will have extra supplies.

The event costs $15/person, and that pays for the BBQ and a box of ammo.  Kids 12 and under get in free.

So how old are the men at Man Day?  Is it mainly for guys in their 20s and 30s?

Man Day is designed for all ages.  This is my favorite part about the event.  At the first Man Day, I remember a 9 year-old and a 60 year-old shooting skeet beside each other.  Neither had ever experienced the thrill of firing a gun at a clay pigeon before. Even though  neither of them hit many of the targets, I remember they had matching smiles. All men, young and old, are still 9 years-old at heart.

Why do you think Man Day has become such a success?

It’s successful because men need fellowship.  Its successful because it brings together men of all ages.  It’s successful because for one afternoon or night a year men get to be men.
We create an environment that refuses to let anyone not have an absolute blast!  The other reason it’s a success is because men have stepped up and donated time and money to our day. I’m constantly amazed at how contagious this event is and how everyone wants to help it grow.

And did I mention it’s a bunch of guys hanging out fishing, shooting guns, and eating lots and lots of BBQ?

The video you produced advertising for Man Day is hilarious, but does it also imply that men have a hard time in the day to day grind of life?  If so, why do you think that is?

I think everyone, men and women, have a hard time with the grind of life. I think it’s easy to get bogged down in the monotony of life’s tasks.  Men particularly need moments to prove they are men.  It’s is embedded in each man. 

Every time I need to cut the grass, my son and I “work” on the lawn mower. I hand my three-year-old a hammer or a wrench, and we just hammer and twist bolts because we are men and it feels good.  We then sit on the lawn mower and crank it together. We yell things like “fire up,” and “come on old John” (duh, it’s green and yellow).  After it finally fires up, he looks at me and says, “Dad, we did it. We can fix anything.” Those are the experiences we try to create through Man Day.

Lastly, if a man needs to tell his wife or girlfriend what he’s doing Friday night, how can he explain it in one sentence?

He ain’t telling her nothing.  He is begging for her permission. We are men, but “happy wife, happy life.”

Man Day 2014 is this Friday, April 25th. Festivities start around 5:00, and continue through the night.  Admission is $15/person, and you are welcome leave or stay the night. 

Location: 1352 Sanford Road Nicholson, GA 30565

Further info is available here.

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Learn the Military Alphabet!

By: Alan Meincke

Read the line above this paragraph one more time. That’s right. My last name is a tough one to spell and say correctly. Thousands of telemarketers have tried and failed. I cannot count how many times I have had to try and spell my last name to someone over the phone. Inevitably, the “m” sounds like an “n” and vice versa. Fortunately, I realized there is an easy way for me to remedy this problem! I memorized the NATO phonetic alphabet.

Due to the advent of radio communications, similar systems were independently developed by the U.S. and Britain after WWI. Battlefield conditions like background noise and static necessitated a clear way to communicate–a life or death matter for soldiers.

U.S. Navy recruitment poster from WWI

U.S. Navy recruitment poster from WWI

Once the alphabet was battle tested, it was adapted for international use (using sounds more easily found in a variety of languages). While the version below is not exactly the same as what NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies use today, the name stuck based on an unclassified version that was publicly released. This system is used today by radio operators around the world (airports, EMS, police, and even the lowly telemarketer).

Interesting side note: radio operators at airports like Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta use “Data,” “Dixie,” or “David” to avoid confusion with Delta Airlines.

Who would have thought radio-calling during war would lead to the ease of my spelling my name out over the phone to verify my identity to a credit card company? No longer will I be tongue-tied by searching for a random word that starts with “m”. Spoken confidently, you can sound like a badass who knows what he’s talking about. Mike-Echo-India-November-Charlie-Kilo-Echo. Naturally, our favorite letter at BBT is Whiskey.

Without further ado, I give you, the NATO Phonetic Alphabet (Morse Code included for no extra charge):FAA_Phonetic_and_Morse_Chart2.svg

Have you ever had the same problem as me over the phone? Let us know in the comments if you try this out!

Alan lives north of Atlanta with his wife. For the uninitiated, his name is difficult to pronounce.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet

The Great American Western

By: Andy Crawford

It has been said the Old West is America’s mythology. Conquering a wild continent from ocean to ocean within one short century is an achievement only America can claim in all of world history. The achievement is so extraordinary, it makes sense that Americans would celebrate their success through art.

It is appropriate that as the Old West faded in the late 19th and early 20th century, the film industry entered its infancy and began to tell stories of the West.  The first Western is usually considered The Great Train Robbery, a 12 minute silent film from 1903.

Since then, Westerns have been one of the most popular genres in Hollywood, and for good reason.  The films usually consist of a protagonist seeking justice, treasure, or revenge, with only his own rugged individualism and bravery on which to rely. Through good old fashioned American toughness and independence, he survives in a hostile environment where there is no law and order, and oftentimes must rely on only himself to defeat the bad guys. It’s like Die Hard, but in thousands of square miles of beautiful American wilderness.  (Yippee Ki Yay, indeed.)

While there are plenty of good modern westerns (No Country for Old Men, Unforgiven, Tombstone, etc.), too often we are guilty of ignoring the classics.  We see something in black and white and we are afraid we will be bored, or treated to a sub-par story or special effects.  This is a HUGE mistake, and one that will let you miss out on some of the best westerns (or films) ever made.

So without further delay, here are three classic Westerns you should see. It should be mentioned that The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Stagecoach would be on this list, but have already been recommended to our readers before.

Winchester ’73 (1950)

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This movie follows a single gun (you guessed it, a Winchester 73) through several adventures.  Jimmy Stewart’s character, Lin McAdam, wins the gun at the beginning of the movie, but subsequently misplaces it. The gun sees surprise Indian attacks, a duel, and an armed robbery, touching the hands of other actors, such as Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson.  It’s a fun plot, and an action packed movie.

The Searchers (1956)

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John Wayne plays a Civil War veteran whose beloved niece is abducted by Indians.  He spends years relentlessly looking for her, traveling across desert and mountains.  Often considered one of John Wayne’s greatest performances, he drifts into madness as he tirelessly pursues the abductors.  The viewer wonders if he is driven more by love for his niece, or hatred for her Indian captors. The film also explores racism, and the moral ambiguity between Cowboy and Indian.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962)

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Jimmy Stewart plays a young lawyer seeking to bring a new era of law and order to the Old West.  John Wayne is the classic hero, who has made a career using his six shooter to enforce justice in a lawless wilderness.  Lee Marvin plays his usual surly and violent antagonist, Liberty Valence.  Who will vanquish Liberty Valence?  The Old West or the New?  This is an amazing film that not only has a lot to say about the passing of the Old West, but also how we perceive history.

Andy lives near Athens with his wife and daughter.  He watches a lot of Turner Classic Movies because most current television is awful.  When he’s not watching TCM, he’s eating figs and yelling at youths to get off of his lawn.