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Famous Beards in Literature

Bearded men are rarely just secondary, background characters in literature. For the most part. Generally when you read of one, he has some sort of hierarchy or power. Whether it’s a political standing, magical power, a leader of a group of family or a captain, characters with beards seems to always fill these sorts of roles. Looking a few of the more well-known beards today, we’ll see examples of a couple of those hierarchies.

Gandalf the Grey/White (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings)

According to The Hobbit, the wizard Gandalf’s magical beard hangs down beneath his waist. It’s not often you’ll come across a powerful wizard who is beardless in literature or even films. Though a fair few of the characters (every single one of the dwarves, and then some) in the Hobbit sport some pretty hefty beards, the one made most famous by the book and in turn, the film, certainly has to be Gandalf’s. In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf has returned from the dead after a lengthy and basically extremely dangerous battle with a Balrog (basically a demon of fire and darkness), all dressed in white, with a “sweeping silver beard”. So not only has he evolved from a grey wizard to a white one, but he has gone from his long, somewhat unkempt though very long grey beard, to a ravishing silver one to match his new powers. At this point, it’s Gandalf’s quest to battle the evil white wizard (with a beard to rival his own), Saruman. Needless to say, the length of these 2 powerful wizards (Gandalf and Saruman) are a visual indication of their internal magical powers.

Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard of Treasure Island)

His name really says it all. He had a long, menacing black beard. Blackbeard’s story today is quite loosely based on fact, from the real Edward Teach who died in 1718 at Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina. Teach was born in Bristol, England, and became a notorious pirate who operated around the West Indies and the east coast of America. Because of his notorious nature and how his stories were passed on through centuries, myth and fiction has a factor in his legacy. There are about 5 real pirates named in the book “Treasure Island”, Blackbeard being one of them. It is said that Blackbeard proclaimed about his treasure “That no-body but himself and the Devil, knew where it was, and the longest liver should take all.” A little unsettling, no? He was feared greatly among his crew and other pirates, often killing a member of his own crew just to remind them who’s boss. Without his dark, black beard, somehow I think he may not have been as menacing.

Charles Ingalls (aka Pa of Little House on the Prairie)

Another character based on truth is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s father, Charles Ingalls. Though perhaps not as deep a character as the previous examples, Charles was a man of power within the family. He was a hunter-trapper, carpenter and farmer, as well a a man who pretty much loved living in low population, woodsy areas. How could he have been beardless with that record? There was a bit of commotion from fans of the books upon the airing of the TV show “Little House on the Prairie”, when Pa was shown beardless and strikingly clean-shaven. His real-life self looked rather like Abraham Lincoln. All in all though, bearded Pa was a family leader with survival and providing for his family on the mind.

Top Rated Books on Hunting

A few of my favorite hunting books

Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt my Own Dinner

aarboards - PBNLily McCaolou writes this novel about how she had grown up a gun-fearing environmentalist from the big city. She was (is) an animal lover and couldn’t imagine herself as a hunter, however she had a massive shift in thinking when she moved out to Oregon.

She started to go out on the weekends fly fishing and “gasp” started even hunting for her own meat. Something strange happened, she realized that those hunters and fisherman cared deeply about the environment and probably more-so about animals then the typical New York City environmentalist. They understood how the populations of various species integrated with one another and how they affect the entire ecosystem. They also had a much deeper appreciation for their food and the animals it came from as a result of having to hunt it.  Overall it is a fascinating read that opened my eyes up to how radically a persons beliefs can change simply by changing their environment and the people they spend time with.

Hunting and Trapping Secrets

Don’t be fooled by the small boy who looks like he may turn into psychopath when he grows up. Hunting and trapping secrets was a great read for anyone who wants to learn the basic of trapping.  The author Duane, shares some incredible tips on how to track, trap and hunt your own wild game. Duane is clearly an expert as he is able to catch wild animals with only a sharp folding knife and some string. He recommends some basic survival & tactical gear that everyone should have prior to heading off on a hunting trip.

Although the book can be a touch dry, there really is so much gold within the pages. He has suggestions and tips that I had never heard of, and I am an experienced hunter and tracker. Overall a fantastic read and would recommend it to anyone who is just getting into the sport

Turkey Hunting Tactics!

As the name suggests this little gold mine is all about hunting turkeys. Its an entertaining read with humorous albeit accurate information on how to con a turkey into your traps!  It goes into great detail about how the eco-system of turkeys work and why calls work as well as other hunting equipment. Gary, has included everything that will make sure you have a wail of a time on your hunt and more importantly, that it’s a huge success.

Other Books

I recommend checking out some of the “total hunting manuals.” There is a volume about deer hunting, hunting, guns and general outdoors. Within those pages you can find just about everything you need for a successful weekend hunting. 

Book Gore: Blood & Literature

Recently, I became a big fan of grindhouse films. A lot of these films from the 70’s are sleazy, gory, but generally fun to watch (because they’re not real). I tend to be a little squeamish, but I still think the writing of the movies can be surprisingly good. So naturally, I started looking for a sort of exploitation books. I looked for books that contained the same type of writing and some of the gory scenes from the grindhouse film, but just in writing instead of actually having to see somebody get slaughtered.

I have come across a few examples of how these scenes can translate to books.

In a book called The Vampire Doctor, a relatively normal looking doctor draws in blood donors and puts them under anesthesia. Once they are completely asleep, he completely drains their body of blood. This is how he puts on the front of a normal life while still feeding his basic vampire needs.

Some of the scenes can be quite gory. There is a scene where the patient wakes up about a quarter of the way through. After the patient wakes up and realizes the vampire is biting him and sucking his blood, the guy loses it. Although the vampire is immortal and, well, a vampire, he is still small and relatively weak. The guy starts to fight him, and since the vampire can’t get close enough to bite him again, he throws a scalpel through his eye. Now even though this is a book, it still paints a vivid and gory picture in your mind.

There is another scene that seemed to be taken out of a Lucio Fulci film. It was a book about zombies. The people were fighting zombies on a boat. There were four people and maybe ten zombies. They were trying to fight the zombies with bats, fire pokers, etc. One of the guys that was fighting a zombie pushed the zombie’s head through a nail in the wall. It was pretty easy to imagine this type of thing. But it’s another example of how books can capture the scene without the gore and sleaze of a film.

I think that books are a great median for grindhouse fans who are a bit too squeamish for the films. They give you the excellent writing that can be in a grindhouse film without the ridiculous and sometimes insane blood and guts scene. I feel this makes the perfect combination!

Additionally, quality of films during the grindhouse era depended heavily on budget and quality of actors. With the books, you don’t have to rely on having a large budget or big name actors, you can make the sequences whatever you want and you can make the actors whoever you want. it doesn’t rely on quality of acting, which can make books an excellent forum for this type of writing.

Thanks for reading! If you have any scenes that you have come across, please feel free to let us know!

5 More Awesome Cookbooks for Spicy Food Lovers

Cooking is a very interesting activity. Many men around the world fall in love with women due to their cooking, the same applies to the women folk. Trying different cuisines has become something that enthusiasts in this field can take up. In this piece, we are going to explore some of the top 5 cookbooks for spicy foods. If you enjoy this recipe, you’ll enjoy our other post about cookbooks for spicy food lovers.

The Herbfarm Cookbook

This cookbook is the work of the award-winning chef Jerry Traunfeld. Jerry wrote down a number of restaurant quality recipes that can be used by many of the ambitious home cooks in their bid to become even better in the kitchen. In the book you can also get a number of simpler preparations for those who do not have as much experience in the kitchen or with spices. Additionally, the book comes with photographs that illustrate the volume. You can also share useful information about growing one’s own herbs, whether in pots or a garden. Ideally, when it comes to spices, this is one book that will help you grow your skill exponentially.

The Herbal Kitchen

While The Herbfarm Cookbook is a masterpiece in its own right, Jerry Traunfeld has actually done it again. The Herbal Kitchen is a follow up book done by award winning chef Jerry Traunfeld. In this book, he lays out a host of fantastic, herb-finessed recipes that are remarkably simple to do. In this book, one of the advantages is that he explores a number of substitutions for the hard-to-find herbs. He also outlines various tips for herb cultivation, handling as well as storage. Like in the Herbfarm Cookbook, Jerry uses photographs in this book to push the point home.

The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, & Flavorings: A Cook’s Compendium

From time immemorial, there has been a certain allure that came with the word encyclopedia. It was a name that brought out a certain need to know more. This encyclopedia has numerous recipes on how to make a variety of spicy foods, both at home and in restaurants. True to its name, this encyclopedia has over 150 recipes that can be tried out by both professionals and novices alike. The author, Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz seeks to break down the myths that have for long been attached to the spicy recipes that we use around the world.

Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food

Most of us will agree that Indian food is often very spicy. Indians have managed to cultivate a culture that rotates around the use a variety of spices within their own environment. The recipes are simple and straightforward complete with photographic material for assistance. Authored by Saran and Stephanie Lyness, the Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food,is an encyclopedia in its own way.

Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean

This is a spicy cookbook that was authored by award-winning chef Ana Sortun. This book is a little unique in the sense that the recipes are grouped into different spice grouping. The author also bases the book on her renowned Cambridge, Massachusetts restaurant, Oleana.

Image Credit: Flick’r User RCB

Five Books with Strong Women

Over the years the literature base has grown to include writers from all over the world. From such a wide repertoire of books to choose from, it is often difficult to point out which among these is the best. However, in this article we are going to look at some of the books that have strong women in them and are considered to be among the best. While the process is difficult, we are going to look at some of the strong female characters that have shaped our literary world over the years.

Lizzie Bennett from the Pride & Prejudice

Lizzie lived in a male dominated world that was full of chauvinism. Even then, she managed t o speak her mind and almost always showed why women should not be underrated in any society. Over the years, Lizzie Bennett from Pride & Prejudice has built the self confidence of many oppressed women. As a character in this story, she is the perfect example of what a strong woman can achieve if let loose.

Nancy Drew, Nancy Drew Mystery Stories

There are many children around the world who grew up knowing about the tales of Nancy Drew. Through her process of solving mysteries, Nancy Drew became the symbol of female objectivity. The wits around her and the skill as well as the finesse with which the mysteries were solved made Nancy Drew one of the best children stories of all time. At some point, it was used as the poster storybook for women’s ability to match their men folk blow for blow. With so many benefitting from the Nancy Drew stories, it is only right that she earns a place in this list.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_1K7w4QqIc

Sabriel, Sabriel

Few women can match up to Sabriel in the world. Sabrielb is a lady who took it upon herself to fight monsters during her adventures. In most of the stories around the world, women are often damsels in distress. As such, having a woman who can stand up and be the knight in shining armor, fighting the monsters that waylay her is quite a great deal. This is a great story on how strong women deal with the issues that affect them.

Matilda, Matilda

Here is a girl who made who taught herself telekinesis. That is what most people would refer to as the power of sheer will. In this book, Matilda increased her power through reading books. With her powers, she managed to mess with people in funny ways. It is this kind of ability that makes her stand out of the crowd. The ability to learn skills that few among us can boast of, men and women alike, is what sets apart the heroes from the zeroes within our societies.

Melba Beals, Warriors Don’t Cry

At the height of racism, it took a lot of courage for the African folk to integrate into the white system, let alone their women. Melba is an example of a woman who took this challenge in its stride and went on to accomplish a lot in life.

Image Credit: Flickr user Jumfer

My Top 5 Cookbook for Spicy Foods

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I absolutely love spicy food, and living in San Diego there is no shortage of it for  me to try. I used to go out for thai or indian or mexican food almost every night. Obviously that got rather expensive, so I figured that I had better learn to cook … [Continue reading]

Knives in Literature

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Since the memorable days when Norman Bates first brought out a knife in Alfred Hitchcock’s popular fiction, “Psycho,” many have talked about the symbolism of the knife utilized as a killer’s primary weapon in horror films and literature. There are … [Continue reading]

Food in Literature

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Food gives your body the essential nutrients for survival. But food does more than just keeping your body nourished. By paying attention to your diet, one can easily gain knowledge on the foundation of the human body. Food has the power to bring … [Continue reading]

My 3 Favorite Books about Farm Life

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Even though I live in the city, I sometimes dream about living on a farm. The work seems totally exhausting, but fulfilling in a way as well. I've never even really been on a farm so I think my dreams are probably making farming out to be something … [Continue reading]