Trends Suck

5 Dec

By David Castagno

Friday November 18, 2011 is a day that will go down in history as yet another step towards that final blow which will hopefully knockout the vampire trend and put it to rest in a light filled coffin.  This Friday will mark the release of part one in the film version of the final book in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn.  So guys clench your jaw, put on that fake smile and take a trip to the movies with your girlfriend, wife and/or daughter and enjoy the first installment of the final Twilight film.

But for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past half-decade let me explain to you the vampire trend that has stemmed from the seed that is the Twilight Saga.  The first book of the four book series came out in 2005.  It is set in an inconspicuous town on Washington called Forks.  It is a love story between a human and a vampire, blah, blah, blah.  What makes this trend even more inexplicably strange to me is the fact that Twilight is just a modern day version of the classic that is Dracula. Dracula was just like any other man, he just wanted to be loved, but do to his circumstance and blood lust it was hard for him.  Edward Cullen the main vampire hero is very much the same as Dracula, he falls for Bella Swan, the books main character and can almost immediately not control his thirst for her blood. But in a sense Edward is truly just a modern day Dracula, granted Dracula was a little more frightening, I mean a vampire who can’t go in the sun because he sparkles isn’t exactly bad a**.

What seems even more baffling is the fact that it is not only young adults that seem to be drawn to this vampire trend.  I have witnessed full grown middle-aged women fawning over the Twilight books as if David Cassidy had just taken a picture with them at a Partridge Family reunion show.

Pam Bierly a mother of three said “Oh sure I love the Twilight books and movies, I mean I know its childish but they are entertaining and it is a way for me to relate to my two daughters.”

“Its kind of weird when my mom asks me about what’s going on in the books,” says Kate Bierly the youngest daughter of Pam and the biggest Twilight fan in the house.  Kate belongs to a group that has been simply dubbed the “Tweens.”  For those of you who do not have children or have not had the pleasure (all sarcasm intended) of interacting with “Tweens” they are simply this: a young person that falls between the child and teenage years, who likes to hang out at the movies on Friday nights without actually seeing a movie and is in most cases constantly arguing for either Team Jacob or Team Edward.  If you do not understand my last remark, it was simply a jab at the incredulous argument between which of the Twilight Saga heroes is better than the other.

With this being said it is funny to see the books and films, which were initially intended for older audiences being indoctrinated to the youth of today.  Parker Bierly the eldest daughter of Pam Bierly and high school student said “I liked the Twilight stuff at first, but then it started to become popular, and that’s when the younger crowd got to it, they totally killed it for me.”

So is it strange to see a trend such as the vampire obsession become so popular in the United States?

The answer is simply no.

Why you ask?

It all has to do with our ability as human beings to take something that is as hyped as the vampire trend and immediately suck it for all its worth (no pun intended) by spreading it so thin that we see new vampire based stories everywhere we look.  Now I know that True Blood is an entertaining show and The Vampire Diaries is still doing pretty well in the ratings categories, but why?  Aren’t any of us getting sick of it yet?  I hope the answer is yes, because as I see the Twilight franchise coming to an end I smile with joy and pray that with the release of Part 2 of Breaking Dawn in November of 2012 we will see this vampire trend fade away like so many tends have done in the past.  I mean hello, parachute pants, those were cool for like a week, and that was only until MC Hammer went bankrupt and couldn’t afford anymore.  So will 2012 mark the end of a trend that has  worked it’s way into the very fabric of our lives, I guess we will see.

How To: Rediscover Your Inner Man

14 Nov

By David Castagno

Ok guys, lets face it, in recent decades we as a gender have slowly become castrated by the new social norms of what a man should be.  Society as a whole has slowly over the years been removing the man from manliness.  So gentlemen if you for some reason wake up one morning and find yourself applying more hair gel to your faux-hawk or picking up your favorite Skinny-Vanilla Latte and find yourself questioning the manliness of your actions, here are some tips for rediscovering your inner-man.

Step-1: Grow a Mustache

Nothing screams I’m a man more than a Wyatt Earp mustache or Ernest Hemingway beard.

Advantages of Facial Hair

  • You have something to fiddle with when pondering deep philosophical thoughts, like who is more bad a**, Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris.  If you really are pondering this watch Return of the Dragon, you will have an answer.
  • You create a sense of undeniable manhood.  You take the leap from boy to man with a simple mustache.
  • You exuberate strength like that of an old time strongman.
  • People respect the “Stache.”  It is a universal sign for authority.

Disadvantages of Facial Hair

  • Intimidation factor.  Some people might emit too much manliness and actually scare people.
  • That’s about it.

Step-2: Hit the Gym

There is no better way to release the inner beast than by going to the gym and lifting.  There is nothing as manly as feeling the cold steal between your hands and hoisting the wait above your head.  It is like an electrical charge is sent through your body.  For motivation try watching Pumping Iron, or picking up any Weider magazine publications.

Tips for first time lifters

  • Start with the basics: squats, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups, and over-head shoulder press.
  • Compound exercises are your friend.  Until there is a muscle to isolate, isolation exercises are pointless.
  • Don’t try to lift to impress.  Who cares what other people think, let them judge, the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself because you were trying to lift heavy.  Ease into it, as long as you are consistent, the strength will come.
  • Don’t socialize.  By no means do I mean not have fun, enjoy the environment and the people, but don’t get distracted from your workout.

Step 3: Enlighten Yourself

How can we really release our inner-man without actually finding it first?  The answer is we can’t.  In order to truly let out the inner beast of man that dwells within us all we must find it.  Brett McKay and his wife Kate are the owners and operators of The Art of Manliness, a website devoted to helping today’s modern man revive the lost art that is manliness.  When asked about rediscovering your inner-man Brett had this to say:

“I would say that the best way to rediscover your inner man is meditation. We’re so distracted in our information age, and it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and what you value. Our minds are constantly buzzing with stimuli meditation allows you to quiet your mind, strip away those layers and rediscover your core values. It lets you rediscover who you really are as a man. I also recommend reading biographies of great men–something about doing that stirs your manliness inside.”

So guys grab some quiet time for yourselves.  Search deep within yourself and evaluate the strength that is you.  If you don’t know where to begin take some advice from Brett and grab a book and find parallels between you and the men you admire.

Manly Biographies

  • Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend
  • Cinderella Man: James Braddock, Max Baer, and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History
  • American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880 – 1964
  • Steve McQueen: A Biography

 Step 4: Get Outside You Lazy Bum

Gentlemen, in order to find our inner-man we must reintroduce ourselves to our surroundings.  We must venture out of our techno-lair and fall in love with the beauty of the outdoors.  We as humans are species who are born unto the earth and we will be laid to rest in the earth, the least we can do is get to know it before we are six feet under and truly appreciate what we have been given.  Kate McKay had this to say about getting outside:

“I think the best way to rediscover your inner man (or woman!) is spending times outside–camping, hiking, canoeing, etc. Far away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, you get a sense of stillness inside. Your perspective about what is real and actually important returns. Nature gives you a chance for unstructured exploration, and chance to reconnect with your primal, wild side, the side of yourself that can get trampled down by all the rules and gadgets and annoyances of modern life.”

So guys after you pick up your copy of Jack London’s American classic, Call of the Wild, grab a pack, put on your best boots and take hike.  Breath in the fresh air and get some sun, God knows all you who have been cooped up in your video game lairs need some.  For those of you who live in the city and truly have an excuse, muggings aside, can always do some urban exploration.  Abandon structures allow you to get out and explore the unknown while not leaving the confines of your community.  But as always be careful and always have an eye on your surroundings, you don’t want to end up in the middle of a real life Midnight Meat Train.

Step 5:  Take Up a Combat Sport

The Greeks wrestled, the Romans fought as Gladiators and the Thai have consistently been bashing each other’s heads in with elbows, knees and fists for generations.  For centuries man has showed his athleticism and manly prowess through sport, some more violent than others.  From the ancient warriors of yesteryear to the modern day UFC Gladiator nothing can bring out your inner-man like some good old hand to hand combat.

Some Combat Sport Options

  • Boxing:  One of Americas oldest pugilistic games is a great way to let off some steam and get in shape.
    • Notable Boxers: Rocky Marciano, James J. Braddock, Muhammad Ali and Manny Pacquiao.
    • Mixed Martial Arts (MMA):  Today’s version of Gladiatorial games, it combines striking sports like boxing and kickboxing with ground sports like wrestling, Jiu Jitsu and Judo.
    • Jiu Jitsu: A combat sport that is almost entirely comprised of defensive movements.  Jiu Jitsu much like boxing is a chess match.  You cannot just freely go into it, you must think about your move and set up your next move before executing the current move.

Gentlemen I believe Steve McQueen said it best when he said, “When I believe in something, I fight like hell for it.”  So get off your rear ends, lose the faux-hawk and skinny-vanilla lattes, crank up that Johnny Cash and let out the beast inside.  Fight like no other to regain that inner-man that you have lost and remember you are not alone in the fight to rediscover your inner-man.  You may have strayed from the path of manliness but hopefully by following these five easy steps you will be on the right track in no time.

To Hell and Back

5 Oct

By David Castagno

SAINT AUGUSTINE- 6:30 PM.  As I sit down on my porch and begin to write this article, I realize that writing a profile on someone who seems to be larger than life, both metaphorically and physically, has its difficulties.  But in attempt to truly show the life of a musician, Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club President, ex-convict and virtual giant has lived, one must understand that in the eyes of the 6’5” Howard Irvine Coones, better known as Rusty, life is a gift that must be taken one day at a time.

Rusty Coones was born in the agricultural city of Madera, California about 25 miles from Fresno, California.  Coones father, who was a pilot, owned a crop dusting business in the rural farming town and taught Coones how to fly at a young age.

By the time he was 11 years old Coones had received his first guitar and at age 12 began to ride dirt bikes.  At 19, Coones had abandoned life in Madera and ventured south on an old Harley Davidson Panhead.  Coones stopped in Orange County to work with his uncle in the plumbing industry and never left.

As mentioned before, Coones is a Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club President.  In fact, he is the founder of the Orange County chapter, and is the current President of the San Fernando Valley chapter of the club.  But due to club regulations and rules Coones is unable to talk and go into detail about club life, events and history.  But being part of the notorious motorcycle club certainly has had an effect on his life.

In 1982, Coones went to prison on drug and illegal firearm charges.  After serving two years in prison Coones was released and returned to Laguna Beach, California, where he operated numerous custom car and motorcycle businesses.

Four years later Coones met his future wife, a half-Italian, half-Mexican Southern California native, Katherine who goes by KO.“Rusty is Rusty,” says KO “He is very real.  What you see, hear and feel from Rusty is what you get.  He impacted my life from the first day I met him”

Shortly after his release from prison, Coones met his current business partner Rodrigo Requejo.  “I met Rodrigo (Trod) when I got out of prison,” says Coones. “He had a metal fab shop and I had a motorcycle company. After we met we combined our two businesses and we both brought individual talents to our company.”

The company that Coones is referring to is Illusion Motorsports, which Coones purchased in 1998.  Coones, Requejo, and KO keep Illusion Motorsports running on a daily basis.  They have customized bikes for the Wounded Warriors foundation and even designed a bike for Kurt Sutter, the creator of the hit television show “Sons of Anarchy.”

“Kurt is a real easy guy to work with,” says Coones.  The two were first introduced through a mutual friend of KO’s.  But Kurt is not the only celebrity that Coones calls a friend.  Jesse James, famous for numerous endeavors, including his hit television show Monster Garage, is a long time friend and fellow bad boy of Coones.  “I met Jesse over 20 years ago, he was a metal fab guy. I  actually had him do some work for me on my Illusion bikes when I first bought the company.”

But unfortunately in 1999, just a year after purchasing Illusion Motorsports, Coones was arrested and charged with taking part in a massive drug smuggling operation.  Coones was firm in saying that the Hell’s Angels had nothing to do with it and that he himself had no real hand in it.  He was simply the person who introduced people to one another.  There were 15 people arrested that day including Southern California drug lord John Ward and deputy district attorney, Bryan Kazarian.  After pleading guilty to one count of drug conspiracy, Coones was sentenced to just over eight years in a federal penitentiary.

While Coones was away, KO took charge of Illusion Motorsports.  “Life for my wife was tough while I was in prison,” says Coones.  “She ran the motorcycle company, kept it going till I was out. KO supported everything she could, and she had help from a few good friends.”

One of those few good friends was his al Jesse James.  In the first few seasons of Monster Garage, Jesse can be seen wearing t-shirts that say “Free Rusty.”  This was James’ subtle way to show support for his good friend.  James also made a custom motorcycle just for Coones, so that he had a motorcycle to ride after he was released from prison.

These days when he is not working on Bikes or doing toy runs with the club, Coones is playing lead guitar in his heavy metal band “Attika 7.”“Attika 7’s music first was inspired from inside the prison walls at a federal prison in Oregon, a lot of the music was written there,” says Coones.

But aside from bikes and music Rusty and KO Coones, lead a normal life.  They have a Chihuahua name Chili and enjoy home cooked meals.“As for the future,” says Coones “the book is still being written. Hard work is what we are doing, and having a lot of fun as we go.”

Oh- Hey There

15 Sep

Welcome,

One and all to American Misfits.  We here at American Misfits have some wonderful things in store.  Please stick around and check in on us from time to time, to see if you like what you see.