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Tag Archives: army

10 Events in World History That Totally Should Have Been Pregamed

2 Feb

There was once a time when history was regarded with reverence and esteem. Then the History Channel aired “Ice Road Truckers,” and since then, it has been hard for anyone to take history seriously. That being said, we still view history as an important part of our heritage that must be studied and understood. And by “studied and understood,” we of course mean “examined to establish which historical events would be funniest if all parties involved were shitfaced.” Here at Sherman Ave, history and drinking go together like, well, Mohawk rum and CVS-brand soda. Thus, we proudly present to you the 10 events in world history that totally should have been pregamed.

And you thought Northwestern students' Halloween costumes were offensive

10. The Travels of Marco Polo
As anybody who ever made the excruciating journey from the Keg to the mystical and foreign land of Burger King can attest, drunk adventures just tend to be more interesting than sober travels. Just imagine if Marco Polo had downed two bottles of wine before setting out from Venice! The young guido would probably embark on a series of raucous adventures throughout his travels, recording everything from his first encounters with Asian fusion cuisine in the land of Joy Yee to an ill-fated attempt to skinny dip in the Arabian Sea in an incomprehensibly ungrammatical text message sent to his roommate at three in the morning. The next day, Marco Polo would be way too hungover to feel dismayed by the revelation that, after being carried like three miles by his friends to the Yuan court, Polo used the sacred oil from Jerusalem entrusted to him by Gregory X to introduce the Mongolian Empire to waffle fries before promptly vomiting on Kublai Khan’s lap.

9. The Storming of the Bastille
On July 14, 1789, a bunch of disgruntled poor French people massed upon the Bastille, a large prison known for holding political prisoners. If you think about it, there are only three explanations for masses of people converging on a public place — they’re angry, they’re drunk, or they’re in the Jai Ho music video. Regrettably, seeing as the French were mostly angry in this scenario; they really should have been drunk. Simply compare the nature of angry public gatherings and drunken public gatherings. Angry public gatherings include Occupy Wall Street, Tiananmen Square, and Nazi book burnings. Drunken public gatherings include Snoop Dogg concerts, St. Patrick’s Day, and the celebration of Osama bin Laden’s death. You decide which you find preferable. Besides, A Tale of Two Cities would just be so much more interesting if Madame Lafarge was vomiting uncontrollably in every scene.

8. The Defenestration of Prague
Like anybody needs much provocation to drink in order to escape the infernal bleakness of Eastern Europe. But I usually do need to be at least a couple of shots of absinthe deep before I defend my religious freedom by shoving Catholics out of a third floor window into a pit of manure. Not to mention, a good pregame would have added a whole other layer to the term “getting shit-faced.”

Foam is beer!

7. The Crusades
Which Crusades? ALL OF THEM. ALL OF THE CRUSADES SHOULD HAVE BEEN PREGAMED. Okay, it’s like a road trip, but you can be as sloshy-slosh as you want, because you don’t have to worry about getting a DUI (unless the Holy Roman Empire stringently enforced horse-riding sobriety). Besides, there is no better instigator of belligerent shenanigans than Pope Urban II’s famous declaration, “God wills it!” That’s just asking to be misinterpreted for fratty purposes. Fifteen shots in an hour? God wills it! Eight consecutive kegstands? God wills it! Seriously, if someone walked up to me tomorrow and said “Hey, God wants us to get incredibly blitzed and then go ride a horse from Rome to Jerusalem,” I would instantly buy the necessary supplies. Then I’d probably proceed to buy a bible, to double-check the whole divine mandate thing.

6. Marx Writes the Communist Manifesto
Alcoholism becomes much easier when it’s supported by a good old-fashioned dialectical materialist ideology. A tipsy Marx after an unlucky game of Drunkopoly would undoubtedly replace his theories of Das Kapital with Das Boot, the class struggle with the timeless struggle for consciousness, and the stateless society the ideal of a pants-less society. His manuscript — hastily scrawled on the back of a cocktail napkin — would ignite rebels everywhere with its message, resulting in a series of idealistic revolutions calling for the redistribution of Miller High Life among the proletariat but rapidly degenerating into a dystopian shitshow of Adele lyrics in the gulag of Fran’s Cafe.

5. Hannibal Leading His Army Over the Alps
When I’m plastered, there are only two things I want: Guacamole and Elephants. I have some doubts about the guacamole rations in the Carthaginian army, but there were definitely some fucking elephants. They’re just so large! In that state of mind, it’s difficult to perceive objects larger than the distance between Burger King and 7/11. An elephant would just be mind-blowing. Furthermore, there are tons of fun activities to do in the Alps: skiing, snowboarding, sledding, making snow angels, having snowball fights with fellow Carthaginian soldiers, walking behind Hannibal and quietly muttering lines from “Silence of the Lambs,” etc. If someone just told me to march over an entire mountain range, I’d be pretty miffed, but if someone had me do a power hour and then said “Let’s go hiking!” I’d take the bait like a middle-aged housewife at Herman Cain’s mansion.

A thimblefull of tequila brings out her coquettish side

4. The Trial of Joan of Arc
Tensions might have ran high in the Rouen courtroom as the Maid of Orléans was tried for heresy, but that’s nothing a little Smirnoff chased by a slap can’t solve! If only the Bishop Cauchon had pregamed, the interrogation would have devolved from religious inquiry to a saucy game of “Never Have I Ever,” with questions mostly pertaining to Joan’s fantasies about the Dauphin and her penchant for cross-dressing. Joan of Arc will then famously proceed to declare to the courtroom, “I do not think I am in mortal sin, and if I am, it is for God and the priest in confession to know that I used the pages of Ezekial 23: 19-20 to roll the biggest joint Charles VII ever saw!” The trial would inevitably end with the pronouncement that the patron saint of France was “one righteous motherfucker” before burning her at the stake and cooking escargot over her smoldering ashes.

3. The Arrival of Cortez in Mexico
I’ll be the first to admit: When I’ve have too much to drink, I’m very friendly. Best friends are inundated with hugs, acquaintances are equally inundated with hugs, and the quiet Korean girl from my Econ discussion probably sustains a fairly serious spinal injury from the amount and magnitude of the hugs with which she is inundated. But even in all of my drunken affection, I very rarely greet a stranger and jump to the conclusion that they are the god Quetzalcoatl. There was that one time, but she had a very oddly proportioned face, and I couldn’t come up with any other explanation for it. Ultimately, Montezuma and his Aztec cronies should have heavily pregamed the arrival of Cortez, if for no other reason than to justify their absurd actions (just think if only Cortez had been entranced by the Aztec’s gold tequila rather than the golden buildings of Tenochtitlan). I’d have to be incredibly trashed to give a stranger the keys to the capital city of my civilization, even though I was once trashed enough to lock the keys in the car at 2:30 in the morning after drunkenly transporting a couch through several blocks of downtown Evanston.

2. The Construction of Stonehenge
Seeing as its pretty easy to build Stonehenge in the opening of Civilization IV, I can only assume that the Druids were pretty far gone when they built one the most complex monuments of the Stone Age. I mean, you’d kind of have to be three sheets to the wind to agree to lug 25-ton rocks from a Welsh quarry to some testament for the enterprising spirit of man. Assuming the Druids were drunk on mead, there are few explanations remaining for the memorial. My guess is that they either built a fast-food restaurant catering to students’ late-night culinary needs, or else a bar with a lax ID policy and stripper poles on the dance floor.

Drink every time a Russian model looks like this by the time she hits her mid-thirties?

1. Russia
You may not have ever thought to pregame an entire nation, but it seems like the only appropriate thing to do. I’d really like to isolate a single event in Russian history that needs to be pregamed more than the others, but that is simply a Sisyphean task. Conclusion: Nothing in or relating to Russia should ever involve sobriety. Therefore, instead of painstakingly listing every event in Russian history, I present to you: “History of Russia: The Drinking Game!”
• Drink every time Russia is invaded in the winter against the invader’s better judgment
• Drink every time a prominent politician is sent to a gulag
• Drink every time Brezhnev’s eyebrows appear in an intricate nightmare of yours
• Drink every time Putin shares an uncomfortably intimate moment with a wild animal
• Drink every time Tolstoy and/or Dostoevsky makes you lose faith in everything, LITERALLY EVERYTHING
• Drink every time Tchaikovsky tries to suppress his latent homosexuality
• Drink every time a Russian leader tries to expand executive power
o Drink twice if it’s Putin
• Waterfall from 1917-1991

Ross Packingham and Evander Jones

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Authors That Would Make Bad Writing Infinitely Better

6 Jan

As a manipulator of the English language myself, I hold several beliefs dear to my heart. They are as follows:

1) If you are over the age of 12 and still cannot successfully distinguish when words should have apostrophes (confusing “it’s” and “its,” “your” and “you’re”), I cannot respect your education. Why are you stupid?
2) If you can’t write something nice, don’t write anything at all. I’m not talking about pleasant or polite; I’m referring to “nice” writing as the opposite of writing that is bad, boring, poorly written, wrong, pointless, confused, frustrating, or Rick Perry.

Yeah, I know. It’s radical. Of course, not as radical as Rick Perry. But let’s face it: there is some literature/film/music that simply should have been penned by someone other than the original author. In some cases, aforementioned art is a slice of brilliance that got tarnished in the current writer’s incapable hands; in other cases it is an unsalvageable failure whose only option is to get worse so as to become presentably heinous.

In fact, may I make a few suggestions?

Twilight
by Terry Pratchett*

We’d all like this series so much better if Ms. Meyer’s attempt at a love story about a girl next door (translation: exposition on How To Have A Dysfunctional Relationship) had relatable and quirky characters with different fonts for every time they spoke. P-rad knows exactly how to make a totally impossible instance (Death playing Santa Claus? Criminals becoming post-men? Women in the army and not in the kitchen?) plausible, insightful, and funny — qualities which are all completely lacking in the hands of its current author.

Miley Cyrus’s memoir, Miles to Go
by Lemony Snicket

I haven’t read the original, but here is what I imagine it will read like, “My daddy is the only reason I’m famous. My brother croakmoans uncomfortably horny music to an audience that hasn’t got boobies yet. My boyfriend is way too old for me. I like drugs.” Are you attached to any of these characters? Do you care if the melancholy wit of Lemony Snicket creatively kills them off? Me neither. Just add a narrator who regularly urges you to stop reading, a meaninglessly depressing end,** and illustrations by Brett Helquist, and we’ve got ourselves acceptable piece of literature. It might even be appropriate for children, unlike everything else about Miley. Which brings us to:

“Party in the USA”
by Adele

Face it. She’d sing it better. Adele’s been so angsty lately (trying to set fire to the rain and all. She must be so frustrated) I’d like to see her getting down and shaking those God-given gifts. We know that when a Jay-Z song is on in Adele’s taxicabs, you better believe she puts her hands up.

Freud’s Early Theories
by Tara Gillespie

If you think about it, it wouldn’t be too different: My Immortal (the world’s worst fanfiction) and Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams are both mostly about sex/mostly wrong about sex. But if our favorite “goff” wrote it, we’d have the added pleasure of trying to decipher what words were behind the awful spelling in addition to laughing at his concept of penis envy and her concept of orgasm. Maybe she’d throw in some Harry Potter references*** along with her My Chemical Romance worship, extensive description of fishnets, and use of the phrase “passively frenching.” On the negative side, there will undoubtedly be a morbid amount of it’s/its confusion, but on the plus side, as far as we can tell, Tara wasn’t on cocaine, unlike Freud.

Glee
by Tommy Wiseau

Oh hai: it’s another artist who lacks command of the English language. Be honest with yourself — you don’t watch Glee for its**** gripping storyline. Having America’s most multi-untalented artist write/direct/produce/star/fornicate in the musical TV show can only make it more interesting. You know you want more of the writing that made Tommy’s masterpiece, The Room, so fantastic — what better way than to sit down with a bowl of popcorn to a fusion of pop culture featuring quotable magnificence such as, “You ah tearing me apaht, Wachel!” and “I did NAHT hit on Kurt. I did NAHT.” Best of all, we get to hear more of his wonderfully attractive accent/speech impediment as applied to music. Which, of course, he’ll arrange and sing entirely by himself.

Unfortunately for you, I have no suggestions on how to improve your terrible English paper. And so, I leave you with the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:
You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes,
You have heinously read all Sir Twattingworth spews.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose
(Just as long as it sounds like Erman Shmavenues).

——————————————————————————————————————————
*Another soul who understands the beauty in a footnote. All I want for Christmas is his semen in a petri dish with the reproductive cells of Bristol Bacchus. Bristol, dibs on being godmother.
**I’m all for realistic children’s literature, but I was really attached to Uncle Monty. And did anyone else develop a phobia of Lachrymose Leeches in Lake Michigan?
***Godwin’s law of NU: the longer a conversation continues between two NU students, the more likely a Harry Potter reference becomes.
****Did you see that apostrophe? No, you didn’t, because it does not belong there. It belongs in the first sentence of that paragraph.

Badasses in History: Audie Murphy

4 Dec

Audie, en route to fucking some shit up

Let’s start this week’s historical badass with a riddle. What’s black and blue and red all over? Answer: Chuck Norris after trying to fuck with Audie Murphy.

“That’s impossible!” you say.

Well, shut the fuck up and sit down and maybe you’ll see what I’m talking about.

You see our story begins in 1924 when Audie was born the sixth of twelve children to Emmett and Josie Murphy in Kingston, Texas. Things were hard for Audie, as he was and would remain very small, something looked poorly upon in Texas, “where everything is bigger.”

Riiiiiiight.

Anyway, Audie and his siblings worked on the family farm as children, at least until his father abandoned the family in 1936, presumably saying, “How the fuck did we end up with this many kids?” His mother died five years later, leaving the Murphy children to fend for themselves, with only the oldest sibling, Elizabeth, at age 31 to care for them.

Audie, rightfully realizing his life was going up shit-creek faster than a prairie dog in a wheelbarrow race, decided the best thing to do would be for him to join the army. So, Audie put his three youngest siblings in an orphanage (he would later reclaim them after coming back from the war), and attempted to enlist.

See, I say “attempted” for a reason.

Thing is, Audie tried to enlist right after Pearl Harbor, at age 17, but was turned away for being too young. Reputedly, Audie hulked the fuck out on the recruiter, but matters would stand this way for some time. Shortly after, Audie tried to enlist once again, but was declined by the Marines, the Air Force, and the Navy.

Why? Well, he was 5’5’’ and 110 pounds. Yeah, he kind of looked like one of those starving kids Sally Struthers is always bitching about. Luckily for Audie however, the United States Army was always on the lookout for meatshields…I mean corpses…I mean cannon fodder.

Damn it! I mean upstanding, brave specimens of American masculinity.

Yeah, that works.

So, long story short, Audie finally got to live out his dream of being a military man. At which point he promptly passed out during training and was ordered to be a cook instead. But, like short people everywhere, Audie wouldn’t shut the fuck up. He insisted on being a combat soldier for so long that finally his drill sergeant gave up and let him do it.

At this point Audie got sent overseas to North Africa, where he saw no action and presumably just fucked around playing stickball or something. After getting tossed over to Sicily however, Audie finally got to prove himself and was quickly promoted to sergeant.

So he was only like 18. He was Audie Motherfucking Murphy, so suck it.

That's more gold on his chest than Nelly has in his mouth

Now we get to the fun part, and by fun part, I mean we get to the part where Audie becomes the most decorated soldier in American history.

I didn’t mention that before? Really? I could have sworn…

Well no matter! Just listen up.

By the way, Audie contracted malaria during the Allied Invasion of Siciliy. So everything I’m about to explain? He did it with malaria. Yeah.

At one point, Audie mined a road where Axis tanks were known to be crossing. Asking his men to cover him, Audie stealthily snuck up on one such tank and tried to blow the thing up with a Molotov cocktail. When that didn’t work, Audie tried rifle grenades (all while getting shot at, and pulling Matrix style shit to avoid them). It worked. All by his lonesome, Audie managed to knock the tank off its treads, rendering it useless.

Yeah, Audie Murphy took out a tank, all by himself.

What the fuck? I can’t even do that shit in a videogame much less real life. And he was 5’5’’. There are NBA centers whose arms are longer than that. AND he was 110 lbs. That’s like what? How much my books weigh each quarter?

So we’ve established he was a badass, and that alone would be enough to ensure him a place of glory (it did win him a Bronze Star), but it’s not all.

The scene: It’s 1944, the Germans are being repelled and the Allies are pushing forward. BUT! The German forces are by no means down for the count. Enter a beachhead in Southern France.

Audie and his company were ordered to capture an enemy artillery position. In the course of the conflict, the Germans signaled their surrender, at which point Audie and his men went to take their position.

Of course, Nazi’s being total dickwads, they were faking and promptly shot and killed Audie’s BFFL.

This was really quite a poor decision on behalf of those Germans. I say “poor decision,” but what I really mean is “complete and utter catastrophe.” This is because Audie Murphy, on seeing his friend gunned down in front of his eyes, went Super Saiyan.

Legends say that he was doused with fire and emerged unscathed. That he shrugged off the strikes of lightning like they were so much trash. He endured a hail of bullets and his screams of rage flung them to the ground.

It may not be all true, but the reality is this: Within one hour, every single German was dead. Audie literally ran to the German position, amidst a storm of bullets, and took control of the nearest machine gun, slaughtering every Nazi within sight, and winning him the Distinguished Service Cross.

When another machine gun operator starting firing on Audie, he promptly picked up a mortar gun and gave that Kraut bastard what for. He then took out two more turrets and two sniper positions.

All by HIMSELF. This guy makes Rambo look like a pussy. Hell, he makes Seal Team 6 look like kindergarteners.

But even that doesn’t measure up to his actions in Holtzwihr Forest, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Before Holtzwihr Forest, however, Audie won the Purple Heart —for taking a mortar shell fragment to the hip, then immediately requesting to return to the front upon recovery — and two Silver Stars — the first for taking out two German positions using only a pair of hand grenades, saving the lives of numerous other soldiers; the second for reconnoitering near a German outpost and relaying its location to nearby artillery so it could be destroyed.

In case you aren’t keeping track at home, the tally is as follows: 1 Bronze Star, 1 Purple Heart, 1 Distinguished Service Cross, and 2 Silver Stars. Not bad for a 20-year-old right? He was also promoted to staff sergeant, then platoon sergeant, then platoon leader, AND THEN 2nd Lieutenant during this time.

Well it gets better.

On January 26th, 1945 (just one day after being named company commander, as well as suffering wounds from a mortar that exploded nearby that same fucking day), Audie and company became engaged in battle in the Holtzwihr Forest in France (I know, the name sounds German. Shut up).

During the course of the battle, Murphy’s 128-man company was reduced to 19 men, nearly all of them wounded. Realizing things might not turn out sunshine and daises, Audie decided to do something incredible: hold the Germans off by himself.

Yeah, he did that thing every movie hero does but that no one has the balls to pull of in real life. HE PULLED A FUCKING GANDALF AND SAID “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

Seriously though, he shot at the Germans until he ran out of ammunition, at which point he climbed aboard a flaming, abandoned M10 Tank Destroyer (yes, it fucking blows the shit up out of tanks). Remember, it was on fire while he did everything I’m about to tell you. And he still had malaria. And he was wounded from the mortar shell. Also, it was 14°F. Just so we’re clear.

Audie started using the .50 caliber machine gun on all Germans coming his way. He got shot in the leg, but kept going for nearly an hour, all single-handed. The only time he stopped fighting was to call in artillery fire using a nearby telephone line.

In the end, Murphy and his remaining men—who came back—staged a counterattack and drove the Germans back out of Holtzwihr Forest, winning the battle.

When asked why he had decided to seize a machine gun and attack an entire squad of German infantry, he uttered perhaps the most badass explanation ever given:

Nobody fucks with Audie's betches

“They were killing my friends.”

I stand in awe of this man. If he wanted to punch me in the face I would take it and be honored. For his actions in Holtzwihr, Audie was given the Legion of Merit and the Medal of Honor, America’s highest military award, as well as given a promotion to 1st Lieutenant.

Audie continued fighting in the war, amassing a staggering total of military awards. In fact, he won every single U.S. decoration for valor available to Army ground personnel at the time. Some of them more than once.

In total, Audie was credited with destroying 6 tanks, and personally killing 240 German soldiers. Audie would eventually be promoted to Major while serving in the Texas National Guard. After his retirement from the service, he became an action star in Hollywood, starring in a few Westerns and — get this — playing himself in a movie called To Hell and Back about his battle in Holtzwihr.

He was such a popular actor, in fact, that he got a star on the Walk of Fame.

How can you get more badass?

Oh, here’s a list of Audie’s medals. If you don’t feel like counting, the number is 33. He was, and is, the most decorated soldier in American history.

• Congressional Medal of Honor
• Distinguished Service Cross
• Two Silver Stars
• Legion of Merit
• Two Bronze Stars
• Three Purple Hearts
• U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
• Good Conduct Medal
• Two Presidential Unit Citations
• American Campaign Medal
• European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Silver Star,
Four Bronze Service Stars and one Bronze Arrowhead
• World War II Victory Medal
• Army of Occupation Medal
• Armed Forces Reserve Medal
• Combat Infantry Badge
• Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar
• Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar
• French Fourragere in Colors of the Croix de Guerre
• French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier
• French Croix de Guerre With Silver Star
• French Croix de Guerre with Palm
• Medal of Liberated France
• Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm