This article was produced in partnership with Pendleton Whisky
“I got your six” is a phrase that’s been around for more than a century. It was first coined by American fighter pilots in World War I.
Soldiers used clock positioning to inform direction. For example, twelve o’clock is straight in front of you and six o’clock is right behind you. So, when a WWI fighter pilot said, “I got your six,” it meant, “I got your back.” Enemy pilots would try to get behind your tail and shoot you down, but you trusted your wingman to protect your “six.”
As a former recon marine and retired US Navy SEAL Officer, I have many stories of amazing men and women who have picked me up, covered for me, and protected my “six.” I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them—but one story in particular stands out.
It was September 29, 2006 (Saint Michael’s Day), during the Battle of Ramadi. It was one of the most violent battles of the Iraq War, and I was in command of a 12-man element comprising four Navy SEALs and eight Iraqi scouts. The mission was to provide sniper overwatch support for the famed 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment—the same unit from the HBO series Band of Brothers—as they cleared a highly contested district of the city. We snuck into the enemy-held district during the middle of the night and set up sniper positions on the third-story roof of a prominent building. When the sun rose, we were engaged in sporadic gunfights with Al Qaeda insurgents that remained throughout the day.
About mid-day, Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor, known as “Mikey” by our entire SEAL Platoon, assumed security. A SEAL was located three feet to his left, and I was three feet to his right. An enemy combatant utilized cover and concealment to sneak close enough to our position, then hurled a grenade onto the roof. The grenade barely cleared the lip of the wall, striking Mikey in the chest before settling on the ground. Mikey yelled, “Grenade!” and without hesitation jumped on it to absorb the blast. The other SEAL and I were wounded from shrapnel to the legs, but we survived because of Mikey.
Top 2022-23 Fantasy Football Rookies | Men’s Journal
Rookies are one of the hardest pieces of the fantasy football puzzle to put into place, but they also present a pretty good value opportunity if you’re able to get them right. Lots of fantasy general managers spent early picks in 2021 on Steelers running back Najee Harris, and he rewarded them with one of the best fantasy scoring seasons of anyone. Fewer spent high picks on Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase, but those who did found themselves with one of the most productive wide receivers in fantasy. Others made late-year waiver pickups of Lions receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who starred down the stretch.
Let’s talk about six rookies who merit consideration in 2022 fantasy roster decisions. My qualification to give you this information is that I watch a lot of college football, which you, too, can do. I also took Chase in the fifth round of my draft last year, which essentially makes me the ultimate authority on all things “drafting rookies for our fake football leagues” (or something). The top of the 2022 draft tilted heavily toward defense, which makes it harder to take a stab at rookie fantasy contributors. But let’s try anyway.
Drake London, Falcons WR
Drake London vs Casey Hayward 👀
— PFF (@PFF) August 3, 2022
The Falcons made London the first receiver pick in the draft—No. 8 overall—and there’s good reason to think they’ll rely on him right away. London is one of those dreamy receivers who has top-end speed, a big frame, and oven mitts for hands. He fractured his right ankle last October at USC but seems healthy heading into the season, and he should get the ball a lot, both because he’s good and because the Falcons are not drowning in other receiving options beyond second-year tight end Kyle Pitts. Whether Marcus Mariota can efficiently get London the ball is another matter, but someone’s got to rack up catches on any NFL team. Atlanta does not have a better candidate than London.
George Pickens, Steelers WR
George Pickens was on another level at @GeorgiaFootball.
— NFL (@NFL) August 7, 2022
The Steelers have a lot of credibility in the wide receiver drafting department, and Pickens, their second-rounder this year, is their latest attempt to find high-end production outside the first round. It’s worked with Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace, Diontae Johnson, and a few others, and early indications are that it might work with Pickens, who has been the talk of training camp. Injuries cost Pickens a lot of games during his college career at Georgia, but he’s a big target (a listed 6’3″ and 200 pounds) and has the athleticism and ball-tracking ability to clown defensive backs. It’s not clear who will play quarterback for the Steelers, and you shouldn’t look to draft QB Kenny Pickett unless you’re in a keeper league. But Pickens might turn out to be a major fantasy contributor right away.
Breece Hall, Jets RB
Breece Hall official 4.39 💨👀
— PFF (@PFF) March 5, 2022
Hall was an awesome college running back at Iowa State. The league’s devaluation of running backs in the draft meant that despite being the first running back picked, Hall’s name didn’t get called until the second round, 36th overall. He should probably go around that same pick in 2022 fantasy drafts, but it’s worth keeping in mind the format: Hall was not a hugely prolific pass-catcher at Iowa State, so he might be worth an earlier pick in standard scoring formats than point-per-reception leagues. An injury to the Jets’ star left tackle, Mekhi Becton, is a significant problem, but it also might mean Jets QB Zach Wilson has to offload a bunch of quick passes to players near the line of scrimmage—maybe like his running back.
Skyy Moore, Chiefs WR
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) July 29, 2022
Moore was a receptions machine at Western Michigan last year, when he caught 95 balls. The AFC West is not exactly the MAC, but Moore has a few things going for him. Namely, Patrick Mahomes is throwing him the ball, and the Chiefs traded their best receiver, Tyreek Hill, to the Dolphins after last year. Mahomes has plenty of other options and Moore does not seem likely to start early in the season, but he’s probably worth a look as a No. 3 or 4 fantasy receiver with upside. There’s a non-absurd world in which Mahomes takes a quick liking to him and Moore is the most productive rookie fantasy wideout.
Kenneth Walker III, Seahawks RB
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 6, 2022
Walker is a special running back who, at Michigan State, showed a knack for getting yards even when his offensive line didn’t bulldoze big holes or get much forward push on his behalf. He’s going to need to tap into that in Seattle, because the Seahawks have quite possibly the worst offensive line in the NFL. He’s also not a clear-cut No. 1 on the depth chart and might need some time to overtake Rashaad Penny. But the good news for Walker’s fantasy value is that the Seahawks have a brutal QB situation, with either Geno Smith or Drew Lock starting. They’ll have to run the ball and throw checkdowns, and both of those would benefit Walker’s Year 1 fantasy value. He’s a potential late-round value pickup.
WanDale Robinson, Giants WR/RB
DJ ➡️ Wan’Dale pic.twitter.com/5fM6FUqQRP
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 5, 2022
It’d be a big risk to take Robinson before the last few rounds, but: Think about him! He is a quintessential Swiss army knife player who has expansive college experience as both a running back and receiver. The Giants offense may be a bleak scene, but in PPR leagues, Robinson might generate real value as a slot wideout. And I very much hope this doesn’t happen, but if Saquon Barkley’s health problems continue atop the Giants’ running back depth chart, it seems reasonable that Robinson will get even more touches, no matter where the Giants decide to line him up in their formations. He hasn’t been a true running back in three years, but for fantasy purposes, all touches are good touches.
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How to Disconnect From Social Media | Men’s Journal
What does social media have in common with cave drawings, the printing press, and the telephone?
They’re all part of an elite group of inventions we celebrate for having revolutionized the very nature of human communication. They were so instrumental in our civilization’s advancement that we think of history as divided into the periods before and after each. For social media, that distinction came in 2003 with the release of Myspace. Although we didn’t realize it at the time, our relationships, culture, and way of life were on the precipice of an extraordinary and irreversible transformation—one that history will judge as either a giant leap forward for mankind or a stumble into the abyss.
The best and worst of social media
At its best, social media leads to unlikely friendships, positive social movements, and connections that transcend physical distance. At its worst, social media amplifies the darkest instincts of human nature. It fuels jealousy and anger, provides a safe harbor for hatred, and feeds into a mob mentality.
Instead of using social media for good, advanced algorithms give bad actors the power to reinforce unconscious bias, sow distrust, and foster cultural balkanization by controlling the flow of information. While initially unassuming, social media has proven to be the most powerful weapon in human history.
Young people are at greater risk
Unfortunately, today’s hyper-connected world often portrays life as a competition, which is entirely the wrong mindset. It isn’t about winning or losing; it’s about being present in the moment. How can someone be happy and live a life of impact if they never feel good enough? Comparison is the thief of joy, and while promoting life as a zero-sum game is far from new, social media has lent credibility to this dangerous concept.
In 1954, psychologist Leon Festinger introduced Social Comparison Theory. His working hypothesis was that individuals unconsciously determine their level of self-worth by comparing themselves with others. Much of his research centered on social comparison bias and the causation between comparison and feelings of injustice, depression, and jealousy. Dr. Festinger found that this practice can impact a person’s mental health and result in substance abuse, self-harm, and eating disorders.
A recent study concluded that “social media use was associated with a greater likelihood of…depressive symptoms.” While the study focused on adults, younger people are at even greater risk. Many young people fail to realize that social media influencers manipulate their videos and are multi-million-dollar brands that only reveal what sponsors want you to see.
In the past, beauty magazines came under fire for promoting an unattainable standard. Social media companies are involved in these same disturbing practices—except they have unprecedented access into the minds of our children. Advertisers can reinforce harmful messages each time a young person checks their device, which, for many, is a lot! What chance does a teenager (or younger) have at defending themselves against sophisticated, scientifically developed marketing campaigns designed to reinforce social comparison bias? The answer: little chance at all.
Learn to detach
Even with these flaws, social media itself is not inherently evil. It can be a powerful tool if we rethink how we use it, become more aware of its dangers, and teach our children how to consume content responsibly (let’s be honest, adults need to work on that too). With its widespread adoption across society, eliminating social media from your life is unrealistic, but limiting it is not. Along with being healthy, setting limits can help you achieve your goals. Success requires focus, dedication, and time; the countless hours wasted scrolling through videos could be time spent bettering yourself.
I invite you to unplug each Saturday by turning off your screens and silencing distractions. While limiting your digital access won’t be easy, it’ll be well worth it. Here are two essential things to remember when you do:
1. Accountability: Tell a friend or family member what you’re doing, preferably someone who is with you a lot. They can be your support system and help you remain accountable.
2. Resiliency: Don’t be too hard on yourself for slipping up. Just be prepared to get back on track and keep moving forward. At the same time, that’s not an excuse to give it anything less than 100 percent.
We’ve all been convinced that life is about staying connected. After spending some time making memories with friends and being present with family, you’ll realize that life isn’t about staying connected; it’s about experiencing genuine connections.
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Best Gin Experiences in London, Birthplace of the Martini Cart
Ordering a gin martini at the bar might be a modern day signal of impeccable taste, but like other once-villainized spirits (we’re looking at you, absinthe), gin is actually marked by a surprisingly contentious history. Over the years, the juniperus spirit has experienced quite the revamp—going from London’s public enemy No.1 to one of the most popular in the world.
Today, you can find quality craft gin nearly anywhere you look. It’s imbued with flavorful, local botanicals that help tell the story of the bottle’s terroir. It’s London, though, where gin has (literally) made a name for itself. It’s also where visitors can experience some of the most interesting ways to taste a variety of London Dry Gins, from the city’s opulent gin palaces to tableside martini services fit for the queen herself.
An Abbreviated History of Mother’s Ruin
We’re not going to lie: London in the early 1700s sounds like a tough place to be. The city was practically drowning in alcohol—as the notorious Gin Craze took over the city. At the time, a reported one in four homes were distilling what they called “the mother’s ruin.” In 1730, there were an estimated 7,000 gin “distilleries” that dotted the city. Lower-class Londoners took to concocting a rudimentary and dangerous, form of gin. It’s a far cry from the London Dry variety we enjoy today. In place of the rich, herbaceous flavors we know gin for now, Londoners were adding ingredients such as turpentine, sulphuric acid, and even sawdust into their moonshine-esque liquor.
After a number of unfortunate gin-related deaths, Parliament was forced to take action by requiring the acquisition of a distiller’s license, and introducing bills to further limit the creation of gin—chief among them the 1751 Gin Act, which drastically curbed the number of “distillers” in the city by prohibiting them from selling to unlicensed merchants and increasing fees.
The London Dry style
“Following the gin craze, a time in the 1700s when many associated gin with the perils of overconsumption and poverty, gin’s image started to be rehabilitated in the 1800s with the emergence of the more refined London Dry style of gin,” says Sipsmith Master Distiller Jared Brown. “The London Dry style was synonymous with high-quality craftsmanship as it was often enjoyed neat in the gin palaces of the times.”
Brown tells us the London Dry style developed in response to new distillation methods. This allowed the gin to adopt a more refined taste. Despite its name, “London Dry” differs from other spirits like tequila and bourbon in that distillers can make it anywhere in the world. It must meet two specific criteria in order to earn the distinction of London Dry: 51 percent of the botanical mix must be juniper and no flavoring can be added after distillation.
Today, gin is distilled and enjoyed everywhere, but it was London that put it on the map. In classy, members-only haunts, high-end cocktail bars, and opulent gin palaces, the juniperus spirit remains the talk of the town.
London’s Most Iconic Gin Experiences
1. Tour the Sipsmith Distillery
When Sipsmith started making London Dry gin in 2009, it was the first distillery to open in London proper in over 200 years. It was paving the way for a “ginaissance” that has led dozens of other distilleries to open their doors in London since. Brown says that once it was decided by the founders that they wanted to create a gin true to tradition, “I went to work, researching gin recipes from the 1700s and 1800s to find the perfect Sipsmith recipe.”
“The result is a recipe that uses botanicals, an ABV level and distillation techniques, including maceration of botanicals, copper pot still distillation and the one-shot method, that were traditionally used by some of the original gin distillers in London.”
Visitors to London are able to stop by Sipsmith, located in the charming neighborhood of Chiswick. Here’s where they make magic. If you happen to be visiting London during Wimbledon, you can also sip on gin-laden spritzes from their dedicated bar. Sipsmith is the official gin partner of the iconic tennis tournament.
2. Order a tableside martini from Dukes
There is perhaps no place that delivers more of an authentic “London” cocktail experience than Dukes. It’s a small but mighty bar inside a refined hotel by the same name in the neighborhood of St. James’s. For more than a decade, Dukes has been the domain of head bartender Alessandro Palazzi, who gets to treat nearly every patron to the classic Dukes’ martini experience (it would be borderline blasphemous to order anything else there).
It was a favorite of James Bond author Ian Fleming. He enjoyed it so much that it eventually inspired 007’s signature order: the Vesper Martini. That’s how classic the Dukes martini is. Dukes prepares it tableside on a century-old rosewood trolley. Expect a cocktail so stiff that it’s against the rules there to enjoy more than two in an evening.
3. Choose your own bitters at The Connaught
The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair is the definition of posh. In fact, it’s the only hotel with permission to use the Buckingham Palace “royal red” for its carpets. Members of the British monarchy have come by for decades. Its namesake bar has been dubbed one of the world’s 50 best. This is largely thanks to its highly experiential Dry Martin, complete with a tableside martini trolley. Ordering one is sort of like a choose-your-own-adventure deal, from the gin selection (you can always stick with the bar’s own, which they distill right there at the hotel), to the flavor of bitters you prefer.
Your choice between eight house bitters could imbue your martini with flavors from cardamom to lavender to tonka. You get the chance to smell them beforehand through parfumerie-like flavor cards. Next, all there is to do is sit back and relax while they shake and pour your cocktail from daring heights—all the while infusing it with a fresh lemon twist.
4. Explore the City’s Victorian Gin Palaces
Stepping into one of London’s grand gin palaces is like experiencing a time machine. These 19th-century bars came about in the 1830s, just on the cusp of the Victorian Era. Known for their elaborate decor, having even a simple gin and tonic becomes an experience. One of the most popular includes the Argyll Arms, which dates back to 1868 and remains largely unchanged from its original design. One of the most stunning examples is the Viaduct Tavern. Open since 1869, it features etched glass panels, detailed paintings, and an original Lincrusta ceiling and a cashier’s booth. Lacking history but making up for it with quirk is Mr. Foggs Gin Parlour, which resembles the gin palaces of yesteryear.
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