*please allow me to introduce myself
i’m a man of wealth and taste
i’ve been around for a long, long year
stole many a man’s soul and faith
and i was round when jesus christ
had his moment of doubt and pain
made damn sure that pilate
washed his hands and sealed his fate
pleased to meet you
hope you guess my name…
as he shuts the door and accelerates down the dirt road, the captain reminds us what hunter thompson said: “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” what the hell am i doing, i think. cocks, le coq, chickens, fearless fowl…they are anti-social. so ready to fight they scream at the break of dawn challenging the very sun. but i have no beef with chickens, they’re as fine as any bird. cockfight chronicles, my story on how our human experience is connected to unspeakable natures, like bloodlust, is in the mix of our features this month. it takes you down the back alleys through some pretty seedy places and ultimately puts you amidst some very well-heeled gentlemen who happen to enjoy screaming at birds. i’m oversimplifying, but maybe not that much. the truth is, if thrown in the pit, any one of those men would probably go at each other just as ferociously as the birds. and given the chance, i bet the cocks wouldn’t mind dropping a few bets. it’s strange, this thing we humans need to exercise. some do it in the form of road rage, others take it to a far more awful place. each of us navigates through the wickedness, making our own special judgments and exceptions, reconciling things to our ideals that someone else would find unconscionable. you can read about the thing that led me to the cockfights in the article that starts on page 106 (or the full sordid back story at lipulse.com). you’d be right to expect that attending a cockfight is a mind-bending experience. thousands of words later and i’m not sure i can articulate it any better than i did a few weeks ago: you can learn everything you need to know about humans by watching animals. you may not want to hear this, but somehow there was no wickedness in the thing. it wasn’t like anyone was rooting for one cock to die. instead, they were just rooting for their cock to win (or at least get through the fight alive). i’ve seen far more wretchedness from mothers at peewee boxing screaming to their nine-year-old boy, “get him! knock him down! you’re a killer! take him down!”
fortunately, this issue is also packed with far less complicated things you could do to make yourself feel good. george thorogood, famous for his blues (bad to the bone and one bourbon, one scotch, one beer) talks about this in his interview with our niko krommydas. thorogood claims he’s too happy to sing the blues these days—at least he’s given us enough music to sing it for him. whiskey sheets, our recommendations, recipes and expanded tasting notes on the glorious amber potions, covers the new libation phenomenon that’s been appreciating a renaissance. this magazine put you at the vanguard of craft beer six years ago, well before anyone else started talking about it. your invitation to join us on the whiskey wave is on page 83.
nelson demille, man of mystery, graces our cover this month, as much for his own iconic brand of firestarting as for the literature that continues to flourish under his pen. demille came out with the panther in a big way toward the end of last year and he’s on his way to another book, but he caught up with veteran journalist aileen jacobson to discuss what happens in between. jacobson has a doubleheader this month, her interview with demille covers the man’s style—in both writing and life. on the flip side, she unearths some of the island’s prohibition tales and our history with bootlegging in her usual picture past column.
we saved a few pages for the beautiful things too: the fashion, retail therapy, stuff men want and dining and design. after you’ve tuckered yourself out from gambling, smoking, drinking and barrooms and you need to hit the reset button, these lifestyles pages you look for every month should quell your appetite.
when after all it was you and me,
* “sympathy for the devil,” the rolling stones