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Bon Vivant VA https://bonvivantva.com A blog about living the good life in and around the Commonwealth of Virginia Tue, 28 Aug 2018 21:32:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.26 Hamilton, DC Cast and book review https://bonvivantva.com/?p=30793
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Tue, 28 Aug 2018 20:28:16 +0000 http://bonvivantva.com/?p=30793 It’s been a long time since my last post.  I do intend to catch up, but between a new baby, a job, and the building of a house, I haven’t been able to make the blog a priority.  This winter I hope to write some catch up posts and get back on track.

My sister, who may be more of a renaissance man than I, started telling me about this rap musical about Alexander Hamilton a couple years ago.  I listened to a few of the songs, but I didn’t really get it.  Once Hamilton really started blowing up, I realized I probably hadn’t given it is due.  I think the main problem I had was that despite a love for American history, I didn’t know or remember much about Hamilton.  For Christmas last year, my parents got my wife and me season tickets to The Kennedy Center.  They’ve been habitués of the theater for about thirty years, and generously though we’d appreciate going to shows as much as they have.  They even watch the little ones while we’re out, which is honestly about all we get it, so we greatly appreciate it.

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I’d only managed to read about 30% of the book before seeing the show.  I highly recommend getting some context before seeing the show.  At a bare minimum, read wikipedia and then listen to the songs in order.  I thought the musical was absolutely incredible.  It was very well done.  I thought the execution of the DC cast was on par with the original, save maybe for Angelica.  However, several members of my family saw the show a few weeks after I did, and they told me that an understudy had filled in for Angelica who was quite good.  I thought that Washington was particular exceptional in the DC cast.  The set was surprisingly simple, but I don’t think that detracted from the show in any way.  I won’t waste any more time of a review as you all know its great and can’t be missed.  I hope to see it again, and hear a filmed performance by the original cast my come out as a movie, which I’d love to see.  The only show I’ve ever seen that had the audience as engaged and as excited is perhaps The Book of Mormon.  However, The Book of Mormon is a pretty pure comedy while Hamilton really has it all.

I finished the book last night after what felt like an eternity of trying to finish it.  It’s a lot of book.  That’s not to say its not a page turner, but it’s definitely not a light or short read.  I’ve ready 1776, and Founding Brothers.  I’ve watched John Adams on HBO.  Chernow’s Hamilton stands out to me as it really highlights the personalities of the founding fathers and other associates of Hamilton.  I also really think it speaks to the savagery of politics and the cynicism and grim view of the human condition held by many great and influential men.  In school we learn about great leaders and founders of this nation, and they’re presented as exceptional and superhuman.  Chernow’s Hamilton really speaks to the flaws of these men, the failures and shortcomings, which really gives another dimension to their history and a much richer appreciation of their lives and legacies.  Interestingly, only George Washington is portrayed as exceptional in both his accomplishments and integrity.  Chernow makes it clear that Washington owed much of his success to Hamilton, just as Hamilton did to Washington.  Really, they were indispensable to each other.  But Washington stands alone as a man of unwavering character, selflessness, magnanimity, integrity, sacrifice, and optimism.  He saw the good in all people, and saw beyond party politics, all while holding himself to the highest standards.  He was not perfect, but his honestly and exceptionalism is not matched.  Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, and etc., while exceptional, all fall victim to the human condition.  They are guilty of being petty, dishonest, of infidelities, and many similar shortcomings.  In addition to dirty politics, Hamilton had other mistakes, such as the Alien and Sedition acts.  Particularly remarkable since Hamilton was an immigrant.  Despite these mistakes, most founders are remembered for accomplishments.  Adams and Jefferson included.  We know all along that Burr is the villain, but short of murder, many of the founding fathers are guilty of similar lapses in judgement and/or failings of character.  While their careers and legacies are exceptional, and they weren’t regular people, they were susceptible to many of the same temptations and weaknesses of their inferiors.  This seems particularly relevant in the age of Trump.  While Bill Clinton may best be remembered due to the cause of his impeachment, politics in my lifetime has seemed less scandalous than during Hamilton’s time.  Until now.  While not comforting to me personally, perhaps because I’m too cynical or impatient, its nice to know America has been through a lot and still persevered and thrived.  It makes one think that Trump too shall pass.  Its hard not to draw parallels.  And while the best example of a selfless public servant, especially given his recent passing, is McCain, its difficult to see how or when the reasonable and upstanding republicans like McCain will retake their party.   While the book is truly an all encompassing biography, the musical seems to focus on legacy.  Only a few years ago, most people probably wouldn’t name Hamilton as a founding father.  Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Franklin, etc., could all probably easily be recalled, but Hamilton would probably be as forgettable as John Jay.  In his own time and shortly thereafter, Hamilton may have been most infamous for his infidelity and then his duel.  It’s interesting that such an accomplished man could have his legacy be something other than The Federalist Papers, the Treasury Department, Neutrality, or Abolitionism.  The musical has gone a lone way towards enriching and cementing Hamilton’s legacy.  Especially with current generations.  But despite the book and musical, Hamilton will likely continue to be best known for the duel.  A man of many mistakes, but known for one big one.  It gives one pause that one can go from being remembered as a Vice President, to a murderer, in just a split second.  Or a from perhaps the most accomplished founding father, to a the victim of a duel.

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Kentucky Derby ’17 https://bonvivantva.com/?p=24548
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Fri, 05 May 2017 18:06:55 +0000 http://bonvivantva.com/?p=24548 Drink

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Myrtle Beach Golf Trip Road Trip https://bonvivantva.com/?p=24323
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Wed, 19 Apr 2017 14:01:10 +0000 http://bonvivantva.com/?p=24323 Its that time again!

 

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Fishing North, Middle, and Jennings Creek https://bonvivantva.com/?p=23959
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Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:25:33 +0000 http://bonvivantva.com/?p=23959 Just got back from my trip down to Botetourt.  I was invited on a fraternity brother’s annual fishing trip his dad as been doing since he was 5.  The guys said the water was pretty low this year maybe two feet lower than usual.  North and Middle were stocked the week before, and Jennings was stocked the day we arrived.  The low water and the heavy fishing pressure made for some tough fishing.  I struck out Thursday afternoon and all day Friday.  I got some good advice from TPFR, but the few fish I did find were very spooky (they could see me through 6-12 inches of crystal clear water with clear blue skies and I wasn’t particularly stealthy), and when I did approach without scaring them away, they just watched whatever I cast their way float on by.  I had a few presentations I was proud of but no fish to show for it.  Meanwhile the bait and spin casters were pounding the few deep holes out there and pulling some pretty decent fish out.  Thursday I saw one trout.  Friday I saw four after fishing almost 12 hours.  I stayed busy and challenged though learning to tie the orvis knot faster, and definitely getting experience setting up tandem rigs and adjusting depth.  I was also getting to know the area, and finding the fishier looking spots.  I took solace in the fact that some of the other guys in the group were striking out as well, and that my hammock setup had handled the 25-30 degree lows no problem.  The camping and camaraderie was great, but fishing needed to pick up.

Saturday I drove back down the mountain toward the bend in Jennings where I had seen the four trout the previous day.  I was surprised to see no cars parked along that bend despite it being about 9am when I got down there.  I walked over to a rock overlooking the stream and saw fifteen trout holding water between two rocks where I had a seen a trout take cover the day before.  I went back to the car and got my rod and threw on a san juan worm and a caddis nymph.  Then later a black and a blue quill nymph, but nothing.  Then I tried some egg patters below a dry fly.  I took out a box with some classic trout nymphs and tried a bunch of common stuff, princes and copper johns, etc, but nothing.  The only good news at this point is that most of the trout had not spooked off, despite my nymphs flowing right by them.  I had been very careful with my casts up to this point.  I thought a streamer would scare the fish off, but I was out of ideas.  I had a worm egg combo fly I’d had some success with previously, so I tied that on as a last resort before the streamers.  I drifted it past/through the group about three times before I finally got a strike.  I landed the fish, took a quick picture, and before I could grab my hemostat, the fish flopped out of the net, broke the line, and swam off.  I was shocked to see about ten of the trout still near the same rock.  Somehow they had not spooked.  I switched to a snowhite damsel, and landed two more.  A wooly landed my fourth and final fish.  By this time, the spin guys had shown up and were waiting on my hot spot.  I’d been fishing it about four hours and had missed breakfast, so I conceded the spot, wished the spin guys luck, and left for some lunch.  I returned after lunch to find a couple trout left.  But they were much more spooky and savvy, and I didn’t land any more.  As tough as the fishing was, I would have been happy to land one.  I was ecstatic with four.

First fish, lil guy (not a trout) on a dry elk hair caddis low water another lil guy IMG_3509 IMG_3504 IMG_3518 IMG_3498 pocket water IMG_3522 missed breakfast, but the guys left some eggs and sausage in the cooler IMG_3529 IMG_3536 this pic sums up the trip Found some trout holding water First trout! IMG_3561 snowhite damsel IMG_3571 IMG_3557 IMG_3576 IMG_3572 IMG_3573 IMG_3574 scratches from my studded boots from fighting the fish IMG_3595 IMG_3601 IMG_3588 the hammock by North Creek IMG_3502 IMG_3503 Dead trout, saw a few of these up near the campsite unfortunately IMG_3538 IMG_3541 IMG_3543 IMG_3549 IMG_3550 IMG_3552 IMG_3590 IMG_3520 IMG_3589 IMG_3523 IMG_3524 IMG_3528 IMG_3554 IMG_3605 IMG_3609

I fished a little more, but to no avail.  The last day, I fished my fiberglass 3wt some, and it was a lot more enjoyable on the small tight pocket water.  I also really enjoyed my new Korkers Hatchback wading boots.  Still needed some shopping bags to slip in easily, but they were very comfortable.  Even though I struggled some, it was some of the most beautiful fishing I’ve ever enjoyed.  The boulders, canyons, and waterfalls made for an amazing setting.  Saturday evening, I enjoyed some celebratory bourbon with the guys and then made great time getting home the next morning.  Can’t wait for next year.

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Turks and Caicos January 17 https://bonvivantva.com/?p=23131
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Wed, 08 Feb 2017 17:50:08 +0000 http://bonvivantva.com/?p=23131 LeBeef did not want to be in-country for the inauguration, so we booked a trip to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.  This was EF’s second trip abroad.  The island was very family friendly, had amazing dining both casual and upscale, and a beautiful golf course and expansive and gorgeous flats to hunt bonefish.  The girls’ snorkling trip got canceled due to weather, so we can’t speak to that, but this island really has it all.  The surf was calm most days, and never as rough as the Outer Banks.  It was also probably the most beautiful beach we’ve visited.  If you’re looking to go to the Caribbean, I’d highly recommend TCI.  If you’re just here for the fly fishing write up, please scroll down.

Waiting to board at an ungodly hour yep, yep, yep, uh huh This lil girl was a saint on these flights.  She watched shows on a phone, wore headphones, and napped and snacked like a champ! IMG_0935 Another Momma and her bebe contraband entertained and well-behaved IMG_0943 the hotel was awesome the view even better IMG_0956 We planned to have a low key first dinner the beach bar had karaoke so we ended up at Opus IMG_0973 IMG_0974 IMG_0976 IMG_0975 IMG_0979 IMG_0983 IMG_0986 IMG_0996 IMG_0993 IMG_0992 IMG_0995 IMG_1001 The beach at Turks and Caicos is just beautiful Our hotel in the background IMG_1017 IMG_1018 This was one brave and adventurous lil girl IMG_1028 IMG_1037 IMG_1031 IMG_1042 Rum punch and amaretto pina coladas IMG_1056 IMG_1065 IMG_1067 IMG_1066 I ate so much conch buying turks head beer from the source IMG_1074 our haul, FJ was skeptical, but we polished off all three One of the few options for real Cubans IMG_1075 On the way to the Thursday fish fry IMG_1079 Provo fish fry for HB's bday! The fish fry is every Thursday if you go, and you should omg this jerk chicken and conch IMG_1092 IMG_1091 IMG_1093 more conch So good IMG_1097 IMG_1098 IMG_1106 dancing IMG_1101 IMG_1115 IMG_1131 jes? nightcap IMG_1135 breakfast of champions IMG_1140 IMG_1139 IMG_1142 IMG_1145 snack time The beach had loaner toys, EF loved them IMG_1152 IMG_1159 IMG_1161 IMG_1162 EF had a blast in the ocean salty How many carbs does Turks Head have? IMG_1171 yo ho ho Pawpaw and EF nap time IMG_1172 Infiniti (definitely the best ambiance of any restaurant we visited) IMG_1184 The menus glowed like a kindle IMG_1193 IMG_1196 Provo had a ton of great dining options, fine and otherwise IMG_1215 IMG_1199 IMG_1217 IMG_1219 IMG_1224 IMG_1227 IMG_1229 IMG_1230 IMG_1234 IMG_1233 what to order for dessert? too many good choices https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q1HSjBVB8Y IMG_1242 IMG_1243 IMG_1244 IMG_1252 IMG_1254 IMG_1262 "Apple pie!" (EF for pineapple) IMG_1272 IMG_1256 Provo Golf IMG_1275 IMG_1277 IMG_1278 IMG_1279 IMG_1280 IMG_1282 IMG_1281 IMG_1284 I couldn't get anything going, but the course was beautiful IMG_1286 IMG_1294 IMG_1295 couldn't putt to save my life, but had a great time IMG_1297 IMG_1300 The girls back at the hotel IMG_1302 IMG_1308 Coyaba served the best food we had all week IMG_1314 IMG_1316 tandoori mahi IMG_1319 IMG_1321 IMG_1333 IMG_1324 IMG_1338 IMG_1343 IMG_1348 IMG_1353 IMG_1351 IMG_1355 Coco Bistro IMG_1365 IMG_1367 IMG_1368 IMG_1370 IMG_1363 lil fam

I did a lot of research about the bonefishing options before our trip.  There are two main outfitters down there, and both have decent reviews.  The American-born/non-local guides seem preferred based on tripadvisor reviews, but when you book with a larger company they don’t guarantee you a specific guide.  The reviews were pretty hit and miss overall depending on guide.  I read about an independent guide/one man operation down in Provo named Darin Bain.  A quick googling of his name provided several articles (found here (written by a fellow Virginian), here, and here) from fly fishing publications that spoke to his skills, qualifications, and reliability.  He even guided for Jimmy Buffett.  I decided to take a chance on a local entrepreneur, and emailed Darin Bain.  He quickly responded with his availability, and I put down a deposit.  I only recently got into fly fishing (last couple years), and definitely did not have the casting skills to guarantee bonefishing success.  Before heading down, I watch hours and hours of casting videos.  Read about bonefishing, and practiced.  When I still didn’t feel confident, I booked a casting lesson with Rob Snowhite.  After the lesson, I’d learned a lot, but still wasn’t quite there.  I watched a Lefty Kreh casting video in which he said to haul (double haul) harder, and not try to cast harder to increase distance.  Armed with this information, I took my cast (in moderate wind) from 40 feet max out to 60.  Now that I could cast plenty far enough, I focused my practice on accuracy and speed.  I finally started feeling like I might be good enough to land a fish.  I let Darin know about my experience and casting ability when I contacted him, but he said he had yet to be skunked on a full day trip.  My dad and I woke up early to meet Darin in our lobby, and were cautiously optimistic…

sunrise Darin was right on time Heading out of the harbor I noticed spinning gear in Darin's boat.  I figured that was plan B if our casting was prohibitively poor. IMG_1378 IMG_1382 IMG_1387 anxious about my first cast to bones IMG_1390 covered in clothes, buff, hat, and dermatone IMG_1394 Darin put us on fish pretty quick, but I scared most of them away with bad casting But I hooked up, had a few runs, and landed one! strategizing IMG_1417 IMG_1408 IMG_1421 on the hunt Darin liked the spawning gotcha best I like to be over prepared setting the hook fighting IMG_1443 landed another! IMG_1493 eyes peeled IMG_1486 IMG_1505 FJ landed an absolute monster.  4 runs to the backing.  It was incredible. headed back IMG_1500 IMG_1502 Celebrating a day we'll never forget

As you can see, we both caught fish.  I was ecstatic.  We motored out to a few atolls/small islands and were put on bones pretty quickly.  I fished first and managed a scare a bunch away.  I also quickly realized that my biggest weakness was speed.  Bonefish are predators and constantly on the move.  When Darin called out, “11 o’clock, 30 feet”, it would take me too long to get my fly out there.  By the time I did, the fish had moved, and Darin would be yelling, “more left!”, but it was often too late.  When I did cast in the right direction, my cast would often be too short to be noticed by the fish, or so long that the floating line hit the water above the fish and spooked them.  Finally Darin saw some bones near the shore and for once I was able to see them as well.  I cast about 3 feet short of them, and started stripping immediately.  Darin yelled, “strip faster!”, I picked up the pace and felt a strike.  I strip set just by franticly stripping and was on.  The bone took a second to figure out he was hooked, and then he was off like a bullet.  After a run or two I got him close to the boat, and Darin showed me how to land and safely handle a bonefish.  After a quick picture, I put the fish back in the water and watched him swim away.  I was euphoric, but I knew FJ still needed to land a fish for the day to be a success.  FJ had taken the casting lesson with me, and practiced some, but was still having trouble with the double haul and distance.  He fished a few times before lunch to no reward.  At lunch I could tell he was feeling a little down and frustrated despite the interesting political discussion with Darin.  After lunch, he protested when Darin and I said it was his turn to fish, but quickly capitulated and picked up his Orvis 8wt.  At this point in the day we were about 20 miles from Provo in Middle Caicos.  It was a beautiful spot, and things looked fishy.  Darin called a fish about 30 feet off the port side.  FJ casted out, stripped, and was on.  This fish made the reel sound like a circular saw.  It was immediately clear it was a monster.  I was excited, but also apprehensive as I’d lost three hooked fish earlier.  One to a mangrove which snapped the line, and another to my inexperience when I reeled while the fish was still making a run and snapped the line.  The last lost fish was when I had a tangle in the line at my feet.  Darin ran forward to try to clear it as the fish ran, but it was sucked up into the reel and the line popped before the tangled could be fixed.  A comedy of errors, but a great lesson in what not to do…  FJ let the bonefish take off, reeled it in, and repeated as the fish made run after run.  I started videoing halfway through it was so epic (videos below).  FJ brought it in close, I grabbed the leader, and he grabbed the fish.  WE BOTH LANDED BONEFISH ON OUR FIRST TRIP!!!  FJ’s was a monster, probably twice the weight of the 2-3 pounders I caught.  FJ doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, but I could tell he was elated.  I think Darin expected us to be more excited to land such a monster for FJ’s first fish ever, but to be honest, neither of us knew how big this thing was until I got home and saw that there were only a couple pictures of bigger fish on Darin’s website.  Our success had a lot to do with our preparation, and certainly some luck, but there is no way we could have done it without Darin’s expert guiding.  I can’t thank or recommend him enough.  If we caught fish with Darin, you can too.  As inexperienced as we were, it was definitely a risk to pay so much for a day of fishing.  I had tried to prepare myself for a nice sunrise cruise, and a learning experience without fish, before I booked the trip.  My dad and I both landing bones our first time out was definitely the highlight of the trip and an experience I’ll never forget.  I’m definitely hooked on bonefishing.  Next time I’m in TCI, I’m calling Darin Bain for sure.

Back at the beach IMG_1516 Celebrating our fishing success at Da Conch Shack This is a less expensive option that was very very delicious I'd definitely check this place out IMG_1534 IMG_1546 IMG_1547 IMG_1543 IMG_1552 IMG_1553 The Perfect Storm IMG_1558 IMG_1562 IMG_1561 IMG_1559 IMG_1563 IMG_1564 IMG_1566 IMG_1579 IMG_1567 Best cigar of the trip, Trinidad Fundadores IMG_1583 EF in a hole IMG_1592 IMG_1595 IMG_1602 IMG_1603 IMG_1613 built in lighter holder IMG_1621 IMG_1625 IMG_1629 IMG_1633 windy lunch IMG_1610 my loves IMG_1645 Got a little sandy that day IMG_1648 IMG_1651 IMG_1665 finishing off some rum IMG_1668 IMG_1676 IMG_1675 IMG_1681 IMG_1678 IMG_1687 IMG_1683 IMG_1689 I told Dave I'd be wearing this and some lil draws on the Seas the Day this summer IMG_1692 IMG_1712 EF and CiCi IMG_1721 IMG_1733 IMG_1739 IMG_1705 IMG_1742 IMG_1743 I'll miss this walk IMG_1749 IMG_1752 IMG_1753 IMG_1761 IMG_1781 IMG_1777 IMG_1780 Uppy! IMG_1783 IMG_1788 IMG_1791 IMG_1792 one last swim IMG_1800 finishing off the rum packed up IMG_1809 IMG_1815 IMG_1825 IMG_1818 IMG_1835 IMG_1832 IMG_1837 IMG_1844 back in USA, #burgertime IMG_1845 IMG_1857 IMG_1862 IMG_1869 IMG_1872 IMG_1875 missing the TCI; we'll be back IMG_1878 "Apple Pie!" IMG_1881 #mood

There was something special about the TCI.  I’ve been to a lot of islands, and this one stands out.  I really think we’ll be back soon.

 

 

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A reading list for men by men; A manly book shelf. The best books for men. https://bonvivantva.com/?p=22559
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Thu, 05 Jan 2017 19:20:43 +0000 http://bonvivantva.com/?p=22559 The women at my office have a book club, but their selections don’t usually interest me.  I realize that one of the benefits of a book club is to read books you otherwise wouldn’t, but as in all things in life, I have limited time.  I’d prefer to use that precious time to read books that really speak to me.  I’ve tried to start a book club with some friends a few times, but its never worked out.  I have joined a few online book clubs through goodreads, and have come across some great books that way.  I’ve spent a lot of time choosing books based on recommendations of friends, family, my dad, and lists similar to this one put out by esquire, art of manliness, gear patrol, etc.  These aren’t all testosterone-fueled thrillers (some are).  There are a selection of books all men should read, and they just might change the way you think.  Below are some of my all time favorites.

I mostly read on my Kindle now, but you get the idea Bond Wolfe and Thompson Papaw's L'Amour More espionage

Hall of Fame (highest recommendation):

The Right Stuff is the best book I’ve ever read.  Its a non-fiction account of the Mercury 7, centering around the space race.  Wolfe illustrates the mens’ incredible risks and spectacular achievements, while also describing a a frat house atmosphere in which the astronauts constantly tried to one up each other, played pranks, pulled cookies (read it to find out), street raced, etc.  I can’t do the book justice in this brief review, but if you want to read about men who are the epitome of the manly American male who made this country the best in the world and beyond, this is a book for you.  Despite being nonfiction, it has the feel of a work of fiction.  Its very readable, and trust me, you’ll love it.

 

Two Souls Indivisible is about the improbable rise of Colonel Fred Cherry, his plane getting shot down over Vietnam, and the bond between him and another soldier, a southern white forced into the same cell as Cherry, an african american, by the Vietnamese in an attempt to break both men.  Colonel Cherry spent over seven years as a POW in Vietnam.  The book is by James S. Hirsch, author of Hurricane.  One of my favorite parts of the book, and a story I’ve heard several times in person, is when Colonel Cherry helped lock another plane’s landing gear into position with the wing of his fighter in midair.  Thats just a small taste of the amazing things Colonel Cherry has done in his life.  I just recently reread the book, and can’t recommend it enough.  This book teaches you to dream, that goals can be achieved, and that nothing is stronger than strength of will.  Colonel Cherry returned to the United States with honor, the only captive to provide no intelligence whatsoever (not even fake intelligence), under severe torture and duress.  This book will inspire you.

 

Elmore Leonard is the author behind the TV show Justified.  I’ve read the Raylan books (which are good), but my favorite work of Leonard’s is his collection of western short stories.  You can get through a story in a night or two, and there are a ton of them.  If you’re inbetween books, or want a short read, this is a great go-to.

 

This book, like the movie, is disturbing.  What is even more disturbing is how you begin to identify with the protagonist, and how the way the book is written draws you into his psychopathic mind.  This book is unique, but I still consider it one of the best books I’ve ever read.  Its themes, though dated, are still very relevant today.

 

I rowed in high school, but I still thought a book about rowing might not be particularly interesting.  On my father’s recommendation, I read The Boys in the Boat just prior to the Rio Olympics.  This book is not about rowing, though rowers will particularly enjoy it.  This book is about the American experience, coming from nothing, working together, and achieving something great.  Even if my description of this book didn’t entice you, click the link below, read some more about, and at least download a sample.  Its a really spectacular read.

 

I don’t really know how to describe a Man in Full.  The amazon description also leaves something to be desired.  If you read the Right Stuff and like Tom Wofle, this you’ll probably also like this work of fiction.

 

I’ll end this category with a true classic.  The writing is beautiful and I’d never read this in school.  Best of all, its free for your kindle on amazon:

 

Page Turners (You won’t put these down):

In Cold Blood is a novelization of a murder of a family.  It starts with the backstory of the victims, the killers planning and carrying out the act, and then being on the lam, while the law tries to catch up, eventually resulting in capture, trial, and justice.  If you’re interested in more about the plot, check out the amazon link above, or better yet, wikipedia.  I found In Cold Blood to be an engaging page turner, and an enlightening insight into the psyches of stone cold killers.  From the savagery of the acts, to the lack of remorse on the part of the killers, its a shocking look at what it takes (or perhaps what one must lack) in order to carry out such reprehensible actions.  I highly recommend the book, as it was enjoyable to read, and of a subject matter to which I was not very familiar.  When I was about halfway through the book, a friend of mine told me that a college girlfriend of his had written a thesis on the accuracy (or rather, inaccuracies) of In Cold Blood, which is credited with being the first (or at least the first highly successful) work of novelized non-fiction.

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Hemingway.  Pamplona and bull fighting.  Testing your meddle.  This book belongs on the list and has it all.  However, just about any Hemingway book would fit this list, and I recommend all that I’ve read.  If you go on safari, you have to read The Green Hills of Africa.

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Another iconic author, especially in the context of manly books.  The Rum Diary is Hunter S. Thompson’s first written novel to be published (though it was not published first).  I think its also the most accessible of his novels.  Its about a young man (Thompson wrote the book when he was 22), on a new job, struggling with the prospect of growing up.  Its a great read in your 20s, and its the perfect vacation read for Puerto Rico.

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Doctor No. was Ian Fleming’s 6th book, but it turned into the first movie.  Its classic James Bond.  The books are grittier and you’ll really be able to see how great Sean Connery did portraying Bond, but now, how Daniel Craig is a throwback to the literary Bond.  If you haven’t read the books, you’re in for a treat.

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My papaw (grandfather for the uninitiated) always kept a .357 magnum and a Louis L’Amour paperback on his nightstand.  Hondo is one of my favorites, as is The Quick and the Dead.  If you like L’Amour, you’re in luck, because hes written plenty of novels.

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How about a modern western?  Walt Longmire now has a series on Netflix (pretty good), but I particularly enjoy the books.  I’ve read a few, but so far, the first book was the best.

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If you’re a DMV local like me, here is a book from a local, set in your hometown.  Its a mystery written by a DC street cop.  Dude does not play by the rules.  The protagonist even smokes cigars at Shelly’s, whats not to love.

 

Things you need to know (#lifetimelearning):

The history of bourbon, and everything you need to know to enjoy and discuss the finest of brown liquor.  Cowdery is the authority.

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This is the only golf book I believe can help your swing.  But don’t take my word for it, my handicap is awful.

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If you’re interested in the history of Rum, and/or Cuba, this book is for you.  I read it before a trip to Cuba, which if you haven’t been, you should plan a trip now.  While you’re at it, there is another Elmore Leonard book set in Cuba.

 

This is the perfect Caribbean vacation book.  Its a great read, and easily paired with a cocktail.

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I’m only a cigar smoker, but this was fascinating.  Its been a while, so I may reread it…

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This book is about a very specific subject matter, but is incredibly informative.  I highly recommend it if you like Mint Juleps, but you could also read my comprehensive post here.

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Even if you don’t like soccer, the world is global now, and its time to appreciate it.  This is a great read before the world cup.  Another great one is The Ball is Round.

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A Tale of Two Plantations is a very slow and dense read.  I read it because I wanted to know more about slavery, a topic that is not taught very well in school.  This book is a comparison of American and Caribbean slavery, and is very insightful.  Its not comprehensive, but it will teach you many things you never learned in school.  Particular attention is paid to Virginia and DC, which made it all the more interesting to me personally.

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I have a trip planned to the Turks and Caicos later in January.  In anticipation of the trip, I’ve downloaded the following on my kindle:

I’ve started Rogue Heroes (25% through), and I already really like it.  Its about the history of the SAS.  The book is about misfits in the British military raiding German air bases in the African desert at night and changing nature of war by inventing modern combat.

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Birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Etc. https://bonvivantva.com/?p=22378
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Thu, 29 Dec 2016 20:19:47 +0000 http://bonvivantva.com/?p=22378 We’ve been busy.  I cut a bunch out, but this will still be a long post.

Fancy rum and Cubans with Dave in Gtown img_9040 img_9043 Getting decorations and goody bags ready Two! img_9080 OMG nom img_9083 img_7136 img_9085 img_9089 img_9092 img_9100 img_9114 img_9118 4MR img_9124 img_9131 img_9133 img_9142 img_9147 Sticky Basalmic Rabbit img_9151 img_9152 img_9153 img_9154 img_9156 img_9157 img_9167 img_9173 img_9175 img_9176 img_9183 img_9203 img_9216 img_9219 OMG img_9228 fam img_9235 img_9241 img_9244 img_9248 img_9251 img_9252 img_9257 img_9268 img_9270 img_9273 img_9274 img_9275 img_9285 img_9289 img_9300 img_9313 img_9326 img_9340 img_9347 img_9355 img_7173 img_9360 img_7175 img_7178 img_9370 img_9374 img_9378 Brisket img_9383 Suffering Bastards at Peking Gourmet Inn FJ's bday img_9421 laid back Xmas tree shopping img_9473 img_9482 img_9486 img_9488 img_9509 img_9512 img_9524 img_9559 patrons of the theater img_7129 img_9568 CK's thesis reading ]]>

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Upland ’16 https://bonvivantva.com/?p=22329
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Thu, 29 Dec 2016 19:28:13 +0000 http://bonvivantva.com/?p=22329 When my daughter was born, I promised myself I’d do what I could to get the guys out at least once a year on a bird hunt.  The last couple years I had better success with bigger groups and/or multiple hunts, but this year I still could count on Colin and RP.  A great time was had by all.

Warm up these rabbits were too much fun Pull! img_7109 img_7110 img_8863 img_8867 Been too long... Rooster! img_8875 Almost Heaven img_7116 img_7117 Gettin' birdy img_8879 Venison chili img_8891 img_8898 img_8909 img_8918 img_8916 img_7115 img_8913 img_7120 Run Boy! img_7121 img_8928 img_8926 img_8927 img_8932 nightvision img_8959 img_8960 quail on the grill img_8964 jes img_8971 img_8972 img_8979 img_8982 img_8995 img_8996 Sad.  Throwing out the last of the Trump beer. img_7125

Video:

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OGF ’16 https://bonvivantva.com/?p=22242
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Thu, 29 Dec 2016 18:59:24 +0000 http://bonvivantva.com/?p=22242 Our annual pig roast to celebrate the life and times of HWOIV.

SO EXCITED FOR O'GF we don't mess around chillin' in the pool img_8547 img_8551 img_8558 img_8546 img_8570 img_8575 img_7085 img_8561 img_8565 img_8566 jes img_8569 img_8578 img_8582 img_8583 img_8588 img_8595 img_8600 img_8605 img_8609 img_8611 img_8616 img_8622 img_8624 img_8626 img_8631 img_8633 img_8634 img_8635 img_8636 img_8639 img_8642 img_8643 hard. img_8649 img_8653 img_8655 getting the shotguns ready Go! img_8660 CW... img_8665 img_7050 img_8677 img_8678 img_8679 meat img_8690 img_8693 img_8698 img_8701 img_8702 img_8706 img_8707 img_8714 img_8716 nom img_8719 img_8722 img_8724 img_8725 img_8727 img_8730 Stealing Henry's thunder gone fishin' its good to own land img_7057 img_8556 img_8754 still raging img_8756 img_8761 img_7060 img_8763 img_8768 About to go MIA img_8799 img_7058 ]]>

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Homecoming ’16 https://bonvivantva.com/?p=22165
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Thu, 29 Dec 2016 17:59:17 +0000 http://bonvivantva.com/?p=22165 CW rented us an awesome spot to set up base camp for CNU Homecoming 2016.

View from the great house CW found #college CW is my big boy img_8166 img_6994 img_7009 img_6999 img_7010 img_7012 img_8169 img_8182 picnic before raging ballin' img_6991 img_7027 Still gods among men frat house img_8183 img_8186 img_8199 img_8203 img_8204 img_8205 img_8206 img_8207 img_8208 img_8209 img_8210 img_8211 img_8213 img_8214 img_8215 img_8216 img_8220 Lil Butt! (holla holla holla) img_8229 img_8231 img_8242 img_8243 img_8245 img_8258 img_8262 img_8271 img_8275 Small school, big party img_8283 img_8287 img_7023 besties img_8331 ChaddyDaddy img_8294 img_8347 D E D washing the ded off the whip The Baron The Baron with baron, revealing... ...The Baron. img_7022 img_8362 img_8367 oh my... img_8369 al fresco img_8379 Bobby Light and Schliz' for brunch/Premiership/foonon Houseparty

Some videos:

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