Welcome to Friday the 13th


Burger Wars

Culvers Locations vs In n Out Burger Locations – Battle of the Burgers. To me, there is no comparison. Culvers is exceptionally over-priced…they’re proud of their food. In n Out serves burgers, fries and drinks – that’s it. And they do that well.

The part of Arizona where I live (dark blue) only has Culvers, and I don’t patronize the place much. Just before the plague, the management took exception to the Kimber .45 that I wore holstered and exposed when I took my grandkids there for overpriced food. I suggested to them that if they wanted me to leave before I finished, they were free to try and throw me out or they could call the police. Arizona is a Constitutional Carry state. They backed down, we finished eating and left. I blogged about it at the time.

The last time that I was at the In n Out in Prescott, there must have been half a dozen handguns holstered and in evidence and nobody messed with them.

There should be a rule: Leave the old, wicked-looking, armed man who is eating food that he paid for with his grandchildren, alone. However, people (dumb ones) always feel a need to f-with you.


Russian Limited Offensive – Southern Ukraine

On the level plain in Southern Ukraine, Russia began to strengthen and reinforce positions and the Ukrainian Army went on the offensive in response. (see the map) It’s very difficult to use terrain as a tactical advantage in this area. There are a few rivers, but they’re not deep except during the spring flood.


People who became scarred in old age were rare in the 13th century. Even in the case of wealthier landowners, the average life expectancy was about 31 years.

The Knights Templar, on the other hand, may have looked like they had some kind of magic in their possession: many members of the Catholic military order lived to be well over 60 years old. Even then, many were not killed by old-age illnesses, but by their enemies….or in some cases their fellow citizens – some friends.

In 1314, Jacques de Molay, the last grandmaster of the order, was burned at the age of 70. Geoffroi de Charney, who was executed the same year, may have been 63 years old, according to most sources. These high ages seem almost common among Templars. Other grandmasters such as Thibauld Gaudin, Hugues de Payens, or Armand de Périgord, to name a few, were all over 60 years old. Under the conditions of the age, they could be considered real Methuselahs.

“The long life of the Knights Templar was mostly attributed to a special divine gift,” wrote Francesco Franceschi, a researcher on the Roman campus of the Sacred Heart Catholic University. Modern science, however, sees the solution differently: the mandatory dietary requirements of the order may have had much of an impact on their life expectancy and health.

Contrary to many modern depictions, Templars seem to have lived a truly humble life, serving God. This is also reflected in their dietary choices and responsibilities. Although the order was richer in carefully managed donations and in keeping the money of the traveling pilgrims, the men themselves made formal vows of poverty, virginity, and obedience — they could not even speak to women.

The order lived throughout Europe for nearly two hundred years, culminating in the late 13th century with 15,000 members. Most were professional fighters, many of whom were among the best in their world.

In the early 12th century, the French abbot Bernat of Clairvaux compiled a long and complex set of rules that governed the lives of knights. This rule is drawn from the writings of St. Benedict and St. Augustine, but many of its rules were already in place in the Templar order, largely based on existing customs.

The knights were responsible for protecting orphans, widows, and temples, avoiding the company of “obviously cursed” persons, and not being able to stand in the temple to pray or sing. Even their laws governing spending put modesty first: their dresses were monochromatic, but they could wear a linen shirt instead during the warm period between Easter and All Saints (pointed shoes, on the other hand, were always forbidden). The rules also covered what they ate, how, and with whom.

Their meals were not loud events: the knights ate together but in silence. If they wanted to ask for salt, they had to ask “quietly and confidentially” for it to be circulated, “with all modesty and humility.”

The knights ate in pairs and encouraged them to “examine the other more closely” and make sure that neither of them ate more than the other, but did not adhere to any “secret abstinence”. It was not clear what one would do if the partner did not eat as he should. After eating, everyone sat in silence and gave thanks. The pieces of bread remaining were collected and given to the poor, and the whole loaves were set aside for the next meal.

The diet of the Templars was essentially a balance between the traditional fasting regulations imposed on the monks and the intake of nutrients necessary for their military way of life. It is not possible to train or to take part in either a crusade or a knightly tournament (the Templars only took part in tournaments as a practice, not as a sport) on an empty stomach. The knights could eat meat three times a week. On Sundays, everyone ate meat, and senior members could eat some fried animals for lunch and dinner. According to contemporary reports, it was often beef, pork or bacon that could be seasoned with salt.

It is likely that the portions were plentiful: if, for example, due to a fasting day on Tuesday, the knights could not eat meat, it was “plentiful” the next day. According to a source, the cooks put enough meat on the Templar’s plates to satisfy two poor people.

The Templars were an odd lot, really. They didn’t cut their hair, and in an age where bathing was rare, did that less than the general population. Templar knights had to be familiar with public baths in the eastern Mediterranean and they probably weren’t supposed to go there. The rule didn’t forbid bathing in general, it simply referred to following the instructions of the Templar master (or a local commander).  In general, bathing was discouraged. The question as to whether or not that contributed to a long life can be debated.

Good food, exercise, moderation, etc. obviously had its benefits.


I’ll take a hard pass


  1. I believe that life expectancy is skewed by high child mortality, not because they typically died by 31.

    • I’ve seen the same. There was a fantastic thread on a forum (now sadly gone) that dealt with medieval myths like that.

      The various orders of religious knights can make fascinating reading, to think some still exist in one form or another today and can trace their history back a thousand years or more makes me think about what could have been forgotten over the years.

      • Rel & Bluey – I think that the child mortality of the 13th Century does skew the numbers. The Templars, Hospitalers and that class of knight received better food, engaged in physical exercise and seemed to live a healthier life on par than the population as a whole.

        • Then there’s the access to higher quality foods and a lack of excessive alcohol use that also probably contributed to the longer lives.

          And… well… except for actual wounding and dying in battle, the life of a warrior monk was less damaging than farming or working at the tanners or the dye-works or sailors or…

          A situation that young dumb warriors get gacked, and wiser ones survive and rise, and do less gacking and more commanding also has to have some factor.

          Priests, overall, tended to live long lives. No doubt warrior-monks did the same.

          And, as pointed out, childhood and teenage death rates probably skewed the whole thing, not to mention a lot of the death-rate studies are based on information or studies from the Victorian/Edwardian times and those people had a severe lack of scientific processes. Much like our modern health gurus like Fauci…

    • Yes, thanks for pointing that out about child mortality and its effect on skewed (in the statistical distribution sense) mortality age. If you survived childhood, you had a decent chance of the biblical threescore and ten as far back as the classical Greeks. And probably before then.

      Ate at a Culver’s once. Not impressed. Didn’t feel ripped off, but not impressed. Prefer In-N-Out by far. The best Five Guys I’ve been to was inside DCA airport, strangely enough. The local Five Guys stores are okay, but not as good. Spending my junk food money at the local Mom&Pop pizza shop two blocks from my office anyway, so it’s pretty much moot for me. Nice Greek couple who could use the business, as they took a huge hit with all the covid madness.

      • The Five Guys in DCA is on the left (south) side as you’re walking out along the concourse. I concur, for some reason, it’s elevated. I’ve eaten there a few times.

  2. This is why I love reading your blog; I learn the most interesting things!

  3. Thankfully, the Funyuns Dew is a fake.
    I was going to say I couldn’t live in a country that supported that, but then I live in a country where 49 dem senators voted for a bill to provide unlimited abortions.

  4. I had not heard of Culver’s and was surprised to see my county in blue. Looked it up and there are two, both about six miles from me.

    The only burger chain I’ve been to in the last decade was Five Guys and I thought they were a decent place. Got a comparison between those two?

    The oddity is that both Culver’s are close to both Five Guys.

  5. I’ve been to In-n-Out twice, not impressed. I’ve been to Culvers twice, it’s like going to a Denny’s once you’re inside & it’s not memorable at all.
    I’d pass them both up & stop at a 5 Guys or Whataburger… been a long time since I saw a Whataburger.
    I went to a 5 Guys a few weeks back, it had been awhile. I ordered a regular cheeseburger, I had forgotten their regular was a double! I need to remember that next time… the french fries are still great!

    Friday the 13th of May… 11 years ago today my daughter passed away, the chemo for the returned Leukemia got her. She was almost 21.
    Unbelievably sad then, now it’s just sad…

    • Condolences, Rob. That’s impossibly heart-wrenching. I have had a similar experience and the hole in your heart remains no matter what you do. The memories of what they brought to your life can be cherished and all, but there is no counterbalance for the loss.

      The closest Whataburger to me is Phoenix (2.5 hour drive), but I like them better then the other options mentioned here.

  6. Last week, there was one report that the Russians ran a draw play using Snake Island. Supposedly the Russians faked a withdrawal with the result that the Ukrainian forces attempting to regain Snake Island were destroyed.

    It was a single source report from Europe.

    Can anyone accurately verify or deny this action?

    • There were videos of the Ukrainians wiping out the Russians on Snake Island. I can’t speak to its veracity. The Snake Island play on both sides has been heavily propagandized. Ukrainians landing there can/will be cut off by the Russians, who control the sea in the area. At the same time, of the Russian ships that have been damaged or destroyed all but two were in that area.

      The Ukrainians have motivation to draw the Russians close to Snake Island.

  7. I rather like this T-shirt–


    Wife and I both like In n Out. I may have mentioned this outfit before–


    They still grind their beef fresh every day, and you can taste the difference. You can have your burger any way you want. Menu, condiments, and sides are all printed on the bag your order comes in. They write your name on the bag and then check off the boxes as you order. Yes, they are more expensive than In n Out.

  8. The nearest Culver’s is up in the KC metro and is unlikely to see my business. Locally we have Mickey D’s, Sonic, and Creepy King’s. For a burger I prefer a locally owned restaurant. Their burgers are good and cheaper than the chains.

  9. Great treatise on the Templars…the Strenuous Life, altho the no bathing part, I’d get too crusty inside of a few days and that mountain lake or stream, no matter how glacier cold, would be employed. Maybe why all the layers, keep the stink in.

    In a moment of weakness got a Burger King (it was “there”)…Jeez, no more. What the hay is in those? Made sure it wasn’t the Lab Meat version by accident. Thing sat like a cannon ball. Garbage (maybe why so many during Covid followed without thinking, to much estrogen in the processed meat). Culvers is okay, the ice cream is good. Need to try the other outfits you guys cite.

    • Regarding the no-bathing thing… Remember, after 1100, the world started getting colder. By the 1300’s, significantly colder.

      The Viking Age 800-1000, was the height of a warming period. Norman knights and squires kept their hair short, and almost shaved on the back of the head for both safety and for health reasons.

      But, come 1090ish, maybe even before, the world started cooling and was noticable by 1100.

      How do I know this? Check out… fashion. You start seeing heavier layers by 1100, and getting heavier and heavier as you get closer to 1350, then it starts warming again for the Renaissance period and then gets cold during the Catholic-Protestant wars of the 1600s.

      • Make sense, layers added as needed. Guess climate change has been around for a while longer than modern Lefties believe.

        I read somewhere, during the victorian era high collars were to keep the lack of bathing under wraps, they too wore layers with heavier material garments, wool and such. Could not have been comfortable.

        • High collars were for several reasons, one was to cover syphilis scars (one of the reasons for those big lace ruffs of the 17th Century) and the other to protect the clothing from greasy hair (like the square of cloth on the back of sailor uniforms) and, yes, to cover lack of heavy bathing.

          Remember, the Euros think us Americans weird, and have so since before 1900, for taking baths so often.

          But… The overall climate in America, during summer, is far warmer, more Southern Italian, than most of Europe, especially Britain and France. Remember, Florida is on the same latitude as Israel, but is far more humid. So in our hotter and humider climate bathing is far more important.

          Europe is more like… Northern California. Wet-ish, but comfortable wet, without mosquitos or other killer pests (except for Italy and Spain, but a lot of Europeans don’t consider those nations part of Europe… 🙂 )

          And high collar Victorian fashions were popular during Victorian times, the mid to late 1800s, which coincides with a cooling period due to lots of volcanic activity (there was a summer blizzard in the late 1860s or 70s in Kansas fer God’s sake.) What do you do when the wind is blowing cold and hard? Cover your neck. And you don’t sweat as much so not a lot of need for baths, just something to catch the natural oils leaking out of the skin.

          Look for all periods (pre-widespread use of air conditioning) where clothes get heavy for non-military use and it will pretty much match with cooling periods or downright cold periods.

          More body exposed? Warming periods. Like… the Viking Age. Men wore pants and a tunic, maybe one longsleeve under a shortsleeve. Women wore a full lenght tunic with either a wrap-around apron or a tab apron. Add a cloak or a tunic for winter, maybe both. This is the dress pattern of a warming period. In NORWAY!

  10. Whataburger and Smash Burger are to squished and crispy. We have in-n-outs here in Vegas. Best quick drive thru burgers.
    I do love Five Guys though. Als there is always steak and Shake here now. decent. especialy with their Chili

  11. Visited the Culvers in Show Low about a month after it opened…over-priced and both of the burgers we ordered came with raw meat patties. Mgt. seemed rather uninterested when reported. Haven’t been back.

  12. Our town has a Culvers. I’ve been there once. IN-N-OUT has now opened two sites in CO, neither close to me.

    A few years ago I spent six months in CA doing ADA surveys of Union 76 stations and was pleased with my experiences at IN-N-OUTs. Superior in many ways to other chains. While I seldom eat fast food, the nearby Sonic does a decent double cheeseburger and Banner approves of their fries.

  13. When I was growing up there were a Der Wienerschnitzel (Mustard Dog w/ onions 10 cents), a McDonald’s (with golden arches), and a Jack in the Box (with talking clown)- all within a 5-minute ride on my Schwinn Stingray. A while later a Burger King (now it’s a Wendys) opened just up the road.
    Within 5 miles of here are Carl’s Jr, 5 Guys, In N Out and a Fatburger. There used to be a Rally Burger, but it is now a Starbucks.

  14. Can’t remember the last time I ate at a fast food place. Used to eat atSonic a bit and they were pretty good but that is more than 20 years ago. Grandkids love Hibachi so that is where we eat when I am visiting and they get to pick. Otherwise I have a daughter in law that absolutely loves to grill and smoke meat. Absolutely delicious, I love to eat it so we get along great.

    Some great new information about the Templars, thank you. Never lend so much money to a king that it is more beneficial to destroy your organization than it is to keep making payments.

    • The theory runs that when you owe enough, you’re not a debtor, you’re a partner. The French kings didn’t see it that way with the Templars.

      • It also explains the repeated pattern of England expelling and accepting Jews. Oh, the Crown owes too much to the Jews, kick them out. Need money, let them in.

        You see the same thing today. Someone big and powerful gets behind in their payments and suddenly the nation-state that SBaP belongs to (or has influence over) comes under government inspection. 3-6 months later, poof, SBaP’s money issues are no longer money issues…

        Also explains why a certain criminal organization disguised as a political party has all the banks donating huge gobs of cash to them. “Donate or we prosecute you” as a way of life.

        • I meant to say “suddenly the banking institution that SBaP is having trouble with comes under government inspection…”

  15. Geeesh…I’m late to the party again….

    I’ve been to Culvers a few times and I’m not impressed. In-N-Out is just about my favorite fast food place, but I’m not driving 40 miles to get one. My local favorite for fast food burgers is Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. If I want a good sit-down place for a burger, I’ll go up to Vern’s in Laporte.

    And yeah, don’t poke the Old Guys.

    I didn’t know that about the Templars. I had too much of a “Hollywood” version of them.

    My son brought home some “Flaming Hot” Mountain Dew the other day. No, thanks.

  16. Though I live in a burger-rich area I seldom buy. Carl’s Jr if I have a coupon, (McD’s never.) https://youtu.be/S0TuTM3Y97M
    Instead, I patronize a mom & pop place that serves excellent pizzas and subs, soups and salads. Worth every nickel.

  17. Local places are the best, if you’re not in a hurry to get someplace and usually I am. That said, in The Republic of Texas, there’s usually a local Whataburger or DQ and they are amazingly consistent.

    I am quite taken with In-n-Out but seldom near one. Culvers, yeah expensive, but they have cheese curds, so they have that going for them.

  18. Oh yeah, I forgot to say, that Culver’s manager was an idiot. Never alienate the grandfather in front of the grandkiddies. The grandkiddies will never forget it.

  19. I’ve gotten to the point that if I want an item of food, I’ll just cook it myself. Burgers, chicken sandwiches, steaks, bbq, pizza (okay, I cheat, I use Publix’s pizza dough for mine, but make homemade dough for wife), enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, whatever. Everything bought just doesn’t taste good enough to me.

    I’ve become too much of a food snob. Oh well, great way to save money.

    • Because I live over an hour’s drive from the nearest burger joint and 2 hours from the nearest In n Out, I usually invoke the Beans option and cook things for myself. I eat fast food when I’m on the road and there is almost no telling when that will be.

      I used to have America’s major airport nailed in terms of where I ate. The plague meant that I didn’t fly at all and I haven’t gotten back into that mode again, but I have a DC trip coming up, so maybe I’ll pick up on my old spots to hang out during layovers.

      • Wife and I will pack lunches when we travel far, and only buy dinner on the day of travel. If we are not travelling farther for a few days, time for crock-pot meals and in-room breakfasts (bagels, grits and sausage, other easily made meals.)

        I’ve gotten to where I actively hate restaurants. Guess I’m just becoming more grouchy as I get older.

        • I prepare for road trips by packing boiled eggs, fried chicken, cheese sticks, pepperoni sticks (Tillamook only!), sweet rolls etc. milk and beer in my ice chest. Ice lasts 2-3 days.
          Some other stuff: nuts, raisins, crackers that travel well. A bottle of Sour Mash.
          I stop once a day for steak and eggs, biscuits & gravy, and coffee in the thermos. Favored cafes and diners are saved on GPS. Food stops are combined with gas stops for efficiency.
          Unless it’s absolutely necessary I avoid hwy. rest areas- too many sketchy inhabitants these days.
          I prefer dry camping in Nat’l. Forests whenever possible.

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