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A Reading Order For The Jericho Black Universe

One of the most common questions I get is “What order should I read these books in?” When a new reader picks up one of my books I think they don’t realize how big this universe is. Below I have listed a logical reading order for the books.

Jacob Mitzak Book One: The Hammer Of Israel

Jacob MItzak Book Two: The Butcher’s Bill

Jericho Black Book One: Among Wolves

Jericho Black Book Two: Education

Jericho Black Book Three: Danger Close

Jericho Black Book Four: Retribution

Jericho Black Book Five: Outfoxed

Jericho Black Book Six: Going Dark

Jericho Black Book Seven: The Moscow Protocol

This list will be expanded in the future as more books and series are added, but for now this is a logical sequence for new readers to follow. It is also worth noting that I project there will be at least twenty books in the Jericho Black series alone, which should give you an idea of how big this universe will end up being.

The Fine Art of Getting Your Ass Kicked

I’m good at a few things. These are listed below, not necessarily in order of priority or importance.

  1. Getting my ass kicked.
  2. Being funny. I know because my Mom told me I’m funny, so…
  3. Writing stories.
  4. Turning a simple story or concept into an impossibly long monologue.

Remember that horrible song from Chumba Wumba? I get knocked down? The whole song went “I get knocked down but I get up again.” There was also a bunch of stuff about being an alcoholic.

The absolute worst thing that has ever happened to me in my life was spending a few years with all of these different people telling me that this was their theme song. This would have been true if the song actually went “I get knocked down… and then I walk around complaining to everyone about how I got knocked down to garner sympathy.” Bear in mind I’ve kind of had a rough life (aside from being born with movie star good looks) so that’s really saying something.

I’ve been involved in combatives for most of my life, and a big part of that is getting used to getting hit and yes, knocked down. When people think about this concept of getting knocked down and then getting back up I think it’s played out in the mind as this triumphant return and now I will be victorious! No man, it’s so that you can get knocked down again. The whole purpose of getting back up in the midst of the learning cycle is so that you can get knocked down again. Why? This is how we learn, and how one day we get knocked down slightly less. Hopefully, when it actually matters.

Being funny is the same way. Sure there are some outliers who just have “it” and never have to practice. For the rest of us it was a matter of spending years (possibly decades) being really NOT funny. You have to get in a lot of reps of being embarrassed in a very public way so that you know what works and what doesn’t on real people, versus just yourself in the mirror or your dog. Dogs are easy to make laugh because they are all Benny Hill fans. #themoreyouknow I mean you really have to take some sharp knives to the face before you figure our how to make people laugh. Even then, not everyone will get your humor, and you have to be okay with that too. Part of that process of getting repeatedly stabbed in the face by blank stares and the absence of laughter is about developing a thick skin and being okay with the reality that not everyone will like you. I’m told. Everyone likes me, so I never had to deal with that. Once again, I know because my Mom told me.

Stripped down to it’s bare bones, this concept applies to pretty much everything you do. I spent a lot of time in the Marines getting my ass kicked before I was ever allowed to give an order. Even then it probably wasn’t the best idea.

Life and learning aren’t about the glory of “getting back up”, it’s more about being okay with forever being in that learning process, and understanding the value in it. If you must insist on trying to get to a place where you stop getting your ass kicked all the time, you better make sure they bury you face up.

The Story of Suntory Whiskey

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Whiskey is not traditionally known as a specialty of the Japanese, prior at least to the production of Suntory Whiskey. Even today most people are probably not aware even of the existence of fine Japanese Whiskeys. Sake yes, but whiskey? Whiskey is Scottish, or American, but not Japanese.

This is the story of Suntory Whiskey, and how a rebel named Shinjiro Torii revolutionized the Japanese alcohol industry.

There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with Suntory Whiskey, even if you don’t know it. In the 2003 film ‘Lost in Translation’ by Sofia Coppola, the commercial Bill Murray travels to Japan to film, is for Suntory Whiskey. Sofia’s father Francis Ford Coppola was featured in a commercial for Suntory Whiskey filmed by Akira Kurosawa.

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Shinjiro Tori opened his first store in Japan in 1899, at the time selling only imported wine. Before too long Shinjiro was not satisfied with only selling imported wines, and produced the company’s first Port Wine, which would become the stepping stone to many other products, not the least of which (of course) would be Suntory Whiskey. Shinjiro wanted to produce his own, purely Japanese whisky. Despite strong opposition from his executives, he began what would be a laborious (but ultimately satisfying) process.

It should be noted that there were Whiskeys produced in Japan prior to Suntory, but they were not mass produced and origins are unclear. One of the few recorded experiences with a pre-Suntory Japanese whiskey is found in the records of the American Expeditionary Force Siberia (Deployed during the October Revolution to Siberia to protect American assets) in 1918, and it was referred to as ‘Queen George’. We’re not even sure what was in that stuff.

Essential to the aforementioned process was a young chemist named Masataka Taketsuru. Masataka has quite a tale of his own, which is worth looking at as it pertains to the story of Suntory Whisky. Masataka originally attended University of Glasgow in Scotland to study Organic Chemistry, and while there had internships at two different distilleries. Masataka learned his trade well at both Longmorn and Bo’ness Distilleries. A love of Scottish Whiskey was not the only thing he took from Scotland, as he also married Jesse Roberta Cowan, later to be known as Rita Taketsuru. Later Masataka would break off from Suntory and open his own Distillery, creating the now equally well known Nikka Whisky. It is also worth noting that Rita Taketsuru died of liver failure, so maybe not so much with the constant whiskey drinking.

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Shinjiro Tori

Shinjiro saw Masataka’s skill and procured him to become his Executive Distiller at the production facility he planned to open in Shimamoto Japan, in Osaka Prefecture. This would become Japan’s first whisky distillery when it opened and began production in 1924. Five years later it would produce it’s first completed batches of single malt whiskey. This would be the first single malt whisky made in Japan. The location of the distillery is significant, as it was selected for the near legendary purity of its water. It was called the ‘Yamazaki Distillery’ and it sat in a place called the ‘Vale of Yamazaki’. This is also how one of the brand’s premier whiskies received it’s name.

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With the outbreak of World War Two and the resulting limited resources, production had to be ceased, making the pre-war stocks (actual whisky, not paper stocks) of Suntory Whisky quite valuable. After the war, production resumed and the whisky became quite popular in post-war Japan.

In 1963 the company would officially change its name to Suntory (previously Kotobukiya) in homage to it’s wildly popular whiskey.

Prior to 2000 the market for Japanese whiskies was primarily Japanese, but with the arrival of the 21st Century came award after award for both Suntory and Nikka whiskies, giving them not just a seat the table with the best Scottish Whiskies, but many would argue a seat at the head of the table.

In 2015 Suntory’s Yamazaki Single malt sherry cask 2013 won the top slot in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. That’s no joke, and the first time they had beaten the Scottish, quite literally at their own game.  

How big is Suntory today? They bought Jim Beam Whiskey

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