Pulse: 60-Second Critic: February 2007

Cintron Liquid Energy
By Amy Strauss
I have been unfaithful, Red Bull. As you know, I’ve been tempted before by all the other energy drinks out there: Tab, AMP, Rockstar. But none were quite as effective as you — until I found Cintron. It’s local, developed by Camden pastor Joe Roberts. And it tastes good. A bold claim, I know: an energy drink that actually tastes good. But the Latin-inspired flavors won me over. With Tropical Azul, Citrus Mango and Pineapple Passion among the options, well, I wasn’t disappointed. Cintron is also larger than most energy drinks — 16 ounces — but I wasn’t intimidated. If I just want a little Cintron, the handy plastic lid caps off the rest for another time. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some vodka with my Cintron. And I’d be lying again if I said it didn’t keep me dancing all night. Goodbye, Red Bull. A

The Orange and the Black
The Boils
(TKO Records; $9.99)
By Richard Rys
With the Flyers playing their worst hockey in more than a decade, the timing couldn’t be worse for local rockers the Boils to release a collection of slapshot-happy Flyers anthems, right? Boo to that, we say. It’s just what the downtrodden hockey fan needs now — six skate-stomping tunes that hark back to when home ice was a house of horrors for visiting teams, not season ticket-holders. “Bullies” captures the grit of those bygone days: “Cheep beer, cheap seats, missing teeth/Bullies in the bar, bullies with scars.” With this Irish-inflected punk in the style of Dropkick Murphys, you’ll be more likely to shout “Let’s Go Flyers!” during the song “I’m A Hockey Fan” than at an actual game. All ye depressed puckheads, dust off your Dave Schultz jerseys, pop a Stanley Cup-era highlight tape in the VCR, and crank this up. B+

Ledyard: In Search of the First American Explorer
By Bill Gifford (Harcourt; $25)
By Andrew Putz
On initial examination, the life of John Ledyard looks like a biographer’s dream. An 18th-century explorer who sailed the Pacific with Captain James Cook and damn near walked across Russia, Ledyard could be the archetype for the great American anti-hero. Courageous, charming, inclined to a perpetual state of arrested development, he had famous friends (Thomas Jefferson among them), a talent for bedding women, and a genius for living off others’ generosity. In this book, Pennsylvania-based Gifford skillfully retraces Ledyard’s journeys (it is, in fact, a work of travelogue as well as biography), and the writing is smooth and often funny. Yet even in Gifford’s capable hands, Ledyard’s accomplishments can sometimes seem less important than they do curious. Pure history buffs might wonder why all the fuss, but adventure-tale junkies won’t be disappointed. B

How to Behave: Dating and Sex
By Caroline Tiger
(Quirk; $14.95)
By Kendra Howard
Alone again for Valentine’s Day? Baby, brush up on your dating game! In this sequel to her 2003 manners manual How to Behave, Tiger, a Philly Mag contributing writer, focuses on modern-day relationship do’s and don’ts: how to choose a “first date” spot (avoid anti-social, clichéd movie theaters); how to decide who gets the check (offer to pay your half, then wait and see what happens). What’s different is the frank approach to modern conundrums like how to talk about AIDS (suggested lead-in: “I feel so woozy from giving blood today. Have you had any blood tests recently?”) and which condom to carry (tote the standard-size, standard-feel version). It’s a scary world out there, but with Tiger’s help, you could be awash in red roses and chocolates this time next year. A-