Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tonights Video: (Crazy) Cat People

Okay, yesterday I featured a video that had a cat playing with a box. That may have been a little stupid, but not as stupid as the people in this report that spend hundreds of dollars to take a picture of a cat! Tomorrow, no cats, I promise.

This video is from CNN:

Fuzzy Faces

I've had facial hair more than 1/2 of my life. How about you?

20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Posted: 03 Nov 2008 01:24 AM CST

beards 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

There’s nothing manlier than facial hair. No matter how much we advance in the equality of the sexes, growing a thick beard or mustache is something that only men will be able to do (Okay, so some women can grow impressive facial hair, but they end up in sideshows). Some men have felt that facial hair wasn’t getting the respect it deserved, so they decided to dedicate a month to the manly glory of beards and mustaches. First, in the United States, November is officially National Beard Month. Men across the United States are encouraged to grow a beard in preparation of the cold winter ahead. Second, a non-profit charity group from Australia has declared November Movember. In Australia, mustaches are called “Mo’s.” The idea of Movember is to get men all over the world to grow mustaches in order to raise money and awareness to fight prostate cancer.

In honor of National Beard Month and Movember, we’ve decided to pull together a list of the 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History. I sent out a message on Facebook and Twitter (follow me) asking people for suggestions. We’ve included them and a few of our own. Enjoy.

General Ambrose Burnside

450px-ambrose_everett_burnside 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

You know your facial hair is manly when they name a certain type of it after you. General Ambrose Burnside was a politician, inventor, railroad exec, Union general, and the Father of Sideburns.

Tom Selleck

tom-selleck 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Whether acting in Magnum PI or Three Men and a Baby, Tom Selleck brought a healthy dose of manly testosterone with that awesome stache of his. Sadly, in 1997 he shaved off his manly nose mane. He kept it off for several years after that. Thankfully, he came to his senses and has since brought it back.

Charles Darwin

charles_darwin_l 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Besides developing biological theories that changed the way humans view themselves and the world, Charles Darwin’s other talent was growing awesome facial hair. Perhaps intent on discovering himself as the the missing link, Darwin grew a beard any ape would envy.

Teddy Roosevelt

a_teddy_roosevelt 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

What Art of Manliness list would be complete without an appearance by Teddy Roosevelt? TR was so freaking manly that his mustache could judo chop assailants, and shout “Bully!” at would-be attackers.

Friedrich Nietzsche

nietzsche 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

For Nietzsche, God may have been dead, but his mustache lives on. In letters unearthed by historians, it was discovered that Nietzsche believed that his mustache made him a superman. While critics laughed at him, looking at this mustache, I think he was on to something.

Sam Elliot

212064sam-elliott-posters 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Anytime the movie industry needs a mustached cowboy, Sam Elliot is their go-to guy. With movies like Tombstone and Gettysburg under his belt, Sam Elliot has proven that his mustache has the talent to make it in Hollywood. Of course Sam Elliot is a talented actor, too.

Brigham Young

brigham-young1 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

When leading a religion or overseeing a household with 55 wives (holy crap! 55!) you need to muster all your resources to establish your authority. Mormon prophet Brigham Young busted out this mustacheless beard to let people know that he was in charge. Sadly, the university that bears his name (Brigham Young University) prohibits beards among its male students. You can only get an exception to this rule if you have a “Beard Card,” given sparingly to those with medical or religious exceptions. Brigham Young, and his beard, would be rolling over in the grave.

Chuck Norris

chuck_norris 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Fact: Chuck Norris was born with a beard. When doctors tried to shave it, he roundhouse kicked them in the face with his precociously strong baby legs, knocking them all unconscious.

Kimbo Slice

kimbo 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Wow. All I have to say is that this is quiet possibly the scariest beard I’ve ever seen. UFC fighter Kimbo Slice puts the fear of God into his opponents with powerful punches and his thick black beard. While Kimbo Slice may be 3-1 in UFC fights, his beard is still, and will always be, undefeated.

Kenny Rogers

kenny_rogers 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

What happened to you Kenny Rogers? In this picture, you look so damn manly. Now you just look like a plastic-faced freak. Out of respect to your beard, I’ll always remember you the way you looked in 1985.

ZZ Top

zztop 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

There are no harder working beards in the music industry than the beards on ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons’ and Dusty Hills’ faces. Ironically, the band’s beardless drummer is named Frank Beard.

Tom McKay

tommckay 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Alright. I’m exercising a bit of editorial privilege here and adding my dad, Tom McKay to the list of manliest mustaches and beards. Just look at that thing. Pretty dang manly if you ask me. And of course the three piece 1979 suit only accents the mustache. My dad’s a retired federal game warden, and I’m sure he had poachers shaking in their boots when they took one look at his stache. I’ve only seen my dad without a mustache twice in my 26 years of existence. And both times he shaved it off, it freaked me out. For about a month it would feel like some stranger that sounded like and dressed in the same clothes as my dad moved into our house. Thankfully, he always grew it back.

Santa Claus

santa_claus_2 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Santa Claus’ beard is iconic. Not only is it a part of his personal brand (so much so that children give it a yank to test a Santa’s authenticity), his beard also has a practical purpose. When you live in the North Pole and fly a sleigh at high altitudes, you need a thick, full beard to keep your face warm and free from wind chapping. Oh yeah, and it’s also magical.

Mark Twain

twain 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Mark Twain is one of America’s greatest humorists, satirists, and writers. He’s also one of America’s finest mustacheers. Face it. Mark Twain’s mustache will always be wittier than you.

Karl Marx

karl_marx 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Thanks to Karl Marx we have Communism, an awesome example of a beard, and annoying college dudes who think if they grow a beard like Marx and quote a few lines of Das Kapital, they’re automatically experts on the plight of the working class. But back to this beard. It’s awesome. No, it’s freaking awesome. I can see why this man was able to kick start revolutions and inspire the proletariat to shake off the shackles of capitalism. It wasn’t his ideas of communism. It’s the beard, stupid.

Walter Frazier

frazier 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

From 1967-1977, Walter Frazier led the New York Knicks to two NBA Championships. (What the? There was a time when the Knicks were actually good?) Frazier’s success on the court can be attributed to two things. First, his defensive talent. Second, his awesome mutton chops. Look at this image above. In a match up between a man with broad, sweeping mutton chops, and a man with wisps of hair that are a pathetic excuse for a sideburn, who do you think will win? I’m putting my money on number ten. Perhaps the Knicks should consider requiring their players to grow awesome mutton chops like Walter Frazier. Maybe then they’ll stop sucking.

Wyatt Earp

wyatt_earp 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Wyatt Earp is famous for his infamous gunfight at the OK Coral. He’s also famous for having a bad ass mustache. With it, he struck fear into the hearts of cowboys from Dodge City to the the Dakota Territory.

Rollie Fingers

rollie-5 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

In addition to having one of the best names in sports history, Rollie Fingers also has the best mustache. With his turn of the century curly mustache, Rollie Fingers pitched his way into the Baseball Hall of Fame. After his career in baseball, he made a second career out of tying damsels in distress to railroad tracks.

Salvador Dali

dali 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Salvador Dali needed a crazy mustache to match the craziness of his surreal paintings and his love of walking his pet lobster. So he decided to go with this pointy get-up. I think it works for him. He looks crazy as all hell.

Grizzly Adams

adamsgrizzly 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Can you imagine a man named Grizzly Adams, a man who befriends a bear, having a clean shaven, soft-as-a-baby’s-behind face? Neither can I. This man’s beard is so thick that the bear actually thought he was one of them. That’s probably why it didn’t maul his face off.

Anybody you think should be on the list? Drop a line in the comment box and let your voice be heard.

Donate to Movember

One of our Aussie readers, Shaun Daws, is participating in this year’s Movember. Here’s his before pic, all clean shaven and baby faced.

before 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

Hopefully, by the end of the month he’ll have a mustache that would make Tom Selleck jealous. Maybe something like this:

after 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

If you’d like to donation under Shaun’s name and help contribute to the cause of fighting prostate cancer you can use this form to do so by credit card or PayPal.

If you’d like to keep up with Shaun’s mustache progress, check out his Movember blog page.

And finally, if you’d like more info about Movember and how you can participate in battling prostate cancer, check out the official webpage.

 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History

The Art of Manliness Free Man Cookbook

Download Your Free Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Tonights Video: Box-o-Cats

My daugther Rachael sent this to me today. They have 3 cats, my daughter Tiff and husband Jon have 2 or 3, we have 2, and my son and his gal have rats!

Yeah I like dogs to, but cats are easier to take care of. Enough of me, here's 90 seconds of silliness:

cat n box


Just a personal note. This month marks the 7th year since I found my Mom at her apartment had died the night before of a heart attack. 3 1/2 years earler, my Dad died of cancer. I was at peace with both of them.

If you have loved ones that you are not at peace with, don't wait for them. Take the first step while you can.

I found this on the web today:
Unconditional Love

When you were 1 year old, she fed you and bathed you.
You thanked her by crying all night long.

When you were 2 years old, she taught you to walk.
You thanked her by running away when she called.

When you were 3 years old, she made all your meals with love.
You thanked her by tossing your plate on the floor.

When you were 4 years old, she gave you some crayons
You thanked her by coloring the dining room table.

When you were 5 years old, she dressed you for the holidays.
You thanked her by plopping into the nearest pile of mud.

When you were 6 years old, she walked you to school.
You thanked her by screaming, "I'M NOT GOING!"

When you were 7 years old, she bought you a baseball.
You thanked her by throwing it through the next-door-neighbor's window.

When you were 8 years old, she handed you an ice cream.
You thanked her by dripping it all over your lap.

When you were 9 years old, she paid for piano lessons.
You thanked her by never even bothering to practice.

When you were 10 years old she drove you all day, from soccer to gymnastics to one birthday party after another.
You thanked her by jumping out of the car and never looking back.

When you were 11 years old, she took you and your friends to the movies.
You thanked her by asking to sit in a different row.

When you were 12 years old, she warned you not to watch certain TV shows.
You thanked her by waiting until she left the house.

When you were 13, she suggested a haircut that was becoming.
You thanked her by telling her she had no taste.

When you were 14, she paid for a month away at summer camp.
You thanked her by forgetting to write a single letter.

When you were 15, she came home from work, looking for a hug.
You thanked her by having your bedroom door locked.

When you were 16, she taught you how to drive her car.
You thanked her by taking it every chance you could.

When you were 17, she was expecting an important call.
You thanked her by being on the phone all night.

When you were 18, she cried at your high school graduation.
You thanked her by staying out partying until dawn.

When you were 19, she paid for your college tuition, drove you to campus, carried your bags.
You thanked her by saying good-bye outside the dorm so you wouldn't be embarrassed in front of your friends.

When you were 20, she asked whether you were seeing anyone.
You thanked her by saying, "It's none of your business

When you were 21, she suggested certain careers for your future.
You thanked her by saying, "I don't want to be like you

When you were 22, she hugged you at your college graduation.
You thanked her by asking whether she could pay for a trip to Europe.

When you were 23, she gave you furniture for your first apartment.
You thanked her by telling your friends it was ugly.

When you were 24, she met your fiance and asked about your plans for the future.
You thanked her by glaring and growling,"Muuhh-ther, please!"

When you were 25, she helped to pay for your wedding, and she cried and told you how deeply she loved you.
You thanked her by moving halfway across the country.

When you were 30, she called with some advice on the baby.
You thanked her by telling her, "Things are different now."

When you were 40, she called to remind you of a relative's birthday.
You thanked her by saying you were "really busy right now.

When you were 50, she fell ill and needed you to take care of her.
You thanked her by reading about the burden parents become to their children.

And then, one day, she quietly died. And everything you never did came crashing down like thunder.


If she's still around, never forget to love her more than ever. And if she's not, remember her unconditional love.

And pass it on...

Man Up

Friday Fun? No, time to Man Up:

How to Give and Take Criticism like a Man

Posted: 05 Nov 2008 12:17 AM CST

criticism How to Give and Take Criticism like a Man

Dealing with criticism is a skill every well-adjusted man should possess. We give and take criticism among our co-workers, our friends, and our family. Criticism is an important part of our personal self improvement, for it is other people who can point out mistakes and shortcomings that we can’t see because we lack objectivity. Unfortunately, many young men today don’t know how to offer and accept criticism like a man. Instead they handle criticism like little boys. When giving criticism, they opt only to give snide, cutting jabs that do nothing to improve the situation. When receiving criticism, they sulk, make excuses, and argue with the person criticizing them. Ask any teacher who has the nerve of giving a student a poor grade. Today’s students will cry and whine their way to a better one. Or worst of all, have their parents intervene. They simply don’t know how to respectfully accept criticism.

Because we all face situations every day that require us to give or take criticism, we provide the following guidelines on how to make the process more constructive.

How to Give Effective Criticism

Go in cool, calm, and collected. Before you begin to give criticism, make sure you have your emotions in check. This is particularly important if the person did something that really ticked you off. If you go in yelling and banging your fist on desks, you’ll probably get the problem fixed in the short term. However, when you don’t take the time to have a cool and reasoned discussion, you miss out on an opportunity to solve underlying problems.

Be specific. If there’s one thing you remember from this post, let it be this: be as specific as you can in your critiques. Don’t just tell the person, “This sucks,” or “This could be better.” Explain exactly why their work or action is subpar. A blanket criticism will put the person on the defensive, and they’ll never be able to correct their problem.

Criticize the action, not the person. Try to keep the person as separated from their mistakes as possible by criticizing their action and not them. It makes the criticism less hurtful and much more effective. So don’t say things like, “Jeez Louise you must be an idiot! Look at all these mistakes you made in this report!” Just because someone makes a mistake, that doesn’t make the person a pinhead. We all have bad days.

Be a diplomat. When giving your specific criticism, it sometimes helps to use diplomatic words. Our old friend Benjamin Franklin was a master at this (which is why he was probably such a successful diplomat). In his autobiography, Franklin said this about using diplomatic language in discussion:

When I advance anything that may possibly be disputed, [I never use] the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken.

This can help take the sharp edge off of criticism. Sometimes, however, people need that edge to spur them to action. Use your discretion in deciding whether a harsher approach would be more appropriate.

Make specific suggestions for improvement. The goal of criticism should be to help someone make improvements. While specifically pointing out the problem is the first step to correction, if a person doesn’t know what they can do to improve, knowing their mistakes won’t help them one bit. Don’t just tell people what’s wrong with their work, give them specific suggestions on how they can improve it. The key word, once again, is “specific.”

Personalize your approach. Consider a person’s disposition when deciding how to approach the delivery of your criticism. In general, you can be harsher with a man than with a woman. Case in point: at my high school there was an assistant football coach that tore his players up and down for their mistakes. His philosophy was to “tear them down and then build them up.” He then became the girls basketball coach and continued the same uber-harsh tough love approach to coaching. The girls did not respond as the football players had; instead, they broke down and cried and became so nervous before practice that some would throw up. Of course, some women want to hear it like it is, and some dudes are dainty. So think about who you’re dealing with before you lay into them.

Point out positives. When criticizing someone, it’s always good to point out the positives in their work or actions as well. Two benefits exist from this exercise. First, it makes the criticism easier to swallow and reminds the person they’re not a complete screw up. Second, it shows the person what they’re doing right and gives them a reference point on which to base their future work. When beginning a conversations with someone, start with the compliments first. Then transition into your criticism by saying something like, “There is just one area I thought could use improvement……”

Follow up. Always, always make sure to follow up after giving constructive criticism. Your criticism won’t do any good if the person doesn’t put into practice your suggestions. Schedule a follow up with the person you’re criticizing. Say something like, “How about we talk to each other next week to see how your changes are coming and to answer any new questions you might have?” By letting the person know you’ll be following up with them, they’re more likely to get their butt in gear and make the needed corrections.

How to Take Criticism

Consider the source. You’re going to receive criticism from thousands of people in your lifetime. It’s important to remember that not all criticism is created equal. Determining the source of the criticism and the motivations behind it will help you know how to handle it. For example, Kate and I sometimes get criticism from people who read the Art of Manliness. Much of the criticism consists of “You are stupid” or “This is gay” or “I’m unsubscribing!” We just ignore this drivel. It’s not worth our time or energy to get upset that some random dude from the internet thinks we suck. However, if we get an email from a long time reader who has contributed to the comments on the blog, we’ll definitely consider their criticism.

If you think the source of your criticism isn’t genuinely interested helping your improve, take their criticism with a grain of salt. At the same time, be sure to honestly assess your critic’s point. Some people are too quick to write off criticism by saying, “They’re just jealous!” Maybe so, but be sure to thoughtfully evaluate the feedback before dismissing it.

Shut your trap and listen. Fight the urge to argue with the person or explain your mistake, and just listen to your critic. You’d be surprised what you can learn if you simply soak it in.

Don’t take it personally. Don’t take the criticism as a personal attack on you. Try to detach yourself as much as possible from your actions or work when receiving criticism so you can look at it objectively. This can be hard to do, particularly if you put a lot of time and effort into something. But trust me, if you make this a habit when receiving criticism, you’ll save yourself from a bruised ego.

Stay calm (even if the other person is being a complete d-bag). The goal in criticism is to keep as much of your emotions out of it as possible. Once you allow your passions to flare up, any hope of making the criticism constructive goes flying out the window. If your critic is being a complete jerk, staying calm can be hard to do. But be the better man. Let the other person do all their ranting and raving, while you sit there looking cool as a cucumber. When they’re done, kill them with kindness. Let them know you understand their concern and thank them for taking the time for bringing it to your attention.

Ask clarifying questions. Make sure you’re on the same page with your critic by asking clarifying questions. Clarifying questions are particularly important if your critic is giving vague or ambiguous criticism. For example, if your critic tells you your report isn’t clear, ask them where things start to get murky and suggestions on how it can be improved. By asking questions, you create dialogue between you and your critic, which in turns fosters co-operation and an atmosphere for mutual improvement.

Take ownership of your mistake. When someone brings a legitimate mistake to your attention, don’t get on the defensive and start making excuses for it. Take responsibility for your actions. Many young men today don’t want to own up to their mistakes. They’re always putting the blame on something or someone else. These men will be stuck in eternal mediocrity because they will never accept their need for improvement. While denying your mistakes can keep the heat off for a moment, it will greatly impede your personal progress in the long run.

Change your perspective on criticism. Instead of seeing criticism as humiliating or embarrassing, view it as an opportunity to improve yourself. Winston Churchill had this to say about criticism:

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

Instead of avoiding criticism, seek for opportunities to be criticized. You’ll find that getting feedback from an outside source will stretch your talents and abilities.

Thank your critic (even when they handed your butt to you). Always thank your critic. This can be difficult. No one seriously wants to say, “Thanks for showing me that I was wrong!” But swallow your pride and sincerely thank your critic. They took the time to sit down with you and point out areas where you can improve. The least you can do is say thanks.

Take action and follow up. After you’ve received your criticism, take action immediately. After you’ve taken action, make sure to follow up with your critic and let them know how you’ve rectified the problem. This shows that you actually listened to the criticism and respected what the person had to say.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tonights Video: Advice

As I was heading to the office this morning, I was listening to news reports on NPR warning people that change is slow, and that we should not expect an overnight reversal in the economy, the war(s), health care, education, etc, with our new president.

So as I was looking for tonight's video, I found this classic:

“Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” Music Video. 1999 - video powered by Metacafe

7 ideas for Romance on the Cheap

Like many of you, my wife and I have been reviewing our spending habits and looked for ways to be more frugal. Yet we don't want to sacrifice fun and romance. SO.....

Here are 7 ideas from the DLM Blog:

Seven Free Ways to Be Romantic

Posted: 03 Nov 2008 10:20 AM CST

Love on the Hudson.If your financial situation is looking bleak, you may believe that you simply don’t have the money to treat your partner in the ways you’d like. Perhaps you think romance means buying big bouquets of expensive flowers, whisking your loved one to a flashy restaurant, or whipping out a bottle of champagne every night.

While those things all look great in the movies, such extravagances aren't reality. By the time work ends each day, the commute concludes, the kids are fed, etc., who has the energy to plan for romance and who has the money to constantly finance it?

Romance is another area in life that begs for simplicity. There are dozens of easy and free ways to be romantic! The beauty is that you can begin today. Don’t wait for a special occasion like Valentine’s day to do something for your loved one. A little unexpected gesture can mean a lot.

Here are seven ideas (one for each day of the week!):
  1. Hold Hands
    Do you ever hold hands with your partner? If this is something you associate with lovey-dovey young couples, don’t automatically dismiss it. Taking your partner’s hand on a walk is a lovely way to feel close and connected. If you are talking, holding hands will make the conversation more intimate. It’s a tiny, effortless thing that instantly makes any moment a caring and romantic one.

  2. Make Dinner Special
    If you’re having a quiet night in rather than going out to a restaurant, don’t just sit on the sofa in front of the television. Set the table, light candles, and put some gentle music on in the background. Use nice plates and take a couple of extra minutes to display the food on them attractively. This will really set the mood for a special meal – even if what you’re eating is no different from normal.

  3. Write a Note
    When you leave before your partner’s awake, leave a note on the nightstand to say, “I love you”. If your partner takes a packed lunch to work, pop a surprise note inside. Leave a note in his wallet, or her jewelery case. Get creative and playful – how about changing your partner’s background on the computer to a message saying “I love you”? Or putting a note inside the book s/he’s reading?

  4. Bake Cookies
    Making your partner’s favorite treats is another way to do something sweet. The time and care you take is what makes this romantic. How about heart-shaped cookies using their favorite flavorings, or cupcakes with pink or red frosting?

  5. Make a List
    Jot down twenty things that you love about your partner. Make them personal and true while trying to avoid clichés. “I love your blue eyes” isn’t as special as “I love you for bringing me breakfast in bed every Saturday”. Once you’ve got a list you’re happy with, turn it into a framed poster, or make a tiny card book with one item on each page. This could be a lovely surprise gift.

  6. Snuggle Up
    If you end up sitting in different chairs to watch a DVD together or, worse, on the other side of the room, try snuggling up on the sofa instead. Give your partner a cuddle when you’re both standing in the kitchen. Kiss him/her goodbye in the morning. Like holding hands, these physical gestures mean a lot. Don’t only snuggle as a prelude to sex – be affectionate just for the sake of it!

  7. Say “I Love You”
    I’ve saved the best tip until last. This is the simplest, easiest way to be romantic – and yet so many of us don’t do it. Say “I love you” to your partner frequently. Make it the first thing you say in the morning, or the last thing you say at night, the words on your lips when you leave for work, and when you come through the front door in the evening.
I’m sure Dumb Little Man’s readers will have some great tips on how to be romantic for free (or very cheaply) – so let’s hear them in the comments! You might also enjoy the article on Date Ideas That Don’t Break the Bank.

Written on 11/03/2008 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university.Photo Credit: Here in Van Nuys

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tonights Video: Winter Fun

'Cause winter is coming soon:

The Other Blogs

This morning instead of having a new post here, I added a few thoughts to my Political Blog.

I decided at one point not to use this site for political discussion. But last year, after the local elections and with the upcoming Presidential election, I decided to start another, separate blog to capture my thoughts and share them with family members and a few friends. You can access that blog by clicking here.

While we're on the subject of other blogs, let me simply point you to my own home page which has links on the left side to all the blogs I write or edit.

On the right side are some helpful links that I use. Click here to go there.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tonights Video: Not Michael Jackson

Was today's election a "Thriller" for you?

François Macré - Thriller (reprise A'cappella 64 pistes)

Free On Line Storage

Earlier this year I found and now I have a place to back up 50gb of my stuff, free!

You can too by going here.

Now go out and vote.....

Monday, November 03, 2008

Tonights Video: Before you Vote

Watch three debates at once:

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Looking for the Next Step

In this Walk of Life.... In 6 weeks I will turn 49. I believe that my years of life on earth are more than 1/2 over.

Both of my parents died before they hit 70. I plan on out living them, but you never know. When I was 25 I was in a car crash that, "...should have been a fatality", according to the sheriff's deputy quoted in the paper next to the picture of my mangled Chevy Nova.

There was another time about 9 years ago that I was heading home from Van Wert and hit some black ice and the car started spinning, I came face to face with a couple of semis and ended up with just a broken tail light. Again, I came to the conclusion that my earthly mission was not over.

Fast Forward to Summer of 2007.

After about 18 months as Sales Director of MIKE-FM, then Station Sales Manager of WILD 96.3, followed by Station Manager of WGL-AM/FM, the company I worked for since 2003 was going through another transition. Pruning is one way to put it. We got rid of nearly all of our sales staff that were not earning their keep. We changed management, and got rid of the outsiders and started doing things internally with the oversight of our Board of Directors/Investors.

I was prepared to leave. On a Thursday, I told my co-manager some of the things he would need to be aware of and wished him the best. He asked me to not leave yet. Friday he made me an offer to stay. Instead of managing people, I'd be managing "things" as we were combining sales staffs from 3 seperate to one staff. I told him, I'd consider it but to give me a few days.

Finally on Sunday I called him and told him, that I would stay, even though it meant a considerable change in pay. 18 months later I am now billing more than I have in the past year, yet....

Yet during these past 18 months, I have wanted more, but wasn't sure what "more" was. I stepped back to my original reason for returning to this line of work nearly 6 years ago. I had a mission statement, "To help businesses make smart advertising and marketing decisions." And so I expanded my own personal marketing and exposure.

I had been asked to serve on the board of directors for our local Advertising Federation a couple years ago as a fill-in for someone who left. A few months later, I was elected to a 3 year term. I was then asked to serve as the V-P of Communications.

I increased my commitment to blogging at my Collective Wisdom Blog. A minimum of 3 new stories a day, 7 days a week. Sales Training every morning at 7am. And most weekdays there are usually 7 stories, not just 3.

Traffic has increased at the blogs. Collective Wisdom grew from 2,048 in September to 2,784, a 36% increase. This blog has also seen a 50% increase from 616 in September to 926 in October. due to twice daily updates. I also know how to draw traffic through Google.

But, I am restless. Working at a radio station and being given the freedom I have where I work is nice, yet I want to expand that world. Actually I have expanded that world, but I'm still looking for that next step.

Sunday I was cleaning out emails and found the following piece which includes a link to a free e-book that I recommend. I spent about 5 minutes reading it, then stopped to write what you are reading right now. I'll finish reading the e-book tonight.

In conclusion today, yes, I am looking for the "Next Step", and if you have a suggestion, I'm all ears. In the meantime, I am continuing to pour myself into my current occupation and help as many business owners, managers and people as possible.

Nov 2, 2008

I meJane_genovat Jane Genova in 2005. At age 60 she was in the midst of a challenging transition stage of her life. Jane's world came crashing down during the last economic crisis. She found herself in a strange new world facing challenges that were not suppose to happen. Taking a dive into blogging she reinvented herself.

In the free eBook, Geezer Guts: Making a Buck No Matter, she tells her story raw .. with no punches pulled. Reading Geezer Guts I couldn't help but think that Jane's lessons learned have come at a time when they can inspire so many people who are now going through similar life challenges. A few of the life lessons learned from social media that even non geezers can take to heart.

  • Business norms change
  • People change too
  • What was right for you yesterday may not be right for you today .. or tomorrow
  • "Just be ourselves. That's plenty."
  • It takes time and courage to learn new skills and a new way of thinking.
  • Life on your terms can be different than what you imagined it to be yesterday.
  • Ghosts from past careers/lives can continue to haunt if you compromise your dignity in the now.
  • Trust in yourself and don't confide your plans to people who may not understand.
  • Success is not always computed in dollars.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • "Being forced into a world we never expected being in seems to have made many of us accidental late bloomers. Adversity has unique transformational power."
  • Take the road less traveled.
  • Your "first job" can happen at any age. "Dump the past. No one is interested in our sad story. Eventually we won't be either."
  • New networks are a must
  • "What happens happens. The present and future are what we do about it."

Geezer Guts is a quick read .. but an important one. Download it. Read it. Share it with a friend.

Read Jane's 2006 Blogger Story

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Tonights Video: College Football

This year I did something I never did before. I attend 2 college football games. But nothing like this:

Dress for Success

Another post from the Art of Manliness:

Your Personal Appearance: The Importance of Being a Sharp Dressed Man

Posted: 30 Oct 2008 08:59 PM CDT

Editor’s Note: This post is from our new Art of Manliness style contributor Antonio Centeno. Antonio is president of A Tailored Suit, maker of quality custom clothing. Please give Antonio a warm Art of Manliness welcome.

file0013 Your Personal Appearance: The Importance of Being a Sharp Dressed Man

Thanks to Cathe Holden for the image.

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society ~Mark Twain

Perhaps you’ve heard the following:

“The days of wearing a suit are gone.”
Casual Friday? It’s casual week around here. No one cares how you dress.”
“Appearances are irrelevant, only results matter.”

All of these statements ignore the fact that people have and will continue to judge you by your appearance. The harsh reality is that we make decisions about people within the first 3 seconds of meeting them; we then spend the next 90 seconds trying to confirm our first impressions. This means that before you even open your mouth you’ve been sized up and profiled. Knowing this, a person should always dress neatly, professionally, and appropriately. The fact is you never know who you are going to meet; at anytime you may run into a potential client, a future employer, or for those singles out there, the love of your life. And like it or not, they are going to form their initial impression of you based off of how you look.

Over the next few months I’m going to be writing quite a few articles on men’s style and grooming. But before getting started, I wanted to make the case for why you should care about your personal appearance. We live in a society that overall tends to dress down; our national uniform is a pair of jeans and t-shirt. If you care about your appearance and take action to improve it, you will stand out from the crowd. But that’s not a bad thing.

How Your Personal Appearance Affects You

The transformation effect
One of the powers of clothing is that it can transform an individual’s state of mind. Dress like a professional businessman and you’re more likely to act like a professional businessman. Taking a test soon? Students report that they perform better when they dress-up for an exam. Feeling sick in the morning? Women have used the power of dressing-up to shrug off sickness for years. The transformative effect is powerful and instantly effective; what’s most amazing is that so few people use it.

Dressing professionally improves self discipline
From the Roman Legion to the United States Marine Corps, the world’s finest militaries have known that sharp dressed soldiers are more disciplined than ragtag militias. Military dress inspections have persisted not because shiny boots win wars, but because the exercise teaches a military force to pay attention to the details. And it’s in the details that battles are won.

In the same way, a person who dresses professionally learns the value of self discipline. They learn that planning and allotting enough time are paramount for consistent results. They prepare for the day by thinking through it, anticipating their needs, and taking the proper steps to ensure they can meet the challenge. A disciplined dresser can arrange his outfit to meet his needs from 8AM to midnight, from office to presentation to drinks after work.

Appreciation and respect
Properly clothing yourself takes time; shirts need to be ironed, shoes shined, and jackets brushed. Perhaps the greatest lesson this teaches is to respect the effort put forth by our fellow human beings. When you meet another well dressed man you give him an extra measure of respect because of his outfit; you notice the perfect dimple in his tie and appreciate it because it took you 15 minutes and 5 attempts to perfect your own. Mutual respect between gentleman is garnered when they recognize the efforts each has put forth.

How Your Appearance Affects Others

The power of visuals
Numerous communication studies have demonstrated the power of visuals in human interaction. Some studies have shown that visual cues are 3X to 5X as powerful as audio cues. With clothing covering 90% of your body, it can’t be stressed enough as to how important a role it plays in how you are perceived by others. Want faster & better service in a restaurant? Look like you have money and wear a navy blazer. Want to increase your chances for an A on a college presentation? Wear a sports jacket and pair of slacks. Want instant credibility in a business environment? Wear a suit when making the pitch or meeting with management.

First impressions
Made within a few seconds, first impressions are powerful and should not be taken lightly. We often observe a person before we speak with them, and being human we look to make sense of what our eyes are showing us. Using our personal experiences, we categorize individuals; we pick-up on a key feature that has meaning to us and then associate that person with it. If what you are wearing is doing all the talking for you, make sure it is sending the message you want.

The power of colors and patterns
Colors and patterns are very powerful; certain ones grab our attention, some accentuate our natural tones, and others affect our emotions. When choosing colors and patterns a man should first understand which ones work for him and which ones do not. Next, he needs to determine what message he wants to send. A man decked out in a pin-striped navy blue suit, blue shirt with white contrasting collar and cuffs, and a red tie screams power and authority. A man wearing a solid brown suit with an earth tone shirt and light colored tie signals trust and openness. Both men were wearing suits, but two very different messages were being conveyed.

Influence and authority

mike_nolan Your Personal Appearance: The Importance of Being a Sharp Dressed Man

Image from Silver Feast

Former San Francisco 49er Coach Mike Nolan fought to wear a business suit on the sidelines during football games. One of the reasons for this was that he wanted to make it easy to spot the man in charge. The men’s suit, whose heritage stems from military garb, was designed to highlight a man’s strengths. When cut properly and made with a fabric that compliments the wearer, it signals authority and commands attention. But this is only the tip of the iceberg – a policeman’s uniform, an airline pilot’s clothing, a doctor’s white jacket – all of these garments assure us that the person we are dealing with is an authority in their field.

Positive assumptions
Well dressed people are given a leg up in many respects – they are often perceived as being smarter, funnier, and more enjoyable to be around. Taking this a step further, dressing professionally can help you appear more important to the success of your company and may even help you hold onto your job. Assuming all other factors being even, who does management let go – the technician who dresses well and can be put in front of a client or the guy who doesn’t own a suit. In this current economic downturn, every small detail matters.

Is It Manly to Care About Your Appearance?

A few examples of manly men who cared and continue to care about their appearance:

dwyane-wade-picture-1 Your Personal Appearance: The Importance of Being a Sharp Dressed Man

Dwayne Wade – Does an excellent wearing suits cut to compliment his height; he also is very good at coordinating his pocket squares with his ties

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill - He loved the “puff” pocket square and knew how to wear a polka dot bow tie.

p-diddy-picture-1_profile-230x300 Your Personal Appearance: The Importance of Being a Sharp Dressed Man

Image from Archie

Sean Combs – P. Diddy has modernized classic style for a whole generation of young men. He wears a 3-piece suit masterfully, and pays homage to the great dressers before him. His clothes add to his commanding presence and charismatic personality.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan - Always dressed smartly in clean cut power suits that accentuated his shoulders; he also loved cuff links.

Final Note

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in our fast paced society a book’s cover can be just as important as its content. Of course appearances are not everything; you have to perform well to succeed. But in a competitive world it pays to understand the importance of your clothing and grooming. Investing the proper resources into your personal presentation will multiply your ability to succeed.

Written by
Antonio Centeno
Quality Custom Clothing & Sound Style Advice


How many friends do you have?

What kind of friends are they?

Take a look at this from the Art of Manliness Blog:

Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Posted: 28 Oct 2008 11:53 PM CDT

2556225843_e821baa493 Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Image from varones

Several weeks ago we posted an article about the history and nature of man friendships. Several readers added comments in which they lamented the difficulty in both making and keeping man friendships, a sentiment I fully sympathize with. Once you’re out of college, and especially if you get married and move, it becomes rather hard to make new friends and maintain the bond with your old pals. I struggle with this problem myself, and so while I won’t claim to be an expert with all the answers, I have spent some time talking with other men and brainstorming ideas for how men can make and keep solid man friendships.

How to Find Some New Bros

Join an organization. Part of the difficulty today’s men face with making new friends is the isolated nature of their social lives. There’s work and home, and not much else. Joining an organization is quite possibly the best way to create a new social circle for yourself.

Some men say that they’d like to join an organization but that they simply do not have the time for it the way their grandfather or father did. But the problem is not a lack of time, but how that time is being utilized. We don’t work that many more hours than our dads did, so there must be other reasons we feel so harried in our daily lives. Take an inventory of what you’re really spending your time on. You might say that you’re spending that time with your family, but how many of those “quality time” hours consist of you simply watching TV or surfing the net? Are you running around to an insane number of your kids’ activities? Everyone wants their kids to be able to follow their interests, but dad needs to have interests too. Does Johnny really need play football, baseball, and soccer? By organizing your schedule more efficiently and cutting down on extraneous time-suckers, every man can have time to be part of an organization. Plus, having healthy man friendships and interests outside your family will make you a saner, more well-rounded man, and thus a better husband and father.

Ideas of Organizations to Join

freemason Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Image from Mig_R

Fraternal Organizations. They’re not just for your grandpa. They can bring great fulfillment and satisfying man friendships into your life. Fraternal organizations are the perfect conduit for friendship-making because they provide all the ingredients needed for brotherly bonding: common ideals, a sense of tradition and responsibility, and a focus on service. There are several great fraternal organizations out there to look into, but it’s hard to argue with the Masons being the best place to start.

Churches/Religious Organizations. Like fraternal orders, churches are a fruitful place to make man friendships as they are a place where you can find gents with the same values and goals as you. Many churches have groups that are for men only and are designed for both fellowship and spiritual growth.

376633163_36c1da9a83 Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Sports Leagues. If you love sports, instead of spending your weekend alone watching them on TV, join an intramural league and get back on the field. From flag football to ultimate frisbee, your town is sure to have clubs that meet for some good old fashioned man competition. Joining up will whip you into shape, feed your man spirit, and give you the kind of bond with other men that can only be found on the playing field.

Toastmasters. Toastmasters solves two fundamental problems in the life of modern man: a lack of friends and a deficiency in the art of public speaking. Not only will you learn to be a better orator, you’ll also meet lots of other men to befriend.

friendbook Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Image from varones

Book Clubs. For some reason (read: Oprah), book clubs have become associated with women, bearing one’s soul, and Kleenex. But there’s nothing sissy about books; discussing great literature was a pastime of many of the great men in history. Benjamin Franklin, for example, started a group called the Junto in which men vigorously discussed books. Talking about the ideas and themes of great books will quickly let you get to know the thoughts and philosophies of other guys. Many libraries offer male-only book clubs that read books men like. If you library doesn’t, why not start one at your house?

Other Ways to Make New Friends

Work. You spend more time with people at work than you do at home. And there are probably some dudes at work that you get along with swimmingly. Instead of keeping them in the “work” friend category, convert them into “friend” friends. Go for some drinks after work. Invite them over to your house to watch the game on Saturday. If you’re married, go out for dinner with him and his spouse. The same thing applies if you’re in school. Don’t be afraid to make a “school” friend, one of your bros.

Meet your neighbors. In today’s society, most people keep to themselves. You can live in a neighborhood for 10 years and not know who your neighbors are. It’s pretty sad. But your future best bud might be living right next door to you. So don’t be a stranger. Get out and meet your neighbors. A great way to meet your neighbors is by hosting a party or attending neighborhood events like block parties. If you’re feeling particularly brave, just go up and introduce yourself.

Television is full of neighbors who turned out to be best buds. Kramer and Seinfeld. Tim Taylor and Wilson. Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. Growing up, my dad had several friends in our neighborhood. They’d go jogging together and help each other build fences or remodel their homes.

Maintaining Your Friendships

friendsafricanamerican Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Image from Bcash67

Once you have made friends, whether they are recent acquaintances or buds from first grade, you have to put in some work to keep the bonds alive. In the 19th century, men built their friendships around intense emotional bonds. These days guys like to center their friendships on activities. Here are some activity ideas to keep you in touch with your bros.

Set a common goal. Men experience the greatest bond when they are working together towards a common purpose, when they become a band of brothers. The same is true whether you’re storming Omaha Beach or simply living the suburban life. So set a goal to attain with your friend or a group of friends. Decide to run a marathon or compete in a triathlon, quit smoking, or lose weight. You and your friend can help keep one another honest; make sure to set up a system to ensure accountability. For example, if you’re training for a race, make it a rule that you must email each other your run times every day. Whether you live in the same town or across the country, establishing a mutual goal will force you to stay in touch and have regular contact, while at the same time helping one another become better and stronger men.

Create a competition. Competition in life can drive people apart; a friendly competition among men can bring them together. Create a competition with your friends and set a friendly wager; something a bit embarrassing for the loser is always fun and will keep the group motivated. This can be something trivial like a beard growing contest or something serious like abstaining from porn or drinking. The competition will ensure you regularly check in on each other and have something to talk about (even if it’s trash talking).

Take a Mancation. You may sometimes need to get outside your normal life and take time to focus on reconnecting with your manliness and your man friends. Mancations are occasions for pure, uninterrupted male bonding. Mancations can be as short as a weekend or as long as a week. The destination can be anywhere, but it should involve manly activities. The best mancation is of course camping. The great outdoors and a roaring campfire is the ideal setting for renewing man friendships. The key to the mancation is to make them an immutable tradition. Set a time and make it an annual happening. You can plan the other things in your life around that non-negotiable date.

2008-10-28_2324 Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Guys night out. The concept of a “guys night out” has become something of a cliché, often portrayed in movies and television shows and frequently accompanied by unhappy wives angry at their existence. And it is true, some guys abuse the “guys night out.” They make time for their buds when they haven’t spent quality time with the Mrs. Or they go gallivanting around, leaving important jobs around the house undone. Your wife and her needs should always come first. If you haven’t spent time with her, then you shouldn’t be out partying with the boys. At the same time, if you and she have spent ample time together, then guys night out is quite appropriate. Encourage her to have a girls night out as well. Each of you having healthy friendships will improve the quality of your marriage.

Poker night is always a good standby for a guys’ night out. I’ve had some great times with cards in hand, shooting the breeze with my buds. Attending a sporting event or concert is another great guys night out.

Keeping in Touch with Your Buds

friendletter Making and Keeping Man Friendships

Any relationship, including the man friendship, needs communication to survive. Most guys aren’t big on having heart to hearts. Spending regular time together, even without much talking can be enough. But if you move to different locales, you’ll have to make some kind of effort to stay in touch. Guys generally don’t enjoy talking on the phone, and we usually aren’t big email writers either. But there is a long-standing, centuries old man tradition that has kept man friends connected over whole lifetimes: letter writing.

History is full of great men who maintained their friendships through written letters. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the best of friends despite differing political affiliations. However, in the election of 1800 they were political opponents. Jefferson beat Adams in the election, and the men’s friendship hit the rocks. They didn’t patch things up until 1812. After they got back on good terms they started a correspondence that lasted 14 years and 158 letters. The bond they developed through this exchange of letters was so strong that Adams, unaware that his dear friend had passed away only hours earlier, made “Jefferson lives,” his dying words.

Snail mail may have fallen out of favor with most of society, but I think it’s key in maintaining healthy man friendships. Sure email is easy, but it’s also easily ignored. We let it sit there and in a few days it has disappeared to another page and out of our brains. Letter-writing is something altogether different: something real, something tangible leaves your hands and physically plants itself in the life of your friend. There it is, a part of you, sitting on their kitchen counter. People can’t throw stuff like that away. It may get buried, but it will keep popping up and will stay on your friend’s brain, burrowing there until they respond. A letter practically requires an answer. So I strongly urge men to start writing letters to their friends. Commit to writing your friend once a month; it will keep alive your bond no matter where life takes the both of you.

Got any other suggestions on making new friends and maintaning current friendships? Share ‘em with us. Drop a line in the comment box.

leaderboard_call Making and Keeping Man Friendships

 Making and Keeping Man Friendships

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