From the category archives:

News

There was an article in The Chicago Tribune today on a story AoM readers have already got the scoop on–the steady rise in popularity of old fashioned shaving methods. As the piece details, more and more younger men are dropping their cartridge razors and picking up the safety razors of their grandfathers and the straight razors of their great-grandfathers. The article doesn’t mention the Art of Manliness, but I’d love to think that my article “How to Shave Like Your Grandpa“–the very first AoM article ever, posted in January of 2008–had a little something to do with it too!

Read the whole article: “Rediscovering the Lost Art of the Old Fashioned Shave” (@ChicagoTribune)

Hat tip to John N. for this link.

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I always find it poignant to hear about the passing away of my grandfather’s generation. So it was with heavy heart that I read this week’s article in the NYT about the disbanding of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Today is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and this will be the final anniversary marked by the association, which will disband on Dec. 31. Because of deaths, illness, and old age, there aren’t enough survivors to keep things going. The association was started in 1958 with 28,000 members; there are now just over 2,700 left, although that number is likely exaggerated.

It’s hard for the remaining survivors to see this happen, especially because it means there are fewer of them to tell their tale firsthand:

The fact that this moment was inevitable has made this no less a difficult year for the survivors, some of whom are concerned that the event that defined their lives will soon be just another chapter in a history book, with no one left to go to schools and Rotary Club luncheons to offer a firsthand testimony of that day. As it is, speaking engagements by survivors like Mr. Kerr — who said he would miss church services on Sunday to commemorate the attack — can be discouraging affairs.

“I was talking in a school two years ago, and I was being introduced by a male teacher, and he said, ‘Mr. Kerr will be talking about Pearl Harbor,’ ” said Mr. Kerr. “And one of these little girls said, ‘Pearl Harbor? Who is she?’

“Can you imagine?” he said.

Read the whole article: “Pearl Harbor Still a Day for the Ages, but a Memory Almost Gone” (@NYT)

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This story’s been going all over Facebook, but if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a great read.

Last month a teenage mugger approached Julio Diaz as he exited the subway and pulled a knife on him. Diaz gave him his wallet, and here the typical story departed from the script:

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”

The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, “like what’s going on here?” Diaz says. “He asked me, ‘Why are you doing this?’”

Diaz replied: “If you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me … hey, you’re more than welcome.

“You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help,” Diaz says.

Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth.

“The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi,” Diaz says. “The kid was like, ‘You know everybody here. Do you own this place?’”

“No, I just eat here a lot,” Diaz says he told the teen. “He says, ‘But you’re even nice to the dishwasher.’”

Diaz replied, “Well, haven’t you been taught you should be nice to everybody?”

“Yea, but I didn’t think people actually behaved that way,” the teen said.

Diaz asked him what he wanted out of life. “He just had almost a sad face,” Diaz says.

The teen couldn’t answer Diaz — or he didn’t want to.

When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen, “Look, I guess you’re going to have to pay for this bill ’cause you have my money and I can’t pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I’ll gladly treat you.”

The teen “didn’t even think about it” and returned the wallet, Diaz says. “I gave him $20 … I figure maybe it’ll help him. I don’t know.”

Diaz says he asked for something in return — the teen’s knife — “and he gave it to me.”

Read the whole story: “A Victim Treats His Mugger Right” (@NPR)

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Here’s an inspiring story for you. Clayton Treska, a Marine Corps vet who served in the Gulf War, was diagnosed with Stage 1 testicular cancer is 2008. He underwent chemotherapy and was declared in remission. Treska decided he wanted to fulfill two goals: completing an Ironman and going to college. But two years later the cancer came back–far worse than before. Stage IV Terminal Cancer. The doctors thought he wouldn’t make it. But Treska decided to undergo an experimental treatment…and didn’t give up on his dream of completing an Ironman either. He trained while undergoing the treatment…while still in the hospital. And 10 months after his diagnosis, he crossed that finish line where few have traveled.

You can watch him in action in this video:


As the video alludes to, Treska wasn’t sure if/when the cancer would come back. And tragically it has; he’s currently fighting another bout of it. Treska has made it his mission to help, inspire, and offer resources to other folks who are dealing with cancer. You can help him and others like him by donating to causes like Movember (tomorrow’s the last day)!

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If you’ve bought and read our latest book, Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom and Advice on Living the 7 Manly Virtues, and you’re grateful for the amount of hair it’s put on your chest, please consider taking a few minutes to post a review of the book on Amazon. It would really help us out.

Apparently one of the factors Amazon uses to determine a book’s rank is the number of reviews a book has. The higher our Amazon rank, the more visible our book is to shoppers. We really hope you’ve enjoyed the book, but you can give it whatever amount of stars you think it deserves. We just ask that you take a few minutes to do a review. Right now we have 12 reviews (all 5 stars–thanks guys!), but the more the merrier!

And if you haven’t bought a copy of Manvotionals yet, get it today! It’s just $11!

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A new study by the Centers of Disease Control shows that the number of unmarried teenagers who have had sexual intercourse at least once has declined since the study was last conducted in 2002, making the number of teenagers who have had sex the minority instead of the majority. (The birthrate for teenagers is also now the lowest in recorded US history, although it is still quite high compared to other countries).

The decline in teen sex was seen in both boys and girls, but the drop was bigger for boys. In 2002, 60.4% of boys had lost their virginity by the time they were 19. This year, that number is 42%, an almost 20% decline. A boy’s reason for abstaining has changed too:

“The most common reason both girls and boys gave for never having had sex was that doing so was against their religion or morals; that has always been the primary reason in previous surveys, too, Dr. Martinez said. But the second-most-common reason among boys in the current survey was that they had not yet found the right person, a distinct change from 2002, when the No. 2 reason was that they did not want to get a girl pregnant.

“How boys feel about these topics is going to influence how they behave,” Dr. Martinez said.

Why do you think fewer teenagers are having sex? Has just a bit of chivalry crept back into the culture? Is our culture so sexualized that sex has become more “eh” and less enticing forbidden fruit? Is there less of a drive for boys to have sex because porn is so readily available? Are teens waiting on actual intercourse, but are just more willing to have oral sex? What’s your take on it?

Read the whole article: “Teenagers Who Have Sex Are Now the Minority” (@NYT)

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The Associated Press recently reported on a mountain retreat in Colorado aimed at helping young men ages 18-23 who are having trouble getting going in life. Called Insight Intensive at Gold Lake, the program is not for addicts, violent, or criminally rebellious guys, but for those who are simply “depressed, anxious, overwhelmed and underprepared,” those who feel unmotivated, adrift, and lack “an early adult life plan.” Guys that may have dropped out of college or are still living with their parents. Because of the expensive tuition, these are typically middle to upper-class guys, the ones who should have a wealth of opportunities at their fingertips, but are still failing to thrive.

The camp tries to get the young men ready for the “real world” by giving them a little structure and discipline:

They have been eased into this routine. At first, the goal is to get them to go to sleep when the clock still says “p.m.” and to rise when it says “a.m.” — something most of them weren’t doing at home.

They also get used to sharing their living quarters — three-bedroom cabins housing six — and pulling their weight, by doing tasks such as their own laundry.

As they show they can be responsible, they work their way up in levels within the system. Eventually, they write a life plan, then take basic steps toward achieving it — putting together a resume’ and applying for a job or an apartment with the help of a life skills coach.

“This is practice. This is training,” David Krayeski, Insight’s program director, says, comparing it to preparing for a race. “These are guys who’ve been paralyzed, for lack of a better term. So we have to get them moving.”

Many of the young men also work — as kitchen or ranch hands, or on the housekeeping staff.

“You’d be surprised at how many choose housekeeping,” DeNucci says, recalling one client from a wealthy family who confessed, “I have to learn how to clean.”

While the retreat is supposed to help the young men get going with life, it’s hard not see it as further coddling. The young men do yoga in the morning and have therapy sessions, while living in a place that is “rustic, but comfortable with its wood-paneled walls, stone fireplace, sauna and massage rooms and outdoor hot tubs.” It costs $350 a day and lasts up to four months, and parents foot the bill. Which means it costs mom and dad an eye-popping $42,000 to teach junior basic life skills.

It seems to me that if a young man wants to turn his life around, it has to come from within, from some bootstrap pulling, not from a retreat like this. I know that reading this article would have made my Grandpa spit his coffee out in utter surprise.

Read the whole article: “Retreat Aims at Young Men’s Failure to Launch” (@Yahoo)

Hat tip to Joel D. for this link.

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Recently came across an interesting article on Psychology Today about the growing problem of porn-induced erectile dysfunction. While ED is often associated with middle-aged and older men, a “growing number of young, healthy Internet pornography users are complaining of delayed ejaculation, inability to be turned on by real partners, and sluggish erections.”

The problem is physiological not psychological. As with any stimulation you give your brain, at first it gives you a lot of pleasure, but eventually the brain gets used to it, even numb to it. It’s like if you love chocolate ice cream; if you started eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, after a couple of weeks it would stop giving you pleasure, and it might even start disgusting you. Here’s the more scientific explanation:

Recent behavioral addiction research suggests that the loss of libido and performance occur because heavy users are numbing their brain’s normal response to pleasure. Years of overriding the natural limits of libido with intense stimulation desensitize the user’s response to a neurochemical called dopamine.

Dopamine is behind motivation, “wanting” and all addictions. It drives the search for rewards. We get little spurts of it every time we bump into anything potentially rewarding, novel, surprising, or even anxiety-producing.

Animal models have established that both sexual desire and erections arise from dopamine signals. Normally, dopamine-producing nerve cells in the reward circuitry activate the sexual (libido) centers of the hypothalamus, which in turn activate the erection centers in the spinal cord, which send nerve impulses to the genitalia. A steady stream of nerve impulses, which release nitric oxide into the penis and its blood vessels, maintain an erection.

Nitric oxide in turn stimulates the blood vessel dilator cGMP, the on/off switch for engorgement and erection. The more cGMP is available the more durable the erection. So, the pathway from the brain to an erection is:

Reward circuitry (dopamine) > hypothalamus > spinal cord > nerves > penis

Erections start with dopamine and end with cGMP. Sexual enhancement drugs work by inhibiting the breakdown of cGMP, thus allowing it to accumulate in the penis. Yet if the patient’s brain isn’t producing enough signals in the first place, ED drugs will not increase libido or pleasure even if they (sometimes) produce an erection.

In the case of age-related erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular conditions or diabetes, the primary weak link tends to be the nerves, blood vessels, and penis. However, for men with porn-induced erectile dysfunction, the weak link is not the penis, but rather the desensitized dopamine system in the brain.

In the last decade or so, addiction researchers have discovered that too much dopamine stimulation has a paradoxical effect. The brain decreases its ability to respond to dopamine signals (desensitization). This occurs with all addictions, both chemical and natural. In some porn users, the response to dopamine is dropping so low that they can’t achieve an erection without constant hits of dopamine via the Internet.

The solution to those suffering from porn-induced ED is to “reboot” the brain by abstaining from porn and masturbation for several months.

Read the whole article: “Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow” @Psychology Today

 

 

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Halloween is in two weeks which means it’s time to start getting ready for pumpkin carving (with your date, perhaps?). This year, instead of carving the typical smiley faced jack-o-lantern, why not carve John L. Sullivan with dukes up ready to “lick any man in the house.” (In case you didn’t know, John L. is the boxer guy that graces our site’s masthead.)

I asked AoM web designer, Eric Granata, to create a John L. Sullivan pumpkin stencil so that AoM readers could carve the manliest pumpkin on the block. Eric was happy to oblige. And even went ahead and carved AoM’s mighty fisticuffer into his own pumpkin.

Download the stencil today. It’s free! (Thanks, Eric!)

If you use the stencil, upload your pumpkin to the Community photo album. I’d love to see it.

Happy carving!

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This Saturday (October 15, 2011) from 12PM to 5PM I’ll be signing books at MANifesto in Oklahoma City. MANifesto is a weekend arts festival for dudes. It will be located in the Historic Film Row area between Sheridan and Lee. Looks like fun.

Anyways, I’ll have a booth there. If you live in the OKC area, I’d love for you to come out so I can shake your hand and maybe arm wrestle you. If you have a copy of our first book, I’d be happy to sign it, too.

I’ll also be selling advance copies of our latest book Manvotionals. Here’s your chance to own a copy of this ode to manliness before they’re available in stores.

See you there!

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