Tomorrow (Dec. 20) is the last day before Christmas to order a signed copy of Manvotionals. I’ll be making my last trip to the post office on Wednesday. If you live in the U.S., you’ll get your book by Christmas Eve.

Books are $14. We can customize the inscription however you want. Just make a note of it in your order.

Shipping is done through U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail for $4.95. If you order more than two books, shipping gets bumped up to $10. Just click on the link below to complete the order. All major credit cards are accepted.

Buy a Signed Copy of Manvotionals!

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Last month the website Madame Noire posted a list of the “7 Manly Things We Wish Men Still Did.” I don’t recommend clicking over there, because they do that super annoying website thing where each item on the list is put on a different page and there’s a pop-up audio play ad running. So here’s the list:

  • Move Out of Their Mothers’ Houses
  • Insist on Paying the Bill
  • Dialing Our Number (as opposed to texting)
  • Hold the Door Open for a Stranger
  • Keep Us Warm (give a lady your jacket)
  • Help Us with Our Bags
  • Have a Signature Aftershave

What’s interesting, is that over the years people have sent us several iterations of this kind of article, but we’ve yet to see a list by men of things they wish women still did. Because of course, writing such a list would get you clobbered over the head with charges of sexism. This double-standard generally extends to all articles about the sexes these days–it is generally okay to complain about the deficiencies of men, but never women. One cannot imagine an article entitled “The End of Women” or “Where Have All the Good Women Gone?”

Whenever you read an article like this, in the comments there are always complaints that women want to have it both ways–to be equal and independent and be treated with chivalry. And some guy always says something like, “Well I’ll go back to doing some of these old fashioned things for women, when women start bringing back some old fashioned things too.”

So a few points for discussion:

-Are there old fashioned things that you wish women still did?

-Or do you think that neither men nor women should be expected to do any old fashioned things?

-Or do you think that men should have to still do old fashioned things, but not women?

Hat tip to Darren for this link.

 

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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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Huckberry is a deal site that features special sales each week exclusively to members, and the products available change each week. Every week, I pick out a few of my favorite things from the week’s offerings.

Doane Paper

If you like vintage-looking graphic tees, then you’ll enjoy this week’s offerings. But for me the only thing that really caught my eye this week was from Doane Paper. Doane Paper makes their quality grid+lines pocket notebooks in the US. And now they offer handsome leather covers for their notebooks as well.

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Its no secret that we’re big fans of Theodore Roosevelt on the Art of Manliness. No man is perfect, but he’s as close as you can get to a true paragon of manliness. Virtuous and industrious, he was devoted to living the strenuous life and accomplished more in his lifetime than most men can even dream about. Reading about his life has been a constant source of inspiration to me.

I get a lot of emails asking which TR-themed books I recommend. So in honor of Roosevelt’s 153rd birthday, here are a few recommendations:

When it comes to biographies, I think the best are the three books Edmund Morris wrote: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, and Colonel Roosevelt. Each book covers a different stage of TR’s life, and reading the trilogy will give you an in-depth look at Teddy’s life.

If you’re looking for practical take-away lessons from TR’s life, check out Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership. Author James Strock does a fantastic job of distilling leadership principles from the experiences of Roosevelt’s life.

If you want to read the writings of the man himself, dig into The Strenuous Life. It’s a collection of some of his best essays and addresses and it offers plenty of thought-provoking content and bull moose-style inspriation. And you can read it for free on Google books.

Once you’ve read all those, if you’re still thirsty for more TR, definitely give the River of Doubt a read. It’s an engrossing look at the arduous Amazonian journey TR took at the end of his life. If you aren’t in awe of TR after reading the above books, this will give you a real appreciation for the man.

 

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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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This essay by Henry Rollins was originally published in Details Magazine in 1994.

Iron and the Soul

By Henry Rollins

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.

Completely.

When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time. As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.’s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say sh–t to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr. Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

 From Ross Training

Hat tip to Carl Monster in the Community for this.

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Huckberry is a deal site that features special sales each week exclusively to members, and the products available change each week. Every week, I pick out a few of my favorite things from the week’s offering. Here are my picks for the week of October 17, 2011.

Triple Aught Designs

Triple Aught Designs, a company started by a former Army soldier, creates outwear that is both ruggedly stylish and field-tested tough.

Boreas

Tired of the arms race between the big outdoor companies, and the resulting gear that includes a bunch of unnecessary bells and whistles, Boreas was founded as a small company that makes gear that is simple, comfortable, and durable.

Smith Brand Bowties


Smith Brand Bowties are handmade by the company’s founder, Ian Smith, in San Francisco.

There are other cool things available on Huckberry right now. To browse, you have to sign-up for the site. If you do, you get a $5 credit for being an AoM reader.  The reason that you must sign-up to browse and see the prices is that this is a members-only deal site, and the brands that offer their products for these special sales are only willing to offer those special prices to a small group and not to the public at large.

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