Monday, June 7, 2010

Adios and Vaya Con Dios

Well, readers, you might have noticed that posts have been pretty sparse around here lately. No original content since early April. My excuse is that I've just been too depressed about the oil spill to write much. But in reality, I've kind of lost the fire for writing blogs at all. I've been manswering questions off and on for over two years now...actually I think my two year manniversary was a couple of weekends ago. At some point along the way, writing new content became more of a chore than something fun that I enjoyed. Along the way I tried to come up with some ideas to get more reader involvement, to maybe take some of the burden off of me. But those ideas always seemed to flame out. I always said if I ever dreaded writing new manswers I'd hang it up. Well, that day has come.

It's been a good ride. I feel like I've accomplished a lot here these past couple of years. We've had some good discussions, a few laughs, and hopefully have learned a few things about being a virtuous man in a decidedly unvirtuous unmanly world. I like to think I'm leaving the internet a little more badical than I found it.

Thanks to all of you for helping make To Every Man a Manswer what it was. Your questions and comments helped keep this thing going, and I'm grateful to all of you for playing along. I thank my God every time I remember you.

I still have my email, so you can still get in touch with me if you have some sort of pressing concern related to general testostery, or if you'd like to discuss spiritual matters. I'll do my best to talk with you on an individual basis. Don't think of this as an Old Yeller type situation, where the blog has gotten rabies and has to be killed. Instead, think of it as a Rocky IV situation, where the blog has defeated communism and has nothing left to do, and if it tried to keep going the blog would be terrible like Rocky V and VI. Better to quit on a high note, I think. So for now, Dr Awesome is riding off into the sunset.

God bless you all.

Dr Awesome

P.S. If you prefer more open endings to things, you can pretend that this is like LOST and we were all dead the whole time.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Perspectives of Men – Texas is the Manliest (Again)

Just when you thought the Manliest State Battle Royale was over, Texas has come back for more. I’ve often heard everything is bigger in Texas, so it only makes sense that Texas gets two posts to prove its manliness. Today’s guest post is from Jason Boyett, who is no stranger to writing, this week is the official release week for his new book, O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling. Jason also has an impressive manly bio which includes, but is not limited to: being a triathlete, being able to rock out on the drums, and being featured on the History Channel and the National Geographic Channel. Also, he also has a striking resemblance to Bob from NBC’s Biggest Loser. Now lets see what Jason has to say about Texas.

So as a lifelong resident of Texas, and a man, I've been asked by Dr. Awesome to justify, defend, and otherwise prove that the Lone Star state is the manliest in the Union. Seems like sort of a waste of time if you ask me. Does anyone ask Heidi Klum to explain why she's beautiful? No, because the evidence is pretty clear. If you need facts to convince you of the obvious, then I don't understand you.

But anyway, I'll indulge the manly readers of this blog by playing the game. The last guy who tried to defend Texas must have originally been from Delaware or something, because all he could do is point out the flaws of other states. That lack of self-confidence is so totally unTexan that I am embarrassed for him. Heidi Klum doesn't need to make fun of ugly women so she'll appear more beautiful, and Texas doesn't need to make fun of the other states so we'll come across as manlier. We're bigger than that.
Lots bigger.

Let's briefly consider the Doc Awesome state scorecard.

1. State Flag manliness: Minimalist and confident. Red, white & blue plus one big honking star. You need more than that, like a bear, beaver, eagle, bison, deer or a pelican? Only if you're overcompensating for something.

2. State Bird: Mockingbird. No, it's not a raptor. It doesn't kill small mammals and it won't peck your eye out. But there's a mockingbird that lives in my alley that can approximate the sound of a growling Harley Davidson. I am not lying. Your bird may have claws. Ours has talent and a keen ear for the sounds of manliness.

3. Professional Sports Teams. Apparently I need to do some research to find out how many of the Dallas Cowboys have been disrespectful to women or how many Texas Rangers have taken performance-enhancing drugs. But I don't have time for to do the math. You know how confident I am in the manliness of Texas? I don't even care about this category.

4. College teams. Ditto. Look, there are lots of good sports teams in Texas, because there are lots of big colleges in Texas. We have Longhorns, Horned Toads, and Red Raiders. We have coaches with cool, powerful, manly names like Mac and Spike and Bobby Knight. We do not have any Lane Kiffins, whatever those are.

5. Hunting/fishing/outdoor activities. Um, yes. Look, most pastors around here -- Jesus-following men of God -- disappear on the first weekend of deer season. Texas women drive F-150s with gun racks. I see Browning decals on the backs of pink Barbie bicycles. On Mondays, kindergarten show-and-tell usually involves pictures of the wild boar the kid shot on Sunday.

6. Unique foods. Jalapenos are a food group in Texas. Chili is a beverage. Barbecue is a lifestyle choice. Assign points as necessary.

7. Badical men. I could list guys like Dwight Eisenhower, the boxer Jack Johnson, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, Stevie Ray Vaughan, or Tommy Lee Jones. But instead I'll just reduce it to a list of one: Walker, Texas Ranger. You might have heard of his other name: Chuck Norris. He is a man.

8. Naval Vessels. The first USS Texas fought in the Civil War. There have been two others. Blah, blah, blah. Every state has battleships, right? This category is debatable.

9. Neighborhood. Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Old Mexico. Seriously. I had you at Arkansas, right?

10. Miscellaneousness. Here's where it gets interesting. Let me drop some knowledge.

• There are 15 different kinds of rattlesnakes in Texas.

• The privately owned King Ranch in south Texas is bigger than Rhode Island. Unless you live in Rhode Island, that's hilarious.

• The first American journalist to interview the Rolling Stones was a guy named John Morthland in 1964. He was from Austin. And I should probably mention that he was a high school junior writing for his school paper. Manly? Yup.

• Our state mascot is the native Texas Horned Toad which shoots blood from its eyes. SHOOTS. BLOOD. FROM ITS EYES.

• I submit to you two names and a book title: Larry McMurtry and Lonesome Dove, and I rest my case.

Postcript: It's a little known fact that Larry McMurtry also shoots blood from his eyes.

It seems you other states need to step it up if want to compete with Texas, so bring it. Also, don't forget to check out O Me of Little Faith, it’s pretty manly to confess your doubts and tackle them head on, not to mention publicize them for the world to see. Plus, if you don’t buy it, Jason may shoot you. With blood. From his eyes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Manliest State Scorecard

So yesterday Texas Red stirred up the hornets' nest a little bit by insulting every state in the union. I think you folks should cut him a little slack. Yeah, he took things in a direction I probably wouldn't have, but he's just a high school kid. He'll learn. In fact I think he already has. Meanwhile I've recruited another resident of Texas to do a post that hopefully builds Texas up without tearing every other state down. That post will be dropping soon. And all things considered I still think this guest posting thing is going ok, so keep your guest posts coming.

But the dust up yesterday made me realize that we need some sort of objective way to determine the manliness of a state. So far most of the cases for Alabama or Michigan or California have been "this is why my state is awesome and your's is full of bozos." There needs to be some hard criteria that we can use to evaluate each state. That way we can avoid any sort of "I'm right, you're wrong" back and forth stuff. So here is a scorecard for calculating the manliness quotient of a state. Note that your state could possibly end up with negative points, which means that your state is going to be kicked out and replaced by Australia or possibly Mars. My goal is for a representative from each state to go through this scorecard and leave a comment with the measurement for their state. That way we will know for sure who is the manliest. Without further ado, the scorecard.

Actually, hold on...side track for a second. What does "without further ado" even mean? What the heck is "ado" and why is it ok to have some of it, but not too much? Like I can ado for a little while, but I can't take it any further without getting to the non-ado stuff. I don't like it, I'm officially banning ado from this blog. Ado? Adon't. Now, the scorecard.

1. State Flag manliness. Your state flag gets rated on a scale of -5 to 5, with -5 if your flag is just a pink scarf and 5 if your flag cannot possibly be set on fire. There is some subjectivity here, sure, but let's remember that simple is better. So like The Farmer and Mike said, Alabama's X is pretty good, and is better than Florida, which is an X but with another symbol. Latin phrases are good, because they sound sophisticated. You need to ask yourself, if you carried this flag into battle, would it make you want to fight harder, or would it make your enemies laugh at you?

2. Potential coolness of your state bird. If your bird is a raptor, duck, owl, turkey, or chicken of some kind, you get 10 points. If your bird has a name that sounds formidable, whether the bird itself is actually tough or not, you get 5 points. If I have to get out some kind of field guide to identify your bird, -5 points. If you have the same state bird as another state, -10 points.

3. Professional sports teams. 5 points for every professional sports team you have in the Big 3 American sports (NFL, MLB, NBA). An additional 3 points for every pro hockey team you have. Plus 1 point for every championship in their sport in the last 10 years. -2 points for every player on one of these teams who is a thug of some kind, whether he has been arrested recently, is known for being disrespectful to women, or has taken performance enhancing drugs. -2 points for every WNBA team...this is not a slight on women's athletics, but by default they aren't manly, so you lose points for that.

4. College sports teams. 5 points for every college sports team you have in the Big 3 American sports, with an additional 3 points for every hockey team. Plus 1 point for every championship in their sport in the last 10 years. -2 points for every coach or player who is widely known as a jerk or cry baby. +2 points for championships in any other sport...swimming, equestrian, chess boxing, whatever. Except for men's volleyball, which costs you -5 points. We'll limit this to Division 1 teams, just so you don't have to count the hundreds of JUCO teams and such each state no doubt has.

5. Hunting/fishing/outdoor activities. Your state is rated on a scale of -10 to 10, where -10 is if there are gun restrictions in your state and +10 is if the animals can shoot back. The purpose of this scale is to assign values to states based off of how good the hunting and fishing are, as well as how far away from civilization you can be when attempting to hike or camp. You also get 5 points for the presence of each of these: a national park, lots of freshwater lakes and rivers, a mountainous area, a coastal area, a desert area, a swamp area. -2 points for every city or metro area you have that has more than 2 million people, due to the presence of metrosexuals.

6. Unique foods. Does your state have any unique foods it is associated with? A style of BBQ or pizza, a sandwich, seafood, dessert? +2 points for every unique food style you can think of. But if the food style you are associated with is not delicious, -2 points. For instance, a few years ago I visited Maine, and tried a local beverage known as Moxie. I took a sip and thought that I had mistakenly purchased paint thinner. Sorry Maine, -2 points for you already.

7. Badical men who are from your state. +1 point for every person you can name that we all would agree is badical who is either from your state, or lives there now. But if you list someone that we don't all agree is badical, -1 point. So while I'm sure your grizzled grandfather is the manliest dude you know, I don't know him, so he doesn't count. Unless your grizzled grandfather was General Patton, in which case, +1. See how that works? Also -1 for total clowns that come from your state, like Kid Rock. Limit of five good/five bad guys per state, so as not to give the more heavily populated states an advantage.

8. Naval vessels. What ships have been named after your state, and what have they done that is noteworthy? Every ship you have named after you gets you +5 points, with another +5 points possible if that ship did something cool. -5 points if the ship was sunk at Pearl Harbor. Way to blow it for your state!

9. Neighborhood manliness. Let's say you are in a fairly unmanly part of the country like New England. Should you be penalized that your geography prevents you from being as manly as Wyoming? Maybe you should be rewarded for making the best of your bad situation. So to account for this, survey every state that shares a border with you. Every neighboring state that you are manlier than, you get +5 points. Every state that is manlier than you causes you to lose 5 points. You should get credit for being better than average despite your limitations.

10. Miscellaneous manliness. Is there something about your state that gives you some sort of advantage that other states might not have? For instance, Colorado is square, so they could easily build a fence around their border to keep out malcontents. That's +10 points to Colorado. Utah doesn't drink, meaning they could attack the rest of us while we're partying. +5 Utah. What kind of random features does your state have that would help it win a battle royale with all the other states? You can award yourself up to 10 points in this category, so get creative.

So there you go, ten categories of manliness for evaluating your state. I'll put a tally in the sidebar of the website, so that we can keep track of the official scores for each state. This will only work if you state residents take up my call and score your state, so please help us. Figure up your scores and leave your comments now! Thanks for your help.

Dr Awesome

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Perspectives of Men: Texas is the Manliest State

Today's entry in this series comes to us from someone identifying himself as Texas Red. He manages to have something negative to say about every single state. I'll let Texas Red take it from here.

So I've read all the arguments from you losers in Alabama, Michigan, and California. You are all dumb. Texas is far and away the manliest state. We have the best BBQ, we have the best women, we have the best motto (Don't Mess With Texas!), we are the biggest (Alaska doesn't count since the whole state is a frozen zoo), we used to be our own freaking country. Every other state is turds compared to the awesomeness of Texas. I will prove it to you, alphabetically:

Alabama - The only thing you are known for is that Lynrd Skynrd song, which isn't even that good. "Sweet Home" more like "Sweet Pansy Boys". Not manly.
Alaska - Frozen zoo, like I mentioned. Just because you have moose running around it doesn't make you manly. Call me when the Eskimos do something besides building ice caves.
Arizona - More like Ari-boring. The Grand Canyon is nice though, I'll give you that. Still, dry and boring.
Arkansas - It is not manly to take another state and just put a couple letters in front of it. You guys are Arcopycats.
California - That ObiWanKenobi guy said it best, land of fruits and nuts. Your greatest contribution to the world is Scientology. Thanks for nothing, losers.
Colorado - Mountains are manly, but when have you ever heard of attractive Colorado women? Never.
Connecticut - No state with a silent C in the middle is manly. Connecticrap.
Delaware - Who? Exactly.
Florida - This is a pretty manly state, except it is just a northern province of Cuba.
Georgia - You know what is on my mind, Georgia? How much you suck. Paula Deen is annoying.
Hawaii - Aloha is one of those words that means a lot of things - hello, goodbye, what's up, we are d-bags.
Idaho - You da suck.
Illinois - The Cubs are terrible.
Indiana - Peyton Manning chokes way too often for this to be a manly state.
Iowa - I really can't think of a single good or bad thing to say about Iowa - irrelevance is not manly.
Kansas - You shouldn't have let Arkansas Arsteal your Arname.
Kentucky - You get points for making Louisville Sluggers, but lose points for allowing men to wear stupid suits while betting on horse races.
Louisiana - Reggie Bush is vastly overrated, and you encourage voodoo and debauchery.
Maine - State slogan: "might as well be Canada" Not manly.
Maryland - more like Fairyland.
Massachusetts - Cheers was a good show, but your accent bothers me.
Michigan - You inflicted the world with Kid Rock. Need I say more?
Minnesota - Your state flower is the Lady Slipper. And who cares how many thousands of lakes you have?
Mississippi - You rank 50th in every statistical category out there. When Alabama makes jokes about you, you have a problem.
Missouri - The Show Me state has a big pointless arch and not much else. Changing your name to Misterouri would help.
Montana - You have an international border, but here in Texas we deal with Mexican drug lords. You deal with Canadian drug prescriptions.
Nebraska - You guys can husk some corn, and the triple option used to be pretty manly, but these days you don't matter.
Nevada - Two words: Siegfried. Roy.
New Hampshire - Yet another state that contributes pretty much nothing to the world.
New Jersey - Here is a state whose B.O. is sniffable from as far away as Milwaukee. Take a shower.
New Mexico - All the boringness of Arizona, without the Grand Canyon.
New York - Greed is bad, Wall St. And Broadway...geez.
North Carolina - Congrats to Duke, but all the rest of your teams are terrible.
North Dakota - If North Dakota and South Dakota had a child, it would be Dakota Fanning. She is not manly.
Ohio - Points for having the Rock Hall of Fame, negative points for having Ohio St, who goes undefeated every year and then gets punked in the BCS.
Oklahoma - Texas Jr. Might be manly if they didn't suck so bad.
Oregon - The Mighty Ducks were pretty good as far as hockey teams coached by Emilio Estevez, but pretty pansified as far as collegiate teams who want my respect.
Pennsylvania - home of Dwight Schrute and Rocky, but one time I had a Philly Cheesesteak in Philadelphia and it was terrible. You'd think if they name a sandwich after you, it would be good there.
Rhode Island - If Texas is the Bull Mastiff of states, Rhode Island is a gnat on the gnads of a chihuahua.
South Carolina - North Carolina's annoying kid sister.
South Dakota - See North Dakota.
Tennessee - Three words: Kenny Freaking Chesney.
Utah - I'm just not down with polygamy.
Vermont - Verwhocares.
Virginia - Virginia is for lovers. Texas is for lovers, fighters, winners, and for people better than Virginians.
Washington - They just named themselves after a President who had never even been there. If you're just naming yourself after random people, why not name your state Chuck Norris?
West Virginia - Independent enough that they told Virginia to shove it. But they lost a great opportunity to pick a cool name. If their state flag had a picture of somebody flipping off the Virginia flag, they would be manly.
Wisconsin - A little too obsessed with cheese.
Wyoming - Would be manly if more people lived there. No man is an island.

So as you can see, every other state is a big box of feces. By process of elimination, that leaves Texas. And Texas has lots of positive qualities too. So all other states can bow before the manliness of Texas. The end.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Perspectives of Men - Michigan is the Manliest State

In our next guest post, Mike Miller (probably not the NBA player) (but maybe?) responds to the slandering of Michigan and the exaltation of Alabama. I'm liking the way this is turning out, with people stepping up to defend their states. If you've got some thoughts as to why your state is the best, email me and I'll post them. I'd like to get a representative from all 50 states. Other countries can apply to. On to Mike's Perspective of Men.

Dear Mr. Farmer,

Put down your glass of sweet tea and pay attention, you climbed into this cage match, so let’s tango. Then again, I don’t tango; ballroom dancing is for sissies with fake European accents who like to wear tights. If you want to tango, you’ll have to find another partner, probably one from Alabama. There’s just nothing manly about ballroom dancing of any sort, even the foxtrot is for pansies, you can’t make exceptions just because a ferocious animal is in the name of the dance. And, now that I think about it, foxes aren’t even all that ferocious… they’re not known for their fighting skills, like the wolf, they’re known for being very clever about running away. Plus, they’re red, they don’t even blend into their surroundings. And who hunts for fox, anyway? Royalty? Now we’re back to the European accents and the ball room dancing. Of course, foxes are found in Alabama, so we’re not really off point here, are we? Of course the fox is not the fiercest animal in Alabama, you guys do have alligators. Then again, foxes are made into furs for women, and alligators are made into purses. In Michigan we hunt moose and bear. We don’t make moose into purses, we make moose chili; and there’s no dance called the beartrot, it’s just doesn’t work. Point: Michigan.

But we’re just getting started, my agricultural friend, so hold on to your Snuggie. That’s right, I knew you were drinking sweet tea while cuddled up in a Snuggie. I didn’t even have to employ my ninja skills to infiltrate your farmhouse to know that you’re in a Snuggie, using dial up, and listening to Hank Williams. Snuggies are for effeminate men who can’t handle the cold. That’s right, the cold. Your uninformed argument against weather contributing to the manliness of a state is misaligned. Farming is easy when you don’t have to melt an iceberg to water your crop. All states south of the Mason-Dixon line have an automatic deduction in manliness points. That’s why Mickey hangs out in Florida. California is a whole different story, but I think we can all agree that it was never in the running for manly anything, even with the Terminator at the helm. You have to be manly to live in a state where crews of high school students are hired every winter to dig the stop signs out of the snow. Do you even know what an ice shanty is?

You brought the aesthetic argument in with the whole state flag point. Frankly, I have to give you this one. X-men, X-wings, and all of the x-shaped throwing stars in the old school ninja video games prove your point. However, if you’re going to play the ‘looks’ card, we should be talking about the shape of the state itself. Alabama looks like the holding tank for your typical toilet while Michigan looks like a hand. I’ve heard of hand-to-hand combat, but toilet-to-toilet combat is not yet an invented fighting technique. And even if it was, I’d take the Michigan UAW over the Alabama Farmers Union any day, and especially Taco Tuesday. If the United States wanted to give Canada a fist bump, or slap a terrorist state upside the head, it would need the Michigan hand to do it.

You brought in sports, which was an error equal to the Emperor turning his back on Darth. The University of Michigan is one of the oldest football programs in the United States, and it has more wins than any football team on the planet. And, sure, the Detroit Lions are pretty sad, but Michigan has the Red Wings, Pistons, and Tigers, while the ONLY professional team in all of Alabama is the Tennessee Valley Tigers, a girls football team that uses another state in its name. Enough said.

In short, there is no refuting that Michigan is the manliest state in the union. And if there were an argument to be made, it certainly wouldn’t come from Alabama. Yeah, Michigan is the ‘Winter Wonderland’, but that’s a reference to the wonderstruck visitors permitted to cross our international border. Come visit sometime, but leave your Snuggie at home; and if you plan on doing a foxtrot you’d better wear Kevlar, that kind of stuff just doesn’t go down in my home state.

Mike

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Perspectives of Men - Alabama is the Manliest State

You might remember from way back in days of yore last week when I asked for guest posts. Here is the first in the Perpsectives of Men series, from a guy identifying himself as "The Farmer." He's here to talk about why he thinks Alabama is the manliest state, and also apparently to pick a fight with one of my readers. Mike, I need to apologize in advance to you...I shouldn't have mentioned your question when The Farmer brought up the idea for this topic, because he went a little crazy. Note that the views expressed here may or may not be the views of Dr Awesome. If you would like to say why your state or country is the manliest, feel free to send me a guest post. Here's The Farmer.


What an honor it is to be here posting on the manswers blog! Dr Awesome and I emailed back and forth about what a good topic would be for me, and we decided it would get some good discussion going if I talked about what the manliest state is. He said he’s gotten questions like that before, including one recently from a guy named Mike Miller who thinks Michigan is the manliest state. That is crazy. Today I’m going to convince Mike Miller and everyone else that Alabama is far greater than Michigan and all other states as well.

But before I go any further, I had no idea that Dr Awesome was being read by NBA stars. I assume Mike Miller is the Mike Miller of Washington Wizards right? The white, tattooed, 3-point specialist with such long hair that a girl hair band must be worn during games? Not that being white or having tattoos are grounds for being unmanly, but being a 3-point specialist with girly hair that slightly curls and using hair products such as a hair band is pretty girly. Shooting 3-pointers is the equivalent of Chuck Norris throwing a hand grenade into a fight. We all know Chuck never even considered that option because what manly man would stand outside the fight arena and not get face to face with his opponent/enemy to issue a round house kick to the face? Or in Mike’s case, what beast of a manly NBA player would be afraid to drive to the hole with the chance of administering a full out charge on the weakling trying to stop you? A manly NBA player is never afraid to get his nose bloody. He understands that blood is a man’s “make-up”. Tell me, who is considered more manly: Shaq or JJ Redick – enough said.

But as much as I respect Dr Awesome and who he hangs out with, I suspect you aren’t the NBA Mike Miller, but just some random Mike Miller who believes cold weather is enough to make a state manly. I disagree. A quick answer to the “what is the manliest state” question is that all manly states fall in line behind Oklahoma – the birthplace of Chuck Norris. I think most of us would agree with this statement, so we need to move onto the real question of who is the #2 manliest state?

To figure this out we must ask ourselves what are the criteria for being a manly state. Well let’s start first with some state symbols. Flags will tell you a lot about a state. To find a manly state you don’t look for a pretty flag but a flag that is simple and didn’t take much time to make. The men of the state were off fighting, farming, foresting, etc and the women were too busy sewing up bullet holes, hemming coveralls, or washing a sap infested/chain saw torn shirt. So you see, there would not be much time to create some pretty and colorful flag. You grab a white cloth and throw the second easiest thing to draw in the world (a single line would be the easiest to draw), an X, on it and then get back to building your fort. And that is exactly what Alabama did. Heck an X is a pure symbol of being manly. An X marks the spot to shoot, can mark the spot of which tree to cut down, of which woman to marry, and in Alabama’s case, marks the place of a manly state. Heck what Alabama was truly saying was “This X marks the state of men, COME GET YOU SOME”. Now let’s take a flag that screams "I was made on the HGTV show Divine Design." Michigan’s flag has two deer looking animals holding up an emblem on a pretty blue background. Blood doesn’t show up on blue like it does white. Can you imagine how many designs were gone through before getting to the two deer? A negative point is awarded to Michigan. To be fair, let me throw some other flags under the bus filled with manly men. Florida, is a tricky one. They knew a good flag when they saw Alabama’s flag. So good job but then they tried to make us out like dummies and tried to make it look like they didn’t copy Alabama by putting a Florida seal on the red X. Good try but try again. Then you have state flags that actually put the state’s name on them such as Kansas, Iowa, California, etc. If a state has to put their name on the flag so people will know who they are, it is clear that no respect is given to them. They might as well put Wish Bear the Care Bear on their flag because they are just wishing they were a manly state. To be truthful, I think all flags stink in comparison to the simple Alabama flag so let’s give a point to Alabama.

Now we’ll move on to the state bird. We will leave out the state flower because let’s face it, there are no manly flowers. Unless we find a flower that has camouflaged parts, then all flowers fall into the girl category. No man, well let me rephrase, no manly man cares what the state flower is. So which states have manly birds as their symbols? Well right off the bat you see Alabama, not only because it is first alphabetically in the list of states but also because of Yellowhammer. Any bird with hammer associated with its name must be able to bring some pain and possibly help build some houses. So right off the bat we have a bird that is both deadly and a handy man. Arizona has the Cactus Wren which any bird that can be associated with cacti is a tuff little bird. Michigan has the Robin…wait that is not a bird but a woman’s name. So Michigan just got deducted a point for not only have a weak bird but causing confusion to some who make think the state bird is their Aunt Robin. The Cardinal is a fierce bird but several states have that bird as their symbol. No manly state would be a copy cat, or even own a cat for that matter. Nevada has the Mountain Bluebird. Just the name makes it sound manly. So several states get a manly point here including Alabama again.

Next let’s focus on the “state” sport. Michigan does have hockey. Even though it is not the most popular sport in America, no one can argue the toughness that is needed to endure a flying puck being shot at your face or the massive blind side hits that you may take. Heck weapons are even allowed in this sport. And let’s not forget that fighting is not only allowed, but invoked and cheered on. The one negative is that ice skates are worn and while ice skates in general are not girly, the popularity of figure skating really doesn’t help. But yes, a bunch of toothless men hitting each other with wooden weapon can be considered a very manly sport even if they wear ice skates. Hockey definitely gets a man point here. However, another manly sport and arguably the most popular sport is what we Americans call football and what southerners call SEC Football!! So with SEC winning the past four BCS titles and with Alabama currently being crowned National Champs, I think clearly Alabama gets a manly point and wins again by being the state with the manliest sport. Michigan isn’t that far behind, but the Big 10 will always be inferior to the SEC.

Next is what kind of occupations make up a state. Sure Michigan is Ford Central but who is to say Ford is manly? Is Mike Rowe really the best spokesman for the job? Sure Mike Rowe has a manly voice and a fairly ripped body, but he doesn’t have any other manly characteristics. Sure he likes to get dirty and check out different jobs but that is the point, he only checks them out. About 45 minutes into the show he has had enough and you then see him begging for people to email dirty job possibilities to him so he can keep his show going. He is essentially begging and depending on others for a job. Yeah that is a real manly characteristic. How about going out and finding dirty jobs yourself. There is an idea. I choose to follow Howie Long and drive a Chevy. He has proven his manly hood by being a NFL Hall of Famer. Wait, Chevy is in Michigan too so that doesn’t help my point. Forget what I just said. But let’s look at Alabama, where we have NASA. Heard of it? We build their rockets. We are the silicon valley of engineering. We harvest chickens and cattle. We put seeds in the ground and watch our food grow. Well let me go back, this is not solely Alabama. Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina also grow their food. To be honest I believe California is the national leader for agriculture, but I think the brilliant minds who conduct these agriculture polls can’t discern the difference between growing manly corn, green beans, and cabbage, and growing pot and raising puny teenage boy actors. Bottom line, Alabama probably grows more food than Michigan.

What does Michigan have going for it then? Well, it’s cold, but so what? Cold weather doesn’t equal manly, it equals a winter wonderland. Yeah real manly there, do you also hear sleigh bells jingling year round? Go tell a young lady that you live in a Christmas carol and see what she says. If I had my guess she will probably ask you if you want to make cute snow angels with her. So while Michigan men are dusting the snow off their backs and comparing who made the prettiest snow angel, Alabama men are winning national championships and making out with hot southern women. They are out planting the soil with good old fashion man sweat and blood. They are literally grabbing bulls by the horns and living life. So clearly I have disproven the theory of Michigan being the manliest state and in the process thrown Alabama in the ring for being the manliest. I could go on for days, but I'm a guest here and I don't want to overstay my welcome. Yay Alabama, Boo everywhere else.

The Farmer

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Panera Bread Company

I have become a part of "men's group" through my church to meet weekly and work on our manliness. However, this group meets at Panera Bread and that makes me nervous to refer to it as a "MEN'S" group. The food is mostly girl stuff (soup, salad, sandwiches), but in our military community about 75% of the customers are in camouflage at any given time. I figure this statistic helps the manliness, but I am just not sure that Panera is a manly place. Can I get a ruling and maybe a suggestion on somewhere better to get lunch?

Thanks

Brandon

Brandon,

Let me begin this manswer by sharing a personal story. Two weekends ago, Mrs Awesome and I decided to go to breakfast on Saturday morning. I let her pick, and she chose Panera. We both had toasted bacon, egg, and cheese bagels, and our total was about $12. Neither of us left full, but the ambiance of the place was quiet and subdued. We were surrounded by numerous people reading by themselves, studying, or surfing the internet on their Macbooks. There was a group of older women there, discussing a book they had all been reading. It was peaceful and calm, yet a little boring. Almost pretentious. It's almost like the establishment is for people who want to be in public without really being in public. So, I suppose Panera is a decent option for your meetings. The food is decent and semi-reasonably priced, and the place is quiet and relaxed. It is also boring, and I'm not a fan of soup as a meal by itself. Panera is an ok option, but not your best option.

Let’s look at ways we could improve Panera to make it a more respectable venue for your group. Starting with the decor, Panera is pretty simple, mainly just a dingy yellow color, so nothing outlandishly girly. However, when there is a meeting of the man minds involved, the atmosphere needs to be a bit more rugged. I would suggest maybe scattering a few boomerangs throughout the establishment, maybe hang a few pictures of some dingoes. Dingoes make just about any situation better. Well, maybe not when your wife is in labor, but most other situations. Now that we have ambiance set, lets look at more important matters, the food. You already touched on their pansified menu, but Panera doesn’t even offer steak. No respectable rendezvous point for men leaves steak off the menu, so that is the first thing to change. Add steak, at a reasonable price, preferably some sort of special for about $9.99. Throw in a Bloomin’ Onion and some hilarious Crocodile Dundee references and you have all you need cuisine-wise. In short, Panera would be much more manly if it were Outback Steakhouse.

I just solved your problem for you. You need to officially move your meeting to Outback Steakhouse, where you can have a nice meal and you won’t have to rely on other patrons wearing camouflage to make you feel better about yourself while eating there. And have you ever checked the credentials of those guys wearing camo? They may be imposters who also feel ashamed about their restaurant choices and are just dressing up as military personnel to make themselves feel better. I know when Mrs Awesome sends me to the florist, I wear full combat gear. It helps me feel manlier when buying flowers. Plus, while you don't see a lot of shoot-out action sequences that get started at the florist, there's always a first time. So you want to be ready.

I hope this helps, Brandon. And if the other guys won’t let you changes location, then your next best option would be to bring a boom box and rock out to some Pantera every time you walk in the door, like your own personal entrance music. It would help man up the place a bit, plus it's relevant since the band’s name is spelled so similarly to Panera. Try to play songs that don't have as many dirty words though...Panera is a family establishment, after all, so we don't need any vulgar displays of power. But if you keep rocking the Panera/Pantera thing, the employees will recognize you by about the third week. Then you get to be that guy who can walk up to the counter and just say "the usual." You'll be like Norm from Cheers. You may be eating at some sissified soup place, but at least you will be known. And that's always nice.

Dr Awesome

P.S. If any executives from Outback are reading this, I do accept gift cards.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Body Hair

Dr. Awesome,

This is gonna be a weird question, and you might have been asked this already. I was looking at your blog and saw that you covered some similar topics already. But never the exactly question I'm posing. Obviously you have stated that it is absolutely awesome and manly to grow a beard, and I agree with you on that. And likewise it is not unmanly to also have a clean-shaven face, though possibly not as manly as having a full-on Viking beard.

But what's your opinion on body hair? I mean what's a guy to do when he wants to balance manliness with attractiveness to women. I've been doing some research, and as far as I can tell, the general consensus is that you don't want any on the back or butt, and none on the stomach. But that you want to keep the leg hair and the chest hair. Personally, I think a man should only have to shave the face and that's it. Women shouldn't expect a guy to be hairless downstairs. But I feel like a hypocrite because I prefer women at least shave their legs.

So what's the deal? Do I go with what's manly or what's attractive? And is it possible to do both at the same time?

CrowMagnumMan

CrowMagnumMan,

I understand that you, being a CrowMagnum, would have some very personal interest in this question. Cave men are typically very hairy individuals, which is part of the supposed humor of those annoying Geico commercials. While I'm talking about cave men, do you remember those old SNL skits with the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer? They were hilarious. I know what I'm YouTubing when I get home tonight. Back on the subject, I'm sure that an abundance of body hair is a subject that hits close to home for you. So I'll try and be as sensitive as possible.

First, you asked a question that poses a false dichotomy. You want to know whether you should go with what is manly, or what is attractive. In truth, what is manly IS what is attractive, so there is no difference between the two. Effeminate, metrosexual men are neither manly nor attractive. Watch five minutes of any show on The CW and you'll see what I mean. These guys may have Y chromosomes, but that's where their masculinity stops. Maybe some women find it attractive for a guy to spend hours in front of the mirror with tweezers chasing individual hairs, I don't know. But I would think most women want a guy who they can count on if a situation ever gets dangerous. These guys are like the yorkshire terriers of the man world...tiny, groomed, full of attitude, and largely worthless. You shouldn't mimic them in any way, ever. They are not attractive; they are pansified.

So we've established that manliness is attractive and that what society says is attractive for a man is utterly ridiculous. But there also are some guidelines when it comes to manly hair, so, as weird as this sounds, let’s take a look at grooming body hair. Where does shaving stop for a manly man? In 99.99% of cases it stops at the face. And even then, I truly recommend always sporting some sort of facial hair, whether it is the Magnum PI-stache or the seasonal Christmas beard. It could be argued that a man should never shave his face, and for some that's a very good option. Occasionally, though, I have wondered if having a beard so manly that woodland creatures make their homes there is really that manly after all...because what is manly about squirrels pooping in your beard? As far as I can tell, not much. But then, what kind of man can’t handle a little squirrel poop? You can see why I'm so torn about this.

But let's move onto the other parts of the body. For the most part no man should shave anything else, especially as you stated “down stairs”. If you have stairs on your body, I think that the coolness of body stairs would totally negate the hair. Now of course there are exceptions to this rule, because sometimes shaving of body hair is really necessary. Surgery, for instance...the last thing you want is hair in a gaping wound, because there is nothing manly about hair lung. There are also rare men who turn into grizzly bears if they don’t shave their backs, chest, ears, toes, legs, etc. For them, some pruning is probably a good idea. It is hard to attract women if they are in constant fear of being mauled, or if you look like somebody stuffed some pants and a shirt with a big roll of shag carpet. Another area it is ok to shave is your nose hair. No one wants to see that enormous hair bulging out of your nose swaying in the wind with each breath you exhale. Trim that junk.

This stuff should all be pretty obvious. The real question is what do you do with the chest, legs, and arms area? For those spots I give you a cautious yet firm NO. What possible reason would you have for doing that? If it is just for appearance, I question why a man should be so caught up in how he looks. You see some athletes like swimmers, track stars, and other spandex loving people that shave these areas. But what is their argument, that having less hair enhances performance? Whatever. I pity the man who is slowed by a few strands of hair. Shaving is just a lazy excuse, like using a performance enhancing hormone made by Gillette. If the hair on your arm is slowing you down, maybe you should just remove the entire arm. A real man would be able to overcome this handicap and still win whatever event he was participating in. Plus, this would be a good excuse to fasten different handy attachments to your shoulder in place of an arm, such a sight level, rocket launcher, or a delicious bowl of queso. One of my He-Man figures when I was little had this capability, and he almost always won every fight he was in, despite his handicap. So other than what we've discussed, there is no reason to ever shave those areas if you are a man. I don’t care if you are a spy at a male gymnast’s sweet 16 birthday sleep over and you are afraid your hairy legs will give you away. If you get caught you must ask yourself 2 questions: 1) what kind information does a 16 year old gymnast possess that I actually need? 2) what information does a gymnast possess that a free ticket to the gun show won't solve?

So as I close, there is no reason besides having surgery or because you look like a family of beavers lives in your clothing that you should ever shave below the head. And as for the “down stairs” area, well, any sport where shaving that would possibly help you is not a sport you want to be involved in. Plus, do you really want razor blades in that area? Yikes. Bottom line, keep the shaving to your face unless you have a very, very good reason not to. The body is a temple, not the back lawn. So don't go mowing everything.

Dr Awesome

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rabies?

Can you get rabies from your girlfriend?

- granpasgurl07


Granpasgurl07,

There are so many questions I have. As a gurl of your Granpa, is this a friend who is a girl, or a romantic interest? How did your girlfriend get rabies? Why are you so concerned about it being contagious? How would Granpa feel if he found out his 07th gurl is hanging out with rabid girlfriends? Typically I don't manswer questions like this, because usually these are the sorts of questions sent in by people who think I am affiliated with that pervy Manswers show on Spike (which I'm not). But this one was so ridiculous that I thought I'd give it a go, for two reasons. One, I wanted everyone to know some of the bizzaro stuff I get in my inbox. Two, it's not every day you get a question that involves Granpa, his gurl, her girlfriend who may or may not be more than a friend, the number 7, and freaking rabies. There is no doubt that this manswer will be going into the "I have no idea how to categorize this" label.

So, yes you can get rabies from your girlfriend, provided the following things happen: 1) she gets rabies from an infected animal or person, typically by said animal or person biting her 2) the fact that she was just snacked on by an animal or person is not enough to alarm her in any way, and so she opts not to seek treatment of any kind 3) some time goes by, wherein she goes crazy and starts foaming at the mouth and 4) you are not alarmed by her unusual behavior, you explain away her frothy mouth by assuming she just went to Starbucks, and you express mild shock when she bites you vammpire-style. In short, if both you and your girlfriend are stupid beyond words, then you can contract rabies from her. I shouldn't be so flippant, because according to wikipedia, 1-2 people in the US die from rabies every year. Maybe that's you, and your girlfriend. Granpa will be sad.

Really the person I'm most intrigued with in all of this is Granpa and the absent Pa. Perhaps if these male figures had been more involved in your life, you would be making better decisions about who you are hanging out with. I realize the rabid are people just like anyone else, and they need love and friendship too. But really, can you call yourself a good friend to another person if you not only don't help them with their rabies, but you let them give you rabies too? I blame Granpa and Pa for not raising their gurl07 to be more discerning when it comes to bite-induced infections. I also blame Twilight, because whether you are a fan of teenage vampire angst or not, I think we can all agree that rabies will only get worse as long as people are biting each other. There is a lot of blame to go around, but the lesson we can all take away is this: don't let people bite you, particularly people who you suspect might be infected with rabies. In the meantime, if you have a real heart for the rabid, I suggest donating to the Michael Scott Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure.

Dr Awesome

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Male Nurses

NOTE: I've gotten some good feedback from some folks who want to try their hand at guest manswering. I'll be contacting you folks soon. In the meantime...

Hello Dr. Awesome
I'm currently in my third year of a four year bachelor of science in nursing (BScN) program. Going into this profession I have heard all the jokes and ridicule you can imagine, especially for big guy like myself (6'3", 265lbs). My question is, am I less of a man for this career choice, or are those who remark about my career among the ranks of the sissies?

Thanks,
Ryan


Ryan,

I understand the idea of women being more prone to nursing rather than men. For example, here you are in your third year of school still perfecting this art, while my wife was able to nurse immediately after giving birth. With no training whatsoever! So this stereotype does hold water due to the fact that men don’t lactate naturally. Wait, it just occurred to me that you are probably talking about nursing as a healthcare profession. That makes much more sense. Frankly I'm relieved, because lactating scares me.

Let me offer you my sincere apologies, Ryan, for that first paragraph. I can see from your manquery that you are already suffering some serious undeserved scorn for your chosen vocation, so I’m sorry for insinuating that you could extract milk from your chest. You have to understand though, that I have lactation on my brain these days, what with Baby John Awesome doing his best baby calf impression on Mrs Awesome every 2-3hrs and all. He’s treating her as his own personal dairy section at the grocery store. The only drink he likes is the Mrs Awesome blend, unpasteurized. So see, it wasn’t a personal attack, just a product of my environment these days.

As far as male nurses, I actually kind of like them. Nurses have to do some nasty stuff, and I think we should applaud anyone who is willing to do the dirty work of cleaning up sick people's vomit. Again, as I am learning with Baby John Awesome, cleaning poop off the walls, off the carpet, out of hair, etc is not something that should be limited to only one gender. I know it’s not limited to one gender in our household at least. My Y chromosome does not exempt me from cleaning couch cushions that have been annihilated due to diapers not being able to withstand the forceful excretions of my son. And though I was slightly embarrassed that it happened while my pastor’s wife was holding him, I'm thankful that she only had to take three showers to get rid of the smell. It usually takes 5-6. But, more to my point, I don’t think your gender matters when it comes to the dirty work that nurses do.

Honestly, I think we need more male nurses. I know the stereotype, and there are times when a male nurse would make me uncomfortable. For instance, if there ever comes a day where I am unable to bathe myself, I'd rather die in pools of my own filth then have another man touch me with a sponge. I'd rather just go on to heaven early than be dabbed by a dude. So yeah, sometimes it's female nurse all the way. But other times, female nurses are a hindrance. If I've fallen and I can't get up, who is going to be able to help me? A 125 lb petite female nurse, or a 6'3" 265 lb beast of a male nurse? Or let's say some pervy doctor thinks I need a catheter...who is going to advocate for me? A woman who could never understand just how vile and evil these things are? Or a man who won't let cathers be done unto me because he wouldn't want them done unto him? There are lots of ways that women are better at nurturing than men, but there are things that only men can understand about each other. And in those instances, male nurses are needed.

In conclusion, just because women are better at nurturing generally speaking, it doesn't mean that nursing is off limits as an occupation for men. I applaud anyone’s efforts, male or female, who commit to caring for the ill. After all, isn't that (HYPER SPIRITUAL ALERT) what Jesus does for us? Don't we all spend our lives just puking all over ourselves, in a spiritual and occasionally literal sense, only to have Jesus come in and clean us up again and again and again? I should probably punch myself in the face for suggesting this, but Jesus is the ultimate male nurse. So there can't be anything wrong with it. Throw in the fact that every night when I get home I'm helping nurture my son by cleaning up his disgustitude, and it becomes clear that the stereotypes about male nursing are wrong. Me and Jesus are male nurses, so you are definitely not less of man for going into nursing. Unless you begin to lactate. Neither I nor Jesus ever lactated. If that's what this question was about, then all bets are off.

Dr Awesome

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dr Awesome Wants YOU!

I'm thinking of taking things in a slightly different direction here, but I want some feedback from you all about it before I do anything. Obviously, this blog has been pretty inconsistent when it comes to generating quality material in a timely manner. In fact you could make the argument that there has been no quality material period, so the timely manner thing is a moot point. Touche. But still, since I have real world responsibilities, manswering questions on anything approaching a normal schedule is pretty difficult. But I'd like to change that. Here are some ideas I've got for both getting more quality material out there, and easing the burden on me for being the sole person responsible for generating that material:

- Conduct interviews with other bloggers, fans, and government officials speaking on the condition of anonymity
- Allow some of you to guest manswer questions yourself. Dr Awesome is bigger than just one man, I think, and much like the entire village of Santa Poco dressed up like the Three Amigos to defeat El Guapo, it would be cool if I could get some folks to don the Dr Awesome persona to manswer the El Guapos of metrosexuality (plus remember when El Guapo got a sweater for his birthday? what the junk!)
- Try to set up some kind of more rigid schedule where new content will be available at regular times and intervals
- Open up the range of topics we address, from the more specific "how to be a manly man" to "what manly men think about various subjects." In that way, a "manswer" would just be a manly perspective on a subject...really, how to be badical when it comes to whatever topic it is we're discussing.
- Get some input from Mrs Awesome, and potentially Baby Awesome, to give you a more well-rounded picture of what it means to be Awesome
- Other, as yet unknown ideas that are so incredible they would melt your face if read them right now, which is why they're being saved for later

What do you folks think about all that? Would that be stuff you're interested in? Would you feel short-changed if you got a manswer from someone other than me? I know I've done stuff in the past to try and generate more fan-involvement...I went so far one time as to come up with ways that you could purchase my friendship. Not my best idea, maybe, but I was and am just trying to think outside the box. That's why I need your help. I can promise you this much...if somehow I become wealthy and famous and get access to the small circle of cool Christian bloggers who are influential and cool, such that actual publishers pay me to hear my ignorant and uninformed thoughts, I will be sure to thank you by having a big reader appreciation Space Walk party. Who doesn't like Space Walks? So please, help with some feedback, and let me know what you think of my ideas. Or suggest your own. Together we can take down El Guapo and his plethora of gifts.

Friday, March 19, 2010

BBQ

Dr Awesome,

Over the weekend my son (11) and I went to a friends house to watch NFL playoff football. There were 4 other dad's and son's there. Not much of a better way to spend a bitterly cold Saturday in January than with "the boys" and football.

But an absolutely horrible man crime came up that I'm really having a tough time with. Our host said that he was barbecuing when he invited us; so I thought great! I would bring some of my grandmothers blue ribbon United Methodist slaw to compliment the pork. When we arrived just before kickoff of the first game I gave my dish to my buddies wife and proceeded to the basement; about half-time our host stood up and announced he was going up to "fire up the grill." What? You mean you're just now starting the meat? There's no way it will be ready before my son has to get up for school tomorrow! He comes back to the basement just as the 3rd quarter is starting and announces that the burgers are ready. As it turns out he was firing up the gas (which is another problem, does no one use charcoal anymore?) grill and grilling hamburgers. I guess I should have realized something was wrong when I phoned him on Friday and offered to sit up with him and the meat and he declined my offer, saying they were going to the movies. Where I'm from BBQ means smoking large cuts of pork shoulder, butt, ribs, and brisket over Hickory wood fired heat for hours and hours, usually over night. It has nothing to do with hamburger.

Obviously, my friend is not from the south, though he did move down here and marry one of our women. He's not that bad of a guy, he did introduce us to Brats. But I just don't know if I can let this go. Am I over reacting? Or can I use this as a teaching opportunity?

Thanks,
Scott

Scott,

Sorry that I'm just now getting around to your manswer. Football season is clearly over, but we're into March Madness now, so these same issues you were having are likely popping up again. Even if you aren't doing a lot of grilling at the moment, football season is right around the corner, and its never too soon to begin preparing your grilling strategies. So while some might say that this manswer is late, I think the timing is just right. Manswers are a lot like grilling in that way...you don't want to pull them off too early, before their smoky flavor has had time to set in, but you don't want to let them go for too long, lest they dry out. So let's open the lid of the grill and see if this manswer is edible.

The first thing I want to talk about is the geography of grilling. Various parts of the country around the US have their preferred grilling methods and sauces that they will defend to their deaths. In fact, one of the things lost in accounts of what happened at the Alamo is that Santa Ana was trying to steal Sam Houston's recipe for Texas BBQ. He overran the Alamo but never got the recipe, which is why the baby back ribs at the popular Tex-Mex establishment Chilli's are not as good as they could be. The US features several types of BBQ, each with its own merits. I personally prefer my BBQ Memphis style: pork-based and with a sweet sauce. But I can pretty much guarantee if you sit a plate of meat in front of me I wont turn it down. If you want to read up on this subject, I'd check out this article on Wikipedia. After reading that, I have a new goal in life: go on a tour of the world and eat every type of BBQ that exists. Food Network could chronicle my adventures as I travel the globe eating meat and dispensing sage wisdom. It would be a cross between Man Vs Wild and Man Vs Food, and would be the greatest piece of television that mankind has ever produced. The season finale would involve a barbeque battle royale involving me, Bobbie Flay, and that spiky hair dude that cooks for Applebee’s, which I would dominate. Anyway, Scott, you mentioned that you are from the South, and while their BBQ is among the best, I wouldn't put such limits on yourself.

Moving on, you asked about grilling methods. Let me list a few, in ascending order of manliness. First, any method that occurs inside your kitchen, from toaster oven to a griddle to a microwave. Pro: fast and easy and can be used to construct delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. Con: that's about all you can do inside, toast some sandwiches. Personally, I wish I had a Quizno's sandwich oven in my kitchen, because there's not a food out there that doesn't taste better toasted...sandwiches, pizza, fruit rollups, you name it, toasting enhances everything. Plus, I'd use it like Kramer did on Seinfeld; if I needed to dry some pants quickly, I'd just pop them on the conveyor and grab them 90 seconds later. I'd probably make a sandwich while waiting. Anyway, that's method one. Method two is outside, on a gas grill. Pros: also fast, easy and able to whip up delicious food with minimal time or effort. Con: gas grills have no character. They are sensible and easy, but boring. They are the Toyota Camry of the food preparation world...no frills, just does the job and does it reasonably well. Plus it gets great meat per gallon. And of course, if you spray lighter fluid on the gas grill, you can get some huge flames, which is sort of like when the accelerator pedal sticks on a Camry. So gas grills can be fun and dangerous too. I think they should be a part of every man's grill repertoire, just for the quick no-frills meat experience. Tossing some burgers on a gas grill is not the height of manliness, no, but nowhere in scripture are we commanded to be maximum man at all times (although that would make a great 11th Commandment). A tasty cheeseburger is better than no meat at all, so gas that junk up.

A third method of grilling involves the smoker, whether you are using charcoal or the more expensive hickory chips. This method takes longer, but provides you with distinct delicious flavors. Charcoal would be your entry level grill, whereas if you can afford it, you should eventually graduate to something akin to a Big Green Egg where you can really get some unique tastes. Grills like that are not mobile, though, which moves us to the next subset of smokers, the tow-behinds. These you actually pull behind your truck, so that you can be a grillmaster anywhere that is accessible on four wheels. My father-in-law has one of these tow-behind smokers that he built himself, which is reasons 1-14 that I married into that family (reason 15 is when you start getting into whether I liked the daughter or not). Another man I know has a tow-behind smoker so big that he could probably smoke 2-3 entire bison if he wanted to, which is something I encourage him to try every time I see him. The gigantor smoker is definitely the way to go, if you've got the cash to pull it off. But smokers in general are pretty high up the chain when considering manly methods of grilling.

By far, though, the manliest way to grill is to dig a massive hole in your yard and roast whole animals. Through an agreement with the government of Germany I have access to all the jet fuel I could ever want, and that's what I use to get my fire going. I have a secret method of getting it well up over 1000 degrees C, which allows the kids of the neighborhood to roast hot dogs in two tenths of a second from a quarter mile away. That's when I'm in a hurry and need to cook something fast...if I have a few days, my preferred method is to get the fire going, toss whatever animal(s) in there that I want to cook, bury them on the fire using a backhoe, and let it roast for a week or two. No Dr Awesome weekend is complete without digging up some smoky sweet meat out of the ground. I tell my daughter all the time, that's the stuff that memories are made of. Plus, neighborhood bible studies really "come alive" when you're reading the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and then you toss your friends into a real fire pit.

Let me sum up by telling you how to handle this friend of yours. The crime that he committed is less than 6 on the dudefrontation scale, therefore no beat down is required. I recommend that instead you introduce him to something better. Inspire him, not with "how can you settle for something so much less" but instead "why not strive for something so much more?" Show him that while burgers on the gas grill are good, pulled pork fresh from the smoker is so much better. Soon your friend will thank you for rescuing him from his mediocrity, and by next year's NFL playoffs you'll be able to fellowship together in the presence of smoky meat of glory. Be sure to hoist some ribs in my honor.

Dr Awesome

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gymnastics

Dr. Awesome,

So my wife and I were talking with our 3 year old son this morning and she asked him if he would like to gymnastics. As you can imagine my response was “excuse me”?
Our son has a lot of energy and we are looking for an activity to get him involved in to release some of that energy. Is gymnastics a manoption? and if not would you have any suggestions for good activities for an energetic 3 year old.
Thanks for your time…you have manvolutionized my life.

Adam from Michigan


Adam,

Gymnastics is one of those things that is very confusing when it comes to manliness. On the one hand, you have the incredible feats of strength, flexibility, and agility required to perform many of the moves. You think the Iron Cross on the rings is easy? Hint: it's not, especially when you do it with just one ring, like I do. But on the other hand, gymnasts often wear tights, which is completely unacceptable. And many of the gymnastics moves are completely worthless in real life. The pommel horse, for instance...I could see that being useful if you ever find yourself on a log in the forest surrounded by bears, since you could kick all of them with maximum efficiency and possibly avoid being mauled. But I think it's obvious that many of the gymnastics moves are so highly-specialized that they don't translate over into real-world skills. So I question the value of spending so much time training in activities that will just get you mauled by bears. Strength and agility can be formed in other ways, ways that don't involve wearing tights.

Which brings me to some suggestions for your son. You want him to blow off energy, but I say why just waste that energy when you could put it to things that would be productive at making your son a stud in training? Here's the training regimen I have for my infant son John, which could easily be adapted to suit a three year old:

Every morning - circuit training, with pushups, pullups, situps, and burpees (both actual burpees, and breast milk burpees).
Mon, Wed, Fri - spiritual and mental formation. We go on a long run, with me quoting to him lengthy excerpts from scripture and other important historical texts. We also listen to arena rock from the 80s.
Tue, Thur, Sat - combat training, with and without weapons, against armed and unarmed foes. John made the four year old from down the street tap out this morning, so I'm kind of proud.

Those are the sorts of activities I'd recommend for your son. Infants are not known for their excess energy, so I'm not pushing him too hard. But I think this is a good routine for making the most of his time. Sure, you could waste time watching VeggieTales and Baby Einstein and learning to sing along with all the characters of various Disney movies. Or you can teach your son to become the man the world needs him to be. He can be a gymnast, or he can be flat out nasty in the gym. You pick. (I don't know if the play on "gymnast/nasty in the gym" thing really works, but I tried)

Dr Awesome

Friday, March 12, 2010

Youth Pastor Advice

Dr. Awesome,

I am a youth minister and have been for about 8 years now. I am trying to help our guy students become godly men, like you are. What are some recommendations you have to help achieve this?

fighting the good fight,

Brandon


Brandon,

I appreciate the compliment, though I'm not sure I'd call myself especially godly. Having seven PhDs somehow doesn't help me with being a better person, as far as character goes. Somebody more wise than I am once said that he can't help but do the things he doesn't want to do, and not do the things he does want to do. It's as if human nature is self-destructive, regardless of how much we know. So while I appreciate you calling me godly and asking for my opinion, I assure you, I'm just a pilgrim on the road to the Celestial City, like all the rest.

That said, I'm all about seeing young men grow up to be the next generation of Christians. I think that's a large part of the calling of all men...to keep raising up the next generation of godly men to replace them, until the Lord returns. So maybe I can offer up a few ideas, some immediately practical, some a little more abstract.

The first thing I'd tell a young man, at least one in junior high or high school, is to forget about girls. I know that's like telling the wind not to blow. But there's really nothing good that comes from guys and girls getting overly friendly, especially when they are young and even more prone to bad decisions. Think about it...if a guy and girl are dating, and they have no intention of getting married, what are they really doing? Wasting time, at best, and at worst, subjecting themselves to prolonged periods of increasing temptation. I've heard arguments in favor of teenagers dating, such as guys and girls learning how to interact, what their boundaries are, how to flee temptation, etc. But I think all those lessons can be learned in other ways, ways that aren't so dangerous. Trying to learn those lessons within the context of a relationship is like trying to learn fire safety in a dynamite factory. Emotions and hormones are a powerful combination, and many a well-intentioned man has gotten into trouble. Imagine how refreshing it would be if a generation of young men came along that valued their purity and guarded their hearts? Not to mention how protecting themselves also protects women, including their future spouses! I think you should sit down and explain to the young men why it is best if they wait to pursue women until they are older, and in the meantime put forth some effort towards becoming the types of men who can be husbands and dads and leaders. You aren't depriving them of dating girls, but challenging them to something better.

I'd also try to teach young men the importance of vocation. Somewhere along the way we got this idea that you aren't "really" serving God unless you are a pastor or a missionary or something like that. But that's not true. God wants future generations of pastors and missionaries, no doubt...but He also wants future generations of doctors, lawyers (yes, lawyers), engineers, crane operators, janitors, soldiers, artists, ninjas, whatever. I'd encourage young men to work hard at finding something they love to do, and then pursuing that like they are working for the Lord. Because actually, they are. One of the cool ideas to come out of the Reformation was the idea that all work is God's work, from delivering sermons to scrubbing toilets. Whatever career they decide to pursue, I'd tell the fellas that it's not just something they have to endure so they get to have fun on the weekends. It's a vocational calling that honors the Lord. So I think it is important to relay to these guys that whatever they settle on, they should give it all they've got, because they're on a mission from God.

Third, moving from the practical to the slightly more abstract, I'd give these kids some heavy things. By that, I mean I'd do away with any kind of lesson that is "seven steps to a better life" and give them some real spiritual meat to chew on. Give them some theology, philosophy, and so on, and take them deep. Whatever their denominational tradition is, I'd catechise them with its distinctives. Teach them what we believe and why we believe it. Cotton candy spirituality is ok sometimes, because there are nice little tidy lessons to be learned that can be practical. But to press the metaphor, if they've been fed a steady diet of cotton candy, they will grow up malnourished, and they won't be fit enough to fight when their faith gets challenged. If I might be totally blunt, every time I see someone teaching something along the lines of "Finding God in 'Finding Nemo'" it makes me sick. That kind of stuff is like the little pig building his house out of straw...it will not stand when the big bad wolf huffs and puffs. You have to build your house out of bricks, bricks cast in the deep, hot furnaces of the faith once delivered to the saints.

Next, as a youth minister, I'd not only focus on the young men directly under my care. I'd go after their dads. As great as youth ministers are, as valuable as the work is that they do, it absolutely cannot compare with the effects that their dads will have on these men. For better of for worse, every dad directly impacts every child in a huge way, even if that impact is because the dad was never around. You want to light a fire in these young men? Get their dads. You get these kids a few hours each week. Their dads get them every day. So soak their dads with the gospel, and that will be your best legacy as a pastor to youth.

And for my last point, I mentioned it in the last paragraph. Whether talking to the young men or to their grown up dads, I'd give them the gospel. They don't need more rules, more dos and don'ts. They need Jesus. They need to know He lived, He died, He rose. They need to know He paid the ransom for them, He atoned for their sins and satisfied God's requirements for justice, He defeated all the powers of death and evil, He adopted them as His children. They need to know that they ought to live for Jesus, not because it earns them His favor, but because they're in His family and He wants them to become what they already are. Grace. Marvelous, matchless, intoxicating, world-changing grace. Above all else, that's what I'd strive to give them, every single day.

I don't know if you were expecting something a little more light-hearted than that, but you caught me on a day where I'm thinking a lot about my role as a dad. I only have small children myself, but even now I need to be modeling for them what it looks like to walk humbled and gracious with my Savior. And what I want from a youth pastor is support in all that, since obviously we want the same thing: a new generation of Christians, drunk with Jesus, changing the world. I remain convinced that the gospel is the only thing that has power to accomplish that goal. So please, if you want godly young men, give them the gospel.

Dr Awesome

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hello Kitty Guns?

Dr. Awsome,

As college student, I find I have limited funds to put towards necessary hobbies such as hunting, shooting, and ninjitsu classes. I recently came across the deal of a lifetime: A like new AK-47 was put up for sale in my area with an asking price well below half of what it would go for new. The only catch is the entire gun is colored in hot pink with Hello Kitty figures stenciled on the stock and fore grip. My buddies Ryan, Will and Buck think I should get it, but my mom thinks the pink would clash with my hunters orange. Would my manliness by compromised by handling such a weapon, or would pink aid in frightening off terrorist hordes? What's a manly man to do??

Thanks for the help,
Magnum Pinky


Magnum,

I confess to being very confused by the existence of such a weapon. I can only think of two reasons where you would need an assault rifle that is pink and covered in Hello Kitty stencils. The first should be fairly obvious: you’re the security guard at a karaoke bar/arcade in Japan. In this case, Hello Kittying your weapon would be like the snow ranger who wraps his sniper rifle in white tape; it helps you blend into your surroundings. Say some social deviants show up trying to wreck the place, and they dismiss you thinking that's a toy in your hand. Imagine their surprise when you step out from behind the Dance Dance Revolution platform spraying ammo. Hello Kitty indeed. The only other reason that comes to mind for having a weapon like that comes from something I've heard about the University of Iowa. Apparently they have the visitors' football locker room painted pink, so as to emasculate the opponents. I think this is a genius idea, and one that we should use when providing weapons to the criminal underworld. Let's say you're an arms dealer, yet one who is loyal to your country. You decide to undermine the efforts of the enemy by selling them pansified weapons. So you take their money, and they wind up with guns that they wouldn't want to be seen in public with. Now they have no money, and they are also ashamed. I call that a win for the forces of truth and justice. Of course, you should be careful here, because they may try to seek vengeance on you, and the only thing worse than being gunned down by a criminal is being gunned down by a criminal carrying a Hello Kitty gun. Well, I guess if he tried to do something to you involving a Hello Kitty catheter that would be worst of all, but still, the Hello Kitty gun would be pretty bad.

Now as for you owning one of these yourself for your own recreational use, it's a tough call. On the one hand, you can't go wrong with an assault rifle. That last sentence is actually a good motto to live life by, sort of like "there's always room for Jello" and "nobody puts Baby in a corner". But on the other hand, it's hard to take you seriously if your weapon features Japanese cartoons on it. I guess the only way I would really condone having a gun like that is if it was in one of the scenarios I mentioned above. I know when I was little sometimes my GI Joes would hide in the trunk of my sister's Barbie car for the purposes of infiltration, like a Trojan Horse of Daintyness. But they never felt good about it. So I'm saying a weapon like that may have it's uses, but they are so highly specialized that I think you should probably avoid it just to be safe. Unless you just happen to have a pink ghille suit, then go nuts.

Dr Awesome

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