All posts by Pedro Rafael Rosado

http://patrickbaty.co.uk/outline-for-a-book-report/

That headline is not just clickbait my fine-feathered friends. Actor and professional handsome guy, Adam West, really did save this humble podcaster’s life.

As all of you reading this undoubtedly know, Mr. West played the title character in the superhero TV classic Batman which was first broadcast in the U.S. on the ABC television network in 1966.

The show was campy, ridiculous and a riot of primary colors (a fact I only realized much later in life since my family only had a black and white set) but as a kid, it was a half-hour escape from the realities of growing up in the South Bronx of the 1970s.

Now don’t go feeling bad for me, life was tough but there was hope. My family did their best to shield me from danger but I had to find my own way of dealing with those “mean streets”.

Imagination, fueled by Mr. West’s bat-shit crazy interpretation of the world’s greatest detective, became my weapon of choice.

Batman was both an escape and a coping mechanism for dealing with the devastation in the Bronx brought on by fires, drugs, and crime – the effects of which were clearly visible to even very young kids like myself.

I spent hours plotting elaborate scenarios where Adam West in his spandex, cape and cowl swooped in to defeat the gangs that frequently settled their beefs with guns and knives outside our first floor windows.

I was tired of having to hide behind furniture in hopes of avoiding a stray bullet listening to my mother and grandmother plead with my granddad not go outside. The man was huge and an ex-boxer who could beat the snot out of the gang-bangers with his fists, but he couldn’t stop a bullet or a knife.

But Batman could!

In my imagination, Batman would say to my abuelo in perfect Spanish, “Thank you citizen of Gotham for your bravery and courage but Robin and I will deal with the Savage Skulls and the Black Spades today!”

The Dynamic duo would then crash through the windows of our apartment, stopping to assure us that they would pay for the damage, and proceed to beat down both gangs. The music would swell and the fight graphics would fly, many with tildes and upside down exclamation points.

After vanquishing the street thugs, Mr. West as Bruce Wayne (wearing an ascot of course) would cut the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of a new playground or building built with his millions in the rubble-strewn lots that were dotting my neighborhood with increasing frequency.

Bruce and Dick Grayson (Burt Ward, natch) would then join the dads in a game of stickball and pound back a few Rheingold’s and cuchifritos.  The moms giggled about the handsome Mr. Wayne and made excuses to saunter by the men in their kitten heels, swinging their hips with just a little more enthusiasm than usual.

These fantasies helped ignite my love of comic books, which then fostered my love of books and of storytelling in general. New worlds opened up at school for me, keeping me off the streets. Watching reruns of Batman, reading or creating elaborate flights of fancy with my toys at home kept me safe.

And alive.

I always meant to thank him in person, at a comic book convention or in an interview for one of my shows, but kept putting it off. Sadly, I’ll never get that chance. The best I can do now is to thank him here and hope he gets the vibe wherever his soul may be residing.

My eternal gratitude to you for saving my life, Adam West. You were there for me as Batman when I needed you most and helped show me a different path. This is the first time in my life I’ve quoted Bob Dylan but it fits perfectly:

“I’ll remember you. When I’ve forgotten all the rest. You to me were true. “

The Meaning of Manliness

In ancient Greece, men were encouraged to let the tears flow. Dudes in the 17th century looked for a virile, masculine edge by slapping on a pair of high-heels, and it was perfectly masculine for a man to wear a pink silk suit with floral embroidery in the 18th century.

As the cultural ideal of manhood continues to change in profound ways – and some would argue at an accelerated rate these days — Chris and Pedro try their best to understand what it means to be a “manly” man in 2017.

Also on this episode, our very first CONTEST GIVEAWAY!

When you hear the AMR “secret word”, be the first person to post it on our Facebook page for the chance to win a copy of the brand new book The Illustrated Art of Manliness by Brett McKay and the team at ArtofManliness.com.

Fellow AMR posse members (I’m looking at you Father John) and employees of HeadStepper Media are not eligible to play.

(About Men Radio is not affiliated with the Art of Manliness site…we just dig what they do.)

BONUS EPISODE: We Really Are Getting Too Old For This

It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Chris and Pedro were just planning on having a drink or two after work at a local dive bar. What could possibly go wrong? Listen in as two (very) hungover old friends are hit with the sudden realization that they may be too old to party like rock stars.

Enjoy this hilarious bonus episode of About Men Radio!

Locked and Loaded

I busted Father John’s chops for not wanting to join the rest of us at the shooting range. He took it in stride — as he always has — and just casually lit up his cigarette with the air of a man who’s heard it all before. You see, John dislikes guns and he wasn’t going to fire one. I had never fired a weapon until that day and the experience left me shaken. Halfway through, I wanted to just get the hell out of there. It was clear that our moral compass had the right idea.

On this episode, Chris and I talk guns and how our perspective on them changed one rainy afternoon in rural Pennsylvania.

No More Excuses, It’s Time to Get Healthy

Longtime listeners of the podcast know that getting the entire AMR Posse to reach a consensus on anything is quite the achievement so this episode may come as a shock.

Father John, Coach Silvio, SuperDad, Mele Mel along with yours truly, El Kaiser, have unanimously agreed that getting healthy should be our top priority for the rest of the year.

The ravages of middle-age and busy lives have taken their toll but to paraphrase the manliest-man of all, our lord and savior Popeye:

We can’t stands no more!

The challenge to get into shape by 2017 has officially been thrown down and we will document our progress—or lack thereof—with regular posts on the blog at aboutmenradio.com.

Take a listen to what is motivating us and please send us your tips on how best to reach our goals or, better yet, join us in our quest for health.

It won’t be easy but you know the journey will be snarky good fun.

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Some of That Old-Time Religion

In an article from September of last year, AMR posse member Chris detailed his personal crisis of faith.  In the post he explains why he drifted away from his faith and acted on his growing indifference toward the Church’s teachings about the existence of God, Jesus Christ and the ceremonial trappings of Catholicism.

On this episode of the podcast, Chris and I examine the roots of his schism from the Church and my aggressive agnosticism, developed and nurtured by decades of skepticism.

We fully expect to be struck down by huge bolts of lightning for our blasphemy so listen while you can. This might be our last show before toiling away for eternity on the sulfuric lakes of Hades.

Enjoy!

Photo Credit: © Vladimir Melnik | Dreamstime.com – Religious symbols: islamic crescent, jewish David’s star, christian cross

What Is Wrong With This Picture?

What is wrong with this picture?

As far as I can tell, nothing.

But try telling that to some of the trolls who came out and criticized the photo — specifically how actor Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler were posed.

According to mic.com, the photo, which appeared in Vanity Fair, prompted comments like these:

“What kind of pose is this?”

“I was wondering about his hand on dudes head…what’s that  about?”

“The demasculation continues. I hate this pic!!”

In this podcast, we discuss how we are mystified at comments like these and talk about the odd reactions people seem to have when men display any kind of affection for each other.

Also, in what we’re billing as a “Current Events” show, Pedro rants about the darkness of Twitter.

Lastly, because the presidential campaign season is in full schwing, we naturally talk about penises.

Give the show a listen.

It might not change your life, but it will certainly give you something to think about.

Or it will scar you.

But how will you know if you don’t listen?

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Some Marriages Age Like Fine Wine, Others Turn to Vinegar

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly negative title of this week’s episode. We are celebrating the bonds of wedlock, not tearing them down.

All of the posse members have jumped the broom, with varying degrees of success, and during our recent summit at the AMR Central Florida Command Center, we had a frank and probing discussion about what made our marriages work.

And what didn’t.

Of course we endlessly busted each other’s stones (because that is what guys do when they deal with anything even remotely emotional) and managed to have a little fun, despite the seriousness of the topic.

Sit back and listen to how a couple of Bronx boys deal with the vagaries of marriage.

‘I Love Them Like Brothers’

​I was deeply unnerved by what I read but I could not deny the truth of it:​​ A significant number of men have no close male friends they can turn to for help or advice.

An article in The Telegraph also suggests making close friends as adults is rare, and for​​ some guys, almost impossible.

Careers, marriages and kids eat into our free time and myriad distractions like television, the Internet and video ​games become substitutes for real, person-to-person, non-virtual social interaction.

Playing Fallout 4 or binging on Netflix during your downtime, rather than​ ​developing new relationships, is just easier. ​

​While 11 percent of single men said they had no friends to turn to in a serious​ situation, that rose to 15 per cent among married men.​

I’m no math wiz but that is 26 percent of adult men who have ZERO male friends to turn to​ ​when they need support.

The harsh reality is that there are some things​ ​a wife or a  mother just can’t help us with.

That brings me to the About Men Posse.

I’ve known Chris, John, Rich and Silvio since we were in grade school and while we​ ​​have occasionally drifted apart for a few years, I know every one of them would be there for me in a crisis.

Let me rephrase that.

Each and every one of them HAS been there for me in a crisis​ ​and they know that I have their back 24/7. ​

At the risk of a being on the receiving end of a merciless roasting from the dirtbags, I will go on record as saying I’m honored to be their friend and I love them like​ ​ ​brothers.

 

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In Defense of Cosmo

I confess.

Seeing the new issue of The New Yorker, crumpled up and stuffed into my mailbox each week, never fails to give me a legitimate thrill. I look forward to shutting out the cacophony of my New York City commute by diving into the venerable magazine’s essays, fiction, satire, and cartoons.

I grew up loving magazines. Like many, comic books were the gateway and I moved on to Mad, National Lampoon, Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, Playboy and many others. Including an occasional perusal of Cosmopolitan.

Yes. Cosmo. 

I’d wager most men reading this have flipped through a copy at least once in their lives. Nowadays it seems as ubiquitous as Reader’s Digest once was. It’s unavoidable in most waiting rooms and bathroom reading racks.

The magazine’s cover regularly features heavily airbrushed female celebrities awkwardly posing in stylish outfits, displaying copious amounts of cleavage, with overwrought headlines enticing readers to check out the articles about “Orgasm Virgins” or how to “Look Leaner Naked: The 14-day Workout”.

Last year several large U.S. retailers began selling the magazine behind U-shaped blinders specifically designed to cover the headlines on the cover. The décolletage is fine. The tips on how to have better sex? Not so much.

On this episode of the show, Christopher and I dig into the hypocrisy of censoring magazines like Cosmopolitan, and its many look-a-likes, while magazines aimed at men, like Maxim and Men’s Health get a pass at the very same retailers using blinders.

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Let’s Talk About Sex

The start of the mega-hit Let’s Talk About Sex begins with at least one of the band members expressing concern about the controversial topic of their song. Keep in mind, this was way back in 1991 and mentioning bumping uglies in a pop song was still very much frowned upon.

Their concern was not surprising and probably part of a conversation that actually took place. They decided to throw caution to the wind and did indeed talk about it for the next 4 minutes and 34 seconds.

Taking our cue from the ladies of the pioneering female rap act Salt-N-Pepa, Mele and El Kaiser decided it was time for us to stop dancing around it and get on with the discussion of bacon making.

We each share the touching stories of how our dads explained the birds and bees to us and Chris relates the heartwarming tale of how he approached ” the Talk” with his boys. It’s a tale worthy of the Lifetime network and I’m so inspired, I just can’t wait to talk to my own kids about the joys of dancing the horizontal tango.

[Editors Note: Practically everything in the previous paragraph is false. Take a listen to the show to hear what really happens.]

Whether you’re sealing the deal, rocking the Casbah, or buttering the biscuits, it’s a normal and healthy part of life. We here at About Men Radio approach the subject of boinking  the same way we tackle all other topics: with maturity and taste.

[Editors Note: Um, yeah. Read previous note.]

Let’s talk about slammin’ ham, baby! Yee haw!!!!!!!

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A Very Special Message From About Men Radio

As a Star Wars parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your kids from experimenting with the prequels.

Repeated viewing of the Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith may not be an epidemic, but the impact on American society is staggering.

Don’t let your kids fall under the insidious spell of midichlorians and the trade federation. Teach your children to stay away from the Star Wars prequels.

Remember, the more you know…

Unbreak my Heart, J.J. Abrams

They aren’t just movies.

As Chris and I discuss on this episode of About Men Radio, the original Star Wars trilogy continues to be an important part of our lives and a cultural touchstone for the entire AMR posse.

While Chris has gone “all in” and is already set to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens multiple times over its opening weekend, my plan is to tread cautiously. 

The crushing disappointment of the prequels forced me to reconsider how much I would continue to emotionally invest in the Star Wars universe now that it appeared George Lucas was no longer in tune with his creation. Georgie-boy broke my heart.

J.J. Abrams did an amazing job with the Star Trek reboot so I hope he can make lightning strike twice. I miss Luke Skywalker. I miss Leia, Han and Chewie. I especially miss the Millennium Falcon.

I want nothing more than to be that 13-year-old kid watching Star Wars (minus the “New Hope”) for the first time, totally swept away by the epic adventure.

Please, J.J. Help me fall in love again.

It’s my Fault the New York Mets Lost the 2015 World Series

Most fans are blaming Terry Collins, Daniel Murphy, Fallout Boy, or some combination of the three, for the Mets crushing World Series failure. The sad truth is that I am solely responsible for the Kansas City Royals being this year’s MLB World Series champions.

You see I’ve been blessed with very powerful baseball mojo. I didn’t seek out this power, it was thrust upon me. Who am I to refuse a gift from the baseball gods?

It’s been both a blessing and a curse and, while a tremendous responsibility, I’ve always been able to carry out my duties without fail…until now.

I first noticed the baseball mojo as a youngster. My wearing of a plastic team-branded batting helmet while swinging a Roy White engraved bat during Yankees at bats single-handedly powered them to consecutive championships in 1977 and 1978.

It was after that second Yankees championship that I realized I must use this awesome ability for good and help the sad sack National League team in Queens.

From 1979 to 1983, I used all the weapons in my arsenal: rally underpants (rally caps are a just a lame variation which I DO NOT get credit for inspiring), not washing team t-shirts during winning streaks (my mom was purple with rage about this at first but mine was a baseball-loving family and she eventually understood), eating the same meal on game days (just the smell of Chef Boyardee ravioli will bring on horrific flashbacks these days).

I pulled out all the stops.

Shea_10-12-07

It was slow going, but by 1984 the Mets were finally coming around. My mojo was getting results.

Bill Buckner’s error gets the lion’s share of the credit for the 1986 Mets winning it all but folks forget that his blown play occurred in game 6. It was my deep hatred of the Boston Red Sox, a steady stream of “Boston Sucks” chants and a complete banishment of anything that could remotely be confused for the color red from my home that sealed the deal for the boys in Flushing.

1987 and 1988 were tough. Like a late inning relief specialist, I had thrown too many pitches and had nothing left in the tank. I stepped away from the game I loved.

By 1995 it felt as if my mojo was stronger than ever and since I’d neglected the Yankees in the 80s, my new goal was to bring World Series glory back to the Bronx!

I helped rebuild the Yankees championship dynasty in the late 90’s with a deft mash-up of the classic batting helmet / Roy White bat combo and a series of vulgar opposing team chants.

In 2000 I set my sights on doing what was heretofore considered impossible: a subway series between the Mets and the Yankees.

Much like Icarus, I flew too close to the sun.

I’d stretched myself too thin after that series and, except for a fluke in 2009 where I wore a Yankees spring training cap for the whole season, my baseball mojo laid dormant until this season.

This year I wanted back in the game. As a crafty veteran, I would rely on guile instead of power. My mojo would get the Mets back on top using a radical approach: I would ignore them for the entire season.

It worked — although I read a box score in July and that sent their bats into a nasty funk for a long while.

But then it happened, the awful occurrence that has me telling this tale.

I was working at home with the television on in the background. The sound was down on the set and as I took a quick break from my editing, I stared at the screen for about 10 seconds. It was game one and Lucas Duda was at bat. When I realized what was happening, I scrambled for the remote to shut it off. I was in a panic.

To make matters worse, the next night I walked in on my wife watching game 2 and witnessed an unidentified Met pop out.

We instituted a total media blackout at home for game 3 and that helped a bit but the damage was done. You all know the rest.

I let the Metskis down just when they needed me most. For that I humbly beg you all for forgiveness.

Oh well, there’s always next year!

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AMR 29: Happy Halloween Edition

No doubt you’ve all read Chris’s tale about how, despite his general distaste for Halloween haunted houses, he girded his loins and joined posse members Rich and Father John at  the Haunted Scarehouse in Wharton, N.J.

Whaddaya mean you haven’t read it?!?!?! Stop wasting time and check it out here. I’ll wait.

Monster_Movie_intermission

As luck would have it, our intrepid lead blogger had an audio recorder with him during his jaunt through the fright house.

Listening to Mad Mister Mele’s girlish screams and incredibly foul language had me wishing I was there.

Sadly, I, um, had to wash my hair that night. And I felt a tickle in my throat and couldn’t risk exacerbating it. Plus, I hadn’t dusted off my CD’s in awhile and was concerned about allergens…..

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It’s Never About the Destination, It’s About the Journey

This is how these things usually breakdown: Chris gets a crazy idea. I say “sure, what the fuck, I’ve lived too long anyway” then Rich, John and Silvio decide if they want in too.

It’s been our M.O. for 40 years and, as evidenced in this latest episode of our fine podcast, things won’t be changing any time soon.

We all firmly believe that if it ain’t broke, why fix it? You see, for us the destination or the activity is always secondary to the fun we have getting there.

In true AMR fashion, Chris suggested we check out Rail Explorers which lets you pedal through the beautiful Adirondacks on old train tracks. I immediately agreed to go along and Rich and Father John joined us there.

We roasted each other mercilessly and had a great time doing it. If we had missed the rail bike appointment, so what. More fodder for stone-busting.

Take a listen to our Adirondack adventure and be sure to read Chris’s post about the trip. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry.

(That last part is a lie. You’ll probably just roll your eyes.)

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Are Daughters Harder To Raise Than Sons? My Search for Answers

My kids are young but as we all know, time stops for no one.

My darling little princess is quickly growing into a lovely young lady and as she blossoms, it has become very clear to me that I’m ill equipped to deal with the emotional roller-coaster that is her pre-pubescent mind.

I desperately needed help so on this episode of the podcast, I did what I’ve been doing for close to 40 years now: I rounded up the About Men Radio Posse!

Chris had to excuse himself from the conversation since he has two strapping young lads for offspring. John has no kids (that we know of) so it fell to Silvio and Rich to provide wise counsel. They are both the proud fathers of some impressive young women and I would be a fool not to tap that rich vein of paternal wisdom.

Maybe they could finally explain to me how it is I can simultaneously be the world to my little girl AND a loathsome ogre that will never understand what she’s going through.

They came through for me, just like they always do. Take a listen!

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© Prudkov | Dreamstime.comLegs And Sneakers Of Teenage Boys And Girls Photo

Love Wins And We Couldn’t Be Happier

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a ruling granting same-sex marriage rights in all 50 states.

As expected, there has been resistance and criticism, furious gnashing of teeth, and general unpleasantness but that has not dampened the genuine pride (pun intended) and joy felt by many Americans across the country.

We here at About Men Radio feel that same joy!

On this episode of the podcast we discuss the SCOTUS ruling and how far things have come in this long fight for equality.

A Facebook friend posted this Winston Churchill quote on my timeline after the ruling and I think it’s perfect.

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.

America exhausted all other possibilities and finally did the right thing.

Love won. Love always wins!

What Do We Have Left To Prove? Plenty.

I consider myself a card-carrying member of Generation X.

Are you not quite comfortable with the name? Not a fan of the band that foisted Billy Idol on an unsuspecting public? Feel free to consider me a Baby Buster. Or how about a part of the 13th Generation?

As a Gen Xer in my 20s I was adamant that older Baby Boomers, and even those stalwarts of the Greatest Generation, should just get the hell out of the way so we had a turn at mucking things up.

Flash-forward 25 years and Boomers never really stepped aside but now, as I glide through middle-age,  I completely understand why.

They felt they had plenty left in the tank and even more left to prove.

On this episode of About Men Radio, Chris and I dig into what motivates us to keep pushing ourselves both personally and professionally.

Sorry, Millenials but us hard-headed boys from The Bronx just aren’t ready to fade away and radiate. We suggest you get comfy. You’re in for an excruciatingly long wait.

12 Basic Skills Every Man Should Master

I’m a city boy, born and raised, so I can’t dress a deer but I can dress for success.

I wouldn’t know what end of an ax to use for chopping firewood but I know which bodega has the best prices on Duraflame logs.

I haven’t been behind the wheel of a car since Ronald Reagan was President, but I can check the oil and change a tire on my wife’s family truckster.

Call them “man talents” or “guy basics” but every one of us blessed with a Y-chromosome (cursed if you believe some women) needs to master these 12 essential skills .

1. Shopping For Groceries

grocery

A cart full of Cap’n Crunch and Schlitz beer screams sad bachelor.

2. Cooking a Simple Meal

cooking

No one’s asking you to be Bobby Flay or Mario Batali but mastering the basics of a simple meal is crucial. Breakfast is fine but try something other than scrambling up some eggs.

3. Mixing a Drink

bartender

I’m a beer guy myself but learned early on that the art of grabbing a bartender’s attention is useful when at the club but in a more intimate setting, knowing what to do behind the bar earns you boucoup man cred.

4. Basic Car Maintenance

car_repair

I’m not talking pit crew at the Indy 500. Letting others wipe your dipstick is just plain wrong.

4. Manage Your Money Wisely

checkbook

Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) likes a broke-ass loser.

6. Writing a Letter

letter

Whether it’s a business letter or a thank you note, learn how to string a few words together on paper. It’s called a “love letter” not a “love text”.

7. Communicating  Effectively

communication

Knowing what to say and when to say it makes you appear confident and in charge.

8. Looking Good

suit

Clean and neat is just fine. If you choose your outfits by sniffing something you grabbed from the pile by your bed, you’re doing it wrong.

9. Tying a Proper Tie Knot

tie_knot2

I don’t care if everyone else is doing it. If you wear a suit, you wear a tie. ‘Nuff said.

10. Shining Your Shoes

shoeshine

Studies show that one of the first things a woman looks at when sizing up a guy is his shoes. The way you take care of your shoes speaks volumes to them about how you handle other critical details.

11. Tipping

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It’s simple, 15% as a rule, 20% if the service was exceptional. Last thing you want to do is piss off the person responsible for handling your food.

12. A Basic Understanding of Sports

sports

In baseball you score runs. In football it’s a touchdown. In soccer and hockey they’re called goals.

Here endeth the lesson.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatchoo Gonna Do?

So what is it about the bad boys you ladies like so much? Is it the thrill of dating the boy you know your family will hate? Is it the wild sex? Or is it the challenge of trying to tame the apparently untameable; of changing the bad boys into nice guys?

Please don’t let it be the last option because that would really tick me off. Why not just start off with the nice guy and save yourself the hassle?!?!

I realized very early on in life that I was forever destined to be Richie Cunningham and never The Fonz. Other guys could get away with the leather jacket cool, I had to survive on boyish charm and perseverance.

Most girls in their high school years when presented with the choice between an earnest young lad who skewed dangerously close towards the nerd spectrum or a handsome, emotionally distant rebel will go with the “bad boy” every single time.

Years later they may realize their “Rebel Without a Clue” will most likely remain clueless while Erkel is pulling down high six figures and living the dream.

I was once Erkel and have left some women regretting their life choices but when exactly does that high six-figure money start rolling in? It’s gotta be soon, right?

Anyhoo…

On this episode of the podcast Chris and I discuss the bad boy mystique. We both fell squarely into the nice guy demographic back in the day and are happy to report that the the old axiom is wrong.

Nice guys do NOT finish last, bad boys just can’t hold the lead.

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Clothes Really Do Make the Man

On this episode we discuss the difficult relationship some men have with clothes and developing a personal sense of style.

Now before any of you get the idea we’re asking you to aim for the cover of GQ magazine let me set the record straight.  We simply suggest that all of us take a little pride in our appearance.

Ditch the ratty sneakers. Wear a clean shirt (finding one in a pile in the corner of your bedroom that no longer smells doesn’t count).

Johann_Heinrich_Wilhelm_Tischbein_-_Goethe_in_the_Roman_Campagna_-_Google_Art_Project

Dress for your age and your body-type.

As Chris and I have discussed on other episodes, guys have body image issues too. Dressing better and learning what looks good on you will create a more self-assured man.

Everyone knows there is no more powerful aphrodisiac than confidence.

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AMR 12: Friends Can Be Hard To Come By

It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.

– Marlene Dietrich

The passing of Leonard Nimoy was felt strongly by all of us here at About Men Radio and our thoughts go out to his family and friends. It appears that even in death Mr. Nimoy and his co-star on the legendary science fiction TV classic Star Trek, William Shatner, will be inexorably linked.

That decades long friendship, forged when both men were adults, sparked this week’s podcast discussion between Chris and Pedro.

Are male friendships challenging to form and maintain as adults? What makes these bonds strong and why are they so important?

Several studies show that having close friends makes men happier and live longer but  as men get older it may be more difficult for us to cultivate the type of emotional relationships we did when we were younger.

The members of the AMR posse have been close friends since our middle-school years but would it be as intimate a friendship if we’d met much later in life?

As usual, the conversation is frank, funny and deeply insightful.

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AMR 11: Olympic Bobsled? Piece O’ Cake.

The AMR posse, with a few exceptions, aren’t big on sports but they are big on cracking-wise and busting stones.

Come to think of it, if either were Olympic events, we’d be nationally ranked and medal contenders for sure.

Until the IOC gets their act together and lets us do our thing on a global scale we must console ourselves with taming the bobsled run at Lake Placid’s Olympic facility.

Yep, you read that right.

On this episode you’ll join me and Chris as we hurtle down Whiteface Mountain in a metal bathtub, um, bobsled. I meant bobsled.

Why’d we do it? Because it was there…and because both of us felt it was important to start facing our fears. What better way to do that than by racing down an icy track in a metal tube sandwiched between two complete strangers.

The entire experience was a pulse-pounding thrill, so much so that we’re ready to take on more challenges. Maybe we can convince the entire AMR Posse to join Chris and El Kaiser on our next macho adventure.

I hear skydiving is a lot of fun!

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AMR 10: Fifty Shades of The Godfather

Both are hugely popular movies based on controversial bestselling novels but only one will forever be the quintessential “Guy Movie”.

While the sexual adventures of Christian and Anastasia in Fifty Shades of Grey are a big hit with female audiences around the world, the operatic tale of the Corleone Family in The Godtfather trilogy continues to fascinate men forty-plus years after the release of the first film.

I’d wager a bet that Francis Ford Coppola’s epic about a mob family and their quest to achieve the American Dream would make the Top 10 list of most men you know.

On this episode of the AMR podcast we challenge posse member Tom Delgrosso to take the ultimate Godfather Quiz. Play along and find out how well you’d do against our Godfather super-fan.

Also on the show, Chris reads selections from the book “Fifty Shades of Grey” as he and El Kaiser do their best to figure out the appeal of the BDSM phenomenon.

How is it that an appallingly bad book as offensive to women and BDSM aficionados as this one can be such a huge pop-culture happening?

The gents from About Men Radio do their entertaining best to figure that out.

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I am an Older Dad and That’s Okay

What follows is the tale of my inspiring, gripping, and emotional journey from fretful Older Dad to just plain old Dad. The subtitle should read “How I stopped Worrying and Started Being There for my Kids”

Okay, the story isn’t really all that gripping, and it isn’t very emotional either, but I do indulge in way more “prosaic introspection” than the author of this Wall Street Journal article—despite what the reader comments claim.

That being said, I believe my adventures in middle-age parenting might just lean towards the inspiring side.

I fall squarely into the “Older Dad” category having waited until the chronological age of 42 to make my wife large with child. I was, again chronologically, 46 years old when my spouse informed me I should start getting those diaper changing muscles loosened up again.

By the way, I stress “chronological” because if you ask any of my ex-wives or former girlfriends, they’ll argue that emotionally and intellectually I’ve yet to make it past my awkward teen years.

But never mind all that, let’s get back to the inspirational.

My guess is that there’s at least a full 15-year age difference between me and most of the other dads at the neighborhood playground. It doesn’t bother me much anymore but it was a constant concern when my daughter was a toddler.

There was more than a little self-consciousness about being a graybeard among all the young bucks and I was convinced all eyes were on the old geezer as he watched after his rambunctious daughter.

Maybe all those youthful poppas with their youth and their youthfulness secretly hoped I wouldn’t fall down and break a hip. I imagined they fervently wished to be spared the awkwardness of having to explain to their little ones why that old man was being carted away by the FDNY.

More and more, I found myself parking my butt on a bench and shooing my little girl away, insisting that she play with her new toddler friends.

It killed me every time my shmoopee hid her obvious disappointment and shuffled off to find a new playmate. My beautiful little daughter didn’t see a middle-aged man struggling with his insecurities, all she wanted to do was hang out with her poppa.

The transformation into a hesitant putz that worried about what others would think was complete. Where was the confident and ballsy Bronx kid who insisted on playing by his own rules?

Thankfully, that kid showed up again just when I needed him most.

Like_Bosses

It was a huge disservice to me and to my daughter. By creating imaginary slights and not experiencing the total joy of daddyhood with my baby girl while she still thought her grumpy old dad was the coolest guy in the world, I was losing out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I got my ass off that park bench and started playing with my sweet little Miss. I wore the pink boas and the princess crowns. I attended the pretend tea parties and unfailingly extended my pinky. I ran after her and paid little attention to how foolish or how silly I may have looked. I was a goofy dad and it was a blast.

Turns out those young fathers I was so concerned about could not have cared less.

The decision to wait until I was mature enough to raise a family was the right one. Oats were sown and challenges were undertaken and ya-ya’s were gotten out. That could not, and would not, have happened if there were mouths to feed at home in my younger days.

That’s not to say I don’t suffer the occasional flash of panic when the realization sets in that I’ll be close to 70 years old when my kids are in college. I’m keeping myself healthy and fiscally responsible for their future so there’s no use wasting time on worrying about things I can’t control.

What I can control is how much quality time I spend with them. I listen to their stories, tell them a few of my own, and act the fool.

When it’s my turn to kick it, I’ll kick it hard and with full-confidence knowing that I did all I could for my family.

Well, this was my inspirational story. The story of a family man with two young kids who is past the half-century mark, has no regrets, and will never suffer from the “what ifs”. He just took awhile to get there.

As the old neighborhood saying goes: I ain’t even sorry about it.

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AMR 09: It’s a Love Thing

Love is in the air despite the bitter cold and on this episode Chris and I present a survival guide that will help you make it through that most stressful of Hallmark holidays, Valentine’s Day, relatively unscathed.

While the entire AMR posse remain hopeless romantics, we believe that forced expressions of love on a single pressure-packed day is no way to tell the person that has your heart what they mean to you. Everyone should regularly make the effort to show your Significant Other just how much you care, regardless of the date.

All that being said, if your Significant Other is thrilled by anything and everything related to Valentine’s Day just grit your teeth and give ’em what they want. It’s only one day out of the year. My guess is they’ve earned a nice night out or that expensive gift.

Cowboy up and get to it, Loverboy!

As an aside, does anyone else find the idea of an armed baby with wings looking to fire a pointed stick through your heart as terrifying as I do?  No? Okay, it’s just me. Never mind…

Moving on from romantic love, we dove right into love of family with a discussion about being Dads.

I was in my 40’s when I started a family and spent many years wondering if I’d made the right decision having waited so long. Chris was in his 20’s when he became a father and wondered if he should have waited a few more years.

Did we make the right call? Take a listen and find out!

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AMR 08: Body Image Issues Not Just Woman Thing

A study published a few years ago found that the more media college-age men consumed, especially music videos and television, the worse they felt about their bodies.

We’re hear to report that some middle-aged men feel the same way.

On this episode Chris and Pedro are holed up in the cavernous urban man-cave enjoying Super Bowl snacks and discussing male negative body image issues. Neither of them watched the “big game” but they have both wrestled with appearance pressures.

Also on the show, John and Pedro unload an air-conditioner from the trunk of Gary’s car.

Agreed, it does sound boring I’ll give you that, but did I mention large caliber weapons were being fired near them at the time? No one was hurt but they did play the entire thing for laughs as only old friends can.

AMR 07: Doing It For Ourselves

This clip from the fifth season of Mad Men perfectly illustrates what we discuss on the latest episode of About Men Radio.

In the scene Don Draper, Ken Cosgrove, and their spouses are having dinner at Pete Campbell’s new home in the suburbs. While the men are swapping stories over apéritifs, the woman break into giggles and shrieks in the kitchen. The men rush in and find the sink doing a great impression of a geyser. Pete scurries off to find his shiny new tools while Don leaps into action…

The women admired Don’s macho handiness while Pete looked like a complete schmendrick.

Being able to handle simple “fix-it” jobs around the house was a prerequisite for earning and keeping “man of the house” status as I grew up but is that still true in the 21st Century?

I am not ashamed to admit that much like Pete on the show if my kitchen sink busted the best I could do is scrape off the price tags from my lightly used wrench and wait for the superintendent to show up.

I was eager to find out which of the About Men Crew were Don Drapers and which of us were Pete Campbells . In true About Men fashion, the conversation took many twists and turns but, as always, fun was had every step of the way.

New Year’s Adventures at my Midtown Penthouse

You read that right. I once shared a “deeeluxe apartment in the sky” with my brother.

So what if it was technically a poorly constructed addition built across the roof of two tiny brick buildings with absolutely no heat in the winter and hallways so narrow we could never get adult-sized furniture up the stairs?

The mailbox read “PH.” It was a penthouse.

The flat was located exactly two blocks away from Times Square, Crossroads of the World, in a neighborhood dubbed Hell’s Kitchen.

Clinton — the area’s less colorful designation — was once a notorious Irish and Puerto Rican slum that slowly gentrified over the decades. The transformation dramatically picked up steam when Times Square shifted from a sleaze pit into a family-friendly tourist trap…um, attraction…in the 1990s.

The only thing “hellish” about the area these days is the traffic heading into New Jersey and the heart-stopping rents.

Of course back when I lived there, it was still a bit rough and tumble (just the way I like it) and never more so than on New Year’s Eve.

If you weren’t blessed with the opportunity to grow up in New York City I’ll let you in on a little secret: Most dyed-in-the-wool “New Yawkers” wouldn’t be caught dead in Times Square on a New Year’s Eve.

What you have in the area every 12/31 are tourists and the bridge-and-tunnel crowd freezing their asses off, acting like fools and getting blind-stinking drunk.

Not necessarily in that order.

My first New Year’s Eve at the penthouse was relatively uneventful— once we cleaned up the debris from the eight-foot copper pipe some drunken jackholes smashed through our skylight.

The next year my brother and a few of his more burly friends acted as sentries by the roof door while I toiled away at work. As I battled my way home through the revelers, I caught site of a guy in the small entranceway of our building.

I could only make out his top half since the door was one of those half-glass, half-metal jobs popular in the “iffier” areas of the Big Apple at the time.

He was bracing himself with his hands against the inner and outer doors in a half crouch, alternately looking down at the floor and staring at the ceiling. I made a quick dash toward the door thinking, “This putz is NOT gonna take a dump in my doorway.”

As I made my approach, ready to drag this slob into the gutter, an older woman, of shall we say “questionable morals” who plied her trade in the area, suddenly popped up from down below and gave me a wave and a wink through the glass.

She very casually walked out leaving mystery-man fumbling with his pants.

I’d see her work the corner of 43rd Street and Eighth Avenue most nights on my way home from work and she greeted me with her usual line.

“Honey, you are so cute, I’d do you for free.”

To which I gave my standard reply: “Coco, my heart couldn’t take it. You are too much woman for me.”


 

The Times Square revitalization continued unabated and as a result, the drunken year-end slobs became noticeably less shabby.

As I headed home from another late holiday shift, I was ready to party like it was 1999 (it was) and I was hoping the party my brother was hosting was still in full swing at 3 a.m. (It most DEFINITELY was.)

While the last stragglers stumbled home from the bacchanal, my brother and I made a quick garbage run to the basement where we found a guy passed out between two of the filthier pails down there.

This dude was not your run-of-the-mill wasted schmo.

He was wearing what appeared to be a $5,000 tuxedo, plus a real Rolex and gold and diamond cufflinks that probably equaled the Rosado brothers’ combined yearly salaries.

I’m proud to say we resisted the urge to roll him and, like the good Bronx boys we were, proceeded to poke him with a broom handle and yell obscenities until he woke from his slumber.

Richie Rich gave us a slight bow from the waist and stumbled out of the building. He never uttered a word.

Class and good breeding always shows.

The most memorable New Year’s Eve at the penthouse was actually the last one I spent there. The specter of massive Y2K computer meltdowns had most Americans fearing a global collapse of both the banking system and the electrical grids.

With true New York moxie,  my brother and I had a “Y2Chaos” celebration on the roof of our fabulous penthouse. The lights stayed on and our money didn’t go poof but the spectacular view of the fireworks going off directly over our heads is a memory I will carry with me forever. A real New York City moment.

I really do miss that place.  Hmmm…I wonder if I’m still cute enough to qualify for the Coco discount?

AMR 06: About Men and Horror TV

It’s a Christmas miracle!

Just when you thought we’d never foist another one of our knuckleheaded escapades onto the unsuspecting public we unleash the sixth episode of our addictive little gabfest.

This time around Silvio joins us from AMR headquarters in Florida while we check in from the AMR Compound deep in the Pennsylvania forest to discuss horror movies, television, and horror television.

As always, it’s not about all men. Just us men.

About Friends: Checking One Off The Old Bucket List

Most of the AMR crew reached the half-century mark this year and Chris, the baby of the group, wanted to welcome his 50th year on this bright, blue marble in spectacular fashion. His pitch? Let’s ride a tank!

Well, El Kaiser abides… and so does Father John.

This video gives you a small taste of the fun we had playing tank commander in the wilds of Kasota, Minnesota. No one was hurt and despite the obstructed view you can plainly see the happiness on Chris’s face making him appear decades younger.

Turns out he was also piloting a time machine.

About Food: Living in Two Worlds

Like many immigrants I am a product of two cultures. I live in the United States but was raised in a Puerto Rican household. That cultural dichotomy can be difficult to navigate but the food I grew up eating helps keep me firmly in touch with my Latin-American heritage.

My mother and grandmother were the rulers of the kitchen as a kid and while they would admit to not being world class chefs, they had their specialties.  I will on occasion try cooking a pork shoulder like my mother made with varying degrees of success but that hardly matters. The aromas have already anchored me securely to my Boricua roots.

This multimedia piece was produced for the “Coming to the Table” series from Feet In Two Worlds.

Go! Go! GOAL!

I am facing a real dilemma. A quandary! Maybe even a predicament…

Okay, I might be overstating things a bit, it’s not like I’m losing sleep or anything like that but I can see this becoming a real problem.

I haven’t decided on what country to root for in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me! Not a day goes by that I don’t get asked, “Yo, Kaiser! Who you backing in the Cup?” or “Hey, Kaiser, you got your [insert country name here] jersey ready to go?” It’s becoming a real nuisance.

I know people from pretty much all over the planet and I’d hate to disappoint any of them by not backing their country. Heck, just today I received this note from a colleague:

You should always be for Brazil and Portugal unless they play each other. When Brazil plays Portugal you should be for Portugal. If Portugal loses at least it was to Brazil so you cry a bit but then always go celebrate Brazil’s victory anyway.

This is obviously serious business.

Any wannabe Captain Americas out there who, after reading this, want to get all up in my grill for not automatically supporting the U.S. of A. should just slow their roll. Have you seen the other countries in their grouping?!?!

Of course this whole bit of business would be a moot point if Puerto Rico ever qualified for the tournament. Don’t laugh, it could happen sooner than you think! Those in the know are beginning to recognize Puerto Rico’s soccer potential. The national team has made great strides over the past decade and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they made a serious run for a tournament bid in 2022.

Okay, maybe by 2026.

Getting back to my current plight I considered choosing a team by their jerseys but none of them wowed me. I thought I’d pick a team by whichever player had the best nickname but I was underwhelmed by most—although “Chicharito” almost sealed the deal for Mexico.

What I settled on was to just go down the list of groupings and eliminate any team that had even the remotest connection to anyone I knew. That left only one obvious choice for El Kaiser to root for.

Go get ’em, CÔTE D’IVOIRE!

I look terrible in orange but at least I won’t get any hard stares from friends or family.

And now for your listening pleasure, the best World Cup anthem EVER recorded!

AMR 03: Shadows of Our Dads

It comes as a slap in the face to most men. You wake up one morning, stumble out of bed, make your way to the bathroom and come face to face with your father staring back at you in the mirror.

In this episode the About Men Posse discuss the inevitably of becoming your dad.  You find yourself assuming the same routines he did or maybe parroting lines he used on you when you were a kid. Do you embrace it or do your best to fight the transformation?

AMR 02: Food, Sleep and Hot Sweaty Fun

Broad generalization or not, most men really are simple creatures.  A good meal, a vigorous rogering and a long nap pretty much describes a perfect day for a guy.  In this episode Pedro Rafael,  John and Gary are joined by Christopher Mele to discuss food and sex and are shocked to the core to learn that the twin obsessions might be shared by the distaff side of their families.

AMR 01: Men Being Men

In this first episode the crew of  About Men Radio wrestle with the concept of what it means to “be a man” in this day and age of changing gender roles . They tackle this issue the only way they know how… by holing themselves up in a mountain man cave with microphones, recording equipment and beer. Pedro Rafael Rosado, Gary DiDona, and John O’ Connell start the ball rolling in this humorous exploration of modern manhood.