Not that many years ago it seemed so innocent and harmless.
Taking online quizzes about which Harry Potter character I was?
Checking in with the locations of places I visited?
Sharing personal details of my day-to-day life?
Of course! Why not?
What could possibly go wrong?
Fast-forward to 2018 and headlines are brimming with news of data hijacking for all kinds of nefarious purposes, lack of safeguards by Facebook and tens of millions of personal accounts that have been scraped of user’s most intimate details.
Facebook, which was once seen as a bit of a refuge from the black hole of nastiness that is Twitter, suddenly looks like Twitter’s evil twin.
It makes you want to become very unsocial on “the socials” and unplug from the world.
In this episode of About Men Radio, Chris and Pedro discuss their concerns about Facebook, how their social media habits are changing and, of course, cat videos.
Listen in. Enjoy. And tell your friends about the show.
Our attempt in 2016 to launch the About Men Radio Fitness Challenge — in which members of the posse pledged to improve our eating and exercise habits — collapsed quicker than a football handled by Tom Brady.
Brady recently came up in a conversation between Chris and Pedro, and it was nothing related to the 2015 deflategate controversy.
Instead, we got to talking about Brady’s regimented, disciplined (over the top) eating habits: For instance, he drinks 25 glasses of water — a day.
But it’s a new year and we’re ready to tackle the challenges of fitness and eating right anew.
In this episode of About Men Radio, Chris and Pedro talk about recommitting themselves to fitness, why it’s so hard (they were talking about working out, you pervert!) and what challenges stand in the way.
It’s a show that every man (and woman) can relate to.
So put down that fork, pour yourself a glass of water (or 25) and give a listen!
WARNING: This episode of About Men Radio contains spoilers for SW:TLJ!!!
A small arthouse film by the name of Star Wars: The Last Jedi was quietly released in a few theaters across the known universe this past week. It’s getting good reviews from critics but decidedly mixed reviews from its paying customers.
While it comes as no surprise that not everyone loves the most recent installment of the venerable space saga, what has been unexpected is the legion of fans that believe the movie disrespects the legacy of the original trilogy.
On this episode, Chris and Pedro examine the controversy in that understated and tasteful way you’ve all come to know and love.
How many times did Pedro and I *think* we were ready to record a show addressing the issue spawned by revelations of how movie mogul Harvey Weinstein treated women?
Probably at least five times, I would say.
And at every turn, when we would get our schedules lined up and prepare…Boom!
There would come another revelation of another celebrity, media personality or bold-face name, making headlines for behavior that included but was not limited to sexual harassment, groping, indecent exposure, sexual assault and rape.
The list of offenders was like a who’s who of household names: Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose, Louis C.K., to name but a few.
I don’t use the word “gobsmacked” often but it aptly described my reaction — and Pedro’s too — to what we were reading.
The past few weeks have amounted to a reckoning of historic proportions for men, regardless of their wealth, stature or profession — so much so that for the first time in some 60-odd episodes of About Men Radio, Pedro and I thoroughly talked through in advance what we wanted to say.
For this one episode, we shelved our usual free-wheeling, spontaneous and juvenile joke-telling format.
That is an explicit recognition of how powerfully charged this issue is.
We felt like a football player charging the field against a line of defensemen but instead of carrying a ball, we were running with a grenade minus the pin.
In this episode, I don’t think we solved any of the world’s problems (in fact, I’m confident we didn’t) but we did have an authentic conversation about what we agreed is a volatile topic that leaves us confused, angry — and gobsmacked.
In this episode of About Men Radio, Pedro and I discuss the thorny intractable issue of racism and how we’ve experienced it.
It’s a white dude (me) and a Puerto Rican (Pedro), who both grew up in the Bronx, talking about a topic that in many ways is the third rail of polite conversation.
I came of age in New York City when our neighborhood in the Bronx was in the bull’s eye of white flight.
I can recall the housing complex where we lived, Parkchester, being derisively called “Darkchester” by those who viewed newcomers with suspicion and hostility.
My young adulthood in New York City was punctuated with headline-grabbing incidents with race at the center stage:
The so-called Subway Vigilante, Bernie Goetz, shooting three black youths who accosted him and even more notably, the death of a black youth who was being chased by white teenagers in Howard Beach, Brooklyn.
He ran into the street and was struck by a car and killed.
When I was in my early teens, I delivered supermarket flyers to mailboxes in various neighborhoods. Our crew leader would load up our big canvas bags, drop us off and collect us as at a designated time and place.
One time, a classmate and co-worker, Paul Richards, and I were working a section of the Bronx called Edgewater.
It was a mostly working poor housing in bungalows converted to year-round housing. It had a reputation for being insular.
I don’t recall all the particulars, but I do remember Paul, who is black, and I being chased by a gang of white kids. As I remember it, they were shouting “nigger” at him and screaming at me for being a “nigger lover.”
We ran for our lives.
We made good our escape and vowed never to serve that neighborhood again.
The whole confrontation left me scared and angry.
Thankfully, I was raised color blind.
My dad was the first in our building to welcome the first black family to move into our high-rise. In fact, my mother was a babysitter for the family’s two sons, who were playmates for me growing up.
I recall how my family and I once visited the Bowery and I recounted the visit to my fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Wallace. I relayed how I had seen a black man panhandling from drivers at an intersection.
“Now, tell me the story again,” she said, “but this time don’t tell me what color he was.”
I was 10 years old.
Then, and today, it serves as a valuable lasting lesson to look beyond a person’s race and see them instead as a human being.
One of the best movies this summer far and away has been “Wonder Woman.”
The movie stars Gal Gadot, who is not just a pretty face.
She’s got poise, comic sensibilities, acrobatic fight moves and a presence that really lights up a screen.
And a special bonus: The movie is now the highest-grossing live-action film to be directed by a woman.
The superhero adventure eclipsed the $609.8 million racked up by “Mamma Mia!,” the Abba musical that was directed by Phyllida Lloyd, Variety reports.
“Wonder Woman” was directed by Patty Jenkins, who previously oversaw the Oscar-winning “Monster.”
So what’s not to like?
Well, for those misogynistic knuckle-draggers out there who don’t want to see women succeed — in Hollywood or anywhere else — there is lots to complain about.
In this episode, Pedro and Chris sing the praises of “Wonder Woman” and explore whether it marks a turning point in movie-making’s male-dominated culture or whether this was merely a one-off occurrence.
They also push back against at the groundless criticism of the movie, especially by one guy who objected to an all-female screening at a theater in Austin, Tex.
Give a listen and tell us what you think. Express yourself on our Facebook page or write us at email@example.com.
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.)
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!
A midlife crisis makes for good movie fodder: There is the wayward husband who suddenly wants to take up with a younger woman or the guy who believes that getting a bright shiny sports car will make him youthful.
The truth is having a midlife crisis is not just the stuff of fiction. It is a very real and sometimes powerful emotional force that can reshape a man’s perception about himself and the world.
It can contribute to feelings of restlessness — that there is little left to achieve — and concerns about physical appearances. It can lead to depression, heavier drinking and a loss of interest in sex.
The cousin to having a midlife crisis is “manopause.”
This catch-all term is used to describe the effects of the drop in a guy’s testosterone. Manopause can bring on physical changes, like a loss of muscle, as well as moodiness and fatigue.
In this episode of About Men Radio, Pedro and Chris discuss which of these (or both) that they have experienced and how they have coped with the changes that come with being men of a certain age. Give it a listen!
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.
I think I have reached the official “hey-kids-get-off-my-lawn” age.
I do not think of myself as being a curmudgeon but I am starting to embrace being curmudgeonly. I revel in the things that annoy me and enjoy being self-righteous about it.
So in the best spirit of the late Andy Rooney from “60 Minutes,” here is the list of things that irk me:
Movies that insult my intelligence.
People with earbuds on the subway who play their music so loudly I can dance to it.
When Siri malfunctions on my iPhone, which feels like all the time.
“Siri, what is the weather in New York City today.”
“Hmmmm…Let me think about that. Here is a recipe for matzo ball soup.”
People who walk on the sidewalk without paying attention because they have their noses in their smartphones.
People who crowd the sidewalk by walking too slowly, two abreast or at a full stop with luggage. Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way!
The manbun, especially the ones tied at the top of the head. Please. I just want to pull on those things like the strings of my former talking G.I. Joe action figures to see what happens.
The use of “guyses.” I do not know where this started but I swear I have heard it more than once. The most cringe worthy moment came in a conference call when a company executive used it to be plural possessive. And yes, he was in the communications field. (Side note: Not my current employer.)
People who carry on cellphone conversations without a care for who can hear them. I have recently heard conversations going on in the stalls of a public men’s room. I so wish I were kidding.
Those ridiculous “Happy Birthday” chants you hear in chain restaurants. Stop it.
Catcallers on the summer sidewalks of New York City. Dude on the corner, do you really think saying “Thank you, beautiful” to the woman walking by you is meaningful conversation?
Texting and social media shorthand that mangles the English language. And I am not taking about shorthand such as BRB for Be Right Back, BTW for By The Way or even SMH for Shaking My Head.
No, I am talking about “words” like “prolly” for probably and “tryna” for “trying to” and “tho” for “though.”
People who carry umbrellas and poke you with them. Put them away and just get wet.
Drivers who use their high beams for no good reason.
People who drive recklessly, tailgate, switch lanes without signaling and never get pulled over by the police.
Trying to find a terrestrial radio station that will keep its signal while I am traveling AND have worthwhile programming.
Man spreading. That is guys who sit on the subway with a wide stance, making it all but impossible to take the seat next to them.
In this latest episode of About Men Radio shenanigans, Pedro and Chris talk about men’s health — no, not the magazine — but what it takes for men our age to be of sound bodies. (Forget about our minds, those are shot!)
Partly the discussion was spurred on by recent medical procedures we both endured (read: colonoscopies) and the order by Chris’s doctor to drop 15 pounds.
That, in turn, led to a conversation about…well, never mind. Just give it all a listen and then tell your friends about it.
The AMR crew will soon have a big announcement about a project we’re working on, so you will have to stay tuned for future episodes!
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.
We here at About Men Radio are nothing if not a full-service podcast and website.
We invited readers and listeners to submit their most burning questions about men and some of our peculiar behaviors.
Among the questions put to us:
Jacqueline Damian: Why can men never find anything in the house? Why do so many conversations start with “Do you know where the ((fill in the blanks)) is?” After 18 years in this house, why does my husband still not know where “I” keep the bath soap? And why does he think it’s *my* bath soap? Like, do you guys live here or are you just passing through?
Andrea Higgins: Why do you need us to tell you everything three times?
Erin DeRosa: Why is it so hard for men to say they are scared? Why don’t they ever cop to worrying that they are frightened that everything is NOT going to be all right. Why can’t you people be vulnerable?
Yeah, we can be a breed apart and sometimes as inscrutable as the sphinx.
In this latest podcast, we try to break things down and, we hope, shed a little light into the inner minds of men.
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.
It is not every day that the entire About Men Radio posse gets together.
In fact, it took a bit of carbon-dating to determine that the last time Silvio, Rich, Pedro, John and I were all in the same room together was 1985!
It is almost hard to believe that it has been that long and that so much time has gone by in what feels like an instant.
To celebrate the occasion, we got together and memorialized our thoughts about our enduring friendship and its origins in a free-wheeling but sincere conversation presented to you here in this podcast.
The talk was revealing in how much Silvio can remember from yesteryear, how tenderly we feel about each other (please read that carefully as I did NOT say we felt each other tenderly) and what these connections mean to us as middle-aged men looking down the long barrel of families, careers and other pressures.
What the conversation underscores is the importance of having and maintaining these kinds of connections into male adulthood.
What are your friendships like and what do you do to nurture them? Tell us your story in our comments section on our website, on our Facebook page or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s be honest: What man – or woman for that matter – does not have a Hollywood heartthrob for whom he or she does not secretly carry a torch?
Call them what you will: Models. Hunks. Starlets. Celebrities.
My late fiancée had a name for the actors she got hot and bothered about: She said they were on her “pussycat list.”
I have no idea where the term originated. I never thought to ask.
But I know that the likes of Brendan Fraser, Johnny Depp and Gary Sinise were on her list.
Well, men are no different.
At the About Men Radio crew, we have our own pussycat list of actresses who make us weak in the knees and our hearts go pitter-patter.
With the Oscars coming up, with its parade of celebrities in their stunning finest walking the red carpet, we thought it would be revealing for the About Men Radio crew to discuss which actresses were on our top 10 list.
The rules were supposed to be simple: We had to come up with 10 names of actresses who were still living but NOT reveal their identities to each other ahead of the recording of the show.
This was meant to ensure some element of surprise.
Of course, AMR posse member John O’Connell emailed me his list ahead of the show.
I did not peek at his list but you should give the show a peek. After you’ve listened, tell us: Who is on YOUR pussycat list? Write us at email@example.com
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.
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.
The start of the mega-hit Let’s Talk About Sexbegins 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!!!!!!!
All of the members of the About Men Radio posse have now seen the latest installment in the “Star Wars” franchise, “The Force Awakens,” but there are shades of disagreement about how TFA ranks compared to the previous six installments.
As you will hear in in this episode of the podcast, Pedro and I rank TFA as No. 1 among the seven episodes.
I’ve now seen it four times and I am more in love with it with each viewing.
Rich and Silvio, while deeply impressed with the new movie, rank it as No. 3 in the pecking order of all things “Star Wars” and John merely thought it was good but not mind-blowing.
How do you rank TFA?
For hardcore fans who were around in the 70s and 80s, “The Empire Strikes Back” holds a special place in the No. 1 slot.
But recently having viewed “Empire” (as well as the rest of the preceding movies), I just don’t think they hold up as well TFA.
What do you think? Share your thoughts and reasoning on our Facebook page or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll publish a roundup of opinions. Who knows? Maybe you will change some minds — but no Jedi mind tricks allowed!
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.
I am a mere Padawan to Mike, a Master Jedi of the outdoors.
On this day, Mike is hunting deer with a compound bow. Me? I am armed with a smartphone and a recorder.
This time of year is the beginning of the “chase” season. It’s the prequel to the full-on, raging-hormone-fueled rut in which male deer will range for miles seeking a one-night stand.
Before we set out, Mike inventories various noise-making devices, including a bundle of sticks in a bag that he rubs between his palms. The noise, which mimics the sound of two bucks banging antlers for territory, is designed to arouse their curiosity and draw them closer.
As Mike outfits me in a camo jacket, he explains that he washes his hunting gear in special fragrant-free detergent. He sprays us, including the bottom of our boots, with a scent-killing spray.
“The key to deer hunting is beating their nose,” he says.
The sounds of our feet kicking through fallen leaves and the sight of our breath, illuminated by our headlamps, are the only things disturbing the predawn stillness of the forest.
We stop and Mike takes out a long cord called a drag rope. At its end are thick strands that he dips into a small bottle of pungent deer estrus.
I drag the rope behind me to mask our scent and leave an inviting, c’mere-big-boy smell for bucks. The aroma of doe pheromone faintly clings to my clothes.
I learn a lot about deer habits from Mike. It’s all very “Wildlife: CSI.”
He points to telltale signs of deer activity that I walked right past: a clearing where bucks scraped away leaves and dirt and urinated to mark their territory or where one rubbed his antlers against a tree, stripping away some of the bark.
We’re in our perches by 6:22 a.m., a solid hour before sunrise. Although we are above the sight and scent lines of the deer, “it doesn’t mean you can sing and dance up there,” Mike says.
So I try to remain as still as possible. Hunting is not for the fidgety.
I hear the thrum of traffic from nearby Route 402. I also swear that several times I hear the heavy movement of leaves, as if something was approaching, but nothing ever appears in my line of sight.
Mike tells me later that with the way sound travels in the stillness of the woods, a deer or bear a distance away could have been passing through and it would have sounded like it was over my shoulder.
The older you get, the closer your mortality appears to be gaining on you in your rear-view mirror.
Once you cross the threshold of 50, you’ve lived enough of life to have experienced some losses personally, seen others who have suffered them or just simply are more aware that no one gets out of here alive.
I recall as a kid my dad watching old movies, and when certain actors and actresses would appear on screen, he would run through a check list aloud:
(As an aside, for those concerned about the actor Abe Vigoda, who has been prematurely declared dead, there’s a website dedicated to keeping tabs on his breathing: http://www.abevigoda.com/)
Hollywood stars aside, I’ve mulled over the question of how long I want to live in a previous blog post.
And in a recent conversation, my mom lamented aging as being a pointless process of biding your time. There again, my folks live in a retirement community that they not-so-euphemistically call “God’s Waiting Room.”
In this latest podcast of About Men Radio, Pedro and I explore the question of death, dying, facing our mortality and what, as grown-ups, we should do about preparing for it in terms of wills, medical directives and other cheery stuff like that.
Don’t shuffle off this mortal coil without giving it a listen.
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.
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…..
No, not THAT bulge, you perv! Get your mind outta the gutter!
I’m talking about the bulge ABOVE your belt.
The spare tire.
The love handles.
The beer gut.
Whatever you call it, by the time a guy reaches middle age, his metabolism isn’t what it used to be.
Take me, for instance.
I watch what my teenage son eats at home and I am positively aghast at what he inhales. And when his older brother was home, his butt was constantly sticking out of the fridge, his muffled voice crying out that there was nothing to eat.
But then I recall what I used to eat and drink when I was a teenager.
Back in the day, it was nothing for me to chug almost an entire 64-ounce bottle of Coke.
My food pyramid looked more like a pie chart, with the emphasis on “pie.”
Pizza. McDonald’s. Hot dogs. Fudge brownies.
And Friendly’s ice cream. Those Reese’s peanut butter cup sundaes that come in a goblet big enough to fit both of your fists? Oh yeah, that was my go-to dessert when I was in college.
Through my early to mid-20s, I was able to keep my weight fairly under control. But then came kids, long hours at a stressful job, home ownership and more stress.
Doughnuts and coffee at 3 p.m. followed by peanut butter and chocolate with a Kahlúa-and-milk chaser at midnight did little for my health or waistline.
And here’s the thing: Deep down, I knew I was doing destructive things to my body. I felt it in my bones (literally), my clothes and my energy.
By 2001, I was around 220 pounds and feeling every last ounce of it. I was getting winded going up the stairs.
I buckled down and on my 37th birthday, I put on a 30-minute exercise video. I got through 10 minutes of it and – as Roseanne-Roseannadanna used to say on “Saturday Night Live” – “I thought I was gonna die!”
Fast-forward, and next month I’ll mark my 14th year of my “exercise sobriety.”
I work out an average of four to five times a week. I’m doing P90X and Tony Horton workouts, lifting weights and doing a variety of cardio and other exercises.
Pedro is a similar success story. He’s literally half the man he once was, having lost about 130 pounds. He looks great and dresses like a boss!
In this episode of About Men Radio, Pedro and I discuss our struggles with our weight, what our stress eating habits are like and how we modified our lifestyle to live better.
None of this is easy but it’s to point out that Pedro and I are just like you — dads, husbands and worker-bees with a thousand different push-me-pull-me stresses in our lives.
A blowout reunion of fans and cast members of “The Warriors” is set to take place Sunday in Coney Island, the home turf of the fictional gang from the 1979 cult classic.
One of the gang’s leading men — memorable for his flirtatious overtures with the ladies and his comedic touches — was a character named Vermin, played by Terence Michos.
Christopher Mele of About Men Radio interviewed Michos in his native Poughkeepsie, N.Y., about his life as an actor, the staying power of “The Warriors,” how God called to him and transformed his life and some funny behind-the-scenes stories about the filming of the movie.
We met an outdoor pavilion in a park in the Town of Poughkeepsie neighborhood where he grew up. (Special shoutout to one of Poughkeepsie’s finest, Detective Garth Mason, for connecting us with Michos.)
Michos was gracious and down-to-earth, the kind of guy with whom you could get lost in conversation and not realize how much time had gone by.
Indeed, daylight was waning as our late afternoon chat was wrapping up.
One of the humorous asides to emerge in the interview: How Vermin’s character came to repeat things twice when he was excited or in a jam.
Fans of the movie will recall Vermin saying things like “Hurt me, hurt me,” or “OK, OK.”
Michos said he was imitating a verbal tic from a character who was a sidekick in the 1960s animated series “The Mighty Hercules.”
The sidekick, a young centaur named Newton, had a distinctive speech pattern of saying everything twice.
Michos talks about this source of inspiration and other nuggets in this latest podcast of About Men Radio, about which all we can say is: Listen, listen!
In our latest podcast of About Men Radio, AMR posse members Richard Rodriguez, Pedro Rosado and Christopher Mele discuss discipline.
No, wait. Not discipline in a BDSM kind of way. Though, of course, there’s nothing WRONG with that. Just sayin’… (By the way, Rich, you left your whips and gimp mask at my house.)
The discipline we’re discussing is the kind we were subjected to as kids growing up at home and at school. Some of that has been discussed in previous blog posts by me and by guest blogger John Roche, who shared his experiences as a student at a Catholic high school in the Bronx.
In this show, we revisit those bygone days when Pedro and his older brother would be told by their 4-foot-tall grandmother to stoop down so she could smack them in the head.
Or listen to stories of one of Rich’s older brothers getting a whuppin’ with a bamboo stick by their mom.
(Rich, for the record, professes to have been such a goody-goody that he was not subjected to such punishment, but does say that his mother merely raising her voice was enough to make him tremble and toe the line.)
As for me? Well, let’s say I was a smart-alecky, moody kid who met the business end of a spatula or a belt. Once or twice. OK, maybe more…
“This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you,” the saying goes. Really? I’m pretty sure I’m the one walking (barely) around with a sore behind.
We also address what kind of discipline we have meted out as parents. Can there be too much of the “tough” in tough love? Do we regret some of the steps we’ve taken in the name of enforcing order? And what triggers us as fathers to engage in such behavior?
On a less serious note, for the first time ever, we provide a (way too-belated) parental advisory about our content and use of bad language on the show.
This advisory leads to a diatribe by Pedro that, in turn, leads to me hyperventilating from laughing so hard. Seriously, I’m pretty sure I passed out at some point.
So put on your headphones, get a paper bag to breathe into and press play.
Watching Amy Schumer’s brand of comedy is a bit like my visits to the chiropractor: She drives her fingers into your most tender pressure points.
In the case of Schumer, she hits those spots to bring about comedic relief to topics that are fundamentally damn serious.
Misogyny. Gender inequality. Misperceptions about women perpetuated in our culture.
I have only been recently exposed to Schumer’s work in the summer movie “Trainwreck,” written by Schumer and directed by Judd Apatow.
(A disarming, delightful movie that felt a bit too much like listening to a Schumer stand-up act but nonetheless charmingly romantic in the end. And spoiler: LeBron James, playing himself, utterly steals the movie.)
My take based on what I have seen of her work so far?
Not since Bea Arthur appeared in the Norman Lear sitcom “Maude” in the 1979s and stoked debates about abortion, women’s rights and gender roles has there been a comedian as hilariously provocative on these topics as Schumer.
In this latest podcast of About Men Radio, Pedro and I discuss Schumer’s profile in the world of entertainment, her messages and how and if they are effectively delivered.
Is it the height of irony that two guys on a show called About Men Radio discuss someone like Schumer, who consistently does such a great job skewering how men view the world?
But wait! There’s more!
We also veer off into a conversation about what else we’re watching in the world of TV and streaming video.
We discuss “Deadwood,” “Game of Thrones,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Transparent,” “Justified,” “The Shield” and Janet Jackson’ boob flying out at the Super Bowl.
If that’s not enough, we introduce the concept of the “pussycat list,” – those actresses and actors who are favorites because of their acting chops or simply because they are easy on the eyes.
And listen in vain as I try to recall the name of an actor and utterly suffer from mental vapor lock.
On paper, the summer movie “Inside Out” is the story of a prepubescent girl from the perspective of the emotions inside her mind as personified by Joy, Anger, Fear, Sadness and Disgust.
And on paper, the movie, by Pixar, is a kids’ flick.
In reality, it is a good excuse for adults to sit in a darkened theater and have a good cry.
I warn you that if you go to see this movie, bring a box of tissues.
Or, if you are prone to snotfests like me, bring a roll of paper towels! It’s a gusher!
Seeing the movie was a reminder of how much more prone — and open to — I am to having a good cry.
It was not always this way.
In my 20s and 30s, I would have turned my emotions inward, even if something was upsetting me or making me sad.
But as I entered my 40s and endured a divorce, the death of a loved one and other life events, I found myself more accepting of crying as a natural part of living and not a sign of weakness.
It’s clear that if you try to deny these emotions, they will come out in other ways anyway.
It’s like squeezing a balloon: The air bubble will shift but does not disappear.
In this podcast of About Men Radio, Pedro and I discuss the culture we grew up in (“Big Boys Don’t Cry”), what kinds of TV shows or movies tug at our heartstrings (one of Pedro’s triggers was a complete surprise) and how, even with our openness and acceptance of crying we still use terms like “wuss” and “man up” to deflect attention from what is a common human experience.
Case in point: We agreed that we have never discussed this topic before in 40 years of friendship and that even if we were sitting together in a movie and crying, we would never speak of it!
We also discuss what science and research has discovered about the differences between how men and women process their emotions.
So, get out your hankies, put in your earbuds and give a listen!
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!
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.
“Jeans that are no longer fashionable and are usually characterized by a tapered leg, high waist or brand name that was cool about 10 years ago. Dad jeans are typically worn by aging men with salt and pepper hair who are in denial that they are no longer hip, have children and drive a station wagon or SUV.”
I was blissfully ignorant of this derogatory term until recently, when my wife made reference to it.
It turned out that I was a dad jeans frequent flier. (“Clothes Really Do Make the Man” and “Daddy Jeans Revisited.”)
In my defense, I like to dress for comfort.
I am self-conscious about looking too paunchy in the poochey, which is why I tend to get pants that are a little looser in the waist.
With my height, though, it means they are saggier in the butt.
But when the pants are tighter in the butt, they tend to be tighter in the waist which, I think, accents my gut.
Hence the dad jeans look.
The last time I gave jeans style a thought was when I was a teenager and I owned — I can admit this now — a pair of Jordache jeans.
Hey, don’t judge! It was the ’80s! Everybody was doing it!
My wife, bless her besotted self, tells me I have a comely tush that I keep well hidden in what amounts to balloon clown pants.
Pedro tells me I could rent out the extra space I have in my pants and easily get $1,500 a month rent for it in New York City.
So as a present for Father’s Day, Meg and my youngest son Daniel, took me shopping for pants.
This trip required that I:
Try on each pair
And model them for approval from the judges.
I HATE clothes shopping. And the only thing I hate more is having to try stuff on in fitting rooms.
I much prefer to go to the rack or the shelves, find my size and proceed to checkout. Easy-peasy!
The trip to the mall is featured in our latest podcast, which pays tributes to dads, Father’s Day and, of course, dad jeans.
I will say that as a result of the shopping expedition (and Meg’s
abundant patience and encouragement), I am now outfitted with several pairs of good-fitting jeans.
The lesson I learned?
I will take the time to try on clothes and no longer shop for jeans by the seat of my pants.
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.
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
A cart full of Cap’n Crunch and Schlitz beer screams sad bachelor.
2. Cooking a Simple Meal
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
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
I’m not talking pit crew at the Indy 500. Letting others wipe your dipstick is just plain wrong.
4. Manage Your Money Wisely
Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) likes a broke-ass loser.
6. Writing a 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
Knowing what to say and when to say it makes you appear confident and in charge.
8. Looking Good
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
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
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.
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
In baseball you score runs. In football it’s a touchdown. In soccer and hockey they’re called goals.
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?
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.
She was taking my vitals before the doctor came into the examination room and was working her way through a checklist of questions. This one happened to be about a check-up from the neck up.
Well, as a matter of fact, funny you should ask, I told her.
Her simple question was like a key turning in a lock and opening a door.
For a few months leading up to that visit for my annual physical, I had been feeling overwhelmed by work, frightened — nay, panicked — over my future employment and overall just not feeling much happiness.
This was January 2014 and the Christmas holidays that had just concluded were shrouded in a heavy curtain of gray for me.
What followed was a series of questions from the doctor. Now, as part of their routine for check-ups, the office was including a screening for depression.
So glad they did.
The doctor, who wanted me to follow up with her in a few months, was adamant that I go see a professional for help. So I did.
Here’s the thing about depression: It sneaks up on you like the onset of a bad cold but before you know it, you have pneumonia.
You convince yourself you’re just tired. Or stressed. Or not eating right.
And certainly all of those are symptoms of an underlying problem and can contribute to the bigger issue, but at some point, you reach a tipping point where you are trying to climb out of a well, the sides of which are coated with slippery moss.
Much was written about depression following the heart-breaking suicide of one of my beloved comedians and actors, Robin Williams. One of the best pieces I read was by a former colleague at the Pocono Record.
We guys, including my About Men Radio brothers, subconsciously crave that special moment when we transcend mere mortals and not only nail the quote to the moment but organically live it or make it larger than life.
I felt my wife’s hand on my forearm but instead of squashing my moment she whispered, “Relax Sonny.”
She recognized the scene without any prompting and added her own line to complete my moment! Typically a second guy completes a guy moment by delivering the final line, but unless my wife started going, RAT-A-TAT-TAT-TAT and then kicked me in the face for good measure, she couldn’t complete the actual scene.
But she recognized my moment, added her own line and made it memorable. She completed me.
I didn’t think I could love her more, but I was wrong.
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.
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.
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 CorleoneFamily 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.
Based on the sizzling best-seller by the same name (one in a trio of books), it explores taboo topics of bondage, domination and punishment as a sexual outlet.
In other words, this is not a kids’ movie, unless, of course, you could picture SpongeBob LeatherPants in thigh-high boots, wielding a riding crop. “Ooooo, Patrick! Spank my KrabbyPatties!”
Though none of us at About Men Radio have yet to see “Fifty,” that did not stop Pedro and I from commenting wildly about it in our latest podcast, due out later this week.
About Men Radio follower Lyndsay Buonforte did the see “Fifty” on Monday.
This is what she wrote:
“Fifty Shades of Grey is raunchy yet tasteful, romantic yet vulnerable, intense yet awkwardly funny, seductive yet sweet. It is not just a chick-flick. The film was brought to life with every sensation. Fifty Shades leaves the audience needing more.”
I do have plans to see it and will weigh in with my own review. In the meantime, the hoopla about “Fifty” did make us wonder what ingredients go into making a movie sexy or steamy or sultry. (Is it getting warm in here or is it just me?)
My thinking is that for a movie to leave a lasting impression as sexy, it has to sort of sneak up on you and surprise you.
It is more about building an atmosphere and tension than simply having characters parading around showing off their naughty bits (though nothing wrong with that, either).
We asked AMR followers to suggest their favorite sexy movies.
Titles ranged from “Unfaithful,” (recommended by About Men Radio contributor Richard Rodriguez and AMR follower Rahadyan Timoteo Sastrowardoyo to “The Big Easy,” which Adrianne Montgomery Reilly cited for the “best sex scene with their clothes on. Ellen Barkin, DennisQuaid.”) That movie also got a thumb up from listener Leslie Jean Thornton.
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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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.
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.
Men and cars. The About Men Posse is not immune to the siren song of the automobile. On this episode the Posse discuss what cars mean to them and how their “rides” have impacted each one of their lives.
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?
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.
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.