These days, the word "tailgate" conjures up images of cooler and pavement, jerseys and face paint, grills and foldable chairs. But, despite its current association with parking lots and sporting events, it's actually got quite a rich history. Like, older than you think. Like... 1861?
Six years ago, my father decided he wanted to read one biography of every American president before he dies. He’s fallen a little behind (I think he’s currently on Madison) but it’s made it easy to think up go-to presents when gift-giving holidays come around. Scouring the internet for the most definitive biography of each president has rubbed off a little and now I’ve got some serious must-reads to recommend…
There are countless scientific and cultural studies, book summaries, and thinkpieces that come out each week, with attractive headlines about being more happy, or losing weight, or the benefits of travel or achieving crazy productivity. Most of them are sorta interesting, but ultimately disappointing, and very fun are pertinent to the discussions here on ManMade.
But, this one kinda got to me, and I thought it was worth sharing. And the reason is:
Dining out is one of life's simple pleasures. You shouldn't do it all the time, but it's a great treat when the time is right. But it's also a dialog - between you and the restaurant; between your table and the kitchen; between your server, your tablemates, and the rest of the dining room.
My dad taught me many things when I was growing up. Here are five important standards I took from what he had to say about money, and a few I've learned on my own.
I developed pretty intense insomnia during my junior year in college. Admittedly, I was a way-too-involved workaholic at the time, but even when my life chilled out a bit more, I still had lots of trouble sleeping. Like, intense months of sleep issues. So I've spent a lot of time investigating ways to improve my sleep schedule and here are some of the top tips I've found…
From Roy Hobbs' “Wonderboy” in The Natural to Tom Cruise’ thinking bat in A Few Good Men, baseball bats hold a special place in the American masculine consciousness. A versatile weapon on the field, the baseball bat embodies an element of the American dream wherever it goes. The lone batter, a man himself against an entire team, hoping to hit it big.
Guys guys guys-- did you know Walt Whitman published a fifty-thousand word serialized guide to "Manly Health & Training" that has recently been compiled by a PhD candidate? It started in 1858 in the New York Atlas but was pushed deeper and deeper into the newspaper with each issue due to lack of interest. However, it's great for both its practicality and its utter impracticality,
For the last couple years, I've had a framed tattered page I tore out from an old book of poetry (pictured below) that I picked up at a garage sale in Minnesota when I was a boy. I've taken it with me wherever I've moved, usually displaying it on my desk, although occasionally on a shelf or bedside table. The poem is titled SEA-FEVER and came from a poetry collection called Salt-Water Poems and Ballads by John Masefield, first published in 1902. The poem expresses the yearning for the grey seas from the perspective of a presumably landlocked rover, and was one of my initial inspirations for rafting the Mississippi River.
I’m pretty sure it’s just the season, but lately I’ve been in a perpetual rush. From the moment my feet hit the floor each morning, it seems I’m already late for life. It's a bit of overachieving, and just lot of seasonal activities that have left my life in a jumble.
It’s time to take back some control. Do you feel like this too? Read on.
The author, host, and chef Anthony Bourdain reckons he's been away from home for about 250 days a year, for the past decade. If you're familiar with his adventure food and travel properties like The Getaway and No Reservations, you can see how it happens.
My youngest brother recently flew across the country to visit me for a couple days and I found myself faced with that periodic question of what values or cool things I wanted to impart to him. The reality is that it's unbelievably easy to just go through life without putting intention into the relationships around us, particularly those who look up to us in ways we don't even realize. So I'm always fascinated when I come across articles where men talk about the things that older mentor figures in their lives taught them, whether that figure was a father, friend, or Uncle John...
Summer's a great to bust out that bike for everyday travel like going to work, or for longer travel... like the entire East Coast. The East Coast Greenway (ECG) is a one of a kind bike trail that will eventually cover the entire East Coast—all 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. And you can get started now...
Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe I've been overly influenced by those images of the dad in Calvin and Hobbes or Homer Simpson. Perhaps it's those memorable times I've spent in Latin America, where they really know how to use 'em. Or maybe - hopefully not, but maybe - it's all those completely and horribly generic Father's Day cards I have to pick through each June to find the right one for my dad.
But, I think a hammock is a damn fine way to spend a summer evening, and every man should have one.
Mr. Money Mustache is a one of kind guy who runs a blog specializing in "financial freedom--through badassity." His extreme devotion to practical frugality, the DIY aesthetic, and a re-using ethic has inspired many people to live a more care-free lifestyle, unburdened by much of the materialism we find around us. But as this poignant New Yorker article points out, there's a whole lot more to it...
If you're a consistent reader of ManMade, you're probably someone who's investigated a fair number of TED talks. From classics like Do Schools Kill Creativity? and The Psychology of Evil, I'm guessing you've been around the proverbial TED Talk block. So now, here are 10 great ones on to add to your list, and 8 of them are one's I'd never heard of before.
We've written before about the tiny house movement, especially people who have opted to live in the minimalist spaces that have mobility, but this is whole new take on the lifestyle. Bruce Campbell (not this guy) of Oregon, has lived in a renovated Boeing 727 for over 15 years and is now looking build another in Japan...
We've all got death ahead of us no matter what we do, and thus it's a topic that touches us all. Normally I wouldn't write about death or dying on a platform that is as centered around aesthetic sensibilities as ours is, but I know that many of our readers are interested in living an intentional and well-crafted life, and I found these three pieces of information to be particularly insightful pieces of that equation.
The cold nylon of my swimming trunks crackles beneath snow-pants. My wool socks are damp, pooled around my ankles, snow finding its way down the top of my untied boots. My daughter and I are looking for the sauna. It's 8pm in a far-northern latitude; moonless and black. The snow is gray and luminescent as we puff through drifts, crunch over ice.
She's giddy. And terrified. Her first time, in a new swimsuit her mom packed, with questions about how it will all work.
"Will it hurt, Dad? Is it dangerous?"
I tell her it won't, and it isn't, even though I don't really know (being a first-timer myself).
And finally we find it. A hundred years