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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Things that Bug Guy's Guys

Robert Manni - Friday, November 17, 2017


Every so often, even us Guy’s Guys need to let off some steam about the state of affairs in our highly dysfunctional world.

We kill animals for their taste while polluting the planet at the same time. We give unbridled power to corporations that are only beholden to shareholder earnings. We pay men more than women for the same work. We invade countries we think might do something to us in the future. On and on it goes, and although Guy’s Guys maintain a steady grip on the wheel of life, once in awhile it’s good to let go with a rant. So consider this post as just that. But, know that some of the little annoyances I’m pointing out are symptoms of bigger issues that plague our culture and its way of thinking.

The bottom line is that unfortunately our society has been programmed to choose fear instead of love and greed over generosity. And as a result, people are approaching life from a position of lack rather than abundance. So even though I’ll be bitching, in true Guy’s Guy style I’ll always seek solutions to our problems and love over fear. So, in no particular order here are a few things that bug the shit out of your Guy’s Guy.

1. Our false sense of choice – If you walk down the aisle of any supermarket or mall you would be fooled into believing that we have an amazing array of choices in our lives. However, that is the furthest thing from the truth. Once old Ronald Reagan loosened up the merger laws and regulations in the eighties, corporations have taken over the world. The rich have gotten richer while the rest of us have been duped into thinking we have so much to choose from, while the choices we have are mostly cosmetic.

Here are a few examples—You can pick almost any flavor of potato chips, soda, or hot sauce, or sneakers but when it comes to your money your choices are limited to the blue banks, the green banks, or the red one. The rates are the same. The service is universally unfriendly because frankly, most banks don’t want to service the small fry accounts. What’s worse is that they won’t have your money if there is ever a run on the banks. It’s a similar situation with the cable companies, although at least they are not holding your investments. Take a look at the monthly rates offered by the two mega companies we choose telecom and cable from and you will see that beyond their advertising noise they’re offering virtually identical plans across the board. But take heart. You can buy bubbleberry vodka or one that tastes like fruity cereal. Face it, amigos. When it comes to the more important issues, unless you have a ton of money, you’ll get the same few, shitty choices as everyone else. The one choice that you can control though is how you feel about what is happening around us and how you can raise consciousness by maintaining a positive vibe in the face of all the doom and gloom.

2. Banking, insurance company, and health care nonsense – Sticking with the same theme, and acknowledging that most of the plans offered are too expensive and very similar, it’s no surprise how lousy the service is from the behemoth companies we are stuck with for our banking, insurance and health care.

You don’t believe me? Try calling your cable carrier and you’ll experience the long, painfully frustrating process of their dealing with even the most insignificant issues. For example, after seven years we needed a new cable remote, so we called our carrier. After spending a half hour on hold and dealing with someone in Southeast Asia about our minor issue, we were promised a new remote, free of charge. When our next bill arrived, we were charged for the remote, but we had never received it. We called back. Same routine. Charged again, but no remote. The third time, after explaining this to the usual unfriendly service reps, we ascertained that the cable company geniuses had sent our remotes to the exact same address as ours, but on the east side on NYC instead of the west side. We finally received a new remote free of charge, but the process took over two months and two hours on the phone.

Here’s another dose of pain. One of the banks I use abruptly deactivated two of my debit cards. No warning, no heads up, just deactivated. The letter they sent me directed me to reactivate my cards and account through their website, but the website would not allow it. It provided a phone number that I promptly called. Unfortunately, when I finally spoke to a rep I was informed that because I lived in NYC I needed to visit a bank branch to reactivate the accounts.  I reminded the rep that my address, where they sent the correspondence in the first place was also in NYC, so why didn’t they tell me to go to a branch then? No answer. And why, as a long-term customer, was I not given notice that my card and account could be deactivated if they were not used by a certain date? Again, no answer. So I stopped by a branch and asked the same question. This time I was told that the deactivation of my accounts was my notice and the next step would be my being forced going to go to the government to get my money back out of what would become a dormant account. How nice! This is what’s happening now, people. Our corporations are too big and they don’t give a shit about individual consumers. And to make matters worse, the genius in the White House is doing everything in his power to give more power to these oversized companies that already have their foot on our throats.

3. The demise of advertising – Since Dos Equis retired the “World’s Most Interesting Man” and before they were then forced to bring back the campaign with a younger version of the guy who looks eerily like Michael Phelps, have there been any ad campaigns worth discussing in recent years? Super Bowl ads used to be delightful, but over the past few years they have been the same boring car and tire ads or promos for shitty Fox shows and super hero movies. And how many times is Pepsi going to deploy the latest cutesy model or singer in the same lame scenarios? And haven’t we seen enough of those Clydesdales plowing through the snow and kicking field goals? Or a hot model teasing us for GoDaddy? The truth is, no creative person working in advertising wants to be working in advertising. There was a time when advertising was cool and was different. That was a short window and has been closed. Nowadays, ad campaigns are short-term fixes purchased by clients who consider their agencies to be vendors that can be stiffed if they don’t like the work. Ads are measured strictly quantitatively, which is unfair because not all advertising immediately results in a direct increase in sales. A good campaign is likeable and builds a relationship and emotional connection between a brand and the consumer. But client marketers no longer have the luxury of time to prove themselves. They need to see results on the scoreboard right now, so most of the ads we see now are ultra “salesy” and promotionally driven. It’s as if those crappy local TV ads have taken over the ad templates for big brands. Have you seen the new KFC campaign with the revolving Colonel Sanders character? In one ad he’s crowing “$5 dollars, 5 dollars, 5 dollars” as he hops along while pointing at platters filled up three variations of the latest KFC “meals”? This ad is far from finger licking’ good, and I’ll bet the agency wants to jump out of the window when the client calls with their latest direction for new work.

Here’s one more sign of the end. Think about how many ads we see built around the premise of people dancing around when they receive or use the brand they are shilling for. From banks to clothing to candy bars, it’s everywhere and it’s lame. Really, now, are happy people the best idea the agencies can come up with?

4. Everybody’s always selling – In the beginning, people thought the Internet was all about everyone searching for information, being entertained, or communicating with each other. It’s still the case, but things changed when someone made that first dollar on the Internet. Then it became a gold rush. I get it. And it’s been great for people named Zuckerberg, etc. You can still find info on anything and meet interesting people from everywhere while you’re streaming a cool podcast. But for the most part, the almighty dollar rules, and so, at times, the selling goes too far. Zero targeting is a media term that we all experience every time we’re online. Oh, you looked at that Wrangler Sherpa jacket at Macys.com? Well I hope you liked it amigo, because you’ll probably be seeing that same wooly denim frock for the next month while you’re clicking from site to site. It’s like a bad penny that you can’t get rid of. It’s annoying, but that’s sales. And how about that random businesswoman who hit you up for a LinkedIn connection? The moment you accepted her connection she messages you to sell you on her SEO business? Aaargh!

5. People who don’t pay attention – Let’s take things down a notch and dig into the insidious behavior of people so wrapped up in their little worlds that they can’t be bothered to show any consideration for anyone but themselves. For example, you are standing on a very long line at a retail store. You have your singular purchase in hand and your credit card ready. The lady in front of you has a pile of stuff to buy. She’s messing with her phone when the next register opens. She shuffles over and slowly unravels all her items. The cashier takes it all and folds each item up after she scans them. You would think this might be the perfect time to TAKE OUT YOUR WALLET. But no. Only after everything has been tallied does she realize that her eyes are bigger than her budget. So now she has to decide what she now doesn’t want. After this delay she is informed of her new total. Only now, does she begin digging through her bag to find her wallet, which is of course at the very bottom. And you are still waiting with credit card in hand. After another few minutes she finally pulls out a credit card, only to be rejected by the store. A discussion ensues before additional items are eliminated from her purchase. Finally she hands over an operable credit card. You get my drift? You see this type of nonsense every darn day. Don’t be that person. PAY ATTENTION.

6. Unaccountability – Since we live a fear-based culture, everyone is petrified of being wrong. People are incredibly defensive, like never before, and even among good friends, it’s rare that any of us hears the words, “Hey, I screwed up. Sorry.” No, we don’t hear that very much because people think that if they have been caught making a mistake they will be fired, executed and fed to the dogs. Relax, amigos. We all make mistakes every day. It’s best to fess up when you make a boo-boo. If people you hang out with are going to be pigheaded and never admit they are ever wrong, are they really your friends? In business, you have to be careful not to mess up, because with no ever admitting to a making a mistake, if someone is caught in an error, everyone piles on because they are relived it was not their fault. So, when it comes to work, be as impeccable as you can. But if you do make an error, fix it and don’t be a dick and blame your assistant if you get outed.

Deep breath. Exhale. Sigh. Shit, I feel better already. As a rule Guy’s Guys don’t bitch and moan, but like I said, every so often we all need to blow shit out and release any pent up tension. As long as we are not judging ourselves or other people too harshly, it’s cool. Everyone is fighting a battle that we probably don’t know about anyway, so be kind, do your best to stay cool and do your best to deal with all of the crazy stuff that’s being thrown at us. Until next time…

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is NOT Donald Trump. Like him or hate him, here is a man who, not only never admits to an error, but he also rubs people’s face in it at every chance he gets if and when they cross him. Politics aside, this is not the way a Guy’s Guy rolls. So since we are ranting this week, our choice for the anti-Guy’s Guy is DT.

When You Are NOT a Guy's Guy

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 19, 2017


People ask me all the time, “Hey, what is a Guy’s Guy anyway? Is that like a man’s man?” Nope. A Guy’s Guy is not a man’s man.

He is, however, an updated, more open and contemporary version of the old adage. A Guy’s Guy is comfortable in his own skin. He has a casual confidence about him as well as unassuming strength, seductive integrity, emotional intelligence, and a timeless style. He’s fun, too. But most of all, a Guy’s Guy celebrates women and the well-earned recognition they are finally receiving for their many achievements. So we have a pretty clear idea about Guy’s Guys and how they roll. But with the recent news about the bad behavior of so many men, now is a good time to explore what a Guy’s Guy is not. Let’s begin by stating that not all men are bad and creepy and only seek get laid at any cost. Yes, men, including Guy’s Guys like sex, but Guy’s Guys don’t abuse their power as leverage on women.

I’ve written about Anti-Guy’s Guys men previously, but unfortunately male behavior continues to disappoint, so here we are again. With this in mind I offer you, in no particular order, my list of men, and maybe a few women, who are not Guy’s Guys. Let’s call them The Not So Guy’s Guys. I hope this helps clarifies the Guy’s Guy movement, its importance to our culture, and our mantra- When men and women can be at their best, everyone wins. There are a lot of Guy’s Guys who will cross your path every day that deserve recognition, but for now let’s out a handful of bad eggs who need to clean up their act.

1. Harvey Weinstein – This is pretty obvious. With all the headlines about his alleged abuse of power and sexual predatory behavior, he does not fit our definition of a Guy’s Guy. After all, Guy’s Guys know that “No” means no and they never take advantage of their position to get sex. They don’t have to. Guy’s Guys are cool customers who engage women respectfully, are present, and actively listen to them.

2. Men Who Don’t Respect “Me too” – I’ve been reading way too much push back from males who have a problem with the millions of women coming out as one and letting the world know that they are not going to remain silent about the abuse they’ve received from men any longer. I say, good for them, and any guy who fails to understand the truth in what women are surfacing are in denial, guilty, or in need of a wake up call to women’s being treated horribly for centuries. Guys, please shut up if you have nothing positive to add the “me too’s” pouring out. Imagine how you’ll feel if you notice family members or your girlfriends posting these words. Maybe that will remind you that men still have a long way to go in respecting women in love, business, and treating them as our equals.

3. Donald Trump – Like him or loathe him, you’ve got to admit this guy has a problem in how he treats women. Besides his “locker room talk” with Billy Bush, how you noticed the dynamic between DT and his wife? She usually looks as miserable as half the country is right now and every time we are forced to witness his bewilderingly disrespectful statements and criticisms of virtually anyone who crosses his path. A true disruptor, but not a Guy’s Guy.

4. Trump’s sons – I give them a tiny pass because they grew up in a bubble and might not know how creepy and crass they are, but in particular, Jr. —or should we call him Beavis—needs help. First, he rants that women who can’t handle harassment in the workplace should not be working. Then, in his spare time he and brother, Butthead, get their jollies shooting and killing defenseless, majestic, and often endangered animals. Come on, fellas. Wake up. Not Guy’s Guys.

5. Floyd Mayweather – I mentioned him in my original post about anti-Guy’s Guys when he was running around the ring to avoid Manny Pacquaio. Now, after that travesty and rip off of the paying public, he felt the need to top himself for his final fight by taking on another brash big mouth from the MMA who had never stepped into a boxing ring. And, the suckers bought it. Afterwards Floyd thought he could ride off into the sunset with piles of money thinking he was boxing’s GOAT. But although he’s made more cash than any boxer in history, he will never be the GOAT of the sport. This is in part because he’s not a Guy’s Guy. He selected his opponents at their worst— either when they were too young, too old, and in the case of MMA star, Conor McGregor, a fighter not in the same sport. Floyd topped this off by setting a great example for all of the up and coming young men and fighters by investing in a massive strip club because, “Tits and ass and booze never go out of style.” I can’t argue with him on that point, but do you really have to go there?

6. Conor McGregor – Complicit in Mayweather’s “boxing match” was his MMA opponent, Conor McGregor, who after month’s of trash talk, borderline derogatory racial comments, and promises to walk right through Mayweather in one short round, came out pawing before being carried by Mayweather into the tenth round so the paying public would not feel cheated. He eventually got his ass knocked out the moment Floyd decided that enough was enough for the suckers who shelled out $100 for this glorified exhibition. As soon as the fight was over it was all hugs between these two. They had your money, McGregor launched a new whiskey, and so all was good. Not a Guy’s Guy.

7. Sarah Huckabee Sanders / Jeff Sessions – Ever wonder why Sarah Huckabee’s face always looks twisted and contorted? I think it’s from her inner turmoil and awareness that her job is to stand at a podium and lie for a living. Jeff Sessions is the old guy who looks like Granny Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies and who is also is our country’s leading attorney, the Attorney General. But if you’ve ever watched in squirm and spout nonsensically evasive answers to very direct questions from the Congress investigating him and his misleading statements about his possible involvement in “Russiagate”, you’d be hard pressed to think that this guy represents honesty, integrity, and the American way. Not a Guy’s Guy.

8. Rick Pitino – I attended Villanova University. We always had great basketball teams.  Our coaches drew up plays on a wipe board with a felt tip pen, concocted game strategies, and made players run sprints when they missed lay ups. Unlike the notorious Rick Pitino, they were never accused of raping women in bars after hours or paying families through third parties for recruiting. To be fair, although the university has fired him, Pitino denies the latter charges. But it doesn’t matter. Ex-Louisville coach Pitino; you ain’t no Guy’s Guy.

9. Anthony Weiner - What was his Twitter handle? Carlos Danger? Too bad, but this really smart guy had a real political future until Little Tony started running the show from down below with some very young ladies. Of course Weiner was married while sending naked torso selfies to his squad of online lady friends.

10. Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) – I give him points for all the beautiful women he’s dated, but I wince whenever I watch him on Fox Sports talking about baseball. He has no insights into the game he played his whole life and he does not understand human nature. I also have a problem with Fox for hiring and making a star out of a PED user and cheater busted not once, but twice while also lying about it repeatedly. As a studio expert, he is a master of stating the obvious through a pasted on smile and his perfect veneers. You can feel the other studio guys, who unlike A-Rod are Hall of Famers, cringe at his banal statements and when he takes his World Series championship ring off and thrusts it in front of the camera. It’s says something about his shame when he needs to take his ring off to display it rather than simply holding up a fist and brandishing the ring he won before being suspended for PED’s. He’s not getting into the Hall of Fame and he’s no Guy’s Guy.

11. Christopher Columbus – I’m an Italian–American, but I’m not big fan of Columbus. Columbus showed a lot of balls sailing across an uncharted sea in search of a short cut to Asia. But after landing in the Caribbean, he returned to Europe before returning and being responsible for the systematic mass murdering of thousands of indigenous peoples. Hey, people whose name ends with a vowel, like Manni, let’s not celebrate this guy. Change the name of the holiday to Italian American Heritage Day and let’s push for a federal holiday dedicated to the real Native Americans who were here before the Europeans conquered, corrupted and infected their land.

I can keep going and going, but I think it’s best we hit pause here for now. There is too much bad male behavior taking place these days. But thankfully, on the flip side there are also lots of Guy’s Guys doing great things. But unfortunately, the jerks keep getting too much money, power, and respect from the sheep that lap up the mush our media feeds us each and every day. Don’t fall for the hype, amigos, and always be a Guys Guy.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week are all the real Guy’s Guys in the world that celebrate women. Remember, there has never been a better time to be a guy than right now. Be present. Be respectful. Be Guy’s Guy and the world will be yours.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Being

Robert Manni - Saturday, September 30, 2017


Modern life is so stressful that it often feels like there are not enough hours in the day to deal with all our responsibilities. But is that how you want to live your life?

When you remain busy, busy, busy multitasking and toiling away without finding time to simply be, you’ll wake up one day and realize that half of your life is over. And you’ll ask yourself what you have to show for it beyond the completion of a lot of tasks, duties and busy work. I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe that’s what our Creator had in mind when mankind was conceived. But, so many people in our western society have a real need to always be doing something. Being busy is necessary, to a point. But when it transcends your ability to slow things down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, it can be a rigid state of mind that precludes you from enjoying anything except when you are doing something. By being, and not always doing, I mean taking a break from tasks, work, planning ahead, social media, texting, and incessantly checking email. Modern man is programmed for doing, and the sad truth is that for most Americans, it’s hard to do nothing and simply be.

If you take the time to learn how to shut down all the noise, I assure you that you can live a much saner and fulfilling existence. But, it’s up to you, because so many of us just have to be doing something or multitasking to feel they are alive, empowered, and important. Make no mistake about it; doing things is good. It’s part of taking on our challenging lives. But learning to simply be every so is a very healthy practice also. In the spirit of learning how to live quietly and peacefully, even in a crazy metropolis like New York, I offer you my GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO BEING. And guess what? You don’t have to do anything but sit back and read.

If you are asking yourself how can I simply be when I have so much going on? Amigo, being is a learned skill, but anyone can do it if they take the time to step back and relax. It’s that easy, yet that difficult for many of us type A personalities. So let’s explore my insights and tips for slowing down and simply being, no matter where we are and what the circumstances we’re dealing with.

1. Unplug – If you are serious about wanting to decompress and live a less stressful lifestyle, the first step may turn out to be the most difficult. Putting down your iPhone, iPad, turning off the television, and taking a break from your desktop are real challenges for a society programmed to react to life by continually check emails and social media feeds and working on their computers for their jobs. Unless you take charge and shut it down now it then, you will be caught up in this vicious cycle and most likely become another victim of the grind who gets old before their time.

2. Rest and recharge – Last month I contracted a random case of walking pneumonia. I had to shut down. I had no choice. So I put everything in my life that was not mission critical on hold for a month so I could heal. I was so sick that nothing else mattered, and it turned out to be a blessing because I learned how to shut down and I am now fully recharged. During my illness I did the work that was necessary to live, I paid my bills and I tended to my family as best I could. But that was it. I was too sick to enjoy reading, listening to music, writing, or tackling the projects I lined up for this fall. I was too sick to do anything but rest and recuperate. I slept a lot, suspended my workouts, and made sure not to make any major decisions while I was taking antibiotics.

Since I had not been aware of my prognosis, I attended my annual fantasy football draft. I made crazy decisions that went against my intuition. My team is sketchy at best now because I now realize that I was mentally wonky during the draft. I was diagnosed two days later and decided to take a month to focus on rest, recuperation and healing. And, I’m glad I did. I used the down time to heal physically and mentally, look for the spiritual lesson from my ailment, communicate with my higher self, and align with my truth. I recognized and thanked my ailment and asked it to leave my body, and it did. The experience forced me to slow down and take the time I needed to re-evaluate my life and some major decisions I need to make. But, for a month, I did my best to simply be.

3. Stop your internal monkey chatter – Our third-dimensional lives are predominantly driven by ego. Add technology, smart phones and the relentless media presence in our lives and it becomes difficult to shut down our internal mental dialogue. It’s not impossible, but it’s a tough challenge because we are inundated with new stimuli virtually all day that places us in a reactive mode.  It’s important to our health to learn how to discipline our minds and no think for fifteen to thirty minutes every day. I’ve made positive strides through meditation, deep breathing, visualization and going for long runs where the endorphins kick in and help me zone out. It doesn’t matter what method you prefer for managing your internal dialogue as long as it works for you. The time to get started is now.

4. Consider the bigger picture – Another way to transcend your ego and the details in our conscious lives is to step back and look at our lives from a broader perspective. And by broader perspective, I mean a detached view of your life. My mother always says, “this too shall pass”, and she’s right. Most of the crap you are dealing with right now will not matter very much next year, in five years or when you get sick. Seeing the big picture depends on the expansiveness of your thinking and if you believe in differentiating timelines, past lives and various incarnations. Can you step way, way back and see this life as but a blink in the eye in an endless journey? What’s happening right now in your small self is only a blip on a seemingly endless path to ascension. If you believe that right now is all there is, then enjoy the stress and fear propagated on us by the media. You can live a reactive life if you choose, but regardless of how busy you are, I doubt it will make you happy. 

5. Let go and trust – Letting go is no easy task, but it’s paramount if you want to enjoy a more fulfilling life. Letting go, and even surrendering, does not mean you are giving up or losing anything. In fact letting go is an expression of trusting in your power and the universe. In fact this is very empowering. Holding on to attachments that have exhausted their usefulness holds us back from living the life we signed up for prior to our physical birth. Many times I’ve held myself back by keeping a bad relationship going, holding on to a job that had served its purpose, and becoming too emotionally attached to things like to where I lived. In every case, the moment I let go felt so much better and I was immediately free explore new chapters of my life.

All these actions (or non-actions) discussed can help you slow down, chill out, and simply “be”. If you can master this skill you’ll no longer feel as frazzled, stressed, or manic about dealing with all the day-to-day aspects of your life. You will be free to more fully enjoy your time in this human form and experience the beauty of our world. Just be, amigos.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Dr. Amit Goswami, quantum physicist and author. Dr Goswami co-opted the term “do-be-do-be-do” from the Sinatra song as a signpost for how we can live more fulfilling lives through blending, balancing, and knowing when we need to do or simply be.    

Do I Stay or Do I Go? (5 Reasons to Leave NYC, 5 Reasons to Stay)

Robert Manni - Thursday, August 03, 2017


Although more and more people are moving out of New York, it feels like the city gets more crowded every day.

The first few years of living in New York is a love affair. But over time it can turn into a love-hate affair. When I was a kid, my dad worked in the Empire State Building. New York was a beacon to me. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I knew I would live and work there when I grew up. After graduating college I knocked around suburbia for a few years before landing a job in the city. Whoot! I was a young buck working at global corporation in huge skyscraper in midtown traveling the globe selling bubble gum. Since then, I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else but New York. That is, until now. After a few decades of city living and finally settling down and having a child, city life has changed. These days, my wife and I are discussing our future and we’re not sure if New York City is going to be part of it. We’ve done so much here, but there is so much more out there for our son and us. So soon, we may be saying adios to NYC.

I don’t want to move and find myself bored with the pace of a So Cal beach town, freezing my ass off in New Hampshire, or feeling like I’m much too far way in New Zealand. I also don’t want to be so jaded to think that there is no other place to live besides NYC. And although I grew up in New Jersey, sorry Chris Christie, but I do not want to return to my roots in the Garden State. I’ve had enough of the tri-sate area.

So, I’ve mapped a handful of the pros and cons of living in the big city and whether or not it is time to move out. To stay or leave NYC is a big decision, so let’s explore the criteria.

REASONS TO STAY IN NYC

1. NYC is a 24/7 playground - There is always something to do in New York. Unless you want some quiet time, being bored is virtually impossible in a city that never sleeps. If you dig people, they are out and about at all hours of the day and night. If you don’t believe me, hop on a subway at midnight and chances are it will be overflowing with people coming home or going out. If you’re the type of person that often gets that late night itch to find some action or some great food, there is no better city in the world than NYC. Once you become accustomed to the lifestyle and having all the resources at your fingertips, it’s hard to fathom living anywhere else in the world.

2. The people, the energy, the culture - New Yorkers are a high-energy, purposeful, intelligent, and cultured group. People with that purpose-driven mindset come here from every other country to follow their dreams and become part of the fabric of this amazing city. We’ve got some crazies here, but that’s understandable when you jam eight million people together and expect them to fall into some semblance of order and organization. Over the years I’ve had neighbors from every continent on Earth all drawn to New York like flies to honey. And there is no other city in the world with the cultural diversity of New York. Open any issue of Time Out New York and hands down you’ll find more things to do and places to go for the arts, music, theater, and film than anywhere else.  You get four real seasons and you can hit the beach, the slopes, or a golf course relatively easily from midtown.

3. The food, the drink – Not only does New York offer indigenous foods and drinks from every culture on Earth, it’s also a leader in inventing and fusing new foods and cocktails, whether it’s Korean tacos, cronuts, or alcohol-infused ice cream. If it’s new and it tastes good, it usually starts here. And, you can get it delivered at any hour of the day or night. Check plus, plus.

4. If you can make it there… - Deep down, I think every New Yorker carries pride knowing they are making their mark in arguably the toughest arena in the world. Unlike life in other areas of the country, many New Yorkers live to work and take pride in being the best in their jobs. Of course all work and no play gets old, so most careerists know how to cut loose in their down time, often in extreme ways. If you don’t believe me, check out the action at the clubs and after-hours dens of diversions in sex, gambling, and other extreme activities. If you’ve got an itch for something edgy, yeah, you’ll find it here.

5. It’s constantly changing – If someone asked me what’s the one thing that I’ve learned that stands out about living close to three decades in New York, I’d have to say that New York City never stops moving, evolving and changing its shape. Nobody can keep up with the city, even if a lot of New Yorkers roll 24/7/365. No one person has the time, stamina or resources to harness the pulse of this ever-changing magical city. Hot new neighborhoods like Hudson Yards and Gowanus pop up like weeds all over the city.

There. I’ve laid out a strong case for living in and never, ever leaving New York. If only life was so simple. There is a big wide world out there, amigos and it’s important to know when it’s time to pack up the caravan and move on.

REASONS TO LEAVE NYC

1. The rent, and every thing else is too damn high – Can you really afford to pay $3,000 a month for a studio in midtown or would you rather live with four random roommates in a two bedroom walk up in Bed Stuy? That’s just the tip of the financial iceberg that impacts your quality of life in New York City. New Yorkers can handle it, but after awhile living like you did in college gets old. New Yorkers like convenience so they eat out for most of their meals. That along with cocktails, the daily Starbucks, and a trip to Whole Foods on the way home gets expensive. Unless you are a savvy New Yorker who has been here long enough to stay ahead of the housing trends, it’s tough to keep yourself out of debt when you are renting, raving, and rolling in the clubs until dawn and all the while working a backbreaking entry-level job. Over the past few decades the situation has gotten worse. Unless you got a break on a Wall Street job, most kids fresh out of college to wheel and deal and improvise just to find a place to live, and that sucks. Back in the day, you might have to live uptown or on the west side, but at least you could plant some roots and live relatively comfortably with some privacy when starting out. That’s tough now. Almost a deal breaker if you ask me. I would not want to have to commute from the depths of Brooklyn or the Bronx for an entry-level position. I always managed to live near my office and relatively close to the nighttime action. I’m not sure that’s possible these days. And it’s very expensive raising a child in this town. Swimming lessons go for $50 a half hour. That’s just the beginning, folks.

2. Mass transit is worse than purgatory – Unless you have a trust fund to draw on or a corporate Uber card, you are probably using the subway. Over the past few decades the subways have gotten way more crowded, and much less reliable. And now we’re in the mass transit “summer from hell”. Very simply, riding the subway sucks more than ever. The cars are dirty, unreliable, and overcrowded, even in the dead of night. New Yorkers, and human beings in general, deserve better. Did I mention subway service on the weekends? Hahahaha. For a long-time New Yorker, traveling by mass transit has become a sore point and an actual embarrassment that is below the standards of a quality of life that New Yorkers deserve. And I don’t see the situation improving.

3. The noise, the lights, the crowds – After three decades you’d think I’d be used to the sounds of pounding jackhammers and blaring sirens at all day and night. Nope. Where I live uptown, we are also treated to churn of motorbikes plowing down the streets at all hours. All the lights from the streets and businesses that stay open all night make it challenging for us New Yorkers to get a proper night’s rest. By now I’ve learned to sleep through anything but why should I have to shut my windows to dull the roar from the crowds outside the bars at 3 am? Did I mention the lines New Yorkers stand in for a cool movie, event, or a bargain? I now pass on anything requiring me to stand in line, unless they are giving out free money or sex.

4. City living can be toxic – New York City living is a stress-inducing experience. Don’t discount the effects of living in a cramped metropolis filled with all types of Wi-Fi, radiation, and radio waves bouncing around and throughout the entire city. Humans soak this stuff into our bodies and over time it collects in our systems and causes havoc to our health. Recent studies show that our once-thought-as-wonderful city drinking water is filled with carcinogens and heavy metals. Get a water filter and walk in the park whenever possible. And even though New York has come a long way since 9/11, it is still number one target for terror.

5. Been there, done that – Black outs, 9/11, hurricanes, massive snowstorms, a garbage strike, the AIDS crisis, sweltering heat waves, and blinding rain and floods have all been part of my life in New York City. Like Mick Jagger sang, “I’m in tatters”, after surviving these tumultuous years. After decades of running wild and finally settling, there comes a point of diminishing returns for living in the big city. It’s that, “do I really want to put up with this shit?” feeling when you’re dealing with the cable company, mass transit delays, broken elevators at the train station, “show time” on a crowded subway, or witnessing general bad behavior on the street in front of your kids. This stuff gives even the most ardent New Yorker pause about continuing to live in this crazy town. Admit it. You’ve thought about living elsewhere.

So where does this leave me? I’ve put myself on a two-year plan before making a final decision about leaving New York. After working for major corporations, ad agencies, start ups, I’m not sure if I want another nine to five gig in the city. Nowadays businesses no longer require employees to come into the office every day. More and more jobs are done virtually, so it doesn’t matter where you live. I’ve done or tried just about everything I’ve wanted to in this city. So I ask myself, why not cash in and check out of New York to start a more peaceful life with my wife and kid somewhere less interesting, but saner? It’s a decision I will be considering over the next twenty-four months. Until then, I’ll keep fighting the good fight. Now I’ve got to go back into the bowels of the sweltering subway and get on that filthy C train to take my kid to his expensive swimming lesson.

This week’s Guys’ Guy’s Guys of the Week are all the folks who have taken the leap and lived in the New York City. Some like it hot and some do not, but everyone here adds a bit of spice to this human zoo. I’ll see you in the crowded streets, amigos!

How to Live, Work, and Not be Exhausted

Robert Manni - Thursday, June 22, 2017


New York runs 24/7, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same. After all, you’re a person, not a city.

Unless you’re Keith Richards in the 1970’s, you can’t roll twenty-four hours straight. Although you like to go fast, every so often your body and mind needs a break. Let’s face it. You work too hard, drink too much, eat too much crappy takeout food, and don’t sleep enough. Over time, that’s a surefire recipe for a burnout.

People require love, sleep, food, and sex to keep their engines fine-tuned. And to win, you need to know how to cool your jets so you don’t overheat. Although this post was inspired by life in New York City, with today’s shrinking world and growing pressure to keep on keeping on, my message applies to wherever you live in our hyped up USA. Hence, I offer you my musings and insights to help you fight your battle and come out on top.

In not particular order here’s how to live well and avoid exhaustion wherever you are. Drum roll, please...

1. Managing your work day – You have too much to do and not enough time to do it. You report to a lazy turd that thinks that being your boss means delegating everything to you. And there are not enough hours in the day to serve him or her and properly set your fantasy football line up. What to do? Start by taking a look at your calendar and clearing out any double and triple bookings and appointments or scheduled events that don’t set your soul on fire. When you get overwhelmed stick to the basics- your job, your health, your girl, and time for creating or chillaxing.

During my career in marketing and advertising, I’ve found that getting to work early saves time at the end of the day. A lot of people who work in advertising drag their ass in after 9:30am and don’t seem to mind staying late, sometimes very late. I was never sure if that was because they had so much work or so they could order in dinner and take Uber home. Unless it was a mission-critical client situation, I wasn’t about to meet their level of mediocre time management. And I hate working on weekends unless it’s a new business pitch. You see, good ideas in advertising and marketing can come at any time and from any place if you have your antenna tuned properly.  So make time to manage your calendar and you’ll save some time for yourself.

2. Exercise – Too tired to work out? I’ve actually found that getting into shape and maintaining a level of fitness negates the probability of burnout. When you reach a high level of fitness, you come from a position of strength and handle most things better. I know it’s not easy to get to the gym everyday, but there are little things you can do to keep your heart pumping strong— like walking and using the stairs instead of taking cabs and the escalator. New York is a wonderful place to walk because it’s constantly changing. I’ve discovered so many cool shops, bars, and casual restaurants simply by using my legs to get around. Walking is also a great way to clear your head and release any built up stress.

3. Meditation or yoga – Another way to keep your mind, body and spirit fresh is by investing thirty minutes in quiet mediation each day, which can also be in the form of yoga. I prefer meditating in the early morning. If you can’t find those thirty minutes, see if you can spare fifteen minutes. Still too long? Then how about putting aside five minutes to stop your mind’s monkey chatter or to perform a few yoga stretches to breath deeply and calm you down? Still not working? Then consider finding some quiet time before your head hits the pillow. Me? I often mediate while walking. Believe me, you can find time to slow down if you are passionate about your goal. If none of this works for you ask yourself if you find time to masturbate.

4. Sleep – Most New Yorkers are exhausted by the time they go to bed. This can be due to their jobs, the incessant noise on the streets, or insomnia. The number of insomnia cases is growing, but you can avoid being a casualty if you hit the sack a bit earlier and sleep a bit later. While laying in bed staring at the ceiling and worrying about all the shit you have to do the following day, try instead to be thankful for your life and all of your gifts. These include having a roof over your head, electricity, and running water. Many of us in the states have it pretty good, so showing a little appreciation to the Universal Consciousness is good form. Then put your phone away, take a few deep breaths, smile, and close your eyes.

5. Manage your media consumption – I had a weird dream last night. I was hanging with LeBron and Laili Ali. I play wrestled Laili and took selfies with LeBron. What does that mean? It means I watch too much media and need to turn the damn television off! Most of us drink in copious amounts of media through our phones, computers, and televisions. Whether its real news, fake news, distractions from the worlds of sports and entertainment, or info we need for work, we are awash in a plethora of random information. Enough is enough, amigo. We need time to process all of the data we input and also time to come up with our own thoughts. Time keeps moving and you’ll keep working like a drone until it’s over. Then it won’t matter how many rings LeBron won or if he’s still in the conversation for GOAT. Most of the media we consume is a distraction to keep you working, living in fear, and too exhausted to cause problems.

6. Eat clean – We really are what we eat, and for many of us that’s not good news. Meat, sugar, salt, dairy and most importantly pesticide-filled GMO’s are not going to help build your energy stores. I find that the cleaner I eat— and that means organic fruits and veggies—the better I feel and the more zip I have. So, consider avoiding fast food lunches, all that tasty bacon, and mid-afternoon sweets that cause your energy to spike and crash if you want to stay on top of your game.

7. Treat yourself with respect- If you aggregate the prior points my recommended behavioral considerations all point to treating yourself better. Whether it’s your food, sleep and work habits, the media you consume, or even how you get around town, a healthy dose of self-respect will make you re-examine your life choices and daily regime. If you are present you will find ways to prime your energy pump.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Ed Whitlock, the only man in his seventies to run a marathon in under three hours.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Sane

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 06, 2017


Can you recall a crazier time in our lives than right now? Probably not.

Between every excruciating day of chaos ushered in by our new president, global terror, rising health care costs, homelessness, weekend subway service in NYC, an endless winter, GMO’s infesting our food, drone-like jobs with longer hours and less pay, it’s a tough time to be alive. People are stressed out, tired, unfocused, hyper, and stretched to the human limits. This is not how things are supposed to be, amigos. I’m actually surprised our society hasn’t completely melted down.

More and more I read about disclosure and how our planet is on the verge of a major change for the better. But when you are under a constant assault of fear by the media and the powers that be, no one would blame you for feeling life is uninspiring and becoming a long, slow downward spiral.

What’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Lots. With the hope of contributing to your mental, physical and spiritual wellness, I’ve pulled together a punch list of ten things you can do when your world appears to have gone absolutely bonkers. I call it, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Sane. Here’s my list in no particular order.

Drum roll, please…

1. Breathe – That’s right. Breathe. When you are on edge, even the smallest slight can trigger you into overreacting and regretting things later. If your latest Facebook post puts you on the receiving end of the social media trolls or your boss is sabotaging you because you can do her job better than she can, don’t take the bait. Take a few slow breaths, hold, and release. Breathe and repeat. Try this slow breathing when riding the subway or the bus and within a few minutes your mind will calm down. It’s a good start.

2. Ease up on social media – I don’t know about you, but my feed features a polarizing gamut of spiritual articles and memes, sports and culture, and partisan political posts. After asking myself why do I care what my grammar schoolmates post about Trump, I began unfollowing, and at times unfriending and blocking those I found annoying. I feel better. It’s a start to regaining my sanity. I’ve found that endlessly scrolling Facebook and Twitter makes us anxious, like we’re all on pins and needles waiting for that post or tweet that’s going to make everything better in our lives. It’s making people crazy. Sure, I enjoy videos of the kitty that scared off the alligator and the kid with no arms who sank a 3-point shot. But there’s too much weird activity on Earth to keep up with while trying to be productive. So get a grip, amigo, holster that phone, and push away from your computer screen. Live your life offline.

3. Turn off the news – Whether it’s online or on your television, there’s an endless feed of news and propaganda spewed at us all day. Have you ever wondered why you see the same stories on most of the networks? It’s because a handful of organizations own the news outlets. They decide what stories are worthy and how long to pound them into our consciousness. Right now it’s all about Russia, Trump, the latest global terror strikes and other stories that instill fear. Those topics have legs, while other topics like fixing our environment and safeguarding our food supply are ignored. I’m not suggesting we turn a blind eye to what’s happening in the world, but we need to remind ourselves that there is an agenda. We’re served what they want to feed us. So it’s important to our mental health to consume news in moderate, manageable doses or else risk depression. After all, you still need to submit that updated Excel sheet with the Q3 projections by close of business tomorrow.

4. Get outside – Nothing brings me more sanity than getting out of my crib. When it’s cold and dreary, it’s tough to push yourself out the door. But, when you stay inside there are too many temptations to flip on the TV or laptop. A walk in the fresh air brings a new perspective and is very helpful for calming down.

5. Exercise – When the world seems to be going crazy, a workout or a run in the park provide a hard to beat mental, physical, and spiritual respite from all the stress. I prefer a long run to clear my head. Others like yoga or spin classes, stretching, cardio or free weights to decompress. Whatever you choose is fine. Like they say, just do it. Sex is a good exercise also.

6. Meditate – Meditation has many benefits. Besides relaxing and clearing the mind, meditation gives the physical body an opportunity to heal from the duress of modern life. And of course, it also allows us to get in touch with our inner consciousness and higher self. Even if you can only spare a few minutes a day, find time to meditate. You’ll see a difference in how you view the world.

7. Appreciate art – Thank God for artists. They reflect our world in so many ways while allowing our minds to process life through a fresh lens. It doesn’t matter if you are reading a novel, wandering through a museum, watching an indie film, or listening to jazz. Taking time to appreciate the arts always provides a needed mental break from the craziness and helps us see our world and plight with a different perspective.

8. Create something  Putting your focus into personal expression keeps the cray cray away. Writing, singing, painting, sewing, chanting, or even sculpting your body are wonderful outlets to let off steam and express how you feel about what’s gong on in the world and your personal experience. These all take a concentration and getting into a zone where you’re focused on building something instead of simply processing information. Creativity is a safe haven from a messed up world.

9. Engage with other people – Deep conversations with a friend, laughter, hugging it out, and sex are proven ways to de-stress and stay sane. And they’re usually fun.

10. Service – Extending oneself to others, even in small ways has a ripple effect. Doing good makes the world a better place, and a less crazy place. Sharing your knowledge, being a mentor, volunteering, or even giving accordion players a buck all helps make the world a better place.

These are just a few ways we can keep our sanity in an increasingly dysfunctional culture. The media and the powers that be want us to live in fear and see one another as separate. The truth is that underneath the surface everyone is connected and we have a lot of collective power. Stay positive and control your thoughts. You are not crazy.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the Dalai Lama. Throughout his life he has managed to maintain wisdom, calm, and equilibrium in the face of the endless challenges that have been thrown his way.

How to Find Peace Anywhere, Even New York City

Robert Manni - Friday, August 05, 2016


“If you can find peace here, you can find peace anywhere”.

That’s not Frank. It’s your Guy’s Guy. And it’s true. It’s possible to live a serene, drama-free lifestyle in New York City.

One way to find peace is to sit near the ocean watching the sea and listening to the waves crash against the shoreline. After a few short minutes you will definitely calm down. Another surefire way to quiet the mind is resting under a lotus tree on a remote mountainside. But how can we find bliss when we spend portions of our day, not on a mountaintop, but wedged into a sweaty, overcrowded 6 train during rush hour?

No worries. Finding peace in New York City is not as difficult as you may think. Over the years I have found a number of ways to stay calm and find tranquility, even in the city’s unusually stressful environment. So, I wanted to share are a few tips to help you chill. I’ve included a few of my faves and old standbys, and some new techniques I’ve recently picked up. And, trust me amigo, they all work if you have the right mindset and truly want to slow things down, even if it’s only for a short time. So without further adieu, here are your Guys’ Guy’s Tips for Finding Peace Anywhere, even in New York City.

1. Limit your media consumption – Everyone in New York is inundated with an endless barrage of media—internet, iPhones, television, text messages, Instagram, radio, podcasts, video games, newspapers, and all of the advertising that accompanies it. Every day we're clubbed and have our faces rubbed i[ a mixed mush of Trump, Isis, Hillary, and the damn Zika virus. You can’t even take a piss in a bar without seeing ads selling you the beer you just eliminated. It’s a vicious cycle.

In advertising, our aim is capitalize on feelings of lack to sell crap you really don’t need. Media takes things to another level. It preys upon our fears. Their strategy seems to be, “let’s scare the shit out of them so they’ll stay tuned”, hoping for a solution to the world’s problems. But as we know, whenever one problem is solved, lots more enter the trending news cycle. When people fall under this spell of doom and gloom it becomes close to impossible to find peace or solace.

There is one thing you can do to help alleviate the issue. Make sure you find the time to unplug every day. Be mindful of your work, but afterwards make it a goal to go old school. Don’t check your the phone every ten seconds, take a breather offline, have a real conversation, and see if you can leave the office without plugging in your ear buds. I know that’s tall order for millennials in a hyper-connected city like ours, but unplugging can make a big difference in elevating your mood and soothing your feelings of anxiety.

2. Replace it with literature, music, film, and art – One can argue that surfing the internet is reading, and most of the time, surfing the internet does consist of reading. But let’s consider what we’re reading when we’re online. Snarky Facebook posts about the election, what people had for lunch, or the latest news about Bernie Sanders, Kanye, Beiber, or the Kardashians probably won’t help your inner peace or sanity. Books and other art forms can help you find the peace you're seeking, if you consume peaceful content. Porn, ultra-violent graphic novels, speed metal, and Tarantino films are not recommended when you want to add peace to your day.

3. Walk more – Buses are slow. Subways are filthy and curtailed by delays. Taxis and Uber can get expensive quickly. And all these modes of transportation create stress. Want some peace? Over the years I have found that walking whenever possible does wonders for your heart, relaxes you, helps you learn the city, and is a great way to either start your day or de-stress after a tough go at the office. Of course there are times when we need to take public transportation or call Uber. But if you pay attention, you’ll find ample opportunities to walk instead of riding that stinky C train. And, over time you may find yourself steering your walks towards the more scenic urban landscapes like our wonderful parks. 

4. Meditate, do yoga, get physical – I find that twenty minutes of meditation or yoga helps alleviate stress and fosters peace. If a high intensity cardio workout can help get you into a zone where you can find clarity, then go for it. Any physical activity that requires focus also works to quiet that noise and monkey chatter in your mind.

5. Find tranquil settings – I’ve worked in most areas of Manhattan except for Wall Street. And having traversed almost every inch of Manhattan, I know enough to avoid Times Square, Midtown, and the financial district whenever possible. Between selfie-obsessed tourists, cartoon characters, and workers marching to and from the office texting and yapping into their cellphones, I steer clear of these over-populated sections of the city. If you are forced to spend time in one of these congested areas because of your job, if you look you will find a few mini-oasis and quiet places to sit, some with urban waterfalls. Weather permitting; stepping outside during your lunch hour or on a break does wonders for your mood.

6. Breathe – If you only do one thing to help you find peace in the city, make it being conscious of your breathing. Each time you can sit quietly for a moment, walk down the street, or when you’re feeling angst creep in, focus on your breath. Concentrate on breathing in and breathing out. Do this for a minute or two and I assure you that you will find a brief respite from your daily struggles. Simply pay attention to your breathing. The more you do it, the more bliss you will find. It’s that easy, amigos. Peace out.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Sri Dharma Mittra. He is a wise and peaceful yoga teacher who has an amazing studio on 23rd Street in Manhattan and followers worldwide. 

To Drink or Not to Drink...

Robert Manni - Friday, April 01, 2016

When you’re not drinking have you ever noticed the people around you who’ve had too much to drink? Pretty sloppy, huh? At times like these I wonder why I drink. So I stopped, for a while at least.

By doing so, I learned a lot about how drinking impacts our behavior, fitness, and overall health. I spent over two decades in the marketing and advertising industries working on many the world’s most popular spirits brands. I’ve also been known to enjoy a cocktail or two or even three on occasion. But, I’ve also easily pushed alcohol aside for months at a time.

With that in mind, I’m sharing my Guys’ Guy’s perspective on the art of drinking, its benefits, and consequences. I’ll do my very best to avoid judgments or preaching. Let me begin by stating that fortunately, I’ve never had a problem with alcohol. Although I enjoy the taste of aged dark rum, a fine sipping tequila, a buttery Chardonnay, or a complex Pinot Noir, I’ve never physically or mentally needed a drink. I can hold my liquor, and only on rare occasions have I been inebriated. And, if I do drink too much, I go home and fall asleep. I’m not a mean, violent, or even a funny drunk. But, that’s me. Everyone experiences booze differently.

In today’s culture, and particularly when working hard, alcohol becomes a go-to outlet for letting off steam, venting, and bonding. So the phrase, “let’s meet for a drink” is de rigueur. We do it all the time. It’s become who we are. So, how does that work when we’re not drinking alcohol? A few nights ago I was out with friends. I had given up drinking for the past month matched my buddies beer rounds with club soda. When you are in a bar, this becomes tedious quickly, especially when your squad is matching you with rounds of ice-cold IPA’s.

I put my blinders on and focus on the conversation, but I can’t help but notice when someone in my group or standing close by has had a few too many cocktails. They get loud and bolder than usual, and many times they start repeating things. The other night, I was on the receiving end of a lecture complete with Tony Robbins quotes from a close friend who showed up after meeting his colleagues for a few hours of drinks. He’s a great friend, but he already had one or two too many by the time he arrived. And for some reason I became the object of his attention. He shared pearls like, “I’m an assassin. I’m a killer. I close deals. There is no long term, only today. What is your six-month plan?” Some of what he said was correct…mostly for him, but he meant well. That said, whenever I attempted to get a word in edgewise, he raised his voice and talked over me. I’ve been there before so it was nothing more than a mild annoyance. And although his intention was to be helpful, the alcohol obscured his message. Sometimes that’s what happens when the beers gets ahead of us.

Let’s take a quick look at drinking from three perspectives: as a marketer, as a drinker, and as someone abstemious.

Working in the booze business – The spirits business is comprised of a mixed bag of marketers, salespeople, and entrepreneurial thinkers. It’s a fun, social business where a lot of time is spent observing the market at the on-premise establishments. And, unlike the packaged goods, financial services, or pharma sectors, liquor is a category where you can seed a great idea, create an image, and in short order witness a brand taking off. I worked in the vodka category in the 90’s during the flavor explosion. It was exhilarating. Ten years later the magic was gone. Where do you go after vodka tastes like breakfast cereal, candy bars or cupcakes?   Fortunately, there are many types of spirits and tastes change every decade. Nowadays, although vodka still accounts for $.35 out of every dollar spent on spirits, it’s no longer the hot spot. Millenials want their own drinks, and there has been a migration to brown goods (bourbon, whiskey, and rye). Beer has also blossomed into a multilayered category. Back in the day you either drank Bud or Miller. Now every state, county and metropolis produces beer and most of them are better than the mass-produced brands. It’s happening with spirits also. It’s fascinating how the spirits industry continues changing as each generation shifts their tastes to reflect their values versus what their older siblings and parents drank.

Drinking as a team sport- Who doesn’t like to meet up with their mates after hours to throw back a few cold ones and watch the game? It’s part of our culture, and in most cases people are pretty cool and know how to pace themselves. But not everyone handles themselves well after a drinking for a few hours.

There has been a proliferation of binge drinking, especially by gen-Xers and millenials over the past two decades. Shots, followed by drinks, beers, and more shots is standard fair that comes with a downside. People get drunk quickly. Then they act stupid. Also, drinking has been an expensive habit, especially when frequenting bars, clubs, and restaurants on a regular basis.

And there is more bad news. Today’s cocktail culture is built around sweet mixed drinks laden with sugar. These tasty sugary concoctions make us crave salty bar bites like wings, nuts, pizzas, and assorted cheesy bar snacks. If you go to bars a lot you need to be mindful. It’s easy to gain weight, seed Type 2 diabetes, and spend a lot of money. Plus, if you get pulled over when driving with a buzz, it’s usually a disaster.

Not drinking- As mentioned, I’ve stopped drinking for months at a time on numerous occasions. For me, the challenge is breaking the habit, so after a few days I forget all about my post-work cocktail or wine with dinner. It’s not that big of a deal. The good news is I always lose a few pounds, sleep better, and have more energy in the morning. I spring out of bed and get right into my day. As a result I am usually more productive. Additionally, alcohol is a depressant, so if I’m experiencing personal or career challenges or taking things too seriously, giving booze a rest is beneficial to my mood and attitude and health. I usually stay positive, I’m consuming less sugar and empty calories, and I lose weight around my midsection as long as I don’t replace the liquor with other sweets like chocolate and ice cream. I’m not suggesting that this is for everyone, but it works for me. And I think that one of these breaks will become a lifestyle. We’ll see. How about you? Think you can stop drinking for a month? Try it if you can and keep track of what changes take place. Then decide what you get out alcohol and if you need it in your life. Maybe. Maybe not. No judgments. It’s up to you.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Robert Downey Jr. who after years of substance abuse went clean in 2003 and became one of the most bankable movie stars in the world. Nice work, Iron Man.


The Guys' Guy's Guide to When the Going Gets Tough...

Robert Manni - Thursday, March 24, 2016


Shit happens. What defines a person and a Guy’s Guy is how they handle things that don’t go right. We’ve all had hard times. Maybe you did not get that job or promotion, or maybe you just lost your job. Maybe your savings are dwindling while your prospects aren’t growing. Take comfort, amigos. Your Guy’s Guy has been there and done that. He has the physical and the emotional and psychological bruises and scars from living in what feels like a tough, unforgiving world.

When bad things happen, we can either curl up in a ball or take stock of the big picture before taking action. So the next time you get dumped, or your car breaks down, or that pipe under the sink breaks and causes a flood, or the size of your debt appears insurmountable, take heed. I’m going to share my best hacks for dealing with the pressure, one issue at a time and put you in position to not only deal with your troubles, but turn what on the surface are bad things into good things.

So here are three Guys’ Guy’s hacks for handling the curveballs life throws our way. Drum roll, please…

1. Breathe, focus, separate – In my personal experience I’ve found that bad things occur in bunches. A few weeks ago on a cold rainy morning I traveled by train for two hours to my beach house. I needed to explore contingences for repairing the fire escape and replacing of the housing for the exterior gas meters, which was brought to my attention by the gas company. These are things we take for granted.

Upon reaching my place I immediately noticed that my car was gone. Suddenly a cop pulled up. I gave him my info and he informed me that my vehicle had been towed two weeks earlier due to a gaseous odor. Unfortunately, no one made an effort to contact me by phone. As a result, the retrieval and repairs to the car cost me dearly. And of course no one involved in the process the cops, towing company, impound yard, or repair shop were empathetic. The process was painful at a time I was on a tight budget. I also found out the cost of the gas meter housing was in the five-figure range and the fire escape estimate was off the charts. This all happened over the course of one morning.

The avalanche of problems dumped on me felt like my system had been nuked. I started feeling hyper and had to do something to maintain my sanity. I decided to step away for a few minutes. I needed to breathe deeply, clear my mind, and re-set myself physically and emotionally. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary and I am glad I took those few minutes to regain my composure. In those few minutes I breathed, prayed, and asked my higher self for guidance were crucial to how I felt and how things worked out.

I realized I may have saved my family and my life by learning about the small leak in the tank this way instead of finding out while zooming down the highway and potentially bursting into flames. I also realized my tax refund will pay for the new gas tank. I convinced the impound yard to knock off the price of the tow, and my insurance company picked up most of the cost of the impound. Sure, I’m still faced with replacing the gas meter housing and fire escape repairs, and I am sure there will be more. I’m determined to deal with each issue individually as it comes up. Overall, I consider myself fortunate. I’m alive and in this case, things could have turned out far worse. And, I handled it as smooth and calmly as I could. Bottom line? I’m grateful.

2. Get out there – Recently I’ve found myself in a new situation where I am handling projects and building my personal brand while working from home. This is a major change for me after years of schlepping to an office and spending ten hours a day in the company of many colleagues over the past three decades. It’s really different and I’ve had to adjust to how I allocate my time, finances, and mentally dealing with most of my friends still being immersed in corporate jobs.

I’ve learned that lifestyle changes like this can be devastating form some folks if they are not aligned to a new realty and with new possibilities. It’s easy to stay inside and create content all day, but it is equally important to get out there and rub shoulders with people. They say action creates action, and it’s true. I’ve found that the more I interact with people, either face to face or by phone, the more opportunities arise and the more creative ideas spark inside my mind. So if you think things aren’t going so well for you and you begin shutting down, do yourself a favor and get out and face with the world. It helps.

3. Remember what we're here for - Many metaphysical teachers claim that our lives on Earth are primarily for learning and future ascension. And some even say that suffering is our greatest teacher. They might be right. I have found that whenever I come out of the end of a painful experience I am always a better version of myself due to experiencing the pain. Do you agree?

And while you are at it, make sure that you don’t neglect every aspect of your health when you’re facing tough times. That means being mindful and taking care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Treat yourself well; eat clean, healthy foods and exercise. If you stay in top shape, mediate, and get enough rest so you can be at your very best regardless of the current circumstances you’ll feel a difference in your ability to deal with your troubles. Tomorrow is another day. Make sure you are in good health so you can enjoy it.

I could go on and on, but I think there are some things to help you deal with the tough times we all face. Breathe, deal with one issue at a time, and take care of yourself. You are worth it.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Abraham Lincoln, a man who faced some of the toughest circumstances of any leader in the history of our nation. Lincoln is the person who said, “This too, shall pass away.” 

Five Resolutions You Should Stick to This Year

Robert Manni - Thursday, January 07, 2016


Sadly, by this time in January, many people have already failed at their New Year’s resolutions.

After all, making changes in our behavior is challenging, especially when we bite off more than we can chew. I’ve given up drinking a few times and have lasted three, four and even five months, but denial is tough. Making positive changes is no easier. Fortunately each New Year, month, week, even day is a new opportunity for a fresh start. With that in my mind, your Guy’s Guy offers you a handful of resolutions to make your life and this world a better place. You don't need a new year to start fresh.

1. Less tech, more active living.

We live in an age where technology keeps changing at an exceedingly rapid pace. To succeed in the conscious world, we need to know how to master our phones, apps, and social media or we’ll be viewed like Grandma trying to “turn on the Internet” to Google a cookie recipe. But tech can lead us to more passive lives. We’re watching instead of doing. We’re staring at the LED screen instead of reading and nurturing our imaginations. We’re texting instead of conversing. We’re focusing our attention on video games instead of playing ball in the park. We’re becoming wimps. If we could be mindful about our overreliance on tech and choose more activities that exercise our body, mind and spirit, we’ll be making great strides as a culture.

2. Spend more time in nature.

Every time I step into Central Park the energy changes. There is something special about being outdoors that grounds my spirit with the Earth’s energy. Unless there is a torrential downpour, I always take my young son outside for a walk. And I notice that my son and the toddlers that I frequently see at the playground have less anxiety on their faces than some of the tykes I see on the subway staring at video screens and eating potato chips. With all our creature comforts it’s easy to sit indoors and keep life at arm’s length. But that’s no way to live—step outside whenever you can. Fresh air and nature rejuvenate our spirits.

3. Don’t judge. Accept people as they are.

This one took me a long time. My internal critic has a razor sharp wit and working in advertising exposed me to too many judgments about people and ideas. But I learned, and as usual I learned the hard way. Over the years, I did not build as many relationships as I could have and I dismissed a lot of people who I thought were jackasses. I guess I’m not that different than anyone else in that regard, but I realize now that it’s not my job to have other people see the world through my personal lens. Trying to change people is tedious and frustrating because we cannot see what lurks inside them or what has led them to their behaviors, decisions or perspectives. I know now it’s more productive to work on myself. When we focus on bettering ourselves, we raise our frequency and shed light on the others we come in contact with. Basically, it’s leading by example.

4. Be grateful.

This time last year, I had receiving a medical “diagnosis of opportunity” earlier last year, spent six months in and out of hospitals, doctor’s offices and medical procedures, and had ten puncture scars across my abdomen. It was a tough experience, but I’m thankful. Yes, I’m really, really thankful. My faith was strong, my medical teams were talented and capable, and my body was responsive. And now I am well. The few times I began feeling sorry for myself, I’d invariably learn about a friend or colleague in a far more precarious situation. Each day I awaken with gratitude for my many blessings and good health. Try it for a week.

5. Watch what you eat.

Let’s face it; our food supply has changed. Every day we learn more about the tricks and deceptions of food labeling, the horrible treatment of factory farmed animals and the potential long-term effects of eating processed foods and GMO ingredients. If the food industry has nothing to hide, why don’t they want all the ingredients labeled in clear language? People are sick of their games and also getting sick from the food they consume. Obesity and gastric-related illnesses have become prevalent in a culture that lives too passively and consumes mostly processed food. If you want to stay healthy, eat organic as much as possible and always be mindful of what you consume. It’s probably the most important decision you’ll make each day in regards to your health.

This New Year’s Day you can resolve to quit smoking, hit the gym three times a week or cut out sweets, but you don’t have to wait until the start of a new year to make a better life for yourself. If you treat yourself with respect and love, you’ll be more successful in improving your life than experiencing that week of agony during the first week of January each year.

This week’s—make that this year’s—Guys’ Guys and women, are the wonderful people who have supported my Guy’s Guy brand and the content I crunch out with a goal of making our world a better place. My best wishes to you today, tomorrow, and throughout this coming year!


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