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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

What I've Learned Hosting the first 200 Episodes of Guy's Guy Radio

Robert Manni - Thursday, February 02, 2017

I launched Guy’s Guy Radio a few years ago. In keeping with my novel, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love, and my syndicated blog “On Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness” at www.robertmanni.com, I was looking for another medium where I could help bridge the communications gap between men and women. It’s been a great experience for me. Over the past three years, I’ve met and interviewed over 200 fascinating people—experts in their field who are passionate about their work. And even though hosting a podcast has been hard work, my guests have provided a free education for me on a multitude of subjects.

Here’s how I got started: After deciding on a service provider, I began broadcasting the show via my cell phone before switching to a landline and finally upgrading our production through the computer using a Blue Snowball microphone and headphones. It’s still fairly basic stuff, but besides some early glitches in service and the occasional blare of a passing ambulance racing to Mount Sinai Hospital outside my studio, technologically speaking, the podcast is working out well. In fact, our show is booked solid through the next few months, and these first two hundred podcasts have given me the invaluable opportunity to hone my message and my hosting skills. I’m constantly learning about crafting a clear, on-brand message, engaging listeners, and interviewing guests in a way that puts them at ease. Fast-forward, and within a few months I was named a featured host on Blog Talk Radio.

But it hasn’t all been that easy. Besides being the on-air talent, I book my guests, review their work which could mean reading a book, craft a set of relevant points to discuss, and prepare my opening remarks and weekly Guys’ Guy’s Guide™ feature. It’s psychically rewarding, but surprisingly time-consuming. The goal is for the show to be less Q&A and more of a conversation, so our audience can sit back and enjoy the broadcast or interact with it they by calling in with a question for the guest.

All in all, it’s been a fun gig. Being a Guy’s Guy, I want to give back and share some of what I have learned so far from hosting a show. And since they’ve become so popular now, who knows, you might be considering producing your own podcast. It’s not rocket science, but it takes discipline, composure, and a little finesse to handle the many curveballs that come your way.

Before we go any further, let me give some thanks to another Guy’s Guy. I’d like to extend a heartfelt shout out to my producer and friend, Ryan, my favorite millennial. Without his expertise and guidance, I’d be lost in a logistical hell. He’s a consummate pro and a super problem solver. Thank you, amigo.

Now, onto what I’ve learned about podcasting over the course of my first two hundred shows.

Although anyone can host a podcast, it’s not for everyone. Like writing a novel, hosting a successful radio podcast needs to be more than something you like to do. It needs to become something you have to do. If you scroll through iTunes or the Podcasts app, you’ll find podcasts available about almost any topic imaginable. This relatively new medium has become increasingly popular to the point where even mainstream celebrities are getting into the act. However, because the cost is minimal and the technology is relatively easy to use, it also means that there is a glut of podcasts hosted by folks who like to hear themselves speak more than what they can offer their listeners. It’s expected, so no big deal. The only takeaway is to be discerning when looking for podcasts to follow. Guy’s Guy Radio is about living your best life in a world where men and women can be at their best and everyone wins. It’s all filtered through the lens of an evolving Guy’s Guy. Our guests range from relationship experts and dating coaches, writers, healers, channels, psychics, wellness experts, fantasy sports pros, and entertainers.

Here’s how I handle the show: I begin with my theme song, "Uninspired," contributed by the band Noba, before greeting the audience and tease our special guest. For the next five to ten minutes I tackle a few current events through my personal Guys’ Guy’s lens. Then after a quick reminder of how GGR began and what we stand for, I move to my weekly “Guys’ Guy’s Guide” where I hone in on a specific topic for a few minutes. These are usually featured in my weekly blog posts. Then it’s time to welcome our special call-in guest. Our conversation takes between 30- 45 minutes. Though the majority of listeners subscribe to podcasts so they can tune in on their own schedule, our show does take live callers. I choose my own guests, so I support their work and as a result, although we may disagree on an issue, I am not seeking conflict. I want my guest to feel at home with me and our listeners — a mix of both men and women.

After hosting 200 podcasts, I’ve nailed down a working template. I know what I stand for so we rarely stray from the Guys’ Guy’s credo — Better Men. Better World.  If all of this sounds appealing to you, make sure you have a concept you feel strongly about and that you are committed to the time it takes to get traction before launching your own show. If you think this might be something for you, keep reading.

Start slow, know your brand, and keep an open mind.  Because my novel and website were anchored in the relationships area, my first few podcasts centered on dating and relationships. At first, I hosted with a female on-air talent. Each week we focused on a specific dating issues like online dating, technology and dating, what men need to know about women, and visa versa. We exchanged banter and answered caller questions. It was working pretty well, but after a few weeks my partner had other commitments. This brought on my first major challenge—I needed to make a quick decision to either drop the podcast or go it alone. I’ve always been a big fan of radio and after listening to my intuition I decided to give it a go. But, I needed to find a guest within 24 hours. I contacted a friend who’d recently launched his one-man off-Broadway show. Fortunately he agreed to be our first guest in the new solo format. He’s a comedian and an old friend, so we had a good rapport from the start. The show came off well and people responding positively on social media.

I knew I could make this work, so I sketched out a list of interesting people I knew or that other might know that I could get on the show. After a few months we’d booked a steady lineup and expanded the show’s focus beyond relationship issues to wellness, spirituality and other topics I felt passionate about and believed would resonate with our audience of evolving guys and the women who love them. Pretty soon some publicists found me and began pitching me potential guests. The rest, as they say, is history. We’re now booked well in advance, but are always on the lookout for provocative guests who have something of value to share with our audience. Speaking of value, if you do decided to launch your own show, once you have generated a steady audience there are ways of earning money through program sponsorships or revenue sharing from your provider. This takes patience and time, but if you can score a sponsor, good things can happen.

Depending on the show’s platform, podcasting can be a free education. It’s been an honor meeting and learning from so many interesting people who have devoted much of their life to their particular areas of expertise. One of the things that I’ve learned is that like the core tenants of the world religions, many of the spiritual teachers we’ve hosted guests have shared the same universal truths in various ways. And their answer always comes down to our making choices between love and fear. It’s that simple.

I’ve only scratched the surface about the ins and outs of podcasting, so look out for part two in the near future. Until then, look for me on Guy's Guy Radio every Wednesday at 7pm ET on Blog Talk Radio, iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn I’ll now leave you with the words I use when I close each show: Guy’s Guys finish first.

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week are all of my guests, listeners, and subscribers. They make everything possible and deserve my heartfelt thanks. 

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. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Working at Home

Robert Manni - Friday, April 08, 2016


If you don’t have to get up at 7am to schlep to an office in the bitter cold, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of lounging around your flat all day in your pajamas.

But that’s not how championships are won or how you pay the rent. When you’re working from home, especially after spending years toiling in a traditional corporate environment, things can get dicey quickly. There is an additional skill set you’ll need to deploy to make a go of it. It’s called discipline and time management. And, you’ll need to do so without the resources you had while working in a large team at an office.

Let’s face it, even in the most stringent corporate office environments, you can take solace knowing you can become invisible every so often without forgoing your paycheck. That changes when you're working freelance from your home office.  When you're on your own, time really is money in or out of your pocket, so you need to be sharp. Yes, many jobs are becoming virtual due to our being tethered to technology, but when you’re working virtually at a real company you still show your face every so often, and with that comes the usual office politics and gamesmanship. Plus, you still collect a paycheck.

When you are flying solo, maybe in a creative endeavor like writing, art, or music, you need to master the fine points for being your own boss and motivator pronto, and it ain’t always easy. That calls for some insights from your Guy’s Guy. After all, he’s been slugging it out from home for a few years now and he knows a thing or two about managing time and making the most of a day while working from the home HQ. With that I offer you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Working From Home. Hopefully, you’ll pick up a few nuggets that will help you on your way to more productive days and the fame and fortune that awaits you from your solo pursuit of success.

Drum roll please…

1. Set routines – Okay, this may sound boring, but managing your time while working from home is mission critical to success when going it alone. It’s far to easy to sleep late, get distracted by Facebook, memes, and all the media that’s hurled our way every second of the day. I’ve found it extremely helpful to set my iPhone and mental alarm clock every morning. I'm usually awake before the alarm goes off, so I use the time to for a short meditation based on being thankful for my health, family, abundance, and joy. I do this every day and it gets me off on the right foot. I get up and swish coconut oil around my mouth for twenty minutes before drinking a big old glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in. While swishing I feed my cat and help my toddler get ready for school. By 8:30 I’m usually on my own and ready to work hard for the next six hours. On most days, I crank out 70 push-ups, work out for an hour, or go for a run. The physical activity ignites my mind, body, and spirit for the rest of the day. The discipline of a routine is good for the mind and necessary when you have a dream, time on your hands, and working from home on your own. Once I sit down to work, I listen to digital tracks created to help my focus, creativity, and IQ enrichment. In fact, I’m listening to one right now. Then I work, work, work until mid-afternoon. I might take a short break for lunch. I use that time to check my email, etc. between mouthfuls of nutritious food.

Have I been tempted to loaf around in my shorts, watch sports, porn, movies, or scour Twitter, Facebook and the like? Sure, but that's a quick path to a downward spiral. Maybe you’re more adept than me at juggling your time and getting things done. That’s good. For most, a routine can be our friend when making the transition to working from home. Without the usual office distractions and office meeting nonsense, you can get a lot done in six or seven hours.

2. Get out of the house - Although getting the written work done is extremely important, it’s also critical to get outside and maintain your relationships and connection to society. During the long winters in the northeast, I’ve found it easy to stay inside for days at a time. Not good. Sure, I get a lot done, but I find myself becoming insulated at my workstation in my man cave. When I do this, I find that whatever I’m working on or what is on my mind becomes all-consuming. I also have a tendency to take things too seriously so I get too intense and eager. That’s why I go for a run, talk a walk, or hop on the subway and meet up with my friends or former colleagues for lunch or a beverage. Frankly, it reminds me about my professional cred and reputation, and that people I respect are pulling for me to break through. And, that’s exactly what is happening.

3. Don’t neglect yourself – As mentioned, part of my routines focus on nourishing my mind, body, and spirit to enhance my productivity and chances for success. So, I eat organic food, hydrate throughout the day, work out regularly, and even forgo alcohol and recreational drugs when I'm inspired to do so. Over time, I find myself less in need of booze, pot and whatever else used to turn me on. This may sound like a boring lifestyle, but it’s anything but tedious. My mind is fresh with new ideas and I have the psychic energy to grind out projects in one sitting. It’s all good and I know I can enjoy a glass of wine or tequila if that’s what I want after my work is done.

4. Shun media – Although I come from the media business and have made a good living from it, I also know how easy it is to fall prey to staring at the television, social media, or simply binge-watching sports, movies or cable series like Billions or Ray Donovan. It’s easy to get sucked in, but there is a way around being pulled into it. The key is not turning on the television until all of your work has been completed for the day. At first it’s challenging, but it soon becomes a non-issue when you realize how much you can actually accomplish during the day if you're not goofing off.

Did I enjoy being part of a functioning team, having the tangible accomplishments you get when working in an office, and bonding with lots of other people? Yes, but I also have a dream, and sometimes dreams require you going it alone.

So, I hope you’ve gleaned some insights that will give you a good start to making the most of your time if you decide to work from home. If you find that flying solo is not your cup of tea, I hope you find your way back to the rat race. But remember, they call it that for a reason.

This weeks’ GUY’S GUY of the Week are all the people who took a chance and went for it, whether they worked from their studio apartment, mother’s basement, or even out of their car. Success to you, amigos.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Managing Fear

Robert Manni - Tuesday, December 01, 2015


Fear runs rampant throughout our culture. If you don’t believe me, check out our newspaper headlines, evening news, movies and scripted television series.

Tales of terror, hate, murder, looming economic collapse, disease, and death fill our headlines. Listen to the language used by your friends, relatives and people on the street. In many of these casual conversations doom, gloom and threads of fear are etched in the subtext. And it’s true—the world can be a scary place, and there is a lot to worry about if we decide to focus on the negative. But is that how we want to live our lives? Of course not. So, this week I humbly offer my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Managing Fear as a way to escape this omnipresent perceptual trap.

Like Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

Those immortal words have never resonated more than right now. Fear is mindset, a perception, a decision to claim anxiety and potential negative outcomes lurking around every corner. This is a myth. When bad things happen, if we don’t immediately succumb to fear, we get a better handle on the situation and can make better decisions. For example, if you lose your job, you can freeze up, shut down, or panic. Don’t do that. Take a step back. Breathe in. Exhale.

When change comes abruptly, it’s better to study the situation before making any unnecessary moves that can be driven by fear. Be cool, amigo. You might be out of a job, but most of time life’s twists and turns eventually turn out for the better. Think back on when that job went kaput. Were you happy? Was it your dream job? Probably not. Now, what can you do with the down time? You can reassess your future and life’s purpose or go barreling into the first job you get offered because you are afraid that you will never get another job if you don’t take the first one you’re offered. Hey, I know the market is tough, but I’ve been there and I’ve done that and it was not a good move. Sure you’ve got bills to pay and you need that cash, but if you can hold out, don’t let fear control decisions on your life’s work. You may wind up in the same situation a year later, all because you let fear get the best of you.

Are you a spiritual person?

Most of us think we are spiritual. If that's the case, there is no reason to be afraid. Because if you have a spiritual foundation you believe that God or the universal consciousness has your back and is on your side. So why are you afraid? And most importantly, if you do have a spiritual underpinning pointing the way, you know that you’re exactly where you need to be and at the perfect place and position to learn whatever need to learn right now. This may sound like a convenient way to brush aside the seriousness of real life (and sometimes death) circumstances, but if you really think about it, how can you live in fear if you believe in God? Don’t be afraid. Believe.

Turn off the television.

Because of my inner work and meditations, I’m finding that I start to feel ill if I watch too much television or ingest too much media in one sitting. Hey, my background is in marketing and advertising so I appreciate a well-told story or an engaging advertisement. I also like to keep up with what’s going on in our world, so I like to check in on the news now and then. That said; the news and our media thrive on fear. The news stories scare the shit out of us. The movies and television shows show us how dysfunctional we are, and the ads sell us what we need to feel better about our lacking selves. Need I say more? Be careful of what your mind consumes, amigo. Which leads us to…

The mind is our most powerful tool.

The more you can control your thoughts, the more you can control your life and manifest or actualize what you want. In other words, if you spend your time thinking about what you fear most, you may end up getting exactly that. So let’s spin it another way. If you focus on what you want and your intention for it as being the highest good, you’re putting yourself on a positive track.

Gratitude works.

Mentally expressing appreciation and thanks for all my blessings upon awakening and right before falling asleep has created a less fearful mindset. It clears my mind and creates space for good things to come into my life. After all, if our minds have been choked with fear, we need to make room for the things we want. So again, each morning and night I mentally express thanks for everything in my life even experiences of loss or rejection. Somehow it calms me down and slows my mental chatter. If you don’t believe me, give it a try for a week and see if you don’t begin to experience a shift in your mindset from fear to feelings fueled by positivity, abundance and gratitude.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Pope Francis. He’s fearlessly taken on the conservative, static framework of the Catholic Church, world leaders intent on power, people’s prejudice, hypocrisy, and warring factions across the globe.

Image courtesy of Stu Mayhew on Flickr.

Our Negative Culture

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 22, 2014


Seeing all the videos, parodies and effusive comments on social media about Pharrell’s omnipresent hit song, “Happy” makes me scratch my head.

If everyone is so damn happy, then why do we wallow in a bottomless pool of gory, violent, toxic stories in the movies, on television and in the news? The common denominators on our palette are negativity, human failure, and buckets of blood. Welcome to 2014.

For some reason, studios and networks insist on showcasing deceit, vengefulness, violence, and dishonesty as entertainment. I thought that’s what we have to deal with at work. Who wants to experience this angst again in their free time after hours in HD? Could it be the hypnotic power of that 54” screen dominating our living room and minds? Your Guy’s Guy takes his media medicine in small, detached doses and decries, “Is this the best we can come up with?” Here are a few considerations for consuming content.

Violence

A Guy’s Guy likes a good dust up and action-packed films, but lately, things have gotten out of hand. Even the Hollywood legends have gotten into the act. Stallone’s “Expendables” franchise is really just a bunch of aging action stars shooting, stabbing and punching their way to a paycheck. Sly’s latest endeavor is something called, “Bullet to the Head”. What can I say?

Ah-nold? His recent film comeback includes “Expendables 2” (number three is on the way), “Escape Plan” with Stallone, and “Sabotage” (a B version of an Expendables movie). The poster features the usual cadre of buff guys and gals wielding machine guns of varying sizes. And the next generation of stars is on a similar path of death and destruction. Have you seen the trailer for the new Tom Cruise movie, “Edge of Tomorrow”? Its tagline is, “Live. Die. Repeat.” We see Tom wrapped in futuristic battle amour, toting an assault weapon that appears to be welded to his arm. Didn’t Matt Damon already do that in last year’s futuristic death match, “Elysium”? This is just a sampling of what the big stars are up to. Let’s not forget, “Machete” and “Machete 2013”? Wonderful.

Some say Hollywood is simply giving the people what they want (lots of video game action) and anti-heroes like we had in the seventies. When I think of anti-heroes, Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry” and “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” or Charles Bronson in “Death Wish” come to mind. Sure, their movies had selected violent scenes, but the acts were focused on moving the story along.  They didn’t glorify killing and maiming as an art form. With all the hype about Dirty Harry’s Magnum, he rarely used it.

Fast-forward to today and we see blood spurting and mayhem starting from the first scene. Even the once car-based “Fast and Furious” franchise has gone ultra-violent. After seeing the first two “Fast and Furious” movies a few years ago, I recently watched the first fifteen minutes of “Fast and Furious Six”. I was amazed at the non-stop violence. No breaks: just kicking, punching, and fighting amongst all the main characters.

I’m not even going to get into the video games aimed at kids and teens. So many of them are hyper violent and focused on deception, thievery, and war.

Shady Characters

We also are inundated with hit show and films like “Penny Dreadful”, “Scandal,” “Revenge”, “Breaking Bad”, “House of Lies”, “Shameless”, “Wolf of Wall Street”, and “American Hustle” all focused on human failure with main characters lacking in moral fiber. The industry tells us they’re always looking for “interesting and intricate characters”. Yes, I know that conflict drives storylines, but do you have to be an a-hole to be interesting?

For a change of pace there is “True Blood”, “The Walking Dead”, and all the shows about zombies, vampires and creatures bent of exterminating mankind. Want a change of pace? How about those housewives, the slippery realtors in NYC and LA, the backstabbing contestants on “Survivor”, and lying bachelors and bachelorettes? There is little escape from bad behavior and dysfunction unless you turn to the talent shows.

And Now To The News

Adding to this Gatling gun of toxicity, is our news industry. Regardless of which network we watch or what newspaper or major website we follow it spits the same selected, fear-inducing stories at us.  If you don’t believe me; just turn on any local or national news network and you’ll see the same stories rolled out and read to you in almost the same order by a different talking head. Fire in the Bronx kills three, measles on the rise, the world economy on the brink of collapse, voter fraud, and on and on. Until you reach to the last two minutes, it’s all bad news and human failure. During the breaks, most of the ads are for cars we can’t afford, fast food that makes us obese, and from pharmaceutical companies selling us medication for all of our diseases. Your Guy’s Guy is getting a stomachache.

The Solution

We live in a culture that requires connectivity, so it’s almost impossible to simply tune out. We need to be mindful of our media consumption and make the effort to unplug whenever possible. The folks running the networks and studios need to make a buck, so they are not going to change unless we stop consuming what they push our way. Here are three suggestions: Don’t watch the news or violent shows before going to bed. Do not keep your TV in your bedroom.  I know we all need to check email and do our jobs, but each morning, see how long you can go without tapping into mass media. Your mind will become more peaceful and quiet, and you’ll get to know that wonderful person hidden inside you a lot better.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is George Clooney. No, it’s not because he’s getting married. It’s because he chooses to make movies that are well-told stories that are never ultra-violent.

10 Awesome Non-Scripted TV Shows for Guy's Guys

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 01, 2014

Okay, I get it. All television is scripted. I’m not talking about mainstream series like “Scandal”, “Revenge” or even “The Family Guy”. I’m referring to all those wacky cable shows that somehow hook our interest when we’re surfing the gazillion channels clogging up the cable box. When I embarked on my research for this blog I was amazed at how many ridiculous shows are currently on air, many of them already in seasons four and five. So, using a male-centric Guy’s Guy filter and eliminating the obvious “ESPN SportsCenter” here are ten tasty shows that guys can confidently invest a smattering of their psychic energy in. So, in no particular order…

1. INK MASTERS (Spike) – Hosted by rock’s Dave Navarro and a handful of the world’s best tattoo artists, this competition show uses real people as canvases for contestant’s to demonstrate their ink design skills. Hey, who wouldn’t want a “X-Men” character adorning their thigh or neck? The artists are good, but I feel bad for those bozos that agree to be permanently defaced with a failed design. But who knows, maybe they actually wanted that bad version of the Wolverine’s face and claws on their chest.

2. BAR RESCUE (Spike) – If you are a failing bar owner who is about to lose his home because he runs a skivvy venue that should be shuttered by the Board of Health and manned by a staff of rejects who skim tabs and can’t mix a Cosmo, then Jon Tafer is the man for you. Jon is a total Guy’s Guy. He and his team occupy the bar in question for a week. While ferreting out the problems, they break down the owner, staff, and the actual venue. Then with a special version of tough love and common sense, Jon rebuilds the business, the staff’s morale and the bar. You can place your bets on how long it will be before the owners refer to their old ways again after Jon leaves, but for a brief moment in time, their dreams are reborn. Way to go, Jon.

3. BOBBY FLAY’S THROWDOWN (Cooking Channel) – This former Food Network staple has found new life on their sister station filled with recycled content. At the onset of each show a bike messenger delivers Flay’s latest challenge. He might take on the biscuits and gravy champ in Chattanooga or the meatball king of Bronx. It doesn’t matter to our Bobby. He battles all comers and with the help of his crack staff, he owns about a .300 winning percentage. You can also pick up a number of cooking tips while being entertained. Nice show.

4. FIRST TAKE (ESPN) – Even in non-scripted television conflict is a key to the storytelling. If you’ve ever watched one of the housewives shows, you’ll know what I mean. Behind the desk of First Take are Skip Bayless, hailing from Oklahoma, Stephen A. Smith from Queens, New York and hottie, Carrie Champion, who acts as referee. Skip and Stephen A. both have long careers in sports journalism and a healthy dose of diarrhea of the mouth. I say this as a compliment because they can wax on endlessly any topic relating to sports without coming up for air until the next commercial break. Even my year old son turns his head when he hears Stephen A. start to wind up on a topic that he feels passionate about, like the Dallas Cowboys.

5. BREAKING THE MAGICIAN’S CODE (Bio) – If you ever wondered how a magician makes a girl’s torso disappear, makes spirits appear, or survives the fiery blades of depth, this is the show for you. In these days where selling out means good business, I’m wondering when the rest of the magicians trying to make a living are going to make this show and its participants permanently disappear.

6. KAYAK FISHING WITH JIM SAMMON (Fishing Channel) – Yes, there is a fishing show with a host named sammon, even if it is spelled differently than the fish. What could be more relaxing than sitting back and watching Big Jim paddle around the rivers and lakes of the Pacific Northwest in a tricked out kayak, casting his lines and scooping up fresh water beauties? Answer: Being Jim Sammon and getting paid to do this.

7. ALIEN MYSTERIES – Discovery - I have studied a number of books about alien contact. The consistencies I’ve read are that they are here, there are different species, and there are many who want to help. But, of course, we’re not ready for the truth. So instead, we’re fed scary stories of little gray creatures with big eyes that abduct us and shove cattle prods up our butts. Each episode begins by teasing the audience in the hopes that the final, uncontestable proof of alien contact will be offered. But, by the six commercial break or so, they show that photo of an ominous creature who we are reminded might have plans for enslaving the human race.  The show does investigate a number of ne sightings and cover ups, so if you are curious, there is fresh content delivered.

8. UNTAMED FLORIDA (NatGeoWild) - For some reasons, consumers love to watch shows featuring alligators and crocodiles. I guess the combination of curiosity and fear, along with the fact that you are safe at home in your armchair and not wandering through a southern swamp in the darkness makes for good viewing. What this show boils down to is that as crazy as the SoBe party scene is, Florida is a state populated with all sorts of wild creatures.

9. CHOPPED CANADA (Food Network) - Anyone who watches the Food Network can see that it is close to jumping the shark with so many shows featuring cupcake, food cart, dessert, and Iron Chef competitions. “Chopped” was a fresh ideaseven years ago. Now, for some reason, the brand has been extended north to Canada, which is not what we usually consider the epicenter of gourmet cooking. That said, this show fun to watch. The ingredients in the basket are different than in the US and the competing chefs are not quite as talented. So the competitions feel more organic than the gold standard set with the original show. The other thing I like is the judges are not as full of themselves as the New York judges.

10. CONSIRACY THEORY (Bio) - Jesse Ventura is a character. He's the former governor of Minnesota, former professional wrestler, and a free spirit who's not afraid to speak his mind. Of course he is often discredited and branded as a kook, but he does not back down from his points of view. Jesse and his team explore topics usually tinged with government security issues.  We see him get shut down at the point of entry to many areas of the country that are supposedly free open space. In one show Jesse and his team of experts explained that the government was breeding a new species of half-human mutant super solider in a hidden location that he tracked down. The show’s airing time gets juggled around by the network, so of course, Jesse says that this is part of a conspiracy to keep him quiet.

I could keep going with these shows, but the list is endless. The point is, if you’ve had enough of dark depressing television series produced with binge-watching in mind, you might find a few nuggets of light entertainment here that don’t take up all of your free time.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Mark Burnett, who brought us “Survivor”, the first real original non-scripted/reality show hit.

Things to be Cheerful About in 2014

Robert Manni - Friday, January 03, 2014


Let’s leave 2013 where it belongs…over, done, in the past.

I hope it was a good year for you, although many folks might prefer to deposit it in the dumpster. The good news is that every 365 days we get to reset. Never mind the resolutions we don’t keep and the baggage and pounds we need to shed. Those are just details. Here are some things, Guy’s Guy style, to be thankful for as we dig our teeth into a fresh and juicy 2014. Let’s do this, amigos!

1. You made it!

It’s no minor accomplishment. You’re alive. Think about that and be thankful. If you decide to stop reading here, that’s cool, because this is the most important point. Actually, on second thought, please keep reading…

2. You’ve got a second chance, again.

Okay, so you didn’t quit drinking and you never made it back to the gym after Valentine’s Day. So what? You have a fresh start, a new beginning, and another shot at your dream. You scored a do over. Now make the most of it.

3. No one cares if you screwed up last year.

Bottom line, we take ourselves way too seriously. Most of us feel that everyone is watching us and judging about our every move. Guess what? They’re not. Most of your friends don’t really give a shit about the sordid details of your life. They’re more interested in how you make them feel. Come to think about it, isn’t that what you feel about your friends? Gotcha!

4. The World Cup.

Soccer (the real football) keeps growing in popularity and this year’s tournament in Brazil should be a dilly with top teams from Europe and South America duking it out in the global matchup. Bet on Spain or the home team.

5. No presidential election.

Yeah, I know this was also the case in 2013, but it’s worth mentioning that we won’t be subjected to an endless onslaught of candidates political and personal slagging each other for eleven straight months. And think about it, once the person elected sits get in the big chair, they all drink the Kool-Aid on wars and the economy while ignoring the environment and our food supply.

6. The New York Super Bowl.

This could be a colossal success or fail. With no tailgating and temperatures anticipated in the teens for a night game, I’m betting fail. Also, I find it hard to believe that two wealthy New York football teams who share one stadium couldn’t come up with the scratch to install a retractable dome. Really? Either way, all eyes will be on NYC this January. I just read that they are building a giant toboggan that will run down Broadway. Only in New York.

7. New York has a new mayor.

Bloomie’s gone so you can drink your Big Gulps without worrying about being stopped and frisked. Park Slope rules now. The new administration could be a great tonic or a disaster. How much does anyone know about this guy anyway? I like his kids, but when they played such a major role in determining the election, I begin to wonder what’s behind the curtain. We’ll soon find out.

8. The government is still printing money.

I suspect we’re safe for another year before the bubble bursts again. The hogs gorge at the trough while the struggling masses continue their hope for a ray of light on immigration reform, a minimum wage hike and a return to full unemployment benefits—which, by the way, haven’t risen in value for the past twenty years. So what’s there to look forward to here, Guy’s Guy? Many now have health care and awareness is on the rise for other issues because…

9. The Internet is calling out more key issues.

Just a few years ago, was anyone talking about GMO’s, our food supply, or the NSA and our privacy?  Technology has been a great contributor to our collective knowledge base and wellbeing. Okay, so we’ve taken a few too many twerking pics and selfies, but news spreads like wildfire now. This is a good thing if managed with the right intention.

10. The Stones are still touring.

Just thinking about it keeps me young.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Baby New Year 2014. Here he is decked out in his diaper and sash. Let’s give him a collective slap on the ass and hope he’s a Guys Guy.

What makes you happy about 2014?

Social Media and Dating: The Good, The Bad, and The "Oops"!

Robert Manni - Thursday, July 18, 2013


It is the best of times. It is the worst of times…for dating.

The deepening integration of technology into our lives has, in many ways, pulled the world closer together. However, when it comes to developing basic social skills and maintaining a sense of privacy and decorum it has also pushed us further apart.  Dating is a prime example of the fallout, with both men and women paying a price.  Let's take a quick look at how technology and social media makes dating easier, while also presenting a few challenges along the way.

The Good.

Hooray for online dating.  I scored tons of dates with hot women while sitting at home in my tightie whiteys.  My wife likes to say that she found me online.  And it saved me years of hanging in clubs, bars and gyms in search of Ms. Right.  Dating online is fast, empowering and fun.  All you need is spell check, a handful of flattering photos, and the mindfulness to read between the lines of another person’s profile before investing your valuable time.  Once you meet, it’s business as usual.  And when you meet online, you can end things swiftly.  There’s an unspoken rule that makes anyone we meet online more disposable.  Sure; it’s not necessarily fair, but I think you’d agree.

The Bad.

Just because you meet someone online doesn’t make him or her less deserving of respect.  That’s the flip side of eliminating someone via one keystroke.  What is intended as expediency can come across as cold.  And although there's an endless pool of prospective partners available online, an itchy trigger finger on the delete button could prevent you from getting to know someone you may have liked had you met them in person, instead of your iPhone.  And when it comes to that first "date" at the coffee shop, not everyone is at the top of his or her game.  That’s not to suggest that you waste time on a bad fit. Just keep in mind that everyone has feelings. After an awkward first date a woman I met online wrote to me and stated that she did not “feel the sparkles”. How could I be upset?

The Oops.

Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. we live in an age of maximum exposure.  Once it’s online, it’s there forever.  You need to be mindful when being photographed at the party wearing just your tats and drinking straight out of a bottle of Whipped Cream vodka.  That may not be something you'd want to share with future paramours or potential employers.  My policy when dealing in the online space is if you can’t keep it positive; don’t put it out there. That goes for this post, too. Technology and social media can be a dater’s best friend or worst enemy—it’s up to you to decide.

Our Guy's Guy of the Week is Matti Makkonen, the inventor of the text message.

Be kind, be mindful, be loving and technology will serve you well.

Is Technology Killing Dating?

Robert Manni - Thursday, June 20, 2013


It’s ironic that nowadays, something as easy as dating has become a challenge and obsession. 

Technology has made interpersonal communication and hooking up so easy and disposable that real dating is as difficult now as it was before the Internet or social media enabled our efforts. Before the Internet, guys put themselves on the line when meeting a lady. We’d hit the bar or the gym and organically strike up a conversation that might lead to another conversation that might lead to a drink or a date. Concurrently, women hoped that the right guy would approach them at the bars or the gym. Now everyone’s time is compartmentalized and women are not waiting around. We use technology to engage or keep people away. When the headphones are on, don’t talk to meon the street, in a store, or in the gym. The bar is for your friends or watching the game. If you want to meet someone you go onlinedating sites, FB, Twitter, Instagram, Tinder.  Plink, plink, plink and you’re meeting for coffee. Does anyone know how to talk to somebody new without a handheld device?

There has never been a better time to be a guy. Women are smart, sexy, fit, and financially secure. Don’t send photos of your private parts and keep the cargo pants in the closet until Saturday and you can score at will. Women are looking for good guys to hang with and many don’t want a long-term relationship. They just want to have sex with you. Jackpot! So lots of guys take sex for granted and unfortunately don’t put in the effort to emotionally connect with women. Guys are too busy watching sports or checking their fantasy team stats to know when their perfect match is sitting right across the room with her girlfriends. Older guys know how to approach a woman, even in a group. They’ve had loads of practice getting shot down. It’s like a sales job.  You grow a thick skin and eventually smooth out your pitch.

There’s never been a more interesting time to be a woman. Face it. You don’t need guys for all that much. They’re not that evolved emotionally and you have more opportunities in the work place so you don’t need their money. That leaves sex and companionship and you can get lots of companionship and stimulating conversation from your BFF’s without having to deal with grunting frat boys. That leaves sex. Yes, it is an interesting time for women, not necessarily the best time. Guys need to catch up. I hope you’ll help them. If not, enjoy the sex.

Solution? Your Guy’s Guy wants men to be men. Get out there and introduce yourself to at least three new women per week, the old fashion way. “Hi, I’m Mike.”  Then ask her an open-ended question. Maybe if you’re confident and know how to smile the woman will slip off her ear buds and reply, “Hi, I’m Julie.” Just sayin’.

Is technology helping or hurting your dating life?

Our Guy's Guy of the Week is James Gandolfini for his authentic portrayal of Tony Soprano and for being an authentic Guy's Guy in real life.

The Guys’ Guy’s Guide To Great TV Shows

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 16, 2013


Guy’s Guys love television.

It’s part of our DNA. After a day at work or a long run, it’s great to kick back and unwind in front of the tube. That doesn’t mean we’re couch potatoes. Guy’s Guys are active and well informed about the news and pop culture. But, we believe in pacing ourselves and television is a great way to tune in or tune out. Fortunately, with the advent of so many cable channels, the quality of television has risen over the past decade. It’s a writer’s medium.

There have been countless great Guy’s Guy shows over the years, but here is a short list of nuggets culled from over thirty years of staring at a screen that has increased in size, clarity and definition. You can learn a lot about a man by what he watches on television. If he’s addicted to HSN and DWTS, you may want to rethink your relationship. Criteria? The shows must feature guys, demonstrate imagination, and be great for viewing with a hangover. So in no particular order I offer you The Guys’ Guy’s Guide To Great TV Shows.

1.    Mr. Ed - A horse is a horse of course of course. What Guy’s Guy wouldn’t want a talking horse? Mr. Ed was sarcastic, clever, and always helped his owner, Wilbur, get out of jams. Best episode? Mr. Ed tries out for the Los Angeles Dodgers and hits a home run by sliding into home plate. Are you kidding me?

2.    Entourage - Four young bucks take on Hollywood. Sex, drugs, rock n roll and lots of hot women. The cast had chemistry and they knew enough to end the series before it jumped the shark. Most memorable character? Ari, hands down. He gobbled up the screen.  “LLOYD!!!”

3.    The Sopranos - I’m from North Jersey. Got a problem with that? There is an actually a Bada Bing club and Jersey has never been portrayed so truthfully as gangster lifestyle blurs the suburban landscape. I met James Gandolfini in a bar in MePa after season one and drank with him for two hours. When I asked the key to being a great actor, he pointed to his heart and said, “It’s gotta come from here.” True story.

4.   Miami Vice - Talk about changing the game. This Michael Mann production ignited South Beach’s restoration from the doldrums. This was the first show that integrated music into the storylines and it featured so many up and coming actors in guest spots. Remember Frank Zappa playing a coke dealer? How about Bruce Willis and Willie Nelson? The cast? Perfecto. Lieutenant Castillo? Incredible. A true, no-nonsense Guy’s Guy.

5.   Californication - How could your Guy’s Guy not love a bawdy series about a drunken, horn dog novelist who moves from NYC to LA in search of fame and fortune? David Duchovny nails his role as Hank Moody, the writer who takes on the world, and a lot of gorgeous women. Hilarious. But after seven seasons is the show is beginning to lose it way?

6.   The Three Stooges - Mission critical viewing in frat houses across America. For some reason three little guys hitting one another with fish, hammers, and nail guns provides a great release for men in need of balls out laughs. With respect to Shep and Joe Besser, I’m a Curly fan.

7.    Charlie Rose - This man is like a porpoise. He has no shut off switch. He’s on the morning news and an evening interview show on PBS. When does he sleep? And he asks really good questions. Let’s toast our Red Bull to this tireless, brilliant newsman and interviewer. Love the black backdrop. Someday, Charlie, someday…

8.    The Odd Couple - Possibly the ultimate Guy’s Guy show. An advertising neat freak moves in with a lovable sportswriter slob. Instant conflict. Instant laughs, and adult stories that any New Yorker can relate to. I prefer the TV show to the movies, because the show stayed fresh and kept growing on me. I cannot recall a boring episode. That’s special.

9.    The Wild Wild West - There has to be one western adventure shoot em up on the list. Robert Conrad plays James West, secret agent in the 1860’s. Pretty cool concept for the 1960’s. His partner, Artemus Gordon plays a master of lame disguises, but the show is purposely over the top as the two agents travel by train across the west solving federal conspiracies. And who can forget a three-foot tall arch villain named Dr. Miquelito Lopez? Classic!

10.  ESPN's SPORTSCENTER - Guy’s Guys love sports and as annoying as this show can be, it is the first of its kind and remains the gold standard for sports info and highlights. There a innumerable versions and spin offs now, but it’s reassuring that when you need a score for your fantasy league or just want a shot of seeing someone drain a three point shot, Sports Center continues to deliver. 

Well kids, that’s but a sampling of some of the favorite Guys’ Guy’s favorite television shows. So next time you are wondering just who the heck is this man I’m sitting next to look at what shows he’s watching and you may find out that he is in fact a Guy’s Guy. Or not.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Philo Farnsworth, whom many credit with inventing the television.

Is Your Guy A Guy’s Guy?


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