One Man’s Cave is Another Man’s Rumpus Room

I know it's not Tartan Plaid.  Stop splitting hairs - it's not a very manly thing to do! (Image from shopcurated dot com)
I know it’s not Tartan Plaid. Stop splitting hairs – it’s not a very manly thing to do! (Image from shopcurated dot com)

Three things have struck me during my recent viewing of entirely too many real-estate themed reality shows.  First, why hasn’t anyone coined the phrase “realty reality TV” or “reality realty TV”?  Seems like a natural.  Second, why does everyone on these shows say “price point” when they really just mean “price”?  Finally, why is it so important for many of these guys to have a “man cave” in their home?

If these shows are any indication, a man’s home is not his castle after all.  The most guys can hope for is a finished space just off the laundry room where they can burp, scratch themselves and generally be men without fear of being judged – they call this space a man cave.  Historians of the male experience will point out that in bygone eras, the place where a man could act this way was called “anywhere he damn-well pleased“.

Those historians may be a little bitter.  They might also be tempted to dismiss the man cave as nothing more than the modern equivalent of the mid-century phenomenon known as the rumpus room.

Since we’re talking guy stuff, it’s inevitable that things will end up getting competitive.  Bragging rights are at stake, so I’m daring to ask the question; Which one’s better, your neighbor’s man cave, or my Uncle Walt’s rumpus room?  We’ll look at several key components to any architectural space and put the rumpus room head to head with the man cave and see which wins.

Decor

 

Rumpus – Tartan plaid polyester-blend upholstery

vs.

Cave – Neutral microfiber with tasteful accent pillows

Winner – Cave: That plaid upholstery wasn’t comfortable when it was new, and the passage of time has done little to change that.

Rumpus – Console stereo complete with record changer and Scandinavian wood cabinetry

vs.

Cave – MP3 Dock with wireless speakers and sub-woofer

Winner – Cave: The retro appeal of a stereo which is larger than a casket on legs is all well and good, but my Iron Butterfly and Strawberry Alarm Clock albums are hopelessly scratched.

Rumpus – Shag carpeting

vs.

Cave – Pastel tile left over from the kitchen remodel

Winner – Rumpus: That tile might pass muster in your wife’s fancy kitchen, but it doesn’t work for a cave.  Any leftover scraps of shag can be used to give that minivan a make-over

Rumpus -Set of three Vargas girls carefully cut out of old Playboy magazines and framed

vs.

Cave – Digital picture frame from Radio Shack uploaded with several images of Kate Upton

Winner – Cave: Vargas girls are impossibly leggy and really classy, but cutting them out of a magazine is not exactly high brow.

(Image from foodtruckfestivalsofne dot com)
(Image from foodtruckfestivalsofne dot com)

 

Accessories/Entertainment

 

Rumpus – Pocket billiard table

vs.

Cave – video game system

Winner – Rumpus: Your kids will tire of billiards within a few weeks, but they’ll own the video game system.  They’ll beat your ass in any game you choose and claim the room as theirs.  If you don’t have kids, your man cave is located in the master bedroom.  Go breed, Tarzan – we can revisit the rumpus room topic once you’ve got some crumb-snatchers to escape from.

Rumpus – Antique Barber Shop Pole

vs.

Cave – Stripper Pole

Winner – Rumpus: Stop pouting, there’s a logical reason for this.  A barber shop pole is kind of decorative.  A stripper pole is only a chrome pipe, unless there’s a stripper on it.  Whose absence would be more noticeable, Luigi from The Clip Joint, or Kandii Krush from the Playtime Lounge out by the airport?

Maybe if you had a long enough barber's pole, Kandii could use that.  (Image from Etsy dot com)
Maybe if you had a long enough barber’s pole, Kandii could come spin on it. (Image from Etsy dot com)

Rumpus – Dart board

vs.

Cave – Beer pong table

Winner – Rumpus: I realize you may have spent years perfecting the art of throwing ping pong balls into cups of flat beer, but essentially, this is a drinking game popular with young guys who shave once a week whether they need it or not.  Darts is a time honored game for grown-assed men, involving sharp flying objects and a bit of math.  If you’re old enough to have a rumpus room or man cave, you’re old enough to risk losing an eye.

Rumpus – Statue of drunk against lamp post which plays “How Dry I Am”

vs.

Cave –   “Parking Reserved For (Insert Local NFL Team Here) Fans” street sign

Winner – Rumpus: The statue of the drunk is a collectible piece of kitsch.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some Fancy Dan on “The Antiques Roadshow” got himself in a lather over one of them and told the owner it was worth $300 or something.

Few things speak to the essence of maleness more than drunk statuary with music boxes inside.  (Image from ebay dot com)
Few things speak to the essence of maleness more than drunk statuary with music boxes inside. (Image from ebay dot com)

Refreshments

 

Rumpus – Wet bar with tufted leatherette front, butcher block top with assorted beer labels and a few coins sealed beneath 10 coats of polyurethane

vs.

Cave – Wet bar with brushed stainless front and granite top purchased at discount during the kitchen remodeling project

Winner – Rumpus: Tufted leatherette just screams “Manly steakhouse!”  Also, watching guys try to pick up the coins never gets old.

Rumpus – 1958 Kelvinator refrigerator in Bel Aire Blue finish retrofitted into early keg-a-rator complete with partial keg of Rheingold Extra Dry

vs.

Cave – Frigidaire refrigerator in Almond finish, left over from kitchen remodel, stocked with several varieties of micro brews, each with edgy names and artsy labels, plus bottles of mineral water, peach wine coolers and Coors Light

Winner – Cave: That Kelvinator has always had a smell to it and the sheet metal work to convert it into a draft beer dispenser is not exactly shop grade.  Even though that Rheingold is likely flat by now, this one was still close, largely due to the presence of water, wine coolers and beer flavored water in the Frigidaire

Rumpus – Six bottles, including blended scotch, bourbon, Canadian whiskey, gin, vodka, and white creme de menthe

vs.

Cave – Multiple varieties of single malt scotches, boutique bourbons, and triple-filtered ice-distilled vodkas in frosted glass bottles

Winner – Cave: Standard issue booze might’ve been okay for those lushes on Mad Men, but this is 2014.  Spending three times more for spirits aged in French oak and distilled by virgins is worth every penny.  Besides, using the leftover tiles from the kitchen and the old fridge freed up some serious cash

Gimme a Sidecar, two Gibsons, straight up, and a Rusty Nail for the lady.  (Image from fiveoclockcocktails dot com)
Gimme a Sidecar, a Gibson, a Dirty Mohican with extra capers, and a Rusty Nail for the lady in red. (Image from fiveoclockcocktails dot com)

For those of you keeping score (probably the dart players), Rumpus Room has squeezed out a one point victory.  Please stay tuned for more of this exciting hair-splitting in upcoming posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life On the Trail – True Tales from the Easter Bunny

Hippity Hoppity my fluffy white ass.  The trail is a bitch.

I’m down at the Pinewood, sipping on a short, dirty glass of cheap Canadian.  My beer back-up is looking a little flat.  This place is a long way from the Ritz, but you’d still think they’d wash the glasses a little more often.

The Round Man is sitting next to me.  Got himself swiveled on the stool while he’s chatting up some bimbo.  He’s jolly alright, but for all the hype about his taste in behaviors, he definitely leans more toward the naughty girls than the nice ones.  Next to him are three of the wee ones – two of Round Man’s best workers plus Irish.  That little dude is a mean SOB when he’s gettin’ his drink on.  I’m glad he’s four seats away from me.  You never know when some drunk college kid will come in and call him Chuckie or Lucky Charms or something and next thing you know, the cops are comin’ in and somebody’s gonna need stitches.  Still, I gotta admit, the three of ’em look cute sitting up there on barstools with their little feet so far off the floor.

The trail can wear a bunny down, make him cold, drive him into questionable locales. (Illustration by the author - That's right, I'm a freakin' Renaissance Man!)

We don’t always hang out like this, but sometimes I like to chill out with a few of my buddies who understand life on the trail.  There used to be better attendance at these get-togethers, but some of the usual crew’s drifted apart.  The T-Fairy prefers a different kind of bar, and that’s fine by me – to each his own right?  Jackie Frost, may he rest in peace, is gone but not forgotten.  Freakin’ global warming pretty much did him in.

Let’s not get it twisted, I aint no retiree in a Bunny suit down at the mall gettin’ my pic snapped with your brat for five bucks a throw.  I’m talking the real deal here – these ears aint clip-ons.

Like I said at the start, life on the trail’s a bitch.  I smell like freakin’ Hershey, Pee-Ay 6 months out of the year from all the crap I’m delivering.  Don’t think it isn’t a little weird to be spending a large part of my life carrying around giant, hollow chocolate replicas of myself.  Then droppin’ em off only to have the parents of these kids eat the ears off a day or two later.  It’s a heavy load knowing I’m guiding the youth of the world down the path toward obesity and diabetes.

I had to get therapy for that crap.  I finally gave up on talking to the shrink.  He blamed my issues on my father.  That was the last straw for me.  My father!?  How much of a presence in your life can your father be when you have 237 brothers and sisters?  Besides, the mental health waiver on my insurance sucked.  I’d rather spend that co-pay money on shots and beers and get my counseling from the Round Man and maybe one of his naughty girls if she has a friend.  You know what I mean?

Don’t get me wrong, the trail isn’t all sore paws and nightmares about waking up with my ears bit off.  I’ve had some good times too.  Some wild crap goes on out there.  This one time, outside of Dubuque, Iowa, this chick walks in on me when I’m hiding eggs and filling baskets.  She’s half in the bag and reeks of Malibu rum.  Anyway, she must be on her way to the head when she sees me standin’ there with a handful of Marshmallow Peeps, and she just goes nuts.  You know the whole “I can’t believe you’re really really real!”  song and dance.  She goes on to tell me how she always hoped I was real, but findin’ out -well that’s somethin’ special.  Then a little light goes on in her drunken head and she realizes that she aint wearing much more than her hubby’s Drake University T-shirt and a pair of fuzzy socks.  Well…one thing leads to another and let’s just say I didn’t do nothin’ to hurt the stereotypes about the bunny nation, if you follow my drift.

Stories like that, they happen, but it aint the usual.  The usual is more like people with hi-tech security systems and Rottweilers.  Bratty kids whose parents have convinced them that Easter aint nothin’ but Christmas in the Spring.  Chocolate and malted milk candy eggs can weigh a rabbit down, but they don’t compare to Nintendo Wii’s and bikes.  I got a couple dentists I play golf with in the off season and they aint too happy with that trend – believe you me.  My chiropractor – he’s happy as crap.

So in a few days we’ll close up shop and I can try to relax and enjoy the off-season.  Me and the Round Man are gonna hit the links and maybe do some fishing.  The trail aint no easy time, but fishin’ for wahoo and throwing back a few frosties can help me forget my tender paws and aching back for a while.

Uh oh.  Looks like a couple of frat boys are startin to bust on Irish a little.  It might be time to hit the bathroom until the smoke clears.  I’ll see you kids next year, okay?

THE FUTURE OF REALITY TV

"So...these shows will have just like regular people OK?..but cooler than just regular people, because you know, they're like...on TV and stuff"

I’m sure if someone told you ten short years ago about what would pass for entertainment in 2012, you would have looked at them as if perhaps they’d lost their mind.

“There’s going to be a show about an exterminator, OK?  The camera follows him around while he gets raccoons out of attics and knocks hornets’ nests down from porches.  Sometimes he gets stung by the bees and possums try to bite him.  He wears a funny hat and he’s like..a rocker dude?  Then, there’s gonna be this other show, OK?  where they follow meter maids around in Philadelphia while they give parking tickets and put boots on cars.  It’s gonna be really funny because it makes Philly look even worse than usual.  Cool, right? There’s all kinds of people screaming and yelling ’cause you know, nobody likes having their car towed and stuff.  Then, there’s gonna be this other cool show where you watch people make cakes, but wait, don’t make that face, cause they’re really cool cakes that don’t even look like cakes man, and the bakers are all like these kind of Soprano-talking dudes and then…”

By this point you’d have tuned the person out and tried not to roll your eyes at their insane rambling.  He’s off his meds again – hide the pets.

Of course, as we know all too well, these are all shows which have actually come to life in these strange times.

Now the obvious question: What next?  What could possibly be more interesting than watching inept, out-of-work loggers trying to mine gold in Alaska?  What in the world could compare with the trials and tribulations of rich, suburban housewives from Atlanta, Orange County or New York?  Hold on to your hard-hats and/or breast implants people, because I’ve figured it out!

Several of these shows have already given us hints as to the future of reality entertainment.  “The Deadliest Catch” stepped away from showing the gritty, tough lives of crab fishermen in the Bering Sea and focused instead on their own difficult job of recording the gritty, tough lives of crab fishermen in the Bering Sea.  That’s right – they showed the cameramen, sound guys and producers of the show as they worked in challenging conditions to film the fishermen.  On a special episode of “Gold Rush”, the emphasis was on filming the film crew running around to catch all the action as miners threw tantrums and pick-axes (OK, I’ll admit, I didn’t see anyone threw a pick-axe – it’s called poetic license).

A brief, but necessary detour from our topic: It’s a fact that nothing is more appealing to show-biz people than shows about show biz-people.  You can see it now and way-back-when in entertainment from sixty or seventy years ago.  The black and white movie flickers on the screen, some freckle-faced young actor calls out “Hey kids!  Let’s put on a show!”.  Soon the whole gang is building scenery and practicing dance numbers.  There were notably fewer movies where the freckle-faced youngster calls out “Hey kids, let’s open a veterinary clinic” or “Say fellas, wouldn’t it be swell if we started our own full service nail salon right here on Main Street?!”

In the years since, there’s been plenty of narcissistic examples of show biz focusing on itself.  Movies and TV series like “Fame”, “A Chorus Line”, “A Star Is  Born” and more recently “Smash” all tell the stories of people acting and singing all about their lives acting and singing.

I know what you’re thinking: “Dave, what the hell does ‘Smash’ and ‘A Chorus Line’ have to do with reality TV?”   Keep your pants on, I told you it was a brief detour, didn’t I?

Show biz has waited patiently for America to get through this awkward phase of infatuation with reality TV.  Now they have found the gateway back into our viewing hearts.  Drum roll please…The next phase in reality shows is:

Reality shows about the making of reality shows!  The reality show will have less emphasis on the subject of the show and increasingly focus on the people who make the reality shows.  After the new “show about a show about a baker” phase runs its course, the logical evolutionary step into the future will be “a show about a show about a show about an exterminator”.  There will be a brief period where cameramen and sound engineers will be as famous as Kardashians.

In this scene, one of the miners takes over the sound boom to catch the audio as the camera crew pushes a car. A second camera crew records this special moment. In the next phase, a third camera crew will record the second camera crew - capturing the gutsy intensity of people filming other people who are filming other people who are pushing a car.

As the number of people on-camera swells, it will be increasingly difficult for producers to count on so many people who have traditionally been on the opposite side of the lens to act naturally.  Since the 1st and 2nd camera units will no longer be shooting any actual footage, the producers will eventually replace them with good looking young actors and actresses.

Within a few additional years, the viewers, who aren’t all that bright to begin with, will not be able to tell reality TV from scripted TV.  Television will once again be in the business of telling stories.  Writers, long thought extinct, will creep back into brainstorming sessions.  Actors, who were already confused by all of this, will settle back into the simple job of pretending to be a fictional character in a scene, rather than posing as a cameraman in a show about a show about a show about people who buy abandoned storage lockers.

Got it?

I didn’t think so.  Don’t worry, just keep watching TV and it will all be explained to you in due time.

Marriage 101 Required reading: Man to woman dictionary

  • She Says: "This will hurt me more than it hurts you"
  • She Means: "If this hurts me more than it hurts you, I'm doing it wrong"

Do we have to wonder why this artist only lived to be 38?
Bartholomeus Molenaer (1612-1650)

 

I recently read a blog which troubled me.  The fact that I read a blog which troubled me also troubled me, as I tend to stay away from troubling blogs, preferring to occupy my time with light-hearted, funny blogs and those with pictures of cleavage in them.  The blog in question detailed a woman’s frustration with her husband.  It took no time at all to realize the problem.  These two lovebirds had a serious communication breakdown.  I felt badly for them, as there seemed to be no way this husband and wife would possibly find a way to understand each other without some outside assistance.

I knew that I had to step in and help.  I had planned on cleaning the garage and policing the yard for dog dookie, but I would have to put these selfish acts aside and work on bridging their gender communication gap first.

Here now, I present some common Man-Woman / Woman-Man translations accompanied by typical interpretations:

  • When he says:  “Honey, have you seen my car keys?”
  • He means: “I can’t seem to find my car keys – I hope you’ve seen them”

The common female interpretation is: “I’m an idiot.  Even a toddler can keep track of a jingling set of shiny keys.  Maybe in the future I should secure my keys to a massive chunk of 2 X 4 so they’re harder for me to lose in my limited mental capacity.  I don’t deserve a woman like you.  Please help me”

  • When she says: ” Does this skirt make my butt look fat?”
  • She means: “Do you ever wish you’d married someone else?  Do you realize I shopped for hours to find this skirt?  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to lose this baby weight?”

The common male interpretation is: “Don’t you dare answer this question.  It’s a trap, run..RUN NOW!!”

  • When he says: “Is that a new blouse?”
  • He means: “I wonder how it will look in a heap on the floor after we get the kids to bed”

The common female interpretation is: “Does that idiot think this is a new blouse?  I bought this back when we were still dating!  Crap, I could’ve bought a new blouse”

  • When she says: “Do you mind helping with the dishes?”
  • She means: “Do the dishes yourself and be glad I don’t break a plate over your head!  Wasn’t it enough that I cooked the dinner in the first place?  Do I have to do everything?”

The common male interpretation is: “The Browns are a 10 point dog against the Steelers.  My neck itches again.  Did she just ask me something?  Crap!  What should I say?  I’ll just nod.  Maybe if I do the dishes she won’t wait for an answer to whatever she asked”

  • When she says: “Hey Shakespeare!  I thought you were going to organize the garage today.  Why are you still sitting there typing”
  • She means: “Unless you’re going to start making money doing that blog nonsense, you better turn off the laptop and start organizing the tools and patio furniture.  And don’t forget, it was your bright idea to get a dog”

The common interpretation is: “Did she just ask me something?  Dammit, there goes my train of thought!  I was just about to come up with a witty, smart-assed way to end this post”