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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Memo

The receptionist is out on maternity leave and the secretary is busy doing important work, like running the place and getting my car detailed.  I’ve been assigned the arduous task of handling the memos.  Today’s memos cover reality TV shows.

Memo

To: Network programming people

Message: Re-running the same episode but with the Tweeted comments of idiots inserted into the corner of the picture does not constitute new entertainment.  You may fool my DVR with this ploy, but I see right through it.  If I wanted the opinions of dolts added to my viewing experience, I’d watch TV down at the corner bar.  For the record, @pornstarrentacar Tweets “#1ptperspective I agree, man.  U blog truth! – this episode sux as bad as 1st time – even Twitter cant help it

I scoured the internet for a screen shot of one of these shows and struck out, big time.  So I Tweeted a Tweet, cut and pasted into the corner of this pic, and whew, I'm freaking exhausted.  (Doctored image from Naked and Afraid)
I scoured the internet for a screen shot of one of these shows with a Tweet in the corner and struck out.  So I had to post a Tweet, cut and paste into the corner of this pic, and whew, I’m freaking exhausted. (Doctored image from Naked and Afraid)

 

Memo

To: TV Creative Consultants

Message: We’ve seen a married couple survive the wilderness, we’ve seen a barefoot hippy dude paired with a military-type guy survive the wilderness, we’ve seen a British guy who allegedly spent his nights out of the wilderness off-camera in luxury hotels survive the wilderness, we’ve seen a guy with nothing but a couple of cameras and a harmonica survive the wilderness, and most recently we’ve seen pairs of naked strangers survive the wilderness.  How about making a show about people who don’t survive the wilderness?

 

Search and rescue teams worldwide agree it's much easier to locate the remains if a camera cre documents everything.  (Image from saportareport dot com)
Search and rescue teams worldwide agree it’s much easier to locate the remains after a grizzly bear attack if a camera crew documents it first. (Image from saportareport dot com)

 

Memo

To: TV Location Scouts

Message: Alaska is an enormous state, but it’s relatively sparsely populated.  We’ve now got shows which include nearly every segment of its population, including state troopers, crab fishermen, gold miners, ice-road truck drivers, dredge gold miners, lumberjacks, vice presidential candidates, mountain men and homesteaders.  By my reckoning, the only remaining segments of the population who don’t have their own shows are convenience store clerks and salmon cannery workers.  Please begin taping the shows about these last two groups as soon as possible, so we can move on to another state.  FYI, I hear Delaware is beautiful at this time of the year and to the best of my knowledge, no one has done a show about chicken farmers yet.

This photo shows the grid-lock traffic typical in Alaska during rush hour.  (Photo by Anne Kostalas)
This photo shows the grid-lock traffic typical in Alaska during rush hour.  Two of the drivers in this shot are rumored to have their own reality TV shows. (Photo by Anne Kostalas)

 

1Point’s Guide to Winning Blogs: Chapter 2 – Topics

Everyone knows that some topics are just more appealing than others.  If you write about the best way to peel a rutabaga, you shouldn’t be too surprised at the lack of hits.  Juicy, sexy topics will almost certainly be more popular.  Many readers, just like actual people, are bottom-feeding gutter dwellers.  They savor scandal and yearn to laugh at the idiocy of others.

So penning a post on the “Real Housewives of Tulsa” or a similar bit of pop-culture fluff will almost guarantee hits.  Even so, you’ll inevitably get comments from people who don’t watch “those shows”.  Given half a chance, they’ll point out that while you’re watching inept goldminers sift through dirt and try to fix broken front-end loaders, they’re sitting on their intellectual buttocks watching BBC America for the higher-browed, better versions of The Office, Kitchen Nightmares and Who Wants to be a Bloody Millionaire, Eh Guv-nah?

The long-standing advice to writers has always been to “write what you know”.  This advice is quite logical, as writing about what you don’t know is damn near impossible.  If you doubt me, refer to my post titled, How the Minds of Women Work”

The trouble is that what most of us “know” is pretty boring and not even of interest to ourselves, let alone others.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started writing a post on “wheelchair seating assessments for the non-ambulatory pediatric population” only to realize that there’s just not enough sex and violence to keep most readers on the hook.  Similarly, my post “Forty Shades of Brown” on the best approaches to raking leaves in a yard littered with Labradoodle dookie, while filled with useful information, fell flat on the hits.  I’m almost certain that recounting a less successful outing in the yard, complete with slips, falls and cursing would have been better received.

The best strategy then, is this; if you have to write what you know, be sure to jazz it up with some dirty humor and fabricated violence whenever possible.  I’ll show you what I mean.  Here’s a brief paragraph I wrote up for an example;

Peeling a rutabaga doesn’t have to be difficult.  Using a sharp knife and cutting board, I start at the end where one of the flat spots is.  I chop a fairly thick slab off – maybe a 1/4 inch – parallel to the flat spot.  This gives me a nice stable root vegetable to work with – you don’t want that thing rolling around when you’re handling sharp knives!  Next, I systematically slice the waxy skin from the equator down towards the cutting board.  Don’t worry if you cut the skin off on the thick side, rutabagas are pretty big – you should still have plenty!  In my next post, I’ll describe the best way to chop, cook and prepare the rutabagas for your table!

There wasn’t much wrong with that paragraph.  It gave a fairly decent idea of how to peel a rutabaga.  My special hints on how to make the homely rutabaga a star on your Thanksgiving table will remain top secret.  I’m trying to instruct you rubes on how to write successful blogs, if you think I’m going to divulge decades of culinary knowledge in the process, then you’ve got another thing coming.  Wait..Don’t pout!  You know it pulls at my heart strings to see you that way.  Alright… I’ll give you a cooking hint, but then it’s back to writing winning blogs.  Here it is:  If you put enough butter on it, even a turd becomes appetizing.  Happy now?  Good!  Now let’s dab those tears away and get back to writing.  I’m going to take that same paragraph, but punch it up and really give it some zip.

You want to know how to peel a rutabaga?  Cut all the waxy crap off the outside of it and try not to lose any fingers.  If you’re a woman – and you should be, because this is woman’s work, after all – I suggest wearing a lacy apron and a pair of pumps while you do it.  It’d be nice if you did something with your hair too, but it’s not mandatory.  When you’re about half way done, put down the knife and go see if your man needs his martini refreshed.  When you ask him, try to smile and use a soothing tone – he’s probably had a tough day already.  If he slaps you on the fanny as you turn to return to the kitchen, be a good sport and give him a little squeal.

Did you notice the difference?  It was subtle – go back and read the two paragraphs again if you need to, I’ll wait.

To the novice author, this is a rutabaga on a window sill.  To the seasoned story-teller, this is a sexy orb of starchy desire.  Its pale orange skin and bruise-colored markings just need a little lace and maybe a sharp knife.
To the novice author, this is a rutabaga on a window sill. To the seasoned story-teller, this is a sexy orb of starchy desire. Its pale orange skin and bruise-colored markings just need a little lace and maybe a sharp knife.

Careful readers might think that the second paragraph was a tad sexist.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the more sensitive among you were even insulted by it.  The important thing is the end result; the next time I post something, no matter how inane the subject matter, readers will hopefully click on it as they mutter the words “I wonder what that idiot will say this time“.

To summarize, it doesn’t matter what your topic is, as long as you write with some style and a voice, even if the voice is that of a moron.  Here are some more helpful rules of thumb:

  • If the post is “clean” enough to send to your 12 year old niece, you need to go back and sex it up.  You also need to drop your niece off your email list.  I’m sure she has more than enough homework and only reads your blog because your sister-in-law makes her.
  • If there aren’t enough scatalogical references to keep the attention of your average 6th grade boy, then put some in there.  Refer to my “buttering a turd” reference above – that one’s a gem!
  • If no one gets slapped, pinched or threatened, you need to find a way to work that kind of stuff into your post – I’m telling you, violence is blog gold!
  • Finally – Give your blog a test-read, aloud, before you consider publishing it.  If it sounds like the audio-book adaptation for “Changing The Oil In Your Ford Taurus”, narrated by Ben Stein, you’ll need to consider an overhaul, or better yet, just trash it and start over.

Tune in next time, when I provide more tips for writing winning blogs!

Here's 1point in happier times, before the cardboard dwelling, before fighting a bum named "Lefty" for the rights to the steam grate.
Here’s 1point in happier times, before the cardboard dwelling, before fighting a bum named “Ostrich” for the rights to the steam grate.

About the author:  Ironically, despite his massive following and several “likes” of most of his posts, 1pointperspective has yet to be Freshly Pressed.  He’s been blogging about the goings on in his head for 10 months or so, and he doesn’t seem to heed his own advice, except for the stuff about poop references.  He lives in a cardboard box just adjacent to a steam grate, just south of City Hall in Philadelphia.  When not giving free blog advice, he pan-handles and screams at tourists.