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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon-Scented Garbage

I was watching TLC the other night and saw several commercials for “Craft Wars”.  For those of you who have enough of a life to have avoided seeing the commercials or TLC itself, allow me to describe what this craft competition show will apparently be about.

“Hi Tori! By the way, I’m a big fan of your work. Oh…Okay, well anyway, this piece is my interpretation of a happy jack-o-lantern. It will make a great door hanging or as seasonal decoration. The crooked grin gives it a touch of whimsy!” (Image from blog.craftzine.com)

Three contestants are given crafting supplies including all the hot-glue sticks and glitter they could ever hope for.  Then, the host says “Your time starts…NOW!”  The crafter-contestants, who by their very existence make me feel like a superior life form, all scramble across the set to get to the bins of crap that they’ll be making “crafts” out of.  This is essentially the same format that’s used on shows like “Top Chef”, “Design Star”, “Chopped”, “The White Room Challenge” and countless others.  As if watching these scrap-booking, swatch-pasting zealots isn’t bad enough in and of itself, the whole thing is hosted by massive has-been mega-talent, Tori Spelling!  The description above was gleaned from my having viewed a 30 second commercial several times, while I was busy watching some other inane offering on TLC.

It’s truly effortless to sit here and complain about what passes for entertainment these days.  I mean, they make it so easy.  So I sat down to write my rants about just that, but then a deeper thought occurred to me.  With the recent celebration of Father’s Day, I was reminded of what my Dad used to say;

“Turn off that damn idiot box and go cut the grass, dammit!”

Oh wait, wrong Dad quote.  He also used to say;

“If you’ve got a problem with it, then come up with something better or shut the hell up!”

Good point, Dad (My Dad didn’t actually curse that much, but I sure as shit do).  I put on my thinking cap and came up with some programming  ideas of my own.  I’m going to email these ideas to TLC, NatGeo, HGTV, Bravo and A&E.  They’ll be welcome to use any and all of my ideas without having to pay me a dime, but I do want the title “Creative Consultant” and a link to my blog in the opening and closing credits.  Here we go:

The Rolls Royce of Eternal Rest – this baby is a serious upgrade.(Image from Jawdrops.com)

America’s Next Top Mortician – Three morticians are given a challenging stiff to prepare for a viewing and funeral.  They will each have a fixed number of hours to fully prepare the corpse for interment.  Some of the challenges will include pushy, unrealistic family members who want Aunt Bessie to look “more life-like”, ill-fitting clothes for the deceased, and convincing the family they should pay for the up-graded casket.  Finally, what final-rest competition would be complete without the hearse-obstacle course?

Janitors Got Talent – Everyone knows at least one janitor who insists on singing or telling jokes while pushing brooms and emptying trash cans.  Here’s a chance for janitors to shine like freshly scrubbed porcelain!  Each contestant will have to demonstrate their unique talent while brushing toilets, running a floor buffer and refilling the soap dispensers in the women’s bathroom.

Cryo-Bank Tellers  24/7 – This gritty, up-close slice of reality will follow the challenges of round-the-clock employees at a St. Louis sperm bank as they deal with the crazy demands of such a bizarre work environment.  Hand held cameras will follow them throughout the facility with copious amounts of digitized blurring of clients faces, specimen jars and more!  At least once every episode, one of the tellers will lament “The sign on the door said ‘Unoccupied’, Geez I hate when that happens!”  Hilarity meets revulsion when new staff members are pranked and directed to put their lunches in the wrong refrigerator!

Bus Wars – Broad Street Local – Parking Wars meets Cash Cab as Philadelphia’s public transportation passengers are asked impossibly difficult trivia questions.  Contestants are frustrated, angered and embarrassed to realize they can’t possibly win any money.  Tempers flare when the contestants realize that the host/driver has ignored their stops while waiting for one of them to answer the question!

You turbo-charge this thing, put a chain guard on it and go to work. (Image from social.kidspot.com.au)

American Baby-Nose Pickers – Poor little Tyler and Brittany can’t do it themselves with their little bitty fingers!  Whether they use the squeeze ball, a Q-Tip or their own massive adult fingers, Moms and even Dads just can’t rest until that little hanger is out of their babies’ honkers.  The contestants will have to face tough challenges like booger-eating older siblings and the nausea of onlookers.  Tension builds as we close in on the final weigh-in!

My Biggest Fat Gypsy Rose Lee Loser – Theatrical directors and personal trainers team up to direct a community theater production of “Gypsy”, starring the morbidly obese who compete to lose the most weight while dancing and singing the hit numbers from 1959’s Broadway smash!  Wardrobe issues and self-esteem are on a collision course in this emotional competition!  Contestants are pushed to the brink when they have to keep their appetites and salivary glands in check while singing the lyric “..have an egg roll, Mr. Goldstone..”

That’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m going to go ahead and send the link for this blog to all those networks.  Keep your eyes peeled in the months to come, I think I’ve got a few winners here.  Listen up network execs, as promised, these ideas are there for the taking, and all I ask is the “Creative Consultant” tag and a plug for my blog.  Be warned though, my next batch won’t come so cheap!