Manly Gifts, volume IV

June 28, 2008

Gifts, gifts, and more gifts.  Let’s start with this monster:

which is a Husqvarna K750 gasoline fueled power cutter.  This is the tool emergency responders use to cut people out of wrecked cars.  With a titanium blade, it has the power to cut through just about anything you feel needs to be separated into parts.  Men just love cutting stuff up, and having more capability than you need is very macho.  It’s a bit pricey at around $900, but it’s really sweet.

Another super present is this:

That’s a DR 156001 walk behind field and brush mower.  Available in several engine sizes, from 11 HP up to 17 HP, and with 4 forward gears and one reverse, this is a heck of a cutting machine.  You can get one for $600 or slightly less and, for additional green, a number of useful attachments are available: snow thrower attachment, a snow blade attachment, a 42” lawn mower attachment and a 6000 watt generator attachment.  This is very manly!

Fire is also very manly, when contained, and this item would be a lot of fun:

It’s an Arctic Chimenea Stack Black, costing $230 or so, and is basically an outdoor fireplace.  If you don’t have time to go camping, with this you can have a simulation of the experience in your back yard.  It also offers some interesting options for parties.

If you’re looking for a more modern gift at a more reasonable price consider:

That’s a cordless Dremel power tool which is an invaluable help at countless small tasks.  It can spin whatever bit is attached at up to 35,000 RPM, which makes it manly, and can, with the appropriate bit, be used to polish, sand, grind, cut, drill and a whole lot of other things.  At $80, it’s a piece of equipment that no man should be without.

Here’s something that no man, or woman for that matter, should be without:

It’s a cordless air compressor, that can inflate a car tire, or most anything else that needs to be blown up.  It’s rechargeable either from a wall socket or your car’s cigarette lighter, has a built in pressure gage, and even a flashing hazard light.  At $50, every car should have one of these in the trunk, and remember that it’s manly to be prepared.

Even better than the last item is this:

It’s also a cordless air compressor, but adds a jump starter.  Just think how manly it will be to rescue people with dead batteries without the hassle of moving your truck next to their vehicle.  Plus, with this available, you avoid the unmanly necessity of asking someone to give you a jump.  At $80 it’s a steal.

Continuing on with the preparedness concept, this would make a great addition to the average car trunk:

It’s a 155 piece tool kit, for $60, that, while it’s hardly an exhaustive selection of tools, has enough to handle most emergency road side repairs.  Really, if you can make some minor automotive repair because you had the right tool instead of calling a tow truck, it’s paid for itself. 

Men like to measure things.  It’s instinctive.  That’s why this:

30 foot tape measure would make a nice inexpensive gift.  They’re like $15 at any store that sells tools and make great stocking stuffers.  Don’t worry that he already has one, as this is the sort of thing where multiple copies are a good thing.  You need one for the truck, one for the house, one (or two) for the workshop, one for the garage, etc.

Of course, for measuring larger things, like your house or yard or a really big fish, a man needs:

a 300 foot hand cranked tape measure.  Only one of these is typically needed, so check his supply before buying.

Men also like to hit things, so they need one of these:

That’s an 8 pound splitting maul, used for big pieces of firewood into more manageable sizes.  While mine weighs twice that, this one will be suitable for most jobs and, you should note, it also serves as a sledge hammer, which is another item men should not be without.  It costs less than $30, and with a bit of creative wrapping, he’ll never guess what it is.

Of course, there are many times when, if we are to hit things correctly, we need something to hit them on.  That’s why this:

a 25 pound cast iron anvil, is a very manly gift.  It’s, surprisingly enough, less than $30, and I’ll bet that no one else in the neighborhood has one.

Mister Manly


Manly Gifts, volume III

June 26, 2008

It’s gift time again, so let’s start with the dream present:

Yes, that is a 1971 fully restored Ford Mustang Mach 1.  You don’t want to buy that, unless you just happen to have a giant wad of cash and nothing to do with it.  That finished product does, however, represent the idea of restoring an old car.  Very few things are as macho as working on cars, and rebuilding an old muscle car is tops in that category, so buy your man an old junker and tell him you can’t wait to take a ride in it.  Not only will he be grateful for years, but his new project will provide you with easy gift ideas for years.  The price tag on this one is open ended, but it’s a really fantastic present.

Next we have a semi-joke gift, the beer cooler scooter:

OK, blowing something around $400 may be a bit much for some people to spend on a funny, yet manly, joke, but if you tailgate or have backyard cookout parties, he’ll get a lot of fun out of this.

If you’re looking for something more practical, keep in mind that every man needs a workbench, and this one is very nice:

While I haven’t seen this particular model in person, it’s got all of the features a good workbench needs, to vices, peg holes for use in holding parts in place, storage space, and a good solid construction.  Heck, it’s even pretty.


Another manly activity is grilling, so a charcoal grill makes an excellent present.  While you’ll find lots of gas grills, they’re very wimpy as they light at the push of a button.  A man wants to build a fire.  This is the model I have:

It’s a Char Grill that costs around $100.  It’s solidly built, has plenty of grill surface to cook for a modest party, and the side and front shelfs are mighty handy.  Of course, if you are into BBQ, then you absolutely must get this attachment:

which is a smoker box that bolts onto the side of the grill.  If you burn your charcoal and wood chips in this addition, the hot smoke is drawn into the main body of the grill and provides a low temperature, and flavor imparting, cooking environment.  At $50 it’s a steal.

One facet of being manly is being prepared.  As I recall from my days as a desk jockey, it’s often frowned upon by management to carry tools on your belt as they cause unsightly bulges under your suit.  So, if your man is stuck in that situation, you might want to pick him up one of these:

Don’t be fooled by the picture, this useful item is small enough to be a key chain ornament while including a knife, bottle opener, and LED light.  Buck makes some great knives, and I would expect anything else with their name on it to be well made.  It’s less than $30, and a great way to say you care.

Along the same line is this nifty item:

Simply speaking, it’s a basic Swiss Army Knife mutated into a credit card.  Since it’s almost as thin as said plastic card, it fits nicely into a wallet so it’s always available, and at $30, the convenience of having some of the included tools at the right moment is well worth it.

Finally, if you want to encourage your man to do a bit of yard work:

give him a machete.  The one pictured is an up scale version, around $50, featuring some really high quality steel, but you can pick up a lesser product at any hardware store for under $20 that will be suitable for most jobs.  Once he’s out there hacking at the shrubs, it shouldn’t be all that hard to get him interested in cutting the grass, pruning the trees and such.

Mister Manly

Advice for Mary

June 24, 2008

This email was waiting for me this morning:

Dear Mr. Manly,

My boyfriend is rapidly becoming a wimp.  Over the last few months, he has actually become sensitive and caring.  It’s gotten to the point where he’d rather talk about our feelings in a coffee bar than take me cruising on his hog, which he’s thinking of trading in on a hybrid car.  I can’t stand it.  I blame it on all the TV he watches during the day, now that he’s working the night shift.  If you can’t help me man him up, I’m kicking his ass out. 




Dear Mary,

You were correct to seek my advice as your boyfriend has become infected with the unmanly propaganda inserted into modern sitcoms.  I would wager that he’s addicted to watching reruns of Friends and MASH.  It may be possible to save him, but it’s going to take immediate and drastic action.

First, make sure that there is always beer in the fridge and a variety of chips next to his favorite chair.  Put them next to a 50 pound dumbbell, which will challenge his manliness.

Next, you have to feed him a steady diet of manly movies.  If he refuses to watch them by choice, you will have to trick him into it.  Disable the cable and leave a stack of DVDs on top of the converter box.  Be very careful with your selections, as a sudden shift in programming like this can have serious side effects, and you don’t want him out picking bar fights and knocking off liquor stores.

I suggest starting with some light John Wayne:

The Quiet Man, Donovan’s Reef, Hellfighters

If he handles those well, move on to some harder core manly material:

Enter the Dragon, Highlander, Predator

He should be starting to toughen up a bit after that, so move up to:

Rocky, Lethal Weapon, Point Break

After that, he’ll probably need a manly comedy fix:

Stripes, Animal House, several Three Stooges episodes

By this point, he should be growing a beard and wearing his leather jacket and a pair of boxers around the house.  Check to see if the dumbbell has been moved and, if it has, hit him with:

Ronin, Commando, Gladiator

If he shows no ill effects, it’s time to head for home base.  Order him pizza for lunch and leave these out:

Dirty Harry, Con Air, Fight Club

He should be pretty much back to his old self at this point but, just to make sure the manliness sticks, another pizza and:

Big Jake, Saving Private Ryan, The Hitman

While that should, in theory, do the trick and give him his machismo back, you might want to buy him season tickets to his favorite sport.  Besides, if he stays girly and you have to kick him out, you’ll have plenty of man bait to attract a new mate.

Best of luck,

Mister Manly

Manly gifts, volume II

June 19, 2008

Since my in box is empty, except for spam offering assistance if I need to expand the size of my male anatomy or offering pills to restore functionality to it, neither of which is a requirement at the moment, here are some more manly gift ideas.

A man never knows when he’ll get the urge to go a viking or turn pirate, so it’s manly to prepare for the call.  This,

is an authentic Scottish Officer’s Basket Hilted Sword from the Victorian era.  It’s a bit pricey at £1850.00, twice that in US dollars, but it’s one of the best swords ever made, at least in this price range, and if you’re going to get into a sword fight, it would be a fine choice.  It would also make a mighty fine focus for the decor of a man’s den, not to mention that it’s value should increase nicely over the years.

For a fight of a different kind, with meat and vegetables in the kitchen, I suggest this,

While it’s not quite the best chef’s knife in the world, the Kasumi Titanium Chef Knife comes close.  The titanium coating makes it rust proof and extremely durable, while the blending of that metal with an exotic high carbon steel alloy makes the hand crafted edge sharper than most people would believe possible, which means it must be treated with respect or the user will loose a finger or three.  Still, if your man likes to cook, at $150 this is a manly and practical gift that should give years of fine service and be one of those items your children fight over when you die.

It would be wrong to neglect power tools,

such as this Yard Machine Model:  24A-452G500 wood chipper.  While this is not a professional quality machine, only being able to grind 2 inch diameter branches into chips, at around $900 it’s a good choice for occasional use, and provides a goodly bit of manly excitement after a storm.  There’s also something in this for you ladies, as wood chips make excellent mulch for your flower beds and/or they make a really good addition to the compost heap.

Moving up a step in manly power tools,

we have the chain saw.  Few common power tools have the manliness of these cutting beasts.  They’re loud, dangerous, and give off noxious vapors, much like the man wielding it.  If you don’t have the time or endurance to chop that wood up with an ax, you have to have one of these.  The one pictured is a Stihl MS 250 C-BE with a 12 inch bar.  I own, roughly, the same model, but with a 16 inch bar, so I can personally testify that it’s a cutting demon.  I have, once, driven mine straight into a tree with almost no effort.  It’s also easy to start, for a chain saw, and requires very little maintenance.  Even better, it’s amazingly dependable.  We heat with wood, so my saw gets a good deal of use, and in the three years I’ve owned it the only mechanical problem I’ve had was a cracked fuel line, that cost less than $20 to fix.  While prices vary around the country, they are selling for around $300 here near Memphis.

Here’s a great manly gift idea for city dwellers, an introductory welding kit,

That one is a a basic one from Lowes, but it’s a marvelous starter set and a big boost to your local manliness manly rating.  At less than $300, and the risk that your man will fill your yard up with metal sculptures, it’s a good gift that he’ll never see coming.

If you don’t want to shell out the big bucks, or encourage your man to risk life and limb, try this,

Go to your local liquor store and pick up a bottle of their best single malt Scotch whisky.  That’ll probably run you less than $100 and, even if he doesn’t drink the stuff, just having the bottle on display will give him a manliness boost from his friends, which is a worthwhile goal.

Along the same lines, but with a slightly more practical purpose,

is a good first aid kit.  This one runs around $30, but just having it in your vehicle or workshop implies that you would treat any injuries you might suffer yourself, and continue working.  This is extremely manly.

If you want to give your man a manly hobble that you might enjoy as well, point him toward home brewing.

Not only is making your own beer mucho manly, but it’s a hobby that takes up a lot of time, makes a good conversation piece at parties, and doesn’t really cost that much.  The above photo shows a good starter kit, the Mr.Beer® Deluxe Edition Beer Kit, which runs a little less than $40, and is a good test for interest in this arcane art before investing in more complex equipment. 

Mister Manly

Manly gifts, volume I

June 16, 2008

I’ve had a request to suggest manly gifts for men.  I’ll do my best.  Please note that I’m not endorsing any specific company that supplies these things, but am only providing links to their sites to give readers a starting point for looking into the product, and because I used their pictures to illustrate said product.

Possibly the most manly item to own is a pumpkin gun.

Running off compressed air, some of these things can shoot a pumpkin over a mile.  Take a moment to stop and smell the testosterone…..  Unfortunately and to the best of my knowledge, there aren’t any available commercially.  I suspect, however, that used ones could be picked up off the Internet, or you could just gift a building fund so the man in question could build his own, making it an even better present.

Speaking of construction projects, one of the least manly parts of them are the sissy, but necessary, protective goggles.  That drawback can be overcome with these:

That’s right, military specification goggles that are built to resist bomb fragments.  Running around $60, I’d say this is an affordable way to make the workshop and lawn chores more manly.


Moving on to the weapon front, and little is more manly than that, pick up a combat ax for your special man at around $60.  Keep in mind that these things aren’t the antique crap that the Vikings used to kick Europe’s ass, but are made from the best modern materials and, as I’ve seen in demonstration films, can be used to chop a car into scrap metal.  Since these are one of the in demand items for our combat troops serving in Iraq, you might even want to buy two and send one to a service man/woman.

Here’s a gift that, even if your man has already purchased a lessor version, is a must:

Obviously, every man carries a multi-tool any time they step outside, but this one looks like the ultimate in the field.  I’ve had my eye on it for a while, but haven’t gotten around to ordering one yet.  Mail order, unfortunately, isn’t manly.  Still, if you send off for this $50 piece of hardware, it should make a fine present.

On the other hand, playing with fire is mucho manly,

and if your man is into lawn care, what better gift, in the $300 range, than his own weed devastating flame thrower!?!  I do, however, caution that this may not be an appropriate gift for those in dry States.

For those of you into shooting I suggest these targets,

I have no idea what they cost, but it can’t possibly be that much, and what better way to make an afternoon at the range more fun?

Which brings us to a most manly present for the man into grilling, beef!

Not that crap you can pick up at the local supermarket, but real USDA certified damn super fine Angus beef!  It’s not cheap and it won’t last, but, heck, you have to splurge every now and then, so give your man a chance to shine at the evening meal.

Hope this helps,

Mister Manly

Advice for the

June 15, 2008

Another one from email:

Mr. Manley;

I need help.  Recently my two flatmate’s (both of whom have long term girlfriends back home that they live with) told me that I needed to change if I wanted to be successful in a long term relationship.

You have to understand that they told me that I did not need to change many things; just that I needed to make big changes in the things in need of attention.  In their words, I am “what every guy USED to be.”  I am too independent and hell bent not to answer to anybody for my actions.  If I want to go out for the night I will not accept that I need to give an explanation of my exact plans.  When I return home the next day I refuse to have somebody badgering me to give an account of my actions.  According to them most women find this unacceptable and therefore, rather than look for that .01% who can abide by how I am I should change to become more like them.  This would entail answering the phone ALL 5 times that a woman may call over the course of two hours and talking about how work was for well over an hour.  This means taking one minute to explain to her each seven and a half minutes that I actually worked.  “Work was fine” is unacceptable to their women.

Do I need to change and loose my independence, and, by extension much of what makes me a man in order to attract a long term mate?

-the man that every man used to be.

Dear the,

Your flatmates are wimps, and quite possibly homosexual.  Odds are that the girlfriends they claim to have are just a cover story to camouflage the affair they’re having with each other.  Ignore their advice at all costs.  For that matter, unless they do all the housework, you should consider moving out to escape their unmanly influence.

As to changing yourself, that’s not easy to do, well, without drugs anyway, and even if you accomplish it, there’s no guarantee that it’ll make finding the right woman any easier or more certain.  Besides, that would be turning your life into a lie, and lying is not manly, -10 MU.  Independence, on the other hand, is very manly, somewhere in the neighborhood of +30 MU.  So it sounds like you’re fine just the way you are, and I don’t see that being pussy whipped is going to make you any happier, although it will make you less manly, -25 MU.

Now, go have some fun while you still can.

Mister Manly

Introducing the Manly Scale

June 12, 2008

Being a man, I like to measure things as exactly as possible.  You can tell we like that sort of thing by looking at all the things we’ve made up scales for: hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.  Thus, in an attempt to make my advice clearer, I’ve developed the Manly Scale.  It goes like this:

As you can see, being more manly than most, I’m not settling for one of those tiny scales that runs up to 5 or 10.  The Manly Scale has a full range of 201 Manly Units to work with and will, hopefully, allow me to give more explicit advice.  For instance, to define the manliness of bar fights we have:

fighting +25 MU (Manly Units)

drinking +40 MU

night in jail  -50 MU

lost front tooth +15 MU

new scar  +20 MU

$850 charge for damages to bar  -15 MU

banned from favorite bar  -25 MU

sleeping on couch for a week -15 MU

total: -5 MU

Thus, in this instance, a bar fight, while fun, is not manly.

I can hardly wait to apply this to a real request for advice, so keep those emails coming.

Mister Manly