Showing posts from April, 2011

Comic Book Therapy For Troops

The Pentagon has created a new program to help troops returning from active duty deal with their experiences by having them create graphic novels or comics. The program has a typical government/military convoluted name: “ Online Graphic Novel/Sequential Art Authoring Tools for Therapeutic Storytelling ". Art therapy is an interesting process where, per the American Art Therapy Association , therapists "use the creative process to help people of all ages improve their emotional well-being". Basically by creating art that can display emotions, the artists can release and explore those emotions. What makes comics or their longer versions - graphic novels - especially effective is that the artists not only make works of art but also use narrative to write a story. So it is in essence a dual outlet - they can put into words via another character how they felt and are feeling in addition to the visual elements. Wired Magazine has a full article  detailing one soldier'

Beer Fast - nod to tradition or bad idea?

I am not talking about beer for breakfast, but an actual fast - abstinence from food - drinking only beer. Paulaner monks (yes the beer is theirs) used beer as their replacement for food during Lent, even developing a special beer to have then to give them more sustenance than regular beers:  The Paulaner monks brewed the first Paulaner beer in 1634. During the Lenten period forced to fast on only bread and water, the monks reasoned that beer could be brewed as "liquid bread" and not violate their Lenten promise. The Paulaner monks' "liquid bread" became the world's first Double Bock - Paulaner Salvator. That is pretty amazing. Holy men and women have long gone on fasts, but Lent is 6 weeks long. That is a long time to go without food. Good thing they realized beer is 'liquid bread' and made a special brew to increase the nutritional benefits.

Get Customers, Give Back

A few, too few, places around town use a very simple event type that kills two birds with one stone. It can bring in new customers and also gives to a charity. All they have to do is pick a charity and give a percentage of the proceeds for a time period to said charity. From the perspective of a man, I know many of us would rather go someplace and have a few drinks or some good food and give to a charity than the standard fare fundraiser such as walks.

Earth Day: Animal Rehoming, the 4th R

Odin, one of my rescue dogs This post is the culmination and wrap-up of various subjects over the past month. It being Earth Day - which occurs during Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and following Volunteer Week - this is the perfect opportunity to stress the importance and benefits of adopting a pet from an animal welfare agency, or  Rehoming  an animal. I consider it the fourth R of the Green movement alongside Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling since it really is a version of the first two rolled into one. Or maybe it is just a re-wording of Reusing to be more appropriate for a living thing. There are so many reasons to adopt a pet, and many articles have been written so I won't get into them all here, but the gist is that you are not only helping an animal in need but many others by not supporting mass breeders by buying from a pet store. If you want to read more here is a good article from the  HSUS  with these five reasons detailed:

Eco-Drive - Looking Beyond The Watch

One of my brothers suggested the Citizen Eco-Drive is a Well-Met men's example of men's fashion that is 'green'. The watch's design includes both great style and design, as well as being eco-friendly since you never need to replace a battery. Per their web-site: Citizen Eco-Drive watches use the simplest, yet most technically advanced power generating and storage system in the Watch Manufacturing Industry. A Solar conversion panel and energy cell are the power provider for these Quartz Watches. Eco-Drive's ability to use light from any source to generate electrical power means that the supply is limitless and free. The absence of any added complex power generating machinery that would require additional upkeep is another big advantage.

North Shore Firefighter's Full-Gear Marathon

James Gefke, a North Shore Fire Department (for the suburbs north of Milwaukee) firefighter, completed the Boston Marathon wearing full gear. He performed the feat that most cannot do in their basic workout/running gear in honor of a fallen friend and fellow-firefighter John Harrington. Harrington died riding his bike when hit by a semi, and since that day each year Gefke has participated in an annual ride of the path Harrington took on his last day, raising $15 per person that joins the ride for the  Wisconsin Burn Survivors Network . This year he decided to do more. He decided to run the Boston Marathon - an amazing feat in itself - in full firefighter gear, to raise awareness of and funds for the John Harrington Memorial Bike Ride. Besides the weight of the gear, it also doesn't breath very well and increases fatigue. Monday he completed the feat. A man who is a hero in his every day job went above and beyond, showing us all what it means to honor your comrades and raise a

Great Play: Charles Tillman: Community Leader

To most Wisconsinites and Packer fans he may play for the 'enemy', but Chicago Bears Defensive Back Charles Tillman is someone we can all look up to. In February he received  Fifth Third Bank’s 2011 Community Leadership Award & Namesake Scholarship as one of three people recognized for their leadership and efforts that have provided meaningful impact in communities  of color. Since 2005, his Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation has impacted the lives of countless children in the Chicago area through various programs.

Pro Surfer A True Hero

Pro surfer James Pribram is a hero in every sense of the word, an athlete and man we can all look up to.  He has been receiving accolades for his environmental activism and recently saved a drowning woman. Per the OC Register : He was dubbed  The Eco Warrior  by a journalist while protesting a pulp mill contaminating a river in Chile. In 2007, he won the  John Kelly Environmental Award . He had filmed a segment for Fuel TV about pollution along the Great Lakes in Chicago. He was named  Laguna Beach's 2011 Athlete of the Year  for his work teaching school kids to care for their ocean. Then a series of events that changed the plans of both victim and hero put him at the right place and time to use his mastery of the waves to save a drowning woman. The full report is here .

Drink Beer After Exercise?

This may sound silly, but there are lots of energy and recovery drinks and someone was bound to test it out. Well, it has been tested, by research scientists no less. Researchers at Granada University in Spain tested 25 students over several months and discovered that a pint of beer is as good or better than water. More on the study  here , but basically they found that it hydrates as well or slightly better, the carbonation can quench thirst better, and the carbohydrates help replace calories lost during exercise. OK so if you are trying to lose weight maybe not a good choice as it adds back calories, but if you are working out for strength and conditioning that is a good thing. Runner's World  magazine even touts some benefits from it, alas they also warn against the alcohol being a diuretic and causing dehydration but beer has far less than other alcoholic beverages, but then this article was over 2 years ago before this man-friendly study was done in Spain. So in the end i

April: National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month

Every day, week, and month it seems there is some national or worldwide awareness going one. There are resources for seeing what the current awareness issues are, but here you can be assured to hear about ones that pertain to men - their interests and their health over general or women's issues. April includes things such as Animal Cruelty and  Earth Day - both of which I personally am passionate about - among others. But one important cause that men can and should take an interest in is organ donation. April is National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Month . National Donate Life Month (NDLM) was instituted by Donate Life America and its partnering organizations in 2003 with the support of then Secretary of HHS, Tommy Thompson (former Governor of Wisconsin). Celebrated in April each year, NDLM features an entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives thro

Volunteer Week

Today, Sunday April 10th, is the start of  National Volunteer Week . Though this space is normally reserved to promote volunteering, here and for the rest of this week I want to appreciate those that volunteer and encourage everyone to recognize and thank the many volunteers around them. It is easy to miss or forget those that are doing something for us or those we care for out of the kindness of their heart with no compensation for their time - volunteers. Here are some of the people you may see each day that are volunteers: The crossing guard that sees your children safely across the street Tutors and mentors Little league coaches The animal therapy  (and dog or animal) that visits your loved one in the hospital to help speed up recovery The groups that help keep the roadways clean (all those signs you see along the highway listing groups that clean there) Greeters at the hospital Of course there are many more, but I just wanted to highlight some of those you might see we

Free-lancing Versus Volunteering

I think the best way to get men - or anyone for that matter - to realize and get motivated for volunteer opportunities is to look at it as a form of freelancing - unpaid of course - or  Free-lancing . Volunteering is a great way to try or hone skills for something you may be interested in. You can gain experience doing something for a paid job. It adds to your resume above and beyond your education and work experience. If your job is less than inspiring it can give you that place to find meaningful work. And in this time when so many are unemployed, volunteering can show that you stayed motivated to be busy, looked for opportunities, and it can also serve as a networking opportunity to assist in finding a job. I recently did a poll of men to ask what are the things that would get them to start or increase their volunteering. I entered what I believed were the common reasons and had an idea which was the obvious choice as the top reason. Following are the reasons in order of most

Netiquette 101: People Read This Stuff

I swear sometimes I think people think the net, web, social media, whatever you want to call, is more like a personal bulletin board than the very public freely accessible vehicle that it is. It is as if they think that their post will only be read by people they know or like and forget that really anyone can see it. Here is a rule I think everyone should follow when sending an e-mail, posting a comment, or responding to something: would you share that to someone your coworkers? Facebook is a prime example where people post something that they think will only be seen by their friends. But who are your friends? How far have you branched out to add people? And do you realize that posts can be shared? But a personal Facebook comment is one thing where at least there are some controls over viewership.