The Decay in Civility, Part 1; John Sununu on Colin Powell

Here we are in the run-up to the single most important event Americans actually take part in (unlike Kardashian weddings), a presidential election, and while I have an opinion, which is not what this post is about, I have some examples of amazing acts of lack of civility that major public figures need to be reminded of. And since they don’t read this blog (alright, pretty close to no one reads this) but over 10,000 people will get a tweet about it, I’m hoping some of you will understand the bipartisan nature of my thoughts and share them with anyone and everyone you can.

Let’s start with former Governor John Sununu’s odious comments questioning the motives behind retired General Colin Powell’s endorsement of President Barack Obama in the 2012 election. In a nutshell Gov. Sununu (a senior advisor to Gov.Romney’s campaign) suggested General Powell’s endorsement was racially motivated and the General should end his membership in the Republican Party. Not only does this mimic Rush Limbaugh’s heinous comments about Powell’s 2008 endorsement of then candidate Obama, but it touched off a firestorm of indignation in my head about how people deal with one another in public forums (and to a far greater extent, in everyday conversation between people who aren’t running for office, but just trying to maintain healthy and honest relationships with friends).

For the record I am happy to blast any Democrat who would make an equally offensive comment about Governor Romney’s religion – comments I would find equally heinous – or anything else that crosses the line.

And it’s that line that just keeps getting murkier and murkier in this digital age. How often have you written an email to a friend, a colleague or co-worker only to find out later that your words were misunderstood or read in a way that you had no intention of. Civility, maintaining friendships, doing things for friends that put you in positions of risking that friendship and the greater notion of treating people with respect, trusting them, and giving them the benefit of the doubt takes guts.

John F. Kennedy, in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, spent hours with his most trusted advisors trying and trying to figure out a way to avoid a World War (see Robert A.Caro‘s fourth volume on Lyndon JohnsonThe Passage of Power) and talked specifically “about the miscalculations” that had led to the first World War. According to Robert F. Kennedy’s recollection in the Caro book, these miscalculations “they somehow seemed to tumble into war, he said, through stupidity, individual idiosyncrasies, misunderstandings and personal complexes of inferiority and grandeur.”

War was avoided and though historians have spent much of the last fifty years questioning every decision that was made before, during and after that crisis. JFK took the time to give his “enemy”, Khrushchev, more time than those around him wanted to have to help avoid a crisis becoming a war. And though hardly ancient history – a tough argument to make given the state of education in America today – it serves me as an excellent example of treating someone with civility despite what is going on in the world around you.

It takes work to remain civil. It takes more work to keep friends.

Both are worth it in the long run.

Chateau Marmont’s Private Den of Gin

This gallery contains 4 photos.

News of this new quiet little drinking den at the famed Chateau Marmont comes to us from the blog Urban Daddy. And so excited are we here at Ask A Man Too that we’re off to check out this news for … Continue reading

How To Roast A Chicken

So a man should know how to make a perfect roast chicken by the time he’s 30 let’s say – just for argument’s sake. It should be the go-to dish in an increasing stable of culinary surprises for whomever you are out to impress. And there is nothing more comforting that a perfectly roasted chicken, shared with a glass of great wine or something non-alcoholic, almost anytime of the year. You can eat it in the kitchen, in your dining room, or snuggled up in bed on a cold night (cleaning bill no doubt to be expected).

And as you find yourself with a partner, it will be incredibly useful for you to be able to contribute to the cooking, despite whatever incredible talents your partner might bring to the kitchen. And not having to clean up every night is nice too.

This recipe is courtesy of Men’s Health, an invaluable guide to matters of health, sex, grooming, the opposite sex, organic living and so much more.

What You’ll Need:
1 whole chicken (3 to 4 lb), organic if possible, patted dry and giblets removed
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lemons, halved (optional)

How to Make It:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F, with a rack in the lower third. Put a large ovenproof skillet in the oven. While the skillet heats up, trim the excess fat from the chicken. Rub the outside of the bird with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place lemon halves, if using, in the cavity.

2. When the pan is scorching hot, 10 or 15 minutes later, carefully put the chicken in the pan, breast side up. Roast until the chicken is cooked through, 40 to 60 minutes.

3. Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Tip the pan slightly to let any juices from the bird’s cavity flow into the pan, and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let the pan juices sit for 5 minutes; use a spoon to skim off some of the excess fat. Cut up the bird and serve it with warm pan juices.

A whole bird, seasoned with just salt and pepper and maybe some lemon halves, undergoes an alchemy in a hot oven, emerging crispy, bronzed, and much more delicious than you’d expect—with just 5 minutes or so of effort. But don’t stop there: The mild flavor of chicken is compatible with almost any seasoning. Experiment with your favorite herbs, spices, and sauces, using these variations as a guideline. And for a complete meal, try making an edible “roasting rack” for the chicken to sit and cook on, using your choice of sliced onions, fennel, carrots, celery, and potatoes.

And for those among you interested in checking out other recipes to bolster your preparation and technique, check out The Barefoot Contessa, Jamie Oliver or this recipe at Epicurious from acclaimed chef Thomas Keller  the master behind The French Laundry in Yountville, Bouchon in Yountville, Las Vegas and Beverly Hills (and Bouchon Bakery and Bar’s too), Per Se in the Time Warner Center in New York City and Ad Hoc also in Yountville, CA.

You won’t go wrong.

A Guide to Interacting with Women (From Esquire’s “A Man’s Guide to Taking Care of Himself”)

                                                                                                                                                                 ALWAYS                                                                                                  

Stand up when greeting a woman on when you’re being introduced to one. Make eye contact, too — that they like.

SOMETIMES  

  Stand up when a woman arrives at a table. If there are only a few people at the table, stand; if there are six or more, stay seated.

 NEVER

Rush into a hug or kiss with a new woman or casual acquaintance. Same goes for touching.

ALWAYS

Help her put on her coat.

SOMETIMES

Hold the door. Whoever gets to the door first holds it for the others.

NEVER

Kiss her hand. It’s weird.

ALWAYS

When greeting a female friend or family member, go for her left cheek. Any hesitation in cheek direction and you might bump heads.

SOMETIMES

Get off an elevator first. If it’s just a few of you, let her go first, but if there are more than five people in there, everyone should exit in his or her turn.

NEVER

Honk your horn. Instead, park the car and go to the door. And don’t sigh if she asks for a few more minutes. She’s dressing up for you.

ALWAYS

Offer to carry something. if she’s overloaded with books or bags, she’ll appreciate your offer, even if she doesn’t take you up on it.

SOMETIMES

Pick up the tab for a meal. Offer to pay, but if she wants to split the bill or treat you, go with it.

NEVER

Leave her alone. If you arrive at a party together, stay with her for the duration of the evening. Be attentive–introduce her and include her in your conversations.

Why Platinum for Wedding Bands

There’s little question that platinum is stunning, and remains a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings sets. Not only it is one of the more beautiful and long-lasting metals, it is a symbol of prestige.  And like true love, it is one of the rarest elements in the Earth’s crust. It has been used by royalty and celebrities for years, as it is often referred to as a noble metal.

The Difference Between White Gold and Platinum

While white gold and platinum may look the same when you’re in the jewelry store, they’re actually quite different. The first thing that sets platinum apart from white gold is the fact that it is naturally a white metal, whereas white gold must be mixed with other alloys like nickel in order to become white. With time, platinum will maintain its natural white color, while white gold will yellow if not cared for properly. Platinum requires almost no maintenance and rarely tarnishes. Of course, it is a more expensive choice than white gold, but when all the benefits are weighed, it is well worth the investment.

Platinum is Hypoallergenic

Many metals, including all sorts of gold, can irritate sensitive skin. Platinum is one of the only fine metals known for its hypoallergenic properties. No one wearing a real platinum ring is going to have a rash or become irritated by it, making it a very nice choice for people who have experienced problems with other types of metals used for jewelry. In addition, platinum will not wear as easily as other metals, so there is less chance of it becoming scratched and aggravating the skin.

A true wedding ring connoisseur knows that being a platinum buyer is the best option in creating nice wedding sets. When you set out on your quest to find the best platinum wedding set, always be sure you know from whom you are buying your jewelry. This will help ensure the quality of the platinum you are receiving, and that you are getting 100% pure platinum and not some variation.

What to Know

As with all precious metals, platinum must be alloyed with other metals in order to achieve the hardness required for jewelry. A ring that is alloyed with 80% Platinum and 20% other metals is worth a lot less the a ring this is 95% platinum.

Federal regulations require all platinum bans to bear a stamp or “hallmark” on the inside of the band. If it says “IridPlat”, or “.90Plat/Ir” than the ring is only 90% pure platinum, and you should pay less for it than a ring that is 95% pure platinum. If the hallmark says “Plat” of “.95Plat”, then the ring is considered pure platinum and commands a premium price.

Ask your jeweler about the alloy used in your platinum ring. A pure platinum ring (95% platinum) should be alloyed with either Cobalt or Ruthenium.

If you’ve chosen a custom ring, ask your jeweler for a wax mold of the ring to ensure that the design meets your expectations before it is cast into platinum.

And always shop at a reputable jeweler. This could be a world-famous name like Black Starr Frost or Tiffany  & Co. or your town’s oldest jeweler. But know who you are buying from and what you are getting.

The wedding band or ring you exchange with your loved one is a token of commitment and love, and a symbol you will share for the rest of your lives together.

(Segments of this post first appeared as a sponsored post on The Plunge Project blog with additional info from wikihow).

Keifer Sutherland Makes Cupcakes

I still like Red Velvet, but more than that I love an actor willing to poke fun of his or herself and  their famous character, in this case Keifer as Jack Bauer.

Keifer Sutherland Makes Cupcakes

A Woman’s Products & Bathroom Space

It is no surprise that given a limited amount of space in a bathroom shared by two people, the more female of the two will just take up more space. Period. End of discussion.

And the less said about it to your partner in the bathroom, the better. In fact, if you’re smart you will never say anything at all about it other than something along the lines of, oh, “I love what that Chanel No. 5 does for me when you wear it.”

Trust me, you want to get over it and find a drawer or somewhere else for your stuff and live to fight a battle you might just be able to win.