Friday, March 30, 2012

Are People Just Clusters of Germs?

You know, when I was in high school science class during our unit on cells, I noticed that there's no significant structural difference between a generic human cell and the bacteria we were looking at under the microscope (collected from the slack water in a ditch behind the school). I posited that this would mean people are really nothing more than a large community of bacteria. "No," my teacher said, "a bacteria is a complete being in and of itself. A human is much more complicated."

This explanation never fully satisfied me. I get that we're more complicated than swamp water bacteria. But if we're made up of cells, doesn't it stand to reason that at some point clusters of single-celled organisms got together to synergistically carry out collective goals to create this organization? I don't mean that a group of cells collected in pond water and discovered that they could interact in such a way as to suddenly become human. I mean that over time, as groups of cells came together, more and more complex "societies" developed to produce this strangely complex creature we are. Or my cat is. Or the tree in the back yard is.

It's the selfish gene, taken up a level to the collective germ.

This TEDTalk by Bonnie Bassler on how bacteria communicate is a much more satisfying answer--not simply because it agrees with my juvenile hypothesis, but because it actually explores the case for multicellular organization down to the molecular level. Take a look:

Prepping Your Mower For Spring

With spring right around the corner, it's time to start thinking about some of the jobs that will mean. In some parts of North America, March may already mean lawn mowing. But for us in Canada and the northern U.S. hauling out the mower for spring is a bit of a ritual.

Here's a step-by-step guide to making sure your mower is ready to run at peak efficiency for the whole summer season. Prepping your mower for spring isn't a hefty task, but skipping it can lead to snags, breakdowns, and rough cuts. This quick routine (which can apply to all of your small motor equipment, by the way...except for the blade of course) will get you through the spring startup in great shape...[read more]

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Women We Love: Basia Lyjak

With a fresh year in 2012, two recently released singles, plus two more and a video slated for release this year, Basia Lyjak is a woman in control; she is a veritable supernova of songwriting and vocal talent poised to explode, putting a stranglehold on her eager existing fans and caught-off-guard new converts alike, leaving them rapt and thirsty for more, more, more!

10 years into her professional career, Basia has seen and learned a thing or two about her ever-changing and increasingly uncertain industry. From the glitz of generously funded development deals and girl groups, to living out of her car in order to record and release her next single, Basia has been personally and professionally privy to to the whole spectrum of the good and bad of being a musician.

Name: Basia Lyjak

Occupation: Singer/Songwriter

Education: Humber College Radio Broadcasting

Stats: That's a tough one! I've been lucky enough to receive quite a few awards for doing what I love, but I wouldn't say that's what defines my personal sense of awesomeness. If I really had to toot my own horn, I'd say I quantify my own awesomeness by how I've managed to stay true to my dream by keeping my project alive and moving even when things are at their toughest. No matter the hurdle -- and there have been MANY -- I still manage to keep on truckin'. I'm living my dream despite what anyone says, and that's awesome to me!

How did you get started on your current career track?
I think with any artistic pursuit, every step of the development of your craft has something to do with your current career track. So, from singing along to all the major divas as a kid to self-train my voice, to singing in productions of musicals, to being in an all-girl band, to recording my first and second EPs and all of my subsequent releases - all of that has led me to where I am. Every personal struggle and hurdle has affected my goals, my style, my songs as well. All of those things help whittle down what you really want for yourself as a person and artist!
Everyone has their two cents to offer to me: I should sing like this, write with that person, use this producer, focus on a different genre, wear different clothes - the list goes on and I can't please everyone. I'm here to write great songs, period, so I'm done with limiting myself to genres when every kid with an iPod has at least 100 different kinds of music on it! That's the mindset I was in when we went into the studio with these new songs - make them the best they can be, not cram them into a genre.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mid-Morning Energy Booster

Nothing energizes you quite like a good night's sleep.

But let's be realistic...sometimes that just doesn't happen, and you need a little extra shot of awesomeness to get through the mid-morning slump and power your way into the afternoon.

Generally speaking, something like a handful of almonds should be enough to keep you satisfied and keep your energy levels up. But when it's not, try a shake like this one...[read more]

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to Date a Model

How to Date a Model

...or anyone else, for that matter

by Sam Adrian

Gentlemen, it's time we discussed this dating thing seriously. I know we've been yacking about personal authority and game and C&F and all the other toys the gods have given us to work with. But it's time to finally get a grip on reality here.

Want the one secret that gets lost in all this theory and behavioural study?
Hot women are actually real people.
I know. I was shocked to hear it myself (yeah...not really). The reason I'm emphasizing this point is because I received this email this week from a reader, and I thought it high time we clear the air about some of this nonsense.

Hey Sam,
I have a friend who tends bar at a club downtown. He invited me down one night because he knew this group of models was going to be hanging out there (the owner set it up as a publicity thing), so of course I went. There was this one girl I started talking to...24, fitness and swimsuit model, unbelievably super sweet (I'm 26 btw). Anyways, we were talking and it seemed like we just really hit it off so I asked for her number and SHE GAVE IT TO ME!! Holy shit...I texted her later to make sure it wasn't fake and sure enough it was actually her. We texted back and forth for a few days but now I don't know what to do next. I really want to ask her out but I'm scared shitless. Seriously...these girls fly all over the world doing sexy photo shoots and probably hanging out with male model types and picking up at clubs. So what do I do? Just call it a fantasy and move on to someone more my speed? I think that would be the smart move, but I also really like her. I'm stuck! Please please please tell me what I should do! ~ Dave M., Toronto
Hoo boy...tough problem for sure. First though, let's look at the real issues at play here...[read more]

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26 Issue Online

The latest issue of The Man Sphere is now online.

As I mentioned on the Facebook page, it's not as content-heavy as previous issues. This was due to a wave of exciting illnesses through various households slowing down the process of editing and uploading material. However, the key features did make it up, and we'll be posting more stories over the course of the rest of the week.

Depending on how readers respond, we might even switch to this format, posting top stories every second week and adding more stories for a few days after.

These are the headlines:

In "Women We Love," we feature actress, writer, and television sci-fi icon Sarah Deakins. 

In fashion, Aaron Marino gives us the skinny on dressing men of various sizes to look their best.

We share top tips for producing stellar painting results, as well as a fantastic basic (and very easy) three-step recipe for making great paella.

And sex and dating expert Sam Adrian uses a hilarious comic from xkcd to demonstrate what exactly is wrong with "negging" -- the classic PUA move involving playing on a woman's self-esteem.

We'll keep you posted on more updates as they come out, or follow the magazine on Twitter for timely updates.

One other little change to the site: we've basically killed comments. I've been spending WAY too much time deleting ridiculous spam comments (as attested by THIS post). Comments are still available for readers, but you have to be registered in order to comment. Hopefully this stops the robots from posting such gems of engaging commentary as:
Yesterday Their,rich own mark available knee computer male experience kind safe feeling via while technical improve customer limited hell talk complete good persuade shoe explore scheme issue red prepare bring song tone which surround hour strategy assessment upon burn possible wind love manage step total reflect live satisfy admit stop football adult traditional call procedure king county bed cos thus then spread depend support currently progress hand without please father think wild sentence small youth average extra effective limited silence station effective complex may funny chemical post flow contribution.
I know, right? How could I possibly restrict this level of insightful commentary? more of that. So readers, come on over and comment all you like. But please register to get in on the conversation. And in the meantime, head on over and check out our headline stories.

Time To Suit Up Gentlemen

by Aaron Marino

Nothing makes us feel quite as attractive and confident as a well fitting suit. Wearing it has a way of making us feel powerful, and tends to bring out the best in us. As a main player in everyman’s wardrobe arsenal, I recommend owning at least one suit; preferably more to include a variety of colors and fabrics. Time and time again, I hear men express concerns about buying a suit, so I’ve written this article to give you a basic guideline on how to choose the perfect suit that will look as good as if it was custom tailored to fit!

How Much Will It Cost?

Like anything else, suits have a wide price range. Often what determines the price is brand, material, style or store. An average suits costs between $200 and $400; however, I’ve found great suits for $99 on sale. Because we all like to save money, shop around for price or wait for a sale...[read more]

Friday, March 23, 2012

Men We Admire: Aaron Marino

This issue's Man We Admire is Atlanta style and image guru Aaron Marino.

I first came across Aaron's videos on YouTube a few years back when I suddenly found myself single after a twelve-year relationship and was looking for some advice online that would help me get my act together so I could confidently re-enter the dating world. Being a guy in his mid-30's and suddenly having to re-learn the rules was hard enough, and I have to say that Aaron's slightly off-beat sense of humour and his no-B.S. approach to style was a breath of fresh air. What's more, he's also in his mid-30's, which meant that unlike other advice columnists out there, the information I got was well-suited to my goal of looking like a sharp, mature male, rather than an 18-year-old stick figure or a 20-something rapper.

I am extremely proud to say that following this interview, Aaron has agreed to come on as our style expert here at The Man Sphere. You'll find his first article on men's suits over in the Style section, just in time for the run-up to wedding season. But of course, you'll find his whole wealth of knowledge and information at his own mag site, I Am Alpha M. We're just glad we're able to tap a fraction of this guy's insight for our readers.

You're welcome.

Name: Aaron Marino

Age: 35

Occupation: “Bro-fessional” AKA Male Image Consultant…Ever seen the movie “Hitch”? I am the slightly less black real life version.

Relationship Status: Married 5 years (feels like 10…kidding…sort of…no I am…kinda)

Pets: My Wife has 3 cats…I however have no pets

What are you driving: Infiniti

Gadgets: I’m not a gadget kinda guy…I’m more into shoes, sunglasses, jackets…I’m like a gay guy with a straight penis (stop with the eye roll already)

How do you quantify your own awesomeness?: My awesomeness comes from being incredibly secure in myself and the ability to laugh at my own ridiculousness. I also have this unique ability to read people incredibly fast and can make anyone feel like they are my best friend and that I am actually interested in what they are telling me about their kids or their co-worker...[read more]

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March/April Home Maintenance Schedule

In this feature, we're going to guide you through the things you need to take care of every season around your home. Obviously if you're an apartment renter or condo dweller many of the items on our CMHC checklist won't apply to you. But some, like cleaning range hoods and checking or replacing smoke detector batteries, are valid no matter where you live.

Our last issue covered many of the items you should be looking at for spring maintenance on your home. Just to recap, these included:
  • Clean or replace furnace filter.
  • Check or clean heat recovery ventillator; wash or replace filter.
  • Ensure that air intakes, exhausts and meters are clear of snow.
  • Clean humidifier.
  • Clean range hood filter.
  • Check basement floor drain.
For this issue, check off any of those unfinished items if you haven't taken care of them already, just so they're out of the way. You'll be set up right through April now, if you take care of just a few additional items...[read more]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Great Fever Saga (Spring 2012 edition)

My daughter has a cold.

OK, a bad one. She went to see the doctor on Friday to get her sling off (she fell off the couch a few weeks ago and broke her collar bone...aren't four-year-olds fun?), and she had a slight fever. The doc said her ears looked a little red, and if the fever lasted until Monday she should come in and get checked out for an ear infection.

The weekend went by, and by Monday morning she was bright and chipper. So, off she went to daycare like a little trooper with a snotty nose.

Then BAM! The phone call came just before 4:00. She had woken up from nap time with a fever of 102. So, off I went to save her (and subsequently found out that earlier in the day she had face planted and got a bloody nose...unrelated incident, but the broken collar bone had apparently reduced her willingness to use her hands to break her fall. I'm guessing she's learned that using your face is not a viable alternative).

I gave her a shot of Tylenol and kept an eye on her, but by 7:00 she was up to 103.8. That's...kinda high. So, following doctor's orders, we went to the hospital (since the actual doctor's office was now closed), thinking there might be some hidden infection.

By the time we got there the fever was easing slightly from some extra Advil. The nurse was kind enough to keep an eye on her in the waiting room, but by the end of about three hours the only real recommendation seemed to be increasing her doses of both Tylenol and Advil to aggressively keep the fever under control. So, having already committed to $8.00 in parking, I decided to use their Advil before going home and putting her to bed. The instructions: if it comes back up tomorrow, go straight to the walk-in clinic or her doctor's office.

I spent the night up every couple of hours administering medicine. By morning, her fever had clearly broken. Her temperature was down to 94.3, which is pretty typical for a fever break. She was a little dopey for the first part of the day, but I kept her at home just the same.

Good thing. Mid-afternoon, she crashed on the couch and woke up guessed it...a temperature pushing 102 again. This time she was in hysterics, totally unsure what to do with herself. She had no idea what she wanted or didn't want. And it was getting worse. So, since it was pushing 4:00 again, I decided the walk-in would be a more likely bet than the doctor's office.

No dice. The walk-in was also closed. Taking all this into consideration, I elected to go back to the hospital.

The wait time in triage wasn't all that bad, but the nurse wanted a urine sample to see if maybe there was a bladder infection (she apparently neglected to put the coughing and runny nose on the report). Thing is, four-year-olds don't like to pee on command. And they really don't like to do it into a cup. She faked me out once ("Daddy I have to pee..." try...try...try... "I don't have to pee." Gah!), but about two hours into our residency she managed to produce a good sample.

This went into the nurse's urine sample collection box (who knew...there's an interesting niche market design concept, eh?), and we sat back to wait for a doctor. Of course, by this point her fever had all but disappeared from the first round of medicine I gave her, but she entertained herself with some colouring and a dose of Treehouse on the lobby TV.

An hour and a half later I walked by the triage nurse's desk and saw that the sample still had not been picked up. Of course I barked about this. I understand busy, and I get that a kid with no current signs of a dangerous fever will get bumped down the list behind the kid with the broken arm and the two or three helicopters that had come in during our stay. But come can pick up the damn sample and at least get that underway!

Finally we got called in, and we didn't have to wait long to see an actual doctor. Unfortunately, he was clearly overworked and already pissy about having to tend to every snotty nose in the county. When he found out that my daughter had a cough and congestion, he closed his chart and said, "Oh, well that's obvious then. She has a cold. And kids with colds get fevers. We only do urine tests if it's not obviously upper respiratory."

Uh huh. So...the fact that her fever has lasted five days isn't alarming?

"Nope. She doesn't even look sick. They don't worry about infection unless it goes on for two or three weeks."

Uh huh. So...I'm just following her doctor's orders and bringing her in when it doesn't go down.

"Yeah. Parents tend to overreact with fevers. Just take her home, put her to bed, keep giving her medicine to keep it under control. OK, you can go now."

Wow...did I feel like an asshole for wasting that guy's precious time. I suspect the string of professionals before him didn't give any consideration to how much of my precious time I spent sitting around the waiting room at the hospital on their advice.

A lot of people have said I did the right thing, going to the hospital and having her checked out just in case. But from my perspective, I would really like it if doctors and nurses all got together and read the same guide books in terms of what to do in a situation like this. Several layers of conflicting advice does not make for a smooth treatment process for the young patient and the patient's impatient father.

They're right, of course. It's worth going just to be sure. But I probably should have trusted my gut instinct and said to myself, "self, you know this is a fever, and you know it's from the cold. And you know that in a few days if you just keep it down with Tylenol and Advil she'll be fine."

I took her to daycare again today. No fever for the first half of the day, and no phone call yet. We may be past the worst of it; it may come back after nap time. Either way, at least I know what to do with it if they do call.

And I got a nap this morning to catch up.

The Shape Up for Spring Pre-Cycle


see contest rules

The Shape Up for Spring Pre-Cycle (two weeks)

If you're new to exercise, obviously my first piece of advice is to check with your doctor and make sure everything is running the way it should. It's not worth injury to get a beach body, and you may just be in shape to do some light walking to start out.

For a lot of us, getting into competition mode means breaking the habits of the last few months. Winter is brutal for many of us, especially in the north where it's often preferable to hang out inside and cozy up with a nice cup of hot chocolate. The net result, sadly, is a few months of general laziness, interspersed with a series of holidays (starting with Thanksgiving, we also have to roll through Hallowe'en, American Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Superbowl Sunday, and in my house my kid's birthday) that seem custom made to stuff us full of everything we DON'T need to be eating (and drinking).

This is often the reason those promisory New Year's resolutions go unfulfilled. There's just too much temptation around, and if you're already in the habit of falling off the wagon, your food addictions won't be tamed so easily. This is why, instead of targetting the New Year for our contest we've decided to target the launch of beach season. Four months is lots of time to cut back on the inches, and there aren't any significant holidays between the beginning of March and the end of June.

The best part is, you'll be in good enough shape that the likely barbecue and beer you'll be gorging on for Canada Day or Independence Day won't do a lot of damage. One day of free-for-all binging won't offset four solid months of awesomeness.

You're welcome to use absolutely any strategy you like. For myself, I plan on doing a strict set of graduated exercise routines designed to kickstart my metabolism. For those of you who are new to exercise, or (like me) just getting started up again after a long winter of "assal horizontology," my plan is super simple...[read more]

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Time to Think About Weed Control

Is mid-March too early to think about weed control?

Absolutely not. In fact, March is exactly when you should be focusing on giving your lawn a bit of an edge in dealing with those pesky dandelions and other invaders.

If dandelions are your main issue throughout the summer, take heart. The things you need to get an edge are generally good advice for most weeds, including clover, plantain, and crab grass.

Unfortunately, crab grass requires a much more aggressive strategy, but we'll come to that later in the season, once you've identified those patches.

For most weeds, you need to do two things: keep your grass competitive, and be prepared to dig. Digging means getting out there and buying a weed puller. These tools are simple to use, but extremely effective. A spade or trowel will work too, but you may find these just take too much work if you have a big lawn. A weeding tool is the perfect solution for dealing with broad-leaved weeds like dandelions and thistles. You might not be experiencing weeds just yet, but the pre-season sales at your home and garden centre make this the perfect time to get out and buy one.

By contrast, clover, like crab grass, may need a more aggressive plan involving digging out whole patches of lawn. But don't despair just yet. Clover can actually help you identify another serious issue in your lawn: low nitrogen...[read more]

Monday, March 19, 2012

What Really Causes Heart Disease?

Medical professionals are starting to come to grips with some startling facts regarding what really causes heart disease; and those facts are beginning to shake up not only the health industry, but the whole world of nutritional science.

In a recent article, presented an astonishing confession by renowned cardiologist, Dr. Dwight Lundell. In it, Lundell boldly states what many professionals have come to suspect through purely empirical observation:
I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled "opinion makers." Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working! 
The fact that it's not working is precisely what has prompted this movement towards more careful scientific scrutiny of previously-held beliefs about diet and fitness. After all, as Lundell points out, all the statin drugs and reduced fat dieting in the world have not stemmed the tide of heart disease. In fact, with 25% of the US adult population taking statin drugs, more will die this year from heart attack and stroke than ever before. And even worse are the overall numbers: 75 million Americans currently have heart disease. 20 million have diabetes, and another 57 million have pre-diabetes. And these conditions affect younger and younger segments of the population each year.

Lundell's testimony is damning. It is, in fact, not working...[read more]

"I Hate Balls" is supposed to be funny. I get it.

Recently, the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation has launched what it calls an "edgy campaign targeted to raise awareness about spay/neuter, a simple and extremely effective means of stopping the killing of animals in shelters."

"Edgy," in this instance, means throwing down yet another assault on masculinity. Because no matter how funny you make it, the simple fact is naming your campaign "I Hate Balls" is in no way a campaign in support of spaying. Really, it's as blatantly anti-male as all those sitcoms with dads who are dumber than their kindergarten kids, or those ridiculous T-shirts that say "Boys are stupid...throw rocks at them."

Look, I get it. And it's kind of funny; a hot chick (Kathrine Heigl) blathering on about everything that's wrong with balls. After a while though, the redundancy of the statement really does set in...and eventually (as expected) gets projected away from male animals (dogs in particular), and onto male humans. There the joke is about castration for obedience, not neutering to protect the animal population.

I'm not deeply offended by the project overall. I think it's cute, in an affected dippy blonde, sort of bullshit way. But I wonder where the spaying commentary would go. Perhaps "I Hate Ovaries" would be an adequate response. Then, instead of suggesting that it's funny to talk about castrating men to make them more docile, we could talk about how hysterectomies could be used to control the hysterical mood swings women get.

(hysterectomy, by the way, comes from the word outmoded idea that once a month the uterus floated up into the woman's brain to cause her to be, well, hysterical)

Somehow I doubt that would garner the same reaction. I doubt women would see the gentle good humour intended. I doubt it would be accepted as "edgy." It would be crass, dehumanizing, and embarrassing.

I don't have any issue with what the Foundation is looking to achieve in its awareness campaigns. So to donate, feel free to go to and fork over your cash. Then, if you're so inclined, tell them you hate ovaries more than balls, and want your donation only to go to sterilizing female animals.

Again, it's funny to a point. But if the shoe were on the other foot, consider how funny it would be. Maybe they should run the female campaign just to balance the joke.

But I doubt they'd have the balls for that.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tips for Binge Drinkers

Happy St. Patty's Day!

While everyone on Facebook is busy posting about how much they plan on drinking today, we at The Man Sphere would like to remind everyone to drink responsibly. It's not a day for the celebration of blood poisoning.

That said, here are a few points to keep in mind:

  1. Stay hydrated. Begin your bar-hopping with at least 500 ml. of water, and keep drinking water throughout the night.
  2. Don't bother driving anywhere at all. Just get there, and get cabs.
  3. Vitamin B complex and a couple of Tylenol prior to drinking will help stave off the hangover effects.
  4. Gatorade, for its rehydrating and electrolytes, is essential day-after equipment to get rid of the hangover. Get some in your fridge today and be ready (for some reason, Powerade doesn't seem to work as well).
  5. I'm pretty sure I don't need to remind you what happens below the belt with too much alcohol. But its friendly name is "whiskey dick." So I reminded you.
  6. Steve's old-school hangover cure: A bottle of orange Gatorade, an x-large 4&4 from Tim's, two Advil and two Tylenol. A fried egg sandwich with cheese helps too.
  7. Alcohol actually acts as a suppressant to testosterone, and therefore also growth hormone production. Continued heavy drinking forces the pancreas into overdrive to deal with the influx of sugars. Higher insulin production and lower testosterone levels cause fat storage, which in turn increases estrogen production to handle the distribution of excess fat (especially to places like the chest, belly, and butt); this is why a beer gut is so's the fat packed around the organs. By extension therefore, the ability to drink more than your buddies at any given event doesn't make you more of a man. It actually makes you more of a woman, in a very real biological and chemical sense.
Have fun, but drink responsibly. Know your limit. And above all, weigh the importance of one night of binging against all the work you're doing in the gym and the kitchen. There's nothing wrong with a good time...just keep it good.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Basic Diet Shift


see contest rules

The Basic Diet Shift (two weeks)

Man, do I love food.

No joke. I can eat a bag of Decadent cookies on my own in one sitting. Ice cream is like heroin to me. Chips...well, let's just say they have a seat next to Southern Comfort and cigarettes in the lobby of the hardest things I've ever had to give up.

Listen, we all know what is and isn't good for us. And we can go on and on at length about the dangers of sugar, preservatives, saturated fats, alcohol, and just about everything else that's tasty. But that doesn't make for a good strategy. It's too easy to just say, "I'll eat better tomorrow...or start next week."

What most of us need to do -- and I'm no super hero...I need to do this too -- is recognize what needs to change, and then change those things, a little at a time.

For my strategy in the contest, I'm taking a gradual approach to diet change. I can do this, because I know what works. I've done it before. But I like ice cream. Nevertheless, here's the plan...[read more]

How sad is this?

I'm not one to judge people. At least, that's what I like to tell myself. We all like to believe we're non-judgmental because at some point in our lives we were convinced that this was the way to relate to one another fairly.

That said, I don't like to point out faults in other people's appearances because I'm not exactly Mr. Universe myself. Yeah, I have the soft midsection and the crooked nose. I get that, and it's fine, because I have other things going on that give me the confidence to not really care that much about "imperfections" I consider to be pretty minor.

But when a guy comes along who goes to the extremes the guy in this video goes to, I have to wonder. Now, I'm not judging his quality on the weirdly cartoonish way he looks. Clearly he thinks he looks great, and that's fine. It's the motivation behind this much surgery that's cause for concern. I consider plastic surgery reconstructive surgery -- useful for disfiguring accidents, but it can be disfiguring when applied to a healthy body.

In this case, I think it shows a serious issue with self-image to begin with. But it also demonstrates an unusual set of shortcuts that are, frankly, dishonest. Pec implants? Bicep implants? Abdominal etching? These are procedures designed to take the "work" out of "work out," and they're cheats.

One thing I know about shortcuts: they never solve the problem. In the end, it's going to take a lot more work to maintain than a set of crunches, push ups, and dumbbell curls. And because it's done cosmetically, it's only a veneer. With the results, though, he has no incentive to actually exercise. And that may be the most dangerous and tragic result of this whole story.

My opinion: don't do this.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Women We Love: Rachelle Wilde

What's in a name?

Well, when the name is Rachelle Wilde, the answer is: all you need to know.

Coming up like a tidal wave of energy and enthusiasm, Rachelle Wilde has taken the modelling world by storm, quickly rising through the ranks to become one of Canada's hottest talent properties. Obviously stunning, and professionally intense, Rachelle balances her wild side with a down-to-earth realism and brilliant sense of humour that take challenges by the horns and show them who's really the boss. In short, it doesn't take much to get Rachelle talking -- and when she does, what she has to say is well worth learning from.

Rachelle Wilde
Photo: Rich Remolador

Name: Rachelle Wilde

Occupation: Playboy Cover Model and Naked News Anchor

Education: Diploma in Dentistry...random I know.
I love to help others whether it be with my Sick Kids charity, or SPCA fundraisers or just helping out a friend. I'm a real girl with big personality that can get anybody laughing...that makes me awesome :)

How did you get started on your current career track?
I was asked to shoot with Playboy years ago but I didn't feel it was the right time. Then in October of 2010 I shot my spread and sure enough I made my pictorial debut by making the cover of Playboy Lingerie April 2011. Then I made the cover for France's Filles De Playboy Special 100th Issue, and finally my third cover with my best friend for Playboy Lingerie, in October, 2011. I have been very fortunate to have been published in over 8 issues last year.
What gives you the most satisfaction as an artist?
I get excited to show my family my work that I have done. I come from a very liberal family and they get so excited and proud, and that makes me happy.

Men vs. Women vs. Interviews

There's been a really interesting phenomenon that's come up since I started this blog and subsequently launched the magazine site. It centres around the odd behaviour of men and women when it comes to do agreeing to do interviews.

I confess I started the interviews for Women We Love and Men We Admire as a way of building content, and possibly getting a little extra traffic as a result. The results have been overwhelming, due largely to the encouragement of the fantastic people I've been interviewing. They're all quite happy to provide interesting commentary and insights into their motivations and successes, and I've had a lot of great feedback from readers as well.

But what's been unusual is the responses from interviewees in terms of who does or doesn't get things done. I wouldn't have expected some of these results, but check this out:

Women, in general, are quite happy to do the interviews. Most come from entertainment fields, so that's understandable. Actresses, singers, models, and filmmakers know the value in providing face time online.

Men, by contrast, take a lot of selling. In the main, it's actually far more difficult to get them to agree to do an interview in the first place. I believe it's because they see the value differently. Whereas women see contributing an interview as adding value to their online brand, men want to know what the interview will contribute to their online brand.

From men, I often get questions like, "how much traffic do you get?" or "how do these questions relate to my [product or service] so I can at least get some relevant backlinks?" Women see the value as intrinsic, whereas men question the value from a "what's in it for me" position.

And yet (and here's the funny part), men get the interview responses back to me very quickly, even if their initial response was "I'm pretty busy, so this may take a while." Women, always eager to take on the interview, take much longer to get it done and usually need one or two reminders. Why is this?

Actually, I have no idea. This is just a tendency that I've noticed in doing several of these interviews over the past year. Women are more likely to agree to do an interview, but take a long time to get around to it. Men are less likely to agree to it, but when they do the turnaround time is much faster.

I'm going to keep an eye on this, I think, because it's an interesting phenomenon. It's not a scientific study of course, just a curiosity. I'm wondering if there's some valuable lesson here in the differences between men and women in handling productivity. Either way the job gets done, but in different ways. Worth a look I'd say.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Aspartame Rebranded as AminoSweet for Better PR

"AminoSweet" almost sounds healthy

The makers of Aspartame, who are also responsible for the reprehensible existence of MSG, are rebranding the sugar substitute in an attempt to improve its profile.

Ajinomoto, the chemical, pharmaceutical, and food additive manufacturer responsible for Aspartame, has chosen to call the much-maligned product "AminoSweet." Marketed under popular brand names such as NutraSweet, Equal, and Candarel, Aspartame has become a staple in the calorie-conscious end of world dieting circles.

But can this move to a prettier name really do the trick for Aspartame? The chemical additive, while certainly a zero-calorie alternative to sugar, has been revealed in recent years to be associated with a host of illnesses. While it contains methanol--a deadly poison in its own right--it's what that methanol turns into in the body that causes the most concern.

Methanol, when digested, becomes formaldehyde, and although there may be jokes aplenty regarding "preservation," formaldehyde in the body is no laughing matter. It has been shown to be a highly potent cancer-causing agent, and can cause birth defects. On top of all this, Aspartame has been linked to neurological disorders, behaviour disorders, and has even been shown to cause the effects of diabetes to worsen over time...[read more]

Really, spammers? Really?

I've been running the magazine site for a couple of issues now, and it's doing fairly well. You can tell, because in the last 48 hours it's received over 100 spam comments.

The thing about spam comments is, I work in internet marketing. I know why they write comments on blogs. The idea is to engage in the discussion and hopefully draw some traffic and interest back to your site, while also putting your link in an high-PR location that will give search engines a good idea of how popular your site is and how engaged you are. That's the theory.

In reality, the same freak shows that send out the classic "Dear beloved in Christ" emails -- hoping you'll help some poor widow of an ex-African official smuggle millions of dollars out of her country for a commission, if you'll just provide them with all of your personal identification and a bank account number -- are trying this strategy. Oddly enough, it only seems to plague my Wordpress sites, like The Man Sphere, and not this Blogger site. Both are indexed (in fact, this one is ranked higher, since it's a year older), and both get plenty of traffic.

And both have a high level of comment moderation, which is why you don't see those hundreds of spam comments.

But just for giggles, I thought I'd share a few of the real prizes from The Man Sphere, without links of course. Here's a tip: this is how NOT to promote your website on someone else's blog. See what you think:
"Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it develop over time."
Yes it does. Click the "Contact Us" link, dipshit.
"I beloved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The comic strip is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following. ill undoubtedly come more before again as exactly the similar just about very regularly inside of case you defend this hike."
Uhhhh... o_O
"Well I truly enjoyed studying it. This tip provided by you is very useful for proper planning."
Considering this one was posted on Sabina Kay's interview, I'm not entirely sure what tip he's talking about...or what he's planning.
"Perfectly written subject matter, regards for entropy."
Google Translate is not your friend, spamdouche.
"In this great scheme of things you’ll receive an A for effort and hard work. Exactly where you confused us ended up being in the details. As as the maxim goes, details make or break the argument.. And that couldn't be more true in this article. Having said that, let me tell you just what did work. The writing can be quite persuasive and that is probably why I am taking an effort to opine. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, while I can see a jumps in logic you make, I am definitely not confident of how you seem to unite your details which produce the actual final result. For the moment I will yield to your position however hope in the foreseeable future you actually link the facts better."
OK, let me see if I can guess what's happening here. This cockspammer copied and pasted some almost intelligent commentary. As a professor, I can see what he's getting at in terms of grading someone's argument. And he's right, the details do need to be unified to create a cohesive argument. However, where this commenter fails is that there's no argument in the article. There's no "position." It's an interview with Veronika London.

"Good day! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thank you so much!"
No. Fuck off.
"Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?"
This was posted on Mackenzie Kristjon's interview. I might have bought the argument about using video, but the only video is for his song "This Mad Desire." Totally random comment destined for the spam bin (his URL was promoting a book on secrets of Farmville...not much left for him to say about throwing intelligence away!).

You know what? Here's the video again:

I love throwing away my intelligence on good music.
"I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?"
Hmm...let me see if I follow this. You're suggesting more content, but there's too much text. Riiight.
"It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this outstanding blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group. Talk soon!"
Yup. Real shame...go buy the calendar.
"You will be able use all sorts of advised attractions with various car treatments. A quantity of sell traditional tools numerous demand families for almost any event for any investment district, or even for a holiday in new york. ???? ??? ?????? ????? 599711"
Awesome! I've never been able to use advised attractions before! This'll be great!
"Definitely believe that that you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to understand of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed even as other people consider issues that they just do not recognize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and outlined out the entire thing without having side effect , folks could take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thank you!"
Google Translate strikes again. Right in the nuts. (or "upon the highest" lol)
"I was reading some of your content on this site and I think this website is rattling informative! Keep posting."
"I believe this internet site contains some rattling great info for everyone  . “When you get a thing the way you want it, leave it alone.” by Sir Winston Leonard Spenser Churchill."
Is "rattling" a translation of some foreign word I don't know about? Because in English it means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
"Unquestionably imagine that which you stated. Your favourite reason appeared to be at the internet the easiest thing to have in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed even as other people think about worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as outlined out the entire thing without having side effect , other folks can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you"
Really? Wow...what a kind and thoughtful sentiment. It's rare to see monkeys so skilled with linking haikus together into COMPLETE GIBBERISH. Absolutely I'll approve this comment so people can visit your site about van refinancing in Great Britain.
"Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to understand so much approximately this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something. I feel that you simply could do with a few p.c. to pressure the message house a bit, however instead of that, that is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back."
No idea what this means.

Anyway, you get the point. Spammers are pretty much morons. Are there any bloggers out there who let this crap through? I have no idea, but if there are, they really ought to be slapped, because letting even a few of these bullshit comments through keeps spammers operating under the belief that this is an effective marketing strategy. And so far, apart from wasting my time with moderating (read: "deleting") their stupidity from my back office, all they've accomplished is giving me fodder for this post.

So listen, if you want to engage in discussion about the article, go for it. If you want to promote your crappy website, I'm OK with that too, provided you're still relevant. But please, don't insult my intelligence by calling me "beloved" or praising the rattlingness of my thoughts on the subject. You'll just end up in another embarrassing situation like this one.

Jeez I wish I had real names to post!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shape Up For Summer Contest 2012


Three Month "Muscle Up" Beach Challenge

Alright gentlemen, here's new contest.

Can you beef up in time for beach season?

Our Editor-in-Chief, Steve Baric, says "YES!" In fact, he's so confident he can pack on the beef and trim his body fat that he's making a bet: starting March 26, 2012, he's going to lose more body fat and gain more muscle mass than any of you.

What's more, he's even going to take you step-by-step through his process, and show you how he's doing it. Even if the heaviest thing you've ever lifted is a quart of Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls ice cream, you'll get the raw play-by-play of how this transformation is going to happen.

Here's the game: March 26 is the starting date. No ifs, ands, or buts. No waiting for a Monday. No waiting for the first of the next month. No waiting for a special invitation. No waiting until you end up in the hospital.

This will be followed by a solid THREE MONTHS of killer workouts, easy (and delicious) diet changes, and a lot of fun. June 30 will be the cut-off date for the contest, with the votes coming in on July 1-2. We'll announce the winners on July 4.

There is a catch though: you have to beat Steve's numbers. And he's going all-out, so you probably won't be able to come close. But on the off chance that you do, he's willing to put up some cool prizes from Prograde Nutrition. Here they are:

First place (most overall improvement = biggest shift in body fat percentage): 1 "Ultimate Workout Package" from Prograde Nutrition (includes 2 bottles of Prograde Workout, 1 bottle of VGF 25+ multivitamin, 1 bottle of EFA Icon, and 1 bottle of Prograde Longevity anti-oxidant supplement. Retail value: $139.95)

Second place: 1 "Total Wellness Package" from Prograde Nutrition (includes one bottle each of VGF 25+ multivitamin, EFA Icon, and Longevity anti-oxidant supplement. Retail value: $84.95)

Third Place: 1 "Fitness Package" from Prograde Nutrition (includes one bottle each of Prograde Protein and Prograde Workout. Retail value: $64.95)

Best over-30 score: One-month supply of Prograde K20 natural testosterone booster (Retail value: $74.95)

Here's how you enter:


  1. Take a shirtless front and side photo. These are your "before" pics.
  2. Before 11:59p.m. Pacific Standard Time on March 26 (that's the day of our next issue), send us an email containing your name, address, and age, along with your photos, to, subject line, "My Contest Entry." This will be your registration.
  3. Download our tracking spreadsheet HERE (or visit and find the link in the article). This sheet contains all the detailed contest rules and your final submission entry form.
  4. Work like a dog until July 1, tracking your measurements every week. At the end of the contest, submit a set of "after" pictures, along with your saved spreadsheet, via email. This will be your official entry.
That's it! How you lose the poundage is up to you, but you have to keep track of your numbers every week, and we need those photographs.

You have to be 18 or over, and live in Canada or the U.S. to participate in the contest. Of course, you can join in the fun anywhere in the world just so you have the support of your fellow fat burners. We just can't ship prizes overseas just yet.

For a full set of contest rules, download the free body fat tracking spreadsheet. No email or purchase required.

Contestants are free to use any diet and/or fitness system they choose. We are not responsible for any injuries resulting from poor nutrition or exercise, or any activity related to participating in this contest. It's fun...let's keep it that way. PLEASE CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING THIS, OR ANY OTHER, EXERCISE AND NUTRITIONAL PROGRAM, and STAY IN CONTACT WITH THEM THROUGHOUT, being sure to report any discomfort or injury, loss of sleep, or change in body function. This contest is meant to encourage a healthier lifestyle, and a bottle of protein powder is not worth risking permanent injury or a heart attack. Be smart.

Early Season Home Maintenance Schedule

In this feature, we're going to guide you through the things you need to take care of every season around your home. Obviously if you're an apartment renter or condo dweller many of the items on our CMHC checklist won't apply to you. But some, like cleaning range hoods and checking or replacing smoke detector batteries, are valid no matter where you live.

Because we're launching in March, we're going to have to get a jump on the spring season and your early season home maintenance schedule. Our calendar naturally begins in January/February, but in case you didn't get to these things it's a good idea to make sure you have a look around and see what you can get caught up on. These are all quick jobs, so you'll be able to do most in just a few minutes. Our next issue will cover the March/April tasks for spring maintenance...[read more]

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Issue Online!

The new issue of The Man Sphere is now online!

Alright, alright, here's the big announcement (actually, it's several announcements):

First, we were very happy to be able to interview Aaron Marino of Alpha M. Image Consulting (Atlanta) as our "Men We Admire" feature personality. But what's even better, Aaron is coming on board as our style expert, offering his amazing expertise in men's fashion and style to our readers. Welcome aboard!

Check out Aaron's first column for The Man Sphere.

Second, we're unbelievably excited -- bordering on giddy -- to have as our "Women We Love" feature, Ms. Rachelle Wilde. Rachelle is an absolute knockout, as you Playboy and Naked News fans will already know. But when you see just how down-to-earth and just plain cool she is, we guarantee you'll fall in love with her.

Third, we have our next contest: our Shape Up For Summer Contest 2012. How much transformation can you make in your lifestyle to be truly beach ready before Canada Day? I'm betting you can't do better than me, but if you think you can, take your shot at one of three prize packs from Prograde Nutrition. Just head over to the contest page for details. You have until March 26 to register, so get signed up and get in the game!

Finally -- and probably most insanely awesome -- we're announcing the sale of our exclusive photo calendars. Right out of the gate, we have (and we can't believe we even get to say this) an exclusive Lana Tailor 2012/2013 Calendar. This unbelievably hot calendar is eighteen months of exclusive, all original Lana Tailor photos, not available anywhere else. It hasn't hit press yet, but if you order before May 15, 2012, you can get your copy for just $19.95 (plus S&H). That's $10 off the regular price. Reserve yours today and avoid the rush! These are going to sell out like mad, so don't wait.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Basia Lyjak CD Giveaway!

We're giving away THREE prize packs from this issue's Women We Love feature, singing sensation Basia Lyjak!
Each package includes an autographed copy of her CD "Writings On The Wall," a T-shirt, and a free download card.
All YOU have to do is click the picture below, join The Man Sphere's Facebook page, and tell us your favourite Basia Lyjak song. It's as simple as that!
The Man Sphere: Basia Lyjak CD Giveaway!
Contest closes Wednesday, March 7, 2012. No purchase necessary.