Unreal uncovers the secrets of "manly men"! 

Plus, playin' the Name Game and countin' cards. Wouldn't Mom be proud?

For years, experts have said that the strong, silent male is not one to ask for help when he's hurt, and therefore at a disadvantage when it comes to getting better," proclaims a recent press release from the University of Missouri.

Not anymore, suckers! According to associate professor of psychology Glenn Good, "'manly men' bounce back better from injury." An amiable bloke who dedicated his life to studying men after a California coming-of-age during the women's movement of the 1970s, Good is, per Mizzou, "the first to quantitatively confirm correlations between masculinity and men's recovery."

Yeah, quantitatively. Intriguing fodder for a Q&A....

Unreal: So, to quantify what makes a manly man, do you measure the length and girth of his love wand?

Professor Glenn Good: That's well said! I'll have to mention that in future talks. We do not measure a manly man by the length and girth of his love wand. We measure self-reported attitudes on masculinity, such as their desire to have power over a woman, their belief they should be tough and stoic about pain and their belief that they should strive for success, be a playboy and promiscuous — that sort of thing.

Is there any correlation between manly men and Dr. Phil?

Not yet.

How do manly men recover from hangovers?

We did not study that. But manly men would say it was probably worth it because of whatever shenanigans they did to get the hangover.

Sounds like a man we know, who shall remain nameless but who would be interested to know his manly-man chances of recovery after being thrown from a racehorse at Fairmount Park.

The same as for everybody else. The more they have a goal in mind and work toward that steadily, they'll have a better recovery.

Good to know. Did any Iraq vets respond to your study?

No. These were mid-Missouri men mostly injured in vehicular, industrial and agricultural accidents.

Do you think Bob Woodruff is a manly man?

I'm not real sure.

George Bush?

[Sighs] I have to take the Fifth because of having a state job. I have a colleague who just got in trouble for criticizing an elected official.

What? That's outrageous! How about Jon Stewart?

Definitely not a manly man! He's wonderful!

Are you a manly man?


I'm getting the idea that being a manly man is a very bad thing.

Well, it's very restricting. It's one of the tightest boxes and biggest straitjackets you can put yourself in. You give up a lot of options and helpful coping skills: apprehension and doubt, for example; the ability to say you made a mistake. That applies to Bush. It's not very helpful in the long run to be a manly man.

The Mother of Invention

Someday Unreal just may publish an exclusive exposé on Invention Technologies (Invent-Tech), the Coral Gables, Florida-based firm that specializes, according to its Web site, in "world-class strategic invention marketing services followed by professional global representation in the sale or license of new product concepts." We're just kinda curious how many "inventors" actually get their oh-so-awesome ideas to market.

Access to media and glory stories, you see, is one of the services Invent-Tech ostensibly offers to inventors as a way of piquing a manufacturer's interest in a potential product. Problem is, while we get flooded with press releases, we don't get to ask the inventors any pertinent questions a prospective widget-maker might be interested in, like: What does your invention do?

Well, there's only so long a boycott can last, and the embargo on Invent-Tech items has gone on at least a few months, so we said what the hell and called one of the inventors listed in a titillating press release. "The Name Game," it said, "invented by Shirley Chinn of Clarence, Missouri, developed out of the 'mind exercises' that Chinn practices while driving."

Unreal: What's the population over there in Clarence, Mrs. Chinn?

Shirley Chinn: Nine hundred-something. It's an everybody-knows-everybody's-business kind of town.

What are these "mind exercises" you practice while driving?

Oh, I just get an idea and then I try to add to it. It involves names, and I see how many I can come up with. I get sleepy driving, so I do these to keep myself awake. They say you got to keep your mind active, or you'll get senile.

So is this a game for old fogies?

No, I think it would appeal to anybody: probably school-age on up to 80.

Do you practice every day?

Sometimes. Depends on how sleepy I get.

What happens if you fall asleep during the game?

[Laughs] Oh, well, that's never happened.

If you get a call from a manufacturer after this interview, would you consider sharing the proceeds with the RFT?

Proceeds? Um, I hadn't thought beyond finding somebody just to buy it.


Build a Better Bettor

St. Louisan Michael Board is a 30-year-old blackjack whiz who has been blacklisted for counting cards in casinos from the Czech Republic to Las Vegas. He once taught casinos how to spot card counters; now he's teaching seminars on how to do it (cf. his Web site, www.championshipblackjack.com). He says it isn't illegal — it merely levels the playing field by giving the informed gambler a chance to win. We jumped into the pit with Board, who's working toward a master's degree in (surprise!) finance from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Unreal: Your six-hour seminar costs $350. How long do you think it'd take us to win that back at the Casino Queen? And, uh, we aren't that good at math.

Michael Board: Not long at all, actually. You need to practice and get proficient at it. And when you do lose, you lose a lot less.

Wouldn't buying a book be a lot cheaper?

People only understand it if you make it very simple. A lot of these books are written with a lot of mathematics and there's not one book that'll tell you everything. You just learn parts. I've almost got one written where literally a fifth grader could get it. But when you go through it with someone in person who actually knows it, it's five times easier.

Whatevs. Why do we get dirty looks from the guy next to us when we hit on 17?

The average winning hand is 18.3, 18.4. If you hit on 17, your odds are bigger to bust out than making a hand that's significantly better. Doing that doesn't really affect Joe Blow, but it is sort of a crazy hit — you'd have to have a hole in your head to actually do it.

Did you like Rain Man?

Yeah, it's good.

What's 63 times 94?

I could probably figure it out. [Pauses] About 6,000?

It's 5922. Do you think card counting is a skill everyone should learn, like CPR or silversmithing?

I think everyone who plays blackjack at a casino should know it. Nobody goes to be a loser. If you learn it, you can maximize your potential to win.

Yep, that's what Mom always says.

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