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History, Facts, Info & our lists of favorites below

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Be Happy: About
Movie Theatre


Action, Spy, Western, Mafia - Where's the Popcorn?

There's just too many movies and with all the chaff out there, its easy to miss the good ones. And that's why we are here! These are the definitive lists of must see movies for guys - in the action, spy, western, crime and mafia genres.  Let us know if we missed one, because thats the whole point!

Our lists of favorite movies are sorted alphabetically and with no detailed descriptions, why?

1) Ease - this site is about efficiency, to educate you quickly and provide key advice in a short easy read

2) Rank is Subjective - everyone's taste is a little different, so does it matter if we think one is ranked #3 versus #13?

So save yourself time and trust us!

We've done the research on our own and across many other movie ranking sites.

If you've not seen a movie on these lists, watch it, and you'll enjoy it!

Want to read more about these films?

We like Flixster or Rotten Tomatoes for their descriptions as well as showing both critic and audience review scores.

Be Happy: Portfolio
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Action & Adventure Movies

There's nothing quite as entertaining as a good action/adventure movie is there? Whether it's cops and robbers, fighting aliens, military battles, or some science fiction mayhem - we love our action movies!

Here is our list of the 60 best action and adventure movies of all time.  Interestingly, the 1980's through the 1990's seemed to have some of the best. Also, notice how many have Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Nicholas Cage, Keanu Reeves and Matt Damon in starring roles - not lots of Academy Award winners here - but they sure make good movies!

Action & Adventure Movies - Top 60 (arranged alphabetically)

  • 300 – 2006

  • Aliens – 1986

  • Apocalypse Now – 1979

  • Black Hawk Down – 2001

  • Blade – 1998

  • Blade Runner 2049 – 2017

  • Bloodsport – 1988

  • Braveheart – 1995

  • Captain America, Civil War – 2016

  • Commando – 1985

  • Con Air – 1997

  • Death Wish – 1974

  • Delta Force – 1986

  • Die Hard – 1998

  • Dunkirk – 2017

  • Enter the Dragon – 1973

  • Escape from New York – 1981

  • Face/Off – 1997

  • First Blood – 1982

  • Gladiator – 2000

  • Hard to Kill – 1990

  • Heat – 1995

  • Hunt for Red October – 1990 

  • Independence Day – 1996

  • Iron Man – 2008

  • James Bond, Casino Royale – 2006

  • James Bond, Sky Fall – 2012

  • John Wick – 2014

  • Kill Bill, Vol 1 – 2003

  • Lethal Weapon – 1987

  • Mad Max – Fury Road – 2015

  • Mad Max – Road Warrior – 1982

  • Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol - 2011

  • Mission Impossible III – 2006

  • Mission Impossible Rogue Nation – 2015

  • Predator – 1987

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark – 1981

  • RoboCop – 1987

  • Saving Private Ryan – 1998

  • Scarface – 1983

  • Shogun Assassin (Japan) – 1980

  • Speed – 1994

  • Taken – 2008

  • Terminator – 1984

  • Terminator 2, Judgment Day – 1991

  • The Avengers

  • The Bourne Identity – 2002

  • The Bourne Ultimatum – 2007

  • The Dark Knight – 2008

  • The Dirty Dozen – 1967

  • The Fugitive – 1993

  • The Killer (China) – 1989

  • The Long Kiss Goodnight – 1996

  • The Matrix – 1999

  • The Professional, Leon – 1994

  • The Rock – 1996

  • Top Gun – 1986

  • Total Recall – 1990

  • True Lies – 1994

  • Under Siege – 1992

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Spy Movies

We love the spy movie genre.  The intrigue, the mystery, the action, the women - not to mention the guns, the gadgets, the suave spies or the intelligent spymasters who guide them. Spy movies are a perfect way to spend a lazy weekend afternoon!

Below is our list of the 30 best spy movies of all time.  There is no way you've seen every one of these, so check them out, including the ones from the 1960's and 1970's - true classics that helped invent the genre.  Also, note that some of these are complete movie series and include multiple films (James Bond Series, Mission Impossible Series, etc).

Spy Movies - Top 30 (arranged alphabetically)

  • A Most Wanted Man – 2014

  • Argo – 2012

  • Body of Lies – 2008

  • Enemy of the State – 1998

  • Eye of the Needle – 1981

  • Hunt for Red October – 1990

  • James Bond Series - (1968 to Present)  Note: SkyFall is one of the best

  • Killer Elite – 2011

  • Kingsman Secret Service – 2014

  • La Femme Nikita – 1990

  • Munich – 2006

  • No Way Out – 1987

  • North by Northwest – 1959

  • Patriot Games – 1992

  • Ronin – 1998

  • Spy Game – 2001

  • The Bourne Series – 2002 to 2017

  • The Day of the Jackal – 1973

  • The Debt – 2010

  • The Fourth Protocol – 1987

  • The Good Shepherd – 2006

  • The Ipcress File – 1965

  • The MacKintosh Man – 1973

  • The Manchurian Candidate – 1962

  • The Mission Impossible Series – 1996 to 2018

  • The Spy Who Came In From The Cold – 1965

  • The Tailor of Panama – 2001

  • Three Days of the Condor – 1975

  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – 2011

  • Zero Dark Thirty – 2012

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Western Movies

Who doesn't like watching a good western movie. The vintage good versus evil - plus watching cowboys ride horses, gun-fight, smoke cigars, play poker, have too much fun in saloons, and save damsels in distress - all the while watching beautiful scenery in the background - is always a good way to spend two hours.

Below is our list of the 40 best western movies of all time.  Many of these are often overlooked or forgotten, so be sure to fill in the gaps when you have time. There are even a few that go back to the 1940's and 1950's and are true classics.

Western Movies - Top 40 (arranged alphabetically)

  • 3:10 to Yuma – 1957, 2007

  • A Fistful of Dollars – 1964

  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – 1969

  • Dances with Wolves – 1990

  • Django Unchained – 2012

  • Forsaken – 2016

  • High Noon – 1952

  • How the West Was Won – 1963

  • Legends of the Fall – 1994

  • Lone Start – 1996

  • Lonesome Dove – 1990

  • Major Dundee - 1965

  • No Country for Old Men – 2007

  • Once Upon A Time in the West – 1968

  • Open Range – 2003

  • Pale Rider – 1985

  • Red River – 1948

  • Rio Bravo – 1959

  • Shane – 1953

  • Silverado – 1985

  • Stagecoach – 1939

  • Sweet Grass – 2009

  • The Assassination of Jesse James – 2007

  • The Big Country – 1958

  • The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – 1966

  • The Hateful Eight – 2015

  • The Magnificent Seven – 1960, 2016

  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – 1962

  • The Outlaw Josey Wales – 1976

  • The Revenant – 2016

  • The Salvation – 2015

  • The Searchers – 1956

  • The Shootist – 1976

  • The Sons of Katie Elder – 1965

  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - 1948

  • The Wild Bunch – 1969

  • Tombstone – 1993

  • True Grit – 2010

  • Unforgiven – 1992

  • Vera Cruz – 1954

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Crime & Mafia Movies

The honor among thieves, the unspoken rules, the question of loyalty, the acts of violence and vengeance - there's just something about a good crime or mafia movie that we love! In fact, so many of these classics were made in the 1990's - the golden era of crime movies.

Further, it's the excellent directors and character actors that bring these movies to life. Can you imagine if directors Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma and Quentin Tarantino did not lead many of these films? Not to mention the quality acting of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Gene Hackman and Jack Nicholson? It was the perfect mix of directors and actors.

Below is our list of the 40 best crime & mafia movies of all time. 

Crime & Mafia Movies - Top 40 (arranged alphabetically)

  • A Bronx Tale – 1993

  • American Gangster – 2007

  • American Hustle – 2013

  • Black Mass – 2016

  • Bonnie & Clyde – 1967

  • Boondock Saints – 1999

  • Carlito’s Way – 1993

  • Casino – 1995

  • Chinatown – 1974

  • Collateral – 2004

  • Copland – 1997

  • Donnie Brasco – 1997

  • Eastern Promises – 2007

  • Gangs of New York – 2002

  • Goodfellas – 1990

  • Heat – 1995

  • Hoffa – 1992

  • Jackie Brown – 1997

  • Kill the Irishman – 2011

  • King of New York – 1990

  • Mean Streets – 1984

  • Miller’s Crossing – 1990

  • Mobsters – 1991

  • On the Waterfront – 1954

  • Once Upon A Time in America – 1984

  • Public Enemies – 2009

  • Pulp Fiction – 1994

  • Reservoir Dogs – 1992

  • Road to Perdition – 2002

  • Scarface – 1983

  • Snatch – 2000

  • The Cotton Club – 1984

  • The Departed – 2006

  • The French Connection – 1971

  • The Godfather Series – 1972 to 2010

  • The Italian Job – 2003

  • The Sting – 1973

  • The Untouchables – 1987

  • The Usual Suspects – 1995

  • Thief – 1981

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Advice & Favorites

Be Happy: Portfolio
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TV - Advice on "Cutting the Cord"

Not an Advertisement, True Advice!

So how many of you are thinking about "cutting the cord" from either your cable or satellite provider?  We sure were and I bet many of you are too! So this is a true story of what I did, how I did it - and boy, am I ever happy I did!

Let's start with the situation and facts at the time:

  • Internet & Cable Provider - was a leading national cable provider (not satellite) who was excellent with great customer service and support - no issues at all overall, just expensive!

  • Monthly Cable Bill  - was $200 and this was just for cable, not counting the fee for monthly internet service which was $50 (separate topic). So all in I was paying $250 per month for both cable and internet due to all the TV's and cable HDVR equipment I had in my home

  • Channels - we had the premium package which included just about every channel you can think of plus HBO, Showtime, Cinemax (did not include any special NFL channels)

  • What we were watching: 

    • Me​ - other than HBO for Game of Thrones and WestWorld and Showtime for Ray Donovan, most time was spent on basic cable channels like ESPN, Discovery, History, A&E, USA, TBS and FX for some of their original programs like "The Americans" as an example.  Basically I don't even watch network TV and more and more I'm watching Netflix or Amazon for their excellent content and original shows

    • Wife - she does not watch lots of TV, but when she does, it's mostly network TV for programs such as "The Bachelor" or "This is Us".  She also is watching more and more on Netflix and Amazon

    • Kids - stopped watching TV a long time ago, with almost all time being spent on streaming Netflix, Amazon or YouTube via the internet on their phones or iPads

  • How we watched TV - increasingly our entire family is watching TV streamed via our IPads or iPhones or the computer due to convenience or simply watching them on demand when convenient, especially since we're now mostly watching Netflix and Amazon

So facing a $200 cable bill that seemed to be a complete waste, we were ready to cut the cord - but what option would give us the best solution given the above facts - was the key answer I did not know.

My Advice for You and What I Did

There are tons of options out there as you know, and there may be another option that is similar or better than this, but I could not find it.​ Now keep in mind a few things as well, we do not have the latest PlayStation or an Xbox - so right there I did not spend much time on those solutions. Also we are a huge Apple family but I did not want to spend $80 per TV in my house for an Apple puck. So, after a few months of research, my solution was DIRECTVNOW!

  • Cable Channel Provider - is now done via streaming through the DIRECTVNOW channel line-up and I use a ROKU stick or puck on my TV's.

  • Package & Price - the option we chose is the "Live a Little" package which is only $35 per month - which provides all network stations and the key cable channels our family watches plus HBO!  And what's even better, since ATT owns DIRECTVNOW, if you're an ATT cellular customer with an unlimited data plan, then this streaming service is only $10 per month!  Yes this is true!

  • Internet Provider - I kept my same internet provider since everyone needs an internet and wi-fi signal and their price increased from $50 to $60 if you don't have a combined cable package as well - so no big deal, that's ok.

  • Monthly Bill  - so instead of paying $250 for both cable and internet, I'm now paying $70 total ($10 for DIRECTVNOW and $60 for Internet) - that's a $180 savings per month = $2,160 per year back in my wallet!

  • Channels - the "Live a Little" package offers 60+ of the most important channels you would want, that said below is their full offering (keep in mind you can also add specific channels a la carte that you really want for like $5 per month):

    • LIVE A LITTLE - 60+ Channels

    • JUST RIGHT - 80+ Channels

    • GO BIG - 100+ Channels

    • GOTTA HAVE IT - 120+ Channels

The Pros and Cons

Overall our family is very happy with this switch and there's always some good and bad with every decision so let's break that down:

  • PROS

    • Monthly $$ Savings - over $2000 savings per year​

      • No Hidden Charges - like taxes, access fees, HDVR equipment monthly charges, etc, etc

      • Pay for What we Want - no more overpriced cable channel packages, the package we chose is perfect for what we really watch and part of the reason we are saving so much money

    • Simple - to setup and watch and because we watch using the DIRECTVNOW app via Roku

    • Access to other TV Apps for Free - just like with a cable membership, you can use your DIRECTVNOW password to watch many other TV apps for free - like all the network TV apps

  • CONS

    • Sometimes its a little slower - to change channels or for a channel to "open" because it is via a stream versus a direct cable line connection​

    • DVR - this is not nearly as easy but because we watch old episodes of network TV via their respective channels, not a huge deal, but it is a downfall to be sure.  DIRECTVNOW is saying they are coming out with an improved DVR solution soon.

    • You need to have Roku or Sling on your TV's - this is not a big deal because you can get a Roku USB stick for about $25, just something you need to be aware of.

Alright guys, hope this helps you in your quest to cut the cord!  Let us know if you find an even better solution!


TV - Best Shows for Guys

Simply the Best - Spanning from 1997 to Today - Get Ready to Binge Watch!

Between cable channels, the networks, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu there are so many good shows for guys it is hard to keep up.  Since many shows are not actively advertised, and there are now so many channels, the best way we find about them is from each other! And that's why we are here!  

So save yourself time and trust us!

​This list has been painstakingly researched from across our member base as well as cross-referenced with other ranking and ratings from sites like Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, Forbes, Esquire and many others. If you've not seen a show on these lists, watch it, and you'll enjoy it!

Want to read more about these shows?

We like Rotten Tomatoes because they show both critic and audience review scores as well as having good descriptions.

The Rankings

At "It's Great To Be A Guy", we usually don't "force rank" our favorite lists but this is different. With so many choices and good shows you may have missed, this ranking culminates the combination of quality storylines and acting so you know where to focus your binge-watching time. The rankings below include:

  • Rank #

  • Name of Show

  • Original Network (although most can now be found on Netflix or Amazon anyway)

  • Years of Production

And don't just focus on the new shows - follow this ranking!  For example, "The Wire" ranked #3 was on HBO from 2002-2008 and if you missed it you gotta watch! In fact, most of these actors were new at the time, but have now become very famous and some are now Academy Award winners! And this is just one example.

OK, so here we go...

Top 90 Best TV Shows for Guys

  1. Breaking Bad  -  AMC  -  (2008 to 2013)

  2. Game of Thrones  -  HBO  -  (2011 to Present)

  3. The Wire  -  HBO  -  (2002 to 2008)

  4. Peaky Blinders  -  Netflix  -  (2014 to Present)

  5. House of Cards  -  Netflix  -  (2013 to Present)

  6. Mindhunter  -  Netflix  -  (2017 to Present)

  7. Justified  -  FX  -  (2010 to 2015)

  8. The Americans  -  FX  -  (2013 to Present)

  9. Band of Brothers  -  HBO  -  (2001 to 2007)

  10. Narcos  -  Netflix  -  (2015 to Present)

  11. Ray Donovan  -  Showtime  -  (2013 to Present)

  12. Westworld  -  HBO  -  (2015 to 2016)

  13. Bosch  -  Amazon  -  (2014 to Present)

  14. Boardwalk Empire  -  HBO  -  (2010 to 2014)

  15. Sons of Anarchy  -  FX  -  (2008 to 2014)

  16. Manhunt - Unabomber  -  Discovery  -  (2017 to 2017)

  17. The Man in the High Castle  -  Amazon  -  (2015 to 2016)

  18. The Sopranos  -  HBO  -  (1999 to 2007)

  19. Godless  -  Netflix  -  (2017 to 2017)

  20. Billions  -  Showtime  -  (2016 to Present)

  21. Ozark  -  Netflix  -  (2017 to Present)

  22. The Pacific  -  HBO  -  (2010 to 2010)

  23. Dexter  -  Showtime  -  (2006 to 2013)

  24. Homeland  -  Showtime  -  (2011 to Present)

  25. Vikings  -  Amazon  -  (2013 to Present)

  26. Deadwood  -  HBO  -  (2004 to 2006)

  27. Mr. Robot  -  USA  -  (2015 to Present)

  28. Longmire  -  Netflix  -  (2012 to 2017)

  29. Stranger Things  -  Netflix  -  (2016 to Present)

  30. Mad Men  -  AMC  -  (2007 to 2015)

  31. The Handmaids Tale  -  Hulu  -  (2017 to Present)

  32. Vinyl  -  HBO  -  (2016 to Present)

  33. Hannibal  -  NBC  -  (2013 to 2015)

  34. The Fall  -  Netflix  -  (2013 to 2016)

  35. Better Call Saul  -  AMC  -  (2015 to Present)

  36. True Detective  -  HBO  -  (2014 to 2015)

  37. The Shield  -  FX  -  (2002 to 2008)

  38. The Walking Dead  -  AMC  -  (2010 to Present)

  39. Broadchurch  -  Netflix  -  (2013 to Present)

  40. The Sinner  -  USA  -  (2017 to 2017)

  41. Veep  -  HBO  -  (2012 to Present)

  42. Alias Grace  -  Netflix  -  (2017 to 2017)

  43. The Crown  -  Netflix  -  (2016 to Present)

  44. Carnivale  -  HBO  -  (2003 to 2005)

  45. Terriers  -  Netflix  -  (2010 to 2010)

  46. American Crime Story - OJ Simpson  -  FX  -  (2015 to 2016)

  47. Silicon Valley  -  HBO  -  (2013 to Present)

  48. Fargo  -  FX  -  (2014 to Present)

  49. Sneaky Pete  -  Amazon  -  (2017 to Present)

  50. Curb Your Enthusiasm  -  HBO  -  (2000 to Present)

  51. Line of Duty  -  Hulu  -  (2012 to 2016)

  52. Master of None  -  Netflix  -  (2015 to Present)

  53. Friday Night Lights  -  NBC  -  (2006 to 2011)

  54. Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia  -  FX  -  (2005 to Present)

  55. Louie  -  FX  -  (2010 to 2015)

  56. Brooklyn Nine-Nine  -  FOX  -  (2013 to Present)

  57. American Vandal  -  Netflix  -  (2017 to 2017)

  58. Archer  -  FX  -  (2009 to Present)

  59. Luther  -  BBC  -  (2010 to 2015)

  60. Daredevil  -  Netflix  -  (2015 to 2016)

  61. Jessica Jones  -  Netflix  -  (2015 to 2015)

  62. Wolf Hall  -  PBS  -  (2015 to 2015)

  63. The Expanse  -  SyFy  -  (2015 to Present)

  64. Black Mirror  -  Netflix  -  (2016 to 2017)

  65. Lost  -  ABC  -  (2004 to 2010)

  66. The Night Manager  -  Amazon  -  (2016 to 2016)

  67. Chuck  -  NBC  -  (2007 to 2012)

  68. Hell on Wheels  -  AMC  -  (2011 to 2016)

  69. Banshee  -  Cinemax  -  (2013 to 2013)

  70. Boss  -  Starz  -  (2011 to 2012)

  71. The Leftovers  -  HBO  -  (2014 to Present)

  72. 24  -  Netflix  -  (2001 to 2014)

  73. The Deuce  -  HBO  -  (2017 to Present)

  74. Wormwood  -  Netflix  -  (2017 to 2017)

  75. Luke Cage  -  Netflix  -  (2016 to 2016)

  76. South Park  -  Comedy  -  (1997 to Present)

  77. Riverdale  -  CW  -  (2017 to Present)

  78. Goliath  -  Amazon  -  (2016 to 2016)

  79. Wilfred  -  FX  -  (2011 to 2014)

  80. Taboo  -  FX  -  (2017 to Present)

  81. Sherlock  -  PBS  -  (2010 to Present)

  82. Alpha House  -  Amazon  -  (2013 to 2014)

  83. The Killing  -  AMC  -  (2011 to 2014)

  84. The Punisher  -  Netflix  -  (2017 to Present)

  85. The Defenders  -  CBS  -  (2010 to 2011)

  86. Falling Skies  -  TNT  -  (2011 to 2015)

  87. Spartacus War of the Damned  -  Starz  -  (2010 to 2013)

  88. Ballers  -  HBO  -  (2015 to Present)

  89. American Horror Story  -  FX  -  (2011 to Present)

  90. Californication  -  Showtime  -  (2007 to 2014)

music concert


When Words Fail, Music Speaks

Our love of music is very diverse across our club and subscribers. In fact, we love to compare notes on different genres and who our favorites are. So whether you're adding to your music collection, or simply adding a channel to your favorite music streaming site/app, check out the below info and our favorite lists by genre.

Be Happy: Portfolio
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Rock - Classic


The classic rock definition features music ranging generally from the mid-1960s to the very early 1980s, primarily focusing on 1970s rock. Classic rock is known for its high quality writing and musicianship since this era was before synths and other music programming technology which was heavily used in the 1980s. Due to this fact, classic rock excludes rock from the 1980’s and 1990’s and their many sub-genres.


The definition of “classic rock” began as a radio station format description that developed from the album-oriented rock (AOR) radio station format in the early 1980s. From 1980 to 1983, stations in Cleveland, Chicago, Houston and Boston referred to themselves as “classic rock stations” to appeal to adult listeners who were looking to hear the 1960-1970 rock sound on radio versus disco and other genres at the time. Soon thereafter, many other US metro markets had these types of format stations. “Classic rock” soon became the widely used descriptor for the format, and became the commonly used term for early 1960s and 1970s rock used by the general public as well.

Although classic rock has mostly appealed to adult listeners (many of whom are now between age 40 to 60), music associated with this format has recently received more exposure with younger generations of listeners with the presence of the Internet and digital downloading. Further, due to the high quality writing, musicianship and performances, classic rock is often referred to as being "timeless" and is one of the reasons why bands, such as the Eagles, Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers and many others, are still heard on many radio stations and in commercials even today.

Top 110 Classic Rock Acts

Note: List is sorted alphabetically for ease of reference. Items with an asterisk are top picks.

  • Al Green

  • Alan Parsons Project *

  • Allman Brothers Band *

  • America *

  • Average White Band

  • Bachman-Turner Overdrive *

  • Bad Company *

  • Badfinger

  • Billy Preston

  • Blue Oyster Cult

  • Bob Dylan *

  • Bob Seger

  • Boston *

  • Boz Scaggs

  • Bruce Springsteen

  • Carly Simon *

  • Carole King *

  • Cat Stevens *

  • Charlie Daniels Band

  • Creedence Clearwater Revival *

  • Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young *

  • Curtis Mayfield

  • David Bowie

  • Deep Purple *

  • Delfonics

  • Don McLean *

  • Doobie Brothers *

  • Doors *

  • Dr. John

  • Eagles *

  • Earth, Wind & Fire *

  • Electric Light Orchestra *

  • Elton John *

  • Elvis Costello & The Attractions

  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer *

  • Eric Clapton/Derek & the Dominos *

  • Fleetwood Mac *

  • Foghat

  • Grand Funk Railroad *

  • Grateful Dead *

  • Guess Who *

  • Heart *

  • Hollies

  • Jackson Browne *

  • James Brown *

  • James Gang

  • James Taylor *

  • Janis Joplin

  • Jeff Beck *

  • Jefferson Starship

  • Jethro Tull *

  • Jim Croce *

  • Joe Cocker *

  • Joe Simon

  • John Lennon *

  • Johnnie Taylor

  • Joni Mitchell *

  • Kansas

  • Kinks

  • Led Zeppelin *

  • Linda Ronstadt *

  • Little Feat

  • Lou Reed

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd *

  • Manfred Mann's Earth Band

  • Marshall Tucker Band

  • Meat Loaf *

  • Molly Hatchet *

  • Moody Blues *

  • Nazareth

  • Neil Young *

  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band *

  • Orleans *

  • Patti Smith

  • Paul McCartney/Wings *

  • Paul Simon

  • Peter Frampton *

  • Pink Floyd *

  • Queen *

  • Rainbow

  • Ramones

  • REO Speedwagon *

  • Rod Stewart

  • Rolling Stones *

  • Rush *

  • Santana *

  • Simon & Garfunkel *

  • Slade

  • Sly and the Family Stone

  • Smokey Robinson

  • Steely Dan *

  • Stephen Stills

  • Steppenwolf *

  • Steve Miller Band *

  • Stevie Wonder *

  • Styx *

  • Supertramp *

  • Sweet

  • Ted Nugent *

  • The Band *

  • The Spinners

  • The Who *

  • The Yardbirds

  • Thin Lizzy

  • Three Dog Night *

  • Todd Rundgren

  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers *

  • Tower Of Power

  • Traffic *

  • Van Morrison *

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Rock - Blues


Blues is a music genre and form originated by African Americans in the Deep South of the United States around the end of the 19th century. The genre developed from work songs, spirituals, and the folk music of white Americans of European heritage. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.


The first appearance of blues is often dated to after the ending of slavery and, later, the development of juke joints. The first publication of blues sheet music was in 1908. Blues has since evolved into a wide variety of styles and subgenres. Blues subgenres include country blues, such as Delta blues and Piedmont blues, as well as urban blues styles such as Chicago blues and West Coast blues. World War II marked the transition from acoustic to electric blues and the progressive opening of blues music to a wider audience, especially white listeners. In the 1960s and 1970s, a hybrid form called blues rock developed, which blended blues styles with rock music which has been popular for years. In the 2000’s many blues rock performers, who include Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, John Mayer, Derek Trucks, Joe Bonamassa, Warren Hayes, Susan Tedeschi and others, have helped blues become even more mainstream.

Top 100 Blues Artists

Note: List is sorted alphabetically for ease of reference. Items with an asterisk are top picks.

  • Albert Collins

  • Albert King *

  • Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart

  • Alvin Lee

  • Amos Garrett

  • B.B. King *

  • Big Bill Broonzy

  • Billy Gibbons *

  • Blind Blake

  • Blind Lemon Jefferson

  • Blind Willie Johnson

  • Blind Willie McTell

  • Buddy Guy *

  • Charley Patton

  • Chris Vachon

  • Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

  • Coco Montoya

  • Danny Kirwan

  • Dave Hole

  • Derek Trucks *

  • Duane Allman *

  • Duke Robillard

  • Earl Hooker *

  • Earl King

  • Eddie Taylor

  • Elmore James

  • Elvin Bishop

  • Eric Clapton *

  • Fenton Robinson

  • Freddie King *

  • Gary Moore

  • Guitar Shorty

  • Guitar Slim

  • Harvey Mandel

  • Hollywood Fats

  • Hound Dog Taylor

  • Hubert Sumlin

  • J.B. Lenoir

  • Jeff Healey *

  • Jimmie Vaughan *

  • Jimmy Thackery

  • Joe Bonamassa *

  • Joe Louis Walker

  • John Hammond

  • John Lee Hooker *

  • Johnny Copeland

  • Johnny Winter *

  • Keb Mo

  • Kelly Joe Phelps

  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd

  • Kid Ramos

  • Kim Simmonds

  • Lightnin' Hopkins

  • Little Charley Baty

  • Little Milton

  • Lonnie Brooks

  • Lonnie Johnson

  • Lonnie Mack

  • Lowell Fulson

  • Luther Allison

  • Luther Tucker

  • Magic Sam

  • Matt 'Guitar' Murphey

  • Mick Taylor

  • Mike Bloomfield *

  • Mississippi Fred McDowell

  • Mississippi John Hurt

  • Muddy Waters *

  • Otis Rush *

  • Pee Wee Crayton

  • Peter Green *

  • Robben Ford

  • Robert Cray *

  • Robert Johnson *

  • Robert Jr. Lockwood

  • Robert Nighthawk

  • Robin Trower

  • Rod Price

  • Ronnie Earl *

  • Rory Gallagher

  • Roy Buchanan

  • Roy Rogers

  • Ry Cooder *

  • Scrapper Blackwell

  • Shuggie Otis

  • Skip James

  • Smokin' Joe Kubek

  • Snowy White

  • Son House

  • Son Seals

  • Sonny Landreth

  • Stan Webb

  • Steve Cropper

  • Steve Winwood *

  • Stevie Ray Vaughan *

  • Susan Tedeschi *

  • T-Bone Walker *

  • Taj Mahal

  • Tinsley Ellis

  • Walter Trout

  • Warren Haynes *

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Rock - 80's


The entire decade of 1980s rock and pop music had a very distinct kind of sound versus the “classic rock” of the 1960s and 1970s. Thus 1980s rock refers more to the overall decade of rock/pop music and the many sub-genres it includes, such as:

  • Pop rock

  • Soft / Adult rock

  • Hard Rock / Heavy Metal

  • Glam Metal (aka Hair Bands)

  • Alternative Rock

  • Contemporary R&B

  • Hip Hop

  • Electronica


In the early 1980s, with the advent of new technologies and synthesizers, there was a new emergence of dance music, new wave, soft/adult rock and metal rock that was very different from 1970s classic rock and disco. Soft rock and adult contemporary rock became very popular as well as glam metal which became the largest, most commercially successful brand of music in the United States and worldwide. Also during this decade, several major electronic genres were developed, including electro, techno, house, freestyle and Eurodance, rising in prominence. In addition, R&B, hip hop and urban genres were becoming commonplace, particularly in the inner-city areas of large, metropolitan cities; with rap being especially successful in the latter part of the decade, with the advent of the golden age of hip hop. These urban genres—particularly rap and hip hop—would continue their rise in popularity through the 1990s and 2000s.

Top 100 80's Rock Artists (spanning multiple sub-genres)

Note: list is sorted alphabetically for ease of reference.

  • 38 Special

  • Aha

  • B 52’s

  • Bananarama

  • Billy Idol

  • Billy Joel

  • Billy Squire

  • Bob Seger & Silver Bullet Band

  • Bon Jovi

  • Bruce Springsteen

  • Bryan Adams

  • Cheap Trick

  • Chicago

  • Culture Club

  • Cyndi Lauper

  • David Bowie

  • Dead Kennedys

  • Dire Straits

  • Don Henley

  • Duran Duran

  • Earth Wind & Fire

  • Eddie Money

  • ELO

  • Elvis Costello

  • Eric Clapton

  • Eurythmics

  • Fine Yong Cannibals

  • Foreigner

  • Genesis

  • George Michael

  • Green Day

  • Hall & Oates

  • Heart

  • Huey Lewis & The News

  • INXS

  • J Geils Band

  • Janet Jackson

  • Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

  • Joe Jackson

  • Joe Walsh

  • John Mellencamp

  • Journey

  • Joy Division

  • Kate Bush

  • Kool & The Gang

  • Level 42

  • Madonna

  • Men at Work

  • Michael Jackson

  • New Order

  • Night Ranger

  • Ozzy Osbourne

  • Pat Benatar

  • Patti Smith

  • Pet Shop Boys

  • Peter Frampton

  • Peter Gabriel

  • Phil Collins

  • Pixies

  • Prince

  • Queen

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers

  • REM

  • REO Speedwagon

  • Rod Stewart

  • Rush

  • Sammy Hagar

  • Scorpions

  • Simple Minds

  • Sonic Youth

  • Squeeze

  • Steve Miller

  • Steve Winwood

  • Stevie Nicks

  • Stevie Ray Vaughn

  • Stevie Wonder

  • Sting

  • Styx

  • Survivor

  • Talking Heads

  • Tears for Fears

  • Ted Nugent

  • The Bangles

  • The Boomtown Rats

  • The Cars

  • The Clash

  • The Cure

  • The Go Go’s

  • The Human League

  • The Police

  • The Pretenders

  • The Smiths

  • The Stone Roses

  • Tina Turner

  • Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

  • Toto

  • U2

  • Wham!

  • Yes

  • ZZ Top

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Rock - Hard & Hair

Top Hard Rock and Hair Bands

  • AC / DC

  • Aerosmith

  • Anthrax

  • Black Sabbath

  • Bon Jovi

  • Cinderella

  • Def Leppard

  • Dio

  • Dokken

  • Europe

  • Foo Fighters

  • Guns & Roses

  • Iron Maiden

  • Judas Priest

  • Kiss

  • Linkin Park

  • Megadeath

  • Metallica

  • Motley Crue

  • Motorhead

  • Pantera

  • Poison

  • Primus

  • Queensryche

  • Quiet Riot

  • Ratt

  • Sammy Hagar

  • Saxon

  • Scorpions

  • Slayer

  • Soundgarden

  • Steppenwolf

  • The Scorpions

  • Tool

  • Twisted Sister

  • Van Halen

  • Whitesnake

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Rock - 90's

Top 100 90’s Rock Artists

Note: list is sorted alphabetically for ease of reference.​

  • 30 Seconds to Mars

  • 311

  • A Tribe Called Quest

  • Alanis Morissette

  • Alice In Chains

  • Arrested Development

  • Barenaked Ladies

  • Beastie Boys

  • Beck

  • Bjork

  • Blind Melon

  • Blink 182

  • Blues Traveler

  • Blur

  • Bush

  • Busta Rhymes

  • Cake

  • Coolio

  • Counting Crows

  • Creed

  • Cypress Hill

  • Dave Matthews Band

  • David Bowie

  • Depeche Mode

  • Dr. Dre

  • Dream Theater

  • Eminem

  • Eric Clapton

  • Faith No More

  • Fiona Apple

  • Foo Fighters

  • Fugazi

  • Garbage

  • Goo Goo Dolls

  • Green Day

  • Hole

  • Hootie & The Blowfish

  • Jamiroquai

  • Jane’s Addiction

  • Jay Z

  • Jeff Buckley

  • Justin Timberlake

  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band

  • Korn

  • Lauryn Hill

  • Lenny Kravitz

  • Live

  • Liz Phair

  • Madonna

  • Mariah Carey

  • Marilyn Manson

  • Mary J. Blige

  • Matchbox Twenty

  • Ministry

  • Mr. Bungle

  • My Bloody Valentine

  • Nas

  • Neil Young

  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

  • No Doubt

  • Oasis

  • OutKast

  • Pavement

  • Phish

  • Pixies

  • PJ Harvey

  • Primus

  • Prince

  • Public Enemy

  • Queens of the Stone Age

  • R.E.M.

  • Radiohead

  • Rage Against The Machine

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers

  • Screaming Trees

  • Seal

  • Sheryl Crow

  • Silverchair

  • Smashing Pumpkins

  • Snoop Dogg

  • Sonic Youth

  • Sting

  • Stone Temple Pilots

  • Sublime

  • Temple Of The Dog

  • The Black Crowes

  • The Cranberries

  • The Dandy Warhols

  • The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

  • The Offspring

  • The Roots

  • The Smashing Pumpkins

  • The Verve

  • Third Eye Blind

  • TLC

  • Tool

  • Tori Amos

  • U2

  • Weezer

  • Wilco

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Rock - Grunge

Top 90’s Grunge & Alternative Artists

  • 7 Year Bitch

  • Alice in Chains *

  • Arctic Monkeys

  • Babes in Toyland *

  • Bantam Rooster

  • Blood Circus

  • Brad

  • Bush *

  • Candlebox

  • Collective Soul *

  • Daisy Chainsaw

  • Days of the New *

  • Devilhead

  • Everclear

  • Fire Ants

  • Foo Fighters *

  • Garbage

  • Green Day *

  • Green River *

  • Gruntruck

  • Gumball

  • Hammerbox

  • Hater

  • Hole *

  • Jerry Cantrell *

  • Korn *

  • L7 *

  • Linkin Park *

  • Love Battery *

  • Mad Season *

  • Malfunkshun *

  • Mark Lanegan

  • Mono Men

  • Mother Love Bone *

  • Mudhoney *

  • Muse

  • My Chemical Romance

  • My Sister's Machine *

  • Nine Inch Nails

  • Nirvana *

  • Nymphs

  • Pearl Jam *

  • Pond

  • Radiohead *

  • Radish *

  • Satchel

  • Silverchair *

  • Skin Yard *

  • Solomon Grundy

  • Soundgarden *

  • Stone Gossard

  • Stone Temple Pilots *

  • Sweet 75

  • Tad *

  • Temple Of The Dog *

  • The Black Keys

  • The Fluid

  • The Rockfords

  • The Screaming Trees *

  • The Strokes

  • The White Stripes *

  • Three Days Grace

  • Treepeople

  • Truly

  • U-Men

  • Weezer

  • White Zombie

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Jazz - Fusion & Smooth


Smooth jazz is a sub-genre of jazz which is influenced by rhythm and blues, funk, rock and roll, and pop music styles (separately, or, in any combination). In general a smooth jazz track layers a melody played on instruments such as piano, sax or guitar over a backdrop that typically consists of programmed rhythms and various synth pads or samples. It is often very peppy with toe-tapping melodies and focus on key instruments.

For some, the notion of “smooth jazz” gets a bad rap. This is due to some very commercially popular artists that were labeled under smooth jazz or fusion jazz, but were actually a combination of jazz with easy-listening pop music.  In fact, Kenny G in particular is often criticized for this, by both fusion and jazz fans, and some musicians - although his music had huge commercial success - this sort of sound is truly "easy listening smooth jazz" versus the more upbeat and rhythmic jazz typically known as smooth and fusion jazz.


Smooth jazz can be traced back to at least the late 1960s. Producer Creed Taylor worked with guitarist Wes Montgomery on three popular records (1967's A Day in the Life and Down Here on the Ground and 1968's Road Song) consisting of instrumental versions of familiar pop songs such as "Eleanor Rigby", "I Say a Little Prayer" and "Scarborough Fair". Montgomery's commercially successful albums were a departure from earlier 1950 jazz tradition, containing little of the complex improvisation and being aimed squarely at pop music audiences. Based on this success, Taylor founded CTI Records. Many established jazz performers recorded for CTI (including Freddie Hubbard, Chet Baker, George Benson, and Stanley Turrentine). In addition to Benson, jazz musicians in the 1970s whose style would be called smooth jazz today included Bob James, David Sanborn, Herb Alpert, Al Jarreau and Chuck Mangione.

Today, the most popular form of jazz is known as smooth jazz also referred to as fusion jazz and urban jazz, which incorporates aspects of rock, blues, hip-hop and R&B stylings. Among the musicians who frequently perform this style include everyone in our top listing below. 

Top 75 Smooth Jazz Artists

Note: this list is sorted alphabetically for ease of reference. Those with an asterik are considered in the top 25.

  • Acoustic Alchemy *

  • Al Jarreau

  • Anita Baker

  • Bob James *

  • Boney James *

  • Brian Culbertson *

  • BWB

  • Chuck Loeb

  • Chick Corea

  • Chris Botti *

  • Chuck Mangione

  • Craig Chaquico

  • Dave Koz *

  • David Benoit *

  • David Sanborn *

  • Diana Krall

  • Down to the Bone

  • Earl Klugh *

  • Eric Darius

  • Eric Marienthal

  • Euge Groove *

  • Everette Harp

  • Fattburger

  • Fourplay *

  • Gato Barbieri

  • Greg Adams

  • Gregg Karukas

  • Grover Washington Jr. *

  • Hiroshima

  • Incognito

  • Jay Beckenstein

  • Jeff Kashiwa

  • Jeff Lorber *

  • Jeff Porcaro

  • John Scofield

  • Jonathan Fritzen

  • Keiko Matsui *

  • Keith Jarrett

  • Kenny G

  • Kirk Whalum *

  • Larry Carlton *

  • Lee Ritenour *

  • Manhattan Transfer

  • Marc Antoine *

  • Michael Lington

  • Mindi Abair

  • Nelson Rangell

  • Norah Jones

  • Norman Brown *

  • Pat Methany Group

  • Paul Hardcastle *

  • Peter Dircks

  • Peter White *

  • Philipe Saisse

  • Pieces of a Dream

  • Praful

  • Ramsey Lewis

  • Richard Elliot

  • Rick Braun *

  • Ronny Jordan

  • Sade Adu

  • Sergio Mendes

  • Soul Ballet

  • Special EFX

  • Spyro Gyra *

  • Steve Cole

  • Take 6

  • The Rippingtons *

  • Third Force

  • Tom Grant

  • Tower of Power

  • Urban Knights

  • Walter Beasley

  • Warren Hill

  • Yellowjackets *

Jazz Band

Jazz - Classic


Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Although the foundation of jazz is deeply rooted within the black experience of the United States, different cultures have contributed their own experience and styles to the art form as well. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".

History & Styles

  • New Orleans jazz - began in the early 1910s, combining earlier brass-band marches, French quadrilles, biguine, ragtime and blues with collective polyphonic improvisation 

  • Swing jazz - in the 1930s, heavily arranged dance-oriented swing big bands, Kansas City jazz, a hard-swinging, bluesy, improvisational style and Gypsy jazz (a style that emphasized musette waltzes) were the prominent styles 

  • Bebop jazz - emerged in the 1940s, shifting jazz from danceable popular music toward a more challenging "musician's music" which was played at faster tempos and used more chord-based improvisation

  • Cool jazz - developed near the end of the 1940s, introducing calmer, smoother sounds and long, linear melodic lines 

  • Free jazz - the 1950s saw the emergence of free jazz, which explored playing without regular meter, beat and formal structures

  • Hard Bop jazz - emerged in the mid-1950s, which introduced influences from rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues, especially in the saxophone and piano playing 

  • Modal jazz - developed in the late 1950s, using the mode, or musical scale, as the basis of musical structure and improvisation

  • Fusion jazz - appeared in the late 1960s and early 1970s, combining jazz improvisation with rock music's rhythms, electric instruments, and highly amplified stage sound

  • Smooth jazz - in the early 1980s, a commercial form of jazz fusion called smooth jazz became successful, garnering significant radio airplay which tends to be upbeat and more melodic and thematic than the improvisational form of modal or early forms of fusion jazz

  • Other jazz styles and genres abound - such as Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz

Top 75 Classic Jazz Artists (pre-fusion & smooth jazz)

Note: this list is sorted alphabetically for ease of reference. Those with an asterik are considered in the top 25.

  • Albert Ayler

  • Anthony Braxton

  • Art Blakey *

  • Art Pepper

  • Art Tatum

  • Artie Shaw

  • Ben Webster

  • Bennie Moten

  • Benny Carter

  • Benny Goodman *

  • Bill Evans *

  • Billie Holiday *

  • Bix Beiderbecke

  • Bud Powell

  • Cannonball Adderley

  • Cecil Taylor

  • Charles Mingus *

  • Charlie Christian

  • Charlie Parker *

  • Chet Baker

  • Clifford Brown

  • Coleman Hawkins *

  • Count Basie *

  • Dave Brubeck *

  • David Murray

  • Dexter Gordon

  • Dizzy Gillespie *

  • Django Reinhardt

  • Duke Ellington *

  • Earl Hines

  • Ella Fitzgerald *

  • Eric Dolphy

  • Fats Navarro

  • Fats Waller

  • Fletcher Henderson

  • Freddie Hubbard

  • George Russell

  • Gerry Mulligan

  • Gil Evans

  • Glenn Miller *

  • Herbie Hancock

  • Horace Silver

  • J.J. Johnson

  • Jelly Roll Morton *

  • Jimmie Lunceford

  • Jimmy Smith

  • Joe Henderson

  • John Coltrane *

  • John McLaughlin

  • King Oliver

  • Lee Konitz

  • Lee Morgan

  • Lennie Tristano

  • Lester Young *

  • Lionel Hampton

  • Louis Armstrong *

  • Max Roach

  • McCoy Tyner

  • Miles Davis *

  • Modern Jazz Quartet

  • Ornette Coleman *

  • Oscar Peterson *

  • Rahsaan Roland Kirk

  • Roy Eldridge

  • Sarah Vaughan

  • Sidney Bechet *

  • Sonny Rollins *

  • Stan Getz *

  • Stan Kenton

  • Teddy Wilson

  • Thelonious Monk *

  • Wayne Shorter

  • Wes Montgomery *

  • Woody Herman

  • Wynton Marsalis

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Best Therapy in the World

Sport Shooting

Includes content from our very own member, resident expert and contributing editor Jason K. - a professional, nationally recognized trap and skeet shooting coach and educator.

Be Happy: Portfolio
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Overview - "Clay Pigeon" Sport Shooting

Many of us here are huge fans of sport shooting, it's a fun thing to do on your own or better with a group of guys.  It's easy to learn, difficult to master and doesn't require 4 hours like a round of golf. All you need is a shotgun, shells, some hand-eye coordination and a few bucks to spend at a local range.

If you have not tried it, you must! Once you take that first shot, you'll be entertained for life. Better yet, it's something you can do your whole life and enjoy with your girlfriend, wife, kids or even grandkids! 


The relationship between guys and shooting sports stems back as far as the 13th century when competitions around archery were first introduced. Over time, men grew tired of the traditional bow and arrow and eventually included single shot musket competitions into their weekly events. While this certainly raised the level of fun it was also a very time consuming, very expensive way to compete against their fellow man. It took a few centuries but ultimately the modern man figured out that shooting multiple targets during a single competition would not only be more fun, but also a better way to determine the true best shot.  

In the late 18th century in England, the idea to release trapped live pigeons from 15 yards away in a series of competitive shooting rounds took effect; which is where the concept and term "trap shooting" began.  This concept quickly spread to the United States and countries across Europe.  In the US, as the sport continued to grow and the demand for live pigeons outgrew supply, a better target solution was needed. This led to the development of glass ball targets, including versions with feathers inside of them to mimic the visual look of a bird getting shot! However, the glass balls had one major draw back aside from cost and that was the mess and danger of broken glass left over the shooting area.  

Eventually in late 1800's, George Ligowsky invented the first clay targets.  The round shaped discs made of clay were painted white, yellow or orange to stick out amongst their background. The clay target not only was popular for it’s sleek curvature and flight travel but also for its stability and strength and ease of getting to the shooting fields. Bird hunters from across the globe embraced this new target as one that would revolutionize the sport and also enjoyed that it could be either hand thrown or thrown from a simple mechanical machine.

From here "clay pigeon sport shooting" has evolved across the globe.

Types of Sport Shooting

There are three major types of competitive clay pigeon shooting (shooting shotguns at clay targets) which include trap, skeet and sporting clay shooting.  They are distinguished as follows:

  • Trap shooting - targets are launched from a single "house" or machine, generally away from the shooter, resembling pheasant or quail shooting when flushing birds from fields. There are officially 4 verions of trap shooting which include Olympic, Double, American and Down-The-Line trap shooting

  • Skeet shooting - targets are launched from two "houses" in somewhat "sideways" paths that intersect in front of the shooter, resembling duck or geese shooting

  • Sporting clays – often referred to as “golf with a shotgun”, this is the closest thing to actual field shooting of all the shotgun sports because rather than having clay birds thrown from standardized distances and angles as with skeet or trap; sporting clays courses (with 10-15 different stations) are designed to simulate the hunting of ducks, pheasants, various upland birds, and even rabbits or squirrels - simulating the unpredictability of live quarry shooting

See the below sections for a more detailed history and description for each.

We look forward to seeing you on the range!

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Trapshooting is practiced all over the world and has been a sport since the late 18th century when real birds were used; usually the passenger pigeon, which was extremely abundant at the time. Birds were placed under hats, or in traps, which were then released. Trapshooting was originally developed, in part, to augment bird hunting and to provide a method of practice for bird hunters.

Use of targets was introduced as a replacement for live pigeons where artificial birds were introduced around the time of the American Civil War. Later, glass balls and subsequently clay targets were introduced in the later 1800s, gaining wide acceptance. Thus the most popular term or name for the targets used in sport shooting is "clay pigeons". The layout of a modern trapshooting field differs from that of a skeet field and/or a sporting clays course. Trapshooting versions include:

  • Olympic trap - one of the ISSF shooting events, introduced to the Olympic program in 1900; the current version was introduced in 1950. In International competitions the course of fire is 125 shots for men and 75 shots for women. There is a 25-shot final for the top six competitors. Several photos of a bunker facility are shown. Olympic trap is also referred to as International and/or Bunker trap. Olympic Trap uses 15 fixed-angle machines as opposed to the single oscillating machine used in American Trap or DTL. The 15 machine computer controlled program is designed to deliver 10 left, 10 right and 5 straight-away targets to each competitor in a randomized sequence. A microphone release system is employed to provide uniformity in target release times.

  • American trap - popular throughout the United States and may be the most popular form of clay target shooting in North America. It is widely practiced at clubs and facilities that offer trap shooting.  American Trap is broken down into three categories: singles, doubles, handicap. The targets are thrown by a machine located at approximately ground level and covered by a "trap house. For singles and doubles, there are five "stations", each 16 yards (15.6 m) behind the trap house.

    • In singles, each competitor shoots at five targets from each station. The trap machine oscillates left to right within a 54 degree arc (up to 27 degrees right and left of center), and at least a 34 degree arc (up to 17 degrees right and left of center) and the competitor does not know where in that arc the target will emerge.

    • In doubles, the machine does not oscillate, but throws two targets simultaneously with each competitor shooting at five pairs (10 targets) from each station.

    • In the handicap events, the machine operates the same as in singles, but the shooters stand farther away from the trap house.

  • Double trap - a relatively new trap form. An Olympic event since 1996 (from 2008 it has Olympic status only for men), two targets are thrown simultaneously but at slightly different angles from the station three bank of machines. The target speed is about 80 km/h (50 mph), very close to that of ATA doubles.

  • Down-The-Line (DTL) - a form of trap popular in Great Britain, Australia, and South Africa. The trap machine oscillates left to right within a 45 degree arc and each competitor shoots in turn, then moves station after having attempted 5 targets from each station in each round of 25 targets.


Trap shooting has been around since the 18th century. In fact,  a publication known as "Sporting Magazine" stated in the year 1793, trap shooting was "well established" in England. Further, the first record of organized trap shooting in the United States is likely to have taken place at the Sportsman's Club of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1831.

Originally, live birds were used as targets, released from under hats. Glass balls came into use as targets in the 1860s and began to partially replace live birds and were used by notable shooters like Annie Oakley, Doc Carver, and Capt. A. H. Bogardus. Most of the glass ball targets were made of colorless glass and had a diameter of 2½ inches. Some targets, were filled with colored powder to indicate a hit, and add visual effect. Also, for the shooters who like the live game sport, they would fill the inside of the targets with feathers.

In 1880 "clay" birds (disks) were invented by a man named Fred Kimble, but George Ligowsky takes the credit for the invention. The Ligowsky target was used widely in the early trapshooting community, as a replacement for the glass ball targets. There were many different types of target throwers or also known as a “trap,” like one made by Bogardus, which was made to throw glass targets. This trap was able to throw the targets from 28 to 35 yards. Following the invention of the automatic trap machines, trap was a big success in the competition community. In the 1912 Olympics, Jay Graham became the first American to win the gold medal in doubles trap.

In 1915, the American Amateur Trapshooting Association (AATA) was formed with John Philip Sousa as president. This organization was the first organized and run by amateurs. When the AATA was disbanded in 1919, it was absorbed by an organization called the American Trapshooting Association. In 1923 the American Trapshooting Association was renamed Amateur Trapshooting Association, which at present, sanctions events throughout the United States and Canada, as well as the Pacific International Trapshooting Association (PITA) which sanctions events on the West Coast of North America.

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Skeet shooting is a recreational and competitive activity where participants, using shotguns, attempt to break clay targets mechanically flung into the air from two fixed stations at high speed from a variety of angles. The event is in part meant to simulate the action of bird hunting which use clay targets to simulate hunting scenarios and the reason the targets are called “clay pigeons”. The shooter shoots from seven positions on a semicircle with a radius of 21 yards and an eighth position halfway between stations 1 and 7. There are two houses that hold devices known as "traps" that launch the targets, one at each corner of the semicircle.

There are several types of skeet, including one with Olympic status (often called Olympic skeet or international skeet) and many others in their respective countries with their own rules.

  • American skeet - traps launch the targets to a point 15 feet above ground and 18 feet outside of station 8. One trap launches targets from 10 feet above the ground ("high" house) and the other launches it from 3 feet above ground ("low" house).

    • At stations 1 and 2 the shooter shoots at single targets launched from the high house and then the low house, then shoots a double where the two targets are launched simultaneously but shooting the high house target first.

    • At stations 3, 4, and 5 the shooter shoots at single targets launched from the high house and then the low house.

    • At stations 6 and 7 the shooter shoots at single targets launched from the high house and then the low house, then shoots a double, shooting the low house target first then the high house target.

    • At station 8 the shooter shoots one high target and one low target. The shooter must then re-shoot his first missed target or, if no targets are missed, must shoot his 25th shell at the low house station 8.

      • This 25th shot was once referred to as “the shooter's option”, as he was able to take it where he preferred. Now, to speed up rounds in competition, the shooter must shoot the low 8 twice for a perfect score.

  • Olympic skeet - Olympic and international skeet is one of the ISSF shooting events. It has had Olympic status since 1968. There are some differences from American skeet which include:

    • a random delay of between 0 and 3 seconds after the shooter has called for the target.

    • the shooter must hold his gun so that the butt-stock is at mid-torso level until the target appears.

    • the sequence to complete the 25 targets in a round requires shooters to shoot at doubles, not only in stations 1, 2, 6, and 7, as in American skeet, but also on 3, 4, and 5.

      • this includes a reverse double (low house first) on station 4.


Skeet shooting was invented by Charles Davis and William Harnden Foster, of Andover, Massachusetts in 1920. Davis, an avid grouse hunter; and Foster, an avid hunter and author of "New England Grouse Hunting"; created a game which was informally called "Shooting Around The Clock".

The original course was a circle with a radius of 25 yards with its circumference marked off like the face of a clock and a trap set at the 12 o’clock position. The practice of shooting from all directions had to cease, however, when a chicken farm started next door. The game evolved to its current setup by 1923 when one of the shooters, William Harnden Foster, solved the problem by placing a second trap at the 6 o’clock position and cutting the course in half.

Foster quickly noticed the appeal of this kind of competition shooting, and set out to make it a national sport. The game was introduced in the February 1926 issue of National Sportsman and Hunting and Fishing magazines, and a prize of 100 dollars was offered to anyone who could come up with a name for the new sport. The winning entry was "skeet" chosen by Gertrude Hurlbutt. The word "skeet" was said to be derived from the Norwegian word for "shoot" (skyte).

The first National Skeet Championship was held in 1926. Shortly thereafter, the National Skeet Shooting Association was formed. For his role in perfecting and developing the sport, William "Bill" Foster was named as one of the first members to the National Skeet Shooters Association Hall of Fame in 1970, and is now known as "The Father of Skeet".

Check out the National Skeet Shooting Association (USA) and the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (UK) for more information.

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Sporting Clays


You may have heard of sporting clays referred to as “golf with a shotgun”, and that’s a fair comparison because a typical course includes from 10 to 15 different shooting stations laid out over natural terrain.  Like golf courses, no two sporting clay courses are alike, and terrain and background have a lot to do with how targets are presented.

Sporting clays is the closest thing to actual field shooting of all shotgun sports. Rather than having clay birds thrown from standardized distances and angles as with skeet or trap, sporting clays courses are designed to simulate the hunting of ducks, pheasants, other upland birds, and even rabbits - simulating the unpredictability of live-quarry shooting, offering a great variety of trajectories, angles, speeds, elevations, distances, and target sizes.

A typical course consists of 10 to 15 stations, with each station presenting targets from trap machines. Targets are thrown in pairs. A pair of targets may be thrown as a true pair (thrown at the same time), as a following pair (thrown sequentially), or on report (the second clay launched on the firing of the shooter’s gun). Numerous hunting conditions can be simulated by combining various speeds and angles with different types of clay targets. Each station is unique.

Throughout a course, the shooters might see targets crossing from either side, coming inward, going outward, flying straight up, rolling on the ground, arcing high in the air, or thrown from towers. The possible target presentations are limited only by safety considerations, the terrain, and the imagination of the course designer. The configuration of the stations is often changed to maintain interest for the shooters and for environmental preservation of the course.


In the early 1900s, a number of British shooting schools adopted the use of gold targets to practice for driven-game shoots. Clay target shooting quickly attracted a large following. The first British Open, England’s premier sporting clays competition, was held in 1925. In the USA, pictures of courses, tower shooting and walk-up shooting have frequented magazines in the U.S.A. all the way back to 1912. Edward Cave wrote an article in 1913 called "Clay Bird Golf" which included a diagram of his shooting course with all types of target presentations and two towers.

The term “sporting clays” was introduced to American shooters by Bob Brister in his feature article in Field & Stream magazine in July 1980. On September 27, 1980, the first Sporting Clays shoot was held at Remington's Lordship Gun Club in Connecticut. The name may have been new in 1980, but the game has been played in America for over 100 years and several of today's target arrangements were known to have been used as early as 1884, and probably earlier.

In 1985, the United States Sporting Clays Association (USSCA) was formed in Houston, TX. Also in 1985, the Orvis Company sponsored the first U.S. National Sporting Clays Championship, which was held in Houston, Texas and continues to promote the sport via the annual Orvis Cup held at Sandanona Shooting Grounds. In 1989, the National Skeet Shooting Association (NSSA) in San Antonio, Texas, formed the National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) to provide governance and promote Sporting Clays.

Today sporting clays is one of the fastest growing sports in America, with more than three million people of all ages participating both competitively and recreationally.

Check out the National Sporting Clays Association here at:


Shotguns - Our Favorites for Trap & Skeet

By resident expert and contributing editor Jason K.

Once you start getting into sport shooting, it just gets in your blood.  And once you get better and better, sooner or later there’s one thing every clay shooter wants to know, and that is “what is the best trap and skeet shotgun I should own”? 

Now, in a way this is impossible to answer, because like golf clubs, shotguns can be customized exactly to your specifications – making it perfect for you no matter what anyone says or believes.  But having said that, we’re narrowing the field to the top 10 we recommend, and boy, if you get one of these babies, we know you’ll “Be Happy”.

10)  Your favorite

We couldn’t honestly name 10 shotguns without allowing you the chance to name your favorite! At “It’s Great To Be A Guy”, whether we’re talking Scotch, Bourbon, Wine, Cigars, Movies or Shotguns, the best one is always YOUR favorite.

9)  Browning Citori 725 Trap Golden Clays

Our personal favorite and the only one off of this list that we (Jason K.) own!  The fit and feel make it a favorite of trap shooters across the globe.  Fully adjustable comb and butt plate make it a perfect fit for every shot. Plus, it is engineered to get your eye closer to the axis of the barrels, making you more "one with the gun", and allowing instinct to take over and put more pellets on target, all while providing the exquisite looks and workmanship you can expect from a Browning.  Price = around $3,100.

8)  Beretta 692 XTrap

One word comes to mind when we look at the Beretta 692 Trap and that is “sexy”. Known for its pristine pattern distribution and reduced muzzle raise thanks to the new "Steelium Plus" barrel, plus the smooth and precise handling thanks to the wider receiver, as well as the new B -Fast balance system; the Beretta 692 is sure to please even the most coveted trap enthusiast.  Price = around $4,200.

7)   Purdey Over and Under

By far the most classic and aesthetically pleasing shotgun on this list as well as the world’s most expensive! The Purdey Over and Under design started in 1913, but was then perfected by two Purdy workers, Ernest and Harry Lawrence, brothers who modified the Woodward ejector mechanism, redesigning the firing-pins and implementing other improvements which created both the look and design which is at the heart of every Purdey over-and-under built to this day. Very rare to find but given the chance, shooting a Purdey puts you one step closer to completing the ultimate shotgun shoot.  By the way, check out their website, it is simply “British-awesome”.  MSRP = Bespoke, custom made.

6)  Blaser F3 Super Trap 

Known for it’s patented balancer system located in the stock, as well as a fully adjustable rib by either liftng or lowering, the F3 allows even the most novice shooter to enjoy breaking clays at a high level. It is also a value compared to others on this list so this list.  It's simply a great gun.  Price = around $3,100.

5)  Holland and Holland Royal Side by Side

The Royal is the quintessential ‘premier’ English shotgun, copied by others but never bettered. The Royal introduced the first modern hammerless ejector on the market in 1894. The simple lock-work, proven ejectors and faultless self-opening mechanism ensure total reliability and ease of operation in the field. Overall, Holland and Holland has been a favorite of European sporting shooters since 1835! Like Purdey, check out their website, so cool!  Price = $100,000+ and no, that is not a typo.

4)  Caesar Guerrini Maxum Trap

Hail Caesar! It’s Italian and it’s impeccable. When you think of Italian design, it is often suits and cars that first come to mind, but this is one masterpiece of fine wood and metal - truly stunning. The deep relief gothic scroll hand finished engraving on the receiver, side plates, and fore-end assembly make this sporting gun unique among others on the clays course. Not only one of the smoothest shooting shotguns you will find on the market, it’s also one of the lightest.  It’s also “affordable” compared to the others here in the top 5.  Price = around $7,000.

3)  Perazzi MX 2000

Italy meet England, and while you’re at it, why don’t you birth this iconic shotgun! Underrated and understated is the best way to describe this piece of craftsmanship. For serious clay-busters, Perazzi has long been a name with which to reckon. Many Olympic and international honors have been won with Perazzi guns. This is a major endorsement in itself. Perazzis are known for exceptional build quality and, in particular, great trigger pulls and carefully regulated barrels. In addition, the sleek lines and low recoil allow both genders to enjoy the fruits of this labor.  Price = around $15,000.

2)  Krieghoff K-80 Trap Special

This is one serious bad-boy from a company in Ulm, Germany, who’s been building shotguns since 1886. The K-80 Trap Special Combo features fully adjustable high-post rib on the over & under, and un-single and top single barrel for point-of-impact adjustments. Built around the proven K-80 receiver, the Trap Special comes with 30″ or 32” O/U-barrels and 34” unsingle or Top Single barrel – so you can decide! So many great options for the trap shooting enthusiast.  Price = around $25,000.

We’re almost to number 1, can you stand the suspense? And here we are…

1)  Kolar Max Trap T/A

The King, the Pinnacle, the Elite; say hello to the Kolar Max Trap T/A – our #1 favorite. With it’s high profile set up, the Kolar is king when it comes to American trap shooting. It’s stock is designed to promote a heads-up gun mount, which promotes rapid unobstructed target acquisition, and are fitted with a six-way adjustable comb. The fore-end is an extended beaver tail design. Both stock and fore-end are cut from high quality English walnut. This is one shooter’s dream gun!  Price = around $25,000.

And there you have it, our Top 10 listing of the worlds finest shotguns for trap and skeet shooting.  Pull!

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Shooting Coach Tips

By resident expert and contributing editor Jason K.

Today, I’m an expert shooter and coach and have the best job in the world – spreading and teaching my love of sport shooting to youth all over the USA. But in the beginning, I started out just like everyone else.

Sport shooting is just like golf, there is lots of technique to get it right. And like golf, you can spend lots of money on “private lessons” and even get miscues by listening to people on the range.  What I found and needed was a true shooting coach - a trusted, reliable coach to watch my form and work with me to fine-tune my own abilities. 

There are literally hundreds of “tips” I could give you, but this series of tips are the ones I feel are most useful and that you can read and apply on your own - while you practice - and before you find your own coach. So let’s begin, shall we?

Tip 1:  It All Starts with Your Stance

When I started shooting it was a blast (no pun intended) but it seemed that nearly every round I would have 8-9 targets slip through my shot pattern. It was frustrating and I had to get this figured out. That’s when I hired my first coach and here’s what he did for me and the key for Tip #1.

He had me take post 1 as I normally would while he kept a close eye on my procedure before each shot. I wasn’t two shots into my first round when he stopped the round and walked up to me. At first, I was confused because there was no way two shots could have determined anything. I couldn’t have been more wrong! And as the lesson went on, it was clear this guy knew what he was talking about.

He immediately pointed to my feet - noting my open-toed pigeon style stance.  While I couldn’t argue with him that it wasn’t the prettiest stance, it was one that I was comfortable with and developed into  my normal shooting position.  He quickly adjusted my feet pointing my toes in the same direction.  He explained that to have success in shooting sports it starts with the shooters stance, and that stance leads to proper body position and balance.  Just like golf as a matter of fact, proper or improper feet alignment can make or break a swing and trajectory.

He continued to make adjustments placing my feet at a 45-degree angle to the front right corner of the shooting pad.  He had me mount the shotgun, and noted that just by correcting my stance, my shotgun was now properly lined up on the trap house.  I couldn’t believe that such a simple thing would help - but who was I to challenge him?

It took some getting used to, but ultimately, we restarted.  I shot at the first target, “loss”.  I thought to myself, great this isn’t any better than before. I called for the second target, slowly squeezed the trigger and BOOM, destroyed it!  I couldn’t believe my eyes when that orange flying disc turned to dust in seconds. I completed the round concentrating on my stance before each shot, and sure enough, finished with a career high (at the time) of 21/25!

Today, I’m now the coach and I teach people about stance and how it is the foundation for any shooting sports enthusiast.  So, take a few minutes to look at your stance the next time you’re on the range; and who knows, with a few small adjustments you to may be able to wow your friends with consistently higher scores.

Tip #1 Summary:

  1. Feet shoulder width apart

  2. Balance ratio of 60/40 forward (nose over toes)

  3. Front knee should be slightly bent to allow for a relaxed stance

Tip 2: Mental Preparedness

As a coach and shooting instructor I am constantly amazed at what it takes to become an elite shooter capable of breaking targets from every angle.  Often, I am asked beyond stance, what is another key tip. Is it about leading the target? Or about the type of shotgun?

These are all important tips as well, but one of my favorites is still mental preparedness.  What you ask? Did I just say mental preparedness?  Yes I did, and although sounding cliché, it is not.  Just as in every sport, to consistently perform and win, you have to be the most mentally strong player on the field. I believe it was the great Yogi Berra that said: “Baseball is 90% mental and the rest is physical”.  The same can be said for shooting sports.

Shooting sports, much like golf, can be both recreational and competitive, depending on the situation.  It is done outdoors where weather and location can be unpredictable. Is it possible to shoot a good score in the rain? How about in a 30-mph cross wind?  The answer is yes. Would you believe that some of the best scores ever shot have been in less than ideal conditions? This concept is not as far fetched as you may think, because as the conditions around you worsen, it forces you to rely on that computer between your ears to block out the elements and focus on the task at hand. In this case, that task is breaking targets, and hopefully 25 of them or more in a row.

Mental preparedness starts before the round even begins. It doesn’t matter which shooting sport you are participating in, because they all involve you “to call” for the target.  That’s the beauty of these sports, like golf, you decide when to take the shot and think about the challenge that lies in front of you. This is very different from most sports like baseball, tennis, volleyball as examples, where you are constantly reacting to other people’s shots, throws, etc.

Tip #2 Summary:

  1. Think: simply think about your set-up, the round at hand, the conditions around you – such as sun, wind, rain, etc. Just take it in and absorb it. This is both calming and heightens your senses

  2. Envision: take a moment before each call of the target and envision the flow of the clay and you breaking the target, it’s the power of positive thinking and getting your senses ready

  3. Quiet Eyes: your eyes should be “quiet” for at least 1-2 seconds before calling for the target. This means look straight out where the target will go, don’t be looking around, get your eyes focused on the terrain and sky in front of you - this allows the brain to settle down and focus on the target 

  4. Watch the field: now, in between your own shots, watch each target thrown from the other posts in your squad. Envision those flights and breaking each of those targets – this keeps your mind and senses consistent and focused

Come back soon because more tips are on the way!


Don't Be So Serious, Seriously


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Top Reasons that "It's Great To Be A Guy"

Now this list is hilarious, many of which must have been written by women, who always make fun of us guys for these things (and are secretly envious of many of them).

  • A beer gut does not make you invisible to the opposite sex

  • A five day vacation requires only one suitcase

  • All your orgasms are real

  • Bachelor parties

  • Bathroom lines are 80% shorter

  • Car mechanics tell you the truth

  • Chocolate is just another snack

  • Dry cleaners and mechanics don't rob you blind

  • ESPN SportsCenter

  • Everything on your face stays its original color

  • Flowers fix everything

  • Foreplay is optional

  • Gray hair and wrinkles add character

  • Guys in hockey masks don't attack you

  • Hot wax never comes near your pubic area

  • If another guy shows up at a party in the same outfit - you just become better friends

  • If someone forgets to invite you to something, he or she can still be your friend

  • If something mechanical didn't work, you can bash it with a hammer and throw it across the room

  • If you don't call your buddy when you say you will, he won't tell your friends you're a jerk

  • If you retain water, it's in a canteen

  • If you're 34 and single, nobody notices

  • Movie nudity is virtually always female

  • New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet

  • Nobody secretly wonders if you swallow

  • Nobody stops telling a good dirty joke when you walk into the room

  • None of your co-workers have the power to make you cry

  • Not liking a person does not preclude having great sex with them

  • Old friends don't give you crap if you've lost or gained weight

  • One mood, pretty much all the time

  • People never glance at your chest when you're talking to them

  • Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat

  • Porn movies are designed with you in mind

  • Same work....more pay (ok that's wrong)

  • Someday you'll be a dirty old man

  • Sunday and Monday Night Football

  • The garage is all yours

  • The National College Cheerleading Championship is now televised

  • The occasional belch is practically expected

  • The remote is yours and yours alone

  • The world is your urinal

  • There is always a game on somewhere

  • Three pairs of shoes are more than enough

  • Wedding Dress $2000; Tux rental $100

  • Wedding plans take care of themselves

  • When clicking through the channels, you don't stall on every scene of someone crying

  • When your work is criticized, you don't panic that everyone secretly hates you

  • With 400 million sperm per shot, you could double the earth's population in 15 tries, at least in theory

  • You and your buddy can watch a game in silence for hours without thinking "Gee.... he must be mad at me."

  • You can "do your nails" with a pocketknife

  • You can admire Clint Eastwood or Brad Pitt without starving yourself to look like him

  • You can be showered and ready in 10 minutes

  • You can brush your hair with your hand

  • You can buy condoms without the shopkeeper imagining you naked

  • You can drop by to see a friend without bringing a little gift

  • You can get by with only one hairstyle every ten years

  • You can get into a non-trivial pissing contest

  • You can go to the bathroom without a support group

  • You can kill your own food

  • You can leave a hotel bed unmade

  • You can open all your own jars or bottles

  • You can pee standing up

  • You can quietly enjoy a car ride from the passenger seat

  • You can rationalize any behavior with the handy phrase "f*#k it!"

  • You can say anything and not worry about what people think - most of the time

  • You can sit with your knees apart no matter what you are wearing

  • You can take your shirt off in public

  • You can wear a white shirt to a water park

  • You can write your name in the snow

  • You don't care if someone notices your new haircut

  • You don't have to curl up next to a hairy ass every night

  • You don't have to get out of the shower to pee

  • You don't have to leave the room to make an emergency crotch adjustment

  • You don't have to lug a bag of stuff around everywhere you go

  • You don't have to monitor your friends' sex lives

  • You don't have to remember everyone's birthdays and anniversaries

  • You don't have to shave below your neck

  • You don't really care if someone is talking about you behind your back

  • You don’t have a time of the month

  • You don’t have to shave

  • You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness

  • You get to jump up and slap stuff

  • You get to think about sex 90% of your waking hours & everyone understands

  • You have a normal and pretty healthy relationship with your mother

  • You have a penis who's like another friend who lives in your pants

  • You know stuff about cars, planes and tanks

  • You needn't pretend you're "freshening up" to go to the bathroom

  • You never feel compelled to stop a pal from getting laid - you encourage him

  • You never have to drive to another gas station because "this one looks too slimey"

  • You never have to miss a sexual opportunity because you're not in the mood

  • You don't need to worry about other people's feelings - most of the time

  • You never misconstrue innocuous statements

  • You see the humor in the movie "Terms of Endearment"

  • You think the idea of punting a small dog is funny

  • Your last name stays put

  • Your pals never trap you with the question "So... notice anything different?"

  • Your underwear is $10 for a three pack

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Eat Good Food, Drink Good Whisky, Smoke Good Cigars, Do Each with Good Friends

  -- Larry Winget

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