The Dangerous Book for Boys.

Hit play or go to Link[YouTube] for a neat video for the book.

Connand Hal Iggulden's "TheDangerous Book for Boys" is the one book that I wish I had when I was a young boy. In today's age of computer and video games, this book reminds you that there is still a place for knots, go-karts, treehouses, as well as stories of adventure and courage.

The Dangerous Book for Boys is more than just a book -it's a manual on how to recapture Sunday afternoons and long summer days. It covers things that belong in the quintessential boyhood, like the five knots every boy should know, how to navigate using a compass (or a
watch or a stick if you don't have a compass - yes, it can be done), and how to make invisible ink (how? With urine, of course!)

Can't tell the difference between latitude and longitude? This book will set you straight - it has general (well, for boys anyways) knowledge chapters on dinosaurs, famous battles, ciphers, and more. It even has a chapter on - gasp - girls! More on this later.

The book itself is gorgeous: the red hardcover version harkens back to the good ol' days of classy books, complete with marbled paper inside the covers. True to form, there is an instruction inside on how to make your own marbled paper!

When it was first released in the UK (this review covers the US version), the book quickly became the number one seller on Amazon UK. But it wasn't free of controversy: The Dangerous Book for Boys is not a stereotypical children's book - it celebrates the rough-and-tumble nature of boys and unapologetically states that "boys will be boys." They always have been and always will be different from girls.

OK, enough intro, let's take a peek at the book:


You may already have noticed that girls are quite different from you. By this, we do not mean the physical differences, more the fact that they remain unimpressed by your mastery of a game involving wizards, or your understanding of Morse code. Some will be impressed, of course, but as a general rule, girls do not get quite as excited by the use of urine as a secret ink as boys do.

We thought long and hard about what advice could possible be suitable. It is an inescapable fact that boys spend a great deal of their lives thinking and dreaming about girls, so the subject should be mentioned here - as delicately as possible.

Here's a select choice of advice (for the complete list, get the book - hey, these kinds of valuable advice aren't free!):

3. When you are older, flowers really do work - women love them. When you are young, however, there is a ghastly sense of being
awkward rather than romantic - and she will guess your mother boughtthem.

4. Valentine's Day cards. Do not put your name on them. The whole point is the excitement a girl feels, wondering who finds her attractive. If it says "From Brian" on it, the magic isn't really there. This is actually quite a nice thing to do to someone you don't think will get a card. If you do this, it is even more important that you never say, "I sent you one because I thought you wouldn't get any." Keep the cards. simple. You do not want one with fancy stuff of any kind.

If there ever was a book to make your boys (age 8 to 80!) turn off the Playstation and actually go out and play, this is it. Definitely worth checking out. Here's the link: The Dangerous Book for Boys.

Now, HarperCollins has generously sponsored a book giveaway to kick off the launch of The Dangerous Book for Boys. If you want a FREE copy of the book, visit the website and then tell us (in Neatorama's comment section) your most memorable Sunday afternoon experience/activity with your father/son or an advice some fun and educational (funducational?) activity to do with your child on those long summer days. Make it good, because best comments win (while supplies last).

The review above as well as the giveaway are sponsored by HarperCollins.

I remember my childhood well, because 33 years into my life, I'm still a child at heart. I grew up out in the country, where boys could be boys without disturbing the neighbors. The down side is that the neighbors couldn't hear the boy's screaming. Or was that the up side?

I was out hiking with a friend of mine through the timber and it was getting late. The timber was only a mile square, because all roads where I grew up were square miles, but it seemed like we would never make it home. What do you do, but take a short cut!

The short cut was rougher terrain, and we were both bruised and scratched up, but were making (it seemed) good time. Eventually, we reached the mud cliff.

I don't know how else to describe it. The grass stopped, and there was an almost vertical cliff of mud directly in our way. We didn't look for any alternative, but chose to hit the mud head on. We squirmed up and down that cliff for almost an hour, sweating and grunting the whole time. One of us would get about halfway up, and then the other would watch him slide right back down.

After a time, we were exhausted and sat in the newly-formed mounds of mud at the bottom and started to strategize our approach. My friend looked over, not ten feet from where we sat, where the hill would take us in the same general direction, but was much more stable.

Five minutes later, we were out of the timber and on the road, a short walk from home, a hose down, and a (now cold) supper.

I wouldn't have traded that day for anything.
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Back in the day, I was the only girl in my neighbourhood, so played outside with boys almost exclusively. I was considered an honourary boy, able to destroy anthills and burn things with the best of them, and was only banned from tree-top urine-fights (not that I really minded.)

I have a multitude of funny anecdotes from the golden days, but I will share with you: The Blackberry Bramble. Not far from our court, was a vast field of wildflowers, ancient crumbling barns, and blackberry brambles. When we got hungry, but were feeling independant and wild, we would pedal fast and hard to the field to pick blackberries (which sometimes we would later present to various moms so they could make us tasty things.)

This particular time, we had also planned to build a treehouse out of the barn planks. On our way home, arms laden with splintery wood, someone pointed out an especially fruitful blackberry bush covered in dark shiny berries. We all rushed into the bramble to get the choicest berries, when suddenly we heard a CRACK and immediately afterwards a deep ominous hum.

We had broken a hornet's nest. We didn't immediately realize why there was an angry buzzing and small black shapes flying around us until someone screamed "BEES!" and ran for the hills. We threw our splintery wood aside and blindly scattered.

Later we reconvened in our court and compared hornet stories and stings. Exhausted, covered in wood splinters, throbbing from multiple stings, we lay on a cool damp lawn silently until supper, truly happy.
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The most important piece of advice that can be given to any child comes down to one word. Wander. Don't have a destination, just go and keep going. Try to remember the way back home, but don't act like you're trying to remember the way back home. Wander through woods, over streams, through industrial areas, along railroad tracks (abandoned ones if you can manage it), through graveyards, around unknown neighborhoods, up mountains and down again. On foot or on a bicycle, alone or in a group. The times many people remember the most are of the times when they had an adventure they weren't planning. Sometimes this may involve some small peril, falling into a stream or pond you were'nt intending to fall into, or scraping your knees, elbows or palms. Shake it off. That which does not kill you makes you stronger, or so they say. These memories are priceless, and someday you'll thank me for this. Now get out there and live, before you're old like me and all that you can do is to give advice to young people who don't want to hear it. Now I'm gonna go take a nap.
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I had the fortunate experience of having my father for a Boy Scout leader. On one outing, it wasn't so much what my father did, but what he didn't do, that made the day memorable.

We were camping at our "home" campsite: basically a really large, partly wooded, horse pasture. Through the center of our campsite ran a small stream (20 ft across) with a couple of tiny islands. Each island contained a gnarled tree...and plenty of mud.

After dinner, we (the scouts) somehow started a huge "mudball" fight. It was completely informal, yet at the same time rules and objectives were understood and unspoken. Each team vied for control of the other's island. The trees made great bases with plenty of spots to duck behind and hang from.

Initially, my fun was hampered by what my mom would say when she found my mud-caked clothes at the end of the weekend. I was worried my dad would tell us to stop and to find something less: dirty, dangerous, violent to do. However, my dad stood with the other leaders and watched, recognizing the need for adolescent boys to be all of those things. He allowed us to make our own fun, and to deal with Mom later.

That weekend stands out as a wonderful time "being boys " with the other boys, and one of the first times my dad made me feel like I was becoming a man.
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I have many memories of my mom & dad "kicking" us out of the house to enjoy the out-doors. The more memorable times were when my dad helped us build a hockey net out of pvc pipe so we could play street hockey.
Many hours we used this net and my father even helped and taught us how to fix it as needed.
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My father was always getting us into new hobbies and stuff but my favorites were the ones he helped us with. One time he got us into was designing 2 liter bottle rockets and using an "upgraded" bicycle pump to propel these rockets into the air for height and distance competitions.
I learned a lot about spending time with family and how much fun it can be.
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I was out with my 6 year old son on an errand and a local bank was celebrating a grand opening with a clown handing out ballons. I asked my son 'you want a balloon?' 'No,' he answered 'clowns scare me.'

So I said:

'Lets go beat him up then.'

'Ok' answered my son, and we headed for the clown, who readied a ballon, never guessing our intentions.

But when we got there, the clown turned out to be a woman, so we couldn't beat her up. My son took the balloon and wasn't afraid of clowns anymore.

We never told mom about it.
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Like Doug I remember my childhood well and am also still a really big kid (my nephew will give me a reference if needed). I lived in a rural community in Northern Ontario... so we had 4 distinct seasons, each with their own set of adventures. Autumn would bring about a massive amount of stuff you could do with piles of leaves. Winter would bring sliding, snow ball fights and fort building. Spring was fun with mud and river making time. While summer, was about exploring, "hunting" and fort building.

We use to roam the woods, fields and streams of the area in packs, getting into mischief and having adventures.I could go into detail, but I'd rather offer a tip... an important tip that kids should all know to help maximize their fun. Got your magic markers out? A younger sibling. That's the secret. Doesn't have to be yours... could be another one of the pack's sibling. No listen... it's true. Younger siblings are the cornerstone of good fun, because they can "test" stuff before you try it first.

I know it sounds cruel, but it's your responsibility as the big brother to help toughen them up a little. And since your Mom says you need to take them with you, why not help them build character by allowing them to:

- climb that new tree-fort-ladder/climbing-tree/really-big-rock to see if it can hold weight?
- try-out the new really big jump at the bottom of the hill with a sled/bike/skateboard/old-tire?
- test the structural integrity of new snow-tunnels/tree-fort-floor/rafts
- run and get you and your buddies a drink/snack/random-tool
- play the villain (that no one else wants to be) in any various of good guys vs bad guys -plus you can always give them the crappy gun/sword/stick/power

Think about it... the possibilities are endless. My little sister played the role for years... and she's a her way to becoming a doctor. All because I helped her build character.
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Another thing all boys need to know is how to build traps. My brother and I started out with digging holes and covering them up so it was not obvious that the area had been disturbed. We got a few culprits and moved on to bigger and better traps. None that would/could harm anybody. At least not enough to go to the hospital. We also discovered how to rule the neigborhood pretty well. That could be a whole chapter for a book. We knew those woods/streets/houses very well. In the evening we could run away and hide without anyone finding us. Good stuff, wish time travel was available..
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The two armies faced each other silently in the hot sunlight only a short distance apart, their weapons at the ready. From a distance, each side seemed a gangly rabble, brandishing crude weapons and wearing little or no armor. Suddenly, the silence was broken by a guttural cry and each band surged forward, bent on each other’s destruction.

Both sides crashed into one another and the sound was dreadful. The smaller soldiers were immediately overcome by the shock of the attack and trampled over. The taller and stronger fighters withstood the initial blows and then squared off warrior-to-warrior and initiated deadly duels.

Quickly the battle intensified until one of the leaders gave up a cry of anguish – he’d been shot in the hand with an arrow. Removing the shaft, he charged the errant archer and pounced upon him, fists swinging and cursing him to no end. The other fighting stopped and all turned towards the fisticuff, astonished that the archer and leader engaged in hand-to-hand combat were actually brothers!

The battle depicted above actually occurred, but not on some foreign field in England or France, but on a street corner in Pennypot, New Jersey. The assailants were not two large rival armies, but two teams of about 10 children each, aged 6 to 14, taking part in a make-believe battle.

Of course, my friends and I didn't have a copy of the book, but it's nice to see a book published that captures what youth should really be like for boys. It truly brings back a flood of great memories.
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My father and I once went hunting around the local dump and found a corvette go-kart body. Since we thought it would fit my go-kart, we dragged it home in his truck. We quickly figured that my gok-art was incorrect for it, but that didn't stop us from using it, a quick lesson in power tools, welders, and how to tear apart a shed and I had my very own soap box racer. Complete with baby-buggy wheels and rope steering and a hacked lawn chair for a seat. Now since it wasn't powered, and I live on a fairly flat island, we towed it around with the go-kart, off of a jump we also made out of the old shed. This promptly destroyed the wheels. So we tore apart some old tires, strapped the innertubes underneath, made a paddle out of a "no parking" sign, and entered a local regatta (the town marina, Squassux, holds a festival every summer for locals, with clam showder, races, tug of war, etc..). I made it about half way around, but then it sank, but i still had the coolest looking homemade boat in the race(happened to be a requirement, homemade boat).
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We had an exceptionally cold and snowy winter in Indiana this year. Many people complained that it seemed like winter would never end; but my two boys and I embraced the cold weather by building a snow fort in the field behind our house.

We started with a simple ring of snow blocks cut from the crusty layer of snow that resulted from a few days of warmer temperatures followed by several very cold days. Over a period of weeks we added a slide/chute that passed through a short tunnel, a tunnel under the slide and a secrete entrance which we covered with a large block of snow when it was time to go inside to warm up with some hot chocolate.

The snow fort lasted through most of the winter providing many hours of fun for all three of us. Now we're filling our weekends with kites, bikes, and geocaching.
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My favorite weekend was spent crawling around an old aircraft carrier, the Yorktown, with my son. Being "an american dad," I figured I'd be expected to know what evertyhing did and how it all worked, but I didn't... and it turned out to be OK. We explored together, got lost together and learned together, and had more fun than can possibly be related in a website comment box [grin].
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Some of my favorite childhood memories come not from rough-and-tumble boys-will-be-boys antics (though I certainly wasn't deprived in that area) but from the regular ritual of "Sleeping Under the Stars".

Throughout the summer, on any clear Friday night (of which there are plenty in semi-arid Utah) my dad would choose one of us (through a regular rotation) to spend the night with him in the back yard. After dark we would lay out a tarp on the lawn and unroll our sleeping bags, then simply lie there for hours, talking about anything and everything, until sleep finally overcame us.

Over the course of a summer I learned to recognize the major constellations and the planets that are visible to the naked eye. I must have seen dozens of shooting stars and orbiting satellites (and learned to tell the difference between them).

The most magical time was the first hour or so of dusk, when the darkening sky still held enough light to provide contrast to the darker silhouettes of bats flying overhead. We learned that a well-timed throw of a miniature marshmallow would cause them to swoop and dive for what they assumed to be a tasty treat.

We always awoke early enough to see the sunrise, and once or twice we were unpleasantly awakened even earlier, when my dad forgot to turn off the automatic sprinkler system.

I'm a father myself, now, and I cherish the opportunity to get to know my own boys both by spending time with them, whether it be in actively creating or working toward a shared goal, or in simply spending some quiet time watching the majesty of nature and learning about the world and about ourselves.
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The most memorable thing that my Dad did with me on weekends was camping. His idea of camping was hooking up the tent trailer and going to a campground that had a rec center for the kids to play in. But what I do with my son now is way more fun. We go up to Lost Lake, outside of Zigzag, Oregon, or somewhere similar. We pack bikes, a tent, all the camping gear. Favored activities are rowing across the lake, swimming and diving (cannonballs, too!), exploring the old growth forest, and mountain biking around the lake. We whittle sticks for roasting marshmallows. But the most fun is just the quiet one-on-one time we have to talk and just be together, away from all the distractions, away from school, the computer, legos, and away from mom and sis. Just the fellas. That time is priceless. I look forward to this book, as we have enjoyed the Big Book of Boy Stuff, too.
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ahh, i remember on one lazy afternoon when I was 10-years old ish, my friend and my dad went to the park to play hide and go seek. Me and my friend were hiding behind a bush, and behind us, was a creek. When my dad saw us, he sprinted towards us, and we escaped. He couldnt stop and landed bodily into the creek. It was the funniest thing ever. He had to drive us home soaking wet.
hehehe, it still make me laugh
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My father was never much for "boy stuff," probably because of his weight problem; mostly he liked to stay indoors, in the comfort of the A/C. But I was a mischievous youth, like most boys, or perhaps even more so. I remember one day back in the early '90s - it must have been the beginning of summer - when a couple friends and I stumbled upon a seemingly abandoned case of cleaning supplies, in a wooded area behind our neighborhood.

Naturally, there aren't many good stories about a group of young boys that start with a discovery of Pine Sol and paper towels, but this was not just a bag of groceries; this was a cache, a mini mart, a supply drop of bottles, tubes, boxes, crates, plastic and cardboard, stacked bottles, packs of 12, a veritable circus of assorted materials. Boys that we were, we made the most of our find: Rather than using the goods for their intended purpose, we improvised, creating a massive G.I. Joe fort out of the tubs and boxes. Integrating the surrounding woods, we spent all day constructing an elaborate battle ground, up and down trees, inside shallow ditches full of bugs and dead foliage, over and under overgrown root systems.

We must have gotten completely immersed in our large-scale toy war, because it was dark before we knew it (and this was back before 10 year olds carried cellphones). By the time we realized how long we'd been playing, we all ran back to our homes - leaving our toys in mid-attack. My mother must have given me quite the talking to, because I still remember it. My dad, if I recall correctly, didn't seem much to mind: 'Boys will be boys' sounds like something he would have said. But my mom wasn't so easy; she grounded me for a whole week for not checking in on time.

But when that week was up, we all returned, this time having informed our parents. I remember spending the rest of that summer behind that lake, constructing ever-more elaborate constructions to conquer with our plastic action figures.
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The most memorable weekend activity was the time my father decided to make his own fireworks.
Bear in mind that my father is a graphic artist; while he enjoys activities like hunting and Civil War reenactments, he is not to be mistaken for a pyrotechnic.

Dad grabbed himself a toilet paper tube, closed one end with electrical tape, and proceeded to fill the cylinder with black powder, along with a few other unnamed ingredients that he claimed would 'sparkle'.

After closing the other end, he attached a fuse, and we took a walk into the woods.

Dad lit the fuse on a grassy hill next to a creek, and ran back beside me. "Watch this!" he declared, his face exultant.

Did I mention we'd had no rain for at least a week? That this was midsummer, and it was _very_ hot, and _very_ dry?

The toilet paper did not explode as advertised. It instead ejected a six foot tongue of flame that immediately lit the surrounding dry grass and twigs with gusto.

I will never, so long as I live, forget the site of my father, knee deep in the creek, slapping water out at what looked to be a football field afire, telling me to 'go get a bucket.'

I instead got the fire department, and Dad got a fine.

Luckily, no one was hurt in the making of this memory.
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I gots me a question...can a girl find this book insanely fun? ;-)

I grew up on 11 1/2 acres in what was once a rural stretch of Texas Hill Country, surrounded by wonderfully wild countryside and seasonal creeks full of tadpoles. Some of my fondest memories are of spending the day from sunup to sundown tromping all across the property with a backpack full of field guides and sketching supplies. Few things brought me greater joy than to watch a jar full of frog eggs hatch. And I taught myself anatomy by wiring sun-bleached animal skeletons together. The highlight of my summer evenings was to watch distant thunderheads grow and flicker and fade away as I sat on the road leading up to the family's hillside home, serenaded by chuck-wills-widows and screech owls.

Now my greatest joy is teaching my son all the things that I learned as a barefooted country girl. I only hope that, in this day of instant gratification and electronic delights, he will have the same deep appreciation for more rustic entertainment as I did.

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My dad isn't much for words. He isn't book smart but he knows about his love of animals. All of the standards were in our house at some point or another.

The dog had puppies and he helped my brother and I build a home for them so that they would be safe. The cat had kittens. The fish layed eggs. Some of the pets had to be put down. Dad wanted to protect us but taught us a lot about love and caring for others (be they furry or human others).

I was lucky enough to live near a huge piece of land (several sq. miles big) owned by the local utility company. The grass was high and the trees were plentiful and there were living things all through it. My dad used to head up expeditions into the field to see what we could find.

The first trip yielded tadpoles. Thousands swimming along in a little pond that was just far enough from the drainage ditch that it retained about 12" of water for a good portion of the spring. My brother and I came back to the pond every day after school to check on them.

Another expedition resulted in finding a huge bunch of garter snakes. We picked some up, amazed at them. Truly amazed. Of course my brother and I came back to "see" them. We brought a bucket with us. Empty on the way in, full on the way out. We loved those snakes so much we HAD to have them.

Dad simply shook his head with a grin on his face. We were allowed to let a few loose in our garden but the rest had to go back (we must have had 50 of them). Dad brought a few pieces of sheet metal to make a home for them. We walked quite a way into the field out of sight of any houses and dad used rocks and fallen trees to slightly prop and weight the sheet metal to give them a cool place to hide and a warm place to sun.

We were allowed to visit the snakes and to bring friends to see them as long as we promised to let them stay there in their home.

As much as I love my cuddly pets, it seems to be the ones that I can't hold but just sit and watch for hours are my favorites. They remind me of dad.
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My parents got divorced when I was six and I grew up with my Mom, so my father/son time was limited. But my Dad never moved anywhere more than 30 minutes or so away from my house. I give him a lot of credit for this because in my experience many divorced dads tend to distance themselves from their ex-wives' children, both physically and emotionally, which my dad never did.

Anyway, I guess my capacity for long-term recollection was just starting to take form at five years old because my memories from around that time are hazy and in most cases are merely impressions of sounds, smells or moments of pain (like when I opened up my foot on a piece of wire). But I have a very strong recollection of the small plane Dad used to own; a single engine Mooney design (with the signature forward-slanting tail), which was white with brown striping and a tan interior with spider webs of cracks in the leather seats. I've never seen pictures of the plane and Dad sold it right around the time of the divorce. I think the only reason I remember it so well is because one of the outstanding moments of my entire life occurred inside of it.

Dad took me up in that plane just once before he sold it. I sat in the co-pilot's seat, barely able to see above the instrument panel. I remember wearing a headset that even cinched to its smallest size was still way too big for me - the actual earpieces may have been hanging down around my lower jaw. The second yoke was in front of me, an immense thing, and the many dials and displays were entirely beyond my understanding. The propeller chok-chok-choked and roared to life, the engine thrummed, and Dad flicked switches with authority and spoke arcane and incomprehensible words into his headset mike. My stomach shot into my throat as we left the ground and, in that moment, Dad became something much more than the man I had known up to that point.

As we flew, I was in a sort of ecstasy even before Dad told me to take hold of the yoke in front of me. I have no idea how high we were, as I was not big enough to be able to look down out of the window and could only see the ceiling of clouds not far above. I stretched my arms nearly as far as they would reach and grasped the yoke. In it I could feel powerful forces; the pull of the engine and the wind. The yoke had a life of its own, with sharp little movements left and right, in and out. More than a little awestruck, I looked at my dad, who was smiling broadly at me. "Son," he said, "you are flying." That was when I realized that dad's hands were in his lap and the plane (it seemed) was entirely in my control.

I don't remember how much time went by before my dad put his hands back on the controls, not long, I suspect, but I will never forget that moment. As remarkable as the physical experience of flying was, it was the sense for the first time that my father really trusted me and had faith that I could handle such a momentous undertaking (however briefly) that etched the memory so sharply in my consciousness.

I have a son of my own now, not yet two years old. I only hope that I can give him memories as wonderful and enduring as those my dad gave me.
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My best sunday was spent at a friends birthday BBQ when I was young; one of us (I wont say who!) got the stupid idea of filling balloons with water and throwing them off a balcony, screaming, "Ive been shot!" or "Please have mercy!"

Shortly after we heard a knock at the door. It was 2 police officers asking to come in as there were reports of a disturbance. But it wasnt just those 2 officers. As the neighbours thought there were gunshots, the police cordoned off the street and had officers sneaking around the back of the garden, waiting to storm in. The Local news station weren't impressed at the lack of a story either (they had intercepted the radio reports by the police), but we were very impressed!
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4. Valentine’s Day cards. Do not put your name on them. The whole point is the excitement a girl feels, wondering who finds her attractive. If it says “From Brian” on it, the magic isn’t really there.

Yes! Just sign that card with invisible urine! Chicks totally dig that.

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I did most of my outdoor exploring with my brother, two years older than me. My folks had a little cabin-type house up in the North Georgia mountains, and we'd go up there for the weekend fairly often.

On Saturday morning, Shawn and I would pack our backpacks with all kinds of things: a lunch and thermos of course, plus knives, axes, maybe a BB gun if we could sneak one past my stepfather, our Army Surplus hammocks, dry socks. (I wish now that I'd been interested in photography back then!)

We'd head out, no direction in mind, and go wander around the mountains all day. We never knew what we'd find. Maybe we'd flush a wild turkey; maybe we'd see a bear (and run for our lives); maybe we'd make fishing poles and see what we could catch in one of the little streams; maybe we'd find the tallest tree at the top of a mountain and climb it, just to see what we could see; or maybe we'd just keep walking all day. We had no plan, no map, and no timetable other than "Come back before dark."

That's my advice to anyone looking for a good Sunday afternoon: Don't plan anything, just go out to the country somewhere and start hiking. Keep your eyes and ears open and you'll be amazed at how much there is to see and do.
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My favourite Sunday-afternoon memory is of my 18-month-old son disappearing with his grandfather to pick up a vintage car from a few kilometres away.

Naturally, the car didn't run and was in fairly awful condition, but this didn't stop him from climbing in and pretending to drive it for the entire time it was being haggled for, paid for, and loaded onto the trailer.

Of course, from his vantage point he could observe the men walking around the trailer and tightening the tie-downs. When he was dropped off at his home again, he dutifully stamped off to each corner of the trailer, slapped the levers, and grunted stiffly.

He still makes a bee-line for that car whenever we visit the grandparents...
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Growing up on a farm in New Zealand, most of my days were spent exploring with my sisters and little brother; crawling under the shearing sheds, playing in abandoned farm vehicles we'd found, making forts out of hay bales, teasing the pigs, using ladders to climb from shed to shed, swimming in the creek, and racing our bikes through the mud. As long as we stuck together, were home in time for Tea, and didn't drag mud through the house, we could pretty much go were we pleased. One of our favorite pastimes was building dams across some of the smaller rivers, much to the downstream farmer's annoyance.

In winter we would collect pinecones while standing on the running boards of Dad's Model A truck. Dad would get me to drive the Nissan while he feed the sheep hay from the back of the truck. At school we would build massive snow forts and the lower school would take on the upper (who we out numbered).

When we moved to town, the best thing to do on a hot day was to have massive street-wide waterfight. There were guy on roofs with buckets, people running around with hoses (at least until they reached the end of them) and all the while our parents were yelling "take the fight outside!"
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I agree with Denita TwoDragons. Maybe it's because my grandpa took my cousins and I camping in the wild mountains almost every weekend, but I never really thought these were things that only boys would enjoy. I grew up making mud tanks, catching bugs, roasting sweet potatoes in camping fires, and once playing hide and seek on a persimmon tree, which ended rather interestingly. Oh and on that very same trip my grandpa told us about how when he was a child and there was no food because of war, they would eat leaves and bugs. Hearing that, me and my cousins dared each other to eat grasshoppers we had roasted in the fire, lol. I was the only one who chickened out, which, come to think of it, is also funny because they said it tasted like chicken. :) I'm all nostalgic.

Anyway, I think I'll only get this book if I have only sons, because I wouldn't want my daughters to feel that they can't fool around and just be kids, or that they shouldn’t be interested in fishing or starting a camp fire. I would like them to be daring, ready to explore and resourceful. I encourage fathers out there to not treat their daughters like they are only interested in dolls and clothing. Growing up, I disliked getting new clothing every birthday while watching my male cousins get remote controlled cars, tanks and airplanes which they then remodeled. And even though I know how much my dad loves me, it always disheartened me a little and hurt me in some ways when he just assumed I wouldn’t be interested in things like electronics…
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I grew up in the rural suburbs where every house sat on its own couple of acres. I was a tomboy in heart and actions, and I always played with the boys. We would build forts and defend them vigorously. But my favorite game was spotlight, a version of tag we believed we had invented all by ourselves. We played at night across the backyards of several of our houses, hiding in the darkness and among the trees, sneaking in the shadows to get safely back to base before the kid with the flashlight found us.
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My best time growing up had a very odd start, my sister (3 years older I was about 8 at the time) wanted a life size doll house for her and friends to play in, where as, we just needed an open space an a novel toy. So, after my sisters complaints compiled, my dad called in all of us boys from the neighborhood and helped us ((build) while we watched and played with the paint)) a playhouse with two windows and an old west saloon swing door (our only request). I get a constant remember everytime I go home because the yellow and pink paint still stains my parents carport. To this day, I still know how to frame in a small house and how to build some saloon doors.
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My favorite weekend memory with my dad is watching SoulTrain together and making up dances! We would dance along with the SoulTrain dancers and while I was trying to be cool, my dad would do "The CrossCountry" which looked liked cross country skiing, or "the woodchopper" etc. It was hilarious! Now, I make up my own dances to entertain and embarass my kids...
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While my dad was helping with my 6th grade science homework, he mentioned that in high school he was president of the chemistry club, an amazing revelation considering he seemed least likely to belong to any club, let alone be it president, and his interest in chemistry then or since apparently was a closely guarded secret.

One weekend not long after, he called me down to the basement and asked if I wanted to do some chemistry experiements. We were, he informed me, going to make Hydrogen. To a flask he added a strong solution of hydrogen peroxide and a dollop of iron filings; he covered the flask with a balloon, and while it inflated he recited his favorite chemistry-related knee slapper, a rhyme with an important lesson: "Johnny was a scientist, but Johnny is no more; what he thought was H2O was H2SO4." You see, sulfuric acid... never mind.

As the balloon inflated, he pointed out the violent reaction between the two substances. The iron was bonding with the oxygen atoms in the peroxide to form iron oxide, allowing the pure hydrogen to escape. He lectured me about the properties of hydrogen: colorless, odorless, lighter than air and highly flammable. He removed the fully inflated baloon, clipped it off and let it hover unassisted, then proceeded to demonstrate the other properties, perhaps too quickly in sequence. He let some escape to show it had no color or odor, and then pulled out his trusty Zippo lighter to produce a flame.

Of course, the hydrogen was way ahead of him, and with a WHOOOMP I can still hear 40 years later, a flash of light and heat engulfed us and disappeared in a millisecond. The sound of our surprised shreiks and the scent of singed ceiling tiles rose to the first floor, eliciting only mild interest. "Nothing" is what we both replied when asked what we were doing, bringing on the realization that I hadn't invented the answer to questions that could get me in trouble.

Dad and I both wore the same surprised expression for a couple of weeks, and spoke no more of the experiment, not even to acknowlege whether it was, in the end, a success or a failure. But around our house, we had an expression: "Scientists don't need eyebrows."
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Before the days of "Satellite Radio", "iPods", "Cable Television", and "the internet" if you wanted to watch a baseball game on a Saturday, you were either going to watch the NBC game of the week or you were going to have to go to an actual game.

However, there was one other option that my Dad and I took advantage of - and it is my memorable experience.

We were able to pick up broadcasts of the Cincinnati Reds (our favorite team) on AM radio in our hometown in SW Virginia. The only problem was we could only pick it up in our 1971 VW Beetle (fortunately equipped with the optional AM Radio) and only if we drove around in the country.

The game we were listening to while running to the store happened to be Tom Seaver's perfect game. We realized this was a historic moment and decided to keep driving to keep the good karma alive. As we bobbed and weaved through the hills and dales of the countryside we soon learned that when we went down a large hill, we would lose the signal. I started yelling for my Dad to gun it so we could be able to get back up to catch every tantalizing pitch.

Soon we were careening around - cheering for our team - praying for each and every out - and hoping the game did not go on too long, because Mom had no idea where we were (pre-cellphone era!).

When the final out was recorded we screamed our approval, we had just listened to history - and the memory of that moment is indelibly etched in my memory!
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One of my fondest memories as a boy was the time me and a few buddies climbed "Frenchman Mountain" in Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas is a rough place to grow up if you have a love for outdoor adventure, as the temperature rises up to and above one hundred and fifteen degrees. So, we rarely ventured out during those blistering summer months. We had decided on a Friday night that we were going to climb (conquer) the large mountain that literarily sat behind out collected neighborhoods. We woke up early on a Saturday morning and picked up the necessary supplies. In my brilliance, while my two friends brought water, a flare gun, cell phone and tinder sticks... My necessity was copious amounts of "Beef Jerky" and Mountain Dew. Suffice to say I was dying of thirst after we got about half way up the mountain. Luckily my two good buddies brought extra water, foreseeing my inability to plan for an outdoor adventure. We climber the face of that mountain and it took about half a day to reach it's summit, but when we did... man oh man! The most spectacular view of Las Vegas you could ever imagine. We spent two hours at the top talking about life, girls, our hopes and dreams. We then began to descend. Being inexperienced climber we spent most of our remaining day sliding down the mountain on our bottoms, thus tearing apart are worn blue jeans. By the time we just reached the bottom the sun was beginning to set. We later found out that if we had asked the older brother of one friend, he would of told us about a trail that set’s roughly behind the mountain and brings you up to almost the exact same place we had reached by climbing the face of the mountain (with no climbing gear either). But, I wouldn't have traded our mistake for the easy way for all the riches in the world. Our climb that day remains one of my very most cherished memories.

John Robison
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One of my most memorable moments with my dad one weekend afternoon was working in the garage together building a go-cart from scrap metal. The thing I remember most were the songs that played on the 8 track player. The Eagles Greatest Hits on 8 track...Hotel California playing in the background as we put together one crazy looking go-cart. This was one of my favorite things to do as a kid...ride my go-cart all over the neighborhood. I am sure the neighbors loved me. Anyone still have an 8-track player?
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My brothers and I engineered a really powerful spud gun. We were looking to fire the potatoes across a river, so we went to the cops to make sure we wouldn't get into trouble. At first they were concerned, but when they found out it was powered by air pressure and not hair spray they said it was OK. Little did they know that the air pressure one is more than 10 times more powerful than the combustion ones. We never did manage to get the potatoes across the river, but it was fun nonetheless.
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I am my parents oldest child and daughter, and as I grew up I had 3 little sisters, all of us born within five years. Us four girls would paint rocks with berries, play "Save the princess", color on the sidewalk, play with dolls in mudpuddles, etc. I never realized just how different we as girls were from my little brother (who was born 15 years later) until just last summer when I came home from college.

I found him playing on his own in our backyard. I asked him what he was doing, and he replied, "Spraying bugs with Off, want to help?"

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What a great throwback idea.

Quick story. Summer, 1969-70ish. A group of USAF brats whose dads were stationed at RAF Lakenheath in UK. When parachutes got old or used (cool!) they were retired/destroyed. Somehow a few harnesses (minus silk and nylon cord) found their way to our house. My older brother and I got some rope, some friends, a very tall oak tree and a not quite deep enough pile of leaves and shrubby stuff. A few tests and sore ankles/crotches later, we remembered the obvious: "mattresses!" A very fun day followed by 2 very boring weeks of being grounded. The day sticks with us both. Haven't a clue what we did the rest of the summer.
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I love collecting the original books of this sort from the Victorian and Edwardian eras and am *thrilled* that the genre seems to have been revived. I don't have a copy of this yet, but will shortly -- probably both the US and UK editions, since they seem a good bit different.

A tip for the curious: You can find a TON of free old downloadable PDF books (scans of originals, not plain text!) for boys (and lots more) on Google Books. Just go to, enter "Boys" in the search window and (important!) make sure the radio button "Full View books" is checked (otherwise, you get a lot of promotional excerpts from modern books offered for sale as well). Select what you want and take a lookie. On the right of the page, there is a "download" button to save the file as a *.pdf.

I have gobs of old arcane out-of-copywrite books I've downloaded this way. Lots of old technical/engineering books, and many pertaining to peculiar social topics of the day like ettiquette, eugenics, the "crisis" of white slavery, the temperance & abolitionist movements, then-contemporary politics, etc. -- all stuff that will never be reproduced but offers a remarkable 1st source viewpoint on history of the day. Have fun!
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We loved Baseball. We loved the woods. We loved chasing various things and being chased. Thus the sport of Beesball was formed.

At first it was merely throwing a baseball (usually a wiffle ball as it had more action and didn't destroy the nest for "doubleheaders") at a bees nest in the woods and running. But, as all games and little boys minds do, it evolved into a test of accuracy, smarts and courage. The kid who could hit the bees nest, and actually be the last to run was the winner. As the summer wore on you could devise any type "armor" you wanted to assist you. We spent countless days and nights searching in sheds and the dump, everywhere we went always keeping an eye out for that one material that would give you the edge in beesball.

Crying was allowed by the little brothers, and numerous home renedies were tried and tested such as honey and mud etc.

The game died down as we couldn't find the nests but to this day, when my brother and I see a bees nest, it isn't long before that familiar buzzing and excitement fills the air like only a nice curveball can create in beesball.

Looking back, with all the allergies that have seem to spring up it's a wonder that nobody got hurt.
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I grew up as an only child, and my father was a very religious Catholic. When I was a young boy, he made me attend church with him every Sunday. As I was somewhat of an atheist, we did not really get along all that well. I was not particularly bookish, and my father into serious study - we didn't exactly have the perfect father/son relationship.

Generally, after the services, we would remain there for quite a while and do some extra Bible reading with the priest, a good friend of the family. On a particular Sunday in April, however, the priest was ill.

This was nothing new, as the priest, an old man well into his 70s, was ill quite a considerable amount. On such occasions, my father and I would remain at the church even longer, praying and studying much more than usual in hopes that our supplications and devotedness to God would help the Father heal faster.

On this bright April Sunday, however, it came as quite a shock when immediately after the services (led by a substitute priest), my father beckoned me to the car. I inquired as to where we were going, and as to why we were leaving church earlier than usual.

"You'll see," said my dad with a smile.

We drove for hours, well into the next state.

"Get out of the car," my father cheerfully said as we stopped in a clearing near a lake.

I did as I was told, and he pulled out two fishing poles from the trunk.

"But, Dad, isn't it the Sabbath?..." I protested.

Ignoring my comments, he thrust the pole in my hand.

"Let's fish," he warmly invited me.

Confused as to his seemingly dissipated piety, but happy nonetheless, I grabbed the pole and sat down next to my father on the riverbank. We fished for hours, laughing, talking, and making jokes; we did not discuss religion once. I could not believe that this was my father I was fishing with. I was having a great time, and on a Sunday, nonetheless, the day of the week I dreaded most!

Long after the sun had set, we packed up the fishing poles, as well the fish we had caught, and began to drive home.

During the long ride, I asked my father why he had chosen to do such a special thing with me. I could not help but wonder why he had seemingly gone against his religion to merely have a good time with his son.

He pulled over the car to the side of the road, looked me straight in the eye and said something to me that I will never get.

"Son," he said, "the most important thing of religion, of this religion, of any religion, is to love one's neighbor. You may not choose to be religious in later life, but remember this: be kind to other people. All people, even strangers. If someone is obligated to be friendly and inviting to strangers, how much more so to own son. I love you."

We attended many more services in the future, never going on another outing like that again. Although the priest's sermons, the musky Latin texts, and my father in his suit receiving the Holy Communion are all but a faint blur in my memory, I will still always remember that one particular Sunday in April, and the profound words of wisdom my father imparted to me on that day.
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Some of my favorite memories with my father include the building of various ramps for me to attempt to jump my mongoose off of and try not kill myself. Construction/reconstruction of our mini basketball goal. Dunk, destroy, rebuild and repeat. Was fun while it lasted however I still cannot dunk on a regulation goal even as a 6'3" adult. Learning how to sight in a scope on my BB gun. I still have both eyes. Children 1, Santa 0. Go red rider! Ghost stories while camping out in the back yard. Supervised use of fireworks/explosives. The talk about the birds and the bee's.
Actually I just found out about 2 weeks ago that my spouse and I are expecting our first child. All this remanicing has me excited about how much fun it was to be a kid, and how great it will be to share these same types of experience with my children. Now of days most of these experinces would probably have my kids placed in child protective services with extensive amounts physical/emotional therapy and/or a lengthy prison term for myself. These were the "priceless" moments that are spoke of in the VISA commericals. If these experiences are wrong, I dont want to be right.
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Geez this is a lot of comments! It's cool that so many people can share neat stories about their youth.

What I *don't* find neat, however, is that this posted item just also happens to be something the website has up for an add.

I really like this web page. Please guys don't let it turn into 'Add-o-rama'.
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When I was eight or nine, my father took me with him out to a road construction site (he was a tractor salesman). There were several miles of empty highway so he gave me the keys to the car and let me drive around.
I was given the power of grown-ups! Driving a car! I was on cloud nine!
Up and down the road, I drove all day. I'll never forget the pure joy of that experience. I can still remember my cheeks hurting from smiling. A kid driving a car/a kid with a trusting father.
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I'm with Denita TwoDragons. I'm a girl, and would have loved this book growing up. When we bought a house a few years ago, one of the things I was happiest about was the patch of woods adjoining the back yard; I can see my son playing endless games of "Desert Island Castaway" or "Fearless Explorer" in a few years.

Even better, there's a creek that runs through the back of the property. So there'll be frogspawn to catch, weird waterbugs to study, sticks to float downstream, elaborate mud sculptures to build, rocks to collect and polish.... The kid's only three, and I can hardly wait.
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My favorite childhood activity was when my father used to take me out to shoot my BB gun. I was the only child, out of five, to get their own BB gun and my father and I would drive out to the desert out side of town (we lived in Arizona) and shoot our matching BB guns. We would also very often drive to my Grandparents house and I would spend hours searching the fields around their house looking for Native American pottery shards and arrowheads, which I would bring inside and my Grandpa would display on the fireplace mantle. Those were fun days.
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i am curious why it is that the authors of this book took pains to make it sexist. tying knots, fishing, building forts, learning morse code, discerning different kinds of trees and clouds.... these are all fun things for kids. not boys in particular, but children. i'd get this for my daughter, if it wasn't for the brow beating way deliberately make it exclusive. i'm surprised that in 2007 there are still people who cling so tenaciously to sexist mores that they have to label gender neutral activities as "for boys."

it's a shame. i'd have bought it, if not for that.
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Explosions are good! Slime/Goop is fun too!

Take a film canister (yeah, before this digital stuff there was this plastic stuff called film), you need the clear plastic kind where the lid fits INSIDE the cannister. The gray kind that overlaps the top will not work. Get some dissolving antacid tablets (you know, plop plop, fizz fizz...not tums) and some warm water. Put 1/4 of a tablet in the cannister. Add some water. Quickly put on the lid. The cannister will POP way up in the air. You can leave it right side up or turn it over, it works both ways. My two boys will do this until we run out of tablets. This is an OUTSIDE activity.

Making goop: Take white glue and mix it with liquid laundry starch. The ratio is 2:1. That is, 1/2 cup glue to 1/4 cup starch. Or 1 cup glue to 1/2 cup starch, etc. Add some food coloring if you want. Mix in a bowl. If it is too liquid, add a bit more starch. My two boys, 8 and 10, spent over an hour playing with this stuff the other day. Add some army men or action figures for more fun. Will keep in a plastic zip bag in the frig for a few days. Do not eat.
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I grew up in a land far far away, in a country so different that it is hard to believe it exists on the same planet as the United States. My childhood home was Kempton Park, South Africa. Though, the land was dry and the seasons divided into two, a hot summer and mild winter, I was still a boy and as the old saying goes “boys will be boys.” As a boy I got into my fair share of trouble or as I knew it back then, Adventure, with a capital a. Adventure was something I sought, an object that was waiting just around the corner.
One of my grandest adventures started with an idea seeded in my head, by the planting of an Acorn tree on my front lawn. This tree stood about six foot tall, but given time it would one day be big enough to hold a tree house. The time needed for a six foot tree to grow was not understood by a 8 year old boy. So, I waited and became impatient. I was 9 when I decided I had enough. The Acorn tree had barely grown a foot. So, the choice was made to go outside my home to a nearby unused piece of land, which had many trees of adequate height. My recruited adventures and I explored every tree, and analyzed each for its strengths and weaknesses. We had found it, the perfect tree. It stood about 20 foot tall, and had a trunk that was big enough to hold me and my friends.
We didn't start building our tree house right away because of school, but we knew we had a one week break coming up. In the mean time we gathered wood, and nails. My father didn't want me using his new nails so I got some rusty bent out-of-shape nails, and with a hammer and cinder block I righted the nails' shape.
School was out and it was time to start building. Two days where spent hauling the wood, tools and nails, another two for building the platform. On the fifth day we enjoyed the platform we brought some food and drinks, and just relaxed. Someone, I'm not sure who, suggested we put up walls. So, on day six we attempted putting up walls, but with no knowledge of structure the walls fell down. On the seventh day we decided we didn't need walls anyway, and with that our tree house was built. Excited about the tree house and disappointed that school was starting the next day, we packed up the tools and went home.
None of us visited the our club house until the weekend. When we arrived, we found the charred and cremated remains of our week long Adventure in structural design. There was also a note, which was written in Afrikaans, when translated it read “What you are doing is trespassing. Don't let me catch you kids here, or else.” With that we left saddened. My friends and I still fantasized about a tree house, and though beaten we were not deterred because we always had the Acorn tree.
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There used to be a big field next to out neighborhood, undeveloped and full of tall grass. I remember well getting a group of friends and building grass huts (not very big) and then dividing into teams to attack the others. We would use long sticks for rifles and pine cones for hand grenades - no-one got really hurt - well, no big scars anyway - and we all had a great time.
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So, my best advice comes from experience. When getting ready for prom, make sure your pants for the tux you rent are hemmed correctly because otherwise, like me, you'll trip and fall. Had my date not let go of my hand, she would have toppled with me. Embarassing to say the least; not to mention the forty or fifty other people in the room who got a good laugh.
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My best friend has three boys who've become key testers of my toys. I take three-man catapults and mount them on ten foot long slingshots I make out of iron pipe. They're perfect for waterballoons. I'd been telling my buddy about them, who'd passed the stories on to his boys. We got to take the slingshots to the bayou a few weekends ago. It's close to a hundred yards across at the top of the banks and thirty or forty yards deep. The two older boys had little trouble learning how to shoot the balloons but the younger one did- the slingshots are pretty big for an eight year old! He got to where he would brace the end of the slingshot against his feet and balance his body weight against the pull of the stretching rubber bands. As he fired, both he and the slingshot would then fall to the ground but Shamus wound up making the longest shots, all the way across the bayou! Of course, with buckets of waterballoons around, the inevitable soon rears it's head and noone was dry getting into the car! I have them coming over again this weekend- someone has pushed a Chevy carcass into the bayou and it looks like it needs some waterballoons to clean it off!
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My Dad and I on Sunday after church, would lay on the bed. He would read me the funny papers. I never liked "Prince Valiant", He did. I only liked having him read me "Prince Valiant", because he would do
voices for all of the characters. Then we would doze off in a lazy Sunday nap.
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Me and my 2 brothers would put the cat in the dryer and watching him spin, then we figured out it was much more fun to put my littlest brother in and let him spin (he did have a football helmet on). Then we figured out that for a dime we could go to the big commercial dryers at the laundramat leave the door open, jam a pencil in the switch and ride for almost an hour (2 people at a time no less). This was our astronaut training program (The Apollo program was in full swing then) We would ride for an hour then have Tang and Spacefood Sticks and go for a swim - after splashdown.

The cat was very relieved (for a while at least).
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Thank you for participating, everyone! It was really hard to pick the winners, because there are just so many comments that deserve to win. However, I only have a limited amount of books to give away.

Winners have been notified by email. If you didn't win one, you can still pick it up at any major bookstore or you can also order it online.
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It's not just a book that boys need. It's their fathers, or an important male role model. And that is where the AdventureBoys come into play. The company model is not just that "boys will be boys" but that boys NEED to be BOYS and that they need to be taught this by the males in their life. This site covers everything a boy (and his male mentore) could possibly need! Check out and REALLY see how to handle the boys crisis.
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The problem with "boys will be boys" is that they tend to think being an asshole is part of that whole boy thing.

They don't need a father, they need a dog collar.
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I remember my gtandfather always taking time with me to show me "boy" things. He taugt me how to fish, build a bird house, and most of all how to be a respectful young man. I wish my pa paw was here now so he could thumb through this book and reminisce with all the cool games, skills and general knowledge that all boys should take part in. Great book, also i bought the most dangerous book for girls as present for my sister and niece, the two of them stay busy for hours on in each week.
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I love the tips in the book, but I honestly think it should have been the Dangerous Book For Kids. Kids in general love stuff like this that makes them think while giving them a sense that they're in control. I know I did, being a Cherokee gal who grew up in rural Tennessee. These things are part of our culture (barring some of the American history lore.) The content itself is wonderful for both books.

My only issue is the titling of the "boys" and "girls" books. That's absurd to me, and although I've read both books, I can't see myself supporting European-style sexism that my people never had. It's wrong.
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