sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, October 27, 2019

California Tonight

What do California and North Korea have in common?

Bare Steel Shaving (repost from CW)

(link) CW, at Daily Timewaster may be the most experienced (in terms of diverse product knowledge) shaver that I know. Most people who identify as male, shave. But to some extent it's become  lost art. I have reposted his shaving advice here (below) for the benefit of all of you. Maybe there are Christmas gift possibilities among his favorites?

The Shaving Post

So, for years - decades - shaving for me was a "get it done quick and cheap" situation. As fast as I could shave and go on to something else, the better. 

Then one day I was cleaning out some old boxes and came across my grandfathers's old gear, and in particular there was his old straight razor - Swedish steel.

That got me started. Could I learn to use it? Sharpen it? Keep from disfiguring myself?

The process began, and after a significant period of trial and effort, reading up on shaving forums, and checking out the gear available of the internet, I was off on a totally unexpected adventure.

At first, and still even occasionally, there is blood, but counterintuitively, the straights cut me nearly not at all. I guess it's the obvious nature of the risk that makes you instinctively more careful.

I had to learn all about sharpening, as only an edge "shaving sharp" will safely get the job done.
Now, I really appreciate a surgical Arkansas stone and a canvas strop. The edge you can create
with those is pretty frightening.

Now shaving is a pleasant ritual. There is no time pressure, and in fact the longer the better, to an extent.

It was amazing how much gear, both old and new, is available. Really quality straight razors were
 and still are cheap on the internet, due to high volume and low demand.

Artisan products are everywhere. It's apparently cheap to start a small scale manufacturing business in your garage. The scope and variety of stuff out there to try is mind boggling.

My favorites for today only. In brushes, I favor badger and boar. However, synthetics are cheaper, easier to maintain, and are hugely popular. I guess I'm old school there.

Todays soap favorites. The Siliski Santa's Pipe is a recent discovery, and is for now my go to.
The PAA bay rum is great for Fall, and the Fitjar Islands, from Norway, has a great juniper
scent. PAA doesn't make The Wow Signal anymore, but it's still a great light summer product.

Nearly all soaps these days do a great job of slicking up your hide for the razor. In the old days,
basic hand soap was what they used, but now there's a blizzard of well scented, carefully mixed
soaps that can please any taste.

Cool straights. Second from the top is the grandfather's old Swedish steel. 

The yellow Waterville pleases me because the steel is so well carved. I's like sculpture. It was
almost certainly a product of the late 1800's, although I'm 100% sure the handle is more recent.

The bottom one is a Case Red Imp. I picked it up off Ebay for dirt, but when I got it I discovered
that the seller didn't tell that the handle was so warped it was almost a letter "C". I almost tossed
it, but ultimately I bit the bullet and had an artisan I know pull it off and put on a red acrylic
handle faithful to the original. Now it's a noisy but very good shaver.

Same with the blue one second from the bottom. It's a Klas Törnblom, Eskilstuna made, straight,
that came to me with a trashed handle. Steel was still really good so I had the artisan put on a
paua handle. Now, it's a stylish and very high quality shaver.

Finally, the aftershaves. Mrs. CW would have me wear nothing else but the Stirling Gin and
Tonic if she had her way. The Myrsol Agua Balsamica is my latest successful experiment. Good
stuff, and there's a lot of it.

The Proraso Green is foundational - every shaver should have a bottle.

PAA's Immortal Peach is light and sweet, a good summer product. Plus, the ridiculous over the
top marketing that artisan does to sell his stuff is entertaining. Immortal Peach? Oh, come on...
But, should you hanker for a bay rum, that guy has it dialed in. On his site there are multiple
varieties, all winners. See the bay rum soap from him above.

Next week, I'll probably have new favorites. I've got a limited edition soap from Chiseled Face
on the way now that I'm looking forward to trying.

And that's another positive. Most stuff is fairly cheap. Forego the Starbucks, and the money
saved will buy you a nice selection of shaving products to try. Plus no more coffee jitters,
which you really don't want with a sharp steel edge gliding across your throat.

It's a whole new series of skill sets to learn and master. Shaving becomes an experience every
morning, instead of a chore to rush through. The wife loves to participate by offering her opinion
on all the smells. In spite of all the colors and pretty packaging, she thinks it's a manly thing to
shave with a naked razor. That's always a good thing. Naked. Good.

Sunday Sermonette

The Odds

I feel a bit sheepish about laying odds and gambling even as a metaphor on a Sunday Sermonette. However, DRJIM asked what Vegas odds makers had on Hillary running in 2020. Based on the best available information (link) Hillary is a long shot. She's behind Yang... (haha). If she runs. They feel that Donald Trump will win a second term.

          Gabbard leads Harris in the Vegas book.
Gabbard: Bovada has her pegged at 70-1, while BetOnline pushed her ahead of Kamala Harris, at 40-1. Bookmakers at both outlets set Harris’ odds at 50-1, which means the California senator’s odds have dipped each week for more than a month.
Then again, depending on who you believe, Gabbard may have the Kremlin pushing her past Willy Brown's old sex puppet

Educating the American Elite

The title is deceptive because the elite of the world send their offspring to American institutions of higher learning. It's completely accurate if you can set aside your cultural prejudice for a moment. Students who study in the US for any period of time begin to absorb "America" even if they are from culturally insular groups in which students from the same socioethnic group hang out together and not with the locals.

There are advantages to attending elite schools, and this would include US Military Service Academies. It is because they reinforce the elite class bond. I'm going to focus on the private institutions of learning because that is where the American elite are spawned to attend. Those institutions have changed over the past fifty or sixty years. Fifty years ago they focused on our common history, on mathematics, on literature and now they don't. Today they chant, they rant, they rally and exude the common glue that binds ruling class initiates (she/he/they/ze) together and usefully distinguishes them from locals during summer vacations by the seashore. 

The power elite (everywhere) exists to perpetuate its own privileges. It has been this way since mankind has been mankind. Yale, Harvard and the rest of "Satan's Vaticans" exist for the perpetuation of class and privilege. The reaction of enough Americans to this system, that benefitted only a few was to elect Donald Trump to the Presidency.

In the Middle Ages, priests exercised power over heads of state. Their mantra and their mandate was to promote what was 'correct in the eyes of God'. In our present world, priests have been replaced by lawyers whose mission was and is to guide leaders by what is 'legal' - and if you have enough stroke, you can make anything legal. That's why the current crop of Democrats advocate for a larger Supreme Court, salted with people who will make things that they want, legal.