Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for July 18th, 2006

Vision product placement

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The Vision is such a cool razor that I wrote to Dovo/Merkur, the company that makes it, with this suggestion:

I have several Merkur safety razors, a Dovo shaving brush, and am very involved in shaving now: see this post. The Vision is my favorite razor, and as a former product manager and marketing director, I wanted to pass along an idea.

Because of the Vision’s distinctive and modern look, and because of the mild cognitive dissonance from such a modern implement using a (traditional) double-edged razor, I thought it would make a very nice and succinct visual statement and character comment if used in a movie. I know that there are actors and directors who would totally grasp this idea, and for many people to see the unusual razor in action would boost sales. Perhaps James Bond could use a Vision in his next film…

I know that there are agents in Hollywood who specialize in arranging product placement in films. I leave it up to you to discover them and move the idea forward. Smile I do like the idea, and I think James Bond would like it, too…

And jmhAZ contributed the setting for the dialogue:

Beautiful yet deadly woman who was trying to kill James until his 11th double entendre asks from her side of the four-poster bed overlooking the sea: “You don’t use a shaving cartridge?”

Bond standing smartly at the bathroom sink, wrapped in a towel with a Walther PPK tucked in the back: “I use cartridges in my gun, not in my razor.”

cue music: dun de de dun dun…..dun dun dun dun de de dun dun…..

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2006 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Shaving

The 4-pass shaving system & Best tip

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For those of you who are starting to get into shaving, here’s an interesting post that provides a method of using 4 passes to produce a totally smooth shave.

And this is interesting as well: a thread started with the question, “What’s the best single [shaving] tip you’ve picked up?” A surprising number responded, “Using a lathering bowl to build the lather (rather than lathering directly on the face).”

As previously mentioned, the Moss Scuttle is a heated lathering bowl, a very nifty idea.

Another great tip, free to you, is this tutorial on developing a good lather from a shaving soap.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2006 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Shaving

Go mojo not completely gone

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Yesterday I had a disheartening game: I discovered that a ? had been added to my KGS rating, due to my long layoff: 15? kyu instead of 15 kyu. And then when I played a game, against a 16? kyu (16 kyu is a lower rating than 15 kyu), I lost by 66.5 points. Moreover, I felt as though I were all thumbs and floudering during the whole game.

Today, though, I played against a 15 kyu and began to get the feel of the game again. I did fumble occasionally, but then I deliberately cut off a large group belonging to my opponent and played with great care to kill it. That game I won by resignation, and I note that my rating is now 14? kyu.

More study this afternoon…

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2006 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Go

Beginning of a depression?

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I’m no economist—nor could I play one on TV—but the scenario sketched here looks grim: variable-rate mortgage payments skyrocketing while housing values decline, at the same time that gas prices for the daily commute are going rapidly upwards. Could be very grim indeed. Read the article at the link…

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2006 at 10:50 am

Posted in Election

Plan for Bush retirement

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This excellent proposal for Bush’s retirement activities appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune, by Bill Ferguson, back on 6/16/2006

Every great career eventually comes to an end, and when you’re the president of these United States, you only get eight years (at most) to accomplish everything you set out to do. Then you’re an ex-president for the rest of your life.I’ll bet that ex-presidents, like most retired people, find it to be something of a shock to have all that time on their hands when they leave the working world.

So they find things to do. They work on their memoirs. They build libraries. They give speeches. They support their favorite charitable causes.

But what about our current president? His term will be up before he knows it, and then it’s back to private life. I’m afraid the transition will be especially difficult for Dubya. He is a man of action, and I worry about how he’ll adjust to a life out of the spotlight.

I think that we, as a nation, owe Bush more than the customary parting gifts of an enormous pension and round-the-clock Secret Service protection when he leaves office. I think we can do better for him. I think we should put him to work, and I know just where he ought to go. Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2006 at 10:44 am

The NY Times says it better

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The NY Times had an editorial that’s right on target. It begins:

It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administration’s response to the terror attacks is becoming clear. Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power.

Over and over again, the same pattern emerges: Given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House always shrugged off the legal constraints. Even when the only challenge was to get required approval from an ever-cooperative Congress, the president and his staff preferred to go it alone. While no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism, the methods this administration has used to do it have been shaped by another, perverse determination: never to consult, never to ask and always to fight against any constraint on the executive branch.

One result has been a frayed democratic fabric in a country founded on a constitutional system of checks and balances. Another has been a less effective war on terror.

Read the entire editorial: it’s quite measured in the way it builds a damning case against this Administration.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2006 at 10:22 am

Why media coverage of science is so poor

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It’s the editors, damn them, the editors!

Like many beat reporters, science journalists spend a great deal of time educating their editors about the peculiarities of their fields, and by and large those exchanges are not only illuminating but ultimately lead to better stories. But there’s one place we hit a wall.

No, it’s not that editors aren’t smart enough to understand science. Actually, it’s the opposite: they’re too accustomed to being smart, and thus can’t deal with the fact that they don’t understand it. And because they’re uncomfortable feeling confused, readers are left in the dark about a universe of research that eludes easy explanation. ….

Editors, however, seem to absorb difficulty differently. If they don’t understand something, they often think it can’t be right — or that it’s not worth writing about. Either the writers aren’t being clear (which, of course, may be the case), or the scientists don’t know what they’re talking about (in some cases, a given).

Why the difference? My theory is that editors of newspapers and other major periodicals are not just ordinary folk. They tend to be very accomplished people. They’re used to being the smartest guys in the room. So science makes them squirm. And because they can’t bear to feel dumb, science coverage suffers.

So what is it about science that makes them uneasy? Surely it is more than the obvious fact that it’s hard to understand things that aren’t (yet) understood. In science it can be just as hard to understand what is understood. Relativity and quantum mechanics have been around for nearly a century, yet they remain confusing in some sense even to those who understand these theories well. We know they’re correct because they’ve been tested so thoroughly in so many ways. But they still don’t make sense.

On the other hand, why should they? Humans evolved to procreate, eat, and avoid getting eaten. The fact that we have learned to understand what atoms are all about or what the universe was back to a nanosecond after its birth is literally unbelievable. But the universe doesn’t care what we can or cannot believe. It doesn’t speak our language, so there’s no reason it should “make sense.”

That’s why science depends on evidence.

Read the whole article.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2006 at 10:14 am

Posted in Media, Science

Bush stops investigations

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Via AmericaBlog (which has a good write-up), this news story:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that President Bush personally blocked Justice Department lawyers from pursuing an internal probe of the warrantless eavesdropping program that monitors Americans’ international calls and e-mails when terrorism is suspected.

The department’s Office of Professional Responsibility announced earlier this year it could not pursue an investigation into the role of Justice lawyers in crafting the program, under which the National Security Agency intercepts some telephone calls and e-mail without court approval.

At the time, the office said it could not obtain security clearance to examine the classified program.

Under sharp questioning from Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter, Gonzales said that Bush would not grant the access needed to allow the probe to move forward.

“It was highly classified, very important and many other lawyers had access. Why not OPR?” asked Specter, R-Pa.

“The president of the United States makes the decision,” Gonzales told the committee hearing, during which he was strongly criticized on a range of national security issues by Specter and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the panel’s senior Democrat. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2006 at 9:52 am

Zen of shaving and the tea ceremony

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It occurred to me this morning, during The Daily Adventure (gold Gem Micromatic, which uses a single-edged blade, Honeybee shea butter shaving soap, Simpson brush, Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel), that the shaving ritual has some aspects in common with the tea ceremony:

Special room – check
Special mode of dress – check
Contemplative, unrushed mindset – check
Cleanliness and order – check
Practice of technique requires focused attention (aka flow) – check
Use of special tools, often old – check
Tools both functional and aesthetically pleasing – check
Suspension of mind chatter, critical judgments – check
Senses—sight, hearing, touch, smell—fully engaged – check
Physical enjoyment of sources of warmth – check
Awareness & enjoyment of aromas arising from hot water – check
Reassuring familiarity of quiet, soft sounds – check
Definite sequence of steps – check
Structure of the entire experience repeated each time – check
Feeling of pleasure, fulfillment, and satisfaction at end – check

Flow is the state of mind that results when one loses consciousness of self and of time, being totally focused on a task whose intricacy and difficulty requires around 85% of one’s capacity. (If the task is too easy, attention wanders; if it’s too difficult, anxiety results.)

Each person can find tasks appropriate for him or her to promote flow: rock climbing, painting or drawing, gardening, cooking, and the like. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defined the term in his studies and in the book that emerged from them, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. You can readily score a secondhand hardback in good condition from the link, and the book is well worth reading.

Most people know that happiness is a state that generally is recognized only after the fact—at the time, while happy, one is not aware of it per se, but is simply enjoying the moment. Flow, as it turns out, seems to exactly describe that state, so the more flow one can arrange, the happier one’s life.

Shaving, with the right approach and mindset and attention, can promote flow.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2006 at 7:57 am

Posted in Books, Daily life, Shaving

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