Later On

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

Archive for July 5th, 2012

More on vacations

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I linked to this article, but not sure if you read it. It’s definitely worth reading. The thing about taking sick leave during vacation time (so you don’t burn up vacation time if you get sick): I’ve done that, which I learned from a friend. But it’s standard practice in Europe. (See article at link.) Also from article:

Clearly, corporations have more than enough money to provide us with the same vacation plans as they do workers in Europe. But they would rather “let the market decide” – which is French for setting up and taking advantage of a downward spiral in wages and benefits. It’s not a coincidence that defined pension funds in the U.S. are becoming extinct (but not so in Europe). It’s not a coincidence that median family wages are declining. It’s not a coincidence that public and private sector workers are being pitted against each other as the downward spiral accelerates. It’s not a coincidence that working people in this country are being asked to sacrifice in order to pay for the damage that financial elites have done to our economy.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 7:19 pm

Loving SpamSieve

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I am totally in love with SpamSieve. An entire family of spam that completely escaped the OS X Mail spam filter, no matter how many times they came in and I clicked “Junk”, have been totally blocked by SpamSieve, some immediately, some after just a single “training” click to mark them as spam. It integrates extremely well with Mail, but it also works with other mail clients. It’s a one-time $30 purchase, and well worth it. A fantastic product.

I set my Mail announcement of new mail to be the sound of a faint whistle. SpamSieve also makes a “you have mail” sound, and that one I set to a low, brief foghorn. That one sounds only if the mail includes “good” mail. I notice I already don’t really hear the Mail sound: my ears are attuned to the foghorn.

A very few times SpamSieve has confessed that it’s unsure, but then I train it with a click (“good” or “spam”, depending on the message), and from then on it’s got it.

Here’s the site, in case you’re tired of spam to the tune of $30. Here’s info on the clients it serves:

SpamSieve is a universal binary that runs natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs using Mac OS X 10.4 through 10.8. It is designed to work with the following e-mail programs:

  • Apple Mail from Mac OS X 10.4 and later.
  • Emailer 2.0v3, previously available from Claris.
  • Entourage v.X (2001) and later (Entourage 2004 or 2008 recommended) from Microsoft.
  • Eudora 5.x or 6.x (in Sponsored or Paid mode) from Qualcomm. SpamSieve will also work with Eudora 8.0.0b1 (a.k.a. Penelope) if you follow the Thunderbird instructions. It does not work with Eudora 8.0.0b2 or later.
  • GyazMail 1.2.0 (1.5.8 or later recommended).
  • MailForge 2.0.4 and later from Infinity Data Systems.
  • MailMate 1.1.2 and later from Freron Software.
  • Mailsmith 2.3.1 and later from Stickshift Software. (By applying this workaround you can use SpamSieve with Mailsmith 2.1.5.)
  • Outlook from Microsoft Office 2011 and later.
  • Outlook Express 5.0 and later from Microsoft.
  • Postbox 2.0 and later (not Postbox Express) from Postbox, Inc (non–Mac App Store version).
  • PowerMail 4.0 and later (6.x recommended) from CTM Development.
  • Thunderbird or 2.x from Mozilla. Thunderbird 3 and later are not compatible with plug-ins for Thunderbird 2.x, and due to changes in Thunderbird it does not look like it will be possible to create a SpamSieve plug-in for newer versions of Thunderbird. However, SpamSieve does work with Postbox, which is an enhanced version of Thunderbird.

SpamSieve works roughly the same way with each mail program. If you use multiple mail programs at once, SpamSieve will share its training data and statistics among them. Emailer, Eudora, Postbox, and Thunderbird provide SpamSieve with access only to parts of each e-mail message, so SpamSieve’s accuracy will be slightly reduced when using these mail programs, although it should still be much better than their built-in spam filters.

SpamSieve does not run on iOS, but you can use it together with your Mac to filter mail on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. This is described in the iPhone Spam Filtering section.

If you use AOL, turn off AOL’s spam filter, follow these instructions to setup Apple Mail for use with AOL and then follow the normal SpamSieve setup instructions in the Setting Up Apple Mail section.

If you use Gmail, follow these instructions to setup Apple Mail for use with Gmail and then follow the normal SpamSieve setup instructions in the Setting Up Apple Mail section. In order to avoid false positives, you may wish to disable Gmail’s spam filter. (Google’s page about that is here.) You may also wish to go to the Labels settings and set All Mail not to Show in IMAP.

If you use Yahoo Mail, you need to upgrade to Yahoo Mail Plus in order to access your account outside of a Web browser. Then set up Apple Mail to access your Yahoo account and follow the normal SpamSieve setup instructions in the Setting up Apple Mail section.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Daily life, Software

Something’s afoot, and it’s not good: The new serfdom

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The thrust of economic change, growing power in the hands of the financial elite, who now, for all practical purposes, control state and federal governments and can gut regulations and defund regulatory agencies, means that businesses can do pretty much what they want. And what they want are serfs working long hours (so they don’t cause trouble) and make low wages (to increase profits—and if they wages are low enough, they’ll spend all that money so the businesses in effect get to skim it back).

A good part of this effort is to undermine and destroy any power employees have: businesses do not want any resistance. So unions have to go. Take the recent ConEd lockout of union power workers. Or the dismantling of unions of public employees. Or how Apple treats (and underpays) its own employees (the serf level, of course: top management is reward hugely). Of course, employees of subcontractors are treated even worse. But not as bad as the way US government contractors treat third-world nationals: slavery and human trafficking.

That is how companies treat employees once they know they can get away with it—and you can see why it is so important that employees be kept powerless: not only no unions—the only way employees can gain any power at all—but also no education: cut out anything that is not directly job related. Poetry? What good is that? Philosophy? How are you going to get a job with that? Classics? Who’ll hire you for that?

It’s very important to authoritarians that people not gain the tools of a liberal education: “liberal” because that sort of education frees (“liberates”) the mind—it encourages questions, it looks skeptically at authority and force (the primary tools of repression). The last thing on earth that an authoritarian government wants is an educated populace. A trained populace, sure: people are needed to run machines until those machines can be automated. But educated? That’s borrowing trouble, in the authoritarian mind: the authoritarian will tell you want to think if thinking’s needed.

And the key thing is to keep people working constantly to feed and support themselves so that they don’t have time to think about things. So wages have to be kept low, and work must be constant.

The problem is that liberals, questioning things, thinking for themselves, act too much like individuals, whereas the conservative mindset is devoted to the group and viciously punishes those who step out of line. The result is high group cohesion, which leads to more power and success in politics. The article at that link explains exactly how it works. I recommend you read it.

In the meantime, corporate control of the media keeps the story from getting out—here’s an interesting article on how the NY Times (a great booster of the Iraq War) hides the truth about Wall Street’s catastrophic misdeeds and raids on the public treasury. The NY Times is now helps Wall Street continue its misbehavior. We’ve lost the government, we’ve lost the media, we’ve lost education (though not training), and we’ve lost unions: serfdom is here. What we see in the workers for government sub-contractors and the employees of Apple’s sub-contractors and Apple’s own low-level employees is as good as it is going to get.

And yet it’s different in other countries. For example, Europeans don’t work themselves to death the way the Japanese and Americans do. They have laws that protect vacations. Dean Baker points out how Germans work less, and thus more people are employed: more free time, and more people have jobs: not a bad thing, eh?

In fact, the US looked down this road and it was even tried. The problem, from the point of view of business leaders, was that it worked: people were happier and had more free time. They thought that was very dangerous. The next thing you know would be that people would start thinking for themselves, and who knows where that could lead?

So they put an end to it, just as now they’re putting an end to education (not training), to the independent media, to a government that represents the people (the Citizens United decision pretty much put the final nail in the coffin there), to unions. The 40-hour work week is long gone: salaried employees are routinely required to work up to 60 hours a week or more, hourly employees have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.

But that’s not enough. Wealthy people and businesses still have to pay some taxes—that must be stopped. Apple is on it, of course. Don’t pay taxes: that just helps the government help people (which is the mission of the government), plus governments still try occasionally to interfere in businesses. Don’t just defund regulatory agencies, defund the government—that will take care of education, too.

I think the ideals of American life have slipped from our grasp. It’s an ugly country now in which we live, and it’s getting uglier. If you look at the links, you’ll see where it’s going. And there’s no conspiracy here. It’s just how things are viewed these days.

I think my thoughts were kicked off by this Cool Tools column on the book Monoculture. Here’s just the opening of the Cool Tools review by David Shepherd:

Years back, in CS Lewis’ essay ‘On The Reading of Old Books,’ I encountered a suggestion that has stuck with me ever since. Lewis posited that each generation of humanity takes certain things for granted: assumptions that go unexamined and unquestioned because they are commonly held by all. It was Lewis’ opinion that reading books written by prior generations would help us to see around these generational blind spots.

In her new book, Monoculture: How One Story Is Changing Everything, FS Michaels suggests that just such a blind spot has, over the course of generations, come to dominate the narrative and values that our society lives by. From education and the arts to how we eat, think, and play, Michaels asserts that we have been steeped in a single point of view, the economic, where value is reduced to what can be sold and worth is determined by financial expediency. Michael’s writing is clear and sharp as she brings the impact of this pervasive global philosophy down to the personal level, showing how it affects our lives in the everyday. . .

Continue reading. This is one strand: looking at everything through a monetary lens. With any interest or activity or study, the question that comes rather naturally to mind is how to make money.

I think now I’ll stop and go for a walk and listen to Don Quixote. I hope I haven’t depressed you, but I don’t see a solution—and it’s not written that every problem has one.

One more link: 8 ways the US is headed back to the robber-baron era.

UPDATE: More on how businesses treat employees when they can get away with it:

1. “More DoD Investigations of Allegations of U.S. Contractor-Fueled Human Trafficking

2. “The Invisible Army

3. “Committee acts to stop contractors from enabling human trafficking

4. “KBR, Partner in Iraq Contract Sued in Human Trafficking Case

5. GOP, Dems come together to fight human trafficking by contractors in Iraq, Afghanistan

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 4:36 pm

The real problem with authoritarian bureaucrats: Irrational rules

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This article on how the Cuban government forbids rock-climbing at a unique and wonderful site for the sport, a prohibition now enforced strictly, though as one guard explains, rock-climbing is not “prohibited,” which is an ugly word. “So can we do it?” he’s asked. “No.”

The reason: No reason. It’s simply forbidden, but no one can explain why, and when explanations are offered, they make no sense.

It’s a lot like the US government prohibition on industrial hemp: it’s forbidden, but the DEA cannot explain why. Just don’t do it. And stop asking questions. From the article I blogged recently:

Since industrial hemp, by definition, cannot get you high, why is it still illegal? The stated reason is that someone could hide marijuana plants within a field of hemp. Bronner laughs at this, saying “The Chinese government that shoots you if you have marijuana allow tens of thousands of acres of industrial hemp, and they can tell the difference.” Technically, they execute people for trafficking, not for smoking it. Still, the point is well made. The North American Industrial Hemp Council compares the difference between the two plants to the difference between corn and roses. Industrial hemp producers space their plants four inches apart, growing them as tall as 20 feet high, whereas marijuana plants are grown six feet apart in shorter, fatter bushes.

Authoritarian bureaucrats do not like explaining the reasons for their rules because the actual reason is “Because I say so and I have power and you do not.” But that sounds ugly, like “prohibit,” so they don’t say it. But when you then ask, “So it’s okay?”, the answer is “No.” But they cannot give a reason.

In this particular case, the answer is probably the free-market hatred of competition. Free-market types and libertarians always talk about the virtues of competition, but they they do everything in their power to quash competition. The next paragraph in the above article:

A more likely explanation for the continued ban on growing industrial hemp is that the vested interests that stand to lose market share if it were allowed – the cotton and timber industries – hold enough power in D.C. to keep it illegal. But the tide may be changing. Sen. Wyden from Oregon recently introduced a measure to recommercialize industrial hemp, and while it did not even get a vote, he might introduce it again soon. And North Dakota already has a program in place to allow growing industrial hemp. Advocates like Bronner say Obama could simply direct the Department of Justice to respect states’ rights and let North Dakota farmers go ahead and grow industrial hemp. But when Obama is asked about marijuana or hemp, he laughs it off. “Very soon,” says Bronner, “any politician that talks like that is going to get laughed at. We’re not there yet, but we’re almost there.”

Obama laughs because he has no answer. I suppose a laugh is better than actually trying to respond, but it does suggest some serious defects in his position if he cannot put the reason into words. And, truthfully, it’s not that funny, though apparently he is easily amused.

The US and Cuba: irrational laws.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 3:36 pm

Dogs around babies: Asthma preventive — plus: Finding fraud in science

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A couple of very interesting brief notes in The Scientist: First is the one on finding fraud in published studies. Statistical analysis has uncovered several cases of large-scale (i.e.,many published papers, going back years) of scientific fraud. No prison time, alas, though I totally believe that would be a good idea: 5-8 years behind bars (5 year minimum before parole can be considered) would probably prevent quite a bit of fraud.

The dog/asthma connection is very interesting. I’m happy to report that The New Grandson lives in a house that has dogs (and a cat, of course). Hayley Dunning notes at The Scientist:

The microbiome of dust from homes with dogs is distinct from that of non-pet homes, and now it appears this unique bacterial assemblage may confer an advantage to the youngest members of the household. Mice fed dog-home dust before being exposed to the common infant infection respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is associated with a high risk of developing asthma, appear to be immune to the virus compared to mice fed on normal house dust.

The immune mice also had “a distinct gastrointestinal bacterial composition,” Kei Fujimura, part of the team from the University of California that announced its findings at the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting last month (June 19), told Wired Science.

This suggests that certain microbes carried by dogs may take residence in the gastrointestinal tract of the mice and play a role in modulating the immune response to RSV. Identifying exactly which microbial species, or combination of species, is responsible is the next step in the team’s research, which could potentially lead to vaccines for respiratory viruses.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Daily life, Health, Science

US infrastructure woes

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We are starting to recognize that the US infrastructure is in poor condition, but part of that is because it was poor quality to begin with: skimping on the quality greatly reduces lifespan and reliability. James Fallows has readers who have traveled or lived enough in other countries to have a good sense of what shoddy shape the US is in. Take a look at the comments in this post, and note this story by Curtis Tate at McClatchy on how the Federal highway fund is out of money—chronically. And of course the GOP will block any effort to get more money (via taxes on the extremely well-to-do, who can certainly afford it) for such things. Tate’s story begins:

Last week, lawmakers in Congress approved a bill that keeps highway and transit spending at current levels for the next two years, but there was a catch: They came up nearly $20 billion short. Rather than cut spending or raise taxes to make up the difference, they tapped the U.S. Treasury, something they’d done three times already.

Transportation and budget experts say lawmakers can’t have it both ways: The once-self-sustaining mechanism for highway spending no longer works the way it was intended.

For half a century, revenue from federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel paid for the nation’s highway projects. But since 2008, lawmakers have transferred $35 billion in general funds into the Highway Trust Fund to keep it from going bankrupt.

Negotiators who sorted out the differences between the Republican-majority House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate call it a necessary compromise; fiscal conservatives call it deficit spending.

“We have a shell game up here,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Friday before he voted against the bill. “We say one thing’s going to pay for it. Now this is going to pay for it. Money disappears.”

There are potential solutions on the table, including increasing the gasoline tax or replacing it with another dedicated source of funding. Other proposals would shift more responsibility for funding transportation projects to the states. Some states have acted already. But it took three years for Congress to agree to a two-year bill, and transportation experts say it’s a shortsighted measure that delays making hard choices. . .

Continue reading. Compare this story to the comments in the Fallows post linked above. And here’s the story in a nutshell:

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 2:54 pm

Making babies fall asleep immediately

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The Son and The Daughter-In-Law now have had a chance to test Dr. Karp’s theories using The New Grandson as a test subject, and they have found that the procedure works like miracle. Here’s a story on the procedure:

The key to being a new parent, says renowned pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, is to think of your newborn’s “fourth trimester.”

“Our babies aren’t like horses. They can’t run the first day of life,” Karp says. “And so we need to recognize that they’re evicted from the womb three months before they’re ready for the world.”

Karp’s series of parenting books, The Happiest Baby, are international best sellers. He’s treated thousands of kids during his 30-year career, including the children of celebrity parents from Madonna to Pierce Brosnan, and developed a universal system for quieting fussy infants.

It’s called the “5 S’s”: swaddling, side or stomach position, shushing, swinging, and sucking. Those five actions re-create the atmosphere in the womb — the “fourth trimester.”

“In the first three or four months of life, those are like a magic potion for them,” Karp says.

He spoke with weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz about the 5 S’s, the science of sleep and what new parents often get wrong.

Interview Highlights

On the importance of sleep — for everyone:

“It’s the No. 1 complaint parents have. And it isn’t that they’re being weak or wussy. I mean, the fact of the matter is the military uses sleep deprivation to train Navy SEALs to endure torture. It’s one of the main triggers for postpartum depression. You get more illnesses. Your immune system is knocked down. Of course, you’re irritable and you have more marital stress when that happens. So it has a lot of burden on families, beyond the fact that you’re tired.”

On why noise is so important for babies:

“The womb is louder than a vacuum cleaner, 24/7. And so to put them in a quiet room and tiptoe around seems like it’s the right idea — actually, it’s sensory deprivation. It drives them crazy. It’s a wonder that any of them sleep in a quiet room. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Nest-Learning Thermostat

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This device sounds extremely useful—and I bet you anything it uses Bayesian statistical methods.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Interesting: Overt police intimidation of legal protests

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I imagine the NYPD has its collective shorts in a knot because of the videos of their (illegal) stop-and-frisk tactics being posted on YouTube. The easiest solution, the eyes of bureaucrats everywhere, is to bend the needle: if the police are using illegitimate tactics, find out who’s reporting those tactics and put a stop to them. Voilà! No more reports! Situation solved.

Here’s the report—somewhat jaw-dropping. I’m not sure what a “professional agitator” is: Is the NYPD saying that they are on someone’s payroll to agitate? (no.) Are they saying that agitating is a crime? (it’s not.)

I think they’re saying that it’s wrong to hold the NYPD accountable for its actions, somehow.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 11:53 am

Posted in Daily life, Government, Law

Benny Goodman & Peggy Lee: Why Don’t You Do Right?

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Also,Bugle Call Rag:

And here is Peggy Lee with Dinah Shore (who opens the segment). I don’t hear much about Dinah Shore, but I enjoy her singing. Still, in the jazz line, she’s no match for Peggy Lee and Doris Day:

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 11:34 am

Posted in Jazz, Video

Scientific review challenges classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug

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On Monday, the Open Neurology Journal published a review of several recent clinical trials assessing the safety of medical marijuana that found marijuana’s current placement as a Schedule I controlled substance with no medical value in not scientifically justified. “Based on evidence currently available, the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that marijuana has no medical use, or that information on safety is lacking,” the authors wrote. The lead author is Dr. Igor Grant, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. The review and its conclusions directly contradict the stance of the DEA and FDA.

It should be noted that the DEA and FDA have never claimed scientific backing for their support of prohibition—they base it mostly on “studies” such as the film Reefer Madness. Indeed, the DEA’s own administrative law judge in 1988 recommended that the DEA allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, a recommendation the DEA rejected without providing any reasoning to support its rejection. The story in the Washington Post, 8 September 1988, by Michael Isikoff, begins:

A Drug Enforcement Administration administrative law judge, calling marijuana “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man,” recommended yesterday that the drug be made legally available for some medical purposes, including treatment of cancer patients.

If adopted, the opinion by Judge Francis L. Young would mean that doctors could prescribe marijuana–a fundamental change in the drug’s legal status that some specialists said could aid tens of thousands of patients suffering from nausea-inducing chemotherapy and muscle spasms of multiple sclerosis.

The opinion is not likely to have any immediate effect because DEA Administrator John C. Lawn is considered almost certain to reject Young’s conclusions (he did). Nevertheless, coming after a 16- year legal battle, the 69-page ruling marks the first time a government official has accepted a medical role for the country’s widely used illicit drug.

“The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision,” Young wrote. “It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”

The long-awaited ruling was immediately criticized by DEA lawyers and antidrug groups who said it would send a confusing message at a time the federal government is attempting to wage a war on drugs. DEA officials also said the ruling ran counter to the body of accepted medical opinion. “This totally ignores the bulk of the medical evidence,” said Stephen E. Stone, associate counsel of DEA, which had fought changing marijuana’s classification. “The judge seems to hang his hat on what he calls a ‘respectable minority of physicians.’ What percent are you talking about? One half of 1 percent? One quarter of 1 percent?

“From our point of view, marijuana has not been established as a safe and effective drug,” Stone added.

Young’s ruling, which cites medical researchers from Harvard, New York University and other leading medical schools, comes in the form of a recommendation to Lawn to change the status of marijuana under the 1970 Controlled Substance Act. Ever since the act was passed, marijuana has been classified with heroin and LSD as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means it is an illegal drug with no known medical use.

Young recommends that Lawn use discretionary authority to make marijuana a Schedule 2 substance. This means it would become a drug—like morphine and cocaine—that, while still unavailable to the general public, can be prescribed by doctors for limited purposes.

A DEA spokesman and said yesterday that Lawn would not comment on the ruling until he has a chance to review it. Even if he rejects the recommendation, however, lawyers for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and other pro-marijuana groups said Young’s ruling would provide a powerful evidence to overturn a rejection in federal court. . .

Continue reading. Neither the DEA nor the FDA can provide any reasoning or evidence to support marijuana prohibition—and they will not talk about it, since it is plainly obvious that the legal but regulated drugs alcohol and tobacco are much more addictive and dangerous, while being perfectly legal. Irrationality always bothers me, but some are perfectly happy with it.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 11:23 am

Posted in Drug laws, Government, Law

Super good lather from Strop Shoppe soap

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I used one of the Strop Shoppe samples today (4 samples in the cool box for $7.99). I used their Black Tie before and liked it, though the fragrance was muted. The proprietor emailed me that she had pumped up the fragrance somewhat, so I gave it another go this morning, using a 20mm Silvertip brush from Whipped Dog. (I still can’t get over the quality of brush I get for $20 shipped. Incredible.)

At any rate, I had one of those “gradual awareness” experiences I seem to have in shaving (and much else): belatedly realizing that what I am experiencing is really something extraordinarily good. I was applying the lather and enjoying the Margarita Lime fragrance when I noticed that the lather was really good—the same reaction I had the first time I (accidentally) made Creamy Lather. Wow. It was an amazing lather: very thick, very fine grained, very unctuous. After shaving, I went to the site to try to figure out why. The ingredients are a clue:

Ingredients : Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Fragrance.
May contain : Sunflower Oil (Used as a substitute for Rice Bran Oil when needed).

Simple and top quality stuff. And the lather is amazing. I highly recommend you try a sample.

One thing I’ll mention: I buy this stuff from them like any customer. I’m a “shave critic,” in effect, and I follow the same rules as a movie critic and restaurant critic: no freebies, and when I do get one, which I’ve done twice, I note it. But I maintain an arm’s-length relationship with the vendors, whom I admire and respect, so that I can freely criticize (or, as in this case, praise) as my experience dictates. There is no exchange of money or product or favors. I mention this here because the vendor, who is just beginning, asked if they could mention my review of their Black Tie soap, and I agreed. I see that I’m getting a bit more play on their site than I’m accustomed to, and I wanted to nip in the bud any idea that there’s some kind of arrangement going on. There isn’t. I just think the soap is extremely good—in fact, better than I realized at first.

Perhaps it is due in part to the lather, but I also had a good shave this morning from the Parker 92R (one of the two freebies I mentioned), and this time with the Astra Superior Platinum blade from the 99R that did a number on my chin. Mantic thinks that it may be the weight/balance, since the heads are presumably the same. I thought it was perhaps the blade (the 92R originally had a Swedish Gillette blade, the 99R an Astra Superior Platinum), so I’ve swapped blades, and it isn’t the blade apparently. I do admit that I like the feel of the 92R much more than that of the 99R, which somehow feels awkward to me. But now I have to have another shave with the 99R using the Swedish Gillette blade and see. I’m not looking forward to it. (The 99R is a loaner from Mantic, for whom these razors work well: YMMV in action.)

Speick as the aftershave for a summer day.

I’m still thinking about that lather. I was planning to move on next to Geo. F. Trumper Coconut Oil soap, but I think I’ll go through the other three samples. I note that she offers a plan whereby you get a new puck of soap (or, alternatively, a 2-oz sample: pretty good size) every month: the Strop Shoppe Club. It allows shipping to Canada and Europe as well as in the US.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2012 at 11:09 am

Posted in Shaving

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