Later On

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

Archive for August 29th, 2015

Decision algorithm from John Barth’s The End of the Road

with 2 comments

Quite a few years ago I read John Barth’s novel The End of the Road, whose protagonist was discovered in the Baltimore train station by the Doctor, immobilized—cataleptic, really—from being unable to decide on a destination.

The Doctor adopts him as a patient, and when they eventually part, gives him some final bits of advice:

At the end of my last session — it had been decided that I was to return to Baltimore experimentally, to see whether and how soon my immobility might recur — the Doctor gave me some parting instructions.

“It would not be well in your particular case to believe in God,” he said, “Religion will only make you despondent. But until we work out something for you it will be useful to subscribe to some philosophy. Why don’t you read Sartre and become an existentialist? It will keep you moving until we find something more suitable for you. Study the World Almanac: it is to be your breviary for a while. Take a day job, preferably factory work, but not so simple that you are able to think coherently while working. Something involving sequential operations would be nice. Go out in the evenings; play cards with people. I don’t recommend buying a television set just yet. If you read anything outside the Almanac, read nothing but plays — no novels or non-fiction. Exercise frequently. Take long walks, but always to a previously determined destination, and when you get there, walk right home again, briskly. And move out of your present quarters; the association is unhealthy for you. Don’t get married or have love affairs yet: if you aren’t courageous enough to hire prostitutes, then take up masturbation temporarily. Above all, act impulsively: don’t let yourself get stuck between alternatives, or you’re lost. You’re not that strong. If the alternatives are side by side, choose the one on the left; if they’re consecutive in time, choose the earlier. If neither of these applies, choose the alternative whose name begins with the earlier letter of the alphabet. These are the principles of Sinistrality, Antecedence, and Alphabetical Priority — there are others, and they’re arbitrary, but useful. Good-by.”

I continue to use those three rules when I can’t decide between two alternatives. Words to live by.

Update: I should note that this passage is early in the book, and the novel is about what happens afterwards.

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2015 at 11:25 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

BBS with J.M. Fraser and Maggard

with 5 comments

SOTD 29 Aug 2015

Extremely good shave today, and I attribute some of that to the excellent lather I geet from J.M. Fraser’s wonderful shaving cream.

I used the Omega S-brush shown, which I continue to like a lot, though yesterday I learned that some do not care for it. That the brush flings lather about was totally new to me—it doesn’t do that for me, nor have I heard of the problem for others—but the person complaining about this apparently uses a wet, loose lather. Other comments seem to reflect nothing more than differences in preferences for how a brush feels, and I totally agree that someone who likes stiff, scrubby brushes that have a lot of backbone won’t particularly like this brush. But for me, who prefer a soft, cushiony brush, the regular-size S-brushes are very nice indeed.

Once fully lather with the curiously effective lather that J.M. Fraser makes, I set to work with the Maggard razor shown. It’s quite comfortable and efficient and I had an enjoyable and easy time getting a BBS result with no problems at all.

A splash of Saint Charles Shave Dark Rose, and the weekend is launched.

Written by Leisureguy

29 August 2015 at 10:18 am

Posted in Shaving

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