Later On

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

Archive for December 5th, 2015

Loading a (very soft) brush with Otoko Organics

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Somehow the time it now takes me to load a brush always seem to clock in at 10 seconds. This Fine 20mm angel-hair synthetic brush has an extremely soft (and thus pleasant, so far as I’m concerned) knot, but it quickly loads and makes a fine lather. Otoko Organics is not really a soap—certainly not like most soaps. For example, the ingredients do not include the usual caustics of sodium hydroxide and/or potassium hydroxide, which are used to saponify the fats in regular soap. Otoko Organics is more like a detergent, and thus I think it would not be greatly affected by hard water. It does lather easily, works well for shaving, has a great scent, and uses interesting ingredients. I do like it.

The lather in the video is not in fact quite ready for a shave—the purpose of the video is to show the loading, and so it’s the loading that is shown fully. In a real shave, my beard would be wet and a little soapy, since I wash my beard with a high-glycerin soap (and I still favor MR GLO) and rinse partially with a splash, then immediately load the brush and start working up the lather on my wet beard. I thus automatically work a little more water into the lather than is shown in the video, and I spend some time working the lather into my beard; if the lather seems dryish, I’ll add a driblet of water to the brush and work that into the lather.

Thus the video shows (in effect) step 2 of lathering:

Step 1: Wash beard with high-glycerin soap, rinse partially with a splash.

Step 2: Load brush with as much soap as you need. You may have to add a driblet or two of water as you load to get the brush fully loaded: I generally do that with Mike’s Natural, Stirling, Meißner Tremonia, and others. It depends on the soap and somewhat on the brush: a large boar brush (this one, for example) may require added water and longer loading. In the video, no additional water was needed to load the brush.

Step 3: Work up lather by brushing briskly over the entire beard; add water if needed, a driblet at a time, working each driblet well into the lather.

UPDATE: I should note that the Otoko developer emailed me to say:

I was playing with the lather myself after watching your video and it was whipping up fine for me. I personally only use a coat not a lather but it was standing up for me when I lathered heavily.

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2015 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Shaving

Officers’ Statements Differ From Video in Death of Laquan McDonald

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And where are the obstruction of justice charges? US police are allowed to obstruct justice with no punishment just as, until recently, they were allowed to gun down civilians provided the police said that “they reached for their waistband,” which replaced “made a furtive movement.” Also good is “I was in fear for my life” from a suspect who was running away from the police officer.

Monica Davey reports in the NY Times:

At least five police officers present during a shooting that was captured on a video that has created a firestorm of protest in this city supported a discredited version of events told by the officer who fired the fatal shots, newly released records show.

A police dashboard camera video released 13 months after the death of Laquan McDonald, 17, showed the teenager, who was carrying a three-inch folding knife, appearing to try to walk past a group of officers, veering slightly away from them, as one officer, Jason Van Dyke, opened fire.

But at least five other officers on the scene that night corroborated a version of events similar to the one Officer Van Dyke, now charged with murder in the shooting, gave his supervisors: that Mr. McDonald was aggressively swinging his knife and was moving toward the police, giving Officer Van Dyke no choice but to start shooting.

Officer Van Dyke’s partner that night told supervisors that he believed Mr. McDonald was attacking and trying to kill the police officers with the folding knife before the shots were fired, according to original police reports on the 2014 case, which were released late Friday by the city. Another officer reported that Mr. McDonald had raised his right arm — which held the knife — toward Officer Van Dyke “as if attacking,” the reports say. And another officer said that Mr. McDonald drew closer and closer to the officers and continued to wave his knife. At least two of the officers said Mr. McDonald seemed to try to get up from the ground after he was shot, knife still in hand.

Such claims are not supported by the images available on the video [extraordinarily tactful/craven phrasing: the claims are contradicted by the image available on the video – LG], and they contradict what prosecutors have since said occurred, namely that the video “clearly does not show” Mr. McDonald “advancing on” Officer Van Dyke. Mr. McDonald was shot 16 times, many of those shots fired as he lay crumpled on the street.

The hundreds of pages of documents add a new element to a case that has already upended this city, leading Mayor Rahm Emanuel to dismiss his police superintendent. Some officials, including Lisa Madigan, the state’s attorney general, have asked for a Justice Department review of the entire Police Department. While attention has largely been focused on Officer Van Dyke, the only officer to fire his gun at Mr. McDonald, the new records raise questions about the actions of other officers on the night of the shooting and about the culture within the department when it comes to policing one another.

On Saturday, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department noted that the case and any actions that may have followed the shooting remained part of a federal investigation, as well as a review by the Independent Police Review Authority, an agency that handles police shootings here. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2015 at 2:50 pm

Avars, Arabs, and History

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An interesting blog post by Paul Krugman in the NY Times:

The historian David Potter had a great letter published in the Financial Times, correcting the really bad history of the Dutch president, who suggested that migrants brought about the fall of Rome. (Bad history is all the rage these days.) Potter:

The “barbarians” who were “responsible” for the “fall” of the western Roman empire in the fifth century AD were not a wave of desperate migrants. They were a collection of disgruntled employees.

Yep — in fact, many of the groups who ended up invading the Roman Empire were originally clients, hired, subsidized, or bribed (hard to tell these apart) to serve the empire at a time when its own military capacity was waning. And this isn’t just a story about the western empire, or about Rome.

I’m currently reading In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire by Robert G. Hoyland; I read Tom Holland’s In the Shadow of the Sword a while back. Both books portray the rise of Islam as something very different from the image I and I suspect many other people had.

We are not, it turns out, talking about Bedouin, inspired by faith, suddenly swooping out of the desert on unsuspecting lands. The soldiers and generals who conquered Persia and much of the Byzantine Empire were, most likely, mainly drawn from long-established client states on the Persian and Byzantine borders — men who learned the art of war and much else from the people who hired them. They turned first into raiders, drawn by the empires’ weakness, then into conquerors when that weakness — exacerbated by an exhausting, destructive war between Persia and Byzantium — proved so great that resistance to their raids collapsed. In other words, the Arab conquests were quite a lot like the Visigoth conquests in the west, at least at first.

And as Hoyland points out, the Arabs weren’t the only peripheral powers making big inroads at the time. The Avars, for example, swept up to the walls of Constantinople a few years before the Arab conquest; various Turkic groups wreaked havoc on Persia.

What was different about the Arabs was the way they achieved political and religious unity. But while that was a momentous achievement with huge consequences, it was probably a much messier and slower process than we tend to imagine, mainly taking place after the initial conquests, not before. The picture of a great holy war is probably a story invented centuries after the fact. . .

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2015 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Books

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A reprise of Ralphie’s mom’s braised red cabbage

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I have a head of red cabbage on hand, we’re close to Christmas, and it occurred to me that Ralphie’s mom’s braised red cabbage might be a good thing to make. I did a Google search and found a reference to it on The Kitchn [sic], but no recipe there. The second hit, though, was my own blog, and that post does include the recipe.

I’ll make it sometime this week. Still undecided about using the sugar in the recipe. For the onion, using a red onion seems best. Obviously, I won’t peel the apples.

UPDATE: Just made it. I did use a large red onion. Apples were Gala apples; I removed the stem, but diced the entire apple, peel, core, and all. Followed the recipe almost exactly, including 1/4 c sugar. It tastes great. Modifications: 6 slices bacon rather than 4; use 4 cloves garlic rather than 1/4 tsp (!!) garlic.

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2015 at 11:57 am

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Restrict guns the way we restrict abortions

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Seen on Facebook:

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 10.58.22 AM

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Guns

JabonMan Rose Bourbon and the Wolfman Razors WR1-SB

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SOTD 5 Dec 2015

I just got a couple of soaps from JabonMan in Spain. He seems to have switched to metal containers, though I find the plastic interlocking containers more to my taste. Still, nothing wrong with the lather—or the fragrance.

The Kent BK4, a very nice brush indeed (and one that makes a great gift both because of brush quality and design—I find the handle quite attractive, which is why I used this brush on the cover of the Guide and also because of the excellent and attractive red-leatherette cylindrical box: gift-ready, as it were.

As noted, the lather and fragrance were excellent, and the Wolfman Razors WR1-SB is a wBoxonderful razor. I’m going to stop noting when I get a BBS result, since I generally do (good prep, good razors, lots of experience), and just note when I fall short. And with this razor, the result seems always to be BBS. Today was not an exception.

A splash of D.R. Harris Pink Aftershave, and the weekend is truly launched.

The soaps arrived from Spain in fine shape; the box, not so much. Holiday shipping, I imagine.

Written by Leisureguy

5 December 2015 at 10:06 am

Posted in Shaving

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