Later On

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

Archive for March 18th, 2023

Republican “reality” leads to a dictatorship

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Heather Cox Richardson:

Rumors that he is about to be indicted in New York in connection with the $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels have prompted former president Donald Trump to pepper his alternative social media site with requests for money and to double down on the idea that any attack on him is an attack on the United States.

The picture of America in his posts reflects the extreme version of the virtual reality the Republicans have created since the 1980s. The United States is “THIRD WORLD & DYING,” he wrote. “THE AMERICAN DREAM IS DEAD.” He went on to describe a country held captive by “CRIMINALS & LEFTIST THUGS,” in which immigrants are “FLOODING THROUGH OUR OPEN BOARDERS [sic], MANY FROM PRISONS & MENTAL INSTITUTIONS,” and where the president is “SURROUNDED BY EVIL & SINISTER PEOPLE.” He told his supporters to “SAVE AMERICA” by protesting the arrest he—but no one else—says is coming on Tuesday.

Trump’s false and dystopian portrait of the nation takes to its logical conclusion the narrative Republicans have pushed since the 1980s. Since the days of Reagan, Republicans have argued that people who believe that the government should regulate business, provide a basic social safety net, protect civil rights, and promote infrastructure are destroying the country by trying to redistribute wealth from hardworking white Americans to undeserving minorities and women. Now Trump has taken that argument to its logical conclusion: the country has been destroyed by women, Black Americans, Indigenous people, and people of color, who have taken it over and are persecuting people like him.

This old Republican narrative created a false image of the nation and of its politics, an image pushed to a generation of Americans by right-wing media, a vision that MAGA Republicans have now absorbed as part of their identity. It reflects a manipulation of politics that Russian political theorists called “political technology.”

Russian “political technologists” developed a series of techniques to pervert democracy by creating a virtual political reality through modern media. They blackmailed opponents, abused state power to help favored candidates, sponsored “double” candidates with names similar to those of opponents in order to split their voters and thus open the way for their own candidates, created false parties to create opposition, and, finally, created a false narrative around an election or other event that enabled them to control public debate.

Essentially, they perverted democracy, turning it from the concept of voters choosing their leaders into the concept of voters rubber-stamping the leaders they had been manipulated into backing.

This system made sense in former Soviet republics, where it enabled leaders to avoid the censorship that voters would recoil from by instead creating a firehose of news until people became overwhelmed by the task of trying to figure out what was real and simply tuned out.

But it also fit nicely into American politics, where there is a . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

18 March 2023 at 9:11 pm

The “highly processed food” equivalent in social media

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A good insight into the social media equivalent of manufactured snack foods.

Written by Leisureguy

18 March 2023 at 7:48 pm

Back to walking

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A map showing a walk route — rectangular around a strip of city blocks — with basic info: 2.06 mi, 36:17 time, 3.41 mph avg speed, 119 avg heart rate, 339 calories, 139 max heart rate.

The weather’s picked up — sunny and clear today, and warm enough to have the window fully open and to walk in shirt sleeves, bright enough to require a sun hat and sunglasses.

I’ve been out just a few days recently, but this is my first 2-mile day. I’ll stick with this a week and then extend it somewhat — 2.5 miles probably. I’m using Nordic walking poles, which provide some push: cadence is 110 steps per minute, average stride length is 32″. My usual stride length is about 30″, so the extra 2″ is doubtless due to the pole’s push.

Walking really has a noticeable impact on fasting blood glucose, and a good impact: it reduces it significantly. It also improves sleep, which is good.

After the walk, I had a snack of my fermented potatoes and hemp hearts. That finished one of the 1.5-liter jars, so I now have two empty jars and can start the next ferment. I’m going to make the Christmas ferment again. It was especially good.

Written by Leisureguy

18 March 2023 at 4:44 pm

Aces over 8s once more, and a razor discovery

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A Rooney silvertip badger shaving brush stands next to a tub of shaving soap whose labe has a patterned background in light green that looks like wallpaper, and centered are a large spade (the symbol on a playing card) over a large numeral 8. Next is a dark-brown bottle of aftershave with the same label. In front is a razor with a stainless steel handle.

I had to return to 345 Soap Company’s remarkable shaving soap. (As I had assumed, the “345” is the street address — cf. Floris No. 89, TOBS #74, Alpa 378, 4711 cologne, and doubtless others).

I used my Rooney Finest and the lather was wonderful in both fragrance and consistency. Whether a fragrance is good or not is very much YMMV, much as with flavors of food and for the same olfactory reason. This fragrance definitely appeals to me: “Tobacco, Mint, Rose, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Cedar, Patchouli, Vetiver, Tonka bean.” I imagine some of its allure for me is the fragrance from Vanilla and Tonka bean, but the others combine with that into a harmonious whole.

I did note that the soap is a little thirsty, but with a small addition of water, I easily loaded the brush and then worked up a fine lather that felt good on my skin. Great prep: enjoyable and good for both skin and razor.

As I indicated in my previous SOTD post, I have started going through my razor collection and culling those that are redundant or don’t present anything special. All killer, no filler — that’s what I’m going for. I have now a little box of discarded razors. I also brought out my box of spare parts: heads I’m not using, spare handles, and so on. In that box, I found a couple of interesting heads — comb guard on one side, bar guard on the other. One had a brown finish, and that one I feel sure came from Yaqi or from Maggard Razors, though I have no memory of it. The other was aluminum and had small lettering. I peered closely and made out the words “iKon Shavecraft” — it was a #101 head!

I was astonished. I have a Shavecraft #101 in my current rotation, one that I bought because I could not find the one I had originally. I had decided I must at some point have sold it, and so I replaced it. But here it is, all ready to go. Even better, one of the handles I removed from a head I’m retiring — an EJ clone — is an iKon bulldog handle, probably the original handle for the #101 head I found. (I know it is an iKon handle because iKon marks it handles, as does Maggard: on the base of the handle is, for iKon, the word “iKon” with a skull within the “o,” or, for Maggard, a maple leaf.)

So I’ve reconstituted my first #101, and that’s the razor in the photo above. Regaining the razor is enormously pleasing, like a prodigal son returned. I don’t really need two #101s, so I will have to find a good home for the spare. 

In looking over the razors I used this week, I see that all are keepers. I’ve made one pass through the collection removing razors that don’t have a strong appeal for me. The Holy Black SR-71 Slant, for example, is just a Merkur 37 with a thick handle, and I already have a Merkur 37G. No need for the SR-71. And do I need the 37G if I have the German 37, which has the same head but in a 3-part razor? Undecided as yet. But each week as I bring out the six razors for the week, I’ll be making sure that each has a special appeal. Any lacking that will go into the box of discards.

The #101 delivered a fine shave this morning. In looking back through comments, I found one reader for whom the razor did not work, but for me it is a terrific little razor, and the two sides, though having a different guard design, feel the same on the face — the razor is asymmetric in appearance but symmetric in feel and performance.

Three passes produced a BBS result, and a splash of Aces over 8s aftershave finished the job.

I do highly recommend 345 Soap Company’s soaps. I have found three good sources:

  • 345 Soap Company itself  
  • The Razor Company, located in the US but ships to Canada with very reasonable shipping costs, including free shipping for orders over US$35 — and that’s free shipping to Canada as well. TRC is also a stockist for The Grooming Dept.
  • Top of the Chain (located in Canada), which has excellent selection overall (though no Grooming Dept as yet).

The caffeine this morning is Fantastico’s Sulawesi Toarco Jaya: “Silky, clean, and expressive — Sugar cane, pineapple, nectarine, dried mango, black tea, vanilla.”

Written by Leisureguy

18 March 2023 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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