Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Robert M. Pirsig (September 6, 1928 – April 24, 2017)

From Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:
What I would like to do is use the time that is coming now to talk about some things that have come to mind. We’re in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it’s all gone. Now that we do have some time, and know it, I would like to use the time to talk in some depth about things that seem important. 
Robert and Chris Pirsig  

What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua— that’s the only name I can think of for it— like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, this America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. The Chautauquas were pushed aside by faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks. In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated. “What’s new?” is an interesting and broadening eternal question, but one which, if pursued exclusively, results only in an endless parade of trivia and fashion, the silt of tomorrow. I would like, instead, to be concerned with the question “What is best?,” a question which cuts deeply rather than broadly, a question whose answers tend to move the silt downstream. There are eras of human history in which the channels of thought have been too deeply cut and no change was possible, and nothing new ever happened, and “best” was a matter of dogma, but that is not the situation now. Now the stream of our common consciousness seems to be obliterating its own banks, losing its central direction and purpose, flooding the lowlands, disconnecting and isolating the highlands and to no particular purpose other than the wasteful fulfillment of its own internal momentum. Some channel deepening seems called for.
Pirsig, Robert M.. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (pp. 7-8). HarperTorch. Kindle Edition. 

In memory of Robert M. Pirsig (September 6, 1928 – April 24, 2017)

I didn't understand most of what Pirsig tried to get across in the story within a story within the story of the motorcycle trip with his son Chris in Zen and The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance,  far too lofty for my puny intellect.  But I did understand and love his concept of the Chautauqua...a talk intended to edify and entertain.   Think of it, what are the books, movies, lectures, even chats with friends or lovers that you enjoy the most?  Are they not those that not only entertain but also edify? Indeed, I read the last page in Zen with the very uncomfortable feeling that I just read something profound but most of it slipped past my thick skull.  But, I did grasp the Chautauqua...worth the price of the book and the bigger opportunity cost of reading it alone.  

For an interesting memorial to Pirsig:  

Robert M. Pirsig, Author of ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,’ Dies at 88,  By Paul Vitello,  New York Times, April 24, 2017.

Photo Credit:  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Real Men

In honor of the millions of women and men world wide who marched in the Women's March on Washington and sister marches,  January 21, 2017.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Merry New Year

I have posted this before so this is somewhat of a repeat performance but with my dearth of posts in 2016, perhaps I can be forgiven wasting space on the servers. 

I am a new years Scrooge and I ascribe to the tenet:

If I could work my will every idiot who goes about with "Happy New Year"  on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stem of a martini glass through his heart.

Historically New Years to me was never anything to celebrate.  The end of the holidays, a return to poopy old school,  crappy old work, and at times both...sailing off into January's dreary gloom with nothing but a heavy heart and despair for another period of time off.  Well retirement for most part has abated that bitterness, but like the end of August when I hear the cicadas drone in the trees, I still get a bile of back to school pervading my thoughts.  I am indeed a New Years Scrooge. 

Then there always Guy Lombardo's Auld Lang Syne.  Good grief was there ever a piece of music so hideous?  

Yet as I get older, I must admit a certain weakening of my Scrooginess.   I perceive that beyond the excuse to go get drunk, a habit I gave up when I started going with my wife, and the stupid party hats, kazzoos, and glasses frames depicting the new year, there is a common thread of hope.  Quite possibly vain hope, but hope none the less.  We are pretty much helpless to the winds of fate, so can we be blamed if for one day a year we throw caution to those winds, and say damn the torpedoes full speed ahead?  

If nothing else I have found a better rendition of Auld Lang Syne:

Alas, having not been visited by the ghosts of New Years Past, Present, or Future,  I am still inclined to say New Years, Bah Humbug!   So to avoid my own curse I shall wish you and your's a

Most Merry New Years! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Book Review, Sex Without Fear

Gee, I haven't posted anything for a year.  Well this will have to do for 2016.

Sex Without FearSex Without Fear by John  Gilmore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My rating takes the publication date of 1951 into consideration. It is woefully inadequate for today, and I would rate it only two stars. I would caution readers to read this as a historical artifact of the times rather than an informative manual. The book is brief, 121 pages, but actually fairly informative for the time, something of a very basic instruction manual for the (then) newly married. Naturally in 1951 it is heteronormative and is heavy on the intention that this information is for married couples or those about to get married. Homosexuality is not mentioned at all, ergo there are none of the negative judgements that were often found in other sex manuals of that era.

The book is well illustrated for a description of the plumbing, and a rudimentary discussion of pregnancy. It has some illustrations of which I question the value, dissection slices of testicle tissue, for instance, that seems to give the book a patina of scientific validity but otherwise seems extraneous. Somewhat surprising, it also had an accurate hairless illustration of the external vulva, I believe to emphasize the location of the clitoris. Lacking, however, was the same for the male genitalia, the book relies on the old hacksaw method of cross sections and the penis being flaccid. With the tales of brides fleeing the bridal chamber shrieking at first sight of an erect male member (Love without Fear, pg 166), perhaps a similar external illustration of an erect penis would have been useful. Remember in 1951, one could not do a Google Image search of "erect penis" and get 2.7 bazillion photos in a tenth of a second.

It provides a simple description of coitus, warns the husband of the need for extended foreplay for arousal of the woman, and surprisingly informs the husband that stimulation of the clitoris is required for the wife to have an orgasm, and thus states that the couple should attain a position that allows clitoral stimulation by the thrusting penis or manually stimulate it with his fingers during coitus. It also provides some rudimentary sexual positions...but alas no illustrations of such.

There is a surprisingly good section on the then available contraceptive methods, again with some illustrations, and a frank discussion of the methods that don't work very well.

There is also a discussion on abortion, not the morality, but the need to avoid it because at that time it was illegal, very dangerous, and performed under terrible conditions (with the exception of abortion for health of life of the mother done in hospitals). The conditions described plus the dreadful descriptions of drugs sold to restore "delayed menstruation" should have been an argument for legalization of abortion at that time. This is something that society may want to think about before rushing to overturn Roe vs Wade.

There was a short brief and by today's standards very incomplete discussion on Veneral Disease. V. D. the letters seemed to scream off the page like a WWII poster for the troops. Actually it was very nonjudgmental...."They [the public] have learned that V. D. is not a disgrace but one of the most wide-spread of human ailments." Pg. 115.

There was even a brief discussion on how to tell your children about sexuality which seemed very enlightened for the time. Disappointingly it had little to say about teen sexuality other than some severe warnings about juvenile delinquency...that seemed to be a huge worry back in the early 50s. I think it odd that nothing was mentioned about masturbation.

As I mentioned before, the book was surprising nonjudgmental, it didn't excessively warn of perversions or lose its mind over the proper maintenance of virginity until marriage. Yet it did have an odd (for today) atmosphere of "this is for married people." There were weird little line drawings of wedding rings scattered through the description of intercourse and a bride and groom dancing at a wedding. Also sprinkled here and there were quotes from the Bible which seemed to be thrown in to sanctify a sex manual. This sort of thing I just write off as an artifact of the times and think it wise for modern readers not to get their knickers in a knot. It wasn't long before that sex manuals were considered pornographic and that people disseminating sexual information were jailed. So one can understand a publisher putting in a little window dressing to give the book a patina of wholesomeness required for good strong marriages that would promote truth, justice, the American way, and discourage juvenile delinquency.

All in all, I think this was a pretty good book for the time that it was published.

For my review of a similar title, Love without Fear see:

View all my reviews

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Solstice

Imager Credit:
There seems to be some confusion about when the Solstice (winter if you are in the northern hemisphere, summer if you are in the southern hemisphere) is going to take place.  Google says that it will be on December 22nd but quite actually for those of us in North America from the Eastern Time Zone and west to the International Date Line, it will be on December 21st.  So why the difference.  The first thing to realize is that unlike New Years Day celebrations which occur 24 times, one hour apart, the Solstice is a particular astronomical event that takes place at one particular instant in time.  There is only one solstice and it is independent of time zones.  

The December solstice is the globe on the far right.  Note
that the axis (purple lines) points in the same direction (toward
the North Star, Polaris) all through out the orbit around the sun.
Image Credit Wikipedia

Due to the inclination of the Earth's axis, and the fact that the axis of the Earth points at the same direction in the sky, as the Earth orbits the sun through out the year, the apparent motion of the sun follows a path in the sky called the ecliptic.  On a star chart the ecliptic forms a sine wave.  The December Solstice occurs when the apparent motion of the sun reaches the most southern point on that sine wave. At that point the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.  

As such the solstice doesn't happen on a date per se like new year's day, it happens at a specific moment in time.   That moment of time usually happens on the 21st or 22nd of December, but it can vary out to the 20th to the 23rd although rarely. 

So the question comes to mind, how long does the solstice last?  The ancients would have declared hours if not days.  The apparent motion of the sun as it reaches it most southern point becomes difficult to discern and it appears to stop moving...always a source of concern.  However everything is moving and if you consider the solstice to be defined as when the precise center of the disk of the sun is over the precise line of the Tropic of Capricorn then the theoretical time of transit is an infinitely short instant.  The center of the sun has no dimension nor does imaginary line of the Tropic of Capricorn.  They are mathematical entities of points and lines with no physical dimensions and as such there is no transit time.   

Max Planck 1858 - 1947
The Father of Quantum Mechanics
Image Credit:  Wikipedia

Ahhh but in our universe, there is no infinitely short instant.  If you had a fine enough stopwatch, it would register the Solstice lasting one Jiffy...a slang physics term for Planck's time.  Now if the Tropic of Capricorn was a painted line exactly 6 inches wide, the there would be a transit time.  The exacter center of the sun would pass over the 6 inch line, well actually 3 inch line because we would have to assume that the painted line was centered over the theoretical line which has no dimension. So three inches of the painted line would be south of the actual Tropic.   So in a theoretical sense the moment is infinitely short.  In a real sense it lasts a Jiffy a discreet chunk of time.   

Planck's time which is the amount of time it takes a photon traveling at the speed of light to travel the length of Planck's length.  Plank's length is the shortest possible distance in our Universe.  We would like to think that we could take a ruler and start cutting it in half.  Twelve inches cut into 6, then cut 6 into 3,  1 1/2,  3/4, 3/8, 3/16.........3/\infty   ...that is keep cutting in half forever.  But you can't.  When you get down to Planck's length, a further cut smaller and you are out of the Universe and into the quantum foam. 

So this moment, the Jiffy, is the shortest measurable time in our universe, any shorter and you are again out of the universe and into the quantum foam.  I have no idea how Planck figured this out, or even if he did.  But anyhow the fabric of the universe has discreet chunks, it is not a uniform fabric that gets progressively smaller the finer you look and like wise the clock has specific tics that you can't get any shorter.  So the solstice lasts exactly one Planck's width.  How long is that?   From Wikipedia

t_{\mathrm {P} }\equiv {\sqrt {\frac {\hbar G}{c^{5}}}}\approx 5.39106(32)\times 10^{-44}\ \mathrm {s}

Just round that off to 5.4 times ten to the minus forty-fourth power of a second.  No use getting lost in the details. 

So anyhow the Solstice is going to happen at a moment and that moment is tonight on the 21st somewhere around 11:49 PM in EST.  The reason Google says it is on the 22 is that they are using universal coordinated time, which when you are asked what time is it on the planet Earth, this is the time you use.  It is virtually the same thing as the old Greenwich Mean Time except it has atomic clocks applying leap second corrections every now and again.  The term Greenwich Mean Time now only applies to the time zone that surrounds the Prime Meridian going through Greenwich England.  It is no longer the label for the universal standard. 

I don't know if anyone actually knows the precise moment...measured out to some fraction of a second, but according the website TIME AND DATE:

December Solstice in Universal Coordinated Time is on
Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at 04:49 UTC

Yet I have also seen some predictions for 04:48 UTC.  Why the difference,  I have no idea.  In any event I suppose that we could say it lasts 1 minute long.  would also think from a practical sense that you could say the the solstice lasts as long as a typical sunset into the ocean.  That is allowing for the radius of the sun to pass over the tropic line stop and then reverse direction and pass back.  It should be roughly the amount of time for the diameter of the sun to slip past a horizon. 

Regardless of how long the it takes, it is happening tonight at either 11:48 or 11:49 PM Eastern Standard Time in the US.  So go out and build a bon fire dance and howl at the moon and welcome the first day of winter and the return of Sol. 

For an excellent article see:  The Telegraph, When is the 2015 winter solstice? Everything you need to know about the shortest day of the year

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Loss of Innocence Part 3

The old: my Merkur 38 C HD Barber Pole
Per Alicia's request

Note! This is Part 3. Read PART 1 and PART 2 first. 

As much as I liked my Barber Pole razor, I must admit that I was getting no where with it, I was in sort of a stasis of lousy shaves. I decided the razor was too aggressive and broke down and bought the Merkur Progress 510 C. This is the adjustable razor. Amazon had it on sale for $65. So I finally got the razor I wanted, but instead of spending $75, I spent $105 ($40 for the Barber Pole and $65 for the Progress)…smart Sextant! 

Merkur Logo embossed in the bottom plate is bas relief.
Like chrome valve covers with a Hemi name, very cool. 

While I like the looks of the Progress, I have to admit it is not the beauty that the Barber Pole is. The handle has straight fluted design that is not as attractive and more difficult to grip. The adjustment knob is ivory colored plastic which bothers some folks to the point that a small artisan company modifies the razors with metal knob and calling the result the Mergress. I actually kind of like the plastic knob. It gives it a 50s retro (junky?) look, and there is good old Merkur’s head embossed in the very end of the knob and the base plate. High culture indeed. The Progress is not as heavy as the Barber Pole, weighing in at 100 grams. Actually I think it has a bit better balance.  

Gap adjustment on the Merkur Progress
Image credit: 

The razor is adjustable by elevating the blade from the bottom plate while still maintaining tension on the blade. This allows the gap and angle of the blade to become wider or narrower by twisting the knob. Merkur has stamped in some very difficult to see numbers on the metal collar of the knob so that one has a numeric reference for the gap. For fellow presbyopes (ignore that red squiggly it is the noun for one who suffers from presbyopia which my dictionary in an effort to make me feel better states the origins as: late 18th cent.: modern Latin, from Greek presbus ‘old man’ + ōps, ōp- ‘eye.’ ) use of the Merkur Progress means that you now shave with your glasses on if you intend to make on the fly adjustments.

So now I had the solution. I set the razor to 2 for the first pass and 1 for the second. AND…I got just as crappy of a shave as I was getting with the Barber Pole. How can I get a less aggressive razor than this. I tried using only the lowest setting. No better. So I was starting to get a bit disillusioned with the great DE shaving that everyone else on these shaving forums rants and raves about. Then one day I tried setting the razor to 3. Voila!  I didn’t need a less aggressive setting, I needed more. It is counterintuitive but setting the razor gap wider gave me a far closer shave with less irritation and no nicks. At last! I am still miles from the legendary BBS (Baby Bottom Smooth) but at least I am not nicking myself or causing a lot of razor burn. I haven’t developed a steady enough hand for around my lips so I still finish off with a swipe in that area with the Gillette Sensor Excel. I think of it in terms of a weed whacker verses a lawn tractor. Strictly verboten by the purists but then again the purists probably don’t have MS. 

The new:  Merkur 510 C Progress
Also new, Vie Long Cachurro Horse Hair Brush

So here is where I am today. Using the Merkur Progress 510 C with Wilkinson Sword blades on a setting of three or four on the first pass with the grain, two on the second pass across the grain and slowly experimenting with a third pass against the grain in non problem areas. I use the Sensor Excel on the problem areas. It takes three times as long to shave as with the Sensor Excel but there is a certain joy to using a quality razor, albeit not the orgasmic Zen experience described on the shaving forums. The BBS will remain most likely an unattained goal, but the shave is acceptable by my standards. In real world terms, it is somewhere between a hack job and a DFS. DFS? That is shaving forum speak for Damned Fine Shave. Something less than the BBS but quite acceptable by ordinary standards.

I use Van Der Hagen Unscented Luxury Shave Soap in my beloved cheap dark green Van Der Hagen bowl. I tried Mitchell’s Wool Fat, an medium priced soap from England enriched with lanolin (hence the wool fat in its name). The scent of this stuff is right on the border line for me. One degree stronger and it would be in the trash. Unfortunately while it gives a good shave, the stuff irritates my skin leaving my face glowing red and burning. So I retired it to a ziplock bag and I will try it again in a few months. I still have too many variables…new brush, new razor, new technique. The soap may not be the culprit, although as soon as I went back to the VDH Unscented the irritation went away. I then tried Williams Mug Soap again. This is the cheap lemony scented stuff that my father used and was the inspiration for this entire wet shaving fiasco. Hmmmm, second time around after using the VDH Unscented, I decided shaving with lemon Pledge just wasn’t hacking it. Also the stuff dries very fast. I had to lather one side of my face at a time. I vowed to make 10 shaves with it, but I got to where I hated it so much that after the fourth shave I said to hell with this. 

My razor collection from top left to bottom right:
Gillette Sensor Excel with wire tie nubs.
Merkur 45 Bakelite.
Merkur 38 C HD Barber Pole.
Merkur 510 C Progress.
Dorco Pace, unhappy experiment from the past.
Top right: Norelco 6948XL/41 cheapie but not bad if I am in a hurry. 

Still convinced by the shaving forums that I need a better soap, I ordered and received some Proraso Sensitive Shave Soap from Amazon. It is claimed to have a mild fragrance. Alas, I disagree. It is way too smelly for me. It has an odd combination of pine, soap, with a hint of wood ash. Quite actually, it smelled like I was shaving with a pine scented air freshener from a spray can. It also seemed to cause some irritation, and I did not like the menthol effect. Too smelly and gooey for me. I won’t be trying it again so if I can’t give it to anyone, in the trash it goes. At 10 bucks a tub, it is expensive trash. The lesson here is that I have to quit trying other soaps. I just have no tolerance for the smell of fragrances and apparently they irritate my skin.

Being a fragrance intolerant cretin, after shave for me has always been rubbing alcohol. It works fine and leaves no scent behind. Spend a few minutes on a shaving forum an you will find out that I am crazy doing that for a variety of reasons none of which I remember. As you can imagine there are an endless list of pricey post shave balms that one should use, and, of course, many of them are smelly and gooey. So my aversion to smelly and gooey spares me from spending untold sums on preps and post shave balms. But I did read about one post shave product that is not smelly, heals razor burn, provides antibacterial protection, stanches blood flow from nicks, and tightens your pores. Plus it has been in use for 2500 years. An alum block. What the hell is an alum block? I never heard of one until about month or so ago.

Osma Alum Block, it looks like a block of quartz
Image Credit:

Alum is potassium aluminum sulfate. It is the same stuff that is used in pickles and as an ingredient in baking powder. It is also one of the main ingredients of a styptic pencil. It has antibacterial and astringent properties. Zero odor. After rinsing the lather from your face, you wet the block and rub it lightly all around the shaved areas of your face and allow it to dry. You then can either leave it be or rinse the slight residue off. Best thing since canned beer. Of course like all things in life you can get a good alum block or junky ones. The good ones are cut straight from a large deposit of pure natural alum. The junky ones are blocks fabricated out of loose alum used in other processes or from less than pure alum deposits. Well nothing but the best for me, so I bought a pair of Osma alum blocks cut from the pure deposits in France…bla…bla….

Hmmmm! The jury is still out of that one. I have tried using it only once. It feels odd on my  face while wet, sort of like cool water that is evaporating rapidly.  It does burn on any place where you shaved a bit too close or on nicks. I didn’t mind the burning, I get about the same from the alcohol. It was the sensation left on my skin for hours after the stuff dried. My skin felt very tight and dried out. My face knew what a grape feels like when becoming a raisin. The best I can describe it was sort of like being wind burnt in very cold weather. I left it on for about 15 minutes and then decided to rinse it off. That unpleasant tightness lasted for hours. I have had the blocks now for about a week and I have not been tempted to use them again. 

Vie Long 04312 Cachurro Horse Hair Brush.
Cruelty free, horse hair is collected during grooming.
Image Credit: 

I have upgraded to a Vie Long 04312 Cachurro horse hair brush, To be honest I love my cheap Van Der Hagen boar bristle brush. It is stiff, has a lot of “scritch” (a shaving forum terminology for a rough scratchy feel) and lathers acceptably. But alas a boar was “harvested” to provide the hair for my brush. That doesn’t fly well with my animal loving wife. Horse hair brushes are made with hair from the mane and tail of horses that are collected through normal grooming, not the slaughter of the animal. So Vie Long sends agents out to all the equestrian barber shops in Spain to collect hair for its brushes. Well that is what I have read and tell my wife. For those who like a softer brush, the horse hair is much softer than boar, but not as soft as badger. I have a fake badger hair brush using synthetic bristles and I hate it. Way too soft. The horse hair is too soft for me, but it keeps peace in the house. I have to admit that part of the reason I chose this particular brush was the metal collet retaining the knot. Very manly! It gives the handle a nice weight.  Alas, one has to use care not to chip the ceramic shaving bowl when swirling up a lather especially when the soap wears down.

My brushes:  left Van Der Hagen Boar Bristle.
Center: Simply Beautiful fake silver tip badger hair.
Right: Vie Long Cachurro horse hair.

I did buy one razor just for the hell of it, a Merkur 45 Bakelite razor. It is made from the first manmade plastic, Bakelite. Weighing in at 15 grams it is very light. It gets surprisingly good reviews. A woman reviewer on Amazon liked it because it did not get hot in the shower. I bought it mostly because I think it looks cool in a very tacky sort of way plus Bakelite appeals to my love for Mahjong sets. Bakelite was a commonly used material for the classic American made Mahjong sets in the early and mid years of the 20th century. So far I haven’t used the razor.

Merkur 45 Bakelite with travel case and blades.
Image Credit:

Well I have sort of run out of things to buy. I am fed up with trying “lightly scented” soaps. I have more razors than I need. Aversions to smelly and gooey spare me from trying all the various preps and after shaves. So about the only thing left to play with is blades. The Wilkinson Sword is my blade of choice, but once I get my technique further refined maybe I will try the Feather again perhaps buy a blade sampler.

So there is only one thing left to do, build a “shaving den.” This is something on the order of exclusive gentleman’s club in London built right into your house for the purpose of pursuing the art and zen of shaving.  Centered in the shaving den of my dreams would be a oversized vanity with an acre of counter space to display my fine collection of razors new and antique, many shelves for the various brushes, bowls, preps, and after shave balms, and of course a toilet (tastefully off to the side and equipped with a reading light) would be available for the essentials. 

A Shaving Den
Image Credit: [URL=][IMG][/IMG][/URL]

 One wall would be devoted to library shelves containing the classics and the Encyclopedia Brittanica in leather bound editions. A 60’s style stereo system would occupy another wall. Another wall would have a writing desk with a well appointed desk top computer with a fast internet connection and a large screen for viewing YouTube tutorials and on the fly emergency consultations to the shaving forums.  Another wall would have a small couch with a coffee table laid out with recent issues of Scientific American, Field and Stream, Hot Rod, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Esquire and the latest Art Of Shaving catalog. 

Not exactly what I had in mind
but you get the idea.  Image Credit: 

 Another wall would display a tasteful Vargas girl pinup shaving her legs with a 1959 Gillette Fat Boy Adjustable. 

The walls, all eight of them, would paneled in the finest mahogany veneers, counter tops all black granite, and lighting a combination of overhead track lighting and Tiffany floor and table lamps. 

Well so much for my dreams. In practical terms I believe that most shaving dens are simply the act of commandeering a powder room and installing good lighting, a good mirror, a bunch of shelves to hold all your gear. This then is where you go to become one with the lather and blade. 

Alas back to reality, being a retired factory worker and not an investment banker, the cracker box of a house that I live in has no powder room and no place for a powder room. So that leaves the bathroom. One thing I have learned in almost 39 years of marital bliss is that the bathroom, especially when you only have one, is a woman’s province. Space will be provided grudgingly for a few manly health and beauty essentials but there is no way my wife is going to tolerate a major invasion of a ridiculous macho shaving den. Hmmm. That leaves the laundry tub in the basement right next to the washer and the cat litter boxes. The cat litter aroma would add to the zen of the experience, take me back to basics, and perhaps mask the fragrance of the stinky shaving soaps!  The simple fact of the matter is that I have no place for a shaving den.

My Shaving Temple
Being spiritually inclined and four dimensionally challenged on this Earth plane, I decided to make a shaving temple. This sits in the (waterless and drainless) corner of the small area that I have claimed for my man cave. While it certainly falls short of a shaving den, being close to the computer, it does provide instant access to all my shaving goods for when I am posting on the shaving forums.

Finally, It occurs to me that most of my readers are women, (except for one notable gentleman in the northern realms who respectfully wishes to remain bearded). 

The Shaving Queen
Image Credit:

 Lest you feel left out, there is a small but devoted contingent of women wet shaving enthusiasts. The Sharpologist has an article by the Razor Queen, Tiffanyanne Pisarcik which lists a variety of wet shaving resources for women.

Sharpologist .com, “Top Resources For Ladies Shaving.” by Tiffanyanne Pisarcik

Pisarcik AKA Tiffany Kosma also appears at the blog What’s Your Ritual 

Well there you have it.  A long journey in a few short months.  Last July I was blissfully ignorant scraping Gillette Foamy red spray can cheapy forumula from my face with a two bladed cartridge Gillette Excel razor.  Now I am shit canning 10 dollar tubs of Proraso because it is too smelly.  I take three times as long to shave, go around with razor burn 50% of the time from my latest failed experiment, and Amazon is raking in a young fortune off my shaving habit.  Ha ha but I am no fool.  Gillette and Schick are not robbing me blind with those expensive 5 bladed cartridges.  

Well off to the forums to see if I can find an unscented prep.