Harry’s first shave

Following up on yesterday’s post, I had my first shave with the new Harry’s razor and blade system. I had a three day beard growth, so a good challenge for any blade.


The handle has an excellent ergonomic shape and heft; no gimmicky rubber strips, racing stripes, or flashing lights – it has a real quality feel to it. Some critics have found it a little slippery when soapy and I would agree, although since I shave in the shower and can rinse it easily, it is a non issue.

The blade is outstanding. Unlike both the Fusion and the Schick Hydro 5 which feel “dead”, it provides lots of feedback although very little drag even with a three day beard. Again, unlike its competitors, the blade pivot system is firm and contouring rather than loose and flailing. It immediately brought to mind the difference between driving a BMW vs a Buick – this is a shavers blade, satisfying even to the classic DE user. Longevity and value remains to be seen; at nearly $2 a piece with shipping costs, it will need to last a long time to compete with a good DE blade at about $0.40 for 4-5 shaves.


The creme has received a lot of negative reviews mainly because it doesn’t lather. Note: It’s not meant to! This is NOT a lathering cream that you put in a shaving brush and build tons of soapy mousse. This cream is akin to many high-end creams such as Clinique’s; it is meant to lubricate and soothe. Lots of lather probably wouldn’t even work well as it would clog up the blades very quickly. The cream has a very pleasant smell, face-feel, and rinses off easily. I like it a lot.

Overall, an extremely fine shave that competes well with my DE collection. That’s saying a lot. For quick, low-risk shaves, it is much better than its competitors, which I find generally effective but “lifeless”. Now let’s see how long these blades last. Photos from Harry’s FB and web site.


When Mr. Dario, our intrepid New York correspondent, introduced me to Harry’s shave system, I was skeptical.  I’m not much of a cartridge shaver, although in fairness I do use a Schick Hydro 5 and some Kiss My Face brushless cream when I travel. Frankly, hotel showers are not the most conducive to DE shaving not to mention the challenges of travelling carry-on with DE blades (Not!!!).


The appeal of Harry’s is that, at least from the photos, the products have a retro look and just appear very well-made. Well, having just received my starer pack ($15 including 3 blades), I can tell you that the packaging, razor heft and feel, blade design, etc., all have a very high value-for-money presentation. I went for the ivory coloured Truman razor and it has the look and feel of a razor many times its price.

Is there room in the market for yet another cartridge razor? At less than $2 a blade, the real test will be how many shaves I can get. Gillette claims up to 5 weeks of daily use for their Fusion blades, while the forums point to a more realistic 2 weeks (14 shaves). Fusion blades run about $4.50 a piece, so we’ll see if the Harry’s blades really are a good deal. Of course, the quality of the shave will also be of paramount importance. Let you know tomorrow.

High value meal treasures

Almost every larger city has them: Culinary schools, where students train for everything from waiter to Chef. But professional cooking and serving requires lots of hands-on practice. As a result almost all culinary schools offer terrific full-course meals for a fraction of restaurant prices in order to attract “guinea pigs” to practice upon.

Several friends have been raving about Le Saucier, the restaurant outlet for the English-language Pearson Adult and Career Centres school. Since my wife retired a couple of months ago, her new mission has been as our “adventure” scout, looking for interesting new things to do during the week in and about Montreal. Today was our first experience of Le Saucier’s offerings.

Prospective customers are warned early on not to expect the polish and efficiency of a professional restaurant; a lowering of expectations that is strangely relaxing. The dining room is abuzz with students; certainly much more staff than one would find in a for-profit place, which actually makes for some great service and wonderful attitude – the difference between wanting to be somewhere and having to be there! There were charming gaffes as well, like when our waiter brought my Belgian beer with a glass full of ice! Fortunately he hadn’t poured it yet.

The menu is a five course affair including amuse-guelle ( a tiny hors d’oeuvre), soup, appetizer, main course and desert and coffee. Some photos below. In a nutshell, the food was excellent, a nice version of French Nouvelle/California market style. And the value was unbeatable: Two people with wine and beer…$45 taxes in!!

photo 2 photo 4 photo 3 photo 5

We have become show dogs

This is a great quote from Erwan LeCorre founder of the Natural Movement (MovNat) approach to fitness. I think his view can well be applied to many aspects of our lives including work, eating, etc. I was thinking about this today as my wife and I were discussing Twitter and how everyone seems to have their face in a smartphone screen these days, missing out on what is going on in the world around them, living vicariously through other people’s experiences. We have become evolutionary show dogs.

Our workouts are domesticated, while the world out there is still plenty wild. In a pinch, can a man put gym-generated biceps and tank-tread abs to any real use? Could it be that our treadmill-running, elliptical-gliding, well-oiled Cybex world has turned us into show dogs who can’t hold our own in the hunt?

Why That ‘First Kiss’ Video Now Feels Like A Bad First Date


Here’s the real story

Originally posted on TIME:

In fairness, we really should have seen this coming.

As it turns out, that video of 20 strangers kissing that has spread to all corners of the internet in the last 48 hours (and racked up more 24 million views on YouTube) is not exactly what it seems to be. Rather than ten pairs of total strangers meeting for the first time and—after a brief interlude of awkward small-talk—passionately losing themselves in each other’s lips, it’s 20 actors, models and musicians who seem just a little confident for the video’s premise.

The viral video, directed by Tatia Pilieva, is actually an advertisement for a clothing company. According to Slate, these are some of the performers in the video:

Models Natalia Bonifacci, Ingrid Schram, and Langley Fox (daughter of actress Mariel Hemingway and sister of model Dree); musicians Z Berg of The Like, Damian Kulash of OK Go, Justin…

View original 564 more words

“News” = Opinions, lies, and hoaxes…and it’s a good thing

A video picked up from various “legitimate” news sources spread like wildfire on Facebook. “First Kiss” ostensibly shows complete strangers kissing. It was later revealed that the video was in fact a commercial for a fashion brand, and that the strangers were all professional actors.

This is just one in a long string of hoaxes perpetuated on the public; a daily event it seems. News sources no longer practice journalism; it’s a lot cheaper to just grab all kinds of garbage off different sources without any research. What we experience as news today is unfortunately nothing more than a collection of opinions, lies, exaggerations, and hoaxes.

And it’s a good thing! Mistrust is a powerful platform for questioning everything you hear, see, or read. Used properly, it can become Hemingway’s “100% foolproof shit-detector”, providing impetus to search out the truth by exploring many different sources rather than relying on one or two. Unfortunately, most people are just too lazy to leverage this opportunity, preferring instead to pick and choose their “truth” to support what they already believe, e.g., the anit-vaxxers, Obama isn’t American, global warming denialists.

Getting old

Since turning 60 last Summer, I’ve becoming more interested in the process of getting old(er). While the physical changes are undeniable and inevitable, their rate of onset isn’t necessarily fixed in stone, and much can be done to slow down the process (nutrition, exercise, etc.). The psychological dimension is another thing though.

A number of my friends have retired early. They fill their days with many banal activities; former “hobbies” that have now assumed a much greater role in their lives: Stamp collecting, bird watching, long road-trips, reading, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with these activities per se, it’s just that they are insufficient to maintain a mental edge the way working in a productive environment surrounded by young people who constantly challenge you can.

My own plan is to die on the job; taken out horizontally, fingers still scrolling and texting on my iPhone. My idol in this sense is the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who having already been written off in his ’60s as a has-been, stunned the architectural world be designing and building his masterpiece, the Guggenheim Museum at age 92!



In my humble opinion, the first step to forestalling old age then is to work productively at something you enjoy and that is validated by society through substantial remuneration. It should also bring you in contact with young people whom you empower to kick your intellectual ass on a regular basis. Teaching at a university springs to mind as an interesting option.

The second step is to make sure your stuff is either in very good shape or current. There is a difference between antiques and junk. I have noticed that old people often settle into a material mustiness; their furniture is old, creaky, worn, poorly maintained, and uncomfortable. Their clothing dates back several decades, as do their cars, TV’s, home, etc. Don’t get me wrong, the stuff still works “well-enough” for them….although in reality, not very well at all. It’s just that they have lowered their standards and expectations; often they can’t see well enough to notice the changes, are resistant to their kids telling them, or are just plain cheap, wearing frugality as some badge of honour. Their stuff becomes a reflection and metaphor of their old age.

The third step is to embrace technology and stay on top of it. My mother in-law got her first laptop about seven years ago at age 85! She has learned to email, manage photos, and browse the net for stuff related to her hobbies. She often sends me racy jokes or forwards interesting stuff from her internet-savvy buddies. At 92 she’s still damned sharp and a joy to have a discussion with. I am still blown away by people in their 50′s and 60′s who don’t email and still go to the bank for regular, simple transactions. They have voicemail….but rarely check it, rendering it useless for others to leave them a message. Embracing the constant learning curve necessitated by technology is a great way to stay sharp. 

The woolly mammoth

Since her retirement two months ago, my wife has successfully substituted a host of physical activities for her job; a critical strategy if she were to avoid the weight gain in moving from a very physical job (Physio) to couch potato (like me).

Weather does not deter her, not even our brutally cold Winter, and she has found great pleasure in the Morgan Arboretum, our local wildlife sanctuary, along with Rox, our ever-willing Briard. Rox is very hard to photograph, as she moves constantly; we have many blurry shots of her. That’s what makes today’s photo particularly interesting…that and the wonderful lighting of the day. Photo by my wife on her iPhone:

photo 2

Overwhelmed by spam

My spam on my three email addresses has now climbed to about 2000 per day. This now precludes even cursory scanning of my spam folder for “false positives”, i.e., good emails that accidentally get caught up in the spam filter. I just came across one yesterday purely by fluke as I was about to hit the “Delete all” button. My only workaround at present is to try to scan the spam folder 8-10 times a day when the size is smaller and more easily scanned by the eye. Of course, at the present rate of spam growth, this will soon become next to useless. Inevitably, it will mean that some good emails will be missed.

This is more serious that it may seem because it renders email far less reliable than it once was and should be. Hell, reliability should be going up, not down! Bottom line: You can no longer expect that what you send will be read; a serious issue in business, and even in personal interactions, e.g., “Hey Joe, we’ll be late meeting you for dinner, see you in the restaurant instead of at your house”. It also means that more reliable methods of communication will have to be found. I’m not sure if texting is more reliable; some texts that I have sent to colleagues were never received, possibly due to network issues.

Spam is truly a scourge that will destroy email’s value. I still don’t get why they do it. Either it works in hooking naive “fish”, or it’s a form of internet terrorism and anarchy by people with sad lives.


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