Courtesy of my Sister-in-law. It turns out this is only a conceptual product. I went to the purported dealer, http://www.conrad.de, but they have no such bike lock. Nevertheless, a wonderful idea, although I’d be worried about some of the liabilities here in North America; would potential accidental falls and the resulting injuries be covered under third-party liability? Europeans seem to have a much more lackadaisical attitude towards these things like, “Vell, you should have been looking upvards as you ver valking!”.
Over the last few years I’ve found myself increasingly averse to strong artificial scents, especially those in perfumes and colognes, shampoos, soaps (less so) and worst of all, body washes. I say “averse” rather than allergic because the latter term is so overused and abused that I avoid it. I’m not allergic to any of these things in the sense that I don’t break out in rashes, congestion, wheezing, or go into anaphylaxis. But I just don’t like them and they make me feel slightly nauseous.
Natural scents such as lavender, lime, rose, etc., don’t elicit the same response, unless they are very strong. But in general, if I combine a natural scent on a foundation of strong-smelling shampoo and bodywash, the effect is overpowering and quite unpleasant.
In the early 1980′s, when I first discovered that I had to take better care of my skin, especially in our long dry Winters, the first product line I turned to was Clinique. They had a men’s grouping of products, all unscented and very effective at each of their respective tasks. But it was also very expensive both to purchase and to use, i.e. the stuff didn’t last too long. Since I wasn’t averse to scents, over time I migrated to other brands, many of them off-the-shelf in pharmacies and grocery stores, and later on-line.
Last week, I went back to Clinique. I must admit, their stuff is still very good, especially their face-soap, shaving cream (for cartridge shaving only), deodorant, and M-Lotion facial moisturizer. Funny enough, shaving with a good scented “traditional” cream or soap is now much more pleasant; it seems to me that it’s the overall “scent load” that I find unpleasant rather than any one specific product.
Today’s shave with Palmolive shave cream worked up in my handmade Dan Capshaw brush, carving a three-day beard with the E.J. Chatsworth razor and a Treet “Black Beauty” blade, was wonderful. The Palmolive (in a green tube from Belgium – not the stuff from India) has a terrific clean “soapy” smell. And as usual, a DE shave is entirely different from even the best cartridge shave (I use a Schick Hydro 5 when in a big hurry).
Leisureguy has recommended the movie Kinky Boots on several occasions, and last week Mr Italo was also raving about it. So I finally watched it this evening and it was terrific. It’s the story of a young man who inherits the dying family business, a hundred year-old high-quality mens’ shoe factory, and grudgingly sets about trying to save it by making sexy boots for transvestites (you see, transvestites have a problem in that a woman’s boots can’t support the weight of a man). Funny, heart-warming, inspirational, with a great sound track, and wonderful acting…especially Lola!
The Ruskie has a friend who makes the most awesome hooch – a byproduct of his annual wine production – the alcohol must come in somewhere around 90% because one shot and you’re sleepy, two and you’re comatose. I bought a couple of liters from him recently, and have been slowly sipping this Portuguese wonder, no more than one or two on any given day. It’s so pure that it leaves absolutely no after-effect; you wake up in front of the TV, and suddenly realize you’ve been asleep for two hours…no headache, no thirst, no ill effect whatsoever (and I’m not much of of a drinking man).
The only problem with this stuff is that it’s a motivation killer. Plans for tonight were some nice panko-breaded baked Walleye with baked French-fires, steamed baby Bok Choy, and a Wafu salad of crisp iceberg. Gone! One shot of hooch and it’s pizza from Romano’s. But, I love these moments of unforeseen intervention that throw plans to the wind and political correctness into the toilet. So be it…it’s imperfection that lends texture and soul to our lives. Bring on the horse-meat, fur coats and foie gras.
If you look at the Category Cloud to the right, you’ll see a new category: Deception. I realized that many of the posts I write have to do with deceptive marketing and other tactics; an occupational hazard I guess, since I’m in the business of getting people to disclose the whole truth (Psychmentation™). I’ve even thought of creating a new blog titled The Third Axiom, focused just on uncovering all the bullshit that surrounds us. I think its tag line will be Hemingway’s comment that to be a great writer you need a “100% foolproof, shit detector”.
I’m in the process of going through all my old posts and adding the relevant ones to the deception category.
A wonderful day: -3°C, bright sunshine, good company, lots of fish. The setting made me wish I had a pipe and some good aromatic tobacco; it seemed so appropriate. My son cleaned up all the fish and we brought home our share of about 20. There were just too many, so we discretely tossed a bunch on our neighbor’s pile; he seemed intent on catching and keeping as many as possible.
A veritable feast of fish
A village of temporary huts comes to life on the ice…complete with electric poles and streets
Always a church in sight
Fun for the whole family
Tomorrow morning, bright and early at 6 AM, my Son and I, along with a few male friends and relatives, are heading to Ste. Anne de la Perade, the legendary and world-famous capital of the annual Tommycod run, located about 2 hours East of Montreal. Each year, 4 million or so small codfish make their way from the Atlantic, up the St. Lawrence River, to their millennial spawning grounds. There, every year as they have since the days before the white man showed his face in North America, the Tommycod are fished from beneath the ice. Temporary cabins are set up on the ice, holes are bored, and fishing lines with multiple hooks set up at different depths. The hooks are baited with pork liver, a favorite of the ravenous Tommycod.
One of my business partners went a couple of years ago and caught over 200 in the span of a day. They make for good eating apparently, although being quite bony, are best served deep-fried so that the bones soften up and become edible (like small catfish).
I’m bringing a cast-iron pan, some tempura batter, and oil.
Here’s our outfitter, with a pretty comprehensive web site and some interesting recipes.
Courtesy of Mr. Dario. The web site, Slate, recently ran a contest for the best letters of complaint to a company. The 150 entrants were winnowed down to nine finalists. Most are very well done and reading them provides a great lesson in how to write this type of letter.
I particularly liked the sense of humor in the one below (on Page 2 of the article).
February 25, 2008
Ms. Chrystal Harradon, Manager
Holiday Inn Express
Dear Ms. Harradon,
When the lovely creature at [left] crawled into the shower with me during my recent stay at your hotel (2/5-2/6/08, room 102), I was flabbergasted by his (her?) audacity. Obviously, I was the interloper; even after I snapped a towel at my new roommate and sent him sailing across the bathroom, he continued exploring the perimeter, a cocksure cockroach clearly at home in your hotel.
As I finished my shower, I wondered whether his friends and family were stowing away in my suitcase or perhaps bunking in my briefcase. Would one liven up my client meeting, peeping out of my pocket with a friendly antenna waggle, as if to shout, “Surprise!”? I hoped not.
But the most distressing part of this experience was the utter lack of any reaction from your front desk clerk. Unsurprised and unimpressed, she didn’t bother to apologize, express shock, or pretend to refer the problem to your maintenance staff. “Oh,” she said dully, “Here’s your receipt.” Requesting that you consider hiring employees who care may be too much to ask, but perhaps you could fill open positions with better actors.
Elaine Van S. Carmichael
(Result: A coupon for a free stay at any InterContinental Hotel.)
Just about all the shrimp sold in Canada comes from
cesspools farms in Asia (Thailand and China mainly). The frozen variety almost invariable contains a chemical that forces the shrimp to uptake a lot of water just before being killed and frozen, in order to boost the weight of the finished product. Many brands also include an antibiotic. But lately, I’ve found frozen jumbo shrimp from Bangladesh where the ingredients lists only shrimp and salt. Now, I’m not assuming that the cesspools in Bangladesh are any cleaner than those in Asia – no delusion there. But if I’m going to eat shrimp, better just some salt than all that chemical soup.
This morning I weighed out 300 grams of the individually quick frozen (IQF) Bangladeshi shrimp, and put them under cold running water to defrost (as per the package instructions). It’s best to defrost shrimp this way rather than on the counter as the leftover poop on their surface makes them go bad very quickly (warning on package – not so explicit – but you get the drift). I then patted them dry and for some strange reason which I can’t fathom, perhaps my subconscious paranoia about getting screwed, I whimsically decided to weigh them again. The result bowled me over: 200 grams!!!! The defrosted shrimp had lost fully one-third of their weight.
I’m pretty sure that our Bangladeshi friends have cleverly substituted the word “salt” for the sodium-based chemicals the others are using. Clever.
Try it yourself the next time you’re cooking shrimp from wherever. An enlightening exercise and revelation about the ongoing and never ending creativity in deception of commercial interests. “You can’t protect yourself part-time, from people committed to taking advantage of you full time”.
My restoration project bike is off to Marinoni’s for stripping and repainting. J.D. sent this photo of Giuseppe Marinoni still brazing away at a frame. I remember him as a young man in the early ’80′s; he revolutionized hand-made bikes by bringing assembly line processes to what was then still a one-man, one-bike process for these highly coveted machines. Marinoni made them faster, better, and less expensive (although still a relative fortune) than competitors like Leo (the guy who made my bike and this project). Leo went out of business shortly after my bike was made.
Here he is checking out my fork for straightness. Apparently it turned out to be 100%; good news because if you have to start replacing things like this, the restoration costs can get out of control:
Today Marinoni still makes some of the most desired bikes on the planet.