The Trump Crime Family

Something in American politics changed this week.

A CIA agent finally blew the whistle on the Trump Crime Family who has taken up residence in the White House.

watergate

The tapes brought down Nixon. No, Nixon’s own words on the tapes brought down his presidency. We might have a similar situation where Trump’s own words result in his demise.

But something changed.

A person in a position of authority spoke up. He or she saw corruption at the highest levels of our government and submitted a formal complaint that neither Trump nor his cronies can bribe to make it go away.

We are still in the early innings of this political saga. Grab some popcorn and take a seat. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Shaving Revisited

A while back, I described my early experience learning to wet shave. I got to the point where I was mostly happy with my shave. I could complete my shave without too much blood and my skin felt soft afterwards, but I still struggled to find an even shave across my upper lip and especially my neck.

So I’ve gone back and forth, testing a number of razors, creams, gels and blades over the past four years, and I realize that each method takes some practice. Some more than others, but each handle and blade has its own learning curve.

Talking to friends and a few readers who emailed me their favorite shaving products, I’ve come to realize there is no best method for everyone. What works for me, may not work for you. So with that said, I’ve narrowed down my list of favorite shaving products.

Gillette Mach3 – This is the best handle and blade for my money. The 3-blade systems is easier to navigate around my face than the more expensive 5-blade Gillette Fusion models. The Mach3 isn’t as easy to use out of the gate as the Fusion, but with some practice I get as close a shave with the Mach3 as I have with any blade I’ve tried. You might see a “Power” version of the Mach3 that vibrates, but skip it. It’s made of cheap plastic and won’t last as long as the simple metal handled version. ($7 with one blade)

Proraso Shaving Cream – It has a hint of menthol but not enough to overwhelm. It lathers up nicely and doesn’t require a shaving bowl like some fancy creams. I feel like I just stepped out of a barbershop after using Proraso. ($10)

Taylor of Old Bond Shaving Cream – If Proraso has the feel of an authentic barbershop, then Taylor of Old Bond makes me feel like I stepped out of a luxury bath. This is a more dense cream compared to Proraso, but it smells delicious and a little goes a long way. I rotate between these two creams. ($12-$17)

Parker Synthetic Shaving Brush – You can get away using your hands, but I prefer applying shaving cream with this brush because it’s less messy and allows me to apply it evenly all over my face and neck. My brush has lasted over four years, and I plan to replace it at the first of the year. ($22)

Osma Alum BlockĀ – After I finish shaving, I wash my face with cold water and then rub this block over my face to close any nicks. Even if I haven’t nicked myself it stings a little, which I don’t mind. ($12 for 2)

Aveda Aftershave Lotion – It’s expensive but lasts a long time, and nothing I’ve tried soothes my face like it does. ($35)

One thing I’ve learned over the years that is that using a cheap shaving foam or gel isn’t worth the hassle and abuse to my face. Whenever I use a foam or gel my face pays the price so I will skip a day shaving before I use one again.

What are a few of your favorite shaving products?

Don’t Stop Asking

When many people know something is true, they stop asking questions.

This is especially dangerous when the truth isn’t based on science or provable facts, but rather feelings or hunches. I once belonged to a church that asked its members to pray to God if the church was true. If God gave you a feeling, it was true! If God didn’t give you a feeling, then keep praying until you got an answer.

It all feels so manipulative today.

one-true-religion

Millions….no billions of people were born into a religion chosen by their parents or other family members. Many never ask themselves this question: What if the only religion I know isn’t true? Or worse, what if the only religion I know is harmful?

Never stop asking questions. Never stop asking for evidence. Remain involved if the organization is a net positive in your life. But continue to be skeptical. Skepticism isn’t a sign of weakness, rather a sign of intelligence and willingness to change one’s mind.

One thought that helped me step away from my religion was asking myself what the chances were that I was born into the “one true” religion out of the nearly 4200 different religions around the world. From a probability standpoint, I had a .02% chance my parents chose the true religion. This exercise assumes one truth which is absurd on its own.

How do you like your chances?

Embarrassed

Some days I’m embarrassed to be an American.

Trump represents the worst of how some people see Americans: egocentric, stupid, arrogant and crass. How did we end up with this degenerate?

America has incredible wealth. Yet we can’t figure out how to provide healthcare for every citizen. Drug companies are raising drug prices so fast that people go across the border to Mexico or Canada to get what they need to stay alive for a fraction of the cost.

Religious groups worm they way into local politics and we end up with teachers forced to teach intelligent design and abstinence only sex education. Yet they can’t teach about safe sex practices because these religious zealots think talking about condoms will lead kids having sex. They think chastity vows actually work though.

What is the least religious state? I need to move there. Utah is a beautiful state but enough is enough.

Fleabag

It’s a great show. I’m two episodes into season two.

It’s on Amazon Prime. I haven’t laughed this hard since the BBC version of the Office.

The characters are multidimensional and the dialog is witty and brilliant.

What sets is apart from most comedies is how real the people feel. Their language and mannerisms are familiar.

The show is hilarious and poignant and crass. I love it.

Believing the Best

When you hear a rumor about a friend or colleague, do you assume the best or worst about them?

I believe it’s human nature to believe the worst, but could be swayed to believe the opposite.

Recently a rumor went through my family that placed me in a situation far from the truth. The person who spread the rumor needed me to fit their narrative.

The rumor stung but what hurt the most was the realization that people close to me chose to believe the rumor before speaking to me.

I want to fight the urge to believe the worst next time I hear a rumor about a friend. I will give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

Friendships

Are rare, but are one of the best aspects of life, if not the best.

As I age, I value my close friendships more than ever. I also understand they are fragile and require regular attention.

I don’t believe they should be perpetually difficult. If I’m the one instigating 90% of the interactions, something isn’t right. Reciprocation is healthy and keeps a balance to things.

Moving away from friends has been a regular part of my life. Few survive the distance. Those that do may become stronger.

I wish I had more friends. But that’s probably more of a reflection in me than anyone else.