Thursday, May 27, 2010

It Wasn't Like That

The lamb of God is looking kind of sheepish
Looking peeved
He's not believed
There's nothing to be seen

My sense of purpose is wearing kind of thin
Close the blinds
Paint a mandala on a screen
To project the world within

My sainted aunt oh! She told fortunes
And was frightened of the fairies
With pins and needles and a glass of gin
Made the little people scream

And when the skeptics called her charlatan and fake
She'd break their hearts
And steal their candy
Then destroy their minds and dreams

It wasn't like that
The cat in the hat was there
And took in everything
In 1812
And 1943

A dying empire spits at all it sees
Getting mean
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Now they're coming after me

Put on my hat oh! Now I have to leave
Polish my rings
Crawl in my time machine
There's nothing to be seen

Monday, May 17, 2010

No Suffering Threat Found In This Attachment

This morning I became aware of two related facts that have secured my eyebrows in the upright and locked position:

1. The Dalai Lama has a Facebook page.

2. He is known by the FB kids as "The DL."

My decision now is between using this information as the jumping off point for a rant, or stabbing my eye with a fork.


What kind of a...

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Do you remember (this requires being old) when the first twin-blade razor was unleashed on the faces of men (and sometimes the legs of women thereby rendering them either useless or dangerous when subsequently employed for their intended function)? (By which I mean the razors became useless and dangerous, not the women. Typically the women denied using the razor then complained bitterly about how sore their legs were and that the owner of the razor was "lucky he was not a woman.")

The TV commercial was compelling. Naturally there was the lantern-jawed gentleman hurling water at his face (which, incidentally, is completely impossible assuming that one wants to avoid puddles all over the floor), then surfacing with a face as smooth as a wax mask, but the real marketing breakthrough was an animation of how this modern marvel works. The first blade cuts the hair, then while this hair is still raised from the skin a second blade cuts it closer. We can prove it. Using this cartoon.

Shaving had been converted into a science.

The twin-blade razor sold remarkably well and all manufacturers were compelled to produce their own versions or be thrown on the single-blade ash-heap of history.

And there the matter rested for several years.

Until there was another stunning breakthrough in razor physics.

Three blades!

There now ensued a blade arms race, with the purveyors of what used to be an elegantly simple device first emulating the triple-blade pioneer, then stunning Madison Avenue and Main Street alike with... Aha. Problem. Feeling "quadruple-blade" may flounder on the grounds it contained a three syllable word, the marketing gurus had to take another direction, thus giving the stubbly faces of the world the UltraQuad, the Mega-4, and the Double-Twin Wowza.

Okay so I am now making things up, but for a very good reason. Ignorance. I do not buy four-blade razors. At least not intentionally. (Sometimes I panic in the shaving aisle.) It's not that I am taking one of my principled stands that many people find incomprehensible ("you quit buying ball-point pens because of the Luftwaffe?") . It's because these multi-blade masterpieces do not fucking work.

Do the manufacturers even test these on real faces? They may make a peach as smooth as a... see now I am getting annoyed and cannot metaphorize... IT IS A WORD DAMMIT... as smooth as a linoleum floor that has a residual film of some hair product used by your girlfriend when you do the face-splashing routine immediately after shaving thereby adding a couple of gallons of soapy water to the aforementioned film of hair product. Probably Aquage. They may make a peach as smooth as that, but unless your face starts out nearly-but-not-quite clean-shaven, a four-blade razor clogs. Terminally. Absolutely fucking useless.

The triple-blade is, as one might suspect, less susceptible to whisker suffocation, but still requires constant in-shave maintenance and is mostly useless. I haven't been able to find a double-blade for several years, but from what I remember it only had to be jabbed with safety pins and ball-point pens between shaves.

As far as I can tell, the disposable, single-blade safety razor is now extinct.

My question is: how did we let this happen? Surely everyone has noticed that with each stunning technological advance the process of shaving has become increasingly complex. And if we cannot reverse the trend of blade proliferation, can we at least try to halt it?

Let us draw a line in the sand. The five-blade razor must never be released from the research laboratory.

Note added in proof: I made the mistake of researching this article after the main text was written (see image below).

Additional note: The subsequent research just described also revealed I am not the only one to be infuriated by the razor wars. Perhaps there is hope.

The five blade razor cartridge has a sixth single edge blade on the back for trimming. If you are looking for a stand to display or hold your razor see the razor holders. Any model of Fusion cartridge fits any Fusion head razor. Ø Razors come in a gift box.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Does Nick Clegg Play Poker?

I've been up all night watching the UK elections and will have more to say about them later, but before I catch a couple of hours sleep before Practice 2 of the Spanish F1 GP I was wondering...

Does Nick Clegg Play Poker?

Because it feels to me that he is setting up a Big Play.

The situation... For the first time since 1974 the electorate has made a mess of the election and produced a hung parliament. Silly voters.

The Conservative Party has gained the most seats and greatest percentage of the popular vote, but do not have enough seats for an overall majority in the Commons.

Constitutionally, the incumbent Prime Minister, Mr. Brown of the Labour Party, has the right to attempt to form a government in this situation. Which would require, at a minimum, the support of Clegg's Liberal Democrats.

But Clegg has just stated loudly and clearly that it is the Conservatives, as the largest party, who should have first shot at forming a Government.

And while it is conceivable that the Conservatives could cobble together a workable minority government by adding a few Ulster unionists, it seems impossible they can form a majority government without the Lib Dems.

So at first sight this is very simple. Clegg feels the Conservatives have the moral (ugh) right to attempt to form a government, and the Lib Dems have enough seats to easily allow that to happen.

Except it can't possibly happen. Can it? Surely the Lib Dems would require a Conservative commitment to electoral reform. This may be their best chance in decades to modify the electoral system that is effectively keeping them out of power.

But Cameron and the Conservatives are fiercely opposed to such reform.

And in addition to that single deal-breaking issue, the Labour and Liberal Democrats are far closer on economic policy than the Lib Dems and Conservatives. And more critically, the Labour Party is prepared to put electoral reform to a public referendum.

So constitutionally, philosophically and practically, everything points to Clegg leading his party into a coalition with Labour. An option that he has just publicly torpedoed.


Not if Clegg plays poker.

Clegg's problem is that a coalition with Labour would lead him to be crucified in the British Press and much of the electorate. It would be seen as cynical opportunism propping up a Labour regime that has just received a resounding "get out of office" vote by the British people. And if it went wrong it would finish Clegg and quite possibly his party.

But if Clegg tries, really really hard, to work with the Conservatives and, if after much hand-wringing and soul-searching, finds that he can not... Then what other choice does Mr. Clegg have? For the sake of the nation he will be compelled, perhaps reluctantly (uh huh), to form a coalition with the Labour Party. Thereby ensuring changes in the electoral system that will allow the Lib Dems far greater representation in the Commons in the future.

It seems to me that Mr. Clegg is slow-playing the winning hand. Which can be a powerful play. Except that, as any Omaha player can tell you, sometimes it can go horribly wrong.