Coping: I Wiskerman

Back almost 30-years ago my kids got me an electric razor for Christmas and it’s been doing a reasonably good job of keeping my face mowed ever since.  Except that recently – maybe it’s from looking in the mirror too long – I’ve begun to find fault with what I see.  I choose to blame the razor.

The difference is almost like the difference between a bush hogging job and a finish mower, to put it in local agricultural terms.

Not that the old razor has seen continuous use, either:  For months on end, a small Wahl trimmer kept up the facial landscape with just an occasional trim as in winter I often grow a beard or mustache.  But this year I’m not inclined to do that, having read that a beard makes a person look up to eight years older than they are. I don’t need the help.   And the mustache with a winter cold is always Kleenex challenge so this winter I may stay clean-shaven unless we get snow.

In shaving, the state of the art changes…and my face being an important part of my persona, I’ve decided to look around and see what’s what and likely buy a replacement for the Norelco three-header that has done so well for so long.

A Gizmodo article rates a high-end Norelco at the top heap, so the odds are good that I will pop for the Philips Norelco 1250X/40 SensoTouch 3D Electric Razor which at $180 seems a bit steep, but not as bad as the ritual of having cans of shaving crème (which I’ve had go off in the luggage, always fun) and blades which (if you’re over 60 and doing the half-a-baby-aspirin-daily routine) can leave the bathroom looking like a murder scene.

My research in this reveals that the average man spends about 3-minutes a day shaving.  I timed how long it took to remove three days worth of stubble (15 minutes for the rough and another 10 for a putting green finish) and more solidly-based figures suggest that should have been 9-10 minutes; 12 tops.

Either the razor is just plain wearing out, or thanks to my vitamins I’ve started growing Kevlar.

As a cost containment measure, I’ll look around for the model number on the old triple-header.  Maybe a tune-up with new heads would help. 

One shaving tip if you’ve got a shop:  An air nozzle on your compressor at about 100-PSI is about the fastest razor cleaning system I’ve found.  And, working outside (tractoring) puts just enough of a dust layer on the face that the stubble stands up well, no need for alcohol or powder first.  Unless it’s over 85 and you’re all sweaty, in which case shaving after showering can take hours because the beard goes into fall-over mode.

How many times have I told you “Everything’s a Business Model?”  Even shaving is being well-monetized:  There’s a very good website called but it leans toward the traditional bladed approach.  While I appreciate a good, close blade cut, the smell of mentholated crème,, a splash of bracer afterwards, those relaxing “art shaves” are for courtings, weddings, and undertakers, as I figure it.  That would be “lost count” “three” and zero (for now) if you’re keeping score.  I’m sure there’s a profound lesson in there about diminishing returns, too. 

One of these days either Toro, WeedEater, or Stihl will come out with a razor that could cut face-time cut in half.  With the American obsession with “productivity,” how long can we avoid Bush Hog getting into the space, too?  Given how the Labor Department counts things, a 20% reduction in shaving time could boost the economic recovery 70%, too.

If there wasn’t work to do, we could spend the rest of the morning discussing this and other important-to-males topics:  How to cut and light a cigar properly (I’m a wooden match guy) and what to have with the cigar (VSOP works), but for now, it’s on to the oatmeal and treadmill…which is about as contrary to a proper lifestyle of luxury as can be imagined.  Unless it’s Mccann’s Steel Cut Oatmeal, 28-Ounce Tin (Pack of 4), of course, but even then I like half-and-half and brown sugar, so what’s the point?

Well, that leads logically to….

Toilet Paper Poll

Have you ever wondered how paper companies decide how much clay and softeners to put in toilet paper?  How many plies, how much cushion, quilted or not?  Ease of tearing, or puncture resistance…especially fun on April Fool’s Day?

It occurred to me this morning that there must be a effort being made somewhere polling for toilet paper makers and yet in all of my 64-years I have never read about such research, nor have I been asked to take part.

Just kind of curious if you know of anyone who has been asked? 

Morning’s like this with the world situation as it is, the question just seems obvious…can you help us flush out the details?

My logic?  Thought you’d never ask:  I think there is a marvelous one-last-bit of economic largess to be had by introducing “His & Hers” toilet paper.  You know, segment that market into absurdity live everything else!

I envision a proper bathroom with a “His” dispenser loaded with (Old Spice? Right Guard?) scented TP.  “Hers” would be Obsession or Este Lauder.  The kid’s would be “Kids” and would be unscented, except in California where I’m confident a coalition would demand selecting his or hers at age three, and too bad if you get this one wrong.

I’m telling you there are millions to be made in this TP differentiation model!  

Oh, and for pet owners, who clean their pet’s…err….this is indelicate, but how about a Whiskas or Gravy Train scented wipe, since animals are going to err…. regardless so….HOLD IT!  OK, a little too much invention time this morning. 

It’s probably just as well:  I was about to tell you my idea for a line of gourmet-flavored personal lubricants.  Pizza, popcorn, and beef tenderloin might be novel….

A Note on Peanut Allergies

Reader Mary sent along this:

Thought you would be interested in this article, explaining how it all began — very thorough:

A link to the article “Peanut Allergy Epidemic:  What Everyone Needs to Know” contains a wealth of inflation.  But if you don’t have time to go read it right now, the main point is that the uptick in peanut allergies has paralleled the uptick in autism which all seem correlated back to the docs going heavy on injections, inoculations, and kids up with serums for this and that.

I’ll have to ask my most sensitive daughter (Denise) to look up he shot history from the big health cooperative in the Puget Sound area to see what she go when.  (Nickel says that like exact birth times which are disappearing, shot histories going back xx- years will begin to disappear, too…)

Fly Drones?

Reader Roberta sent in details about an odd encounter with a fly:

Hi George!

Some months ago, you had asked for stories of birds acting weird. I hesitated to write at that time (to see if anyone else would mention it) but my story involves flies. With no fear.

Either they very occasionally act like Australia’s flies (kamikaze, seeking moisture of one’s breath) or they are too mellow. I just escorted one out a few minutes ago by putting him in a cup, and after taking the cup outside, he would not fly away. I had to flick him onto a bush.

It crosses my mind that maybe he’s a DARPA fly (mini-drone) but the odds of that would be mighty slim, given the cost. This has been going on repeatedly since spring. Oh how I yearn for normal flies again.

I don’t know what answer regarding birds you were looking for. For the last few years, I have noticed that during plowing season every tractor is followed by a cloud of sea gulls- bigger clouds of sea gulls than dust, looking for plowed-up insects. However, it’s fall now and the sea gulls are still inland at the mall (Lasalle-Peru Illinois). They do this in Peoria IL as well- both locations are a few miles from the river. But that desert story last week takes the cake.

I have to agree that this is not likely a drone…but thinking back on the peanut allergy and the colony collapse of bees, there’s not reason something else in the environment might not be making flies testy, cranky, or just outright crazy.

Any new kinds of agriculture going on in your area over the past five to 7-years which might be messing with fly DNA?

Back to Chemtrails

I almost hate to bring this up but former British Columbia premier Bill Vander Zalm’s open letter to political leaders about the “Dangers of Climate Control” is up at the site and makes some relevant points.

Cooking You on Low

Another environmental disaster in play if the constant bombarding of people with low level radiation which is covered by the Zen Gardener in “ Death, Lies and Mutations: Proof the military knew all along about microwave radiation dangers.


I was just pleased as a cat with two mice to get an email this morning from my old friend (and fine economist)  Elliott Middleton – who’s work on “animal spirits” was first-rate. 

Since there’s no need to actual thinking economists of late (the kind that might not scream the party line of Hallelujahs! when economic data comes out) he’s decided to publish a few of his novels on Amazon.  This part of an email is of note:

The best is “Incident on Summit Avenue” ( INCIDENT ON SUMMIT AVENUE: Elliott Middleton: Kindle Store ) which deals with a moment just before the collapse of the Soviet Union that should be of interest to anyone who is concerned that our economy is slowly collapsing.  I’ve got it at $0.99 for a while.  I’d be thrilled if you’d give it a review.  It’s a thriller that is actually fun to read, especially if you’re like you and me and have some historical sense of where we are (hi NSA!).

There is a novella and a screenplay based on Shakespeare’s plays that are a little more of an acquired taste.

Since Elliott’s a good writer, I have no doubt I’ll enjoy it (although my reading list is miles-long at the moment).  And I think he’s really onto something here.  Way back in the day I spent many a martini at the old Trader Vic’s with master econ-novelist Dr. Paul Erdman, who tutored me on finance of the day.

I think there’s a lot of room in that genre, frankly, because there are just so damn many things that could go wrong…  Anyway, Elliott’s a good reader and this is worth picking up. 

Note to Elliott: Turn it into a screenplay!

Speaking of Writers

Got this from G.A. Stewart who writes The Age of Desolation website and who is my favorite when it comes to Nostradamus test-fitting to modern times.  In real life he does serious tech work related to a government near you:

“Events in Egypt seem to be related to the August event I predicted that would lead to the nuclear part of World War III around the time of Comet ISON’s arrival.

The wife and I are energetically in the process of house shopping… at least 20 miles north of here or more.

I’m more or less retiring from anymore updates to the website. If something unique happens I might write a paragraph or two. But honestly, some strange stuff has been going on in my life these last 6 months, and I am not comfortable putting it out there anymore… especially where I work. It’s the risk to reward factor and the fact that maintaining the site is a time killer.

I like your new site though… It’s easier to read…

Thanks!  Most people have made the transition (after a bit of coaching) and I think that as people get used to the new look of the place, readers will return.  But in the meantime, the potential audience has more than doubled since UrbanSurvival is now 100% mobile-friendly.

Write to all your friends and tell them “George is stable again!” which, in psychological terms may not be 100% totally candid, but near enough.

More Chicken Doors

Last week I mentioned the outfit down near Houston that had an automatic chicken door that opened at light and closed at dark electronically (photo cell) and while it was a $200 item, a number of readers we pleased to get the information.

But if your prepping plans include fresh eggs, and you don’t want to spend $200-bucks and you like to be able to sleep in on weekends, reader Lacretia out in Oregon has just the ticket:



When we first moved here, we lost a lot of chickens to varmints: bobcat, raccoons, opossum, neighbor’s dogs, lynx, hawks, & maybe fox and coyote and cougar–all seen in the general vicinity of the crime scenes or stalking, so who knows exactly unless you catch them in the act. When we would forget to close the chicken pen door at night, and after catching, in the act, and dispatching a raccoon or two, honey got fed up and installed a solar powered night vision camera that gave us a good view of the chicken pen and gate.

The monitor was in our office so we could watch the action, if any, while we were at the ‘puters. We saw some interesting things at night, including an opossum chased by an owl–but that’s another story or two.

I finally realized that all the night predators followed a similar pattern–they followed their noses to the chicken gate. Sometimes they even tried to open it. Then a solution presented itself to my mind.

So we built the entrance up high, gave the chickens a launch and landing pad on the outside, and a ramp and landing pad inside the pen.

Granted, the clever ones figured out the system pretty well after a day or so, some on the first day. A few got out and then brain farted on how to get back in come evening time, so we had to go snag them off their desperately chosen roost for the night and pitch them in. Over a short period of time, all but the most seriously dense got it figured out–those ones are better off left inside anyway.

With our night vision, I have watched opossums sniff by and rear up to sniff the air under the outside platform. Raccoons sniff on by as well.

One night, I watched a lynx walk up to the pen, jump up top, walk around and look for a way in, and then jump down and sit on the exterior platform with it’s back blocking the opening. By the time the bang stick was half way mobilized and the spotting dot failed to function, the big kitty lost interest and left. (Yes, it was a lynx even though everyone says they aren’t in this area–we’ve seen 3 now, once in the day light as it bounced off the chicken wire during a full charge to snag a hen for his sweetheart standing nearby. The local Fish & Wildlife dude snared 1 bobcat in the pen area for us, and we caught one sneaking up on the hens, so we know the difference between bobcats and lynx.)

With the bad neighbors moving away with their bad dogs, and other than a hawk swooping in during the day, our chickens are growing old. We’ve been using this set up for years without losing any more chickens to varmints–well, other than the independent airheads who go on walkabout in the surrounding forest to never return. (We had to stake the cinder blocks in as the cows favor them for head scratching or general butting practice.)

I’m enclosing some photos. The pen is getting worn out and is on the to do list for rebuilding, maybe next summer, but it does show the usage.

The old chicken gate is visible, unused for years. The chickens are there for scale and, in fact, the golden hen by the cinder blocks is well over a decade old as a survivor of the earlier varmint wars and testament to our solution against our forgetfulness.

I don’t know as this approach would work in Texas.  The raccoons down here are considerably brighter than half the state legislature and, since climbing to the top is what Texan critters do, I suspect it would take the local raccoons about 10-minutes to figure out where dinner is.

Still, with a couple of runs of electric fence wire insulated off the well’-grounded wire, that might work…

Well, enough of this morning’s column…we’ve had a close shave with insanity and survived it.  The real question is can we survive what comes next at work?  After this morning’s column, that should be a walk in the park…

Write when you get rich.

George Ure