Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Battle of the Bounty Hunters: Boba Fett vs Duane "Dog" Chapman

I've been watching a lot of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" on TV lately. It's not my favorite show, but it's entertaining. "The Dog" is pretty good at what he does, but is he the best? The only competition for him I can think of is Boba Fett, maybe the baddest bounty hunter in the universe. Let's see how they stack up.

Best hair: The Dog. Boba's hair is not apparent.

Best weaponry: Boba Fett. Most of the time, The Dog only carries some mace and handcuffs. Occasionally, he open-carries a piece, but Boba always has his sweet-ass lazer gun with him, which can be set to both stun and kill.

Best body armor: Boba Fett. The dog wears and open shirt typically, making him especially vulnerable to, well, nearly any kind of attack. Hell, he could be cut with a butter knife with the right person were wielding it.

Most notable bounties: Boba Fett. Who of any consequence has the Dog taken down over the years? He makes a living taking down a lot of drug addicts and soft criminals. Wake me up when he brings in the head of the Russian mafia or an international criminal along the lines of Osama Bin Laden. Boba brought in -- with the Empire's help -- Han Solo and, according to Star Wars geeks, killed a bunch of Jedi.

Most bounties total: The Dog. Supposedly he has taken down over 6,000 scumbags in his career.

Best looking family: The Dog. The Chapmans are not a great looking bunch, but Baby Lyssa, Leland and Duane Lee are all better looking than the spawn of Jango Fett, essentially Boba's clone brothers, who ultimately became the Imperial Stormtroopers.

Superior range: Boba Fett. The Dog is stuck on earth, though he does have a bail bonds business in Hawaii. Boba Fett can go anywhere in the universe, including Hawaii, if he really wanted to do that.

Boba Fett, by a 4-3 margin, is the best bounty hunter.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Razor blades and shaving brushes

The seed was planted when one of my closest friends gave me a shaving mug, soap and brush as a gift for being in his wedding party. Up until that point, when I shaved, it was in the shower. Sometimes I would lather up my face with inexpensive shaving cream and scrape off the whiskers with expensive, modern razor cartridges. My beard tends to be heavy and I found shaving to be a chore. Besides that, the cartridges, though giving a close shave (assuming I let the stubble grow out at least a day) are very expensive (over $2/per.)

The novelty of having the shaving soap and brush wore off after a week or two. For awhile during both the summer and fall, I would wear either a full or stubble beard to avoid shaving. I look and feel younger without facial hair, but the time and expense of shaving made me avoid the process.

Something hit me a few weeks back. I just got sick of burning through modern cartridges and considered going with an old school straight razor. I tried to get that kind of shave this fall, but even barbers no longer want to spend the time and energy necessary to give a guy a clean shave with a straight razor. I figured, though, I'd learn to be my own barber and, heck, I already had the brush, soap and mug.

So what do you do when you want opinions? You ask others on Facebook. I asked if any of my friends could tell me about shaving with a straight razor. None of them could, but I was given a few helpful links on shaving with vintage safety razors.

My first razor was one of my pop's Gillette safety razors, probably from the late 70's or early 80's. I eventually moved to disposable cartridge razors and had replaced the old safety razor with a Mach 3 years ago. But I figured that if I could find my first razor, I'd get new blades and be ready to go.

I couldn't find it, but I did find my old blades (still in pristine condition.) The next task was to find an old, cool safety razor from one of the local antique stores. To make a long story much shorter, in the last two weeks, I've purchased a Gillette plastic-handled double-edged safety razor (probably from the 50's), a solid brass Gem Micromatic single-edged razor (probably from the 30's) and a Shaeffer solid-brass double-edged shaver (also from the 30's.)

Shaving has been fun the last few week. I do it at home if I get bored or restless. I like the hot towel, the brush, the lather and the hot blade across my cheeks and around my chin.

But there had to be more to it than that. Why am I suddenly interested in shaving so much? Two months ago I was shaving 3 times a month and now I'm shaving every night. What gives? Two words: Dad, Pop.

My dad was born in 1948 and was the quintessential child of the 60's. He was, politically and spiritually, something like a hippie. Dad was old school in some ways. I never saw him without a mustache or with a beard, and he always had a mug and shaving brush on his sink whenever I visited. He used straight-up Listerine. No Scope. No minty crap. Listerine in the tan-mustard yellow bottle. I could be wrong, but I think Dad liked Old Spice.

Pop used a safety razor. He would take the blade out of his shaver and make his mustache pencil-thin by hand. He was born in the 1930's and was almost a full generation ahead of my Dad. He was also born elsewhere, but he did things the old fashioned way. He was a man of the 50's. After he shaved, he splashed his face with Brut which, to me, has always smelled cheap, awful.

Those are the reasons why, at 40, I now care to shave and am doing it old school. I didn't realize it until earlier this afternoon, but I've must've decided, subconsciously, that the way they took care of themselves -- at least superficially -- were methods to be followed. I think I've stopped seeing myself as a kid and now embrace being a man; a man who tends to like the way things were more than the way things are.

The mug and brush -- Dad. The safety razor and the razor blades -- Pop. Shaving. Me. Them. Memories. Smells. Mourning. Honor. Remembrance. Love.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My new (superficial) fascination: preppy clothes

I'm what I would consider a sloppy prep or a half-assed prep. I love tartans, sweaters, oxfords, ties, sport coats and khakis. I don't dress up (suits) much except occasionally where work requires. But I like wearing pseudo-preppy clothes around the house or in town. I generally dress the look down with jeans. Up top, I look preppy. On the bottom, I'm pretty laid back.

In my search for great plaid coats and such, I've stumbled across some interesting websites. This one, Wasp 101, is another blogger site. It's got some cool stuff on it. Check it out for yourself.

Look, fashion isn't important. I don't pretend that how I look matters in the grand scheme of things. I try not to take too much pride in shallow things like looks or appearance. But I like to show myself in a way that matches how I view the world. I'm a traditionalist, and I think the way I dress reflects a modern traditionalism. Again, it doesn't matter. I have nothing to prove to the world, but it feels good to when the outside expresses what's inside, if that makes any sense.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

You can always let 'em keep it

I often wonder why people that are strongly in favor of governmental programs and increasing taxes take tax deductions themselves, especially wealthy Hollywood-type liberals. If you want well-funded government programs, why shelter so much money? In fact, why take deductions at all? You could just let the federal government keep your money.

This is less true for middle or working class folks. They can least afford to pay taxes. But they'll never have the power to make the rich pay their share.

Well-behaved women

Women who have "Well-behaved women seldom make history" bumper stickers, seldom make history.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thank you

Thank you for being a father when, although I believed I was long past needing one, I needed one as much as ever!
Thanks for sharing your heart with me. Sometimes even the student wants to know that the mentor is human.
Thanks for genuinely caring. You could have just pretended you do. Actually, you would have been wiser to do everything by the book; safer for all concerned. You never let "the rules" get in the way of real love and concern.
Thank you for allowing me to share some of your burdens. Lord knows that you shared plenty of mine.
Thank you for helping me to see myself more clearly, more positively.
Thanks showing me what I have to offer others but encouraging me not to give up on myself.
Thank you for reminding me what the true meaning is of Godly redemption. It's not striving for perfection. It's the struggle and it's not given up or shying away from it.
Thanks for reminding me that it's going to OK to grieve and to miss you.
You're leaving at a time when I feel like I can least afford that. But is there ever a good time to say goodbye, to grow up or at least grow outwardly, and move on? No, endings almost always feel wrong.
I don't hold it against you, but I'm going to miss the hell out of you.
The future's so cloudly, but thanks for reminding me that when the clouds clear, it's bright on the other side.
I wish you the best. I wish you all the success and happiness you deserve. Thank you for everything. With much love, more than you can imagine, I say Godspeed as you move along the new path He has set before you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Politicians = Weiners...err...wieners

I do my damndest to avoid Hollywood and Washington sex scandals. One, we're all flawed and I feel a tad hypocritical delving into flaws of others, regardless of whether their sins differ from mine. Two, and maybe more importantly, I feel almost sick at how giddy people get over the prurient details of sex scandals like Clinton-Lewinsky, Tiger Woods - every woman on the planet, Schwarzenegger-the maid and now Weiner's wiener. I am convinced that we love to see people, especially men, mess up so we can wave our collective finger at them in judgment.

The irony of it all is that we are schizophrenic when it comes to sex. We say that anything between consenting adults is OK, but an actor picking up a prostitute or a politician sending picks of his bulging underpants are not fit to act, lead, what have you. I also notice that very little of the extreme judgmentalism we see comes from the so-called "Religious Right" or "religious fanatics." People of faith seem no more willing to attack our failed, flawed Hollywood or Washington idols than the amoral, porn-loving Average Joe or the hardcore feminist.

I've written this before in the context of Tiger Woods' troubles, but I feel I need to vent some more on the topic. We, society, make these man what they are! We put sex in their face 24-7-52. We say that sex outside of marriage is cool. We "celebrate" homosexual or other non-traditional expressions of sexuality. We buy pornography in various forms by the tens of billions of dollars a year. We sell beer by showing pretty girls in nice bathing suits. We even put women having orgasms in shampoo commercials. We dangle the fruit in front of men -- and trust me, we guys need no assistance thinking about sex -- but then all but destroy the man who eats it.

This society gets off on others' misery. Conservatives, liberals, supposed moderates, even the apolitical. We love to see a former hero brought to his knees, especially if it's over sex. We love to make the wife or girlfriend of the dumb bastard the victim. I wonder why we don't see the so-called "pervert" as the victim of our own sex-obsessed culture. I wish I knew why we like seeing these deviants writhe in pain, have to make public apologies, give up their careers and parade their supporting families out in front of cameras.

Perhaps just as bad as society's treatment of our fallen gods is the way in which politicians capitalize on these stories. Democrats and Republicans beating up on each other over the moral failings of members of their respective parties is such a turn off for me that it is one (of many) reasons I don't think I'll vote in the next election. I hate the idea that the parties feel like they can't win the debate on substantive issues, but need to gain ground by exploiting the miseries of failed men and, worst of all, their wives and kids. Thus, the title of this blog. Politicians that make these scandals the issue instead of real issues are the true wieners in my view.

American society is trash. I wish we could take it out and put on the curb.