24 October 2015

It’s a Maggard Kind of Day

It’s been over a year since I wrote about shaving. And some people might be thinking, “Yea!” But, I find it very calming. Especially since I use a double edge (or DE) safety razor. My shaves have been very smooth—no irritation, bumps, or cuts (well, a couple of nicks but nothing serious).

As with most things one picks up, one starts to seek out other techniques or supplies. And wet shaving (as it’s sometimes called) is no different. I’ve tried various blades and soaps and I even purchased a couple of inexpensive razors at flea markets—one’s even a nice twist-to-open (TTO) or “butterfly” razor .  But one thing that I wanted to try was an “open comb” razor.

A lot of DE safety razors have a bar that runs the entire length of the under side of the blade. This leads to less exposed blade, thus making it much safer than a straight razor, especially in inexperienced hands. But an open comb razor has notches or openings in the safety bar, giving it the look of a comb. While this is still safer than a straight razor, it does expose more of the razor blade than the straight bar (or “closed comb,” as it’s sometimes called).

Anyway, as I said, I wanted to try one. But I just couldn’t see myself buying a new razor just for the head and most places don’t sell their razors in parts.

The other day, however, I went over to Maggard Razors, which I do at least once a week. I normally don’t buy anything (most of the supplies one uses in wet shaving will last for months), but just browse around to see what’s new. Maggard Razors was where I purchased my first razor and supplies.

Well, last week I spied their custom open comb razor heads! As they were only $7 (!), I added one to my shopping cart along with a couple of bottles of sample aftershave from Captain’s Choice (Bay Rum and Sandalwood). With speedy shipping the whole purchase was less than $20, and you just can’t beat that.

My shipment arrived on Friday afternoon and I couldn’t wait to try out the new razor head. But I did.

Until today.

I just finished my first shave with my Maggard Razors open comb razor head on my Maggard Razors MR1 stainless steel handle. My blade of choice is the Feather blade (this was my fifth shave with this blade). These blades are made in Japan and are some of the sharpest around. For my soap, I used the Maggard Razors unscented soap and my brush is an Omega Hi-Performance Synthetic Bristle Brush.

First I have to say how much I really like Maggard’s unscented soap. My skin’s sensitive and fragranced soaps burn my skin and irritate it for hours. So I really appreciate that Maggard makes a soap without fragrances. And let me tell you, their unscented soap just explodes whenever I start loading it into the bush! Seriously. I just wet the brush (since it’s synthetic I don’t have to soak it like one would do a boar hair or badger hair brush), squeeze out the excess water and, after a couple of passes, the foam just erupts inside the container! All in all, it only took a few seconds and I had a nice, rich lather.

After dampening my face, I built a face lather until I got a nice even layer on my face. I then wet the razor in hot tap water and started my shave.

Wow.

I could feel the blade on my face in a more direct way that I normally do, which is to be expected. It’s not a lot different that the closed comb head, but it was enough for me to notice it.

If I’d been in a rush, I could’ve stopped after that first pass—my face was so smooth! But I lathered up again and proceeded with my second and final pass. (The first pass is always with the grain; the second is “cross-grained”.)

Wow!

Seriously. I said, “wow” outloud. That was one of the smoothest shave I’ve ever had. I just can’t believe the difference. Normally, I have to do a “touch-up” pass where I feel around for any places that could be a little closer, but not this time. It was just so close and smooth.

I finished up with some splashes of cold water (to tighten the skin back up), Thayers original witch hazel with organic aloe vera, and then splashed on some Captain’s Choice Sandalwood aftershave.

All in all, it was a great shave and I’ll be using this open comb razor for a long, long time.

If you have the mind to, I highly recommend checking out Maggard Razors for all of your shaving needs. They’re great people to work with, speedy on their processing and delivery, and have fantastic customer service.



~~~
In the Love of the Three in One,

Br. Jack+, LC

05 October 2015

I'm Guilty!

For a long time now, I’ve been writing the word God as G-d. I explained that there are two reasons for this, one being that some people find the name of God so holy, that one shouldn’t take a chance of defacing it or deleting it. So, they substitute the “o” with a hyphen or underscore. And so, not wanting to offend such people, I hyphenated the word God. But I was enlightened to something yesterday.

While we were listening to Matisyahu on the way home from a long day of traveling, I realized that I have been guilty of dualism. For those of you who don’t know Matis, he’s a musician who mixes Orthodox Jewish themes into reggae, rap, beatbox, and hip-hop, though some of his latest music embraces different musical styles.

A few times in Matis’ music, he uses variois Hebrew words for God. Sometimes he uses Adonai, a Hebrew word meaning, “My Lord” and sometimes he’ll use HaShem, a Hebrew word meaning, “The Name”. Both of these words have replaced the Hebrew word YHWH (יהוה), the name of God (Exodus 3.14), in formal and casual use, respectively. The most widely held pronunciation of YHWH by Hebrew scholars is Yahweh (yaw-way). In Greek this is called the Tetragrammaton, meaning “Four-letter-word”.

For some odd reason, I looked up the word HaShem. It’s not like I didn’t know what it meant, but here we are. During my reading about the different names of God, I ran across this quote regarding Shalom:

Talmudic authors, ruling on the basis of Gideon’s name for an altar (“YHVH-Shalom”, according to Judges 6:24), write that “the name of God is ‘Peace’” (Pereq ha-Shalom, Shab. 10b); consequently, a Talmudic opinion (Shabbat, 10b) asserts that one would greet another with the word shalom in order for the word to not be forgotten in the exile. But one is not permitted to greet another with the word shalom in unholy places such as a bathroom, because of holiness of the name (emphasis added).

And that last sentence got me thinking.

All of these terms are used because people—honest, God-loving people—want to somehow maintain the holiness of God’s name. So, to separate the holiness of God from the profaneness of creation, some people have chosen to use different words or spell the word “God” differently. I completely get that. And, as I stated above, I’ve done that for years out of respect for those people who might be reading my blog.

But that last sentence really convicted me. You see, my personal view is that there’s no division between the sacred and the secular in our world. Certainly, we may deem something or someplace or even someone more “holy” than some other thing or some other place or even some other person. But that’s not how I see the world. And, I don’t think that’s how God or the Bible sees it either.

In Celtic Christianity from the 4th-12th centuries, the sacred and the secular were close together. The sacred was immersed into the “secular” at almost every turn. There are prayers for milking cows, stoking fires, baking bread, etc. This is because the ancient Celts understood that the world God made is “supremely good.”

In the Bible the world is so good that God (somehow) became a human being in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. From Jesus forward, God’s Realm is continuing to grow and grow. And, in the final chapter of God’s dream (Revelation 21-22), God’s dimension (“heaven”) and our dimension (“earth”) are fully joined together.

So, while I still don’t want to offend others, I have to be true to my own convictions. Therefore, from now on, I’m no longer hyphenating the word “God” in my writings. I see God in the face of every person I meet; every bird song I hear; every breeze that I feel; in the smile of my wife.

God is here and here is “supremely good.”



~~~
In the Love of the Three in One,

Br. Jack+, LC