It has been awhile since I posted here - very busy. One thing I want to do is a review of rice cookers, since we recently bought our third cooker. We have a Sanyo, a Zojirushi, and a Tiger. Our favorite is the Tiger, but more to come.
I did want to talk off topic about shaving. I have the ideal gift idea for the man in your life who is a wet shaver (or wants to be - it really is the best way IMO). I have a stout beard but a sensitive face. I long ago abandoned the electric - just too poor of a shave. For a long while, I used a straight razor, and still do on occasion. It gives a great shave, but takes a lot of time, and there is always the inevitable nick unless you do it every day. It is definitely not for everybody, and really not for me when such great double edge safety razors are so inexpensive.
The widely available multi-blade cartridges are to me an abomination. The cost is ridiculous, they don't last long, they cut the whiskers below the skin, which then irritate the face as they grow back, and the plastic cartridges will contaminate our world for many years to come. Then there are the aerosol cans of awful shave lotion. And the teflon strips that are there because the shave cream is so awful.
The old double edge safety razor with a badger brush and shaving soap or creme can't be beat. You get a smooth shave that feels and looks good. It is inexpensive over time and is better for the environment. It is so cheap that you are not tempted to push things with a dull blade.
I have a fairly large collection of razors, and am always willing to try something new. I was using a (expensive) Merkur Vision Adjustable, which did pretty well. But I had read glowing reports about the reasonably priced Muhle 89R (non adjustable) in shaving circles. Since I needed some new shaving cream and more blades, I ordered one. Wow. I now see why so many people who could and would buy anything are moving to this shaver.
Here is what it looks like (from Lees Safety Razors, where I got it) http://www.leesrazors.com/products/Muhle-R89-Safety-Razor.html
Lee says that the Jagger for $41 has the same head and shaves just as well. It is perhaps not as beautifully finished as the Muhle. The Muhle is just amazing.
It comes with a single Derby blade, which turned out to be excellent. I will order some more of those blades. This combo shaved very close with no irritation. That is what others have noted, and I agree. With most razors, it is easy to get a close shave if you don't mind ripping your face a bit. And easy to get a comfy shave if you don't go close. But the Muhle razor is the best of all worlds and does not need to be adjustable. I haven't heard of a single person who has not gotten great shaves with this, and I am very enthusiastic, as is Farley. She noticed how my face was Baby Bottom Smooth for most of the day.
Amazon sells Gillette Mach III blades, 12 for $24. That is about $2.00 each, and they don't last long. Lees sells the Derby's 15 for $7.50. That is $.50 each and a fourth the price of the Gillettes, and they shave better and are more durable. You will be kinder to the environment, your face, your loved one, and your wallet by going Double Edge. If you use 120 blades per year, you will spend $60 per year on blades versus $240 for Mach III.
You will also save money and feel (and smell) better with a quality shaving soap or creme over the cheap [in quality] stuff that is sold in aerosol cans. Lee is a guy who will help you out. You will also need some type of brush, but the less expensive ones are fine. In fact, I prefer them because I like a stiff brush.
So I think that this makes a great gift. It actually saves money and wins in every department. Marketing is amazing. It convinces people that they want bad food and bad shaves for more money.