Thai Crystal, Rothfuss, Daily Life in the Middle Ages, Perot Charts

Thai Crystal Stick - Large, 4.2 ozI don’t like anti-perspirants because they gob up in the underarms of my undershirts. Which means I eventually go walking about with pebbles in my pits. And, yes, we do have a washing machine and use it regularly. There’s something in there that defies anything less than hydro-chloric acid.

I don’t like deodorants because they wimp out on me. I’ll put on my bracing Speedstick in the morning and be sniffing myself by lunch. And if I put some industrial perfume on it only leads to rashes.

Someone might be saying that I should just be a real man and smell like a real man smells. But how about I be a real, smart man. See, if you’ve got dog poo in your carpet, you wouldn’t spray it with cologne, hoping to deal with the smell. No, you go to the source. Clean up the stuff and forego all the scents. In fact, if you keep the dog from pooping in the first place, you’re ahead of the game. So why not do the same with underarm odors? Just get rid of the stinkers.

Well, that’s what I did. Many years ago I found out that natural mineral salts kill underarm bacteria. If the underarm bacteria can’t exist, let alone breed and excrete, then you don’t get underarm odor. What’s more, you can get those mineral salts in “rock” form. Just wet and wipe under your arms and you’re done. It works just like regular anti-perspirant and deodorant, it’s just that you’re delivery bacteria killers instead of perfumes.

Another good thing about mineral salt deodrant rocks is that they last a LONG time. And I mean looooong. My last rock took about 4 years to use up (heads up all you one-year’s supply people). The problem with them is that you can’t find the rocks in the grocery store next to the big brands. But you CAN find them in health stories. I got my latest from Shangri-lah in Logan. The brand is Thai Crystal (named after the location where the US companies discovered this method of deodorizing).

Folks, it’s 3:09 PM. I just did the sniff test–aah, the sweet smell of nothing!


The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day 1)I heard all the hype about Rothfuss and picked up his The Name of the Wind  in a Hastings book shop. The first few pages didn’t grab me and so I put it back. But then I kept hearing the hype. I finally decided, okay, okay, I’ll give it a go.

By “go” I mean something like five pages. See, I’m impatient with books. If you can’t grab me by the bottom of page one, I’m outta there. I read too many stories in my undergrad program that bored me to the very last page. Sometime after I graduated (why did I wait so long?) I realized that I could increase the odds of reading something interesting me if I only read things that interested me. (You only arrive at this level of brilliance after many years in college.)

I’m not going to overview the plot here. Just know it’s a fabulous read. For you writers, note that what drives the reader’s suspense is not an overarching plot, but his situation of being alone and destitute. So while there are villains, that really isn’t what keeps the reader going. It’s the wonder of a new place and our hope for this kid.


Daily Life in the Middle AgesI read more non-fiction than I do fiction each year. I need to so that I have something to say in my writing. And I will tell you that I haven’t found a finer source of cool ideas to huck into stories than Paul Newman’s (no, not the actor cum cookie man) Daily Life in the Middle Ages.

He breaks up medieval life into topics like Eating and Cooking, Building and Housing, Clothing and Dressing, etc. It’s full of wonderful stuff.

Did you know that they played football back in old England? Not sissy European style, but hog style, like rugby or American football. Except it was often between two towns and the playing field was miles long.

Did you know that respectable women wore hats? Those who let their hair go free were young girls and prostitutes. And that if a man knocked a woman’s headdress off it was tantamount to accusing her of prostitution and might result in the woman’s husband or family taking the man to court to exhonorate her. 

Did you know that the word “curfew” came from the old French “covre feu,” meaning “cover the fire.” Since open flames were such a fire hazard in the old cities, many towns had regulations that required people to douse their lights and carefully bank their fires at a certain time in the evening which was often marked by the tolling of bells.

I pulled these beauties out just randomly flipping through the pages. The book is full of such delights and you can be sure many of these will be finding their way into my stories.


I didn’t vote for Ross Perot the first time. I certainly wouldn’t vote for him now. But James Maxey just pointed me to an excellent on-line explanation of the current government budget. It’s worth your time to check this out to be able to understand what folks are talking about when it comes to our money and how Congress spends it. The charts are narrated, compelling, non-partisan, and incredibly easy to follow. Here are more Perot Chart presentations.  

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