Friday, November 17, 2006


My friend Houston Steve - you’ve possibly read about him here in an earlier post or two - and I share an interesting history, us having owned the same house in Houston (at different times).

One time, She Who Must Be Obeyed, Elder Daughter and I were at the Local Bagel and Smoked Fish Emporium grabbing some lunch, when we discovered Houston Steve dining there with his wife and daughter, a daughter who was fairly close in age to our own E. D. We introduced the girls to one another, whereupon SWMBO said something to the effect of, “It’s about time you girls met one another - you were conceived in the same bedroom.”

True enough, although I’m sure it was something neither of them wanted to think too much about.

Or maybe not. Elder Daughter immediately grasped the Comic Potential of a new TV series: “The Conception Connection.” Take two people conceived in the same place at different times. How do their lives intersect and connect? Perhaps she can pitch the idea to her new employer...

Houston Steve tends to harbor dark thoughts of conspiracies from time to time. He is convinced that there is a Great Razor Blade Conspiracy. Whenever the Big Razor Companies - by which he means Gillette - decide to introduce a New Shaving Breakthrough, Steve believes that they precede said introduction by subtly degrading the performance of the Old Technology. That way, when the Great New Thing comes along, its advantages are magnified.

Think about it. When triple-bladed, lube-stripped, swivel-headed, vibrating handle razors came along (the Gillette M3 Power), they were the greatest thing since sliced face bread. Close shaves, blades that lasted a good two weeks. And yet, today, it seems that some of the bloom is off the rose. The shaves are not quite as close, the blades not quite as durable. So when the new five-bladed Fusion razor came along (I tried it when a free sample showed up in the mail), it was like the Second Coming. (Or the First Coming, for us Jewishy-type people.)

Was it really all that? Was it better than the old three-bladed razors at their best...or was it just better than today’s dumbed-down Old Technology version of the three-bladed razor?

Something to think about as you scrape your face.

Meanwhile, Houston Steve’s latest paranoid fantasy ( it?) has to do with Ken Lay, infamous CEO of Enron whose conviction on eighty-five billion charges of Fucking the American Consumer and Investor was vacated after his shocking and unexpected death.

I wonder if anybody actually saw the corpus delicti...because there are about forty-three million reasons why it would have been a smart move for him to fake his own death. That’s how many dollars his family would have had to cough up had his conviction stood. The SEC will still go after the money, but in the civil courts, where it will take years. By then, my bet is that it will be safely squirreled away offshore.

Houston Steve painted a picture of a suntanned Lay, relaxing in the Grand Cayman sun, having been spirited away before his so-called “cremation.” And I gotta admit, it’s not so far-fetched. Beats getting reamed by a 375-pound cellmate named Bubba while your family learns to appreciate the joy of Kraft Macaroni ’n’ Cheese in lieu of fine Bordeaux and beef tenderloin.

Just how paranoid are you?

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