Thoughts

The best of times

Isn’t it interesting how timeless and true good writing proves itself, even in our modern age, and even though it was originally intended for a different literary context?

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, 1859

We are indeed living in the best times of current recorded history and because every coin has a flip side, there are surely plenty of things to complain about. Yet I thought I’d point out some of the good things in this post.

Out of all our known and written history, I don’t believe we’ve ever had a time like this, when most of the world is enjoying a period of “not war” and when the options available to us in areas such as healthcare, living conditions, hygiene, infrastructure, learning, jobs, possessions, transport, personal freedoms and just about everything else you can think about are so many and so readily available. Yes, some of these options can get expensive, but they are there and they are available, whereas most of them simply did not exist in the past.

We get so caught up in our daily, mundane routines and our various disappointments that we allow to blacken our lives, that we forget we have it so good. I’d like to invite you to find and watch documentaries and TV series that portray our various periods of history with accuracy; there are quite a few these days. I’d like you to become acquainted with how people lived and how hard it was to simply get through a day and have some food to put on the table, much less be able to afford a few knick-knacks here and there.

Most people have never been able to afford what we call a proper home and have lived in sheds, hovels and small cottages for most of history. Most houses were a one-room affair in the past. The toilet was a pot under the bed or a communal outdoor hole in the ground. Chamber pots would be thrown into the street every morning. Think about taking a walk in those cities! Even in civilized cities, right up to the 1960s-70s, people would have to share a common bathroom or bathrooms in apartment buildings or subdivided houses. And now we’ve gotten to the point where we mind sharing a bathroom with our guests and we complain if our house has less than 3-4 rooms.

The capability to take a daily shower under hot running water, with a pleasant soap and shampoo, has been unheard of in all our recorded history, until recent times. And yet people still find excuses when it comes to maintaining proper daily hygiene and complain about water hardness and water pressure and soap quality, etc.

Dental care is so important. Without it, most of us would be toothless by our 40s and those who’d still have teeth would have some rather nasty decoloration and build-up on them. Should we be part of the majority of the population without teeth, we’d have to wear dentures made of wood or animal teeth, or of metals such as lead, dentures that wouldn’t fit properly and cause us daily pain. We now have access to orthodontics, fillings that match the color and hardness of our teeth and are almost invisible, crowns, implants and now stem cell implants, which can regenerate our own teeth! This was never available in the past. We’ve had to struggle with primitive tooth care for so long.

Of all healthcare options available, I would single out trauma surgery as the most important development. Nowadays we have the option of receiving triage and trauma care that allows us to fully heal without infection, including proper bone and joint surgery and for most of known history, we simply didn’t have this. Broken arms stayed broken. Torn joints stayed torn. Cuts and flesh wounds often got infected and led to death. Yes, healthcare is terribly expensive. Yes, good basic healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. But look at the bright side: it exists! How governments choose to make it available to their citizens is an open and ongoing discussion instead of a “No, we’ve never heard of that, it doesn’t even exist” kind of discussion.

How easy is it to learn things nowadays? Access to information is virtually free, and more resources (historical and modern) have become available online than we’ll ever have time to read, and yet I’m hard pressed to come across than a few learned, thoughtful individuals during the course of a day and sometimes even a week; (perhaps that’s also due to the way our educational systems are structured.) Various apps on our mobile devices compete to make learning as fun as possible for us. Universities and colleges post videos from their courses for free online access. For most of history, people didn’t know how to read or write. They were thirsty for learning but it was out of their reach. It was simply too expensive or just not an option for them. Trade secrets, for example, were closely guarded and only revealed to tradespeople in secrecy, after long apprenticeships. Now everyone can watch how-to videos and learn how to do something, but how many follow through and actually do those things or even more, persist at them until they get good? Most of us tend to confuse reading or watching the news with learning. Opening up our minds and pouring in the news isn’t learning, it’s just a deluge of unhelpful and depressing bits of information.

For most of our history, people couldn’t pick their jobs. There was little social mobility. If you were born into a peasant family, you were a peasant, end of story. Only the aristocracy could pick and choose what they wanted to do, but even if they were passionate about something, it could only be a hobby, because they were expected by all to be aristocrats, not do things (I know, boo-hoo for them…) Now anyone can be just about anything, and training for that job is within reach if they want it enough. One way or another you can make ends meet and get to do what you like in life. I know, I know, student loans are huge… that’s why it’s doubly important to figure out what you want to do before you start going to school for it, else you’ll be spending money you don’t have so you can get to do what you don’t want to do. While I’m talking about this, allow me to pitch you on choosing a career in the trades; good craftsmen are in severe demand these days.

The subject of possessions is huge, both figuratively and literally. We could talk all day about rampant consumerism and fake economies and fast fashion. The point is, it’s incredibly affordable to buy things today, and it simply wasn’t the case for most of our history. Even something that we often take for granted and is typically rusting in our garden sheds, such as a simple hand saw, was incredibly hard to make and buy during medieval times. Even an axe or a pick was hard to make. They cost lots of money, the equivalent of small cars nowadays, so people saved up for years to buy tools, then cared for them and handed them down to their sons and daughters. Clothes were made by hand, and that included the materials. You cared for them and mended them as long as you could. Someone would typically only have one change of clothing. Nowadays clothing is literally clogging up our homes and people are desperate to get help in order to clean them up and organize them.

In the last 100 years, means of transport have progressed tremendously. Whereas travel was slow and expensive, it’s now fast and inexpensive. We can travel by car, train, ship and airplane. We can even skip physical travel and visit locations virtually by looking at photos from those places, or street views in mapping applications. We can even immerse ourselves in 360 degree videos and virtual realities.

We find time to bitch about every little bump and pothole in our public roads, yet we’ve never had it so good. It’s true that Roman roads are legendary, but you have to remember they were cobblestone in a time where suspension hadn’t yet been invented. Every single bone and sinew in your body would have been shaken out of sorts by the time a day’s ride would be over. After Roman civilization degraded, we were back to mud ruts and dust for over 1500 years, plus frequent attacks from highway robbers. Now all but the most rural roads are paved and can be safely traveled.

How about personal freedoms? Have societies ever tolerated so much free speech, even when it’s hateful and offensive, and offered so much personal freedom for various lifestyle choices, even for something that we now consider so commonplace as divorce or adultery? Do you know how shunned people were for adultery in the past, or how impossible it was to get a divorce, even when situation was terrible and abusive? How about the open criticism and ridicule of politicians, business leaders and other figures of authority or fame that we now tolerate? When was that sort of thing well-tolerated in the past? And yet we still find ways to take these things to the extreme, and we keep pushing the boundaries till things get truly and downright brazen and defamatory, instead of celebrating the freedom of speaking out against someone and doing it with some sense of decency.

I do wish more people would realize how good we have it and would be more grateful for all of the opportunities, amenities and conveniences that modern times offer us. We certainly don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we lose what we’ve worked so hard for as a human race and civilization, because then we’ll have really failed ourselves. I think the way to become more grateful is to pay attention to the past, because it offers up enough contrast to the present to make us have those little epiphanies of conscience that raise our collective morale.

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Apple Wireless Keyboard
Thoughts

White keyboards and cleanliness

Back when Apple came out with white keyboards, I was annoyed. I appreciated the white aesthetic, the clean design, but they got dirty so quickly. Within a few weeks of normal use with clean hands, there was a visible layer of grime on the keys used most. It was like a heat map drawn with dirt. Yuck. I wash my hands every time I go to the bathroom, so that’s 7-8 times a day or more, and my keyboards still get dirty.

I found myself cleaning my keyboards often, and every time I did it, I asked myself two questions. I kept repeating them like a mantra, annoyed with the amount of time I was spending doing menial stuff:

  1. How could so much grime collect on my keyboards?
  2. Why didn’t they make black keyboards?

A black computer keyboard.

Of course, the answer was staring me in the face, every time I used my keyboard. See this and this. Keyboards and mice are breeding grounds for all kinds of nasty bacteria. And because most of them are black, we don’t see how dirty they are and we don’t clean them often, although we should. I bet that’s exactly why they went with white (beside the fact that their design kick at the time involved a lot of white and silver). They wanted to give us a simple visual reminder of the state of our keyboards and make us clean them, lest we look filthy to our families, friends and co-workers. It was a bit of a pill to swallow, but it was (and is) for our own good.

Apple Wireless Keyboard

In recent times, Apple has gone to black keyboards on their laptops. Rumor has it they’re also going to make black keyboards for their desktops. While I get the practicality of it, I can’t help thinking people are going to just let the filth accumulate on their keys now that the stark visual reminder is gone. Let’s face it, we’re all so damned busy these days (mostly with drivel) that we’re going to forget to clean our keyboards. We won’t do it until they’re sticky, and by that point… yuck.

New MacBooks

Just in case you’re wondering how I clean my keyboards, I typically use Q-tips dipped in rubbing alcohol, they work great. In the past, I also came up with more inventive ways to clean them, such as putting the keys in the dishwasher. That method doesn’t work so well with the newer Bluetooth keyboards, it’ll cook the circuitry, because there’s no way to remove the keys unless you pry the case open.

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Reviews

Reduce your waste with a toothbrush? Yes.

The Terradent toothbrush stands out from the pack of dental hygiene products out there not because of the complicated design of its head and the multitude of angled bristles, but due to the simplicity and thinking behind its design.

In two words, it has replaceable heads. When you need to change the brush, you don’t change the whole thing. You snap in a new head, and you keep the same handle. It’s beautifully simple and yes, it’s hygienic.

After you remove the old head, if you feel it’s needed, you can scrub the handle’s tip with a little soap and a brush, or you can pour some little hydrogen peroxide on it, to make sure it’s squeaky clean before you attach the new head, but don’t get hung up on it. As long as you replace the heads regularly, the toothbrush will be safe to use for years and years.

My wife and I have been using Terradent toothbrushes for about 4 years, and we love them. We only buy replacement heads, which is cheaper than getting the whole toothbrush and means we’re generating less waste. All that fancy rubber and injection-molded handles in today’s toothbrushes means you’re throwing away a whole bunch of plastic, every time you get rid of one. That’s a shame, particularly when the Terradent toothbrush proves it’s so easy to do the smarter thing.

I put together a short video demo of the head replacement on one of our toothbrushes, to show you how easy and simple it is. You can watch it on YouTube or above. I hope you’re going to think about buying one of them the next time you go shopping for your bathroom. They’re available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or directly from the company’s website.

Image used courtesy of Eco-Dent.

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Thoughts

Beware the creepy crawlies

It definitely pays to watch out for bed bugs, because a rare bite or two may turn into hundreds of bites per night, after the filthy little critters begin to multiply. The National Geographic put together a video that shows how bed bugs crawl out of the walls to bite people right before dawn, when they’re in their deepest sleep period of the night.

And here’s a video that shows what a serious infestation of bed bugs looks like. It’s the stuff of horror movies, and one definitely wouldn’t want to live in such a place, ever. Yet those poor old folks are stuck there, getting bitten by the bugs every day and every night.

So, it looks like the thing to do you see the first bed bug is to go all out. Get the strongest pesticide you can get, apply it to all the crevices where the critters could be, squash all the ones you can see, and hope you’ve staved off an invasion. Get all the help you can get, don’t give them an inch.

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Thoughts

Not so civilized after all

Someone once said that the mark of a good civilization is set by how they handle their poop. By and large, it’s a good rule of thumb. And yet, in this modern and somewhat sanitary world of ours, it’s so easy to be reminded of how fragile our constructs of civilization and sanitation are — all we need do is look at our bathrooms.

I was working on our toilet yesterday, attaching it to the floor, and I realized that all that stands between me and the neighbors’ poop is some height and a thin water layer that blocks the primitive smells from infesting our living spaces. In light of all we go through to isolate ourselves from other human beings, in our quest for privacy and cleanliness, with fences, walls, soundproofing, thermal insulation, fancy double-paned windows pumped with inert gases and vacuum-sealed, double-bolted doors, curtains, tinting and other things, it’s so ironic to see how close we are when it comes to our more shameful habits. Sure, we can’t hear or see our neighbors — we’ve taken care of that — but we sure can smell their poop, and in some unlucky cases, even see it erupting from our toilets onto our floors.

Staring into the open toilet pipe, not only could I smell the offal of my fellow human beings, but I could know the exact moment when they flushed their toilets, and I could hear the rush of the brown waters flowing into the communal collection pipe. When I placed the toilet on top of the pipe and sealed the ring that secured it there, the smell persisted, winding its way through the toilet’s innards and out into the bathroom. It only stopped coming up when I flushed the toilet for the first time. That thin seal of water, sitting in the low part of the P-trap loop inside the toilet, is really all that’s keeping our civilization civilized, at least when it comes to the two numbers we must all do at some point during the day.

This wasn’t the first toilet I installed, and I’m not knocking our modern plumbing system — all I’m saying is there’s surprisingly little between us and wilderness, in spite of all the constructs we’ve placed between us and it, and between each other.

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Reviews

What we use on our hair

For about four years now, Ligia and I have used the same hair care product, and I thought I’d tell you about it. I’m doing it for a few reasons. First, I don’t like pretentious hair care products that cost a fortune and yield the same results as the less expensive stuff. Second, I like tried and true products. Third, I’m trying to do my part to see that this product doesn’t exit the market. (The last time we went to buy some, we couldn’t find it on the shelves… That could be both bad and good, I suppose.)

While we use some other things from time to time, and you’ll see them below, we use Murray’s Super Light Pomade all the time. Here it is.

Murray’s Super Light Pomade

Do you know those ridiculously expensive hair waxes they sell nowadays? They cost anywhere from $20-30, barely do the job, dry up in the hair giving you flakes, and have a TON of ingredients… Not so with this pomade. It costs somewhere between $1-2, and do you know what it’s got inside? Petrolatum, Lanolin, Coconut Oil, Aloe and Fragrance. That’s it. It’s had the same ingredients for quite some time. Not sure how long it’s been in existence, but I do know that they were using pomade regularly back in the early 1900s. Guess what? If it’s managed to do the job since then, I know it’ll do the job now as well.

The great thing about it is that it’s versatile. I used it back when my hair was short, and I’m using it now that my hair is long. I still apply it the same way, and it still works great. Back when I wanted my hair straight, it kept it straight, and now that it’s longer, it keeps it wavier. Love it.

Here’s a photo of me back when I had short hair. I was picking mulberries somewhere, I think it was the National Seminary before they started rebuilding it. Ligia took this photo.

Picking mulberries

Here’s a photo of me with longer hair. Same pomade did the trick on both occasions. Ligia took this photo as well.

Composing the shot

Don’t think I’m the only one using the pomade though. Ligia uses it as well, and her hair is wonderful. Here’s a recent photo.

Ligia

If you’ve never used pomade on your hair before, particularly this pomade, it’ll take a couple of weeks to get used to the way your hair feels. You wash your hair as usual and apply it after the wash, while your hair is still warm and wet.

Should you want to purchase it, we’ve seen it at CVS and Bed Bath & Beyond. There’s another place that sells it, but I prefer not to go there if I can help it: Wal-Mart… Murray’s makes two different kinds — the Super Light, and the regular kind, which is thicker, and which I’ve never used. Make sure you get the Super Light.

Murray’s Super Light Pomade

We use some other stuff from time to time.

Hair care products

Nothing else I’ve tried works quite as well as the pomade though, and believe you me, I tried many other things, including other brands of pomade.

We use one more thing which works great to help comb longer hair. Ligia just loves it. Since she’s got curly hair and it’s fairly long, it always gets tangled. All she needs to do is to spray it into her hair, and she can comb it as if it were straight afterwards. I’m surprised myself at how well it works.

Olive Oil Sheen Spray

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Thoughts

Living in a mad world

There are two things I want to talk about today. The first took place right here in the US, and the second happened in Italy. Both happened recently.

We’ve got a conductor who has forgotten the US still means freedom. Apparently, a tourist, possibly from Japan, who knew very little English, was taking photos of the scenery (mostly nature) on an Amtrak train between New York City and Boston. The conductor saw him, and asked him to stop in the “interest of national security”. Huh?! For taking photos from a train? For trying to preserve the memories of a trip?

But that wasn’t enough. She screamed at him even though he didn’t understand what she was saying, then called the police in and had him arrested and removed from the train. Yeah, you read that right.

How wrong is that? It’s the sort of thing that makes one’s blood boil. At the very least, that conductor, and the policemen that went along with that sick gag should be censured or suspended, so they can all remember we don’t arrest people willy-nilly in the US, not for taking photos from a moving train open to the public.

The Economist reports that Italy has passed a decree authorizing the expulsion of any Romanian immigrant who is deemed a danger to public safety. This bothers me a lot, since I’m Romanian by birth and upbringing, and I want to clarify the situation.

There was an incident where an Italian woman was killed and possible raped by a Romanian immigrant. There’s a catch to the story though. That was NOT a Romanian immigrant, it was a gypsy from Romania. There’s a BIG difference, so let me explain.

It’s hard for Americans to understand this sort of thing, but ethnicity is a very touch issue in Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe. Just think of the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or go back through the last few hundred years and look at the geography of Europe. All of those governmental and boundary changes created and continue to create ethnic conflicts which may smolder for years, or break out into open war, which is what happened in Bosnia. I’m not saying this to set up my arguments, just to give you some background info. There is no animosity between Romanians and gypsies, just deep-seated and justified frustration with these nomadic people that have chosen to settle in Romania over time.

I was born and grew up in Romania, so I’m a bit more aware of these things than outsiders who decry the situation in the country without really knowing what’s going on. You see, we’ve got a lot of gypsies in Romania. They’re nomadic people, but they’ve chosen to settle there in the last few hundred years. Other countries have them as well, but we seem to have been “blessed” with unusually large numbers of them. There are a few classes of gypsies, and they can be differentiated based on how well they integrated into society, and how clean they are.

First you have the Gabors, which are the most civilized. They’re clean, hard working, responsible people and integrate well into society. I have no issues with them and would be happy to have them as my neighbors. There’s another group whose name escapes me — I don’t know much about them except that while they’re more aloof, they’re also fairly decent in terms of how they interact with other people.

Unfortunately, you then have the gypsies per se, a very mixed class of individuals and families that share these common characteristics: they do not integrate into society, they live mostly in shanty towns, they have little or no hygiene or cleanliness, and they have a very high rate of crime. They call themselves the Roma, which is a title I must protest. It’s much too close to the word Romanian or Roman, and they hail neither from Romania, nor from Rome.

You do not talk about normal living when you talk about these gypsies, the so-called “Roma”. You find them begging on the streets or dealing in God knows what, but mostly, you find quite a large number of them stealing, raping and murdering. This isn’t an exaggeration and has been their historical record. Since they do so poorly in Romanian society and certainly have no interest in obeying the laws of the country, they do not deserve to be called Romanians, and indeed, I would not call them citizens of Romania or bestow on them the rights that go along with that citizenship.

When Romania got accepted into EU, several programs got started whose aim was to integrate these gypsies into society. So far, they have failed. Why? They’re too different and have no interest in life as civilized people know it. Really, they don’t, and if you don’t believe me, you’re welcome to go there and try to integrate them yourself. You will fail miserably.

At any rate, it’s these gypsies that immigrated to other European countries in droves when the borders were opened, along with a number of actual Romanians. When the gypsies arrived in these Western European countries, they started engaging in their usual behavior: living in shanty towns, polluting society in general, participating enthusiastically in crime and other misdemeanors, etc. When they’d get caught by the police, they’d say they were Romanian citizens, which, as I’ve just explained, is not quite true. Ethnically speaking, they most certainly aren’t Romanians, and behaviorally speaking, they’re an entirely different breed.

A few years ago, there was a case where gypsies caught and ate swans from a German lake. There was an uproar, and Romania got the blame for it. As if normal, law-abiding Romanians had something to do with that… Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying genuine Romanians don’t engage in crime, because every orchard has its rotten apples, but at least the crime rates are very different among Romanians and gypsies.

In the recent case in Italy, we’ve got a gypsy who lived in one of their shanty towns, who accosted, beat up and possibly raped an Italian woman. Who got the blame again? Romania. Why? Because that gypsy was from Romania. Was he a Romanian? Not really. So now we’ve got Italians horribly worked up against Romanians in general, when most of the Romanians that went to Italy did so to find honest work that they couldn’t get in Romania, who’s still having problems with its economy.

It’s just not fair that Romania keeps getting blamed for the actions of gypsies, which, as a group, cannot be controlled or integrated into any society or country where they happen to live. I wanted to set the record straight when it came to this, and do hope that I’ve managed to make my point.

Updated 11/29/07: Came across a great photo-documentary of gypsy life in several countries. Have a look at it. It has photos of gypsies from Romania as well. Try not to romanticize things as you look at the photos. There’s nothing romantic about an utter lack of hygiene or living in a hovel.

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How To

How to properly clean your keyboard

I found myself needing to clean our iMac’s keyboard a few days ago. I remembered watching a video recently that suggested we should simply stick the keyboard in the dishwasher. I wasn’t about to do that. I doubted the circuitry would have worked afterwards, particularly the Bluetooth link between the keyboard and the computer.

The safer route was to simply remove the keys, wash them separately with warm water and soap, then wash the keyboard base with a cloth moistened with water and a mild soap solution. Ligia also got some cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol ready, just to make sure we’d be able to get into all of the keyboard’s crevices.

This solution should work for all keyboards. A word of caution: before you start doing anything to your keyboard, take a couple of photos of the key layout! You don’t want to find yourself with a bunch of keys in your hand, clueless about where to stick them… Take photos of the keys and have them ready to display on your computer, or print them out ahead of time.

Removing the keys is quite simple. You take a quarter or any larger coin, put it under a key, and pry upwards. The key should pop right out. Be careful though, you don’t want to break them — that would render the keyboard quite useless afterwards.

After the keys are removed, the keyboard should look something like this:

Apple keyboard with keys taken off

Please excuse the distortion caused by the camera lens. I used my 24mm prime to make for fast work.

Once the keys are off, Ligia cleaned the keyboard, and I got to work cleaning the keys. I used a basin filled with warm water and I poured in some detergent, then gave each key a light scrubbing with a brush. You can also use the sink directly, but you’ve got to be very careful there. Sinks have drain holes under the top lip, and your keys might just run into them, since they’re plastic and they float. Once they go into the drain, good luck getting them out. You can open up the P-trap and see if they’re there, but chances are that they’re already gone. So be very, very careful as you wash the keys. You want to make sure that you don’t lose any of them.

After the keys were washed, I put them in an absorbent cotton towel and shook them around a bit to get drops of water dislodged from the keys’ undersides, then, while keeping them bunched up in the towel, I ran a hair dryer in there to make sure they got dry a little faster. Here you’ll need to make sure all of the corners of the towel are raised up, otherwise your keys will start flying around… You can also leave them on a towel overnight if you don’t want to bother with the hairdryer.

Keys from Apple keyboard

You also want to be careful that you don’t get excess liquid on the keyboard itself. The last thing you need after you go through the trouble of cleaning it is some problem with the circuits in there. Use a moistened cloth or paper towel, and clean it carefully, making sure you remove any debris or gunk or crumbs or whatever you find in there. Use cotton swabs moistened with rubbing alcohol to get into the tighter spots. When you think you’re done, examine it carefully under a strong light, to make sure you got everything off. Sometimes keys will stick because you or someone else in your house/office spilled sticky liquids on the keyboard, and if you don’t get that sticky gunk cleaned off, the keys will continue to stick even after you think you’ve cleaned them.

After Ligia got the keyboard base cleaned up, we stuck all of the keys back on the keyboard, and it looked quite beautiful when we got done. It was as if we’d gone out and bought a brand new keyboard. Just think of it! We did our part for the environment by re-using a piece of perfectly good hardware, and we also saved about $60. Pretty cool!

Apple keyboard after thorough cleaning

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A Guide To A Good Life

The decline of personal hygiene

I’ve come across so many pungent body odors lately that I’m led to assume personal hygiene is no longer important to people.

Just yesterday, I was in a department store, and two different people smelled so bad I almost vomited as they walked by me. They’re not isolated incidents, either. I’ve seen people of all walks of life and ages whose body odor was so powerful, so acrid, so stomach-turningly revolting, that I was left speechless every time. If you can stand it, let me reassure you this isn’t the smell of sweat after a hard day’s work. No, these people truly stink, as in a medieval, once-a-year bathing, wearing the same clothes for weeks kind of a stench.

How is it possible that in this day and age and country, when a hot shower and a bar of soap are so accessible, that so many people forego this daily necessity? How can it be?

Then, seeing people use the bathroom and not wash their hands (before and after) seems to be an almost daily occurrence. How grown men can handle their private parts after they’ve touched all sorts of nasty things (keyboards and mice being among the filthiest, even more so than toilet seats), is beyond me. And then, leaving the bathroom without washing their hands is an even more disgusting sight. To think, these ninnies then go on to shake other people’s hands, and to pat them on the back, or worse, lend you their pens, or touch your door handle, sit down at your desk to type at your keyboard… The possibilities are mind-boggling.

I’m not germ phobic, and I don’t wash my hands countless times every day – just when I use the bathroom or when they’re dirty. I don’t use hand sterilizers, either. I don’t have cans of Lysol spray lying around, ready to be used. I don’t think I’m cuckoo, but it seems that I see more and more people (no, filthy beasts) acting as if it’s perfectly alright to smell like a pig and have the bathroom manners of one as well.

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