California -- blowing smoke?

California — blowing smoke?

California Dreamin’? You bet

California has the “worst” quality of life, according to a new study by Best States. Chat it up all you’d like. Sport that all-year tan. Brag about your progressive politics and lecture other people about how they must think and what they must do with their money and their kids … and what you’ll get is nothing but a pipe dream gone sour.

U.S. News reports, “Some states shine in health care. Some soar in education. Some excel in both – or in much more. The Best States ranking of U.S. states draws on thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens. In addition to health care and education, the metrics take into account a state’s economy, the opportunity and quality of life it offers people, its roads, bridges, internet and other infrastructure, its public safety and the fiscal stability of state government.”

Fox’s “The Five” adds a humorous spin on a status that’s anything but brag-worthy in the following clip:

The Golden State, the place where Tony Bennett left his heart some decades gone by, is the worst of the worst, ranked 50 out of 50. How is that possible with social justice Silicon Valley and “Tell the world how it’s done” Hollywood in firm residence? These two heavy hitters are the reason the state made the grade of #4 in economy.

But quantifiable dissatisfaction goes to show that money and drama are not the fix some pretend it is. Either that or wealthy Californians – with a bounty of both – aren’t putting their words into practice. Not when advocating for whatever they’re paid to say. The #metoo scandal has revealed that keeping one’s mouth shut is the most lucrative of professions.

Perhaps it’s time for California to shut up and sit quietly in the back seat while other states, those that have verifiable proof of producing happy residents, share their truth about how it’s done.

Beard (Pexels copyright-free image)

To beard or not to beard – is that the question?

Fashion – more shifting than sand, but forever fixed upon the popular and that goad of vanity moving the world stage. Men are not immune, and this brings us to beards.

Used to be, women pooh-poohed visible facial hair as unkempt, rustic and scratchy on their man. At least, that’s what commercials would have us believe. If a guy wanted to catch the ladies – the blonde bombshell angelic variety – a smooth face was the way to go. Check out the following video featuring football great Joe Namath and 70s icon Farrah Fawcett:

But what you see is what you get. Fawcett was paid to demo the appeal of smooth skin while Namath cashed in for shaving. The fashion industry pushes products by way of putting ideas into people’s heads. (As if the world stopped turning without folks being told what they should find attractive in the opposite sex.) Today’s fashionistas now insist the era of the beard is over. Why? To sell products, of course.

Douglas Smythe of Phoenix Shaving had this to say to Dapper Confidential: “I really believe the reason why beards became so popular is due to the crappy quality of shave cartridge razors give.”

Not because beards were advertised as manly, sexy and a must-have for that city dweller who wanted to appear like he could hack it in the wilderness. Oh, no! “And the prices of cartridge razors being what they are and the inferior ‘one size fits all’ shaves they provide, millions of young men (and women) are returning back to time-tested methods of shaving: shave soap, shave brush and safety razor!”

So beards – a natural state for most men – only became popular because of inferior shaving equipment. Gotcha. Get the right shaver and voilà, a man will be drawn to shaving. Remember Farah, fellas?

But, “The trend I’m beginning to see is that men are becoming more interested in how they care for their beards. They want to know how to trim it, brush it and what products to use on it,” Supercuts Manager Lizzie Lopez counters. “The male guests I work with are constantly asking me questions about how to groom their beards or how to get a certain look.”

So whiskers are just a matter of preference and product placement. We get it.

But what if a beard – or lack thereof – had real power? What if, like Samson’s locks, facial hair had the capacity to transform a man’s life?

One could make the case that’s exactly what happened with Welsh insurance seller Gwilym Pugh. At only 21, Pugh had built himself a successful company from his spare bedroom – a project that required a multitude of man-hours and diligent labor. But 12 hour days aren’t conducive to gym time and a proper diet. Pugh put on the pounds. An old knee injury didn’t help matters.

But a diligent man of business is no dummy. Pugh recognized he needed to do something. He joined a folk band to get out and get active. When his barber suggested he go full bore, growing a beard to fit the part he was playing, Pugh took the cue and went for it, not only growing a beard but establishing an Instagram account to share his newfound interests with the world.

“Eventually, Welsh tailor Nathan Palmer stumbled across it, and the rest is history,” according to SunnySkyz News. The video below puts it all out there:

So, is it all about the beard? The attitude? Daring to bare your whiskers and go for what works for you? Maybe the stars aligned.

Whatever rocketed Pugh to fame, he seems to be a man with a level head, whiskers or no. That’s one must-have that never goes out of style, despite a lack of advertisement.

Never too old, never too late, never surrender. Go Irma!

Never too old, never too late, never surrender. Go Irma!

This grandma’s still got it

It’s never too late where human will is involved. And this Italian grandma, who’d spend decades helping orphans in Kenya via financial donations to Italian missionaries, wanted to do more. One would think having reached the age of 93, Irma was doing quite enough. But this inspiring woman had a different notion.

“This is my grandma Irma, a young lady of 93, who set off for Kenya tonight (2/20),” Elisa Coltro posted on Facebook. “Not to some tourist resort to be waited on hand and foot, but to go to a village of children, in an orphanage. I’m showing her to you because I believe that all of us should always keep a dash of recklessness in order to live and not just survive. Look at her. … Who’s stopping her? I love her.”

The trip is scheduled to last only three weeks, with Irma being accompanied by her daughter. But who knows?

“Perhaps my grandma will decide to stay and won’t come back,” Coltro told Italian newspaper La Repubblica, according to SunnySkyz report. “It’s entirely possible, knowing her big heart and her energy.”

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