Thursday, January 21, 2010


A question on a form, maybe. In any case, just one bit of information.

I had long known that my father was born in Provo, Utah. And that much information satisfies the form.

During my teenage years, I got more information when our family took a summer trip to Provo. While there, we visited some of Dad's cousins. They lived just a few blocks from the house where he was born, so we visited the place. I don't recall going inside, probably because it was no longer owned by relatives.

Hopefully, somewhere there is a picture taken there that day. I remember a rather large yard with a beautiful large black walnut tree, on a hot blue-skied summer day.

Many years later, I was driving Elizabeth down to Provo to her mother's house, and we arrived twenty minutes earlier than expected. I surprised her by driving to her grandfather's birthplace.

She thought that was very interesting and took a few pictures with my cell phone, including this one:

And that is what my father's birthplace looks like nearly a hundred years later. At the usual rate of one second per second, that's darn near three billion.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thoughtless destruction and shaving

There is much creation and destruction going on every day.

Along with a fascination about the passage of time, this has been a regular observation and source of thought for me throughout my life. In my dissertation, I wrote about dissipation and persistence of information.

But this post is about physical things, particularly, Dad's collection of shaving apparatus. Unfortunately, no photo is available. And that is part of my topic.

First, a personal note about shaving. Several years ago, I sported a full beard, and people would often ask me, "How long have you been growing that beard?" My stock answer was, "Since I was about fourteen." What they really meant to ask is, "How long since your last shave?" Because, once the beard starts growing, it never stops. With regular shaving, a man can maintain the illusion of beardlessness.

While my sisters and I were cleaning out our mom's house after her death, we came upon all of our dad's shaving equipment. This ranged from straight razors, through various forms of safety razor, on to electric shavers of progressive sophistication.

Why were all of these things still in their bathroom? Why did he keep them during his lifetime? Why did our mother keep them after his death?

I recall us reflecting on these questions, but, in the end, being exhausted from our work, we threw them out. Now, I am sorry, and wish we had at least kept a picture for posterity.

Perhaps a museum somewhere has a display of similar things.

This memory came to mind because Sara talked me into purchasing a new and improved electric razor last year during the Christmas sales. I was reluctant, but am glad now, because the shave is much smoother. Unlike my father, I have not kept all of the devices that I have used, over the years, to shave. Instead, I have allowed them to be destroyed one by one.