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A review for Woods Vibe Beard Oil on Etsy

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A sandalwood post turns in a lathe as a smooth, muscular hand presses fine grit sandpaper into the recess between organic curves. Wood dust floats and warms in the afternoon sunshine of a cedar-planked workshop. Almond shells dapple the floor, islands in the sawdust sea. All will be swept up for kindling in the fire later to heat the soft cheek and vibrant beard of the woodsman as he cups a hot mug of tea, jojoba aroma rising in the steamy air. He eyes the wood that will be the table where his love will sit, where his love will be.

Les lumieres sur la Seine

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Jean-Philippe took off his tie. The bedroom was clean. The red duvet was stretched tight over the bed and there were vacuum stripes in the carpet. In the meager light of the bedside lamp, the room was faraway and still. The room was a bed and a clock and the glinting brass of the dresser knobs in the dimness.

He hung his tie in the closet and thought about undressing. He stretched his socked toes and dug them into the soft carpet. He was too tired to undress and shower, which he must inevitably do. He wanted to collapse into the sofa and quiet himself. His head was buzzing with the din of voices and the clanks, bangs, and crashes that were the thousand collisions of a dinner service. If he did not decompress himself, it would go on into his dreams. He would wake in the middle of the night, wide-eyed, his heart beating fiercely. She would ask what was wrong and Jean-Philippe would say, ridiculously, that table twelve had not received their soup.

When he came into the living room, she was…

Levity

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Yesterday, I was promoted to captain at my restaurant, which is a big deal that doesn't happen all that often. I gave a speech to about twenty of my peers. The transcript follows (with apologies to Robert Howard and John Milius):

I have been characterized as an ambitious man. I don’t deny I own an unquenchable lust for glory. All my life I’ve been told to keep my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds. There’s time enough for the earth in the grave. Now let’s touch the vault of heaven.

You have been my allies. I remember days like this when my father took me to the forest and we ate wild blueberries. More than 20 years ago. I was just a boy of four or five. The leaves were so dark and green then. The grass smelled sweet with the spring wind.

Almost 20 years of pitiless combat! No rest, no sleep like other men. And yet the spring wind blows. We strive together. We can’t forfeit. We would only be back here another day. Perhaps in worse company.

For us, there is no spring. Just…

La Strada

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I met a stripper who worked summers in New York to pay for drama school in Montana. I knew she wasn’t lying because she had big shoulders. She smiled a lot, too, ingenuously, which was how I knew she couldn’t see the irony. Of all the actors I know, the ones who don’t live in the big cities are the happiest. In another time, being the best Iago in Cheyenne would have meant something.

“Is this life?” is a question best asked rhetorically, at the right moments, like when you ride the TGV to Paris and watch the fields of mustard and Syrah pass as you lunch on olive tapenade and onion confit with fresh bread. That’s just one instance.

Another great time to ask “Is this life?” is when you are in a car in the Nevada desert with your Mom and your Dad and your baby brother, with nothing around for miles and miles, and a mad, dusty herd of antelope race across the road just where you are, no coincidence, just jolly good antelope fun, because what would you do all day if you lived in the desert?

T…

A Life For A Life

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I had not considered this life. I have to now: I am in it. I have no doubt that it will end, only little idea of when. The hardest decisions to make, I suppose, are the ones that lead us from our good fortunes. My good fortune is nearly accidental. I have worked at it tirelessly, for years. Only I never considered it. I walked blindly into it—choosing this path, surely, but having no idea of where it led or ever announcing it as my ambition. It is not my ambition. It is only that I am very good at it, and that I sometimes enjoy it.

That’s enough, I think. I can prosper like that. Only the gulf between life and fantasy widens, and not only do I not know my way over, I’m losing sight of my dreams altogether. New dreams arrive. And everyday I have to convince myself that I do not want to open my own restaurant, my little vegan bistro featuring food inspired by Mediterranean France, Spain, and Italy, with good wine and cold beer (it’s damned hot today), blond wood and brass, live gypsy mus…

Saturday Night And Sunday Morning

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I cannot say where we left off, dear reader, in respect to my orientation in the world and the progression following, but it would be entirely safe to guess that I was tired, overwhelmed, and perhaps a little melancholy, and that any progression at the time seemed wholly in the wrong direction. But that’s obvious, as you can see by the lack of activity here in the last month. I forget so easily that talent is not innate and certain, but separate and predisposed to neglect, like a foster child. My care has been judged deficient.

Back again, then, and hopefully this time for good, though probably not. But quickly, to recap:

Work goes well, I suppose. The turbulence seems to have resided, as New York enters wakefulness and fewer people want to spend their time inside a restaurant. I finally have a decent schedule, all promotions and training complete, and the water looks decidedly calm from here on out. (I have been vociferous lately in decrying superstition, but—dash it—let me knock on wo…

Movie Journal #6: No Country For Old Men

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No Country For Old Men

Here is a flawless film, perfectly executed. It is philosophical without being cold, peopled as it is by real human characters, all caught up in a microcosmic game of ambition and expectation versus fate. It is a technical masterpiece, as was Hitchcock’s Vertigo, but like that film it has a soul that runs deeper than its genre or even its medium can contain. It is a great film.

Its strength is in the way it plays by the rules of the crime thriller, but also explodes the genre whenever it can. Here is a drug deal gone wrong and the innocent everyman who finds himself with a satchel full of cash. Here is the sociopathic killer on his trail, and the old sheriff chasing them both.

But look at the care put into Josh Brolin’s everyman character, the way he fills the role, and how observant the filmmakers are in creating a real person. His actions, his motivations, all ring true, surprising as they sometimes are. (I especially love when Brolin, unable to sleep, mutters, “…