Archive for October, 2014

The Fender Cut

Monday, October 27th, 2014

I began worrying about losing my hair in my mid teens. It was only natural. My mum’s maiden name was Fender and she had four brothers; Alec, George, Sam and Cyril all of whom were follically challenged. Alec, the eldest, had spent a fortune on hair restorer, but was only marginally rewarded with a few more strands of hair than his brothers. Needless to say my maternal grandfather, Alexander David, was as bald as a coot and it’s only fitting that I followed the hair loss having been named after my grandfather.

It was probably one of the few times in her life that my mum told me a white lie. She assured me there was no need to worry since I resembled my dad who possessed a fine head of hair. So did his brothers Sid and to a lesser extent Phil. What she conveniently forgot to tell me was the hair genes invariably came from  the mother’s side!!!

However, there are exceptions to the rule, so Shaun please note. My Uncle George’s son Desmond is the spitting image of his dad bearing the identical bald pate and demeanor, so what happened to his mum’s genes? My son has been convinced he was losing his hair since his teens, and to counteract it he cuts  his hair very short; presumably to prepare himself for the inevitable hairless years ahead.

I now confine myself to the standard short back and sides for the hair that has survived nature’s evil trick on 25% of the world’s male population. But once I mentioned to my wife I was contemplating shaving my head in the fashion of Michael Jordan for example. She simply replied: “No way! It only looks good on black men.” I threw Yul Brynner and Tele Savalas into the equation as white males who adopted the style, and she dismissed them as perfect examples of why white men should not shave their head.

According to Medem Medical Library website male pattern baldness affects roughly 40 million men in the USA. I knew I  shouldn’t have emigrated to the States. For all they know hair loss could be contagious. I’m joking people. Approximately 25% of men begin balding  by age 30; two-thirds begin balding  by age 60, so I was somewhere in the middle.

There is a 4 in 7 chance of receiving the baldness gene. It was previously believed that baldness was inherited from the maternal grandfather. While there is some basis for this belief, both parents contribute to their offspring’s likelihood of hair loss. So basically they don’t have a clue and sorry Mum for doubting you.

The nearest I got to having the billiard ball look was by accident. I told the hairdresser to use mark 6 on the clippers for the back and sides and mark 2 on the top to erase the wispy bits. She wasn’t really paying attention and transposed the numbers leaving me dumb struck when I retrieved my glasses and looked in the mirror. I  wore a baseball cap for the next six weeks, and never removed it even at bedtime or take a shower!

Speaking of hairdressers, it always irks me to pay the same price for a haircut  as a man with a full head of hair. They can cut my hair in two minutes while a male with a full mane can take 20-30 minutes. Furthermore, it never fails to amaze me why successive hairdressers make a “dog’s dinner” of my haircut. They only have to take care of the back, sides and sideburns, but invariably I sometimes look like I’ve been pulled through a hedge backwards. They then have the temerity to ask if  I intend leaving a tip.

May I conclude by expressing my surprise for managing to write 600 words on baldness. The topic was quite hair-raising (I’m sorry,) and I was relieved to get it off my chest. I don’t have many hairs on my chest either. What I don’t understand about human hair is why it stops growing on the top of your head, but conversely begins sprouting profusely from one’s nose an ears. Let me know if you have an explanation.


Friday, October 17th, 2014

This particular post has rumbled around in my head for a few weeks, so some of my reference may appear to be outdated. Nevertheless, I must stop procrastinating and put pen to paper.

The recent result in the Scottish Referendum made me realize that we all make choices in life; some life changing, others regrettable while many are mundane decisions that we are required to make out of necessity in our daily routines.

Scotland had the opportunity to free themselves of the English yoke, but The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond chose to confirm the mantra that former First Minister of Wales, Rhodri Morgan, placed upon him as resembling a used car salesman. He continued to assure Scottish voters that they would retain pound sterling as their currency when they had achieved independence. British Government representatives were equally adamant that an independent Scotland would be required to adopt another currency. Equally damaging was the Bank of Scotland’s statement that they would move to London should Scottish independence be achieved.

These two factors were sufficient to dowse the flames of a Scottish revolt, and normal service  resumed almost immediately. It’s a shame the vote was lost. The next ten years could have changed the face of politics in Britain never mind its culture and intricate history. Many of the Labor Members of Parliament represent Scottish Constituencies and without their numbers it is unlikely that Labor could achieve a majority to form a Government.

I believe most citizens of the USA would agree that Obama has achieved immortality by becoming the worst President in history. Therefore it was somewhat  of a surprise that he was re-elected for a second term, and even more of a mystery how he was re-elected when nobody will now admit voting for him. Democracy gives the people the opportunity to elect candidates of their choosing which is tantamount to placing a loaded gun into a child’s hand.

Several years ago I made the choice to emigrate to America. It was the right thing to do on a personal and emotional level, but it proved disastrous in terms of my career. America was lauded as the place to make one’s fortune, a place to re-invent oneself where age was not a barrier. Believe me reality can bite you in the butt.

Europe retained the Ryder Cup yet again by comprehensively defeating their illustrious opponents the good old US of A. The Americans were so miffed that Phil Mickelson savaged his captain Tom Watson in the post match press conference. Tom Watson is a legend of the game and appeared to be an excellent choice to captain his team to victory. He was captain when they won in 1993 on British soil, but unfortunately appeared to be out of touch with his players. Watson was old enough to be Jordan Speith’s grandfather for example.

Watson couldn’t win  matches for his players, but he chose the pairings for the four balls and foursomes. Some of his pairings proved to be bizarre, but ironically his decision to pair two young rookies, Speith and Reed, was a bold and successful decision. However, some of his other choices led to  his downfall.

Reeling from only two wins from the last ten meetings in the Ryder Cup, the USPGA decided to form a “Task Force” to examine ways of creating a team capable of winning the Ryder Cup in two years time. The task force includes former players, current stars and former captains all of whom have a habit of losing. Conspicuous by their absence are the two winning captains for USA in recent times, Ben Crenshaw and Paul Azzinger.

One could argue that it is wrong to look back on your choices in life. To a certain extent I agree. However it pays to return once in a while and learn from them. The secret is not to dwell on the negatives, but move onward and upward with no regrets.

My last concluding thought on choices; this blog is approaching one million visitors and I have submitted 160 posts over the last four years. I’m seriously calling it a day when I hit the two milestones of one million visitors and 200 posts unless I receive some positive feedback. But don’t discount me emulating Frank Sinatra.