Dean Clough

March 13, 2023

Portico Darwin: The One About Shaving, Headphones and Floss


3 Minute Read
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Happy Monday.  In putting together the word cloud stuff for the 2nd anniversary post, one thing really stuck out.  I've been giving short-shrift to the most important thing there is as an American citizen:  gear and its corollary, shopping.

Let's attempt to right this wrong on a Monday with a looksie at some off-the-radar products I discovered and then went on to love.  The first product I use every few days, the next two, daily.  Each is Killer or better - yes, even floss can be great. 

All of the links to the products are clean - no affiliate commissions for me.  Who needs money? 

Enjoy, and I'd love to hear from anyone that gives one or more of these fine products a go.

A Shaving Mirror That Works:  Diamond Certified

Any man that shaves knows the preferred location is in the shower - less muss, less fuss, and a much more comfortable shave.  But any man that does it also knows the problem:  finding a simple mirror that doesn't fog.

I've tried a whole bunch - simple ones that rely on quick-to-be-useless antifog coatings, and goofily complex ones that entail removing the shower head such that hot water can be piped through the mirror, preventing it from fogging.  The former?  Once the coating wore off, I used shaving cream to wipe off the steam, and that gave me about one minute of clarity.  The latter?  I threw it in the garbage after trying to install it.

But now that I am using the Oxo Good Grips Suction Fogless Mirror (about $23), all is right in my shave-in-the shower world.  If you use any of Oxo's kick-ass products in the kitchen already, you won't be surprised at the two difference makers - they're the result of their thoughtful design, a brand hallmark.

Diff #1 is the mounting mechanism:  a suction cup that really works.  Once installed, this mirror does not budge nor slide around.

But #2 is the biggie, and how the mirror stays crystal clear indefinitely.  The mirror itself is hollow; before turning on the shower, you fill its cavity with hot water.  But that's super easy because of how well the whole thing is designed.  Off the mirror comes, fill 'er up, and back on it goes - all in less than 30 seconds.   It's ideal.

Massive Headphone and Earbud Upgrades:  Diamond Certified
As I like to say:  there are Adler Hotels.  Nutjob Republicans and The Psycho Woke.  Guided by Voices.  High Speed Rail.  Bars and restaurants, and yes, even books. 

But then there is my obsession passion for headphones and earbuds.  The way Shelly and Ol' Purple Label have racks of crazy-town spendy purses, I have a similar problem resisting the siren song to purchase anything that pumps music into my ears with top sonic quality and comfort.

BUT I AM ON A FIXED INCOME NOW, PUNK!  So my preference nowadays is to maintain the fine gear I already own, vs. simply dropping several hundred on something new. 

That's how I came to discover a company named Dekoni.  One day, the pain from donning my audiophile headphones of choice, Sennheiser's storied HD-650's, became too great.  You see, the ear and headband pads had all worn down such that there was no cushioning.   It was time for replacements.

I did my own research - fine for headphone pads, not so much for vaccines - and came across this company.  All they do is make top-drawer replacements for all kinds of headphones and ear buds.  After reading a few reviews, I took the plunge and ordered their best, the fenestrated sheepskin version from their Elite series.   One of the things I like about Dekoni is that they have models designed for specific headphone models - not all replacements are like that. 

The result?  Well, I do not exaggerate when I say that the $80 spent refreshed my morning standby's to a degree I did not expect.  The comfort is superb - how could memory foam wrapped in sheepskin be anything but - and the sound returned to its original glory.

But I didn't stop there.  Might they have a product that would improve my already-Killer Sony WF-1000XM4 true wireless earbuds?  I wear these nearly every day of my life on my walks in The Presidio.  They are perfect in every way, save one:  the tips that ship with them are still not perfect in terms of comfort, and they've never felt 100% secure in my ears.  Better than my XM3's - one of which popped out, never to be seen again, but still.

So - I risked something like $16 (I think) - and ordered their mouthful-named Premium Memory Foam Isolation Earphone Tips – True Wireless, in black.  For that price, you get 3 pairs: small, medium, and large.  (Duh.)

Let me say what they lack in branding skill they make up for with their products.  As with the ear pads, these aftermarket tips for ear buds transformed my experience with my XM4's:  same amazing sound and noise cancelling, but now with real comfort and without a fear they're going to fall out.  Highly recommended.   

Flossing That Doesn't Suck:  Killer

Yes, I saved the best, or at least the most icky, for last. 

I love to floss!  Said absolutely no one, ever.  I took it to the extreme and didn't floss frequently enough for years.  As the threats from my dentist grew more intense, he threw up his hands and introduced me to Gumchucks.  He said it was this or he'd have to cut off my head.

That got my attention, and it's been a night and day difference.  You pop in the floss thingy into each end of the stick, and off you go.  It is drastically easier than traditional dental floss or tape.  I've been using these almost daily now for a few years, and the result is I only need a partial denture.

Kidding.  Have a great week. 


Always great to hear from my friend, the Tiburon Yacht Club fixture André Aurich.  He was kind enough to send along this story from NPR.  It seems that the sales of vinyl albums are greater than that of CDs for the first time since 1987.  

Good and I've sung the praises of vinyl here previously.  Indeed, I wish we could revisit some other analog aspects of our lives that we've prematurely tossed.

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Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.


Here, and in a small preview of something big coming in the next couple of weeks, is the Killer chill classic from DC's Thievery Corporation, The Mirror Conspiracy.

I forget how old this music is getting now; for you kids out there not familiar, you're missing out.  There was a fairly extended period where I was seriously in to chill music like this; I'd say it peaked in 2008, during our visit to Formentera, off the coast of Spain, in the Balearic Islands.  Formentera is considered the global HQ for chill music in all of its various guises.  

There will be more on this topic - a whole bunch more - soon.

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