Thursday, August 23, 2012

There Is a Balm

Here is a continuation of my a-peeling story in the previous post.

The news is, I am still peeling.  Though a bit less each day.  And, I also received a very gracious letter from the parent company of the product I wrote of in the prior post.  They included several coupons for products in their overall parent company's stable.  Many of those products I use, so I happily accepted the coupons.  One small irony--they also included a coupon for the product I suspect caused my wee predicament in the first place. 

Oh, well.  Two steps forward, one step back.

Now, the balmy part of this post.  I suddenly recalled a product I had first learned about some 30 years ago.  When we had our first (wonderful) English setter--a sweet dog named Shannon--she occasionally developed hot spots.  She would fuss at and lick various places on her paws.  In a casual conversation with a neighbor, she mentioned that what I needed to use was Bag Balm.  This neighbor and her husband had owned a general store in rural central Pennsylvania, and Bag Balm was something they always had on hand.  She gave me a small sample.

Well, it did the trick.  But the history of Bag Balm is quite amusing to me--originally it was developed for farmers to use on cows whose udders became inflamed from milking.  Hence its name--Bag Balm. 

It is very nearly wonder stuff.  It cured the hot spots. 

When I saw it for sale at one of my favorite websites for shopping--the Vermont Country Store--I ordered some.  And it arrived yesterday.  I tried it on my peeling hands--and for now they are becoming soothed and smooth.

Oh, yes, there is a balm.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm Appealing

...make that I'm a-peeling.

This is a rather strange tale and my only reason for telling it is a kind of caveat emptor effort.

I recently bought a liquid body soap product.  I am an enthusiastic shopper fan of Costco--a great store with a good record of fair treatment for employees (as far as I know).  And, I really don't mind buying a gross of whatever as long as the product is unlikely to go stale, bad or otherwise deteriorate.  Since I like using a liquid body soap for showering and, since my old favorite wasn't available, I bought a different brand than what I had been getting.

This product was the one pictured here.  I am not naming it perhaps for understandable reasons.  Read on.

Anyway, I began using it.  It really was creamy, and generally worked quite well.  But then...but then, I noticed that when I touched things--for example, petting my cats--things felt extra silky and soft.   Even running my hands over my own hair, it felt...different.  Mildly put-off, I wondered--is this the new soap.

Then, after about a week of using the product, my hands began to peel.  Yes, PEEL.  My skin began peeling off slowly as if I were moulting. 

So, I stopped using the product IMMEDIATELY.  I offered it on Freecycle to others who might have used it.  One woman responded--oh, this stuff is fantastic, so figuring she had used it with no problems, I gave it to her.

Then I wrote to the parent company.  I thought they might want to know that not everyone can tolerate their product.  Here's the answer I got back:
Thank you for contacting us.

We do apologize for the experience you reported concerning our Dxxx Body Wash..
We would like to assist you further. In order for us to do so, please forward the following additional information:

- Your telephone number (daytime, evening, cell, etc.)
- The UPC code (bar code) off of the product
- The manufacturing code off of the packaging
- The store name and address where the product was purchased

Upon receipt, this additional information will be forwarded to our Specialist who will contact you shortly.

Now, understand, I had already filled out an auto-response type form.  Phone number was NOT a required element, so I left it blank intentionally.  I also informed them since I no longer had the product, I did not have a UPC code or a manufacturing code.  I just wanted them to know what effect the product had on me.

Oh, I also ruled out any other variable--no other change in anything: no new laundry detergent, no new food, no new med, etc.

So, now what?  I guess I can contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Or I can blog.

So, that's my tale of a-peeling.  And my appeal--always always let the buyer beware.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

An Open Letter to the Koch Brothers

When the history of the 21st century is written, historians will portray some as heroes and some as villains.  It is rare, indeed, for the same person to have an opportunity in adult life to be seen as villain and yet have it wholly within his control to become a hero.

Yet such is the case with the Koch brothers.  As history is being written by your actions, you would—as of now—fall into the villain column.  The extent of your villainy is yet to unfold.  But, with no change in course, you will now be tagged as the architects of the destruction of the environment, democracy and the Republican Party.

WOW! You say.  How can we two brothers, Charles and David[i], be responsible for all that?

So, I will summarize how.

First, the environment.  By far, this is the most serious legacy—obviously, without the environment we are all harmed, if not doomed.  You own Koch Industries, reckoned by Forbes to be the second largest privately held company in the United States.  Since you are heavily invested in fossil fuel production, you have not only enabled the world’s continued dependency on these fuels, you have fought environmental regulations at every turn.  You help lead opposition to reducing greenhouse gases.  Some of your activities were detailed in this story published in late 2011 in Bloomberg Markets Magazine.

Next, the Republican Party.  It is now known that much of the funding and impetus in the formation of the so-called Tea Party came from you or organizations you set up and funded.  The New Yorker detailed your political activities in Jane Mayer’s fascinating study.  With the rise of the Tea Party, which continually pushes the Republican Party further and further to the far right, the county is becoming increasingly polarized.  True, there are other causes of that polarization, but the coalescing influence of a kind of third party, which makes more and more in-roads into traditional Republican areas, does not result in a stronger Republican party.  Combine that effect with the vaunted tendency of Tea Party darlings to eschew compromise (witness the rhetoric of someone such as Rand Paul) and the result is not one which makes the Republican Party stronger. 
Finally, democracy.  The Supreme Court bears the blame for the horrific decision in the Citizens’ United case, but you have taken full advantage of the ruling that (as in Mitt Romney’s memorable words) “corporations are people, my friend.”  No limit is placed on money which can be given to super pacs which can practically buy elections.  Maybe not buy in the sense of putting money in someone’s hand and saying “vote for so-and-so” but very nearly that.  When who has the most money can determine the outcome of an election what we have is no longer a democracy.

So, here’s my challenge.  Think how history will portray you.  Think about the future of the world—of the lives of your children and grandchildren.  Is making money so important to you that you don't care if the environment is ruined beyond recovery.  Is controlling the outcome of elections so critical that you can't trust people to make their own decisions without your funding an ersatz political movement? Do you want your role as villains to be solidified?  Or would you rather be heroes?   The choice really is yours.

[i] There are two other brothers— Frederick and William—but in 1983 Charles and David bought out their shares in Koch Industries.

Friday, August 03, 2012


No, not really speechless.  Just wordless for the time being.

I have some ideas rattling around in my head, that will--in due time--make their way to this page.

Meanwhile, I will be watching the Olympics, and that other season of sport--politics.

That is all.

Keep calm and carry on.