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Break the Shave and Stop the Endless Habit

by Bill Alley, Broadcast Host, Wordsmith and Beard Advocate

We were shopping earlier this month, and one of the things we do casually is notice how many men grow whiskers compared to shaving. There are some days Central Texas could hold its own Beard Convention with the number of gents appearing, ‘beard nodding’, and conversing. These guys did what all of us do: got to the point where shaving was pointless, expensive, old, tired, unwanted and unneeded. We all got to that place where we declared no more to the old ways and routine.














For me, that has a date: September 27th, 1987. That was the day I tossed every bit of shaving devices and ‘skin soothers’ out—giving one razor a well deserved stomp on the tile floor, hearing it crunch like a cockroach. What a lovely sound.

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World Beard and Moustache Updates with Paul Hendricks

by Bill Alley, Broadcast Host, Wordsmith and Beard Advocate

Right now, beard competing is making history. From the time competing began in the 1990s, whiskered men have grown a little gathering into the first 3-day “plus” extravaganza of facial hair. Austin, Texas gets to be the break-out event that gets more categories, more time, and more socializing.

Out of the gate the Yeards compete at the meet and greet social Thursday, August 31st with the gathering a great launch for year-long growers to show off their skills. It’s also a chance for these guys to gear up for other competitions they’ve entered. The Moustaches, Craft/Fantasy and Whiskerinas (ladies who make up beards or have actual beards grown) will have their moment Friday. Saturday, partial beard judging takes center stage first, followed by full beard competing. Sunday, it’s all about freestyle facial hair and the ‘best in show’.

Then, there’s the city. According to Paul Hendricks, Austin Facial Hair Club emcee, the businesses, restaurants, food trucks and watering holes are sensing something special. The AFHC has put the city on the map as it has been gathering attention for years from major media, but this atmosphere feels much more welcoming, if not ‘growing’. Hendricks admits you’ll find as many bearded folk as not, and many of us in Central Texas have seen venues and shops where the whiskered outnumber the shorn. Austin is a very compact inner city, quite walkable; from the prestigious Long Center contestants and attendees have an ease of getting to places on foot, by a number of cab services, and even by cycle or foot driven rickshaws.



Beards of the Far East and Southeast Asia

Seventh in a year-long series devoted to the ethnicity and culture of the Beard. by Bill Alley, Broadcast Host, Wordsmith and Beard Advocate

If thoughts of Asia and Beards seem foreign, this part of our ongoing Ethnic Beard Series will help create the association, and we’re using History to accomplish that.

Let’s take this virtual journey to the northernmost point of Japan (which, coincidentally is the southernmost point of Russia nearby). The South Asian Ainu tribe which traditionally occupies Hokkiado, Japan and villages in the southernmost tip of Russia’s nearby island chain are this hirsute link to

Japanese ethnicity. They are not many in number, with estimates of tens of thousands to several hundred thousands living, nor have they secured the typical aspect of what Japanese men appear to be. Much of this was due to their ancestral lands being incorporated into the Emperor dynasties of the 18th century forward where inclusion was given but with strict adherence to the more refined custom of the state expected. Only recently (within the past 25 years) have the Ainu been liberated from layers of disdain. Custom for Ainu men is to stop any shaving by adulthood and the women will adapt to tattoo their upper lip to form a black moustache—a sign of Ainu womanhood. Women and men shared duties of family life, with the men having solo responsibility for religious leadership or village affairs.

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Our Internet radio station KNGY-DB/Temple TX has the broadcast of special event moments which will be posted at the website – including photos, audio and video segments with a ‘roundup’ article set for the October Beardsley Gazette.

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