No Shave November


It started simply because I forgot to take my razor on a trip to a desert oasis. But with November around the corner, I thought, there is a good excuse to continue.

And a good cause. No Shave November raises money and awareness about cancer. Particularly directed to men, it provides an answer to the obvious question:

Why are you doing that to your face?

The American Cancer Society recommends all men at age 50 speak with a doctor about colon and prostrate cancer screening. Early detection can stop a killer.

I’m not at age 50 yet, no matter what the gray may suggest.

But cancer does not discriminate. In December we plan to visit and offer a donation to Hospital 57357, the foundation number of the Children’s Cancer Hospital of Egypt.

At 320 beds it is considered the largest in the world. Modeled after St. Jude’s in Tennessee, it treats patients completely free of charge.

We have visited once before, and it can be a difficult thing to introduce yourself and offer words of encouragement to the innocents suffering. But it is a good thing to do, and we trust our children will learn even from our discomfort.

Mine, perhaps. My wife was much more natural. Our kids were a mixed bag. Perhaps next time will be easier.

But whether I go with my semblance of a beard will be up to our children. Today as November ends I’ll put it to a vote if they want me to shave or continue growing for another month.

My wife will break a tie. Of course, she can veto the whole process if she likes.

I must say, though, it has been fun. Please let us know if you would like to donate also.



How Can Egyptians Smoke, Looking at This?

Old man smoking

A recent Ahram Online article quoted from the Egyptian minister of health, stating nearly a quarter of all Egyptians smoke, including 46 percent of adult males. This, he said, is one of the highest rates in the world.

But every time one of these Egyptians reaches to take a cigarette, one of these images stares him or her in the face:

Smoking Warning

The yellow bar advertises the local number to help quit smoking, warning it damages health and causes death. The images are more specific.

The old man: Smoking leads to senility and early impotence.

The child: Secondhand smoking afflicts children with lung disease and asthma.

The foot: Smoking causes gangrene of the foot.

The mouth: Smoking causes tongue cancer.

Here’s a larger image of the tongue:

Smoking Tongue

The campaign to label cigarette boxes is mandated by Egyptian participation in the UN’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Earlier images were much less graphic, though one still touched on impotence as a motivating threat.

Cigarette impotence

The yellow warning reads: Warning, smoking ruins heath and causes death. The harmful effects of smoking afflict both the smoker and non-smoker.

Well and good, but what is meant to capture the attention is this: Over a long period of time, smoking affects marital relations.

This image is directed to women:

Smoking Baby

The yellow warning is the same, but the specific message says: Being among smokers harms the pregnant woman’s fetus and causes miscarriage.

These kindlier messages have been placed on cigarette boxes since 2008. The scarier images since 2012.

I’m not sure how many Egyptians smoked six years ago, but surely more should call the advertised number: 16805