How Maria became proficient with a straight razor |

How Maria became proficient with a straight razor

Barry Ginter
Appeal editor

I’d never had a conversation with Maria Cipriani before Thursday, but it only took me a few minutes to develop an appreciation for her.

Good thing, too … the first week of September is Barber Appreciation Week.

Together, we figured out that she’s given about 137,000 haircuts during her 36 years as a barber.

There aren’t many traditional barbers around any more, she said. Their services are different than those you might see in a beauty salon. In addition to “regular, old-fashioned haircuts,” they do face and scalp massages. Maria even does shaves, using a straight razor.

Believe it or not, she’s never cut a customer. If you ask her how she became so proficient, she might hesitate before telling the story about her instructor’s methods in barber school in Long Beach, Calif., in 1968. It seems he had a creative way of finding subjects willing to have students experiment on their faces with straight razors. It involved offering bottles of cheap wine to the winos who frequented the area.

“Those guys were snoring by the time we got to them,” she recalled.

There aren’t many true barbers around any more, Maria said, because many locate in larger cities. “A good portion of men end up going to beauty salons,” she said.

So whether you frequent Capital Barbers, Les’ Barber Shop, Clean Cut, Abby’s or any other barbershop in the area, give them your regards this week.


Candus Wilson, an employee of the Albertson’s deli on Carson City’s south side, noticed something unusual on a shelf in a back room at the store. It was a 5-foot chicken suit.

“I thought, ‘there’s got to be an opportunity for us to use that,'” said Wilson, who’s been working at the deli for four months.

That opportunity will come this weekend.

Wilson and her daughter, Colean, will be holding a fundraiser in front of the store on Saturday from noon until 2 p.m. to benefit he Muscular Dystrophy Association, in conjunction with Jerry Lewis’ Labor Day telethon.

Wilson is calling it Chicken Scratch For M.D.A. She’ll be the caller and her daughter, brave soul, will be wearing the chicken suit (she has previous experience wearing an Easter Bunny suit). They’ll have free balloons for children, and will hold a rubber chicken toss game for a chance to win a chicken dinner.

Her goal is to raise more than $200 during the fundraiser, which would top the amount brought in during an employee charity car wash at the store, at 4348 S. Carson, last weekend.


Colleen Bannister is a savvy entrepreneur. The Carson City resident is the creator of the “35 thoughts” cards you may have seen in local stores. Bannister founded the business in her garage in 2002, and turned it into a successful business the old-fashioned way, by pounding the pavement.

The idea is that each of the 35 cards in a pack starts out with a phrase, which you the purchaser completes before giving it to the recipient. Her line includes cars for couples, moms, dads, baby, etc. One of the couples’ cards, for example, has the phrase, “When I think about when we first met ….” You’d then fill out the appropriate phrase on the back and, after completing the other 34 thoughts, present a perfectly customized gift to our loved one.

Now she’s taking that idea a step further. Bannister sees the cards as a perfect gift for members of the Armed Forces, so she’s begun a “35 Thoughts for a Hero” line. She’s begun Operation Hero as a fundraising campaign to raise money for the production and distribution of ’35 Thoughts for a Hero’ to the families of Nevada troops who have been deployed.

The cards will go to military families, who fill them out and send them to their loved ones.

“Who deserves it more than the soldiers.” she said. “It’s something they will keep forever.”

She’s not making any profit on the hero cards. She’s asking businesses to donate $50, which would provide 10 families with a pack of the cards. Business and individual donors will be eligible to win a prize.

Phrases include “You are a hero to me because … ,” ” You have made the world a better place by…,” and “If I could repeat one day with you it would be ….”

For more information on the cards, visit the Web site, call 1-800-407-9171 or write P.O. Box 2985, Carson City, NV 89702-2985. The Web site has a list of stores that carry the cards.

• Barry Ginter is the editor of the Appeal. Contact him at or 881-1221.