After scooping the world’s media (including the N.Y. Times) by hours on the News Corp.’s plan to split up, this columnist decided to turn to “soft news.” What could be more fun that bringing up the name of W.C. Fields, the iconic comedian? Years before he was to appear as Captain Andy in “Showboat” at the Muny, where he hid bottles of hootch in the trees, he grew up poor and sleeping huddled in doorways in all weather. It got to the point he could only relax and sleep in a barber chair, so he would splurge on hot shaves. By the time he was a headliner in vaudeville, Fields found that though his wallet was now full, his nights were devoid of sleep because he could only get comfy in a barber chair, or stretched out on a pool table. Such is the restful luxury of an old-fashioned barbershop shave with hot towels, rich hot lather and straight razor honed on a leather strap. At swanky Alexandra Salon inside the lobby of the Flamingo Resort in Las Vegas, an old-fashioned shave costs $65, plus tip. There’s better value and great service right here in St. Louis that would do W.C. Fields proud: At Mark LaPlante’s Blades on Washington Avenue, between Tucker and Eleventh Streets, the price for a lovely hot shave is just $19, plus tip for skilled shavers. A third-generation stylist, Mark is approaching the third anniversary of opening Blades. His dad, Jack, opened LaPlante School of Hairstyling in 1968. Back then, barbers-to-be-trained in hot lather shaving used a straight razor to remove lather ever so gently from balloons.