Friday, June 28, 2002

Toothbrush Technology

I went to the dentist today. I have good teeth- I had my one and only cavity when I was 25 - but I am an "aggressive" brusher and the hygenist was trying to sell me on the idea of switching to an electric toothbrush.

There are many areas of science where mankind can still make great leaps of discovery- faster computers, more efficient batteries, DNA sequencing. But I think we pretty much have gone as far as we can in terms of Toothbrush Technology. After 10,000 years of progress, I think it's safe to say we have perfected the toothbrush. Yet every 6 months, Oral-B needs to come up with some new "breakthrough": Angled handle! Multi-tiered bristles! Pivoting head! It's a freaking toothbrush. If you brush, you'll have good teeth. If you don't, you won't. Simple. We don't need an army of toothbrush engineers researching Toothbrush v.10.4

So no, I will not be buying an electric toothbrush.

Colors are a different matter. Everyone knows that blue handles work better than red ones. And the translucent ones work best.


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Thursday, June 27, 2002

[This was an email sent to the webmaster of regarding the Pledge of Allegiance]

I'm going to sound like your mother here:

"I'm not angry, I'm disappointed."

This may surprise you, but I'm on your side on this one. But I'm not getting a sense of moral outrage from you which would help justify my own rants in the office today. Last night, when the story broke, I just rolled my eyes and though "give me a break, who cares, just leave everything the way it is." But after seeing the reaction of the country, I hope they DO change the pledge if for no other reason than to spite the stupid people.

People who are in favor of removing "under God" are very rational in their
arguments: "this is what the constitution says, this is the legal precedent, therefore this is the conclusion." But people opposed to the ruling can come up with nothing better than "well that's just stupid." I have yet to hear a single logical counter-argument from anyone in Congress. My personal favorite quote is from Gephardt: "I don't agree with the ruling. I haven't read it, but from what I've heard about it, it doesn't make good sense to me." He didn't even bother to READ the ruling, yet he's against it.

Connie Chung spoke to Michael Newdow last night on CNN in what was probably the most embarrassing interview I have ever seen. All she did was try to make him into a villian. "Aren't you worried you're harming your daughter?" "Well what about our money, should we just change all of that regardless of the cost?" At one point, she actually asked him if he was prepared to be called "the most hated man in America." Newdow maintained his composure and simply stuck to the facts of the case. He's a true American hero if you ask me.

A few corrections for you, however:

Children are not required to recite to pledge, as you say on your website. The problem is that having other children recite the pledge can create an exclusionary environment for those who don't say it, which is illegal.

In California at least, schools do NOT have to say the pledge at all. They simply must participate in daily "patriotic exercises". Reciting the pledge satifies that requirement, but it is not mandatory. Singing the Star-Spangled Banner, raising the Flag, or reading the "Congressman of The Day" calendar would also satisfy the requirement.

There are tough legal distinctions between the "establishment" of religion, and "endorsement" or "acknowledgement" of religion. You can't simply throw the First Ammendment on your webpage as the Grand Fix-All, because it is more complicated than that. I believe that there is some legal precedent somewhere that can use these distinctions as a bit of a loophole and actually justify the pledge as being constitutional, at least for a short while. I don't know what that precedent is, but that is the kind of counter-argument I'm looking for from my elected officials. They're supposed to be the legal experts.

So for now at least, your brother remains the Rat Bastard of the family.



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