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July 28, 2009

Helpful Hints from joeeze: What's the best do-it-yourself teeth whitener?



And the winner is: Crest Whitestrips Supreme.

A July 21, 2009 Washington Post Health Section story featured the highlights of a Consumer Reports investigation; the Post piece follows.


The Price of a Whiter, Brighter Smile

Teeth whitening done at a dentist's office can brighten your smile in as little as one visit, but it can cost hundreds of dollars. On the other hand, over-the-counter home whitening kits cost far less. There's an ever-expanding array of do-it-yourself options, including strips that dissolve or stick on teeth and light-activated whitening trays. But how effective are they?

Consumer Reports tested eight products, ranging from $17 to $50, and found a clear winner: Crest Whitestrips Supreme. This product was the priciest kit CR tested. And it has limited availability, sold only by dentists and on Web sites such as Amazon.com and Dentist.net.

To test the kits, CR created a test panel of 82 staffers. Each person tested a whitening product and used it as directed by the manufacturer. A digital color-measuring device assessed each staff member's tooth color before and after the course of whitening. The testers also described their experiences with the kits, but ratings are based primarily on whitening scores as recorded by the color-measuring device.

Here are CR's findings:

The best home whitening kits included strips. The one exception was Target's Whitening Dissolving Strips, which rated poorly. And the least effective of all tested was the i-White, a tray with a battery-operated light that supposedly speeds whitening and claims to produce "dental professional results at home."

Sensitivity was common. All packaging on the tested kits say users might experience temporary tooth and gum sensitivity. And some testers did complain of tooth sensitivity to temperature and gum irritation when they used the product. Using a sensitivity-reducing toothpaste might help lessen this discomfort.

Trays didn't always fit. Some of the at-home kits included trays. CR found that those trays come in only one size, so they are unlikely to fit all mouths well. This is problematic because an ill-fitting tray can cause discomfort, and poor fit might prevent proper contacts between teeth and the whitening agents. "I felt like I had to clench my upper lip against the tray to keep it from moving," one tester said. Other common problems reported included difficulty speaking with the tray in place and excess gel from trays oozing out and sliding down the throat.

Bottom line. For much less than what you'd pay at a dentist's office, at-home kits can brighten teeth somewhat, but don't expect extreme results. And it's hard to say how long the whitening effects last.

Other tips:

• Whiteners work only on natural teeth. They don't bleach other dental work, such as caps, crowns, veneers, dentures or white fillings.

• Note that yellowed teeth are more likely to whiten than teeth with a gray, brown or bluish cast.

• Prior to considering whitening, think about reducing consumption of certain foods. For example, go easy on tea, coffee and red wine, which stain. Avoid soft drinks, including clear sodas, which contribute to staining by eroding tooth enamel. Brush your teeth after meals. And don't smoke, a practice that has other health benefits as well.



Jeez, your teeth are so bright I gotta wear shades.

July 28, 2009 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

bookofjoe Contest: We have a winner

I bet you haven't been sleeping well these past few nights, waiting for this post.

The winning entry in last week's contest to "Name something that vibrates that once didn't"... is from lewildbeast, who wrote, "My patient's sigmoid colon, before the 'misplaced' vibrator was surgically removed."

As stipulated, you get 10 (ten) Caramel Apple Pops via first class U.S. mail.

Just give me a mailing address and they'll be on their way.

There were 42 entries posted as comments and a slew more via email.

Some of my favorites that didn't win:

• my car

• dentist chairs

• our refrigerator

• movie theaters

• teething rings

• windshield wipers

• my neighborhood since Metrorail came through

• "my heart, happily, at last, in love"

• Schrodinger's cat

• "tween girls, once you give them tickets to see the Jonas brothers"

• pillows

• cribs

• dog collars

• Harry Potter's broom

Flautist, stand down — I'll deal with you and your issues out back....

July 28, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Qwitter — 'Catching Twitter quitters'


Good idea, especially if you're me on Twitter, where people are racing the rats to jump overboard before the whole shebang goes down.

"Qwitter emails you when someone stops following you on Twitter...."

Amusing back story: I read about the site in a July 13, 2009 Wall Street Journal story by Raymund [sic] Flandez about the ecosystem that's grown up around Twitter, sort of like how the App Store generated tons of great stuff once it got traction.

Wrote Flandez, "... Qwitter, from Ireland's Eoghan McCabe Ltd., emails you when somebody stops following you on Twitter — and tells you the last post they read. The service aims to give you an idea of what may have turned off a former fan."

"'It's basically a way for me to know who's not following me anymore,' says Beth Temple, a digital-business consultant based in New York. 'I wouldn't want to lose someone.' If she did, she says, she would 'look at recent tweets and consider the motivation.'"

Gee, Beth, it's not like losing a child.

OK, here's the funny part of the story (Chekhov remarked that if there's a gun on the wall in the first act, it had better be fired before the play ends — but I digress).

When I first tried to visit Qwitter, I typed in the obvious URL: qwitter.com.

But when you do that, you find yourself here.


Well, I thought it was amusing, anyway.

July 28, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Handerpants — Boxers or Briefs?

"Hundreds of uses."

Pictured below,


nine of them.


[via Brogui]

July 28, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bookcase Coffin: Life/Death Mashup Extraordinaire


Long story short: In Katie Zezima's eye-opening July 21, 2009 New York Times front page story about the rise of home burials, I happened on a singular piece of furniture (above and below): a bookcase coffin made by Waterville (Maine) home funeral proponent and coffin builder Chuck Lakin.

Wrote Zezima, "Mr. Lakin, a woodworker, makes coffins specifically for home funerals. Ranging in price from $480 to $1,200, they double as bookcases, entertainment centers and coffee tables until they need to be used."


"He became interested in home funerals after his father died 30 years ago and he felt there was a 'disconnect' during the funeral process. Mr. Lakin is now a resource for funeral directors in central Maine and a local hospice."

"His coffins are sold to people like Ginny Landry, 77, who wants a home funeral one day but is content to use her coffin to showcase the quilts she makes. It once stood in her bedroom, but her husband, Rudolph, made her move it to a guest room because he pictured her in the coffin every time he laid eyes on it."

Zezima noted that "Advocates say the number of home funerals, where everything from caring for the dead to the visiting hours to the building of the coffin is done at home, has soared in the last five years, putting the funerals 'where home births were 30 years ago,' according to ... Lakin."


Lakin's Bookcase Coffin along with his other offerings are available at his website, Last Things.

July 28, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

July 28, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Best guitar store security gate in the world


It isn't even close.

Above, the security gate of The Guitar Store, at 62 Commercial Road opposite Southampton Central railway station in Southampton, England.

It’s shaped like a colossal Fender Vibro Champ XD amp (below).


Meet the staff: below, "director and resident luthier Jamie 'Razor' Goatley."


Here's "weird-beard Wesley":


Next up (two pictures, no less) is "senior executive salesman,


lick man, and tea boy Jonny Moody from the local band 'The Possessed.'"


Finally, "eternal Saturday lad Steve 'Shut Up Steve' Barlow, aka Kissin' Steve Barlow."


If you visit, tell them I sent you — that'll guarantee a very special welcome.*


*File under "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

[via NoiseAddictsOddee and Alistair Why]

July 28, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tweeter for your Woofer: Dog Leash w/ Integrated Training Whistle


I wonder if this device could be repurposed into a human iteration, as part of a belt that would tell you when it's time to push back from the table.

Just a thought.

From the website:


Dog Training Whistle

Teach your pet to walk on a leash without pulling and tugging.

Device attaches to any leash and collar — when dog pulls, device emits a high-pitched whistle which, along with your verbal commands, conditions pooch to behave.

Humane, non-electric training aid produces results in as little as 2 to 3 days.

Safe and effective for all sizes and breeds.

9" L.



"Pooch" — a fine word from back in the day that's slowly fading from the vernacular.

$9.98 (dog not included).

July 28, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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