Saturday, August 6, 2022

I was this many days old when I learned...

 JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I was headed over to the Pop sugar website to look for book information. Now, if you have never been to Popsugar.com, I encourage you to give it a try for their terrific book recommendations. They have praised, among others, our own Jenn McKinlay, in one of their "best books of summer" lists. They also provide lists of recommendations for thrillers, mysteries, women's fiction and nonfiction; really a must-read site for me when it comes to finding new releases.

However! While I usually go straight to the book section, the other day I thought I would take a look at the main page. They do a lot of of celebrity gossip, music news, and generally give an insight into the culture of today. And it was right there that I realized I know absolutely nothing about the culture of today.

Scrolling past the stories about actors and singers I had never heard of, I ran across a "reviewed and approved" landing site, that sent the reader to six different evidently fabulous products. Reader, I didn't recognize any of them. And when I say I didn't recognize them, I mean in several instances I only understood individual words.


 

Let's take the first item on the list. Smart toothbrush. I understand each of those words individually, but combined? I'm baffled. Does the toothbrush send alerts to your cell phone if you're not brushing long enough? Does it nag you to put in a full 4 minutes 3 times a day? It has been well over 50 years since I've had to have anyone remind me to brush my teeth, and I'm not sure why I need an artificially intelligent toothbrush to take the place of my mother.

The second item: bamboo sneakers. I have sneakers. You have sneakers. We all have sneakers. Are your sneakers made of bamboo? I recall a very hippie dippy Whole Earth Catalog kind of flip flop back in the late 70s that was made of some sort of rush matting. Are these sneakers the latest iteration of that idea? If I walk in the National Zoo, will pandas attempt to eat my sneakers?

Item the third: mineral sunscreen. Okay, this I understand. Mineral sunscreen protects you from the potentially killing rays of the sun by putting a thick chalky layer on your skin. I think? I'm waiting for the expose that reveals the minerals for this wholesome sun protection actually come from exploitative minds that are somehow worsening the climate crisis and probably expanding the whole in the ozone layer. (I don't think we have a hole in the ozone layer anymore, but I suppose it's always possible to get a new one!)

Fourth item. Organic matcha. I have to confess I inadvertently cheated on this. I was mentioning this list to my brother-in-law Dan and I said, "I know what matcha is. It's that Chilean drink that is whisked up in a gourd." Reader, it will not surprise you to learn I was wrong. Dan explained I was thinking of yerba matta; matcha is powdered green tea from Japan. His youngest son loves it, which just goes to prove that all of these items are probably aimed at generation Z. I, on the other hand, am part of generation Zzzzzz.

Fifth on the list. OOKIOH Swim. It could be a swimsuit. It could be a new exercise craze. It could be something completely unrelated to actual swimming, sort of like the "Adult Swim" comedy show on one of the cable networks. (Or is it a cartoon show?) Whatever it is, it's probably smart, organic, and made of natural items like grasses and rocks.

Finally, the sixth item, which is the only one containing no words I recognize. Caraway Cookwa. I'm pretty sure the tasty seeds are spelled differently, right? And what is a cookwa? Is this some sort of portable Australian camping stove? Something you take along to the Billabong? We've seen the reinvention of the pressure cooker, in the form of the hot pot, and we've seen the reintroduction of sous vide, which I am under the impression was originally some sort of 16th century cooking method. Perhaps a cookwa is an updated sort of wok. One that talks to your phone, and Alexa, and your smart toothbrush, so it knows to make sure you brush your teeth after you've eaten dinner.

All I can say for certain is; I am not the target audience for this section of Popsugar.com. I have a sneaking suspicion the mainstream of culture has passed me completely by, and if I want to find products that make sense to me, and that I can envision using, I should probably subscribe to AARP magazine.

How about you, dear readers? Without checking, do you know what these "Reviewed and Approved" items do? Are you in touch with the pulse of contemporary consumer society? Or are you more Prevention magazine and Reader's Digest?

63 comments:

  1. Never having been to this Pop Sugar site, I can honestly say I am clueless when it comes to the Smart Toothbrush [no, I do not have one] and/or bamboo sneakers [although I’ve heard of so many other things being made of bamboo I’m not particularly surprised to discover that sneakers are on the list]. And, although I go through scads of sunblock, mineral sunscreen is a new one for me.

    Organic matcha I understand. I've never heard of it before, but I understand organic and matcha.
    Caraway I understand. Caraway joined with Cookwa leaves me clueless. OOKIOH Swim? Huh?

    I guess that means I’ve pretty much missed the pulse of contemporary consumer society . . . but Reader’s Digest is right up my alley . . . .

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    1. Joan, my parents always had copies of Reader's Digest magazine and Prevention, the little magazine giving you health tips, in drawers next to the toilet. The older I got, the more I appreciated them!

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  2. Not a clue what any of these things are, but I do know there is a process for turning plant fiber (hemp and/or bamboo-- we already do this with cotton and linen) into cloth, which could then be made into sneakers.

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    1. I'm impressed! Now I'll have to Google that, Ellen, and be in the rabbit hole for a few hours. LOL.

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    2. Bamboo fabric for clothes has been around for some time now. Using it for sneakers may be a newish iteration.

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    3. Bamboo is super absorbent when used as kitchen towels - not so good for cooking utensils - it splinters

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  3. I knew not of these strange things and/or terms, either, but I do know how to Google. The two oddest (to me) — the OOKIOH Swim and the Caraway Cookwa — have rather ordinary meanings. OOKIOH Swim is a swimwear brand name and Cookwa is merely a truncated version of “Cookware”. I do agree with you, Ms. Spencer-Fleming, though, that some of us have crossed into the territory once reserved for our parents - not understanding the youth of today!

    Pat S.

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    1. Right there with you. The Hooligans have begun explaining things to me as if I'm five and while it's annoying, I secretly appreciate it. LOL.

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  4. HA, I know and use #3 and 4. I get allergic reactions using (most) conventional sunscreen so I have used mineral sunscreen for over a decade. The original version was chalky white but the formulae have improved and now turn clear on your skin. Matcha is too expensive so I rarely drink it. I use the regular green tea.

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    1. I knew the same ones as you Grace.
      The mineral sunscreen was highly recommended to me by my pharmacist.
      As a tea drinker, I knew matcha but I’m not fancy and don’t follow the trends. I drink all kinds of tea.
      Danielle

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    2. Glad to hear that mineral sunscreen is safe! I had visions of Elizabethan women painting lead on their faces to look more white.

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    3. Oh Grace. I too developed an allergy to most sunscreens. And as I burn easily and have had a couple pre-cancerous lesions frozen off, I happily use Zinc sunscreen. (Don't you all remember the white-nosed lifeguards?)

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    4. It's the greasiness of sunscreen that I dislike (although I wear it). Does the mineral stuff feel better on your skin?

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    5. I use a moisturizer with sunscreen, but just face and neck. Otherwise, yep, mos of it is greasy.

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    6. With Judy on the sunscreen moisturizer. It's wonderful and non-greasy!

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    7. Jenn, the modern formulations of the mineral sunscreens are better than those of old. But I still feel that I have a layer on my skin.

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  5. So funny, Julia. Count me right there with you in being clueless, out of the mainstream, and not that interested in pop culture to begin with! That said, a friend who is older than I orders cases of bamboo TP because it's more sustainable (and don't worry, it's as soft as other kinds), so the sneakers don't surprise me.

    I don't want a smart anything in my house except my phone and my (and Hugh's) brain, but I was thinking of getting a bamboo toothbrush instead of a new plastic one.

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    1. I'm with you on the bamboo, Edith. I've looked at those toothbrushes, too. Also, no smart stuff in my house either. In fact, I keep thinking I want less and less. Too many distractions as it is!

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    2. My dentist keeps giving me tooth brushes, so I always have a couple of spares in the misc storage area under my sink. Haven't actually BOUGHT a toothbrush in years (but ask me about buying teeth, i.e.implants. not cheap.)

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  6. Never heard of this site. I went over there and I have no idea what these items are. Okay, I do enjoy a little celebrity gossip, but this site is not for me.

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    1. Pop Sugar does have good book recs and their celebrity news is solid, but it definitely skews young. I'm with you, Dru.

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  7. Did you know young women determine their brand loyalty for life as teenagers? Deodorant, toothpaste, mascara, body lotion, shampoo. As an adult, I've had no reason to change brands other than an occasional allergic reaction to a "new and improved" product.

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    1. I have read that! It was true for me, too, but then few years ago I noticed there were so many new and different and more sustainable companies, so I've been branching out - it only took me 30 years. LOL.

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    2. Same brand here for 50 years. OMG

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    3. Stuff that was around in my teens (and I loved) is no longer around, sigh. I loved Lemon Up Shampoo and the original Herbal Essence, Yardley cosmetics, Helena Rubenstein mascara (with a wand not a brush). All gone now, although there are some remakes, they are not the same - or maybe age has rendered them not as useful. I did hear they're bringing back 10-0-6, but I think that ship has sailed for me. Although I did like the smell.

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  8. Too funny
    Mostly nope, though I have considered bamboo shoes. "Smart" is always a turn-off (turnoff?)

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    1. That's me. Bamboo is amazing but I hesitate because, as the next best thing, someone will decide it is the only thing that we need to grow and then reduce production to one GMO'd strain. Curmudgeon, me?

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    2. Yes, to all of the above. Bamboo can be very invasive so if it becomes a global crop...ugh.

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    3. Bamboo, if it's the native kind, isn't actually invasive, although it can get out of control, or be aggressive, outspreading it's footprint via root spread.

      Invasive is more appropriate when talking about nonnative species that are spread by seeds.

      This is uppermost in my mind right now because it came up yesterday in a class I'm taking.

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  9. Hilarious post! I don't want a toothbrush that's smarter than I am. My sister had a bamboo T-shirt from one of the road races she did, and loved it, said it was very soft. I have heard of and tried matcha, in fact have some in my cupboard (a Christmas gift from my Japanese neighbor). Matcha tea lattes are pretty popular in hipster land. The others--no clue. I'm going to go find out.

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    1. I have matcha in my cupboard, too. It's a very strong flavor and I wasn't a super big fan of green tea (despite the health benefits) to begin with. Definitely, a hipster bev.

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  10. Julia, you young-uns will venture to all kinds of websites. Lol
    I did know about Pop Sugar's book recommendations a couple times when Jenn or another much loved author posted a link on Facebook. Otherwise, nope.
    I will try bamboo products and hope to expand that because it is so sustainable.
    We made french fries in the new air fryer last night! Woo-hoo. Ann, winner!

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    1. I love my air fryer!!! I actually made salmon fillets in it and they came out amazing.

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    2. Judy, the reason we got an air fryer is my sister-in-law told us how delicious french fries were from it. They are a treat indeed, but we haven't had them for a while. We haven't been very adventuresome with our air fryer. Jenn, please tell me how you fixed the salmon in the air fryer, step by step, please.

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  11. Some things I recognize. We've sleep on sheets made from bamboo. The fabric is soft, like three-figure-count cotton, cool, and wears like iron. Like, ten years of cool comfort. The elastic in the sheet wears out before the fabric. That someone would make shoes from bamboo fabric makes sense. With it being a sustainable/renewable material, I'm surprised Tom's hasn't done it yet. Maybe they have. Those shoes are too narrow for my duck feet.

    And I just polished off my morning organic ceremonial matcha latte I make here at home. I have a subscription for it on Prime. Except I also have some backup single serve packets in case I blow through my subscription packet. I'm hoping ceremonial matcha is my most expensive vice, but I suspect it's not.

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    1. Apparently, I need more caffeine. I'm that Anonymous poster. I forgot to change the drop-down menu.

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    2. Rhonda, hemp is another fabric fiber that wears like iron and is super comfortable to wear. Years ago, Jockey offered hemp underwear, and I loved their no-show hipster panties. They never wore out, outlasting the elastic by a mile.

      Naturally, Jockey discontinued them.

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    3. Of. Course. They discontinued it. How will they sell us more if stuff won't wear out? This is a big puzzle, I bet, in companies eager to make a mark with a younger crowd seeking sustainable products and selling more via planned obsolescence.

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    4. Oh, I hadn't thought about the reduced profit margin of things that don't wear out. Hmm. Excellent point.

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  12. No idea what a smart toothbrush does, but I recognize all the others. Caraway and Ookioh are just brand names for ordinary things like cookware and bathing suits.

    Mineral sunscreen is good stuff. It's safer for coral reefs than chemical sunscreens and it complies with Hawaii's sunscreen law so we use it there. Also, it doesn't make my eyes water if I sweat after putting it on, so it's good on the mainland too.

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    1. Aloha, Hawaii! I had no idea Hawaii had sunscreen laws. Whenever I've been there, I've had to buy sunscreen (never enough for that Pacific sun) so I assume it's the right stuff.

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  13. Julia, I drifted into the land of old fogeys years ago, apparently. And I understood maybe two of those items. But my question to you is: when are you going to compile all of these droll, hilarious, funny, smart essays into a book?

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    1. YES!!! We've been pushing Julia to publish a book for a while now.

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  14. A smart toothbrush? I don't think so. I already have a smart washing machine that hasn't impressed me yet. Okay, I haven't connected it to the internet so I guess it isn't all that smart or it would have connected itself. I can't imagine any reasons why it would be a good thing. I picked up some giveaway copies of People magazine at the library. Sadly, most of those people I don't even know.

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    1. My Smart stove isn't hooked up either. LOL. I think I tapped out of following celebrities when the Kardashians appeared. Hard pass.

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  15. Hank Phillippi RyanAugust 6, 2022 at 10:02 AM

    Exactly, Julia! GenerationZzzzzzzz. All anyone needs to say.

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  16. In theory I know what they all are, but I'm not especially compelled to try any of them over my old choices. Everything is made with matcha these days, and not just your morning cuppa. I absolutely do not need another piece of cookware, so Caraway's many (very appealing) ads fall on deaf ears (dumb eyes?). Bamboo sneakers would be fine, if I see some made of that sustainable material, and I was in the market for new shoes. Same with swimwear. I have used mineral sunscreen, for years, in the form of a powder makeup. The best ever, has no fragrance, and I hope they never quit making it.

    "Smart" products are a gimmick, in my view, and why do we need most of them? Toothbrush? Why is it necessary to send messages about our dental hygiene into the ether? It doesn't benefit anyone but the makers of dentifrice products. Same with light bulbs, and anything else related to Alexa and her nosy pals. Facebook and Google are already too intrusive, without a toothbrush narking us out.

    Okay, okay. I'm officially a curmudgeon.

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    1. Right there with you, Karen. And I feel like everything that is smart is just one more thing to maintain. I'm trying to have less chores as I age not more.

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    2. No, Karen. You are not a curmudgeon! I won't even connect my phone to my computer. I refuse to use Chrome on my computer. Bad enough that Google already has so much info on me. No smart products connected to the internet here and I worry about my car being overtaken by some hacker's computer. I wish that my stove/oven was all mechanical with no electronics. Turn it on, turn it off. I can be responsible on my own. It's disconcerting that strangers have so much information about each of us!

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  17. Oh Julia. Too funny. I am of the Prevention magazine and Reader's Digest generation.
    I use Zinc sunscreen as I posted above because of sensitive skin.
    I have bamboo gardening gloves and like the idea of items made from bamboo.

    Smart toothbrush or Smart anything -- not so sure. Though I love my computer, phone, and TV.
    I saw a couple of stories about the metaverse recently that left me wondering at human's delight with technology. You strap on this goggle/headset thing and hold onto controllers and plunge into a virtual reality where you see and touch people and things that aren't there.

    All I can think is, if I do that then I can't see and touch things that are right in front of me, so what's the point? Whenever I see the screenshots of the metaverse and then look at the real world, I am struck with awe and wonder at how multi-layered, gorgeous, and miraculous the real world is.
    But I am hoping the craze catches on so that the covid-crowded trails get a little emptier for those of us who want the world we were born into.
    Also, did you know that there is now a problem with groping in the metaverse? What is the meta-world coming to?

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    1. Groping in the metaverse? I'm speechless. Seriously? This is why we can't have nice things.

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  18. Julia, you've done it again. Had me laughing in my morning java. Safe to say, I only know a few of these items and that's only because I birthed two Gen-Z Hooligans. I don't want a smart anything, mental scarring from The Terminator movies of my youth, no doubt. I don't even have Alexa and Siri on my phone and I just yell at each other because I have trust issues and don't believe that she knows the best route to get anywhere. But I do love me some Prevention magazine :)

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    1. Prevention! My obsessive aunt Dorothy used to give my family a subscription to it every year. My mom kind of rolled her eyes. When the Ecology movement happened (yes, first Earth Day, yes I am that old), I snapped up the issues and took them to college with me.

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  19. This is hysterical! I do know what matcha is - can't say I've ever tried it. As for the rest - nope, nope, nope, and nope. Use of the Oxford comma should tell you everything you need to know about my generation tag - and probably why I'm woefully behind on trends. Now that I think about it, I used to look forward to waiting at the hairdressers and various appointments so I could indulge in my People mag addiction. Been years since that's held any interest - I no longer know who those people are - except in the In Memoriam section! Sigh, sad commentary. Bring back the Whole Earth Catalogue!

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  20. FYI - The connection between stuff and the internet is called "the internet of things."

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    1. cd, so THAT’S what that means! I always hear one of my nephews using that term!

      DebRo

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  21. JULIA: Sorry I am late to the party again. There are always new things like these. Some that I was kind of familiar with like Matcha because I have been following an Instagram account that mentions matcha tea often. And Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge gets drinks from ? Starbucks in England that has matcha tea in the recipe.

    Because of my hearing loss and I do NOT hear 24/7, perhaps I miss some information that people in my age group would know about? Who knows? When I was a young child, I loved movies and always read movie magazines (do they still exist?). Once in a while I would read People magazine. I remember going to see a movie with my Mom in the theater. That movie had captions, which was not often. Jessica Alba was in the movie. I remember my Mom saying "Now I know who my students are talking about because I often hear about Jessica Alba".

    Great topic this morning!

    Diana

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  22. Well, just about the only thing here that I’ve heard of is the Pop Sugar website, although I’ve never looked at it. Or maybe I have, but didn’t realize that’s what it was!

    My then-fourteen year old niece set up my first computer. She’s now married and the mother of a preschooler who can probably set up a computer for HER!

    DebRo

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  23. JULIA: Can you please contact me at my email address? todd823diana at gmail dot com. I was going to send you a DM via Instagram to ask you a Question. I went to JRW Instagram and there was no link to your Instagram,

    Thank you,
    Diana

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  24. I've heard of Pop Sugar before, and I may have even clicked on something that was linked elsewhere to it, but I had never gone to its home page and looked until today. After counting six references and pics for the Kardashians (there were probably more), I knew that Pop Sugar was not for me.

    Smart merchandise? Well, the smartest I get is having a smart television so I can stream without difficulty, and my phone is connected to my printer. But, the new stove is smart, and we haven't connected it to the Internet yet. I have Alexa, but I haven't hooked it up yet. I do like having my phone connected to my car so I can travel safely and still talk on it. My twelve-year-old granddaughter was already making animation on her iPad a couple of years ago.

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  25. Lol! I own a smart toothbrush! But have never connected it. It was the only electric toothbrush my dentist had, so I took it. I’m fascinated by smart devices, but I draw the line at recording how long I’m brushing and reporting in to the dentist!

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