Category Archives: Opinion

AP-24 Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

You, too, can have yellow teeth

Opinion

My wise old grandmotherShortly after my wise old grandmother (MWOG) adopted me in December 1965, I went to the dentist with her, not because I needed dental work but because she didn’t want to leave me home all alone since I was still quite the juvenile delinquent.

Her dentist was her brother, Dr. Bill Dismuke, and he lived in Victoria TX, about 110 miles from us in Kingsville.

Dr. Dismuke forever soured me on dentists. It was nothing specific that he did. It was what all dentists did, and still do, and I, an impressionable juvenile delinquent of age 10.75, was impressed by the amount of pain he could cause MWOG.

Thus, when it comes to my teeth (and health, really), I’m kind of a “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” guy. When I started having knee and shoulder problems from crawling around under houses and in attics as a home inspector, I went to the doctor to see if it was just age-related or something more serious. It’s just age-related, nothing that a cortisone injection and some daily pain killers couldn’t help. Ultimately, though, I retired as a home inspector on December 31, 2015.

I know all the problems and potential problems with my teeth.

Back in the pre-x-ray dentistry days, I was told that I had no wisdom teeth. Didn’t bother me since everyone has their wisdom teeth pulled, causing extreme pain four times over.

I went to a dentist here in San Diego about a decade ago to have my teeth whitened since he was having a special on teeth whitening but only for new customers. He took x-rays of my mouth and told me that he could not whiten my teeth because I had a hole in my jaw that needed to be fixed before he could use the whitening chemicals in my mouth. The x-ray showed that I did have one wisdom tooth, but it didn’t come in completely. It was sitting there, hidden from view except by x-ray, messing with my jawbone and the next-door-neighbor tooth and, according to the dentist, “was causing pain.” He didn’t believe me when I said it wasn’t causing pain, little liar that I am. Nonetheless, he refused to whiten my teeth, and I refused to having anything done about the hole in my jaw.

I occasionally have pain in the area where that wisdom tooth is but nothing that Sensodyne toothpaste doesn’t fix. However, I can’t drink fluids on that side of my mouth that are colder than about 86°F, nor can I eat sugar on that side of my mouth. The pain is just too intense.

Meanwhile, my teeth were the same color yellow as that beautiful orb in the sky that I have always worshipped, so I didn’t see a problem.

Playing chess at the Classic Car Cruise in La Mesa, California, summer 2013Then, one day while teaching chess in an afterschool enrichment program a couple of years ago, a little third grader asked me my age. I jokingly told him that it wasn’t polite to ask people their ages. All he said was, “You must be old because you have yellow teeth.”

Ever since then I keep my mouth closed and often think about having lots of dental work done so that I can have my teeth whitened.AP-24 Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

Enter AP-24 Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste by Nu Skin.

A Facebook friend was touting the benefits of AP-24. Granted, she was selling it so obviously it had lots of benefits. And it’s expensive. $20 for a little 4-oz tube, and it’s just a plain white tube. No pretty colors like Sensodyne and Crest. 😦

Interestingly, although the front of the tube says “Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste,” the back “Drug Facts” say that its Use is “Aids in the prevention of dental cavities.” That’s it. Nothing about whitening the teeth. The active ingredient is Sodium Monofluorophosphate whos purpose is “anticavity.” Nothing about whitening.

So maybe it’s one of the inactive ingredients that is supposed to get the whitening done:

Water (Aqua), Hydrated Silica, Sorbitol, Aluminum Oxide, Glycerin,
Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Dimethicone, Poloxamer 338, Poloxamer 407,
PEG-12, Cellulose Gum, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Saccharin,
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Flavor

I was skeptical, but $20 is just 5 happy-hour margaritas, so I decided to give it a try.

My tube arrived a month ago but I did not rush right into the bathroom to brush my teeth with it. In fact, it sat unopened for a couple of weeks. One morning I opened it and read the instructions. Nothing out of the ordinary except this:

If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.

No more eating the toothpaste, I guess.

Since it is quite expensive, and since I need my Sensodyne for my jawbone pain, I have only used it twice, notwithstanding the instructions that say,

Brush teeth thoroughly, preferably after each meal or at least twice a day, or as directed by a dentist or doctor.

I’m here to tell you today that, although there is no pretty tube and the stuff is expensive and it has no flavor, this is the best whitening toothpaste in the world. Remember that I have only used it twice. Third time will be after I publish this blog post.

Currently my teeth are whiter than previously by a factor of at least 10. I’m pretty impressed, and it’s fairly difficult to impress me.

If you’re interested in teeth whitening without the cost of a dentist and without all those chemicals that dentists use, give it a try, and I’d be very happy (although not compensated) if you’d buy it from my source, P.J. Stratford. She’s at 480-326-6552 or pjstratford@me.com.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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A post-modern triumph or a regrettable hodgepodge?

Opinion

My husband earns money each day by working at Warwick’s at the San Diego International Airport. Warwick’s is a bookstore. Occasionally he brings home free books for me to read. Recently he brought home a pre-published proof of the new Dean Koontz book, “The Silent Corner.”

Koontz and his wife live in “Southern California.” In other words, he doesn’t want us to know exactly where, but I suspect it might be closer to San Diego than Los Angeles since the book takes place in San Diego County—Alpine, San Diego, and La Jolla, so far (I’m on page 74).

On page 33, Koontz calls our new San Diego Central Library (opened in September 2013) “a post-modern triumph or a regrettable hodgepodge.” That’s the first time I have ever heard of the new library being called anything except “beautiful” and synonyms for “beautiful.” Thus, I have to presume that Koontz considers it a regrettable hodgepodge.

Here are some pictures of the regrettable hodgepodge:

San Diego Central Library stamp

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

San Diego Central Library, 2013

New San Diego Central Library on March 23, 2013

New San Diego Central Library on March 23, 2013

New San Diego Central Library on February 2, 2013

Price Reading Room at the San Diego Central Library

Lobby of the new San Diego Central Library

The Central Library building is 9 floors, but the sixth and seventh floors are accessible only to students, teachers, and others affiliated with E3 Civic High School, which according to sources is the only high school in the nation (probably the world) housed within a library. Imagine going to high school in a magnificent library. I want to live my life again….

The library cost $184.9 million, comprises 366,673 square feet, houses 2.6 million items, has a circulation of 7.2 million, and 6.6 million visitors each year. There is free WiFi at the Central Library and all 35 branch libraries; in fact, the San Diego Public Library was one of the first in the nation to provide free WiFi at all locations. It also houses the second largest collection of baseball memorabilia in the United States. The dome on top is claimed to be the fourth largest in America and the sixth largest in the world.

Here’s a picture of the old library which served from 1954 to 2013:

Old San Diego Central Library on August 13, 2012

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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I’m going to call animal abuse on that

Opinion

I went up to Carlsbad this morning, to 83 Degrees restaurant at 660 Carlsbad Village Drive, to get a picture of a new mural. Here it is:

img_4663 cecil the lion stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

83 degrees location

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I am not a fan of guns. It might have something to do with my dad killing himself with a gun.

I understand that in some areas of the world animals are killed for food. Heck, even here in America animals are killed for food. I even eat those animals that were killed for food.

I like bacon. I like chicken. I like turkey. I like beef. I like barbecued anything.

As a friend in Texas told me about animals raised for food and the abuse that many of them suffer (loosely quoted): “Even though their purpose in life is to be food for us, there’s no reason why we can’t respect them and treat them right while they are alive.”

So when it comes to trophy hunting or killing any animal for sport, or mistreating living animals simply because they are going to become human food, I’m going to call animal abuse on that.

RIP, Cecil.

img_4662 cecil the lion stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Look how children are being indoctrinated

Out & About

One of the things I noticed while teaching chess in elementary after-school enrichment programs is the beauty of the schools.

Sadly, though, they are fenced, locked, and secured after hours so one can’t just wander the school grounds to look at the beauty.

That’s where I come in!

I wandered and took pictures to share.

These really show just exactly how the students at this elementary school are being indoctrinated.

The following is Bird Rock Elementary School in La Jolla, an enclave of the rich in San Diego, California.

birdrock location

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think it’s interesting that each graduating class, and sometimes other grades as well, present a gift to the school.

My elementary school, Charles H. Flato Elementary in Kingsville, Texas, was no beauty when I was there in 1965-1966, having been built in the 1930s or so, and we certainly didn’t give anything back to the school when we left….

Click on the pictures that are NOT stamps and you can get a bigger version.

img_0623-0624 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0604-0606 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0607 and 0610 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0612 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0615 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0616 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0617 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

They make use of all their space. For example, the following two pictures are of the back of the wall that holds the basketball goal.

img_0618 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0619 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

No, I did not put these words on the steps using Photoshop…….

img_0621 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0620 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0625 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0627 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0628 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0629-0632 panorama birdrock elementary school low res

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0622 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IMG_0611 mural birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_0613 birdrock elementary school stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In the third picture above, the text reads, “If we are to reach real peace in this world…. we shall have to begin with the children.”—Gandhi

How wonderful it would be if our children were indoctrinated first with things like logic, reasoning, and science before being indoctrinated with religion. That’s my opinion, and at the age of 60, I’m sticking with it.

Child abuse isn't always physical

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Doomed to a continued existence of fighting and killing each other

Opinion

Rebel Yell by S.C. GwynneI have always been fascinated by history, particularly the history of wars. Right now I am reading Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne, subtitled “The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson.” It’s a serious tome—575 pages of reading, 45 pages of notes, and 13 pages of bibliography. The copy I have is an “Advance Reader’s Edition.” Sadly, I seem never to read these privileged editions until well after the book has been published, in this case October 2014. Nonetheless….

Mighty Stonewall by Frank VandiverStonewall Jackson was one of the Confederacy’s greatest generals during the Civil War. The first book I ever read that was dedicated solely to Stonewall Jackson was Mighty Stonewall by Frank E. Vandiver (1925-2005), published in 1957. Dr. Vandiver was president of Texas A&M University from 1981 to 1988.

When I heard that a history professor had been named president of my alma mater, I was fascinated and immediately turned to finding out more about him. That was when I discovered his Mighty Stonewall book. Dr. Vandiver was a foremost authority on the Civil War, and he is mentioned several times in the notes and bibliography of Gwynne’s book.

I am barely halfway through Gwynne’s book, but it is obvious what the “violence” and “passion” in the subtitle mean. Jackson was extraordinarily violent, even going so far as to shoot his own men when he deemed it necessary. The passion comes from his dedication to “Providence.” He had a firm belief that he was fighting for God. Since I haven’t finished the book, and Jackson died two years before the end of the war, I don’t know where “redemption” comes from.

Jackson died on May 10, 1863, of complications from pneumonia which set in after he had been wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville. I would have liked to have heard how he reconciled losing the war if God was on his side and the side of the Confederacy.

Therein, though, lies part of the problem that still exists in the world, a problem that has existed forever and probably will exist forevermore: a belief in a magical guy in the sky who wants humans to fight for him. If only everyone could believe in the same magical guy, no one would have to fight. Of course, we could also ask, “If that magical guy is so all-knowing and all-powerful, why can’t he fight his own wars?”

religion was our first attempt stampReligion was humanity’s first attempt at explaining the world and universe. Mankind’s first attempts at doing anything are bad, some of them notoriously bad. Religion was not very good at explaining things, relying on myth, superstition, magic, mind control, etc. It’s not religion’s fault. Humanity and science simply had not evolved to the point where the universe could be better understood without making up things. It is religion’s fault for not getting with the times.

science and religionAs long as there are people willing to believe religious dogmas written thousands of years ago instead of using logic, reasoning, science, facts, etc., to understand the universe, and to kill in the name of that religion, humanity is doomed to a continued existence of fighting and killing each other.

A few more of my favorite memes collected from the Internet, and I make no apology to my Christian friends. That’s what’s wonderful about America—people are free to believe what they want, or not to believe at all, and to criticize each other for their beliefs, or lack thereof.

witches

the dark ages

superstition

salvation

left-handed sin

imaginary friend

fabricate supreme being

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Gender training and mass transit….

Opinion

Last summer, a friend—we’ll call him Julian since that’s his name—went to Texas to visit his dad. His mom and dad got divorced eight years ago. Mom lives here; dad lives there. Dad got remarried and had more children; mom’s still single.

One night Julian and I were chatting on Facebook when he started using foul language, specifically in relation to his dad. One of Julian’s half sisters was playing with her brother’s army toys.

Dad admonished her for playing with boys’ toys. Julian was having a fit, believing that children should be able to play with anything they want to play with, as long as the toys were age-appropriate and safe.

Dad, on the other hand, admonished Julian for not understanding, and not believing in, “gender training.” Dad believes that if parents don’t train their children for the proper gender, those children will grow up confused, perhaps even gay. Dad said, “You’ll understand when you have children.”

I don’t have children. I never wanted children. So I’m not the best person to ask about gender training. I’m going to give it to you anyway: Dad’s full of crap.

I have no problem dressing a baby girl in pink and a baby boy in blue. That helps the public know the gender of your child, not that it’s really the public’s business. Nonetheless….

When the child is old enough to choose which toys to play with, which clothes to wear (as seen recently on the Internet), I’m all for letting the children experiment. The only harm I can see is from the ignorant public. Fortunately, there are parents out there who want their children to be happy, and they don’t mind educating the ignorant public at the same time.

Recently I was in La Jolla, bastion of the overly rich (and mostly conservative Republicans) and found this at a bus stop:

img_0216 bus stop public art la jolla stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Those two figures have depth, enough depth so that children can stand in them. The little sign between the two figures says “Play at your own risk.” How interesting that the city installed these on a street corner at the intersection of two heavily trafficked streets for children to play in and then refuses to take responsibility for the risk that they provide.

There were three children playing in them when I was there, running around, laughing, and generally not paying attention to all the traffic zipping by. One little girl finally tripped and fell. Mommy, who was sitting on the bus bench about ten feet away, came and got all three children when the crying started. I was able to take a picture after she rounded up her three children.

Look at the gender training: girls wear dresses, boys wear pants, boys are taller than girls. (And the boy is a little crooked…. too much to drink?)

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering all I know about La Jolla, but I also think that if a really bad accident happened to a child of someone who lived in La Jolla, that someone would be the first person to sue the city.

Wait. Nevermind. People who live in La Jolla would never be caught using public transportation. Mass transit is provided so their servants can get to work….

la jolla map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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But I don’t know for sure….

Opinion

Yesterday morning I had the privilege of traipsing around a couple’s private garden.

It was a lot of un, and I got a lot of great pictures.

In addition to a beautiful garden, they had a dog and two cats.

Here is one of the two cats:

IMG_1753 abyssinian cat stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That’s Cleo.

Cleo is an Abyssinian cat, 15½ years old and suffering from renal failure.

To me, Cleo doesn’t look happy. In fact, he looks in pain.

Zoey the Cool CatZoey the Cool Cat (picture ►) is a mere 7½ years old but it’s obvious to me that she has slowed down, and she’s continuing to slow down. She’s not a kitty anymore….

I know we all love our pets, but at what point do we decide that it is time for our pets to leave us, to cross over that rainbow bridge?

My mother-in-law’s boyfriend spent several thousand dollars on treatments for his cats when they got old.

I want to think that I would easily spend thousands of dollars to keep Zoey the Cool Cat with me as long as possible, but I don’t think I could.

Instead, I think I would say my goodbyes to her and, from the vet’s office, go right down to the animal shelter and get another loving feline friend.

There are so many which need loving homes, and at that point I would have a loving home to give.

But I don’t know for sure….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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