Toby Gottfried: ‘Regarding Kermit’s statement Friday that ‘it will be more than 1000 years before a date-palindrome similar to 200220022002 is available’ . . . for those who can’t wait that long, there will be 211221122112 (9:12 PM on Dec 21), in just 110 years. A few people will experience both dates in their lifetimes – although probably unaware of both, at least as they occur. Not to mention the granddaddy of them all: 22222222222 (10:22 PM on Feb 22, 2222).’

☞ It’s worth taking a minute to imagine the folks (Irish monks?) who, on November 11th, in the year 1111, must have paused to ponder the numerical symmetry (I don’t think they presumed to tell time to the minute, but if they did, at 11:11) – and to imagine whether people would ever think back on that day as were are thinking back on it at this moment. And it’s worth taking another moment to consider how completely the world has changed in the meantime – just nine very long lifetimes ago. And yet the ancient hatreds rage, and human nature remains very much as it’s always been.


Robert D: ‘About the wide screen TV that you describe as costing ‘$4000 ($7000) pre-tax’ – how is this tax deductible?’

☞ It’s not – which is why I have to earn $7,000 in order to be able to buy it.


Russell Turpin: ‘You were wise to pass on the Segway. I know Dean Kamen is a genius who has important inventions to his credit, especially in the medical field. But here, I think his tech savvy has blinded him to the more – um, pedestrian – realities. The Segway is neat technology, and I think it will have niche applications. If I were he, I would build a version as a cart, onto which people can pile half-a-ton of stuff, and then effortlessly haul behind them, without fear of it tipping over. Anyone who has made much use of a wheelbarrow will appreciate the importance of that! But for personal transportation, I think it is a miss. People evolved to walk. Walking is the best exercise ever invented for your back, lowers your blood pressure, improves your blood lipid profile, increases your vital capacity, helps control your weight, and is excellent exercise for your heart. Standing, which is what you do on a Segway, puts a strain on your back, knees, and kidneys. People don’t need a fancy device to scoot to the local grocery. They need to open the door, and put one foot in front of the other. And setting aside the health aspects . . . bicycling is faster; walking is more versatile in terrain, locale, and task. A Segway will be a burden on a crowded sidewalk. Segway has a hard range limit, is expensive, separates you from the people around you, and doesn’t fit on a bike stand. I would point out that it also doesn’t fit a bus’s bike rack, but I suspect the target market for Segway doesn’t travel much by bus.’

☞ All true, but, like you, I can’t wait to try one.


Or is it the shrill, bullying right-wing media? Belated thanks to Ralph Sierra for this link.


. . . and I don’t write a column for tomorrow, here’s wishing you (whatever your political views) a VERY HAPPY, HEALTHY, NEW YEAR!


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