The Navigator: Good, Bad & Ugly
By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 20, 1998
That's right, kids, it's time for another installment of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly on the Internet. Today you'll learn how to plan for a total eclipse of the sun, how to scrape away your bad breath and how to go underground where it's cool, safe and the sun never shines.
The Bad. Your dragon breath is merely offensive to others; but it can kill you. That's the skinny from the creators of the Bad Breath Terminator, a handy-dandy little tongue scraper that looks like something Barbie might use if she turned ax murderess. Tongue scraping, we learn, is as old as the Roman Empire and "soon it will be an accepted way of life as second nature as brushing and flossing one's teeth."
Maybe, but they're going to have to come up with a new online ad campaign to succeed. On this site the cartoon woman using the scraper looks like she's gagging on a broken toothbrush. Slightly more than six inches long, the plastic tool costs about $5. The scraper comes in two colors crystal clear and aqua green.
"The surface of the tongue," the online brochure explains, "is one of the main breeding grounds for the bacteria that generates foul smelling sulfides and fills the mouth with noxious gases that smell like rotten eggs and barnyard." Speak for yourself . . . but back up first.
Foul breath, we are told, is caused by bacteria that is camping out on the ridges and valleys of the tongue. The bacteria can lead to conditions even more horrific than halitosis gum disease, blood-clotting and inflamed arteries. In other words, bad breath can be fatal. In fact, the site says, nearly 60 million Americans "suffer" from bad breath. I feel for them. And the rest of us.
The Ugly. If you've ever wanted to go underground, Edward and Dianna Peden and their company, 20th Century Castles, will help you. They offer a number of "castles" the term is used loosely here that were once subterranean missile bases. The Pedens should know about the joys of owning and living in an old missile base, they make their home in a renovated Atlas E site near Topeka. And they want you to live the same way.
At present, there are seven or so bases for sale in various parts of the country. In Shep, Tex., for instance, there's an 11-acre Atlas F spread that includes two water wells. The bare-concrete Launch Command Center has electricity and plumbing. The silo can be used for scuba diving. The price: $173,000.
"Built at a cost of millions, these heavily reinforced historic structures were designed to withstand nuclear attack. They bring new meaning to the word 'shelter,' " the site states. "No more structures of this size and strength are being built. Most of these properties are rough after 30 years of neglect, but with some clean up and reconstruction inside, their grandeur is restored."
Linton Weeks can be reached at email@example.com
Just the Facts, Ma'am
Hollywood's dirty laundry is aired as well: Past Smoking Gun documents provide a chauffeur's lawsuit against Don Johnson for unwanted French-kissing and groping; a call-girl calls Jack Nicholson abusive and cheap.
Some of the best documents offer a bit more background than lawsuit-fearing reporters can provide. Starved for details about the murder of JonBenet Ramsey? Check out the autopsy report, the ransom note, three different search warrants all straight from Boulder with no editorial slant. Jake Tapper
Found something intriguing, improbable, insane or especially useful on the Net? Write it up and send it to Joel Garreau or Robert Thomason.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
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