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January 25th, 2010:

Cell phones aren’t dangerous, toddlers are.

Screamer.For months I’ve been saying that when it comes to distracted driving, passengers—crying children, in particular—pose a greater accident risk than cell phones. That is why I proposed banning carpooling.

It seems that others are finally catching on. Today the Consumer Reports blog ran a post about how dangerous diving with kids can be and the best ways to minimize the risk. Of course, the post was inspired by the fact that the reporter had recently rear-ended a BMW while trying to deal with a distracting child.

[Consumer Reports]

This is where I draw the line [distracted driving]

Regular readers of this blog know that I am very skeptical of schemes to ban the use of cell phones in cars. After all, there is little reason to believe that using a cell phone while driving is any more distracting than, say, adjusting confusing radio controls or driving around with a car full of kids. So why ban cell phones and not carpooling?

But there is one distraction I think we can all agree needs to be banned: cooking-while-driving. I don’t care how much you spent installing a full-service kitchen in your car, cooking is hard enough as it is. Imagine trying to do it while cursing down the highway at 70MPH–you’d probably get distracted and burn your dinner!

#25. Delivery

You can order pizza online!

The French—and professional food whiners like Michael Pollan—might have the time to enjoy an organic, locally-grown, slow-food lifestyle. But for the rest of us,  shopping at the farmers’ market all day and slaving over a stove all night is simply out of the question.

We don’t have time to chop vegetables, marinade meat or sit around the table with our families. And even if we did, we probably wouldn’t want too. After all, there are a lot of demands on our time, like facebook, video games and NBC’s new lineup. And—let’s be honest here—no one’s family dinner conversation is more stimulating than The Office.

The truth is that at the end of the day we Americans are exhausted. Too exhausted to go to a restaurant, too exhausted to cook, too exhausted, even, to go pickup some carryout. But since starvation isn’t an option, we invented delivery. (For our European readers, “Delivery” is like going to a restaurant, except the waiter brings your meal to your house.)

Delivery technology may have been popularized by suburban pizza joints, but these days the dedicated couch potato can get just about anything brought right to the front door. Hot meals, dry-cleaning and groceries, you name it. In big cities like New York, you can even order your purchases with same-day delivery.

And thanks to the internet, the delivery experience is still rapidly improving. Earlier today I ordered two medium pizzas through the Dominos website. Much to my surprise, the system worked! Thirty minutes after placing my order two relatively hot pizzas arrived at my door. And thanks to the online ordering, I didn’t even have to talk to anyone on the phone.

If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.

God Bless America!

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