Thursday, 18 December 2008

Kings and ladies, too


Au plus esleve throne du monde si ne sommes assis que sus nostre cul.
Les Roys et les philosophes fientent, et les damnes aussi.

Upon the highest throne in the world, we are seated, still, upon our arses.
Kings and philosophers shit: and so do ladies.

- Michel de Montaigne (1533 - 1592)
(via The Consolations of Philosophy, Alain de Botton)

Friday, 12 December 2008

V-Wall Tavern, Nambucca Heads

We took two days off work and headed up the north coast to Nambucca Heads for a weekend of camping, fishing and beering. We nailed the camping part, and, of course, we totally nailed the beering part, but we found the fishing part a little difficult. The locals in the pub, the V-Wall Tavern, thought we must be serious fisher-people, because we certainly had all the gear. But what with the gale force winds that weekend, and worms being tricky bastards to put onto hooks, and us not knowing how to tie a hook properly onto a line, and the overabundance of good cold beer, well... fishing just didn't really happen.

The View from the Loo

Located towards the rear of the V-Wall Tavern, these toilets represent everything good about seaside bars - roomy, welcoming and well-appointed.



The toilets were clean and, for some reason, I really liked the shape of the spout. It looks a little like a puppy.


The bar has the usual selection of beers on tap and service always came with a smile. One of the nights we were there, a great band was playing. We drank a lot of beer that weekend, so I can't remember their name. The something or other experience...

V-Wall Tavern http://flickr.com/photos/40668372@N00/2267376091/

The chips at the bar were okay, but the 'damper' was really disappointing; just a bread roll warmed up. A nice bread roll, sure, but come on! this is the heart of anglo-saxon Straya - you've got to get the damper right!

Nice dunnies, V-Wall. The Bog Logger says "Your nanna might not like the band, but she'll love the loos".

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Divisions of labour

In the 'Boring but important' section of The Week this week, there's a story about India's push to provide a toilet for every Indian household by 2012. Currently, dry toilets are 'serviced' by people who are considered untouchable. Plenty of work has been done by organisations such as Sulabh International to provide different job opportunities for these shit clearers, but plenty more needs to be done.

Also in the same section was a statistic that says Australian adults are spending more time at work and with families; as a result, men are spending less time on housework, while women are spending more.

The progress in sharing housework that was recorded from 1992 to 1997 has now stalled.
I can't understand why, in a modern age, the division of housework is still a point of contention between men and women. Surely everyone wants to live in a moderately clean home and each person should work to their strengths. Don't like a stinky toilet - clean it! Can't stand doing dishes - leave it to your partner. Take out the garbage instead.

Sometimes I think the fundamentally patriarchal nature of male-female relationships in western society means that things like housework will continue to be a sticking point. Housework will always be seen as 'women's work' as long as women continue to be encouraged to value aesthetics over function.

(Of course, I hardly need to add that all people are encouraged to value aesthetics in 'feminine' things, such as women's personal appearance and domestic lives. When viewing men and manly things, they should desire strength and a sense of humour.)

(I also don't need to add that most of the shit lifters in India are women, in spite of the fact that women in slum areas of India have little or no access to toilets for their own use.)

Sunday, 30 November 2008

A ship shape and scanty sea shanty

I recently won a lunch and tour of the P&O ship The Pacific Dawn. I'm a huge fan of boats and ships, but up until a few weeks ago the biggest ships I've been on have been car ferries. The ferry from Dover to Calais many years ago was, of course exciting; but it was part of an absolute marathon bus ride I took from Cleethorpes to Zagreb, and the excitement may have been from merely being outside the bloody bus.

Once, from Dubrovnik to Bari, I learned that it is impossible to use a squat toilet on a ferry.




The tour and lunch aboard the Pacific Dawn was to celebrate its first birthday with P & O. The ship itself was painfully, woefully, middle-class, middle-aged, white and straight, and while it was fun for a brief while I don't think I could ever do a whole cruise. Whether by design or good fortune we were seated with the only other gays at the whole event, which made lunch infinitely more tolerable.



The toilets were certainly ship shape, but there was a queue of 4 women in front of me and only 3 cubicles. This was toilet 'rush hour' - between the main and dessert. We had been directed to use these toilets by the banquet staff and I was surprised that they didn't make more toilets available. I can understand that they didn't want people wandering over the ship, but 3 cubicles is pretty measly for a whole banquet hall of people. I wonder how they fare when the ship is full?


Friday, 28 November 2008

Friday Flush 28.Nov.08

Welcome back to The Bog Logger! I've been on a wee hiatus, but I'm back now with news, reviews, and the view from the loo.

Openings


There have been a few exciting toilet openings this week. First of all, the famed Charmin Restrooms have opened for the third year in New York. The 20 luxury toilets are serviced by tuxedoed-attendants after each use. Charmin is a toilet paper manufacturer in the US, and the toilets in Times Square have become quite a holiday tourist attraction.

We may not have tuxedoes, but in Australia we had the opening of the country's highest toilets on Mt Kosciusko, and I think they're really gorgeous.



It looks like they've used local rock to ensure the facility complements the surrounding landscape but without sacrificing function for form.

Residents in Peebles, UK, have decided to combine form and function by opting for single occupancy unisex toilets, believing that they are less likely to encourage anti-social behaviour. I'm not a huge fan of these toilets, but I do understand their purpose. The important thing for the people at Kingsmeadow is that they have adequate, clean facilities.


It seems that the people of Atlanta, USA, have not learned from the mistakes of Seattle and have decided to buy $300,000 apiece spaceship toilets. The comments on the article are generally not favourable to the idea. It makes no sense that councils continue to be fooled into buying those expensive monstrosities which intimidate all but the least reputable people. Portland, USA, has a much better toilet solution proposed.

This eco-toilet comes at a smaller price tag of $140,000, runs on solar energy and has panels which are easily and cheaply changed in case of vandalism. They are designed to be 'privacy-reduced' in order to discourage loitering.

And finally, in the UK, a Plymouth man is taking his very serious campaign for more toilets to the European Court of Human Rights. Eric Johns says that Plymouth used to have 67 toilets in 1984. Now, that number has dwindled to 31. The town of Devonport only has 1 toilet. The Court has accepted his initial submission and will hear his case next year.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

State of Flush

Due to sustained movements, The Bog Logger is currently in a state of flush.

In the meantime, please remember that they are trying to scare you.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Women and children

Bog Standard is not just a brilliant name for a campaign - it is a brilliant campaign. Launched in October 2004, Bog Standard aims to improve toilet facilities for school children in the UK, and it has brought the issue of toilets for pupils to the fore. It is headed by ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence), an organisation primarily concerned with continence issues amongst young people.

Also organised by ERIC is the Water is Cool in School campaign. The adequate provision of water is a crucial element in ensuring good toilet habits, and the two campaigns are inextricably linked. Children and young people have continence and soiling problems for all sorts of reasons, but one major contributor is not drinking enough water. This can lead to a reduced bladder capacity. The Water is Cool in School campaign was launched in 2000 aiming to get drinking water out of the lavs and into the spotlight - and in this health conscious age of tackling childhood obesity it's an important campaign. It has had considerable success in changing the culture of drinking water in schools; a survey in 2003 found that many schools are now permitting or even encouraging drink bottles in the classroom.

But the ERIC team realised that they needed to look a few steps backwards; the reason some children don't drink water at school is so that they can avoid the toilets.
Bad lavs can mean anything from poor provisions, lack of privacy, dirty or vandalised facilities, accessibility issues and the presence of bullies. If children don't feel comfortable going to the toilet or feel rushed they may stop too early, not emptying their bladder completely. Or they may not go at all. Good clean toilets are key to improving toilet habits; but children also need to know that their toilets are free of bullies and smokers, that they have plenty of time and privacy to completely empty their bladder and bowels and to not feel ashamed. They need to know they can go when they need to go. I've never been shy about the toilet, but I can imagine that for some children having to ask the teacher to go to the toilet every hour must be humiliating. ERIC goes so far as to say that the lack of suitable facilities, privacy and time for children to go to the toilet is a breach of their human rights.

In Delhi, a young woman has conducted a survey which found that only 4 percent of the public toilets provided in the city are designed for use by women! From May to July 2008, Shahana Sheikh toured the slums of New Delhi counting up the toilets. As a result of her report, the Delhi High Court has directed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to file a status report within four weeks, regarding public toilet provision for women in slum areas.

"What is this mere talk of women empowerment and feminism worth if there is no provision of something as basic as toilet facilities for the poorest of poor women," asks Sheikh.


It seems to me that in this International Year of Sanitation, we need to particularly look at the toilet situation for women and children.

For more information, visit:

http://www.wateriscoolinschool.org.uk/

http://www.eric.org.uk/

http://www.bog-standard.org/

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Saturday Skiddie 30.08.08

Hi all and welcome to this week's Friday Flush Saturday Skiddie.

An artist in New York is bringing his style to the streets - toilet stall style. Ricky Syers has been walking around dressed as a janitor carrying a toilet with a man inside. Pretty cool stuff, really. And being an enterprising American chap, he is now selling advertising space on his toilet.



I love it when people find innovative ways to raise money (like the couple who cycled to raise money for a toilet for their church), and in Kansas this week The Flying Pig Studio and Gallery is auctioning 40 decorative toilet seats to raise money for new restrooms.

Plans call for the restroom to be named "Bowl Plaza" with buildings shaped like toilet tanks and entrances resembling a toilet seat. A walkway will look like an unfurling roll of toilet paper.
www.kansas.com

The town of Madrid, New Mexico has unveiled its first public toilets. Up until now, visitors have had to make do with portable toilets. One lucky resident was even presented with a key to the new restroom.



The man who was struck with a toilet cistern lid in Canada last week has unfortunately died. Second-degree murder charges have been laid against the attacker.

New Zealand Olympians have been suspended after photographing a fellow athlete on the toilet. Swimmers Cameron Gibson, Dean Kent and Corney Swanepoel were expelled from the Olympic village and may face further penalties. I think this seems a little harsh - but then again, I haven't seen the photos, and they are supposedly of one of the youngest members of the team.

And finally, New Delhi college student, Shahana Sheikh, has prepared a report highlighting the dearth of toilets for women in the Indian capital, prompting the High Court to take direct action.

"One day during my internship with CCS [Centre for Civil Society] I saw a woman cleaning a public toilet at Yusuf Sarai. It struck me that though she was cleaning the toilet, she herself couldn't use it since it was meant only for men - like most public toilets in Delhi. I decided to find out the real status of public conveniences in the city," Sheikh said. "People talk about feminism all the time but nobody thinks of a need as basic as a toilet for them despite the fact that our chief minister and mayor are both women," she added.

That's a wrap for this week. I'm going to go lay myself down and dream about a walkway unfurling like a roll of toilet paper. *sigh* What happiness.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Eeek!

This week's Friday Flush is going to have to be a Saturday Skiddie, cos I've already had too many beers and I have to get up in a few hours.

See you all tomorrow folks, with plenty of toilet news, including New Zealand Olympians, women's toilets in India, and a toilet seat auction.

Where else can you get your weekly fix of bog news but right here, at The Bog Logger!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Friday Flush 22.08.08

Just a quick flush today cos I'm practically running out the door.

A man in Canada is in a critical condition after being hit with a toilet cistern lid. What an ignoble way to go. Wasn't there some famous general who was killed when he was struck by a roof tile? Does anyone know if that's true? I'm sure I heard it in a history lecture once upon a time.

The hunt is on for New Zealand's finest loo and entries are now open. Toilets are judged on all the usual criteria - cleanliness, signposting, appearance, amenities offered - and also, oddly, car parking.

Americans are apparently multitasking on the toilet; they're checking their emails and listening to music. 88% use at least one electronic device in the bathroom! The survey also found that women tend to spend longer in the bathroom than men. Recent efforts to curb water use in the shower has had little effect, with people spending just as much time in the shower as they did 4 years ago.

An incredible strike across all of Scotland by local government workers has disrupted many services. The strike, over set pay increases being below inflation levels, means that schools, which will be left without janitorial staff, will not open, as well as forcing the closure of art galleries, sporting facilities, cemeteries and public toilets. I encourage you to read the article, and especially the comments that follow it. You'll learn more about Scottish politics in five minutes than you ever thought possible.

And finally in this very brief flush this week, in Macedonia, government ministers who do not provide enough toilet paper for their staff could face fines of up to E1000.

Have a good weekend! I'm off to Sydney on this fine cold rainy day.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The positive side to losing 5 million bucks

It’s old news now, but in case you didn’t know Seattle has finally offloaded its troublesome spaceship toilets (see previous posts here and here and here).

The 5 toilets which sold for $US12,549 cost Seattle $5 million – and most articles are painting it as some spectacular failure. But the $5 million includes more than $500,000 for cancelling the contract early, as well as installation and removal costs. The city did get 4 years of (questionable) service from the facilities so the amount lost isn’t as massive as it first looks, particularly as it will be saving on future contract costs.

It’s now time to look at the positives. The old toilets cost $3.75 per use to run and used 2 to 4 times more water than an ordinary toilet. This is a real opportunity for Seattle to go green and install toilets (or ‘restrooms’ as those Americans quaintly call them) which use solar power, dual flush systems and motion sensors for lighting, like at Michigan State Park.

Now, over in New York (over? Down? Up? My US geography is shite. Is there a map here somewhere?), their spaceship toilets seem to be going along nicely. The fact that they cost 25 cents might help, as might the fact that they’re run and maintained by an advertising mob and are situated in good neighbourhoods with no other facilities. Toilets are all about location, location, location. As the hot dog vendor in the Gothamist article astutely observes, his “neighbourhood is not good for that type of thing”. Bad neighbourhoods is when good toilets go… bad.

Actually, charging a small amount for using toilets is a great idea. I’ve always been a fan, as long as the toilets are up to it. If you’re ever in Zagreb, the toilets at the train station are awesome. Sure, the woman who takes your money is surly as hell, but the toilets are clean, there’s always plenty of loo roll, and the whole experience (except for the surly woman) is really pleasant. Totally worth the 4 Kuna.

As my dad says, give someone something for nothing and they’ll treat it like it’s worth nothing.

Hopefully the man who bought the Seattle loos gets what he paid for.

To Dig, or Not to Dig?

It’s an age old question and one that I often ponder. Do I dig a hole for a toilet? Or do I not dig a hole for a toilet? What to do, what to do…

On the one hand, I might find gold.

On the other, I might get buried alive.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Friday Flush 15.08.08

I recently did a study of female toilet users in pubs, trying to get an idea of what women like and don't like about public toilets. I was surprised that one of the things that came out top of the list was hand dryers - most women prefer hand towels. Dryers often don't work, take too long, and only one person at a time can use them, meaning that most people just dry their hands on their trousers. Dyson New Zealand has possibly addressed some of these problems; they unveiled the Dyson Airblade this week at Auckland airport.

 

Dyson airblade

 

Dyson claims the dryer (or is it drier?) is the "fastest, most hygienic hand dryer". It works by blasting a "high speed sheet of air, which gently squeegees your hands dry". That sounds kinda sexy. You can see it in all its sexiness at their very sexy website. It took the engineers an incredible 3 years to develop this next step in hand-drying technology. The Airblade was actually released in 2006 but I'm unsure how high the uptake has been. It's certainly the first time I've heard of it.

 

Ho Chi Minh City's attempts to "work towards a civilized urban lifestyle" have been hindered by a lack of suitable sites for public toilets. Residents are concerned about having toilets built in front of their houses - but presumably they don't mind if people urinate in the gutter. The stigma attached to public toilets needs to be mollified by designing buildings that aesthetically complement the districts - but with only a month to build them, I'm not sure if that'll be possible.

 

No such problems finding sites for toilets in Pune, India - they've installed 110 toilets in their homes. Friends of Shelter Associates (USA) has constructed toilets for sex workers, people with disabilities and those living below the poverty line. Another fabulous NGO doing great work in this International Year of Sanitation.

 

It's not very often that I wished I lived in Canada - but OH MY GOD they have a toilet festival! Organised by Oxfam, the festival aims to raise awareness about water and sanitation issues in developing countries.

 

I do however very often wish that I lived in the UK because it's the only place in the world where you could hold a From Looe for a Loo challenge. Bob and Chris May cycled 300 miles from Loo to Dymock to raise £1500 for a toilet at St Mary's church.

 

Toilet blog Where's the Toilet? has given an incredible 9 out of 10 to the toilets at Raffles Beach Singapore. This is a much pleasanter story about toilets than one usually hears about Singapore.

 

And finally tonight, a German toilet collector (that is, a German who is a toilet collector, not a collector of German toilets) spent £1,800 pounds for a rare toilet - only to discover that he had purchased a tiny replica. What do you do with a collection of toilets? Maybe you open a toilet museum. No, too obvious. How about a toilet restaurant?

 

(I never thought I'd add 'food' as a category on The Bog Logger).

 

And that is, folks, The Bog Logger signing off on this gorgeous half-way-through-the-Olympics Friday.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Friday Flush 08.08.08

An auspicious day, according to the Chinese, and with the opening of the Olympics today, Beijing can be proud to boast that it has 5,333 public toilets and 8,000 toilet attendants.

 

Topping the list of most useful items in this week's flush is The Woon Box, an all-in-one toilet, kitchen and shower. Sounds like my last apartment. Oh, those wacky Dutch.

 

The Woon Box - cool, no?

 

In England, a Morecambe man has been banned from every public toilet in the UK after an attempted sexual assault. Don't be alarmed if he knocks on your door asking to use your loo; he is a man of previous good character.

 

The development of an iPhone application which locates toilets in Australia by using the National Toilet Map has been scuppered by government bureaucracy.

 

Okay, so this next story has a lot of problems for me. First of all, it involves Christian motorcyclists. Like, what? Secondly, the Christian motorcyclists are meeting at the Kum and Go. Okay, now in my country, that word just there, that K word, kum, that's totally dirty. Usually it's spelled with a 'c' but still, dirty. And thirdly, and why it's making it onto The Bog Logger, is that these Christian motorcyclists are meeting at the Kum and Go (whatever that is - I'd rather not know) to go on a 'toilet paper run'. They're doing this for some organisation which doesn't receive government funds or denominational support, nor, apparently, toilet paper. Oh, those wacky Christians. Read the full story here and let me know what it's about. Cheers.

 

That's all for me today. It's almost time for the Opening Ceremony.

 

nationalstadium01

 

Birds nest? Looks more like a glowing toilet seat to me.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Faeces: public enemy #1

When Val Curtis wanted to effect some real good, she turned to the powers of evil.

 

Dr Curtis, an anthropologist, decided positive action needed to be taken to stop the millions of unnecessary deaths from diseases caused by dirty hands. Handwashing with soap can reduce the risk of diarrhoea by about 47% and the risk of respiratory infection by 23%. So Dr Curtis turned to the organisations who know better than anyone how to convince people to do something - marketing companies.

 

She knew that over the past decade, many companies had perfected the art of creating automatic behaviors - habits - among consumers. These habits have helped companies earn billions of dollars when customers eat snacks, apply lotions and wipe counters almost without thinking, often in response to a carefully designed set of daily cues.

 

Read the whole article for a truly creepy and unnerving understanding of what it is that makes us do what we do every day without thinking - and who is controlling our habits.

 

dirty hands

 

Ghanaians had no problems washing their hands when they could see the dirt, but didn't think it was necessary to wash after going to the toilet because they couldn't see the germs. Employing freaky manipulative marketing tactics, Dr Curtis's team produced a public health campaign which sold disgust, and it worked - a 13 percent increase in the use of soap after the toilet and a 41 percent increase in soap use before eating.

 

Dr Curtis's team has managed to use the 'powers of evil' to effect real good in Africa, and I think that's brilliant. Clearly other campaigns hadn't worked so the team turned to something radically different. Other campaigns had attempted to blame the mother for their sick children, without properly educating them or changing their habits. In her 2003 article "Talking dirty: how to save a million lives" Curtis points out that handwashing may be at least as effective as some vaccines under development, and eminently more reachable by most people.

 

There are of course serious concerns about multi-million dollar peddlers of questionable health products intruding into the public health sphere. There is a risk that it can all go horribly wrong a la Nestlé, but if Dr Curtis's Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap manages its campaign effectively, then the risk should be minimised.

 

Dr Val Curtis is an interesting cookie. Her research interests include the evolution of human behaviour, the role of disgust and its relationship to hygiene and morality. Her research suggests that disgust evolved to protect animals, including humans, from disease and helps explain the peculiar history of hygiene - and that the cues which signal disgust can be manipulated. Clearly, she is a woman who is researching new avenues to change old problems, and I admire that.

 

Diarrhoeal diseases are the forgotten killers of children. Every year about 2 million children die from these neglected diseases (WHO Report 2002), the equivalent of a full jumbo jet every 2 hours. However, there are ways to prevent these deaths, and one of the best is also one of the simplest: washing hands with soap. (International Journal of Environmental Health Research: 13, S73 - S79 June 2003)

I wouldn't want to be the Aviation Minister with statistics like that!

Friday, 1 August 2008

Tesco toilet update

Ah, so the reason that Tesco's meat processor Brown Brothers' shitty toilet practices have made it into the news (you might need to read that sentence a couple of times to make sense of it) is because the union has staged a protest at the Lanark Tesco. I probably should have read this before posting my Friday Flush.

Anyhoo, here's a quote that pretty well sums up the whole issue:

As part of a wider campaign to ensure the equal and fair treatment of meat workers, the union are urging Tesco to stop Brown Brothers from subjecting their workforce to a toilet break policy where workers are forced to clock off to visit the toilet.

The staff are also officially expected to provide medical evidence in order to be excused from the system.

A union spokesman said: “The policy means presumably that women in the early stages of pregnancy or simply having their period would have to get a doctor’s note to evidence the reason why they need to use the toilet more often than usual.”

Friday Flush 1.08.2008

Bringing you all the loo news you can handle, and some that you can't - just in time for the weekend!

 

Sheffield artist Jacqui Bellamy has been snapping photos of women in the toilets of nightclub Razor Stiletto "queuing, chatting, putting on make-up etc," and will be showing her series at The Forum Bar as part of its Wednesday night live programme. They look like an interesting lot, those Razor Stiletto people, so if you're in the area check it out.

 

The Toilet Thinker

 

You might remember the story of Pam Babcock, the woman who sat on a toilet for two years. Her boyfriend, Kory McFarren, was charged with mistreatment of a dependent adult. Last month he pleaded no contest to the charge, and this week he was sentenced to 6 months in jail, but was granted probation after Pam asked for leniency. Good on you, Pam. Clearly, both Pam and Kory have some social and mental problems that they need to work through, and I don't think jail will help ol' Kory at all.

 

These six Brown Brothers have to take off their hats and gowns before peeing

 

This one's actually an old story, but it's popped back up in my news feed and it's quite awful. Brown Brothers meat processor, which supplies meat to Tesco in the UK, demands that employees clock off when they go to the toilet. This so obviously discriminates against women, particularly menstruating and pregnant women, that I'm agog! The restrictions are part of a pay deal that tries to streamline toilet break times - and look, I totally get it that it takes workers 20 minutes to go to the toilet because of all the gear they're wearing, but seriously! This is the 21st century! Can't we come up with a better solution? It's not the fault of the workers that they have to wear a spacesuit - why should they pay the price? And more importantly, why do women have to pay a higher price?

 

Not so much toilet news, as toilet humour - Dave TV has a list of the 10 oldest jokes in the whole world ever - and I have to say I don't think I find them particularly funny. Maybe I need to scrub up on my ancient history or something. Anyway, they're here. I do like this quote from Dr Paul McDonald, who wrote the report:

What they all share [...] is a willingness to deal with taboos and a degree of rebellion. Modern puns, Essex girl jokes and toilet humour can all be traced back to the very earliest jokes identified in this research.

 

Unfortunately, Qantas is back in the news - this time because the pilot refused to allow passengers out of their seats during a delayed landing. One passenger was forced to pee in a sick bag. Look, people, the pilot is trying to look after you. And look, pilot, why not let people pee? Come on. Let's all start talking to one another, instead of just complaining.

 

No toilet! 

 

A bus driver in Dublin has brought to light an interesting predicament for bus drivers everywhere - where do drivers go to the toilet on a long shift when there are no terminuses? I hadn't honestly thought about this; it's a similar problem to what the meat processors in Tesco are facing. People need to pee and shit, and their jobs don't always allow them to do this comfortably. Employees have the right to a clean private toilet with running water and soap - but not necessarily access to it when it suits them. This seems grossly inappropriate - why have a toilet if you can't bloody use it?

 

And lastly, in entertainment news, Kiefer Sutherland has revealed why you never see his character on "24", Jack Bauer, going to the toilet:

 

whenever they cut to the White House, Jack is taking a pee. And he’s also getting something to drink and eat.

 

And that's a wrap for this week... or a fold... or a scrunch...

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Failure to launch

The eBay auction for Seattle's failed auto-loos has er, failed. City officials are hopeful though that an extended auction date may prove more successful.

Tardis toilet

So, the big question is, why did the spaceship toilets fail in the first place?

 

Toilet provision is a thorny issue with most civic councils. On the one hand, good toilets in city centres encourage tourism and shopping, keep rough sleepers from pissing in the street and give a good  impression to visitors. On the other hand, toilets are prone to vandalism, can attract criminal behaviour and are difficult to maintain in a cost-effective manner. 

 

How do you balance the necessary against the evil?

 

I believe that councils go wrong when they fall into the 'spaceship toilet' trap. These self-cleaning tardises from Germany are a favourite with councils looking to install city toilets. They appeal to council budget-watchers because although they have a high set-up cost, they are supposed to have minimal upkeep costs. But the fact is that after a short while self-cleaning toilets don't. Then you're left with a room the size of 3 toilets in which only one person can relieve themselves every 15 minutes.

 

Wellington City Council (New Zealand) has a brilliant set of public toilets, on the corner of Lambton Quay and Featherston Street. There are 6 toilets arranged in a semi-circle and a room in which a toilet attendant sits. The attendant keeps the queue moving, mops the floors, keeps each cubicle in paper and provides general chit chat.

 

For many councils, taking the human element out of toilets seems to be the best option, but I think they are letting their squeamishness override their common sense. They believe that a toilet attendant is a demeaning job and they're not willing to create it. But there are people who are good at it, just like any other job. The best toilet attendants are like good taxi or bus drivers. They're proud of the facilities they offer, they welcome you aboard and they're pleased to take you to your destination. In other words, they are professional.

 

The stigma attached to the profession of toilet attendant must end if councils are to provide good clean facilities they can be proud of.

 

The location of public toilets is also key. The middle of a park is always going to attract criminal behaviour. The middle of a shopping district - not behind the carpark, or hidden away down an alley - is the best location. Toilets must take up excellent real estate if they are to be excellent. At the same time, there must also be decent simple provision outside of the main shopping area for people who are making their way home or for people who have no home. But the facilities must still be on good real estate.

 

To ignore the human element in city centre public toilets is to commit a fatal flaw. Toilets ARE human. Expensive machines which make the human element disappear fail. Seattle has paid the price, but has it learned the lesson?

Friday, 25 July 2008

Friday Flush 25/07/2008

Oooh, it's quite an international flush today, and a big one at that! So what we need is a massive toilet. A Yorkshire Water campaign to encourage people to 'do one thing differently' to conserve water is being fronted by giant toilets. I don't believe the toilets actually speak or anything, but it is a fun way to get people thinking about the fact that toilets account for one third of a household's water usage. By the way, I don't really believe that statistic. Maybe it's true in the UK, but I know that here in Australia, water saving cisterns have been standard for at least a decade. I couldn't be arsed researching this at the moment though. Would appreciate others' thoughts.

 

Another interesting statistic, is that Russians use 10 times less toilet paper than Americans and Western Europeans. Now, this statistic I do believe. The experts claim it all comes down to the old 'do ya scrunch or fold?' question. That is a poll for another time.

 

Still no bids on the infamous Seattle toilets which are up for sale on eBay at a starting price of $89,000, however Calgary and Fort Lauderdale might be interested in buying them. Not put off by Seattle's experience with the spaceship toilets, Toronto and Vancouver are moving ahead with plans to install more of the suckers. However, they might be better off buying their facilities from Vietnam where the toilets only cost $20,000 a piece - that's a massive saving!

 

Meanwhile, over in London, red Boris wants to offer free toilet facilities to all senior citizens. The idea is actually extraordinarily deceptive - it is a discriminatory Community Toilet Scheme. As Londonist points out, non-senior-people who pay £100 more for their monthly train tickets should reasonably object to being denied access to toilets because of their age.

 

Old folk

 

To prove that everything strange in the world actually comes from Austria, and not the USA as many people believe, is this story about a man who was blasted off his toilet seat by hailstones. Oh. My. God. I can't even believe how much that would hurt.

 

And finally in Jamaica, a businessman has been accused of selling counterfeit toilet paper on the black market.

 

And that's the Friday flush for this week!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Feeling Meme-ish

Many moons ago, The Radical Radish tagged me for a meme. Having no idea what a meme was, I looked it up, then got busy doing things like moving country (again) so forgot all about it. But now that I'm back on the bog wagon I'll give this meme thing a go.

1. What were you doing ten years ago?
Um, let's see, that was 1998. I had just switched from engineering to arts but was still doing spectactularly badly. I ran into a friend of mine in the Godfrey Tanner Bar who had just walked down to the Registrar's Office and withdrawn from all of his subjects. I was astonished. Who did that sort of thing? Six months later, I was sitting in the same pub when suddenly I realised that I was wasting my time and I wanted to go see Europe. I walked down to the Registrar's Office, withdrew from all my subjects, went back to the pub and ran into a friend who was astonished to hear what I'd just done.

(I did go to Europe and, eventually, I did get my Bachelor of Arts)


2. What are five things on your to-do list today?
Get out of bed before 8am. Check.
Have cup of tea. Check.
Expunge yesterday's Thai from my bowels. Check.
Read various blogs. Check.
Pretend I don't have a hangover. Check. Sigh.


3. What snacks do you enjoy?
I snack on Nutella from the jar and Milo from the tin.


4. Things you would do if you were a billionaire.
Provide clean, efficient and eco-friendly sanitation to the world.
Travel into space.


5. Three of your bad habits.
Talking about inappropriate subjects in inappropriate places.
Procrastination.
Not answering my phone.


6. Five places you have lived.
Oooh, I can do better than five places; I can do five countries!
Australia (Sydney and Newcastle), UK (London and Cleethorpes), Croatia (Kamanje), China (Suzhou) and New Zealand (Wellington).


7. Five jobs that you’ve had?
Analyst, office manager, personal assistant, team assistant and project administrator (all five of which are pretty well the same thing).


8. How did you name your blog?
I thought that a blog about toilets would naturally be called Bog Log, but that name was taken. So The Bog Logger was born.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Friday Flush

Queer - Pride London has issued a statement providing further details about the incident where a trans woman was denied access to the female toilets. As always, the incident was more complicated than was at first reported.

 

Opening and closing - The toilets on Southend's seafront have been closed for 2 years and are now being replaced with... portaloos! Poor bastards. Better than nothing I suppose. Having said that, Portaloo is currently on a bit of a PR blitz, highlighting its amazing job at Warwick Castle when it provided facilities for 5,000 American kids during a medieval summer festival, and at made-famous-by-The-Da-Vinci-Code Rosslyn Castle.

 

Technology - The good people at AFT have created a toilet roll dispenser... which has an iPod connector with speakers and charger. No, really. I wish I was joking.

 

Entertainment - I'm not sure if it's really news or really toilety, but anyway, a decades-old recording of Tom Jones singing in a YMCA toilet has sold for $5,000. I've often sung in the shower, but rarely in the toilet. Anyone else? Also, Pixie Geldof (is this entertainment either? I'm a bit fuzzy with this category) got stuck in a toilet in Kings Cross station.

 

As promised - the problem-plagued Seattle spaceship toilets are up for sale on eBay here. There are, unfortunately, no bids so far, but there are 8 days to go so get bidding people!

 

Odd - Ever wondered if your toilet has a birthday? The good news is, it might! The odd news is, there's a website devoted to it.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

At what price clean toilets?

Ahead of the Olympics, Beijing has been cleaning up its toilets.

Readers may have noticed that I'm very sceptical about everything that I hear about China. I lived there for six months and, suffice it to say, it's not my favourite country.

Going to the toilet in China is not very pleasant. Public roadside toilets do not have doors; they are long deep pits with a trickle of water in the bottom ineffectively attempting to push along poo, nappies, cigarettes and sanitary napkins. Over this pit you hover while bemused Chinese people stare at you. Not fun.

Having said that, China has the best provision of toilets of any country I've visited when it comes to volume. In Suzhou, where I lived, the main street has toilets every 200 metres. Even the back street along the canal, which I would take when I just couldn't handle the busy main road anymore, had pit toilets in little concrete houses regularly along the route. No doubt the pits emptied into the canal, and no doubt the fish sold in the market came from the canal - but that is an issue for another blog. I never ate fish in China.

Beijing has spent $57million on cleaning up the streets and toilets. While I think it's wonderful that these toilets have finally been cleaned, I know that the shitty work was probably done by poorly paid (even by Chinese standards) migrant workers, people who are displaced, whose children cannot attend school, whose homes are being demolished to make way for new highways and buildings. Check out http://china.hrw.org to see the human rights abuses that are occurring in China to make sure that we all have clean toilets for the Olympics (and then try to tell me that sport should be beyond politics).

Another thing I read on that Russian site (it's very reputable!) is that only tall beautiful girls (beautiful by Western standards, I imagine) will serve athletes and tourists. I'll leave the tirade against that ridiculousness to someone better qualified (Rayedish?).

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Toilet proposal prize

Congratulations to Ashura Kiesa for winning BBC Swahili's young entrepreneur competition.

 

Ashura, the only female finalist, won a trophy and $5000 to kick-start her business of providing commercial public toilets in East and Central Africa. The prize was presented to her by the Ugandan Prime Minister in this the second year of the competition.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Totally irrelevant

But too good not to share.

 

Rayedish did a 1930s Marital Scale test and scored a neat 56 (Average). I thought I'd give it a go, cos certainly a girl who writes a blog about toilets is going to have a cracking score, right?

 

-5

As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!

 

Minus 5!!!??? Holy crap. Must have been because I walk around the house in tatty clothes and stockinged feet.

Ebay for spaceship toilets

I hate, loathe and despise spaceship toilets, and Seattle residents apparently feel the same way. They're getting rid of 5 of the expensive behemoths which have been in central city locations since 2004, but keeping the $2.59 tax which was introduced to pay for them.

 

The toilets, purchased from a German company, proved extremely unpopular with locals. The contract for the $6.6million toilets has been ended early after they became a magnet for drugs and prostitution. The self-cleaning machines, after a while, didn't. Instead of saving money on cleaning the facilities the Council had to employ cleaners. At the initial consultation, the toilets were supposed to be a cost-effective solution, but at $360 per toilet per day they are anything but.

 

As well as being expensive, space inefficient drug dungeons, I personally find these toilets terrifying. When they installed one in Newcastle (Australia) I would piss next to it rather than go in (much to the amusement of the bouncers at the Crown and Anchor). What if it started 'self-cleaning' while you were in it? *shudder* Nope, a squat by the wall it was. Hey, I'm a classy girl.

 

The Council is now hoping to sell the unsuccessful toilets on eBay. I'll post the link as soon as there is one.

 

Mark Harrison - The Seattle Times

Friday, 11 July 2008

The Friday Flush

I have so much loo news to get through that it's not possible to comment on everything. So I introduce The Friday Flush!

 

Loo News

 

Voting for America's Best Restroom is currently open.

 

Officials in India are keeping the streets clean by offering money to people to use urinals. I'm not sure if that's awesome or stupid. I welcome suggestions.

 

Pride London has apologised after some event staff asked trans people to use a disabled toilet, apparently because they were so tall amongst all those short lesbians. Hey! Not all lesbians are short! People are more civilised in Thailand; a school in Si Sa Ket has created separate toilets for its 200 trans students.

 

A ridiculous gadget claims to 'promote better relationships' because it enables users to lift and lower the toilet seat without touching the often soiled seat. Whatever.

 

Taiwan decided flushing toilet paper down the toilet paper was okay, and then decided it wasn't, because 82 per cent of of toilets flow directly into river and waterways. Taiwan uses 340 tonnes of toilet paper a day. Better to turn that into landfill, I say.

 

Sloan Valve Company's new High Efficiency Toilet (HET) Systems have all sorts of sensor-flushy-solar-electro doovies to make your toilet super efficient. I think.

 

There's a few stories about China allegedly poshing up its toilets so that Westerners don't find them so offensive. As someone who has lived in China let me tell you that I'm very skeptical.

 

And to finish, Geri Haliwell loves talking about poo and wee. Good on you Geri.

 

Openings

In Colchester, the town centre toilets are open again, and 'the first 50 customers to use the new arty loos in Lion Walk received a commemorative loo-roll', designed by the artists. That's so awesome I can't even speak. No pic yet, but maybe soon.

The toilets are the first to be refurbished as part of Colchester Borough Council’s  Creative Conveniences project, during which a partnership of arts, street and tourism officers have worked together to improve the look, feel and function of a selection of Colchester’s public conveniences.

That's so cool it deserves its own post. Oh, man, I need more time!!

 

Staying in the UK, COLDSTREAM and Eyemouth are top of the list to have their public toilets refurbished and also to get a town attendant each, responsible for cleaning the toilets and other general duties around the town. I'm such a fan of toilet attendants. It's a really important job, and it also keeps toilets human - something I advocate strongly.

Closings

For every toilet that opens, dozens are closed. Angry Burnham-On-Sea town councillors this week threatened to withdraw £35,000 of funding for the district council in protest at the authority's decision to shut down and sell the town's seafront toilets. And in Borehamwood, the Community Toilet Scheme proposed 18 months ago is still not off the ground.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Sulabh liberates 60,000 scavengers, tots up $32 mn revenue: UNDP

Sulabh International is the reason I became interested in all things
toilety. Its good work has been highlighted in a UN report this week.
the story below is from www.mangalorean.com


---------- Forwarded message ----------
New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) Sulabh International, a 38-year-old movement
promoting low-cost safe sanitation in the country, has liberated over
60,000 scavengers, a report by the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) released Tuesday said.

The report, focusing on the various strategies adopted across the
world to engage the poor, additionally said Sulabh's revenues reached
$32 million in 2005, with approximately $5 million in surplus.

Sulabh maintains 6,500 public pay per-use toilets and by 2006, had
installed 1.4 million household toilets. An estimated 10 million
people used its facilities across the country, the report said.

"The public toilets run by Sulabh break even within eight to nine
months," it added. "Facilities in prominent places were highly
profitable."

There is ample scope for replication and even scaling up of the Sulabh
model that its founder Bindheshwar Pathak started in 1970, UNDP said.

"State governments that used to invite Sulabh into single-party
tenders have now started inviting competitive bids to build and run
public toilets," it noted.

The UNDP report noted that while it was officially said in 2003 that
India had 676,000 scavengers - people, mainly women, who eke out a
living lifting human excreta - unofficial estimates peg the figure at
1.2 million.

Of them, Sulabh had liberated 60,000 through various skill development
and adult literacy programmes; for instance, it trains women in food
processing and markets their products.

It has successfully used internal and external resources to start an
English medium school and a variety of business incubators targeted at
the erstwhile scavengers to get them accepted in mainstream society,
the report said.

Sulabh, which employs over 50,000 associates and presently operates in
26 states, also trained 19,000 masons who could build low-cost,
twin-pit toilets using locally available materials, UNDP said.

Focusing on the constraints Sulabh faced when it started off, the
report identified three key hurdles.

First, there was a lack of market information: businesses just did not
know whether poor people would pay to use toilets and related
facilities or install toilets.

Second, there existed an acute lack of widespread knowledge on
propagating low-cost hygiene solutions.

And finally, perhaps the most critical factor: the poor did not have
access to finance to provide for sanitation.

The report then highlights the strategies Sulabh adopted to overcome
these obstacles.

It first developed an initial pilot project and demonstrated the
popularity of pay-per-use toilet facilities in urban Bihar and
pioneered the low-cost toilet model to be installed in poor
residential areas.

Next, it constructed a museum and planned for a sanitation university,
took its own designs and trained other non-governmental organisations
(NGOs), and started policy dialogue with governments.

"Sulabh influenced the central government and over 100,000 public
toilets will be constructed in addition to local government's
provision of toilet-related loans and subsidies," the report said.

IANS

This News is featured in Mangalorean.com
www.Mangalorean.com

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Hands, Toilets, Work & Diamonds

A Cape Cod boy was retrieving his toothbrush from the family toilet when he found two diamond rings lodged in the pipes.

 

Apparently, the former owner had placed the rings on a piece of toilet paper after cleaning them and had accidentally flushed them 12 years before. Remarkably, the intervening years of flushing, cleaning, snaking and plunging had failed to dislodge them; it took a solid hand groping to find the missing jewels.

 

Many years ago when I was at the Crown and Anchor in Newcastle (not the old crappy dodgy Crown and Anchor, but the new crappy trendy Crown and Anchor) I found a drivers licence in the toilet. I weed, I wiped, I flushed - and then I plunged my hand in and pulled out the licence. Now before you say 'ewww!' you must realise that I knew then what very few people know, which is this: your toilet bowl is cleaner than your kitchen sink. Seriously.

 

Last month, a report comparing toilets and computer keyboards at one UK workplace found the keyboards far, far, far more grubby than the toilet seat and the toilet door handle. In fact, the keyboards had ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TIMES the recommended limit for bacteria. This isn't at all surprising. Workplace toilets are cleaned every day; when was the last time you cleaned your keyboard? It also makes sense that there are fewer germs on your thighs than on your hands. Hands are filthy dirty disgusting things. My geneticist buddy used to say that after going to the toilet men should wash their penises, not their hands. Sticking your hands in a (clean) toilet can only improve them.

 

Another friend of mine has just moved into a brand new apartment in Wellington. In the bottom of his toilet there is something that looks like a bit of rolled up paper, maybe a cigarette. Anyway, it was there when he moved in, it was there when I went round to help him set up his TV stand, it was there when I went round for a few drinks at his housewarming party. Chances are, it'll stay there until he moves out in six months time. Some people, I guess, just can't shove their hand into their toilet, no matter how clean it is.

 

The good news is, the father of the kid that found the diamond rings tracked down the former owner of the house and gave the rings back. I'm not sure what happened to his toothbrush.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

I'm baaack!

The BogLogger is moving countries - AGAIN - so I've been busy with finishing work and packing and arranging visas and all that sort of fun stuff. The good news is that I can now compare New Zealand toilets to Australian toilets and see which is better. Of course, the Aussies will say theirs are better and the Kiwis will say that the Aussies stole them.

*sigh*

I have 990 toilet related articles in Google Reader to read so I may not be posting a full story today. In the meantime, read about former Indian sanitation workers who are off to New York this month through the wonderful activities of my favourite organisation Sulabh International.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

No relief on space station

Cosmonauts and astronauts aboard the International Space Station are heading for a potential hygiene hazard with the malfunction of the toilet system. The system has been experiencing problems for the past week with each repair failing.

Without the assistance of gravity, space toilets use "fan-driven airflow to transport human waste away from a crew member's body". Read the full article here.

Currently, the crew is using the toilet in the transport trip Soyuz, but it has only a few days capacity. Fox news reports that the toilet is due to be replaced in a few months by a system that will transform urine into drinkable water.

Being stranded out in space with no toilet facilities is simply awful. Cosmonauts and astronauts already suffer many privations, but this seems to me the worst! No doubt, though, they're clever folk and they'll find relief somehow.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Pee & Poo Shop

God I love Swedish people. Really. They're awesome. I didn't think any nation could top the brilliant innovation of the Belgians, but leave it to the Swedes impress The Bog Logger.


Pee&Poo by Emma Megitt

Swedish designer Emma Megitt created Pee&Poo for her university design project and the little guys proved so popular she went into business.

"The idea of creating cuddly toys on the subject of pee and poo is not only
truly unique, both historically and now, it's also neutral, and therefore widely
applicable and acceptable, with regard to age, gender and nationality. People
just like them; they seem to have a universal appeal."

Damn straight they are. I've got all my Christmas presents sorted already!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Play while you pee, in Belgian urinal game

Play while you pee, in Belgian urinal game - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Two Belgian beer fans have launched a video game named 'Place to pee', which allows players to slalom down ski slopes or kill aliens while relieving themselves at urinals.

Werner Dupont, a software developer, and Bart Geraets, an electrical engineer, got the idea while drinking Belgian trappist beers, they said at a local festival.

"This thing had to be invented by Belgian people and that's what we are," they said.

The 'Place to pee' booth is designed for two users at a time and offers two games - blowing up aliens in outer space or skiing down a virtual slope. Gamers hit their target by aiming at sensors positioned on either side of the urinal.

A specially designed paper cone allows women to play too, the inventors say.

Their 'Place to pee' logo resembles 'Manneken Pis', the little urinating boy fountain that is among Brussels' top sightseeing attractions.

-------

I LOVE the Manneken Pis! Not sure if it's as 'lady friendly' as it hopes to be.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Presents in the plumbing

In my first two weeks at my new job I was struck by dirty bombs three times! I haven't been struck again since (perhaps there was something wrong with the plumbing which has been fixed) but please - ladies, gentlemen - repeat after me:

- Poo

- Flush

- Check

- Flush again !

I'm a poo professional, but really, it's just not polite to inflict your poos on other people.


Thursday, 8 May 2008

Wee and wash: what next?

In this eco-conscious world o' ours, it's great to see some innovation in the bathroom. A real step up from the brick in the cistern.

washup_concept

That's right. It's a washing machine. On a toilet.

Of course, there are many (more sensible) eco-friendly toilet solutions.

This sexy number from Matsushita, made from organic glass

Matsushita

claims to be environmentally friendly as it features the industry's lowest water usage.

Or the Aqus system, which captures water from the bathroom sink to be re-used as flushing water.

Aqus

And in St David's, Pembrokeshire, UK, a city trying to become the world's first carbon-neutral city, rainwater is harvested to service the public toilets.

But as regular readers will know (and I sincerely hope that you're all regular) one of the things I care most about is the provision of adequate toilets, particularly in developing countries. So I was pleased to see this week that Pump Aid co-founder Ian Thorpe (not the swimmer) is a finalist in the St Andrew's Prize for the Environment for his Elephant Toilet.

http://www.christinecollister.com/malawi.htm

Costing just £20 each to build, the toilets use discarded objects such as plastic bottles and empty ballpoint pens in their construction. The 'elephant' toilet name comes from the two ear shapes where the user puts his or her feet and the trunk which separates liquid waste from solid.

http://www.knaresboroughpost.co.uk/harrogate-news/Innovative-toilet-design-is-no.4056293.jp

The photo comes from Christine Collier's Malawi diary.

...at one point, he squatted down on a toilet base not yet fitted in situ, to demonstrate how it works and a huge howl of children's laughter errupted at the obviously recognisable stance ... toilet humour crosses all cultural boundaries.

It sure does, Christine.

BTW, how good a name is Matsushita for a toilet company!?

Pam's boyfriend says 'not guilty'

The boyfriend of Pam Babcock, the woman who sat on a toilet for so long that she became physically stuck to it, has entered a plea of 'not guilty' for the misdemeanour charge of mistreatment of a dependent adult.

 

The boyfriend, Kory McFarren, is also appearing on an unrelated charge of lewd behaviour. Good on you Kory. You know, Kory had my sympathy. I can totally understand how days, weeks and then months can pass without alerting anyone that your girlfriend is a bit crazy. I can't believe I spent 9 months at my last job when it was the most miserable place in the whole of New Zealand - it just kind of happenned. But Kory, if this stuff about you flashing yourself to your neighbours is true, maybe you're a little bit wrong upstairs too.

Friday, 2 May 2008

At your convenience

I spoke recently about having job interviews in toilets, a ridiculous opinion that I stand by (I'm just that perverse).

I particularly stand by it when I remember all my resumé cover letters which say, "I am available to meet at your convenience..."

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Posh poos

There's an article on the Boston Herald website about the poshest sorts of toilets you can get for your own home including... a throne.

 

 Tina Turner has one... why not you?

You can be proud owner of a sleek and sexy toilet - BostonHerald.com

 

The history of toilets in private homes is primarily a story of the rise and fall of ostentatious fittings.

 

In the early 19th century fittings and furnishings in bathrooms were needlessly ornate - people were making bathrooms out of rooms, and had to fill that space with a lot of filigree. By about 1855, cleanliness and simplicity ruled, before there was another shift towards putting all the expense of the house into the bathroom. And why not? You're pretty well guaranteed that your guests are going to see it. What a great place to show off!

 

Bathrooms remained an impressive size (for those who had bathrooms) until the revolution of 'bath-cells' in American hotels in the late 1800s, when bathrooms came down to a more reasonable size and utilitarian function. There seems to now be a shift again towards fabulous bathrooms, but the onus is on luxury rather than fussiness.

 

Toilets themselves, however, haven't changed all that much, so it's nice to see manufacturers doing something interesting, and even ludicrous, with the design.

Did you know?

The first bath was installed in the White House in 1851.

 

In 1895, no New York tenement had a bath.

 

The Lord Mayor of London was denied a request to install a shower-bath in the Mansion House in 1812.

Clean and Decent, Lawrence Wright

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Oh, the humanity!

I might be a lefty leaning pinko greenie, etc, but surely I'm not alone in thinking that toilet paper is a basic human right? Well, not in Montgomery County, Maryland USA it's not.

United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) which represents about 8000 government employees has released a memo with cost-cutting measures and it suggests, among other things, restricting the amount of toilet paper issued to inmates of jails.

The county spends ‘‘hundreds of thousands of dollars” annually to repair plumbing because inmates use it [toilet paper] to clog their toilets.

Issuing a maximum of three rolls a week to each inmate would avoid some of those costs.

Read the full article here.

I can just imagine the black market in Montgomery County jails: smack, cigarettes and bog roll. They'll have to get their mules to smuggle it in one sheet at a time so as to avoid detection.

http://www.baronbob.com/camouflage-toiletpaper.htm

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Re-employment

19-job-interview

I'm recently re-employed again (hence the slight downturn in regular blog postings). The toilets at my new place of employment are a little on the miserable side, and it got me to thinking - job interviews should be held in toilets.

 

Seriously. There are plenty of seats, you can talk shit without it being out of place, and guys can all stand around comparing penis sizes.

 

Picture by Leon Kuhn You can learn a lot about an organisation from the condition and layout of their toilets. The ladies toilet in my new workplace has two cubicles and one separate disabled toilet into which no disabled person has ever gone or could ever go. It is the worst type of accessible toilet: it is an almost-accessible toilet. It has a tap that can be mouth-operated, a generous hand rail and a slightly wider than usual access door. Unfortunately, the door leads into a little hallway with a door which is smaller than usual. Even if a wheelchair could fit in the hall door, there isn't sufficient room in the hallway to turn into the disabled toilet, without doing an 8 point turn. Honestly, who designs these things?

 

I do like my new workplace, but there is an air of almost doing things right.

 

My old workplace was notoriously bad for people not changing the loo roll - I guess it just wasn't in anyone's job description.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Why I love Malaysian newspapers

If I ever get cynical about the news, I just treat myself to a bit of Malaysian reporting. Where else can you get juicy leaders like this one:

 

"SOME homosexuals are alleged to be using public toilets in shopping centres in Kuala Lumpur to engage in unnatural sexual acts."

 

Unnatural sexual acts!! By homosexuals!!

 

Watch out! Homosexuals! 

"Guards would then carry out investigations before warning homosexual couples caught in the act."

 

Either those homosexuals are in the toilets for days, or the investigations are undertaken pretty quickly.

 

“We have our own ways to prove the offence besides having several security officers who are experts in handling these sort of cases.”

 

LMAO. Honestly, I can't even add anything to that.

 

A worker with a transportation company had admitted being caught in the act with another homosexual, who is a bank executive. The duo were caught by security guards at a staircase of a shopping complex in Jalan Pasar.

 

The 22-year-old suspect from Sungai Jelok, Kajang, said he did not realise his acts were captured on CCTV.

 

He said he started “becoming” a homosexual when he was 15, when he was studying in a residential school in Kajang

 

And so I think we can all learn something from this.

- don't use toilets in Kuala Lumpur

- don't go to a  residential school unless you want to 'become' a homosexual.

Misquote of the week

"I'm campaigning on the fact we have managed to get policies adopted such as the community toilet scheme... I hope I will hold on to my seat."

 

Hertsmere Labour group leader, Ann Harrison

 

http://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/display.var.2198628.0.0.php