Monday, June 29, 2009

Prison Break

Agent L-L-7 has come through for us again! This time, the toilet paper roll takes a different art form - the art of escape.

One crafty convict at the Howard County Jail in Missouri reportedly used a piece of folded cardboard from his toilet paper roll to jam the door lock of his cell door, then fled while the patrol guard went the other way.

Okay, so he was caught. Still, he should get extra points for creativity. And this guy really doesn't like prisons. He escaped from a previous jail in 1996 by climbing through a hole in the roof.

Once again, the toilet paper tube proves to be much more than meets the eye.

Friday, June 26, 2009

TP Roll Art

Today we have a fantastic entry from Agent Double-L-7 in Oakland. Paper artist Jacquet Fritz Junior (he's French, and so is his website), creates these face sculptures out of leftover toilet paper rolls.

Ironically, I have to say some of them appear to be a bit constipated. But they are so beautiful! Look at them! Such great character. They remind me a little bit of the "helping hands" from Jim Henson's Labyrinth (that's right, the one with David Bowie and his pants).

If that's not clever recycling, I don't know what is!

Now you know what to do next time you run out of toilet paper. Don't just sit there, get busy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stand up for yourself!

Speaking of leaving the seat up, who says it's guys who get to have all the stand-up fun anyway? Girls, maybe it's time for us to learn a new trick. I heard of a girl once who was so proficient, she could accurately aim and put out a campfire with her stream. Can't say I ever witnessed it, but I believe it can happen.

Trouble is, some women are more or less able to do this without assistance, depending on your individual anatomy. Shucks. If you'd like to give it a try, a little tutorial can be found here.

And then there are a variety of gadgets out there to aid in the venture if you are in some sort of situation where sitting down or squatting would be less desirable, say, in a really nasty portapotty, or camping, or both. They are all essentially the same thing - a little funnel designed to shoot the wee away from you and into the desired location, i.e. not on your pants or leg. The P-Mate describes itself as a little "shoe" with the toe cut off. And it does look rather like a shoe. Reportedly, it was invented by a Dutch woman. Go figure. That, and the "Whizzy" are disposable items you can carry with you.

Then there are the washable varieties, such as the Go-Girl (nice mini!), and the "Whiz Freedom." (StyleList has an entertaining video of the latter.) There is even an acronym for these: FUD (Feminine Urination Device). Bet that ruined your breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, I can't really imagine putting one of those things in my dishwasher, whether along with my dishes or not. Even if it does get clean every time. I just don't think I could look at my food the same way.

There are also urinals designed for women.

Overall, I can't say that I have an actual desire to pee standing up. I've gotten this far without it, and I haven't found it to be too much of a problem. But that's not to say I couldn't try, just for kicks. And I do like Go-Girl's catch phrase; "Don't take life sitting down." Go girls.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Seats Up!

In honor of all the dads out there, and brothers, cousins, granddads, potential dads, lovers, guys with girlfriends, husbands, etc., I just wanted to offer this humble tribute to leaving the toilet seat UP.

Yeah, I get that we're women and due to various anatomical differences, we have to actually use the toilet seat more often. Plus we get to have the babies and other related inconveniences. But ladies, really, is it THAT much of a problem to just put the toilet seat DOWN once in a while? Does it really ruin your day? Does it make you miss a meeting with your boss?

Maybe. But the point is, think about your man. How inconvenient it must be to have to walk into a bathroom all the time (in your own home, no less), and have to lift the toilet seat UP, when all you're thinking about is how much you have to pee. And then you have to put it DOWN again for that annoying girlfriend of yours who won't leave you alone about it, as if it were the biggest deal-breaker in your relationship. You know there are more important things in life.

Which is why you forget to put it down before you leave the bathroom, and get an earful later on. Annoying, right?

So I'm just saying, girls, next time you go in the bathroom, and you see that toilet seat up, and you feel all aggravated by it, stop and think for a second that what that really means is that there is a guy in the house who loves you enough to put the toilet seat up for you.

Guys, consider this my public service announcement for the day.

Now go get yourself this T-Shirt.

We love you, Dads!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tissue to the Rescue

One side of the new Trader Joe's tissue box:

Admit it, you do it, too.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Problem Solved

Do you ever wish that you would turn on the TV, and suddenly someone would be handing you a magic wand to solve all your toilet paper hygeine problems? Well these people have got your back(side) covered. Comfortable wiping at your fingertips - or not, rather.

Clearly, it has been a problem for people the world over to have to put up with nasty old toilet paper for more than a century. Because before the advent of toilet paper, it was much easier, right? We had chamber pots we could empty right out the window! Outhouses! Magazines! One older woman I know told me that apparently the last year's phone book came in quite handy.

But the days of relying on manual dexterity are over! And also, I'm sorry to tell you, but your arms are too short. Which is why you need to add 18 inches to your reach. If you ask me, that just makes things more awkward. And I'm not sure that scrunching the paper into a device is going to make the whole process more sanitary. Especially when they note that "scrunching" and "folding" toilet paper are outdated, archaic practices.

Seth Stevenson over at Slate had some words to say about the product, and it's ad, as did Joshua McGuire of

And the one issue they haven't solved for me: where do you put that handy tool when you're not using it? I'd like to know...

Thank you to Karen {Agent K} in Boston, for submitting!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Boston's Other Big Dig

We all know that Boston is the city that likes to spend exhorbitant amounts of time and money making it look like it's doing something to improve the city. Excuse me, I meant, create beautiful and advanced urban design. And public toilets are no exception.

Reportedly, Boston Mayor Tom Menino was inspired by San Francisco's public toilets when he visited back in 1997. Twelve years ago. And he planned to install 10 public toilets in Boston. So far they have six. And there's been a bit of a snafu with the seventh.

Installation began on that one in March 2008, in Boston's North End (not the South End). It has yet to open.

First, it was installed a few inches above sidewalk level. No good for wheelchairs. And, oops, sewage lines not where they are supposed to be, according to the map. And now, let's dig it up and add another pump. You know, standard, run-of-the-mill New England craziness.

More entertaining commentary can be read on the Bostonist. But I guess $300,000 isn't a whole lot more than was paid for any of Boston's other public toilets. And none of it was paid for by the city itself, but by Wall Decaux, an advertising company that pays for the facilities in exchange for the right to sell advertisements. Good deal, no? And you thought it was just a public service.

I'm thinking maybe Boston should look into the company that installed these toilets in Japan.

But what I love is that Boston has a director of Street Furniture. And that that includes toilets. But I am still wondering, who is going to use these public facilities? I pass by them in San Francisco all the time. And if I have to pee, that's exactly what I do - I pass by them. Because I am not above buying a cup of coffee so that I can use the loo if it means I have a reasonable chance at privacy. That, and the kiosks tend to smell pretty nasty when they are open. I guess people do use them. I am just not one of those people.

Thanks to Agent J in DC, for the Boston info.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Toilet Training Kitty

I have been meaning for a while to write about the issue of kitty toilet training. And we don't mean box training, here, we mean toilet. As in your toilet.

The idea is, you get your cat to jump up on your toilet seat, place its little paws on either side, squat, and do its business in your toilet bowl. Then you come along and flush the stuff down. All gone! Neat and clean, right? Well, maybe, but I have to say, personally, I get some territory issues over this. I mean, that's MY toilet.

I first encountered kitty toilet training a few years back while browsing the racks at the library. At first, I thought the book meant box training. Then I realized they really meant toilet. I thought, do people actually do this? Apparently so. A blog for toilet training your cat (and some cute, but unrelated videos) can be found here. And here is a little step-by-step, if you're interested.

Arguments for it include cleanliness (your cat not stepping in dirty litter and tracking it all over the house), ease of maintenance, and saving on materials and cost of kitty litter. I hear that. And yet the idea of my cat using the same toilet that I use crosses a line that I prefer not to cross. I mean, I really do love my cat, but this is a little too much anthropomorphism for me, thank you.

I might possibly be in favor of one of these gizmos. Not that I have $300 to spend on one. But I say Kitty can have her own little toilet, box, or whatever, and I'll have mine.

Funny, I don't think anyone recommends teaching a cat to use toilet paper.

That's probably because if you give a cat some toilet paper, what you are likely to end up with is something like this:

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Remember the Toilets

In the spirit of Memorial Day, the TP Blog has this submission from Steve (a relative of ours), who served in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the Gulf War.

"Toilets were an experience in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. At one encampment, we had a special duty assignment.

Every morning the "honey pots" were collected from under the several 4-holer outhouses, transported outside the camp, and--with diesel liberally splashed within--lit on fire. At the right edge you can see the hand of someone wielding the stir stick. No one wanted their face captured doing this task.

I was sure glad I was a sergeant so I only had to supervise the people who actually performed this noble task!"

- S.

(note: Interesting that they are called "Honeypots" - reminiscent of this previous Post)