Monday, November 23, 2009

Google my Arse!

Intrepid Agent HoJo detected this gem of toilet papetry on the Huffington Post recently. It was listed under "Technology." We're not sure if that's because it bears the name "Google," or because toilets and related accoutrements are clearly tech-related. We're going with the latter.

Originally posted on a Vietnamese blog, this label choice is a marketing strategy I have not encountered before, and if I have, certainly not in such an egregious form. I'm guessing that the developers for this product sat around a board room table and decided that by slapping the name of a highly successful technology-oriented company on their TP, they could generate a boatload of sales. Or perhaps some other kind of load? I couldn't resist...

I am also guessing that Google and their lawyers will be after this company soon, if they are not already.

But my favorite part about this piece are the translations of the Vietnamese text, which you can read on the original post from Huffington, and also the "100% Virgin Pulp." I think that would definitely appeal to the Catholic masses.

(Photo via Huffington Post)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

World Toilet Day

Today is - are you ready? - World Toilet Day! I'm not making this up. It was founded by the World Toilet Organization, which I am also not making up. But this is serious business. (So to speak.)

The text from the WTO page reads:
"World Toilet Day is a global day of action to increase awareness for toilet users' rights and to advocate a better toilet environment. This day is marked by individuals, toilet associations, and other advocacy groups across the world to bring attention to a cause that truly affects everyone on earth."

And if you go to the World Toilet Day Website, they'll give you two reasons we should have it.

#1: Because 2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation, which risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people, mostly children, a year.

#2: Because even the world's wealthiest people still have
toilet problems - from unhygienic public toilets to sewage disposal
that destroys our waterways.

Get it? #1 and #2? These people are awesome. They even advocate more toilet stalls for women.

Now this is one cause we can really "get behind."

(Image - A WTD Press Conference in Ghana, courtesy of WTO)

Thanks to Agent RC for alerting us!

Monday, November 16, 2009

In One Door and Out the Other

I just spent a week in Massachusetts with my family, and catching up with old friends, and experiencing Ye Olde New England Bathrooms. One interesting feature of one of these bathrooms was the one belonging to my good friends Agents D and K. They are in possession of a large bathroom with a claw-foot tub and the convenient (or not) feature of two doors, one on either side of the room. Here's the view from the kitchen door:

And here's the view from the living room:

So, basically, if you want to use the loo, you have to first go in one door, walk across the room and lock the other door, then walk back and lock the first door. Well, I guess it depends which door you walk in first, but you get the idea. Unless you want to live dangerously, in which case the only door you probably really need to close is the one leading to the kitchen, since the other door opens onto a little vestibule with no other access, and not the living room itself.

We discussed possible reasonings for this set-up. They pointed out that the house used to be all one house and was divided into four apartments. So most likely, this room was not originally a bathroom (it may also have been built built before there was a lot of indoor plumbing.) There are, however, very old-looking locks, of the round, turny kind that I used to have in the room I lived in in Maine. It's like a round, brass knob that sticks out, and you turn it one way to get the bolt to go out, and the other way to draw it back in. It's usually situated somewhere above the knob.

Their guess was that the room may at one point have been a walk-in closet. But then, why the locks on both doors that could only be manipulated from the inside? So you could lock yourself in the closet? Hm... It's possible it was always a bathroom of some sort. Or a small bedroom. Or maybe the locks were added later. Maybe it was a bathroom, and the people who designed it were just too lazy to walk around to get in from the other side. Your guess is as good as mine.

One thing I do know is that I am not particularly fond of the bathrooms with two doors. It's enough to monitor one door to make sure it's locked and no one walks in. But then when there are two, then it really doubles the chances of this occurring, and that's not really a great thing, in my opinion. Or you just have to have to think a lot, because it would be so easy to just wash my hands and walk out the one door, completely forgetting about the other.

I've seen several two-door bathrooms on the West Coast, so this set-up is not limited to New England. And in fact, in those cases, the bathroom was accessible only by walking through someone's bedroom, which was kind of odd. I'm sure it's handy if that's your bedroom, but I like a little separation of personal space when I'm visiting someone's house usually.

Anyway, since Agent K has such a spectacular bathroom, you should really think about buying her new book, Life in Violet. It's a novel, set in New England, about a girl named Violet. I've so far only read the first line, but that was enough to tell me it was good! So you should go buy it, and then read it while you ponder the value of two-door bathrooms.