25 June 2017 in toilets | Stories from the UK, India, Jamaica and Denmark

Ed Miliband was the leader of the opposition in the UK and theoretically could have been Prime Minister until he resigned after losing the general election in 2015. This week, he was on BBC Radio 2, covering for Jeremy Vine and being a light entertainer on his phone-in show. During the week, many topics were covered, but the Evening Standard reports that on Tuesday his topic was toilets. He chatted to listeners about dual flush toilets and even had one caller flush her Victorian toilet live on air. That’s what the man who could have prevented Brexit was doing with his Tuesday.

*****

The next story is one I have read at least ten times and still don’t understand. It’s about a village in India, which Time reports is informally changing its name to Trump Sulabh Village in honour of President Donald. The move is being led by a toilet charity, which is campaigning for access to sanitation and toilets in India, including in this village. Apparently, the publicity stunt is causing the village to get free toilets for each of the 60 mud houses there. Many of the villagers are said not to know who Trump is, but are delighted to be getting the new toilets. Nothing about this story makes any sense.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 23.48.31.png

Trump Sulabh Village – photo from Time.com

*****

The Jamaican Star reports from the neighbourhood of Trenchtown in the capital city Kingston, where the lack of toilet facilities has left residents frustrated. They are complaining to local politicians that many people are using plastic shopping bags (known as “scandal bags” in Jamaica) to defecate in and are then throwing that into the bin, which is causing quite a lot of unpleasantness. Local residents also complain of plastic bags of faeces being used as missiles, which does sound singularly unpleasant.

*****

Finally, to Denmark, where an archaeologist has found a pile of medieval Viking poo and got herself into some controversy as a result. Ars Technica reports that Anna Beck believes she has found the oldest toilet in Denmark, but that many other archaeologists don’t believe this is possible as there were no toilets in rural Denmark until the 18th century according to current research, and that rural people would have mixed their poo with that of their animals and used it as manure. Beck’s poo pit would seem to claim otherwise.

18 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from Ireland, South Africa, Sweden, China and from the air

We’re starting in my native land of Ireland, where the small tourist town of Dingle has installed public toilets for dogs. Beat 102-103 FM reports that a number of these toilets have sprung up around the town over the last week.

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 19.26.20.png

A dog posing for a publicity shot at one of the new doggy loos in Dingle. Photo from the Dingle Tidy Towns Facebook page

*****

The BBC is reporting on a town in Sweden that is considering playing music in school toilet block. This is to help students who are too afraid to use the toilets for fear of being heard. Apparently, students are afraid of being overheard peeing as well as pooing and some are avoiding going to the toilet all day long as a result.

I always thought of Nordic people as unafraid of their own bodies. That’ll teach me to stereotype.

*****

A temporary settlement in South Africa is requesting its long-drop toilets back. Northglen News is reporting that the settlement’s plumbed in toilets are blocked and the resulting flood means that the residents have to deal with raw sewage swimming about. Also the fact that all water comes from the same source, it means that residents can’t have showers. Modernisation without investment in services would appear to be useless.

*****

A strange story from the South China Morning Post, where the problem of truancy at Wuhan International Culture University, is being tackled with new punishments. Male students who skip classes are being punished by being made to clean the female dorms and women’s bathrooms and the female students who skip classes are being made to clean the men’s dorms and toilets. I don’t understand the gender-swapping. Is it meant to be more humiliating? Anyway, apparently this new policy is proving to be effective and students are no longer staying at home playing computer games instead of going to lectures.

*****

Finally, to the airways, where a story on Australia’s 97.3 FM reports that flight attendants, when forced to clean a little airplane toilet after a particularly smelly poo, will brew a pot of coffee and throw the coffee down the toilet before cleaning in order to neutralise the smell. Something to try at home?

11 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from India, the USA, the UK and Australia

First up, Australia, and one of this blog’s trustworthy repeat stories – the crazy things that people flush down their toilets. News.com.au ran a story about a plumber in Darwin and the things he’s found blocking toilets, which include: “dead cats, dirty underwear, sex toys, chain mail butcher’s gloves and soiled nappies”. Apparently, children frequently get embarrassed about having accidents in their underwear and flush them to hide the evidence and this frequently causes the plumber to have to be called.

cc24f74cc34d3d129fd1268161c28991.jpeg

Chris Murphy, the Darwin plumber interviewed for this story, with the live cat he rescued from a toilet – photo from NT News by Glenn Campbell

*****

And now to Huddersfield in West Yorkshire in the UK, where the Sunday Express reports on the controversy around a secondary school’s decision to provide gender neutral/unisex bathrooms for their students in an attempt to be inclusive of students of all modes of gender expression.

Apparently parents (especially of female students) are objecting to the change, principally using the argument that girls will be too afraid of bullying to use the toilets with boys present while they’re menstruating and that each cubicle would have to be fitted with individual tampon machines so that girls could procure these without the boys seeing. If that really is the main argument, then it would appear that the boys’ parents need to do a better job of educating their children about menstruation, but I suspect that that isn’t the only reason behind the objections.

*****

We’re still in the UK, where Wigan Today reports that a website “Cruising Gays” which lists cruising spots for gay men (places where men can look for other men to have anonymous sex) has ranked the toilets at Wigan Wallgate railway station as the best for anonymous hook-ups in the region. Congratulations?

*****

A racism row has been reported on CBS’s Dallas-Fort Worth site about the small town of Paris Texas, where signs proclaiming “Negro Toilets” with explanatory notes about the Civil Rights Act, which were erected next to the site of what were formerly racially segregated toilets have been removed. Apparently, the were erected in an effort to educate about the racist past, but the wording has served to offend and reinforce and so they have been removed.

web-bathroom.jpg

The offending signs. Photo from CBS DFW, by Brenda Cherry

*****

Finally, to India, where a court row about two toilets in Bangalore has been resolved after 36 years according to the Bangalore Mirror. The two toilets were built in 1981 by one family. The woman next door claimed that the toilets blocked her right of way between the two houses and demanded that they be demolished so she could access the laneway between the houses. The court rejected her argument, stating that she could not establish that she had a right of way there. However, they also ordered that the toilets be demolished anyway, as they were  taking support from the complainant’s house.  So everyone’s a loser!

4 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from New Zealand, Japan, China, South Africa, the US, the UK and Ireland

Welcome to the new format – from now on every Sunday I’ll be posting all of the internet’s best toilet stories from the last week. I imagine you’ve missed me lots.

*****

Let’s start in New Zealand, with a story about a policeman keeping his job. TVNZ reports on the story of a “highly trained” police officer, whose job is to protect the New Zealand Prime Minister and other VIPs, who kept his job after a disciplinary process. He was using the public toilet in parliament and put his loaded Glock pistol down and then forgot to pick it up. An hour and a half later, when he was on his way back, having realised he’d forgotten his gun, it was discovered by a member of the public. Luckily, no harm was done.

*****

Breaking News reports that Sober Lane, a pub in my home city of Cork, has installed a “Snapchat machine” in the ladies’ toilets, so women on a night out can record their toilet fun and drunk group selfies on the pub’s Snapchat story. I’m sure nothing at all will go wrong.

zzzSoberLaneSnapStation_large.jpg

The ladies’ toilet Snapchat Machine  – photo from BreakingNews.ie

*****

Angry commuter stories make me happy. Angry commuters pissing in plastic bottle stories are amazing. Read this story in the East Anglian Daily Times to experience the anger of rail passengers stuck on a train that only had working toilets in half of the carriages. It does sound inconvenient, as they had to get off the train and get back on another carriage in order to access the toilets, so I’m not not on the passengers’ side. But I still find the idea of the people of East Anglia angrily pissing into bottles on a train quite funny.

*****

Now, a story from the Sowetan Live, about a man who has an amazing name and amazing hair. There is apparently a singer  and reality TV star called Papa Penny Penny. Imagine being called Papa Penny Penny and not being a reality TV star. Anyway, the story goes that he once worked as a toilet cleaner. He told a show called Real Talk that “some people would just do their deeds beside [instead of inside] the toilet pot but I just cleaned”. Poor Papa Penny Penny.

 

Penny-Penny

Papa Penny Penny – photo from Sowetan Live

*****

Now to China, where a news story in This Week in Asia appears to be trying to make Japan’s good toilets as much of a problem as China’s bad ones. The story tells of the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, when the city’s many dirty, smelly and old-fashioned toilets had to be renovated before the Games started. It compares this situation to Japan’s amazing toilets, thought to be the best in the world, and lists some of the advantages of Japan’s toilets, with their automated functions, heated seats, built-in bidets and washing functions and even the ability to measure blood pressure or analyse urine content. It claims that before the Olympics come to Japan 2020, the Japanese will have a similar problem because competitors and crowds from around the world won’t be able to figure out how to use the loos there. You should mainly read this story for the amazing photos of Japanese toilets, two of which I include here.

24d4346e-450e-11e7-935d-dac9335a3205_1280x720_135748.jpg

This is a photo of Inax’s (a Japanese firm) flagship toilet at a Shanghai expo. Imagine having a flagship toilet. Photo from This Week in Asia, credited AFP. 

33ad6b40-450e-11e7-935d-dac9335a3205_1320x770_135748.jpg

A man wearing a poo-shaped hat climbs a giant toilet slide at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. Amazing. Photo from This Week in Asia, credited AFP.

*****

Finally to San Francisco, and a story from Business Insider (which is basically Buzzfeed in a suit) about a journalist who tries a Japanese toilet. It’s not just any Japanese toilet. It’s apparently “the Mercedes Benz of toilets” and it costs $10,200. To be honest, that’s too much to spend on an actual Mercedes Benz. She said the toilet was nice, but unsurprisingly she also said that it wasn’t ten thousand dollars nice.

 

An angry professor and what if toilets could talk?

Walmart is being sued by a professor from Montana State University. USA Today reports that when he purchased a fishing licence from Walmart, the employee entered the professor’s occupation into the database as “toilet cleaner”. The story doesn’t state why he did this, but the professor clearly doesn’t want to be known as a toilet cleaner and has sued Walmart for the  “hatred, contempt, ridicule” he has been exposed to as a result.

*****

What if toilets could talk? A Facebook video from Cody Johns. Sit back and enjoy.

Korans in the toilet, Fatboy Slim hipsterises toilets and a dream toilet.

The BBC is reporting on what is assumed to be a hate crime in the University of Texas at Dallas, where photos of Korans in three different toilet bowls have been shown to the media. The police are investigating and are trying to identify suspects from CCTV. The act is mysterious insofar as the copies of the Koran from the multi-faith prayer room in the same building were untouched and the police don’t know who owned the Korans that ended up in the toilet. The university has been anxious to emphasise its welcoming and diverse nature in the aftermath of this incident.

*****

The once famous DJ Fatboy Slim is behind a scheme to re-develop a dilapidated block of public toilets in Shoreham-by-Sea, in West Sussex in the UK into a “community cafe” and “watersports centre”. I don’t know what either of those things are, but the commenters in local Sussex paper, The Argus seem happy, so long as the centre includes public toilets. They also enjoy the fact that a local councillor involved in the scheme is called Brian Boggis.

*****

Finally, a video from Kalamazoo, Michigan, where local DJ with WKFR 103.3, Dana Marshall, finds his dream toilet.

No space loo, how to find the cleanest toilet and modelling at urinals

According to Popular Mechanics, we won’t be getting to use space toilets any time soon. Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’s company, which plans to offer private individuals the chance to go to space, are not planning to put toilets on their rockets that will bring paying passengers to space, six at a time. The total flight time will be between 41 and 42 minutes, so Jeff says we’ll be able to hold it in.

*****

How do you choose the cleanest toilet in a row of cubicles? Don’t go for the middle one! Apparently, when humans are faced with a choice between equal options, they tend to choose the middle one. The Sun is reporting on research that shows that the middle toilet tends to be the most used, but the toilets on the edges vary according to gender. Men tend to use the one nearest the door, while women tend to use the one furthest away. For this reason, the cleanest men’s cubicle is likely to be the one furthest from the door and the cleanest women’s cubicle is likely to be the one nearest.

*****

Finally, to Sao Paulo Fashion Week, where Out reports on a male fashion shoot at some urinals. Enjoy.

000271440006.jpg

Sao Paulo Fashion Week – pic from Out.com