McDonalds UK are launching a new line of Happy Meal toys, including a Mario. According to an article in CogConnected, fans are fairly sure that this toy features Mario sitting on a toilet. I’m not really convinced, as whatever he’s sitting on is clearly made of bricks, but the article does pose the bewildering question “If he’s not on the toilet, then why is he waving?” Do you wave while pooing? I don’t.
The Mario toy in question – from CogConnected
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted a photo of himself doing a chest workout on his Instagram and Men’s Health ran a story, not about his lifting technique, but about the fact that there was a toilet in the photo, right next to the squat rack. Apparently, his trainer uses it as a motivational tool. It’s a non-functioning toilet, but it says “If you’re working so hard that you have to vomit, you still shouldn’t leave the gym.” Yay – health?
From @The Rock on Instagram
The Sun ran a story about a new mother, who was in a Costa cafe in Huddersfield. She asked if there was any particular area of the cafe where she could breastfeed, and a male staff member told her she could do so in the toilets. The new mother went home embarrassed and told her mother, who complained on Costa’s official Facebook page, leading to every UK tabloid running the story the following day.
The first story today isn’t really news, but I enjoyed it, so here we are. Global Indonesian Voices includes a story today about why Indonesians just don’t like pooing in Europe or America because there is no sprayer attached to the loo and they are expected to use “dry toilet paper to clean away fecal matter”, which apparently grosses them out and doesn’t leave them feeling clean.
The story discusses different traditions around arse-cleaning, and in one of my favourite paragraphs I’ve ever read, explains the differences’ source in weather and history. “As human are creatures of habit, a habit that had been embedded for eons will be definitely hard to change—the using of water for Indonesians is deeply ingrained.It’s very unlikely for the Northerners to bring their bottom down into the icy water. The Southerners, on the other hand, could enjoy indulging themselves to the feel of flowing water brushed against the glutes.”
Brush your glutes with flowing water today, go on. Live a little.
The campaign to end open defecation in India won religious support this weekend. The Times of India reports that maulvis and muftis (muslim officials) in the provinces of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab will now refuse to solemnise marriages in houses with no toilet. Reading about this necessary campaign day after day does make me feel sorry for communities who have change inflicted on them like this. There seems to be a lot more stick than carrot involved in India’s great toilet revolution.
And finally, to Liverpool, where The Echo is reporting on a church renovation. The Anglican St Brides apparently prides itself on its inclusivity and welcomes LGBTQIA members. To this end, the new “unisex toilets will ensure inclusivity for visitors of all abilities and gender identities”.
The planned exterior of St. Bride’s Church – photo from The Liverpool Echo
The Collegiate Times carries the case against installing automatic flushes in toilets as planned across campus at Virginia Tech. The arguments include that automatic flushes waste water as toilets are flushed unnecessarily. The argument given for automatic flushes is that they are more sanitary. However, this is disputed as they flush more often and thus release fecal matter into the air more often. The automatic flush is also said to be racist, as the sensor only registers the reflectiveness of light skin. But the issue that the piece spends most time on is that children are terrorised by sudden unexpected flushes, which their small bodies are more likely to provoke, to the extent that one father has invented a flush preventing device. The debate, it appears, rages on.
Cambodian lake villages are the focus of a Guardian story, where houses, shops and communal buildings float on raft-like structures. The residents are completely dependent on water from the lake as a source of food and drink, but they also use the lake as a toilet. The residents typically defecate off the edge of their house-raft. This has led to the spread of diseases such as chronic diarrhoea. Children have been known to fall into the lake while defecating and have drowned. WaterAid Cambodia is helping Wetlands Work to roll out the HandyPod, a cheap toilet that will allow villagers to sanitise their waste, along with an education programme to develop understanding around sanitation issues.
A Cambodian floating village – pic from the Guardian, credited to David Wall/Alamy
Donald Trump is on his way to a win in Chinese courts against a variety of brands who have been using the Trump name without his permission. That includes Trump condoms, Trump pacemakers and a Trump International Hotel. NJ.com leads with the top end toilets being sold as Trump Toilets.
The toilets still known as Trump – pic from NJ.com, credited to Mark Schiefelbein
The people of the wonderfully-named town of Tenterden in Kent have the opportunity to take part in an online poll to choose what music they’d like to listen to while using the public toilets there. Kent Online reports that the head toilet cleaner, who runs the Tenterden toilets’ Twitter account (@tenterdensloos) is asking toilet users whether they’d prefer rock and roll or easy listening while they pee.
Some suggested toilet-friendly songs – from Kent Online
The Metro reports on a Melbourne tenant who complained about his landlord on Reddit this week. His landlord has installed a coin meter that will only allow him to flush his toilet after paying. The tenant is apparently trying to find out if it’s illegal, while Redditors are trying to figure out if the photo is fake.
The coin-operated flush – Pic from destroyon/imgur
And finally, a photo from Instagram user maisondelaroche of the most hideous toilet cover in history. Enjoy.
The Times of India reports on the death of 3 men while they were waiting in line to use a public toilet in the Mankhurd suburb of Mumbai on the 3rd February. The building collapsed around them and five men fell into the 15-foot septic tank, three of them dying. The toilet has had similar problems in the past and seven people have died there in the last two years. A court case has been initiated against the city authorities by the Mahatma Gandhi Centre.
My Republica has a story from the Bajhang district of Nepal, where remote villages have recently had toilets installed. In 20 of these villages, women have been banned from using the toilet while they are menstruating or immediately post-delivery, by the village elders. This means that these women and girls are forced to relieve themselves in the outdoors to avoid “defiling” the toilets and angering the deities. Menstruating women are even banned from touching toilets, and many women are being discouraged from using the toilets even when they are not menstruating. Local women protesting the decision of the elders say that they carried the mud and the bricks to build the toilets even while they were menstruating and so they should have the right to use them now.
According to The Telegraph, Alitalia is the Pope’s favourite airline. More relevantly to my purposes though, it also reports on a threatened strike on 23rd February by cabin crew as a result of being asked to clean the toilets and to replenish soap and toilet paper on long-haul flights. The airline is under threat of closure from its investors. Of course, the strike is really about a pay-cut and a reduction in contracted holidays, but that didn’t stop the world’s press from choosing the toilets to put in the headlines, because as I well know, toilets get hits.
The Irish Sun has a story about an estate of new-build homes in County Down in Northern Ireland, where a thief made away with 3 white bathroom suites, 3 white ensuites, 3 white toilet and sink sets, 9 white radiators and 1 Vaillant Pro 28 LPG Boiler. The Sun helpfully illustrates the story with stock photos of toilets and radiators, for readers who don’t know what they look like.
Mashable has story today about Apple’s new “spaceship” campus in Cupertino, California, which has been designed in keeping with Apple’s aesthetic and which includes the largest piece of curved glass in the world. A former manager described the toilets as being like an iPhone and this has launched about a hundred speculative articles that say absolutely nothing about what the toilets there look like, but do feature silly fake pictures like this.
What the toilets at the Apple campus probably won’t look like – picture from Mashable (Bob Al-Greene)
A urologist in Taiwan was giving some fairly regular advice to the Taipei Times for reducing the risk of disease in public toilets, which mainly boiled down to, avoid filth and wash your hands. However, she did give one piece of advice that I hadn’t come across before. Flush before you use the toilet. Firstly, this will allow you to see if the toilet is blocked, but mainly it will “remove any excrement left from the previous user” and will therefore reduce any risk of infection. I guess this is obvious. I’ve just never heard a doctor say it before.
Two men were in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court this week, where they pled guilty to a public sex act in the men’s toilets at the Eldon Garden Shopping Centre. The Gazette Live reports that the act took place in front of the urinals and not privately, in a cubicle. It’s not clear whether or not that would have been OK. The perpetrators were fined and are said to be “mortified”.
The News Minute has a story about a new toilet in Bengaluru. It is a beautiful new facility, but locals, interviewed by the The News Minute don’t believe that it will remain in good condition. There is an older public toilet a few metres down the road, which is broken and dirty with grease-filled sinks and interruptions to running water and which smells so bad that many people choose to urinate outside it, rather than inside. The fruit and vegetable vendors who work on the road are relieved that they will have a clean toilet for a few months, but don’t think it will remain clean.