It’s been a problem as long as guys have been drinking beer. There’s not always a nearby place to relieve one’s self. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem. Fewer public rest rooms are open. Many businesses although open, have closed their facilities, even to customers.
Public urination causes problems and not just of decorum. Urine has a corrosive effect on buildings and other structures. (In my urban neighborhood, it’s mostly dogs leaving their stains and aroma on building corners, pillars and posts.) In the city of Amsterdam, fifteen people a year fall in and drown when pissing into canals. But the city is doing something about what they call the “wild peeing.”
A Dutch company is marketing “GreenPee,” a stand-alone urinal that requires no plumbing or sewer connection. GreenPee is a planter with vegetation growing out if it. On the side is an opening with a target zone for a person to aim at. Inside the planter is hemp which captures the urine. Amsterdam says that since they began installing GreenPee planters in 2018, wild peeing has been reduced by half. (They have also installed a few retractable urinals for women.) The hemp-urine mixture is composted and becomes a phosphate-rich organic fertilizer.
The GreenPee has a reservoir to collect rainwater for the greenery at the top of the unit. The planters also attract bees and other insects that are necessary for a healthy ecosystem.
GreenPee not only gives people something to aim at, but also converts that urine into something useful. A few of these could be helpful in our cities’ tent encampments.
Major League Baseball teams are playing sixty-game schedules for the 2020 season. Games are played in empty ball parks, no spectators in attendance.
The San Francisco Giants, and many other teams, are filling the ball park seats with life-size photograph cutouts. For $99, a Giants fan can have a photo representation of her or his self occupying a seat in the grandstand. A purchaser has the option of requesting a seat near a famous Giant (Willie Mays or Willie McCovey, anyone?) or other Bay Area celebrity (Jerry Rice or Jerry Garcia, for examples).
Every other year, fans attending San Francisco Giants night games at PacBellSBCAT&T Oracle Park could always count on the late-inning arrival of hungry seagulls swooping around just above the ball field, anxious for the crowd to leave so they could attack the left-behind food detritus.
No more. The gulls quickly realized no fans means no food and that presumedly are looking elsewhere for gourmet gull food. With no live people or birds, Giants management has done the only sensible thing. High up in the bleachers are cutouts of seagulls. No word on how the birds paid their $99, though.
So far, the Giants appear to be in little danger of playing more than sixty games. Sixteen teams will be in the post-season playoffs; not likely, the Giants will be one of those sixteen.
Portland has been the recipient of invective from the right-wing noise machine and has suffered physical abuse from Department of Homeland Security border/immigration secret police. But the City of Roses does not harbor grudges. This week it hosted an art installation honoring the current occupant of the White House.
Living statues, covered in gold (of course!) appeared on the downtown waterfront one morning.
The Portland display was the work of the Trump Statue Initiative, their second. Their first presentation appeared mid-July in Washington D.C.
Titled Ode to Putin, the exhibition of three living statues was gone by afternoon.
COVID-19, protests in the streets, deployment of secret federal paramilitary personnel into our streets and the general idiocy of the current occupant of the White House and his GOP toadies… well, really important news can be overlooked.
After much study, researchers have finally determined how many hot dogs a human person can possibly eat in ten minutes. Years of gathering data from Nathan’s Famous’s famous annual fourth-of-July hot-dog-eating contest, have produced the definitive answer: eighty-three.
This is good news. We now know that it’s possible the current record can be broken. Thirteen-time champion Joey Chestnut bested his own world record this year by consuming seventy-five hot dogs—with buns—in the allotted time. Miki Sudo set the women’s record, forty-eight and-a-half hot dogs, for her seventh consecutive win.
To provide some perspective, scientists calculated other animals’ capacity, with adjustment for body mass. Grizzly bears can eat eight hot dogs per minute, but only are able to last six minutes, so can’t match Mr. Chestnut’s record. A gray wolf, however, is capable of consuming eleven per minute. Researchers did not reveal how they were able to measure bears’ and wolves’ hot dog eating talents.
The key facility for speed-eating success is the stomach’s ability to stretch. Winners have stomachs that are able to stretch and increase volume to take in more food. Also-ran competitors, on the other hand, have stomachs that don’t stretch. When capacity is reached, the stomach must pass contents into the intestines before it can take in more. The intestines, well, you know… Joey Chestnut apparently has been able to increase his stomach’s stretchiness and thus surpass his previously-set records. Maybe someday he will confound science and eat eighty-four hot dogs in ten minutes.
Disclosure of recipients of Paycheck Protection Program largesse surprised no one. A lot of money was distributed, as expected, to the well-connected. But a couple organizations merit special mention.
The Washington Policy Center, a Seattle-based conservative think tank, makes its philosophy clear:
“We don’t receive government money. We don’t ask for it and we wouldn’t take it even if it were offered. WPC relies on the generous support of our donors — people like you who understand that free-markets are superior to a government rigged economy, and liberty is the air that a free people must breathe.”
Freedom Foundation, opposed to government spending and taxation and a relentless opponent of labor unions:
“We have a vision of a day when opportunity, responsible self-governance, and free markets flourish in America because its citizens understand and defend the principles from which freedom is derived. We accept no government support.”
It’s reassuring to see organizations hold firm to their fundamental philosophies.
Just kidding. Each of these took between $350,000 and $1,000,000 of government money.
“How do you get people to protect themselves from something they don’t believe in?”
– Steve Andrews
A meteor hit earth near a small town in Pennsylvania. The impact released a diminutive mass of formless, gelatinous goo. The sludge attached itself to a hapless human victim, devouring it before oozing its way to the next unsuspecting prey. The muck grew larger with each person it consumed. As it increased in size and appetite, panic ensued in town.
The 1958 motion picture “The Blob” tells the story. Steve McQueen, in his first starring role, portrays the protagonist Steve Andrews, who encounters the monster’s first victim. (The movie features a theme song composed by up-and-coming songwriters Burt Bacharach and Mack David.) As the beast grows, neither bullets nor fire nor electric shock can stop its relentless rampage. Eventually, the ogre retreats when Steve aims the chilling spray of a CO2 fire extinguisher at it.
While the townspeople race off to round up all the fire extinguishers they can find, Lieutenant Dave is on the radio to Washington: “I think you should send us the biggest transport plane you have, and take this thing to the Arctic or somewhere and drop it where it will never thaw.”
Lieutenant Dave: “At least we’ve got it stopped.” Steve Andrews: “Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold.”
Not only is the average temperature rising in the Arctic, it’s increasing at a pace much faster than anywhere else on earth.
Be ready with your CO2 extinguisher.
The Colonial Theatre, prominently featured in the “The Blob,” is putting on a stay-at-home version for its Blobfest 2020.