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May 7, 2020

BehindTheMedspeak: Micturition and its discontents. Or, real men sit to pee.

A pet peeve of mine since med school, when I happened on an article in some medical journal which described a chemical which reacts with constituents of urine (the stuff they don't put in pools so that when people pee in them, the urine turns red and spots them out, hahaha, sorry to burst your bubble) to highlight urine on bathroom surfaces and found that the entire floors and walls up to about 18 inches high were covered in urine which had been deposited there as a result of microdroplets in the bouncing-off-the-toilet-bowl-water-surface mist in men's bathrooms — where the intensity of urine traces was many times that in women's rest rooms, where it was present in the same distribution though less concentrated, in this case the result of dispersal during flushing, which simply adds to the major standing-and-deliver mess resulting from men's insistence that "only women squat to pee," a worn-out old saw if I've ever heard one but I'm not here to comment on language usage, instead I'm using this as a bully pulpit from which to argue that, at least in my house, if you are a man you will please sit down before using my toilets, since I have zero interest in using bathrooms I keep meticulously clean only to have them sullied by your crude habit and if you don't like it, well, guess what, there's an acre out back where you can commune with the squirrels and deer and the solitary red fox that trots by every now and then, prancing ever so lightly and beautifully on her/his delicate feet, and whizz to your heart's content any way you like — standing up, sitting down, lying down, I really don't care, though I'm reminded of how hard it is to pee while you're inline skating at 20 mph in rural Georgia, as I did in the late '90s five years running during the Athens-to-Atlanta Inline Road Skate Marathon (87 miles) when I found myself 1) with an overpowering urge to go and 2) in the midst of a superb peloton (the word applies not only to bicyclists but also inline skaters) that I knew I'd never catch up with if I let it go, so I dropped back to the last position (told you I was a nice person) and after a mile or so finally was able to overcome decades of training and imprinting and just let it happen, urine saturating my Lycra shorts and running down my legs into my socks and skates, not that it mattered since they were already sweat-soaked, but I digress, back to my main subject, oh, yes, how about this quotation from British journalist Rose George's book, "The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters": "Aiming a stream of urine at a toilet bowl sends a fine spray around the room (as does every toilet flushed without the lid closed). Spray becomes vapor, which leaves a chemical deposit on anything surrounding the urinal. It can also change the color of wallpaper," well, guess what, I don't have wallpaper so that's not an issue but that oughta make my point clear if I haven't done so already, I should think, though Dwight Garnerreviewing George's book in the December 12, 2008 New York Times, asked, "Is it time for American men to engage in a different kind of sit-in?", I second that emotion and I just had a great idea, maybe I'll get some disclosing solution and spray it all over the floors and walls after I clean my bathrooms, then check after each use to make certain there's no telltale red, and that goes for women too, who have to give up their habit (I know who you are, don't pretend ignorance) of watching as the toilet flushes but just assume modern indoor plumbing's doing what it's paid to do, and finally let me point out that I don't necessarily have to write in my usual clipped manner with short sentences and all but do so simply to make things easier for everyone, what with kids from age three up occasionally tuning in here, and I do apologize to that wee crew for this post but promise it won't happen again for at least five years, OK?, but wait, there's more — from Garner's review, this about what he remembers about Nicholson Baker's 2003 novel "A Box of Matches": "His male narrator, when he uses the toilet at night, sits down to urinate. Why? Well, men sometimes miss, especially when sleepy or in the dark. 'Just because during the day you stand, does that mean you must stand during the night as well?' Mr. Baker's narrator asks. In a bit of post-macho sloganeering, he adds: 'There's no shame in sitting down.'", well, duh, I was there a long time before Baker and with a much more encompassing policy, as noted above, "All sitting — all the time," yes, that's the way we like it and yes, not that you asked but I am indeed listening to K.C. & The Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight" as I type and you can enjoy it right now yourself, just click here and you're there, you don't even need red shoes or anything.

May 7, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Let's talk about whiskers

May 7, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The early birds got the lowest Twitter ID numbers


Who knew there was even such a thing as a Twitter ID number?

Turns out that everyone with a Twitter account has one, assigned when you open your account.

They run numerically: founder Jack Dorsey aka @jack has #12 (top).

I joined in November of 2006 — before SXSW in the spring of 2007 when Twitter blew up — and was assigned #22153 (below).


I only learned of the existence of these numbers yesterday when Nathan Baschez aka @nbashaw, #1742947 (below),


wrote about them somewhere.



can too!

May 7, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

British Museum Website Updated to Include 1.9 Million Images From Its Collection

Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 8.00.28 AM

The revamp is the biggest update since the site was created in 2007, and for the first time works on mobile and tablets as well as with desktop browsers.

Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 8.00.17 AM

The new version was unveiled earlier than planned due to the museum's closure due to Covid-19.

Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 8.03.26 AM

A major new addition is the ability to zoom in and see images larger than life size.


Users are free to view, adapt, and download images. 


If you look at 1,900 of those images every day, you'll have seen them all in a little under three years.


That's a lot of days.

Oh, yeah, one more thing: free, the way we like it.

May 7, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Home Privacy Tent


From the website:

Things can mighty get cramped at home, especially if you live in a city in Japan.

How can you get away from your family or roommates when you don't have a spare room?


Easy, if you have a Home Privacy Tent.


This easy-to-assemble indoor tent is a personal booth for those times when you need your own private space.


No, this isn't just another "wacky Japan" meme: this is a genuinely practical item ideal for a wide range of users: from serious photographers in need of a miniature studio to hardcore gamers who don't want distractions or even teleworkers who require a professional and straightaway environment to do a conference call or get some office tasks done.


Features and Details:

• Ideal for home privacy, teleworking, gaming, taking photos, studying, etc.

• Instructions: Japanese (but easy for anyone to assemble)

• Portable: folds down for ease of transport

• Skylight/roof opening and side window

• Assembled size: 59" x 43" x 35"

• Weighs 6 pounds including case

• Self-assembles with one touch

• Storage case included

• Indoor use only

$150 (furniture and computers pictured not included).


Still not convinced?


the video.

May 7, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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