High Humor For Water Geeks

“Solution” is one of the most beloved classic cartoons from Toothpaste for Dinner, which has tagged itself as “the most addictive comic on the web.” There might be some teeth to that claim; myself, I’ve barely missed a day in over four years. (You can get “Solution” and other popular Toothpaste for Dinner comics on T-shirts and other merch via the site.)

Extreme Water Infrastructure Sports, Amateur Division

Geo Contest! Where, oh where? There’s a (modest) prize and heavy praise waiting for the first reader/s who can identify these locations.

It looks like reservoir mis-use in the name of sport is an international phenomenon! In this clip from the land down under, our Oz sportsmen do without the fancy equipment and skilled videographers, but make up for it with a head-bangin’ punk rock track. Here, see “Aussie guys jumping off a huge tower at the res.”

A mere 5 seconds long, don’t blink or you’ll miss the action in “Water Tower Golfing.” This is strong evidence for the theory that “everything’s been done already.”

This one, aptly titled “Redneck Wakboarding,” depicts that memorable day when “Mitch went wakeboarding at the water treatment plant in the mud while it was freezing outside.”

Extreme Water Infrastructure Sports, Part I

I know that dams, by design, often create recreational opportunities but I don’t think this was the water sport that designers intended . If you’re a kayak enthusiast with nerves of steel and adrenaline to spare, a trip to Wales for a ride down the 1:3 gradient of the Llyn Brianne Reservoir’s 300 ft. concrete overspill run might be on your “to-do” list. In November 2008, these sportsmen reached speeds of up to 45 mph. (This incident is by no means a first; do a Google video search for Llyn Briane and you’ll see what I mean!)

Officials were less thrilled, though the “dam perpetrators” were not caught. This entire fascinating story from WalesOnline includes the point/counterpoint opinions as well as some interesting insight into the important role of the videographer in these well-orchestrated stunts.

Back in the USA, these fellows are without fancy boats and gear…only what must be the best-quality pairs of shorts that money can buy. Sorta-professional cinematic music plays as aimless youth are “sliding down the spillway at Whitewater Memorial State Park in Liberty Indiana.” Apparently it was worth the risk as “anonymous guy” concludes, “This is so awesome and more fun than any amusement park waterslide that I’ve ever been on. Now this is the real deal!

Finally, “Nikipedia” slides down the Kamas spillway in Utah with his incredulous friend behind the camera providing the laugh track. (The nameless cameraman seems to get a bigger thrill out of the stunt than the rider!)

How about Sewranee Springs? Effluessence?

Yea, marketing! With a strategic sleight of hand, we can plaster a new name over something less pleasant and magically change everyones’ perceptions! Los Angeles is on to this trick, as noted in this story from Reuters on how the water crisis is forcing the issue of reuse in Los Angeles as the situation intensifies. The article notes,

Just don’t call it “toilet-to-tap.”

County officials prefer the term “Groundwater Replenishment System,” a name chosen after similar projects in Los Angeles and San Diego fell prey to public misconceptions, also known as the “yuck” factor,” and local election-year politics.

Their experience underscores one of the great lessons facing municipal officials across the U.S. West as they seek to bring purification and recycling technologies to bear against drought cycles expected to worsen with climate change.

The ideas are flowing! SiouxArTesian? Trader Joes, here we come! ReAgua? Let’s all join in the fun! You, too, can create your own re-branded, re-positioned “groundwater replenishment” product. Just go to The Soft Drink Generator, an interactive distraction where you can build your very own bottle from the groundwater up.

h2o mp3: Muddy Water from Big River (the musical)

The Broadway musical Big River was based on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and won a Tony Award for Best Musical in 1985. (If one of the too-infrequent revival productions stops in your town, don’t miss it!)

The exuberant song Muddy River comes in Act One, when Huck offers to help Jim reach the North and gain freedom from slavery. With a posse in hot pursuit, they shove off on their raft onto the mighty Mississippi.

Look out for me, oh muddy water
your mysteries are deep and wide
and I got a need for going someplace
and I got a need to climb upon your back and ride

Play the track

Download Muddy Water – Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Low-fi 64 kbps Mp3 file for sampling.
Like it? Support the people who make music. Buy this track at iTunes or Amazon.com

Viral Challenge for Wastewater Maintenance Staff

No, we don’t mean tiny virus contaminants, we’re talkin’ viral video.

If you’re among the millions of viewers who sent the hysterical “Will it Blend?” videos to the top of the viral charts, then you’ll realize that this video from St. Thomas is a low-rent copycat of the concept. St. Thomas Creations presents “Will it Flush?” to demonstrate the unprecedented power of their toilet by irresponsibly flushing voluminous amounts of items which have no business traveling down a trap. (A quick glance at the number of “views” for this video indicates that the me-too “Flushers” have been much less successful than the trendsetting “Blenders.”)

And not even a weak “don’t try this at home” disclaimer! So, wastewater professionals, if you’re ever been mystified by a mysterious, sudden spate of golf balls, chess pieces, whole hot dogs or carrots clogging your filters, now you know.

A few selected comments from the video’s YouTube page and featured Buzzfeed post:

I feel like this toilet could have saved many of the drug dealers in movies….Perfect for disposing of all those pesky chess pieces you’ve got lying around…it’s like the Will It Blend of Plumbing…let’s try Dad’s keys!!…well there’s only one way to find out for sure!…Can it flush the stimulus package?…Ok, this did not work with my toilet!! wtf do i do!?!?!…but can it flush another super toilet?…seriously hope they didn’t really flush all that down into the systems…you’re gunna get all these dumbasses seeing what they can really flush down it now…..who really has a crap the size of 18 hot dogs!!!

Advanced Technology Building Better Water Toys?

Economic meltdown or not, progress shall continue unabated in the push for more technologically advanced Japanese toys. “Aqua Dance” from Bandai uses nanotechnology to create a special coating that makes water droplets take on mercury-like qualities. (From Crave on Cnet News.)

Using the same nanotech coating, “Aqua Drop,” also from Bandai, replaces those noisy, low-tech metal-ball choking-hazards of yesteryear. And by all reports, the new high-tech version is as frustrating as its predecessors. U.S. $27 from www.japantrendshop.com.

I hate to complain about such cutesy oddities, but this is a disappointing outcome; weren’t we led to believe we’d have lotus-leaf-inspiried self-cleaning bathtubs by now?

Water Quality Research for (and by) Dummies

Taste: recent research conducted both in the U.S. and Europe has repeatedly shown that taste (along with safety and convenience) is a leading motivator for the use of tap water alternatives. But tastes like what, exactly? To find out, we’ve done some exclusive research of our own.

Because Thirsty in Suburbia has zero qualifications or credentials to conduct sound, serious research, this “study” is absolutely non-scientific. Plus, since our stimulus check bounced we’re unfunded too!

Never mind, we will press on. Presenting the Google-based Virtual Water Taste Focus Group.

Methodology: In February, 2009 the exact phrase “our water tastes like” was entered into Google Search. 35 total results were returned and 6 were disqualified for syntax, leaving 29 “participants.” (♪ ♫ Don’t know much about science books ♫, but do know our way around Illustrator–so we’ve made a snazzy chart for you!)

1. our water tastes like chlorine
2. Our water tastes like pure and delicious water
3. our water tastes like dirt.
4. Our water tastes like water
5. Our water tastes like the premier bottled drinking water it is
6. our water tastes like shiat
7. our water tastes like dirt
8. our water tastes like tap water
9. our water tastes like dirt
10. Our water tastes like sulphur
11. our water tastes like lake water
12. our water tastes like crap
13. our water tastes like nectar from the tap
14. Our water tastes like the chlorine from a swimming pool.
15. our water tastes like bleach
16. our water tastes like algae
17. our water tastes like chlorine
18. our water tastes like horse s**t
19. our water tastes like it was strained through an ashtray
20. our water tastes like chemicals from new pipes
22. our water tastes like someone dissolved a nickel in it
23. Our water tastes like butt
24. Our water tastes like disinfectant
25. our water tastes like carrots
26. our water tastes like a swimming pool
27. our water tastes like something George Washington himself might take a sip of and die from
28. our water tastes like liquid gold
29. our water tastes like golden nectar