Beware the Ecological Inspector

Please recycle your recyclables in the recycled container? All these -cycles are leaving me tongue-tied! Nice shot from laraine on Flickr, who snapped this photo in a large park in Mexico City. Even better, she provides a translation for the delightful signage:

Conserve a healthy environment for
the future of your children.
Flatten and deposit plastic bottles,
soda bottles,
water bottles
energy drinks.
Separate orgainc and inorganic (this is a new law in the city)
be careful about the ecological inspector.
Super Recycler

h2o mp3: You Left the Water Running: Otis Redding

Georgia-born Otis Redding, one of the greatest of the American soul-men, died tragically at the young age of 26 in a plane crash but left behind an impressive legacy. He is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and was name by Rolling Stone magazine in their 2008 feature “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.” Also, he was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1999. He’s even been on a U.S. postage stamp!

You left all the water running
When you left me behind, let me tell you
That you left, ooh, the water running
It’s running from these eyes of mine

Play the track


Download You Left the Water Running – Otis Redding
Low-fi 64 kbps mp3 file for sampling.

Like it? Support the people who make music. Buy this track at

Old School Photo Fun

Before digital cameras, before Photoshop, back in a simpler time, this was considered side-splitting, knee-slappin’ entertainment. And it still is, if you ask me. Count us among those who believe that authenticity still trumps fake digital manipulation, no matter how good it might be.

Beware of the owner of this bottle of water! From Lunar8000 on Flickr, this photo was taken in southwest Bolivia at Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Incredible strength for such a petite woman!

Taken in Marshalltown, Iowa by M.E. Sprengelmeyer for, here’s a shocking photo of an apparently naked man putting a small child in a danger atop a mini water tower. Or maybe saving the child from danger on the water tower, I can’t really tell.

And this photo was taken by yours truly sometime in the eighties. It’s my brother Sam showing off his phenomenal sport fishing feat. (Not perfect, but remember, this was with real film in a cheap camera! No instant digital previews! I had to mail the film somewhere far away in a bright yellow envelope, and then wait weeks before knowing if the photo was a success!)

Dr. Kay Ninewater Solves Twitter Pet-Frets

Important information for dog owners! Editorial Note: Today we’re honored to have Dr. Kay Ninewater, Suburbia’s noted dog hydration expert, to address some of the pressing concerns voiced in the Twitter-verse on what our dogs want and need, water-wise.

First, a comment not from an owner, but directly from the apparently twittering pet:

Luna, apparently you’ve drank just plain old tap water or perhaps a convenient puddle. The Doctor suggests you switch to Pet Sweat, your very own version of the popular Asian brand, Pocari Sweat. Out the door, out the pores, no more on the floor! Let your owner know asap. –Kay

Kelsey, your puppy has a picky palette and you should pop for the premium. Perhaps you are aware of Fortifido bottled water, but did you know it’s also available in a parsley flavor? Water is not only life for your pet, it’s the spice of life! (Break out your wallet and don’t imagine you’ll find it for 50 cents; It’s on sale in this photo.) –Kay

Well, Dan, I’m glad I wasn’t there to watch your poor pet suffering as he desperately struggled to rehydrate with nothing but basic tap water. You’ll need to stock up on PetRefresh, as it’s specially designed to…well, refresh pets. Does your tap water come with this brand promise? No, I didn’t think so. –Kay

Gus, the Doctor doesn’t like your party-pooch attitude. I’ll bet a switch to Dogua will get you back on track, because it provides “essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients for increased strength, endurance and an enhanced mental state of mind.” And, it has natural peanut butter flavoring, too, which will certainly squelch your boredom. (From

Mrs. Cash, wake up, your dog is trying to bond with you! This positive behavior is well documented by dog psychologists and is known as cross-species backwash socialization. Encourage your pet’s natural instincts with a communal drinking vessel like the Cool Pooch. –Kay

Yes, Witch22, man’s best friend can produce life’s worst mouth-odor if you serve him water straight from your tap, which is loaded with god-knows-what sort of smell-inducing impurities. You can keep holding your breath and save a few cents, or you can start serving your blameless companion Dog Whisper, which contains a delightful hint of spearmint. Pee Yew? It’s entirely up to you. –Kay

The Cardinals? And plastic, at that?! Jerry, proper pet care involves teaching socially acceptable behavior as well as providing basic sustenance. If you want your dog to act like a princess rather than a spoiled brat, you should be serving her water (bottled, please!) in a fine lead crystal bowl like this lovely one from Table & Home. (Don’t be put off by the ‘lead,’ it’s not the dangerous kind, it’s the pretty kind!) It is your responsibility to model behavior that’s class, not crass. –Kay

Thanks to these contributing photographers!

Cool Pooch doggy water bottle by paulhinks on Flickr

Fortifido Parsley by jemal on Flickr

Pet Sweat from

Dog Whisper water from adamrice on Flickr

Invasion of the Water Pods

Not being the outdoorsy type, I’m probably not the best judge of the relative benefits of these drop-shaped tree-hanging tents. But what a look! The freaky, alien-visitor effect might be worth any trade-offs involved with a hanging campsite. (As a former reluctant girl scout camper, I can say this holds promise in eliminating that cold, clammy ambience of ground-based tents!)

Hmmm. Do you think that upon pulling up camp one would have to cram this back into a too-small bottle-shaped tent bag? That I’d like to see!


Sylvan housing reaches new heights with these wonderful dewdrop shaped Treetents by Dutch sculptor and designer Dré Wapenaar. Originally designed to ease the lives of tree-sitting activists, they also make excellent treetop retreats for campers, kids, and anyone soothed by an evening spent softly swaying among the branches. Each beautifully formed droplet attaches directly to a tree trunk and is roomy enough to sleep a family of four.

Profits are Up for Ypsilanti Water Tower Photog

The unusual design of the Ypsilanti, Michigan Water Tower has sparked many a debate since it was erected (ha ha) in 1889. While the tower is a historic landmark, city officials bristle at the mention of its giggle-inducing architecture.

Enter Ann Arbor photographer, Shela Palkoski (shown here posing near the  tower). She has made entrepreneurial hay by re-interpreting the old joke with a bad-taste postcard which has sold thousands of copies in the past two years. In a July, 2007 story on, she says,

“I used to live across the street from the water tower and had to walk past it,” said Palkoski, who works under the name Miss SheLa. “I figure I’ve had a vision of that image for about five years, and I thought, ‘I’ve gotta do it before someone else does.'”

The cards show the legs of a woman in a short skirt, high heels and fishnet stockings standing over the tower. And the image has city leaders struggling to find a diplomatic way to react to the innuendo.

“The water tower has a historic marker,” said Mayor Paul Schreiber. “And it’s a very interesting thing if you look at the stonework.

OK, Mr. Mayor, you’ve got a point, but it’s hard, you know?

Here’s the text from the tower’s historical marker:

Day laborers constructed this water tower which was completed in 1890 at a cost of $21,435.63. The tower and the city waterworks supplied 471 customers in the first year. An ordinance passed on April 14, 1898 established a yearly rate schedule. Rates were based on the number of faucets in use, the type of business that customers operated and the livestock they owned. A residence with one tap was charged $5.00; a private bathtub cost an extra $2.00. Saloon keepers paid $7.00 for one faucet, $3.00 for each additional faucet and $1.00 for each billiard table. Each cow a person owned cost $1.00. People who failed to pay their bill were subject to a $50.00 fine and ninety days in the county jail. Until 1956 this structure was the only water tower in the Ypsilanti water system.

Not Thirsty

Water is life, yes. And hopefully, that entails something more than just moving around and breathing. Happy Easter, with greatest respect to all our friends of all every belief.

Slick! 8-bit Waterslide in Real Life

There’s so many things to love about this quirky animation that I won’t even attempt to list them, just enjoy! This made me laugh out loud and is many levels better than the ad. (Ad? What ad? See notes below…)

This crazy creation was the winner of a video contest from Barclaycard to promote their new waterslide-themed ad (!). If you haven’t seen the ad (and in America, you haven’t) here it is on YouTube). It features a business-guy who strips down to his skivvies to commute home via waterslide, easily spending money all along the way with his “slideless” card.

As the contest winner, tea&cheese gets to choose between a global watersliding tour to five of the world’s wildest waterslides or £10,000 cold cash.

Anything for a Good Cause. Well, Almost.

I’ve seen this twice, so that makes it a trend! For now, it seems centered in the UK, but it’s a matter of time before they’re descending giant water towers on ropes in my ‘burb, all for the betterment of charity!

(Me, I’ll just send a check, thanks very much.)

The Harlow-based charity Motability, which helps disabled people acquire adapted cars and electric scooters, is looking for thrill-seeking volunteers to abseil* down the 110-ft water tower at Church Langley in May. Don’t worry, you’ll get “full training on the day with a safety briefing and all equipment provided.”

*We Americans refer to this as this rappelling.

Aren’t you just itching to put yourself in the harness of this previous participant?

At Poole last December, this event went just a little higher for their charity. From,

Daredevils in Dorset braved the cold to do an 120-foot abseil for charity this morning. CLIC Sargent’s Christmas Cracker Abseil at the Tower Park Water Tower in Poole aims to raise thousands of pounds for children and young people with cancer this Christmas.

The money raised by the 21 fundraisers will help CLIC Sargent to offer financial support to families who have a child with cancer. The charity also helps with holidays and homes away from home whilst the child is in hospital.

Don’t look for any boring pledge drives or banquets from this bunch. Emily Jenkins, CLIC Sargent’s local Events Fundraising Manager, notes that

“Our next fundraising project is going to be to organise a 20 foot fire walk. We hope it will be really popular and will help us to raise more money for children with cancer in 2009.”

Factoid footnote: Liability, anyone? Your charity can hire trained specialists to run these events for you, like Rock and Ice, whose website invites you to “See how easy it is to bring in £1,000’s for your charity.”

Los Angeles ‘Bottled Watergate’

On the flip side, doesn’t anyone notice that this sensitive procedure by the LA County Supervisors was creating jobs? How many basement-wage, demoralizing internships will now face the hatchet? My recently-graduated daughter would kill for this entry-level “graphic arts” opportunity! From L.A. Now at the latimesblogs,

Bottled Watergate Update
3:51 PM | April 8, 2009

Los Angeles County supervisors gave up their bottled water this week — trading individual plastic bottles emblazoned with the county seal for paper cups and old-fashioned carafes filled with iced tap water.

The move came a week after The Times reported that a student worker peeled the labels off individual water bottles, used a computer to print out custom labels and slapped them on. The relabeling of the bottles for the supervisors’ weekly board meetings had been going on for years.

Supervisors’ aides said the special water was needed to avoid giving free advertising to the original bottler on public-access television broadcasts.

But that struck many people as fiscally wasteful, environmentally unfriendly and politically tone deaf. After all, the supervisors have ordered cuts in recent months that has resulted in the removal of purified water in county hospitals. Workers in some county buildings complained that they did not even have a working drinking fountain.