Showing Our Butts for Swain

Hello, people of the ADD age? HELLO! What does it take to get everyone to sit up and pay attention to the plight of our oceans and waterways? How about a guy swimming 1000 miles in the less-than-pristine Atlantic, yes ONE THOUSAND MILES- from Massachusetts to Washington DC, through all the rubbish, waste, sewage and toxic godknowswhat that’s now there?

Hello? Are you listening?!? If you haven’t yet heard of Christopher Swain, here are three things you should know.

1. Christopher Swain has begun a 1000+ mile swim from Marblehead, Massachusetts to Washington, DC to raise awareness of the challenges facing the ocean while helping students in over 2,000 classrooms launch projects designed to improve the health of our waterways and our world.

2. Dirty for Swain is an awareness campaign for Swain’s awareness campaign (an initiative supported by Timberland Earthkeepers). It includes a funny video (embedded below) with some lowbrow potty humor demonstrating how some are supporting the cause by “Getting Dirty for Swain”. The website throws down the challenge, “What will YOU do for Swain?”

3. At Thirsty in Suburbia, we’re ALL IN in for lowbrow potty humor, clean oceans and challenges, so we’re “showing our butts” for Swain. That is, we’re taking on this challenge by wearing jewelry made of cigarette butts in recognition of the millions of them that are discarded and leeching chemicals on our beaches and in our oceans and waterways. (We imagine Swain will encounter many thousands of butts during his journey!)

Below, Thirsty In Suburbia interns Virginia Leonard and Martha Leonard are SHOWING THEIR BUTTS FOR SWAIN. (They both report that this smelly exercise did indeed get their attention–Good job, Giant Ant Media–you are decisively speaking the language of our youth!)

h2o mp3: We’re Mostly Made of Water: Kid Sam

Kid Sam is a duo of two cousins, Kishore and Kieran Ryan, from the climate change bellweather of Australia (Melbourne, Victoria) so they’ve got extra cred backing this song in my mind. Rhythmic, clangy, easy to love with a tinge of folk influence… gives me a pleasant case of the head bobs.

the earth is slowly dying
the icebergs all are melting
they melt into the sea
and the sea keeps on rising
there’s nothing that can stop him
he’s gonna flood the whole world and take back what is his

Play the track


Download We’re Mostly Made of Water: Kid Sam
Low-fi 64 kbps mp3 file for sampling.
Like? Support the people who make music. Buy this track at iTunes or

Feed Me Your PETs

Here’s a refuse container that’s happy to assist you with recycling your refuse, doing it’s dirty job with a determined smile. Made me smile, too.

(Spotted and photographed by Virginia Leonard, Thirsty in Suburbia intern, while visiting the St. Louis Botanical Gardents in Missouri.)

The Campaign for Lovely Carafes

Thankfully, many great campaigns are underway to get clean water to those who desperately need it.

But what about getting water to those who need it in a chic, well-designed container? Isn’t design-lifestyle snobbery one of the factors that’s spurred the rise of premium bottled waters?

Perhaps a good strategy is to “fight fire with fire.” The 2008 London On Tap competition teamed London’s mayor with Thames Water to draw designers into the tap water vs. bottled water struggle via a contest to create the ultimate water carafe. The winning design, “Tap Top,” (created by Islington industrial designer Neil Barron) went on sale last week for £10. (£1 of each sale will be donated to the charity WaterAid.) The goal is to get every London restaurant to serve tap water in this beautiful, chic carafe.

To kick the campaign off, at least 1,000 restaurants are receiving a carafe; the campaign hopes to ride the coat-tails of a previously successful campaign that convinced thousands of restaurants and bars to actively offer free tap water. (Did you notice that the Tap Top’s top mimics the shape of a old-school tap handle?)

Tap Top edged out some truly worthy entires, including these two shortlisted designs:

“Connected Pipe” by East End designer Nina Tolstrup

“Tap” by Adam White of London’s Factory Design Ltd.

Mysterious Fruits of Water: Yumberry

Installment #3! The world’s most esoteric fruits are helping marketers de-commoditize bottled water with mysterious, value-added flavorings.

Here’s Vital Lifestyle Water, a product that jacks up your IQ and memory with a gentle hint of Yumberry! Yumberry is one of the up-and-comers of the “Superfruits.” “Superfruit” is a term coined by marketers (naturally!) that refers to high-antioxident, nutritionally-rich fruits that have an appealing taste.

Yumberry is actually commercial slang for the fruit of Myrica rubra, also called yangmei, yamamono and various types of bayberry and wax myrtle. It is native to eastern Asia, mainly China, where it has been grown for at least 2000 years. There are more than 100 varieties of yumberry including white, pink, red, and purple. (Usually the purple variety is considered the yummiest!)

And, modern-day marketers are pretty late to the party when extolling Yumberry’s health benefits. From,

Adapting Yangmei to medication was firstly seen in Shi Liao Ben Cao, a herbal medicine book written by Meng Xian in Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD). According to the Compendium of Materia Medica, a herbal pharmacological masterpiece written by Li Shi Zhen, the greatest herbal pharmacologist in 16th century, Yangmei is able to “eliminate sputum, stop vomiting, helpful to digestion and alcoholic drinking, quench thirst, conciliate the five internal organs, cleanse stomach and intestines, remove the muddleheaded, and be efficacious to cure diarrhea”.

Like Yoga, But On a Floating Stick

Looking for something unique and entertaining for today’s holiday family fun-day? We’re not convinced that this will be the newest hot trend in water sports, but it does look like fun. Gather up the kids, grab some fat bamboo poles and head out to the lake.

 From Chinatoday, some photos of odd-sports enthusiasts performing “bamboo balance.”

For those who like the concept but seek more competitive thrills, how about “Bamboo Boat Racing, ” which involves racing a “boat” that’s a single cane of bamboo with a thin bamboo oar.

Via Ananova,

Villagers from Chishui, near Zuiyi city, came up with the idea, reports News Express. They make the boats out of locally grown bamboo and hold races on the Pinzhou River.

“Participants can sit or stand on the piece of bamboo, and with a thin bamboo oar, they race and compete at other tasks,” explained one villager.

I Hope They’ve Been Chlorinating

It’s Memorial Day weekend! That means Americans are heading en masse to the pool. Hopefully, many of that masse will take this article from to heart, and resist the temptation to keep the party rolling non-stop by peeing in the pool.

Although urine in the water probably will not cause swimmers to go to the emergency room, it causes “more of a respiratory, ocular irritation: the red puffy eyes or a cough, an itchy throat,” said Michele Hlavsa, an epidemiologist in the division of parasitic diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” A big health message is not to urinate or pee in the water.”

And it happens far more frequently than water-lovers would like to think. In a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted in April and May, 17 percent admitted relieving themselves in a swimming pool. Even the Olympics’ most decorated swimmer, Michael Phelps, confessed to urinating in the water to TV host Jimmy Kimmel in a 2008 interview.

And if that’s not enough to put a damper on this weekend’s pool party fun, the survey

found that 11 percent of the surveyed adults said they have swum with a runny nose, 7 percent with an exposed rash or cut and 1 percent when ill with diarrhea. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Suddenly, a 3.1% margin of error seems HUGE! But never mind, I’m being a party pooper, aren’t I? (pun score!) Dive in anyway, and here’s a soundtrack for some summer fun: “I Peed in the Pool,” a bad-taste parody of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” (You can buy the mp3 here if you’re so inspired!)

Lyrics include: I peed in the pool and I liked it, It saved me a trip to the toilet
I peed in the pool ‘stead of waiting, I hope they’ve been chlorinating

Only the Best Beverages for our Precious Poopsie!

“Some people love it, some people hate it and think we’re mad but we just love our dogs,” Pets Palace spokeswoman Diane Costa said. “I don’t have children and my four dogs are like children to me so I don’t mind spending money on them.”

Yes, Dianne, we really do understand! But you should know that most of us would never buy our children water (or anything else I can think of) in a handmade, jewel-encrusted bottle!

Nevertheless, Australia’s Pets Palace now offers Bellaqua, a crystal-clear sparking natural mineral water just for pets.


While are humans tightening belts during the credit crunch, it seems money is no object to certain favoured furry friends, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Sydney-based animal product company Pets Palace has launched a range of natural mineral water for dogs that’s more expensive that bottled water for humans.

And if you think crystal-jugged mineral water is where it ends at the Pet Palace, you’d be wrong.

Pets Palace sells, via the internet, dog joggers, lifejackets, pirate and skeleton costumes as well as sunglasses.

Ms Costa said she had spent more than $2000 on clothing for her dogs Lulu, Honey, Coco and Annie and would not think twice about food and water.

“Pets really are one of the family. We treat them and spoil them,” she said.

“It’s just as much fun to put a dog in a cute sweatshirt as it is a child so why not offer them a decent drink every now and then.

“As humans we drink bottled water and every now and then it feels good to give them bottle plus the bottles are cool.”

Bellaqua sells for $42.50 a box of four (that’s about $33 US).  For the less flashy pooches, there’s Pet Pop, available in colorful hues and flavors like Luscious Lulu, Lemon Lola, Betty Blu and Candy Pop, $22.95 for a box of four (US $17.50).

The Eafieft Ways to Raife Water

Today we shew a glimpse into the brainstorms of 18th century water engineers as they struggle with the same-old age-old dilemma of raifing water, courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Gallery. This 1701 book is “A Work both Ufeful, Profitable and Delightful for all forts of People.” (Put aside any pressing work you really should do, and instead peruse all the new and rare inventions from this text; Neptune, horses and birds, yea!)

Solar Powered!

Plate IX. To raise a standing water, by means of the sun.

A fuftainable folution!

Plate V. To make a dyal with the course of a natural fountain, the which shall move very true, without being subjec to …

Made the chisel obsolete.

Plate XII. An engine of great service to bore elms or other trees to make pipes to conveigh water, and for other uses.

Note: We are opposed to solving problems by violence.

Plate XXVI. Force-pump, which is one of the best inventions. They can force the water with great violence to 50 or 60 feet…

Behind the Shower Curtain: Steamy Secrets!

“BEHIND THE SHOWER CURTAIN” SURVEY: America’s Steamy Secrets Reveal What Men and Women Really Think About in the Shower

Who could resist that headline, Water Pik? We were roped right into this promising press release, purporting to take “a peek at what really goes on behind the bathroom’s closed doors.”  Water Pik, Inc., released the findings of a survey that asked 1,000 Americans how they spend their time in the bathroom, including some not-at-all-surprising differences in male and female shower behavior.

Think about “to do” lists in shower
Average minutes in shower
Admit to showering with another adult for “intimacy”

Now, I could have told you this without asking 1000 people, but “Women use shower time to contemplate chores, problems and weight. Men spend their shower time thinking about work, sex and day dreams.” So, women spend about 2 minutes longer in the shower, but that’s just because we’re reviewing our long, arduous list of chores! (I’m not sure how men cover sex and work in a brisk 12 minutes!)

Men and women did agree that low water pressure is the No. 1 bathroom pet peeve, and also agreed that they would rather pay bills than clean the shower.

More fabulous shower facts:

People who sing in the shower
Take more showers than baths
50% Moms
28% Dads
Use the shower as a time to escape
53% Moms
27% Dads
Rush out of shower to take care of their family
Turn off water while brushing teeth
Reduce shower time to save water

I for one applaud Water Pik for doing some research that matters! This will allow them to develop useful products to enhance our shower experience. Like, how about a waterproof shower pen tablet, so we gals could jot down all those chores and “to do” lists?

And, now that you know that 25% of us are using the shower spray as a pseudo-microphone, would it be a huge leap to have it function as a real, working mic? That way the entire family could enjoy our wet rendition of “Moon River!”