Getting Annoyed in Appomattox

We sometimes see common idiocy in some uncommon places.

Those of you who know your U.S. history may know that Appomattox Court House in Virginia is where Generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant negotiated the terms of surrender which led to the end of the U.S. Civil War. It’s now a national historical site and the majority of the buildings are original and have been maintained just as they were on April 9, 1865. It’s a pleasant way to spend a Sunday, as we recently  did.

The historic event actually took place in the McLean House. Adjacent to this structure is a period ice house which back in the day enabled people to store ice during the winter months for use throughout the spring and summer. During the winter, ice and snow would be taken into the ice house and packed with straw or sawdust as an insulator. It would remain frozen here, often until the following winter, and was used primarily to store perishable foods.

Icehouse: McLean House, Appomattox

Icehouse: Appomattox Court House, Virginia

So of course we peer inside and we can see… what? Someone’s discarded water bottle? Someone’s lazy litter inside this laboriously restored and maintained period structure? As in, right in the middle of this important historical site, some Jack-a stepped 150 years back in time to flip their flippin’ plastic HERE?

Appomattox: inside the icehouse

Appomattox: inside the icehouse

I just can’t fathom this. After our irritated temper tantrum over this sight, Thirsty in Suburbia intern Virginia Leonard was able to fish it out with a stick…not easy, as it was well out of our reach. And then, to put it where it belongs. Whoever you are who tossed it in the icehouse, you know where you can put it.


Bonus water shot for river geeks… an interesting sight at the park.

The Arranged Marriage of Trash and Treasure

We were smitten when we posted Rod Pujante’s handcrafted blooms last year made from discarded water bottles and just KNEW that some discerning green-style setters would see the high-trashion potential.

Frances Baszta, Angela Blann and Dena Buzalas, the “B team” as I like to call them, shared these photos from a recent event they planned using Rod’s creations as showstopping centerpieces uplit with tiny LED lights.

Each guest was invited to take one home to, as their program states, “remind each of us to both avoid activities that create unnecessary waste, and to see beautiful new possibilities in recycling and re-use.” Which one guest really took to heart–after seeing them at this event, he’s pursuing something similar for his daughter’s upcoming wedding.

Now obviously, this sort of thing does nothing to seriously impact the huge tide of trash caused by bottled water; it does, though, help us keep the issue top of mind, not to mention put a little delight in our day. Hmmm, does anyone know the water impact of cut flowers?

h2o mp3: Glass of Water – Coldplay

My daughter went to Omaha and saw Coldplay and all I got was this crappy giveaway CD!

Actually there’s nothing crappy about it, and it includes this live version of “Glass of Water.” What’s more, you too can own this CD as the band is offering it as a free download on their website “as a thank you to our fans.” Yea! And thank you!

And they say you can see your future,
inside a glass of water,
with riddles and the rhymes
but will I see heaven in mine?

Play the track


Download Glass of Water (Live) – Coldplay

L’Desh Fresh: Gag Me, Really!

We’ve posted before about the pluses of “Going Gross” to grab attention with yuck appeal, and here’s a “fresh’ new one right from my Kansas City backyard. This campaign from Water Partners International, based in Kansas City, aims to get clean water flowing to the neediest by convincing you to loosen the nauseating grip on your wallet.

L’Desh Fresh is splashed onto our radar with a slick flash website, just like the pricey premium brands… but we can see there’s something unclear about it’s appeal. (I must admit it took me several passes to “get it” — Bang-L’-Desh…get it?)

And direct from the planet Ikea comes The L’Desh Fresh video, where our spokesmodel manages to take a swig of “the world’s water” while maintaining her composed on-camera professional demeanor.

We imagine her multiple cell phone calls after the shoot: “Well sure I’m, like, DYING to be a model-slash-actress, but, GAG ME, really! I mean I am SO NOT JOKING, I’m honestly gagging RIGHT NOW! Did Heidi Klum have to do this? I don’t THINK so!”

So here are a load of related links: Water Partners International on Facebook, L’Desh Fresh on Wikipedia, An article on L’Desh Fresh from KC alt weekly The Pitch, L’Desh Fresh on MySpace, Water Partners International on Twitter, and Kansas City Ad Agency Sullivan, Higdon & Sink. Whew, that should ’bout cover the social mediasphere.

Or just skip all that and pony up a donation here, while you gag and ponder the millions worldwide who actually drink similar stuff every day with a straight face.


Assume the Lunch Position

Filed under “we know what they meant,” here’s a tortured translation from a Costa Rican water slide attraction. Safety first, as the “bad use of the water slide can produce injuries.” (Hard to read, I know…click for full size.)

Photo of precious travel memories shared by Erica Severson on Picasaweb.

We’re Laughing AT You, Not WITH You

From (really!) an incident that’s practically guaranteed to end up at juvie court:

City Not Laughing at Virginia (Minnesota)
Water Tower Prank

What was likely intended as a prank, is not amusing officials on the Iron Range. Police in Virginia say someone climbed up on the city water tower and changed the ‘n’ on ‘Queen City’ to an ‘r.’

The vandalism was discovered Monday morning. City officials say the vandalism took some effort, as the entire area is surrounded by barbed wired. The incident is being treating as a criminal investigation, and the water tower was re-painted a few hours after the discovery.

Was a Texas inmate’s vulgar note written on a piece of toilet paper and sent to a prosecutor constitutionally protected free speech? In a decisive landmark ruling, a federal appeals court ruled it is not. From,

Vulgar Note On Toilet Paper Not Protected Speech

In 2005, reacting to a motion from the state lawyer who urged an appeal in his case be dismissed, George Morgan (a convicted drug dealer) mailed her a note on toilet paper that basically instructed her to use the paper it for its intended purpose along with his opinion on her motion to dismiss. Then he signed it.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding a lower court, said Texas prison administrators were within their authority when they docked George Morgan 15 days of good time credits for sending the note.

Morgan had appealed the docked credits within the prison system and lost, then took his arguments to the federal courts, insisting the First Amendment “protects his vulgar pen from penalty and that the Fourteenth Amendment protects his good time credits from loss,” according to the 5th Circuit’s description of the case.

Morgan first became eligible for parole in 2007. He remains at the Stevenson Unit outside Cuero in South Texas.

DCWASA Insists 99-Year-Old Used 139,876 Gallons in a Month

From a story on this weekend,

Meet 99-year-old Jeanette Cohen, a Washington resident who either lives in her shower or is the recipient of the more bizarre bills spat out by the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority. Cohen normally pays $30 to use about 3,000 gallons per month, but the utility insists that she used 139,876 gallons of water last month and now owes almost $1,200.

It’s just so obvious that, as the plumber said, ‘You couldn’t use that much water,'” she told News4’s Tom Sherwood.

Ellen Cohen is worried about the stress this could cause her mother in law. Jeannette Cohen has lived in the same, modest house in the Tenley Circle area since 1955, and in December she turns 100.

“She would never dodge something that she owed, but she’s also very fair and she has a real belief in justice,” Ellen Cohen said.

Jeannette Cohen has a hearing scheduled for June 30.

“Well, I have hopes,” she said. “I would love to have it fixed just because it is so stupid and so wrong.”

Is there more here than meets the eye? Well, though our extensive connections inside the beltway, we’ve gotten our hands on this, which should explain how Jeannette used all that water! This damning evidence must be in the hands of DCWASA!

Secret Water Ingredients?

You might think that the ingredients for water are known, but this bottled water spotted in Singapore – Secret Recipe – promises something more mysterious in addition to the standard hydrogen and oxygen (although I think most people prefer their drinking water WITHOUT secret ingredients of any kind!)

Look again- check out the “Secret Recipe” co-posting over at, a live blog from the 2009 Singapore International Water Week (June 22-25). Yours-truly and some colleagues will be posting a variety of information from the ground*, ranging from light and amusing tidbits to technical information and water industry news.
*A virtual US presence for me, though… Boo hoo!

Thanks to Yvonne Lim for the photo – visit her blog for tons of other interesting photos from around Singapore, especially of restaurants and fantastic food!)

h2o mp3: The Water Remembers My Face – The Western States

Last summer, this indie country-folk band from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada packed up a rented van and drove 2 days to Austin, Texas to record their sophomore album, Bye and Bye.  The album was recorded live to two-inch tape without the use of any digital technology or effects, giving this track a warm, pure and earthy “something’ that’s hard to put your finger on, but irresistible.

The river runs faster this time of the year
I never kept up with its pace
and now I sit by it and I think of what to do
cause the water remembers my face

Play the track


Download The Water Remembers My Face – The Western States
Low-fi 64 kbps mp3 file for sampling.

Like it? Support the people who make music. Buy this track at iTunes or
Visit The Western States on MySpace.

Soak Up The View From This Fab Garden Bench

Some people can look at things cast off and thrown aside and imagine something new and wonderful. Katie’s artistic eye and creative vision gave new life to an old tub as a charming, one-of-a-kind garden bench, made of 100% recycled and reused materials.

Before, this sad old soaker appears to be awaiting it’s ride to the landfill. But Katie (from the UK near Northumberland) was already formulating her plan.

After husband John (update, oops! John is the blacksmith, and Geoff is the husband!) tackled the tub with some patient cutting and griding, the shell looked like this:

Now things really get awesome. The emerging creation needed some feet, so Katie “thought that cobbler’s lasts might do the job.” Some scrap metal and some welding  wraps up the final “step.”

Last, a good scrub, a dreamy spot under a beautiful spherical twig arbor, and this all-recycled treasure is ready for it’s second, more pastoral life.

All that’s left to do is enjoy it, right? Maybe not! Some refinements are being considered – “we’ll put some taps on maybe and Geoff thinks we should stand it on a bit of lino, with a bath mat perhaps? I will make some seat cushions for it – its a bit cold on the old bum.”

Just makes me smile every time I look at it! You can see more on this unusual garden bench at Katie’s blog, along with tons of other clever and inventive creations made from reused and recycled materials.