Saints and Sinners, Drink Up

What water do they serve in hell? I’m guessing none. As the bottled water battle degrades into an old-fashioned good-versus-evil struggle, best to hedge your bets like Liquid Salvation brand (“Pure Water for an Impure World”) with both angel or devil graphics as you prefer.

Their brand tagline “Ask for the Flask” refers to the pocket-ready bottle that’s modeled after flasks popularized by WWII fighter pilots.

(Photo from

Liquid Salvation Water from JOSEPH MASTERS on Vimeo.

Hold It! Code 3!

Were Scotland Yard’s phone operators playing it too loose with trips to the loo? You can’t manage what you can’t measure, so the bosses have devised an unintentionally-hilarious new procedure to keep tabs on toilet “productivity” metrics. From,

Toilet break now a ‘Code Three’

NO longer known as a number one or number two, when phone operators at Scotland Yard take a toilet break they will have to log it as a “Code Three” so police can monitor time wasters.

Britain’s Metropolitan police said the new rules would stop staff at the police head quarter’s control room from taking unnecessary breaks.

The operators will have to log toilet visits as a “code three” on a bath-specific database.

Staff are fuming about being so heavily scrutinised.

Employee Paul Drew wrote in a staff magazine: “Everyone I have spoken to about this finds it deeply offensive and humiliating.

“It would be interesting to know what the public or the Met can possibly gain from making notes of such intimate details.”

Superintendent Russ Hanson-Coles, told the BBC: “Our primary role at central communications command is to be available for the public to contact and it is vital that we make the best use of our resources.

“Staff in this environment have regular breaks that compare very favourably with outside industry so the need for extra personal breaks should be minimal.”

Dumpster Diving in the Merrimack River

Imagine that your city dump is located at the bottom of a river, unseen below the surface… and that same river is the main source for your community’s drinking water. Most people would be shocked to realize how common this scenario actually is.

We need a wake up call, and the people of the Clean River Project in Lowell, Massachusetts answered the call with their July 25th “scavenger hunt” cleanup on the Merrimack River. The competition challenged people to see how much “stuff” they could collect from the river with scoring on a points-based system. (There were prizes for both “small boat” and “large boat” categories.)

Competitors dove in and hauled up cars and car parts, engines, a dishwasher, a couch, a tar and gravel roof (ugh!) and many other nasty polluting items from the river that supplies drinking water to Lowell, Lawrence and Methuen (home of the Methuen bottle tree, which was NOT pulled out of the river!)

After the cleanup, the debris was recycled or properly disposed of. I believe I would have preferred that all of it stayed there for a bit, the entire mountain of rusting, smelly, soggy crap, along with some signage explaining where this mess had been…and where it was headed. That’s my idea of compelling public education.

Congratulations to the hardy competitors! Video (with front-end advertising) and screenshots from

Indoor Pool, Water View, Needs Work

If water is life, then there’s hopefully still a little left in this sad, abandoned building. From, a tour of a once-proud structure heaving downward into a pool of natural forces on the way up.

Amazing photos of water running through this abandoned house

It looks like a regular abandoned house standing in the downtown of Rostov-on-Don city, but if to inspect it closer one can see mini-waterfalls and lakes all through this house. After many years staying abandoned water sources from underground found their way up and formed this naturally formed water park. Streams are in constant movement and the water is always clean.

The orginal post also contains this fascinating memoir contributed by a commenter:

This is like 10 minutes from my home and i used to climb/play/swim there when i was little…brings lots of fun memories, there were also thick ropes hanging from the supports of roof (as there was no roof to speak of) so you could swing back and forth and drop into water.
The water
came from mineral spring so it very clean and cold.

BTW this group of buildings (there are like a whole isle of them) is in the port on the river. There are also abandoned port/factory buildings nearby (many, many of them) but these on the pictures don’t seem to be factory related.
It was a nice place to go exploring with my friends when i was a kid just to get away from the city noise. It was beyond unsafe to downright scary because of all the unstable bricks. I’m amazed it is still standing, guess no one cares.

Water and Drought Jokes: How Dry is It?

Drought Turning Texas Dry as Toast: Yesterday I saw this headline on MSNBC (via WaterSISWeb) so that’s my cue to dig up my collection of “It’s so dry…” jokes.

So dry the birds are building their nests out of barbed wire.
So dry the Baptists are sprinkling and Methodists are spitting
It’s so dry that the Catholics are giving rain checks.
So dry the catfish are carrying canteens.
So dry the trees are bribing the dogs. (variation: It’s so dry that the trees are whistlin’ for the dogs.)
Its so dry here that the fire hydrants are chasing the dogs around.
So dry my duck don’t know how to swim.
It’s been dry so long we only got a quarter inch of rain during Noah’s Flood.
So dry I’m spitting cotton.
Dry as a powder house.
Dry as the heart of a haystack.
Dryer than a popcorn fart.
It’s so dry that the cows are giving evaporated milk. (variation: So dry the cows are giving powdered milk.)
It’s so dry the fish are knocking on the door, askin’ for a drink of water.
It’s so dry here the all the fish have ticks.
It’s so dry the Red Cross has launched a wet blanket appeal.
It’s so dry you’re only permitted to eat watermelon between 8pm and 8am.
It’s so dry the government has announced a water pistol buy back scheme.
It’s so dry, crooks are siphoning off radiators instead of gas tanks.
It’s so dry, they’re encouraging people to pee in the pool.
It’s so dry, all the Baptists are converting to Catholic.
It’s so dry, the the dogs are marking their territory with chalk lines.
It’s so dry they’ve had to close two lanes at the swimming pool.
It’s so dry the river only runs twice a week.

All new, original! A few more I thought of while writing this post:

So dry we’re fishin’ on lawn chairs with slingshots.
It’s so dry we went rafting on hand trucks.
So dry the water tower was held up at gunpoint.

Sources: collected from all over, including here, here, here, herehere and here!

The Iconic New York City… Water Tower?

In that most sophisticated of cities, New York, New York, the wooden water tower still reigns supreme. has a fascinating story on the many wooden water towers that dot the skyline. You might  mistake these for relics of days gone by, but even the newer towers look old, as the material of choice is still wood.

In the city, buildings taller than six stories need some sort of independent water tower and pump system to deliver adequate water pressure.

On East 57th Street, New York City, three architectural approaches for rooftop water towers. (From Wikipedia Commons)

An excerpt from (Read the full story here.)

Water towers: NYC’s misunderstood icons

New York City’s skyline is dotted with wooden water towers that are easy to mistake for vanishing relics of the bygone eras of seltzer bottles and street gas lamps.

But what many New Yorkers don’t realize is the towers are hardly antiques — in fact, most drink and bathe from the water stored in them every day.

“When I tell people what I do for a living, they can’t believe it is still done,” said Kenny Lewis, foreman of the Rosenwach Tank Co.’s wood shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the only one like it in the city. “After people notice the tanks, they can’t believe how many there are.”

The Benefits of Big: Giant Campaign from RWE

How can you change your negative image if you’re a often-hated, ginormous European energy company whose sheer size and power terrifies the regular folks? Why not channel that feel-good-about-monsters character, Shrek?

A colossal tidal power project

A colossal tidal power project

RWE group’s new European ad campaign does just that, and like those roller-skating Evian babies, you can’t help but fall for this Shrek-ish lumbering ogre regardless of how you feel about the company or its operations. The ugly but lovable “energy giant” crosses the idyllic countryside, making energy happen in unusual but environmentally-sensitive ways with the tagline, “It can be so easy to make big things happen. When you’re a giant.”

(Don’t miss the ending, where our friendly beast lights up the city with a new approach to hydropower!)
The charming song in the clip is “I Love the Mountains” by Houaida, an up-and-coming German star. (You can download the song mp3 via the RWE website.)

Up is Down is Around: Water Ambigram

What’s an ambigram? It is a typographical design that may be read as the same word or phrase (or sometimes two different words or phrases) when rotated or reflected.

This Water ambigram (and ambigrams in general) have surged in popularity recently after playing a prominent role in the plot-line of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel Angels & Demons. The book contains a number of ambigrams created by real-life typographer John Langdon including representations of the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. (These were shown only briefly in the movie.)

If you’re thinking you’ve finally found your ideal tattoo design, you might reconsider. I won’t say what happens to the four Cardinals in the book who end up “branded” with these design elements. Let’s just say they all died by “natural” causes. (See and read more at

Here’s the Water ambigram two ways, untouched except for its 180-degree rotation.


The Visual Water Dictionary: Mixed Liquor

We’re workin’ hard to educate the general public on nuances in the world of water language! The Visual Water Dictionary attempts to cut confusion on water words and terminology with easy visual references. (Thanks to Kristy Henry for suggesting today’s entry!)

Today’s term: Mixed Liquor

1. In wastewater treatment, a mixture of activated sludge and water containing organic matter for activated sludge treatment in an aeration tank.
Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: B (points deducted for general grossness.)
This Mixed Liquor looks like this:

Wastewater treatment Mixed Liquor (City of Auburn, IN)

Mixed Liquor in a wastewater treatment plant

2. Alcoholic beverages which contain alcoholic liquids that are distilled, not fermented, and one or more other ingredients. Note: may or may not contain water.
Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: A (dependent on individual use/misuse).
This Mixed Liquor looks like this:

Preparing Mixed Liquor Beverages

Snapped! School Bottled Beverage Brouhaha

A teacher who’s “smarting” and a Mum who’s “sorry”..a sad, crazy tale on how a bottle of “flavored, not fizzy” water (the “wrong type” that violated the school’s “healthy eating policy”) escalated into possible jail time for a parent who “snapped.” From the July 17th Belfast Telegraph,  

A mother-of-six who has been warned she could be facing jail after assaulting her son’s primary school teacher during a heated row over bottled water today said she desperately regrets the attack.

 Downpatrick woman Lisa Blythe said she “just snapped” and threw a bottle in the teacher’s direction after being told she had sent her 10-year-old son to school with the wrong type of water.

Blythe has been warned by a District Judge that she could now be facing a prison sentence after she pleaded guilty to assaulting the primary six teacher in St Colmcille’s Primary School in Downpatrick.

District Judge Mr Mervyn Bates adjourned sentencing to next month telling the 34-year-old that teachers need to be protected “from people like you”.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph Blythe, from Marian Park, said she was upset when she discovered the teacher had not allowed her son to drink the water because it was flavoured and therefore against the school’s healthy eating policy which only allows plain, still water.

She said she had been under a lot of pressure at the time following her mother’s death and that she just snapped during the showdown with the teacher.

“I knew afterwards that I had gone too far but I was just so worked up at the time it all got too much for me,” she said.

Blythe said that on the morning of the row she’d forgotten to pack her son’s water bottle.

On the way to school she stopped off at a store and grabbed a bottle of water which turned out to be flavoured.

She said when she went to the school later that day to collect her son, who she said has been diagnosed as suffering from the highest level of Attention-Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), he told her that he had not been allowed to drink his water because the teacher said it was fizzy.

“The water wasn’t fizzy, it was flavoured. I poured it into a cup and went to speak to the teacher to prove it was not sparkling. She kept telling me it was school policy, but I was raging as my son needs to drink with his medication. I lost it and I did curse at her. I then just snapped and said well here, take it, and threw the bottle down. It was an empty plastic bottle of water.

“As I walked away I knew I shouldn’t have done it. By the time I got into the car I knew I had been stupid so I went back into the school to apologise, but nobody could find her. I went to pick up my other children and then called back at the school to see her, but the school principal asked me to leave.”

Blythe said that the incident was the culmination of a number of difficulties in her personal life and frustrations over schooling for her son.

“I was very upset over my mother’s recent death and my husband had also just had a cancer scare. Dealing with my son who has ADHD and five other children, some who also have medical problems, was also a big strain. Everything just got too much for me on that day. I didn’t go with the intent to touch the teacher. I am sorry for what happened. I admit I used foul language when I swung the bottle and then left the school.”

She added: “The life has gone out of us as a family because of all this. It was a silly stupid five minute thing that got out of hand.”

Earlier this month Downpatrick Magistrate’s Court was told that there had been ongoing problems between Blythe and the teacher about teaching the boy. The court heard that during the row the school caretaker had to close some classroom doors so children could not hear Blythe’s “abusive language” and that she then threw the bottle of water at the teacher causing her left hip to “smart”.

District Judge Mr Mervyn Bates told Blythe: “An argument about a bottle of water should not have flared up in this way. People, like teachers, will be protected in this court from people like you.”