Save Water, Pee Outside

With the recent shower peeing campaign a confirmed success*, what’s the next step? I can’t vouch for it’s veracity or sincerity, but Atlanta-based is the driving (and I’m guessing, heavily-male) force behind a volunteer effort that they claim can save millions of gallons per day.

However, sustainable water supply will be achieved one wee bit at a time! Plus, consider this:
Number of species on the earth that pee outside: 4,999,999
Number of species on the earth that pee inside: 1

So if you’re ready to sign up, you can join their 1,300-plus member Facebook group or follow them (from a safe distance) on Twitter. also invites you to send in your stories and pictures (and a number of people already have!) Finally, be sure forget to mark your calendar for April 19th, the festive annual Pee Outside Day event! (Wow! Jaime Pressly should have claimed she was “going green!”) visit the member-submitted photo gallery

Forget your milquetoast manners, we’re trying to save the planet here! The website’s FAQ will help you overcome your reticence about this this frowned-upon (and usually illegal) behavior.

Q. Are you suggesting that people expose themselves in public?
No. Just so we are clear, the suggestion is that people pee on their own property, in a private setting, preferably under the cover of night.  Apartment and condo owners probably shouldn’t pee over ledges.  Just be sure to use your head when peeing outside.

Q. I would rather not pee outside–what are some options?
We understand that some people just don’t like peeing outside, but every little bit helps! Some approved methods are:
– Pee in a cup/bottle and dispose of it outside.
– Pee down a drain of your choice
– Pee in the shower, only if you are doing something else at the same time.
– Use the old “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down” method.
– Or, just don’t flush every pee.

*In the unscientific but esteemed weekly Aguanomics poll, 3 out of 4 admit to shower-pee water conservation methods.

What’s Cookin’? Tomato Surprise!

Sewerage Garden (photo: Yorkshire Water)

Sewerage Garden (photo: Yorkshire Water)

Care for some “organically grown” tomatoes? Dozens of tomato plants are sprouting up in sewage works and places where sewage travels in a process that works like this: 1) people eat tomatoes; 2) people excrete tomato seeds; 3) seeds travel via wastewater to sewer works; 4) seeds resurface as stray plants in odd sewage- and sludge-touched locations.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence, but this year’s poo produce crop is apparently impressive! From the Yorkshire Water website,

Over the course of the summer, hundreds of tomato plants have sprung up at our treatment works across the region, often sprouting in some of the most unlikely of places, including skips full of toilet paper and other rags removed during the treatment process.

And whilst there have been instances in the past of tomatoes cropping up at works in the region, it is thought that the higher-than-usual temperatures over the summer, coupled with regular bouts of rainfall, have played their part in ensuring many of our works can boast a bumper yield this year.

They arrive at sewage works where some are among the waste removed at the first stage of the treatment process before being compressed and stockpiled in skips – and it’s in these that many tomato plants have taken root and flourished.

If you should see a mysterious tomato sprouting randomly in the wild, it might be because…umm…most of the seeds find their way into

…much-sought-after compost, which is then distributed to farms and local authorities.  Invariably, the compost contains tomato seeds which grow into plants, prompting regular stories from farmers who report rogue tomatoes growing among their crops.

Tomatos sprout from Hoboken sidewalk cracks (photo:

Tomatoes sprout from Hoboken sidewalk cracks in 2007 (photo:

In 2007, citizens in Hoboken, New Jersey protested that wayward tomato plants mysteriously growing in desolate urban settings testified to the severity of the city’s flooding and sewer overflow problems. As reported on,

“We know raw sewage is backing onto our streets. You can’t say that this is definitively from the flooding, but it’s very possible,” said Dawn [Zimmer]. “These tomatoes were not planted here. Does this look like a community garden to you?” The plants are growing in an empty lot, filled with mud and gravel. In one spot, gnarled tomato plants are even growing out of cracks in the sidewalk. On Marshall Drive, they are growing from underneath a chainlink fence.

I guess this is teaching us, in semi-biblical fashion, that you reap what you go. Get cookin’!
Recipe: Aunt’s Florence’s Tomato Surprise
(Ingredients include—seriously!—canned tomatoes.)

10 Weird Water Items Available Now on Ebay

It’s the Thirsty in Suburbia Super Water Flea! Following are 10 hand-picked examples of rare, unusual and weird water-related merch just waiting for your winning bid. (We count the purchase of vintage items towards your recycling/reuse do-gooder ranking!)

1. Brass Dowsing Rods Finds water! Plus treasure and lost items, too! These rods are made of brass with copper handles. The handle/sleeves give the rods plenty of room to move and any dent or bend won’t affect the rods. Get your shovel ready, your new well is on the way! Starting bid $9.99

2. Drive someone slowly, excruciatingly mad with the  New Dripping Tap Noise Maker Joke $5.99 Hide this little item and when the lights are out It it makes a noise like a dripping tap. When the lights go on, it stops…so the victim never finds its.

3. For $299 a Vintage Retro 2-head porcelain water fountain. Made in the USA, too! Seller notes it would be an interesting detail to a home or business. I’ll say! (You pick it up in central New York…will not fit in a flat-rate box.) Don’t laugh… remember the fab thing that Katie made from an old tub?)

4. Jack and Jill Water Carrier vintage pins/fur clips Their little moonglow stone bodies, cute buckets of blue stones and pave rhinestone outfits make toting heavy water buckets seem glamorous! Lobbyists, these would be awesome to wear when you’re power-tripping up “The Hill” to fetch some support for your water issue! Get the set for $139.99.

5. Vintage desert water bag “Imported flax” water bag is in “very good condition with a few small water spots as you would expect.” This is what your Grandpa would have on hand should his automobile overheat over while motoring through the desert miles from civilization. Now? Might make jaunty decor for a Santa Fe TGI Fridays.

6. Filter, schmilter. The bidding starts at $3.50 for this 10 oz. box of Old Settler Water Clear. It was made in Findlay Ohio and has the price of 13 cents stamped on the top of the box. The box includes directions on how to use the product to clear dirty water. (Better jump on this… it’s no longer “Sold by All Grocers.”)

7. For $4.95, buy a Rain of Las Vegas Nevada Water Treatment Patch. Original purpose and origin not known. Why buy such a thing? Because then you would have it. Simple as that.

8. $9.95 Bottled Water from Sheri’s Ranch, the “world famous brothel” in Pahrump, Nevada. I can’t decide whether it is sensible or senseless to buy bottled water at a brothel. Buy with confidence, I’m told “the government” regulates both of them.

9. Black Water Clear Water Magic Trick Amaze your friends and enemies by turning ordinary water an eerie dark black and then clear again! $17.50 (This item Involves mysterious unidentified chemicals.) Water treatment professionals: try this stunt at your next public forum and I’ll bet you win unanimous support for your proposal!

10. Vintage Ohio Art Tin Litho Water Pump featuring Jack and Jill! 10″ tall antique toy in very good condition. A nostalgic throwback to the old days, when children played outside and running water was a workout. Two bidders already in, $20.49 at this writing.

In-Depth Report on Jimena

This guy is sinking but ratings are not! Watch as a reporter inadvertently crosses the line and becomes the news rather than just reporting it. This fast-moving viral video shows an unfortunate fellow getting too close to the story when tropical storm Jimena hit Baja, California in early September.

A Curiouser Alice in Waterland

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Everything is what is isn’t in the surrealistic world of Alice in Waterland, Elena Kalis‘s stunning re-interpretation of the Lewis Carroll classic imagined beneath the water’s surface. (Via and

This Russian-born artist, now living in the Bahamas, specializes in underwater photography; with her daughter as model and muse she has recreated the story in a fresh, new fantastical way.

From an interview with Elena Kalis on, the artist notes:

Alice in Wonderland is timeless. It’s open to interpretations and it’s up to you to make them. I decided to make it for a few reasons: this is my all time favorite book, my daughter Sacha is the same age as Alice (10) and very good at modeling underwater and, finally, the story itself seems like from some lucid different place…(underwater perhaps ?)

All photos © Elena Kalis

Riches, Chicks, Eternal Life…I’m on a Boat!

Owning a boat from Water Werks will make you a real man! (Some restrictions apply.) Yes, this is a real ad and not a parody. If humor sells, this Illinois boat dealer should brace for a flood of new business. The hilarious commercial revels in it’s krazy, low-brow, bad-production-value approach… and succeeds gloriously.

And it reminds me, in broad concept anyway, of this infectious Saturday Night Live clip, “I’m on a Boat.” (Warning: contains a boat-load of explicit lyrics.)
I’m on a Boat (feat. T-Pain).

h2o mp3: I Want the Waiter (With the Water) – Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra

When this playful swing number was recorded in 1939, war was raging in Europe, the United States officially declared its neutrality and the U.S. non-intervention movement was strong. We all know how that eventually played out. (I’ll ignore the fact that today is September 11th, another historic date in the history of American denial.)

Americans had the Great Depression behind them and the misery of war yet to come. They were swinging and cutting the rug, and consummate entertainer and bandleader Ozzie Nelson was packing the dance floor.

This is a faster, funnier version of I Want the Waiter (With the Water) than the better-known recording by Ella Fitzgerald.

Lyrics (which begin at 0:45)

I want the waiter, with the water
I want the waiter with the water for my daughter
I want the waiter with the water for my daughter
cause my daughter has an order for some water on the tray

He’s got a menu, that’ll send you
He’s got a menu that’ll send you and befriend you
He’s got a menu that’ll send you and befriend you
maybe lend you if you help me find the waiter with the tray

While my daughter was having lunch one day
She caught the waiter’s eye
He took one look at her, and ran away
Now she’s gonna die of thirst unless I find that guy

Play and download the track

I Want the Waiter (With the Water) – Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra

(I usually urge you to support musicians via a purchase link, but I can’t find anywhere for you to buy this rare track!)

Eric’s Excellent, Enigmatic Water Collection

This is Eric Lease Morgan, and for the last three decades he’s been amassing an unusual collection. A water collection. No, I don’t mean collecting samples for testing or other scientific pursuits. Since 1978, he has collected about 200 samples of water from all over the world, for reasons that are unclear even to him.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, the River Ganges, Loch Ness, the Canadian Rockies to Three Mile Island to the Peruvian Amazon and many more, his unusual collection has grown steadily. You might imagine that it is displayed carefully in his home or office for all to marvel at the sight. But it isn’t, because that’s not the reason for the collection.

Many of these waters I haven’t seen in years. Moves from one home to another have relegated them to cardboard boxes that have never been unpacked. Most assuredly some of the bottles have broken and some of the water has evaporated. Such is the life of a water collection.

Salton Sea, California

Salton Sea, California

So how did this all begin? Most of us remember that entrancing moment when we first saw the ocean. For Eric, that moment did not come until he was a young adult, in the summer after high school graduation. Since Eric had never seen the ocean before, he and his best friend set out on an adventure to Ocean City, Maryland, and upon arriving…

At 2 o’clock in the morning, my first impression of the ocean was its sound. It was loud. In the light of day I was impressed with its size. Resolving myself to being able to see the ocean whenever I wanted, I bought a deformed bottle for 59 cents and filled it with water. Thus, my water collection was born.

Eric’s college Philosophy major further reinforced the concept through the study of Western thinking.

…Heraclitus who believed the only constant was change, and water was the essencial element of the universe. These ideas were elaborated upon by other philosophers who thought there was not one essencial element, but four: earth, water, air, and fire. I felt like I was on to something.

Roman Forum in Rome, Italy

Roman Forum in Rome, Italy

While traveling student-style through Europe in the early 1980s, the collection grew by leaps and bounds. During this six weeks, Eric collected water from the Seine at Notre Dame (Paris), the Thames (London), the Eiger Mountain (near Interlaken, Switzerland), the Aegean Sea (Ios, Greece), and many other places.

Over the years, his collection continues to grow at a slower, but steady pace. Each sample contains not just the element of water, but memories of a time and place… Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on a day playing hooky from work. From a pond at Versailles during his honeymoon. From the Missouri River, following the footsteps of Lewis and Clarke.

And with so many samples and memories, what stands out? What are his personal favorites?

Nice, because it was the prettiest; Atlantic Ocean, because it was my first and it is fun to watch the sand sift through the skinny part of the melted bottle; Caribbean Sea at Lime Cay because that is where my family and I had a whole Jamaican island to ourselves; Roman Forum, just because it came from a cool place; Salton Sea because that water is so dead it is unbelievable.

Caribbean Sea at Lime Cay, Kingston, Jamaica

Caribbean Sea at Lime Cay, Kingston, Jamaica

One thing I wondered… with today’s air travel security restrictions, how does he manage to bring home new additions to his collection without getting the full suspected-terrorist treatment at airports?

Security restrictions? Definitely! Collecting water has gotten expensive. When I travel I almost invariably never check any luggage. Unfortunately, carry-on luggage is not allowed to contain bottles of water. Consequently I have recently begun to check my luggage on the trip home — incurring a handling fee — just so my water can come along for the ride. Each of these bottles of water is costing me about $15 each.

And one of the best things about all this? Eric Lease Morgan is a librarian, and a computer-savvy one who has provided access to his collection on the web! So, we can all enjoy browsing the waters of the world from the comfort of our chairs!

Homepage: Eric Lease Morgan’s Water Collection
Collecting Water and Putting it on the Web (3-part blog series)
Water Collection Image Gallery
Water Collection, Links listed alphabetically
Water Collection Map View

Of course Eric’s 30-year endeavor isn’t world-changing, but still, for reasons I can’t explain I’m heartened to know that his water collection exists. I marvel at the fact that all of us can learn of it and see it, even if it is for no practical purpose. Thanks, Eric, for sharing it!

Finally, again, why do I do this? Why do I collect the water? Why have a spent so much time creating a system for providing access to the collection? Ironically, I am unable to answer succinctly. It has something to do with creativity. It has something to do with “arsience“. It has something to do with my passion for the library profession and my ability to manifest it through computers. It has something to do with the medium of my art. It has something to do with my desire to share and expand the sphere of knowledge. “Idea. To be an idea. To be an idea and an example to others… Idea”. I really don’t understand it through and through.

This Real Estate Development is Tanking

The Water Tower House, Montgomery Hills, Maryland

The Water Tower House, Montgomery Hills, Maryland

Dan Reed from Just Up the Pike, an excellent Montgomery County, Maryland blog, profiles this available-now dream home. (Perhaps this what is meant by the phrase “wet dream?” No, don’t think so!)

3 BR 3.5 BA Colonial, near schools, shopping and 495. Potential for waterfront access (comes with two of every animal just in case). $699k.

Keep your eye on the kids! Water Tower House, back yard view

Water Tower House, back yard view

How did such a house come to be built with such horrible siting? Reed explains how infill development can be an appealing concept on paper, but a failure on the ground:

It’s a truly attractive house, solidly built and well laid-out, not to mention in a fairly decent location. Schools, shopping and the Forest Glen metro are all more or less within walking distance. But the siting of these six houses, in the shadow of a hulking water tower and hard up against the back of a strip mall, is less than ideal. This project illustrates many of the challenges of infill development, namely what to do with inflexible site conditions. You can’t move the water tower. The shopping center is likely decades away from being redeveloped. And the property is zoned for single-family homes. You have to make the three work together. I can’t say that happened here, though I’m not sure if it’s even possible.

Here’s hoping that the family who buys this house has a sense of humor, and furthermore that the water tower is well-sealed.

Convenient to shopping: view from upstairs bedroom

Convenient to shopping: view from upstairs bedroom