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O Christmas Grease mp3 by Steve Anderson

h2o mp3: O Christmas Grease

O Christmas Grease mp3 by Steve AndersonHappy Holidays! And to celebrate the season, a gift for you: an all-new h2o mp3 from Steve Anderson, the water world’s funniest singer-songwriter and an advocate for free-flowing pipes and sewers everywhere!

In his newest original wastewater hit O Christmas Grease we are reminded that the FOG is rolling in this holiday season, and that there’s a right and wrong method to dispose of the nasty by-products of high-fat Christmas cookery. Read more

Poo paper scratch pad made from elephant dung

Greenwashed Gifts May Require Strong Soap

While round-about on Black Friday I’ve noticed that the shelves are bulging with “green” products for your giving and receiving delight! However, many of these “green” items fall into a definite grey area in usefulness, practicality and good taste.

Take this little gem of a gift I recently received – Poo Poo Paper! That’s right, paper lovingly fashioned in an exceedingly green manner from s***! “Why, thank you! I love it, it’s just what I wanted! If you’ll just set it over there for me, please…” How, I ask you, have we come to the enviro-insanity point where ANYONE would give a gift that proudly trumpets “Made with Real Poo!” Handle this one with kid gloves!

Poo paper scratch pad made from elephant dung

Let’s take a closer look at this, though, as it incorporates many of the marketing hallmarks of “perfect” little gifty-green goods vying for your attention and cash.

package label poo poo paper

1 – It’s unique! Wait until the recipient shouts in delight, “Why, I’ve never seen such a thing!”

2 – Recycling and/or reuse angle: Your green product should clearly state that it is either on it’s way from…(or properly headed to) the recycling bin. The big recycling logo is a must!

3 – Affordable price – but note that this isn’t the same as a “reasonable’ price for a similar non-green item.

inside cute label for poopoo paper scratch pad

Note the clever and cute elephant droppings and slogan!

4 – Direct ties to a less-privileged country/region: any point in the manufacturing/recycling chain counts! So, for example, you could NOT make acceptable greenie “poo paper” from elephant dung gathered at a Western zoo.

5 – Supports a broadly loved “cause.” Who has a problem with conservation of endangered elephants? Not you or me,surely!

6 – Hip and clever concept and presentation – “We’re number one at number two™” So cute, and really makes the shoppers at Urban Outfitters point and smile in approval!

price tag for poopoo paper

Can you guess how I misread “Scratch pad grass” before wearing my reading glasses?

Water Towers, Merry and Bright: Part 2

To make your season bright…part 2! Again in 2009 we’ve rounded up some fantastic festive towers decorated for the holiday season! (See Part 1 here or the 2008 collection here and here.)


The Southern Arkansas University Water Tower Candle, photographed by Sounds like “Jee” on Flickr. This circa-1976 water tower is the most recognizable landmark in Magnolia, Arkansas and features a peal of 14 cast bronze bells near the top. The illuminated holiday candle decoration is a tradition that was established in l988.


This photo is from the annual public tree lighting ceremony in Concord, North Carolina by Paul Purser on Flickr, shot while working on a book about Charlotte NC and surrounding communities. (www.destinationcharlottethebook.com.) The water tower reads “All American City” and is a Concord icon. This great photo captures the city Christmas tree, the water tower, and fireworks in one shot.


A striking display from the City of Round Rock, Texas by Christopher Rose (khowaga1) on Flickr



This photo by mfng (Tom) on Flickr shows a landmark water tower in Durham, North Carolina. The site is a former Lucky Strike cigarette factory in the American Tobacco Historic District, now converted into a mixed-use campus of offices, restaurants and condos.


This water tower topped with a light tree is by gorfram on Flickr who notes that every year the Shoreline (Washington) Water District puts up a tree made of lights up on top of this water tower with local merchants donating towards the cost. Her photo was taken just as dusk was deepening into night. There’s a dusting of snow on top of the water tank, the Christmas tree is ringed by various radio masts and other equipment, and the twigs of a Japanese maple are in the foreground.


By QT Long at terragalleria.com, a festive water tower in Tennessee.

Water Towers, Merry and Bright: Part 1

Water towers and Christmas lights are a natural combo so again in 2009 we’ve rounded up some fantastic festive towers decorated for the holiday season! (See the 2008 collection here and here.)

Beautiful dusk light accents this starry blue tower in Fresno, California by Matt (mistergoleta) on Flickr.

By Robb_Wilson on Flickr, we love this charming Charlie Brown-ish water tower spotted in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California, where old railroad cars and engines are put out to pasture. This time of year, Robb says, “parts of the area are dressed up for Christmas.”


From the Mount Washington, Ohio 2009 Tower Lighting Ceremony by Rich Richmond on Flickr, who when contacted about including his photo in this feature said “I had no idea anywhere else was crazy enough to light up a water tower!”

TacSat Tim on Flickr took this photo of the Mannheim Water Tower during the annual Christmas market while stationed in Germany after returning home from Iraq in in 2006 (it was his first Christmas in Mannheim with his wife.) “Der Wasserturm” was built in 1889 and is a local landmark.

Not an real water tower, but charming nonetheless! =>tim<= on Flickr took this photo of a light display depicting a water tower with rail cars at the Midwest City, Oklahoma Holiday Lights Spectacular.

h2o mp3: Suzy Snowflake – Rosemary Clooney

A retro musical tribute to water’s most festive form! Rosemary Clooney’s 1951 version of Suzy Snowflake is an enduring and popular holiday tune. Break into your own acapella rendition of this song if you need to shake someone out of a crabby mood…works every time!

Lyrics

Here comes Suzy Snowflake
Dressed in a snow white gown
Tap, tap, tappin’ at your window pane
To tell you she’s in town

Here comes Suzy Snowflake
Soon you will hear her say
Come out everyone and play with me
I haven’t long to stay

If you want to make a snowman
I’ll help you make one – one, two, three
If you wanna take a sleigh ride (whee!)
The ride’s on me.

Here comes Suzy Snowflake
Look at her tumblin’ down
Bringing joy to every girl and boy
Suzy’s come to town

Play the track

[audio:http://thirstyinsuburbia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/03-suzy-snowflake.mp3]

Download Suzy Snowflake – Rosemary Clooney
Like it? Support the people who make music – buy this album or track at amazon.com.

Bonus animated Suzy! If you’re from the Chicago, Illinois area you might also be familiar with a 1953 cartoon-short based upon the song. Made with super-cool-at-the-time stop-motion animation, the film became a treasured annual Christmas tradition for countless children who grew up in the Chicagoland area.

Your Boughs are Green in Plastic Glow

Of all the trees most lovely is this whimsical 2008 installation at the Tanglin Mall in Singapore decorated with artfully-crafted recycled plastic bottles. (I much prefer seeing them on a Christmas tree rather than a grocery shelf!)

Christmas Tree, Tanglin Mall, Singapore, 2008

Christmas Tree, Tanglin Mall, Singapore, 2008

Detail: Christmas Tree, Tanglin Mall, Singapore

Detail: Christmas Tree, Tanglin Mall, Singapore

Detail, Tree Topper

Detail, Tree Topper

Photos by chooyutshing on Flickr, thanks!

2009 Wet and Wild Water Gift Guide, Part 2

The NoPoPo (No Pollution Power) Battery (japantrendshop.com, US $55) charges with almost any liquid out there, from water to beer to cola to….human urine! Charging the NoPoPo is simple: just suck your liquid of choice up with the syringe, then squeeze it into the battery. Besides being incredibly handy, the NoPoPo batteries are also good for the earth, with 100% non-toxic materials and a ten-year shelf life.

Winter is coming up, and it’s time to break out the humidifiers for the cold and dry season. CCP Japan has released the Mini PET Bottle Humidifier (japantrendshop.com, US $117) which lets you recycle your plastic water bottles while keeping the air healthy. Using anti-bacterial cartridges, the humidifier is safe as well, and gives out powerful amounts of moisture in three levels.

Waterproof Headphone System from H2O Audio ($99) The team that developed this item collaborated with gold medal swimmers Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin to develop this swim specific music solution. Features a variety of earplugs sizes and styles, a secure swim goggle attachment system and an ergonomic design.

From the NewYorkerStore.com, small Framed Cartoon Print (14 x 18) – $195.00 (Dutch boy standing by the broken dike filling bottles that say ‘Natural Dike Water.’) Published in The New Yorker 5/20/1991 by Bernard Schoenbaum.

Recycle Water Cuff Links ($18.25) from Bella Moda Artists on Etsy. Each cuff link is carefully handmade using resin, recycled paper and silver plate. Measures 1/2″ and includes gift box. (If you have your own idea and want to personalize your cuff links, just inquire!)

From Aqua Gems at watereducation.org, this Beaded Silver Fish bracelet ($45) has tiny bubbles chased by little silver fish along a length of Bali silver and white turquoise round and heishi-type beads. It measures approximately 7.5″ long and is finished with a simple sterling silver toggle. Handmade in California and from the Pacifica Collection.

From Isotope on Etsy, the Water Cycle T-shirt ($18) features an oversize graphic illustration of our Earth’s Hydrological Cycle. High-quality print in multiple colors with super-soft water-based ink on Unisex 100% cotton Ring-Spun Fitted T-shirt.

Water-themed mugs from Zazzle.com, $13.95 – $17.95 each; Instant Water, I Drank the Water and Conserve Water, Dilute it.

River carpet from Kateha ($509 VAT excluded) Swedish artist Erika Lagerbielke has designed the hand woven River carpet that gives you an illusion of floating water and waves. Available in white/red or white/grey. Made in 100% wool. Hand woven. Size: 170×240 cm.

Liquid Series Lighted Umbrella from amazon.com ($38) Inside its patented chrome housing, this umbrella stores and releases a retractable 6-volt krypton bulb. The light can be turned on or off, simply, using the water resistant push-button switch located in the handle.

2009 Wet and Wild Water Gift Guide, Part 1

The Frog-O-Sphere™ from Brookstone ($39.95) includes 2 aquatic mini frogs, Living Gravel™ and a bamboo plant. Your new little buddies, the frogs, won’t outgrow the tank. Living Gravel™ acts as a biological filter, converting excess food and waste into a soluble form that can be used by the bamboo plant. Just like trees in our environment, the bamboo absorbs liquid and gaseous elements and releases oxygen, which helps the frogs thrive.

The LED Showerhead from Maplin (£29.99) We all like colour in our life and now you can have a kaleidoscope of colours in your own shower! It phases through vibrant green, red and blue to make showering that bit more fun for kids, both big and small! You don”t even need batteries as it is powered by an internal waterwheel – so it”s multi-coloured and green at the same time. Simply connects to your existing shower hose via a universal screw fixing.

Water Pitcher from Design Within Reach ($85) Using Iouseki stones and Binchotan charcoal, the Charcoal Water Pitcher creates filtered, mineral-rich water. The stones come from the mountains in Kanazawa, the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast. The charcoal is specially prepared for potable water use, and also works as a deodorizer to create odor-free water. In place of filters that need monthly replacement and add to landfill, Iouseki stones and Binchotan charcoal last up to six months (depending on use). In addition to being an eco-friendly solution, this elegant Water Pitcher can go from fridge to table, rather than having to pour the water into a suitable serving vessel. The Water Pitcher comes with one set of Purifying Sticks and Stones; additional sets can be purchased separately. ($25)

Kishu Binchotan (68 euros excluding VAT) from sortofcoal.com soaks up chlorine from tap water while releasing natural minerals into it. Kishu Binchotan softens the water and improves the overall taste. Bottle is mouth blown and is designed by Fragile, Denmark. Sort of Coal is products feature natural handmade active charcoal, so-called White Charcoal that emphasizes both the function and the aesthetic. It looks black, but is called White Charcoal because of its purifying ability and white shine and has been used in Japan for several centuries.

Speaking of Japan, The Japanese company Toto makes a toilet that senses when you enter the room and automatically lifts the pre-warmed lid. Additional sensors next to the toilet activate an MP3 player with 16 preloaded tunes and a media slot for SD cards so you can load in your own music library.

After you’re finished, the toilet automatically flushes and closes the lid. (I don’t know how much or how you’d acquire one this outside of Japan… get to work, there’s a few weeks left!)

The Walking Water Ball from Zorbasia on ecvv.com comes in two sizes, 2.0 or 2.5 meters. It’s made of TPU or PVC. A customized design is allowed, woo hoo!  (size, material, color, logo). Made in Guangdong in China, FOB Price: 200-280 USD. Payment Terms: Bank Transfer, Western Union, PayPal. Delivery Time: 3 days.

Showertime is a simple, battery operated, five minute timer with a blue and red lighting sequence. The lights change from blue to red while showering and flash red during the last 30 seconds. It helps encourage water users to change wasteful behavior in the shower by gently reminding users when it’s time to turn the shower off. It installs quickly and easily with no tools required.

Spirit of Water Barbie doll $68.49 from Amazon.com wears a beautiful turquoise suede dress with a long cream colored fabric belt with fringe. A traditional full-length wrap in turquoise suede with white fur trim accompanies the ensemble. Her long suede boots are the same fabric as the dress accented with white fringe. She wears a choker and a single strand beaded necklace with medallion and feather to complement her outfit. Long brown hair is in two braids, each accented with a beaded hair ring.

She comes with an authentic looking rain stick hat has real sounds. A feathered hair ornament completes her striking Native American look.

These chic tap water bottles from tapwater-bottle.com are made of glass and are 100% recyclable…a moot point, since your recipient will want to reuse them forever.

The bottles are available in two different sizes – 250 mL ($10) and 500 mL ($12). While they’d be easy to carry around with you, glass is of course breakable although these are extra thick and tough.

From uncommongoods.com ($45) This glass and metal faucet sculpture features flowing glass “water” and is handmade by artist Gary Guydosh in Pennsylvania, where glass has a distinctively rich history. The piece is created using classic glassblowing techniques and craftsmanship.

Terra Cotta Water Whistle, $6 from tenthousandvillages.com

Amazing terra cotta whistle imitates the song of birds. For a warble sound fill the whistle with water and blow on it, and have fun experimenting with different levels of water and holding the bird at different angles. Terra cotta bird will also whistle if blown without water. Terra cotta, 4″L x 2″W x3″H, and made in Cameroon.

Post-Festival Fate of the Metheun Tree

Sometimes I’d just stare and think…I wonder what’s become of her? Just a couple months ago we wrote about plastic bottle holiday trees, including this recyclarific example from the 2008 Methuen (Massachussetts) annual Festival of Trees. And now that the holidays are over, we sadly assumed she had been shredded to bits and cruelly bundled in a recycling center or worse, buried alive in a dank, smelly landfill.

So imagine my excitement to see her again while browsing Flickr, under the heading I WON THIS AT THE METHUEN FESTIVAL OF TREES.

This must be this the same tree, I think, but she sure looks different in the morning without her lights! So I send a message to the owner to inquire about her fate… “I’m curious… what happens to it now?”

The happy response: “We have decided to move it to our pool area and keep it as a conversation piece.”  She always loved being by the water, and now she’s a bathing beauty. And possibly headed for another adventure as a emergency rescue flotation device. Ah, life’s funny.