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Today is World Toilet Day

07-24-2013toiletday

I was going to write up something today about International Men’s Day, the me-too what-about-the-menz holiday that’s so meaningless that even Men’s Rights activists can barely remember to celebrate it. Do we really need a day to “celebrate [the] achievements and contributions” of men? Don’t we get quite a lot of that already? Do we need a day given over to “highlighting the discrimination against [men]” as if this is really a thing?

But then I discovered that today was also World Toilet Day, and realized it was probably more worthwhile to promote this event, as the lack of toilets and proper sanitation — a widespread problem in parts of the developing world, particularly in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa — can have devastating public health consequences.

Some disturbing facts, from the UN, which I clipped from this CNN story:

  • 2.5 billion people — one in three people in the world — do not have a toilet or access to sustainable sanitation
  • Diarrheal diseases are the second most common cause of death in young children in developing countries
  • They kill more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined

Learn more at the official website. Also, Al Jazeera has a useful infographic.

And just a note to the MRAs who have somehow concluded from this post that I am comparing men or men’s issues to toilets (!?), let me try to make my point very clear: I am contrasting a sharply focused activist campaign aimed at a very real problem — lack of toilets and proper sanitation in large parts of the developing world — with large consequences — disease and death, of adults and children alike — with a badly thought out International Men’s Day that seems largely driven by jealousy that “women get a day so why can’t we have one too.”

How halfassed is International Men’s Day? Here’s a screenshot of the International Men’s Day website’s “resources” page.

resources

Generally speaking, you would expect a “resources” page to list facts and figures and possibly link to relevant other groups. All you get at the International Men’s Day site are some posters made from stock photos.

What I found on the site’s “about” page was much more troubling. The site was put online by a group called the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation, working with the founder of International Men’s Day, Dr Jerome Teelucksingh. The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation, as I discovered with a bit of Googling, turns out to be a virulently homophobic and transphobic organization that is also behind a site called Gendermatters.com. A quasi-manifesto on the site titled 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters asserts, among other things, that:

Transsexuality signals a deceptively fierce disorder. Elective castration, mastectomy, hysterectomy, etc., are futile non-solutions. The cruel, permanent disfigurement of so-called gender reassignment is not the answer. Transsexuals need psychological and spiritual insight that frees them to celebrate the chromosomes they received at conception.

So, yeah, a halfassed men’s “day” that’s associated with transphobic assholes. Not exactly a winning combination.

Look, if you’re concerned about making a difference in the lives of men, pick the issue that matters most to you, and work on that. If you want to increase funding for prostate cancer research, work on that. If you want to raise money to help male victims of domestic violence, work on that. Actually do the hard work of activism. Don’t just have yourself a “day” and pretend that it means something.

EDIT:  Rewrote part of the first paragraph and added all the stuff after the Al Jazeera link to clarify the point of this post, because clearly some people have missed the point entirely.

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kittehserf
7 years ago

I wanna come to your house for Thanksgiving, cloudiah!

I wouldn’t worry about reading the thread, it just repeated itself.

Have you had the job interview?

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

When I flew to Australia from LA in 1997 another passenger started screaming behind me for some reason on takeoff and the flight attendant was yelling “Sit down! Sit down!” Nothing more happened after that.

But I was totally on edge for the rest of the flight. It was a long time to be on edge.

CassandraSays
7 years ago

Basically take the first page where socky showed up and repeat 50 times. Not worth paging back to read.

My Thanksgiving is notably lacking in pies, since nobody in the family makes them.

mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

Just thinking about it, the biggest feature of our family’s Xmas lunch, apart from the dishes of apricots, grapes, cherries, nuts, sweets, dried fruits on the table, would be all the sauces and toppings.

We’re quite used to having several different vegetables at one meal. But serving gravy + bread sauce + cranberry sauce + mint sauce (for peas/beans) + cheese sauce (with cauliflower/broccoli) + cheese&breadcrumbs (on tomatoes) all at once is very different from all other meals, even celebration meals.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

I don’t make pies, I buy them. Me and pie crust don’t get along.

serrana: any good bakeries in Houston? A friend of ours is coming up from there for T-day, his price of admission is scotch and pie. If you know somewhere pass it on, and I’ll point him thataway.

serrana
serrana
7 years ago

I’m thinking of making this for TG – http://www.olivesfordinner.com/2011/11/seitan-roulade-with-sage-and-sweet.html, along with some twice-baked potatoes and Moroccan-spiced roasted carrots. There are some mini-apple pie thingies I want to make too if I can find the recipe.

cloudiah
7 years ago

It’s a pretty delicious Thanksgiving, though very standard; we’ve perfected it over the last 40-some years. (Except 40 years ago, I was not the one making the mashed potatoes.)

Job interview went okay I think. Hard to tell. I flubbed one question a bit, but I think I recovered, lol. This was a shorter phone interview. If they like me, they’ll bring me down for a full day. The best part was that since it was a phone interview, I didn’t have to dress up!

serrana
serrana
7 years ago

hellkell, all I know is Three Brothers – http://www.3brothersbakery.com/Default.aspx and it probably depends on what part of Houston your friend is in. Also, I’ve heard good things about House of Pies, but I’ve never had any.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Thanks, serrana. He’s in Cypress, actually.

serrana
serrana
7 years ago

Ack, Cypress is pretty much chain places as far as I know, sorry.

pecunium
7 years ago

Before I get to anything else: Toilets don’t need water. One of the additional duties I had in the Army was Sanitation NCO, which means I was responsible for siting the latrines, and making sure they weren’t going to drain into the local water table; esp if we were in an environment where the local water might be used by US troops.

Figuring that sort of thing out is one of the ways disease in armies was reduced to the levels where people assume enemy action is going to be how soldiers die, rather th

pecunium
7 years ago

Figuring that sort of thing out is one of the ways disease in armies was reduced to the levels where people assume enemy action is going to be how soldiers die, rather than by disease.

kittehserf
7 years ago

grumpycat – that’s nasty. Worst flight I had was from here to London in ’93, which was about 24 hours, iirc. There was a woman having a shitfit over not being allowed to smoke, standing and screaming at the cabin and demanding to be let off. Given we were somewhere over the central desert at the time, everyone thought letting her off RIGHT NOW would be a great idea. Worst was that she was taking her granddaughter to Ireland, and the little girl – she was maybe three? – wasn’t coping with the air pressure. She was crying and screaming, and grandma eventually lost it and threw her against the bulkhead. After that the crew finally dealt with her by bodily removing her and keeping her sedated for the rest of the trip. I think they sedated the little girl for a while, too; she was mostly looked after by other passengers. The police were waiting for Granny at Heathrow.

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
7 years ago

@kittehs Holy fuck.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Ayup.

pecunium
7 years ago

Warren: Thank you Cassandra, I feel appropriately martyred. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that as a typical citizen of the US of A, the amount of time you have spent in any third world country is about 0. Don’t let that get in the way of your opinions though.

This, is an ad hom. It’s also a false equivalence, since you started with: The issue is not limited to lack of toilets and proper sanitation in large parts of the developing world. Try and find a clean toilet in most cities in the so called “developed” world.

Which is nonsense, and is bullshit, when you then compare it to the Glastonbury Folk Festival.

Having spent a fair bit of time outside the first world, toilets are a big deal, and one of the things being worked on but (see above re my experience as a Sanitation NCO) even latrines take infrastructure, and the understanding of how the contamination works. That’s a different infrastructure problem; related to education).

So your high and mighty blather about how being in the US of A = zero experience of the rest of the world is pretty pathetic, coming as it does from a Brit who is pretending the UK is a cesspool without proper toilets.

(p.s. Cassandra’s exposure to 3rd world condition probably bests pretty much anyone on this board; even if some of us have been to places where keeping one’s mouth closed in the shower, and using bottled water to brush one’s teeth is the better part of valor).

pecunium
7 years ago

In some isolated rural areas in the USA, outhouses were the norm at least thru World War 2.

Actually, my mother (in Cleveland) got running water in the house in 1957. My grandfather had to install it.

The pump-handle well was still functional in 1982. It had great water.

kittehserf
7 years ago

My hairdresser still has an outhouse. Down the rickety steps and across the crappy path to a loo with water, but no light, so no closing the door.

Still not exactly a sanitation issue, though; more like a Cheap Landlord issue.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Relatedly, how does one shit in a sandstorm?

Also, worm toilets. (You pretty much need a plastic container, worms, and somewhere to shit, I’m not sure if the worms require other food, but any food scraps or such would work for that.)

kittehserf
7 years ago

“Relatedly, how does one shit in a sandstorm?”

Very carefully!

kittehserf
7 years ago

I wouldn’t bother, Pecunium, she’s been put on moderation.

Brooked
Brooked
7 years ago

@Pecunium

I think it’s safe to say that Moma Sita wouldn’t take your criticism well or capitalize your name.

pecunium
7 years ago

Moma Sita: You know what I think, I think will write David and I don’t think he’ll be laughing. If his blog gets a rep for being dismissive of opinions and that he allows a group of cliquey trolls to go around censoring, bullying and dismissing anyone opinion that isn’t there’s I’m sure his blog wont be so esteemed. Being a journalist I’m sure he sympathizes with getting your voice out there and having it understood. You DO NOT get to dismiss people because of some bullshit about ‘creating the culture of the blog.’ You DO NOT OWN this blog. Peoples voice IS NOT less than yours because you’ve been here a year longer than others. Get over yourself.*

The blog is Dave’s. The comment section isn’t really. It’s the joint property of those who inhabit it; suject to the nominal suzereinity of the owner of the blog. It’s clear that he pays a moderately active attention to it, and understand the nature of the community. That, my dear, is what you are dealing with, and why you are failing so miserably.

It’s what makes the foolish, and unobservant, go off about “the hivemind”, and “claquish cliques”. Community happens, wherever people congregate, and some of the congregants here go back more than three years. There are rules, they are unwritten, but not unspoken. That you broke some, and are being called on it probably stings. To ignore them, and pretend you are somehow sovereign to them, and us, is a short road to ostracism.

You have not PROVED that my post was racist. I have a right to my opinion and to defend it.

Which won’t make it less racist.

pecunium
7 years ago

Alice: You know, I find it funny that I explained WHY the original statement was racist as hell, highlighting the problematic line and saying “dude, that’s why we’re telling you off”, and then Mona Sita yells at me for not “proving” she’s a racist. Reading: she sorely lacks.

What, you think it would be possible to convince her of the racist aspects of that comment?

pecunium
7 years ago

Argenti: to shit in a sandstorm one faces into the wind.

To pee one faces out of it.

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

pecunium – I run on the assumption that people are reasonable. Unrealistic, yes, but it keeps me sane.

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

kittehserf . . . that flight sounds much more horrible than my flight. At least my flight didn’t involve grandmothers throwing their grandchildren . . . yeeesh.

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

I meant to chime in on the earlier question about the vegan/vegetarian Thanksgiving menus . . . I am having to pre-Thanksgiving veggie dinners with other veggies – just came from a potluck for which I made vegan quiche with asparagus, beans, and walnuts.

And, after I have my wisdom tooth out . . .

Wednesday going to a veg restaurant with some friends – the restaurant does a “traditional” Thanksgiving menu with faux turkey (but I don’t know if I’ll actually order that).

Thursday itself with non-vegetarian family during which I will ignore the turkey but enjoy the mashed potatoes, green beans and cranberries.

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Sounds delicious. 🙂

pecunium
7 years ago

So… Moma Cita is a person who has been paying attention to Manboobz for a little while (knows some of the in jokes), but has a rage boner of the OD on Viagra and Cialis sort.

Which makes me think there is some animus. I also think it’s someone who has been away for a little bit, and didn’t expect to get the sort of response from people who weren’t the planned target of the attacks.

It’s all sort of pathetic, and feels like Boston, or perhaps the one we had from India, who came back a couple of times.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Is faux turkey decent stuff, grumpycat? Not that I’d be eating it (not keen on turkey anyway, and vegetarian alternatives or faux meat really aren’t a thing where I live – ie. my suburb) but I’m curious to know if it’s any good.

That flight to London would have sucked even if Ghastly Granny hadn’t been there. Our lovely cat Thomas was at the vet and it turned out he had malignant cancer. We didn’t even get to say goodbye to him, we had to give the okay from London, by fax, for him to be put to sleep.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Pecunium – yeah, she’d been posting here, not very often, but for a few weeks, under that name. Then came the “am I the only person who doesn’t care about rapists being raped” comment, which got plenty of pushback, and then she has this monumental meltdown.

CassandraSays
7 years ago

I think she was hoping that we could all be made to turn on each other by criticizing some and praising others. The fact that the divide and conquer thing wasn’t going to work seems to have come as an unpleasant surprise.

pecunium
7 years ago

Ah… I see Dave asked us to drop it. Sorry, it’s what I get for working my way forward.

Re dinners. We are going to the beloved’s parents. Which means turkey, and stuff. Kosher, so the flavors are different.

I may make some small mince pies for myself. I am partial to them; sadly the beloved is presently not allowed wheat, so I can’t make a pudding for Christmas (which will be done away as well). Mostly I’ve had trad American, though the odd Dobos torte has made it’s appearance.

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

Honestly faux turkey tastes no different from real turkey to me but it’s been so long since I had decent turkey I’m probably totally wrong about that.

I have no great nostalgia for the taste of turkey myself but I’ll eat soy “turkey” without complaint. I’ll also eat something else instead without complaint, though.

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

And that’s so sad about your kitty, kitteh. 🙁 It must have been terrible to be so far away from him at that time.

pecunium
7 years ago

I recall the, “I don’t give a shit”. I half think that was deliberate. I’m pretty sure there is an underlying grudge, and they knew that would make people moderately antagonistic.

I also suspect they hoped to make the older regulars (the actual target of their ire) look like assholes, and hoped the newer members of the community would tell the older one’s to be a bit more tolerant.

That they didn’t understand the dynamics, well that’s probably why they were carrying a grudge.

Brooked, I think my name would have been capitalised out of perversity; since it’s not in my screen name.

pecunium
7 years ago

And now I ought to try to sleep, as I have a full day at work tomorrow (retail, selling cookware, the crazy season starts tomorrow. It’s not “Black Friday” I dread, but “Freakout Wednesday” when all the people who have company on the way discover they’ve lost something (like the roasting pan), and MUST HAVE IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

Did I just say it’s been so long since I had “decent” turkey?? LOL. What the heck was that adjective doing in my sentence. It’s been so long since I had TURKEY at all. Describing meat as “decent” is just a weird thing for me to do since meat is not something I even consider edible.

I think I need to go to bed.

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Question. How do you guys prepare tofu?

I’ve been thinking of trying tofu again; the last time I tried, it was a disaster, but I want to learn how to cook it. Preferably, I’d want some vegetarian recipies, because I’m trying to eat healthier (plus, I want to have the tofu stand out).

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

I’m sorry about your kitty, kittehs. 🙁

kittehserf
7 years ago

It was, grumpycat. He came in the day he was meant to go to the cattery (we were going to be away about six weeks) with a whopping big lump on his neck. We thought it was an abscess – Tom was a burly boy with thick fur, so easy to miss. But it wasn’t, it was a tumour that had blown up really fast. Malignant, and in among the arteries, so there was nothing they could do to help him. He was only eight. That was the worst, with any of our kitties, and hurt the longest in memory.

[short advertising feature ahead!]

It was really only after I was in contact with Louis, and so with all the kitties who’ve passed over, that I could think of Tomtom without sadness.

Thomas – this doesn’t show what a big boy he was/is!

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

Alice, scrambled tofu is an easy dish to make and you have a lot of options with the vegetables and spices you want to use with it. Here is one recipe: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/tofurecipes/r/Easy-Tofu-Scramble.htm

grumpycatisagirl
7 years ago

Thomas is beautiful! I am glad you can think of him happily now. 🙂

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Crazy season? Here I was just literally beaming with joy in the store today when I saw that it’s finally nut season! Mixed nuts for this mixed nut! (I have yet to meet a nut I didn’t like, though Brazilian nuts are a bit of work…but sooooo goooood)

As for how to answer nature when nature is throwing sand about, that makes entirely too much sense.

Kitteh — that sucks, big time.

In other news, I’m probably going to be one big bruise tomorrow. It’s dry, I’m itchy, and I have a bad habit of scratching myself bruised. ARGHHHH SO ITCHY!!

…it puts the lotion on its skin…

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

grumpycat – Mmmm! ^_^

kittehserf
7 years ago

Thanks, everyone!

He is a lovely boy. Sweet natured but does. not. do. cuddles (let alone laps). Which is probably just as well given his size!

Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

Also, if anyone else is on an iDevice, does Safari crash on occassion when you load a page here? I was going to add a longer response, but then it crashed on me and I lost all of my work.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

YES! Luckily I’ve had the mac out to work on the Borg anyways, so I just gave up trying.

Speaking of which, the footer is on hold until I stop trying to claw my skin off.