Roger Ramjet, rainbow unicorns, and a Missouri girl’s poop-themed third birthday party

In grade 10, I would race home on my bicycle at lunch to take in 30 minutes of animated joy that was a predecessor to all the satire 40 years later of pompous American superheros, and I was convinced the writers were all stoned.

Roger Ramjet.

Greatest TV cartoon ever (read the start of the wiki entry to get of how deepl weird the show was and how we are living it today).

Today’s weirdest non-political animation is the pooping unicorn, which has reached its demographic epoch in the same way that 7-year-olds hang posters of Michael Jackson or Katy Perry, when a friend of daughter Sorenne asked, “Do you know what the colorful unicorn is?

Yes, yes I do, we covered it over a year ago and it has to do with a colorful unicorn and some stoned student pitching a device for the proper popping posture.

But is the unicorn effect spreading like diarrhea?

As Caroline Bologna of Huffington Post writes, when a Missouri mom named Rebecca asked her daughter, Audrey, how she’d like to celebrate her third birthday, the toddler had only one theme in mind: “poop.”

“For months, every time we mentioned her party, Audrey requested ‘poop balloons and a poop cake,’” Rebecca told The Huffington Post. “I tried suggesting other themes, but she always insisted on poop.”

Ultimately, she and her husband decided to “embrace the weird” and give Audrey the party she wanted.

The unconventional party took place in October at the family’s home in St. Louis.

The guests played “pin the poop,” enjoyed a poop emoji-shaped piñata filled with Tootsie Rolls and Hershey’s Kisses, and received whoopee cushion favors. Rebecca even dressed in a poop costume.

The mom said everyone loved the party and thought it was hilarious. “I expected the grandparents to question it, but they all just laughed when I told them,” she added.

Rebecca believes the birthday party embodied her daughter in many ways. “Audrey is definitely her own person,” she explained. “I hope she always has the confidence she has now. She is so funny and the best big sister.”

Rebecca hopes Audrey’s party can inspire other parents in the throes of birthday planning.

Blame ‘bad souvlaki’ GPA data to catch Sydney taxi drivers using laneway as a toilet

Who says the space program hasn’t led to great inventions: Tang, Teflon, and GPS to track down taxi drivers in a public poo pandemic that’s leaving a group of business owners flushed with anger.

Shop owners on Hercules St, Ashfield in Sydney’s inner-west say discovering human feces in the laneway behind their businesses has become “a daily occurrence” along with the nauseating task of cleaning-up the offerings.

The situation has become so bad real estate agent Tim Simpson is considering relocating the business he’s run in the suburb for 40 years.

He said the final straw was catching a taxi driver “in the act” last weekend.

“I understand drivers are expected to work 24/7 but surely there’s better options than this,” he said.

“We’re the ones who are having to clean it up. It’s like living in the Third World.”

National taxi firm 13 CABS is investigating the claims by matching complaints against data from GPS devices fitted in taxis.

Head of client services Simon Purssey said he was “shocked and horrified” to hear the reports.

“I understand ‘when a man’s gotta go, a man’s gotta go’ but if you’ve eaten a bad souvlaki and all of a sudden have to pull over you don’t do it in someone’s property,” he said.

And I thought Australia had great access to public shit depositories, compared to the rest of the world.

 

it’s the poop

I was wearing one of our 2006 don’t eat poop T-shirts today as I walked Sorenne to school with Ted the wonderdog.

Most families noticed Ted, but one parent said, “sage advice.”

Clearly someone I could chat with.

He knew all the Australian outbreaks, and said he was in California when spinach happened in 2006, so was a good chat.

But maybe we talk about poop too much. From our artistic (and spelling-challenged) daughter:

Scientist, artist, hockey player, swimmer: Happy Birthday Sorenne

Sorenne turned 8-years-old today, and this unique child is growing more comfortable and confident.

sorenne-powellFrom this, to third place in the science fair this year, to a party last Saturday (because mom just left for a French stuff conference in Adelaide), after which she crashed with her new BFF, Ted.

The Brisbane sky has been heralding the date of her birth, with some awesome light shows in the days before (and more to come).

sorenne-science-fair-aug-15What’s it like growing up with a father who writes and talks about food safety? Like dad, she’s got three citizenships – Canadian, American and Australian – draws unique pictures of pigs pooping, and says things at school that others may find inappropriate, but that I find totally cool.

sorenne-ted-dec-16(The clip below if from recycling day at her school, and she says, “Reuse chicken poop and turn it into fertilizer.” I had no input, she just picked it up from the ether around this house).

Shiga-toxin producing E. coli: Another reason to avoid pigeon poop

Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli infections in humans cause disease ranging from uncomplicated intestinal illnesses to bloody diarrhea and systemic sequelae, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Previous research indicated that pigeons may be a reservoir for a population of verotoxigenic E. coli producing the VT2f variant.

pigeon-poop-shamelessWe used whole-genome sequencing to characterize a set of VT2f-producing E. coli strains from human patients with diarrhea or HUS and from healthy pigeons. We describe a phage conveying the vtx2f genes and provide evidence that the strains causing milder diarrheal disease may be transmitted to humans from pigeons.

The strains causing HUS could derive from VT2f phage acquisition by E. coli strains with a virulence genes asset resembling that of typical HUS-associated verotoxigenic E. coli.

Whole-genome characterization and strain comparison of VT2f-producing Escherichia coli causing hemolytic uremic syndrome

Emerging Infectious Diseases, December 2016, Volume 22, Number 12, https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2212.160017

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/22/12/16-0017_article

Brisbane-area vehicles covered in human poop

Clare Armstrong of The Courier Mail reports that two vehicles ended up covered in human waste after a truck carrying 27 tonnes of sewage was forced to brake suddenly to avoid a collision at Toowoomba.

poop-spill-brisbaneIt is understood the truck transporting the sewage lost its load when the driver braked suddenly to avoid crashing into a car outside The Big Orange fruit barn on Crowley Vale Road on Wednesday just after 8am.

The Arkwood Organic Recycling (is there any other kind of recycling shit other than organic?) truck trailer had a tarpaulin-like cover over the top but the force of the braking action caused it to rip apart and the waste spilt out.

Shocked locals took to social media to express their disgust at the scene as the truck, car and surrounding area were covered in human waste.

oddball-kellys-heros“Where’s the gag reflex,” posted one person.

“You can still get through it,” advised another person online.

Arkwood Organic Recycling Owner and Operations Manager Brendon Clarke told local media the load was secured but the abrupt stop caused the trailer’s cover on the truck to tear.

Take a dump on Trump: Poo Haiku for World Toilet Day

 

 

Take a dump on Trump

I won’t change my toilet’s name

Your poo orange too.

trumptoiletSaturday is World Toilet Day, a serious effort by the United Nations focusing on the fact that one-third of the world’s population — or 2.4 billion people —  have no toilet at home. A third of those people are children. They are vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and other major problems because there is no clean way of going to the bathroom where they live.

Marylou Tousignant of The Washington Post writes the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations want everyone in the world to have proper toilets and safe drinking water by 2030.

People living in present-day Scotland and Pakistan built the first indoor toilets about 4,500 years ago. Pipes carried the waste outdoors. Knossos palace, built 3,700 years ago on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean, had some of the first flush toilets. They used rainwater and water from nearby springs. A wooden seat kept users dry.

Medieval castles had toilets built high on an outside wall. There was a stone seat at the top, and gravity took care of the rest. Often the waste dropped into the castle moat. People living in towns, meanwhile, collected their waste in what were called chamber pots, and they emptied them by heaving the contents out a window. Public lavatories, which were not common at the time, were often just several toilet holes in a row built over a river.

In 1596, England’s Sir John Harington designed a flush toilet with a handle and a raised water tank. He said using it would leave rooms smelling sweet. He gave one to his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, who didn’t like it. Instead, she used a pot in a box covered in velvet and trimmed with lace. The idea of an indoor flush toilet didn’t catch on until 200 years later.

The word “toilet” comes from the French “toile,” meaning “cloth.” It referred to the covering on a lady’s dressing table and, over time, to the dressing room itself and the primping that went on there. (Wealthy people in the 17th and 18th centuries often had rooms at home just for getting dressed.) In the 19th century, “toilet” got its modern meanings: the place where bathing and other private acts occur and the bowl into which human waste is deposited.

Over time, chamber pots and toilet bowls got fancier and fancier. One such pot, sold during the American Revolution, had an image of Britain’s King George III at the bottom of the bowl.

Thomas Jefferson, who used flush toilets while he was the U.S. ambassador to France in the 1780s, had three small rooms for toilets built at Monticello, his home in Virginia. But there is no proof that they were true flush toilets. And because most American homes did not have running water until a century later, the widespread use of flush toilets came later as well.

Chinese businessman Zhong Jiye will not give up the brand name on his Trump Toilet products, NBC News reports.

“We registered our company in 2002 and obtained approval from the trademark office in Beijing,” said Zhong, referring to Shenzhen Trump Industrial Company Limited, which mostly manufactures high-tech toilet seats. 

hanksy-dumptrump“If (U.S. President-elect Donald) Trump thinks our trademark violates his rights and interests, he can use legal methods because our company observes China’s laws,” CEO Zhong told NBC News, adding that he is prepared to defend his company’s legal rights to the Trump brand name.

In Chinese, the company name means “innovate universally.” 

Vicky Hallett of NPR reports that poetry may be one way of getting people to discuss diarrhea.

That’s the idea behind Poo Haiku, a competition created by Defeat DD, a campaign dedicated to the eradication of diarrheal disease.

Although everybody’s had the runs, it’s not something most folks talk about, says Hope Randall, digital communications officer for PATH’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access, which created DefeatDD to bring together resources on vaccines, nutrition, oral rehydration therapy, sanitation and more.

Kat Kelley of the Global Health Technologies Coalition, which references a recent study published in The Lancet:

Just six pathogens

But eighty percent of kids’

Diarrheal deaths.

Randall herself penned an entry:

A vicious cycle,

Gut damage, malnutrition

We can halt the churn.

And from Doug Powell:

Take a dump on Trump

I won’t change my toilet’s name

Is your poo orange too.

(Depends whether the word orange is one syllable or two.)

Don’t eat poop: Texas cop edition

A policeman in Texas has been sacked for allegedly giving a sandwich filled with feces to a homeless man.

matthew-luckhurst-san-antino-pd_650x400_81478532857Matthew Luckhurst, a San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) officer who had been on the force for five years, reportedly placed fecal matter between two pieces of bread and gave it to a homeless person.

“This was a vile and disgusting act that violates our guiding principles of ‘treating all with integrity’, compassion, fairness and respect,” SAPD Chief William McManus said in a statement.

“The fact that his fellow officers were so disgusted with his actions that they reported him to Internal Affairs demonstrates that this type of behavior will never be tolerated. The action of this one former officer in no way reflects the actions of all the other good men and women who respectfully serve this community,” he was quoted as saying by San Antonio Express-News.

The alleged incident occurred in May, when Officer Luckhurst bragged to a fellow officer that “he had picked up some feces, placed it in a slice of bread, and put it in a Styrofoam container next to the unknown homeless male”, a statement from the police chief’s office said.

“The officer reported that he told Luckhurst to go back and throw it away. The officer said he saw Luckhurst go back and he assumed that Luckhurst discarded the container,” it said.

The incident was reported to Internal Affairs in July. Police Department officials have been unable to locate the homeless man.

“Firing this officer was the right thing to do,” Mayor Ivy Taylor was quoted as saying.

Ben Sifuentes, Luckhurst’s attorney, said his client joked about giving an excrement sandwich to a homeless person but never actually did so.

It came out of the sky: Human poop falls over India

A former senior army man has moved the National Green Tribunal alleging dumping of human waste by aircraft over residential areas near the IGI airport in Delhi, which led the green panel to order an inspection of his South Delhi house.

unknownLt Gen (Retd) Satwant Singh Dahiya has sought criminal proceedings against commercial airlines and levy of hefty fines on them for endangering the health of residents, terming the act as violation of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Noting the submissions of the petitioner, the green panel directed Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to depute a senior environmental engineer to inspect his house and check the existence of human excreta on the walls.

It also asked CPCB that if excreta was found, samples should be collected for analysis and the report placed before the tribunal.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also issued notices to the Ministries of Environment and Forests and Civil Aviation and CPCB, seeking their replies within two weeks.

Plane toilets store human waste in special tanks. These are normally disposed of by ground crew once the plane lands, but aviation officials acknowledge that lavatory leaks can occur in the air at times. There have been instances, including in India, when people have been injured.

Mircobiologically speaking: Should you make out with your dog?

“You sleep with your dog? That’s microbiologically sorta gross.”

miley-cyrus-kissing-dogThat was the first thing I said to Dr. Amy Hubbell, during a seminar in 2005, and I had no idea who she was.

I also told her organic food was not safer – and probably less safer – than conventional food, and that all that French food was overpriced shit.

Or something like that.

Whether or not such practices are microbiologically gross enters into the domain of how to analyze risk, and how to provide advice. Chapman, Schaffner and I always say variations on the same thing: we ain’t your pastors, you decide what’s right, but here’s some info and you decide.

Christopher Mele of The New York Times writes: beware of too much dog kissing.

Especially if your dog likes to eat poop (coprophagia).

You kiss your mother with that mouth?

Dr. Neilanjan Nandi, an assistant professor of medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, said in an email that most animals’ mouths are host to “an enormous oral microbiome of bacteria, viruses and yeast.”

Dr. Nandi says a dog’s saliva has proteins that may help cleanse or heal its own wounds, but in a paragraph titled “Why Not to Make Out With Your Pet,” he noted, “There are some organisms unique to dogs that we were simply not meant to tolerate or combat.”

Some bacteria in dogs’ mouths are zoonotic, meaning the animals can pass them to humans and cause disease.

Some common zoonotic bacteria include clostridium, E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter, which can cause severe gastrointestinal disease in humans, said Dr. Leni K. Kaplan, a lecturer of community practice service at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

mika1-004So I shouldn’t let my dog lick me at all?

Not entirely.

“When dog saliva touches intact human skin, especially in a healthy person, it is extremely unlikely to cause any problems, as there will be very little absorption through the skin,” Dr. Kaplan wrote in an email.

However, a dog’s saliva and pathogens can be absorbed more easily through the mucous membranes of a person’s nose, mouth and eyes. Though illnesses transmitted this way are rare, Dr. Kaplan said it was best to avoid having your dog lick those parts of your face.

John Oxford, a professor of virology at Queen Mary University of London and an expert in microbiology, said he would never let a dog lick his face, The Hippocratic Post reported.

“It is not just what is carried in saliva,” he said. “Dogs spend half of their life with their noses in nasty corners or hovering over dog droppings so their muzzles are full of bacteria, viruses and germs of all sorts.”

Other infections, such as hookworms and roundworms, can be transmitted in a practice called coprophagia, in which animals ingest one another’s stool or by licking each others’ anuses, Dr. Nandi said in an email.

Dr. Joe Kinnarney, the immediate past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said in an interview that one study calculated that a puppy could have as many as 20 million to 30 million roundworm eggs in its intestinal tract in one week. He said a client’s child at his practice in Greensboro, N.C., nearly lost an eye from a roundworm infection.

It is conceivable that a dog with fecal material in its mouth could transmit an intestinal parasite to a human through licking, but that is rare, Dr. Sarah Proctor, a clinical assistant professor and the director of the veterinary technology program at the University of New Hampshire, said in an email.

More commonly, a parasite can be contracted by ingesting contaminated soil — via a home garden, for example — where pets have left their droppings.

President Obama even touched on the subject in an interview with Wired magazine that was published in August:

“I still don’t let Sunny and Bo lick me, because when I walk them on the side lawn, some of the things I see them picking up and chewing on, I don’t want that, man,” Mr. Obama said, laughing.

Dr. Proctor says people should be aware that not all dogs want to be hugged or kissed.

“Most people do not pick up on a dog’s subtle body language that shows fear, stress or aggression,” she wrote. “Putting your face into a dog’s face and kissing it could lead to a bite on the face if you are not careful.”

Cats do not eat feces, and humans are therefore unlikely to become infected by parasites from them, according to the website petMD.

Cats’ mouths do harbor Pasteurella, which can cause infections of the skin and lymph node, and Bartonella henselae, a bacterium that can cause a severe skin and lymph node infection known as cat scratch fever, the website reported.

Most of those infections come from bites or scratches.

What precautions should I take?

Experts recommend:

  • Make sure your pet is current on all vaccines.
  • New pets should undergo deworming.
  • Keep your pets away from the feces of other animals.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

Arden Moore, who hosts “Oh Behave,” a podcast on Pet Life Radio, said in an email that she welcomed the occasional kiss from her five dogs and one cat, and kisses the tops of their heads in return.

“Pets, just like people, crave attention and affection,” she said. “As long as I remain healthy and my pets stay healthy, I will take this ‘risk’ and accept their kisses.”