URLs du Jour


  • Yay! The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners have been announced. The contest is for "bad opening sentences to imaginary novels." I'm a sucker for the Detective category:
    Mike Hummer had been a private detective so long he could remember Preparation A, his hair reminded everyone of a rat who'd bitten into an electrical cord, but he could still run faster than greased owl snot when he was on a bad guy's trail, and they said his friskings were a lot like getting a vasectomy at Sears.
    That's from Robert B. Robeson of Lincoln, Nebraska.

  • A tale that begs for bathroom humor:
    Seattle has officially washed its hands of the five self-cleaning toilets.

    The toilets cost the city $5 million. They sold on eBay Thursday evening for $12,549.

    Let's see… that's, um, $4,987,451 down the crapper, right?
    The high-tech public toilets, with sanitizing water jets and automatic doors, were installed in 2004 to accommodate tourists and transients in Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill, the central waterfront, Pike Place Market and the Chinatown International District. But the city canceled its contract this spring after the commodes became filthy hide-outs for drug use and prostitution.
    Obviously, that outcome was impossible to predict. Nobody could have seen that coming.
    "We sold them for what the market determined them to be worth," said Andy Ryan, spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities. "Did we get hosed? I'm not sure."
    Since I am not a spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities, I'll answer the question: Seattle taxpayers got hosed. Yes, I'm sure.

    But wait, there's more:

    The city paid more than it planned to take care of the toilets. Workers had to clean the stalls after trash clogged the self-cleaning mechanism. Losing the toilets will save the city some $4.5 million on the remainder of its operating contract and in cleaning costs over the next several years.
    Note the peculiar bookkeeping here: the city will "save" money by not cleaning self-cleaning toilets they won't have any more. Geez, if only the city had bought ten times as many toilets they could have "saved" $45 million!
    But the city still has to arrange to remove the toilets, which were closed to the public earlier this month. And it will cost an estimated $250,000 to restore the park sites where the toilets were installed.
    Free advice to Seattle taxpayers: there are other things that need to be removed too. Specifically any and all elected officials or city employees who thought this was a good idea. They treat your money as if it were toilet paper.

    (Via the obvious source.)

  • "I don't know much about art, but this is cra… hey, it's getting away!"
    A GIANT inflatable dog turd by American artist Paul McCarthy blew away from an exhibition in the garden of a Swiss museum, bringing down a power line and breaking a window before it landed again.
    (Apparently the story about the self-cleaning toilets has influenced my blogging. Sorry. I'll try to get my mind out of the sewer tomorrow.)