Tag Archives: Travel

World Toilet Day

Every day of my life, I thank my lucky stars when I get up, go into my clean bathroom, and take care of business.

Some days of my life, I’m less thankful when I am somewhere where the only “facilities” have no running water.  No handle to push.  No way to wash my hands.

Of course, with my potty problems, I guess I’m more in tune to toilet issues than most people.

Why am I telling you this?  You see, Sunday, November 19, is World Toilet Day. And of course, I’m (1) telling you about it; and (2) celebrating it.

The Wider Image: Around the world in 45 toilets

A toilet stands outside the Llamocca family home at Villa Lourdes in Villa Maria del Triunfo on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, October 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

The point of World Toilet Day is actually pretty important.  People without access to hygienic facilities risk illness, many women are preyed upon and attacked as they seek out a place to go.  Diseases are transmitted, including infections, cholera, well, here’s a picture.

The "F-diagram" (feces, fingers, flies, fields, fluids, food), showing pathways of fecal-oral disease transmission. The vertical blue lines show barriers: toilets, safe water, hygiene and handwashing. Source Wikipedia

The “F-diagram” (feces, fingers, flies, fields, fluids, food), showing pathways of fecal-oral disease transmission. The vertical blue lines show barriers: toilets, safe water, hygiene and handwashing.
Source Wikipedia

Hope you’re not eating.

World Toilet Day is to help the fortunate ones of us around the world realize that:

2.4 billion people around the world don’t have access to decent sanitation and more than a billion are forced to defecate in the open, risking disease and other dangers, according to the United Nations

We in the West are rather spoiled.  And the reality of what some folks, many folks must deal with can be eye-opening.

About 25 years ago, my brother Fred got a grant and went to Africa to study something or other.  It was his first experience visiting the Third World.  When he came back, he talked only about poop.

It seemed that the city he had visited ran with raw sewage.  Poop was in the gutters. Children played in those gutters. The sewage ran into the river that was used to irrigate crops.

Piles of poop were everywhere.  In the street.  Under trees.  In the corners of buildings; everywhere, he said.  Even inside.  Fred described a memorable elevator in the middle of a hotel lobby, that he had seen. The decorative ironwork around the elevator shaft was delicate and beautiful. But the elevator didn’t run — in fact, the elevator itself had been removed.  But people would stand with their backs to the elevator shaft, pull down their pants/up their skirts, hang their butts over the open elevator shaft.  And they’d poop.

“I realized something incredibly important, “ said my horrified brother:

“Civilization all comes down to what you do with your poo.”

So when you’re thinking about the craziness in today’s world, maybe we all need to realize that part of our problem is that so very many people just don’t have a pot to piss in.


Yup, it’s a rerun.  But you didn’t really think I’d miss World Toilet Day, did you?


Filed under 'Merica, ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, A Little Restraint, Perhaps, Adult Traumas, Advice from an Expert Patient, Assholes, Brothers, Crohn's Disease, Good Works, Health, Health and Medicine, Holidays, Holy Shit, Humor, Poop, Poop Power, Shit, Shit happens, Sit ins, Taking Care of Each Other, Travel Stories

Tic Tacs are the Mint of All Evil

Yesterday, Tic Tac USA condemned Donald Trump’s use of their products to “score” with women.


Today, I have my own Tic Tac crime to report.  I firmly believe that without Tic Tacs, Donald Trump would not be the scumbag he is today.


An International Life of Crime

When we got Cooper in 1998, we owned a Toyota Picnic, a little six seat van not available in the U.S.  It was kind of a vomit van, actually, because it was well known to induce vomiting by anyone who traveled with us.  We kept a large supply of cleaning supplies with us at all times.

Anyway, I read an article about how, if you stop suddenly, while traveling at 60 mph, a 50 lb Springer Spaniel dog — exactly MY DOG will travel significantly faster as he flies through the car.  He will, in fact, become a projectile and might end up killing your kid.

Now I liked the dog a lot even at that early stage.  But I didn’t really relish the idea of the dog killing my kid to whom I was quite attached.  So, to scorn and jeers from John, I bought Cooper a special doggie seat belt that attached to the seatbelt of the seat behind the driver’s.

Cooper, however, did not approve.  I presume I hadn’t adequately educated him on the importance of self-restraint.  Because he ate his restraint.  In fact, he had started eating the seatbelt too when I realized what was happening and released the rebel.  He then happily sat wherever he wanted in the back of the vomit van.

Fortunately, Cooper hadn’t really done much damage to the seatbelt.  There were only a few bites taken out of it; it worked perfectly well and was not a safety hazard.

But when we moved across the border into France a couple of years later, well, we had to have the car inspected.  And the French car inspectors are famous for flunking Americans.  According to my husband, anyway.  I faced the villains alone.

Now, before you jump all over my husband for sending me into the lion’s den, well there is something you should know.  My husband cannot lie.  He cannot stretch the truth.  He cannot exaggerate.  Worse in this case, he would not have been able to restrain himself from explaining to the inspector that it really was not a safety issue.

Me, well, I’m different.  I grew up getting away with high crimes and misdemeanors.  I rarely got caught, and when I did, well, I got out of it. I’ve had practice.

So whenever we needed to deal with the French government, well, it was all up to me.

I drove to wherever it was, produced my paperwork, and waited my turn.  Truthfully, I was nervous.  I didn’t want to have to spend $1 zillion replacing a seat belt (car repairs in Switzerland/France are tres cher).  So I fidgeted with the container of mints in my pocket.  Tic Tacs.

When my turn came, I was outside with the inspector, chatting to him.  He was a young guy, and was nice and helpful as I tried to have a chatty conversation with him in my pigeon French. In fact, he couldn’t have been nicer to me.

Plus, the car was in great shape, clean and nearly perfectly maintained.  He found nothing wrong on the outside.  Then he opened the front passenger side, and tested the seat belt.  He closed the door and went to the rear passenger seat, and tested that one.

I started to sweat.  The chewed one was next.

He went around and opened the rear driver’s side door.  And that’s when I did it.

“Tic Tac?” I asked him, holding out the container.

“Oui, merci, madame,” he responded, closing that door without looking at the damaged seat belt.  He took a Tic Tac, and proceeded to inspect the driver’s seat belt.

My car passed inspection with flying colors.

And I continued to live a life of crime in France, just outside of Geneva for two more years.


This is a replay of an old story. But How could I resist in light of the news about Donald Trump and how he was forced to be a cad and a boor and a truly disgusting human being.

Because of Tic Tacs.

tic-tacs-2Google Image


Filed under 'Merica, 2016, Adult Traumas, All The News You Need, All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance, Baby You Can Drive My Car, Campaigning, Cancer on Society, Criminal Activity, Dogs, Donald Trump, Elections, Elections Matter, Europe, Geneva Stories, Hillary for President, How stupid can you be, GOP?, Huh?, Humor, I don't really want to know how big it is, IWillVote.com, Just Do It and I'll Shut Up!, Justice, keys to success, Oh shit, Pets, Register to Vote Today!, Sex Scandals, Shit, Shit! The Perfect Metaphors for the GOP, Shitty GOP, Size Matters, Switzerland, Travel Stories, What a Maroon, What must folks in other countries be thinking?, Where does the GOP get these guys?, Wild Beasts

Celebrating the 4th

Anybody who has been here at FiftyFourAndAHalf very much, knows that I have a special affection for the United Kingdom.

After all, my very first trip abroad was to London.  I wanted to live in London and even planned to attend acting school there, which made for one of those memories that no amount of drinking can eliminate.

My husband, John, took me to the UK and asked me to marry him in Scotland on a clifftop overlooking Edinburgh Castle at sunset.

Look, they're celebrating too!  (Thanks Google)

Look, they’re celebrating too! (Thanks Google)

So I really like the UK.

But it’s the 4th of July.  And so we cannot take the British Monarchy too seriously, now, can we?  Can we?

Happy 4th of July to my American friends.  To my British friends, I say this:

“What, you thought I’d be nice?”


Filed under Family, Holidays, Humor