John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, the Portland Loo is voted best public bathroom in Canada, and Japan deploys a toilet soccer goalie.
Once again, unbuckle those pants and prepare for Toilet Tuesday:
SPOOKY DOOKIE, IN AUSTRALIA
Millaa Millaa is a simple town. Its 300 residents like their waterfalls pretty, their yogurt naturally set, and their public toilet inside a cemetery. But this latter fact of life has brought strife and divide to this priorly peaceful community, located in northeast Australia. After members of the local Chamber of Commerce decided to hand-fashion the graveyard commode, because building a more traditional one would've cost some $80,000, certain residents are unleashing a righteous stink of indignation over what they see as a desecration of 1930s-era bone zone. (It doesn't help that the crapper is kind of hokey, being shaped like a coffin and emblazoned with the letters R.I.P.)
The social rift tearing through Millaa Millaa is clear to view on the Facebook fan page, Millaa Millaa Cemetery Loo. Judy writes: "How pathetic! I have been highly insulted by your sick sense of humour all of you. And so have all of my family members who have been to pay respects to our daughter since it was put up without any approval from council." Chimes in Geraldine: "Is this supposed to be some kind of tourist attraction? If so, it's in very poor taste." On the flip side, boosters of the unusual toilet see it as a "[g]reat way to get some publicity for this area," and decry what they consider "small minded people" who "crash anything that is done to try and bring some services and light heartedness to this place."
The small-minded people have won the latest skirmish, though. On Sunday, somebody defaced the bathroom with the paint job you see below. The message was lost in poor penmanship. On the toilet's fan page, Margo writes that suspects include "someone struck down by illiteracy or someone with an intimate knowledge of the Da Vinci Code."
THE PORTLAND LOO CONQUERS CANADA
Anyone who's spent time in Portland knows that the locals have an inordinate amount of pride in their public toilets. As discussed before on this site, the impending arrival of a new Portland Loo is enough to make a body "plan on dropping a mean deuce in that thing ASAP." Well, it turns out this privy passion, like giardia on somebody who doesn't wash his hands post-flush, is contagious. The esteemed lavatory from Oregon just won first place in a contest to find the best public powder room in Canada.
The can that came out on top squats on a sidewalk on Langley Street in Victoria, British Columbia. The company behind the contest, Cintas Canada, reported that despite being intentionally designed to maximize discomfort, the loo won over voters with its eco-friendliness, convenience and the fact that it is free to use. Victoria purchased the john from Portland last year to counter a rash of public urination occuring at night. The $90,000 investment has "cut that down greatly," reports CTV news, which also snagged a quote from Mayor Dean Fortin so larded with puns that you might want to run to a loo to vomit: "If you'll pardon the pun, as mayor, representing mayor and council, we are all flushed with excitement to receive this award. It's nice to be No. 1, or No. 2 – or both."
Runner-up restrooms include one inside the Georgian Court Hotel, in Vancouver, and the facilities at Quebec's Centre for Professional Training. Here's what a loo looks like in its native environment, courtesy of the City of Portland:
A ROBO-TOILET FOR THE NEXT WORLD CUP, IN JAPAN
The country that is well on its way to creating a fully sentient commode, with thoughts and emotions and needs, oh so many needs, has debuted a toilet that acts like a soccer goalie. The "Super Great Toilet Keeper," SGTK for short, uses cameras to monitor an incoming soccer ball. In an interval as quick as a tenth of a second, it calculates the ball's future trajectory and shoots out its own projectile to deflect it, Iron Dome-style.
The incredible pivoting pisser is a promotional product for some kind of environmental campaign, and does not actually dispose of bodily waste. And that's lucky because, good god, just imagine the cleaning job you'd have to perform after trying to do a Number Two in this thing:
Top image courtesy of the Millaa Millaa Cemetery Loo on Facebook.