Men's Restrooms are Disgusting

Since reporting several months ago that my oldest daughter is potty training, things have gotten better. To combat the issue of being woken up at 3:00am, Fiona is wearing an overnight diaper, so everyone is getting a good night's sleep.

With my project house complete, I've been able to spend a lot more time on the weekends with the family. And since my wife and I share responsibilities, I've recently had more opportunities to take Fiona to go potty in public restrooms. Through these public potty outings, I've become consciously aware of something that I've known all of my life but never cared about: men's restrooms are disgusting. For women fortunate enough to have never ventured into one, let me paint the picture:

Men have bad aim. I have never gone into a men's restroom and seen a floor devoid of urine. At best there is just a puddle around the toilets, and at worst there is a 1/4 inch of urine covering the floor. Yes, it's disgusting.

Men have bad aim + men are inherently lazy. If a urinal isn't available and they're forced to use a commode, few men take the effort to raise the toilet seat before taking a whiz. And just as men pee all over the bathroom floor, they also pee on toilet seats as well.

Men have bad aim + men are inherently lazy + men use bathrooms to purge waste. Men not only use bathrooms for going pee and poo, but men also use bathrooms to blow their nose... and few use a kleenex or handkerchief so the snot ends up on the wall or floor. Disgusting, I know, but wait--there's more!

From my unscientific sampling, 50% of the toilet seats in men's restrooms are broken or otherwise defective. Of this 50%, most have a hinge broken or are poorly installed, resulting in a very unstable seat... especially for a 3 year-old. From this same unscientific sampling, 15% of bathroom stalls in men's restrooms lack a suitable product with which to wipe. Most are simply out of toilet paper; others have toilet paper stained by a previous occupant's errant pee stream; and some have a broken holder which dispenses single squares... if you're lucky.

And upon using a road-side gas station bathroom, if a man suddenly finds himself randy on his way out the door, there is usually an assortment of condoms and novelties available for purchase from a bathroom wall dispenser like this one in a Mississippi gas station.

My picture is painted. As a result of the general disgusting condition of men's restrooms, I have a simple rule for my daughter when I take her to go potty: sit still and don't touch a thing!


Michael Vick's Legacy

Michael Vick is many things to many people--for one thing, he's a great rusher. After Sunday's loss to the Saints, Vick is ranked #11 in the NFL for rushing yards this season, racking up 870... and ranked #12 is Warrick Dunn, Atlanta's running back, with 865 yards. And therein lies the problem.

For all of the positives, the biggest negative about Vick is that he's not a quarterback. His QB rating of 72.1 is in the bottom third of quarterbacks in the NFL.

With all of the pre-season hype about the Atlanta Falcons making it into playoffs this year, a four game losing streak (which included losses to two of the perennially worst teams in football--the Lions and Browns) is quite a surprise to us fans.

Vick's contract pays him $130 million over 10 years, which comes to around $800,000 per regular-season game. As the quarterback, and thus the team leader, Vick is not earning his pay this year.

And with all of that context, Vick and the Falcons were justifiably "booed" as they exited the field on Sunday after getting spanked 31-13 by the New Orleans Saints. So how does the team leader... the face of this franchise respond to the deserved criticism? It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case it is.


Texas or bust!

Tomorrow we leave on our annual pilgrimage to Texas to visit family over Thanksgiving, and as usual, we're driving. While it's going to be a very long trip, there are several things I'm thankful for which will make the drive easier & safer (in no particular order):

  • Minivans
  • Cruise control
  • Portable DVD players
  • Interstate freeways
  • MP3 players
  • Child car seats
  • Texas' open container law (prior to Sept 1, 2001, it was legal to have an open alcoholic beverage in a vehicle as long as it wasn't in the hands of the driver)


It's your turn, Democrats

As my profile reads, I'm really a cynical, independent-minded voter who doesn't trust Republicans or Democrats to do, solve, or save me from anything. I'm technically a libertarian who believes in limited (small) government, an equitable tax structure, diplomacy over bombs, and balancing the budget followed by paying off the debt--everything the Bush-led Republican administration (including Congress) is not. So with Jim Webb securing the win in Virginia, both the House and Senate are in the hands of Democrats. There is now an overseer to the unchecked power wielded by the executive branch over the last 5 years. I have renewed faith in the American electorate.

How big of a win was this? Republicans did not win any of the Democrat-held House seats, not a single Democrat-held Senate seat went to a Republican, and they won none of the Democrat-held Governors races. In Bush's words, "It was a thumping."

Dems, come January 3, 2007, it's your turn.

I'll close with the sage words spoken on February 12, 2002, by our soon-to-be former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld:

As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns - that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.


Christianity in the news

And yet another reminder of why Christians should fight the cult of personality is in the news today over the accusations against the founder and senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Ted Haggard. Haggard was #11 on Time magazine's list of influential evangelicals last year and is also president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals. While I sincerely hope that some of the accusations aren't true, in a statement reminiscent of Clinton's infamous, "I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it and didn't inhale," Haggard admitted that some of the allegations were true, stating, "I bought it [methamphetamines] for myself but never used it." He also admitted to paying for a massage from his accuser.

It should also be mentioned that Mr. Haggard was a founder of the group Coloradans for Marriage, which fought to put a state constitutional amendment on next week's ballot to ban same-sex marriage in Colorado.

I'm sure there is a lot more to this story that will surface in the days, weeks, and months ahead, but I'm reminded of Jesus' words in Matthew 7:1-2,

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
As such, I'm not judging Mr. Haggard. I do feel sorry for his wife, 5 kids, and the 14,000 members of New Life Church. It's also embarrassing as a Christian because right or wrong, Mr. Haggard's actions are a very public and yet poor example of how to live like Jesus.