Saturday, April 11, 2020 – Live to Blog from the Therapy of Fun
I’ve been thinking a lot about toilet paper today. (No worry, we have plenty, thanks.) It started with a news segment I heard on NPR this morning which examined the rationale for the current hoarding of TP. Then I was Zooming with my good friends Alonzo and Starlee about an alternative to toilet paper I had never seriously considered…until now.
To Bidet or Not Bidet?
So Alonzo was telling me that he and Starlee had recently ordered two bidets to use when they went camping. In my minds eye I imagined it was something like the Tushy Classic. I just couldn’t envision the two of them lugging their bidets along on their hiking and camping trips. However, they made the case that their portable bidets mean they don’t have to worry about having toilet paper at home in the midst of this pandemic crisis.
“Clever,” I thought to myself. “But I’m not sure I get how this works.” (I still had the Tushy Classic or BidetKing in mind.)
Alonzo and Starlee saw the puzzled look on my face and being the intuitive people they are, immediatly answered my unspoken confusion, “Tom, we’re talking portable bidets…small plastic ones you carry with you…that come in a handy carrying bag.”
“Ohhhhhhhhh…” I said. “I see.” But not really. So I did what I always do when I am trying to hide my ignorance…I Googled “portable bidets.” Thanks to Alonzo, Starlee, and PortableBeasts.com, I’m feeling much more confident in my ability to intelligently discuss bidets. I’m also quite fascinated by the possibility they offer for solving the toilet paper shortage. Good thinking, Alonzo and Starlee!
Alonzo and Starlee are ahead of the curve on this. They actually ordered their bidets weeks before COVID-19 triggered the run on toilet paper. It appears they were even ahead of The Atlantic which ran an article, The Bidet’s Revival, on March 18th, which suggested American’s may be rethinking the bidet. At the risk of causing a bigger run on bidet’s by the millions of people who read this blog, it seems like a good idea. I’m even rethinking the bidet and, honestly, I never even thought about it before talking with Alonzo and Starlee.
There are a plethora of bidet’s out there – both portable and non-portable. However, it is the portable bidet that is fascinating me at the moment. PortableBeasts.com is one of more than a few websites that actually ranks the portable bidets…both manual and electric. On the PortableBeasts.com Top 10 list you’ll find:
- The Brondell GoSpa Travel Bidet
- The Palm TP70 by Bio Bidet
- The Mobile Toilet Shower by Toto
- The Panasonic Handy de Toilette portable battery-powered bidet
- The HappyPo Portable Travel Bidet, and, of course,
- The Happy Bottom Portable Bidet
The product ranked #10 on the PortableBeasts.com list had a most curious name: Cool Knight Travel Bidet. The unique feature which distinguishes it from the other portable bidets is the markings on the outside of the bottle so you can see how much water remains in it. Apparently, it has a capacity of 500 ml. Wow! That’s a lot of water! Despite the name, the Cool Knight looks like it could do the job.
There is one that understandably did not make the PortableBeast.com Top 10 list – both for its name and how it works. But you can find it on Amazon.com! It is the CuloClean 2x Portable Bidet. You’ll need Google Translate or a Spanish speaker to help you make sense of the name. And, apparently, you have to supply your own plastic bottle. I wouldn’t recommend the CuloClean but I would recommend you read the Customer Questions & Answers section on Amazon.com for the CuloClean. It is…well…interesting…somewhat informative…and highly entertaining.
So, the bottom line is this…I did order portable bidets for us today. They won’t arrive until sometime between June 1 and June22. They were inexpensive ($17.98 for 2) and they will quell the fear of running out of toilet paper. Happily, we have enough TP on hand to await their arrival in comfort and confidence. Thank you, Alonzo and Starlee!
For the Starved Sports Fanatics
My friend and colleague Forrest Alton retweeted this first video from an obviously bored BBC sportscaster named Andrew Cotter. Then, make sure to watch the “Breakfast Grand Final” Both will make your day!
Back to Reality…
Today we have a new milestone to acknowledge. We acknowedge it because it is not to be celebrated. We now have a half-million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. I have been following the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases dashboard and the IHME Covid 19 Projections on a daily basis. The Johns Hopkins site is where I got the half-million number mentioned above. This morning I heard of another site that tracks COVID-19 testing, The COVID Tracking Project. According to this website there have been 2,544,935 Americans tested for COVID-19. That’s a lot of people and it sounds impressive until you realize it is only 8 one thousands (0.008) of the total populaton of the United States (327,200,000 as of the last best estimate in 2018). I know…you are hearing about the great success we are having in testing for COVID-19 now. Not really. We haven’t even scratched the surface.
While I follow these tracking websites, I accept their numbers and projections with caution and so should you. You see, Johns Hopkins, IHME, and local and national journalists (who created The COVID Tracking Project) all stepped up because our Federal Government failed to do this work. I’m not laying the blame on the public health specialists at the Federal level. If they had not been marginalized and muzzled, they would be doing this more completely and with higher accuracy.
In the absence of the surveillence systems typically provided by CDC and others, private organizations had to step into the gap. This is what Johns Hopkins, IHME, and The COVID Tracking Project did. As a result, their data is not always as complete as it could be and their projections are not always correct. But they are the best we have at the moment.
For example…the Johns Hopkins dashboard only deals with confirmed cases of COVID-19. We know already the number of actual cases may be much, much higher than what the dashboard reports. To have more accurate numbers, we need to have testing. Unfortunatley, The COVID Tracking Project is showing us, as best it can based on reports from state, and sometimes local, public health authorities, that we still neeed many, many more tests to get a good handle on the scope of the virus. This data also, of course, impacts the projections from IHME. Note, though, that the IHME already has a significant limitation. It is based on the assumption of “full social distancing through May 2020.” In reality, not even all of the states are requiring full social distancing and where it is mandated, it is being followed and enforced inconsistently. We see that daily on our television and we experience when we have to go out for groceries.
We are still in big trouble.
Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, and keep wearing your mask.