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The Expansionist
Friday, April 15, 2011
Don't Trust Them. I get annoying offers of 'pre-approved' credit cards and personal loans (which of course are not really pre-approved at all, in most cases; you have to meet qualifications in an application to be submitted later), and there is advice as to how to get your address removed from their lists. As one offer I got from Citifinancial puts it:
You can choose to stop receiving "prescreened" offers of credit from this and other companies by calling toll-free (888) 567-8688. See PRESCREEN & OPT-OUT NOTICE on other side. * * * [which reads]

This "prescreened" offer of credit is based on information in your credit report indicating that you meet certain criteria. This offer is not guaranteed if you do not meet our criteria. If you do not want to receive prescreen offers of credit from this and other companies, you can call 1-888-567-8688 or write to the following consumer reporting agencies: Experian Inc., P.O. Box 919, Allen, TX 75013, TransUnion, TransUnion Name Removal Option, P.O. Box 505, Woodlyn, PA 19094, Equifax, P.O. Box 740123, Atlanta, GA 30374-0123.
I finally got around, tonite, to calling that number.
The first part of the fully automated, voice-recognition process is unobjectionable, entering your name and address, in reverse order starting with zip code, then proceeding backward to street address, last name, and first name. But then they demand your Social Security number, which I will NOT give them. After demanding that info several times, when I stayed mute, the program skipped to the next objectionable item, my date of birth. I am not giving them that information either. How does that have anything to do with removal from a mailing list? I am not going to give the banking industry my Social Security number or date of birth just to have my address removed from junk-mail lists, and you shouldn't either. Surely a mass-mailer needs only name and address, NOTHING more. I guess I need to write to the President, my Senators, Congressman, or Federal Trade Commission or banking authorities — or SOMEBODY in Government — to ask them to force the credit industry to stop demanding this information that they have no right to.
Homemade Urinal, Cheap but Effective. It is a staple of standup and sitcom humor that men miss the toilet, pee on the toilet seat, etc., causing friction with the female members of their household. I realized only this past week that the conflicts over men's wet messiness are absolutely necessary.
If you do a Google search on "home urinal", you will see, high in the results, a page from uncrate.com that starts:
We're men... we're made to pee standing up. Install a home urinal and never again lift a toilet seat (or remember to put it back down, if you have a woman). We did some digging and found several Kohler fixtures, including the Freshman ($240), Dexter ($130), Darfield ($125) and, our favorite, the Bardon Touchless ($890) with motion sensor.
That's great if you have (a) money to burn and (b) a place to put such a porcelain fixture that would not offend any women in your household. Most people have neither. Every gay man, of course, should delite in installing a porcelain urinal in a bathroom or half-bathroom.
But there's another solution that I only recently realized.
I have had three knee surgeries due to failure of the patella tendon of both legs, in separate incidents, the second failure of which undid the first surgery. While in the hospital, I encountered the little plastic version of the urinal, a one-liter receptacle shaped to enable a man to pee into it lying down (as in a hospital bed) or standing up. I took three of them home from my hospitalizations (and wonder what happens to those that people do not take home; are they thrown away in the insane, anti-environmentalist profligacy that the medical industry engages in?), and use them at nite, because I cannot risk trying to walk to the bathroom when I wake up, needing to pee, in the wee hours, lest, while groggy, I fail fully to straighten the leg that doesn't work quite right — thanks to the vile healthcare system of the United States, which prevented me from getting surgery after my first accident until more than a year had passed, during which time some tissues had atrophied, and muscles shortened. I might fall, and cause serious new damage to one or both knees. So I use a urinal overnite, and dump it the next day.
This is a modern-day version of the chamberpot, which was used for many centuries in 'loo' of indoor plumbing.
What I hadn't put together until this past week, however (tho I've been using a plastic urinal at home for about 7 years), is that men can use a plastic urinal in the bathroom to pee neatly, without spatters, and then empty the urine into the toilet neatly, in a two-stage minor exercise that could eliminate a lot of interpersonal irritation and cleanup. A third step is rinsing the urinal and closing the cap to eliminate all possibility of offensive odors. Storing the urinal between pees in an unobtrusive spot in the bathroom would make its use essentially invisible to others.
One doesn't even need a fancy, industrial-design "urinal" as such (which could cost about $5 each from a medical-supply store, per bathroom). An empty (washed-out) one-quart mayonnaise jar, glass or (much better) litewate plastic (as would not shatter if dropped onto a hard bathroom floor), with screw-on lid to guard against odors between uses, would serve brilliantly. Essentially every household in the Western world has, or could readily retain, an empty one-quart mayo or other suitable covered jar that could serve as a makeshift urinal, and eliminate hours and hours of conflict between the male and female members of a mixed household.
Why haven't I heard this suggested by the Heloises of the world?
I actually did a search on "Heloise urinal" and found one item that included both terms:
She is also a role model and advocate for women. At speeches where her audience is primarily female, she asks management to convert the men’s restrooms to women’s. "The best hotel ever was the Westin downtown [in San Antonio], which filled the urinals with ice and placed potted plants in there — it looked wonderful," Heloise says.
P.S. There are urinals designed for use by bedridden women too (different in the shape of the top), but that use is aside from the point of keeping a bathroom neat and tidy, and thus saving a lot of heterosexual couples a lot of arguing. Using a handheld urinal between oneself and a low toilet could save even gay men or single straight men from having to clean up after accidents when things go awry (in ways we need not specify). Why worry about aim and things sticking together that cause a stream to shoot wide of the target if you can just pee into a jar or formal urinal, then dump and rinse?
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,447 — for Israel.)

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