Your article on water hogs in the Aug. 27 issue of WW ["Hydro Hogs"] was once again a good one. How people can manage to use and waste so much water is alarming. I do need, however, to take issue with these Ultra-Low Flow toilets. My new home in Sandy has these "new and efficient" crappers, and I am investing in real commodes as soon as I can afford to.
These "Ultra-low" toilets are virtually worthless. Taking a dump in the cat box is almost a better idea, 'cause in five minutes the box cleans itself. The angle of attack that my family and I have had to adopt is crap-flush-wipe-flush, using twice the water that the toilet is designed to use. If one tries to clean oneself properly, the toilet plugs. If somebody happens to have Mongolian revenge, the trip to the can becomes an adventure in simply trying to get the damn thing to eat what I am feeding it.
I certainly agree with conserving water: My yard is watered carefully, and I own new energy- and water-saving appliances. I wash my cars at drive-through washes that recycle the water, and my shower heads are all the water-saving kind, but I plan on buying a commode that will flush anything from shit to trench coats--I am getting too well-versed in the use of a plunger!
LIVING HIGH ON THE HOG
I just finished reading your insightful third annual Hydro Hogs list [Aug. 27, 2003]. If I ever get to the point where I'm spending $14K a year on water, I'm installing composting toilets and washing my shit down the pipe with Perrier. I'll be watering my lawn with Evian and showering in Pellegrino, just to keep myself off your damn list.
On the other hand, if I do ever get a $3,000 quarterly water bill from the city and don't realize I'm an excessive water user until I get a phone call from you, just shoot me.
Southeast Main Street, in "one big house on two lots with loads of flowers and grass and 'historic' trees and shrubs and veggies: 40,000 gallons a year"
DON'T BE A FOOL--STAY IN SCHOOL
Not to take away from the kids who scored well on their ACT and SATs [Winners & Losers, WW, Sept. 3, 2003], but celebrating education in a state that ranks 30 out of 38 (participating states in this NCES study) on the high-school dropout rate scale (a No. 1 ranking being the lowest dropout rate), I don't know that we can say they "routinely open up a serious can of learnin'."
Southeast Milwaukie Avenue