Peeing drunks ruining historic buildings in Chester, England

Chester, Chester Rows
The Chester Rows, a set of medieval buildings in downtown Chester, England, are under threat from drunks peeing on them.

This unique set of timber buildings are built atop Roman ruins and offer raised, covered walkways with shops behind them. Unfortunately, these hidden spaces are perfect for drunken louts to relieve themselves. Shopkeepers are complaining about the smell and urine seeping into their businesses. Also, the cleaning that’s required most weekends is wearing away at the fabric of the buildings.

Chester police caught 250 people peeing in public last year, although that’s only a fraction of the real number of incidents. I live part time in England and I can attest to the fact that it’s a problem in pretty much every city.

Councilor Hilarie McNae says the local government is working hard to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the city’s heritage. Sadly, Ms. McNae’s efforts will fall on deaf ears. Drunks who pee on medieval buildings after downing fourteen pints of lager are barely aware of anything and probably don’t care even when they’re sober.

Photo courtesy John Allan.

SkyMall Monday: Products rejected by Skymall

skymall monday frank former hot dogs rejected productsObviously, we love SkyMall and celebrate it every week right here in this space with SkyMall Monday. We enjoy everything that SkyMall has to offer (with only one exception). It’s no wonder, then, that I was recently quoted in a article about SkyMall. Despite being a world-renowned expert in all things SkyMall, even I can learn a thing or two about our favorite in-flight catalog. As such, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the article included a few examples of products that SkyMall has rejected. What horrific inventions would offend SkyMall’s sensibilities so much that they would refuse to peddle such wares? This week, SkyMall Monday takes a look at these rejected items to determine if they truly deserved to be exiled from the skies.

The Frank Former

Pictured above, the Frank Former “turns your favorite hot dog into a smiling “hot dog man” that comes to life before your eyes.” Firstly, I once saw a film entitled “Hot Dog Man” and, let me tell you, nothing about that movie was appetizing. Secondly, unless Dr. Frankenstein is cooking these hot dogs in his laboratory, I highly doubt that they will come to life. Lastly, people love hot dogs because they are simple. Throw one in a bun and eat it with your hands. Cut them up into bite-sized pieces for the kids. No muss, no fuss. The Frank Former appears to be mussy, fussy and full of lies.

Chuck the Yuck

It’s never fun to get airsick (or seasick, for that matter). Thankfully, airlines still provide barf bags for passengers who can’t handle the turbulence and/or “chicken” with “cream sauce.” In fact, those airsickness bags might just be the last free items that airlines still provide. Why, then, would you want to spend your own money on Chuck the Yuck? Perhaps if you wanted to show your style with a “hip line of barf bags, designed to dispose of all pregnancy and kid-related garbage and yuck.” At $4.95 plus $1.25 for shipping for a five-pack, the total works out to more than one dollar per bag. That’s a lot of money to literally throw in the garbage.


Ladies, how often have you envied the fact that men can urinate standing up? We pee on the side of the road when rest stops are unavailable, in the woods on camping trips and in alleys when the line at the bar is just too long. Sure, you can squat in all of those places, but that’s a risky maneuver. Thanks to GoGirl, however, you can now urinate standing up, too! As we typically do, let’s take a look at the product description:

GoGirl is easy to use. Just lower your panties, and put GoGirl against your body, forming a seal. Aim and, well, pee. Pretty simple, huh? GoGirl fits easily in your purse, pocket, or glove compartment…While the concept may be new to you, European women have used female urination devices for years.

So much wrong there. Sure, when you first purchase it, you’ll be caring around a clean GoGirl. After you use it? Why yes, that is a pee-soaked funnel next to your unfinished bag of Combos in the glove compartment (or worse, your purse – as if you don’t already have enough stuff in there). Also, Europeans have done plenty of things for years – ignored personal hygiene, expressed racism openly, kept the mullet alive – that I don’t recommend we embrace as Americans.

The upside to GoGirl? They created a promotional video. Their product may not be good enough for SkyMall, but their video (and the woman in the blazer with some epic 1980s shoulder pads) sure did make my day.

So, at least we have that. And, thousands of products that SkyMall does sell so that we can improve our lives. These products might not have made the cut, but we’re all better off because of it.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Device helps women on the go “go” in the woods or elsewhere

If you’re a woman traveler, you’ve probably been in a quandary at one time or another wondering how and where you might pee. Gazing about, it seems that no bush is big enough. Trees seem skinny. Where is the best angle to squat to be the most discrete in case someone unexpectedly rounds a corner?

If in a vehicle and nature calls, the nearest gas station or fast food place may seem like the only solution.

For a guy, it’s a different story. I mean, really–don’t guys just seem to go any old place?

Here’s a new solution for women that’s better than the portable toilet that Catherine wrote about two years ago–no offense to the portable toilet. It may be a swell idea for a car trip, but it’s not as if you’ll lug one along on a hike.

The GoGirl, however, looks practical. According to the description of how it works in Hilary Howard’s New York Times article , it could be fun. The contraption allows women to pee in “an arc-like penile stream” while standing up.

Sarah Dillon, the president and founder of GoGirl, is currently focusing on the women hikers and women traveling with young children market. Another market Dillon might consider tapping into big time is women who are traveling to countries where squat toilets are widely used. Squat toilets create another dilemma.

Squatting and peeing straight down takes practice. GoGirl might be a perfect solution to keeping shoes pee free. With its small size and affordable price of $6.99, GoGirl could be easily added to Annie’s Top 10 things not to forget on a trip. For women, make the list a Top 11 list for peace of mind.


GoGirl – So girls can … go

GoGirl Pee FunnelWhat is this obsession with women being able to pee standing up? Other than the ability to write my name in the snow, I have not really felt like I’m missing out on anything. I have yet to catch any communicable diseases from a toilet seat. And I do actually sit on the toilet seat. There, I said it.

If you’re a hoverer, by the way, check out this story on ABC News and sit your bum down, please. The messes you people leave should be classified as terrorism.

Onto the product: This is the GoGirl. It’s a somewhat updated version of the “pee funnel” we showed you back in 2004. For example, rather than “pee funnel,” they call this a “female urination device” (or an FUD).

The GoGirl is disposable, and comes with tissue and a biodegradable baggie all in the neat little cylinder that fits in your purse or pocket. You can buy one here for $4.99 (you can also buy a t-shirt, cap, or shorts, in case you want the world to know you like to pee standing up).

GoGirl recommends their product for SkiGirl, OutdoorsyGirl, GlobalGirl, MommyGirl, CityGirl, and RoadGirl for varying reasons, but however many of those I may be? I don’t want one.

Largely because it would require me to essentially piddle into my hand. Ew. Warm. Ew.

New state laws that affect travelers in 2009

There are slew of new state laws that have gone into effect with the change to 2009. Here are some of the ones that I’ve culled from this CBS News/AP article that could impact travelers depending upon which state you head to for a vacation this year.

In California, do not read-or-write text messages while you drive. It’s now illegal. Heavens! Can you imagine someone texting on a freeway in L.A.?

If you are in Illinois and are having a heart attack at an outdoor fitness facility, look for a defibrillator. All such facilities are now required to have one.

Don’t even think about urinating or defecating in public in New Hampshire. If you decide to let go, it could cost you a $1,000 fine. Did people in New Hampshire have a problem holding it until they found a toilet? That was my initial thinking. Turns out, the law is to prevent people who pee in public from being labeled as sex offenders.

For smokers in Oklahoma, only fire-safe cigarettes are being sold. If you’re a smoker in Oregon, don’t light up in a bar. Smoking is now banned in bars. Trans-fat is also banned in Oregon. From the finest restaurants to fast food, not a speck of trans fat is to be used.

Top 10 stupidest laws you could encounter abroad