Pee, Poo & You

Fear for humanity

There are a lot of things that interest you. Zookeepers who lick monkey butts make you smile. Holiday Air Sex just brightens your day. Even the most basic reference to mammaries will get me a ton of happy emails. In other words, I could just stick to what I know and no one would complain. But, you know me, I’m a rebel. So, while it is true that I once ventured into the realm of singing toilets, I have never gone as far as I am going to go today when it comes to bodily functions you shouldn’t share with random strangers. And make no mistake, nothing is going to get much more random or strange than today’s offering.

Since people refer to the topics of today’s blog as #1 and #2, we will take them in that order.

Das Bild, which is German for “The Picture,” is reporting that people pee is killing fish at an alarming rate.

Peeing while swimming in a lake may not just be taboo – it could also be lethal, for the fish.

At least that’s what a group of anglers contend, blaming swimmers for the 500 dead fish that have turned up in a picturesque German lake near Hamburg, The Local reported.

“Swimmers who urinate in the lake are introducing a lot of phosphate,” Manfred Siedler, a spokesman for an angler’s group, told Bild newspaper. “We’re calculating half a liter of urine per swimmer per day.”

Skeptics questioned whether the outcry was an attempt by fishermen to oust bathers – with whom they have long feuded, according to The Local – but are saying this could be possible.

The answer, apparently, is yes.

The urine itself doesn’t harm the fish but sets off a series of environmental events that ultimately suffocate the fish.

First, the urine acts as a fertilizer for the blue-green algae in the water. Once they have consumed all the fertilizer, the algae continue sucking up available oxygen in the water, explained. When the algae die and start to decompose, they further use up oxygen. That’s when fish start to die.

Bild reported that authorities have poured more than half a million dollars of an anti-phosphate agent called Bentophos into the lake, to no avail.

(Bentophos has been tested in artificial lakes that were shut down due to massive bacterial blooms.)

For now, the lake is closed to swimmers because of the high levels of algae (which can cause swimmer’s itch), but the city’s environmental authority is fighting the closure, The Local reported.

Kerstin Graupner, a spokeswoman for the environmental authority, told The Local that she blamed natural causes and ice-skaters.

“The ice-skaters make a noise that wakes the fish out of hibernation,” Graupner said. “Then they can’t breathe and freeze. That’s a very common phenomenon.”

Graupner’s agency called on a university in Hamburg to test the anglers’ theory. According to The Local, it appears the anglers may have a point – the scientists found anabaena algae blooms, which produce a toxin that ultimately restricts fish breathing.

The German lake isn’t the only place where officials worry about swimmers; signs at the Great Barrier Reef ask swimmers not to urinate in the water. Doing so apparently kills the corals, which grow in low nutrient waters.

So the lake is poisoning the swimmers with rashes and the swimmers are poisoning the lake with pee. Remind me not to swim in German lakes for a while.

But that’s just a microcosm of the natural disasters that will eventurally destroy all life. In other words, we have more important things to worry about; like art made from poo.

There is a Disney connection, so hide your kids.

Smelling excrement may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but for those who like to push the boundaries, Australia’s most controversial new museum may be just what they are looking for.

Dubbed “the subversive adult Disneyland“, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is located in Tasmania and features around 400 works of art from Egyptian mummies to Young British Artists including Chris Ofili and Jenny Saville.

But the most talked-about piece is the Cloaca Professional, labeled the “poo-machine.” It was built by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye to mimic the actions of the human digestive system.

A series of glass receptacles hang in a row with the machine being “fed” twice a day on one end. The food is ground up “naturally,” the way it is in the human body, and the device produces feces on the clock at 2 p.m. at the other end.

The smell is so powerful that not many visitors can take it.

“It put me off because of the overwhelming assault on the senses,” said Diane Malnic, a Sydney-based accountant.

‘Vomit room’
Yet this was her second visit in five months, following a family holiday in Tasmania earlier in the year. This time, she flew without her husband and children just to have another look at the collection, interested in Delvoye’s other pieces.

She took great care to avoid the “smelly” parts and still talked vividly about the “vomit room” which was part of an earlier exhibit no longer on display.

“I wouldn’t go back to see them,” she said, laughing.

The Cloaca is part of a series of at least five similar machines built by the artist, another of which will soon be exhibited at the Louvre. It is the most hated piece in the museum but also the most visited.

The museum, which opened in January 2011, is owned by eccentric and philanthropist David Walsh, who made his fortune as a professional gambler, and features one of the largest private art collections in the world with an estimated value of around $100 million.

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Australia, features around 400 works of art from Egyptian mummies to Young British Artists including Chris Ofili and Jenny Saville.

Its motto is to shock, offend, inform and entertain.

“It definitely challenges your interpretation of what art is,” said Malnic.

Elephant dung
Pieces include Chris Ofili’s Holy Virgin Mary, which features elephant dung and porn-magazine cutouts of genitals. It caused controversy in 1996, with then-New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani reportedly describing Ofili’s work as “sick”.

Another much-talked-about piece is the Matrix by Jenny Saville, a full-frontal large painting of a naked transgender man with his modified genitals exposed.

“It’s confronting,” said Margarita Silva, a Melbourne-based dentist making during her third trip to the MONA.

Detractors argue that some of the pieces don’t belong to a museum, which is also what Malnic initially thought. But upon reflection, she said the Cloaca machine opened her mind and argued that perhaps it was the future of art.

For Silva, her favorites were a soundproof room of 30 Madonna fans who were individually filmed singing a capella the artist’s Immaculate Collection album. The other was a waterfall with droplets spelling out a series of words.

Keeping with the MONA’s sensibility, none of its art work is grouped or chronological, leaving viewers to walk at random.

“Overall, it’s a fantastic experience,” said Silva.

The museum charges a $20 for entry and has drawn around 389,000 visitors in its first year.

Just FYI, “the subversive adult Disneyland” has not received a single complaint from Disney which makes me worry very much about what the Avengers sequel will entail. That whole “We have a Hulk” scene could go in a very dark and disturbing direction.

Then again, there have been massive technological advances since the original Smell-O-Vision. Maybe it would work.

No, you’re right, I’m insane.

Here’s a video about swimming by a guy named Poo.

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.

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