Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Cuteness, Intellectual Solace, and a Correction

We're not usually humble at the Privy Counsel, contriteness being contrary to editorial policy, but we know when it's time to admit that someone has a bloody good point. Like with this whole cute palaver, for instance. You will remember our razor-sharp jibe at Intellectual Friend in our last post, when we questioned "Intellectual Friend's use of the word 'cute' with a severity not tempered by a long and fond friendship". We still maintain that Intellectual Friend's way of expressing himself was vulgar and loathsome in the extreme, but we do acknowledge the validity of the subsequent justification, it being based on sound etymology and philosophical musings. It is also a sheer bloody joy to read. We don't know what your life has been like lately, but at Privy Counsel HQ we've been plagued by all manner of vile things like illness, neurotic outbursts, and grammar. This missive from Intellectual Friend, however, soothed our soul and enveloped us in a cloud of bliss and joyfulness. You're welcome:

Ha! Quite cool! And the etymological roots of the word paragon [we referred to Danish Friend and Intellectual Friend as "paragons of romance"] sprout from the sense 'sharp'. Which might seem like a gratuitous and worthless remark, except that I'm about to try to make a subtle, potentially intellectually amusing, point, or two; let's see if I get there... 
So, I don't know what has bitten me into using the word 'cute' in that Norwegian toilet blurb of mine, and it is probably reprehensible on most accounts and from most angles. Nevertheless, a posteriori, as a post factum kind of commentary, if not justification nor excuse ('a posteriori' probably suggests in fact not only spuriousness but also arse-talking), I was vaguely amused to discover that 'cute' is an aphetic form of 'acute' and that it was used, originally, in the sense 'sharp', too! ('Sharp, quick-witted' etc.) (And I would further surmise that cute is, via acute, actually cognate with the -agon of paragon.) Though of course apheticism is presumably reprehensible in itself, and one is not surprised to find that this particular aphetic development, along with its later semantic developments and crazy perversions, came from overseas. Though, and this may return us to less theoretico-linguistic and more down-to-earth matters, in this case to that earth-embedded Norwegian fjell-toilet, one might be also amused by one of the OED's citations for the word cute, which perhaps evidences a semantically transitional stage, and optionally one might also be intrigued by its potentially uncanny relevance to all this irrelevant rambling:
1900 Daily News 15 Nov. 6/5 A small and compact wooden house, what the Americans would call ‘cute’.

So as you see, Intellectual Friend's use of the word "cute" was entirely justified, at least in hindsight, and with a good deal of learned ramblings attached.

Our good news and general cheerfulness don't end there! We've got a highly encouraging picture of a young man, the son of good friends of ours, tending to his hygiene in a most laudable manner! This enthusiasm for handwashing is surely to be encouraged in these times of influenza and probably (it wouldn't surprise us if it were lurking) cholera, and if one is lucky enough to have access to a mixer tap, then so much the better!
In the interests of privacy we have taken the liberty of adding certain, er, accoutrements to the young man's appearance. This has the added effect of helpfully showing his parents what he will look like when he's grown up. Lo and behold!

When the little fellow is a bit older we hope he may enjoy
the moral of our exciting drama Alien vs. Predator: Blood, Gore and Mixer-Taps,
which features, in a minor role, a young person tending to their hygiene.

Wasn't that great! Let's have a festive video, to celebrate how much better everything feels now!
Blaze Foley's Big Cheeseburgers and Good French Fries:

Related Reading
Norwegian Wood
Alpine Escapism
Academic Excesses
Snyrt, Snyrt: Landnámssýningin

Friday, 14 February 2014

Norwegian Wood

So some saint or other died some time ago, and significant amounts of people take this as a cue to spend money on vulgar gifts in a bid to celebrate "romance". We don't understand the logic at all, but then, as many of our regular readers are aware, we're not hugely into romance at the Counsel, finding things like mixer-taps and cholera way more exciting. Nonetheless, other people demonstrably manage to derive romance out of things other than plumbing. Danish Friend and Intellectual Friend, for instance! Those paragons of romance sent us pictures from their honeymoon, which must surely satisfy even the most hardened romantic?

(You remember when Danish Friend and Intellectual Friend got married, right?)

Intellectual Friend writes, intelligently as ever:
Opp på fjella, high up on the top of Hognåsen mountain, in western Norway deep into the Sognefjord, as one emerges from the woods weary after long, winding wanderings and steep scramblings, one is greeted by a blissful, colourful, almost untrodden, silent, peaceful paradise... and in the middle stands an overgrown shieling or two (a.k.a. seter), and even more in the middle (though there's quite a number of middles up there), crowning the whole mountain landscape, there stands the best-ever-situated bog a.k.a. outhouse a.k.a. jenny a.k.a. outdoor/earth privy! In other words, a WOODEN TOILET ON A NORWEGIAN MOUNTAIN HALFWAY UP TO HEAVEN!

The sight of it is breath-taking, so cute and fairy-tale-y it is. Also behold how it slants and leans on the gentle, Pisa-Tower-like, or more appropriately Ymir-tooth-like, or troll-tooth-like. Its inside is also breath-taking, somewhat literally, due to the stench, of a quality indicating fairly recent use but not necessary by humans (olfactive evidence would suggest trolls, were it not for the structure's small size).

But then, when one emerges from it back again to the light and magic and wildflowery fragrance, and takes in again the view that the toilet commands in every direction on grass and sky and tree and flower and fjord and fjell, and glaciers on the rim of the world, one is so breath-taken that one just gasps and mingles with the silence, and just frantically takes pictures of it all, being glad to have borrowed Danish Friend's awesome camera, before in the end resuming one's (also wondrous and fairy-tale-y) honeymoonish activities.

Well, it certainly doesn't need all that blabber. But it was an eye-opener then. And now apparently a gob-opener.

While we question Intellectual Friend's use of the word "cute" with a severity not tempered by a long and fond friendship, we nonetheless thank Danish Friend and Intellectual Friend a thousand times for generously taking time out of their honeymoon to photograph toilets for us! And we agree that the camera is stupendous - in fact, we're inclined to think that Danish Friend should be the Privy Counsel's official photographer!

Hell, let's finish with a semi-related festive video!
Not the Nine O'Clock News,"The Swedish Chemist's Shop":

Related reading
Alpine Escapism
HTFU: Wipe for Wildlife
Orkney Outhouses
Shetland Shithouses
Hwæt! For Better Or for Worse, Whether There Is a Toilet-Roll Holder Or Not, Etc.
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, But Here's a Picture of a Lovely Soap

Also, also, also
Intellectual Friend justifies his use of the vulgar and indefensible word "cute": Cuteness, Intellectual Solace, and a Correction

Thursday, 13 February 2014

To Be Or Not to Be - A Loo So Existential It Doesn't Even Exist

Our habit of posting pictures of persons tending to their hygiene in a positive, informative way has rendered us susceptible to piques. On our insisting that the Privy-Counsel Pin-Ups are "TASTEFULLY semi-naked [men in bathrooms]", Tudor Friend replied, sardonically, "We all tell ourselves what we need to, in order to sleep at night".
Following up on this, we thought we'd post something a) philosophical, and b) scientific, just to prove our academic credibility, to those who may doubt it. Let's start with the philosophical item, to establish our rampant cultivation. German Friend, ever philosophical, ever vigilant, spotted an exciting sign in Covent Garden saying "Loo of the year". Our intrepid Teutonic friend naturally strode forth to investigate, only to discover that the loo was not.

I had a rather solo-festive (festive!) weekend here, mainly treating myself. Ahoi!

I mingled with the touristy masses in Central London. And as I needed to see a man about a dog I found a potential entry to the vault of lavatories.

"Loo of the year"!! I mean, "Loo of the year"!!!!

And then it doesn't even exist... How can I ever bring my self to urinate again when it can't be done on the "Loo of the year"!?

You tell me.

An inciting sign to get one's blood up:
"Loo of the Year"

But actually, avoid Jubilee Market if you need to see a man about a dog!

Sign says: "There are no public toilets in this market.
The nearest are next door to St Paul's Church in the Piazza."

In toilet-related news from the science world, behold, the colonoscopy-replacing camera!

Ain't it a beaut!
Image from

This nifty gadget can, when swallowed, take high-quality pictures of your insides, allowing doctors to analyse what's troubling them. "Patients will neither get shafted in the rear end nor their wallets", according to an article that a close acquaintance sent us.

For more high-quality images (not of someone's innards), see tomorrow's exuberantly romantic post!

Finally, let's have a festive video!

Festive video: Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper, (619) 239-KING. "Call me, Elvis!"

Related Reading
The Existentialist Toilet Is, Perhaps, Here
Privy Counsel Pin-Up - Now with 50 % Less Creepiness
Dread, Rage, and Out-of-Order Urinals
The Spirit of Christmas: Urinals, Mixer-Taps, Relief
Privy Counsel Pin-Up: James Purefoy

Monday, 10 February 2014

On the Importance of Hygiene. And Elvis.

There's not been enough levity recently. It's been all seriousness, incontinence, crinolines, and a woeful lack of female urinals. There's other deplorable stuff going on outside Privy Counsel HQ as well, like literary theory, and sports. Frankly, the world is a sorry mess. What we all need more of more of in grim times like these is Elvis. More Elvis everywhere. Time for a Privy Counsel Pin-Up!

From what we've heard, Elvis was very into hygiene.
image from

Elvis displaying a laudable interest in cleanliness.
Image from

If you like the idea of a film featuring Elvis tending to his hygiene,
Live a little, love a little is apparently a good one.
Image from

Another good hygiene propaganda film is G.I. Blues.
Image from

We have vowed not to rest until we have one of these installed
at the Privy Counsel headquarters.
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We have no idea what is going on here, and are frankly a bit alarmed.
But the duck seems friendly, and Elvis looks clean.
Image from

Let's have a festive video!

Festive video: Mojo Nixon, Elvis is Everywhere

Related Reading
Handwashing with Elvis
Toilet Song: Dirty, Dirty Feeling
A Completely Bathroom-Related Post
Privy Counsel Pin-Up: Elvis (The Day After the Night Before Pick-Me-Up)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

(Don't) Aim for the Stars

As our regular readers are well aware, we receive a fair amount of correspondence here at the Counsel. In light of our recent musings on incontinence (see for instance Shewees Are a Girl's Best Friend, and In Which We Indulge in a Feminist Rant and, of Course, Incontinence), we thought we'd highlight an issue raised by Shewee Fiend Friend, who writes:
My roommate who pisses on the floor is pissing considerably less on the floor since I spoke to him. However, he has started regularly having this friend over who does not seem to even aim for the toilet. He creates small pools.
The "flatmate who pisses on the floor" is, of course, a common theme in urban lore. One wonders what these boys' mothers were up to during their formative years. Presumably they were too busy, to quote Caitlin Moran, "giving birth on the kitchen floor – biting down on a wooden spoon, so as not to disturb the men’s card game – before going back to quick-liming the dunny" to teach their sons to aim straight.
We thought long and hard about how to help Shewee Fiend Friend, who is one of the best ("brilliant, but unsound", to quote the Rev. Aubrey Upjohn) and shouldn't have to put up with his kind of bullshit but, short of rigging the wiring so as to electrocute anyone careless enough to create a puddle, we couldn't think of anything more constructive than the passive-aggressive note. The passive-aggressive note being, as all educated people know, a reliable staple in every dysfunctional household.

Here are some helpful passive-aggressive signs to aid the navigationally challenged:
Ever a concern at the Privy Counsel!
Image from

The man who inspired this note
would perhaps benefit from using a shewee?
Image from

While urine is not only (usually) sterile but also a damn useful substance
one nonetheless sympathises with the woman who taped this passive-aggressive note to a bottle of bleach.
Image from

What more mothers should be doing.
Image from

Can we get one of these displayed in every office on the planet?
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This is our personal favourite.
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Here is an old warhorse, which we have displayed before.
Image from

If you have advice for Shewee Fiend Friend, on how to train her flatmate and his friend to refrain from pissing on the floor, do please leave a comment, or email us at!

Related Reading
Shewees Are a Girl's Best Friend
Semi-Intellectual Friend offers a startling and weird solution to the problem of male incontinence: An Annoyingly Long, But Brilliantly Clever, Post, Including Beer, Shewees, and Some Other Stuff
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