Friday, May 7, 2010

Quick Takes - Bathroom science




Bathroom science is a constant obsession of mine. I've spent hours of my life formulating toilet theories, from which is the best urinal to pee in (the shortest one) to which is the cleanest stall in a public restroom (the first one). It engulfs my life.

And yes, I made that sign and took that picture.

My friend Hickey, a computer programmer, is a brilliant man and fellow bathroom theorist. We've had countless debates about our respective hypotheses, I usually win them all like Abe Lincoln (Greg Oden?), obviously, but one came to the surface the other day that couldn't be solved without a Mythbusters-esque study. Remember, this is theoretical, I expect to receive uncomfortably-long handshakes from all of you going forward.

Is it cleaner to NOT wash your hands after going to the bathroom?

If you go to the bathroom and wash your hands, you're touching, uh, "yourself," then the faucet, which has been touched by countless people before you with varying degrees of hygenity (new word?), then you grab paper towels, which have been exposed to germs for hours and hours, and then, finally, grab a dirty door handle to finish off your disgusting display of pestilence. Running a bit of water on your hands, which may or may not itself contain germs (that's heavy, man), seems a bit pointless, right?

On the flip side, if you don't wash your hands afterward, you are only touching yourself and the dirty door handle. Assuming you shower regularly, your body will be clean, have a film of soap particles still covering the surface, and won't be exposed for hours to external germs. If you strategically grab the door handle in the least-likely used spot (something both Hickey and I found out we do independently, which sorta negates the cleanliness of doing it), you're also minimizing your exposure to new germs.

Or you just stand by the door and wait for someone else to open it ... FYI, that can be creepy.

The variable here is incubation. According to Hickey, germs are more likely to reproduce at a faster rate in a warm, controlled environment, as opposed to the cold, metallic surface of a faucet handle. So does the answer fall within a specific time range throughout the day? Is it cleaner to NOT wash your hands during the first few hours of the day, but due to reproduction rates, is it then cleaner TO wash your hands during the latter hours of the day?

And if you're NFL legend Lawrence Taylor, is it cleaner to wash your hands at a Holiday Inn or at a Motel 6?

Too soon?
  • When Mariners centerfielder Franklin Gutierrez hit a homerun against the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays two nights ago, he boosted the Mariners season homerun total by 11 PERCENT. 11 percent! One homerun! I decided then and there to investigate Seattle's offensive statistics so far this season. I spent two hours mining through the data (while my wife rode her bike in the living room and watched "Real Housewhores of Somewhere"), comparing them against the rest of the American League ... last in batting average, last in homeruns, last in OPS, last last last. After discovering that the Mariners were, in fact, pathetic, I brought out the big guns ... the 1962 New York Mets, owners of an astounding 120 loss season and one of the worst baseball teams in the history of the game. I calculated out a forecasted season for the M's to compare with the 161 games the Mets played in '62, and the Mariners are on pace to have fewer homeruns, fewer walks, more strikeouts, a lower batting average, lower on-base percentage, lower OPS, etc. etc. etc. against quite possibly the crappiest team in the history of the sport. People keep saying, "The season's long, don't panic." But to quote Sheriff Woody, "This is a perfect time to panic."
  • Dallas Braden, the Oakland Athletics pitcher who got pissy when Alex Rodriguez crossed the mound or something a few weeks ago, is now saying that a fight with A-Rod may be coming and that they're going to have to "settle [things] with knuckles." Dude, Dallas, as much as I'd love to see you hick-out and sock A-Rod in the face, the last thing anyone wants to see is Madonna sprint out from the stands like an insect-Steve Consalvi and devour you whole. She's gross in her human form, so please, just cool it.
  • LeBrelbow. That's all the coverage it deserves.
  • Actually, here's something I don't get about LeBrelbow ... he's gifted an NBA Defensive First-Team spot because Stern & Co. want to shove him into the Jordan hole, but when Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard tries to play defense in the playoffs, the refs whistle him almost automatically for fouls, while LeBrelbow can basically hack and slash at anyone without a whisper. If you're saying Dwight Howard is the best defensive player in the league, why did he average 5.5 fouls per game in the first round of the playoffs? And, in turn, why is LeBrelbow allowed to do whatever he wants without the same scrutiny? Not only is he undeserving of a Defensive First-Team spot, but he doesn't deserve the free pass the league and the refs are giving him either. Why do I feel like Tim Donaghy's going to have an easy time repaying his legal fees?
  • I'm starting to wonder if my Chicago Blackhawks playoff beard is getting out of control. My wife's parents got me a vacuum beard trimmer for my birthday ...
  • When Ben Roethlisberger went on his sexual shopping spree, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell laid down the law and drew a thick line in the sand for the rest of the league, suspending Big Ben for six weeks and publically ordering him to get counseling before even considering reinstatement. He handled the situation with poise and authority and, I think, earned the respect of a lot of men and women around the country. When Celtics GM Danny Ainge threw a towel in the air during the Celtics game two win against the Cavaliers, trying to throw off young Cavs forward J.J. Hickson at the free throw line, the NBA fined him $25,000! It was the opposite of poise and authority, it was petty and offensive. David Stern always spouts bullshit about the passion of the owners and the great fans in his league, but when someone actually shows some emotion, supports his team like a real fan, you fine him $25,000 for conduct detrimental to the league? I fine you $25,000 for conduct detrimental to the fans.
  • Iyf YOO can REEd this SINtince, YOO are prePAIRed for AyverEE JOHNson to BEE your COAch. YOO gotta REE-bownd the BASKET-bawl.
  • JaMarcus Russell was officially released by the Oakland Raiders, paving the way for the Japanese Football League to form (around his body like a moon).
  • Has there ever been an athlete who talked in third-person that was likeable?
  • For those of you who don't know, I lived with a French exchange student, Julien, for six months in college. It was one of the best experiences of my life, learning about French culture and, well, getting Julien drunk in American bars and teaching him about the NFL. But Julien and I are brothers, we may have battled over Arsenal vs. Man U (he's been on the winning side far too often over the last five years, ugh), but we bonded over Olympique Marseille. Julien showed me the ways of the Marseillais, teaching me chants and, more importantly, the passion of the fans. I remember coming home from class one day, finding Julien in his OM jersey and scarf (he didn't worry too much about going to class while in the United States, "I'm here to experience America! Not to sit in class all day!" ... awesome), drunk as a skunk, scribbling death notes to Paris Saint Germain, OM's biggest rival in France. I asked him what was wrong, and Julien, fighting off tears, told me that PSG had beaten Marseille to win the French title. He was devastated. I wanted to tell him it was going to be okay, that Marseille would come back, but, shoot, outside of Arsenal, I've never had a team that won a championship. I barely remember what it feels like to win a championship and I had to experience it over the Internet from 3,963 miles away. So how was I supposed to know if it would be okay? Five years have passed since then. But this week, Marseille won the Ligue 1 title with a 3-1 win over Rennes. I'll leave you with his letter, "CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 18 years after our last championship title!!!!! I've just come back from the stadium; that was craaaaaaaaaaaaaazy!!!!! I can't believe it; WE'RE THE CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!"
Ducks rule.

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