Newtown Creek: Past, Present and Future

Dearest Poopers, The next panel conversation is almost upon us!  In fact, it's TODAY at 6:30pm!

 

 

A century ago, Newtown Creek had more cargo careening down the banks of Greenpoint and Long Island City than did the Mississippi. Now her docks are used to park cars, and her bottom--soiled by a century's worth of industrial pollution and oil spillage--has earned this toxic creek federal Superfund status. Learn more about the rehabilitation process now under way, and the economic/environmental advantages of once again utilizing our waterways instead of our highways.

Featuring Mitch Waxman (Newtown Pentacle) and Kate Zidar (SWIM Coalition, Newtown Creek Alliance).

NOTE: Due to the birth of a wee miracle, Mike Heimbinder (HabitatMap) will not be able to join us.  Alas, nor and Paul Parkhill (Place in History). I know, I know...excuses!

Looking forward to seeing you there and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

A Day for Pee-On-Earth

Dearest Poopers, While we normally extol the virtues of that brown stuff from behind, today we're turning around to wish you a very happy Pee-On-Earth Day!

But, please, hold it for just one more minute, and mark your calendars for Newtown Creek: Past, Present, and Future, a panel conversation happening this Thursday, June 23, from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, and moderated by The Puru.  Join experts Michael Heimbinder (HabitatMap), Kate Zidar (SWIM Coalition, Newtown Creek Alliance) and Paul Parkhill (Place in History) for an enlightening and engaging conversation about one of New York's most polluted water bodies--and what we can do about it.

And now...

It's always been good to be Number 1, but did you know that the yellow stuff flowing out of your urethra is actually liquid GOLD?  That's right!  Your very own urine is brimming with the nitrogen and phosphorous that plants crave to make them green and healthy. And today is the day to start spreading the love. (Unless you started last year like The Puru...)

Carol Steinfeld, wastewater expert and founder of the holiday, tells you how to do it:

PEECYCLE either directly or by depositing your contribution in a container you take outside and apply to: - Soil, wood chips or the forest floor (not pavement) - Your composter or compost pile (makes brown leaves and woodchips compost faster)

Or dilute it with 9 parts water to 1 part urine, and pour around plants! (Dilute or distribute widely: Lots of urine deposited in one spot on your lawn can result in nitrogen burn!)

She's even created this delightful decal to help you remember:

Now go out there and spread the love!!

Wishing you purposeful peeing and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Waste Not, Want Not: Recycling Rules in NYC

Dear Poopers, Thank you to all who came out yesterday to the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek for the panel on Art and Sustainability. Through the natural, meditative works of George Trakas to Mary Mattingly's futuristic, floating Waterpod, I hope we scratched the surface of how art can promote sustainability in personal, communal and planetary planes. Stay tuned for the next panel, "Newtown Creek: Past, Present and Future" coming up June 23 (more info here).

At that very same Visitor's Center this past Thurs, May 19, I was found sifting through the garbage with a bunch of my Brooklyn neighbors. No, we weren't dumpster diving again (excuse me, "urban foraging"), but taking part in a recycling workshop run by David Hurd and Jae Watkins from the NYC Office of Recycling Outreach and Education (OROE).

The OROE is one arm of GrowNYC, which is not exactly a government program, but a non-profit which, in their words, "improves New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations." After a little context from the quick Mr. Hurd (in regards to both wit and pace--just try to keep up with his jam-packed 5 minute intro to the economics of recycling in NYC), we were treated to a showing of the Emmy-winning NYC TV production The Green Apple: Recycling (click the title to watch). Our group scored highly in the "Choose Which Bin" game Ms. Watkins facilitated afterward, and we challenged Mr. Hurd's encyclopedic knowledge with a barrage of questions. And then we ate snacks.

Here are some of the highlights of what I learned, followed by a few tips on how to be a stellar NYC recycler.

  • From 1947 to 2001, solid waste from all five boroughs was shipped to Fresh Kills on Staten Island, at one time the world's largest landfill. Since Fresh Kills is now getting made over into a sprawling park (with a composting toilet!), the 25,000 tons of trash that New Yorkers and their businesses create each day is trucked away at a total cost of around $300,000,000 each year. Generally speaking, Manhattan's waste is incinerated in New Jersey at a Waste to Energy facility (WTE), while most trash from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx will wind up in nearly full or at-capacity landfills in Pennsylvania, Ohio or Virginia. (For a complete breakdown, download this Concerned Citizens report. Also check out this great NYC recycling overview from Baruch college.) Paper recycling, on the other hand, happens at Pratt Industries paper mill on Staten Island and makes the city a profit of around $35,000,000/year. In similar economic terms, the cost of carting metal, glass and plastic to a landfill is over $100/ton, while transporting the same ton to a recycling facility costs only $58.

  • In 2004-05, NYC conducted a thorough study of the waste found in both residential and street bins. They learned that 35% of the waste NYC residents produce can be recycled at the curb as pictured on the above pie chart. Of that 35% potentially-recyclable material, only half of it actually makes it to an appropriate bin, leading to a 17% "capture rate." In other words, New York City creates a resource from 17% of its waste.
  • 13% of NYC waste is composed of "other plastics," some of which are indeed recyclable but not collected by the city. (It is possible that the range of plastics NYC can recycle will increase in Fall 20012, when a "materials recovery facility" in south Brooklyn is expected to be completed.) Another 28% is organic matter that could be composted. As it is, all that rotting fruit makes landfills feel gassy, releasing harmful methane and CO2 into the atmosphere if not captured.

So what can we do, humble and concerned citizens, to see that more of our trash doesn't just go to waste?

  1. REDUCE! Let's face it. Much of the stuff we buy is, well, just stuff. The best way to prevent our lives from becoming cluttered is not to accumulate stuff in the first place. Consider also how you might reduce your intake of materials; you could buy a fruit with its own packaging (like an orange or banana) instead of something in plastic, carry a reusable coffee mug or water bottle and, for goodness sake, bring your own bag.
  2. REUSE! The city has a number of programs to help businesses and individuals pass on materials--from furniture to fabric--that they no longer need, preventing landfill waste, raw material manufacturing, and reducing cost. For small-scale, interpersonal trading, consider holding a swap meet or posting on Craigslist or Freecycle. Get creative! Here are 6 ways to reuse that plastic bottle, from crafty coin purses to designer lamps!
  3. RECYCLE! Let's face it: one only needs so many plastic bottle lamps. So the rest go in the recycling bin. But which bin? Inside a bag, too? And should that bag be blue or clear? You already know that recycling rules, now let's learn some regulations (see a complete list from the city here).
  • The machines at the recycling facility can automatically screen out items that are not recyclable, but it takes time and energy. By carefully sorting at home, you make the whole process more efficient and ensure that resources are spent on recycling, not clearing out the waste traps.
  • If you have clearly labeled bins, you don't need the bags! Trash goes in the trash bin, papers in the green-labeled bin, and metal/glass/plastic in the blue-labeled bin. (Call 311 to order your own decals, or click here.) If you must bag, don't be fooled by those blue "recycling bags" in the store--NYC mandates recycling goes in clear bags.
  • Paper means basically what you think it does: magazines, mail, newspaper, cereal boxes, etc. Corrugated cardboard needs to be cut in to small pieces or else flattened and bundled with twine. You don't have to remove every staple or all the plastic windows from your envelopes, but don't recycle anything with lots of tape or glue on it. Paper stained with food (i.e. napkins, paper plates) are also not recyclable.
  • Metals/glass/plastic is a bit more complicated. All household metals are acceptable, and all glass jars or bottles (no mirrors, light bulbs, dishes, etc.), but the plastics are a bit trickier. While most plastic nowadays is recyclable, NYC only recycles numbers 1 and 2, and then only when the neck is smaller than the base as with bottles and jugs. That means all those take-out trays, Starbucks cups, plastic bags and yogurt containers should go in the trash even if they are labeled with a 1 or 2 (something about the melting temperature...). The plastic cap is also not recyclable, so throw that away before recycling the bottle (metal beer caps are ok). Additionally, used cartons and Tetra Paks (from milk, juice, soup, etc.) also go in the blue bin. THUS, you might think of the blue as your "Metal/glass/bottle/jug/carton" bin. Now isn't that easy to remember?
  • When thinking about which bin to use, consider the item holistically. If 51% or more of the product is a recyclable material, then it's recyclable. That Pringles can, for example, has both paper and metal. You could separate the bottom from the cardboard tube and recycle each separately, or just recycle in the green bin since more than 51% of the can is paper.
  • NYC is working on expanding the range of what's recyclable at the curb. In the meantime, any store larger than 10,000 sq/ft or a chain with 5+ stores is legally required to offer plastic bag recycling. CFL lights are recyclable at places like Home Depot and Ikea, while batteries, cell phones and other electronic waste can be taken to your local electronics store (more details here). Or check out this reader-recommended exchange program from Verizon that turns your electronic recyclables into gift cards.

Lastly, remember that 28% organic, gassy waste decomposing in the landfills? Give those veggie scraps, old flower arrangements and grass clippings a rebirth instead of a burial, and compost them into new soil! You can compost at home in a pre-made backyard bin or one you build with friends, an apartment-sized worm bin, or keep your scraps in the freezer (to prevent smell) and drop them off at an actively composting community garden or local collection. (GrowNYC lists a number of drop-off sites in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn--some of which are only offered through June 25 as a pilot program, and I'm sure could use your support.) NYC will even take your fall leaves and Christmas trees to nourish plants throughout the city. For more information or to become a trained compost captain, check out the Lower East Side Ecology Center or the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

While we are not responsible for all of New York City's waste, we can take responsibility for our own. So spread the word!  Recycling rules.

Peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Cruising At the Creek

Dearest Poopers, While we're waiting for Bob's ship to come in, can I interest you in doing something forbidden this weekend? Something casual and exciting? Maybe with someone you've never met before?

Well, dear friend, you've got to go cruising down Newtown Creek.

***Newtown Creek Cruise***

When: Saturday, May 21st, Departs 10:00am sharp, Returns 1:00pm Where: Pier 17 South Street Seaport  [directions] Price: $60, to purchase tickets visit the Working Harbor Committee website.

Join us for a special water tour of Newtown Creek with expert narration from historical and environmental guest speakers. There are limited tickets available on the MV American Princess for a very rare tour of Newtown Creek. Guest narrators will cover points of industrial and historical interest as well as environmental and conservation issues during your three-hour exploration. New York’s forgotten history will be revealed - as well as bright plans for the Creek's future.  MV American Princess is a large comfortable vessel with indoor and outdoor seating. Complimentary soft drinks and a tour brochure are included.  Cruise runs rain or shine.  Queries? Contact Tour Chairman Mitch Waxman: waxmanstudio@gmail.com

Hosted by Hidden Harbor Tours ® in association with the Newtown Creek Alliance.

 

But there's MORE!

The POOP Project is proud to announce the second in DEP's Summer Speaker Series on June 1, 2011: Art and Sustainability.  With presenting artists George Trakas and Mary Mattingly, and a panel discussion moderated by yours truly.

SWEET BUDDHA!  There's still more!!

New York City enjoys public curbside programs that sweep our bottles, cans and cardboards swiftly away to be recycled. But due to lack of access to recycling facilities, not every piece of plastic or paper is actually recyclable in NYC, and a host of other cities. Google your municipality or call the local environmental department to learn more, and if you're in New York, check out this event tomorrow night (recycling information also at the NYCWasteLess website).

 

Well, I'm exhausted.  How about you?

Looking forward to seeing you cruising 'round Newtown Creek sometime soon. Just be careful who you wink at and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

 

What About Bob?

Darling poopers, It is with great sadness that I announce Bob's delay (Bob is a communal, composting toilet soon to be in the midst of Manhattan). I received this from Bob late yesterday:

Yes, rush over to the pavilion on the Columbia University campus to see what's happening, but know that Bob has not yet arrived.  Know, also, that I will alert you as soon as Bob does.

In the meantime, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Bob is Coming...

Happy Friday everyone! First off, a big thank you to our friends over at Superhero Clubhouse, and congratulations on last night's work-in-progress reading of URANUS (a play about waste).  Be sure to check out the full production this June 10-12 at the Figment Festival on Governor's Island.

But what are you going to do until then?  Why not spend some time with Bob?

So, wait...what?

It turns out, Bob is part of an end-of-year project by students of Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and School of the Arts (SoA). Starting tomorrow, May 14, the pubic is welcome to check out a whole pavilion's worth of interesting projects.  But the real star, I'm sure, will be Bob.

Bob's press release states:

The pavilion will be open from May 14th until July 25th, and features a centralized public restroom with a composting toilet, a projection wall, twelve student-designed double seats and a bar flanked by an inflatable canopy. The inclusion of a composting restroom facility is integral to the concept of the installation, and emerged from the studio mantra concept that “a society that does not provide public restrooms does not deserve public art.” The single-occupancy bathroom intentionally forces a correlation between public space and a societal responsibility to provide and ensure basic necessities. The canopy will serve as temporary rain cover and shading throughout the summer months. The projection wall, a shared wall between the bathroom and open public space, will regularly feature evening film series.

There's an opening party tomorrow from 5-7pm, and you know the Puru will be in attendance.  I hope you'll join me!

Wishing you peaceful (and possibly public) pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Uranus in Process

Thank you so much to all those who came out for the warner|shaw benefit Sunday night, Mother, May I? on Sunday!  And if you missed it all, don't fret.  No, seriously don't.  You can bring your mother to warner|shaw's production of Six Seeds: The Persephone Project this June at The Tank AND you can catch up with The POOP Project on the ol' internet!  (Check out my lecture from last Tuesday's Adult Education below!) http://vimeo.com/23520610

Sunday's benefit capped off a busy week for The POOP Project, and even Purus get pooped of poo.  But you know when sometimes you go, then you do up your belt, clean yourself off (hopefully, not in that order), and head back to the ol' computeroonie only to hear nature calling once more from South of the Border?  This might be one of those times.

Ring, Ring.

The POOP Project is proud to take part this coming Thursday in a work-in-progress showing of Superhero Clubhouse's:

URANUS (a play about waste)
May 12th, 8pm*
@ SITI studio, 520 8th Ave., Suite 310
*Reservations required.  Please RSVP to Maria, maria@superheroclubhouse.org or (212) 545-4111 or.  This is a private event, and seating is very limited. Light refreshments provided.

This event will feature the first half of the play fully staged, a design presentation, a waste-related ecology chat with Dan Tainow of the Lower East Side Ecology Center and Shawn Shafner of the POOP Project, along with a research-filled lobby display including a waste-themed information and a video from the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts.

URANUS (a play about waste) written/directed by Jeremy Pickard performed by Jon Erdman, Maria Portman Kelly, Matt Luceno, Katey Parker, Thom Pasculli, Teale Sperling, & Anne Zager designed by Sarah Bertolozzi, Jason Bucklin, Owen Walz, Solomon Weisbard, Emily Caufield stage managed by Mark Hoffner produced by the SHC Special Task Force: Brian Belcinski, Tommy Dickie, Ava Eisenson, Jon Erdman, Danny Gardner, Sarah Hughes, Corey Johnson, Maria Portman Kelly, Jeremy Pickard, and Teale Sperling

About URANUS:

William Herschel is furiously building (and destroying) telescopes so that he might get closer to his beloved new discovery. Two young backpackers are mysteriously transported to a planet made entirely of Earth's garbage.  A derelict called Gaea searches among piles of her treasured trash for a waste rock that has the power to restart the world. Told with physical poetry and moronic humor, URANUS is a hodgepodge of history, myth and make-believe.
URANUS is the first in our series of ecology-inspired Planet Plays.  It had a first-draft production in 2008 with Upright Egg Theater Company (MN) and was a semi-finalist for the 2009 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference.  Other plays in the series include NEPTUNE (a play about water), MERCURY (a play about poison), VENUS (a play about energy), SATURN (a play about food), MARS (a play about mining), JUPITER (a play about power) and PLUTO (a half-play about half-life). Read more about the Planet Plays at www.superheroclubhouse.org/plays.html

About Superhero Clubhouse:

Superhero Clubhouse is a society of theater artists engaged in making original plays and events about the natural world via a green and collaborative process. Our experiments involve cultivating an intrinsic relationship between the ideals of ecology and the processes and content of theater. Through our work, we hope to form lasting collaborations with scientists, activists and artists from diverse mediums in order to further develop and define the future of a green and unique theatrical event.

You might have seen us on Earth Day weekend performing kid-written eco-plays at The Bushwick Starr in their inaugural Big Green Theater Festival, or witnessed our renegade disaster-inspired "flash performances" at the 2010 Lenfest Center Open House.

Because Mother's Know Poop

First off, thank you to all those who made it out to see The POOP Project in action at Adult Education this past Tuesday, and the Water for Cities panel on Wed!  The lectures were hilarious, the panel speakers were incredibly insightful, and the the beer was both delicious, and made it clear how important a good bathroom can be.  Clips of both events will be up soon (along with info about a special sneak preview of URANUS), but for now, just a quick reminder for Sunday's show--now featuring even more fabulous performers!--and a special DISCOUNT CODE for friends of The POOP Project!

MOTHER, MAY I?

The Delancey, downstairs 168 Delancey St (btw Clinton and Attorney) Sunday, May 8th | 6pm doors, 7pm show Monologues, Music, and 2 for 1 Drinks! CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS and use the code ILUVMOM to get in for just a dozen clams!

Forget brunch this Mother’s Day. Take your mama, your baby mama or just your totally grown up, independent self to celebrate (or commiserate) with stories, songs and two for one drinks at The Delancey on Sunday, May 8. Whether your mother was a goddess of love and support or a smothering bitch, your inner child will laugh, cry and try not to poop y...our pants at MOTHER, MAY I?, a night of performances by writers, actors and singers in honor of mothers. There’s a woman somewhere who you owe your life to, and we want to thank her. Join us for stories, lullabies and comedy. We won’t judge your outfit or your date.

Hosted by warner | shaw co-founders Franny Silverman and Annie Levy.

Featuring drink specials and hysterical and heart-warming performances by: Gabrielle Stravelli (Bistro Award Winner)Glenn Marla (reigning Mr. Coney Island and Miss LES 2006) | Sarah Graalman (Mamma Rice N’ Friends) | Shelly Oria (McSweeney’s, 2008 Indiana Review Fiction Prize) | Zhenesse Heinemann (Into the Neon) | Tara Hyman (Mamma Rice N’ Friends) | Elana Bell (2011 Walt Whitman Award) | David Wolkin (Inner Monologues, Speakeasy Stories) | Christine Siracusa (Brave New World Rep) | Galeet Dardashti (Six Points Fellow ’07-’09, Le Poisson Rouge) | Shawn Shafner (Joe’s Pub, POOP Project) | Naomi Less (Jewish Chicks Rock) | Lisa Lewis (1000 nights at The Creek)| Anni Bruno | Mara Leventhal | Brian Gelfand and other special guests…

Looking forward to seeing you there and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Poop all over the place

The People's Own Organic Power Project is more than pleased to announce no less than three--that's right THREE!--opportunities to see The Puru in action the first week in May. SUMMARY:

1. Tues, May 3, 8pm, Adult Education presents: "Social Anxiety" at Union Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  I'll be presenting on "The Agony and the Excrement."

2. Wed, May 4, 6:30pm, "Water for Cities: The Urban Challenge." The first in a summer series of environmental panels with the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, and moderated by yours poo-ly.

3. Sun, May 8, 7pm, "Mother May I?" An evening of performances at The Delancey honoring mothers everywhere, and benefiting SIX SEEDS: The Persephone Project, a theater piece by warner|shaw opening in June at The Tank.

FULL DETAILS:

1.

ADULT EDUCATION PRESENTS: "SOCIAL ANXIETY" Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 8 pm (doors at 7:30) Union Hall in Park Slope 702 Union St. @ 5th Ave $5 cover (buy tickets online here)

BEN DOLNICK: "First Base and Beyond" Dolnick will teach you how to have a girlfriend in middle school and how to write about it when you grow up.

CAISSIE ST.ONGE: "This is Your Parents on Drugs" St.Onge discusses survival tactics for the moment you're old enough to realize that dad's not going out for milk.

SHAWN SHAFNER: "The Agony and the Excrement" In the 1500s, someone actually had to write a book on manners including instructions not to, "foul the staircases, corridors, or closets with urine or other filth." Shafner will explain what happened to the good old days, and how the potty has trained us.

JILL STODDARD: "The Body: Tales of a Traitor" No matter how hard we try to make our bodies into ornaments of how sophisticated and cultured we are, they still will confound us with their own rogue agenda. Stoddard discusses the lengths we go to hide our body's expressions, and the ways we still fail at it.

With YOUR host, Charles Star

2.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection presents the first event in our Summer Speaker Series:

Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge (The United Nations World Water Day Theme)

Wednesday, May 4th 2011 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Visitor Center at Newtown Creek 329 Greenpoint Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11222

Talks followed by a panel discussion moderated by Shawn Shafner of The People’s Own Organic Power Project (www.thePOOPproject.org)

Featuring:

Frederik Pischke Interagency Water Advisor UN-Water

Vyjayanthi Rao Assistant Professor of Anthropology New School for Social Research, New York

Jennifer Farmwald Project Manager Water Supply Infrastructure & Watershed Assessment NYC Environmental Protection

Directions to the Newtown Creek Visitors Center: Subway: G train to Greenpoint Avenue Station (Walk east on Greenpoint Avenue, cross McGuinnes Boulevard and Provost Street. Walk to traffic light. Entrance will be on left.) Bus: B24 Car: • Take the Long Island Exp. I-495 W toward MIDTOWN TUNNEL (RT-25 W) • Take exit #15/VAN DAM ST onto QUEENS MIDTOWN EXPY • Continue straight on BORDEN AVE • Make a U-Turn at 31ST PL onto BORDEN AVE • Turn Right on VAN DAM ST • Bear Right on GREENPOINT AVE • Go over JJ Byrne Memorial Bridge and continue on GREENPOINT AVENUE • Entrance is on the right on GREENPOINT AVE & HUMBOLDT ST. Parking is not available on site.

3.

MOTHER MAY I The Delancey, downstairs 168 Delancey St (btw Clinton and Attorney) Sunday, May 8th | 6pm doors, 7pm show Monologues, Music, and 2 for 1 Drinks! CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

Forget brunch this Mother’s Day. Take your mama, your baby mama or just your totally grown up, independent self to celebrate (or commiserate) with stories, songs and two for one drinks at The Delancey on Sunday, May 8. Whether your mother was a goddess of love and support or a smothering bitch, your inner child will laugh, cry and try not to poop y...our pants at MOTHER, MAY I?, a night of performances by writers, actors and singers in honor of mothers. There’s a woman somewhere who you owe your life to, and we want to thank her. Join us for stories, lullabies and comedy. We won’t judge your outfit or your date.

Hosted by warner | shaw co-founders Franny Silverman and Annie Levy.

Featuring:

Glenn Marla (reigning Mr. Coney Island and Miss LES 2006, glennmarla.com) | Sarah Graalman (Mama Rice N’ Friends, mammaandfriends.com) | Shelly Oria (McSweeney’s, 2008 Indiana Review Fiction Prize) | Lisa Lewis (1000 nights at The Creek, lisalewiswriting.com) | Tara Hyman (Mama Rice N’ Friends, tarahyman.com) | David Wolkin (Inner Monologues, Speakeasy Stories, wolkin.com) | Christine Siracusa (Brave New World Rep) | Galeet Dardashti (Six Points Fellow ’07-’09, Le Poisson Rouge, galeetdardashti.com) | Shawn Shafner (Joe’s Pub, POOP Project, thepoopproject.org) | Naomi Less (Jewish Chicks Rock, naomiless.com) | Anni Bruno | Mara Leventhal | Brian Gelfand and other special guests.

-------

Looking forward to seeing you there!  And peaceful Spring pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

 

Food+water=poop

It's a simple fact of life: put food and water together, mix it inside the human stomach for 12-72 hours, and voila!  Poop. As a Puru, I spend much of my time on the product, but this week I'm heading to a few cool NYC events that highlight the process.  This Thursday, April 14, I'll be at Cooper Union's Great Hall from 7-9pm for the Service to Sustainability Awards, and the launch of Water-Aid, USA: "a new initiative to ensure the purity of America's waters."   It's like two events for the price of one!  There'll be celebrities like Yoko Ono, Olympia Dukakis and Sabrina Artel of Trailer Talk, plus a lot of important people whose names we don't know!

Then, Saturday evening, I'm headed to Brooklyn for Sowing the Seeds, an event held in partnership with Food & Water Watch to get people involved in the upcoming Farm Bill .  We're going to be sprouting and fermenting with Barry Schwartz, learning 'bout the Bill (see Simple, Good and Tasty's primer here), and feeling ironic as we eat popcorn and watch King Corn, a documentary film about how corn has come to be the cream of all our crops.

Wishing you all the best of food and water, and may you enjoy peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Diabolical Diarrhea

This World Health Day, I've got something on my mind: Diarrhea.

It may be one of the most visceral words in the English language. All it takes is four little syllables, and my mind's eye is immediately taken with images of splattering, squirting and sputtering explosions. It's a juvenile blend of disgust and delight that calls forth squeals of laughter; I suddenly find myself in the backseat of the car doing Mad Libs with my sister, making razzberries on my arm, or hoping that another member of my Oregon Trail family will get sick and die from dysentery (even though, as it turns out, they're not actually the same thing).

While it's called Montezuma's Revenge for a reason, the burning squirts can also be a lot of fun. Take the time I told my sister's entire 5th grade class that she was home sick with explosive diarrhea (well, don't take it, but check out the guest blog I wrote about it for DefeatDD.org).  Or the old children's song about it--you know, "Diarrhea, Diarrhea"?  As it turns out, that song not only lives on in our memories, but is enjoying an internet renaissance at The Official Diarrhea Song blog. In fact, they have dozens of original verses for your singing pleasure and a 5-step guide to help you craft the perfect stanza. Three of my favorites:

When you don’t feel like a winner and your butt blows out your dinner: Diarrhea, diarrhea.

When you’re lounging by the pool and your ass begins to drool: Diarrhea, diarrhea.

When you're miles from anywhere, and your bowels just don't care: Diarrhea, diarrhea.

Disgusting AND hilarious, right? Yet in many parts of the world, it's no laughing matter. In fact, 4,000 children will die from diarrheal disease today, as this poignant WaterAid video points out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtwBxrcPnoc

So what can you do about it?

Learn more. Visit DefeatDD.org or WaterAid for information and to get involved in the great work they're doing to bring effective, sustainable sanitation solutions around the world.

Wash your hands. Whether at home or abroad, hand washing with soap is the most cost-effective healthcare approach available, preventing the spread of disease and--BONUS!--making your fingers smell nice.

Spread the word! It's not hard to start a dialogue about diarrhea. Try posting it to your Facebook, Tweeting it, or starting an office sing-along of the old schoolyard song. At the very least, it'll be good for a laugh.

Wishing you all the best this World Health Day and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

I'm a Plumber

At The People's Own Organic Power Project, we know that plumbers sometimes get the short end of the plunger. So on Purim night, March 19, 2011, I decided to do something about it: sing.  And strip.

Now, with the state of technology today, you can watch it from your very own home computer as if you were really there!  You lucky people...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOq6zJZpi-c

Show your favorite plumber some love this weekend, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

World Water Day and Weekend Getaway

First, a plug! The Puru will be on faculty at the 2011 Nehirim Men's Retreat for queer/gay/bi/trans Jewish men & their admirers this weekend, March  25-27 at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. I'll be hosting the talent show, performing a Storahtelling Maven Saturday morning, teaching a performance workshop and--most relevantly--a text study called The Shadow and The Shit: Learning to Love Your Kishkas. Registration is still available! Tell 'em The Puru sent you.

And now...

HAPPY WORLD WATER DAY!

In 1993, the UN marked March 22 as World Water Day in order to "focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources." This year's theme, "Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge," was celebrated today with a main event in Cape Town and hundreds more around the world. A few that have caught my eye:

So go ahead. Pour yourself a cold one and raise a toast to a cleaner water future for all!

Drink responsibly, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Pooping on Purim

As Winter comes to a close and Spring buds begin bursting through the ground, the time has come to celebrate light, Lent and the eternal triumph of Good vs. Evil. For Jews around the world, this will manifest itself in the form of Purim--a holiday of endless joy where the reveler is commanded to drink so much, she can't tell the difference between good and evil, day and night, shit and gold.  Which is where we step in. The POOP Project is thrilled to be participating this year in YOU BETTER WORK, a homegrown Purim party Saturday, March 19 sponsored by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) and Great Small Works, with support from PURSUE: Action for a Just World.  An art-full, fun-filled, liquor-heavy evening of dancing, music, cabaret--with the Puru on hand to sing the plumber's blues.

A VERY PRECARIOUS PURIM A PURIM FOR LOVERS AND LABORERS DANCING::MUSIC::PROCESSIONS::CABARET::INSTALLATIONS

7:30PM->LATE

St. Cecilia's
$12-20 SLIDING SCALE//NO ONE TURNED AWAY FOR LACK OF COSTUME OR CASH

COSTARRING: * Avi Fox-Rosen's Musical Madness * Schmeckel: 100% Trans Jews * Yiddish Princess * The Rude Mechanical Orchestra * Amazing Amy, the Yoga Yenta, and her Kosher Kontortion * Shawn "The Puru" Shafner * exHOTic other * Mira Stroika * Best Bites leyning megillah * Haman's Drag Race * DJ Shomi Noise * The Curious Shape of Hens * Delicious food for sale by Domestic Workers United

...and more!

L train to Graham Ave: walk down Graham towards the BQE, right on Richardson, at the corner of Richardson and N. Henry.

May you have Spring in your step and, as always, peaceful pooping.
Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

 

Your Anus is Not Uranus

Today, I'd like to get personal. Like an all up in your space kind of personal. Like so personal, in fact, it's in your pants.

Your anus is not Uranus.

First of all, Uranus is the seventh planet from our sun and your anus is that opening at the end of your digestive tract, opposite from your mouth.  Secondly, Uranus belongs to no one, whereas your anus belongs to you and whomever you might temporarily and consensually entrust it to.  Though we could go on, suffice it to say that they don't even have to be pronounced the same, as Uranus can be said two ways.  They're not the

Are you loving your anus, or treating it like Uranus?

I recently came across this hilarious video by Superhero Clubhouse.  They are "a society of theater artists engaged in making original plays and events about the natural world via a green and collaborative process."  Cool, right?  (And they're having a benefit party tonight if you can make it!) The video is a promo for their upcoming production URANUS (a play about waste), and highly instructive in detailing anal abuse.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fqBIXwe7-c&feature=player_embedded

OUCH!  If you're working that hard to move those bowels--especially on a regular basis--it might be time to reassess your anal relationship.  Let's face it, you both deserve better.

Unlike Uranus, your anus is attached to you.  And it might actually be quite talkative if it weren't always being sat on or pushed around.  So take a moment to listen in.  Is your anus clenched and tense?  Reeling from a spicy snack?  Feeling...drafty?   Anuses get overworked easily, but you can help them to be happy by making sure your poo is healthy.  Unlike that constipated feeling of opening a jar of old pickles, when your anus is relaxed, that healthy poo will slide right out.

Try cheering up your anus by adding more fiber to your diet.  Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are loaded with roughage that doesn't quite digest, instead joining forces to create a solid poo as it slides through your digestive tract.  The other half of that glue, however, is water, which gets reabsorbed from the poo by your intestines and colon in its exodus.  So as long as you're commemorating the upcoming World Water Day, make a toast to healthy, hydrated poo!  Feel free to eat a carrot-raisin bran muffin while you do.

So here's to eco-theater, end-conscious eating, Uranus and your expressive anus.  From me to you, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Happy World Plumbing Day!

This morning when you woke up, did you take a shower?  If so, thank a plumber!  Is the water coming out of your sink free from rust? If so, thank a plumber! If your toilet flushes, your pipes aren't leaking, and the sprinklers are still sprinkling, you can thank a plumber! Go ahead, find your favorite plumber, give 'em a kiss and wish them a Happy World Plumbing Day 2011!

Though we rely on indoor plumbing everyday, most of us seldom give it a second thought. The sophisticated system of watersheds, pipes, sewers and wastewater treatment plants that bring water to and from our homes are mostly out of sight, and so, too, out of mind. World Plumbing Day is about reminding us just how important the often maligned plumber truly is.

Still don't believe me? Check out this sculpture by David Smythe from DS Plumbing. It's a human composed entirely of pipes and pumps that shows us just what happens when broken plumbing leads to dirty drinking water.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh1ypHZvoqs

A happy and healthy World Plumbing Day to all, and peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Check out The Puru's Guest Blog for TOILET TWINNING

Ever thought of twinning your toilet? Well, for £60, you can twin your toilet at home, work or school with a latrine in the remote Giharo Commune of Rutana Province, Burundi at Toilet Twinning.

Toilet Twinning was created by international charities Cord and Tearfund to provide complete water, sanitation and hygiene education.  I love the way they use technology to connect people to their purchase:

When you twin your toilet, your loo is linked with a latrine Africa. You'll receive a framed certificate of your toilet's twin, containing a photo, the latrine's location and its GPS coordinates so you can look it up on Google Maps.

The Puru is honored and humbled to have recorded a guest podcast for the Toilet Twinning blog.  To hear these 3 minutes of craptastistic-ness yourself, CLICK HERE!

Peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Can't get enough of that time capsule!

While the time capsule was getting all the attention (you can read more about her in the preceding posts or in the Greenpoint Gazette), I snuck off with some of the real stars. That's right.  Below, you can catch the exclusive interview that The Puru managed to snag with the 5th graders from Ms. (Julie) Feinberg's class at PS 31, who contributed a book about sewage to the capsule and may be the only people alive to see it in 50 years. What will Newtown Creek look like then?  What does a digester egg do?  And why is "feces" the preferred term for that stuff that comes out of our bottoms?

5th graders aren't afraid to tell it like it is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmVNh3K7R-w

A most productive President's Day to you, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

a journey through time and a wastewater treatment plant

Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 was a day that will be celebrated by civilizations far into the future.  I expect that President Malia Obama herself will lift a glass on Feb. 11, 2061, when she unveils the time capsule installed 50 years before at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Mark your calendars now; it's gonna be a hot ticket! For legitimate, journalistic coverage of the event, look to the Newtown Pentacle.  Otherwise, watch this video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXUPeu7JoJ4

Peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner