GOOD

It’s Time for Americans to Get Over It and Embrace the Bidet

How cleaner butts can get us to a cleaner planet.

At the Toto showroom in downtown Manhattan, a young, well-dressed woman enters and announces with a groan that she’s here to buy a bidet toilet seat. The salesperson proudly displays the five different models of Toto’s Washlet, the advanced electronic toilet seat with a built-in, controllable bidet (along with seat heater, deodorizer, MP3 player, and other available features). “I don’t really care which one,” the woman tells the salesperson. “I’m not going to use it. If it were up to me I wouldn’t get this thing, but it’s something my husband wants. Our deal is he gets this, and I get my say with the rest of the house. It’ll be hidden in our master bathroom. … I don’t want my guests to see this.”

I stand a few feet away, shaking my head in disbelief. Here we are in the world’s most sophisticated city, surrounded by the marvels of 21st century technological progress, and this clearly wealthy woman cannot wrap her head around a toilet seat that will wash her husband’s ass. What’s wrong with North American society? Why do people so fear the one perfect device that can guarantee their bum’s cleanliness? Despite its obvious and well-proven benefits, from personal hygiene to environmental, the integrated bidet toilet seat—which sprays a controlled stream of water from underneath the toilet seat at the push of a button—remains stubbornly off-putting to North Americans. Laugh all you want, but this has an impact on all of us.

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How A Winery is Transforming Cleveland’s Most Notorious Neighborhood

An urban vineyard delivers a robust message.

Mansfield Frazier slides a cigar into his mouth, climbs into his pickup truck, and drives it from his house, in the inner-city Cleveland neighborhood of Hough, directly across the street to his vineyard, Chateau Hough. Set on three-quarters of an acre between an abandoned home, a long-shuttered library, and a vacant corner store are 14 rows of vines breeding Frontenac (a cold, hearty Minnesota red grape) and Traminette (a floral, white varietal developed in upstate New York) on the site of a former crack house. As Frazier exits the truck, he is greeted by his crew for the day: five parolees from a nearby halfway house who are responsible for the immaculately pruned vines.

“How are they treating you up there?” Frazier, a stout African-American man in his early 70s, shouts to the pruners. Eyes roll. One man has just finished serving a year for burglary, another five years for assault with a firearm. None have even stepped foot in a vineyard before. “Well, they didn’t treat me so well when I was there, but that was a few years ago,” Frazier says.

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Me No Want Cookie!

The effort to re-brand fruits and vegetables for kids now has some cute, furry and iconic allies.

Over the coming months, you might suddenly find yourself and other shoppers whistling “Sunny Day, Sweepin’ the Clouds Away” as you walk through your local supermarket’s produce aisle. That’s because fruit and vegetables are slowly being rebranded as Sesame Street edibles, thanks to a sweeping campaign with the Produce Marketing Association called Eat Brighter, which allows fruit and vegetable companies to use Sesame Street characters free of charge. Get ready for Cookie Monster grapes, Big Bird zucchinis, and maybe even Bert and Ernie rutabagas, all rolled out across North America in an effort to put a dent into the colossal childhood obesity epidemic that continues unabated.

The Eat Brighter campaign—initiated by the Partnership for a Healthier America, a nonprofit organization created in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” to combat childhood obesity—hopes to turn the tables on the way kids eat by using the tools of junk food marketing and branding towards selling healthy foods. Essentially it’s trying to kickstart a healthy food trend amongst young foodies by using the same methods the Trix Rabbit or Tony the Tiger use to sell them corn syrup infused cereals, deploying Elmo and Oscar to get kids begging their parents for cantaloupes and kale.

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