Friday, January 27, 2023

Mandet Mandate?

I poked around a little for fun. And I also did a quick online search. "Mandet" is a neologism in modern English, but bidets designed for men exist. 

I thought that all bidets were meant for post-potty cleaning. There's so much more. I learned that man-bidets could be used before or after sexual intercourse (presumably with someone else), treating hemorrhoids or jock itch, or even nobler goals. I remain too unsophisticated to appreciate the added value over a wet washcloth. Also unclear why any bidet couldn't be used by any sex, gender, or junk. 

These are images from a quick online search. Notice anything these men have in common? 

Rate them on a 1-5 scale for:

Physically healthy

But all products aimed toward men use such men, right? No. Wilford Brimley. Life Insurance. Senior living. Oxygen machines. Timeshares. AARP. Manpons. 

"But how do you market moisturizer to the Marlboro Man?"

The Design of Everyday Sinks

I shared the last post about the "mandet" with a few friends. 

Highly educated grown-ups may discuss the silliest topics with overblown erudition while quoting the true innovators. Richard Feynman. Don Norman. Ralph Lauren. Thomas Crapper. It keeps us humble; we mock ourselves as well as the topic. Cargo cult science, UX, and bathroom design/invention were all relevant and funny. 

Go team!


Continuing the reasons it's a sink from the last post:
5) Bidets are about as common in Mexican bathrooms as American ones. 

6) Have you seen, heard of, or even thought of a man-bidet until now? 

7) I don't think man-bidets would be widely used. At least not for self-cleaning. We would certainly mock them. 

8) Man-bidets would often be misused by very drunk men. They could become water fountains, face washers, foot baths, urinals, vomit sinks (Speibecken), reservoirs, or worse. Would give a new meaning to the term "reservoir tip." Good. That term with condoms always made me feel inadequate. Other men must have a much, much greater storage capacity. 

9) If man-bidets were popular, they would only be in bathrooms that also had standard bidets. Would you want to manage a hotel that only has bidets for men?

10) What if an innocent pet dog drank from a mandet? Ewww! Next thing you know, a dog somewhere might drink from a toilet. Very unsanitary. The CDC has extensively simulated this remote possibility and concluded that these poor dogs would suffer thirst reduction. 

11) Here's a picture from the hotel's website. The sink is bracketed by a shower on the left and a toilet on the left.

12) This screenshot (for that room) shows a sink, but nothing like a bidet. 

Soooo... it's a sink. 

This sink reminded me of this book cover:

This book was required reading for us at UCSD Cog Sci. It's now read much more broadly, but still not enough. Its caption for Figure 1.1 calls it a coffeepot for masochists. You could sell that sadistic sink to masochists. Other target buyers: men who want to become "smaller" and also prefer cold water instead of surgery. Invest today! Operators are standing by!

This tea kettle, like the horizontal sink, would deliver water to an unwanted part of the body. The kettle could be practical, clever, even beautiful, iff you ignore or reframe its intended function. You know, like the sink or that body part. 

If the kettle were used as a planter, then the spout wouldn't be used as a spout. The putative spout could be used for a second type of herb, different color flower, or incense holder. What you idiots thought was a misplaced handle is actually trellising so you can plant Virginia Creeper. The so-called lid is the next fashion breakthrough. I admit I was the only one who wore one to that Bar Mitzvah.


Wednesday, January 25, 2023


I just asked The Internet to define “mandet”. It wasn't a word in modern English. It is now. A mandet is a bidet for men.

My dad and his brother have been licensed contractors for decades. Their work has been in Architectural Digest repeatedly. They’ve built for billionaires and still do. So I saw a lot of fancy bathrooms and faucets. But nothing this crafty!

Faucets normally aim down, so unused water goes into a basin with a drain instead of on the user and floor. I was among the first to experience firsthand the next Kuhnian Paradigm Shift of shifting strong shooting snow-streams toward my shaft. Not down, or even up/adjustable like some bidets – straight out. Almost horizontal. 

I had just taken a shower. I saw this... abomination. How naïve I was!! I thought it was a sink because:

1) Most restrooms have a sink somewhere.

2) It looked like a sink.

3) It was right where a sink would normally be.

(4) It was obviously a sink.

So I turned it on, launching high pressure freezing water several inches below my navel. If you think it doesn't seem like sufficient water pressure to bruise, you've never been male. Lefty's one of those sensitive types.

I had just washed appropriately during my shower. As usual. I mean, I *am* a filthy American, but at least I’m not a Hun or Duke of York. I didn’t realize I... it… they… needed to be pressure-washed, tetherballed, flash-frozen, and shrink-wrapped. I was a sopranino niño. Imagine the foreheads of 2 Mastiffs or Shar Peis. 

Or don’t. Too late? You only had to ponder it briefly. I’m still too numb to tell whether they’re descending or unraveling.

UPDATE: This post elicited such fun discussion that I just added 2 follow-ups. Thanks to my old buddy David Leland for making me laugh so hard that I couldn't use face recognition for over 30 seconds. 

Sunday, March 13, 2022


I realized today that the Brendan's Urban Mendicant (BUM) Index relies on the presumption that I can correctly identify beggars across language barriers. Several people have hit me up for money here in Romania, all of them in Romanian, which I don't speak. All such requests have been in the "passive" category (which I defined in the Tan Jeer blog post), and the BUMI is fairly high here overall. (High = bad.) But how do I know they are actually begging? That would be a serious flaw in my methods section.

What if it's the opposite of begging? Why should I presume begging just because a bedraggled stranger approached me out of nowhere, looked pathetic, maybe held out a hand, and started speaking? Haven't we all heard these phrases from such people before?

Hey buddy, can I spare a dollar?

You need a few bucks for bus fare?

Can I help a guy down on his luck?

Help from a guy up on his luck?

Since my dorm room (yes, I am in a student dorm) is cruelly close to a gym, I had another opportunity to presume what people say in Romanian. When they're spotting each other, I think they're saying more or less the same thing that English-speakers do while coaching someone lifting weights or giving birth.

Come on!




You can do it!

Almost there!

Just a little more!




You did it!

OK, now just one more….

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Vlad the Ukrainer

Charles the Simple. Aethelred the Unready. Ivan the Terrible. Archibald the Loser. Alfonso the Sloberrer. Sviatopolk the Accursed. Catherine the Great (Horsefucker). Not the finest monikers. I would not wish to be known as Brendan the (any of those things). Nor would you – especially because you’re probably not named Brendan.

None of them come anywhere close to Vlad the Impaler. “Impaler” is much more specific and evocative. Vlad the Impaler might be less well-known today than Vlad the Ukraine-invader, and Putin has earned himself many nasty appellations, but nothing will be as memorable as “the impaler.” Besides, Putin needs no sobriquet in Romania; here, "Putyin" means "small."

I’m well within a one-day train ride of Vlad’s castle. I’m also a one-day train ride from neo-Vlad’s invasion of Ukraine. Hmm. Which would you choose to explore next?

I will also visit there to hang out with the Trans community. Unless I’m missing something, people who were born in Transylvania, and grew up there and vote there, are Trannies with a capital T – regardless of transgenderism. They might be offended at transexuals for co-opting their name, just like the roughly 114,000 citizens of Lesbos. On what basis would “true” Trannies or Lesbians be denied special treatment offered to those groups? Could some smartass rename a small town “Bisexua” and apply for funding or other benefits meant for bisexuals? If you mixed the resulting MSNBC and Fox News coverage of that story, would the resulting annihilation destroy earth?

And now for some photos worth discussion.

Why are ribs so often promoted as the world's finest prepared food? My hosts took me out for dinner. The waiter, unprompted, said I should get the ribs because they are "the best in the world." Ever heard a waiter promote the best fruit salad in the world? Remember that one place that advertised the world's finest ketchup? How many chefs vie for best oatmeal? Breadsticks? Eggplant parmesan? Mashed potatoes? Chicken strips? Corn, peas, or even a vegetable medley? Every restaurant in Austria (and many hardware stores) sold half-cranberry-juice-half-water drinks, but none claimed superiority. wrt their menu. Of course. 

No, it wasn't a rib joint. The menu included several pages of other items. I was really having fun with my plan to choose something I couldn't identify and probably never had before. Ribs don't qualify.

I was thus pleased with the humble self-promotion shown below:

I find the following business a little scary. I keep wanting to go quietly flip the "open" sign. If they're really blind, how would they know? I might save future customers' eyes from blind barbers' scissors. 

From a quick online search, they provide a free drink with each haircut. Yeah. Might dull the pain. I am tempted to go there for a haircut, but I first have to learn how the Romanian version of the old joke ending with "...I lost this arm in a sawmill."

And what have we here? These look like two well-known brands in the US without the branding. Like the preceding picture, there is an explanation that is more correct and less funny, but then you're missing the point of this blog. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Munich airport is now branding itself as a five-star airport. This is brilliant! It seems an entity called Skytrax emerged to provide airport ratings. What makes a five-star airport?

--Urinal art: A quick search on my blog will reveal my enthusiasm for urinal flies. After all these years, I still never managed to dislodge one. My life is incomplete. Hard to believe their little foot-suction-cups can withstand the full might of a fully operational Death Star.
Now, they've advanced to little candles. The flame is right on the aiming point, but try as I might, it won't budge. Must have napalm or something in there. 
Why not LEDs? You're German. You're good engineers. You don't pee standing up, but you can imagine. Put a color-changing LED that responds to pressure or hydration. 

--Drinks: They used to have machines all over with free coffee and tea. Unsurprisingly, the urinal flies conspired against such a boon, and now it costs 2 euros. 

--Free newspapers: Yes, the international terminals still have a decent variety of free newspapers.

I’m guessing Beijing will declare itself a seven-star airport just to two-up the Americans, like they did with their hotel for the Olympics. I'm eager to see how they justify a seven-star airport, as they inevitably will. Personal servants in the restrooms?

I hereby define an infinity star airport, hotel, or anything else as one that requires me. The seven-star hotels provide a personal servant for each room. I bet the servant can cook and clean for you better than I can, especially because I am allowed to tell customers to go fuck themselves if they ask me. In fact, I want two personal servants. 

Can the personal servant put a BCI on your head? Probably not. Provide interesting and intellectual conversation? Maybe. But it doesn't matter. Besides, I don't commit to any of these things, or to even be in the same country. It's just my name. You must hire me, or someone I designate, or you can't call it an infinity star anything. 

I am now an infinity-star BCI expert. I am the only one, now and forever. Gerv can be infinity minus one if he asks nicely. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018


I logged over 200 travel days in 2016, most of them in a hotel sandwiched uglily between two 12+ hour days and another overworked guy, since we were required to travel with two guys in inexpensive rooms - in US culture, this is totally common and acceptable for high school students and prisoners. Saving the company trivial amounts of money was such a high priority that I innovated a much better way to totally eliminate my employee travel costs. Live and learn.

And so the threshold for re-blogging was rather high. No new posts in over a year, despite plenty of 2017 travel and other fun stuff in my ongoing quest to un-burn-out. Is chilling out the opposite of burning out? It sounds better than burning in, at least. 

The zoo is artistically and zoologically unique. Most zoos have pens or cages or other areas devoted to specific animals. And not other, more common animals. But the locals are too cool for that. Why not just let the animals roam around? Who cares about signs? For example, here we are at the capybara pen.

I am not a zoologist. I didn't conduct DNA testing. Frankly, I didn't even ask anyone. But I believe that one of the two animals in this capybara pen is more capybaresque than the other. (Expert's tip: it's the one that doesn't look like a peacock.) What a cool peacock! He just cruises around the zoo, unafraid of animals or (worse) humans from around the world, unafraid even of blogmockery. Wow. 

I didn't get a picture of the housecat in the tiger exhibit. Housecats are fast. You'll just have to believe it was funny. 

Here's one of a California sea lion. These are quite common in La Jolla, where they've been fighting against children for the hearts and minds of the locals for decades, and often winning. No, really. Look it up. 

It didn't matter anyway, as little Ali was mainly interested in horses or any animals from Zootopia. 

Finally, we noticed that the local park designers seem to have a thing with dragons. The lower picture (which I didn't take) even explicitly mentions three dragons. Perhaps they helped in the conquest over the Moors, Arabs, or Lannisters. I don't know.
But I can explain the horses. These mythical horses created the Catalan language by stomping the vowels off the ends of all Spanish words. They also trample foreigners who make fun of their language. I would be scared, but I can always run to the zoo and safely hide in the lion pen. 

Resultado de imagen de parc  dragons