Product Placement

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Futurepoop: Memphians Celebrate Arrival of Robot Toilet with Bratwurst & Barbecue

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 6:14 PM

No, it's not as exciting as a personal  jetpack or as obvious as a flying car, but the astonishing automated future we were promised has to start somewhere. Why not the crapper?
  • No, it's not as exciting as a personal jetpack or as obvious as a flying car, but the astonishing automated future we were promised has to start somewhere. Why not the crapper?

Interrogative: Who needs humans when there are modern miracle robots to help you gas-up, pee, and buy a bag of chips?

Declarative: Me, apparently. 

This morning I dropped by the all (sorta) new Quick Fuel station at 4589 Old Lamar Ave., which was celebrating its grand-reopening by handing out free barbecue sandwiches, brats, and dewy cans of ice cold soda pop in Quick Fuel koozies. It was a lovely affair, as gas station grand reopenings go, but to bend an old cliche toward the literal, I'm getting too old for this crap. 
No card reader? Or anything else I can recognize? "Affirmative, Davis. I read you."
  • No card reader? Or anything else I can recognize? "Affirmative, Davis. I read you."



 According to the lady handing out enormous piles of pulled shoulder with slaw and all the trimmings, the station was celebrating the arrival of a, "fancy" new sign, some "fancy" new gas pumps, and a "fancy" new, fully automated unisex bathroom that cleans itself top to bottom after every use. That seems a little excessive to me, but I'm not the one giving away barbecue sandwiches. (And it's probably welcome news throughout Memphis' OCD community). Did I mention that it's fancy? So fancy, in fact, I never would have figured out the multi-step gas pumping procedure without the aid of three humans hovering around me explaining how I didn't pay at the gas pump, but at a nearby card-reading station where one first enters the pump number, then dips a credit card. In order to get a receipt — with a 4-digit PIN required for anybody wanting to use the customers-only bathroom — one has to return to the pay station after pumping, re-enter the pump number and swipe his or her card a second time.

I haven't felt this lost since Apple stopped using Google-based maps on the iPhone.
 
Not your pappy's hook & eye.
  • Not your pappy's hook & eye.

The important question— and the one I'm sure you're all asking right now — is whether or not this mechanized convenience stop exists in accordance with Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics. The short answer: I'm not sure. 

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

I don't really have enough information to address the question at this time, and all answers certainly hinge upon one's definition of harm. Following contemporary political rhetoric, we can forego any notions of indirect economic injury and assume that these robots are only doing the jobs Americans don't want, and don't want to hire illegal immigrants to do for them. But customers who are already dancing and pinching their parts because they need to go to the bathroom really, really badly may experience discomfort and/or embarrassment while going through all the steps required for a potty PIN. As for cars with multiple passengers who all need to use the restroom —- I don't know what to tell you other than we all have to make hard choices sometimes. 

Not recommended for long poopers.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 

The automated bathroom was in cleaning mode when I went to use it, but as soon as I got the go-ahead light everything responded to my push-button commands. While urinating I was momentarily overcome by fearful memories of suicide booths in the animated TV show Futurama. But I finished my business unharmed. Before leaving I commanded, "Toilet, destroy all humans!" It was a reckless move on my part, I admit. Thankfully, no humans were hurt as a result of my bathroom visit. 

Quick Fuel: Pride of Memphis' robot and boxcar stacking district.
  • Quick Fuel: Pride of Memphis' robot and boxcar stacking district.



3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
It's difficult to tell how the robot toilet I used might defend itself from advanced physical or electronic attacks, but it's clear that the Quick Fuel automated filling (and emptying) station was at least designed to minimize opportunities for specific kinds of abuse. While waiting for the bathroom to finish cleaning itself I was approached by a middle-aged gentleman in a nice paisley shirt and wool coat. "There's not a urinal in there," he said, giving me a quick rundown of what to expect once I was inside. "We didn't install urinals because people shit in them."

Fair enough.


KOOZIE!
  • KOOZIE!

Automated self-cleaning restrooms are fairly common in parts of Europe, but this robot toilet, located in the heart of Lamar Avenue's boxcar-stacking district, is allegedly the first of its kind in the U.S. Even if you're a world traveler, intuitive and tech savvy, you'll want to pay careful attention to the instructions.  

To access these instructions one must first enter the restroom. (They can be found elsewhere).
  • To access these instructions one must first enter the restroom. (They can be found elsewhere).

Fancy pooping everybody!

Fancy.
  • Fancy.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Frosty's Got a Gun

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 2:38 PM

Frosty's got a gun
His whole world's come undone
  From lookin' straight at the sun
"Frosty's Got a Gun" Aerosmith of Earth 2

Have you ever stopped to think about some of the things that go on in the popular holiday song "Frosty the Snowman?" Like that part where Frosty leads the children down the streets of town right to a traffic cop. And he "Only paused a moment when he heard him holler, 'STOP!'"


Have you ever wondered how Frosty could just flat out ignore a policeman's direct order and get away with it? Well, he's white, obviously, but that's only part of the story. What we didn't know until this ad for Bass Pro's $49.99 holiday inflatables came out: Frosty, the "happy, jolly soul" immortalized in song, is also seven feet tall and packing major heat. 

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It's all visions of sugar plums till the snowmen fight back

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The T-Shirt That Saved Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Billie Worley, Memphis as Fuck
  • Billie Worley, Memphis as Fuck

The CVB may never adopt it as an official slogan, but it's possible that the message emblazoned across these cotton wearables may actually accomplish their creator's stated goal to bring Memphis together "one t-shirt at a time."

It's nice to scroll the M.A.F. Facebook page just to see who shows up.

Al Kapone and a friend
  • Al Kapone and a friend

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Can This One Weird Memphis Medicine Cure Your Allergies?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 2:25 PM

This photograph raises some interesting questions. Like, is there anywhere else in the world where you can purchase barbecue ribs from the endcap of your neighborhood pharmacy? And if there is such a place, are the ribs considered to be allergy relief medicine there to? And finally, if this “allergy relief” is covered by Obamacare, can we move past our differences and figure out a way to give the man four more years?

Take as needed. Buy bigger pants when necessary.
  • Take as needed. Buy bigger pants when necessary.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Is Hobby Lobby Gay For Same-Sex Marriage?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 8:49 AM

I have to admit, given the Green family's history of being jerks for Jesus, I found this wedding display in the Germantown Hobby Lobby heartening.

It goes together like a horse & carriage...
  • It goes together like a horse & carriage...

Yeah, yeah, I know. Some prankster probably moved the masculine, burlap-wrapped letter "S" following the second "MR." But here at FOTW we try to celebrate signs and wonders whenever we can.

On the other hand, maybe they just like "Broken Wings."

Monday, January 6, 2014

Breakfast at Family Dollar

Posted By on Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 9:24 AM

What, no sausage?
  • What, no sausage?

The good news: Individually packaged fried eggs and waffles are now available at area Family Dollars and they're only a dollar each.The bad news: Instead of being made out of eggs and whatever waffles are made out of these food items are made out of marshmallow and gummy candy. That means they probably aren't part of a balanced breakfast.

That ready to eat bit may be a matter of opinion
  • That "ready to eat" bit may be a matter of opinion

Here's a picture of what they look like on a plate.

Wheres the hot sauce?
  • Where's the hot sauce?

Here's what they look like on a plate with hot sauce.

There ya go
  • There ya go

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Santa's Naughty Toys: Humpy the Dinosaur Skeleton

Posted By on Sat, Dec 21, 2013 at 2:58 PM

While browsing through Walgreens for stocking stuffers your Pesky Fly stumbled across a toy I've been calling Humpy the Dinosaur.

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And if the packaging isn't suggestive enough for you, the product sounds like it might have been named for a condom. In fact, I kind of hope it was named for a condom. The alternatives are almost too ghastly to consider.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Gorilla Snot Spotted on Cleveland

Posted By on Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 10:13 AM

image.jpg

Longtime readers are probably aware that your Pesky Fly is a big fan of Viet Hoa, an international market on Cleveland specializing in Asian and Mexican goods. You know like Moco de Gorila shampoo and hair gel.

That means Gorilla Snot for the English- only crowd. Just the stuff for slicking back an unruly mop.

image.jpg

I was so intrigued by Gorilla Snot that I did a little snooping. And by snooping I mean I Googled it and discovered that the Mexico-based company ran afoul of California clean air regulations because Gorilla Snot contains smog-producing ingredients.

According to reports the makers of Gorilla Snot have been cooperative in resolving the matter.

Anyway, if your sculptured hairstyle requires smog-inducing ape snot to stay put... There it is.

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