Before flushing remote-controlled toilet, duck behind Steven Seagal

(Nope, it’s not deja vu or a break in the space-time continuum. It’s not even the beginning signs of a stroke. It’s Flashback Sunday! That special day each week when I reach so far back into the archives that occasionally, when I forget to stretch first, I’ve been known to pull a groin muscle. But it’s worth it! Not just because it means bringing you a post from a time when all my followers were on the same cell phone plan, but also because it’s as close as I’ll ever get to performing yoga…)

New clothing-generated electricity could help Steven Seagal provide his own power for gigs, with surplus for parts of Chicago.
Hello, and welcome to another edition of High-Tech Watch, a consumer information guide to the latest technology, and the exciting items you can expect to see following the eventual collapse of the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

We begin in Scotland, where textile researchers are currently working to perfect material that can generate and store static electricity through the natural rubbing of material. This would allow wearers of clothing made with “Smart Yarn” to generate their own power for things like cell phones, iPods, laptops or, in the case of a full-length kimono worn by Steven Seagal, a small Chicago suburb. The technology is relatively simple, and dates back to the early 1970s, when a combination of corduroy pants, wool socks and shag carpeting was blamed on the electrocution deaths of several people in the U.S. and Canada.

According to Scotland researchers, they are close to finding a way of harnessing that power while, at the same time, reviving as few fashions from the 1970s as possible.

Next, we have Spanish designer Marti Guixe, creator of the “Flamp,” a phosphorescent lamp that absorbs light from other sources and can illuminate a room for up to 20 minutes without electricity once the lights go out.

Sounds pretty cool.

Except for the fact that, once I turn the lights out, it’s usually because I WANT TO GO TO SLEEP. And I should mention that the “Flamp” doesn’t come with an “Off” switch, which means, unless you regularly read before bed, you will need to find a way of killing the 20 minutes it takes your “Flamp” to fade out each night.

My suggestion is to hold it directly under your chin, make a scary face, and then peek into your neighbors’ windows before bed time. Eventually, they will get used to it and begin to welcome your nightly visits.

Or, quite possibly, you’ll get your “Flamp” shot off the very first night.

Either way, your problem will be solved.

Also on the high-tech home front is something that is sure to re-kindle fond memories of that first apartment.

No, I’m not talking about cardboard coffee tables, but the next best thing — inflatable furniture. That’s right, for a mere $800, you can again have the same bedroom ensemble you once paid $6 for. In addition, Ikea USA, makers of the new inflatable furniture, also offers sofas and chairs made from a “special plastic” that’s guaranteed to last for 10 years — which is about how long it will take for you to blow up your new six-piece living room set once it arrives.

And finally, we go to Tokyo, where a recent trade show featuring “Homes of Tomorrow” unveiled the perfect example of what happens when technology meets toiletry. I’m talking, of course, about a new computerized toilet introduced by Matsushita Electric.

(And let me just say right now the idea of sitting on a toilet designed by a company with the word “electric” in its name doesn’t exactly instill the kind of relaxation I need for that function.)

According to Matsushita, the new Laboratory Toilet has a number of improvements over older toilet designs, including a remote control flushing system.

This is particularly useful when…

Or should you somehow..

Or in the event that there’s a …

Nope. I honestly can’t think of a single reason I’d need to flush my toilet from anywhere other than the bathroom. And if I ever DO need to gain a safe distance from my commode before flushing, finding the remote will be the least of my worries.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, will be released this December from Port Hole Publications. You can write to him at, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

23 thoughts on “Before flushing remote-controlled toilet, duck behind Steven Seagal”

  1. Here’s a nice suggestion for WordPress’s DP Challenge: think of 5 reasons why you should want to flush your toilet remotely;)
    Thanks again for yet another great post and an inspiring insight into mankind’s creativity.
    Also, I know Steven Segal has like every color karate belt (if he’d wear them all, he’d probably be wearing the gay flag) and he could take me down any day of the week…but man, he’s sure gotten old! Still, his movements could power a small Chicago suburb for sure (and perhaps O’Hare Airport on a good day;))

    1. Thanks, Arend. I’m always glad to offer inspiration. As long as it doesn’t inspire Steven Seagal to come kick my booty. Yes, he is getting old, so I think I could outrun him. That said, if you want to see one of the worst movies ever, watch Seagal’s “Against the Dark,” which is a martial arts/commando/vampire movie. Keep your remote handy for flushing…

      1. Haha…Who would’ve thought Steven could inspire people to use a remotely flushable toilet?;)
        Will check out that movie (but I can’t promise I will finish watching it, as I don’t have a toilet remote yet. I am sooo 2012 like that)

        1. You just have to go into it appreciating it for what it is: a truly horrible movie. My wife and I spent an hour in the video store looking for the worst-sounding Steven Seagal movies for our monthly “bad movie marathon.” This was No. 1.

          Enjoy 😉

          P.S. Keep track of how many times he says, “Let’s make a clean sweep.” I believe it is the same voice-over each time. It has become a recurring mantra for my wife and I.

        1. It’s at the printer’s, REDdog! Should have copies available by the end of next week. Once I have a delivery date, I’ll definitely be posting an update 😉

    1. Haha! We had that problem out our house, too. My wife would get up in the middle of the night and sit on a wet seat after our son used the commode. So one night I sprinkled water on the seat, then woke my son up and had him come sit on it while he was half asleep. He jumped up and asked what was going on. I told him that’s how his mom felt every time she used the commode after him. I never told him it was just water. He also never peed on the seat again, either 😉

  2. If they ever come up with a Flamp for computers, it would be perfect for those times when you just can’t seem to shut it off. You push the button in a moment of strength and it goes off 20 minutes later on its own.

  3. “flamp.” Haha! I think I found a use for the remote controlled toilet. If you can keep the remote out of the reach of your toddler, and the remote is the only way the toilet can be flushed, then you finally have a fail safe for your keys getting flushed. Just think outside the bowl, Ned.

  4. Ned, Ned, Ned where is your scope? You need to think more out of the box. That 7 foot tall guy will greet the remote control with open arms. So will the guy with the two broken arms. And grandpa who has a bad back and cant reach behind (ok, he admittedly has other problems if he cant reach Back There, but I digress), or the woman with Rheumatoid Arthritis who cant push down the lever. This device is a boon to mankind….just wait until you are the arthritic with two broken arms……

    1. You’ve definitely got me thinking now. Even at 6’1″, if I’m ever the grandpa who can’t reach behind himself, I will totally be getting myself one of those toilets. Actually, my wife will probably buy it FOR me…

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