This Week’s Cartoon: “Killer Kleen”

I found out about the scented-laundry-product study last week thanks to a brief article in The Oregonian. To quote the original press release from the professor who led the research:

Analysis of the captured gases found more than 25 volatile organic compounds, including seven hazardous air pollutants, coming out of the vents. Of those, two chemicals – acetaldehyde and benzene – are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as carcinogens, for which the agency has established no safe exposure level…Emissions from the top five brands, they estimate, would constitute about 6 percent of automobiles’ acetaldehyde emissions.

Puts “mountain fresh” scent into a whole new perspective, doesn’t it?

Longtime readers know I violently hate leaf blowers. I still can’t believe most people regard these infernal shrieking monsters as a “normal” part of life. There’s always one blasting away in my neighborhood, destroying the peace and quiet. I’ve noticed that the amount of work being done with them is often minimal or downright imperceptible compared to the public disturbance they cause. I swear, my neighbor just enjoys waving his blower around like a metal detector as he strolls through his perfect grass. And yet we can’t necessarily see the crud they spew into the air, or the sound waves radiating out for blocks, so it’s all good, man.

I lived in rural Virginia for several years, where some people still burned their trash. In case you were thinking of escaping to the country to avoid dryer vents and leaf blowers…

For more on the ultra-plush toilet paper issue, Greenpeace has been on the case. I’m not a TP radical, but I’ve always been of the opinion that super-soft rolls run out too quickly.

PS: A Daily Kos commenter linked to an article about these awesome Japanese toilets. I want one.


  • Bill

    I hate leaf blowers, too. Also, I hate scented laundry products. But, ah, toilet paper? I appreciate your providing links to the Greenpeace site and the thing about the Japanese toilet, just so we know that you’re not opposed to people wiping their asses. However! Toilet paper! Kind of necessary! I’m certainly willing to forgo ultra-plush or whatever, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we be able to have… toilet paper.

    In conclusion: Please, whatever entity in charge of the morality of this issue, please let me wipe my ass in good concience. It’s for the good of everyone around me. And they are parts of the planet, too.

  • Maynard

    I think the point here is that we are killing trees to make toilet paper when we could just as easily be using The Wall Street Journal editorial pages to clean our behinds.

  • Matt

    I kind of read it as though we as a nation are so soft that we need ultra-plush tp. Most of the people around seem soft between the ears, perhaps that’s ’cause they’re thinking with their rears. (sorry for the dumb rhyme, it just sorta spilled out and I’m not mopping it up)

  • Jen Sorensen

    Just to clarify, I am a great fan of TP (although I really like the sound of those Japanese toilets). It’s just that the ultra-soft rolls seem a bit destructive and unnecessary. Plus, with TP that thick, you get like six sheets a roll. Gimme a 1000-sheet workhorse any day!

  • Elmore

    I once heard an interview on the radio of an old blues musician who grew up poor in the Mississippi delta, and he was talking about the “slop jar” (the outhouse). His family kept a gigantic Sears Roebuck catalog out there, and they tore out a page at a time for wiping.

  • Bill

    “1000-sheet workhorse.” There’s an image.

  • Tom

    In the so-called good old days, corncobs were used for the same function. They also make good fuel, but I don’t know if I’d want to burn the used ones. At least not in an indoor wood stove. But I did seem a demo out in Iowa of an old steam-powered tractor being fueled with baskets of corncobs.

    Leaf blowers: I reluctantly bought an electric leaf blower for getting leaves off of the valleys ofteh roof before they turn into a sodden ass of compost. But I’m not crazy about it, and I still hate the gasoline ones that people use for minutes and minutes and hours.

    I started buying the unscented laundry products about 12 years ago, and now I can’t stand the scented ones. I guess it’s like people who give up smoking. We also do most of our drying on a line in the back (Florida has a law that permits clotheslines and overrides all neighborhood covenants or whatever), or on the shower-curtain rod. Workls for me, and keeps the electric bill very low.

  • Tom

    Excuse me: that was meant to be “a sodden MASS of copost….” Oops.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.