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Can you spare a rectangle?

This fellow's very serious about toilet paper. Specifically Scott Toilet Paper and their recent move to 3.7-inch-long sheets (down from four inchers). Apparently they're thicker but shorter, and Mr. Mouse Print is incensed at a real/perceived diminution in value. There is a surprising amount of vitriol to be found in the comments to the post. Really, this is heady stuff.

But I have no dog in this race, as they say, for I'm a Charmin Ultra girl.

Which reminds me of a wonderful line from Phil of the Future, but I can't find the quote anywhere. But in the show there is some mention of the possibility of conservation of toilet paper. The camera turns to Phil's malevolent younger sister Pim who says something very much like, "Sorry. I'm a twenty-sheet girl and I ain't changing."

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I'm sorry, Debra, you've failed that shopping challenge. I have a rule of thumb for toilet paper purchases: absolute maximum price, twenty-five cents per roll. Therefore, you divide the number of rolls in the package by 4 and that should equal the dollar cost of your purchase. The forty rolls should cost no more than ten dollars. And we're talking Canadian dollars! Any time I see a price that beats my minimum, I stock up. (I just went into my pantry and attempted to count how many rolls I have in stock right now. I quit counting at 200. Yes, I may be a little strange.... But I'm a very good shopper!)


But what *brand*, Susan? Do you go for economy over comfort?


At 25 cents a roll, it sounds like economy is most important to Susan.


Oh, no, Tom! My bottom is far too delicate for 'economy'! It's Charmin'. I'm going to post a picture on my blog, just to prove it. Of the toilet paper, that is - not my bottom.


you know the penrose tiling story? A mathematician called Roger Penrose "invented" (derived the formula for) a way of stacking together five-sided shapes. For some reason, this is very suitable for toiltet paper -- the "quilted" kind -- becuase if they use four or three or six sided "embossments" the leaves all stick together or something, but the five-sided "embossing" had just the right kind of stick-togetherness while sheets would peel off the roll OK. Anyway, Penrose sued the toliet paper company for using the tiling pattern without his permission (or paying him a lot of money, more like).

This is true, I am sure it is all on Google somewhere....It was hard to believe it at the time when it was all being reported in newspapers.


Yes! I just did a search and here's the story:

Weird. Doesn't seem like the sort of thing someone should be able to copyright.


Well I know some people who would have responded to my Penrose story by accusing me of exaggeration, Debra. I am touched by your faith! Yes, all very strange -- I think the loo paper people solved it in the end by switching to embossed flowers, or hearts, or some such, which nobody could claim to have devised or patented.


But what would motivate you to make up a story about toilet paper design?

It's weird, though, this copyright of a design.

Meanwhile, I just noticed that the Google ad above this form is for "All-in-one commodes -- toilet safety frames, raised toilet seats, bariatric commodes and more!" The other one's for a recessed toilet paper holder.

Life is good.


By the way, Susan, I haven't actually ordered toilet paper from Amazon. In fact, I don't know how much I spend on it--though I'll be more attentive in future. I told my mailman how funny the idea seemed to me of making him deliver my groceries, given that he comes to the house with book packages virtually every day. Making him come with crates of toilet paper seems both funny and cruel.


I went to Whole Foods today and spent 16 cents a roll. I think that's about $200 Canadian. Or something. Anyway it's 100% recyled 2 ply blah blah blah. And it's 4 x 4.5. Inches.


Sounds about as satsifying as the stuff they used to have in Catholic school. Anyone else have this? It was *individual* sheets that had the absorbing power of cardboard. By individual sheets I mean it wasn't a roll of toilet paper: a dispenser dispensed single sheets that were never on a roll.


Ahhh, so you are the product of a Catholic school education. That explains much. I had 12 years of Catholic school.


Oh? You're probably right. Mine was 3rd-9th grades.


The episode where Pim says "Sorry, Lana. I'm a 20-sheeter and I ain't changin'," is called "Age Before Beauty", and can be found on YouTube if you search for: Phil of the Future 112 Moi ah

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Reading Herodotus: A Guided Tour through the Wild Boars, Dancing Suitors, and Crazy Tyrants of The History. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

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