Friday, 11 May 2012
I agree with Montaigne who admitted “There is no pleasure to me without communication: there is not so much as a sprightly thought comes into my mind that it does not grieve me to have produced alone, and that I have no one to tell it to.”
In his essay on coaches he writes:
“Will you ask me, whence comes the custom of blessing those who sneeze? We break wind three several ways; that which sallies from below is too filthy; that which breaks out from the mouth carries with it some reproach of having eaten too much; the third eruption is sneezing, which because it proceeds from the head, and is without offense, we give it this civil reception: do not laugh at this distinction; for they say 'tis Aristotle's........”
Since my cancer operation I fart from the front, which is not to be commended and is one of the reasons I am now a recluse. Hitler was also prone to passing gas. He regularly swallowed up to 28 drugs, including "anti-gas" pills which contained strychnine.
Quite the most surprising news this week is that dinosaur farts caused climate change. Their flatulence over 150 million years, according to Professor Graeme Ruxton of St Andrews University, Scotland, produced enormous quantities of the climate-warming gas methane.
Large plant-eating sauropods would have been the main culprits because of the huge amounts of greenery they consumed. Professor Ruxton calculates that collectively the animals would have produced more than 520m tons of methane a year; more than all today's modern sources put together. It is thought these huge amounts could easily have been enough to warm the planet. It is even possible the climate change was so catastrophic it caused the dinosaurs’ eventual demise.
One of the animals, a 90-ton argentinosaurus, 140ft in length, consumed half a ton of food in one day. After breaking down in the animal's stomach it would have produced thousands of litres of the greenhouse gas compared with a modern cow which only produces 200 litres of methane daily.
In Malawi, a new bill in the country is trying to make it against the law to fart in public.
The Local Courts Bill reads: "Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way shall be guilty of a misdemeanour."
At a time when I was much troubled I bought a pair of fart-catching underpants which had carbon sewn in the seat. I see there is now a Fart Absorbing Blanket which uses a layer of material sewn into the blanket that basically locks up odour molecules.
Blanket facts, according to the advertisement:
It borrows from military technology, comes in three sizes. And is available in beige and white. Price ranges from $30 to $60 -- depending upon size.
François Rabelais believed that a failure to fart could result in death. In one story, Pantagruel finds himself on the Island of Ruach where the inhabitants eat nothing but wind and suffer terribly from colic: “they all fart as they die, the men loudly, the women soundlessly…”
Rabelais describes a man who literally explodes:
“...according to the custom of the country, he was ending his days with a burst. ‘But tell me, my good people,’ said Panurge, “couldn’t you neatly bind up his belly with good stout girths, or strong hoops of sorb-apple wood, or of iron, if need be? If he were bound up like that he wouldn’t throw out his cargo so easily, or burst so soon.’
Panurge had no sooner finished speaking than we heard a loud, piercing report in the air, as if some mighty oak were splitting in two. Thereupon the neighbours said that the bursting was over, and that this report had been his death-fart.”
(François Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel: Fifth Book 1564)
Aristophanes loved a fart joke but my favourite comes from lovely John Aubrey in his Brief Lives:
“...This Earle of Oxford, making of his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to Travell 7 yeares. On his returne the Queen welcomed him home, and sayd, My Lord, I had forgott the Fart.”
I have recently converted to the belief that Shakespeare was the nom-de-plume of Oxford. He “went to travel 7 yeares” parallels the empty years of Shakespeare.
There is also the story of the well-bred young man who out riding with his fiancée when his horse broke wind noisily. He hastened to apologise but the young lady put him at his ease. She told him: “I thought it was the horse.”
Acker Bilk’s brother once told me how they were playing at a Hunt Ball. Queuing for the buffet he broke wind. The MOH turned to Acker in fury: “Your damned brother has broken wind before my wife.”
“Oh well,” said Acker, “I don’t suppose he realised it were her turn.”
A PASSING THOUGHT
We are told that the ancient Olympic ceremony of the lighting of a torch dates all the way back to 1936 and was a Nazi Publicity stunt. Worse, the Royal Mint has issued a golden coin to celebrate the Greek Olympics which bears the representation of ‘the gods’ - unfortunately they represent Roman gods.
Increasingly the shambles the Olympic Games has become is the symbol of our "Coallision" government. According to Herodotus, the Ancient Medes debated every subject twice. Once when drunk and again when sober. Our government appears to take the first option only. I wonder would it not be an idea to ask a man to run our country who has created and run a giant successful Empire?
Yes, Rupert Murdoch is our only hope. The only snag is he has been running Britain for thirty years. And look what a mess our Septic Isle is in.
THE WIND AND THE REIGN
Prince Charles was emblazoned across several newspaper front pages after presenting the weather for BBC Scotland. Our loyal papers could not find a bad word to say about the 63-year-old heir apparent, with the Daily Mail applauding the prince's bid to "rain supreme" and the Daily Express and the Times calling for him "long to rain over us". But the final word must be left with Her Majesty's Daily Telegraph. "The Prince's demeanour and performance recalled the golden days of TV forecasting, the era of Bill Giles and Michael Fish," the paper said in a triumphant leader.