Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stages of a Relationship

From the movie Love and Other Disasters (2006):
Therapist: Relationships are best measured by farting.

Peter Simon: Excuse me?

Therapist: The stages of a relationship can be defined by farting. Stage one is the conspiracy of silence. This is a fantasy period where both parties pretend that they have no bodily waste. This illusion is very quickly shattered by that first shy, "Ooh, did you fart," followed by the sheepish admission of truth. This heralds a period of deeper intimacy. A period I like to call the "Fart Honeymoon", where both parties find each other's gas just the cutest thing in the world. But, of course, no honeymoon can last forever. And so we reach the critical fork in the fart. Either the fart loses its power to amuse and embarrass thereby signifying true love, or else it begins to annoy and disgust, thereby symbolizing all that is blocked and rancid in the formerly beloved. Do you see what I'm getting at?
Hat tip: My brother's wife, who took it down in shorthand while watching the movie.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Dog Did It

Carol Drinkwater, The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love and Olive Oil in the South of France (Woodstock: Overlook Press, 2001), p. 39:
"What about Pamela?" asks Clarisse.

I turn my head in surprise. Who is Pamela?

Clarisse points to the gate, and there, panting and waddling toward us, is a startlingly obese German shepherd. The addition of Pamela unbalances the carefully considered equilibrium of my already dangerously overloaded Golf, and worse, elle fait les petits pets all the way from Paris to Cannes. And they are lethal! Embracing a new family is one thing, but by the time we reach Aix-en-Provence, I am seriously asking myself, can I love this smelly dog?

Monday, October 25, 2010

An Admirable Faculty in Farting

Sir Roger L'Estrange, Fables Of Aesop And other Eminent Mythologists, 7th ed. (London: D. Brown, 1724), p. 321 (no. 306, entitled An Ass puts in for an Office):
There was a Bantering Droll got himself into a very good Equipage and Employment, by an admirable Faculty he had in Farting. The Success of this Buffon encourag'd an Ass to put in for a Place too; for, says he, I'll Fart with that Puppy for his Commission, and leave it to the Judgment of those that preferred him, which has the Clearer, and Better scented Pipe of the Two.

The Moral.

Where Publique Ministers encourage Buffonery, 'tis no wonder if Buffons set up for Publique Ministers.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Sing the Praises of a Fart

A Member of the Athenian Society, Athenian Sport: or, Two Thousand Paradoxes Merrily Argued, to Amuse and Divert the Age (London: B. Bragg, 1707), pp. 114-115 = Paradox XXVI (The Best Perfume, or a Paradox in Praise of Farting):
I sing the Praises of a Fart;
That I may do't by Rules of Art,
I will invoke no Deity,
But butter'd Pease and Furmity,
And think their Help sufficient
To fit and furnish my Intent.
For sure I must not use high Strains,
For fear it bluster out in Grains:
When Virgil's Gnat, and Ovid's Flea,
And Homer's Frogs strive for the day,
There is no reason in my mind,
That a brave Fart should come behind;
Since that you may it parallel
With any thing that doth excel:
Musick is but a Fart, that's sent
From the Guts of an Instrument:
The Scholar but farts, when he gains
Learning with cracking of his Brains,
And when he 'as spent much pain and toil,
Thomas and Dun to reconcile;
And to learn the abstracting Art,
What does he get by't? Not a Fart.
The Soldier makes his Foes to run,
With but the Farting of a Gun;
That's if he make the Bullet whistle,
Else 'tis no better than a Fizle:
And if withal the Wind do stir up
Rain, 'tis but a Fart in Syrrup.
They are but Farts, the Words we say,
Words are but Wind, and so are they.
Applause is but a Fart, the crude
Blast of the fickle Multitude.
Fine Boats that lie the Thames about,
Be but Farts several Docks let out.
Some of our Projects were, I think,
But Politick Farts; foh, how they stink!
As soon as born, they by and by,
Fart-like, but only breathe and die,
Farts are as good as Land, for both
We hold in Tail, and let them both:
Only the difference here is, that
Farts are let at a lower rate.
I'll say no more, for this is right,
That for my Guts I cannot write,
Tho I should study all my days,
Rhimes that are worth the thing I praise.
What I have said, take in good part,
If not, I do not care a FART.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Strange Remedy

Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, Part. 2, Sec. 5, Mem. 3, Subs. 2:
Amatus Lusitanus, cent. 4. curat. 54, for a hypochondriacal person, that was extremely tormented with wind, prescribes a strange remedy. Put a pair of bellows' end into a clyster pipe, and applying it into the fundament, open the bowels, so draw forth the wind, natura non admittit vacuum. He vaunts he was the first invented this remedy, and by means of it speedily eased a melancholy man. Of the cure of this flatuous melancholy, read more in Fienus de Flatibus, cap. 26. et passim alias.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Prayer in the Privy

John Harrington A Dish of Daynties for the Devill:
A godlie father sitting on a draught
to do as need and nature hath us taught,
        Mumbled as was his manner certayn prayers,
        And unto him the Devill straight repayres,
And boldly to revile him he begins,
Alledging that such prayres were deadly sins
        And that yt proov'd he was devoyde of grace
        to speake to God from so unfitt a place.

        The reverent man, though at the first dismayd,
Yet stronge in faith, thus to the Devill he sayd.
Thou damned Spirite, wicked false and lying,
dispayring thine own good, and ours envying
each take his dew, and me thou canst not hurt
to god my prayr I meant, to thee the durt.

        Pure prayer ascends to him that high doth sitt,
        Down falls the filth for fields of hell more fitt.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Boys' Night Out

[Edward Ward], A Compleat and Humorous Account of all the Remarkable Clubs and Societies in the Cities of London and Westminster..., 7th ed. (London: J. Wren, 1756), pp. 31-36 = Of the FARTING Club:
[31] Of all the fantastical Clubs that ever took Pains to make themselves stink in the Nostrils of the Public, sure no ridiculous Community ever came up to this windy Society, which was certainly establish'd by a Parcel of empty Sparks, about Thirty Years since, at a Public House in Cripplegate Parish, where they used to meet once a Week to poison the neighbouring Air with their unsavory Crepitations, and were so vain in their Ambition to out Fart one another, that they used to diet themselves against their Club Nights with Cabbage, Onions, and Pease-Porridge, that every one's Bumfiddle might be the better qualify'd to sound forth its Emulation. The Stewards, who were chosen once a Quarter, [32] being the Auricular Judges of all Fundamental Disputes that should arise between the Buttocks of the odoriferous Assembly. The Liquors that they drank, in order to tune their Arses, were new Ale and Juniper Water, till every one was swell'd like a blown Bag Pipe, and then they began to Thunder out whole Vollies, like a Regiment of Trainbands in a vigorous Attack upon Bunhill-Fields Dunghill, till the Room they sat in stunk ten Times stronger than a Tom-Turd's Lay-stall: Yet, in their windy Eruptions, they had so nice a Regard to Lapet-Cleanliness, that an old Alms-Woman had a better Pension from the Club, than she had from the Parish, to give her constant Attendance in the next Room, and if any Member was suspected of a Brewers Miscarriage, he was presently sent in to be examined by the Matron, who, after searching his Breeches, and narrowly inspecting the hind Lappet of his Shirt, thro' her crack'd Spectacles, made her Report accordingly; if unsoil'd, then a Spank on the Bum was given to the Looby, as a Token of his Cleanliness; but if the nasty Bird had befoul'd his Nest, then, Beshit upon Honour, was her return to the Board, and the laxative Offender was amerc'd for his Default. When ever any Health was begun in the Society, it was always honour'd with the windy Compliment of a Gun from the Stern, and drank with as much Formality, as Commmanders push about the Royal Health, on board their wooden Citadels, every Member's Affection to the Person nam'd, being measured by the Strength and Loudness of the stinking Report with which he crown'd his Bumper, Thus whoever wanted a Fart for a Great Man's Health, was enjoyn'd the Pennance of a Brimmer extraordinary; also look'd upon by the whole Company as an unmannerly Fellow. They were all profitable Customers to the Grey-Pea-Woman, who used to double her Quantity upon the Club Night, for the Benefit of the Society, and attend them as constantly as the Dame with her Firmity does the Hospital Gate every Smithfield Market, each charging his Guts with the Fartative Pills, by [33] shoveling down whole Handfuls, that what went in like Bullets, might come out like Gunpowder. Tho' their Weekly Meeting was held in Honour to the Rump, yet every Club Night they drank the King's Health, and then there was such Trumping about to signalize their Loyalty, that the Victualler was forced to burn Rosemary in his Kitchen, for fear the Expansion of the nauseous Fumes should poison his other Customers: So that though the Society was begun and carried on for some Time with abundance of Secrecy, yet they were soon smelt out, insomuch that the Sound of their Bumfiddles reach'd the Ears of the Neighbourhood, where, in an Alley adjacent, there happened to dwell an arch Fellow, who by long Study and Experience, had acquir'd an admirable Perfection in the new Art of Farting, by clapping his right Hand under his left Arm-pit, where he would gather Wind, and discharge it so surprizingly, that he would give you a Lady's Fart, a Brewer's Fart, a Bumkin's Fart, an old Woman's Slur, or a Maiden Fizzle, &c. so very tunably and natural, that they should entertain the Ears without offending the Nostrils, and provoke Laughter by the Sound, without the Punishment of a Stink: And this windy Operator having heard of the Fame of this expert Concert of Wind Music, made Interest to be admitted into the Trumpeting Society, that he might manifest his Excellence among the cracking Performers, still concealing to himself the Mystery he was Master of, that what he did by Art, might pass for the Works of Nature; and though it was his daily Practice to offer his Farts at Taverns, as Fiddlers at a Fair do their Scrapes and Sonnets, yet he did not care they should know his Calling, for fear they should except against so mercenary a Factor as should make Farts a Commodity. No sooner had they received him into their foisting Assembly, and, according to Custom, welcom'd their new Brother with a thundering Peal of Buttock Ordinance, but, in Respect to the Company, he faces them with his Arse, and returns their Compliment with such a succession of [34] Trumps, that he gave them more Diversity of Sounds in one cleanly Volley, than their whole Concert of Fundaments were able to imitate; upon which he was as kindly embrac'd, with all the Marks of Favour, as if they took him to be a God of the Winds, and his Arse to be a Miracle, allowing him at once to be an absolute Master of the Science of Ventosity, and respected him as much as a School of young Fencers do the Gladiator that teaches them: Every crepitant Member straining his Backside to come up to the Excellency of their worthy Example, till the old Woman was forc'd to run home for fresh Dishclouts, to wipe away the Dregs of their over-fruitful Endeavours, till at last some of the Members, through their penetrating Judgment, discovering the Fallacy, and finding the croaking Harmony they so much admir'd to be perform'd by Art instead of Nature, in a mighty Passion, they stunk him out of the Society, for an Emperic and a Counterfeit, though, upon humble Submission, they afterwards admitted him into a servile Post, and allow'd him Sixpence a Night to be Musician in Ordinary to their Farting Club.
Since he who by deceitful Arts,
With Arms instead of Arse lets Farts,
Shall be despis'd, because his Fun,
Can't fairly call the Sound its own.
Then what must he deserves who steals
His Wit, and treads on others Heels?
Whose busy Tongue makes public Use
Of what his Brains could ne'er produce.
Thus the stinking Society continued their Farting Concert for some Years with abundance of Decorum, till they had brought their Arses, by the Help of their Musician, into such excellent Tune, that they could command their Fundaments with as much Dexterity, as the best of the City Waits can a double Curtill; insomuch, that when any of the Members were so merrily disposed, as to entertain the rest with a Song or [35] Madrigal, the whole Choir of Bumfiddles struck into the Chorus, in such admirable Order, that a Stranger might have thought the whole Society had fed upon Scotch Bagpipes, and that the Drones had struck in their Arses, not that I can say they made a sweet Harmony, because the Breath of their Instruments came from such rotten Lungs, that every now and then would follow the Sound, In spite of all Retention, In these sort of Windy Recreations, they used to pass away their Club Evenings, till at length they grew so famous through the whole Parish, that their Neighbours and Passengers used to stop under the Window, and lend an Ear to their Arses, as if their Farts had been as musical as a Noise of Trumpets; and the very Boys and Girls in Imitation of their Harmony, went trumping with their Mouths along the Streets to School, till their Masters were forced to whip them till they stunk, to make them leave off Farting. No sooner were they thus arrived to the Zenith of their Glory, insomuch that their Repute began to reach the Ears, if not the Nostrils, of the Public, but some of the leading Members of the Crack-Fart Community, by extravagantly eating of Cabbage-Porridge, to put their Instruments in Tune, flung themselves, some into the Cholic, and others into a Diarrhaea, that several of the best Performers went Farting out of the World, and left nothing to Posterity, but an odious Stink behind them, it being positively asserted, by the Physicians that attended them, that the windy Diets they had eaten to Excess, had begot a Hurricane in their Guts, which had blown the whole Frame of Nature off the Hinges, and for want of a free Discharge through the Intestinum Rectum, had extended the Lactes into perfect Organ-Pipes, made Bellows of their Lungs, and puffed up the Vessels into such Turgent Vesicles, that had quite stagnated the Diastole Motion upon the Arteries, and consequently stopped the Pulsation of the Heart, to the Death of the Patients; and though the Wind found Vent just upon their Expiration, yet Nature was then too far spent to be relieved thereby. This Opinion of the Consult [36] of Physicians, taking Wind among the surviving Society, who attended several of their Brethren to the Grave, to honour their defunct Members with a Volley of Farts, as the military Heroes discharge a Round of Musquets, at the noble Interment of a Brother Soldier, and finding some Reafons to suspect that the same Food would bring them to the same End, they had the Wit to dissolve their Club, change their Cabbage Diet into substantial Beef, and to tie up their Fundaments by Degrees, from their accustomary Crepitation.
We read that Tubal Cain first found
In Cockle-Shells, sweet Musicks Sound;
And that the rural Nymphs and Swains,
Tun'd Reeds and Oat Straws on their Plains:
But sure no mortal Flesh aud Blood,
E'er heard before, since Noah's Flood,
Of Musick fizzl'd from a Gut,
Extended to the windy Scut.
Well may so many Birds excreet
The Dregs and Fesis of their Wit,
In beasty Songs, and bawdy Verses,
Since Men play Tunes upon their Arses.
E'n let such Heads and Tails unite,
That one may sing what th'others Write;
For swelling Rhimes are often found,
Like nauseous Farts, meer empty Sound.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Not Terribly Elegant

Lawrence Block, The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams, chapter 2:
She laid a hand on top of mine. “Bern,” she said gently, “I think we should think about getting something to eat.”

“Here? At the Bum Rap?”

“No, of course not. I thought—”

“Good, because we tried that once, remember? Maxine popped a couple of burritos in the microwave for us. It took forever before they were cool enough to eat, and by then they were stale.”

“I remember.”

“For days,” I said, “all I did was fart.” I frowned. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize now, Bern. That was a year and a half ago.”

“I’m not sorry I farted. I’m sorry I mentioned it. It’s not terribly elegant, is it? Talking about farting. Damn, I just did it again.”


“I don’t mean I farted again. I mentioned it again, that’s all. Isn’t it amazing that I’ll ordinarily go weeks on end without using the word ‘fart,’ and all of a sudden I can’t seem to get through a sentence without it?”
Hat tip: Mrs. Turdman.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Excerpts from The Benefit of Farting

Excerpts from The benefit of farting explain'd: or, the fundament-all cause of the distempers incident to the fair-sex, enquired into. Proving à posteriori most of the dis-ordures in-tail'd upon them, are owning to flatulencies not seasonably vented. Written in Spanish by Don Fartinando Puff-indorst, professor of bombast in the University of Crackow. And translated into English at the request, and for the use, of the Lady Damp-fart of Her-fart-shire. By Obadiah Fizzle, Groom of the Stool to the Princess of Arsimini in Sardinia. Long-Fart: (Longford in Ireland), printed by Simon Bumbubbard, at the sign of the Wind-Mill opposite Twattling-Street, 1722 (reprint 1735):
I therefore define a Fart, to be, A Nitro-Aerial Vapour, exhal'd from an adjacent Pond of Stagnant Water of a Saline Nature, and rarify'd and sublim'd into the Nose of a Microcosmical Alembic, by the gentle Heat of a STERCORARIOUS Balneum, with a strong Empyreuma, and forc'd thro' the Posteriours by the Compressive Power of the expulsive Faculty.


'Tis also a great Promoter of Mirth, for I've known one single Fart, that made an Escape, raise a Laugh of half an Hour, and the Celebrated Author of a Book called Laugh, and be Fat, proves Laughing to be a very wholesome exercise. Dr. Blow in his Treatise of the Fundiment-alls of Musick asserts, that the first Discovery of Harmony was owing to an Observation of Persons of different Sizes, sounding different Notes, in Musick, by Farting, for while one Farted in B fa bimi, another was observ'd to answer in F faut, and make that agreeable Concord call'd a Fifth, whence that Musical Part had its Name of Bum-Fiddle, and the first Invention of the Double Curtel was owing to this Observation; by this Rule it wou'd be an easy Matter to Form a Farting Consort, by ranging Persons of different Sizes in Order, as you wou'd a Ring of Bells, or a Set of Organ Pipes, which Entertainment wou'd prove much more Diverting round a Tea Table, than the usual one, Scandal; since the sweetest Harmony is allow'd by most, to proceed from GUTS. Then, that Lady wou'd be reckon'd the most agreeable in Company, who was readiest at Reportee; and to have a good Report behind her Back wou'd be allow'd a strong Argument of her Merit.


We've often heard, how the imprison'd Wind,
When in the Bowels of the Earth Confined,
And wanting vent, whate'er resists, it tears,
And overturns, what th' Earth above it bears,
Whole Towns, and People, in the wide rupture, fall,
Tho' one small vent at first, had sav'd them all.
So, in the Microcosm of Man, we find,
The like ill fate, attends a Fart confin'd,
For Cholick, Vapours, Spleen, and Melancholly,
Do wreck those, whs suppress it, for their folly.
Hence learn, what great Effects, small things produce!
The Capitol was sav'd from taking by a Goose.
Then, don't admire, that one small whiffling Fart,
Can guard from Spleen, the Citadel, your Heart.
And, tho' a Goose, let me in time persuade you,
To mind the Foes, that do Behind invade you;
That being, of such Appriz'd, you may prepare,
With speed, to plant your roaring Canons there.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Coleridge's Bowels

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, letter to his wife (June 5, 1804):
Whoever makes a sea voyage, should above all things provide themselves with aloetic pills, castor oil, & several other purgatives—as sometimes one will answer when others disagree—& everything depends on keeping the Body regularly open.
William Wordsworth, letter to Sir George Beaumont (August 31, 1804, on Coleridge):
He then gives a most melancholy account of an illness which held him during the whole of his voyage from Gibraltar to Malta except the last four or five days, a languor and oppression, and rejection of food, accompanied with a dangerous constipation, which compelled the Captain to hang out signals of distress to the Commodore for a surgeon to come on board. He was relieved from this at last after undergoing the most excruciating agonies, with the utmost danger of an inflammation in the bowels. All this appears to have been owing to his not having been furnished with proper opening medicines. The first week after his landing he was uncommonly well, but was afterwards seized with a fever which left him very low. He ends what relates to his health with saying that he is better on the whole, and that the only thing alarming in his case is a constant oppression in his breathing, the immediate cause of which is flatulence. He adds that the heat intense as it is does not oppress him, and that he is going to Sicily in a fortnight.—This account I consider on the whole as favourable as it is manifest that the obstruction in the Bowels, which would, as it seems, have cost him his life but for the timely aid of the Surgeon was entirely owing to a want of proper opening medicines, and the fever on his arrival is nothing more than what few I believe escape on their first arrival, in such a hot place at that season of the year. The difficulty in breathing I trust will soon disappear.
Excerpt from the first chapter of Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Darker Reflections, 1804-1834 (Pantheon Books, 1999):
On 4 May, a wind got up, and Coleridge composed a grateful sea-shanty for Captain Findlay, "who foretold a fair wind/ Of a constant mind", though "neither Poet, nor Sheep" could yet eat. But the wind turned into a squall, and then a storm, which carried away their foremost yard-arm on 6 May. He sank further into opium, besieged by "these Sleeps, these Horrors, these Frightful Dreams of Despair". He could no longer get up on deck, and was now seriously ill, with violent stomach pains and humiliating flatulence. A flowered curtain was rigged round his bunk, and he began to hallucinate, seeing "yellow faces" in the cloth. The ship was again becalmed, and he thought the flapping sails were fish dying on the deck. Mr Hardy, the surgeon of the Maidstone, was alerted and the rumour went round the convoy that one of the Speedwell's passengers was dying. Coleridge knew he had become the Jonas of the fleet.

The opium doses had completely blocked his bowels. The shame, guilt and horrid symbolism of this seized upon him. His body had closed upon itself, just as his mind had become fruitless and unproductive. He was a vessel full of mephitic horror. His journal becomes extraordinarily explicit, and details his sufferings with weird, unsparing exactitude. "Tuesday Night, a dreadful Labour, & fruitless throes, of costiveness — individual faeces, and constricted orifices. Went to bed & dozed & started in great distress."

Wednesday, 9 May was "a day of Horror". He spent the morning sitting over a bucket of hot water, "face convulsed, & the sweat streaming from me like Rain". Captain Findlay brought the Speedwell alongside the Maidstone, and sent for Mr Hardy. "The Surgeon instantly came, went back for Pipe & Syringe & returned & with extreme difficulty & the exertion of his utmost strength injected the latter. Good God!—What a sensation when the obstruction suddenly shot up!" Coleridge lay with a hot water bottle on his belly, "with pains & sore uneasiness, & indescribable desires", instructed to retain himself as long as possible. "At length went: O what a time! — equal in pain to any before. Anguish took away all disgust, & I picked out the hardened matter & after awhile was completely relieved. The poor mate who stood by me all this while had the tears running down his face."

The humiliation of this experience never left Coleridge. He knew it was caused by opium, and he reverted to it frequently in his Notebooks, and even in his later letters. From now on he dreaded the enema, as the secret sign and punishment for his addiction. The pain of "frightful constipation when the dead filth impales the lower Gut", was unlike any other illness, because it was shameful and could not be talked about "openly to all" like rheumatism, or other chronic complaints. It crept into his dreams, and haunted him with its grotesque symbolism of false birth and unproductivity. "To weep & sweat & moan & scream for parturience of an excrement with such pangs & such convulsions as a woman with an Infant heir of Immortality: for Sleep a pandemonium of all the shames and miseries of the past Life from earliest childhood all huddled together, and bronzed with one stormy Light of Terror & Self-torture. O this is hard, hard, hard."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rhapsody on Farts

Edward Abbey, Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals, ed. David Petersen (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1994), pp. 139-140:
Rhapsody on Farts: plaintive farts, resounding farts, explosive farts, reverberating farts, timid muffled farts, fluid farts, farts vigorous and robust, farts masculine, farts feminine, beastly farts, grim farts, lethal farts, poisonous farts, crushing farts, deadly farts, vicious and cruel farts.

There are the honest and manly unabashed farts of plumbers and locomotive engineers, the candid farts of farmers, the masculine and solitary farts of cowboys and sheepherders and rangers, the bold united farts of factory workers. There are the talented aerobatic farts of schoolboys, the bemused abstracted farts of college students, the soft mellow farts of old professors of philosophy. There are the farts protracted and sullen of infantry soldiers, the farts peremptory of sergeants, a la militaire of captains, pompous and brassy of colonels; the stern, powerful and prolonged artillery of generals.

There are the plaintive wistful farts of clerks, the suffocated farts of secretaries and stenographers, the nervous farts of switchboard operators, the farts pallid and timid of office receptionists and airline hostesses. There are the casual, indifferent farts of ward bosses and precinct captains, the ingratiating well-meant farts of candidates, the loud cheerful farts of governors, the forensic and embattled farts of congressmen, the magnificent thundering farts of senators, the proud stately farts of ambassadors and cabinet officers, the grave and politic farts of presidents and prime ministers.

There is the deliberate insolent fart of the pimp, the bitter fart of the whore, the aggressive fart of the car dealer and realtor, the stealthy fart of the burglar and the smug, satisfied fart of the money-lender, the insidious fart of the pornographer, the cruel fart of the model, the vulgar and brazen fart of the huckster, the vile sly fart of the mortician and swindler, the startled fart of the pickpocket. There are the farts dull and sorrowful of policemen, harsh of desk sergeants and detectives, crude and brutal of screws, wary and apprehensive of police commissioners.

There is the diffident fart of the seminarian, the gritty fart of the Bible student, the fart loud and exhortatory of the fundamentalist preacher, the incriminating and revealing fart of the evangelist, the mellifluous fart of the TV theologian, the impromptu fart of the organist and the fart sotto voce a la tempo of the choirmaster. There is the discreet and sanctimonious fart of the priest, the consecrated fart of the nun, the inadvertent fart of the altar boy, the irritable fart of the bishop, the painful and self-conscious fart of the cardinal, the solemn apostolic liturgical and infallible fart of the Pope himself. There will be finally the final divine omnipotent pretentious imperial fart of God. After that, nothing fartable will remain to be farted; for the mystery beyond God—the All-Source, the Brahman—does not fart.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Such a Concert of Music Within

William Cowper, letter to Lady Hesketh (November 17, 1785):
You must know that some years since, not many, when we began to feel ourselves a little pinched in our finances, I made an heroic resolution that I would drink no more. Accordingly I substituted half a pint of a certain Malt liquor called Ale instead of it, much against Mrs. Unwin's will, who opposed the innovation with all her might. But I was obstinate and had my own way as I generally have. The consequences were such a concert of Music within, such squeaking, croaking and scolding of stomach and bowels denied their wonted comfort, and such perpetual indigestions withal, that I was constrained to return again to the bottle.

I Lose No Time

William Cowper, letter to William Unwin (November 10, 1784):
The Critics will never know that four lines of it were composed while I had a dose of Ippecchecuana on my stomach, and a wooden vessel called a pail between my knees, and that in the very Article of—in short that I was delivered of the Emetic and the verses in the same moment. Knew they This, they would at least allow me to be a poet of singular industry, and confess that I lose no time.