Monday, March 19, 2007

Who Cut the Cheese - Jim Dawson

This happened about 15 years back. Early morning in one of the class rooms , where HS Prasad is teaching us the Morse code. Prasad is an expert in HAM Radio and Morse codes and as an offer, he was willing to take us through the Morse code and operations of the equipment , Di-Da-Di stuff. He will generate the Di-Da-Da-Di sounds with the equipment ( hand made electronics with a speaker ), and we the students write down the coded messages as if we are in some remote location during WW II. As it progressed, few of us in the back bench heard an additional sound to the Di-Da from the class and people who were immersed in the tutorial, mistook this for another signal and promptly entered X instead of D. in Morse cod D is __ . . and X is __ . . __
If you want to know more on Morse code visit
This came to my mind while reading this book I just completed.

Can you tell me what consists 59% nitrogen, 21 % hydrogen , 9 % CO2 , 7 % methane , 4% oxygen and less than 1 % of ammonia and skatole ? No it is not the atmosphere. It is the 'wind held within'. Yes Sir, it is the dreaded 4 letter word called Fart . And that is the subject ( don't twist your nose and eyebrows) of the latest book I just finished reading.

Do you know that the possible reason for the world war II could be fart ? Neither did I. Apparently, Adolf Hitler, got addicted to anti-flatulents to cure his chronic flatulence whose toxic ingreadients known to have side effects of Dimentia, hallucinations, visions.

This marvellous book written by Jim Dawson, looks at ( or should we say smells) fart in a different perspective. Fart or intestine gas was always there and have been a myth from the known era. There are legends and myths associated with this subject and there is a taboo exist on discussing the topic open in public, without a tag of humor.

The book has detailed chapters on scientific, cultural , social , religious , artistic and legends on this subject and each indeed are dealt with utmost seriousness. While it is so, you cant read this without breaking wind ( I'm sorry laughing aloud) at almost every page.

Do you know what a fizzle, a flutterbuster , a bronx cheer , 'talking German' , berry , 'wallpaper peeler' , 'floating an air biscuit' , a blue dart, a nose burner, fluff, butlers revenge, slider, trouser cough, whiffer , rasper , breezer, back fire, etc are ? I cant describe each of them for obvious reasons. You can make out that these are the names called for breaking wind depends upon its noise , and toxic and musical effects. You can also learn , what it is called in other languages as well.

As mentioned earlier an average fart consists 59% nitrogen, 21 % hydrogen , 9 % CO2 , 7 % methane , 4% oxygen and less than 1 % of ammonia and skatole ( this give it the odour). 1 parts per 100 million of air , people can smell it. Hydrogen sulfide gives it the rotten egg smell.

It also dispel the myth that men farts more than women. An average human emit approx 400 of gas every day. Sufficient enough to contribute substantially to the global warming. While this is true, 1.3 Billion cows and domestic animals causes much more damage to the environment that the entire human population. Elephant ( naturally ) emits maximum gas for a living being , but they are too less a population to make any damage to the world.

There is a full chapter on 'Le Potamane' who made a fortune with his ability to fart at will. About 100 years ago, he was the star attraction at eh famous Moulin Rouge of Paris. Chapters include detailed study of fart subject and languages used in the early writings in English , when there was restriction of moral and other grounds, including that of Shakespeare.

Book is also deal in detail the musical industry and the TV and movie industry where this has become a subject of discussion. Do you recall the famous scene in the movie "Liar, Liar" where Jim Carrey running out of the elevator exclaiming " Its me" ? It also reproduces the live radio recording of the first ever world wide crepitation contest, apart from other literary works of known writers.

Believe me, this is a hilarious book. A thoroughly researched well written scholarly book. There is nothing funny about the way he has written and done his work. It deserve the credit.

Warning : Please do not read this book in public places or while travelling in train or flights or when you are with your family and friends. You will laugh un naturally and will attract unpleasant attention. This is from my experience.
Who cut the cheese ( A cultural history of the fart ) - Jim Dawson
10speed Press
175 pages
9.95$ plus postage

While on the subject, here is an interesting link you should visit to enlighten yourselves..