Three tales of historical farts
1. Older people often talk about how much better entertainment was in the old days. But in the 12th century, the pinnacle of entertainment was a guy
jumping in the air, whistling and farting at the same time. This dazzling spectacle "one jump, one whistle and one fart", was performed just once a year for Henry II, for which its performer, Roland the Farter, was paid a handsome annual wage.
2. The library at Waseda University in Japan is home to a great many unique historical artefacts. It's also home to an incredible scroll, 10 metres long, dating from 1846 and depicting various stages in an elaborate farting contest. The scroll, known as He-gassen, is part of a minor tradition of immortalising guff-offs — other butt-scrolls dating from as early as the 1400s.
3. Nineteenth-century entertainer Le Petomane ("The Fartamaniac"), had extraordinary control over his anal sphincter, and could "inhale" air through his rectum and control the speed at which it came out. This meant he could, among other things, imitate cannon fire and play O Sole Mio on an ocarina stuck up his bottom. His act was a massive hit, and he performed at the Moulin Rouge for several years. (via Mental Floss)
Families and their picky eaters
1. Having been told that it's rude to call dinner "gross", our 4-year-old is finding increasingly creative ways to express himself:
"This tastes . . . unlucky to me."
"This sends my mouth into outer space." (That's bad.)
"Cauliflower is" - pinches fingers together - "this much delicious."
2. I remember my kid around this age saying that broccoli did not have as strong a desire to be eaten as, say, mac and cheese, and the apples I had just given him "tasted like sadness".
3. Toast is "too spicy" for my kid (he's 13). My 16-year-old daughter thinks sparkling water tastes like TV static so I have at least one creative type.
4. Four-year-old grandson: "I feel sorry for mushrooms. They mean well but no one likes them."
5. My younger once told me she couldn't eat something because "my teeth are tired".
Unidentified among the parsnips
Outscathing them all
Anne Martin of Helensville reckons her Latin teacher at school could outscathe any of today's Sideswipe specimens. "Trying to teach you Latin," she commented, "is like trying to push a loaded wheelbarrow up a muddy path." That's been etched on my memory ever since.