Monday, December 12, 2011

Off-The-Wall Books That I've Read

I've been blessed (or cursed) with a restless curiosity ever since I can remember. This curiosity isn't confined to one, two or a half-dozen subjects.  I am curious about everything in general, with streaks of being curious about something in particular.  One of the most enjoyable ways I've found to satisfy this rambling curiosity is by reading. Books, magazines,  the back of cereal boxes,  advertisements on the freeway,  whatever I can get my hands on.  Of course, over the years I've developed some major areas that have lasted, and I've also skimmed the surface of some fairly strange books. Here's a partial list of them, and I assure you they are all genuine. I tend to keep copies of the strangest ones, and all of these that I write about are in my library.


A word of caution for the sensitive; some of these books will require me to use profanity and some of the subjects can be a little disgusting. If that warning hasn't scared you off, you're my kind of reader!

1 . Le Petomane, Jean Nohain & F. Caradee
For the uninitiated, Le Petomane was the stage name of the Frenchman Joseph Pujols (1857-1945), and this is his biography translated from the French.  A rough translation of Le Petomane to English gives us The Fart Maniac.  He was a star of the Moulin Rouge in Paris and if you haven't guessed by now, his act consisted of passing gas. I should say artfully passing gas, for he could blow out a candle from a foot away,  do 'impression farts' and make it sound like a machine gun and other things,  put a cigarette in his butt and remove it to blow out smoke.  Evidently young Joseph discovered his skilled anus one day while he was sitting in the bath tub as a child and discovered he could suck up the water with his butt-hole and squirt it back out like a fountain. With a lot of practice he trained his nether regions to do all kinds of tricks and the audiences loved him.  He took his act seriously and ate a special diet so he would not 'offend' his audience with nasty smelling emanations from his anal orifice.  Sadly, like many a great artist, his employers began to take advantage of him by demanding more outlandish and crude stunts, and when he tried to open his own theater so he could keep his act 'pure' he was promptly sued by the owners of the Moulin Rouge.

2. The F Word edited by Jesse Sheidlower
Pretty much every possible variation on the infamous word and phrases it is used in, from absofuckinglutely to titfuck and everything in between. Plus it has the history of the word and some of the phrases it is used in and a brief section about the word in other languages. It is arranged in alphabetical order making it easy to look up just the right variant for those special people or occasions. Has many acronyms also, with their histories (when known). For example, we've all heard the word snafu, but did you know that it is an acronym for situation normal all fucked up? Well, maybe you did, but there's still plenty of stuff in this book that you don't know, smart fucker!

3. A**hole No More - by X. Crement
This book is subtitled - A Self Help Guide For Recovering A**holes and Their Victims.  After reading the book, I must ask what's the big deal with the 'stars' instead of just spelling out ASSHOLE on the cover? On the inside the book doesn't pussy-foot around. It tells it like it is and is everything you ever wanted to know about assholism (Dr. X. Crement thinks it is a disease like alcoholism I guess).  Seems kind of silly to write a book about assholes and assholism and not just spell it out on the front cover.  But that's just me. I thought this book was written with tongue in cheek, but I'm not so sure anymore. Oh, and be forewarned. I've got the first edition printed in 1990. There has been a revision since then (2010), and now there are three volumes of asshole books.  Really? Is there that much more to say about the subject that it warrants two more volumes?  I think not. I think the author is trying to cash in on the subject, and of course you know what that makes him...

4. The Unflushables : Outhouses - History and Humor (featuring two, three and five story outhouses)
You read it right.  It is possible (the book has pictures to prove it) to have a multi-floored outhouse. Granted, the placement and engineering of a multi-level outhouse is crucial.  This book has many pictures, including the outhouses of famous people like Abraham Lincoln and Johann Sebastian Bach. Yes, even the rich and famous need to heed the call of nature as the pictures readily show. As well as the stench of an outhouse, the size and variety of them can take your breath away. There are one-holers, two-holers, multi-holers. Big ones, small ones, fancy ones, plain ones. But it doesn't matter how fancy or plain, they all serve the same purpose.  This book gave me pause to  reflect on the vanishing outhouse, but not for very long.

5. How To Shit In The Woods - Kathleen Meyer
The subtitle of this book is : An environmentally sound approach to a lost art. From the very beginning, the author shows she's serious about her subject. Consider the very first chapter:
 Chapter 1: Anatomy Of A Crap - Techniques, Styles, Getting Comfortable
And a special chapter for the ladies:
Chapter 5: For Women Only : How Not To Pee In Your Boots 
This book is a treasure trove of practical information about doing your business in the bushes. I especially like the section in the back of the book that deals with the definition of the word SHIT.

So there you have it.  After reading these books I am convinced that no matter what the subject, there is someone out there who will write a book about it, if someone hasn't already.  And I'm proof that there will be at least one demented reader that will read it.

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