The call of nature

Jim Kalafus

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Indeed. Or, the faint rumble from up forward. And the distant "Boom!" Walter Lord wrote about, that made the moribund stoker sit up and say "That was a cannon!," might very well NOT have been a cannon.

The menu choices were heavy on dairy, gas producing vegetables, and beef. There WERE no healthy choice options, and for someone with even a slight degree of lactose intolerance, or what 1912 ads called "Sluggish bowels, with their many accompanying problems," the various combinations had potential to make the latter half of one's evening....very long. As Mrs. Collyer found out.

Somewhere, in my archive, (I SWEAR this is true) I have a photo of a Hudson River steamboat with its bow jauntily sitting on the railroad tracks, and its stern down in deep water. The original note accompanying this ca 1894 image explained that the captain was seized with gastric problems and inadvertantly crashed the ship ashore while in panic mode. So outre a tale that it HAS to be true, but I've never had the time to archivally research it. Perhaps it would make a great "Futility" type of precursor/preface for Titanic: Gastric Tales of the Tragedy.
 
Aug 8, 2007
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>> Indeed. Or, the faint rumble from up forward. And the distant "Boom!" Walter Lord wrote about, that made the moribund stoker sit up and say "That was a cannon!," might very well NOT have been a cannon. <<

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"That was a cannon!" is so much more creative than simply blaming the person next to him!!
 
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My father, as a 17-year old chemistry student in 1930, rigged up a Kipps apparatus in his family cellar. He decided to make hydrogen suplphide. His parents had decided to invite the Methodist minister and his wife to tea - the large family, apart from my father, were assembled round the table. A terrible smell wafted in. Nobody said anything but attended assiduously to their tea. The smell grew worse instead of fading. Eventually my grandfather, unable to remain silent any longer, shouted "Who's trumped?" Nobody confessed. My grandmother eventually said, "It's Harry, in the cellar, making a gas. It's for his education."

Grandfather threatened all sorts of dreadful retribution but, restrained by grandmother, in the end merely put an outlet pipe and a baffle on the air grating, and my father continued his studies in peace.

So, if the circumstances were awful enough, even Victorians like my grandfather could be driven to demand the culprit own up. Not a problem in a breezy lifeboat, though, surely?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Lest any here should believe that the Victorians and Edwardians were particularly sensitive about flatulence, let's take a moment to remember the great 'fartiste' Joseph Pujol, known as Le Petomane. Pujol was reputed to be the highest paid stage performer of his time, and he delighted audiences from all social strata including the crowned heads of Europe and even Edwardian No 1 - the King of England himself.

Pujol's repertoire, delivered entirely deadpan and in full evening dress, included impressions, sound affects and musical interpretations. Everything from a thunderstorm and a 21-gun salute to the French national anthem and, as an impressive finale, a convincing re-enactment of the San Francisco earthquake. He could also extinguish candles from a range of several yards, but his artistry was surely wasted on vulgar demonstrations of that kind.

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Jim Kalafus

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Given his popularity, it seems natural that at least a few gramophone recordings must have been made.

If you can find it, there is a "soundie" from 1927, showing Judy Garland's favorite vaudeville act from her stage childhood (really!), Haji Baba, The Trained Regurgitator. He did for vomiting what Pujol did for gas. The films shows him swallowing water and then kerosene, and vomiting them back up in reverse order. He purges the kerosene on to a small doll house, which explodes, and then spews forth the water and extinguishes the blaze!

Had he and Pujol ever shared a bill, it would have been show biz history in the making.

>His mother must have been sooooooo proud...

A thought I have each time I am reminded of the Ace Ventura films.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Actually, Jim, Pujol's performance and that of Haji Baba were very similar, though from different directions. Pujol was not making use of flatulence but rather of a rare ability to easily injest either air or liquids into his rear and then expel them at a controlled rate. He could project a jet of water to a distance of several yards. And of course there was no limit to his capacity to continually injest air and then expel it in interesting ways. Had he been restricted to the use of true flatulence he would soon, as it were, have run out of steam.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Hmmm... it is definitely a better listen than either Madonna's La Isla Bonita or Who's That Girl. John Lennon's bout of flatulence, captured for posterity on the Two Virgins album, was better recorded (in stereo) but far less disciplined a performance. Good beat, easy to dance to, I give it an 8.

Since, amongst his many routines, was a faux-flatulence reenactment of the San Francisco Earthquake, might it be possible that mouldering away in some archive is a rare recording of "The Fart Maniac's" nether-regions-salute to the Titanic disaster? Lusitania, perhaps? With Bob and I picking up the scent, and hot on the trail, they cannot stay hidden for long.

Dear LORD, so many promising leads to run down at once.... but, the project seems bathed in the sweet smell of success, and I cannot wait to really let go and get started....
 

Jim Kalafus

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SIGN FROM THE GODS...AN OMEN, AS IT WERE may lightning strike me dead if this is not truthful. I was speaking with an ET friend of mine earlier this evening, I'll refer to him as Brandon McKinney to protect his identity, and about twnety minutes into the conversation he asked me about the distant sound of gunfire and cannons that my phone receiver seemed to be picking up and transmitting. I could not hear it, but I am told that it ebbed and flowed for the rest of our talk, an eerie cannonade that was apparently taking place in my front yard, but which I was unable to hear.

And, no, neither of us was trying to...uhhh...shift the blame, so to speak.

Having just re-read, and implicitly believed, D. Scott Rogo's underrated tome "Phone Calls From The Dead," it soon occurred to me that the interference came from the 2203 Titanic souls who BADLY want this line of investigation pursued... signalling to me in the way they thought best, but somehow reaching Brandon instead.

I don't know about Brandon, but I'M still shaking...

(Actual Facebook headline)Brandon McKinney is wondering why the ghosts of long dead Titanic passengers passing gas are haunting his cell phone...
 
Jul 9, 2004
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>I don't know about Brandon, but I'M still shaking...

I'm still shaking too.

Because OMG it was SO SCARY...!!! I feel like I've watched the Blair Witch Project! OMG!!

(Seriously, I know that I surely wasn't shifting the blame.)
 

Bob Godfrey

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Perhaps you were traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. Did you lose control of the horizontal and the vertical?
 

Jim Kalafus

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No! I clearly remained on my front porch the entire time.

Having re-read Phone Calls From the Dead, I know how these things work... the dead are forever, somehow, eavesdropping. My favorite example was of a person who heard a voice she recognized as that of a dead friend come on the line and say "Hot dog." Proving, conclusively, that when the dead DO get the chance to converse from the great beyond, they frequently "blow it" by being painfully trivial, or oblique. As happened with us.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Well, it certainly sounds like Monsieur Pujol somehow crossed the barrier to join in the conversation, but why would he choose to reveal his finer feelings to you two when there are so many politicians in far greater need of his particular form of commentary?
 

Jim Kalafus

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Because he knew of this thread. And knew, somehow, of a way to summon the Titanic souls to produce what Patrick Dennis refered to as "A fanfaronade of flatulence," while we were discussing which 1980s teen films showcased realistic fashions, and which didn't. At first, I think Brandon assumed that the mounting roar of battle was me offering commentary on the wardrobes sported by Corey Haim and Corey Feldman (wardrobes which, offscreen, would have gotten you laughed at or beaten up, back in the 80s) but, soon, the connection was made between the Titanic, flatulent expulsions, and the spirit world.

The dead are amongst us. And, they've been eating escarole...
 

Bob Godfrey

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I wonder how he got wind of this thread. Still, coulda been worse. At least you didn't come face to face with the shade of Mr Baba and regurgitations from the dead. But wait a minute. Baba? Baber? Nah, can't be.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Still, coulda been worse. At least you didn't come face to face with the shade of Mr Baba and regurgitations from the dead.

The phantom vomiting noises last manifested when we were discussing "The Beatles on the Titanic" show at Branson, some years ago. Since then they have been all but silent. As I was telling Brandon and Jason, when I get a certain tingling in my surgical scar it can mean one of two things; the dead are reaching out to me, or it's going to rain. Yesterday was one of those rare times when it was both.
 
Jul 9, 2004
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Your phone line, Jim, is frequently populated with the odd interference of what HAS to be callings from the paranormal beyond. They manifest themselves in many ways. Remember the shrieking voices a few discussions back, Jim? Are you SURE they were the loud kids across the street as their necks seemingly were rung by their parents who were just as unruly as they? Are you sure they weren't voices from the grave calling for help? And do you realize - that the many network errors that we have experienced may not have JUST been network errors? But rather the spirit of the dead interfering with the flow of conversation when conversation switched to subjects to which they were related? OMG!

*starts seeing faces of the dead in the rumpled up kleenexes in the trash can*
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Are you SURE they were the loud kids across the street as their necks seemingly were rung by their parents who were just as unruly as they?

Yes, Brandon, I'm sorry to say that I am SURE that irritatingly loud children and their parents now share my formerly quiet patch of the woods. Even Miss Grace, screaming hysterically in Italian while swatting them with a broom handle and driving them back from my acreage, did little to subdue them.