Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Does It Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence by Dani Rabaiotti and Nick Caruso



First off, this is - I shit you not - an actual goddamn book written by actual scientists. Let that sink for a minute and ruin your day. That's right - while you are out there making peanuts slaving away for that supervisor that always looks at you funny, there are people making a comfortable living trying to figure out if a sea cucumber has an anus (it does). Kind of makes you question your life choices, doesn't it? Stay in school, kids! In my next life, I am going to be a seacucumberanusologist, and I am going to live that shit up.

You may wonder, is there anything actually interesting in this book? Shockingly, yes! Did you know that herring can communicate by farting? If you said yes, you are a liar and I want you off my blog immediately. If you said, no, here's another fun fact for you. A beaded lacewing can kill termites with a chemical fart. Now there's a nice conversation starter for a dinner party. Also, baby koalas eat their mothers' feces, and hyenas eat bones and have white shit. So there you have it.

My grandson gave me this book after a relevant conversation we had at a family dinner. It had something to do with the relationship between age and farting power. I was unable to find any extant research on the topic, but when Metamucil becomes a staple of your diet, what do you expect? I think he did it to shock or embarrass me, but please. The thing about teenagers is that they seem to forget that everyone older than them also used to be a teenager, and the idea that I would blink at a book about farts is ridiculous. And if someone gives me a book, I am going to read it and review it, so here we are.

If you are actually still reading this, I imagine it is because you are waiting for the summary of what farts and what doesn't. So here are a few highlights. Things that don't - jellyfish, anemones, pretty much all birds (though they are featured in the related volume, "Does it shit on your car?"), goldfish, sloths, and clams. Things that do - tortoises, buffalo, unicorns (inferred), pythons, wombats (who cares?), mongooses (not mongeese), geckos, hamsters, and humans, especially if they are familiar with my son-in-law's "authentic muffuletta sandwiches." Damn it Gerry, there is no "authentic" food that includes Oscar Meyer ham. For crying out loud.

9 comments:

  1. That last paragraph did me in! Excellent prose! I'm tempted to find this book because it reminds me that I love to read this type of nonfiction. Not all nonfiction, mind you. Just the kind that delves into the minutiae. Have you read any of Mary Roach's books? They're both incredibly informative and funny. And sometimes pretty gross, depending on the subject matter.

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    1. I read Stiff, and I thought it was pretty great. Hard to gross me out at this point.

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  2. I did know about the unicorns (see Dragon's Egg) and I know what a lacewing is. I did not know they farted although I did know they are good for killing other pests in the garden. Methods aside, they can live in my garden anytime. I didn't know herrings communicated by farting, but I am pretty sure my dad does or tries to. He has an innate ability to fart during a conversation when he wants to make a particular point of getting his feelings across on certain matters. Mom claims he can fart on demand and wants to know why we can't bottle the stuff and use it to power the car. Uhm. No clear answer from me on that one. Pythons. Well, I won't be getting close enough to test that one. Wonderful post despite the fragrance.

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  3. Wow :D to all of this :D this post was a good use of my time. Not even kidding :D

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  4. I am enlightened. I now know the truth about mongooses. That fact probably replaced something else in my brain, like my phone number- but I don't want people calling me anyway.

    Great review!

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    1. If only we could choose the things we remember and the things we forget...

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  5. Brilliant. Can't beat a giggle to start the day

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