We don’t seem to know, for, as Marc van de Mieroop points out: ‘ Archaeological evidence of latrines in houses is lacking, and public toilets do not seem to hаvе existed either’ (The Ancient Mesopotamian City, p. 159). Out in the village-communes that would not have been a great problem, but in what are often called ‘cities’, it was a different matter entirely. In the rivers and canals? But that was also drinking water.
23 May, 2013
3 January, 2013
On a quiet day recently, while the wind and snow blew outside, and while the bicycle stood idle waiting for a clear day, I came across a small chart in the corner. Yoga! It was full of yoga positions. Eager for some new forms of exercise, I peered more closely and decided that most of them are, a) seriously bad for you, and b) impossible. But I was intrigued. And so I began, grunting, puffing, cursing, laughing. Eventually I managed to get one or two of them:
I have no idea what it’s called:
And I certainly don’ t chant some weird stuff:
But it’s actually quite enjoyable and gets most of the creaks and stiffness out of the system.
Ah yes, it also great for the intestines, since yoga helps one fart wondrously.
(ht cp for the pics)
PS. Come to think of it, this may well be the latest in a series, of which earlier moments include the ‘pleasures of middle age‘ (my post varicose vein treatment stockings), and ‘how to be a tool‘ (my flotation suit collection).
27 December, 2012
Since the Fall was actually the invention of agriculture and all its evils – such as bread, beer, wine, and wool – I’m joining the palaeo-crowd come new year. It’s the paleao-diet for me: huge hunks of dead animal, fish, a few plants that grow as they will. And just to make sure I go the whole hog, I’ll take up palaeo-exercise as well. I will spend my days pretending I am dodging wild animals, running down prey, lifting heavy things and walking long distances with them, strutting around a fire as my prey roasts.
To make sure it’s authentic, I’m going for the real palaeo-experience. I will ensure that I eat only game animals I have hunted myself. None of this domesticated beef, lamb and pork for me. That will involve a project to bring back the auroch, the predecessor of the domesticated bovine:
A mean bugger it was, standing more than two metres at the shoulders, aggressive, with long, inwardly curved horns.
Actually, that’s all crap, since the real palaeo-diet involves mostly stuff you can gather from the ground: spiders, cockroaches, grubs, bugs, marsh rats and other scrumptious vermin, odd looking grasses, unidentifiable mushrooms, strange roots. And I will go out for long runs and return dejected and weary, shaking my head at the game we were unable to catch, lamenting my companions skewered on the horns of some wild beast. I will crouch by the fire roasting my ‘catch’ – making sure I burn off the spider legs, retrieve the cockroaches from the fire at just the right moment, turn the field mouse that I grasped in a desperate lunge. For exercise, I will spend my days shuffling about, bent double, looking intently at the ground, and leaping upon whatever crawling thing happens to pass my way, since our hunter-gatherer ancestors spent most of their time doing precisely that. And there will be no alcohol at all, since one of the main reasons human beings settled into agriculture was for the production of beer and wine.
I will ensure that I die at no later than 30 – bugger, I’ll just have to commit suicide, since I’m already older than that.
23 September, 2012
Leave a Comment
Last week the swimming season at the beach’s ocean baths began … and the sea water was absolutely freezing, like melt-water from the alps. 16 degrees said the sign, but it felt like maybe 12 degrees. All the same, we plunged in, gasping and yelping. After about four laps, the tingling feeling goes, the extremities either retreat or become numb. About 15 minutes later we emerged, a deep shade of purple.
Yet every day, throughout winter, some old fogeys take their constitutional dip: half an hour or more, marching up and down, waist deep, or swimming their laps. How do they manage? I would suggest that at a certain age the nervous system simply packs it in, sensations disappear, and you can plunge into Antarctic waters as though in the tropics. The brain too slows down, since any normal person will find that basic functions are fatally affected if you swim in less than 16 degrees.
14 June, 2012
Leave a Comment
Sadly those super-tight pressure stockings I have been wearing for the last couple of weeks after my varicose vein treatment have come off. Sadly? You’ve got to be kidding. It’s a massive release. Today the phlebologist:
a. stuck needles into the pockets of blood and vein and squeezed out the leftover blood.
b. laughed when I told him of the curious and changing pattern of bruises over the last two weeks.
c. told me that the body actually dissolves the veins, appropriates some of the stuff and gets rid of the rest.
The last point explains much. I have been thoroughly intrigued by the shifting tender spots, the strange pains in different parts, the moving bruises … One major vein system in the right leg has been completely closed down, so many of the most intense sensations are there. A bit weird to feel it but not see it happening. And then of course a few new veins will grow.
10 May, 2012
In gathering material for my ‘
Music Album Musical Bum of the Bible’ (and there is far more than one might initially imagine), occasionally a gem appears. For instance, this effort at a philosophy of farting:
Farts are not all equal. Most are ho-hum, run-of-the-mill farts that are just a question of necessity. Some, however, are great and noble farts. They have resonance, volume, stink, they bring relief, express one’s mood, extend the self outward; they are one’s very soul expressed, squeezed, enfleured, captured, and displayed as an offering of the self, available just for a moment, then gone on the wind. In erupting from the body, the fart splits the body open, rendering it no longer single and hermetically sealed. Its orifice apert, the body has become double within itself; difference and otherness are within. The is the Fart Absolute, the distillate of distillate of one’s being.
Valerie Allen, On Farting, p. 104.
29 April, 2012
A poem for spring:
Summer has come in -
Sing loudly! Cuckoo.
Seed grows and meadow blooms
And the wood is in leaf.
The ewe bleats after the lamb,
The cow lows after her calf,
The bullock leaps and the buck farts.
Sing merrily! Cuckoo.
(from Valerie Allen, On Farting)
Nothing like the excitement of spring and mating season …
24 April, 2012
Leave a Comment
Another gem from the old fogey ramblings embodied in Diakonoff’s The Paths of History:
Because of its composite origin, and the heterogeneous character of its traditions, which in certain circumstances can be regarded as values, and in other circumstances, as anti-values, no nation has a right to regard itself better than another: the English are not necessarily a nation of gentlemen, the Germans are no Herrenrasse, the Russians are not those who bear God in their hearts and who are destined to make the whole world happy.
I hope I get to ramble like that when I’m a hoary old fogey.
24 April, 2012
Leave a Comment
The transient fart can only be performed, never archived … it does not exist qua fart until it passes the anal threshold. A fart in futuro is just trapped wind. A fart long past no longer exists. A fart comes into being in the moment of transition, in between inside and outside, in between cheeks.
Valerie Allen, On Farting, pp. 2-3 (my night-time reading)
20 March, 2012
Leave a Comment