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This is my job. It’s what I do.


Nothing. Nil. Nada. Bupkis. Sweet fuck-all. I have been a complete and utter waste of human skin since I was rousted out of my nice warm bed by a hammering at the door at the cruelly early hour of one. Pee-em.

Near as I can piece it together, we set fire to the chimney last night. Again. A small fire this time, but apparently scary enough to make me grievously overdrink myself afterwards. Apparently.

Apparently, Uncle B was able to get the sweeps out on an emergency basis. Apparently. Again. That was them hammering on the door. He didn’t hear it because he was in the back of the house doing…I don’t know…his job or something. I’m unclear on this point.

So I answered the door like Mad Madam Mim, with one open eye and my jeans-front wadded up in my fist. I’m becoming heavily dependent on this crazy American woman gambit, you know.

Anyhow, the chimney really shouldn’t have sooted up this fast (our last chimney fire was on January 8). So, we probably need a bigger-diameter chimney lining (>£1K) and/or a new stove (>£1K). Probably both.

We think the old stove was Frankensteined together from pieces and is missing some bits. You might think a stove would be a simple thing with few important constituent elements, but you’d be SO WRONG. Jesus, what’s the matter with you?

It’s supposed to have some fire bricks and the air intake probably isn’t working right, which means our combustibles aren’t completely combusting but are laying down a coating of flammable soot on their way up the chimney.

Or some shit. I don’t know. We’re coming to the end of the heating season, so I refuse to think about it yet.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve waited patiently for twelve hours for some hair o’ the dog…


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2009, 9:08 pm

I’m not COMPLETELY useless. I did put on some clean pants and sit in the car while Uncle B drove into town and mailed something. So there’s that.

Hey, PnB! I just got a hit on the Google search phrase: what type of bean is a “porknbean”?

Dude, if you’re still around? Haricot beans. Aka navy beans.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2009, 9:21 pm

The Wikipedia article on baked beans is improbably interesting. And accurate, in my experience.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2009, 9:23 pm

Oh. Oh, Jesus. And if you can follow that to the Wikipedia article on flatulence and not laugh like a drain, you have a heart of stone. I think it’s the serious, scholarly tone:

Such a mixture of gases is known as flatus, and is expelled from the rectum in a process colloquially referred to as “passing gas” or “farting”. Flatus is brought to the rectum by the same process which causes feces to descend from the large intestine. The noises commonly associated with flatulence are caused by the vibration of the anal sphincter, and occasionally by the closed buttocks.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2009, 9:27 pm

Oh. Ohhhhhh. And then there’s the Wikipedia article on fart:

The English word fart is one of the oldest words in the English vocabulary. Its Indo-European origins are confirmed by the many cognate words in other Indo-European languages: It is cognate with Greek πέρδομαι (perdomai), Latin pēdĕre, Sanskrit pardate, Avestan pərəδaiti, and Russian пердеть (perdet’), Polish “pierd” << PIE *perd [break wind loudly] or *pezd [the same, softly] (with a Polish false friend "fart" meaning "fluke, good luck") all of which mean the same thing. Like most Indo-European roots in the Germanic languages, it was altered by Grimm's law, so that Indo-European /p/ > /f/, and /d/ > /t/, as the German cognate furzen also manifests.[3][4][5]

According to the The Alphabet of Manliness, the assigning of blame for farting is part of a ritual of behaviour. This involves deception and a back and forth rhyming game including prases such as:

He who observed it served it.
He who first detected it ejected it.
He who said the rhyme did the crime.
Whoever spoke last set off the blast.
The next person who speaks is the person who reeks.[17]

Other usages
Fart has been used to name cocktails, an example being a ‘Duck fart’, playing on the humorous reference to flatulence—an example of toilet humour.[18] It has also been used in the term ‘fart sack’, military slang for a bed or sleeping bag.[19] A ‘nun’s fart’ is a French term for a type of sweet dessert sprinkled with sugar.[20]

God, I love the internet.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2009, 9:29 pm

Hey, wait…what happened to “he who smelt it, dealt it”? The classic of the genre!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2009, 9:29 pm


All alone in here, tellin’ myself fart jokes.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2009, 9:31 pm


Comment from bad cat robot
Time: March 26, 2009, 9:48 pm

Hi Weas! Can I have a beer? Hey if you want fart/bathroom jokes, apparently gastro-enterologists collect ’em. At least mine does. And pictures of really, really exotic outhouses. I’m glad, personally, that he takes such an interest in his work.

Mmm. Chimney fires. Was this little old lady out where my folks live in Maine. Her house had been built sometime before the Revolution. Her idea of cleaning the chimney was to deliberately start a chimney fire. The fire department just asked her to give them a head’s up before she did it. House is still standing, so maybe she knew what she was doing.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2009, 9:54 pm

It makes a kind of sense. But I’d feel really crap if I burned the house down with Weasel Science.

You know, they really didn’t get all that much soot out of it. I wonder if we just had a little flammable ‘plug’ at the top or something…

Comment from Mrs. Hill
Time: March 26, 2009, 10:05 pm

“Better to fart and bear the shame than not to fart and bear the pain”

is the one my Ancient and Venerable Mother has always attributed to her father, but I see from googling that it was hardly original.

However, said googling also produced an entire webpage devoted to fart poetry — http ://www.fart-sounds.net/fart_rhymes_from_the_schoolyard.htm — so I am grateful to my ancestors for the lead.

My new favorite:

There was a young fellow from Sparta.
A really magnificent farter.
On the strength of one bean
He’d fart “God Save the Queen,”
And Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

It goes on . . . and on!

Comment from bad cat robot
Time: March 26, 2009, 10:06 pm

check for raccoons. I had a nest of ’em in a (fortunately) unused chimney. Waited until the little furballs left the nest and had the chimney removed. Momma came back next spring looking for her penthouse, and ripped up the roof (muttering to herself, “chimney’s can’t just *walk* away, dammit”). Of course the roof leaked then.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2009, 10:43 pm

Raccoons like to nest high. And shit high. When my mother died, I found a great pile of raccoon shit on her balcony (it was a pet).

It’s rooks with us. The sweeps pulled a gigantic nest out when we first moved in. Next year, after the Summer, they pulled out another, smaller construction. So they capped the chimbley with a bird cage thingie.

I think that thing might be collecting stuff that caught on fire.

Comment from Rodent
Time: March 26, 2009, 10:51 pm

Been living with wood stoves for 20 years, just build a rip-roarin’ fire once or twice a year, ignore the bright red chimney and plume visible from space…
Chimney brush? Nah…

Comment from scubafreak
Time: March 26, 2009, 11:39 pm

Mrs Stoatie Badg-weasil, have you ever watched the Mythbusters Fart episode? You really should. AND keeps some fire-stopper sticks next to the fireplace. AND avoid EVER feeding your cat Sardines in Mustard sauce.

(That damn cat thought it was funny as hell watching me hurl from the stench. Even worse, she was laying on top of a basket of MY FRESHLY WASHED LAUNDRY when she cracked off that shot of butt dust.

I miss that cat.)

Comment from Rodent
Time: March 26, 2009, 11:43 pm

‘Spose I should catch up…
Congratulations on a safe and happy Weasel exodus. Since everything I touch tends to turn instantly to shit, I’ve waited until (almost) all was done to send well-wishes.
Sorry that Damien never returned, I sorta expected he’d pop back up as you were boarding the plane, just to maximize the complexity. (mmmph, what’s that you say? yesss, i are an drunken engineer, wasser point?) I’m sure he found a home where he’s now proud sire to many little Damiens.
Near had a coronary when Uncle B. said “Charlotte’s gone”, thought she had passed away (or bailed out) on the flight over. Glad you actually weren’t too delayed and that she’s adapted to her new home.

Since we still have filthy yellow smileys I’m guessing you’ve been too busy with Badgers and sheep and Vicars and Valu-rite and mainly Badgers to unpack yer system. Next time ye decide to re-reside on the other side of the planet let me know and I’ll walk you thru moving all yer good data across this magic internet thing. (Speaking of Vicars, you did, um, make sure the kitchen table was, um, free, when she came over, right?)

You can send that nice Mr. Hannan over here, a poor trade for a fine Weasel, but better than what we’ve got now. I’m sure I have a spare birth certificate around here somewhere if he wants to be president. That’ll give him two up (the BC and brains) over the current occupant. 😉

Comment from porknbean
Time: March 27, 2009, 12:35 am

I like the Great Northern bean myself. Those don’t traumatize the plumbing.

Kidney beans? Yuck. Those can vibrate the anal sphincter like a palsied harp.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: March 27, 2009, 12:42 am

I’m sorry, I can’t say that word. It was THE F-word in my mother’s house … Her famous line: “The only thing worse than doing it is discussing it.” The couple times I have managed to utter it (only after she had shuffled off this mortal coil), I fully expected her to smite me from The Hereafter. It’s not worth the psychic pain.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 27, 2009, 8:33 am

For my mother, Felix, it was the nose words. You know. Snot. Booger. I feel quite wicked just typing them.

My grandmother, on the other hand, had an irrational aversion to the word “squirt.” Which does sound awfully rude, when you think about it. And, of course — being a weasel and all — it inevitably found a reason to came out my mouth whenever I was around her.

Rodent, there will be no little Damiens. He got the snip right and proper at six months. By then, his little brain was already set in aspic. I hope some nice old lady got him, but I’m not hopeful.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: March 27, 2009, 11:48 am

I actually really like kidney beans. They’re one of my favourites. I’m not sure about their fart potential, I can’t say I’ve really tried to measure it in any scientific way.

They’re the type of beans we put in chili over here. Apparently, the authentic thing is to use pinto beans, but chili without red kidney beans after all this time just wouldn’t feel right.

Chimney fires can be scary. They’re meant to pull smoke out and away from the house, not glow red and emit a low-frequency rumbling sound. Even though the fire is contained within an upended brick sarcophagus, it still gets your heart racing, and you spend the night periodically going up into the loft to check it’s not on fire. Not nice at all.

Comment from Joan of Argghh!
Time: March 27, 2009, 12:20 pm

The worst sort of fart?

Silent, but violent.

Comment from Jill
Time: March 27, 2009, 12:52 pm

The GWC said to me last night, “Ya ever fart so hard your back cracked?”

I had to laugh. After all, he said it after my back cracked giving him a goodnight kiss.

Comment from scubafreak
Time: March 27, 2009, 1:50 pm

No, but I had a cat fart so bad that I had to air the house out for half an hour…..

See above 😉

Comment from Nicholas the Slide
Time: March 27, 2009, 2:48 pm

My cat was never one for that kind of problem (then again, I never fed him anything but bagged cat food)… however I grew up with dogs, at one point we owned three. And well, you can do the math from there.

Although the funniest stink story I have wasn’t the fault of the dog. It was the dog’s reaction – to immediately lay his head on the floor and put one paw over his nose. My siblings and I were rolling laughing, my dad was bellowing likewise, and my mom came running in from the back of the house to find out what the ruckus was about.

And no, I’m not going to point out who was to blame. 😛

Comment from scubafreak
Time: March 27, 2009, 3:06 pm

I think the worst part was the look of absolute contentment she had as she settled back down on MY CLEAN LAUNDRY!!!!

Comment from Mrs. Hill
Time: March 27, 2009, 3:06 pm

“They’re meant to pull smoke out and away from the house, not glow red and emit a low-frequency rumbling sound.”

The rumbling is bad enough, but if you have a ceramic liner, that high frequency “ping” is the sound of doom!

Creosote is evil. Happily, our present chimney has a cleanout door near the base for bottom-up brush access — Mr. Hill is getting a little old for the Chim Chim Cheree routine!

Comment from Bob
Time: March 27, 2009, 4:18 pm

I once caused a chimney fire in a house where Abe Lincoln once slept. I think he was the last one to clean it.

Comment from Jill
Time: March 27, 2009, 6:04 pm

My mom hates the word ‘pee’. She prefers ‘tinkle’.

I’m too old to tinkle. 😉

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 27, 2009, 6:20 pm

Interesting comments about chimneys – thanks!

Over here, the whole business of fires and stoves has become rather fraught. The ‘health and safety’ Nazis have moved in like so many hungry wolves and the installation of woodburners and the like is rapidly acquiring the same sort of costly mystique that surrounds gas appliances.

Naturally, this means more expense and it is becoming impossible to know how much that they claim is ‘necessary’ is actually just nonsense spun to generate money.

For example, the ‘wisdom’ here is that you almost always need a lined chimney when using a stove – and that lining is made out of re-cast powdered unicorn horn, cunningly fashioned to resemble stainless steel. The reasoning seems to be that, to function efficiently, a stove needs a hot chimney. It also needs not to be depositing tar on the surface of an old brick one.

My suspicious badgery mind keeps wondering, in that case, how Badger House’s poor old chimney has managed to survive, these past four hundred years or so, with God alone knows what having been burned down the ages to keep the occupants alive.

It also makes me wonder how that old sage Ben Franklin managed. He, by all accounts, invented woodburning stoves and I don’t seem to recall they had stainless steel chimney liners back then.

Anyway, a fire such as Rodent advocates would be regarded as akin to a Small Nuclear Incident here and one installer solemnly informed me that in the event of a chimney fire, the unicorn horn liner must be replaced. ‘At how many hundred of pounds?!’ I blinked at him.

So, anyway and whatever… Badger House might be getting a new stove this summer. And a new chimney lining.

I am currently perfecting my best, ‘this is a stick-up! Hand over the money or the kid gets it!’ voice.

Comment from Nicholas the Slide
Time: March 27, 2009, 6:46 pm

a fire such as Rodent advocates would be regarded as akin to a Small Nuclear Incident here

Meanwhile, in the Slide’s world, the resulting celebration might be mistaken by the unfamiliar for some sort of bizarre pagan ritual. Heheheheheheheheheheheh…

Wait… did I say that out loud? *shifty pyromaniac eyes*

Comment from Mrs. Hill
Time: March 27, 2009, 8:42 pm

“costly mystique that surrounds gas appliances.”

?! Must google — ‘scuse me . . .

Okay, I did my homework, and I see a lot of information about y’all getting your gas from registered Corgis — that doesn’t sound very efficient! (Also a strongly worded warning against cowboys — anti-American gasbags!)

Comment from unkawill
Time: March 28, 2009, 12:16 am

Loved the post. Thanks for the laughs. Got here from Wachels.

Have y’all made any plans to hook up yet?

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