Some art and toilet humorâ€¦ That is the topic of this first post after returning to Manila after a nearly 4 week vacation in Europe. Trust me, I shall return to food and produce in the days ahead, but first some mini-rants for your amusement (after all, what goes in must eventually come out, right?)â€¦ Can you guess whose buttocks these are? Notice the fine detailing, the odd smoothness yet crackled nature of the surface, the wonderful patinaâ€¦need some help? He used a slingshot to kill this big bad guy. Yup, itâ€™s Davidâ€™s rear end. And it is a photo of a postcard of the original sculpture by Michelangelo now housed at the Galleria dell Accademia in Florence (no photos allowed in the museum), under a wonderful skylight that ensures no pigeons poop on it and damage the carrara marble. This is not the copy that stands in the Piazza de la Signora near the Ponte Vecchio or the other copy at the Piazzale Michelangelo across the river. The odd thing about this â€œmasterpieceâ€ which some consider the finest sculpture in the world (!?) is that it is intentionally out of proportion. The buttocks are probably to scale, but the hands are unusually large and the head unusually smallâ€¦the reason? Michelangelo believed that someone looking at the statue from the street level would have a distorted perspective so he intentionally altered key appendages to achieve a more appealing visual impactâ€¦ It is stunning but I wasnâ€™t too keen on the oversized handsâ€¦perhaps only to scratch his IBS.
So what does Davidâ€™s buttocks have to do with anything? Well, first up, letâ€™s talk about IBS or my new acronym for â€œItchy Butt Syndrome.â€ Have any of you ever noticed that after a 12+ hour direct flight in a modern wide-bodied jet, where the average temperature is about 60 degrees F and the humidity levels close to 20%, and you have been sitting for 99% of the time on some incredibly modern polyester fiber, that your buttocks get ITCHY? I am convinced that the wide expanse of epidermis does not get much moisture and turns wickedly dry, possibly more so as you get older. My wife and daughter claim that all would be well with moisturizers that they bring by the gallon whenever we travel. I have a serious dislike for the slimy stuff so I never ever use it. So instead I get IBS. I also notice that it isnâ€™t only on planes but after a long sleep in a cold and dry environment. I may be the only one on the planet afflicted with this newly named syndrome but I can think of two novel solutions: wiper-like contraptions like big combs that can go back and forth over your rear end for a nice â€œscratchâ€ post-flight or after waking in the morning; or if you are more socially conscious, you can always attempt to maneuver in the tiny plane toilets and spray your rear end with an Evian Brumisateur to alleviate the drynessâ€¦
Worse than IBS, is CPS or â€œCork Poop Syndrome.â€ Which is what happens when after a long-haul flight, your body is so dehydrated, fed such incredibly Lilliputian portions of mystery meat and so appalled at the thought of taking a dump in-flight (as you ride air pockets “without really sitting” according to my mom, and often with several passengers just 18 inches away with only a thin wall separating you from them) that your intestines turn into human waste compactors that create theseâ€¦wellâ€¦â€œcork poop.â€ After a long flight and in the comfort of your home or nice hotel room, you know once the CP has been popped and normal plumbing functions are restored. Oh, and by the way, there is no truth to the rumor that your bowel movements are vaporized and shot out into the atmosphere while 36,000 feet in the air. Everything goes into a holding tank in the plane that is emptied after landing.
Speaking of CP, WHAT is up with European TP (toilet paper)??? I mean things have improved slightly in the past two decades but the average hotel TP is just horrific! I remember on a trip to Paris a few years ago, we stayed in a very nice hotel but after I dashed to the toilette to rid myself of a CP, I was faced with near wax-paper-like-TPâ€¦ I wanted to just wrap it up and store it in the fridgeâ€¦ for one brief outrageous moment I almost asked a friend in Manila to DHL me several rolls of my favored Charminâ€¦ Is there a difference in our European and Asian or American poops that there would need to be a marked difference in the quality of toilet paper??? Geez, if you are particular, bring your own from home on your next trip!
Finally, on the subject of buttocksâ€¦something really needs to be done about excessively sized rear-ends and excessively small airline seats. On our recent flight from Rome to Amsterdam, there was a lady whose rear end was â€œwider than a barnâ€ as my Australian cousin might describe it. I mean, this lady needed those reflective signs in black and yellow that say â€œCAUTION! WIDE LOADâ€. My entire rear end, which is large, I admit, would have easily fit in less than one of her cheeks. I have nothing against overweight folks, I consider myself one of them, but I do have a problem with other folks invading my personal space. The poor passenger seated next to this woman had oodles and oodles of fat flopping over and under the armrest onto her lap, and she opted to just stand near the lavatories for much of the 2 hour flight rather than drown under the fat of her neighbor. That is just a bit gross. And donâ€™t give me the â€œitâ€™s a thyroid problem excuse,â€ as probably less than 5% of all obese folks have serious thyroid issues. I say all of this in jest, of course, and I donâ€™t mean to really offend anyone who is overweight, but if you sit next to me in the future, I hope to design a plexiglass barrier that will slot in halfway down the armrest to delineate the space which I have paid for and intend to defendâ€¦ Of course the other solution is to make the airline seats bigger or buy a first class seat where there is no risk of neighborly overflow… while I am being a bit obnoxious, which I will blame on jet lag, I think that since the cost of transporting someone on a plane across continents is driven by weight and volume (like freight), I think it is MOST FAIR if your airfare is driven by the combined weight of your body and your luggage! That way, if you are overweight in luggage but skinny as a reed, you will pay about the same as an overweight human with no checked in baggage…heeheehee. Please do not take this post too seriously…will be back with regular programming soon.