“Resolutions when I Come to Be Old” by Jonathan Swift (1709)

“Resolutions when I Come to Be Old” by Jonathan Swift (1709)

  • Don’t marry a young woman
  • Don’t keep company unless they really want it
  • Don’t be angry, sad, envious or suspicious
  • Don’t complain about the modern area
  • Don’t like children
  • Don’t tell the same story over & over
  • Don’t neglect decency or hygiene
  • Don’t be too hard on the young
  • Don’t listen to gossip or tattling
  • Don’t give unsolicited advice
  • Find friends to let you know if you’re slipping up
  • Don’t talk much, especially about yourself
  • Don’t boast of past glories
  • Don’t listen to flattery
  • Don’t think you can land a young lady
  • Don’t seek a legacy
  • Don’t be too opinionated
  • Don’t observe all of these rules too closely.

“A Meditation upon a Broomstick” by Jonathan Swift (1701)

“A Meditation upon a Broomstick” by Jonathan Swift (1701)

  • The broomstick propped up in the corner was once a tree flowing with life
  • Now everyone who touches it does so out of drudgery
    • Supposed to make other things clean & makes itself dirty in the process
    • It’ll either be thrown out or in the fire in the end
  • That’s a lot like a man
    • Starts out looking good & clean, puts on a wig of hairs that aren’t his
      • Brooms wear straw hairs that aren’t theirs
  • If a broom is a tree standing on its head, a man is an animal with its faculties tied to rationality, his head where his heels ought to be – on the floor, groveling
    • But men set out to be reformers, correctors of abuse, raising up dust where was none before
    • Eventually he’ll be in the hands of a woman until he’s either thrown out with the garbage or in the fire to be burnt for heat

“Pantagruel” by François Rabelais (1532)


Is that a wood-burning oven in your hand or am I glad to see you?




The following is an account of Pantagruel, which is just as believable as that of Gargantua. No story will ever be as fantastic as that of Gargantua, except that of Pantagruel.

Chapter 1

Let’s start with his pedigree. In order to understand someone as good as Pantagruel, you have to understand his background. He came from a long line of great giants that started just after Cain killed Abel. That caused a great amount of fertility in the world and those who ate all the right food became giants. His first ancestor was Chalbroth. Another, Hurtali was able to survive the great flood by climbing on Noah’s ark like a horse while Noah fed him through the chimney.

Chapter 2

Gargantua was 444 when his wife, Badebec, gave birth to Pantagruel. However, Pantagruel was such a large baby that she suffocated under his great weight.

His name came from the fact that there had been a bad drought that killed nearly every plant and animal in the world. “Panta” comes from the Greek meaning “All”. “Gruel” comes from the Hagarene word for “Thirsty”. Before he was born, many provisions came out of his mother’s womb that made the world’s food abundant. He was also born a full head of hair.

Chapter 3

Gargantua was torn up about the situation. Badebec had died which devastated him. On the other hand, he was very happy about the birth of his new son. After consulting priests and poets, he decided to be happy since Badebec must be up in heaven smiling down on them.

Chapter 4

Pantagruel was an incredibly strong baby. He ate and drank so much food that all the local farmers were busy making food for him. They put him on a cow to nurse and he ended up eating the thing. They had to chain him down to keep him from eating everything.

Chapter 5

He grew up wandering around the countryside hunting, walking around and learning. When he was old enough, he was sent off to Poitier to learn. His teachers were scholars sitting around not doing very much. In order to give them something to do, he plucked a giant boulder from the countryside and put in the middle of a field for them to stare at and contemplate.

He traveled around the country visiting universities. In each city, he learned something new.

Bordeaux – not much
Rochelle – shipping
Avignon – fell in love with everything that moved
Valence – fighting between peasants and scholars
Toulouse – how to use swords and to dance
Montpellier – medicine
Nîmes – studied architecture of the Pont du Gard
Angers – didn’t stay too long because of the plague
Bourges – studied law
Orléans – played lots of tennis

Chapter 6

He met a fellow from Limousin pretending to be a Parisian but couldn’t really pull it off. He threatened the man until he started talking like the hick that he was.

Chapter 7

After finishing up with law in Orléans, he wanted to go to Paris. But before he left, he learned that an old bell had been buried in the ground more than two hundred years ago. He got most of the town to help him get it out and when he was bringing the bell back to the tower, it shook so much that the wines in all the town turned to vinegar.

When he arrived in Paris, all the people stared at him in the same way that they did to his father. He spent the first few days in the library.

Chapter 8

He received a letter from his father telling him to take advantage of Paris by leraning languages, medicine, religion and philosophy. He explains that he is very proud of him and that he’d go far if he continues his studies and learning.

Chapter 9

Pantagruel was walking around town and ran into a raggedly dressed man. He asks him what he is doing, what his story was, etc. The man answered in German, then Scottish, Spanish, … Pantagruel finally gets him to answer in French and he explains that his name is Panurge and he’s in tatters because he was recently a prisoner in Turkey. But before he tells any of his stories, he wants a proper bed and something to eat. They take him back, feed him and get him a bed.

Chapter 10

Pantagruel wanted to test himself, so he went to the part of town where the most learned scholars were and debated them. He was extremely successful against them and impressed everyone around.

At the same time, there was a legal suit going on that had stumped all the experts for quite some time. The case was between Lord Kissbreech and Lord Suckfist. One legal expert, DuDouhet, asked Pantagruel to hear the case and see what he thought of it.

Chapter 11

Lord Kissbreech started the discussion by explaining his case with a very long, eloquent speech that ended up not meaning very much.

Chapter 12

Lord Suckfist had his turn. It was as equally eloquent as Kissbreech’s speech and as equally non-sensical. They both awaited Pantagruel’s opinion.

Chapter 13

Pantagruel took his time to think about this and then addressed both men with verdict. It was very well-crafted but meant absolutely nothing. The trial ended.

Chapter 14

They celebrated the judgment that Pantagruel passed down with drinks. While drinking, Pantagruel prodded Panurge about his escape from the Turks

He was put on a spit roast like a rabbit and they began to roast him. The guy meant to watch him roasting fell asleep. Panurge grabbed a firebrand with his teeth and flung it in the guard’s lap. He ran out screaming,, while Panurge set fire to the building and ran away.

Chapter 15

Pantagruel and Panurge walked around the city, when Panurge spoke about the city’s walls. He liked them but he thought that they could be improved by being made of women’s private parts and either fox or donkey tails to swat away the flies.

Chapter 16

Panurge was of medium-sze, aquiline nose, about 35 years old, very pleasant and charming, slightly lechers and always broke. He stole a lot to get by. He was a bit of a con-man but most “victims” were either happy to be conned or deserved it.

Chapter 17

Pantagruel lent Panurge some money because he’s always skint. Panurge had a scam going on between churches buying and selling indulgences. He played matchmaker between old ugly women and lonely drunks. He also started numerous frivolous lawsuits and got paid just to go away.

Chapter 18

A learned man came down from England to see if Pantagruel was as smart as everyone has made him out to be. His name was Thaumast and he wanted to debate Pantagruel. Panurge asked to do it in his place.

Chapter 19

The discussion with Panurge, who just made a series of confusing and crude hand gestures. Thaumast was confused by this and tried to follow suit with his own gestures but they just were as good as Panurge’s

Chapter 20

Thaumast conceded the debate and pledged an oath of loyalty. He went back to England to write a book about how amazing Pantagruel and Panurge are.

Chapter 21

Panurge then decided to chase a wealth woman who happened to be married. She consistently turned him down. He pretended to give up.

Chapter 22

He captured a dog in heat, killed it and used its scent glands as an aphrodisiac. It didn’t work, so he got a bunch of dogs to go into her home and piss on her clothes to get back at her.

Chapter 23

Pantagruel got a letter from Dad, telling him that Utopia (home) has been invaded by Dipsodes. He left so quickly that he doesn’t have time to say goodby to anyone.

Chapter 24

Friends caught with him and he received a letter with a ring in it. No note. Panurge believes it’s a secret message but it ends up that the ring has an inscription from Pantagruel’s girlfriend “Why have you foresaken me?” Pantagruel forget all about her.

Chapter 25

As they approached Utopia on a boat, hundreds of enemy horsemen arrived. The boys disputed over which one of them was going to clobber them. They asked Pantagruel to sit this one out so they can impress him. They use rope to knock them off their horses and burnt them all alive, except one.

Chapter 26

They celebrated the victory with a great feast. They interrogated the prisoner and found out the king, Anarche, had a large army of men, giants and whores.

Chapter 27

Pantagruel created a monument to the victory. Panurge saw that and created a monument to the feast after the victory. Then, Pantagruel let out a fart so foul that little men and women crawled out of his ass.

Chapter 28

They let the prisoner go to his king and report that Pantagruel’s army was large and coming for them. He was also given a huge box of candies for the king and his men, with a dare – If you can eat these without drinking water, we’ll surrender. The messenger showed up and told the king the score. The men ate the candies and their throats were on fire. They drank so much wine to wash their mouths that they all fell asleep drunk.

Chapter 29

The enemy giants came up and saw what they had done to their friends. The giants’ leader, Loupgarou, went head-to-head with Pantagruel. Loupgarou has a special, magic mace. But in the end, Pantagruel won. After the single combat, there was a battle between Pantagruel’s men and the rest of the giants. Guess who won…

Chapter 30

After the battle, they celebrate. But they weren’t able to find Pantagruel’s tutor, Epistemon. They found him decapitated. They began to grieve but Panruge began to use magic herbs on him and popped his head back on and re-animated him. Epistemon told them everything he saw when he was dead. The bad people weren’t so bad and all the “good” people were assholes. Panurge was allowed to do whatever he wants with Anarche.

Chapter 31

The Amaurotes people celebrated the victory over the armies of Dipsodes. Pantagruel said they must march into Dipsodes to strike while the iron is hot. He asked all able Amaurotes to join him. Panurge made Anarche a “crier of green sauce” and made him marry a woman who beats him.

Chapter 32

They marched into Dipsodes but it began to rain. Pantagruel stuck out his tongue to cover everyone on the march. The narrator didn’t fit so he climbed in his mouth. He found a whole city in there are stays in there for 6 months exploring the place. He missed the battle in Dipsodes.

Chapter 33

After a while, Pantagruel got sick to the stomach. The doctors put men in copper balls to go down his throat into his stomach to scrub down there after all the shit he’s been eating.

To be continued…

To be continued…

“Gargantua and Pantagruel” Book I by François Rabelais (1534)

“Gargantua and Pantagruel” Book I by François Rabelais



Get in my belly!!

“Gargantua and Pantagruel” by François Rabelais

Book I

Chapter 1

Gargantua is the father of Pantagruel, both giants. We should all be so lucky as to have our genealogy laid out so neatly as theirs. There are so many people with high stations who really come from the dregs of humanity. Me, personally, I come from an old line of kings and princes. The proof of this is that I so desperately wish to be one, to lie around doing fuck all throughout the day.

It is through the grace of God that we have the genealogy of Gargantua. It was dug up by a man named Jean Audeau. He found a large bronze tomb in the ground and started digging. In the tomb was the book of genealogy written on elm bark. I was called round to look at it and translate it. I found a blurb at the end of the book. I filled in the bits that were eaten by rats and moths.

Chapter 2

Summary of the Correct Conundrums in the tomb: It’s all a huge confusing jumble.

Chapter 3

Grandgousier was a joker and a drinker. And an eater. Big eater. He married Gargamelle, daughter of the Butterfly king. Their lovemaking was like two pieces of bacon rubbing together. She became pregnant and carried the child for 11 months. Only a child carried this long will be destined for great things. Many famous writers support this. Try it out on your own. You’ll see.

Chapter 4

Gargamelle was gorging herself on ox tripe one day. It was in celebration of Mardi Gras that 367014 oxen were slaughtered and salted so that they’d have plenty of beef for the spring. There was so much tripe that it started to turn. They decided that they would eat them all in one go rather than waste them. People from the neighboring towns were invited to help eat. Grandgousier got all excited and made sure that everyone got ladles full. Gargamelle ate a boat load and the shit started to swell up inside of her. They walked home skipping.

Chapter 5

After the meal, a conversation started up. Flagons, hams, goblets and glasses were really there was. Conversation was based on how thirsty and hungry they were. The question of whether the drinking came first or the thirst came up. It was the thirst because youngsters don’t know about drinking but they have the instinct for it. Is life for drinking or is drinking for life? Those sorts of questions. A lot of philosophy over silly questions and drinking. A lot of bullshit stories of how the drink gave fictional characters conquered places.

Chapter 6

While they were talking about drinking, Gargamelle began to feel funny. Grandgousier thought this was the labor of birth causing the pain. Grandgousier tried to convince her to be cheerful because the baby was being born. Gargamelle wasn’t convinced and told him to go chop his dick off. Only kidding but fuck, it hurt. Grandgousier saw that his advice wasn’t wanted and went off for another drink.

The midwives swarmed around her and thought a baby was coming out. Nope, just more of her fat ass moving around because of all the food. One of the midwives had been around the block a few times and knocked her together some concoction that would tighten her sphincter up. Whatever it was affected the baby so much that he followed her veins and was born through her left ear. He came out screaming “drink, drink, drink!!”, inviting everyone to knock one back. If you think that’s impossible and silly, why wouldn’t you say the same about Rocquetaillade, Crocquemouche, Minerva, Adonis, etc.? Read some shit Pliny the elder said about anything and it will sound less crazy.

Chapter 7

Grandgousier was still drinking and he heard the kid say something about drink. He looked at him and remarked to himself what a big ding dong he had. His name had to be Gargantua (“que grand tu as!”). Gargamelle seemed to like the sound of it. They gave him a big drink and had him baptized. They ordered 17913 more cows for his milk. Wet nurses weren’t going to cut it for this kid. Some say that Gargamelle did nurse him herself with enough to fill 1902 pipes and 9 pails of milk.

He lived like this for 1 year and 10 months they took him out in an ox wagon, traveling from place to place and show him off to everyone. He was a good looking boy with 18 chins but he never cried. He shat himself once an hour mostly due to drinking a little too much of the September wines. Whenever he got angry, upset, sad, whatever, they’d give him a big drink to calm him down. His governess told me herself that he was so used to this that he’d get excited just at the sounds of any pot or pan, thinking it was a flagon of some tasty drink. They used the sounds to calm him down.

Chapter 8

Shirt: 1350 yds linen
Gussets: 300 yds linen
Doublet: 1219 yds satin
Points: 1509.5 yds dog skins
Hose: 1657 1/3 yds wool (w/ emeralds the size of oranges)
Cod piece: 24.25 yds wool
Cod piece bulge: 81″ w/ good embroidery, pearls, etc. (Something to look at. Check out his other work, On the Dignity of Codpieces.  But this one wasn’t like the ones that most young fellas have, which are usually 90% hollow.)
Shoes: 609 yds purple velvet, with pompons at joints (soles: 4422 brown cow skins)
Cape: 2400 yds blue velvet, with fine scallops embroidered and pearly gold bands.
Sword and dagger (not from Spain, because according to Grandgousier, fuck Spain): wooden sword and leather gilded dagger
Purse: 1 Libyan elephant dick
Gown: 14399 1/3 yds blue velvet w/ gold flower pattern
Hat: 453.25 yds white velvet à la Spanish Jews
Plume: from a Pelican from Hyrcania
Hat medallion: enamel work w/ gold plate of 136 oz. w/ display of 2 human heads looking at each other like from “Symposium” by Plato.
Gold chain: 51206 oz. gold w/ green jaspers, dragons, beams, sparks, etc. hanging down to his navel.
Gloves: 16 hobgoblin skins, 3 wolf skins
Rings: left index: carbuncle the size of an ostrich egg of Egyptian gold. Middle left: twining of steel, gold, copper and silver. Middle right: spiral w/ orange ruby and pointed diamond. All valued at about 69849000 Agnes Dei crowns.

Chapter 9

White and blue were the family colors. White meant gladness, pleasure, etc. Blue had something to do with heaven. You might think white meant faith and blue was steadfastness. According to Blazons of Colors, you might think that but the book doesn’t even have an author. Nobody would put his name to that garbage. You see a lot of that: oh, this symbolizes this and that symbolizes that… A panier symbolizes pain. Piss pots signify an officer… In Ancient Egypt they used hieroglyphs which hardly anybody understood. People thought they meant something strong and virtuous but didn’t really mean too much at all.

Chapter 10

So, white is pleasure and joy. Don’t listen to those who say otherwise. Aristotle spoke about things coming in opposites: good and evil, cold and hot, etc. If you take 2 opposites, joy and sadness, and white and black… White will mean joy and black will mean sadness. This is pretty standard, except in Syracuse and Argos (really fucked up people). People wear black to show grief when they mourn. White meant joy. Night and black show darkness and privation. Isn’t like all that is good? Even Jesus’s transfiguration was into a white light where his face was. In Genesis, God made light and saw that it was good. We talk about the “light of heave”. The town of Alba was settled after finding a white sow. White horses drawing a chariot symbolize triumph. Whiteness is associated with a noble flower, the lily. Many, many, many books back this symbolism up. Oh yeah… blue means something or other about heaven.

Chapter 11

At the age of 3, his upbringing began to include discipline in the usual ways. Most of the time he spent drinking, eating, sleeping, eating, sleeping, drinking and eating. He was often in the mud getting his face and clothes dirty. He chased the butterflies around. His father was their ruler after all. He pissed in his shoes, shat in his shirt and wiped his nose on his sleeves, drank out of a slipper. He teethed on a comb, drank while eating, ate while drinking. A lot of pissing, shitting and farting. He behaved like all manner of animals, stuck worms up his nose, and took out worms from his nose. Normal boy stuff.

He would grab at his governesses parts whenever it suited him. They would play with his codpiece. There were all sorts of names for his member: pillicock, ninepin, coral branch, cork, auger, dingle-dangle, rough-go stiff-and-low, crimping iron, little red sausage, and cock. The governesses would fight over it.

Chapter 12

It was decided that he should be a rider. They started him off with a wooden hobbyhorse. He’d run around with it jumping, prancing all over the place. He’d paint it different colors according to the mood. He had a large hunting horse made from a log and an everyday horse from a winepress beam.

Lord Breadinbag came to visit his father, so did Duke of Freemeal and Earl of Wetwind. They asked him were the stables were. Gargantua took them to the top floor of the place. They thought he was joking but sure enough, they were up there.  He explained to them all about how he took care of his horses.

Chapter 13

Gargantua was now 5 years old. Grandgousier came back victorious over the Canarians. Gargantua was proud to report to his father of his new method of keeping clean. He performed many experiments on ass wiping. He started off using a lady’s velvet mask, then their hoods, neckerchief, earmuffs, etc. He had some trouble on a page’s bonnet with feathers. He wiped himself with a cat but the cat scratched up his taint. Mom’s gloves were pretty good. He tried pretty much anything he found in the garden. Then the sheets, the curtains, tablecloth, napkins, etc.

He even came up with a shit-based song to go along with the experiments. Well, you don’t need to wipe your ass if haven’t shit yet. It’s nice and clean before we shit. So, he thought you should shit before you wipe your ass. Then he continued wiping with a pillow, a slipper, purse, basket, and a hat. The best hats were shaggy. Then he tried about every animal they had around the place. The best was a well-downed goose. You should hold the neck between the legs and you’ll get the best clean out and the warmth feels nice too.

Chapter 14

Grandgousier was proud of his son. He told his governesses that Philip of Macedonia saw what Alexander would become when he saw him ride a horse. Alexander conquered a horse by recognizing that the horse was actually just afraid of its own shadow. So, he decided to make his horse run in the direction of the sun (East). He was sent to Aristotle to learn all that he could. Grandgousier knew his son was special like Alexander after their shit discussion. He wanted Gargantua to have the best education, no expense too great.

A doctor and tutor, Thubal Holofernes, was appointed and taught him. They had giant desks and pencils. The sophist taught his out of a number of books for many years. Then he learned from Master Jobekin Bridé and read tons and tons of more books.

Chapter 15

Dad saw how Gargantua was doing in his studies but he didn’t seem to be learning anything. He seemed to be dumber than when he first started. He complained to someone about the problem and the response was it was better not to learn anything than to learn like that. It did nothing but harm to youngsters. They proposed a little test to put up a kid who’d only done 2 years of studying against Gargantua. They brought in a boy, Eudemon, not quite 12. They put him up against Gargantua’s teachers. The boy gave a speech about the virtues of the people around him. Very impressive. Gargantua burst out like a cow, hid his face and made sounds like dead donkey farts. Needless to say, Grandgousier was very upset with the teachers and fired them. He hired Eudemon’s teacher, Ponocrates, and sent them all off to Paris to learn what young men were learning in France.

Chapter 16

The king of Numidia sent Grandgousier an enormous mare. She was the size of 6 elephants and her hooves were more like toes and she had a horn on her ass. She was brought over in 3 carracks and a brigantine to Olonne. Grandgousier thought she’d be best way to send Gargantua to Paris. They set off half in the bag, Gargantua, Ponocrates, servants and Eudemon.

They got to Orléans and went through the large forest there teeming with ox flies and hornets. The mare killed them all with her fly-swatting tail. Gargantua was proud of this and that gave name to the region Beauce (“Je trouve beau ce” in hacked up French). They finally got to Paris after drinking Beauce dry.

Chapter 17

They slept a bit and then went to check out the city. The people stared at him because of his size and gear. The people in Paris are so dumb that they’ll stare at anything mundane and ignore something spectacular. Gargantua was forced to stay in Notre Dame to avoid all the gawkers. He said, “I’ll give them something to gawk at” and he whipped out his willy and pissed on them to the point where 260,418 men drowned. They didn’t count the women and children. The survivors were so amazed that the town had been flooded in a joke that they renamed the town from Leucetia to Paris (“Par ris”).

Gargantua looked at the cathedral’s bells and played a tune on them. He took them down and used them as cowbells for his horse. The people made a big fuss and an effort was made to get them back.

Chapter 18

Master Janotus was sent to get the bells back. They knocked on the door and Ponocrates answered. He was a bit spooked by the way Janotus and his men were dressed that he ran to get Gargantua. They came up with a plan. They would take these guys down to the liquor room and get them pissed up. Then they might be able to get them to agree with whatever they wanted.

Chapter 19

Janotus gave a little speech to get the bells back. “We’d like our bells back because we need them. A lot of people have tried to take them or buy them but we’ve always turned them down. If we don’t get them back we guys here will be in deep shit. We won’t get any more booze. If we do get them back, we’ve been promised sausage, nice pants, etc. Pants are great. Remember was Jesus said ‘Render unto Caesar that which is his and render unto God that which is his.’ If you want to eat and drink with us, we can see about that. We will give you a pardon. They’re not ours. They are the city’s. Everybody uses them. They might look good on your mare but they suit us fine too. Please, for the love of God, give us our bells back.”

Chapter 20

Ponocrates and Eudemon laughed at the sophist’s speech laden with bad Latin words and grammar. Then Janotus began laughing too. It wasn’t clear if they were laughing at each other or with each other. Gargantua asked his people what they should do. Ponocrates wanted to make him drink more and give him some pants in order to make him happy. They wondered whether if it was best to find shitting pants or something to hug to his belly. Janotus was a bit too drunk to tell anybody what kind he wanted. They finally put something together. Then Janotus told them want he wanted. Janotus’s people told him that he had already received pants from Gargantua. “No, those were just a gift. I still want my pants for the bells.” They said that he should be reasonably pleased with the deal.

Reason was not something practiced around these parts. Janotus cursed them all to some horrible death and disease. While he was going on and on, some of Gargantua’s retinue put the bells back.

Chapter 21

In thanks for putting the bells back, the Parisians promised to keep and feed his mare as long as he wanted. She was kept out in the Forest of Bière. Now Gargantua was ready to study. He woke up between 8 and 9. He would loaf in bed for a bit and get up and get dressed. He’d comb his hair with his fingers. Then began the shitting, pissing, belching, vomiting, farting, yawning, sneezing, etc. He would go eat breakfast: fried trips, bacon, ham, goat stew and soup.

Ponocrates didn’t think it was wise to pile on that food before exercising. Gargantua replied that he rolled over at least 7 or 8 times before getting up. That’s what Pope Alexander did based on his doctor’s advice. Food improves the memory and he can remember a lot. Drinking improves the memory and he wanted to get an early start.

After breakfast, he went to church carried in a large basket. There he listened to 30-some masses. He read the litanies. Then he was brought back on an oxcart and walked through the cloisters with his rosaries among 16 hermits. He studied for a half an hour daydreaming about what was for lunch. He took a leak and started eating and drinking in great amounts. The servants would pitch the food into his mouth and would gulp his wine to help the fluidity of the situation.

Chapter 22

Gargantua would wash off lunch with some fresh wine, picked his teeth with pig trotters and shoot the shit with whomever was around. They would lay out a cloth, a pack of cards and dice, and played at about 300 different games. All that gambling parched the throat, so they would drink 11 quarts per person. That would make him a bit sleepy and he had to take a 2-3 hour nap. And there’s nothing like a drink to wake one up. Ponocrates scolded him for this but Gargantua found a way to justify it all.

Chapter 23

Ponocrates was not happy with how Gargantua was living. He knew he’d have a hard time getting him to change quickly. He decided to have him hang out with the right crowd to set a good example for him. Then they jumped right in with the literature and learning.

Gargantua began to wake up at 4 in the morning and read some theology while he was being rubbed down. He practiced good pronunciation with a page boy with the right accent. He’d often be so moved by what he read that he would stop to pray to and worship God, the one whose wisdom and greatness influenced what he read.

He’d stop to take a dump and while he was doing so, Ponocrates would reinforce his lessons with explanations of more difficult points. They’d contemplate the sky and Gargantua’s grooming would be done for him. They rehashed the lesson from the day before. They then went for a walk, continuing the lessons. He was read to for 3 hours. They’d play with a metal triangle and then hit the books again. They ate dinner with some history read to them. They’d discuss what was read while they were eating and drinking. They’d play cards based on math, not games. He was able to best the smartest men around. Then, they’d sing with whatever instruments they wanted as accompaniment.  After all that, he had his after-dinner dump and went to study for a few hours more. Then he went for a ride on the finest horses with the best armor. He’d practice on all sorts of weapons while singing and without much struggle.

Chapter 24

They kept themselves busy in the barn working while it was raining. Then they’d do some paintings and carvings, as well as many other crafts. They would listen to teachings and sermons, as well as any sort of public performances they could find. Dinner was usually light followed by a bit of reading of the classics.

Chapter 25

There were shepherds looking after the vines around the time of the harvest. They asked bakers for some cake as they passed by. Apparently it’s a very nice breakfast. The bakers wanted nothing to do with these guys, thinking they were lazy beggars. The shepherds reminded the bakers that they have bought from them in the past and want to do so now. If they’re going to be assholes about the whole thing, they’ll keep this little to-do in mind the next time they want anything from their farm. They began to fight until the neighbor farmers came to help the farmers in the fight. When it was all over, the farmers got their cakes but they did end up paying for them. They all took the medicinal grapes to get over the fight.

Chapter 26

The cake bakers went back to their city, Lerné, to piss and moan about their dust up with the farmers to their king, Picrochole, who didn’t even let them tell the story. This pissed him off to no end. He ordered that anybody able to fight come down help out. He got the artillery ready while some 16014 harquebusiers and 30011 volunteers showed up. There were guns, cannons, birds, snakes, horses, etc. ready for the fight. An avant-garde was sent out to scout the scene and make the place ready for a fight. The place was quiet and there was no evidence of a big army anywhere nearby. The army rushed off, abandoning any sense of order and laid waste to anything in their path.

Chapter 27

The army wreaked havoc on the place. But a slew of priests, curates, surgeons and apothecaries visited the place to tend to the injured. These guys caught the plague and dropped dead on the spot. The army wasn’t affected by this at all and continued spoiling the place. The monks in the neighborhood tried to make peace with songs. A Friar John of the abbey came to help. He was the monk that monkery ever monked. The monks were singing instead of doing anything about the invaders. He convinced the monks that they should fight back before the army comes and either destroys the wine or drinks it all. John fights all the plunderers and the other monks kill off the wounded, using the cross to finish them off.

Chapter 28

The monks fought off the army from the abbey and Picrochole decided to make camp for the night. The next day, he was able to take the castle but not the abbey. Meanwhile Gargantua was still in Paris and Grandgousier was at home. A shepherd was able to make it back to inform the king of what had happened. He was visibly upset and didn’t understand why this had happened. He was too old to fight so he sent for Gargantua to fight this battle.

Chapter 29

Grandgousier’s letter: Yo, Sorry to interrupt all your book-learnin’ but we’ve got a bit of a problem on our hands here. Picrochole seems to have taken leave of his senses and has invaded our lands. We want to solve this thing right away. Whenever you can pry yourself away from your studies, please make your way down here. Love, Daddykins.

Chapter 30

The letter was sent off to Gargantua and the king’s best envoy, Ulrich Gallet was sent to speak to Picrochole.

Chapter 31

Gallet met with Picrochole and told him that Grandgousier was disturbed by this invasion. The two lands had been at peace with each other for generations and all of a sudden he came barging in without any sort of warning. He asked what the hell had come over him to do such a thing.

Chapter 32

Picrochole doesn’t want to negotiate. Grandgousier and Gallet are able to figure out what had happened between the farmers and the cake makers. They decide that they will pay the damages done to the bakers and send a man to negotiate a price. Picrochole doesn’t really want to stop the war but does want to keep the money sent to him. He’s afraid he’ll look like a bitch if he lets up.

Chapter 33

Picrochole and his ministers decide that taking the money will finance their war with Grandgousier. And if they are successful in their invasion of his lands, they will be able to finance a war to take over the whole planet. They split up the armies into divisions to fight this war in groups.

Chapter 34

Gargantua finally reads his father’s letter, got on his mare and made off for home. His retinue followed closely behind him. Ponocrates advised him to go to the Lord of Vauguyon for help and advice. Gymnast is decided to be the scout to judge the size and nature of Picrochole’s armies. Gargantua finally gets home and has a few tons and hundreds of gallons of refreshments when he gets there. He sees the country is in tatters.

Chapter 35

Gymnast was able to get up close to Picrochole’s Captain Tripet and killed him with a small sword. In all the kerfuffle, Gymnast was also able to kill several of Tripet’s men as well.

Chapter 36

Gymnast meets up with Gargantua and explains to him that these soldiers of Picrochole aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer and won’t be too hard to beat. Gargantua chops down a tree there named St. Martin’s tree and makes it into a lance. With this lance, he was able to skewer much of the enemy’s army.

Chapter 37

They came up near the River Vede and Gargantua was able to meet up with his parents. He had to fix up his hair after riding so long and in doing so was able to untangle the dozens of cannonballs flying his hair caught while riding through the woods. Not being hurt by the cannonballs, he used his lance to knock over the castle. To celebrate his victory, they had a huge banquet of every tasty and disgusting thing you can imagine.

Chapter 38

At this time, there were 6 pilgrims, on their way from Sebastian near Nantes, hiding in the gardens because of all the fighting. Gargantua, still hungry, wants to make a salad. Not seeing the pilgrims hiding in the lettuce, he picks the lettuce up with the pilgrims, mixes it up and eats them. They were able to stay away from his incisors but got swept away in the gallons of wine he used to wash the salad down after picking his teeth. After a big meal and drink, Gargantua went to take a leak and pissed the pilgrims out.

Chapter 39

Grandgousier told Gargantua of the ferocious battle fought single-handedly by Friar John. Gargantua invites him to sit next to him and talk about war, exchange jokes and talk about religion and the monks in general.

Chapter 40

Eudemon asks how monks are able to keep apart from the rest of the world. Gargantua supposes that they eat other people’s shit and that turns them off to them. Also, the monks don’t seem to be doing anything at all and this causes the people to look at them with suspicion. They pray and read out passages, most of which they don’t really understand. But John is a good guy, so there is some potential in them. John responds that in between prayers, he makes weapons and drinks. The reason why he has such a nice looking, but large nose is because his nurse had soft teats. Hard teats make smaller noses.

Chapter 41

Gargantua was still jacked up from dinner and the discussions with John and his friends. John told him that he was always able to fall asleep during prayers and recitations. So, he recited some prayers to Gargantua to try to get him to sleep. At midnight, Gargantua woke up to go on patrol. He actually managed to restrain himself from drinking. They went off to survey the woods.

Chapter 42

John gave the guys a bit of a pep talk and by the end of it, he was so revved up by his own words, he didn’t really pay attention to how he was riding on his horse and got flung up into a tree. They were able to fetch him down and get him back on his horse ready for battle.

Chapter 43

Picrochole was very pissed off about the death of Captain Tripet. He sent out a patrol to try and find Gargantua and his men in the forest. Tired, they stopped at a tavern and ran into the pilgrims that had been pissed out by Gargantua. The pilgrims told them what had happened to them leading the patrol to think that Gargantua and his men were demons. The monk decided to follow Picrochole’s patrol alone and comes across the pilgrims as well. The patrol realized that he was all alone and took him prisoner.

Chapter 44

John was able to make out that his captors were looking for Gargantua and his buddies. He needed to go warn them about this attack. He listened more to what they are saying and realizes that while they might be large in number they are just a bunch of amateurs and it wouldn’t take much to get free. They didn’t even take his sword from him. He got free and killed many of his guards and Picrochole’s main guy, Touchfaucet, was taken prisoner. Then he made off toward where he believed Gargantua and Co. were. Unfortunately, in doing so, he gave their position away and the two armies met up and began to battle. Gargantua’s group wins the battle.

Chapter 45

After the battle ended, Gargantua and his friends went to see Grandgousier in his bed. He asked about the monk and they told him. They had a big breakfast and in comes Friar John asking for wine. He brought with him the 5 pilgrims they had been dealing with for the last few days, and Touchfaucet.  Grandgousier asked the pilgrims who they were and where they were from. Grandgousier gave them all some comforting advice.

Chapter 46

Touchfaucet was taken before Grandgousier and was taken to task about the invasion. He admitted that the plan was to take over the whole country just to avenge the cake bakers. Grandgousier told him that it wasn’t possible to do that with an army that small and incompetent. They had too many soldiers and friendly countries willing to lend them a hand. Grandgousier gave him his freedom on the condition that he try to get Picrochole to stop the war.

Chapter 47

Touchfaucet went back to Picrochole and told him what Grandgousier asked him to. In the meantime, Grandgousier called for his best officers to prepare for a full-on war that will defend the whole country. Touchfaucet explained that Grandgousier’s armies are much bigger and much better than his and they were likely to get slaughtered as a result of this invasion. Picrochole didn’t like the Touchfaucet’s tone and called him a traitor. Rashcalf didn’t like this and the Touchfaucet killed him with a sword that Grandgousier had given him. Picrochole got upset by this and ordered him to be killed on the spot.

Chapter 48

Gargantua was now the head of the whole, united army while Grandgousier remained at his castle. They set off over the Vede and gained more and more support from the people the countryside. They began the assault on the castle, the Rock of Clermond, held by Picrochole. They entered the castle and killed nearly everyone in it. Picrochole and his closest men tried to escape but where captured by John and brought to Gargantua.

Chapter 49

Picrochole ran off and fell off his horse. In his anger, he killed it. He needed to find another one but could only find an ass. The locals all approached him and whacked him on the ass. He ran into an old woman who predicted that he would reestablish his old kingdom. Gargantua rounded up his men and noticed that only a few of them were wounded or dead. Happy about this he threw together a big party to celebrate their good health and paraded out those who remained of Picrochole’s close men.

Chapter 50

Gargantua spoke to those who remained from Picrochole’s party. He told them the story of Alpharbal, a king not satisfied with his wealth and decided to invade Onyx and used pirates to raid the area of Brittany, Grandgousier was able to defeat them and instead of enslaving the men, he allowed them to go home. Alpharbal was moved so much by this act of kindness that he swore loyalty to Grandgousier. Gargantua is giving the same act of clemency on the vanquished in hope that this will end the war for good.

Chapter 51

Gargantua notices that Picrochole has gone missing. Now that Picrochole’s lands are without a ruler and his son is too young to rule the land, Gargantua appoints Ponocrates to be the regent since he has been such a great teacher to him.

Chapter 52

Gargantua wanted to make John the Abbot of Seville but he didn’t want the job. He didn’t want to be in charge of anyone. He felt that it was too much responsibility to take care of himself on top of others. He wanted his own little abbey to keep for himself and not be bothered by anyone. They tend to be corrupt and disreputable. He was given an abbey in Theleme.

Chapter 53

Gargantua and John built the abbey unlike any other. The motto of the place was “do as thou wilt”. There would be no walls and there would be both men and women allowed to marry and fraternize with one another. The place was decked out like a castle and the inhabitants would be dressed decadently.

Chapter 54

A silly little transcription is written about the history of the abbey and the rules of the abbey under John.

Chapter 55

Men and women would live side by side. They’d have different tasks but both would live together with all sorts of exotic, even magical animals roaming around the place. It’s a very posh looking place.

Chapter 56

The women are dressed very well and with a new outfit for each season. The men of the abbey are also dressed to the nines. Many of the best artisans of the land would be designing and making the dress for both the men and the women of the abbey.

Chapter 57

Freedom is a key theme of the Theleme abbey. Each person can do whatever he or she wants and when. The men and women lived in harmony and were very happy. There is a strange inscription on the walls of the abbey.

Chapter 58

Gargantua and John discuss the enigma after seeing it. Gargantua thought it was a description of a divine truth. John just thought it was a description of a game of tennis.

“Lysistrata” by Aristophanes (411 BC)

Sex is the ultimate weapon

No Peace, No Piece


From what I have read about Greek plays, I gather that they are meant to be watched in bunches. I doubt very much that a modern audience has the time or patience to sit through three plays. But then again, we’ve got a lot more options for entertainment and variety tends to be something most people value. Some of the ideas in this play are funny, interesting and fairly timeless. Go ahead and read it, or a least read my notes on it… I will wait.

The story takes place during the Peloponnesian War, something that was a big part of Ancient Greek history. This was essentially a war between Athens (and its allies) and Sparta (and its allies). They had very different societies and were pretty much vying for power over what is considered Greece today. The war dragged on nearly 30 years. You can imagine how a war of that length can upset people’s lives.

The story has a woman, Lysistrata, hatching up a scheme to stop the war. Since women really had very little influence in politics in Athens or Sparta, she had to find a way to exploit the domain in which woman had any influence, sex. Lysistrata gives a bunch of reasons why the war is bad. The women are lonely. The children are growing up while their fathers are off at war. An entire generation of young men are sent off to war with no time to court an entire generation women, start families and keep the society going. These complaints are pretty common results of long wars. Society tends to crumble if they carry on too long. Anyway, Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece not to put out unless the war is ended, a peace treaty is signed and the war genuinely comes to an end.

She gathers up women from all over Athens and even from Sparta to discuss her plan. She convinces the old women to lend a hand in this matter. They take refuge in the Acropolis – that large beast of a building lording over the city of Athens. It was a fortress whose construction was ordered by the famous Pericles (Ancient Athens’s George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin all rolled up in one man), serving the city of Athens. From what I remember about history, the Acropolis not only had the function as a redoubt for Athens but it also had supernatural elements about it due to the fact that on the Acropolis, there was also the Parthenon, a temple to Athena. Athena was the patron goddess of Athens and symbolized wisdom, law, science, reason and just about everything that the Athenians valued and we associate with the ancient city today. To take over the Acropolis, was essentially to hole yourself up in the holiest of holies. And I bet that even they knew that the men of the city would not take kindly to that.

The old men and women are yelling at each other. The men try to smoke them out and the women douse the fire with water as well as the men. As I was reading about the comical water fight, this scene from the Great Race instantly came to mind. The magistrate comes around and breaks the fight up and asks what is going on. The women and men hurl accusations at each other. The men are barbarians, belligerent, etc. The women are fickle, stupid, etc. Lysistrata claims that she could run the city better than the men who are doing so now. More battle of the sexes jibberjabber is launched. After the scene is broken up, Lysistrata gets a little frustrated that the women aren’t holding the line on the sex strike. That fact might be justifying the men’s accusations that women are capricious. She convinces the women to stick to their guns on this matter for the sake of the city. The women begin to tease the men, making them want sex more and more, and finally they can no longer take it. If I understand the translation’s metaphors correctly, the men were walking around will full-on erections due to the women finding them up. Finally the men realize that the women have them by the balls, so to speak, and the Athenians and Spartans sign a peace treaty. A sexy piss-up closes the play out.

“Clouds” by Aristophanes (423 BC)

“Clouds” by Aristophanes

What is the air speed velocity of a Gnat's fart or burp?

What is the air speed velocity of a Gnat’s fart or burp?


Strepsiades wakes up complaining that neither his servants nor his son have woken up to start the day off. He complains that the only thing his son does is ride horses which is starting rack up some debts because of this. The son, Phidippides is talking in sleep about riding horses. Strepsiades then starts to complain – regretting the day he met his wife because before he was poor and wasn’t surrounded by luxuries that would one day spoil his son. The mother has done all she can to encourage spoiling Phidippides. Strepsiades has the bright idea to send Phidippides to the “Thoughtery” to learn how to bend the truth and make all of the debt collectors give up on asking for all of his money. Phidippides refuses to go, so Strepsiades has to go there himself.

He shows up to the Thoughtery, banging on the door to be let in. The disciple complains that all the noise has ruined one of his good ideas. They were trying to measure how far a flea could jump by putting wax slippers on it. Then they asked each other if gnats buzzed through their mouths or their asses. The disciple said the wind comes in through the mouth went through the body and used the ass as a trumpet. Socrates was also robbed of a thought by a lizard. He was studying the moons by staring at the sky with his mouth open when a lizard on top of the house shit down his throat. The disciple lets him in to learn from Socrates.

When he comes in, he asks why all the people are staring at the ground but their assholes are pointed at the sky. The disciple explains that they are looking through the ground but learning astronomy by staring up at the sky with their assholes so they can do twice the work. Then he starts quizzing the disciple about the tools around and has him explain their uses. Strepsiades doesn’t really get all of it. He suddenly sees someone up in the sky and it’s Socrates. Socrates explains he is in the sky because he needs to acclimate his brain to the thin air.

Strepsiades explains that he wants to learn how to convince his creditors that he doesn’t owe them any money. Socrates sits him down to initiate him in to the Thoughtery by doing some sort of incantation on him to the clouds. The clouds sing to them as a part of the ceremony. Strepsiades asks who they are and what they’re talking about. Socrates explains that they are goddesses for the lazy and teach the men of the Thoughtery. They teach all the sophists, quacks and diviners through their verses. They look like women in the same way that other clouds look like lions and bulls, etc. They sing about the virtues of all the men of the Thoughtery who talk nothing but shit.

Socrates claims the Clouds are the only gods in the world. The clouds cause the rain. They cause the thunder when they collide with each other and cause a lot of noise. He explains that it is also when the whirlwind in the sky is rumbling around. The lightning is when dry wind gets caught in a cloud and it rumbles around so much that the cloud bursts. Strepsiades is convinced that Socrates is right about everything and is ready to learn. He promises not to acknowledge any other gods. He asks to be the best orator in Greece. Socrates starts to work on him.

The leader of the cloud chorus gives a speech declaring that they wrote the play and merely gave it to Aristophanes as a present. They also rip into the play festival’s judges who voted obviously inferior plays over this one as the best. She claims that there might be a bit of corruption involved.

Socrates runs out of the Thoughtery complaining that Strepsiades is the dumbest, most forgetful man he’s ever met. Socrates tries to explain poetic meter with no luck. Socrates explains male and female animals and objects. Socrates lies him down on his bed to let his mind wander over anything that comes to it. Strepsiades claims that the bed bugs are eating him alive. He’s finally able to think of an idea. He wants to stop the moon from rising. The interest is due on a monthly basis and if the moon never rises, then the month never ends and therefore he’ll never have to pay. He can stop the lawsuits against him by holding a lens to the sun and melt wax on the court papers. He can avoid people perjuring against him by running away and hanging himself. Socrates is upset by this last idea and quits on him.

The clouds suggest that his son be sent to learn instead. He goes home to get Phidippides. At first Phidippides is reluctant. Strepsiades is unable to use Socrates’s tactics to teach his son and bumbles it up. They go to Socrates and they convince him to teach him how to make the wrong side of the argument seem like the right side.  They go into the Thoughtery.

Two men come out, named Just Discourse and Unjust Discourse and have an argument. Unjust calls himself reasoning based on maxims. Just claims they’re only fashionable because the idiotic audience falls for them. Unjust claims there is no justice because Zeus put his father in chains and wasn’t put in chains. They start bickering and Just claims all of Athens’s problems are due to Unjust convincing the young not to go to school. They agree that they will let Phidippides decide which one he wants to listen to.

Just claims that in the good old days, children were meant to be seen, not heard. They obeyed their masters without question even when walking through the snow barefoot. They learn traditional songs. They never tempted the old men sexually. Unjust calls this old bullshit. Just continues that this sort of upbringing made Athens the great city it is. The kids these days don’t respect the gods and don’t have any sense of shame or decency. They shouldn’t be in the markets gossiping about this and that or lying around doing fuck all and enjoying life.

Unjust claims he can prove anything to be wrong and unjust. He asks what’s wrong with hot baths. Just claims they cause cowardice. Unjust says, I’ve never heard of Heracles having a cold bath. About hanging around the market place – Homer praised the marketplace and called Nestor a marketeer. About being “decent” or “modest” – what good has that ever done? Just says that’s what Peleus got his sword in his myth. That’s why Thetis married him. Unjust explains that she also left him in the end. If he has been less “virtuous”, Thetis would have been more satisfied as a wife. Modesty causes us to be unhappy and unsatisfied. Unjust says that following him will allow you to follow your whims. Just says that that will lead to buggery. Unjust says well, aren’t poets and lawyers buggers? Demagogues? Audiences…? Just concedes the argument to Unjust and runs away. Strepsiades leaves Phidippides to Unjust.

The clouds threaten the judges if they don’t vote the play the best.

Strepsiades is coming to collect his son from the Thoughtery. He’s worried about all of his bills. On the way home, the two talk about what he learned from Socrates. Phidippides tells him to challenge the idea of the money being due on the day of “Old and New”. How could it be due on both days? It doesn’t make sense.

Pasias comes with a witness to collect his money from Strepsiades. Strepsiades points out the fact there are two days being mentioned and uses Socrates’s explanation about animals to discredit the creditor. Another creditor, Amynias, comes around to collect his money. He says he’ll just take the interest for now. Strepsiades asks if the sea has more water in now than before. Amynias says it can’t grow. Strepsiades says that if the sea that has rivers feed it never grows, why should the debt grow? Amynias is run off of Strepsiades’s land.

Strepsiades comes running out of his place with Phidippides chasing him. Phidippides claims that he is justified in beating him…

Strepsiades and Phidippides explain to the clouds what’s been going on. Strepsiades wanted Phidippides to play the lyre and sing after dinner. Phidippides said that it was stupid. Then he asked him to recite some Aeschylus and he refused. He suggests that he choose his own. He recited a poem from Euripides about a man sleeping with his sister. He was disgusted and they began to fight. He explained that he has always been kind to his son and now he treats him like shit.

Phidippides asks whether or not he was beaten as a child. He was because it was for his own good. Then if it was for Phidippides good to be beaten, then it is right for him to beat his father for his good. It’s only right because old age is second childhood. Even if it is against the law, why can’t a new law be written to allow for this? Animals fight with their fathers. He’s convinced by the argument but still isn’t happy. He blames the clouds but the clouds blame him back for trying to manipulate everyone. He decides that only productive thing he can do is set the Thoughtery on fire.