Friday December 16, 2005
Note: It's true. The 16th-century French sappers came up with a great word for "bomb," twisting their own language with flatulent aplomb we've all missed since Richelieu founded the Académie Française in the 17th century. Granted, the word "petard" was only successfully inserted into English lexicon with the help of William Shakespeare, who nowadays has most of us thinking it was some sort of a polearm you could get wedgied with.

This would probably be a bad time to talk about "le Petomane," a french performer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who learned to "inhale" with his anus, and then "exhale" with an astoundingly wide range of amplitude, frequency, and modulation. Rumor has it that the already humor-challenged Académie Française was not amused.

Book 7: Emperor Pius Dei
Part III: Return to the Tub of Happiness

Transcript

Petey:If it makes you feel any better, the Petard Battalion and I will share your fate.
Petey:It would be amoral for us to abandon you here after putting you in this predicament. We don't want to die buy we'll share your sentence. . . in two minutes.
Principal of Thrice:Petard Battalion? What's a petard?
Petey:A siege explosive named after French flatulence.
Petey:I'm impressed that you're spending this final ninety seconds in the acquisition of new and useless vocabulary.