Saturday, July 28, 2007

A thanksgiving prayer for the ability to urinate

Not found in common books of liturgy, I reproduce it here with thanks to the peerless Neal Stephenson who puts the prayer into the mouth of Samuel Pepys. (Lithotomy is of course the removal of a gall stone.)

'Lord of the Universe, Your humble servants Samuel Pepys and Daniel Waterhouse pray that you shall bless and keep the soul of the late Bishop of Chester, John Wilkins, who, wanting no further purification in the Kidney of the World, went to your keeping twenty years since. And we give praise and thanks to You for having given us the rational faculties by which the procedure of lithotomy was invented, enabling us, who are further from perfection, to endure longer in this world, urinating freely as the occasion warrants. Let our urine-streams, gleaming and scintillating in the sun's radiance as they pursue their parabolic trajectories earthward, be as an outward and visible sign of Your Grace, even as the knobbly stones hidden in our coat pockets remind us that we are all earth, and we are all sinners. Do you have anything to add, Mr Waterhouse?'

'Only, Amen!'

(Neal Stephenson, The Confusion, p500)

I am reading Stephenson's vast Baroque Cycle, made up of the books Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World, historic novels based around the people and the times of the Scientific Revolution -- and I've been reading them for several months -- with something approaching sheer delight.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Humour: anagrams, continued

Here's a couple more:

The London Olympic games = Logical to spend money? H'm.

The Department for Education and Skills = Daft kids learn, on hated Intel computers

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Humour: the fine game of nil

I am enjoying some of these wonderful anagrams from this site:

The countryside = No City Dust Here

Astronomers = Moon starers

Evangelist = Evil's Agent

The cockroach = Cook, catch her!

The Morse Code = Here Come Dots

Slot Machines = Cash Lost in 'em

Conversation = Voices Rant On

Software = Swear Oft

Eleven plus two = Twelve plus one

The Meaning of Life = The fine game of nil

To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. =

In one of the Bard's best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten.

and some of the names:

William Shakespeare: I am a weakish speller

Tony Blair, MP = I'm Tory plan B

Virginia Bottomley = I'm an evil Tory bigot

Florence Nightingale = Nigel, Fetch an Iron Leg