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Today in Precious Bodily Fluids

“For men, the principal and preoccupying challenge was not to spill a drop of seminal fluid outside the sacred bounds of marriage – and not much there, either, if they could decently manage it.  As one authority explained, seminal fluid, when nobly retained within the body, enriched the blood and invigorated the brain.  The consequence of discharging this natural elixir illicitly was to leave a man literally enfeebled in mind and body.  So even within marriage  one should be spermatozoically frugal, as more frequent sex produced ‘languid’ sperm, which resulted in listless offspring.  Monthly intercourse was recommended as a safe maximum.”

– Bill Bryson, At Home:  A Short History of Private Life


  1. I always wondered why my mind and body were so feeble…


  2. This suggests later children are likely to be more energetic.

    • Matthew,

      I believe that outside the late great worker’s paradise, vodka is known as “pure grain spirits.”

      …and so the confliction continues…


      p.s. As a nod to me Hiberian ancestry, I am biased, as you well know, toward the spud-bred form of the water of waters. It’s as if Dostoevsky met Flann O’Brien and after a night of pub crawling, found themselves back at a dacha, where, in utter desperation, at the conclusion of a series of contests (best out of five) involving shot-glasses, the first paragraph of Finnegan’s Wake, the lineage of the Czars, and the principle rules of chess, each competition ending in the anti-climatic ambivilance of a stalemate, the authors jumped, with a Kierkagaardian leap of faith as they recited, in a generously voluminous voice, the concluding sentence of Georg Wilhelm Friedich Hegel’s “Life of Jesus”, one into the other’s narrative…. The effect is similar to looking into a pair of mirrors held up to one another in black light pierced by a strobe. Sadly, this phenomenon has occurred every evening since 1991, the year I first discovered Monopolowa, a Polish vodka manufactured in Austria.

      And so the confliction goes deeper still….

  3. Quin Finnegan says

    My high school football coach used to tell us not to have sex or masturbate lest we become weak in the knees. On game day, anyway.

    I don’t know the context for the Bryson quote, but as for a possible connection to Catholic morals and mores … well, it’s complicated, isn’t it? In one of his recent books, PBXVI talks about the importance of superfluity in the natural order of things, which in *that* context seemed much the same as God’s Plan. While I presume he and Coach Harney are on the same page re:masturbation before the big game, my guess is that he’d support s a certain amount of tolerance for the spermatozoically generous within the bounds of marriage. Just a thought.

    As for the clip, what really pushes it over the top for me is Sellers’ performance. Here, he steals the scene while literally lying on the floor, looking straight ahead, and asking a simple question. He’s a master … I really consider him one of the greatest movie actors, maybe the greatest.

    Thanks for posting.

  4. Jonathan Webb says

    “Superfluity”. You guys are the limit.

    By the way, this movie was made 23 years after Gone w/t Wind, and 49 years ago this year. I was telling Potter at the Spaghetti Factory that time was moving faster and he disputed it. However, I think we have more in common with Dr Strangelove than Dr Strangelove had in common with Some Like it Hot, as an example. Hence Potter is mistaken. Case closed.

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