Blue Flames

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Before you read any further you need to understand a few things about me.

1) I have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy.

2) I was raised with 4 brothers and despite their belief that they had nothing to do with the way I turned out they had substantial influence over me — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

3) I love Clint Eastwood and grew up on his westerns. He was Mr. blue-eyed-craggly-face long before Daniel Craig.

4) Number three has nothing to do with this post except that writing the phrase “the good the bad and the ugly” reminded me of watching Clint on our little rabbit-eared TV growing up.

5) I can neither confirm nor deny if I have ADD

6) Rats. I think I already spilled that mess of beans on earlier posts

I’m sitting here in the grocery store parking lot staring at a sign for Blue Rhino, the propane tank exchange company. I asked myself, where did they come up with the logo or name of blue rhino for a propane gas tank company? And then that little 12-year-old boy in me started to giggle.

Please re-read the disclaimers above. Producing blue flamers is a process of lighting flatulent gases on fire – or the gas of someone you are very comfortable with. This game is not for the timid as several factors have to be in play for a successful blue flame:

* Range: an extensive gas range is needed in the carrier. Without the proper propulsion, expulsion, volume and force the risk is only a disappointing flame but the probability of catching he carrier’s pants on fire increases exponentially (not to be confused with the sentencing of a liar . . . you know  . . . liar liar pants on fire . . .)

* Health risks: for the lighting assistant there is a high risk of noxious fumes, and while being so close to the source — while not necessarily toxic or fatal — can create feelings of disorientation and false impending death. This is not a risk for the carrier as it is a well-known fact that a carrier cannot sense the rancid, putrefying stench of his/her own gas. A carrier has — what is known in most blue faming circles as — immunity.

* Expectations: there can be a risk of disappointment, not only in the size of explosion but in the color, for although the “product” is labeled as a blue flamer the lit flatulent gas does not actually appear as the color blue. Historical records indicate that the name is derived from the natural gas that a carrier produces.

* Supply depletion: no gas from a chosen carrier. I believe producing the correct amount of gas as well as the speed necessary for a successful launch is as much an art form as it is a skill. While most human bodies will produce (and expel) a reasonable amount of gas in a given lifetime not all gas and gas carriers are created equal. Some must intake specific types of fuel in order for effective processing. Others are simply gifted with a faulty processing system that allows for a natural greenhouse effect to take place.

*Pyroflatulance, otherwise known as “blue darts” or “blue angels” are possible because of the methane, hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen present when one breaks wind. Caution must be exercised or sensitive tissues can be singed, seared, or over cooked.

While I have never personally experienced nor witnessed the ignition of a blue flame I can thus neither confirm nor deny the existence of such activities. I can only attest to the attempt by my older brothers. (Lighting flatulent gases has been a novelty practice among the male species of our culture for decades and with the statistical current rate of human evolvement this practice will continue for many, many more.) Disclaimer: no squirrels, chipmunks or creepy clowns were harmed during the creation of this blog post

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