Have you ever heard of a whoopee cushion?
It has other names like farting bag, pooting cushion, windy blaster and Razzberry Cushion.
But it also has a history.
It’s still popular.
And I’ll tell you where it was invented. But at some point you have to grow up.
Welcome to the Les Perras extensive English listening podcast.
Today you're listening to episode 305 which is about violent video games.
At the end of the video there is a list of some of the main words that come up here
so you can refer to them and extend your vocabulary through extensive English listening.
There was a Roman Emperor called Elagabalus, who first started whoopee cushions.
Well we don't know if he was the first or not, but he was the first one that we do know about.
Some of the historians tell us that he went to his dinner parties and he put the whoopee cushions under the chairs of his guests.
Not all his guests, of course he only put them under the chairs of the most pompous guests.
This meant that despite all their pomposity they would still have some disgusting sound when they sat down.
The more pompous they were,
the more embarrassed they would feel about it.
We're not exactly sure how he made his repercussions but we learned about the next guy.
This guy was Ziyadat Allah III from Africa. He made the whoopee cushions out of gallbladders.
They say that he enjoyed putting the animal bladders under the cushions around his palace and watching people's surprise reactions.
Even heads of state can have a good sense of humour sometimes.
They say that the modern whoopee cushion which is made out of rubber was invented in the 1930s.
It was actually made in Canada at the JEM rubber company.
There were some employees who were experimenting with scrap sheets of rubber.
We're not exactly sure what kind of experiments they were doing but they ended up making the whoopee cushion probably that was probably much to their great delight.
Anyway, it seemed to work so they tried selling it and it sold successfully. We haven't looked back since then.
These things are still popular today.
I just did a quick search online, and I found all sorts of places where I can buy whoopie cushions.
I can get them sent to my door and they can arrive within 24 hours.
They might be fun for parties, but between you and me I lost interest in them when I was about 14 years old. Besides, they usually break very easily.
These things are quite delicate and if you sit on them too fast the rubber usually breaks at some point and then it stops making the noise like it should.
As an added bonus, I found a little fact about whoopee cushions that I kind of wondered about for a long time.
The famous actress Whoopi Goldberg has the name whoopi, which is the same as in the whoopee cushion name.
In fact she did get the name from the whoopee cushion.
In a sense she used to pass gas backstage and her friends compared her to a whoopee cushion.
She rebranded herself as Whoopi and added the name Goldberg, so she became Whoopi Goldberg.
I think that's hilarious, and she's a really good comedian.
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