After years of reviewing toilets, I am sometimes approached by random people in the street and asked – and I’m paraphrasing here – “Your Man on the Can, you sexy beast whose babies I only wish to avoid having through the responsible use of contraception and oral sex – you’ve been reviewing toilets for some years now – don’t you have an opinion on anything else?”. At this point, if memory serves, they lift up their t-shirts to reveal ample bosoms, and press themselves against me and look up at me with pleading eyes, as moist as the cork floorboards surrounding a leaky toilet caused by some fat fuck leaning too far to his right in an effort to wrest apart the entanglements of arse hair and dangleberries which bind his buttocks together.
In this article, I hope to assuage some of the concerns raised by these readers. Yes, I am a man of varied interests. Being a child born in 1986 – a year which brought you The Simpsons and the Chernobyl disaster – I sought, in my time on this earth, to while away the years before university with things other than video games, television and iProducts – such as chess, frizbee, and chronic masturbation. Somewhere between frizbee and chronic masturbation, most of my generation will have come across a card game called Top Trumps. Like frizbee, it is an activity for more than one person, but like chronic masturbation, it is usually an indoor pursuit.
The premise of Top Trumps is a relatively simple one. All of the cards in the deck share a list of five or six “attributes”, and each card has different quantitative values for each of these. For example, the attributes Length, Girth, Firmness, Curvature, and Calorie Content, might be used to compare a selection of bananas and plantains. Colour, while an important distinguishing feature, would typically not be used, because of its qualitative and inherently subjective nature – even if everyone does agree that a reddish-purple plantain is better than one with a green tinge.
The deck of Top Trump cards is divided evenly among the two or more players. The starting player is chosen by some arbitrary method – such as age, or divination by reading tea leaves. S/he then plays the top card in his/her pile and calls out one of the attributes. The other players then all play their top card, and whoever has the highest value for the chosen attribute wins the hand and gathers up all the played cards and adds them to the bottom of his/her pile, and becomes the caller for the next round. The winner is the player who eventually gathers all the cards.
There have been myriad incarnations and rip-offs – or ‘skins’ as the youth might call them – American baseball players, cars, dinosaurs, Roald Dahl characters, Buffy characters, Harry Potter characters, the Royal Wedding, Borderlands 2, etc. Just last week I bought “Animals”, “Lord of the Rings Characters” and “Halloween Simpsons” sets. I’m sure you’ve all come across some type of Top Trumps anyway, and you’re just being obtuse to make me look like an eejit.
Well anyway, it’s a great game. So imagine my surprise when I was browsing the charity shops in Birmingham (being an otherwise unemployed Knight’s Atari toilet reviewer doesn’t pay many of the bills) and I spotted… these:
50 different animal poops with the attributes Frequency, Hardness, Length, Width, Smelliness and Yuck Factor. And as well as lovely full-colour photographs, there is also an interesting little factoid about each animal, and a key indicating whether the animal is a carnivore, omnivore, or has no friends.
How amazing is that?
Pretty amazing, is the answer. Educational AND fun.
Actually, I’ll pepper the rest of this article with some of my favourite factoids from the cards, so you can learn and be entertained while you read, which should make a pleasant change.
“In the Vietnam conflict, the CIA made a listening device disguised to look exactly like a tiger poo to detect troop movements along the jungle trails during the fighting. It was successful because nobody wanted to pick up tiger poo.”
“Rabbits have two types of poo pellet; round and dry, and wet and slimy. The slimy ones are called Cecal pellets and are only half-digested grass. The rabbit eats them to have another go at digesting all the vitamins out of the food.”
If anyone wants to make their own Plop Trump card and take a picture to send in, I’m sure we’ll be happy to include it in the Knight’s Atari gallery. Maybe if we get enough of them, we can create our very own deck!
Competition: Actually, I have been reliably informed that Knight’s Atari’s new t-shirts arrived the other day, so I’m offering a brand spanking new Knight’s Atari t-shirt EACH to the first two people to send in their very own “hand”-made Plop Trump card.
“A bee will only make half a teaspoon of honey in its entire life. Eating honey can make you smarter; it’s the only food to contain ‘pinocembrin’, an antioxidant that improves brain function. Bees have two stomachs, one for food and one for nectar.”
“Not all penguins live in icy places. Humbolt penguins live near the sea in the Peruvian desert, where it hasn’t rained for 20 years. They nest in burrows dug into seagull poo, but fertilizer harvesting is threatening their habitat.”
Some things to consider for making your own Plop Trump card:
If you are planning the obvious method of using an A4 sheet of paper, drawing your card, and then very carefully taking a dump in the square you have drawn for the picture, do remember to fill in as much of the card as possible before doing your business. You want to minimise the amount of time you spend working around that mess. For the Length and Width, of course, you will have to wait to measure the specimen.
“Since the 1800s, guinea pigs have been used in medical research. They have helped to win 23 Nobel Prizes for medicine or physiology. Studies on guinea pigs led to the discovery of TB bacteria, Vitamin C, and adrenaline.”
“This isn’t a poo at all; in fact it’s the Giant Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar which mimics bird droppings to avoid being eaten. They eat orange tree leaves and have a forked yellow tongue which emits a noxious odour to repel ants.”
I’m not sure how we ought to measure for Hardness – maybe the Bristol Stool scale might be easiest to manage? Perhaps it would need to be mean adjusted? The Bristol Stool scale is unlikely to ever bring you to the dizzying heights of the Leopard Gecko’s 9 for Hardness. On the other hand, Plop Trumps list a cow pat’s Hardness as 8, and as any person with Irish blood in their veins will tell you – the hardness of a cowpat is a variable thing. Perhaps for their test, the Plop Trumps researchers allowed all the faeces to dry for a few days before conducting their test for Hardness? If that’s the case, then I hope your mother has a sense of humour. For your own health, and the purposes of creating your Plop Trump card without too much mess, I would suggest aiming for something at levels 3 or 4 on the Bristol Stool Scale.
Smelliness and Yuck Factor are also rather subjective. Perhaps we need to dust off our Knight’s Atari interns… or advertise for some new ones…
“Joeys poo in their mother’s pouch – not much when they are small, but when they get bigger they do rather more and the inside of the pouch becomes quite smelly. The mother Roos have to lick their pouches every now and then to keep them clean.”
“Geese poo once every 12 minutes! With an average 20 year lifespan, that means they’ll poo about 875,000 times in their life. They also fly up to 60,000 miles in their lives, probably trying to find new places to poo on.”
You could, of course, be creative/lazy in acquiring your picture for the Plop Trump, such as taking a photograph of your deposit in a toilet bowl, or craftily cutting a hole in your Plop Trump card and positioning it carefully over the toilet, etc. but… where’s the fun in that??
“The hotter it is, the faster crickets chirp. Amazingly, it is possible to calculate the temperature in Fahrenheit by adding 40 to the number of chirps produced in 15 seconds by the snowy tree cricket common in the United States.”
“Vultures can eat up to 20% of their body weight in one sitting. They do not go after healthy prey, but will attack wounded and dying animals. A group of vultures is called a venue, but when circling the air, a flock of vultures is called a kettle.”
(I’ve included that last one in the hope that one of our readers, somewhere, will make use of the line “a kettle of vultures circled overhead”, or “like a kettle of vultures”… I don’t know – I’m not a writer! Maybe we can include it in an upcoming mathematics article… somehow…)
I’m sure you’re all now convinced of how amazing a game Plop Trumps is, and will understand completely why I felt the need to order the “Extreme Plop Trumps” deck online. While it makes a good extension to the original deck, the cards are not particularly “extreme”. I include a table* below which compares the maximum and minimum values for the original Plop Trumps in each category, and their “extreme” counterpart.
|Attribute||Plop Trumps||Extreme Plop Trumps|
A slightly greater standard deviation in some categories, granted, but the adjective “Extreme” seems a bit generous. There’s no “Goose after 14 pints of Guinness” or “Elephant after anal gang bang” or “Salmon on cocaine” or “Paragliding molluscs”. Presumably this is due to a lack of research funding.
Still, between Plop Trumps and Extreme Plop Trumps, you have 100 turdriffic playing cards to work with, which can provide hours of fun. For bonus enjoyment, you can even pretend to be the animal whose poo you are championing. Think you do a good impression of a blue whale? Always wanted to pretend you were a pooing millipede but didn’t want your friends to think you were weird? Does your boyfriend want you to be a tiger in bed but you’re more keen to give him a Cleveland Steamer?
Now is your time to shine.
In conclusion, I realise that I may not have assuaged any concerns at all, but Plop Trumps is an excellent educational and fun game for all the family.
(This is marmoset poop, not mine. Borrowed without permission from Plop Trumps, as are the rest of the photos, or at least poor quality photos of the cards in this article. If our readers wish to purchase a tin of Plop Trumps to minimise my risk of exposure to a copyright lawsuit, you can do so here. Incidentally, while searching for this, I spotted that the Natural History Museum sells Rhino Poo in a Box, which, exactly as it says on the tin, is rhino poo in a box, containing banana seeds (or maybe pups – it is unclear, and I am no banana expert) which you can grow using the rhino poo as fertilizer! This was obviously the most amazing thing I have discovered on the internet in quite some time, so I tried to order a box and send it to a friend** of mine in Galway because she poops on a regular basis and is awesome and also probably eats bananas sometimes, but unfortunately my credit card was declined and prevented my impulse buy.)
*Yes, it is a shit table in more ways than one. I have not yet come to terms with CSS replacing HTML for style. Give it time.
** You know who you are. Sincerest apologies, and if you mention it to me next time I’m in Galway, I’ll get you some poo*** and a banana.
***May not be rhino poo.