And Old Farts Too!

Hi folks!

I was sitting at Johnny’s the other day thinking about nothing in particular, when I looked up and noticed the old Johnny’s sign on the wall.

Sign at Johnny's "Minnows & Worms Old Farts too," from a bygone era!

Johnny’s used to be a bait and tackle shop before it morphed into a coffee bar and great general hangout with food, music and good company. The bait and tackle went away but the old farts still hang on. Then I got to wondering about the expression ‘old farts’ – where it came from – as I don’t think old people fart any more than young people. Then again, maybe they do? So I searched the web and came across this insightful post on the subject:

“Maybe it’s not so much that they fart more often, but that they just don’t care and don’t try to hold it back. But on the other hand, they are the ones that are probably taking fiber and eating more beans, so could you blame them? It could also be a form of entertainment…not much else to do when all you do is sit and watch tv all day, so might as well make it interesting by throwing in some ‘bubblies’.”

I couldn’t find a more detailed investigation of the issue. Maybe such data are lurking in the bowels of the research records of the manufacturers of Beano and The University of Gas. Who knows? I would like to add that I never watch TV, so that does not apply in my case! Then my mind ran to the issue of the origin of the expression ‘Old Fart’ independently of the potential for increased gaseous emissions in my age group, which naturally led to fond memories of John Chardy and his delightful program on words and their origins on National Public Radio (NPR). John Chardy was one of my favorites, and he always finished his talks back in the 80s with “good words to you.” He would take a word or phrase apart and follow its origins back into the mists of time, long before Johnny’s was a bait shop or even a building, and often back to Persian or Sanskrit! Off I went on the Internet again to look at the NPR archives, and I could find nothing there on John Chardy. Too old! Too long ago! I couldn’t even find a photograph of him to put here in my blog. Bummer! Doesn’t seem like very long ago, to me at least.

ERRATUM: I then wrote to NPR and they kindly replied and said “search under John Ciardi,” which I did, and now here is his photo.

John Ciardi, who I really miss listening to on National Public Radio. From

As John wasn’t available, I tried to search ‘old fart’ myself, and Chez Ollie:

“Fart comes from the German word ‘ferzan,’ meaning to break wind. Old Fart was popularized in the 1970s by the New Musical Express.” NME is such an alien world to me that I decided not to go there!

Then hope was in sight, I found The Old Fart’s Blog, but it was too religious for my taste and it gave no useful insight into origins, as far as I could tell. This blog did contain a lovely picture of a chair by a window, which made me feel like sitting down and cogitating after an exhausting search through mountains of Internet trivia.

The perfect place to sit, but I would turn the chair away from the television and towards that great view!

Maybe I’m not an old fart, but an old cogitator?

OK! Back to training for Eagleman, which is only days away.


Kevin (Old Dog!)


  1. R.Puratchimani says

    //I never watch TV//
    K…I think you are an exception.

    Wikipedia gives the following explanation for the word “fart”.

    “Fart is an English language vulgarism most commonly used in reference to flatulence. The word “fart” is generally considered unsuitable in a formal environment by modern English speakers, and it may be considered vulgar or offensive in some situations. Fart can be used as a noun or a verb.[1] The immediate roots are in the Middle English words ferten, feortan or farten; which is akin to the Old High German word ferzan. Cognates are found in old Norse, Slavic and also Greek and Sanskrit. The word “fart” has been incorporated into the colloquial and technical speech of a number of occupations, including computing.

    //Maybe I’m not an old fart, but an old cogitator?//
    Yes.. you are an old cogitator..more than that you are an enthusiastic,energetic athlete and emerging entrepreneur.

  2. Not too concerned about farts so much but delighted to hear mention of John Ciardi whose nome I always thought was spelled ‘Chardy’. I would look forward to John Ciardi’s “Words to you” mornings back in the ’80’s on WGBH. This was one of those treasured moments like Louis M.Lyons or Robert J. Lurtsema reading the news. Reading Aloud by Bill Cavness was another delight in the same category.

    • Hi Joe. They’re eructates (burps), Only a vet would care, I guess! Then again, how did you find this old article? I was so sad when he died. I used to listen to John taken apart the history of a word. Going back into the mists of time.
      So glad I’m not the only one who misses him.
      Thanks for your comment.
      kevin aka FitOldDog

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.