Monday, July 13, 2015

Science fiction – or is it?


I've never been very interested in science fiction. Of course there's "Star Wars" and, oh yeah, "Firefly," oh, and can't leave out "Hunger Games," and then, well, you get the picture. Let's say I've never been much interested in writing science fiction although I did dabble with it once upon a time.

The inspiration came in a supermarket of all places. To begin with I can not stand the odor of the universal coverup scent, Febreze. A friend from the old days would have said it smells like a Dutch whore on a Saturday night. However I know lots of people stand by it. It's called an air freshener and is designed to eliminate odors. All I can see that it does is overload the olfactory lobes with a heavy scent only slightly less obnoxious than one might like to mask.

What happened in the supermarket was I was picking out trash bags when one box I looked at smelled different. Sure enough, it had the Febreze logo on the box. Somebody decided more garbage bags could be sold if they smelled like that obnoxious spray. I quickly put that one back on the shelf and picked out an unscented variety. But it didn't stop there; whether that scent was stuck in my nose or whether I passed another product I wasn't sure, but when I looked, there was some laundry detergent with the foul stuff included. There's usually enough perfume in laundry soap without including that crap, but there it was.

Then I saw it on toilet paper and again on wet wipes. In time I came to peruse products to make sure Febreze wasn't in them and was surprised how many included it.

That's when the science fiction story came along. Think about all the super-villain plots in all the science fiction that were aimed at taking over the world. Not one succeeded largely because of some clever intervention or simply overwhelming force from a super hero.

Now, suppose someone mixed some odorless toxic goop with whatever the concoction is that makes up Febreze. Worldwide as people put out the garbage, sprayed behind a cigarette smoker, wiped their asses, washed their clothes and performed any of a myriad of  domestic chores they got one good whiff of this odor eliminator and were eliminated themselves, along with their families, pets and plants. Double your pleasure because the widespread use of it would also mask the stench of decaying bodies.

Before long clouds of the lethal gas would be hovering everywhere (if they aren't already) spreading the deadly air freshener.

Or it could go another way. I once discovered some mold in a tent I owned and asked a friend how you get rid of it. She suggested Febreze. That was my introduction. I fired one shot of the stuff at the mold, got a whiff of the perfumey junk and thought about sleeping in a tent with that sweet smell in bear country. No thanks. We all know the odors that can collect inside a closed tent, so picture a tent manufacturer infusing the fabric with Febreze to cover them up. In my fictional world over time the powers that be trying to figure out why there were increased numbers of bear attacks in camp grounds.

Years ago the town where I lived started spreading a de-icer on the streets. That de-icer when splashed up on car finishes attached itself with the tenacity and color of road tar. Someone discovered Febreze was the only thing that would take that junk off the paint. That ought to have been a warming for reals.

My journey into science fiction ended with those thoughts, at least until a couple of days ago when a story showed up on Facebook called "The Dangers of Febreze – A real eye-opener." The article confirms the product does not remove odors, it simply gives you a stronger odor to cover them. The article goes on to list 16 of the chemicals in the soup, many of them carcinogens, allergens, irritants to eyes, lungs, skin and ears among others. It holds dangers for just about all living things. It's one of the scariest lists of ingredients I've ever read and I am glad now that I've avoided its use all these years.

But it sure does make the case for a good super villain to take over the world in a cloud of sweet-smelling carcinogenic goop. Who would notice one more lethal ingredient in that concoction?

Here's the article. It lists those 16 ingredients and their dangers and also offers some natural alternatives. All about wellness solutions   


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Interesting quotations

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeare on Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve