What’s that smell?

I remember when my nephew hit puberty, and stopped smelling like a person and started smelling like a French whorehouse. Or whatever your preferred euphemism is for “too much cologne.”

I don’t know what it is with adolescent boys and their mustard gas-intensity fragrances. It must be some combination of anxiety over one’s rapidly changing body and — I don’t know what. But my nephew was hardly the only one who seemingly bathed in the stuff. The Axe Body Spray cartel could give any women’s personal-care product a run for its money.

So I immediately dived into Dahlia Lithwick’s hilarious piece about what happened when she went a solid week, wearing Axe and Axe-y products. She’s such a good writer; why confine her to the Supreme Court? Behold:

What happens when a fortysomething women walks around smelling like a 13-year-old boy for a week? Mostly nothing. As it turns out, ours is a culture in which, as a general principle, people don’t really feel comfortable commenting on your scent, even when it is so powerful as to be causing climate change. So even if you apply Axe before a funeral—as I did—nobody is going to grab you by the arm and ask you to please leave. I wore a heavy coating of it to a dinner party one night. Eliciting no response, even when I started helpfully jamming my neck into the other guests’ noses, I did learn from several mothers that the Wall of Axe (a naturally occurring phenomenon in which eight or more teen boys reapply Axe after phys ed, then stand in the stairwell together) has become so bad at some local schools that it’s been banned altogether. Another guest described a perennial teen rite of passage—the agony of spraying Axe down your own pants for the first time.

It’s a little anticlimactic; you see the premise and you expect to hear stories of rooms emptying and cats fainting, and it’s not quite that lively. But honestly, my hat is off to anyone who can olfactorily bond with a teenage boy like that.

I had a few boyfriends who were fond of male fragrance. I grew to the point where I would rather smell regular old b.o. and farts than CK1.

Tired, I am. I’m always tired at this point of the day. How about a dog picture? Wendy wants to be a meerkat for Halloween:


Something outside was very interesting.

Here’s Neil Steinberg, laying out a few of his least-favorite companies:

Maybe there is something about humans that just needs to hate something, and since I can’t find it in my heart to despise any particular group of people based on race, religion or nationality, I express that natural tendency to loathe by really getting my back into hating certain companies and their products, and not always rationally either.

It starts with Caribou. It goes on.

Wednesday. Ohhh-kay. I’m going to bed.

Posted at 12:30 am in Popculch |

63 responses to “What’s that smell?”

  1. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 1:34 am

    What’s Caribou? Expensive coffee? I’m with Steinberg about having a group of corporate citizens, too. Number one on my list is the products sold by Baron Bich. I have not bought any Bic product since they ran the ads in the 60s of stews asking passengers “Coffee, tea or flick my Bic.” I can’t claim to have been a feminist way back then, but I knew this was terribly demeaning to half the human race. So No Bic pens or pencils, Bic razors, and no Bic lighters tor 50 years. Period. I won’t go to Home Depot and I root for the ATL Falcons to lose because because Arthur Blankis a conservative ahole version of George Soros. I root against the Pats too, because nothing ever happened bad to the Pats that wasn’t another player’s fault according to Wonderboy Tom Brady. In Brady’s case, the UGGS and the mullet didn’t help much. I despise Time Warner because the service is terrible, but it’s the only high speed net here, so I’m stuck with them. I dislike Chevrolets because I like Ford products despit Henry’s irrational anti-semitism. If Sherri sees this, she’ll understand why I can’t stand the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds because of racist ownership in the past, even 50 years ago.

    When I was a kid the stench of choice (usually by girlfriends) was either Hai Karate (pretty horrible) or British Sterling (Durian rotting human flesh topnote over corpse flower base). No guy I knew would buy this crap for himself. My HS was a smart jock school and we all hated being caught dead with any of this shit on, but the power of what passed for sex in adolescence for most of us back then, possibly withheld for insufficient gratitude for a gift, covered a multitude of olfactory sins and was too much to turn down. Left to our druthers, we boys would more likely have preferred Mundy’s Green Rub liniment or chlorine and green hair . When I was teaching HS, a gaggle of girls would produce a similar effect with overspray of some My Little Kitty or Tommy Girl stinkbomb en masse. The atrocious Hai Karate and the possibly actually lethally poisonous Brit Sterling were replaced by Brut by the time my Senior Year came around. A lot of kids hit the old man’s Old Spice before sock hops. And gutdom, I jest really aged myself. I was very happy when my daughter’s mom convinced her that Estee Lauder Youth Dew was very nice and considerably more subtle than some other choices. It was something they shared. I always liked Chanel No. 19 for significant others. The No. 5 makes me think immediately of funeral homes and wakes.

    Very fetching dog photo.

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  2. Dexter said on October 23, 2013 at 2:13 am

    My dad was a WWII guy. He was a very clean man , shaved every day, and always used “Bay Rum” on his face afters, which he called “foo-foo water”. I was a teen in the 60s , and my crowd used “English Leather” and “Aqua Velva” after shaving.
    As I aged I began hating perfumes and colognes because I became ultra-sensitive to them. Still, I use a tiny spray shot of Drakkar after showering and I use a few drops of cheap after shave as well.
    People just don’t know how to use fragrances. It’s ridiculous to perfume an entire floor of a building as you use a half bottle of some half-expensive crap that you bought at a drugstore. Stop it!

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  3. David C. said on October 23, 2013 at 6:15 am

    I protest teenage boy’s Axe addiction by sneezing at them. It’s a kind of passive-aggressive protest, but a protest none the less.

    My least favorite company is Dominoes Pizza. I won’t eat it even if it’s free. First, because I hate V-8 juice on Wonder Bread. But a close second is because Tom Monaghan is such a weird SOB. From his more Catholic than the pope town without contraceptives to his own personal stable of nuns with habits he designed himself, the guy is too strange to eat anything that he will profit from.

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  4. ROGirl said on October 23, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Domino’s always had the worst pizza in Ann Arbor. It hasn’t changed since it went national. Didn’t Monoghan sell it?

    I vaguely recall a line from the movie “Breaking Away” about a frat boy who reeked of Lavoris and Brut. Brut is hands down the worst male cologne ever. Just thinking about it makes me gag.

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  5. Mindy said on October 23, 2013 at 7:49 am

    I knew too many guys who marinated in Aramis way back when. Had a coffee date with one of them who wore so much of it that I couldn’t taste my coffee.

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  6. BigHank53 said on October 23, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Monagahn sold Domino’s. Since the sale he’s put his energy into ultra-conservative Catholic schools. The one in Michigan failed, but the new one in Florida (what is it with Florida?) still seems to be plugging along. He’s trying to build a Catholic town alongside the university:


    I’ll bet Pope Francis is making him grind his molars to powder.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 23, 2013 at 8:14 am

    They really make you work, at Walmart, CVS, or the independent grocery store to find an “unscented” deodorant. There’s always one somewhere in the phalanx, but I keep wondering if someday I’ll look and look and end up realizing, they all have some stink or another in ’em. And then I’ll have to pick. Oy.

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  8. nancy said on October 23, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Yes, Monaghan sold Domino’s years ago. I interviewed their post-Monaghan CEO there, and the PR guy said he keeps a he-doesn’t-live-here-anymore letter in boilerplate, to send to people who complain and threaten boycotts. And there are a lot of them.

    I think Monaghan would make a great character in a Carl Hiaasen novel, but so far, the author hasn’t been so moved.

    I don’t find their pizza bland — that dishonor goes to the utterly inedible Little Caesar’s — but rather, buried under salt. The month Kate was in Europe, we ate healthy and clean almost every night. When she came home, of course she wanted a pizza. The sodium levels were startling.

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  9. Dave said on October 23, 2013 at 8:25 am

    English Leather. I haven’t thought of that stuff in years. The lids were actually made of wood at one time, weren’t they?

    My father was a Mennen Skin Bracer man, he used it for as long as I was aware of it and I use a little, too. Yes, it’s cheap stuff but my face doesn’t seem right after shaving without a little of it rubbed on. I don’t recall using any British Sterling but Pros mentioned Hai Karate, another brand I’d forgotten.

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  10. alex said on October 23, 2013 at 8:30 am

    When I was a teen, my scent of choice was Jovan Musk. A lot of kids were wearing Aramis back then, and one night I was driving around with a carload of guys when the smell of Aramis began growing particularly strong, seemingly from out of nowhere. It was overwhelming. Everyone thought it was Aramis. Then somebody noticed smoke coming out from behind one of the back seat cushions where a cigarette had evidently dropped and was burning the stuffing.

    Steinberg makes boycotting easy. Jimmy John’s, Caribou and Domino’s all suck anyhow and I don’t spend my money there because I can’t stand their mediocre product. Very disappointed to learn about the Berghoff charade. It joins Chik Fil-A, Cracker Barrell and Hobby Lobby on my shit list. I waffled about Home Depot and Lowes, both being owned by megalomaniacal right-wingers with truly noxious world views and lots of money to throw at causes that I abhor, but their ten percent military discounts have saved my partner and I thousands of dollars, so I can hold my nose and still shop there.

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  11. beb said on October 23, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Monoghan did sell Dominos but that’s no reason to stop boycotting them. For a while we used to get Papa John’s pizza but quit long before the founder turned out to be a cheap douchebag. They never seemed to list any of their specials on their menus. I got tired of that and switched to Pizza Hut.

    I can never remember what all companies one is supposed to boycott. There are so many of them. Wal-mart is the only one I can remember.

    I never dated in High school is the question of cologne never came up. But I do recall a long-time habit of thinking if someone were good then a lot of it would be better. I think a lot of boys think like that so they over-apply their cologne. or perhaps its the fear of B. O. from years of watching commercials for deodorants on TV.

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  12. coozledad said on October 23, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I still have memories of one of my college roomates tipping a bottle of some cologne up over the nape of his neck so it would drain into the the pubic tangle of yellow/brown hair between his shoulder blades. Like some woman was going to go snuffling there.
    Who knows. Maybe in downtown Greenville there were a few women who’d been given a blowfly’s olfactory lobes as part of the extensive LSD experiments taking place there under the auspices of the nearby Marine base.

    And from another stupid ass NC town, Renee Ellmer’s family loses one of its pet AR-15’s. She’s some white trash doctor’s beard.

    A heart surgeon leases the land next door to us so he can shoot at things every weekend. I wouldn’t let someone stupid enough to be entertained by shooting at something thirty or forty times in quick succession take my damn pulse. You.can.not.educate the derp out of trash.

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  13. Deborah said on October 23, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I dropped so much money at Home Depot last month when we were working on the bathroom renovation. It seems like we went there 4 times a day. I tried to go other places but HD mostly had what I needed. Hobby Lobby is a place I refuse to go, but even then I ended up buying picture frames there because I tried everyplace else.

    I’m back in Chicago, missing the crisp dry air and the mountains already. But there’s the lake and the shiny city!

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  14. Charlotte said on October 23, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I won’t go to WallMart, and since the Target guy was such a dick about gay marriage (and apparently treats his employees the same), I’ve cut way back on Target. Love Costco where they pay their happy employees. My beloved hates hates hates the local Albertsons — all the marketing drives him crazy. He shops at the local grocery which is great on everything but produce (and still has a real butcher). Since Himself doesn’t eat most green things, this is not a problem for him.

    I was never a makeup girl, but I used to love good perfume. Unfortunately, Himself gets migraines from most fragrances. Not really a sacrifice, but sometimes I do miss the ones I bought in France.

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  15. brian stouder said on October 23, 2013 at 10:29 am

    ! I rise to ask the Chair to entertain a nomination for Post of the Day and Thread Winner, for Alex’s sublime post at #10; I’m STILL chuckling, Madam Chairperson! (Car load’a kids, ‘what’s that smell?’ – fire!), And if I was to revise and extend my remarks, we’d go into other odd things encountered on car-load cruises around Fort Wayne. But further to the subject at hand, let me say that I used to really think that after-shave was an indispensable part of the shaving procedure. My dad was an Aqua Velva (or, sometimes, Old Spice) guy, and therefore I was, too. But as it currently stands, I haven’t used aftershave in several decades

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  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 23, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Canoe canoe?

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  17. Dorothy said on October 23, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Hubby has never used cologne, but he does use after shave (Stetson), applying it ever so lightly that I have to hug him in order to smell it. It’s just the right amount – not too strong, not too faint. Since he doesn’t put it on by the handful it seems to last him awhile and we just bought a new bottle last week.

    There’s a woman in my office who has been wearing something that makes my head, eyes and nose hurt when I come near her. It’s NASTY. It’s probably very expensive and I don’t dare ask her what she’s wearing. I don’t know how those sitting around her office upstairs can stand it. Whooo wheee but it’s bad.

    When my son turned 13 he went to the mall one weekend with a friend and that friend’s mom drove them. I was happily sewing when he came home. Before I even saw him, I could smell him coming, when he got home around supper time. “MOM! The lady at Macy’s (or wherever he had been) was so nice. She gave me a bunch of samples and I bought XYZ cuz I liked it the best!” I said “Did you try on each one of the samples at the same time? It’s a little overwhelming.” Thankfully he passed through that stage pretty quickly. But when I drove him and his buddies to a school dance or two that year, all the windows were down out of necessity.

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  18. dull_old_man said on October 23, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I used Jade East in high school. It was vile. I thought it was cooler than English Leather. There was an ad for some manly aftershave that had a woman react negatively to what she called JungleFruit aftershave–when I heard that, I thought JungleFruit aftershave sounds good to me.

    Using scent like that stems from insecurity. I was thrilled that I needed to shave as often as once a month and wanted everyone to know.

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  19. Peter said on October 23, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Whoa, British Sterling, that brings back some memories.

    I think it’s ironic that a lot of those fragrances were marketed to a younger generation who didn’t want to smell like their dad’s Old Spice and Listerine, yet all of those are gone (I hope) and Old Spice and Listerine still remain.

    My cousin landed a sweet gig some years back – he’s the chief chemist for a perfume cooperative in France – they basically develop scents and pitch the formula to companies for a licensing agreement. The place has batches and formulas of all of those ancient fragrances.

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  20. Deborah said on October 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Jeff, I hadn’t thought about Canoe in probably nearly 50 years, what a flash back. I can even smell it. I went through a serious Shalimar period and an even more serios White Shoulders phase, now I think they stink. Do they even make that anymore? Now I wear Jo Malone, Lime Blossom, but can only find it at Nieman’s.

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  21. Judybusy said on October 23, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I almost didn’t get on an elevator today because the nicely-groomed guy ahead of me was so doused in something vile. I just held my breath till he got off. I initially smelled it 12 feet behind him as we approached the elevator area. I think the worst is when I can smell cologne or perfume in a parking garage from someone a good 40 feet up ahead, when it’s about 20 degrees. It takes a lot for a scent to travel in that chilly temp! And thanks, now I’ve got to rant about a minor pet peeve.

    Speaking of pets, that Wendy is damned adorable!

    Ah to boycott or not. We are getting loads of stuff done to our home, including windows, siding and insulation. Lowe’s came in with the best bid, and we absolutely love the rep. We’ve had some windows done already, and the install crew were great. We’d have loved to have used a local company, but no way could we spend an extra $10,000 on this project. So, I’m sad to hear we’re supporting some right-wing jerk.

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  22. Julie Robinson said on October 23, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Charlotte, I can confirm that Costco is a great place to work, since our son got a position at the store that just opened here in the Fort. They pay well and have all kinds of wonderful benefits, including health insurance for part timers. It’s looking like he can make a go at it while still having time off for rehearsals and performances. It greatly relieves Mom & Dad to see him making livable wages for once. Okay, that last sentence was a huge understatement.

    I always felt crummy when I shopped at Walmart, knowing how little their employees make. And I’d love to only shop at socially responsible businesses, but it can be overwhelming to research them all.

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  23. nancy said on October 23, 2013 at 11:16 am

    We’ve had the perfume conversation here before, and soon LAMary will weigh in — she’s a fragrance fiend. My piece, which I’ve surely said before: Giorgio was the watershed for me. Before Giorgio, scents were a little more delicate and (properly applied) beckoned you closer. After G., the idea was that everyone could smell you coming a mile away. An elderly woman in my office wore it, and it nearly knocked me down whenever we came close.

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  24. Minnie said on October 23, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Scents of yesteryear. Don’t leave out Royall Lyme. If memory serves, it was among the least objectionable if used judiciously.

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  25. Colleen said on October 23, 2013 at 11:50 am

    For the girls, it was Love’s Baby Soft…..I doused myself in that a few times.

    Now I wear Estee Lauder’s Modern Muse. It’s new, and I really like it. I try not to bathe in it, however.

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  26. Sherri said on October 23, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I don’t remember what perfume I wore way back when, on the rare occasions I wore it. I’ve never been much of a perfume person. A few years back, though, I discovered Donna Karan Cashmere Mist deodorant/antiperspirant, which I love. I sweat, and it’s an effective deodorant/antiperspirant, with a subtle fragrance of the Cashmere Mist perfume.

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  27. Charlotte said on October 23, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I still wear Carthusia’s Mediterreneo sometimes in the summer — it’s really light, mostly lemon verbena and green tea (or so the description says). Bright and fresh. Deborah, I love the Jo Malone scents too — I wore the Lavender and Amber for ages. The one I can’t wear anymore, which I loved, was Hermes Jardin sur le Nil it has some base note that I adore, but that makes my beloved nauseous. Literally. I had to leave and spend the night back at my house one Thanksgiving when he really tried, but couldn’t be in the same room with me, even after a shower. Poor guy. Certainly not the effect one wants on one’s beloved!

    When I first went to the U of I though, I lived in one of the private dorms (because I dithered for too long hoping that Michigan would let me off the wait list). The elevator was a trial. That was the Polo era for well-heeled guys. Ugh.

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  28. LAMary said on October 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Jo Malone makes some wonderful scents. I’m a grapefruit fan, but lime basil is good too. Charlotte, we must have similar taste because I like Jo Malone lavendar amber and Hermes Jardin Sur le Nil. Several Hermes scents have that same note I think you’re referring to. I also like Sake which is made by Fresh. Very clean and not at all overbearing. I also like Philosophy Pure Grace, which I know is sort of lame but it smells like Ivory Soap to me and it seems perfect for working in a hospital. It has to be the cleanest, soapiest smelling cologne around. Somewhere between Ivory soap and Tide.

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  29. Dexter said on October 23, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    A year or so ago we had two grandsons living here for a few months. I had to ban Axe from the house but they didn’t listen to me, of course. That shit gave me headaches and agita, just being near the fumes.

    The longest lasting scent has to be Latakia pipe tobacco. It comes from Syria and Cyprus. It actually killed my brother-in-law at age 47, who died of stomach cancer from the stuff. He had me hooked on it too, but when he contracted cancer I quit cold turkey. His wife still lives in the house, 24 years after he died. The house still reeks of Latakia pipe tobacco. Just thinking of it starts up a craving in me…I miss my pipes much more than any of my other conquered addictions. I thank the stars I didn’t have to give up coffee and tea, fer crissakes!

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  30. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Tom Robbins wrote a particularly (even for Tom Robbins) novel called Jitterbug Perfume, about the odoriferous industry and the demigod Pan, and Pan’s heady goat musk. I had forgotten about English Leather completely. My next brother had a girlfriend that bought it for him. I’ve heard that Bay Rum was a libation of necessity for alkies during Prohibition. Hai Karate ads. One with Joey Bishop. And one Thomas Crowne Affair ripoff.

    My ex and I once shared a cottage on the beach at Truro on Cape Cod with another couple. The guy used Aramis overabundantly. Yeeccchhhh. I spent a lot of time outdoors. But eating in that miasmic funk was nearly impossible. All the food tasted like it had been marinated in charcoal lighter fluid.

    We only buy pizza from locals. It’s much better than any of the chains. Reminds me, anyone visiting Savannah GA should head for Vinnie van GoGo’s for pizza and some locally brewed IPA. Great pizza, and I lived in Boston long enough to become a complete pizza snob. The description of Domino’s as V-8 on Wonderbread seems pretty accurate to me. It’s as if they boycott oregano and garlic.

    My first college GF used the Jean Nate Pour le Bain (?) products. Very nice. One whiff makes me nostalgic, like a Proustian madeleine.

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  31. Little Bird said on October 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Love’s! I wore that! And whatever else could be found at the drugstore. Now I wear perfume oils of my own blending.
    And yes, they still make Shalimar and White Shoulders. Both are available at any Walgreens or CVS.
    I will admit to loving the scent of Drakar on a man. But not if he went swimming in a vat of the stuff.

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  32. Jeff Borden said on October 23, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I think Steinberg is on to something, but in the sense that it makes ME feel good while probably doing absolutely nothing to hurt the offending business. We’re off Russian vodka because of the anti-gay activities, but then we read that Stoli is actually Lithuanian and then someone else informs us that the owner of Stoli actually is a fairly vocal supporter of gay rights.

    But it’s easy to shun Jimmy John’s. My problem with them is that the founder is not only an obnoxious 1%er who borrowed $20,000 from his well off parents to launch his chain –you may recall Willard Romney suggesting that all of us do that to launch a business– but also because he shared photos of himself on a big game safari in Africa, where he killed all manner of magnificent creatures with his big ol’ gun. I’d never seen a photo of Jimmy John before, but suffice to say, he has eaten a great many of his own sandwiches and would be an easy kill for the snow leopard he is posing with so smugly.

    Also on the fuck you list: Chic-fil-A, Papa John’s, Walmart, BP and, especially, Nike. I fucking hate Nike. Everything about the company and its management makes me nauseous but especially Phil Knight.

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  33. Bitter Scribe said on October 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I don’t get the Axe body spray hate. I have to use it sometimes (it’s the only deodorant my supermarket sells in gym-bag size) and it smells fine to me. Sure, if you douse yourself in the stuff you’ll reek, but that’s true of just about any personal-care product.

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  34. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Granny Starver thinks the next GOPer-manufactured budgetary crisis should be used to force the Administration to approve Keystone XL. The pipeline provides no benefits whatsoever to the USA. The dirty oil will become diesel for sale to offshore markets, mostly China which is already fouling the atmosphere more than the US does. The potential for environmental disaster is huge. So, logic tells me that advocating the pipeline brings monetary benefits to GS Paul Ryan. Time to make the bastards deal with jobs and immigration reform.

    I don’t like Nike either, mainly because of Michael Jordan (Republicans buy shoes too.)

    We used to buy Yuengling lager, but the CEO started spewing that anti-Obamacare crap about cutting employees to part time and raising prices, so bye-bye oldest brewery in the US. Your beer was already overpriced. I won’t touch a Coors product if I’m dying of thirst. Gutdom Nazi union busters. It tastes like canned water anyway. I’m pretty sure killing a snow leopard is illegal. If it’s not, countries should make it so and send the poachers to the ICC.


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  35. Bob (not Greene) said on October 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Don’t sugarcoat it, Jeff B., let us know how you really feel!

    There’s a Costco opening up near our home (in a town I cover) and I can tell you what prospective employees think of that company. The company reported that 20,000 people had applied for jobs there. They are hiring about 100 or so. One of my sons applied and got a couple of interviews, but didn’t get the job. Too bad, it would’ve been a nice spot for him — close to home and more than he’s making now.

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  36. Bitter Scribe said on October 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    We only buy pizza from locals. It’s much better than any of the chains.

    This. If you live in any big American city with a sizable Hispanic population—and these days, that pretty much means any big American city, period—there will be plenty of mom-and-pop taquerias and pizzerias that will blow Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, etc. out of the water for a dollar or two more (if that). The fact that those chains even exist is a testament to the power of advertising. Some people will eat salted wet cotton if they see enough TV ads for it.

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    • nancy said on October 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Same with beer. At least Budweiser has a good ad agency.

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  37. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    We have a large Hispanic population. Somebody needs to know how to run chair rail and crown molding. These are craftsmen getting paid shit wages with no benefits. We have some very good hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants and a few excellent pizza places that are locally-owned. Far as beer is concerned, I’ve given up on national brands and mostly buy Dale’s Pale Ale from the Oskar Blues Brewery in NC and CO. Expensive, but that’s a good thing, as Pete Townshend once said in liner notes on the Empty Glass album, when he thanked the makers of Remy Martin cognac for saving his life by making the bloody stuff so expensive:


    Love them megahops brews. Another is Ranger IPA, which I think is brewed in the hotbed of fundagelicism Fort Collins, thank you Jesus. Really good brew. For a lager, Sam Adams is the best American, especially icy cold on tap, as it’s served at our favorite pizza place, which also serves anti-pasti of several sorts that would be approved in Boston’s Nawth End

    How is anything too expensive for Pete Townshend? Seems nearly impossible.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Mmmm, salted wet cotton. D’oh!

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 23, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Hope you all get a chance to read this one. And our homeowners association thinks we have troubles.

    “I just got a backhoe and went ahead,” Mr. Davis said.

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  40. Joe K said on October 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Old spice user here. Love the new slogan. If your grandfather hadn’t used it you wouldn’t be here.
    Cheers from Cullman Alabama
    pilot Joe

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  41. brian stouder said on October 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Jeff, I never made it past the sublime Headline and photo!

    Whatever the article says, it cannot top that

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  42. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Truly revolting anti-ACA tactics. Scumbag dickheads. And what is up with LATimes being rational? Did somebody lock Jonah Goldberg in the basement?

    Snow leopards and Shaolin monks.

    Jeff@38: You’d think Teabanger country would approve of what that gent did. Reading further, I’d be very happy in the afterlife to have a Beau Geste, Rocket Gibraltar Viking funeral. Two outstanding movies with great performances by Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster.

    Went over to Savannah yesterday to see All Is Lost. Incredibly intense and amazing performance by Robert Redford. This struck me as a bookend for Jeremiah Johnson, one of my favorite movies ever. This is my nautical movie experience for now, because I’ve been boycotting Tom Hanks movies ever since Elizabeth Perkins stripped down to her brassiere in Big, while I was watching with my seven year old daughter at a matinee in a theater filled with divorced dads and their kids. Gratuitous beyond any conceivable excuse.

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  43. basset said on October 23, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Skin Bracer here in my teens and twenties, plain rubbing alcohol since.

    About those tractor tires yesterday… they stayed round, the oval effect was distortion from the camera shutter.

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  44. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    I did see Road to Perdition a while back for free on Netflix. Excellent movie and performance by Hanks, but somewhat derivative of Miller’s Crossing, a better movie. All Is Lost is draining, like crossing the desert scenes in Lawrence of Arabia.

    Alan West is running for Congress again. Holy crap. This guy is certifiably psychotic.

    Latest young woman to be pilloried by conservative wholes for having an opinion. I love this sign the kid made. It was guaranteed to cause a feeding frenzy. She’s 14 you dumb moos. If I were her dad, I”d track some of these bastards down and beat them.

    The NCAA’s namby-pamby penalties for Miami for having the entire football and hoops teams on the payroll of a wealthy booster just shows how pitiful that organization has become. Nine scholarships over three years and no bowl bans, because the U “cooperated”. No it didn’t. The rich booster did when faced with prosecution on federal charges.

    So, the oval wheels effect was parallax. I still think it looked like Speed Racer.

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  45. DanB said on October 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I’ve never used cologne or aftershave, not even as a teenager. Not quite sure why.

    As a college professor, I’m mostly dealing with young men who are past the drown themselves in cheap cologne stage, for which I’m grateful. But I did have a student that I was advising on a research paper who wore excessive amounts of something with a fake-citrus scent to it. Stunk up my office every week. Even worse was an instructor I shared my office with last year. He managed to combine the strong scents of both B.O. and fake-citrus scented cologne to a degree that I felt overwhelmed by it at the other end of the room. He was an economics instructor, and I got to listen to him repeating extreme free-market views to his students. Of course, if he heard what I was telling my students in my Latin American history classes, he’d probably be appalled too. But at least I keep my scents subtle.

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  46. LAMary said on October 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    They might sell White Shoulders at CVS, but Shalimar is pretty expensive stuff. I think they are a little selective about where it’s sold.

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  47. alex said on October 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    In my workplace there aren’t any excessive perfumers, however there are a few ladies who like to burn scented candles at their desks and those can be excruciating. There’s one candle in particular I refer to as Eau de Tomcat. I’m surprised some of the chronic whiners haven’t made a big stink about it to management yet; I figured I could count on them to get us some relief as I’m reluctant to sweat the small stuff and be regarded as someone who can’t get along well.

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  48. John G. Wallace said on October 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Sorry confession of the day. I sometimes wear Usher. I got it on clearance at TJ Maxx and it is less heavy handed than most of the Calvin Klein stuff. So far I can safely report Justin Bieber is not following me around.

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  49. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    SHALIMAR, the trumpets chorused, angels wholly all shall take
    Those alive will meet the prophets, those at peace shall see their wake

    –Keith Reid, in Whaling Stories, on Salty Dog

    My mom liked White Shoulders and another called Fleur de Rocailles. Translates to flowers in a rock garden (very apt for my mom). Nice scent. I recall it was pretty expensive on my budget for a Christmas gift when I was a kid.

    I don’t use any of that junk anymore, but I have shaving lotion from a company called Harry’s that has a nice herbal and peppermint aroma that lingers through the day, that we both like and it is quite soothing on my face. Harry’s also makes superb razors and blades, which allows me to avoid corporate brands like Bic and Gilette. I hate shaving with a passion, but my red and gray beard looks strange with my dirty blond hair, and S. does not like beards so I shave anyway. I also have a Panasonic electric razor that can be used with shaving cream and water. It has a severe drying effect if I’ve gone more than a day or two without a shave, so I use some aloe vera gel after using the razor. The Harry’s blades are cheaper than the higher end drugstore brands, the prices of which have gotten ridiculous, much sharper and comfortable, and last through more shaves.

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  50. Sherri said on October 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Incense is the thing that gets me. We had a prayer vigil at church a while back, and I took a turn being the host. The previous host had lit some incense, and I had to open the doors and air the place out. It’s a migraine trigger for me, the only scent I’ve noticed that does it. Lots of scents bother me once I have a migraine, but incense is the only one that gives me a migraine.

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  51. Sherri said on October 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    ETA: Fortunately, most Episcopalian churches are more into the bells end of “smells and bells.”

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  52. Judybusy said on October 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Alex, aren’t candles a fire hazard? It would never occur to me to light a cnadle at work! Pretty sure it’s against some policy, somewhere. We can’t even have plants, because mice might have a nice home.

    My brother is 44, and has worn far too much cologne for years, despite teasing every time we see him. He just smiles. And he’s single. Which is too bad, because he is a very sweet guy.

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  53. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Official organ of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee. What was this Architect thinking. He should be glad the Gang of Four is long gone.

    Can’t believe I haven’t noticed any references to patchouli in all these comments. Gawd, I despise that odor.

    I remember kids burning incense in dorm rooms to cover pot odors. Yeah, like anybody burning incense wasn’t smoking dope.

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  54. Deborah said on October 23, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I’ve said this before, but there are at least 2 Taco Bells in Santa Fe, which blows my mind. Why anyone would go there when there is so much local food that is so good and so affordable is beyond me.

    That NYTimes piece about the Alabama guy who buried his wife in his front yard is typical. What else do we expect, I’m sorry to say.

    Meanwhile I walked 10 miles in Chicago today, this is the easiest city to walk in. My husband had a paltry amount of food in the place and there were other things I needed here. Walking through all the neighborhoods is so enjoyable especially when I’m listening to This American Life with earbuds connected to my iPhone.

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  55. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Some of the very same assholes bitching about the ACA website are bringing suit in US District Court claiming that the law requires all supplemental aid for premiums be administered by state exchanges, not the feds. These are also the same dickheads that support governors that refused to set up exchanges, which likely would have precluded many of the current sign-up problems, unless they were deliberately sabotaged. And just because GOPers have been spectacularly computer incompetent in the past doesn’t convince me the Koch Kriminal Konspiracy didn’t finally locate somebody to sabotage a website for them. Had people like the dumbass yahoo Nikki Haley not done everything she could to fuck up ACA implementation, things would unquestionably be in better shape. It’s like Haley put the entire state of SC through a death panel and decided people had to die before they got insurance. This is a classic case of the parricide begging the court for mercy because she’s an orphan. States don’t have much luck at all with electing goober-nors that are the offspring of immigrants from India. Nikki “My Extramarital Affairs are Nobody”s Business But My Own” Haley and Bobby “What, Me Worry? I’m an Exorcist” Jindal. Freakshow.

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  56. David C. said on October 23, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Oh, and Trek bicycles. I’m probably the only person in the world who hates a bike company, but what they did to Greg LeMond in order to suck up to Lance Armstrong is unconscionable. The daughter of one of Trek’s founders is running for Governor here in Wisconsin. I hope it doesn’t come down to a choice of her or Walker. I’m afraid I’d have to hold my nose and vote for her. She’s a card carrying 1%er and can’t bring herself to say she would work to rescind the Koch brother’s Act 10.

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  57. Brandon said on October 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    States don’t have much luck at all with electing goober-nors that are the offspring of immigrants from India.

    Nikki Haley and Piyush “Bobby” Jindal are unremarkable, but I think America will have some outstanding governors of Indian descent someday.
    In Hawaii, we’re fortunate not to have Chick-fil-A, Cracker Barrel, or Hobby Lobby (cutesy rhyming, bah!). We have a Home Depot in my town, but alternatives are Ace and HPM (Hawaii Planing Mill), which is a local, employee-owned hardware store. We also have KTA, a Big Island mini-chain of supermarkets (five), which has more than held its own against Safeway.

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  58. Brandon said on October 23, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    A fun fact especially for Prospero:

    Copies of Madonna’s Like a Prayer album were scented with patchouli. It turns out she wanted to evoke the sixties and the Church (incense).


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  59. del said on October 23, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Back to colognes. I’ve always used Drakkar Noir. My wife likes it.

    Several years back a modernized version of The Taming of the Shrew came out as the movie Ten Things I Hate About You. Julia Stiles’ character (the Shrew) dresses down some kid as a “Drakkar Noir wearing dexter with a boner.” That rankles me. It reminds me of myself during the days of my courtship. I imagine that that line would be more troubling to our own Dexter who admitted upthread to a fondness for that cologne. 🙂

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  60. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Brandon: I was not disparaging Americans of Indian descent. Just the two asshat morons that reside in the Lousyana and SC statehouses. The exorcist and the promiscuous woman. The charges about Haley’s sexual harrassment and affairs came from people that worked on her polirtical campaigns, so I see no reason they should have been dismissed out of hand by the press. But hell, dumbasses in SC just sent Mark “Appalachian Trail” Sanford to the House.

    The Madonna and patchouli thing just convinces me more than ever that she is a sad parody of herself. What did that basically unreconstructed bad disco music have to do with the 60s? What did patchouli have to do with church? I always figured she was basicall Cyndi Lauper Jr., but much less entertaining and without the voice. We’ve got an amazing TruValue that has almost anything Home Depot sells, and lots more for fishing, including bait, crabtraps, reel tuneups and all sorts of bicycle stuff. A great store.

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  61. Prospero said on October 23, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Why’d did the Duchess of Cambridge wear an untossed pizza dough on her head for her son’s christening?

    Julia Stiles has a good original series called Blue on Youtube. Really good looking woman, and she was hilarious in 10 Things.

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  62. Brandon said on October 24, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Brandon: I was not disparaging Americans of Indian descent. Just the two asshat morons that reside in the Lousyana and SC statehouses.

    I know. Maybe the less-talented governors are emerging now from the Indian-American community. But I think the equivalent of an Ann Richards or a John Burns (one of our former governors) will rise sooner or later.

    As for Like a Prayer, some critics have noted the influence of sixties girl groups and Simon & Garfunkel, among other things. I remember getting the cassette and it had a strong, spicy aroma. Why patchouli? Why not. To her it evoked the Church of her youth and the sixties (hippies, fascination with the East). Remember that she had the book Sex bound in aluminum.

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