Air fresheners and suchlike foul muck
Have a look at this "Warning" panel. Sounds pretty strong stuff, doesn't it? Sort of thing you'd be thinking in terms of a fume cupboard, goggles and rubber gloves for handling it, right?
Well, far from being fume-cupboard stuff... it's a sodding air freshener! It actually intends you to release a continuous stream of this gunk into the air of an unventilated room. For fuck's sake. What kind of a result do they expect from doing that? I'll tell you: it's like breathing paint fumes. It's bloody horrible. All the nasty feelings, like a cross between a hangover and incipient flu, that you'd get from sticking your head in a bucket of gloss. And this is supposed to make the air better? Does it arse, you'd have more luck eating a bucket of beans and trying to fart the air better.
To add insult to injury, it's not even dispensed in an appropriate manner. All you need to disperse the vapour of this shit throughout the room is to have a little plastic bottle of the liquid with a small hole in the top - does the job, economical on materials and easily recycled. What does it really come in? A fucking great chunky glass thing embedded in a lump of plastic which has an ELECTRIC HEATING ELEMENT, for fuck's sake - you plug this abortion of a device into an electrical outlet and boil the muck off! Uses a ridiculously excessive amount of materials for the job, uses lots of different ones - glass, different kinds of plastic and different kinds of metal - and mixes them all up so they're hard to recycle... and uses fucking energy to run!!! What great walking turd thought that one up?
The only saving grace of this product is that it provides a way of obtaining one of the chemicals required for synthesising THC without arousing anyone's suspicions...
Needless to say, I don't buy this crap myself. Only once in my life have I bought an air freshener, after a bout of gastroenteritis had left me with some annoying puke smells to get rid of. I thought my luck was in when I read the claim on the can that it "neutralised smells instead of masking them" - great, someone had designed one properly at last... But no. Maybe it did neutralise the puke smell - I don't really know because it stunk like fuck itself, and ten years later I certainly can't smell the puke any more but I can still smell the air freshener, and I wish I couldn't.
Artificial perfumes are an absolute scourge today. Every sodding cleaning product has them in. Cleaning the bath requires a gas mask to avoid gagging on the stench of the cleaning stuff, and you can't get cleaning stuff without it. Deodorants - themselves a bloody expensive way of buying aluminium chlorhydrate - stink worse than the sweat they're supposed to deal with, and though non-stinking versions are available they are hard to find among the racks of noxious ones and a lot of shops don't stock them. Adverts on TV encourage people to spray themselves with all kinds of foul muck in order to get a shag - I suppose the idea is that the shaggee is too incapacitated by the fumes to say no - and the result is that travelling on a modern train, where some shithead health and safety rule has dictated that you can't open the sodding windows, is like walking into a chemical warfare zone. Perhaps it would be possible to get Bush and Blair to send an army to destroy the perfume factories.
It even goes far enough to fuck other things up. Like washing machines. Washing machines are all designed on the assumption that you're going to use chemical assistance in the rinse process - that you'll use a cationic detergent to assist in the removal of the anionic "main" detergent - and therefore are designed to use excessively short rinse cycles with only cold water. But the only readily available source of cationic detergents is fabric conditioner - all varieties of which stink like fuck. Indeed, they make a point of stinking like fuck, and bang on about it in their advertising - some dappy bint sticking her nose in some clothes and going "Aaah, so fresh!" Eeurgh, how revolting more like. Smelly horrible muck. Washing clothes is supposed to make them not smell, not to make them smell worse. So to compensate for the inadequate rinsing cycle, you have to put the clothes through another wash cycle with no detergent, or else be gassed by the fumes from your own clothes.
The ancient alchemists spent ages searching for the philosopher's stone to turn lead into gold (or something). I think I'll pass on that. Gold's a pretty useless metal, too soft to do much with, and you only need minute amounts for corrosion-proofing things. 238U into 239Pu, and 232Th into 233U, are much more useful transmutations, and we know how to do those already... What I want is for the modern chemical industry to develop a philosopher's stone to convert odoriferous substances into things that don't smell at all. Instead they seem to devote their energies to stinking the bloody place out. Wankers.
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