Sunday, July 31, 2011

Can They DO That?

Ever since the advent of the internet people have been sending around questionnaires that supposedly tell friends more about each other. They always seem to include a question about favorite smells. I'm a very sensual person-things I smell or hear can move me in ways that I can't always fully describe. There is a young woman I work with who wears a cologne that lifts my mood every time she walks in the door; there are many smells like that. My answer to that survey question is usually "summer fruit-peaches, watermelon," etc. Last week I walked into the great soul-crushing retailer of our time, and was in the produce section. I smelled that magnetic, sweet peach smell, and looked around to see huge bins of peaches and nectarines. I couldn't resist walking over, my head swimming with the thought of ripe peach juice running down my chin, as I slurped the just-soft enough, not too mushy fruit. I picked up several peaches, and then several nectarines. Every one was as hard as a rock-and none of them had that "peachy" smell. How is that possible? There are some room fragrance products that have come up with peach scents that are pretty on-target for replicas. Is it possible that a retailer could use those scented products to entice customers to buy their produce? Nah! Weeelllll?????

Speaking of enticing smells, popcorn. I love the smell of it at movies, or from a microwave. I recently met my sister for a movie date, and while waiting for the movie to start and munching on my popcorn, I got really angry at all the commercials we had to sit through to get to our movie. We put up with commercials on "commercial" television in order to pay for "free" programming. But we pay a pretty big amount for the privilege of seeing a movie-and we see it in theaters so that we don't have to put up with commercials. We are charged ginormous amounts for snacks at movies when we could have snacks at home and watch movies on cable, where the only commercials are for other programming on the cable channel, and we can fast forward through them. Are you listening theater chains? We don't have to spend our money on you. And if you keep behaving like commercial television, we may not.

Shouldn't your doctor already know what medicines you're taking?

Does it bother anyone that commercials for drugs called "proton pump inhibitors," designed to help with heartburn and acid reflux, talk about being able to eat your favorite things once you take their pills? If we didn't eat a greasy diet, such as the pepperoni pizza shown on one particular commercial, we might not have this problem to begin with.

When I was a kid we had "Stiller and Meara." Now we have Jerry Stiller playing character rolls on sitcoms, and Ben Stiller, their son making comedies. Whatever happened to Meara?

Speaking of politics...not that I was, hehehehe, I heard Mitch McConnell this morning on State of the Union with Candy Crowley, harping, once again, the republican lie that any tax increase of any kind on anyone is a can absolutely not be done with 9+ percent unemployment. He cited as proof that democrats, in a big win for the right last year, must have agreed because they voted to extend the Bush tax cuts. If he is using this fact to support his version of economic truth, why then didn't all the rich-I mean "job creators" instantly start hiring? Surely their certainty was enforced by that two year extension? Don't they keep saying that it's uncertainty about tax rates that is keeping them all from hiring or investing in the U.S. job market? Why didn't Gloria Borger, who sat in for Candy Crowley this morning, pursue that question even one more level?

If we call oil, farm, coal subsidies what they really are, would the right be willing to eliminate them? It is corporate welfare to give money to these gigantic agribusinesses, oil companies, et al, and they don't even need it. They are making obscene profits. How can anyone who supports a free-market economy be for this?

Yes, I mentioned farm subsidies. I realize that farmers are, no pun intended, sacred cows in our country-I see the family farmer that way too. But the family farm is a tiny percentage of farms in our country these days, and huge chemical agribusinesses such as Monsanto own many of the farms from which we get our food nowadays. They make plenty of money, and don't need our subsidies. The family farmer, who has picked an industry that can be a captive of nature, has crop insurance if there is a bad year. They don't need our subsidies either. I'm sorry. I do love this country, and I love farmers. I WAS AT THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF FARM AID FOR GOODNESS' SAKE!!! Please don't suggest I'm un-American for saying this out loud, but they don't. So, let companies stand or fall based on the market.

How can an avowed, proud tree-hugger feel this way? Weeelllllll-believe me, when it comes to corporate responsibility for environmental mistakes, if the free market made companies pay for their own mistakes, perhaps BP would not be making such large profits this year, because they would be paying to clean up the gulf and reimburse families they harmed with their carelessness. I learned this idea from Robert Kennedy, Jr. in his book, from 2005, Crimes Against Nature.  One cannot be more of a liberal tree-hugger than that. Even if the cost shut them down-that's the nature of the free market. If Superfund hadn't paid to clean up industrial waste for so many companies, perhaps they would be more careful about setting rivers on fire, or poisoning our water sources.

When my husband asked me this morning what I want for my birthday tomorrow, did he "get it" when I said, "Something romantic and from the heart?" Did he hope I would name something specific instead of letting him call on our 13 year relationship, almost 12 year marriage to give him an idea? Should he need to ask? Should I still be bothered that he had to?

Just asking.


Steve B. said...

And don't even get me started on the Price-Anderson Act that limits the liability of electrical companies if that is a nuclear accident to less than $1 billion.

But regarding scents in the grocery store, absolutely. How else will they sell those hard, tasteless fruits and veggies designed to survive the transport with taste and nutrition somewhere further down the lists of attributes. And as far as perfume goes, it will always be patchouli that brings back memories from decades ago of a lovely young lady I could only admire from afar. But perhaps that was for the best.

Vonnie said...

Steve, I'm sure your long-time wife would agree!

Vonnie Hix Shallenberger said...

Thanks for your comment!