Saturday, June 21, 2014

Annals of Blithering Idiocy: Special Roja Dove Edition

A UK-based group calling itself The Perfume Society sent a team to sit at the feet of Roja Dove. He bloviated and they took notes. They posted “ten fascinating things” they learned.

Here’s another fascinating thing: every one of the ten is a crock.

The folks at The Perfume Society think Roja Dove is “a fountain of fragrant knowledge.” Personally, I think Roja Dove is a fountain of fragrant bullshit. Do you think that’s too harsh? Then check out his ten smelly little droppings:
1. If you loose [sic] your sense of smell, psychologically it will cause us [sic] more long-term damage than going blind.
Just think about this for a few seconds to let the full idiocy sink in. It’s not even worth asking Roja Dove to provide one piece of evidence, because there isn’t any.
2. Kissing is the most intense form of smelling in the animal kingdom.
WTF does this even mean? I would say it is fatuous nonsense except that it might be true for Roja Dove—after all, he had an entire team from The Perfume Society kissing his ass.
3. In Japan, they use perfume to treat depression.
When tossing off a claim you know isn’t true it’s always best to credit it to someone in Japan—this greatly reduces the risk of having someone call your bluff.
4. We are born with no knowledge of odor. Our sense of smell is linked directly to the emotive part of our brain and therefore, our individual sense of smell is based purely on impressions and experiences.
Infants are born with odor preferences acquired in utero.

The Blank Slate view of human psychology has been discredited for years.

Why doesn’t Roja Dove know this? Could it be because his individual sense of his own importance is based purely on his impressions and experiences which don’t really involve much actual, you know, reading?
5. Heat dulls smell, yet humidity intensifies it – think of London after rain.
All heat and no AC makes Roja a dull boy.

I bet when Roja Dove farts in the shower he experiences a rainbow of olfactory nuance.
6. When jasmine & tuberose are used in perfumery, they have to be picked before the sunlight hits them.
Because the tuberose harvest is controlled by French peasant vampires.
7. If Quelques Fleurs wasn’t created in 1912, none of the other great florals could exist – this is due to its structure.
Because the world wasn’t ready for the structure of QF in 1911.

Because there is only a single creative path to floral perfumes.

Because this claim is so vaporous it defies negation.
8. Fragrances contain an average of 10-15% natural ingredients – the rest is synthetic and quite incredibly, created in a lab. This has changed the face of perfumery.
What? Synthetics* are created in a lab? OMG!

And natural ingredients are gentle to the face of perfumery because they are charmed out of flowers by elves playing magical flutes.

Has this guy ever seen natural ingredients being processed?
9. Enfleurage is the oldest method of extraction in the world – it’s the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of extraction. There are roughly only 5 people alive today that know this process…it’s a dying tool.
The Rolls-Royce people are no doubt thrilled to have their automobiles characterized as an ancient dying tool driven by only a handful of people.

The transistor tube was the oldest method of watching television yet today it’s a dying tool. And I, who as a child watched B&W broadcasts on tube television, am alone qualified to mourn all that we have lost. O tempora, o mores!
10. Tuberose is worth its weight in gold – it’s now mostly synthetic.
When shit gets expensive, cheaper alternatives are found. That clicking sound you hear is the Perfume Society team transcribing Roja Dove’s pseudo-profundities as fast as they can type.

*Typo fixed. Hat tip to commenter Sarah McCartney.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bertie Wooster on the Aroma of the Great Hall

The Grammar School at Market Snodsbury had, I understood, been built somewhere in the year 1416, and, as with so many of these ancient foundations, there still seemed to brood over its Great Hall, where the afternoon's festivities were to take place, not a little of the fug of the centuries. It was the hottest day of the summer, and though somebody had opened a tentative window or two, the atmosphere remained distinctive and individual.

In this hall the youth of Market Snodsbury had been eating its daily lunch for a matter of five hundred years, and the flavour lingered. The air was sort of heavy and languorous, if you know what I mean, with the scent of Young England and boiled beef and carrots.

Aunt Dahlia, who was sitting with a bevy of the local nibs in the second row, sighted me as I entered and waved to me to join her, but I was too smart for that. I wedged myself in among the standees at the back, leaning up against a chap who, from the aroma, might have been a corn chandler or something on that order. The essence of strategy on these occasions is to be as near the door as possible.
P. G. Wodehouse
Right Ho, Jeeves (1922)

Friday, June 13, 2014

ISDP: Full Moon in June Edition

It’s Friday the 13th, the moon is full, and so is our ISDP docket. The cases range from the lugubrious to the appalling; in each, a scent of decay leads to the inevitable discovery of decomposing remains. So, without further ado . . .

The medical examiner in Honolulu released a pair of reports that brought to light ISDP incidents we had missed. The first involved a 39-year-old man who hanged himself.
Police said the body was found about 8 a.m. on a hillside above a construction zone near Prospect and Pele streets after workers noticed a foul odor and investigated.
The other involved a 48-year-old man who apparently died of natural causes near the top of Wilhelmina Rise back in February.
Authorities said a man flying a radio-controlled helicopter in his back yard at Kawelolani Place smelled an odor on Feb. 26. He found the body when he went to retrieve his aircraft.
KWTX in Waco provides a succinct headline: “Texas Woman Kills Relative, 2 Dogs, Then Herself.” They also give the details:
Officers sent to check on a report of a foul odor coming from a home in the small West Texas of Anson found the bodies of two people and two dogs who police say died in a murder suicide.
Sweet home Alabama: “Bad smell, worse discovery: Huntsville police find dead man in vacated apartment.” Local police were “responding to a neighbor’s call about a bad odor from an apartment that was supposed to be vacant” when they discovered the man’s body.

In Lenoir, North Carolina, the body of a 36-year-old man was found in an abandoned house “by a female passerby who noticed a foul odor coming from the residence.” The circumstances suggest that the man killed himself.

In the Inglewood area of Los Angeles, someone noticed a foul odor coming from a car that had been parked for some days in a shopping mall near West Century and Crenshaw. They called police who discovered a dead body in the car.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, 44-year-old Terry Cunningham was living in a house with his two daughters, wheel-chair bound son, and his older brother. According to neighbors and KOAT-TV, living conditions in the now-condemned house were “grotesque” and we agree. Among the grotesque elements of the case was that police found the remains of Mr. Cunningham’s older brother in a bedroom; he had been dead for several days. This makes Mr. Cunningham the first nominee for the 2014 Norman Bates Award™.

Also earning a Norman Bates Award nomination (Road Trip Division) is 62-year-old Ray Tomlinson of Clinton Township, Michigan. He drove from Michigan to Glendale, Arizona in a van with his 92-year-old wheelchair-bound mother. They picked up a 31-year-old woman with whom Mr. Tomlinson had a relationship and started back to Michigan. The woman took some pills and died shortly after they hit the road, but Mr. Tomlinson kept on driving under the impression (from the internet!) that he had 48 hours to turn in the body. Meanwhile, the van’s AC failed and his mother was not able to use a restroom. Police met the van when it returned to Michigan. A neighbor gives her impressions of the homecoming:
“If you’ve ever smelled a dead body before - you never get that out of your head. . . . As soon as the police opened the door, thank God there was a good breeze going because you would just get a whiff of it once in a while.”
See you next month!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Delaware State Police Have Incredible Olfactory Abilities

Yes, incredible, as in impossible to believe.

Near midnight last Tuesday, Delaware state troopers pulled a car over for speeding. According to The News Journal, as the officers approached they noticed “an odor of marijuana was wafting from the car, combined with the scent of air fresheners.”

Hmmm. The smell of burning marijuana is easy to recognize, perhaps even when mixed with the aroma of multiple air fresheners. But the police aren’t claiming to have smelled burning marijuana.

On the other hand, unburned marijuana is difficult to detect and reliably identify, especially when it is wrapped up and hidden away inside a vehicle, and even more so when other odors are in the air. (This is a topic I cover in my book.)

In this case, a small bag of pot was stashed inside the center console, and other bags were located elsewhere in the car, location unspecified. In my opinion, it is highly unlikely the troopers could have detected an odor of unburned marijuana “wafting” from the car, much less amid the smell of multiple air fresheners.

It’s probably a moot point, as the troopers claim a “small amount” of pot fell from the passenger’s shirt as he exited the car. That would have been probable cause to search the vehicle, as may have been the driver’s suspended license and the passenger giving a fake name (I’m not an attorney so I’m speculating here).

All of which raises the question: why do police needlessly claim they can smell unburned marijuana, even when it makes them look like idiots?