Sunday, January 30, 2011

“The horror! The horror!”

Via JammieWearingFool:
Breaking wind is set to be made a crime in an African country.

The government of Malawi plan to punish persistent offenders ‘who foul the air’ in a bid to ‘mould responsible and disciplined citizens.’

I have to say I didn’t see this one coming. My money was on New York Nanny Michael Bloomberg to be the world’s first fart regulator. President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, not so much.

UPDATE February 2, 2011:

Well, that didn’t take long. Embarrassing third-world potentate New York Nanny Michael Bloomberg strikes back—his City Council lackeys approve an outdoor smoking ban in all parks and beaches, starting in 90 days. He’s told New Yorkers what they can’t eat, what they shouldn’t drink, and where they can’t drive. How far off is the ban on perfume in the workplace? in bars? on the beaches?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Raging BO: The Stinky-Foot Stabber

There’s a lot of this going around lately: a person remarks on another’s BO and BLAMMO! the smellee goes berserk. There was last week’s party farting episode in Connecticut that turned into a homicide, and earlier the Seattle bus rider who got spitting mad when the driver called him stinky.

Now comes another story from Washington state: the sentencing of Dallas Smith, 18, of Monroe for planting a knife in the back of her ex-boyfriend because he had the temerity to say that her feet stank. Curtis Cartier at Seattle Weekly has the play by play:
She’d been drinking at her ex-boyfriend’s house in Monroe and apparently made boisterous claims about her knack at doing back-flips.

But after removing her socks and failing at her first flip attempt, her 19-year-old friend accused her feet of being smelly. 

That’s when things got weird. 

Smith and the man started wrestling, first playfully, then Smith rubbing her socks in his face and punching him. After it got a little too heated, the man walked away and Smith grabbed her coat and went to storm out of the door, but not before she grabbed a kitchen knife and plunged it into his back. 

She took off after that leaving the victim with a knife sticking out, which he left there until police and an ambulance came, a decision that apparently may have saved his life. He recovered despite his punctured lung.
Following Smith’s guilty plea, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge David Kurtz last week sentenced her to a year and three months in prison, which is the minimum for second-degree assault. Judge Kurtz denies that the case is about smelly feet; he says it’s about binge drinking.

FirstNerve politely dissents; we think it’s about both.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Smelly Misshapen Phallus Rises in Queensland

Another stinky, giant misshapen penis plant has thrust itself into the news, this time at a botanical garden in Cairns, Australia.  Yawn. These public events are becoming a little too . . . common. I’m looking forward to the first stalk-raising of Amorphophallus titanum to take place at an exclusive VIP venue—like the Playboy Mansion. The word would spread via Hollywood publicists and soon you’d have Charlie Sheen, Kanye West, David Hasselhoff, and Ron Jeremy posing in front of an enormous, smelly botanical phallus along with all manner of babelicious young things. Now that’s a photo opp. The piece in The Courier-Mail pretty much writes itself, with one exception:
Amorphophallus titanum, which means huge deformed penis, was dubbed titan arum by Sir David Attenborough in 2008. The BBC broadcaster did not wish to refer to a giant phallic flower on his family show.
How quaintly Victorian of Sir David. He sounds like the kind of guy who serves his dinner guests “chicken chests.” In fairness, titan arum is a legit informal name for this species; it’s other nom de jardin—“corpse flower”—is strictly of recent PR vintage. For some reason this reminds me of a fund-raising dinner I attended some years ago for the Sense of Smell Institute. I was seated across the table from one of the Big Name guests, the “sex expert” Dr. Ruth Westheimer. She sat with a blank expression, waiting for a chance to work the word “penis” into the conversation. Whenever she succeeded, she would stop and grin as if expecting applause. It was jarring the first three or four times she did it, then simply annoying. It was like having dinner with someone’s senile, foul-mouthed grandmother. Blecch. Speaking of wrinkly and disgusting, I know FirstNerve readers are dying to know the exact molecular composition of the insect-attracting rotten meat smell that wafts from the Giant Penis Plant. Well, the wait is over. Last July, Mika Shirasu and colleagues studied the hell out of a blooming A. titanum at the University of Tokyo’s Botanical Gardens. They have provided the most precise olfactive description I’ve ever read of it. 
At the beginning of flowering, a faint rotten fruit-like odor was detected occasionally. Then the odor emitted from the flower gradually intensified. During full opening of the spathe, a strong rotting animal-like odor was emitted constantly. . . . The odor became stronger with heat production from the spadix . . . After the peak of the spadix temperature, the inflorescence began to secrete a fluid from the spadix in which a rotten fish-like odor was sensed.
Truly an evolving tone poem of malodor. Shirasu’s team captured the volatile emissions and ran them through a GC-MS-O analysis. The rotten animal smell was due to dimethyl trisulfide. Dimethyl disulfide was also found, but not at a concentration that was perceptible to the nose. There were also stinky grace notes of methyl thiolacetate and isovaleric acid. Finally, the rotting fish odor of the secreted fluid was due to trimethylamine. None of the molecules is exotic—they are found in everything from cheese to cooked cabbage and stinky feet. What is impressive is that this entire collection of foulness is produced by a single plant over the course of a couple of days.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Ballad of Low Ji Qing

[With apologies to Waylon & Willie]

Sniffers like smelly ol’ wallets and lightly worn panties,
Little warm puppies and cheese that is cut in the night,
Them that don’t know him won’t like him
And them that do sometimes won’t know how to take him,
He ain’t wrong, he’s just different but his pride won’t let him
Smell the things that make you think he’s right.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be sniffers.
Don’t let ‘em lift wallets or drive them old trucks,
Let ‘em be doctors and lawyers and such.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Party Farting Leads to Homicide

We follow criminal flatulence pretty closely here at FirstNerve.

We’ve written about fart-induced rage, but it was displayed by a prisoner whose cellmate kept letting them rip. We’ve even covered fart-related stabbings before: Remember Jose Braule Ramirez? He took offense at the gas-passing of his companion in a motel room in Waco, Texas, and attacked him with a knife.

But this story from Bristol, Connecticut is unique: it was the farter who got enraged. Ken Byron of The Hartford Courant has the details:
Police: Derision Over Flatulence Was Stabbing Motive

A 21-year-old city man charged with stabbing four people at a party Saturday night, killing one, told investigators he became enraged because people were criticizing him for passing gas, police said.  [. . .]

Police say Higgins got into an argument with another person at the party, Stacy Buccheri, who chastised him for being flatulent. Witnesses told police that Buccheri slapped Higgins, who smashed a beer bottle and then stormed out of the apartment.

He returned about 45 minutes later, police said, and attacked several people on a porch with knives, including all four who were wounded.
This chain of events make no sense anywhere along the way. Who farts at a party? How loud or ripe does your party farting have to be that you get slapped by a girl? And why stab a bunch of people but not her?

The mind boggles.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Michael Jackson From Beyond: The Business End of the Blotter

When the news broke that Joe Jackson plans to launch a pair of perfumes based on his late son, I can’t say I was surprised. From all accounts, Joe Jackson is a perfectly odious guy who will stoop to anything to exploit his children, dead or alive. Since I’ve written about Dead Celebrity Fragrances and covered the exhumation of a failed perfume from Michael Jackson’s ante-mortem days, I decided to have a look at these upcoming scents.  

That’s when things started getting weird.

First, there’s the matter of names. According to the Toronto Star and the widely quoted Agence France-Presse story filed by Celine Agniel, the eau de parfums are called Jackson’s Tribute for men and Jackson’s Legend for women. (Hmmm . . . Legende de Michael Jackson was the failed masculine released as an “only on TV” product in the early 1990s. Couldn’t they at least come up with a new name?)

According to Marie-Helene Wagner over at MimiFrouFrou, who is highly attuned to every new product launch and shares my morbid fascination with Dead Celebrity Scents, the fragrances are called The Jackson Legend for Men and Timeless from Neverland for Women.

Well, maybe we’ll sort that out later. 

Marie-Helene recounts the standard press story of how Julian Rouas Paris fragrance company owner Julian “Franck” Rouas connected with Joe Jackson at a trade show and inked a deal with him only ten days later on December 12, 2010. (As I read this the indicator on top of the FirstNerve Bogosity Meter began flashing yellow.)

The new MJ scents will be launched on March 7, 2011 in Las Vegas. From contract to launch in less than three months? Wow. (The Bogosity Meter is now flashing red.)

Accompanying her post was a picture of the perfumer said to have created these perfumes from 375 samples in a little over three weeks. That’s 17 trials a day, 25 a day if you don’t work weekends. And this took place over the Christmas holiday during which, in my experience, French commercial perfumery grinds to a halt. (The Bogosity Meter is starting to make little chirping noises.) 

The perfumer is Joseph Rubino, 63, shown in a press photo seated in a fragrance studio wearing a white lab coat. (Lab coats are worn by techs in the compounding lab; perfumers wouldn’t be caught dead.) Rubino has a half dozen sample blotters mounted on a stand—except that they’re not the folded and pointed mouillettes favored by French perfumers, they’re big honking rectangular blotters more suited for air freshener work. (The Bogosity Meter is now chiming like the seat belt indicator in a crappy rental car.) Oh, well, it’s only a silly publicity shot after all.

The photo, by Xavier Giraud, appears in a French interview with Rubino published by Marion Aniel in Nice-Matin. We learn some details about the perfume deal from Aniel’s story: Franck Rouas signed a seven-year distribution agreement with the Jackson family; the agreement calls for production of one million bottles; the package design has already been done under the aegis of Franck Rouas; as of January 7, three companies were in the running to produce the actual juice; and the Jacksons will be in charge of promotion.

Package design completed in less than a month over the holidays? A million bottle production run by a company who’s previous claim to fame was Swing, a golf-themed cologne you never heard of till today? The Bogosity Meter is now blaring like the spaceship auto-destruct warning in Alien.

Julian (Franck) Rouas, the Nice-born fragrance guy on the other side of the Joe Jackson deal, has also been featured in a lot of publicity photos. In almost every one of them he’s holding a spray bottle and a gold-colored booklet with Michael Jackson on the cover. Is it the marketing collateral for the new fragrance? A press kit? No—it’s the memorial program from MJ’s July, 2009 funeral.

[“Warning! This perfume launch will self-destruct in ten minutes.”]

What about intellectual property? In the blind rush to market did anyone bother to file a trademark application? If so, it wasn’t Franck Rouas. Back in 2007 he filed one for Swing. The company listed on the application wasn’t a corporation or LLC but Franck Rouas as a sole proprietorship—the organizational form used by handymen and hot dog vendors. He registered U.S. Trademark No. 3429500. But he hasn’t yet filed one for MJ. Nor has anyone else, as far as I can tell.

[“Warning! This perfume launch will self-destruct in eight minutes.”]

Franck Rouas googles up quite a mess. There’s a lot of self-puffery. Here’s an amateur sounding press release from last September: “Julian Rouas Paris: Most Popular Name in Perfume Manufacturing”. Here’s another and another, just for flavor.

And here’s a selection from his bio on the company web site:
Julian Rouas was born in Nice, France and found a passion and a natural swing for tennis at a mere age of 7. He started playing tennis and went on to play professional and became ranked #600 in world. In 1994; Julian started coaching tennis to H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco and Princess Stephanie for several years. Gained right from H.S.H Prince Albert to create and organize the Zepter Monte Carlo Celebrity Charity Golf tournament in 1995-1997. He also was coaching tennis to Kevin Costner and Sharon Stone at that time.
Golf? Tennis? Basic Instinct? But wait, there’s more. Lots more:
Julian Rouas moved to Los Angeles, CA in 1995 from Nice, France. He then researched, designed and developed perfume and after shave for Rica Levis, which was just the beginning of his vision for creating and developing fragrances. He never gave up and continued to fight for his ultimate dream. In 1996 Julian Rouas founded fragrance retailer company; Perfume America with Guy Benhamou. Julian was in charge of designing the glass and scent called "Sharon" by Sharon Stone fragrance, Beverly Hills Gold, Vanilla Passion, glass design of original Davidoff fragrance, Cigar Fragrance, MC Sport, Facconable with the pump; under Guy Benhamou. From 1998-2000, Julian was the World Music Awards event organizer, in charge of bringing in sponsorship, and organizing celebrities to attend WMA such as Michael Jackson. He also became the national manager of 500 people for Huis clos windows company in France.
Is your head spinning yet? Then watch the commercial for the hit Julian Rouas Paris perfume Versailles. Really. Looks like it was filmed on the beach about a mile beyond the Santa Monica Pier; it may be the only perfume commercial to feature rotting kelp. Wait for part where the hot Asian chick rubs the stubbly shaved chest hair of the moody male model.


[“Warning! This perfume launch will self-destruct in five minutes.”]

Still with me? Then take a gander at Monsieur Rouas himself.

Again with that booklet from the memorial service. But there’s a new wrinkle: he actually displays for the camera the “contract” signed by Joe Jackson. Is that necessary? I mean, we don’t see Bernd Beetz waving a piece of paper at the paparazzi every time Coty signs a new celebrity spokesperson. Let’s take a closer look at that document:

“Travels [sic] arrangements”? 

“all statments [sic] stipulated within this JACKSON fragrance [illegible] agreement ; are deemend [sic] true by julian rouas paris inc.”?

What on earth kind of agreement is this? Not only is it signed by both Joe Jackson and Julian Rouas, it’s signed by Cynthia B. Marven. Who might she be? Apparently a Las Vegas resident and mother of singer Crystal Marven, one of the talents promoted by Joe Jackson. So . . . is Joe her daughter’s manager? Or is she Joe’s manager? Or both? Oh, man, my head hurts.

[“Warning! This perfume launch will self-destruct in two minutes.”]

But you ain’t seen nothing yet. Google Julian Rouas and you’ll find someone’s been posting vitriolic anti-Rouas rants all over the internet. Some claim to be from models who haven’t been paid; others are colorful character assassinations. Written in a stilted, oddly formal English, they paint Rouas as an oafish, sociopathic con-man and warn people not to get involved with him. I’m in no position to know whether the claims are true, but they make entertaining reading. (Warning: NSFW).

One such diatribe did have a useful link to open court records from San Mateo County, California. It appears that in 2007 Rouas set up a Limited Liability Corporation in Nevada called Giuseppe Rouas Fragrances International. In fall of 2008, a guy in Los Angeles loaned him $40,000 in return for operating shares in the LLC. For some reason the guy got cold feet and asked for his money back, as was his right under the loan agreement. Rouas gave him a refund check but then stopped payment on it. When the guy objected, Rouas gave him back $5,000, leaving him out $35,000. The guy turned out to be the son of C. Stewart Ritchie, III, MD, a wealthy doctor and successful businessman. So Dr. Ritchie, his wife, and son sued Rouas and an associate to get their money back. From what I can gather, they reached a settlement with him (Case CIV485438 - C. STEWART RITCHIE VS. JULIAN ROUAS)

[“Warning! This perfume launch will self-destruct in thirty seconds.”]

It’s possible that the Michael Jackson Tribute/Legacy project is totally on the up and up, even if somewhat misconceived and ineptly executed. It’s also possible that it represents a cosmic collision between personalities whose sleaze magnitude is beyond comprehension. What’s totally awesome is that we’ll know the answer by March 7, 2011 at the latest.

Stay tuned.

[“Commencing final countdown to self-destruct.”]

Friday, January 14, 2011

The UK Stink Bomber

A gray-haired, hoodie-wearing guy in his mid-fifties repeatedly cracks open stink bombs in charity stores selling second-hand goods in the town of Spalding, England. What’s weirder, the idea of a middle-aged serial stink bomber or the fact that nobody has managed to collar this nutjob? 

It’s not for lack of trying—oh, wait, it is for lack of trying. According to Spaulding Police Constable Paul Smith, 
“If the gentleman has got a problem with the shops then I would say please bring it forward properly and stop picking on charity shops who are trying to collect money for charitable causes.”

Hard to believe these are the people whose parents won the Battle of Britain.

Yes, indeed, Mr. Stink Bomber, sir, and if you’ll just be kind enough to submit a 50,000 word manifesto on your grudge against charity shops we’ll be ever so happy to read it on the telly and take all reasonable measures to meet your demands halfway.

According to Spaulding Guardian reporter Lynne Harrison, the Stink Bomber often strikes between noon and two on Wednesdays. Since Constable Smith has no balls, the shopkeepers should get creative. Surely a few members of a local rugby team might be willing, in return for a couple of pints, to conduct an impromptu stakeout and tackle practice next Wednesday. They could call it a charity match.

Who’s game?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

ISDP: Gala Bates Award Edition

A January evening colder than a witch’s teat. (No offense, Margot Adler!) Setting out the trash can at FirstNerve Manor would require excavating a niche in the curbside snowpack. With current temperatures, there’s little chance of a foul odor brewing before the next pickup day, so we’ve decided to avoid exertion and take a pass on the Friday collection.

Meanwhile, the temperature kinetics of decay may account for the astonishing total of zero new ISDP items for the past month, although there were three last January.

The best we can do is note that the Mahoning County Coroner’s office in Youngstown, Ohio, has promised to conduct its smellier autopsies after working hours in order to avoid the “foul odor” that prompted office workers elsewhere in the building to take a sick day and head for home.

The episode reminds us of Linda Fiorentino’s character in Men in Black. And therein lies the solution: Use the flashy-thingy and tell the folks upstairs that they’re smelling swamp gas reflected in the light from Venus.

Hey, we almost forgot! It’s time to select the winner of the 2010 Norman Bates Award. The nominees are:

Warren P. Straniti, 36, of Fernandina Beach, Florida, for cohabiting with his deceased girlfriend for about one week at the Buccaneer Villas without notifying police—or anyone else.

Alan Derrick, mid-seventies, of Bristol, England, for hiding the body of his illegal public housing roommate under an overturned couch and continuing to live with it for the next ten years.

The family of Sogen Kato, 111 (?), until recently thought to be the oldest living man in Tokyo, for leaving Mr. Kato’s body undisturbed in the house from his death around 1980, in order to collect government pension payments. 

The 57-year-old woman from Corona Del Mar, California who let a homeless lady sleep in her car and then kept her there under a blanket for months after the lady passed away.

The 31-year-old tenant who refused to let suspicious police into his Houston apartment because he said his mother was sleeping, when in fact she was deceased and her remains were in an advanced state of decomposition.
Wow—a tough decision for the Academy of Post Mortem Arts & Sciences. The Kato family clearly has the longest record, but did they even look in on the patriarch after the first year or so? The lady from Southern California would be a shoe-in if, as Drudge intimated, she really had been driving around with the deceased in the passenger seat; but we can’t be sure of that from press accounts. The fellow in Houston sounds like he may have been unhinged; a Norman Bates Award winner needs to show deliberate planning. 

That narrows it down to Walter P. Straniti and Alan Derrick. Mr. Straniti’s case is dark and somewhat suspicious, but Alan Derrick clearly takes the cake. He actively hid his roommate’s remains and managed to deflect repeated inquiries by government busybodies social workers. Thus, for outstanding duration of Batesian behavior, and for indirectly highlighting the idiocy of Britain’s social welfare state, the 2010 Norman Bates Award goes to Alan Derrick.

Congratulations! [Where's the after party?]

P.S. Mr. Kato’s family wishes everyone to know they feel it was an honor just to be nominated.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Annals of Body Odor: Public Transit Rage

When it comes to his alleged BO, Anthony D. Davis of Seattle doesn’t take criticism too well. In fact, he gets spittin’ mad.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Henry Waxman Horror Show: No Longer Playing

Writing at the blog of the libertarian Cato Institute, Walter Olson brings down the curtain on Henry Waxman’s (D-Calif.) chairmanship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman’s position disappeared along with his party’s House majority in November’s epic repudiation of government-gone-wild. His post, titled in a somewhat mixed cultural metaphor, “The Fall of the House of Waxman”, has excellent news for perfume enthusiasts:
The committee was an unending source of ghastly new legislative proposals for regulatory manacles to be fastened on one or another sector of the economy, ideas that with any luck we may now be spared for the next two years. Thus it appears unlikely that the Republican-led committee will give its blessing to something called the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R. 5786), introduced by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), which — by mandating that all compounds found in personal-care items at any detectable level be expensively tested for and disclosed on labels — could have added tens of thousands of dollars of cost overhead to that little herbal-soap business your sister is trying to start in her garage. (Fragrance expert Robert Tisserand explains why most small personal-care product makers would not survive if the bill passed).
B. Daniel Blatt seconds the emotion over at Gay Patriot. And hats off to Robert Tisserand for presenting a powerful case against H.R. 5786.

In America we still have a government answerable to the will of the people. In the EU, the unelected bureaucrats busily spinning mile upon mile of red tape around perfumery ingredients are answerable to no one.

I'll give you my scent blotter when you pull it from my cold dead hands.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dutch Treat: Scent Anti-Marketing

This scratch-and-sniff story has been making the rounds for a few weeks and the Wall Street Journal printed its version yesterday. Stedin Netbeheer BV, a Dutch company that operates an electric power grid, has been getting taken for $15 million a year by pot growers who steal electricity to run the lights and fans in their secret grow houses.

(Pot remains illegal to grow in the Netherlands, even as coffee shops are permitted to sell joints: “The paradox puzzles even Dutch law enforcement.”)

Stedin works with police to identify grow houses based on telltale patterns of power usage. Still, they figured they need to ask for the public’s help in tracking down more pot-growing power thieves. Thus the brainstorm—a pot-scented scratch-and-sniff mailer.
This year, Mr. Meijer [Stedin’s top anti-fraud guy] sent out the scented cards and asked customers for help. “We wouldn’t ask people to spy,” he says. “Just sniff on this card, and if you smell that in your neighborhood, give us a call, and we’ll do the rest.”
The WSJ’s John W. Miller gets some interesting details on the project.
Mr. de Borst, the antidrug official, helped make it happen. Police petitioned the district attorney in Rotterdam for the right to distill 40 kilograms of hemp, seized during a raid, into 50 centiliters of oil. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was removed. They found a printer in France to make the cards and secured exemptions from French and Belgian customs.

The 30,000 pamphlets were posted in early November. If the campaign works, it will be rolled out for the whole country.
As I note in my book, THC is odorless and thus its removal will have little effect on the scent of the distilled oil. The bigger question is whether Rotterdam police hemp oil smells like pot plants. More specifically, does it smell like whatever leaks out of your neighborhood grow house? Rose concrete, or rose absolute smell rose-like, but no one would mistake either for a rose blossom. Ditto patchouli oil and a handful of patchouli leaves.

Experiments described in my book cast substantial doubt on whether the scent of immature cannabis plants can be detected outside a home or vehicle. In other words, the probative value of the scent on Stedin’s mailer is questionable. Does it raise awareness of energy theft and encourage people to drop a dime on suspicious venues? Maybe, along with a lot of false positives and vindictive false claims. Will it make a lot of Dutch pot virgins slap their foreheads and say, “D’oh! That smells like Wouter’s house!”? I doubt it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year from the Land of Confusion

Octavian Coifan describes today’s perfume market as a “land of confusion” where even the well-informed customer is baffled by the profusion of flankers within a legitimate brand. (Hey, Octavian, it’s not only perfume—try shopping for toothpaste or shampoo here in the U.S.) He also calls attention to an alarming convergence: the cheapening and dumbing down of package, bottle and juice by major manufacturers on the one hand, and the increasing ease and sophistication of counterfeiting on the other. The confusion gives birth to a new phenomenon: the launching of brand-name hoax perfumes. These fake but plausible products are popping up outside of Europe and North America.

Coifan thinks it will be easier to counterfeit and hoax niche brands because their limited distribution makes it less likely consumers will be familiar with the real thing. I see a ray of hope, however: niche brands may be able to afford truly effective anti-counterfeiting technologies given their limited distribution, low piece count, and high profit margins.

Coifan thinks that lack of skilled perfumers and aroma chemicals will impede the growth of fakes and hoaxes from India and China. I’m not so sure. Based on its track record in other product areas (infant formula, dog food, etc.), China is likely not only to ignore IFRA guidelines, but to use adulterated and plainly dangerous materials in perfume. Here’s a cheery prediction: someone will get hurt and the resulting shitstorm will encourage the anti-fragrance crowd and lead the EU’s regulatory-corporate combine to tighten the screws even further.

On a worrisome note, Coifan hints in a pre-Christmas post that time-and-money circumstances may cause him to throttle back on his blogging in 2011. We hope it won’t come to that but we know how he feels . . .

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

UPDATE: January 4, 2011

Uh oh . . . There goes Octavian's first line of defense.