Monthly Archives: October 2009

My Squirrel Phase

Young naive folks are likely to do things which in retrospect are pretty stupid. I was a child once and I was naive too. So I did stupid things. It gets even stupider when said child is trying to say things in a language he does not master. There was an ethnic insult against Anglophones which was current in Québec when I was a kid: “square head.” (The Urban Dictionary states that the insult is always expressed in French but this is false.) I heard the insult without the benefit of knowing English or getting a full explanation as to what it meant. An untrained ear is treacherous. Soon I started calling the Anglos “squirrels.” You can imagine the surprise when someone addressing me in English would get the evil eye accompanied with the exclamation “DAMNED SQUIRREL!!!”

Auditory stink

As I was riding on the bus recently, another passenger a few rows behind me was listening to music.  He or she had headphones on but the music was loud enough to leak out of the headphones.   When there is leakage, it does not matter whether the music is actually Mozart or Britney Spears: it always sounds like someone rhythmically shaking the utensils drawer in the kitchen while a buddy remodels the bathroom with a jackhammer. And then whatever singing there may be sounds like someone screaming in a pillow.

While listening to the other passenger’s utensil music, it occurred to me that I was experiencing the auditory equivalent of having to smell someone’s stink.  That is, someone oozing jackhammer music all over the place is not unlike someone smelling like rotten garbage.

It is remarkable that the same people who would not dream of going out of the house smelling like garbage would think nothing of stinking up the air with sound. Well, I guess the answer here is that body odor is commonly associated with bad hygiene. This is where social pressure comes in. It does not really matter what the real story is: if someone smells bad, then the automatic presumption is that that person has bad hygiene. If we were to ask, then maybe the story would be that a baby just pooped on that poor individual and that they are rushing home to change their clothes because they do know that everybody in the world will assume they can’t be bothered to wipe their own asses, etc. When it comes to auditory stink, no presumption of bad hygiene exists. So there is no potential for embarrassment here.

Maybe through social engineering there would be a way to make “auditory stink” socially unacceptable. I don’t know where I would start though…

Sugar, sugar everywhere!

Yes, I’ve heard before about how food manufacturers put sugar in everything but it is only last weekend that the issue became real for me.  (Call me “slow” if you will… or call me “Susan” if it rocks your boat.)  Debbie wanted to buy canned soup.  (Useful to have in a pinch.)   She started looking at this and that can saying “can’t have this, can’t have that.”   I asked why and she told me the carbs were too high.  (Not due to a  fad diet, if you are wondering.)  So I started looking too.  I was flipping cans left and right like a real grocery store ninja but none of the soups had an adequate level of carbs.  I noticed that a soup which had pasta in it had as much carbs as a vegetable soup without pasta.  This was counterintuitive so I looked closely at both lists of ingredients and quickly found the problem: the vegetable soup, the one without pasta, had high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) listed as the second ingredient.   I checked a few other soups which did not advertise any high-carb ingredient in their name or in the picture on the front of the can but they also had HFCS or sugar listed early in the ingredient list.

We’ll have to start looking at alternatives because this is ridiculous.