Nov
11
2008

Happy Veterans Day everyone! BTW, you stink, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

If anything, sir, you're making it worse: You can wring out the sweat, but not the stink.
If anything, sir, you're making it worse: You can wring out the sweat, but not the stink.Courtesy The Michael
Yeah. Sorry. I don’t make the rules—y’all just have your own weird odors, and there’s nothing you can do to change them. Frowny face.

But, today of all days, try to get past your own problems (though they are disgusting and abounding) and be grateful to the men and women who have fought for your country. Or think about Armistice Day, and the moment on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918, when the bloodiest war the world had ever seen finally came to an end.

No? That’s not doing it for you? Still stuck on yourself? Fine. We’ll deal with that first.

Oh, by the way, the statement about your having a unique, personal stink is predicated on my assumption that you’re all mice. Not figure-of-speech mice, but actual little rodents. Who have computers and can read. (And, really, what illiterate mice are going to have computers? It just goes to show that you won’t be getting ahead without an education.) Even if you aren’t mice, however, I suppose there’s a decent chance that the personal odor think applies to you (you might not be conscious of it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there).

There are all kinds of things that can affect your stank. You should know that by now. Bacteria, for one, love eating your excretions and covering you with effluvia of their own. It smells bad. And your excretions aren’t necessarily a walk in the rose garden in the first place. Depending on what you eat, you can end up smelling like the dumpster behind a German restaurant (I’m thinking onions, garlic, and red meat here) or the dumpster behind a South Asian restaurant (ah, sotolon). Really, you could smell like any number of dumpsters across the globe, depending on your tastes.

But it turns out that no matter what stank you might give yourself with all that coffee and garlic pizza, you’ve got a unique stank that’s all your own, and there’s nothing to be done to change it.

See, scientists have been watching little mousies, and they’ve found that although body odors brought about by diet can be confusing to mice in identifying other individuals by their odor, there remains a unique, identifiable, genetically-influenced smell in each mouse, despite the particulars of its diet.

That was a long and bad sentence. What I meant to say was this: no matter what you eat, it seems that you have an unchangeable, unique smell. It says so here. And in far fewer words here.

What’s the upshot of this? First of all, it’s like I said: you’re hopeless, Oldspice. However, the research also suggests that someday technology could be developed that would identify individuals by their unique odor “fingerprints.” A personal odor database could be developed. Think about that—you put your fist through a bakery window just once, and the fuzz has your stink on file forever. Or maybe you wouldn’t have to show your passport to get on a plane—a robot could just sniff you. Another robot, anyway.

A brave new future, huh?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

it sounds like this should have been 2 separate articles, as veterans day has nothing to do with stinking.
i do like mention how it was once known as 'armistice day' as the armistice to end the war was signed on that day.
it's much like a former neighbor of mine that called our may holiday 'decoration day', the original name for memorial day.
it can be confusing that there are 2 holidays honoring veterans, but memorial day was mainly due to the civil war and veterans day for world war I.
it also stands to reason that memorial day gets more attention, as it's in a warmer month and is the unofficial start of summer.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 9:49am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Nope, Veterans Day doesn't have a lot to do with stinking, other than that on Veterans Day, just like every other day, people stink, and there's nothing we can do to change that stink.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 11:50am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Memorial Day honors those who died in combat. Veterans' Day honors those who fought and lived.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 12:39pm
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

we honor veterans- living or dead- on both holidays.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 12:47pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

You may honor anyone you wish on any day you want. But the holidays themselves have different meanings. From the infallible Wikipedia:

Memorial Day originated in the nineteenth century as a day to remember the soldiers who gave their lives in the American Civil War by decorating their graves with flowers.

In the United States, [Veterans' Day] honors all veterans of the United States Armed Forces, whether or not they have served in a conflict.

By definition, a person who dies in combat is not a veteran. By definition, we do not remember someone until they have gone.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 1:03pm
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

that means your latest posting is in direct contradiction the one before it, when you say 'honor whoever you want'.

and i wouldn't call wikipedia 'infallible'- or say that ANYTHING else is either. there have been a few news stories where wikipedia articles were inaccurate and unfair, because ANYONE can add to wikpedia articles.

and there's no requirement for accuracy to get published- online or in books.

and the article you just posted proves what i said earlier ANYWAY- about the ORIGINS of both holidays.

memorial day started because of the civil war, and veterans day because of world war I.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 1:13pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

No contradiction -- you are free to honor whomever you wish. The holidays, however, were established for distinct and different purposes, and retain those meanings to this day.

"Infallible" was meant as hyperbole. I apologize for any confusion.

posted on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 5:40pm
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

we are getting bogged down in semantics here, and what you said about the holidays being established for distinct and different purposes once again proves what i said earlier about the ORIGINS of the holidays- one being established due to the civil war, and the other due to world war I.

the news media even covers these origins whenever these holidays are observed, wcco is good at even having their 'good question' segment answer questions such as a holiday's origin since viewers often ask just that- about any holiday, including customs in religious holidays.

posted on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 11:31am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Yes, and the origins indicate that these two holidays honor two distinct groups of people. Veterans' Day honors veterans: living men and women who once served in the Armed Forces. Memorial Day honors the memory of servicemen and women who died in the line of duty.

posted on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 1:32pm
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

semantics.

posted on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 3:05pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Semantics

In case you don't feel like scrolling down,

Semantics [is] the study of meaning in language. Example: Linguists interested in semantics know that human language can be very imprecise. The word "love" means different things to different people. Moreover, some sentences are ambiguous--that is, they have more than one meaning--because of their syntax: "The chicken is ready to eat."

(That last bit, about the chicken, is hilarious.)

Seriously, guys: I don't really understand what the argument is about anymore. It's true that we have two holidays that honor those in military service, that those holidays were enacted at different times, and that they technically honor different groups of servicepeople (i.e. living or dead). But it's equally true that you can remember those who serve or served any day of the year, including either or both holidays.

What's to argue about?

posted on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 3:49pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

We're arguing semantics, nature's most perfect food.

posted on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 3:52pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

All's not lost, mankind. Turns out that evolutionary psychologists have done some studies looking at sense of smell and mate choice. In the famous "sweaty T-shirt" experiment, men slept in the same T-shirt for a few nights, and then women sniffed the shirts and rated each man's sex appeal. (They never saw or talked to any of the men.) Turns out that women consistently favored the men whose immune response genes were different than their own. It's an unconscious thing. Unless you really have a bodacious stank going on, a girl's not sizing you up by sense of smell alone. But evolutionarily speaking, being more likely to pick someone whose immune response genes are different than yours is a strategy that might make your offspring less susceptible to illness.

In a twist that might give us pause, women taking birth control pills showed exactly the opposite trend: they preferred the scent of men with genes most similar to theirs.

(Not everyone accepts this research.)

Moreover, various studies have shown that women can reliably identify their own newborns by smell alone when asked to sniff the heads or clothing of a variety of "stimulus infants." Parents can distinguish between two of their children on the basis of smell alone. Full siblings (ages 3-8) can pick out a sibling's T-shirt solely on the basis of smell. And most 4-year-olds prefer T-shirts worn by their mothers than T-shirts worn by other women.

Word to the wise: wash up, and lay off the Axe!

posted on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 4:24pm
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

somebody finally said 'enough already', which is the only way to end a discussion that was going nowhere.

we were obviously not on the same page, much less the same CHAPTER. anyone reading the postings could tell that.

all over an article that is more about stink than veterans day anyway.

posted on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 5:21pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

The stink part is the science part. :)

posted on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 7:01pm

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