Category Archives: Stinky substances

Contributed: Literal and figurative stench from a bygone day

It was a different time

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Thanks to Stinkbro for sending this along.

The “Sunnyland Stench”

I would be remiss not to cover a current stench-situation in the town where I was born and raised, Bellingham, Washington. (no, not a suburb of Washington D.C., foreign folk – the state of Washington, NW corner of the U.S.).

Awful odor wafts over Bellingham neighborhoods

Coffee roasters, manufacturer possible sources

BELLINGHAM — An unpleasant odor wafting through neighborhoods has residents plugging their noses and searching for answers.

The offending aroma is known as the “Sunnyland Stench” in reference to the Sunnyland neighborhood, where the odor seems most prevalent. But people in neighborhoods such as York and Columbia also have smelled it, said Patrick McKee, the Sunnyland representative on the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission.

The odor, described by residents as “chemical” and “sweet,” has been a problem for more than two years but has become stronger within the last year, McKee said….

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tuna on whitebreadI hardly gave stench a second thought in Bellingham, growing up; it was just a fact of life. For the entire time that I was stretching into the 6’2″ frame I now occupy, the Georgia Pacific pulp mill was churning out emissions of one sort or another, down by the bay (it has in recent years severely cut back its operation). Its odor was so ubiquitous that a local publication once solicited opinions about what residents thought the “GP odor” smelled like. Opinions were of course, diverse, but the one I could relate to was “tuna on whitebread.”

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“Sootikins”

The following passage is excerpted from “The Role of Cats in Nursery Rhymes,” by Sarah Hartwell–

Good Queen BessTHE CAT AND THE QUEEN

Pussy-cat, Pussy-cat where have you been?
I’ve been to London to look at the Queen.
Pussy-cat, Pussy-cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under a [her] chair.

One explanation of the origins of this rhyme goes back to 16th century England. One of the staff of Queen Elizabeth I (Good Queen Bess) was said to have had an old cat which tended to roam throughout one of the royal residences. On one occasion the cat apparently went underneath the throne (the “chair”) and its tail brushed against the Queen’s foot, startling her. Luckily Queen Elizabeth was amused and declared that the cat could wander through the throne room as long as it kept it free of mice!

Another suggested meaning of this relates to the poor hygiene of a different queen and is perhaps a cautionary tale about hygiene in general. Undergarments were uncommon among poorer women before the nineteenth century and dust, ash and general grime accumulated on the genitalia just as it did elsewhere on the body….

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A Crappy Cup of Coffee

From Animalcoffee.com

Shitty Coffee“Treat yourself to the worlds finest coffee with kopi luwak from Animalcoffee; the only source on the internet for authentic premium kopi luwak. Kopi luwak is a unique gourmet coffee that is processed in the stomach of a wild animal, after which it is hand collected from the floor of the Sumatran jungle. Annual global supply is estimated to be in the vicinity of six to seven hundred pounds.”

In short, it’s shit.

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Andouillette: French Pig-Colon Sausage

Andouilette - Pig Colon SausageI discovered the (in)famous French sausage “Andouilette,” in an article at the Times Online (UK), which begins:

“I would never have discovered Troyes, a beautiful medieval town of timber-framed buildings, were it not for a pale, lumpy sausage made from pigs’ intestines that smells like a pissoir….”

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Definition: pis·soir (pis-wahr): A public urinal located on the street in some European countries.
[French, from Old French, from pissier, to urinate]


The author of the Wikipedia article about the sausage has a somewhat different take on Andouilette:

French andouillette, on the other hand, is an acquired taste and can be an interesting challenge even for adventurous eaters who don’t object to the taste or aroma of feces. It is sometimes eaten cold, as in picnic baskets. Served cold and sliced thinly, the smell, taste, and texture may be mistaken for an andouille [a milder, less stinky sausage], but on closer inspection the texture is considerably more rubbery and the meat has a more feces-like flavor. By contrast, many French eateries serve andouillette as a hot dish, and foreigners have been repulsed by the aroma, to the point where they find it inedible (see external links). While hot andouillette smells of feces, food safety requires that all such matter is removed from the meat before cooking. Feces-like aroma can be attributed to the common use of the pig’s colon (chitterlings) in this sausage, and stems from the same compounds that give feces some of its odors. (source)

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Naples Stinks

Stench of battle hangs over Naples as rubbish protests turn violent

Naples Stinks

[Excerpts]

It is the stench that you notice first. Then, as you get closer, you see and smell the mountains of rubbish: coloured plastic bags, black dustbin liners, cardboard boxes sodden with overnight rain, a carpet of broken glass. Yesterday Italian troops from units more used to service in Iraq and the Balkans were called in to start clearing the festering piles of rubbish from the streets of Naples….

…The crisis has engulfed the centre, after the city’s landfills, long over-stretched, finally reached capacity over Christmas. Amidst claims that the Naples Mafia is sabotaging attempts to open new landfills, more than 110,000 tonnes of waste has been left festering on the streets….

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Toxic Eau de Cow Arse?

Ass Hazard

A group of Nebraskans, concerned about “the byproducts of livestock operations intruding into their lives,” opposes the idea that hydrogen sulfide (fart gas) and ammonia (piss) emissions from stockyard operations be labeled “non-emergency” and made exempt from EPA reporting requirements. (read the article)

There’s no love lost between myself and the EPA, but I know the stench of fanatical activism (as opposed to activism) when I smell it. What these individuals are objecting to is the smell of the barnyard – something I grew up with, being raised in rural Washington state. What they are asking comes more clearly into focus when we take note of the two “offending” substances:

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Nightsoil: Human Manure

Applying Nightsoil to Garlic CropFrom the webpage “Human Manure”

“For thousands of years, China’s farmers have used human manure, or “nightsoil”, as fertilizer (King, 1911). In this example from the Tai Lake Region, nightsoil is collected and stored in large ceramic tanks or water-tight slate-lined or concrete pits. Manure and urine are collected in buckets within the household, or deposited directly in the storage tanks, which are usually located in the animal stall and toilet area of the household. Occasionally urine is collected and applied separately. It is common to mix pig manure with nightsoil in storage, as pig stalls are connected to storage tanks via a sluice, to facilitate collection of pig manure and urine. Prior to intensive use of synthetic fertilizers, nightsoil was an important fertilizer for nearly all crops, including rice and wheat. Now, nightsoil is applied mostly to small-scale vegetable plots and other rainfed household crops…. (read more)

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The Lowly Dung Beetle

All glory to the Dung Beetles, who clean up the shit without complaining.

Dung Beetle

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Tonsilloliths

A “tonsillolith,” commonly referred to as a “tonsil stone,” is a nodule that forms in back of the mouth, in the fissures of the tonsils. They are believed to be a composite of bacteria, particles of food, and deceased white blood cells. Analysis has disclosed high levels of sulfur, thus they usually have a pungent odor, which has been described by some as “concentrated” or “condensed halitosis.” When crushed, they are said to exude an odor like rotten eggs.

Tonsilloliths

While a definite nuisance, tonsil stones are not known to be medically harmful. As for being socially damaging – well, that’s a whole different ball of…halitosis. I had a professor in college whose breath could be smelled across the room, and there was much discussion among the student body as to what was responsible for his chronic butt-breath. In retrospect, I now wonder if he might have been afflicted with tonsil stones.

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