gimme dat old-timey toilet water

I think I mentioned a while back that I was ready to start wearing perfume again after a long hiatus? Well, Walgreen’s has been pushing Florida Water with a vengeance — like, giant card tables stacked with hundreds of bottles right at the front of the store — since the start of summer. And the quaint-looking label aroused my curiosity, so I Googled it.

It’s an old cologne water that’s being made virtually unchanged from the original 1808 recipe, and the height of its popularity was smack in the middle of the Victorian era. It was acceptable for both men and women; and like most other fragrances of the time, was used more as a grooming/household cleaning/laundry product than a perfume. It’s mostly alcohol, so people used it in their hair and their clothes and as a rub down after tossing medicine balls around with burly men in unitards and handlebar moustaches, apparently. VICTORIANS!

This guy knows what I'm talkin' 'bout.

Anyway, here is a list of some of the uses for this product, as approved of by the makers Lanman & Kemp Barclay (note the old-timey Random Caps):

  • Added to the Bath or wash-basin, Florida Water refreshes delightfully and leaves the skin with a soft, delicate fragrance.
  • After a Shower, Florida Water provides an exhilarating rubdown, giving a healthy glow to the skin, toning muscles and nerves.
  • When used an Astringent and Skin Lotion, Florida Water effectively contracts the pores and tones-up the skin; leaving it with a feeling of freshness and free a buildup of oils on the skin.
  • You can use Florida Water as a Personal Deodorant, as it is indispensable to the fastidious woman. Its delightful fragrance is faint and elusive, making it invaluable for this purpose.
  • In a room where someone is recuperating from an illness, a few drops sprinkled around the room perfumes the air and overcomes stale odors.
  • Many find that Florida Water is more beneficial for a rub down for the sick than alcohol as it has a more pleasant and less offensive odor-wise than an alcohol rub.
  • Before Shaving, Florida Water can soften even the most stubborn of beards and prepares the skin for a smooth, luxurious shave. After Shaving, it contracts the pores of the skin, as its mildly astringent action soothes skin abrasions caused by shaving.
  • For Headaches due to nervousness or over-stimulation, are relieved by simply applying the cooling and refreshing Florida Water to the temples and forehead or sprinkle a few drops on a clean, wet washcloth.
  • For Insect Bites, apply of Florida Water on the bite.
  • When the Weather is Hot, applying Florida Water to the forehead gives a feeling of cooling.
  • As a Perfume, there is no more delightful of a scent than Florida Water. A subtle reminder of a flower-garden, it can be used in an spray atomizer, a handkerchief, or as a body splash.
  • After Exercise, a rubdown with Florida Water produces a warm tingling glow – delightful and invigorating to the muscles and the nerves.
  • For Nervousness, produced by excitement or shock, Florida Water applied to the forehead and used as a rubdown, usually relieves nervous tension and relaxes the muscles.
  • As a Hair Tonic, a sprinkling of Florida Water gives an enchanting fragrance delightful for social engagements. It soothes a burning and itching scalp.
  • In the Bedroom or Dressing Room, a few drops sprinkled in your lingerie drawer and clothes closets is lovely and long-lasting.
  • To Freshen Rooms that need a lift or to freshen the air from smoking, cooking, or the smell of new paint, sweeten the air by wetting your fingertips and flicking the room with a sprinkling of Florida Water.
  • Head Colds will be less bothersome if a little Florida Water is sprinkled on a handkerchief and the aroma inhaled frequently.
  • For Tired, Achy Feet, add some Florida Water to a basin of warm water and soak those tired tootsies. The soothing, refreshing effect is relaxing and refreshing.
  • For Skin Care, it never fails to massage the skin with Florida Water after removing your make-up, especially before going to bed.

To which I add some of my own: spray on your bedsheets, use as a room freshener, and dampen clothes with it when you’re ironing them. I keep some in a little spray bottle. BTW, putting some on your forehead when it’s hot really is aces… at least until the alcohol evaporates.

Interestingly, Florida Water is also commonly used in Voudoun, Hoodoo, and Santería cleansing rituals. The fresh, clean scent is thought to banish negative energies or thoughts and be pleasing to the loa (spirits). Can’t hurt to hedge my bets. I mean, I did move to Louisiana.

this is what happens when you cross stupidity with deregulation


Aww, Megs McCain actually thinks drinking a vitamin-laced bathbomb will cure her ills. Bless her heart. I bet she’s still using Zicam, too.

Related: Airborne is a big fat placebo.

i can’t believe i haven’t blogged about this yet: “obsessed” (the A&E show, not the lame “fatal attraction” rip-off)

Last week was the premiere of A&E’s new show Obsessed, about people with moderate-to-severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The show focuses on their compulsive behaviors (germphobia, fear of driving, pulling out hair, etc.), and gets them to sumbit to Cognitive Behavorial Therapy, where they confront their triggers in an attempt to normalize their reactions through exposure. It follows a little of the same formula as Intervention, except the patients aren’t being tricked in any way (unlike the addicts on Intervention who think they’re filming a documentary about addiction and don’t know they’re being set up for the titular confrontation). It’s kind of an odd experience seeing people on reality shows that are sympathetic, instead of the famewhores and drugged-out messes that usually populate them. (Although I do empathize with a lot of the addicts on Intervention, it must be admitted that sometimes I just want to smack them. Like Allison the amazing duster-huffer.)

I couldn’t find any clips of last night’s show online, but it featured a young woman named Nicole who had the most seemingly random tics I’ve ever heard of. We’re all familiar with the stereotypes of compulsive handwashing or repeatedly checking to make sure the stove is off. But Nicole had two triggers: She was totally freaked out by her mother’s and brother’s — and ONLY her mother’s and brother’s — hands, especially if they were holding something “softly” or “delicately”. She was eating with her mother, and every time her mother put the fork down on her plate, Nicole would have to pick it back up and BANG! it down on the plate until it “felt right”. She was also extremely bothered by her mother’s “K” sounds, and every time her mother said something with a K or hard C, Nicole would have to make this exaggerated “KCH!” sound in her throat. It was the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the seaon, although I suspect the hair-puller featured in the clip above will have me cringing non-stop. But I hope the show can bring attention to OCD and show that it’s a disorder that can seriously affect the quality of the sufferer’s lives. It’s certainly not cute or funny, like Monk. (I actually enjoyed the first couple seasons of Monk, which clearly showed how lonely and isolated the disorder made Monk feel. But it eventually descended into broad laugh-at-the-freak comedy, and I stopped watching it.)

you could take some echinacaea, or st. john’s wort. or a big fat placebo! it’s all the same crap.

airborne package art

Looks like Airborne changed their packaging art in the wake of losing a $23 million class action lawsuit alleging “deceptive advertising”. As in, advertising it does shit when it actually doesn’t do shit. Now, instead of a terrified man surrounded by sick people and giant germs, it’s a terrified man surrounded by peaceful passengers. What the hell is he so scared of? Probably that he spent money on what is essentially a vitamin pill crossed with a bath bomb.

Admission: I used to swear by this stuff whenever I flew. For years now, the dry, recycled air in airplanes, loaded as it is with bacteria and assorted other filth, used to infallibly make me so sick 1-3 days after landing that it totally ruined whatever vacation I’d been flying for. I read about Airborne on someone’s blog, and while I knew it was most likely a big fat placebo, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. So I took it, and to my amazement, I didn’t get sick that Christmas when I flew to Louisiana. I took it religiously for a few years, and it always seemed to work — I don’t think I can blame it for my repeated cases of Norovirus. The blame for that rests soley with the feculent state of Louisiana and its grimy inhabitants.

Anyway, long story short, it let me down bigtime Christmas of 2007. We’re talking weeks and weeks of painfully sore throats and hacking dry coughs and not being able to sleep more than a couple hours a night. I was thisclose to begging for a merciful shotgun death by New Year’s Eve. The fact that I found myself either sitting on or bent over the toilet, thanks YET ANOTHER exposure to Norovirus, certainly didn’t help.

The two best things you can do to avoid sickness when you fly is:

  1. DO NOT, under any circumstances, have ice in your beverages. ALWAYS ask them to hold the ice. Airplane ice is made with airplane water, and that stuff is loaded with E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria, the bacteria found in (as you may have guessed from the name) human excrement. It’s also a good idea to take hand sanitizer or alcohol hand wipes and use those to clean your hands after you use the restroom, in addition to washing your hands at the sink. You might as well be washing your hands in raw sewage.
  2. Take along a non-medicated saline nasal spray and keep those tubes hydrated. One of the reasons people are so susceptible to catching bugs on airplanes is that their nasal passages get so dried out, and allow a lot more germs in.

everybody move to las vegas or boulder!


I see our Facilities department has sucumbed to Swine Flu hysteria. Stacks of these brochures, along with jars of hand sanitizer and canisters of anti-viral wipes are on every horizontal surface in the school.

You know how many people die of plain-vanilla, non-sexy regular flu every year in this country? About 36,000.

You know how many people have died of Swine Flu thus far in this country? One. And she was a Mexican child visiting Houston.

It’s really sad that it takes an international panic to remind people to cover their fucking mouths when they cough, and wash their hands occasionally.

i always knew hipsters would kill us all one day

Patient Zero

Patient Zero

2008 was the year that hipsters went crazy for bacon, putting it in everything from chocolate to booze and practically wiping their asses with it.

In 2009, we’re all gonna die of Swine Flu*.

Coincidence? I think not! Thanks, hipsters. It’s not enough you were smug and annoying; because of your stupid ironic love for all things you — from your lofty perch atop piles of trust fund buxx — consider amusingly “common”, you’re resposible for the downfall of western civilization. Good going!

*Maybe. But then again, we didn’t all contract SARS or bird flu and get eaten by sharks just as the world ended because of a tragic lack of honey, so maybe not.

the new ADD: facebook is turning us all into narcissists

narc dino

Oh, internet. Is there anything you can’t be blamed for?

Remember when everyone just thought the internet would turn us all into porn addicts? The next mass diagnosis of society via the armchair psychologists (read: community college drop-outs who watch a lot of reality television) of the world is primed to be Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD. Slate has declared this “The cultural moment of the narcissist”. You’re just giving them exactly what they want, Slate!

Dr. Drew, the bellwether of Z-list celebrity antics and the deeply rooted pathologies that cause them, has a book coming out about it titled The Mirror Effect. If he really thinks people like Andy Dick are mentally ill (and not just obnoxious assholes, which has not yet made it into the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), is it really ethical for him to rake in the buxx by exploiting them?

Dr. Drew also does not approve of the MyFaceTubes:

The celebrity doctor is not a fan of MySpace or Facebook either, because they allow people to seek attention by acting out like celebrities — posting provocative pictures and personal stories about irresponsible behavior.

“Without appropriate monitoring, these social networking platforms are subject to abuse by those who are most vulnerable to the endless feedback loop they create,” wrote Pinsky. “This is known as an urge/compulsion/reinforcement cycle, and it’s very similar to what happens to those who crave drugs or other addictive substances.”

“Appropriate monitoring” by who? Dr. Drew, Captain of the Ego Police??

And since everyone from Senator McCain (or at least his intern) to your mom is on Facebook by now, it sounds like “NPD!” is well on it’s way to becoming the new shorthand for “asshole” that you will soon hear tossed around at cocktail parties. “Sex addict”? Sooo last year! How quaint! Meanwhile, people who genuinely have this disorder will be mocked and belittled. It’s a good thing they’re, y’know, narcissists. They probably won’t care.

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