h a l f b a k e r y
You gonna finish that?
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(Typed by MaxwellBuchanan on behalf of his dog.)
I am just back from a long walk. It was all well and good, but I
have an aching neck. Why? Because every time I stop to smell
something important, I get my lead yanked on after a few
Even when I'm off lead, I get told to hurry up
and not get left
For goodness' sake! Do you humans not _get_ the whole point of
walks? Smell is everything! When we're walking along the high
street, do I pull on the lead every time you stop to stare into a
window? Well, OK, I do, but that's not the point.
You really don't get smell at all, and you have no idea how
it is to us on the end of the lead.
Of course you like to say that your sense of smell is much poorer
ours, doncha? Well, that's like walking around with your eyes shut
and saying you can't see very well. The way you walk around, all
upright, of _course_ you can't smell a bloody thing. Do you ever
notice what we dogs do when we want to smell something? We
our noses right down to it and make a bit of a bloody effort, that's
You may have stupidly small noses, but when push comes to shove
they're pretty good. Give you lot a glass of a '64 Merlot, and you'll
droning on for hours about bloody blackberries and a hint of
Oh yes, your noses are fine _then_ aren't they?
Anyway, I've had just about enough. Not long ago I had to put up
with being dragged along on a "Bring your dog to work" day. (Do
you have any idea how out of place I feel in the East Fenglia
Institute for Advanced Topology? No, you don't.)
gave me an idea.
It's not much to ask, really. I just want an international "Smell
a Dog Day" day. Just one day.
On "Smell Like a Dog Day" day, all you have to do is take your
suffering dog on a walk. Anywhere you like, your choice (as
always, by the way).
and this is a big but. When your dog stops to sniff something, you
sniff it too. I don't mean just stand there and breathe in and say
yes, cat pee'. I mean get down on your hands and knees, get your
nose up close (no, don't stick it in whatever I'm smelling - you
don't see me doing that, do you?) and sniiiiiifffffff.
OK, OK, I don't expect you'll be able to recognize which dogs have
peed against that plant, or which small animal has died there a
weeks ago. I don't expect you to be able to tell that somebody
on a stink-bug at this particular point, or that somebody eating a
MacDonald's left a particularly alluring greasy handprint on the
of the park bench. I don't even particularly expect you to like a
of the smells (I don't either, but they're important.)
But you might, just might, get a whiff of what it is I'm so
in down there, now and again. You just might get the vaguest,
remotest conception of the brighter, more vibrant parts of the
complicated smell-world I walk around in. You might, with a bit
luck, at least realize that the world I stick my nose in is every bit
complicated and informative as your glass of Merlot.
And if you do this, you just possibly perhaps might stop yanking on
my fucking lead.
||People with Addison's Disease can sometimes have
an enhanced sense of smell. I would imagine that
if the appropriate receptor for the relevant
cortical hormones were to be found
somewhere in the olfactory bulb or nerves, and it's
pretty small, it could maybe be blocked and the
human sense of smell would improve.
||Also, clearly the sense of smell gets stronger with
hunger. If this isn't connected with cortisol,
maybe the same could be done again.
||<typed on behalf of dog> Bloody croissants. Who wants
||[19thly] that's interesting. I wonder what the neurological
basis is. What's known? There's also a case-study by Oliver
Sacks of a man who experienced a temporary hyperosmia.
My guess is that we can all smell better than we usually do
(in a manner of speaking), but we only "switch it on" when
we concentrate (as with wine tasting). I presume, then, that
hyperosmia (maybe like in Addison's) is a fairly high-level
||Apparently this is unrelated to Smell Like A Frog Day.
||I like this idea just fine. I'm not going to do it, but I like it.
||Surely it was a '61 Latour or perhaps a Petrus from the famed MB cellar?
||Get your owner to take you to Specsavers.
||If you think I'm going to whip out the '61 Latour (overrated
though it is) for a quick sniff, you're sadly misundertaken.
||// I'm not going to do it, but I like it.//
||Aww, go on. Just once. Maybe in the privacy of your own
garden. Borrow a dog if necessary.
||An inspired idea, worth a luxuriant wallowing.
||[thumbwax], the thumbwax??? Hey by the way, I
think we are neighbors now...
||Where ya been. I feel like I'm talking to a ghost.
Oh yeah, the idea, I don't get it. (neutral).
||[blissmiss] the idea is that, once a year, we all go
about on hands & knees sniffing. To enlarge our
range of sensory experience, or to empathize with
dogs better, or to refute Thomas Nagel, or
||I don't think I much like that then. (neutral.)
||I told my dog people wouldn't get it. Never listens.
||I say, my dog's got no nose!
||Really [hippo], how does it smell?
||//how does it smell?//
||[MB], what i don't get is why our sense of smell is so dampened
down. If we can smell better, why does it take an endocrine problem
to improve it? Why wouldn't it just be good?
||[Blissmiss], if there's a way of improving the sense of smell it would
be easier to get away without getting down on all fours, because
we'd be able to smell better from where we are.
||Also, i'm wondering if there are special features of canine nasal
anatomy which we lack but could mimic with a prosthesis, so it could
also be "national look like a dog day".
||[19thly] I think our sense of smell is to some extent
inferior to a dog's (fewer receptors); to some extent
suppressed (we don't smell intently in the same waay
that we look intently, except when we wine-tasting
etc); and to a very large extent impeded by the fact
that our noses are 6ft away from most smells (why do
dogs get right in there and snuffle?)
||However, a good wine-taster or perfumier can, I think,
come close to a dog in identifying individual
components, where they come from and so forth. So I
think the biggest barriers are our height and our lack of
||Well, height is an obstacle if we want to smell stuff on the ground or otherwise low down, but if we want to smell things at our nose level, not so much. Also, if we as men want to mark our territory the stream of urine could be made to hit the target at nose level.
||"good wine-taster or perfumier can, I think, come close to a dog in identifying individual components" - [MB]
||If this is the case, why aren't dogs doing these jobs?
||Don't say it's because they can't communicate with us - at some point a person must have interpreted a dog's reaction to smells to establish the dog's olfactory superiority.
||"Right, Luba, bark once for gooseberry and twice for lemongrass."
*bark bark bark*
"For ffff- gods sake Luba, I don't care if there are people trapped in a mine, I've got to get these tasting notes to Good Food magazine today or Lord S will have my balls in a hamper. "
||//If this is the case, why aren't dogs doing these
jobs?// Errr, I think you're arguing that human
smell is more acute than dogs', which is going
further than I would. However, to answer the
question, it is presumably because top
oenologists and perfumiers are well paid, and
quietly shove Oil of Wintergreen up the noses of
any dogs that are competing with them for the
||Also, you'd wind up with wine that smelled of
squirrels and perfumes that smelled of sheep