Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Code Words for Junk

was out shopping for furniture today. It was a dizzying experience; so many options and styles and shapes. I know exactly the kind of "look" I want for my new place, but you don't want to overdo it and have the whole thing look like one of those living room "sets" you get from Macy's. Each piece has to contribute to the theme while being somewhat unique on it's own. For some reason, the hardest item for me to find is a pair of bookshelves. Too wide, too tall, ugly finish, made of crap. Which brings me the the main topic of this post....

Not that long ago, manufacturers of ...well, anything.... we're pretty good about "calling a spade a spade" as they say. They didn't care; nobody read the labels. Fast-forward to today, and everyone is reading the label. And thus, things like rayon are becoming viscose. Here's that and some others I've recently come across:

VISCOSE: aka rayon. This is essentially a synthetic cloth that will melt, not burn. Like plastic....that you wear.

MDF: They used to label things as "fiberboard" and now they use this. It stands for Medium Density Fiberboard. No, consumers were not wondering about what the density of the fiberboard is, so we can accurately conclude that this is a coverup.

NATURAL FLAVORS:  ...come from natural products, but in ingredient-form they are far from natural.  While IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances) has made amazing progress in making things like cement taste like chocolate, I'd much prefer to just eat chocolate.
ENGINEERED WOOD:  I have a lot of respect for engineers; it took a lot to get to where they are.  But there's nothing they need to do to improve on wood.  Wood comes from trees that are cut down and sawed into boards.  No engineering is required.

ESSENCE:  ...shouldn't really be an ingredient for anything, because it's nothing.  So when I saw that black truffle oil contained "the essence of truffles" I was made instantly aware that a truffle had not been within 100 yards of this oil.....

VENEER:  In itself, veneer isn't all that bad if you don't mind chipping it from time to time thru daily use.  On the other hand, if it needs veneer it's probably crap underneath.  The type of wood is frequently used in the description, a la "..tropical wood veneers".  Tropical wood over what?

RENEWABLE:  Isn't describing library books.  It describes fast-growing trees that don't provide as much wood strength as the slower grown wood.  It's pretty much "farmed wood", which is still better than MDF by the way....



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