Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New York City and the Mystery Odor

Radio talk show host Michael Savage spent a good portion of his program yesterday in speculation of what might have caused the horrific odor which many New Yorkers were greeted with that day. Savage seemed to be convinced that it was some sort of sinister terrorist plot. Michael, the party line is that terrorists want to kill us, not offend our collective nose.

I Snake Oil Sam believe that I can offer a reasonable explanation as to exactly what caused that odor. It is important to look at the then current weather conditions in New York City and the entire region. Spring had come to the North Eastern part of America.

That is not only something which all but the hard core snow bum ski crowd had been loving; it is also the thing which brought about that noxious odor. For those readers of this blog unfamiliar with the geography of the region to the West of New York City it is a wilderness.

Yes, I know that sounds silly but just West of that city is an area known as “The Meadowlands." Not only is this area the home to the football Giants and Jets, it is also home to a great number of wild bird species and other exotic wildlife.

This is in large part due to a man beloved by many around here and known as Captain Bill Sheehan the “Hackensack Riverkeeper.” Sheehan is a man of vision who has a passion for the river and its many estuaries. One thing which he can’t control is the ability of the rivers mud flats in the North Eastern section of Secaucus, New Jersey from producing some very powerful odors under the right set of metrological circumstances.

And all the conditions required for such an event were indeed present prior to the New York City odor event. The smell of sulphur which smells like billions of rotten eggs is produced under those conditions.

The tide was extremely low at that time due to the phase of the moon. The wind was strong and out of the West, in other word blowing in the direction of New York City. A heavy rain fell during the night causing the odor to be forced out of the mud flats.

It is highly likely that the odor which can be likened to a fog bank, only not visible to the eyes, but highly detectable to the nose was what was offending and sickening so many New Yorkers. The area affected by the stench is only three miles to the East of this former swamp which is in the process of being revitalized by Hackensack Riverkeeper and many volunteer supporters.

Since the temperature was cool in the early part of the day and the wind subsided the odor would settle over the midtown and downtown portions of Manhattan. As the sun began to warm the surface of the city streets the invisible fogbank burned off and the odor was eventually gone as it would be expected to do and did in fact do.

So Michael Savage, I believe that is the answer to your question about the odor of ’07, the simple act of nature interacting with a densely populated city in a time of concern and fear of terror attack. It is a stench not often noticed by many as it is a somewhat remote area. And since it was in this event particularly potent and settled over New York City it is a smell which became a national story.

It is fascinating to see how so many people can become concerned by something as simple as a bad smell in time of war. It causes me to reflect back to the days of the cold war and motion pictures about mass hysteria. Imagine that it is possible that a group of people can become fearful due to a smell.

I see here a subject worth writing about in the future. Imagine if you will a government or agency like C.I.A. able to control a larger population through fear of things that go bump-in-the-night. Will they ever use such a scenario? Have they already done so? Is the “War on Terror” in fact such a grand scheme?

You say never can that happen! But George W. Bush can open and read you mail without a court order and you aren’t screaming “HELL NO!” Why? Simply because you are afraid of things which go “bump-in-the-night.” You have smelled swamp gas and you panic. Swamp gas is not a story. Violation of your privacy and a denigration of the integrity of the United States Postal Service, now that is a story.

But you have become so fearful of terror attack that you are ready to burn your rights and run away. You have already lost the war on terror to the people who are running it. Is your enemy really hiding, not in a cave in the Middle East, but rather in a place on the Potomac?

But our legislators will protect us you rant. They will preserve the Constitution of these United States of America! Won’t they? Blind fools will always fall of a ledge. Blind fools lead by politicians will always be given a helpful little push to speed up the process.

There is more of a stench in this nation's capitol than will ever possibly ascend from a swamp in New Jersey.
Snake Oil Sam
Snake Oil Sam Internet Media Publishing © 2007

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