A Stinking Success … and other stuff

Now Playing: Townes Van Zandt’s version of the Rolling Stones’ classic Dead Flowers. “Well when you’re sitting there in your silk upholstered chair, Talkin’ to some rich folk that you know, Well I hope you won’t see me in my ragged company, Well, you know I could never be alone.”

Who woulda thunk it? A smell-o-vision billboard, that even neighbors can’t smell, much less the motorists who pass it, has become an overnight sensation for Bloom, Food Lion’s upscale – and yes, I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but bear with me – grocery chain. Which has something to say about what passes for news these days.

I mean it. It started with The Charlotte Observer, which gave it big-time play. To me, stories about billboards should be about what a distraction they are at best and an eyesore at worst. But this one – on N.C. 150 in Mooresville – is now inexplicably the most famous billboard in the state. I mean it. I look at online newspapers across the state, and I’ll swear that nearly every one had this story today. It’s supposed to smell like steak – it uses a giant fan and pepper- and charcoal-scented oils, operating during Charlotte’s rush hours. It is designed to lure you to Bloom’s to buy a steak.

So does it smell like steak? Who knows? Apparently not very many folks have smelled it. The writer said it was distinguishable from 15 feet and in. From the highway, even with the window down, not so much. And I got to wonder about how many folks are driving around Charlotte with their windows down in June (the smell-o-vision ends June 18). Managers of two neighboring businesses said they hadn’t noticed the aroma. Well, one did, only after she walked near the sign, but she said it didn’t smell like steak.

Which means that just about every newspaper in the state is carrying a story about an aroma-emitting billboard that nobody can smell. I gotta ask why?

I also gotta hand it to the ad agency that thought up the idea. They got Bloom a ton of free publicity with a stunt that basically might not be working. How smart is that?

And how dumb are we – and I include myself – for reading and writing about it.

Now for the … and other stuff.

How cool is the South Carolina governor’s race? On the GOP side, at least. I have no idea who’s running on the Democratic side – and don’t care.

Ah, but the GOP. The leader is state Rep. Nikki Haley, a not-so-bad looking 37-year-old. Who keeps denying she had affairs. With guys who happen to work for one of her opponents. The same opponent who has an ally in the S.C. Senate who called Haley a “raghead.” And he called President Obama one, too. Haley says she’ll resign from office if anyone can prove she is or has been fooling around. (Let’s not forget this race is to see who replaces Mark Sanford – Mr. Affair, himself.)

You can’t make this stuff up.


“There’s foxes in the hen house, Cows out in the corn. The unions have been busted, Their proud red banners torn. To listen to the radio, You’d think that all was well. But you and me and Cisco know, It’s going straight to hell.” _ Steve Earle, Christmas in Washington


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