Reviewed: this current lungful of air

As a long-time connoisseur of breathing, I’m uniquely qualified to give my viewpoint. My lungs and attendant respiratory plumbing, while not those of an athlete or meditator or other kind of breathing specialist, closely resemble those of the average consumer of air. Also, over my multiple decades of breathing I’ve obtained a broad range of experience air-wise and have paid careful attention to my breathing experiences. This allows me to tender opinions and judgments relevant to the largest segment of the reading, air-consuming market.

Category: Physical characteristics

Reviewing air based on physical characteristics is kind of like reviewing wine based on its ability to fill a glass and keep a level surface as it sits there. Does it fill the glass from the bottom to its meniscus evenly, without leaving any unsightly gaps? Is it suitably liquid and not in any way solid or gaseous or plasmid? What’s its peak frequency of transmitted light? Specific heat? Who the hell cares! What you want to know is will you gag when you drink it and will it give you a buzz that’s worth the price of the bottle and tomorrow’s hangover. (If you were wine connoisseurs, even amateur ones, you might be interested in color and bouquet and finish and suchlike, but I’m sure I know my audience here. Qualities like those I just listed are for wine collectors, not wine drinkers. People like that would spit it back into the bottle and sip it again later if that would work. Thank To Whom It May Concern that it doesn’t. Especially if they ever invite you over for dinner.)

However, there are some physical characteristics of air that are relevant to the air consumer versus the air collector. These are things like temperature, density, and composition–including oxygen content and humidity. Does it effectively deliver oxygen and dissolve the carbon dioxide you try to give it? These things are extraordinarily relevant to one’s enjoyment of a lungful but are only worth brief discussion.

Category: Sensoria

The breathing experience is not just limited to brute physical characteristics. Under the subcategory of composition, strictly speaking, we have aroma, flavor, and/or particulate materials that contribute to the digestion of the air and the enjoyment of it. Much can be said about the sensory impact of a lungful. As a reader of reviews, you are most likely looking for an informed evaluation of the subjective experience and here is where most of those details fall.

Category: Market data

This is simply pricing and availability, with modifications as necessary by region. For deeper market investment information such as air futures please look elsewhere.

Category: Overall impact

We’re still talking air here. There really aren’t an awful lot of details that are relevant to the average consumer’s interest other than the ones above. I understand, however, that some readers won’t want to give a lot of time to a lot of hot air about air, so this is where the more impatient of you should skip to for the punchline. I don’t mind. Seriously.

Now onto the current lungful.

I obtained this air at the juncture of my backdoor (which is in my kitchen) and the outside landing, roughly ten or twelve feet above ground-level with respect to my backyard. This includes the distance from where I was standing to my nose, which is only fair. Sometimes I experience air from a sitting or prone position, which is occasionally relevant. The wind was blowing in through the door, so this lungful contains many more outdoor elements than kitchen taints. For geographical and seasonal data, you should know that my house is in a forty-year-old neighborhood, lightly wooded, in unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, on the outskirts of Atlanta, perhaps a thousand yards from Sunday morning traffic on I-285. The time obtained is January 28, 2007, around 10:30 AM EST.

Physical characteristics

Temperature: Cool, but not icy.
Composition: Low humidity, but not abysmally so. It had rained last night, but winds have been strong and are picking up speed, carrying some of the moisture away with it. Decent oxygen content, as is common with cooler air. No detectable levels of macroscopic particulate content like dust or pollen.


The principal aromatic characteristic of this lungful is a side-effect of owning three dogs and a fenced-in backyard. As most dog-owners know, the size of the odor of a dog is completely independent of the size of the dog itself, which is just the same as saying a little dog goes a long way. However, the dogginess and doggy-by-productness of this lungful aren’t in any way overwhelming.

The oddest aromatic component of the current lungful is the essence of fish, which is tough to explain for this locale. It wasn’t the odor of cooking fish, but of live (or recently live) fish.

This fishy odor came nowhere near my personal low point of air-consumption experience: a lungful obtained interior to the Tokyo fishmarket during a warm springtime afternoon in 1973, where the other dominant aromatic component was diesel exhaust–an overall “F-” experience if there ever was one that was not at the same time also poisonously lethal.

Also in the definitely-present-yet-not-cloyingly-so category are the scents of damp earth and damp greenery, somewhat at odds with the dryness of the air and the lateness of the season. Plenty of the tress and shrubbery haven’t given up their leaves yet, but they’ll probably think about it more seriously tonight when it gets into the low twenties.

Market data

This air, like many lungfuls, was obtained free-of-charge. Right now, should I desire it, I could go obtain another one almost exactly like it. For yourself, however, you should consider the cost of travel to my house, whether you could get here in time to experience a similar lungful, and whether you’re in the category of acquaintance I would allow admittance to my house or yard without charging admission. But hey, it’s free for me–ignoring mortgage and maintenance costs of being allowed to live here, which I calculate to be roughly $.04US per minute, or a penny for every five breaths.

Overall impact

I hesitate to use a term as worn as “crisp”, but it fits. I’m sure that’s fine, though, for people who enjoy chugging whatever it is that’s their favorite as much as–or more than–trying something exotic. Crisp is what you can expect for this time of year in this region, and it beats the hell out of the “sharp” stuff you’ll get from points farther north today and the warm wet sponge you try to get oxygen out of here in the summer. Basically this lungful gets a B- without even trying even considering the dogginess. Points were taken off for the bizarreness of the fish taint, even though it wasn’t as harsh as it could have been. Overall: satisfactory, in every connotation of the word.


PS: Your one-line bonus review

Diet Berries & Cream Dr Pepper: Flavorwise, a fistfight in a can. Think twice. Check your insurance.


January 28, 2007 · by xalieri · Posted in reviews  


One Response to “Reviewed: this current lungful of air”

  1. alfie on January 29th, 2007 5:26 am

    hahahaha! Oh lazslo this was the best possible way to start my day; a bit of wonderful surreality and beautifully researched information to remind me to breathe deeply and appreciate.

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