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Durian fruit was only fairly recently introduced to North American consumers, and it's still very much a niche product. You probably won't find it at your corner store, but some Asian markets will carry them, usually frozen, along with various durian-flavored snacks. The fruit itself looks like the hell-born bastard cousin of a coconut; a large, spiky monster of a thing that, inside, contains creepy, fleshy something or other that is said to be supremely delicious. It is also said to smell like ass steeped in Gerard Depardieu B.O. and hatred.
Travel writer Richard Sterling once described durian as "pig shit, turpentine, and onions, garnished with a gym sock," so you don't need to take just my word for how rancid this stuff is. And while you and I can easily avoid this stank, since we have a lack of durian trees around most parts of the Western World, the same is not true in Asian countries where the little shitballs grow in the wild.
In Southeast Asia, durians are banned in many public places, such as airports, taxis, and hotels. The reason is solely and completely due to its asstastic odor. This is both hilarious and sad at the same time, and also makes one question why there's even a market for something that smells so vile, especially when the taste is described as being a lot like the smell, only sweet. Oh, it's sweet pig shit in a sock full of old man crotch -- well then, scoop some up for me!
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Four Loko arrived to make the world a better place in the year 2005. Has it been so long? It was like someone took the worst kind of Kool-Aid and included an abundance of alcohol and caffeine in it. It was pretty amazing. A Four Loko's alcohol content was significantly higher than something like a beer -- in fact, it was like drinking several beers, and the caffeine kind of offset the depressing drunkenness by making you jittery and wired, and you continued to spiral closer and closer to an alcohol-induced coma.
The problem with Four Loko was not so much that it was a caffeinated beverage with alcohol in it, despite what the official word was -- alcohol and caffeine together is kind of an old concept, and you can still do rum and Coke or Red Bull and vodka whenever you feel like laughing while you cry in the gutter. The bigger issue was that Four Loko is a douchebag bro drink. College campuses across America were being littered with underage twats, hats turned backward, blacked out and confused, covered in their own urine, as the Four Loko storm swept everyone up. Chugging Four Lokos became the cool thing to do because they were dangerous. The stuff tastes like Third World cough syrup, so no one was drinking it because of the easy sipability or anything -- it was just the image. More bros drank it, more bros blacked out, rumors of seizures and alcohol poisoning and deaths crept into the world, and next thing you know, The Man is cracking down on Four Loko like it was a televised nipple slip out to destroy the fabric of society.
As the ban was instituted, Four Loko was forced to reformulate. This created a fun black market for old-style Four Loko, because if you tell people the shit they're drinking will make them black out, you'd better believe they're going to want to drink even more of it. Stores upped the prices, and people began selling it on eBay and Craigslist, and the blessed blackouts continued unabated.
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Absinthe is one of the most legendary drinks known to man. It carries an air of mystery about it, a sense of sophistication, the kind that can only come from being so shitfaced that the things you do in that shitfaced state are considered art.
The infamous muse of such luminaries as Oscar Wilde and Vincent Van Gogh, absinthe tastes like the floor of a hospital and is green. It also contains a compound called thujone, which is why it was banned in so many places around the world. See, thujone, derived from the wormwood in absinthe, messes you up, dawg. It causes hallucinations, a kind of lucid drunkenness that would make you experience all manner of awesomely creative stuff. It'd turn you into a Romantic artist in no time -- you'd be spouting all this esoteric poetry and painting sounds and bohemian types would think you were so deep, you don't even realize. Basically every white chick on Earth with dreadlocks would want to bone you. Except none of that is true.
Turns out absinthe doesn't actually cause hallucinations, and likely never did. Thujone just isn't a hallucinogen, and they make it the same today as they did back when the artsy-fartsy crowd was down with sucking back on it. It is 85 percent ethanol, however, and will probably kill you faster than a Pabst, and likely gave everyone who drank it a wicked buzz. Combine that with a bunch of already artistically inclined, self-important blowhards drinking it and claiming it's a mind-bending experience and you have a nice setup for other people pretending it took them to far-off lands as well.
Around the turn of the last century, with the temperance movement coming into fashion, absinthe took a boot to the jubblies, thanks to its reputation as the craziest of crazy boozes, and countries all around the world cracked down on it. Effectively they succeeded in banning a product only guilty of tasting like shit, which can't be grounds for a full-on ban, because if it were, then the world would be free from the tyranny of canned peas.