December 28, 2008

Deadly Fungi Product Reviews

Lately I keep running across this saying: "There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters." Rather than take this to heart, I've been flirting with mycological destruction lately thanks to two excellent finds.

I've been sampling perfumes like a fiend ever since BPAL started running an ad on my site. It's a little ridiculous -- I work from home and rarely leave the house at all, but I still want to try out all these fragrances on people; as I dig through bottles in search of a blend that will knock the socks off of the cashier at the corner deli, I have to wonder if I've become elderly before my time.

This month I took a gamble on a blend called "Destroying Angel," named for the fatally toxic Amanita mushrooms that looks pretty much identical to plenty of other harmlessly edible fungi; less than half a cap can outright kill you, and since symptoms may not occur for up to a day, early treatment is rarely an option. While BPAL's description of the fragrance ("Papery white notes evoke the grace of this fungi, grounded by thin, crisp soil") didn't sound like something I'd normally wear, my curiosity got the better of me. To my surprise, it turned out to be one of the most beautifully wearable blends I've sampled so far -- rich, earthy, and tempting. And while my friends tend to be merely tolerant of my constant demands to "smell this and tell me what you think," this one inspired a lot of double-takes (the good kind).

Speaking of murderous fungi, I came to an abrupt halt in my local organic store the other day when I caught sight of "Cranberry Cordyceps Tea." What??? The term "cordyceps" has been burned into my brain ever since I saw that chilling segment on Planet Earth where all those insects go terminally insane and grow deadly Alien-esque fungus stalks out of their heads. Now in drink form! Vermont Mushrooms' site describes the product as: "An invigorating combination of organic cordyceps with Vermont maple syrup and Vermont cranberry juice. Cordyceps has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to increase vitality, build endurance and strengthen the spirit." It looks vaguely like a Snapple.

So, I went ahead and bought a bottle, but I'm not brave enough to drink it yet -- this is probably a sign of how lacking I am in vitality, endurance, and spirit. Is there any way out of this vicious cycle that doesn't involve drinking a tasty parasite? Watch this and tell me if you think I should drink it:

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