Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Carbon, Monoxide, Etc.

Paul Simon, in "Papa Hobo," from Paul Simon:

It's carbon and monoxide
The ole Detroit perfume
And it hangs on the highways
In the morning
And it lays you down by noon

Cf. Hall and Oates, "She's Gone":

I spend eternity in the city
Let the carbon and monoxide choke my thoughts away

Now I am not any sort of chemist, but it's my understanding that when you have carbon monoxide, it's not like you have a bunch of carbon and a bunch of monoxide and you mix them together. You can't really have carbon and monoxide any more than you can have green and beans.

So the question is: Were people unaware of this in the early 1970s?

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