Friday, January 6, 2017

CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS

What they're saying about Jim's provocative blog:
--"The one thing I didn't delete from my private server."--Hillary Clinton
--"He's from this country, Mexicans don't read him, so that's good enough for me."--Donald Trump
--"Jim is obviously making a name for himself--Mr. Irrelevant!"--Don Rickles
--"Jimaschizzle!"--Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. (aka Snoop Dogg)
--"The one thing I DO read!"--Sarah Palin
--"The most fun you can have with your clothes on (but DO take a shower afterwards)."--Dick Cavett

jimjustselling . . .


(Actually, I'm not, but the good folks at HenschelHAUS are. And they're now offering FREE SHIPPING IN THE CONTINENTAL U.S. 
https://henschelhausbooks.com/product/lol-i-gags/


The book is also available at:

POPCORN

By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • You know you're an old-timer when you can remember putting your car (or have it go automatically at a certain speed) into "overdrive."  
  • I always pity anyone who wakes up one day and realizes they're a lookalike for the latest Notorious Figure of the Day (whether it be Dylann Roof, Julian Assange or Vladimir Putin).
  • Overheard during the holidays:  "I went to a TGIF party.  It was BYOB, and I had enough VO and JB to send me to AA with the DT's!"
  • Speaking of New Year's:  Is there anything more cringeworthy than watching Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper acting like a coosome twosome on New Year's Eve?  Who came up with this pairing?  But you can bet they'll be back at it next year. TV stations cling to bad ideas like barnacles to an old garbage scow.
  • Isn't it possible that Donald Trump is taking his cue from Don Vito Corleone regarding his remarks about and relationship with Vladimir Putin?  Remember "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer"? ("Give this to Clemenza; er, I mean, Pence. . . .")
  • Above it all?  My favorite from the list of new products on display at this year's Consumer Electronics Show:  Levitating Speaker--Crazybaby's floating speaker atop a speaker for a new way of listening to music, we are told.  (Accompanying picture shows a flying-saucer-looking object, ostensibly the speaker, floating above another speaker.  Outta sight!)
  • (The story concludes by saying "there will be thousands of products shown here, and most will never see the light of day."  I don't see much hope for the levitating speaker, but who saw the Hula Hoop and Pet Rocks coming?)
  • Quite amusing, in some way, all the celebrities who have turned down Inaugural performance invites.  Rumor has it the president and his wife will be dancing to the recorded strains of the Time/Life Greatest Hits Orchestra! (And sources tell jimjustsaying that Emo Phillips and Yakof Smirnoff aren't returning the transition team's calls!)
  • It's interesting to look back at all of the famous folks who died in 2016.  Prince was one of the biggest surprises, most would agree.
  • In that connection, Dwight Macdonald once essayed:  "There seems to be a Law of Negative Compensation that the Fates visit upon the outrageously famous--one of those deaths Yeats had in mind when he wrote of a friend's lost son: "Whatever made us dream that he would one day comb gray hair?"
  • I love when someone is identified as a "social critic."  I guess people never do anything right, we're always wrong.
  • Memo to all guys wearing backwards baseball caps:  It was a lame look when it started and the situation has not improved.  (Hmmm; caps on backwards but life and career trajectory all in order, right? Mensa members all.)
  • Charles Manson probably isn't worrying too much about the gastrointestinal problems that have landed him in a prison hospital recently.  Since he's serving nine life sentences, I see him pulling out of this in catlike fashion.  (If he dies after this is published, justice obviously was not served.)
  • Why does ABC's "20/20" program need not one but two people (Elizabeth Vargas and some other guy) to deliver (standing, of course!) a two-sentence introduction to what follows? Shows like "Forensic Files" seem to accomplish this arduous task quite nicely with one (!) offscreen announcer.  Incredible.  I guess they feel they've got these folks under contract so they might as well get some work out of them.  What other reason can there be?  No one tunes in to see Elizabeth Vargas speak a sentence.  Competent?  Yes. Drawing card?  Doubtful.
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that bubble wrap was invented in 1960 for use as wallpaper, not in packaging?"
  • This just in:  There hasn't been a baby boy in the U.S. named Orville in 37 years.  (No figures yet on how long it's been since a girl was named Orville . . . .)
  • Am I the only one irritated by the fast-and-loose (and highly misleading) dating of magazines?  On Dec. 10, I got an email notice that the digital edition of one of the magazines I subscribe to was available--the February issue, not the January.  That one came out before Thanksgiving.   Somewhere there is a March or "Spring" issue of a magazine on the stands right now!
  • Did you know that Wisconsin is the only state with a Sturgeon General cabinet position?
  • "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes."-- Henry David Thoreau
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Popcorn Bob.  As in, Robert J. "Popcorn Bob" Mazurek, Kenosha (Wis.) News obituary, Dec. 4, 2016.
  • One wonders who is worse off today:  The kid with virtually no education to speak of and no job (or a McJob) . . . or the guy with a master's degree (or higher) and no job (or the so-called McJob).
  • At least Mr. No Education doesn't have $200,000 in student loans to worry about while he's worrying where his next meal is coming from!
  • All-Over-rated Club, Comedy Division:  Lewis Black, Dave Chappelle and Kathy Griffin.
  • Favorite recent Drudge Report headlines:  
  • --"Why some artists no longer want to be famous."
  • --"Do you want to know?  Blood test reveals how long you will live."  
  • --"Naked woman in stolen police cruiser leads cops on chase."  Comment:  Did we really need the word "stolen" in that headline?  Where I'm from, naked women do not enjoy cruiser joy-riding privileges. (Just naked men!)
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  O homo, quid putris odor?  ("Oh, man, what's that rotten smell?")

THE LINK TANK

Make inaugurals dignified again
Advice for the new president on his first day—and for the media covering it
http://www.wsj.com/articles/make-inaugurals-dignified-again-1483661648?emailToken=JRrzc/t9Yn%2BegdQzZsw53V4lK6gOAvKGW0neKGuPNknDsn3boO%2Btgqw6jtqx5DrzFR0kuYlasz4%3D

Boobytraps await in Obamacare repeal
GOP may find more hazards in its undoing than in its creation
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman/ct-gop-blamed-repeal-obamacare-perspec-0105-20170104-column.html#nt=blogroll

Too many medical trials are moonshots in the dark
To find out what goes wrong when a person becomes sick, we need to know how things work
http://link.washingtonpost.com/click/8528691.99442/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cud2FzaGluZ3RvbnBvc3QuY29tL29waW5pb25zL3Rvby1tYW55LW1lZGljYWwtdHJpYWxzLWFyZS1tb29uc2hvdHMtaW4tdGhlLWRhcmsvMjAxNy8wMS8wNC9hN2Q4ODEwMi1jMTg0LTExZTYtOTU3OC0wMDU0Mjg3NTA3ZGJfc3RvcnkuaHRtbD93cGlzcmM9bmxfb3BpbmlvbnMmd3BtbT0x/5483c2293b35d0de428f8e75B091a3e16

Japan's 'genderless' blur conventions
Some young Japanese men are wearing makeup, dyeing their hair and wearing brightly colored lipstick, a big step in a culture where genders hew strictly to convention
http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/05/world/asia/with-manicures-and-makeup-japans-genderless-blur-line-between-pink-and-blue.html

THE QUOTE RACK

The Russia (dis)illusion
Whatever his motives in his outreach to Russia, Donald Trump will probably end up disappointed.  Both Barack Obama and George W. Bush came into power hoping for a "grand rapprochement" with Putin.  But they were quickly disabused of this notion by the stubborn realities of the Russo-American dynamic.  Russia and the U.S. clash because they fundamentally define their interests in opposition to one another.  That won’t change, whoever’s in the Oval Office.
--Noah Rothman, CommentaryMagazine.com 

Bursting the liberal bubble
After Donald Trump’s election, some universities echoed with primal howls. How could this possibly be happening?  The shocked disbelief of faculty and students that so many Americans chose Trump was proof of how insular universities have become.   To be truly educated, students need to escape their liberal bubbles and interact with working-class Americans, evangelical Christians, and Republicans.  Believe it or not, many of them are not "racist bigots."

The absence of ideological diversity on campuses has left many students trapped in a shrill state of permanent outrage--eager to censor virtually all opposing views and contemptuous of conservative ideas, free-market economics, and religious faith. Conservatism has a large and legitimate role in our nation’s history and current political debates, and the Left will fight back more effectively if it is less isolated.

Indeed, liberals’ smug contempt for Trump voters and Republicans in general may be a major reason Trump won—and has gained in popularity since the election.  In recent years, the word "academic" has come to mean "irrelevant."  If college professors and students want to change that perception, they’ll seek to bring more conservatives into the academy and  embrace the diversity they supposedly champion.
--Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

EPA backtracks on fracking safety
The Environmental Protection Agency reversed course [recently] on its 2015 assertion that there is no evidence that fracking contaminates drinking water, releasing an updated study that concludes the oil-and-gas extraction technique can taint the water supply in certain circumstances. Contamination has occurred following surface spills of fracking fluids, the EPA said, and when the poor cement casing of a well allows chemical-laced liquids to leak into groundwater.

The EPA’s science adviser, Thomas Burke, said the report remained "full of gaps," but environmentalists argued the study showed a need for tougher fracking regulations. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to roll back existing fracking rules.
--The Week
The miasma of misinformation
Misinformation is spreading for a reason.  As politics has become more divisive and partisan, our political views have become increasingly tied up in our personal identities.  We now see our political allegiance as a defining part of ourselves, like nationality, or skin color or religion.   And when someone criticizes or questions our political beliefs, it’s perceived as a threat--an attack on the self that needs to be warded off, regardless of the facts.
--Brian Resnik, Vox.com

This phenomenon isn’t limited to low-information voters.   Even highly educated people tend to believe stories that bolster their pre-existing beliefs--and those who know a lot about politics are more likely to know whether a story makes liberals or conservatives look bad.
--Faye Flam, BloombergView.com

The irony is that the internet was supposed to democratize information, enabling curious citizens  to become better informed about complex issues.  Instead, it has made it possible for people to hide out in closed information loops.  The internet’s lack of a filter has made all beliefs appear equally valid, since you can always find online evidence and opinion to back up even the most nonsensical notions, with no agreed-upon authority to differentiate fact from fiction. We truly have entered a post-truth era.
--Jonathan Mahler, New York Times

Sadly, it seems that the facts of political life are now subject to partisan interpretation.  One survey found that 67 percent of Trump voters say unemployment grew during President Obama’s term in office, even though it shrank from 7.8 percent to 4.6 percent. For a democratic system “based on the consent of voters who are fully informed,” the epidemic of willful ignorance is deeply troubling.
--Juan Williams, TheHill​.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

jimjustsaying's Favorite Holiday TV Specials

1.  "Christmas With the Gingriches"
2.  "Winnie the Pooh's Holiday Pot Party"
3.  "Police Navidad"
4.   "Joey Buttafuoco's Last Incarcerated Christmas" (encore presentation)
And last but not least:
 1.  "Christopher Walken in a Winter Wonderland"

(See your local listings for time and station information.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

POPCORN

By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Thank God, the election is over.  We won't be hearing the word "candidit" as often for a few more years.  
  • This just in:  The referendum results are in, and Wisconsinites have again chosen "America's Dairyland" over  "Vegetative State" by a narrow margin for the state's official license plate slogan.  (This also just in: Sources tell jimjustsaying that Jill Stein of the Green Party is weighing a possible recount.)
  • I guess the rise of "fake news" was inevitable.  How many genuine news stories do we really have, given the obvious political posturing and spin, the hyperbole, the stilted officialese "statements," the misleading and cherry-picked video footage (is all of that town devastated or just the half-block area they're focusing on)?   
  • Did you know that there has never been a U.S. President who was an only child?  Another barrier ready to be broken!  (Donald Trump has four siblings, for whom considerable sympathy should be extended.)
  • I'm proud to announce that as of 8:30 last night, I finished all of my Christmas shopping--for last year!   Yep, 2015 is a wrap (pun intended).  Now where did I put that list for this year's ordeal . . .?
  • Speaking of Christmas, here's an actual warning label on an actual product:  On a string of Chinese-made Christmas lights: "For indoor or outdoor use only."
  • Never discuss politics with a man in a flannel shirt or a woman in a jacket with the name of a tavern on it.  (Or with members of either sex wearing camouflage gear!)
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that the safety pin was patented in 1849 and that its design can be traced back to Roman fibulae, which were the pins used to hold togas in place?"
  • Scary but true:  According to a recent study, 80 percent of seniors at top U.S. universities would get a D or fail outright on a basic civics test.  (But I'll bet they'd score highly on a "Name All the Contestants on 'Dancing With the Stars' " Contest or could name every member of the Kardashian extended family, pets included.)
  • As if energy drinks weren't enough, now I've spotted Rush High-Power Lip Balm in a drug store.  With "caffeine, taurine and B-12." What, no steroid deodorant?  No atomic nasal spray?  Stay tuned.
  • And now my wife calls my attention to--get this--Skin Renew, "the first 2-in-1 eye roller.  Refreshing eye care with caffeine."
  • Memo to headline writers, columnists and other purveyors of the language:
  • Referring to members of the highest court of the land as "The Supremes" is more than a bit tacky and wasn't all that clever the first hundred or so times you've done it.    
  • The Supremes were an American female singing group and the premier act of Motown Records during the 1960s and may not boast a single law degree among their ranks.  And when the actual jurists in question are heard from, there is no precedent for their  opinions being rendered in song form.  (Even their . . . er . . . greatest hits.)
  • There are two types of people in the world:  Those who drive straight in to parking spaces . . . and those eccentric individuals  who always have to back in.
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month: Jiggers.  As in Jeannette "Jiggers" E. (Fameree) Vandervest,  Door County Daily News.com, Nov. 2, 2016.  R.I.P., Mrs. Vandervest.
  • Seventy-eighth Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Carlton,Wis.. (R.I.P., David Smidle, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Sept. 26, 2016).  Previous entries: Athelstane, Walhain, Duck Creek, Breed, Anston, Sobieski, Amberg, Osseo, Angelica, Brazeau, Waukechon, Sugar Camp, Kossuth, Lessor, Kunesh, Pulcifer, Cato, Florence, Greenleaf, Eaton, Poygan, Hofa Park, Hilbert, Hollandtown, Beaufort, Glennie, Harshaw, Bessemer, Crooked Lake, Tigerton, Goodman, Readstown, Dousman, Butternut, Montpelier, Cecil, Red River, Gillet, King, Laona, Kelly Lake, Glenmore, Tonet, Stiles, Morrison, Dunbar, Askeaton, Wild Rose. Neopit, Ellisville, Pickett, Flintville,  Forest Junction, Thiry Daems, Black Creek,  Mountain, Ledgeview, Lunds, Suring, Lakewood, Beaver, Cloverleaf Lakes, Krakow,  Pella, Townsend, Vandenbroek, Coleman,  Spruce, Armstrong Creek, Lake Gogebic, North Chase, Navarino, Pequot Lakes, Buchanan,  Rio Creek, Humboldt and Mill Center.
  • "The left believes in cradle-to-grave entitlements; they just make it harder to get to the cradle."--Dennis Miller
  • For Old-timers Only: Remember those periodic radio test alerts, or some such, wherein we were instructed, in case of an actual emergency, "to tune to the CONELRAD frequency"?  Whatever happened to the CONELRAD frequency?  (It was 640 and 1240 on the AM dial, don't-ya-know.)
  • According to Wikipedia:  "After the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles reduced the likelihood of a bomber attack, CONELRAD was replaced by the Emergency Broadcast System on Aug. 5, 1963, which was later replaced with the Emergency Alert System on Jan. 1,1997; all have been administered by the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Speaking of old-timers: It is said that being the coolest guy at the Senior Center is a lot like being the tallest midget at the circus! And it is true.
  • "I needed a password eight characters long, so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”--Nick Helm, at the Edinburgh Fringe 2011
  • As a public service and a great time-saver, here is jimjustsaying's "Privacy Notice Made Simple":  
  • "We can do anything we want, and you can't do anything about it, unless your battery of attorneys is bigger than ours.  Thank you and get lost."
  • You know you've eaten at a bad Chinese restaurant if you get a misfortune cookie at the end of the meal.
  • Who really uses all that extraneous stuff on those elaborate watches they make these days?
  • Sundials may have been crude but were probably more user friendly. (Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun, but I've never been able to make out the numbers.)
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Multa de arte nescio, sed scio quid velim. ("I don't know that much about art, but I know what I like.")