Monday, August 1, 2016

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:

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

POPCORN

By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Who keeps sneaking into my desk drawer and hooking all the paper clips together?   (Probably the same guy who makes sure there's at least one green potato chip in every bag!)
  • Planned obsolescence will never go out of style.
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Month:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that researchers at MIT revealed that virtually every story in human literature—from King Lear to "The Hangover"—is based on one of just six core plots that form the building blocks of complex narratives?"  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but I'm confident you'll find a way.)
  • Morning in America.  Does anyone really miss Newsweek (which folded its print edition at the end of 2012)?  It's weird--not to mention sad--when a pretty good, long-standing magazine disappears and no one seems to care.  Or even notice.  (If a magazine fails in a forest . . . .)
  • Something tells me that the increase in the minimum wage has The Law of Unintended Consequences written all over it.   
  • "One starts to get young at 60, and then it’s too late."-- Pablo Picasso
  • Why are veterinarians so-called?  Shouldn't we call them peterinarians?
  • "You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you. If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s."--Writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell, quoted in ABCNews.com
  • We hear about political upheaval all the time.  Downheaval?  Not so much.
  • What is your favorite Labor of Hercules?  For me, it's hard to beat Number Seven (of the Twelve): "Capture the Cretan Bull."
  • This savage bull, kept by King Minos of Crete, was said to be insane and breathe fire. Hercules wrestled the mad beast to the ground and brought it back to King Eurystheus. Unfortunately, the king set it free, and it roamed Greece, causing terror wherever it went.
  • (Any free-associative thoughts you may have had of Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un are purely uncoincidental.)
  • This being an election year, that means you'll be hearing the word "candidate" pronounced "candidit" about 11,00 times.
  • Best way to speed up the baseball games that many people say are "too long":  No more unlimited foul balls.  After the second strike is established (no matter if by swinging strike, called strike or foul ball), the batter would be allowed two foul balls.  The third?  You're outta there.  No more 15-pitch at-bats!
  • Why aren't "Going out of business" sales called Grand Closings?
  • It's weird, the food-related names that are part of our computer universe:  Spam, hash (as in hashtag), menu . . . .  But where did the ubiquitous "glitch" come from?   (Not sure I'd eat it even if it existed.)
  • I have only some of my computer files stored in the cloud, so you could say I'm only partly cloudy.
  • "I'm sure wherever my dad is, he's looking down on us.  He's not dead.  Just very condescending."--Jack Whitehall
  • Memo to media (print, especially):  Just say "bar" or "tavern." "Watering hole" wasn't all that clever to begin with and has been overused to a nauseating extent.  And not that many people order a round of water!  
  • "It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then."--Lewis Carroll, "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland"
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Speedy.  As in David L. "Speedy" Gapen,  Kenosha (Wis.) News,, May 13, 2016.  R.I.P., Mr. Gapen.
  • Seventy-fourth Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Buchanan, Wis.. (R.I.P., Anna Marie Hoes, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, April 1, 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 and Pequot Lakes.
  • Danish Philospher Quote o' the Week:  "Life must be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards."-- Soren Kierkegaard
  • Do sheep shrink when it rains?  (They probably smell bad all the time, so the rain is largely irrelevant.)
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Doesn't Exist But Should of the Month:  "Tatercrater":  The hole dug in mashed potatoes to keep the gravy in.--"Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe" (Rich Hall & Friends)
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Operor illa pardus planto meus tergum terminus vultus pinguis? ("Do these pants make my rear end look fat?")

THE QUOTE RACK

Why so many voters are independents
If you’re a political independent like me, you’ll probably feel left out when the Republicans and Democrats hold their conventions.  A recent Pew Research poll found that 39 percent of Americans identify as independents—more than the percentages who identify as Democrats or Republicans.  These contrarians have no political place to call home because their views don’t fall into conventional boxes:

They may think, for example, that Democrats need to get tough with unions that protect bad teachers, reject the far-left PC censors who are enemies of free speech,  and start advocating for working-class Americans instead of corporate interests.  Yet the same voters are horrified by Republican intransigence on climate change and gun control and the ravings of that bombastic would-be tyrant, Donald Trump.  In other words, there’s room for nuance in their thinking.  The two major parties have failed these voters miserably, focusing on the kind of politics in which attacking the opponent’s party is the primary goal.  A recent Gallup poll found that 58 percent of voters said a third party was needed because Republicans and Democrats do such a poor job representing average Americans.  When will the parties get that message?
--Timothy Egan, New York Times

The Saudis’ involvement in 9/11
Now we know why the Bush administration wouldn’t let the public see the infamous 28 pages detailing Saudi Arabia’s connection to 9/11.  Those pages from a 2002 congressional investigation into 9/11 were finally released [recently] and they are devastating.  Investigators found strong evidence that some of the hijackers were in contact with, and received support and assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi government, including two Saudi intelligence officers.

One of those men, Osama Basnan, received a significant amount of cash from a member of the Saudi royal family.  When captured, al Qaida leader Abu Zubaydah had in his phone book the unlisted number of a company that managed the Colorado home of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the then Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and a Bush family friend. The report also concluded that members of the royal family had been funneling money to Islamic extremists; my own reporting back in 2002 found that Saudi princes were paying off Osama bin Laden to cause trouble elsewhere but not in the kingdom.  In response to the release of the report, the Saudis said there was no proof of any link to terrorists, and the matter is now finished.  No, it isn’t.
--Simon Henderson, ForeignPolicy.com

The scandal of our failing public schools
America’s public schools are failing minority students.   Despite years of federal efforts to improve standards at schools across the country, millions of black and Hispanic students aren’t taught well enough to flourish academically.  In 2015, only 21 percent of 4th grade Hispanic students and 18 percent of 4th grade black students were deemed proficient in reading.  The poor reading skills of minority students doom them to years of subpar grades and discouragement.

As a result, only 15 percent of Hispanics and 20 percent of blacks ages 25 to 29 hold bachelor’s degrees—which have become almost essential to decent wages.  Poverty and segregation are major factors in the struggles of minority students, but the quality of teaching matters, too.  In Alabama, for example, Hispanic 4th graders are reading more than two grade levels below Hispanic fourth-graders in Florida.   American K-12 education is in trouble and urgent action is required: Cities and states must demand that unions stop protecting incompetent teachers and administrators, and give parents more alternatives to underperforming public schools, such as magnet and charter schools. The continuing neglect of minority students is nothing less than a scandal.
--Juan Williams, Wall Street Journal

Man-bashing is bad for feminism
Feminist male-bashing has come to sound like a cliché.  But in fact much of today’s feminist rhetoric does cross the line from attacks on sexism to attacks on men—sweeping indictments that would be considered grossly misogynistic were they leveled at women. Consider the number of neologisms that use "man" as a derogatory prefix.  There is "mansplaining," essentially a man making an argument a woman dislikes; "manterrupting," though studies show that female-on-female interruption is more prevalent; and "manspreading" on public transit, despite ample evidence that women also hog seats, with purses and shopping bags.

The constant mocking of all males as arrogant, boorish creeps leaves men feeling under siege—and they actually do face some real problems.  Women now earn 60 percent of college degrees, for example, and blue-collar jobs primarily held by men are vanishing.  The upcoming election may see an unprecedented gender gap—proof that our fractured culture is badly in need of healing.  We feminists should stop stereotyping men and include them not just as supportive allies, but as partners, with an equal voice and equal humanity.
--Cathy Young, Washington Post

Forget the dead, make room for the living
The dead are slowly taking over our cities. Head to any major Canadian metropolis, and you’ll find sprawling graveyards that once sat on the edge of town but now take up prime real estate in inner-city neighborhoods.  While these places can provide comfort to the families of the recently deceased, most of the space is occupied by the long dead and long ago forgotten. Yet because of our odd cultural practices of "respecting’ the dead," we can’t build over these boneyards.

Young families should be furious that they have to pay an average of $1.5 million for a dwelling in Metro Vancouver, while Granny gets to keep that plot of land she purchased for rock-bottom prices during the Great Depression for the rest of time.  And demand for burial space will only soar as Baby Boomers start expiring en masse.  Unless we want to devote more urban areas to their eternal rest, people should forget being buried and opt in for either a traditional cremation or flameless green cremation, where remains are liquefied and poured down the drain.  Provincial governments should also look into other innovative space-saving options, like high-rise cemeteries—and soon.  Because let’s face it, we’re all going to die, but we’re not making any new land."
--Jesse Kline, National Post

The revolt against globalization
People throughout the world are revolting against globalization—and they must be listened to.  The Brexit vote and the rise of Donald Trump are proof that anger over open trade and immigration is growing; if further evidence is needed, consider the fact that candidates as different as Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders all took stances against the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Studies have shown that trade agreements and immigration do help the economy overall, but the most extravagant predicted benefits have not materialized, and advocates haven’t honestly acknowledged that millions of people have been hurt by competition from abroad.  Elected leaders need a new approach based on the idea that the fundamental responsibility of government is to maximize the welfare of citizens, not to pursue abstract economic principles and the global good.  The U.S., the U.K., and other Western nations need a responsible nationalism that puts their own citizens first and gives them control over their own fate, rather than surrendering sovereignty to international tribunals like the EU.  People want to feel that they are shaping the societies in which they live.  If we ignore or belittle them, we will only see more distressing referendums and populist demagogues contending for high office.
--Larry Summers, Washington Post

Trump undermines the NATO alliance
Donald Trump has practically invited Russia to invade the Baltic.  The Republican presidential nominee tossed six decades of U.S. policy out the window and destabilized the European order last week by casually announcing in an interview that if elected president he might not rush to the defense of other NATO members.  Presented with a hypothetical Russian invasion of the Baltic nations—tiny NATO members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—Trump said he would only come to their aid if he felt that they had fulfilled their obligations to us.  With that statement, he turned NATO’s central principle of mutual defense, that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all 28 members, into a quid pro quo transaction.  Trump says he’s upset that many European nations are skimping on defense spending, leaving the U.S. to pick up the tab for the Continent’s security. But his plan for economizing is as stupid as it is dangerous and will only embolden Vladimir Putin.
--Hubert Wetzel, SüddeutscheZeitung (Germany)

From giving milk to . . . what?
Cattle farmers in India are working overtime to satisfy the country’s growing thirst for cow urine.  Hindus consider the cow sacred, and an increasing number believe that drinking female cattle pee can heal dozens of maladies.  Distilled cow urine now sells for as much as milk, so farmers eager to harvest every last drop hire attendants to monitor the beasts.  "The most difficult task is to collect cow urine, because how do you know when an animal will actually do it?" said Vikash Chandra Gupta, a cow pee entrepreneur.  Attendants take clues from the animals’ movements and try to identify patterns in urination."
--The Week

The Iran deal: One year later
It has been exactly a year since the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, yet even its most ardent apologists aren’t celebrating the anniversary.   Why not?  Although Tehran has fulfilled its obligation to dismantle most of its nuclear infrastructure, it hasn’t shown any sign of softening its rogue state behavior.  In the last 12 months, the Islamic regime has launched several ballistic missile tests—violating the spirit if not the letter of a U.N. resolution—and continued to sponsor terrorism and prop up Syria’s murderous dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Tehran has also been caught by Germany’s intelligence agencies trying to illegally obtain nuclear technology.  President Obama let Iran regain $100 billion in frozen assets in the hope it might push the country in a more moderate direction.  He has made a giant gamble and lost.
--Jonathan Tobin, CommentaryMagazine.com

Longing for a golden decade
Why are so many Americans angry?   Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders rode a wave of populist disgust with the status quo this year, with polls showing 73 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track.  But on paper, the U.S. seems to be doing quite well.  The economy has largely recovered from the 2008 crash, creating 14 million new jobs; we’re almost at full employment.  Crime is at a historic low.  Our military is no longer mired in a massive ground war.

But something’s missing: the sense of boundless optimism and national superiority that characterized the "boom years" of the 1990s.  In that decade, the internet fueled the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.  The Soviet Union had collapsed, making us the world’s only superpower.  America was at peace, and terrorism was somebody else’s problem.  But in 2000, the stock market bubble burst, and 9/11 shook Americans’ confidence in their safety.  The Great Recession brought widespread financial insecurity, while Russia and China challenged American dominance.  What angry voters want today is not change but a repeal of all the changes of the past 16 years.  That’s a longing no one can fulfill.
--Robert Samuelson, Washington Post

R.I.P., the VCR
The world’s last producer of home-use video cassette recorders is ending production at the end of the month. Facing declining sales and difficulty finding parts, Japan’s Funai Electronics announced [recently] that it will stop making the once revolutionary machines.  During the VCR’s heyday, Funai sold up to 15 million units annually.  By 2015, that number had shrunk to 750,000 after years of decline, following the introduction of the DVD in 1997.  VHS tapes, short for video home system, debuted in Japan in 1976, arriving in the U.S. the next year.  For the first time ever, customers could watch movies at home, or break free from network television schedules by recording shows for later, laying the groundwork for today’s streaming media.
--Elizabeth Weise, USA Today

What is it about Florida?
A lot of Florida’s weirdness can be chalked up to simple geography.   Cram 19 million residents and 100 million annual visitors onto a hot, narrow peninsula crawling with alligators, and a few people are bound to get unhinged.  In a more serious mode, [author Craig] Pittman [in his new book, "Oh, Florida!"] points to the long coastlines that invite drug trafficking, to the large share of residents without steadying roots, and to poor mental health care. Yet his Unified Theory of Florida would be even better if it highlighted how the state has attracted a large population of poor people who engage in the desperate acts that become tabloid fodder.  Still, there’s a lot to like in his storytelling, and the book should be required reading for outsiders cracking jokes about the state’s foibles.
--Nick Moran, TheMillions.com

THE LINK TANK

The Libertarian's secret weapon
The third-party candidacy of Gary Johnson might make the most unpredictable election in modern times even weirder
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjH2rzi-6HOAhVBXCwKHWiyCIkQFggeMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newyorker.com%2Fmagazine%2F2016%2F07%2F25%2Fgary-johnson-the-third-party-candidate&usg=AFQjCNEOuc9r-IaOJOWWlJckwFJRXEHs1A&sig2=SuYeX1pjHlhgoEGTjJlj0Q

The facts behind Trump's many falsehoods
The GOP candidate seems to be able to convince himself that whatever he’s saying is true--or at least should be
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-facts-behind-donald-trumps-many-falsehoods/2016/08/01/0571b048-582d-11e6-831d-0324760ca856_story.html

The trouble for Hillary . . .
Continuity with change? Really? Her positions are rife with contradictions
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/opinion/sunday/the-trouble-for-hillary.html

. . . and seven thoughts on Bill
Musings about the future (?) First Gentleman
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/438372/false-choices-all-way-down?target=author&tid=897

Military bands marching to different tune
With eye on ballooning budget, Pentagon urged to cut costs
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi70qj56evNAhWBqywKHeLECoMQFgg1MAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2016%2F07%2F02%2Fus%2Fmilitary-bands-budget.html&usg=AFQjCNGoIHpuG-ee37Az6uYTd65LqhYHzA&sig2=uBfO6N_w1XcDjy1K_pz-iQ

Bunker food: Not just for the apocalypse anymore
Freeze-dried meal makers pitch 'cheesy broccoli' to busy urbanites; expires in 2026
http://www.wsj.com/articles/bunker-food-not-just-for-the-apocalypse-anymore-1468944109

Friday, July 1, 2016

POPCORN

By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • I don't wish her any ill, but if Cher doesn't die fairly soon, the National Enquirer's credibility is going to be completely shot!
  • Think about it:  How is our ineffectual grid-locked government going to mend our infrastructure, manage climate change, reform gun laws and handle all the other monumental challenges facing us when they can't even phase out the penny--something many people agree should have been done at least 10 years ago?  That's a walk in the park compared to the other stuff, yet we can't even get to first base with that!   Not encouraging.
  • TV talker of the past I miss the most:  Tom Snyder 
  • Terror talk.  Why terrorists  seem to encounter little or no resistance when they attack in airports, nightclubs, etc.:  Ever seen a security guard who looks like a super-fit Navy SEALs type whose presence made you feel safe and ultra-secure?  I doubt it.  Most of them look like bored, out-of--shape clockwatchers who probably aren't well paid and don't enjoy their work.  I'mjustsayin' . . . .
  • Benghazi hearing takeaway:  There will never be a (U.S. Rep.) Trey Gowdy Lookalike Contest.
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that a computer at the University of Central Michigan discovered the largest prime number: 274,207,281 – 1.  It consists of more than 22 million digits and is only divisible by 1 and itself and that writing the number by hand would take three months and require 7,000 sheets of paper?"
  • You're an old-timer if you can remember taking film canisters to the drug or photo store to get your pictures developed.
  • Best reader comment on a Wall St. Journal story on the Texas Rangers wanting to replace the stadium they built in the early 1990s with a new one:  "Professional sports [are] games played by millionaires on teams owned by billionaires in stadiums financed by taxpayers."
  • Speaking of sports, how is it that sportswriters with two years on the job can vote for the baseball Hall of Fame but Vin Scully can't?  He's only been broadcasting Dodgers games for 67 years and is widely considered the gold standard of baseball announcers!  Time to tweak the old parchment about HOF voting qualifications?
  • You know you’ve had too much to drink when you twist the cap off that last bottle of beer . . . and discover it wasn’t a twist-off-cap bottle of beer!  
  • I'm trying to get rid of most of the superfluous, "bloatware" apps on my iPhone.   In other words, I've got app-oplexy.
  • "The GOP would love to drop Trump now because it prefers a candidate in the party’s more subtle racist traditions."--Maureen Dowd, New York Times
  • Who invented podcasts?  You know something is of marginal value when no one has ever taken credit for it.
  • Why do people always badmouth neighboring states?  Are the people in them really that different?  Don't people make exceptions for friends or relatives living there?  You'd think there were ambushes, bombings and beheadings at the state lines the way some people talk.  (Wait, that's probably not as far-fetched as I thought it was when I first wrote it.)
  • Faded phrases:  When was the last time you put on your best bib and tucker, cut a mean rug and then peeled out in your jalopy?  
  • You've probably heard about a dating service called It's Just Lunch. Well, in today's hyperactive, short-attention-span world, even lunch is too long an encounter or commitment for some people.  So herewith jimjustsaying's new dating service:  It's Just Water Cooler. Because, let's face it, you can usually tell in the first minute or two if you want to spend a third minute with that person.
  • I have no idea what a "meme" is and have an inkling that it's a faddish word 99 percent of the population can do without.  
  • "For decades, entertainers have been able to maintain custody of their image, regardless of their conduct.  Many had entire crews of dust busters who came behind them and cleaned up their messes. Those days are history.  It doesn’t really matter now what the courts or the press do or decide.  When enough evidence and pushback rears into view, a new apparatus takes over, one that is viral, relentless and not going to forgive or forget."--David Carr, New York Times ,on the Bill Cosby controversy.
  • Well said.  Anyone who has become enmeshed in a high-profile sex scandal is going to have their obituary lead with that, even if that person had brokered a lasting peace in the Middle East and invented a low-cost, foolproof cure for cancer and the common cold.
  • jimjustsaying's Click Bait Topic of the Month: "22 celebrities with a body part you don't know about."
  • The Brave New World of Cheating, Thai division:  A top medical school voided the results of an entrance exam after prospective students were caught cheating with hidden cameras and smartwatches, The Week reported. 
  • The rector of Rangsit University said three students used glasses with cameras embedded in the frames to send test questions to people outside the exam room, who then transmitted answers to the students’ smartwatches. 
  • The reaction?  On social media, some Thais expressed admiration for the cheaters’ ingenuity. “Like Hollywood or Mission Impossible,” wrote one.   
  • Is anyone surprised by that reaction, given that the cheating is pretty tame compared to the sex slavery that Thailand is synonyous with?
  • "It's not what they say about you, it's what they whisper."--Errol Flynn
  • Seventy-third Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Navarino. (R.I.P., Betty Marie Tischler, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, March 16, 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 and Pequot Lakes.
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month: Tubby.  As in Everett Lee "Tubby"Hall,  Kenosha (Wis.) News,, May 13, 2016. R.I.P., Mr. Hall.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Haud, muneris, illic nusquam in vehiculum vos postulo ut fatigo super. ("No, officer, there's nothing in the car you need to be concerned about.")

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

POPCORN

By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Remember when you had to go to a carnival sideshow to see the tattooed lady?  Now she’s your kid’s third grade teacher!
  • Headline of the Month:  "Lady Gaga and Dalai Lama discuss compassion" (MSN.COM)
  • jimjustsaying's Supermarket Find of the Week:  Black Forest brand Organic  Gummy Bears and Gummy Worms.  Organic???  
  • Related Supermarket Find (in the New Apple Varieties I've Never Seen Before department): Kanzi, Kiku, Opal and Antares.
  • In Wisconsin, we're now in the latter part of what I call the “sweet spot season”:  Too warm for the furnace, cool enough not to need the air.  
  • Of course, at this time of year I'm usually watching a lot of baseball. Otherwise, I'm usually reading Homer in the original Greek!
  • Sorely needed:  Explanation of how 7 inches of rain can make a river rise 22 feet!  But you hear figures like that all the time on the Weather Channel.
  • A feature of the National Enquirer back in the day that I miss the most:  "The Wacky Way I Met My Mate."   Time to bring it back!
  • Not Making This Up Dept.: A Virginia woman’s obituary listed the upcoming presidential election as her cause of death.   The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch obit began:  “Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland chose instead to pass into the eternal love of God.” (My take:  An Independent with a great sense of humor.)
  • Related thought:  If there had already been a female president (or two) in the U.S., would Hillary even be running?  
  • Don't know about you, but it seems that every other week or so I read about someone being elected (or a decedent who had been elected) to a "Hall of Fame" whose existence almost seems a joke.   Maybe there really is a Curtain Rod Installers Hall of Fame. 
  • More of jimjustsaying's Useful Words That Have No English equivalent: razliubit--Russian for "the emotion of falling out of love."   And then there is age-otori, Japanese for "the regret one feels after getting a bad haircut."
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Should Exist But Doesn't of the Month:  "Essoasso."  A person who cuts through a gas station to avoid a red light."--"Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe," Rich Hall and Friends
  • jimjustsaying's Top Five Click Bait Topics of the Month: 
  • 7 things you didn't know about the real Col. Sanders
  • Surprising things that make you stink
  • 10 celebrities you forgot committed horrible crimes
  • 15 celebs who look hottest with a beard
  • Shocking photos of history's most evil people when they were kids.
  • French Novelist Quote of the Month:  "To make anything interesting you simply have to look at it long enough."--Gustave Flaubert
  • Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg on the city's huge population loss (and its "leader"):  "That leaves the city with 2,720,546 people, if you count Rahm Emanuel as being both a person and alive and not some kind of strange animate corpse lurching around town trying to find a safe, sunless place to reveal himself and feed on the popularity of the living."  
  • I was in a restaurant not long ago that had the television tuned to a Stanley Cup game between the New York Islanders and the Florida Panthers.  Really?  How can there be a hockey team in a state that has never had a sheet of natural ice in its history? 
  • Upon further investigation, I learn that there is even another team in that state (Tampa Bay Lightning) and even an Arizona Coyotes team. What's next, a beach volley ball team in Antarctica?
  • Pastime Imponderable of the Month:  Men (and I know a few of them) who hunt, fish, do carpentry and other so-called "manly things" yet profess no interest whatsoever in baseball or football or basketball and sometimes have wives who do.  Strange.
  • I shudder to think how many times I'm going to hear the words "presumptive nominee" between now and the political conventions.  (Especially painful when you don't like either of the persons to whom that term applies.)
  • “When my wife and I argue, we’re like a band in concert: we start with some new stuff, and then we roll out our greatest hits.”--Frank Skinner, British comedian
  • Why you're running late:  According to a study cited in the Wall Street Journal, traffic can slow even without heavy volume because of driver reaction time. Even when the number of vehicles shouldn't tax a road, "a small perturbation--such as a slight deceleration by one car--can ripple through the cars behind them, as they brake in reaction." 
  • Japanese researchers assigned roughly two dozen drivers to cruise along a closed circular track at about 20 miles per hour. After some time, a jam developed, and the cars within it ground to a halt--even though no one ahead of them actually stopped!
  • The global village hits home:  The thumb drive I just bought came with instructions in--count ’em--18 languages. 
  • Seventy-second Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Pequot Lakes, Wis.. (R.I.P., Charles L. Wall, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Sept. 3, 2015).  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 and North Chase.
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Boo-Boo.  As in Cheryl A. "Boo-Boo" Buss,  Green Bay Press-Gazette, April 15, 2016.  R.I.P., Ms. Buss.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Quid quemlibet hominem ad suffragium?  ("How could anybody vote for that man?")