Thursday, October 16, 2014

jimjustselling . . .




(Actually, I'm not, but the good folks at HenschelHAUS and Amazon are):  


CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS

What they're saying about Jim's provocative blog:
--"Jim is obviously making a name for himself--Mr. Irrelevant!"--Don Rickles
--"Almost too entertaining!  (Well, sort of.)"--David Letterman
--"Blogaschizzle!"--Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. (aka Snoop Dogg)
--"The one thing I DO read!"--Sarah Palin
--"About what you'd expect from a dopey, sniveling piece of execrable skunk vomit from Wisconsin!"--Don Imus
--"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.
  • You know you're dealing with an incompetent fraudster if the Web address ends with dot.con.
  • Drudge Report headline (Oct. 16):  "People have sex in airports to pass time." Comment:  Well, you've already got your shoes off . . . .
  • Three things I've never done:  Put something in mothballs, put all my eggs in one basket, put on the dog.
  • I'm not surprised about the gradual acceptance of same-sex marriage.  The fortunate people who have jobs but little job security look at the wobbly economy, the mounting terrorism threats, the do-nothing Congress, the latest health (Ebola) crisis, our crumbling infrastructure, the hacking of credit and debit cards, child sex abuse by the clergy, child porn scandals every week, commercial airplanes being shot out of the sky, and say, "Well, there are worse things than Joanne and Claudette or Brian and Wilbur getting married."  
  • For perspective on the Ebola virus and the widening Mideast war(s), we turn to the late philosopher Albert Camus:  
  • "Everybody knows that pestilence has a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet plagues and wars always take people equally by surprise."--"The Plague, Part 1"
  • Anybody besides me see the parallels between Bill Clinton and Bob Hope?  Been there, done that, as famous as it's possible to be . . . and yet . . . can't get off the bleeping stage!  I'm getting as sick of the one as I was of the other!
  • When did the word "playoffs" become anathema in baseball and other sports?  To me, the "postseason" starts the day the World Series ends.  
  • Speaking of sports, the New Orleans team excepted, there are no saints in the National Football League.
  • People with Ph.D. degrees who list it after their names at all times whether relevant or not are truly pathetic human beings.  (How many of them of the proverbial certain age were basically "professional students" who stayed at school just to avoid the draft?  I'm just emphatically sayin'.)
  • Why has everyone started using the word "dystopian" all of a sudden?  It's either in a newspaper or magazine headline, a movie or play description or something or other seemingly on a daily basis.  
  • "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them."--Poet Joseph Brodsky
  • Redundancy Patrol: "Close proximity," "pool together," "serious crisis."  
  • There are three kinds of people:  Facebook fanatics, people who "do Facebook"  out of sheer conformity and those, like me, who don't see the need and get along just fine without it.  
  • Starting Oct. 10, only 76 shopping days until Christmas.
  • Sudsorian Calendar:  The calendar used on soap operas that allows one day's events to be stretched over a three-week period.--Rich Hall, "Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe"
  • Bang, buzz, chirp, clang, cling, clunk, grinding, hiss, knock, ping, rattle, rumble, scraping, squeal and whine--some of the words that can be useful in describing to a mechanic what's wrong when your car is making funny noises (says Chicago Tribune auto columnist Bob "Motormouth" Weber).
  • Another one in jimjustsaying's list of Occupations No Child Has Ever Fantasized About or Aspired To:  Snake-venom extractor
  • jimjustsaying's Product of the Month (from the Make Life Easier catalog):  Birdbath Protector, which uses "natural plant enzymes to break down organic contaminants. . . .Birds will love it . . . and so will you. So go green and keep your birdbath clean!"
     (Just the thing for that hard-to-shop-for person on everyone's Christmas gift list.)
  • What's the difference between an aroma and an odor?  An aroma and a fragrance? Between an odor and a stench?  You'd say "The aroma of freshly baked bread wafted through the house" but you'd say "underarm odor," not "underarm aroma or fragrance."  How does one calibrate the gradations of things odiferous?
  • Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  "Tiny."  As in Mary Jane "Tiny" O'Brien, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Sept. 9, 2014.
  • Jargoneering:  Precrastinate:  Getting tasks done ahead of schedule with extra effort. Precrastinating, says Wired magazine,  might be as detrimental to productivity as procrastinating, especially when people precrastinate on trivialities like e-mail, mentally exhausting themselves before turning to greater challenges.
  • Drudge Report Headline of the Week:  "Shoplifter uses motorized Walmart shopping cart as getaway vehicle."  ("Made it two miles before cops pounce.")
  • Newspaper Headline of the Month: "White supremacist wants to play the violin in prison."  (Maybe he can pull some strings and get his wish?  Not that I have any sympathies toward white supremacists . . . .)
  • Multiple tattoos and  body piercings are a cry for help (and how, I wonder, does one go about providing that?) and a definite detriment at most job interviews.  Other than that, a good look and a wonderful career move.   
  • Why Richard Kiel, who died recently, always looked the way he did when portraying Jaws in two James Bond movies:  "The fake teeth were agonizing to wear.  They were made of chromium steel and went up to the roof of your mouth and would kind of gag you. The rather stoic look was me trying to keep from throwing up.”  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • Fifty-seventh Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Ledgeview. (R.I.P., Gladys Mae Bildings, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Aug. 14, 2014).  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 and Mountain.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Operor illa pardus planto meus tergum terminus vultus pinguis?  ("Do these pants make my rear end look fat?")

Monday, October 6, 2014

THE QUOTE RACK

Obama's heat shield
This much is undisputed: With [Attorney General Eric] Holder leaving, President Obama has lost his heat shield.  Holder’s role in this administration was to “say the things Obama couldn’t or wouldn’t say.” That’s why it was Holder who traveled to Ferguson, Mo., after the death of Michael Brown, and why it was Holder who repeatedly challenged America to look honestly at its racial divide. Eric Holder will be replaced, but he filled a one-of-a-kind role “that will likely never be filled again."
--Glenn Thrush, Politico.com

Will Democrats once again be seen as 'pro-immigration party'?
Don’t be so sure, said . After six years of half-truths and broken promises,  Latinos are starting to get the message that Obama is not their amigo.  It has not escaped our notice that of recent presidents, only Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had the guts to take action to ease the plight of immigrants, while Bill Clinton and Obama only talked the talk. Democratic presidents, it seems, campaign as pro-immigrant but do little once elected, while Republicans take a tough line during campaigns but once elected, treat immigrants sympathetically. For Latinos desperate for reform, our best next move may be to elect a Republican president.
--Ruben Navarrette, CNN.com

NFL too big to fail
The NFL is simply too big to fail.The league effectively runs the television industry, providing massive audiences and revenue that have kept broadcast networks afloat. The advertising industry spends $3 billion a year on NFL games. So many companies, in fact, cling to the NFL and its fan base  as if they were a lifeboat  that the league will have plenty of support as it weathers this storm. 
--Kevin Clark, Wall Street Journal

NFL is not too big to fail
The NFL is not too big to fail.  Boxing was once  untouchable, too, selling out stadiums and commanding worldwide attention. But the sport’s corruption, ugliness, and savagery caught up with it, and boxing is now an afterthought.
--Mike Vaccaro,  New York Post

Climate-change alarmists . . .
The alarmists keep insisting  climate science is settled. It’s not. Yes, global temperatures are changing, but we have no idea how much of that is caused by human activity. And the computer models that climatologists use to make long-term projections have proven to be crude and inaccurate. No one can satisfactorily explain why the rate of warming has slowed in the past 16 years, even though human contribution to CO² levels has grown 25 percent.
--Steven E. Koonin, Wall Street Journal

 . . . and the price of gambling . . .
Doing nothing [about climate change]  means taking a huge gamble on the world’s future.. But even though chances for a landmark agreement between nations to cut emissions are still dim, the massive turnout for Sunday’s marches showed that ordinary citizens are no longer willing to ignore the alarm bells.  If governments are ever to tackle climate change, we the people will have to show them the way.
--Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

 . . . while Ebola threatens
There’s no need to panic.  Chances of a global epidemic remain very small. Ebola was first identified back in 1976, and the virus has remained essentially stable since then, with no sign that it’s mutating to become more easily transmissible. It is spread only by close contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. Meanwhile, trials of a promising vaccine against the disease are already underway at the National Institutes of Health. Even if a few cases do reach the U.S., said Dan Diamond in Forbes.com, the nation’s hospitals would be well equipped to handle them.  Ebola is spreading in Liberia and other West African countries because their health-care systems are so fragile and their largely uneducated populations won’t heed the warnings of health officials. 
--Marc Siegel, National Review.com

Where news is propaganda is entertainment
Russian state media have scrapped even basic reporting standards.  Now that the state news agency, RIA Novosti, has been taken over by gay-bashing propagandist-in-chief Dmitry Kiselyov, there’s no longer even a pretense that journalists are supposed to seek out facts. They just have to follow Kiselyov’s patented combination of sensationalism and anti-Western paranoia. 

To cite one example, state TV recently aired a report claiming--based on a single clearly unstable source--that the Ukrainian army had crucified a child. The more outrageous the claim, the more entertaining the show, and the more gullible viewers are convinced that the West is depraved and Russians victimized. 

It’s all cliché and stereotype now. State TV’s logo might as well be a homophobic bear in a tank, swigging vodka and strumming a balalaika.  Journalists with any integrity have quit these propaganda outfits, but they have nowhere to go. Several prominent Internet magazines, the last bastion of free speech for Russian reporters, have been shut down. 
TV is where Russians get their news, and TV is dominated by Kiselyov and his like. Anyone who dares deviate from the script risks being charged with treason. These days, it is safer to be a tank-riding bear than a fact-checking journalist.
--Natalia Antonova, Moscow Times

Should Romney run again?
Byron York, Washington Examiner:  "Is Mitt Romney  . . . really thinking about running yet again for president in 2016? Many Republicans have simply assumed not. Romney has seemed to discourage such talk in media appearances. (But) that belief is wrong. Romney is talking with advisers, consulting with his family, keeping a close eye on the emerging 2016 Republican field, and carefully weighing the pluses and minuses of another run. That doesn’t mean he will decide to do it, but it does mean that Mitt 2016 is a real possibility.

Marc Thiessen, Washington Post: "Talk of a Romney 2016 run is heating up. A USA TODAY poll shows Romney with a huge lead in Iowa.  . . . And after months of Shermanesque denials, Romney recently cracked the door open to another presidential bid, telling radio host Hugh Hewitt that 'circumstances can change.'  To which I say: Nooooo!... Why would Republicans want to relive that debacle?”

Mark Leibovich, New York Times: "Romney shrugged off the recent attention, citing the natural human tendency to covet the unavailable.  . . . And yet a confluence of political realities has created a genuine opening for a Romney third act. As Obama struggles through a difficult final term, there is a lack of a clear Republican heir apparent."

Peter Suderman, Reason: "Why, you might wonder, would anyone want Romney to run again? He offered almost nothing to the ticket in 2012 except a bland respectability. Against the weak GOP lineup he was facing, that was enough to win the nomination. . . . There are some party bigwigs who see him as their best shot, and some campaign professionals would like to cash in on yet another sure-to-be-pricey run. That’s not an argument for why Romney should run. It’s an argument for why he shouldn’t"

THE LINK TANK

Running on empty
Who’s to blame for the recent major lapses from the Secret Service?
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/08/opinion/thomas-friedman-the-secret-service-and-the-political-class.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

People who hate vacation
So in love with their work they can't bear to leave it
http://online.wsj.com/articles/people-who-wont-take-vacation-1411514103 

The inflation cult
They keep crying about the wolf that never comes
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/12/opinion/paul-krugman-the-inflation-cult.html

Do tax incentives really pay off? . . .
 . . . or do promised jobs often fail to materialize?
http://theweek.com/article/ppArticle/687/28370 

TMI from the Fed?
Investors should be relying on the market, not relying on Yellen
http://ee.usatoday.com/Subscribers/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=VVNBLzIwMTQvMTAvMDI.&pageno=MTA.&entity=QXIwMTAwMA..&view=ZW50aXR5

Tending to the world's 'broken windows'
President has treated every foreign policy crisis as isolated and unrelated to anything bigger
http://link.email.washingtonpost.com/r/LI37JS/5V5UPK/P1R77N/2676U56/301D85/N9/h

Every effort is made to ensure that all links are still available.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

POPCORN

By Jim Szantor
  • Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric, and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life.
  • Vinpocetine, oscillococcinum and bladderswack leaves. Three nutritional (?) supplements I didn't know existed until I got the latest Swanson Health Products catalog.  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • No ice-bucket challenge for me.  They want me to do the scalding water challenge (with reconstructive surgery to follow).
  • Who are these ghoulish voyeurs who click on those videos of terrorist beheadings and actually watch them?  That's almost as horrifying as the act itself.   
  • Saw a sale display for Snickers Fun Size bars.  Fun size?  Aren't all Snickers fun (especially for dentists)?  What do they call the regular-size bar--the Ordeal Size?  The Root Canal Size?  The Ninth Labor of Hercules Size?  
  • "The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it."-Joan Rivers
  • jimjustsaying's Coinage of the Month: "Buyercade."  That plastic bar you put on the store's belt to separate your purchases from someone else's.      
  • "When you have two out, you're three-fourths of the way there."--Cleveland Indians then-manager Manny Acta.
  • Memo to all baseball announcers:  Frames, bowling;  innings, baseball.  Got it?  Stop trying to get fancy or gild the lily. "Elegant variation" doesn't work for me in a sports context. And RBI stands for runs batted in, not runs driven in.  Thank you and mend your ways.
  • Most misused word of the decade if not century:  Reactionary.  It means conservative, not reactive; it doesn't mean a quick or reflex reaction to some action or event.  You will probably see or hear it misused more than once in the next week, I promise.
  • When people say "With all due respect," what they're really saying is, "This will probably offend or irritate you, but I don't care, and I'm going to say it anyway."
  • When was the last time you saw "wash" hanging from a clothes line?  (Answer:  When someone's clothes dryer was broken.)
  • "I saw my first porno film recently. It was a Jewish porno film--one minute of sex and nine minutes of guilt."--Joan Rivers
  • Ignisecond:  The overlapping moment of time when the hand is locking the car door even as the brain is saying "my keys are in there."--"Sniglets," Rich Hall and Friends
  • You're  an old-timer if you remember when people used to have their tires retreaded instead of replaced with new ones. When you hauled your furnace ashes to the curb. And when the ice man cometh.  (Yes, I qualify.)
  • Was that a ping, a knock, or a whine?  And what about that rattle in the dashboard? That spot on the garage floor?  (Yes, you guessed right--I'm a carpochondriac!)
  • Take a look at your vinyl record collection or a stack of old magazines, and chances are the person on the cover is smoking or holding a cigarette.  It seemed to be the de rigueur prop du jour.
  • Town I didn't know existed until I ran across it in a news story about dangerous intersections:  Frostproof, Fla. (where, if by some remote chance you happen to be out that way, you apparently would be well advised to avoid the intersection of South Scenic Highway and County Road 700.)  As Larry King would say, "You'll thank me later."
  • jimjustsaying's Snack Food Find of the Month:  Buffalo wing-flavored sunflower seeds.  Who knew?
  • "If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion."--George Bernard Shaw
  • Jargoning:  A "theftie," Wired informs us, is a snapshot of a smartphone thief.  Phones running the Lookout app automatically snap a "selfie" with the front-facing camera when the wrong password is entered or the SIM card is removed.  The theftie is e-mailed to the registered owner. (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Rookie.  As in Gary "Rookie" Davison, Kenosha (Wis.) News obituary, Aug. 20, 2014.  R.I.P., Mr. Davison.
  • Fifty-sixth Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary:  Mountain. (R.I.P., Alice E. Bowman, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Aug. 14, 2014).  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, and Black Creek.
  • "Ask 10 Gypsies the same question, and you will get 10 different answers.  Ask one Gypsy the same question 10 times, and you will still get 10 different answers."--Peter Maas, "The King of the Gypsies."
  • I had a dream that the Family Dollar company started a budget burger franchise:  One Guy.
  • Overheard: "If you take the bull by the horns, then what?"
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Terminus via opus. (End road work.)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

POPCORN

By Jim Szantor
  • Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric, and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Latest fortune cookie received:  "In all matters of opinion, you always say it better."  (You could say that there was a very nice takeaway with my very nice takeout.)
  • Whatlet:  An electrical plate on the wall with no holes and consequently no purpose whatsoever--Rich Hall, "Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe."
  • I  imagine that Americans who aren't into soccer probably aren't that wild about rugby, either.  (I'll say this much--I've never heard of a rugby riot!)
  • If there's auto racing in England,  do they drive the wrong way there, too?  (I'm just askin'.)
  • How come the clothes hooks are so often missing inside the fitting rooms at stores and the "facilities"  just about everywhere?
  • Has any company ever had a worse year than Malaysia Airlines?
  • jimjustsaying's Dog Breed of the Month (courtesy of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel July 29 classified ad for Pets, Dogs, etc.:  Aussiedoodles  (Mini & Standards).  Who knew?
  • I wonder how impressed would-be employers are with job applicants with "online university" degrees.    (Those degrees are probably better than no higher education at all, but, me, I'd probably prefer someone with an "offline degree."   I'mjustsayin'.)
  • I'm starting to get nervous about those West Bank bombings. Time to close our account there!
  • Another in a series of jimjustsaying's Occupations No Child Has Ever Aspired To or Fantasized About:  Phlebotomist.
  • Three mysteries I often ponder:  The real story of the JFK assassination, the real story of the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance, and the appeal of NASCAR and Sponge Bob Square Pants.
  • I'd probably watch more TV if they went back to doing more live shows with live commercials . . .  like the ones where the dogs didn't eat the dog food or the vacuum cleaner didn't vacuum up what it was supposed to vacuum up.   That was reality TV, my friend.
  • Introducing jimjustsaying's GoldenRule 2.0:  Treat others the way they treat you after you have  treated them.
  • Morning in America:  Planes are being shot out of the sky, random gang violence is making some big cities all but unlivable, and people are still sneaking into the express line at the supermarket with more than 12 items.  Not sure which of these things would be easiest to fix and not so sure it'd be the third one.
  • Faded phrases:  "Hang up the phone," "roll down the window" and "flip through the channels." 
  • Next time I hear a policeman says, "Nothing to see here, folks, move along," I'll be tempted to ask the lawman, "If there's nothing to see here, why are you here?  Couldn't you be doing something more worthwhile with my tax dollar?  Therefore, you should move along!"  
  • Overheard:  "My boss in on vacation this week, and so am I."
  • Trash talking:  My wife and I were talking about a female friend of hers and her, er, significant other.  (Actually, in this case, insignificant other.  I'm just sayin'.)
  • jimjustsaying's Faded Word of the Week: Haberdashery
  • You can tell a lot about a person by whether they prefer hard shell of soft shell tacos.
  • Newspaper "Correction and Clarification" of the Year:
  •  "In Wednesday’s A+E section, the Nancy Black horoscope column erroneously stated how long Jupiter remains in Leo. The duration is 13 months.  The [Chicago] Tribune regrets the error."
  • News item:  A black bear showed up at an Olive Garden restaurant in Eau Claire, Wis., around 4:45 p.m on July 11.  He ( . . . or she . . .) must have heard about the Early Bear Special.
  • Baseball Prank for the Ages:  The picture on California Angels' infielder Aurelio Rodriguez's 1969  baseball card is actually a photo of Angels' batboy Leonard Garcia, who duped the Topps photographer.
  • Wish I'd said that: "Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance."--George Bernard Shaw
  • Jargon Word of the Week:  Reliefography.  Reproduction of artworks using digital scanning and 3-D printers.  Said to produce near-perfect copies of classic paintings, Wired magazine reports, down to the texture of each brushstroke.  Fakes are selling for as much as $30,000 in Asia.
  • Fifty-fifth Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary:  Black Creek. (R.I.P., William Tesch, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, July 21, 2014).  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 and Thiry Daems.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Es vos guys etiam opus in ut?  ("Are you guys still working on that?")