Sunday, February 16, 2020


What they're saying about Jim's provocative blog:

--"Джим - забавный парень, но он не Яков Смирнов!" (Jim's a funny guy, but he's no Yakof Smirnoff!  Nyet!")--Vladimir Putin
--"Я думаю, мы могли бы использовать такого парня, как Джим."  (I think we could use a guy like Jim!)--Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the United States.
--"He's from this country, Mexicans don't read him, so that's good enough for me."--Donald Trump
--"The one thing I didn't delete from my private server."--Hillary Clinton
--"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.

The book is also available at:



Sue Nami, Kaye Pasa, Cy Methicone, Marshall Law,  Dee Rigueur, Tom Atillo,

Vera Similitude, Terri Yaqui, Joy DeVive, Al Fresco, Rusty Neal, Hugh Briss,

Sally Mander and Amos Enandi.


A sampling of the often-lurid fare found 
in a 24-hour period on The Drudge Report
  • Indiana man with ‘Crime Pays’ tattoo arrested after yet another police chase
  • Jars of preserved human tongues found in Florida home
  • Adult Film Shot At Santa Monica Public Library During Business Hours Sparks Outrage
  • Could Snake Venom Cure Cancer? Colorado Scientists Say Research Suggests So
  • Syrian Refugee Khaled Heeba Fled Civil War Only To Be Shot, Killed While On Pizza Delivery Route In Baltimore
  • Rampaging Vikings were fuelled by hallucinogenic herbal tea that made them feel less pain
  • Study: Dog owners take more photos of their pet than spouse, family
  • How life-saving organs for transplants go missing in transit


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • I love it that the flu has a "season."  Who threw out the first tissue?
  • Why do people say, "It’s too cold to snow”?  (Yeah, right; those blizzards at the South Pole when it’s 80 below zero, those 30-foot drifts, are strictly an optical illusion or trick photography.)
  • jimjustsaying's New Weather Word:  When snow flurries are so light that they’re barely visible, they almost look like airborne lint. I call it “slint.” Tomorrow’s forecast: Most sunny, turning partly slinty by afternoon. Chance of slint: 60 percent.)
  • Market mirage?  “In one of the best decades the American economy has ever recorded, families were bled dry by landlords, hospital administrators, university bursars and child-care centers,” the Atlantic's  Annie Lowrey writes.  “For millions, a roaring economy felt precarious or downright terrible.”
  • Calling all  carnivores:  Meat eaters who aspire to eat less of it or become vegetarians can now buy a “meat patch” to suppress their cravings, The Week reports.  
  • Scientist Charles Spence of Oxford University says the patch, which is worn on the arm like a nicotine patch, can be scratched to elicit an aroma of bacon, thus satisfying  carnivorous impulses.
  • Spence insists that multiple studies have found that “scent reduces food cravings,” although some are skeptical. “Surely, the smell of bacon makes you want it more?!” one meat-eater tweeted.
  • Speaking of food, I brought “a dish to pass” to the church potluck supper.  Nothing on it—just the dish!  (Next year I'll know better.)
  • “Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink.”--Boston politician Martin Lomasney
  • Memo to all store chains who have their checkout clerks ask if I "want to donate to [fill in the blank for whatever cause they're pushing)."  I give a fair amount to charities, appreciate that I can write a check (or pay by credit card) for tax-proving purposes when I do so and think it's unseemly to be guilt-tripped after I've given you--a for-profit private business--money for your profit margin.   
  • At first this was a rare occurrence, but lately it's become more widespread.  Tell you what, Mr. Corporate Mogul:  Why don't YOU support the charity with the money the customers are paying YOU!
  • I'm so old, I can remember when pharmacists were routinely referred to as "druggists."  They never liked that term back then (not dignifed enough), and I'm sure they have more reason to dislike it now! (Your "friendly neigborhood druggist"  is now a guy with 73 tattoos, a long rap sheet. andif he's wearing a white coat, it's probably an ermine white coat.)
  • Speaking of drugs, researchers have analyzed eight prescription drugs that were between 28 and 40 years beyond the expiration date and found that most of retained their potency, according to a report.
  • Overall, the eight drugs included 14 different active ingredients, including aspirin, codeine and hydrocodone.  In 86 percent of cases, the study found, the amount of active ingredient present  was at least 90 percent of the amount indicated.
  • Overheard:  "Why do atheists get so wound up over something they do not believe in?"
  • "I was born to be a pessimist: My blood type is B Negative.--Lorian Flint
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that there Is no private entrance to the White House?"
  • (According to "The Obamas." by Jodi Kantor, it''s one of the downsides to living in a combination fortress/museum.  Staff and tourists have access to the Diplomatic Reception Room--close to where the entrance to the White House bedrooms is located--during regular operating hours, so the first family has to crouch behind brown screens to avoid detection.)
  •  jimjustsaying's Language Note of the Month:  John Richards, founder of The Apostrophe Protection Society in the U.K., declared defeat recently in his effort to promote the correct use of apostrophes and reduce errors such as “pizza’s.” “Ignorance has won,” Richards said.
  • I don‘t care what anyone says:  Olympic figure skaters or “ice dancers“ are performers, not athletes.
  • Mr. Goody Two-Shoes?   Sara Joanne Byrd doesn’t want anyone to put Mister Rogers on a pedestal, said Amy Kaufman in the Los Angeles Times.  Byrd, 91, who was married to Fred Rogers for 50 years, said,  “He’s out there now as someone who’s somehow way above all the rest of us. 
  • “He was not prissy at all.”  Rogers relished dirty jokes, Byrd says, and if the couple found themselves trapped at a boring social event, he had a surefire way of getting her to laugh: farting on command. “He would just raise one cheek and he would look at me and smile,” Byrd says. ("Mister Rogers!")
  • Being the coolest guy at the Senior Center is a lot like being the tallest midget at the circus.
  • jimjustsaying's Favorite Ring Lardner line:  “Shut up,” he explained.
  • Eighty-seventh Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary:  Cooperstown, Wis. (R.I.P., Roy Post, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Feb. 16, 2020).  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, Mill Center, Carlton, White Potato Lake, Lark, Scott,  Newal,  Biron, Menchalville, Underhill and Rothschild.
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Ut Volo vestri sententia I'll quaeso is.  ("When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it!")


Now China no longer needs us
China was the clear winner in the past two years of trade negotiations.  At best, the Phase 1 agreement” [recently]  by President Trump modestly revises the status quo before Trump came into office.  The main takeaway—China’s pledge to increase its imports of American goods by as much as $200 billion over the next two years—barely restores China’s agricultural purchases to where they were before 2017.   If one of your main customers boycotts you and then agrees to start buying again but buying less, it would be disingenuous to announce that they had promised to buy more. 

Meanwhile, our small gains on intellectual property protections are now barely relevant. China conceded on intellectual property because it now cares far more about developing its own than stealing from the United States.  The main effect of the trade war was to reinforce China’s sense that the U.S. was no longer a reliable economic partner. 
With China shifting to a consumer economy, the U.S. could have continued to benefit from China’s economic rise.  Instead, the U.S. has ceded whatever leverage we might have had and speeded China’s push to build a domestic economy and military that are immune from the coercive whims of the United States.

--Zachary Karabell,

The national debt: A ticking time bomb?
***America is headed toward a crisis.  The Treasury Department [recently] reported that the federal deficit swelled to more than $1 trillion in 2019 for the first time since 2012.  Even more alarming was the report from the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicting that $1 trillion deficits will continue for the next 10 years, eventually reaching $1.7 trillion in 2030.  That means that the total federal debt will balloon to $31.4 trillion over the next decade, pushing the debt-to-GDP ratio to 98 percent, or the highest since World War II.  And this wave of red ink is hitting us during boom years, when the country’s deficits should be shrinking so that we can borrow and spend money to stimulate the economy during the inevitable recession to come.
--Tiana Lowe,

***There’s little doubt who’s to blame.  After campaigning on a promise to pay off the entire deficit, Trump has run up vast amounts of new debt  to finance a military buildup and the $1.5 trillion tax cut in 2017.  Unfortunately, this relentless fiscal stimulus has achieved little, despite the president’s claims of stewarding “The Greatest Economy in American History.” Last year, GDP grew 2.3 percent, nowhere near the 4 percent Trump promised, and the CBO now predicts a steady decline to 1.5 percent by 2025.
--John Cassidy,

***Americans should be absolutely furious, preach frugality with a Democrat in the White House but burn money every time they’re in power.  Just watch: If Trump loses, Republicans will rediscover their old-time faith in fiscal prudence and start shrieking about how the U.S. is on the road to becoming Argentina or Zimbabwe.
--Jordan Weissman,

***Don’t blame the Trump tax cuts.  The U.S. Treasury just booked a record quarter in tax revenue: $806.5 billion.  If tax revenues are rising, then tax cuts can’t possibly be the reason for rising federal debts.  It’s out-of-control spending that’s the cause.
--Jake Novak,

Rise of the hiring algos
College career counselors are trying to brace students for a stark new reality: They may be vetted for jobs in part by artificial intelligence.  More businesses are filling post-college openings by turning to services like HireVue, which uses AI to pore over videos sent in by candidates answering preset questions.   The AI analyzes details such as words and grammar, facial expressions and the tonality of the job applicant’s voices and uses them to score whether the candidate is tenacious, resilient,or good at working on a team.  That has made students guinea pigs for a largely unproven mechanism for evaluating applicants.    Sarah Ali, a Duke University undergraduate, started thinking about ways to optimize certain qualities or gestures  after going through eight HireVue interviews.
--Rachel Metz,

Liver transplant breakthrough
A team of Swiss scientists has developed a new machine that can keep donated human livers alive for a week, a breakthrough that could save thousands of lives each year.  Some 13,000 people in the U.S. are currently waiting for a liver transplant, a backlog that is partly caused by the organ’s short life span outside the body.  Livers can generally be kept on ice for only about 12 to 18 hours before they die.  The new machine expands the organ’s viability by mimicking many of the body’s functions:   It pumps blood through the liver, introduces nutrients and hormones and regulates oxygen levels and blood pressure.   It even moves rhythmically to replicate breathing.

“The idea is that we trick the liver and let it believe it is still in the body,” says study co-author Pierre-Alain Clavien, from University Hospital Zurich.  Initially developed with pig livers, the machine has been tested on 10 human livers that were stored on ice but too damaged for transplantation.  Six recovered full function within a week and showed a decrease in injury and inflammation levels.  The developers are now planning to transplant organs preserved by the machine, to assess whether the process affects liver function.

Amazon readies the mortal blow
Amazon’s deal to sign two of America’s best-selling authors should terrify publishers.  The industry has come to believe that Amazon is a monster it has learned to live with.  Wrong. Novelists Dean Koontz and Patricia Cornwell each recently signed with Amazon to publish, market, and sell their thrillers, cutting out publishers altogether.  Like other Amazon-published authors,  they are being blacklisted by many booksellers.

But this time it doesn’t matter.  Amazon’s digital muscle makes print sales irrelevant—with Audible and Kindle, Amazon controls both the audio and digital book markets and can offer lucrative tie-ins to its  ever-growing video offerings.  Cornwell’s new book, Quantum, has reached 600,000 readers across print, audio, and digital sales since October.  Amazon’s first blockbuster publishing effort came in 2011, when it inked expensive deals with actress Penny Marshall and wellness guru Tim Ferriss.

Those books flopped because the e-commerce giant sold books the way it sold washing machines, believing no editors were needed.  Amazon’s failures lulled publishers into a false sense of security.  They forgot the existential threat that Amazon poses.  Now Amazon has learned from those mistakes, and it’s back in full force, with yet more power and leverage.
--Alex Shephard, New Republic

How traffic is ruining people's lives

Kobe Bryant died because Los Angeles has become a “traffic hellscape."  Like everyone else in Southern California, Bryant got tired of the permanent freeway gridlock that degrades the quality of life there, but because he was rich and famous, he found a solution not available to most people:  He bought a helicopter.  The average Los Angeles commuter now spends 119 hours—about three full work weeks—stuck in traffic each year, and it’s not just L.A.   Across the country, the average commuter wastes 54 hours delayed in traffic.  Gridlock has come even to states like South Carolina and Florida, as booming populations clog the roads.

Funding for mass transit has not kept up with population growth.  As wealthy people turn to small planes and helicopters, and even the well-off masses can pay $200 for a commute by chopper, the airspace over cities is also becoming too crowded—a factor that led air traffic controllers to put Bryant’s helicopter into a holding pattern just before it crashed.  Last year, 236 people died in traffic crashes on Los Angeles’ overcrowded roads; both they and Bryant are “victims of failing public infrastructure.”
--Nicole Gelinas, New York Post

Nanny ad: Superwoman needed
If you want to work as a nanny for a Silicon Valley CEO, you’d better know how to cook organically, ski, swim, drive in the snow, teach math and log vacation information into Excel spreadsheets. That may sound like a joke, but it’s not: The CEO single mother of 10-year-old fraternal twins has posted a 1,061-word online advertisement for a “household manager/cook/nanny” that has to be seen to be believed. The ad said the nanny would need to “strategically think through vacation options based on the developmental levels of the kids”; “plan and facilitate” household meetings with the au pair; “build alliances with other kids’ parents”; know how to swim rivers and “ski at least at an intermediate level”; and have experience driving overseas and in the snow.  In return, the nanny will get $40 an hour, health benefits, trips abroad with the family and private quarters in the pool cottage.
--Poppy Noor,

Decriminalizing drugs doesn’t help addicts
Should we decriminalize all drug possession?  Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is the latest progressive politician to adopt that policy prescription—which, in practice, would actually devastate our cities.  My city, Seattle, has already decriminalized personal possession of drugs—with disastrous results.  Yes, jailing addicts doesn’t solve the drug crisis, and governments should ensure that anyone who wants drug treatment is able to get it.

But if the goal is to reduce drug addiction, decriminalizing possession of such deadly substances as methamphetamine, fentanyl and heroin “doesn’t work.” In Seattle, overdose deaths have risen significantly since decriminalization.  Dealers now operate brazenly in a large, open-air drug market in downtown Seattle, knowing that if they carry small amounts, they won’t be arrested. Drug use and addiction are rampant in the large, needle-filled encampments of homeless people, some of whom commit crimes to fund their habit. Addicts themselves know they won’t see meaningful jail time for buying or carrying, so they have less of an incentive to take up offers of treatment.  Decriminalizing drugs is one of the many progressive policies that sound noble—but backfire in the real world.
--Jason Rantz, Washington Examiner

How Florida criminalizes honest work
Be grateful, Florida, your local police have saved you from the dangers of unlicensed plumbers and tile-layers.  In an extensive undercover sting, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested 118 handymen for operating without a license.  The deputies posed as homeowners to hire the workers, who would be lured to one of five homes, where undercover deputies filmed them performing or agreeing to perform prohibited tasks like painting or installing recess lighting.

Yes, you heard that right: These criminal masterminds agreed to perform tasks like painting, preying on innocent homeowners—the cops’ words—who needed their walls painted.  For this they were arrested, booked and are now potentially subject to a 12-month jail sentence; eight repeat offenders can be charged with a felony.

Here’s the way these stings really work: The police frequently hire a handyman on the pretext of performing work that doesn’t need a license.  Then when the workman gets to the site, the cops badger him to do something else, such as laying tile, that only a licensed contractor can do.  And then when the handyman agrees, they nab him.  This isn’t about safeguarding the welfare of consumers, it’s done to protect incumbent businesses and government licensing revenue. And while Florida’s police are entrapping plumbers, real
criminals commit real crimes.

--Christian Britschgi,


21 rhetorical devices explained
Know a pleonasm from a synecdoche?;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--/RV=2/RE=1581850170/RO=10/

The great unboxing of Roundup, Mont.
How Amazon gets the goods that it resells

Splendid isolation
How to stop time by sitting in a forest for 24 hours

The economics of all-you-can-eat buffets
How do they make gluttony pay off for them?

It's no joke . . .
 . . . comedians would like to bury these cliches

Country music is dead!
So says Loretta Lynn (and she should know)