Wednesday, June 3, 2015

jimjustselling . . .

(Actually, I'm not, but the good folks at HenschelHAUS are. And they're now offering FREE SHIPPING IN THE CONTINENTAL U.S.


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


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric, and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life  
  • Sorely needed:  An explanation of how 7 inches of rain can make a river rise 22 feet!
  • I'm willing to bet that many people who named their daughter Caitlyn are second-guessing that decision right now.
  • Sometimes I feel like a 100 percent- cotton guy in a Dacron/polyester world.  
  • (I wonder if anyone has ever named their daughter Polly Esther?)
  • Baseball players have it backwards:  Instead of planting shaving-cream pies on the faces of a game's pitching or hitting heroes or dumping liquids or chocolate syrup on them, they should be doing that to the goat--or goats.  (Better yet, how about a commissioner's edict to end these sophomoric displays?)
  • Sudden thought: What if they found out that an endangered animal was eating all the endangered plants?
  • Whatever happened to the so-called No-Call List?  There are so many exceptions, loopholes or scofflaws that its existence has become a sick joke.  (Whom do I call?  Is there anyone you can call?  Or are we No-Call List complainers on the No-Call List's No-Call list?)
  • In a PC-driven world in which you're not manic-depressive anymore, you're bipolar, and you're not retarded, you're developmentally disabled, it's time to expand the euphemistic nomenclature:
  • Serial killers?  Let's call them, er, "prolific demise facilitators."  So-and-so is a hit man?  No, he's  an "Eternal Reward concierge"!
  •  jimjustsaying's Tip o' the Week: Never play poker with a man named Doc, never eat at a place called Mom's--and never go shopping at a Shoppe.
  • What do Hillary Clinton and Dick Cheney have in common?  They are members of The Emil Verban Society, a "club" started by columnist George Will in honor of a Chicago Cubs infielder (1948-50) of no particular distinction. Others members are (or were) Barack Obama, Donald Rumsfeld, Pat Sajak, John Cusack, Jim Belushi--and Ronald Reagan.
  • Don't put your mouth where your money is..  According to a New York study, 3,000 types of bacteria were found on a dollar bill, one of them the kind that causes acne.
  • Workplace Woe:  When the boss you absolutely hate is on vacation the same time you are.
  • One sure way to deal with the brutal education budget cuts and keep good teachers teaching is to get the schools out of the food-service business!  
  • Breakfast and lunch at school?  Before you know it, they'll be serving dinner, Sunday brunch and midnight snacks!  The 3 R's apparently are reading, 'riting and restaurant!
  • Scofflaw Watch:   Aerial photographs revealed that estates owned by Barbara Streisand, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West still boasted green lawns and lush gardens despite water restrictions imposed during the worst drought in California history.
  • There will never be a Bill Murray Look-Alike Contest.
  • Works for me:  A California DJ and entrepreneur is pushing a new line of clothing that will make celebrities  "invisible" to prying paparazzi, The Week reports.   Chris Holmes says his cutting-edge hoodies and scarves are made of "retro-reflective material" that becomes so bright when hit by a camera’s flashbulb that the photo is overexposed, and all other parts of the photo--including faces--come out dark. (As much as I take a dim view of most "celebrities," I take a dimmer view of their stalkers.)
  • "You're only young once, but you can be immature forever."--Former major-league pitcher Larry Andersen
  • An alleged bank robber is contending he didn’t commit a crime because he politely asked the teller for $150,000.  According to news reports, Dominyk Antonio Alfonseca used a note to rob a Virginia Beach bank, asking for money and saying he would "appreciate" if the teller didn’t sound the alarm.  The 23-year-old was quickly arrested but now insists that there was no robbery, since he didn’t use a weapon and didn’t threaten the teller.  "She could have said 'no,' " Alfonseca said, "and I could have left."
  • (I guess you could say . . . he was just sayin'.)
  • Any candidate for political office who promises to crack down on the widespread abuse of "handicapped parking spaces" has my vote!
  • Speaking of candidates:  "The joke circulates in Hollywood that Hillary Clinton is like Coca-Cola's Dasani Water:  She's got a great distribution system, but no one likes the taste."--Maureen Dowd,  New York Times
  • "The neurotic has problems; the psychotic has solutions."--Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Week:  Omaha.  As in Howard "Omaha" Wolf, Door County Advocate obituary, May 27, 2015.  R.I.P., Mr. Wolf.
  • Glutetic Chair:  adj.  "A 20th Century design of chair found most often in movie theaters, the main feature of which is its ability to keep folding up underneath a person as he or she tries to force it down with his or her rear."--from "Sniglets," Rich Hall and Friends
  • Sixty-first Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Beaver, Wis.. (R.I.P., Terri Jo Bischof, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, April 30, 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 and Lakewood.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  EGO sum rumex si I've ledo vos. ("I'm sorry if I've offended you.")


Shoddy 'science' marches on
It seemed like a groundbreaking piece of research. A study published in the journal Science last December found that a 20-minute chat with an openly gay person was often enough to turn a same-sex marriage opponent into a supporter.  Gay rights campaigners hailed the paper as proof that empathy could conquer prejudice.  The only problem?  The study was bunk.  One of the authors had faked the results,  and the paper was recently retracted.

That such a flawed piece of research made it to publication wasn’t surprising to many scientists. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet medical journal, says that up to 50 percent of all scientific papers "may simply be untrue."  Instances of wholesale fraud, as in the gay marriage study, are still relatively rare. But researchers "too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world," says Horton, or run badly designed experiments that confuse association with causation or inflate modest findings into sensational and unequivocal conclusions. (Walnuts reduce your risk of diabetes! Marijuana cures loneliness!)

This epidemic of bad science can’t just be blamed on researchers; the media and public are also complicit. Few of us are interested in the often unglamorous reality of science--a process that’s filled with dead ends, false starts, and incremental steps toward greater knowledge.  Attention--and funding--goes to research that promises exciting breakthroughs or simplistic solutions to complex problems.  That puts pressure on researchers and universities to hit home runs.

This doesn’t mean we should stop trusting science; it’s still the best tool we have for understanding the world.  We just need to be more skeptical of people in white coats bearing extraordinary data.
--Theunis Bates, The Week

NSA's 'metadata' program too intrusive?
Please spare me the hand-wringing of civil libertarians.   Is it really so intrusive to have phone records stored in NSA computers when private companies such as Google and Facebook are collecting, mining, and selling staggering amounts of information about every one of us on a daily basis?  In the era of Big Data, the agencies that protect us from terrorists should have access to the same tools as the companies that sell us products.
--L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall St. Journal

Democrats pin hopes on retreads
The Democratic Party is dangerously dependent on aging, retread candidates.  With Republicans now dominating state government and Congressional seats in much of the nation, Democrats "betting on the past"--putting their hopes on former losers to win back the U.S. Senate and statehouses.  That’s particularly true of Senate races in the most consequential battleground states, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, where three incumbents voters ousted in 2010--Ted Strickland, Russ Feingold, and Joe Sestak--are all looking to reclaim their old jobs in 2016.  "All told, more than half of the Democrats’ Senate challengers in 2016 are comeback candidates."  That’s a glaring warning about the party’s long-term health.  But nowhere is the Democratic retread dynamic more obvious than in the presidential primary contest, where the bench is so barren that a flawed Hillary Clinton is barreling to an uncontested nomination.  And if Clinton doesn’t win?  It would be an utter disaster for the party. Without a future generation of popular leaders in Congress and statehouses ready to step forward, the rebuilding process will be long and arduous.
--Josh Kraushaar, National Journal

How Fox is damaging the GOP
Fox News has become a serious problem for the Republican Party.  That might be hard to believe, given that Fox is so blatantly biased in favor of the GOP, but a compelling new study by former Reagan administration economist Bruce Bartlett has concluded that Fox is pushing Republicans so far to the right, they can’t win national elections.  The network keeps its ratings high with a steady drumbeat of fear, outrage, and one-sided news reports and commentary, and has become a dominant factor in shaping the Republican worldview.  Two-thirds of Fox viewers say that whites face as much racial discrimination as blacks, and more than half think American Muslims want to establish sharia law here. To confirm their conservative credentials, Republican candidates echo the network’s messaging and sound always outraged themselves.

In 2012, Bartlett says, the Fox effect pushed Romney far to the right and kept him from tacking to the center in the general election. Yet inside their Fox bubble of wishful thinking, Republicans were shocked when Romney didn’t win. When will Republicans realize Fox’s "help" is hurting them?
--James Fallows,

The glider
Republicans know--they see it every day--that Republican candidates get grilled, sometimes impertinently, and pressed, sometimes brusquely.  And it isn’t true that they’re only questioned in this way once they announce, Scott Walker has been treated like this also, and he has yet to announce.  Republicans see this, and then they see that Mrs. Clinton isn’t grilled, is never forced to submit to anyone’s morning-show impertinence, is never the object of the snotty question or the sharp demand for information.  She gets the glide.  She waves at the crowds and the press and glides by.  No one pushes.  No one shouts the rude question or rolls out the carefully scripted set of studio inquiries meant to make the candidate squirm.  She is treated like the queen of England, who also isn’t subjected to impertinent questions as she glides into and out of venues. But she is the queen.  We are not supposed to have queens.

 . . . We have simply never had a dynamic like the one that seems likely to prevail next year.

On the Republican side there is a good deep bench and there will be a hell of a fight among serious and estimable contenders.  A handful of them--Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rubio, maybe Bobby Jindal--are first-rate debaters, sharp advancers of a thought and a direction.  Their debates, their campaigning, their oppo geniuses, their negative ads--it’s all going to be bloody. Will the American people look at them in 2016 and see dynamism and excitement and youth and actual ideas and serious debate?  Will it look like that’s where the lightning’s striking and the words have meaning?  Will it fortify and revivify the Republican brand?  Or will it all look like mayhem and chaos?  Will the eventual winner emerge a year from now too bloodied, too damaged to go on and win in November?  Will the party itself look bloody and damaged?

On the Democratic side we have Mrs. Clinton, gliding.  If she has no serious competition, will the singularity of her situation make her look stable, worthy of reflexive respect, accomplished, serene, the obvious superior choice?  Or will Hillary alone on the stage, or the couch, or in the tinted-window SUV, look entitled, presumptuous, old, boring, imperious, yesterday?

Will it all come down to bloody versus boring?
--Peggy Noonan, Wall St. Journal

Ebola hoopola:   Was the danger exaggerated?
Some of the warnings by public officials seem, in retrospect at least, overstated. In September, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated Ebola could infect as many as 1.4 million people;  Jeffrey Hawkins, the U.S. consul general in Nigeria, warned of the possibility of an  apocalyptic urban outbreak.   When President Obama asked Congress for $6 billion in funding to help combat the disease, he called the epidemic a "national security priority."   But although the doomsaying may seem excessive now, it did focus the world’s attention on a disaster that was threatening to spiral out of control.   It was the worst Ebola outbreak in history, killing five times more people than all previous Ebola epidemics combined.
--The Week

Blasphemy that isn’t ‘hate speech
Why aren’t liberals offering Pamela Geller a federal subsidy?  Geller, the activist who organized the "Draw Muhammad"  exhibition in Texas [recently], is being widely condemned for "hate speech"  that supposedly provoked Islamic radicals to attempt an armed attack on the event. Curious, isn’t it, that the outraged Left hotly defended the right of self-styled  "artists" to create works that offended Christians--at taxpayer expense.

In 1986, the National Endowment for the Arts paid $20,000 for Andreas Serrano’s "Piss Christ," in which a crucifix with Jesus’ image was immersed in a glass of urine.  In 1989, public funds supported a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit featuring photos of sexual bondage and urine drinking.  In 1996, a museum in Brooklyn displayed a portrait of the Virgin Mary composed of pornographic pictures and elephant dung.  Whenever conservatives have tried to cut off public funding for such art, liberal elites have freaked out, thundering that censorious prudes were trampling on the First Amendment.  "Fascists!"  they cried. Why, then, was Geller’s mockery of Islam in a different category?  The lesson is clear: Violence pays.
--Jonah Goldberg,


The FIFA-Clinton method
Nothing embarrasses them, so nobody stops them 

Why GOP candidates rarely give the right answer on Iraq
Party still isn't ready to confront its decade-long denial on the lead-up to the war

Dems embrace the logic of 'Citizens United'
Party ditches principles to defend favored candidates

 'Adios, America'
Ann Coulter's latest exposes impact of foreigners in U.S.

The Hillary Clinton paradox
 Is her victory inevitable or impossible?

Buckley and Mailer:  Best of frenemies
Despite their differences, the Jewish Mailer and the Catholic Buckley both loved New York, the English language and a stiff drink

The Clinton's worst defender-in-chief
Bill Clinton’s self-justifying brings a new kind of baggage to Clinton Inc.

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

Saturday, May 2, 2015


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric, and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life  
  • Based on what I've seen in the stands in recent baseball seasons, beer sales should be cut off after batting practice!
  • The road less traveled probably has fewer potholes, detours or tailgaters.
  • Transgender musings:  Do more men want to become women . . . or do more women want to become men?   What if you don't want to be either?
  • jimjustsaying's Social Tip of the Week:  "You should always leave a party 10 minutes before you actually do."--Cartoonist Gary Larson
  • What is your favorite memory of the Mike Huckabee candidacy?
  • Dumb Jock Quote of the Week: "How do you say 'adios' in Spanish?"--former major-league pitcher Clay Carroll.
  • If you haven't seen at least five stories about "mindfulness" this week, I hope you're out of your coma and the ICU very soon.  There's actually a book titled "Mindful Eating," which, when you think about it, is probably better than mindless eating, which is probably behind much if not all of the obesity epidemic.
  • Is it just me, or is Mitt Romney ( a guy I did NOT vote for in 2012) beginning to look better and better?  (Or as the great Frank Rich of New York magazine recently wrote:  "If it comes down to Hillary and Jeb, just shoot me now!")  A ticket of Romney and Rubio might be hard to beat.  I'm just sayin'.  (As long as Mitt keeps the dog off the roof of the car, I might be interested.)
  • Speaking of candidates, judging by the content of his program, Chris Mathews of MSNBC's "Hardball" must be under the impression that the election is next week when in reality the two political conventions are more than a year off.   But then again, he's just reacting to the political theater and posturing under way.  Way too prematurely under way.  It's like going to the carnival while they're still unloading the ride components from the trucks.  (Chris:  The fat lady isn't even dressed yet!)
  • I series-record "Hardball" and have to laugh when Mathews calls the program "The Place for Politics."  Since there's hardly anything dirtier than politics, I guess "The Place for Politics" sounds better than "The Sewer," which would be shorter, punchier and just as accurate.  It's almost old home week when I watch as I see former colleagues of mine such as Clarence Page (whose desk I inherited at the Chicago Tribune when he was drafted into the Army in 1969), David Axelrod, and James Warren to name some.
  • XIIDIGITATION:  The practice of trying to determine the year a movie was made by deciphering the roman numerals at the end of the credits. --"Sniglets," Rich Hall and Friends
  • Conventional wisdom from the punditocracy: “Air strikes? They would set Iran back by a few years. But even in a best-case scenario, the Iranians would be back at it before long, and they’d keep trying until they got a bomb or we got regime change."  (That's what they're all saying.)
  • Unconventional wisdom:  How soon would they be back at it if they got bombed every year?  (I'm uncharacteristically hawkishly just sayin'.)
  • "There are no such things as guilty pleasures, only pleasures."--filmmaker Quentin Tarantino
  • What a screwed-up world.  People show up at the Vatican in cargo shorts,  tank tops and flip-flops, and the guys doing ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball telecast are dressed like Wall St. bankers in three-piece suits.  
  • Overheard:  "There’s more time spent installing Adobe updates than actually using Adobe."
  • There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar--not that that ever happens anymore.
  • Did you know that there has never been a U.S. President who was an only child? Another barrier ready to be broken!
  • Fact:  Albert Einstein never learned how to drive a car.  (Hey, everyone has his or her limitations!)
  • "Most people don't grow up; most people age"--Maya Angelou
  •  Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Steamer.  As in, James J. "Steamer" Walker, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, April 29, 2015.  R.I.P., Mr. Walker.
  •  Sixtieth Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Lakewood, Wis.  (R.I.P., Robert P. Landwehr, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, April 7, 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 and Suring.
  • It seems to me there are entirely too many "halls of fame," as I encounter a new one virtually every week.  Fairly soon we'll be advised that someone has been inducted into the Underwear Wearers Hall of Fame.  (Or something similarly silly and meaningless.)
  • "Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up."--G.K. Chesterton
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Scisco vestri medicus si Xarelto est vox vobis.  ("Ask your doctor if Xarelto is right for you.")

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric, and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • How come the astrologers never say that the day is unfavorable for reading about astrology?
  • Isn't it time to retire "kumbaya" as a code reference word for warm, fuzzy and wholesome?  (Or, more often, as Wikipedia puts it, as  an allusion to satirical or cynical ways that suggest false moralizing, hypocrisy, or naively optimistic views of the world and human nature?) As in, "Let's just all have a kumbaya moment and pretend everything's alright."
  • Am I the only one getting a lot of junk e-mail these days about Toenail Fungus Laser?  (The heartbreak of toenail fungus . . . .)
  • Ready for a taste of Iraqi TV?  You didn't hear it from me, but I understand "Saddam's Wackiest Public Execution Bloopers" is coming out soon on DVD.    
  • Oxymoron of the week: Political science.
  • Speaking of politics, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is being assailed for his "lack of foreign policy credentials."  
  • Right.  Because the highly credentialed foreign-policy experts already in place are doing so well!  Just look at what they've done so far:  Brought peace to the Middle East; forced  ISIS terrorists to surrender, apologize and report to Guantanamo Bay; and persuaded Vladimir Putin to give everything back to the Ukrainians.  How could a neophyte like Walker match any of that!  
  • I feel sorry for any woman married to a man who would say, "We're pregnant."
  • Faded Word of the Week: "Sore," in the sense of being angry or mad.  (You know you're watching an old movie when someone says, "Hey, you're not sore at me, are ya?")
  • Love this report about "medical" marijuana (the biggest oxymoron going?):  Laboratory testing found that legal weed sold in Colorado is often contaminated with fungus and the chemical butane and has little or no cannabidiol, or CBD--the compound that makes medical marijuana "medical."
  • People ask me how I spend my time, and I usually tell them by reading Homer in the original Greek.  (Jethro?  I usually depend on the English translation.)
  • The number:  12 tons.  The meaning:  The amount of feces are left on Mt. Everest each year, according to a recent report by Grinnell College.   Not to mention, The Week reports, an estimated 50 tons of garbage—from broken tent frames to used oxygen canisters to food wrappers—that are strewn along the route up the mountain, along with many of the frozen, half-buried corpses of the more than 200 climbers who have perished attempting the ascent. Little wonder the mountain has earned the nickname "World’s Highest Garbage Dump."
  • Overheard:  "You don't have to floss all your teeth, just the ones you're planning to keep."
  • Get yourself some polyester, some wax, some carbon black, some fumed silica, some Yellow 18, some Red 322, some Blue 15:3 and throw in some Charge Control Agents, and what do you have?  Laser printer toner, that's what (and I'm taking Wired magazine's word for it, as the jimjustsaying Testing Lab is temporarily off line).
  • Corporate logic:  A fast-food chain I know of switched all their TVs from CNN to another channel because of complaints about a steady diet of depressing news stories. Yes, The Weather Channel is a much better choice, with all those pleasant hurricane, blizzard, wild fire and tsunami stories that are their constant fare.
  • You know you're in a small town if the bank has a TV in the lobby tuned to RFD-TV.
  • Next time you're in a restaurant, ask to be seated in the No Cellphone Converations Allowed Section.
  • jimjustsaying's Pique of the Week:  Not Really-a-Gift Gifts.  Like those tote bags and such your insurance man or financial advisor sends you on your birthday that has their firm's name emblazoned on them, as if to say:  "Here's sort of a gift, now go and advertise our company wherever you go."  
  • Have you ever met anyone who will admit to watching a shopping channel?
  • Nothing brings out the hypocrisy in people like property taxes.  They'll sit on a bar stool and brag,  "We bought our house for $59,900 in '64 . . . and now it's appraised at $184,500, yukyukyuk . . .!"  
  • But mention a possible $200 increase in their annual property tax (for frivolities such as schools or infrastructure improvement), and they start sputtering and spitting nails.  
  • "He who does not enjoy his own company is usually right."--Coco Chanel
  • Wondracide: The act  of murdering a piece of white bread with a knife and cold butter.--"Sniglets," Rich Hall &Friends
  • Newspaper Obituary Nickname of the Month:  "Turtle."  As in, Dennis R. "Turtle" Voss, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel obituary, Feb. 5, 2015.  R.I.P. Mr. Voss.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Nusquam video vidi visum hic , populus , iustus eo.  ("Nothing to see here, folks, just move along.")