Monday, February 22, 2010



Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of modern life:
  • Why don’t doctors and dentists ever have sales?  Everyone else does, from department stores to auto-repair places.
  • So how about a little March Madness at the cardiologist’s?  “For a limited time only, bypass three ventricles, get the fourth ventricle ABSOLUTELY FREE!  And no payments till 2014!  But you must call now . . . .”
  • Got your President’s Day activities all planned yet?  (If there’s ever a Vice President’s Day, you’ll still have to go to work . . . but you wouldn’t have to do anything.)
  • What‘s unique about “It’s All in the Game,” a 1958 hit record for Tommy Edwards?  It’s the only No. 1 pop single co-written by a U.S. vice president. Lyricist Carl Sigman put words to “Melody in A Major,” composed in 1911 by Charles Dawes, who in addition to being Calvin Coolidge’s VP was also an amateur pianist and flutist (and a Chicago banker before his political career).  Who else would tell you these things?
  • Two “media words,” words you see/hear only on TV or read in newspapers but never hear any real person use:  “embattled” and “embroiled.”
  • It’s hard to pick the most annoying TV commercial ever, but near the top are the ones in which the pitchman (or pitchwoman) knocks on the ‘inside” of the TV screen to get your attention.  I make it a point not to buy products featured in those commercials.
  • I think I could stand it if I never ever heard another commercial touting Free Credit Report Dot Com. (Whose credit report, by the way, isn’t exactly free!  But “Not Exactly Free Credit Report Dot Com” isn’t as tuneful, I guess.)
  • Today’s Latin lesson:  Die dulci fruere.  (Have a nice day.)
  • Cultural priorities run amok:  Seeing TV sports anchors not only interviewing but hanging on the every word of high school (or even younger) athletes.  It has come to this!  I don’t think the New York Times even covers prep sports, which is as it should be.  Name a newspaper that reviews high school plays or band concerts.  And which is harder, playing the oboe or kicking a soccer ball?
  • The Brewers have signed Doug Davis, a lefty starter, giving them three southpaw starters for next season.  Wow. That leaves only two northpaws!
  •  According to a recent news report, a high percentage of Americans can’t find Afghanistan on a map.  Well, now . . . although this does not inspire pride or confidence, I’m more concerned about our government’s inability to find Osama Bin-Laden than I am appalled about the map-reading deficiencies of our citizenry.  Bring the 9-11 shot-caller to justice; then we can start thinking about remedial geography lessons for our long-suffering, taxed-to-the-max electorate.
  • Speaking of fugitives: Why are there no Wanted posters on display at the post office anymore?  Has the FBI caught everyone?  Do any criminals feel positively unwanted?  Is there a support group for them?
  • How many times have we heard someone say, “It’s too cold to snow”?  (Right; those blizzards at the South Pole when it’s 80 below zero are strictly an optical illusion!)
  • Grammy Awards Pop Quiz: Quick now, who is the latest winner in the Polka category?  (If anyone should know that, it should be a Wisconsin resident.) This just in:  The Polka category was eliminated from the Grammys entirely.  That should rile the geriatric demographic, no?  Where are the Grey Panthers when we really need them!  (Answer: Probably worrying about more urgent matters--such as cuts in Social Security and Medicare!)
  • Endangered species, language division: “Hooligans,” “riff raff,” “hoosegow.”
  • Remember when you went to buy orange juice and didn’t have 37 choices confronting you?  Lots of Pulp, Some Pulp, No Pulp, From Concentrate, Not From Concentrate, Fortified with Calcium, Fortified with Vitamins D and E.  (Not labeled just yet:  Toxic and Non-Toxic!)
  •  And how about the seemingly endless variety of Hershey bars and Hershey’s Kisses. (I wonder if they make a special one for the Hollywood market: the Hershey Air Kiss!)
  • Pssst.  I once had a secret crush in grade school, but now I’m so old, I can’t even remember her name. (Boy, it’s really a secret now, isn’t it?  I mean, the secret’s even safe with me!)
  • Euphemism of the Decade: "Detainee."  You’re still locked up, deprived, maybe even tortured/water-boarded on a daily basis.  But you’re not a prisoner, see?  You’re just being detained.  What a comfort that must be.
  • Why does the stapler seem to choose your busiest moments to run out of staples?  (By the way, the last box I bought contained enough staples for at least 10 lifetimes, should anyone need to borrow some.)
  • Closed-caption Gaffe of the Week:  “Criminal-mistress charges” instead of “criminal-mischief charges.”  (Once again, thank you, Fox News Channel, still the leader in the clubhouse in the Closed-Captioning Gaffe Open.)
  • What’s the difference between a geezer, an old coot and an old codger?  Between a spinster and an old biddy?
  • If Buddha was so wise and all-knowing, why was he so obese?  I guess he forgot to meditate about cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and why people in his time were only living into their 30s!
  • Question for the apparently super-powerful Wisconsin Tavern League: If your establishments are so wonderful and such a stellar staple of our culture, why are they designed so no one can see into them?  What are you ashamed of?  What are you hiding?  Why do your patrons apparently prefer not to be seen indulging in the products you so ardently promote?  Just asking.
  • Finally, the Associated Press reports a great advance that will gladden the heart of french-fry eaters everywhere--an upgrade to those measly, un-user-friendly ketchup packets. Now, thanks to a redesign by Heinz, fast food diners have a choice.  Their brainchild is a shallow cuplike affair whose top can be peeled back for dipping or its end torn off for squeezing.  And it holds three times as much as ketchup as a traditional packet!  Is this a great country or what?
  • No animals were harmed in the creation of this column.  At least, none that I know of.
Please note the standard SZSEZ disclaimer: I don't always agree with everything I say!

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