Thursday, June 17, 2010


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life:   
  • There are four basic categories of body fat:  Normal, chubby, obese and deputy sheriff!
  • If Tipper and Al Gore finalize their breakup, who gets custody of the Internet?
  • Crime, it's everywhere.  Acting on a tip, game wardens arrested 13 men for being 2,238 fish over their possession limits! The group of Milwaukee-area anglers--and why fishermen are called "anglers" is a mystery to me and, I suspect, you as well--was "fish poaching" (my term) in late May on the Chippewa Flowage.  As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Paul A. Smith, in DNR parlance, the violations are termed "gross overbagging."  Indeed.
  • On a different scale (no pun intended), then there is the couple (not handicapped) who week after week parks in a clearly marked no-parking zone near St. Joseph Church every Saturday . . . the better to attend the 5 p.m. mass.  Yep, church-going scofflaws.  No hypocrisy there, none whatsoever.
  • Needed:  Explanation of how 7 inches of rain can make a river (as in the Arkansas River in the recent disaster) rise 22 feet!
  • Go figure:  It turns out a cyclone, a tropical cyclone and a typhoon are the same thing as a hurricane,  according to Milwaukee meteorologist Brian Gotter, but called different names depending on location.
  • It's a hurricane if it happens in the North Atlantic or the Northeast Pacific Ocean,  a typhoon should it occur in the Northwest Pacific and a cyclone or a tropical cyclone if it strikes in the Indian Ocean.
  • In Australia, however, a tropical cyclone is often called a willy-willy! Furthermore, a willy-willy can also refer to a whirlwind or a dust devil . . . not to be confused with a haboob (an intense sandstorm in the desert).
  • (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it!)
  • Sports metaphor I'm sure we're all sick of hearing in non-sports contexts:  "level the playing field."  I've seen more than a few playing fields in my time, but can't remember any that were sloped to any noticeable degree.
  • News item:  "An Army investigation has found that potentially hundreds of remains at Arlington National Cemetery have been misidentified or misplaced."
  • Comment: First, we send people overseas to die in wars of questionable justification, then we botch the burials of the hapless victims. Amazing and appalling.
  • Baseball players have it backwards:  Instead of planting shaving-cream pies in the faces of a game's pitching or hitting heroes, they should be doing it to the goat--or goats.  (Better yet, how about a commissioner's edict to end these sophomoric displays?)
  • (And, regardless of the sport, is there anything more boring than a pregame show?  At least with the postgame, you can get a capsule description or video highlights if you missed the game or want to see some of it again.)
  • About those mushrooms growing in your yard: They might be delicious, they might make you high . . . or they could kill you. But hey, two out of three ain't bad.
  • All those who were shocked that Woody Allen supported Roman Polanski, raise your hand.
  • Second entry in the Wisconsin Town I Never Heard Of Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Recent Obituary sweepstakes: Walhain, an unincorporated community in Kewaunee County, located at the intersection of Walhain Road and Wisconsin Highway 54 about 1 mile east of Luxemburg, according to Wikipedia.
  • An Internet search led me to the marvelously named site The ePodunk database includes many places "that are no longer populated communities. These may include rural crossroads, hamlets, ghost towns or settlements that have been absorbed by nearby cities or towns."
  • Walhain's current population: Zero.  (First entry in this category?  Athelstane.)
  • Speaking of obscure spots, ever get taken aback when a checkout clerk asks you for your zip code? Do as I do--retaliate. Tell them it's 92357.  That's Siberia!
  • (No, no that Siberia; Siberia, Calif.  Which, according to Wikipedia, is a town in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County--a town that has disappeared. Siberia was a water stop and a rail siding for the Santa Fe Railroad. Since 2001, all traces of the town have been removed.  That should give the store's marketing department pause when they're trying to parse their customer base demographics and come across 92357!)
  • Today's Latin lesson: It's nostrum parum specialis.  ("It's our little secret!")
  • Redundancy patrol: "Skip over," "leave behind," "fade away."
  • A recent feature in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on increasingly lavish and expensive weddings prompted a letter from a pastor of a  Milwaukee Catholic church, who commented: "In more than 30 years of ministry, I  have never heard that a wedding was too simple or too homey.  Too lavish and ostentatious, however--yes."
  • "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."--Maya Angelou
  • As always, I don't always agree with everything I say!

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