Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life:   
  • What happens on the Grim Reaper's day off?  Is there a Relief Reaper?  A temp?  After all, death takes no holiday, as the old saying goes, so . . . .
  • Reflections on the recent anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, of which no media outlet neglected to apprise us:
  • Of the Jackson estate, it was said countless times that “there’ll be countless people coming out of the woodwork . . . .”  We all heard it. Read it.
  • (Interesting, isn't it, that people always “come out of the woodwork"?  Never up through the vents, or under the door, or over the transom.  No, always “out of the woodwork.” Uncanny.)
  • But back to Michael. As Dwight Macdonald once essayed:  "There seems to be a Law of Negative Compensation that the Fates visit upon the outrageously famous--one of those deaths Yeats had in mind when he wrote of a friend's lost son: "Whatever made us dream that he would one day comb gray hair?"
  • Whose heart isn't warmed, as mine was recently, at the sight of the timeless, Rockwellian presence of a sidewalk lemonade stand. They still exist! So much has changed in the world, but the trappings haven't: the card table, the lawn chairs, the "product," the cigar box for the money . . . along with, of course, the hopeful, wide-eyed, cheerful countenance of the "entrepreneurs" waiting for the fortune sure to befall them.  An oasis of innocence, a balm for the soul in this increasingly angst-ridden age.
  • Sight: Two women in a restaurant, looking very much like the types who spend hundreds each month on clothing and hair and nail salons, kvetching about the proposed 2-cent hike in postage stamps.  Amazing.
  • What do they wear on Casual Fridays at the nudist colony?
  • Let's call these new so-called "crossover" vehicles what they really are--station wagons.  
  • L.A. columnist David Israel believes LeBron James would have had a better chance to win in Chicago with the Bulls: “These guys don’t fit together on the [Miami] Heat. It’s kind of like asking Jackson Pollock to finish a painting Picasso started.”
  • Sportscasters/sportswriters/headline writers:  What's the difference between a tournament and a tourney?  If they're the same thing, pick one and stick with it.  And stop calling basketball "hoops."
  • Metaphor madness: "Connecting the dots," as columnist Eugene Robinson posited recently, is a lousy metaphor that creates unrealistic expectations--suggesting that all one need do is draw a line from the point labeled "one" to the point labeled "two," and soon you're looking at the "unmistakable outline of a terrorist plot."
  • In reality, though, "the page is so crowded with dots that they almost touch."  More important: "Most are irrelevant, and not a single one is numbered."  
  • Redundancy patrol:  "Component part," "separate out," "ATM machine."
  • 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!
  • People who pronounce the "t" in "often" should be whipped with a pair of Larry King's old suspenders.
  • Third entry in the Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw it Mentioned in an Obituary sweepstakes:  Duck Creek, home of recent decedent Caroline T. VanLaanen (according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette).  Previous entries:  Athelstane and Walhain, both of Wisconsin.
  • Book Title of the Week:  "The Ultimate Fairies Handbook," by Susannah Marriott.  Said to feature "150 wonderful illustrations, including fairytale book pictures, woodcuts, fine line drawings and exquisite paintings."  Where else can you get this valuable information? (You're welcome!)
  • There are times when I think the main purpose of baseball's All-Star Game is to provide announcers and columnists rant material so they can wail about all the unjust "snubs" that have resulted.
  • Jay Leno.  Widely hailed as a nice guy. Someone who stops and changes tires for strangers on the highway.  I’m a fan. But in all the years I’ve watched his Monday night “Headlines” segment, I've seen him sit back and bask in the applause and laughter generated by the Headline material totally provided  by viewers  . . . without ever once thanking them for doing so.  Never. Next time you see the segment, check it out. (That’s not so nice, Jay.)
  • Every nutritionist will tell you that brown rice is far superior to white, which is simple carbohydrates to the max.  But try getting brown rice in a Chinese (or any other) restaurant!  They usually think you mean fried rice, which, of course, is simply white rice made even less nutritious with lots of oil, soy sauce and whatever else.  (Brown takes longer to prepare, so therefore the customer--always the last consideration--loses.)
  • Which leads me to a major pet peeve--ethnic restaurants with a severe language barrier problem.  Look, you're in America enjoying American freedoms and raking in American money.  You owe it to the people paying you that money to have at least one person who can communicate with customers on more than a rudimentary level, answer questions intelligently, etc.  The uncomprehending nod and smile aren't good enough.
  • I’m amazed at the number of restaurants that don’t have low-cal salad dressings.  How much would it cost to have some on hand?  (And they wonder why business isn’t very good.) Hey, "restaurateurs," it’s 2010. Just because we're eating out doesn't mean that we want to leave all of our prudent dietary habits at home.
  • Today's Latin lesson: Ego could tribuo rodento secundum. ("I could give a rat's ass!")
  • Today I do agree with everything I say.

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