Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life: 
  • Gardeners, don't be distressed if your yield doesn't look like the stuff in the seed catalogs.  Those pictures were posed by professional vegetables!
  • You can tell a lot about a person the way he plays poker, eats his soup and how often he checks his tire inflation.
  • I love Door County, don't get me wrong--I retired here--but isn't calling it "the Cape Cod of the Midwest" a bit of a stretch?  I don't care how many miles of coastline we have, I doubt Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis saw rusty pickups parked on front lawns as she gazed out her limo window on Martha's Vineyard!  
  • (Here?  Common sight! So if you're thinking  "Cheesehead" could be just another way of saying "Northern Redneck," you're not too far off base.  Yeah, hey!)
  • Speaking of cheese, no one would bat an eye if you bragged on Wisconsin as a leading producer of dairy products, bratwurst, cherries, cranberries .  . . . But ginseng?  It turns out that our fair state produces 95 percent of our country's output of that prized medicinal root, something I had thought of as an exotic Asian import.
  • (Alas and alack, a freak Mother's Day weekend snowfall did a bad number on this year's crop, and growers expect the losses to extend over the next four or five years, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, because ginseng takes that long to mature once planted. )
  • Anytime someone begins a statement to you with the words "With all due respect . . .," what follows is probably not particularly respectful.
  • Here's my take on the surprising Al/Tipper Gore split:  It's going to come out that SHE invented the internet and resented his taking credit for it!
  • Everybody loves a great painting, but aren't the visual arts the slum neighborhood of the cultural community?  Thefts, forgeries, misrepresentations . . . the latest example being a $123 million haul in Paris on May 17 reported to be "one of the world's biggest art heists."  (When was the last time you heard of a scandal in opera?  Saw a symphony conductor in handcuffs?  Or a police mug shot of a poet?  But shenanigans in or around art galleries?  Common occurrences.  I think we're talking about an idiom that's become more about commodity/commerce/de facto decor than esthetic appreciation in many, many cases. It says here.)
  • A May 30 USA Weekend story says that "90 percent of art crimes are inside jobs.  The Mona Lisa, stolen in 1911 and recovered in 1913, was taken by a frame maker who once worked at the Louvre.  The story also says that some famous pieces are just too "hot" to sell, and that on the black market, a stolen painting is worth roughly 10 percent of its true value.  The FBI says art crime is a $6 billion a year global business.
  • The world's greatest unsolved art crime?  That would be the $500 million Gardner Museum heist in 1990 by thieves posing as Boston cops.  That's wicked rich!
  • The four emptiest words you'll see in news stories and encounter in TV/radio interviews:  "It remains to be seen. . . ."  With "all due respect," doesn't everything remain to be seen?  The sun has always risen in the east, but tomorrow? Who knows? 
  • Memo to Corporate America:  If my Password must be unique, why do I also need a unique User Name?  I already have an unique Account Number . . . how much unique data do you need?
  • Accordingly, why does a utility company in a town with 10,000 people (and half that many customers, maybe) give us 43-digit account numbers?  What are they doing with all those superfluous numbers?
  • What price glory? As the Chicago Blackhawks battle for the Stanley Cup, here's hoping their players don't suffer the same fate as the many players over the years who have had their names misspelled on the venerated Cup, including the Hawks' Pete Palangio, whose named appeared twice in 1938, once correctly and once missing the "n," the  Chicago Tribune reports.
  • (And legendary Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante had his name spelled differently each of the five straight years (1956-60) his team won the Cup.  That's almost as many misspellings as their are letters in his last name!)
  • Somewhere in the world there must be a gay bar called Boys R Us.  (Sorry, my keyboard doesn't do backwards "R's".)
  • Whose brilliant idea was it to put squealing tires, sirens and the sound of breaking glass in radio commercials that you can hear while you're driving?  
  • Three things I’ve never done:  Cleaned a fish, flushed out my water heater and piloted the Goodyear Blimp.
  • Is there still a Public Enemy No. 1?  A Private Enemy no. 1?  An Unlisted Enemy No. 1?
  • The last person who actually put a glove in the automobile glove box, please raise your hand.  (Or your glove.)
  • How come bicyclists never stop at stop signs (unless forced to by traffic)?  Is it that hard to get going again?  If you’re in that big a hurry, take the car!
  • Remember: I don't always agree with everything I say.  Why should I?