Friday, September 30, 2011


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life: 
  • Cliffs appear a heck of a lot more in cartoons than in real life.
  • Newspaper headline:  "Roundy's recalls undercooked chicken breasts."  (Yes, I remember them, too.)
  • Coming soon from SZSEZ:  InYourFacebook, the anti-social networking app.  ("Unfriend somebody you don't like today!")
  • Today's Trivia Question:  Who was the first actress to appear on an American postage stamp?  Answer below.
  • Baseball note, Brave New World Division:  Rick Peterson, a former major-league pitching coach (A's, Brewers) has formed a company (3P Sports) that allows anyone to submit a home video of a pitcher--even Little Leaguers--for analysis of  potential physical problems with the pitching motion.
  • That is, SZSEZ suggests, if the Little Leaguer's agent approves.
  • (This baseball note has been brought to you by Jason Power Smile, the official toothpaste of SZSEZ.)
  • This just in:  There hasn't been a baby boy in the U.S. named Orville in 37 years.  (No figures yet on how long it's been since a GIRL was named Orville . . . .)
  • “Europe isn’t working in Europe. It’s not going to work here.”--GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
  • Until 2003, the Texas prison system listed final meals of each prisoner as part of its Death Row website. That stopped at 313 final meals after officials said they received complaints from people who found it offensive.
  • A former inmate cook who made the last meals for prisoners at the Huntsville Unit, where Texas executions are carried out, wrote a cookbook several years ago after he was released. Among his recipes were Gallows Gravy, Rice Rigor Mortis and Old Sparky's Genuine Convict Chili, a nod to the electric chair that once served as the execution method. The book was called "Meals to Die For."
  • Another Stupid Warning Seen on Actual Products:  On a helmet-mounted mirror used by cyclists: "Remember, objects in the mirror are actually behind you."
  • More words you seen in print but never hear an actual person ever use in real life: "Chortle," "sheaf," and "imbroglio."
  • I've always been a bit wary of those doctors who write syndicated newspaper columns.  Aren't doctors always oh-so busy?  When do they have time to write these things?
  • Shouldn't they be doctoring instead of speculating about someone's symptoms?  Isn't there a doctor shortage?  (Maybe these guys have the time because they are lacking in patients . . . which would make them very marginal dispensers of medical advice! (I'm just sayin'.)
  • "Relationships don't last anymore.  When I meet a guy, the first question I ask is, 'Is this the man I want my children to spend their weekends with?' "--Rita Rudner
  • One wonders who is worse off in this bleak economic landscape:  The kid with virtually no education to speak of and no job (or a McJob) . . . or the guy with a master's degree and no job (or a McJob).
  • At least Mr. No Education doesn't have $200,000 in student loans to worry about while he's worrying where his next meal is coming from!
  • "When words fail, music speaks."--Hans Christian Andersen
  • Something has to be done about modern magazine graphics.  Whose idea was it to downsize the type size to a laughable degree?  Oceans of white space on each page, with text blocks in microscopic size is the earmark of designers designing for other designers, not for the readers.  Enough! (ESPN the Magazine and Wired are two notable offenders.)
  • All-Over-rated Club:  Jimmy Buffett, Diane Sawyer, the Rev. Al Sharpton.
  • All-Under-rated Club:  Eric Zorn and Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune, two outstanding columnists.  (Full disclosure:  Both are former colleagues of mine.)
  • To end the nearly unbearable suspense, here is the answer to Today's Trivia Question:  Grace Kelly, who is also mentioned in dozens of popular songs including Madonna's "Vogue," Eels' "Grace Kelly Blues" and Mika's hit "Grace Kelly."  Who else would tell you these things?
  • I'm fairly liberal when it comes to lifestyles (or lifestyle choices . . .), but I harbor some resentment for one demographic for co-opting (and forever ruining) a perfectly good word in the lexicon of the Great American Songbook.
  • I mean, who cannot help but wince (or suppress a giggle) when one hears the words "happy and gay" in the lyric of some great old song?  It must be a struggle for singers to keep a straight face when they come to that part!  I'm sure the audience reaction (if they're paying attention) doesn't exactly help sustain the mood.
  • I felt almost naked the other way when I left the house without my cell phone.  It's kind of weird to envision feeling naked 8 to 10 years from now if you leave the house without something that as of now doesn't exist or even been invented!  But it's inevitable that that will happen.
  • Another in a popular series of Stupid Warnings Seen on Actual Products:  On a Taiwanese shampoo: "Use repeatedly for severe damage."  (No, we are not making these up.  No one could!)
  • Obituary Nickname o' the Week: "Caveman."  As in Dale J. "Caveman" Cayemberg.  (Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Aug. 25, 2011.)  R.I.P., Caveman.
  • Today's Latin lesson: Ut is sits inter domus , is sits inter domus.  ("When she sits around the house, she sits around the house!")