Monday, February 7, 2011


What Jim Szantor has in common with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Packers coach Mike McCarthy:
  • Neither Rodgers nor Jim was selected to this year's NFL Pro Bowl team.  That's right; neither man can claim to be an All-Star Quarterback. But that could change . . . .
  • Aaron Rodgers wasn't taken until the 24th round of the NFL draft.  By some quirk or conspiracy, Jim was still on the board after the 23rd round.  (The investigation is ongoing!)
  • Both Jim and Mike McCarthy received the same number of votes in this year's Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year Poll--ZERO. (Winner:  Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.)


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life:
  • Jim's Tip of the Week:  Never associate with anyone who has a bail bondsman on his (or her) speed dial.
  • I was half-listening to the TV the other day and heard a guy talking about the Alberta Clippers, the Manitoba Maulers and the Saskatchewan Screamers.  No, it wasn't the sports guy--it was the weatherman.  Turns out those are storm systems, not hockey teams.  Who knew?
  • Maddening:  When the forecast says we have a "30 percent chance of snow," we almost always get it--and usually in the upper range of the depth estimate.
  • But in the summer drought weeks, those "30 percent chance of rain" forecasts never seem to pan out, do they?
  • About those gas pump displays that ask "Car wash today?" while a blizzard rages: You'd think that with today's technology, there would be a way for station personnel to deactivate that message in bad weather--or when the damned car wash isn't even operating due to extreme cold or snow or malfunction!--so as not to appear clueless or indifferent, which, sadly, is the case. 
  • There will never be a Jared Loughner Lookalike Contest.
  • Jim's Book Pick of the Week:  "Hamlet's Blackberry.  A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age," by William Powers.
  • Cliche that has passed its expiration date: "Where the rubber meets the road."
  • If you have any of these 1950s albums ("Cha Cha Cha," by Raul Martinez; "Million Sellers," by Lew Raymond;  "Organ Favorites," by Steve Phillips; "Latin Rhythms," by Miguelito Valdez; "Gigi," by Gordon Fleming; and "Favorites from Italy," by Nestor Amaral), you may have noticed that the same (then-unknown) model graces the covers of all of those LPs.  Her name: Mary Tyler Moore.  Who else would tell you these things?
  • In case you ever wanted to know, the first verse to the Guatemalan National Anthem is:
    "Guatemala, blest land, home of the happy race, may thine altars profaned never be, no yoke of slavery weigh on thee ever, nor any tyrants e'er spit in thy face."
  • (I'm no anthem expert, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that this is probably the only national anthem in the world containing the word "spit."  I'm just sayin'.)
  • Women who know they're going to spend the day at a hard-surfaced shopping mall and still wear noisy, cloppy shoes should be force-fed crinkly plastic shopping bags until violent vomiting sets in!
  • Jim's Translation Service:  Trattoria--the code word for "overpriced Italian restaurant."
  • Question most often overheard in Wisconsin restaurants (Italian or otherwise): "It's not too SPICY is it?"  Wimps? Big time! Anything hotter than baby food is a no-go in the Dairy State.  (Suggested license plate slogan: "Wisconsin:  If it's bland, it's grand!")
  • One-of-a-kind creatures: Animals that sunburn (the pig), the insects that do not sleep (ants), the bee that dies after stinging (working honeybee), the bird that hibernates (whippoorwill), the snake with actual teeth, not fangs (coral), the animal born with horns (giraffe), and the snake that attacks without cause (African mamba).
  • The global village hits home:  The flash drive I just bought came with instructions in—count ’em—18 languages.
  • About that "deaths come in three's" mythology:  If there are two celebrity deaths this week . . . and the next one is in March 5, does that count?  What's the window, the cutoff, the time span?  That's where it all breaks down.  And did we all agree that all three qualified as "celebrities"?  Who's the arbiter?
  • Jim's Neglected Word of the Week:  Besmirched.
  • "There's a hunger that I sense in the audiences I play to today. People are searching for beauty in a world that wants to shut it out. They're looking for peace in a world full of disturbances. They get so much stuff that's been packaged and put in a box. They get the cake already baked. But, you know we have to create this stuff, discover it for ourselves."--Jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd in a Wall Street Journal interview, 2011.
  • Asked if they'd have sex with Bill Clinton, 90 percent of American women said, "Never again!"
  • Know Your Energy:  A gigawatt (GW), I learned the other day, is 1 billion watts, or 1,000 megawatts.  Or the energy consumed by 10 million 100-watt light bulbs. (I wonder if the BTU--or British Thermal Unit--is the only one. Is there a Spanish Thermal Unit? An Armenian Thermal Unit. I'm just sayin'.)
  • "100 years from now?  All new people!"--Anne Lamott, American novelist and memoirist.
  • Don't you loved it when police say a fugitive or suspect "is armed and should be considered dangerous." As opposed to what?  Those armed but essentially harmless fugitives who are ambivalent about evading capture?  The ones who help little old ladies across the street and volunteer at the food pantry?
  • Speaking of fugitives, when is the last time you saw a Wanted poster at the post office?  Are they telling us (a) that everyone evil has been rounded up or (b) that they've essentially thrown in the towel?
  • Conan O'Brien, you're plane is boarding.
  • Next to the so-called choking game (game?), is there a dumber way to die than in a snowmobile accident?  On a motorized sled, for god's sake!
  • Today's Latin lesson: Vos can't lucror lemma totus. ("You can't 'win em all.")