Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life: 
  • People who drive with their dogs on their laps are in dire need of emergency counseling.
  • Most overlooked element of the Casey Anthony case:  Looksism. 
  • If a woman indicted for the very same crime--but who looked like the homeliest girl in your high school graduating class . . . with the 2-year-old victim similarly unattractive--the case would never have come to our attention. 
  • Same thing with that female Army soldier injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq several years ago.  Homely girl? No media.  Cute little pixie victim?  Wall-to-wall coverage, one-hour specials, Barbara Walters all atwitter, People magazine cover. Looksism. 
  • If the prospect of not having to deal with a pro football season isn't wondrous enough, now the NBA is in lockout!  What's next?  Abolition of the income tax?  Deportation of Glenn Beck?  (Stay thirsty, my friends.)
  • Speaking of sports: It rankles me no end when I hear athletes blaming "the media" (their favorite whipping boys--and girls) for their various misfortunes.  But what is the very first thing they do--or try to do--when they retire or get released?  Right--try to get a job in TV or radio.
  • Or they will want to "write" a book--if they haven't done one already.  No hypocrisy whatsoever in professional sports. None. What. So. Ever.
  • Speaking of media, herewith more Media Words--words you hear or read in news reports but never hear any normal person use in conversation:  "Spearhead," "probe" (as a noun) and "imbroglio."
  • Whatever happened to the Captain and Tennille?
  • (Did you know that the "Captain"--real name Daryl Dragon--was the keyboard player for The Beach Boys?)
  • The number:  $4.6 million. The meaning:  It was the winning bid at auction for the dress Marilyn Monroe wore in the subway-grate scene in "The Seven Year Itch."
  • The buyer--who outbid SZSEZ by $4,599,999.99--was not identified by auction organizers.)
  • Memo to McDonald's:  What part of supplying supersize straws to go with your supersize drinks don't you understand? 
  • "There's at least 40 percent of this country that would not vote for Barack Obama if he personally saved them from drowning.  Given that, anything's possible."--Bill Maher (in the Green Bay Press-Gazette) when asked about the possibility of Sarah Palin being elected president.
  • Actual error message, courtesy of PC World magazine, from the site StartSampling.Com:  "Sorry for the incontinence, but an error has occurred."
  • Ever wonder how they come up with names of products?  I mean, who is Mr. PiBB, anyway?
  • (Mr. PiBB, Wikipedia tells us, was born in 1972 after The Coca-Cola Co. sought to rival the growing success of Dr Pepper in Southern markets.  After losing a law suit filed by Dr Pepper manufacturers who disputed Coke's original use of the name "Peppo," Coke settled on the name "Mr. PiBB" for important brand-identification purposes.  A combination of an abbreviated formal title and a one-word surname would serve the purpose of helping consumers associate the new product with the "Dr Pepper-type" flavor. Allegedly.)
  • Who, then, is (or was) Dr Pepper?  There is no such person, at least in connection to the soft drink, and there are too many unsubstantiated theories of how the name came about to bore you with. But I can tell you that the period after "Dr" was discarded for stylistic and legibility reasons in the 1950s.  (But of course.)
  • Mailing lists are like roller coasters--it's far easier to get on one than off of one.
  • Prediction: Sometime in the coming weeks you're bound to hear some geriatric hippy proclaim that "Woodstock changed the world."
  • Really?  Far as I can tell, the day it ended the Soviet Union was still an oppressive communist nation, Third World children were still starving, and Howard Cosell was still an obnoxious, insufferable oaf.  I don't think three days of naked hippies smoking weed and slogging through the mud at Max Yasgur's farm to music they probably couldn't really hear very well changed much of anything.
  • All those who knew that King Gambrinus was the "patron saint of beer," raise your hands.  (In  the  name of all that is holy, I would gladly delve into the matter of of why beer has or needs a patron saint, but more urgent matters of state currently occupy my attention.)
  • (Gambrinus, according to Wikipedia, is variously depicted as a European king, as an English knight of the Middle Ages, or--less commonly--as a plump old man . . . which, undoubtedly, is where the beer connection comes in.)
  • Translating "PoliceSpeak":  "Displayed a revolver."  Pulled a gun.
  • Overheard about a champion hog caller from Lenoir, N.C.: "He can call the bacon out of a BLT at 100 yards."
  • Jim's Book Title of the Week:  "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Well with IBS," by Kate Scarlata, R.D., L.D.N. (Wow.  As if having Irritable Bowel Syndrome isn't bad enough, some folks have idiocy to contend with as well.  My sympathies.)
  • Jim's Meaningless Term of the Week:  "World-class."  As in:  [So and so] is a "world-class violinist."  Maddeningly vague!  If I'm the world's worst (musician/poker play/sculptor . . .), that's "world-class" too, isn't it?  Just the other end of the spectrum!
  • Please tell me I just dreamt that there is an organization called Major League Eating.  Please tell me that such nonsense can't be for real.  Please! 
  • "Hey, ladies, how about some truth in advertising while you are wearing those shorts with cute sayings like 'Juicy' and 'Yummy.' Was Wal-Mart out of 'Skanky' and 'Chubby'?"--The Vent (
  • Today's Latin lesson: Haud , muneris , illic nusquam in vehiculum vos postulo ut fatigo super. ("No, officer, there's nothing in the car you need to be concerned about.")