Monday, October 17, 2011


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life: 
  • Just discovered a great new vegetarian restaurant.  Very pricy, though.  Cost us an arm and a legume!
  • I can't believe all the new businesses sprouting up in Sturgeon Bay.  And, curiously, all of them have the same name:  Space Available.  (Must be a new chain . . . .)
  • Our Crazy World, Exhibit No. 3,854:  In the pursuit of "gastronomic perfection," most fast-food giants have strict specifications  . . . right down to the placement of sesame seeds on the buns.
  • To meet those exacting standards, Wired magazine reports that the bakers at Flowers Foods in Thomasville, Ga., inspect their freshly baked buns manually using calipers and a colorimeter. 
  • Is there such a thing as a "junior White House official"?  Seems that those "informed sources" you're always hearing about are Senior White House officials . . . .
  • Why the weatherman goofed: Even with radar and advanced technology, there is still plenty of room for error. 
  • Why? Storm fronts often move more slowly or quickly than expected, making it very hard to predict exactly where snow is going to land, and how much, according to the Wall St. Journal.
  • Also, why it's hard to predict the exact intensity of hurricanes: Because storms often destroy ocean buoys that measure wind speed and prevent piloted aircraft from getting close enough to analyze them! 
  • You really have to respect the way the Nobel Prizes are handled.  No advance hype, no hoopla, no lame awards show.  They just . . .  announce the winners with absolutely no fanfare.  Perhaps that's why they're as prestigious as they are.  (Unlike the ultra-smarmy and increasingly insufferable showbiz awards.)
  • Go Figure department:  Michael Jackson, the world's most celebrated germophobe--a guy who wore surgical masks in public so he wouldn't have to breathe the same perilous air as the rest of us--apparently had no problem routinely ingesting propofol, one of the most potent drugs known to man, a hypnotic agent that should only be used in a hospital with medical supervision close at hand.   Yeah, that makes sense.  ("Hit me again, Ralph . . . .")
  • SZSEZ's Stupid Actual Product Warning of the Week: On the bottle-top of a flavored milk drink: "After opening, keep upright."
  • Heard during Yankees-Tigers Division Series game: "And then the runner had to retreat backwards . . . "
  • (Memo to TBS baseball analyst Ron Darling:  Is it possible to retreat forward?)
  • I try to keep up--I really do--but it's getting harder and harder to comprehend sports injuries.  What on Earth is a "sports hernia"?  Seem to be a lot of those lately.  Is that the new term for "groin pull"?
  • Then there's the increasingly common "oblique strain."  (Never had one of those . . . but I HAVE had a lot of direct strains!)
  • Then there's the increasingly crowded field of "sports medicine."  Hmmm.  When the sports docs make their rounds, do they  warm up with some stretching?  Drink plenty of water?  Spit and scratch themselves?  They're jock docs, right?
  • News to me:  As one who has always questioned  the practice of baseballs being thrown out of major-league games as soon as they merely brush the ground, I was heartened to learn that these balls are put back in the game as soon as the ball boy brushes off the dirty spot (which could be distracting to a hitter).
  • "We keep hearing about [New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie's brash outspokenness, his unabashed Ralph Cramden–ness--that is, his profile as an 'American Idol' contestant--rather than about what he's done, what he thinks, or how he might actually win."--Frank Rich of New York magazine on the now-moot speculation of a prospective GOP contender.
  • (His "Ralph Kramden-ness . . ." Don't you love it?  Which prompts the question:   Who would have been Christie's "Norton"--er, I mean running mate--if he had sought the nomination and won?)
  • Fact bites:  Percentage of the federal budget that poll respondents thought actually was spent on foreign aid--21%; percentage that respondents thought it should be--11%.  Amount that it actually is: 1.1% ($39.4 billion).
  • SZSEZ's Stupid Actual Product Warning of the Week (runner-up): On a New Zealand insect spray: "This product not tested on animals."
  • Flour and water, salt, amylopectin, mineral or vegetable oil, fragrance, aluminum sulfate, borax, peg 1500 monostearate and coloring.  Put them all together and you have . . . Play-Doh. 
  • "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”--Albert Einstein
  • Media Word of the Week (a word you only see in newspapers and never hear a real person use in real life):  Roiled. 
  • Twenty-seventh entry in the Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw it Mentioned in a Newspaper Obituary sweepstakes: Harshaw, Wis. (R.I.P. Nancy A. DeKeyser, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Oct. 5, 2011). Previous entries: Athelstane, Walhain, Duck Creek, Breed, Anston, Sobieski, Amberg, Osseo, Angelica, Brazeau, Waukechon, Sugar Camp, Kossuth, Lessor, Kunesh, Pulcifer, Cato, Florence, Greenleaf, Eaton, Poygan, Hofa Park, Hilbert, Hollandtown, Beaufort and Glennie.
  • Can this be happening? Time magazine reports that Fox TV executives have discussed devoting an entire channel to reruns of "The Simpsons."  And you thought Lady Gaga signaled the end of civilization as we know it?
  • Today's Latin lesson:  "Ut via we've usquequaque perfectus it. " ("That's the way we've always done it.")