Thursday, December 1, 2011


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life: 
  • I've never been to Malaysia, but my pants have!
  • How 'bout that Herman Cain?  Aimed for the White House, wound up in the dog house!
  • Black Friday, Cyber Monday:  How many more contrived commercial calendar days till Christmas?   Before you know it, the Big Day itself will be elbowed off the calendar by some not-yet-named Big Event!
  • Another Media Word, a word you never hear a real person actually use in real life:  "Exhort."
  • Fun With Fortune Cookies, cont.:  Just opened one the other day that said (and I am not making this up):  "You are the mast of everything situation."
  • Words fail me--and, apparently, the cookie "authors" too!  (I hope I fare better with the "Lucky #s.")
  • I've had it;  I refuse to switch to any car insurance company that uses lizards with annoying Aussie accents to entice me, no matter how much money I may or may not save.
  • Speaking of accents, don't you sometimes get the idea that people with British or Australian accents overdo them (or . . . overaccent them!) just to impress us?
  • Speaking of Australia:  "The boomerang is Australia's chief export (and then import)."--Demetri Martin
  • "60 Minutes" still does some of the best journalism on television,  but . . . couldn't we get by with about half the clock ticks that they insist on using 9 or 10 times each program?  We get it, CBS--it's called "60 Minutes," it refers to a clock, it lasts an hour; it has been on for decades!  Three of four ticks should suffice!  Less is more!
  • Speaking of more, if Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner had known it was going to take about 15 people to replace them, they probably would have asked for a lot more money.  That's one huge reporting staff! (In an era of downsizing, CBS has taken to upsizing.  Good for them, but that's a news story in itself, isn't it?)
  • (But lest the reporters on that prestigious program get too swelled in the head, let us remind them that they often have to wait till the end of a bottom-feeder football contest to begin their august proceedings.  Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick . . . .)
  • Do anthropologists ever have nicknames?  Like . . . Chauncy "The Primordial Realist" Wellington.  Ellsworth "The Punky Paleontologist" Whitney.  You never see that!
  • Isn't it about time for the Postal Service to add four more numbers to the Zip Code that won't mean anything and few people will pay any attention to?  Has anyone ever had an envelope or package returned because it didn't contain those extra four numbers?  So why have them in the first place?
  • "The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."--Albert Einstein
  • Redundancy patrol:  Dropping down (as in "Temperatures will be dropping down into the 20s  . . . .")
  • Street cred:  When a Cincinnati woman driving her choking 8-year-old to the hospital hit a deep pothole, the jarring sensation dislodged the locket stuck in the girl's throat, thus saving her life. --The Week magazine, Nov. 25, 2011.
  • Psychologist and Nobel-winning economist Daniel Kahneman on why we shouldn't trust "experts":
  • "There are domains in which expertise is not possible.  Stock picking is a good example.  And in long-term strategic forecsasting, it's been shown that experts are just no better than a dice-throwing monkey."
  • The trouble with wearing T-shirts with clever sayings on them:
  • 1. Not everyone thinks they're clever.
  • 2. People who do appreciate the shirt also realize that you're just wearing what the actual clever person wrote . . . and that you're most likely not that clever.  (Or maybe not that tacky, depending on the shirt, in which case you might actually look better in comparison) ....  Or  . . . maybe not.
  • 3. People also realize that you paid money to look clever; and that the person who wrote it received money and probably doesn't wear T-shirts with clever sayings on them . . . or wouldn't be caught dead wearing a "SARCASM/just another service I offer" T-shirt.   Or a "JENIUS" T-shirt . . . or "I recycle  . . . I wore this shirt yesterday" T-shirt.  (I'm just sayin'. Your wardrobe may vary.)
  • Next week:  Insights on sweatshirts with clever sayings on them.  (Just kidding!)
  • Twenty-ninth entry in the Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw it Mentioned in a Newspaper Obituary sweepstakes: Crooked Lake, Wis. (R.I.P. Gloria M. Alger, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Nov. 14, 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, Glennie, Harshaw and Bessemer.
  • Wish I'd said that:  "Maybe the ideal man to fix Washington’s dysfunction is the one who made it dysfunctional. He broke it so he should own it."--Maureen Dowd on Newt Gingrich in her Nov. 30 column in The New York Times.
  • It was kind of ironic that Andy Rooney and Joe Frazier died during the same week--both were pugnacious, and neither one had anything genuinely profound to say.  It's kind of funny, then, that the "violent" guy--heavyweight boxer Frazier--was easily the more likeable of the two.
  • All Over-Rated Club:   Talk show host Ellen Degeneres, documentarian Ken Burns, "comic" Dane Cook.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Nulla nec lictor circa vos postulo unus. ("There's never a cop around when you need one!")


New York Times columnist David Brooks asked readers 70 and over to share the lessons they've learned from life. Here are four SZSEZ favorites (for more, see The Link Tank):

-- Many people lament the fact that they had to make the most important decisions in their 20s, at the age when they were least qualified to make them.

-- Many of the most impressive people . . . were strategic self-deceivers. When something bad was done to them, they forgot it, forgave it or were grateful for it. When it comes to self-narratives, honesty may not be the best policy.

-- It’s trite, but apparently true. Many more seniors regret the risks they didn’t take than regret the ones they did.

-- Many writers mentioned that given their own flaws, they are astounded that their kids turned out so well.
--David Brooks in The New York Times, Nov. 29, 2011