Wednesday, May 16, 2012



Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life:
  • If you still have your high school graduation tassels hanging from your rear-view mirror, you are most likely a danger to yourself and others.  (Counselors are standing by.)
  • To all those who wrote in:  Yes, I'm still working on my memoirs.  Working title: "Egg On My Face (and More Than a Trace of Ham)."
  • Whatever happened to Martin Mull?
  • I'm all for restrictions on texting and phoning, but how long before they ban talking to a fellow passenger while driving?
  • Scary Stat of the Week:  The number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers such as OxyContin has soared 400 percent in the last 10 years, leading to growing abuse and addiction. 
  • If doctors understood how hard it is to get patients off of these drugs," said pain specialist Dr. Jane Ballantyne, "they would not prescribe them to begin with."--The New York Times
  • The last time I went to Wal-Mart, I was about the only one not riding in one of those motorized wheelchairs.  (That's probably why the newer stores have wider aisles--it's not for the ambulatory shoppers.)
  • Who are the geniuses who approve the commercials that leave you wondering what the actual product is?  ("And now, time out for a message from . . . somebody.")
  • SZSEZ's Literary Term of the Week:  Bildungsroman: A novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character.  In other words, a coming-of-age story.  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • When's the last time you saw a kid playing marbles?
  • "Hollywood is a trip through a sewer in a glass-bottomed boat."--Wilson Mizner, American playwright.
  • I'm becoming increasingly leery of all those pitches (for newsletters, books with all those "bonus  booklets") that promise to tell you " . . . what the [doctors, drug companies, banks, whatever] don't want you to know."
  • Now, granted there are such things as trade secrets and hidden agendas, but for the most part, these "conspiracies" are non-existent or greatly exaggerated, and whatever valuable tidbits you may glean from these "bargains" are hardly worth the price--which is usually "four easy payments of $7.99."  Factor in the "shipping and handling" (translation:  extra profit, mostly) and you're paying a hefty tariff of about $40 for a book you'll probably "donate" to the library come tax time.
  • So I just outlined for you what those publishers "don't want you to know." (As Larry King would say, you'll thank me later.)
  • A pox on companies that list their phone number spelled out in words:  As in 1-800-Eat Crap.
  • Project for you, in the wake of the JPMorganChase scandal:  Ask people at random to briefly define Glass-Steagall, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank.  I'll bet you'll get mostly blank stares.
  • The Glass-Steagall Act was enacted after the Great Depression to help prevent another one; Sarbanes-Oxley are the federal accounting rules enacted in response to the disastrous Enron scandal; and Dodd-Frank is the recently enacted Wall St. reform measure.  But being a well-informed citizen, you knew all that . . . .plus the Volcker Rule.)
  • If I could recover all the time I spend looking for my reading glasses, keys and the remote control, I'd have time to do all the things I never have time to do.
  • Guys who go up on power poles to fix outages during storms are either the bravest (or the dumbest) people I know.
  • Wharton's Mike Useem on the late Steve Jobs of Apple and his eccentricities (parking in the handicapped spot, being nasty to employees):  "Jobs built a good team, but he would have gotten even better people if he'd been less tough on them."
  • According to Time columnist Rana Foroohar: Research shows there are plenty of narcissists in the corner office, but it also finds they tend to be bad managers.  In fact, if they succeed it's usually due to long-term vision and relentless execution, not being a jerk like Steve Jobs.
  • For whatever reason, you don't see guys wearing ball caps backwards much anymore.  (Either it's not considered cool anymore . . . or they just discovered the proper way to wear them!)
  • Another in series of Actual Warnings on Actual Products (unbelievable as they may seem): On a palm sander: "Not to be used to sand palms."
  • Obituary Headline Nickname of the Week:  "Boomer."  As in James "Boomer" VandenBoomen (Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, April 27, 2012.  (R.I.P., Mr. VandenBoomen.).
  • Thirty-eighth entry in the Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw it Mentioned in a Newspaper Obituary sweepstakes:  Red River, Wis.  (R.I.P., Adeline Cravillion,  Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Feb. 23, 2012.)  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, Bessemer, Crooked Lake, Tigerton, Goodman, Readstown, Kunesh, Dousman., Butternut, Montpelier and Cecil.
  • Today's Latin lesson:  Quis could umquam vado nefas? ("What could possibly go wrong?")

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