Monday, June 18, 2012


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life:
  • Never order "salmon served on a cedar plank."  Why pay $5 more for something you can't eat?
  • Catching up on the news: Cannibalism!  Body parts in the mail!  Drug-resistant gonorrhea superbugs! (And people wonder where the new Reality Show ideas are coming from?)
  • Three of the most unused items in any kitchen:  Pasta makers, fondue pots and any one of those items that's supposed to make peeling an egg easier but doesn't.
  • Jim's latest coup:  I'm now an official  consultant to The Foundation for Lobotomy on Demand.
  • People who wear T-shirts that proclaim "I'm With Stupid" should be fast-tracked for immediate deportation.
  • SZSEZ Fun Fact of the Week:  Winnie the Pooh was named after Winnipeg, a female black bear cub that lived at London Zoo from 1915 until her death in 1934. 
  • Eeyore?  His name is an onomatopoeic representation of the braying sound made by a normal donkey, usually represented as "hee haw" in American English: the spelling with an "r" is explained by the fact that Pooh creator A.J. Milne and most of his intended audience spoke a non-rhotic variety of English in which the "r" in "Eeyore" is not pronounced as "r."  (Wikipedia--my go-to source for all Pooh-related research.)
  • "My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them."--Mitch Hedberg
  • If I ever have robotic surgery, I can't wait to get the bill.  ("Hey, I programmed my robot to write you a check . . . .")
  • Speaking of robots: Carving a chicken seems simple enough to people who have done it in the kitchen. But the eye-hand coordination, or reflexive sizing up that the human brain makes as it decides where and how deep to cut has been incredibly difficult to replicate in a robot, says Gary McMurray, who leads a team of robot builders at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • Whatever happened to Kato Kaelin?
  • Reader David Underwood commenting on a Maureen Dowd column in The New York Times: 
  • "How strange it is that people who are not supposed to have sex, priests, are accepted as experts on the subject. Where in the Ten Commandments is there a prohibition against enjoying sex? The Vatican's response is not just against women, it applies to men also. The idea that sex is only justifiable for procreation is a medieval idea and has only one purpose, control. Once you are convinced you have sinned, the only way you can be absolved is by confession, and sublimation to the church."
  • SZSEZ's Fading Word of the Week:  Shindig.
  • Why the media fetish for photographing the defendant on his/her daily walk to and from the courtroom?  They never comment; nothing ever happens.  But there they are--the phalanx of shabbily dressed lensmen and lenswomen, shooting away as if they're recording the Second Coming.  It's the "In case something happens" rationale, lame though it is.
  • Headline: "The E-Cigarette craze is sweeping the country?"  What's next?  E-Cigars?  E-Pipes?  E-Pot?  I'm just sayin'.
  • (I made the mistake of starting to smoke e-cigarettes.  Now I'm addicted to batteries!)
  • Overheard: "Next fall my 4-year-old will be starting preschool."
  • No, he won't.  He'll be in school; there's nothing "pre" about it.  He or she will be in a room with a teacher, other kids, a blackboard and won't be able to leave until a bell rings.  That's School, whether it's Playland or Harvard.
  • Spaghetti always costs more at a "trattoria."
  • The Stop the World I Want to Get off/Give Me a Break Item of the Week:  A June 12 story in a Milwaukee paper can take credit for bringing this to our attention:
  • "You and your friends are having a good time, raising glasses and talking smart, and you're ready for another round but there's no waitress to be seen and the bar is jammed.
  • "Instead of deputizing a buddy to wait in virtual anonymity at the bar, you slip out your iPhone or Android and touch the Tappr icon. The bar's menu pops up, you order what you want and pay the tab (and tip) via the phone with a credit card.
  • "Behind the bar, your order appears on an iPad, along with a simple but specific symbol (red circle, blue square, etc.). When the drinks are ready, you get a signal on your phone.
  • "You walk to the bar, flash your phone with the matching symbol, pick up the already-paid-for drinks and return to your table, barely missing a joke.  (Oh, yes; there's a charge of 15 cents per drink for this wonderful convenience.)
  • Another Media Word (a  word you see or hear only in news reports and never hear a normal person actually use):  Lassitude.
  • Obituary Headline Nickname of the Week:  "Chickie."  As in Joan A. "Chickie" Pigeon (Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, May 30, 2012.  (R.I.P., Mrs. Pigeon.)
  • "If I had my life to live over again, I'd make the same mistakes--only sooner."--Tallulah Bankhead, American actor
  • Yet Another Stupid Warning Seen on an Actual Product:  On Odor-Eaters: "Do not eat."
  • The Accidental Virtuoso: A man who suffered a serious concussion after diving into the shallow end of a swimming pool says that he woke up with an entirely new set of amazing musical abilities, The Week magazine reports.
  • Derek Amato of Denver discovered that he was able to play the piano soon after his accident in October 2006, despite never having had a lesson in his life. He became skilled at playing seven other instruments, and is now recording his second album. 
  • Doctors say Amato has acquired savant syndrome, an extremely rare condition in which head trauma can cause people to display unprecedented musical or artistic skills.
  • What was your favorite moment of the Newt Gingrich candidacy?
  • Thirty-ninth entry in the Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw it Mentioned in a Newspaper Obituary sweepstakes:  King, Wis.  (R.I.P., William R. Grossman Sr.,  Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Feb. 28, 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,  Dousman., Butternut, Montpelier, Cecil,  Red River and Gillet.
  • Today's Latin lesson:  Ut Volo vestri sententia I'll quaeso is.    ("When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it!")

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