Thursday, March 1, 2012


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life:
  • Which kind of pasta eater are you--a twirler or a cutter?  (Me? I cut my spaghetti, but I twirl my meatballs--over my head!)
  • Why do people scratch their heads when they're trying to think of something?  (Or stroke their chins?)  Do they think they're activating the recall section of the brain?  How do things like that get started anyway?
  • I know a cop who is so conscientious he once pulled himself over!
  • 911 Distress Call of the Month: An impatient driver (is there any other kind?) in San Francisco decided to swerve around a lane of cars stalled in traffic and drove straight into a lane of freshly poured cement, The Week magazine reports. The auto sank about a foot and got stuck.  The vehicle?  A Porsche 911.
  • If you ask me, the country started going to hell about the time people started using the word "party" as a verb.
  • Confidence:  What you have before you understand the problem.--Woody Allen
  • A recent news item ("The Pentagon is beefing up U.S. sea- and land-based defenses in the Persian Gulf to counter any attempt by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz") recalls a great Time magazine cover line just before the Gulf War,to wit:  "Bush to Iraq:  Read my ships!"
  • SZSEZ's Media Word of the Week (a word you rarely if ever hear a person use in real life): "Presumptive."
  • Speaking of media, why are Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich still referred to (or addressed as) "the governor" or "Mr. Speaker"?  Neither have held those titles in, collectively, about 20 years.  (If that's the custom, then, I submit, it's a stupid custom.)  Romney hasn't been a governor since 2007, and Gingrich as ousted as Speaker of the House in 1998.)
  • Speaking of politics, what do Abe Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and FDR have in common?  They were all nominated in brokered conventions.
  • A brokered convention is not likely these days, experts say, because a Johnny Come Lately candidate would have a mere 10 weeks to organize and raise funds against a well-fortified incumbent president with a two-year head start.
  • Yet another Stupid Warning on an Actual Product:  On a brand of pantyhose: "Not to be used in the commission of a felony."
  • I'm not saying I believe in the Mayan Calendar, but I'm not starting my Christmas shopping this year until Dec. 22!
  • SZSEZ's candidate for Outright Product Packaging Lie of the Year:  "Quick and Easy Setup!"
  • Wise words from Daniel Kahneman in his best-selling "Thinking, Fast and Slow": "True experts know the limits of their knowledge."
  • Our Crazy World:  You'd think that with physically grueling construction jobs having shrunk, that disability awards would have plummeted.  But  . . . the opposite is true; they have gone up!  (So says Robert J. Samuelson of the Washington Post, citing research by economist David Autor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.)
  • "I'm made of dihydrogen monoxide, sulfate, radionuclides, trihalomethanes, bromate, n-nitrosodimethylamine, lead and chloramines.  What am I?" (Answer elsewhere in this blog update.)
  • Thirty-fourth entry in the Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw it Mentioned in a Newspaper Obituary sweepstakes:  Dousman, Wis. (R.I.P., Julie Paige, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Feb. 1, 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 and Kunesh.
  • "Progress isn't made by early risers.  It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something."--Author Robert Heinlein in The Village Voice.
  • Why does a guy have to come out to the house to read my electric meter?  Nobody has to climb the telephone pole to see how many phone calls we made!
  • Why do people sometimes confuse left and right but seldom confuse up and down?
  • Explanation, via Wired magazine: Because the corresponding parts of the body are neurally wired to move in sync, for the sake of coordinated action. They mirror one another, which is why it's hard to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time. That mirroring of the movement bleeds over into our perception of space so left and right are easily confused.  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but if the opportunity ever arises, you'll thank me later!)
  • Quiz answer:  Tap water.
  • Today's Latin lesson:  Mellis, ego sudo it's non quis vos reputo. ("Honey, I swear, it's not what you think!")