Sunday, April 1, 2012


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life:
  • Been hearing and reading a lot about Pink Slime.  (Confession:  I thought it was a new rock group.  Who knew?)
  • Jim's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Hi [party guest's name here], did you know that every 1-cent increase in the cost a gallon of gas takes $1 billion of consumer spending away from other goods in the course of a year, according to Credit Suisse bank analysis?"
  • A 50-cent increase?  That would divert $50 billion away from consumer spending.  (Did you say "ouch," or was that me?)
  • According to a March 27 Business story ("Brewers aim to revive light sales," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), "Anheuser [-Busch] is turning to higher alcohol content with the January introduction of Bud Light Platinum, featuring 6% alcohol, compared with 4.2% for regular Bud light."
  • That's just what Wisconsin needs--more alcohol consumption in a state that ranks high if not highest in binge-drinking behavior and drunken-driving fatalities and arrests.  Don't be surprised if a future story reports that starting in 2014, all new vehicles sold in this state must be equipped with an ignition interlock device.
  • (No truth to the rumor that Badger Brew was on the short list of names for the new product.)
  • Most over-rated food item ever:  The bagel. 
  • Pop Culture Quiz I: What do ABBA, Paul Anka, Jimmy Buffett, Patsy Cline, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Dion, the Drifters, Hall & Oates, Jefferson Airplane, Journey, Moody Blues, Steve Miller Band, the O'Jays, Buck Owens, Jim Reeves, the Righteous Brothers, the Ventures and Bobby Vinton have in common?  Answer:  Despite their scores of hits--some of them megahits--none of these artists or groups ever won a Grammy, according to Mr. Music (aka Jerry Osborne).
  • Pop Culture Quiz II: What do Steve Allen, Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Lenny Bruce, actor Robert Pastorelli and mega-producer Don Simpson all have in common?  Answer: They all died on the toilet.
  • The murals in restaurants are usually on a par with the food in art galleries.--Peter DeVries
  •  Poor Mitt Romney:  He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.
  • Newt Gingrich Cheap Shots of the Week:
  • “Newt Gingrich's campaign is now charging people $50 to pose for a picture with Newt. Yeah. And for $100, you can get a picture WITHOUT Newt."--Conan O'Brien
  •  "This week . . . Ron Paul said it's still too early to count him out as the Republican nominee. Seriously? That's like Newt Gingrich saying it's too early to count him out as an Abercrombie model."--"Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"
  • Rick Santorum . . .  sometimes sounds more Catholic than the pope."--Maureen Dowd in The New York Times
  • SZSEZ 's Magazine Find of the Week:  Veg News.
  • Current issue examines the progression of vegan men in society, features an interview with raw foodist and ultrarunner Tim VanOrden and contains a recipe for Moroccan Chickpea Bisteeya and a review of an  L.A. restaurant called Seed Bistro. (And I'm sure, as they always say, "much much more.")
  • SZSEZ's Store Sign of the Week:  Frayed Not (Upscale resale) in Green Bay, Wis.
  • SZSEZ's Book Titles of the Week (tie):  "The Ultimate Guide to Butchering Deer," by John Weiss; and The Wisconsin Road Guide to Gangster Hot Spots," by Chad Lewis.  (So many must-reads, so little time!)
  • SZSEZ's Jargon Word of the Week:  Shrilk.   A biodegradable alternative to plastic made by layering a polymer from shrimp shells and proteins from silkworm silk.  Twice as strong as aluminum, the material should be perfect for surgical sutures and tissue scaffolds, not to mention trash bags. (So says Wired magazine.)
  • SZSEZ's Computer Tip of the Week:  Sluggish response?  Could be your mouse battery--no, not its strength but the type.  On a hunch, I recently replaced a Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA battery--which , if memory serves, was top rated by Consumer Reports and also tested out at top strength on my battery tester--and replaced it with another battery that also tested at top strength--a Duracell Alkaline AA.  Amazing difference.
  • Yet another example of a Stupid Warning Label on an Actual Product: On a handgun: "Not recommended for use as a nutcracker."
  • Obituary Nickname of the Week: Cement.  As in Patrick "Cement" Horan (Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, March 23, 2012.  (R.I.P., Mr. Horan)
  • Thirty-sixth entry in the Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw it Mentioned in a Newspaper Obituary sweepstakes:  Montpelier, Wis. (R.I.P., "Whitey" Lester Salzseider, 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 and Butternut.
  • Today's Latin lesson:  Oh meus Deus, quam did ut invado illic? ("Oh my God, how did that get in there?")



   April 24--Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers attempts to reach a fan who proposed marriage but can't reach her because she printed her cell-phone number on her sign at the park and was inundated with calls.
   April 28--A St. Petersburg bar and grill holds a Sam Fuld (Tampa Bay outfielder) look-alike contest that is won by an 8-year-old girl.
   May 6--Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies is the third pitcher ever to lose a game despite striking out at least 16 batters in a start of seven or fewer innings.
   18--Both Kansas City Royals pinch runners (Mike Aviles and Jarrod Dyson) in the 9th inning of a tie game are picked off at first base.
    May 24--Batting twice with two outs and runners in scoring position, Sam Fuld of the Tampa Bay Rays hits the ball on the screws twice, only to see it bounce off an infielder's glove into the hands of another infielder, who records the out.
   May 25--Infielder Wilson Valdez of the Phillies is the first player since Babe Ruth (in 1921) to earn a pitching win after starting the game at another position.
   June 18--For the first time in 32 years, the first batter of a game (Rickie Weeks of the Brewers) homers after his foul pop-up is dropped for an error.
   June 26--For the second time this season, the winning run in the 10th inning scores on a wild pitch during an intentional walk (Kevin Jepsen of the Los Angeles Angles and Steve Cishek of the Florida Marlins were the culprits).
   June 27--The Los Angeles Dodgers win 15-0 the day the club files for bankruptcy.
   June 28--Gavin Floyd of the Chicago White Sox and Jason Hammel of the Colorado Rockies--both 6 foot 6, 28-year-old righthanders--square off.  While becoming the first opposing pitchers in 31 years not to strike out a batter in a 7-inning start, each fills the box score with identical totals in innings (7), runs (2), hits (6), walks (2) and even groundballs induced (12).
   July 2--Due to umpire error, Cameron Maybin of the San Diego Padres walks on 3 balls and then scores the only run of the 1-0 game.
   July 9---Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit is a solo home run off Tampa Bays' David Price, whose first hit allowed in the majors was also a solo home run to the Yankees shortstop.
   July 14--Prince Fielder of the Brewers, deciding he needs sunglasses in the  middle of an inning, calls time and borrows a pair from a fan.
   July 20--Arizona's Stephen Drew breaks his ankle and Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez breaks his collarbone on consecutive plays at Chase Field.
July 28--The Oakland A's his for a "natural cycle," as their third through sixth batters in the first inning hit a single, double, triple and homer in that order.
   Aug. 12--CC Sabathia of the Yankees and Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs both allow five home runs, only the second time in history that fate has befallen two pitchers on the same day.
   Aug. 15--Only 22 teams are in action, but the slate features a 600th home run (Jim Thome, Minnesota Twins), a 300th save (Jason Isringhausen, New York Mets), a 2,000th game managed (Jack McKeon, Florida Marlins), a triple play and a pair of two-out walk-offs.
   Sept. 1--Two crime-scene body outlines appear between third base and home in Milwaukee, where Ryan Braun fell twice the previous night trying for an inside-the-park homer.
   Sept. 19--Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits almost certainly the first home run ever that survives both a broken bat and an umpire's video review.
   Sept. 25--Under the assumption it was an inside-the-park home run for Esteban German, fireworks explode at Rangers Ballpark.  Moments later, the play is scored a sacrifice fly and a four-base error.
   Oct. 4--A 97-year-old Milwaukee man calls 911 because he wants to watch the Brewers-Diamondbacks NLDS matchup but can't find his TV remote.  (Note:  The police actually respond and find it.)
   Oct. 5--Brewers lefty Randy Wolf (3.69 ERA, .266 OPP AVG in 33 starts) opposes Arizona's Joe Saunders, also a lefty (3.69 ERA, .266 OPP AVG in 33 starts) in an NLDS game.

Thanks to our friends at Athlon Sports for compiling this collection of odds-defying oddities.