Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life:
  • Political strategist and forensic blood-spatter expert:  Two occupations that no kid ever fantasizes about!
  • At the end of the day, we need to have a dialog about the national conversation regarding loose talk about kicking the can down the road.  (God forbid.)
  • Wouldn't it be funny if microwave popcorn had been invented before the microwave?  ("Gee, what do we do with this stuff?")
  • I know a guy who won't eat snails.  He prefers fast food!
  • Snack Food Fun Fact of the Week:  Cheetos are sold in more than 36 countries, so the flavor and composition are often varied to match regional taste and cultural preferences--such as Savory American Cream in China, and Strawberry Cheetos in Japan.  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but that's your problem, not mine.)
  • Door County, Wisconsin’s sister city is Jingdezhen, China.  I wonder if they sell live bait and cheese curds over there? . . . . Yeah, hey!  (If they do, it's probably "to go.")
  • Another sign of the stressed-out economy:  Parking lots that are about five years overdue for re-striping of parking-space boundaries.  
  • Faded Words:  "Riffraff."  "Skulduggery."  
  • I saw a rave review of the new Volkswagen Jetta hybrid.  How crazy is the world when a pioneering German automaker is having its cars built in Puebla, Mexico?  Can you get good gazpacho in Stuttgart?
  • "100 percent of the people who give 110 percent do not understand math."--Demetri Martin
  • Putdown term that has apparently fallen out of favor:  "Twerp."  As in, "That little twerp!"  
  • Jargon Word of the Week:  Mambalgins.  They are potent painkillers derived from venom of the deadly black mamba snake.  Mambalgins may be as powerful as morphine but lack the opiate's side effects, according to Jonathan Keats in Wired.
  • Most recent fortune cookie received:  "Genius is more work than just being a genius."
  • Another Media Word (a word you see or hear only in news reports and never hear a normal person use in real life):  "Kudos."  (Lifetime Achievement Award?)   You'll hear an audience shout "Bravo!" or "More!"  But "Kudos!"  Never!
  • "If you don't know history, then you don't know anything.  You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree."--Michael Crichton
  • Waiter: "Ground pepper on your salad?"  Me:  "No, but I wouldn't mind a little more rata in my touille."
  • Speaking of restaurants, here's an excerpt of an actual review in a Chicago newspaper:
  • " . . . [The chef]  also provided exciting surprises, like the dehydrated truffle powder that tops the menu's seared Angus beef.  When the powder hits your tongue, it rehydrates in tiny explosions like a bunch of Dippin' Dot ice cream pellets invading your mouth."   (And you wonder why restaurant critics guard their anonymity so zealously!)
  • Tech Talk:  Five years after the iPhone revolutionized the industry, we’re probably seeing the end of quantum leaps in smartphones—at least for a while, wrote Nick Wingfield in The New York Times. Technology, he says, often downshifts into periods of "slower evolutionary change after a big disruption”; it happened with both cars and PCs. 
  • Future Focus: The incremental changes will add up, Wingfield says.  "The difference in smartphones from year to year may not seem spectacular, but the "long arc of technological progress” certainly will be. 
  • I wonder how many people have text-messaged while having surgery under local anesthetic?  Don’t laugh;  somebody’s probably doing it at this very moment.   (Send me a Tweet from the surgical suite.)
  • "To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top."--Robert M. Pirsig, author of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values."
  • Is it just me or are magazines getting more and more impossible to read?  You've seen it--microscopic, light-shaded type--often on pale/pastel backgrounds, surrounded by oceans of white space that could be better utilized to enlarge the type and enhance readability.  And who needs full-page head shots of people we've seen dozens of times?  Use that space to make the words you're so proud of actually readable.
  • Redundancy patrol:  "Blend together." "Pre-planned." "Repeat again."
  • Movie Music: Diminished chords create a mood of unease, according to film composer Michael Giacchino ("Mission Impossible III," "Ghost Protocol," "Alias").  (For all you young composers out there,  Giacchino generally begins in the key of A minor.)   And, according to David Arnold--who scored five Bond films, among others--silence is the key to creating tension. "Part of the secret is knowing when to not do anything."
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Ut vestri opus fatur pro ipsum don't rumpo.  Or: "When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt."   (Attributed by the Associated Press to industrialist Michael Kaiser, who, presumably, said it in English.)

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