Sunday, September 7, 2014


By Jim Szantor
  • Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric, and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life.
  • Vinpocetine, oscillococcinum and bladderswack leaves. Three nutritional (?) supplements I didn't know existed until I got the latest Swanson Health Products catalog.  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • No ice-bucket challenge for me.  They want me to do the scalding water challenge (with reconstructive surgery to follow).
  • Who are these ghoulish voyeurs who click on those videos of terrorist beheadings and actually watch them?  That's almost as horrifying as the act itself.   
  • Saw a sale display for Snickers Fun Size bars.  Fun size?  Aren't all Snickers fun (especially for dentists)?  What do they call the regular-size bar--the Ordeal Size?  The Root Canal Size?  The Ninth Labor of Hercules Size?  
  • "The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it."-Joan Rivers
  • jimjustsaying's Coinage of the Month: "Buyercade."  That plastic bar you put on the store's belt to separate your purchases from someone else's.      
  • "When you have two out, you're three-fourths of the way there."--Cleveland Indians then-manager Manny Acta.
  • Memo to all baseball announcers:  Frames, bowling;  innings, baseball.  Got it?  Stop trying to get fancy or gild the lily. "Elegant variation" doesn't work for me in a sports context. And RBI stands for runs batted in, not runs driven in.  Thank you and mend your ways.
  • Most misused word of the decade if not century:  Reactionary.  It means conservative, not reactive; it doesn't mean a quick or reflex reaction to some action or event.  You will probably see or hear it misused more than once in the next week, I promise.
  • When people say "With all due respect," what they're really saying is, "This will probably offend or irritate you, but I don't care, and I'm going to say it anyway."
  • When was the last time you saw "wash" hanging from a clothes line?  (Answer:  When someone's clothes dryer was broken.)
  • "I saw my first porno film recently. It was a Jewish porno film--one minute of sex and nine minutes of guilt."--Joan Rivers
  • Ignisecond:  The overlapping moment of time when the hand is locking the car door even as the brain is saying "my keys are in there."--"Sniglets," Rich Hall and Friends
  • You're  an old-timer if you remember when people used to have their tires retreaded instead of replaced with new ones. When you hauled your furnace ashes to the curb. And when the ice man cometh.  (Yes, I qualify.)
  • Was that a ping, a knock, or a whine?  And what about that rattle in the dashboard? That spot on the garage floor?  (Yes, you guessed right--I'm a carpochondriac!)
  • Take a look at your vinyl record collection or a stack of old magazines, and chances are the person on the cover is smoking or holding a cigarette.  It seemed to be the de rigueur prop du jour.
  • Town I didn't know existed until I ran across it in a news story about dangerous intersections:  Frostproof, Fla. (where, if by some remote chance you happen to be out that way, you apparently would be well advised to avoid the intersection of South Scenic Highway and County Road 700.)  As Larry King would say, "You'll thank me later."
  • jimjustsaying's Snack Food Find of the Month:  Buffalo wing-flavored sunflower seeds.  Who knew?
  • "If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion."--George Bernard Shaw
  • Jargoning:  A "theftie," Wired informs us, is a snapshot of a smartphone thief.  Phones running the Lookout app automatically snap a "selfie" with the front-facing camera when the wrong password is entered or the SIM card is removed.  The theftie is e-mailed to the registered owner. (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Rookie.  As in Gary "Rookie" Davison, Kenosha (Wis.) News obituary, Aug. 20, 2014.  R.I.P., Mr. Davison.
  • Fifty-sixth Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary:  Mountain. (R.I.P., Alice E. Bowman, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Aug. 14, 2014).  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, Gillet, King, Laona, Kelly Lake, Glenmore, Tonet, Stiles, Morrison, Dunbar, Askeaton, Wild Rose, Neopit, Ellisville, Pickett, Flintville,  Forest Junction, Thiry Daems, and Black Creek.
  • "Ask 10 Gypsies the same question, and you will get 10 different answers.  Ask one Gypsy the same question 10 times, and you will still get 10 different answers."--Peter Maas, "The King of the Gypsies."
  • I had a dream that the Family Dollar company started a budget burger franchise:  One Guy.
  • Overheard: "If you take the bull by the horns, then what?"
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Terminus via opus. (End road work.)

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