Thursday, October 16, 2014


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric, and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life.
  • You know you're dealing with an incompetent fraudster if the Web address ends with dot.con.
  • Drudge Report headline (Oct. 16):  "People have sex in airports to pass time." Comment:  Well, you've already got your shoes off . . . .
  • Three things I've never done:  Put something in mothballs, put all my eggs in one basket, put on the dog.
  • I'm not surprised about the gradual acceptance of same-sex marriage.  The fortunate people who have jobs but little job security look at the wobbly economy, the mounting terrorism threats, the do-nothing Congress, the latest health (Ebola) crisis, our crumbling infrastructure, the hacking of credit and debit cards, child sex abuse by the clergy, child porn scandals every week, commercial airplanes being shot out of the sky, and say, "Well, there are worse things than Joanne and Claudette or Brian and Wilbur getting married."  
  • For perspective on the Ebola virus and the widening Mideast war(s), we turn to the late philosopher Albert Camus:  
  • "Everybody knows that pestilence has a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet plagues and wars always take people equally by surprise."--"The Plague, Part 1"
  • Anybody besides me see the parallels between Bill Clinton and Bob Hope?  Been there, done that, as famous as it's possible to be . . . and yet . . . can't get off the bleeping stage!  I'm getting as sick of the one as I was of the other!
  • When did the word "playoffs" become anathema in baseball and other sports?  To me, the "postseason" starts the day the World Series ends.  
  • Speaking of sports, the New Orleans team excepted, there are no saints in the National Football League.
  • People with Ph.D. degrees who list it after their names at all times whether relevant or not are truly pathetic human beings.  (How many of them of the proverbial certain age were basically "professional students" who stayed at school just to avoid the draft?  I'm just emphatically sayin'.)
  • Why has everyone started using the word "dystopian" all of a sudden?  It's either in a newspaper or magazine headline, a movie or play description or something or other seemingly on a daily basis.  
  • "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them."--Poet Joseph Brodsky
  • Redundancy Patrol: "Close proximity," "pool together," "serious crisis."  
  • There are three kinds of people:  Facebook fanatics, people who "do Facebook"  out of sheer conformity and those, like me, who don't see the need and get along just fine without it.  
  • Starting Oct. 10, only 76 shopping days until Christmas.
  • Sudsorian Calendar:  The calendar used on soap operas that allows one day's events to be stretched over a three-week period.--Rich Hall, "Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe"
  • Bang, buzz, chirp, clang, cling, clunk, grinding, hiss, knock, ping, rattle, rumble, scraping, squeal and whine--some of the words that can be useful in describing to a mechanic what's wrong when your car is making funny noises (says Chicago Tribune auto columnist Bob "Motormouth" Weber).
  • Another one in jimjustsaying's list of Occupations No Child Has Ever Fantasized About or Aspired To:  Snake-venom extractor
  • jimjustsaying's Product of the Month (from the Make Life Easier catalog):  Birdbath Protector, which uses "natural plant enzymes to break down organic contaminants. . . .Birds will love it . . . and so will you. So go green and keep your birdbath clean!"
     (Just the thing for that hard-to-shop-for person on everyone's Christmas gift list.)
  • What's the difference between an aroma and an odor?  An aroma and a fragrance? Between an odor and a stench?  You'd say "The aroma of freshly baked bread wafted through the house" but you'd say "underarm odor," not "underarm aroma or fragrance."  How does one calibrate the gradations of things odiferous?
  • Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  "Tiny."  As in Mary Jane "Tiny" O'Brien, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Sept. 9, 2014.
  • Jargoneering:  Precrastinate:  Getting tasks done ahead of schedule with extra effort. Precrastinating, says Wired magazine,  might be as detrimental to productivity as procrastinating, especially when people precrastinate on trivialities like e-mail, mentally exhausting themselves before turning to greater challenges.
  • Drudge Report Headline of the Week:  "Shoplifter uses motorized Walmart shopping cart as getaway vehicle."  ("Made it two miles before cops pounce.")
  • Newspaper Headline of the Month: "White supremacist wants to play the violin in prison."  (Maybe he can pull some strings and get his wish?  Not that I have any sympathies toward white supremacists . . . .)
  • Multiple tattoos and  body piercings are a cry for help (and how, I wonder, does one go about providing that?) and a definite detriment at most job interviews.  Other than that, a good look and a wonderful career move.   
  • Why Richard Kiel, who died recently, always looked the way he did when portraying Jaws in two James Bond movies:  "The fake teeth were agonizing to wear.  They were made of chromium steel and went up to the roof of your mouth and would kind of gag you. The rather stoic look was me trying to keep from throwing up.”  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • Fifty-seventh Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Ledgeview. (R.I.P., Gladys Mae Bildings, 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, Black Creek and Mountain.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Operor illa pardus planto meus tergum terminus vultus pinguis?  ("Do these pants make my rear end look fat?")

No comments: