Monday, March 2, 2015


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric, and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • I had a dream that I was playing golf behind a foursome of Brian Williams, Bill Cosby, Lance Armstrong  and A-Rod.
  • I think I'd vote for a politician who'd say:  "I'm gonna lie--all politicians do it.  But I promise, if elected, that I'm gonna hold it to a minimum.  I'm not going to lie as much as that other guy!"
  • Whatever happened to "Beavis and Butt-head"?
  • Sometimes I feel like a Polaroid in the Instagram of life!
  • As if the Wisconsin winter isn't bad enough just enduring the elements, one most also endure a dozen or so people (store clerks, passersby, et al.) admonishing you to "Stay warm!" about 15 times a day.  
  • Really?  What, exactly, are my options?  ("Gee, I've never tried LSD, so, what the hell, I think I'll give hypothermia a whirl.")  
  • Then there are the numbskulls on TV reminding us to "Bundle up!"  As if we're mere infants who just parachuted into the cold climes, not adults who have weathered this weather for decades.
  • Speaking of winter weather: Why this universal one-upmanship tendency with snowstorm (or rainfall) totals:  "We got 22 inches!" "Oh, yeah, WE got 23!"   People act as if they were personally responsible for the numbers . . . that they're taking credit for them, in a way.  Or that they are supposedly made of sterner stuff for having "survived" that extra inch (assuming the totals are accurate, which they may not be). Weird.
  • Overheard: "People who live in trailers are like actors who never get called to the set."
  • Wish I had better news, but there is absolutely nothing that can prevent the periodic outbreaks of jihad-related violence.   Trying to stop it is like asking the Pentagon to cure the common cold or asking the wind not to blow up to hurricane force.   
  • Wise words:  "It’s undeniable that we treat our presidents as larger than life, simplifying the stories we tell. They’re not always mighty frigates parting the waters. They’re just as much buoys on the tides of history, rising and falling with the swells."--Frank Bruni, New York Times
  • Product Choice Explosion Tip:  After you find a toothbrush (or similar item) you really like, buy a few more soon because if you wait, the packaging will have changed and you'll never be able to find it again.  Or if you can, the "new and improved" version will be new but not improved.  In fact, it may not be half as good.
  • "When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it's all nonsense. There are no race relations.  White people were crazy.  Now they're not as crazy.  To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserved what happened to them before."--Comedian/actor/filmmaker Chris Rock in New York magazine.
  • Another in jimjustsaying's List of Foreign Words With No English Equivalent:   fremdschämen (German); myötähäpeä (Finnish)--the kinder, gentler cousins of schadenfreude, both these words mean something akin to "vicarious embarrassment." Or, in other words, that feeling you get when you watch "Meet the Parents."
  • Next time you sit down to a square meal, tell your friends that the term comes from 18th Century England, where food was served on square wooden plates.
  • Bumper Sticker of the Week:  "Experience  is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted."
  • "No two persons have read the same book."--Edmund Wilson
  • Parsleyvania:  The place where of all the fancy restaurant garnish that is never eaten comes from.--"Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe," Rich Hall & Friends
  • jimjustsaying's Jargon Word of the Week:  Loopome, a map of the roughly 10,000 three-dimensional loops in human DNA.  Because looping controls gene activation, Wired magazine reports, identifying abnormalities in the loopome may help diagnose cancer and other diseases.  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • Memo to NFL:  Roman numerals don't make the Super Bowl any more important or make the league look more intelligent. Pretentious?  Yes.  Intelligent, no?  I notice we're never told in Roman numerals how many NFL players are under indictment for various felonies.
  • Consumer Confession: I was going to get one of those nifty George Foreman Grills you see being pitched all the time  on TV, but when I got to the store and saw the price tag, I got cold feet.  So I got the Leon Spinks Grill instead!
  • Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Skid.  As in, Robert "Skid" Marks, Kenosha (Wis.) News obituary,Feb. 18, 2015.
  • It was such a slow news day that Donald Trump called a press conference to announce that he's lactose intolerant!
  • What do Russia, India, Mongolia, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Vietnam, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Bhutan, Laos, Tajikistan and Afghanistan have in common?  (All 14 of those countries border China.)
  • Memo to all corporate executives:  If you want to give us a "free gift" (classic redundancy!),make it a real gift instead of one that turns us into walking billboards. Otherwise, don't bother!  I don't need another T-shirt or ballcap, much less ones with your brand name on it.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Quisnam permissum cattus ex pera?  ("Who let the cat out of the bag?")

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