Sunday, January 3, 2016


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric, and whimsical observations
 about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • jimjustsaying's First Prediction of the Year:  History will be made on Inauguration Day in January 2017 when None of the Above is sworn in as president!  Unprecedented  but understandable.
  • Speaking of the presidency, the Electoral College makes about as much sense to me as the tax code, which it rivals in logic and fairness.  
  • Consider: Al Gore would have been president if the so-called "popular vote" had held sway in 2000 and the Iraq War, and the ISIS-related chaos it spawned, would never have happened.  And our population would be about 5,000 larger because of all the Americans who wouldn't have died (not to mention the 1.5 million Iraqis who perished, plus the legion of wounded).  But then again, we wouldn't have been able to say "Mission Accomplished."
  • Speaking of death tolls: "Terrorism is what we call the violence of the weak, and we condemn it; war is what we call the violence of the strong, and we glorify it."--Sydney J. Harris (former widely syndicated newspaper columnist)
  • jimjustsaying's Law of Political Poll Participation:  If queried by a pollster, ask whom the pollster is voting for.  And if he or she won’t tell you (which they won’t), return the favor. 
  • Revising my own recent jimjustsaying coinage--"Cameramaritan"--to denote the stranger you draft to take a picture of your group so everyone in the group will be in the picture--my alternate (and now preferred) coinage is "Shutterbud." 
  • Amazingly, we're apparently on the verge of becoming a crime-free society, as we proceed to decriminalize  everything from marijuana possession to  you-name-it. 
  • Of course, this comes in an era when no one is "manic-depressive" but "bipolar."  So it's not much of a stretch to reclassify "serial killers" as "prolific-demise facilitators."    And a "hit man" as  an "Eternal Reward concierge."   You get the picture.   Rapists could be said to have a "sex addiction" and/or "flawed impulse control."  Murderers would be said to have "anger-management challenges."   Thieves?  They're  merely  "over-acquisitive," aren't they?  And no one is defective in any way--they just have "special needs."  
  • "Hillary [Clinton] is a specialist at lying. And that’s a problem for her.    Her husband was--and is-- a prodigy at deceit, a renaissance man of lying.   If football were a game of lies, he could play every position on offense and defense."--Jonah Goldberg, Chicago Tribune
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that London cab drivers must learn 320 separate routes including 25,000 streets, to get a license?
  • You're an old-timer if you can remember taking soda pop and beer bottles back to the store for the deposit money.   
  • Speaking of nostalgia, remember when a phone rang . . . and there was no doubt that a phone was ringing.  Now you don't know whose phone it is--or even if it is a phone or a radio or some random noise.   Enough already!
  • jimjustsaying's Historical Reminder of the New Year:  Social Security was started in 1935 to serve as a safety net for those in need of one--to keep people from starving to death--not intended to help subsidize Country Club Lifestyles for those who can buy and sell the the lower 99 percent.
  • App of the Week:   Seateroo, a mobile phone marketplace that will allow airline passengers to pay other passengers to swap seats after boarding the plane.   (How far behind is Line-a-roo, the app that helps you find someone to stand in line and get screened for you?)
  • My search engine gets 22,000 words to the megabyte, but your wordage may vary.
  • All-Overrated Team (all-Al Division):   Alec Baldwin, Al Roker and Al Sharpton.
  • Redundancy patrol:  "Compress together," "price point," "recurring pattern."
  • Newspaper Obituary Nickname of the Month:  Prairie Dog.  As in James "Prairie Dog" Sievert, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Oct. 20, 2015.  R.I.P., Mr. Sievert.
  • Sixty-seventh Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary:  Coleman, Wis.. (R.I.P., Patricia Ann Rivet, Green Bay PRess-Gazette obituary, Oct. 20, 2015).  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,  Mountain, Ledgeview, Lunds, Suring, Lakewood, Beaver, Cloverleaf Lakes, Krakow,  Pella, Townsend and Vandenbroek.
  • "Nature doesn't owe us perfection.  Novelists don't either.  Who among us would even recognize perfection if we saw it?"--Literary critic Sam Tanenhaus in the New York Times Review of Books
  • I don't think I'm that much out of touch, but  when I saw the participants listed for a "Comedy Central Roast" on the TV schedule recently, I didn't recognize either the roastee (James Franco) or any of the roasters (too obscure to mention much less recall)!  You could say I have a beef about roasts!
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Should Exist But Doesn't of the Month:  "Spudrubble."  Unclaimed french fries at the bottom of a fast food bag.--"More Sniglets," Rich Hall & Friends
  • Is there a warning to trespassers on the side of the Surgeon General’s house?
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Es vos iens compleo ut?  ("Are you gonna finish that?")

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