Tuesday, August 2, 2016


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Who keeps sneaking into my desk drawer and hooking all the paper clips together?   (Probably the same guy who makes sure there's at least one green potato chip in every bag!)
  • Planned obsolescence will never go out of style.
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Month:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that researchers at MIT revealed that virtually every story in human literature—from King Lear to "The Hangover"—is based on one of just six core plots that form the building blocks of complex narratives?"  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but I'm confident you'll find a way.)
  • Morning in America.  Does anyone really miss Newsweek (which folded its print edition at the end of 2012)?  It's weird--not to mention sad--when a pretty good, long-standing magazine disappears and no one seems to care.  Or even notice.  (If a magazine fails in a forest . . . .)
  • Something tells me that the increase in the minimum wage has The Law of Unintended Consequences written all over it.   
  • "One starts to get young at 60, and then it’s too late."-- Pablo Picasso
  • Why are veterinarians so-called?  Shouldn't we call them peterinarians?
  • "You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you. If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s."--Writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell, quoted in ABCNews.com
  • We hear about political upheaval all the time.  Downheaval?  Not so much.
  • What is your favorite Labor of Hercules?  For me, it's hard to beat Number Seven (of the Twelve): "Capture the Cretan Bull."
  • This savage bull, kept by King Minos of Crete, was said to be insane and breathe fire. Hercules wrestled the mad beast to the ground and brought it back to King Eurystheus. Unfortunately, the king set it free, and it roamed Greece, causing terror wherever it went.
  • (Any free-associative thoughts you may have had of Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un are purely uncoincidental.)
  • This being an election year, that means you'll be hearing the word "candidate" pronounced "candidit" about 11,00 times.
  • Best way to speed up the baseball games that many people say are "too long":  No more unlimited foul balls.  After the second strike is established (no matter if by swinging strike, called strike or foul ball), the batter would be allowed two foul balls.  The third?  You're outta there.  No more 15-pitch at-bats!
  • Why aren't "Going out of business" sales called Grand Closings?
  • It's weird, the food-related names that are part of our computer universe:  Spam, hash (as in hashtag), menu . . . .  But where did the ubiquitous "glitch" come from?   (Not sure I'd eat it even if it existed.)
  • I have only some of my computer files stored in the cloud, so you could say I'm only partly cloudy.
  • "I'm sure wherever my dad is, he's looking down on us.  He's not dead.  Just very condescending."--Jack Whitehall
  • Memo to media (print, especially):  Just say "bar" or "tavern." "Watering hole" wasn't all that clever to begin with and has been overused to a nauseating extent.  And not that many people order a round of water!  
  • "It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then."--Lewis Carroll, "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland"
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Speedy.  As in David L. "Speedy" Gapen,  Kenosha (Wis.) News,, May 13, 2016.  R.I.P., Mr. Gapen.
  • Seventy-fourth Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Buchanan, Wis.. (R.I.P., Anna Marie Hoes, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, April 1, 2016).  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, Vandenbroek, Coleman,  Spruce, Armstrong Creek, Lake Gogebic, North Chase, Navarino and Pequot Lakes.
  • Danish Philospher Quote o' the Week:  "Life must be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards."-- Soren Kierkegaard
  • Do sheep shrink when it rains?  (They probably smell bad all the time, so the rain is largely irrelevant.)
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Doesn't Exist But Should of the Month:  "Tatercrater":  The hole dug in mashed potatoes to keep the gravy in.--"Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe" (Rich Hall & Friends)
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Operor illa pardus planto meus tergum terminus vultus pinguis? ("Do these pants make my rear end look fat?")

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