Wednesday, December 7, 2016


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Thank God, the election is over.  We won't be hearing the word "candidit" as often for a few more years.  
  • This just in:  The referendum results are in, and Wisconsinites have again chosen "America's Dairyland" over  "Vegetative State" by a narrow margin for the state's official license plate slogan.  (This also just in: Sources tell jimjustsaying that Jill Stein of the Green Party is weighing a possible recount.)
  • I guess the rise of "fake news" was inevitable.  How many genuine news stories do we really have, given the obvious political posturing and spin, the hyperbole, the stilted officialese "statements," the misleading and cherry-picked video footage (is all of that town devastated or just the half-block area they're focusing on)?   
  • Did you know that there has never been a U.S. President who was an only child?  Another barrier ready to be broken!  (Donald Trump has four siblings, for whom considerable sympathy should be extended.)
  • I'm proud to announce that as of 8:30 last night, I finished all of my Christmas shopping--for last year!   Yep, 2015 is a wrap (pun intended).  Now where did I put that list for this year's ordeal . . .?
  • Speaking of Christmas, here's an actual warning label on an actual product:  On a string of Chinese-made Christmas lights: "For indoor or outdoor use only."
  • Never discuss politics with a man in a flannel shirt or a woman in a jacket with the name of a tavern on it.  (Or with members of either sex wearing camouflage gear!)
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that the safety pin was patented in 1849 and that its design can be traced back to Roman fibulae, which were the pins used to hold togas in place?"
  • Scary but true:  According to a recent study, 80 percent of seniors at top U.S. universities would get a D or fail outright on a basic civics test.  (But I'll bet they'd score highly on a "Name All the Contestants on 'Dancing With the Stars' " Contest or could name every member of the Kardashian extended family, pets included.)
  • As if energy drinks weren't enough, now I've spotted Rush High-Power Lip Balm in a drug store.  With "caffeine, taurine and B-12." What, no steroid deodorant?  No atomic nasal spray?  Stay tuned.
  • And now my wife calls my attention to--get this--Skin Renew, "the first 2-in-1 eye roller.  Refreshing eye care with caffeine."
  • Memo to headline writers, columnists and other purveyors of the language:
  • Referring to members of the highest court of the land as "The Supremes" is more than a bit tacky and wasn't all that clever the first hundred or so times you've done it.    
  • The Supremes were an American female singing group and the premier act of Motown Records during the 1960s and may not boast a single law degree among their ranks.  And when the actual jurists in question are heard from, there is no precedent for their  opinions being rendered in song form.  (Even their . . . er . . . greatest hits.)
  • There are two types of people in the world:  Those who drive straight in to parking spaces . . . and those eccentric individuals  who always have to back in.
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month: Jiggers.  As in Jeannette "Jiggers" E. (Fameree) Vandervest,  Door County Daily, Nov. 2, 2016.  R.I.P., Mrs. Vandervest.
  • Seventy-eighth Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Carlton,Wis.. (R.I.P., David Smidle, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Sept. 26, 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, Pequot Lakes, Buchanan,  Rio Creek, Humboldt and Mill Center.
  • "The left believes in cradle-to-grave entitlements; they just make it harder to get to the cradle."--Dennis Miller
  • For Old-timers Only: Remember those periodic radio test alerts, or some such, wherein we were instructed, in case of an actual emergency, "to tune to the CONELRAD frequency"?  Whatever happened to the CONELRAD frequency?  (It was 640 and 1240 on the AM dial, don't-ya-know.)
  • According to Wikipedia:  "After the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles reduced the likelihood of a bomber attack, CONELRAD was replaced by the Emergency Broadcast System on Aug. 5, 1963, which was later replaced with the Emergency Alert System on Jan. 1,1997; all have been administered by the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Speaking of old-timers: It is said that being the coolest guy at the Senior Center is a lot like being the tallest midget at the circus! And it is true.
  • "I needed a password eight characters long, so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”--Nick Helm, at the Edinburgh Fringe 2011
  • As a public service and a great time-saver, here is jimjustsaying's "Privacy Notice Made Simple":  
  • "We can do anything we want, and you can't do anything about it, unless your battery of attorneys is bigger than ours.  Thank you and get lost."
  • You know you've eaten at a bad Chinese restaurant if you get a misfortune cookie at the end of the meal.
  • Who really uses all that extraneous stuff on those elaborate watches they make these days?
  • Sundials may have been crude but were probably more user friendly. (Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun, but I've never been able to make out the numbers.)
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Multa de arte nescio, sed scio quid velim. ("I don't know that much about art, but I know what I like.")

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