Monday, February 1, 2016


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric, and whimsical observations
 about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Not sure what to make of this cockamamie adult coloring-book craze.  All I know is that my sandbox is on back order from Amazon.
  • Made all of your President’s Day plans yet?  There’s still time.
  • Maybe we should have a Vice President’s Day too.  You’d still have to show up at work, but you wouldn’t have to do anything.
  • President’s Day is nice and all, but who really looks forward to it---aside from government workers?  I propose a holiday that would hold more satisfaction for the rest of us: Turnabout Day, based on “turnabout's fair play.” A way to correct a power imbalance we all endure.
  • On Turnabout Day—and you’d get to pick your own date each year—your doctor would have to get naked in front of you, and your accountant or financial adviser would have to show you his or her tax return!
  • The Trump nonstop nonsense, the debate debacles, the Sound Bite Insult of the Day derby--when did politics become more infotainment than serious national discourse?  And behind it all is a still largely uninformed, easily misled and distracted electorate, getting, as de Tocqueville once said, the kind of government it deserves.  God help us all.
  • Speaking of . . . :  I had a nightmare about the recent Powerball megajackpot--the winner was Donald Trump . . . on a ticket he didn't even buy.  He found it on the floor as he was leaving a rally site.
  • jimjustsaying's lottery logic:  I didn't mind not winning the massive Power Ball prize; I'm content with my occasional but puny $2-$5 "jackpots."   But consider the upsides to my lot in lottery land:  No press conferences, no media camped out on my property, no sob-storytellers following me down the street, no special advisors to hire and pay. . . .  
  • Besides, as we've often heard, "God doesn't send us any more than we can handle."  And He, in His infinite wisdom and compassion, knows I can handle chump change!  So that's what I get.  Thank you, Lord!
  • I see by the public prints that McDonald's had a big jump in 4th quarter sales due to their new breakfast-anytime rollout.   I wonder if the International House of Pancakes is going start selling Happy Meals?
  • I can't pick up a newspaper or a magazine or overhear a conversation without someone admitting to "binge-watching" something or other.  ("Bilge-watching" may be more accurate.)
  • To hear people talk, they're too busy to (a) answer your e-mails (b) keep up with current events, or (c) do anything else except breathe . . . yet they have enough time to "binge-watch" this or that TV series.  I don't get it.
  • Cold snaps are confusing for me.  Every two minutes someone somewhere is telling me to "Stay warm!"  But two minutes later someone will say to me, "Hey, Jim--be cool!"  What am I supposed to do?
  • Newspaper Correction of the Year (an  early entry but one that promises to have staying power), from the Jan. 19 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:  "A caption accompanying a photo Sunday in Travel about reservations to make for the summer and fall incorrectly stated the HMS Bounty ship will appear at the Tall Ships Festival in Green Bay. The ship will not appear at the festival as it sank during Hurricane Sandy in 2012."
  • Bitcoin of the realm?  Apparently not.  It might finally be time to write bitcoin’s obituary, according to Paul Vigna in the Wall Street Journal. Last month, one of the most prominent developers of the bitcoin project announced that he was selling all of his bitcoins and leaving the effort entirely, declaring the digital currency a “failed” experiment.  (Who didn't see that one coming?)
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week: "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that in computer architecture, Amdahl's law  gives the theoretical speedup in latency of the execution of a task at fixed workload that can be expected of a system whose resources are improved"?
  • The instructive power of pain?  A new study, reported in The Week magazine, revealed that college football players who practiced without wearing helmets were 30 percent less likely to suffer potentially dangerous head impacts during games because they learned to stop using their heads as weapons while tackling.  (And here we thought all those overgrown brutes were airheads!)
  • "I'm not superstitious, I"m just 'stitious.' "--Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
  • Speaking of superstitions, if you are superstitious, don't let a hotel put you on the 14th floor.  Because that's really the 13th floor--it's just not called that.  
  • Car rear-window defrosters are the greatest invention since sliced bread.
  • For men only:  How many of you have ever seen someone changing a baby's diaper on one of those changing tables that started appearing in men's rooms a few years ago?  I'm not saying it has never happened, but I doubt many guys have ever seen one in use.
  • Speaking of men's rooms, it amuses me no end  that I don't remember lower-height urinals when I was a kid.  But now they're everywhere, so what was the problem before?  Obviously the "technology" was there.  Was there an ordinance forbidding it? 
  • Privacy concerns, anyone?  Brigham Young University researchers revealed a new method for reading computer users’ emotions by tracking how users move the mouse.  "Using this technology, websites can go beyond just presenting information," a researcher told The Week magazine.  "They can understand what you’re feeling."
  • jimjustsaying's  nomination for Word That Should Exist But Doesn't of the Month:  "Shuzma."  The portion of window cleaner that the spray tube can no longer reach.--"More Sniglets," Rich Hall & Friends
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Pudge.  As in Rodney "Pudge" Van Lanen, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Nov. 11, 2015.  R.I.P., Mr. Van Lanen.
  • Sixty-eighth Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary:  Spruce, Wis.. (R.I.P., Edward S. "Ed" Yashinsky, Green Bay PRess-Gazette obituary, Nov. 2, 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, Vandenbroek and Coleman.
  • Strictly Classified . . . or Breeds of Dogs I Never Knew Existed Until I Saw Them Mentioned in a Newspaper Ad:  Newfypoos (!) and Vizslas (hunting dogs of Hungarian origin).  You can become the proud owner of a Newfypoo pup for a mere $1,000.  (Must be pretty spiffy Newfies!)
  • More Classified Information (ad in the same paper):  "Wanting to purchase Bear costume, full body length, will pay good $$ [and] will consider other costumes like rabbit or gorilla etc.   Call Greg at xxx-xxx-xxxx. 
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Tunc annus totus amplitudo liberi ero vetus satis futurus exertus ut adultus! ("Next year all the grandchildren will be old enough to be tried as adults!")