Wednesday, June 1, 2016


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Remember when you had to go to a carnival sideshow to see the tattooed lady?  Now she’s your kid’s third grade teacher!
  • Headline of the Month:  "Lady Gaga and Dalai Lama discuss compassion" (MSN.COM)
  • jimjustsaying's Supermarket Find of the Week:  Black Forest brand Organic  Gummy Bears and Gummy Worms.  Organic???  
  • Related Supermarket Find (in the New Apple Varieties I've Never Seen Before department): Kanzi, Kiku, Opal and Antares.
  • In Wisconsin, we're now in the latter part of what I call the “sweet spot season”:  Too warm for the furnace, cool enough not to need the air.  
  • Of course, at this time of year I'm usually watching a lot of baseball. Otherwise, I'm usually reading Homer in the original Greek!
  • Sorely needed:  Explanation of how 7 inches of rain can make a river rise 22 feet!  But you hear figures like that all the time on the Weather Channel.
  • A feature of the National Enquirer back in the day that I miss the most:  "The Wacky Way I Met My Mate."   Time to bring it back!
  • Not Making This Up Dept.: A Virginia woman’s obituary listed the upcoming presidential election as her cause of death.   The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch obit began:  “Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland chose instead to pass into the eternal love of God.” (My take:  An Independent with a great sense of humor.)
  • Related thought:  If there had already been a female president (or two) in the U.S., would Hillary even be running?  
  • Don't know about you, but it seems that every other week or so I read about someone being elected (or a decedent who had been elected) to a "Hall of Fame" whose existence almost seems a joke.   Maybe there really is a Curtain Rod Installers Hall of Fame. 
  • More of jimjustsaying's Useful Words That Have No English equivalent: razliubit--Russian for "the emotion of falling out of love."   And then there is age-otori, Japanese for "the regret one feels after getting a bad haircut."
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Should Exist But Doesn't of the Month:  "Essoasso."  A person who cuts through a gas station to avoid a red light."--"Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe," Rich Hall and Friends
  • jimjustsaying's Top Five Click Bait Topics of the Month: 
  • 7 things you didn't know about the real Col. Sanders
  • Surprising things that make you stink
  • 10 celebrities you forgot committed horrible crimes
  • 15 celebs who look hottest with a beard
  • Shocking photos of history's most evil people when they were kids.
  • French Novelist Quote of the Month:  "To make anything interesting you simply have to look at it long enough."--Gustave Flaubert
  • Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg on the city's huge population loss (and its "leader"):  "That leaves the city with 2,720,546 people, if you count Rahm Emanuel as being both a person and alive and not some kind of strange animate corpse lurching around town trying to find a safe, sunless place to reveal himself and feed on the popularity of the living."  
  • I was in a restaurant not long ago that had the television tuned to a Stanley Cup game between the New York Islanders and the Florida Panthers.  Really?  How can there be a hockey team in a state that has never had a sheet of natural ice in its history? 
  • Upon further investigation, I learn that there is even another team in that state (Tampa Bay Lightning) and even an Arizona Coyotes team. What's next, a beach volley ball team in Antarctica?
  • Pastime Imponderable of the Month:  Men (and I know a few of them) who hunt, fish, do carpentry and other so-called "manly things" yet profess no interest whatsoever in baseball or football or basketball and sometimes have wives who do.  Strange.
  • I shudder to think how many times I'm going to hear the words "presumptive nominee" between now and the political conventions.  (Especially painful when you don't like either of the persons to whom that term applies.)
  • “When my wife and I argue, we’re like a band in concert: we start with some new stuff, and then we roll out our greatest hits.”--Frank Skinner, British comedian
  • Why you're running late:  According to a study cited in the Wall Street Journal, traffic can slow even without heavy volume because of driver reaction time. Even when the number of vehicles shouldn't tax a road, "a small perturbation--such as a slight deceleration by one car--can ripple through the cars behind them, as they brake in reaction." 
  • Japanese researchers assigned roughly two dozen drivers to cruise along a closed circular track at about 20 miles per hour. After some time, a jam developed, and the cars within it ground to a halt--even though no one ahead of them actually stopped!
  • The global village hits home:  The thumb drive I just bought came with instructions in--count ’em--18 languages. 
  • Seventy-second Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary: Pequot Lakes, Wis.. (R.I.P., Charles L. Wall, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Sept. 3, 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, Coleman,  Spruce, Armstrong Creek, Lake Gogebic and North Chase.
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Boo-Boo.  As in Cheryl A. "Boo-Boo" Buss,  Green Bay Press-Gazette, April 15, 2016.  R.I.P., Ms. Buss.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Quid quemlibet hominem ad suffragium?  ("How could anybody vote for that man?")