Saturday, January 7, 2017


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • You know you're an old-timer when you can remember putting your car (or have it go automatically at a certain speed) into "overdrive."  
  • I always pity anyone who wakes up one day and realizes they're a lookalike for the latest Notorious Figure of the Day (whether it be Dylann Roof, Julian Assange or Vladimir Putin).
  • Overheard during the holidays:  "I went to a TGIF party.  It was BYOB, and I had enough VO and JB to send me to AA with the DT's!"
  • Speaking of New Year's:  Is there anything more cringeworthy than watching Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper acting like a coosome twosome on New Year's Eve?  Who came up with this pairing?  But you can bet they'll be back at it next year. TV stations cling to bad ideas like barnacles to an old garbage scow.
  • Isn't it possible that Donald Trump is taking his cue from Don Vito Corleone regarding his remarks about and relationship with Vladimir Putin?  Remember "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer"? ("Give this to Clemenza; er, I mean, Pence. . . .")
  • Above it all?  My favorite from the list of new products on display at this year's Consumer Electronics Show:  Levitating Speaker--Crazybaby's floating speaker atop a speaker for a new way of listening to music, we are told.  (Accompanying picture shows a flying-saucer-looking object, ostensibly the speaker, floating above another speaker.  Outta sight!)
  • (The story concludes by saying "there will be thousands of products shown here, and most will never see the light of day."  I don't see much hope for the levitating speaker, but who saw the Hula Hoop and Pet Rocks coming?)
  • Quite amusing, in some way, all the celebrities who have turned down Inaugural performance invites.  Rumor has it the president and his wife will be dancing to the recorded strains of the Time/Life Greatest Hits Orchestra! (And sources tell jimjustsaying that Emo Phillips and Yakof Smirnoff aren't returning the transition team's calls!)
  • It's interesting to look back at all of the famous folks who died in 2016.  Prince was one of the biggest surprises, most would agree.
  • In that connection, Dwight Macdonald once essayed:  "There seems to be a Law of Negative Compensation that the Fates visit upon the outrageously famous--one of those deaths Yeats had in mind when he wrote of a friend's lost son: "Whatever made us dream that he would one day comb gray hair?"
  • I love when someone is identified as a "social critic."  I guess people never do anything right, we're always wrong.
  • Memo to all guys wearing backwards baseball caps:  It was a lame look when it started and the situation has not improved.  (Hmmm; caps on backwards but life and career trajectory all in order, right? Mensa members all.)
  • Charles Manson probably isn't worrying too much about the gastrointestinal problems that have landed him in a prison hospital recently.  Since he's serving nine life sentences, I see him pulling out of this in catlike fashion.  (If he dies after this is published, justice obviously was not served.)
  • Why does ABC's "20/20" program need not one but two people (Elizabeth Vargas and some other guy) to deliver (standing, of course!) a two-sentence introduction to what follows? Shows like "Forensic Files" seem to accomplish this arduous task quite nicely with one (!) offscreen announcer.  Incredible.  I guess they feel they've got these folks under contract so they might as well get some work out of them.  What other reason can there be?  No one tunes in to see Elizabeth Vargas speak a sentence.  Competent?  Yes. Drawing card?  Doubtful.
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that bubble wrap was invented in 1960 for use as wallpaper, not in packaging?"
  • This just in:  There hasn't been a baby boy in the U.S. named Orville in 37 years.  (No figures yet on how long it's been since a girl was named Orville . . . .)
  • Am I the only one irritated by the fast-and-loose (and highly misleading) dating of magazines?  On Dec. 10, I got an email notice that the digital edition of one of the magazines I subscribe to was available--the February issue, not the January.  That one came out before Thanksgiving.   Somewhere there is a March or "Spring" issue of a magazine on the stands right now!
  • Did you know that Wisconsin is the only state with a Sturgeon General cabinet position?
  • "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes."-- Henry David Thoreau
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Popcorn Bob.  As in, Robert J. "Popcorn Bob" Mazurek, Kenosha (Wis.) News obituary, Dec. 4, 2016.
  • One wonders who is worse off today:  The kid with virtually no education to speak of and no job (or a McJob) . . . or the guy with a master's degree (or higher) and no job (or the so-called McJob).
  • At least Mr. No Education doesn't have $200,000 in student loans to worry about while he's worrying where his next meal is coming from!
  • All-Over-rated Club, Comedy Division:  Lewis Black, Dave Chappelle and Kathy Griffin.
  • Favorite recent Drudge Report headlines:  
  • --"Why some artists no longer want to be famous."
  • --"Do you want to know?  Blood test reveals how long you will live."  
  • --"Naked woman in stolen police cruiser leads cops on chase."  Comment:  Did we really need the word "stolen" in that headline?  Where I'm from, naked women do not enjoy cruiser joy-riding privileges. (Just naked men!)
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  O homo, quid putris odor?  ("Oh, man, what's that rotten smell?")

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