Monday, May 1, 2017


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Vanishing Americana:  When is the last time you saw a doghouse?   They seem to have gone the way of the outhouse.
  • New policy: I'm not subscribing  or resubscribing to any magazines that arrive in plastic bags.  New Yorker--safe; Vanity Fair--history. Publishers, take note.
  • Internet Click Bait Item of the Month:  "Does it really matter which time of day you shower?"
  • (Runnerup:  "The one thing you never noticed about Jackie O's shoes!")
  • jimjustsaying's Taco Bell Breakfast Menu Suggestions:  Eggs Over Queasy, Trash Brown  Potatoes, Tijuana Omelette, Borderline Pancakes, Goatmeal Chalupa, Enchilada e. Coli,  Tex-Mex Gasserole, Soft Shell Surprise and Cereal Killer Grande.
  • Has anyone ever asked to have their favorite painting or sculpture on display at their funeral or memorial service?  Music rules!
  • Best description yet of the "NPR voice" we all know but not all of us love (via James Wolcott in Vanity Fair/Teddy Wayne in the New York Times):
  •  " . . . that self-consciously offhand microphone intimacy where the ellipsis-dot pauses, wry curlicues of irony, and indecisive stammer project collegial sincerity instead of the traditional vocal-god authority of postwar radio announcers or former fashion plates of enunciation such as William F. Buckley Jr. . . .  The 'NPR voice' adds coy inflections and Frappuccino foam . . . and it's proved equally spry, versatile and civic spirited.  It's also become a shtick, proving yet again that imitation is the sincerest form of self-flattery."
  • Why are there hockey teams in cities that have never seen snow or ice?  They don't have beach volleyball teams in Siberia!
  • Speaking of sports, the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals brought into sharp focus the vast number of what I call "athlete impersonators" in this country.  Wearing a team's shirt or cap is one thing; wearing one with some player's name on it is another!  I greatly admire the pontiff, but I wouldn't dream of walking around wearing a sweatshirt that said Pope Francis on the back! (And, shouldn't his number be retired by now?)
  • Sometimes I feel like a Sony Mini-Disc in the Spotify of life!
  • Depressing note:  According to The, the only United Nations member state that hasn’t ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is . . . the United States. There's your "American exceptionalism" for you!
  • jimjustsaying's Media Word of the Month (a word you encounter only in print and never hear a real person use in real life):  Miscreant.
  • Speaking of words, tailgating is a strange one. It can mean either (a) a rambunctious motorist following a vehicle too closely, or (b) cooking bratwurst or some other fatty meat in a stadium parking lot three hours before the actual sports event is to take place.
  • Take some polyester, wax, carbon black and fumed silica, Yellow 180, Red 122 and Blue 15:3, charge control agents, and what have you got?  Laser printer toner, Wired magazine reports.  (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • "Americans who overslept invented the word brunch."-- Joan Crawford
  • jimjustsaying's Cultural Note of the Month: How did yoga spread to the U.S.? Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda first introduced Americans to yoga in 1893, eventually starting an ashram in Los Angeles, The Week reports.
  • On the East Coast, an early populizer was Pierre Bernard, known as "The Great Oom," who taught yoga to society women. When it emerged that he had seduced several of them, he was dismissed as a charlatan.  (At least we now know how the yoga mat came into being!)
  •  "The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed yet."-- Novelist William Gibson
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Smoke John. As in John C. "Smoke John” Johanowicz. Kenosha (Wis.) News, March 7, 2017.  R.I.P., Mr. Johanowicz.
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Doesn't Exist That Should of the Month: Percalevate.  n. To levitate oneself while trying to straighten out the sheets underneath."--"Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe," Rich Hall & Friends
  • What is the tipping point between being reluctant to admit how old you are . . . and being proud of how old you are? 
  • We 've all known people in both camps, but when do they cross over from being sheepish about their advancing age . . . and proud of how far they've made it ?
  • Beer bellies can be seen all around us, unless you're watching a beer commercial, wherein all imbibers look like Ironman Triathlon contestants.  
  • Overheard:  "He was dressed to the eights!"
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Quid est?  Ego te cogitavi in tesseras!  ("What? I thought you had the tickets!)