Monday, August 20, 2018


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Little-known biographical fact about me: I was a herpetologist for the CIA.
  • They're saying it's looking like "The Year of the Woman" in politics.  In the Catholic Church . . . not so much.   I mean, what's the hurry?  No problems whatsoever with the status quo.  Total transparency and not a scintilla of scandalous or criminal behavior.  So therefore, by all means keep the men in charge.  What could go wrong?  Women can wait a few centuries longer.
  • Speaking of politics: Has anyone leading in a political poll ever said, "I don't believe in polls, and the only poll that counts is on Election Day"?  No!  Only the also-rans say that.  If they magically bounce up in the polls, suddenly the refrain is revised.  
  • Someone asked me what I thought about Russian oligarchs, and I said:  "If they're endangered,  they should be protected, and poachers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!"
  • When in doubt, attritute any impressive-sounding quotation you just uttered to Benjamin Franklin, George Bernard Shaw or H.L. Mencken.  (In a pinch, you could also use Will Rogers or Sir Winston Churchill.)
  • I think our new neighbor has a giant inferiority complex.  She subscribes to Mediocre Homes and Gardens.
  • Sight never seen:  A white bellhop in an old black-and-white movie.  (Jerry Lewis doesn't count!)
  • "They say the universe is expanding. That should help with the traffic.” Comedian Steven Wright.
  • Summer is so almost over that all of the newspaper columnists have already written their annual "Don't let the summer slip away" columns.
  • Sudden thought:  I can't remember ever seeing a Starbucks commercial on TV (or heard one on radio).   I guess they're so busy printing money that they don't have the need to do one (or the time to produce one).
  • Speaking of Starbucks, they have more "laptop hobos" than McDonald's.  Something tells me these hobos aren't hopping freight trains . . . at least not on a regular basis.    (One possible reason:  No Wi-Fi service in a boxcar!)
  • Redundancy Patrol:  "False pretenses,"  "protest against," "final outcome."
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that Robert M. Pirsig, author of the best-selling and influential "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values," once wrote technical manuals and ads for the mortuary cosmetics industry?" 
  • "A neurosis is a secret you don't know you're keeping."--Critic Kenneth Tynan
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Doesn't Exist But Should of the Month:  Tabalongs:   Those plastic mini-barrels or paper packets you find in pill bottles, ostensibly to absorb moisture.  
  • Overheard: "In a few weeks my 4-year-old grandson will be starting preschool."
  • No, he won't.  He'll be in school, but there's nothing "pre" about it.  He  will be in a room with a teacher, other kids, a blackboard, has to raise his hand to go to the bathroom and won't be able to leave until a bell rings, so that's School, whether it's Totland, the Sorbonne or the Massachusetts of Technology.  The only "pre" part is when he rubs the sleep out of his eyes and wolfs down the Pop-Tart.  Because when he clambers out of the minivan and disappears into that building, he's in School.  The only difference between that place and Harvard is the curriculum.  (Show-and-tell/oral exams.  Finger painting/spreadsheets.  Etc.)
  • Do people still hang wallpaper?  Do they still make it?
  • People with Ph.D. degrees who list it after their names at all times whether relevant or not are truly odd human beings.  How many of them of the proverbial certain age were basically "professional students" who stayed at school just to avoid the draft?  I'm just emphatically sayin'.  I can play the clarinet, saxophone and flute,, but I don't list "clarinetist-saxophonist-flautist" after my signature.  I held the rank of staff sergeant in the Air Force but don't list Staff Sergeant (Ret.) after my name.  
  • And why do we call those people "doctors" anyway, when most people think of that title as that of an M.D.?  Why not Academics?  Yet another quirk of the language.
  • jimjustsaying's Top 10 Signs That the Population is Aging More Than We Thought:
  • 10.  New fed stimulus plan--Senior Discounts out; Senior Surcharge In!
  •   9.  Disney breaking ground on new GeezerLand theme park.
  •   8.  Nursing Home Triathlons (1 lap around the lobby, 10 seconds on the exercise bike, 30 minutes in the bathtub)
  •  7.  Newest must-have Apple product:  iDefribillators! 
  •  6.  Can you say Viagra Gummy Tabs?
  •  5.  Playboy's Playmate of the Century:  Betty White
  •  4.  Angelina Jolie does a commercial for Depends
  •  3.  Folks over 110 eat free at all participating Red Lobsters!  (Void where prohibited.)
  •  2.  Coming soon to a mall near you:  Gap For Granny.
  •  1.  Your oldest son comes to you on Saturday afternoon and says:  "Dad, can I have the walker tonight?"
  • Quote for the ages:  New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet wants this quote he once got included in his obituary.  Baquet was a kid reporter in his hometown of New Orleans when he met up with Edwin "The Silver Zipper" Edwards and asked the Louisiana gubernatorial candidate's reaction to a poll that said he had a healthy lead.  "The only way I lose this election," Edwards told him, "is if I'm caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."--The Poynter Morning MediaWire
  • Speaking of media, here's a memo (to print media, especially):  Just say "bar" or "tavern." "Watering hole" wasn't all that clever to begin with and has been overused to a nauseating extent.  And not that many people order a round of water!  
  • Poker has become so popular, young people are even getting into it.  What's next? The Little League World Series of Poker?  ("I'll see your Skittles and raise you three M&M two-packs.")
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Doesn't Exist But Should of the Week:  Tacangle: n. The position of one's head while biting into a taco.--"Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe," Rich Hall and Friends.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  It's nostrum parum specialis.  ("It's our little secret!")

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