Tuesday, January 1, 2019


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • As our population continues trend older and older, I boldly predict the newest must-have Apple device:  iDefibrillator.
  • If you ever have a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, you'll be in elite company--that is, if you considered being one of 2,600 (at last count) to be elite company!  
  • I simplified my gift-giving to the grandchidren this year:  Batteries for everyone  (toys not included).
  • And I sent a calendar to my insurance agent--just to see if she had a sense of humor.  (Jury still out.)
  • Best quotation recently discovered:  "You never realize you have a reputation until you find out you're not living up to it."--Classical pianist Jose Iturbi (the only classical pianist to earn two gold records).
  • Why is everyone suddenly using the word "agency" this year?   Last year, it was "dystopian."
  • Point to ponder:  During many of the peaks and troughs of history, the people living it didn't fully realize what was unfolding:  Societal change builds slowly, and the events only are added up in retrospect.--Axios AM by Mike Allen
  • Gas pump shocker:  No, not the lower price; I knew that driving in.  It was while filling up during a blinding snowstorm and seeing the pump display ask, "Car wash today?"  Er, no, but thanks for the comic relief.
  • The money you may have saved at the pump recently could be used to pump quarters into the formerly free air-hose machine.  Who do we blame for that--the Arab Air Cartel?
  • It is appalling to encounter the number of gas stations without working air pumps (especially in winter); sometimes even the coin-operated ones are hard to find.  
  • jimjustsaying's New Rule:  All stations with non-working air hoses would have their gas pumps automatically shut off and all electricity shut off in their "convenience" stores until said service was restored.  
  • I recently saw a guy in one of those store, someone who looked like he had never been to a dentist in his life, paying $73.45 for a carton of cigarettes.   Figuring that lasts him about a week, that's an annual outlay of about $3,800.  But the dentist?  Can't afford that.  (Might have the commonplace fear of going to the dentist . . . but apparently no fear of lung cancer.)
  • “Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.”--Comedian Michael Pritchard
  • All-Overrated Club:  Ellen DeGeneres,  Amy Schumer,  Whitney Cummings.
  • I had this dream recently:  It was 2070, Mars was just colonized . . . and Lesley Stahl was still on "60 Minutes."  
  • Headline I just saw:  "EX-NFL Punter to WWE."   (WWE, I learned, stands for World Wrestling Entertainment.)  Headline I'm waiting for:  "Ex-pro wrestler nominated for  the U.S. Supreme Court."
  • There will never be a Michael Jackson Lookalike Contest.
  • Faded Phrases:  "Don't take any wooden nickles. "  "It takes one to know one."  "Don't cut off your nose to spite your face."
  • Death, as they say, took no holiday in the literary world in 2018, with such luminaries as Tom Wolfe, Phillip Roth, Charles Krauthammer, V.S. Naipaul and Harlan Ellison departing this mortal coil.   R.I.P., great writers.
  • Parking-lot mystery: It's 10 degrees, and there's plenty of room inside the warm fast-food restaurant, but more often than not, there's someone (invariably a guy) eating in his car or (usually) truck, with the engine running, polluting the air and wasting precious fuel.   As they say in Standup Land:  "What's up with that?"
  • Overheard: "I love asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, because I am still looking for ideas."
  • It's a tossup as to who gets lied to the most--doctors or policemen.
  • ("Yeah, doc, I have a drink once in a while, but that's about it."  "No, officer, there's nothing in the vehicle you need to be concerned about.")
  • (A gendarme of my acquaintance, commenting on the latter, said: "It cracks me up when I ask if there's anything in the vehicle I need to be concerned about, and there's a long pause, and they say:  "I don't THINK so." (In other words:  Did I put my incriminating stuff  under the seat or did I leave it at home.)
  • Why do stores with double doors almost always have one of them locked?
  • Speaking of doors,  here's an actual sign on the door of Brooklyn pawn shop:  "Closed due to death in family." (Penciled in below:  "Not Sam.")
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Totum in cuius bove cornu est.  ("It all depends on whose ox is being gored.")