Monday, August 19, 2019


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • My computer came with a built-in sweet tooth.  It always accepts cookies.
  • When's the last time you saw a house with a Ping-Pong table?  As for billiards, the game was associated with seedy "pool halls," then got Yuppified and went the slick and trendy route as "billiards parlors," but now have seemingly disappeared.  (Not a very good bank shot.)
  • If my ground beef has d. coli, does that mean it's safe to eat?
  • jimjustsaying's Drudge Report Headline of the Week:  "Wayne Newton sued over girl's monkey bite at home."  (More on this story as it develops.)
  • Market musings:  Did you know that Dow Jones is actually two people--Charles Dow and Edward Jones?  That the Russell Index (of small-cap stocks) is named after Frank Russell?  And wouldn't we all be better off with Standard and Rich instead of Standard and Poor?  Meanwhile, my neighbor just traded in his Nasdaq for a Nissan.  I think that's what he said.)
  • If you want an accurate short course on the metric system, ask a drug dealer.   I don't know a kilo from a cumquat!
  • Pop culture quiz: How many people over 30 could correctly identify Beyonce, Rihanna, Cardi B, Shakir and Ariana Grande?  I think I can tell Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga apart, but that's about it.
  • Pop culture note II:  Madonna just celebrated her 61st birthday with her kids.  Don't believe the rumors that she busted out of a giant cake in a bustier.   Urban legend!
  • Historical footnote:  The Week, in its July 26 issue, reported that Russia's lunar program fell behind ours when its chief rocket engineer, Sergei Korolev, died in 1966 during a botched surgery for hemorrhoids.  ("Moscow, we have a problem!")
  • “Journalism largely consists in saying ‘Lord Jones is dead’ to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.”--G.K. Chesterton
  • Why are the "comedians" on cable TV's "Comedy Central" always dressed like the guy who empties your septic tank?
  • It's getting harder and harder to find a good palm reader. (Hmm, I wonder if Consumer Reports has ever  done anything . . . .)
  • Three things I've never done:  Cleaned a fish, field-dressed a deer or had my palm read.
  • At Miller Park in Milwaukee, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Polish sausage is running away with the races this year.  Unfortunate, seeing as how I have the Italian in my Sausage Fantasy League.  (But then again, there's still a lot of sausage left to be played. . . .)
  • Baseball should have a Hall of Moments for guys like John Paciorek.  He played just one game in the major leagues (Houston Colt 45s, 1963), but he went 3 for 3, scored 4 runs, drove in 3 runs and also walked twice. 
  • (Why just a one-game career?  He had a bad back, but his day--literally--in the sun is the envy of all who never got even that far.  That is, the rest of us.)
  • And always remember:  Odds are, the star of today's game could well be the first-base coach of tomorrow.
  • Memo to ESPN (or any other station that shows sports footage):  We don't need a busy, sizzling rock beat behind those baseball highlights, what with one or two commentators weighing in with their badinage, along with the crowd noise and, quite often, the bleed-through of the actual game's play-by-play guy.  Sonic overload!   It's superfluous, distracting and annoying.  (And if the play is so perfunctory that someone thinks it needs "punching up," why show it in the first place?)
  • The Law of Unintended Consequences will never be repealed.
  • Sobering note about overtourism from an excellent New York Times story:  In 1960, when the jet age began, around 25 million international trips were taken. Last year, the number was 1.3 billion. 
  • As for the cities that are the major destinations? They are "the same size they were back in 1959, and they’ll probably stay that way,” according to Justin Francis, the chief executive of Responsible Travel, a company that arranges "sustainable" travel for customers. 
  • So if you're anxious to stand for hours in endless queues behind sweaty, selfie-stick wielding tourists, the Disneyfication of Europe awaits you.   You'll be a Facebook or Instagram legend . . . for about 20 seconds.  (The Travel Channel is looking more appealing by the minute.)
  • jimjustsaying's Stupid Actual Product Warning Label of the Week:  On a Swedish chainsaw: "Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals."
  • Overheard:  "Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun, but I've never been able to make out the numbers."
  • Another in jimjustsaying's series of Media Words, words you see only in print or hear only on news broadcasts and never hear an actual person use in everyday life:  "Inveigle."
  • Eighty-fifth Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary:  Underhill, Wis. (R.I.P., Sandra M. Miller, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Aug. 11, 2019).  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, North Chase, Navarino, Pequot Lakes, Buchanan,  Rio Creek, Humboldt, Mill Center, Carlton, White Potato Lake, Lark, Scott,  Newal,  Biron and Menchalville.
  • Today's Latin lesson: Commodo exspecto populus futurus sessio. ("Please wait for hostess to be seated.")

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