Saturday, September 21, 2019


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • I was planning to start up a pricey burger joint and call it Hamburger Schlemmer.  But then I discovered the name has already been taken, so I'm going with Burgerzon.
  • I was surprised to see what cigarettes cost today--about $8 a pack.  And that was at The Dollar Store!
  • Sept. 20 headline:  "Walgreen's to test drone deliveries with Google's Wing."
  • I guess the "Corner of Happy and Healthy" is now "The Friendly Skies of Happy and Healthy."  ("It's a bird, it's a plane . . . no, it's just Walgreen's dropping off my Preparation H!")
  • Let's kill all the lawyers?  Well, on second thought, we don't have to--the robots will.
  • According to news reports, law firms are using artificial intelligence (AI) to do contract analysis, hunt for client conflicts and even craft litigation strategy. (But I'm already up to speed on all this:  I've got a robot on a retainer.)
  • Quiz time:  Which is the only city with world championships in the NFL, NBA, MLB, the NHL and the MLS? (Answer later in this column.)
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Doesn't Exist of the Month But Should:  AbrahamWashington. n. The unidentifiable "president" on the facsimile bill on a change machine.--From "Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe," Rich Hall and Friends.  (Would that be a counterfeit image or a composite image?)
  • Memo to all companies:  Let me buy something without making me create an account, a user name and a password, and you've got a customer for life. 
  • Moreover, giving me the option of canceling my subscription or whatever service online without having to call and be subjected to a high-pressure sales pitch before the cancellation is enacted will earn you EXTRA points.
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Month:  "Say [actual party-goer's name here], did you know that the first bomb dropped on Berlin by the Allies during World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo?
  • Trade war trivia: KFC sells more chicken in China than in the U.S.  ("Let's get some American food tonight.")  And General Motors sells more cars there than in the U.S.  (Hard to think of a Chevy Cruze as a foreign car, but I guess in Shanghai it is.)
  • Let's see if I got this right:  Martha Stewart got five months in prison because of a stock deal and Jeffrey Epstein got 11 months of work release for molesting young girls?  Justice in America. 
  • "Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine."--Whoopi Goldberg
  • Choice explosion run amok:  Thirty years ago, Colgate had two brands of toothpaste. Today, it has 32, excluding the four they make for children.  You could use one brand a day for a month and still have one or two left over.
  • Another in a series of jimjustsaying's Media Words (words you see in newspapers but rarely if ever hear used by normal people in everyday life):  "Bevy."  (See also "passel," "vaunted" and "embattled").
  • What's new is old?  The Week reports that vinyl records are on pace to outsell compact discs for the first time since 1986.  Fueled by "hipsters and audiophiles,"  the vinyl resurgence coincides with a slump in sales of CDs, which are losing market share to online streaming services.
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Pooch.  As in Michael "Pooch" Kamke, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Aug. 25, 2019. R.I.P., Mr. Kamke.
  • Are pets always on vacation . . . or never on vacation?  (And if you take your pet with you on vacation, is that a double vacation for the pet?  Or is it more of a vacation for Fido if you leave home with a neighbor tending to him or put in a kennel?)
  • Airwave nostalgia: How glorious it was when you could channel-switch and find Steve Allen, Jackie Gleason and Sid Caesar without too much trouble.  We're not even close to equaling any one of those much less all three--and we have a couple of hundred more channels.
  • Wise words:  "There is not a politician, policymaker or journalist who hasn't been wrong about Iraq at some point."--Joe Klein, Time magazine.  You could easily substitute Afghanistan or Iran and be just as on point.
  • Quiz answer:  Chicago (supposedly" the city of lovable losers").
  • jimjustsaying's Foreign Word With No English Equivalent of the Month:   Mamihlapinatapai (from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego): That special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want done but neither want to do.
  • Today's Latin LessonUtor es postulo purgo manuum pro recidivus laboro.  ("Employees must wash hands before returning to work.") 

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