Thursday, April 4, 2019


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Baseball note I:  I wonder what Ty Cobb's walkup music was?
  • Baseball Note II: You can't believe everything you read in the comprehensive and usually reliable MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia, specifically the listing of one Lou Proctor, who allegedly made one appearance for the St. Louis Browns in 1912 and drew a walk.  
  • But Proctor was actually a press-box telegraph operator who mischievously inserted his name into the box score, historian Bert Randolph Sugar reports in "Rain Delays, An Anecdotal History of Baseball Under One Umbrella."  
  • Why are baseball teams often referred to as  "ball clubs"  but  football and basketball teams never are?  They're "teams." But they use a ball, too, last time I looked, so . . . .
  • "Baseball is a game of failure coached by negative people in an environment of misinformation."--Tom House, noted major-league pitching coach.
  • Wouldn't it be funny if two speed-readers met while speed-dating . . . and their first date was running a marathon together?  Talk about a whirlwind romance! (Godspeed to the lucky lovers.)
  • You Can't Make This Stuff Up Headline of the Week:  "Jelly Belly creator releases cannabis-infused jelly beans."
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Month:  "Say [actual party-goer's name here], did you know that people shed off particles of skin on a daily basis?   So by age 70, humans have shed out almost 100 pounds of skin."
  • It's scary to think of what percentage of the drivers on the road at any given time (a) are licensed (b) are insured (c) are not under the influence of a controlled substance or (d) aren't paying more attention to a phone or other device.   
  • I'd be surprised if as many as 20 percent of the drivers were licensed/insured, sober and attentive.  That leaves a very perilous 80 percent.  No wonder there has been an epidemic of state troopers and the like struck and killed by cars and trucks.  
  • Another sobering contemporary thought: Recycling, the EPA reports, is not an environmental panacea. For example, you would have to personally recycle 40,000 plastic bottles to offset your carbon footprint from taking one round-trip flight between New York City and London.
  • What do Ed Asner, Barbara Stanwyck, Peter Falk, Jim Backus, Gavin McLeod, Telly Savalas, Lee Marvin, Henry Silva, Jack Warden, Jack Klugman, Martin Balsam, Keenan Wynn, Rip Torn, Cloris Leachman, Nita Talbot, Vic Morrow, William Bendix, Lloyd Nolan, Elizabeth Montgomery, Ruth Roman, Fay Spain, Charles Bronson, Dan Daily, Patricia Neal, Robert Duvall, Vince Edwards, James Coburn, Dyan Cannon, Robert Vaughn, Cliff Robertson, Anne Francis, Joan Blondell, Ricardo Montalban, Bert Convy, Gloria Talbot, June Havoc, Norman Fell, Joi Lansing, Leonard Nimoy, James Caan, Harvey Korman, Ted Knight, Ryan O'Neal and Robert Redford have in common?  Answer elsewhere in Popcorn.
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Doesn't Exist But Should of the Month:  Yaffling.  v. Speaking loudly to foreigners, as if somehow this makes you easier to understand.--"Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe," Rich Hall and Friends.
  • Attention, manufacturers of tooth-brush holders:   Most toothbrushes are larger than they were in 1940, but you're still making holders that same size!    You're apparently totally oblivious to the obvious.  Brush up on the obvious and mend your ways!
  • "History teaches that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives."--Abba Eban
  • jimjustsaying's Press Boner of the Month: "Then he fled into the woods where he often hunted and killed himself."--Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, via "Still More Press Boners," compiled by Earle Tempel.
  • Drudging Around (the Internet's infamous Drudge Report in recent weeks): "Texas Woman Dead After Trying to Get 'Cheap Nose Job' in Mexico," "The Man Who Fathered 200 Children," "Toilet Seats Detect Heart Conditions," "Priest Accused of Groping Woman During Last Rites," "Words Banned by California DMV," "Great American Sex Drought: Record Celibacy," "Brothel Offers 'Digisexual Therapy' to Cure Robot Addiction," "Virgin Mary Statue Beheaded Outside Southern CA Church," NYPD Officer Struck by Hearse, Another Injured by Falling Drone."
  • jimjustsaying's Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  Smilen (sic) Bob.  As in Robert “Smilen Bob” Allen MacDonald, Green Bay Press-Gazette, April 3, 2019.  R.I.P., Mr. MacDonald.
  • Redundancy Patrol:  "At this point in time," "enter into," "inner core," "each and every."
  • What's the difference between a dingus, a doohickey and a thingamabob?  (I don't know, but they are what they are!)
  • Quiz answer:  They all had big or bit parts in at least one (and in some cases, many) episodes of "The Untouchables," the TV series that ran from 1959 to 1963.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Salvum me gramina.  ("Get off my lawn!")