Wednesday, November 20, 2019


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • jimjustsaying's Oxymoron of the Week:  Legal briefs
  • Do animals get their blood pressure taken?  Is it possible to do that?  Is it a "silent killer" for them too? 
  • (The people next door used to have a cat with probably the highest Body Mass Index on record.   But he lived to a ripe old age, so I guess cats can win the genetic lottery, too.)
  • Quarterback names have taken a curious turn in recent years::  Donovan, Peyton, Eli, Tarvaris, Troy, Kyler, Baker, Dak, Deshaun, Gardner, Mason, Jameis . . .   I think when Joe Montana retired,  they must have retired his first name!  
  • You could probably assemble a fairly decent local news program if you could combine the best talent at the three or four local news outlets in your town.  (No one station seems to have an ideal "all-star" cast.)  You'd choose this anchor person (but not his or her partner), the co-anchor person at another station (but NOT his or her partner), the weather person who sounds least like a game-show host or a jargon-spewing weather nerd, and the least annoying of the sports "anchors," many of whom look more like high school math teachers than former jocks. 
  • And then you'd have your pick of the aggregate roster of "reporters,"  who stand out in the rain--umbrella in one hand, microphone in the other, wearing a station-issued, logo-laden poncho--in front of venues where the action was but no longer is.  And all the stations spend too much time on fluff and inconsequential stories and on too many time-wasting teasers of "what's coming up."
  • And then there are the quirks of talk radio people:   "We'll talk much more about that 'on the other side of traffic.' "  Let's see: "On the other side of"--five words.  "After"--one word.  Do they get paid by the word? 
  • When I'm not watching sports on TV or listening to various podcasts,  I'm usually reading Homer in the original Greek!
  • Sudden thought: What if they found out that an endangered animal was eating all the endangered plants?
  • Christmas can be lovely and meaningful, but it bothers me.  Bothers me in the same sense that it exacerbates the loneliness of the rejected, underscores the poverty of the underprivileged and lines the pockets of those who don't need all that money and who are callous and indifferent to those who haven't found anything at all jolly in the season.  But the music is enchanting (with some exceptions--I'm talking to you, Brenda Lee), and there are extra cookies and, occasionally, a glimmer of good feeling and the great company of cherished loved ones, many of whom are making their annual appearance of the year.  So there's that.
  • Speaking of Christmas:  jimjustsaying's candidate for Outright Product Packaging Lie of the Year:  "Quick and Easy Setup!"
  • Three good names for French restaurants that are going to waste:  Le Indifference.  Le Extravagance.  Le Exorbitant. 
  • 911 Distress Call of the Month: An impatient driver (is there any other kind?) in San Francisco decided to swerve around a lane of cars stalled in traffic and drove straight into a lane of freshly poured cement, according to news reports. The auto sank about a foot and got stuck.  The vehicle?  A Porsche 911.
  • Why do people scratch their heads when they're trying to think of something?  (Or stroke their chins?)  Do they think they're activating the recall (hippocampus) section of the brain?  How do things like that get started anyway?
  • Is there a League of Men Voters?  Come to think of it, you don't hear much about the other League these days.
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Doesn't Exist But Should of the Week:  "Hooptoots." n. Strange bugle sounds at basketball games,the source of which no one seems to be able to identify.--"Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe," Rich Hall and Friends.
  • There will never be a Richard Belzer Lookalike Contest.
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that the first known advice column appeared in the London magazine The Athenian Mercury  in the 1690s?
  • Don't know what this says about me, but whenever I see a book, magazine or CD or some such  thing out of place in the rack in a store, I always put it where it should be (not always possible!), the better for someone who is actually looking for that item to find it.  I can't help myself. (Call it Shopping Karma 1.0.--or perhaps OCD  Exhibit 1B, C or D.)
  • Redundancy patrol: "General public," "unsolved mystery," "mass exodus."
  • In addition to "the right to bear arms," I think some folks hold just as dearly "the right to bear grudges."
  • Memo to producers of newspaper advertising inserts:  “WOW! doesn’t work for me anymore next to a loss-leader price tag.  I think we sophisticated consumers are  all pretty much "WOWed out" by now.  (A recent insert for Walgreen’s had 36 WOW! items.  Enough already!)
  • Tell you what, advertisers:  Just tell me the product and the price, and I'll decide whether it's a WOW! for me or not.
  • Better yet, why not come up with some more novel wording, something more attention-getting, such as:  HOLY SHIT!  Duracell AA's, 4 pack, 99 cents!!!" . . . Or, "JESUS H. CHRIST!  Snickers 2-pack, 89 cents!!! Now we're talkin' "grabbers," are we not?
  • Sad but true:  "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."--Lily Tomlin
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Quis diligo got efficio per is got efficio per is? A adsuesco assuesco affectus. ("What's love got to do with it, got to do with it? A secondhand emotion.")