Sunday, February 16, 2020


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • I love it that the flu has a "season."  Who threw out the first tissue?
  • Why do people say, "It’s too cold to snow”?  (Yeah, right; those blizzards at the South Pole when it’s 80 below zero, those 30-foot drifts, are strictly an optical illusion or trick photography.)
  • jimjustsaying's New Weather Word:  When snow flurries are so light that they’re barely visible, they almost look like airborne lint. I call it “slint.” Tomorrow’s forecast: Most sunny, turning partly slinty by afternoon. Chance of slint: 60 percent.)
  • Market mirage?  “In one of the best decades the American economy has ever recorded, families were bled dry by landlords, hospital administrators, university bursars and child-care centers,” the Atlantic's  Annie Lowrey writes.  “For millions, a roaring economy felt precarious or downright terrible.”
  • Calling all  carnivores:  Meat eaters who aspire to eat less of it or become vegetarians can now buy a “meat patch” to suppress their cravings, The Week reports.  
  • Scientist Charles Spence of Oxford University says the patch, which is worn on the arm like a nicotine patch, can be scratched to elicit an aroma of bacon, thus satisfying  carnivorous impulses.
  • Spence insists that multiple studies have found that “scent reduces food cravings,” although some are skeptical. “Surely, the smell of bacon makes you want it more?!” one meat-eater tweeted.
  • Speaking of food, I brought “a dish to pass” to the church potluck supper.  Nothing on it—just the dish!  (Next year I'll know better.)
  • “Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink.”--Boston politician Martin Lomasney
  • Memo to all store chains who have their checkout clerks ask if I "want to donate to [fill in the blank for whatever cause they're pushing)."  I give a fair amount to charities, appreciate that I can write a check (or pay by credit card) for tax-proving purposes when I do so and think it's unseemly to be guilt-tripped after I've given you--a for-profit private business--money for your profit margin.   
  • At first this was a rare occurrence, but lately it's become more widespread.  Tell you what, Mr. Corporate Mogul:  Why don't YOU support the charity with the money the customers are paying YOU!
  • I'm so old, I can remember when pharmacists were routinely referred to as "druggists."  They never liked that term back then (not dignifed enough), and I'm sure they have more reason to dislike it now! (Your "friendly neigborhood druggist"  is now a guy with 73 tattoos, a long rap sheet. andif he's wearing a white coat, it's probably an ermine white coat.)
  • Speaking of drugs, researchers have analyzed eight prescription drugs that were between 28 and 40 years beyond the expiration date and found that most of retained their potency, according to a report.
  • Overall, the eight drugs included 14 different active ingredients, including aspirin, codeine and hydrocodone.  In 86 percent of cases, the study found, the amount of active ingredient present  was at least 90 percent of the amount indicated.
  • Overheard:  "Why do atheists get so wound up over something they do not believe in?"
  • "I was born to be a pessimist: My blood type is B Negative.--Lorian Flint
  • jimjustsaying's Party Ice-Breaker of the Week:  "Say [actual partygoer's name here], did you know that there Is no private entrance to the White House?"
  • (According to "The Obamas." by Jodi Kantor, it''s one of the downsides to living in a combination fortress/museum.  Staff and tourists have access to the Diplomatic Reception Room--close to where the entrance to the White House bedrooms is located--during regular operating hours, so the first family has to crouch behind brown screens to avoid detection.)
  •  jimjustsaying's Language Note of the Month:  John Richards, founder of The Apostrophe Protection Society in the U.K., declared defeat recently in his effort to promote the correct use of apostrophes and reduce errors such as “pizza’s.” “Ignorance has won,” Richards said.
  • I don‘t care what anyone says:  Olympic figure skaters or “ice dancers“ are performers, not athletes.
  • Mr. Goody Two-Shoes?   Sara Joanne Byrd doesn’t want anyone to put Mister Rogers on a pedestal, said Amy Kaufman in the Los Angeles Times.  Byrd, 91, who was married to Fred Rogers for 50 years, said,  “He’s out there now as someone who’s somehow way above all the rest of us. 
  • “He was not prissy at all.”  Rogers relished dirty jokes, Byrd says, and if the couple found themselves trapped at a boring social event, he had a surefire way of getting her to laugh: farting on command. “He would just raise one cheek and he would look at me and smile,” Byrd says. ("Mister Rogers!")
  • Being the coolest guy at the Senior Center is a lot like being the tallest midget at the circus.
  • jimjustsaying's Favorite Ring Lardner line:  “Shut up,” he explained.
  • Eighty-seventh Wisconsin Town I Didn't Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Green Bay Press-Gazette Obituary:  Cooperstown, Wis. (R.I.P., Roy Post, Green Bay Press-Gazette obituary, Feb. 16, 2020).  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, Menchalville, Underhill and Rothschild.
  • Today's Latin Lesson: Ut Volo vestri sententia I'll quaeso is.  ("When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it!")