Sunday, March 8, 2020


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Does anyone else besides me miss Radio Shack?  
  • Radio Shack was fun to browse in and full of useful and reasonably priced items and was usually staffed by friendly clerks who seemed to know how to fix what ailed whatever was ailing and had the item you needed to fix it and knew where it was.   (So obviously it was a sure candidate for extinction.  Who in their right mind wants a store like that?)
  • It seems to me that every election cycle gives birth to a new buzzword or term.  This time around it's "lane."  As in, "Bernie Sanders has the progressive lane all but wrapped up, so other candidates have to find another lane."  Who starts these things?
  • jimjustsaying's Advice to the Lovelorn:  Never date a man or a woman who has a bail bondsman on his or her Contacts list, or a swastika tattoo on his or her forehead or who buys fertilizer and cold medicine by the truckload.
  • Baseball is trying to speed up the game by making each relief pitcher face three batters or pitch until the half inning is over.  There's much debate about how useful--or how damaging--this might turn out to be.
  • Better solution:  Really enforce the rule about batters having to stay in the batter's box (under most circumstances) and even better yet, scotch the rule about allowing unlimited foul balls after strike two.  In other words, after strike two is reached, no matter how, the batter gets two foul balls after that.  Third one retires you.  No more 12-pitch plate appearances.  (I think each club's bean counters will appreciate the savings on baseballs that aren't flying into the stands.)
  • jimjustsaying's Word That Doesn't Exist But Should of the Month:  Aquadextrous, adj.  Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub faucet on and off with toes of either foot.--from "Sniglets," Rich Hall & Friends.
  • The marriage took place in the pressure of the immediate families and a few close friends and relatives."-The Little Falls (N.Y.) Times, via "Still More Press Boners," by Earle Tempel.
  • All-overrated Club:  David Spade, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Myers. 
  • Talk Show challenge for Jimmy and Seth: To go more than two nights in a row without a guest who is a current or former "Saturday Night Live" member.  We don't really care what Lorne said to so-and-so or other insider drivel you seem fixated on. 
  • Has anyone ever seen Rihanna, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Ariana Grande in the same room at the same time?
  • Speaking of whom, remember when it was common to see (or hear) female singers referred to as "songstresses" or, worse yet, "chanteuses."  Who didn't sing but "warbled"?
  • Did you know that Facebook is banned in China?  Another area in which that country has taken the lead.
  • Ever notice that people will agree to do just about anything--as long as its far enough in the future?
  • ("Hey, Ralph:  Help me paint the garage on Saturday?"  "Um, gee, Jim--I think we've got something planned."  "OK, how about Aug. 21, 2033?" "Sure, Jim--no problem. . . . . . .What time?")
  • Speaking the "garbage language," as Molly Young of New York magazine calls corporate neologisms, means using words like "parallel-path" (as both noun and verb!) as well as "operationalize," "weaponize" and "business-critical." My longtime favorite in that realm:  Price point.  What, pray tell, does the second word add that the first word doesn't say as much as needs to be said.
  • Then, of course, if you listen to the business stations on radio, you know that latest geopolitical developments were "already baked in the cake," and God forbid that you bought a stock in a company that was "the cleanest dirty shirt" or "the best house in a bad neighborhood." 
  • And God forbid that you should try to "catch a falling knife."  And the cognoscenti know that "bull markets climb on a wall of worry" and bear markets decline on as "a slippery slope of hope."  Also (thanks to Warren Buffett), "You'll know who's swimming naked when the tide goes out." 
  • Overheard:  We live in a society where pizza gets to your house before the police.
  • I'm always amused when I see a sign that says "Not responsible for goods left over 30 days."  I figure, if I haven't missed it by then, they're welcome to have it!
  • Piling on:  "Sometimes people speak as though someone asked them a question. Well, nobody asked him a question."--Miles Davis on Wynton Marsalis.   And: "If I could play like Wynton Marsalis, I wouldn't play like Wynton Marsalis."--Chet Baker
  • jimjustsaying's Book Title of the Week:  "The Complete Idiot's Guide for Lawsuits," by Victoria E. Green, J.D.
  • Now that spring is almost upon us, the most depressing part about going for a walk is getting a close-up look at all the trash thoughtless louts and loutesses have flung out of their cars and trucks that has been covered by the snow . . . but now isn't.
  • Three things no one has ever had a craving for: Water chestnuts, bean sprouts and Worcestershire sauce.
  • jimjustsaying's Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month: Rosebud.  As in Mary S. “Rosebud” Komorowski, Green Bay Press-Gazette, March 8, 2020.  R.I.P., Mrs. Komorowski.
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Scio te quis nudus natat, cum primum aestu egreditur. ("You'll know who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.")