Friday, April 24, 2020


By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • Three things I’ve never had: A manicure, a pedicure and a sinecure.
  • Headline: "Coyote walking streets in San Francisco." Reaction: Finally some civilized behavior in that cesspool by the bay.
  • How did society ever last as long as it did without nail salons? If Cleopatra could live without them, why do you need them?
  • A quote that reminded me, with more than a twinge of unease, of the valiant health-care workers and first responders: "A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for."--Author/professor John A. Shedd
  • Speaking of covid-related phenomena: Czech nudists have been targeted by local police for failing to wear face masks while sunbathing. “Citizens can be without clothes in places designated for this purpose,” said a police spokeswoman, “but they must have their mouths covered.”—The Week
  • jimjustsaying’s Breakfast Menu Suggestions for Taco Bell: Eggs Over Queasy, Trash Brown Potatoes, Tijuana Omelet, Borderline Pancakes, Goatmeal Chalupa, Enchilada e.Coli, Tex-Mex Gasserole, Soft Shell Surprise and Cereal Killer Grande.
  • “A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”--H.L. Mencken
  • Earworms aren't just a modern phenomenon. 
  • Back in the 1700s, Mozart's children would drive him crazy by starting a melody on the piano and leaving it hanging. He would rush downstairs to finish the tune, according to Exploratorium.
  • Drudging Around:  Nudist Ranks on Rise . . . Starving Monkeys Ransack Government Office Shut During Corona Virus Pandemic . . . Landlords Are Targeting Vulnerable Tenants to Solicit Sex in Exchange for Rent, Advocates Say . . . Wild Animals Are Reclaiming Cities and Streets During Corona Virus Shutdown . . . [Tom Brady] Doesn’t Knock, Mixes Up Coach’s House With Neighbors . . .Top Economist: U.S. Response like "Third World" Country . . . Traffic light for Bathroom Break is New Normal in Italy. (Thanks, as always, to Matt Drudge and his Merry Band of Aggregators for these recent nuggets.)
  • Best Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Year: Catfish. As in James E. "Catfish" Gladney, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 31, 2020. 
  • Runner-up Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Year: Rosebud. As in Mary S. “Rosebud” Komorowski, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Feb. 5, 2020.
  • “It smells like rain.” We’ve all heard people say that.
  • But studies have shown there is, indeed, a smell associated with the approach of rain, and it has a name: petrichor. (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • (Gratuitous elucidation: There are several possible explanations for petrichor, according to meteorologists. The dominant vegetation of a region appears to contribute. The reaction between moisture or very high humidity and certain volatile substances in or on plants is a partial explanation. Pine forests, for example, release more terpenes into the air, substances found in medicines and perfumes. Moisture, warmth and low air pressure, conditions maximized as thunderstorms approach, enhance our sensitivity to smell while hastening the release of fragrant molecules from plants. Also, raindrops can kick up particles like dust that lend a scent to the air.) 
  • Why do they have chairs in the workout room at the gym? Not to mention newspapers and magazines! They don't have treadmills and barbells at the library! What's next? La-Z-Boys in the weight room? (On second thought . . . .)
  • Media mystery: Why are people like Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich still referred to (or addressed as) "Madame Secretary" or "Mr. Speaker"? Neither have held those titles in, collectively, about 30 years. (I achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant in the Air Force in minimum time, but no one addresses me as “Mister Sergeant!”)
  • Yet another Stupid Warning on an Actual Product: On a brand of pantyhose: "Not to be used in the commission of a felony."
  • Life was a lot simpler when the color of your new car didn’t sound like the color of your wife’s favorite nail polish. (“Hey, Ralph, what color is that new car you just bought?” “Um, I think it’s called Crystal Quartz Metallic.” “Oh.”)
  • If you can tell the difference between beige, tan, bone, off-white, ivory, khaki and sand, you’re a woman. 
  • Why do they keep naming hurricanes and tropical storms after perfectly innocent everyday people? I knew a waitress named Katrina who had to take her name tag off to put an end to the lame jokes in 2005. Solution: Dip into our ample inventory of historical villains. 
  • (“This just in: Tropical Storm Dracula is gathering steam in the North Atlantic; meanwhile, residents of the Louisiana Gulf Coast are still reeling from the ravages of last week’s Hurricane Hitler.”)
  • Each year, approximately 8,000 Americans are treated for toothpick-related injuries. No figures yet on dental floss, Q-tips or collar stays.
  • I hate it when I see an empty lot after a demolition and can’t remember the building that used to be there (even though I have passed it innumerable times)!
  • jimjustsaying’s Word That Doesn’t Exist But Should of the Month: Slutures. n. The four white threads that protrude from Levis after the tag is removed.—“ Sniglets,” Rich Hall and Friends.
  • “Pvt. Elvis Presley left his blond German girlfriend, his pet noodle and his guitar behind and went on Army maneuvers.”—Madison (Wis.) State Journal, via “Still More Press Boners,” by Earle Tempel.
  • Today’s Latin Lesson: Heus, ubi vos adepto ut frigus persona? (“Hey, where did you get that cool mask?”)