Thursday, December 9, 2021


                        By Jim Szantor 

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life

  • My assessment of the toxic political divide in America:  The rift that keeps on giving!
  • “Tis the season to be jolly.”  Just this season, the season of Christmas?  Is there a cutoff . . . like Dec. 26?  Can I still be jolly in January?  How about July? Deck the halls with ambiguity!
  • Recent headline:  “Flash mob robberies roiling retailers, traumatizing workers” . . . (Yet another reason to shop at the Dollar Store . . . which, as you may have read, has become the $1.25 store.  There was a great piece in the November issue of Consumer Reports on the ins and outs of such enterprises, what to buy and what to avoid.)
  • What is your favorite memory of the Steve Bannon era?
  • jimjustsaying’s Word Never Uttered Outside the Context of a Nursery Rhyme: “Porridge.”  As in, “Who’s been eating my porridge?” asked the bear. 
  • Well, well—I see that a “new” film is creating a lot of stir.  It’s called “West Side Story.”  Hmmm. There’s a saying that goes, “We’ve seen this movie before,” and in this case, it’s literally true.  We saw it for the first time in 1961. 
  • Why does Hollywood keep remaking the same movies over and over?  Because movies are the most creatively bankrupt entertainment form (hard for me to call them an art form given their derivative, parasitic nature).
  • Look at the evidence:  Most of the highly popular or critically acclaimed movies of all time either came from books (“Gone with the Wind,” “The Godfather” and its sequels, “From Here to Eternity,” “The Grapes of Wrath” and dozens more) or from Broadway musicals (“West Side Story,” “Oklahoma,” “My Fair Lady,” “The Music Man” and dozens more.)  Some, like “Patton,” were just easy riffs on real life, not original creations.
  • Original screen plays?  Well, there are some, but then a lot of them lately are computer-generated special-effects productions.  Oh, and isn’t it about time to remake “A Star Is Born”?  Lady Gaga would be the leader in the clubhouse to milk that old cow dry.
  • Speaking of “From Here to Eternity,” the film, based on the 1951 James Jones novel, is full of flaws (ridiculously commonplace in movies). 
  • Eagle-eyed movie buffs tell us that in one scene, Donna Reed holds a filtered cigarette. The movie takes place during World War II, and they didn't make filtered cigarettes until the 1950s.
  • And Ernest Borgnine's character "Fatso" is incorrectly shown playing the piano as he moves his hands to his left as the notes get higher, and vice versa.
  • Overheard: “If you have a Plan B, Plan A is less likely to succeed.”
  • New word learned in reading about a French expert on serial killers who turned out to be a fraud and a fabulist: Mythomaniac.  We all probably know one or more of those.
  • “Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions.  Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen—Mort Sahl (R.I.P.)
  • jimjustsaying’s Fortune Cookie Message of the Month (courtesy of Lucky Liu’s, Milwaukee):  Never trouble troubles till trouble troubles you.”  (For my legion of Chinese followers, that’s: “Cóng bù má fan má fan, zhí dào má fan kùn rǎo nǐ.”)
  • Best advice I ever received:  Don’t let people live rent-free in your head.
  • The Decline of Modern Civilization, Exhibit No. 436:  Seems to me that snack bags are getting thinner and thinner.  You barely touch them, and they rip right down the middle! 
  • Redundancy patrol:  Revert back, free gift, added bonus.
  • No truth to the rumor that 79-year-old Leslie Stahl is set to sign a 10-year contract extension with “60 Minutes.” 
  • Wolf Blitzer of CNN, your plane is boarding.  (Aren’t these septuagenarian warhorses just hogging jobs that could go to other, younger worthies?  Stahl and Blitzer are the cable news versions of Bob Hope, George Burns, et al. Thank you and good night!)
  • All-Overrated Club (female media division):  Lara Logan, Gayle King and Wendy Williams. 
  • jimjustsaying’s Party Ice-Breaker of the Month: “Say [actual party-goer’s name here], did you know that polar bears in Norway are feasting on reindeer in record numbers for the first time due to the decline of sea ice, lack of access to their preferred diet of seals and thus are spending much more time on land?”
  • "Fame simply means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are."-- Erica Jong
  • Who knew? jimjustsaying’s Breed of Dog I Didn’t Know Existed Until I Saw It Mentioned in a Newspaper Classified Ad: Petite Bernedoodles.  “Ready to go home. 10-15 pounds, about 20 full grown.  Also taking orders on Christmas doodle puppies. Calm, quiet, easy to train. Free delivery up to 2.5 miles from Germantown. Please text 920-xxx-xxxx.”
  • Three things I've never cleaned:  A rifle, a fish, an oven.
  • Holy Inflation, Batman!  A stove on display in an appliance store is shown with a price tag of $16,110.49.  Sign below: “Was $2,229.”  (Consumer Reports, November 2021 issue.)
  • “In real life, I assure you there is no such thing as algebra.”—Fran Lebowitz
  • jimjustsaying’s Word That Doesn’t Exist But Should of the Week:  "Darf." n. The least attractive side of a Christmas tree that ends up facing the wall.—“More Sniglets,” Rich Hall and Friends.
  • “He is the father of five, and his wife is expecting a sixth.  His job keeps him hopping all day, but he is not one to spend his nights just sitting around the house doing nothing.”--"Still More Press Boners," by Earle Tempel.
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month:  "Pootie."  As in, Khloie Janae “Pootie” Harris, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 21, 2021
  • Today's Latin Lesson:  Totus res in temperantia--omprehendo temperantia.  ("All things in moderation--including moderation!")