Sunday, January 2, 2022


                                                       By Jim Szantor 

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

  • I was a teenage cartographer (for the CIA).
  • There are Christmas Specials on TV that I never miss, and this past Christmas was no exception. Here was my watched list, in no particular order:
    • “Christmas With the Gingriches” (encore presentation)
    • “Winnie the Pooh’s Holiday Pot Party”
    • “Police Navidad”
    • “Joey Buttafuoco’s First Incarcerated Christmas”
    • “Christopher Walken in a Winter Wonderland”
    • “The My Pillow Guy’s Nuttiest Holiday Traditions”
  • I can’t help but wonder how many people who asked me “So, how was your Christmas?” actually went to church, as my wife and I did? I know from anecdotal recollection/observation that there are people who will circle the mall parking lot for a half hour looking for a parking space . . . or will spend hours online “looking for the perfect gift” but can’t find an hour on Christmas Eve or Day to properly observe what—unless I’m grossly out of touch—is still a religious holiday. (But when those folks or a loved one are undergoing a crisis, who do they turn to? Hammacher Schlemmer? Amazon can deliver a lot, but no medical miracles that I’m aware of.)
  • “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”—Historian Henry Adams. (If Adams were a latter-day historian--he died in 1918--he probably would have said “teachers” and “they.” But the essential point is profound and unfortunately overlooked.)
  • jimjustsaying’s Decoding Service (“I translate misleading terms so you don’t have to”): Adjunct professor: Poorly paid part timer.
  • Headline: “Man in ER with World War II artillery shell in rectum.” Well, you hear of veterans who can’t get the war out of their heads, but apparently other body parts are in play as well.
  • Speaking of body parts: “The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.”—Alfred Hitchcock
  • jimjustsaying’s You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Item of the Month: A federal court in Germany ruled that a man who injured himself at home while walking from his bed to his work desk was technically “commuting” and was thus entitled to worker’s compensation.
  • There’s hardly a day goes by that I don’t see egregious examples of bad industrial design, idiotic graphic design (white type on a light gray or pale yellow background—oh so readable!), or bar codes pasted over vital product information when it easily could have been placed elsewhere. How we put a man on the Moon is a mystery to me. 
  • Memo to Psychology Today magazine: Your lack of a digital version (where type size can be enlarged) cost you a subscriber, given your insistence on running meaningless full-page illustrations that take up valuable space and thus forces you to downsize the article body type to stock-quotation size. What is the psychology behind that? 
  • Memo No. 2 (in case they didn’t get the point): Nobody subscribes to Psychology Today for the drawings. In an era in which people are reading print publications less and less, one would think publishers would mend their ways . . . or would at least add digital versions and do something to make the print experience more reader friendly. You would think . . . .
  • I’m so old, I can remember when you didn’t have to get a clerk to unlock most of the stuff you wanted to buy at Walgreen’s. (Tale of Two Cities: Nothing of the sort at the Walgreens in Door County; quite the opposite in metropolitan Milwaukee. Draw your own conclusions. And guess which stores have higher prices for the same items as a result of this “shrinkage”?)
  • “U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show that there is enough cabbage to produce three heads for each person.”—Logan (Ohio) News, via “Still More Press Boners,” by Earle Tempel
  • jimjustsaying’s Product Ad Gaffe of the Month: The picture accompanying an advertisement for an electric can opener shows it opening a pull-tab can. (“Can-opener overkill,” Consumer Reports, August 2021 issue.)
  • Every time I see “Legendary rapper XXXX dead,” I have the same response most people over 50 have. One thing that all rappers seem to have in common: No discernible talent. This is a category with a mystifyingly massive amount of appeal.  Every era has its entertainment niches, but people like Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey were recognized virtuoso performers, as were singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Rosemary Clooney, none of whom can be remembered uttering obscene lyrics. Moral: When the bar drops, it really drops.   
  • jimjustsaying’s Word That Doesn’t Exist But Should of the Month: “Postalports.” n. The annoying windows in envelopes that never line up with the address information.—“More Sniglets,” Rich Hall and Friends
  • Redundancy Patrol (“P” division): Past experience, personal opinion, pick and choose.
  • “Not forgiving someone is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.”—Novelist Anne Lamott
  • Anderson Cooper of CNN: Two first names or two last names?  I like him; he’s perhaps the best among many good people at CNN. But does he have to moonlight for “60 Minutes”? (Fun Fact: AC was a guest on “The Tonight Show” on Sept. 17, 1970, at age 3, along with his mother. That would be . . . Gloria Vanderbilt. So this is obviously a guy in need of two incomes.)
  • Ah, CNN: The station that let Zoom “self-pleasurer” Jeffrey Toobin back on the air! As if he’s the premier legal analyst in the nation—can’t do without him. No word from the station as to whether Harvey Weinstein will be furloughed from prison to produce this year’s Girl Scout Jamboree. (Jeffrey Epstein is no longer available, and Anthony Weiner was unavailable for comment.)
  • “I saw this wino, and he was eating grapes. I was like, ‘Dude, you have to wait.’ "—Mitch Hedberg
  • Drudging Around: Suspect in celebrity shooting shoots self in foot . . . That radio DJ you just heard may have been a robot . . . Pals yank dead biker out of his coffin to take him on one last motorcycle ride . . . Rare blizzard warning in Hawaii; 12 inches of snow expected . . . Plumber finds dozens of cash envelopes inside wall at Osteen megachurch . . .. Man tries to avoid getting covid jab with fake arm . . . Could seaweed save humanity? . . . International Space Station swerves to avoid space junk--again! . . . Tourists bask on battlefield as drug gangs fight over Mexican resort town . . . Volunteer at therapy farm dies after being rammed by sheep . . . Tesla drivers can now play video games even while car is moving . . . Mom helped son behead pregnant sister before he posed for selfie, police say . . . How making $300,000 in San Francisco means living paycheck to paycheck . . . Pastor dressed in drag for HBO. Blowback led to him being relieved of duties . . . Trans can’t be baptized until they’ve “repented,” diocese says . . . Cartels hiring kids to be hitmen . . . Mom stole daughter’s identity to start college, date young guys . . . Woman arrested for breaking sink during sex in restaurant bathroom . . . Study: Blood from athletes could keep brains of sedentary people healthy . . . Judge accidentally tased in own courtroom . . . Bay-area car owners leaving trunks open to avoid forced entry by thieves . . . Florida couple had massive hive with 80,000 bees in wall . . . United Airlines bans Florida man after wearing thong as mask . . . Teen jumps out of McDonald’s drive-thru to save choking customer . . . Chinese McDonald's installs bikes for customers to pedal while dining . . . Japan won’t let people have kids, so they turn to sperm black market . . . LA Horror Show: Woman armed with pick axe shoplifts in broad daylight . . . Cops: Miami realtor feared to be serial killer . . . Scientists discover new human body part (masseter muscle, in lower jaw, essential for chewing) . . . Meet the feminist nuns who grow weed . . . Nostradamus predictions for 2022: Cannibals, robots, cryptocurrency . . . Study: Gene found in people from Greenland makes ice cream as healthy as broccoli . . . Alexa tells 10-year-old to touch live plug with penny! . . . Wild boar charges surfer on water in Hawaii . . . Fish fall from sky in Texas . . . Nasal spray to cure dementia? (Thanks as always to Matt Drudge and his merry band of aggregators for this month’s forehead-slappers and jaw-droppers.)
  • jimjustsaying’s Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month: “Foxhunter.” As in, Wesley “Foxhunter” Arthur Hovde, Door County Daily News, Nov. 6, 2021
  • jimjustsaying’s Classified Ad of the Month (proving there’s a market for just about everything): “Clay Aiken Bobblehead, $10.” (Door County Advocate, Dec.18, 2021.)
  • jimjustsaying’s Party Ice-Breaker of the Month: “Say [actual partygoer’s name here], did you know that some cats are actually allergic to humans?”
  • Whatever happened to Pia Zadora?
  • "We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”—Bill Gates
  • Today’s Latin Lesson: Hoc anno non potest esse quod malum, sicut ultimum anni, potest? (“This year can't possibly be as bad as last year, can it?”)

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