Tuesday, March 1, 2022


                                          By Jim Szantor 

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations 
about the absurdities of contemporary life
  • I was a teenage Arthur Murray Ballroom Dance instructor!
  • Predictably, the opposition party is falling all over itself criticizing President Biden’s new Supreme Court nominee. But this is a party capable of smearing Mister Rogers or Winnie the Pooh if it was to its political advantage.
  • Hollywood will stop making violent movies when they start taking a beating at the box office.
  • Some people say the reason there’s so much violence on the streets is because “there’s too much violence on television.” I don’t know; there are a ton of game shows on television also, but I’ve yet to see a Vanna White lookalike turning letters on any street corner.
  • He said it: “The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.”—Entrepreneur Michael Altschuler
  • She said it: “Sexiness wears thin after a while, and beauty fades. But to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, now that’s a real treat.”—Joanne Woodward
  • Spoiler alert: This year’s Academy Awards nominees for Best Makeup and Hairstyling are: “Coming 2 America,” “Cruella,” “Dune,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and “House of Gucci.” (Would love to be a fly on the wall when people are discussing the relative merits of films under consideration in these categories. And how can someone tell how well a film has been edited?)
  • jimjustsaying’s Party Ice-Breaker of the Month: “Say [actual partygoer’s name here], did you know that the Cockney-accented gecko depicted in the Geico commercials is wrong on at least two counts? That type of gecko is not native to England, and unlike the one on TV, it does not blink. (Thanks to “Lizard King” Aaron Bauer of Villanova University—my go-to guy for all lizard-related intel--for this vital piece of information.)
  • Overheard: “I think the gene pool needs a lot more chlorine.”
  • Is there anything more pretentious than the NFL with its Super Bowl extravaganza? It’s not Super Bowl 56; it’s Super Bowl LVI, don’t-cha-know! (But they revert to ordinal numerals when reluctantly admitting to the number of ex-players who have died in their 40s or 50s—or earlier--of brain-related trauma or those convicted of murder, drug or sexual abuse, etc. Roger Goodell, meet Donald Trump--and I’m sure you’ve met Joe Rogan.)
  • Football. You know, the sport that Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre said he wouldn’t let his son play if he had a son! What? Does? That? Tell? You?
  • (Speaking of sports, see Lagniappe in this month’s jimjustsaying.com for my commentary on the disgraceful spectacle that was the 2022 Winter Olympics.)
  • Dying for some ice cream? Visit the Ezell Funeral Home and Creamatory. That’s the actual sign at a Saltillo, Miss. establishment. (Consumer Reports, October 2021).
  • I much enjoyed the Patagonian Bonefish dinner I had last night. (It was listed as Chilean Sea Bass on the menu, but who would order it under its real name?)
  • The answer: Appetizers and desserts. The question: Name two things that are outrageously overpriced even at otherwise reasonably priced restaurants. (Not to mention those half-full $6 glasses of wine. I make it a point to be a teetotaler when dining out. I’ll have the wine for a lot less money when I get home and won’t be driving under the influence in the process.)
  • Prediction: Restaurant patronage—especially at “fine dining” establishments—is not going to fully recover even when the mask mandates, etc., finally end. People have realized they got along fine without them and will limit such outings to very special occasions. (And if the worker shortage is going to continue, how good is the service or the food really going to be? The prices won’t be appetizing either, given inflation and supply shortages. Wish I had better news.)
  • My definition of a death wish: A restaurant with a dress code. This is an age when, according to the Associated Press, visitors arrive at the Vatican in beachwear. (With photos to prove it.)
  • “Only intuition can protect you from the most dangerous individual of all: the articulate incompetent.”—Publisher Robert Bernstein in Forbes.
  • I had the wackiest dream: Martha Stewart had a cooking show with . . . Snoop Dogg. (What? They really do? Is that “a good thing”?) THIS JUST IN: Snoop Dogg is being sued by a former backup dancer who alleges she was the victim of sex trafficking and sexual assault by the rapper and one of his associates. (Not “a good thing.”)
  • jimjustsaying’s Foreign Word with No English Equivalent: Bakku-shan (Japanese): The experience of seeing a woman who appears attractive from behind but not from the front.
  • Now that’s entertainment! Lautenbach's Orchard Country Winery and Market in Fish Creek, Wis., held its annual and very popular Cherry Pit Spit contest on Feb. 5. Prizes were awarded in several classes. (I understand some contestants in the Tween Division show real potential!)
  • Elsewhere in Fish Creek that weekend, the Winterfest again featured its popular toilet-seat toss. And we wonder why people ridicule Wisconsin? (I understand your blood alcohol level must be over the legal limit to participate, but then again that probably applies to many Wisconsinites over the age of 15 at any given time.)
  • Finally, I’m sure most of you have been following the recently completed sturgeon fishing season in Wisconsin with great interest. Googling the sturgeon, I found it described as “spectacularly unattractive” and “butt-ugly” . . . as well as “flat-out mean.” So in addition to not winning any beauty pageants, I guess it won’t win any Fish Congeniality Awards, either.
  • jimjustsaying’s Media Words (words no actual person uses in real life but are encountered daily in news media): Embattled, parley (as in “U.S.-Soviet arms parley”) and debauchery.
  • Just to make you feel older: Do you know when “Candid Camera” debuted on TV? 1948!
  • Hooray for Hollywood? Here’s yet another example of the creative bankruptcy of the TV/film industry: “Paramount releases first trailer of “The Godfather” TV series,” crowed a recent Hollywood Reporter headline. What’s next: A game show based on “Leave it to Beaver”? Or maybe it's time for a remake of--say--"West Side Story." (Oh, wait--they just did that!) What’s next? “Wheel of Fortune: The Movie”?
  • When was the last time you saw someone wearing cufflinks, spats or a pocket watch? But there’d be a different answer if I’d asked about purple hair, nose rings and forehead tattoos.
  • Covid in academia: Covid has dramatically loosened standardized testing's grip on admission for selective schools.
  • Nearly 80 percent of schools no longer require standardized test scores, compared to 45 percent pre-pandemic, according to the anti-testing group FairTest. And Harvard said in December that it will drop standardized test requirements for the next four years. (And we’re already wondering why Johnny can’t read?)
  • Drudging Around: Why we’­­­ll all end up eating bugs . . . Dead man taken to post office to collect pension . . . Disney consulting “dwarfism community” about new “Snow White.” . . . Israeli families fight to used deceased child’s sperm to be grandparents . . . At Olympics, hugs discouraged but condoms available . . . STUDY: Eating more guacamole, spinach dip helps prevent cancer . . . China tells “leftover women” to marry unemployed men . . . Suit: Wrong sperm used during fertilization procedure . . . Domino’s tipping customers who pick up own pizza . . . People over 80 are still taking care of their parents and partners . . . Cartel “cannibal schools” force recruits to eat human flesh . . . He shot man over tossed popcorn, prosecutors say. His defense: “Stand-your-ground” . . . Botched butt injection suspected after woman dumped at Brooklyn hospital dies . . . Counterfeit canines: Air travelers with fake service dogs . . . Florida woman used pandemic-relief loan to pay hit man . . . SHOCK: Autopsy backlog has morgue operating in Baltimore PARKING GARAGE . . . Study: Attractive people have stronger immune systems . . . Beekeepers turn to anti-theft technology as hive heists rise . . . World’s first octopus farm stirs ethical debate. (Thanks, as always, to Matt Drudge and his merry band of aggregators for this month’s jaw-droppers.)
  • Redundancy Patrol: "Each and every," "welcome in" and "price point."
  • jimjustsaying’s Word That Doesn’t Exist But Should of the Month: “Spubbling.” v. The superhuman feat at public restrooms of trying to wash one’s hands, activate the soap dispenser and manipulate the “water saving” spring faucet at the same time.—“Sniglets,” Rich Hall and Friends.
  • Ever wondered why some pill bottles have cotton in them and some don’t?
  • The cotton balls don’t preserve the quality or freshness—those silica-gel packets do that—and in fact the cotton might have the opposite effect. The National Institutes of Health says cotton can draw moisture into the bottle. Too much moisture could cause pills to stick together, altering potency. So, feel no shame or remorse about frustratedly tossing it.
  • TMI dept. Bayer, the first to add cotton, did so to prevent the pills from jiggling around and potentially breaking. If customers saw broken pills, Bayer worried, they might take too much or too little if they haphazardly popped broken pill fragments.
  • Decades later, in the 1980s, new technology--pill coatings--rendered the cotton useless; enteric coatings ensured that pills could no longer break. Bayer stopped using cotton in 1999, but many other companies, though, kept them in.
  • jimjustsaying’s Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month: “Thirsty.” As in David J. “Thirsty” Thielsen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan.23, 2022. R.I.P., Mr. Thielsen.
  • Today’s Latin Lesson: Ut Volo vestri sententia I'll quaeso is. ("When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it!")

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