Sunday, May 1, 2022

POPCORN

                    By Jim Szantor 

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoricand whimsical observations

about the absurdities of contemporary life

  • There’s nothing better than getting a check as a result of a class-action suit you didn’t know you were a part of or even existed. Life is good!
  • I dreamt that I was shopping at a new store: The Bitcoin Tree.
  • ·It was just down the road from a similar establishment--Family Bitcoin-- pumping some semblance of life into one of the many ghost strip malls that dot our pockmarked landscape. Right between the deserted nail salon and the abandoned Sears Hometown.)
  • It would take a while to determine what’s a bargain and what isn’t at either emporium, considering that my knowledge of bitcoin is on a par with my knowledge of quantum physics. What, for example, would be a bargain bitcoin price for a four-pack of off-brand AAA batteries?
  • Speaking of finance: "The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable."--John Kenneth Galbraith
  • Speaking of shopping: Here are jimjustsaying's six favorite Items from the summer supplement edition of the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog: The Extra Wide Zero Gravity Breathable Mesh Lounger/The Snore Reducing Oxygen Level Monitor/The Singing Peek-A-Boo Pachyderm/The Himalayan Salt Grilling Plank/The British Horticulturist Bee House and the Hypnotic Jellyfish Aquarium.
  • These curiosities are obviously tailormade for the person who has everything—everything except products only Hamm/Schlemm could present. The kinds of things the term “conversation piece” was created for. And the kinds of things that populate storage units everywhere.
  • With all the current talk about Russia today, who would guess that the word “oligarchs” was coined by Aristotle?
  • He said it: “An atheist is someone with no invisible means of support.”—Oscar Levant
  • She said it: “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”—Maya Angelou
  • You can’t go 5 minutes these days without hearing something about Elon Musk. The first time I heard that name, I thought it was a new men’s fragrance!
  • And you can hardly go a day without someone referring to “gaslighting.” As in, “manipulating someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”
  • Supposedly the term is based on the plot of a 1944 movie called “Gaslight,” so how did it suddenly become omnipresent? Who resurrected this tactic and made it so seemingly commonplace? (I strongly suspect “social media” has played more than a walk-on role.)
  • · Another linguistic mystery: “Dystopian,” meaning the opposite of “utopian,” is a word that has been around forever but somehow got taken out of mothballs (by a writer? a TV commentator? the My Pillow Guy?) and is now virtually as unavoidable as the ultra-annoying “Liberty, Liberty, Liberty” TV jingle.
  • Speaking of the My Pillow Guy: Is it true he’s about to market a new product: Tinfoil Pillows? (Can’t wait to see that infomercial.)
  • Another reason to be skeptical of advertising: When was “Now here is a word from our sponsor” followed by just a word? Lying from the get-go!
  • Why are artists always painting bowls of fruit? You’d think someone--someone—would occasionally paint a bowl of vegetables. You know, a bowl of green beans, sweet corn, beets, green peppers. . . . But the next will probably be the first.
  • I have to laugh at those quick five-second promos that networks sneak in before the new sitcom or series show: “Lady Gaga and Jim Szantor on an all-new ‘Tonight’ show starring Jimmy Fallon.”
  • All new? Didn’t know there were any partially new “Tonight’”shows. It would be most confusing if true: You couldn’t tell where the old “Tonight” show ended and the new one began. Or vice versa. Troubling.
  • Truth in labeling: The so-called “black boxes” investigators are always searching for after a plane crash are in fact orange.
  • Actual Product Warning on an Actual Product: On a can of Fix-a-Flat: “Not to be used for breast augmentation.”
  • And here all along we thought man’s greatest invention was the wheel. U.K. researchers contend that it was the handle, developed 500,000 years ago. (The wheel has been around for a mere 6,000 years.) Handles made tools, which man started using 2.6 million years ago, more precise and energy efficient. (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • “Mrs. Davidson, who attended Radcliffe College 20 years ago, never regained consciousness.”—Associated Press, New York, via ‘Still More Press Boners,” by Earle Tempel.
  • jimjustsaying’s Lifestyle Tip of the Week: Never enter a relationship with someone who's just leaving the Federal Witness Protection Program!
  • Drudging Around: Man caught with dozens of lizards in his clothes charged with smuggling 1,700 reptiles . . . Eating seafood immoral? . . . The CIA, hypnosis and cocaine: Why pilot faked own death in front of family . . . Feral pigs are biological time bombs. Can California stem their “exponential” damage? . . .Vermont women’s college rugby team accused of waterboarding, branding teammates . . . Sports bar shows women sports only . . . SURVEY: 7 in 10 really do consider their dog their best friend . . . Fur flies as fox bites 6 humans in Capitol rampage . . . (Next day: Test shows fox had rabies) . . . SURVEY: Most Americans can’t name all four of their grandparents . . . Licorice holds key to curing cancer? . . . Cholesterol protects against Alzheimer’s . . . Homeschooling surge continues despite reopening . . . Oldest woman to get inked: 105-year-old flaunts multiple tattoos . . . Student dies during Crucifixion re-enactment---and audience thinks it’s part of the show . . . Wedding spirals into chaos after bride laces food with pot . . . Robot rats to search for survivors at disaster sites . . . Girl dies after being forced to drink whisky by grandmother. (Ed. Note: If you’re thinking this had to be in the South, you’re right—it was Louisiana!). Thanks, as always, to Matt Drudge and his merry band of aggregators for this month’s gobsmackers.
  • jimjustsaying’s Word That Doesn’t Exist But Should of the Month: “Weseenems. n. Recreational vehicles plastered with state national parks and American flag decals. —“Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe,” Rich Hall and Friends.
  • Overheard: "I know a 60-year-old bachelor who almost got married twice. That makes two near-Mrs."
  • Strike up the bandwidth! Not only has our dollar slipped along with our world standing, but we rank 22nd in the world in Internet connection speed. (Right about par with our infrastructure quality!)
  • Why do freight trains that derail always seem to be carrying deadly cyanide gas? Doesn't the toilet paper train ever derail?
  • jimjustsaying’s Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month: “El Tigre.” As in, Daniel Joseph “El Tigre” Casey, D.D.S., Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 2, 2022.
  • Three things I've never done: Played pickleball, flown a dirigible or entered the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes.
  • If that goat cheese you just bought smells like an actual goat, don’t eat it!
  • Today’s Latin Lesson: Res in speculum es propinquus quam they videor. ("Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.")

  • Thanks to my new research assistant, Sal Monella, for his valuable assistance.

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