Friday, July 1, 2022


 By Jim Szantor 

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric and whimsical observations

about the absurdities of contemporary life

  • No one has ever complained that their internet connection is too fast.
  • Would Alexander the Great have been as renowned if he had had a different last name? (Alexander the Average? Never heard of him!)
  • As we approach the 4th of July, remember the words of George Carlin: “George Washington’s brothers were the Uncles of Our Country!”
  • (That would be Charles, John and Samuel Washington, don’t-cha-know. Therefore, sisters Betty and Mildred would be the Aunts of Our Country. GW’s three half-brothers and one half-sister didn’t make the Popcorn cut! Maybe next year.)
  • George (Carlin, not Washington!) also said that our country was founded by slave owners who wrote that “all men are created equal,” so that lends some cringeworthy insight into the minds and morals of our storied Founding Fathers. (I don’t think there were any trans people to worry about then. Or indoor plumbing for that matter. . . .)
  • jimjustsaying’s Product That Doesn’t Exist But Should of the Month: Andy Warhol Soup.
  • He said it: “The mind is its own place, and in itself/Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”—John Milton, “Paradise Lost”
  • She said it: “I'm always being painted a more tragic figure than I am. Actually, I get awfully bored with myself as a tragic figure.”—Judy Garland
  • Gardeners: Don’t fret if your stuff doesn’t come up looking like the pictures in the seed catalog. Those pictures were posed by professional vegetables.
  • Speaking of vegetables, whatever happened to the Garden Weasel? Do they still make it? Will they double my order if I act now and just pay extra postage and handling? Are operators still standing by?
  • Life Irritation No. 54: The song you hated with a passion and had almost forgotten about it now becomes the soundtrack of a TV commercial that plays about 8 times an hour no matter what you’re watching. The “technical” term is “earworm.” (Kind of hard to work into a conversation, but there you have it.)
  • Speaking of commercials, what’s all this about reptile dysfunction? What am I missing here?
  • jimjustsaying’s Dine-Out Tip O’ the Week: Never patronize a restaurant that has dirty windows, burnt-out letters in its neon sign or menus with tassels on them.
  • Your mouth is numbed up from Novocain, but the dentist asks you, after a cavity was filled: “Does your bite seem natural?”
  • Memo to all clueless dentists: Nothing seems natural when your mouth is full of Novocain! (You have to wonder if any of them have ever been to the dentist? But surely they all have, so shouldn’t they know better?)
  • jimjustsaying’s Fortune Cookie Message of the Month (courtesy of Lucky Liu’s, Milwaukee): “The volatility of life is what makes it fun.” (Say what? Methinks something got lost in the translation. Also lost somehow--the egg roll we paid for but never got in a recent order. That wasn’t volatile or fun. And I told them to skip the highly glycemic white rice, but—wait for it—THAT they sent!)
  • Police imponderable: How is it that those foot chases you see on TV's "Cops” or “Cops Reloaded" invariably have a portly out-of-shape cop catching up to and tackling a skinny guy who looks like a marathon runner? Uncanny. But it happens all the time.
  • More “Cops”: Why is most every male they encounter naked from the waist up? And the lyrics to the theme (“Bad boys, bad boys . . .”) are, in my experience, a bit outdated, as there have been more than a few bad girls in episodes of recent years. Apparently, the ne’er-do-well Glass Ceiling has been broken! Ah, equality.
  • (A new series from the producers of “Cops” is now airing: “Jail.” No foot chases; same doofusses; different environment; bad boys and, of course, bad girls.)
  • Do they make partial toupees? (What would they call them? Throw rugs?)
  • How many fatalities is it going to take for people to realize that maybe--just maybe--air shows (Blue Angels, Golden Knights . . . ) aren't really that great of an idea anymore? Can't the teeming hordes of bored weekenders get their summertime jollies in another manner? One that doesn't involve fatalities?
  • Sometimes the victims aren't the "performers" but innocent people on the ground who don't give a rodent's derriere about airshows and precision aerial maneuvers and the deafening sound and window rattling that frighten young children and pets in the surrounding 20-mile area. And how much taxpayer money is spent on the fuel and other logistics endemic to these spectacles? (Most of the assembled horde is probably looking down at their devices most of the time anyway.)
  • One horrifying example (and there are more than a few): A fighter jet crashed into an ice cream parlor shortly after takeoff during the Golden West Sport Aviation Show in Sacramento a few years ago. Among the 22 killed were members of a Little League team who were celebrating inside at the time. Another 28 people were injured. The pilot suffered only a broken arm and leg and was ultimately blamed for the accident.
  • But there’s more, as ad pitchmen like to say:
  • The Not-So-Friendly Skies: For decades, commercial airline travel has gotten progressively safer. But now it’s going the other way, and one cause of deaths has stubbornly persisted: pilots who intentionally crash in murder-suicides. Yes, whether on land, at sea (search for cruise ship horror stories) or in the air, the world is becoming an increasingly perilous place. (No Greyhound atrocities lately, so maybe that’s the best way to go!)
  • Preliminary evidence suggests the crash of a China Eastern Airlines Corp. jet in March may be the latest such pilot suicide tragedy, a person familiar with the investigation said. If confirmed, that would make it the fourth since 2013, bringing deaths in those crashes to 554.
  • jimjustsaying's Faded Phrase of the Week: "Put on the feedbag."
  • Nothing labeled or advertised as “flesh tone” has truly matched the color of anyone’s flesh, regardless of race, color or creed.
  • jimjustsaying's Sign-Spotting Gem of the Month: Outside Timsan's Japanese Steak House in Green Bay, Wis.: "Come in and sashimi sometime."
  • There are three stages of scientific discovery: First, people deny that it is true; then, they deny that it is important; finally, they credit [or blame?] the wrong person."--Alexander von Humboldt, 19th Century naturalist
  • Show me a child who prefers white milk to chocolate milk, and I'll show you a future insurance claims adjuster!
  • I saw the telecast of the Cubs playing at Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago, and it reminded me of my brother’s first visit to that hallowed ballyard. It was Handgun Night! And John Gotti threw out the first ball! (Ah, Noo Yawk!)
  • jimjustsaying’s Media Word of the Month (a word no normal person ever uses but is often encountered in newspaper headlines and stories): Debauchery ("The Secret Service agents were said to be engaging in various acts of debauchery on presidential trips.")
  • Deplorable fact: The main TV networks won’t cover political hearings and conventions from gavel to gavel because of low ratings. But they fight for the right to cover all 200 laps of the Indianapolis 500, the outcome of which has absolutely no bearing on the future of the republic. As a wise man once said, in a democracy, people tend to get the kind of government they deserve. So here we are!
  • Redundancy Patrol: “Past history,” “basic fundamentals” and “smiled happily.”
  • “Directors take office next Monday, and the treasurer takes off in July.”—Centerville (Iowa) Citizen, via “Still More Press Boners,” by Earle Tempel.
  • ·Overheard: “Most people are terrified by their boss’s silence than what the boss actually says.
  • I wonder if the vanity plates “SAGE” or “INFLUENCER” are taken here in Wisconsin? (I’ve been rocking JIMPALA since 2016 and am up for a change. Send suggestions to
  • jimjustsaying’s Party Ice-Breaker of the Month: “Say [actual partygoer’s name here], did you know that the words taxi, pajamas and soup are the same or similar in many foreign languages?”
  • Speaking of words, herewith jimjustsaying’s Word That Doesn’t Exist But Should of the Month: “Somnambapologist.” n. The person too polite to admit he or she was sleeping when awakened by the phone at three in the morning.
  • DRUDGING AROUND: 8 in 10 food delivery drivers admit eating some of customers’ orders . . . Bradley Cooper prosthetic nose in Leonard Bernstein biopic sparks “Jewface” debate . . . Dogs better at detecting Covid than rapid tests . . . STUDY: Too much self-confidence bad for health . . . Scientists create super-vicious hamsters in lab experiment gone wrong . . . Ambulance stolen in carjacking . . . The “Dead Kids Club”: Parents of victims are a growing network . . . Movie star chimp found in basement after owner faked its death, PETA says . . . Woman says she caught STD in car; auto insurance to pay out $5.2 million . . . Man arrested for leaving flowers on fiancée’s grave is found guilty of littering . . . Team-building hot coal walk ends in disaster after 13 are hospitalized with severe burns . . . Man and 47 cats found living in car . . . China devises mind-reading device that detects when men viewing porn . . . ISS smells terrible because astronauts have more flatulence . . . Scientists discover animals that don’t grow old . . . Friends at first sniff: People drawn to others who smell like them . . . Toyota recalls first mainstream electric car because wheels fall off . . . Army relaxes tattoo policy, approves hand, neck ink as it faces recruiting shortfall . . . SUBWAY customer shoots worker dead for putting too much mayo on sandwich . . . Cops clock speeder going 169 mph . . . Drunk mayor crashes car—after meeting families of drunk-driving victims . . . “Biblical” swarms of giant crickets destroying crops in West . . . Amid attacks and thefts, some retailers want to fight back . . . Beer made from recycled toilet water wins admirers . . . Anchovies raining from sky across San Fran. (Thanks as always to Matt Drudge and his merry band of intrepid aggregators.)
  • Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month: “Bones.” As in, Ralph “Bones” Gollnick, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 29, 2022. R.I.P., Bones.
  • Today’s Latin Lesson: Epistulam tuam ad sonum relinquas. (“Leave your message at the sound of the beep.”)

    Special thanks to Terri Yaqui, this month’s Popcorn intern.

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