Tuesday, November 1, 2022


                                                                    By Jim Szantor

    Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric 
    and whimsical observations 
    about the absurdities of contemporary life        
  • I was a teenage forensic blood-splatter expert.
  • My day often begins with some Greek yogurt.  (Incidentally, the Greek word for yogurt is γιαούρτι, but I couldn’t find out if that means regular yogurt or Greek γιαούρτι, if in fact there’s a difference in that country.  Research continues.)
  • Speaking of breakfast time, why is French toast so-called?  One theory credits the name to an innkeeper in Albany, N.Y., named Joseph French, who in 1724 invented what we know today as French toast and named it after himself.
  • Aren’t you glad it wasn’t invented by, say, Joseph Shlabotnik?  (“I think I’ll have two eggs over easy, an order of hash browns . . . and some Shlabotnik!”)  
  • He said it: “If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”—Mark Twain
  • She said it: “I’ve met many irresponsible people in my life but never an irresponsible cat.”—Rita Mae Brown, author
  • I hate it when I see an empty lot after a demolition in my hometown and can’t remember or visualize what used to be there.
  • Four things you can say with confidence about the weather: (1) Somebody else always has it worse.  (2) If the farmers are happy, the tourists are crying. (3) If the tourists are happy, the farmers are crying, and (4) The merchants?  They’re always crying, good weather or bad. (“Who wants to be in a store on a beautiful day like this.” Or: “Who wants to go out in rotten weather like this?”)
  • Two words you’ll be hearing a lot as your friends start buying and driving electric vehicles:  Range anxiety.
  • And for good reason: There are only about 6,000 fast-charging public EV charging stations in the U.S., according to MIT Technology Review, plus 48,000 slower charging stations--a third of the number of gas stations. 
  • EV stations generally have no attendants and thus are more susceptible to breakage and vandalism (not to mention often being in isolated, poorly lit areas, where many people, especially women alone, will feel vulnerable and jittery). A recent study of EV stations around San Francisco found more than a quarter of them were out of service at any given time. 
  • But don’t lose hope--there were growing pains with the Model T Ford also, and we recovered!  Breakdowns and flat tires were more the rule than the exception (and “filling stations” didn’t double as liquor stores).
  • Headline: “Dahmer’ becomes Netflix’s second-biggest series ever.” This despite almost no promotional effort by Netflix.  Such is America’s insatiable appetite for true-crime shows.
  • What a proud moment for Milwaukee--where white policemen were the psychopathic cannibal’s best friend.  The evidence shows how complicit they were (due to dereliction of duty or, more likely, racism) in the total body count.  Public record, folks!
  •  Eww! Factor Alert:  Dahmer is shown eating one of the organs of aspiring (and deaf) gay model Tony Hughes in the final scene.  Not “must-see-TV”!
  • Milwaukee was really “on a roll” in the early ‘90s, wasn’t it?  Under a dark star is more like it.  Shortly after the Dahmer story broke, there was this:
  • The 1993 Milwaukee Cryptosporidiosis outbreak was a significant distribution of the Cryptosporidium protozoan in Milwaukee, and the largest waterborne disease outbreak in documented United States history.
  • “The initial study estimated that 403,000 residents of the five-county area around Milwaukee had watery diarrhea attributed to the outbreak. Subsequent studies suggested this was an underestimation.”—Wikipedia 
  • Now? The city is breaking all homicide records and has become the carjacking capital of the Free World.  No hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes yet, so things could be worse.
  • Redundancy Patrolling the Airwaves: “The car burst into a fireball of flame” (CBS-58, Milwaukee newsreader), and “We had to employ canine dogs . . . ” (Ft. Worth, Tex., detective on NBC’s “Dateline”). 
  • Redundancy Patrolling the Airwaves, Baseball Division: “Young rookie,” and “The ball took a high bounce off the artificial carpet . . . .”
  • Do people still “tie a string around their finger” to help them remember something?  Has anyone ever done that?
  • It has come to this: Not long ago I gave a young store clerk a 50-cent piece, and she said, “We don’t accept foreign coins.”
  •  If Sam’s Club or Costco sold cars, chances are you’d have to buy the Toyota or Honda 2-Pack.  You can’t buy one of anything at those stores, unless it’s one box-car-size crate of something or other! 
  • Were we “childing” while our parents were “parenting?”
  • Do you like ratatouille? I love the “rata” but could do without the “touille.”
  • Why do they always report what the defendant was wearing?  It has no bearing on anything.  (Judge: “I was going to give you the death penalty, but since you’re wearing a very nice suit and tie, you’re released from custody.  Have a nice day!”)
  • How many athlete’s feet are in the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
  • Wise words on the distressing state of the body politic: “[Today’s’] voters don’t expect much. They’ve had their own imperfect lives, and they long ago lost any assumption that political leaders were more upstanding than they are.
  •  “We are in the post-heroic era of American politics. What voters want is someone who sees the major issues as they do. Conservatives especially see America’s deep cultural sickness and wonder if the country is cratering before our eyes. In such circumstances, personal histories don’t count as once they did.--Wall St. Journal’s Peggy Noonan on the sordid saga of “pro-life” Georgia GOP candidate Herschel Walker after revelations that he urged his girlfriend(s) to get abortions and paid for them (for which there is proof).
  • From one of Walker’s sons: “He has four kids--four different women--wasn’t in the house raising one of them. He was out having sex with other women. You have no idea what me and my mom have survived.” 
  •  No wonder the former footballer is on a GOP ticket--he fits right in!  He’s an Eagle Scout compared to some of the other Republican scoundrels.
  •  I’m not a fan of HGTV, but I never cease to be amused by the theme and variations they can put in their program titles, seeing as how it’s all basically all about buying/selling/renovating houses. 
  • Talk about spin! Their web site lists such titles as “A Sale of Two Cities,” “Blog Cabin,” “Equity Angels,” “Fix My Flip,” “He Sells, She Sells,” “Hot Mess House,” “Property Virgins,” “Ugliest House in America” and, not last but most likely least, “ I Bought a Dump . . . Now What?” Who watches this stuff?  (Adults who are too old for Tik Tok . . . or haven’t discovered it yet?)
  • jimjustsaying’s Little-Known Medical Fact of the Month:  Doctors aren’t the only health-care professionals who carry malpractice insurance.  Nurses have it, too.  See www.nso.com for more information.
  • Another little-known medical fact:  Still used today in this country as the most effective way ever found to clean and debride wounds: Maggots!  (That’s not a gag, it’s the truth.)
  • And now comes word that lowering your cholesterol raises your chances of experiencing depression, committing suicide or dying prematurely due to any number of conditions.  So maybe that triple cheeseburger isn’t “a heart attack on a plate” after all! 
  • jimjustsaying’s First in a Series of Excerpts from Mad Magazine’s “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” book:
  • Neighbor, walking by with his dog: “Washing your car?” Car washer: “No, I’m washing my driveway.  My car just happens to be in the way.”
  • My favorite fall/winter (and sometime spring) weather forecast word here in the Midwest:  “Raw.”  We’ve all heard it. “Tonight: Windy, turning partially raw by morning, then mostly raw by midday.” 
  • Worst part of having a doctor’s appointment: Having your intelligence insulted after checking in.
  • “Now you can have a seat in the waiting room.”
  • “Gee, so THAT’S what those chairs are for?  Who knew? Here all along I thought I was supposed to stand on my head in the basement next to the water heater!  Thanks, dingbat receptionist!”
  •   (And what’s the first thing they ask for when you get there?  Your health problem?  No, your insurance card.  They don’t really care, if they’re honest, how you’re feeling. They just want to make sure they get their money.  Everything else? Secondary.) 
  • It’s a most unusual day if I don’t get at least three emails from AARP.  And they help fill up my postal mailbox also.  You, too?
  • Oops!  It turns out that Apple’s new iPhone 14, which alerts 911 if the user has been in a car crash, has trouble distinguishing crashes from roller-coaster rides, resulting in at least six coaster-triggered false 911 alarms in one Ohio county alone.  Technology marches on!
  • jimjustsaying’s Loser of the Month:  Zyeama Johnson, 27, who applied for a job with a New Jersey law-enforcement agency despite being wanted in Pennsylvania for fraud charges and 10 missed court appointments.  (He was arrested at the job interview.)
  • DRUDGING AROUND: Study: “Love hormone” could heal damaged heart after attack . . . Electric vehicles exploding from water damage after Hurricane Ian . . . Self-driving cars going nowhere despite $100 billion investment . . . What recession? Superyacht business booming . . . Shower thoughts explained! Scientists reveal why best ideas come while bathing . . . Town employee quietly lowered fluoride in water for years . . . Killer nurse in England injected babies with air; murdered 7, tried to kill another 10 . . . New Zealand proposes taxing cow burps and urine to tackle climate change . . . FBI monitored Aretha Franklin for years, file shows . . . Depraved horror movies causes viewers to vomit, faint in theater . . . Mother arrested for letting 10-year-old get large tattoo . . . Meth-filled condoms found in pumpkins at TX border . . . World’s oldest practicing doctor, 100, has no plans to retire . . . Homeless woman robs dead man . . . Why so many millennials in sexless marriages? . . . Halloween horror: Fentanyl pills disguised in candy bags seized at LAX . . . Man plays sax during brain surgery . . . Sigourney Weaver, 73, plays 14-year-old . . . (Thanks as always to Matt Drudge and his merry band of aggregators.)  
  •  jimjustsaying’s Word That Doesn’t Exist But Should of the Month: “Slowverture.”  n.  The distorted music that began any educational movie you had to watch in school.--“Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe,” Rich Hall and Friends
  •   jimjustsaying’s Heartbreaking Photo of the Year: 
  • A young girl pauses in the basement of her apartment block in Lyman, Ukraine, where she now lives with her mother amid ongoing fighting.
  • Two things struck me:  the juxtaposition of the wide-eyed innocence of youth, replete with stuffed animal, along with the realization of the horrific existence she and her mother must be sharing, along with the harrowing future that probably awaits them and their fellow countrymen.  My heart and prayers will go out to them forever.
  • All Overrated Club:  Art Linkletter, Jack Paar and Totie Fields
  • Pretty soon the mid-term elections will be history, and we will be spared the endless sparring between the “candidits.”  Speaking of politalk, why, when senatorial hopefuls run in senatorial races and congressional hopefuls run in congressional races, do candidates for governor run in a “gubernatorial” race? 
  • Do you like our current gubernator?  That, of course, is not Tony Evers but Keith Kern.  Who’s he?  President of the Tavern League of Wisconsin.  If Evers really ran the state, we would have sobriety checkpoints on the highway (which Evers favors), as do Illinois and many other states.  But we don’t, and it doesn’t take a genius to know the reason.  
  • “The dress fell just below her knees and showed off her shapely halves.”--Mansfield (Ohio) Tribune--from “Still More Press Boners,” by Earle Tempel.
  • jimjustsaying’s Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month--Female: “Gaga.” As in, Lorelei “Gaga” Bourbon, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Oct. 16, 2022.  R.I.P., Gaga!
  • jimjustsaying’s Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month--Male: “Fast Eddie.” As in, Edward F. “Fast Eddie” Dunn Jr., Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Oct. 23, 2022.  R.I.P., Fast Eddie.
  • Today’s Latin Lesson: Suus ' non cadunt, sed subito desinis! (“It's not the fall, it's the sudden stop!”)
  • And please remember, I don’t always agree with everything I say. 

Special thanks to Kenny Bunkport, this month’s Popcorn intern. 

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