Wednesday, November 1, 2023


                                                                By Jim Szantor

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

I was a teenage hostage negotiator.

Overheard: “About 99% of the time, the right time is right now.”

Marianne and I just discovered a great new vegetarian restaurant.  Very pricy, though.  Cost us an arm and a legume!

“I went to a record store that said they specialized in hard-to-find records.” Nothing was alphabetized!”—Mitch Hedberg

Has anyone ever seen Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow in the same room?  Courtney Cox and Demi Moore? Amal Clooney and Anne Hathaway? (Thanks to People magazine online, your go-to source for Flavor of the Month celebrities.)

I don't care what anyone says:  We never had weather like this when Mr. Wizard was alive.

People who think what just happened in the Middle East won’t affect them probably had never heard of Pearl Harbor until Pearl Harbor.

The six phases of an actor's career: Teen idol, leading man, supporting roles, character parts, infomercials, obscurity.

We all get them—many of them—and no one reads them. So as a public service, here once again is jimjustsaying's Privacy Notices Made Simple—and they could be put on a postcard, saving tons of paper (not to mention trees):

 "We can do anything we want, and you can't do anything about it, unless your battery of attorneys is bigger and more politically connected than ours.  Thank you and get lost." The Management

There will never be a Whoopie Goldberg Lookalike Contest.

What I wouldn't give for a button on the remote control (or a Menu setting) that would make those irritating and relentless "crawls" disappear from the bottom of the TV screen.  (Ditto for those intrusive pop-up promo logos, or whatever they are.)

Quarterback names have taken a curious turn in recent years: Donovan, Peyton, Eli, Tarvaris, Troy, Drew, Brett, Aaron. . . .

And, drawing from a recent online listing of current starting QB's: Desmond, Bryce, Tyson, Deshaun, Jared, Trevor, Tua, Tyrod and Jalen. I'm thinking when Joe Montana retired, they must have retired his first name! (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

First move I'd make if I were NFL commissioner:  Any touchdown would be automatically nullified if the player scoring it didn't hand the ball to the referee (instead of "spiking" it and dancing around like a deranged buffoon with itching powder in his pants).  Better yet:  Add 6 points to the other team's total!  Grow up, guys! High school is over.

“Ask anyone you admire: Their lucky breaks happened on a detour from their main goal. So, embrace detours. Life is not a straight line for anyone.”—The Technium

jimjustsaying's "Word That Doesn't Exist But Should" of the Week: "Camera-maritan":  The stranger you draft into taking a picture of your group so that everyone in your group will be in it.—“More Sniglets,” Rich Hall and Friends.

Seems like every time I go to the grocery store, I see a variety of apple I've never seen before and no one I know has ever heard of.   Believe it or not, there is variety called Jazz. Tastes pretty good. (No Rhythm ‘n’ Blues apples as yet, apparently.  Haven’t noticed any Soul or Hip-Hop apples, either. Would probably sell well in certain neighborhoods.) 

I'm so old, I used to eat at NHOP--you know, the National House of Pancakes!

"The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards."--Novelist Arthur Koestler

Memo to the increasing number of females (and a few males) with pink, blue, green or purple hair:   Bring something to read when you go to the unemployment office.

Can't remember the last time I saw something we all used to see fairly often: A hitchiker.  Seen one lately?  

Toothbrush manufacturers amuse me no end.  They're always coming up with new angles (almost literally), new selling points.  The latest one I bought proclaimed "90% Deeper Reach/removes plaque between teeth."  

Why now, at this late date?  What part of "deeper" wasn't possible or advisable 100 years ago?  What led to the "breakthrough"? Have teeth changed that much--if at all--over time? Is it that hard to make THE perfect brush, once and for all?  Help me out here.

Same thing applies to razors, especially men’s.  What exactly has changed about facial hair that necessitates a “new, revolutionary shaving system”?  Answer: The need to increase sales.  Period.  So please stop insulting us with the technical mumbo jumbo.

Speaking of “discoveries”:

"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 

How come you never see anyone with a pencil behind his ear anymore?

Faded Phrase of the Week: "Let's get down to brass tacks." 

jimjustsaying's Media Word of the Week (a word you see only in print and never hear an actual person use in real life):  Plethora.  As in, "2023 has seen a plethora of mass shootings."

DRUDGING AROUND: Woman batters daughter with frozen chicken, cops say . . . SHOCK:  Hospital propped dead woman up in bed to fool family . . .  Genius monkey hijacks computer, types on keyboard and flicks through files in office . . .  Report: Terrorists will hack driverless cars and use them for horrific attacks . . . Teacher: Student loan debt drove me to porn career . . . New residential cruise ship would let travelers live at sea . . . Pilot who tried to shut off plane engines mid-flight took psychedelic mushrooms . . . Woman mauled by pet Rottweiler after feeding it THC gummy . . . Automakers come clean: EVs not working. (Thanks as always to Matt Drudge and his merry band of aggregators.)

“Fog and smog rolled over Los Angeles, closing airports and slowing snails to a traffic pace.”—Los Angeles News, via “Still More Press Boners,” by Earle Tempel.

Cultural priorities run amok:  Seeing TV sports anchors not only interviewing but hanging on every word of high school (or even younger) athletes.  It has come to this!  I don’t think the New York Times even COVERS prep sports, which is as it should be.  Name a paper or TV station that reviews high school plays or band concerts?  The kids will be playing their instruments long after they’ve put football or track behind them.

You could probably assemble a halfway decent news team if you could cherry-pick among all personnel at Chicago TV stations, taking an anchor from one station, a co-anchor from another, the sports guy from a third and the weather guy from another (picking similarly from the reportorial ranks).  Right now, they too often all fall under the rubric of Chucklehead Newsfaces with one or two good people at each station!  And there’s too many time-wasting teasers about “what’s coming up,” time that would allow for an additional bona fide story or two. And why this penchant for “reporting” in front of darkened, empty buildings after 10 p.m.?

Then there’s the lame banter between the “anchors” and the weather person/sports guy?  Another time-waster that’s banal beyond belief.  There are no Lenos or Lettermans in TV news.

Redundancy patrol:  "Component parts," "bouquet of flowers," "eradicate completely."

He said it: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”—H.L. Mencken

Just bought a bag of the 2-inch Snicker’s “Fun Size” bars.  I had to. I couldn’t handle the full-size bars—you know, the dreaded "Twelve Labors of Hercules" size!

I mean, aren’t all Snicker’s fun?  Apparently not.  (And did you know that there are about 16 varieties of the popular confection, including an espresso version?  And that they were sold under the name Marathon in the UK until 1990? Who else would tell you these things?)

jimjustsaying’s Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month: “Abu.” As in, John “Abu” Kodl, Kenosha News, Sept. 12, 2023. R.I.P., Abu.

Flour and water, salt, amylopectin, mineral or vegetable oil, fragrance, aluminum sulfate, borax, peg 1500 monostearate and coloring.  Put them all together and you have . . . Play-Doh! (There are Fun Facts and then there are . . . fillers!)

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”--Albert Einstein

Today's Latin lesson:  Nusquam video vidi visum hic, populus, iustus eo. ("Nothing to see here, folks, just move along.")

Thanks to Noah Zark, this month’s Popcorn intern.

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