Tuesday, June 4, 2024


  By Jim Szantor

Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric 

and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life 

--I was a teenage acupuncturist.

--I wish TV stations would tighten up their definition of BREAKING NEWS and restrict it to explosions, plane crashes, terrorist attacks, earthquakes and other cataclysmic acts of God, assassinations of key political figures, etc.  "Donald Trump is about to take the stage at the VFW in Numnutz, Nebraska" does not, in my estimation, qualify in any sense of the term.

--Overheard:  "He was dressed to the fives!"

--I keep hearing about all these "surrogates" campaigning for their favored candidates.  Yet another example of politics going off the rails. Did FDR, Ike or Barack Obama have to rely on stand-ins to get their message across?

--Gardeners, don't be distressed if your yield doesn't look like the stuff in the seed catalogs.  Those pictures were posed by professional vegetables!

--Book Title of the Week (spotted in a pet tore): "Dachshunds for Dummies."  (There Is order in the universe after all!)

--Someone asked me the other day if something I had done was on my "bucket list."  I was somewhat taken aback, because I don't really have one.  What I do have, however, is a reverse bucket list, a word that rhymes with "bucket" but is, in fact, another word and refers to an activity I conceivably might consider for a nanosecond but would immediately reject.  

(“Jim, wanna ride from Chicago to New York and back in a hot-air balloon?”  “Ah, I suppose I could, but  . . . ah,  ---- it.”)

--Judging from the media these days--print, electronic, digital or whatever--the suffixes "ageddon" and "pocalypse" have replaced "gate" as the new, trendy rhetorical crutches to describe any crisis, scandal or weather woe that tries our communal souls.   (I know "media" isn't the root of the word "mediocrity," but at times it seems that way.)

--jimjustsaying's Word That Don't Exist But Should of the Month: Malibugaloo: n. A dance that affects barefoot beachgoers on hot summer days.--"More Sniglets" by Rich Hall & Friends

--She said it: “You look ridiculous if you dance. You look ridiculous if you don't dance. So you might as well dance.”—Gertrude Stein in “Three Lives.”

--He said it: “I’m not afraid of dying.  I just don’t want to be there when it happens!”--Woody Allen

--jimjustsaying’s Newspaper Obituary Headline Nickname of the Month: “Spike.” As in, Dr. Richard “Spike” Herz, Kenosha (Wis.) News, May 12, 2024.

--"What a nice day" some folks said to me recently when it reached 75.  My reply: "Not really."  (The wind, you see, was blowing at about 35 mph, with an air-quality alert to boot!)

Weather, to me, is like a pizza.  You wouldn't eat raw pizza dough, no matter what else was on it, so why does one factor--a balmy temperature--automatically make it "a nice day"? 

If you have a nice temperature (the dough) along with a gentle breeze, low humidity, bearable barometric pressure and decent air quality (the cheese, the sauce, the toppings, if you will), then you have a nice day.  But damp air, high winds and an ozone alert can make for a dismal day--whatever the temperature.  But for some folks, temperature is the whole ballgame.

--Overheard: “I was married by a judge.  I should have asked for a jury.”

--Closed Caption Gaffe of the Week, courtesy of CNN: “New Finland” (instead of Newfoundland).

--Why do auctioneers have to talk that fast?  Are they double parked? That's one reason I don’t go to auctions--I can’t hear that fast.

--I thought that "No Outlet" and "Dead End" were two ways of saying the same thing.  But according to Snopes.com: "No Outlet can mean that though other streets may branch off of the road ahead, they don't lead anywhere either." 

--People who say "asterick" instead of "asterisk" should be jabbed repeatedly with colored hors d'oeuvre toothpicks.  (And what’s so hard about the word “ask” that leads to you hearing it as “axe” by certain people?  I’mjustsayin’.)

--Why is the badger the Wisconsin state animal?  No one I know has ever seen one; 90-year-old hunters and game wardens have never seen one. These beasts could be extinct for all we know!

(Wisconsin--the Extinct Animal State should replace America’s Dairyland on the state’s license plates; unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit. And most notably, California, not Wisconsin, is the leading product of said products.)

--Product-choice explosion: I counted 10 different varieties of Crest Toothpaste at a Target store the other day.

--I wonder what the demise (or scarcity) of phone books has done to the printing industry?  Or the cellphone for the phone booth manufacturers? Therefore, jimjustsaying’s Law of Progress:  Every new product or practice sounds the death knell for someone or someplace else.  (One man’s invention is another man’s insolvency?)

It’s biblical.  There are probably IT people who think they are in the hot new profession . . . but may find out otherwise sooner than they expected.

--“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”—Plato

--Three “s” words that sound exactly like their meaning:  Suave, smut and spoof.

--Last year my car had a recall for the thingamajig, and this year my wife’s car has a recall for the whatchamacallit!  Who do I blame, what’shisname?

--Redundancy patrol:  "Arson fire," "enter into," "inner core."

--You know you have a serious problem if your cholesterol count has a comma in it.

--Rite of passage for Saudi Arabia teenagers” “Hey, Dad, can I have the camel tonight?”

--Wise words from Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times:

"Whenever I hear that America has never been such a mess or so divided, I think not just of the Civil War but of my own childhood: the assassinations of the 1960s; the riots; the murders of civil rights workers; the curses directed at returning Vietnam veterans; the families torn apart at generational seams; the shooting of students at Kent State; the leftists in America and abroad who quoted Mao and turned to violence because they thought society could never evolve.

"If we got through that, we can get through this."

DRUDGING AROUND: Demise of Red Lobster case study in how to kill business . . . Supercomputer predicts humans will face “triple-whammy” extinction event . . . VEGAS SHOCK: “Possessed” murder suspect ate man’s face, eyeball and ear . . . Rising number of men DON’T want jobs . . .  LA’s dirtiest cop: Mild-mannered traffic officer who moonlighted as hit man . . . NYPD to use drones as “first responders” on 911 calls . . . Celeb therapist accused of abusing client with “laser beam” penis . . . Homes of billionaires in Nantucket falling into ocean at alarming rate . . . World’s most busted  man dies at 74; had more than 1,500 arrests . . . San Diego cop resigns after alleged backseat sex with suspect . . . Denver cops say drones will respond to 911 calls instead of cops . . . Judge stunned as man with suspended license joins Zoom meeting while driving.  (Thanks, as always, to Matt Drudge and his merry band of aggregators.)

jimjustsaying’s favorite baseball oddities:

Eye guy: Pitcher Max Scherzer (Texas Rangers) has one blue and one brown, a condition called heterochromia.

"Ship outta luck": The great-grandmother of Dodgers backup catcher A.J. Ellis had a ticket to travel from Hungary to England on the Titanic but was late and missed the boat..

Smoke 'em inside: The press box in Cincinnati was evacuated on Opening Day when mop heads caught fire in a dryer.

Strategy Gaffe of the Year:  The Yankees throw the first pitch of an intentional walk to Kendrys Morales of the Angels, change their mind and pitch to him and suffer the consequences—a three-run homer.

Good break, bad break:  The same Kendrys Morales has his season ended by a fractured leg suffered during the mob celebration at home plate following his walk-off grand slam.

Time Out:  Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo passes a kidney stone while batting in the 8th inning against Arizona, then returns in the ninth to line a single.

Matchup throwback:  Brian Bannister, son of ex-White Sox hurler Floyd Bannister, wins a Gavin Floyd-Brian Bannister starting pitcher duel.

Footloose Cardinals rookie David Freese, on the Disabled List with a sprained right ankle, then drops a weight that fractures his left big toe.

Food fluke:  Garrett Jones of the Pirates misses a game when a piece of meat lodged in his esophagus must be surgically removed.

Food Fluke II:  A player suffers a major injury during a postgame celebration for the second time in the season as Florida's Chris Coghlan tears a meniscus delivering a shaving-cream pie to the face of Wes Helms.

So close but so far:  After 1,571 minor-league games, 33-year-old John Lindsey makes his Major League debut by pinch-hitting for the Dodgers, but when a pitching change is made, is removed for another pinch hitter before he sees a single pitch.

Payroll Schmayroll:  Javier Vazquez, at $11.4 million, is the highest-salaried healthy player ever to be left off his team's post-season roster.

Last Man Standing:  With the team out of options, Phillies ace pitcher Roy Oswalt plays two innings in left field (the team's first pitcher in 39 years to play another position), catches a flyball and then makes the last out of the game as a batter in a 16-inning loss to Houston, his former team.

(Thanks to Athlon Sports.Com.)

--And finally, as if being a minor-league baseball player isn’t bad enough (low pay, long rides on crummy buses), some now must suffer the indignity of playing for teams with goofy, demeaning names, the New York Times reports:  Such as (and these are NOT made up), the Danville Dairy Daddies.

Former rookie-league teams like the Burlington (N.C.) Royals and Pulaski (Va.) Yankees in the Appalachian League re-emerged as the Sock Puppets and River Turtles.

Teams that maintained their MLB affiliations have also jumped on the funky name train with hopes of invigorating their brands. Pick nearly any league, at any level, and there’s a nickname or logo that will make you stop and gawk. The Carolina Disco Turkeys. The Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits (formerly the Orlando Rays). The Minot (N.D.) Hot Tots. The Rocket City (Ala.) Trash Pandas (formerly the Mobile Bay Bears). The Wichita Chili Buns (an alternate identity of the Wichita Wind Surge). And there’s also a Double A affiliate of the San Diego Padres called the Amarillo Sod Poodles.

Today’s Latin Lesson: Quomodo dicturus sum nepotibus meis olim
lusi Sock automata? (“How am I going to tell my grandchildren
I once played for a team called the Sock Puppets?”)

Many thanks to Joe Hannesberg, this month’s Popcorn intern.

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