Monday, July 1, 2024



Rhetorical questions, questionable rhetoric 

and whimsical observations about the absurdities of contemporary life 

--I was a teenage bounty hunter.

(Just as grocery checkout clerks and stockboys are now known as “associates” or “team members,” bounty hunters are now known as "bail enforcement agents" or "fugitive recovery agents.” But not in my day!)

--Planned obsolescence will never go out of style.

--He said it: “It’s not what people say about you, it’s what they whisper.”--Errol Flynn

--She said it: “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”--Anaïs Nin

--Present Shock: Microsoft was forced to delay the release of an artificial intelligence tool called Recall following a wave of backlash. The feature was introduced last month, billed as "your everyday AI companion."

It takes screen captures of your device every few seconds to create a library of searchable content. This includes passwords, conversations, and private photos. (Slap forehead HERE!)

Its release was delayed indefinitely following an outpouring of criticism from data privacy experts, including the Information Commissioner's Office in the UK.

--jimjustsaying’s Word That Doesn’t Exist But Should of the Month: “Tupperwarp.” n. The condition of Tupperware left in the dishwasher too long.—Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe,” Rich Hall and Friends

--My favorite T-shirt messages from the new “What on Earth” catalog:

Another day gone by, and I didn’t use algebra once!

90 percent of being married is yelling “What?” from other rooms.

My favorite childhood memory is my back not hurting.

I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

--Sometimes I feel like a Polaroid in the Instagram of Life. 

--My dietitian is extremely knowledgeable.  She graduated Phi Beta Carotene!

--The National Pastime meets the real national pastime: advertising. Because I have seen baseball progress from commercials between innings to commercials between batters and now—wait for it—commercials between pitches!

There is no angle too minute or obscure to occasion a tie-in. Heard recently during a Cubs game on the Marquee Network. After a batter got a second chance when he barely made contact with a 3-2 pitch and hit a foul tip, I heard, “You, too, can get a second chance at life with an exam at Northwestern Hospital.”

--I understand that Walloon was a Romance language spoken in a region of Belgium.  Unfortunately for me, the bookstore was out of English to Walloon/Walloon to English dictionaries. (On “back order,” no doubt.)

--You're an old-timer if you remember Powerhouse candy bars, Herbert Tareyton cigarettes and Old Dutch Cleanser.

--Consumer Imponderable No. 538: Toothbrushes keep getting bigger and bigger . . . and plastic toothbrush travel holders keep staying the same size!  Who will be the first to act on this discrepancy?  Is there a Nobel Prize for Overdue Product Improvement?

--Headline: “7-foot-9 player to make college basketball history.” 

Somebody please explain to me why the hoop is still at 10 feet, the same height it was when Dr. James Naismith invented the game in 1891, when a 6-footer was almost considered “tall”?

--Headline II: “Southwest Boeing 737 inexplicably dives, flies below 500 feet over neighborhood: ‘Thought it was gonna hit my house.’ “  (June 20 news story.)

Herewith a story I posted a year or so on the Link Tank section of

"Near misses, fires, severe turbulence . . . What’s happening to flying?"

 A recent scientific study in the journal Thorax made headlines after finding that cabin pressure at cruising altitude appears to lower blood pressure and increase heart rate, even among young, healthy passengers. This is particularly exacerbated by in-flight alcohol consumption.

Humans never evolved to be transported through the skies in a long metal tube at more than 500 miles per hour, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that air travel has some pretty unusual effects on our body.

DRUDGING AROUND:  Cops:  Funeral home worker planned to smuggle sex doll from dead man’s home in body bag . . . Idaho bar celebrating “Heterosexual Awesomeness Month” creates stir . . . Nursing home ruled her dead. Two hours later she was found breathing . . . Gen Z’ers bringing parents to job interviews . . . Republican lawmaker arrested after chasing adult dancer down road while waving gun at 2:45 a.m. . . . Cockroach interrupts State Dept. briefing . . . Heat day is the new snow day . . . Abe Lincoln wax sculpture melts In brutal  DC heat . . . Why pet’s death can hurt worse than losing a human . . . Mexico may legalize magic mushrooms . . . Gamer accused of flying cross country to try to kill online rival. (Thanks, as always to Matt Drudge and his merry band of aggregators.)

--Pampered pooches (etc.): Pet ownership as well as love for pets surged during the pandemic, Axios reports.

Vet prices have jumped 60% in the last decade, The New York Times reports. Modern vet clinics look like human hospitals, equipped with state-of-the-art MRI machines and ICUs and staffed by oncology and cardiology specialists.

If this isn’t nutty enough, people are picking homes based on their proximity to parks and vets, and some are even designing bedrooms for their animals. And owners are opting for highly specialized--and pricey--fresh, human-grade food options from a slew of startups, Barron's reports.

There’s more: And some owners are trading in kennels for luxury dog hotels when they need to travel without their pets. These facilities are expensive, but they offer perks like bedtime tuck-ins, swimming pools, blueberry facials and queen-size beds for dogs, the Times says. 

--What price progress? Today's car may be safer for drivers, but they pose tough challenges for first responders, such as trying to avoid cutting a high-voltage cable in a hybrid-electric vehicle or being able to slice through strong steel, according to news reports

There's more: Air bags mean more explosive propellant tanks and fewer safe places to cut, and even usual practices like disconnecting the battery and removing the key upon arrival are made more complicated by things like keyless ignitions and plugged-in electronic devices that can contain enough stored power to trigger an air bag deployment.

--Redundancy patrol:  "Sudden urge,'' "soothing balm," "specific example."

--I'm trying to get rid of most of the superfluous, "bloatware" apps on my iPhone.   In other words, I've got app-oplexy.

--Who invented podcasts?  You know something is of marginal value when no one has ever taken credit for it.

--Why do people always badmouth neighboring states?  Are the people in them really that different?  Don't people make exceptions for friends or relatives living there?  You'd think there were ambushes, bombings and beheadings at the state lines the way some people talk.

--Faded phrases:  When was the last time you put on your best bib and tucker, cut a mean rug and then peeled out in your jalopy?

--You've probably heard about a dating service called It's Just Lunch. Well, in today's hyperactive, short-attention-span world, even lunch is too long an encounter or commitment for some people.

So herewith jimjustsaying's new dating service:  It's Just Water Cooler. Because, let's face it, you can usually tell in the first minute or two if you want to spend a third minute with that person.

--The Brave New World of Cheating, Thai division:  A top medical school voided the results of an entrance exam after prospective students were caught cheating with hidden cameras and smartwatches, The Week reported. 

The rector of Rangsit University said three students used glasses with cameras embedded in the frames to send test questions to people outside the exam room, who then transmitted answers to the students’ smartwatches. 

The reaction?  On social media, some Thais expressed admiration for the cheaters’ ingenuity. “Like Hollywood or Mission Impossible,” wrote one.   

(Is anyone surprised by that reaction, given that the cheating is pretty tame compared to the sex slavery that Thailand is infamous for?)

--Overheard: "I'm sure wherever my dad is, he's looking down on us.  He's not dead.  Just very condescending."--Jack Whitehall

Today’s Latin Lesson: Estne haec optima haec terra facere potest pro candidatis praesidis?  (“Is this the best this country can do for presidential candidates?”)

 Many thanks to Vernon Hills, this month’s Popcorn intern.

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