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Quips and Jabs — 2007-2012

David E. Ross

An unorganized collection of wry humor, short comments on politics, jabs at commercials, predictions, et cetera. This page is always being updated, with new entries at the beginning. There is no table of contents.

Not everything here is original with me. Those items that are marked with © are original, and I own the copyright. Those items that indicate contributed by might not be original creations of the contributors.

Quips and Jabs 2005-2006

Quips and Jabs 2003-2004

Quips and Jabs 2001-2002

Quips and Jabs 1999-2000

Quips and Jabs 1997-1998

Some thoughts by this Democrat about the 2012 election —

© 2012

In 2003, I commented about a TV commercial break that contained advertisements for four different automobiles. I noted how experiencing a quick sequence of several different automobile brands meant that none of the brands stuck in my mind.

Recently, a TV commercial break contained five advertisements. Four were for health-care products, including two medications available only by prescription. While I remembered the count, two minutes later I could not recall which health-care products were advertised.

Don't advertisers realize that, if they do not stand alone, they do not stand out.

In any case, why do pharmaceutical companies advertise products to the public that we cannot buy without first having an appointment with a doctor? My family doctor is one of a growing number of doctors who refuse to be badgered by patients into prescribing the latest drug to be huckstered on TV. I deeply appreciate that attitude.

© 2012

My wife and I attended the wedding of a son of a long-time friend of ours. It was a beautiful wedding. The groom and bride just could not stop smiling at each other and at the guests. After the ceremony, we attended an hour of drinks and appetizers. Then there was dinner.

During the dinner, a band played and sang. The music was so loud that we could not carry on a conversation with the other guests at our table. It was so loud that we could not hear the lyrics being sung. At times, the drumming was so loud that I felt my intestines throbbing in response. After we left the reception, my ears still rang for about a half-hour.

I realize that the music was primarily targeted towards the bridal couple's friends. But why is it necessary to create a new generation of hearing-impaired?

© 2012

While everyone is justifiably horrified by the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during the premier of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises", something else — not as horrific — disturbs me about the situation. I just cannot understand the obsessive hoopla over a movie premier.

In Los Angeles, scalpers were selling tickets to the premier for $300. Waiting a few days, those who really wanted to see the movie — and not merely wanting to be seen seeing the movie — could have bought tickets for less than one-tenth of that price.

In Aurora, the excessive obsession to attend the premier can be seen in one of the victims. Veronica Moser was only 6 yeas old when she was murdered at the theater. Survivors included Ethan (4 months) and Azeria (4 years), children of Jamie Rohrs and his fiancée Patricia Legarreta. Other children under the age of 10 were present at this midnight screening.

My wife and I both question why such young children were not asleep in bed. Why did their parents decide that bringing their very young children to the premier at such an hour was so important?

© 2012

graphic of a heart on fire

According to the advertisements on television, heartburn is a major illness requiring immediate treatment. However, there appear to be more treatments sold than the foods that cause heartburn.

Of course, none of the advertisements indicate the least expensive treatment: a piece of ginger. Yes, eating a piece of ginger can give immediate relief from heartburn at far less cost than any advertised pills. Here is a price comparison.

ProductUsual DoseCost of PackageDoses in Package Cost of One DoseComments
Prevacid1 tablet$19.9942$0.48 requires several once-a-day doses and then ongoing doses for maintenance
Prilosec1 tablet$26.9942$0.64 requires several once-a-day doses and then ongoing doses for maintenance
Tums2 tablets$4.9936$0.14 provides immediate relief; use only when needed; no maintenance doses required
Zegerid1 tablet$31.7942$0.76 requires several once-a-day doses and then ongoing doses for maintenance
Zantac1 tablet$19.9950$0.40 provides immediate relief; use only when needed; no maintenance doses required
candied ginger1 piece$1.4948$0.03 provides immediate relief; use only when needed; no maintenance doses required

I prefer candied ginger. I just chew it up and swallow, and then I take a drink of water. It is the cheapest heartburn cure per dose in the table, about one-fifth of the cost of Tums (the second cheapest). Others might prefer Japanese-style pickled ginger or fresh ginger root. Ginger ale will also work, but it requires drinking a really large amount.

© 2011

News stories about politicians' sexual escapades raised the question in my mind:

What is the worst offense, the offense that demands removal from politics?

Here are some examples in random order. You tell me which is the worst offense.

Who are these politicians? Put your cursor over the text to see.

© 2011

When politicians talk about "tort reform", they usually mean limiting the ability of individuals to sue large corporations or the ability of patients to sue their doctors. The politicians never intend to limit the ability of large corporations to sue individuals (e.g., to silence whistle-blowers) or limit the ability of doctors to sue patients (e.g., to collect outrageous fees for botched treatments.)

© 2011

Unbelievable! Or is it?

The Web site of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) does not contain its postal address. I can't send a postal letter to the Postmaster General because I don't have his address.

Why would I want to send a letter to the Postmaster General? More and more U.S. stamps are being issued as "forever" stamps with no denomination. This is great for domestic mail since the stamps remain valid even if there is an increase in postage rates. However, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) requires denominations to appear on all stamps used for international mail. I wanted to write to the Postmaster General to ask how the USPS reconciles its issuing of "forever" stamps with the requirements of the UPU.

© 2010

What do doctors, prostitutes, and TSA agents have in common?

Get paid to touch your junk

Found at reddit

First, it was 228,000,000. Then, 380,000,000 eggs were recalled when hundreds of people were sickened with salmonella. All the eggs were produced by a single company in Iowa.

This illustrates the danger when too much production is concentrated into a very few large companies. While the egg recall was an issue of health and life, it is not much different from the danger to livelihoods and economic strength when too much control of an industry is concentrated into a very few large companies. That latter danger was illustrated by the near-collapse of the financial and automobile industries under President George H. W. Bush, an economic disaster that still afflicts the United States.

Big is not necessarily better.

© 2010

On the same page inside the Los Angeles Times "Business" section on 27 March 2010, two articles had conflicting headlines: "Stocks edge higher as pessimism grows" and "Optimism grows as 4th-quarter earnings soar".

Both optimism and pessimism are growing at the same time? This only proves that no one really knows future economic trends. They can only guess. Predicting the economy often requires the reading of burnt goat entrails.

© 2010

Why is that that when angry white men do things like fly planes into the IRS building or shoot police officers at the Pentagon it's not terrorism? Is it the color of their skin or their religion that keeps that term from applying to their actions?

Contributed by my daughter

Republicans and some conservative Democrats are complaining loudly about the current federal deficit and the growing national debt under President Obama. Voters in Massachusetts elected a Republican U.S. Senator partially because of their concern over this issue.

Why is it that these complaints were not heard when President George H. W. Bush (Bush II) converted President Clinton's budget surpluses into deficits worse than the deficits of any prior administration? Why is it that few complaints were heard when Bush drove the national debt higher than any time in history?

No one seems to understand that Obama's deficits are largely a result of trying (1) to undo the economic disaster that started under Bush and (2) to conclude Bush's wars.

© 2010

Almost five years ago, I commented about how I hate shopping, especially for clothes. Today, that hatred increased.

I'm again looking for a short-sleeved dress shirt. I need an 18½ collar, a collar that does NOT button-down.

I went to four department stores, plus a few specialty shops:

For whatever I am shopping, I find a severe lack of variety and choices. I attribute this lack to two trends in retail merchandising. The earlier trend was the change from local buying to centralized buying by department stores. This means that variations in local tastes and desires are ignored. The later trend was the consolidation of department store chains through mergers, eliminating some of the competition that would make the wishes of customers important.

Robinsons-May, where I unsuccessfully shopped five years ago, was since taken over by Macy's. Robinsons-May itself represented the takeover of J. W. Robinson's by the May Company. Fifty and more years ago, there were quite a few major department stores in the Los Angeles area, each independent of the others: Broadway, Bullock's, J. W. Robinson's, Coulter's, Silverwood's, May Company, Buffum's, Henshey's, Orbach's. If you could not find what you wanted at one store, your might indeed find that item at another. Now there are only three major chains. If what you want is not at one store, forget it.

Fortunately, I rarely wear a dress shirt; and the two nice dress shirts that I already own — both short-sleeved and neither with button-down collars — still fit me.

© 2009

My wife and I were at a local supermarket for the weekly grocery shopping. While she was choosing a loaf of bread, I was looking at the cheeses. I picked up a few wedges of brie and checked them to see how soft (and thus how fresh) they were. I decided against buying any of them.

When I rejoined my wife, she asked me where I had been. I told her I had been fondling the cheese.

Wife: "You were doing what???"

Me: "I was fondling the cheese. You're supposed to fondle it before making fondue."

Wife: "I think you should make fondon't!"

© 2009

What was the most significant, positive accomplishment of President George W. Bush (Bush II)?

He didn't die in office and foist Dick Cheney on us as the next President.

Suggested by my dear wife

© 2009

About four or five years ago, I bought a glue stick. I didn't use it much, so it lasted until now.

Where should I go to buy a new one? A stationery store, of course.

To be sure that I found what I wanted, I went to one of the largest stationery chains. There, I could either buy a package of four glue sticks like the one I had, or else I could buy a giant glue stick. In either case, what they wanted to sell me would last me the rest of my life and possibly beyond. Such bulk packaging is the rule at all stationery chains.

I bought a single glue stick at a neighborhood drug store (also part of a national chain of drug stores). It cost $1 and should last me until I'm well past 70.

Yes, I know the chain stationery stores are selling office supplies. But why do they think all offices have dozens of employees and require bulk supplies. I'm retired, and my office has only me.

© 2008

Why is it??

My daughter lives in the central prairies of Canada, in a city with a population of about 250,000. She can walk into her credit union or bank and get a money order denominated in U.S. dollars without much trouble.

I live in a metropolitan area of the U.S. with a population of about 10,000,000, twenty time the size of Heather's city. I cannot find a bank or credit union — even among branches of the largest financial institutions in the nation — that will issue a money order denominated in Canadian dollars.

© 2008

There was the couple waiting for their luggage in a Florida airport when they noticed a man who was dressed in very heavy clothing. Wondering where he was from the husband went up to the gentleman and asked "Pardon me sir, but do you mine telling me where you're from?"

The man replied "Saskatoon, Saskatchewan".

The other man thanked him and walked back to his wife.

His wife then asked "So, where's he from"?

To which the man replied "I don't know, he doesn't speak English"

Contributed by my daughter Heather,
who lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

I've noticed that more and more restrooms in such public places as shopping malls and restaurants have replaced paper towels with hot air blowers. The claim is that the blowers — by reducing the demand for wood pulp and reducing trash that goes to landfills — are good for the environment.

I have several problems with these hot air blowers:

© 2008

I've been shopping for a new gas barbecue. The old one — now about 12-13 years old — is showing its age. The burner needs a good cleaning or replacing, but I can't figure out how to detach it. The firebox has warped from repeated heating, causing the cooking grids to drop onto the ceramic briquettes.

I merely want to replace the barbecue that I have with a similar unit. It has two burners, which have always been enough. Today, the average gas barbecue seems to have four or more burners. All the barbecues that I had at this house — where I've lived for over 34 years — sat on posts that were firmly fastened to the concrete patio. The store where I bought my old barbecue no longer sells any with posts. Now, barbecues come with carts large enough for a person to use as a bedroom.

This afternoon, I visited a nearby appliance store that sells gas barbecues. The salesman showed me one of their smaller models. I told him that it would be quite suitable if I were running a catering service.

The problem is not just barbecues. Many products that were quite good are no longer available. My parents bought some aluminum lawn furniture with woven webbing. When they sold their house, they gave the furniture to us. The frames were bolted together, not riveted. The webbing was saran, not something that rots away after only one summer of sunshine. The set lasted over 20 years. Today, the only similar furniture is bought in the spring and trashed in the fall.

One of my favorite breakfast cereals is no longer stocked by any of the four major supermarket chains in my area, even though its still being manufactured. Although my doctor recommended it for soothing the itch of an insect bite, I can't find phenylated calamine lotion in any of three major drug store chains. My favorite local grocer no longer stocks grapefruit marmalade, calamari steaks, or plain uncooked wild rice.

Products seem to get fancier every year. But I don't want fancy. For example, for a recipe that involves cooking something with wild rice, I don't want fully-cooked wild rice, which would get over-cooked. And I don't want a mix of white, brown, and wild rice; the recipe calls for only wild rice. And I don't want flavored or seasoned wild rice; the recipe has its own seasonings. But the markets have fully-cooked, mixed, or seasoned wild rice; they don't have plain uncooked wild rice.

I don't want a barbecue big enough to cook dinner for 30 people; I want a barbecue to cook dinner for just my wife and me. And it doesn't need a burner built into a shelf; we have a nice gas range inside our kitchen. And I certainly don't want a barbecue on wheels attached to the permanent natural gas line that's adjacent to my patio. But barbecues are now sized to cook an entire side of beef while rolling across my back yard.

Every bell and whistle, every added processing and seasoning, every increase in size and complexity means that I have to pay for features I really don't want. (Attention Bill Gates: This applies to software, too.)

No wonder I hate to shop.

© 2007

How come I see spam that says:

Loan request approved

but I never see spam that says:

Your loan application has been rejected


© 2007

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