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Posted by on Feb 11, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Rants and Raves | 2 comments

Morsels of My Madness IV

 

 

Random thoughts that came to me while eating sour lemonade and drinking a ham sandwich…..

 

[1]  If asked to describe my social media account in just five words or less, I’ll go with this:     OLD MAN YELLS AT CLOUD.

[2]  Actor “Rob Lowe” was trending last week.

My first thought was:  Did he die?
My second thought was:  Sexual harassment?
My third thought was:  Another old blackface photo?

This is the world we now live in.

[3]  I don’t want to sound sacrilegious, but The Bible is boring.  It’s a terrible book.  Hint:  If they want more readers, hire Stephen King to do a massive re-write.  If there’s a movie, toss in a few car chases.

[4]  I’m waiting for Five-Thirty-Eight to do a detailed study on the inverse relationship between aging and the number of current hit songs someone can name.

[5]  Someone posted an early draft of the Green New Deal, which contains some crazy-sounding stuff.  Okay, whatever.  Let me remind everyone that Sir Paul McCartney’s first draft of a weird song that started out as “Scrambled Eggs” eventually became a rock masterpiece titled, “Yesterday.”

[6]  Has anyone checked to see if Matthew McConaughey actually drives a Lincoln Navigator?  I really want to know.

[7]  Too bad Rep. John Dingell died last week at the ripe young age of 92.  He was almost old enough to run for president.

[8]  I’m done playing in poker tournaments because I’m fed up with all the table changes.  I always get moved off my starting table straight into the parking lot.

[9]  Has anyone ever approached the seating host at a restaurant and said, “I’m starving — oh, and I’m here with the Donner Party?”

[10]  If children got screwed by clowns as often as they get doodled by priests and preachers it would be against the law to take your kids to the circus.

[11]  Not sure who I’d rather see doing hard time busting rocks in a prison yard — Donald Trump or Sheldon Adelson.  Here’s an idea:  Handcuff the two shitbags together.  That would make one helluva’ reality television show, wouldn’t it?  Gives The Defiant Ones a whole new meaning.

[12]  I’m curious about something.  In 1969, we landed a rocket on the moon using computers the size of a gymnasium.  Now, fifty years later, how come I can’t get a fucking internet connection in Downtown Summerlin?

[13]  Why are so many old extremist Right-wing White men scared of a relatively powerless 29-year-old freshman socialist congresswoman of color?

[14]  When you wash your car at one of those do-it-yourself places, isn’t handling the scrubber kinda’ like using someone else’s toothbrush?

[15]  The timeline of every rock band:

  1.  Struggle
  2.  First Hit
  3.  Pop Stardom
  4.  Drugs and alcohol
  5.  Fights
  6.  Breakup
  7.  Recovery
  8.  Boredom
  9.  Bankruptcy
  10.  Reunion tour

[16]  I’m genuinely curious.  How can people with no original thoughts and utterly nothing interesting to say somehow get 450,o00 twitter followers?

[17]  Am I the only person alive still using Windows 98?  Shouldn’t I get a lifetime achievement award or something?

[18]  Though it does take creativity, I figured out how to live totally rent-free.  My new home address is an IKEA store.

[19]  The word “FUCK” is the most creative word in the English language.  Think of how many derivatives there are and different ways it can be used.  Even the way “FUCK” is said aloud can mean completely different things. “FUCK!” said one way can mean, “this is terrible!” yet can also mean “this is wonderful!” based solely upon the inflection of one’s voice.  Whoever invented the word is a fucking genius.

[20]  You haven’t really stood up for much in life unless you have at least a few haters.  It’s good to have haters.  Hate from those who are ignorant is a currency as valuable as gold.

 

Want more?  Previous “Morsels of My Madness” here:

NOW A TRILOGY:  MORSELS OF MY MADNESS

EVEN MORE MORSELS OF MY MADNESS

MORE MORSELS OF MY MADNESS

__________

 

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Posted by on Feb 10, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Rants and Raves, What's Left | 1 comment

Why Do They Lie So Much About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

 

 

Frantic to deflect our attention away from the malady of Trump and his voluminous crimes, the far-Right has resorted to flinging a ceaseless bombardment of demonstrable falsehoods, hoping they’ll stick.  With Hillary Clinton fading into the past, they desperately need a new bogey-woman — and now appear to have found her. 

Here’s to exposing their lies with facts and telling the truth….     

 

Why do they lie so much?

That’s the big question I’ve been asking myself since the unexpected and unprecedented rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old newly-elected congresswoman from New York who’s made quite the political splash in Washington.

Ocasio-Cortez’s has become so well-known, so fast, she’s now known by a simple three-letter moniker, “AOC.”  Her appeal among progressives is well-justified.  She’s young.  She’s energetic.  She’s genuine.  She’s fearless.

AOC’s meteoric rise onto the national stage has also made her into an inviting political target.  She’s become the victim of outright fabrication.  Already, there’s a vast disinformation campaign underway which intends to discredit her.  The far-Right’s assembly line of lies has been cranked into action.  The hate machine is going full blast.  Like a doomsday machine that can’t be shut off once it’s been programmed, this is only the beginning.  The deceptive anti-AOC narrative has been artfully crafted.  Eventually, it becomes impossible to alter first impressions and change stubborn simple minds.  Political disinformation campaigns work. 

Take a look at all the activity related to AOC spewed across social media platforms this past week.  She’s become the poster girl for extremist Right-wing backlash.  Frantic to deflect our attention away from the malady of Donald Trump and his voluminous crimes, the conservative movement has resorted to flinging a ceaseless bombardment of demonstrable falsehoods, desperately hoping they’ll stick.  With Hillary Clinton fading into the past, they desperately need a new bogey-woman — and now appear to have found her.

For example, here’s just one of many social media outlets blasting AOC with completely made-up accusations.  Some troll calling itself “The Patriot Conservative” somehow has several thousand followers.  The Facebook page is percolating with attacks on AOC.  Let’s be quite clear — political criticism is certainly fair game.  However, complete disregard of the facts and outright fabrication is not.

Check out this deceptive post at “The Patriot Conservative.”  It mocks AOC (and several other Democratic congresswomen) for allegedly not standing up during Trump’s State of the Union Address at the instant a 10-year-old girl was introduced to the crowd and lauded for overcoming brain cancer.  Here’s a snapshot of the false post:

 

Falsehoods from the far-Right aren’t the exception.  They are now the rule.  Their toxicity has gone viral, infecting an army of faithful foot-soldiers.  Impressionable followers, numbering in the thousands, are willing to gobble up any lie.  Too lazy to fact-check anything, they share this garbage and litter the social media landscape with lies.

Again, here’s clear evidence.  Hundreds and perhaps thousands of memes exploded all over Twitter and Facebook in recent days, hammering AOC for “not standing.”  Here’s just one of the countless examples of fakery:

 

 

The meme looks really bad, doesn’t it?  Allegedly, AOC didn’t even stand up nor applaud when the young cancer survivor was recognized by Trump during his speech.  The photograph even shows AOC scowling.  [Oh, and by the way, the memes can’t even get the girl’s age correct.  She’s not 8.  She’s 10.]

There’s only one problem.

The meme, the photo, the entire incident — all are demonstrably false.  It’s completely made up.  It’s garbage.

Don’t take my word for it.  Here’s proof.

I went back and carefully watched Trump’s introduction of the young cancer survivor.  It took one click on YouTube and about 3o seconds to realize what was being reported was a total lie.

Here’s the screenshot I took of AOC and other Democratic congresswomen (mostly dressed in white, which makes them easy to identify).  This image shows AOC at the very instant the young girl is introduced to the crowd:

 

 

Note who standing up at the second Trump makes his introduction.  In case it’s not clear, that’s AOC in the row behind the table.  That’s her — STANDING UP.  That’s her — APPLAUDING.

Should you suspect I doctored this photo, or believe it’s from a different part of the State of the Union speech, watch for yourself in real time.  Click the short clip below.  You can fast-forward to the 2:20 mark, which is when Trump makes his introduction and AOC and the others stand and applaud:

 

 

Seriously, do these people have no shame?

What to make of the social media sewer that manufactures this fakery and the willful idiots who spread their lies?

Unfortunately, it’s too late now.  Many more people will click and share the false AOC meme than will ever read this column.  No one bothers to verify its accuracy.  Moreover, this is just one of the countless other examples of grotesque disinformation floating around the internet intended to malign AOC.

This does raise a more poignant question.  If AOC’s ideas about economic inequality, universal health care, and global warming are so wrong, why then do they ridicule her appearance, question her patriotism, deride her background from modest economic means, and fabricate bullshit?  Why don’t they just stick to the issues?

Is this yet another despicable example of misogyny?  Is it racism?  Perhaps, somewhat.  But I think it’s much deeper than that.  The far-Right knows they can’t win on the issues.  Their only hope is to demonize the most convenient messenger-target and if necessary, make stuff up.  The mudslinging is working.  Apparently, about 40 percent of the country swims away with the juicy bait — hook, line, and sinker.  They’ve become the pupfishes of political deceit.

Next time you see another anti-AOC meme, ask yourself one simple question — why are they attacking a 29-year-old female congresswoman with relatively little voting power compared to the vast arsenal of political and economic heavyweights who have sewn so much discord?  Why do they feel so threatened by this young lady?

Why do they make up lies?

__________

 

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Posted by on Feb 10, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Music and Concert Reviews | 0 comments

Matt Lessinger’s Annual Grammy Awards Analysis and Forecast [2019]

 

 

If you’re a regular reader and not yet up to speed on Matt Lessinger and his expertise on awards shows and analysis, then I’m not sure what else to say.

He’s been introduced here before.  Get with the program.

Let’s skip the usual preamble and get straight to Matt’s thoughts on tonight’s Grammy Awards.  For the record, I know nothing about this year’s music or ceremony, which will air tonight.  The Grammy Awards typically warbles between mesmerizingly great and train wreck awful.  I expect more of the same, tonight.

For those who appreciate the science of handicapping and value great analysis, I urge you to read his thoughts here, which should be valued as a terrific handicapping outlier.   You need not be knowledgable of the music nor interested in the Grammy’s to value the high level of this work — which is why I’m eager to share Matt’s contribution here at my site.

Matt’s e-mail to me reads as follows:

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Hi Nolan:
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Sadly, I’ve looked at the Grammy odds on three different sites, and the best odds were on Bovada each time.  You know the offshore sites are getting worse when Bovada has the best lines!  That’s unfortunate because they are only allowing a max bet of $125. on each category, and I have no idea how they came up with that number, but they are standing firm on that max.  I don’t have the time or the resources to scour for a site with potentially better odds and/or maximums, but if anyone can find one and they are willing to share that information, it would be most appreciated.  In the meantime, the odds listed here can all be found on Bovada at the time of this writeup.
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The most obvious difference from years past is that there are now eight nominees in each category instead of five.  That makes our job a little harder, but there’s still value to be found and money to be made.  The other difference is that the nominees lean way more in the direction of hip hop than in years past. If I had been forced to bet on who this year’s nominees would be, admittedly I would have gotten slaughtered.  For example, if you look at the category for Best Pop Vocal Album, which has six nominees (Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Shawn Mendes), I would have said that each of those albums could easily have landed in the Album of the Year category. Instead, NONE of them were nominated!  For Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande to not have been nominated in an eight-horse field for Album of the Year is downright shocking.  It may signal that the Grammys are going in a new direction.  However, until they prove that they are willing to change the way they hand out the actual winners trophies, we have to assume for betting purposes that they are still the same old Grammys.
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I’m going to list the categories in order of confidence, going from least to most.
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Let’s begin:
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SONG OF THE YEAR
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“Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper is the -300 favorite and will almost certainly win.  There are going to be two themes that repeat themselves throughout the categories.  The first is that there are no standout nominees in any category.  In my humble opinion, “Shallow” is not even a particularly good song, but it may be the best one in this weak field.  The second recurring theme is that we will summarily dismiss any hip-hop nominees, even though there are more than usual this year, until it is shown that they can win the open categories on a more regular basis.  With regard to this category, that eliminates half the field.  Out of the ones that are left, Lady Gaga is the only one with a winning Grammy track record, having won six of them in the past.  “Shallow” is the logical choice, but at -300 it is unplayable.  I’m going to take a complete flyer for a token wager on the longest shot in the field, “The Middle” by Zedd and Maren Morris.  Bombs away!  My simple logic is that it is the only other song in the field that would be considered pop.  On the one hand, the fact that none of the Best Pop Albums were nominated for Album of the Year signals a move away from pop music.  On the other hand, Grammys have always rewarded pop musicians in the open categories, most notably Taylor Swift and Adele in recent years.  “The Middle” might be the only upbeat song in the entire field, and it wouldn’t shock me if some voters gravitate to it just because it sounds uplifting in a sea of comparatively depressing music.
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My play: “The Middle” by Zedd and Maren Morris at 33-1, for a very small wager.  But if you’re willing to lay the heavy wood, you’ll probably win with “Shallow” at -300.
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BEST NEW ARTIST
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When the nominees were announced, my initial reaction was that Dua Lipa would be the odds-on favorite.  Instead, H.E.R. is the -110 favorite and Dua Lipa is +180, and it’s far back to the rest of the field.  Anecdotally speaking, H.E.R. is from Vallejo, CA which is a half hour away from me, and I listen to R&B music, and I had never heard any of her songs before.  Once I listened to her, I had to admit I liked her music quite a bit, and she has a recognizable talent such that she could certainly win.  But her resume doesn’t match up to Dua Lipa, who has already had a #1 song (New Rules) and international radio airplay.  At the given prices, Dua Lipa is definitely the better value play.  It’s hard to summarily dismiss the longshots – someone like Luke Combs or Margo Price could certainly be bombs away at 22-1 – but the problem in this category is that it’s hard to predict which longshot the voters would gravitate towards, so it’s easier to just stick with the proven commodity.
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My play: Dua Lipa at +180
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ALBUM OF THE YEAR
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Disclaimer: As much as I try to keep my personal musical opinions out of this process and stick to cold, hard analysis, sometimes that’s just not possible. This is one of those times.
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Kacey Musgraves is the +120 favorite. I am quite sure a country artist has never been favored in this category for as long as I’ve been following Grammy betting.  To me that signals the weakness with the other nominees more than it signals the strength of her album.  She could certainly win, but there’s no value there.  The 2nd and 3rd choices are the Black Panther album, which is essentially Kendrick Lamar, and then Drake.  Both are hip-hop artists, and so I’ll say the same thing I’ve said every year for the past 15 years: the hip-hop artists who have previously won Album of the Year are Outkast and Lauryn Hill.  That’s it, that’s the list.  If one of them becomes the third member of that list, more power to them, but at +250 and +350 they’re unplayable.  Cardi B and Post Malone are two more hip-hop artists that can even more easily be dismissed.  Brandi Carlile and H.E.R. are the two longest shots on the board, and justifiably so.  Out of the last four nominees I listed, Carlile is the only one who should have any shot at winning due to her career longevity, which is often rewarded in the AOTY category, but sometimes just being nominated is the reward, which is what this feels like.
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That leaves Janelle Monae, who is listed at 6-1 on Bovada, but I’ve seen her as low as 3-1 elsewhere.  Being completely honest, this is more of a hunch play than anything else.  It simply feels like it should be her time.  She is an R&B artist, which has historically been more successful in the open categories than either hip-hop or country.  She has had a musical career spanning almost 15 years, which is more than most of this field can claim.  Prince was an uncredited collaborator on the album, and assuming the voters are aware of that, his recent passing will certainly carry some weight. It was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year.  And finally, inserting my own two cents, this album deserves to win. At 6-1 the value is there.
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My play: Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae at 6-1.
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RECORD OF THE YEAR
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Despite the constant insistence that Song of the Year and Record of the Year are two distinct categories, the same song wins in both categories way too often to be a coincidence. “Shallow” is the -300 favorite for SOTY and will probably win.  So why is it the +160 second choice in this category, and “This is America” by Childish Gambino is the -150 favorite?  I tried to find a logical reason and couldn’t come up with one.  This is the best bet on the board.  I’ll include another token wager on “The Middle” in case it sweeps both categories, but it’s far more likely that Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will get the scoop.
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My play (Best bet): “Shallow” at +160
Token wager: “The Middle” at 22-1
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Good luck to everyone this year!
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Cheers,
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Matt L
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_________
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Posted by on Feb 9, 2019 in Blog, Essays | 2 comments

Are You Ready for Some….

 

 

Don’t look now, but a new professional football league debuts tonight.  Well, I have a few comments.

 

Are you ready for some….

….I can’t bear to type this next word, but here it goes….

….football ???

A new professional football league debuts tonight.  The premature infant of a fling that should have been aborted the instant some rich dude in the back of a limo presumably blurted out, “hey, let’s start a new football league!” will be officially known as the “Alliance of American Football.”  Blare the tinfoil trumpets.  Call in Larry Greenfield to sing our national anthem.

I shit you not, my friends.  Just in case you missed the Super Bowl-shattering “I wish it were #fakenews” non-story, don’t fret — you’re not alone.  No one else has heard of the “AAF” either.

Curious and desperately in need of a new column on what’s typically the slowest traffic day for bloggers, I typed the three letters “AAF” into a Google search engine and — voila!

This is what popped up:

 

Okay, let’s just say the AAF is a “work in progress.”  Translated, that means no one knows what they’re doing nor has a clue what’s going on.  This league is going to make the Trump White House look like Daimler-Benz.

As of this morning, the Arizona Hotshots are still looking for a head coach.  Interested in the job?  Word is, if you can be at the Home Depot parking lot in North Glendale ready for work at 6 pm, you’ve got the position.  Oh, and the game starts at 7.  Bring your own headset and bottles of Gatorade.  English as a first language not required.

No health insurance.  No benefits.  No vacation time (unless the league folds).  Perfect job for the “self-starter.”  The league’s fitness program consists of running to the bank every payday to make sure the check doesn’t bounce.

Let’s be honest.  Launching a new football league might be the worst idea of all time — this not counting William Shatner performing this eye-popping, unintentionally hilarious 1978 cover of the Elton John-Bernie Taupin classic, “Rocket Man.”

 

So, you think I’m bullshitting.  You think I made the name “Arizona Hotshots” up, didn’t you?

No, that’s really the team name.  The Hotshots.  How’d you like that on your resume?  I will say one thing.  Site unseen, without knowing any of the players, I make the Hotshots a “pick” against the Arizona Cardinals, provided that Josh Rosen takes all snaps for the red birds.

Natural curious, t took me three clicks and half a glass of Zinfandel to finally find out which second-tier American cities will actually have an AAF team this debut season.  It appears the death list of decapitated dreamers includes Birmingham, San Antonio, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Memphis, Atlanta, and….and….and…..

….I can’t bear to type this next word, but here it goes….

San Diego.

Seriously….San Diego.

San Diego couldn’t keep the fucking Chargers in town!  Do you seriously think anyone’s going to buy a ticket to go see the San Diego Fleet?

While doing a web search, I was particularly amused by this ground shaking announcement that nobody else apparently saw, except me and maybe the guy who wrote it.  According to the press release, Aaron Murray and Christain Hackenberg HIGHLIGHTED the QB’s taken in this year’s draft.  Highlighted!  Presumably, Ryan Leaf and Joe Kapp weren’t available.

To be clear, an alternative pro football league to the established NFL did succeed in the past.  Once.  Too bad, that was 59 years ago.  The AFL was formed because the older league and TV networks were slow to react to a national hunger for more football.  Back then there were a dozen NFL teams and three television networks.  Now, there are 3,000 TV networks, and half of them right now are showing the creepy guy selling the colon cleanse product.  More football?  Does anyone other than Tom Brady want to see another football game for the next six months?

Fuck no!

So, while the AFL succeeded before I was born, at least three football leagues have self-imploded since then.  The alphabet soup of dead football leagues looks like a losing Scrabble tray in a dementia ward.  WFL.USFL.XFL.  It’s to the point where the only way to possibly compete is to make up a word.  Gee, is “WLUX” a word, Alex?

Dumb shits.  This ship to nowhere is going to blow through millions.  It’s about as promising as backing Newt Gingrich in a presidential campaign.  By the way, Newt — just in case you’re reading….6 pm at Home Depot, partner.  I know it’s been a while since you last worked and anyone took you seriously.

I have zero interest in watching this bullshit football league.

Oh, wait.

You can bet it?  You can wager on the games?

Seriously?  There are real lines in Las Vegas on the AAF?

Really???

 

Ahh, fuck it.  Give me the San Diego Fleet +3 tonight versus San Antonio.

 

Note:  Follow the Facebook discussion on this topic here:

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Posted by on Feb 8, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Rants and Raves | 3 comments

Now a Trilogy: Morsels of My Madness

 

 

Can’t stop the madness:  Crazed lunacy or revelation?  You decide.

 

[1]   I don’t want to come across as being too judgmental, but some people disgust me just by what they order to eat.

[2]   Why is it when I deal with Scandinavian people, they speak and write English — which is their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language — far better than most Americans?

[3]  Three Important Facts of Life:  1.  Barbecue is meant to be served in giant portions.  2.  Rock n’ roll is meant to be played really loud.  3.  Anyone who serves wine at room temperature shouldn’t be allowed to serve wine.

[4]   True Story of What Happened Last Sunday at a Casino Super Bowl Party in Las Vegas:  A customer became so outraged at being charged $8 for a hot dog that he slapped the vendor.  That’s just wrong.  Next time, use the entire fist.

[5]   Eugene Levy is the John Cazale of comedy.  Everything he appears in is good just because he’s in it.

[6]   I’m proud of myself.  This week, I stepped onto the treadmill four times.  Now, if I could just figure out where the button is to turn the damn thing on.

[7]   If a homeless man somehow gets elected to the House, does that mean he’s not homeless anymore?

[8]   If binge drinking causes short-term memory loss, what does binge drinking do?

[9]   Bible people believe that all women on earth originated from a man’s single rib.  Does that mean there’d now be 12 women for every man if he’d forked over a full slab?

[10]   How do you stop eating salsa and chips at the Tex-Mex place whatever comes first — they run out or you die?

[11]   Meditation is 50 percent telling your brain to shut up; 30 percent trying to recall which day was your dentist appointment; 15 percent trying to remember who co-starred with Michael Keaton in Night Shift; and 5 percent actually meditating.

[12]  If I blurt out what kinky sex acts I want to do with Alexa, will she think I’m a pervert?

[13]  When he dies, if Sheldon Adelson decides to get cryogenically frozen, will anyone notice he’s deceased?

[14]  Just once, I’d like to pick the right checkout line at the grocery store.

[15]  I can’t watch Family Feud anymore.  Last time I turned it on, the answers were so bad I wanted to punch out both families.

[16]  My goal this year is to get completely out of debt.  Now, if someone can just lend me $230,oo0 I’ll be all set.

[17]  Who the fuck wears white tennis shoes?  Seriously.

[18]  Quit bitching, fellow liberals.  We should all be thrilled the dufus in the White House is working only 3 hours a day.  Imagine the damage he’d do if he was both incompetent and hard-working.

[19]  So far, one of the great accomplishments of my life is not being able to name one song or lyric by Kanye West.

[20]  I find comparisons between Trump and Hitler to hysterically inaccurate.  Take just a couple of differences.  Hitler was reasonably smart, loyal to his country, loved animals, and faithful to his wife.

 

Note:  Previous “Morsels of My Madness” here:

EVEN MORE MORSELS OF MY MADNESS

MORE MORSELS OF MY MADNESS

__________

 

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