Super Bowl Thrills for the Clueless

Sunday is Super Bowl LII — that’s 52 to those of you who don’t know Latin. The game will draw a humongous audience, but if you also don’t know much about football, why bother watching?

Here’s why: If you love hanging with family and friends, stuffing your face, gambling degenerately, or better yet, all three, you don’t have to know Tom Brady from Marcia Brady to have the time of your life.

The Super Bowl has become an unofficial national holiday, as American as pizza and guacamole, which will be consumed in obscene quantities, along with a gazillion gallons of beer, mountains of chicken wings and enough chili to gas up a fleet of Goodyear blimps.

Sure, lots of great grub, but shouldn’t you also cheer for a team, you ask?

The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots are perhaps the two biggest enemies of our New York football squads, so how could you root for either one? Don’t! In fact, no need to even watch the game. Just socialize, pig out and place your bets. You can wager not only on the outcome, but also take part in one of those hundred-box pools. Don’t worry, it’s all luck, and the pool’s big winner always seems to be someone who has no idea what a touchdown is.

If having a betting interest gets your heart pumping, that’s only the beginning of the gambling fun, most of which has little to do with the game. For example, Las Vegas oddsmakers have set two minutes as the “over-under” for how long it will take Pink to sing the national anthem. No, I’m not making this up. If you put up $100 on her finishing in under two minutes, you will be screaming your lungs out at her to hurry it up if she embellishes singing “the land of the free.” Heart pounding action, and they haven’t even kicked off!

Such bets will be offered by Vegas and bookies nationwide throughout the game, right through to the end, when you can place a wager on the color of the Gatorade the winning team will dump on the coach’s head.

Yellow slime! Yes! I win! High five!

Who’s playing again?

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Are Devices Spying on Every Move You Make?

“Every breath you take, every move you make,

every bond you break,

every step you take,

I’ll be watching you.”

When Sting wrote this song in 1983, many thought he was describing an ex-lover who had turned into a creepy stalker. In 2018, are we inviting creepy electronic stalkers into our homes, schools, bedrooms and bathrooms?

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, many of the hottest new gadgets regrettably included invasion-of-privacy aspects. From car monitors that detect where someone’s going, to brain-wave technology to see how much attention your child pays in school, the latest tech devices seem more than a bit ominous.

Depending on your views on parenting, such trackers might be useful or over the line. But do we really want technology that enables not only family members, but also quite possibly strangers and hackers, to know exactly where we are and what we’re doing — or thinking?

Is government Big Brother (or mom and dad, or a sleazy hacker) monitoring your every move? You might have an artificial intelligence device that activates on your verbal command — but it sometimes doesn’t wait.

Amazon Echo, Google Home and other state-of-the-art devices can deliver everything from your favorite song to a weather report. They also can listen to everything that goes on in your home. Amazon’s Echo Spot “smart alarm” comes with a camera, and would likely sit on a night table next to your bed. Now add one malicious hacker. Hello, you’re a porn star!

Sure, it’s amazing that apps on our smartphones can measure exactly how many steps we’ve taken and our exact location. But those giddy to get the latest technology rarely stop to consider the loss-of-privacy issue. While the advantages of these devices are clear, manufacturers often downplay the invasive downside.

Sometimes privacy violations are more subtle. A device called Buoy tracks water use in your home to detect leaks and save you money on bills. Sounds good, huh? But it can be quite specific. How long are you in the shower? How many times do you flush the toilet? How long do you wash your hands after you use it? You don’t? Come out with your hands up!

You’ve been warned.

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What Reptiles Can Teach Us About Trying Times

Mother Nature may be showing us how to survive the Donald Trump era.

Shallotte River Swamp Park, a private attraction in southeastern North Carolina, recently froze for the first time since it opened in February 2015. Alligators in the preserve immediately went into brumation (a form of suspended animation), and instinctively poked their snouts out of the freezing water so they could continue breathing until the surface thawed.

At about the same time, iguanas in Florida started dropping from the trees like Popsicles. Like alligators, iguanas are cold-blooded, and when the weather dipped to an un-Florida-like 40 degrees and below they went into shock, their bodies stiffening. When it warmed, they reanimated and went about their iguana business.

I’ve seen that frozen iguana look in too many people’s eyes lately, as they read the latest Trump shock statement.

His recent spew about not accepting allegedly underachieving immigrants from Haiti and countries in Africa was not only a new low, but factually inaccurate. According to the Census Bureau, foreign-born Africans immigrating to the United States have a higher level of educational achievement than other immigrants, with 41 percent holding a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2008-12.

The fact is, most of our ancestors came from poor nations. Admitting immigrants on a merit basis is a legitimate argument, but it isn’t Trump’s. If he didn’t want to list African nations as preferred targets for immigration, he could have used South Korea, China or another nation with highly qualified workers as examples. It’s no accident he chose Norway, with its dog-whistle, whiter-than-white population. The fact that Norwegians would never choose to come here because of our inferior social safety net is something beyond Trump’s understanding.

From the sexual misconduct claims mounting against him to his vile remarks about nations of people of color, Trump continues to debase the presidency virtually on a daily basis.

Can we survive this constant assault on basic American values from a bigoted, ignorant and reckless president? (And it’s only going to get worse as special counsel Robert Mueller tightens the noose.)

Like alligators in brumation and iguanas frozen in place, keep your head up and continue breathing. It will all be over soon — one way or the other.

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It’s The Trump Twitter Test!

We must give credit where credit is due — except when it’s not due. President Donald Trump has taken credit for a number of things on Twitter. Can you separate the real Trump tweets and accomplishments from the fake?

1) “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his.”

a) True, Trump’s nuclear button is huge, much bigger than North Korea’s Kim Jung Un.

b) False, Trump’s button is tiny.

c) Trump doesn’t have a nuclear button at all.

2) “Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news — it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

a) Yes, there were zero deaths (since 2009, in fact), but Trump had nothing to do with it, with the FAA still run by an Obama appointee.

b) Trump’s insistence on stricter regulations has led not only to zero aviation deaths in America, but also worldwide.

c) Trump not only stopped air crashes, but also is ordering airlines to offer free presidential-level food service, catered by McDonald’s and KFC.

3) “Soon after I returned from Florida, the frigid weather in the Northeast slowly but surely warmed up. Coincidence? I think not!”

a) The weather has warmed, but Trump has nothing to do with it.

b) The weather has warmed, with Trump’s “Hot Air” initiative a major factor.

c) Trump never said this.

4) Trump’s tax bill “is going to cost me a fortune, believe me . . . This is not good for me.”

a) Believe me, this is very good for him and his rich cronies.

b) Trump is sacrificing his own wealth so that those less fortunate can benefit.

c) The loss in taxes will be made up for by cutting “waste,” such as your future Social Security and Medicare benefits.

5) “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.”

a) Yes, Trump is the sanest president we’ve had since January 2017.

b) No, Trump’s two greatest assets are humility and great hair.

c) Only the late, great Albert Einstein, is like, as big a, you know, genius!

Answers: 1 c; 2 a; 3 c; 4 a and c; 5 a.

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Freezing Temps and Frozen Brains

Cold enough for you?

We sure can use some of that global warming now, couldn’t we? Har har har!

We’ve all heard versions of such questions this week as temperatures plunge into the low digits. And there’s only one appropriate response: Don’t be an idiot.

Yes, it’s cold enough for me, but I also know that climate change is real. President Donald Trump’s sarcastic tweet about “good old Global Warming” only makes us appear foolish to the rest of the world.

A millionaire who trips on a sheet of ice and rips his coat is still a millionaire, even if he “looks” poor for a few hours. If LeBron James catches the flu, he is still a super-athlete, even if he looks sickly for a few days. And a cold spell does not change the reality that the climate is heating up and endangering us all.

The planet has been steadily warming since the late 19th century, driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere, according to NASA. Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. The rising oceans have absorbed most of this increased heat, resulting in more and more killer storms.

This is not opinion, but measurable fact. The Earth is warming at dangerous levels. Weather and climate are not the same. Weather is short term, climate long term. A bully who doesn’t beat someone up all week is not suddenly a nice guy — he will soon revert to form and resume stealing your lunch money. Yes, this cold spell is awful, and I’m sorry if you have a cold or the flu. They both will pass. But only a fool loses sight of the big picture. Those who still minimize or don’t “believe” in climate change are either ignorant, or willfully ignorant.

Which is it with the president?

A Trump golf resort off the Irish coast last month won approval from a county council to build two sea walls. Why are they necessary? The first application mentioned climate change and the threat to the property from global warming. Only when people brought up that Trump had previously called it all a “Chinese hoax” did a new application make no mention of climate change and its devastating effects.

Hmm . . .

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How Will 2018 Compare to 2017?

Hang in there, a turbulent 2017 is almost over. Will 2018 be any calmer? Ha! Let’s look back and also prepare for the second year of the Donald Trump presidency:

February 2017: North Korea launches a ballistic missile. “We see this as part of an attempt by the North to grab attention by demonstrating its nuclear and missile capabilities,” said a South Korean military spokesman.

February 2018: The Winter Olympics are held in South Korea, with Russia banned for cheating. Many of the venues are just 60 miles from the North Korean border. What could possibly go wrong?

August 2017: Continuing its steady climb since bottoming out in 2008, the stock market hits another all-time high, with the Dow Jones industrial average topping at 22,000. Trump takes full credit for this latest market surge.

August 2018: Reacting to growing worldwide unrest, as well as increasingly bizarre behavior from a White House under siege from special prosecutor Robert Mueller, the stock market plunges 10,000 points. Trump says, “In the spirit of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I am declaring martial law and will begin locking up the disloyal opposition for causing this, starting with Hillary and thus keeping my campaign promise.”

October 2017: A staggering number of Hollywood power players, from Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey, are accused of sexual harassment and assault.

October 2018: The ongoing “Purge of Pigs” movement leaves only two people standing in Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Betty White.

November 2017: Trump celebrates a year since his election as president, and Republicans mark 12 months since voters gave them control of the White House, Senate and the House of Representatives.

November 2018: Democrats reclaim majorities in the House and Senate as record numbers of Americans turn out to vote. Trump fears for his presidency.

December 2017: In a directive straight out of George Orwell’s “1984,” the Trump administration bans the Centers for Disease Control from using certain words, including “science-based,” “fetus” and “transgender.”

December 2018: Trump desperately adds more words to the banned list, including “facts,” “impeachment” and “dotard.”

December 2018: In his final official act, after it becomes clear Congress is about to impeach him, Trump pardons himself, all relatives and Vladimir Putin. He also orders the National Park Service to begin work at Mount Rushmore to put his image just to the right of Abraham Lincoln.

Happy New Year, and keep the faith!

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Marlon Bundo Diss Makes Pet Owners Hopping Mad

President Donald Trump might have gone too far this time.

He bragged about sexually assaulting women, denigrated Mexicans and Muslims and mocked a disabled man. Still, his supporters stick by him. He even might have been right when he said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

But when he aims his venom at frisky Spot and little Cuddles, that’s when voters bare their teeth.

An adviser to the president told The Atlantic that Trump thinks owning pets is “low class,” and how “embarrassed” he was when Vice President Mike Pence and his family brought theirs to Washington. The Pence family pets include two cats (Hazel and Pickle), a dog (Harley), a snake (Snake) and a rabbit named Marlon Bundo.

“Low class? Not only do pet owners have more class than Trump, so do their pets,” said Terry Russo of Staten Island, who has two cats.

Trump is the first president in 150 years not to have a pet in the White House.

Having pets has relieved the stress of being president — from Barack Obama and his Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny, to George W. Bush’s Scottish terrier, Barney. John F. Kennedy loved his many pets, including 10 dogs, rabbits, ponies and birds.

So perhaps Trump should reconsider his attitude about pets. Among the Russia probe, sexual abuse accusations and sagging popularity, he can use a loyal friend more than ever. A Trumperdoodle might do wonders for his blood pressure and temper. When he feels the impulse to tweet, he could instead frolic with a four-legged friend.

Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are slim, according to former spouse Ivana Trump.

“Donald was not a dog fan,” she wrote in her memoir. When she bought Chappy the poodle to their home, Trump expressed his displeasure. Chappy wasn’t thrilled with Trump either, especially when he ventured near Ivana’s closet. “Chappy would bark at him territorially,” she wrote.

But does not liking pets make Trump a bad guy?

“I’m suspicious of people who don’t like dogs,” actor-comedian Bill Murray tweeted, “but I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person.”

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Welcome to the Couch Potato Revolution

Are you tired of people telling you to stop stuffing your face with junk food, get your butt off the couch and exercise? Me, too.

Do you know who will never scold us for that? President Donald Trump.

A new book by his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and former deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, reports a typical McDonald’s meal for Trump is “two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish and a chocolate malted.” Of course, Trump doesn’t eat such calorie-laden, artery-clogging meals every day. Some days he balances his diet with pizza or buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, according to the authors.

And if Trump can do it, why can’t you? The elitists think they’re so superior with their locally grown tomatoes and regular exercise regimens. Thank God we finally have a president who doesn’t shame us for sitting in front of the boob tube all day and shoveling crap down our throats. Who needs Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden?

Trump is proud of the fact that he rarely exercises. “Other than golf, he considers exercise misguided, arguing that a person, like a battery, is born with a finite amount of energy,” according to The New Yorker. Sounds like sane thinking to me!

Yet some still seem baffled how President Hamburglar won the election. Don’t they get that the most overindulgent, obese nation on Earth would elect someone with whom they can identify? We real Americans don’t appreciate people telling us to control ourselves and our big mouths, whether that involves stuffing it with junk food or spewing nasty remarks.

By the way, libtards, who asked you to serve my kids healthy foods in school? I don’t need svelte, know-it-all kids calling me a bigoted tub of lard. When I shovel fast food down their gullets, I’m giving them a little taste of freedom.

While we’re on the subject, why are calorie counts listed on the walls of fast-food joints? If I wanted to count calories, I wouldn’t be at Wendy’s!

The United States is No. 1 (in obesity), and we’re going to eat whatever junk we want, sit on the couch all day watching TV if we please, and say whatever crap comes to our minds.

So deal with it, losers! And pass the KFC.

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“Shameless” Isn’t Just a TV Show

Shame on you!

Did your mother ever say that when you did something you knew was wrong? Did your teacher? Good! You should feel rotten when you cheat, lie or do anything that brings shame on you, your family — or your nation.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about discussions with then-Russian Ambassador and alleged spymaster Sergey Kislyak. This just 16 months after Flynn whipped up the GOP National Convention against Hillary Clinton with chants of, “Lock her up!” Karma?

In Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, counter-protesters shouted “Shame on you!” at Nazis, KKK-ers and other white supremacists marching in their city. They were wasting their time. Didn’t they notice that Klan members were parading without the traditional hoods that hide their identities? Empowered by President Donald Trump, who said there were some “very fine people on both sides,” why not show their faces?

From mocking Al Franken after the Minnesota senator was accused of inappropriate sexual touching (Trump himself has more than a dozen sexual harassment claims against him), to wisecracking about Pocahontas at an event honoring Navajo code-talkers, the president continues to lower the bar on shamelessness.

Meanwhile, the growing number of famous men revealed to have sexually harassed women is mind-boggling. In the past month, both CBS’ Charlie Rose and NBC’s Matt Lauer were fired on claims of sexual misconduct. In Congress, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan is retiring after accusations that he demanded sex from women who worked for him, while taxpayer money was used to pay an $84,000 sexual harassment settlement against a House member Politico identified as Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas.

But it’s not just Trump or media stars or congressmen who exhibit shamelessness. On a somewhat lighter note, a former British Scrabble champion was barred from tournaments for three years for dumping lousy tiles back in the bag on the sly to pick better ones.

Lewis Mackay, who observed the sneaky move, posted on Facebook, “I thought I was seeing things at first — I was shocked to witness this at all.”

“Shocked” at shameless Scrabble cheating, Mr. Mackay? In 2017 America, that would be just another day.

 

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Tree Lighting Sparks Memories

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting is upon us, and the giant spruce will remain lit through Jan. 7. The event brings back memories that seem more appropriate for a poem than prose.

So here you go:

Tonight they’ll be lighting the Rock Center tree.

And floods of sweet memories will pour back to me

Of a young Brooklyn boy on his way to “the city.”

(“Brooklyn’s also the city!” would only draw pity.)

Those gigantic blond people blocking my view

Did not look at all like the neighbors I knew.

But tourists were part of the whole magic scene,

As the colored lights shined on pine needles of green.

The Christmas tree lighting drew loud gasps and cheers

As I looked up in wonder and mom held me near.

The skaters below were a dazzling sight

As they whirled ’round the rink on this mystical night.

These beautiful people of such style and grace

(Tho’ there always was one who’d fall smack on his face).

While I watched from above as ice queens below twirled,

I was so mesmerized by this magical world.

There were no TV hosts then to guide us along

No Roker, no Lauer, no one singing songs.

There was no Pentatonix and no Gwen Stefani,

Just my mom and my dad and my goofy friend Lonnie.

But that’s all we needed, my family and me,

And my friend and the rink and the lights and the tree.

This magical memory won’t fade away,

A tradition that carries on right ’til today.

The smiles on the faces, the season’s first snow,

New York at its best, and it still makes me glow.

The sights and the sounds and the sweet chestnut smell

As the lights filled the plaza — and our hearts as well.

 

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