(Still feeling my way along here – please work with me.  What follows is pretty much a slightly tweaked reprint of my most recent biweekly print column, which is usually more personal and local, although this one still is broader in nature. If you are a regular reader, see if you have any preference, and please let me know through the email link here. Be aware that not to decide is to decide, so if I don’t hear from you, I will take that as a vote of confidence and do what I think is right.)


“Berman’s Bits” by Dave Berman

“Incessantly scouring the universe (and my back yard) for the weird, the wacky, and the thoughtful so you don’t have to.”

Vol. 7, No. 3      January 29, 2016

If you are reading this, I didn’t win the Powerball. With the recent Powerball frenzy, I had a thought (no, it wasn’t lonely): with well over a billion-dollar jackpot, it is disheartening to think a few people became multi-millionaire where if things were somehow altered, we could have a well over a thousand people becoming millionaires, and that would change lots of lives. FYI, the odds of winning any Powerball drawing are 292.2 million to one. By comparison: (1) Odds of bowling a 300 game: 11,500 to 1. (2) Odds of being killed by lightning: 2,320,000 to 1. (3) Odds of winning an Olympic medal: 662,000 to 1. (4) Odds of injury from shaving: 6,585 to 1. (5)  Odds of getting away with murder: 2 to 1.

In a related Bit, a GoFundMe account was set up for a woman who claimed to have blown her entire savings on Powerball tickets has been shut down — despite raising more than $800 in seven hours. A person by the name of Cinnamon Nicole set up a campaign page saying she expected to win the $1.58 billion prize when she and her family spent a fortune on lottery tickets last week, despite the odds as listed above (and people wonder why gambling is called a tax on stupidity(. “Please help me and my family as we have exausted [sic] all of our funds. We spent all of our money on lottery tickets (expecting to win the 1.5 billion) and are now in dire need of cash,” her since-removed GoFundMe page read, according to Pix11 News. (O-kay, then, are there any really, really rich people reading this? I could use a financial infusion! Go fund me please….)

Sheeple or thug wannabees? When you’re hot you’re hot. The Los Angeles creators of a shirt made famous by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman said sales are “skyrocketing” since the drug kingpin donned the garment. Shawn and Sam Esteghbal, the Iranian brothers behind the Barabas boutique in Los Angeles, said they decided to use the drug lord in their advertising after he was photographed wearing one of their shirts in Rolling Stone photographs of El Chapo prior to his being recaptured. “MOST WANTED SHIRT,” the garment is now labeled on their website. “It’s not about that he’s an international criminal,” Shawn Esteghbal told the Guardian. “But we’re excited because he could buy anything, he could buy Versace, any other brand, but to choose our brand, our designs!” The brothers said it wasn’t clear what attracted Guzman to their $128 shirt. “I don’t know. People just always look for something unique, and they’re probably thinking this is unique because that guy wears it. He could wear a $10,000 shirt or a $3,000 shirt, but he wears Barabas.” [UPI]

I am taking someone to Small Claims Court in New Hampshire over some incompetent work he did. The date for him to respond is February 5th. To my surprise, I recently received a Priority letter from Los Angeles asking me to consider settling the case by going on “Hot Bench,” a Judge Judy-type show in Los Angeles. The only benefit would be if I won, I would get my money within 30 days. After a bit of thought, I decided not to apply.  Was I wrong? (And just how did they find out about my case?)

(Don’t Axe me about this.) A British teen who was found collapsed on the landing outside his room at a children’s home died from using too much spray-on deodorant, the Telegraph reports. “He sprayed it all over himself and succumbed to the effects of the gas,” Kent Online quotes the coroner as saying. A doctor says 16-year-old Thomas Townsend died from “circulation collapse caused by butane gas inhalation.” His mother said, “He would not take showers but would stand there with a deodorant and spray half the can on him.” “Then he would spray aftershave to cover up BO.” Police found 42 cans of deodorant, hair spray, and other products in Townsend’s room at the children’s home. (Newser)

(If Steve Harvey changed jobs!) York University issued apologies to over 500 prospective students after they received acceptance letters in error. “This occurred immediately after the university had sent emails to acknowledge their applications had been received.” The university is still in the process of reviewing the student’s applications and Jock Phippen, director of student recruitment and admission, clarified that the correction emails were sent to clarify the mistake and did not imply the student’s applications had been rejected. Students will learn whether or not they’ve actually been accepted into the university sometime in the coming months.
With the NH Primary looming (February 9th), a couple of predictions from yours truly: (1) On the Republican side, there’s Trump and many, many others. Those firmly committed to Trump will obviously vote for him, but all the other votes will be spread out through the rest of the field thin enough to make sure Trump emerges way on top. Where a vote will be more meaningful is on the Democratic side. (2) As I have said before, this time I will be declaring Democrat and voting for Bernie in the primary purely as a vote against Hillary (if others did that [I believe few will], there would be no question of who will emerge victorious). I do believe Bernie will come out on top in NH, but I also know people. Afterward, I will return to Undeclared (something one can do in the NH Primary).  Once the field is set, the choices will be clearer and people will more easily be able to choose. The one thing Bernie has given people is more of a real choice – not so much business as usual. (As an FYI, I don’t believe I have voted for a Republican or Democratic Presidential mainstream candidate in the big November election in the past 40 years – just sayin’).

Finally, did you hear all the yelling and screaming across NH? No, it wasn’t the Patriots beating the Broncos; no, it wasn’t Boston beating Montreal; no, it wasn’t the Second Coming (but close)! Sarah Palin showed up and endorsed Trump! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry (or both)!