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ORANGE – We all love thy neighbor, but, boy, he can be sooo stupid. Case in point: a scam artist from Orange is accused of calling people in Hawaii, Indiana and Kentucky to share some “great news.” They all won sweepstakes! But before the checks can be cut, they just need to pay their share of taxes, of course. NJ 101.5 reports that some less-than-smart people sent this scammer at least $675,000 in “taxes,” while they eagerly awaited their cash windfall, which, of no surprise to anyone more astute than a goldfish, never arrived. One particular woman thought she won the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes, writing checks of more than $500,000. Others handed over “taxes,” with the understanding they would be getting money and new cars. If you feel yourself suffering from random bouts of stupidity, please do not answer the phone or read your mail, authorities suggest.

TRENTON – A bill banging around the Assembly for the past few years has resurfaced, again, calling for any four-year university to shut down if it can’t push its students to an actual, real-life diploma. College, apparently, is not supposed to be the best decade of your life in New Jersey, where you drop a couple hundred thousand dollars and never, exactly, graduate. The bill would call for schools to close if they can’t achieve a six-year graduation rate of at least 50% for full-time undergrads. The proposal seems reasonable, especially for seething parents who can’t believe they are paying for another semester of junior living in that crappy, third-floor apartment in New Brunswick, where “professional gaming” on Xbox is his sole career prospect.

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STATEWIDE – New Jersey is proud to have some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, a great way to safeguard the populace in one of the most congested places on the planet. But one group not applauding is the National Rifle Association, which is now suing the state to overturn the law that governs when a New Jerseyan can receive a concealed carry gun permit, NJ.com reports. The NRA is complaining to the federal courts that the law is so strict that it makes it practically impossible for residents to obtain permits. The law requires a potential gun owner to show “justifiable need,” which the NRA argues will prevent anyone from getting a gun. Hmm. Think about that for a second. Perhaps we all don’t need guns, after all.

BRIEFING BREATHER

Only eight out of 1 million skydive jumps results in a fatality, less than 00.1%

HOBOKEN – Unclear where we will get our fill of outrageously drunken Santas this holiday season, with word that event organizers decided yesterday to officially cancel their annual “Santacon” bar crawl event along Washington Street. “All of the reindeer got the ‘rona so, the elves have advised Santa to hold off on the in-person merriment,” organizers said in a statement. City officials certainly lauded the call, as wearing a Santa costume, jamming into a bar with other Santas and then consuming gallons of booze does not shield oneself from the coronavirus, as repeated studies have shown.

STATEWIDE – Fellow New Jerseyans eagerly awaiting another $1,200 check from the feds will be disappointed in the latest Congressional plan. But there is still plenty of goodies in the $908 billion proposal, like $228 billion in new forgivable, tax-free loans for small businesses, $120 billion for state and local governments, $180 billion in enhanced unemployment insurance benefits of $300 a week for 18 weeks, $92 billion for education and child care, and $45 billion for airlines, buses, Amtrak, and public transportation systems such as NJ Transit, NJ.com reports.  Yep, this is a watered-down version of the original $1.8 billion stimulus plan. For those disappointed, may we remind you the federal government already owes around $3 trillion or so, with grand assumptions that someone, somewhere, has a grand, magical plan to pay it all back, with interest and a smile.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

BOSTON – While an old desktop computer is worth less than any other doorstop, a really, really old one could fetch $50,000 on the bidding block. A Boston-based auction house has gotten its hands on one of the very first Apple computers ever made, retailing back in 1976 for $666.66, featuring cassettes to serve as some sort of crappy 4 KB memory. Not only is this 1 MHZ desktop fully functional, in whatever capacity that may be, it also comes in the original box and with the signature of an Apple designer, Steve Wozniak. During the Dec. 10-17 auction, potential buyers can nerd out over the original Apple-1 Operation Manual and original Apple Cassette Interface manual of a desktop that was only on the market for 10 months. Perhaps buyers can also type their names on the screen without the system requiring a full reboot. (Unlikely).

BAR GRAMMAR

An Oxford comma walks into a bar where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk, and smoking cigars. 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY 

Not a good day to be a bookseller, on this day in 2010, when the UK and Ireland announce plans to distribute a million free books. 

WORD OF THE DAY

Garboil – [gahr-boil] - noun

Definition: A confused, disordered state

Example: I was in a state of garboil as to why someone would mail me a gargoyle.

WIT OF THE DAY

“It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than to be absolutely boring.”

-Marilyn Monroe 

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“People are coming forward like never before. Large truck carrying hundreds of thousands of fraudulent (FAKE) ballots to a voting center? TERRIBLE - SAVE AMERICA!”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Same