Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Shakespeare Clickbait

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

How far should we go to get people to read Shakespeare? I say we do whatever it takes.

You may also enjoy these stories:

The secret herb that will make women fall for you… INSTANTLY!
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The one shocking diet trick that is GUARANTEED to help you lose weight!
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Do these three women really have the secret for seeing into the FUTURE?

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Some senators challenged this interracial couple’s marriage, and THIS is what they said…
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A dying father called for his son, and what he said will blow you AWAY!
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Most people don’t know the one food you should NEVER eat…

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The 7 tell-tale signs of AGING that men can’t afford to ignore!
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Learn one weird trick for erasing ALL of your debt (without paying a penny)!
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This single act of forgiveness will restore your faith in HUMANITY!

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Click the images above to read more!

My teenage daughter and her friends think that posts like this can’t go viral. Please help me teach them an important lesson by sharing this on Facebook and Twitter.

Shakespeare Follow-Up: Biochemistry

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

In As You Like It, Le Beau gives some friendly advice to Orlando:

Good sir, I do in friendship counsel you
To leave this place. Albeit you have deserv’d
High commendation, true applause and love,
Yet such is now the duke’s condition
That he misconstrues all that you have done.
The duke is humorous: what he is indeed,
More suits you to conceive than I to speak of.

The duke is humorous? He doesn’t sound very humorous to me. Can we get a Shakespeare Follow-Up?

The “humours” referred to four bodily fluids that were believed to affect one’s mood and personality: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. This was a theory that traced back as far as the ancient Greeks, and it was widely accepted in Shakespeare’s time. An imbalance of any one of these fluids in a person would have a particular effect. So, the duke is moody, not funny. And this use of the word is fairly consistent across the canon. So when Antipholus of Syracuse says he is not in a “sportive humour,” or Benedick says “a college of witcrackers cannot flout me out of my humour,” or Petruchio says “I’ll curb her mad and headstrong humour,” none of them are talking about the funny.

It’s clearly a retrochronism, but understanding a little bit about the humors can actually shed some light on quite a few lines in Shakespeare, so let’s review.

An excess of blood was thought to make you sanguine, and the cheerfully happy word actually comes from the Latin for bloody. So when Sir Toby Belch asks “Am not I consanguineous? am I not of her blood?,” he is using the term to describe a blood relationship.

Phlegm leads to quiet rationality. Kant actually thought it was the absence of temperament. Mistress Quickly therefore misapplies the term in The Merry Wives of Windsor when she beseeches Doctor Caius to “be not so phlegmatic.” She is trying to calm his anger down. She should have said “choleric.”

Choler stems from yellow bile (from the Greek “chole” for bile), and the word appears frequently in Shakespeare to describe anger or bellicosity. The black (”melan-”) variety of bile (”chole”) was also a frequently used theme. I’ve already written about melancholy in Shakespeare in an earlier post, so I don’t need to repeat it all here. The important thing to remember is that Shakespeare and his audience would have believed that these moods were caused by an imbalance of fluids. This is why bloodletting was such a popular medical practice; they believed they could remove the excess humours by drawing blood or applying leeches.

A poetic reference to bloodletting appears in King Richard II, as Richard attempts to sooth the conflict between Bolingbroke and Mowbray:

Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be rul’d by me;
Let’s purge this choler without letting blood:
This we prescribe, though no physician;
Deep malice makes too deep incision:
Forget, forgive; conclude and be agreed,
Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.

The complainants are seeking a duel, another way to purge choler by letting blood. Richard reframes their grievances as merely an imbalance of yellow bile, and uses the bloodletting metaphor to advocate a more peaceful solution. (It doesn’t work.)

In the 19th century, humours and bloodletting fell out of fashion as medical science developed a better understanding of human biochemistry. Apparently, though, the idea of the four humors survives today as a popular screenwriting technique.

On a somewhat-unrelated final note, do you know why the “funny bone” got its name? Because it’s the humerus! And I hope you find that humorous.

Shakespeare Song Parody: We Love the Plays of Shakespeare

Friday, June 28th, 2013

This is the last in a series of 40 pop-music parodies for Shakespeare fans.

So far, we’ve had one parody for each of Shakespeare’s 38 plays and one for the sonnets. We finish the Shakespeare Top 40 with a tribute to all of the plays, one last time.

Enjoy!

We Love the Plays of Shakespeare
sung to the tune of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel

(With appreciation to everyone who has followed along on the journey…)

Harry, Suffolk, Somerset,
Richard Plantagenet;
Warwick, Edward, Margaret, Rutland,
Younger Lord Clifford;
Lord John Talbot, Tony Woodeville,
Duke of Bedford, Joan La Pucelle;
Duke of Clarence, Tower Princes,
Richard the Third…

Antipholus, Dromio,
Balthazar, Angelo;
Titus gets Tamora by
Baking her kids in a pie;
Tranio, Petruchio,
Katharina, Widow;
Proteus and Valentine have
Bid Verona goodbye…

We love the plays of Shakespeare,
Jumping off the pages,
Burning up the stages.
We love the plays of Shakespeare.
First, we learned to read them.
Now, we go to see them.

Don Armado, French Princess,
Costard and Holofernes;
Romeo’s Apothecary,
Juliet’s Nurse;
Gaunt John, he passed on,
Henry’s back and Dick’s gone;
Quince, Flute, Snout, Snug,
Bottom’s got a curse…

King John, Pope, France,
Bastard’s got a second chance;
Shylock and Antonio,
Portia and Bassanio;
Bardolph, Boar’s Head,
Prince Hal, Hotspur dead;
Tavern Hostess, Lord Chief Justice,
Henry on his deathbed…

We love the plays of Shakespeare,
Jumping off the pages,
Burning up the stages.
We love the plays of Shakespeare.
First, we learned to read them.
Now, we go to see them.

Benedick, Beatrice,
Dogberry and Verges;
Cambridge, Scroop and Grey,
Fight on St. Crispin’s Day;
Cassius, Cicero,
Julius Caesar, Cato;
Duke Senior, Jacques,
Poems posted on the trees…

O, O, O…

Olivia, Antonio,
Toby Belch, Malvolio;
Ophelia, Claudius,
Hamlet kills Polonius;
Falstaff once adored
Mistress Page and Mistress Ford;
Agamemnon, Pandarus,
Cressida and Troilus…

We love the plays of Shakespeare,
Jumping off the pages,
Burning up the stages.
We love the plays of Shakespeare.
First, we learned to read them.
Now, we go to see them.

Helena for Bertram fell,
All’s Well that Ends Well;
Angelo, Claudio,
“Friar” Duke Vincentio;
Desdemona, Othello,
Duke, Iago, Cassio;
Kent’s stand, Lear’s Fool,
Edmund’s death, Edgar’s rule;
Three Witches, two Macbeths,
Scottish spirits come unsex;
Antony, Cleo P.,
Who else would you want to see?

We love the plays of Shakespeare,
Jumping off the pages,
Burning up the stages.
We love the plays of Shakespeare.
First, we learned to read them.
Now, we go to see them.

Marcius, Cominius,
Volumnia, Aufidius;
Cupid, Lucius,
Timon, Flavius;
Gower, Thaliard, Pericles,
Antiochus, Simonides;
Posthumous is shipped to Rome,
Iachimo’s gone to his home…

Autolycus, Leontes,
Perdita, Polixenes;
Stephano, Trinculo,
Ship, wreck, Prospero;
Henry starts a second life,
Anne Boleyn’s his second wife;
Kinsmen our guy partnered for;
May have helped with Thomas More…

We love the plays of Shakespeare,
Jumping off the pages,
Burning up the stages.
We love the plays of Shakespeare.
And where we have gone,
The play will start anon,
Anon, anon, anon, anon, anon, anon, anon…

We love the plays of Shakespeare,
Jumping off the pages,
Burning up the stages.
We love the plays of Shakespeare.
First, we learned to read them.
Now, we go to see them.

We love the plays of Shakespeare!

Hat tip to Shakespeare Online for the chronology.

You can click to read all 40 song parodies here.

Shakespeare Song Parody: I Have Won

Friday, June 21st, 2013

This is the 39th in a series of 40 pop-music parodies for Shakespeare fans.

Enjoy!

I Have Won
sung to the tune of “We Are Young”

(With apologies to Fun and Janelle Monáe)

Give me a second, I
I need to get my vengeance straight:
The steward and the fool have
Drunk more wine than they have body weight,
My brother he is washed ashore
With others just as bad,
The kid is being led by Ariel
Singing about his dad, and
I know they all betrayed me years ago.
I can forgive but not forget.
So I made a storm and food transform
With magical technologies, you know,
It’s not so hard to pay them back.
But by six in the evening
When the sun is going down,
I’ll let it all go.

This fight
I have won,
For the crime that was my brother’s,
And for the others;
What they’ve done!

This fight
I have won,
For the crime that was my brother’s,
And for the others;
What they’ve done!

Now, don’t tell me you’d not
Deserve more than you got.
I guess that I, I just thought
Maybe I could show you how to have a heart.
Though I paid you back,
I showed mercy most,
And now it’s time to let it all go.

This fight
I have won,
For the crime that was my brother’s,
And for the others;
What they’ve done!

This fight
I have won,
For the crime that was my brother’s,
And for the others;
What they’ve done!

But by six in the evening
When the sun is going down,
I’ll let it all go: this fight.

Shakespeare Song Parody: Blood Lines

Friday, June 14th, 2013

This is the 38th in a series of 40 pop-music parodies for Shakespeare fans.

Enjoy!

Blood Lines
sung to the tune of “Blurred Lines”

(With apologies to Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell)

Come hither, Harry…

Hey, hey, hey!
Hey, hey, hey!
Hey, hey, hey!

You took that crown
Before it was your time,
But you will find that
It was a minor crime.
In just a half an hour,
You’ll have that regal power,
Because I’m going to die.

Okay, that Jack Falstaff
Tried to contaminate you,
But you’re of royal blood.
It isn’t in your nature.

Just let me educate you (hey, hey, hey).
You don’t owe him favors (hey, hey, hey).
That man is not your greater (hey, hey, hey),
And that’s because your claim is…

Rightful.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
Your claim is rightful.
You want details.
You’re the Prince of Wales,
And that here prevails.

You’ve got the blood lines.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
Your claim is rightful.
I was King Harry;
Now you’re King Harry.
That name you’ll carry.

When you’re there aberrant,
It can scare a parent
Of the heir apparent;
You’re the next in line for the throne!
Your friend is poison (hey, hey, hey).
You can’t be loyal (hey, hey, hey).
What rhymes with loyal (hey, hey, hey)?

Okay, that Jack Falstaff
Tried to contaminate you,
But you’re of royal blood.
It isn’t in your nature.

Just let me educate you (hey, hey, hey).
You don’t owe him favors (hey, hey, hey).
That man is not your greater (hey, hey, hey),
And that’s because your claim is,,,

Rightful.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
Your claim is rightful.
You want details.
You’re the Prince of Wales,
And that here prevails.

You’ve got the blood lines.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
Your claim is rightful.
I was King Harry;
Now you’re King Harry.
That name you’ll carry.

One thing I ask of you:
That my final counsel you listen to,
From a dying king to his offspring.
I stole this crown, but here’s the thing:
I have to say as I pass it down,
My son, uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
With you, it will descend more quiet.
I mean, it’s still not easy, you try it.
Then, you must make my friends your friends.
Be it thy course to busy giddy minds
With foreign quarrels, that action hence bourne
Out, may waste the memory of the former days.
More would I, but my lungs are wasted so.
O, the Holy Land!
I won’t be going there as I had planned.
But this room is named Jerusalem, where I’ll meet my end.

Change the king, from Fourth to Fifth.
Do it quite forthwith, quite forthwith.
Now you’ll create a myth, hey!

Harry, can you lead?
I know that this is sudden.
You’re now the crowned monarch,
From Manchester to London, uh huh.
No more schooling (hey, hey, hey),
‘Cause now you’re ruling (hey, hey, hey),
And that’s no fooling (hey, hey, hey).

You know your claim is rightful.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
Your claim is rightful.
You want details.
You’re the Prince of Wales,
And that here prevails.

You’ve got the blood lines.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
You know you’ve got it.
Your claim is rightful.
I was King Harry;
Now you’re King Harry.
That name you’ll carry.

Now here I lie,
And here I die.
Hey, hey, hey!
Hey, hey, hey!
Hey, hey, hey!

Shakespeare Song Parody: Timon

Friday, June 7th, 2013

This is the 37th in a series of 40 pop-music parodies for Shakespeare fans.

Enjoy!

Timon
sung to the tune of “Diamonds”

(With apologies to Rihanna, and those planning to read Timon of Athens… SPOILERS!)

Pass by, cursed by Timon.
Pass by, cursed by Timon.

With joy, I would generous be,
Back when I was wealthy.
I ran dry, I ran dry,
I am Timon, here lie I.

I gave away my money,
A pathway to bankruptcy,
A wretched soul, while alive,
I am Timon, here lie I.

My money gone, my friends fled right away,
Oh, right away!
When I asked them to help me with my creditors,
Every one of them refused my pleas.

A plague consume you wicked caitiffs!
My epitaph: I’m Timon, here lie I.
A wretched soul, while alive,
My epitaph: I’m Timon, here lie I.

Pass by, cursed by Timon.
Pass by, cursed by Timon.
Pass by, cursed by Timon.
My epitaph: I’m Timon, here lie I.

Pass by, cursed by Timon.
Pass by, cursed by Timon.
Pass by, cursed by Timon.
My epitaph: I’m Timon, here lie I.

Shakespeare Song Parody: Courtships

Friday, May 17th, 2013

This is the 36th in a series of 40 pop-music parodies for Shakespeare fans.

Enjoy!

Courtships
sung to the tune of “Starships”

(With apologies to Nicki Minaj – she knows why…)

Touchtone
Went into the wood, could
Woo his Audrey,
And he said, they would wed, if she’d agree.
It was a nervous service, led by a vicar,
Which is unofficial, so he could leave her quicker.
But at least a priest wed them with us;
A contract is a fact, nothing to discuss.
As it turned out, they got along;
Three years gone by, and they’re still going strong.

Phebe’d abhor, abhor
Her would-be man:
A shepherd poor, poor,
She could not stand.
But she fell for, for,
My little scam,
Did what she swore, swore,
Now look at them!

Courtships, based on a lie,
You’d think would quickly die,
But may be worth a try;
It happens all the time.

Courtships, based on a lie,
You’d think would quickly die,
It happens all the time.
Worth a try…

A liar makes a lively lover!
A liar makes a lively lover!
A liar makes a lively lover!

Your brother met a shepherd girl;
He thought that.
Her simple manners won his heart;
He knew that.
But she was a princess; he didn’t get mad.
If you think it through, it isn’t so bad.
Blow, blow, thou winter wind.

Every honest lover has to say, say, say,
The complete truth and today’s that day,
Finally explain that resemblance uncanny,
My name was Rosalind, as you called me Gany.

So you fell for, for,
My little scam,
Did what you swore, swore,
And here I am!

Courtships, based on a lie,
You’d think would quickly die,
But may be worth a try;
It happens all the time.

Courtships, based on a lie,
You’d think would quickly die,
It happens all the time.
Worth a try…

A liar makes a lively lover!

Shakespeare Song Parody: Legionnaire

Friday, May 10th, 2013

This is the 35th in a series of 40 pop-music parodies for Shakespeare fans.

Enjoy!

Legionnaire
sung to the tune of “Billionaire”

(With apologies to Travie McCoy and… Bruno Mars, again?)

You know I’ve been a legionnaire so very long.
A well-trained army keeps the empire strong.
I’ve fought in armed conflict for my native Rome,
Keeping all our people safe at home.

Oh, every time I close my eyes
I feel consumed with battle cries.
I’m always ready for a fight, alright.
I swear, my foes better prepare,
‘Cause I’m a legionnaire!

Yeah, I went against the Volscians,
Fighting alongside Cominius.
A fine Roman he is.
At Corioles, I took the lead on an attack.
At first, the enemy was able to beat us back.
Then I managed to break open the city gates,
Which as you would think sealed the Volscian’s fates.
I got a title for playing a heroic role.
You can call me Marcius, minus the Coriol.
Ha, ha, get it? I’d probably see if I could make a run
For a public office, like consul, imagine if I’d won.
Yeah, I’d be a big deal once I’m elected.
Everywhere I go I’d be feared and respected.

Oh, every time I close my eyes
I feel consumed with battle cries.
I’m always ready for a fight, alright.
I swear, my foes better prepare,
‘Cause I’m a legionnaire!

I’ll get the support of the Roman Senate,
Whipping up the delegates.
Then I’ll ask the plebes, only in the name of etiquette.
They’re not too important, but just for the heck of it.
The plebes and the patricians should be completely separate.
For crows to peck at eagles, I can’t really back it.
I’ve earned my accession, it’s too bad if you balk at it.
I see you take offense at this. I don’t really care,
And you want to banish me which is really unfair,
When I fought in your wars. Who are you to judge me,
Eating good, sleeping soundly?
And you think you can banish me?
I banish you, you’ll no longer have
Coriolanus to kick around.

You know I’ve been a legionnaire so very long.
A well-trained army keeps the empire strong.
I’ve fought in armed conflict for my native Rome,
Keeping all our people safe at home.

Oh, every time I close my eyes
I feel consumed with battle cries.
I’m always ready for a fight, alright.
I swear, Rome better prepare,
‘Cause I’m a legionnaire!

You know I’ve been a legionnaire so very long.

Shakespeare Song Parody: Full Stop

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

This is the 34th in a series of 40 pop-music parodies for Shakespeare fans.

Enjoy!

Full Stop
sung to the tune of “Thrift Shop”

(With apologies to Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, and Wanz…)

Hey, Shakespeare! Can you write some poetry?

Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM
Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM
Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM
Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM Da DUM

ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
ABAB CDCD EFEF GG

I’m gonna write some verse.
Only got fourteen lines in a sonnet:
I-I-Iambic Pentameter,
With a given rhyme scheme.

Nah, take up the quill like “What up? Gonna write a lot.”
Three quatrains and a couplet ending in a full stop.
Ink on the parchment, I’m so close on it,
That people like “Damn! That’s a perfect sonnet.”
Gonna get hella deep, compare thee to a summer’s day,
But it’s all in your favor, ‘cause thou art lovelier, if I may.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Yes!
It doesn’t even have to make sense!

Thinkin’ it, Writin’ it, Let me confess that we two must be twain.
Our undivided loves are one, so shall those blots with me remain.
Sometimes I write for my favorite young man,
Or else it’s the Dark Lady and…
Starting a new one, it’s: O! How thy worth with manners may I sing?
What can praise to myself bring? What can praise to myself bring?
No, for real – what a torment would thy absence prove?
Better entertain the time with thoughts of love,
Immortalized in poetry that I’ve been writin’.
You shall shine more bright in this powerful rhyme
Than gilded monuments besmear’d with sluttish time.
Hello, Hello, Good e’en, good fellow!
Petrarch ain’t got nothing on my rhyme schemes, hell no!
I could take them to the printer, bind them up, sell those.
The tavern gang would be like “Aw, he got the Quartos.”

I’m gonna write some verse.
Only got fourteen lines in a sonnet:
I-I-Iambic Pentameter,
With a given rhyme scheme.

I’m gonna write some verse.
Only got fourteen lines in a sonnet:
I-I-Iambic Pentameter,
With a given rhyme scheme.

Let me not impede the marriage of true minds.
Love’s not love which alters when it alteration finds.
If this be, If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
Thank God, my mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun.
Her hairs be wires and her breasts be dun.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
Chiasmus, Ekphrasis, Litotes, Ellipsis…
I use all those Greek devices, so much more than any other.
Though I know she lies, I believe my tender lover,
And that allows us both to be flattered by each other.
She be like “Oh, he believes me that I am full of truth.”
I’m like “O, she thinks that I am some untutored youth.”
It’s an illusion, just a mutual delusion.
Full of truth? To think that I’m a youth?
No, I think that I am long in the tooth.
But I lie with her, and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flatter’d be.
I still love her so.
Those lips that Love’s own hand did make
Breathed forth the sound that said “I hate,”
To me that languished for her sake,
So I wrote her a sonnet, she thought it was great.

She thought it was great.

Good Will! Write some verse! Yeah!

I’m gonna write some verse.
Only got fourteen lines in a sonnet:
I-I-Iambic Pentameter,
With a given rhyme scheme.

I share with you, my friend:
To Mr. W.H.,
These poems that I penned,
With a full stop at the end.

I share with you, my friend:
To Mr. W.H.,
These poems that I penned,
With a full stop at the end.

I’m gonna write some verse.
Only got fourteen lines in a sonnet:
I-I-Iambic Pentameter,
With a given rhyme scheme.

Is that a full stop at the end?

Shakespeare Song Parody: The Crazy Song

Friday, April 26th, 2013

This is the 33rd in a series of 40 pop-music parodies for Shakespeare fans.

Enjoy!

The Crazy Song
sung to the tune of “The Lazy Song”

(With apologies, once again, to Bruno Mars…)

Today, I feel like I have no sanity;
I just may go out of my head.
No sense in sifting through the facts;
I have no causes for my acts,
‘Cause today I swear I just have no sanity.

I’m gonna beg my best friend to prolong his stay.
If he agrees, it proves my wife’s gone astray.
Nobody’s gon’ tell me it can’t.

I’ll poison his drink, make him feel deadly woozy,
Then I’ll turn on my wife, calling her a petty floozy,
‘Cause in my castle, I’m the freakin’ man.

Oh yes, I said it. I said it.
It’s good to be the king.

Today, I feel like I have no sanity;
I just may go out of my head.
No sense in sifting through the facts;
I have no causes for my acts,
‘Cause today I swear I just have no sanity,
No sense at all.

No sense at all.

Tomorrow I’ll wake up, and I’ll call for my guy,
To take the bastard out, and abandon her to die,
And he’ll exit pursued by a bear.
(Omigod! It’s a bear!)
Yeah!

I’ll allow my “winter’s” tale to elide sixteen years,
As Aristotle’s unity of time disappears;
‘Cause when it comes to rules, I don’t care.

Oh yes, I said it. I said it.
It’s good to be the king.

Today, I feel like I have no sanity;
I just may go out of my head.
No sense in sifting through the facts;
I have no causes for my acts,
‘Cause today I swear I just have no sanity,
No sense at all.

I won’t worry ’bout a judging glare,
‘Cause nobody here would dare.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
I won’t realize the statue’s my wife,
But instead I’ll believe it came to life.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Oh, today, I feel like I have no sanity;
I just may go out of my head.
No sense in sifting through the facts;
I have no causes for my acts,
‘Cause today I swear I just have no sanity.
No sense at all.

No sense at all.

No sense at all.