- The Washington Times
Sunday, January 4, 2009

I have a bone to pick with condiment makers, specifically the makers of those little paper packets of salt and pepper that you get at fast-food restaurants.

Something is terribly wrong with them.

The salt and pepper packets are the exact same size and shape.

But the salt packet usually has enough salt in it to mummify a corpse. There’s more salt in one of these packets than I plan to use in a lifetime. The Bonneville Salt Flats don’t have that much salt.

And then the pepper packet usually has only three grains of pepper in it. Often the packet is empty. One time I opened a packet and it sucked up whatever pepper had already landed on my food.

So listen up, condiment makers: Less salt, more pepper.

• • •

There was a news report out that the city of Brighton, Mich., has enacted an ordinance that allows police to ticket and fine anyone who is being annoying in public.

Anyone who is annoying in public?

OK. I guess that includes street musicians, panhandlers, door-to-door salesmen, mimes, joggers, taxi drivers, crying babies, mouth breathers, skateboarders, jaywalkers, soap-box orators, pamphlet distributors, teenagers, bicycle messengers, loiterers, kiosk hawkers, loud talkers, slow walkers, badly dressed people, oglers, Hacky Sack players, bad drivers, boom-box carriers, power shoppers, people with squeaky shoes and Philadelphia Eagles fans.

And yodelers.

• • •

Why is Jennifer Aniston on the cover of every magazine on the newsstand? Is she running for president or something?

• • •

Evander Holyfield last month narrowly lost a boxing match that would have made him the oldest heavyweight champion ever, at 46.

You know, 46 is not that old — especially when you can see it in your rear-view mirror, like me.

Still, for a boxer, 46 is past your prime. But if your prime is really, really good, then being past it is pretty good.

“Old” guys everywhere are playing the “Rocky” theme in their heads now.

• • •

I was going to write something about apathy in our society, but then I just lost interest. Where’s the remote?

• • •

A German man climbed over a barrier at the Berlin Zoo to give Knut the polar bear a hug because he thought it was lonely. (I kid you not.)

Zoo workers stopped the man before he, or the polar bear, could be harmed.

Doesn’t anybody believe in “live and learn” anymore? This would have been a prime educational experience.

If that guy had hugged the bear and lived, he would have learned something.

• • •

You know how you feel when you’re carefully treading on an icy sidewalk but you slip anyway and in midair you know it’s going to hurt when your backside hits the concrete?

I feel like that all the time.

• • •

The British Medical Journal has debunked five holiday health myths, including the one that says sugar makes kids hyperactive.

Among the debunked myths: wearing a hat keeps you warmer (actually heat doesn’t escape from the head faster than any other body part) and eating at night makes you fat (calories collect regardless of when you eat).

I’m not at all sure about the science of all this debunking.

I’ve done double-blind, cross-pollinated, super-duper research, and I’ve found that if I give my kids a carrot, they’re calm. But give them a bowl of Sugar Smacks, and I’m peeling them off the ceiling.

I always feel warmer wearing a hat in the cold, although I rarely go out wearing only a hat. Lately.

And accumulating calories at night? Well, let’s just say my bathroom scale doesn’t lie. Dang it.

• • •

I often wonder about how things get started.

Take cashews, for example. It’s a tasty, kidney-shaped nut. But it’s found in a shell that produces a toxic substance that can make the nut inedible, even deadly.

Cashews can be eaten safely if they are removed from the shell by boiling, steaming or roasting them.

My question is: How did they find that out?

Because I can imagine the first group of would-be cashew eaters opening the shells, swallowing the nuts and keeling over dead.

And a second group of would-be cashew eaters, having observed the death of the first group, probably said among themselves, “Hey, what if we wash them off first?”

Only to keel over dead after eating the nuts.

So there must have been a third group that witnessed the painful deaths of the first two groups and said among themselves, “Maybe if we cook them a little first?”

But who’s going to be dumb enough to eat a cashew then? Polar bear guy?

Read Carleton Bryant’s daily humor blog at https://washingtontimes.com/weblogs/out-context/.

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