- The Washington Times
Sunday, March 22, 2009

I’ve mentioned how my son is in training to become a locust by eating every scrap of food in my house and leaving the empty containers where he found them.

Last week, I exacted my revenge. I ate the last of the ice cream and placed the empty container in the freezer.

Then I waited.

When he asked if he could get some, I said, “Sure. You can have whatever’s left.”

As he opened the container and realized its lack of contents, a warm glow washed over me and filled me with a giddy sense of peace and justice.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

And empty.


The industry magazine Advertising Age had an article about a congresswoman who wants to prohibit those annoying TV ads that boom from your set right after a quiet scene in your favorite show.

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, California Democrat, introduced a bill that would stop the airing of commercials that are louder than the TV shows they interrupt.

Avid TV watchers have cheered her proposal, but advertisers say the government shouldn’t tell them how loud their commercials should be.

Now, some might say that there are more pressing issues for Congress to be concerned about than loud TV ads.

They might even complain that the annoyance of having to press the Volume Down button on your remote isn’t worthy of federal attention.

But not me. I say, anything the government can do to keep me watching TV is OK in my book (which, of course, I no longer read because I’m busy watching TV).

And there’s plenty more the government needs to do:

• Every TV remote should have a tracking device so that you can find it quickly and easily. They could install it on the back of your hand. Nobody should be forced to waste time trying to find the remote when “Celebrity Apprentice” is on.

• All television sets should have the “picture-in-picture” capability as a standard feature so that everybody can watch more than one show at a time all the time. If you’re not watching more than two shows simultaneously, you’re not making the best use of your time. Those episodes of “America’s Next Top Model” won’t watch themselves, you know.

• Has someone delayed the dashboard TV, which would allow a driver to watch television at stop lights? Congress should definitely look into it. I hope it’s just a temporary delay because when I’m driving, I need to know whether it’s a “Deal or No Deal.”


Despite my efforts, many people missed last weekend’s mathematical holiday — Pi Day, which falls on March 14. (The date corresponds with first three digits of pi — 3.14.)

You might recall from high school geometry that the Greek letter pi represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

Remember how much fun that was?

Some people just don’t know how to celebrate Pi Day, so here are some suggestions to keep in mind for next year:

• Measure the circumference of someone you love.

• Find a radius you really like and share it with family and friends.

• Draw lots of perfect circles — freehand.

• Nap.


I don’t understand all the fuss about “rewarding failure” in the bailout situation.

Don’t we give trophies to kids who finish last in tiddlywinks?


There’s some new research that shows that many of the well-known mental effects of aging — such as forgetfulness and loss of concentration — begin around the age of 27.

Researchers at the University of Virginia studied 2,000 men and women aged 18 to 60 over seven years. They found that people’s mental abilities reach their peak at the age of 22 and begin to decline at 27.

Ha! That ought to teach you whippersnappers a thing or two. Who’s old now? You are!

I guess this means that “middle age” is around 14 years old — and that long, slow decline into old age just got a LOT longer.

Some good news in the research shows that abilities based on accumulated knowledge — such as vocabulary and general information — increase with age up to 60 years old. This means that older people know more than younger people — which is what older people have been saying for centuries.


Last Tuesday was St. Patrick’s Day, and there’s a growing movement to make it a national holiday.

Don’t we already have a holiday devoted to overeating and binge drinking? Isn’t that Mother’s Day?


Researchers in Qatar have found that boys whose ring fingers are longer than their middle fingers run faster than boys whose fingers are more normal looking.

I would think they’re faster because villagers tend to chase the kids with the freaky fingers, but the Qatar study attributes the correlation between speed and finger-length ratios to the boys’ exposure to testosterone in the womb. (Bet you’re looking at your fingers now and wondering how much testosterone you got.)

Other studies have found that finger length can predict men’s aggression and intelligence, women’s athletic ability, and the risk of osteoarthritis in men and women.

I don’t want to brag, but I do have impressively long fingers. I just don’t know what to do with them.

These finger-length studies sound like they’re on solid ground. If I remember correctly, E.T. the extraterrestrial had really long fingers and he was some kind of freakin’ genius.

But what if you have short fingers and just try harder in everything you do and succeed? Do your fingers grow?

I’m just hoping this doesn’t give rise to finger-extension cosmetic surgery. I don’t need the competition.

You can contact Carleton Bryant at 202-636-3218 and cbryant@washingtontimes.com.

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