- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ah, spring!

When Nature wakens from her winter slumber and Life renews itself once more.

When birds return from their migratory excursions and flowers display their vernal brilliance.

When my neighbors haul all of their old stuff out of their houses and try to sell it on their front lawns.

Ah, the rites of spring!

•••


I read last week that Guinness is readying a new beer for its 250th anniversary.

Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout will be in U.S. stores April 24. It’s the first new beer Guinness has exported to America since 1960, when it sent us Guinness Draught.

The new beer has a maltier taste and has a slightly higher alcoholic content than Guinness Draught.

For those of you who know me, beer-related news is usually good news. And as I always say: There’s beer, and then there’s Guinness.

Guinness is a meal. It’s the only beer you consume with a knife and fork.

They say they created this new beer in honor of Guinness’ 250th anniversary. But this is really the beer they were trying to brew when they accidentally made Guinness 250 years ago. That’s my suspicion.

The thing about Guinness is that you can pour yourself a pint at the start of a party and still be drinking that same pint at the end of the party, and nobody will call you a lightweight.

•••


Wednesday was Tax Day. Did anybody miss that? I’m just asking because it seems to be a prerequisite for joining the Obama administration.

Most people don’t like Tax Day, and by “most people” I mean anybody who doesn’t work for the IRS.

But when you stop and think about it, we’re all working for the IRS. We’re like “working girls,” and the IRS is our pimp.

At least that’s the way I feel when I pay my taxes.

IRS: (Menacing) Hey, baby. Where my money?

Me: Here it is, Sam. (Hands over wad of cash) It’s all there. Honest.

IRS: (Weighs wad of cash in hand) Feels kinda light. You holdin’ out on me?

Me: (Nervous) No, not me, Sam. It’s been kinda a rough year, you know? Business been off.

IRS: Bidness? I know my bidness, and my bidness ain’t never off. (Begins to count cash) You taking deductions?

Me: I’m sorry, Sam. I itemized.

IRS: So I see. You got your Schedule A all filled out, nice and neat.

Me: (Relieved) Thanks, Sam.

IRS: Hey, wait a minute! (Menacing) Where’s your Schedule C?

Me: (Frightened) My what? I don’t know what you mean?

IRS: Your Schedule C! Schedule C! For self employment!

Me: But, Sam, I wasn’t self employed.

IRS: I know you did some consulting work on the side! (Threatening) You holdin’ out on me?

Me: I swear, Sam. That was pro bono. It was pro bono.

IRS: Pro bono, huh? You want me to audit you? (Raises hand for a slap)

Me: (Flinching) Oh, no, Sam! Don’t audit me!

IRS: Don’t let me catch you holdin’ out on me. Don’t make me audit you. (Calms down) I don’t want to audit you, but you don’t know what’s good for you. (Calms down more) That’s why I take care of you.

Me: Thank you, Sam. You’re so good to me, Sam.

IRS: Good. Now get out of here! I’ve got a bailout to pay for.

•••


Researchers have found a type of fat inside the body that could help people lose weight. It’s called “brown fat.”

Seriously.

Adults have stores of brown fat that can produce heat and burn calories.

Scientists have known that babies have brown fat but thought they lost it after infancy.

Researchers now are trying to find out how to activate brown fat, which is found in the upper back of adults.

You know, one of the truly surprising things about brown fat is that it tastes just like chicken. Regular fat tastes like regret.

Apparently a little brown fat burns an awful lot of energy — kinda like a Hummer but with better gas mileage.

The problem with brown fat is that it’s located in the upper back and most people store regular fat in their waists, thighs, buttocks and hips. If only there were a way to turn regular fat brown. Perhaps a laxative?

•••


One of the great things about the blues as a musical genre is that it’s so versatile. You can sing the blues about almost anything.

There’s only one rule, though: Whatever you sing the blues about has to have at least two syllables.

Think about it. One-syllable blues can’t cut it.

You wanna croon about your “dog blues?” No way, Rex. But you can howl the “doggie blues” all night long.

You could be bent over with “gut blues,” but you better sing about your “belly blues.”

“Head blues?” No. “Noggin blues?” Yes.

See what I mean? It takes at least two syllables.

Sometimes you need to add an adjective.

You just might be feeling the “girl blues.” But you have to sing about the “bad girl blues.”

You could suffer from “man blues.” But the song’s gotta say “old man blues.”

So if you’re feeling the blues over a one-syllable word, you’re not really feeling the blues.

You’re just sad.

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

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