- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sometimes you have to pretend in order to be polite.

The other day, I was talking to a co-worker in my office when his stomach gurgled.

It wasn’t a short, muffled gurgle — you know, like somebody trying to whisper while drinking a glass of water.

No, it was a long, loud, “look at me, I’m talking!” gurgle — the kind where you suspect the “gurgler” has swallowed a midget who is now yelling for help. “Let me out of here! I’m not food!”

Stomach gurgles sometimes really sound like a person talking — usually a drunken radio announcer with Tourette’s syndrome. This one was like that.

Politeness calls for pretending deafness to stomach noises, which I did. Unfortunately, I am what’s known as a “sympathetic.” I unintentionally tend to “mirror” people around me. If someone yawns, I yawn. If someone sneezes, I sneeze.

And if someone’s stomach gurgles …

So as I was ignoring my co-worker’s stomach noises, my own stomach erupted with its own “Save me! I’m too young to digest!” I wasn’t hungry because I had eaten recently, but my stomach still responded.

I am certain my co-worker ignored my gurglings as I ignored his. So we continued our conversation while our stomachs continued theirs:

His stomach: “This is not what I was expecting.”

My stomach: “Actually, it’s not so bad in here. I’ve got cable.”

His stomach: “Not likely. It’s probably spaghetti.”

My stomach: “You’re right. My bad.”

•••


Did you hear about the scientists at the nuclear weapons lab at Los Alamos, N.M.? They’re missing 69 computers, including at least a dozen that were stolen last year.

Among the missing computers are three stolen from a scientist’s home last month and a Blackberry lost in “a sensitive foreign country” in the last two months, according to a lab memo about the computers.

There wasn’t any classified information on the computers, but they contain names and addresses that could pose security problems. The lab is reviewing its computer security practices.

You know how absent-minded scientists can be sometimes. That’s why nuclear weapons labs have great big “OFF” buttons on everything.

If these scientists aren’t more carefully with their computers, rogue countries like North Korea and Iran might be able to make a nuclear weapon. Then where would we be?

You know, 69 sounds like a lot of missing computers, but it’s not as big a number as it seems. As many as 80 computers were missing initially, and they were able to find 11 of them. Now, 80 — that’s a big number.

•••


Reporter Jerry Seper had a good story the other day. It was about a convicted felon who was deported for drug possession being one of 16 illegal immigrants suing an Arizona rancher for stopping them at gunpoint after they sneaked across the U.S.-Mexico border on his property.

Gerardo Gonzalez, who was deported in 1993, and 15 other Mexican nationals have filed a federal lawsuit against rancher Roger Barnett, accusing him of violating their civil rights and seeking $32 million in damages. Gonzalez’s illegal re-entry after deportation would be another felony.

I guess the rancher impeded their “pursuit of happiness.”

But I don’t think that’s in the Constitution.

This is what makes this country great: A foreign criminal can sue a U.S. citizen for preventing the criminal from committing another felony on the citizen’s property. Wait, that didn’t come out right.

•••


Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich loves Springfield, his state’s capital. At least I think he does. He says the capital is full of “anonymous lawmakers” who cheat on their spouses and drink too much.

“This is how the system in Springfield works,” Blagojevich said on a radio show. “Nobody knows who they are [in Springfield]. They’re away from their families. It’s a whole different world down there.”

The impeached and deposed governor told a story about an unnamed lawmaker whose wife caught him cheating with his secretary and demanded she be fired. The lawmaker asked Blagojevich to hire the secretary so he could continue his affair with her.

“I don’t want to be too judgmental, but these same guys get up and they get holier than thou on their soapboxes, and there they are doing that sort of thing,” Blagojevich said.

What is an “anonymous lawmaker” — and can he sign legislation like lawmakers with names?

Somebody should tell Blagojevich that the “If you think I’m bad, take a look at this” defense doesn’t hold up in a court of law — or public opinion.

I think he was giving his reasons why tourists should visit Springfield. Kinda like a testimonial — for the degenerate set.

Having your moral failings pointed out by Rod Blagojevich is like:

• Having your fistfight refereed by Mike Tyson.

• Having your dental work criticized by a professional hockey player.

• Having your tax return audited by a Democratic Cabinet nominee.

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

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