- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2009

I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself. I take driving personally — especially my morning and evening commutes.

I’m constantly talking to other drivers. Through their cars.

“Hey, Mr. New York License Plate. This is Maryland. We go on green lights.”

“You’re not going to let me merge, are you? You’re going to pretend you don’t see me. Really? Really? How about I hold up this finger? See me now?”

“Oh, I don’t mind, Mr. F-150, if you cut across three lanes of traffic right in front of me so you can catch that off-ramp over there. Braking and swerving are what I do best. Don’t mind my screams.”

“Look, Lexus Lady, ‘middle of the road’ is a political position, not a driving strategy. Pick a lane.”

“There’s a stick near your left hand. It’s the turn indicator. Use that instead of your special mental powers, Kreskin.”

“Hey, BMW Guy. I know you’ve got a fast car, but you wanna back off my rear? If you were any closer, you could inspect my colon.”

•••


Did you hear about this? A New York City judge last week ruled that Bernie Madoff, the guy who’s accused of committing a $50 billion fraud, can remain out on bail in his Park Avenue penthouse instead of jail.

Prosecutors wanted to revoke Madoff’s bail because he mailed more than $1 million in jewels and heirlooms to family and friends during the holidays. They said the jewels and heirlooms were assets that Madoff could have used to repay duped investors.

Madoff’s attorneys said the mailing was an innocent mistake.

I think we’re seeing the opening theme of Madoff’s defense — an innocent mistake. Why not? It’s worked once already.

I can understand how Madoff made his mistake because I often mail heirlooms and jewels to family and friends when I’m under house arrest. It happens.

Madoff is under house arrest in his $7 million penthouse on Park Avenue, and a private security firm has been hired to protect him.

But don’t think for a moment that Madoff is enjoying himself or has it easy: He has to drink tap water. The doorman doesn’t wear Prada.

Concierge service is available only 18 hours a day. He has only basic cable.

And his chef can’t make a decent chateaubriand.

You know what? Madoff’s time under house arrest just might prepare him for a federal prison sentence if he’s convicted.

•••


I’ve heard a lot of people lately talking about Billy Mays, the TV pitchman who does those commercials for OxiClean and Hercules Hooks and the like.

They say they don’t like his voice, that he’s too emphatic and always shouting. He sounds as if HE’S SPEAKING IN CAPITAL LETTERS. LIKE THIS.

Well, I’m here to tell you that’s his normal speaking voice. He talks LIKE THIS all the time:

• Sitting in a pew at a funeral — “NO, I DIDN’T KNOW HIM WELL. THE ONLY REASON I’M HERE IS BECAUSE HE STILL OWES ME 10 BUCKS.”

• Ordering dinner at a fancy restaurant — “CAN I GET THE STEAK WITHOUT THE BROCCOLI? THAT STUFF GIVES ME GAS LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS.”

• Attending a performance of the ballet “Swan Lake” — “I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT TO ME, THAT DAME ON THE LEFT LOOKS MORE LIKE A GOOSE THAN A SWAN.”

• Preparing for an intimate bedroom encounter — “OK, HONEY. I’M GOING TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU NOW. BRACE YOURSELF.”

As you can see, Billy Mays has found his calling in TV advertising.

•••


There was a report out last week that officials in Pinellas County, Fla., want to ban buttock-baring swimwear at beaches to protect the Tampa Bay area’s image as a family-oriented tourist destination.

Thongs, G-strings and other types of minimal coverings would be prohibited on beaches.

Local nudists say such a ban would likely drive tourists away from the area, but county leaders want only one moon to shine over Tampa Bay.

You know, lots of people complain about getting sand in their swimwear at the beach, but that doesn’t happen with thongs. There’s no room for sand.

A story like this practically begs for a series of butt jokes; however, I refuse to take that bait. And that’s my bottom line.

•••


President-elect Barack Obama says his family has narrowed its search for a puppy, which will be a labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound.

Obama jokingly says that finding a puppy is harder than finding a commerce secretary.

Really? When was the last time you brought home a puppy but had to take it back because it was under investigation in a “pay for play” scandal?

At least a commerce secretary is housebroken. Usually.

When puppies make a mess, some owners rub the dogs’ noses in it. But when a commerce secretary makes a mess well, I guess you do the same thing.

I don’t like the sound of the president of the United States having a labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound.

A labradoodle? The president shouldn’t have a pet that sounds like it was invented by a mad scientist. “I’ve created a dog that’s a cross between a Labrador and Cheese Doodle.”

A Portuguese water hound? For a U.S. president? What’s wrong with an American water hound?

And what is a water hound anyway?

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

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