- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ordinarily, I’m not a gambling man, but I lost some money on the inauguration — the speech, to be precise.

I bet a friend that President Obama would end with, “I’m going to Disney World!”

•••


President Bush left a note in the Oval Office for Barack Obama to wish him well. The note is a tradition that Ronald Reagan started.

The White House didn’t provide details about the contents of Bush’s note. But I know a guy who knows a guy who thought he saw the note, so here are some excerpts:

• There’s a jar of peanut butter in the lower right desk drawer — smooth, not chunky — and the crackers are in a safe behind the fireplace.

• Keep an eye on Sarkozy. He’s French, you know.

• If you ever get tongue-tied during a speech, just stop and give a thoughtful look, like you’re doing math in your head. Nobody will notice your mistake.

• Do not look behind the credenza. Clinton told me that in his note, but I didn’t know what a credenza was. Now I do. Don’t look behind it.

•••


A few people have commented to me about my items on driving.

They say I take driving too seriously, that I let it get to me too much. But I think I’m philosophical about driving — an existentialist, really.

Jean Paul Sartre said, “Hell is other people.”

I say, “Hell is other drivers. Now either turn or shut off your blinker. You’re making me crazy!”

•••


I read that scientists somewhere are developing a “memory pill” that could help test takers perform better on exams.

The main problem is remembering to take the pill. Maybe they’ll develop a pill for that.

If they succeed in making memory pills, I’d get some. But I’d probably forget where I put them. That’s why they should put the pill in something you’re sure to remember to ingest — like beer.

Having a memory pill in your beer would be a little weird to get used to. If you get a hangover, you’d be able to remember everything from the night before. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

It’s not that I’m forgetting more the older I get. It’s that I have more I’d like to forget the older I get — disco, leisure suits, New Coke, the 1990s Buffalo Bills, pogs, Air Supply, Le Car, trickle-down economics, wazzup?, “The Happening,” disco, leisure suits, New Coke …

•••


I was shocked to see a story last week about Circuit City seeking to liquidate in public.

Every time I try to liquidate in public, I get arrested.

•••


There was a lot of speculation that President Bush was going to issue last-minute pardons to Scooter Libby and Alberto Gonzales. (He didn’t.)

Libby and Gonzales were obvious choices, but there were others who could have used a last-minute pardon:

• Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco — “Hey, a trip to the Super Bowl was a lot to expect from a rookie!”

• “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell — “Sure ‘Idol’ is slipping in the ratings, but it’s not Simon’s fault. Blame Paula!”

• Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich — “Not that he’s done anything wrong. So he says.”

• Bank of America — “You would not believe how easy it is to lose tens of billions of dollars. It’s pretty easy after that first billion.”

• M. Night Shyamalan — “But only if he promises NEVER to make another movie!”

•••


I don’t know about you, but I am inaugurated out.

All of the Hollywood celebrities and parties and gridlock and media attention … I’m beat. Makes me thankful they only do this when a Democrat is elected.

•••


There was a report that supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claimed responsibility for a tear-gas attack on the Vatican’s diplomatic headquarters in Caracas.

The headquarters has been providing sanctuary to an anti-Chavez student leader sought by the state police since June. Three canisters of tear gas landed deep inside the building.

It looks like Venezuela is going to become the first country to declare war on the Vatican.

It would be an interesting war. Chavez has said God is on his side, but I think the pope has first dibs.

•••


Swedish scientists have found that breeding modern dogs for their appearance has resulted in a decline in intelligence. This is true.

Apparently, dog owners’ preference for pure breeds has increased inbreeding, which has fostered an increase in genetic diseases.

And not breeding dogs to be hunters, guard dogs or herders has created a surplus of dogs that do nothing except look good. Something like models with less self control and shorter attention spans.

I know I’m going to catch some flak for this, but I’m only the messenger. You wanna attack somebody? Attack Swedish scientists!

I’ve known only smart dogs — Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Benji, Marmaduke. Yeah, there’s Huckleberry Hound and Goofy, but they always had the best of intentions.

Maybe it’s not the dog breeds that are trending downward in intelligence. Maybe it’s their owners. Paris Hilton just might be giving chihuahuas a bad name.

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

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