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OUT OF CONTEXT: One man’s therapy is another man’s humor column

- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 11, 2009

I am thoroughly convinced that the crickets at my house are either psychic … or plotting against me.

Or both.

The crickets have invaded my home and established a beachhead somewhere in my basement. They make occasional appearances — crawling slowly across the bathroom floor or hopping erratically down the hall.

They don't bother me that much, but they do freak out my wife and daughter, who then call on me to "handle" the situation. This usually involves a tissue and the flushing of a toilet.

But lately, the crickets have begun chirping at night.

Late at night.

When I'm trying to sleep.

I get up and follow the chirping to where the sound is emanating, and then … it stops. As soon as I turn to leave, it starts again. But when I turn around, it stops.

This can go on for hours! Turn, silence, turn, chirp! Turn, silence, turn, chirp!

I know that the crickets know that I'm there to kill them. We've established that as the basis of our co-existence.

But now I suspect they're fighting back with psychological warfare. And it's working.

I go to bed with a box of Kleenex and a can of Raid.

•••


Know what's got a million Frenchmen up in arms? A Big Mac attack.

But they're not surrendering this time.

French lovers of fine dining and fine art are upset over plans to open a McDonald's at the Louvre museum next month.

The fast-food franchise plans to open its 1,142nd restaurant in France just a few yards from the entrance of the world's most visited art museum. The opening will celebrate McDonald's 30th year in France.

Louvre staffers already have expressed outrage over McDonald's plans.

So, maybe the French would prefer Burger King? They understand kings. And, after all, Burger King did turn the French croissant into the Croissan'Wich. Mmm, tasty.

I wonder if the servers in French McDonald's are as rude as servers in other French restaurants. That would be a tough act to pull off. "Do you want pomme frites with that, swine?"

If I went to the McDonald's at the Louvre, I'd ask the server what wine goes best with a Big Mac. Probably a red burgundy — or whichever one looks like root beer.

But, of course, it's all about culture, and the French will tell you that they're just oozing with it. So along comes the unwashed, uncouth Americans to sully all they hold dear — language, cuisine, hauteur. Guess we Americans are too focused on liberte, egalite, fraternite.

•••


I don't think I'd mind so much if someone stole my identity because I'm not really doing that much with it.

•••


President and first lady Michelle Obama went out on another date the other night, this time to celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary.

They dined at the Blue Duck Tavern in Northwest Washington, between Dupont Circle and Georgetown.

You know, I think it's great that the president and the first lady go out on dates and stuff, but I don't want a report each and every time they do so. It kinda makes me feel like a stalker. And that's one thing you don't want to be — somebody who's stalking the president.

But if they go someplace REALLY special, that's something I'd want to know about. Someplace like, say, Rio de Janeiro. Or Havana. Now we're talking.

I suppose some people may be inconvenienced by the president's motorcade and security detail whenever he takes his wife out on a date. But, hey, it gives them a good story to tell their friends the next day.

"We had to wait a full hour to get a seat at our favorite restaurant because the Obamas were there on a date. And when we finally did get served, they didn't have any more lettuce for my Whopper."

•••


The BBC reported last week that archeologists have found a smaller version of Stonehenge about a mile from the larger circle of rocks in Wiltshire, England.

Dubbed "Bluehenge," the site has no rocks. But scientists say that, based on holes in the earth, 27 gigantic stones once formed a circle there — probably a mini-Stonehenge. Remnant bits of rock indicate the stones were blue.

At first, I thought the archeologists had stumbled upon an old stage prop used by the rock group Spinal Tap. You know, the "Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf."

The Druids are believed to have created Stonehenge, perhaps as a time-measuring device or some sort of monument to a deity. I suspect that their economy was tanking, and the Druids built Stonehenge as a public works project.

Druid #1: "Hey, Charlie. Why are we moving these big old stones from Wales all the way to Wilshire?"

Druid #2: "To maintain full employment during the economic downturn, Harry. Don't you ever read the papers?"

Druid #1: "What's paper, Charlie?"

•••


A recent study shows that a blueberry smoothie in the morning is good for your brain in the afternoon.

British scientists have found that a blueberry smoothie increased concentration by as much as 20 percent in a single day. Eating blueberries also can help stave off dementia. Chemicals called flavonoids expand blood vessels, which helps increase blood flow to the brain and decrease blood pressure.

What's more, blueberries are known as "the super food of super foods" because they can help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer and slow the aging process.

This explains so much for me, personally. Because I think I'm allergic to smoothies.

Actually, I've started eating blueberries every day, and I think it's reversing my aging process. I've got the brain power of a 6-year-old now. And I need a nap.

The Telegraph report goes on to say that blueberries can help reconfigure the brain to improve concentration — probably to increase your concentration on blueberries.

Who would've thunk that the blueberry is a "super fruit?" I mean, if you stop and think about your fruits, blueberries just don't come off as "super."

Apples could be super, especially those small Granny Smiths. They're so hard you could smash atoms with them.

Bananas look like they could be super. They already look like they should be wearing a cape.

Watermelons would like you to think they're super fruits because of their size. But it's just all hype — like "The Jay Leno Show."

You can reach Carleton Bryant at 202/636-3218 and cbryant@washingtontimes.com — but only if you bring your own Raid.