- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 6, 2009

Athletes can be very spiritual after a sporting event — but only if they’ve won the game.

In post-game interviews, they’re quick to thank God for a victory. (“It was a close game, and I just want to thank the Lord for being there for us tonight. He really came through in the fourth quarter, when it looked like we might lose this thing. That ‘Hail Mary’ pass? Magic … or, um, you know, divine intervention.”)

I kinda like the idea of God choosing to support one team over another. It explains the Buffalo Bills losing four consecutive Super Bowls in the ‘90s.

But you never hear anyone on the losing team blame God for the loss. I guess they want to stay on God’s good side for the next game — you know, keep their options open.

Still, it would be interesting to hear a player lay the blame on God. (“Yeah, we lost tonight. We lost big. And it’s one person’s fault — the Lord. He did not show up to play tonight. His head just wasn’t in the game and … Is that a lightning bolt?”)

What if God picked teams, you know, like we did in school? That would be daunting. Lots of pressure.

God: “Thou shalt play right field.”

Thou: “But, um, I’ve got only one arm — and it’s in a cast.”

God: “Do not put thy God to the test. Thou shalt play right field.”

Thou: “But I don’t even like baseball.”

God: “Right field.”

Thou: “But I’m an accountant. And this is a soccer pitch.”

God: “Sigh. Just forget it then.”

But it would be worse if God didn’t pick you at all. Then you’d have to join that “other” team — you know, Oakland.

•••


The federal government has begun a program to crack down on the secondhand sales of dangerous and defective products, according to McClatchy Newspapers.

Called Resale Roundup, the initiative targets toys and other products for children and enforces a new law that makes it a federal crime to resell anything that’s been recalled by its manufacturer.

The crackdown affects sellers ranging from major thrift stores such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army to ordinary Americans cleaning out their attics for yard sales, church bazaars or digital hawking on Web sites.

Right now I’m imagining the feds raiding my neighborhood’s Salvation Army. It wouldn’t be a fair fight. It’s not a real “army.”

If the feds find a surplus of banned goods at a Goodwill store, will they make the charity change its name — to Bad Intention?

I get the reasoning behind the resale initiative. I’m just wondering why there’s no federal law against selling broken-down junk. If there were such a law, “Sanford & Son” would have been about an undercover sting operation. (“Elizabeth! It’s the big one! Book him, Lamont!”)

There’s usually a yard sale somewhere in my neighborhood every weekend from the first day of spring until the end of September. So I’m thinking the feds have got their work cut out for them in Pasadena, Md.

•••


Penny pinchers increasingly are cutting their own hair to save money, if not their looks, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

High-priced salons have taken a hit as more patrons go the do-it-yourself route, but the salons are seeing a surge in work to correct the coloring and cutting mistakes that amateur hairdressers often make.

You know, do-it-yourself work can be a good gauge for the state of the economy.

First comes do-it-yourself car washing, then do-it-yourself hair cutting. You know the economy is tanking when do-it-yourself root canals become the rage.

There are no statistics on the number of people who are cutting their own hair during this economic downturn. But I have noticed a lot more people sporting the “bowl cut.” Most of them should have used a bigger bowl.

The one thing to remember when cutting your own hair is that every mistake can be covered up — by shaving your head.

•••


The Times of London had some startling news: Excessive exercise is making some celebrities look gross — or foolish.

Madonna’s veiny arms and Elle Macpherson’s “saggy knees” are the result of too much exercise, as well as French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent collapse during a run.

Experts say that excessive exercise doesn’t make you look better and can, in fact, be harmful to your health by diminishing muscle mass and increasing fatigue.

This is indeed timely, important and relevant information. I’m going to go out right now and make sure that I don’t engage in too much exercise. Now, where’s my remote?

There’s something to think about in this report, because Madonna’s arms are looking really sinewy these days. If she were any more sinewy, she could moonlight as a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man … er, woman.

•••


The “Farmer’s Almanac” is predicting a harsh, cold winter this year from the Rockies to the Appalachians and a milder season on the East and West coasts.

However, the National Weather Service says the northern part of the country will have a milder winter as the seasonal El Nino air currents over the Pacific become stronger.

The National Weather Service’s forecasts are based on the latest high-altitude observations, Doppler radar surveys, computerized meteorological modeling, barometric pressure measurements and statistical analysis by a cadre of seasoned meteorologists.

The “Farmer’s Almanac” bases its predictions on the feeling in Uncle Jed’s sciatica and Aunt Betty’s kneecap.

I’m betting on Uncle Jed and Aunt Betty this winter. They’re right about as often as the Weather Service — and without all the fuss.

You can reach Carleton Bryant at 202/636-3218 and cbryant@washingtontimes.com — but only if your head’s in the game.

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