- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why do they call them medicine balls? I don’t think there’s much medicine in them.

And they’re almost impossible to swallow.

•••


Vermont dairy farmers are switching their feed to reduce cow burps, which can affect climate change. (Yeah, that’s news to me, too.)

Sixteen farms working with Stonyfield Farm Inc. have begun serving their cows a feed mixture designed to reduce methane-rich belches, which contribute to greenhouse gases.

The new feed doesn’t cost extra and has produced shinier coats on the cows.

But I wonder if the milk tastes like cow burps now. Because that would be a shame.

The dairy farmers’ action has spurred Ben & Jerry’s to come up with a new ice cream flavor — Belch-less Banana Cream Pie. Sounds yummy!

I wish I had whatever they’re feeding those cows to reduce burps. Because I’d feed it to my son.

•••


Did you hear about this? CBS has walled off eight homes in an Atlanta suburb as part of a new reality TV show tentatively called “Block Party.”

The families in the homes will be forced to interact with each other and compete for prizes during their three-week stint inside the 20-foot, prisonlike walls.

The idea is a real-life takeoff of “The Simpsons Movie,” where the town of Springfield was encased in clear dome. Because nothing says “reality TV” like a CARTOON.

CBS already offers “Big Brother,” in which 10 people are trapped in a house together. Isn’t that enough of the reality TV imprisonment theme? What’s next, CBS’ version of Abu Ghraib?

If CBS comes to your neighborhood with an idea for a reality TV show, do yourself a favor. Move.

You see, the problem with reality TV shows isn’t that they bring out the worst in people. It’s that they’re intended to bring out the worst in people. I guess that’s entertainment.

•••


Gabriella Boston recently reported that doctors say that Nintendo Wii game system players can incur the same injuries as athletes because they don’t treat the virtual games like real sports.

Sprains are very common because Wii games lack the resistance of real sports that keep joints from being overextended.

You know, it’s bad enough when you hurt yourself playing a real sport. But when you hurt yourself with a remote-control device, you’ve really got problems.

Now I guess this means that Nintendo will have to devise a Wii Physical Therapy game system.

Shouldn’t virtual games produce only virtual pain? That can be treated by a virtual doctor? In a virtual health care system that’s funded by virtual taxpayer dollars? Somebody stop me!

•••


Whenever something happens, people want to notify the proper authorities. But I think the improper authorities deserve a second chance.

They’re really sorry about those Internet photos.

•••


Somebody has given Dr. Doolittle way too much credit for being able to talk to animals. Anybody can talk to animals. I talk to animals all the time. It ain’t brain surgery, Doc.

Getting animals to listen to you is the hard part. They’re so easily distracted, just like little children. You can barely make them sit still long enough to give them a good talking to.

And I think most animals have an ADD problem. They’re always scampering or flying or burrowing their way somewhere. If they’re smaller than you, they’re trying to run away from you. And if they’re bigger than you, they’re trying to eat you.

Then if you’re able to get their attention and make them hold still long enough to talk to them, they act like they don’t understand a word you’re saying. It’s like they don’t understand plain English. Sheesh!

I don’t care if English isn’t their native language. If they’re going to migrate to my backyard, they’d better learn my language — American. I refuse to learn German to talk to a German shepherd, and I won’t speak French to a French hen. That’s just how I roll.

So don’t give me any of that Dr. Doolittle stuff. He’s nothing special. (And I hear he’s not even a real doctor.)

•••


A federal judge in New York recently issued a temporary restraining order against the publication of the book “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye,” noting similarities between it and J.D. Salinger’s classic “The Catcher in the Rye.”

Salinger has sued to block the publication of “60 Years Later,” by Swedish author Fredrik Colting, saying it is the equivalent of an unauthorized sequel.

You know, making the character Holden Caulfield a cranky old man takes something away from “Catcher in the Rye” — mostly its point.

This just ruins my plans for my novel — “The Pitcher in the Wheat.”

•••


The BBC reported that Mexico’s navy seized more than a ton of cocaine hidden inside the carcasses of frozen sharks.

Using X-ray machines and sniffer dogs, authorities found packages of cocaine inside more than 20 sharks on a freighter in the Gulf coast port of Progreso.

When the navy ship first pulled alongside the freighter, the crew tried to run away but stopped because they were afraid of jumping the shark.

I’m sure that the freighter’s captain said he didn’t know that frozen sharks had such a big drug habit, although he was suspicious because the sharks were still twitching.

Despite finding the cocaine, authorities aren’t sure this case was a smuggling attempt because they also found the presumed smuggler in one of the sharks.

You can reach Carleton Bryant at 202/636-3218 and [email protected] — but only if you stretch first.


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