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Watching a queen wring a neck

But first, the news:

+ A royal pain in the neck: I see in the paper that Queen Elizabeth II was caught on video wringing the neck of a pheasant during a hunting party.

(No, Robert Friedman, not a peasant; a pheasant. Had it been a peasant, I'm sure the animal lovers of Britain wouldn't have raised nearly such a dust-up as they did.)

Glad they got it on tape, because it's hard to picture Her Majesty performing such a coarse, vulgar, menial task. Doesn't she have handmaidens or something for that sort of thing? She must have been wearing her gloves. She said she was just being humane. Right. I'm all choked up, albeit not as seriously as the pheasant.

Seems one of the hunting dogs came upon the wounded bird and carried it directly to the Queen of England. Dogs may not be real smart, but they generally have a sense of who is in charge at any given gathering. Naturally, he went straight to the alpha huntress with his find. He may have had second thoughts about her judgment when he saw her try to unscrew its cap.

+ A new study suggests that men use only half their brains to listen, while women use both halves. "I don't want a battle of the sexes," said the boss researcher. Lotsa luck, Doc.

One might conclude that this new info is ammo for the male-bashing element out there. But there is a counter-argument. Men often use just one hand for some tasks _ like lifting heavy objects, turning faucets or strangling pheasants _ where some women might need two. "Two hands for beginners!" as the old taunt goes. If it's true for hands, why not for temporal lobes? A man only needs half a brain to listen. Get it?

The researcher said some other stuff, but I wasn't listening.

A related study hints that women can handle listening to two conversations at once, which could explain how some women can watch those heated panel-discussion shows with everyone talking at once. Any lady who can grasp anything that's being said on those televised shouting matches is a better man than I am.

+ After doing research on the American practice of washing our hands after "using the bathroom," the American Society of Microbiology determined that 95 percent of us say we wash, while probably only 67 percent of us actually do. The experts got their findings by surveying about 1,000 citizens by phone, then going to various restrooms to watch washers.

I can't imagine who would want to know _ except maybe the people who fill the soap dispensers.

There are no figures on how many lavatory users called the cops on those weirdos hanging out in public restrooms, not using the facilities but gawking at those who did.

Men in Atlanta were least likely to wash their hands, the survey said, while women in Chicago were most likely to. Does that mean Chicago women are extra clean, or that Chicago is extra dirty?

I congratulate the men of Atlanta for their unique rating _ but let's not shake on it, guys.

+ Ever feel like you're being pulled in all directions by your assorted "loyalties"? You are expected by others to be loyal to your country, of course, and your state, county, city and neighborhood, your political party, your school, your friends and relatives, your sweetie, your faith, your profession, your employer, your race and ethnic heritage, your gender, your sports team, even your chosen make of car.

Is there anything left for yourself?

And if all your loyalties met at an intersection, which would have the right of way?

I remember some old-timey English playwright once saying, "This above all: To thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

Being false to any woman, however, is a whole 'nother game. As Bill Clinton might say, it depends on what you mean by "canst."

+ Underheard:

"I'm no expert on American history. Is this the first time we've had a court-appointed president?"

"If we can put a man on the moon, why is it so hard to put one in the Oval Office?"

"He's so dumb he thinks "dimpled chad' refers to Chad Everett."

"He's as clumsy as a mad cow in a china shop."

+ Says here a 350-pound woman in New York is accused of killing her daughter by sitting on her. I think the formal charge was "a sit and battery."

+ Thanks to Mary Moore Boulay of Clearwater for observing that, in the aftermath of this year's election, the White House will have a Cheneylink fence and a Woes Garden.

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