It’s far too early in the year to be talking about bikinis. But sadly, a woman auditioning this month on the Season 8 premiere of the TV juggernaut "American Idol” showed up wearing nothing but a bikini. Even more sadly, despite the fact that Bikini Girl’s singing wasn’t much better than mine — and I have the musical ability of a duck — she got a golden ticket to Hollywood. It may not surprise you to know she made it through based on the votes of the two male judges. This raises a few questions in my mind. First, why on Earth are we still watching "American Idol” after eight years? Second, why did it take eight years for someone to think of auditioning for the show in nothing but a bikini? This is a sure sign our country is on a downward slide. Whatever happened to American ingenuity? This should have happened no later than Season 2. And my final question is this: Are there any men out there who can think straight in the presence of a hot body in a bikini? That last question is purely rhetorical, of course, as I already know the answer. I only have to look within my own household for an example. See, when we went to the beach last summer, my husband wore a pair of very dark sunglasses. This is a classic man trick developed way back when people lived in caves and wore animal skins. Some of the more attractive cave women wore well-tailored fur bikinis — just like Raquel Welch in that highly realistic movie "One Million Years B.C.” — and the cavemen were forced to invent devious methods of leering at them. Otherwise, the poor men might get whacked with mastodon bones by their cave wives and girlfriends. Fortunately, the cavemen were hairy enough to simply pull part of their eyebrows down and peer out surreptitiously at the B.C. babes. Today’s men can’t always count on excessive eyebrow hair to solve the problem (although there are exceptions), so they invented sunglasses. You can always tell when a sunglass-wearing guy is trying to stare at bikini bodies without getting busted. His head seems to be frozen on his neck, never moving as he seemingly stares far out to sea. He wants you to think he is having profound thoughts about the need for world peace. In reality, of course, his eyes are rolling all over the place behind those glasses, trying to take in all the bathing beauties walking by without getting whacked with a bottle of sunscreen by his wife or girlfriend. Sometimes, a poor sap will overdo it and wind up with a severe case of Exhausted Eyeball Syndrome. I think that’s what happened to my man. He’s still trying to pry his eyeballs loose from their respective sockets. But I suspect he’ll recover by summertime. The good news is that recent research indicates men exhibit improved cognition and creativity after exposure to pictures of good-looking women in bikinis. (Yes, someone actually got paid to conduct this research.) I say we show these pictures to all those financial geniuses running our tottering economy. Maybe then we all can get a golden ticket. Syndicated columnist Jackie Papandrew is a Bartlesville native and a University of Oklahoma graduate. Visit her Web site at http://jackiepapandrew.com.