Right Opinion

It's a Goofy World

Burt Prelutsky · Jan. 19, 2019

For many years, I resented my parents. They definitely were not the parents I would have ordered out of the catalogue. Because they had been born in Russia and hadn’t come to America with their respective families until my father was 13 and my mother 16 or 17, they spoke heavily-accented English.

How was I, a young snot with literary aspirations, to put up with a father who, I don’t believe, ever read a book in his life? I’m not sure my mother had, either, until she became a widow in her late 60s when she began to ask me to check books out of the library that I had read and would recommend.

I certainly felt like an indentured slave when I had to spend every summer between the ages of 13 and 21 working at my dad’s cigar stand in the Harris-Newmark building, situated in the middle of L.A.‘s garment industry.

It was definitely a learning experience. I learned that I didn’t want to be in retail sales. I also learned that character had nothing to do with money. I learned to despise most of the factory owners who would insist on carrying a tab with my dad for months on end, while, in the meantime, he had to pay his suppliers off in timely fashion. I also hated them because a few of them made a habit of snapping their fingers at me, expecting me to remember which cigars they wanted without their having to speak. I wasn’t an idiot, so of course I remembered, but I preferred to play dumb and make them say “Three Churchills” or “A couple of Royales” just to annoy them and punish them for snapping their fingers at me, as if I were a Cocker Spaniel.

But I also had no use for a lot of their black and Hispanic employees who took advantage of the small crowds that would show up at 10 a.m. and 12 noon to swipe gum and candy bars from the counter display.

I am now 79 years old. If I were unhappy with the way I turned out, I would no doubt still be griping about what my parents did to me. But without knowing how much the books I read, a few of the teachers I had and the friends I made, had to do with turning out the finished product, I’d be a cur not to pay my respects to Sam and Bella Prelutsky. They may not have been the parents I wanted, but they may very well have been the parents I needed.


The state of Washington, which goes the extra mile in trying to keep up with its nutsy neighbors to the south, Oregon and California, has decided that when they die Washingtonians can opt to be turned into compost, so that they can be turned into some part of a tree or plant. Having for so long suggested that liberals are nothing more than a semi-human form of mulch, I feel as if I’ve been validated.

It used to be that people would talk about what they wanted to be when they grew up; now, they can discuss what they’d like to grow up to be once they’re dead.


Sometimes, when I’m listening to my car radio, I hear talk show host Dennis Prager differentiating between liberals and leftists. I acknowledge there was a time when people could differentiate between the two groups, but it’s been a few decades now. So when Prager insists there is actually a difference, I find myself wondering if he can also count the number of angels dancing on a pin.


I knew that Fox drew the largest audience among cable news viewers, but until I checked the numbers, I didn’t quite realize how wide the gap is.

In first place is Fox’s Sean Hannity, with 3 million viewers; followed by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, with 2.9 million; followed by Tucker Carlson, 2.82 million; “The Five,” 2.67 million; Laura Ingraham, 2.56 million; Bret Baier, 2.4 million; Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC, with 2.2 million; and Fox’s Martha MacCallum, 2.1 million. That means six of the top eight are all on Fox.

Bringing up the distant rear, in spite of paying off airports to carry it, is CNN. Their two top-rated hosts are Chris Cuomo, with 363,000 viewers, and Anderson Cooper, 361,000.


The state of Vermont will pay people $10,000 to move there. I wager that if all those transplants from New York would stop re-electing Bernie Sanders, it would only require a $5,000 bribe to make people put up with the lousy weather.


I don’t happen to be religious, but I’m grateful that so many people are, because I believe it is those people who are preventing America from turning into the Socialist shithole that the likes of Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and most of the 40 new Democrats in the House, would like it to become.

The problem with secularism is that it’s full of people best described by the adage that those who don’t believe in something are likely to believe in anything. Socialism, for instance.


The revolution in the Democratic Party has its parallel in the metamorphosis of the New York Times. There was a time when the Times, while not perfect, made an attempt to live up to its motto: All the news that’s fit to print.

These days, it’s the house organ of the Socialist Party.

It’s hardly news-worthy that I’d throw stones and stink bombs at the Times and the Washington Post. But it is news when the extremely liberal Jill Abramson, a former executive editor of the Times, rips the paper for its biased coverage of President Trump.

In her new book, she writes: “Some headlines now contain raw opinion, as do many of the stories that are labeled as news analysis.”

But she acknowledges that the 24/7 attacks on Trump have helped the paper’s bottom line because digital subscriptions have soared from 1.4 million to 2.1 million since Trump’s election. Which indicates that the President is right when he claims credit for keeping the rag afloat.

Ms. Abramson’s book, by the way, is titled “Merchants of Truth.” I assume it’s to be taken ironically.


I knew that Matt Romney’s being elected to the Senate from Utah did not bode well for Donald Trump, even though Romney has often praised Trump in the past, especially when Trump endorsed him in 2012.

Romney appears determined to pick up the attacks on Trump where the rancid likes of John McCain, Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, left off.

Although I obviously would have preferred Romney to Obama in 2012, I always felt there was something unauthentic about the guy as a conservative. And I’m not just referring to RomneyCare in Massachusetts. After all, there’s only so much any Republican governor can do when he has to deal with a supermajority of Democrats in the state legislature.

Part of my discomfort is that Romney looks like Central Casting’s idea of a president. All sorts of people have portrayed fictional presidents on TV and in the movies, including Martin Sheen, Fredric March, Henry Fonda, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Bill Pullman, Ronny Cox, Morgan Freeman and Harrison Ford, and not one of them has looked as presidential as Romney. It just goes to show how deceptive looks can be.

On his first day in the Senate, by attacking Trump as unfit to serve, he might as well have simply announced that he intends to fight for the GOP nomination in 2020. I’m sure if he does, the NY Times will describe him as a statesman, at least until he gets the nomination. Then, as they did with John McCain in 2008, the paper will predictably reverse course and claim Romney is no better than Trump, and, what’s more, being a Mormon, is a member of a cult that wears funny underwear.

When it comes to selecting a running mate, don’t be too surprised if the schmuck picks Benedict Arnold.


Over the past weekend, Elizabeth Warren kicked off her own 2020 presidential campaign in the Iowa county of Buena Vista. Proving that God has a jolly sense of humor, the two counties flanking Buena Vista are Cherokee to the west and Pocahontas to the east.

While tossing down the gauntlet as the first of the 30-odd contenders for the nomination, she interrupted the proceedings for a minute to say she was going to grab a beer.

Or, as her people refer to it, fire water.

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