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Burt Prelutsky / Aug. 5, 2019

Miraculous Waters

At first glance, you wouldn't think that the Red Sea, the English Channel and the East River, had very much in common, asides from their being rather small bodies of water.

At first glance, you wouldn’t think that the Red Sea, the English Channel and the East River, had very much in common, asides from their being rather small bodies of water.

But, all three have been the place where divine intervention clearly seems to have taken place.

In the first instance, we are told that God parted the waters so that the Jewish people could escape their bondage in Egypt. In the second, a large portion of the English army was trapped by the Nazis at Dunkirk. Thanks to the Germans pausing before attack, hundreds of thousands of Brits lived to fight another day when every Englishman with a boat came to the rescue.

A lesser known miracle took place when George Washington and his 9,000 troops were defeated at the Battle of Brooklyn by General William Howe’s 34,000 redcoats.

In an article titled “George Washington and the Hand of God” by John White, he writes that a combination of bad weather and poor judgment by Gen. Howe prevented him from advancing the mile and a half of open terrain and winning the war for England. Howe decided to postpone the final assault until the following morning.

In the meantime, one of Washington’s officers based in Manhattan commandeered enough small boats to enable a fair number of the trapped troops to escape from Brooklyn under the cloak of darkness.

But with the coming of the dawn, the Brits could have brought in their own ships to cut off the full retreat. But once again Providence came to the rescue when a heavy fog rolled into Brooklyn, whereas it was clear and sunny in Manhattan.

Gen. Washington had helped carry off the deception by ordering that camp fires be kept going, fooling Howe into thinking the Americans would be easy pickings in the morning.

When the fog finally lifted, the only soldiers left in Brooklyn were British.

There was yet one more watery miracle to be played out. It occurred at Yorktown. This time it was the Americans who had the upper hand, and it was General Cornwallis who hoped to beat a strategic retreat across the York River. But at the very moment that escape was in the offing, a tremendous storm began, driving the English boats down the river.

Cornwallis had no option but to surrender.

There’s no doubt that Gen. Washington was a powerful adversary. But combined with God, the Brits never really had a chance.

Joe Biden never struck me as terribly impressive, either as a politician or a man, but he seems to be going out of his way to make a fool of himself.

It wasn’t that long ago that he was challenging President Trump to a fist fight. Last week, he challenged him to an arm wrestling contest.

That’s a lot of big talk. But as I recall the first Democratic debate, Biden couldn’t even hold his own against Kamala Harris in a pissing match.

The left-wing cable nitwits are still smearing Trump as a racist for suggesting that the four anti-American shrews in Congress should go home, improve things in Boston, Detroit, the Bronx and Somalia, and then come back and tell us all how they did it.

It sounded like good advice to me and not the slightest bit offensive.

At the same time, these arbiters of civility and decorum never voiced any objections to these members of the House calling the U.S. “garbage” or “racist” or “unfair to people of color” or insisting, as Rashida Tlaib did, that the Palestinians provided Jews with a safe haven after the Holocaust and, in return, the Jews robbed the Palestinians of their lives, their livelihood and even their human dignity, something that nobody had ever suggested they or their beloved leader, Yasser Arafat, had.

A wise guy pointed out that Kamala Harris finds it bizarre that Mike Pence refuses to meet with women unless Mrs. Pence is present, adding: “But if other men followed the Vice President’s example, Kamala Harris wouldn’t be in the Senate today.”

That’s a reference to the fact that in her 20s, she began her climb up the California political ladder by being the mistress of the Speaker of the State Assembly, Willie Brown, who was 60 and married at the time.

Back in 1992, a 79-year-old woman, Stella Liebeck, sued a McDonald’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after she stuck a cup of hot coffee between her legs while she was driving, and burned her pelvic region.

The jury decided that it was the fault of the drive-thru and awarded her a $2.86 million judgment. Cooler heads, though not cool enough, prevailed and she and her lawyer only received $640,000.

At the time, I recall people wondered what had happened to common sense that somebody could do something that stupid and still convince a dozen people she was entitled to a financial windfall.

It figures that things would only get weirder over the ensuing 27 years, and so they have. Now, a woman, Salma Briant, 39, is suing Samsung for $1.8 million after she required medical attention after inserting her cell phone inside her vagina.

When I first heard the news, I assumed she had it on vibrator mode. But all I could glom from the article is that she had lodged it in there on a dare, that she had no health insurance and that because of what they referred to as the atypical shape of her pelvis, she required a caesarean section to remove the phone.

A footnote to the story is that once again, it took place in Albuquerque. The moral of all this is that no woman in that city should ever allow anything to get within 10 feet of her pelvis.

Nancy Thorner sent me a list of wrong guesses that dwarf even some of my own.

In 1946, Darryl Zanuck, the studio boss of 20th Century-Fox, announced: “Television won’t last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”

In 1921, when David Sarnoff approached friends to invest in something called radio, he was told “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?”

In 1959, IBM let Xerox know that “The potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most, and therefore there’s no market large enough to justify production.”

In 1878, Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer of the British Post Office, declared “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.”

In 1903, the president of the Michigan Savings Bank advised Henry Ford’s lawyer against investing in the Ford Motor Car Co., “The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.”

This astounding lack of foresight reminds me of a cartoon Steve Maikoski passed along. It shows a dog seated in an optometrist’s office having its eyes tested. On the wall is a chart showing the rear ends of nine dogs. The patient is reading them off: “Husky, Collie, Beagle, Afghan, Poodle, Pug, Yorkie, Maltese, Corgi.”

Standing behind him, Dr. Dog gives him the good news: “Your hind-sight is 20/20.”

Bert Black sent along a number of questions and observations, including “Do twins ever realize that one of them was unplanned?” “Which letter in ‘scent’ is silent, the ‘s’ or the ‘c’? "Intentionally losing a game of rock/paper/scissors is just as hard as trying to win.” “Your future self is watching you right now through memories.” “Many animals probably need glasses, but nobody knows it.”

In the meantime, Joe Neuner wants to know whether a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane" and “How did the man who made the first clock know what time it was?”

Bob Hunt sent along two pictures side by side. In the first, a horse showing a lot of teeth is introducing himself: “Hi, I’m Mr. Ed.” In the second, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez showing even larger teeth is introducing herself: “Hi, I’m Special Ed.”

And, finally, John Sarantos passed along a blast from the Soviet past:

A frightened Russian shows up at the KGB to report that his parrot had disappeared.

“This is not a KGB matter,” he is told. “Go to the criminal police.”

The man replies: “Of course I know I have to report it to the police. I just want it on the official record that I totally disagree with that parrot.”

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