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Burt Prelutsky / Oct. 26, 2020

Autumn Cleaning

I have to at least go through the motions or lose the last remaining shred of self-respect that I still possess.

It’s nobody’s fault but my own that I often find my in-box expanding like a balloon. It’s because I print out so many things that you folks send me. Sometimes, it’s a cartoon or a meme or even an exchange we have. But there is only so much room in an article, even when I run over the typical 1400 words. Inevitably, the paper begins to overflow the basket to which I consign these things.

So even though I know I will barely make a dent in the stuff, I have to at least go through the motions or lose the last remaining shred of self-respect that I still possess.

To get the ball rolling, I will mention the first piece of email I pulled out of the chaotic pile. It was dated August 23rd. It was from a subscriber named Michael explaining why he had chosen not to renew.

He wrote: “It is not the cost. It is causing friction between my wife and I over my over the top belief that the Democratic Party is ruining America. I need to back away from sources of anxiety about what is happening. I find you to be a calming voice, but I need to take a break. I may find I cannot be without that calming voice and change my mind, but in the meantime, stay productive and stay healthy. Thank you.”

In response, I wrote: “Thank you for explaining, Michael. I take it that you and your wife disagree when it comes to politics. If that’s the case, God knows I would never suggest you keep me and ditch her nibs, but it might be something worth considering. Best wishes, Burt”

And that was that until two days ago, when I received a renewal check from Michael. I hadn’t recalled that we’d had this exchange back in August. But, Michael, if you read this, I’m dying to know your current marital status.


Recently, I mentioned “Cuties,” the French movie that is enjoying its controversial status because it sexualizes prepubescent girls.

I didn’t mention it, but I hate pornographic movies. I even resent general release movies like “Basic Instinct” and “Fatal Attraction” that set out to make me feel like a voyeur.

However, I recall that about 50 years ago, when I was still reviewing movies for Los Angeles magazine, I was invited to attend a screening of “Deep Throat” by the lawyer defending the theater owner who was being hassled for screening porn.

When I was told by my editor that he’d received a message inviting me to that evening’s screening, I said to tell the lawyers that I had a previous engagement, but had the presence of mind to say they should keep my seat wet and I’d see it later that week.

And so I did. I spent more time looking around at the men and women in the audience than I did looking at the screen. It was the only way I could keep from throwing up.

When I got home, I called the lawyer and filed my report. I told him it was the most disgusting movie I had ever seen but had to admit that the men and women in the audience all seemed to find it worth their time and, unlike me, they had had to pay for their tickets.

But didn’t I find it had redeeming qualities as a work of cinema? Didn’t I enjoy the funny parts? I told him his questions were funnier than anything I’d seen on the screen.

I told him I would agree to testify in court that nobody had forced all the adults to attend the movie and I didn’t see anyone demanding their money back, although I was tempted to until I remembered I hadn’t paid for my ticket. He thanked me for my time, but said he needed to find an “expert” who’d defend it on its cinematic merits. I wished him luck.


It recently occurred to me that whenever I see someone driving alone in a car with his mask on, I assume when he pulls ahead of me, I will see a Biden-Harris sticker on his bumper. I suspect I’m not alone in this.


Linda Posto sent along a meme with the optimistic message “Just heard Trump’s quarantine is very serious. He won’t be leaving the White House until January 20, 2025.”


Candace Owens tweeted “The most compelling piece of this Hunter Biden story is that he was actually dumb enough to drop off three of his laptops for repair and then never came back for them. This is why you don’t smoke crack, kids.”


One of my subscribers let me know she thinks that I am politically astute and even though she despises both parties, she’d vote for me if I sought political office.

I let her know I appreciated the thought, but, aside from my disinclination to wear long pants, I wouldn’t have the patience to go to Washington and have to deal with so many stupid and evil people.

I mean, really, you might have one or two jerks where you work, but imagine going to your job every day and, depending on whether you served in the Senate or the House, you would have to work in close quarters with the likes of Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Lisa Murkowski, Dick Durbin, Mitt Romney, Richard Blumenthal or, in the House, with Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar, Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jerry Nadler, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Brad Sherman and Rashida Tlaib.


There are days when politicians, members of the media and successful businessmen all seem to be vying for the title of biggest enemy of the people.

The members of the business community are at a distinct disadvantage because they’re usually not as well known as the people in those other two groups. And when there are exceptions, they tend to be the globalists heading up the Silicon Valley monopolies, extremely wealthy nerds like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerburg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey.

So, you know that Mark Cuban, whose claim to fame is owning a basketball team, the Dallas Mavericks, had to work harder than most to earn his place in the Hall of Shame. But earn it he did when he refused to tell Megyn Kelly that he opposed ethnic cleansing in China because, as he put it quite succinctly, “China is a customer.”

And as Jason Whitlock told Tucker Carlson, the NBA is far more interested in China with its 1.4 billion potential customers than in the U.S., with its paltry 330 million.

That is why the league paints Black Lives Matter on their courts. They know that although by this time most Americans have awakened to the fact that the BLM consists of home-grown terrorists on a mission to destroy this nation, it plays well in China.

But, then, it shouldn’t come as any big surprise that a Cuban would support China.


Don Edgers passed along a few pages titled “Old Age & Pandemic Humor.”

For those who can handle jokes about either:

“The devil whispered to me, ‘I’m coming for you.’ I whispered back, ‘Bring pizza.’”

Me: (sobbing, my eyes swollen, my nose red) “I can’t see you anymore. I am not going to let you hurt me like this ever again.” Trainer: “It was a sit up. You did one sit up.”

“Having plans sounds like a good idea until you have to put on clothes and leave the house.”

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be older. This is definitely not what I expected.”

“Life is like a helicopter. I don’t know how to operate a helicopter, either.”

“Chocolate is God’s way of telling us He likes us a little bit chubby.”

“It’s probably my age that fools people into thinking I’m an adult.”

“Marriage counselor: ‘Your wife tells me you never buy her flowers. Is that true?’

Husband: ‘To be honest, I never knew she sold flowers.’”

“We can all agree that in 2015 not a single person got the answer correct to ‘Where do you see yourself five years from now?’”

“So if a cow doesn’t produce milk, is it a milk dud or an udder failure?”

“If you can’t think of a word, say ‘I forget the English word for it.’ That way people will think you’re bilingual instead of just dumb.”

“This is the day dogs have been dreaming about all their lives. They realize their owners are stuck at home with them. The dogs couldn’t be happier. Cats are all contemplating suicide.”

I was right. One thousand, four hundred and fifty-two words and I didn’t make the slightest dent in the pile.

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