Coming to Grips With My Gripes

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

I have my own problems with Mitt Romney, but I have to confess that when Rick Perry and others deride him as a flip-flopper, I take personal umbrage.  For one thing, I was raised to be a Democrat and remained one until the strain just got to be too much for me, just as it did, you may recall, for Ronald Reagan.

For another thing, talk about the obvious disadvantage for people in glass houses when it comes to stone throwing, Gov. Perry campaigned for Al Gore.  And that was back in the late 80s, when Reagan had shown all of us the advantage of being a Republican.

I, personally, don’t care if people flip-flop along the way, just so long as they wind up agreeing with me in the end.  I mean, are people never supposed to change their minds or their hearts?  What is the point of maturing and learning from experience if you go to your grave with the exact same dumb opinions you had when you were 20 or 30 or even, Governor Perry, 50 or 60?

If wisdom doesn’t come with age, what does?  Merely wrinkles, fallen arches and an aching back?

The truth is that I had expected the Occupy Wall Street movement would be over by this time.  I assumed that foul weather would send the dumb schnooks scurrying home, but I guess I underestimated the appeal of being in the media spotlight.  I say, shame on me for being so myopic.  After all, one merely has to consider all those tawdry afternoon shows, with people constantly trooping out to disclose their deepest, darkest, most embarrassing secrets, to grasp the lengths some fools will go in order to have their silly mugs on TV.

To me, the astonishing thing is that so many prominent Democrats, including Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Walters, have given the mob a big thumbs-up.  But, in case you didn’t notice, so have CAIR, David Duke and the despots of Iran and North Korea.  It’s odd the way that politics so often makes for strange bedfellows.  Although in this instance, a more appropriate term might be gutter-fellows.

Every so often I find myself being driven mad by words and terms that become the rage for a while.  In the past, we had “dy-no-mite!” thanks to a dumb sit com.  No sooner did that fad pass then “like” was being interspersed between every other word, thanks to Valley girls.  That, in turn, gave way to “at this point in time,” thanks to stupid people trying to sound intelligent, while ignoring the fact that “now” was a perfectly fine word.

These days, we are saddled with “alleged.”  Apparently, as a way to avoid legal action, media people are compelled to employ that word when referring to every schmuck until the day, even if it takes years of trials and appeals, that he’s finally led away in shackles.  If Hitler were suddenly discovered hiding out in an Austrian chalet, I assume one couldn’t get away with calling him a madman.

I’m not an attorney, but wouldn’t it be possible to avoid a possible lawsuit if a TV anchorman showed us that his fingers were crossed if, prior to sentencing, he referred to, say, Bernie Madoff as a thief and Charles Manson as a serial killer?

Herman Cain

Another term I would like to see retired from active duty is the blatantly hypocritical “With all due respect…”  The one thing you can count on is that whatever follows those four  innocuous words will be, at best, extremely disrespectful, and at worst, slanderous and just possibly obscene.

I have heard people insist that Herman Cain is not prepared to be president because he lacks experience when it comes to foreign affairs.  When you consider the state of our relations with other countries, I would think that it would be a plus for a candidate to be able to say, “I had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

On the other hand, it now appears that Mr. Cain had far too much experience when it came to affairs closer to home.

For my part, when it comes to foreign affairs, all I ask of a president is that he gets us out of the U.N., gets the U.N. out of the U.S., and that he seriously considers bombing Teheran before the end of the week.

Finally, it has been fascinating to watch Obama try to bribe his way to re-election.  The guy may have gotten a law degree, but his real passion is engineering.  Social engineering, that is.

After first seeing to it that college students would continue to be perennial juveniles by keeping them on their parent’s health insurance until the age of 26, he decided he’d double down by cutting their student loans through presidential fiat.  Then, having ensured their gratitude at least through November, 2012, he decided to keep people in homes they had no business buying in the first place by finagling their mortgage rates.

Understand, I’m not claiming to be morally superior to any of these people.  The truth is, I don’t really know how susceptible I’d be to a bribe.  Let’s just say I’m waiting to see if Barack Obama ever gets around to offering free hair transplants.

©2011 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write Burt!

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Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
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  • Shirl

    When someone tells a blatant lie, why can’t it be said they lied vs that was a mis-statement?!! Also, when using the word but; everything before the but is a mis-statement and everything after the but is usually what they really mean.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    Glen: I don’t demand perfection of politicians. I merely hope they will vote the way I’d vote if I had the job. One can have conservative principles and be the governor of Texas or one of its two senators. Those same principles will guarantee that you’ll lose those elections in Massachusetts, New York and California. If Mitt tells me his politics would be different as president than they were when he was the governor of an extremely liberal state, why wouldn’t I believe him? It only makes sense.

    T. Geloso: I appreciate your taking so much time to audition for the job, but I really don’t need a proofreader.


    • T.Geloso

      High handed and dismissive. That ain’t gonna work.
      Auditioning for inclusion into a cast of characters hasn’t ever been, and won’t ever be a blip that shows up on my radar.
      I’d much rather have character, not be one.
      Politicos,(of both classes) but especially the Republicans, the pundit class, the uber rich individuals and corporate economic special interests, no less some of the unwashed masses of dubious nature are all fair game.
      But not for the “reasons” you and others of a like mind believe.
      Thomas Frank and his book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas” does wonders explaining this warped parochial mind set. Of which I have absolutely no use for.
      Each one of us have a dark side that can, and does manifest itself readily thru the political process, and ones’ party doesn’t have an exclusive on it. Just the Republicans and/or Tea Partiers show by their behavior, to whole heartedly embrace and relish such dysfunction with gusto. Just look at the gridlock/inaction they’ve authored since Obama has gotten in office under the banner of fiscal responsibility, and the “reasons” for it.
      Richard Kesslers book “Inside Congress” documents all of that. Try expanding your narrowed horizions by reading it. But my guess is you problally won’t. “Don’t confuse my mind with the facts, it’s allready made up” fits here.
      I initally came to this list only knowing about Berine Goldberg and his run in(s), and eventual parting with CBS, and eventually saw you as a contributor here and you’d done some script writing for M*A*S*H. So, I’d see what you were about.
      M*A*S*H had a good rep as a program that honestly confronted the waste, stupidity, brutality, senselessness of war, and did it in a humorous way for the American audience version of it.
      But to find out that you’re nothin’ more than a raving self righteous, accusatory, bigot is very dissapointing. Just like the crowd you run with. But water does seek it’s own level.
      There’s no dialouge here from you in particular as well as most of the others who’ve responded, just “ditto heads” massaging their mirror image, what a pity.
      Whether you like it or not, people like me are needed to make sure people like you know that you are what you are, and politically for that large percentage of us who make up this country, your siding with the 1%, that you ain’t the best thing since sliced bread.

    • Glen Stambaugh

      Agreed on the results, Burt. I’m just a little slower to believe they really mean it. This is why we tend to disrespect politicians in gerneral.

  • T.Geloso

    Paragraph 1, They you’ve been a D.I.N.O. for a while ?

    Paragraph 2., “Reagan showing the advantage of being a republican”. Like being part of the Iran Contra Affair ? The beginning of what he’d like the economy to look like, 1% V. the 99% ?

    Paragraph 5., “I assumed that foul weather would send the dumb schnooks scurring home, but I guess I underestimated the appeal of being in the media spotlight”. Wonderfully simplistic, and arrogant on top of it. The Wall Street Journal, and Yahoo have articles on this, fleshing out what’s goin’ on with these people.

    Paragraph #8., “These days, we are saddled with “alleged”. Wich means, stated as a fact without proof. There’s no mention of non action directly or implied in the definition. Why you use the Hitler anaolgy is beyone me. Ever hear of the term due process ? The word is used to accurately describe the status of that person at that time legally. Not to let you or anybody else manipulate it to your advantage.

    Paragraph #12., “all I ask of the president is that he gets us out of the U.N., get the U.N. out of the U.S., and that he seriously consider bombing Teheran before the end of the week”. Spoken like a believer in American empire and American exceptionalism. Remember what empire eventually did for the Brits ?

    Paragraph #14., “The guy may gotten a law degree. but his real passion is engineering. Social engineering, that is”. Do you really think if it were a republican doing what Obama presently doing, that he wouldn’t be doing the same ? Get real, did you ever hear the phrase incumbency is the best policy, and with that comes resources of all different kinds. Social engineering you say. I’ve got a towel for you if you want.

    • Ken Hansen

      T.Geliso – when you choose o critique someone’s writing in writing, you really owe it to whatever point you hope to make to proofread your own work before hitting ‘submit’…

      I took much delight in the following from you:

      “Do you really think if it were a republican doing what Obama presently doing, that he wouldn’t be doing the same ?”

      While it may be fun to try and diagram that sentence to find out what you actually said, let me just agree with what appears to be your point – yes, “if it were a republican doing what Obama presently (is) doing” he WOULD be doing the same thing – the proof is in the premise!

      “Remember what EMPIRE eventually did for the Brits?” (emphasis added) Empire isn’t a thing that acts on another, and if you want to talk about empires, the Romans had a pretty good run, and the Brits didn’t do so bad either – they spawned one of the greatest nations ever, starting as a collection of thirteen colonies…

      As a pre-emptive response, let me claim partial responsibility for every typo and grammatical error you may find in this response T.Geloso, my iPad auto-correct feature nd I together conspired to highlight the importance of proof reading by example.

  • Glen Stambaugh

    Burt, I always agree with you, but sometimes want to add a qualifier, eg: when a position flip coincides frequently with new political goals, one should question the sincerity. In Mitt’s case, I generously extend him the benefit of my doubt. Currently I’m feeling friendly with Newt, while still remebering his couch appearace with Nancy. Seems my generosity knows no bounds.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    TheRealGuy: Thanks for the compliment and for making the distinction between Burt and Bert.


  • Burt Prelutsky

    Jeannette: I suppose if I had to choose, I’d prefer that people call me Bernie rather than Sherbert or even Sherburt.

    Nancye & TheRealGuy: Although it has been attributed to other people, as well as Churchill, I believe the actual quote was “If at 20, you aren’t a liberal, you have no heart. If, at 40, you aren’t a conservative, you have no brain.”
    At various times, I have added, and if at 50, you vote for (pick one) Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, Al Gore, John Kerry, Ron Paul, you have neither a heart not a brain.

    Ken Hansen: I would agree that when it comes to a grasp of foreign affairs, Mr. Cain probably deserves to be compared to Carter, Clinton and Obama. But when they were running for president, I suspect they would have been aware of what “the right of return” referred to and would not have gone totally blank when asked how they felt about recent events in Libya.

    Best, Burt

    • therealguyfaux

      At least no one will ever confuse you with the Cowardly Lion, Burt, since you have the “noive” (as Bert Lahr might have put it!), to go along with the brain and heart; would more of us did!

    • Jeannette

      Burt: Plenty of people already refer to you as “Bernie”; that’s not all bad, however, when you consider that Bernie is really and honestly one of the good guys. And I’d never call you Sherbert. Sherburt, now, maybe ….

    • Ken Hansen

      Burt, I voted for Perot, but in my defense I was no where near 50 (more like 28 at the time) – I felt pretty confident he wouln’t win, but I loved that ‘hand grenade with a bad haircut’ – he had a certain way about him that appealed to me as a ‘young’ voter.

      I always wished Pat Paulson (of the hippy-dippy party) was a more serious candidate. ;^)

      Carter, Clinton and Obama are/were better speakers than Cain – my comment was on his background, not his campaign ‘style’ – I agree with your assessment of his campaign skills…

  • Charlie

    Jeannette hit upon two of my linguistic pet peeves, “pundent,” and “is is.” (By the way, the worst offender on the latter “is is” our current president.)

    I can’t believe Burt didn’t mention, “At the end of the day,” which absolutely must be said by every pundit in every television appearance. Second to that in repetition is, “That having been said.” Apparently, they teach them at “pundent school” that they sound more intelligent and knowledgeable if they sprinkle their speech with those phrases. They’re so wrong.

    • Jeannette

      Charlie: You’re so right! Uh, I meant “correct”! You are correct!

      I, too, decry the never-ending “At the end of the day …” and “That having been said,…”

      Burt: give Charlie a star!

      • Charlie

        Thanks for commiserating with me, Jeannette. It is encouraging to know that there are still people out there who care!

  • Jeannette

    As long as one of the topics here is pet peeves, one of the many I have is people who start a sentence by saying, “The thing is is …..” Why is the second “is” necessary? Many “pundits” do this.

    Which brings to mind another pet peeve: the word “pundits,” which on so many occasions becomes “pundints.” Or “pundents”; you choose.

    I agree with you, Burt, about people who refuse to change their minds even when reason would make it critical — or at least sensible — to do so.

    “Sherbert” still sets my teeth on edge, too. When WILL people realize there is no “bert” in “sherbet”? Or “burt” either, for that matter.

  • T Ivison

    My favorite Obama phrase is “Let me be perfectly clear.” Translation: “I am about to give a long, convoluted answer which will say nothing and leave your head spinning.”

    • Jeannette

      T Ivison: Let me be clear: anything that guy says is sure to be as murky as murky can get. And by the way, I despise that intro (“Let me be……..”). I didn’t mind it until he crystallized it for me.

  • CCNV

    My gripes: Incorrect use of “they’re/their/there”, always using the word “myself”, and a backward “N” on an electronic billboard.

  • Maureen

    How about the word diversity….which liberals just use to shut people up. I believe that based on many postings that I read that Obama is toast come next Nov.

  • ger

    Can we get rid of the word “disproportionate”?

  • Ken Hansen

    I’m not a Cain fan (but I hope he stays in the race, he makes it more interesting, IMHO), but with regard to the ‘no exp with foreign affairs’ I humbly submit his forign policy background “at this point in time” is almost exactly the same as that of the last three elected Democratic Presidents (Carter, Clinton, and Obama).

    Heck, if Cain were elected, maybe the Nobel committee would award him (in advance, for future deeds) a Nobel Prize in Economics – it makes as much sense as Obama’s Novel Peace prize…

  • therealguyfaux

    Re: Flip Flop= I believe Winston Churchill once made a statement to the effect that if you’re under 40 and right-wing, you have no heart, and if you’re over 40 and left-wing, you have no brain.

    Re: “With All Due Respect”= This, of course, is a perfect example of “begging the question,” in the older classic meaning of the phrase, i.e. the question assumes that which is not proved. Of course WADR is sarcastic; it means assuming there is any respect to be accorded you, I so accord, the implication being that I am being generous in so doing since it is not any certainty to me that you deserve respect.

    Which brings me to my own pet peeve:
    “Begging the question”= Since when did the phrase “raises the question” become obsolete? It more closely denotes what the speaker is trying to say. No question is begged simply in virtue of its existence, e.g. “The Super-Committee accomplished diddly-squat, which begs the question of what Obama and Congress will do next.” No, no, no. “The Super-Committee accomplished diddly-squat, which begs the question of whether it was ever meant to do anything.”

    Just wanted to clear that up!

    • Nancye

      I believe Winston Churchill once made a statement to the effect that if you’re under 40 and right-wing, you have no heart, and if you’re over 40 and left-wing, you have no brain.


      I guess I’m one of “those” because I’ve always been a conservative Republican. So if I had no heart at least I had a brain.

      Churchill also said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping he’ll eat him last”. Sounds like most of our politicians. In other words – spineless!

  • sami

    Mr.Cain is not da 1 being disrespectful with his common:’with all due respect’line,it’s da racist,jealous or messed-up ‘white’ ppl who’ve accused him of immorality(which they not supp. 2 hav done,bec.they themselves are immoral)who are being disrespectful;so by picking on dat line of his, was jus’ plain stupid.I did luv da part where u dissed obama…..

  • Patrickjk47

    Lest we forget that some elitist snob wanna-be, abusers of English will use articulate as an action verb…like “I thought I articulated that.” To which I reply, “why don’t you just explain it the next time instead.”