Major & Minor Annoyances

The micro problems are, one, that directors seem to think they are being artful when they under-light scenes when all they’re doing is turning movies into radio shows, and, two, that far too many movies don’t believe in opening credits. It makes a certain amount of sense when TV shows open on action because they want to grab the viewer before he has a chance to start channel surfing. But with movies, the sucker has already paid for his ticket, and is not about to switch over to “The Bachelor” or some dumb talk show featuring Katie Couric or Joy Behar.

Speaking of TV, I’m surprised that nobody has followed in the footsteps of the legendary Art Linkletter and come up with a modern day version of Kids Say the Darndest Things. Just the other day, I heard a segment on some weekend radio program where they reported on some little kids replying to questions about the tooth fairy. One four-year-old was asked what he thought the tooth fairy did all with those teeth it collected. After thinking about it, the child guessed it built a house. When he was then asked why anyone would build a house out of teeth, he said, “Because people don’t have teeth made out of bricks.”

That is so much wiser, funnier and more logical, than anything that Bill Maher, Barbara Walters or Chris Matthews, has ever said, it’s obvious that the wrong people have TV talk shows.

When the Republicans said that if the Senate doesn’t come up with a budget — as it is legally obliged to do, but hasn’t done in four years — senators should stop being paid until they shape up, I had to laugh. For one thing, every senator is rich. The idea that if they don’t get a check every two weeks, they’ll have trouble paying their mortgage or putting food on the table, is ridiculous. Frankly, I’m not even terribly alarmed about Washington politicians accepting pay-offs. I figure there’s as much money on one side as the other. If a member of Congress doesn’t choose to take a bribe — I mean a campaign contribution — from, say, the Sierra Club, he can always go, hat in hand, to some major developer or even to some sane human being who is more concerned with people than with insects.

In short, I tend to worry more about power-grabbers posing as public servants than with money-grubbers.

In the ongoing debate over guns in which the mushy-headed liberals insist that the Second Amendment has outlived its shelf life, and that we should all put our childlike faith in the police to protect us, it should be noted that quite recently, the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department bragged that his officers respond to 70% of all 911 calls. He said that in most cities, the average is in the 30-50% range.

What’s more, he admitted that he had been burgled at least three or four times. What I found remarkable about that statement is that he had apparently lost count. It’s like someone saying, “I’ve been married three or four times” or “I’ve undergone heart surgery three or four times.” But whether it was three or four or a hundred times, I’m willing to wager that the Chicago cops responded to 100% of his 911 calls.

Here in L.A., I’m in the habit of listening to radio talk show host Dennis Prager. One of his favorite questions over the years is if a caller could only save one from drowning, whether he would rescue his dog or a stranger. Although Prager describes himself as a dog lover, he is convinced that it is the person who should be saved. He explains that, as a religious Jew, his decision is based on his belief that the stranger, being a human being, is born in God’s image.

Perhaps because I’m not religious, I don’t see things his way. I believe that although it would break my heart to let Angel die, I would always choose to save a child. However, Prager never mentions if the stranger happens to be Hitler. Okay, he’s dead. But would I look at a crack addict or a tattooed biker Nazi or a gangbanger, and say, “Well, he or she is made in God’s image, so I will let Angel, whom I love and for whom I am singularly responsible, die”? I would not. So far as I’m concerned, she is far closer to my idea of God’s image than some brain-dead junkie or some white supremacist.

Finally, I am sad to hear that the Boy Scouts of America is considering changing its policy banning homosexual scout masters. I understand that the majority of gays are not pedophiles or pederasts, but I also know that if a young boy or teenager is going to be violated on an overnighter in the woods, it is far less likely to be done by a heterosexual. I also know that none of those campaigning for an open door policy for gays are about to cough up the money to reimburse the Boy Scouts when the inevitable lawsuit occurs.

If homosexuals are so anxious to teach survival skills to youngsters, there’s nothing to stop them from forming the Gay Scouts of America, and absolutely no reason to force a group that’s been around for over a century to accommodate them.

The only reason that the Scouts are even considering violating their policy is because of money. It seems that several sponsoring groups have been threatened with boycotts unless they stop supporting Scout activities. But there’s no reason that those who profess to support traditional values can’t push back with similar threats of their own. I guarantee there are more of you than there are of them. They’re just not as apathetic.

Of one thing I’m certain. If gay activists win this battle, the Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” will take on a whole new meaning.

©2013 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write

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.
Author website:
  • JohnInMA

    I’ve volunteered occasionally with a number of organizations where I’ve met people who finally changed (recovered?) through some hyper-emotional, life changing event. Even if the dog were a long time companion, it would be hard to not save the person, no matter how bad, on the odds I’ve participated in one of those events.

    And what really concerns me about the Boy Scouts is the nature of those who are pressuring them. They have much higher goals and a longer term outlook on their sense of accomplishment. Once any ‘group’ decides to use politically aggressive tactics the die is cast. (And not all political tactics are aggressive in that way.) Following so many progressive efforts to ‘change the culture’, it’s easy to predict at a minimum they will follow up with the same strong arm tactics on quotas, tolerance training, and many other PC ploys. Once the BSA makes the first capitulation, they are asking for a long, long period of pain. Count on it. In my mind the risk isn’t any potential increase in pedophilia, for example. Sandusky is a prime example that evil comes from all types. Those who use power over children and teenagers for their own gratification have only that pathology in common.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      John: That’s what comes from reading from the bottom. Prager got a vote. Although I don’t agree with you, I’d say your reason is better than Prager’s.

      I agree that evil comes from all kinds, but if the BSA allows gays to be scout leaders, and one of them turns out to be a Sandusky, the Scouts won’t even have a merit badge left after they settle up the lawsuits. My solution is best. Let the gays start their own group. Then whatever happens, happens, and nobody can complain about it.


  • Todd Zaino

    Thanks Burt, I just read your last line and spat coffee all over my Dell! Regarding the dog and a stranger question…if the stranger has an Obama/Biden t-shirt on, well let’s just say that the four-legged creation will be saved-after all the Obama supporter has all of that Hope and Change…plus free healthcare to take care of his needs!

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Todd: First off, I’m not paying to have your Dell repaired. So far, I’m happy to report that everyone has agreed with me, nobody with Prager.


  • Wheels55

    Art Linkletter had a great show. Much better TV than 90% of the stuff on these days.
    Is the dog on its last leg or just a few years old? That matters.
    I see traditional camp fire songs being replaced by show tunes.

    • Burt Prelutsky

      Wheels: Oh oh, I like show tunes. At least I used to, when Porter, Gershwin, Rodgers, Kern and Loesser, were writing them.