Riddle Me This, Batman!

Over the course of my life, I have occasionally been labeled a know-it-all, but I’m happy to say that those who’ve said it have generally been those who know nothing. The fact is that there are any number of things I can’t begin to fathom. For openers, I am hopeless when it comes to things mechanical and electronic. I just don’t get how things work. I don’t look down on those who do; if anything, I’m in awe of them.

That’s one of the reasons that I wish our educational system made sense. Instead of acknowledging that most young people would be better off learning a trade, they are shuffled off to colleges and universities where they’ll waste four years and a lot of their family’s money as liberal arts majors.

As the story goes, most jobs in the future will require a college degree. That is a load of hooey. What it really means is that employers may demand the sheepskin, but performing the actual job will probably require nothing more than half an hour of instruction.
Although doctors, lawyers, engineers and mathematicians, have their own trade schools, the system dictates that they, too, squander four years running up enormous tuition bills as undergrads. But the truth is that most people are far more grateful when a plumber or an electrician shows up at their front door to solve a problem than when a literature major or a sociology grad drops by for dinner.

As far as academic types go, I recently read a fine description of them in Robert Barnard’s The Case of the Missing Bronte, in which he has a Scotland Yard detective observe: “Of course, you could say I don’t as a rule see them at their best; mostly when I’ve met them it has been in connection with some kind of offence or other — thieving from bookshops, mostly; or sexual offences of a slightly ludicrous nature. But I have to admit that they have seemed the most sniveling, self-important scraps of humanity you can imagine, and as windy and whiney a bunch as ever demanded special privileges without doing anything to deserve them.”

Why so many people are dedicated to the notion that a B.A. in any way is a measure of wisdom, intelligence, competence or commonsense, is one of the great mysteries of modern life. Another puzzle is why Fox feels compelled to provide a bully pulpit for so many left-wing ignoramuses. I seriously question the wisdom of constantly airing the cockeyed views of Alan Colmes, Geraldo Rivera, Leslie Marshall, Marc Lamont Hill, Bob Beckel, Kirsten Powers and Juan Williams. I understand that their motto is “Fair and Balanced,” and they want to present both sides of every issue. But do they really imagine that in a media world dominated by the NY Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, Newsweek, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC, we conservatives aren’t hearing often enough from the other side?

Hell, even in my dreams, I’ve got Juan Williams, Joy Behar and Jay Carney, spinning nonstop on behalf of Barack Obama.

It confounds me that there are millions of Americans just itching to re-elect a guy who owes everything to affirmative action and a gang of thieves and political fixers who crawled out of the Chicago sewers. To me, those voters who will happily cast their ballots for any schmuck with a (D) after his name are even more inscrutable than soccer fans. In fact, it’s my guess that there’s a great deal of overlap between those two groups. I mean, who else but a nincompoop could look at a 3-1 outcome and wonder why the winning team felt compelled to run up the score that way?

Baseball, the greatest game ever invented, has no clock. Basketball and football each have a clock, although the final two minutes of a game will often expand to fill half an hour. Then there’s soccer, a sport so boring that instead of a clock, they use a sundial.

The greatest mystery of all is why so many people seem to still be infatuated with Obama. How does any American relate to the guy? It’s not that he’s black and has an odd name, either. It’s that he throws a baseball like a little girl and that he once bowled a game, which means sending 20 balls down the alley, and he only knocked down 39 pins.

Furthermore, in a nation that likes muscle-cars more than hot dogs, he keeps trying to get everyone to drive little kiddy toys that might as well be propelled by foot power. He hates oil and coal the way most of us hate Islamic jihadists and Madonna.

He says nicer things about the religion of our enemies than he has ever said about the one he claims to follow.

His friends, mentors and advisors, people such as Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, are all people that most of us wouldn’t have in our homes. Then, to further show his contempt for us, he selects as his second-in-command, Joe Biden, a world-class goofus we wouldn’t trust to pick out our socks.

Over the course of the years, I have put together three collections of interviews. In the process, I have questioned well over 200 notable figures in a variety of fields. One of my standard questions is to ask them to list any eight people who have ever lived that they would invite to a dinner party, assuming that for this one evening they could all speak English. The person mentioned most often has been Jesus Christ, but running a close second is Winston Churchill.

I’ve never had the opportunity to interview Barack Hussein Obama, but, inasmuch as he attended a racist church for 20 years, I very much doubt if Christ would make his list; and, considering that the first thing he did when he moved into the Oval Office was to remove the bust of Churchill and send it back to the British embassy, it’s obvious that he also doesn’t share America’s affection and respect for our greatest wartime ally.

Obama would have you think that I regard him as unfit to be the commander-in-chief because of his race and his name, but of course that’s not true.

Otherwise, why would I think so highly of a black woman who happens to be named Condoleezza, for crying out loud?!
©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.

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: http://www.burtprelutsky.com/
  • MarioP

    Mr. Burt,
    You start your rant with the all-time greatest quote in the first paragraph:”I just don’t get how things work.”

    EXCELLENT! I couldn’t have said it better.

    You angrily continue your lack of understanding what a four year college degree represents. Even if the BA degree is in something silly, the one who earned the degree labels him or herself as a person who is disciplined, willing and capable of learning, responsible, and is able to follow orders. I guess now you know why you were never able to earn that degree, eh?

    Your short-sighted thought process then praises the plumbers and electricians as the saviors of all our problems, not realizing that if it wasn’t for the behind-the-scene engineers with their four year degree, there wouldn’t be any sewer or electric systems those frontline saviors would be maintaining.

    Later in your berating you praise the dullest sport as the greatest game ever invented. Obviously you were never introduced to ice hockey. In that sport you don’t see a bunch of out-of-shape “athlete” wannabees who can’t exert their bodies for longer than five seconds, and you will not get that ridiculous expansive last two minutes.

    Finally, you manage to attack affirmative action with an example that actually destroyed your argument. If Obama is such an idiot who constantly lies and owes all of his success to affirmative action, how did he manage to beat the “intelligent” businessman in a debate? Please don’t say the moderator was the cause. Maybe you should have used Michael Steele in your example.

    “I just don’t get how things work.”

    Bravo, my friend, and thank you for keeping me entertained.

    • cmacrider

      MarioP:  Your defense of college degrees [or which I have two] would probably be more cogent without the grammatical errors….. “the one who earned the  degree labels him or herself” should read “labels him or her” or alternatively “labels himself or herself.”  You are giving credence to your admission that your degree is silly.

      Although I wouldn’t denigrate an engineering degree, I would remind you that the great cathedrals in Europe were built without the guiding hand of some guy with a certificate from some college.  The audacity of those medieval stonemasons belies your original premise.

      As a Canadian I note your affinity for hockey.  Which part of hockey do you find the most stimulating?   Is it the hooking, slashing, grabbing, and spearing which leads to a change of puck possession and thereby a goal?  Is it the 2 to 1 game which is decided by an errant pass which deflects of a defenceman’s shin pads into the goal?  Maybe its the cross checking from behind … or maybe its just the fighting.  (BTW … how do two guys 20 years old and in the peak of physical condition fight for 3 or 4 minutes and nobody even gets a bloody nose?)

      Since you allege that BO won the debate, could you let us know how much of a bounce that gave him in the polls?

      • MarioP


        Great response. Thank you for correcting the grammatical error. I guess I could have also used “him- or herself” or “him/herself”. And to keep the idea rudimentary, for your benefit, I should have just used “oneself”. But hey, not everyone is lucky enough to claim English as their primary language.

        There were plenty of great structures built throughout our history without the designers having the knowledge of engineering we know today. But then again, most of Europe doesn’t experience the earthquake forces other places around the world do. Note that those historic structures are overdesigned, and in today’s would would never be erected in their form due to unnecessarily high costs.

        Regarding hockey, I do live that OT goal, the breakaway, the powerplay pressure, the shorthanded goal, the constant back and forth action while the goalies make amazing saves.  Maybe you should just stick watching the pros play the game, because like with every other sport, an amateur game may be a bit difficult to enjoy. But it surprises me that a hockey fan like yourself, you would not have noticed that the peak to a hockey player is not a 20, but more like 25.

        Obama’s second debate win wasn’t enough to overcome his drowsy showing in the first. Nevertheless, the candidate, who owes it all to affirmative action, managed to beat the “brilliant” businessman.

        • brendan horn

          I am starting to understand why you think the way you do. You must be one of those hockey players who loved to play without a helmet. I am guessing you have been hit in the head many times by a hockey puck. 

          • MarioP

            You see, this is that same compelling argument Burt presented with his affirmative action one.

    • brendan horn

      What debate were you watching that made you think Obama won. You must live in an alternate universe. 

      • MarioP

        Either I’m in denial with the majority of the debate pollee, or you’re in denial with the minority of them.

        • brendan horn

          It only matters if people change their vote. Otherwise, there is no winner.

          • MarioP

            You should have said that the first time, so I wouldn’t be wasting my time with you.

  • cmacrider

    Burt:  Your paragraph “Baseball, the greatest game ever invented, has no clock. Basketball and football each have a clock, although the final two minutes of a game will often expand to fill half an hour. Then there’s soccer, a sport so boring that instead of a clock, they use a sundial.” caused me to erupt in erupt inuncontrolled laughter.  I assume Major League Baseball has already offered you huge money for the intellectual property rights while professional soccer is making counter offers lest the true entertainment value of soccer be exposed.

    • BurtPrelutsky

       cma: I only wish.  I am surprised that Mario has found so many people who are willing to waste their time with him, but at least it spares me the need to shoot him down.


  • Michael

    Geraldo Rivera and Marc Lamont Hill would both be pushing food carts if not for affirmative action.

    • BurtPrelutsky

       Michael: You won’t get an argument from me even if you add Obama to your list.


  • Jeffreydan


      Partial agreement on FNC. If they dropped the libs the motto would have to be changed, and the best replacement would be one already used best by the late Paul Harvey. With the exception of Kirsten Powers, who is actually pretty reasonable, I wouldn’t miss Bob B, Leslie M, et al. In fairness, you could do worse than those two, and on that point FNC needs to send that tool Marc LH packing.
      I don’t know FNC should tweak anything, given their great ratings.

      Due respect on baseball, but if it were as physically grueling as football, it would definitely have a clock. Don’t think I don’t appreciate the immense skills of the likes of Sandy Koufax and Walter Johnson, or baseball’s natural bond with our great country.

      Speaking of America’s greatness, there is no price Chu could slap on gasoline and no executive order BO could throw out there that will stop me from getting my Charger, ‘Cuda, Challenger, or Shelby ‘Stang once the savings permit.

      Right with you on academic types. Edumacated people in my area aren’t usually as snooty or prevalent as those in NY or MA , but they exist. I recall a college professor I helped years ago who acted like Jennifer Lopez on a weekend bender. By the time she was gone I could tell she thought I was a barely-literate carp. It might have broken her little heart to know that her idiot tile salesman had a very high I.Q. and, as read on her credit application, made more money last year than she did. 

    • BurtPrelutsky

       Jeffrey:  Baseball has a 162 game schedule and then another 20 games or so in the post-season if a team goes to the World Series.  And I would say it’s pretty grueling or the Yankees wouldn’t have seen Rivera, Pettitte and Jeter, all go on the DL with broken bones, and Swisher, Teixeria, ARod, Pineda and Sabathia, spend all or large parts of the season on the DL with a variety of injuries.

      If you’re making more money than a college professor, you must sell a hell of a lot of tile.  Way to go.


  • Wheels55

    Our K-12 education system lacks what is most needed: teaching kids fiscal responsibility. I’m not talking about conservative values. I refer to simple tasks such as budgeting, balancing a check book, the effects of debt, credit scores, taxes, etc. Even many of the ones who go to college end up not having a clue about personal finances.
    This would take several years to get these lessons to sink in. Junior Achievement has in school programs for this, if schools decide to utilize JA. But that never seems to be enough.
    I think if kids really knew about these things, they would end up knowing what they are voting for when they are adults.

    • BurtPrelutsky

       Wheels: The kids aren’t even being taught how to spell and you think the schools are prepared to Teach them about personal finances?  What’s a school teacher going to tell them, anyway?  Join a public sector union and if you need more money, go on strike because the politicians aren’t going to fight back.  It’s not their money, after all, and they want your union’s support when the next election rolls around.


      • Wheels55

        I agree that most teachers do not have a clue about financial matters. That is why Junior Achievement exists. Experienced business people, like myself, have what it takes to teach this subject (I have been involved for about 30 years). It isn’t even the teachers as much as it is the school boards and the system that just make it tough to teach such conservative thought of being financially responsible.

  • Deny916

    I am in total agreement with your opinion on those left wing loons on Fox Burt.  Fair and balanced debates my a$$.  The dumbocrap is going to spew lefty nonsense and the right winger is going to spew right wing retoric…rarely do they ever agree so what is fair and balanced about that????  They seriously should un-employ some of those people!

    I was one of those liberal arts majors in college and now I realize how pointless that was.  I say go for a trade job hands down over college.  Much more rewarding for sure!!!!!

    • BurtPrelutsky

       Deny: We agree about Fox.  Hard to even imagine a world in which Bob Beckel, Alan Colmes and Juan Williams, get to bloviate endlessly and where I am persona non grata.


      • Fox56

        Father O’Reilly is the biggest bloviater of all. I would love to see him debate you Burt, but he seems to prefer guests who are disposed to agree with him.

  • jmiky

    Burt, Ted Knight said it best in ” Caddyshack”,” the world needs ditchdiggers too”. As a tradesman, I not only made a great living, but thoroughly enjoyed making something with my own two hands.

    • BurtPrelutsky

       And I bet that when you go to a party, Miky, people don’t run in the opposite direction, lest you corner them and start yammering about Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot.


  • Bruce A.

    Since it’s mentioned in the 2nd.  paragraph not everyone has to go to collegeor should. Learning a trade can provide a very good living to someone..
    But at least colleges keep otherwise unemployable academic types on the payroll & paying taxes.

    • NS Sherlock

      I chuckle every time I see an ad for someone with a BA or BS or even an MBA, to work as an administrative assistant for $10 an hour. As a matter of fact, some of those job listings have been advertised for quite a while.

      • BurtPrelutsky

         And in the meantime, the governor of North Dakota complains that good-paying jobs for welders and machinists are going wanting in his state.

        The prosecution rests.


        • Bruce A.

          Plenty of work there for the Occupy Wall Street etc. crowd.
          Or, maybe they really don’t want to work?

    • BurtPrelutsky

       Bruce A: I suppose a similar case could be made for welfare and food stamps because it keeps the riffraff from rioting, except on those occasions when their hometown basketball teams wins or loses a championship game.


      • DanB_Tiffin

        Halloween is coming up – in Detroit, too! More fires?  Stay tuned!