Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ruminating In My Room

by Burt Prelutsky

Occasionally, I am asked how I decide what to write about. The way it generally works is that I jot myself a note about something I’ve read or heard or that simply occurred to me in the shower or while stuck in a traffic jam on the Hollywood Freeway. After a while, as happens in the fermentation process, something starts bubbling up until I am compelled to write an article.

Other times, though, I find that I’ve written myself so many memos that no single item has percolated its way through my subconscious. Then, in order to clear the decks, as it were, I have no option except to deal with all of them.

So, number one, there’s the movie, “Milk.” Some people are convinced it’s the odds-on favorite to cop the Oscar for Best Picture because the members of the Motion Picture Academy, either being homosexuals themselves or simply very sympathetic to the gay agenda, will feel they have to make amends for same-sex marriages being voted down in California. It’s certainly possible, although I suspect “Slumdog Millionaire” will win. Ironically, “Milk” doesn’t make much of a case for homosexual marriages. Rather, it promotes the idea that homosexuals, in the words of the gay, conservative talk show host, Al Rantel, are all hound dogs. Rantel, who’s in his 50s and has worked on radio in Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, has said on the air that he has never come across a single gay couple who were faithful to each other.

Whenever I have asked supporters of gay marriage on what basis one could then deny the same right to a father-daughter, a mother-son or one man and a dozen women, the best they can come up with is, “Oh, it would never come to that.” To which, I say, it wasn’t that long ago that a rational person would have said that about an America with 20 million illegal aliens, abortions on demand for teenagers without parental consent, gay pride parades, sanctuary cities, internet porn and two trillion dollars in corporate and individual welfare, and yet here we are, are we not?

I have no way of knowing if Al Rantel is right, but I do find it peculiar that so many homosexuals seem to place their sexuality at the forefront of their personal identities, so that they are gay first, and Americans, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Democrats, Republicans and anything else secondarily. When we encounter heterosexuals who place that much emphasis on sex, we assume they are either16 years old or terminally immature. I’m sorry if I’m being insensitive, politically incorrect or overly judgmental, but I can’t help thinking that anal intercourse simply shouldn’t play that important a role in anyone’s life.

Two, in the wake of all the bail-outs and stimulus programs, it seems to me that the feds must be running the printing presses at the Treasury 24 hours-a-day. That being the case, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be able to start using the money in my old Monopoly game to start paying my bills the same way Uncle Sam is paying his.

Three, some people are upset that CEOs get paid so much money to run companies. Especially when they run them into the ground. It’s not my way to complain about what other people get paid. It might sound too much like sour grapes. But even I have to wonder how it is that schmoes like Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank, who played such major roles in creating the financial mess in the first place, are still drawing salaries or how it is that a worm like Bernard Madoff, who destroyed so many lives, is still drawing a breath.

As for those CEOs, one of the problems I have with them is that I can’t quite figure out what it is they do. I mean, aside from selling off various divisions of the company, outsourcing jobs and factories to places they’d never go in a million years, gutting the workers’pension fund and going to resorts on corporate jets, what else is there on the job description? My own theory is that once you somehow get to be a CEO, you then become one of a handful of people who ever gets considered for the job opening when some other CEO dies or goes to jail.

It works much the same way in major league baseball. A manager may get fired from one team, but he’ll soon be hired by another. Take Gene Mauch, for instance. Between 1960 and 1987, he managed the Phillies, the Expos, the Twins and the Angels. As a result, there were only five managers in history who managed more games. However, not only did he never win a World Series, but not once in those 28 seasons did his team even win a pennant! The only way he ever got to see a World Series was to buy a ticket.

Four, when I saw George W. Bush and Barack Obama having their picture taken in the Oval Office with George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, I’m sure I’m not the only person who was reminded how far we’ve fallen from the days when a similar group photo would have included Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Monroe. By the way, did anyone else notice how much Carter has come to resemble Mr. Magoo?

Five, I recently read about an extremely wealthy man who had never gotten married because he was never certain whether a woman loved him for his money or himself. I never met the guy, but I wanted to call him up and set his mind at ease: “Stop wondering! It’s your money!”

Apparently, very rich people are often worried about this very thing. I thought about taking out an ad in Forbes or Fortune offering my services. Wealthy people could phone me at any hour of the day or night, and I’d say, “You are your money. Do you think Brad Pitt lies awake wondering if women chase him because of his looks or his sense of humor? You use what you’ve got. Besides, if it’s really tearing you up, I have a solution. Give away all your dough. But don’t come whining to me when your trophy wife dumps you and you can’t scrounge up a date for Saturday night.”

And, finally, I was delighted to read that Marian Robinson, Barack Obama’s mother-in-law, is coming to live in the White House. The story is that it’s only going to be for a short time, until everybody is settled in. But if I were Barack, I wouldn’t count on it. Once Mrs. Robinson gets a taste of room service and those fancy state dinners with dignitaries and movie stars, I don’t see her rushing back to Chicago. Speaking as a conservative who was not looking forward to an Obama administration, but who had loved “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” the possibility that this could lead to some of the hilarious hijinks that used to revolve around the Kingfish, Sapphire and Sapphire’s mama, makes me think that the next four years may not be as gloomy as I’d feared.