A world gone mad

Burt Prelutsky
|
Posted: Aug 27, 2007 12:01 AM
A world gone mad

It was bad enough seeing those folks at the game in San Francisco giving Barry Bonds a standing ovation, but I really could have done without George Bush calling to congratulate him. What sort of message does that send to the youth of America? The one I read into it is that the ends justify the means, and that lying, cheating and stealing, are all quite acceptable in the pursuit of glory and riches. Thank you, Mr. President, for making things just a little bit tougher for parents, teachers and society in general.

I realize that there are those who still contend that Bonds hasn’t been proven guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs, people who choose to ignore such things as the weird increase in the man’s hat size, along with the ridiculous surge in home run production at the very age when non-cheaters begin to trail off.

But it isn’t only the steroids which gave Bonds an unfair advantage. In a recent article, Michael Witte, an expert when it comes to mechanics, wrote the following: “Amid the press frenzy over Bonds’ unnatural bulk, the true role of the object on his right arm has simply gone unnoticed. The apparatus is hinged at the elbow. It is a literal ‘hitting machine’ that allows Bonds to release his front arm on the same plane during every swing. As a result, when Bonds swings, the weight of the apparatus helps to seal his inner upper arm to his torso at impact. Thus ‘connected,’ he automatically hits the ball with the weight of his entire body -- not just his arms -- as other hitters tend to do.”

Speaking of machines, I just heard about a battery-operated device that’s recently been installed on a street corner in Washington, D.C. It is simply called the Compliment Machine. Created by Tom Greaves, a 46-year-old artist, it’s programmed with a hundred recorded compliments that play at random.

One can only imagine how this thing has caught on in our nation’s capitol. I’d be very surprised if people such as John Edwards and Ron Paul don’t line up to hear, “You are awesome;” Robert Byrd to be told, “You smell good;” and Ted Kennedy to be assured, “You are a great driver.”

There are times when the stock market reminds me of a dotty old hypochondriac. If someone sneezes in Tokyo, the New York Stock Exchange is certain it’s coming down with pneumonia. If someone in London gets a headache, the Exchange is convinced it has a brain tumor. It’s scary that something so loony could be regarded as the barometer of our nation’s economic health. Next time around, perhaps we could adopt a more scientific measure; say, tea leaves or sheep entrails.

The way that so many people get in a dither over the Patriot Act, you might think that most of us are secret agents. Inasmuch as a bunch of perfect strangers working for banks and credit card companies already know how much money I have and what I spend it on, countless librarians know what I’m reading, and several trash collectors know what I eat and drink, I long ago assumed I have no secrets. And, judging by all the annoying cell phone conversations I can’t help overhearing, neither have any of you. So please stop carrying on as if your freedoms are being trampled in the dust, and let the feds continue trying to keep the Islamic butchers at bay.

Finally, I have to confess that I was overjoyed to hear that crackpot Cindy Sheehan has carried through on her threat to run against nutty Nancy Pelosi. I may even send her a couple of bucks for her campaign. The way I see it, whoever represents the radical 8th congressional district in San Francisco can’t help being a national embarrassment. But at least if it’s Ms. Sheehan, she won’t be Speaker of the House, a position that places Mrs. Pelosi a scant two heart beats away from moving her spooky left-wing agenda and her humungous ego into the Oval Office.