by Burt Prelutsky


One of the many ways that sports have declined in America is the disappearance of nicknames. In the old days, when great sportswriters like Grantland Rice and Ring Lardner showed up at baseball parks, football stadiums, basketball courts and boxing rings, the participants were baptized with colorful nicknames that became, in some cases, better known than their birth names.

For instance, just a small sampling include, just from baseball: “the Big Train” (Walter Johnson); “the Bambino” (George Herman “Babe” Ruth); “PeeWee” (Harold Reese); the “Big Hurt” (Frank Thomas); “the Splendid Splinter” (Ted Williams); “Scooter” (Phil Rizzuto); “the Yankee Clipper” (Joe DiMaggio); his brother, “the Little Professor” (Dom DiMaggio); “the Lip” (Leo Durocher); “the Vulture” (Phil Regan); “the Iron Horse” (Lou Gehrig); “Louisiana Lightning” (Ron Guidry); and “Mad Dog” (Greg Maddux).

Basketball gave us “Wilt the Stilt” (Wilt Chamberlain); “Zeke from Cabin Creek” (Jerry West); and “the Worm” (Dennis Rodman), while boxing gave us “the Brown Bomber” (Joe Louis); the “Manassa Mauler” (Jack Dempsey); and “Two-Ton Tony” (Tony Galento).

Football provided “The Galloping Ghost” (Harold Edward Grange) and Knute Rockne’s famous Notre Dame backfield dubbed by Grantland Rice “The Four Horsemen” (Harry Stuhldreher, Jim Crowley, Don Miller and Elmer Layden).

Today, the best they can come up with is displaying a little manly affection by dubbing people like Brett Gardner “Gardy” and David Cone “Coney.”

In my own life, I have had three nicknames. When I was a mere tot, some family members called me “Butch,” no doubt because even at that tender age I was over-endowed with what is now referred to as toxic masculinity.

In junior high, friends began referring to me as “Shakespeare,” even though I hadn’t yet become a professional writer, but simply because I read a lot. It always made me wonder if the guys thought the “Bard of Avon” was world-renowned not because of his plays and sonnets, but because he so often had his nose in a book.

In high school, the other guys on the tennis team called me “Boom-Boom,” at first teasingly, because my entire game was based on my running around and getting every ball back over the net until my opponents would hit my twentieth return into the net or over the fence in frustration. Later, after I had developed a powerful forehand and a slice serve to die for, they either called me “Sir” or “Mr. Prelutsky.”

⦿ Speaking of names, the fact that “Democrats,” “Leftists,” “Progressives,” “Socialists” and “Communists” have become interchangeable is a terrible thing for the nation. That’s because it actually used to be possible for Democrats to be political moderates, but that is no longer the case.

Today, someone sounding like, say, Harry Truman, Jack Kennedy and even liar-Bill Clinton, would be laughed out of the convention if he tried to garner the Democratic presidential nomination.

If you think I jest, consider that Dianne Fein-stein, who has been in the Senate seemingly forever, voting for every loony leftist item that came her way, was unable to get the endorsement of the California Democratic Party because she is now regarded as a middle-of-the-roader.

This is a party that is hunting around among the likes of scum-Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth dinky-Warren, commie-Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bill di Blasio, scum-Keith Ellison, Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo, to carry its banner in 2020. The banner might as well be the Hammer and Sickle for as much as it represents the aspirations of normal Americans.

What these people actually represent are the curdled aspirations of scum-George Soros, the Hungarian spider who has two notable talents. The first is the accumulation of money, the other is the ability to give the scurrilous groups he creates and finances the most benignly patriotic names. These include All of Us or None, Alliance for Justice, America Coming Together, America’s Voice, American Constitutional Society for Law & Policy, American Family Voices, American Library Association and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. And that’s just the A’s and one B, and doesn’t include Antifa and Black Lives Matter, which even I can’t pretend sound very benign.

⦿ Something I just recently found out is that Amazon uses the Southern Poverty Law Center, a notorious hate group, to determine whether other groups should be so designated and, thus, be denied a platform at Amazon.

I realize that there’s an old saying that suggests it takes a thief to catch a thief, but I don’t happen to believe that any more than I believe that a group that regards conservatives as Nazis can be trusted to tell you the time of day.

⦿ It occurs to me that Democrats swarm like locusts, gobbling up everything good in their way. In fact, in comparing the two groups, I find that I prefer locusts because word has it that they only descend every seven years.

⦿ I know that names can’t really hurt you, but I imagine that with the constant whipping he gets from the likes of Chuck clown-Schumer, Nancy Pulosi, Chris Van Hollen, Tim Kaine, scum-Adam Schiff, the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Post and the three major TV networks, along with CNN and MSNBC, President Trump must wake up certain mornings and dread facing the day.

They even accuse the poor guy of hating immigrants, even though, unlike most of them, he happens to be married to one; and they label him a religious bigot, although his son-in-law is Jewish and his daughter has converted to Judaism.

Just about the only thing they haven’t accused him of is being constitutionally disqualified from being president because he was born in Kenya. But, then, I suppose that could prove embarrassing.

⦿ When, following up on my mentioning that my friend Orson Bean had recently undergone a knee replacement operation, I heard from my lone subscriber in Wyoming, Howard Last, that he was considering just such an operation.

I told him, and I’m telling any of you who might be thinking of following suit, that you make very sure that the surgeon knows which knee he’s supposed to replace, even if you have to write it on your leg. Otherwise, there’s always the chance that you’ll wind up with two left knees and wind up walking lopsided.

⦿ When I was in school, I recall being told that Abraham Lincoln said: “God must have loved the common man because He made so many of them.”

Even as a schoolboy, I thought that sounded like a pile of bull hockey, the sort of hokey thing a politician would be sure to say when trying to butter up a bunch of yokel voters.

Had old Abe Lincoln really not noticed how many mosquitos, red ants, termites and Democrats, God had also found the time to turn out?



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