What happens in New Orleans ... well, we all know the cliché.
And while the experience of covering eBay! Live in the Big Easy was a wonderful one, I wouldn't want anyone to think that I had been seduced into any type of non-Grrring state. Although I did come close, thanks to the wonderful people at eBay! (search) and the other producers and public relations folks who played host to FOX News and our camera crew.
But enough of that Jambalaya.
You just know in your gut when you're in for a long flight. I shared a row of seats with an old couple who couldn't stop worrying out loud about how "the cockpit door is wide open," over and over and over again. "I can't believe the cockpit door is wide open. Can you believe it?" Thanks for that reminder. You see, everyone else on the flight forgot ALL about 9/11.
But the real Grrr! goes to the ImporTants -- aka sales guys -- who were on their way to the golf course ... I mean, sales call. Note to sales guys: Nobody on the plane cares how many units you're moving. Or that your secretary isn't "the sharpest tool in the shed but a good kid." Or that your Christmas bonus is looking to be something like 80 grand.
I think I'd rather have an Oblivion brat kick the back of my chair for an entire flight than be subjected to the one-upsmanship and machismo of a couple of overweight or over-tanned traveling salesmen. Meanwhile, the old guy in my row would sneeze so loud practically everybody on the flight jumped a few times, and then he proceeded to wipe his hand on his seat. Nice.
Once on the ground, however, only a few more Oblivions to deal with. Quick note about the baggage carousel: when somebody is trying to get through you to get to their bag and they're exclaiming "excuse me" -- that's a good time to step aside and get out of the way.
Oblivions in the Big Easy ... Grrr!
There's plenty to do in New Orleans, from sightseeing to aquariums to fine dining to gambling, and last but not least, partying. But if you're in a hurry, particularly at any "fast food" joint, forget about it. The counter help at most stores and restaurants aren't in any rush to get you on your way. But adjusting to a city's pace is the responsibility of the tourist, lest that make you an Oblivion. That means don't dare wait until the last minute to get your shopping done, and don't wait until you're about to keel over from hunger to order lunch.
Remember, hot and hungry is a lethal combination!
Another favorite Oblivion act: Putting their feet up on buildings while they stop to listen to the walking tour guide regale them with stories about vampires and ghosts or whatever on their tour of the French Quarter. If you're there, notice the dirty scuff marks on the building across the street from most of the really historic buildings. That's where tour guides stop to talk about the building where famous murders took place or vampires are said to have lived. Don't be an Oblivion tourist.
Now Bourbon Street is a horse of a different color altogether. If you're there at night, it's one big block party (and while you're there, stop off to see Gary of cover band "Nothing Personal" at the Krazy Korner -- awesome band). Bourbon Street is a wild scene, yet it's all so contained in an odd way. That being said, stay away at 10 A.M. The smell of the previous night's action is enough to make you lose your appetite for the famous beignets.
Grrrs Gone Wild
The French Quarter can also be a bit confusing, so if you're lost, just follow some dork with a video camera. He's no doubt heading to Bourbon Street to try to catch a glimpse of "Girls Gone Wild"-type breast flashing. Women apparently are so hard up for bead necklaces in the Big Easy that they'll flash some skin up at the guys on the balconies lining the block. Men have also been known to drop their drawers in the middle of the block. I don't quite get the whole flashing for beads thing, but be forewarned: if you bare it, don't be surprised when it ends up on the Internet.
A Simple Request
Not an isolated Crescent City incident, and one that has occurred more than once, and I'm sure I'm not alone: You're enjoying a cup of coffee and take that last swig of the cup, and suddenly your mouth is full of coffee grinds. Is it so difficult for coffee shops to clean the thermos between each pot of coffee? Or how about using a filter that doesn't spill the grinds into the pot. I was picking coffee grinds out of my teeth for at least two days (that's an exaggeration but you get the picture).
Now for Your Grrrs
Steve Q. from Argyle, Texas: What's up with people who trash restrooms? I want to know what's in the mind of someone who gets up in the morning and says to himself, "I know! I'll plug up some toilets and urinals with a paper towel today." Is this a "get even with society" type of thing? On any given day, I can walk into the restroom where I work and find half of the stalls plugged up -- I won't even go into some of the disgusting things these people do in order to accentuate their artistry -- and as for the trash cans? It looks like Shaquille O'Neal has been practicing his free throws there, given all the wadded up paper towels that are on the floor. Are these folks too cool to pick up after themselves?
William C. in Fairplay, Ga.: I recently observed some behavior that was so bizarre I hope you can classify the morons for me. In front of one of those fitness clubs in a strip mall, I saw some people actually parking in the handicapped spaces, and in no-parking areas just so they didn't have to walk too far to the fitness club! Are they Oblivions, ImporTants or simply missing the point of exercise?
--They are ImporTants with Oblivion Pins. You're not on that list?
M. Schwartz on ImporTants with their cell phones permanently attached: Some of us work for tyrants who insist we have our phones on 24/7. We have to take calls no matter where we are or what time it is. It doesn't make us feel important at all, it just makes us go Grrrr!
--But you probably take the call outside the restaurant.
Mason at ISU: I have a Grr!! to settle with just about everybody out there. It seems that no
matter what career, position or anything these days, you cannot say a word without offending someone. Now it seems people are willing to go to extreme lengths to prove how offensive a comment was whether it be a law or some ridiculous lawsuit or public action. Come on, people! Have we all gotten to the point where we are too weak to take something as someone's opinion and forget about it ... Grr!!! to all you people who can't take a little comment that you might think is offensive. Boo Hooooo.
Shawn C. with some Big Time Grrrs: I am 6' 8" tall and you know what? I don't play basketball! In fact, I hate basketball. Why do all the Oblivions feel it is a polite and necessary thing to ask me how tall I am or if I play basketball? The better question is, why do the Oblivions always look angry when I respond by asking them about their waistband size, bra size or asking them if they play a lot of miniature golf?
One last thing for the Oblivions who breed Oblivion children: I am tall, not deaf. Please explain to your rude little snot slingers that pointing people out and commenting on their physical dimensions is actually rude. And don't look at me with disgust when I remind them of that fact. Also, don't ask me to move or hunch down at the movie theater because you can't see past me. Bring a phone book and sit on it. Phew ... I feel better already!
Quentin Christian loves the Grrr! This is by far the funniest and most truthful column I have ever read. Classifying myself as a Democrat, I can honestly say that this column just doesn't pick on Democrats only. It does a good job of picking on both parties! I wish that Republicans and Democrats alike can realize that there are complete morons in both parties and it is up to FOX News to expose them all. But anyway, enough with the politics. I have to say that this column truly makes my Tuesday morning. This week was truly funny and I guess what makes it really funny is the fact that everyone can relate to the things that ordinary people wouldn't think to respond or talk about. Anyway, keep up the good work, and LONG LIVE STRAKA AND THE GRRRR COLUMN.
--Yeah, what he says!
J. Williams in Texas: This is in response to J. Harmon (last column) and his comment about the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib Prison. You make me VERY afraid of pledging a fraternity!
E. Martin in New Jersey: Building on your concept of the "Oblivion," I'd like to expand on that by introducing to you a concept my friend introduced to me -- the concept of "Entitlement Syndrome." These are the Oblivions that have gone through life pampered and schmoozed by their parents, usually showered with money but given no concept of responsibility to themselves or their peers. They believe that they are entitled to everything that the world has to offer -- without sacrifice -- and that everything in the world has a price. They scoff at anything that isn't the "best" -- and really believe in their minds that they are making a hill of beans difference in this world. Now, I'm all for accumulating wealth and capitalism, hell -- I'm a businessman myself. It just doesn't make sense to me, and it's reprehensible. GRRR!!!
Bob Burns in S.C.: Talk about your basic Oblivion, this is my all-time favorite: My late wife was blind for the last few years of her life but still liked to go out to public events like car shows, fairs, the zoo, etc. Once in the flower exhibit at the state fair a very large lady approached us, studied my wife's red and white striped cane and inquired, "Are you blind?" My wife replied, quite pleasantly, "No, I just carry this cane because it's fun. Would you like to try it?"
A Concerned Parent writes: Please don't print my name, because I would not want to embarrass my daughter, but my Grrrr goes out to all of those in the grocery stores, malls and Wal-Marts who stare at my daughter and whisper. She has Alopecia Areata. She has hair on the sides and back and very little hair on the top. She's dealt with this for 4 years. People stare, whisper and are just plain rude. Be thankful for what you have, don't assume anything without knowing the facts. So Grrrr to you for your rudeness.
--Just a quick suggestion, and I'm by no means an expert on the human condition and I am thankful for my health and Baby Maxine's ... but I think that if it were my daughter and people were being that rude, I'd pick her up, give her a big kiss and tell her that I love her, no matter what the Oblivions say. And I'd do it right in front of them.
An American writes: Here is a Grrrrr for you!! Why does everybody assume that I speak Asian because I am Korean? First off, everybody always thinks that I'm Chinese (not that there is anything wrong with that), but if you don't know, don't assume!!!! Second, I am an American, I speak English!!!! Do I ask you where you are from?? Do you know how to speak your native language?? No??? Don't assume that I do. I am an American!
Dale L. writes: R. Jenkinson was right-on in suggesting Oblivion of the year. My suggestion for the initial winner, however, is the entertainment industry, for all of the stupid annual awards shows that mean less than nothing. Hollywood (and Broadway, and Nashville, and especially Cannes) must contain some seriously chiseled individuals. How else to explain their ability to pat themselves on the back without dislocating their shoulders? Another suggestion for the awards would be “Best Venue to Locate Oblivions.” My vote goes to airports. I could give you many columns worth of examples of Oblivion behavior from the nations airports.
Stupid Li'l Dreamers
For newer readers to the Grrr!, Stupid Li'l Dreamers is a term of endearment. When I was younger and just starting out in this business, my buddy would call me with a disguised voice of one media bigwig or another: "Mike, this is Lorne Michaels from 'Saturday Night Live,'" -- and then he'd break into the Supertramp hit song "Dreamer," singing "Dreamer, you stupid li'l dreamer!"
This week I'd like to highlight all of you who read the Grrr column and send in your Grrrs. As of now there are 7,425 e-mails in the Strakalogue inbox. I try to read as many as I can and I do respond to many. I can't, however, fit all of your e-mails in my columns, but I try to incorporate your Grrrs in some of my broader themes. I hope you understand.
Until Next Week ... Grrr!
Mike Straka is the Director of Operations and Special Projects for FOXNews.com, and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine," "Sunday Best" and FOXNews.com. As an actor, Straka appeared in the film "Analyze This," co-starred in the Off-Broadway hit "Tony n' Tina's Wedding," and has appeared in various TV commercials and programs.