I've just about had it with the partisan talk when it comes to our national security.
Liberal pundits and people of like mind were upset last week because an announcement from Pakistan that a key Al Qaeda figure was captured came during the Democratic National Convention (search), some calling it conveniently timed to help Republicans upstage Democratic nominee John Kerry on the day of his big speech.
And I've heard conservative pundits call it a "victory for President Bush" that the wanted man, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, was apprehended.
I've even heard some people going so far as to joke about how Usama bin Laden will be captured the week of Nov. 1 — which, apparently by default, constitutes a victory for Bush and an automatic four more years for him in the White House.
First of all, no it doesn't. But secondly, and more importantly — at least to me — is that if UBL is captured, it will be a victory for America, not some political party. It will be a victory for the surviving family members of those killed on 9/11 and others killed in so many acts of terrorism around the globe since then. Indeed, it will be a victory for all nations that have fallen victim to this radical and deadly terrorism waged by a group of thugs who do not respect life. Period.
Grrr! to all the partisan credit-taking and finger-pointing. We're in this together. Note to all politicians and celebrity activists: It's not important what political party wins the War on Terror. What's important is that America and our allies win the War on Terror.
The I-Pods ... Grrr!
As regular readers of Grrr! know, I am an avid music fan, and for months now I've been contemplating biting the bullet and buying an iPod (search). The idea of being able to maneuver my way around Oblivions without the skipping of a portable CD player is very attractive. However, I cannot get over the "status" symbol the iPod has become.
Just like I would never wear a Rolex, even if I could afford one, I don't think I'd own an iPod. If I were a woman, I wouldn't wear Jimmy Choo shoes either. There are so many products out there that people just "must have," and it all points to them being ImporTants. When I was in college, I knew guys who only wore Ralph Lauren Polo oxfords — you know the ones with the polo player on them? These guys always got the cute sorority women, and for a while there I tried to keep up with them. At $75 a shirt, however, I was way out of my league. After a while I realized the shirt didn't make me any taller, or any cooler or any more handsome. And the guys I knew who wore them — along with the girls they dated — were still jerks.
That doesn't mean everybody who owns an iPod, Rolex or a pair of Jimmy Choos is a jerk. The problem is, just like Oblivions, those owners who are jerks would never know it.
Frampton Comes Alive ... Grrr!
And speaking of music, I get chills when I hear "Do You Feel Like I Do" by the great rock and roller Peter Frampton. My Grrr! is not directed at the artist, but at the live audience that was recorded for this particular song.
There's a part during a guitar solo where Frampton "sings" along with his guitar. It's kind of silly really, like scatting. It's done with something called a "talk box," which is a horn that attaches to the guitar so that a voice can be used to accompany the chords. But even that isn't what Grrrs me. I Grrr! because when he does it, the crowd cheers as if he were rolling out the cure for cancer. I mean, really, what is so special about that sound? Grrr!
Now for Your Grrrs
Cyndy Stevens writes: I like your "Planet Oblivia", it's a fabulous concept. I'm in sales and customer service. My personal "Grrr" is the fact that people don't write civil e-mail letters anymore. No greeting, no signature ... they demand to know about their order but provide absolutely no details about who they are, what they ordered or when. No punctuation, no thank you or "please" ... too many of my e-mails are completely uncivilized. And now, they are even shortening words. I assume it is "for ur benefit so u can read faster."
Jim Key in Cyberspace: On the U.S. basketball team, three players, including Allen Iverson (search) and LeBron James (search), were suspended from the recent game against Puerto Rico for being late to a team meeting. The following is an excerpt from the story: Iverson claimed he "couldn't have been more than five minutes late." He said, "I'm the captain on the team and to be suspended just for being a couple minutes late just doesn't sit well for me," he said. "I'm supposed to be one of the leaders of the team, and this is not a good look." I cannot think of a better example of someone not knowing what the word "leadership" means.
USMC's Chris Cowan sets the Grrr! straight from Iraq: Enjoy reading your Web column. [Last column's] story about the general's wife straightening out the younger officers' wives and putting them in their place was just that, a story. I have heard the same commissary and line-up story at each of the bases I've been stationed at and each concerned the current wife of the base commander or of some other general.
Lauren Richard in Boston: People who bring $100 bills into a convenience store and expect change for a $9 purchase. My husband was in our local convenience store when a super Oblivion gave the clerk a Benjamin for her measly little purchase. The clerk had just come on and they gave her a small bank to start the shift. She politely asked the Oblivion if she had something smaller, seeing that she just started her shift and could not accommodate her request. The woman said no! The clerk tried to explain to her in the nicest way that she really didn't have that kind of change. The woman goes, "That's not my problem now, is it?" The poor clerk had to go and get her manager and they had to open the safe. Now while this is all going on, she gets a call on her cell phone and complains that she's going to be a while because they can't break her $100 bill.
Jenn in Cincinnati: Hi Mike! I love the Grrr! column and never miss it. Here's my two-cents worth. I hate it the way tabloids and other magazines pick up a "slang" term and then run it into the ground. I first started hearing the words "baby bump" when Kate Hudson was pregnant — that's all they talked about! Then it was "Gwyneth's bump" and "Courteney's bump" and now "Julia's bump" all over the place. Very irritating. Also the words "pop tart" came out of nowhere and are used constantly to describe Britney Spears. Please — I love pop tarts and have one for breakfast every morning! To call that no-talent lip syncher a pop tart is an insult to my beloved pastry. Grrr!
Shannon in St. Louis on radio ads: I refuse to buy any product or service that is advertised during rush hour using (realistic) sounds such as sirens/car horns/crashing/etc. to get
my attention. These are usually done by insurance or repair companies. I wonder if they are trying to cause accidents by startling drivers or make them look around for the ambulance. Grrr!
Anita in Rochester, N.Y.: I laughed harder at your column this week than I have laughed at any Hollywood "comedy" movie in recent memory (perhaps Hollywood should pay less attention to Michael Moore and more to your column.) I particularly liked the advice about table manners. But you left out one — the bad habit of licking one's finger at the table.
Andy Hefty writes: My wife and I were in Target getting a few things for back to school. We had a "gift card" we wanted to use, and I was going to use my AmEx to pay for the rest. Trying to not be a Wal-Martian, I put my card in the slot and started inputting information. Then I realized that we had to scan the gift cards first. Oops! Since we live far from the nearest Target, I didn't want to have to come back to use the gift card another time. I immediately threw my hands up and apologized to the two families behind me and told them to shoot me if they wanted. They were quite gracious. We even joked about it.
Mom in Florida writes: PG-13 movies are a joke. We rented "Bruce Almighty" only to find the “F” word and many other profanities littering a movie I could have enjoyed. We cannot go to the theaters to see PG-13 movies with our children (13 and 12 years) because we have to preview them first. Now even PG movies must be previewed. In "Sleepover," they glorify sneaking out, lying, and going to bars! I am one anGrrry parent!
Ed in Paoli: As a clerk in a hardware store, I am constantly annoyed by people who debate
a 2-cent difference but then put it on a platinum credit card taken from their Louis Vuitton wallet. What also grrrs me is when people come into the store for some loose bolts or screws and then realize they don't have cash and have to charge 64 cents to a card.
Sgt. B.H. in Kansas City, Mo.: My biggest Grrr has to be the condescending fools like Michael Moore-on. His interview with Bill O'Reilly the other night really got me Grrrd to no end. After 10 years as a soldier in the Army National Guard, a college degree, being married, holding a good job, etc., I don't think that I qualify as a child. Nor do the men and women whom I serve with. They are all true professionals who understand what they stand for and why we fight. To call servicemen and women of all ages — some older than Moore-on — "children" and "kids" is an insult. The same goes for the politIDIOTS who do the same thing. I can do something about them besides Grrr though, because I am not a "child," I can vote. Whew, I feel a little better now!
Annie from Athens, Ga.: On our red-eye home from Las Vegas last week, both content to hear only the lingering ring of the slot machines in our ears, my husband and I were stuck in a row with an Oblivion with an iPod. Our plane was at the gate for over 30 minutes prior to takeoff, during which the Oblivion listened to some wailing blues music loud enough for at least four rows in front of us to look back periodically and laugh/shake their heads/etc. When we were finally taxiing for takeoff, my husband tapped him and asked him to please turn it down, the whole plane could hear, and it was after midnight and we all wanted to sleep. His reaction? "Y'all can hear it? Are you groovin'? It's Stevie Ray Vaughn!" The kicker: Arriving in Atlanta at 7 that morning, I glanced at the book he was reading. It's title? "Awareness." Haha.
The Cutting-Room Floor
So I interviewed a porn star the other day for a "FOX Magazine" feature about a new book written by the Vivid girls. Vivid video is the big porn movie outfit in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. Their book is called "How to Have a XXX Sex Life" (Regan Books 2004), (search) and it purports to give advice on how to make your sex life more interesting.
Hey, at least it wasn't another dog book?
Stupid Lit'l Dreamers
Frank Panzone opened a tiny "slice shack" pizza place in Beach Haven, on the Jersey Shore, 25 years ago. Today, it's a pizza, pasta and seafood empire that spans two blocks and is a Long Beach Island landmark. I spent the summers making pizzas there (I was a GASP! — local) —and that experience actually helped me land a national pizza chain television commercial as "the pizza guy" a few years later. So, congratulations to Panzone's Pizza (search). Happy 25!
Until Next Week ... Grrr!
Mike Straka is the Director of Operations and Special Projects and columnist for FOXNews.com and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine." He was also in the movie "Analyze This," and has appeared in various commercials, theater and TV roles.