Enough of watching everybody else get rich! I'm going to sue FOX News Channel because my job has exposed me to things that I find offensive.
I've been subjected to Real-ities, like Omarosa (search) from "The Apprentice" and Richard Hatch from "Survivor," and I'm sure to be one of the first to have listened to the upcoming Christmas album by "American Idol" reject William Hung.
I've had to smell celebrities' bad breath and body odors many times on the red carpet. And perhaps most damaging to my fragile psyche was being kissed on the cheek by actor/playwright Harvey Fierstein (search) (gasp!) during an interview while covering the opening of "Hairspray" on Broadway.
Woe is me! I need a lawyer.
Perhaps I should call Amaani Lyle for a reference. She's the woman suing writers and producers of the TV show "Friends" because she found comments made by writers during brainstorming sessions offensive.
Lyle is suing for, among other things, sexual and racial discrimination, citing some jokes writers made while putting the fictitious characters of the show — like Joey or Rachel — in fictitious situations. Coincidentally, she filed her suit after being fired for not being able to record the writers' jokes in a timely fashion — her job.
The California Supreme Court is set to hear the case early next year, after a trial court dismissed all of the claims. Of course, Hollywood and newsrooms around the country will be watching this case closely. Imagine working as a grip on the set of an R-rated movie during a sex scene or a scene filled with foul language. The possibilities for early retirement will be endless. Hey, I hope the Supreme Court finds in Lyle's favor. I can taste the ice cold Coronas amidst the backdrop of my own Caribbean island already.
Would somebody please explain to all the lawsuit Obliviots that the justice system is not equipped to right every perceived "wrong." And it is not the lottery, either. Grrr!
In TV We Call It 'Over-Produced' ... Grrr!
Ever see a television program — ESPN's recent "Top 25 Coaches of the Past 25 Years" (search) comes to mind — that is so full of whiz-bang effects that the viewer becomes distracted from the message of the program?
These shows mix black and white and color video, are filled with music pops, jump cuts, flying graphics and wacky shot transitions. What it really means is the producer is either short on talent or short on content (we've all been caught short of b-roll or soundbites as deadlines loom,) and these effects "jazz" up an otherwise boring program.
But TV isn't the Grrr! here. It's the Over-Produced man or woman, like the new Real-ities (search) on A&E's "Growing Up Gotti." The three young Gotti boys, who are Victoria Gotti's sons, are so Over-Produced it's difficult to watch the show. Eyebrows are waxed Bette Davis thin, hair is gelled and blow-dried so much these guys look like they're going up for the role of "Heat Miser" in the school play ("Everything I touch starts to melt in my clutch — I'm too much.")
Plus the Gotti teens have that overall, "I don't care how I look, but it takes an hour of careful caring to get it right" wardrobe feel. (Incidentally, I interviewed Victoria Gotti at a private concert given by pop-opera icon Andrea Bocelli last year, and she was extremely nice and eloquent — an all-around cool woman. That's not to say her kids shouldn't let their eyebrows grow back.)
I saw what could have been a gorgeous woman on the bus today, but she was incredibly Over-Produced. She wore two toe-rings on each of her tanned, silver nail-polished feet, white sandals and a white coral ankle bracelet. She had on three earrings — one on the inside of her ear — a pink mini-skirt manufactured to look like she cut it herself with a pair of scissors, a navel ring, a flower tattoo on the small of her back and more makeup than I could record in my one fleeting glance (What? I'm not a stalker or anything — insert evil laugh here.)
But here's the real Grrring part: She used the bus as her own vanity, and put on at least three different colors of mascara. First was black, like most women wear. Then she put on white to highlight the edges of her lashes, then she pulled out another brown to mesh it all together. She did the same to her lips using two colors, gloss, then a pencil. She then applied more makeup and powder to her cheeks. Her makeup bag looked like a blood-filled tick. By the time she got off the bus she looked like something out of a Britney Spears video. I know, I know ... I should mind my own business, right?
The point is, she was, I think, beautiful before all the stuff. By the time she was finished, she looked well, Over-Produced. Grrr!
Election-Year Gaffes ... Grrr!
Grrr! will keep an eye out for political fumbles on both sides of the aisle as we head toward the November election. Our esteemed commander in chief gets the first Grrr!
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." — President George W. Bush in a speech last week to military brass.
If you missed it, don't worry ... I'm sure we'll be seeing that clip in the next Michael Moore movie. Grrr!
Another Real-ity Gets the Brass Ring
"The Apprentice" Real-ity Ereka Vetrini (search), a beauty whom I interviewed a few months ago, has landed the job of the news reporter for the new "The Tony Danza Show." Yet another blow to all of the professional journalists and broadcasters who have given their blood, sweat and tears to the industry.
Note to all aspiring newsies, hosts, actors and broadcasters: Forget about honing your skills working in the industry. Forget about taking a job in snow-packed market 200 for $12,000 a year. Forget about grad school. Forget about paying your dues. Just get on a reality show. Grrr!
The only saving grace here is that Ereka hitched herself to a horse that will last about two weeks. Good luck.
Now for Your Grrrs
Allen K. in Springfield, Vt.: Three cheers for your views on the partisan potshots taken over the War on Terror [last column]. You are 100 percent correct. There is too much politics in politics these days. And although there are guilty parties on both sides of the aisle, the left these days makes no pretense at partisanship ... I wish they would pull their heads out of the political manure.
Carlos at the HUD (U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department): What Grrrs me are the ImporTants (search) on the Metro who think they're too good to give up their seats (next to the doors, the ones marked for the elderly and disabled) for people who are elderly and disabled! I just had to ask a man to get up on the train this morning because there was an old lady standing and barely able to hold on. Sadly enough, when he got up he responded, "Well, I guess I'm just oblivious." Yes, indeed he is.
Mary in Virginia: It really irks me when two or more people stand in the doorway to a room or in a stairwell talking. They don't move, they just talk, apparently oblivious to the fact that people around them need to get through. Hi, you see me walking toward you from like, 10 feet away. Is moving to one side really that hard? And then I have to walk through them and I say "Excuse me" like a considerate person, and they get annoyed because for some unknown reason, I couldn't seem to fit between the three inches the woman left between her butt and the wall.
C. Grayson in Cyber-Space: My personal Grrr is the Oblivion on the airplane in the seat in front of you who can’t stop fidgeting in his seat. I’m 6-feet-2-inches tall and have next to zero leg room to begin with, therefore his constant leaning back in his seat and slamming his torso into it to get comfortable is very uncomfortable. What should I do when this occurs? Slap them across the top of their customarily fat, bald head and let them know that yes, someone is in the seat behind them? Or do I let it slide? I don’t know. Thanks for the rant. I do feel better knowing there are more of us out there.
Matt in Mississippi: A big double GRRR to the guy three cubicles down who has perfected the art of musical nose blowing. Like clockwork, every 15 minutes or so a loud trumpet blast blares from his desk. Being an allergy sufferer myself, I understand that you have no control over your sinuses, but hey, I don’t really want to share in your nose-blowing. I find anyone who thinks it is socially acceptable to repeatedly and loudly blow their nose to be a complete Oblivion. As impressive as it is that you can repeatedly hit that particularly annoying tone using nothing but a handkerchief, the trick wears thin after a few hundred repeats. Go to the bathroom, or in the hallway, or practice quiet nose blowing.
Carmen in Texas: Last week I made a stop at the post office, and parked my car with an empty spot next to it in order to get my 4-year-old out of the car more easily. However, when I was about to open her door, an Oblivion pulls up right next to us to park. And did he leave enough room for me to open the door? No! So, not only do I have to wait for this guy to get out of his car before I can let my daughter out, but when I look past his car I see that the next eight spaces are empty! Thanks, jerk! Grrrrrr........
An Gas Station Oblivion Moment From Andrew in Cleveland: I had to maneuver my car past (eight busy) pumps. I saw an opening and proceeded to back into it, but my wife reminded me that on her car the fuel intake valve was on the opposite side. (A black VW bug had let me go into that spot.) I proceeded to go forward and wait for another spot to open up. Another spot opened up and I went forward into and blocked the same VW bug from backing into the spot. The driver was angry, but at that moment I decided to be an Oblivion and not allow him to use the pump. He backed into another pump later. While I had to get a full tank of gasoline, he left very quickly. I felt bad and wanted to go over and apologize, but did not. It was a total Oblivion moment from my otherwise non-Oblivion life ... My apologizes to the Black VW Bug driver at the Brecksville, OH BP by I77 (near Cleveland).
J. Winkelman: Here's an Oblivion Grrr to my co-worker who parked in my spot with a sign
"Reserved XYZ Company," and just because he works for the same company he thinks that he has the privilege to park in the spot. Never mind asking management if he could, or whose spot it is. A true Oblivion.
Musician Sean Hanson on my Frampton Comes Alive Grrr! [last column]: Frampton's solo was a moment in music that can never, never, never be reproduced, no matter how long you study the solo and learn it and play it ... You can get the notes right, the tone right, the timing, vibrato and every technical nuance, but you can't ever get in front of an audience and be the guy who made it happen live, and inspired future musicians to scratch their heads for decades to come. The crowd went nuts, my friend, because at the moment they knew, somewhere in their bones, like we all do when it happens, that they were witnessing an immortal moment.
B Hart in Cyber-Space: I noticed your "Cutting-Room Floor" [last column] about the Vivid girls and their new book. I have many friends in the industry, so you can imagine how funny I thought it was that you were talking to a Vivid girl. Let me explain. Vivid Video is porn's version of Woody Allen. They have some of the hottest women alive, they're the most respected company in the industry and yet they produce some of the most boring film in the industry. The reason I laugh is because the majority of Vivid's girls are Oblivions and ImporTants. They're the A-list of porn and make sure everyone around them knows it. They have no clue that they're only famous because of their appearances (kinda like Keanu Reeves). They seem to think it's something deeper. Then they wonder why they can't get a job doing mainstream acting.
Stupid Lit'l Dreamers
Never thought I'd be saying this, but Denis Leary (search) is awesome in his new show, "Rescue Me" (search) on FX (FX is owned by Newscorp, which also owns FOXNews.com). I have never been a fan of Leary. I always found his acting and his personality to be grating. But after reading so many rave reviews about the show, based around New York firefighters, I put it on my Tivo to-do list. I have not been disappointed. Leary set out to produce and star in this show after 9/11. Having family and friends who have been firefighters, it is a subject close to his heart. Leary gets the SLD mention this week for sticking to his guns and his heart and pulling through with a well-produced, well-written and well-acted show for adults to enjoy.
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.