Lindsay Lohan (search) recently turned 18 years old, but she's nothing like any 18-year-old I ever knew.
The biggest difference is that Hollywood's newest "It Girl" is independently wealthy, is well on a lifelong career path — and she's wildly famous.
Those are big differences.
And yet Lohan is held up as a role model. She's being used not only to show teens how to act, but what to wear, how to look and what to expect from life.
Most girls her age have a hard time choosing what they're going to wear to the prom. Lohan has fashion consultants parading the latest hot designer items donated free by said hot designers. Don't forget, she lives in a very adult world, where millions of dollars are spent on a product in which she is the main attraction: movies. That means many people are there to help her create just the right image for any occasion, hardly an inalienable right for the majority of young women.
Lohan's also going the pop-star route — because you're nobody these days until you have a video on MTV ... grrr! Being a movie star who can actually act isn't good enough anymore.
The point is, parents, please don't let your teenage daughter hold herself up to Lohan for comparison. And girls, don't let your Obliviot boyfriend put you up against her either (although most of us men are guilty of that at one time or another — but call us out on it)!
In the latest edition of GQ Magazine (search), "writer-at-large" Robert Moritz paints a pretty good picture of Lohan, who seems to have managed to remain fairly down-to-earth so far. In the interview Moritz emphasizes just enough of her accomplishments and her attributes without piling on more hype to this teen-age bombshell.
But while Lohan is on top of the world, she has a lot of help. And now that's she's officially considered a woman, the sharks will be circling and every little detail of her life will be chewed up and spit out. Hopefully she's mature enough not to get caught up in the scene. Maybe classy Julia Stiles (search) or Kirsten Dunst can give her a few pointers on how to stay the course and concentrate on the work.
Grrr! to the pretenders who have so many fans fooled. Lindsay, don't turn out to be one of them.
That's Debatable ... Grrr!
Well, the first presidential debate has come and gone, and most people are saying Sen. John Kerry came out smelling like a rose. I think it's more accurate to say President Bush simply looked bad.
The last four years have been full of late-night jokes about the president's public speaking ability — or lack thereof — from Conan O'Brien to Jay Leno to Jon Stewart. However, this election year is no joking matter.
Grrr! to whoever is responsible for helping the president overcome his oratorical shortcomings. He or she should be brought to Trump's boardroom and fired.
If the Republicans want to see four more years, the president must do better in the next two debates. That's the reality.
Glory Days ... Grrr!
You know the guy who can't seem to let go of those glory days? He talks constantly about the great catch he made to win that high school football game, or about the diving save in the soccer net to shut out the big rival team.
Well, according to the new book "The Games Do Count: America's Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports," by FOX and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade, remembering those glory days is not all that bad.
In the book, Kilmeade interviews dozens of famous Americans who say their participation in sports has played a factor in their development, particularly in careers.
"The message is try," Kilmeade said. "Participate. Go after it, and don't be afraid to lose, because your payback could be coming. It may not come the way you want it, where you want it or how you expect it, but it's coming. Make the field your classroom."
In my case the wrestling mat was my classroom. For all of you wrestlers out there and for parents with mat rats, take a look at the newspaper clipping from my high school days (also above in the photos section).
This is a time when I'm supposed to be in tip-top shape — but I look half dead. I look that way because I was cutting too much weight. I should have been a 125-pounder, but instead I went down to 119, because "that's what you're supposed to do." Grrr!
Cutting weight is an integral part of the sport and forces participants to be disciplined on and off the mat. The lessons in that are invaluable, and wrestling is by far the Marines of sport, and I would do it all over again if I had the chance.
However, I believe wrestlers should not cut too much weight beyond the love handles. I'm not talking about Olympic hopefuls here, but the high school or college kid whose grades are suffering and whose breath is terrible and whose lips are chapped because he's dehydrated. Stay at your weight and wrestle off the guy who's already in that weight class. Who cares if he's got seniority? It may not be the popular thing to do in wrestling circles — because the pressure to cut weight in order to be one of the guys is tremendous — but if the guy who's already there can't beat you, it's up to him to get better — not for you to get lighter.
As for Brian Kilmeade's book, it's an excellent read that I think every parent and student athlete should have.
Now for Your Grrrs! ... Don't Forget to Spot The Oblivion!
Drew A. Haughton, "Serving Faithfully" writes to Polignorant James H. from last column: Polignorantism has nothing to do with liking the candidates and everything to do with flexing our political muscles in the voting process. If you can't find a worthy candidate then go register a NO vote. Not going to the polls is not a visible sign of distaste. It's like the person who leaves no tip because the service was bad. Two pennies means the service was bad — no tip means that you're a cheap idiot. The exclamatory language says a lot, too.
Ty in Texas puts in his two cents: Like James H., who is exercising his right not to vote, I also heartily disagree with both major party candidates in this presidential election. (I'm a Libertarian.) However, I believe that it is my duty as an American citizen to always participate in the process. What would I accomplish by giving up the small amount of power I have to directly influence our government? Nothing. I understand James' sentiment, but I think he is making a dangerous mistake. I strongly suggest that he and everyone else in his position do what I will do: Cast a "protest vote" for a third party or write-in candidate. That way, at least our voices will be heard.
Chris in Atlanta also responds to James H. from last column: Sorry Mike had to P$%&! you off like that by calling you a Polignorant. He was trying to be polite. We have the right to vote because of hundreds of thousands of sacrificed lives. To choose not to vote and exercise this right is basically making their sacrifices null and void. I would call you what you truly are, but I know Mike won't be able to post it. Also, I would be afraid it might make you even more upset than you already are.
S. Falcone in cyberspace on Springsteen in the Stupid Lit'l Dreamer section last week: I agree with you on the Springsteen point. While we disagree politically, I respect his right to disagree, [but] ranting during his concerts is a total lack of respect for my right to disagree. I didn't pay money to be indoctrinated. But alas, I have so much of myself wrapped up in John Mellencamp's and Bruce's music that it's never really been about them anyway. I never liked them for their hair or what cars they drove or whether they choose Coke or Pepsi. It's about acoustic versions of "Thunder Road" and holding on to 16 as long as I can. They are the soundtrack of my life and their music isn't just music, it's the things I've done, who I've done them with and all the feelings I have wrapped into a memory, not just a song. So basically my point is that not even John Mellencamp himself can ruin John Mellencamp for me. Ditto for The Boss.
Geoffrey K. from Norco, Calif., Is Sleepless in Yosemite: I just had to write to you after my birthday trip to Yosemite with my family. We stayed in Camp Curry at the base of Glacier Point in Yosemite Valley in the famous "tent-cabins." These are permanent tents that have 2x4 frames but only a canvas/vinyl covering. Needless to say, they are not soundproof at all. We had the extreme pleasure of being "neighbors" to a couple who brought their infant along. There is supposed to be "quiet time" from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., but I'm sure the Obliviots next door didn't think that a screaming baby would bother any other campers within a 500-foot radius. It cried every 2 hours throughout the night and all I could think about was sending you this e-mail.
Rob in Vermont: I gotta tell you, I take great pleasure in being a so-called "Left Lane Vigilante." All these idiots on the roads these days who feel like the speed limit doesn't apply to them? What a bunch of morons. When I am out for the weekly Sunday drive with my beloved, the last thing I need is a heart attack from the #$@^ who comes roaring up behind us at 90 miles an hour. Gimme a break. I understand that he is probably Chief of Thoracic Medicine on his way to do a transplant for the President of the United States, but getting behind me when I am already going 10 miles over the limit and flashing your lights at me is not the way to get me to move over. It's the way to get me to match speeds with the guy I am passing and sit right next to him for the next 50 miles and watch you blow a gasket.
Nathan A.Y., Staff Sgt., U.S. Air Force: The problem is with the parents and with society at large. We as parents have no rights to discipline our children. If our kids act up in the store and we spank them, someone might report us to child welfare for "beating our kids." That is what is wrong these days. We are not able to effectively punish our kids. It is now go to your room and think about what you did wrong. Now mind you the room is where there TV, computer, toys, etc. are. How is this going to do anything to help our kids learn a lesson?
Mike in cyberspace: Can we stop calling "Fahrenheit/911" a "documentary"? Haven't enough of the facts come out about fancy editing tricks and just plain falsifications that we can call it what it is — a well-produced and very profitable piece of "based on true events" fictional film making?
Jennifer from Lima, Ohio: My Grrr! is for someone in DVD-land who got together with someone in DVD-player-land to ensure that I would have to sit and stare at the FBI warning for 30 seconds before any movie! Why can't I fast forward through it? Same goes for the THX commercial, the production company commercial, etc. Not that this affects my life much, but it irks me that they think I'm so stupid that I have to re-read the same thing countless times, and that they keep me hostage in front of commercials. I bought the DVD so I wouldn't have to watch any commercials. Grrr!
CB in cyberspace: I am a young mother with six children. To those of you well-meaning citizens who are used to seeing only 2.5 [(kids) per family, I have the following suggestions: My husband and I are blessed to have each (child) in our family, so there is no need to roll your eyes and say, ”God bless you!” Please do not tell me I have my hands full. I know that, but my heart is full, too. Please do not ask me if I’m going to have any more children. That is a personal question that, frankly, is none of your business. I do not ask you how much money you earn or if you plan on getting any fatter. It is in poor taste to look at a pregnant woman with five kids in tow and tell her, “I can explain how that happens to you if you want.” Finally, please do not elbow your spouse as you see us go by in Wal-Mart and count out loud like we’re some freak show. Before having a large family, I am embarrassed to say, I know I said insensitive things, too. Perhaps folks will read this and think before blurting out something demeaning or hurtful in the future.
The Cutting Room Floor
Check out the video section next to the photos section above for my FOX Magazine piece on The World Poker Tour, which I covered last week at The Borgata in Atlantic City. Poker is an amazing game that's fast becoming a sport, but be careful not to forget that it's still gambling.
Stupid Lit'l Dreamer
This week's SLD mention goes to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, for funding SpaceShipOne, (search) a rocket-propelled plane meant to further the prospect of space travel. SpaceShipOne, designed by Burt Rutan, soared out of the Earth's atmosphere twice in the past two weeks. An honorary SLD mention also goes out to Virgin mogul Richard Branson, who says beginning in 2007 he will launch Virgin Galactic, where paying travelers can get a glimpse of outer space.
I don't know if I'd go — at least not until I see the Virgin Galactic Search and Recovery Operation — but I do applaud the efforts.
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.