Despite what marketers and advertisers would have you believe, Christmas is not the next holiday after Halloween.
Thanksgiving Day is.
But it isn't just the people who want you to spend money on presents who forget what Thanksgiving is all about. It's us, too — you and me. So let me remind you to give thanks by sharing some of my blessings.
I'm thankful that baby Maxine celebrated her first birthday Friday in good health, surrounded by the love of her parents and grandparents.
I'm thankful that FOX News Channel continues to trust me in their employ, and that I have a good job with which I can provide for my family, and be proud of my work.
I'm thankful that you are reading this column right now, and for your e-mails — even the bad ones, like the one from Bradley in Sacramento below.
I'm thankful that NBA commissioner David Stern (search) was stern in his punishment of Indiana Pacers' player Ron Artest (search) and the rest of his not-so-merry men. It's about time overpaid, over-coddled athletes are held accountable for grotesque behavior with more than just a slap on the wrist.
I'm thankful that a jury found Scott Peterson guilty. Another O.J. Simpson (search) saga would have been bad.
I'm thankful for Three Buck Chuck — the good cheap wine found at Trader Joe's (search). It's really good, and it really costs only three bucks.
I'm thankful for where I came from. Having been a gas pumper, tow-truck driver, pizza guy, DJ, actor — even a clam digger on the Jersey shore — I remember those jobs with fondness, but it makes me appreciate even more what I do today.
Be Thankful for Something ...
No matter what you do for a living, no matter how hard or stressful you believe your job is, remember the hard work you put in to get where you are today, and remember that there are others out there working a heck of a lot harder, for a heck of a lot less.
Be thankful for your little cubicle. Be thankful for the boss who rides you hard, because what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Be thankful for the trash man, the police officer, the snow-plows and the grocery store clerk — because those are tough jobs that somebody has to do. Be thankful if you have one of those jobs, and be thankful if you don't.
Be thankful for that turkey you'll devour on Thursday, and the football game on the tube.
I'm even thankful to Citibank for approving my home equity loan. It'll be nice to consolidate those bills.
Be thankful knowing that you are always trying your best, whether it be at work or at home mowing the lawn or washing the dishes, being a good wife or husband, mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter. Give thanks to yourself for going that extra mile for the people you love.
And most of all be thankful for the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who put their lives on the line, so we can enjoy everything about the United States of America.
They won't be home with their families for Thanksgiving. Remember that. And oh, by the way — God bless America. There, I said it again.
Bob Costas ... Not So Bad ... Grrr!
Readers of Grrr! know that I am no fan of sports broadcaster Bob Costas (search), and that I'm frequently critical of him. So imagine how awkward it was when I met him face-to-face at fashion designer Joseph Abboud's book-signing party last week.
There I was, hobnobbing with the likes of New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, "Imus in the Morning" host Don Imus and Joe Abboud in New York City's Time Warner Center, when in walk Bob and Mrs. Costas. He came right over, introduced himself and his wife to me, and was extremely gracious.
I only said "Hi, I'm Mike," lest he puts the Straka together with the Grrr! guy who tore him up over the Olympics broadcast (not that I assume he read it but you never know).
Now, I'm not one to be star-struck, and I wasn't that night. But I was Grrr'd because I really wanted him to be a jerk. What I discovered, however, is that he's just like you and me. I still think he talks too much on his games, but the next time I watch him, I may be more inclined to listen a little less Grrr-ful than usual.
Incidentally, my piece on Abboud's book "Threads: My Life Behind the Seams of the High-Stakes World of Fashion" airs this coming Sunday on "FOX Magazine" at 11 p.m. ET (search).
The Grrr! Block
Check out Coffee Shop Oblivions above in the video section of the column.
Thanks to FOXNews.com Web video producer Brian Korner for playing the part of The Oblivion again, and thanks to Rock 'N Joe in Cranford, N.J., for hosting the Grrr! Block in their ultra-cool coffee shop.
Don't worry, I'm not singing in this one.
Now for Your Grrrs ...
Don't forget to spot The Oblivion, and CLICK THE LINK below for more Grrr! responses.
Bradley S. in Sacramento, Calif.: Hey Mike, your article sucked!!! In fact, it sucked so bad you should write an apology for it. Trump’s show isn’t popular because he’s mean. People like the show because they can learn from it. It gives real-life examples of how one should properly break down a problem, prioritize and then focus on what is important. It also chucks all those “latest fad” management techniques in the garbage where they belong. Branson’s show sucks because it fails to convey the wisdom he has learned from his business experience; the show has nothing to give. Open your Bible to the book of Proverbs, read it and then rewrite your column. People who are quick to tell other people off are quickly exposed as fools. Your apology article should be titled “Left Lane Vigilantes, Grrr …Get Over It” — and then you can proceed to emphasize priorities over trivialities.
— Bradley, you're right. Let me first apologize for breaking into your house in Sacramento and bookmarking my Grrr! Column on every one of your computers. Then, let me apologize for holding my Beretta 686 Onyx 12 Gauge (search) to your head, and forcing you to read it ... Twice. Don't know what came over me.
Suzanne M. in Dallas, Texas: Thank you, thank you, thank you for your comments about Alicia Keys!! She is amazing — I watched her performances on the AMA's and she can S-I-N-G. No back-up tracks or problems with "acid reflux" for her. Another great I think you should mention is Josh Groban. His voice is pure power, pure beauty. He performed on the AMAs as well and he makes the so-called "pop tartlets" look like toast.
Kirk in Cyber-Space: Mike, yes, it's frustrating to see Real-ities get a job which they don't deserve. It's annoying to watch a pop star's lips stop moving while she's still singing. But I think it's great that these people are taking advantage of opportunities that come their way. It's what I'd do. But there is a difference between these people and those who have worked hard making there way to where they are. They will not outlast their 15 minutes. Remember, those of you who have worked hard, you always have that foundation to fall back on. You know that the others will fall out of the limelight. It's not good enough to take opportunities that come your way ... you have to make something of them, too.
Click Here for More of Your Grrrs ...
Until Next Week ... Grrr!
Mike Straka is director of operations and special projects and a 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.