With Michael Moore winning hands down in the Oblivion of the Year category, it's time to vote for the 2004 Stupid Lit'l Dreamer.
Regular readers of The Grrr! Column are familiar with the term, but for anyone stumbling upon it for the first time — Stupid Lit'l Dreamer is a term of endearment for people out there who believe that with hard work and die-hard determination, one can accomplish pretty much anything in America.
Unfortunately, much like with most Grrrs, it's easier to pick out candidates who are Oblivions than it is to pick out ones who try to make the best out of the hands they're dealt. But here it goes anyway.
See The Grrr! Poll on the right console of the page to cast your vote.
Oprah Winfrey — Talk-show diva Oprah Winfrey gets nominated for using her power and influence in media to inspire millions of people to seek better lives for themselves. Winfrey's journey from humble beginnings to megastar is an old story, but her style hasn't changed. For two decades, Winfrey's been consistent in her motivation to inspire her vast audience, from book-club offerings to famously giving away a car to every audience member of her 2004 season premiere show. Most recently, a poll in Parade magazine (search) reveals its readers chose Oprah as a celebrity they'd most like to vote for for president.
S. Truett Cathy — Chick Fil-A (search ) founder S. Truett Cathy is a spiritual business leader who year in and year out puts God in front of profit by famously closing his fast-food chicken restaurants every Sunday so customers and employees can set aside the day for worship and family. Cathy has also been a mentor to hundreds of teenage boys through his WinShape Centre Foundation. In 2004, the octogenarian penned his third book, "It's Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men," in which he documents his unique management theory and community service. And oh yeah, "Eat More Chicken."
Donald Trump — Yes, he's an egomaniac. Yes, he's overexposed. Yes, he's a walking promotion for everything Trump. But with "The Apprentice," Donald Trump is offering an opportunity of a lifetime to people who wouldn't normally have the chance to compete for a position that carries as much clout as running one of his companies — and to apply and compete for it in front of millions of people. But what Trump really gets nominated for is providing the financial resources and using his connection to Wharton Business School to pay for and get first-season "Apprentice" contestant Troy McLain a first-rate education at the prestigious Ivy League institution. McLain was the best contestant in the first season, but lost out in the end because he didn't have the piece of paper that so many companies require. The Donald is helping to rectify that.
Christopher and Dana Reeve — Superman left the building on Oct. 10, but his fight and optimism in the face of paralysis should not be forgotten. Reeve's widow Dana will carry on the fight through the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (search ), and her strength was matched only by his will to win the battle that his life became after a horse-riding accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. Reeve will be missed, but he will not be forgotten.
President George W. Bush — President Bush is standing strong in the face of international and domestic criticism in his fight against terrorism, but who else will ensure the safety of our great nation, if not the president of the United States?
Those are the 2004 Stupid Lit'l Dreamer nominations. Please cast your vote in the poll on the right of the page.
Grrr! to Comair and U.S. Airways
It seems trivial — in the wake of the horrible news out of Southeast Asia — to Grrr! the airlines that stranded thousands of passengers in airports on Christmas, after sickouts and computer glitches forced flight cancellations nationwide, but I'm gonna Grrr! anyway.
For Comair — a Delta subsidiary — I have one word: Redundancy.
An apparent computer glitch forced the airline to cancel 1,100 flights on Christmas day. While computer glitches will happen — even devastating ones — having a solid disaster recovery operation in place would have minimized the damage.
Somebody needs to be fired — or sued.
As for U.S. Airways, an airline spokesperson said the sickouts of flight attendants and baggage handlers that caused many flights to be cancelled and thousands of bags to be misdirected was not any coordinated effort by employees to hurt the airline. Let's hope that's true, but I find it hard to believe.
It's sad that it has to come down to stranding good-faith travelers in order to make a point.
Airplane Cells ... Grrr!
Howard Hughes might have liked it. Richard Branson probably likes it. And Heaven knows The Oblivions will embrace it, but Grrr! to the very notion of allowing cell-phone use on airplanes.
What? The screaming kid kicking the back of your already uncomfortable seat isn't enough for you? The traveling salesmen degrading their "hot secretaries" with locker-room talk on their way to the next round of company-sponsored golf — ahem — sales meetings, isn't enough? The drunk brother of some famous celebrity causing a scene isn't enough?
Air travel is stressful enough. Just say no to cell phones. GRRR!
See Toby Dial's comic on the subject.
The Cutting-Room Floor
I'm heading to Las Vegas next week to begin stories on the city's 100th birthday this coming March, and to get a preview of all the latest and greatest gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show. Check out FOX Magazine for those stories ... and did anybody see me anchoring the news cut-ins on Christmas and Sunday? Let me know what you thought.
You Grrr! guys are my best critics, and I appreciate any advice you can send my way.
Now for Your Grrrs ....
From Gloria C. in New Jersey: To Gwen, mother of almost three: I am a mother and understand not wanting to leave your children unattended while you return a cart, however, have you ever considered the options? You could park right next to or a space away from a cart return so you aren’t leaving your children alone and being kind to others at the same time. Also, what about offering your cart to someone walking toward the store? Especially if they have children, it could help them too. There are plenty of options that don’t require leaving your children, having a cart take a parking spot or potentially damaging someone’s property. Think of all the smiles you will help create.
Carol in Cyber-Space was not so diplomatic in her response to Gwen: Stop being so lazy and using your children as an excuse for your laziness. Oh my, you have two children and you're pregnant, woe is me!! If you feel so strongly about keeping your children safe and warm, then dress your children for the weather OR don't go shopping until you have someone to keep your children for you. You should be the one parking far away and leaving your cart far away from everyone else. The rest of us shouldn't have to be at the receiving end of your laziness.
David D. shares a Peter Frampton sighting: My wife and I were doing some Christmas shopping this past Saturday at a local mall, and while at the Apple Computer store, Peter Frampton came in to do some shopping as well. My wife said, "That looks like Peter Frampton." We were caught between a rock and a hard place, not wanting to bother him, but being such fans and wanting to talk to him. I finally approached him and asked for his autograph for my wife. He smiled and motioned for her to come over, asked her how she spelled her name and not only gave her the autograph, but took the time to write a little note wishing her his best and a Merry Christmas. We talked for a few minutes and he shook my hand before continuing his shopping. Folks read about a lot of celebrities being rude to fans, I just had to tell you what a pleasure it was to meet such wonderful artist. He was very gracious, and as I have told my co-workers, a true gentleman to us. What a wonderful Christmas story we have to remember from one of the greatest guitar players of all time.
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Until next week ... Grrr!
Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for FOXNews.com, and contributes as a features reporter on FOX Magazine, and as a news cut-ins anchor on FOX News Channel. Mike also appeared in Analyze This. Read Mike's Bio.