Now for Your Grrrs January 24, 2005

Kelly J. just back from Korea: We have been stationed in Korea for two years and all I can say is Thank God for FOXnews.com! We don't always get the entire story through the local channels and enjoy FOXNews.com as our homepage. Here is my Grrr: It seems like I read something in your column at some point about Paris Hilton and her dog, and if I didn't, I must have dreamed it would make a fine Grrr for you. We just got back in the states two weeks ago. In the two years that we've been overseas, it seems that little dogs have become an accessory for those who believe themselves fabulous. I took my car to the car wash and was waiting in the lobby for the guys to finish. There sat this Paris wannabe with her little fluffy Pomeranian. "Paris" was eating corn chips, licking her fingers, petting her dog, then licking her fingers again. At my daughter's tumbling class, several parents bring in their very large dogs to sit in a 12x15 room for an hour while their kids have their practice. I don't mind dogs, but my kids have allergies. For businesses to allow this "accessory," they are putting their customers at risk and running the risk of being sued because of the "accessory" biting another customer. Not only should these "accessory owners" be concerned that these dogs might bite or cause allergies in others, they seem to miss the fact that it's cruel to the dogs to keep them pent up in a small room. If they want to take their dogs out for recreation, they need a yard, not a waiting room!

This is the article we think you're referring to: Pocket Pooches: The Must-Have Accessory

John in Jamestown, N.Y.: I've got a name for the Obliviots who believe EVERYONE should hear their music: Bass Thumpers. I had a neighbor who was a Bass Thumper. He lived TWO floors above me, and played his stereo at a volume that was louder than my own stereo was
capable of ... in my apartment. In his own apartment, it was louder than a shuttle launch. I repeatedly asked him to turn it down, complained to the landlord, and even called the police enough that the night shift lieutenant literally ordered me to stop calling. After that, I sought arrest warrants against the guy, on the basis that he violated the Jamestown, N.Y., city noise ordinance (which states that it's illegal to play a stereo louder than is required to be audible in the room where it is). It took TWENTY-ONE arrests to go to trial, where the judge ordered him to move out. A week later, my landlord asked me for advice because the guy's new neighbors were complaining about the noise.

-- Some people never learn.

Mary in Antioch, Calif.: My Grrr is drivers who drive in the daytime fog with their headlights off. These nitwits think that because it's daytime that headlights are not needed. WRONG! During daylight hours of fog, the headlights are so you can be seen. I have driven in fog during the day when you cannot see the car ahead of you when it's only one car length away. After dark you should have your lights on anyway, fog or not. I say this last because there are other nitwits who drive at dusk without lights. GRRR!

Larry in Redding, Calif.: I'm a Left Lane Vigilante who drives a little over the limit. I don't dawdle, listen to the radio or talk on a cell phone. The reason I'm in the left lane most of the time is to avoid the entering vehicles driven by Oblivions who do the above things AND don't make any effort to look over their shoulder or adjust their speed to match traffic. I'm also, at times, a right lane vigilante who will not instantly change lanes for the same Oblivions. That really irritates them, but they are, after all, oblivious to the reasons for my behavior.

Dean in Upstate N.Y.: I drive a school bus for a large suburban school district in Upstate New York. In my travels around town, I see just about all the motor vehicle laws shredded in one way or another almost every day. The reasons are many, I'm sure, for each of the lawbreakers to do what they do and no doubt they are more than willing to share their excuse with anyone who will listen. I am not one of them. While I board and drop off students at various schools and residences, Obliviots regularly (five to 10 times a day) pay no attention to the idea that young, inexperienced pedestrians are in the area and they should beware. Some motorists just drive right by my bus at a bus stop (sometimes even in a school yard) as though I'm a private disabled vehicle in their way. Can they not see the Giant Yellow Box with the stop signs out and flashing red lights and lighted signs that say "School Bus" right in front of them? Do we have to equip school buses with large iron gates that physically impede traffic so the students remain safe? These students, whether in kindergarten or high school, will do some of the most unpredictable things in traffic situations, and EVERYONE must be alert to their actions. Bus drivers, at least in our district, are thoroughly trained in all facets of school bus safety and we pass our knowledge on to the students as best we can, but kids will be kids. There can be no excuse for injuring or killing a student because the cell phone rang, or the driver was late for a meeting, or frustration got the best of them or someone just didn't see the bus(?). The responsibility lies solely with the motorists. I don't like being stopped by school buses any more than anybody else. And yes, there are enough traffic signals to slow us down more than we'd like, but doing something as unsafe as passing a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing is downright despicable. Obliviots are not just annoying, they're dangerous!

Brian in Steam Boat Springs, Colo.: Some of my "pet peeves" occur at the local gas station. You pull in to fill up, and wait for someone in front of you to finish and move on. Lo and behold, they're done but don't move. Oblivious to the lineup of people waiting, they stroll into the station minimart. If you're going inside (to pay, buy a snack, etc.) take a few seconds to move your car into a parking spot and show some consideration for other people. In many cases I watch them pay at the pump and they still do this. In addition, some people pull in to the first pump instead of pulling all the way forward, forcing you to try and pull in in front of them and back up. I also see people start washing their windows after they're finished pumping instead of during. Common courtesy is not so common. Thanks for trying to enlighten the Oblivions.

Eerik in Richmond: Mike, please try to get back to the basics. I enjoy your column, but enjoyed it much more when it was a place for us to get the everyday annoyances off of our chests so we don't have to explode in public. For example: when you walk into a fast food restaurant and the person in front of you feels they need to leave a quarter mile of space between him and the next person, leaving the next person to walk through the door standing in the lobby or outside. More than three people can fit in a fast-food restauant.

Karolyn in Cyber-Space: I just happen to run across your latest "Grrr" comments and thought: finally someone that sees what the rest of us "un-Hollywood types" see when we are forced to watch these people give themselves awards and pats on the back. I had decided the Golden Globes were such a farce that I did not watch them. At that point I wanted to read more of your writing and started searching, I ran across Back to Basics. Wow, first I laughed a lot at both articles, but then I decided anyone that can see the irony in their own behavior as well as others and is not afraid to share it with the rest of the world, then good for you. Good for us to have someone that goes against the norm, swims upstream to tell it like it really is even if it means saying the obvious but unpopular opinion. It made me stop for a second and think about choices I might be making that are just plain vain and unimportant ... thanks for the insight. I too remember the smell of Old Spice on my father's face ... it just smelled like love and today when I catch a whiff of that smell it has only good memories attached to the aroma. I truly enjoy your humor, your style of writing and mostly your courage. I will be looking for more of your articles of hidden in plain-sight truth. Are you thinking of a book perhaps?

--Yes, stay tuned for books in 2005.

Bob in Riverton, Wyoming: At least CBS had the cojones to fire those responsible for lying and cheating. I think Rather was hung out to dry for the bad journalism on lower level investigative reporters. He quit and acknowledged failures … Bush refuses to do so.

Howard S. in Alberta, Calif.: Yes, the constant use of "gate" as a suffix for scandal is irritatingly juvenile. But then, so is FOX's use of "homicide bomber" when writing about a suicide bomber. This peculiar usage is apparently based on the notion that "suicide" would impart some sort of dignity to the murderer. Homicide bomber is redundant, and conveys no information unless one is conversant with FOXspeak, in which case it is understood that the term means suicide bomber.

Ellard at the local bookstore: My latest Oblivion encounter was at a bookstore. When did it become OK to sit down in the middle of an aisle to read a book, blocking the entire aisle and refusing to move when others need to get by? I wish I could come up with a name for these Oblivions.

--How about "Obliv-O-Squatters?"

John in Berkeley, Calif.: I'm a Republican at Berkeley (surprising, I know, but check us out at www.calpatriot.org). So before the election last November, I bought a small bumper sticker to put on my car. It was just a small square sticker with a GOP elephant on it. It could in no way be offensive to anyone. I was heading out to my car over the weekend when I noticed someone had peeled it off! I was furious!!! All I could think of was "GRRRR!!" How petty! Many people were upset at Berkeley with the election results, but who gets so mad they peel off bumper stickers? Thanks for letting me vent, keep up the good work!

Until next week ... Grrr!

Respond to Mike Straka

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.