Ain't No Cure For Oblivion Blues ... Grrr!

Welcome back to the daily grind!

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, millions of hard working Americans return to work today refreshed, ready to slay the dragons, kick ass and take names!

Mrs. Grrr!, baby Maxine and I spent the last week on a Carnival Cruise, (search) which was surprisingly relaxing and dare I say, fun. Note to all overworked folks whose bosses like to keep them on cellular leashes: They can't reach you so conveniently when you're somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic.

According to the ship's hotel director George Abuabarra, there are over 67 nationalities represented among the crew of the "Victory" ship that we sailed, and each looked like he actually enjoyed their job. It was reminiscent of Disney World (search), which incidentally, I hope for all of our sakes weathered Hurricane Frances well. Hang tough Mickey.

Mr. Abuabarra also broke some good news to the Grrr! column: All Carnival cruise lines will feature FOX News Channel beginning this Fall, which is very cool.

Now, all of that being said, leave it to the Cruise Oblivions to do their darndest to try to ruin everybody else's vacation.

The main Oblivion attraction on the cruise ship is apparently the No Parenting Zone. I never saw any demarcation lines, but with so many unruly kids running, swimming in the hot tubs and screaming through the halls late at night, I must have missed the signage. What is it about Oblivion parents who think all of the other adults on board don't mind looking after their little monsters?

Not to be outdone, the Elevator Oblivions continue to board the elevators before the things are emptied, and still more congregate at the bottom of stairs to catch up on the last few hours.

And of course, no buffet line would be complete without Oblivions. I mean, who else could we count on to keep us hungry those few extra minutes while the Obs decide if the food is better on the other side, even though it's all the same — and has been — for the past five days?

For the most part, however, even the Oblivions couldn't ruin my vacation. With no computer, cell phone or beeper handy, I actually got to know baby Maxine better than I've had the opportunity to over the past nine months.  And that my friends, made my Labor Day week the best I've ever had!

I am still wondering, though, why it cost several hundred dollars to book a nine month old on a cruise? She didn't eat any of the ship's food or take up much space for that matter. Must have been a very expensive crib rental.

A BIG Thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard ... No Grrr!

Embarking on a cruise wouldn't be the same without the escort we received from the brave men and women that serve in our U.S. Coast Guard. A few officers patrolled the ship's decks as we sailed off into the Atlantic, and several heavily armed vessels provided safe passageway. Thank you for keeping our shores safe. It does not go unnoticed.

Werewolves and Chinese Menus ... Grrr!

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand — he was heading to my storm door!

At least, he must have been, because every full moon or so my door handle is crammed with Chinese menus. The real kicker is, I get the same restaurant's menu three days in a row.

It's still better than living in an apartment building, however. There, the werewolves just dump a stack of menus on the foyer floor, forcing occupants to either pick them up, or walk over them.  There ought to be a law against the menu bandits.

On a related subject: My mailbox was full with a week's worth of mail. It was stuffed to the brim. After sorting all of it, NOT ONE thing remotely important. No bills, no personal letters, nothing. Only solicitations for things we're not interested in buying or accepting (30% APRs and such).

Now For Your Grrrrs

Sarah, Palm Bay, Fla. (currently in exile in Chantilly, Va.):  On behalf of all the Floridians (Georgians, North and South Carolinians, Louisianans, Texans, Puerto Ricans, Virgin Islanders, Bahamians, etc. etc.) who have ever suffered through a hurricane: a huge GRRRRR to the weather reporters who stand there in their yellow slickers in the wind and the rain and the flying debris and tell us how dangerous it is to be outside in the wind and the rain and the flying debris! You aren't a hero, you're an idiot. We all know what it looks like. There's a difference between accurately reporting the facts and giving people a realistic feel for what's going on, and replaying over and over and over the same clips of the roof blowing away and of the selfless martyr with the microphone leaning into the wind and shouting over its roar, "Gee folks, the wind is really picking up out here!" Ya think? Let's cut down the hype just a little, shall we? Thanks for letting me vent, and I hope I get to read your next column at home under my own roof. Assuming it's still there.

— Good luck Sarah.

Richard Eckert Viera, Fla.:  I am in one of the areas that hurricane Frances is predicted to hit and as such, gas around here is in short supply, with long lines at all stations. I had the good fortune of being in line behind a woman whom I watched pay with her credit card, fill her gas tank, and take her receipt — all perfectly normal. Then I watched her proceed to leave her car at the pump and walk into the station to do who knows what. All this while ignoring the 30 other cars waiting to use a pump. It is oblivion enough in normal situations, but with the situation a hurricane brings to the area, this creates a whole new level that other Obliviots only dream of attaining. GRRR
Chris in Iowa: I could spout off for days talking about the freak shows who were on display in New York City during the RNC, but there is no need to since America saw their true colors.  They did a great job of representing their ignorant hatred towards George W. with their radical views and tactics.  Don't you think the economy would be better if all the protesters in New York City would actually work, at a real job?

Jodi in New Mexico: I don’t know if this is the e-mail to send Grrrs!, but hopefully, someone will hear me out. I am so sick of John Kerry (and others for that matter) blaming Bush on economy issues. He should be “blaming” simple economic trends that hit recession every now and again AND the event (I’m not sure if Kerry might remember it…) called 9-11. Hello? You want to point fingers? Try those guys who decided that their virgins were more important than people’s lives…  In my eyes, John Kerry is a major Oblivion.

Dave in Pittsburgh, Pa.: Mike, first off, I’d like to congratulate you for exiting the closet. I too am a short American; exactly your height. I’d like to Grrr about the studies that say short people have it so tough. I’m an Army veteran, I have a beautiful 5-foot-10-inch tall girlfriend, and I’ve become very successful in my career. From where I stand, I can see just fine. So, I’ll never be in the NBA. Who cares? But, most importantly, I’d like to agree with your comments about the “hyphenated”-Americans. I’m an Italian-, Catholic-, Whatever-American, but I think “American” suits me just fine. Keep up the good work.

Bill P. in St. Paul, Minn.: Mike, a bull's-eye with your hit on Gov. McGreevey hiding under "I am a gay American." I've never heard this euphemism more wittily exposed, and I laughed till I cried. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think when you are funny you are unbeatable.

— Thanks Bill.

Charly Nash in Nashville, Tenn.: Last week's column reminded me of something I came across once while channel-surfing that is etched into my memory as the most stupid sports question ever asked.  The interviewer asks, "Did the fact that you were going against a left-hander affect your strategy?" Why is this a stupid question? He was talking to a BOWLER!

5-foot, 6-inch Kim Finnegan: My Grr is to the FOUR men who stood by watching as I attempted to push my car, which had broken down, off the road and into a McDonald's parking lot, a distance of about 100 yards. The men whistled and cat-called as I struggled alone to push my 2,000 pound vehicle off the highway and out of the way of oncoming traffic. (There was no safe place to simply leave it while I called for a tow-truck). As if that wasn't bad enough, one of the men had the audacity to say to me, "Gee, I didn't think a little thing like you could have moved that car," to which I replied, "And thank you so much for the help." Nice to see people helping out their fellow man. GRRRRRRR!

Frank in the Garden State: I respect your interview segment with porn star Jenna Jameson.  You have a knack for bringing out the best in people, and you gave her dignity. You could have easily beat her up, and it takes a real Fair and Balanced journalist to have not.

Stupid Lit'l Dreamers

Politics and shortcomings aside, former President Bill Clinton turned a humble life into a political powerhouse. He met adversity head on to live the American Dream, and became president of the greatest nation on the planet. This week he's recovering from heart surgery.

Let's all keep Mr. Clinton in our prayers.

Until Next Week ... Grrr!

Get the Grrr! Glossary
Visit Grrr! Cartoonist Toby Dials' Web site

Mike Straka is the Director of Operations and Special Projects and columnist for 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.

Respond to Straka