Greed Is Good ... Grrr!

Am I the only one insulted by celebrity endorsements on TV?

Catherine Zeta-Jones (search) is a beautiful, talented, Oscar-winning actress who also happens to be married to one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood, Michael Douglas — practically royalty! — and she's making extra money hawking wireless telecom. Even if "greed is still good" in the "Wall Street" star's household, which I doubt, commercials are beneath Ms. Zeta-Jones.

Ryan Seacrest (search) has two shows on TV and does wireless commercials that run during them. It's bad enough reality TV is already taking jobs away from struggling actors in the form of programming — now hosts are hogging up the commercials, too.

I don't mean to single out Mr. Seacrest. He's obviously worked very hard to get to where he is, and he's not on the same level yet — at least financially — as say, Jason Alexander was after "Seinfeld." Yet that didn't stop that little roly-poly actor from giving TV viewers agita in the form of KFC commercials. Thank goodness the Colonel cut the head off that ad campaign. At least Jerry Seinfeld's commercials were funny, which makes up for the fact that he was already extremely wealthy when he was doing them.

But it's not only actors with the greedy agents — eh-um, with the extra cash opportunities. Sports stars are raking in big bucks from their teams, but many of them will only sign a certain brand of ball or only wear a certain brand of shoe — because they're being paid more big bucks to do so. And we eat it up. Grrr!

Forget FIDO.  TIVO is man's best friend.

Rich Does Not Mean Right ... Grrr!

We're all guilty of letting someone's fat wallet cloud otherwise good judgment at one time or another. How many times have these words come out of your mouth: "Yeah, but he's loaded." 

Seems like no matter how much of an Oblivion a perceived rich person may be, we little people are always willing to forgive him or her for whatever indiscretions. That's why the Martha Stewart verdict is so shocking. I guess those 12 jurors were not under the misguided impression that Martha would have paid off every one of their mortgages had they acquitted her. Good for them for "keeping it real." (Ooh, I hate that phrase but I needed to make the point as obnoxiously as possible.)

One of my favorite urban legends ...

A guy (he's an electrician, plumber, Kinko's employee — whatever) is driving down the New Jersey Turnpike during a rainstorm, when he sees a limousine driver fixing a flat. The guy pulls over to help, and lo and behold, Donald Trump (search) exits the stretch with a hundred dollar bill for his troubles. Guy says, "Keep the money, but here's my card. Please send my wife flowers because she'll never believe this." A few weeks go by and still no flowers, but wait — a letter from the bank. The Donald paid off his mortgage.

Yeah, right. Grrr! to the pipe dreamers.

More Ways To Spot an Oblivion ... Grrr!

Is that a cop barrelling up on my bumper that I spy in the rear view mirror? Better get over to the right and let him pass. Oh wait, it's not a cop. It's just some TOOL driving a Chrysler cruiser with a few extra antennae and a spotlight for good measure. Who are these people who want to be cops so bad that they buy these cars and then deck them out with cop gear? Get a life you Oblivion. You tool. You moron.

Pssst ... excuse me Ms. Oblivion. See this line gathered behind you at the coffee condiments table? We'd also like to put cream and sugar in our coffee, so please take the conversation somewhere else.

Oh, one more thing: Take your barking dog inside your house. Your little pooch is causing someone to wear off the enamel on their teeth.  Thank you for your consideration on the matter. Grrr!

What goes through an Office Oblivion's head: "Woe is me. I can't get ahead in life. But please Mr. and Mrs. Employer, don't ask me to put in extra effort unless you pay me for it. I expect and deserve to be compensated for every minute of overtime! Gee, I wonder why I've been stuck in the same cubicle and with measly cost of living increases for the past however many years — and that sucker who gives this place his or her all and never complains gets the office and the promotion. Must be a kiss-ass. Yeah, that's the ticket. I'll never kiss butt."

Books With Lots of Pictures

I love reading nonfiction, particularly biographies. How hard would it be for the editors to end a chapter before putting in 20 pages of pictures and captions? By the time I go through all the pictures, I have to go back to pick up the mid-sentence where the pictures started because I forgot where the story was. Is this some kind of book editor's joke?

My Digital Phone (Voice-Over IP)

Still going strong and still one low flat rate. And thanks to a tip from Grrr! reader Nathan Hoover of NYC, I went out and purchased a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) for my modem, in case the power in my home goes out. Wow, I should be getting paid an endorsement fee for this. Wouldn't that be ironic? Not to mention hypocritical.

Now for your Grrrs:

Tim, "The Bad Grammar" Guy from my last column, generated a lot of email response:

Kelly D. in St. Louis writes: Here's my grrrrr (and I rarely have them): In response to "Tim the Bad Grammar Guy": A college education does not make a person "spoiled"; it makes them educated. Educated does not mean "better," it just means educated. My parents did not have the benefit of a college education but they sacrificed much so I could have one. I do NOT take it for granted, nor am I spoiled. I'm a single mom who is able to feed, shelter and clothe her children because her parents gave her a college education. (And yes, I grew up in a two-parent home. They've been married over 50 years. Once upon a time that was considered a good thing, rather than something to deride, as Tim has done.) It seems, based on Tim's attitude, that arrogance isn't limited to those who earned a college degree.

Steve somewhere in Cyberspace writes: My grrrr is idiots like "Tim the Bad Grammar Guy" who appoint themselves the Internet tough guys. You know, the ones who will survive all terrorist attacks because he lost a finger and lives in the "mean streets." Why do these individuals need to fantasize to the world about how tough they are? Newsflash Timmy ... you're not as tough as you perceive. You are a blithering idiot. You can blame all the college-educated people for your miserable failings in life and attempt to scare them with your juvenile threats, but you don't scare or impress anyone. So you failed in life, you failed to achieve either of your objectives with your tribute to the literary world that you sent into the Strakalogue Grrr column last week. People like you are the reason they put directions on shampoo.

Rod in Warner Robins, Ga., writes: This to "Tim the Bad Grammar Guy." You just don’t get it. It seems you criticize those who strove to make something of themselves. Unlike you, who has quit everything from school to the Navy. I’m willing to bet you still live in the neighborhood that you grew up in. You then blame the educated for being poor and having to “survive” on the streets of the big bad city. Quit blaming others for the life you continue to choose. You think it’s tough where you live? Then move somewhere else in this wonderful country, make something of yourself, and stop the whining! Grrrrrrrrr.

Brian B. writes: Grrr, for "Tim the Bad Grammar Guy." You know what makes me go Grrrr? People who think they had it so much harder than everyone else. Everyone has problems. GET OVER IT!

James, From Moultrie, Ga., writes: Hey Mike, just nut up and keep giving them hell, Grrrr. I enjoy your comments and respect your views. "Tim the Bad Grammar Guy" hit the nail on the head by stating the fact that he'll never amount to anything. I too, received my GED in the Navy and continued my education after being discharged.  People like Tim are the ones to avoid during trouble. They will get you killed.

Oh, and Tim? Just because some people write well does not automatically mean they have college degrees. And on the flip side, a degree does not a good writer make. Harping on the fact that you don't have one is just an excuse for your carelessness on the matter.

Now on to Other Things That Make You Go Grrr!

John Hill writes: I like calling them "Minute Man Politicos." These are the people who hear a term or phrase uttered by a politician and give it, at most, 60 seconds of thought before they're vociferously sharing it with anyone who will listen. And in those 60 seconds or less of deep thought, that person has become a subject matter expert, making up for lack of facts or knowledge with passion and conviction. If you can say/spray it loud enough, you have to be right. People, no matter your political leanings, think about what terms and phrases mean, not just how they make you feel in the first 60 seconds you hear them.

Kevin from Southern California Grrrs: I don't know if this just happens to me, but ... when I eat my lunch at work in the kitchen area, why must everyone comment on what I'm eating?

Now for my biggest fan ...

Billy P. writes: Seriously, what a waste of time and effort. Leave the kitchen b!tch!n for the women! Man-up!!! Who cares if velour sweat suits or inconsiderate drivers bother you. WHO CARES?!?!?!?!. Your column is nothing but a forum for irate, constipated, irritable individuals who have nothing better to complain about than bearing witness to someone with 15 items in a 10 or less express lane. Get a life, get a grip and get over it. Life is filled with “oblivions.” My advice to you is: Become a little more oblivious to the petty things that make you go GRRR!

Hey, Billy ... fear does not exist in this Dojo, does it? NO SENSE!

Julie L. writes: I have struggled for several years with infertility. All I've ever wanted is to be a wife and mommy. We have friends who have children though, and when they complain about not being able to watch what they want on TV because their two-year-old has to watch Dora the Explorer, or any number of other kids shows, that makes me GRRR.  What's worse is when we remind them that they are the adult and the two-year-old is the child, they say, oh, you couldn't understand because you don't have kids. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!  These people are very aware of the trials my husband and I have been through and still have the nerve to say something like that.

Bob L. in Washington State writes: Jennifer M., who complained about the office oblivion who always uses the speaker phone and annoys everyone else with his conversations, might enjoy this. We have a manager at my office who has done the same thing for a long time. Recently he received a call from an angry customer who proceeded to give him a royal a$$-chewing. As usual, the phone was set on speaker, so we all had the opportunity to enjoy it. We haven't heard another one of his calls since.

Rachel in Gainesville, Fla., writes: This goes out to all the hundreds of Oblivions who work in the cubicles around me. The people on the radio have singing contracts for a reason, and you work in a cubicle for a reason. You are not Whitney, Britney, or Madonna, and you can't carry a tune in a bucket — not the first one of you! I am starting to think I work in the midst of a herd of dying cows, each and every one moaning a different undiscernible tune. So for mercy's sake, please shut up and sing along with the radio in your car where no one else has to suffer with you! GRRRR!

Kate Tate in Alpharetta, Ga., writes: The Grrr column is the best! It's always there the moment I need it! Thanks so much for writing both the sweet and sour! And speaking of sweet ... can I give a "shout out" to my "homie" Matthew in Atlanta who sent a Grr to James in the Midwest (excuse my ebonics Big Mick, I just had to break the English Grammatical Rules this one time!). We need more sweet men like you who actually do like their wives! I'm all about having that dinner piping hot for my sweet man when he walks in the door!

You go, Kate! Incidentally, the Melissa Errico feature on FOX Magazine I told you about last week was bumped to next week's show. It happens. Later gators.

Until next week, Grrrrrrrrrr!

Read previous Strakalogue Grrr! columns

Mike Straka is the Director of Operations and Special Projects for, and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine" (Sundays 11 p.m. on FNC) and "Sunday Best." As an actor, Straka appeared in the film "Analyze This," co-starred in the Off-Broadway hit "Tony n' Tina's Wedding," and has done several television commercials and various programs.

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