Grrr! ... Parents, Wake Up and Start Parenting

I am burning mad over a quote I saw in a local newspaper last week.

The words were spoken by the mother of a 5-year-old boy who tragically choked to death on a piece of a rubber glove.

She told reporters that her child was blowing up a latex rubber glove like a balloon — and said she yelled at him to stop. Apparently, when the boy didn't listen, the woman made no effort to actually get up and take the glove from him, because a few moments later a piece of the glove lodged in the boy's throat, and he died.

Beside the obvious, tragic Grrr!, the woman went on to say that her child died "because the paramedics took too long to get there." Huh?

Apparently, the ambulance took 20 minutes to arrive on the scene. My question: How long did it take for the mother to get up off her butt and take the dangerous "toy" away from her toddler? This was a tragedy that could have been avoided. Wake up parents and start parenting. Grrr!

Highway Oblivions ... Grrr!

Man, lots of Oblivions on the road these days.

Driving in to work on Saturday, I encountered what I thought to be a Left Lane Vigilante — you know, those people who drive at or below the speed limit in the fast lane! However, when I passed on the right of the giant GMC Yukon, I glanced over to discover she was really an Obliviot.

There she was, holding a newspaper in her outstretched right hand, reading while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike. I thought about beeping and flipping the bird but I just hit the gas and left her in the dust instead.

Sadly, she’s not the only Obliviot on the road these days. How else can one explain that one of the leading causes of death in our country, for all age groups, is automobile accidents. I know, I know. I can hear you already: “He passes people on the right and ‘leaves them in the dust,’ and he’s got the audacity to complain about bad drivers.”

Actually, yes I do. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but at least I’m aware of my actions on the road, and not oblivious to the potential ramifications of my actions — unlike “Newspaper Girl.”

Ditto Left Lane Vigilantes, who pose more danger by forcing people to pass on the right, as well as ImporTants, who use the shoulder to avoid traffic jams, Self-Righteons, who don’t let people merge — even when said mergers are following the correct course of traffic patterns and laws — and WalMartians who circle store parking lots for 15 minutes in search of a spot 10 feet from the door.

And where are the cops when you need them? They are most likely already occupied with other traffic Oblivions, writing tickets even as these shameful citizens are busy trying to talk their way out of it.

There are not enough cops to sustain the amount of Oblivionism on the roads these days. Grrr!

Speaker Phones in the Office … Grrr!

Hey ImporTant, look around you, ma’am or sir. See those cubicles around you? See those people working hard, concentrating on getting their jobs done? Those are your co-workers, and believe it or not, they don’t care to listen in on your phone conversations or your voicemail messages (unless of course it’s Donald Trump returning your call — Listen to Trump's message to Straka). So please save them the daily Grrr! and order yourself a headset or pick up the darn handset and put it to you ear. Are you that lazy? Are you that concerned that your boss or your co-workers know how hard you work?

Here’s a newsflash for you: If you don’t have an office door to close — so you can use your speaker phone without disturbing everybody — you’re not that ImporTant.

Get a life. Grrr!

Spot the Oblivion ... Grrr!

Last week I introduced Spot the Oblivion, where some e-mails that I receive are actually sent by Oblivions, although they'll never know it. See if you can spot this week's Oblivion e-mail below.

Now for Your Grrrs

Rod in Acworth, Ga.: I know the Oblivions who refuse to turn off their cell phones have been raked over the coals. But this is a step further — with all the "cutesy" ring tones now, the interruption of a ringing cell phone is even more annoying. In my church last Sunday, not only did a cell phone ring, but it was during Communion — and the ring tone was some circus/cartoon tune. At least a simple beep or ring wouldn't have been so destructive of the worship atmosphere! Come on, Oblivions — turn off the phone, or at least get rid of the cutesy tunes!

Master Sgt. (Ret.) William L.: I’m a veteran of 22 years in the United States Army. Myself and every veteran I know (this is Fayetteville, NC…I know MANY veterans) have one prized possession:  DD (Department of Defense) 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. This document tells your whole military history. It shows how long you were on active duty, what schools you attended, and what awards you received. It is valuable. It can assist you and your family for the rest of your life. Some of us (me included) will even have this document listed with the Register of Deeds in our county. I am supposed to believe that Mr. Kerry is an honorable veteran, so I have one question: Where is John Kerry’s DD 214?

Here is a link to Kerry's DD 214 found on his official Web site.

Elizabeth -- Stuck on the Left Coast but hails from Northern Virginia writes: Today I was fighting for a parking space at my school when I heard the Los Angeles radio station Arrow 93.1 (Classic Rock) mention this guy whose name is Mike Straka and he writes a Grrr! Column on FOXnews' Web site. They were laughing about how Trump said he would fire [Dan] Rather and they played your message twice and read the rest of the story!  You must read so many Grrrrrs a week and believe me I have tons -- (like the woman who stole my space today even though I had my blinker on) -- I just wanted to bring a little bit of cool news to hopefully brighten your day!

Sue H. in Lawrenceville, Ga.: It's the parents who are coddled, not the kids. I've known too many parents who are outraged when their child is admonished (and usually deserves it) in school. I've known parents who've gone to the principal to "demand" that their child have a certain teacher. My parents just told me to deal with it, that life's not perfect and we don't always get what we want. And they didn't even like the Rolling Stones.

Tom Gatto in cyber-space: Paul Hamms Refusal? Was he asked to give back the Gold? You think this is a SHAME? You are PATHETIC. Thanks for writing a column that makes AMERICA look like the BAD GUY! Hamm did nothing wrong. But you just couldn’t wait to put your spin on BASHING AMERICA since Hamm represents this Great Country. You’re probably a DEMOCRAT!

Mary Sue Redd in cyber-space: This line stopped me in my tracks: “Stop coddling kids and help them take responsibility for their actions.” Boy do you conservatives love to tell others to take responsibility. Try accepting some responsibility for your actions. No matter why the decisions are made as they are in the government, the consequences are not always positive. Don’t try to spin your way out of the negative outcomes—take responsibility.

-- See? I'm called a Democrat and a conservative in the same week. At least I know I'm fair and balanced, although Tom must not have not read my entire Hamm article.

Jim in cyber-space: What makes these pundits think they are being original by putting the -gate suffix on anything even remotely hinting of political scandal?  Rather-gate? Rather not, thank you! Memo-gate? Forget-it-gate! Wouldn't it be really neat if folks writing about these things could be a little more creative? At least pick a more intelligent way to use this. For example:  A scandal involving cloning - Repli-Gate. Scandal involving horse racing? Neigh-gate. Scandal about a company charging too much for substandard products? Bill Gate(s). Ooops, didn't mean to go there, sorry. Apoli-gate? Stop me, I got a million of them.

SOB in cyber-space replies to Nathen Fritzsche (last column), who said: "How about each candidate comes up with a plan for social security and Medicare to be around when I retire."
While I agree that 30 year old topics shouldn't be the focus of presidential debate, I'm sick of hearing how the government needs to take care of me. are 23...assume the government will not be there for you when you are old and start planning for it have tons of time.

James H. in Nashville, Tenn.: Mike, I love your column, but I have a serious bone to pick with you. In this week’s column you’ve defined someone who does not vote because he doesn’t like any of the candidates a “polignorant.” Please allow me to give you the reasoning behind this decision, as I will not be voting this year, due to the fact that there is no candidate I am aware of which I do not heartily disapprove of. Voting is not a requirement, it is a right. I have the freedom, if I choose to do so, of casting a ballot for a particular candidate. I also have the right and freedom, if I choose to do so, of expressing my distaste and distrust for the politicians involved in the election by not casting any vote at all. That abstinence does not make me any less of a citizen or person than you, and if you have insinuated such by your use of the word “polignorant,” you, sir, have thoroughly p'$%&! me off.

The Cutting Room Floor

Check out my "FOX Magazine" piece on Chik Fil-A founder Truett Cathy by clicking the "video" tab above next to the "photos" tab. Cathy closes his stores on Sunday to allow his customers and employees a day with their families and for worship.

Stupid Lit'l Dreamer

Listen, Bruce Springsteen (search) is a musical genius, no matter what you think of his politics. He's made a brilliant career out of channeling his political dissent through his music, like Bob Dylan did before him. Say what you will about playing concerts "against Bush," at least he's writing and performing, unlike his Hollywood counterparts who just talk in soundbites without putting much thought behind their words. Springsteen made a good point in a recent article. He said John Wayne was and still is an inspiration to him, despite disagreeing with the Duke politically.

I may not like The Boss' politics, but I still love his music.

Until Next Week ... Grrr!

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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.

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