Grrr! Where Have All the Good Times Gone?

Good Times? | Disney's Hit Squad | What's Important to You? | Stupid Lit'l Dreamer | Your Grrrs

There's Far Too Much Bad News Making Headlines These Days

Children are either being murdered by their parents or convicted sexual predators, or they are choking to death on popcorn and hard candies.

Iraqi extremists are blowing up and terrorizing their own people, in their own country, putting our soldiers, Marines, Airmen and sailors at risk.

American automobile companies are reduced to junk on Wall Street; thousands of United Airlines employees will get reduced pensions, if any, and other executives at Fortune 500 companies continue to answer to charges of accounting fraud at the upper levels of corporate governance.

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It's enough to make you go Grrr!

So let's celebrate a little good news around here today.

One of my favorite stories this month is the group of Powerball Lottery winners who matched five out of the six winning numbers simply by ordering take-out Chinese food.

The numbers that 110 people in 29 different states played were revealed in fortune cookies, and the odds were one in 3 million that they would hit. Powerball officials were dumbfounded, and they suspected fraud. They were relieved — somewhat — to discover it was just "Cookies' Fortune."

Depending on how much money people wagered, the payouts ranged from $100,000 to $500,000 costing Powerball around $19 million. No MSG, please, but keep the "lucky numbers" coming.

"Batman Begins" (search) promises to be some major movie escapism fare this summer. There's nothing better than seeing a little caped vigilantism among some Twizzlers and a large Coke (no popcorn, please).

Meanwhile, "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" (search) opens this week to already rave reviews. Personally, I've never been much of a "Star Wars" fan, but it's a $17 billion franchise, so obviously I'm in the minority. I never danced "The Macarena" when it was big either, so there you go.

Tom Cruise said recently that he's not interested in winning an Oscar, and for that I applaud him. Last week we Grrr'd his recent fling with Katie Holmes. It's not like Cruise shouldn't be happy, but it all seems a little forced, doesn't it? Maybe it's just me. At any rate, Cruise is a fine actor.

There aren't many actors whose co-stars have won as many Oscars as Cruise's have, so that must say something about the guy's talent and graciousness on the set.

Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman and Cuba Gooding Jr. all won gold statues opposite Cruise; meanwhile, Cruise has been nominated three times but has never been a winner.

Maybe his co-star in the upcoming "War of the Worlds," the young and talented Dakota Fanning, will also get a nod this time around. So here's hoping Cruise won't have to wait too much longer for his.

What's Important to You?

The days are getting longer and we working folks need to take advantage of that.

Leave the office just a tad earlier these days so you can enjoy some twilight time with your children, your spouse, your significant other, your pets or just a glass of wine or fine Scotch on your porch.

I love getting home these days.

Just the thought of the way baby Maxine screeches and runs at me when I get home from work, teetering on the brink of falling in her cute little way, right up to the point where she reaches my knees and dives into a biiiig hug for daddy, can bring a tear to my eye.

Then we go outside and swing on the new set we assembled for her on Mother's Day. That, my friends, is why I do what I do. I know millions of you can relate.

Remembering what's important in our lives is sometimes not so easy to do. We get caught up in the daily Oblivionism that sweeps our world. Lazy, obese people (lazy being the operative word), sue McDonald's for their weight problems, while other Obliviots plant fingers in food to sue for a quick buck, and still others make outrageous accusations against celebrities, all for the chance at instant money.

It's nuts what some people will put themselves and others through, just to avoid work! Imagine the work it must take to fake a back injury after a fender bender, wearing that brace everywhere you go, rehab, missed work, lost jobs ... all for the opportunity to cash in on a lawsuit?

But I digress.

We live in the greatest country in the world. We may not be perfect, but we do get the opportunity to strive for perfection. As Bono (search) says in U2's "Miracle Drug": "Freedom has a scent, like the top of a newborn baby's head." He goes on to say "there's no failure here sweetheart, only when you quit."

Yeah. What he says!

Disney's Hit Squad

So watching my new favorite show "Grey's Anatomy" (search) on ABC Sunday night, I see a promo for an unauthorized TV pic about Donald Trump. What, are the execs at Disney using its television network to try to get back at all their rivals after the bad press the company received over the past year regarding a board meltdown that resulted in the ouster of chairman and CEO Michael Eisner?

First, it was a "hard-hitting" expose about FOX's "American Idol." Now ABC's going after one of NBC's biggest shows by airing a fictional account of the life of "The Apprentice" star Trump.

CBS must be next: "Up next on 'Good Morning America,' 'CSI' not really shot in Vegas. Stay tuned."

Stupid Lit'l Dreamer

And speaking of never quitting ... this week's SLD mention goes out to author Marc D. Giller, who after 18 years of writing has published the action-packed science-fiction thriller "Hammerjack" (Bantam Books), about a computer code breaker turned corporate high-tech security expert, who finds himself in the middle of a war between man and machine.

Publishers Weekly says "Giller's debut hits all the right chords ... A winning blend of crime novel motifs and computer technology makes it must reading for fans of cyberpunk and detective fiction alike."

I read it over the weekend, and find Giller's book has the stuff to be the next big summer blockbuster. And it's got a kick-butt role for a woman that would make Jennifer Garner or Angelina Jolie millions.

Congratulations to Mr. Giller, and here's hoping to see "Hammerjack" at a movie screen near us all very soon.

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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, and covers entertainment and features on the Sunday program "FOX Magazine." He also writes the weekly Grrr! Column and hosts "The Real Deal" video segments on