"I could care less." Now there's a phrase that is not only overused, it's wrong.
When you "could care less," you actually care enough about something that you could manage to care a few degrees less about it. Are you following me? Most people who say this, (like a lot of you who send me hate e-mail about this column: "I could care less about your stupid Grrrs!"), really mean to say, "I couldn't care less."
Please, when sending me hate mail, try to use proper English. It dilutes and discredits your otherwise feel-good notes. Grrr!
I love classic rock music.
Neil Young, the Allman Brothers, The Band, Elton John, the Beatles, Jethro Tull and Aerosmith, among many others, honor my CD library and flow through my car stereo.
But why do so many classic rock radio stations overplay the classics to the point where they’re not classics anymore? If I hear “Touch Me” by The Doors (search) one more time I’ll, I’ll … well, I don’t know. But it’s as if playing Jim Morrison over and over again is a DJ’s idea of post-graduate degree work. “Well, professor, when in doubt, play Jim Morrison. It will display your keen insight and in-depth knowledge of the classic rock genre.” Yeah, right.
And then there’s the promo announcer, embellishing the overplayed "classic" as if it were something new; “W-X-Y-Z! The only place you’ll hear," and then abruptly, “Come on, come on, come on now touch me baby – bah-dump-ba-daaaah – Can’t you see, that I am not afraid.”
As if that weren't enough to make your skin crawl, the promo producer will obnoxiously produce the station identification sounder, so that it sounds something like (in a deep, powerful voice): “From the top of the highest tower in some city – WXYZ… Ka-Ka-Ka-Ka-Ka-Classic Rock!”
Hey, we listen to classic rock because we don’t buy into the hype! Grrr!
Last week I coined the term “Oblivions” for people who are so oblivious to their surroundings they deserve their own Grrr! category. For instance.
While returning a copy of “Moo, Baa, La La La!” (search) at Barnes and Noble over the weekend (baby Maxine already has it), I watched -- helpless -- as an Oblivion cut in front of a long line and demanded the clerk immediately retrieve a book that was on hold for her behind the counter. When the clerk (who was already busy with a customer) politely said the woman would need to wait in line like everybody else, the woman exclaimed “I can’t look at the book before I buy it?” She turned around and left the store in a huff before the clerk could respond. A classic Oblivion.
But Oblivions are not always on our side of the counter. How many times are we consumers left wondering why some people bother to show up for work, or if they've received any training related to their position at all?
The other day I called ADT (search) about a problem with my home security panel (we’ve had so many issues my wife knows the number by heart, but I digress.) The woman in customer service with whom I spoke told me that my problem was a result of a limitation with the type of panel that we have. I hung up aggravated. After a few seconds, I decided that was unacceptable to me, so I called back with the intention of ordering different panels for my home security system. This time, however, I got through to a different customer service rep, who told me my existing panel could be re-programmed to do what I wanted it to do in the first place, at no extra charge. So I didn’t need to grind my teeth after all! (Incidentally, I got a call from Becky at ADT to ask me about the above incident -- before the column was printed -- so apparently they do care about their customers).
Where do I begin? I'm a stickler for service. Over the weekend, I took the family to a Houlihans (search) restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised. The uniforms were crisp and clean -- white shirt, black vest and tie -- and the service was really out of this world. I was shocked that this was a chain restaurant. Finally, people who care about and have pride in what they do!
However, that is not usually the case. How many times do you go into chain restaurants and get the "not-a-care-in-the-world" host who asks, "Can I help you?" No, actually I just came in to check what song was playing on your too LOUD speakers! Ever go into a restaurant right after the lunch rush when the place is empty? The music is so loud it's impossible to hold a conversation. And what's with the '70s disco music in these places? Like I really need to hear "Love to Love You Baby" at 3:00 in the afternoon.
And what's with the bartenders these days who are too cool to start a conversation with their customers? Last week I was sent on assignment to Cleveland and had time to kill at the airport, so I stopped at a bar. I spent an hour nursing a brew and staring at a muted television screen. Fortunately, it was locked on FOX News Channel and I was able to read the crawl. Where was the bartender? She was having a conversation with two waitresses in the corner and barely looked up to see if I, or anybody else for that matter, needed anything. Let me guess? She was complaining about bad tips? Hah!
But how about the customer who announces to his or her table what he or she is going to order? This irritates me to no end. They exclaim to their friends or business acquaintances, "I'm gonna have the teriyaki chicken salad!" Who cares? Tell the waiter. Or how about the people who begin the order with the words "let me get." "Let me get a Big Mac with a Supersize Coke." What do you mean "let me get?" Are you going to go behind the counter and get it yourself? Grrr!
Spam, Spam and more Spam
Part of writing this column is reading your e-mail responses so that I can include your Grrr!s. Aside from the occasional love letter, like this one from Lynn Sprague: "Professional name droppers irritate me. That seems to be all you are good for. Get off this column and leave the space open," I also have to sift through hundreds of spam e-mails. (By the way, Lynn, my wife told me to tell you that name-dropping isn't all that I'm good for).
Now, about Spam. You know the kind ...
There's the "enlarge your you-know-what" ads, Nigeria scams ("I only need 20 grand from you to acquire my 200 million"), and countless offers for discounted OxyContin (see Rush, you didn't even need to leave your house). Of course, there's the Mydoom virus e-mails out there with Hi! in the subject line that I delete with pleasure. And then there's the offers for porn, complete with graphic photos. Thankfully we have a firewall that manages to sift through these, but what about at home? I recommend everyone look into firewall software (search) with rules that can eliminate spam on your home PCs. Grrr!
On a somewhat related note, Hormel's Spam (search) is yummy.
Now for your Grrr!s
Larry B. writes about my handicap parking space Grrr! in my last column: You earlier noted that one of the reasons for handicap parking places are the larger adjacent areas to get out of the vehicle, regardless of the distance from the door. And, if you've ever been at Home Depot (or most any large store) you might see that they usually have wheelchairs and/or powered chair/carts. I know -- I had to use them for a while after open-heart surgery. I'm sure others will point out the same. No Grrr. Regards, Larry.
Betty B in Seattle writes: People who use 'I' when they should use 'me' sound like they skipped their grammar classes in school. I recently heard a well-educated person say, "They gave tickets to he and I." GRRRR!!! Hey, me is a valid pronoun! Just use this little trick to see which sounds right: They gave a ticket to him and they gave a ticket to me. They gave tickets to HIM and ME. grrr!!!
Amy R from Great Falls, Mont., writes: My Grrr! is all those idiots who take up two parking spaces in an already crowded parking lot (usually the mall on a Saturday). Therefore making it nearly impossible for even the smallest of cars to park.
Connie D writes on loud music: OK, here's my Grrr! I know everyone thinks the music they listen to is the best there is. Otherwise, they wouldn't be listening to it. But not everyone has the same tastes. Please do the rest of us a favor and turn down the stereo when you're at a red light, in a parking lot etc. I know you don't want to listen to what's on my CD player, don't make me listen to what's on yours. And by the way, the loud heavy bass doesn't sound good, it sounds like farts.
Bill Fuller in Erie, Pa., writes about the Atkins Diet craze: Yesterday I was in the grocery store and saw this Italian sausage in the meat cooler. Now, just looking at this stuff makes your heart just about stop, yet it had a huge "Low-carb" sticker on the front of it! Yeah, I'll eat 300 grams of fat, but by golly it'll be low carb. Grrrr!
John Sawyer writes: GRR!! Government officials who retire and make more than they do while they "worked"? GRR!! Multi-Million dollar executive severance packages after they get FIRED?!!GRR!! A) People who think schools naturally fund themselves! B) When they raise taxes for schools, government paychecks go up, and the schools are in no better position? GRR!! People dying of AIDS, cancer, hunger etc. ... and we're spending $600 BILLION on trips to Mars and the moon? (cause I'll be able to go there one day? cause my kids will be able to go there one day? cause my kids, kids will.... )
Thanks for the Grrrs! Keep them coming, and tune in to "FOX Magazine" this Sunday to catch my interview with Hollywood Animal (search) Joe Eszterhas. He abandoned a lifestyle of the rich and famous in La-La Land in order to raise his boys with more traditional-family-values in Cleveland.
Mike Straka is the project manager for FOX News' Web operations and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine" (Sundays 11 p.m. on FNC), a producer on "Sunday Best" (Sundays 9 p.m. on FNC), and as a reporter and columnist for Foxnews.com. Straka appeared in the film "Analyze This" and was an actor in the long-running Off-Broadway hit "Tony n' Tina's Wedding."