Knight In Shining Ar-'Moore' ... Grrr!

Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore is Linda Ronstadt's knight in shining armor.

He presented the singer with a bouquet of flowers during her Los Angeles concert last week following her ouster from the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas.

You guys know this story by now, right? Ronstadt was unceremoniously asked to leave the casino premises after a concert in which she dedicated the Eagles' hit "Desperado," which she covers in her concert, to Moore. Casino officials said she also made a political speech. There are several different accounts about what exactly went on at the Aladdin, but the point is, she got booted.

Moore, never one to miss an opportunity for free publicity, rushed to her side and boldly proclaimed that he'd sing "America The Beautiful" with her on the Aladdin stage. He also offered a free screening of his latest movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11," to casino patrons.

It seems like everybody made out like a one-armed casino bandit with this stunt.

The Aladdin, facing bankruptcy, got its name in the news. The casino's imminent new owners from Planet Hollywood also weighed in, inviting Ronstadt and Moore back after they take over. Ageing rockers The Eagles (search) will probably see a spike in royalties when radio stations jam the airwaves with "Desperado." Ronstadt, who barely sold out the Aladdin, got more publicity than the twilight of her career would otherwise deserve. And Michael Moore got to go along for the ride for the price of a bouquet of flowers — using the controversy to bolster his own publicity and ticket sales for his movie.

The guy's a genius. Maybe Ronstadt should stop dedicating "Desperado" to him and start dedicating her past hit "Love Has No Pride."

Food Etiquette ... Grrr!
Lack of food etiquette is a surefire sign of Oblivionism, and it usually stems back to one's childhood when Mom or Dad never bothered to explain — or failed to demonstrate — the proper way to eat one's food. Here are a few pointers for the mandible-challenged.

Smacking Your Food Is Bad — It's not very pleasant when people can hear you chewing food, unless you're munching on Doritos (search). Please try to close your mouth while chewing.

Don't Talk With Your Mouth Full — Talking at the dinner table is a wonderful thing, but why wait until your mouth is full to make your point? This is simple folks. When you put food in your mouth, don't speak until your mouth is empty.

Gulp Gulp Gulp — Unless you've got blockage of the esophagus, liquid should flow down your throat quietly. Peristalsis (search) is a wonderful thing, but you don't need to prove how tough your inner-throat muscles are with each gulp.

Slurping Is as Bad as Smacking — Yes, soup, coffee and tea are all hot, and slurping is a way to cautiously imbibe those liquids so you won't burn the living daylights out of your mouth. But for crying out loud, it will eventually cool off, and at that point you need to stop slurping. Ditto spaghetti (a dying food group thanks to the low-carb craze).

Don't Touch My Food — I have a food thing: If you touch mine, you can finish it, because I won't want any of it after you've put your hands, mouth or used utensil on it. Just ask, and I'd be happy to cut you a piece with my knife, then slide it off my plate onto yours. I don't need any help getting it to you.

Mind Your Own Business — Just because you can smell a co-worker's Lean Cuisine or Wendy's french fries as you walk by their cubicle, doesn't mean that's an open invitation to comment on what they're eating. "I didn't know you ate that! That's not good for you." And what the hell does that have to do with you? I must have missed the memo where everybody had to eat the same thing every day.

The Cutting Room Floor ... Grrr!
Matt Damon reigned supreme with "The Bourne Supremacy" over the weekend, taking in over $52 million. Robert Ludlum fans will again be disappointed, since the Jason Bourne of the movies resembles nothing in plot — or looks for that matter — to the one in his books. That being said, Ludlum's book bored the hell out of me, and the movie didn't.

But it still wasn't as good as the movie version of "The Bourne Identity." In that first film we got to see Damon's acting abilities and athleticism, and he made a believable action star. In "The Bourne Supremacy," the emphasis is on camera work and editing, and one is more likely to leave the theater with a headache than a desire to see it again right away.

Damon was still really good though. And in the character of Pamela Landy, actress Joan Allen has found a franchise character. She is awesome in this.

Now for Your Grrrs

Joe at NASA writes on "The Bourne Supremacy's" Matt Damon: I saw Matt on "Letterman" the other night. I couldn't help mentally contrasting his expression of political affiliation with that of Whoopi Goldberg. All he said was, "I'm gonna vote for Kerry." Completely respectable. No vitriol, no foul language. Why can't all celebrities do that?

—Very good question Joe. I guess it'll take a ROCKET SCIENTIST to figure it out.

Thomas Sean in cyber-space: Whatever happened to respect for your elders? I can walk through the BX and see four youngsters walking abreast of each other, laughing and having a good time, which is fine, until someone older or hell, anyone for that matter approaches from the opposite direction. The individual is forced out of the way to let the gaggle past. Why do they have to walk four abreast down the narrow aisles? Why not 2x2? My parents would have boxed my ears for that type of behavior.

Donna at the Treasury Dept: Is it a sign of 'Oblivion Times' that we have to have automatic flush toilets? Our society is so overwhelmed by Oblivions who can't remember to flush that we all have to endure wet bottoms from the automatic flushers in so many public buildings now. And I say "OBLIVIOTS!!!" to the designers of such contraptions that they can't even wait until we are out of the stall to flush! The slightest movement and WHOOSH, a wet backside!

Lt. Kim Grrrs on military wives: In response to Staff Sgt. Jim, I wanted to point out another Grrr that is very similar. I am a Lieutenant and a woman in the Air Force. My Grrr goes out to these same women that Staff Sgt. Jim was talking about [last column]. Not only do they think they wear their husband's rank, but they then look down on women officers and treat us poorly because somehow we are below them. Many of them call us names behind our backs and are simply rude. It is very disappointing. I've worked very hard to get to where I am today. I don't need people disrespecting me simply because I am a woman who chose to have a career in the military.

Another Grrr on military wives: Like Staff Sgt. Jim, I got to see a fine example of an Oblivion on a military base. An officer's wife cut in line in front of a couple dozen of us at the base commissary. She thought nothing of it. A lady from the back asked her to come to the back of the line to wait. The cutter replied that her husband was a Major and one of the squadron commanders and she was in a hurry. The lady in back stated, 'I'm Mrs. So and So, the base commander's wife. Please come back and wait like the rest of us — unless you want your husband the Major to explain his wife's actions to my husband the General." The General and his wife had my professional respect from day one, but after that incident, they had my personal respect as well. The General's wife ran the Officer's Wives Club on base. At their first meeting she had the ladies line up by rank. Once they had settled in their positions she stated: "You are all wrong. Your husbands have rank. YOU don't and you shouldn't act like you do."

Matt M. in Utah: I deliver packages for a worldwide company 10+ hours a day. Shame on all those Obliviots that haven't put their address on their mailboxes and homes! The least you can do when you order a package is make it so that the delivery man/woman can find your house! Also, all you Obliviots who have labeled your house, do it so the numbers/letters don't have the same color as the brick/stucco/siding that they are on! Come on people! Do you want your package or not?

—Matt..My dad was a UPS man for 30 years. He's retired now, but mention any name from the town he delivered in and he'll recite their address by rote.

Buck in Quincy, Mass: My Grrr involves the "Obliviots" (Love that!) who run the transportation authority here in Massachusetts. How come we're going to be completely inconvenienced during the Democratic National Convention with never-before-seen traffic and public transportation nightmares, while the people in NYC are merely going to have to cross to the other side of the street when approaching Madison Square Garden, the site of the Republican Convention? The whole thing makes me Wicked Mad! Grrr! p.s. Go Sox!

Sarah in Nashville, Tenn.: An Oblivion Queen at the Post Office: She had not filled out some kind of form correctly and had to go to the back to fill out the proper labels. Once she was done she ignored the 10 or 11 people who had come in since she started writing and went straight back to the front of the line, even trying to talk to the Post Office employee around the customer that was currently being helped. Her daughter then decided to use the ropes forming the line as a swingset, which the woman totally ignored even when she turned around and saw that all the other customers were crowded against the other side of the line trying to avoid being hit by flailing legs and flying sandals. On top of all that, when she needed a surface to write on she put her foot and all her body weight on the box of the man next to her (so she could write on her knee) despite the FRAGILE in big red letters all over the box! Are these people functioning on some other dimension?

—Absolutely. They're from the planet of Oblivia.

Kevin from Albany, N.Y.: My wife and I were flying back from our honeymoon. Once we were in the air, I heard something that sounded like a TV show. I was trying to read and it was really annoying. I stood up saw a woman and two kids about five rows ahead. The kids were watching cartoons on a portable DVD player. Since I could hear it, they were obviously not using head phones. A few us on the plane had the flight attendant ask the woman to have her kids turn it down. She didn't. The flight attendant asked again. She still didn't. The woman then turned around and asked us if we wanted ear plugs! Can you believe the nerve of this woman?!! The flight attendant said her hands were tied and that she couldn't make her turn it down. She also said that there wasn't a policy that people had to use headphones. I was tempted to take a boom-box over and play some unwelcome music loudly so that she could feel my frustration. What are people thinking?!!

—DVD players should be banned from flights. Instead, airlines should put screens at every seat, so they can charge for those kiddie movies (along with the $6 headphones). Grrr!

Brett from Tallahassee, Fla.: I would really like to sit in on the meetings where people arrange radio commercials and jingles. I would tell them that nobody likes commercials that start off sounding like an annoying alarm clock and stupid dialogues between two people that we know are false. It makes me change the station and not want to buy their product just because I don’t like the commercial. Grrr!

From "retail clerks everywhere:" I would like to congratulate you on your use of the straw on the customer in the coffee shop [last column]. If you've ever worked in retail, you know that the clerk at the shop was wanting to say the same thing. However, retail clerks are powerless to really put people in their place, even if they deserve it. Not powerless, but costly. They would be looking for a new job in short order. It is often other customers, such as yourself, who need to speak up when a fellow customer is getting out of control. Unfortunately, most simply stand there and wait their turn to abuse the clerk. Some people pay hundreds of dollars on psychotherapy and anger management classes, others go to the mall. I'd offer you a medal for your behavior, but the best I could do is give you a Wal-Mart Smiley. From retail clerks everywhere, Thanks again.

Stupid Lit'l Dreamers

This week's SLD is independent label rock star Rick Henrickson, who played at The Tank bar in NYC over the weekend. I met Henrickson a year ago when I did a feature on him for FOX Magazine. His album, "Reaching For a Gun," turned out to be one of my favorites for its introspective lyrics and catchy beats. Continued good luck, Rick. Click the video tab above to watch the piece, and for fans of former Allman Brothers' Band star Dicky Betts (search), there's a surprise at the end.

"So Stupid!"

"Napoleon Dynamite" (search) has a surprise for fans of the sleeper hit of the summer.  For the first time in cinematic history, a five minute epilogue has been shot and added to the film — after the film's release — and fans can now see how the wedding between characters Kip and Lafawnduh turns out.  "Napoleon Dynamite" is a comedy from first time director Jared Hess, and is a product of sister company FOX Searchlight Pictures (both are owned by Newscorp).

As they used to say in the commercial for the board game "Connect Four" — "Pretty sneaky Sis."

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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