Now for Your Grrrs....
Tom M. in Cyber-Space about airline Oblivions: I like your straight-shooting column. Just a word on why people congregate by the front of the check-in line at the airport. As someone who travels 4-6 times a month on the airlines for business, I can tell you it's all about overhead storage. Wait too long to board and your stuck holding the bag, literally.
Andrew from Illinois: I know that you had a big problem with Jim Grey getting a star and I absolutely agree. However, I think that Ryan Seacrest's star is a lot worse. Whose idea was it to give a lame host of two horrendous shows a star on the Walk of Fame? I mean Ryan Seacrest has absolutely no talent. Who are the morons giving out these stars? If I'm not mistaken, Sandra Bullock just received a star last month, and she is and has been a lot bigger of a star for a lot longer than Seacrest. I mean it's just absurd to give someone like him a star when there are many more legitimate stars in Hollywood who haven't received one yet.
Andrew — all it takes is $15,000 and a nomination from the group with $15,000. Nobody goes to Hollywood Blvd. to look at the stars anymore anyway. They're looking for Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman."
Merbog in Cyber-Space: First I want to thank you for pointing out my personal Oblivionism. I am a recovering Oblivion. I am to the point that I feel comfortable calling others Oblivions when I see them. Next for my GRR. I just want to say Grrr to our judicial system in the U.S. I looked at our local Sex Offender Registry here in Indiana, and was very alarmed and angered that many of these bastards only got off with minor sentences. One guy convicted of two counts, one count child molestation and one count criminal confinement. He got two years probation. I totally agree with you about training your daughter with self-defense. We are getting ready to set my 5-year old up with some martial arts training. Keep up the good work with your column and with the Real Deal. May you have great success while at FOX.
Brad D. in Concorde, Calif.: I travel to quite a few medical conferences and seminars across the country. Here is a trick I have learned especially now that gas prices have hit an all-time high. Airlines rarely sell out first class because people just do not want to fork out the cash. When you arrive and check in, ask how much it will cost to upgrade to first class. The price is generally around $100 to $150 one way. Sometimes I check in, go through the security point, look how many people are on my flight, and listen to see if passengers are on standby. If there are people on standby, you can get first-class seats, or an upgrade, for a very nominal fee sometimes as low as $75 a seat. An extra $100 can easily be made up in the "free" items that come with first class.
Mike L. in Omaha: I would like to point out a slight misconception you have which you stated in the "Boarding Oblivions" section of last week's column. I also fly a lot. Usually over 100,000 miles a year. And the majority of us sitting in the first-class section that you see when you board the plane paid the same $139 you did, however, we fly so much, we get colored cards, silver, gold, platinum, which give us automatic upgrades if the seats aren't all sold at the time of departure. We usually don't even need to ask. I would never pay for first class, because I don't think its worth the cost either, and I also fly coach plenty. But when I check in for my flight, and the gate agent hands me a first-class ticket, I say thank you.
Mark in Cyber-Space: Bravo to you for suggesting the martial arts as one avenue to combat the exploitation of children in the U.S. by sex offenders. Personally, I've studied the martial arts for 18 years, many styles, including Brazilian Jujitsu [grappling]. One note of caution for parents who consider the martial arts for their children: find a good instructor and/or school. The mental and physical disciplines of the "arts" can only be passed on by instructors who are interested in teaching the skills first, and making money second. Just my humble opinion.
Over-Protective Father in Cincinnati: My black-belt daughter, who is just about to turn 13, and I teach Tae Kwon Do in the Cincinnati area. You mentioned that you are going to start your daughter into self-defense as soon as possible, and I would like to share with you and your readers what I have been telling my daughter since she began her training, especially on those inevitable days when she wanted to quit: "No black-belt, no boyfriend." Crazies aside, as a former young person, I know that the day will come when she will choose to engage in activities that, as her father, I do not need to know about. I just want to know that she has consented to such things, and is capable of NOT consenting in as forceful a manner as necessary.
Landy J. in Texas: From the time my daughter was old enough to speak, I taught her that if someone she doesn't know ever picks her up, as soon as her feet leave the ground she should yell "FIRE!" as loud as she can and then yell "You're not my mommy (you're not my daddy). PUT ME DOWN!" And kick, scream, bite, hit, scratch, whatever she has to do get the person to let go of her. And then run to the nearest person with a uniform or name tag (like in a store). Teach her to yell "FIRE" first, because many people will ignore a cry for "Help," but almost no one will ignore someone yelling "FIRE." Once everyone is looking, it'll be easier for her to get away. Attention is the one thing that a kidnapper fears most.
Wanda in Cyber-Space: I believe you are right. We should inject the LoJack into every sex offender there is. If they don't want to register, let the government do it for them. I believe in GPS and I think you have a great idea!
Jen B in Cyber-Space: My 6-year-old has been taking Tae Kwan Do for about four months now for the reasons you mentioned in your recent column. How scary was it to find out I had not only one but two registered sex offenders around the corner from her grandma's house? In light of recent events, we will forgo dance and gymnastics classes for martial arts any day of the week! How about some kudos for the instructors who can corral several classes daily? I for one, am in awe of their skills and dedication.
Nick J. in Bolivia: I laugh at your stories about Oblivions. However, I live in Bolivia, and I'd say we've have more Oblivions, Obliviots, etc. per capita than the U.S. In reference to your recent article about Boarding Oblivions, I say, try boarding a domestic flight in Bolivia. The airline may call by row, but everyone just gets in line and boards regardless of their seating situation. Seriously, travel to Bolivia, and when you get back to the States, you'll appreciate the "lack" of Oblivions in the U.S.
Alan D. on my advice to the college grad last week: Very nicely said. Very succinct. That really struck a chord with me and it is very true. I work for a very large bank. Respect and reputation are everything. Keep positive, keep working and things usually work out.
John in Leonardo, N.J.: I am a CPA coming off of a very tough and demanding tax season. I am also the brother of a Marine who has just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. I would like to give myself a large Grrr! Throughout the tax season I would complain about the hours I worked and the amount of stress I had. And then my brother returned from Iraq and he shared many war stories with me, mostly about the assault on Fallujah in November. After hearing his many stories a deep level of guilt fell upon me. No matter how tough I thought my tax season was, it was nothing compared to what our brave men and women face everyday over in Iraq. So I would like to give a big thanks to all of them and a big Grrr! to myself.
Lisa, a frequent flyer from Baltimore: I was at the Atlanta airport Friday afternoon, trying unsuccessfully to read a book while waiting for my flight home. I couldn't concentrate because the woman two seats down was talking into her cell phone so loudly people two gates down could have heard her. Shortly thereafter, a man at another gate (yes -- another gate -- at a crowded airport) was speaking so loudly I could hear his conversation, too. And to top it off, I get on the plane and get to listen to a woman three rows up tell someone that the plane was just about to take off and she'd be home soon. Grrrr!! Don't these ImporTants realize that no one wants to listen to their conversations? Or are they just Oblivions and unaware that technology has advanced to the point you don't need to shout into a stinking cell phone for the person on the other end to hear you? I am so tired of these self-absorbed people wanting everyone to know how important they are that they need to conduct business on their cell phone. Show a little respect for the people around you and quiet down!!! Thanks, I feel better already.
Brad on Des Moines Airport: I really hate flying into my hometown of Des Moines. Oh, Des Moines is nice enough -- it's picking up my baggage that's the problem. After deplaning, everyone heads to the baggage claim area, and stand around in a random fashion waiting for the carousel to start (it usually takes 5-10 minutes). When the carousel finally starts up, everyone starts to move towards the carousel — elbow to elbow — from one end of the carousel to the other — completely blocking the view of the circulating luggage. Most people like to have both of their shins pressed against the platform (to dissuade super-Oblivions from wedging in), but sometimes they're packed so tightly that some have to stand sideways and are able to press only one shin against the platform. I'm a fan of the "hawk method," that is, you stand off a ways and when you see your luggage, you jump in, grab it and get out. It's an efficient, common-sense approach and is standard practice in all the other airports I've visited. Not so in Des Moines — you've got to wait for quite a number of people to get their luggage before you will finally be able to see your luggage come by (which no doubt has circulated multiple times behind the wall of Oblivions).
James in Vancouver on article about Ultimate Fighting: Just something to think about -- not everyone who read your article is going to appreciate having the Liddel fight result spoiled for them. It's pretty common courtesy to warn folks about stuff like that. And for that kind of thing to show up in an article with a lot of complaining about other people's lack of courtesy ... well, the irony is pretty obvious.
Dave in Cyber-Space: Waiting passengers should stay seated until row called? Are you kidding me? Who cares??? Mike, you are the biggest waste of time. I can't believe you've been able to keep your job.