Sean in San Antonio, Texas: With all the mindless ranting about the use of the dreaded "C" word, I find it highly amusing that the recommended alternative is "Holiday." Now, those familiar with the English language -- and I mean the real English language not the PC version -- know where I am going with this. If you look at the etymology of the word "Holiday," you will see that it actually means "Holy Day," or a day devoted to God. Now, I am sure this will spark a new uprising against "Happy Holidays," but until then, I'll just smile when I hear the language police try to de-emphasize the Christ in Christmas by wishing me a Happy Holy Day.
Melissa in New Jersey re: Lillo Brancato: I don't think it had anything to do with his thinking he was a gangster. Rather, it had to do with his being a drug user who was looking for his next score. At any rate my prayers go to the officer's family. How awful.
Orlando I. writes: As an Italian-American, I found the fact that Lillo Brancato could not separate fact from fiction a sad commentary on the way the rest of America views the Italian-American community. Like the real-life characters portrayed in "Donnie Brasco" or the fictional ones portrayed in the "Godfather" trilogy, Italian-Americans are often portrayed by the media as wannabe gangsters who need to make it in a shadow society in order to have any sense of self-worth. Nothing could be further from the truth. I agree with your premise that Hollywood often preys on this type of stereotype in order to make a quick buck -- often at the expense of the very people to whom they promise fame and fortune. More the pity. I often ask myself -- does Hollywood view all German-Americans as Nazis or all Arab-Americans as terrorists?
Dave in New York writes: No worries Grrrrr Mister the backlash is coming! Tragedies like this only make us more aware of just how our culture's obsession with celebrity give leaches like Lillo Brancato Loser a false sense of entitlement and put us all in danger. Thanks to Hollywood, a hyper obsessed media, and the soulless publicist our culture has almost reached rock bottom and soon the only place we will have to go is up. Hopefully by the time Maxine is 10 our society will value intelligence, integrity and honor more than the number of times a Club Kid appears on page six. Hey imagine a city where the anonymous brain surgeon, the reluctant hero cop, and the committed parent get passed the velvet rope an into the VIP section, instead of the skirt chasing media mogul, the strung out B actor or the felon who plays point guard on the local winning team.
Billy Smith writes: You're 100 percent right about these people that wannabe what they think are the coolest ones around. And now you have every wannabe action star tough guy riding around on Harleys and wearing leather trying to be Marlon Brando and Sonny Barger. Every weekend, as long as it is warm enough for them, these guys head out on the highway humming "Born to Be Wild" and playing weekend warrior. Now they're killing themselves and others because one, they don't know how to ride, two, they don't know where to ride and where not to, and three, their friends they're riding with don't know how to ride. Ever since this big Harley fad started, you have guys pretending to be Hells Angels all over the country, and ever since the movie "Goodfellas," you have guys wanting to be gangsters, and ever since "Boyz n the Hood" you have guys wanting to be thugs. It is amazing -- art used to imitate life, except for science fiction, and life imitating art has a whole new meaning.
Bruce in Sacramento: Just curious. What sort of response did you get to your Christmas vs. Holidays column? Did most people agree or were there a large number of people who argued that the "War on Christmas" was valid?
--Most people said that secular forces, who are in the minority, are chiseling away at the majority's right to express their religion, and that the War on Christmas is a battle worth fighting.
Susan M. writes: I have a grrr ... regarding cell phones. I was involved in an accident with my young children because a 21-year-old kid was dialing his cell phone WHILE he was driving. Thankfully, no one was injured and at least he admitted his negligence to the officer. But when will people realize how dangerous the practice of cell phone use while driving is? Is the conversation you are having so important that you put my children’s lives in danger? What did we ever do when we had to wait until we found a pay phone?
Gary in Jacksonville: I don’t consider myself a prude. However, when I see young women wearing pants or jeans cut so low that their derriere is exposed when they bend over, that is clearly TMI (too much information) for me. While Christmas shopping last weekend, I could not help but notice quite a number of these “fashionistas” with their hip-huggers slung so low that either their thong was visible or there wasn’t anything between them and their Calvin Klein's. One was a young mother bending over her infant’s stroller, giving everyone walking by quite a view! Come on, ladies (and I use that word loosely), have some pride in your appearance.
Tommy T. in Scottsdale on the greens: At times, a round of golf can be slow enough without having to wait for obliviots in front of you who take the time to write down their scores before proceeding to the next tee. Can't they remember a single digit number that long?
Hope in Alabama: To Robin in cyberspace and your Grrr! to the checkout clerk in the last Your Grrrs ... you comment that you know the clerk is required by her management to ask you if you want a credit card. Why be obnoxious and rude to the clerk who is only doing her job? She is required to ask, and all you have to do is say, “No, thank you.” That would take a lot less time out of your busy day than your other remark. While it might make you feel good to be rude to someone, it really doesn’t accomplish anything.
Charlie R. writes: My Grrr concerns restaurant owners. I overheard a local one bragging about only paying his wait staff $2.15 an hour, and he didn’t care if they got tips or not. I’ve worked in the food service industry and consider myself a good tipper, but I still feel that the minimum wage should apply to all jobs, including the food service industry.
Keith O. in Norfolk, Va.: Here's a non-holiday grrr for you ... computer install programs, especially for the programs that have become common means of instant communication, are out of control. Try to find one that doesn't want to install it's own toolbar, make itself your homepage or install six other "must-have" items. Even if you choose no on the menu they do it anyway. I service computers, so it's no big deal for me to get rid of them. Try figuring it out if you're elderly and just want to keep in touch. I don't mind looking at a few ads for the free service, but outside of the free program I requested, I don't want you on my machines. Sony learned a lesson on what people think of covert installs. These people aren't far behind.
Angie in Lakeville, Minn.: My grrr is to employees of the small carts/kiosks in shopping centers. They either approach you to try, see their product (typically lotion lately) and when you politely say "no, thanks," they ask "why not?" or "just try it," or even follow you for a bit. If I wanted to stop at your stand I would, and if I do I would like to look at something without you pestering me for a few seconds. I'm to the point of pushing my husband on the other side of me so they don't talk to me. GRRR!
S. Arnold in Lexington, Ky.: Here is the other one that bothers me: The person, who in the middle of the night when the entire neighborhood is asleep goes through the neighborhood with his stereo sooooo loud your bedroom windows rattle. I love coming out of a dead sleep thinking the world is ending and it's just another idiot who thinks the world actually revolves around him.
VIDEO: Watch Mike's "Real Deal" webcast.
PODCAST: Take The Grrr! Column with you. Paste the link below into cast aggregator.