Your Grrrs: Feb. 1, 2005

Jennifer K. in Raleigh, N.C.: Dude -- you would have gotten a kick out of the way people were acting here in Raleigh, N.C. What a mess! I've lived here all my life, and last Wednesday was the WORST I've ever seen of people's actions! Whoever was in charge of getting the roads cleaned couldn't get ANYTHING straight and people felt the need to rush out and get "supplies"! I stayed put after I got to the destination I was going to (before it got really bad). And of course people freak out and say they're buying a 4-wheel drive vehicle specifically for the snow. Come on now -- it only snows here once or twice a year, and not very much. It is rare for us to get inches, like the freak snowstorm we had in 2000 when we got about 18 inches. I say, take the day off. Enjoy yourself. Keep the roads clean and safe. Get some rest. A day off like that is great. Unexpected.

Roderick B. in S.D.: I live in South Dakota, which routinely experiences deep snow, cold temps and almost every day wind, from a light breeze (anything under 25 mph is a light breeze) to raging gales. Do WE get the kind of blanket, wall-to-wall, “this is important news,” “what did you stock up on?,” “how’s the plowing going?” news coverage recently presented on behalf of the East Coast? DO we want that kind of coverage? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is January, people. Get over it.

Trevor O. in Cyber-Space: I love reading your column, but I try not to take it too seriously. My Grrr! goes to the handful of Grrr! Strakalogue readers who feel compelled to join the bandwagon in labeling every type of Oblivion out there. Oblivion and Obliviot are great, Wal-Martian is fine, and a few others are good, but let's not overdo it! These Jargonerds are going to ruin a good thing! Or maybe we should call them Semantiacs. Or Linguistifreaks? Lexikooks?

Robert E. on "homicide bombers": This is in response to Howard S. in Alberta's Grrr! about the use of the phrase "homicide bomber." I personally think that it is a good thing. The phrase "suicide bomber" puts the total emphasis on the coward who took his life, along with many innocent victims. In contrast, "homicide bomber" reminds us that there are innocent victims, and takes the focus off the psychopath who committed the horrible act.

Terry in Washington, D.C.: Abuse of the English language without regard to actual definitions of the words really makes me Grrr! This is why I am compelled to respond to a writer from your last column about FOX News' use of "homicide bomber" instead of "suicide bomber" in its reports. "Homicide bomber" is not redundant because "homicide" and "bomber" do not have the same meaning. A person who commits homicide doesn't always use a bomb, and not all bombs are intended to injure or kill people. Construction demolition experts can be bombers, for instance, but in their professions, they don't commit "homicide" (at least not on purpose). "Homicide" means to kill a human. "Suicide" means to kill oneself -- only. "Homicide bombers" is the accurate term for those who use bombs to kill others. If they were "suicide bombers," then they would just be blowing themselves up. FOX is the only news organization that reports it accurately. I wish schools still taught basic Latin -- or at least explained the roots of Latin, Greek, etc. in the English language -- so that otherwise intelligent people and lesser news organizations wouldn't misuse the English language with such impunity, or inaccurately accuse others of doing so.

Andy M. in Cyber-Space: To Howard S. in Alberta, California ... I think of a suicide bomber as a person who blows themselves (and no one else) up. Homicide bomber is appropriate because it is the intention of the bomber to murder someone else. You can't call them a "mass-suicide bomber," because the other victims didn't want to die at that time. So instead of FOX joining everyone else in calling them suicide bombers, the other folks should wise up and give a name to better describe the murderers that they are ... "homicide bomber."

Liz in Tampa: I can one-up your Grrrs about the blizzard-related shopping sprees. How about the hurricane buy-outs? Sure, four hurricanes in six weeks was highly unusual, but after everyone bought out gallons of water, generators, canned foods, candles, batteries, etc. for the first storm, they were all back a week later doing exactly the same thing, and again and again. C'mon guys! Did you seriously drink 20 gallons of water, blow through 50 D-cell batteries and burn all your matches in one week? Mind you, this all took place in the one spot in Florida that didn't take a direct hit. In fact, in my neighborhood, we didn't even lose power -- not for a minute! Yet our grocery store was empty of all "supplies" and riots were breaking out at Lowe's and Home Depot. Little tip: They call it a hurricane kit (or blizzard kit -- we had them in Iowa) because it's a KIT. You stock it up and leave it alone until you need it. Go figure.

Terry B. from the South: I'm a 30-year-old male with a Southern background and manners. I was raised to say yes and no sir, ma'am and please and thank you. I hold doors for both men and women and not just at Christmas time. I smile at small children and wave other motorists through a stop sign ahead of me. I would like to ask you when you think that the degradation of plain and simple manners began? When did we start snapping at people instead of asking politely? While I realize that since the advent of the "information superhighway" and cellular technology, we are all saving sooo much time, it seems to me that we seem to all be "oblivious" to the world around us at times. While I know that most of us can't stand Obliviots and grrrrgarnishers, maybe we should be a little more polite and remember that if you don't have anything nice to say to someone then, just don't say it. If said subject is absolutely outrageous and we feel like we must say something here is what I propose: Tell the Obliviot that they are stupid -- don't say please and would you mind -- just look at the subject sitting in the middle of the aisle and say "listen, Stupid, I know that you're comfortable, but do you really think you're impressing anyone here with you're ability to be an idiot? I know it's a free country but that also means that I have the right to trip on you, break my arm and then sue you for being in my way...." While I realize that there is no substitution for manners, maybe it's time that we started telling people that we can't take it any more -- maybe they'll convert or listen or just get off the damn phone. At the very least maybe the "Obliviot" will be so shocked that someone called them out on their actions, they will pull up their pants, or turn it down or just quit being so unbelievably stupid.

Jenny in Cyber-Space: I enjoy your column. Your perspective is no-nonsense, and often makes me smile, laugh or both. Thanks.

Daphne in Lancaster, Pa.: As Bill Clinton might have said, I feel your pain. I work in the deli section of a local grocery store. We all dread snowy days in there because of the horrendous amount of customers that come to stock up when a winter storm is predicted. But the customers here don’t come to buy bread, eggs and milk. They come to buy lunchmeats. Lunchmeats! It’s not uncommon for people to buy 2 pounds each of various hams, turkeys and cheeses, not to mention potato salads and the like. My co-workers and I can’t understand what bizarre brain patterns are responsible for causing the locals to buy lunchmeats when it’s quite probable that the power may go out. Perhaps they relish the thought of rotten ham, moldy cheese and dangerous potato salad in their gradually-warming refrigerators. Even if the power doesn’t go out, they will still be stuck with 6 pounds of ham and turkey, which will most likely be slimy by the time they use it all. My co-workers and I have discussed this, and the best theory we have come up with is that these people want to show off in their Chevy Tahoe’s.

William B. in Lake Mary, Fla.: The passing of the great Johnny Carson managed to right a potential wrong. As widely noted the following day, on Monday, Jan. 24, "The
Tonight Show" quickly put together a retrospective and remembrance of late night's king. This pre-empted his previously scheduled guest line-up which included the ultimate Obliviot: an heirhead and aristobrat who has been known to star in and sometimes steal her own private videos. Out of respect for Mr. Carson and his family, this loss has affected many of us. Thank you, Johnny, for offering us a classy show one more time. And to the producers of the "Tonight Show" and Jay Leno, it was a job well done.

Anthony from upstate N.Y.: You are the man! I laugh my tail off every Tuesday reading your Grrrs! Well done. I must respond to that idiot king out on the left coast, Larry, the Left-Lane Vigilante Obliviot in California. Listen Paco, I have a 4x4 pick-up truck and Yes, I do use it and need it for its designed purpose of being a truck. It is a full size Silverado HD long bed. I almost puked after reading on why you stay in the left lane and refuse to yield on ramps when you sit in the right lane. Let's get some things straight here. 1) After passing someone, I stay in the right lane! Can't go too fast, gas issue then. 2) Having a truck makes me susceptible to tailgaters -- can't see 'em, won't know they are there, so I drive with my mirrors as much as I can. 3) By refusing to yield, I have experienced too many like-minded idiots like you who have put MY LIFE in danger by their refusal to yield. Gee, I guess it is OK to pin a merging driver to the point they choose either hitting a guiderail head-on and either flipping over or bouncing into high-speed traffic or sideswiping the offending vehicle. After my many close calls, I am going to choose YOU! You moron! And yes, I do not talk, eat or read newspapers either. So to you and your kind, try me ... My life means more to me than your life, any day of the week.

Until next week ... Grrr!

Respond to Mike Straka

Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, and contributes as a features reporter on "FOX Magazine," and as a news cut-ins anchor on FOX News Channel. Mike also appeared in Analyze This. Read Mike's Bio.