Your Grrrs: June 14, 2005

Your Grrrs....

Melissa in Montgomery, Ala., in response to Keith O. from last week's "Your GRRS":
First of all, Keith O. needs to realize that Natalee Holloway is 18, not 8. And he must not have children that age, otherwise he would know that ordering kids to use the buddy system does not make it happen, particularly once alcohol and "cute boys" become involved. From what I've read of this girl, her parents had no reason not to trust her, no reason not to allow her a measure of independence befitting her age, no reason to believe she would act irresponsibly. Yes, young people (particularly girls) are vulnerable, but I refuse to believe that the chaperones never discussed safety measures with the trip participants. Furthermore, this is not a question of adult supervision; bear in mind that in a matter of weeks, she would have enrolled in college and been entirely beyond her parents' supervision. What happened to Natalee could have just as easily happened to a 25-year-old tourist. Would that make it any less tragic?

Marnie McG. writes: As I perused FOX News for the latest global crisis (and avoided snappy headlines about pointless celebrities), I saw something I was sure would fire me up (and not in a good way). I saw Ring Tones ... Grrr!, and since I say "Grrr" at least six times on any given day, I was intrigued. I hate the intrusion of cell phones, and I was expecting some joker to write about reasons why we should have more ring tones or surround sound capabilities for cell phones. By Thor and Odin, that was NOT the case ... the column took the opposite tack (mine). When my euphoria dropped to acceptable levels, I read the rest of your column. The butter "berater" was quite amusing and I believe I may be an Obliviot magnet myself. I could continue to gush about how cool you are, what a great finger you have on the pulse of all that's wrong in society and the dolts who ignorantly inhabit it, but I won't. Thank you and keep up the Grrrs!

Les S. in cyberspace says: Boy have you hit the nail on the head about the loud talkers. I don't know about you, but it would be nice to hear both sides of the conversation. BUT WAIT!!! Now you can! I was in a supermarket the other day and a woman was using the new coast-to-coast walkie-talkie feature of her phone. Not only did I have to endure her rambling blather, but I also got to hear the riveting response from the other end. Isn't technology wonderful?

Dave in Olathe, Kan.: Continuing on your cell phone Grrr, I personally cannot stand the Nextel walkie-talkie phones — the beep followed by the loud talk to let the world know how important they are. At least I am assuming that's what they are doing, since everyone in a 100 yard radius can hear the conversation. Memo to Nextel users: If you want to play walkie-talkie, there are plenty of parks around. Please do not carry your game over to restaurants and stores.

Dennis M. in Bedford, Ind., says: There is a legitimate psychological reason why people shout into cell phones: they can't hear themselves. Most land-lines have a feedback circuit that routes some of the speaker's voice back into the earpiece so they can hear themselves and modulate their volume accordingly. Most cell phones do not have this circuit. If you're used to hearing a little bit of your voice in your ear while you talk on the phone, and it's not there, then one rational conclusion is "Hmm, I must not be talking loud enough." So maybe instead of Grrring the cell phone users, we should be Grrring the cell phone manufacturers and service providers...

Kate in Florida writes: My Grrr comes from people who take calls while in the restroom. How rude can these people be? With the amazing abilities of phones these days, one would wonder what exactly is being heard on the other end. I personally do not want to hear anyone urinating while I am talking business. My second Grrr comes from what my friends and I call "Bathroom Stalkers." These are the people that choose the stall right next to yours when there is no one else using the facilities. Usually this is when their double-fried burrito with extra refried beans is making an encore performance. GRRRR.

Matt in Mississippi with his "Wireless Revenge": My mother owns a small restaurant and I eat there a couple of times a week. As you have pointed out, often people are not only rude enough to spend an entire meal talking to someone on the cell phone instead of the person they are having dinner with, but they insist on doing it at a volume usually reserved for halting small kids as they are headed towards a busy street. A few nights ago, I was trying to enjoy my dinner and right in the middle of the dining room, a woman was on her cell phone rambling on about timeshares so loudly that she could be heard in the kitchen. Since I have insider's access to the restaurant, I casually strolled over to the music system's volume control behind the cashier's desk and eased the volume up. I did this a total of four times in a few minutes. Each song got louder than the last one and each time she got louder. Eventually it became obvious to her that she could no longer compete with Elvis for volume and she quickly ended her conversation and left in a huff. How rude of me to interrupt her conversation with loud music!

SSG Kennedy writing from cyberspace: It is possible to get away from the cell phone oblivions. Try Afghanistan. I just got back from there a couple of months ago, and have to say that not hearing a cell phone for a year was one of the few decent parts of the deployment. When I got back to the States, I found myself where you were when you wrote your column. It has gotten so bad that you can't even enjoy a quiet meal at a restaurant without listening to someone else's conversation. Like I say, if you're looking to get away from cell phones, try Afghanistan (not much else there though).

Gary P. in Jacksonville, Fla., in response to Jim from last week's "Your GRRRS" column:
Here's a newsflash to Jim defending Russell Crowe: There's a big difference between having the urge to do something and actually doing it. I've had the urge to throw things at people who give bad customer service, but unlike Mr. Crowe, I know it's wrong and I know there will be consequence to my actions. So I choose not to act like a big baby. Crowe needs to grow up.

Dawn S. in Wahpeton, N.D., writes: Mike, usually you are right on when it come to celebrity Oblivions, but this time you jumped the gun. After reading quotes from the interview Russell Crowe gave to an Australian newspaper and hearing him on David Letterman Wednesday night, Crowe just may now be my favorite actor — at least in the "class" respect. He repeatedly stated that he is completely ashamed of his actions, has made several attempts at apologizing to all involved and is prepared to take full responsibility for the consequences. It's almost like a dream: a Hollywood celebrity taking responsibility for his actions without hiding behind a lawyer's "official statement" or a public relations rep giving it their "spin." I find this wonderfully refreshing ... thank you, Crowe ... I only hope the rest of Hollywood and several politicians can learn a lesson from him and I wish Crowe the best of luck.

Gary S. in Memphis, Tenn., says: How about a big Grrr for Lindsay Lohan, a woman (girl?) who has spent her entire life wanting to be in the public eye, making commercials as a youngster, starring in soap operas, even making an album despite having no talent or anything to say (yet another Grrr, because that's all too common these days) who is now complaining that the paparazzi are putting her even more in the public eye.

Daniel B. writing from cyberspace: My Grrr goes out to celebrities like Tom Cruise who go out of their way to endorse and promote religions like Scientology. He insults the whole mental health industry in favor of Scientology’s shock therapy. I’ve got news for Mr. Cruise: Not everyone can afford to pay for Scientology’s health programs. And shock of all shocks, some mental problems are due to chemical imbalances that need the help of drugs to regulate so the person can live a normal life. I’m sure that Scientology does some good things, but to boldly say that other ways of dealing with these problems are wrong seems a little oblivious! Especially when these same people campaigned against the president’s faith-based programs! I guess it is OK for Scientology to charge for their faith-based treatments, but not OK for the government to help other religions offer help to those in need because it may be based on Christian teaching.

JAG in cyberspace writes: A quick GRR to those obliviots in my apartment complex laundry rooms that like to leave their clothes in the dryer for what seems like ages, thereby keeping others from drying theirs. Is it that difficult to fetch your clothes in a timely manner after the drying cycle has finished? Next time, you'll find your clothes scattered on the folding table.

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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, and covers entertainment and features on the Sunday program "FOX Magazine." He also writes the weekly Grrr! Column and hosts "The Real Deal" video segments on