Your Grrrs: June 2, 2005

Your Grrrs ...

Brett in Cyberspace: Mike, I am afraid you miss the whole point of the Paris Hilton protest. The more you sit back and tolerate ads like that, the more like [that] you will see. And the more shocking ad execs will have to make them next time to create the "desired" effect. But if enough people protest — if enough people like me never set foot in Carl's Jr. again until they sack the CEO and make a public apology, other companies will think twice before they release trash like that. Not all publicity is good publicity, and ignoring bad media never makes it go away.

Derek W. in St. Louis on "Memorial Day" writes: I too am tired of Memorial Day just being another long weekend at the lake. Yesterday I took my 9-year-old son to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. This is one of the oldest national military cemeteries in the nation, with over 140,000 internments. There are veterans from every major war back to the Revolution buried there. As we walked in the cemetery, with acre after acre of white tombstones stretching out into the distance, I explained to my son about the sacrifice that millions of men and women have made to serve in the armed forces, and how many of them died so that we can live in peace and security. I showed him the huge sections that are unknown graves, and pointed out that many who died in battle were not even 20 years old. They died young so that we can live free. I wasn’t sure if I was getting though to him, but I wanted him to see it anyway. The place was filled with people, and the ceremonies were very inspiring, and he seemed intrigued by the gun salutes and the solemn nature of everything. Later, when watching some television in the evening, there was some reference to “heroes” in regard to professional sports. My son said, “Those guys aren’t heroes, not like the ones you showed me today.” I just about wanted to cry. Later on, we watched the "Nightline" tribute to the fallen. All those men and women, seeing their faces, and so many of them so young, well, we both ended up crying. You’re right, it’s more than just a day at the lake. Many vacationers know that and are thankful for the life they have. But I think that everyone should visit a national cemetery and see the rows of those who served, and those who fell.

Susan in Delaware says: A big THANK YOU for stressing proper flag etiquette. Since 9/11, it has saddened me the way American "patriots" treat our flag. Please, people, don't take it down by stuffing it under your armpit and dragging it back into the house. Light it at night and in the rain. Don't fly a shredded, faded flag — and for goodness' sake, burn it *safely* instead of throwing it in the garbage. Where did I learn all this? Girl Scouts (Brownies age 8). Our kids are growing up thinking the American flag makes a great bedspread.

Clifford S. in cyberspace writes: I am a retired U.S. Air Force veteran, and when my eldest son was very little, he used to pick me up from base with his mom after I returned from a mission. He fell in love with the idea of being a pilot and set that as his goal at age 5. He graduated from the Citadel in 2000 and went on to become a C-130 pilot at Little Rock AFB, Ark. On Dec. 8, 2002, we lost him when he collapsed while doing his daily workout routine. I have flown a flag at half-staff ever since to honor him, but also to honor all of his brothers and sisters in arms who have also lost their lives. I continue to fly the flag and today will raise it to full-staff. To me the flag is not a political or free speech prop to be burned or used to advance a personal interest. The flag represents over 200 years of the freedoms each of us enjoy because of the blood spilled by others. Hence the red and white stripes. People should recall the meaning of the flag before they trash it. The stripes, blue field, and stars are not just “design,” but also each has a meaning. Funny how we can get so upset over rumors about the Koran being disrespected by the same people who believe the flag can be desecrated under their right to freedom of speech. In the final analysis, both are wrong.

Bob S. in cyberspace writes: I would first like to thank you for your support of the military and your respect for the flag, but I must also say that a count of how many days a year I fly my flag is an incredibly superficial attempt to measure patriotism. I flew my flag on Memorial Day, but do not fly it every day. I do fly it on many other days of the year, both holidays and not, and probably average about a third of the days each year as flag-flying days. Does that mean I'm only a third as patriotic as you think I should be? Both my wife and I are retired military and I lost my father in Vietnam. Many other of my family and extended family members have had military service, and we served proudly. If you measured my patriotism by how many days I fly my flag, your resulting conclusion would be sorely mistaken.

John D. USNR (RET) in Great Mills, Md., says: Thanks for your commentary about the meaning of Memorial Day. There are way too many people around that have no idea what the holiday represents. How about a big GRRRR!!! to Oblivions who wish you a "HAPPY" Memorial Day.

Greg N. from abroad writes: I honestly can't believe that you think there aren't enough people flying the American flag. I recently drove from my home near Toronto to Florida to visit my family; I would suggest that the number of cars NOT displaying an American flag were outnumbered two to one by flag-bearing vehicles. Every home I drove past in the state of Kentucky had a flag on it, and Florida was, as per usual, littered with them. I've traveled to many places in the world, but never have I visited a country that loved patriotism more than the U.S. Your commentary is unfounded and absolutely unbelievable.

Karen H. writing from cyberspace: Your column about flying the flag on Memorial Day really struck home with me. I’m one of the Oblivions that look forward to that day as a day off work. I’m also against the war in Iraq and President Bush’s policies, so I wasn’t anxious to participate in any Memorial Day observances. Your column made me realize that the point of the day is to remember those soldiers that are fighting and those who gave their lives for this country. My father fought in World War II and came home with a silver star for bravery. Also, my nephew and my niece’s husband are in training to go to Iraq. So in the future, I will remember the soldiers on Memorial Day no matter how I feel about the war or the president we have in office. Thanks for the wake-up call.

Mary in Arizona writes: Just wanted you to know that I wholeheartedly agree with your Memorial Day Grrr. It was a topic of much conversation between my daughters and I post-9/11, when everyone seemed to be flying a flag. As we watched the number of flags dwindle, I commented to my girls about all the Part-Time Patriots. It didn’t take long for most of them to revert to old habits, forgetting proper flag etiquette, suddenly not remembering the words to the Anthem anymore, etc. My Grrr is as we approach July 4th, all of those Part-Time Patriots will be back out again. To all past, present and future servicemen and women out there, my family remembers you every day and we are eternally thankful.

Dr. Heidi M. in Florida says: I ask you, how will no-talent celebutants like Paris Hilton ever go away if they are constantly being profiled in celebrity rags, television shows and now commercials??? I don't see a trend of her going away any time soon, or her likeness being splattered all over every form of media being slowly and deliberately lessened, do you? I am of the opinion that if she is not being given the spotlight so willingly by the media, she WILL go away, much to the relief of those of us with some taste. I'm sure we will now be subjected to the circus of the Paris nuptials for the next God-knows-how-many months ... same clown, different circus. Anyway, it is not my intention to be mean-spirited, but when I see another media report on Paris Hilton as a lead story, I am most certainly dismayed. I'm sure it's done just to poke fun at how ridiculous celebrities behave, but enough already. I think we have her figured out.

Mary Alice L. in cyberspace writes: I'm not part of any organized boycott. I just saw the Carl's Jr. ad and made a personal decision not to buy there anymore. I haven't made a big deal of it. I simply wrote the company and said I wasn't going to eat there. I am not giving Paris any extra attention and I'm not screaming about it. I used to eat there regularly, so I am doing what I can to let the company know that 18-34 year old males are not their only demographic. Carl's Jr. made a decision and so did I.

Marilyn R. in cyberspace in response to "Burt Reynolds": Your column about lightening up about Burt Reynolds slapping someone because he didn't see the original "The Longest Yard" movie disturbed me. I know the situations are different, but your article reminded me of someone telling a battered spouse "It was only a slap, get over it." Violence is violence whether it be a light slap or a big smack in the face. I don't see anything to laugh about.

Earl A. in Mechanicsburg in response to last week's "Your Grrrs": I agree with Adam N. about the commercials shown during family programming. I am constantly peeved at networks during televised sporting events. Whenever me and my kids watch NFL football on Sunday, I always have to keep the remote handy just in case there is a preview of the new "CSI" episode where we have to see a couple of dead bodies or someone storming a room with a gun. Come on!!!! I believe in freedom of expression and actually monitoring what my kids watch. I feel that is my job as a parent. But, watching something family-oriented and seeing this cr-p really &*^&&s me off.

Alice in Iowa City in response to Mike in Reston, Va., from last week's "Your Grrrs": I can see it now ... non-smokers and non-violators opening up their mail and finding a $50 ticket because some anonymous jerk didn't like something they did while driving. How do you fight an anonymous liar when the state blindly accepts these calls as truth?

Susan in Florida's Grrr: My husband, 9-year-old daughter and I went to see "Star Wars" this past weekend. Of course, we had to sit through 20 minutes of commercials and previews. I hate the commercials and usually like the previews. But not this time. I know "Star Wars" was rated PG-13, but I knew there was no sex or foul language, since there never has been before and since my brother had already seen it and told me so. One of the previews showed women in underwear being pushed down on beds. I do not allow my daughter to watch things like that on TV or movies. The preview was rated for everyone, so conceivably they could have shown it had we gone to see a G-rated movie. The movie industry really does need to police themselves a wee bit better.

Brittany in Springfield, Mo., with her Grrr: I am so disgusted by couples who feel the need to show strong personal displays of affection in public. Don't get me wrong, I am not addressing a little kiss here, holding hands there. Those are sweet and rarely offend anyone. I am talking about perverted Oblivions full-out groping and such in front of people who really do NOT want to see these acts. I recently had the opportunity to visit two beaches, one in Ft. Lauderdale, one in Waikiki. In both places, I was appalled at the fact that I was the one who had to move to get away from the disgusting make-out, fondling session when all I wanted to do was relax on the beach, enjoy the weather and reflect on life. On top of that, which infuriated me even more was the fact that these beaches swarmed with young children.

Sean in San Antonio writes: I went down to South Padre Island, Texas, this Memorial Day weekend. My Grrr is to the people on the beach who thought the seagulls were hungry and felt compelled to feed them potato chips. These people are so thoughtful, once all the seagulls within 5 miles started swarming overhead, they continued to throw potato chips until all the birds were fed. I especially like it when they throw the chips near other people's umbrellas — my trip to the beach wouldn't be complete without 50 seagulls swooping through our family tent to get a chip thrown by some Oblivion. I guess these idiots also think all that salt, cholesterol and high fructose corn syrup that make humans obese are actually good for the birds ... maybe they think it's OK because they get all that exercise flying around.

William A. from Fayetteville, Ark., says: This one just got my back hairs up. A serious news story I read on a Web news service claimed that the Apple iPod is responsible for a spike in subway crime. Explain to me, please: How can there be crime without the filthy little CRIMINALS? Do something about the criminals and the iPods will just sit there, committing no crimes at all. Is this standard reasoning now?

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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