Your Grrrs: June 7, 2005

Your Grrrs ...

Lynette in Alabama writes: Here's my Grrr! of the week. My family received season passes to a local amusement park and decided to spend some time there on Memorial Day. I waited in line with my son for the kiddie bumper cars while we watched the group of kids riding and having fun. It was then time for them to exit the ride and one little boy ran from the exit all the way around to the entrance breaking in front of everyone. He climbed into the first car with his dad yelling, "Go get 'em!" What Grrr'ed me was the lack of parenting during this obvious teachable moment! The child was probably 4 years old and could have benefited from his father's years of wisdom. He could have been taught about proper line etiquette, but no ... it was just another Oblivion day in paradise.

Dick L. in Vienna, Va., on Carl's Jr.: Mike, I've read plenty of Grrr!s concerning Carl's Jr. and the Paris Hilton ad. "Get it off TV!" they cry. Well, Mike, I'm 77 years old and I'm tired and I don't get out much. If they discontinue the Paris Hilton commercial, what in the world will I watch?

Norman S. in Grovetown, Ga., on "Summer Oblivions": For your friend with the Armenian neighbors and the outdoor speakers, I suggest a set of outdoor speakers of your own and a tape deck or CD player loaded with "America the Beautiful," "This Land is Our Land," "1812 Overture with Cannons and Bells," "We will Rock You," the "Marine Corps Hymn," the "Navy Hymn," the "Army Hymn," the "Air Force Hymn," the "Coast Guard Hymn," all played at about 80 decibels. I have used this tactic and it works well. It forced a neighbor with a night shift Saturday through Wednesday and a penchant for partying to the negotiating table after he told me what do with myself when I first tried to talk him about the conflict of interest. For the neighbor with the 9 a.m. tee time I suggest a set of floodlights (preferably carbon arc) and doing your lawn at 1 a.m. I have not tried this tactic yet. I have used this one, though. I used this while serving aboard a Navy ship and living in a compartment with 80 other guys, four of which liked to party and come into the compartment at 1 a.m. yelling at each other across the compartment. I tried to talk to them about it. They were all members of our Marine Recon platoon and thought they were so tough, I couldn't do anything about it. So, I woke the ring leader up every hour on the hour (sleeping in between) to tell him it was midnight and everything was well, it is now 1 a.m. and all is well ... it is now 5 a.m. and reveille will be in one hour, see you at muster. At this point he asked me how long I was going to keep up this tactic. I told him until he and his buddies learned some manners and kept their drunken mouths shut or until he was hauled away in a straitjacket, whichever came first. This worked like a charm. Unfortunately I don’t have any ready solutions to the rest of the problems you listed in your article. Sorry. If anything comes to mind I will let you know. I hope these help or at the very least give you a good laugh.

Doug B. in Texas on "A.M. Lawn Mowers": In Texas we hardly have a choice. Either mow the lawn in 100 degree heat (which it sometimes reaches by 10 a.m. and lasts until after dark) or get up early and get moving. You know what I call Oblivion? Someone who sleeps their entire Saturday morning away complaining about those who don’t.

Mark S. in Albuquerque, N.M.: I live in an apartment complex, and some of my neighbors recently acquired a deck grill — one of those little short $20 jobs from Wal-Mart. The last place I lived was back East, and there, you couldn't have open flames, including a grill, within 10 feet of the building. That makes even more sense here in the desert of the American Southwest, because I don't want an unwatched grill fire to burn up my home. Even though I have renter's insurance, that would be a really big Grrrrr! But like you, I don't want to be the PITA neighbor and tell them not to grill on the balcony. It's not like we have a grassy picnic area that would be better. Anyway, thanks for taking time to read my in-agreement Grrrrrr! Maybe you should get up at dawn and mow your lawn before your Oblivion neighbors do — but then payback might not be your style any more than waking too early on the weekend.

Mary Beth V. in cyberspace writes: I agree with you a good 80 percent of the time, but you blew it on the lawn work. Wait until 10 a.m. to run power tools? Until the sun is high and so is the UV? Dawdle around until half the useful workday is already gone? Sorry, I didn't make you stay up until heaven knows what hour so that you need to lay in bed until lunchtime. I'm getting my chores and projects started promptly so I can be out of the sun and the heat during the worst part of the day. It's not rudeness, it's common sense. Good thing you don't live near a farm. My lawn-tending and woodworking neighbors and I may be up and about our weekends' activities by 7:30 or 8 but I assure you, our farming neighbors have their heavy equipment out in the fields at 5.

David K. in cyberspace writes: How can you possibly complain about Oblivions when you're buying puppies from pet stores and going out to dinner on Memorial Day. What's next? You decide to meet a friend out for a drink on St. Patrick's Day and then complain that the bar was overcrowded? What do you expect? Who's really the oblivion? I guess your readers don't help as they seem to think your observations are "mind blowing" and perceptive. Jeez ... you have a person from Iowa City who thinks you can just call a number and the police will just send a ticket to any person you report on. Seems like the readers you post are the same people who forward chain letters and think Microsoft is going to send them a check.

Kelly R. in Virginia Beach says: AMEN, Brother! I live in Virginia Beach and I'm already bracing myself for the vacationing Oblivions. Not only am I dreading the supermarkets and restaurants, but let us not forget the highways! Interstate 264 is a major artery and already a headache during rush hour; then add in the tourists who not only have no clue where they are going, but also can't manage to drive in the first place!

John H. writing from cyberspace: Do you seriously mean to imply that buying things in a grocery store near the beach is rude? My grrr! then is people who live near a tourist attraction like a beach and adopt a "locals only" attitude. Do you think you own the beach and nearby facilities? I'll grant you that not returning shopping carts is a bad thing, but I'll bet the locals do it too. Why doesn't your local market put on more staff to restock and check people out? Hey locals, it shouldn't be a big surprise to your local businesses that summer crowds mean you should add capacity to serve customers. "Locals only" attitude is like those who buy a house near an airport and then raise heck about the noise.

Steve in Salem, Ore., in response to last week's "Your Grrrs" column: Why do people feel the need to equate the inequitable? Your reader, who said that your article about Burt Reynolds’ slap was disturbing, really hit a nerve! Grrr! Comparing that slap to a battered spouse? I’m getting so tired of people equating things that don’t belong together. It’s like the people who say George Bush is a modern-day Hitler, or saying that Gitmo is a stalag. I don’t know which is worse, these people’s poor grasp on history or their poor grasp on reality. My daughter endured her husband’s abuse, until he broke her nose by slamming her into a wall. Don’t dare equate the little tap on the side of that reporter's face to spousal abuse! Violence is violence? Tell that to the people who have been severely injured or died at the hands of a truly violent person. The cops and the emergency room took pictures of my daughter’s broken nose on that awful night. I doubt that reporter even had a slight reddening on his face, where Burt tapped him. I suppose when a football player slaps his teammate’s butt, that’s violence, too? Grrr!

Nathan from Houston, Texas, with his own Grrr!:
How about a grrr! for G. Gordon Liddy complaining about Felt's actions as Deep Throat saying, "What you are ethically bound to do is go to a grand jury and seek an indictment and not go to a single news source." There's nothing like hearing a man who served almost 5 years in prison for his role in Watergate lecturing people on ethics.

Adam B. in Reading, Pa., writes:
My grrr! goes to the people who decide to build multimillion-dollar homes on steep and muddy slopes and to the media that report these events as if they were important. Some people are forced to live in areas subject to natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, or hurricanes because of limited resources and financial difficulties, but these Californians insist on building house after house on the sides of mud hills. Each year, it seems we must listen to the sob stories of these millionaires losing one of their homes due to landslides. These people live there by choice, so why must the rest of the country hear about it? Maybe I'm cynical, but I don't feel bad for them if they lost a house on the same location four other homes slid away. If you want a house to last, try building it in any number of other states that aren't subjected to so many disasters.

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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