Your Grrrs: Nov. 23, 2004

More of Your Grrrs ... Don't Forget to Spot The Oblivion.

Cpl. Darrell J.O. in Wurzburg, Germany: This one has been bugging me for quite a while. I am a conservative Christian. Whenever the doors to my church are open, I will be there attending service with my family. As such, I pray many times a day (and not just at meals). What bugs me is all the people who say, "You are in my thoughts and prayers" but don't really mean it. If you say you are going to pray for me, then I expect you will actually pray for me, but don't just give me your lip service pretending like you have a prayer life. Grrr! to all the prayer pretenders, God knows how much you pray.

Kimber in Boulder, Colo., responds to Bryn (last column): I know just how you feel!! While on differing sides of the fence, I feel your pain. I'm soooooo tired of hearing that because I'm not a "conservative," I don't hold on to "morals" that shape the direction of this country. Have you considered that many of the folks that have "Support our Troops" ribbons attached to our car are liberals?? GASP!

John R. in Cyber-Space to Bryn (last column): Good for you, standing up for the good ol' USA up there in the Blue Wasteland of western Mass. I admire your courage. And even though the liberal media ridicules Georgia for having a school that tries to teach the truth by labeling science books with the fact that the evolution theory is just that, a THEORY, only freedom-loving individuals such as you and I are out there pushing the truth instead of the (Grrr!) spin. Thanks! And thank you, Mike Straka.

Ben in Corvallis, Ore.: This Grrr! goes out to the people who try to make a label stating that evolution is a theory, not a fact, into a religious debate. Any self-respecting scientist who follows the scientific method would agree with the label. At the turn of the 20th century, scientists thought that all physics could be explained by Newtonian physics and Maxwell's equations. Then relativity and quantum mechanics came along and the old "facts" were no longer completely true. That's how science works — everything is a theory and almost impossible to completely prove. Newton and Maxwell had way more evidence going for them than Darwin. Maybe if kids weren't taught that science is infallible and has everything figured out, more of them would be interested in pursuing a career in it.

Noel in Cyber-Space: In your November 10 column, you referred to Jean-Claude Van Damme (search) doing kickboxing in "Bloodsport". If memory serves (possibly), he was doing karate in "Bloodsport", he did kickboxing in (naturally) "Kickboxer". BTW, I'm trying to think of a printable name for the Oblivion who sits in the parking lot aisle behind my car with his blinker on, waiting for someone else to finish loading groceries and strolling the cart back to the corral, while I'm in reverse, all set to go. Any suggestions?

— Probably not printable ... and on JCVD — I've already thought more about that egomaniac has-been than I care to. Thanks.

Betsy L. in San Diego, Calif: I have a big old Grrrr!, all right, and it has to do with you. When talking about a woman, why do so many people insist on describing the woman's physical attributes? In your November 18 column (regarding Kwame Jackson's hosting stint on a CNN show), you included the following paragraph: "Not Pat Kiernan, not David Hafenreffer or his gorgeous producer, Caroline Hill, on "The Biz," not J.J. Ramberg, not Ali Velshi, not even Lou Dobbs." I have seen you do this on at least one prior occasion as well. Why didn't you preface the names of Mr. Hafenreffer, Mr. Velshi, or Mr. Dobbs with your personal opinions on their physical appearances? In a column in which you complain that no-talent ex-realty showfolk take jobs away from deserving individuals, why did you indicate that Ms. Hill was more deserving because she is "gorgeous"? There's a problem here, and I hope you are man enough (or woman enough) to recognize it. I still love your column, but I wanted to point out to you that you were acting like one of the people you lambast every Tuesday.

— Betsy, good point. I'll try to refrain next time, or include my opinions (or non-opinion) of the guy's looks. When I met Ms. Hill at a junket for the Broadway show "Aida," I was wondering which show she reported for, and I was surprised to hear that she was a producer — not an on-camera reporter. I assumed she was because she was gorgeous, and that was a wrong assumption. Thanks for calling me on my Oblivionism in that regard!

Lindsey H. in Cyber-Space: Mike, I read you column every week and I tend to agree with you and most other people's Grrrs. I look forward to Tuesday morning because I can read about Oblivions and laugh. My biggest pet peeve is ignorance, and that's probably the number-one characteristic of Oblivions. That said, some people who've recently written in have really been pushing that pet peeve to the limit. They don't realize that all conservatives aren't Bible-toting homophobes. I'm smack dab in the middle. For one, I support the war. I think it had to be done. I also think abortion shouldn't be used as birth control, but what happens if you were raped or there are grave concerns for the mother's delivery? Additionally, I think the Patriot Act (search) needs to come back, but rewritten. And I'm for gay marriage, because why does it have to matter so much to people who are so against it? Those people probably don't even know any gay people, so it won't directly affect them anyway. It's not like over 50 percent of heterosexual marriages last anyway, and I'm sure gay people would appreciate those vows more than most hetero couples. It's not like churches have to marry them, but the courts should be able to. Besides, I thought this country was founded on SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. It doesn't seem like anyone remembers that anymore.

Tom V. from Piscataway, N.J.: I thought Jon Stewart's (search) appearance on "Crossfire" was a total sucker punch to host Tucker Carlson, and was uncalled for. I lost a lot of respect for Stewart after that show. In the future, he should let talk show hosts know if he plans on being funny, witty and charming or confrontational when he's scheduled to appear. At least they'd be ready for him. Tucker Carlson is a nice guy, and co-hosts a very interesting show, same as Stewart. There was no need for the personal attacks, especially the bowtie digs. How lame was that. And by the way, I hate mean. And most nice guys I know may not finish first, but they're a pleasure to be with, and make life more enjoyable, instead of miserable. I love your GRRR! column.

Rod R. watching "Ellen": About half-talents getting TV gigs when you have worked hard to learn the business: Just don't give up! Incidentally, saw Elton John on "Ellen" yesterday, and she asked him about the thing with Madonna. He said he respects her talent, but the category was for "live" performance, and she has recorded music in part of her show. He thinks that should have disqualified her, and left the category open to those who do play live to develop their craft and please their fans. She then asked him to do "Crocodile Rock" into the commercial, and he sat at the piano, played by himself and sang into the microphone, and it sounded better than the recording. Some different chords and tempo ... very nice. I expect "singers" to be able to do that.

Dave on phone etiquette: I just got a phone call. After I said "Hello", the first words I heard were "Who it this?" Grrrrrr. I don't mind a "May I please speak with Mary?" or "Is this the Anycity Chamber of Commerce?" I once had to listen to a long take-out order for a local Chinese restaurant before I got a chance to tell them they got the wrong number. We had a good laugh about it before they hung up. But "Who it this?" Worse, this is almost always spoken in a gruff angry voice.

After being taken aback for a second or two, I responded as I usually do in such circumstances: "Who's calling?" They told me the business they were trying to call, and I told them they got a wrong number. All as pleasant as I could. For goodness' sake, Oblivions — a little phone etiquette will go a long way.

Keith Pataskala, Ohio: Your reference to "Left Lane Vigilantes" in your November 16 column reminded me to give you a news flash — the speed limit in the left lane is the same as it is in the right lane! Driving at the posted speed limit in the left lane IS NOT ILLEGAL!!! Going over the speed limit AT ANY TIME UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES IS!!!!

Laurie Chapman in Irving, Texas: We watch a lot of sports in my house. It is an insult to the patriots of our great nation to have the National Anthem mangled by a singer (or singers) who have to show off their vocal skills!!!! Just sing the song the way it was written!!!! And DO NOT add a big flourish to the HOME OF THE BRAVE! GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!

And there you have it.

Until next week: Grrr!

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Mike Straka is director of operations and special projects and a columnist for, and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine." He was also in the movie "Analyze This," and has appeared in various commercials, theater and TV roles.