Jody in California: I have to say, I used to be a nanny for a year and a half and so I think I can toss a little sympathy to the parents on the plane whose child is crying uncontrollably or something. But last week I spent two and a half hours across the aisle from a family of complete oblivions. The parents each kept a young daughter next to them and while the mom was HELPING her youngest CLIMB over seats and kick people, the father was turning the volume up on their portable DVD player so the older daughter could hear “Madagascar” over the flight attendant’s instructions. For over two hours the DVD was on full volume so we could all hear it, the younger daughter threw a tantrum if her seat belt was fastened, the people in front of them were getting kicked in the back, the mom was dead asleep, and finally -- 4 minutes to landing -- the dad pulls out a long cord with headphones attached and gave them to his daughter so she would be able to listen to the movie without the captain’s updates interrupting the movie. You have to be kidding me, I thought. The whole time you had those headphones?
Kay in Mississippi on my Retail Quiz from last column: Hey! Great topic not only for holidays but yearlong. I've long held that "customer service" is an oxymoron. No. 2 in your test for the Oblivion shopper read, "When you approach a retail worker..." HA! My offering is that it SHOULD read, "When you actually find a retail worker not in conversation with another worker, on the phone and, indeed, on the sales floor, manage to ask them a question with the response being, "Someone from that department will be with you shortly" (no one ever showed) you should:
a. Find what you were looking for and steal it.
b. Report the entire store to the management.
c. Realize they all are probably having a tough day.
e. Vow never to return.
I opt for d & e.
Jim C. in Rock Springs, Wyoming: 'Tis the season to be jolly!! It's bad enough when they put Christmas carols in the background of advertisements, but when they take a traditional Christmas carol and change the words for a product promotion (Honda), that Grrrrs the heck out of me.
Rich W. in Bonney Lake, Wash.: Two words, Boeing recall. GM is nothing, try horrendous layoffs every seven years, what is it they say about lemmings and a cliff? If we gave a damn about giving presents to people we don't know, watching while they open it for that phony facial expression of "what the hell is it mixed with oh my I have six of these singing Bass on the wall now, why do I need another one?" If we saved our money and "made" Christmas presents, or only bought something for someone who truly needed the item, three things might happen. People might actually learn patience and caring and something about other people. We would run Wal-Mart out of business and make our kids better people in the process. And the layoffs from lack of commerce would force people to understand exactly what you are talking about. Have a Merry Freakin Christmas. We react to the environment we are thrust in. The environment we created is wrought with phony TV programs like "Tyra" and we all think "Ty" will come build us a house if we are miserable enough and send in a tape? If we have no standards, we expect no standards.
Mark Von Fremd: Mike, worry not. Your column is greatly appreciated and valued by your loyal readers who truly anticipate your opinions and musings with steadfast dedication. Your writings contain a tempered balance of tongue-in-cheek frivolity and reverent seriousness that makes reading it worthwhile. It is an area of the FOX News Web site to which many turn to hear gentle opinions and strong tirades — because both are sometimes necessary — helping us make more sense out of our world.
—Thanks Mark. I appreciate that.
Kristi from McKinney, Texas, on Vacation in Green Bay: My GRRR goes to the complete Oblivion on our flight this morning from Dallas to Milwaukee. This IDIOT decided he was so important that he needed to make a phone call WHILE WE WERE TRYING TO LAND!!!! The pilot came on the radio and had to remind the passengers that the use of cell phones interferes with their instruments. Not to mention we were over Lake Michigan, but they almost had to waive our landing off due to the interference. Grrr to the Obliviot for endangering my life and the other passengers on the flight.
Terry B. in Burlington, Iowa: Grrr to your statement about the big box retailers not offering insurance, paid vacation and retirement. That is simply not true. I am a former employee of Target and Wal-Mart. They both have paid vacations of one week your first year and two weeks your second year (on and on). They have health insurance for full-time and part-time employees. Both have 401(k)s that they contribute to on behalf of the employee. I have friends who worked for Lowe’s and they have a similar benefits package. I am sure Home Depot isn’t any different. These stores are maligned enough. They provide millions of people with jobs and millions more with affordable products to help make our lives better. Come on Mike, these stores are not the enemy.
Jessica in Hedgesville, W.V.: Is it really too time-consuming for people to write out Christmas that they have to substitute an “X” for “Christ” every time? Most people in this country know exactly why Christmas is celebrated every year, even though the story gets pushed to the back burner or off of the stove completely! Why must people take Christ out of the name, too? My second GRR has to do with coverage of the American Music Awards. Could someone clue me in on why the inspirational categories were never mentioned in most stories from the media? The media chose to focus on the secular genres -- hip-hop, soul, R&B, country and rap. They never even alluded to the other existing categories.
Bryan W. in Virginia: The shaving the eyebrows bit was hilarious!! It takes real guts to admit that kind of stunt. Many of us have done the same thing (even with no drinking involved), but would never admit it. If you mess up a mustache, you can shave off the whole thing and start over, but an eyebrow. Love the stuff you do. You have given words to frustrations many of us have felt for years. As I get older, though, I am trying to develop an attitude reflected in a sign posted above the workstation of a worker on the B-1B project when I was in the Air Force: "I used to get angry, but now, I'm just mildly amused."
Dan L. in Cyberspace: I am one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. I'll stop every time to see if you need help with a flat tire. I'll gladly offer my place in line at the checkout if you have only an item or two. If you cut me off in traffic and at least give me the "look of oops, I screwed up," I'll laugh and wave. On the other hand, when did it become "politically incorrect" (and PC is a waste of time) to give somebody a nice friendly flip of the bird if they are being unapologetic and stupid, AKA "Oblivion." Maybe "the bird" isn't your answer, but if somebody pisses you off, let 'em know. Andy Griffith has left the building. C'mon Barney, let's go see Floyd for a haircut.
Shelby in cyberspace: Merry Christmas! I was just wondering if you have a new word for Christmas Hypocrites? You know the ones ... they complain about everything referencing Christmas, but when our Christmas bonuses are handed out, they take them straight to the bank without muttering a word.
Pam in Science Hill, Ky.: I, like most parents, believe my child is the most beautiful, brightest creature that ever graced this Earth. However, I do have enough sense to know that my husband is probably the only other person who shares this sentiment. That being said, my grrrr is directed to all the parents who have their small children record the outgoing message on their answering machines. Sure, they can understand what their little angel is warbling into the machine, but nobody else can. Their entire family may think it is cute, but the fact is that it is nothing short of annoying to people who are trying to communicate with the adults of the household for legitimate reasons, such as medical professionals. Oblivion parents, give us a break!
Greg D. responds to my last column: The "option to extend" feature for vacations is a great idea. Fortunately there's already a way to do that ... call in sick!
Chuck in Kansas City, Mo., with gas tank lessons: In response to Rob in Hillsborough, N.J.: The reason some companies put gas tank fillers on the passenger side of the car is so when you run out of gas on the freeway, you can refill your tank without being run over. Personally, I believe all manufacturers should take this into consideration when building automobiles for use on American roadways.
Molly M. in Seattle: A massive GRRR to those Oblivions who wear heavy perfume and cologne out in public and to offices where everyone else has to smell it. NEWS FLASH — IT STINKS AND MAKES US GASP FOR BREATH. They should dump that crap all over their own living space where they are the only ones who have to smell and let the rest of us breathe fresh air. Those of us with lung problems and allergies (and we are numerous) would appreciate it.
Dan Tyson: My GRRR pertains to the headline I read on the FOX News Web site. What is this business of a 24-year-old female teacher having sex with a 14-year-old boy and getting no jail time for it? To be honest, that GRRRS the heck out of me. No. 1 that is bloody well perverted and two where are the child abuse gurus yelling for jail time for the offense? Or is it just attractive women that get off with probation? I’m willing to bet that if it had been a 24-year-old male teacher and a 14-year-old girl, the male teacher would have been sent to jail for a long time and probation would not even have crossed anyone’s mind because of the perversion of the act. She should get jail time bottom line and if the school she was working for was as much a “hell hole” as her lawyer is claiming, then she should have left instead of crossing the line the way she did. Please correct me if I’m wrong but this is just the way I see it.
VIDEO: Watch Mike on "The Real Deal" webcast.