A.F. in Plano, Texas: I’m not sure why you had a problem understanding that paragraph from Spencer Tillman's book that you quoted in your last column. If you just think about the word crucible, “a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development,” it makes perfect sense to me. He’s simply referring to situations in one’s life that bring about change for the better. Anyone can go through tough times, but those whose behavior is changed for the better become great, influential leaders. It may be a bit wordy, but your response of “huh?” was not necessary.
Greg B. in Texas: Re: Spencer Tillman's book: Who's really responsible for the awkwardness of the paragraph you quoted? Is it the author or the editor? I believe I understand what Tillman was saying, but, I would expect an editor to help clean it up before publication. [Or, perhaps an editor did all she/he could.] I suppose, in the end, it's the author's responsibility to be clear --however, seems he should expect some help in this area from an industry professional. After all, we're frequently the most ignorant of our own mistakes.
Brett in Houston: My biggest Grrrr of the year is that just because she made a fool of herself by her own choosing, Ashlee Simpson was given ANOTHER music spot on "Saturday Night Live." Forget the fact that literally hundreds of acts would kill for the chance to prove themselves legitimately on the show, I guess it pays to screw up. I guess that I should be comforted to have learned that the next time I am given the opportunity to expose my work to the rest of the world and I try and fake it and get caught, it will be comforting to know I will immediately be given another shot. What a joke.
Brian in Cyberspace: The blame for why celebrities must fear paparazzi-style photographers does not rest with the magazines for buying the pictures, it rests with the public for buying the magazines. If fewer people got excited by seeing a picture of Jennifer Aniston eating a ham sandwich on the cover of a magazine, and stopped buying said magazine, the magazine would stop paying photographers for stupid candid pictures, and the stupid paparazzi photographers would need to find a new line of work. If you are the type of person who buys magazines with privacy-violating style celebrity pictures, then you are to blame for the existence of the paparazzi. The magazines are just cashing in on the public's desire to watch Brad Pitt purchase a pack of gum at the gas station. And being the supporter of capitalism that I am, I find it hard to blame the magazines.
AZChurch in Cyberspace: Once upon a time, having a stereo with a bass speaker the size of a tractor tire was loud enough for clueless Obliviots. Imagine the good fortune of being at a stop light next to someone whose bass thumping "music" is rapidly de-balancing your tires. But the fad these days is to install an exhaust system that sounds like someone breaking wind at 150 decibels. Who are the classless, unthinking morons that want to create as much noise as possible and inflict their "coolness" on everyone within 10 blocks?
Richard B. in Cyberspace: My Grrr? Why anyone inside the media or out cares one bit about the antics of Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton or any of the other knuckleheads who make up the "entertainment industry."
Keith O. in Norfolk, Va.: I’m Grrring any of these supposedly creative TV writers who chose to use “Whisperer” in their title. Where the heck did originality go? The “Horse Whisperer” was a decent movie. Now, we have the “Dog Whisperer” who shows us our canine miscues and the “Ghost Whisperer” to help us lead our troubled spirits to rest. Even if these are the best doggie and ghost TV shows in the world, couldn’t you have spent like five more minutes on an original title?
Erin in Santa Clara, Calif.: Grrrr! to me for letting these Oblivions, Self-Righteons, ImporTants, Left-Lane Vigilantes (the whole wad of 'em) ruin my day. It's MY day and I am the one to choose what kind of day I have. I have the greatest days when I take the time to hold a door for someone, smile at the random person on my way to the post office, have a little friendly chit-chat with the cashier, moving aside when an obviously hurried person is on the go and just being NICE to those I encounter throughout my day. My worst days are when I let the inevitable selfish folks get to me. When my true love gets home from work, he doesn't always want to hear about the annoyances I experienced that day. He wants to know that I am a positive and happy person who influences others to be so as well. Sometimes you just have to hang up your grievances and put on a smile. My notebook in the fourth grade read "smiling is contagious". By golly, that notebook was right! And yes, I do wake up on the wrong side of the litter box some days. but it's important to keep those days to a very bare minimum. You and other Grrr'ers really make laugh, thanks man. Kudos to the interns, too!
Leslie in Tallahassee, Fla.: You know what really makes me GRRR? I can't stand the Oblivions at gas stations that think I (and everyone else within a three-block radius) want to listen to their music blasting at ear-drum-popping decibels while I'm stuck pumping gas into my car. You don't look cool, I'm not envious of the money you've wasted on that thing and the only attention you're drawing to yourself is nasty looks. Get a clue, doofus ... when did being considerate go out of style??
Deron in San Antonio: Grrr to those who stand in line to buy lottery tickets. You look like hamsters whacking the feeder bar for more pellets.
Ryan C in Austin, Texas: My GRRR is how everything under the sun is now done on a "pre" basis. Pre-leasing, pre-purchase, pre-board, the list goes on. By definition pre means beforehand, in advance of. So an apartment complex that is pre-leasing is really doing nothing (how can one lease before one can lease?) And everything is pre-purchase, until you buy it. And how can a person get on board an airplane before he gets on the airplane? The unintelligent try to drum up a sense of excitement and exclusivity by preying on the consumer's want to be first at something; by pre-whatevering, you can do it before it can actually be done. I could go on, but that would be pre-posterous!
Mark in Omaha, Neb.: Would two opposing letters to the Grrr! Guy in the same column (Oct. 6) create an implosion like the matter/antimatter thing-a-ma-jig on "Star Trek?"
TO: John K. in Fort Gratiot: You think driving too slowly is not dangerous? Johnny, you are only partially correct. It depends on the type of roadway. For example, if I drive 20 mph in a school zone, no harm done. But, if I drive 20 on the interstate ... you get the idea. And there are people who drive that slowly. Just be aware that there are lower speed limits as well as upper limits. Check your DOT manual. It is admirable that you wish to stay well below the speed limit, but please be courteous to those of us who want to drive at or near the posted limit. Thanks!
To: Melissa from Houston: You say, "If you are UNABLE or UNWILLING to even go the speed limit, then GET OFF THE FREEWAY!" (Oct. 6). Sorry, Missy, the speed limit is the highest you can go. It is the upper limit, not the lower limit. Check your DOT manual. You are a bigger Oblivion than John!
Well, Mike, if the Grrr! column doesn't appear on Tuesday, I'll know that you and your staff have imploded from the opposing Oblivionism.
Samantha in Ft. Lauderdale: This has been talked about before, but again, a large GRRRRRR to speaker phones in the office. What purpose do they serve? If you need hands free -- get a headset. If you need two people in your office to talk on the phone with another person, CLOSE THE DOOR. This is not rocket science, people, it is called common courtesy. I seem to always be the one to close my door when I am not the one on the speaker phone! GRRRRRR!
Thanks for letting me vent, I have two speaker phones on both sides of my office going on right now and I cannot concentrate.
Patrick in Calif.: Grrr to all the goofy "office assistants" (or the companies for whom they work) who answer the company phone line with, "XYZ Company, how may I direct your call?" Well, gee, I don't know, just what kind of telephone PABX equipment does your company use? AT&T Dimension 2000, Nortel Meridian or what? Lemme take a guess, you probably have to hit the HOLD button and then hit the TRANSFER button, or maybe it is the PARK button and then the FORWARD button, or maybe ... I dunno, just how DO you DIRECT my call? Why are you asking me? What's the matter with, "XYZ company, how may I help you?" or even just "XYZ company" and leave it at that? Why ask a silly question in an attempt to sound high-falootin? Grrr!
Bryan in Okla.: My big GRRR!!! is for the drivers who stay in the right lane when you are trying to get on the interstate and there is no one in the left lane for miles around, yet they think they can drive you right onto the shoulder because they are too "IMPOR-TANT" to move over so you can get on the highway! Move it or lose it!!!