Your Grrrs: Oct. 19, 2006

Everyone's babbling about Mike's last column. Here are just a few of your responses:

Eric in Wis.: My Grrr goes to the non-smokers who have a panic attack whenever they see or smell the faintest hint of cigarette smoke. It seems that the media has created a culture of people who think that if you smell the smallest trace of smoke that your lungs will immediately fill with cancer and you will die. Let me ask you this. What do you do when you have to walk by a diesel truck and are subjected to the exhaust? How about the neighbor who is burning his leaves in fall?? Oh my goodness, what if you burn your toast in the morning??? I agree that a person should not be subjected to smoke all day in the office, or even a restaurant, but the reaction that I see from people is that of panic. I am not a doctor but let me reassure you that you will not die from coming into contact with cigarette smoke occasionally. Every day when you walk out the door you are subjected to many things that are as harmful or even more harmful than a whiff of tobacco smoke. So please get off of your soap boxes and use common sense when forced to deal with some smoke.

Karla in Purcellville, Va.: I love your column, however I would like to point out that many children with living parents are orphans. This child was living in an orphanage because his father put him there. Keep writing, it puts a smile on my face.

Matt S. writes: The only reason this adoption is a publicity stunt is that YOU are making it one. Madonna is not responsible to change the world but at least she is helping. I wonder what you have done or are going to do to help the orphans of Africa? Nothing, I would assume, except an attempt to stir controversy where there is none so you can entertain YOUR fans. I'm writing a check for the specific charities that Madonna and other celebrities have brought to my attention. I thank them for that. In the middle of ALL the corruption of government and wars it amazes me that THIS makes you grrrrr. Find some priorities, get a spine filled with integrity and THEN try to be a journalist. YOU ARE WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY. I hope you can find change. Thank you.

Gary in Jacksonville: The first I thought I had when hearing about Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s adoption of the child from Malawi was “these people are competing with Brangelina for "Parents of the Year." Obviously, Madonna’s notoriety over her mock crucifixion and her making a mockery of Kabbalah isn’t garnering enough publicity for her. Not willing to share the spotlight with Brangelina, she and Ritchie are engaging in a “one-upmanship” competition with other Hollywood types who can’t make it on raw talent and need other ways to boost their fragile egos and waning box-office appeal. Using -- exploiting -- innocent children to accomplish this is sinking to new lows. There should be an international law against this sort of thing. Perhaps we should appeal to Kofi Annan to investigate? Right.

Margaret J. writes: Madonna built an orphanage for 4,000 children so I suppose she thought she should get to take home at least one. Taking someone else's child is abominable. She could have supported the child and educated him and made it possible for his father to raise him. Of course, the child's father let her adopt. How could he refuse the opportunity for his child? But it had to be a horrible sacrifice for him to make.

David in Birmingham, Ala.: Grrr to people who drive with their brights on 24/7 because they think that little blue light indicates whether their lights are on or off. Grrr to people who sit in the passenger seat and put their legs up on the dash because they aren't smart enough to realize what is going to happen to them if the airbag deploys. Grrr to motorcyclists who think that the striped lines between handicapped parking spaces were made especially for them. Grrr to cell phone users who haven't figured out what the vibration function is for and would rather sing along to the ringer than answer their phone. Grrr to the news media for constantly reminding us what the threat level is even though it has no effect on our daily lives. Grrr to the current administration for calling it the war on terror, when in fact you do not wage war on an emotion, you wage war on people. More apt would be the war on terrorists. Grrr to the funeral protesters who believe that God is punishing us for our sin when the New Testament clearly states that Christ died as a payment for our sin. And finally, Grrr to the oil companies lowering the price of gas and expecting us to believe that it ever needed to be $3-plus a gallon. Which I'm sure it will be after Nov. 7.

Hadley writes: Thanks for your terrific voice-of-sanity-in-the-woods column. You’re absolutely right about Madonna’s motives. If her motives were pure (which I doubt -- let’s face it, we’re talking about Madonna here), she’d quietly adopt a child in need of parents from somewhere less interesting than Africa. What about a local 11-year-old who’s been in 26 different foster homes, for example? Or, if she really wanted a baby, she could presumably just have one like she did before. But this business about Malawi is all too coincidental not to be a publicity stunt. Does the child not miss his family? Why did she just have to have that child? I was horrified to read that she wasn’t even at Heathrow to pick up the boy -- she sent an assistant to do it. She’s starting out badly as a disengaged parent; I think that tells the discerning public where her heart really is (if her entire career leaves anyone wondering). When you think about it from the child’s point of view, it’s an upsetting and appalling situation.

Todd responds to Brandi V. regarding movie concession prices in the last Your Grrrs: Wait a minute -- when I go to the movies, not only do I have to put up with high ticket prices, rude customers, cell phones going off and seemingly uncaring staff, now I am expected to pay $7 for a large popcorn out of pity for you so you can get a paycheck? Where’s the logic in that? The movie theater is run as a business, not a charity. If prices are too high, I don’t “have” to buy anything. Do I have to go buy from the Mom & Pop store with their higher prices because to not do would put them out of business? Of course not. It is simple free market economics. I work at a college and it’s not “expected” for students to come here; we have to recruit. If you lose your job because people don’t buy the product, as heartless as it seems, don’t blame the customer for not buying. You figure out a different way to do business.

Jill responds to Greg G. from Dover, N.H. in last YG column: I think the Grrr should go to the bank managers for scheduling so few tellers and not opening up another window. I've been a teller and I've had great managers that would open a window themselves and help during a time of heavy customer traffic. What I can't agree about is the Grrring of the people sharing their lives with the tellers. I know it made it seem like these people were all oblivions, but you have to see that if people didn't share their lives with people they meet along the way, then they are just automatons without a connection to this human race and their community. When kids/people are being killed without much in the way of thought to the emotional toll on the entire human race, it is there when we have become the ultimate obliviot. Then the fairly superficial Grrr we had becomes more of a deeply sorrow-filled cry. In our rush through life, let's not forget to live it! And next time you go to the bank and don't want any of the human portion that is associated with a bank teller, go to the ATM!

Jake W. on Babs: I wonder what would have happened if Streisand said something totally conservative. Would the liberals boo her and heckle her? Definitely! I agree, it’s her show, she can say/do what she wants. But if this is the case, it needs to happen everywhere else. If conservatives are having a rally, then the liberals need to STFU and let them use their freedom of freakin’ speech instead of barging in or trying to keep the gathering from happening. Conservatives as well. Let liberals be liberals at their rallies. Just remember it needs to work both ways.

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