Your Grrrs: Oct. 6, 2005

Your Grrrs ...

John K. in Fort Gratiot, Mich.: Driving too slowly is dangerous? What a concept. Can you explain to me how it is that in rush hour traffic, everyone somehow finds a way not to rear end the car in front of them crawling along at 5 mph? I think the most dangerous way to drive is right behind the car in front of you, i.e. tailgating. My commute is over 60 miles and I use my cruise control to keep me from getting a ticket. Somehow I manage to make it to work on time without speeding. I use this nifty little device called an alarm clock. It helps me obey the law. You know, that list of things you can and can’t do in a civil society? I don’t think you can obey only the ones you want and expect people to not begin looting as soon as the power goes out. Who knows, soon you may find yourself writing an article defending road rage. I know this sounds harsh, but so are the looks I get from fellow drivers who express their disdain for my obedience to the law no matter which lane I am in.

J.B. Lagos in cyberspace: Q: What FOX Sports broadcaster called Derek Jeter an INEPT player while paying him a compliment? How much do these Obliviots get paid to make dunces of themselves on national TV??? GGGRRR!!!

James in Crofton, Md., on too many voicemail options: YES!!! I've been ranting about this for years. I can't stand all the options you get when all you want to do is leave a message. I've found, though, that you can bypass everything (including the person's personal message) by pressing a button during the message. Which button you push depends on which provider they have. For Sprint, press "1". For Verizon, press "*". For Cingular, press "#" (I think). This knowledge alone has saved me at least 10-15 minutes a day of wasted time listening to the operator tell me (once again) "to leave a callback number, press 5", "to leave a message, wait for the tone" (DUH), etc., etc., etc. Grrr!

Julie in Scottsdale, Ariz.: GRRR! To all the retired people who insist on buying their weekly groceries at 5 p.m. when I’m stopping after work to pick up one or two things. They have all day to shop!! Why do they need to clog up the aisles when we working people have limited time to shop!! Also, GRRRR to the self-centered cell phone abusers who walk around in the stores shouting on their cell phones in some inane conversation. Who wants to hear that?? I sure don’t!! I think it would be wise for shops to post “No cell phones to be used inside the store." It’s rude and it’s not fair to those of us who just want to browse quietly.

-- Harsh, Julie. To paraphrase Pete Townshend, "hope you die before you get old."

Jason Blosser in cyberspace: I must respectfully take issue with what I detect to be a slight toward Lisa Beamer. Perhaps she should have put her husband's picture on her book about him. Perhaps the book company made her do it this way. From every interview I have ever seen of her, including the most recent and excellent four-hour documentary by National Geographic, Lisa seems to be a proud, yet humble woman. Your comment, if I read it correctly, is misplaced.

Rick in N.M.: In you article on "Jobless Protesters," you forgot to mention the "Professional Protesters," as in the ones who make their living moving from one protest to the next. They are the ones who need to be exposed.

Melissa in Houston: Love your column! I live in Houston and I'll tell you what GRRRs me --people who drive less than the speed limit on the freeway, when there is no traffic in front of them, even in the "slow" lane. If you are UNABLE or UNWILLING to even go the speed limit, then GET OFF THE FREEWAY! Drive on the feeder road so the rest of us can get where we're going! Thanks for letting me vent.

Cell Phone Police in cyberspace: Here is an idea. When people use their Nextel Walkie Talkie phone, they are having what I consider a public conversation. Why not join their conversation? You know, ask 20 million annoying questions about whatever it is they are talking about. "What's a 401K?" "Do I need a special license to have one?" "Is that an Armani?" If they want to keep their conversation private, they will eventually learn to go somewhere else.

Andrew in Ill. on the last Your Grrrs: Wow!! Shelva, you have probably written the most ignorant response to this column I have ever read. I'm not really sure where you got the idea that Brad Pitt and two or three of his friends are wealthy enough to not only own personal islands, but could actually afford to end the starvation that is occurring in Africa. I think you are mistaking Pitt and his celebrity friends for either Steve Jobs or Bill Gates and their friends. The fact is it would cost billions a year to feed all the people in Africa who are unable to feed themselves and their families. I have never seen a celebrity on TV make people feel guilty for paying their bills when the celebrity is trying to convince people to donate to a good cause. Most, if not all of the celebrities are just asking the American public to help those who are in an unfortunate situation. If Pitt or any other celebrity can convince even one person to donate money to a worthwhile cause, then I think they are doing something that is going above and beyond what they actually have or even need to do. Instead of criticizing these celebrities, you should thank them for their help and respect their efforts.

Bonnie S. in Shelbyville, Texas: I am a survivor of the late '60s/early '70s “let’s protest the establishment” mentality. I hated protesters then and still do. I was always too busy trying to make a living to care too much about their “issues.” As a bank employee, it would have been foolish to participate even if I had wanted to -- banks take a very dim view of their employees being dragged off to jail. My opinion of protesters, wrong or not, is of unwashed, drug-crazed hippies, or wannabes, spouting nonsense and abusing resources that I, as a taxpayer, have to pay for. I have never understood the mentality of wanting to be arrested for any “cause.” Arrest records can come back to haunt you years down the road. What is noble about that?

Allison M. in cyberspace: Grrrrr to the mass-transit riding Obliviots that stand directly in front of train doors allowing other passengers no room to exit the train. How stupid and inconsiderate can you be??

Jamie in cyberspace: My Grrr goes out to the media for actually covering Cindy Sheehan and the ignorant protesters. I don't know who is more oblivious, the protesters? The media? Or the people that watch the media cover this type of ignorance?

Michael W. in cyberspace: My Grrr! is to the reporters who insist on referring to highway crashes as “accidents.” Very few are. An accident is something that can’t be avoided ... a blown tire, fallen tree limb, the deer that jumped out unexpectedly. But a crash caused by the idiot speeding, weaving, talking on their cell phone, shaving, reading the paper, putting on eye makeup, brushing their teeth, eating, controlling the kids or any other self-initiated distraction is NOT an accident. And calling it such only takes the blame away from where it belongs ... squarely on the shoulders of the distracted driver.

Rebecca in Oklahoma: My Grrr is directed at the parents out there who don't bother to teach their kids the basic manners of "please" and "thank you." My daughter recently attended the birthday party of a classmate, who had invited the entire first-grade class. Our money was very tight, but I decided to let her go because she is new to the school and was thrilled to be invited. We went to the effort of shopping for a gift, for which we spent $15 when you add in the card and gift bag. When my daughter arrived at the party we were told, "gifts go over there," and then later found out that the birthday child would not even open the gifts during the party. That was four weeks ago, and have we received a note thanking my daughter for the gift? Of course not. I have no idea if the kid liked it (he could at least say he did) or if he even opened it. Look folks, it's common courtesy to help your child scribble a "thank you" note, or if that's too much trouble for you, e-mail the gift-giver or give them a call. Kids take so much for granted these days, and it's rude parents like that who are to blame.

Jennie from Connecticut: Your office gossip segment made me think of one of my biggest GRRRRs! The office suck up! You know this person. They're the one who is two steps behind the boss. They laugh at all their jokes (a little too heartily sometimes). They make sure that Boss Man sees them toiling away at their desk as he's leaving for the night. Sucking up really gets you nowhere. Boss Man knows that as soon as his car leaves the parking lot you're packing
up your desk and getting ready to blow out of there. He's no fool. GRRRR! to you Office Suck Up!

Bruce in cyberspace: I wanted to say that I enjoyed reading your “Grrr” on office gossip. But what would happen if everyone actually stopped gossiping at the office? Would it go dead quiet because no one would have anything left to say to each other? I’d like to think that besides possibly leading to a more productive work day (and maybe even eliminating most overtime), such a thing would ultimately lead to constructive dialogue between co-workers. People might actually start working better with each other -- and maybe even *gasp* LIKE each other. Dare I even suggest that such a thing could translate into a better bottom line for a company? Yeah, OK, back to reality. At least I can still dream.

Brian in Lubbock, Texas, edits me. ... A little to late, but I thank him for calling me out as an Oblivion: In my recollection, the 55 mph limit was imposed during the Carter administration, related to the oil crisis, with the intention of increasing fuel mileage. I recall this because I was in college at the time and explained at times to highway patrolmen that my '66 Caddy got better mileage at 114 than it did at 55. This was an unsuccessful argument, by the way.

Nonetheless, my point is that you may want to know that your observation “when 55 miles per hour used to make tie rod ends shake vigorously and vibrate the automobile,” is inaccurate. The “Superhighway system” touted at the ‘68 World’s Fair in San Antonio was designed to handle cruising speeds of 120 mph (Note all the banked curves and how silly they felt at 55 mph). The cars of the mid- to late '60s had more power, no emission controls, and my '66 Mustang, as well as my '66 Sedan deVille, ran very smoothly at 120 mph.

Admittedly, we had nothing like some of the new performance sedans that eclipse the 5 second mark on the 0-60 test, but I wanted to remind you or inform you (whichever is appropriate) that 55 mph had nothing to do with vehicle limitations, but politics. It did open the floodgates for some horrific auto production in the '70s and '80s -- many of those cars began to shake at 59 mph. Thanks, and I look forward to your GRRR on “nitpicky” readers.

-- Brian, no Grrr! for you. If I can't take it, I have no business writing the Grrr! Column. Thanks for the correction. Noted. Posted. There will be no need for the FOX News Ombudsman here.

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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, writes the Grrr! Column and hosts the weekly "The Real Deal" webcast on and