Your Grrrs: Pop Culture Independence

Here are some of your responses to Mike Straka's last column...

Jean W. writes: Thanks for your recognition of how important our alliance with England is in the fight against terrorism. Not that the networks and their liberal bias would ever agree!

Imani M. writes: Omigosh ... "People should not shuck corn in the grocery store." I just experienced this very thing YESTERDAY at our local grocery (a large chain, mind you). One lady and her husband/boyfriend shucking corn in the middle of the aisle (which apparently is a natural occurrence, since there were two large trash cans available), another old lady trying to knock them down to get to the corn and the little produce worker trying to get in there somewhere to restock. My son and I just stood off to the left waiting our turn and this intelligent 9-year-old asked me "Mom ... are they SUPPOSED to do that here?" I just shook my head and told him to remember this when he gets older.

Andrea M. writes: My GRRR of late is a new trend in which businesspeople greet me first with "How are you?" People who call me at work for work-related questions and ask "How are you?" I am irritated because the intent is not genuine, it is none of their business, I doubt they want to know and it's a waste of time. This is not my friend inquiring as to the state of my health. I drive up to the window at Taco Bell and hear "How are you?" instead of "How may I help you?". A car dealer calls me and asks "How are you?" Let's drop the trendy "because we care" act and get down to business.

Michael Q. writes: Like you I dislike left lane vigilantes. They show a certain level of ego and self-importance to force me to stare at their fat behinds. Never mind the left lane is reserved for passing and not actually to cruise and stay on (see DMV rules on left lane of highways). Somehow the Fourth of July bought out even bigger fat behinds. It seemed to me last night at 11:31 p.m. a left lane vigilante decided to make the roads far safer for everyone and the drunks by speeding along the left lane until he found a much slower minivan on the slow lane of a 2-lane freeway. Then he simply slowed down to match the guy's speed. 55 in a 65 zone.

So now you have a wall of two minivans moving like whales all the while tens of cars are piling up behind each of them. The minivan in the slow lane thought to be courteous noticing all these headlights and decided to slow down to 40 mph to allow the left lane vigilante to pass. I'm sure you can figure out what happened next. Flying cars would have been handy then.

Deborah in Boston writes: I agree with most of your column, but I must object to the NHL comment. It was a lockout, not a strike. Stop blaming the players, and blame the greedy owners. And some of us are hockey fans who did in fact notice.

Mark writes: I am all with you about old theaters and new movies … I have not gone to a non-stadium seating or digital sound theater since the first one opened up in Phoenix a decade ago …and now that digital projection is in a few theaters … I only go to the ones without it for my girlfriend’s choices. I know gas is expensive, but if you are going to pay up the nose for popcorn with synthetic chemically produced butter, might as well pay an extra buck for the gas it takes to get to the good theater.

Bill N. at Rex Allen Theater: I see you are still unhappy with big city movie theaters. Well, maybe that’s the price you pay for living in the big city. Here in little Willcox, Ariz., my movie theater is only $6 for evening adult admission, popcorn is $2.50 and so is a soda — with free refills. Nachos are self-serve, so put on as much cheese as you like. The films are first-run. OK, we don’t have the latest digital projectors and brand new seats, but we do screen brand new movies in a friendly atmosphere at a fair price, and we are always happy to give you a tour of the projection room. The theater itself is on the National Historic Registry, too. People drive out here from Tucson, almost 100 miles away, just to see a film in our theater. Only two screens, and a total of 240 seats, but it’s still fun to go to the movies in Willcox. Oh, and the butter on the fresh-popped popcorn is really butter, the same stuff you buy at the supermarket.

—Bill, save me a seat. I'll be out shortly with my camera crew.

Patrick M. writes: I'm sorry, Mr. Straka, but you are wrong. Athletes have been boozing and womanizing for decades, and sex, drugs and booze are nothing new to Hollywood. Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan still have millions of teenage fans with their own money, or parents, like those of Paris and Lindsay, who don't care as long as they are not bothered. People see no problem with 15 minutes of fame celebrity. They figure that in a short time no one will remember them and they'll be rich. Remember Jessica Hahn? Of course the money never lasts, but these days they can't think more than two weeks ahead.

I am 57 years old with two grown children in their 20s. I have seen much. I wish you were right, but you are not. We Baby Boomers, so critical of our parents in our youth, dropped the ball with our own kids because we were so self-absorbed. I hope they can forgive us someday.

—Patrick, they'd forgive you but they're too busy playing video games on the HDTV in the basement. Meanwhile, their own kids are wondering where Daddy is?

George P. writes: In the aforementioned article you mentioned that nobody really would be interested in seeing Barry Bonds break the home run record. I for one am interested. I have been a baseball fan since birth — my mother and father met at a baseball game that he was playing in. Be that as it may, your statement that “[the notion that] steroids do not help one hit a ball is so outrageous that it doesn’t even warrant a response” is outrageous. I am assuming by that statement that you have never played baseball. Hitting a baseball is a result of hand to eye coordination, not strength. Becoming stronger does not equate to being quicker or faster with a bat. If that were so, Gov. Arnold of California would be an All-Star Baseball Player. Barry Bonds has always been a wonderfully talented hitter. You don’t win seven MVP awards by being just a strong man. He has had and still possesses wonderful hand to eye coordination for a man over 40. Steroids do not make your swing any faster or your reflexes any quicker — they just make you stronger with long-term, possibly fatal side affects. Oh and so you know — I could care less what the Giants do in the standings since I have been a Detroit Tigers fan since birth.

—Sorry George, but I don't agree. At all. It's what happens after the ball is hit where steroids make a difference. Long balls would be nothing more than long outs without the 'roids.

Doug D. writes: GRRR is right. I have been perplexed for years with the seemingly endless fascination with celebrity. I look at the people in my neighborhood — lives filled with goodness and honesty and integrity. People I want my children to know and emulate. Who would ever want to follow in the stumbling footsteps of Britney or Lindsay? Or profit off a pornographic career like Paris? Professional sports is filled with its own pile of bewildered individuals. Regardless of the amount, there is much to be said for being grateful for what you earn. I guess that's the lacking element in most of these people — the cash has come quickly and in large amounts.

When shopping elsewhere we get aggravated and take action against bad service and shoddy products. Why not apply that to our entertainment dollar as well?

Frampton writes: Amen to “people should not shuck corn in the store.” Even in a store that participates by putting out big trash containers, people should not pull down the husks, decide they don’t like what they see, and throw the ear back into the pile.

Pam in Vegas writes: I like you!!! Forgive me, but until today, I had no clue you were out there. Life is busy and work is hectic. Allergic to newspaper ink; besides, I hate the news, they don't tell it like it is, they tell it the way THEY want it to be. Anyway, love your style, honesty and the guts to "put it out there'! Keep it up and congratulations for stepping up the plate! Wish more people like you wold. I'll be checking in on you from now on.

Rock in La Mesilla, N.M., writes: You do a disservice to three young(ish) starlets that don't behave like the no-class tramps you mentioned — and they all are from the UK! Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow do not fit your mold, and deserve credit for being fine actresses and for behaving respectably in their private lives.

—Perhaps, Rock, but Paltrow is from New York City.

Evie in Williamsburg, Mich., writes: Reality TV serves to bring BIG EGOS into check. Angelina Jolie does not have an "acting skill" worth millions of dollars, she has a "marketing skill" worth millions of dollars. Then those actors make fun of reality TV successfully marketing itself. There is not much that is funnier than watching actors being interviewed who are mistakenly under the impression that it is their actual acting that is worth the big paycheck. They should try interviewing a brain surgeon, a teacher or an astronaut and discuss skill levels vs. paychecks.

Richard writes: I am inclined to agree with you on most of what you are saying except the Give me Clooney part. Believe me, if you want him, you can have him.

—Richard, at least Clooney speaks through his art. He's really not out there blabbing his politics in every microphone thrust in his face. While I may not agree with his political point of view, I respect his talent, more as a director ("Good Night and Good Luck") than his acting.

Brian in Alaska: Who're you, the Pope!?!? That read like "the Ten GRR-mandments" to me. As for Paris — she does need to be forgotten. But I do hope Lindsay Lohan goes back to her natural hair color and makes a comeback. She's genuinely beautiful.

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