Here are some responses to my last column...
K. Fort in Las Vegas, Nev., writes: First time I’ve disagreed with you so much as to write. I don’t appreciate your tone or words in your article about Steve Irwin. While my pity meter is pretty low on the Grizzly Man (arrogance was his undoing), the fact that this was an accident seems to have missed your attention. The stingray was buried in the sand, and reacted as it should have when startled. The tragic part is the location of both the stingray and Steve at the same time. He spent his life showing us (the viewing public) creatures and adventures we would not have otherwise seen. I appreciate his life, time and effort to educate and entertain and am grieved for his wife and children.
Will from Newtown Square writes: "This is how he would have wanted to go?" Are you crazy? Getting chomped on by a crocodile and dying would be one thing, as they are known to be an extremely dangerous animal, but a stingray? Getting killed by a stingray, that just so happens to stick its barb in your heart of all places, might qualify as one of the most ridiculous and unfeasible ways to go. The equivalent of getting kicked in the temple by a koala bear. Totally ridiculous and not how Steve Irwin deserved to go.
Alison writes: I think it’s worth noting that there have only been three recorded deaths due to stingrays (in Australia), so whilst they are dangerous, Steve did not place his life in great peril by swimming near one (as they are often regarded as timid). In fact, most Australians (including me) would attest to the fact they have quite often come across these creatures while swimming at the beach. Steve was unlucky in this instance but I agree totally with you in one regard -- he most definitely would prefer to have gone out this way, then to simply die in a car accident or the like. He was truly an original and certainly made a difference to the world during his short stay.
Dianne from Kingstowne, Va., writes: Although his death is very sad and the world has lost a brave and caring “entertainer,” I have to say that it was better Steve “take one for the team” than little Bob three years ago. THAT would have been tragic and shocking. Either way, it is still a sad loss to the world and my heart goes out to his wife, children, family and co-workers who helped to make Steve’s cause one we all can appreciate. Even more so now than before.
Greg in Dover, N.H., writes: Grrr to the networks for already cashing in on Irwin's death. Setting up a donation for his kids' education? Like money is an issue for his family. Come on ... this guy didn't die against his own will. He was supposed to die this way. If anything he probably would have preferred his death be more dramatic. And you can guarantee he would want everyone in the world to watch it.
Matt G. writes: I have to agree that Steve died doing what he wanted, but I think that tape should be hidden in a croc's pond or in a barrel full of the "Deadly Taipans" and let the sucker who is as brave as he was try to get it. If that nut survives, give him the tape. I received a call several months ago from my wife asking me to come home quickly because she'd found a snake on the porch. Snakes normally make my skin crawl and my hair stand on end. When I got there, I started to think "I can just cut its head off and toss the carcass in the trash." Suddenly, I thought of Steve Irwin saying "have a look at this beauty." While I didn't pick it up by the tail or anything that brave, I got a sheet, covered it up, pulled the sheet together and carried it out to the marsh. Snakes, crocs and stingrays have a valuable place on this earth even if they scare a lot of folks. I just thank Steve for showing me that.
Marcus H. in Choctaw, Okla., writes: I know this is a small point but the "It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature" line was not from a butter commercial but from a margarine commercial. It was Parkay, if I remember correctly. I guess you could say it's one of my pet peeves, or in your vernacular, Grrrs. Margarine is not nor will it ever be butter. In fact, most margarines try to tell you it tastes like butter. You never hear butter trying to taste like margarine. I guess it's the dairy farmer's son still coming out in me.
Jeff G. Grrrs about "See ID": Mike, last year I wrote "See ID" on the back of my credit card. In that year I have been asked for my ID 15 times and I use my check card at least four times a week. I have watched clerks flip the card over look at the back, swipe it and say "Thank you" time after time. I have even started asking the clerk if they would like to see my ID, only to have them say no. I then went to the extreme of signing names like "yehaw" and "WooHoo!" Still, not one clerk has said ANYTHING about it. I am convinced that it really doesn't matter to retailers whose card they use or who signs it ... as long as they get paid. Oh ... have a nice day!
Brian B. on Turn Signal Grrr: At what point in time did the use of turn signals become an option? The more I drive the more I notice that I'm one of the few people who actually use them. People seem to expect you to assume they are going to turn. Using a turn signal is one of the easiest things to do while driving, not to mention actually being courteous to others around you.
Rod E. from Charlotte, N.C., writes: My 3-year old daughter and I saw the movie "Cars" on Labor Day. I took her to the (men's) restroom two times -- and had to clean up after the prior occupants. GRRR to the oblivions who do not flush toilets upon completing their business! Extra GRRRs to the obliviots who leave a dirty toilet seat!
Rick M writes: I watch the news (various networks -- CBS today) every morning before leaving for work, and fully 15 minutes of promo and air time was spent on the pictures of Baby Suri --Cruise & Holmes' kid. As the campaign season kicks off, I found it remarkable that so much time was spent on this kind of useless fluff. Iraq, Afghanistan, Terror, Immigration, Elections and a multitude of other items face us, yet there was Baby Suri, being promoted every five minutes until the actual piece came on. I didn't watch it, but I overheard it as I prepared my kids for their first day of school. I was pleased to hear that Tom Cruise, though he has had some parenting experience, has made a caring father and that Katie Holmes has taken to motherhood very naturally and is a good mother.
It made my heart leap that there was "very little" help in their household (considering how much help my wife and I had in the past 12 years, I guess taking to parenthood is made easier when you have a little help as opposed to none). I was impressed that Cruise and Holmes "opened every aspect of their home life" to the Vanity Fair reporter and photographer (Annie Leibovitz, no less!) In promoting my career, I have spent numerous hours dragging officemates and trying (unsuccessfully) to get reporters to do articles about my children. As I dropped the kids at the school and headed to the station, I asked them to work hard, safe in the knowledge that Baby Suri is well cared for. Now that we have no worries about Baby Suri, we can go about our day in a light, cheery fashion, safe in the knowledge that the difficulties of everyday life will seem less heavy with our hard-won knowledge of Baby Suri's good fortune.