This column has given me a wonderful opportunity to vent on a broad variety of topics, but some things that get under my skin just aren't worthy of a column-length discussion. They fall into the category of pet peeves, so herewith are some of the things that have bugged me lately.
1. Paying $10 at a movie theater and then having to sit through a string of blatant commercials. It is especially galling when the ads are for upcoming TV series. If I wanted to watch TV, I wouldn't be sitting in a movie theater.
2. Guys like Dick Cheney and Bill Kristol who regularly elbow themselves onto the national stage to speak out on foreign affairs. Don't they realize that most of us have been keeping score regarding their past statements and predictions and they've very often been dead wrong? So why should we listen to them now?
3. Al Sharpton. Al, you might have lost weight and gained a talk show, but you still owe us an apology for that Tawana Brawley scam.
4. Apple, Inc. Last April it had almost $200 billion in cash reserves with about $180 billion banked overseas. Apple won't bring it home because of the taxes due, yet company execs and employees enjoy our freedoms, drive on our highways and are protected in countless ways by the likes of the EPA, OSHA, and the U.S. military. Where's the fairness?
5. Drivers who don't understand the concept of the "Yield" sign and come onto an interstate or beltway at full speed, cutting off vehicles already in the flow. Our schools really need to go back to teaching driver's ed using real cars and not just books and simulations.
6. Local billboards that advertise a team of lawyers promising to get clients off DUI convictions with no thought of the innocents who might be mowed down on our highways by those who insist on breaking the law by drinking and driving.
7. Legislators and political commentators who are quick to inject religion into social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage yet brand the pope as too political when he writes an encyclical about our responsibilities regarding climate change.
8. Atheists like comedian Bill Maher and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson who never miss an opportunity to proselytize their non-belief and/or make fun of those who do believe. Neil and Bill, just what is it you are afraid of?
9. Waiters, store clerks, and fast food workers who answer every "thank you" with a "no problem." The reason you are there and getting paid is to serve customers and make us happy. Why would we think that should ever be a problem?
10. Online agreements for software updates written in tiny print that scroll on forever. For all we know, some of them could be manifestos for Neo-Nazi White Power organizations, but we click "agree" any way just to get on with it.
11. Hackers of any stripe. Vandalism is vandalism whether you break my window or into my "Windows."
12. Cable TV news shows that instill panic in the public with shrill coverage of events that, in the end, prove not that threatening at all. Ebola anyone?
13. The way manufacturers are cutting down on the size and weight of products but still charging the same price. Take a look at the diameter of the cardboard roll used for toilet paper. It suddenly got wider to hide the fact that the rolls have gotten smaller. Same for meat. Check out a package of Oscar Meyer bacon. It now weighs only 12 ounces.
14. When Kentucky loses a big basketball game and mostly white kids break store windows, set fires and overturn cars in Lexington, why don't commentators on a certain news channel ask where their fathers are or blame their behavior on the music of Bruno Mars and Miley Cyrus?
15. Old men who have nothing better to do than share a list of their pet peeves. They need to get a life.
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Frank Batavick writes from Westminster. His column appears Fridays. Email him at email@example.com.