Monday, July 31, 2006
It's time again for the annual "Stella Awards"! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee
That's right, these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts that happened in the U.S. during 2005. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratchers handy. Here are the Stellas for the past year:
To kick things off the right way, there was a three-way tie for 5th place. Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.
Also in 5th place is Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California – you knew California had to be in the list somewhere, right? - who won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps. Go ahead, grab your head scratchers.
The last of the 5th Place winners was Terrence Dickson, of Bristol Pennsylvania, who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to subsist for eight - count 'em, 8! - days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish.
There are more.
Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stellas when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in it's owner's fenced yard Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.
Grrrrr ... scratch, scratch.
Third Place went to Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on soft drink and broke her tailbone (coccyx). The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions? Scratch, scratch, scratch
Hang in there, there are only two more Stellas to go.
Second Place: Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware, sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms.Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000 ... oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.
Finally, (may I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please) this year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home - from an OU football game, no less - having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich.
Don't look so incredulous. Remember, we're talking about Oklahoma here.
Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set.
The Oklahoma jury awarded her - you are sitting down, right? - $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home.
Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might buy a motor home.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
A butcher shop owner noticed a mongrel dog pounding on the front door with his paw. He went to the door and opened it. The dog came in and sat down and barked a little, until, the butcher noticed the envelope in the dog's mouth.
In the envelope was a note asking for 5 pork chops and 5 chicken legs and also contained 16 dollars. The butcher prepared the order with the dog watching every move. The dog took the package and then held the envelope open with his paw and counted the change.
Then the dog went to the door and waited for the butcher to open the door for him.
The butcher was amazed at the dog's capabilities and decided to follow the dog home. The dog only went about two blocks and turned into a modest house. The butcher noticed that the mailbox listed M. E. Pettybone CPO, US Navy Ret.
The dog put his plunder down and then turned around several times and then seeming to be frustrated he threw himself against the door several times and then ran around the house, back up onto the porch, and began to press the doorbell non-stop. In a moment the door was answered by the old Chief, who began to scold the dog.
The butcher intervened and said that the dog was a genius.
"Genius... ha... you think he is a genius? This is the second time this week that he forgot his key"
A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.
"House", for instance, is feminine: "la casa."
"Pencil," however, is masculine: "el lapiz."
A student asked, "What gender is 'computer'?"
Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun.
Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.
The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computadora"), because:
1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.
(THIS GETS BETTER!)
The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine ("el computador"), because:
1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.
The who won.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
A good fried of mine had an interesting day and felt he needed to write it down. It is a little long but I think you will like it…
It was just another work day, this morning. I had a noon appointment at Allen AME Church, right up against the fence of Beaufort Marine Corp Air station and next door to the Beaufort animal shelter with the pastor, who is also a police chaplain....to fix his Allen Organ, that was dead (corroded circuit breaker on power amp power supply).
I fixed the organ, and a couple of piddling little problems it had, filled out the bill and the pastor wanted to see my step van shop so I invited him into the air-conditioned coolness. God it was HOT in Beaufort!
Curious about my DJ equipment, I played him some tunes from my MP3 player through the beastly speakers. Suddenly, I looked out at some movement outside and spotted a maroon, early 90's Lumina minivan. A young white man got out and headed for the church door. I notified the pastor, who was intently listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing in 1948. The pastor stopped the young man before he could disappear into this rather large AME church and he went out to see what he wanted, it being a black church a curiosity.
This begins our story, the pastor and me.........
The young man, probably late 20's, skinny but physically fit, was panhandling for gas money to get him, his wife and SIX LITTLE BOYS from 2 to about 8 years old back home to Orlando! They ran out of money, so the sad story goes, when the van broke down coming back from North Carolina on I-95 and had to get it fixed with about all they had.
Man, looking into that van at those six little blonde boys who were hungry and hot, their pink little faces showing the fatigue of the hot day, just melted your heart....and maybe our brains, too. Pastor refused to give them money, for fear of it not going to help those boys the way the country's state is today, but offered to take them up to a nearby gas station to put some gas in the tank to help them on their way.....I followed along in case this was a setup to steal his monstrous Cadillac or hold him up. We're out in the country, ya know.
As he pulled into the gas station on the Charleston side of the USMC main gate road, I noticed he had donned his POLICE CHAPLAIN hat to gauge what the adult's reaction would be if this were a scam. He told me he'd been scammed a few times before. Lots of churches are.
The woman seemed a little nervous, but there was no reaction of flight. I got out of my step van and went into the store to see what foods this convenience store had for little boys to eat. Pastor came inside to prepay for some gas, without the adults in the van, so we talked about our predicament and I got his assessment of the situation.
He went back outside to talk to the kids some more, trying to find out some truths as I explained to the clerks what was going on to put them at ease. That settled, I looked out to see pastor had all the walking kids, 5 blonde-topped white kids all smiling, in tow across the parking lot. They came into the store and started to peruse the candy racks, about all the store had to offer. The kids, being kids, chose the absolute worst, nasty candy TV sells them. Mom, still looking a little fearful at that hat, probably fearing us calling the cops and DSS child welfare bureaucrats on them, stood by while pastor and I told them to get whatever they wanted. Mom tried to stop it at one item, but we'd have none of that. Most of the boys got 2 or 3 junk foods. We insisted they get a Coke or some other drink as the only liquids we saw in the van was a fruit punch jug full of water.
Well, he was buying gas, so I coughed up for the goodies. The boys, though clean and not dressed in rags, clearly were not used to such treats and thanked me profusely. We kept them inside the cool store to see if we could cool them down before packing back in this un-air conditioned van. The man said if they ran the AC, the van overheated. Not good. After some cajoling, pastor convinced Mom to get this awful shirt off the poor overheated little baby-in-a-Pamper. She had a box and a half of Pampers in the van, enough to make it to Orlando, we thought.
The boys followed pastor back out to the van and climbed in as dad finished the gas pumping. "What's the gas gauge read?” pastor asked him. It was about 1/2 a tank on the pastor's $20. "Wait here.” I instructed, on my way back into the store. I added another $20 to the gas tank to bring it up to nearly full and cooled off in the store again while he pumped it. It took all that $20, too, of course.
At that point, I was so emotionally drained thinking about these two STUPID, TOTALLY STUPID adults, I just couldn't stand to be around them any more. The boys were "fed", such as it was, and had extra Bear Claws and drinks to help later on in the night, after it cooled off. They all went to the men's room and all I could do was done. I didn't want to say what I was thinking to the STUPIDS in the front seat, so went out, shook the pastor's hand and said I was headed back to Charleston.....
From the time I left and as I type this account, I can't get their little faces out of my head worrying about where they are now, and are they all ok. The van looked a mess under the hood. SIX KIDS!
If anyone proposes involuntary sterilization for the REALLY STUPID, I'm all for it and they have my full support. Some people just SHOULDN'T be allowed to raise kids......
If you got this far in the story, I feel lots better telling it.
Thanks for putting up with me....... The man said he was "in construction and odd jobs".....WITH SIX BOYS HE DIDN'T HAVE A STEADY
I won't sleep well, tonight..... I should have demanded their phone number at home in Orlando or someone who could tell me how they arrived safe. That would have gotten me some sleep.
Something to Think about
I hate when people forward bogus warnings. I have even done it a couple times...but this one is real, and it's important.
If someone comes to your front door saying they are checking for ticks (due to the warming weather) and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up,
DO NOT DO IT!! IT IS A SCAM!!
They only want to see you naked!
I wish I'd gotten this yesterday.
I feel so stupid!
Your going to Love This.....
A guy buys a new Lincoln Navigator for $42,500.00 (with monthly payments of $560.00).
He and a friend go duck hunting in mid-winter; and of course all of the lakes are frozen. These two guys go on a lake with their GUNS, a DOG, and of course the New NAVIGATOR.
They decide they want to make a natural looking water area for the ducks, something for the decoys to float on. Now making a hole in the ice large enough to invite a passing duck, is going to take a little more power than the average drill auger can produce. So, out of the back of the new Navigator comes a stick of dynamite with a short 40 second-fuse. Now our two Rocket Scientists, afraid they might slip on the ice while trying to run away after lighting the fuse (and becoming toast, along With the Navigator), decide on the following course of action: they lite the 40 second fuse; then, with a mighty thrust, they throw the stick of dynamite as far away as possible.
Remember a couple of paragraphs back when I mentioned the NAVIGATOR, the GUNS, and the DOG...???
Let's talk about the dog: A highly trained Black Lab used for RETRIEVING. Especially things thrown by the owner. You guessed it: the dog takes off across the ice at a high rate of speed and grabs the stick of dynamite, with the burning 40-second fuse, just as it hits the ice. The two men swallow, blink, start waving their arms and, with veins in their necks swelling to resemble stalks of rhubarb, scream and holler at the dog to stop. The dog, now apparently cheered on by his master, keeps coming. One hunter panics, grabs the shotgun and shoots the dog. The shotgun is loaded with #8 bird shot, hardly big enough to stop a Black Lab. The dog stops for a moment, slightly confused then continues on.
Another shot, and this time the dog, still standing, becomes really confused and of course terrified, thinks these two geniuses have gone insane. The dog takes off to find cover, under the brand new Navigator.
The men continue to scream as they run. The red hot exhaust pipe on the truck touches the dogs rear end, he yelps, drops the dynamite under the truck and takes off after his master. Then
The truck is blown to bits and sinks to the bottom of the lake, leaving the two idiots standing there with...... "I can't believe this just happened" looks on their faces. The insurance company says that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is NOT COVERED by the policy. He still had yet to make the first of those $560.00 a month payments. The dog is okay.
AND THEY MAKE FUN OF PEOPLE IN THE SOUTH?!!!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
An older gentleman had an appointment to see the urologist who shared an office with several other doctors. The waiting room was filled with patients. As he approached the reception desk he noticed that the receptionist was a large unfriendly woman who looked like a Sumo wrestler. He gave her his name.
In a very loud voice, the receptionist said, "YES, I HAVE YOUR NAME HERE; YOU WANT TO SEE THE DOCTOR ABOUT IMPOTENCE, RIGHT?"
All the patients in the waiting room snapped their heads around to look at the very embarrassed man.
He recovered quickly, and in an equally loud voice replied,
"NO, I'VE COME TO INQUIRE ABOUT A SEX CHANGE OPERATION, BUT I DON'T WANT THE SAME DOCTOR THAT DID YOURS."
(Don't mess with old folks!!!!!)
Friday, July 07, 2006
A man decides to take a vacation. He booked himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life until the boat sank! He found himself on an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing, only bananas and coconuts.
After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day, when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to the shore. In disbelief, he asks her, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?"
She replies, "I rowed from the other side of the island. I landed here when my cruise ship sank."
"Amazing," he says. "You were really lucky to have a row boat wash up with you."
"Oh, this?" replies the woman. "I made the boat out of raw material I found on the island. The oars were whittled from gum tree branches. I wove the bottom from palm branches and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."
"But, where did you get the tools?"
"Oh, that was no problem," replied the woman. "On the south side of the island, a very unusual stratum of alluvial rock is exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable, ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware."
The guy is stunned.
"Let's row over to my place," she says. After a few hours of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf. As the man looks to shore, he nearly falls out off the boat. Before him is a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man can only stare ahead, dumbstruck
As they walk into the house, she says casually, "It's not much, but I call it home. Sit down, please. Would you like a drink?"
"No. No, thank you," he says, still dazed. "Can't take any more coconut juice."
"It's not coconut juice," the woman replies. "I have a still. How about a glass of rum?"
Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepts, and they sit down on her couch to talk. After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the bathroom cabinet."
No longer questioning anything, the man goes into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, is a razor made from a bone handle. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge are fastened onto its end inside a swivel mechanism.
"This woman is amazing," he muses. "What next?"
When he returns, she greets him wearing nothing but vines and flowers strategically positioned, and smelling of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her.
"Tell me," she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, "We've been out here for a really long time. You've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for all these months?" She stares into his eyes and takes his hand in hers...
He can't believe what he's hearing. "You mean..." he swallows excitedly and tears start to form in his eyes, "....I can check my e-mail from here?!!"
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
A married couple was on holiday in Jamaica. They were touring around the marketplace looking at the goods and such when they passed this small sandal shop.
From inside they heard the shopkeeper with a Jamaican accent say, "You foreigners! Come in. Come into my humble shop!"
So the couple walked in. "I have some special sandals I think you would be interested in," the Jamaican said to them. "Dey make you wild at sex."
Well, the wife was really interested in buying the sandals after what the man claimed, but her husband felt he really didn't need them, being the "sex god" that he was.
"How could sandals make you into a sexfreak?" the husband asked the shopkeeper.
"Just try dem on, Mon," the Jamaican replied.
After some badgering from his wife, the man finally gave in, and tried the sandals on. As soon as he slipped them onto his feet, he got this wild look in his eyes ... something his wife hadn't seen in many years!
In the blink of an eye, the husband grabbed the Jamaican, quickly bent him over a table, yanked down his pants, ripped down his own pants, and grabbed a firm hold of the Jamaican's hips.
At which point the Jamaican began screaming, "YOU GOT DEM ON DE WRONG FEET, MON!