Time once again to review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards." The Stella Awards are named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in NM). That case inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous, ridiculous, successful lawsuits in the United States

Here are this year' s winners:

5th Place (tie):

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 owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little toddler was Ms. Robertson's son .

5th Place (tie):

19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps .

5th Place (tie):

Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylva nia, was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The fam! ily was on vacation, and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found, and a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed, to the tune of $500,000. In my opinion this is so outrageous that it should have been 2nd Place!

4th Place:

Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500. and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have been just a little provoked at the time by Mr. Williams who had ! climbed over the fence into the yard and was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

3rd Place:

A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500. after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.


Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge . She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses

1st Place:!

This year's runaway winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, (from an OU football game), having driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back & make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the RV left t he freeway, crashed and overturned. Mrs.Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded her $1,750,000. plus a new motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other complete morons around.


20/20 on charitable giving

I promise this is the last post on poor people and what to do for at least a while but tonight there was a 20/20 entitled "Cheap in America" It explored charitible giving in America. Here are some of the statistics: Conservatives are 18% more likely to give blood than liberals, Conservatives give 30% more of their income to charity than liberals, 24 of the top 25 states that give the greatest percentage of their income to charity voted bush in the last election, the working poor give a greater percentage of their income to charity than any other group, Sioux Falls outgives San Francisco, the number one indicator of whether a person gives to charity is whether they attend church (they are more likely to give to charities other than their church, they are more likely to donate blood, they are more likely to give money to a homeless person on the street). The middle class gives the smallest percentage of their income to charity.

One thing that stood out to me: working poor (those who make in their work what they would get if they just collected welfare) give the highest percentage of their income. Nonworking poor (those who just collect welfare) dont give. I am not a big fan of FDR, but I will say this for him. He made people work for the money the government gave them.

What this tells me is that the phenomenon I described two posts ago, liberals saying they want to give more and then not giving, is widespread. I think it is demonstrative of the hidden and deeply disturbing hypocrisy that exists among liberals today.

Science tidbits

Last night the wife and I were flipping channels during commercials. We went over to PBS and saw a nova that was talking about dog research. Apparently researching on dogs can help humans but whatever. The best part was the narcoleptic dog. It would fall asleep if it got too excited. the show had a researcher opening a can of dog food, the little dog was jumping up to get it, and when the food fell out of the can and hit the floor, the dog just keeled over. Later it showed the dog running down the hall, apparently to freedom, and it just fell over while running. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen.

Also, I found this little portion of an article on ESPN. Science related, but I do not stand behind any of the scientific conclusions. "News from Distant Space: Previous TMQs have noted that as telescopes improve, astronomers find supernovae are more common and more destructive than assumed -- and this is not necessarily the best possible news. The latest discovery, from a team lead by University of Toronto researcher Andy Howell, is that the "Chandrasekhar limit" on supernova explosions isn't a limit.

Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, one of the leading 20th-century astronomers, won a Nobel Prize for his 1930s studies that maintained the most common category of exploding stars, called the Type Ia supernova, could not exceed about 1.4 times the mass of our sun; this seemed to impose an upper boundary on the amount of destruction such a supernova explosion could cause. But the Toronto researchers observed a Type Ia supernova, dubbed SNLS-03D3bb, that reached about two solar masses before detonating, and thus released far more radiation than was thought possible. There's another implication. Partly owing to Chandrasekhar's arguments, it was assumed all Type Ia supernovae explode with about the same luminosity, meaning their light level could be used to estimate the expanse between the Milky Way and distant galaxies. (If they're all giving off approximately the same amount of light, relative measurements allow you to estimate how far away they are.) Current estimates of the size and age of the universe, and its rate of expansion, rely on the assumption that Type Ia supernovae obey the Chandrasekhar limit. If it turns out this class of exploding stars varies significantly, all bets might be off about how large and old the universe is, or its rate of expansion.

He thought there was a limit to the destructive power of nature. Umm, looks like he thought wrong.Now consider this. Since Edwin Hubble's discovery in 1929 that the universe was not static but expanding, theorists have debated whether the expansion would continue forever, gradually slow down or eventually reverse as gravity overcame the outward momentum of the Big Bang and pulled the stuff of the firmament back to its starting point. (The latter conjecture is called the Big Crunch.) Researchers using Type Ia supernova as measuring sticks declared in 1998 that cosmic expansion was accelerating, which nobody's theory predicted. The galaxies could not be speeding up unless energy were somehow being added to them, which caused cosmologists to speculate that mysterious "dark energy" permeates the universe and functions as the mirror image of gravity. No physicist has offered even the vaguest explanation of where dark energy originates or what powers it. (General relativity theory does offer an explanation of how gravity derives its power to pull.) Yet even though the dark energy concept requires you to believe that most of the energy of the universe is undetectable and so far inexplicable, physicists rapidly have accepted the idea that dark energy exists and even might be the dominant force of the cosmos. What if it turns out the universe is not accelerating, that the apparent rising rate of expansion is a data error caused by the false assumption that all Type Ia supernovas have a standard brightness? Then physicists will have to announce that dark energy never existed in the first place. But trust us, we're experts!"



This is not a personal attack on anybody.

It seems to me that a lot of people say that they are willing to pay more in taxes in order to help poor people, but when the government lowers their taxes, not only do they gladly accept the lowering of their taxes, they do not give any more money to people in need. I saw this a lot with my parents friends. As far as I can tell this is the only argument I know of that makes me wonder at the necessity of government programs to aid poor people.


Poor People

We previously had a conversation about why the government should or should not give money to poor people. One of the arguments, specifically countering my argument that a family of three can live just fine on 15,000, was that while I am sacrificing now, having to live like I live now for the rest of my life would be impossible. That kind of bothered me and now that I can I will tell you why. Going to movies, or out to eat, or Starbucks is not a right. You should not take money away from hardworking individuals so that poor people can go to movies. These spending items are a luxury. Not only were they not available for most of human existence (and humanity survived just fine I might add), but they are not even available for most of the world at this moment. Yeah poor people are sad, but taking the money I work hard for and earn in order that poor people can buy these luxuries is nothing more than robbery.


Happy Bday Matt and more

Happy Birthday Matt is self explanatory.

I believe that one of the reasons that adults are better adjusted than teenagers is that teenagers are forced by the state into situations in which they are forced to interact with every other type of person. As we get older we self select into more and more selective groups. During high school, we are forced to attend classes with every other type of person. We have to do everything from grade their papers to shower with them. We are inherently uncomfortable with these people because they are not like us. Yes, in high school we separate into cliques, but those cliques are not closed off. They are forced to interact with other cliques. As adults, our interaction with people that are not in our self selected group are very limited and brief. I think that high school would be more effective and less traumatic if the students were allowed to choose in middle school: where they attended high school, what they would study, and who they would study with.


Why I am looking forward to this weekend

All this week I have been trying to keep a clear head to work on the ethics paper and a full trial that I have to do tonight. However, after tonight I no longer need a clear head and plan on entering a three day codeine induced stupor. Ahh, codeine, my couch, and football. What more could a guy ask for?



Yesterday, instead of taking the MPRE, I played football. This resulted in sprained ligaments around my collarbone, a torn pectoral muscle, and a torn hamstring. Here is a list of things you cant do with these injuries:
Change a diaper,
Pick up a kid,
Read a book,
sleep on your side,
bend over,
reach across your body,
walk at a normal speed.

These are the ones I have discovered so far. If I continue to feel sorry for myself, I may make a more extensive list. Keep your fingers crossed.


Funny, but not mine

Donald Rumsfeld briefed the President this morning. He told Bush that 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq. To everyone's amazement, all the color drained from Bush's face. Then, he collapsed onto his desk, head in hands, visibly shaken, almost in tears. Finally, he composed himself and asked Rumsfeld, "Just exactly how many is a brazilian?"



Stress is a wonderful thing. It is omnipresent in our modern day lives. I dont know why I think stress is greater in our modern day than in the past. Realistically it seems that being chased all the time by things that want to eat you would be more stressful than worrying about how you do on finals.

Another aspect of stress that I find fascinating is the effects. Stress makes some people get fat, others get skinny. It makes some people get headaches, unusual bowel action, tension in the upper back, tension in the lower back, tension in the legs. Some people perform better with a certain amount of stress, while others fall apart and routine tasks become impossible.

Another crazy thing about stress is the causes. Some people get stress from having to speak in public. Some people have stress from interpersonal relationships. Some people have stress from psychological problems.

So stress manifests itself in different ways, is caused by different things, and seems to increase the safer life gets. I think it best if I move to the wilderness, live naked, and run from bears for the rest of my life.