This morning, I stood, as usual, trying to put on my eye makeup with my cat, Jerry, head butting me.  It occurred to me (not for the first time) that if he head butted me just so, I could stab myself in the eye with my mascara brush, possibly blinding myself.  This fleeting thought rang a bell in the cobwebbed archives of useless information in my brain.

Years ago, I got hooked into watching a TV show due to a teaser, “Woman blinded by mascara.”  Well, it turned out the woman had poked herself in the eye with her mascara brush and got an infection. This was after leaving the opened mascara in a hot car, causing bacteria in the tube to multiply exponentially. The infection led to her losing her sight in the affected eye. She sued the company which manufactured the mascara because there was no warning label on it stating, “Hey, if you’re clumsy enough to jab yourself in the eye with your mascara brush, after leaving your opened mascara in a hot car, you might develop an infection in your eye. And, by the way, applying mascara while driving could lead to serious injury or death.” Of course she won millions of dollars in the settlement.  So I kind of wondered if there shouldn’t also be a warning saying, “Allowing your cat to head butt you while applying this product could lead to eye injury or even blindness.”  Maybe I could get a huge settlement if that scenario played out, seeing as how I wasn’t properly warned.  Imagine the sheer volume of warnings that would be required to be dispensed with each purchase of a ½ oz tube of mascara.

But this just makes me want to shake my head.  Where is common sense anymore?  Just like the woman who won millions in a lawsuit against a fast food chain because she spilled hot coffee on herself when she was driving with the cup between her legs.  Duh!  Do we really need a warning that hot beverages may burn you if you put them in places where they shouldn’t be?  Apparently, yes, because people cannot be held responsible for their own stupidity.

According to the Dumbest Lawsuits In Recent History – Ranker, here are a few more recent crazy lawsuits:

A woman sued Google Maps because she used her BlackBerry as her guide to walk from one street to another in Park City, Utah.  Part of the directions she got involved a half-mile walk down Utah State Route 224, with no pedestrian pathway or sidewalks.   However, she continued following directions and started walking right down a major highway with a lot of high-speeding cars. When she got hit by one, she sued Google for leading her there. She demanded $100,000, claiming the directions were unreasonable and unsafe, despite the fact the road was obviously unfit for pedestrians and that upon the map, Google clearly marks Route 224 as a major thoroughfare.  Source. The Inside Scientology collection: The Most Ridiculous Things 

In 1991, a man sued Anheuser-Busch, maker of beers like Budweiser and Bud Light, because their advertisements featuring guys scoring with beautiful women do not illustrate the reality that consuming beer will not make you “lucky.” The lawsuit claims the advertisements caused this guy emotional and physical distress along with financial losses of 10,000 dollars.  Kind of makes you wonder what he spent $10,000 on.

A man tried to commit suicide by jumping in front of subway train as it pulled into an East Manhattan station. He didn’t die, but the outcome wasn’t pretty. A few months later, the family found a lawyer to sue the New York City Transit Authority for 650,000 dollars on the premise that the driver of the train did not slow down the car in time and thus was to blame for injuring the man, even though he willingly put himself in harm’s way. Astonishingly, they won. Strangely, several years later, the man tried to kill himself again using the same method.  Fortunately, New York didn’t have anything to worry about as there was no severe “personal damage” this time.

A mother and her teenaged daughter sued an amusement park because they were frightened by costumed monsters—on Halloween. The daughter, not wanting to be scared, allegedly asked the park’s costumed monsters not to bother her. When they persisted, she fell over in a fright and reportedly sustained injures – the details of which were not released to the public. The pair  sought $150,000 in damages, according to KTLA 5.

In a similar lawsuit, a woman sued Universal Studios because their Halloween Horror Nights were “too scary.”

It was really difficult trying to choose which of the many ridiculous lawsuits to pick for this blog.  Personally, I share the opinion of something I recently read on Facebook—remove all the warning labels and let the idiots take themselves out of the gene pool.





















“I feel a blog coming on,” I said to my husband.

He groaned.  “What bone-headed thing did I do now?”

“What makes you think it has anything to do with you?” I asked.

“It always has something to do with me.”

“Not always.  Just last week I wrote about Darion.”

“Well, I have to say he provides plenty of fodder for the blog,” he admitted.

“And the week before that I wrote about the loud-mouth at the football game.”

“But still, you write a lot about me,” he said.

“Aren’t you being just the least bit paranoid?”

“No.  You’re not going to write that I’m paranoid, are you?”

“Believe it or not, everything is not about you,” I told him.  “Doesn’t that seem a little egotistical?”

“No.  You’re not going to write about my ego, are you?”

I shook my head.  “I don’t understand why you are getting so worked up.  You’d think I was going to bring up the Reuben sandwich incident again.”

“You’re never going to let me live that down, are you?”

“Probably not.  That story is just too great to let die.  But no, I’m not going to write about the Reuben sandwich incident again.  I’ve already done that.  Besides, I think everyone who knows us has heard the story.”

“What about the way I misplace everything and spend hours looking for stuff?”

“No, but that is a thought.  I still haven’t found my second set of car keys you swore you didn’t have.”

He groaned.  “I know what it is.  You’re going to write about the fact that I can remember every place I have ever stopped for gas in the last forty years.”

“I wasn’t going to, but now that you mention it … ”

His eyes grew wide. “Are you going to write about the time I left you sitting alone at my twentieth high school reunion while I talked with old friends?  How many times do I have to say I’m sorry?”

A spate of angry emotions from the past bubbled to the surface. “Just because I forgave you doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten.  I almost died of thirst because I didn’t have any money with me to buy a drink.  And I got stuck the whole evening talking to the obnoxious husband of the girl you had a crush on in high school,”  I reminded him, just in case he had forgotten any of my grievances of that night.

“Yes, I know.  Are you ever going to let that episode drop?  After all it was twenty-five years ago!”

I considered for a moment.  “Probably not.  I’m still upset about it. There’s a good possibility I’ll remind you of it on your death bed—or mine, whichever comes first.”  I shot him a smug smile.  “But let me give some advice.  If I go first, and you happen to remarry and take your next wife to your high school class reunion, don’t leave her sitting by herself at a table with people she doesn’t know while you make the rounds.”

“Believe me, I will never make that mistake again.”  He took a deep breath.  “So, may I ask what your next blog is going to be about?”

I blinked.  “Hhmm. You side-tracked me with your ungrounded suspicions and I forgot.  Guess I’ll have to write something about you after all.”

He nodded with grim acceptance. “I’m glad I provide material for you.”


I got a letter from Donald Trump today.  It had my name on the envelope and everything!  Wow, I didn’t even realize he knew who I was!  My excitement was short-lived, however, when I eagerly opened the letter to find the salutation of “Dear Patriotic American.”  Although I like to think I’m a patriotic American, I was hoping for something a little more personal, like, “Hey, Ellen, I’m not using my private yacht for the next few weeks, if you’d like to borrow it.”

But such was not the case.  It was mostly a recap of today’s political climate, of which I’m already aware.  His signature was unreadable.  It looked like a series of squiggles.  If I were his teacher, I would give him a D- in penmanship and send him for remedial handwriting.  Nevertheless, I was ready to let the poor handwriting go, as I realize he has more important things on his mind. Then he delivered the clincher and the real purpose behind his correspondence by asking me to sign a support statement and send it back.

Well, I suppose that’s a reasonable request, but it turns out he didn’t just want my signature, readable or not.  No, he wants my money, too.  There was a box to check off the amount I wanted to contribute with a reminder below that my gift was not tax deductible.  I was somewhat surprised.  Donald Trump needs my money? Did they run out of toilet paper at the White House?  Is Air Force One in danger of being re-possessed?  Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I thought he was the billionaire.  If anything, shouldn’t he be sending me money?  I’ve got a teen-aged boy to feed, for crying out loud!

I guess I won’t send in the signed support statement because I feel guilty and stingy not sending in money with it.  But then I got a brilliant idea.  Maybe I could get free money from the government. Isn’t “free” everything being promised by Donald’s opposing political party?  Perhaps they could tax a few more of those miserly rich people they’re always talking about and send me the extra money.  If that doesn’t work, I know the tax-exempt foundation of a former president and his presidential candidate wife has a few billion extra dollars lying around.  Couldn’t they equitably distribute some of their wealth my way? Or maybe the government could kill two birds with one stone and pass a bill to tax the foundation!

All in all, the letter was quite a disappointment.  Here I thought Donald and I were going to become pals.  It turns out he’s just like all the other politicians who send me personal mail—he only wants me for my money (and my vote.)  Perhaps he should start a “Go Fund Me” account. But next time, Donald, would you please not get me all worked up with anticipation by putting my name on the envelope, and just address it to “Patriotic American?”  Don’t make me have to tweet this!





I took my life into my hands today.  No, I did not go skydiving again—although I would really like to.  I didn’t even attempt roller skating in my driveway again.  Nor did I ride with a teen-aged driver.  What I did was enter the roundabout at Walmart.

According to Wikipedia, a roundabout (also called a traffic circle, road circlerotaryrotunda or island) is a type of circular intersection or junction in which road traffic is permitted to flow in one direction around a central island, and priority is typically given to traffic already in the junction.  Supposedly—my insert— modern roundabouts observe various design rules to increase safety. Compared to stop signs, traffic signals, and earlier forms of roundabouts, modern roundabouts reduce the likelihood and severity of collisions greatly by reducing traffic speeds and minimizing T-bone and head-on collisions.

Hah!  Wikipedia doesn’t know anything about driving in the Panhandle!  For that matter, neither do most of the other drivers on the road, myself excepted, of course.  I can tell you from personal experience that roundabouts are completely baffling to most drivers.  For example, one of the unwritten rules of roundabouts (are there written rules somewhere that nobody knows about) is traffic already in the circle has the right of way. This seems to be confusing for a lot of people, especially those making a left hand turn from John Sims Parkway into the Walmart parking lot.  Perhaps they feel the green left turn arrow also gives them automatic right of access to the traffic circle fifty feet away. I have been in the circle many times when cars come flying into the entrance to the parking lot and straight into the roundabout regardless of who else is already in the roundabout.  Yes, I know if I end up plowing into one of those vehicles because I am, after all, right, it will still generate a hassle I don’t need.  So I always hedge a little to see if the oncoming cars are actually going to yield to the traffic in the circle like they are supposed to.  This is bound to cause criticism from the drivers in the circle behind me.  I can just hear them saying, “That stupid woman doesn’t know how to drive in a roundabout!  Look at her stopping when she has the right of way!”

To make matters worse, the entire Niceville Walmart parking lot must have been designed by a demented sadomasochist.  You drive to the end of the aisle thinking you can get out, and find yourself caught in a never ending maze of “can’t get there from here”.  You can see the exit road on the other side of the curb and grassy expanse, you just can’t access it without going 3 miles (okay, maybe I exaggerate a little) to the extreme end of the parking lot and locating the one hidden connector road which will get you there.  On your way to ferreting out the one exit, you have to dodge clueless people who are walking down the center of the parking aisles with their noses stuck in their cell phones and other cars who are practicing for the Indy 500. (Or perhaps they just think you’re out to take a parking spot they saw on the other side of the next aisle but have no idea how to get to.)

The frustration is enough to make me want to drive over the curb and the grassy expanse in order to bypass the labyrinth of horror.  Unfortunately, though, I still have to go through the roundabout on the way out.




There are cookie crumbs in my socks

The other day I was re-organizing my sock drawer.  (Yes, I was that bored. Plus I couldn’t find any paired socks.)  “Oh, look what I found!” I exclaimed to my husband.


“A box of chocolate chip cookies I hid.  I completely forgot about them.  I wonder if they’re still any good.”

He shrugged.  “Only one way to find out.”  He opened the box and helped himself to a cookie.  “Kind of stale.”

“Drat!  I hate it when I hide food and forget about it,” I muttered.

“Me, too,” he agreed.

You may wonder why we have food hidden in odd places in our house.  It’s simple.  We have a thirteen year old son who does not exercise restraint when it comes to junk food.  If I buy a box of cookies at the store on Monday, it will be completely depleted by Tuesday, without my husband or I having had the first one.  A package of family-sized chips will, likewise, be polished off in one sitting.  A bottle of juice will be consumed in a few hours, although he always leaves a teaspoon full in the bottom so we can’t say he drank it all. He is also quite clever in that he leaves the empty packages on the shelf so we won’t realize the items are gone.  This makes it even more aggravating when we go to have a snack and discover an empty package full of crumbs.  Things we buy to pack in his school lunches are gone within a day or two, leaving us with nothing to send except peanut butter sandwiches, which always come home uneaten.

The only alternative was to start hiding food which we actually wanted to last until the next trip to the grocery store.  We have bottles of juice and individual bottles of Gatorade in our bedroom closet hidden underneath my pants, which hang on a lower rack.  A large box of Goldfish is in there, too.  Cookies, chips, candy, and crackers end up in our night table drawers, desk drawers, sweater closet, and filing cabinet.  Unfortunately, Darion, the bottomless pit, has become quite the sleuth in sniffing out where snack items are hidden.  There are no hiding places left which he hasn’t discovered.  We have resorted to banning him from our bedroom, which works only as long as we are in the room monitoring it.   However, it is really difficult to hide frozen foods like ice-cream and Hot Pockets.

One shining light in this aggravating situation is that Darion is extremely picky, so if we find something  we like which he doesn’t, it can actually be stored on a pantry shelf with no fear of it disappearing.  Oatmeal raison cookies—not a problem.  Pretzels and nuts will remain undisturbed.  Cereal is in no danger.  Even Moon Pies are safe.

You may be itching to point out the obvious answer to our dilemma—which would be to stop buying any junk food, period.  While I agree this solution would work in theory, I’m not prepared to go to that extreme.  😊




Last night my husband and I attended the first high school football game of the season—Baker versus Rocky Bayou.  I won’t go into the actual game, itself, which ended with a score of 51 for Baker and 7 for Rocky.  This year, since there are not enough boys to field a junior high team, the junior high is part of the varsity team.  For the first time, our eighth grade son, Darion, is officially a member of the Rocky football team, rather than being the water boy.  Although it will probably be a while before he ever sees real action on the field—at least until he is taller than the cheerleaders—nonetheless, he is excited to be a participant.  He is easy to pick out from the rest of the team, as he is at least a head shorter than most of the other players.  As the team was leaving school on the way to Baker, he called my husband with the news that he “might get put in the game” tonight.  Loosely interpreted, this meant he asked the coach if he would get to play and the coach said, “We’ll see,” which translates to, “There is no way in you know where you will play tonight. Or for the next three years, for that matter.”

So my husband and I drove to Baker to hear Darion’s name announced at the beginning of the game and to watch him stand on the sidelines, which he did very well, by the way.  We found good seats at the top of the bleachers, where there is a fence for a backrest and plenty of light from the stadium lights for me to read the book I brought along.  (As I have mentioned, I don’t particularly care for football.  Please don’t hate me.)  The night was perfect for a football game.

Then the game started.  Little did we know we had chosen seats two people away from the self-designated bleachers coach.  There is always at least one at every game.  This is the guy who critiques the players, the coaches, and the referees, and lets them know exactly what they are doing wrong, in a loud and belligerent voice.  In my left ear.  I’m sure everyone on the field is listening to his words of wisdom and adjusting their plays to fit with his expert instruction.  Then again, maybe not.  My son tells me that while they can hear people yelling from the bleachers, they can’t really make out what they’re saying.  And this is standing on the sidelines, much less while in the middle of a play on the field.  The coaches are wearing head phones, so it’s highly unlikely they are privy to the superior coaching from the stands.  The referees, even if they could hear the angry diatribe of how they are messing up calls, are used to ignoring people.  I have never once seen a referee, in response to an irate fan, reverse his decision and say, “Oops, you are right.  Thanks for pointing that out to me.”  All of this makes me wonder.  If nobody is paying attention to the bleachers coach, why is he so intent on screaming his directives throughout the entire game?  The only possible consequences of his actions are to raise his blood pressure, annoy everyone around him, and make it difficult for me to concentrate on my book.

I suppose we could have gotten up and moved, but once we had all our “stuff” settled, it’s hard to gather it all up, crawl over people, and seek out a friendlier location.  The dirty looks I gave the guy seemed to do no good.  One can only conclude that perhaps the guy was a has-been high school football star or maybe a wanna-be high school football star.  Or a frustrated coach who wasn’t on the payroll.  I suspect he had a kid on the team, as he kept yelling out one name in particular.  Poor kid.

I know I have at least two or three years before I have to watch my son exhibit his athletic prowess in front of hundreds (dozens) of screaming fans.  When that time comes, I will probably put my book aside and actually follow the game, with my heart in my throat, fearful of what dire mistakes he might make which will affect the fate of the planet (or his chances with the NFL).  I only hope when that time does comes, I am able to restrain myself from offering my expertise in a loud and argumentative manner from the stands. But I’m not making any promises.

In MY Day …

I love the comic strip “Zits”.  It’s about a teen-aged boy, Jeremy, and the completely opposite way he and his parents view life.  I sometimes wonder if the cartoonist has hidden cameras in our house, as the situations depicted in the strip suspiciously reflect what goes on in our home.  However, the cartoon the other day had me thinking along different lines.

Jeremy and his girlfriend, Sarah, are walking down the street and see a kid selling lemonade for one dollar a cup.

Jeremy says, “A dollar? When I was your age, I sold lemonade for fifty cents!”

Sarah says, “You just old-manned that kid!”

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really come to love the phrase, “When I was your age”.  Granted, I intensely disliked it when my parents used it on me, and I always somewhat suspected their revelations were grossly exaggerated.  But honestly, don’t kids have it so much easier today?

The other night I watched my son writing his book report on his summer reading project on the computer.  Not only did he not have to look up how to spell words in the dictionary, the computer automatically put capital letters on the first words of his sentences.  Geesh!  Back in my day, we actually had to know how to spell words without spellcheck and how to correctly punctuate sentences.  We actually had to go to a physical library, search through the card catalog, locate and check out physical books, and look up references in order to do a research paper.  Oh, and don’t forget, this was all done on a typewriter, so mistakes were not all that easy to correct.  This took a lot of finagling to collate sentences from several different sources and get them in the right order before sitting down to type the finished product.  Then we had to remember to return the library books.

When I was a kid we didn’t have cell phones.  Our phones were anchored to a cord, from which we couldn’t move more than a few feet.  Portable phones hadn’t been invented yet.  We even had limited calls and party lines. Remember having to wait around all day for the phone company to send someone to hook up your phone?  I remember unsuccessfully begging my parents to let me have an extension in my bedroom so I wouldn’t have to talk to my friends on our living room phone.  Now kids are deprived if they don’t have their own smart phone by the age of five.  Spoiled cry-babies!  If only they had to put up with the inconveniences I did at their age.

When I was a child, we didn’t have air-conditioning. Nope.  We sweltered in the miserable Ohio summers with only an inefficient little circulating fan to blow the hot air around.  I remember sitting in church, with the oppressive, dense air weighing heavily on the congregation. There were little cardboard fans mounted on a broad wooden stick advertising funeral parlors placed in the hymnal racks. (I wonder why these fans were always from funeral parlors.)  These fans were pretty ineffective in cooling, as we generated more heat from the effort of fanning ourselves than we derived benefit from the hot breeze the fan produced.  Sometimes, however, I would scoot over behind someone who was fanning herself so I could reap the advantage of the breeze without the work.  And of course we always wore our Sunday best to church.  Women wouldn’t have been caught dead in shorts or pants and men always wore suits.  We stuck to the chairs in our desks at school—oh, and this was back in the days when girls had to wear dresses and pantyhose to school.  (By the way, in the freezing winters, we still had to wear dresses and pantyhose to school.)  Riding in our cars in the summer guaranteed sweat drenched clothing.  There was only relief as long as the car was moving, which made sitting at stop lights unbearable.  Moreover, with the windows down, we were treated to the nauseating odors of exhaust fumes from all the other vehicles on the road, as well as the sickly smell of hot tar and asphalt.

I could go on and on about how much harder we had things back in my day, but I’ll cite just one more example.  Not only did we not have school buses which picked us up and delivered us to our destination (like these lazy, whiny children of today), we had to walk five miles  to and from school each day—barefoot in the snow and uphill both ways.  I kid you not!