It’s been almost 25 years since Stella Liebeck became the most famous person in America for about 15 minutes after she famously tried to hold an open cup of scalding coffee between her knees after driving away from a McDonald’s drive-in window.
Stella, at the time 74, had to be rushed to a New Mexico hospital after the very hot river of coffee did its damage to Stella’s lap. Soon the McDonald’s coffee legend became famous after a jury awarded Liebeck $2.68 million. That news scalded the nation and a judge reduced the settlement to $640,000. The McDonald’s lawyers, preying on the national public reaction to alleged stupidity, demanded an appeal and, when it was granted, both parties soon settled out-of-court for an undisclosed amount.
But the landmark case triggered national tort laws to be modernized and changed. It also gave birth to The Stella Awards, which are equally ridiculous lawsuits and this week the new list arrived in my email. Understand, I do not write The Saturday Funnies. They are printed just as they are received and, in my weekly disclaimer, those who wish to submit funny jokes are reminded we love funny but hate filthy.
Here is this week’s edition of The Saturday Funnies:
* * *
THE 2017 FINALISTS FOR ‘THE STELLA AWARDS’
* -- SEVENTH 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 her own son.
* -- SIXTH PLACE: Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California 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.
* -- FIFTH PLACE: Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, 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 sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT days and survive 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.
* -- FOURTH PLACE: Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's 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 its 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.
* -- THIRD PLACE: Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
* -- 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.
* -- FIRST PLACE: 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, having driven onto 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. 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 -- are you sitting down? $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 also buy a motor home.
* * *
A guy goes into a bar in New York where all the bartenders are robots. The guy sits down at the bar and the robot asks: “What will you have?
The guy replies, “Whiskey.”
The robot brings back his drink and asks, “What’s your IQ?”
The guy says, “168”.
The robot talks about physics, space exploration, and medical technology. After the guy leaves, he pauses at the street corner and thinks about what he just encountered, and the more he thinks about it the more curious he gets, so he decides to go back.
The robot asks, “What’s your drink?”
The guy answers, “Whiskey.”
The robot returns with his drink and asks, “What’s your IQ?”
This time the man replies, “100.”
The robot talks about Nascar, Budweiser, LSU and all-star wrestling.
The man finishes his drink, leaves, but is so interested in this “experiment” that he decides he'll try again.
He enters the bar and, as usual, the robot asks him what he wants to drink.
The man replies, “Whiskey.”
The robot brings the drink and asks, “What’s your IQ?”
This time the man answers, “50.”
The robot leans in real close and slowly asks,
"So, are you people still unhappy that Hillary lost?"
* * *
HOW A SAVVY SHEIKH FINDS THE FASTEST HORSE
In darkest Arabia, a sheikh needed to make a journey across the desert. He didn’t have a horse to hand so he decided to expropriate one from a nearby group of Nomads.
Two suitable horses were found, but neither of the owners wanted to give theirs up and each said his horse was useless.
“Right,” said the sheikh, “you will race your horses, and I will have the winner.”
“All they’ll do is hold their horses back,” pointed out one of the sheikh’s entourage.
“No they won’t,” replied the sheikh. “Get each man to ride the other one’s horse.”
* * *
THE DAY ‘ROUSER’ WENT UP FOR SALE
A rather green but very wealthy racing enthusiast was thrilled when he heard that Rouser, a big winner as a two-year-old, had come up for sale. “That’s great news for me as I’ve always wanted to own a racehorse,” he said to the owner, “but why do you want to sell him when’s doing so well?”
“Oh,” said the horse’s owner, “I’m fed up with him. He’s so vain, and such an actor! Last time out he was winning by several lengths and would you believe, he slowed down to a canter at the end just so he’d be on camera for a photo finish! And he even made sure his head was turned just the right way so the camera would get his best profile!”
“I don’t care if he’s Sean Connery,” said the racing enthusiast, “I’ll take him.”
So they went up to Rouser’s stall and the owner put on his bridle, ready to lead him out into the yard. “Okay, Rouser,” the owner said loudly. “Please show this nice man your best impression of a lame horse.”
* * *
WHY SMOKING IS FUN IN NEWMARKET
An incredibly wealthy foreign racing stable owner was known to have a particular dislike of cigarette smoking. One day he was in the UK, touring his magnificent yard near Newmarket and caught a young lad smoking in the tack room. Immediately the owner pointed out that the penalty for smoking was instant dismissal, and asked the lad how much he earned. The lad quickly said $200 a week.
The owner fished $800 in cash out of his pocket, thrust it into the lad’s hand and said, “Alright, there’s a month’s wages, you’re sacked.” The young lad took the money and left.
It was only much later that the owner discovered the lad was a delivery boy who worked for their saddlery supplier, and had been waiting in the tack room while the yard manager wrote out a receipt for 20 pairs of reins.
* * *
AN IMPROMPTU QUIZ AT A RACE TRACK
Two jockeys, a racing trainer and a young stable lad were chatting on the ‘backside’ of the Keeneland oval while waiting for a hailstorm to end. The storm went on and on and eventually all were getting bored.
“I know,” said the trainer. “Let’s do a quiz.” The others agreed and the trainer wracked his brains for a question that wouldn’t be too taxing. “Okay,” he said, “I’ll buy a pint for the first one who answers this one correctly. Complete the phrase ‘Old McDonald had a……’
“House!” shouted the first jockey.
“No, that’s not quite right,” smiled the trainer. “Let’s try again. ‘Old McDonald had a…..’
“Stable!” yelled the second jockey.
“No,” said the trainer, “that’s not quite right either. Let’s have another go. ‘Old McDonald had a……….’
“Farm!” shrieked the stable lad.
“Well done!” said the trainer. “And for another pint, how do you spell that?”
The three contestants looked at each other blankly, then the stable lad piped up.
“I know,” he said triumphantly. “E-I-E-I-O!”