Friday, October 16, 2015


…I like the news.  I’m a news junkie.  Though I prefer politics, it doesn’t really matter.
Here are two stories you might not have seen that are interesting for very different reasons:

Story #1:

Sometimes, even adults need a timeout. Wait, scratch that. Sometimes adults need to hear: "Hush or I'll give you something to cry about." And sometimes they need someone to say, "Don't make me pull this car over," and then do it. Just pull the car over and give them something to cry about.
In this case, the adult who needs some "attitude adjustment" is a 54-year-old New York woman named Jennifer Connell. This week, Connell sued her 12-year-old nephew in a Connecticut court for damages after she sustained a broken wrist when he hugged her too exuberantly at his birthday party. Four years ago. When he was 8.
The suit claimed that "a reasonable eight year old under those circumstances would know or should have known that a forceful greeting such as the one delivered by the defendant to the plaintiff could cause the harms and losses suffered by the plaintiff," according to the Connecticut Post.
Hold up. "Reasonable eight year old?" The 8-year-olds in my world don't even know not to wipe boogers on their sleeves. Or not to convince their little brothers they can "fly" off the roof. Or understand their sister's favorite doll isn't microwavable. They certainly don't have the ability to foresee an injury resulting from a hug, much less ensuing "losses."
The suit should have been thrown out when the judge saw "reasonable" and "eight year old" in the same sentence. Really, the suit should have never been seen by a judge, or been made into an actual legal-type document. The list of adults in need of a timeout should include Auntie Jen's attorneys.
The suit should have been thrown out when the judge saw "reasonable" and "eight year old" in the same sentence.
Instead, they helped her sue for damages of $127,000 for injuries sustained when the boy, Sean, got so excited to see Auntie Jen that he hopped off his brand-new birthday bicycle, came running to hug her and managed to knock her off her feet, causing her broken wrist.
Connell didn't mention the injury that day, for fear of ruining the celebration. Instead, she waited four years, then decided to sue her nephew the year after the death of his mother. Since the kid can't drive, that meant his widowed father had to bring him into a court of law to hear his aunt testify about the error of his unreasonable, 8-year-old ways, saying, "I remember him shouting, 'Auntie Jen I love you,' and there he was flying at me."
Wearing a brace on her wrist in court, Connell described Sean as being "very loving and sensitive." Probably not so much anymore. He can probably best be described now as "cynical and world-weary." Oh, yeah, and minus one aunt at Thanksgiving dinner.
What was she thinking, you ask? What would make a supposedly rational adult sue her nephew over what was obviously an accident, and one borne out of love and excitement to see her?
Well, it hasn't been easy on Auntie Jen. Seems she lives in a third-floor walk-up in Manhattan and "it has been very difficult." Apparently, along with suing little boys, her activities include walking up stairs on her hands. Her social life has also suffered, she said. "I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d'oeuvre plate," Connell testified. So that's why she needs $127,000. She's going to have to hire someone to accompany her to parties to hold her hors d'ouevre plate.
Any-hoo, in this case, justice was served – and Auntie Jen was served a big fat goose egg. Yep, the jury deliberated 20 minutes and decided she could hold her hors d'ouevre plate in her other hand. She was awarded nothing, although she has gained national "fame" with the hashtag AuntfromHell.
The Connecticut Post article doesn't give Connell's reaction to the verdict but we can only hope she will be forced to repay the county's cost of striking a jury and putting a judge on the bench.
Maybe that'll give her something to cry about.

Story #2:

Marlon James, the Jamaican winner of this year’s Man Booker prize for fiction, has revealed that he briefly abandoned writing after his first novel was rejected nearly 80 times.
The author told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he had not slept since A Brief History of Seven Killings was announced as the winner of the £50,000 prize at a black-tie dinner at Guildhall in London on Tuesday night.
Marlon James wins the Man Booker prize 2015
Author of A Brief History of Seven Killings – a fictional account of an attempt to take Bob Marley’s life – first Jamaican writer to win prestigious prize
Read more
He recalled that his first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was rejected 78 times by publishers, before it was eventually published in 2005. “I had to sit down and add it up one day and I had no idea it was that much,” he said.
Despite the success of his latest novel, which the Man booker judges described as “an extraordinary book” after a unanimous decision, James said he thought the publishing industry had not changed that much since his first book was repeatedly turned down.
“There was a time I actually thought I was writing the kind of stories people didn’t want to read,” he told Today. Asked if he had considered giving up writing, the 44-year-old writer said: “I did give it up. I actually destroyed the manuscript, I even went on my friends computers and erased it.” He said he retrieved the text by searching in the email outbox of an old iMac computer.
James is the first Jamaican writer to win the Man Booker prize, taking the award for an uncompromising fictional history of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976.
The chair of the judges, Michael Wood, admitted that his mother would “not have got beyond the first few pages because of the swearing” in the book.
Asked about the “bad” language in the book, James said: “Bad is relative. I’m writing about a lot of violent, not good people and I think the story called for it.”
He described his approach to the book as “educated guess” work about Jamaica’s history. He said: “A lot of it is based on true events, but quite a bit is made up and that’s part of the reason for the book itself, because there is no history.”

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