The American Dream

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<ul><li> 1. How do we achieve the American Dream?We sue for it!</li></ul> <p> 2. Stella Awards 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. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right? That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy. Here are the Stella's for the past year: 3. 6TH 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. 4. 5TH PLACE: 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 sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT, 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. 5. 4TH 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. 6. 3RD 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. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions? 7. 2ND 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. 8. 1ST PLACE: This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, 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. 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 Are we, as a society, getting more stupid...? 9. What did Achieving the American Dream Used to be Like? Poor Richards Almanac Ben Franklin Would you live with ease, Do what you ought, and not what you please. No man eer was glorious, who was not laborious. Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise. If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the Philosophers-Stone. Diligence is the Mother of Good-Luck. 10. Horatio Alger Horatio Alger, Jr. (1834-99) was a prolific writer of dime novel stories for boys. Alger was instrumental in establishing a new genre of dime novels known as the 'city story.' The genre arose out of the wide-spread urbanization that followed the Civil War and paralleled the rise of industrialism. Alger's stories heroicized the young street urchins living in poverty among large, urban centers such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. With uncommon courage and moral fortitude, Alger's youths struggle against adversity to achieve great wealth and acclaim. These rags to riches stories were enormously popular with the public and flourished in the decades from 1870 to 1890. 11. What about people who werent born in America? During the 1900s, approximately 5,000 to 7,000 immigrants were processed daily on Ellis Island 12. My name is Seymour Rechtzeit and I was born in Ldz, Poland, in 1912. My family is Jewish, and I first began singing in our temple. By the time I was four, I was called wunderkind, or wonder child in English. Soon I was singing in concerts all over Poland. 13. In 1920, my family decided that I should come to America, where there would be more opportunities for me. World War I had just ended, and it was a bad time in Europe. I had an uncle in America, and he sent two tickets for my father and me. The rest of my family stayed in Poland. The plan was that my father and I would make enough money to bring them to America, too. Riding on a big boat across the Atlantic Ocean may sound like fun, but it wasn't. The two-week trip was miserable! Our room was in steerage, way down in the bottom of the boat. It was lined with bunks, one on top of the other. It was uncomfortable and crowded. I went up on deck all the time, just to have room to move around. 14. We hit many bad storms at sea. It rained hard, and I was wet and shivering. By the time we sailed into New York Harbor past the Statue of Liberty, I had a very bad cold. Still, I was up on deck, in my good white suit, cheering along with everyone else at the awesome sight of the statue. Back then, immigrants had to pass a medical examination to be allowed to enter the country. Many people were sent back to where they came from. I was eight years old and I was ill. I didn't know what was going to happen to me in America. 15. At Ellis Island, my father, who was not sick, had to leave the ship. He stood in long lines and officials asked him lots of questions about where he came from, what he did for a living back in Poland, and what his plans were in America. All newcomers had to answer those questions. Only then could you leave Ellis Island and take a ferry to New York and finally set foot in America. When the doctor examined me, he discovered I had a cold. He said I could not go with my father. I cried and begged. I was terrified to be all alone in this strange place. 16. I stayed on Ellis Island for a few days, until I was feeling better. I had no toys with me. I didn't know of such things. There was a long gate that led to the boats that took people off the island, across New York Harbor, to the city. Every day, we boys would walk to the gate and look out over the water. We wanted to see America. It was like being in a jail. We felt sad and wondered if we would ever get through that gate and onto a boat for that final journey to our new country, the United States. 17. My cold went away, and soon the officials told me that my father and uncle were coming to get me. As I stepped off the boat from Ellis Island, I felt a rush of joy. All around me were hundreds of families greeting their relatives, welcoming them to America.http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/seymour/index.htm </p>