Why is it…?

I sometimes wonder what moves people to do certain things.  Or, in the alternative, why they don’t see a down side to their actions.  For example, do you own an iron?  We do (not that it spends much time anywhere besides its box).  Have you ever actually read the box?  If you have, maybe you’ve seen a conspicuously marked passage like the one on the package insert that came with our iron: WARNING:  Do not iron clothes while wearing.


Like, who would do that?  Why would someone think that would be a happy choice?  But clearly, someone did.  Or someone thought someone would.

And if you’re wondering why someone would read the package insert on the iron, the answer is, “Because it’s there.”

Dog_122511Our dog occasionally engages in baffling behavior.  Yeah, I know I said “people,” but she thinks she is one, so let’s humor her.  This is Herself, Christmas a year ago, enjoying her gift.

No, we don’t usually condone eating on the sofa, and no, we don’t take her food or treats away once we give them to her. So we’re not sure why she felt the need to go in a somewhat isolated corner to enjoy her gift.

Because she’s a rescue dog, we speculate that other dogs where she lived before may have taken her food, and so maybe she’s hiding behind the tree to protect it out of habit.  Maybe.  But there’s enough floor space for her between the couch and the tree.  She did the same thing this year.

It’s like when the dh gives her a tidbit in the kitchen and she brings it into the bedroom to eat it.  I’m tempted to wave and go, “Hello?  I’m here.  Watching you.  Just like he would be watching you in the kitchen.”  All kidding aside, we think this is some sort of low-in-the-pack-order behavior, but we still find it baffling.

renegade_finalAs our regular visitors know, I have a book out.  That’s still a thrill for me to write.  Or to tell people.  Or just to think about. *g*  To help people decide whether they’d like the book, I have an excerpt on my website.  I’ve discovered, though, that not everyone supplies excerpts.

Because writing hasn’t made me any less voracious a reader, aside from diminishing the time I have to do it, I still love discovering new authors.  You may have read the post I did about that New Year’s Eve, and those were only a sampling of the books and authors who made me into a fan in 2012.

If I happen across a new author in a bookstore, I’ll read the blurb and then the first page and then maybe a few random pages.  If I like the author’s voice and the characters I encounter in that brief sampling, I’ll buy the book.

But stumbling across a new author in bookstores is increasingly difficult.  When I see an interesting book mentioned online, I go to the author’s site to check it out.  Several times lately, I’ve found no excerpt.

I realize I can download a sample, but that’s more work, and then I have to go through the steps of deleting it from my iPad if I don’t want to buy the book.  So that’s still more work.  It’s not complicated, no, but it takes time.  Going to the author’s site, clicking a link, and reading is faster.  I’ve bought books online a couple of times, only to find that while they were perfectly okay, I couldn’t get into them, so I don’t buy a book anymore if I can’t check out the author’s voice.

This baffles me.  I understand waiting until the copy is edited before posting it, but when we’re talking about book one of, say, four, why would an author not put an excerpt up for people to sample?  Am I the only holdout who prefers to sample and do it as easily as possible?

Finally, why would someone approach and feed an alligator?  Yes, really.  On our research trip to the Okefenokee Swamp in November, the dh and I drove around Chesser Island, which may be the largest dry ground in the refuge.  I was gobsmacked to see this sign.


The sign isn’t big enough to read here, but it says “Alligator Safety.   It is illegal to feed or harass wildlife.  Do not approach Alligators.”  The italics and the capital A are in the original text. I looked at it and thought, Really?  People feed alligators?  So I asked the ranger about it when we finished our drive.

She assured me that yes, notwithstanding that alligators are predatory carnivores with very large mouths full of very sharp teeth, people do feed them.  “Then the alligator loses its fear of people,” she added, ” and starts following them around, so it has to be relocated.”

Alligators are afraid of me?  Seriously?  If I were an alligator, I wouldn’t be afraid of me.  If I saw an alligator following me, I would take care of relocating myself  as fast as possible, so relocating the alligator would not be an immediate need.

But her point was that feeding alligators is a bad idea for the alligator’s sake.  I’m sure people don’t stop to think about that, and there are some places, like our local park, where you used to be able to buy a handful of food for the ducks for a quarter.  The appeal of feeding birds or small, furry animals, I can see.  But big carnivores with huge mouths and lots of teeth?  Not so much.

How about you?  Do you have any idea why people would feed alligators?  When you try a new author, do you like to read a sample, or do you go in blind, as it were?  If you sample, do you prefer web excerpts or downloads?  (If you’re curious about the Renegade excerpt, it’s here.) Does your pet do anything you find mystifying? Do you have any other example of baffling behavior you’d like to share?

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  • Fedora says:

    Sample, sample, sample! And zowie on the alligator feeding. Or ironing one’s clothing while wearing it. People constantly mystify–guess it keeps life interesting? 😉

    • Fedora, have you ever seen the Darwin Awards? It’s people who do the gene pool a favour by taking themselves out of it! I used to get the lists every year – some of the stupid things people used to do would make your mind boggle!

      Hey, cool on the rooster!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey, Fedora! You snagged the chook. Too bad HE doesn’t come with a warning label. Hahah! It would be a mile long if he did, however, so perhaps its for the best.

    • Fedora, congrats on grabbing the chook! I see you’re a sampler, too. I really like to know what I’m getting with a book. Unless it’s nonfiction on a topic that interests me, and then I can plow through. Those years as a history major have to count for something!

  • Nancy, what a thought-provoking post. It’s funny with excerpts – I tend not to read them, which is odd. I’m not quite sure why. I probably should! Laughing at all the stupid things people need warning about. It’s kind of like those coffee cups you get saying “Warning – may contain hot liquid.” I certainly hope so!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      That one makes me shake my head in irritation every time, Anna. There was a lawsuit here in the States – which the woman WON, bafflingly enough – where McDonalds got sued for not having a warning label on their coffee. Idiot woman put it between her legs, drives away from the drive through, lid comes off, she got burned.

      Now I KNOW it shouldn’t be so hot it causes serious injury, but…coffee is supposed to BE hot. Why would one put it near one’s important parts?? Eeep!!

      That said, like you, I’d be annoyed if it WASN’T hot! Ha!

      • Cassondra Murray says:

        Jeanne, I’m one to put the coffee between my legs, but when the important parts get burned, that’s MY fault, not the fault of the coffee brewer, yaknow?

        Every time I drive through McDonald’s and see that dumb sign stuck to the window, I just shake my head.

    • Thanks, Anna. There’s a line I loved on The West Wing. The president told an FBI agent who’d just apprehended a dangerous felon, “Some of the stupidest criminals on the planet work in this country. It’s a great source of comfort.” Or something like that.

      • Ha ha! I remember some guy robbed a bank here and then went outside to wait for the bus! Um, requirement 1 if you’re going to be a bank robber – a getaway car maybe? Needless to say he was caught straightaway! You can never rely on buses turning up on time, LOL!

    • I agree, on first blush, based on what we’ve all heard about it, the coffee case does seem looney, but it actually was not so frivolous. It comes up all the time because everyone from Oprah to late night talk show hosts went on a tear about it, so I did some research. Here are some summaries of the facts in the case, which don’t get talked about:


      The coffee was around 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Water boils at 210. Home coffee makers maintain a temperature of around 150. So what I thought of when I first heard this, having spilled coffee on myself at home was, “That can’t be right,” which is why I looked into it.

      McDonald’s corporate officers testified that coffee is not, in fact, drinkable at that temperature, which scalds tissue. Around 700 other people had suffered burns from the coffee (Google noted references to lawsuits in the UK over this as well) before this.

      The woman in this case suffered 3rd degree burns because the coffee soaked into her sweatpants, which thus held it against her skin. She required skin grafts as a result.

      She had initially offered to settle for $20k, but the company blew her off. One of these articles contains interesting comments from one of the jurors and the trial judge about the callousness of the company. Another contains a link (which I decided I could do without) to the photos of her burns.

      The trial judged reduced the damages awarded by 20% because the jury found that the woman was 20% at fault (probably because of putting the coffee where she put it, I’m guessing).

      The award seems to have withstood appeals, and appellate court judges are not ones to let crazy verdicts stand, as a result.

      So this is one of those more than meets the eye cases, thanks to late night TV. I thought the whole thing was very interesting.

      • Interesting, Nancy!

      • Cassondra Murray says:

        That is very interesting, and you know, I had heard that–or knew something about it in the past. It’s not so much THAT particular case that bothers me–it’s the need to have the warning in the window. And the cost of putting the warning in the window for something that is so bloody obvious.

        If the company was callous and negligent, they should have to compensate the consumer. However the need for the dumb warning cluttering up the window for NORMAL coffee? Don’t think so.

        Very telling, though, that they were so arrogant as to blow of the $20K offer, which is nothing to them. I’m guessing that’s the day’s take at a mid-volume store.

  • Helen Sibbritt says:


    I really do not understand some of the warnings that come with regular every day things and as for feeding alligators no way who really would be that silly LOL.

    As for books I will buy them on recomendations and go in blind there are very few books that I do not enjoy I do sometimes read excerpts but not always.

    Have Fun

    • Helen, another vote for not feeding alligators! I mean, really that baffles me. You see alligators in the swamp. There’s nothing that says “cute and cuddly” about them.

      I sometimes buy on recommendations, too, come to think of it. Without that, though, I want a sample.

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    I don’t feed anything that would have the tendency to have me for lunch if I ran out of treats, just a general rule in my household. I don’t know why people would feed bears either and yet they do, and then wonder why said bear attacks them later. Uh, you just made yourself a food source.

    I have cats and both of them are just fonts for strange behaviour. I hate it when they just freeze and stair into what appears to be empty space. Is there something there I can’t see? Oh please, don’t tell me, I really don’t want to know.

    I usually have to have an excerpt and no, I don’t download them, if it isn’t on the website I won’t be downloading.

    I have noticed the odd warning labels on lots of things and it does make you wonder what possessed them to put those warnings out. Somewhere that had to be someone try to iron clothing while it was on there body and then they probably tried to sue the makers of the iron. With any luck the judge said you are not getting paid to be an idiot.

    • Dianna, when I see cats do that stare at something that’s not there, I wonder about ghosts! Seriously!

    • Dianna and Anna, dogs do that staring into space thing, too, and I find it kinda creepy. What are you looking at? Do I want to know, or would I rather not?

      I hear you on the bear feeding thing. Adult bears don’t strike me as things that are safe to get close to.

  • Mozette says:

    How about you? Do you have any idea why people would feed alligators?

    I can tell ya why! Steve bloody Irwine! Yeah, that idiot! He made it okay for everyone to go up and pat, tease, play with and jump around wild freakin’ animals to scare the crud out of them enough for them to bite you. Sorry, but I never liked the dude and found him very annoying when he traveled around the world screaming out: ‘Crickey look at that!’ and then being dumb enough to go running up in his boots, shorts and shirt thinking it’s okay to approach animals that have sharp teeth, are poisonous and are a danger to us. This made other people think they were just like him… stupid really.

    When you try a new author, do you like to read a sample, or do you go in blind, as it were? If you sample, do you prefer web excerpts or downloads? (If you’re curious about the Renegade excerpt, it’s here.)

    Well, I’d like to read about what other people think of the work first so I have a fair idea of what I’m getting into. If I feel like I’m being lead down the garden path, well, I don’t bother with it.

    Does your pet do anything you find mystifying? Do you have any other example of baffling behavior you’d like to share?

    Little Miss Stevie – when she was around – used to feed the bird in the mirror. There’d be so much gunk on the mirror that once a fortnight, I’d get it out and clean it with some water and a tissue. Well! The birdy in the mirror would give her the pip and she’d give it what for! Next thing I knew, Little Miss Stevie and the budgie in the mirror would be friends again and she’s was giving it a feed again. 🙂

    • Mozette, I’m a big believer in leaving wildlife alone, just in general. I wouldn’t want someone to come to my house and poke and pester me, and I look at the outdoors as the wildlife’s house. If it leaves me alone, I’m happy to return the favor.

      Though I did feed the ducks at the park with the duck food sold by the pond. I figured that was approved by people who knew more than I did.

      I also like to read reviews. If I like the look of the book, though, based on a sample, I take the plunge even if reviews aren’t all great.

  • Connie Fischer says:

    First of all, I give alligators a wide berth. I live in southwest Florida and see them occasionally in lakes. Thank goodness, the “powers that be” don’t let them get longer than four feet before they are removed. Thank goodness.

    I’m not a sampler. If the blurb on the back of a book looks interesting to me, bingo, I read it. 🙂

    • Connie, I’ve heard that dogs aren’t allowed to swim in canals and ponds in Florida because of alligators. I’ve also heard they sometimes help themselves to housepets. It’s great that wildlife officers are vigilant about that.

  • Susan Sey says:

    Good morning, Nancy!

    As the mother of two in the under-10 crowd, I am baffled on a daily basis at the choices these little people make. Yesterday my eldest threw a fit because she wanted another pancake. Now this sounds like normal 9 yo behavior under you understand that I had made both pancakes and waffles. WITH THE SAME BATTER. There was an entire stack of waffles ready for consumption but the pancakes had gone first. And Miss Fussypants refused to accept that–on a chemical basis–these two items were identical. She insisted she could taste the shape, & it was disgusting.

    I was…at a loss. How do you argue with somebody who’s being patently unreasonable? I suspect this is but a small preview into my upcoming decade. I will keep you posted. I hope I can walk through it with the same understand & humor you’ve been showing your dog. Just sort of shrug & figure, hey, whatever. Harming nobody. I’ll make another pancake. WITH THE SAME BATTER but okay. 🙂

    • Susan, I had to laugh at this. I could so easily see it happening!

      I guess Miss Fussypants doesn’t like waffle texture. That’s interesting to me because the boy was very fussy about food textures when he was small.

      Do keep us posted on the continuing saga!

    • Cassondra Murray says:


      I can taste the difference.

      Just sayin.

      Guess that makes me Miss Fussypants too. ;0)

      LOL at the whole situation, seriously. I CAN tell a big difference between waffles and pancakes, but only because waffles tend to be crispier all over, which I absolutely love. So funny that she didn’t want the waffles.

      Of course, at this point, any of it is carbohydrates and I just want to put my face in it. I might visit you, if you make these things regularly.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Nancy! Funny post. :>

    I too am baffled by these labels, and like you, I know that either someone HAS done these things (Do not use blow dryer while in bathtub! Do not use blow dryer while in shower!) I wonder at the need to warn the “normal, sensible” humans.

    Last time I saw that “don’t iron while wearing” warning on an iron I too was just baffled. Seriously? Someone DID this? Really?

    One of my favs is on certain steep escalators. “Do not walk while moving”
    Ummmmm…..so I can never get off? If I walk and it’s moving, do I get a ticket?

    So many silly things. :> We humans are a complicated lot, aren’t we?

    • Jeanne, one that’s given me enormous amusement over the years (yes, I am easily amused, no need to say it) is the notice they put on lifts/elevators in Australia. Do No Use In Case of Fire. Does that mean we should always used the steps in case a sneaky fire suddenly appears out of nowhere. Another one is “This door is alarmed.” Hey, does that mean I’m scary? There used to be a stencil that city councils put around walls in Sydney (pretty uselessly it has to be said!) to try and stop people sticking up advertisements for things like band gigs – Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted. And some wag used to go around going “FREE Bill Posters!”

    • Thanks, Jeanne. I don’t understand why anyone would use any electrical appliance anywhere near water.

      Yeah, the escalator thing seems silly. I always walk on the escalator. And the moving sidewalk at the airport, unless I have my big suitcase, which is awkward to drag over the treads.

      When we picked the boy up for Christmas, there was a sign in the airport that said “No strollers or wheelchairs on escalator.” I could see how someone might try it with a stroller, especially one of the small, easily collapsible ones, but a wheelchair? The wheels are too big to fit the steps, I’d think.

  • Nancy, love the post.

    Feeding the alligators reminds me of the movie Lake Placcid, where Betty White has a giant pet alligator. At least I think it was her pet that she kept feeding people to. (I watched a few bits one night when a pt’s husband was watching it.) Betty was quite insane in that movie…which explains the ONLY reason I could see to feed an alligator.

    Preparation H. The outside of the box, (I know this because I’ve had to instruct new mothers on how to use this), says, FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR ORAL CONSUMPTION. Okay, you know someone tried to ingest this…. probably still have puckered lips from doing so!

    • Thanks, Suz. I’ve never seen that movie, but Betty White is always a hoot.

      Louisa Cornell once mentioned a friend who had named the alligators at his house in the Everglades, but I’m thinking he exercises constant vigilance around them.

      The guide on our first tour of the Okefenokee said, “You might not beat an alligator in a five-yard dash, but you’d beat him in a fifty-yard one.” So I plan to stay at least thirty yards from any alligator on land and never to be in the water with one, because I figure they swim faster than I do.

      • When we lived in Florida, we learned that you should also run in a zig-zag fassion to elude them. Probably why none of my kids really run in a straight line! LOL

        • Wow–who would’ve thought you dodge alligators the same way you do bullets?!

          I forgot to say that I can’t imagine putting anything associated with hemorrhoids anywhere near my mouth. Though I found that my dad’s Preparation H was very good for a bee sting.

      • Yes, Nancy, there were lots of safeguards in place to keep Elvis and Priscilla from eating any guests to our friend Billy’s little cabin in the swamps of St. John’s Bayou. Cabin is a bit of a misnomer as the house was huge with a terrific dog trot down the middle. There was satellite television and air conditioning run off generators. The family didn’t live there all the time and Elvis and Priscilla were one of the ways they kept people from breaking into the house! There were tin panels all around the wrap-around porch and heavy gates at the front and back steps so Elvis and Priscilla couldn’t come in uninvited. (I’m not quite certain what would merit an invitation! Evicting guests who overstayed their welcome perhaps?)

        They were fed raw chicken and marshmallows and a number of other things local hunters dropped by. This encouraged them to stay in the yard. Hence they were indeed Louisiana Yard Dogs! And this was definitely an example of DON’T DO THIS AT HOME!

    • EC Spurlock says:

      I did hear a story once about a woman in our local hospital. The nurse came to pick up her breakfast tray and asked her how she liked her breakfast.
      “It was okay,” she said, “but that Kentucky jelly for the toast doesn’t have much flavor.”
      “Kentucky Jelly?” wondered the nurse.
      And the woman holds up a single-dose packet of KY jelly.

  • Nancy –

    LOL on the iron thing. I laugh because I’ve considered doing this – although I haven’t actually tried. It’s when you put something on, maybe it’s freshly ironed but you missed a spot, look in the mirror and see that it’s wrinkled right smack in a highly visible area. Taking the top off will screw up the hair you just spent time to fix and you wonder – could I just iron out the spot without taking the top off? And, of course, the answer is no. 🙂

    I’m not a big book downloader but if we have a guest who includes an exerpt in the post and I like it – then I’ll download. Otherwise, I purchase based on an author I know and have enjoyed in the past.

    Feeding the alligators – Hah – I never thought the sign was there for the alligators benefit. I thought it was there for the idiots who think they don’t look like lunch.

    • Donna, I can see the temptation on the iron thing, but as you note, the cloth isn’t much of a barrier between the hot metal and your skin. I’ve found that, with artificial fabrics pulling it tight with one hand and turning the hair dryer on it will often work.

      I’ve bought books based on excerpts in guest posts or on guests’ websites, too.

      People not thinking they “look like lunch” is a great way to put it. The guide on our first Okefenokee boat trip allowed as how alligators aren’t afraid of anything in the swamp “except maybe bears” (note the maybe) and aren’t always worried about them.

  • Janga says:

    Nancy, I bet the people who feed the alligators are the same ones who feed the bears. 🙂

    My sister and I agreed recently that we had found the most absurd warning on a package–a plastic-wrapped pastry with a sticker that said “Please remove wrapping before eating.” Somebody tried to eat the plastic? Really?

    As for excerpts, I sometimes read them if I then have the option of buying the book immediately, but I find them frustrating if I am hooked by the excerpt and have to wait for the book. I belong to the immediate gratification school when it comes to the books I read.

    • Janga, I’ll bet you’re right on the bears and alligators thing.

      Someone eating the plastic is really mystifying. Unless they got a piece of it by accident because it didn’t completely come off and they didn’t realize it. But still. Wouldn’t you taste it when doing what mothers always say –“Chew before you swallow?”

      I like immediate gratification, too, though you’d never know it by my TBR pile. I seldom pre-order books for that reason. It makes me antsy.

  • CateS says:

    Stupid behavior is more like it… I remember visiting Yellowstone and seeing parents let their small children run [literally] on the boardwalks around all those hot pools… I’m certain that they would sue if their child was injured/killed since there’s not a railing… Like the one people cliimbed over to get a better look and fell into & drowned last summer..
    PS aren’t there usually excerpts at GoodReads?

    • Cate, there have been some awful tragedies in Australia along those lines. I remember a horrible one where a whole family drowned because they climbed over the safety fences at the Blow Hole in Kiama. It’s a rock formation that spouts huge fountains of sea water when the tide’s at a certain level. Awfully sad but there were warnings everywhere saying that when the water went back down, it was like being caught in a whirlpool.

    • Cate, I don’t even want to get started on the totally inappropriate, sometimes dangerous, places people turn their children loose. It’s just nuts. Even in a place that isn’t inherently dangerous, someone waist-high, running and not paying attention, is a hazard to everyone.

      There may be excerpts on Goodreads. I don’t know that I’ve ever posted one there, so maybe I should. When I want to find out about an author, my first impulse is to go to the website, not to a third party site.

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Stupid behavior…

    Lessee…I remember parents pouring honey on their child’s head to get the bear to lick the child’s head for a photo.

    Of course, the child died. And of course, the bear, then, had to be killed. Which I personally think is wrong, but there is no way around it, and no end to the ripple effect of stupid.

    As to Herself–all dogs do that, in my experience. It is their pack nature to guard their food, and I think it varies by whether they were born into a large litter, and yes, perhaps, by where they fell in the “pecking order.” Chickens do it too.

    And as to the sofa. Come on, where would you choose to lie down to eat your treat? I’d pick the sofa, right there beside the tree, in that nice little “den” created by the corner.

    I buy books ONLY if I can read an excerpt. I want to see if I like it.

    Now…once I have gotten into the series, I don’t need the excerpt. The blurb will do.

    I don’t get why authors make it hard to find stuff on their websites…the series, the books, the way to contact them if I want to write a fan girl email (or invite them to blog), etc.

    And the thing is…in this information age, I spend less and less time looking for stuff. If I don’t find the info I want immediately, I quit trying. If I have to click too many times, or wait for some monster page to load, I give up. If it’s a hassle, I drop it.

    • I don’t get why authors make it hard to find stuff on their websites…the series, the books, the way to contact them if I want to write a fan girl email (or invite them to blog), etc.

      This was a discussion I had with my website designer. “Make the page buttons easy to find, easy to click on. Make each opening page as simple to find stuff as you can.”

      • Cassondra Murray says:

        *High Five Suz!*

        I will be building a website soon. This is on my list of top priorities.

    • Cassondra, I agree that there is a lot of TSTL out there, as with your bear and zoo examples. If you’ve never checked out the Darwin awards, you should.

      We rearrange the room to put up the tree, so it does create a secluded little corner, but I’d personally rather get comfy to eat my treat on the bed with the TV going.

      I’m with you on series. Once I’m into one and thus trust the author, I’ll do an auto-buy.

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Y’all know those people who climb into the bear or the lion enclosure at Zoos and wildlife parks?

    Don’t y’all think we should just leave them in there?

    Not if they’re three years old of course, but if they’re over 12? Yeah. Leave them in there.

    In fact, if they throw things at the animals or tease them? I say push those people in.

    OH OH! Better yet? Put those stupid people in an enclosure and make them a zoo exhibit. “Endangered species–Stupid people–no DNR program to save species proposed thus far”

    Yes, I am a total bitch about this stuff.

    • Cassondra, did I ever tell you about the drive-through safari park we went to near Liverpool? People are specifically instructed NOT to stop in the monkey enclosure because that encourages monkeys to jump on the car. When the car reaches the exit, a park employee has to push them off with a pole, probably not fun for anyone involved.

      We were driving through, and what did the dimwads in front of us do? Of course–they stopped to make faces at the monks, who, yes, jumped on the car. Gak!

      Farther on in the park we had to stop for a llama in the road, and all the llamas surrounded the car, peering in at us. It was much like being in a reverse zoo. They eventually became bored with us and wandered away, allowing us to resume our drive.

      It was really a cool place.

  • Cassondra Murray says:

    Oh…here’s another one.

    I recently got this thing in the email…it was from some law firm representing a class action suit against Southwest Airlines. It said I might be eligible to receive compensation because it appears that sometime prior to 2010, I bought a ticket that included a free alcoholic drink, and I did not use this ticket.

    Somebody sued Southwest airlines about this. And the proposed lawyer fees? SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS. Southwest is settling. It is costing this company a bazillion dollars to send me and a bunch of other people a three-dollar drink ticket. Do these people not have something better to get mad about? Like maybe alligators and bears being killed? Sheesh.

    If my airline ticket costs more next time I fly Southwest, I know who to blame.

    What is this idiocy?

    • Considering the drink ticket was free, I can’t see making a big deal about it. Apparently the issue was that the vouchers had no expiration dates, some people held them for later use, and then the airline retroactively imposed an expiration date. Like I said, I wouldn’t make a big deal about it. And I don’t blame you for being aggravated because, yes, ticket prices will go up.

      So will fees. Southwest has bought AirTran and will be imposing a host of new fees there, apparently.

      Really, I would like the airline to assume I might need clothing at the end of my trip and price seats accordingly. Then there would not be the soft-sided equivalents of steamer trunks jammed into the overhead bins.

      And I think there should be a special corner of perdition reserved for able-bodied people who are seated in the back but jam their luggage into the front overheads, preempting that space before passengers sitting under it can use it, because, hey, it’s a lot of trouble to carry that bag fifty feet. Grrr.

  • EC Spurlock says:

    I always like to read an excerpt before I get to the store. Saves me time as I can target which books I particularly want. Sometimes the descriptions you see online and on the bookseller’s ads rave about the book but when I try reading it I just can’t get into the author’s voice. Borders used to include excerpts in their email newsletters for all the new books coming out that week, and it considerably increased my TBR list. B&N doesn’t do that – in fact most times they don’t even give a description of the plot – so I find it easier to ignore books that I might have been interested in buying if I had had more info.

    I think people are so disconnected from nature now that it doesn’t occur to them that wild animals are just that – wild and unpredictable. Those tourists feeding the alligators probably just came from one of those “alligator wrestling” sideshows and it doesn’t even occur to them that the gators in the shows have been trained since they were tiny to put up with people and perform on command. I remember a ranger in Yosemite telling us about a bison goring they had had the day before; it was a tourist from a big city taking photos of his kids posing by and sitting on a resting bison. Apparently the bison was very patient through all that but when the guy started tugging on its mane and physically abusing it to get it to move so he could take a video, it got fed up. Nobody blamed it a bit.

    • EC, there are so many books out there, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. I look at blurbs first, and I like having one. Just the title doesn’t tell me anything.

      I think you have a point about the disconnect from nature. People just don’t stop and think.

  • catslady says:

    I think that the dogs and cats either do or see something – houses creak and maybe a small bug that we wouldn’t hear or see. At least that’s what I’m hoping lol but I always look when they do – I’ve been forewarned of many a spider that way. Our daughter’s friend has a dog that use to live with another dog so he is protective of his chew toys and now when one of my cats is nearby he protects it although they want no part of it but he’s not convinced lol. I feed a lot of animals (some wild like raccoons and possums and probably get closer than I should) but not alligators lol.

    • Catslady, I hope you’re right that the staring is targeted at something entirely ordinary!

      I totally get the impulse to feed small furry thing. It’s big reptilian things with lots of teeth that mystify me.

  • Pat Cochran says:

    I prefer samples whether excerpt or down-

    Our late cat, Gerald, loved climbing our
    Christmas trees as a kitten. As he grew
    older and heavier he kept falling out of
    the trees. I thought he might learn thru
    experience , but not Gerald! He just kept falling off and toppling a couple. Our
    college kids, who had brought him home,
    said he was too goofy! Just like their
    friend after whom he was named.

    • Pat, I’ve heard of cats climbing Christmas trees but never of one so persistent. Wow.

      When the boy was small, we had a used Disney video featuring Chip and Dale scampering through Mickey’s Christmas tree and driving Pluto nuts.

  • Nancy, your story about the alligators reminds me of some of the signs and stupid things people do in Yellowstone National Park. There are signs everywhere that say, “Do not approach the wildlife.” And yet I’ve seen with my own eyes people get out of their cars and try to get close to bison for pictures. Thus, people are gored (often to death) in Yellowstone probably every year. In that same vein, when you visit the areas where the hot springs are, there are signs about staying on the pathways and not getting in the water. Hello, it’s boiling! Who would be that stupid. And yet there are. I bought a book when I was at Yellowstone once about all the dumb ways people have managed to get themselves killed there. One guy strapped on scuba gear and jumped into one of the thermal springs. Needless to say, he was never seen again.

    When my sister worked at Yellowstone, they had a term for these types of people — tourons. 🙂

  • kaelee says:

    I’m a back blurb reader. I also have a lot of favorite authors and I buy their books automatically.

    I have had 7 cats share my home with me and my husband. Never more than 3 at one time. The last cat who came to live with us was found abandoned at my sister’s farm as an 8 week old kitten. Dash has got to be a reincarnation of a meerkat. He loves to burrow under covers, coats, and anything left lying around . He sits on his back legs and runs under the bed at the slightest noise. If either my husband or I carry a plastic bag anywhere close to him, he’s under the nearest bed. We think he must have been put into a plastic bag and thrown out at the farm. When we had to take him to the vets he burrowed his way into the sleeve of my coat.

    Our very first cat Midnight Tiger was an only kitty for quite a number of years. He became friends with the cat in the apartment next to us. When the lady went to jail we ended up with adopting her male cat called Fluffy. Tiger loved Fluffy a lot. Unfortunately Fluffy got sick and we had to send him over the rainbow bridge. Tiger literally searched the neighborhood for Fluffy. We broke down and got him another brother.

    • Kaelee, I also have a long list of auto-buy authors.

      That’s so sad about your cat’s fear. One of our earlier dogs, when she first came to live with us, would frantically scramble away if we walked anywhere near her. We figure she must’ve been kicked at her prior so-called home.

      We got our yellow lab because our big old golden missed that same girl after she died of cancer. It’s just so heart-wrenching when they grieve, and we can’t explain it to them.

  • Clearly you’re a writer, Nancy! That’s why you think a lot about motivation. What a fun post. Totally with you on reading excerpts first. The story can sound compelling on the back cover but if the writing is banal, they’ve lost me.

    My dh is involved in industrial relations and peripheral to that is workplace health and safety. There was once a case where a man stood behind a forklift driver and put his hands over the driver’s eyes WHILE HE WAS DRIVING. The man hit reverse accidentally and the practical joker was killed when they backed into some large obstruction or other. And guess what? The employer was held responsible for not warning them NOT to do something like this. Oy!

    So I can understand how ridiculous it can get posting warning signs! Sometimes I think boys in particular have no check between impulse and action. I can tell by the look on my sons’ faces when they’re going to do something crazy and if you don’t get in with a sharp “No!” in time, it’s as good as done. SIGH! I bet it’s not women feeding those alligators, is all I’m sayin’

    • Christina, thanks! I didn’t think to ask the ranger if the alligator feeders were primarily one gender. I doubt she knows. It’s a vast ecosystem (700 sq. mi.) with canoe trails through it, and the rangers seem to be mostly around their station.

      That’s amazing about the forklift. Geez.

  • Great post, Nancy. I wouldn’t have a clue why people would feed or wrestle alligators. It makes no sense to me.

    My cats constantly do things that mystify me. Stayed tune tomorrow for a cat blog.

  • Some people apparently decided they should pose with a pair of rhinoceroses. It did not end well.

  • I read back blurbs voraciously when I am in bookstores, which isn’t nearly so often as I would like. But if someone recommends a book to me I do go to the author’s website and look for an excerpt. I look for a voice like others I have enjoyed and / or I also look for a voice that is unique and strikes me as something new.

    I love the warnings about not using a hair dryer or a radio in the bath tub. Really? DUH!

    Of course the Darwin Awards go disproportionally to people of the redneck persuasion (which is NOT a strictly Southern phenomena.) Many a redneck has made the Darwin Awards singing out these famous last words “Hey, y’all! Watch this!”