This survey shows that technology has become the most popular excuse for not doing homework.
At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Don Troop shares a list of student excuses for missing classes here.
Professor Gary Schirr shares excuses he has collected from others here.
I give my students two personal days to miss class for any reason-they just need to email to let me know. This way I don't have to judge the validity of the excuse.
As for homework, I do not take these late for any reason. These are due at the beginning of class and as soon as class begins, I gather them up and put in my briefcase. The students have learned not to ask me to accept homework if they come in tardy and I've found they are now rarely late to class. I do give 85 points worth of homework assignments and the max a student can earn is 75 points. This way a student can miss two assignments and still get the maximum points available.
I'm curious as to how others handle this?