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A Thought on McDonnell

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Yesterday  I led off with a mention of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Bob McDonnell. Lo and Behold, (I have always wondered who came up with Lo and Behold. I looked it up and learned that it comes from 18th century literature of “look and see”, which makes no sense to me. So, no charge for such blog inclusion!) … so back to our regularly scheduled programming of “Lo and behold”.

Anyway, it caught my attention that McDonnell’s conviction was vacated by a unanimous ruling of the Supreme Court. The Court did note that it found the case to be “distasteful” and full of “tawdry tales”. But, elected officials will breath a sigh of relief about free trips and free lunches with lobbyists now.

In the meantime, the government will have to decide if it will retry McDonnell. My guess is no. Also, Bob will be receive his full entitled pension; decide if he wants to get back into politics; or become president of either Regent University or Liberty University. That’s just my guess.

Also, the judge in the Federal court jury trial, Judge Spencer, will now always be remembered for this case and that his rulings were overturned. No judge likes to be overturned on appeal.

And what does Bob McDonnell think about the Supreme Court’s ruling. Well, apart from a great sense of relief, I think that his attorney verbalized it best when he said, “We thank the Supreme Court for unanimously bringing justice back into the picture for the McDonnells”. Now that’s a parting shot at Judge Spencer!

And for pic o’ day, maybe some “invitation advice for your July 4th picnic:



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McDonnell Opinion

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

This Monday morning brings an anticipated Supreme Court opinion. Shortly after 10 a.m.the Court will issue its opinion on whether to set aside the guilty verdict in former Virginia Governor  Bob McDonnell’s federal corruption jury trial.  Political columnist Jeff Schapiro writes a good summary of the events leading up to the Court’s opinion today. (

The conviction could be affirmed or reversed. Obviously, a lot is at stake for the whole McDonnell family. That includes the financial issue of whether he will receive his retirement pension. McDonnell was to receive 60% of his final governor salary as retirement, which was estimated to be about $3900 a month, if being received right now. If he chose to begin drawing his pension at age 65, his anticipated pension would be around $5400 a month.

The guilty conviction took that benefit away. So, not only will he be faced with his two year prison sentence today and a felony conviction on his record, but also a significant loss of income for the rest of his life.

If the conviction is set aside, he would get that money back. Otherwise, he will be directed to report to prison. Originally when McDonnell was told to report to jail by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, he had asked to be sent to the Federal Correctional Complex Petersburg, that is located in Hopewell, Virginia. As it stands, the Court would tell him when and where to report, if the conviction is affirmed.

These corruption charges related to political favors for money. As a side note, on this day in 1967, the first automated teller machine (ATM) was installed in London, England.


And for pic o’ day, some necessary planning ahead?


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Another Friday

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

This Friday seemed to get here quickly. Maybe you felt like the week was a marathon… it seemed like a sprint to me!

So, here’s to a great weekend. It’s going to be a great weekend for us! And some pictures that were sent to me!



I guess that’s what is called an animal comedian.




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Some Sunscreen

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Here’s a quickie. Because the weather is getting hotter (hopefully not more crazy thunderstorms!), it’s a good time to revisit sunscreen.

From Illinois Patch comes an article titled What You Don’t Know About Sunscreen – But Should.

The FDA also suggests that any measurement above SPF 50 is unlikely to be meaningful. Sunscreen manufacturers are no longer allowed to make the claim that their products are “waterproof,” because none truly are waterproof.

That’s just a sampler from the article. There are two basic kinds of sunscreens: physical blockers and chemical blockers. Unfortunately, there’s salesmanship and there is protection. The old “Don’t talk about it… be about it” so lather up and let’s get ready for some rays!

And for pic o’ day… this was sent to me. Not sure why annoy… but it made me laugh.


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A Back Yard Carnival

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Have you ever been driving down a road and looked over to see something curious in a yard?  Something like an old rusted car, or maybe an old bird feeder?





Does it make you wonder what the neighbors think? Well, here’s a story at, where we know what the neighbors were thinking. The article is titled Decision against northeast Roanoke couple’s carnival rides will stand, judge rules. Does that get your attention?

The story goes that a couple moved into their home about two years ago. Then, they assembled a number of  antique rides in their yard, which measures 1.4 acres.

The “rides” include a 1973 Ferris wheel and a Gravitron ride. The Gravitron  weighs about 19 tons and is valued at more than $200,000. At this point, I am guessing that the neighbor’s had noticed!

To no one’s surprise but theirs, soon they were cited by an inspector and told to remove the rides. They appealed to the city’s zoning appeals board. The board determined that the rides were not permitted in a residential area,  because the machines are “substantially similar” to a commercial amusement park.  (Imagine that!)

From there, they appealed to Circuit Court. The Judge ruled against them, while admitting, “Nobody loves a ride better than I do,” but he found that such rides were improper for a residential area.

The couple have now filed a $2 million civil suit against the city and senior code compliance inspector, arguing that he had defamed them while investigating the rides.

The suit alleges that the inspector sent an internal email which described them as “a real menace to the neighborhood”. They have not decided if they will appeal the “ride ruling”.

It  makes me wonder why they couldn’t just be happy with a roaming Gnome with a tank top, or a birdfeeder for the squirrels. Even a rusty car seems like a better plan.


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I Am Not That Person!

Monday, June 20th, 2016

The movie Wolf of Wall Street is based on the book that Jordan Belfort wrote about his life. He took an entry level position at a low level brokerage firm and parlayed it into his own investment firm. His escapades and ultimate journey to prison are chronicled in the movie, and Jordan is played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

My blog yesterday dealt briefly with the story of Rod Stewart. A look into the consequences of when celebrities are sued or are ordered to give a deposition in a lawsuit.

The lawsuit is detailed here in this CNN article/video. Andrew Greene, a former executive of the Belfort brokerage firm claims that one of the characters in the book/movie is him, and that it wrongfully portrays him as a “criminal, a drug user and a degenerate”.

The character was identified as a different name, and DiCaprio’s attorneys claim that he has no knowledge of the characters, as one of the actors, and that his knowledge is “too limited to justify the burden of a deposition”.

I have provided this brief description. I am more curious about this defamation lawsuit, because before the lawsuit, no one knew who Andrew Greene was or anything related to his supposed relationship to this character named Nicky Koskoff in the movie. So basically what this lawsuit is saying is ”that degenerate, dishonest character in the film… anyone can see that it is me!”. The lawsuit is seeking 25 million for damages.

For pic o’ day, I am not fascinated with the Wolf. So, I post a picture of….


and 1


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The Soccer Ball Lawsuit

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

It’s a story of a lawsuit and a change of conduct. A concert story.  It’s also the life of a successful musician.

A lawyer/friend said that he was contacted by a man who had been injured at a concert at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater. Rod Stewart is a well known fan of soccer. His father had played amateur soccer and also coached. So, Stewart grew up in a soccer family and played for and became captain of his high school team.

He longed to be a professional soccer player, but was just not good enough. Still, it caused him to be a lifelong fan. He also claims that unlike other rock and roll musicians, soccer kept him away from drugs because he wanted to remain in shape. (He does admit that he  drinks 3 glasses of wine a day, so apparently he must think that helps his soccer!)

Because of his fandom of soccer, he began kicking soccer balls into the audience. Which brings us back to the story of the Virginia Beach concert. Yes, a fan was injured by one of the soccer balls. And, my friend represented him.

Stewart’s insurance company would not accept responsibility for the injuries caused by the soccer ball, so my friend filed suit.(I have my own opinion about this lawsuit… but I digress)

When the time came to take Stewart’s deposition, Stewart’s manager contacted my friend and asked if he would be willing to travel to California to take the deposition. He went on to promise the lawyer that they would pay for the flight and motel room if he would be willing to travel across the country. Of course, it also made it easier on Stewart.

Sure enough, the lawyer accepted the deal and was flown out first class, and put in a fabulous all-expense paid room. Plus, Stewart was very friendly to him at the deposition. Ultimately, the case was settled, and my friend has a lifetime story to tell.

For a while, Stewart supposedly stopped kicking soccer balls during his concerts. Apparently, others were injured during his concerts. However, when he signed to put on concerts at Caesar’s in Las Vegas, he was back to kicking soccer balls… and I think it adds to the experience. Apparently, Stewart also doesn’t want to lose his kicking ability, even though he is in his sixties. Good for him!


And for pic o’ day, I take a little literary license to describe how I took it.

This past weekend, my wife and I were in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, to celebrate her brother’s and mother’s birthday. (Trying saying that 3 times real fast!).  On Saturday morning, we  went to breakfast at the Causeway Cafe where we saddled  up to the counter for some real fixins. You know, the kind of fixins that you order a side of zucchini French Toast… and it tastes like a piece of cake. Yes… that kind of place.

As I was sitting there, I kept hearing the manager scream the names of waiting parties. I mean scream! Turns out, he has been there for 30 years and that must be part of his “marketing experience” for the diners. As I looked around, I noticed a sign that seemed apropos for the whole experience. It makes me laugh!


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Healthy Fixins’

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

On a Friday, I just like to post something simple. OK, maybe it’s just my “it’s the weekend” kind of blog. So, here’s something short to think about… that bothers me.

It comes from the world of Whole Foods. (And don’t we really just want honesty… nothing else matters)

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch comes an article of scare that tells us that FDA warns Whole Foods over unsanitary conditions in kitchen.

We learn that in one store, condensation was leaking from ceiling joints and dripping onto work/food surfaces below.

In another incident, the FDA recites that an employee was spraying sanitizer on work surfaces near a co-worker preparing food, which resulted in the “sanitizer being sprayed onto an open colander of salad leafy greens.” Other violations included employees not washing hands or changing gloves in between tasks.

Come on!

I’m not sure what to say for a weekend blog except that we have to keep our eyes open. Just because it says Whole Foods, or some place says from Farmer to Table, doesn’t mean that all precautions are being taken. Telling each other of problems is what gets us through. The rest is just noise!

Have a great weekend… and eat healthy, if you can!

And for pic o’ day, here’s one from my mom that cracked me up:


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5 Monkeys and Their Ladder

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Can monkeys figure out how to use a hotel key? The real question is whether they can figure out which room the key goes to… but I digress.

The real lesson from monkeys (for our monkeys’ blog) is told in an article from in an article titled  What Monkeys Can Teach Us About Human Behavior: From Facts to Fiction.

The article is based on a story that goes like this:

A group of scientists placed five monkeys in a cage, and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on top. Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water.

After a while, every time a monkey would start up the ladder, the others would pull it down and beat it up. After a time, no monkey would dare try climbing the ladder, no matter how great the temptation.

The scientists then decided to replace one of the monkeys. The first thing this new monkey did was start to climb the ladder. Immediately, the others pulled him down and beat him up.After several beatings, the new monkey learned never to go up the ladder, even though there was no evident reason not to, aside from the beatings.

The second monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The first monkey participated in the beating of the second monkey. A third monkey was changed and the same was repeated. The fourth monkey was changed, resulting in the same, before the fifth was finally replaced as well.

What was left was a group of five monkeys that – without ever having received a cold shower – continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder.

This story has been repeated in many motivational talks through the years, to stand for the premise that if it was possible to ask the monkeys why they beat up on the other monkeys, what would they say? The reason the monkeys continued to beat up any new monkey trying to climb the ladder is because, “I don’t know, it’s just the way we do things around here”.

Now… that’s a wonderful life lesson. However, it just never happened. There was some studies on monkeys, but none that were this specific. I guess they could have told us stories about monkeys who eat swordfish, and we would believe it.

When I read this story… and the fiction of the story, I thought of metaphors involving pharmaceutical companies or politicians. Pharma, because they pitch drugs for headaches that they claim have been tested with, “ask your doctor if this drug is right for you” and then they go on to say that this headache pill causes everything from hives to death.

As to politicians, they tell us stories about poverty or pain that make for good stories… but just aren’t based in fact. Anything to get elected, and we are tired of it.

I said all that to say, let’s let the monkeys enjoy life.  They don’t effect us. Do they really need to teach us a lesson?


And for pic o’ day, here’s another lesson from animals… when there is too much TV watching:

IMG_0945 (2)

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Scruff Face

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

A lawsuit that involves a sniper, defamation, and a person who called himself “Jesse ‘the body’ Ventura”, makes for good blog material.

The lawsuit resulted in a $1.3 million plus $500 defamation jury verdict that was awarded to Jesse Ventura. Ventura,  a former professional wrestler who also served as the governor of Minnesota, had claimed that he was defamed by Navy Seal Chris Kyle. (

The lawsuit arose out of an alleged altercation between Chris Kyle and Ventura. According to the book  American Sniper, a memoir written by former Navy Seal Chris Kyle,  Kyle claimed he punched a man named “Scruff Face” for disparaging the war in Iraq and saying the SEALs “deserve to lose a few.” Later, Kyle identified ”Scruff Face” as Ventura.

I think Ventura was bothered by Kyle’s claims of Ventura’s statements, as well as the claim that Kyle punched him.

Ventura, whose real name is James George Janos, claims that the incident never happened, according to the Star Tribune. The federal jury in Ventura’s case came back with a 1.35 million verdict for unjust enrichment and $500,000 for defamation.

As told in the movie American Sniper, Kyle was later killed on a firing range. His wife appealed the Ventura verdict and it has now been set aside by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The unjust enrichment claim was set aside as contrary to Minnesota law and the $500k defamation verdict was overturned because the judge had allowed evidence of insurance during the trial.

For now, Ventura has not decided whether to appeal. “It is going to be back to the drawing board as to whether Ventura wants to go through this again,” said Jane Kirtley, professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota.

And for pic o’ day, when this was sent to me, the song reference cracked me up:



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