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Some Marketing Talk

Monday, January 18th, 2016


Would you like a sip of Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda? Doesn’t that sound like a real thirst-quencher? In 1929 it probably sounded pretty good to folks after the Wall Street Crash of that year, because it contained lithium citrate. In fact, it contained this mood-altering drug until 1950.

At that point, I suspect that no one really cared what the drink was called. They didn’t really even know why they liked it… they just did. It had been invented in 1920 and was sold by the Howdy Corporation. Now that is some crazy corporation naming right there!untitled

The name was later changed for marketing purposes to the name 7 Up. It is unclear why they changed it to that name, except there have been some theories that the drink had a pH of over 7 or that it had 7 ingredients. In fact, none of that was true.

At one point, they decided to market that it was made with “Real Sugar”. That seems to go with the marketing of that restaurant that used to be called Bob’s Big Boy.  Used to be called Bob’s Big Boy is the operative word. Because for 7 Up, I mean, who doesn’t want to guzzle some real good-ole-fashioned sugar and make your jeans look like they are well fitted to a body of Lard. Just sayin’.

Today 7 Up isn’t as well. When was the last time that you heard someone  say, “hey, I’ll have a 7 Up“. Not so much?  It originally was being marketed as caffeine-free. I guess Starbucks has taught us that if you make it with caffeine… more people will need it!

I was thinking about this as we begin to work on some upcoming legal ads. We shoot on Wednesday. All I know is that our new ads won’t be filled with sugar or caffeine free. 7 Up taught me that lesson.

But as pic o’ day reminds us, I guess it’s all in the point of view:


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For Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Sunday, January 17th, 2016


I often wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. Day must feel like to his family. In his “I have a dream” speech, he stated his hope was that “my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.

At the end of a phone conversation, I know that I’m supposed to say goodbye… but I don’t like the word. Sometimes I might say to simply end the call with Until.

I am told that the Chinese language has no equivalent to the English word goodbye. The two Chinese characters used as a translation for the English word actually means see you again. Like many of us ask “How can there be any good in bye?”.

On this day, we remember a man who received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality. We remember a man who was probably the most famous Baptist preacher to ever live. This is a day that we remember a man who made a difference in civil rights.

But also on this day of remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr., I know that I cannot imagine what his family felt when they said goodbye to him on this earth. Hopefully, today they feel some comfort in the difference that he made. Hopefully, they remember him for many reasons, but that they have comfort in the hope that they will see him again. That it wasn’t really goodbye. That on this day of remembrance, they are comforted by his legacy.


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Bills to Laws

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Our Virginia General Assembly is now back in session. At the beginning of every session, I receive emails regarding introduced legislation that might impact our law practice.

Many bills get stuck in committee and never get to the floor for vote. Those that make it and become law sometimes cause me to say, “I’m surprised this wasn’t already a law”. Others make me wonder, “What are they thinking?”.

That leads me to an article from that listed several laws that have just gone into effect in that state. It made me stop and think about the sense or sensibilities of some of these:

Filming the police: Bystanders will have the explicit right to film police officers as they perform their official duties.

“Ban the box”: Employers will lose the ability to ask job applicants to check a box on an application form that asks whether they’ve been convicted of a crime. The law, seen as a means of easing recidivism by making it easier for ex-convicts to find work, will be enforced by the state Bureau of Labor and Industries.

“Vaping”: Puffing on electronic cigarettes or other related devices inside a public place — on the job, at a bar, at a restaurant, wherever — will no longer be allowed.

Animal neglect: Police officers who see an animal suffering inside a hot vehicle will have the legal right to break in and make a rescue.

Even though these are laws from Oregon, a state that is far from here; I still find their “new laws” interesting.

And for our pic o’ day…


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Time to Play?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Is it winning? I have heard a few people tell me that it’s “time to play the lottery today since the jackpots is so big”. Yes, over a billion dollars and growing. Even Elvis would play the lottery today. Still, a 250 million-to-one chance of winning… seems like a game without much of a chance!

Las Vegas has recently been reminded that the house doesn’t always win. According to gaming reports, Nevada casinos took in 24.6 billion in 2015. However, the casinos still lost 662 million for the year. Apparently, visitors are spending more on restaurants and shows instead of gambling.

Maybe they realized that they weren’t winning. Although, I suppose that logic would say that if the casinos lost, someone won!  Does that mean that the casinos will be playing Powerball to get it all back?

Here’s a different take on whether it’s necessary for happiness to hit the lottery. The New York Times had the obituary of businessman Harry Mariani. He who would start every meal with “A tavola non s’invecchia,” which loosely translated means, “When dining at the table with family and friends, one does not grow old.” I guess that’s what he thought was “hitting the lottery”.

The endless pursuit of a lottery win in the hope of solving problems. It will leave most or all still searching because of those crazy odds. But odds of 250 million-to-win still means “so I guess there’s a chance”.

Over the holidays, I looked down at Virginia Beach and took these two pictures of a lady who apparently was summarizing the end of her 2014 journey. Now that seems like winning!








And for pic o’ day… they look like they are winning:



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Fitbit and Wegmans

Monday, January 11th, 2016

This  contains lawsuit and recall information on a product and a grocery chain that I like a lot. So, I have combined them both in a news kind of blog. It’s some of Wegmans and Fitbit.

Fitbit is facing a class action lawsuit that claims that their devices do not effectively monitor heart rates. (Fortune) According to the filed lawsuit, Fitbit’s heart rate monitoring technology (PurePulse) does not accurately measure a user’s heart rate. The lawsuit contends that one of the plaintiff’s “trainer recorded a heart rate of 160 beats per minute (bpm) while her Fitbit showed that her heart rate was only 82 beats per minute.”

The lawsuit also states that a cardiologist, who used an electrocardiogram machine to compare results, found Fitbit’s heart rate sensor to be consistently inaccurate.  Multiple plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim the same reported inaccuracies. The market doesn’t like this news and the stock that recently went public is now trading below its IPO price after falling over 12%.

Moving from fitness to food, you might want to avoid buying certain bags of chicken. These include Wegman’s Italian Flavored Chicken Breast Cutlet and Brown Sugar Barbecue Seasoned Chicken Breast Cutlet. The grocery chain has issued a recall on its chicken because their product/ chicken missed a government inspection.( The grocery chain advises that they have recalled over a thousand pounds of chicken.

I guess it makes you question health. Me, I would question seeing a chicken walking fast down the street… wearing a Fitbit.

And to fight the cold…


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The Florida Black Robes

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

A few years back I drove past a plumbing supply business in Virginia Beach. I recognized a man in the front yard, mowing the grass. What really caught my attention was the fact that he was mowing the grass in a suit and tie.

I stopped the car and hollered, “Hey Hicks!” He idled the mower and asked me how I was doing. Then I asked, “Why are you mowing the lawn in a suit?”. He replied, “There’s no sense in looking bad and feeling bad too!” All about the clothes!

I was reminded of that story, as well as the importance of clothing on an attitude, when I read that the Florida Supreme Court has ordered that all Florida judges must wear black robes. That made me read closer, because I wouldn’t have guessed that they were wearing wild outfits.

So here is there reasoning: Seeking to promote uniformity in judicial attire, last fall the Florida Supreme Court adopted Florida Rule 2.340 on its own motion. This rule governs attire during judicial proceedings and declares that judges’ robes must be “solid black with no embellishment.” A consistent uniform, the court stated, will “promote public trust and confidence in the proceedings and the judicial system as a whole. Guess shorts don’t promote respect?

According to the ABA Bar Journal, apparently. some judges’  choices in apparel had led to the order.  One Union County judge was seen wearing a camouflage robe. Jennifer Zedalis, director of trial practice at the University of Florida’s law school reported that  “Litigants took a photo and posted it. There were complaints. While not blatantly racist, the camo robe was perceived as part of a good ol’ boy sensibility.”

According to Zedalis, this isn’t a new issue in Florida. She also indicated that a blue robe was spotted in Tampa; and  that back in the early ’90s, a judge in the Florida Keys wore a flowered robe, like a Hawaiian shirt.” I guess he was a Jimmy Buffett fan.

The Florida Supreme Court went on to add that non-black robes or those with braids, buttons or velvet panels, might be confusing to litigants,. It might cause them to wonder whether something other than a standard black robe indicates a judge’s mood, status, tenure or ability. “The people of Florida have a right to expect equal justice every day,” the court declared.


And for pic o’ day, I am posting two for cats and dogs!


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An Excuse and Coffee

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

     I know… the blog has been a few days slack! I got caught in the trial/deposition vortex.

     So, whenever I get a little behind in the blog, I always reach for a pic o’ that made me laugh. Plus, how can I pass up a coffee mention:


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OxyContin in Kentucky

Monday, January 4th, 2016

In a story that sounds more like, “We thought you were making a pain pill… not heroin”,  The makers of OxyContin have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Kentucky Attorney General, that claimed that Purdue Pharma had misled the public about their powerfully addictive drug. (

The lawsuit was filed by the state of Kentucky back in 2007. It alleged that Purdue Pharma was “marketing the prescription painkiller as not addictive because it was a pill that, when swallowed, slowly released the drug over 12 hours.” However, users soon discovered that it was as addictive as heroin.

The state of Kentucky claimed that medical costs across the state began to rise because of the effects to those that were now addicted to the drug. This particularly became a problem in the eastern part of the state where injured coal miners were regularly prescribed the medication. So, the Kentucky Attorney General filed suit.

In response to the lawsuit, Purdue Pharma agreed to take that form of OxyContin off the market, and replaced it with a newer 2010 version, where it claims that such issues have been resolved.

The manufacturer of the drug will also pay $24 million to the state of Kentucky over the next eight years. That’s to be used to assist with addiction programs within the state.

Of course, here’s the part that probably is no surprise to you. In entering into the settlement, Purdue Pharma admitted no wrongdoing. And I conclude the blog with what the company spokesman said in the news release about the settlement:

The company entered into the settlement to allow it to “focus on bringing innovative abuse-deterrent medicines to patients and our other efforts to combat prescription drug abuse and overuse”. (shaking head!)

And for pic o’ day, this just seemed to be down that same “responsibility alley”:


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My First 2016 Blog

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Fifteen Ways to Be a Better Person in 2016 caught my eye. The NY Times article was angling a different approach from the usual Here Are My Resolutions. Some of them will probably make you shake your head. I personally like the idea of drinking more coffee and being the boss of my electronic devices!

I had been wrestling with whether to write a resolutions blog, since I know that you haven’t seen any of those recently. (sarcasm warning)

Then, I saw another article by writer Jennifer Connolly Simpler Ways To Be Happier in 2016, that gave me more ideas for the new year. Both of these are definitely worth clicking and reading but this one had more for me!   Great ideas on being positive, eating well and taking care of my mental attitude with better choices.

Which leads me to this day…my first day back to work in the new year.  It starts with a 7 am doctor’s deposition. So, maybe that has something to do with my rebellion against resolutions. Or maybe the article from the Richmond Times Dispatch that reminded me that Positive thinking surprisingly not so helpful in keeping resolutions. But I head out positively to my morning deposition!!!!

Finally, I close with an obituary thought that I read in December that had true impact on me.   A wonderful lady that my wife introduced me to from the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts, had passed away.  At the end of the recitation of all the amazing things that she had done in life, there was a final special message at the end. It basically said that instead of giving to a designated charity, she just wanted us to show kindness to each other. That would be a great resolution to really keep.


And for pic o’ day, I wanted to make sure my first  pic o’ of 2016 had some real meaning. When I couldn’t satisfy that, I went with a reminder of helping each other. (I realized how hard it is to find a pic o’ with meaning!)


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Some Resolutions Thinking?

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

I regularly get asked about my pic o’ day source. That’s a real compliment. It’s a whole lot better than being asked “Why?”.  With the new year in mind, I have been receiving some that make me smile. For instance:


Which brings me to three that Leanne circulated throughout our offices, to get us thinking about our New Year’s resolutions.







Maybe these will get you thinking about some 2016 goals… or maybe not so much!

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