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Talcum Powder & Antidepressants

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Usually,  I discuss a news story or case in the blog. Today, two quick-hitters relating to a product, and some medications.

First is a discussion of some antidepressants. Specifically, this relates to Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft. All are prescribed for the treatment of depression.

Studies have shown an increased risk of heart birth defects in children, born to mothers who took these antidepressants during their first trimester. Most of the heart defects observed in these studies were atrial or ventricular septal defects .These are conditions where the wall between the right and left sides of the heart does not completely develop.

The Second blog discussion relates to Talcum Powder that is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. It is sold under the name of Shower to Shower baby powder. A Harvard medical doctor says that he has studied the link between talc and cancer for 30 years and believes that talc is the likely cause for as many as 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer each year. To date, Johnson & Johnson has failed to issue any warning relating to this doctor’s findings.

Now to switch gears to pic o’ day, I thought that I would go with some  “truth humor”.



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Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

This week in Our Daily Bread, I was reminded of the method that some circus trainers have used to train baby elephants. Some call it the Elephant Principle.

To initially restrain a baby elephant, they tie them to a stake that is driven deeply into the ground. The elephant will strain in every conceivable way to break free, but learns that it cannot budge that stake. Finally, it gives up.

As the elephant grows older and stronger, its learned limitations cause it to no longer try to break free. It does not matter that elephants are the strongest land animal. Instead, trainers are able to tie these fully grown powerful animals to nothing but a small tent stake, because of their learned behavior limitations.

You probably can think of many applications to this principle. Those who have suffered abuse, carry that limitation with them as they get older. The simple concept of being told you can’t do something; or that you aren’t smart enough or that you don’t have the opportunities that those of privilege receive, can serve as a  limitation. You can’t do it. That voice in your head might be telling you to not even try.

A poor self image or a negative attitude can all be learned and become self-fulfilling prophecies. “I don’t get any breaks” or ”I’m just not lucky” become our emotional prison.

Instead, let me apply this positively to my life. When I am asked, “Why are you a lawyer?”, this is the real reason.

When I was seven-years-old, my T-ball baseball coach was a lawyer. I didn’t really know what that meant but I remember thinking that it was “pretty cool”. Here, I was playing for a team named the Fleas and my coach was a lawyer. I even remember that he “got stuck at the office” a couple of times.

I also remember that when the team t-shirts were delivered, there were two shirts that were defective. These two shirts had a patch over the original name where you could still see the printing of … the Wasps. So, it was the coach and me who ended up wearing the two defective shirts with a “Flea patch” . I thought that was “pretty cool” too.

By the time that I was twelve, I remember that my father used to say that I enjoyed arguing and that I should be a lawyer. As I grew older, both my mom and dad used to tell me that I could do anything and that I should be a lawyer.

They made me feel like I had no boundary or limitation. So… I didn’t. Because of the positive influence of a coach; and the reinforcement of my parents who made me believe that I could be anything and do anything  that I wanted to accomplish, I became a lawyer.  No emotional stake was going to hold me down.

DID YOU KNOW that the canning process for herring was developed in the town of Sardinia? That’s why we call them sardines.

And our pic o’ day:


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Brain Myths

Monday, August 4th, 2014

At the firm, we represent several clients who have problems after hitting their head in a car crash. Sometimes, it may have been the airbag that causes an issue. Other times, it could be the acceleration/deceleration of the crash.

The airbag is something that probably saved their life or at least lessened any physical visible damage, but the force of the airbag can sometimes cause brain injury issues. The brain injury symptoms can become more readily apparent, days after the crash.

With clients having these issues, it causes me to read and research new information that the medical community produces. Also, now that the military recognizes brain injury issues, there is fortunately more attention that is being brought to these issues. No longer is someone just referring to it as “no big deal, it’s just having your bell rung”, as one defense expert proudly announced in one of my trials.

With that backdrop, I came across an article titled 5 Brain Myths That Won’t Go Away, that discusses some interesting brain information. I have attached the article,. I am not vouching for its findings. But here are the 5 myths:

Myth 1: Alcohol kills brain cells.

Myth 2: You are either right or left-sided dominant.

Myth 3: You only use 10 percent of your brain. (Apparently contrary to the Lucy movie now playing)

Myth 4: Brain damage is permanent. (the article does discuss that some brain damage is permanent)

Myth 5: Your IQ is a fixed number.

Scientist continue to study how the brain works. Knowledge will help us recognize the silent epidemic of brain injury and brain damage.

What’s in a name? DID YOU KNOW that Donald Duck’s middle name is Fauntleroy?

And for pic o’ day… how about those Cheetos?



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The Scare of a Handshake

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Have you ever heard someone say that they wished for the good old days?  When a person’s word was their bond and that all you needed was a handshake.  Well, we are now being told what you probably suspected. That maybe we should question the handshake after all. Not for contract purposes, but for health reasons.

Here’s an article from Brewster Miller that discusses a recent British study  finding that fist bumping is better than handshaking, because it prevents the spreading of germs.  According to the study, many infections from the common cold can be passed via a handshake. Unfortunately, many people simply do not wash their hands. According to the scientists, fist bumping is only dry contact and the back of the hand has less bacteria compared to the palm.

I guess if someone sneezes and sticks out their hand to shake… it’s best to offer a fist? Maybe people will miss the old days when a person’s fist was as good as a contract?

DID YOU KNOW that the oldest known goldfish lived to be 41-years-old? He was named Fred. Yep, Fred the Goldfish.

And for pic o’ day, doesn’t this seem like a good “get-out-of bed” thought?

out of bed

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“Cocaine Nose” Lawsuit

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

In Cook County Circuit Court,  An Illinois woman has filed a lawsuit against her doctor who had performed her facial reconstruction surgery. He posted before and after pictures of her nose on his website, labeling them “cocaine nose.” The lawsuit claims that her photos were taken in 2004, with the plaintiff believing that the images would be kept in her confidential file.

This is a claim that her medical privacy was violated. The lawsuit was based on a HIPPA  (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)  claim violation. The suit has also been filed against the website company that prepared the site and pictures for marketing the doctor’s services.(Chicago Tribune)

In the DID YOU KNOW section, can you name a word that rhymes with “month” ? Well… apparently no such word!

And pic o’ day…



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The Efficiency of Ben Franklin

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

In my practice, I do try to develop systems that make me more organized. Lists for tomorrow and my “To Do” list are regularly on my desk.  I even try to use electronic reminders from my computer and cell phone. Sometimes I accomplish the list and other times I just shake my head at the end of the day. That’s why I felt a bit encouraged when I read of Ben Franklin’s difficulties.

In his autobiography, Ben Franklin noted that he had developed a strategy to achieve moral perfection in a 13-week-plan. Each week was devoted to a specific virtue that he would track on his calendar.

He felt that his plan worked to a point, except that he felt like his organizational skills were lacking. His method of order was to “Let all your things have their places; Let each part of your business have its time”.

Franklin admitted that he had a great deal of difficulty keeping his papers and possessions organized. He tried to follow the following schedule, as recorded in his little book of virtues. This is his ideal routine that he attempted to follow.

franklin schedule

DID YOU KNOW that in 1968, the Big Mac was invented? Jim Delligatti was a McDonald’s franchise owner in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He got permission to market his new sandwich creation that he called the Big Mac Super Sandwich. It sold so well at his restaurant that it was sold nationwide the following year, in all McDonald’s.

And for pic o’ day,

hidden deer

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“Better Call Saul” Advertising

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Does the name “James M. McGill” sound familiar? Well, unless you are a huge  TV fan of the show Breaking Bad, it probably means nothing to you. In fact, even if you are a fan, that would be a Jeopardy-like trivia memory to recall that name. Here’s where it gets fun.

Currently there is a billboard in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that is advertising the legal services of James M. McGill. It features a picture of actor Bob Odenkirk, who played lawyer Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad. During one of the series’ episodes, the character of Goodman mentioned that he had changed his name from Jimmy McGill.

The billboard appears to be an ad/publicity stunt for the new Breaking Bad spinoff called Better Call Saul, which will premiere in 2015. The billboard also features phone number 505-842-5662.

In fact, the phone number is a working number. If you call it, a voice that has a bit of an English accent says the following message, “Hello! You’ve reached the law offices of James M. McGill Esquire, a lawyer you can trust. Kindly leave your information at the tone and Mr. McGill will phone you promptly.” Then, you hear the usual message beep with an opportunity to leave a message. A pretty creative ad campaign!

DID YOU KNOW that Harvard professor, Michael Norton, has studied money and happiness and concluded that money can buy happiness… when spent on others?

And pic o’ day

Tennis balls

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Legal News Bits

Monday, July 28th, 2014

For this blog, I thought I would post some legal bits. If the topic interests you, click the attachment for the full story.

From Yahoo comes a discussion on why ALL bike riders should wear a helmet.  Plus, it has a funny picture of Kermit and Miss Piggy. As an argument for helmets; in 2010, 70 percent of bicyclists killed in accidents were not wearing helmets. Plus, the article confirms that there are now stylish helmet options that make you believe that wearing a pocket protector is no longer helmet coordinated necessary. (that’s code for looking ”helmet-nerdy”)

The second news story (also Yahoo) is a little disconcerting, because it discusses that many doctors admit that they do their medical research on the Internet. A recent IMS Health report found that Wikipedia is the single leading source of medical information for doctors. In fact, the article recites that 70% of doctors use it as an “information source in providing medical care”. Unfortunately, researchers have shown that 90% of medical information on Wikipedia has been deemed to have some inaccuracy. Hmm.

And for the last story of the blog, Sanford Health just settled a lawsuit that claimed wrongdoing in a kickback scheme by two Sioux Falls, South Dakota doctors. These doctors were performing more spinal implants than any other doctors in the state, by a large margin.

Sanford agreed to pay $625,000 to the federal government to settle the whistleblower lawsuit which claimed that the doctors were paid by a manufacturer to use their spinal implants. The spinal implant, known as the “Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion,” was developed by one of the doctors named in the lawsuit.  (

DID YOU KNOW that Abraham Lincoln grew his beard because he received a letter from eleven-year-old Grace Bedell wrote him to say that he should grow a beard because “All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President”.

And this pic o’ made me laugh:


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Nantucket Remainders

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

I know this is off the beaten path of the legal blog; but now that I am back from Nantucket, I can’t help but post a couple of things that humored me along the way. Sometimes it’s the craziest things that get your attention on a vacation.

First, is this dog that was lying on the floor at the Nantucket airport.

Nantucket Dog

The dog seemed totally non-plussed when I knelt down to take his picture. I guess with hair like that, nothing else effects you.

The next picture is taken from a church  that was in the town. The message on this sign made me laugh.

Nantucket church sign


I think  this especially caught my attention because I was raised in churches where a thirty minute service would have been a comedy! This sign also brought back a good memory of my grandfather preaching. At some point in the sermon he would  usually say, “In conclusion”. That normally signaled that he had about 20 more minutes in the sermon. I remember that he would get some grief about that during Sunday lunch… which was always a “big roast beef and mashed potatoes”  type of meal. Such a wonderful childhood memory.

And for pic o’ day, how about a traveling cartoon.


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On Vacation

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Today’s blog has no legal content. The explanation…I am in Nantucket for a couple of days for vacation. So, here’s a picture of me from the hotel. Probably a bit too enthusiastic???


Back on Monday with real “stuff”.

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