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Just a Tune-up

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

It seems like another lifetime. I found myself playing in the band in my school. Middle school and high school students all played for the same band.

Because my parents were determined to make sure I was well-rounded, I was part of this group of amazing musicians in the trumpet section. Yes, amazing is sarcasm. However, it’s a good thing that neither of my parents are writing this blog, because they would have a few tales to tell about my lack of discipline in my trumpet practicing.

I had worked myself to 4th trumpet; so at least I had that going for me. Although, I’m not sure that there were a lot of trumpet players in the band.  Since I’m telling the story, it does sound good to say “4th trumpet”, right? Really, all that meant was that the band director knew if you were absent.

I will admit, though, that we regularly tested the band director’s memory. This meant that on any given day I might trade instruments with someone… until the director would stop during an early song and say, “Joel, get out of the trombone section”. Of course, it’s hard for a 6th grader to be too serious about much.   But I digress.

Fortunately, 1st Trumpet did not have the responsibility of keeping an eye on me and my musical cohorts. The primary responsibility of 1st chair was to stand up at the beginning. The director would ask him to play middle C, so we could all be in tune. Then all the instruments would play Middle C until we all sounded the same. It was a tune-up.

I don’t remember much about those band playing days. But I do remember the importance of the tune-up, to stay in tune.

Sometimes I find it real easy to get irritated at something not going my way. Maybe it’s when I think that a judge has not ruled the way I expect. Or maybe it’s an unreasonable adjuster. I could name several things that get me off key. Sometimes I just need a tune-up to be in tune. It’s a reminder to turn to my favorite Bible verse.

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

What do you do when you feel out of tune?

And now for pic o’ day, here’s and exercise theme when your body needs a tune-up… or something like that.



and then your basic amazing exercise equipment. Unless it’s a circumstance of buying the workout clothes… and not the membership! Boom!


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Just Wandering

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

There is probably a name for using words when you really don’t know their meaning. Fortunately, quick online research makes definition-finding much easier. And when I read using my Kindle, I can immediately look at the definition of a word, by highlighting it. So, that helps in the blog writing. Unless you get one of those crazy spell checks that changes to something completely different.

I will admit that I have started blogging on a topic that starts at one place and leads me to a wandering ending.  An example? Well, let’s say that I was going to blog on a Platypus. In reality, I don’t really know what a Platypus really is, but this does look like a “cute boy” right?


In fact, a platypus has venom strong enough to kill a small dog! It uses its back legs to deliver poison with its little ankle spurs. Because they look friendly, there are reported stories of humans accidentally touching them and getting hurt. These “duck/beaver” looking animals are usually found in Australia.

In one reported case, a fisherman grabbed one of these animals while fishing. The pain was so intense that he became incoherent and couldn’t function until the poison wore off.

It’s one of those things in life that doesn’t look at it seems. Sometimes like someone looks real busy on the computer, until you see their screen… or something like that. Yep… Solitaire:


So that’s an example of how the blog sometimes takes me to a subject that I know nothing about. Then, you read through it and wonder, “where did Joel get that?”. Yes, an example of my wandering to the end!

And for our weekend pic o’ weekend, dedicated to all those who cannot tear away from their computer, iPad or cell phone


Have a great weekend!!!

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Just Random Random

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

I admit it, I sat down to write the blog (actually I pulled out the iPad and pulled up our blog app) and decided that I just wanted to pull out some pic o’s. I know it’s not really “blogging” but it just seemed like some random was in order!

First, let’s start with the basic Thursday:


Next, who doesn’t want a treat?



And then a bit of loving!



And some positive Thursday reinforcement:


 Now time to do some heavy lifting in the spirit of the Olympics !

Feels big

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The Tale of Two

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

From the NY Daily News comes a story titled New Jersey man’s wife and girlfriend memorialize him in dueling obituaries.IMG_0247


First, it’s fascinating that the newspaper allowed both of these obituaries to be posted. I guess the editor didn’t want to get in the middle of a duel between his “loving wife” and his “long time girlfriend”.

Not surprisingly, neither mentioned the other. The first obituary says he died “at home surrounded by his family”. The second  just says he died at home, and refers to him with the nickname of “Leroy Blast Black”. If you look closely, you can also see that the word longtime is misspelled in the second. Just details.

And when the reporter contacted the newspaper to find out why they posted both obituaries, their answer kept it simple. Because “the wife wanted it one way, and the girlfriend wanted it another way”.

I guess there is nothing illegal about that. I just wonder how comfortable everyone will be at the viewing and funeral. Will the seating be similar to a wedding with friends on one side… and friends on the other.

And, this is more like cartoon o’ day instead of pic o’…


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It Doesn’t Matter

Monday, August 8th, 2016

The other day we posted a picture of me on Instagram with an ice cream. I was excited that the maker of the ice cream even commented on the post. At the same time, I thought that the pants that I was wearing that day looked terrible on me. No one else noticed.

Isn’t that the way it is. I was focused on myself and my frailties and how bad I looked… instead of the ice cream. As I have come to learn, no one else was looking at me… they were looking at the ice cream!

Ice Cream

Here’s another example from history. Do you know what Julius Caesar  looked like? I say that because supposedly history tells us that he was conscious about being bald. In fact, there is such a thing as the Caesar’s cut because Julius Caesar was known for combing his hair forward to cover up his baldness.


Roman historian, Suetonius, provides us with some insight into the character and personality of Julius Caesar:

He was tall, of a fair complexion, round limbed, rather full faced, with eyes black and piercing; he enjoyed excellent health except toward the close of his life when he was subject to sudden fainting fits and disturbances in his sleep. He was likewise twice seized with the ‘falling sickness,’ while engaged in active service.

In the end, no one remembers what Caesar looked like. They remember that he was a politician, general and author. And, his military campaigns and how he extended the control of the Roman Empire. No one cares about his hair.

For me, I sometimes catch myself majoring on the minor instead of the major. What matters… is what matters!

And for pic o’ day, how about some politics. Is it wrong for me to post a picture of Putin and Trump?


Yes… it’s probably wrong!!! But does it really matter?




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The Best is Yet to Come!

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

When you start to read a book, by chapter 3, you know whether you are enjoying it. It’s only chapter 3… but the best is yet to come!

In church yesterday, the minister told a story about a lady and her fork. I thought it was a wonderful story. So, I found the story exactly  as read  at , so I am posting it just as the minister read it:

No matter what you face today, this story is a good reminder that… the best is yet to come!

And for pic o’ day, it really is about understanding what is important… and placing it in the right place!


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Technology is Watching

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

I recently saw a story (Richmond Times-Dispatch) with the headline Comcast wants to sell your web history. Most of us are already giving up personal information about our viewing and watching habits when we join or use services such as Google, Netflix and Facebook.

Now Comcast is asking the Federal Trade Commission for the opportunity to also track its subscribers for marketing purposes, just like At&T is currently tracking. You have to agree to let the carrier track your web history, search activity and other valuable behavioral data that can be used for advertising purposes. Does it make you pine for the simple days?

Well then, let me mention a book for some weekend reading. It might take you back to the “good ole days” and even make you feel like you are reading some history… even though it might be “history light”.

The book is titled Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents. It’s $2.99 for Amazon’s kindle version. As a sample from the book analysis, you will learn tidbits like the following, assuming it’s all true:

•  George Washington spent a whopping 7% of his salary on booze
     •  John Quincy Adams loved to skinny-dip in the Potomac River
     •  Gerald Ford once worked as a Cosmopolitan magazine cover model
     •  Warren G. Harding gambled with White House china when he ran low on cash
     •  Jimmy Carter reported a UFO sighting in Georgia

See, that’s one way of escaping the harsh reality of all these companies in our personal business. Of course, I suspect that Amazon will know your reading habits. And the wheel keeps turning!

And for our pic o’ day, I hope all your dreams come true!!! Have a great weekend.


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Pokemon Go Ruse

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

It’s the classic bait and switch. I remember seeing stories about US Marshals (Washington Post 1985) sending out letters to fugitives to let them know that they had won Washington Redskins tickets.

When the fugitives showed up for their winnings… they learned that they were not winners. Instead, their all-expense tickets that included Super Bowl activities, was an elaborate ruse to apprehend over 100 criminals with outstanding arrest warrants.

Now we learn of a new  law enforcement method. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)  The Smithfield police posted an image of the elusive Ditto character who is billed as the “rarest Pokémon of all”. Then, on their Facebook page, they invited a select group of citizens to help hunt the creature at their station.

That “select group” matched the police department’s online list of active warrants. The bait has been set. So far, they have had some success according to the article. The Pokémon Go ruse!

I guess some things are greater than advertised!





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A Bit of Carnegie Positive

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Since I am writing a blog on being positive, combined with the fact that I am a Baltimore Orioles baseball fan, I thought I would post something that is positive. Plus, yesterday was the baseball trade deadline, which means nothing to you unless you are a crazy baseball fan.

So, in the genre of positive… how about a 1966 Hank Bauer baseball card picture? It just makes me laugh.  Random, right?


I mean, look at Hank’s face. Positive, right?

Anyway, I thought I would digress a bit for the blog. Dale Carnegie is famous for his book on How To Win Friends and Influence People.

For over 60 years people have been applying these principles for success. Recently, one of our lawyers went to a six week seminar and told me that he felt that it truly impacted his life. Then, he emailed a quick synopsis of some principles that he learned. Pretty good stuff!

Principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People

Become a Friendlier Person

1.      Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

2.      Give honest, sincere appreciation.

3.      Arouse in the other person an eager want.

4.      Become genuinely interested in other people.

5.      Smile.

6.      Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

7.      Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

8.      Talk in terms of other person’s interests.

9.      Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Win People to Your Way of Thinking

1.      The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

2.      Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never say, “you’re wrong.”

3.      If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

4.      Begin in a friendly way.

5.      Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately.

6.      Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

7.      Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

8.      Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

9.      Appeal to the nobler motives.

10.    Dramatize your ideas.

11.    Throw down a challenge.


And for pic o’ day…


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Uber Lawsuits

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

First, just a Monday “starter thought” :




The simplicity of Uber. You can download the app and just click it. Soon, a driver is outside your door. It’s simple, Right?

With some humanity, comes bad conduct. And so it is with Uber. First, Uber confirms that there have been at least 175 sexual assault claims against its drivers. (Story here) And, there are thousands more passengers that say that they have been sexually harassed. Here’s the story of a Daily Beast reporter who claims that she was harassed by an Uber driver after she was picked up from the Democratic convention.

The company has also received  another set back in the case of Meyer v. Kalanick,(case here). It’s a class action where the lead named plaintiff, Spencer Meyer, claims that Uber illegally uses a pricing algorithm to restrict price competition between drivers. The effect is that it keeps fares from lowering. Now here’s where the story gets crazy.

First the legal stuff. In the lawsuit, Southern District Judge Jed Rakoff enjoined the company and its CEO from using information that was gathered by “ikntrusive and clandestine” investigation from a private investigator they hired.

If you read the attached lawsuit opinion, the investigator employed some misleading tactics when trying to obtain information about the named plaintiff and his attorney. A crazy story of surveillance and misrepresentation.

The investigator learnerd that Meyers was part of an environmental conservation research project associated with Yale University. So the investigator decided to use that information, almost like a character out of a Grisham novel. He told them that he was doing an article/news report on up-and-coming researchers. The investigator also told co-workers at the law firm of Plaintiff Meyer’s attorney, that he was writing a piece on up-and-coming labor attorneys.

Based on his misrepresentation, he was able to gather private information on both the plaintiff and his lawyer. All of this was at the direction of Uber management. That’s why the judge was so incensed with the conduct and called a halt to it, and said that none of the information could be used in the defense of Uber. All of a sudden, it gives a bit of a bad taste about the way Uber is doing business! Sounds like Uber is going to have a crowded closet of claims against it.

Now to fun stuff!

I usually don’t post a Monday pic o’ day that talks about the past weekend versus the “fight” of Monday, but this was sent to me and it made me laugh.



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