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Behind the Scenes

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Dr. Eugene Shoemaker… does that name sound familiar? I’m guessing not. He is an example of “behind the scenes”.

On July 18, 1997, Eugene Merle Shoemaker was traveling in his 1986 Toyota Hilux on Australia’s Tanami Highway, with his wife as the only passenger. Around 1:20 pm, traveling in the oncoming direction on the other side of the road was a 1992 Toyota Landcruiser, driven by Brian Mark Jennings. Jennings’ passengers were his wife and two young daughters.

As the two cars approached each other, they both were apparently traveling close to the center of the road as they came around a bend. Visibility was unobstructed. Investigation revealed that Jennings moved to the left side of the road to apparently avoid the oncoming Shoemaker car. At the same time, Shoemaker moved to the right, which would have been the correct move if he had been traveling in the United States, where he normally drove. Instead, the two cars crashed into each other.

While passengers suffered injuries, only one person was killed, Eugene Shoemaker. Born in 1928 and died in 1997. But that is neither the beginning nor end of the story.

Now the beginning of the Shoemaker story. He received his Ph.D. degree at Princeton in 1960 where he studied the impact dynamics of a Meteor Crater. That led him to become a pioneer in the field of astrogeology by founding the Astrogeology Research Program for the U.S. He then became a possible candidate for the astronaut program, with a good chance to be the first geologist to walk on the moon.

During a physical, it was discovered that he was disqualified from the astronaut program because he was diagnosed with Addison’s disease, a disorder of the adrenal gland. From that point forward, he worked behind the scenes to help the space program. After that diagnosis, he channeled his efforts into training others in getting to outer space, and even served as a commentator with Walter Cronkite during live coverage of Apollo 8 and Apollo 11.

In 1965, he was awarded the Wetherill Medal from the Franklin Institute because of his achievements in Science. He later advanced studies in asteroids and their effect on geologic changes and later received the National Medal of Science in 1992 because of his co-discovery of a comet that crashed into Jupiter and caused a massive scar. Until that time, it was thought that such an event could not occur.

Shoemaker spent his later years continually searching for previously unnoticed or undiscovered craters around the world. Such study brought him to Australia in 1997 and to that fateful night in July. Throughout his entire life, he never let the disappointment of being unable to go to the moon hold him back in his continual quest for more space advancement and his desire to train astronauts about craters.

Following his death, his discoveries and studies continue to inform our space program today. On July 31, 1999, some of his ashes were placed in the Lunar Prospector and carried to the moon. The purpose of that launched space probe was an attempt to learn if there was water on the moon. To this day, he is the only person whose ashes have been buried on the moon.

I am aware that some Firm employees worked until after 8 pm last night. On the way in this morning, I asked one of our lawyers why she had worked so late. “I was working on a memorandum”, she said.

The client will probably never know about the hard work and late hours of that lawyer. Hopefully, the thanks will come in the form of a great result. The lawyer, behind the scenes, made a late-night contribution because it just needed to be done.


And for pic o’ day, a bit of disguise!


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Dog Assembly

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Have you ever watched the news on TV and wondered how there could be nothing but negative news? I started to put a list of news stories together for the blog and then really looked at them. They all were negative. Just couldn’t do it.

So, For this Tuesday blog I am just posting pic o’ day. Sometimes it’s just more fun to stay positive… and stay away from the news.

dog Assembly

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The Power of Coffee

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Coffee is a bit of a running joke at our firm. I decided long ago to purchase good coffee. Specifically, I order Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee for the office. Normally, we have about 3 pots going at any given time in the Richmond office. Accordingly, we joke that the productivity of the firm has dramatically increased since our jump in coffee expense.

This past weekend, I was visiting family in Wilmingon, North Carolina, and stayed at a hotel that provided free coffee. Unfortunately, it seemed to live up to the value of free. I guess I am also a bit spoiled by the Jamaican Blue work week coffee. I even commented  that I was feeling a little sluggish. Then, I stumbled on an article that suggests that coffee may have played a role in the Union winning the Civil War.

From the New York Times opinion pages comes an article titled How Coffee Fueled the Civil War. In it, it discusses the diaries of soldiers who regularly wrote about their coffee. As the author notes, one battle victory was directly effected by coffee delivery. In September 1862, Union soldiers were lagging. Suddenly, a 19-year-old William McKinley appeared, under heavy gunfire, with vats of hot coffee.

One soldier noted that, “It was like putting a new regiment in the fight”. This was the same coffee bearer who ran for President some three decades later. Some suggest that his coffee heroism helped his election effort.

The article later cites that Union soldiers were individuallly issued 36 pounds of coffee per year. Meanwhile, the Union was successful in setting up blockades that kept coffee from getting to the Confederacy. One observer wrote that the loss of coffee, “afflicts the Confederates even more than the loss of spirits”.

While coffee may not have won the war… it may have influenced it. And so, I continue to order our many pounds of coffee for the office!

And now some unusual TV trivia for DID YOU KNOW. In the TV series The Addams Family, John Astin played the family patriarch character of Gomez. In one episode, he acknowledged being a lawyer who had never won a case. As part of his character, Astin would place lit cigars into his pocket. To accomodate this character trait, the prop department lined his suit pockets with asbestos.

And pic o’ day:


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Weekend Relaxation

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

blog 2

Take care of yourself this weekend and have a great one!


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A Bit of This and That

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

The Lord’s Prayer is 66 words; The Gettysburg Address is 286 words; and there are 1,322 words in the Declaration of Independence. Compare that to government regulations for the sale of cabbage…  26,911 words.

In chess, “Checkmate” comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which means “the king is dead”.

Characters Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street were named after “Bert the cop” and “Ernie the taxi driver” from the movie Its A Wonderful Life.

Here is an unusual law as an idea for profit: If you bring a raccoon’s head to the Henniker, New Hampshire town hall meeting, you are entitled to receive $.10 from the town.

Psychology surveys tell us that 98% of U.S. drivers think they drive better than anyone else. Hmm!

Kansas once had a law that declared it illegal to serve ice cream on cherry pie. I am uncertain if that was out of respect for the ice cream or the pie.

And for pic o’ day sent from Amy M….



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Eyes on the Road

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

I was forwarded this video below, from a friend who said that it was a good safety reminder. A part of me did not feel like clicking on it because I just didn’t want to take the time. Then, I saw that it was less than two minutes; so I did. It’s a reminder… and a real attention grabber.

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The Lazy Blogger Again

Monday, July 7th, 2014

It’s Tuesday morning and I have no blogging motivation. So, it felt like a good day to go all pic o’. Here are a couple that make me laugh!

Cat and Blinds


Snail Massage

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The Storyteller

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

In a span of a few days, I saw the word raconteur. I don’t think I had seen it before. So, when I did not know what it meant, I was reading on my kindle and could highlight the word.  I learned it meant storyteller. The next two times I realized that part of the story was being a raconteur. I always hear that a good lawyer is a good storyteller.  So, for the blog today, how about a bit of being a raconteur. (Source)

Billy Graham was returning to Charlotte after a speaking engagement. When his plane
arrived, there was a limousine there to transport him to his home.

As he prepared to get into the limo, he stopped and spoke to the driver.

“You know” he said, “I am 87 years old and I have never driven a limousine. Would
you mind if I drove it for a while?”

The driver said, “No problem. Have at it.”
“Billy gets into the driver’s seat and they head off down the highway.

A short distance away sat a rookie State Trooper operating his first speed trap.
The long black limo went by him doing 70 in a 55 mph zone.

The trooper pulled out and easily caught the limo and got out of his patrol car to
begin the procedure.
The young trooper walked up to the driver’s door and when the glass was rolled down
he was surprised to see who was driving.

He immediately excused himself and went back to his car and called his supervisor.
He told the supervisor, “I know we are supposed to enforce the law but I also know
that important people are sometimes given certain courtesies.
I need to know what I should do because I have stopped a very important person.”

“The supervisor asked, “Is it the governor?”

The young trooper said, “No, he’s more important than that.”

The supervisor said, “Oh, so it’s the president.”

The young trooper said, “Not, he’s even more important than that.”

The supervisor finally asked, “Well then, who is it?”

The young trooper said, “I think it’s Jesus because he’s got Billy Graham
for a chauffeur !!!!!


And for our DID YOU KNOW: Years ago, clans and tribes that wanted to get rid of unwanted people without actually doing harm to them would burn their house down. Doing so would obviously cause them to move away. Hence the expression to get fired.

And for pic o’ day, this one makes me laugh every time.

A Great Day

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Categories : Current Affairs, Misc.
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Getting Ready for the 4th!

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

What did one flag say to the other flag? It didn’t… it just waved.

Why did the British soldiers wear red coats? So they could hide in the tomatoes.

What is Uncle Sam’s favorite snack? Yep… Fire-crackers.

Ok, I will stop the July 4th bad humor. Here’s some usefulness from a National Kidney foundation email . It’s titled 7 of the Best and Worst Condiments for Health. Something to think about for your hot dogs and hamburgers. A tease to tempt you to read it. Which is better for you… Ketchup or Mustard? Is Hummus really good for you or is it a hidden “weight gainer”?

I hope you have a wonderful July 4th.the 4th


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Hard or Hardly Working

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

In the movie A League of Their Own, Tom Hanks played the role of  baseball manager Jimmy Dugan, for a women’s’ professional baseball league team. Geena Davis played the role of real life catcher Dottie Hinson. As the star of the team, she had great sway over whether the team would listen to their manager.

At one point, Davis’ character tells Hanks that she is going to quit because it’s all too hard and taking too great a toll on her life. Hanks then challenges her by saying, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would be doing it. It’s the hard part that makes us great”.

Movies are known to have great quote lines. In a curious way, the movie The Empire Strikes Back also gives a lesson on effort. The wise character of Yoda says to Luke Skywalker, “do or do not. There is no try”.

Yesterday I walked up front to find three conference rooms with their doors closed. Lawyers were inside preparing their clients or meeting regarding cases. In movies or TV shows, the story is usually revolving around the case in the courtroom. In reality, the hard stuff goes on behind closed doors. Preparation is not supposed to be easy; it’s supposed to be hard. It’s the hard part that makes the case.

DID YOU KNOW that the main library at Indiana University sinks over an inch each year? When it was built, the engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.

And for pic o’ day, it looks like we have a plan in action:

some help

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