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On the Road

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Since I am in North Carolina on a case, I am posting a couple of pic o’ s for some thinking!

Find the Number 5

Signs

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After the Super Bowl

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

The Super Bowl is one of those events that seems to gather a lot of people around the TV, whether we are sports fans or not. Then, the networks tell us that people stay up late afterward. (My excuse to post Eli’s picture for the “umpteenth” time. Plus, he did look a little tired in that suite last night!)

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Which is to say, I’m guessing that you want a short blog today… if you stayed up late. Of course, it’s kinda like Jimmy cracked corn and I don’t care, and then someone obviously cared because they wrote a song about it. So, with that in mind, here’s a quickie blog. Hopefully this is like Jimmy cracking that corn.

In line with whether anyone really believes that there is an insurance company that really treats you like a good neighbor, here are some mysteries of life from “Ten Mysteries of Life” that includes some with a sports bend to them:

1. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, would we know?

2. Why are bleachers called “stands” when they are made for sitting?

3. Why do we sing ”take me out to the ballgame” when we are already there?

4. Why is abbreviated such a long word?

5. Why is it that when someone tells you that there are over a billion stars in the universe, you believe them, but if there is a ‘wet paint’ sign somewhere, you have to touch it to make sure?

6. Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?

Ok…. I will stop! It’s taking too much energy. So glad Peyton Manning got his second Super Bowl ring! Time for more coffee!

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Who Moved the McDonald’s Cheese?

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

When Morgan Spurlock came out with his documentary movie Super Size Me, which was about his 30 days of eating his meals at McDonalds, it supposedly help to set McDonald’s in motion to create a healthier menu.

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Soon, we started seeing menu items that included yogurt and salads. The business world and the stock market applauded their ability to adapt to changing times.

Which leads us to one of their new menu items that has now led to a lawsuit. From the Kansas City Star comes a story titled McDonald’s customers ask ‘where’s my cheese’ in Mozzarella Sticks?

A California man has filed sit and is seeking class action status while suing for at least $5 million in damages on behalf of consumers in more than 40 states. The lawsuit claims that McDonalds has falsely advertised it’s new Mozzarella Sticks by claiming that the sticks are “100 percent mozzarella,” while not being 100%.

In fact, the pleadings set forth that, “the sticks are filled with a substance that is composed (in part) of starch, in violation of the federal standards of identity for ‘mozzarella’ cheese, and contrary to reasonable consumers’ expectations regarding the meaning of the term ‘mozzarella.’”

The suit asserts that tests showed that starch accounted for 3.76%  of the cheese portion of the sticks, measured by weight, inside a breaded coating. While McDonalds has not yet specifically commented on the suit, they have previously stated that reports of some “cheeseless “mozzarella sticks were simply a rollout glitch.

They claim that the cheese apparently simply melted out of the sticks as they were cooked, which should have prevented them from being served to customers.

And for pic o’ day, it’s all about good eating… depending on our definition of good eating!

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Self Analysis

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist and the father of Psychoanalysis. So I start with him because this blog might seem to be a bit “psychological. I might be able to explain the blog. I cannot explain why Freud would have such an angry face… and want the sculptor to forever catch that angry face!

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Of course, you don’t have to take a family photo for the eternal posting on Facebook to prove that you are happy either!

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But there are some clients who tell me that they “want their day in court” while others nudge me toward settlement because “they want to put it behind them”. On occasion, I suspect that they really don’t want to go to court. Could it be a bit of introvert/extrovert considerations? Maybe sometimes?

That’s why it caught my attention when I saw this article from Quiettrev.com that asks the question, “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?”.

For the blog today, I thought I would paste this 10 question test (RIGHT HERE) in case you like these kinds of tests. The very first question is “Do you feel drained when in a large crowd of people?”. I’m glad it doesn’t ask, “Do you feel drained by long blogs?”.

I know I have already posted 2 pics today… but pic o’ day is my favorite part of the blog. This is one that reminds me of either church or my law school classes. Who likes up front?

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The Snow Shoveling Warning!

Monday, February 1st, 2016

As I look out the window of my Richmond office, I still see piles of snow all around the parking lot and grass. I think our other three offices had a bit of snow-envy during the snow days .  Now, they no longer have that kind of envy.

So, since I still can see the snow, I thought that a snow shoveling warning article might be helpful for the next time. It also tells us the size of shovel that should be used.

The headline from Atlasobscura.com tells it all, Why Snow Shoveling is an Unusually Deadly Type of Exercise. Of course, that website also sounds a bit obscure but let’s go with their ideas:

First, the article reminds us,  Snow shoveling is a unique form of exertion. It can be vigorous and challenging to the cardiovascular system in general, and the heart in particular. When combined with the inherent environmental conditions of winter, snow shoveling during or after a blizzard may be the “perfect storm” for a cardiac event in those with known or “occult” (hidden) coronary disease.

Second, the nature of the exercise—and snow shoveling is unique. It is typically done without a warm up, and includes considerable arm work that increases blood pressure drastically. As blood pressure rises, so too does the work of the heart. Meanwhile, your leg muscles are typically performing isometric work (where you produce a lot of tension but your muscles don’t move your joint – like an even tie during an arm-wrestle). This type of muscle activity, especially in the upper body (as you tightly grip the shovel), raises blood pressure more than walking or jogging.

Add these two dangers with the issue of not breathing correctly in the cold; And then, as one doctor acknowledged, it doesn’t help that circadian rhythms make people more susceptible to heart attacks from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.—prime shoveling time.

The article concludes with the thought that if snow must be cleared, use a small shovel for less exertion. It’s better to have a safe sidewalk in a slower time, than have a heart attack!

(One final note: my Dad pointed out that Robert E. Lee did own slaves technically for a period of time, from the wrap-up of his father-in-law’s estate)(blog yesterday)

And for pic o’ day, more on the “staying safe genre”:

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What is Really Important?

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

During the reign of Louis XIV King of France, it was considered bad manners to knock on a person’s door with your knuckles. Instead, good etiquette dictated that you scratch with the little finger of your left hand. For that reason, courtiers would let the little fingernail on their left hand grow long. Maybe they got tired waiting outside the door in the cold… while they scratched!

American businessman King Camp Gillette spent eight years trying to invent and introduce his safety razor. After founding Gillette Safety Razor Company in 1902 he started to manufacture and sell. In 1903 he had a start that seemed to indicate failure. He sold a total of 51 razors and 168 blades. The second year… 90,884 razors and 123,648 blades. His vision for a successful disposable razor company was looking up! The importance of a disposable razor was now realized by the public.

Robert E. Lee was not a slaveholder. In fact, he never believed in slavery. He was very hopeful that Virginia would not seceded from the United States and took a strong position against it. What motivated him to be the Commanding General of the Confederacy was his love for Virginia and that he didn’t want to see anything bad happen to it. At the conclusion of the war, he announced that “I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished”. Losing the war did not hurt his reputation. He has been called America’s greatest soldier. He knew what was important to him.

People are now talking about going to Mars. According to the Mars One project, over 100,000 people have already applied. While there are private enterprises working toward trips to Mars, NASA is charting a possible government trip to Mars. There are four women astronauts who are currently training to be considered for the mission. (Glamour.com)

The Government mission is estimated to be about 15 years away from takeoff. It will take that long to build and test the equipment. Radiation exposure is still a major obstacle, among many others.

The shortest route to Mars from here is 35 million miles of travel. With current estimates, it would take somewhere between six to nine months for travel one way; And if you plan a round trip, it’s about two to three years.

When NASA initially announced that they were taking applicants for training for a potential Mars trip, 6100 applied. I guess if you are a parent or married, you turn to your family and tell them that you are pursuing your Mars dream… and everything will work out. Time flies when your having fun? Decisions have intended and unintended consequences.

I have listed these various news items and stories over the years. Depending upon the time period creates the importance of the event. Then, the next generation comes along and what seemed important before is replaced by current importance.

On a daily basis, I see clients who are going through difficult times and hardships. A crash that changes lives in a moment.

One thing that I have learned through my years of the practice of law is that nothing else really matters… if you don’t have your health. As Steven Adler said, “You can have all the riches and success in the world, but if you don’t have health, you have nothing”.  You really don’t care about trips to Mars or how loud someone might be knocking at the door.

And for pic o’ day, I have a couple that show “importance”:

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Tanning Bed Warning

Friday, January 29th, 2016

This is a story from Tech Times that hits close to home for me. That’s because I used to own a tanning bed in my 20′s and I bought into the propaganda that tanning beds were much safer than the sun.

The title of the article summarizes the study discussed. Melanoma And Indoor Tanning: Teens Who Use Tanning Beds Likely To Develop Skin Cancer Before Age 40.

A study that included adults between 25 and 49 years old has found that women who used sunbeds or tanning beds in their teen years have greater risk for developing melanoma at a young age. The University of Minnesota studied the possible link between the use of tanning beds and melanoma cases among men and women who were younger than 50 years old.

The findings of the study showed that women who used tanning beds as teens and during their 20s have up to six times of an increased risk for the deadly skin cancer, compared to people who did not tan indoors.

For their research, the University studied data on 681 individuals had been diagnosed with skin cancer. This data was then compared with those in a research control group of volunteers.

The data from the study showed that the women in their 30s had more than three times of a risk in developing melanoma if they tanned indoors. The risk is more than two-times higher in women who are in their 40s.

The article attached above shows more specifics on the study. But, it’s a reminder that just because people say something is safe… doesn’t mean that its safe. Even if the government does not warn us with some regulation.

And for pic o’ day, A photo of lack of planning?. Have a great weekend.

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The Love of Lawsuits

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

When two words are combined to form a single word, the new word is called a portmanteau. For example:  motor + hotel = motel, breakfast + lunch = brunch.

When you just read that sentence, did you ask ”Why?”. Maybe you wondered whether this warrants a mention in a legal blog. Of course, I have been known to wander a bit!

I wrote it because it came to mind as I watched an old episode of Shark Tank the other night. For brevity, I won’t discuss the show except that start-up businesses are pitching their idea to get a “shark” to invest.

One man presented an idea about providing water to plants and trees with a conservation hood over each. By description, it saved hundreds of gallons of water and also better watered the plants and trees.

The “Shark” who calls himself Mr. Wonderful, was clearly bored with the initial idea until he learned that this start-up might be in litigation with someone infringing on their patent. He admitted that he got excited because he likes to sue people.  His possible reason for an investment.

I watched that and just asked myself “Why?”. How can that be a business investment motivation?  But, there are people who love the conflict and not the resolution.

Lawsuits can be a necessary evil to hold someone accountable.  But an investment reason?

For pic o’ day… I think this was something like my expression as I watched the episode:

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Politics and Argument

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

On September 7, 1964 during the Presidential campaign between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater,  Johnson’s campaign broadcast a controversial television advertisement that is now known as the Daisy Ad.

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It portrayed a little girl picking petals from a daisy while counting up to ten. During the count, a baritone voice off camera took over the countdown, culminating with a visual showing the explosion of a nuclear bomb. The ad only aired one time but impacted the election results.

The Johnson campaign was trying to convey  that electing Barry Goldwater as president also meant  the danger of a nuclear war. Goldwater’s campaign had been handing out a bumper sticker for supporters to put on their cars that said In your heart, you know he’s right.

After the Daisy Ad had aired on television, the Johnson campaign handed out a bumper sticker in response to the Goldwater sticker that said In your heart, you know he might” and “In your gut, you know he’s nuts.

Johnson won the presidency by a landslide with 61.05 percent of the vote.  At the time, this result was the widest popular margin of the 20th century.  In the actual count of the Electoral College , Johnson defeated Goldwater by margin of 486 to 52. In state count,  Johnson won 44 states, versus Goldwater’s six. The impact of the vote also gave Democrats the largest majorities in Congress since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s election in 1936. A Senate with a 68-32 Democrat majority and a house with a 295–140 Democratic margin.

Prior to that ad, the election was considered a close contest. After the TV ad, Goldwater was apparently viewed as dangerous and reckless. The voters convinced themselves.

Yesterday, I sat in an arbitration hearing and listened to the opposing counsel’s argument about our client’s injuries. At the conclusion, my closing included a reference to politics and how a Ted Cruz supporter would have a difficult time convincing a Hilary Clinton supporter to change their vote.

It’s hard to win an argument. I usually learn from arguing that I never learn anything from arguing. So I went in search of a quote on how to win an argument. I was reminded that A man convinced against his will… is of the same opinion still!. I just hope that the arbitrator came without opinion!!!!

And for pic o’ day, maybe sometimes its just more fun to fit in:

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O.J. Simpson Upcoming Television

Monday, January 25th, 2016

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story  premiers on FX Network on February 2. In June, ESPN’s 30 for 30 series will air a five-part mini-series on the rise and fall of Simpson called O.J.: Made in America.

I will probably watch both the docudrama and the documentary. I have a clear memory of that fateful night when O.J. in that white Bronco, captured the nation’s attention. Then his trial on national television everyday, watched faithfully by viewers who treated the televised trial like a riveting soap opera with tremendous ratings. (Click here if you want a refresher on the O.J. Simpson murder trial)

I read an article from Business Insider as a primer for the upcoming ESPN documentary. After watching the upcoming documentary, the writer tells several facts that he learned about O.J including the following:

1. O. J. was asked during his career why he wasn’t doing more for civil rights and African-Americans. His response, “I’m not black, I’m O.J.”. The crafting of a persona for marketing purposes.

2. During the years that Simpson and his wife Nicole were married, the police were called to the house over 10 times.

3. One time that the police were called, they found O.J. holding a bat while his wife was crying hysterically next to a car with its windshield completely smashed.

4. The series gives details about O.J. and Nicole Brown’s murder including Simpson’s blood being found at the scene of the crime and a trail of blood leading back to his home.

5. Simpson declined the police request that he take a lie-detector test after the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. His reason as told to his friend was that “I’ve had dreams of killing Nicole”.

6. To help pay for his “Dream Team” defense team of lawyers, he would sit in his jail cell each night after trial and autograph items for sale. Supposedly, that memorabilia brought him over 3 million in proceeds.

So… that’s probably why I will watch both of these!

And for pic o’ day, I am posting one of those family photos that they classify as “gone horribly wrong”. In this instance, it’s some “superheroes” posing like they did several years ago. This seemed appropriate to the subject matter of the blog. Comparing O.J. looking bad during the trial… and looking worse now! Of course, the more I look at this picture… the worse it gets too!!

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