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The Power of 19 Letters

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

A mention of telegraph doesn’t seem like much of technology today. In fact, probably many kids have never even heard of a machine called a telegraph. It’s no where to be found in Madden Football or the video game Call of Duty.

But there was a time that Congress stopped and looked in amazement. The date was May 24, 1844. Standing in the chamber of the Supreme Court, Samuel B. Morse sent a message of only 19 letters to his assistant, who was back in Baltimore.

Members of Congress watched the telegraph machine demonstration with fascination. What was that message of 19 letters? What God hath wrought?

The message was received. The experiment of national communication was a success. And today… I blog with reckless abandonment!

I hope you have a great weekend.

And for pic o’ day, more about words:

words

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Focusing on What’s Next

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

This is the tweener time of year between the holidays and the New Year. So, it makes me think about personal goals and law firm goals.

Dr John Whyte has written a new book titled New American Diet which includes the keywords lose weight and live longer. It suggests which foods to eat and which to avoid.

The book’s focus on food is a good thing, but I also think that there are other good tips to keep me focused. I won’t steal the book’s thunder like making sure that you get at least 6 hours of sleep each night (less is proven to cause obesity); or that you make sure to eat more dark chocolate. There are some who don’t like chocolate and others who might decide to incorporate 2 Hershey bars into their day.

Instead, let me focus specifically on one of the twelve tips in the book, to lose weight fast. It’s something we are incorporating in the practice. That item is wallking!

walking sign

The book reminds that walking doesn’t just help in losing weigh, it also helps clear your mind. Studies show that walking can help in combating an early onset of dementia. In fact, people who cannot walk a quarter-mile in 5 minutes have a higher mortality rate. So, fitness experts recommend walking at least 10,000 steps a day. But here’s the law firm idea.

This is probably going to sound like an advertisement. But we have decided to help each other in walking.

dog helping

     A couple of years ago, we started a wellness program at the firm that divided everyone into teams. Then, you could get points for gym attendance or various fitness goals. Still it was missing something.

     Since that time, I have been using a Fitbit on my belt. They come in various kinds that include a bracelet and there are other brands to measure walking and other activities. For me, I just wanted to keep it simple. This is what mine looks like.fitbit

     That led the social media team to come up with the idea of giving everyone a Fitbit. Then, we can tie them all together by an email report and set various goals with an automatic counter. Nothing magical about it. Just something to encourage us to walk.

It’s also what my parents wanted for Christmas. And, they have already updated me on their progress. It has encouraged them to walk a bit more each day. Here’s where you can buy one from Amazon. (Yes, it does sound like an advertisement; but no, operators are not standing by)

Ok, that’s enough sales. I promise a joke tomorrow instead!

And for our pic o’ day…

focus

 

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And Then Reindeer Cats

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Yesterday we emailed our December newsletter. It’s an opportunity to talk about the staff and include a favorite recipe. Admittedly, it doesn’t have much legal stuff.

I hope that you already received it in your email in-box. Just in case you didn’t, you can get it here and subscribe for it here.

And finally, to wrap up the blog for a weekend, here’s a couple “Reindeer Cats”.

R-deer Cat 1

and….

Reindeer Cat 2

 

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Wake Up Running!

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

When I hear someone say that they are going to tell an old proverb, it makes me stop and listen. I get the same feeling when I hear the words, “So the story began with”. That leads me to an ancient proverb told in Africa. This is another thought that I came across in organizing and planning for the Firm.

Every morning, a gazelle wakes up with the thought of survival. It must run faster than the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning, a lion wakes up.  It knows that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. The morale of the proverb is that every morning when the sun comes up, you’d better be running!

 

Our pic o’ days come from Debbie K. First, the Northern Lights!

Northern Lights, dk

and then a bit of Christmas!

The Christmas Tree, dk

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Needing Direction

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

December is a month of assessment and a month of planning at the Firm. It’s a good time to chart direction for the new year.

As I listened to Dr. Sherouse preach yesterday, he told about a study that confirms the notion that when we don’t know where we are going; That we walk in circles instead of a straight line. So, I decided to look for that study. One of the easy benefits of the Internet.

ABC News reported on the study that proves that humans do walk in circles when they are lost.  According to a group of scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, their experiment confirms our human behavior.

The researchers outfitted nine people with a global positioning tracking system. Then, some of the group was dropped off in a forest in Germany and other mini groups were dropped in the Sahara desert. They were told to walk in a straight line.

When they were able to use the sun or moon as guidance, there was some semblance of walking in a straight line. The findings of the study showed that our brains accumulate faulty signals about the body’s position in space. As a result, we do not have an “inner GPS system”.

Based on the study, the researchers found that it was “a reminder the we don’t have an innate sense of direction… you have to have navigation tools”. They walked in circles despite being told to walk in a straight line.

After hearing the sermon (thanks Pastor!) and then finding the study, it made me want to be more dilligent in planning. We all need direction to be successful! It doesn’t just happen.

And for pic o’ day, my mom sent me two for the blog today. One for the coffee and the second for Christmas!

coffee                   lights

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One of the Shortest

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

     We have our Christmas office party breakfast on Thursday. That means that I am scrambling a bit. (see what I did there)

     This is a quick blog this morning because of some meetings and stuff. I didn’t want you to think I was just being blog-lazy.

hamging out

     Instead, this officially starts some Christmas blog pictures. Our first is from a very creative family picture. Or, maybe just a tough way to decorate the tree!

family

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The Purple Testament Reminder

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

In Season 1 of the television series The Twilight Zone, (if The Twlight Zone means nothing to you, here is Wiki) a 1960 episode titled The Purple Testament (IMDB) gives us a reminder to live in the present… Hollywood style. And then it was driven home by real life events.

In the episode, an American soldier stationed in the Philippines, has the ability to forecast who will die next.  He sees a mysterious purple glow across their face. The purple glow foretells that the soldier will not make it.

Then, the soldier sees the glow around his own face, while looking in the mirror. At the end of the episode, the prophetic soldier rides off in a jeep. Off camera, the TV audience hears the explosion of a landmine. It indicates that the soldier did indeed die in an explosion, on a routine drive, while headed back to his base.

One of the early victims in the episode was  named Melvin Levy. That name meant something to the real-life Twiglight Zone writer/narrator, Rod Serling.

While serving in World War II, Serling lost a friend named Melvin Levy.  In a letter to his children,  he and the other soldiers took cover under nearby trees while boxes of rations for the soldiers were landing around them. The airplane delivered items were a welcomed sight.

According to the letter, an excited Levy did not run for cover under the trees. Instead, he started running and laughing and screaming, “It’s raining chow, boys,”.  Moments later, one of the crates hit Levy and killed him. When Sterling wrote the episode of The Purple Testament, he did so with the knowledge of the importance of seizing the moment.

In researching the episode, I also learned of related event. On the same day that the studio was screening The Twilight Zone episode, the man who had directed the episode, Richard Bare, was killed in a plane crash. He was headed to direct another television series.

At the conclusion of our Monday attorney meetings, I always end the meeting with the Latin aphorism “Carpe Diem!”.  It is translated “Seize the Day!”.

On a week that we focus on thankfulness as we head toward Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful for the present. As Mother Teresa would say, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

And now for a couple of pic o’s. First, a “selfie” of my parents and me at our Sunday breakfast yesterday. We were seizing the day!

selfie

And then a reminder from “Charlie” to focus :

Charlie Focus

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How About Larry the Cucumber?

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber and Junior Asparagus. They were soon to be on the screen, following their theme song, “Never ever ever ever ever been a show like VeggieTales”.

veggie

The VeggieTales are an example of an initial idea that was going the wrong direction until improvements were made, which turned it into a tremendous success. Overcoming difficult beginnings.  Wiki tells us that VeggieTales is an American series of children’s computer animated films that featured anthropomorphic vegetables (had to look that up. means vegetables with human form).  Their episodes frequently tell Bible stories in a modern pop culture way.

Here’s why they are part of the blog. It’s because their story arose out of mistake and difficulty to a continuing and thriving TV enterprise. Then, the rights of a contract stepped into the program to change the content.

The show was initially created by Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, who also provided many of the voices. Vischer was testing out new computer hardware in the early 90′s. Due to the limitations of the hardware for animation purposes, he decided to avoid being too technical in creating characters with arms, legs or hair.

So, his first character was a talking candy bar. His wife suggested that he change the main character because parents would rather focus on good healthy eating rather than a friendly candy bar. So, the characters became fruits and vegetables.

The shows were originally just sold on video. Then, NBC picked them up as part of their Saturday morning program and the series aired from September 2006-2009. Then it began airing on Trinity Broadcasting Network. Now, Netflix has announced that it has joined its programming this month.

NBC removed any mention of God in the programs, including removing the original ending of each show that contained, “Remember kids, God made you special and he loves you very much!”. NBC was more comfortable with an ending that simply had a character saying “Good-bye!.

Because they owned the show through contract, they could determine the content. So, what had been a religious program was now being shown as a positive message for kids.  That meant that Archibald Asparagus could not star as Jonah. Still, they can’t stop Jimmy and Jerry Gourd or Madame Blueberry from being part of a Bible story in their past episodes.

So, will Netflix show all past episodes or just new?

And for pic o’ day,

hurry take it

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Superstition or Good Idea

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

President Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived at his Hyde Park home to find a young man tutoring the Roosevelt children. At lunch time, the President noticed the young man lighting three cigarettes with one match.

If that were to happen today, I suspect that Roosevelt would lecture him about smoking around his kids, despite his  own reported smoking habits. Roosevelt’s secretary noted in her diary that she recalls the incident as, “one of the few occasions I know of when the President actually reprimanded someone brusquely in public”.

It was assumed that Roosevelt was so bothered by the incident because of some superstition about the number 3. Instead, it is now believed that Roosevelt was only passing on advice to a young man, that was taught in basic training to our U.S. soldiers preparing for World War II.

Soldiers were trained not to use a single match to light a cigarette. The time that it takes to light all three also gives a sniper enough time to accurately target and shoot at the match. At the time, it was considered polite to offer a cigarette to the person on either side of you. Plus, it was expected that a soldier would first light the highest ranking officer of the three. So, more intelligence to the shooter.

Maybe Roosevelt was being superstitious or maybe he was teaching a young man a possible life-saving lesson. Now, we would consider the smoking as dangerous as the lighting of the cigarette.

DID YOU KNOW that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a lifelong hobby of stamp collecting? When he died, his personal stamp collection numbered to over 1.2 million stamps. The collection was sold at a public auction and brought a sum of $228,000.

And for pic o’ day:

hole in yard

 

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Some Random Friday

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

     The Law Firm social media team left on Tuesday to go to New York for a seminar on marketing and social media. They left me behind. Gladly left me behind! Imagine that.

     So, this week I have been writing the blog with an unfettered stream of consciousness without anyone saying, “Are you sure you want to write that?”. That’s why I can just randomly blog today and throw a picture in the middle of the blog, just because.

talking buck

     Since my Mom sent it to me, random is good… right? Here’s another random thought: the average major league baseball lasts 7 pitches. Hmmm

     In 1980, a Yellow Pages incorrectly listed the name and number of a funeral home… under the frozen foods category. No wonder Yellow Pages is disappearing!

     The Pilgrims reportedly ate popcorn at the first Thanksgiving. No word on whether they also had Twizzlers and a Diet Coke. That’s just my two cents worth.

 food Lion

     The most expensive cow to ever sell at auction was Missy the Holstein Cow. Her auction amount was 1.2 million. She is supposedly considered to be the guide for genetics for future Holsteins. Again, no word on whether she will be playing Frisbee on a Chic-Fil-A commercial. Boom!!!

     And finally, King Mongut of Siam was known to have over 9000 wives. On his deathbed, he admitted to only loving the first 700.

     That’s my Friday blog… Have a great weekend!

     And for pic o’ day, another costume, or in blog theme… getting carried away:

carried away

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