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The Friday Notebook

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Sometimes I see a possible idea for a blog and I tuck it away. Then, I go back to those “tucked ideas” and I can’t figure out any blog idea. They are just like fingernail polish… without the nails. Or something like that.

So, here’s from the notebook. You’ll see why I ran out of creativity to make them into blogs from just thoughts.

During his entire life, Vincent Van Gogh sold exactly one painting, Red Vineyard at Arles. Makes me feel encouraged if I only write one book!

History tells us that the two robbers crucified next to Jesus were named Dismas and Gestas. You are probably wondering why I thought this was a blog idea. Yes… not so much.

If you have time to watch a presentation from Ted Talks, here’s a good one on How to Spot a Liar by Pamela Meyer. (Here)

And finally, Cinderella’s slippers were originally made out of fur, until a translator changed the story in the 1600′s. I guess 4-inch high-heeled fur sounds a little crazy!

I hope you have a great weekend… be creative out there!

And for pic o’ day…


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All in the Words!

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Facetious and abstemious  are the only two words that contain all the vowels in their correct order. That brings me to how two words played a role in a recent alimony case.

A lawsuit was filed by a New Jersey man, who claims that he suffered emotional distress when his ex-wife wrote the notations bum and loser on the memo line of her alimony payment checks to him.

Francis Wagner Jr. claimed that the name-calling worsened his health conditions, including cancer and a bad heart, according to the lawsuit.

His ex-wife, Diane Wagner, told the Daily Record that she agreed to pay her former husband $744 a month in spousal support for six years, because she didn’t have the money to fight it in trial. She says that she also has cancer and is terminally ill.

“As far as I’m concerned I can write anything I want on the memo line because it’s a note to myself,” Wagner told the Daily Record. “I was the victim in that marriage. What more blood does he want from me? I pay him religiously.”

Wagner told the Daily Record she also suffered emotional distress when the law firm that filed the suit, Trautmann & Trautmann, posted a photo of one of her alimony checks. The memo line read “alimony/adult child support.” The law firm claimed that they were trying to  “put a stop to that harassment.”

No word on whether the words have stopped. But apparently he keeps cashing the checks! And isn’t life more in the details than in the words!

And for the blog… winner winner chicken dinner!


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Competition and Advertising

Monday, April 11th, 2016

I like the TV show Better Call Saul  which is based on a lawyer named Saul Goodman. It has some local flavoring to it, because the female main character is from Virginia Beach and the creator of the series is from Chesterfield.

The last couple of episodes have been about Saul sneaking into his brother’s house to change document dates, as a way of defeating the competition. I won’t bore you with the details, except to include that Kinkos copying and the changing of documents, is the basis of the story.

A 1946 law went into effect called the Lanham Act, which prohibits false advertising and provides civil penalties for such “competition” activities.  We hold false statements in business to a different standard than just defamation.

In 1991 Procter & Gamble won a $75,000 lawsuit against James & Linda Newton after they were found responsible for spreading rumors that the company supported the Church of Satan. The two were distributors of Amway Products, a competitor of Proctor & Gamble.

They had published information to indicate that the President of Proctor and Gamble had appeared on the Phil Donohue Show to announce that “due to the openness of our society, he was coming out of the closet about his association with the church of Satan”. The Newtons went on to say that people should understand that a purchase of Proctor and Gamble products was a conscious effort to support the church of Satan.

Unfortunately, such “false advertising” doesn’t seem to apply to politics. I guess we just assume it’s all false in political advertising. When you see that kind of advertising, can’t you almost see that as a political ad? Yes you can!

And for pic o’ day, this is one to make you think:


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A Monday for Thoughts

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

You might have noticed that there was a couple of days last week, where I did not write a blog.  I was in the Washington D. C. area (Crystal City) attending my uncle’s funeral. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

I have attached the history of the Cemetery. The land was originally in the family of Robert E. Lee. It was confiscated by the Federal government and then returned to the family because the Supreme Court ruled on a 5-4 vote that the land had been improperly seized without due process. It was later sold back to the government. Quite a tangled history.

On Sunday, my wife and I attended an Easter sunrise service at the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.  It also has quite a history that includes legend and even a reference to a Richmond vampire.

Both of these attachments make for some interesting history reading. At the sunrise service, a group played bagpipes to start the service.



The song Amazing Grace filled the air as darkness began to give way to light.

 Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
   That saved a wretch like me!
   I once was lost, but now am found,
   Was blind, but now I see.

Finally, I want to mention my Easter lunch. I guess they knew how much I would enjoy being seated near the desert table.



I noticed that people went into the “desert room” with a smile… and came out with full plates. Good eating! I like the quote attributed to Ernestine Ulmer, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first!”

And for our pic o’ day, this made me laugh:



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Categories : Current Affairs, Misc.
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Best Day Ever… And Some Planning

Monday, March 21st, 2016

 Yesterday’s blog was on planning and preparation. That brings me to a story from college at Bob Jones University.

At the time, I was a Radio and Television major. I knew that I was going to transfer for law school purposes, but I wanted to garner as much training as I could in that area.

That major gave me the opportunity to work at the university radio station appropriately named WBJU.  Every morning, I would get myself to the station and pull the sports report off the Associated Press machine. Then, I would choose stories for a 5 minute sports report during the 6 and 7 o’clock news reports.

There was another student that worked in the sports department named Timmy.  Now that should have put me on guard right there. Anyone who voluntarily introduces themselves as Timmy… well… there’s nobody home upstairs, if you know what I mean? The elevator only has one floor. Trying to put M&M’s candy in alphabetical order. Yep!

Anyway, Timmy would brag to me that he didn’t need to do preparation for the reading of the morning sports. He actually thought it was a bit beneath him to read sports. He was a news man. Just waiting for the opportunity. His lack of preparation meant that he didn’t preview his read before going live on the air.

One morning, I was in my dorm room getting ready, and our friend Timmy was doing the sports report on air. He had come to a basketball story and was describing future Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Any basketball fan knows Abdul-Jabbar. But “lack-of preparation” Timmy didn’t need preparation for the lowly sports report. Needless to say, he came to that name in the sports report and went on to say “Karrom Abber Jabber”. Yes… exactly. It wasn’t funny as much as just head shaking. Abber Jabber?

Timmy was also majoring in aviation and wanted me to fly with him to Atlanta, as he got his flight hours for his minor. I just decided that lack of preparation had no place for the sky. As the Matthew 28:20 reminds us, “Lo, I am with you always”. I’m not sure that applies to being in an airplane with Timmy!


I titled this with a reference to our pic o’ day. I have posted this one before, but it cracks me up! How can you be negative when you see this grin?


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Munchkin Evidence

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Is it forensic evidence… not so much! It’s how the internet can get a story started and then somehow it becomes real.

Here’s what the internet started as a story about the Wizard of Oz.  ”In the original Wizard of Oz, during the scene in the forest, you can see a body hanging from a tree in the background. This is real. He was an actor that hung himself after he didn’t get the part of the Tinman. They cut it out of the later versions, but if you have a movie from before the golden age of film editing, you’ll see him.”

So, here’s the copy of the movie that shows the forlorn Munchkin that hung himself:



As you watch it, especially when it plays in slow motion, it makes for an amazing story. A hanging Munchkin?

No… it’s all a hoax!  Once people started to really watch the clip of The Wizard of Oz on video, they noticed that in the background of that scene, you can see something moving. Something crazy there!

Unfortunately, the resolution of the clip is not very good to make out exactly what is going on there. But it does look as if it could conceivably be a munchkin, suspended from a branch and slowly turning as though he had hung himself.

The rumor gained momentum, that a munchkin had been driven to suicide by his misery of either not getting a key part in the movie, or his misplaced passion for another munchkin.  Judy Garland  (Dorothy) might have fueled the notion of the heartbroken munchkin by telling stories on talk shows of the conduct of the munchkins on the set.

To this day, people still claim that there was a suicide on the set, and that it was covered up by Hollywood. Just google it, and you will see the argument for it, despite the craziness of the actors dancing toward a supposed hanging body on the set.

The reality is that it is nonsense. It’s probably something related to a bird’s wing, and then someone just decided to “doctor” the movie a bit.

It’s somewhat like crazy forensic evidence without proper support. The story doesn’t make sense, but I guess we see what we want to believe.

I have been watching the TV show The People v. O.J. Simpson on FX Network. In it, the defense lawyers are trying to figure out a way to explain the evidence away. Finally, Johnnie Cochrane blurts out that it doesn’t matter what the evidence is, if you can get people to believe the trial story. That was Hollywood’s quote, but he was basically saying that once people make up their minds, the rest is ignored.

The Munchkin suicide story is all over the internet and people defend it. In reality, it really is a crazy story… but it’s Hollywood!

And for pic o’ day, I thought I would include something that Ronald Reagan wrote to Nancy, in one of his love letters. There’s something truly touching about such emotion, as we say goodbye to Nancy Reagan.



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Time to Play?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Is it winning? I have heard a few people tell me that it’s “time to play the lottery today since the jackpots is so big”. Yes, over a billion dollars and growing. Even Elvis would play the lottery today. Still, a 250 million-to-one chance of winning… seems like a game without much of a chance!

Las Vegas has recently been reminded that the house doesn’t always win. According to gaming reports, Nevada casinos took in 24.6 billion in 2015. However, the casinos still lost 662 million for the year. Apparently, visitors are spending more on restaurants and shows instead of gambling.

Maybe they realized that they weren’t winning. Although, I suppose that logic would say that if the casinos lost, someone won!  Does that mean that the casinos will be playing Powerball to get it all back?

Here’s a different take on whether it’s necessary for happiness to hit the lottery. The New York Times had the obituary of businessman Harry Mariani. He who would start every meal with “A tavola non s’invecchia,” which loosely translated means, “When dining at the table with family and friends, one does not grow old.” I guess that’s what he thought was “hitting the lottery”.

The endless pursuit of a lottery win in the hope of solving problems. It will leave most or all still searching because of those crazy odds. But odds of 250 million-to-win still means “so I guess there’s a chance”.

Over the holidays, I looked down at Virginia Beach and took these two pictures of a lady who apparently was summarizing the end of her 2014 journey. Now that seems like winning!








And for pic o’ day… they look like they are winning:



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Some Resolutions Thinking?

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

I regularly get asked about my pic o’ day source. That’s a real compliment. It’s a whole lot better than being asked “Why?”.  With the new year in mind, I have been receiving some that make me smile. For instance:


Which brings me to three that Leanne circulated throughout our offices, to get us thinking about our New Year’s resolutions.







Maybe these will get you thinking about some 2016 goals… or maybe not so much!

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In the Tweeners!

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

Right now we are in that in-between time. Maybe there are still piles to put away at the house, but at least the roads are easier to travel in the morning traffic.

And during this time of year, we still don’t have to think about the new year because we have this cushion couple of days. That causes me to reach for some old faithful pic o’s to get us thinking about our resolutions.

First, it’s this time of year that I start to think about the coming year… and whether it will be quite the ride! How to get ready?


Second, I want to make sure that I have good planning for the coming year…. so next year’s resolutions are different from this year!



And finally, in this tweener time of year, I thought I would throw in another snow picture that I took from the house…last year. I just can’t believe what the weather has been. Of course, my resolutions aren’t going to change that. But this pic o’ always makes me feel cooler.

snow 1

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Healthy at Work

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

A while back I had a person comment that they didn’t understand why I would blog by just attaching an article. What he meant was “Is it blogging to post someone else’s article?”.

Maybe I am taking a shortcut today, but I post an article from the Huffington Post (here) that falls under the category of health. Then, I throw in my own thoughts.

I am cognizant that the practice of law has us sitting at a desk a whole lot. We are all equipped with a Fitbit and if you want to wear a phone headset, you can get one. That way, I try to stay moving with the mobile, even while on the phone. So, in keeping with health, here are the highlights from the article titled

4 Ways To Improve Your Health At The Office

1. Stroke your creative fire.

John Mirowsky, PhD is quoted as discussing trying to do everyday tasks in novel ways. “The more challenging something is, the more creative it becomes,” says Mirowsky, “which stimulates your mind in a new way.”

2. Spruce up your cube.

Gregory A. Laurence, PhD, an assistant professor of management at the University of Michigan, Flint, recommends that,  ”You’re saying to coworkers, This is what I want you to know about me, and that autonomy, no matter how small, appears to reduce burnout.” So, you should include person items in your office or cube that tell about you or cause you to stay focused or positive.

3. Get thee to a water cooler.

Create friendships and contacts at work. Don’t be an island. A study in Health Psychology that surveyed the work lives of over 800 people found that those who categorized receiving emotional support from their colleagues had a 41 percent lower risk of dying from any cause two decades later,  than those without sympathetic peers. So, personal contacts statistically helps us live longer!

4. Punch out on a positive.

I think we all know that this is important. Staying positive at work; being thankful for what we do everyday; and feeling like there is purpose in the job, statistically provides health benefits. I can say that I always look forward to Monday, just to see what the week will bring! That has to be good for my health.

And for pic o’ day… here’s one to think about:


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