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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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And For a Friday

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Yesterday was our office Christmas breakfast. We had some great “fixins” and then several went shopping. Good times!

Each year, to start out the breakfast, I get up and say a few words. At the same time it gives me an opportunity to think about where we are and where we were. Ultimately, I am always excited to see where we are going! It’s always a reminder that our future is based on what we do today!

OK, that’s enough serious on a Friday! Here’s what I really wanted for the blog today. A couple of pic o’s (from Amy M):








And a here’s the start of some of our holiday decorations in our Richmond reception area:



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Ghost Evidence

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Doing a story on the Greenbrier Ghost seemed liked an appropriate start to this weekend! Sadly that tells you that there is a  scary ending instead of a happy ending of Zona Heaster Shue. But it does include the courtroom. (Wikipedia)


Edward Stribbling Trout Shue (In all stories, maybe we shouldn’t ever trust a 4-name person ) was a drifter who came to the County of Greenbrier looking for work. Soon he was working as a blacksmith. Not long after his arrival to town, he met Zona. They fell in love and were married… despite the objection of Zona’s mother, who had taken an instant dislike to this man.

The couple lived peacefully until January 23, 1897. That’s when 21-year-old Zona Heaster Shue was found dead in her living room.  Local physician, Dr. George Knapp, examined the body and determined that Mrs. Shue’s death was due to an “everlasting faint.” Her body had been found by a young boy who had come to the home on an errand. She was found lying at the foot of the stairs, stretched out with her feet together and her hand on her stomach. She looked “comfortably dead”.

The doctor was summoned; But before he arrived, her husband had moved her body to the upstairs bedroom and placed her on the bed. He then prepared the body for burial, normally a job for the women of the community, by washing the corpse and then dressing her in a high-necked dress with a stiff collar and then placed a veil over her face.

When the doctor did arrive, he only did a cursory examination of the body because Shue was cradling his wife’s head and sobbing. The doctor noticed but did not follow up on the bruising that appeared to be around her neck.

The doctor later amended his findings to include  that the death included “and childbirth.” Her husband of 3 months kept an amazing vigil over her body and would let no one near the coffin.  At the funeral, locals later testified that they noticed that her neck did not look normal against the pillow in the casket.The matter was “laid to rest” when Zona was buried.

According to  Zona’s mother; four weeks after the burial, she woke up in the middle of the night to a chilly room and found her deceased daughter standing at her bedside. ”Her daughter” then told her over the course of 4 nights,  “I was murdered, Momma—Trout strangled me!” She went on to describe that he had gone into a fit of rage over her not cooking meat for dinner, and he then choked her so hard that it caused her neck to break.

The  mother was so convinced that this was not a dream that she went to the local sheriff and begged him to investigate her daughter’s death as a murder by Trout Shue. The sheriff reluctantly agreed, and Zona’s body was exhumed.

Zona’s body showed that she had a crushed windpipe and a broken neck. Trout Shue was charged with murder.

At the trial, the judge was determined to keep out any evidence of the “ghost story”. The prosecutor was determined to just stick to the evidence. Despite the judge’s attempts. the mother discussed her “daughter’s visits”.

It became clear that the jury believed the mother. Trout was convicted by the jury, and sentenced to life in prison. When the story of that trial is told, it is also concluded that Trout Shue was the only known case in the U.S. where a ghost’s testimony allegedly helped to reopen an investigation, and then identify and convict a murderer.

Have a great weekend and be safe out there!


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A Bit of Writing For Friday

Friday, October 16th, 2015

I always find myself trying to write a Friday blog that’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears as Goldilocks discovers what is Just Right! I think that something short probably fits that category. So, here are some pic o’s that I have collected, on the theme of writing.


IMG_0223IMG_0183And for our final, which is really our “pic o’ weekend” but unrelated to writing…maybe some good advice:

IMG_0265      I hope you have a great weekend!

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First Grade Wisdom

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Sometimes when I sit down to write the blog, I just sit there to write the blog. It reminds me of my birthday card from Dennis and Betty, that they gave me last month:


But then I saw this listing of “finished proverbs” from first graders, and I knew that this had to be for the blog today! Wisdom from first grade:


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Mr. Happy Man

Monday, September 7th, 2015

220px-JohnnyBarnesStatue      Coming out of a long weekend makes it harder to get geared up! So, I thought I would write about something positive.

When I traveled to Bermuda for the first time, I noticed a man waving at the entrance of Hamilton. I asked the cab driver why there was a man standing at the foot of the city. “Oh, that’s Johnny Barnes. He’s been there rain or shine since 1986″.

The town has now erected a statute of him, and he still sometimes stands next to it, waving at the traffic and calling out, “I love you, and God loves you”. He stands waving in morning, usually between the hours of 3:45 a.m.-10 a.m.  Because he is at a roundabout traffic circle, nearly all cars coming in and going out of the city can see him.

He asks for nothing in return. A documentary was made about him in 2011 and he is simply known as Mr. Happy Man. What a wonderful way to be known. Just being positive and encouraging to others!

I figured he was a good way to welcome us back from the long weekend.


And finally, here’s a pic o’ day from my mom. A bit of “after Labor Day” humor:


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