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Archive for The Human Spirit

The Positive!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

It feels like I was just writing a Friday blog. This week moved quickly! So, first a Friday coffee:


Yesterday I had a client tell me that she wanted to make sure that I knew how helpful and friendly her paralegal had been throughout our representation.  The paralegal made me look good because of her attitude.

Coincidentally, I had just read the following online review of a Richmond pasta restaurant experience:

Loud and dark. Unfriendly service. Party of 10 had reservations and our elderly mother was going to be 10 minutes late. They would not let her sit with us when she arrived. She had to hang out at the bar till we were done. Food great but not worth with service like that.

Also this past week, one of our lawyers took his wife to the opening of a new restaurant in the area. When I asked him if he liked it, he answered, “that’s difficult to say”.

He went on to describe that they probably would not be returning. It wasn’t that the food was bad, it was that the overall attitude from the hostess to the restaurant manager was that no one cared that they were there… and the service and dining experience reflected that attitude.

Here’s one of those Pinterest anonymous quotes that reminds us of the importance of a good attitude… and how it makes a difference:

A negative thinker sees difficulty in every opportunity. A positive thinker sees an opportunity in every difficulty.

Here’s to a positive weekend!!!


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Reverend Innocent Johnson

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Starfish have no brains.  How’s that for a blog starter?

Now, here’s some nonsense: I received the following email a few days ago that I post in part:

Attention Customer,

 You have received this email because you are a Customer of Western Union Money Transfer.

 I have been trying to get in-touch with you on phone before I traveled. I have handed over your funds of $ 2,500.000.00 USD to the new Director here Rev. Innocent Johnson. I have remitted the first payment of $5,000 with the help of my working partner Rev. Innocent Johnson to you and here is the information. Money Transfer Control Number MTCN: 5519104405 Sender’s First Name: PETER Sender’s Last Name: CHUKWU Text Question: RIGHT

Answer: NOW

 I told him to keep sending you $ 5,000 USD daily until the payment of $ 2,500.000.00 USD is completed and again forward them your Telephone number, Full Name, Your Country and address so that they will be sure. Please, contact: Rev. Innocent Johnson with the below details:

 Noted: If there is any problem with the transfer, do contact Rev. Innocent Johnson and he will solve it for you. The care of the funds is under his custody now.


Justin Larry

There’s just something about this email that doesn’t seem true! Although, I do enjoy the names. How can you argue with a Reverend name Innocent, or a fellow named Peter Chuckwu?

The point of this blog is basically… where is the truth? Come on. Why can’t some people be real.

I promise not to get started on insurance ads or political campaigns. So, I will just leave it at that. Why the nonsense? Because they think we are starfish?

And for pic o’ day:



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More Than Just Numbers

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

It’s Monday!!!  So let me vent a frustration to start the week out with some complaining. (How’s that for a blog starter?)

It’s no surprise that  lawyers at the firm spend a lot of time negotiating. It has caused me to search for just about every book and article on the subject of negotiation. Still, I am amazed that insurance adjusters seem consumed with the concept that the value of  a claim is somehow based on the amount of medical bills for treatment. It makes negotiation a bit challenging. Not easy to negotiate when logic is missing.

There is a movement among lawyers to just not introduce medical bills at trial. Why? Because many of us believe that real damages are about loss and personal relationships. In fact, what really matters is us!

I saw a post/story on Facebook that does a great job of focusing on what is important. Of why life is not about some mathematical equation of medical bills.





And for pic o’ day, this made me smile. The question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Why can’t it be the chicken and the egg?



And our Monday pic o’ day

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The Science of Lines

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

The NY Times caught my attention with an article titled How to Pick the Fastest Line at the Supermarket. It’s not so much that I want to learn about picking the right line at the grocery store, but the human behavior elements apply to all lines.

There are just some traits in life that you cannot ignore. For instance, in picking a jury, I normally avoid engineers as jurors. I don’t want to fully explain that because I don’t want to give away trial strategy… for all those defense attorneys that may be lurking on the blog!

Instead, take a look at the science of picking a line at the grocery store. These are some of the wrong mistakes and assumptions that are being made. I have pulled it right from the article. It just might give you a clue to get out the door quicker the next time you are faced with the “line choice”.

1. You trust that the express lane will move the fastest. Oftentimes getting behind a shopper with a full cart is smarter than queuing up in an express lane. That’s because greeting customers and exchanging payment information is a huge time suck, taking about 41 seconds on average per customer, according to The Times. Ringing up items takes just three seconds per item, in comparison.

“Think of it this way: One person with 100 items to be rung up will take an average of almost six minutes to process. If you get in a line with four people who each have 20 items, it will take an average of nearly seven minutes,” Times reporter Christopher Mele wrote.

2. You select checkout lanes on the right side of the store. Lines at registers to the right of a store tend to move slower because most people are right-handed and tend to gravitate in that direction as a result, Robert Samuel, the founder of a service that stands in line for people, told The Times.

3. You avoid lines that feed into multiple registers because they look longer. These lines tend to move the fastest. That’s because the mathematical odds are stacked against you when you’re trying to pick the fastest of more than two lines.

4. You select lanes with male cashiers. Women are faster at ringing up items, according to experts interviewed by The Times.

5. You get in line behind elderly people, who tend to have more difficulties checking out than younger people.

And for pic o’ day, this is probably a bit silly but it still made me smile.




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All in the Prep

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

I have been hearing a lot about the healthy eating of Whole30. And I am all in. I mean, how can I argue with a program that suggests that I can order and eat 30 items at each meal and then feel better. That’s the program… right?

Speaking of diets and eating, what do you think of the new Cheetos Chicken Fries at Burger King? Now that’s some fixins! I wonder how they prepare those golden healthy treats?

So, since I am obviously focused on food, I need to either make a turn here or keep this food train going. By the way, I wonder what is in that amazing recipe for Cheetos Chicken Fries that make them so healthy and amazing. Do they qualify for Whole30 if there are 30 fries in a container?

Speaking of preparation since recipe means food preparation, I now know what this blog is going to be about. That way, the blog won’t seem so random after all. Like playing Marco Polo with Marco Polo!

Beethoven had a special way to get his creativity prepared. He would pour cold water over his head to stimulate his brain, before sitting down to compose. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it as to why I am rambling. Must dodge the dripping cold water as I continue to type.

Which leads me to a story from this past weekend. I saw Tim Kaine speak this past weekend. At the conclusion of his speech, he paused for questions.

One lady asked whether Senator Kaine had begun to prepare for his upcoming Vice Presidential debate. He smiled and then told the story of his debate preparation when he was running for Governor of Virginia.

Senator Mark Warner’s current chief of staff, David Hallock, at that time was working on the Kaine campaign. So, he played the part of Kaine’s competition in preparation for the debate between the candidates running for Governor.

Kaine went on to relay that during the practice round for the debate, Hallock was literally destroying him. Every question brought an incredible answer.

Finally, Kaine said to him, ”You are destroying me in this debate. Almost like you know all the questions.” Hallock looked at him with a grin and said, “I do know all the questions!”.

It’s all in the preparation!

And for pic o’ day…


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Veteran’s Loss of Hearing

Monday, September 12th, 2016

You can’t beat this history, M. Welliver, of the U.S. hotel, while hunting, was struck by a copperhead snake. His heavy woolen pantaloons saved him from injury. That piece of news comes from The Muncy Luminary, Saturday, Aug. 19, 1876.

I enjoy reading the news from the city where I was born. I don’t always get to immediately read the weekly Muncy Luminary when it arrives in the mailbox, but at some point I will sit down and read through it. Just seeing it sitting in the mailbox makes me smile. It takes me back to those simple days of being a kid.

Besides the Peek at the Past column that was referenced above, there is also a column titled World War I Memories. In the August 21, 2016 edition, there was a story of war that showed the effects of war, long after the enemy had surrendered.

As told by the paper in the column titled Loss of hearing cost area veteran his life, Merle Earnest Crawford came back from World War I with a loss of his hearing. During the war, his duties included driving ammunition wagons to the front lines and being next to the cannons as they fired.

The roaring blasts of gun and cannon fire caused him to lose his hearing, which lasted through his lifetime. He moved back to Pennsylvania and married Montgomery native Wilda Bieber, who apparently was one of my distant relatives.

After they were married, Crawford began working at the Lycoming Silica Sand Plant. His job was to drive the sand by train locomotive on a narrow gauge line.

One day, his locomotive rounded a tight curve and collided with another train coming the opposite direction. The other engineer heard the other train coming and jumped to safety.

Because Crawford had lost his hearing in the war, he didn’t know of the danger until it was too late. The two trains collided and he died three days later.

Ironically, the company had already decided to switch from trains to trucks to haul the sand. The-train to-truck switch was already scheduled for 10 days after this crash occurred.    A veteran of war whose sacrifice continued, long after the war had ended.

And for pic o’ day I am posting one that might be a bit on the edge. But seriously, he named his boat S.S. Fat Guy! And how can you argue with #17?


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“The Man Who Knew”

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Before getting down to “blog business”, I start with something that was forwarded to me. Yes, it’s probably improper to post… but it made me laugh!


Sunday is September 11. It’s the start of the NFL football season. I suspect that there will be at least one player who decides to use the pledge of allegiance to the flag for his opportunity of demonstration.

The meaning of the flag is also part of a remembrance of the murders of September 11, 2001. On that day, all of the United States felt attacked and betrayed. No one was demonstrating during the pledge of allegiance on September 12, 2001.

In light of the importance of that day, I thought that it was worthwhile to look back at the PBS Frontline documentary titled The Man Who Knew (Online here)  which first aired on PBS on October 3, 2002.

It’s the story of the FBI agent who was obsessed with Bin Laden and was warning other officials of an impending attack. So obsessed that he had previously gathered all film and video of Bin Laden that the FBI had acquired, and watched it over and over in his New York apartment. He was trying to look for clues. He is also chronicled in the book titled The Man Who Warned America.

I wanted to blog on this amazing story, but it would just take too long. In short, the amazing part of the story is that he was ultimately forced out of his job at the FBI. So, he entered the private sector as head of security for the World Trade Center. He started his new job on August 23, 2001.

He was killed on the day of the attacks of September 11,2001.  He was last seen at the 49th floor shortly before the tower collapsed. When he started his new job, he had remarked to a friend that  because of the result of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, that “They’ll probably try to finish the job”.

It’s a good reminder of what our flag stands for, and how others keep trying to take stands against us and what that flag stands for.


I hope you have a great weekend!

And for our pic o’ day


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Pompeii Behavior

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

The ancient city of Pompeii was buried and destroyed by the volcano that erupted from Mount Vesuvius. Before its destruction, Pompeii was a popular holiday resort for rich Romans, who spent their holidays there.

Supposedly, the 79 A.D. eruption started on the morning of August 24, just one day after the celebration of Vulcanalia, the festival of the Roman god of fire.

The walls of the ruins were covered with graffiti. Some of the graffiti written on the walls included Gaius was here, Go hang yourself, Thou art bald, and Atemitus got me pregnant.

History of the disaster and events before and after were detailed at the time by Pliny the Younger, who interviewed survivors and recorded his findings in a letter to his friend Tacitus.

Seismic activity in the region was so common that residents paid little attention when quakes shook the earth on that fateful day. People were unprepared for the disaster.  Wide-ranging estimates of death indicated a number somewhere between 2000- 25000.

The ruins of Pompeii are a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

For  pic o’ day, I thought this was some interesting “advertising”.


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Some Football Safety

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Is it hard to come back to work after a long weekend? Here’s a good starter!







It’s football season, so here’s a picture from a this past Friday night’s high school football in Pickens, South Carolina. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line?



Which brings us to our next football story. Sept 5 is an important football anniversary day. On this day in 1906  the first college legal forward pass was thrown by Bradbury Robinson of St. Louis University.( Before that time, throwing a football beyond the line of scrimmage was against the rules and the idea of throwing a forward pass was even frowned upon. Not real football!

But in 1905,  football was growing more popular, even with pro football still more than a decade away. But it was also recognized as becoming increasingly violent. That year alone, there were 18 football related deaths nationwide, including three college players. The others were high-school players.

Then President Theodore Roosevelt, whose son was on the Harvard University freshmen football, made it clear he wanted safety reforms in the face of a possibility that college football was going to be abolished. In a commencement address that he gave at Harvard earlier in the year, Roosevelt mentioned the violence of football by saying that, “Brutality in playing a game should awaken the heartiest and most plainly shown contempt for the player guilty of it.

So, despite the fact that initially the forward pass was frowned upon as not being real football… safety was the guiding factor in offering this innovative concept of throwing the ball down the field. Historians argue a bit on who was the first to throw a football past the line of scrimmage in any organized game of football, but no one argues that safety is fun!!!!

And how about some beaver humor for pic o’ day?



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The Impact of a Smile

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

As a kid, I remember walking down the second floor hallway of my grandparents house and noticing some pictures on their wall. In fact, they were a bit scary because they just looked like angry people. A few years later I learned that the “pictures” were portraits of my ancestors, who simply were not smiling.

When I walked on the Virginia Beach boardwalk yesterday, I noticed that several people smiled at me and some even waved and it made me feel good. I think that we all shared the common experience of the sunrise, and the joy of just being outside.

Which brings me to the question of why those old portraits always had people that looked angry. Angry enough to scare a kid!

In the “old days” of the 18th and 19th century or so, smiling was considered to be poor etiquette. That’s why our friendliest of politicians were never smiling in a photograph.


In 1703, St. Jean-Baptiste De La Salle wrote The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility. He stated that, There are some people who raise their upper lip so high… that their teeth are almost entirely visible. This is entirely contradictory to decorum, which forbids you to allow your teeth to be uncovered, since nature gave us lips to conceal them.

Mark Twain even expressed that, A photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever.

Supposedly, photographers would ask people to say prunes instead of cheese, to get the correct serious look. Thankfully, we now smile. Kodak is credited with changing the mindset of smiling in photos, because of their marketing campaigns for their Brownie cameras.

When we smile… we can help others smile. Although, I am uncertain what Mark Twain would now say about the advancement of a smile… to the selfie!

Have a great weekend!!!

And for our Friday pic o’ day…


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