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Archive for The Human Spirit

Selfies Plus

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

I am in New York City today with an up- and- back flight.    In the meantime, I thought that this “selfie” pic o’ from my Mom was right on point. And, everytime I look at it it makes me laugh.

selfie

Which brings me to The Luminary. You can also read it for some hometown feel at MuncyLuminary.com.  The Paper has a section it calls Peeks of the Past. It’s one of the sections that I always try to read because it reminds me of history as well as some things that never change.

On December 21, 1885, the newspaper noted back then as news that Mrs. S.E. Snook, in an advertisment, calls the attention of the public to her stock of home made Christmas candles, especially clear toys and French mixtures.

Of course, a peek into the past also told us that on December 21, 1877,  the hennery of DeLa Green was was visited by thieves Monday night. Mr Green hastened their departure by pistol shots from his bedroom window. Unfotunately, his aim was faulty.   

In a 1905 edition of The Muncy Luminary, it was noted that Mat Blakeless of this place recently killed two fine hogs. The one dressed 525 pounds and the other 522. Who can beat this? 

And finally, in the December 1917 edition, the community was made aware that William Opp was unfortunate enough on Wednesday to break his right arem when he was struck on the arm while cranking his auto.

There’s something about every day events making the news that grips me. Perhaps it is the reminder of routine that makes it interesting. The interest of life!

And for a Christmas pic o’

IMG_1087

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Thinking Chocolate

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

In Jim Valvano’s speech that he gave at the ESPY awards in 1993, he told the funny story of giving his first coaching speech to the freshman team at Rutgers University. So, he wanted to really motivate these kids to go out and play a great first game of basketball.

He researched great coach speeches and settled on one that had been given years earlier by Hall-of-Fame football coach Vince Lombardi, who had given his speech as coach of the Green Bay Packers.

So, Valvano looked at his Rutgers freshman players and started into his speech. He really wanted to fire them up!

Gentlemen, we will be successful this year if you can focus on three things, and three things only.  Your family, your religion… and the Green Bay Packers“.

I still get a kick out of that story, whenever I see Jim Valvano’s speech. I always imagine the look on the faces of the entire Rutgers team.  So, let me segue into what some might add to that list of things of importance.

Specifically, it’s also the things that California Representative Nancy Pelosi says that keeps her going and also provides great gifts. That item… chocolate. I guess she would say to focus on “Your family, your religion… and chocolate”. Here’s what the NY Times tells us:

She doesn’t “eat chocolate once per day, but constantly,” Ms. Pelosi said, “It’s an ongoing thing.”

“If there were one food I would have in life, it would be very dark chocolate ice cream,” she said. “If it were not invented, I would have had to invent it.”

Ms. Pelosi, a Democrat, has loved chocolate since her childhood in the Little Italy neighborhood of Baltimore, where she enjoyed parfaits at the corner store and, of course, gelato.

According to the article, Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream is her  favorite. She also keeps plenty of Ghirardelli chocolate squares on hand.

She also tells the reporter, that she keeps chocolates “In the desk, in the purse, readily available at hand,” she said of her stash. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

She also believes in chocolate diplomacy. Speaker John Boehner of Ohio “has given me plenty of delicious chocolate from his district,” she said; noting that she’s a fan of Graeter’s chocolates in Cincinnati.

What does she give Boehner in return? “I’ve sent him a number of things.”

I suspect that Boehner would say that she has given him, “A hard time”.

And for pic o’ day, I thought this was a funny elf on a shelf:

elf on shelf

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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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Our Christmas Party

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

      Today is our office Christmas Party. The Virginia Beach office has come to Richmond for our “get-together-breakfast”, and the South Carolina office is going to Staxx Omega. Yep… they have great pancakes.

     So, it’s a good morning but the blog is a shorty. Still… aren’t you thinking about pancakes just a little bit???

     And for pic o’ day, here’s one from the past that makes me laugh. Sometimes dogs just can’t help it!

Klegg

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Healthy and Grateful

Monday, November 24th, 2014

I have been looking for articles regarding thankfulness, which led me to an article by Leslie Barker in the Dallas Morning News. 10 Things You Can Do Right Now To Live Longer includes being grateful. Plus, it has a lot of other good ideas.

So, I am posting this, despite the fact that it probably is a bit of a stretch for a legal blog. But, I am grateful that you understand me by now. (see what I did there!!!) This article includes quotes and support from a few doctors. A good reminder of the benefit of being thankful… and some other stuff:

Floss:  Flossing removes plaque, the bacterial film that forms along your gum line. Lessen your chances of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer. (Dr. Larry Korenman).

Years added? More than six if you floss daily (which only 5 percent to 10 percent of Americans do), writes Dr. Michael Roizen in RealAge.

Get a colonoscopy: “It’s a great test,” says Radhika Vayani, an internal medicine doctor of osteopathy at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. That could save you from having colon cancer in five years.” Years added? Lots. Nine out of 10 people whose colon cancer is discovered early will still be alive in 10 years, according to the American Cancer Society. Many will live a normal lifespan.

Stop eating before you are full: Most Americans eat and eat “till we’re so full we’re about to be sick,” says Vayani. “But it takes the body 15 to 20 minutes to say, ‘You’re full.’”

Years added? Being 100 pounds overweight can subtract a decade from your life, according to an Oxford University study. So it stands to reason that maintaining a healthy weight and thus reducing your risk for diabetes, heart disease and various other unpleasantries would add at least some precious time to your life.

Use sunscreen: In a Centers for Disease Control study, only 32 percent of adults reported usually applying sunscreen. Yet this year in the U.S., 3.5 million people will get skin cancer and 76,000 more will develop melanoma, says the American Cancer Society. Every hour, someone will die from that deadliest form.

Years added? Possibly 20. The CDC study reported that someone who died of melanoma between 2000 and 2006 died two decades prematurely. Although the sun doesn’t cause all melanomas, it does cause most.

Stop smoking: Years added? “If you quit at age 30, you can increase your life by 10 years,” she says. Quit at 40? Add nine years. 50? Six years. 60? Three.

Sleep: Not getting enough has been linked to memory problems, hearing problems, anger, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, vehicle accidents and obesity. A decades-long international study of 1.3 million people found “unequivocal evidence of the direct link” between lack of sleep and premature death, according to sleepbetter.org.

Move: “Exercise has been demonstrated over and over to be useful,” Johnson says. “Truth is, any level is of value.” Walking, he says “gets you outside, and some outside is good as long as you don’t overdo it. Years added? At least three years. That’s the number from a study reported in The Lancet for people who exercised even 15 minutes a day. Put another way, a story on WBUR-FM, Boston’s public radio station, reported that every minute you exercise adds seven minutes to your life.

Eat produce: Benefits abound. Among them: Eating five or more servings per day — instead of a piddly three or less — reduces your risk of stroke by 26 percent, according to a study reported in Men’s Health. Years added? three to seven years.

Cultivate healthy relationships: Spending time with family and friends is “psychologically helpful,” Johnson says, adding that it “isn’t a cure-all; it won’t counteract a McDonald’s cheeseburger.”

Vayani tells patients, “If you have people in your life who are negative, who are pulling you down, you have to get rid of that relationship. It affects you more than you realize.” Years added? Nothing specific, but “studies have shown that people with more friends and people in healthy relationships live longer,” she says.

Be grateful: “We experience great things all day long that we fail to acknowledge,” Johnson says. “I don’t want to sound new wave-y, but our health is more than just physical health. I see dozens of people who have illnesses that would lay you or me low, but they seem totally happy. How in the Sam Hill can that be? They’ve chosen to look at the good instead of the challenges.”

Years added? Maybe some, maybe none. “Even if I don’t live a long time,” Johnson says, “I’m happy with what I experience.

And for pic o’ day, I am posting a picture that I have now posted for three straight years. This Thanksgiving pic never gets old!

 

thanksgiving with friends

 

 

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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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The Kobe Lesson

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The Sunday night NFL football game has the New England Patriots traveling to Indianapolis to play the Colts. It’s popular to pick the Patriots to win because people  (and I mean “people” as in ESPN  ”every second Patriots Network”) say that Tom Brady with his three Super Bowl rings, is the golden boy and will lead the Patriots to victory.

If you are a Patriots fan, you recall the glory days of their three Super Bowl victories. You realize that they have won 5 straight games.

If you aren’t a Patriots fan, then you recall that they got caught cheating for all three of those Super Bowl win years; that the NFL destroyed the cheating tapes before the public could see how much they cheated, and that you notice that no one ever talks about the cheating or that the Patriots have not won a Super Bowl without cheating.

In fact, you also pick the Colts to win on Sunday night because, since 2009 Brady is 3-11 on the road against teams with a winning record. What do you think? Do I sound like a Patriots fan? It’s how you look at it.

I admit it, I just enjoyed writing those last paragraphs. But, I realize that this is not a football pick em column. Instead, I want to segue from the Patriot success/failure thinking to NBA basketball and Kobe Bryant .

This past week, Kobe Bryant just set the NBA record for most missed field goals (shots) in a career. He passed former Boston Celtic great John Havlicek.

Now, it’s real easy to focus on all those misses. Or, to focus on what it also might mean. To focus on the negative would be to think that he just shoots too much or that he sure did miss a lot.

If you are looking for the positive for Kobe, then it means that he is not afraid of failure. It also means that he has been able to play a long time. Just staying at it! And that his team has always counted on him to shoot. And you might also think that Kobe’s Los Angeles teams have won five NBA championships.

Have you ever heard someone say, “he is so lucky” or “I wish I could get those breaks”. Yes, it’s either thinking like that or thinking that life is a moveable feast.

And for pic o’ day, it’s real easy to feel like this by the end of the week!

I am done

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Hair Power

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Gene Keady’s hair. Spending $600 a week. The power of a comb over. Probably all of the previous statements mean nothing to you; but combined, they make quite a story about what was important to a coach. (Indianapolis Star)

I call this the power of the comb over. It also may be classified as “what’s one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

First, let’s travel back in time to the story of Gene Keady’s hair.

Gene 1

 

 

Gene 2

 

 

Gene Keady did not like going bald. So, he decided to fight it. As basketball coach of Purdue University, he knew he was going to be on TV. It caused him to hire a hairdresser. She dyed his hair and even added hair extensions weekly… at a weekly expense of $600.

Let’s quickly review. He thought that he looked good in the above pictures. He wrapped his dyed hair around his head as though he was wearing a turban, with hair extensions inserted.

Thankfully, there came a time that he met a lady who he ended up marrying. She talked him into getting rid of the weekly expense and scary hair. Below is a before and after… sans hair!

Before and after

 

Now, let me connect this comb over to the practice of law. It shows the significance of appearance. It’s why I put value on scarring.

When I ask a client if they are bothered by their scar, whether on a leg, arm or the face; I then relay that answer to the adjuster. To me, it’s not very persuasive when a callous adjuster tells me that the scarring is no big deal.

Some clients are impacted by no longer wearing a bathing suit or perhaps a sleeveless dress. Others make sure that they always wear specific makeup to cover up the scar.

An old British Television series was titled Keeping Up Appearances. It was centered on the life of Hyacinth Bucket, which she pronounced Bouquet because she aspired to be upper class. She did not want to appear less. Every episode reminded us of the importance of appearance to others.

So it is when a car crash causes injury and harm that truly impacts the way a person thinks about themselves. Coach Keady personally was concerned about his own appearance. Enough to spend that amazing weekly expense. He did not want to be bald for television. It doesn’t matter if someone else said that such a loss did not matter.

And for pic o’ day… the get-away:

squirrell get_away

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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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