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Archive for The Human Spirit

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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Authority is the Authority

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

You know the old saying that everyone has a boss… even when they are the boss. I have had a judge tell me that a trial was going to be scheduled during my vacation, and that his courtroom was not dictated by my schedule. Sure enough… he was not controlled by my schedule.

This week, the National Basketball Association kicked off its season. They have 3 referees at the game calling fouls and enforcing the rules. The refs are paid significantly less than the players but they are still the authority.

The rules of evidence, just like rules in a sports contest, are ultimately the rules that govern the play. There is always authority and consequences for not obeying authority, just as there are prison inmates who would ruefully tell us that they broke the rules.

I started the blog with all of that to lead to this video below. I know that you might have a device that will make it difficult to click and watch. In brief description, it shows a boxer who was not happy with a referee counting him out and stopping the fight. Then, he punched “the authority”. I am sure there will be consequences to pay!

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The Cause and Effects

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

 “Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone; But there’s half-a-hundred ripples Circling on and on and on, Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea. And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.” (James W. Foley)

Part of my job as a lawyer is to establish all the injury and damages from a crash. A while back I met with a doctor regarding his care for one of my clients. In the meeting, he told me that he did not like to tell his patients that they had a permanent injury. He felt that it would become self-limiting if they thought that they would never get better.

Sometimes in a jury trial, I will tell the jury about the injuries and medical bills in the case. Then I proceed to the elements of damage of my client that include pain and suffering and mental anguish. Sometimes that would make the jury roll their eyes just to hear the words pain and suffering. I think that they rolled their eyes because I didn’t do a very good job in conveying all that my client had suffered.

In one seminar that I attended, I heard a lawyer quantify pain and suffering. He reminded me that we gladly pay between $25-$75 for a shot of novacaine at the dentist’s office, just to be without pain for an hour. So, how much was pain and suffering worth for someone that was going to have it for the rest of their life.

Now, let me switch lanes here to discuss what would happen, if we could change our mental anguish. More specifically, studies have been done to reverse aging effects, just by changing environment, thinking and mindset. It kind of reminded me of that doctor who did not want his patients to think about their chronic pain and permanent injury.

The New York Times had a story in its Health section titled “What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set?   I won’t be able to do justice to the study with a blog summary. Basically, it discusses the studies of a psychologist named Ellen Langer who believes that she has proven that we are what we think we are. She applied it to age.

age

Basically, she proved that we are as old as we think we are. In one study, she demonstrated in a study involving elderly at a nursing home, that memory can improve when incentives are given to remember. In another study, she brought 8 men in a controlled area and saw effects of the study that reversed the aging.

It’s admittedly a long article. For that reason, on a Monday you might not have time to read it. However, just as the effects of mental anguish may be overlooked; so may the effects of positive reinforcement. We are who we think we are!

 

And for pic o’ day…

 

calories

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Pure Determination

Monday, October 6th, 2014

On November 8, 1970, Tom Dempsey kicked a 63-yard field goal as time expired, to give the New Orleans Saints a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions. Just the act of kicking a winning field goal would not be very news-grabbing today, except for the dogged determination that Tom Dempsey represented.

Tom Dempsey was born without fingers on his right hand, and without toes on his right foot. Despite his anatomy, he was determined to play football and become a place kicker. Tom D

With long hours of practice, he played in college and was good enough to be signed by the New Orleans Saints. On that fateful day in November, the Saints sent Dempsey in to kick from the forty five yard line. When the kicked ball sailed through the uprights, it set an NFL field goal record.

His record setting kick, which incidentally stood for 43 years, generated a great deal of controversy because many thought that his foot and modified shoe actually gave him an improper kicking advantage. So much so that the NFL adopted a rule informally called the Tom Dempsey Rule which required that any shoe that is worn by a player with an artificial limb on his kicking leg must have a kicking surface that conforms to that of a normal kicking shoe.   

Dempsey’s refusal to give up ultimately led him to be inducted into the American Football Association’s Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame. At the time of his record-setting kick, he broke the previous kicking record by 7 yards.

DID YOU KNOW that the opposing kicker for the Detroit Lions had just given them the lead by kicking an 18 yard field goal with 11 seconds to go in the game, just prior to Dempsey kicking his game winner. At the time, his coach called on Dempsey to kick the field goal, by calling him by his nickname… Stumpy. I’m not sure that anyone would want to be called Fatty, Tubby or Stumpy!

wrong

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The Beetle Monument

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Yesterday’s stock market was almost like a Grisham fiction novel. The night before, there had been a reported ebola virus diagnosis in the United States, with the possibility of another. All of sudden this virus wasn’t in another country; It was here.

Tekmira Pharmaceutical Company is the leading manufacturer of medication for the ebola virus. It immediately gained 6 dollars a share for its stock price. Can you see why I say that it sounded like a fiction novel? One reported case… a 21 dollar stock moves to 27 dollars. Some shareholders reaped huge profits.

Wednesday’s stock market was down across the board. For some, panic set in. For others, it was a buying opportunity. The “Haves” and the “Have-nots” on opposite sides. An opportunity for some to turn a negative into a positive, if you believe that the market will rebound.

That reminded me of the beetle monument in Enterprise, Alabama. They call it something more formal: The Boll Weevil Monument.monument

It’s a tribute to the beetle that was erected by the town’s citizens, in 1919. It stands as the only monument that was built to honor an agricultural pest.

The story behind it is what happens when a negative becomes a positive. In 1915, beetles appeared from Mexico into the fields of Alabama and began destroying the cotton crops. By 1918, farmers were losing entire crops. They were in financial ruin.

One farmer saw it as an opportunity to switch to peanut farming and convinced other farmers to do the same. It was a switch to success. Soon, the catalyst for change was recognized and honored as reflected in the statute inscription which states,  “In profound appreciation of the Boll Weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity…”.

In my law practice, I have seen this same catalyst occur. Some clients have taken their settlement proceeds to effectuate change or bring attention to some product defect. Others have told me that after fighting through their hardship to get better, it made them truly appreciate good health. As Albert Einstein put it, “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”.

DID YOU KNOW that one out of every four “animals” on earth is a beetle?

And from our pic o’ day comes wisdom… or something like that:

on the computer

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