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The Riddle of Life

Sometimes I like to start out the blog with something to test your thinking. So, here’s a riddle for you.

Dave and Carl were born the same day of the same month, of the same year. They were born to the same mother and the same father; yet, they are not twins. How is that possible? (Answer is below this blog’s pic o’ day)

Why do I start with a mental puzzle riddle? Because this is a blog about extending life. Whenever I read an article on extending life… it extends my attention span!

Gerontology is the study of aging. (Wikipedia). More specifically, researchers and doctors are studying the effects of social, psychological, cognitive and biological possibilities for extending our lifespan. It differs from Geriatrics because that is the study of the elderly and aging. Virginia Tech even has a Center for Gerontology.

Right now, researchers in this field are studying medications on animals. There are claims that some of these medications have truly extended the lives of rats by up to two years.

Millions and millions of dollars being spent to extend life, even for a little. Yet, if you were to ask a dying man how much he would pay for two more years of quality life, he would be unable to put a price tag of worth. Priceless!

Gerontologists have determined that length of life can be impacted by heredity, diet, weight, sleep and depression. It can also be impacted by trauma.

I suspect that you know where this blog is headed. So, let me put in the last piece of the puzzle.

We typically include a claim for pain or permanent injury against the graph of a person’s life expectancy. These charts utilize studies of an average life span; much like a car dealer uses the Blue Book for a fair market value of a car.

Usually, one of my closing comments at trial asks the jury to quantify the value of a permanent injury over the life expectancy of my client . Meanwhile, researchers are proving the point that extending  life has unlimited value.

I expect someday in the next few years, we will hear about drug companies seeking approval from the FDA for some kind of pill that should extend the quality  and years of life. Hopefully, this will also impact diseases that effect the mind and body.

The positive is that progress is being made. The converse to that is that a car crash can easily be shown to impact a life span just from long term pain. Many times, the real damage in a car crash that far exceeds medical bills.

One last thing. Here’s a shameless plug.  Tomorrow, we will be emailing and posting our June eBlast. I hope you will click on it and check it out. It has a picture of my mom and dad at a picnic, as well as a photo of my nieces in our new Joel Bieber sunglasses.

And for pic o’ day, a dog who will not be outdone by something small called the Grand Canyon!


Our riddle answer: They are not twins because… they are part of triplets!!!!!

More Crazy: Laws

Sometimes I just pull out the list of archaic laws that are still on the books in various states for a “head-shaking” moment. In Virginia, I can look at the legislative comments for some of our laws, to get a hint on the intent of  the legislation as it headed for vote to become law.

For these laws below, I cannot see an explanation… that could ever explain these.

In Maryland, it is still against the law for lions to attend the theatre. I don’t know the reason, but it is a relief for theatre attendees.

In Nevada, you cannot drive camels on the highway. I guess gas consumption is encouraged?

In Rhode Island, it is against the law to throw pickle juice at a trolley. I think that should be adopted for all traffic!

In Washington State, it is against the law to represent that your parents are rich. I suspect this has something to do with banking.

And finally for today’s blog… In New Jersey, it is against the law to slurp your soup. There probably is some food joke that should be inserted here involving Governor Christie, but I will leave him alone today.

And finally for pic o’ day, how about some poetry?


Does First Place Law Matter?

I am enjoying the NBA basketball finals, even though they keep me up late at night. Throughout the years, I have watched a lot of sports. I am always reminded that no one remembers who came in second. Only first place matters.


That’s why there are no foam hands for fans to hold up, with two fingers showing.

In television, stations have figured out a way to claim first, even if everyone claims to be in first.

For marketing purposes, CBS, NBC and ABC all try to market their dominance to advertisers so they can charge higher rates. CBS claims to be the nation’s most watched network. NBC reminds us that they are number one among viewers in the age bracket of 18 to 49. ABC tells us that it is first in entertainment marketing. Of course, in that claim, they do not include sports since NBC has the highly rated Sunday Night Football.

Long ago, our firm decided not to focus on titles of best, first or most. On our website, we do not discuss money. Of course, I was reminded by a sage lawyer when I first started, that large settlements or verdicts do not necessarily mean quality of representation. As he put it, “the best way to get a million dollar verdict is to try a 3 million dollar case poorly”.

I am in the midst of interviewing lawyers for positions in our Richmond and Virginia Beach offices. Usually I say to them that I am looking for applicants with good minds, who care about people. A basketball coach once said, “you can’t teach height”.

In law, you can learn how to research, organize your evidence, maybe periodically try a good case, or even try to work harder than the opposing party. It’s hard to teach mind; And more importantly, hard to teach “having heart”.

To date, I haven’t seen anyone awarding Largest Lawyers’ Heart, but I think that’s the person who I would want working with me. Lawyers who claim to be super can keep their capes at their own office. I appreciate the person who tells me a story of “why it matters”. That’s just my 2 cents on that. (well, I guess I did mention money)

And for pic o’ day, speaking of good mind and understanding instructions…


“Mini” Driver

This is a blog about a young driver making a difference. As a Firm, we have been proudly involved in a small financial way as we have watched Timmy Tyrrell grow up physically as a driver, and a force to fight cancer.

One of our paralegals, Amy A., brought a special driver to my attention a few years ago as she told me about named Timmy “Mini” Tyrrell. He is known as Mini and his driving has become Mini’s Mission.


Driving his car in races on any given Sunday, he has won more than 50 races. It is amazing that he is only 10-years-old, driving against some drivers who are 3 or 4 times his age. In fact, racetracks that are Nascar sanctioned require that drivers be at least 16-years-old. So, for now, he is unique as a competitor.

More importantly, he is amazing for what he has accomplished as a driver, beyond his wins. Here’s a story with video from news station

His true passion is helping kids fight cancer. That has become Mini’s Mission. Initially, he started by raising dollars and awareness on a personal level. Then, he decided to use his skills as a driver.

That caught the attention of Nascar driver Jeff Gordon. He matches every dollar that “Mini” raises.


To date, Mini has raised more than $270,000 for pediatric cancer research. He now holds a kick ball tournament to raise funds. There’s more information at

He’s a driver that I think will be doing big things on the circuit, in years to come; And more importantly, doing big things to help fight cancer.



And for pic o’ day, this makes me think of self-serve fast serveL


A Friday Selection

It’s Friday and I am headed to Wilmington, North Carolina. We are going to be celebrating my nephew’s high school graduation.

I decided to post an article on how to plan now, to get a bigger Social Security check when you retire. You might find that useful and decide to click here (CNBC), or you might say “Come on Joel, it’s almost the weekend”.

Well…. that’s a true Friday blog!

Have a great weekend.



Bank Robbery by Taxi

I can almost imagine that Stanley Geddie started out his day by repeating what the Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley used to say to himself in the mirror, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me”.

I say that because it seems that Mr. Geddie had quite the unusual confidence when he decided to take a taxi to a Tallahassee bank… to rob the bank!

According to the story in the NY Daily News, when the taxi arrived to the front door of the bank, Geddie said to the driver regarding payment for the ride, “I will take care of you when I come out”.

Then Geddie went inside the bank and headed directly to the bank manager.  According to reports, he told the bank manager that he was carrying a .357 handgun and C4 plastic explosives. Then, he threatened to “blow this place up,”

Then, he demanded $100,000 from the manager, who “invited” Geddie into his office and then closed his office door. That’s when a teller called the police.

When police arrived, the taxi driver told them that Geddie was drunk and had not paid his $25.50 cab fare. The officers entered the manager’s office. There, they found Geddie sitting down. He appeared to be “intoxicated and spaced out,” court records show. The police then used a stun gun on Geddie after he refused to be arrested. (I’m not sure what refused to be arrested means)

The police then searched him and determined that he did not have any weapons in his possession… but he was  wearing two pair of pants. (I would rather order two dinners than wear two pair of pants)

He later told the police that he was wearing both pants because he had planned to remove the outer pair as a disguise.

Geddie was charged with petty theft for the unpaid taxi fare, resisting an officer, robbery without a weapon and two probation violations. Of course, that still begs the question, “Would the taxi driver have recognized him after he removed his outside disguise pants?’.

I am still fascinated that he told the driver to wait while he went in to rob the bank. And the driver was still waiting when the police arrived!

And for pic o’ day, this is all business!


Pond or Pool Payment

I just saw an opinion out of the Iowa Court of Appeals that reminded me of a personal experience. In that Iowa case (Reilly Construction Co. V. Bachelder, Inc), a property owner and a construction company were arguing over a contract issue.

At issue was whether the property owner owed money to the construction company for a ‘pond” that had been constructed in the backyard. The company was looking for payment while the property owner refused to pay. The property owner claimed that construction of a pond must include water. The company claimed that construction  of a pond just meant digging an area that would hold water. “Here’s your pond”.

Justice Mary Tabor wrote the majority opinion that stated, “By definition, a pond is a body of water” and that the pond was not built unless it included water. So,  no payment was due until the pond… was a pond!

My personal experience takes me back several years, when I decided to install a pool in the back of my house. I called the pool installation company, who quickly sent out a salesman with a contract.

The contract provided a 20% deposit of the purchase price for the pool, and the remainder of the balance was due when the pool was filled with water. The salesman predicted that the pool would be complete in about 8 weeks and that my backyard would look like a construction site until then.

I took  a deep breath and wrote the deposit check. In two days, a bulldozer was out there and my backyard looked like a scary mud pit. Three days later, it still looked like a scary work area except that there was a hole in the middle… with water in it.

I received a phone call that night from the salesman who asked if he could come by and get his check. Their explanation was basically like the pond case. Water meant completion for money… not completion of pool for money.

What do you think that I did? Well, you know what I did! And several weeks later, the company received the remainder of the payment. It wasn’t a very good experience but I had a pool.

At the time, my Jack Russell didn’t care that the pool was finished. The dog saw water and was in it. By that test, the pool was finished in 6 days. Of course, I think that she enjoyed the mud pit too.


And our pic o’ day is on leadership… or lack of leadership!


A Name and a Number Lawsuit

Here comes news from the Supreme Court… of China. Never thought I would be blogging on that Court, but it involves Michael Jordan. It’s a lawsuit about his name and the number that he used when he played NBA basketball.

Here’s what Reuters reported:

Earlier this year, a court ruled in favor of Qiaodan over the trademark dispute, a ruling that was upheld by the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court, an official at the Chinese firm and legal representatives for Jordan told Reuters.

“In light of the trademark dispute ruling, we intend to appeal to the Supreme People’s Court for retrial,” the statement said, adding that a separate case with Qiaodan Sports over naming rights was still ongoing.

Reuters could not reach the Beijing court for comment. In 2013, the state-run Xinhua news agency said Qiaodan Sports had sued Michael Jordan for damaging its reputation and demanded $8 million (£5 million) in compensation.

Basically what Jordan is claiming is that a sports company named Qiaodan Sports has built its business around the number “23” and his name, without his permission. As the report indicates… he previously lost in the Beijing Municipal Court. The 2013 suit brought by Qiaodan against Jordan for damaging their reputation is still ongoing.

All I know, China seems like a long drive from here. I’m glad I don’t have to handle that fight!
“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
― Tom Bodett


And for pic o’ day… these are probably reruns but they both make me smile. Good for a Monday!


Yes Yes to Donuts!

It’s a Friday and it’s National Donut Day. I cannot imagine anything else that I should possibly blog about today!

In 1938, the first Friday of every June was set aside to honor the men and women of the Salvation Army who served donuts to soldiers during World War I.

It all started because a young military doctor named Morgan Pett stopped to pick up 8 dozen donuts for the wounded soldiers on his base. That grew into an event that incorporated  Salvation Army volunteers, who gave donuts in multiple wars out of designated donut huts. is a website that is dedicated to the event. This website also attributes the day as connected to food historian John T. Edge.

Donuts to boost the morale of the soldiers. For me, just hearing the word donut boosts my morale!

And here’s a couple of pic o’s that include Governor Chris Christie and a lesson on friendship.



A Krispy Kreme Apology

From across the pond (For some reason that makes me laugh when speaking of England!) comes a unique story in donut land.

Someone in the marketing department for the UK brand Krispy Kreme donuts, came up with a headline-grabbing campaign. The “Krispy Kreme Klub” which was created to  allow children to decorate their own donuts.

Encouraging children to join the “KKK” somehow did not catch the company’s attention until the public outcry over the marketing that had gone awry.

     In a statement, the company said: “Krispy Kreme apologizes unreservedly for the inappropriate name of a customer promotion at one of our stores. We are truly sorry for any offence this completely unintentional oversight may have caused. “
     I guess the old adage that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” is just a bad slogan!
     And for pic o’ day…
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