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This, That and Food Thoughts

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I come to Our Friday Blog, which usually means that I feel freedom to wander. Here we are in March. In fact, March Madness basketball has me completely distracted today. I cannot wait to see what the blog is about. (Oh wait…)

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to lose 5 pounds. Only 9 more pounds to go! But I think I know why. I started a 14 day diet. I enjoyed the food on it so much that I finished it in 2 days.

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I saw a funny quote on Facebook. “Welcome to Plastic Surgery Addicts Anonymous. I am seeing a lot of new faces in the crowd this week and I just have to say, I am really disappointed”.

The Law of Association: You will become the average of the people that you spend the most time with.

And here is a thought on decisions. Did you know that on February 1, 2008, Microsoft tendered an offer for close to 45 billion dollars to buy Yahoo? Yahoo rejected the offer because their CEO, Jerry Yang, said that the bid “substantially undervalues Yahoo”. In 2016, Yahoo was bought by Verizon for 4.48 billion dollars. Hmm

If someone offers you a breath mint… never turn it down.

Can you write “never odd or even” backwards?

And finally, I am still focused on my bad decision making. Not as bad a Yahoo! But, I strangely found myself eating Nachos yesterday (because I gave myself the excuse that I was watching the tournament) Now that I sit here…not so  proud of my lunch selection… this pic o’ day just seemed appropriate.

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Have a great weekend!

A Movie… Predicting Technology?

It’s Monday… is it time to refuel?

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I know… I am being crazy. I didn’t want to seem mean with that picture. I really can relate! In the past, I can remember “rewarding” myself with cake. (and maybe cheesecake too) And how can you be angry at cake?

Now… on to some smart stuff:

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OK, some real smart stuff.

Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is turning 50 years-old next month. (Wikipedia) It was the highest grossing movie of 1968. In 1991, it was described as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry

But how did the writer/director (Kubrick) and writer (Arthur C. Clarke) see into the future of technology and predict the iPad and flat screen televisions?

In the movie, there are flat screened tablet computers. Of course, this was long before there was any talk of flat-screened televisions. It did not make the final cut of the movie, but the original plan was to even include a touch screen. Here is a shot from the movie:

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These “tablet computers” were called “Newspads“. They looked portable in the movie, even though they were welded into the tables for special effect purposes.

So how did they do it? Kubrick and Clarke met with an MIT cognitive scientist, who was also an artificial intelligence pioneer. The artificial intelligence computer in the movie is named “HAL” which stood for “Heuristic Algorithmic”. That meeting, coupled with their own thoughts is part of the history of how they did it.

The Wikipedia attachment does more justice to the production and legacy of the movie. In fact, I was going to compare some of this technology to Facebook. Then, I read about how this movie was included in a recent lawsuit. (Wall Street Journal article that requires subscription, so not attached)

It is probably not surprising that the lawsuit involves Apple. The first iPad was released in 2010. Samsung released a sim­i­lar de­vice about a year later. Then, Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement.

Samsung’s defense to the lawsuit alleged that Apple did not invent the iPad. The proof was that the device was already in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Right in the pleadings! You did not invent what was shown in 1968.

Sam­sung’s movie defense included photos attached to their answer, as well as YouTube links from the film.  The judge ul­ti­mately ruled that the photos and links were in­ad­mis­si­ble as ev­i­dence. But, this just added to the mystique of the movie and Kubrick’s vision of the future of technology.

I have always been fascinated with Steve Job’s determination about that lawsuit:

I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.” —Steve Jobs to Walter Isaacson, March 2010.

Here is more information on what happened in the lawsuit. (here) How about that?

And for pic o’ day, I searched for a “smart picture and we ended up with… more smart pups:

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“Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture”

I just felt like starting Our Friday Blog with something that made me laugh!

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So let’s move to our story!

The song said, “shake it like a Polaroid picture“. Today, that is really old school because everyone is taking pictures with their cell phones. But do you know the story of George Eastman (wikipedia), who founded the Eastman Kodak Company? Eastman is the only person with two stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, recognizing him and his invention of roll film.

According to his wikipedia entry, he was one of the outstanding philanthropists of his time, donating more than $100 million to various projects in Rochester; Cambridge, Massachusetts; at two historically black colleges in the South; and in several European cities.[7] In 1918, he endowed the establishment of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, and in 1921 a school of medicine and dentistry there

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But the real drama of his life occurred on March 14, 1932. George Eastman who was well known as an inventor, philanthropist, and founder of Eastman Kodak, invited friends over to witness the rewriting of his will. (Yes, I know. A curious reason for a party)

He had made the decision to give a good portion of his money and prized possessions, which included his large house, to the home city…Rochester. As part of the earlier “giving math”, he was bequeathing (not a word I can normally work into the blog) his house and a $2 million endowment (about $34 million today) to the University of Rochester. Eastman also was donating money to medical and dental dispensaries across the city, to ensure that no child in Rochester would go without proper dental work. Finally, he left $200,000 (about $3.4 million today) to his niece, Ellen. (He had never married)

Cheerfully signing the will in front of everyone, he assured them that this was just a matter of confirming his wishes. Later, it was determined that he also wanted his friends to see that he was mentally alert, so the credibility of the will wouldn’t be questioned. After all the t’s were crossed and i’s were dotted, he asked if everyone could excuse themselves for a moment. When his friends had left the room he took out a pen and wrote the following:

To my friends,
My work is done.
Why wait?
GE

As the story goes, he then took out a pistol out from his nightstand and shot himself in the heart, ending his life at the age of 74. It was well known that he had been suffering back pain for several months, which was probably related to stenosis and radiating pain from his discs.

There are many “take-aways” from that story. I am reminded that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

I don’t want to end our blog on a down note. Instead… I hope you have a great weekend. I feel like it is going to be a good one. These are the good days. Right?

And for our pic o…. weekend, this makes me laugh too:

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Advice From Past and Present

I expect to get an immediate reaction from you! From 1950. “Tips to Look after your husband“.

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I knew that you would have an emotional reaction! Remember, this is what some were thinking in 1950. I don’t expect that these wives really felt like they were “living”.

It’s all about advice. I say that because I keep getting emails that give me all kinds of advice on shopping, “lawyering” and financial ideas. Plus, there are emails trying to get me all riled up politically. And I haven’t even mentioned Facebook posts.

I guess it all comes down to knowing who you should listen to. Like maybe Lincoln should have gotten this advice from an elementary school kid:

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Now that would have been good advice!

Or maybe even good cooking advice!

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This is on my mind, because it is about this time of year, that we decide on what seminars lawyers from the firm should attend for the year. There are all kinds of ways “to do it better”. I just think that you have to stop and really think whether these “experts” have the right way of doing things.

Think about it. In life, who should we listen to?  Don’t you think that sometimes common sense just rules the day. You know what is the right. It’s that inner voice. That’s the advice that we should listen and apply!  And just as the ending of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” ends with…and that has made all the difference!

And for pic o’ day, this picture just strikes a familiar chord with me:

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Positivity Over Negativity. (Plus Barney Fife!)

In the world of strange facts, dolphins sleep with one eye open. That doesn’t seem like good rest! Maybe there are just some things that are not meant to be seen!

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This is really a blog about negativity… and then positivity.

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I read over the weekend that Lindsay Vonn had announced that she would not be attending the White House as a winning Olympic athlete. Then, in her first event, she failed to medal in the downhill Super G and dropped to sixth in the standings. (ESPN)  That’s when an avalanche of negativity hit her online.

Because of her previous political statement, she received tons of hate tweets. (USA Today) Such tweets as “You got what you deserved”, and “One loss down and only two more to go”. 

One USA teammate was sickened by the negativity directed at Vonn. She tweeted,  “It’s gross. I have been mistakenly getting her hate mail for weeks!”

A lot of times when I read a news article online, I find myself scrolling to the bottom of the article to read the comments. Even on tragic stories, you can find some of the meanest comments attached to the article. Sometimes it involves an attempt at bad humor, and other times just a remark about how the person deserved it.

Several years ago, one of my friends lost his mother in a car accident. There was a news article in the local paper that even included a picture of the her car that was in the crash. The story reported how she had been killed on impact. I was so saddened by the story and my friend’s loss. But sure enough, at the bottom of the article there were negative comments that included one that basically said, “She got what she deserved. Old people shouldn’t be driving anyway“.

The Vonn story is a reminder that there are people who think that their disagreement means that there is license to be mean. You can’t change the anger in society. You can only control your own thinking and how you treat others. Just typing that makes me feel like I need to post something right now, just to make me smile.

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I read that Vonn story while drinking coffee on Sunday morning. Then, during the Sunday morning church service, the minister included Psalms 103 in his message, and remarked that he thought that it was the most positive passage in the Bible. (Here)

 

The Psalm includes such verses as  “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” and “Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul“.  Reading it made me feel positive. Being grounded in what is important and not to be influenced by the negativity of others. And then… I felt so positive!

Sure, some days it can feel like this… Right?

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But other days it’s really the positive!

 

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A Meeting… Plus School Pictures

I have made a personal observation about Our blog. Usually I get to Wednesday and I find myself a little behind, a little bit scrambling and then I find myself posting pictures quickly for Our Blog. And here we are on Wednesday.

I thought I would post a couple today that just made me laugh. One I saw on Instagram, and another on Facebook. By the way, I always appreciate pictures for the blog, if you want to send one to me at Joel@JoelBieber.com. (Yes…shameless picture begging!) I promise to give credit for the laughs!

What do you think of these? First, meetings make me laugh anyway. Right?

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And last, school pictures are classics anyway and this teacher took it to a new level!

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It’s going to be a great Wednesday… I feel it! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Science-Prophecy-Technology?

First, and unrelated to the blog, I know that you are wondering what I think of the Michelle Obama portrait that was unveiled yesterday at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

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Well, I think that Ben Shapiro might have captured my thoughts with his tweet.

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But I digress!

If you look at the title of the blog… it must be getting crazy! Although,  this blog mixes a little bit of conspiracy theory with a little bit of Science/technology?

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In Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift described the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. He gave their size and speeds of rotation. This was more than a hundred years before either moon was discovered! Was he “simply” a Martian? Did he just randomly guess it. Was it because he called the Psychic Network. Or is this the explanation? (Here) (Here’s a hint, maybe someone had written about moons in the 1600’s and it was just a random writing)

In Wall Street, Gordon Gecko said that “the most valuable commodity I know is information“. So here’s an article from USA Today titled “You are being tracked. Deal with it“. It is worth reading in it’s entirety, but I will give you a sampling . It’s why you might be talking about buying something from Best Buy... and then an ad pops up on your iPad with a Best Buy discount. Is your iPad really that wicked smart?

As the article indicates, your mobile phone already tracks every move you make, thanks to GPS and the location tracking feature on most apps. When you surf online on your computer, Google, Amazon, Facebook and others know which websites you went to, how long you spent there, what you clicked on, with whom you interacted with, which stores you spent money with and more.

The article goes on to discuss TV snooping that obviously includes tracking what you are watching and storing. Plus, your TV can probably hear your conversations. Just an interesting “throw-in”. I encourage you to read this reporter’s take on technology and how it affects us. What do you think is out there next?

And for pic o’ day… more information might not always be good?

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Sometimes I Just Want to Laugh!

I just wanted to start the blog with some pictures to make me laugh. Because Mondays give some creative license, right? And then I promise that I will have a real topic today. The fake of it is actually the reality. You’ll See! Or should it really be SeA? But first…

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Because just seeing “someone” laugh makes me laugh:

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And these “guys” are funny anyway:

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Which is worth more laughter to me!

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And because I did promise a real blog, here goes. It all started when I was looking at another law firm’s website. At their client comment section, they had several credited comments. One was from “Alan Smithee“. Do you know the story of Alan Smithee? Well, just in case, here’s the wikipedia description that I now borrow.

Alan Smithee is an official pseudonym used by film directors who wish to disown a project. Coined in 1968 and used until it was formally discontinued in 2000“. Here’s where it started.

The Smithee pseudonym was created for use on the film Death of a Gunfighter, released in 1969. During its filming, lead actor Richard Widmark was unhappy with director Robert Totten and arranged to have him replaced by Don Siegel. Siegel later estimated that Totten had spent 25 days filming, while he himself had spent 9–10 days. Each had roughly an equal amount of footage in Siegel’s final edit. But Siegel made it clear that Widmark had effectively been in charge the entire time rather than either director. When the film was finished, Siegel did not want to take the credit for it and Totten refused to take credit in his place. The DGA panel hearing the dispute agreed that the film did not represent either director’s creative vision“.

So the story goes, they allowed to originally credit director “Al Smith“. But, that was considered too common a name and it was already being used “for real” in the film industry. So, the last name was first changed to “Smithe” and then “Smithee. Then it became Alan

The film turned out to be critically praised including the famed critic Roger Ebert, who said, “Director Allen Smithee, a name I’m not familiar with, allows his story to unfold naturally.” 

The wikipedia attachment has all the movies listed where Alan Smithee was credited. But, I still wonder who is playing a joke on the law firm with their comment from Alan Smithee. Or are they just being funny. And that’s worth a good laugh too!

It’s going to be a great Monday… I just feel it! And finally, I guess it’s a reminder that things will always work out:

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A Little More About Our TV Ads

Yesterday we shot TV spots that included a spot in our market, for the upcoming Super Bowl. The ad should run between the third and fourth quarter.

I have shot my ads at different locations over the years. This time, we were at a TV station in Richmond, Virginia.

Our social media team is putting together a “behind-the-scenes” of our ads. I liked the GoPro cameras there, but I noticed that none of the cameras seemed to help put more hair on my head. Just saying! (Is it wrong to covet a better head of hair? Yes… it probably is but that’s the excitement of Hollywood!)

Which leads me to some behind the scenes trivia from prior TV shows and movies. For instance, the bench that was used in the movie Forrest Gump where Forrest sat for most of the movie as he told his story…

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was a movie prop that had been placed in Chippewa Square in downtown Savannah, Georgia.  It has since been moved to the Savannah History Museum.

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I guess life really is like a box of chocolates…and a bench that made history!

Over 500 vehicles were destroyed during the filming of Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon. However, the producers of the movie did not have to pay anything for them. They were given to them by an insurance company because they had all already been damaged in a flood.

Here’s some craziness from TV past. NBC’s longest airing western, Bonanza, that aired from 1959-1973, has a cost-cutting curious piece of trivia.

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All the actors received one costume at the beginning of each season. This was done to keep the cost of costumes down and make it easier in case they had to reshoot any of the scenes.

For our commercials… I did change a few times but no popcorn was harmed during the shooting of the Super Bowl ad!

And now our pic o’ day… (Some Old McDonald trivia?)

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Shooting Our TV Ads

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I love the motivation of Tony Robbins. Regularly, I listen to his podcasts as I travel to work.

He isn’t bothered by whether he is overweight or whether his voice sounds like chalk on a chalkboard. He is positive and a great marketer. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why is Tony Robbins so fat“? Probably not. Plus, I  like wearing black too. Just saying!

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(Just threw the President in there to see if you were still with me)

I respect great marketing!

Today I am headed to “cut” some TV ads. That includes our spot for the Super Bowl for all our markets.

I had to put thought into what I was going to say… and what I am wearing. Should I wear black. Probably… not so much.

It is 30 seconds to try and grab attention, and get someone to call. What do you say?

This scenario has happened more than I care to admit. I get on the elevator and I am asked, “Are you Joel Bieber?”. I smile and admit it. (That is the correct thing to do. Right?) Then they go on to say, “I have been watching your commercials since I was a little kid”. Should I say, “Yes, I was a little kid too“… even though I wasn’t! At least they don’t say, “just how old are you?”!

Instead, I decide to be like Tony Robbins. Stay positive! (And if I could wear black…maybe so!) There’s value in hanging around.

And that’s why we go to shoot more ads today. I always get a good laugh at the studio. So, look out for us in the Super Bowl. Between the third and fourth quarter. And forgive me if I look fat and sound gravely. At least I am feeling positive!!!

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