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Hot Dog Bun: Behind the Scenes

Last week included going to a Baltimore Orioles playoff game. Of course, that necessitated that I go to the concessions during the game. I needed some ballpark food. That’s when I saw behind the scenes.

All of a sudden, I saw a heavyset fellow behind the counter preparing the hot dog buns. He would take a bun and place it in a paper container. He was preparing dozens of these to be ready for the hot dog. So, a person at the counter could just grab the container and bun and throw in the dog when it was ordered.

That all seemed reasonable. What I wish I had not seen was the entire process. As he readied the buns with his two fingers, he also picked at his pants, scratched his nose, wiped his face and picked up something off the floor. All this behind the scenes stuff was taking place without gloves. Needless to say, I vowed never to order a Camden Yards hot dog. A “note to self”.

This behind-the-scenes also reminded me of some bad past corporate behavior that is now remembered as the Pinto Memo.

The Ford Pinto was a subcompact car that was manufactured during the years of 1971-1980. It was competing with imports from Volkswagen, Datsun and Toyota. That’s what caused the Ford engineers to design a car to increase gas mileage by making it lighter. Consequently, the car was designed with no classic, heavyweight bumper as well as the usual reinforcement spacing between  the rear panel and gas tank.

With only 22 months of concept to production, Ford was billing its Pinto as The Little Carefree Car.   Soon, carefree became scary car as the public became aware that rear-end collisions were causing the cars to blow up into fiery fires from spilled fuel. Critics began to allege that the lack of structure reinforcement was the cause of these fires and resulting deaths. Lawsuits followed.

Thereafter, the magazine Mother Jones printed a memo that had been circulated to Ford management before the Pinto was manufactured and sold. The memo had been stolen from Ford and was never supposed to be seen by the public. It proved that Ford was making decisions based on profit and not safety. The memo said in part the following:

1. With expected unit sales of 11 million Pintos, and a total cost per unit to modify the fuel tank of $11, a recall would have cost Ford $121 million.

2. But, using mathematical formulations of a probable 2,100 accidents that might result in 180 burn deaths, 180 seriously burned victims, and 2,100 burned-out vehicles, the “unit cost” per accident, assuming an out-of-court settlement, came to a probable $200,000 per death, $67,000 per serious injury, and $700 per burned-out vehicle, leaving a grand total of $49.53 million.

3. Allowing the accidents to occur represented a net savings of nearly $70 million.

4. Therefore, a human life was mathematically proven to be worth less than an $11 part.

Despite the probability that this car would cause death, Ford management had made the financial decision to push forward with sales. When news of the memo broke that demonstrated that Ford had been aware of the design defects, criminal charges and civil lawsuits followed. The behind-the-scenes was no longer “hidden behind the counter”. The depth of corporate greed was shocking.

Now swinging a bit to the absurd, pic o’ day shows quite the heavy equipment operator!

dod digging

Completely Personal

This is a full week that includes lots of casework; Attending an Orioles game. And even doing some TV production later in the week. I could blog about each of those.    However, every now and then, something comes along that trumps all of that.

Last week, we celebrated my dad’s last radiation treatment. He rang the bell! It had been such a climb up the mountain for him with 44 treatments, that he said that he didn’t even know how to feel.  Just taking that last step of finishing… congratulations Dad!


(Mom put these together. The last one is Dad and his doctor)

Some Pic O’s

As a Baltimore Orioles baseball fan, my blog title that includes O’s might seem a bit unrelated to law. Yes, I would like to wander into the world of baseball. Instead, because I am in West Virginia on a case, I am going the pic o’ day route and combining our usual category of  “DID YOU KNOW?”.

kids questions

…and some technology knowledge


After Labor Day

You might have had a hamburger or hot dog for Labor Day, or even an ice cream. Well, here’s an ESPN story about a baseball player who did not appreciate his ice cream.

Jesus Montero was considered to be a “can’t miss” prospect in the New York Yankees farm system. He was then sent to the Seattle Mariners in a deal that was expected to begin a long major league career in Seattle. Unfortunately for Montero, that has not developed.

The Seattle organization has been losing patience in Montero’s effort. They have changed his position from catcher to first base, to designated hitter. They have brought him to the majors, put him in the minors; and he is now all the way down in Class A. This occurred after he returned from a 50-game-suspension relating to his positive testing for a banned performance- enhancing drug(s).

The Mariners put him all the way in Single A because they have questioned his baseball preparation, and that he showed up for spring training almost 40 pounds overweight. Now to the ice cream.

Apparently, one of the Seattle organizational scouts was at a recent Montero baseball game. Reportedly, the player did not hustle out a ground ball to first base; Exactly what they have been saying about his effort. In response, the scout sent an ice cream sandwich down to Montero. He was trying to make a point. He did. Montero didn’t like it.

Montero left the dugout, armed with a baseball… and the ice cream sandwich. He charged the scout in the stands and hurled the sandwich at the scout. Before getting there with his bat, he was restrained by other players.

Should we say that the moral of the story is that it is better to send an ice cream sundae instead of a sandwich? Or, some gifts are just not well received! If you did have an ice cream yesterday, I hope that you did enjoy it. It really is not good for throwing.


And for pic o’ day we have Carl the cat giving himself a pep talk:

car the cat

Baseball’s Fraud Role Models

     “Don’t talk about it, be about it”. I remember hearing a motivational speaker implore that action. I was reminded of that saying, when I heard about Alex Rodriguez saying that he just wants to be a role model; when he was asked about being suspended from baseball for taking  performance enhancing drugs. (ESPN)AFraud

     Does that mean that seeing is believing?


          Recently, Milwaukee Brewer baseball player and former MVP, Ryan Braun, agreed to a suspension for the rest of the baseball season. In response, a fan decided to wear a Braun T- shirt and make a few changes to the back:    

Braun Fraud

     That brings us to the question of a fan’s rights at the ballpark. When Karen Eldem wore her shirt into the stadium, a security guard tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to leave. Apparently, the guard did not like the “Braun to Fraud” name change.

     Security told her that the modified shirt violated the fan code of conduct and that the only way that she could stay and watch the game… turn the shirt inside out. She wanted to stay, so she did. However, when the story hit the airwaves and news, the Brewers later issued an apology and offered her another game ticket.

     Don’t you find it curious that it was the Brewers to claim that she was violating the fan code of conduct. A team that has glorified drinking into a team name. As the Baltimore Orioles’ announcer used to say over the intercom after a fan would catch a foul ball, “Give that fan a contract!”  

      And  now to today’s “Did you Know”,   it takes us to the alphabet. Take a look at the letters ” H I O X”. They are the only letters in the alphabet that look the same, when reading them from the front, back or upside down.  

     For pic o’ day, I am posting a “driving picture” that was recently sent.

another rider








Table Baseball to Law

Every now and then it’s worth a trip down memory lane. This is an old article from the Virginia Beach/Norfolk newspaper. If you click on the entire article, you can see that Mike Sheehan’s Dad kept reminding the reporter that we were not going to be baseball managers… we both were going to be lawyers. Now, Mike is here too! Good trip for me down that lane, when I read the article.

            “World Series time has arrived at 933 Westerly Drive in Virginia Beach. There was no red-white-and-blue bunting in sight. The playing surface was a cotton tablecloth, not AstroTurf or grass. And it wasn’t even the first week of October”… Continue reading here.

Baseball Pic


And pic o’ day is from “Grumppi”

cookie dog

Earl Weaver on Life



This past week, former Baltimore Oriole manager, Earl Weaver, passed away at age 82. At the time, he was on a cruise ship that was headed back into the port of Ft. Lauderdale, after having spent a week with a bunch of Oriole fans and some former Orioles players,  on an Oriole theme cruise.

Normally, I wouldn’t write a blog to remember a former baseball manager. However, for any Oriole fan, he represents everything good about the Orioles. Plus, he was especially known for taking on umpires. If you type in any “Earl Weaver” search, it will bring up several videos that show him arguing with umpires.

He did not mind adversity. In fact, he believed that it was his job to argue. He always felt that he would argue for the players so that they didn’t get thrown out of the game. As he said, “I’m only the manager”. That kind of arguing and his lack of fear always made me think that he would have been a great lawyer.

I am not going to write about his hall of fame career as a manager. There are many stories on how he managed. I remember that pitcher Jim Palmer used to humorously say that, “the only thing that Earl knew about pitching, was that he couldn’t hit it”. I could be off a bit on the quote, but one reporter asked him about what part that intellect played in managing. He replied that he was “a whole lot smarter when his players hit a three-run homer”.

Instead of focusing on his humor or how he managed or his relationship with Jim Palmer or other players at the time, I thought that I would focus on his “life thoughts”. I found them in an article in the Washington Post , written by Thomas Boswell, who knew Earl well and still writes about baseball.

The first is about growing up and leadership:

Until you’re the person that other people fall back on, until you’re the one that’s leaned on, not the person doing the leaning, you’re not an adult. You reach an age when suddenly you realize you have to be that person. Divorce did it to me. It could be elderly parents, children … anything. But one day you realize, ‘It’s me. I’ve got to be the rock.'”

Another unusual choice that Earl made was to retire at age 52. Then, he was briefly talked into managing again but quickly retired after that, and was finished entirely. No one could believe that this “ball of fire” could just leave competition behind and never come back. He explained it this way on retirement and the simple things of life:

I know exactly what I need to live on, have since ’57. I’m always going to do the same things. I grow all my own vegetables. I stuff my own sausages. Pork shoulders will be coming on sale next month. I look for chuck roast on sale to use in stew or grind up for hamburgers,” Weaver said. “Doing that takes time and I enjoy it. I’ll have plenty [of money] to play golf every day, run out to Hialeah or the dogs, take [wife] Marianna out to dinner in Fort Lauderdale, and take a walk on the beach. ... don’t want to spend my whole life watching the sun go down behind the left field bleachers.”

Good thoughts on life! So long Earl… you gave this Oriole fan some great memories.

For pic o’ day, here is “Delivery Dog”. What he is delivering is probably a bunch of nonsense!!!! I think that the box would really come up a bit empty.



Play Hard, Sue Harder?

This “Sports Illustrated” story is a unique combination of bringing the Courtroom to an odd life goal. It all started with the slogan “Play Hard, Pray Harder”.

Josh Hamilton is a baseball player who just made headlines for signing a 5- year contract that will pay him 125 million dollars. That means that he is leaving the Texas Rangers to play for the Anaheim Angels. He started out as a Tampa Bay Devil Ray. So, he went from Devil Ray to Angel. That’s not quite as odd as the lawsuit that he is now involved in, that started in Texas.

A small Texas start-up company is now suing Hamilton and the company that his wife co-founded with him. Dallas-based company Play Hard, Pray Harder LLC is suing Hamilon’s company, ScriptureArt. The Hamilton’s were originally part of the Texas-based company but recently split to form their own company. ScriptureArt was founded with a defined purpose of developing “high quality products and designs that inspire others to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ”.

When ScriptureArt put up its website, on the homepage was a picture of Hamilton, wearing a T-shirt that had the “play hard, pray harder” slogan on its front. Now, the Dallas company wants to put a stop to ScriptureArt using their protected slogan. So, it has filed suit to stop SciptureArt from using its slogan. ScriptureArt says that it filed a trademark on the same day as the other company.

Certainly an unusual slogan and fight for the Courtroom. Maybe Hamilton can figure out a new slogan with his new-found contract money. Something like, “Really Play Hard and Pray Harder!” Seems like our founding fathers would say that the Courtroom could be used for something better than this.


For pic o’ day, real can be a real surprise!

Baseball Cards for Sale


On Thursday, I attended the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore Convention Center was filled with table after table of sports memorabilia and cards. This picture of me, looking a bit disheveled, was taken after I had walked about 4 straight hours.

I saw someone selling a game-worn Virginia Squires warm-up jersey. I really had no idea how much it would cost, but I would have guessed around $700. You could have knocked me over with a feather when he quoted $25,000.

I guess he’s assuming that there is an old Virginia Squires’ fan who will just have to have that. He didn’t even seem negotiable. It is interesting that “game-used” is worth more than new.

Most cannot understand why anyone would want to pay money for cardboard, just because it has pictures of football or baseball players. At the Convention, there were lines for past and present athletes who were signing autographs. Again, there are a lot of people who just don’t have any interest in someone signing their name; unless they are writing them a check.

To put someone’s likeness on a card usually means that you have to pay them something for the right to do so. Sometimes, that involves large-scale contracts that are entered into with an entire league, for the specific rights to distribute “picture cards”.

In April, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was preparing himself for the upcoming NFL draft. (Yes, he is an Indianapolis Colt, so I ask for your patience as I insert him in blogs over the coming years. That’s fandom). His advisors learned that the Leaf Card Company had printed this card to the left, and were beginning to distribute it as his rookie card.

According to USA Today, his lawyer sent them a “cease and desist” letter to tell them to stop distributing this card without his licensing permission. Leaf responded by filing suit against Luck, alleging that they had the absolute right to print and distribute because they owned the rights to the US Army All American Bowl, where he had just earlier played.

In May, the suit was quietly dropped. Neither party gave any details about the dismissal. I’m guessing that Leaf decided that they didn’t want to try to win the battle and lose the war of public relations, that might also effect their NFL contracts in the future.

Sports collecting is big business. A 1951 Mickey Mantle Bowman card sold for 600K a few years ago. Recently, a rookie Honus Wagner card sold for 1.2 million. The 2 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch card has such great value because of the scarcity. The American Tobacco Company sold the cards between 1909-1911. Because Wagner was against Tobacco, he managed to stop the distribution of his card, so that only a few were sold.

It stands for the premise that something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

For pic o’ day, I didn’t take this picture but I know what this feels like. Good for more walking.  Guess it’s called a set of Escairs:





To the Baseball Game

     One of the most well known baseball songs is the 1908 “Take Me Out to the Ballgame“. The author was inspired when he got on a subway and saw a sign that read, “Baseball Today- Polo Grounds”.   Now it is regularly sung during seventh inning stretches in several major league ballparks.

     I feel a bit inspired by baseball, for this blog. Several months ago, I attended a fundraiser for CARITAS, which helps provide shelter, food and necessities for people in need. At the event, they had several items up for auction. The Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball team had a suite package up for auction. Well… we won the package. We decided to make it a Firm baseball day.

     Since that time, we have been pointing to this Monday with excitement. We are closing the offices in Virginia Beach and Richmond and going to the game. It’s a noon game. Baseball keeps you alert.

     After the game, we’ll post pictures and some video on the site. I wish that the South Carolina office could have come up, but they are holding the Fort for us all. There is a Red Sox single-A team stadium that is in walking distance to the Greenville office. Might be a good excuse for more baseball.

     For now, it’s the Richmond Flying Squirrels. They are the Double-A farm team for the San Francisco Giants. I’m also looking forward to seeing the mascot Nutsy.  He never says anything, so I guess he never argues; probably wouldn’t be a good lawyer.

      One of our paralegals, Amy, will be throwing out the first pitch. Now that’s some pressure. I’m supposed to to be on their radio broadcast around the 6th inning.

     It’s baseball and I probably went overboard for the food in the suite. Hope the storms can hold up! Good times for the Dog Days of Summer.  If you decide to tune in during the game, Sports Radio 910 carries the games. (click here)

     For pic o’ day I went with a fighting catch. I expect to be more relaxed.



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