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Monday’s Collection of Information

In the iconic 1987 movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko proclaimed that “The most valuable commodity I know of is information“. Today’s blog is a collection of information. Valuable? After this, you might feel like we are zigging and zagging. Some useful; some useless; and something sad.  Our Blog!

First, I have stumbled upon some amazing mustard. (I suspect you didn’t see this one coming!) I am putting it on everything. Obsessively!



Next is apparently how to keep pigeons off your porch. (In case pigeons are on your porch!) It’s this right here:


(photography provided by renowned photographer Joel Bieber)

Yes, a balloon is the first line of defense! I guess pigeons are afraid of balloons with eyes?

Now, some serious discussion for the blog. Who was the youngest American serviceman killed in action? Honestly, this is terrible. The answer: Dan Bullock, at age 15.



When he was 14-years-old, he altered his birth certificate to show he was four years older. He wanted to become a pilot, police officer or a Marine. So he enlisted and graduated from Parris Island boot camp in 1968.

He arrived it Vietnam on May 18, and was assigned as a rifleman. On June 7, while making an ammunition run to resupply his unit, he was killed by a Vietnamese night attack.

His grave did not even have a marker until 2000. Today, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial finally recognizes him as the youngest soldier killed. And I must ashamedly admit that I did not know his story until recently.

I said that this blog has lots of information. I felt that after that story of Marine Dan Bullock, I didn’t want to end there. It’s too sad.

So, I post some lion wisdom as part of the continuum of the blog:



And finally, here is our pic o’ day.

I am thankful for Monday!


Just Bring Mints

How about a happy group get-together to start Our Monday Blog?



Have you ever received a bill at the end of your restaurant meal that has a smiley face drawn on it? Probably many times. It could be just a friendly server, but I have also been told that servers believe that they will get a larger tip because of it. Friendliness that pays!

That might be true, but there is real research to prove that there is really something that servers can do, to increase their tips by over 23%. Just one simple thing. Published in the Journal for Applied Psychology (study abstract here).

What to do? Bring mints with the bill. And how the server followed up with the mint even influenced the tip. Here’s a breakdown of the study:

  1. The first group included servers giving a single mint with the bill, with no mention of the mint. This increased tips by 3%.
  2. The second group of researchers had the servers bring two mints separate from the bill. The servers were also instructed to mention before bringing the mints, “Would anyone like some mints?”. This caused a 14% increase in the tip.
  3.  The final research study had servers bring out the bill with a pair of mints. Shortly thereafter, the waiter came back with another set of mints in case anyone wanted more. That last group saw an increase of 23% in the tip.

Why did the mints impact the tip? A love of mints? Not so much! Although, you can’t be angry at mints! Right?

The answer is that researchers concluded that being personal left a positive impression. Especially at the most important time. Right when they were paying their bill.

The advice from those researchers is to have personal follow-ups. Good advice for anyone wanting happy clients or customers. It’s probably also good advice for someone in the restaurant business. Invest in personality and mints! And always follow up!

And for our pic o’ day… Yep!


April Fools on the 2nd

I’m not big on April Fool’s Day so I didn’t mention it yesterday for the blog. I think that it does bring out the two categories of people. Some love practical jokes and others are not as humored by them. I’m personally not big on pranks.

A newly signed Indianapolis Colts player tweeted that he had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Then he announced it was an April Fool’s joke. I received the tweet as a Colts fan. For his sake, I hope no one nationally will notice his choice of prank.

If you are a Colts Fan you might find this funny….The Indianapolis Colts uniform introduction:


They announced that the Colts would be wearing all white next year. That’s a funny April Fool’s joke at no one’s expense!

A couple of people had asked me why I didn’t write an April Fool’s Day blog. I guess I just did!

And for pic o’ day, a bit of (missing) leadership:


The Purple Testament Reminder

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!


And then a reminder from “Charlie” to focus :

Charlie Focus

Sayings and a List

I decided to post some random notes today since I have been unable to figure out a way to work these into blogs. In fact, they kind of make their own blog.  So, when you see that I wrote about spy cats, I hope you remember the day I was distracted by my stuff for future blogs. Of course, that could be just about any day. Anyway…

Einstein once explained the principle of relativity by saying, “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. However, let him sit on a hot stove for a minute — and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity”.

“If a ship could think and feel, it would never leave its dock. It would be afraid of the thousands of waves that it will encounter. It would fear all of the dangers at once, even though it had to meet them  only one wave at a time’. (No one takes credit for this)

“You never know how a horse will pull, until you hook him up to a heavy load”. Coach Bear Bryant

“If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog”. President Harry S. Truman.  By the way, do you know what the “S” stands for? (Jeopardy theme) (Right here is the answer)

And finally, a list described as “Mom’s Famous Sayings”:


Annual & Daily Thanksgiving

If you’ve been “out in it” trying to buy ingredients for the Thanksgiving dinner; Or, you decided to get up real early to go get some “fresh store bought” pies; then let me venture a guess. By now, you wouldn’t even be surprised to see a car load of turkeys headed to Mexico.

I don’t do real well at the grocery store. Now, if you add in a crowd at the grocery store, then you might be conjuring up an interrogation method with more power than truth serum and hot lights.

Right now, the refrigerator is stocked and our plans are all set for Thanksgiving. My parents, wife and I are headed to Keswick Hall for our big Thanksgiving meal. Good times ahead!

This morning, I was asked if I expected to eat well. I admitted that I have some food plans in the future. Yep, I’ve got it all planned out and none of it includes holding back. Then, we have some fixins’ at the house that will be post feast.

In reading several online articles, many reminded to “pause, count your blessings and be thankful”. When writing this blog, it served as a reminder that I need to focus more on the “daily of thanks” and not just the annual thanks.

We had several hundred entries that recited reasons of thankfulness. In these tough times, many recited family, health and blessings of life. Reading those messages was a blessing to me.

Congratulations to the winner of the Joel Bieber Thanksgiving Grocery Giveaway, Eleina Hayes. She posted that, “I am thankful for life, health, and strength!” Eleina says that she has chosen to donate this $150 gift card to a local Richmond shelter for Women & Children. Thanks to all those who participated in this.

I wish you a great Thanksgiving time. Back on Monday. Now, pic o’ day. I’ve got “angry turkey”  and  “Meditation Dog”.  We can choose how we feel.

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