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The $20 Bill

I love good strategy. For instance, here is the story of a fake city, to avoid being bombed by Germany.


What do you know about the man on the $20 bill? The symposium that I wrote about in yesterday’s blog, Newt Gingrich compared Donald Trump to Andrew Jackson. So, I had to admit to myself that I did not know much about Andrew Jackson. Then I learned about the strategy that he used to become president… which ultimately led to his picture on our $20 bill.

His parents emigrated from Ireland and settled between North Carolina and South Carolina. Today, both states claim to be his birthplace.

Andrew Jackson was nicknamed “Old Hickory“. He picked up that nickname from the troops that he led during the War of 1812 because he was considered tough as “old hickory”, which is considered to be the wood preferred for axe handles because of his toughness. So, during his presidential campaign, his supporters decided to use that nickname for his campaign.

Speaking of strategy, it’s probably worthwhile to have have some backbone. But maybe Jackson took it a little too far. Supposedly he participated in many duels. Estimated number ranges from 5-100. (Quite an estimate) Charles Dickinson called Jackson “a worthless scoundrel, a paltroon and a coward” in a local newspaper. So… they had a duel to settle it. (Are you still wondering what a paltroon is? So am I! Just looked it up. It means coward. I wonder how you can be a paltroon and a coward. That seems repetitive and redundant)

Back to back they faced each other. (Yes… I took a little literary license there) At the signal, Dickson turned and fired first and hit Jackson in the chest. (More strategy to let his opponent fire first) The bullet barely missed Jackson’s heart by less than an inch. Despite the bullet in the chest, Jackson measured his shot and fired. Dickinson dropped dead. Meanwhile, Jackson carried that bullet in his chest for the rest of his life.

Here’s the one final thought on Jackson and the $20 bill. It’s truly curious that we carry that picture in our wallets or pockets. (assuming you are fortunate to have a $20 bill right now) Jackson detested paper money because he took a huge financial hit when paper notes were devalued . He only trusted gold and silver. He felt banks had the ability to manipulate money. And so it goes… his fame on paper still remains.

And finally, this has nothing to do with strategy. Our pic o’ day falls under the heading of nonsense.




Politics…Or Just Ticks?

Yes…. it’s Monday, so let’s start casual

feelin cool

Instead of stressed!


Does it feel crazy out there? Of course it does. Lots of grab for power. And right now federally, the Republicans are doing everything they can to hold on to the House and Senate with the upcoming mid-term elections.

Conversely, the Democrats feel that they will win the House and Senate majority. Probably part of Speaker Ryan’s reason for not seeking re-election. Probably a better chance in the House according to political analyst. But if they win the Senate, you will probably see them try to start impeachment proceedings for the President.

Meanwhile, we suffer while no one works together. The desire for power!

But, uncertainty is the only certainty in politics. There is a long way to go before November. With that background, I thought that a look-back in this day in history would serve as a contrast to the seeking of power of today.

On this day in 1789, George Washington left his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia, to travel to New York to be sworn in as President. According to the George Washington Papers, many had previously written him and visited him, hoping to get him to agree to be the first president.

In one letter that he wrote to Alexander Hamilton, he let Hamilton know his thoughts, “it is my great and sole desire to live and die, in peace and retirement on my own farm“.  In another letter to Hamilton, he wrote, “I call Heaven to witness, that this very act would be the greatest sacrifice of my personal feelings & wishes that ever I have been called upon to make”.

On April 6, 1788, the senators and representatives met in New York to count the electoral college votes. Washington received all 69 votes for president. Washington was not there. He was reached at Mount Vernon and told of the election results.

And now April 16, 1789, before leaving for New York to be sworn in as president, he spoke to a group of citizens in Alexandria to express his emotions about leaving. “At my age what possible advantages [could I gain] from public life?”

And for our pic o’ day


I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again!

Yes… this is what I call a real rule breaker!


In 1964, Julie Andrews made her movie debut in Mary Poppins. Then, she became internationally famous when she starred in My Fair Lady (1956) and then Camelot (1960).

In 1965, she played the real life Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Her voice singing the words “The hills are alive, with the sound of music” became iconic as a report 283 million people paid to see that movie. It became the biggest hit in the history of 20th Century Fox.

Julie Andrews had become a star because of her acting… but truly because of her voice. Several starring roles followed. But in 1997, she ran into a roadblock.

While starring in a show on broadway, she continued to experience hoarseness in her voice, that made it very difficult to sing. She was examined by a doctor and it was determined that she had developed nodules on her vocal cords. Fortunately, they were non-cancerous and could be surgically removed.

The surgery was scheduled and the nodules were successfully removed. When she woke from the surgery, she no longer had her singing voice and her speaking voice had a noticeable rasping noise. And, it was permanent.

After recovering from the shock of not being able to sing with her infamous four-octave soprano, years later she could finally joked that she found herself with a deep alto, only able to sing songs like “Old Man River“.

Here is the reminder for us. Once she got over the depression of losing her voice and the loss of her career that went with it, she picked herself up. She continued to perform with speaking roles and even became a “voice-over” star for such productions as Dr. Dolittle… starring as the voice of the parrot.

In 2000, she was recognized as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth. In 2001, she appeared in The Princess Diaries, which was her first Disney film since Mary Poppins. She even performed voices for three of the Shrek movies and has also appeared in the Despicable Me movies and sequels. And now at age 82, she is known as an author for best-selling books for kids, having written 24 books to date.

All this was done after tragedy supposedly ended her career. And… she reports feeling great satisfaction in being a grandmother to nine, and a great-grandmother to three.

I could write this story many times about clients who have been knocked down, and then get back up. I am personally challenged every day by their courage.

Everyone, at some point in their life, has been knocked down and not felt like getting back up. When you get back up, it makes you realize that there are so many possibilities. Adversity causes some to break… and others to break records. (William Arthur Ward)

And finally, I laughed out loud!


A Movie… Predicting Technology?

It’s Monday… is it time to refuel?


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:


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:


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:





“Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture”

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


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


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?

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:


Advice From Past and Present

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





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:


Now that would have been good advice!

Or maybe even good cooking advice!


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:


Anniversary of Justice

I feel like I need to at least mention the Super Bowl. For some reason, it always seems to give me an excuse to eat things that I normally would not eat.



All across America, people refused to step on the scale this morning.

I saw that a listing of searches on google during the Super Bowl included a lot of “Who is Justin Timberlake?” Or maybe that was just the “Selfie Kid”!  That made me laugh.

That game was truly crazy exciting. The streets of Philadelphia were filled with celebration! Now to our blog topic.

This is about the trial of Brian De La Beckwith. It’s important because on this day in 1994, he was convicted of killing Medgar Wiley Evers. ( The story that includes the two prior trials will make you shake your head at justice then, in Mississippi.

Medgar Evers (Wikipedia) was a civil rights activist in Mississippi and became that state’s field secretary for the NAACP. (the first NAACP field secretary in the south) He was a World War II veteran who had participated in the Normandy invasion.

After the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the opinion of Brown v. Board of Education that held that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, Evers challenged the segregation of the University of Mississippi by applying to their law school. Despite the Supreme Court decision, he was still denied admission because of his race.

Following the Brown v. Board of Education decision and in response to the opinion, local whites founded the White Citizens’ Council in Mississippi. It was their goal to resist the integration of schools and facilities.

In 1962, Evers helped James Meredith become the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi. Evers was becoming more known for his efforts to combat segregation, and he received numerous threats, with several attempts being made on his life.

By the summer of 1963, he had spent nearly nine years organizing voter registration drives and leading boycotts of segregated Mississippi businesses. On June 11, President John F. Kennedy had delivered an address from the oval office, calling for Congress to take action in the area of civil rights. Following that speech, Evers was at an organizational meeting at a local church. He returned home sometime after midnight, less than four hours after the Kennedy speech.

Evers was gunned down in the driveway of his Mississippi home on June 12, 1963, while his wife and the couple’s three small children were inside the house. He had emerged from his car, carrying NAACP t-shirts that read “Jim Crow Must Go

Evers was struck in the back. The bullet ripped through his heart. Initially thrown to the ground by the impact of the shot, Evers rose and staggered 30 feet before collapsing. His wife found him outside their front door.

He was taken to the local hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, where he was initially refused entry, because of his race. His family explained who he was and he was admitted; he died in the hospital 50 minutes later. Evers was the first African American to be admitted to an all-white hospital in Mississippi. Over 5000 mourners attended his funeral.

Just two weeks after the assassination, Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the local White Citizen’s Council, was arrested for Evers’ murder. Beckwith, a fertilizer salesman and Ku Klux Klan member, was prosecuted for murder in 1964. However, two all-white (and all-male) juries deadlocked and refused to convict him. That second trial held in the same year resulted in a hung jury. The follow-up prosecution was not pursued, after it appeared that a conviction would be impossible.

De La Beckwith had reportedly repeatedly bragged about being responsible for the murder, and even unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor of Mississippi.

Beckwith remained free until the 1990s. Then, because of new evidence gathered by Medgar Evers wife (Myrlie Evers-Williams) and others, the case was reopened. Some of the new evidence submitted for retrial included that the juries in the original two trials had been improperly screened. At the time, most blacks were kept from registering to vote by Mississippi’s constitution. This meant that they were also excluded from juries because jurors were drawn from the pool of registered voters.

On February 5, 1994, De La Beckwith was finally convicted, this time by a racially mixed jury. At the third trial, the prosecution produced a rifle-scope from the murder weapon that had Beckwith’s fingerprints. New witnesses also testified that Beckwith had bragged about committing the murder. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Beckwith died in prison in 2001, at the age of 90. The decades-long effort to bring De La Beckwith to justice was dramatized in the 1996 film “Ghosts of Mississippi“.

At the Arlington National Cemetery tribute to Evers on the 50th Anniversary of his death, his widow read the following:

Medgar was a man who never wanted adoration, who never wanted to be in the limelight. He was a man who saw a job that needed to be done and he answered the call and the fight for freedom, dignity and justice not just for his people but all people.”



Now after that history, let’s change it up. For pic o’ day, how about this strategy?


It’s Friday Crazy Time!

Here we are. Friday and we are in February. Yes! Because it seemed like January was 74 days long. Is that possible?


Sometimes you just need to rise above!


Just a preliminary. In case you did not receive a copy of our January newsletter… here it is (HERE) and also a way to subscribe.

So just a couple of things because I don’t want to take you on a major blog expedition. Just some thoughts.

This falls under the category of arms control. But not such a good ending. Around the middle of the 16th century, Hideyoshi, known as the peasant ruler of Japan, ordered that all the swords in the nation be collected… and melted down. The metal was then used to construct an enormous Buddha. Does that sound like a good idea?

It took 50,000 skilled workers more than six years to build the statue. Ten years later… an earthquake brought it down. No good! I guess that’s truly living in the present because there was no future for that statue.

How about this game? “Hot Cockles” was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. No… not Hot Pockets (which is perfect if you just feel like burning the roof of your mouth)

Here’s Hot Cockles, in case you want to play it with friends and family this weekend. Players took turns striking the designated blindfolded player. The blindfolded player had to guess the name of the person who was hitting them delivering each blow. Just a friendly game… among friends who want to be enemies? How about some friendly “slappage”.

And finally, here’s some useful information. Did you know that the Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland… because he doesn’t wear trousers. Not even pants on the ground.

I hope you have a great weekend. These are the good days!!! And I hope your weekend includes some sit-down time! (I know what you are thinking. Apparently pictures that require magnifying glasses are really relaxing)





I Love Being Random!

If you skim through the news, you realize that it is just random and usually not good news. Sometimes the stories are just good stories. Sometimes you just see things and say “that’s right” because it is.


For this blog, I just thought that I would randomly throw some news at you. After last night’s State of the Union address… are you ready?

Speaking of State of the Union, were you humored with the misspellings of the invitations? (NY Times) “State of the Uniom.” That is classic! I remember when the Washington Nationals made a mistake on their shirts that said Washington Natinals. I still call them the Natinals!


It just makes me laugh.

Here’s some news from the department of irony. From PilotOnline comes a story of a doughnut robber, who had previously won a police donut-eating contest. If he had only stolen the donuts!

And finally, I find this story to be a head-shaker. The Professor and the Madman! Have you ever thought about how the Oxford Dictionary was written? Probably not. But here is some background that might make you look at it differently.

Professor James Murray was the credited editor of the Oxford English Dictionary  Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was considered one of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary.

He sent thousands of unsolicited hand-written quotations from his home. But, they could not get him to come to the location where the Dictionary was being put together.

Finally, Professor Murray decided to meet him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor. Not only was Minor an amazing wordsmith… he was also an insane murderer who was locked up in Broadmoor.

At that time, Broadmoor was considered as England’s harshest asylum for criminals and dangerous lunatics.  As it was later described… The Professor and the Madman is the unforgettable story of criminal madness and genius that contributed to one of the greatest literary achievements. The Oxford English Dictionary. And as Paul Harvey would say… Now you know the rest of the story!

And finally for our pic o’ day… this one is a thought-provoker!



Adversity Gives Us Choices!

It’s Our Monday!

I am starting with a look back at the snow because I am hopeful that is all behind us. Right?


Today’s blog is on the affects of adversity. People respond differently. Much like the viewpoint/attitude referenced in an exchange between the characters “Mike” and “Toby” on the show that used to be on NBC, “The Office“:

“Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it…not…that way. I….HATE…. so much about the things that you choose to be.” Michael Scott

There are some people who are just ambivalent about life, or they just aren’t fun at all. No positivity! In my practice, I have seen clients in the most adverse circumstances, rise to levels of accomplishment and achievement when they had every excuse to feel differently. They refuse to allow adversity to get them down.

It reminds me of a quote from the 1949 British film, The Third Man. Harry Lime, who was played by the great actor Orson Welles, says:

Don’t be so gloomy. After all, it’s not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias, ‘they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? – The cuckoo clock!’”

I like this quote on adversity from Japanese writer Haruk Murakamii, “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

Much like the famous quote from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger“.

No matter what we face today… I know it’s going to be a great Monday!


And finally for our pic o’ day, can’t you relate to this?


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