Friday, October 29, 2010

Josh Hamilton -- "I'm proof that hope is never lost."

The personal story of Texas Rangers centerfielder, Josh Hamilton, is quite powerful.  He overcame drugs, alcohol, and a life of destructive personal choices to resume his baseball career and make himself into an All-Star and propel his team into an unlikely spot in the World Series.  As he describes it: "I'm proof that hope is never lost."

More on his story at ESPN.com by clicking here.  

More on his personal journey in his own words in the video:


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Political Math | Movie Quiz

This amazing math quiz can predict which of 18 famous movies is your favorite:

  • Pick a number from 1-9
  • Multiply by 3
  • Add 3
  • Multiply by 3 again
  • Now add the 2 digits together
  • Find the number in the list below to reveal your favorite movie
Movie List
1. Gone With The Wind
2. E.T.
3. Beverly Hills Cop
4. Star Wars
5. Forrest Gump
6. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
7. Jaws
8. Grease
9. The Defeat of Obama in 2012
10. Casablanca
11. Jurassic Park
12. Shrek
13. Pirates of the Caribbean
14. Titanic
15. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
16. Home Alone
17. Mrs. Doubtfire
18. Toy Story

(Hat tip to Abby Braddock!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Quotes

"Speak only if it improves upon the silence."
-- Mahatma Gandhi

"I reject your reality and substitute my own."
-- Mythbusters

"Nobody spends somebody else's money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else's resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property."
-- Milton Friedman

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Charity -- Liberal Style...

Interesting post over at The Munchkin Wrangler blog:  Fueling Your Private Jet with Pure Hypocrisy

Bono’s charity, ONE, is the poster child for feel-good limousine liberal activism.  In 2008, they took in $14 million in donations, and disbursed a mere $184,000 (or 1%) to charities.  A whopping $8 million (or 57%) of those donations went to executive and employee salaries.  Meanwhile, ONE spends a bunch of cash sending expensive schwag to New York newsrooms to make them help convince the government to cough up $6 billion of taxpayer cash to fight AIDS and tuberculosis in Africa.

That’s the Berkeley Way right there: take in donations, take a sixty percent cut for yourself off the top, and spend most of the rest on stuff on Starbucks coffee and Moleskine notebooks to woo reporters.   ...  Now, I’m not slamming charity here.  But what Boner and the other limousine liberals just like him are practicing isn’t charity.  It’s self-congratulatory (and lucrative) grandstanding.

One percent actually went to charity?  Seriously?

(Hat tip to my friend Michael Silence over at the No Silence Here blog.)

Some of my earlier blog posts on this general subject:
Pretend Charity and Generosity
Giving Away Other People's Money Doesn't Mean That You're Generous

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shakedown: Political-Style

Below is the text of a voicemail left by Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.  Listen to the audio and read a breakdown of the legal/ethical issues implicated by clicking here.

This is, uh, Eleanor Norton, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Uh, I noticed that you have given to uh, other colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. I am a, um, Senior Member, a twenty year veteran and am Chair of the Sub-committee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. I’m handling the largest economic development project in the United States now, the Homeland Security Compound of three buildings being built on the uh, old St. Elizabeth’s hospital site in the District of Columbia along with uh, fifteen other, uh, sites here for, that are part of the stimulus.


I was, frankly, uh, uh, surprised to see that we don’t have a record, so far as I can tell, of your having given to me despite my uh, long and deep uh, work. In fact, it’s been my major work, uh, on the committee and sub-committee it’s been essentially in your sector.


I am, I’m simply candidly calling to ask for a contribution. As the senior member of the um, committee and a sub-committee chair, we have (chuckles) obligations to raise, uh funds. And, I think it must have been me who hasn’t, frankly, uh, done my homework to ask for a contribution earlier. So I’m trying to make up for it by asking for one now, when we particularly, uh, need, uh contributions, particularly those of us who have the seniority and chairmanships and are in a position to raise the funds.


I’m asking you to give to Citizens for Eleanor Holmes Norton, PO Box 70626, DC, 20024. I’ll send you a follow-up note with appreciation for having heard me out. Thanks again.

Nothing short of old-style political shakedown.

Is the political culture so far gone that we fail to see any lines at all anymore?  Or that it's become such an engrained way of life that a United States Congresswoman apparently has no hesitation in leaving a message like that (i.e. evidence) on somebody's voicemail? 

According to the Wall Street Journal today, even the lobbyists are "privately complaining about getting undue pressure to contribute to House Democrats, who are frantically dialing for dollars to save their House majority."

I mean, even the lobbyists are now complaining?  Wow...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Unbelievable! 1 ft Square Surgical Sponge Left in Patient!

This type of thing DOES happen from time to time, folks.  It's not just trial lawyer boogeymen, make-believe type stuff.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Enjoy Every Moment With Your Kids

Thinking about my sons today...

"The days are long, but the years are short."
--from The Happiness Project blog

Watch a short video here.

Recall my "marble jar" blog post here.

Another good blog read:  How to Be Happier: Ten Tips for Being a More Light-Hearted Parent

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What 14 Stitches in Your Fingers Looks Like (warning: photos)

I went camping with my son Luke this weekend with our church youth group.  While playing a game in the dark, I started to fall near a little ditch and reached up to grab something to steady myself.

Well.....that "something" turned out to be a jagged piece of metal!

Lots of people have asked, so I've included some post-stitches photos from the ER, as well as some answers to some of the most common (and inevitable) questions:

Did it hurt?
Absolutely!  Although the 6 pain block shots (2 at the base of each finger) were the worst part.

Did it bleed?
Like a stuck pig.


How many stitches?
14 total -- 4 on the middle, 5 on the ring (in 2 spots), 6 on the pinkie.



How long will the stitches be in?
2 weeks


Can you type, drive, etc.?
I'm hampered and slowed a bit, but I can do everything pretty well except type.  So I apologize in advance if I have a hard time responding to Emails, messages, etc.


Thanks to everyone at camp for being so helpful, especially Ty Jones for taking me to the ER and hanging out with me for a few hours.  It made for a memorable weekend, and the kids loved seeing the stitches!  My new nickname is Frankenfingers!



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Interesting Post-Election News Coverage of the Republican Sweep

Here are some links to some interesting articles following the local elections:
Shelby County GOP chairman Lang Wiseman said the discussion begins and ends with who was on the ballot.


“It just wasn’t even close,” Wiseman said. “Five of the Democratic candidates had already run for that very same office and lost. They’d already been rejected by the voters once.


“Two of them had actually been in that office and were booted out by the voters,” he said, a reference to Democratic contenders Shep Wilbun and Minerva Johnican.
Meanwhile, local Republican Party chairman Lang Wiseman said he, too, has concerns about the voting problems. He heard from Republicans on Election Day who had similar problems.


“Of course, this is what you expect the Democrats to say. What else do they have to hang their hat on at this point?” Wiseman said. “But it’s a serious issue when there’s a glitch like that. It shouldn’t have happened. And they need to get to the bottom of why it happened. It’s not something that should be tolerated.”


Wiseman drew a distinction, however, between the problems voters had and the problems even some Democrats have conceded stem from a low turnout for a slate of candidates that failed to excite enough of the Democratic base.


“Let’s address the (voting) problem for what it was. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Wiseman said. “But let’s not say the sky is falling because we all know it is not. … At the end of the day, people voted.”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back From Hiatus

I haven't posted in a while because I've spent every spare ounce of creative effort and time working on the recent elections.  What a month!  I can't even begin to describe how gratifying the experience has been!

Anyway, I'm sorry for the extended time off, but my goal is to get back in the groove of regular blogging over the course of the next few weeks.  As you might expect, I have some thoughts about the elections, the strategies employed, the outcomes, and the post-election "analysis" by many of the so-called pundits and newspaper reporters -- much of which is disappointingly superficial and racially charged.  And therefore ultimately way off base. 

As I gather my thoughts, I wanted in the meantime to share a couple of quotes/thoughts that have been on my mind in recent days:

  • ‎"I love it when a plan comes together." -- John "Hannibal" Smith, The A-Team

  • Oldest coaching ploy in the book:  When you get outcoached, and your team gets outplayed...distract the fans by yelling at the refs.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hilarious Lawyer Commercials

Check out the lawyer commercials over at the Wiseman Bray Law Firm Blog.

Apparently some of those guys don't have enough sense to know that they should be embarrassed.
 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Best. Candidate. Commercial. Ever.

This is one of the funniest spoofs I've ever seen:



Hat tip to Michael Silence over at his No Silence Here blog.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"The Dad Life" -- Video (this is pure awesomeness!)

A while back I uploaded The Swagger Wagon spoof rap video.  Well, here's another awesome video about The Dad Life.

Be sure and send a link to all your favorite Dads out there as a belated Happy Father's Day wish.



Hat tip to my friend April Mollerberg for sending me the link to the video.

[If you're viewing this blog post on Facebook, you will need to click below on "View Original Post" to view the video.]



Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quotes on Leadership

"I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep."
-- Talleyrand

"Outstanding leaders appeal to the hearts of their followers - not their minds."
-- Unknown

"The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves." -- Ray Kroc

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Awesome Quotes -- Success (Part II)

"Sometimes our best is simply not enough.... We have to do what is required."
-- Sir Winston Churchill

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."
-- Henry Ford

"Talk does not cook rice."
-- Chinese Proverb

Awesome Quotes -- Success (Part I)

"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
--Unknown

"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."
-- John Wooden

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
-- Thomas Edison

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quotes Worth Reading

"You don't have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body."
-- C.S. Lewis

“Because how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
--Annie Dillard

"If you haven't found something worth dying for, you aren't fit to be living."
--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How to Detect Non-Answers

I posted over on my law firm blog today (blog.WisemanBray.com) about an interesting legal article regarding How to Detect Non-Answers.  It's designed as a tip for trial lawyers who cross-examine witnesses in deposition or at trial, but after thinking about it, I realized how the exact same principles apply in the political context -- particularly as you watch certain politicians being interviewed on the Sunday morning national news shows.

Check out the post and see how many examples you recognize.
 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Become a Human Lie Detector

An interesting blog that I regularly follow is The Art of Manliness (AOM) -- lots of interesting posts/articles about a wide variety of interesting and sometimes even off-the-wall topics.

A recent post caught my attention titled: Become a Human Lie Detector: How to Sniff Out a Liar.  As a lawyer who deals with lots of witnesses, sniffing out a liar is sometimes a necessary job skill.

(As an aside, I included a post on my firm blog recently that drew considerable comment regarding whether to explicitly call a witness an outright liar on the witness stand-- you can view it by clicking here.)

Anyway, here are a few tidbits from the AOM post/article:

Catalog a Subject’s Pacifiers -- The key to detecting deception is to recognize when people are uncomfortable. Generally, people who are being honest feel comfortable, while people who are lying feel stressed. Pacifiers include things like face touching, rubbing the back of the neck, lip pursing, hair stroking, playing with jewelry, etc. Once you figure out a person’s pacifiers, you can use that info to gauge their comfort and discomfort around certain topics.

Establish a Behavioral Baseline -- Maybe somebody rubs the back of their neck all the time, not just when they’re lying. So in order to gauge someone’s level of comfort or discomfort, you need to establish a baseline for their behaviors. That way you’ll know when they deviate from it.

Get the Person Relaxed -- Get your subject relaxed and comfortable with you. Make small talk. A person will express their comfort with their body language. They’ll lean in closer to you, they’ll open up their suit coat, they won’t have folded arms, and their feet might be bouncing underneath the table. After you have the person relaxed, you can start asking the important questions. As you discuss certain topics, look for the pacifiers you identified earlier to reemerge.

Ask Specific, Non-suspicious Questions -- Knowing the signs/pacifiers is necessary, but not sufficient. You must also know what questions to ask and how to ask them -- i.e. in a cool, detached, and non-judgmental way. If you go at a person NYPD Blue style, you’re bound to taint the subject; even an innocent person will act nervous if they’re accused of lying or feel pushed into a corner. So be nonchalant about the whole thing. You might even be surprised what comes out of a person’s mouth when they think you’re not suspicious of them.

Look for Other Signs of Deception -- things like Synchrony; Little or no movement; Lack of emphasis; Palms; and Eye direction. Click on the AOM post for more specific information on these items.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Trying Out a New Design Template

I decided to try out a new blog design template.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Friday, June 11, 2010

SEC Expansion Talk

Couldn't say it any better, so I'll just cut and paste from my friend Michael Silence -- in fact, I'd recommend that you regularly keep up with his No Silence Here blog.  It's a very informative and entertaining mix of news, politics, and sports.  You should add it to your RSS feed.

News roundup of potential SEC expansion

Report: Heupel says OU heading to SEC
FSU, Miami in SEC? Conference realignments could have stunning implications
Report that SEC has invited Hokies "all rubbish"
New alliances, league affiliation ready to reshape college sports ...
Conference realignment: Texas A&M posturing
Conference Realignment Chronicles :: Report - Big 12 Done, Pac-10 Invitation Expected for Texas Tech 
There is hope within the department that Currie, who worked at Tennessee before coming to Manhattan, can use his contacts in the Southeastern Conference to the Wildcats' advantage should that league expand. 
Florida Football Blog On Southeastern Conference expansion 
On Southeastern Conference expansion: Add Texas, Texas A&M, Miami and Florida State
SEC tempting, but Hokies wise to stay put

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gubernatorial Debate: Legal & Judicial Issues

The 4 major gubernatorial candidates took part in a forum at the 129th Annual Tennessee Bar Association where they specifically addressed certain legal and judicial issues facing the State of Tennessee, including things like judicial selection, election of the Attorney General, and damage caps.

The Tennessee Bar Association has a great chart outlining the candidates' positions the various legal/judicial positions. Click here to go to the TBA site page.

[For the record, I've also posted extensively on several of these issues -- for example: click here, here, here, here, and here for posts on judicial selection, and here, here, and here for posts on tort reform.]
 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

....Reminded Me of a Couple Good Quotes

I was "talking" to someone last night at a political function and 2 of my favorite quotes sprang to mind:
  • "Crazy people don't know they're crazy -- that's what makes them crazy."
  •  "While you can certainly tell a lot about a man by who his friends are, you can often tell more by who he keeps as his enemies."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pau Gasol -- Has He Lost His Mind?

Pau Gasol plays well in Game 1 of the Finals and now all of the sudden he's qualified to talk smack to Kevin Garnett?  Has Gasol lost his mind?

Here's what he said:

"On Kevin's part, he's also lost some explosiveness," said Gasol, who had 23 points and 14 rebounds.  "He's more of a jump shooter now you could say, comes off the lane. Before he had a really, really quick first step and was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then. Time passes and we all suffer it one way or another, but he's still a terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he's going to bring everything he's got. You can count on that."

Is the guy nuts? I mean, challenging a warrior of KG's stature like that?

Or was Pau just being honest?  Even maybe just offering an accurate assessment?

Perhaps.  But since when is it smart to be completely transparent when it comes to critiquing your opponent?  Especially when it comes to a warrior like KG who still has plenty of mojo left in the tank.

For his part, KG was NOT amused.

His response? A stoic "I have no comments for his comments." But it was really the next part of the KG's comment about Gasol that was most telling: "For what? Who is he?"  With emphasis on the word "he" -- check out the video here.

If I were Pau, I'd bring my "A" game tomorrow.  He's gonna need it.

White House Reporter, Helen Thomas: Sad

You've probably already seen the video of the racist-tinged rant by Helen Thomas, a longtime fixture in the White House press corps.  I first saw it over on the No Silence Here blog and could hardly believe my eyes and ears.

Among other ridiculous things, Thomas said -- at a White House Jewish Heritage Celebration, no less -- that the Jews should "go back home" to Poland and Germany.  

Really?  This coming from a respected and supposedly well-informed member of the media who serves as a filter of information from the White House?

More than anything, it's sad.  But where's the outrage by her friends in the media?  She's been parodied and made fun of, but if she were from Fox News, or had a reputation for being conservative, she'd be getting absolutely pilloried in the press.

Oh well....

Here's the video:

John & Nellie Wooden -- A True Love Affair

If you have 3 minutes, go check out the ESPN video about the love letters Coach Wooden wrote to his late wife each month for the past 24 years following her death.

The Woodens were married for 53 years, and as Coach Wooden explained it, he "missed her more than ever and his love was still there," and he was merely "keeping his promise that there'll never be another."

Now that's a love story.

Quotes -- John Wooden Version

Coach Wooden was an amazing man with a refreshing, unique outlook on life.  And sport.

Here are few of my favorites:

"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."


"Never mistake activity for achievement."


"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything."


"Ability is a poor man's wealth."


"Be prepared and be honest."


"The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team."

Click here to read more famous Woodenisms.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's Official! You and I Now Owe Over $13,000,000,000,000.00

Well, it's official according to the U.S. Treasury Department.  As of yesterday (June 1, 2010), the national debt surpassed the $13 trillion mark.  (Up over $50 billion from the day before, mind you.  And, yes, that's billion with a "B.")

Wow.

Hit the link and just take a second to let all those digits sink in.

Wow.
 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Every day, every student, college bound." -- Does this really make sense?

Every day, every student, college bound."  -- from the walls of Richland Elementary School in Memphis. 

Sounds like a laudable goal, right?  But is it really?

Regular readers know that I posted a couple of weeks ago asking the following question: Is College Really for Everyone? 

Well, almost on cue, a guest editorial appeared in the Memphis Commercial Appeal this past weekend titled College May Not be Next Best Step, relying on much of the same data and information.  The editorial is worth a quick look.